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Ben Keys

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Wolfgang Bloch

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By Ben Keys in New Art on Saturday 11 June 2011

There’s no question I’ve spent more time looking for waves than riding them. Apparently, that’s part of the fun. I’m not so sure, but it is pretty special stumbling onto a good one after driving half the day. Wolfgang Bloch also knows that moment, when you crest another dusty ridge and first glimpse distant, windswept perfection. His palette of rocky browns and stormy greys bookend perfect pointbreaks, reeling off unridden in some faraway place. It’s the sort of art that encourages you to get off the couch and hit the road. And that’s very cool.

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Surfland series by Joni Sternbach

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By Ben Keys in New Photography on Saturday 11 June 2011

Who needs a digital camera when you could be processing your portraits right there on the beach, with the subjects looking on? This is the approach taken by Joni Sternbach with her Surfland series, using a technique unchanged since the 19th century.

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Australian artist Matt Doust

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By Ben Keys in New Art on Saturday 28 May 2011

A few years back, Matt Doust was completing portraits using Biro pens, each work a feverish mass of black and blue layered lines. Forward to 2011 and the Perth artist is now creating enormous hyper-realistic oil portraits and was recently named a finalist in the Archibald Prize.

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Miles Thomson

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By Ben Keys in New Illustration on Monday 28 September 2009

Dig, hepcats! If the art of Miles Thomson doesn’t transport you to a beachside speakeasy staffed by monkey waiters serving cocktails in tiki heads, well, something must be very wrong. The Californian effortlessly blends elements of surf art, jazz iconography, cowboys and injuns, vagabonds and drunks, life and death — all that good stuff. He’s also currently working on images of crime figures such as Al Capone, John Dillinger and Jesse James for Nickelodeon’s The Mighty B, so keep an eye out for his unmistakably groovy style on the box real soon.

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Kid Zoom

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By Ben Keys in New Illustration on Tuesday 11 August 2009

Unable to limit his art to the streets, Kid Zoom has happily defaced banknotes, vintage Playboys, and even his own studio with his brand of eye-catching artwork. A move from the sleepy suburbs of Perth, Australia, has seen Kid take on Sydney, so expect to see a lot more distorted cartoons and weepy skulls on the East coast from now on.

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Haran Kumar’s Indian street kid photos

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By Ben Keys in New Photography on Saturday 8 August 2009

Photographer Haran Kumar has a special affinity with the street kids he shoots in New Delhi — not so long ago, he was right there amongst them. After fleeing an unhappy family situation in 1994, Haran joined the throngs of homeless children who live in and around New Dehli railway station. Eventually he was plucked from the tracks by aid organisation Salaam Balak Trust and given another chance at school before becoming part of Dutch photography project Home/Live — providing cameras and instruction to homeless kids in 11 cities around the world.

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Scott Hove’s Cakeland

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By Ben Keys in New Art on Thursday 6 August 2009

At first glance, Scott Hove’s Cakeland seems impossibly lovely — a pink-frosted, sugary fairyland. Until you notice a bunch of his delicious creations have sprouted fangs. Then it’s kind of creepy. The walk-through installation contains multiple cakey hallways, mirrored passages and gently-lit examples of spongy goodness, the icing etched with tools like some tasty Neolithic cave-art. It’s a sugar-rush nightmare come to life. Yummy.

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Infinitas by Schöpfer Yachts

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By Ben Keys in New Design on Saturday 1 August 2009

If you were throwing down a couple of hundred million bucks to build your dream toy, you’d want it to stand out, right? Not so in the world of super yacht design, which for years has followed the same pattern of producing giant, shiny dreamboats, each indistinguishable from the next. But then along came E. Kevin Schöpfer.

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Nicholas Di Genova

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By Ben Keys in New Art on Friday 17 July 2009

The creatures of Nicholas Di Genova’s imagination occupy a strange space between the petting zoo and the apocalypse. The Toronto illustrator develops entire structured communities of twisted beasts that often blur the lines between animal and machine, yet somehow even his hound of Hades ends up looking cuddly (possibly because it’s half chicken). Recent projects have included painstakingly detailed ballpoint studies of everything from tortoises to flowers to vampire bats. In an upcoming exhibition, another piece will feature a grid of 20,000 butterflies. Hey, the man likes details.

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Adrian Hanft

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By Ben Keys in New Photography on Wednesday 15 July 2009

Colarado photographer Adrian Hanft creates images that are charmingly imperfect, employing a huge collection of vintage cameras that he modifies at home, or occasionally builds from scratch. He recently created a series of solargraphs — exposures that last from hours to months – using pinhole cameras, and in the past has fashioned his own equipment from Lego blocks, with startling results.

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