7th Annual Figures & Faces Monthly Winning Artists – December 2021

The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 7th Annual Figures & Faces international online art exhibition.  Below are the biographies and/or artist’s statements along with the artist’s websites or emails.

To contact these artists directly for purchase inquiries or to see more of their work, please visit the 7th Annual Figures & Faces Exhibition page for contact information.

Congratulations again to all the winners and thank you for sharing your talent with us.

Best in Show (Traditional) – Jon Laing – “Kalaheria” – oil on wood

1st-BIS-93-trad.-Jon-Laing-Kalaheria-.bJon Laing is a portrait artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. He started his art career as a caricaturist as a teenager working at Six Flags Great Adventure. Through his time there, drawing people all day every day, he developed a knack for lightning fast draftsmanship and capturing a person’s likeness. Now working as a realistic portrait artist, he aims to bring the energy and personality from his caricatures while injecting sensitivity and poignancy in to his paintings, taking pain staking efforts to capture emotive lighting and subtle color shifts.

Jon’s website is www.jonlaingart.com

Best in Show (Photography & Digital) – Brian Cann – “Shadow Play” – digital photography

1st-BIS-16-dp.-Brian-Cann-Shadow-Play-.bBrian Cann is a photographer, teacher and writer living in Stuttgart, Germany, specializing in portrait, editorial, fitness, event and art-nude photography. 

He taught math at school and university. Studied photography. Stopped. Started again, motivated by early retirement and his wife. An early specialization in the studio slowly shifted to outside images. Portraits of athletes, many of them masters, morphed into figure studies and explorations in erotic and fetish photography, often with the same models: typically strong, fit, and older. His goal is to produce non-exploitative, authentic portraits that stay away from cliché and in which his models are co-creators, collaborators in a process.

His work has appeared in IoN magazine and ‘Mein heimliches Auge’ and others, and he has been featured in juried exhibitions in the USA, Scotland, Hungary, France, Montenegro, and Germany.

He is originally from the UK, now living in Germany, with his American wife and kids.

Brian’s website is www.briancann.com

Best in Show (3 Dimensional) – Jia Peng – “Portrait of Zhang Boju” – stone sculpture

1st-BIS-5-3d.-Jia-Peng-Portrait-of-Zhang-Boju-.bJia Peng is a Chinese artist who graduated from Yanshan University in 2005, and then traveled to Vienna, Florence and other places.  He is a member of Baoding Artists Association and Chinese Sculpture Professional Committee.

Jia Peng specializes in realistic portrait sculptures. His representative works include the stone statue of Lebanese current President Michel Aoun, the bronze statue of Yang Jingren, the former vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and the statue of Bai Juyi in the memorial hall of Bai Juyi’s hometown.

He has participated in numerous international art exhibitions, including the Third Youth Art Exhibition of the Hebei Artists Association (the highest award), Beijing Youth Art Biennale, Spain from Seville to China: Velázquez Painting & Sculpture Competition, and the British Portrait Sculptor Association Annual Exhibition.

Jia Peng can be reached via his Email

2nd Place (Traditional) – Linda McCord – “Yellow Gown” – acrylic on canvas

2nd-Place-27-trad.-Linda-McCord-Yellow-Gown-.yp_Artist Biography: Linda McCord lives in Washington state and works in her studio full time. Although she is a self-taught artist, her work has taken awards in numerous international competitions and has been published in several books. She is a signature member of California Watercolor Association, Northwest Watercolor Society, Georgia Watercolor Society, and International Acrylic Painters Society.

Artist Statement: I work in most of the two-dimensional mediums. Strong lighting is the thrust of my work. I prefer to build up many layers of transparent color to achieve depth and a glow to my paintings. Light and shadow, repetition of shapes and contrast are all an important part of my work. I love color, but value is more important to me.

Linda’s website is www.lindamccord.com

2nd Place (Photography & Digital) – Robert Bolla – “The Medicine Man” – digital photo painting on canvas

2nd-Place-24-dp.-Robert-Bolla-The-Medicine-Man-.cI have had a life-long interest in photography gathering skills via professional mentoring in methods of film photography and techniques. Although I am mainly a self-trained photographer, was mentored by professional photographers at a time when the medium was film, and the finished product came out of a darkroom using chemical techniques to change an image view. I have translated these skills to the world of digital photography and the use of post processing to emulate film types and darkroom methods as well as to incorporate painterly skills into my toolbox. During 30+ years as a of biology professor and research scientist, I used photomicrography, electron microscopy and photo image analysis to enhance biochemical, molecular and genetics in my research to answer biological questions about parasite-host interactions. My photographic interests are the relationship of science and the arts following my career in biology. This leads me to photographic interests in nature, flora and fauna and humans and human interactions showing the biology of living systems.

Photography gives me a voice to write visually about science and to tell a story, not necessarily my story or “novel”, but the story a viewer sees through his or her imagination. Because I began my photographic interests in the era of film photography, I do most of my digital photography using the manual mode so that I can maintain control on how I shoot the image. Thus, I do most of my work in-camera, using post processing to emulate vintage films, and vintage photographic techniques such as those of wet plate painted emulsion. I also enhance my photographic “novel” I often employ digital painting or drawing from the photograph to emulate artistic expression found in paintings or to enhance the story or impression expressed by the photo. I also print on a variety of papers such as metal paper and linen paper to gain full expression of the photograph and the post processing. I believe that it is not the photograph alone that tells the story but how the story is illustrated by the method chosen “in the digital darkroom” or on the paper selected for printing.

My work has been exhibited regionally and nationally in juried, curated, and solo exhibitions in invited exhibits in the St. Louis, Missouri area, in virtual on-line galleries and at invitation in the 2018 and 2020 International EuroBioTech Conference in Poznan, Poland relative to their discussion of the relationship of art and science in today’s world.

Robert’s website is https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/robert-bolla

2nd Place (3 Dimensional) – Douglas Aja – “The Shooter” – bronze

2nd-Place-1-3d.-Douglas-Aja-The-Shooter-.bDouglas Aja has been sculpting African wildlife since the late 1990s. Since that time he donates a portion of the sales proceeds to various conservation organizations as well as donates sculptures for fund raising events. Though he sculpts a variety of species, he specializes in the African elephant. Many elephants are known individuals from Amboseli National Park in Kenya.

He has been a longtime supporter of Amboseli Trust for Elephants, ElephantVoices, The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Action for Cheetahs in Kenya and Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF). Aja’s bronze sculptures are in the private collections of elephant researchers Cynthia Moss and Joyce Poole, wildlife cinematographer Martyn Colbeck, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Bennington Center for the Arts and NBA great and Basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones.

Traveling to Africa for the first time in 1978, Doug took part in a wilderness education program with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). There he studied wilderness and mountaineering skills, outdoor leadership, minimum impact camping and Kenya’s culture. He continues to visit East Africa regularly to take photos, gather reference material and to further his knowledge and understanding of his subjects. He often backpacks on Mount Kenya, through Maasailand and has climbed Kilimanjaro.

Doug’s website is www.artistsforconservation.org/artists/1238/gallery/all

3rd Place (Traditional) – Telagio Baptista – “Carefully Wrapped” – watercolor on paper

3rd-Place-87-trad.-Telagio-Baptista-Carefully-Wrapped-.bTelagio Baptista is a recent transplant to Omaha, Nebraska. Born and raised in California, he has lived in Northern California since 1985. For 20 years before that, Telagio owned and operated a graphic design studio in Hawaii. He toured the South Pacific as a golf pro during this time, teaching private golf lessons as time permitted. Despite the joys and rewards of his various careers throughout the years, his passion for the arts remained.

Telagio’s interest in the arts began when his parents bought him a toy violin. When they saw he would not put it down, they enrolled him in private violin lessons. During his teen years, Telagio gave private concerts up and down the Northern California coast and performed, as well, as a member of a string quartet. By the age of 17, he was a concertmaster of a junior symphony.

While developing his love of music, Telagio also continued to develop a passion for the visual arts. His high school paintings won national awards, and he was awarded a scholarship to the San Francisco Art Institute. Telagio finished his education by earning a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts.

Telagio Baptista is a portrait, figurative, seascape, and cityscape artist using various atmospheric painting techniques. He frequently utilizes negative space to give his images room to “breathe” and express a specific feeling or mood. His paintings have won international art competitions in addition to awards received both regionally and nationally.

Telagio works solely with watercolor. He uses a limited palette, valuing simplicity and restful space. In his view, watercolor is magical, an exotic medium that has no boundaries. His images vary from entirely realistic to somewhat more abstract, allowing the viewer to respond with every painting.

As an artist and as a person, Telagio is open to new ways of perceiving and understanding. He is continuously learning and embraces the notion that his best work is yet to come.

Telagio’s watercolor paper of choice is Arches and Fabriano 140-300lb cold press to rough. Winsor Newton Professional Watercolor and Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolor are his primary choice of paints.

Telagio conducts watercolor workshops in Omaha and surrounding areas for both individuals and groups. Encouragement and support for each student characterize his teaching method. He brings his God-given and professional painting skills along with his enthusiasm to each workshop, encouraging his students to speak “loud and clear” with their hearts and brushes.

Telagio’s website is http://telagiobap.com

3rd Place (Photography & Digital) – Barbara Mierau-Klein – “Laura in Awe” – digital photo collage

3rd-Place-4-dp.-Barbara-Mierau-Klein-Laura-in-Awe-.bBarbara Mierau-Klein is a digital artist recognized for her multi-layered, imaginative and colorful fine art images. A native of Germany, Barbara lives in the Washington, D.C. area but often travels the world as a passionate landscape and nature photographer since her teenage years.

Much of Barbara’s work is highly stylized and focuses on beautiful moments and evocative moods across a wide range of subjects. The inspiration for her images comes from many sources, often her own nature photography, but also books, song lyrics, movies, and works of other artists, old masters as well as contemporary digital artists.

Barbara’s work has been exhibited in a number of galleries in the US and Europe and has received numerous awards. Her images also appear regularly in international art magazines. Barbara is represented locally by Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda, MD.

Barbara’s website is www.barbaramierauklein.com  

3rd Place (3 Dimensional) – Karen Russo – “Rosie’s Secret Garden” – stoneware, underglaze, casein, wax

3rd-Place-3-3d.-Karen-Russo-Rosies-Secret-Garden-.bKaren Russo is a figurative ceramic sculptor who lives and works in the lush green foothills of 
western Oregon. She chooses clay as her primary medium because of its malleability, capacity for transformation, and direct connection to the earth.

Over the years, Karen has developed and honed a unique method of layering materials, textures, and color that lends her work a rich, organic quality. Beginning with stoneware or earthenware clay, she hand builds each sculpture from coil, slabs, or a solid mass of clay. The figure is then cut into multiple sections, hollowed, compressed, and then reassembled.

Karen carves patterns and textures into the clay before it undergoes a slow bisque fire that can last up to a week. She then uses underglazes, clay paint, casein, acrylic, wax, or a combination thereof to lay imagery onto each figure’s singular surface. Her color palette echoes the places that inspire her; from the ocean to the forests, the desert to the mountains, of the extraordinary Pacific Northwest. The resulting sculptures depict women that seem to originate from numerous different eras and geographical origins, but all of which explore the tensions of the feminine experience: strength and contemplation, youth and aging, joy and grief, instability and equilibrium, hope and despair. Through these maternal archetypes, so evocative of the precious earth from which they were formed, Karen hopes to express an eternal optimism for the human spirit in this beautiful, and turbulent world.

Karen Russo received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of California Santa Cruz in 1982. From 1986 to 1987 she studied under Paul Buckner at the University of Oregon MFA Program, with a concentration in Figure Sculpture. She has since furthered her studies with renowned sculptors Beth Cavener, Adrian Arleo, Alessandro Gallo, and Cristina Cordova. You can view more of Karen’s sculptures by visiting her website: www.karenrusso.studio

4th Place (Traditional) – Michael Scherfen – “Dom” – watercolor

4th-Place-46-trad.-Michael-Scherfen-Dom-.bA junior-high-school drawing class exposed me to the love of creating art. But, it was my job during college—as a mail boy for a San Francisco advertising agency—which actually launched my art career. There, excited after seeing, first-hand, the creative job possibilities as a commercial artist, I enrolled at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, from which I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Advertising Design.

Landing my first job right out of college—as an Art Director for McCann Erickson Advertising in San Francisco—was thrilling, but the excitement was cut short. Uncle Sam had other plans; I was drafted by the Army, and ultimately sent to Viet Nam, after working at McCann for only six weeks. Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant after graduating from OCS, I was first stationed at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, the state to which my wife and I returned after my Army stint was over, and is the state in which we still reside.

Restarting civilian life as an Art Director took place in nearby New York City, where my advertising career spanned 27 years at three agencies, working as a Senior Art Director and Vice President on major national and international advertising accounts, both in TV and print, including the creation of the first national print campaign for Lego Toys. Being challenged to come up with imaginative ideas for brands like Quaker Oatmeal, Panasonic; M&M Mars, Snickers, Starburst, and Nivea Skin Cream always kept the creative juices flowing to the point I never felt I worked a day in my life.

Love of art didn’t end when my job in NYC ended; it continued in freelance form. More importantly, my love of fine art was reignited when I began—for fun—studying watercolor under the mentorship of well-known watercolorist, Donald Voorhees. It had been decades since I had put brush to paper, but the thrill was back! Painting, now, for over 14 years, I specialize in portraiture and landscapes, and love every minute of it!

My interest in landscapes comes from a deep appreciation of both natural and man-made creations, with their endless palettes of texture and color. A rusting fishing boat in a local harbor; a gilded, medieval clock in France; the shifting waters in a Venice canal, all call to me. Similarly, the innumerable, diverse faces of the world offer endless opportunities to show the dignity and diversity of humankind: a gnarly blacksmith from Texas; a craggy, roadside vendor on the Amalfi Coast; an Afghan Pashtun tribesman in layers of native garb. All present a textured, intimate view into a life to be explored.

I currently hold Signature Membership in the American Watercolor Society, Allied Artists of America, Audubon Artists of America, North East Watercolor Society, Garden State Watercolor Society, New Jersey Water Color Society, and Hudson Valley Art Association. My watercolors have been shown in local, national and international exhibitions, garnering many awards from various local, national and international art societies.

Michael’s website is http://mikescherfen.com

4th Place (Photography & Digital) – Cindy Charles – “Water” – digital photography

4th-Place-8-dp.-Cindy-Charles-Water-.cCindy Charles is an award winning artist based out of Montreal, Canada. Paint splatters, cement, rust, washed out wood, dead leaves, withering flowers, broken glass, crumpled paper, may not be the objects many people would find inspiring or even riveting to photograph, but for Cindy they are the inception for her creative process, the components that bring her visions to fruition. The idea being that even the most mundane of objects are worthy of being photographed and have the potential of being manipulated and modified where the end product is a cool piece of art.

Besides the elements of design that play an integral part in her conceptual vision, she is also sparked by the aspiration that anything can be turned into something artistic given the right conditions. She is not only a photographer but a photo artist. With camera in tow, she is on a perpetual quest to photograph anything she feels will contribute to her finished pieces.

Her images are subsequently united with Photoshop where the magic begins. Cropping, masking, overlaying, painting, reconfiguring, enhancing, applying blend modes are the techniques used to transform ordinary photographs into the extraordinary. Pushing her photography further from the imagination to fruition thus giving her the freedom to create without abandon.

Cindy can be reached via her Email.  

4th Place (3 Dimensional) – Brian Mark – “Marvin Kalb” – alabaster

4th-Place-4-3d.-Brian-Mark-Marvin-Kalb-.bArtist Biography: Brian Mark is known for letting the sculpture talk to him, advising him where to take his art. As he tells it, he’s been intrigued by all types of art for most of his life. While he was doing scholarly work in English literature, Brian began to feel a tug toward creating, not just intellectualizing about art. His first artistic foray was in woodworking. He has been joyfully creating stone sculptures since 2001. “Sculpting is something I simply cannot NOT do. It is a passion.” He strives to bring beauty into the world, and at the same time soothe his soul by fulfilling the creative process.

Artist’s Statement: Nature is raw. Art is practiced. Each stone has its own language and my job is to understand that language. Some of the learning comes from understanding what each stone is saying, as these stones are all unique: each has its own color, its own shape, and its own hidden beauty. This is how the stone shows me what it’s trying to say. When a stone selects me, I cannot know what striations, hues, density, faults lie under the surface. As I begin chiseling and grinding, the stone talks to me: “work with me: together we can bring forth that special surprise, that new beauty never before seen.” The conversation continues until nature’s stone and my imagination marry and together say, “stop – our work is done.” For me that conversation must lead to a sculpture that has movement, movement, movement. That movement is stone brought to life in a way never before seen.

Brian’s website is www.brianmarksculptor.com

5th Place (Traditional) – Randall Jones – “This Must Be the Place (Abi)” – oil on canvas

5th-Place-13-trad.-Randall-Jones-This-Must-Be-the-Place-Abi-.bRandall Jones is an oil painter living and working in Austin, Texas. He received his Masters of Art and BFA in Visual Arts Studies from the University of North Texas. ​

His work in oil painting is an investigation into the self, domestic life, and our collective and individual relationship with the unknown through a combination of intimate moments from daily life and surrealist imagery. The daily human moments of a person’s life offer an intimacy and a specific intersection in time to meditate on, yet when presented in the room altogether, tell the story of a life lived.

Often the surrealist elements are filled with references to art history, philosophy, and contemporary culture, in order to create a visual mind map. He uses form and figure as a symbol, each in conversation with one another, pointing to a more broadly unified concept. Displacement through collage is vital to the work in order to visually invoke subconscious or unconscious states. The natural world is often depicted as well for its timeless metaphorical resonance, and the universality of its imagery.

Jones mixes traditional oil painting on canvas with other techniques such as dying the surface with tea, sanding areas of paint away, or painting on found fabrics. These techniques surrender the art making process in part to chance, therefore maintaining a dialogic relationship with the unknown throughout the process of making.

Randall’s website is http://randalljonesart.com

5th Place (Photography & Digital) – Joanne Chase-Mattillo – “Look at the Hand” – digital painted photograph

5th-Place-29-dp.-Joanne-Chase-Mattillo-Look-at-the-Hand-.cThe beauty of nature surrounding Los Angeles was the impetus for my entrance into the field of photography. I began vigorously studying photography and other art arenas to hone my skills as a visual artist. In 2000, I graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a Masters of Fine Art (MFA).

During these years I continued as a tenured teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District. I am now a full-time artist. I began this life’s journey in Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated with a BA from Eastern Michigan University. Though the natural settings of Michigan are also quite beautiful, I always dreamed of living in California. It was when I found the Santa Monica Mountains and her many hiking trails that I learned to absolutely love Los Angeles.

The fact that many locals in Los Angeles, including the San Fernando Valley where I have lived for so many years have been used in Hollywood movies is also been an important part of my art influencing the creation of three photo books – A MONTH OF COOL DAYS AND HOT NIGHTS and INTERSPECIES DATING IN LOS ANGELES 3D, and DOLLS COME TO LIFE 3D.

Since 1991, I have been a volunteer docent through the Santa Monica Conservancy/Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, I led a public photo walk in both Franklin Canyon Park and King Gillette parks. In addition to color and black and white film, I now shoot digitally and employ the techniques of infrared imaging and enjoy creating 3D anaglyphs to be viewed with red/blue lenses. I also enjoy combining images of nature with movie stills, mannequins, or human subjects in photo montages, with occasional text included in these artworks.

As an extension of photography, I have branched out to do videos and have a YouTube Channel, THE VIDEO ART OF JOANNE CHASE-MATTILLO. I have exhibited throughout California, nationally, in Korea, France and England.

Joanne’s website is www.joannechasemattillo.com

5th Place (3 Dimensional) – K R Nariman – “Connect” – handmade bronze sculpture

5th-Place-6-3d.-K-R-Nariman-Connect-.bK R Nariman was born in New Delhi, India where she currently resides. She is a graduate with a Masters of Fine Arts degree (MFA) from University of Arts, London.

K R Nariman’s sculpture’s exhibit human connectivity and environmental concerns. The widespread threat to the natural world in the face of habitat destruction and resource exploitation pose monumental wildlife and environmental threats. The human race is collectively responsible for the degradation of the environment and wildlife around us, and that is reflected in the form of abstract human figures in all her sculptures. Her work is influenced by human relationships and the degradation of the natural world, this takes its shape in the form of Bronze Sculptures of human and animal figurines in addition to nature inspired artwork. Hand crafted sculptures are primary to her practice.

Her sculptures are in two styles. The first being abstract human sculptures linked together through their limbs. These speak of people being interconnected and world over being alike irrespective of race, colour, sex or ethnicity. She hopes to spread the message that all human beings are bridged together and can build on that to form deep relationships and help each other grow.

Nature and animal inspired sculptures consist of the second type of sculptures she produces. The message behind these sculptures are to spread knowledge on conservation and sustainability to ensure that future generations will have the bounties of nature that we enjoy today. Her research is focused on the effect that human activity has on the planet’s biodiversity. A number of elements cause this disruption, including habitat alteration, resource exploitation, and deforestation. Due to consumerism and the lack of knowledge about sustainability, we find ourselves moving further away from our connect with our ecosystems. Therefore, her sculptures hope to impact the viewer on the pressing issue of today which is environmental change, and how we as human beings can directly or indirectly damage or improve our surroundings and ourselves. Her hope is to extend knowledge on conservation efforts that will ultimately lead people towards lifestyle changes so that a healthy habitat is secured for future generations.

She has been a part of a number of group shows abroad. Some notable exhibits this year have been at the ‘Paris Art Fair’ in France and an exhibition at the ‘Van Gogh Art gallery’ in Spain. She has on occasion also exhibited at the ‘Mall Galleries’ at St. James in London. She has been awarded the ‘Special Award 2019’ by Delhi Minorities Commission, Government of NCT Delhi for Sculpture. She has won a number of awards at Fusion Art Gallery and at Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery for her Bronze Sculptures. She has also been shortlisted for the Clifford Chance Sculpture Award and the John Ruskin Prize: Agents of Change. K R Nariman was Commissioned to sculpt an installation for Tijara Fort Palace, part of the Neemrana properties. On its installation, she had the honour of the suite being named ‘Nariman Mahal’.

KR’s website is www.krnariman.com   


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