A curated survey of this month’s “TOP TEN ARTISTS NYC NOW” from our Art 511 Magazine digital artist database. Coming soon, top featured artists from Los Angeles, San Francisco and more! Submit your work to be considered.
Learn more about how to be featured on our Top Ten List of Artists.
B. 1979 in Queens, NYC
Oasa works across mediums, always with a strong relationship to drawing. Her works are allegorical “drawings of protest” that utilize “natural imagery to confront cultural networks and hierarchies, immersing the viewer in the complexities of ‘otherness’ through images adapted from the natural and political landscape.” Her recent series, Black Power Wave: Drawing For Protest, acknowledges “the inherent nature of gathering to protest and the ability to break away at a moment’s notice, granting mobility within a wave of literal movement.” Black Power Wave also speaks to the vulnerability of black power: “Its strength is found in communal movement, but its power can flow and resonate throughout many bodies finding its way into other facets of politics and landscapes―including humor and satire as tools for dismantling white supremacy.” DuVerney typically works from the living room of her apartment, but every once in a while she enjoys a studio residency. Her greatest artistic challenge is “Life as not a rich white man.” She likes to make art outside with neighbors, and has some ongoing public works in collaboration with Mildred Beltre in resistance to criminalization of black and brown bodies on the street. Currently, she is working on her solo show coming up at Welancora Gallery and a public art work for the NYC Parks Department at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, which is the oldest colonial structure in New York City. “This will be interesting…” says DuVerney.
Follow her on Instagram @oasasun
BRITTANY “B.Monét” FENNELL
B. in Silver Spring, Massachusetts
Brittany “B.Monét” Fennell is a writer/director making films which pose questions about identity, society, race and culture. Fennell graduated from Spelman College with a BA in English and holds an MFA from New York University in Film and Television with a concentration in writing and directing. It is vital to her that under-represented people are shown in film, media and television. Brittany’s award-winning short film Q.U.E.E.N. was named the 2017 Horizon Award Winner through Cassian Elwes, Christine Vachon, and Lynette Howell Taylor at the Sundance Film Festival. Additionally, she is one of the winners for the #NewView Film Competition with Glamour and Girlgaze, an award which champions the voices of female filmmakers. Recently, Brittany directed a branded short film on the #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, the civil rights activist and creator of the #metoo movement. Burke was featured among other female activists as a Time Person of the Year in 2017. Fennell’s new film about the celebrated icon “explores Tarana’s life as a survivor, activist and mother, and how she found the confidence to start a movement telling other survivors they are not alone. Tarana continues to raise awareness, leading the conversation to stop sexual violence through policy change and community support,” explains director Fennell. She is a recipient of the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation grant at Fusion Film Festival as well as a finalist in the Women in Film Mini Upfronts Program and a Sundance Women’s Financing Intensive Project Fellow for her first feature film Q.U.E.E.N. Watch below to learn more!
B. 1988 in Palo Alto, California
Laura Kimmel (formerly Laura Weyl) is a New York-based filmmaker, photographer, and multi-media artist. She studied Media Arts and Sciences at Wellesley College as well as Cinematography and experimental animation at the Academy of Art San Francisco. Her provocative works explore sexuality, the female body and urban landscape. Whether capturing the energy of an abandoned building at dawn with fellow artist and muse Oracle (“GHOST” photo series) or snapping a synergistic rare polaroid of Snoop Dogg at The Box (where she serves as the Director of Visual Identity), Laura sings magic into the universe with effortless ease. Her analog image manipulations create visceral, poetic visual worlds. Kimmel’s recent foray into Public Art saw the artist masterminding two large-scale murals in the Soho neighborhood of London (a 2-year installation on Walker’s Court and a permanent installation on Bourchier Street). Both murals collage current photographs of Soho taken by the artist with photos taken over the past two centuries. If you follow @metametagasm on Instagram, you know Laura has long-time spirited the feminist-free-the-nipple battle front, having her account removed and images censored many times. Laura’s [censored] collaboration with the artist Olek (pictured) is a self-portrait of the artist pregnant with her son Moses, a new work currently on view at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City as part of “Please Touch, Body Boundaries” till August 1st.
Follow Laura on Instagram @metametagasm
B. 1983 in Berkeley, California
“My family has been pulling creativity out of me from a young age. I feel that it has always been a part of me,” reflects Merrie, an artist whose main mediums include performance art, dancing and lip syncing. The content of Merrie’s work is fluid, commenting on happenings in the world and the artist’s life. “As a black man in America … dressing up like a black woman, a lot of my work is centered around that.” The performance work encapsulates our human struggles the world over. “At times, I like to put it on stage and make people think. At times, I will also pull out a pop song and have a cute moment on stage. I always have something to say, but I don’t have to jam it down people’s throats.” Merrie admits to always working, “EVERYWHERE! I give shows 24/7.” However, coming up with new ideas which shock, scare, enlighten and provoke the audience is a consistent challenge. Currently, the artist is working on a Youtube project highlighting the drag kings and queens of Brooklyn. “The Brooklyn performance scene is hot right now on a national and international level. And I want to expand people’s knowledge about what we are doing out here. Whatever I do, it will be meant to highlight Brooklyn and all the colorful creators here.”
Follow on Instagram @merrie_cherry
B. 1982 in Lizuna City, Nagano, Japan
Seiko planned to be an artist for as long as she can remember, beginning to make work around age 3 or 4. Currently she does live performance, video and drawings. Her work is about resilience in the face of violence and difficulty. An international artist, she makes work in her home-base of Japan and around the world. When it comes to performance, the place, its history and local specificities are vitally important. Some places accept Seiko and her work more than others. Her relationship to the place and the audience witnessing the performance varies to a large degree and always affects the work. “It is interesting to try performance in many places and countries,” explains Seiko. Starting a new work always poses challenges. Harassment, sexual violence and the death of a close friend by fire―and the subsequent depression that followed―almost caused Seiko to take her own life at one point. Eventually, she found performance art as an outlet of expression. “I was healed little by little,” reflects Seiko, who credits performance art for her profound sense of resilience. In an art form transcending words, she found the strength to express the unspeakable. Right now, she is planning for a new, international performance art festival in Fukushima, Japan called Responding: International Performance Art Festival and Meetings. For this new performance in September, Seiko is researching the increasing number of suicides at Fukushima since the nuclear plant accident in 2011; the new work will be about suicide. Although it’s hard work, she is continually striving to build a network and make performance art more acceptable in Japan.
B. 1992 in Anchorage, Alaska
Suwana has been making up and singing songs for as long as she can remember. “To me, it feels like a natural overflow that happens in times of utter aliveness! Creating art allows us to tap into something beyond our normal ways of perceiving.” Writing songs is one way the artist is able to express her depths. “I suppose a lot of it comes down to connection. I choose art because it connects me to myself, other people and to the life force that animates our world.” Suwana identifies as a songwriter and rapper/ singer, but is eager to continue exploring diverse mediums of expression―comedy, dance and audio production immediately come to mind. Her work is about her life. “I want to express all aspects of existence―the wisdom, drama, humor, darkness, wonder, and Light that is reflected back to me. I create art that feels true to me and my world. Sometimes that means spitting astrology or tarot-themed quips, boasting about being homies with the moon, or rapping playful Thai phrases. Other times, it means singing songs about heartbreak or recognizing negative patterns. Whatever comes out, I want my art to feel authentic, life-affirming and empowering!” Currently based in Chiang Mai, Thailand (where she teaches English), Suwana composes most of her songs from her front porch or in the seclusion of a nearby forest. Currently, her greatest artistic challenge is cultivating her business mindset when it comes to the music. “I find motivation and inspiration to create or perform flows quite naturally for me, while the will to do more pragmatic tasks like marketing and creating business plans takes a lot more effort. My hope is that someday I will have the help I need with that side of things, and I can focus my energy on the art. In the meantime, I am learning a lot!” For the past year, she has been working with Ideam on her debut rap album―Suwana Arcana!!―which borrows from the concept of tarot cards, illustrating different archetypes we all embody at different moments in our lives. Each track is associated with a distinct tarot card and has its own unique album art; each designed by a different visual artist. Besides the album, Suwana is releasing a few singles with one of her new favorite producers, Riyoon, and is continually “stoked” by all the awesome synergy in her life and work. With the album release nearing, “I can’t wait to share what we’ve been creating with the world!” says Suwana.
Follow her on Instagram @suwana.arcana
B. 1988 in Durham, North Carolina
Despite never being formally trained in Art, “I’ve always felt a need to create. It’s my outlet! And it totally keeps me balanced,” reflects analog collage artist Anna Rindos. Taking influence from her mother, who made Anna’s clothes growing up and installed her quilt creations everywhere around the house including on beds, walls and tables; Anna explored collage initially as a way to make cards and love notes for friends and family. As her collages got bigger and more elaborate, they naturally evolved into something beyond just cards. Rindos now designs collage-based prints and wheat paste designs. After making her collages by hand, she’ll scan the image so that it can be applied on fabric, manipulated to different scales and formatted to print. As for wheat pasting, “You just never know how the piece will age within a space. Once it’s up, it totally takes on a life of its own. You have to surrender it to the elements.” Generally speaking, she creates work as a way to digest the constant barrage of imagery coming from advertising, news and social media. “By slowly dissecting and layering mass publications, I can better reflect on societal messages that have been thrown at me.” Questions she poses in her works revolve around gender, violence, conflict, war and anxieties around women’s rights. Lately, the artist has been focusing on creating works that “celebrate women and their bodies as symbols of power, strength and beauty, rather than items to own, regulate and demonize.” A few months ago, Anna relocated to Paris via Brooklyn. All of her work is done out of her apartment (which looks like a confetti bomb most of the time). “It’s ideal for me―and my two needy cats―to have one place for rest/work.” She’s currently working on illustrations for a book of essays in collaboration with Libby Doyne, which should finalized in August. “I’m also developing some new clothing prints. Trying to create a new summer wardrobe! I’ve had a lot of fun creating my own clothing and it’s something I’m trying to expand on.” Beyond that, Rindos would like to experiment with creating sculptural, three-dimensional pieces, and to combine larger objects into her collages. She’s recently been inspired by the textile art of Maria Guzman Capron, Peggy Noland and Natalie Baxter. “The colors and textures these women use blow my mind! I just can’t stop dreaming about making pieces that feel like they’re growing out of the wall. Like toxic, colorful mold.”
Follow her on Instagram @annarindos
B. 1979 in Wenatchee, Washington
During college, Bryn found herself deciding between a Psychology or Fine Arts Major. “Taking my first painting class revealed a patience I didn’t know I contained. After that, I spent all my time in the Fine Arts department to the detriment of all other subjects, including Psych 101. Psychology remains my muse and my subconscious inspires my paintings,” reflects Bryn, whose vibrant, acrylic on canvas compositions explore the relationship between our physical selves/bodies/identities and our inner invisible spirit/soul realm. “I explore how these two are in conflict or how they align. Mainly, my paintings have dealt with my own ambivalence of how to be a body? How to be a woman? How to have a physical form that projects and acts in authentic alignment to my spirit?” By painting female figures in fashion in varying degrees of abstraction, the artist explores her own inner wrestling in visual terms. Working out of her studio in Long Island City, Bryn’s current challenge is allowing herself guilt-free time to be non-productive. “To give myself time, space and freedom to NOT create in order to have something to create from,” is how Bryn breaks it down. “My societal conditioned belief that tangible productivity equates success and worth is a constant battle to fight. ‘Inner work’ has become integral to my creative process. Learning to give equal time to the yin and yang of the creative process feels revolutionary. As does deeming the unseen meaningful.” At the moment, Bryn is preparing for a show in Brussels, working on a new series of paintings involving ample experimentation with color and form. “I’ve been painting small format in order to build up to painting large format. Painting large is definitely where I feel I’m at my highest potential.” She’s likewise stepping away from fashion as façade and working more with (female) figures in landscapes, circling back to a notion she terms “fantastical feminine landscape,” which was her focus in 2003. “I’m excited to see where it leads!”
Follow her on Instagram @brynmc
B. 1963 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
“I don’t remember a moment when I became an artist,” says Justo, who as a child was amply creative, drawing and painting as children do. “I just didn’t stop,” reflects the contemporary mixed media artist today. Her current works traverse photography, paint and embroidery, and reflects on “the social and political powers that affect me, an immigrant and a Latin woman, and my community.” Typically, law enforcement officers and immigrants are protagonists in Justo’s works. Separated by class, race and social status, her characters have hybrid gender identities. Officers are placed upside down with “an intent to disrupt power structures.” Justo maintains “immigrants are the ones who feel the deepest impacts of systemic power imbalances.” Justo is also inspired by the geometric patterns of the Mapuche culture, which invoke the circle to signify unity and oneness. “Within the context of my work, the Circle highlights organizations dedicated to helping immigrants.” Often, her images are compositions of vintage photographs manipulated with modern technology. “I use them to illustrate the flow of time and to throw light on current social conflicts,” says Justo, who explores the historical significance of the imagery with regard to present social struggles. “The role of the artist is to give society the tools to resist discrimination and to protest all other injustices.” Working out of New York, Justo struggles to combine diverse artistic styles and make them work seamlessly as one. Her current project focuses on the migrant deaths of people attempting to cross the US-Mexico border. Following that, Justo is developing public projects that focus on social justice, particularly issues of segregation and discrimination.
B. 1966 in Kyoto, Japan
Midori never chose to be an artist; rather, she always made, wrote and spoke to express herself. “Feeling, thinking and dreaming is entwined with art-being for me. Some of my states of art-being end up as artifacts or social practice, and I get to share that. I’m deeply happy when that happens,” explains the artist. Typically working with whatever she can get her hands on, she prefers to dabble in “the humblest or most ancient of materials” (namely flowers, dirt, string, bodies, sumi ink, gold leaf, duct tape, etc.). Midori’s work interrogates memory, literally, tracing the neurological formations and revisions of memory and experience. “Moments of ecstatic and painful beauty” is one way the artist frames her practice. Her work allows her to delve into heavy topics; among them: race, gender, grief and change. “Things that upset me so much and fill me up so much that I don’t have adequate words for my feelings…Creating mischievous catalytic art to engage people to talk about things that are otherwise too uncomfortable to talk about,” is at the core of Midori’s art. A painter in the studio, her social practice work and happenings, so to speak, occur on site in night clubs, living rooms, museums and anywhere the artist finds a suitable space to stir up public engagement. Her greatest artistic challenge is keeping up with documentation and administrative work. Sometimes she’s so swept up in the creative act that she forgets to document. She is sad that some of her performances have no record at all. Midori struggles to stay on top of grants and pursuing opportunities. Right now, she’s finishing a series of Evoco paintings. Meanwhile, those in the NYC area may have seen her immersive installation “Passage” up at the Museum of Sex. Coinciding with the Nobuyoshi Araki, Passage is a liminal space created to transition one into the show with an optimal sense of wonder. Up next, she’s organizing a socially engaged art making event called Queer Qraft Qamp at the San Francisco libraries with her frequent collaborator, Jason Wyman. Midori is also co-authoring a story with graphic novelist Michael Manning and talking with Tiziano Magni about future collaborations. “We have such a good collaborative rhythm! I feel like it’s time for me to do some new big things again!”