The door to the unusual surrealism: interview with Alice Lin

Beijing based illustrator, Alice Lin, opens doors for us and invites everyone to discover her dark, creative and surrealistic world of art. You can recognize her works by identifying the connection between art, animals, and nature. Alice always manages to build an emotional bridge between viewer and subject. Her colors are like that of illustrations and drawings and are usually calmingly soft. Every single one of her photos has its own story. Alice brings darkness to her works and combines it with fairytales, childhood’s memories and perceptions. So what is Alice Lin like? And how does she come up with such ideas? I asked her about these things in our short chat.  

At what age did you started illustrating and how did it happen?
I started drawing at 5 years old. At that age I was a very naughty little girl but drawing kept me quiet. My mom liked to let me draw so that she could take care of me easier.

How long does it take for you to finish one artwork?
It takes different amounts of time with every piece of work. Sometimes I get a new idea in a moment, sometimes it can take a long time. If I get a good idea, to draw it will take me about half a month.

Illustrations and paintings always seemed to me as a quite diligent thing to do. Do you think patience and thoroughness are the characteristics that artist need to have for creating such art?
Yes, having enough patience and thoroughness in art is necessary and indispensable.

I always ask this question: who or what inspires you?
So many things give me inspiration: fairy tales, music, pictures, movies, dreams, etc. From when I was a kid I liked to draw my imagined world, a place where the things that don’t exist in this world can be.

Your art can be perceived as dark and full of emotions. What kind of emotions and feelings are you trying to reflect?
Life. I have seen the birth of life and death. I am always aware that life is great and fragile. However one day we will all disappear. I always ask a question to myself : Are we real? Do we exist? Are we just illusive?

Animals are a big part of your artworks as well. Why is that?
Animals and plants are my favorite subjects because I love this world and I hope the animals, plants, and humans can exist in harmony in this world forever. No death, no war, without the pain of sickness. But the truth is everything has its end and we must comply with the laws of nature.

If you have to describe yourself in three words, what they would be and why?
SENSITIVE (my emotions are too rich). ELEGANCE (I like poetic expression). GENEROUS (I like to share)

Do you have any other hobbies besides illustrations and drawings?
Yes, besides drawing I was working for 3D art company Maya VFX and MEL (Maya Embed lauguage) scripting. I enjoy this work but it’s very different from drawing. These two work fields let my brain alternate between logic and emotion.

Dark and surrealistic self-portraits: interview with Alex Schaefer

Surrealism always was one of my favorite art styles. Perhaps that’s why my attention was strongly attracted to Alex’s Schaefer self-portraits. A recent graduate of NYC University’s Tisch School of Arts, he perfectly combines darkness and creativity. He uniquely highlights emotions and thoughts that are hard to describe out loud in words. I had a really nice chat with Alex about his personality, ideas and assumptions. I simply hope you’re going to enjoy this interview and will enter into the dark world of surrealism by Alex Schaefer.

How did your idea to start experimenting with self-portraits materialize?
For me, the idea of doing a self-portrait series was almost born out of necessity. Since high school I have struggled quietly with depression. At the time I first began the series I was studying film at school. I was in the process of writing a feature-length script about a character that was loosely based off of my circumstances. Depression was never something I felt comfortable or open to speaking about, so I found it difficult to express what I wanted to say with words. I came up with the idea to begin a self-portrait series because I wanted a creative outlet to express the emotions and anxiety that I was too afraid to speak about. I wanted to let the pictures speak for the words I could never seem to say.

Oh, so that’s why your self-portraits are so dark and full of emotions. It seems that your character (or you, yourself) is always fighting life challenges within the surrealistic world of your art. Why is it important for you to reflect everything in such a surrealistic way?
To me, surrealism provides a creative escape for the mind. It opens us to the possibility of seeing things differently. I feel that society in particular puts a great deal of pressure on us to follow the status quo and I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use photography to create worlds that break the boundaries we live within. And so, too, I wanted my portraits to offer an audience the ability to escape to a new world where they could question their curiosity and challenge what they already know.

Do you think art can help society regarding sending important messages about some serious matters?
Yes, I think art certainly has the ability to send an important message and effect change in a society. However, I think it comes down to the individual. We respond to art best when we are able to connect with it personally. Art that delivers an important message to society is one which is able to connect with people not simply as an audience, but as an individual.

You said that you wanted art speak for your emotions that you couldn’t express in words. Do you feel now, after creating these self-portraits, more comfortable with yourself and your past?Yes! These self-portraits have given me a creative outlet to express how I feel, but have also afforded me the opportunity to reflect on who I am along the way. In fact, what surprised me the most was perhaps how much I learned about myself from these portraits. Most importantly, I learned to always stay true to yourself and the art you want to create. It took me a long time to become comfortable posting my photographs. I thought that people who knew me might think I was crazy! And yes, sometimes it can be difficult to be vulnerable with your art, especially when it’s an extension of yourself or your emotions, but what I’ve learned so far is that you have to pursue what you are passionate about. You can’t let anything stop you- not fear, not rejection, not what other people might think of your work, and most importantly, you can’t stop yourself from becoming the artist you want to be!

I also have looked at your resume, I hope you don’t mind. It seems that you are working a lot with film photography. Is it hard to stay motivated for your personal projects while you’re working hard, or maybe this kind of work is the motivation itself?No, not at all- I’m excited you found it! I spend a lot of time working as a camera assistant on commercial and narrative work around New York City. I also just finished an internship in the photography department at Saturday Night Live! I love the work that I do outside of my own photography, so it never feels as though it takes away from my own creativity. In fact, I find that sometimes it even motivates me more because I’m always itching to finish my work on set so I can get home to take a photograph before the sun sets. The work itself is definitely motivational, especially because I am surrounded by some of the most talented and hardworking people that I know! It’s great to be with people who inspire you and the work you do and who are always ready to accept the next creative challenge thrown their way.

Do you think it is hard nowadays to get into the art or photography industry?
I think it’s much easier than it used to be. We have the advantages of digital technology and social media which can connect us with an audience in an instant. Now it’s easier than ever to have your photographs shared and seen by a huge amount of people. What is also interesting to consider is how technology has given us the opportunity to push the boundaries of art — particularly in the realm of surreal and conceptual photography. I think of software like Photoshop for example, which has given artists like me the ability to imagine the impossible and then go out and create it!

I totally agree with that! What is your biggest goal related to photography at the moment?
I would love to have some of my photographs exhibited in a New York City art gallery!

Edited by Melissa Searle 

Beautiful Black and White landscapes by Derek Toye

This is exactly what we (Republic X) is trying to do!!! …to show you such beautiful works of artists like this, who are not so well known (in my opinion, at least). And that, actually, was my first thought: ummm… and why I don’t know about him, again? 

Derek Toye is 29 years old Canadian artist, who is self taught artist. He started taking photography about a year ago!! Seriously? Wow. Maybe I look way too exited here… but, hey, look! It’s obvious what a great talent this author has. 

Artist spent 30min each day for the past few months to make daily sketch paints 

Gabriel Verdon submitted his daily sketch paints on reddit by saying that he spent only 30min each day (for the past few moths) in order to create these black and white illustrations. I can say it looks very original, dark and interesting. Very nice choice of color, which is limited. Do you like it?

The dark death: amazing photography by Yaryshev Evgeny

I remember when I first saw this photographer’s one amazing picture (this one) and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Experienced the same feeling this time, again. Dark ground, death, beautiful black and white coloring… Uh! Looks fantastic. 

Derek Jones paints messy but wonderful portraits 

The artist with his own style and mood that can be felt through the color. Derek Jones is based in Scotland and he is painting wonderful, dark and messy portraits. Sometimes they remind me something related to women abuse topic. However, maybe it’s just me. And that’s the point actually: everyone can understand a little bit different these paintings. 

Duplicate by Michael Ostermann

Austrian photographer and graphic designer Michael Ostermann made this nice, black and white project, called “Duplicated”. Here, author plays with various details that makes these photos surrealistic and visually fantastic.  

Danish photographer Mads smashes glass and captures smithereens

Okay. So first of all, this cool because of the idea. Second of all - because of the colors and shadows that Danish photographer Mads has used. The photoshoot was shoot for the club “Fabric”. 

Weird and beautiful: surrealism by Sicioldr 

Sicioldr is an italian self-taught drawer born in 1990. His visionary style is influenced by the study of artists like Giraud, Bosch, Bruegel, Serafini, Seba and by his interests toward the relationship between alchemy and psychology. His uncanny subjects are images coming from the unconscious ,represented by the author through a rigorous and elegant style of drawing

Dark digital art by Dihaze

Artist Dihaze keeps personal information as a little secret. For me, it is still unknown from where this author is, what is the real name and etc. What I know is that Dihaze’s dark digital art makes me feel spooky and at the same time amazed by authors creativity and imagination. The surrealism plays a huge role in author’s artworks. 

Victims by Sishirprithvi Bommakanti

Like the dark shadows from the past, scars remained on their faces and left their identities harmed for ever. This is how I see this brilliant project by painter Sishirprithvi Bommakanti. 

Sishirprithvi Bommakanti (born in India 1990) is a freelance illustrator, designer, and painter. His work combines conceptual compositions, figurative narratives, abstract geometry, and glitched imagery.

Nude photography by Yaroslav Vasilyev-Apostol

Author is 34 years old photographer who loves painting (mostly graphics), loves to travel the world. He  mostly focuses on the genre pictures before, trying to catch the reality of life, but now author takes pictures of mostly on his own. Playing with the lights in the dark makes this project look incredible.

Siren by Joseph Alexander

A few days ago I have received a fan mail with a request: “Can you upload more weird stuff, please?" Here you go, tumblr blogger. I hope I have met your expectations. Photographer, based in Los Angeles, Joseph Alexander presented his new digital art project called "Siren". As Joseph says, he wanted to ‘create a series representing feminine power and beauty’.

Amazing surrealism in Yuri’s Laptev paintings 

Ukrainian artist Yuri Laptev definitely is one of the most talented and resent surreal artists. Yuri uses dark colors and mixed them with numerous small details that are very important to the whole artwork’s idea. His surrealism overflows from the main object. 

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