Naturally Artistic

Art – Bare Naked and Natural

Toast Tiles

Henry Hargreaves, also the artist behind the my post “Photocopy Photography” did a series of portraits with toast. Hargreaves burned each individual piece of toast in certain areas and patterns to give value and depth to his toast portraits. The torching on the toast allowed for the dark values to come into the composition. In contrast, placing untouched pieces of bread in the composition pulled out the strongest highlights. The bread toast tiles create a puzzle like appearance, with beautiful monochromatic schemes. Toast portraits.. cheap and clever.

Photocopy Photography

Henry Hargreaves, a native New Zealander, currently in Brooklyn, NY, is an established fashion photographer. Hargreaves took on a project for a local jewelry company, a shoot for an ad campaign. Hargreaves decided to ditch his camera and use a copy machine as it’s replacement… a photographer not using his camera? For Hargreaves it isn’t about the device, its about the end result, the composition he so wished to accomplish. The copy machine turned out to have a beautiful contrast between the human figure and the man made jewelry. The subtle woman form and skin seemed to glow and have a blown out effect. In contrast, the jewelry which lay directly against the glass, was well defined and sharp, demanding attention and the place of the focal point. Although not every part of Hargreaves images and execution are natural, what drew me to his images was the human form, how soft and angelic it was portrayed. The human skin and form is so organic, even those with sharp features are still malleable, organic in nature. The images are compelling, bringing in such contrasting elements and objects, yet still having a cohesive feel and unity.

Culture Erosion

Guy Laramee is an artist who has taken books and made them his canvas as well as final composition. Laramee has created an entire landscape from carving away at the cover and pages of books. Each piece takes on a new form with layers of pages, almost resembling layers of rock, compressed over time, or rings of a tree, only seen when you cut through the outer bark or upper layer of rock. His landscapes are meticulously crafted, taking each angle in consideration, focusing on form, ultimately creating a realistic landscape model. Using a book as a choice of medium adds to his landscape designs, each novel has a story, a setting that we recreate in our minds based off the description. Laramee’s pieces appeal to our imagination, they pull the landscape out and physically create what we have been imagining.


Recent fashion graduate, Stefanie Nieuwenhuyse, has taken the concept of biomimicry into her work. Inspired by the skin of a snake and other reptiles, Stefanie used plywood to replicate the texture of skin.

She diligently cut the plywood into various sizes of diamonds and placed them into an intricate design. The texture and detail is beautiful. Each garment lures your eye in and maintains a rhythm. Nature has amazing patterns and textures that we can bring into our everyday lives. Stefanie has used a natural creature to inspire such beautiful design. Her pieces are also marketable, although plywood may not be very comfortable, leather can easily be substituted. I admire her vision and her tribute to nature.


German Artist Ulrike Arnold travels the world to create rock art and pieces composed of earth tones. Arnold only uses the earth as medium, mixing soils and sediment to create beautiful hues. She travels all over the world, learning the different topography and forms of nature unique to her destination.

Her work is organic and flows nicely. The browns, yellows, reds, oranges, and neutral pigments give her pieces a warm tone. Her pieces feel as though they were created naturally by wind or water, they have a look of eroding rock, or wind blown sediment.

A Natural Footprint

Anni Rapinoja, a well known green artist in Finland, has reduced her carbon footprint, literally. Anni has designed an entire clothing, shoe, and accessory line from nature. Tea- leaved willow, cowberry, and common reeds are some of the materials she works with as a medium. The soft texture of the tea-leaved willow gives the pumps a whimsical, princess-like feeling. The texture of the cowberry creates a reptile, fish scale texture, drawing your eye in with layering and line repetition. I personally love the “fur” coat made of reeds. Anni has so intricately placed the reeds creating a furry appearance, pulling the viewer in with subtle neutral colors and strong line. The texture and rhythm of the reeds is quick and blurs into a fuzzy appearance.

Anni can take from nature and create beautiful garments, shoes, and accessories. So much of fashion inspiration comes from cultures and natural elements that can be recreated with fabric. Anni has brought her sculpting expertise back to the foundation, the natural materials that we once only had to work with and wear.

A Natural Embellishment

Bulgarian textile artist, Ceca Georgieva, has married nature and jewelry. Her statement pieces are not only bold compositionally, but bold due to their medium, grass, twigs, leaves, all natural elements. The natural materials add a new edge and tone to her pieces. The way she works with the natural contours and textures of each material gives the necklaces rhythm and movement. It is almost as if her pieces are coming to life, moving and breathing.

“Working with natural materials not only brings me joy but also much wisdom. In even the smallest piece of grass there is incorporated history, meaning and purpose. I constantly marvel nature. I admire and learn from her genius “installation” of design, color, smell and light …
It is a great challenge to enter in her laboratory and to be able to add my own thing.”
Ceca Georgieva

Coffee and Seeds

Hong Yi, aka Red, is a young architect who has a passion for art. She gained her 10 seconds of fame with a few of her portraits, all executed in untraditional ways and with untraditional, natural media.
Using a basketball as a paintbrush, Red created a stunning image of Yao Ming. The texture and line create movement and a sense of simplicity. The negative space adds a nice balance to the image. The portrait really takes Yao Ming and his profession into consideration, his basketball has created him, painted an image of him and given him an identity.

Red also did a beautiful portrait of singer Jay Chou out of coffee spills and rings. The coffee adds a nice monochromatic touch to the image, generating form. The organic circles also create a movement and flow through the piece, some not fully closed and varying thickness.

As a tribute to Chinese film director Yimou Zhang, Red created sock portrait. By using three colors, white, gray, and black, Red has recreated the film director.

Her portrait work is unique and natural. She proves to many that you can create art with very little. The coffee you drink every morning can become your paint. The socks in your drawer have form and color that can be transformed into a composition.

Down to the Nitty Gritty

Margaret Boozer is a designer and sculptor who works from the earth. Her compositions are developed solely from clay and dirt. The neutral tones and intricate textures create a lovely balance and organic, natural feel. Boozer allows the dirt to take it’s original form, only altering the canvas shape or boundaries from which the dirt settles. Dirt as a medium engages viewers, it pulls them in with varying texture and monochromatic color. Her work reminds us what sustains all life, and how it too can falter, fall apart, and no longer obtain life. Her work also focuses on the beauty of neutral tones, the soft nature and appeal of the hues with the rough edges and line creates an amazing contrast.

Cellular Inspiration

Michael Kukla is a sculptor who takes natural media such as wood, slate, and marble blocks and imitates cellular structures, shapes, and forms. Michael is incorporating human structures into other natural forms. The cellular patterns resemble the soft, delicate tissues that make up our permeable skin, yet the contrast in the harsh edges of the blocks makes for an interesting composition. Kukla has intricately carved and chiseled slate, marble, and wood into soft, organic paths. Tedious hours smoothing the wood, marble and slate is apparent. The nature of each of these mediums is to break very unevenly, jagged, yet they can each be worked and smoothed into delicate organic structures. Kukla has carefully studied the cellular paths and layers, incorporating their fluid movement into each piece.