Kristjana Williams is consistently in our Top 5 viewed artists on Rise Art. The Icelandic artist is known for her fantastical illustrations of flora, fauna and the cityscape. Kristjana creates exotic creatures by fusing butterflies, tropical birds and exotic plants. And look closely at her cityscapes and maps - you’ll see a touch of jungle fever in those works too.
The artist has produced commissions for the likes of designer Paul Smith and Liberty department store, and she’s created installations for for hotels and exhibition centres in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Now she’s produced a selection of works exclusively for Rise Art, from exquisite 3D works to collectible hand-embellished prints. Find them on her profile - you’ll want to get your hands on one of these quicksticks before they sell out. Read on to learn more about the remarkable Kristjana.
What do you love most about making art?
I find the process of creating an artwork very therapeutic but it’s also like an adventure. With every piece you make you learn something new and discover something different. I don’t think there are any real aspects of art making which I dislike, I suppose it can be time consuming but I think it’s necessary to dedicate the time in order to be pleased with the final result.
5 global regions. 16,000 artists. 26 finalists. It’s time to reveal who’s in line for the Global Artist of the Year title and the £10,000 cash prize. Our regional judges - including Sarah Martin of Turner Contemporary, the Director of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Touria El Glaoui, and the Deputy Editor of Financial Times How to Spend It, Beatrice Hodgkin - have applied their eye to the shortlists.
After much deliberation they’ve chosen the finalists who will go through to the global round. These artists will showcase their work at our Rise Art Prize Exhibition at House of Vans in February, where their work will be reviewed by our global panel of judges featuring renowned artists Gavin Turk, Fiona Banner, David Bailey and Harland Miller.
Our finalists from Europe produce artwork across mediums. We've got exciting photographic, painted and printed work coming out of this group. Alban's pseudo-metallic pieces are in fact painted on wood, and Kareem Rizk creates his images with materials like vintage postcards, brochures and catalogues.
Stella Kapezanou's bold colours and quirky approach to her subject matter have impressed the judges, as has Jenny Boot's striking photography (above). Marine Tanguy, founder of MTArt artist agency, praises Jenny for "arresting us with her art".
Middle East & Africa
The works by our finalists from the Middle East and Africa are rich with social commentary. Nelson Makamo explores the innocence of childhood in rural South Africa; Heja Rahiminia and Mitra Tabrizian depict migration and social disparity; and Lebohang Kganye (below) uses the concept of the family photo album to investigate how we interpret history and construct 'truth'.
For Touria El Glaoui, Director of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Lebohang's visual language "has undeniable presence". The artist, she goes on, "distorts the linearity of time by exploring how history, memory and nostalgia can be altered, reshaped and rewritten. In a sense she is time travelling through her work."
Our finalists from Asia, Australia and New Zealand work in very different styles. Lei Sylviye's virtual reality-inspired abstracts are ethereal and ultramodern, while Lee Yuan Ching's fluid pieces foreground organic shapes and liquid forms. Susan Schmidt reminisces about the Australian beach house through retro-colour and weatherworn textures, and Michelle Loa Kum Cheung (below) creates impressionistic landscapes on wood that reflect her Chinese-Mauritian heritage.
Vicky Xu, CEO of the independent consultancy Areteos Family Office in Hong Kong, is an advocate of Michelle's work. "The whimsical colours, with the use of a mix of interesting materials such as liquid graphite and gold leaf," says Vicky, "create a wonderful contrast to the stark pyrography, resulting in dreamlike imagery."
It's all about figures when it comes our finalists from the Americas. Peter Horvath's collage figures have mid-20th Century tones, with a surrealist touch. Hiroshi Sato takes a more impressionistic approach to his figures, which tend to be placed in interior settings. Gustavo Amaral (below) partially abstracts his figures and plays with their position in the geometry of his compositions. Nicole Gordon, Founder of Art Is My Oxygen blog, says Gustavo's collages draw her in. "I find them to have great depth, wonderfully detailed subject matter and emotional fervor... I have seen artists create similar works, yet Gustavo takes it to another level."
Amir Fallah's figures are more representative, illustrating a crossover between Western and Iranian visual cultures. Elizabeth Waggett prefers animal figures and portraits of objects like skulls. By applying gold leaf and precious metal to her figurative works, Elizabeth draws attention to themes of greed and value.
The competition for the UK Artist of the Year title is tough. All of our UK finalists have WOW factor. Tom Waugh's hyperrealistic sculptures are mindblowing, as are Keith More's hyperrealistic portrait illustrations (above).
Our photographers, Vikram Kushwah, Asiko and Gina Soden, are at the top of their game (above). Vikram's stages funky, surreal scenes, while Gina photographs ruin and decay in abandoned buildings and desolate sites across Europe. Asiko captures Nigerian women in traditional garments.
When it comes to painting, Fed Ingrams's colourful landscapes, Philip Maltman's dynamic abstracts and Emily Moore's varnished panels (above) couldn't be more different. But each has a charm that's won the regional judges over. Acclaimed UK artist Stephen Beddoe finds Emily's work "unapologetically bold". "These amalgamated images," he says of her paintings, "use modernist architecture motifs alongside alpine landscapes to provide arresting works reminiscent of Ed Ruscha and Robert Rauschenberg."
Who will come out on top? We'll have to wait until February to find out.
Gallery Walls are the ‘in thing’ in the world of interiors and design. Rather than spotlighting a single artwork, a gallery wall showcases a selection of pieces that have been hung together. Steven Miller is a fan. The young US based designer runs his own interiors company, Sub Folk Collective, and hosts #gallerywallhashtag on Instagram. Let's find out why Steven loves gallery walls and what he considers to be the role of art in the home.
What is it about gallery walls that you like so much?
Gallery walls are amazing, obviously. Some pieces stand well by themselves, but grouping pieces together that complement each other is so exciting to me. It allows you to experience the work in a dialogue with eachother. To be done well, it has to be done with intent and there needs to be real thought put into it.
There's a story that I remember reading about John Cage curating an exhibit using a gallery wall technique along the lines of his "music of chance" - so a little haphazard - and in a way, it makes the work more accessible to free it from the formality of isolating pieces. Beyond that, people have small spaces and large collections, so it's a great way for people to display as much as possible.
Does art play an important role in the home?
Art is essential to a home. The art that you display not only conveys your personality, but it also brings you joy when you experience it. Design is all about elevating your quality of life through mindfulness as well as expressing your point of view through the things that you choose to display in your home, so art is always a priority for me when working with clients - and for my own home, especially.
What inspired you to start Sub Folk Collective and what makes it different from other interior design companies?
Sub Folk Collective was an idea that I had for a firm that could be a platform for artists working in multiple disciplines and mediums; I feel that good design is a collaborative process and that as a designer, my job is to bring together all of these different elements in a cohesive way. Instead of simply using various retailers as resources, I like to work directly with other creatives to create something special and unique.
Winter is approaching. Time to wrap up, eat loads and enjoy the festivities. Our curators have selected five frosty artworks to get you in the mood.
Yuliya Martynova is a Kazakhstan born watercolour artist who exhibits her colourful paintings at art fairs around the UK. She works between studios in Moscow and London.
Quick Q&A with Touria EL Glaoui, Founding Director of 1.54 Contemporary African Art Fair and Rise Art Prize judge for Africa & the Middle East. Plus 4 standout female South African artists who have entered the competition.
Rise Art Prize applicant Leila Fanner paints metaphysical pieces that capture her spiritual view of the African environs that surround her.
Q&A with Rise Art Prize judge, Neo Maditla. Neo is Editor in Chief of DesignIndaba.com, the leading design and creativity platform in South Africa. She is a seasoned writer with experience in print, TV and online.
We're midway through submissions for the Rise Art Prize. Check out who has come in and what our current artists are up to.
Nicole Gordon is the Founder of Art Is My Oxygen. She's also an Editorial Contributor for Sold Magazine and an Online Author for Beautiful Bizarre Magazine. Over the past two years, Nicole has interviewed over 140 artists from around the world. She herself is an artist, and holds a BFA in Sculpture.