Ben Tour finds his inspiration in nature, but paints in a strictly urban fashion. The Toronto-based painter, deeply entrenched in both portrait and mural, marries the gentle and ethereal style of watercolor with the intensity of the art that would grace an art district's walls.
Marrying a softer vision of Egon Schiele's portrait work with a splatter paint technique reminiscent of Jackson Pollock, Tour creates worlds inhabited by geometric tigers, eagles, and wolves. The eye is immediately drawn to his take on a nature largely populated by blue animals with sharp edges, and even sharper expressions. His animals have graced skateboard parks and murals, and the deeply modern aesthetic they add is something to behold.
The real eye-catchers here are his soft, ethereal watercolor portraits. Using the aforementioned splatter technique, and melding strong colors with paintings that are primarily white or grey, Tour adds jarringly beautiful details to his work. The colors he picks also show a good eye for choosing just the right things to highlight, and gives his portraits a spiritual, vibrant sensibility.
Tour's featured piece on Derbby this week is a portrait from his archives, which he has touched up using the least amount of brushstrokes possible. The portrait, a floating head, makes for a zen-minimalist take on surrealism, and a top-notch painting. Bid on the black-and-yellow masterpiece before someone else snatches it up.