whilst the quirk’s of the artists hand become ever more difficult to find in a world saturated by digital, illustrator, toma vagner, hopes her work will maintain a necessary element of ‘sketchbook charm’. the artist, who is based in new york, creates ‘psychological portraits‘ using carefully chosen objects to develop a character in motion who is not always human.
at the centre of these portraits is a sense of doing. as well as taking inspiration from technical manuals – like those that teach you how to assemble a bed – toma vagner often uses objects including scissors, lego towers and board games, to depict a desired mode of action. in doing so, she creates a wonderfully disorganised subject matter and chaotic composition of a static but evolving subject. like a comic book without the panels, an entire story is maintained within a single frame.
as a child, vagner was surrounded by japanese and korean design, referencing bubble gum wraps from her childhood as inspiration for her bold use of colour. her works which are first drawn on paper, are scanned maintaining elements that allude to the artistic process. in the final pieces is the paper’s texture, imperfect linework and the odd side reference mark, things she includes to preserve a handmade quality.
‘drawings come out very naturally and truthfully in the primal impulse of transferring ideas onto paper right away’ explains vagner. ‘i strive to keep the vulnerability of the initial drawing and so some lines might be wobbly, some elements might be off but all carry the quality of the sketchbook charm.‘
edited by: kieron marchese | designboom