Despite the ubiquity of — and our affection for — Instagram and the internet, the way we discovered Italian-born, Miami-based artist Francesco Locastro this summer remains one of our favorite ways to source new talent: wandering aimlessly through the aisles of an art or design fair until something stops you in your tracks with its sheer beauty.
Chicago-based photographer Robert Chase Heishman got his start at the ripe age of 18 at the world-renowned Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York. There, Heishman was entrusted to create a set design for the work Split-Sides. Cunningham — known for his frequent collaborations with musicians John Cage and David Tudor and artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Bruce Nauman — worked closely with Heishman, and thus the photographer’s appreciation for chance-operations, collaborations, and process-based art was born.
Plenty of designers who work primarily in two dimensions translate their patterns and images to textiles, but Lucy Hardcastle‘s oeuvre is particularly diverse — a former textile design student, she creates three-dimensional objects, sets, and artworks made of everything from paint to cement to Jell-O, plus videos and digital renderings that appear to be 3-D, and draws on those creations to make prints for clients like Nike and Alexander Wang.
London-based Lottie Hughes graduated with a Bachelor's degree in fine art only two years ago but she’s already on our radar, thanks to an exceedingly well-kept Tumblr. “My designs were initially a way for me to come up with compositions for my paintings but the more I learned, and the more confident I became with Photoshop, these have now become the main body of my work,” says the 24-year-old designer. Hughes primarily takes inspiration from artists like Camille Walala, Atelier Bingo, Trudy Benson, and Klaus Merkel, as well as from everyday life in London. "My designs are abstract versions of what I see on a day-to-day basis — colors clashing, angles of buildings interlocking, movement and light."
Much of the collage-based work of Glasgow artist Michael Wilkinson, according to his New York gallery Tanya Bonakdar, "examines notions of power and resistance through an intricate web of political, cultural, and personal references" — among them the "histories of art and political radicalism, Marxist theory, popular music, and punk subculture of the 1970s and 1980s" — incorporating things like survival gear and vintage photographs. Yet his new gridded Landscape pieces, which we spotted in Bonakdar's booth at Frieze New York in May, take a more subtle (and visually beautiful) approach.
While many of his peers are busy creating digital landscapes of shapes and planes that mimic three dimensions, the young Norwich, England–based artist Henry Jackson Newcomb makes sculptural assemblages that — owing in part to the aforementioned trend — often look inspired by digital ones. Yet by incorporating elements like chunks of concrete, panels painted with unfinished-looking brushstrokes, and haphazardly taped rings of rubber tubing, Newcomb introduces an imperfect rawness that keeps his work squarely rooted in the physical world.
We've said it before — Australia often feels like a strange parallel universe to us. We know it's bursting with amazing design talent, but it all feels so far away, and it's not easy for us to assess what the new hot restaurant or hotel or creative agency may be at any given time. For those of us who pride ourselves on being up on the cultural landscape of the Western hemisphere, it's a weird feeling, but in a way, it's also a nice one: We didn't have to think too hard when the Melbourne firm Wildhen sent us their portfolio recently, we just poked through it and objectively liked what we saw, from packaging for a boutique pharmacy to still life shoots for an online nursery.
Growing up in Wisconsin, artist Trek Matthews was initially inspired by his natural surroundings, incorporating wildlife scenes and Native American mythologies into his illustrations. But following a move to Atlanta and a short stint in Japan in 2014, his artistic style began maturing into what we see today.
As an MFA student at ECAL, French-born artist Cécile Mestelan got into making small-scale sculptures with plaster for practical reasons — cost and ease of transport — but stuck with the material for more poetic ones: "It’s a very powerful and open material to work with; you can do so much with it, from modeling and sculpting to engraving," she says.
In case you missed it, on Saturday we recapped our favorite offerings from around town during NYCxDesign. But there was one location whose showcase we saved for its own story: The Future Perfect, where owner Dave Alhadeff has given over the entire Noho shop to Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek until mid-June.