The Milans credit their success as artists to their, “love of Life and Faith in God.” Through their paintings the artists invite people to look deeper and smile as they enjoy what art brings to their life.
John says, “My faith in God is my strength. He’s inspired and directed me in my work since childhood.” Elli says, “sharing the creative process allows us to grow together in our relationship and our faith.”
Woven into the fabric of their abstract compositions are hints of narrative, mysterious little stories with whimsical imagery that reflect their positive outlook on life.
The Milans create their paintings together. Through years of studying and creating art they have developed many innovative techniques, the most significant of which is the ability to work together in a creative spirit. Although John and Elli are both accomplished artists in their own right their collaboration brings out a side of their work that nether could reach on their own.
Both John and Elli start by applying a primary surface to the paper or canvas. Than with a random elegance the two artists begin constructing a collage from bits of paper and various fabrics.
Once this base coat is ready Elli maps out the initial composition in acrylics. Inspired by the collage work below her painting reveals the shapes, colors and overall mood of the final image.
The piece is then passed to John, who applies the final coat of paint. Both oils and acrylics are used as well as various gels and glazes. His work responds to Elli’s composition but he also moves to his own rhythms.
The overall effect is a cohesive jumble. The aggressive yet calculated layers of paint and fabric create a bright and playful scenario.
Both the Milans were fascinated by art as children. John’s mother encouraged his natural ability to draw; he received his first set of paints from one of his mother’s friends. Elli was never without a piece of crayon; as a result her mother was always discovering pieces melted into her clothing after going through the wash.
Both artists grew up in Hawaii and met as teenagers at a beach party on the North Shore. Soon after, they decided to go to art school together in Savannah Georgia where they attended Savannah College of Art and Design.
The couple moved to Athens, Georgia, to finish their art studies at the University of Georgia. It was in this small but vital city that the couple developed their independent personal styles and began showing and selling their work. With the arrival of their first child, the couple moved closer to family to Phoenix, Arizona.
The couple has had a long love affair with the country of Greece. They have taken many extended trips over the years, setting up a studio each time to paint what has inspired their artwork and refreshed them as artists.
Both John and Elli are well-published artists, with careers that have seen their work placed in galleries throughout Canada, Europe, and the United States.
To Nemo, the art institutions of his native Moldova presented a stale and uninteresting prospect. Rather than pursue a formal art education he chose instead to travel and experiment with new and innovative art techniques.
“My goal as an artist is to be free”, he says. “I want to be free to develop new techniques and investigate new subjects.”
His interest in multi-media art allows him to bring vastly different elements together as he constructs his very imaginative cityscapes.
Multi-media and mixed media are terms that have to be used when examining Nemo’s art. He can and often does work in a very traditional style. Using both oils and acrylics he creates paintings with a plein-air feel. He is able to capture the light and feel of a place and impart that feeling to the viewer.
Nemo is also constantly investigating and developing new techniques. His international cityscape series is an innovative style combining photography, printing and painting. Through printing and subsequent pasting of his photographs; he then paints with acrylics and glazes to construct a fused and somewhat surreal vision of different cities. The charm and mood of famous cities are combined to create a dreamlike memory of time and space.
Victor Colesnicenco grew up in Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova. This Eastern European nation is known for its rich artistic heritage. Nemo, as he is known to his friends, remembers being fascinated by the carvings and other craftworks that surrounded him. In particular, he loved paintings and from an early age he was determined to become an artist.
Nemo began intense inquiry into the style and techniques of the famous painters. He was particularly impressed by the work of Ivan Shishkin and Salvador Dali. He enrolled in art school but did not enjoy the strict academic style of the Russian based academy. Knowing that a standard education was not for him, he abandoned it to pursue training on his own. His talent quickly flourished and soon he was organizing large outdoor art fairs to show his work and that of other young artists.
This point in his life, Nemo enlisted in the Soviet Army where he served for two years. After completing his tour, his motivation to become a professional artist was rediscovered. Together with a good friend he started a business restoring works of art and painting murals in churches. The reemergence of religious freedom in the post-Soviet era offered many opportunities for their business to flourish.
Moving from city to towns throughout the countryside inspired a desire for further travel and Nemo took an opportunity to immigrate to Canada. His family decided to settle just north of Toronto, Ontario. To Nemo, Canada is a gateway to the world. From his new home he is able to freely explore places all over the globe.
The prevalent theme in Nemo’s work is travel and the discovery of the beauty and excitement of new places. He sometimes paints natural depictions of scenic locales or he fuses varying cities to create his own unique cityscapes. His fused or constructed cities seem to offer the viewer the opportunity to visit many places at once.
It is not surprising that when he’s not painting, Nemo enjoys many outdoor activities; especially fishing and cycling. His work is widely collected and is represented in galleries throughout Canada and the United States.
There is a sense of mystery within my artwork, the same mystery that surrounds every individual as they embark on life’s journeys. When I paint I begin with a sense of where I want to go and how I want to feel, and by the end I find myself somewhere unique and unexpected. In this sense I have discovered a new part of myself.
I am a simple romantic, she confesses, my paintings are about love and passion; between people and within ourselves. When asked how she chooses her subjects she replied, “My tulips and dancing fruit (my people) choose me, either they want to be painted or they don’t”.
Pasagic works the surface of her paper and canvas with a variety of traditional and innovative techniques. Depending on her mood and what is available in her studio she can incorporate as many as a half dozen elements into each painting.
Her technique involves a unique blending of bees wax and oil paint applied to paper, board or canvas. In this contemporary application of the ancient technique of encaustic, the paint is sometimes blended into the hot wax, burnt into it or simply painted upon it. She often fuses paper and cloth into the pigments to create textures, and uses gold leaf and various gel mediums to add unique antique effects. The paintings take on depth and mystery with a balanced tension between texture and form.
Emilija Pasagic is a native of Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia. As a child, Pasagic was always painting and drawing. A family friend, who was an established painter, nurtured her fascination with art allowing her to visit his studio and delight in all the art materials and works in progress.
Pasagic studied landscape architecture at Belgrade University, where she met her husband. After graduation, the two worked together as designers. As hostilities arose in the region during the early 90’s, the couple decided to immigrate to Canada where they settled in Ontario. The move to Canada sparked an artistic rejuvenation. She quickly became involved in the vibrant Toronto art scene, joining “The Scollard Street Artistic Cooperative” and VAO (Visual Arts Ontario).
Pasagic admires the works of many different artists but has a special appreciation for the works of Croatian painter Mersad Berber. She sees her artwork as a personal expression, an expression that is rooted in her love and fascination with people and their intricate relationships with each other.
Today, Pasagic works out of her home studio in Ontario. She is represented in select galleries throughout Canada, Great Britain and the United States.
Marcelo sets his imagination free in his work, exploring the elements of the unconscious. He examines universal themes like nature, death, beauty, and the passing of time. To express his observations from the world of the imagination he uses the surreal and symbolic language of his paintings.
To me, he says, my art is about moving forward, finding new ways to express the dreamlike elements of the imagination.
The strong folklore traditions of his native Bolivia add a mystical energy to his artwork.
Marcelo has always been drawn to different media and techniques. He is a careful illustrator and a very precise and detailed painter.
He uses traditional oil painting techniques when working on his larger canvas works and utilizes a combination of oils and heavy glazes for his miniatures.
Marcelo’s imagery is like no other. Working in a very personal and surrealist style, the artist is able to conjure a variety of subjects for his artwork. They are sometimes rooted in the rich stories of his native homeland or can emerge fully formed from his own creative soul.
Marcelo was born in Bolivia, in 1970, in the mining city of Oruro, located in the mid-western part of the country. From an early age, he showed a passion for drawing, motivated by his uncle, a professional photographer who lived nearby. He focused solely on drawings as the main motor of his creations, displaying an interest in colors that led to the exploration of watercolors, pastels, and colored pencils. During this stage of his life his artwork was primarily focused on insects, animals, houses and portraits on paper and cardboards.
In his teens, Marcelo began taking trips to Potosi with his father and brother. They visited churches and museums, examining the rich cultural heritage of the old colonial city. He became absorbed in religious art and created a series of sacred scenes. Through his fine art professor, Martitza Ajuacho, Marcelo began to show this work, first in a group shows then in a solo an exhibition in La Paz.
In 1992, Suaznabar traveled to Santiago in nearby Chile to attend art school at the Catholic University. He studied under professor Roberto Farriol and the experience led to selection into an emerging artist show back in Bolivia. This lead to further exhibitions and to the exploration of different themes.
In 1999, he participated in a large art festival in Brazil that focused on environmental issues. His work about the fragile environment and ecological disaster called Live Nature Dead Nature was then exhibited at Bolivia’s National Museum of Art.
In 2000, he married Milenka Azuga and soon after immigrated to Canada. Marcelo and his family currently reside just outside of Toronto, Ontario.
Marcelo has had a number of successful shows in his native Bolivia and in the principal capitals of countries in South America. His work is currently showing in galleries throughout Canada, Mexico, Spain, Germany and the United States.
Nazanin J. Kani was born and raised in Iran, in the northern part of Tehran, in 1979. Being from a cultured family, her parents had always valued and included art in their lifestyles. This may have been an underlying influence to Kani, however, her serious interest in art started in middle school when she first began sketching. She, along with a group of friends, would visit galleries for inspiration to create their own works of art. Her parents, recognizing her potential, encouraged her to continue her education in a High School for Performing and Visual Arts where she excelled in Visual Arts classes.
Throughout her teens, Kani continued to evolve as a sketch artist. It was during this period that she developed an interest in abstract and imaginative drawings; where she learned how to bring her imagination onto paper. She also spent time sculpting pottery and similar arts to train her imagination and enrich her abstract ideas. Kani later was inspired to try painting after a trip to the United States. She believes the exposure to a different culture sparked different ways of thinking and a newfound desire to try a new medium of artistic expression. It was after this new discovery that she first considered leaving Tehran.
Kani studied Graphic Design at Azad University, Tehran and was then able to gain experience by working for one of the leading design agencies in Iran before finally moving to the States. Once settled in the U.S., her painting became her focus and she attended Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) where she earned an M.F.A. in Illustration and an M.A. in Illustration Design.
Kani sees no distinction between graphic design, painting and art in any form. The play between negative and positive spaces create tension and is an integral part in much of her figurative work. This new style has garnered much attention in her unique way of drawing human figures with exaggerated proportions to convey distinct sentiments and moods in serenity. The expressive colors match those moods and intensify the humanistic motif dominant in most of her work. In an effort to stay green, Kani is also known for incorporating recycled materials in her mixed media pieces. She has been primarily influenced by Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, favorite artists throughout her life.
Orlando was born in the Andes Mountains of Colombia, South America in 1946 into a family of twelve. He has lived and worked in the United States for more than three decades, dividing his time between California, Florida, and Hawaii. Creating images drawn from his psyche, his deftly drawn forms radiate an uncanny aura and sensual richness which appeal to our deepest level of consciousness. His recurring themes of personal growth, education, family, spirituality, his love of music as well as the exploration of life itself attest to his belief in the educational and healing powers of art.
In works that transcend all barriers, Orlando Agudelo-Botero gives form to his inner-most feelings and insights with manifestations that are not meant to be merely visually pleasing, but to engage the viewer, to inspire and to provoke a dialogue concerning humanity’s evolution and our place in the universe.
Orlando Agudelo-Botero was the recipient of the White House Hispanic Heritage Award in the Arts, and contributed as a Trustee of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. For the past four years his artwork has inspired the sets of the Hispanic Heritage Awards Ceremony. Heroic-sized, 28-foot recreations of his artwork were created for the stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and was broadcast nationally by NBC. His work is held in many important collections, both private and public, and his art is exhibited world-wide.
Lively creates in many non-traditional materials and in oil and says his style is determined by the material he is using at the time. “My subjects are simple and the objects are everyday, but the effect is otherworldly…” says Lively. Inspired by household objects like clothing, furniture and kitchen appliances, Matt draws the objects on paper, canvas, or wood (he prefers canvas and wood), then layers in a unique combination of materials in nondescript colors with subtle patterns. Each composition is unique; each item has its own personality. He likes to work on two or three pieces at any given time. He likes to take those simple everyday subjects and make them more interesting-looking than the original subject they represent. He tries to keep the subjects simple, or even silly, in order for them to be dismissed and for the real subject of the painting – the painting itself – to take on the task of captivating a viewer.
Matt received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Matt’s work has consistently been seen in shows and galleries across the South from the time he was in college to the present. His track record may be due in part to the unique nature of his work – what he calls “construction” paintings and wood collages. What separates Lively’s work from that of the crowd may also be his guiding influence – suburbia. His ideas spring from the “exaggerated suburban scene that I have seen pop up.” He believes that the suburbs are underrated as an art location and that there are many exciting things happening way from the city. “There’s always been some ‘voice of the inner city,’ but there’s never been someone who wanted to be the voice of the picket fence neighborhoods. I want to be that person.”
Brooke Borcherding is a 29 year old award winning artist, who is dedicated to an ongoing inquiry of responding to the landscape through paint. Growing up painting palm trees of southern California, she moved to Oregon which inspired her to take an easel outside for the first time in 2009. Brooke received her BFA from the University of Oregon in 2010, but is mostly self taught by observing and responding to nature. With a practice of plein air and studio painting, her current work of deconstructing the landscape aims to shed light on the beauty of ordered chaos. The goal is to create an engaging visual scene that takes you deep into space and dances between the real and the inevitable unreal of paint on a canvas.
She now works as a full time artist in Seattle.
To Pietro Adamo, art is ultimately about expression. It is his way of liberating all his ideas and feelings. To realize this expression he has developed the careful and sophisticated language of his paintings.
“I am once again reminded of the delicate balance of all things great and small. Color and texture from nature and simple iconography from my ancestry combine to form the language of my art.”
His work is also very much an execution of action. He loves the charge of creating a piece, working the mediums into unique textures and compositions. Only when the statement is sustained can he step away and leave the painting.
“Painting”, he says, “is very much about the process of discovering problems and then solving them.”
Through years of studying and teaching art, Adamo has uncovered much about technique and style. Always experimenting and expanding his knowledge he still has respect for the traditional methods.
Adamo uses modeling pastes and various gel mediums combined with silica sand to create the unique textured qualities within his pieces. He has at times even incorporated a stucco plaster. He begins by creating the texture of the work, and then layers the acrylic ground color on top. He sands the work, paints an additional color layer, and then sands again. He uses conte crayons and different oil veneers and washes for highlight and accents. His work is deliberate and tedious at times, the color sophisticated and passionate. This classic combination results in wonderfully fresh yet solid paintings.
Adamo has a lasting fascination with architecture. His camera is always ready. Adamo shoots inspiring buildings and other structures. He then makes silk screens from details of his favorites and weaves them into his compositions as a substructure for the painting or they are layered into the fabric of his surfaces.
Pietro Adamo was born in Toronto, Canada in 1955. He enrolled in the Fine Art and Art History program at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College. After graduation, he took a position teaching art at the Chaminade College School in Toronto. While there he helped establish a strong visual arts department, one which saw many of his students go on to become prominent architects, designers, illustrators and fine artists. During his two decades of teaching Adamo continued to paint, and in that time executed several private and public commissions of his work.
The paintings of Adamo are a celebration of the artists admiration for the unpredictable and inexhaustible record of life. He abandons the conventional renderings of geometric forms through his textured surfaces and rough contours.
Adamo draws influence from artists of all periods and from the world around him. Travel is an important source of inspiration; especially trips to Italy, his ancestral homeland. During these extended stays Adamo is able to explore monumental art and architecture as well as the small details of the rural landscape.
Adamo’s career as an artist has been a journey of continuous exploration and growth. His paintings on paper and canvas have a constant audience. He has also released a highly successful series of hand pulled prints and posters. Today his works can be found in galleries throughout Canada, Europe and the United States.