Brieanne Mikuska is a Calgary-based tattooist and artist who focuses on painting, drawing, illustration, and animation. She has a degree from the faculty of Design at AU Arts, with a major in illustration and a minor in animation. Brieanne’s artwork is mainly focused on human emotions as they impact the human experience; mysticism as it relates to consciousness; and the study of sign processes (semiotics). By finding a purpose through play, humour, and symbolism, Mikuska aims to make meaningful connections with her audience. She depicts a dreamlike spirituality with recurring characters throughout her work. Brieanne’s style has been described as lowbrow, pop surrealist, and reminiscent of 1960’s style comic strips and acid trips. Her use of bright colours draws people by allowing them to weave a narrative with their own personal connections to the colour and symbolism. Mikuska’s artistic mediums are inclusive of acrylic paints, gouache, pencil crayons, and tattoo ink. She also incorporates techniques from airbrush work and tattooing into her work.
Lola Saik is a freelance artist who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the Alberta University of Arts (AU) in 2014. Her work utilizes highly detailed and immersive patterns, as well as repetition of various geometric shapes. Saik is influenced by artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Sol LeWitt, and Bridget Riley. Her artistry is founded by intuitive symbology that is distilled into an abstract world. An abstract world that is immersive to the viewer, and reminiscent of the playful and curious nature of the creator herself. Lola’s artwork transcends many mediums and includes performance, installation, painting, drawing, fashion design, and tattooing. Saik opened Dark Corners Tattoo studio in 2019 located in Inglewood at The New Blank. She works there with her creative partner Brieanne Mikuska.
In what has been a difficult and heavy year for many people around the globe, Brieanne Mikuska and Lola Saik wanted to use their creativity to bring joy and colour into the community of Calgary in the 2021 BUMP Festival.
The two artists are both graduates from The Alberta University of the Arts. Mikuska majored in design and animation and Saik finished her degree majoring in sculpture. They came together and synthesized their unique approaches and styles to create five pieces that address themes of transformation, duality, spirituality, growth and the harmony between human beings, technology and nature.
Each barrier tells a story within these themes; day transitioning to night, caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, the light and dark within each of us, and the relationship we have to our planet. Their dreamlike psychedelic style is reminiscent of late 60’s early 70’s pop art with a contemporary twist. The artists pull a lot of inspiration from tarot imagery, mysticism as it relates to human consciousness and create their own language of symbology in an imaginative childlike manner.
Referencing old blacklight posters and velvet colouring books the black backdrop and bright colours evoke a feeling of nostalgia amongst the viewer. The artists wanted to present work that could be appreciated on different levels by any and everyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or personal beliefs.
With spring coming after a long winter of isolation and worry, the work is meant to inspire hope and happiness in the community.
Photos © 2021 Chelsea Yang-Smith