Tag Archives: art

A brilliant use of tattoos


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.

 

Barcelona saves Haring

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.

What I find interesting in general, June, 2021

Often I find links that are interesting but I don’t know what to do with. Here are some for this month.

Art related links: If you draw and are running out of ideas, try this,  Random Art Prompt Generator. I was interested in printmaking lately. Here are some links to various sites on it:

I was using this site make photos into stencils, which I could then use on other art projects…it’s good: Free Picture Stencil Maker. Robert Frank is a great photographer. Here’s a good story on how Robert Frank’s vision influenced and inspired Generations Of Photographers. Back to earth, here is Flashery,  a photo box for people serious about their home photos.

Work, economics and capitalism: I found these interesting:

Working for yourself?  How many fans do you need to be successful. Here are two views on that: The Technium: 1,000 True Fans and 1,000 True Fans? Try 100

Climate Change:  We’ve all been very focused on the pandemic. But climate change has not gone away. Here’s two pieces on it: The business as usual climate scenario may be too pessimistic, researchers warn – The Washington Post and Let’s abandon climate targets, and do something completely different | George Monbiot | The Guardian

Random:  I love motorcycles as an object, and Uncrate has some cool ones, like this Volcon Runt Kid’s Motorcycle. If you are painting your house and can’t pick from thousands of colours, perhaps this list of 50 will help you narrow it down:
50 Most Popular Sherwin-Williams Paint Colors. This was a delightful story on how professors are hanging on to chalk! Where Theory Meets Chalk, Dust Flies

If you are interested in statistical distributions other than the Bell curve/normal distribution, check out 3 interesting Statistic Distribution and
Power Law and Power Law Distribution.

Thank you for reading this far. I don’t know if anyone reads most of my posts, but I keep at it regardless.

(Photo by Courtney Hedger on Unsplash)

 

Categories: food
Tags, general

Four new links on Gerhart Richter

Here are four relatively new pieces on Richter, for fans of him (like me). The last one is fun especially.

  1. Gerhard Richter’s Slippery Mystique
  2. Gerhard Richter at the Met Breuer | Apollo Magazine
  3. Gerhard Richter gives Holocaust art to Berlin | Painting | The Guardian
  4. Saltz Challenges: Produce a Perfect Faux Gerhard Richter Painting, and I’ll Buy It – Slideshow – Vulture

(Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP)

 

The fascinating history of art in the Oval Office of the White House

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.

On Basquiat’s Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart)

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.

That problem you have? There’s a pill for that

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.

Were Marcel Duchamp’s Monte Carlo Bonds the precursor to NFTs?

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.

The unstoppable David Hockney

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

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.)

More goodness from the 80s

David Salle painting

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.

cassette player

Rock on.

(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)

If you are afraid to draw, blind contour drawing is a good way to start

There are several benefits of blind contour drawing:

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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)

On John Baldessari

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.

On Basquiat’s notebooks

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.

Why you should point at things on the Internet (and elsewhere)

A person pointing at a painting

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)

If you need some inexpensive wall art to freshen up your place, here are 27 ideas

I have to say, having seen the rooms people work out of, you people really need some wall hangings. Seriously, those walls are dull! 🙂

Things are not hopeless, though. You can have nice and inexpensive things to freshen up those walls if you go here:

27 Inexpensive Posters You’ll Actually Want To Hang On Your Wall

There’s something there to appeal to everyone. For example, I like this:

It doesn’t work, but it is far classier than the button Trump had on his desk the resulted in a diet Coke for him whenever someone pressed it.

The last works of seven famous artists

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…

Fascinating.

On Vija Celmins


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:

  1. Vija Celmins – 11 artworks – painting
  2. Explore the art of Vija Celmins – Look Closer | Tate
  3. Vija Celmins’s Surface Matters | The New Yorker

Anti COVID Posters!

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.

On Betty Goodwin

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.

The process of hand blocked wallpaper

Is shown, here.

Captivating.

On Paul Klee, later works

Paul Klee painting

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.

Trump and “art”

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.

For fans of DADA

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.

 

Saturday night beauty: photos of long meandering roads

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.

If the pandemic has you down, watch: How To Be At Home

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.

 

 

On Philip Guston

I had some other things to say about Philip Guston until this  article came out in the Times, saying:

Last week, a handful of museums decided to postpone a retrospective of the painter Philip Guston over concerns that Ku Klux Klan imagery in his work, intended to criticize racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry, would upset viewers or that the works would be “misinterpreted.”

I was disappointed, to say the least. Fortunately I am not alone. The article goes on to state:

On Wednesday, a letter drafted by the art critic Barry Schwabsky addressed to those museums — the National Gallery of Art in Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Tate Modern, London — and signed by nearly 100 artists, writers and curators, was published by the Brooklyn Rail, protesting the postponement. To date, more than 2,000 names have been added — young and old, Black, Asian, Persian, Arab, L.G.B.T.Q.

So I am collecting a list of sites and pages on Guston, because he is an artist people should get to know more about. Especially if they were to simply mindedly misinterpret his work and think he has anything but abhorrence for the KKK. 

I am also doing this because I am a fan of his courage as much as I am of his work.  He made a big break from abstract expressionism late in his career and suffered for it. I don’t know many artists who have done such a thing. I think he needs to be more well known.

I also find it surprising to think people were surprised by this big break with AbEx. The elements he reintroduced were there from the beginning. And the cartoonish nature of his work is parallel to the drawings he was doing of Nixon and others. He needed to break from AbEx and went with the tools he had.

If you want to learn more about Guston, here is some links I have found that are useful:

Hobbies, or how to start drawing even if the idea terrifies you


Yesterday I encouraged you to take up a hobby. If you haven’t decided on one yet, I recommend drawing. You may be terrified or at least put off by the idea of taking up drawing. It’s ok. Many people feel that way. To help you, here’s some good links to get you thinking at least of taking up drawing.

Lots of good advice there in those links. As for books, I highly recommend the book above. It is superb. It can be hard to find, but these folks seem to have it.

Gerhard Richter, then and now

Here are two good pieces on Richter for fans like myself. First is a good look back at when he first started painting. Second is a write up of his recent work, seen below. It’s the second time Richter has done a stained glass work for a church, and it is both similar and yet different from it. (You can see that one, here.)

Reading both pieces, I am reminded of how long Richter has been working and how much great work he has produced and continues to produce. He has long been one of my favourite artists, and I am glad he is capable of still doing great things.

He says this work shown is going to be his last big work. Let’s see. I’ll be glad for anything he can make now and in the future.

 

The Best Street Photographers of All Time – a visual feast

If you want a visual feast, head over to this link to see the best street photographers of all time. Truly remarkable. I kept expecting they would miss someone, but it seems like a comprehensive essay on the best of the best. (Like Berenice Abbott, whose work is above.)

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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On 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.

July, 2021: Update. The Tate has a show on here. Details, here. Good to see there is still interest in this great artist.

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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.)