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The future is yours to create

Absolut Open Canvas

Transform today Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
San Francisco, CA

About Transform Today

The future is yours to create

From Warhol to Jay-Z, ABSOLUT vodka has a rich heritage of collaborating with inspirational artists and is now evolving the spirit of creation for the next creative generation - inspiring others to pick up their own paintbrush or pencil or plywood and experience the power of creative transformation.

With the ABSOLUT Open Canvas initiative, ABSOLUT empowers an extraordinary group of contemporary artists to transform an unlikely setting – the street & structure of a normal city block- into an interactive outdoor art exhibition. A reminder that we can all transform our present and future if we adapt a daring spirit and use creativity to stretch everyday reality from the mundane to the extraordinary - TRANSFORM TODAY.

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Contest Now Closed

Congratulations to Jenny Sharaf, the winner of the ABSOLUT Open Canvas Contest!

San Francisco, CA Featured Artists

Darren Bader & Jesse Willenbring
"Fear: So...you don't love me."
"Love: You have only that to fear, Madame."
- Alfred Jarry (in translation)

JWDB (Jesse Willenbring & Darren Bader) is a bi-coastal art/media collective whose work habitually emphasizes graphic formalism and literary whimsy. With current focuses on the visual languages of advertising, the legacy of Modernist literature and the comedy of defining artistic mediums in a world of trans-media, JWDB can only be focused on this or that for so long. JWDB has thus far presented projects in Turin, São Paulo, Los Angeles and New York.

  • JWDB_24/08/2013 2013. Mixed Media.
Michael Krouse
"One must maintain a little bittle of summer, even in the middle of winter." - Henry David Thoreau

Michael Krouse is a San Francisco based artist known for championing the Bay Area's wider creative community. Owner of the Madrone Art Bar and crucial in organizing the Divisadero bi-annual Art Walk, he can often be with found with his customers surrounded by one of the best art collections in the city. Michael's work often employs irreverent humor and cultural appropriations of signs, symbols and icons that explore human relationships with each other and nature.

  • 1 Big Tree, 1000 Little Trees 2013. One tree, 1000 tree-shaped, pine-scented air fresheners.
Alicia McCarthy

Oakland based painter Alicia McCarthy has been a mainstay of the Mission art movement since it's inception in the 90's. Part punk, part folk, all bohemian spirit, her works not only vibrate with colors reminiscent of the bustling mission district, but also use nontraditional art materials like abandoned wood, house paint, and recycled materials to infuse the street itself into her works. Alicia is represented by the Jack Henley Gallery.

  • Untitled 2013. Spray and latex paint.
Jenny Sharaf
"A dream you dream alone may be a dream, but a dream two people dream together is a reality." - Yoko Ono

Jenny Sharaf was born and raised in Los Angeles and is currently living and working in San Francisco. She is an artist, curator and the founder of Gallery Daily. Her work explores the mythology of the California blonde through painting, collage, video and installation.

  • Femmescape #22 2013. House paint, apoxy, paper.
David Benjamin Sherry
"In a World that is buckling under the weight of profit-making, that is overrun by the destructive sirens of Techno-science and the power-hunger globalization-that new brand of slavery- beyond all that, Friendship exists, Love exists." - Henri-Cartier Bresson, 1998

Color maven David Benjamin Sherry is part photographer, part chemist. By transforming familiar settings into dreamlike, color-rich landscapes he launches his subjects into a fantasy world that viewers can't help but revisit long after they stop looking. Vibrant, enchanting and intense - with periods of macabre irreverence - David's inventive, all analog aesthetic experimentations often blur the lines between humans and their surroundings. Exhibited widely, he is represented by Salon 94 in New York and has two monographs published of his work, It's Time (Damiani 2008) and QUANTUM LIGHT (Damiani 2012). A third, Earth Changes (Mörel 2013), is due out this fall.

  • Winter Storm in Zion Canyon, Zion Utah 2013. 30 x 40 inches, Traditional Color Photograph.
Mat O'Brien
"Somewhat like House MD meets Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer"

Mat O'Brien lives and works in San Francisco. An illustrator at heart, his work vibrates with anecdotal commentary and sharp observational humor. Cultural references, often musical, give a strong undercurrent to his work allowing it to be universally relatable and individually personal. Detailed lines and abstract prose merge with elements of graphic design, paper cut outs and appropriated imagery to explore themes of self in an increasingly public world. Mat has exhibited worldwide, most recently at Needles & Pens Gallery 10 year anniversary in SF and internationally at no.12 Gallery in Tokyo and Slant Gallery in Kanazawa city.

  • Nothing to Wear 2010-2013. Five-part collage. Adhesive vinyl on wheat pasted copy paper.
Brian Sharp
"Pair up in threes." - Yogi Berra

Ohio born, LA based artist Brian Sharp's recent paintings play with perception and optics to create a shallow, undulating space. The works highlight the tension between human desire for both order and freedom. Brian has exhibited throughout the US and is represented by ACME Gallery in LA.

  • Untitled 2013. Acrylic paint.
Mathew McGrath
"So shines a good deed in a weary world." - Willy Wonka

San Francisco based artist Mathew McGrath's imagination and out of the box approach to plant material bring to mind the glamorous landscapes found in storybooks. By transforming spaces with meticulously chosen living plant material arranged and installed, Mathew evokes a sense of abstract beauty while challenging the viewers' conceptions of living things. "My work is about constant change. Plants are always growing and adapting to the environment they find themselves in much like people." Mathew's lifelong interest of nature led to a career in garden design which has flourished and led to the current abstract plant sculptures he is now creating.

  • HORTUS CONCLUSUS 2013. Mixed media.
9 15
"I study the science of culture. With a miner's work ethic, I long to delve deeper and deeper into my investigations."

A fine art and fashion rebel, Olek has transformed the oft-shunned hook and yarn into a new and noteworthy medium. She's made full body suits for ‘wearable art' performance pieces, crocheted windows of an abandoned building near her home and even covered the Charging Bull on Wall Street. She uses this medium as a metaphor for the complexity and interconnectedness of our body and psychological processes. Cut one string and you lose it all.

  • Money Won't Love You Back 2013. Crochet, rainbow camouflage, framed Insets.
  • Animates 2013. Crochet, rainbow camouflage, mannequins.
Jennifer West
"DIY all the way, power to the people. Experimental, homegrown, West Coast, rock n roll, film-nerdy, synesthetic, materialist, collaborative, rebellious, performative and cinematic. It's a place where the avant-garde meets the drugstore; where film celluloid meets the substances of the world and the actions of the people."

Los Angeles based artist Jennifer West makes 16mm, 35mm, and 70mm films by manipulating the film celluloid to a level of performance. The film emulsion might be doused with perfume, alcohol, mascara, or pepper spray, skateboarded on, kissed, or dragged through tar pits. The concept-specific materials she employs for each film enhance and reinforce the experiential and performative nature of each work. She often makes her work with social groupings such as friends, writers and fellow artists. West's practice is characteristically influenced by urban mythology, folklore and popular culture, and often addresses issues of the body, gender, and self-presentation.

  • Dawn Surf Jellybowl 2011. 16mm film manipulated with various mixed media.
Henry Taylor
"All your friends aren't your friends, but your family is your family."

Henry Taylor is a Los Angeles–based painter and sculptor who often makes portraits of his relatives, friends, neighbors and anyone he feels connected to, if only briefly. His works ooze empathy for his subjects then leap off the canvas and into the surrounding space where he often uses found materials to create an immersive time portal back to the moments pictured. Henry is represented by Blum & Poe in Los Angeles and Untitled in New York. His forthcoming first book will be available September 30, 2013.

  • Henry's Family Reunion August 24-25, 2013. Acrylic paint on canvas. A gathering of Henry's actual family and passerbys that become like family. A reminder that we are all one.
Jerry Hsu
"Photography is copying" - Nobuyoshi Araki

California based professional skateboarder and photographer Jerry Hsu has about as much natural skill as he does heart. With gritty photographs that reflect of his own past, Jerry invites viewers to experience the misadventures of a youth that is humorous, intimate and often bleak. In addition to appearing regularly in several publications, Jerry has exhibited work in New York, London, Stockholm, Milan and Tokyo.

  • Elijah 2011. Perforated adhesive vinyl.
  • UNTITLED 2013. Perforated adhesive vinyl.
Aurora Halal
"Music is my fantasy."

Aurora Halal is a video director, musician and underground party promoter living in Brooklyn, NY. Melding vivid analog video textures with digital techniques and live footage, her videos and projections are transformative dreamscapes in a world of their own.

  • Aurora Halal August 24, 2013. TV wall installation with original video. Live performance using analog video manipulation & cameras.
Lele Sevari
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away." - Benjamin Franklin

Artist, photographer, curator and founder of the art publishing collective 8-Ball Zines, Lele Saveri has parlayed his love of the printed image into a DIY playground of creative collaboration. Born in Rome and based in New York, his artworks blend dreams with reality. Snapshots and posed images fold into each other revealing an intimate stream of human consciousness. In addition to publishing books in collaboration with some of the most revered contemporary photographers of our time, Lele has exhibited his own photography works worldwide.

  • Citrus News 2013. Wood, nails, paper, ink, fruit. Zine library installation in collaboration with local artists, publishers and bookstores. Hamburger Eyes, Needles & Pens, Colpa press will be also selecting their favorite books.
Mateo Tannatt
"The words in your mouth are all the vegetables you will ever need to eat."

West Coast artist Mateo Tannatt works in a variety of media to bring his poignant, nostalgic and undeniably funny works to life. From hanging fruit to falling pianos, vegetables to minerals, Mateo's representation of the world act as sculptural snapshots in time. His works are known for being visually seductive and conceptually thought provoking. Mateo is represented by the Marc Foxx Gallery in Los Angeles.

  • Untitled (Every Word Is A Vegetable / The Smile Goes Round) 2013. Steel scaffolding, acrylic glass, sound and audio equipment. Dimensions variable.
Joe Roberts
"The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish." - Terence McKenna

San Francisco based artist Joe Roberts creates worlds of animation-style imagery that often draw upon his lifelong love for comic books. Using anything from pencil and paint, to trash and cut paper, his work combines humor with a raw and spontaneous aesthetic. The result is a vaguely familiar realm laced with personal symbolism that is both wildly fun and meditative. Joe often uses cultural iconography to trigger viewers' nostalgia for adolescence, building upon formative memories to create more self aware, often macabre, themes. Joe has exhibited nationally with recent solo shows at the Fuse gallery in New York City.

  • The edge of magic 2013. Mixed media.
Tofer Chin
"The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out." - Aldous Huxley

Los Angeles based artist Tofer Chin creates vibrating architectural sculptures, photos and painted images. His recent works use geometric patterns that challenge human perception of what is natural vs. man-made. At a glance the work may appear mathematical and calculated, but optical technique and surprising context quickly transport viewers to an otherworldly place that is primal, impulsive and undeniably seductive. Tofer has exhibited widely with solo exhibitions in New York, LA, Barcelona, and São Paulo. He is represented by Lu Magnus in New York.

  • 3 Stalagmites (White) 2013. Acrylic and wood.
Daniel Arnold
"Don't hide the madness."

Brilliantly voyeuristic, Daniel Arnold's photography is as unassuming as his method in capturing it. Armed with his cell phone and Instagram account, the emerging artist delivers raw emotion with refined technique. By capturing the world when no one's looking, Daniel displays images that are utterly frank, catching beautiful (often hilarious) moments of truth that transcend age, race, religion, and demographics – not to mention fashion sense, eating style, music taste and yawning technique. Since leaving his writing job in April, he has shot for several publications and exhibited alongside Ed Templeton, Roe Etheridge, Tim Barber, Asger Carlsen, Jason Nocito, Ryan McGinley and Terry Richardson. Dashwood Books in New York has recently published a volume of his photos called Locals.

  • Self Portrait: San Francisco 2013. Mobile phone, Internet, Instagram.

Brooklyn, NY Featured Artists

Craig Damrauer
"Safety first!"

Craig Damrauer makes things and writes about things. Most known for his series New Math, a ten-year attempt to quantify the world using words and basic math. He has exhibited widely and contributed regularly to the New York Times and the Atlantic. His most recent projects include an ongoing collaboration with Google Alerts tracking the things experts say and a three room installation of self-propelling tree branches for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

  • Consider Yourself Warned 2013. Laser cut stencils and paint on cintra.
Asger Carlsen
"Chinatown is cute."

Asger Carlsen is a Danish photographer who lives and works in New York. He spent the first 10 years of his career as a crime scene photographer before finding his niche creating subtly hilarious and transformative pieces of art that blur the line of reality – always making us question what is human. He is represented by the V1 Gallery.

  • Selections from ‘Hester' and ‘Wrong' 2010-2012, adapted for 2013. Adhesive backed vinyl.
Aurora Halal
3 7
"Music is my fantasy."

Aurora Halal is a video director, musician and underground party promoter living in Brooklyn, NY.  Melding vivid analog video textures with digital techniques and live footage, her videos and projections are transformative immersive dreamscapes in a world of their own.

  • Aurora Halal live visuals performance with Dam Funk LED installation by Michael Potvin 2013. Assorted analog video equipment and projectors - dimensions variable.
Mark Nystrom
4 19
"A leaf stuck in the snow showed me how to draw with the wind."

Mark Nystrom is an artist with a keen interest in working with data as a medium. Deeply rooted in large and often abstract sources, his work yields experiences that transform multi-sensory ephemeral moments into a visual language. In order for a work to be wholly immersive, Mark enables viewers to connect with the raw ingredients he uses in its creation.

  • Winds Long Island City, NY / June 1, 2009 / Process.2013.03 Air Current(s) 2013. Winds, Brooklyn, New York.
Andrew Kuo
"Ball don't lie." - Rasheed Wallace

Represented by the Marlborough Chelsea Gallery, Andrew has been most known for his bright geometric paintings and conceptual data visualization. With graphs that include data for Watching Sitcoms or Arguing about the Knicks on Twitter, it's no surprise that his Instagram famous alter ego has emerged. Here, under the name earlboykins, Andrew curates a selection of enjoyably strange photos from cat pics to pigeons perched on pizza. Andrew lives and works in New York and is a regular contributor to the New York Times.

  • Mirror, Peephole 2013. Online images re-contextualized on glass. Adhesive backed vinyl, 6 parts.
Dev Harlan
"It's not really technical so much as magical. I use a magic wand."

Dev Harlan is an artist whose multidisciplinary practice combines sculpture, light and projection. Working with simple geometric forms, Harlan treats the tangible surfaces with an intervention of light and color, transcending their physical constraints. By superimposing kinetic colors and patterns, the work engages with constant interplay between the static and dynamic.

  • Parmenides I 2013 adaptation. Aluminum, acrylic enamel, and video projection. Approx 8' diameter.
8 12 18
"I always seek to bring color and life, energy, and surprise to the living space."

A fine art and fashion rebel, Olek has transformed the oftshunned yarn and hook into a new and noteworthy medium. She's made full body suits for ‘wearable art' performance pieces, crocheted windows of an abandoned building near her home, and even covered the Charging Bull on Wall Street. She uses this medium as a metaphor for the complexity and interconnectedness of our body and psychological processes. Cut one string and you lose it all.

  • Forgotten Barrier 2013. Text: All We Need is Love and Money. Colors: Green Camouflage
  • Auto Install 2013. Old and new, unique and common, traditional and innovative, all interchangeable.
  • OLEK BIKE 2013. Pink, yellow and green camouflage with butterfly and skull doilies.
Tony Cox
"Warm Wind Wofts." [sic]

Represented by the Marlborough Chelsea Gallery, New York-based artist Tony Cox combines his favorite disciplines through embroidered cut-and-paste works he calls "recycled relations." By transforming materials like old clothes, toothpicks, bottle caps, and other items he's collected around the world, he abstractly communicates personal history in relation to the artifacts' often disparate origins.

  • Truvada's Trees 2013. Glitter trees, assorted various feathers, colored sand, thread, glue, foam, ceramic pots and paint.
Ara Dymond
10 11
"I can't just say the words, do a lot of one-liners. I love each person I play; I have to be that person. I have to do him true." – Richard Pryor

Represented by Marlborough Chelsea, New York-based artist Ara Dymond explores and transforms belief systems; how what is often considered common and unremarkable reacts with the extraordinary and elite. 

  • OK OK 2009, adapted for outdoor display 2013. Latex paint.
  • Memories, Landscapes and other Lies 2013. Steel, paint, MDF
Jonah Freeman & Justin Lowe
"Don and Sara eat macrobiotic, dress Japanese and think middle-class Freud. That is all about to change…"

Represented by the Marlborough Chelsea Gallery, artists Justin Lowe and Jonah Freeman transform the traditional gallery setting by creating immersive environmental installations. At one of their shows you may find yourself in a laboratory, custodian's closet or maybe even a Tijuana giftshop…From cake toppings to book covers, every piece in their incredibly intricate scenes is created by them specifically for their pieces. Some narratives spill into multiple works creating an interactive web for viewers to try and untangle.

  • The Starchamber 1970, United States, 230 min., Color, 1.78:1, English
"I'm Clement Greenberg's worst nightmare."

Romon Kimin Yang, aka Rostarr, is a multi-disciplinary artist, painter and filmmaker living and working in Brooklyn. His work has always blurred the lines between graphic art & fine art – continually searching for freedom within style and form. He's best known for his abstract geometric paintings,totemic iconographic characters and neo-calligraphic artworks.

  • Magnus Salo (The Big Surge) 2013. Acrylic on vinyl.
Joseph Montgomery
"Abstraction is a myth."

A New York-based artist most known for his work in building abstract assemblages, Montgomery employs  carefully placed lines and textures to allow his work to vibrate in space. Blurring the lines between 3D and 2D, sculpture and painting, and often cannibalizing old works to create new, he suggests that every image already exists and only the right context allows some to survive and flourish.

  • Mural translations of two pieces from the Surrogate series 2013. Trompe l'oeil paintings of minimalist assemblages hanging on the wall at a scale larger than the referenced artwork.
Valerie Hegarty
"Don't quit before the miracle."

New York- based artist Valerie Hegarty creates installations that blur the lines between art, time, and nature's inevitable destruction. Through the combination of real and fabricated components, Hegarty leaves the viewer to wonder where reality turns to fiction. Hegarty has said her pieces appear as though nature has become the artist, altering idealized images to be a more layered representation of the world today.

  • Headless George Washington 2012. Foam core, metal studs, canvas, acrylic paint, paper, glue, gel mediums.
"I'm very private about my interactions with private property."

KATSU is a prolific artist who emerged in New York City in the late 1990s. With his identity concealed he has executed a number of high profile pieces that have made his name infamous worldwide. Within the graffiti world, KATSU is often considered an anomaly for blurring the lines between street art, commercialism and technology.

  • Untitled 2013. Industrial fire extinguishers, industrial oil enamels, digital projection & flash memory
Ryan McNamara
"Moving bodies are far superior to non-moving bodies."

Performance (P) artist Ryan McNamara creates works  that juxtapose the familiar with the unfamiliar. His largest body of work contrasts beat-rich music with intense or awkward moments that catch viewers off-guard. At once fun and uncomfortable, Ryan strips away pretense to highlight a tension that lurks just below the surface in our daily lives.

  • Dance 2013. Dancers, speakers, mp3 player, sidewalk, clothing, shoes."

ABSOLUT Open Canvas Cocktail

Cocktail recipe

  • 3 parts ABSOLUT Vodka
  • 2 parts Lemon Juice
  • 1 parts POM Juice
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Mint Leaf Garnish

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add ABSOLUT Vodka, lemon juice and POM. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass filled with ice cubes. Top-up with soda water. Garnish with mint.

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