Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Alexa's art requires imagination.

 Transit by Alexa Meade
2009, C-Print, 18 x 24 in.

 When I first saw the picture above I was REALLY confused, I literally said "WHAT?!" out loud. Basically, instead of putting paint on a canvas and creating a portrait Alexa Meade puts paint directly onto a person and makes them seem as if they are a two dimensional painting rather than a three dimensional person! It's quite bizarre if you think about it.

Here's what I love most about Alexa.

One, she has created another form of art that not only is something no one has ever done, but an art that combines painting, photography, installation, and performance. I always wonder when an artist creates a new technique or does something that has never been done before do they get really excited like someone would when they invent something that works? Like when Alexa first figured out this technique and how awesome it looks, did she think "Wow, I am going to be really famous one day because of this?"

Two, she is super young (23) and seems really for lack of a better word, normal. You can try and deny it but, most great artists are really strange or have some type of psychological disorder/problem. Van Gogh, Warhol, Pollock all had special circumstances that made them a little weird and/or mentally unstable. Alexa Meade is one of the first really amazing artists that I have watched an interview of and thought, wow she seems really normal which I think adds to her amazing art because I know it's not her insanity that is driving the piece, it's just her.

Three, her work is just awesome. I love looking at Trompe-L'Oeil art, or art that tricks the eye because it's art that anyone could look at and be intrigued. You don't have to look way into the meaning or be an experienced art goer to love it, you love it because it confuses the heck out of you. In an interview I watched Alexa said that usually the people who understand that her art is a trick are kids and that they usually explain it to their parents. That says a lot. One of Picasso's more famous quotes is "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up." Alexa's art isn't childish, it is art that children understand because they have such vivid imaginations. Her art challenges you to be creative as this is the only way you will understand it.

Alexa's art requires imagination and that is a quality every work of art should require.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

M.C. Escher's a good thing.

Relativity by M.C. Escher 
1953, Lithograph, 10.9 in × 11.5 in

I started my obsession with art in 2nd grade when my elementary school teacher held up a Picasso and I was sold. Well shortly after I went to some museum and my Mom let me pick one postcard and I chose one with the M.C. Escher image above. Now all of this could very well be a dream as I am finding most of childhood "memories" are but, I am almost 95% sure I still have this postcard somewhere. The point is M.C. Escher captivated a 7 years old, so he must be good. 

Next to Salvador Dali, M.C. Escher seems to be an obvious favorite among marijuana users because his work is quite "trippy" but I am here to tell you that you don't have to smoke pot to love Escher, you can love him any old day! Escher has this ability to create these really insane images that you have to stare at for a minimum of ten minutes just to start and understand what the heck is going on. In my book, that's a pretty awesome artist because he doesn't make it hard to love art in fact, he makes it quite easy. 

A fun fact about Escher is that he was left-handed. I have always been extremely obsessed with left-handed people (and identical twins, but that's another story) so the fact that Escher was left-handed might not mean much to you, but to me it's fascinating. Left-handed artists are always awesome. Proof? Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Durer.... yep, all left-handed!

I feel like this post has no point so let me sum it up. M.C. Escher was brilliant because you don't have to love art to love his art. Google him when you are bored and I guarantee you will have to spend at least fifteen minutes looking at all his images because you won't be able to stop. His work makes you think, "Oh what the?!" and I think that's a good thing. 

M.C. Escher's a good thing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Social Mirror is a reminder to be passionate.

The Social Mirror by Mierle Laderman Ukeles
New York City garbage truck with hand-tempered glass mirror and strips of mirrored acrylic
New York, USA, 1983, Ronald Feldman Gallery

Okay so I noticed on my posts that I have had The Social Mirror post as a draft for months. Why? I have no clue, but I definitely have previously started this post a ton of times and just never thought it was good enough to publish. Another reason could be because Mierle Laderman Ukeles is really freaking hard to find any information on and I usually research any artist I am going to feature beforehand. All I can tell you is that she is an artist that often deals with feminist topics and anything that has to do with maintenance but, what the heck does that even mean?

So why do I love The Social Mirror if I don't know crap about the artist? Well, for starters the way she created the message of the piece is pretty darn brilliant. To state the obvious, the picture above shows a regular garbage truck however on one side of the truck there is a mirror and the mirror is reflecting dozens of people. Okay, so what? WELL the brilliant factor here is in the title The Social Mirror. Ukeles is simply showing how we the people of the world are creating a ton of crap and garbage and we should be blamed for the effects of this crap and garbage. You could even go as far as saying that she believes we are a wasteful, un-resourceful, and lazy people for not taking some responsibility.

I like The Social Mirror for other reasons too. I suppose the main reason isn't because it speaks to my inner love for our environment (which to be honest I could be greener) but, it speaks to my need for passion in my life. Mierle Laderman Ukeles is extremely passionate about sanitation, so much so that she created The Social Mirror and bases most of her artwork on the topic. She has found something in life that sparks her and ignites her to do something.

I am always desperate to find this in my life. Besides art, I can't think of one hobby or one cause that I have been obsessed with for over a year. The Social Mirror encourages me to find something that consistently excites me and motivates me to do something.

Thus, The Social Mirror is a reminder to be passionate.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Norman Rockwell cherishes the simple.

Saying Grace by Norman Rockwell
1951, oil on canvas 
Featured on The Saturday Evening Post Cover November 24, 1951

It takes me way too much time to decide what Norman Rockwell to put on my blog, there is just so many that all deserve to be talked about. After about an hour of looking I chose Saying Grace

I often daydream about how Norman Rockwell chose the small details for his artwork. For example, the guy in the bottom left hand corner of Saying Grace is my favorite. You can't really see his expression, but you know he is staring at those praying. He was reading the paper, or pretending to, while drinking coffee and he just finished eating something... I like to think it was chocolate cake. 

I suppose the real reason why I love Saying Grace so much is it's ability to evoke this feeling of a calm simple America. I always get wrapped up in the go go go attitude and will be the first to admit that too much technology surrounds my day to day life. I long for a simple life where my family and I would go a diner, grab a slice of pie, and bow our heads to say grace. The best we do now is speed to the nearest coffee shop, go through the drive thru, and ask for a Venti Latte. 

I probably sound like I am 90 years old, but really I am just a girl who desperately tries to make my life simple and forget all the useless things I can get preoccupied with. So that's why I love Norman Rockwell because he knows just what I am after. 

Norman Rockwell cherishes the simple.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wayne Thiebaud exaggerates his imagery in the most delicious way.

Potrero Hill by Wayne Thiebaud
1976, oil on canvas, 36 x 44 in.

While the above picture isn't one of Thiebaud's more popular images, it's just as electric as the others. Well-known for his paintings of delicious food and sweets, I would argue that he is much more well-known for his unique style of art, which is most obvious in Potrero Hill

Whenever an artist chooses to not only paint a specific place, but also label the painting with the specific place, they are inviting others to critique their art. No one looks at Potrero Hill and thinks "What a cool imaginary place!" instead they may think things such as "That is NOT what Potrero Hill looks like" or "I remember when I visited there in the 80's." Either way, people are going to talk because the subject of the piece is shoved into their face... and to me, that's brilliant. 

I once read that Thiebaud is not so much labeled as an expressionist but rather likes to emphasis the expression of realism. Yeah, I know if you aren't an art junkie that could sound like blah blah blah. Basically, Thiebaud focuses on portraying real things in a way that is filled with emotion and livelihood. I mean look at Potrero Hill and tell me you don't want to live atop that beautiful hill in the yellow or lime green house! 

To create such a image that jumps out to your eyes Thiebaud had a pretty awesome method. He would go outdoors and directly observe what he wanted to paint that he would go into his studio and paint from memory to give the image room to be playful. I had the pleasure of seeing this image in person and I can tell you that the one thing that you can't tell from a mere picture is the brushstroke of the Potrero Hill. The most beautiful thing about this piece was that the paint looked like icing on a cake, actually that IS typical Thiebaud, he has that weird ability to make his images cause the viewer to salivate... go ahead, go google him and see for yourself. 

So how can I sum up Thiebaud? Well he is actually kind of easy because if I had to chose one word to describe him it would be EXAGGERATION. 

Wayne Thiebaud exaggerates his imagery in the most delicious way.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Scream brings one comfort.

The Scream by Edvard Munch 
1893,  Oil, tempera, & pastel on cardboard, 91 x 73.5 cm
National Gallery : Oslo, Norway

This painting has been haunting me for the last few months and was surprised to find that I have never featured it in my blog, as it is such a timeless image. I have often heard The Scream being compared to other timeless images such as the Mona Lisa or a popular Picasso in reference to the image being a staple of art culture, but in all honesty, you just can't compare Munch with any other artist.

It would be hard to try and explain Edvard Munch within in the length constraints I would like to keep of my blog posts. He is one of those artists’ that can't be understood in a few adjectives or cleverly complied sentences; the best way to describe him would be to say well, he is Edvard Munch. But if I must, I will simply say that Munch was complex and simple, disturbed and perfectly peaceful, along with (insert appropriate oxymoron).

So, if Munch is so hard to explain, how on earth should I explain The Scream? Well, what makes this image so popular is because it is relatable to anyone and everyone. We have all had those minutes, days, weeks, and months where we feel as if the only word to describe our life is uncertain and in modern culture uncertainty is almost always followed by anxiety. We want to know what our life holds and more importantly, we want to be in control. When our control is taken from us, for even just a second, we panic and we may even scream.

This scream, panic, anxiety, and uncertainty is what makes Edvard Munch's The Scream so striking. Munch was able to capture a common emotion and make it visual and in doing so the rest of the world grabs hold to his image and cherishes it. Why? Because The Scream helps you feel and know that you are not the only person in the world that feels what you feel and in this you receive comfort.

Thus oddly enough, The Scream brings one comfort.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The rumors are true....

You guessed it, I am back!

I am sure you have heard all the rumors and have been wondering "But WHEN will Inadvertently Art be back?!? I CAN NOT WAIT ANY LONGER!!!!" Well I am here to assure you that September 20th will quickly became a holiday in your book as that is the day I am officially re-launching Inadvertently Art!

Okay okay, I know this isn't a big deal, but if I don't post this official announcement I am afraid I will a) forget and my blog with go ignored for many more months or b) make up some excuse to not write a post thus my blog will go ignored for many more months.

So my friends this Monday I will be back and back strong because honestly, life just isn't the same without art and more importantly life isn't the same without finding way to discover inadvertent art :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Central Park has a beautiful purpose.

Central Park by Frederick Law Olmsted & Calvert Vaux
New York City, USA, 1857-1887

Though I have never been there, Central Park has always fascinated me. It was designed by these two landscape architects and has become one of the most prized possessions of NYC. It really is pretty amazing for more than just visual appeal; Central Park has a purpose. 

With the rise of skyscrapers and big cities came a major shift in design and concern. People finally started to think, "Hey, we should probably try and save some of our natural environment," and began to incorporate our environment into our urbanized world. Central Park was planned with the desire to keep a part of nature in big city Manhattan. Though big cities are appealing the crammed space and polluted air isn't. 

Now, some people might be thinking why I am writing about a park in my art blog. Well, nature is most definitely art and landscape architects are most definitely artists. Landscape architects have to try and figure out how to keep our natural environment while making it better suited for human use. When you think about it, that's pretty dang hard. Not only do they have to figure the best way to incorporate nature, but nature affects presentation. So landscape architects not only have to think about where they will create, but what will surround their creation. That's a lot to consider! 

Central Park is just a beautiful creation. It is this 2.5 miles long and about a half mile wide park filled with a ton to do. You can go to a musuem, a theater, the zoo, the lake, the pool, the rink, many monuments, or you can even walk along several trails and gardens. Each tree, each flower, and each pathway has a purpose: to keep natural beauty in our big city world and THIS is art at it's finest my friends.

Central Park has a beautiful purpose.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Norman Rockwell's work is always full of purpose.

Portrait of John F. Kennedy by Norman Rockwell
On the October 29th, 1960 and December 14th, 1963 issue of 
The Saturday Evening Post

Oh Norman, I just love you. Norman Rockwell is like The Beatles in a lot of ways, every time I listen to the Beatles I find another song that I have to put in my top ten favorites. Well, every time I look through Norman Rockwell's work I find yet another one of my favorites. I must have like a top twenty in Norman Rockwell's, but this portrait of John F. Kennedy definitely makes the cut. 

All right, I admit it. I am really obsessed with John F. Kennedy, actually the entire Kennedy legacy,  but I love Norman's portrait of him more than the official presidential painting of him (the one where he's looking down). As I have stated before, Norman Rockwell illustrated for The Saturday Evening Post and this was the only image that ever graced the cover twice, once right before the election and once for the tribute issue right after Kennedy was assassinated.

The only way to adequately describe why I love this work of art so much is so explain my love for John F. Kennedy. From the moment Kennedy was elected monumental change swept through the White House. From the interior design of the White House to political policy, Kennedy was behind a great deal of change. For being the youngest president in history, his brief presidency is something that inspires me daily.

Now, look at the portrait of him. What do you see? I see a man with confidence, determination, and hope. His expression is flawless and his poise is impossible to ignore. This is why I love it. Presidential portraits are difficult, but as always Norman was able to create a piece that was effortless and full of purpose.

Norman Rockwell's work is always full of purpose.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Giacometti encourages positivty.

L'Homme qui marche I (Walking Man I) by Alberto Giacometti
1960, Bronze, 180.5 x 23.9 x 97 cm

People are going Giacometti nuts today, so I thought I'd address the insanity. Basically, the sculpture above sold for $104.3 Million last night in London at Sotheby's; meaning Walking Man I is now the world's most expensive piece ever sold at an auction. Honestly it doesn't surprise me much that it is was a Giacometti that broke the record because well, it's Giacometti! In the world of art (and the world in general) he is a pretty big deal. In fact, there are plenty of leather bound books written about him. 

So just who is this guy? Well Alberto Giacommetti was a Swiss man who created a whole lot of art, but his sculptures are what remain the most famous. As you might imagine his work is analyzed a lot and a bunch of people have different interpretations (like always). He had a strange style and through the years his figures just got longer and thinner, almost as if Giacometti was merely trying to see how much he could stretch the sculptures out. 

I have to admit that one reason why I love Giacometti is because his name is just so dang cool to say out loud. It just rolls off the tongue beautifully. However, the main reason I love Giacometti is the message I feel his sculptures portray. These figures are shown with the idea of motion, but their feet are rooted to the ground. While one might see this as portraying stagnation or isolation, I like to view it as completely opposite. Notice how the figure is standing straight and tall, with it's head held up? Well, this is the beauty of Walking Man. While the figures feet may be grounded, it's head it upright and it is confidently looking toward the future. To me Walking Man says: No matter how hard things get and how many people try to bring you down, you must always stand up confidently and continue onward. It's the positive messages that I love most in art. There's just something special about seeing a positive message over hearing something say something like, "You can do it!"

Giacometti encourages positivty.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Siqueiros creates art that can not be overlooked.

The Echo of a Scream by David Alfaro Siqueiros
1937, enamel on wood, 121.9 x 91.4 cm

I promise I didn't do this on purpose, but both today and yesterday's image are responses to the Spanish Civil War. I am not trying to make this "Spanish Civil War week," it just happened to coincidentally happen.

Siqueiros was as interested in creating art as he was in creating bold and moving political statements. A native of Chihuahua, Mexico, Siqueiros created numerous politically charged murals, however it is his The Echo of a Scream that hits me the most. Much like Picasso was outraged with the deaths of the innocent civilians of the Spanish Civil War, Siqueiros took his anger and created a piece that was both visually moving and visually disturbing. He chose to take the most innocent of all, a baby, and amplify the pain and horror of the war through the child's innocent scream of anguish. The child sits in a pile of debris, all of what is left of his world, and is alone, helpless, and in pain. Why did Siqueiros paint the larger head? Well, it symbolizes the lost lives and pain of all the victimss we don't see.

I know this isn't the happiest of posts, but there really is no other way to explain The Echo of a Sceam. If it wasn't the artist's main intention I would haved ignored the sad aspect, but that's the point.... I just can't. That's what Siqueiros wanted to do; he wanted to create a piece that was so visually distrubing it was impossible to ignore. Picasso chose to make a piece charged with symbolism so that the strange imagery would intice the viewers to read more into the piece, only then learning about the horror of the Spanish Civil War. Siqueiros chose to paint a piece that bluntly showed you the atrocities of the war. This is often how Siqueiros creates. His works are in your face, to the point, and in the process they are impossible to ignore.

Siqueiros creates art that can not be overlooked.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Guernica is our reminder to continually strive for peace.

Guernica by Pablo Picasso
1937, oil on canvas, 137.4 in × 305.5 in

Okay, so I am pretty sure this is one of those paintings that everyone has seen. See, I don't remember the "common" art pieces because after studying them all so much I forget which are the more common that everyone knows and which aren't. Nevertheless, Guernica is something everyone should know, or at least be familiar with. To sum up the story behind the piece, it was painted after the city of Guernica was bombed by warplanes during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso was commissioned to do this mural and after much deliberation and contemplation, he created this amazing piece. 

There's a few things I love about this piece. One, it brought about world-recognition for the Spanish Civil War, and more importantly, for the hardships of war. Two, it's filled with symbolism, which is always interesting and three, it's visually moving.

You know, I have been wanting to do a post on Guernica forever. It's just one of those pieces you HAVE to talk about every so often, but after starting this post I realized that the immense amount of symbolism in the piece isn't something I want to focus on (and if I did this post would be way too long). What I find so moving about Guernica is what happened after the work was created. Guernica was displaued in Paris at the World's Fair right after it was painted and it brought about this immense acknowledgement of the Spanish Civil War. Too many people often neglect the tradgedies of war and forget that others are suffering. Picasso painted this out of his anger and rage with so many innocent people dying, but little did he know that through his anger and hurt the mural he created would become an internationally known manifistation of peace. It was through the pain, the suffering, and the sadness that others would see Guernica and reflect on war. Reflect in a way that served as a reminder for the continual fight for peace, a fight that should and always will be never-ending.

Guernica is our reminder to continually strive for peace.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Neolithic art is purely fascinating.

Human figures from Ain Ghazal, Jordan
6750-6250 BCE, plaster, size varies
Some are located at the Louvre 

So I am taking ancient art history this semester and honestly I never thought that I was all that interested in ancient art... but I most definitely am. I have posted only one super old dating post (Lascaux) but as I am outlining chapter one of my textbook and I had to stop to tell you all about these crazy human figures found in Jordan. 

I am already finding that what I love most about studying ancient art history is that the descriptions in my book aren't like a million pages long. Now I don't mean this in the "I am such a slacker student and I hate reading" type of way, but I LOVE the fact that these things are so old that no one can really come up with an agreed upon explanation of everything. Additionally, every time some archeologist finds something new, every single thing gets re-questioned. I assume this would start to get annoying because they can never say things like, "We did it! We solved the mystery of Paleolithic and Neolithic art!," but for someone who is just studying it, it's really amusing. 

Anyways, these human figures were found buried beneath these really old settlements (and by really old I mean like 6500 BCE old). The figures are made of white plaster and the eyes were made with this tar-like substance. Some of the statues suggest gender, but for the most part they aren't gender specific. For the most part it is mostly assumed that these figures were ritually buried and had some purpose. So what's the big deal? Well, some of these statues are pretty large for being so dang old (like 3 feet) and most importantly, they establish the beginning of monumental sculpture in the Ancient Near East. That's a pretty big stinkin' deal if you ask me. 

Okay I realize that my whole purpose of this blog is to make (cough, normal) people in to art history. I understand that Paleolithic and Neolithic art are the hardest types of art to get people interested in, but here's the thing; it's cool because it's so old. It's so old that people debate if they even should be considered art. I just love to marvel over the fact that people a million zillion years ago created these things of art. They inhabited this sense of artistic ambition. They had the desire to create, and that's extremely fascinating

Neolithic art is purely fascinating.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I just love Vincent Van Gogh.

Shoes by Vincent Van Gogh
1888, Oil on canvas, 18 x 22 inches

I feel like I apologize for disappearing way too often, but I swear I don't neglect Inadvertently Art on purpose. If things went my way, I would have a specific allotted time each day to write in here, but I am human therefore, I must maintain a busy schedule. Anyways, I am in the processing of moving/setting up my new place so it's pretty hard to find a spare minute, but alas! Here I am.

I just finished putting up a lot of art in my room and I stumbled upon a bunch Van Gogh prints that I have and noticed Shoes. I don't know how I have ever over looked this, but it's brilliant. As many of you know, Vincent was a troubled man and the more I learn about his life the more I am amazed at his ability to still see the beauty of the world.

He painted a lot of different works depicting shoes and honestly I love them all. Shoes first caught my eye because it's not a typical Van Gogh. I always love when people think they have pin pointed an artist and then they are thrown off by a piece like Shoes. Secondly, the premise behind the piece is beautiful. I am always amazed at the difference between an unartistic mind and the mind of an artist. Artist's are mentally able to see beauty in everything... even a pair of shoes.

The truth of the matter is quite simple. While there is no denying that there is beauty in the sky, trees, flowers, and ocean there is also this unmistakable beauty in ordinary everyday things like shoes. There is so much to learn from this, but I'll just leave that up to you. 

I just love Vincent Van Gogh.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Norman Rockwell was just simple, straightforward, and honest.

Triple Self-Portrait by Norman Rockwell
1960, Oil on Canvas, 44 1/2 x 34 3/4 in.

Before I write an entry, I always do some research on the artist and the piece and let me tell you, I have learned so much in that past couple of months.  It's amazing how many random facts I have learned about all these artists. For example, Norman Rockwell's son, Thomas Rockwell, wrote the children's book How to Eat Fried Worms. I LOVED that book! I just really enjoy this blog. My hope is that other people enjoy it, but for the most part, I will always continue writing in this just for my own selfish pleasure.

Norman Rockwell has always been one of my favorites. I love artists that portray simple things and simple times. But on top of that, Norman was extremely talented. I mean, he left his school at age 14 to attend art school and everyone always knew he had potential. He couldn't escape his artistic destiny. When he tried to join the military for WWI, they made him a military artist. He is most known for his illustrations for the magazine The Saturday Evening Post where illustrations like Triple Self-Portrait frequently made the cover.

Triple Self-Portrait remains my all time favorite Norman Rockwell. It's just so darn clever. He is looking in he mirror and seeing what he really looks like, but drawing the man he wished he looked like. My favorite part are the other self-portraits that are in the upper right corner of his canvas. He has included a collection of self-portraits from many various art periods. The first is a self-portrait of the Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer who was from the late 15th to early 16th century. Next to Durer is Dutch artist Rembrandt, beneath that is an abstract Picasso, and the bottom piece is a self-portrait of Van Gogh. Each of these artists created a large body of self-portraits and were essentially known for some of the best self-portraits.

You know, self-portraits are a funny thing. I mean, if someone asked me to draw myself I think it would be really hard. One, because I can't draw but more importantly because I wouldn't know how or where to start. If I made myself better looking than I really was, people might think I was vain. If I made myself seem over confident, I would seem self absorbed. If the expression on my face was a little stern, I might seem too angry. I mean, it just seems so hard. What facial expression do you choose? What clothes do you choose? What position? How big? It really seems a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, Norman Rockwell chose to go about his self-portrait with humor as he was a funny guy. It's really brillant actually. He painted himself three times. One in the mirror, one painting himself, and of course one of the canvas. In doing this he not only creates a triple self-portrait, but a strong statement. Self-portraits are usually never all that precise. There is just something about someone painting themself that is hard to accomplish. People always paint the person they want to be, adjusting details to their standard. Norman gives the viewer himself as he wishes, and himself as he is and in a way, this is the most honest self-portrait there is.

Norman Rockwell was just simple, straightforward, and honest.