There are some street artists that have the ability to paint such magnificent murals that you couldn’t imagine the building looking any other way. A mural titled “Mirandas en Transito” which is outside of the museum Instituto de Investigaciones Culturales Museo in Mexicali, is the work of an artist who has such artistic capabilities. This mural features shapes that have the ability to flow with the edges of the building. Fernando Corona possesses a talent where he is able to utilize the shape of the building to animate his murals and give them a natural flow that can’t be found in most two-dimensional art. The mural also features several pairs of black-and-white eyes looking in different directions. The simple color choices in the eyes are contrasted with several yellow, green, purple and orange triangles, which gives the mural a geometric sharpness balanced by the soft lines of the eyes throughout the mural.

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With the birth of social media, several rare, innovative contemporary art styles and materials have garnered major attention, from packing tape murals to hyper-realistic paintings. The work of nineteen year old Kenyan artist, Katanu Kay fits into this category. She chooses to wield kitenge, a fabric used in most of East Africa, in her paintings. Kay breathes life into her work by draping her subjects in the cloth.

“The kitenge fabric in my art signifies all the different kinds of cultures represented by Africa because Africa is so culturally diverse. It’s so interesting to me that every single pattern and color holds a different deeper meaning,” Kay explained in an interview with the China Global Television Network (Africa).

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How does one define contemporary art? Everybody’s perception is different. Some would define contemporary art as i sculpting, performance, photography, installation or even videography. It’s all about how a person looks at it, however thing is for sure, art is a form of self expression.

Canadian artist Sara Cwynar creates artwork through photography and installation. She captures images with a camera and couples them with actual objects such as photographs, fruits, cups, flowers or even books, only to reproduce the items as another full image.

“My process begins with a massive personal archive of found objects, and involves reprinting and reworking the images, taking them out of collective spaces and into ones [spaces] open for personal intervention,” said Cwynar in an interview with independent publisher Lavalette.

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History and heritage serve as inspirational, guiding forces in life. Without knowing one’s history, how can she plan for the future or fully comprehend her present? Many of us look to familial history to better understand ourselves and what has brought us to this very day. Furthermore, cultural roots can color our creativity, for they instill in us concepts of traditional and abstract beauty. For painter Tamara Natalie Madden, heritage is a dominating theme of her artwork. This artist’s cultural ancestry not only serves as a pivotal force behind her paintings, but it actually saved her life.

Growing up in Manchester, Jamaica, Madden was exposed to art very early in life. Her mother was a writer and photographer, and various members of her family were visual artists. In an interview with the online art magazine The Morning News, Madden described her early artistic influences: “My uncles were ‘raw’ artists. They were [Rastas], and they sculpted and drew. One of my uncles was actually my very first artistic inspiration.”

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Everyone’s path isn’t always a straight line to get their dream job. In order to get there, many people have to go through the process of narrowing down interests, some even take the crappy jobs to make ends meet. I’m sure you know somebody who  took one of the good old fashioned commission based, door-to-door salesman positions, just to try to stay afloat financially. I worked several and only for one day, needless to say I never sold a thing! Others have avoided such fortunes or misfortunes, depending on how you view it. And as for artist Dave Kinsey, he was one of the people that wasn’t obligated to do so.

For those who may not know, Dave Kinsey is a Los Angeles based artist who hails from Pittsburgh, PA. Kinsey always had a unique passion for art and design, and was determined not to deter from his interests. After graduating from high school in 1989, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He also attended the Art Institute of Atlanta before making the move to California in 1994 and pursuing his dreams of becoming a designer, while being afforded the time to continue his work as a painter.

Sure, moving to the other side of the country is a huge adjustment, but when your dream job is at your fingertips, it’s time to pack those bags! Besides, trading in those cold, Pennsylvania winters for Cali weather is never a bad look.

Kinsey was fortunate enough to have met a friend that taught him how to fully operate computer design programs. As prehistoric as it may sound to some of the younger readers, computer programs didn’t always come equipped with the software that allowed graphic design. His ability to adapt so quickly from manual, hand drawn design to digital changed his fortune and value to those he would design for. In fact, for that time, Kinsey was completely ahead of the game.

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When you take a drunk and a slightly paranoid individual and send them running into a fun house where an evil clown awaits, you come out with New York’s new premier artist Wyatt Mills’ stark and intriguing works of art.

Honest and a bit surreal, Mills creates shockingly blunt paintings on canvas. As a 22-year-old painter who lives in Los Angeles, he emerges on darker issues plaguing society. But don’t be fooled, Mills still takes to the sunny beaches and loves surfing, eating out and music. His canvases are merely a creative reflection of what exists around us all. He attempts to expose our fears and utmost anxieties. He accomplishes this feat by finding his own creative voice through anger, frustration, fear and lots of observation.

As a young artist illustrating such deep issues, it would appear Mills’ insights are way beyond his years. “I forgot who said it, but I once read ‘anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity,” he told online art forum As creativity goes, Mills’ art proves to be ever flowing and full of statements.

With nudity, caked makeup faces, bold lines of nightmarish realities and pleomorphic images, the up and coming artist poses a challenge to society’s standards. In a very confrontational way, Mills opens the door to questions of everyday values. What sets his work apart from other artists is his inhibitions. From looking at the work, you’ll know within seconds if you’re offended, inspired or creeped out. He claims that his honesty is important.

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Paul Gauguin, a French Post-Impressionist artist, once said “I am a great artist and I know it. The reason I am great is because of all the suffering I have done.”

There is no truer case than Nathaniel Mary Quinn, raised in the projects of Chicago, Quinn is no stranger to suffering. However, through the pain and loss, he managed to find inspiration and create moving pieces of artwork that eventually found  its way to famous galleries in London and New York.

Many nights Quinn would wake up to the sounds of gunshots ringing through the streets. Peace was  pleasantry not readily available to Quinn in his childhood. He started creating at a young age, with a little bit of help from his mother, “As a child, my mother allowed me to draw on the walls of our apartment. She would just clean the walls and let me draw again, repeatedly,” he told the Huffington Post. It was these walls that sparked the creative genius inside Quinn, starting from copying comic books to creating masterpieces on canvas.

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Weeks before graduating with a masters in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art, Amy Sherald was told her heart was only functioning at 18%. But cardiomyopathy (a rare heart disease) didn’t stop her from painting. So she carried on, painting day and night while she waited tables five days a week to pay for treatment. That is, until a routine stop at Rite Aid for art supplies almost turned deadly. What seemed like an ordinary heart flutter caused Sherald to blackout in the aisle only to wake up in a pool of blood underneath her head. But even as she was rushed to John Hopkins Hospital in an ambulance, she held on to her dream. “I’m not going to be afraid, it’s all going to be okay,” she told herself. Even as her heart dropped to 5% functionality, she wanted to paint. But overcoming the heart transplant wasn’t so easy. Due to physical ailments and the depressing side-effects of the medication, she could not paint for a year. “I told my friends, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ It felt stupid and selfish,” she explained in an interview with the Baltimore Sun. But as the effect of the anti-rejection heart transplant meds lessened, Sherald reconnected herself with her six-year old inner child that dreamed of becoming a painter.

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If this brilliant Detroit photographer never laid eyes on the exhibit of the legendary French photographer Henri Cartier- Bresson, photography as we know it would be much different. Bill Rauhauser is known for his classic black-and-white photographs that captured the significant beauty and simple elegance of Detroit throughout several decades. Prior to seeing Cartier-Bresson exhibit, Rauhauser had no idea that his hobby of taking photographs could turn into a full blown career.

His photographs over the decades depict the simple moments in Detroit life. Whether it is a photo of a woman gazing off to the side as she enjoys a cigarette on an outside Detroit plaza while wearing a lavish peacoat and string of pearls, or a photo of pedestrians walking across a street with their heads intently focused on what’s in front of them as a young boy accompanies them with a balloon in his hand, Rauhauser’s photographs show us that,  as a society, we often don’t notice simple moments the world presents to us.

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