Explore the fresh art work of our juried, distinguished artists and writers

View the full bodies of work, artist profiles and art pricing in the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal magazine issues. For commission and purchase inquiries, contact artists directly.

Introducing the artists and writers of the “Portraits” issue of ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal:

ArtAscent Gold Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Brian McClear

ArtAscent Gold Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Have you ever tried to think about skin as a canvas to paint on? The representational painter Brian McClear portrays people who are like works of art, focusing on the imaginative and symbolic realm of their tattoos.

Brian’s paintings range among different subjects: still-life, small objects, and portraits, but they demonstrate stylistic coherence for balance and solidity. His selected Ink&Oil series is an original interpretation of the contemporary portrait genre, halfway between realistic—almost photographic—representation and abstract intentions. Brian chooses to portray subjects who are very different from each other but share a unique trait: the presence of numerous tattoos on their bodies as powerful forms of self-expression. They are not decorative ornaments but identity statements that express their personal history and attitude. Their body artworks are immediate insights into their personalities, intriguing and inviting the viewer to interpret.

Looking at Brian’s figurative portraits, one could wonder: why do people dress their skin with pictures? This ancient form of body art, born for tribal and therapeutic purposes, has motivations that often transcend rationality. It may arise from the need to commemorate a significant life event. They may be talismans laden with power or a sign of belonging. They could be elements of self-narration or arise from a simple impulse—the reasons are diverse and extremely personal. The painter captures the symbolic load of this choice. Like the protagonists’ tattoos, Ink&Oil portraits communicate so much, but without the use of words.

Brian’s style is akin to his content: communicative, intuitive, and energetic. These oil-on-canvases linger on the form and textures of the elements depicted, highlighting surprising visual connections. The painting process is also pure vitality. Brian starts with an archive of material references, sketches, and photos and through quick and energetic gestures, he paints them on canvas. The ideas that flow out in the first hours of work are as meaningful as the final result.

The gesture, the energetic painting process, and the vivid use of colours are elements that distinguish Brian’s practice. Therefore, among his favourite references is Jackson Pollock, the master of abstract gestural expression. In addition, the realism of Brian’s portraits embodies a symbolic dimension; it brings to mind the great American school of the 19th century, the characters portrayed by George Wesley Bellows or Winslow Homer. Each person seems to tell a story outside the frame.

Currently living and working in the United States, Brian McClear earned a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design. He worked as an illustrator and in leading marketing agencies. Recently, he decided to devote himself to painting, preferring bold brushstrokes to the mouse. His works received national awards, and private collections and museums exhibited them. Brian’s portraits do not leave you indifferent: they are full of liveliness and always allow a sense of wisdom and strength to shine through.

Brian McCLear is the Gold Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

www.mcclearart.com

ArtAscent Gold Writer of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Karla Linn Merrifield

Self-Portrait Triptych

1. Gestalt

shamanwoman
poetturtle
greenvagabond
riverlakeoceanheart…

The triptych formula is frequent in art history: churches are full of altarpieces divided into three intimately related panels. However, Karla Linn Merrifield realizes triptychs with words. Her poems are masterful self-portraits divided into three acts.

Each of Karla’s poems unveils a section of her being, as a complex and dissectible artwork. Through the self-investigation tool of poetry, the author breaks down her personality into different facets. Her capacity for self-reflection is strikingly lucid. Karla borrows metaphors from technology, chemistry, and cognitive psychology, to accomplish this almost surgical operation. She is not afraid to juxtapose literature and sciences. This hybrid aspect makes her lexical choices so meaningful.

Her three poems, Gestalt, Like Totally Gizmo and In My Element, have different tones. They create mixed atmospheres. They go from Zen-like introspection to the robotic iciness of techno-speak to a lyricism achieved through chemical metaphors. Like a threepiece mirror, they reflect different angles of Karla’s experience. The same principle guides the Gestalt theory mentioned above, the construction of a technological device, and chemical formulas: they combine distinct elements to assemble a whole and functioning organism.

The writing style of this self-portrait reflects the search for varietas of the author. Neologisms obtained through compound words characterize Gestalt, a minimalist poem in which the sum of the parts gives significance. And thus, are born words like shamanwoman, poeturtle, and friendloversoul, that combine different terms to find the most accurate one to self-define. Abbreviations, acronyms, and precise technical specifications distinguish Gizmo, a poetic portrait of an enhanced woman, like a cyborg with new potentialities, a “fivestar gadget” trying to understand her programming codes. Through the metaphor of quicksilver, in the third poem, In My Element, Karla highlights her analytical but fluid spirit, a “heavy metallic liquid muse.” Even the words are arranged on the paper (or screen) following a sort of chemical structure. The technique immediately echoes the historical calligrams by Guillaume Apollinaire, in which form and content mirror each other.

Karla’s poetics is rich in references, drawing on literature and interdisciplinary fields. The American poet William Heyen is among her cornerstones, with whom she shares the attempt to grasp the self through poetic memory. Furthermore, the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, with his visionary sensibility and lexical accuracy, is one of Karla’s great influencers.

Karla Linn Merrifield has lost count of her thousands of poems and has 16 books to her credit. Her poems appeared in specialized journals and anthologies, and her newest collection, My Body the Guitar, was recently nominated for the 2022 National Book Award. She is a contributor to literary journals, assistant editor, and a member of the Florida State Poetry Society, the New Mexico Poetry Society, and The Author’s Guild. Currently, Karla Linn Merrifield is completing a poetry manuscript about the men of her life. In the spirit of research and divergence, she opted to portray a woman she knows intimately: herself.

Karla Linn Merrifield is the Gold Writer of the ArtAscent Portraits call for writers. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

www.karlalinnmerrifield.org

ArtAscent Silver Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Olivia-Patricia Terrell O’Neal

ArtAscent Silver Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Olivia-Patricia Terrell O’Neal’s paintings let us experience a distant connection to ourselves, allowing us to watch inside from an outside perspective. Her art inspires us to take a step back and wonder how others experience the world and how we can take wisdom from observing and accepting other points of view.

In Olivia-Patricia’s portraits, eyes are hidden behind glasses, leaving the viewer in a position of freedom to imagine. To be curious about the intensity, softness, and expression of the portrayed figures.

One painting, almost like a sculpture made from stone, captures a person with white hair and gold complexions (In Gold Shades). The other is a young figure with red glasses looking and not looking right over the left shoulder of their audience (The Boy with Red Shades). The last portrait shows a person framed by large sunglasses and a butterfly on the shirt, giving the image a fragile but untouchable sensation (The Butterfly Shades).

Each portrayed figure has a suggested posture of looking. In gold shades, a person depicted is poised and straight looking, supported by the dark magenta- themed colour in the background, giving the image a royal feeling. Warmer colours guide the boy with red shades, and the almost unnoticeable smile and slight opening of the body invites us for a conversation. The portrayed person in The Butterfly Shades is embedded in soft yellow and beige. Except for the face, everything else seems to be surrounded by a light shimmer of fog—lending the painting something mystical.

Olivia-Patricia is inspired by the German expressionist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945). Käthe’s art speaks of questioning the social balance and injustice during her time, and her art can be seen as a platform for humanity. Both female artists display the quality of including softness in harsh surroundings, putting colours or brush strokes in ways the gaze of the audience can enjoy and at the same time start reflecting on what touches the eye.

The choice of hiding the eyes with glasses in Olivia-Patricia’s portraits is a powerful tool to guide the spectator to ask what might be hidden and how artists can share without being seen. This is a clever way of provoking questions like: ‘What can we see in everyday life, and what do we miss?’

Olivia-Patricia Terrell O’Neal was raised in Nashville. She finished her academic education with honours from Washington University, followed by extensive studies in France and Italy. Olivia-Patricia achieved her MFA degree from the New York Academy of Art. International galleries have managed her career, and she has had 14 solo exhibitions and numerous group shows. Her work is in a permanent collection at Chateau St. Philippe in France. Olivia-Patricia maintains studios in the USA, France, and Mexico.

Olivia-Patricia Terrell O’Neal is the Silver Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

https://pterrelloneal.com

ArtAscent Bronze Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Miren Etcheverry

ArtAscent Bronze Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Portraiture is typically considered an extraverted genre that aims to represent another person’s likeness. However, according to a famous quote from Oscar Wilde, “Every picture that is drawn with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”

This genre is truly a unique tool for analyzing one’s surroundings and using optics to perceive the world. In the highlighted series of digital collages, Miren Etcheverry exemplifies this reflected aspect of portraiture—a method the author frequently employs in her work. She used photographs from family albums and personal collections of images for these compositions. This set is touching and transparent to write about. They all capture the women from the closest circle of relatives and family friends who profoundly influenced Miren.

This desire to reclaim family bonds as a power source arose due to the forced distance we had to impose on ourselves during the pandemic. Miren’s communicative thirst was triggered by the physical distance, prompting her to recall her time with those women. The ornamentation in the compositions reminds us of Gustav Klimt, a prominent master of the Vienna Secession movement at the turn of the twentieth century. He was well-known for his intricate, mosaic-like gold backdrops. Miren’s treatment of the scenes is more varied: fragments from old and recent prints are “inlaid” into colourful backgrounds with floral or abstract patterns. The artist’s affectionate relationships with her protagonists are conveyed through static, centric compositions that evoke associations with hieratic art pieces: “I come from a long line of strong women. During my life, I have continued to surround myself with strong women; they are my role models and the source of my own strength and feminism. Indeed, they are my goddesses.” Looking back at the portraits of significant others helps her find internal support, reconstructing the author’s contact with them on her identity map.

Miren Etcheverry is a lens artist based in Massachusetts. She was born in the French Basque Country and moved to the United States as a child. She attended the New England School of Photography and the Maine Media Workshops and holds degrees from Stanford University and MIT. She decided to devote her life to art after a career in international finance. Since 2012, the author has been actively exhibiting across the country. Her work has been featured in juried exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Danforth Art Museum, the Center for Fine Art Photography, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and in galleries worldwide. Miren received honourable mentions from the International Photography Awards (IPA) in 2014-2016, the London International Creative Competition (LLIC) in 2020, and the Pollux and Julia Cameron Awards in 2021. She was named the Artist of the Year by the Cambridge Art Association in 2022.

Miren Etcheverry is the Bronze Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

www.mirenetcheverry.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Lynne Breitfeller

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

https://www.lynnebreitfeller.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Leroy Skalstad

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Stephan Crawford

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

http://sc2arts.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Aaron Krone

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

ArtAscent Distinguished Writer of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Kalliope Kione Mediciano

Resurrection Day Round Trip

Angels brought the news at the midnight hour

“One release day reprive for humanity
fire sale for those down below
Grab your clean underwear
Cause oh yes Ladies and Gents
He is real and on the way!”…

Distinguished Writer of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Jana F. Jaros

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Dan Cook

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

www.optic-compulsion.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Jaclyn Cori

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

www.jaclyncorinorman.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Jane Holbrook

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

https://jholbroo.wixsite.com/arts

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Glenda F. Hydler

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

www.glendafhydler.wordpress.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Gabiko IoMo

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

https://gabiko-iomo.square.site

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Irene Sirko

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

www.irenesirko.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Ilhana Kisija

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

https://ilhanakisija15.wixsite.com/website

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Renee Kuharchuk

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

www.reneekuharchuk.com

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Jeff Gale

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Jolene Cechario

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2023 Portraits call for artists.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Portraits call for entry. To see the full body of work, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Portraits issue.