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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
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.
June 12, 2014
I am so in love with this landscape architect! His work speaks to me, it is elegant and formal and haute casual at the same time!
I also wanted to say Thanks for all the lovely emails regarding the blogs! I am so flattered that you are enjoying all the topics I love!
I wanted to answer why there is no comment form on the blog, deliberately by me, as I don’t write the blogs to secure responses. I write them ,as I think it is so wonderful, the world we live in and the beauty it has to offer. So I feel my small contribution each day is to bring you a bit of beauty.
Thanks so much, to all of you for taking the time to read my thoughts.
Since 1997 Luciano Giubbilei has been creating serenely beautiful gardens in locations on three continents. Giubbilei is known for the understated elegance of his designs, but is constantly evolving his approach, both in response to individual
clients and as his ideas develop. His work draws on his Italian heritage, especially the Renaissance gardens of the Villa Gamberaia in Tuscany, and a distinctively classical combination of restraint and opulent materials.
Giubbilei’s approach is a modern take on that Renaissance formality. “I like a strong axis, projecting the lines of the house out into the garden.” The elements are traditional: the green “room”, with its rectangular carpet of grass, framed by hedges and trees,
and decorated with architectural objects. The contemporary feel comes from his use of such things as woven willow panels, fastigiate hornbeams, timber decking and the simple, unadorned shapes of modern furniture, pots and plinths.
“I try to make everything beautiful at night – trees and pots picked out with uplighters.”
“But my gardens are really installations. I would not want you to compare what I do to an English flower garden, where there is such understanding of nature. This is different and has a different function, and the results can be quite instant.”
Have a great day!
June 3, 2014
New introduction to the Fourteenth Street school of art! I had never heard of this school of art, did some digging and found this incredible artist! His work is very reminiscent of Degas and several others.
I hope you enjoy this post!
Raphael Soyer was a prominent American Social Realist painter of the Fourteenth Street school of the 1920s and 1930s, which included Isabel Bishop, Edward Laning, Reginald Marsh and Kenneth Hayes Miller.
Many members of the group worked or maintained studios in the vicinity of Union Square in Manhattan. The son of a liberal Russian Hebrew scholar, Raphael immigrated with his parents and siblings to the United States around 1912;
the family settled in the Bronx. Raphael studied at Cooper Union, the National Academy of Design, and the Educational Alliance Art School (1914–1922). He taught at the Art Students League from 1933 to 1942, when American scene
painting was the predominant artistic style. A prolific painter, lithographer, and illustrator, Soyer excelled in social scenes that often featured figures caught in reflective moments of self-absorption, even as they might be immersed in
otherwise bustling cityscapes. In the 1940s he and his twin brother, Moses, were encouraged by the Russian émigré painter David Burliuk to establish seasonal studios in Hampton Bays, where they exhibited and fraternized with a kindred
circle of Social Realist painters.
Regarded as America’s leading advocate of realism, Raphael Soyer devoted his long, productive life to “painting people … in their natural context-who belong to their time.” During the 1930s, Soyer’s poignant portrayals of
New York City’s office workers
and the unemployed secured his reputation as a major Social Realist. There was a shift in Soyer’s work of the 1940sfrom urban environments towards interior scenes. In this work, he has combined two common themes of his oeuvre:
intimate studies of
solitary women, often nudes, and portraits of fellow artists, reflecting his great affection and admiration for them.
March 27, 2014
I have always been a huge fan of graphics and they play a strong part in many of my projects. I am always fascinated by the graphics not only in nature, but when you look at graphics, especially two color graphics,
don’t you wonder, if you color was placed on top of the other?
Enter Victor Vasarely! I hope you enjoy this post!
Internationally recognized as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. He is the acknowledged leader of the OP ART movement and his innovations in color and optical illusion have had a strong
influence on many modern artists.
In 1947, Vasarely discovered his place in abstract art. Vasarely concluded that “internal geometry” could be seen below the surface of the entire world. He conceived that form and color are inseparable.
“Every form is a base for color, every color is the attribute of a form.” Forms from nature were thus transposed into purely abstract elements in his paintings
March 18, 2014
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Recently, I have been learning so much about POP Art and the POP Art movement that I did not know! It has especially been fun learning about the women artist in the movement.
JANN HAWROTH has been one of my favorites to learn about. I hope you all enjoy this post and enjoy looking through the fun art!
Jann Haworth is a Hollywood-born artist among the few women who were involved in the Pop movement in the 1960s. Her sewn cloth soft sculptures refer to typically American Pop themes such as fast food, film stars, cheerleaders, cowboys and comics, as well as to her experiences of living in England during a period of cultural transformation.Her current work now involves large scale abstract sewn canvasses, these pieces sometimes involve use the use of “comic frame” convention of the graphic novel film strip.
Jann has used her skills to teach other artists as an art educator of distinction. “I believe everyone can draw. I don’t believe in talent, I believe in determination and time.” Jann was the founder of the Looking Glass art school in England, as well as the Artshack Studio in Utah and holds the position of Visual Arts Director.
Throughout her career, Jann has used an element of three dimensionality to her work. Her pieces of full to texture, color, stories, and movement; perfect eye candy!