Xakilah Daniel is a student at Indiana University. A fine art student, majoring in photography.
She is a part of Black Lives Matter movement and based her artwork from intersectionality. Xakilah expresses the importance in sharing art tips within the art community, because she seeks fairness for everyone.
Nick Luther was born September 3rd, 1993, as the second of four boys. Growing up with a father who loved comic books and horror movies was a huge factor in developing his favorite artistic subject matter and preferred styles.
Nick has been drawing for as long as he can remember. His father was always drawing when he was a small child and seeing this as well as the art of Doctor Seuss books and the fun colors and characters of Looney Toons had him drawing by the age of four on a regular basis. One of his favorite subjects as a child was creating and drawing monsters with movies such as Alien and The Thing being heavy influences. He also became interested in drawing his own comics as a young child in daycare and remembers copying from Calvin and Hobbs books before he and his eldest brother started making their own stick figure comics that continued on into middle school. He also began using pipe cleaners to create simple stick figure characters to play with which eventually developed into elaborate monsters of varying designs and the ability to make stop motion movies with these homemade creatures.
He started to refine his own artistic vision in high school when he began to focus more on proper human proportions and anatomy instead of simple stick figures. Some of the inspiration for his own characters and how he draws anatomy in his own way comes from the dark and exaggerated styles of Tim Burton, Gris Grimly, and Jhonen Vasquez. While art classes in school introduced him into new mediums he hadn’t experienced before, his favorite style remained very much illustrations and character creation and his love of comics never wavered; some of his favorite comic book artists he’s known about since childhood such as Todd McFarlane and Sam Keith. 4 years of art classes introduced him to painting and charcoal and in that time he also pursued experimenting with acrylic paints in his own time. He says that in that time he went through at least 2 sketchbooks a year and most were full of his own caricatures of various people he knew or favorite characters and actors. He still has those sketchbooks and various other works he’s done in his possession to this day.
In 2013 while working a warehouse job he hated he began a passion project with his eldest brother and a good friend of theirs. The Bounty Project. They each created their own original characters as the trio of protagonists and the plot of the book they came up with together. This comic is still an ongoing project to this day with hopes of one day being published.
In recent years, Nick has gone back to working with charcoal and watercolor paints and broadening his skills in those mediums as well as continuing to fill various sketchbooks with anything and everything that comes to mind. He has also begun to develop his skills in the digital medium as well, allowing him to experiment with colors in his illustrations beyond the grey shading of pad and pencil. Instagram has allowed him to keep track of some of his favorite artists such as Carlos Huante, Ben Templesmith, and Rob Guillory and more easily find inspiration in the things he loves and takes influence from. He eagerly awaits Inktober each year and the horror themed prompts that embody some of the things that have always been a major part of his life and his art. Creativity is the driving force of his life and he looks forward to a day when he has unlimited time to focus on his artistic dreams. This will be the first time that his work has been featured in a gallery.
“Art is a way of life. Cliche as it sounds it is the ultimate form of expression. What emotions are you feeling? Joy, sadness, rage, lust, panic? Literally anything you want to express, you just find some paper and let it flow. Art can say what you can’t find the words to say. Art is therapy in that way, it has the ability to help you come to terms with things in your life in a way that you don’t have to show or explain to anyone; it can be for you and only you in any way that you need. It’s the only form of medication I’ve ever been able to maintain and it works better than any breathing exercise ever could. It’s just relaxing. Peaceful. There’s a strange sense of power that comes from being able to see and pull something from the ether that no one else can even begin to envision until you make it real. On a less existential level, there’s the limitless potential for comedy in art. I’d simply point to anything by Chuck Jones for his incredible exaggerations or Gary Larson for his brilliant simplicity. Art simply can’t be contained or defined to just one thing. It’s paintings, it’s stories, it’s music, it’s movies, it’s poetry. If it moves your heart and calls your soul, it’s art. When you see it, you recognize it everywhere; from the ridiculous storytelling possibilities of comic books to capturing the truth of life in portraits and landscapes. Art is life; it’s my life, it’s your life, it’s all our lives. It’s as simple as that.”
Jack Donnelly was born in Portland, Oregon in 2001 but after a few years he moved with his family to Bloomington, Indiana where he grew up. As a twin, Jack always tried to be independent of his twin sister and become his own person, developing interests personal to him; the most prominent being his interest in art. Jack started with an interest in realism, drawing graphite portraits as detailed and true-to-life as possible, even selling pieces to friends at school for extra practice.
With an emotional drive, Jack let his heart lead his work, taking on darker topics like death and mental illness. Jack would surround himself with as many types of art as he could, taking an avid interest in researching musical art as well as designing and thrifting clothing. Jack drew inspiration from many movements and periods including, the postmodern movement, the surrealist period, the cubist style, and the neo-expressionist movement where he found great inspiration from Jean Michel Basquiat.
Jack excelled in the use of digital applications like photoshop and became the top graphic art student in his high school. This graphic art has become Jack’s primary medium.
“I have always been interested in how when you construct a figure it is considered art but at some point, you are imitating life. I think that everything is art, but I like to mix realism with more abstract styles to express the complexity of our world. This mixing of styles is my way of commenting on how fascinating it is that we have so many ways of expressing the same idea. I could draw a detailed figure of a man; blending shadows and highlights, measuring every precise angle, or I could carefully combine colors and circles and curved lines, with seemingly no meaning on their own, to create the figure of a man so the same. I have fun using both tactics, like painting while wearing mis-matched glasses; the right lens a piece of broken, orange-tinted glass from a bottle, the left lens a clear, clean-cut piece of glass from a microscope.”