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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Nicoletta Ceccoli

Nicoletta Ceccoli

"Nicoletta has illustrated many books,mainly in Italy, in the USA and in the UK.

Her work has been exhibited at the Bologna Children’s Book fair seven times.She has also shown her work among the others in ‘Roq la Rue’ (Seattle), ’Magic Pony’(Toronto), ’Dorothy Circus’(Rome), Richard Goodall Gallery(Manchester).

In 2001,Nicoletta was awarded with the Andersen prize as best Italian illustrator of the year.

She is also a four time recipient of the ‘award of excellence’ from Communication Arts.In 2006 she received the silver medal from Society of Illustrator(New York)."

"Nicoletta Ceccoli was born and still lives in The Republic of San Marino with her two pet turtle doves. "

Mark Bryan

Mark Brian

"Ever since I can remember, I've been troubled by the state of things. Maybe it was all that talk about heaven in Sunday school. A perfect world, why isn't it like that here? I feel ripped off. Even the animals didn't eat each other in heaven. Imagine that.

" You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you " Leon Trotsky

Given this beautiful planet, our intelligence, talent and opposable thumbs, one would think that things for us would be a lot better than they are. I suppose I've carried a general disappointment in human nature for quite a while that makes itself apparent in most of my work. It seems to me that in terms of what we do to each other and to our environment, we really are fiddling while Rome burns. Perhaps we are either too smart or too dumb for our own good.

As a result of this perspective, satirical work is the logical direction for me. Humor allows for comment to be made without alienating the viewer. I believe it also shows a larger view and some affection and sympathy for the players in it.

" Mark Twain and I are in very much the same position. We have put things in such a way as to make people who would otherwise hang us, believe that we are joking" George Bernard Shaw

In my paintings I see the world as a cosmic stage for human activity. I'm in the audience like a court reporter taking notes with my sketchbook and brushes, playing the critic, here to observe and make comment.

I usually begin a painting with a beautiful natural landscape, but can't seem to leave it at that. Because of my need to make comment, I feel compelled to fill it up with depictions of absurd human activities and/or violent acts of revenge by Mother Nature. These depictions are full of symbolism, exaggeration and parody, much in the manner of political cartoons. I like to show men involved in their own tiny dramas while oblivious to greater and more powerful forces around them.

" Men go to war because they enjoy it " General John Pershing

Most of my work in the past has had social, religious or political undertones and made comments in a symbolic and general way about the human predicament. It was not aimed at specific individuals or situations, but events in the world and the political direction of this country in the past few years have been alarming to me. I feel that it is a time for artists with a political bent to make stronger statements with a clearer message. I don’t know if this really has much effect on the situation, I hope so, but at least it has a therapeutic value for me and others of like mind seem happy to see their feelings made real visually. I have attempted to retain in the work the fun that can come from satire and parody and at the same time deal with these serious subjects.

Not all my work is satirical and colored with a cynical perspective. When I've had enough of social comment for a while, I change direction and create work that is just for fun or try to explore more positive aspects of our existence.

Apart from all the trouble we cause ourselves, I believe we are immersed in a powerful and beautiful mystery. The fact of our existence is a great riddle to me. Gauguin in his famous painting asks " Whence do we Come? What are We? Whither are we going?” For me, those questions are always worth trying to answer.


I was born in Southern California in 1950. It was still a nice place to live back then. We lived about five miles from the place where they made the moon rockets.

My father was a paint salesman and my mother was a homemaker, bookkeeper and part time artist. I remember one of her projects was taking prints of Grandma Moses paintings on fabric and carefully stuffing the people and animals with cotton from behind so that they poked out from the surface. I thought they were so cool. She also made felt paintings of people in the bathroom with their butts showing. To this day I still like pictures of some peoples' butts.

Science fiction and the Red Scare were big. During the Cuban missile crisis my mother told me that if I ever saw a real bright flash of light that I should get down low behind something and wait till the blast went by and then come straight home. I'm sure that this kind of atmosphere contributed to my overall paranoia and sense of impending doom that I carry with me to this day.

I had an early inclination for art. I liked to paint war scenes and pirate ships. The girls in my class would come to me and say, "Can you paint a bunny for me? " Little did I know that Bunny Motifs would figure prominently in my later work. Once I made a fake time bomb with dynamite sticks and a real clock that you could wind up. I liked to put it under my bed at night and listen to it until I went to sleep.

I didn't fit in well at school. I still don't. I had a few friends. We thought all the popular people were idiots. We still do. College was better. I wanted to study art but that wasn't a real job so I studied architecture instead. I did just fine until the math got over my head. They say it's a brain thing.

The Hippie movement was right on, Hell no I didn't go! When I told them about the bomb under my bed they shouted at me and made me leave. I pretended that it hurt my feelings, but it didn't. I actually liked it.

Finally I made it to art school. At last I was with people some what like me, I could do my work and the parties were awesome. Probably the most important influence on me were the Chicano artists that I hung out with, (they are famous guys now). I lived with two of them in Echo Park. We used to draw like Banshees late into the night. (Banshees are Irish Mr. Deaths). My advisors at school liked my work, but they said I was an eccentric artist and I was on my own, but that was OK. Everything was OK then. It was beautiful man. It still is, if you don't watch the news.

I have a son, daughter a Granddaugther and a cat. Inspite of my defects they all seem to love me very much. I live on the Central Coast of California. A little bit out of town in a house that I built years ago. I wanted to live in town but the townspeople wouldn't have me. It's very beautiful here. I keep telling myself that. I'm very lucky if you consider the possibilities. I keep telling myself that too.

Kaj Stenvall

Born 25.12.1951 Tampere, Finlandopinnot
studies: Turun Taideyhdistyksen Piirustuskoulu 1971-74

"Kaj Stenvall first came to the attention of the Finnish art world about ten years ago when he began to paint a very familiar-looking duck in a variety of settings. Stenvall asserts that this character has been developed by himself, even while acknowledging its similarity to the most famous duck in the world.

The scenes in his pictures are from the world at large and his duck often appears in absurd, if
recognizably generic, settings. There really is nothing in his paintings that one can put their finger on to connect them to any particular corner of the world, especially not to Finland, except perhaps a specific intensity of angst and foreboding.

Kaj Stenvall is eager to open a dialogue with the large and diverse audiences who are aware of his pictures. The feelings that his paintings bring out in people routinely range from hilarity to anguish. Stenvall is fascinated by the transitional line between the comical and the tragic, and vice versa, and his art’s inherent humor – both absurd and tragic – is quite clearly an essential feature of his approach.

Stenvall claims to not really suffer from the usual “anguish of creation” experienced by so many artists. He doesn´t wait for some kind of inspiration to arrive, but simply gets down to work after he comes up with an idea of what to create - and then enjoys the process of painting. Perhaps related to this, Stenvall insists that his images do not have any connection with his own life, stating that:

"The duck is more of a symbol; the material of an intermediary; and a symbol of Man. The character illustrates the dilemma of being human. The duck, as such, doesn´t symbolize anything to me personally. It is used as a catalyst in the process of how it will be interpreted in the eye of the beholder." "


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