Artlink Staff Picks: August 2017

Welcome to Artlink Staff Picks, a monthly feature where our team presents their favorite art findings. Everyday, the Artlink community seeks out amazingly inspiring and creative art related content. Read below to see what we are gushing over this month!

Marc Maiorana Bottle Opener

Marc Maiorana Bottle Opener

While taking a workshop at Penland School of Crafts this summer, I purchased this incredible Marc Maiorana bottle opener from the Penland Gallery, from their Well-Designed Objects exhibition. This exhibition was truly beautiful featuring all handmade items merging "qualities of craftsmanship and aesthetics beautifully." This bottle opener is definitely one of the most well-designed utilitarian objects I own!  

- Maddie Miller, Gallery Coordinator



MCA Exhibition - Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats It's Own Leg





Last weekend, while visiting Chicago, I got to see the most fun and colorful exhibition - Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg. Murakami is a Japanese pop artist who has collaborated with famous brands and icons, such as Kanye West and Louis Vuitton.  This exhibition includes multiple large scale screen prints, paintings, massive sculptures and videos that traces Murakami's 30 year career from the 1980s to the present.

I enjoyed taking in all of the bright colors and excitement that was consistently presented through Murakami's work. This exhibition left me wanting to come back and see it all over again as Murakami's pieces are rich in detail. This is definitely an exhibition that is wonderful for the entire family. Takashi Murakami's exhibition is showing now until September 24th at the MCA.  

-Candis Oakley, Assistant Gallery Coordinator

Poster - The Shape of Water by James Jean

Poster - The Shape of Water by James Jean


In July, James Jean began posting process images of a new painting. Those familiar with his work know that it's not uncommon to his work combine rich organic imagery with that of fantastic creatures and human forms, all tied together with vibrant, electric color. This piece was no exception. Not long after this first post however, the finished piece was posted along with a link to the trailer for the new film by Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water. While the trailer is beautiful in it's own right, what instantly hooked me was that the painting was in fact, the art for the film's poster. 


This piece reminded me just how powerful a master's voice is when applied to mediums that are deemed by the majority as "Too commercial." The work is rich in color, human - and otherworldly - forms and the type of narrative ambiguity that spurns curiosity. I was hooked to the point where I emailed his reps to ask when the print would be available.* Ultimately though, I can't get over this piece because in the most simple terms, I really, really dig it. James Jean inspired me through his work a decade ago on the comic series Fables and since then through his murals, paintings and journals. The Shape of Water is no exception. 

-Matt McClure, Executive Director

Marta Klonowska, Glass Artist

Marta Klonowska, Glass Artist

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My pick is Marta Klonowska, a Polish glass artist who takes old illustrations of animals and creates them three-dimensionally out of glass.  I love the whimsy of the figures as well as the attention to detail.  In person, when the light hits them, they glow and it's otherworldly.

-Morgan Bogart, Administrative Manager

Alcohol Inks

Alcohol Inks


I went to Jo-Ann's recently and purchased a set of alcohol inks to try, which ended with me creating seven pieces that same day. I immediately fell in love with the stress-free fluidity of the process and could not stop trying out different color combinations and patterns. 

Alcohol inks are a relaxing way to let out creativity. All you need is some alcohol inks in whatever colors you desire, and some form of non-porous material such as glossy photo paper, glass, metal, glazed ceramic, or the most common surface used -  a yupo (waterproof paper sold near alcohol inks). The need for non-porous material is because the alcohol inks need to be able to spread and blend evenly without soaking into the surface. You can also purchase a small piece of felt to use for blending inks together more softly. They dry very quickly due to the alcohol, making it a quick and fun way to create art. There are also metallic inks which react in an odd way with the regular colors, rippling and waving for a few moments after contact which can create a beautiful marbling effect. 

-Ellen Mensch, Assistant Gallery Coordinator