December 17, 2008

Shepard Fairey

Hope Obama.jpg
Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey is a contemporary graphic artist from Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in creating stickers, posters, and silk screen tee shirts with bold and many times political images. Fairey was born and raised in South Carolina. Fairey was into main stream sports like soccer and basketball when he was a child, until some of his friends started skateboarding. A friend of his left his skateboard over at Fairey's house, and from then on he was addicted to skateboarding and the new skateboarding scene. He started making stencils, stickers, and simple graphics for screen print t-shirts for him and his skateboarding buddies during high school. One of his friends saw a picture of Andre the Giant in a magazine and thought it would make a cool stencil/sticker so he told Shepard to make a sticker out of it. Thus the infamous “Andre the Giant has a Posse� sticker was born. This is the first major thing that Shepard did that people started to recognize, and he began making print screen tees and posters of his Andre the Giant stencil and put them up all over the city. The Andre the Giant face was later changed into the Obey stencil that many millions now recognize on posters, tagged on walls, and on t-shirts.
Shepard Fairey is heavily influenced by punk rock and the skateboarding scene in his area and all over. He grew up on listening to punk rock and skateboarding with his friends and it is seen in his artwork. Fairey gets many of his ideas from old propaganda posters from the World War/ World War II era, posters of famous dictators and tyrannical leaders, and other propaganda type artwork done during war time and election time. A recent work of his that is very famous is the colored stencil of Barack Obama's face which reads “HOPE� underneath the stencil of his face, which can be seen on posters, stickers and t-shirts all over the place. Fairey says that he makes art to make people question things such as politics, government policies, and the power of money, so he travels the world putting up posters and tagging walls with his artwork. For this, Shepard Fairey is regarded by many as “The Godfather of Modern Street Art�. Another artist who is seen in this light, and has a large influence on Fairey, is the British street artist known as Banksy.
Shepard Fairey's artwork is not very similar to any of the artists we learned about in class, but the way in which he has changed his outlook and artistic process is somewhat similar to that of Thomas Kinkaid. The way they produce art is similar because Kinkaid mass produces art for the masses so that many people can enjoy and own his art. Shepard also mass produces his artwork through t-shirts, posters, stickers, books, buttons, album artwork, and he now even has his own clothing company called “Obey�. Some people call Shepard Fairey a sellout for this reason, he has used his artwork to turn massive profit and now it seems like the underground nature and purpose of his artwork, and the underlying message of his artwork even, is somewhat lost because it is now massively popular and artwork seems like that of a corporation.
I would definitely recommend the artwork of Shepard Fairey to a friend, because I really enjoy his style of art and the culture behind all of his work. I would recommend to friend to check out the modern street art scene, and also investigate into the artwork of Banksy. Shepard Fairey's artwork has a large influence on my own artwork, as I have tried to get away from merely realistically recreating an image and have tried to get more to the stylistic representation of artists like Shepard Fairey and Banksy.

November 26, 2008

Beatrice Milhazes


Beatriz Milhazes was born in 1960 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She has been based in a small studio in Rio de Janeiro since 1987. From 1980 to 1982, Milhazes attended the School of Visual Arts in Parque Lage, Brazil and from 1978-1981, she attended Curso de Comunicacao Social in Facha, Brazil. Milhazes is a modernist artist and uses all sorts of materials including candy bar wrappers, large colorful paper, holographic paper, and paint. Most of her artwork is done through collages. There is a lot of repetition in her work, especially with circular shapes. Milhazes work is playful, free, and psychedelic. It is also bold, rhythmic, and organized.

Milhazes’ studio is right across from Rio’s botanical gardens, as can be seen from the swirl and flower-like shapes in her art. She has also taken advantage of the atmosphere of the city, with its fabrics, jewelry, and folk art. Her painter inspiration comes from the 17th century Dutch artist, Albert Elkhout, who traveled through Brazil. Her art has not always been popular in the art world because of “lack of policital statement.� Milhazes focuses more on the beauty that surrounds us and the pleasures of life. This can be seen from the colors and patterns she uses. I don’t recall her name, but Milhazes’ work reminds me greatly of the one artist who did installments in different types of areas. She used paper and used a lot of rhythm and color in her art. She used different war craft, such as guns.

I would compare and contrast Milhazes’ work to that of the one woman artist who had an artists lecture. (I tried to find her name on the Moodle site, but I couldn’t locate it.) First I will compare. These artists are similar because they both used bright colors and rhythmeic/flowery styles. They both use bright colored paper as their main type of medium. They relate to their audiences throught the beauty and joy of their artwork and draw inspiration from what they are interested in or what is close by. They are very different though. The other artist does large installations in different types of spaces, while Milhazes does paintings on a canvas. The other artist gets some of her inspiration from more dark subjects, such as war guns, while Milhazes gets her inspiration from more positive subjects such as the energy of a city or flower gardens.

I, personally, adore Milhazes work. I love the bright, bold colors and I love the floral designs. I have a soft spot for floral designs. It reminds me a bit of scrapbooking, which I use to do, with all of the different paper designs. I would definitely recommend this artist for someone who likes to enjoy art. Milhazes’ art reveal a very optimistic view of life, which I hope most people can relate to. Her art is not political, which is sometimes nice. It is easy and enjoyable to look at, and is very different from anything I’ve seen.


"Color Inspiration: Pattern and Decoration of Beatriz Milhazes « vinounku." vinounku. 26 Nov. 2008 .

"James Cohan Gallery." exhibit-e. 26 Nov. 2008 .

Nichols, Matthew Guy. "Beatriz Milhazes at James Cohan." Art in America 93.3 (Mar. 2005). 135. EBSCO MegaFILE. EBSCO. [Library name], [City], [State abbreviation]. 26 Nov. 2008 .

Tobias Wong, CITIZEN:Citizen

Last year at the Goldstein Museum of Design on the Saint Paul campus they had an exhibit called "Products of Our Time" prominently featured in the exhibit was a cooperative of artists going by the name CITIZEN:Citizen. Of these artist there was one who's work i found especially playful and thoughtful, Tobias Wong. Wong was born in Canada in 1974 and studied architecture, art and sculpture at The Cooper Union. Wong often works with recognizable cultural symbols that are often associated with status. Such as the Chanel logo, and Cocaine as it was seen in the 70s or 80's as a drug for models.

Wong has used the word "Paraconceptual" to describe his work, which he defines as the breaking down of the barriers between the concepts of art and design. Which is a good way to describe the work of many artist who play with cultural symbols. My favorite work by Wong is a corsage made of Kevlar and called "Ballistic Rose" which to me plays with the idea of civilized or cultured war. Wongs site says that it is:
"As we search for protection and security in an uncertain world, How easily our sense of security is manipulated, certainty in our world has yet to exist, a certain world is an impossibility or an illusion, uncertainty is all that we have and yet, on a daily basis we’re told of the uncertainties and how we should worry and fear them, with each generation comes a new threat, a regurgitated narrative to instill fear, fear of foreigners, nuclear winters, President Woodrow Wilsons campaign to get public support for his country joing the first world war used notions of baby eating germans less than a hundred years after their own government had solicited the genocide of the American Indian nations."

There's an underlying current in much of his work that is the use of gold to create a feeling of decadence, or excess. Such as when he cast a McDonald's spoon in gold, the spoon had become a popular item for use as a "Coke Spoon" in that sub culture which wriled McDonald's into throwing a cease and desist order at Wong and Citizen: Citizen. As well he did 24 karat gold pills that were made for ingestion, as the ultimate symbol of excess.

Ballistic Rose


Eva Zeisel, by Kelsey Pizzato

Eva Zeisel was born in Budapest in 1906. At age 17 she entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts to study painting, with the insistence of her mother, she decided against painting and instead switched her focus to ceramic art. At the age of 19 she began an apprenticeship to traditional potter and began to learn the trade that would bring her many accreditations in years to come. She quickly excelled in the area of pottery and within her first two years in the trade she had work displayed in galleries and had earned several honorable mentions.
She was very sought after as industrial production potter, and was employed at factories in Schramberg Germany. Here she became the first woman and one of the first people to move ceramic arts into contemporary mass production. For many years her ideas were well received and she was honored for her many accomplishments in industrial ceramics.
In 1936, tragically, in a Stalinist purge she was accused of plotting against the life of Stalin while living in Russia. For 16 months she was imprisoned and tortured in the NKVD prison. Her traumatic experiences were inspiration for her long time friend Arthur Koestler’s novel Darkness at Noon. Upon release she moved to America and married. In years following she taught at American universities, had a son and daughter, and continued to design for industrial ceramics.
The mediums that Eva works in are; ceramic (hand built, wheal thrown, molds, industrial), glass, metal, stage sets, and furniture design. Her style has been described as art-deco. She is inspired by the curves of her human body and the curved of others, though there is nothing organic about her shiny and symmetrical pieces other then the inspiration for her shapes. Though Eva’s first love in art was painting it is interesting that her pieces do not have much of a painterly quality, as they are primarily mono chromatic, though some have graphic design qualities to their surfaces. In class we have studied few potters, so it is difficult to relate her work to what we have studied. She makes art because she enjoys it, because she is good at it, and because for her it is lucrative. She in innovative and well into her 90’s she continues to influence design and her pieces are very pertinent to the design of the 21’st century, though the prime of her life was in the 20’th century.
I believe that it is important for people to study this artist because, her art had been relevant and functional for almost 100 years, and well into the twilight of her life she continues to produce art and influences others. She had designed mass-produced inexpensive pieces that are extremely functional and she also had made fantasy objects. Artist young and old should study her life and her work because she has successfully managed to make the craft that she loves into a lucrative career, she has her brain children sitting in the kitchen of many homes, she has a great mind for appearance in functionality and she was one of the forefathers of industrial ceramics.

Ludden, Jennifer. "Raising the Curve: Designer Eva Zeisel." National Public Radio. 26 Feb. 2005.PBS.25 Nov. 2008 .

"Who is Eva Zeisel?" About the Eva Zeisel Forum. 4 Oct. 2008. Eva Zeisel Forum. 25 Nov. 2008 .

Ellen Gallagher by Anne Espeset

Ellen Gallagher is an African American artist that was born in Rhode Island in 1965. She attended School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston along with Oberlin College. She now lives in Rotterdam, Holland and New York. The first of Ellen Gallagher’s work was shown in the Whitney Biennial in 1995 and her career flourished ever after.
Being an African American, Gallagher was interested in her history. Her art stems from old magazine advertisements from the years between 1939 and 1972. The advertisements are from magazines such as Ebony, Our World, and Sepia. These advertisements that Gallagher collected are for products like wigs and hair care and also for services offered. Gallagher stated that she was drawn to such advertisements because of a narrative that they showed between the images and the text. Also, she was drawn to the advertisements for a more formalist reason – she liked the often grid-like structures that the wig advertisements were in. Gallagher manipulates the advertisements with different materials like googly eyes, a collage of paper, and ink. She also uses plasticine to cover the images in a manner.
Ellen Gallagher’s work deals with the issue of race, similar to the artist Lorna Simpson. They both are looking into the history of African Americans, but both artists do so in a somewhat different way. Ellen Gallagher’s work seems a little more playful then Lorna Simpson’s pieces because of the different mediums used. Even though Gallagher’s pieces are not as straight forward as Simpson’s, her work still tries to bring forth the history of African Americans and their struggles within society and identity.
The use of these advertisements is for a political purpose. Gallagher depicts a racial identity and personal identity crisis within the work. Also it shows the way that media portrays the ideal person. This in turn then makes the viewer think about what would be the ideal identity.
I would recommend attending an exhibition of Gallagher’s. The work is a mixture between the Pop-Art of the 1960’s and the grid-like structures of Agnes Martin. The way that Gallagher installs the individual pieces that she created is very appeasing to me. Also, the work is interesting because of the individual advertisements that are used in her work. The narratives are easily seen and would be interesting to see a transformation of advertisements with time.

"Ellen Gallagher Bibliography." Art 21. 2007. 23 Nov. 2008 .

"Ellen Gallagher: Murmur and DeLuxe." Museum of Contemporary Art. 2005. MOCA. 23 Nov. 2008

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Damien Hirst - Report by Amanda Cook

The Pysical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living

Alongside his countryman Chis Ofili, the work of Damien Hirst was among some of the most controversial art of the nineties' "New British Artist" Movement. Ofili's infamous portrait of the Virgin Mary was shown alongside Hirst's equally infamous "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living". While Ofili's painting was lambasted for portraying the virgin Mary alongside pornographic images and elephant dung, Hirst's piece was criticized as not being art at all. The Stuckism International Gallery famously parodied Hirst's work by putting a taxidermy shark in their window and calling it "A Dead Shark Isn't Art". Originally commissioned by the famous British gallery owner Charles Saachi, the piece is now on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The piece consists of a preserved shark carcass suspended in a formaldehyde solution; the original shark had to be replaced in 2006 due to deterioration but Hirst considers it to be the same sculpture.

"The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" serves as an effective window into Hirst's overall body of work. His art almost always deals with critical human issues, most especially death and decay. His work style is distanced; he cites Andy Warhol as his inspiration for his working methods. Hirst works with a dedicated team of assistants who have collaborated with him for years, and he jokingly says that when he grows old he'll have to scale his work down to accommodate the backs of his assistants because he doesn't believe in replacing them with younger people. Hirst believes in the importance of the artistic concept above all else; and his hand is usually far removed from the final product. For example, in his extensive series of dot paintings, he only painted five. One of his recent showings, "Beyond Belief" featured a series of intricate "fact paintings", which were meticulously painted from photographs by his assistants.

"Beyond Belief" also featured Hirst's most famous contemporary work, "For the Love of God." The piece is so named because upon telling his mother of his idea, she exclaimed, "For the Love of God!" The piece is a platinum cast of a human skull which was then covered in diamonds. Again, Hirst did not create the piece himself, but commissioned it from Jewelers in England's Hatton Garden district. The original teeth from the skull were then placed in the mouth. The piece cost around fourteen million pounds to manufacture (equivalent to about 21.25 miillion US). When asked about the cost of the piece, Hirst replied, "...people don't really mind money being spent on beautiful things, it's ugly things that are a problem and there are plenty of ugly fucking buildings in the world that cost way more than the skull".

For the Love of God (2007)

Like "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" and his equally famous "Thousand Years", "For the Love of God" confronts themes of death and the taboo while simultaneously critiquing conventional forms of art. Hirst frequently challenges the boundaries between the literal and the artistic; "Thousand Years" did not represent death, it created it. The piece featured a rotting cow head, a box of flies and a insect electrocuter; creating an entire life cycle within an art gallery. Hirst has said he is interested in creating "sympathy with meat", by forcing people to confront the empty carcasses of the dead. Before becoming an artist, Hirst spent time in morgues taking notes and sketching; he famously brought a friend to a morgue and punched the corpses to shock his friend into seeing that bodies are nothing but "meat".

His frequent use of dead animals has brought him a slew of criticism both within the art world and within society at large. However, one of Hirst's most enduring themes is his confrontation with fears of death; he has reportedly admitted to being terrified of dying and his work directly (and litereally) represents these fears of decay and lifelessness.

To anyone interested in Hirst's work, I would definitely suggest a personal viewing. The Chambers Art Hotel in Minneapolis has some of his work on display (including a spin painting and a sheep head in a vitrine), and it is free - even encouraged - to walk through the lobby and take a look. Seeing his work first hand is much different than reading about it or looking at picture. Even though I neither love nor hate Hirst's work, I can say that I only opened up to his work after I saw a piece with my own two eyes, and not before. Seeing something dead in person is inescapable in a way that a photograph is not, and this is the power of Hirst's animal works. He is a truly unique and opinionated artist; certainly not for everyone. But nonetheless I think everyone should experience one of his works first hand, if only for the confrontation he forces upon you.

A Thousand Years (1991)

Judas Escariot (1994) - On Display at the Chambers Art Hotel in Minneapolis



Hirst, Damien. Beyond Belief. London: White Cube, 2008.

---. Void. München: Schirmer/Mosel, 2007.

Hirst, Damien, and Gordon Burn. On the Way to Work. London: Faber, 2001.

Octavia Nicholson. "Hirst, Damien." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 26 Nov. 2008 .

Valentin Serov Research Project

Valentin Serov was one of the greatest, and most notable Russian portraitists of his time during the years of 1885 to the years of 1911. Serov was born in St. Petersburg, and was raised by a very artistic, creative, and musical family in the years of 1865. In 1871, Valentin’s father died, and the family moved to Munich, Germany, where Serov took lessons from a German artist known as K. Kepping. Serov grew up in a profoundly artistic and creative atmosphere, where he was given the highest education of art and academics from a very early age. At age fifteen, Valentin Serov entered the prestigious St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts in the class of Professor Pavel Tchistyakov; from there on, he continued his career in the world of fine arts. Valentin’s style of art predominantly consisted of expressionism, neoclassicism, and modern art. He used a wide variety of mediums, such as charcoal, pastel, watercolor, lithography, and in 1903 since he was a superb master in all of these techniques, he was elected as the academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts.
What fundamentally inspired Valentin Serov was his circle of friends in the academy of art. Serov was inspired not only by his artistic circle, but also by other highly skilled students such has Alexander Benois and Sergey Dyagilev, which introduced the ideas of free, “pure� art. Valentin Serov became highly influenced by this group of artists, which he then became very close to the modern style. Valentine studied the Russian history and culture, and strived to revive the traditions of Russian folk art, such as art in the Russian folk lore, Baba Yega. Serov’s goals were to essentially establish and portray the characteristics and feelings of his subjects. Serov is fundamentally trying to show us the feelings, and raw emotions of his subjects, using very bright and lively colors; he established the complex harmony of reflections while painting his models and subjects. Valentin frequently produced deep and intimate portraits, mainly of children and women that principally revealed their gesture and the emphasis on spontaneity of internal movement of his subjects. He was showing us, and informing us the lives and characteristics of the people he had painted.
In class, mainly we have been dealing and studying abstract art, and artists, while Valentin Serov is nowhere near abstract art. For instance, Liz Miller used methods and techniques such as cutting and pasting pieces of synthetic construction paper to create unique designs expressing her ideas on chaos, and the fundamental nature of life; whereas Valentin Serov used oil on canvas, and watercolor techniques to portray living subjects in a very realistic manner. Not only this, but Liz Miller did not include any cultural history in her artworks; she mostly based her art on personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
I would recommend anyone and everyone to look into Valentin Serov’s art, for it is one of the most beautifully done works I have ever seen; in terms of the realistic expressions, raw emotions he captures from his subjects, and the way he used and emphasized profound color and reflection techniques.

1.) “Valentin Serov�. Get The Most Out of St. Petersburg: Famous Russian People. 26 Nov. 2008.
2.) Valkenier, Elizabeth Kridl. Valentin Serov: Portraits of Russia’s Silver Age. Northwestern University Press, 2001.

Damian Ortega by Lee Yang

Damian Ortega was one of the more popular artists that emerged from Mexico City, Mexico. He originally began his career doing comic strips as a political cartoonist and now turned towards installations, sculpturing, and video, exploring economic, social and political change. He uses objects such as golf balls, axes, bricks, working tools, and local resources and transforms them through a process of assembling and disassembling, do and undo. One of his most widely known works is “Cosmic Thing� in which he had three fourteen to fifteen years old kids take a Volkswagen apart, each piece breaking down from another and reassembled it, reconstructing it from having each part being suspended with wires from the ceiling. Each part being in succession from the one that follows.
For “Cosmic Thing�, his inspiration came from various artists such as Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt), Jesus Rafael Soto, and most importantly Helio Oiticica that help shape the form of his work. Damian considers Oiticica as a reference point because he likes how Oiticica hangs his Penetrables and that viewers could walk around it and also the relationship between geometrical and political positioning. His other works were more or less inspired from his previous works and so on. For example, his “Matter/Energy� was done in 3 configurations using bricks, a solid with the bricks forming a cube, a liquid by scattering the bricks on the ground, and a gas with the bricks hanging from the ceiling by wires.
The way Damian do his art is very similar to Mark Bradford in that they both are trying to take something old, something that have been discarded and taking that and reconstruct it into something that can be meaningful. Damian working with what he can find locally is similar Mark picking up scraps of things he found on the streets and implementing them into his art. However similar their processes of doing art are, they work with very different mediums.

I would totally recommend others to look him up and explore some of his work. The first time I saw his “Cosmic Thing�, I was compelled visually and conceptually to it. It was something that I have never seen done before and it made me want to learn more about how he managed to accomplish such a task. He will definitely inspire people to think about forms, styles and mediums to be used on further projects.

Damian Ortega –

Damian Ortega: The Beetle Trilogy and Other Works

Amber Orcutt's

Painter. Printmaker. Photographer. A master artist and talented craftsman. The man Chuck Close is these things and more. Over a time of 30 years plus, this artist has been using his skill to create remarkable pictures in many mediums. Originally from Wisconsin, this artist now lives in New York. His early pieces, for the most part, were enlarged portraits of photographs, otherwise known as photorealism. Since then he has moved to a grid work copy of photos by that causes the pictures to look like more of a blotchy, pixelated version of the photographs.

Close likely started doing art simply because it was what he liked to do. He had served as an assistant to Gabor Peterdi, a master printer at Yale University where, in 1964, he received an MFA. After graduating, Close continued to work on his art, usually making prints as his chosen medium, and often collaborating with others. In 1988, however, Close became paralyzed from the neck down. Since then, I think creating his art is more of a way of saying that he still can despite his paralysis. He loved his art and he wasn't going to give up just because something this severe happened to him. Though he has an assistant to help him now, he can now create his pieces by strapping a paintbrush to his hand.

I would compare Close's work to Nan Goldin's photography, if only because I couldn't recall an artist that just did portraits of people. However, both of these artists did capture images of people that were close to them, therefore they likely have some sort of history in their pictures. Goldin's use of history in her pictures are a bit more obvious. For example, her before and after pictures of when her face was all bruised and beat up show history because there was definitely a difference between the two pictures and a story between the two. Close simply shows portraits of people he knows, though the expressions on their face likely tell something about that person's character.

I would definitely recommend checking out this artist to everyone. I have seen his work in person, either at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts or the Walker Art Museum, I can't remember which, and it was simply remarkable to see. Seeing a photograph of these huge pieces of art isn't nearly the same as seeing a gigantic canvas right in front of your eyes and knowing that he had sat in front of that canvas so many years before and fought against his paralysis to paint each stroke. It truly is an incredible experience and worth seeing.


Chuck Close: Process and Collaboration

Chuck Close


Brad Bird - Ben Hanson's Artist Project

Brad Bird was born on born on September 11th, 1957 to a small family in Montana. Ever since he was a young boy he dreamed of becoming an animator and became completely sold on the idea of working for Disney studios. While in high school, he received top notch animation instruction from a former member of the Disney animation team. Ever since he was little he had an obsession with drawing and soon became intrigued by the idea that he could potentially bring his drawing to life through the power of animation. Ever since that realization his primary medium has been film and short videos. He also writes and is an exceptional storyteller but his first love is for the visual arts and the creative possibility of animated features. He deeply resists the notion of the Animated feature as a genre unto itself, he has stated several times that an animated film can express any emotion and has a wide range of potential and should not be seen as a corollary to film mindless children videos. Brad Bird likes to address the themes of family unity and love while still exploring and pushing his audience to be creative and to really capitalize on their own creative potential.
Brad Bird is a populist artist. He has no grand vision of saving the world through his creations or of pointing out any injustices. He creates his movies and short videos in hopes of heart-warming entertainment. His videos are not schlocky nonsense, however, as he does leave plenty of room for interpretations and for the possibility that each story is a parable that could be applied to several situations. His film The Iron Giant was seen in many communities as a critique on the Cold War, with the giant yet friendly robot demonstrating the true bond for camaraderie between the United States and Russia. Compared to some of the more aggressive artists that we have talked about in class, such as Nancy Spero, his work is fairly soft and made for popular consumption. Where Nancy Spero and William Kentridge create artwork in hopes of changing people’s minds about current issues in our world, Brad Bird just hopes of emotionally connecting to his audience and of softening up our general approach toward each other. When you take the audience size into consideration, Brad Bird’s films such as Ratatouille and The Incredibles have ultimately changed and positively affected more lives than all of the artists studied in class combined.
Where an artist such as William Kentridge may use his animations to point out the horrors and injustices of the world, Brad Bird instead analyzes the world around him and hopes to change it by beautifully and emotionally arranging it in a way that reflects the humor and the hope within every situation. Kentridge’s work may display a corporate fat cat ruining the lives of the workers in an attempt to show the corruption of the world, while Brad Bird chooses instead to satirize the negative aspects of the world and take their feet out from underneath them by showing them to the masses as comical and ultimately weak figures (think of the boss or the villain in the Incredibles or the government agents in Iron Giant). I do not want to portray Kentridge as a glass half empty kind of guy and Brad Bird as a glass half full of smiles and candy canes, Brad Bird is not mindlessly positive and hoping to brainwash America with his rosy outlook. I believe that Kentridge looks back on history and sees stories of pain and loss, and Brad Bird is also fully capable of acknowledging the suffering of the world but he has a spark in him that allows for the rearranging of those past events into compelling stories for the general public. He sees history as a sandbox, and he hopes to translate the pain and reality of the world into comprehensible stories.
“We make films that we ourselves would want to see and then hope that other people would want to see it. If you try to analyze audiences or think there's some sophisticated recipe for success, then I think you are doomed. You're making it too complicated�, this quote was from Brad Bird in an article for IGN. I would certainly recommend seeing and thinking about the role of Brad Bird’s films in America today. He has worked on The Simpsons and still stands as one of the leading voices in the top animation studio in the world, Pixar. He is currently developing a live action movie concerning the San Francisco Earthquakes of 1906, Brad Bird has proven time and time again that his artistic voice is one that America is clamoring for and that his stories stand up as great cultural myths for our day. He finds a great pleasure in pushing his creative boundaries and I think that he has a lot to teach anybody who is interested in studying the relatively culturally complex body of his ever-evolving work.

Sources -

Nell White's Artist Research Paper: Lucien Freud

Lucien Freud, the grandson of renowned psychologist Sigmund Freud, is a British painter and draughtsman of German origin. He studied art– attending the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing. His career in art then bloomed in Paris and Greece, and finally settled in an inner city area of London “whose seediness is reflected in Freud’s often somber and moody interiors and cityscapes� (1). His early work does differ from his later work - he has been an artist for over 40 years. Freud first experimented with drawing and later shifted his media towards painting. While painting he went through a surrealist phase trying to find his identity. The painting, Painter’s Room, is an example of one of Freud’s works during his surrealism phase. The subjectivity and intensity of his work once his identity was established is one to set him apart.


Freud quotes, “Normally I underplay facial expression when painting the figure, because I want expression to emerge through the body. I used to do only heads, but came to feel that I relied too much on the face. I want the head, as it were, to be more like another limb.� (2) Freud creates his work uniquely and remedially – he does not paint to make the picture beautiful for the pictures sake, he paints humans to release and fix their inner qualities, the ugliness and violent rawness, and uses the brush strokes as the interpretations. He paints them exactly how they are, embracing the flaws and in this way, Freud is free to explore formal and optical problems rather than expressive or interpretative ones (1).


William Kentridge is an artist studied in this class and is comparable to Lucien Freud. Kentridge, though he normally uses a series of drawings comprised into a video, puts so much depth and perspective into each line and stroke of his charcoal. Freud, as seen in his later works, also releases emotion via his art tool. Kentridge easily captures his audience by means of the video, which is unique and smart as charcoal drawings are not the most unique form of art, not saying they aren't beautiful pieces in themselves. Freud, though he uses a mute palette throughout his career, easily captures the viewer by the internal contrasts in his paintings and the subtle details which captures the subjects inner identity portrayed by the paint.

I would tell a friend about this artist if they were the type of person who was intrigued by looking deep and being captivated by a work of art. An appreciation would be ideal however the intensity and beautifulness in Freud’s pieces are key factors in making his work able to be appreciated by all.

Emmanuel Mauleon's Artist Research: Jose Parla

Jose Parla

Jose Parla was born in Miami in the 1970's, before his family moved him to Puerto Rico at a very young age, and returning to Miami again at the age of nine (1). His introduction to his first medium, spray paint and permanent markers occurred through a viewing of the New York city graffiti documentary “Style Wars.� From that point forward Parla developed a exceptional reputation for himself under the name “Ease.� Along with his Inkheads crew Parla garnered national acclaim throughout the graffiti world, which led to his discovery as a fine painter as well (2). Parla's work expresses the migration of people in and around urban environments, and their interactions within those environments. His use of layering and texturing his canvasses recreates a sense of urban spaces which have been well traveled and worn down by those surrounding and interacting with their environment.(1)

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November 25, 2008

Maggie's Chris Ofili Project

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Artist Research; William Kentridge

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Joe Kane's research on Sherrie Levine

Sherrie Levine, studied fine art at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in the late 60’s and early 70’s. She was first considered an “appropriationist�, which is someone who draws on “existing imagery from ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture� (1). This title came as a result of her views on modernism, and how its ideals were not being realized in modern society.
Aside from modernism, she focused on idealism, purity and form. Her works draw on an extremely wide range of art, and she is one of the first artists to delve into “rephotography�, which involves her recreating a shot in the same location as a past photographer, creating a “then and now� type of work.
Levine’s views on modernism and her tendency to reconstruct modernist work earned her the title of postmodernist. One of her most famous pieces is “Newborn�, a remake of a sculpture by Brancusi, a major influence of Levine’s.
Her work, for me, is reminiscent of Hubert Duprat in that much of the work is done for her. Although there is most likely just as much thought and labor involved, it doesn’t seem that way. It still has the lingering staleness of a remade film or a new cover of an old song. There’s always the sensation that the artists are minimizing the amount of effort they need to put forth. On the contrary, this form of artistic remaking is clearly a homage to the original creators and, if it’s done right, can be just – if not more – beautiful.

1) The Museum of Modern Art - Website

2) Rimanelli, David; Sherrie Levine: Marian Goodman Gallery; Frieze Magazine; Issue 16, May 1994.

Cyan: Artist Research:by Tawny Dahmes

Tawny Dahmes
Artist Research

Cyan is a group of graphic designers began by Daniela Haufe, Detlef Fiedler. They have other designers work with them depending the project they are working on. One of these ‘visiting’ type artists is Sophie Alex. All three of these designers were born in Germany and all three were not originally graphic designers. They were all self taught. Before teaming up to create Cyan. Daniela was a typesetter, Detlef was an architect, and Sophie joined the group as a textile designer. They all decided to work in graphic design because they thought I would be fun. The main tool for Cyan’s work of course is the computer but they are known for creating works for posters and books. The common theme throughout their work is the mixing of text and images by layering.
All three of these members find themselves united by the early 20th century avant garde tradition. They say that they were the products of traditional means of expression. (Vardimon) But when it comes down to their work their goal is to make the viewer slow down. They do this because the field they are in is aimed only toward picking up information in the seconds as you past the poster. Their goal is to slow down the viewing. They explain this in their interview with Yarom Vardimon:

We face a context aiming for ever faster distribution of information. It would be impossible to build barriers directed at slowing down and canalizing the distribution...This is our idea. We attempt to melt text, images, paper into a unified entity. Neither aesthetically, nor with regard to its content, this unity is to be easily consumed. Therefore, it is not ready for discharge after a single glance.

I feel this is seen in the work in Mag Mec Berlin, 1991. This was the cover of an architectural catalog. They combined the work of the 15 students that were featured in it but then added the nude lady in the background to offset “mechanical� elements.

Picture 14.png

One artist that I feel Cyan’s work is somewhat similar to is Nancy Spero. I compared her work to the picture above specifically with a work called “Black and the Red III� 1994. (below) The obvious stating is that the colors are very similar, but also both do use sexual figures. Cyan’s is transparently put into the background while Spero’s is quite obvious and put in the foreground. Both works also have a some form of structure to them which is why the sexual figures in each work fit well. It not only offsets the structure but makes you think about what the artist is really trying to tell you. Although Cyan uses the computer in order to create their whole piece, both Spero and Cyan do create collage art works. Spero doesn’t use words in her work normally while text is a big part of Cyan’s work. Both artists are influenced by history, Cyan influenced by avant garde, which seems to be more futuristic of its time. While Spero went back to some of the first artists, those of mythology. But I don’t see Cyan’s influence portrayed into their art work as much as Spero’s. One of the major differences in these two artists is how permanent the work is. Cyan’s work is made as posters or books, as art you can go back to and look at again and again. But most of Spero’s work is done in installations some painted directly on the walls, so the only remembering of her work is its photograph. Also the goals of the artist don’t seem to be the same because Cyan’s goal is literally to make the viewer walk back and take a second look at their work, to slow down their life no matter what the subject matter is. Spero may want the viewers to look closely at her work but it isn’t her goal. He work is purely feminist art work. Another difference in their work is that Cyan normally uses only one color in their work, although the shades of that color do fade or become stronger.

Picture 15.png

Cyan’s work is very interesting to look at and for me there are some works that are very beautiful. I would defiantly tell a friend about their work. They seem like they are true artists because although they do create art work most of their work is with graphic design. They create art for other people. But they don’t just do it to make money because they said they don’t make that much money anyways. I see them as an inspiration because of the work I do is in a media that many people like to display. But they really show that although you are making work for someone else, the work is still yours and you can do what you want to it.

Some more of their work:

Picture 17.png
Form+Zqeck nr, 1995

Picture 18.png
Bauhaus program, 1994


Harper, Laurel. Radical Graphics/Graphic Radicals. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999.

Vardimon, Yarom . "AGI DIALOGUE." AGI. 2 Jul. 2003. 23 Nov. 2008.