Hazel Santino

Hazel Santino's illustrations are a perfect combination of creepy, mysterious and beautiful. The time each piece must have taken is evident when examined. Hazel's oil paintings are incredibly detailed and tend towards photo realistic; she also incorporates hand done cut outs such as the branches seen in one of the pieces above. Her color palettes are musky, full of neutrals, flesh tones and swirls of greys, a nice contrast to some of the super color saturated illustrative work very popular now. Subjects in her paintings are often human though she also seems to have a enjoy rendering small animals no one else appreciates — rats and pigeons.

The content may be dark, one of the pieces above is based on the story of a murdered girl stuffed into a tree, but Hazel's treatment is far from morose or morbid. There is something quiet and thoughtful in her work. She will be beginning her fifth year at The New School this fall finishing the second of her two degrees there, a BFA in illustration at Parsons and a BA in Literary Studies at Eugene Lang. It seems as though she has already been commissioned for a couple of jobs, CD and book covers, so here's to hoping we see more of Hazel's work recognized.

Hazel's Tumblr


PRESS HERE by Hervé Tullet

I was randomly browsing the kids section in the MoMA store and discovered this book. Attracted to the imperative PRESS HERE, I immediately began reading and followed all the instructions of this wonderful children’s book by Hervé Tullet. The book gives you the sensation of things actually happening as a result of your actions on the page (press here, shake the book, tilt it to the left etc.) and it feels magical. The first couple of times literally gave me a feeling of power. With a touch of my finger this dot will multiply!

I was so engaged with what was happening and the effect each turn of the page had that it hardly bothered me that I was laughing, clapping (acting a little loony) in the MoMa store. All I can say is that PRESS HERE is very compelling and makes the reader a key part of the book. The book is simply illustrated in primary colors with a raw quickly drawn style. Perusing through Tullet's equally playful site, PRESS HERE fits in very well with his body of work.

Chronicle Books released a book trailer for it as well showing children being very amused with the book. But only watch it if you’re not planning to go to a bookstore and read it because the video gives away most of what happens. And you wouldn't want to ruin reading it for yourself.

Wong Chiu Tat

Wong Chiu Tat (黃照達) is an artist whose comics are published daily by one of Hong Kong's larger newspapers, Ming Pao. His strip, called Zi Zi Za Za (translated literally) which I would translate as meaning White Noise, are typically four to six panels and comment on current social and political events. His work is a great representation of humor revealing truth; many of his strips critically analyze the Hong Kong government. Chiu Tat also recently published a book called Lonely Planet where the protagonist is a fired designer. Besides working as a professional artist, he lectures on comic and alternative art at Baptist University Hong Kong.

The blog he runs features a series of work called Hello World that consists of full pages of comics following a small boy called Wong Yut. Here, as in his strips for Ming Pao, the thoughts and reactions of the characters in the comic reflect current affairs ironically and with a grin.

My Chinese reading capability is good enough to make sense of the gist of things, but a lot of the more specific jokes and references pass me by. I enjoy the graphic style of his work without even reading the text though. It's similar to Chris Ware's work, perhaps most known for Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. Chiu Tat's clean graphic sensibility stands out in a newspaper and is calling Hong Kong's attention to design by making it relevant to what people care about.