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January 12, 2015
I have always loved cecil Beaton’s work and the iconic images he created. His portraits have stayed in our minds when we think of the images of certain people. Much like Madonna’s song that she sings Vogue, all of these characters were Cecil Beaton’s images.
Photography, and what I am hoping to show you, is as important a medium as a pint brush and a canvas. A lens in the hands of an artist is so stunning. Have you ever taken a bad picture? or heard the expression that the camera loves a certain person?
I love the medium, and I hope you enjoy this art form.
The man described by his on-off friend Truman Capote as a “total self-creation”, he knew that the business of being Cecil was no laughing matter, but something that needed serious application for the success he had always craved.
And the proof of that success is the influence he has had over so many younger photographers since his death 29 years ago. Mario Testino, who has captured modern society and fashion as variously as Beaton did, speaks for many when he says:
“He marked his period as if he were the only photographer around.”Another of today’s most celebrated fashion photographers, Nick Knight, praises his work “for its grace and elegance. From the touching and funny pictures of his sisters and the delicately
fragile poses of his photographs of society beauties, as if they were made of porcelain, to the memorable wartime images, he was always sensitive and poetic.”
So, what was the essence of Beatonism? He was a born outsider; posh but not quite posh enough – his family’s wealth was based on trade. Well educated – but at Harrow, not Eton. Cambridge, not Oxford. Clever but not intellectual. Good-looking but not quite handsome.
He just failed to make the grade in those things that he considered mattered. Vain – he had his clothes made one size too small to flatter his already slim figure – but never glamorous, despite an international lifestyle that brought him into contact with everyone who “mattered” for more than 50 years.
But he had a burning desire to leap the fence and browse the green fields of aristocratic privilege, still going strong in the Twenties and Thirties. Beaton was what was known at the time as a pansy. With eyes trained on the British upper classes and American plutocrats, his tendencies could have
been a disadvantage, but he capitalised on them by aiming not at the men, but at their wives.
Beaton was a very clever photographer whose early portraits reflected continental art movements in his use of mirrors, torn paper, fragments of classical sculpture and even Cellophane to create a surreal fantasy that would automatically make his sitters look much more interesting
than they usually were. They were as flattered culturally as they were physically, even if they had no idea that the original ideas were taken from the work of Cocteau, Bakst or Dalí.
December 17, 2014
You gotta love an artist that can make art, truly out of anything he sees. I saw a piece by Vik Muniz and was insanely curious about this artist. I enjoyed the fact that he could see he way though
what is, into what could be-so an existential view almost.
He incorporates a multiplicity of unlikely materials into this photographic process. Often working in series, Vik has used dirt, diamonds, sugar, string, chocolate syrup and
garbage to create bold, witty and often deceiving images drawn from the pages of photojournalism and art history. His work has been
His work is based on different levels of perception. Primarily, he is a sculptor who documents his work with the photography medium. After the project execution it does not matter
if the objects are destroyed, as long as the idea is captured in the photographs.
An example of how Muniz experiences perception in his work can be seen in his series ‘Equivalents’ (1993) – simulations of cloud formations, made with lumps of cotton, inspired by
Alfred Stieglitz’ cloud studies. In this piece the visitor can see once at a time lumps of cotton, clouds or an image that he sees in these clouds. But he will never see these 3 phenomena at the same time.
Muniz photographs all kind of everyday materials and creates illusionary visualizations. Material he uses are i.e. chocolate, sugar, wire, dirt, confetti, objects, thread or jam.
December 8, 2014
A friend of mine who owns a gallery is in love with Braco Dimitrijevic’s art and his whole raison d’etre! So, I did some research and found him to be fascinating in his philosophy and reasoning.
I hope you enjoy this post!
Braco Dimitrijevic, one of the pioneers of conceptual art, had his first one-man exhibition at the age of 10. In 1963 he made his first conceptual work, The Flag of the World,
in which he replaced a national flag with an alternative sign. It marked the beginning of his artistic interventions into urban landscapes.
Over the past forty years he has exhibited extensively all over the world.
Dimitrijevic gained an international reputation in the seventies with his Casual passer-by series, in which gigantic photo portraits of anonymous people were displayed
on prominent facades and billboards in European and American cities. The artist also mimicked other ways of glorifying important persons by building monuments to
passers-by and installing memorial plaques in honour of anonymous citizens.
December 1, 2014
I am in love with the work of Shepard Fairey! His , what is now, iconic political campaign poster for Obama, is one of the most amazing examples of his work. There is a fabulous movie called, Exit Through The Gift Shop, a must see! All about graffiti artists, many of whom you will recognize.
Fairey created the “Andre the Giant as a Possee” sticker campaign in 1989, while attending the Rhode Island School of Design(RISD).This later evolved into the “Obey Giant” campaign, which has grown via an international network of collaborators
replicating Fairey’s original designs. As with most street artists, the Obey Giant was intended to inspire curiosity and cause the masses to question their relationship with their surroundings.
The Obey Giant website says: “The sticker has no meaning but exists only to cause people to react, to contemplate and search for meaning in the sticker.” The website later goes on to contradict this statement however by saying that those who are familiar with the sticker simply find humor and enjoyment from its presence. Those who actually try to look deeper into its meaning only burden themselves and often end up condemning the art as an act of vandalism from an evil, underground cult.
Originally intended to garner fame amongst his classmates and college peers, Fairey states, “At first I was only thinking about the response from my clique of art school and skateboard friends. The fact that a larger segment of the public would not only notice, but also investigate, the unexplained appearance of the stickers was something I had not contemplated. When I started to see reactions and consider the sociological forces at work surrounding the use of public space and the insertion of a very eye-catching but ambiguous image, I began to think there was the potential to create a phenomenon.”
October 15, 2014
When I was in Paris, my favorite gallery visit is always GALLERIE PERROTIN. This is where I first came across the work of AYA TAKANO. I have always enjoyed anime and was interested in the thoughts behind it. Sometimes, one could look at it and consider it too much a cartoon,
but for me, I find it inspiring. The images, the colors and the subjects.
I hope you enjoy this post!
Perhaps more than any other Kaikai Kiki artist, Takano’s work is the exemplification of Japan’s post-war cultural affluence, and its overwhelmingly diverse, yet aesthetic unification of information.
With inspirations varying from 14th Century Italian religious painting to alien evidence to MTV, Takano’s worlds are shiny and futuristic, yet soft and full of traditional and sensual imagery. Her drawings and paintings in which lively, female characters float and contort their waiflike bodies, convey a passionate drive toward creation.
In Japan, Takano is prolific as a manga artist, illustrator, and science fiction essayist. She has several serialized publications, and is regularly featured in subculture articles. In the art markets of Europe and America, her paintings and drawings are enthusiastically received.
Takano spent her childhood rummaging through her father’s library which consisted of many books on the natural sciences, but also science fiction. Ever present in her work are exotic animals and landforms combined with an urban city to show the juxtaposition between future and fantasy. Takano cited in a documentary made by
the Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin that she was always fascinated by the unusual forms of nature and animal life, and desires to have such shapes represented in her work.
Another early influence for her was manga writer Osamu Tezuka’s science fiction, which had a lasting impact on her dreamy perception of the world. She cites in the book Drop Dead Cute by Joan Vartanian how she really believed everything she read was true till she was nineteen. Takano states even sometimes now she imagines possessing
the ability to fly, uninterested in the constrictions of being grounded.
When it was time for her to start thinking about college Takano told her parents she wouldn’t attend unless she was allowed to enter an art program. She received a B.A. from Tama Art University in Tokyo in 2000. Soon after she became an assistant for leading Japanese Contemporary Artist Takashi Murakami. He would become
Takano’s first mentor and jump start her career.
Murakami was looking to exhibit the work of young artists and wanted to help create an artistic community for like minded artists who did the Superflat style. The Superflat movement, popularized by Murakami himself is about emphasizing the two dimensionality of figures, which is influenced by Japanses manga and anime,
while dually exposing the fetishes of Japanese consumerism. Through the basic ideas of this movement he created the Kaikai Kiki Co., a group where five out of the seven members are women.
In the 1980s the look of pre-pubescent girls became the target of consumer culture in Japanese society. This infantilization and objectification of the female was seen most heavily in Japan’s otaku, or geek culture.
Japanese female artists like Takano seek to reinvent the otaku culture through a feminine perspective. Takano in particular is interested in depicting how the future will impact the role of the female heroine in society. Her figures, often androgynous float through her alternate realities partially clothed or sometimes fully nude. Yet,
Takano denies that she is trying to reveal anything specific about sex. Rather with the slim bodies, bulbous heads, and large eyes she is trying to emphasize that her figures temporary suspension from adulthood. The red paint in the crevices of the figures’ elbows, knees, and shoulders is supposed to convey that they are still engaged in
the growing process mentally and physically. Takano’s playful and ambiguous visions of the future, especially one which revolves around the feminine serves as a way for her to create her own mythology, free from the chains of reality.
October 10, 2014
You know, as of late, I have been writing a lot about women artists. Photographers, painters, I love them all. I am so intrigued by peoples lives and their choices. We all take roads that sometimes we have no idea as to where they are going to lead, but something tells us we should be going down these paths that present themselves.
So I find myself drawn for whatever reason to seeking out these souls. Grace is one of them. When you read her lifestory and see her paintings you will see why I find them so fabulous. Or , I should say, I hope you do!
Enjoy this post,
Grace Hartigan, was a second-generation Abstract Expressionist whose gestural, intensely colored paintings often incorporated images drawn from popular culture, leading some critics to see in them prefigurings of Pop Art.
Ms. Hartigan, a friend and disciple of Jackson Pollack and William de Kooning , subscribed to the Abstract Expressionist notion of the painterly brushstroke as existential act and cri de coeur but, like de Kooning, she never broke entirely with the figurative tradition. Determined to stake out her own artistic ground,
she turned outward from the interior world sanctified by the Abstract Expressionists and embraced the visual swirl of contemporary American life.
In “Grand Street Brides” (1954), one of several early paintings that attracted the immediate attention of critics and curators, she depicted bridal-shop window mannequins in a composition based on Goya’s “Royal Family.” Later paintings incorporated images taken from coloring books, film, traditional paintings, store windows
and advertising, all in the service of art that one critic described as “tensely personal.”
“Her art was marked by a willingness to employ a variety of styles in a modernist idiom, to go back and forth from art-historical references to pop-culture references to autobiographical material.” Grace Hartigan was born in Newark in 1922 and grew up in rural New Jersey, the oldest of four children. Unable to afford college,
she married early and, in a flight of romantic fancy, she and her husband, Bob Jachens, struck out for Alaska to live as pioneers. They made it no farther than California, where, with her husband’s encouragement, she took up painting.
“I didn’t choose painting,” she later told an interviewer. “It chose me. I didn’t have any talent. I just had genius.”
In the mid-1940’s she left her husband, placed their son, Jeffrey, in the care of his parents and moved back to Newark, where she trained in mechanical drafting and took painting lessons with Isaac Lane Muse. After moving to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1945, she became part of the postwar New York artistic scene,
forming alliances with the Abstract Expressionist painters — although de Kooning reduced her to tears by telling her she completely misunderstood modern art —
Ms. Hartigan won fame early. In 1950, the critic Clement Greenberg and the art historian Meyer Schapiro included her in their “New Talent” show at the Kootz Gallery, and a one-woman exhibition at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery soon followed. “Persian Jacket,” an early painting, was bought for the Museum of Modern Art by Alfred Barr.
After starting out as a purely abstract painter, Ms. Hartigan gradually introduced images into her work. It was O’Hara’s blending of high art and low art in his poetry that influenced her to cast far and wide for sources.
Ms. Hartigan’s move to Baltimore coincided with a drastic shift in artistic fashion, as Pop Art and Minimalism eclipsed Abstract Expressionism. Out of the spotlight, Ms. Hartigan embarked on what she later recalled as “an isolated creative life.” For decades she painted in a loft in a former department store and taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
As historians and curators reassessed the history of postwar art, she experienced a resurgence of sorts. Her use of commercial imagery led her to be included in “Hand-Painted Pop,” a 1993 exhibition at the Whitney Museum despite her loathing for the movement.
“Pop Art is not painting because painting must have content and emotion,” she said in the 1960’s. On the other hand, she reflected at the time of the Whitney show, “I’d much rather be a pioneer of a movement that I hate than the second generation of a movement that I love.”
On an artistic path marked by twists and turns and restless experimentation, she maintained a fierce commitment to the modernist agenda and a belief in art’s near-magical powers.
“Or perhaps the subject of my art is like the definition of humor — emotional pain remembered in tranquillity.”
September 17, 2014
I love fashion, as we all know! So today I bring you a great-an innovator a dreamer and a true visionary-when you think of certain silhouettes, think, Celine, the Row, Jil Sander, you start to think of shapes and simplicity. When you think of drama with one fabric and all the draping, for me, I start to think of the fabulous rooms of Jacques Garcia! Take a look at the silhouettes and see if you don’t see inspiration for great interiors!
A true fashion innovator, Cristobal Balenciaga radically altered the fashionable silhouette of women in the mid-twentieth century. With the methodical skill of an expert tailor, he created garments of fluidity and grace. Unlike many couturiers, Balenciaga was able to drape, cut, and fit his own muslin patterns, known as toiles.
He was respected throughout the fashion world for both his knowledge of technique and construction, and his unflinching perfectionism.
Balenciaga achieved what is considered to be his most important contribution to the world of fashion: a new silhouette for women.
Balenciaga was born in the small fishing village of Guetaria in the Basque region of Spain on January 21, 1895. From his early years, he spent many hours by his mother’s side as she worked as a seamstress. In his teens, the most prominent woman of his town, the Marquesa de Casa Torres, became his patron and client, sending him to Madrid for
formal training in tailoring and proudly wearing the results.
By 1939, Balenciaga was being praised in the French press as a revolutionizing force in fashion, with buyers and customers fighting to gain access to his collection. During World War II, clients risked travel to Europe for Balenciaga’s designs, especially his celebrated square coat—in which the sleeve was cut in one piece with the yoke—and anything shown
in his unique color combination of black and brown or black lace over bright pink. In the postwar years, Balenciaga’s designs became streamlined and linear. The clothing he created was different than the popular, curvy hourglass shape that Christian Dior promoted with his New Look. Balenciaga favored fluid lines that allowed him to alter the way
clothing related to a woman’s body. Waistlines were dropped, then raised, independent of the wearer’s natural waistline. In 1953, he introduced the balloon jacket, an elegant sphere that encased the upper body and provided a pedestal for the wearer’s head. In 1957 came the creation of his high-waisted baby doll dress, the gracefully draped cocoon coat,
and the balloon skirt, shown as a single pouf or doubled, one pouf on top of the other. Neither the sack dress, introduced in 1957, nor the chemise of 1958 had a discernible waist, but both were considered universally flattering and were copied by a large number of ready-to-wear manufacturers at every price range. With these design innovations, Balenciaga
achieved what is considered to be his most important contribution to the world of fashion: a new silhouette for women.
Throughout the 1960s, Balenciaga continued showing collections of unparalleled technique and beauty. His innovative use of fabric—he liked bold materials, heavy cloths, and ornate embroideries—led him to work with the Swiss fabric
house of Abraham. Together they developed silk gazar, a stiffer version of the pliable fabric that Balenciaga used in suits, day dresses, and evening wear. Loyal clients such as the Duchess of Windsor, Pauline de Rothschild, and Gloria Guinness continued to appreciate the discreet but important touches he provided in his clothing: collars that stood away
from the collarbone to give a swanlike appearance and the shortened (seven-eighths-length) bracelet sleeve, so called because it enabled the wearer to better flaunt her jewelry. When the Balenciaga salon closed in 1968, the occasion marked the end of the career of a great artist whose influence is still being felt in the twenty-first century. The modern look
that he created has been sustained by André Courrèges and Emanuel Ungaro, who both apprenticed at his atelier, and by Hubert de Givenchy, among others. Balenciaga died on March 24, 1972, at home in his beloved Spain. A longtime client offered a fitting epitaph: “Women did not have to be perfect or even beautiful to wear his clothes. His clothes made them beautiful.”
The style of Cristobal Balenciaga was a mixture of simplicity, minimalism, and drama in powerful colors and dynamic shapes. He used fabrics that could form and support his structured clothing such as taffeta, silk gazar, faille, upholstery weight wools, and mohair. However, his clothes differed from his contemporary Christian Dior, in that he created
a looser line than Dior did, with his barrel back jackets, kimono-shaped, bracelet-length sleeves, and ballooning shapes. His designs were pared down and rather than molding a predetermined shape for the figure, they instead skimmed the body.
Balenciaga was inspired by non-western clothing and religious-influenced or ecclesiastical garments. His clothes were known for their elegant starkness and austerity. This was most likely a result of his goal to reduce the decoration of garments to only the most essential.
Balenciaga was temperamental, secretive, and very private. Because of this, pictures of his work are very hard to come by. In fact, he would rarely let photographs of his collections be taken, expect for the few exclusive editorials in Vogue magazine by photographer Irving Penn. An example of his difficulty with the press: he chose to show his
collections a month later than the other Paris houses, which caused a conflict for the foreign press who then needed to return because of his importance and reputation in dressmaking.
July 1, 2014
Man Ray was one of the artists to be considered the embodiment of surrealism! There used to be a famous bar/hangout on 26th and Sixth in
the City called man Ray! Fond memories, less I digress! I hope you enjoy this post and my trail of thinking on Surrealism! Have a wonderful day!
Man Ray, the master of experimental and fashion photography was also a painter, a filmmaker, a poet, an essayist, a philosopher, and a leader of American modernism.
Known for documenting the cultural elite living in France, Man Ray spent much of his time fighting the formal constraints of the visual arts. Ray’s life and art were always
provocative, engaging, and challenging.
Born Emanuel Rabinovitch in 1890, Man Ray spent most of his young life in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The eldest child of an immigrant Jewish tailor, he was a mediocre student
who shunned college for the bohemian artistic life in nearby Manhattan. In New York he began to work as an artist, meeting many of the most important figures of the time.
He learned the rudiments of photography from the art dealer and photographer, Alfred Steiglitz and began to experiment on his own.
In 1914, Man Ray married the Belgian poet, Adon Lacroix, and soon after met the experimental artist Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp was to be one of Man Ray’s greatest influences
as well as a close friend and collaborator. Together the two attempted to bring some of the verve of the European experimental art movements to America. The most energetic of these
movements was “dada.” Dada was an attempt to create work so absurd it confused the viewer’s sense of reality. The dadaists would take everyday objects and present them as if they
were finished works of art. For Man Ray, dada’s experimentation was no match for the wild and chaotic streets of New York, and he wrote “Dada cannot live in New York. All New York
is dada, and will not tolerate a rival.”
June 24, 2014
I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Lucas’s work in person. WOW! His life is fascinating, as most of the artists that I love to write about, I do hope you enjoy learning about him.
Have a great day!
Lucas Samaras is not the best-known artist in America, but among the cognoscenti he is considered a wizard, and among artists he’s an elusive legend: a loner, eccentric, master of unusual media, and visionary who has avoided
classification. He’s a solitary worker who has remained outside of movements, trends, or cliques, making work that is always original, provocative, and
surprising. Samaras stands out from the crowd in part because he tends to
work with unique subject matter—himself. He has interviewed himself, photographed himself, sculpted himself, and decorated himself and, in doing so, he has always seemed to be a work in progress. Samaras is not necessarily
a narcissist, even though one of his retrospectives was titled “Unrepentant Ego.” He is an intrepid self-investigator and he has made a career out of mutating his own image and likeness.
Samaras was born in Greece in 1936 and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 11. He won a scholarship to study art at Rutgers University, enrolling in 1955, at a time when the Rutgers art department
was a hotbed of innovation, with a faculty that included Alan Kaprow, who organized the first Happenings, and Geoffrey Hendricks, who, along withKaprow, George Segal, Roy Lichtenstein, and students like Robert Whitman,
was instrumental in the Fluxus movement. Upon graduation, Samaras received a fellowship to attend Columbia University’s graduate department of art history, which afforded him the chance to get involved with New York City’s
burgeoning Happenings scene, where he met artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, and Red Grooms. His interest in performance also led him to study acting with Stella Adler.
June 17, 2014
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The artwork of Yoshitomo Nara is deceptively simple. Peopled with entities that call to mind toddlers or infant animals with their balloon heads, persimmon pit-eyes, and pinprick noses, each work is a peek into a world that seems eerily familiar.
A long-term resident of Cologne, Nara is being met with increasing international attention, having already exhibited in Milwaukee, L.A., Cologne and Seoul and New York
With a couple of books both in their second run, a limited edition wristwatch and a clothing line that incorporates motifs from his artwork, Nara is well on his way to developing a cult following in Japan.
In the drawings, children are engaging in innocuous solo activities: holding a flag, playing in a box, sitting on a potty, holding a book, standing in a puddle. But sometimes they are brandishing sharp little implements–knives and saws. Nara captures these scenes in a moment of stillness.
The enigmatic, abbreviated quality of Nara’s style may be an invitation for you to take your best sub textural potshot. But take care. In doing so, you risk revealing a lot about you, more than might be comfortable. Nara’s artworks are sticky-sweet booby traps, Rorschach tests for a post-modern innocence quotient. They are candy-cane puzzles begging to be deciphered, only to reveal the cavities inside our own grown-up hearts.