Category Archives: art

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On Haring, Basquiat and the art that defined 80s New York


Some good links on the art of the 1980s, of which Basquiat and Haring played a big part, here and here.

Most of the time the links I post are mostly because I want other people to know about them. Links that talk about my youth are mainly for me. 🙂 But fans of either painter or art of that time should click through.

Painting above by Haring in tribute to Basquiat. May they both RIP.

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The Most Influential Artists of 2019 according to Artsy

It seems every year the website Artsy puts together a list of artists who were recently influential. The lists are always interesting, mixing artists you likely heard of (e.g., Jeff Koons) and others you may hear more of.  It’s a great way to find out what artists are making a difference right now.

I had not heard of Mrinalini Mukherjee before. (Not that I even pretend to know everything about the current art world.) But I am glad to have discovered her for myself. Go here and learn more for yourself: The Most Influential Artists of 2019 – Artsy

(Image about is of Mukherjee and a featured work of hers.)

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Reason over Passion

Still a great work, after all these years. More on it, here: 1968 – Reason over Passion by Joyce Wieland | 150 years 150 works

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The story behind JFK’s official presidential portrait


I’ve always loved and admired  JFK’s Official White House Portrait. I found it intriguing, too. After reading the “Story of Aaron Shikler’s Posthumous Painting of John F. Kennedy”, I found it even more so.  Fans of the work or JFK will want to read that piece.

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In praise of gray (the colour)

Gray is a beautiful colour, but it is hard to appreciate. If you feel that way, I recommend this piece, which is beautifully write about this beautiful colour: Ode to Gray

And then there are these quotes by Gerhard Richter about the colour gray.

I’d love to read more such pieces on colours that mean so much to artists. These two artists make me appreciate gray more than I ever did.

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Postcard Art of Bauhaus Artists


Fans of Bauhaus, take note: The Exuberant Postcard Art of the First Bauhaus Exhibition.

Lots of really good works by members of Bauhaus, including Klee (above).

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Now for a completely different form of floor tile!

That is actual floor tile you can buy! The floor is flat underneath, but the different shaped tiles trick your eye into thinking otherwise.

For more on this trompe d’oeil, see: An Optical Illusion Tile System Designed by Casa Ceramica via Colossal

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Tourism posters in the pandemic era


It’s not a fun time, and it’s not an era for travel, but if you want a souvenir of your non-travels from the pandemic, head on over to Colossal and check out:  Witty ‘Coronavirus Tourism’ Posters Advertise the Thrilling Adventures of Staying Home

Better still, if you like the one above, or any of the other ones, visit the artist’s commercial site and buy one!

Hey, what’s the point of (non) travel if you don’t get a souvenir or two.

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It’s a good time to check out the Criterion Channel

If you are tired of other streaming services, or if you want to improve the films you are watching, now is a good time to check out the high quality films on  The Criterion Channel.

Right now they have a 14 day free trial. Now, if you are not a cinephile, the list of films they have could feel daunting. To make it simple, here is a list of 50 essential films you can watch there, with reasons why you want to see them.

If you aren’t sure, you can check out Criterion films streaming on Netflix, Apple TV and more. Consider giving them a try, though.

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Fun Fluorescent Sculpture because we could use some fun right about now

For more, check out:  Fluorescent Cacti and Leaf Sculptures by Nobel Truong from the great art site,  Colossal

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Free Picture Stencil Maker

This is a nice little tool if you want to turn a photograph into a stencil or drawing: Free Picture Stencil Maker.

If you wanted to simplify an image, this can help. For example, if you wanted to break down an image for painting or drawing, this could be really useful.

Give it a try!

 

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One of my favourite works at the AGO is Lisa Reihana: in Pursuit of Venus [infected]

It’s a great work for many reasons, not least is the technically superb use of Audio Visual technology. It’s well worth seeing and experiencing. Do so soon: it ends May, 2020.

For more on it, see: Lisa Reihana: in Pursuit of Venus [infected] | Art Gallery of Ontario

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Mario Moore and his paintings of blue-collar workers who ‘really run things’…

…is a fantastic story you can read about here:  Princeton University portraits lacked diversity, so artist Mario Moore painted blue-collar workers who ‘really run things’ – The Washington Post.

His painting is fine, and the subject matter he has chosen especially so. Check out the story: it has many of his works on display too.

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Three good pieces on Anselm Kiefer, in the Guardian

Anselm Kiefer had a big show in England this year, and that lead me down a rabbit hole reading pieces in the Guardian on him.  Never boring in his art work or his interviewers, anyone interested in knowing more about this great German artist can learn more here:

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Tokyo Noir

For more stunning photos like this, go see Cinematic Photographs of Tokyo at Night by Masashi Wakui | Colossal.

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Glitched Sculptures of Greek Gods


Some amazing work here: Glitched Sculptures of Greek Gods by Zachary Eastwood-Bloom Reimagine Classicism in the Digital Age.

From the good people at Colossal. Go to their site to see more of Eastwood-Bloom’s work.

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Two good pieces on Andy Warhol


By Blake Gopnik, Andy Warhol Inc.: How He Made Business His Art – The New York Times.

By Jerry Saltz, on the Whitney retrospective of Warhol.

P.S. I think Andy would approve of being used on a skateboard.

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how to become artist in 6 steps, with 33 rules to follow


From this superb piece, Jerry Saltz: How to Be an Artist, come this:

Step One: You Are a Total Amateur
Lesson 1: Don’t Be Embarrassed
Lesson 2: “Tell your own story and you will be interesting.” — Louise Bourgeois
Lesson 3: Feel Free to Imitate
Lesson 4: Art Is Not About Understanding. Or Mastery. (It is about doing and experience)
Lesson 5: Work, Work, Work

Step Two: How to Actually Begin
Lesson 6: Start With a Pencil
Lesson 7: Develop Forms of Practice
Lesson 8: Now, Redefine Skill
Lesson 9: “Embed thought in material.” — Roberta Smith
Lesson 10: Find Your Own Voice (then exaggerate it)
Lesson 11: Listen to the Crazy Voices in Your Head
Lesson 12: Know What You Hate
Lesson 13: Scavenge

Step Three: Learn How to Think Like an Artist
Lesson 14: Compare Cats and Dogs
Lesson 15: Understand That Art Is Not Just for Looking At
Lesson 16: Learn the Difference Between Subject Matter and Content
Lesson 17: See As Much As You Can
Lesson 18: All Art Is Identity Art!
Lesson 19: All Art Was Once Contemporary Art

Step Four: Enter the Art World
Lesson 20: Accept That You Will Likely Be Poor
Lesson 21: Define Success
Lesson 22: It Takes Only a Few People to Make a Career
Lesson 23: Learn to Write

Step Five: Survive the Art World
Lesson 24: Artists Must Be Vampires
Lesson 25: Learn to Deal With Rejection
Lesson 26: Make an Enemy of Envy
Lesson 27: Having a Family Is Fine

Step Six: Attain Galactic Brain
Lesson 28: What You Don’t Like Is As Important As What You Do Like
Lesson 29: Art Is a Form of Knowing Yourself
Lesson 30: “Artists do not own the meaning of their work.” — Roberta Smith
Lesson 31: All Art Is Subjective
Lesson 32: You Must Prize Vulnerability
Lesson 33: Be Delusional

But read the piece: the comments he provides are what gets to the heart of it.

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On Jeff Koons


Two worthwhile pieces on Jeff Koons: this Stop Hating Jeff Koons – The New York Times, and in a way, this.

I used to have great disdain for Koons, but the more I think about his work, the better appreciation I have for it. There is a ceiling to that appreciation: the emptiness of it imposes that. But Koons and his work gets me to think about art and the art world and the meaning of art and culture, and for that his work appeals to me.

However you think about him, those pieces are worth reading.

(Image via link to the NYTimes.com piece)

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How to appreciate art better


A good list: 10 Rules for Appreciating Art by Sister Wendy Beckett (RIP), the Nun Who Unexpectedly Popularized Art History on TV | Open Culture.

Not just for people who know little about art. Thanks Sister Wendy: you are missed. As are you, Francis Bacon, the painter of the image above.

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Advice to young (and not so young) artists. (We are all artists in some way)


Here are two good pieces full of advice for artists.

One big: Advice to Young Aspiring Artists from Patti Smith, David Byrne & Marina Abramović | Open Culture

One small: None of us know what will happen – Austin Kleon

Key quote from the Austin Kleon piece is this, from Laurie Anderson:

The world may end. You’re right. But that’s not a reason to be scared. None of us know what will happen. Don’t spend time worrying about it. Make the most beautiful thing you can. Try to do that every day. That’s it. You know? What are you working for, posterity? We don’t know if there is any posterity.

(Image from pexels.com)

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A beautiful photo essay of Venice at night

That photo above is just one of the many photos over at Via Colossal of Venice at night. Far removed from the tourist busy city of day. Well worth visiting Colossal to see the rest.

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The brilliant pothole mosaics from Jim Bachor’s

Your city should be so lucky as to have Jim Bachor filling your potholes with amazing mosaics such as this:

For more on it, see: Mosaic Vermin Invade New York City as Part of Jim Bachor’s Latest Pothole Interventions at Colossal. Also, search from him on Instagram: he posts regularly and he does a wide range of mosaics. And he travels, so maybe your city is next.

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Where to See Basquiat Around the World

A good item to add to your bucket list, if you are a fan of Basquiat: travel the world and see all the places where his works are displayed. To do that, you will need this list: Where to See Basquiat Around the World – Barron’s. And money. And time.

After you do that, you can go see all the Vermeers in the world!

(Image: Wikiart.org)

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How to learn to watercolor in no time at all

Sounds impossible, but if you go here and watch the enclosed video, you will feel confident you can watercolor too: How to watercolor: In under 3 mins. 

That particular post comes from Danny Gregory , who has a great blog for all of us artists. (That’s you too). Well worth reading.

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Heroic Symbols 1969 by Anselm Kiefer


For fans of Anselm Kiefer, there is an in depth discussion of this particular work, here:
Heroic Symbols 1969 by Anselm Kiefer – In Focus | Tate

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Can you work a day job and still make great art?

If you are Philip Glass you can. And likely anyone who has the capacity to make art can as well. It may take you longer, but you can do it. To see how he did it, see this piece: How Philip Glass Went From Driving Taxis to Composing – The Atlantic

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All the Vermeers in the World

What if your goal was to see all the Vermeer paintings in the world? There are not that many: you just need to travel a lot to do it. One person set out to do that. See Vermeer Goals for details.

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Women in the work of Francis Bacon

This is a terrible title for a good article of the women that Francis Bacon painted: Sex Scenes: Francis Bacon’s Bohemian Muse, Lesbian Bartender and Artist/Model – GARAGE

Besides the article, the close up photos are worth viewing: you can really get an appreciation for Bacon’s brush work in the photos.

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How art can make us more confident


According to this, art can make us more confident by providing us with stories and representations of people with characteristics we share that overcome similar obstacles that we run up against. After all….

Confidence isn’t the belief that we won’t meet obstacles. It is the recognition that difficulties are an inescapable part of all worthwhile contributions. We need to ensure we have to hand plenty of narratives that normalise the role of pain, anxiety and disappointment in even the best and most successful lives.

I agree.

The image is an extended version of the work highlighted in the article. Like the Stations of the Cross and other works, they illustrate the difficulties of a way of life, and by making us aware of them, allow us to best prepare to meet them and overcome them.

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This is beautiful: sculptures of old machines exploded into separate parts

These sculptures by John Peralta are beautiful. Here’s one

You can see more here: Machinations: Historical Machines Exploded into Individual Components in Sculptures by John A. Peralta | Colossal

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In praise of composition notebooks


They’re as basic as notebooks get, and cheap to boot. But as you can see from
via Austin Kleon’s Tumblr, some great artists have done fine things with them.

Go to a stationery shop or dollar store and get yourself one or two or more and get creating.

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Knowing more women artists: Berthe Morisot


Sadly, I don’t know enough women artists. If this is you as well, then you want to check out this piece: You know Monet and Manet. This female Impressionist deserves your attention, too. – The Washington Post.  I agree: Morisot is one artist you should know better.

As well as doing a good job of summarizing this great artist, hey highlight the travelling show that is currently running and highlighting her work. If you can, it would be well worth visiting it if it coming near you. (Currently it is Quebec City.)

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The Notebooks of Jean-Michel Basquiat

I hadn’t seen this before, but for fans of the artist, this is a must view: The Unknown Notebooks of Jean-Michel Basquiat – The New York Times.

I love everything about NYC in the 80s, and I especially like this.

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On outsider art / art brut

Someone made a reference to outsider art this week and it sent me researching some links on it. Like Dada, outsider art is one of the most interesting things about 20th century art, though of course it has no specific time period. It challenges everything about the art world, even as the art world tries to incorporate it.

If you don’t know much outsider art, here are some places you can start to learn more:

From there, Google as much as you can.

(Image of Jean Dubuffet via the Guggenheim)

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A reluctant promotion of a Kickstarter project: Color Problems – A Book by Emily Noyes Vanderpoel by The Circadian Press with Sacred Bones


Despite being burned too many times by Kickstarter projects, this one seems so worthwhile I feel I must promote it: Color Problems – A Book by Emily Noyes Vanderpoel by The Circadian Press with Sacred Bones — Kickstarter. It’s a great project to recreate a classic book, and it will be a boon to many people if it gets off the ground. Anyone interested in the visual arts should check it out and contribute some way if you can.

I hope it’s successful, that the project initiators have 1) their act together 2) actually release something tangible and 3) in a timely manner that is high quality.  (Many of my recent Kickstarter projects have failed at 1, 2 and 3.)

Good luck to them.

Quilting as a form of coding


First off, I think the quilts by Elizabeth Elliott are beautiful. Besides their beauty, I found it remarkable how she goes about making them.  According to this piece, Quilts Made of Code by Elizabeth Elliott – Design Milk,  the quilts are designed…

using a programming language called Processing. Through Processing, Elliott edits coding and generates random formations of geometric and traditional quilt block shapes. Afterward, she plays and edits the configuration until it becomes a quilt design she likes.

Here’s one more:

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Go see the Design Milk article to see more and get more information.

The digital beauty of Laura C Hewitt’s ceramics

I love the ceramics of Hewitt, especially for the way she works in digits as part of the overall work. Such as this piece


and this:

Now here’s what’s great. First, you can see more of her work here, at Colossal:
Kernel Panic: New Binary Ceramics Punctuated with Typewriter Keys by Laura C. Hewitt 

Second, you can buy her work here, at her Etsy store!

It’s rare I can share work that is not only beautiful but that you can acquire. Glad I can do that here.

It’s the weekend. You should be painting.

Now, you might think: ugh, painting is alot of work. But as this piece shows, there’s some good paint jobs you can do in a weekend that still leaves you time to do other things.

For example, you can paint a door:

Or even just part of a wall, like the moulding:


The piece in Apartment Therapy is worth looking at to get ideas. If you’ve been tired of looking at the same old space and you don’t want to get new furnishings, a splash of paint can do the trick of improving the space.

Another option: do a painting (or buy a painting if shopping vs doing is your thing).  This article has lots of examples, such as this:

And if you think: I suck at art, then read this piece in Hypoallergic about how making art, no matter how bad, can reduce stress.

Now head to the paint store and start your next project.

(See the articles for credits for the pictures.)

Beautiful Dense Wire Tree Sculptures 

The wire tree sculptures by Clive Maddison are worth a look. Amazing transformation of simple wire into a complex sculpture. From Colossal. Link here: Dense Wire Tree Sculptures by Clive Maddison