Artist + Designer Spotlight: Kai Samuels-Davis and Clare Elsaesser

March 14, 2013 | Alex

Yes, I am straying from my mission to highlight local artists and designers (again), but you've got to check out this Etsy power couple. California-based artists/husband-and-wife duo Kai Samuels-Davis and Clare Elsaesser are killing it with their respective Etsy shops.

Samuels-Davis's shop Windy Lane Studio offers originals and prints of his moody portraiture and haunting landscapes. I find his work very masculine and arresting, especially his portraiture. Here are a few of my favorites pieces:

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Sources (clockwise from left)

  1. The Uncertainty, Original Oil Painting, 16x12 inches- $1,150
  2. Pomegranate Study, Original Oil Painting, 16x20 inches- $1,250
  3. A Fragment II, Fine Art Print of Oil Painting, 4x4 inch image size/7x5 inch paper size - $15
  4. The Other Field I, Large Digital Fine Art Print of Oil Painting, 8x18 inch image size/13x19 inch paper size - $50
  5. Bodega Sunrise, Large Art Print of Original Oil Painting, 9.5x16 inch image size/13x19 inch paper size - $50
  6. The Guide, Original Oil Painting, 10x10 inches - $850

Clare Elsaesser's body of work, also available as original oil paintings or as giclee prints from her shop Tastes Orangey, has an intriguing duality to it. Many of her pieces are the yin to her husband's yang-- feminine with an element of romantic fantasy. Her series of women in nature call to mind the mythology of wood and water nymphs. (And by "in nature," I mean really IN it-- immersed in, obscured by or melding into it.)

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Sources (clockwise from top left)

  1. Never Empty Handed, Original Oil Painting, 24x30 inches - $1,100
  2. Watching Trees, Large Giclee Art Print, 16x20 inch image size/17x22 inch paper size - $65
  3. Flower Child, Original Acrylic Painting on Watercolor Paper, 8x10 inches - $215
  4. Married to the Sea, Large Giclee Art Print, 16x20 inch image size/17x22 inch paper size - $65

But then Elsaesser surprises you with her series of sleeping couples that manage to express the reality of young love. You work all day, apart. Then fall into bed exhausted, together. The majority of your interactions with your partners are unconscious or in the midst of pre- and post-sleep ritual. (I swear some days the only chance Ryan and I have to chat is while we're brushing our teeth and barely understand half of what the other is saying.) I always found that sort of sad and sweet. Elsaesser perfectly captures both emotions. Her subjects' body language is both quotidian and romantic. Here a few of my favorites from her scenes of everyday life:

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Sources  (clockwise from top left)

  1. Three, Archival Giclee Art Print, 5x5 inch image size/8.5x11 inch paper size - $15
  2. Sweet Dreams, Large Giclee Art Print, 16x16 inch image size/17x22 inch paper size - $65
  3. Undress, Olive Green Giclee Art Print, 8x10 inch image size/8.5x11 inch paper size - $25
  4. Striped Sleeper, Extra Large Giclee Art Print, 16x20 inch image size/17x22 inch paper size - $65

When you check out her portfolio on Etsy, be sure to read the poems she occasionally writes to accompany her work. This verse, my favorite, corresponds to Three, the print pictured above:

Three pillows

are better than two

three pilows might be better than you