Tag Archives: art

On Ruth Asawa

The US Postal Service has issued commemorative stamps for the great American artist, Ruth Asawa. If you don’t know much about her (I did not), then I highly recommend this piece.

She lead a storied life, and overcame great hardships on her way to becoming the artist and the person she was. That sounds trite, but it’s true.

One of my goals has been to learn more about women artists, artists who have often been overlooked but should never have been. That goal has lead me learn about artists such as Asawa. I recommend you do, too.

How to Pronounce Artists’ Names

I love this idea. If you read about artists, you likely have thought: I wonder if I am pronouncing their name correctly? I always had this problem with David Salle.

Wonder no more. Instead, go to this page on artspace.com and look up the artist you were considering and there is a very good chance you will see an entry for them.

P.S. It’s David SALLY, not David SAL. 🙂

 

Basquiat – the big book from Taschen

The good folks at Taschen are celebrating their 40th Anniversary. One way they are celebrating is by releasing this fantastic book on the great artist, Basquiat. 

 

I picked it up on the weekend and I love it. It is packed with more images of his work than I have seen anywhere else. All for a very reasonable price.

You can order it directly from Taschen, or get it wherever fine books are sold.

P.S. For more Basquiat, you can see many of his images online,here, at wikiart.org.

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Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Modern Master


I was happy to come across this exhibit on one of the fine artists from the DaDa era: Stories — Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Modern Master – Hauser & Wirth.

I’ve read a number of books and other pieces on DaDa and I always felt that she never gets enough recognition for the fine work she did. I’m happy to see she is getting it here. If you want to learn more about her and her work, follow the link.

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Great advice on how to get better at drawing that can be applied to anything

I have been trying to get better at drawing lately, but I have been floundering. Much of what I have been drawing is poor by my standards. Poor and not getting better. To try and get better, I was trying different media and different tools (coloured pencils, watercolour, etc.). All these different things didn’t help. I was stuck.

Then I came across this video and had an a-ha moment. It’s really good. I recommend you take a few minutes and watch it.

In a nutshell, the idea is to focus. Focus on drawing one thing. Don’t do what I was doing, which was a little bit of everything. A little bit of everything didn’t add up to anything.

What I found was that by focusing, I didn’t have to think of what to do, I just did it. In his case he drew emus. In my case I drew robots. Just dozens of robots. I would start by drawing a shape and then adding to the shape. Or I’d start with a theme (a book robot) and use that to draw. The drawing didn’t have to be good, though I tried to make it good. Regardless of good or bad, what I discovered was that I was learning more about drawing from each picture. Before, I would think: what shall I do to practice drawing and get better? Now I don’t think, I just draw, and I am naturally getting better.

I think this can be true of any skill. Take running for example. You might fear starting because you don’t know anything about how to run well. Fine, just pick a short distance and run it. Do that over and over. Each time you do, you will learn something. Maybe you are running too fast. Or too slow. Or too long. Or too much. Take notes each time and look to improve. If you get stuck, do some research and try to apply it. The next thing you know you will be much better at it then you were only a short time ago.

Anyway, watch the video and then think about how you can apply it to your own life. You will improve. Keep with it.

Here’s a link to the video: The drawing advice that changed my life – YouTube

Speaking of keeping to it, he has another great video about “not getting off the bus”. I highly recommend that too. You can find it here.

In praise of Mary Pratt

Mary Pratt is a master of colour and light. You get a sense of that just from this photo of her, and if you have ever seen her paintings, then you already know that. I have been studying her painting recently, and in search of more information of her, came across this great piece in Canadian Art. She passed away in 2018, but her art will live on long after this decade or even century has passed.

If you aren’t already a fan, I recommend knowing more about her and her work. That linked article is a good starting point.

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Simple impressive: 15 Of The Most Beautiful Subway Stations In The World

This really deserves a look: 15 Of The Most Beautiful Metro Stations In The World

A surprising number of them are in Moscow. Only one that isn’t in Europe.

Subways should be beautiful: they get used by so many people. We deserve beauty.

(Image above a link to the original post)

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The Art of Emily Bickell (and where you can get it)

One of my favorite artists is Emily Bickell, largely for her paintings of water, which I think are sublime. You can get affordable print versions of them here:  Traces Art Print by emilybickell | Society6.

Better still, you can get affordable original versions of them here: Art Interiors.

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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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Something beautiful to look at: Copenhagen’s Grundtvig’s Church

You can see many more pictures of it here, at Colossal.

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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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Don’t Want to Pay for Art School? Here’s how you can get similar benefits from home

Before the pandemic, I would not have taken this too seriously. But with everyone studying from home, I am taking it a bit more seriously.  And even without the pandemic, there are benefits to this approach. So if you want to get some of the benefits of going to art school without going to art school, check out this piece and this syllabus: Don’t Want to Pay for Art School? Here’s a Streamlined Syllabus for Getting Your Own DIY MFA at Home | Art for Sale | Artspace

Key passage from that piece:

Art schools are renowned as being inspiring places where art lovers can imbibe the history and practice of their favorite creative disciplines among like minded strivers. They’re also known for being very expensive (and not necessarily remunerative). Happily, we can offer an alternative avenue to learning. Here, …find a syllabus that will give you the tools you need to navigate today’s art world—taught by some of the greatest artists and thinkers in the world.

If that appeals to you, get a copy of that syllabus and get studying.

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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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How to choose artwork for your home (plus gallery wall ideas)

If you are thinking of improving your home by adding some artwork, this piece can be helpful: How to Choose Artwork for Your Home – Decorology

Among other things, there’s some offbeat examples of how to do gallery walls. Sure, you can do strict grid patterns for your gallery wall, but why not try something different, like that wall shown above?

Also, if you are interested in getting great affordable art, check out the works for sale at Art Interiors. They have gallery wall ideas, too.

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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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The wonderful portraits of Adam Riches


These works, one of which is shown above, are fantastic: Scribbled Portraits of Brooding Figures by Adam Riches | Colossal.

Go to Colossal for more.

 

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The Embroidered Computer. Fascinating.


First off, what is it?

The Embroidered Computer is an exploration into using historic gold embroidery materials and knowledge to craft a programmable 8 bit computer.

Brilliant. For more on the design and more photos, see here:  The Embroidered Computer | Irene PoschIrene Posch

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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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In praise of composition notebooks

They may not be fancy, but they are cheap and plentiful. And some people have used them to work out ideas. People like Basquiat and Haring.

I never thought much of them, but I changed my mind after a number of posts over at the blog of Austin Kleon. Click on the link for more inspiration. Then head out to the dollar store and get your own.

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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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A smart poster that knows the weather (and a great alternative display)

Is this:

It uses smart ink, so it’s low power. But it changes throughout the day, based on the information it gets from the Internet. It looks great, and it’s around $134, which is not bad.

I’d like to see more tech do this. A fine marriage of high tech and aesthetics.

For more information, see A smart poster that knows the weather | Yanko Design

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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.