Archive for July, 2009

Think outside the box, collapse the box, and take a fucking sharp knife to it.

July 31, 2009

Banksy

 

Banksy (1974 — ) is a graffiti artist from Bristol, UK, whose artwork has appeared throughout London and other locations around the world. Despite this he carefully manages to keep his real name from the mainstream media. However, many newspapers assert that his real name is Robert or Robin Banks.
Banksy, despite not calling himself an artist, has been considered by some as talented in that respect; he uses his original street art form, often in combination with a distinctive stencilling technique, to promote alternative aspects of politics from those promoted by the mainstream media.

Some believe that his stencilled graffiti provides a voice for those living in urban environments that could not otherwise express themselves, and that his work is also something which improves the aesthetic quality of urban surroundings; many others disagree, asserting that his work is simple vandalism (a claim made by at least Peter Gibson, spokesperson for Keep Britain Tidy), or that his (apparently left wing) beliefs are not shared by the majority of the inhabitants of the environments that he graffitis. This political purpose behind his vandalism is reminiscent of the Ad Jammers or subvertising movement, who deface corporate advertising to change the intended message and hijack the advert.
Banksy does, however, also do paid work for charities (e.g., Greenpeace) as well as demanding up to £25,000 for canvases. It has also been alleged [citation needed] and denied [citation needed] that Banksy has done work with corporations such as Puma. This has led to him being accused of being a sellout and a careerist by other artists and activists.
Due to the shroud of secrecy surrounding his real identity and his subversive character; Banksy has achieved somewhat of a cult following from some of the younger age group within the stencilling community.

In 2004 the Space Hijackers gave out spoof vouchers outside a Banksy exhibition to highlight the artist’s ironic use of anti-capitalist and protest imagery while doing work for corporations and art galleries.
Another of Banksy’s tricks involved hanging a piece of his own art in London’s Tate Modern, and as of March 2005, the New York Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History. In May 2005 Bansky’s version of primitive cave painting depicting a human figure hunting wildlife while pushing a shopping cart was found hanging in the British Museum.
On 4 August 2005, the BBC reported that Banksy had painted 9 images on the Palestinian side of the Israeli West Bank barrier, including an image of a ladder up and over the wall and an image of children digging a hole through the wall

Banksy has also self-published several books that contain photos of his work in various countries as well as some of his canvas work and exhibitions, accompanied by his own subversive and often witty writings. His first book, published in black and white, is Banging your head against a brick wall followed by the full color Existencilism. In 2004 he published his third book, Cut it Out, and 2005 saw the publication by Random House of Wall and Piece.

A common technique in Banksy’s art is to play on the perspective and edges of the item on which he is stencilling. Examples include ‘trapdoors’, ‘criminal rats’, photo opportunities and ‘peeing soldiers

Performing a whois lookup on Banksy’s website reveals that the registrant is Stephen Lazarides, a photographer. It has been suggested that Lazarides is Banksy also going under the name of gHOSTbOY. However Lazarides is actually Banksy’s manager and Banksy has gone to great lengths to conceal his identity. Whilst creating artwork for Wall of Sounds’s “Two Culture Clash” in Jamaica a number of photographs were purportedly taken of him by the event’s official photographer, Peter Dean Rickards. After the pair had a number of disagreements, Rickards later sold the supposed photos of Banksy to the London Evening Standard. Rickards then published an article on a website entitiled “Just who the fuck is Banksy?!?”. There are arguments for and against the veracity of the photographs.

http://www.briansewell.com/artist/b-artist/banksy/banksy-biography.html

Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.

July 30, 2009

Salvador Dali

The Hallucinogenic Toreador 1970

 

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marquis of Púbol (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989) was a Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres.

Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire includes film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

Dalí attributed his “love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes” to a self-styled “Arab lineage,” claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors.

Dalí was highly imaginative, and also had an affinity for partaking in unusual and grandiose behavior, in order to draw attention to himself. This sometimes irked those who loved his art as much as it annoyed his critics, since his eccentric manner sometimes drew more public attention than his artwork.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Dal%C3%AD

My eyes were made to erase all that is ugly.

July 29, 2009

Raoul Dufy

 

Parrots 1930

Raoul Dufy (3 June 1877 – 23 March 1953) was a French Fauvist painter. He developed a colourful, decorative style that became fashionable for designs for ceramics, textiles and decorative schemes for public buildings. He is noted for scenes of open-air social events.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_Dufy

The past, though it cannot be relived, can always be repaired.

July 28, 2009

John LaFarge

 Girls Carrying a Canoe, Vaiala in Samoa 1891

(b New York, 31 March 1835; d Newport, RI, 14 Nov 1910). American painter, decorative artist and writer. He grew up in New York in a prosperous and cultivated French-speaking household. He received his first artistic training at the age of six from his maternal grandfather, an amateur architect and miniature painter. While at Columbia Grammar School, he learnt English watercolour techniques and afterwards studied briefly with George Inness’s teacher, the landscape painter R?gis-Fran?ois Gignoux. In 1856, while touring Europe, he spent a few weeks in Thomas Couture’s studio. Returning to New York via England, he was impressed by the Pre-Raphaelite paintings at the Manchester Art Treasures exhibition of 1857 and later said that they had influenced him when he began to paint. In 1859 he decided to devote himself to art and moved to Newport, RI, to study with William Morris Hunt.

http://www.answers.com/topic/john-lafarge

Sometimes the solitary voice can be the best one.

July 27, 2009

Frank Miller

 

Frank Miller (born January 27, 1957) is an American writer, artist and film director best known for his dark, film noir-style comic book stories and graphic novels for Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics. He recently directed the film version of The Spirit, shared directing duties with Robert Rodriguez on Sin City and produced the film 300.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Miller_(comics)

Conscience is a man’s compass.

July 25, 2009

Vincent Van Gogh

 Skull with a Burning Cigarette 1885/86

Vincent van Gogh, for whom color was the chief symbol of expression, was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland. The son of a pastor, brought up in a religious and cultured atmosphere, Vincent was highly emotional and lacked self-confidence. Between 1860 and 1880, when he
finally decided to become an artist, van Gogh had had two unsuitable and unhappy romances and had worked unsuccessfully as a clerk in a bookstore, an art salesman, and a preacher in the Borinage (a dreary mining district in Belgium), where he was dismissed for overzealousness. He remained in Belgium to study art, determined to give happiness by creating beauty. The works of his early Dutch period are somber-toned, sharply lit, genre paintings of which the most famous is “The Potato Eaters” (1885). In that year van Gogh went to Antwerp where he discovered the works of Rubens and purchased many Japanese prints.

In 1886 he went to Paris to join his brother Théo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery. In Paris, van Gogh studied with Cormon, inevitably met Pissarro, Monet, and Gauguin, and began to lighten his very dark palette and to paint in the short brushstrokes of the Impressionists. His nervous temperament made him a difficult companion and night-long discussions combined with painting all day undermined his health. He decided to go south to Arles where he hoped his friends would join him and help found a school of art. Gauguin did join him but with disastrous results. In a fit of epilepsy, van Gogh pursued his friend with an open razor, was stopped by Gauguin, but ended up cutting a portion of his ear lobe off. Van Gogh then began to alternate between fits of madness and lucidity and was sent to the asylum in Saint-Remy for treatment.

In May of 1890, he seemed much better and went to live in Auvers-sur-Oise under the watchful eye of Dr. Gachet. Two months later he was dead, having shot himself “for the good of all.” During his brief career he had sold one painting. Van Gogh’s finest works were produced in less than three years in a technique that grew more and more impassioned in brushstroke, in symbolic and intense color, in surface tension, and in the movement and vibration of form and line. Van Gogh’s inimitable fusion of form and content is powerful; dramatic, lyrically rhythmic, imaginative, and emotional, for the artist was completely absorbed in the effort to explain either his struggle against madness or his comprehension of the spiritual essence of man and nature.

http://www.vangoghgallery.com/misc/bio.html

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.

July 24, 2009

Coco Chanel

 

White Satin 1931

From her first millinery shop, opened in 1912, to the 1920s, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel rose to become one of the premier fashion designers in Paris, France. Replacing the corset with comfort and casual elegance, her fashion themes included simple suits and dresses, women’s trousers, costume jewelry, perfume and textiles.

Coco Chanel claimed a birthdate of 1893 and a birthplace of Auvergne; she was actually born in 1883 in Saumur. According to her version of her life story, her mother worked in the poorhouse where Gabrielle was born, and died when Gabrielle was only six, leaving her father with five children whom he promptly abandoned to the care of relatives.

She adopted the name Coco during a brief career as a cafe and concert singer 1905-1908. First a mistress of a wealthy military officer then of an English industrialist, Coco Chanel drew on the resources of these patrons in setting up a millinery shop in Paris in 1910, expanding to Deauville and Biarritz. The two men also helped her find customers among women of society, and her simple hats became popular.

Soon Coco Chanel was expanding to couture, working in jersey, a first in the French fashion world. By the 1920s, her fashion house had expanded considerably, and her chemise set a fashion trend with its “little boy” look. Her relaxed fashions, short skirts, and casual look were in sharp contrast to the corset fashions popular in the previous decades. Chanel herself dressed in mannish clothes, and adapted these more comfortable fashions which other women also found liberating.

In 1922 Coco Chanel introduced a perfume, Chanel No. 5, which became and remained popular, and remains a profitable product of Chanel’s company. Pierre Wertheimer became her partner in the perfume business in 1924, and perhaps also her lover. Wertheimer owned 70% of the company; Coco Chanel received 10% and her friend Bader 20%. The Wertheimers continue to control the perfume company today.

Coco Chanel introduced her signature cardigan jacket in 1925 and signature “little black dress” in 1926. Most of her fashions had a staying power, and didn’t change much from year to year — or even generation to generation.

Coco Chanel briefly served as a nurse in World War I. Nazi occupation meant the fashion business in Paris was cut off for some years; Chanel’s affair during World War II with a Nazi officer also resulted in some years of diminished popularity and an exile of sorts to Switzerland. In 1954 her comeback restored her to the first ranks of haute couture. Her natural, casual clothing including the Chanel suit once again caught the eye — and purses — of women. She introduced pea jackets and bell bottom pants for women. She was still working in 1971 when she died. Karl Lagerfeld has been chief designer of Chanel’s fashion house since 1983.

In addition to her work with high fashion, Coco Chanel also designed stage costumes for such plays as Cocteau’s Antigone (1923) and Oedipus Rex (1937) and film costumes for several movies, including Renoir’s La Regle de Jeu. Katharine Hepburn starred in the 1969 Broadway musical Coco based on the life of Coco Chanel.

http://womenshistory.about.com/od/chanelcoco/a/coco_chanel.htm

It is not what you look at, but what you see.

July 23, 2009

Henry Thoreau

 

Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862)was an American author, poet, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_David_Thoreau

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.

July 22, 2009

Camille Pissarro

 The Woodcutter 1879

Camille Pissarro (10 July 1830 – 13 November 1903) was a French Impressionist painter. His importance resides not only in his visual contributions to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, but also in his patriarchal standing among his colleagues, particularly Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camille_Pissarro

Laughter is the brush that sweeps away the cobwebs of your heart.

July 21, 2009

Mort Walker

 

Addison Morton Walker (born September 3, 1923), popularly known as Mort Walker, is an American comic artist best known for creating the newspaper comic strips Beetle Bailey in 1950, and Hi and Lois in 1954.

Born in El Dorado, Kansas, he grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. He had his first comic published at age 11, and sold his first cartoon at 12. At 15, he worked as a comic-strip artist for a daily newspaper, and by 18 became chief editorial designer at Hall Brothers. Graduating from Northeast High School, he attended the University of Missouri, where today a life-sized bronze statue of Beetle Bailey stands in front of the alumni center.

In 1943, Walker was drafted into the United States Army and served in Europe during World War II. He was discharged as a first lieutenant in 1947. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1948, having been president of the local Kappa Sigma chapter.[1] He then went to New York to pursue a career in cartooning. His first 200 cartoons were rejected, but he slowly gained recognition for his talent. His break came with Beetle Bailey, followed by Hi and Lois. Other comic strips he created include Boner’s Ark, Gamin & Patches, Mrs. Fitz’s Flats, The Evermores, Sam’s Strip and Sam & Silo (the last two with Jerry Dumas).

After more than 50 years in the business, Walker still supervises the daily work at his studio, which employs six of his children. He is one of the longest-drawing cartoonists in history.

In 1974, he founded the National Cartoon Museum, and in 1989 was inducted into its Museum of Cartoon Art Hall of Fame. He received the Reuben Award of 1953 for Beetle Bailey, the National Cartoonist Society Humor Strip Award for 1966 and 1969, the Gold T-Square Award in 1999, the Elzie Segar Award for 1977 and 1999, and numerous other awards for his work and dedication.

In his book The Lexicon of Comicana (1980), written as a satirical look at the devices cartoonists use, Walker invented a vocabulary called Symbolia. For example, Walker coined the term “squeans” to describe the starbusts and little circles that appear around a cartoon’s head to indicate intoxication. The typographical symbols that stand for profanities, which appear in dialogue balloons in the place of actual dialogue, Walker called “grawlixes.”

He recently created the free monthly newsletter, “The Best of Times”. It incorporates various “helpful hints” articles along with an array of comics. While he is overseer of the project, he is assisted by his son, Neal Walker, who formats the newsletter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mort_Walker