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Best Visual Artist Orange County 2011 - Glenn Arthur

Readers' Choice: Heather Ritts

Take a quick tour of painter Glenn Arthur's Facebook page, and you'll find an album dedicated to lovers of his work who have his images tattooed on their flesh. His hummingbirds, skulls and stitched hearts are the favorites, but there is also a host of pics in which (mostly) women have pictures of his doe-eyed female archetypes engraved onto their skin. Arthur's fans are obsessed, but so is he. An artistic autodidact, Arthur threw off the chains of conservative Christianity and went in the opposite direction with paintings that have a decidedly erotic appeal. A self-described "perfectionist in love with imperfection," Arthur's paintings are anything but imperfect, transcending the limitations of their Patrick Nagel influence. Obsessive in his themes—the aforementioned trio of skulls, steampunked hummingbirds and hearts, as well as mascara running down cheeks, lesbian overtones, keys and flowers—it's fairly clear the artist must be a little in love with his subjects. And he succeeds in making us, straight or gay, love them, too. The flowing hair, luscious lips and supple skin of the women living on his canvases almost make one wish the artist was Pygmalion. Until that unlikely thing happens, let's go get a tattoo.

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