Black Doll Series sequel: a kaleidoscopic new select from Qiana Mestrich. September 18 2018

Sweet Indian Doll III by Qiana Mestrich
Qiana Mestrich is back, and just in time to wake up our gallery walls for fall. Today’s new edition by the Brooklynite, artist, and educator represents our second select from her photo-based project The Black Doll Series. Like her first edition, Mestrich’s second began as an internet product pic of a vintage Black doll for sale. Through precise digital painting and manipulation, Mestrich transformed the original image into something else all together—an unrecognizable abstracted form made of layered aligned and misaligned geometric shapes in a subdued, earthy color palette, centered in the frame against a solid taupe background. One of only a few scant clues to the image’s past life is the item description Mestrich has retained in the title of her artwork: Sweet Indian Doll III. Just because a past is invisible, doesn’t mean it’s been erased.

Mestrich’s use of abstraction in The Black Doll Series is both deconstructive and generative, dismantling the stereotypes on display in each doll, and enabling her to harness complete control of an image’s transfiguration through sharp lines and angles and a tight composition. (Read more about The Black Doll Series here.) The geometric components that make up the central arrangement in Sweet Indian Doll III are not unlike kaleidoscope fragments—we are looking through a lens of Mestrich’s own making, a narrative she commands. Abstract though it may be, Sweet Indian Doll III is a representation of Blackness brought to life by a Black woman, methodically and decisively decolonized. In this there’s a commentary on the fictionality of the original. Though the abstracted form is nearly as far from figurative realism as one could get, it’s more authentically human than the stereotyped product pic from which Mestrich ministered its metamorphosis ... 

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New! Sketchbook sensation Jennifer Orkin Lewis debuts with a lovable lemur. September 12 2018

Lemur from Madagascar by Jennifer Orkin Lewis
If the overcast approach of autumn has put a damper on your summer sunshine high, we’re all the more excited to introduce you to new 20x200 artist Jennifer Orkin Lewis and her debut edition Lemur from Madagascar. Lewis’s arboreal island dweller swung right into our hearts at first sight. It’s patently impossible to forgo this painting’s feel-good energy. The way Lewis painted the lemur’s adorably animated expression, the lush melange of bright buds, leaves and branches, the delightful density of all her detail work—this is the ideal artwork for a pick-me-up, a baby shower present, or an injection of joy in an otherwise reserved art collection.

An artist, illustrator, textile designer, and teacher who lives outside of New York City, Lewis—otherwise known as August Wren—has been painting from an early age. Mostly working in gouache and watercolor, she is particularly adept at creating vibrant, jubilant images with soft, expressive strokes subtly defined by fine, dark lines. We had the pleasure of watching her paint in person when she stopped by the plant drawing party we co-hosted with NYC plant purveyor The Sill and 20x200 artist Julia Rothman, and let’s just say her work put our amateur doodles to shame (no surprise there).

Lewis is also an author: her newest book, 100 Days of Drawing, just came out last week. The book is divided into twenty-five of her go-to subjects and techniques, each of which is approachable for artists at any skill level. It includes fun prompts to push you past creative blocks, and all sorts of other tips and tricks. The gist? It’ll get you drawing every day, something Lewis knows a lot about ... 

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A 1970s ice cream dream, frozen in time by famed photog John Margolies. August 21 2018

Gary's Ice Cream, Jacksonville, Florida by John Margolies
When it comes to summertime confections, no treat can compete with the milky, melty queen of of the season: ice cream. Since we’re approaching this year’s last stretch of guaranteed super hot sunshine, it only seems right to go out on a sugar high note. Make a pit stop at Gary’s Ice Cream, Jacksonville, Florida, the newest—and by far most mouthwatering—addition to our collection of vintage images by famed American photographer John Margolies.

Gary’s Ice Cream, Jacksonville, Florida is Margolies’ seventies homage to the beautifully low-brow novelty architecture of the fifties. Though Margolies shot it in 1979, the creamery opened in 1950, and its exterior had remained mostly unchanged (though worn with love) in the 30 years between. Margolies had a soft spot for the vernacular and novelty architecture dotting the United States, and saw these quirky, charming, idiosyncratic structures as woefully neglected cultural treasures. He turned his lens to the regional constructions that reflected their respective locales, and all sorts of beautifully bizarre mimetic buildings—a huge pair of dice on a mini-golf course, a Shell gas station shaped like a clam, two giant ice cream cones hovering over Gary’s Ice Cream, calling passing travelers to temptation ... 

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On the greatness of Herons—Audubon's + IRL ones August 07 2018

Plate 211: Great Blue Heron by John James Audubon
Introducing the newest limited-edition print to join our collection of Audubon images is 20x200 founder and fledgling birdwatcher Jen Bekman, whose early a.m. nature walks have her falling in love with her local flora and fauna—namely, one especially elegant, elongated avian habitué. Read on ... 

Today’s release, Plate 211: Great Blue Heron, is the fifteenth (!!) Audubon edition we’ve included in our ever-growing Vintage Editions collection, which means we’ve already shared loads of context on Audubon’s life and career. With that in mind, I’m going to focus on the inspiration for adding this particular bird to our menagerie, which has to do with two specific Great Blues, the urban shoreline they inhabit, and how getting to know that place and its myriad avian residents has sustained my soul and fostered an amazing friendship as I, a lifelong New Yorker, settle into my new life as a full-time San Francisco resident.

Heron’s Head Park, a small bit of greenery and wonder that has flourished along the industrial waterfront of Southeast San Francisco since 1999, is not in fact named for its dignified denizens, but rather for the outline of it as seen from above, which bears an uncanny resemblance to—you guessed it!—a heron’s head. Made up mostly of marshy wetlands, Heron’s Head and its neighboring slice of reclaimed waterfront, India Basin Shoreline Park, are flanked on either side by industrial sites, and yet they host a flourishing, complex ecosystem which hosts over a 100 different species of birds.

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Take a hike! This 1930s throwback is a female-led force of nature. July 31 2018

Woman Hiking--WPA recreation project, Dist. No. 2, a 20x200 Vintage Edition
To heck with getting outta the woods—let’s go in. Our new Vintage Edition isn’t just a particularly unique blast from the past, it’s also an infectiously gung ho take on depicting great-outdoors-going. We plucked Woman Hiking—WPA recreation project, Dist. No. 2 from one of our favorite vintage archives: the arts-related arm of FDR’s Works Progress Administration. Made sometime between 1936 and 1939, this design appeared on one of the WPA’s widely distributed posters as part of the community recreation programs encouraging an array of enriching extracurriculars, from reading to tennis.

Maybe it’s the thought of getting some serious distance from the office to enjoy the warm weather we’ve been having, but if we could take our pick of pastimes right now we’d opt for the outdoors. This edition speaks to us. But this nature’s calling for another reason, namely the bold, offbeat color combination and interesting injection of abstraction. The style isn’t easily identifiable—sort of a deconstructed art-deco-esque look brought to life by some sketchier strokes. And the details are delectable. Take, for instance, the bird that’s landed on the letter H. Plus, there’s a mountain (heh) of other cool things about this print. Let’s take the scenic route, shall we?

Woman Hiking—WPA recreation project, Dist. No. 2 might not be quite what you’d expect of a 1930s-era design. Why? Because it stars a lone female figure hiking up a trail. That seems like a pretty radical image when you couch it in its historical context—the world of outdoor recreation has long been a boys’ club, even more so almost a century ago. Clad in shorts with tousled hair rippling in the breeze behind her, this backpack-toting outdoorsperson is a woman on a mission. Her limbs are bent in action as she makes her way up the hillside with determination and a subtle smile perceptible in the silhouette of her face. She’s an “unlikely” hiker, and we’re glad she’s been given the limelight ...  

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“Inhale Through The Nose”: Amber Vittoria nails our kind of namaste. July 10 2018

Inhale Through The Nose by Amber Vittoria
This grounded gal has authenticity on lock. She’s relatable but one-of-a-kind. She’s laid-back, colorful, complex, and uncategorizable. She’s going for it and unafraid of failure. We’re not sure if we’re talking about today’s new edition or the artist behind it, but one thing’s for sure: we’re big fans of both.

Amber Vittoria describes Inhale Through The Nose as “a personal portrait of the artist attempting yoga in her apartment”, which gets to the meat of what we love so much about this artist and her work. Vittoria’s wry sense of humor and down-to-earth ethos find the perfect partner in her eccentric shapes and exciting color combos. Inhale Through The Nose is not self-serious in the slightest, but it vibrates of Vittoria’s serious talent at the same time. This subject’s (and the artist’s) namaste nonchalance is aspirational, attractive and empowering. We have half a heart to take a crack at crow pose.

Inhale Through The Nose serves casual yogi vibes in a Southwestern-y color palette that feels appealingly organic and of-the-moment. Vittoria uses carefully-placed geometric shapes in subtly different shades to create a sense of depth and space that balance the frame without distracting from the rounded female form at center. A slice of sky blue at top suggests a window, and a swath of green calls to mind a cactus—clever elements that cool down the image and provide some context for our pattern-clad star. The pattern on the figure’s “outfit” is an interesting touch itself, clashing cheekily with its surroundings while echoing the expressive quality of her eyebrows and the gestural lines defining her face and foot. (Or is that a hand? The confusion’s half the fun.) ... 

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Vintage art ahoy! “Yacht America” rocks the boat in the best way. July 03 2018

Yacht America, a 20x200 Vintage Edition
Get you a breton striped shirt and a yearning for yacht life—we’ll bring the boat. It’s the season for seaside escapades. Whether your beach is in Queens, SoCal or Sandusky, Ohio, chances are you’re feeling some sorta pull toward sand and waves, (probably more than your PTO allots for). Our nautical new Vintage Edition will satisfy your seafaring fantasies, actual sailing acumen optional. Yacht America is a circa 1850 black & white stunner that’ll serve you straight into summer.

Once Yacht America sets sail for your walls it’s game over—the sailboat in this image has a history of winning. We’ve editioned a number of beauteous boat images, and they’re all winners, but there’s a seriously compelling story behind the vessel pictured in Yacht America. Who took the photograph is a mystery. While we know a photographer working for Detroit Publishing Company captured this shot, there's no record of who precisely. But we know this for sure: in what was a rather remarkable upset, this boat named America won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s regatta a whopping eighteen minutes ahead of the curve ... 

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Catch of the day: two French fish illustrations from the 1800s June 26 2018

Chetodon croissant, a 20x200 Vintage Edition
8"x10" ($24) | 11"x14" ($60) | 16"x20" ($240)

When our curatorial team first reeled in these two vintage ichthyological illustrations from the 1800s, we were instantly hooked. Maybe it was the bright, beachy colors, or the mesmerizing swirls and stripes on their scales, or the delicate details rendered with exceptional precision, or the script-y french subtitles giving each aquatic critter a special je ne sais quoi. All we know is they seemed suddenly like the requisite edition duo of the summer, so good looking together and so instantly reminiscent of a spectacular scuba-diving sesh. We couldn’t release just one!

Our sunny yellow, orange-streaked friend is the Chetodon croissant, better known as the raccoon butterflyfish. Its English name comes from its distinct markings around the eyes, similar to those of a raccoon. The teal and turquoise fellow is the Holocanthe à demi-cercles, or semicircle angelfish. This particular illustration depicts a juvenile example—adults are a pale brownish-green, outlined in bright blue.

Both the Chetodon croissant and Holocanthe à demi-cercles come from the same multi-volume collection compiled by French naturalist and zoologist Georges Cuvier and his apprentice and successor Achille Valenciennes. Published between 1828 and 1848, the twenty-two volume Histoire naturelle des poissons was the largest contemporary scientific study focussed on fish. It contained descriptions and illustrations of almost 5,000 species of fish, many of which were new discoveries. The extensive work encapsulated essentially everything anyone knew about fish through the first half of the nineteenth century, and remains an indispensable resource and pivotal turning point in the history of ichthyology... 

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New! William Crump’s abstract “Sorcerer” casts its spell on us. June 19 2018

Sorcerer by William Crump
If a great artist (nay, human) is anything, it's constantly evolving, and this new piece from 20x200 fixture William Crump reveals a range of work that takes our collection of his art in a totally different direction. Scope out our limited-edition print of his painting Sorcerer. We recommend you go ahead and give into its charms. 

Crump conjures a sense of continual renewal through his own special incantation—an enchantingly balanced witches brew of subtraction and addition. To create his oeuvre of abstract paintings, Crump layers, removes, and repeats until he starts to see a destination take shape. Some pieces rest on a more minimal note, blackness or blur quieting the visual plane, while others, like today’s edition, find a voluble, extroverted end. Dense areas of paint, marbling, and tool marks all compete for our attention in Sorcerer, drawing the eye in dizzyingly disparate directions. That’s part of how this piece puts you under the its spell ... 

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Happy trails! A vintage hiking print for outdoorsy art collectors June 12 2018

Hiking—WPA recreation project, Dist. No. 2, a 20x200 Vintage Edition

If you’re carving out some time to commune with nature while the weather’s nice, you probably have a solid appreciation for the restorative power of an escape into the trees. This new Vintage Edition is for you, lover of art and enjoyer of all things al fresco. Hiking--WPA recreation project, Dist. No. 2 hails from the Chicago, IL poster division of FDR’s Works Progress Administration, and was designed in 1939. It’s a retro call to the wild, and the earth-toned, beautifully balanced silkscreen design appeals to admirers of vintage printmaking, typeface fans, wannabe wilderness wanderers, and hardcore hikers alike. Best part: it’ll bring a little woodland inspiration indoors. You don’t need a compass to find your way to this outdoor oasis!

Roosevelt launched the Works Progress Administration in 1935 as part of his New Deal to create jobs for unemployed Americans. In July of that year, the WPA established Federal Project Number One, a central administration for arts-related exploits that funded work for artists, actors, musicians, and writers. One subset, the Federal Art Project, employed more than five thousand artists throughout the United States in various art-related areas, including poster divisions like the Chicago one responsible for Hiking--WPA recreation project, Dist. No. 2 ... 

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