The Top 10 Selected Pieces for our February 2023 ‘Heartbreak & Heartache’ Submissions Contest’
(In Alphabetical Order)
Pieces were selected by the UP Magazine Team based on what we felt best represented the theme & how the artists explained their work.
I am a contemporary artist, born and raised in NYC. My art revolves around an imaginative stream-of-consciousness approach to creating, in which I begins each painting with no predetermined idea of what the content will be, but rather with great trust that whatever is meant to be expressed on the canvas will present itself. I feel an undying desire to express my experiences and emotions through art. I have presented works at the Stone Gallery in Boston and throughout NYC at the Chashama Gallery in Soho, Caelum Gallery in Chelsea, The Shrine in Harlem, among other venues. I previously studied art at Fiorello H LaGuardia High School Of Music and Art in New York City and was awarded the BFA in Painting from the College of Fine Arts at Boston University this year 2023. I just completed a medical illustration intern for Dr. Linda Bi in the Neurosurgery department of Bringham Womens Hospital.
The content of my work revolves around the complexity and heaviness of emotions in our human experience. It is about love, pain, passion, confusion, and ultimately growth. Over the past few years- love, relationships, and heartbreak have been the main theme of my work. Truthfully, I believe that love is rooted in almost everything we experience which makes this a bountiful subject to explore within my art. Love in romantic, familial, and platonic relationships all present us with unique and complicated feelings of pain and confusion, as well as the highest levels of joy and peace.
The paintings I am submitting are all reflections of my experience with the person I was in a committed relationship with. The pieces each come from 3 different years of being in the same relationship. Romantic love has been the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. I was lucky enough to feel the type of love that is truly indescribable. It is the type of love that makes your heart melt simply at the thought or sight of your person. The type of love that disables you from harboring resentment or negative feelings towards the person even when they hurt you. It’s the unconditional love of welcoming them back to you with open arms despite any amount of distance, time, or struggle.
The type of love that is capable of bringing the most debilitating pain and heartbreak when it fails you. I experienced all of this, and am in awe at how raw the joy and pain of love can be.
This first painting was done in June 2021. It is the blossoming of a new relationship and feeling the fresh sense of comfort in not having to endure the heaviness of life alone for the first time. The new discovery that you now have someone who will stand strong and hold you up when life tries to break you down.
“Love Me To Death & Back Again” – Reflecting on cyclical nature of continuously breaking up with and getting back together with someone, and the yearning to be loved through the “mini deaths” we all go through as we change and grow.
My name is Daphney Estrada. My mediums are primarily oil pastels and oil pastels. My work can be described as semi-realistic with a touch of impressionism. As someone who’s incredibly emotional, you’ll find a lot of depth and emotion within my pieces. While I use a lot of colors to bring my work to life, I typically use blues, reds, and yellows. As the source of other colors, I love to utilize these primary colors to demonstrate the human psyche and experience as we all do our best to navigate our everyday emotions. Making these emotions visible creates a relatable connection to those viewing the piece and the piece itself.
This piece truly captures the feeling of heartache and despair. The dramatic reds and blues that appear on the surface of her cheek provides a glimpse to the intense emotions one experiences during a period of heartache/heartbreak. The opaque void-like black that’s splattered in the background is incredibly relatable as it enhances the melancholic tones of the piece. Finally, while the red thread that is elegantly hanging is open to the viewer’s interpretation, one can look at the quote “hanging on by a thread” and immediately create the meaningful connection of the thread to the piece.
Elena Kariyannis AKA ‘erocksny’ is an American Contemporary Visual Artist internationally known, having exhibited in New York City and Europe.
Elena’s art style is a fusion of Abstract-Expressionism and Pop Art. Her unique style of painting which is expressed powerfully through her art is mostly done with her fingers.
Her inspiration is fueled by everyday life experiences, by living in the moment, constantly moving and evolving. Her vibrant use of color evokes an intense energy that naturally captures the viewer and instantly makes one feels a part of the magical creative experience.
I’ll be submitting one painting that fits the theme perfectly. We experience many situation life gives us and as artists we tend to express these moments in our work. For me it’s like a catharsis helps me get over it. Good or bad.
I created this painting after a bad break up which led to heartbreak and heartache. I was dating someone for over a year and come to realize that our entire relationship was based on lies. If you look at the painting the first thing you see is the heart, but if you look closely at it you will also see a face with 2 eyes and a month. Underneath the heart is the mouth with fangs for teeth and inside the mouth says the words bloody lies. Because the fact of the matter was that my Ex lover was feeding me “BLOODY LIES”, hence the title.
I wanted to submit these two pieces for consideration for the heartbreak and heartache February theme. Both pieces deal with love in a positive and negative way. One piece is the heart filled with love and a character celebrating that and the other being the heart broken with a character saying the opposite. To have been heart broken you need to have experienced intense love and I wanted these pieces to celebrate both sides.
I’m a Bronx born and raised multimedia street artist. Finding my demons in wonderful places all over the world. I work with paint, markers, stickers and wheatpastes. Each one of my character represent a different vice or state of being. Everyone has at least one innerdemon it’s what makes us human.
This one’s about heartache long after the break-up. Multiple break-ups. This is about the compounding impact of failed relationships and wondering how in the world you made so many people, who would have given you the world, leave? It’s understanding how real a love was and how much of someone’s heart you had, but long after they’re gone. Long after you should have said, “I love you too.” Long after you should have said something to keep them from leaving.
Jo Irizarry, born in Allentown, Pennsylvania but recently relocated to NYC. Jo is a painter, illustrator, sculptor and photographer.
Title: “Pink Matter” (Twin Flames)
Medium: Mixed Media on Paper
Size: Approximately 5″X5″
Why This Piece?
Usually before any “heartbreaks” or “heartache” there is an idea of love followed by the feelings. Feelings of attachment and obsession; passion even. Usually that romance comes crashing down and ending up in pieces. Twin Flames burn out just as fast as they were lit.
@jkosart is a mixed media artist based in LIC, Queens. June attended the HS of Art & Design in NYC, holds a BALA from SUNY Purchase, and studied at the Arts Students League. As an artist, June’s work encompasses a variety of media including, but not limited to silkscreening, monoprinting, painting & drawing. June serves on two non-profit boards: Local Project in Queens, and Cuala Foundation based in East Village, and is a former music business executive with over 15 years’ experience in marketing, sales, and artist development.
Hi all, my work fits this theme as it is directly about loving and loss, and learning to live on after all the heartbreak and heartache. Through my art making process I have learned to process all these matters of my heart in a healthy way. Number one is is to Love myself relentlessly, accept the loss; Waiting for the Let Go, and finally the realization that there is an infinite amount of love in the world -So Much Love. The key is to let that love in and keep going forward with my beautiful life and keep loving as big as I can.
Bio: Elizabeth “Liz” Báez also know as Liz_B_NYC is a New York City native and street art enthusiast. A self-taught artist who draws inspiration from her Taíno culture, the streets of NYC and her travels. Liz has shown work at Julia Seabrook Gallery, Loft39 and upcoming at All Street and Vanderplas Gallery.
Statement: The emotional pain one feels after a heartbreak can be excruciating, like a knife to the heart. The piece also represents feelings of betrayal, being let down by Love aka Cupid.
Work Title: Cupido Me Mintió (Cupid Lied to Me)
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
This piece is titled “Feuds of Eternal Love: Shango & Oya” and is inspired by the powerful African deity lovers, Shango and Oya. Though a force together, the are also the demise of one another. Their love is just as fatal as it is divine.
The reason I strongly feel this piece, “12 Jewels”, fits the theme is because it’s dedicated to one of my best friends who died tragically in a car crash this past July 2022. I am still grieving her loss and have a longing heartache every day. She was a believer in sharing your story, your love, and living life to fullest. She was also a beautiful writer at More Life, Less Waste, nature lover, and Wu-Tang super fan, so I included a page from RZA’s “The Tao of Wu”, in this mixed media 32″ x 48″ piece. Looking back at her writings, she was wise beyond her 34 years and it brings tears to my heart to re-read her words.
“What divinity is there for the faith-lacking or Godless among us? Those who are comfortable with the idea of a great, swirling energy source in support of the Universe, but not much more. Who’d like to believe that they were born for a reason and with inherent gifts to offer, but who desperately need to exercise plenty of freedom along the way. Glorious room to experiment, screw up, and otherwise cast our own magic as we unfurl our unique road map.For me, faith equates to believing that the best is yet to come. And divinity as I see it, is really synchronicity, even serendipity, and joyful alignment with our highest self.”
Sydney James (she/they) is a queer, black creative who is based in Brooklyn, NY. She has a film degree from Temple University and her work centers on themes such as sexuality, reproductive justice, social justice and self exploration to name a few. She dapples in writing and loves using poetry as a tool to understand her feelings better and create a judgement free zone to connect with her rawest self.
I’m submitting my poem “Stale Candy” to Up Magazine for the heartbreak and heartache edition. I believe my poem fits in this month’s theme because it talks about the feeling of giving your whole being to someone and as a result losing yourself in a relationship you shouldn’t have been in. It touches on the grief of being with someone who claims to love you for you but ultimately wants control. It involves heartbreak of course, but also speaks of self betrayal, to the point where you no longer recognize yourself and are left with trying to piece yourself back together again.
TITLE: STALE CANDY
Nose to nose,
Mouth to mouth,
You breath me in and suck me dry.
I’m withered and soft-
My bruises unseen by the naked eye
but tender to the touch like sunburn.
My thighs are split open,
I’m used and discarded again.
What once felt safe has forsaken me.
I float up, out of my body,
leave the room and wait in the kitchen.
Your calloused heart
once so sweet, now putrefied.
I look at you and see the child behind your eyes churn,
scared of wasted potential.
You squeeze them shut,
and the little boy sleeps.
He dreams of big things while
safe under the covers.
There’s no blanket left for me.
I fed the beast on my hands and knees
offering myself as nourishment.
Inch by inch I was gobbled up
torn limb from limb
flesh and bone ground together.
I tried to scream but my voice was gone.
Stifled and frightened of what would become of her owner
if she spoke out.
My own reflection became unrecognizable
what used to beam with joy was now
dulled by apathy.
I was a grain of sand in your vast ocean,
my every move controlled by the gravity of your waves
and my self-assuredness drowned by your deception.
I glanced in the mirror again and nothing stared back.
You called your love
But life with you was so limited.
Full of rules written in the fine print
Of what it meant to be yours.
Now I search for a way to be mine again.
Frankie is Multi-Platinum Songwriter, former Atlantic Records recording artist, TV & Film composer and of course his brand of POP ART. Born in Bushwick and raised on Long Island in the turbulent 60’s, Frankie Vinci turned to Art & Music at a very young age. Being a son of a billboard sign painter / muralist, there’d be no doubt in his parent’s minds that Frankie would become inspired by the arts. Frankie’s musical journey has inspired him to create the Pop Art he’s so passionate about today. His Street Art / Graffiti, Pop Art pieces are reflective of his years as a Rock n Roll troubadour. Sharing the stage and recording studios with icons such as Aerosmith, Van Halen, Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf, Foreigner, and so on, Frankie’s art is inspired by his heroes, Warhol, Basquiat, Cornbread, Banksy, & Haring, Mr. Brainwash etc… and the amazing Street Art / Graffiti gracing the subway walls, trains and buildings internationally. Frankie collides his love of Music, Fashion and classic Hollywood icons to his graffiti canvas, creating a raw weathered Street Art vibe.
The pieces I chose reflect the heartache & pain that Elvis,Marilyn, John & Yoko had to endure in their lives. As we’ve come to know through recent movies, books and articles that all of these iconic celebrities were faced with more turmoil, heartache and pain in their lives than any of us could imagine. As a songwriter and artist I know that we are a breed of tortured souls. It occurred to me as I was writing for this submission that the explanation is clear to why I chose these art pieces. The history and names alone are synonymous with heartache, loss & pain. I’d also hope my art reflects the heartache caused by broken hearts, failed marriages, abuse, losing loved ones before their time and all the pain & sorrow that goes with life.
(Let’s not forget the good times too)
Jay Diggz x MadVaillian
Title: You’re A Star
This Heartbreaker Barkada (Homie in Filipino) is reminding you to always reach for the moon. Even if you fall short, you’ll land among the stars.
Medium: 30 x 30 Multi layered Spray Painted on Wood
Kaley Marie M
Titled ‘Three of Swords’ and is acrylic on wood. This piece I created during a time where I felt heartbroken. I was very drawn to the traditional tarot designs and wanted to replicate it. The Three of Swords tarot card represents heartbreak and breakups.
Personal bio: I’m a 21 year old self taught artist. I mainly specialize in darker concepts within artwork. I touch on subjects that make people a bit uncomfortable at times. My goal with art is to never confine myself to one style and to create pieces that speak to me, firstly, and not to the majority.
Katie Godowski is a Brooklyn-based photographer who has been a passionate photographer for the last 16 years. She loves to photograph street art, humans and whatever she stumbles upon during a photograpy walk. Her work has been featured in New York magazine, TimeoutNewYork, and B&H optics photography contest.
My inspiration for this piece is Elvis Presley’s song, ‘Heart Break Hotel’. I wanted to give it a surreal vibe, a moment in time. We see this person crying in front of the heart break motel sign. We can inference the pink Cadillac is either driving away or parked which is why the figure is crying. Could they have been left behind?
I started writing Graffiti in 1979 on Roosevelt Island as a protege of Daze & Dac2.I moved to the South Bronx to Betances Projects on 143rd St. at end of summer 79.I felt heartbreak & heartache missing my writing friends and wondering, how I would survive the South Bronx? One day in 79, I was taking train pics on Intervale ave station and was the 1st writer who met HenryChalfant(Photographer,Historian,StyleWars,Spraycan Art) and directed him to where, he could find other writers:149th Grand Concourse aka The Writers Bench.Looking back,I might have played a small part in catapulting HipHop to NYC masses & the world.Soon, I met Crash who was from my projects on 146th & Kel139 & started my teenage train writing career as NAC1/NAK143.I Dj’d with my brother Ralph as part of CYA sound system: sweet16s,HS dances & any and all parties.@Betances on 143rd apt2B would host Dj & jam practices with writers & Mcs:The Fantasizing5 & Fascinating Force.I Electric Boogied with my cousin MrWiggles & PopMaster Fabel & also as part of The Eastside RSC crew/TWB crew. Little did I know,I moon landed as a HipHop astronaut to plant my flag as a documented part of HipHop History.2000s internet research helped me learn my birth hospital stood at 143rd & Brook Ave. I incorporated the urban acronym 143 as a main theme of my art work:ONE FOUR THREE=I LOVE YOU.Heartbreak & Heartache reconfigured…NAC143
Paula “PLIM” (Porto Alegre, 1983) is a Brazilian artist and illustrator. She is known for portraying a rich universe of colored creatures and vibrant vegetation in her artworks. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from UFRGS (2010); also, she studied Visual Communication (UniRitter, 2014) and Social Communication (PUCRS, 2014) with a minor in Publicity & Advertising.
PLIM started doing urban art interventions in 2002; her influences range from highly elaborated ethnic and folk art from all over the world, to the organic shapes found in nature. Her most recent art was inspired by the Polish Wycinankis paper crafts; by the embroideries and alebrijes from Mexico; by the Mola art in the traditional outfits of the Kuna Indians; by Fraktur art and African Tribal Patterns.
Her street artworks can be found on the streets of Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, England, Cabo Verde, Chile, Poland, Argentina and Uruguay. PLIM took part in many International Urban Art events such as “Loures Arte Pública” (Loures, Portugal), Festival Concreto (Fortaleza, Brazil), Meeting of Styles (Brazil, Mexico, Poland and Hungary), “Street of Styles” (Curitiba, Brazil), North Fest (Huasco, Chile) “MUTA Montevideo” and “Wang Festival” (both hosted in Uruguay). In 2018, she spent 2 weeks in Cabo Verde, for the artistic residency Projeto Xalabas, where she ministred a workshop and painted local small business of the neighborhood. Her artworks were also published in the books “Graffiti Brasil” (Thames & Hudson, 2006) and “12 Caras em 4 Partes” (Caderno Listrado, 2010).
Yes, I know I’m a bit clumsy and sometimes I forget my size, Im sorry if I almost broke your bones when all I wanted to do was squeeze you…You… you had the key from my heart and any calcium supplements would avoid the damage you made breaking it in million pieces.
Stained Napkins is a New York City based poet best known for writing poetry on napkins. A quirk that stemmed from impulsive ideas that had to be noted when paper wasn’t always present. His poetry often deals with themes of heartache, inner reflection and the trials of loneliness. If you’re lucky, you might be able to find these laments on stickers throughout the New York City streets.
I believe ‘Melancholia’ fits the theme because it’s a poem that personifies depression as a toxic lover. Although we know we should leave, sometimes we just can’t bring ourselves to do so.
Melancholia wakes up at six-thirty in the morning.
Her cold arms warped around my aching body,
Whispering in my ear
How they’ve all forgotten about me,
How her love is the only thing I have.
So, I carry on,
Coloring in the imaginary walls
and every faceless delusion.
Because there’s gray in the pink of the sky,
Dread in every daily goodbye.
She blinds my eyes under exhaustion,
My mind never learned to become immune
To her poison.
My dear Melancholia,
She paints my dreams with unreachable intimacy
As I gaze into the eyes of a lover I can’t have.
Yet she’s there when I fall apart
Again, and again.
Her influence inspires and I finally believe
It’s all my fault
That every failed lover is happy with somebody else.
Melancholia relishes in that fact.
Bending to her will,
I abide by her requests
And eventually grow to fear a life without her.
Alone, uncertain, brand new.
The possibilities don’t compare
To knowing she’ll never leave.
I’m Tiny, an Irish illustrator and street artist based in Barcelona. Tiny Hands Big Heart has been my personal project for several years and since moving to the city, my style and inspirations have changed massively. The streets are a gallery in themselves, like a big dirty canvas with ever changing work. I always knew I wanted to pursue street art but it started from a very unexpected way.
During the lockdown of 2020, I accidentally created my character Ita. She is what I like to describe as a positive byproduct of the pandemic, a fluke discovery in a moment of madness.
When Ita first appeared on the streets, I had no idea that she would become so popular. She has sparked massive interest with the community both in the city and online. Through the elements of surprise and humour she is able to communicate more serious messages to her audience. Her cute and feminine appearance allows her to be accessible and engaging but that perpetually angry face gets people thinking.
I feel that Ita was subconsciously created as a middle finger and a massive F**K you to the things in life that are out of my control and it turns out that many people can relate to that.
I feel that my work fits into the theme of “Heartbreak and Heartache” as my character expresses these emotions through the use of colour and facial expressions! The theme would normally make you think of sad and desperate individual but I like to flip that idea on it’s head and portray a woman that is standing up to the nonsense that is often thrown at her.