Sunday, June 30, 2013

RAINBOW - Jason O'Brien

I was on Instagram one day...minding my own business (lol) and then I saw THIS!!! I IMMEDIATELY liked the picture and asked my friend to please let me know who the artist was of this amazing painting.  Right then and there...I fell in love with the Toronto based visual artist, Jason O'Brien. 

When I saw this painting, the first thing I yelled out was "OMG!!!" I thought she was absolutely beautiful. I loved the colors and her face was flawless.  To me, she looked free, full of pure happiness, and peace within. I thought she has come to the moment in her life where she has truly discovered herself, her inner beauty, and decided, flaws and all...she was beautiful.

O'Brien uses human emotion as his subject matter to initiation an intimate dialogue within the viewer. The name of the painting is Rainbow.  This art was done to capture the essence of beauty. O'Brien stated "All her hopes, dreams and promise for a better tomorrow resonate through her vibrant hair. Her spirit comes from within and flourishes in all the colours of the rainbow. She has loved, she has lost and she has found herself again. No hardships can hold her down for she is a phenomenal woman phenomenally."

You know....after reading that I thought to myself...Aha, yes!!!! I totally get it. I LITERALLY get the picture. OMG this dude is DOPENESS....annnnndddd now I will be a stalker of his work moving forward. (lolol)

This work of art is the screen saver for my phone.  When people see it, they always comment on it...they too are taken by her beauty.  She is my inspiration...and a constant reminder that even though I am flawed, sometimes weird and totally silly....I am still beautiful....inside and out. Yep! My mother always told me so, but now I believe it. #peacewithin

Waste Land is a documentary about artist Vik Muniz, a Brazilian artist who uses his skill to attract attention to social issues and the welfare of marginalized people. The project in the documentary takes place at Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest garbage dump. There, he photographs cat adores, or the people who rummage through the garbage, collecting recyclables to sell.

He then creates (with a lot of direction and help) huge portraits of these people out of the garbage they spend their days in. Here are a couple of the images of his works & process:


The documentary itself won the following awards, and can be viewed on instant Netflix and this PBS website!

  • 2011 Academy Award Nomination — Best Documentary Feature
  • 2010 Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary
  • 2010 IDA Pare Larentz Award
  • 2010 IDA Best Documentary Award


Last week in class we were leading into a discussion about the American flag and its use in Contemporary Art. Based on that discussion I did some internet browsing and discovered David Datuna and his Emblem and Image Exhibit. Datuna is a Georgian-American artist whose use of lenses has brought him lots of attention. This specific exhibit consists of 12 remarkable pieces that force observers to closely examine what's behind the lens.

Portrait consists of small images of Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Although Datuna uses portraits of the American flag in his pieces, I do not find any of his artwork offensive or controversial. Many of the images we viewed in class showed the flag in a less than flattering light. Datuna is a great example of how the flag can be used in a provoking manner without being overly negative.

Now, does this mean that I prefer Datuna's pieces over Dread Scott's? Not necessarily because I think each piece suits a different purpose. However, I will say that I find Datuna's exhibit much more provoking .
For more on Datuna's Emblem and Image CLICK HERE.

Ink + Water Portraiture

I am fascinated with bold, powerful visuals. Whether it's an engaging mixture of colors & textures, a unique juxtaposition of typography & photography, or even something as straightforward as perfectly-timed pieces of photojournalism, I am a sucker for a well-presented visual.

So, when I ran across Ayaka by Alberto Seveso, I was immediately drawn in. What makes this series of work so impressive to me is that he apparently has been refining an expertise (or just intense interest) in two themes: ink mixing with water and high-speed photography portraitures. This particular series was used for a client's music album cover artwork, but he was able to leverage his skills in both areas to create a stunning result. It's difficult to excel in one medium, let alone multiple. Kudos to Mr. Seveso.

More work from his portfolio can be seen here: BURDU 976

M.F Husain's Bold Style

This article features the work styles of artist M F Husain, highlighting his unique Bold Style who was one of the Indian Contemporary artists who loved to experiment with different painting mediums.  And also most Controversial painter.

Maqbool Fida Husain commonly known as MF Husain, was an Indian-Qatari painter and Film Director.
Husain was associated with Indian modernism in the 1940s. His narrative paintings, executed in a modified cubist style, can be caustic and funny as well as serious and sombre. His themes usually treated in series—include topics as diverse as Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and motifs of Indian urban and rural life. One of the most celebrated and internationally recognized Indian artists of the 20th century, he also received recognition as a print maker, photographer, and filmmaker.


South African artist inspires by making art from plastic waste

Mbogeni Buthelezi is a South African artist who uses plastic to create his art. South Africa has a huge littering problem, and recycling isn't done on a large scale as it is in America. He couldn't afford oil paints so he gathered plastic from his surroundings and melts and molds them to create his works of art.

Inside Out Project

French photographer and graffiti artist JR, began his career tagging in Paris. When, he was around 17, JR found a camera and started to shoot fellow graffiti artist and document their work. Soon thereafter, JR ventured throughout Europe to connect with other artist and also to capture with his camera the variety of culture beyond France. JR has travelled to several countries shooting portraits of individuals. These shots were processed and developed then, printed and posted in public locations. JR now encourages for all to participate, The Inside Out Project has become the largest participatory art project in history. Over 150,000 people from over 108 countries have submitted portraits. The portraits are mailed to Inside Out and they, develop the shots. Then, Inside Out mails the photos back to the photographer and with the help of others in the community the photos are posted.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

US Artist Sh*ts On Hong Kong

Hong Kong experienced the power of Los Angeles contemporary artist Paul McCarthy. “Complex Pile”, a 51-foot-tall inflatable pile of poop, came straight from the bowls of America’s own in the Mobile M+: INFLATION public art exhibit. Though Mr. McCarthy didn’t mention his intention for submitting an inflatable turd as an artwork, this big brown massive abstract load brings a since of personal expression that everybody can relate to. There is nothing more personal than your poop. It’s a daily creation for some and performance art for others. Is there an art to dropping a turd? Maybe so or not. In a nutshell, I feel McCarthy showed the Hong Kong community that art can be anything. This exhibit was hosted at the future site for Hong Kong’s Museum of Visual Arts. But just as we wash our turd away with one flush, Mother Nature ended this particular artwork with a sudden rain storm. No pooper-scooper needed. Now that’s art!

Michael Fennell Smoke Paintings

This video features the works of artist Michael Fennell, highlighting his unique smoke technique that he has perfected for the past 12 years. This medium, as scene in the video, is used primarily in the art of portraiture. 

Michael Fennell trained at Cumbria college where his preference for portraiture developed in his oil paintings. In these student works he was largely inspired by the old masters such as Van Eyck, and even the pop artist Peter Blake. Later, in developing this smoke technique, while it is as real as photography or as painterly and detailed as a 17th century Dutch painting, it takes portraiture to a dreamlike direction with the new medium. His works have also been described as “nebulous” and “luminous”, and “nostalgic”. 

Video link:
Smoke Paintings

additional information from Michael Fennell's blog: 

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Video Link:

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn New York there he started as a graffiti artist in the late 1970s. In the 80's he would later experiment with Neo-expressionism and Primitivism, he was great at both forms of art. Throughout his career as an artist Basquiat topics in art were that of wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, he was even at war with himself and this could be found in his art as well. In many interviews I found about Basquiat he always mention " The Truth" What is the truth? He was always in search of the truth. Like many of his friends, Basquiat began spray-painting graffiti on buildings Manhattan. As I conduct my research I discovered that in 1983, Basquiat produced a 12" rap single featuring hip-hop artists, Rammellzee and K-Rob. This was new to me, I did not know he was a music producer. Basquiat was later discovered by the legendary artist Andy Warhol. The two artist became very close. Later, Basquiat career would pass that of Warhol. Warhol and Basquiat worked on a series of collaborative paintings between 1983 and 1985. After Warhol’s death, a year later Basquiat died of a drug overdose.

Pompeii AD 79

The explosion of Mount Vesuvius near Naples, Italy in AD 79 buried the town of Pompeii.  Excavations of the site revealed voids in the ash layer which were later filled with plaster to recreate Vesuvius's victims. Buried in the 20 feet of ash, this was one man, how he perished. I shot this photo while there in 2008. Life changing to see. The ancient "lost-wax casting" process is used today in casting bronze sculpture. 

Aakash Nihilani’s Minimalist Artworks on Walls

The linked article is a review for Islands, the exhibition of Aakash Nihilani’s installation at Signal Gallery in New York. 
Each piece that forms Nihilani’s installation has significant resemblances of Donald Judd’s industrial sculptures. Even though Nihilani’s arrays of minimalistic shapes are now completely flat on the wall, the artist still maintains the spatial interactivity by employing the forced perspective. According to the article, Nihilani is inspired by the array of geometric shapes on New York streets. Through the exhibition, Nihilani intends to make the audiences aware of how they view their surroundings while they are walking on city streets. Moreover, Nihilani usually uses vivid hues for his work by working with neon-colored tapes. For this exhibition, he only used black so the artworks are fully in contrast against white gallery walls.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Spray Can Ninjas

Cruise along Krog Street Tunnel, Atlanta Beltline, East Atlanta, Auburn Avenue…the exit sign on I-20 and you will see the remnants of the Atlanta’s notorious artists.  The bold letterings, intricate details and bright colors are eye catching and bring character to the city.  I will admit, I have never seen one of these “artists” in action, but the consensus is the mortals rarely catch them.  They create the artwork at night with little or no light, no measuring tools, no stencils no sketching. They just make the designs, get this---free hand. They are said to be armed with just a backpack of spray cans of paint and they just go for it.  
I have always linked graffiti artists to ninjas not only because I have never seen them work, but I fail I understand how they can get to some of the most awkward areas and make the art seem like it was made to be in that very spot.  I see them as swift, precise and silent, that’s like a ninja, right? 
Well, in some areas in the city of Atlanta the lines of artistic graffiti and destructing property are blurred.  This package from 11Alive talks to some residents, law enforcement and graffiti artists on their feelings on the subject.
Photo from:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Roger Mclain review of James Turrell

This article tells of a retrospective by the light and space artist James Turrell. The critic (Christopher Knight) describes several pieces in the show and also gives a short history of the genre. He gives credit to Robert Irwin and Doug Wheeler for being mentors to Mr. Turrell. Mr. Knight believes “Afrum and “Raemar” are the strongest pieces but finds “Juke” less successful. There are also several paragraphs describing Mr. Tureell’s early works and a brief summation of his career. I believe his sentences describe the show well. For example: “a wide, floating wall that becomes a screen for subtle optical effects produced by eyes fatigued by surrounding pink fluorescent light.” And, because of the nature of this show that is not easy to do. But I did have a small irritancy to an over use of unless adjectives such as “slightly” and “rather.”

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Video of Kaws owner Brian Donnelly

I chose to post about graffiti artist turned famous Contemporary artist Brian Donnelly. I selected Brian because he attracts people form all walks of life to his exhibits. Traditional art lovers as well as modern day street kids can be found at Brian's showings. Mr. Donnelly is probably the most influential artist throughout the street fashion world.  His work can be seen everywhere throughout major cities such as New York, London, and Tokyo. Most of Brian's work pictures cartoon characters from his childhood with X's for eyes. Donnelly's most recognizable work would most likely be "The Companion" which is Mickey Mouse with skulls and crossbones for a head. Brian states that he selected Mickey as the face of his brand because it is the most recognizable cartoon character around the world. Seeing his work reminds me so much of Japan because his characters are depicted in every major shopping center throughout the country. He reminds me that art is not just meant to be presented in a gallery setting. 

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. "Kaws Companion Passing Through." (accessed June 25, 2013)

Friday, June 21, 2013

The purpose of the blog  is to provide a forum for student postings and responses, although it can also be used for class announcements, professor postings, readings, and responses to readings. The blog will be open only to members of the class. Each week all students are required to post something on the blog (images, videos, links, etc., or their own original work or thoughts) and to comment on at least one other student's post. All posts must be accompanied with a brief explanation (45-word minimum) of what each posted or linked item is about. No explanation is required for posts of original thoughts (it’s assumed that such posts will be more than 45 words).
If an original post uses sources for information and/or ideas, these must be cited in footnotes. In all cases, students must use their own wording (unless wording from a source is placed within quotation marks). Students should link to articles rather than copy and paste entire articles on the blog (to comply with copyright laws). Post topics must be related to the art of the contemporary period (post-1970). Students may also be required to respond to readings or specific professor postings. Student posts are due each Monday at 11:59 p.m. beginning with the second Monday (July 1) and ending on Monday, August 26. Late posts will not be accepted.

John Alford