The Top 10 Selected Pieces for our January 2023 ‘Fresh Vibes’ Submissions Contest’
(In No Particular Order)
Pieces were selected by the UP Magazine Team based on what we felt best represented the theme
1) Christian Stanley
My name is Christian Stanley and I am a full time muralist, and a fresh face to the American street art scene. In the summer of 2022 I made my national debut, leaving my home state of Florida, and setting out “on tour”, traveling to paint in Las Vegas, NV, Memphis, TN, Clay Center, KS, and Chicago, IL for the Titan Walls Mural Festival.
My style uses bold colors and is somewhat impressionistic, making use of dashes, dots, and blobs of color to allow for depth and flow in each of my pieces.
Scratch was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden and currently resides in New York City. She started painting graffiti in 1989 and was involved with the infamous “graffiti school” in Stockholm. At the age of 17 she exhibited her first solo show at Galleri Idébrunnen. In 1998, she relocated to New York to work as an Art Director/Graphic Designer.
Scratch is recognized as one of NYC’s most innovative, creative and accomplished female graffiti artists. She has painted walls, collaborated on projects and curated art shows with graffiti legends like Snake 1, Tats Cru, Crash, Kingbee and Ces.
Scratch was invited to paint at the renowned NYC Graffiti Hall of Fame in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Scratch has been featured in publications: New York Times, Marie Claire Magazine Italy, CLOUT Magazine, 12ozProphet, Street Art NYC and Swedish Newspapers: Dagens Nyheter, Expressen and Aftonbladet and on television in Young Voices Documentary (Sweden), Graffiti NYC TV, BronxNet and on the Swedish podcast Svenska Graffare.
Recently she has worked on projects for North Brooklyn Parks Alliance, Marc Jacobs, Vogue Magazine and Waste Management.
Scratch’s signature fantasy art infused graffiti pieces and characters can be seen on walls all over New York City, she continues to challenge herself creating canvases, spray cans and walls.
3) Bitter Darlings
I am a self-taught artist residing in Atlanta, Georgia by way of Little Rock, Arkansas. I am a mother of two. I aim to be a great role model for my children, for them to believe in themselves and know that you can always start over and begin new and positive and happy life experiences from difficult times. I call my works of art “Bitter Darlings” because they embody whimsical, messy versions of perfectly imperfect beauty and highlight the importance of acceptance and understanding of inclusivity, equality, and our own unique being. My artistic journey began as a form of therapy and self-expression, being vulnerable enough to share my passion is one of the bravest things I’ve done in my life. It is my hope that Bitter Darlings encourages fearlessness and self-love.
Bitter Darlings is rooted in a quest to constantly improve in meaningful and measurable ways. My spiral collection fits the Fresh Vibes theme because in many customs and spiritual beliefs, spirals symbolize the divine consciousness of nature starting from the center and expanding outwardly. Spirals represent evolution, awareness, and growth.
4) Katie Godowski
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 photography walk. Her work has been featured in New York magazine, TimeoutNewYork, and B&H optics photography contest.
5) Majo Barajas
Born and raised Mexican Artist, initially focused on large scale murals, now venturing in other art mediums. My argument lies on the idea that everything is connected and I like to remind and be reminded of this connection. When you are able to see yourself in every little thing, it is a game changer. Through spirit, art and nature, looking to unveil the secrets within me, within us, to actively become absolute part of the universe.
I believe in POSITIVE full creative expression. To uplift, empower and generate a profound positive chain reaction.
6) Alex Ann Poetry
New York City native Breanne “Alex Ann” Colon has always been influenced and inspired by performing arts. Her creativity is in the forefront of all accomplishments demonstrating the importance of artistry.
Much of her adolescence and early adulthood poetry became a form of expression and therapy. During college years her Spoken Word performances gained a lot of attention and planted the seed to self-publish. “Fight Flight Freedom” released October 2020, gives insight of Alex Ann’s pivotal moments of healing, and personal taste of engaging with readers. Throughout the pandemic Alex Ann’s presence exponentially grew coordinating events with other curators, working 101 with artists and hosting/mcing showcases.
As of recently, she expands her artistry to collaging for visuals to accompany poetry. Enjoying the abstract creation of art, then to embody the message requires patience and pure intention of what Alex Ann desires to get across.
Her series Portal #1 focuses on alchemizing moments to reveal our dreams and the provisions gifted to create. Being able to detach from an experience allows us to see how divinely things are orchestrated in our lives. As we begin to hold new perspectives and gratitude we have a fresh start of being, creating and building toward our reality.
7) Ashley Miah
Ashley Miah is an Afro-Latina artist from New York City who focuses on acrylic painting. An Honoree of Crain’s 20 in their 20’s 2022, Ashley enjoys creating art for urban communities and puts events together through her Art Organization, The Culture Candy, for artists to showcase their work and encourage New Yorkers to invest in urban, minority and undiscovered artists. The Culture Candy is a NYC based arts organization that celebrates urban New York City Culture, the arts, and urban & minority artists by providing upcoming artists with showcase opportunities. In addition to The Culture Candy she is the founder of heART Con, a recurring art convention and NYC’s official art week. heART Week, her first citywide NYC art week, took place June 2022 and included businesses throughout the five boroughs including Chelsea Market, ARTECHOUSE and more! She aims to continue to create and spread the love she has for her urban upbringing through art.
In her early life, Ashley created art independently leading her to attend a performing arts high school. After attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art she continued to pursue the field and currently holds a B.F.A. from Hunter College. Although she mainly works in acrylics, she is classically trained in figure drawing, photography, graphic design, fashion design and printmaking. Born and raised in the Lower East Side, Ashley creates large works of contemporary pop art paintings that play on 90’s pop culture and urban New York City culture, along with paintings and mixed media combining pop culture references and spirituality. This collaboration of ideas is an ode to her upbringing in the 90’s to early millennium in urban New York City, and her family’s Afro-Cuban roots of Santeria in Spirituality. Serving as a reminder of internal riches, Ashley’s art signature is the diamond and aims to spread reminders of internal wealth with her current collection through collaborations with Comfiart, Artel & more.
8) Michelle Buser
Michelle Buser is a visual artist from Brooklyn who’s work focuses on acrylic and mixed media portraiture. Her paintings celebrate diversity through beauty and inspire thoughts on individual storytelling. Michelle explores themes of unity through human emotion and embraces individual uniqueness and always remembering to stay curious.
Thews is a Canadian designer, illustrator, and graffiti artist by heart.
He’s been illustrating, painting, and doing anything and everything art for the past 15 years, but more recently has revisited his love for graffiti. He has done various works from t-shirt designs, to prints, sticker-packs, and has even collaborated with Wazi Toys in the UK with a sold-out designer art toy of his signature character, the iconic pink and blue Thews monster.
The new and fresh is the old broken!
ProHeroes, was born in July 1990 in Nea Makri, a small town near the city of Athens. The first time he got his hands dirty with colors was around 2003, in a paint shop warehouse that belonged to his grandfather. It was there that he had his first experience with the art of stencil, painting and drawing. In 2006 he began his studies in Interior Design, a profession which he never actively engaged with. In September of 2009, after graduating from college he got closer to knowing what path to follow. He signed up for a graphics design course. That same year he started looking up artists that will end up influencing him and his future work (OBEY, Banksy, Brainwash, Cope2, Keith Haring, B., and more).
After graduating, around 2011 he discovered his love for illustration and sticker design. In 2015 he starts his activity under the name ProHeroes and since then he never stops learning more and evolving his style. ProHeroes is here.
Fuck the art, let’s make propaganda!
11) Tatyana Grechina
Tatyana Grechina (@tatyfairy) is an interdisciplinary artist, writer and creative director who uses words, paint, fabric and anything she can get her hands on to spin worlds. A recurring theme throughout all of her work is the figure, the presence of a character, and an exploration of sensuality, honesty and play.
Inspired by circus themes and surrealist dreamscapes, Taty creates worlds and costumes that bring quirky and bizarre characters to life. The painting Boss Era, Soft depicts two women who have come to the end of one rope and have committed to a new path.
The figures are duplicated within the composition, almost like fractals of themselves, and mimic collage in a classical triangular composition with the somber directness of religious icons The women confront the viewer with their own modern Renaissance.
Young, sad, free, together, divorced, we begin again; we process what it means to be made new. The women’s direct gaze adds a jarring punch to the otherwise soft tones and imagery of books, plants, fruit and lingerie. It’s a new era, scrubbed clean. It’s their Boss era.
12) Nathaniel Flink
A new direction, a fresh vibe some might say, has been emerging in my work in the last two years that connects my past with the present. In a new body of textile works, I stitch together fabrics seeking unexpected visual occurrences. These assemblages are comprised of cut apart fragments combined with various other fiber materials such as yarn, burlap, canvas, drop-cloths or other substrate. Sometimes reminiscent of furniture from one’s living room or patio, a drama is played out that suggests the domestic experience, and the emotions that conjures. In this work there are curious tropes and cartoon figures, that operate on a dramatic level stemming from memories or emotive situations.
My work blurs the barrier between disciplines. Like graffiti on the side of a train, the material of the object contributes to the aesthetic experience, the fresh vibe as some might call it, as much as the gesture. The material is the idea, existing within a painting framework, but not perceptible solely “as a painting.” I endeavor to manufacture surprise, to challenge viscerally – sometimes nostalgically – through pattern and a reminiscence to household objects. The shapes and asymmetrical compositional structures reveal contrary and paradoxical elements – I try to expose unobvious relationships. As Jean-Luc Marion writes …to let burst into the scene much more than what one desires or wills. I have striven to hone my craftsmanship and incorporate new processes and materials in my work. A recent, fresh development, I have branched out to working with various sewing, embroidery and weaving techniques, that use assemblage and collage as a key strategy. I am especially interested in the possibilities for crossing over between realms of sculpture, craft, painting, and drawing vibes. In these pieces I associate a humoristic, sometimes existential sentiment. Many different ideas collide together in theme and content, all of it is quite personal to me. Mark making is a key mechanism in these works especially where it exists in a raw and unedited format. However the mark making is created through all kinds of different media and techniques, bridging printmaking with soft materials construction methods. These compositions originate from a vulnerability or fragility from inside myself.
13) Christine DeFazio
Christine DeFazio is an art educator and artist working in the Bronx focusing on Urban Arts. She has degrees in Art History and was the Director of Michael Hall Fine Arts, where she wrote several catalogs on 19th Century and Renaissance Sculpture. She is a licensed appraiser and has worked with Sotheby’s.
My artwork focuses on capturing the psyche of her sitters, often caught in a dilemma expressed through allegory or myth with a touch of Surrealism. She aims to convey stories of love, longing and despair, through her imagery of the female form.
I have created a series of psychological portraits based on my work with youth in the South Bronx. A diptych from this series, Hand Gestures, shows youth dressed for a quinceanera, playing around with hand gestures, in particular, the sign of the bull’s horns. This gesture has many meanings, and the use in the portrait is ambiguous and slightly unsettling. Another, Rooftops of the South Bronx, shows a youth standing on a rooftop, surrounded by barbed wire, both protective and dangerous. He plays with a hand gesture covering his face, which was a trend on social media at the time, but is emotive and unsettling. A watercolor study from this group, of a Mexican-American youth, is called “Hope”. I based it on a student who I felt was very intelligent with potential, but was not very motivated to do well in school, for various reasons. Another theme I am exploring is “Images of Women by Women”. I have been creating these pieces as a social statement on the representation of women inspired by images I see of women on social media, popular culture, sports and entertainment. I am attempting to fight sexism, misogyny and the commodification of the female body in these figurative works and portraits. One of these pieces, Majestic Vacancy, is a commentary of the way women represent themselves in social media (the image of the women comes from a post by cocktail waitresses in Las Vegas dressed for work), along with the attitude towards sexuality in American Culture. At the bottom of the canvas is a pair of broken Fourth of July paper glasses, broken like American Culture. The title Majestic Vacancy is based on the famous American song, America the Beautiful, and a retro hotel sign.Another work, Candy, is also a commentary on American Culture, taken from perfume ads, and combined with imagery of Las Vegas. The woman is being fed a diamond with golden chopsticks. The cards are favorable,and love is a gamble.The work I am submitting is called Challenges, which was inspired by female athletes and the challenges they have faced due to sexism, objectification and commodification of the female body, thus it is inscribed, invinculus faciebat, or made while in chains (a phrase used by Courbet in his painting of a Trout, created while imprisoned for his role in the Paris Commune, fighting for art organizations free of government restrictions, and rewards driven by capitalism).1 Two athletes who inspired this work were Lindsay Vonn and Aly Raisman, both advocates for women’s equality in sports. Around the time of the 2022 Olympics, Lindsay Vonn posted on Instagram, “The only sure thing in life are challenges. The question is how we handle them?”, while she worked out with huge chains. Perplexingly, Vonn continues to commodify her own body for profit in sexually suggestive photography, in particular for Sports Illustrated, etc. Aly Raisman posed for Sports Illustrated in 2018, in an empowering photo shoot. The series “In Her Own Words” shows Raisman nude with words drawn on her body: trust yourself, live for you, and abuse is never okay. She says “I would like to remind everyone that being a survivor is nothing to be ashamed of, and going through a hard time does not define you.”I also like to work in collage. One work, Juicy, is made from images from fashion and advertising. This collage, inspired the painting Juicy, a statement on female beauty and sexuality. Juicy is paired with a painting of a fallen fairy, Star Light, Star Bright, representing a cautionary tale of love and its pitfalls.
Some of my other work revolves around Alchemy and Transformation. I began this series when I participated in a Conceptual Art performance based group exhibition at the School of Visual Arts, creating a series based on the theme of Black Hearts and Rotten Apples.
13) Ma Lux Cre
Ma Lux Cre is a modern artist, stylist, painter, fashion and interior designer, who lives and works in New York City. Her distinctive personal style emanates joy and peace and expresses the vibrant spirit and atmosphere of New York City mixed with Caribbean culture. Ma Lux Cre creations have a very big meaning, each creations -supports Mental Health Awareness.
“Emotional pain not something that should be hidden away and never spoken about. There is truth in your pain, there is growth in your pain, but only if it’s first brought out into the open.” – Steve Aitchison
Ma Lux Cre dreaming creations: Feed your mind to Practice self-love. Change your focus and Face your fears. Change your perspective. At the core of self-belief is realizing that you – and only you – are the driver of your own success. Ma Lux Cre “Dream” collection was inspired by one of her favorite actors Robin Williams quote: “Beautiful Fake Smile. All it takes is a Beautiful Fake Smile to Hide an Injured Soul and They Will Never Notice How Broken You Really Are. ” Good Vibes only! My website its www.maluxcre.com
14) Kim / The Vibestry
I’m a newer artist… I just started painting about a year and a half ago. I left Brooklyn last year to travel around the country this past year and really haven’t seen any artwork like mine … and I’m all about energy and vibes. A juxtaposition between street art and spiritual vibes – – love and grit – lots of layers and texture.
15) Andrew Rehs
Andrew Rehs is a multidisciplinary sculptural artist working primarily in reclaimed wood with rich history. Throughout his process, Andrew incorporates techniques from both of his career paths as a therapist and a builder. His works range from recognizable wooden portraits to abstract depictions of the strange. Each work has a chronical in both where the wood was from and the inspiration for the piece itself. The majority of his materials are reclaimed from building projects which gives him direct knowledge of their etiology.
Andrew has always pulled the majority of his inspiration from the allegory of human experience. This is an inescapable element weaved in from his career as a therapist. Though his client’s life stories are confidential, he finds ways to process them through movement and sculpture. He enjoys working with wood that has already lived a life of its own, adding a sequel to the story being told.
Andrew’s current studio work uses solely reclaimed material that is left on the woodshop floor from his last quarter of street art. Thus, his focus is split between his street art campaign and the practice of reclaiming the remains to create new meaning in the eyes of the viewer.
In his current street art, he incorporates his roots in psychology by planting wooden UFO sculptures around the country with titles that challenge the viewer to research more. This often results in interesting conversations with the seekers of the works’ meaning that explore elements of fear, doubt, disbelief and even questioning sanity all through the lens of disclosure.
In his current studio practice, Andrew is using entirely reclaimed wood cutoffs from his studio floor to explore the human brain’s ability to perceive meaningful imagery through ambiguous form. This is known as “Pareidolia”. The process involves randomly selecting what would be discarded pieces, reimagining, polishing and painting them to evoke an aesthetic or feeling. Andrew fights the urge to place his own titles and input on the piece, but rather numbering them “I-X” to allow the viewer to experience Pareidolia for themselves.
16) Kimber DeVaney
Brooklyn based Photographer and Multidisciplinary Artist, Kimber DeVaney studied Black and White Photography at Pratt Institute and Arts and Cultural Management at Hunter College. Inspired by nature, science, time and memory; she is interested in the interaction of nature and urban environments and how that translates to our inner spaces. Kimber’s most recent works are double exposures shot on 35mm film which layer light, texture and pattern to express emotive spaces.
17) Carla D Tersini
Carla Tersini attended the San Francisco Academy of Art for a BFA, and later attended San Jose State University for an MFA. Being bi cultural, a dual citizen of both the US and Italy, and growing up in both countries, her work reflects not only the 1980s artists influencers at the time of her studies, (David Salle, Robert Longo, James Rosenquist) but also a classic understanding of figurative, old Masters aesthetics from Italy.
Each piece is a page from her life’s diary- world events, relationships, work issues- a visual storyteller. A move to New York came after pursuing a professional Makeup Artist career in Milan, where she continues to freelance in the beauty and fashion industry to this day. Painting and drawing will always be an ongoing craft that follows her wherever she is.
17) Sharon Volpe
My twist on Warhol for the Fresh Vibes call for art with a fun, quirky animation. My take on this topic is that artists like Andy Warhol questioned art, by not using a brush. Well, I think he would have loved reels, TikTok, stories and other mediums that alleviate brushes, but yet still shows a cool quirky execution of a new idea. He loved money, soup, disco and just pushing the envelope with new technologies.
Sharon Volpe is an illustrator/painter that transforms how humans feel on the inside through to the outside using expressions, playful themes and symbols.
She comes from the surrounding NYC area, and completed an M.F.A. in illustration at The Fashion Institute of Technology in 2016. Prior to that she studied graphic design at The School of Visual Arts. Her work has been exhibited in advertising, gallery spaces and editorial channels.
Her original artwork was selected for 3×3 International Illustration Annual 16, Every Woman Biennial, American Illustration 38, 39 , 40 and 41 Call for Art, ILLO2020 , as well as other illustration competitions.
Clients include Collective Arts Brewery, Canvas and Cassette Magazine, DOORS.NYC, LinkNYC, Maybelline NY, N.C. State Magazine , QUIDD App, Warriors Within Collective Book Volume 3, and Women Who Roar Digital Anthology 2020.
Artists that influence her work are the Masters such Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keefe, Pablo Picasso, Egon Schiele, Andy Warhol and current artists working today like Mathew Barney, Shephard Fairey, James Jean, Jean Jullien, Kathy Olivas and Kehinde Wiley.
18) Xiki Lu
Xiki Lu is a New York-based artist who was born and raised in China. She graduated from the Fashion Design program at Parsons School of Design in 2020 after leaving the Masters in Curatorial Practice program at School of Visual Arts. An entirely self-taught artist, she has never formally pursued a fine arts education. First picking up a brush back in 2016, her practice synthesizes the complexities of contemporary culture. Xiki’s distinctive vision of the world, expresses the pop culture of today in an innovative yet simple abstract way.
Why it fits the theme
Dismantling the boundaries that seemingly divide Eastern and Western cultures, Xiki has developed a signature style of abstraction that connects with a wide audience. Her practice embraces bright vivid colors that contrast with one another to create dynamic illusions. Pop art and street culture intersect in a cohesive abstract form. Compositions that manipulate space and shape distill the intricacies of today’s culture into simple artistic visions that resonate with our contemporary society.