Storybook: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen |
"I was born in Cherepovets, Russia and grew up in Ukraine, where my family is originally from. From a very early age, I was influenced by passionate, creative individuals. My mother was a fashion designer and my earliest artistic inspirations were her design drawings. My aunt was a musician, she was my first musical inspiration and what sparked my desire to play the piano. My grandmother was a singer, dancer, and a nurse. At age 6, after the divorce of my parents, my mother and I made the move to America, to New York City.
I can’t recall a specific point in my life when I turned to art. My family tells me I’ve been doodling since I learned how hold a pencil, before I could even form full sentences (the walls and some documents quickly fell victim to my creative endeavors), art is just what I’ve always done and who I was. I experimented with landscapes and nature for the first time at the age of 8 with chalk and pencils. I also discovered Bob Ross on TV and found myself with an uncontrollable need to paint. My first painting attempts were mostly scenic views of sunsets, mountains, trees, and snow painted with watercolor and acrylic with the occasional still life. Water made many appearances in the form of oceans, ponds, lakes, often containing reflections and distortions of its surrounding imagery. Perhaps it was an escape into the natural world I missed dearly and lacked in my city environment. Around this time I enrolled in dance school and studied ballet, jazz, and modern. The stage, costumes, music, lights, endless training hours, and entire performer’s atmosphere became a second home to me. Dancing was simply another means of expression and enjoyment, I danced for many years. Into my early teens, I learned about digital art and began creating illustrations of invented characters, places, graphics, as well as drawing comics and spriting a few character props for a small MMORPG. During this time I turned to music. With the help of the internet, a brand new keyboard, and a thirst for making beautiful sound out of silence, I began teaching myself how to play the piano.
Throughout my life, painting was something I never stopped doing. Regardless of what happened, I was always led right back to the materials, slaving to the unfolding puzzle in front of me. It’s an almost meditative process that fills me with life and happiness, and I couldn’t go for long periods without it. The more I painted, the more I wanted to paint, it was painful not to. Sharing my work kept me motivated, so I started making youtube videos in 2010 because I always enjoyed the community and wanted to contribute something of my own. I documented the progression of my works in time lapses, the earliest of which were charcoal portraits and the occasional goofing off on camera (which hasn’t really stopped). In some videos, the soundtrack to my time lapses features my own music. Over time, my channel grew exponentially in subscribers and views and continues to expand daily. I’ve collaborated with some talented individuals and attended several gatherings where I’ve had the pleasure of meeting my subscribers. Through social networks, my paintings were selling and I found myself overwhelmed with commissions. Social media has connected me to a strong network of artists and art collectors.
I’ve met some incredibly talented people thanks to the youtube community and my channel has grown to over 100,000 subscribers. I’m thankful for every viewer and experience it has brought me to. I love communicating with my audience and getting to see their angle on art and my work. It makes me so incredibly happy when I am told that I inspired someone with my work, and motivates me to keep challenging myself to reach new heights. I believe that every creator has their own path and way of doing things, one that is unique to them, and that path can be discovered with hard work and dedication. It’s an endless journey in which there is always room to improve. For me, I learn best by experimentation and exploring on my own and have never taken a painting class. That is what makes it so exciting for me, just letting the paint take you somewhere interesting. I am constantly learning and doing my best to grow." ~Lena Danya
Storybook: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl | James and the Giant Peach is a popular children's novel written in 1961 by British author Roald Dahl. The plot centres on a young English orphan boy who enters a gigantic, magical peach, and has a wild and surreal cross-world adventure with six magically-altered garden bugs he meets. Roald Dahl was originally going to write about a giant cherry, but changed it to James and the Giant Peach because a peach is "prettier, bigger and squishier than a cherry."
Richard James Oliver
Born in Pontypridd, Wales in 1975.
Currently Paints and resides in Los Angeles CA.
Solo exhibitions include the Known Gallery, Hollywood, Los Angeles. Museum of Modern Art, Wales. Attic Gallery, Swansea and Rhondda Heritage park permanent Mural.
Mixed Exhibitions Worldwide including London, New York and most recently Los Angeles.
Paintings currently hang in Museums and public display throughout the UK and private clients are worldwide.
Richard J Oliver was born and raised in Wales, United Kingdom, studied Fine Art at the University of the West of England and undertook his Masters at UWIC in Wales. In his time between studies, Oliver built his reputation, beginning in Wales and later gaining recognition throughout the UK. His work has been included in numerous European group shows, which then segued into solo shows, including an exhibition at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art in Wales.
Oliver's early work focused on his homeland, particularly the struggle of its youth trying to find identity in the aftermath of the local mining industry's demise. His work often showcased the skeleton landscapes of mining villages in the Welsh valleys juxtaposed with contemporary youth.
His latest works explore more universal subjects, from environmental issues to humanitarian and social problems that are close to his heart.
Since becoming a parent, Oliver has explored the anxieties of raising a child in an environment on the brink of disaster. The images touch on the tragedy of children forced to survive in an apocalyptic environment and violently fend for themselves. He transforms the natural instincts of fatherhood and family protection into striking visuals. More recently, portraits have crossed into the dark, brooding world of Grimm's fairytales and surrealistic subjects that help convey the emotion and tragedy of our world's children. Oliver works closely with many charities, most recently donating proceeds to Dreamlovecure.org and City of Hope's Department of Paediatrics.
Storybook: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame | The Wind in the Willows is a children's novel by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow moving and fast paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animals in a pastoral version of England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames valley.
Storybook: Stellaluna by Janell Cannon | A mother fruitbat loves her baby called Stellaluna very much and would never let anything happen to her. When the two are attacked by an owl, the predator knocks Stellaluna out of her mother's safe embrace. Soon the baby bat ends up in a bird's nest filled with three baby birds named Pip, Flitter and Flap. The mother bird will let Stellaluna be part of the family only if she eats bugs, does not hang by her feet and sleeps at night.
When all the baby animals grow, they learn to fly. When Stellaluna and the birds are out playing, it gets dark and the birds go home without her because they will not be able to see in the dark. Stellaluna keeps flying, but when Stellaluna's wings hurt, she stops to rest. When she does, she hangs by her thumbs. Soon another bat comes to ask why Stellaluna is hanging by her thumbs. She tells the bat the story of what had happened after she and her mother were attacked by the owl. Another bat interrupts the story. That bat is Stellaluna's mother. Stellaluna and her mother are happily reunited and Stellaluna finally understands why she is so different.
Excited about learning how to be a bat, Stellaluna returns to Pip, Flitter, and Flap in order to share her new experiences. They agree to join Stellaluna and the bats at night, but find they are unsuited to flying at night and nearly crash. Stellaluna rescues them and the four of them decide that while they may be very different, they are still friends and family.
Laurie Lee Brom grew up in the historical town of Charleston, South Carolina, the local ghost stories and folk tales of the swampy Low County, and rich Gullah culture stirring her imagination. She spent untold hours pursuing pixies and tree frogs in the hollow logs and Pluff Mud of her own backyard. Today she still pursues fairy folk along with all manner of curious ghosts and odd characters in her enchanting portraits and paintings.