From adding stripes to a tiger to plucking human-sized flower petals, Toni Hamel imagines bizarre scenarios and brings them to life in her realistic paintings. The Canadian-based artist combines her observations of the world with her own personal experiences to create understated compositions with a humorous undertone.
Hamel approaches each new work with a realistic style that seems to place these whimsical tales on a stage with a “painted” backdrop. His calm-faced characters seem comfortable with what’s going on around them and with what they themselves are doing, however unlikely that may be. Sometimes she merges two separate worlds, like cartoons and real life or art history and surreal characters. Field and flow I, for example, depicts a hunter aiming his rifle at Tweety the bird, the iconic cartoon character. “All of my work (whether as stand-alone piece series) shares the same conceptual underpinning which is political in nature,” Hamel tells My Modern Met.
“I call my work an ‘illustrated commentary on human frailties’,” she continues. “My intention is to expose certain realities and/or aspects of human behavior that I find at the very least singular if not totally absurd. These can relate to our attitude towards the natural environment (most often), oneself or other beings. Drawing on historical references, popular culture and our current thought patterns, I create satirical stories that attempt to alert us to the repercussions of our behavior.
Even when the stories in these paintings seem far-fetched, the hushed atmosphere of the canvases cements events in a space where it’s good to suspend our disbelief and dig into hidden meanings.
Scroll down to see more of Hamel’s concept paintings and follow the artist on Instagram to keep up to date with his latest projects.
Canadian artist Toni Hamel creates conceptual paintings with a touch of humor.
His series High tides and crimes is an “illustrated commentary on human frailties”.
Hamel merges his own experiences with his observations of the world in these dreamlike compositions.
Toni Hamel: Website | Facebook | instagram
My Modern Met has granted permission to feature photos of Toni Hamel.
Colorful figurative paintings depict young women inhabiting surreal spaces
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Surreal collage portraits offer a glimpse into the minds of people from the past