The 10 Visual and Performing Artists to Watch in 2014
BY ROHN PADMORE
[WINTER ISSUE 2014]
The whole concept of art is that it’s an expression of the artist and subjective to the viewer. The “Arts” is cumulative of many different mediums and practices, from visual art to the performing arts. I’ve chosen 10 “artists” from every genre to keep an eye on.
Misha Tyutyunik – Visual Artist/Painter
Misha Tyutyunik is a contemporary painter who lives and works out of Brooklyn, New York. He was born in the Ukraine, and moved to the United States when he was seven. A graduate of Pratt Institute with a BFA in Communications Design with a focus on Illustration, Misha paints and works as a graphic designer for companies such as A&E Television Networks, ENK, Brooklyn Arts Council, and Coca Cola. Influenced by Social Realism, Abstract Expressionism, Japanese Prints, Surrealism and Impressionism, his work blends figurative painting with surrealistic dreamscapes, utilizing subdued colors and intense brush strokes, to create unique, mood-based parallel worlds. Since the spring of 2009, Mr. Tyutyunik and a partner have been operating a business called Collective Consciousness NYC, providing creative services and promoting talented, up-and-coming artists, (himself included). Misha has exhibited his artwork throughout New York City, and currently directs and curates a galley he started through his business, in DUMBO, Brooklyn.
Ibrahim Baaith – Fashion Model/Visual Artist/Painter
Ibrahim Baaith is a fashion model and an artist, who has featured his work in Brooklyn Art and Afropunk festivals. Baaith uses political themes in his artwork. While many artists take years to discover their artistic talent and voice, Baaith, as he described it himself was “born creative”. Though his family was poor and couldn’t afford art supplies, paper and pencils were always readily available, and he constantly took advantage of them, drawing comic book characters and portraits of family members and friends by the time he was six. These days, between painting and modeling, Baaith has found time to cofound Artist Republic, a nonprofit with the goal of finding inspiration within all artforms for children, whether it be painting, nutrition, filmmaking, or even martial arts – another passion for Baaith. Opening the art school is important for him so that other kids could have the opportunity that Baaith himself did not have, and to avoid the dangerous pitfalls that could have wiped out his own career.
Waris Ahluwalia – Jewelry Designer/Actor/Model
Waris Ahluwalia is an Indian-American designer and actor. Born in Amritsar, Punjab, India he later moved to New York at the age of five. His company, House of Waris, is based out of New York and has collaborated with a number of other designers and artists throughout the years. House of Waris came into being after the owners of Maxfield’s in Los Angeles noticed Ahluwalia’s elaborate diamond rings and placed an order, which sold out. House of Waris, founded by Ahluwalia, is strongly influenced by the romance and history of ancient kingdoms. Ahluwalia creates fine jewelry pieces that are noted for their unique beauty and craftsmanship. Coveted by fashion icons and sold at the most luxurious boutiques, they bring together old world techniques and marvelously modern designs.
Marsha Thompson – Opera Singer/Soprano
American soprano Marsha Thompson made her European debut as Aida in Franco Zeffirelli’s new production of Aida in Milan, as a part of Italy’s Verdi Centennial Celebrations. A cast of exceptionally gifted young singers personally chosen by Maestro Zeffirelli for their outstanding acting abilities sang the production. Ms. Thompson’s recent operatic engagements include Violetta in LaTraviata with New York Grand Opera and Mississippi Opera, Viennese Operetta concerts at the Ravello Festival in Amalfi, Italy, and Mimí in La Bohème and Tosca with New Opera Festival of Rome. She has also sung Bess in Porgy and Bess with New York City Opera at Lincoln Center and Opera Carolina in Charlotte.
Ben Watts – Fashion Photographer
Ben Watts is an English photographer based in New York, whose work has been published in various international fashion magazines, such as Elle,Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair and Condé Nast Traveller. He is the brother of actress Naomi Watts. Their father was Peter Watts, a road manager for Pink Floyd. Watts studied at the Sydney College of Arts in Australia, where he started his photographic career as a photographer’s assistant. He first came to New York in 1990, where he started documenting urban youth and was especially fascinated by American Hip Hop culture. He finally moved to New York in 1995. His work was shown in Vibe and Rolling Stone and in advertisements for Nike, Reebok and Gap. Besides his work for fashion magazines, Watts has shot advertising campaigns for famous labels, such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Kodak, Sony Music and Apple Computers.
John Forté – Musician/Activist
John Forté is a Grammy-nominated American recording artist, composer, music producer, educator and activist. He achieved fame while writing, producing and performing with the celebrated hip hop group The Fugees during the 1990s, and has released four solo albums, including his most recent effort, Water Light Sound, released in September 2011. Forté has collaborated with a range of diverse musicians and is known for a profound understanding and appreciation of a broad range of musical genres, spanning from hip hop to indie folk to classical music. Forté is also Chief Executive Officer of Le Castle, a company he founded in 2011 to manage his upcoming projects in music, film and other creative fields.
Hayden Williams – Fashion Illustrator
Hailing from the UK, designer and illustrator Hayden Williams is making a splash in the fashion world with his whimsical detailed illustrations of style icons and celebrities. We adore his recreations of First Lady Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Marilyn Monroe and a host of other Fashionistas. The self-taught artist received an outpouring of kudos when Rihanna made one of his illustrations her Twitter avatar. She later invited Hayden to a sold-out opening tour date at the 02 Arena in London.
Mia Dungeon – Visual Artist
Life, death and the spaces in between are explored in Mia Dungeon’s work like the corners of your basement during a game of midnight hide-and-seek. The skulls and bones come from animals that died of natural causes and whose lives she honours with the utmost respect. Mia utilizes recycled materials, found objects and vintage jewelry to adorn these skulls in order to celebrate the delicate cycle of birth, death and the infinite unknown.
Jess Dobkin – Performance Artist
In your face, from the theatrical angle: Hailing from Toronto, avant-garde venue regular Jess Dobkin performs, curates, awes, and sparkles. Her explicit humor-infused art uses the body as a medium and takes plenty liberty with it. Die laughing with the vagina clown car. Ponder love with the nipple cabaret as “two boobs become puppets, negotiating the complexities of their relationship in a silent movie inspired puppet show.” Unclench your inhibitions.
Mykal Anthony Bean – Actor/Dancer/Choreographer
Mykal Anthony Bean is an actor, known for The Hot Chick (2002), Boogie Town (2012) and Viva Laughlin(2007). The San Francisco, CA native got his start as a dancer and has toured with and appeared in music videos for Beyoncé, Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot, Pink and Cassie to name just a few.