NOT REAL ART July Gift Guide: Digital Rainbows Over Dreamland
Recently, we’ve been sharing tips for growing your art collection with unique, affordable works (it’s easier than you think!). While buying original works through blue chip galleries remains mysterious and pricey, there are tons of alternative options out there that won’t break the bank.
Whether you’re in the market for a new print or need a bespoke gift for your devoted bestie, our July gift guide has got you covered. We’ve scoured some of our favorite artists to find the best budget-friendly works for gifting (or keeping!)
This month, our theme, Digital Rainbows Over Dreamland, keeps the summer vibes going strong. Scroll down to explore sunny prints from Hawaiian artist Laihhaa Organna, emoji-inspired NFTs from Romi Meyers, and dreamy cottagecore works from Hannah Moesker.
New Book By Katie Love
From Cult To Comedy, A Memoir, by Katie Love
The year is 1970. The horror soap opera “Dark Shadows” is all the rage, the Vietnam War is raging and nine-year-old Katie, an imaginative and independent latch-key kid, comes home from school to discover her mother’s suicide.
Taken in by her older sister who has recently become a Jehovah’s Witness, Katie is shown an illustration from a bible picture book featuring wild animals peacefully lounging by a pool of water, surrounded by happy people picking fruit. An enticing offer is made: “Katie, this is Paradise. Do you want to see Mom again, happy and living forever? All you have to do is follow all of Jehovah’s commandments and you can be with Mom again.”
Mom happy and living forever? Two tickets to Paradise, please!
So begins Katie’s zealous quest to attain perfection and entrance into a utopian world which promises peace, love, and happiness. She discovers a much darker world. “Two Tickets to Paradise, from Cult to Comedy” tells the hilarious and heartbreaking story of an earnest, bible-toting kid intent on saving the world, and follows her metamorphosis into a boisterous comedian intent on saving herself through the healing powers of humor.
Loud, saturated, erratic, and vibrant—Andrew Soria’s pop surrealist cityscapes pulse with the distinct energy of diverse LA neighborhoods. Amassed from hundreds of his original photographs, each work in Soria’s Welcome to the Neighborhood series is carefully pieced together and digitally patched at the seams.
Andrew walks the streets of his native LA snapping pictures of “recognizable and iconic architectural elements,” documenting the city’s identity as it changes by the second. By using Photoshop to compile hundreds of images into one overstuffed virtual cityscape, Soria hopes to capture the unique culture and spirit of each LA neighborhood.
In his online shop, Andrew offers a variety of prints from Welcome to the Neighborhood. We’re partial to “Culver City,” (above) which is also available as a free iPhone wallpaper download here. (Pssst! Don’t miss the Flaming Hot Cheeto wallpaper—it’ll give you another chance to giggle at The Donald.)
Learn more about the artist: Experience LA Like Never Before Through Andrew Soria’s Pop Surrealist Cityscapes
Created primarily with an iPad, Laihha Organna’s digital designs are dunked in warm bronze, as though they’ve been basking in the Hawaiian sun all afternoon. No stranger to Hawaii’s natural beauty, Laihha—who goes by loindaflow online—is an avid surfer who channels the rush of wave-riding into her work. “I believe surfing holds many universal lessons the world could benefit from,” she says. “When I realized the lack of representation for all women in surf culture, it became an inspiration for my artwork.” Organna decided it was time to retire the surfer dude stereotype, replacing him with sporty women on surfboards and plenty of eye-popping skulls.
We’re huge fans of her work, but we can’t stop gushing over one piece in particular. Printed on thick, matte paper, “Hawaii Surf Pups” (above) is the sweet island treat you’ve been waiting for. Get the print from Laihha’s online shop for a cool $30.
Learn more about the artist: Surf, Sun, and Sustainability: Laihha Organna’s Island Illustrations Spread Stoke to All
His technique also gives him more creative control over the end product. Rather than simply copying code and hitting “run,” Espen reflects on what it means to be creative in the first place. Alternatives reminds us it’s man—not machine—who sifts through and decodes the final output.
Get “Slowly Passing” (above) here.
Learn more about the artist: 100 Kaleidoscopic Portraits From Creative Coder Espen Kluge
With their cloying color palettes and cartoonish charm, Hikari Shimoda’s wide-eyed portraits transport viewers into a place "where fantasy meets reality, past meets future, and life meets death, in a world that is yet to be reborn.” Her surreal treatment of children reflects the principle of Shikisokuzekuu, Kuusokuzesiki, a key Buddhist teaching that, according to Hikari, means “there is no truth in a particular form or idea, and the figure or thought of a human being reflects and is shaped by the state of society.”
Get a signed and numbered limited edition of “Fight the Void #1” from Hikari’s recent show at Corey Helford Gallery. Looking for something more budget friendly? Recently published by Starlight Editions, The Art of Hikari Shimoda (above) features over 100 works from the Japanese artist, and is now available for under $50 here.
Learn more about the artist: Empty and Alone: Japanese Artist Hikari Shimoda Fights to Live in the Void
In a galaxy far, far away, a utopian city sparkles among the stars. Netherlands-based artist Hannah Moesker uses unadulterated artificial intelligence (AI) to create this alternate universe where a million points of light lead the way.
Abandoning source material and found images, Hannah works entirely with AI-powered app WOMBO Dream to fabricate the charmed lives of her galaxy’s residents. You won’t find any people in her dreamy works, but their belongings—books and records tucked into tiny cottage spaces—catch and reflect the panoramic starlight, edges softened by a syrupy atmospheric haze.
We’re partial to the gorgeous stained glass interior above. Get Hannah Moesker’s “Beautiful Interior of a House in the Galaxy” as an NFT on Mintable or OpenSea.
Learn more about the artist: Digital Cottagecore: Hannah Moesker Dreams Up an AI-Generated City Among Stars
“I <3 art + design,” reads Romi Meyers’ artist statement. “Plain and simple.”
Romi’s digital shorthand is key to understanding the Florida-based artist’s aesthetic. Rendered in vibrant Crayola colors and often hiding letters and numbers—Romi has synesthesia, a neurological condition that blends the senses—her digital prints put a contemporary spin on the now-classic emoji.
Romi’s ‘real news,’ available on OpenSea, perfectly captures the tenor of the times. If you’d rather have a print, stop by Romi’s online shop.
Learn more about the artist: Digital Artist Romi Meyers Pokes Fun at the Endless Inconvenience of Being Human