Monday, August 23, 2010

Artist 50: Peter Longstaff

There's no denying that Peter Longstaff is a great painter. He style is very impressionistic and conveys a lot of emotion. The British painter uses brushstrokes to his advantage, creating a variety of textures that make the viewer want to touch the painting.

Winter Walk
peter longstaff

Winter Wonderland
peter longstaff

Did I mention that he has no arms? Yeah, he was born with no arms because of a drug his mother was taking during pregnancy to cure morning sickness. He taught himself how to paint using nothing but his feet and mouth. That's pretty damn impressive!

Peter inspires me to overcome physical obstacles, no matter what the odds are. He also reminds me that when you're thinking your life sucks, there's always someone worse off, and they just might surpass you if you let your problems get to you.

No freakin' arms!

Artist 49: Paul Reed Smith

More guitar art! This guy is a professional luthier, and considered the best in the world. One of his average guitars sells for $3,000 easily. He does make a more affordable line, but the sound is nowhere near as thick as his hand crafted, Stevensville, Maryland made axes. There is one model in particular that almost every guitarist drools over when they see it. This is the legendary PRS Dragon

PRS dragon 4 Pictures, Images and Photos

The entire body is covered in mother of pearl and semi-precious stone inlays. If you think it looks impressive in the photo, you should see it in person. There is currently one on display at the Museum of American History in Washington D.C. The attention to detail on these guitars is flawless. Every inlay piece fits snugly into the routing. This is one guitar I would be afraid of playing, because if I were to scratch it the entire world would hate me.

PRS inspires me to strive for that legendary craftsmanship, no matter what medium I'm working with. Impeccable build quality will always be something clients will take into consideration, so you might as well build it to last.

Artist 48: Doug Rowell

I will always have a passion for the guitar. It's such a fun instrument to play and look at. Let's face it, those absurdly expensive, hand built axes should sometimes be in museums, and often are. Not every guitar comes out of the shop with master artistry, sometimes they need special attention. Doug Rowell is one of those guys who will take an already great looking guitar and make it extraordinary. He's a wood carver, and claims that he can carve anything out of anything. Now, Doug is a man of few words. He lets his work do the talking, so I'll do the same.

Strat Nouveau
doug rowell

Dragon Heart Xiphos
doug rowell

I'm a huge fan of Ibanez guitars, so the Xiphos hits home with me. I also like radical body shapes that stand out from the crowd, especially the pointy ones.

I actually plan on building my own 7-string guitar in the near future in an original body shape. It's nothing too gaudy, but still looks different from anything else I've seen. Rowell has motivated me to carry through with this extremely ambitios project.

Artist 47: GWAR

Yup, you knew it was coming. The almighty GWAr has made it on my list of influential artists. GWAR is a splatter metal band composed of alien war lord who were banished to Earth millions of years ago by the Master of the Universe because they were making a general mess of things. They were frozen in antarctica after they caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. But before they were frozen, Beefcake the Mighty stretched dinosaur gizzard strings across the Grand Canyon and wrote the first song in the world, "I Write the Songs." It is a little known fact, but this song actually contained every single song known to man kind, other people just copied parts and claimed it as their own. They were released from Antarctica during the 1980s due to the massive amounts of hair spray being used, causing the polar ice caps to melt. Sleazy P. Martini discovered them, gave them instruments, and set out to promote the best band the world has ever seen. 25 years later, they are still touring across the world, killing their audiences every night.

Gwar Pictures, Images and Photos

But seriously, they're actually a bunch of VCU graduates who majored in Fine Arts and Music Performance. Put those two together with a killer sense of humor (pun intended), and you get GWAR. They are much more than just a band, they're visual artists as well. They make their own costumes and props in their studio, The Slave Pit, in Richmond, Virginia. The members of the studio who don't play in the band get to dress up as GWAR's slaves and have their own fun on stage during performances. These performances involve loud heavy metal music, executing victims on stage, bad jokes, and general messiness.

On top of writing music and making props, frontman David Brockie (Oderus Urungus) is an illustrator and produces his own comics and artwork. Everything he does is quite vile and not suitable for children, though it is quite funny. I'm not going to post images of Brockie's original work, because Oderus might find me and take my head off with his sword, and then drink my blood.

GWAR has inspired quite a bit of my work. They kind of encouraged me to used my sick sense of humor in some of my work, and to approach the wearable work with a more extreme look. But most importantly, they have taught me to have fun with your artwork, that way you'll never get bored with it.

Artist 46: Veronique Meignaud

Meingaud is a French born illustrator, who currently resides in Paris. After 2 years of study at the Emile Cohl Art School she worked for 5 years in the video game industry as a concept artist. She is now working for several publishers, including Wizards of the Coast, and is slowly working her way into the fashion industry. She recently publish Kerogen, an illustration book containing her work. She also goes by the alias of Marmotte

Her style is reminiscent to the Art Nouveau style, which originated in France. She uses bright colors and soft, almost impressionistic lines in her paintings.

veronique meignaud

You might want to take a second look at this one. Notice how she's not a centaur, but actually has legs and is sitting on the horse torso. The is the kind of strangeness I love! Some of her other work is a bit more aggressive and detailed, like this;

veronique meignaud

Eau de Plomb
veronique meignaud

These last two works give me some awesome ideas for wearable artwork that has a heavier fantasy influence. I might even make a exoskeleton that's both aggressive and serene at the same time.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Artist 45: Uwe Jarling

Jarling was born in 1968. He graduated with a degree in graphic design in 1991 and worked as an illustrator and graphic designer further on. He first jobs were for covers for books and videos, along with many technical and architectural drawings for advertising agencies. In 2000 he started to develop his fantasy style artwork and attempted computer art for the first time. All of his work has been digital since 2003. He currently works and resides in a small town in Southern Germany.

His work has a sort of death metal feel to it, even if it's meant to be non-horror inspired.

Fleshcrawl- Soulskinner
Soulskinner by Uwe Jarling Pictures, Images and Photos

There is definitely a Beksinski influence to his style. He does occasionally do fairies, which I'm not a fan of. His horror artwork is by far superior, since it much more detail and would make the fairy fans melt into a pile of glitter.

Fleshcrawl- Structures of Death
uwe jarling,structures of death

Very Meshuggah-like. His horror work inspires me to add a like evil to my wearable wirework and really play with people's minds.

Artist 44: Adelle Caunce

This is an artist that I actually talk with on Facebook and exchange ideas with on occasion. She's from Surry BC, Canada and apparently grew up as a somewhat feral child. She studied Fine Arts and Criminology in college from 92-97. She gets some of her ideas from corny horror and sci-fi movie. She took up traditional animation training at Sheridan College in Ontario from 99-2001. She then moved to San Francisco, California where she studied computer animation, sculpts large fish sculptures, and draws.

Her fish sculptures are made out of recycled newspapers, cloth, and other objects that she stumbles upon. It typically takes her 10-15 hours per foot of length on her sculptures. No two sculptures look alike, as they are all hand made with no use of templates. She hopes to offer an alternative to mounting fish as trophies and keep them living their lives happily in the water.

Adelle currently resides in Texas.

Her fish sculptures are incredibly whimsical and should make anyone who views them laugh at the comical appearance. She uses a lot of texture in her work, making the newspaper and fabric look like somewhat realistic skin and scales. The most common motif in her work are ridiculous teeth in the mouths of the fish. Instead of using the teeth the species she is sculpting actually would have, she exaggerates them or uses completely different ones, like a great white shark with molars and braces.

While I mainly focus on freshwater with my fish sculptures, Caunce typically chooses marine and deep sea fish for her subject matter. She does put a lot of research into the body structure of the particular fish that she is sculpting, which she later abstracts lightly in order to add a more comical look. She hasn't updated her site in a while, so we can only guess what her most recent works are.

Here are some of her wonderful works;

Goblin Shark
adelle caunce,goblin,shark

Hammerhead Shark
adelle caunce,hammerhead,shark

Deep Sea Hatchetfish
adelle caunce,deep,sea,hatchetfish

Adelle has influenced me to work on a larger scale and depict even more motion in my fish sculptures. Most of her sculptures are over 6 feet long and command every once of attention in the gallery they are being displayed in.

Here's her website if you want to check out more of her amazing work.

Artist 43: Shen Saomin

Saomin was born in Heilongjiang Province, China. He lives and works in Sydney, Australia and Beijing, China. He exhibits internationally, including Liverpool, England, Switzerland, and Melbourne, Australia.

He's a bone sculptor, creating relatively large sculptural oddities of composite figures with bones from assorted animals, sometimes including human bones. THese things are sort of nightmarish, especially when you look at them in the face.

Unknown Creature- Mosquito
found this in my soup one day. Pictures, Images and Photos

This thing looks huge, because it kind of is. It stands 230 cm tall, which converts to 7 feet tall!
These pieces are meant to criticize genetic engineering and what the consequences could be. Imagine if a mosquito larger than the average human escaped from a lab. The consequences would be catastrophic!

At the same time, they're supposed to be the remains of extinct creatures from an era where everything was huge. He occasionally carves into the bone of the sculptures, again eluding to man's disturbance of the natural world. He can create new bone forms by grinding the bone down to meal and casting it into a mold. These casts maintain the look and texture of actual bone, but allow new forms to be made.

Shen is another artists that goes along with the theme of the organic mixed with man-made. His composite bone sculptures have given me a few ideas on what to do with my newly acquired skeletons.

Artist 42: Clive Barker

Barker was born in 1952 in Liverpool, England.

Clive Barker describes his work as unseen fantasy coexisting with our own reality. Regardless of how distorted and deformed his characters are they always portray very real human emotions. His work ranges from shocking to humorous, simple to complex. His mediums and working sizes are just as diverse, ranging from sketches, to oils, to illustrations, and from thumbnails to 6 feet wide.

His painting first started appearing in a fan club magazine called Dreaded, which was dedicated to his already acclaimed horror stories. His artwork is currently displayed at theBert Green Fine Art Gallery in Los Angeles, California. He has produced a few video games which have a fairly loyal following, the most well known of which are Clive Barker's Undying and CLive Barker's Jericho.

On top of being a visual artist, he's also an author and film director. He came to public prominence during the 1980s when he published his first book of short horror stories. His most famous work is the Hellraiser series.

Here are some of his works;

The Painter
The Painter Pictures, Images and Photos

Title Unknown
clive barker 2 Pictures, Images and Photos

Artist 41: Ptolemy

This guy is a British sculptor whose medium of choice is hubcaps. He rescues the poor things for the side of the road, junkyards, and anywhere a hubcap might get lost. He sees beauty in all things, and hubcaps are no exception. For this reason he will gladly take a visually pleasing object from discarded trash and use it in his artwork. Frankly, he can't believe that people are so unimaginative in recycling their useless, but aesthetically pleasing possessions.

Ptolemy is very upset with the wastefulness of modern human society and seeks to criticize this aspect through his artwork. He uses his hubcap fish to try to get people to think twice before throwing something away.

Hubcap Creatures Pictures, Images and Photos

Ptolemy has inspired me to pick up objects that are in useable shape that other people throw away, usually on the side of the road or on a sidewalk. I've found some rather interesting objects while doing this. I apply this same theory to dead animals; if the skeleton is in good shape, I'll take it. It's actually not that uncommon to see me come to a sudden stop on a road in order to pick up something on the side of the road that caught my eye.

Artist 40: Takashi Amano

Mr. Amano is a different type of artist from what most people are used to. He's a skilled photographer, but he's most well known for his aquascapes. In fact, he single handedly invented a new way to aquascape an aquarium that has taken the world by storm in recent years. This method is called Iwagumi, or the Nature Aquarium.

Takashi Amano Instpiratiebron Pictures, Images and Photos

Takashi Amano Pictures, Images and Photos

He was born in 1954 in Niigata, Japan. Ever since 74 he's been going on excursions in the Amazon, rain forests in Borneo, and West Africa. He also takes frequent trips to untouched forests in Japan. He takes photographs at these locations, focusing on the beauty of untouched nature with large format cameras (8" x 20" film). He exhibits these photos all over the world trying to encourage people to find see the wonders of places where mankind has not left its mark. These photos are meant to preserve these pristine locations for generations to come, just incase we destroy them.

Amano travels the world giving lectures about his photography and his experiences in these wild section of the planet. He also emphasized the importance of tree-planting programs and why they need support. He also does underwater photography in exotic locations. In fact, he won the Fuji Film Nature Photo Contest in 1992 for his photo of an Asian sheepshead wrasse.

Takashi has left an impact in more than the nature photography scene. As stated above, he is revered as an icon in the aquarium hobby. His planted tanks have encouraged thousands, possibly millions to take a chance in using live plants in their aquariums in order to create a more natural take and bring a little piece (sometimes massive chunk) of nature into their home. Most of his aquascapes are not what most people think of when they think "fish tank", they look more like a mountain landscape that was submerged in crystal clear water, and the fish are flying through the valleys.

Takashi Amano Pictures, Images and Photos

This man is so revered in the hobby that he actually had a small algae eating shrimp, which he uses extensively in his aquascapes, named after him. This is the Amano shrimp (Cardinia japonica).

Amano Shrimp Pictures, Images and Photos

Amano has influenced me for quite a while now. I now view my aquariums as a 3-dimensional canvas to paint with aquatic plants, driftwood, decorative rocks, invertebrates, and fish. As an artist, I approach everything artistically, so why not do the same thing with living things and give my pets a gorgeous habitat to live in?

Make sure to check out his website here;

Artist 39: Alex Grey

Okay, now it's time to add some trippyness.

Grey was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1953. His father was a graphic designer and encouraged him to develop his drawing abilities. He also felt a close connection to the natural world and had a deep respect for life at a very young age. He would collect insects and animals and bury them in his backyard. The themes of death and an afterlife occur in the vast majority of his artwork, even his early pieces when he was still young. He went to the Columbus College of Art and Design from 1971-73, but dropped out to paint billboards for a year. He then moved to Massachusetts to attend the Boston Museum School and studied under conceptual artist, Jay Jaroslav. He also met his wife in Boston, who is a fellow artist. This was when things started getting weird.

He experimented with LSD with his soon-to-be-wife, Allyson. He then spent 5 years studying human anatomy at Harvard Medical School, studying the body and preparing cadavers for dissection. He also did some work with the Mind/Body Medicine department researching healing energies. All of this worked prepared him well for what is considered to be his masterpiece, the Sacred Mirrors. When doctors saw this series painting they did not hesitate in asking him to do anatomical illustrations.

The Sacred Mirrors
sacred mirrors Pictures, Images and Photos

The Sacred Mirrors are a series of 21 life-sized paintings that take the viewer on a journey by examining the body, mind, and spirit. They represent the evolution of man through biological, technological, and cosmic stages. This series took 10 years to complete. They layers of the human body are gradually stripped away, revealing muscles, vital organs, the nervous network, and skeleton. After completing the Sacred Mirrors, he began work on a series that documents vital moments in human life (birth, copulation, death, etc.).

Grey instructed Figure Drawing and Anatomical Studies at New York University for 10 years. He now teaches a course in Visionary Arts at The Open Center in New York City.

In 1972 Alex began a series of performance pieces that represent rites of passage and the development of the human psyche. He has performed 50 of these, all of which are available on DVD.

Grey's work is heavily influenced by Eastern philosophy. He profound respect for the Buddhist and Hindu faiths are very evident in all of his work, either through symbols and stylistic motifs.


Despair Pictures, Images and Photos

It's hard to believe, but all of his work is hand painted in oils, on canvas or linen. Technically, he's just that good.

BardoBeing- Alex Grey Pictures, Images and Photos

Yes, those are fetuses in the skulls. It's supposed to represent the cycles of life, particularly birth and death.

Alex's extensive knowledge of anatomy is astounding and has influenced me to look deeper than skin and scales to see what makes an organism move. Since taking this approach my sculptures have become much more realistic and life-like. The curves of my sculptures' bodies now look much more believable.

Artist 38: Zdzislaw Beksinski

I'm going to keep the list of dark, nightmarish images rolling for a little while longer, and for a reason. I haven't really had a pleasant dream for several years now. These are the types of images that cycle through my head in a never-ending cycle. Maybe it was seeing someone get run over by a train in London that did it, or my grandma coughing up her lung in a nursing home, or maybe it was the brutal murder of one of my friends in high school. Whatever it was, I don't see it ending soon, so I'm going to harness these images and use them to my advantage. Plus, I don't recall many art majors at CNU taking the dark, macabre route in recent history. It seems like most college art majors these days opt for the pretty, calming images instead of something that makes the viewer want to run away screaming, but they can't find the wind to release that scream, so they just stand there in shock, waiting for the end to come.

Anyways, back to the purpose of this post.
Zdzislaw Beksinski was a painter, photographer, and sculptor born in 1929 in Sanok, Poland. Before his higher education began he spent several years as a construction supervisor, which he despised. However, this was an important stage in his life, as it was then that he became interested in photography, sculpture, and painting. He started by making sculptures out of plaster, metal, and wire. His photography mainly focused on texture and landscapes, which would later became a major feature in his paintings. This was also when the dark, twisted imagery started making its appearance. Such photos included a baby doll with its face ripped off, and portraits of people without faces or with bandages faces. In the 1960s he began his first surrealistic paintings that he is known for today.

In 1964 he had an opening in Warsaw, Poland. This is considered to be a successful opening, since every single one of his painting were sold! He worked constantly on his paintings after this event, usually listening to classical music while working (musical influence!!! Although my music is a little more abrasive than Bach or Handel). These painting depicted a decaying, death ridden post-apocalyptic world which very few people would want to be stuck in. He said "I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing a dream."

*Can someone please get him out of my head?

Beksinski claimed that his paintings were optimistic and even humorous (I'm serious, get him out of my head!). He even admits that he didn't even know the meaning of his own artwork, and didn't want to hear people's interpretations of them (I think I'm his brain child, this is weird). He didn't even title his paintings (finally, something different!). Before his move to Warsaw in 1977 he burned a select few paintings in his back yard, without leaving documentations of them (this though has crossed my mind). The reason behind this was that he found some of the pieces too person or unsatisfactory, and didn't want anyone to see them, ever.

He went through a transitory period in the 1980s. His works became more popular in France and achieved major popularity in Western Europe, the US, and Japan. His 80s and 90s work shifted to monumental sculptural images with a subdued color palette. These paintings were less lavish that his previous style and often had heavily sketched lines. They were still very powerful images despite the changes he made. In the late 1990s he discovered the digital world, which he became more involved with until his death.

The late 90s were not good times for the Beksinskis. His wife died in 1998, and his son, a popular radio announcer, committed suicide a year later. Zdzislaw was unfortunate enough to discover his son's body and never really came to terms with the tragic event. He kept an envelope that said, "For Tomek in case I kick the bucket" pinned to a wall in his flat.

On February 21, 2005 the final blow was delivered to his family. His body was found in his flat with 17 stab wounds, 2 of which were fatal. Robert Kupiec, son of his long time care taker pleaded guilty to the murder. He and a friend were arrested and charged shortly afterwards. Robert was sentenced to 25 years in prison, and his accomplice received 5.

Despite Beksinski's dark and disturbing imagery, he was an pleasant, enjoyable person to be around, often indulging in long conversations with a great sense of humor. He was actually a very shy person, and avoided going to his own openings at all costs.

Here are some of his astounding paintings;

Beksinski Pictures, Images and Photos

Beksinski Pictures, Images and Photos

Beksinski Pictures, Images and Photos

Beksinski Pictures, Images and Photos

I have to say that out of all of the artists I have researched so far, Zdzislaw Beksinski has probably impacted me the most. It almost feels like we're close to the same exact person, just working in different mediums, for the most part. My personality is so similar to his that it's almost scary, though i seem to be a bit more outgoing. From now on, whenever someone asks. "If you could have dinner with any person in the world, alive or dead, who would it be?", my answer will be, "Zdzislaw Beksinski."

Artist 37: Paul Gerrard

"This is not horror, this is undefined reality."
-Paul Gerrard

Gerrard is another member of the Last Rite Gallery in New York City. He hated college classes, since he didn't want to produce anything his professors wanted. He was interested in creating bug-like creatures and warriors made out of metal. He says that his first job was putting dots on maps, which he hated as well. He did this for two years and almost completely lost his passion for art. He wanted to work on large scale paintings, but had no room to do this. So he sold his car, bought a Pentium 200 mmx computer so he could create large pieces without consuming every square inch of his apartment. He spent many years contemplating whether or not he should stay digital or move to oils, until he started working in the video game industry. He now works for Ubisoft UK (the company who created Shadow of the Beast). He works as a level, world, and vehicle designer and has the official title of Art Director. This is a job he is finally happy with.

You're probably wondering what his work looks like by now. Well, here it is.

The Original Mandala
The Original Mandala

The band Sybreed's music creates images in my head that are almost exactly like this. His work carries along the theme that I am researching of the man-made versus the natural, and the mixture of the two. Sybreed plays into this as well (their name means Synthetic Breed). Incase you're curious, here's some Sybreed to listen to while looking at Gerrard's work;

Artist 36: Chris Conte

Conte is an artist from Bergen, Norway, but currently lives in New York. He received his bachelor's degree in Fine Arts at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He began working in the field of prosthetics, making limbs for amputees (something I REALLY want to do). He did this for 16 years as a certified prosthetist.

He used his expertise in the field to make purely sculptural forms. He left the field in June of 2008 to work purely with his artistic visions. He uses found objects (which look brand new) and original cast components to create assemblage sculptures that are unbelievably detailed, unique, and typically fully articulated. One perk he has to his prosthetic field experience is access to materials that most metal sculptors could only dream of using, such a surgical quality steel and aerospace industry metals. Yes, the materials really do make a huge difference on how a piece will look. They will never rust (if treated well) and should last for quite a long time.

While his work is very futuristic and forward thinking, he uses ancient methods, like the lost-wax method of casting, as a predominant technique. This means that it takes him anywhere from several weeks or months to complete one piece. He started selling his work through galleries in 2007 and had a two person show at Last Rites Gallery in New york a year later in 2008. Not even a month later he had pieces on display at the National Museum in Washington D.C. I can't believe I missed that show.

His works have appeared on Discovery Channel, Discovery Magazine, Wired Magazine, and Popular Science Magazine. Lockheed Martin and the FBI became very interested in his works, and in 2008 he began working closely with former Northrop Grumman engineers as a model maker. He was assigned to create an unmanned attack helicopter for them. The model he built only fired model rockets. That's the only information available at this time for this collaboration. In 2009 he was asked to give a presentation in Sweden at the Material Fusion conference. In this year he also loaned several of his pieces to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts for a one year exhibition.

Biomech Bronze Skull Ver. 1
Chris Conte Skull Pictures, Images and Photos

Take a guess at how big this piece is. That's right, it's 2.5" x 3.5" x 3.5"! It looks much, much bigger when seen as a digital image.

Biomech Arm
chris conte,christopher conte,biomech arm,bio-mech,arm

Artist 35: Brandon Kihl

Kihl is a self taught artist, sculptor, and designer, and a damn good one at that! His body of work is quite diverse, containing everything from ceramics, metal sculpture, illustrations, digital photography, and computer drafting. He founded Kihl Studios in 2001 to create sculptures and creature designs. Not long after founding his studio he began working for film and entertainment as a production designer, art director, sculptor, prop builder, and creature designer, among other things. He currently resides in Arizona and New Mexico, but spends most of his time in Los Angeles.

Some of his work can be seen in the 2004 Stephen King film, "Desperation." The human skulls he created look frighteningly life-like, blunt force trauma wounds included. The cat skull he sculpted looks almost like the real thing (I should know).

Recently, he created a Loch Ness Monster skull for a promotional tour to Steve Alten's novel, "Loch Ness." This huge composite resin and fibreglass beast measures 6 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 3.5 feet tall. It's based off of skulls of several different eel species, most notably the famous moray eel family.

Loch Ness Skull - Side View Pictures, Images and Photos

I find his use of bone and metal amazing, and really want my latest cat to finish macerating so I can get to work adding metal accents to the bones and turning it into abstract sculpture, or a wearable piece.
Here's a metal merman skeleton than he made. It's not exactly lifelike, but it looks really cool!

brandon kihl,merman,metal,skeleton

And here's an illustration he did for a bio-mech glove.

Brandon Kihl,bio-mech glove,glove,mech,bio

This is right up my alley! It gives me a ton idea for the hand covers I make out of wire. I want to make one with a wire under layer and sheet metal cover with cut outs, revealing the wire details below in select spots. This guy has me really excited right now!

Artist 34: Chidi Okoye

Okoye is a Nigerian born painter and sculptor. She graduated from the Institute of Management and Technology in Enugu, Nigeria with a distinction in sculpture in 1988. For the next several years she taught drawing and sculpture at Federal Polytechnic Oko Anambra State Nigeria. While teaching he created an astonishing body of work, composed of paintings, sculptures, and writings. In 1993 he had his first solo exhibition, titled "Textures of Life" at the Lagos museum in Nigeria. In this same year he also launched his first book, "Lamentations", which made his poetry just as well known as his visual art.

In 1994 he moved to Vancouver, Canada. He wasted no time in becoming involved in numerous projects and promoting international artist exchange.

Okoye states that his artwork allows him to connect with his environment, uniting the beauty of nature with man-made forms. This is a very African theme that occurs in almost every tribe across the massive continent. Okoye builds on top of these elements with the understanding of technical skills and elements of design, creating some very powerful images.

"My Turn to Praise"
My Turn to Praise by Chidi Okoye Pictures, Images and Photos

The ability to use a broad range of subject matter, color, and line makes his work very accessible to the public. Unlike most artists from his mother land, he can bring awareness to many social issue without the use of militant imagery. He won the poster competition for the Festival Sundiata in Seattle, Washington in 1995 and 1996, while winning best artist in 1998. he came to Atlanta, Georgia in 2001 and immediately became involved in the active art community. His works have been collected in Georgia, Vancouver, and Nigeria.

I find him influential in how he combines the organic with man-made. His use of color is very similar to how I am painting the cat skeleton.

Artist 33: Alex Pardee

This man has a warped sense of humor, and I love it! Some of you might know him from album artwork of bands like The Used (terrible band) and In Flames (awesome band). His work with In Flames on the albums "A Sense of Purpose" was by far superior, mainly because they let him have more free reign over the cover art and booklet.

Sense of Purpose Pictures, Images and Photos

Others might know him from his personal work, like this portrait of Steve Urkel;

alex pardee Pictures, Images and Photos

Pardee is also a member of the group Zero Friends and Cardboard City. He uses his artwork to overcome his depression and anxiety disorder, both of which I have. His mediums of choice include ink, pen, watercolor, dyes, and a recent move into acrylic, oil, and latex paint. He released is first art book in 2008, titled Awful Homesick. He is also currently working on a motion picture with Chadam. He donates a large amount of his proceeds to charity, such as Purple Heart. His artwork can also be seen in Zack Snyder's movie "Sucker Punch."

More of his work can be seen at

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Artist 32: Jud Turner

He was born in Eugene, Oregon in 1969. He has always been drawing, painting, and sculpting ever since he can remember. He attended the University of Oregon where he studied studio art. His main medium is metal welding and assemblage. Most of his work has a biological theme and occasionally uses bones (fabricated or real). He also works with wire, as a stand alone medium or in mixed media.

"Bio-Cycle" welded steel, mixed media by Jud Turner Pictures, Images and Photos

The Great Escape
"The Great Escape" mixed media by Jud Turner Pictures, Images and Photos

jud turner,greedeater

His work inspires me to use bones in a different manner than in traditional forms. He also inspires me to use some found objects in my fish sculptures, when I have suitable parts.

Artist 31: Tessa Farmer

I just discovered this artist today. She's from Birmingham, UK and based in London. She received he BA in 2000 and MA in 2003. She received the Times/The South Bank Show Breakthrough award in 2007, and took up residency at the Natural History Museum in London. She has also also been featured in several exhibits in the UK.

Tessa is a sculptor, but far from anything close to traditional. She works with dead insects and polymer clay to create insanely intricate and detail miniature sculptures, featuring fairies as a common subject. These aren't the typical fairies that you would see in a Disney movie meant for small children, they are more like hell spawn that ate Tinkerbell and devoured Wendy as a side dish. Each figure is less than a centimeter tall, so it would take a lot of them to accomplish such a feat. So, next time you say "I do believe in fairies", think twice.

Her work often takes up an entire room when being displayed. Knowing that each fairy is nearly microscopic, you can imagine how many of them are needed to fill a room. These installment don't just consist of the fairies, but dead insects, leaves, and tree roots, staging apocalyptic scenes on a nano scale.

I know you must be dying to see what this all looks like, so here are some pictures!

"Swarm" detail
Swarm Pictures, Images and Photos

dead Pictures, Images and Photos

Many of you know that I work with bones in some of my art. Farmer's work only inspires me to take the used of animal remains further and strike more fear into the hearts of my viewers. I think an exoskeleton made of insect...... exoskeletons would be interesting.

Artist 30: Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinksy was born in 1866 in Moscow, Russia. He was an abstract modern painter (the first) and art theorist. He studied law and economics at the University of Moscow. He was very successful in this field and was offered a professorship at the University of Dorpat, at the age of 30. Here he started painting, mainly with figure studies and anatomy.

in 1896 he moved to Munich and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He returned to Moscow after WWII, became frustrated with Russian theories of art, and went back to Germany. He then taught at Bauhaus until the Nazis closed it in 1933. He then moved to France where he became a citizen in 1939 and spent the rest of his life.

He developed his abstract style of painting after an intense period of inner reflection and theorization. His paintings still represented actual identifiable objects. It wasn't until he moved back to Russia from Germany that his paintings became non-objective. Upon his move back to Russia, and his anger towards Russian art theories, he broke every single rule on painting. His work became very geometric, colorful, and strange. No one had ever seen anything like these before.

Wassily also had synesthesia, like me. These Post Munich pieces were the very first modern expressionist pieces ever made in the history of man kind. His use of synesthesia is highly influential for me as a fellow synesthete. He has taught me to not be afraid to try something different, and to fully commit to your ideas, no matter how unusual they are.

"Composition VII"

kandinsky Pictures, Images and Photos

Artist 29: Ernst Fuchs

This man should be considered a renaissance man! He's most well known as a painter, but he's also a draftsman, printmaker, sculptor, architect, stage designer, singer, composer, and poet. He's also a founder of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. Many consider his to be just as influential as Dali, just less recognized.

Fuchs was born in Austria in 1930. He studied sculpture with Emmy Steinbock in 1943, attended theSt. Anna Painting School in 1944, and enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 1945. He met his friends at the Academy whom he founded the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism with. His work during this period was heavily influenced by Gustav Klimt, Schiele, Pechstein, and Henry Moore. This period saw vivid colors and a mixed technique of painting. This technique involved building up a surface using egg tempera, painting with oils, and then glazing in a resin. This gave his pieces a jewel-like feel.

From 1950-61 he lived in Paris, France, but frequently traveled to the USA and Israel. He was also very interested in alchemy at this time. In 1956 he converted to Roman Catholicism. The interested part here was that his mother had him baptized during WWII in order to save him from the concentration camps. His work became more religious and a smaller scale during this time. Unlike the imagery found in most religious artwork, Fuchs's material was very dark, alien, and (to some) disturbing.

In 61 he returned to Vienna and began working on prints. In 74 he began designing stage sets and costumes for operas by Mozart and Wagner.

"The Angel of History" (1992)

'The Angel of History', Ernst Fuchs, 1992 (copyright to the artist) Pictures, Images and Photos

In summary, I want to be as well versed as this man, but in my own individual way.

Artist 28: Sam Two Bulls

Sam Two Bulls is a Lakota Sioux artist from South Dakota. I personally own 2 of his wood carvings, a spirit horse and a spirit bison. Two Bulls was born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. This is a very important location for the Lakota people, since it is only a short drive (30 minutes, which is close in South Dakota) from Wounded Knee. If you do not know what Wounded Knee is, look it up, read "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", or see the movie adaptation. Growing up is Pine Ridge has inevitably had a defining impact on his artwork and overall style. This is most evident in his color palette. In every one of his paintings or carvings he uses red, yellow, white, and black. These four colors are found in the Medicine Wheel and represent the 4 cardinal directions; yellow being East, red being South, black being West, and white being North.

And that's about all I know about Sam Two Bulls. He likes to remain a sort of enigma, which is very easy to do in a place where your nearest neighbor live 5 miles away. I do know that he does beautiful work in a traditional manner (even though he uses acrylics) and is proud of his heritage. Like Sam, I like drawing inspiration for the Earth and natural objects, while mixing them with symbolism.

sam two bulls,bison

Friday, August 20, 2010

Artist 27: Gojira

Techincally this is a group of people, and not of the visual arts field, but they're very visual to me.

Gojira formed in 1996 in Bayonne, France. I know, France is not where you'd expect one of the heaviest hitting progressive death metal bands in recent history to emerge from. Their lyrical content often environmental concern as a main theme (songs such as "Toxic Garbage Island", "Global Warming", "Into The Wilderness", and "Wolf Down the Earth"). Part of my senior thesis is relating to this theme as well.

Gojira Pictures, Images and Photos

*I plan on stuffing the 6 foot long sturgeon with plastic I find laying on the side of the road to create its digestive system. This is kind of a 6' long middle finger to dam builders, who have nearly wiped out the pallid sturgeon.

Gojira's albums often have an underlying theme of the process of dying, and death in general. This really resonates with me since I have lost entirely too many friends to car accidents, illness, and murder. Their sound is often described as massive, thick, and unrelenting. This wall of sound and complex harmonies generate some really interesting images in my head, as evident by the 4 pieces I have done while listening to their material. These images are dark, menacing, and hostile, yet have a serene, harmonious feel to them.

I think the song "Vacuity" best demonstrates just how much mass their writing style has. Plus, the video is a beautifully gruesome piece of art.

Artist 26: Claes Oldenburg

It seems like Sweden has been stalking me lately. First it's the melodic death metal, then cases of mistaken identity in Europe, now a surge of artists.

This artist is Claes Oldenburg. If you've been to Washington DC, then you've probably seen one of his large-scale sculptures, "Typewriter Eraser, Scale X".

typewriter eraser scale x Pictures, Images and Photos

Oldenburg studied in the United States at the Latin School of Chicago, Yale, and Art Institute of Chicago. During his stay in Chicago he worked as a reporter, opened his own studio and became a naturalized citizen in 1953. His first official sales were sold at the 57th Street Art Fair. He sold 5 pieces for $25.........

Claes's most memorable sculptures are his colossal sculptures of tiny, everyday objects. However, his most fun sculptures are his soft sculptures, which are occasionally interactive. One such example is a giant tube of lipstick that deflates unless the viewer pumps air into it. After a few redesigns, which involve mounting the sculpture atop a tank tread, it was moved to Morse College Courtyard in Yale, where it can be seen today. His other soft sculptures are typically gigantic representations of food, often twice the size of the average human.

Oldenburg is often lumped in with Pop Art, due to his subject matter.
Supposedly, he has a piece on exhibit in the Moon Museum, on the actual moon! This 3/4" x 1/2" museum was placed on the moon by Apollo 12.
He is currently represented by the Pace Gallery in New York.

Artist 25: Henry Moore

Henry Moore was an English sculpture best known for his monumental bronze sculptures that can be seen all over the world. His sculptures are typical abstracted human forms in the reclining position.

His father was a mining engineer, and was very determined to keep his children from ever working in the mines. He greatly supported their education of all eight of his children. Henry decided that he wanted to be a sculptor at the age of 11 after hearing about Michelangelo's achievements. In 1919 he become the first sculpture major at the Leeds College of Art. The school gave him his own studio to show their appreciation. After spending years studying classical styles of sculpture he took a different path and went on to a more primitive and instinctual style of working. Luckily, he had plenty of material to study at the British Museum in their ethnographic sections.

During this stage he explored with direct carving methods, preferring the look of the marks that the tools left on the sculptures. In 1924 he won a traveling scholarship, which he used to study in Northern Italy and Paris. It was in Paris that he found the Chac Mool, which played a major influence in his later work.

chac mool Pictures, Images and Photos

On a side note, I don't think any of Moore's sculptures held the human hearts of sacrificial victims.

Upon returning from his travels he took a seven-year teaching post at the ROyal College of Art, which allowed hi to spend time on his own work. It was then that he received his first public commission for "West Wind" (which I saw the original inspiration of in Athens, Greece at the Tower of the Winds). This sculpture is located at the London Underground headquarters at 55 Broadway.

In 1929 he married Russian painting student Irina Radetsky. Her father was killed in the Russian Revolution and her mother was evacuated to Paris. This made home life very interesting for the two. They both moved to Hampstead after a bit of refugee drama due to the Revolution. Here, Moore became acquainted with Naum Gabo, Roland Penrose, and Herbert Read. He formed the Seven and Five Society with Hepworth, which helped to further publicize all of the artists involved. This society had strong connections with Picasso, Braque, and Giacometti. At this time Moore started testing the waters of surrealism.

After WWII and several miscarriages, Irina finally gave birth to their daughter, Marry Moore. This heavily influences Henry's sculptures, which started developing forms of families grouped together. These sculptures attracted the attention of educators and led to several installations in areas of childhood development and education. As time progressed Moore received more and more commissions, making him rather wealthy. However, instead of spending all of the money on himself he started the Henry Moore foundation to help better the education of the arts.

Moore died on August 31, 1986.

"Reclining Figure" (1951)
Henry Moore Pictures, Images and Photos

The organic forms of Moore's sculptures fit in perfectly to my senior thesis. After seeing how large some of his pieces are it's hard not to be influenced by him.