Happy Boxing Day to those that celebrate. It’s always a good day to go outside after all the festivities of Christmas. If you are fortunate to have snow, maybe you can go have a (gentle) snowball fight. Either way, this link is a collection of Snowball Fights in Art (1400–1946) over at The Public Domain Review. Dive in.
I love this from The Art of Noticing: TAoN #28: Make It Art . I encourage you to read it. You will soon be seeing “art” everywhere. Actually take the quotes off art: as Duchamp showed, once you put an object within a certain context, it becomes art.
Of course you can use your skills to make art in practical ways. Here’s 6 Reasons Why Making Art is so Good for You , in case you need encouragement. If you need more guidance, the great Lynda Barry lectures are captured here: Making Comics: Lynda Barry and Drawn & Quarterly Bring a Magnificent Lecture on Art to Life.
P.S. Many artists are underappreciated and usually obscure. Rockwell is underappreciated and well known. He needs to be appreciated more. Pieces like this can help: Opinion: Why Norman Rockwell left Thanksgiving Americana behind.
(Image above from here: A ‘Staircase to Heaven’ Installation Ascends into the Sky as a Trippy Optical Illusion)
Posted in art
Tagged art, lyndabarry, taon
What goes into making a cover illustration for the New Yorker magazine? Well if you are Adrian Tomine, quite a lot. In this piece he breaks down the process he followed to make the above cover, now famous: Making a Cover – by Adrian Tomine – ADRIAN TOMINE. He really puts a lot of thought into making such an image, and a description of the tools and materials that he uses as he works on different versions is interesting, especially to fellow artists, I’m sure.
Well besides being Canadian artists, they are both featured in this post! 🙂
In addition to those great artists, here are other things I’ve found interesting in art recently.
Artists: Here’s a strong story: Julie Green Artist Who Memorialized Inmate’s Last Suppers Dies at 60 . I was really struck by this piece about her. She did important art and it’s well worth reading about her and her work. More on that here: Dish by Dish Art of Last Meals.
This was an amazing story: Art Enthusiast Spots Long-Lost Sculpture by Black Folk Artist in Missouri Front Yard. I liked this story: The Gilded Age painter devoted to scenes of every-day life around him. Also this one was good: A TikTok Subway Artist Finds His Way to the Lower East Side
This made me sad: Bernini Bust of a Woman He Abused Exhibited Alongside Photographs of Survivors . I have always been a fan of Bernini. That he was brutally cruel to Costanza Buonarelli (the woman who was the victim) is not something I can ever reconcile with how much I love his work.
This is a good little piece on a work by KENT MONKMAN: “DANDY”. And here is a great study of how Christopher Pratt created one of my favorite works: “Pedestrian Tunnel”.
How-to: I’ve been doing some drawing and watercolor these days. I’ve moved on from being a frustrated artists to actually making some basic art. This is a good tool for that: Free Interactive 3D Model for Drawing Figures Dynamic Poses and More Online Drawing Mannequin.
Relatedly, I found these useful. Here’s some good tips so you can get Better at Drawing. This helped: Learn how to draw a face in 8 easy steps: Beginners. So did this: Draw a Self-Portrait. As did this: Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Basic Body Proportions .
I’ve been interested in multimedia, so I was into this: Using Acrylics in Collage, and this: How to Adhere Paper to Canvas, and also this: The Best Paint To Use For A Beautiful Collage Painting.
Music: most of my art interest is visual, but I also like these music links: Guitar Trainer by Acoustro, and The Complete Beginner Saxophone Course,
and this 5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Bach.
Finally: this looks like a good book: Your Art Will Save Your Life
(Image is a link to the piece on Pratt.)
Over at Colossal they have a good piece on the Zen Gardens by Yuki Kawae. Check it out: it could be just the thing to calm your mind.
For example, practice slow breathing and watch this:
There is a new show of Barbara Kruger’s work called: “THINKING OF YOU. I MEAN ME. I MEAN YOU.” It’s playing from now through to Jan. 24, 2022 at the Art Institute of Chicago.
I had a few thoughts on it. One thought: I believed I had two favorite artists from the 80s (Basquiat and Haring) but it turns out I have three (Kruger). I had mistakenly not placed her in that era. But as the Times shows:
Since the early 1980s, the engine of her work, and its effectiveness, has been formatting — the candy apple red bar containing white sans serif type, rendered in Futura Bold Oblique, conveying aphorisms that could be taunts or pleas.
(her work started) much more humbly, as paste-ups made by hand, an extension of Kruger’s work as a graphic designer at Condé Nast magazines. Twenty of her 1980s originals are displayed in a suboptimally lit walkway. Up against the room-size works, they feel like modest afterthoughts. But up close they are deeply moving, almost innocent. Each juxtaposes a gnomic phrase with a stark black and white image, but at this scale, they scan more as private entreaties than global dictates — rave fliers for young agitators.
Second thought: just like Basquiat and Haring took their art from the street to the galleries and museums, so did Kruger. And just like the two men, she is now a dominant part of our culture. Back to the Times:
And that underscores the complexity of revisiting Kruger at this moment in image dissemination: Her strict-rule paste-up approach to interrogating groupthink has become so defining, so signature that her innovations are now core grammar. Her art is recombinant. It exists whether or not she’s present.
Which brings me to my final thought. Sure it is easy to use elements of her work to mimic her (waves to the folks at Supreme). But looking at the work on display I can see it has power in a way that those who copy her do not. The scale, the colour, the composition: they all demonstrate the qualities she has as an artist that has made her influential and deserving of such a show.
For more, see the Times piece: Barbara Kruger: Infinitely Copied, Still Unmatched – The New York Times. Better still, go to Chicago and see the show while you can.
Over at Colossal they have the stunningly beautiful sculpture of Louise Durham. Here’s their intro:
Based in the coastal town of Shoreham-by-Sea, England, artist Louise Durham creates towering wooden sculptures of reclaimed sea defense timber and vibrant stained glass. She embeds stripes and circles in a full spectrum of color within the totem-style works, which when illuminated, cast kaleidoscopic shadows on their surroundings. “It is all about the light,” she says. “That’s the magic of glass and the magic of all living things.”
In some ways they remind me of stained glass windows in churches. There is something spiritual to them, though in an abstract way. You can bring your own spirituality to them, whatever it is. Regardless, they are beautiful and a feast for the eyes.
You can find a selection of her work at Colossal, as well as on her site and Instagram. Go and enjoy.
(Image via Colossal)
Over at Colossal they have the brilliant artistry of Alyssa Ki which combines weaving, macramé, and crochet to create such beautiful bouquets such as the one pictured above. Ki selects
yarn and rovings of raw wool dyed in natural pigments, (and she) crafts fiber-based wall hangings reminiscent of bouquets and overgrown patches of wildflowers. The perpetually blooming pieces blend multiple textile techniques and are teeming with macramé, needle-felted, and crocheted botanicals that sprout from a thick, woven foundation. Hanging from a knotty branch or bound by a ribbon, the floral works are ripe with color and texture.
Fabulous. For more on this, go to Colllosal and read up on it.
(Image via the story and the artist)
Posted in art
Tagged art, bacon, Barry, Bowie, collage, Gehry, Hockney, MoMA, murals, richter, Rockwell, Titian, vanGogh
Last week I wrote about really great long films. Those are great, Bernie, you say, but what about those times when you don’t have much time? In that case, you need this list of films you can watch in under 90 minutes! Yes, Rashomon is on the list. And so many more great films. Proof that longer isn’t always better.
Fun fact: Spike Lee has a film on this list (“She’s Gotta Have It”) and on the long list (“Malcolm X”). Check out both of them!
Posted in art
Tagged art, film, lifehacker
I’ve always been a fan of Jim Jarmusch’s films. Now I have a new thing to be a fan of: his collages. The New York Times has a series of them here as well as good article talking to him about them. Go check it out. It’s a visual treat! Enjoy! Maybe go and make some of your own.
While W.E.B. Du Bois is acclaimed for many achievements, one that I had never heard of until I came across this was how great he was at making infographics: W. E. B. Du Bois’ Hand-Drawn Infographics of African-American Life (1900) – The Public Domain Review.
That piece has several of his works on display, including the one above. Not only are they well designed, but seeing them gives you a valuable American history lesson. For example, this one below uses text and imagery to show how the population of African Americans changed over time in proportion to the rest of the population:
Well worth checking out that article to see more of his work.
Many were devastated by the destruction of the ancient ruins of Palmyra by Isis. There have been attempts both small and not so small to recreate them. Above you can see how the artist Abbas Akhavan has done it using straw and clay. It’s a wonderful work, and you can learn more about it, here: Abbas Akhavan review – a poetic monument to folly | Art and design | The Guardian.
Lots of chatter recently about this painting “Equals Pi”. If you want to see what I mean, read this, Tiffany’s Wants You to Think It Inspired a Blue Basquiat Painting, or this, Tiffany solicits help of Beyoncé and Jay-Z to draw younger buyers – will it backfire? | Fashion | The Guardian.
As for me, I am not sure what effect it will have. I do know the owners of Tiffany have a ton of money to acquire this picture and I am glad it is getting some display. I always love seeing the work of Basquiat and I especially like this one.
For more on who previously owned it, see this: Austin Kleon — Jean-Michel Basquiat, Equals Pi, 1982 2021: Some…
Recently I came across this story about the new Vermeer painting and like him it is blowing my mind a bit. It takes restoration to a whole new level. It seems restoration work is getting bolder these days. I remember some of the controversy regarding the Sistine Chapel restoration and how some thought the people restoring it had crossed the line by making the colours so bold. This Vermeer restoration takes things to a whole other level by changing the image and its composition. I’ll be curious to see if we see more boldness like this in the future.
For more on this, see this piece: A Restored Vermeer Painting Reveals a Hidden Cupid Artwork Hanging in the Background.
Here on this blog, I like to post anything I can about my favorite artists, and Basquiat is one of my most favorite. Here’s two recent pieces on him:
- How Basquiat and Street Artists Left Their Mark on Hip-Hop Culture – The New York Times
- Basquiat’s Painting on an Apartment Door Acquired by Dallas Museum of Art
The last one has this incredible photo in it:
First off, the photo is titled: Jean-Michel Basquiat at the opening of Primitivism in 20th Century Art, 1985 (photo by Andy Hanson). I can’t believe that any museum or gallery categorized his work as Primitivism. (Ok, I can.) And then that photo. Basquiat looking cool and sophisticated. The women…well…something else. Anyway….good links. Check them out.
Posted in art
Tagged art, artists, Basquiat
Over at My Modern Met they have a story on how artist Ngoc Like uses tattoos to cover the scars of her patrons: Scar Cover-Up Tattoos Help Women Regain Confidence in Their Bodies.
Some people may not want to cover their scars: they may not like tattoos or they may be indifferent or even proud of their scars. And that’s fine. But for people badly affected by scaring, this is a wonderful way to recover from that, I think.
See the article for many more photos such as the one above.
I love this story. In the 80s, Haring went to a club and painted the mural you see above. To prevent it from being demolished, Barcelona City Council Steps in to Preserve a Little-known Keith Haring Mural.
Good for them! Something similar was done for a painting by Basquiat.
Here’s to the preservation of great works by great artists from the 80s.
Posted in art
Tagged art, germany, modernart
The New York Times does a great job of telling the story of The Art in the Oval Office. There’s a good story of how it has evolved from Kennedy to Biden, and the Times does a good job of telling it by using various interactive tools. Well worth viewing.
Personally I like how different Kennedy was than the other presidents. But judge for yourself.
This is a very good story about an exhibit centered around the painting above. It deals with our time, Basquiat’s and much more: Behind Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: Reframing a Tragedy – The New York Times.
A minor aside is that Basquiat painted on so many objects, from fridges to walls. It’s great that Keith Haring saved this.
Posted in art
Tagged art, Basquiat, Haring
Yes there is a pill for every problem you have at the web site of Dana Wyse!
Actually, it’s a really good art site where Wyse has a pill (or other packable object) for problems real and imagined. You can buy them too. Worth checking out.
Posted in art
Tagged art, medicine, pills
If you are a fan or even passingly aware of Marcel Duchamp , you likely have heard of works of his: Nude Descending a Staircase to Fountain to Large Glass. They are all well known With the arrival of NFTs on the art scene, I was reminded of another of his works not so well known: Monte Carlo Bonds. As Wikipedia explains:
The Monte Carlo Bonds were a 1924 Marcel Duchamp work in the form of legal documents, created as bonds, originally intended to be produced in editions of 30. The creation of the work came out of Duchamp’s repeated experiments at the Monte Carlo Casino, where he endlessly threw the dice in order to accumulate profit through an excruciatingly gradual process.
The use of an artificial and random process is not unlike using blockchain for NFTs. And while both methods are associated with art, the primary purpose seems to be to generate profit. Duchamp was well ahead of his time.
Christie’s has more on these bonds.
David Hockey keeps going and going and I love that about him. Now he’s using Apple devices to make more works of art, and they are wonderful. To see what I mean, go read this at artnet.com: David Hockney Has Made Beautiful (and Rarely Seen) iPad Drawings of the View From His Bedroom Window. Enjoy Them Here.
If that gets you excited, in theory you could order the book. However at a price of $2000, it is more a work of art than a simple book: David Hockney. My Window (Limited Edition) – TASCHEN Books
I hope he continues to make art in one form or another. Based on this on Austin Kleon’s site, it’s likely he will.
P.S. I love that drawing above. The raindrops are especially good.
P.S.S. I recommend that Kleon post too. Or anything Hockney says about art.
(Image link from article on artnet.com)
When you don’t know what to create, record what you know. I was reminded of that rule when admiring the paintings of Rachel Campbell, here: Colorful Oil Paintings Depict Give a Glimpse into the Life of the Artist.
If you are trying to write or draw or paint, you may be stuck with two problems: being able to make things look “nice” and not knowing what to make. Recording what you know solves those two problems. You know what you are going to make: a recording of what is in front of you. And even if you don’t make a good recording (i.e. it isn’t “nice”), I can assure you years from now you will look at it and say “oh that! I forgot all about that, but I am glad I have a recording of it now!”
Here’s another tip: ask yourself what is something you know that you Love or think is Beautiful. Whether it’s a place or a person or a thing or even a time of day, record that. When you see it, you won’t think the lines aren’t great or the colour is wonky: you will see the Thing you Love or think is Beautiful. Others will think it too.
Here’s a final tip: record something of your era. Include something fashionable, or technology, or anything that is not long lasting. Years from now it will be fascinating to your or others. “Look at that old phone”, they’ll say. Or “look how cheap everything is”, or “look at that dress”. You get the idea.
Sure you can take a photo, and it may be a good photo. But put some creative thought and effort into it. Your art will get better, and the work you produce will be better.
(Image is a link to the article in My Modern Met.)
Here at this blog I will always share my love of the 1980s.
First up, here is a great piece in the New Yorker on a recent Whitney art show which highlighted the Joy of Eighties Art. It’s begins great:
Starting in the late nineteen-seventies, young American artists plunged, pell-mell, into making figurative paintings. That seemed ridiculously backward by the lights of the time’s reigning vanguards of flinty post-minimalism, cagey conceptualism, and chaste abstraction. The affront was part of the appeal. As with contemporaneous punk music, sheer nerve rocketed impudent twentysomethings to stardom on New York’s downtown scene. The powerful excitement of that moment has been languishing in a blind spot of recent art history, but “Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s,” at the Whitney, a show of works by thirty-seven artists from the museum’s collection, comes to the rescue. Some of the names are famous: Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Eric Fischl, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring.
I loved reading every word of that. A great review.
Other 80s things I found recently is this here ode to a great album of the the early 1980s: Rattlesnakes from Lloyd Cole and the Commotions.
Saxophones don’t feature on that recording, but they did on many other great recordings of the 1980s. Gradually they died off. Here’s a good piece exploring that.
If you still have music from that era, chances are some of it is on a cassette tape, which was big then. If you suddenly have the urge to listen to that, you can, with this player (shown below at Uncrate.com). It’s not the original Walkman, but in some ways it’s better.
(Top image is David Salle’s “Sextant in Dogtown” (1987).Courtesy David Salle / VAGA, NY. Linked to in the article. Bottom image is from the uncrate.com article)
There are several benefits of blind contour drawing:
- if you are afraid you can’t draw “well”, then use blind contour drawing. Chances are it won’t look like the thing you are drawing, and that’s ok. But you will learn and get better at drawing.
- it is a good way to be mindful. If you are focused on doing a blind contour drawing, it’s hard to think of anything else
- It’s a good way to shake off your bad habits that you may have picked up.
Here’s some good links to help you learn more about it:
(Image is a link to the Austin Kleon post)
John Baldessari passed away recently. He was one of my favourite artists from the post World War II era. Here’s two traditional write ups on him from the leading papers of our day:
- John Baldessari on his giant emoji paintings: ‘I just wondered what they’d look like large’ The Guardian
- John Baldessari, Who Gave Conceptual Art a Dose of Wit, Is Dead at 88 –The New York Times
They are fine. However, I found what helped me reappreciate him was this piece: A brief appreciation of John Baldessari by Austin Kleon. It’s a short piece, but I came away from it with a better appreciate of Baldessari than I did from the other two.
Finally there is this interview in Interview magazine where he speaks with the artist (and former student) David Salle. Well worth reading.
At the Brooklyn Museum they had an exhibit of Basquiat’s notebooks. They wrote:
A self-taught artist with encyclopedic and cross-cultural interests, Basquiat was influenced by comics, advertising, children’s sketches, Pop art, hip-hop, politics, and everyday life. Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks emphasizes the distinct interplay of text and images in Basquiat’s art, providing unprecedented insight into the importance of writing in the artist’s process. The notebook pages on display contain early renderings of iconic imagery—tepees, crowns, skeleton-like figures, and grimacing faces—that also appear throughout his large-scale works, as well as an early drawing related to his series of works titled Famous Negro Athletes.
If you are a fan of the artist, I recommend you check this out: Brooklyn Museum: Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks.
If you have someone who is interested in making their own art, encourage them to check it out too. Seeing Basquiat’s notebooks can remind them that even with humble materials, the potential to create something great exists.
If you are stuck at creating things, find something worth pointing at and create something about it. For example:
- if you see something interesting, take a picture of it and post it somewhere
- if you have a favourite song, sing it for someone
- if you have a favourite food, make it for someone
- if you have an interesting place or person or idea and you think others should know, write about it
You get the idea. I have been mulling this idea over since I read this: Pointing at things – Austin Kleon.
The format of my blog since the beginning has been to point at things by writing about them. I’d estimate over 90% of my posts are me pointing at other parts of the Internet and saying why they are interesting. Even this post is about pointing at someone else’s post about pointing at things.
Pointing at things is an old tradition of the Internet. There is far too much information on it and often the only way of finding something useful is for someone to point it out. The best pointers often garner the most attention.
I hadn’t thought before to apply the idea of pointing to other creative forms. I somewhat do that on Instagram. Now I want to try and do it elsewhere.
Start pointing at things! Then tell people why you are. Everyone will benefit.
(Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash)
This is interesting and something I’d like to see more of: the final works of famous artists. At Artnet.com they have at least seven of them: the Poetic, Heartbreaking Final Paintings of 7 Famous Artists, From Salvador Dalí to Marcel Duchamp.(They kinda gush a bit in that title. :))
Here is the last one from Dali:
That is interesting in itself. (Dali is always interesting.) But what makes it more interesting to me, as someone interested in the form of mathematics known as catastrophe theory, was that Dali was interested in and and inspired by it too. As artnet explaiins:
During the last years of his life, Dalí became obsessed with the mathematical catastrophe theory developed by French mathematician René Thom, who suggested that there are seven “elementary catastrophes” that occur: fold, cusp, swallowtail, butterfly, hyperbolic umbilic, elliptic umbilic, and parabolic umbilic. This painting, with its generous curves and sharp edges, mimics these catastrophic events in black lines painted atop what appears to be a crinkled white sheet of paper. The organic curves of a cello appear to one side along with, perhaps as a reference to his own famous facial feature, a handlebar mustache…
I first came across Celmins work at a large exhibit recently at the AGO and was so blown away by it. I love the detail and the abstaction of her art. You can get really lost in just one of her works. I know I did when I saw them. I think you will too.
I was doing some research on her and I found these articles to be good. If you want to learn more about her, check them out:
- Vija Celmins – 11 artworks – painting
- Explore the art of Vija Celmins – Look Closer | Tate
- Vija Celmins’s Surface Matters | The New Yorker
This is a smart reuse of old VD posters to warn against the dangers of a new biological thread: COVID. Via The Daily Heller:
Adrian Wilson, provocateur par excellence, recently revisited a vintage poster prevention campaign against VD used during World War II, and remixed the various messages into a current cautionary attack on CoViD-19. This genre of repurposing images and words is not new or novel, but when accomplished satirically and wittily, as Wilson has done below, it can be an effective public messaging tool.
For more of Wilson’s work, click on the link above. It’s great.
I’m always struck whenever I see the works of Betty Goodwin. They have a distortion that reminds me of Francis Bacon, and there is sometimes a threat implied with them, the way Bacon’s work does too. But Goodwin is her own artist, and if anything she has a greater range than Bacon does. This is not to strictly compare both artists, for they are both great in their own way. It is just meant to highlight how good I think she is.
If you want to see more of her work, you can go the National Gallery of Canada, here. The AGO also has some of her work and had a fine exhibit on her in 2019. You can read about it here.
Is shown, here.
The David Zwirner gallery has an exhibit on the late works of Paul Klee, here.
A good analysis of Klee and his work then can be read here.
His work is darker in this time period, as befitting of what was going on. Still beautiful and still uniquely Klee, though.
Posted in art
Tagged art, Europe, klee, painting
Come January 2021, here’s to dumping John McNaughton and his terrible art into obscurity for all time. If you don’t know who he is (he’s the guy in the above photo), you can read more about him here. Better yet, don’t.
I am not sure it is better, but here’s an image of Trump made with sex toys.
You can read about it here.
If you are a fan of Dada as I am, you owe it to yourself to visit this site. This archive site is a wealth of material on Dadaism and Surrealism.
Dada is over a century old, but still relevant, in my opinion. Art was never the same after it. If you need an introduction to Dada, the wikipedia page can get you going.
It doesn’t sounds like much, but it’s worthwhile going to check this out just for the beautiful images found there (like the one above): Black and White Analog Photographs Explore the Serenity of Long Meandering Roads |
From the good folks at Colossal.
This lovely short film, How To Be At Home, by Andrea Dorfman, and provided by the National Film Board of Canada, reunites filmmaker Andrea Dorfman with poet Tanya Davis to provide timely guidance on how to get through the pandemic, and other such isolation. Highly recommended.
Posted in art
Tagged art, Canada, cool, film, nfb