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I Luvz Me Some Heinrich Kley

27/10/2014

Heinrich Kley (1863 – 1945 or 1952; your guess is as good as anybody’s) was a German artist / cartoonist for such avant-garde magazines as Jugend and Simplicissimus.  Now virtually forgotten by the public, he’s best remembered for being ripped off by the inspiration for Disney’s “Dance Of The Hours” in Fantastia.

Heinrich Kley - steal a little

Heinrich Kley - elehants drinking

Heinrich Kley - hero

Heinrich Kley - hey ho lets go

Heinrich Kley - parlor game

Heinrich Kley - elephants bathing

Heinrich Kley - bacchus

Heinrich Kley - fighting for bread

Heinrich Kley - elephant plays piccolo

Heinrich Kley - red cross

Heinrich Kley - elephants on a train

Heinrich Kley - they party while below

Heinrich Kley - monkey on her back

Heinrich Kley - disarming justice

Heinrich Kley - dancing elephants 3

Heinrich Kley - crucifixion picnic

Heinrich Kley - dancing elephants 1

Heinrich Kley - harpies

Heinrich Kley - dancing elephants 2

Heinrich Kley - guillotine

political agenda?
I have no idea what
you’re talking about…

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Grudge Match: Norman Rockwell vs Edward Hopper

30/09/2014

So I was reading a discussion on art (specifically what differentiates “good” art from “bad” art)[1] and it occurred to me that while usually comparing one artist to another is typically at best comparing apples to artichokes, there was one comparison where we could at least get granny smiths compared to jonagolds.

Norman Rockwell (1894 – 1978) and Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967) are near perfect compare & contrast subjects. Both lived at the same time, both staked out small life America as their prime subject matter.

Make no bones about it, Norman Rockwell was a phenomenally talented painter, and easily one of the best illustrators ever. A good eye for detail and composition, an even keener eye for anatomy, characterization, and facial expression. Look at his paintings and a whole story unfolds before you. Clever, witty, a consummate illustrator of the American scene.

Norman ROCKWELL Going and Coming 1947

Note that word:
Illustrator.

As much as I enjoy Rockwell’s work, as appreciative as I am of his talent and ability, Rockwell only brought so much to the party. He expected — nay, required his audience to already be familiar with his subjects before his put brush to canvas.

norman rockwell the-discovery

There was nothing new he had to offer, nothing original besides his personal style which, while good (arguably the best in his field) was not demonstratively different from literally scores of other artists working for the same markets.

norman rockwell cover_9260626

Yes, there is something unique to Rockwell’s work, and you can almost always spot a Rockwell painting…but there are a whole lotta guys who were doing pretty much what Rockwell was doing and they were all pretty much interchangeable.[2]

Norman ROCKWELL Christmas Homecoming 1948

This is not to diminish the talent or the ability or the skill sets of Rockwell’s direct competitors, but the difference among them was pretty slight, typically one of degrees, never of magnitude.

Amos Sewell - baseball-in-the-hospitalcase in point:  Amos Sewell

Cross to the other side of the street to see what Edward Hopper was doing with the same subject matter and –

HOLY @#%& — LOOK AT THAT LIGHT!!!

edward hopper - nighthwk

NOBODY EVER SAW LIGHT THAT WAY BEFORE!!!

Whatever Rockwell saw in a scene, Hopper saw something…else. He saw something that was truly unique, something that no other artist had ever put on canvas before.

conference-at-night

Something we had all seen but had never realized we had seen, and so when we saw it through his eyes it was a shock to the system, a startling realizing that yes…it was like that…it did look that way!

Summer Evening by Edward Hopper

Hopper didn’t rely on us to bring our own past knowledge to the experience; Hopper brought something we didn’t even know existed.

Office at Night

And that would have been remarkable by itself, but Hopper took it several steps further.

morning-sun_custom

He used light as no one ever used it before, taking the quality of his light — be it a melancholy setting sun or an office like by a single stark bulb or a nether zone of shadow between the dreamscape of the cinema and the tawdry lurid lights of the lobby — and putting it to work to literally shade and illuminate his characters.

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It’s pretty easy to figure out the story in any Rockwell painting, and with the exception of the occasional rained out baseball game we know it’s going to be a happy ending.

hotel-lobby

Not so with Hopper. There are dark, unseen melancholies we can’t recognize not because we are unfamiliar with them but because we are too familiar with them, locking them up and blocking them off deep in our hearts, pretending they do not exist.

cdec177946b613760fa806e405ec86cf

Hopper brings them forth, and we are forced to admit we have no pat, happy answers to banish them, that they will stay with us now, circling around the edges of our consciousness, a sad but constant reminder that we are not the masters of our fates / the captains of our souls that we want to be.

Kinda special for daubs of paint of stretched cloth, huh?

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[1] As distinguished from hack work.   Hack work exists all along the spectrum.

[2] Don’t believe me, go look at the “slick” magazine covers of the 1940s – 60s: Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Liberty, plus dozens of regional and special interest magazines. If Rockwell had been abducted by aliens in 1940 the genre would never have missed him and would have continued on pretty much as it did, only with more work for the other guys.

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This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

29/09/2014

CREEPY92-41

Russ Heath goes to town
(from Creepy #92)

found at Pappy’s Golden Age Blogzine

Happy Birthday, Russ

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“You Might As Well Live” by Darryl Cunningham

5/09/2014

Daryl Cunningham - you might as well live 1

Daryl Cunningham - you might as well live 2

Darryl Cunningham is one of those really
smart people you should be following online.
And if you even think you might need help,
call these people RIGHT NOW!

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It’s Jack’s World, We Just Live In It

28/08/2014

Today is Jack Kirby’s birthday.

Jack Kirby at work

Tom Spurgeon goes the extra lightyear will all sorts of kracklin’ Kirby goodness.

I’ve already posted my feelings regarding Jack, and since I don’t think I can do better at this time I’ll just link to it again.

Jack, we miss you and Roz.  You were one of the greatest artists ever to weild a pencil in the comics medium, but more importantly than that you and Roz were great people, a joy to be around, a blessing to others, an honor to know.

jackirby12

Roz & Jack photo found at Mark Evanier’s NewsFromME.com

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Guillermo Del Toro’s 5 Biggest Tips

26/08/2014

guillermo-del-toro-new-yorker-profile cropped

1. The story has to dig deep into who you are.

…..2. Learn from the past and put a twist on it.

……….3. Remember, you’re better at being you than anyone else.

……………4. Work.  A lot.

………………..5. Don’t worry about selling out.

Worry about buying in.

full article
found here

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Vladimir Nabokov On Writing

5/06/2014

nabokov_vladimir-19811203 2_png_300x386_q85

“At a very early stage of the novel’s development I get this urge to collect bits of straw and fluff, and to eat pebbles.  Nobody will ever discover how clearly a bird visualizes, or if it visualizes at all, the future nest and the eggs in it.  When I remember afterwards the force that made me jot down the correct names of things, or the inches and tints of things, even before I actually needed the information, I am inclined to assume that what I call, for want of a better term, inspiration, had been already at work, mutely pointing at this or that, having me accumulate the known materials for an unknown structure.  After the first shock of recognition—a sudden sense of “this is what I’m going to write”—the novel starts to breed by itself; the process goes on solely in the mind, not on paper; and to be aware of the stage it has reached at any given moment, I do not have to be conscious of every exact phrase.”

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Funny Book Faith

2/05/2014

I’ve got a lot on my plate, a large number of posts & mini-essays & short stories & longer works that I want to finish, but every now & then a big fat one just hangs in the strike zone so perfectly that I can’t help but smack that sucka right out of the ballpark.

In this case it was someone bringing to my attention last year’s “Men, Superheroes and Church” post by Don Murrow, which in turn was derived from “The Lure of Comic-Book Culture” by Stan Guthrie from a half year earlier.

Guthrie sneers looks down his nose pooh-poohs dismisses contemporary pop culture, in particular the popularity of the superhero genre, quoting David Gelernter’s “America-Lite”:

“In 1960, the whole country knew Robert Frost’s poetry; Leonard Bernstein was reaching large TV audiences for classical music with his Young People’s Concerts on CBS; theater and ballet were thriving, reaching larger audiences all the time; Hemingway was only the most famous of America’s serious novelists; and American avant-garde painting was a topic for Life magazine.”

He then posits these reasons for the rise in popularity of comic book culture, in particular superheroes[1]:

  1. Technology (computers, social media, enhanced graphics software) has made comics easier to produce and share.
  2. The phenomenon of extended adolescence has extended the attractiveness of comics as a pastime among many American adults.
  3. In an increasingly complex, morally confusing world, people are drawn to media that still promote the idea of good vs. evil—a common theme in comics.
  4. People want an escape from the grim and sometimes depressing news and events of the day.
  5. With the dumbing down of the population due to an increasingly ineffective public education system, people today have less ability and desire to read and to think deeply, making the relatively simple themes and plots of comic books that much more attractive.
  6. Despite (and perhaps because of) widespread cynicism in the culture, we still yearn for heroes.

Murrow agrees, claiming “Every one of Guthrie’s observations is true. But there’s a deeper reason men of this generation are so strongly drawn to superheroes:

Every man longs to be a hero himself – but today’s society offers men very few opportunities for heroic behavior.”

sam-jackson-retort-468x350

[brace yourselves; it gets brutal after the jump]

Read the rest of this article »

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Beauty Is Where You Find It

25/02/2014

yuanyang_airglow

Looks nice, doesn’t it?  This long exposure photo was taken by Cui Yongjiang in rural Yunnan Province in southwest China.  Look at the soft glow of the village lights…the way the stars reflect off the terraces of water…

Wanna see what the area looks like in daylight?

Xijiang_Miao_Village_Guizhou_china-Nature_rivers_Landscape_Wallpaper_1200x900

Quite a difference, huh?

So, is beauty an illusion,
an artificial construct of the mind?

Or is it always there, and
we just have to have the wisdom
to know where to look for it and
the patience for it to present itself…

found via Astronomy Picture Of The Day

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“The Most Sublime Fool That God Ever Turned Out”

19/02/2014

RB quote Cooly-vespa-Haruhara-Haruko-Nandaba-1515078-1360x768 cap

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.  You must write every single day of your life.  You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.  You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.  I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime.  I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you.  May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise.  Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days.  And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury

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