Archive for November 11, 2012

Artist of the moment…..Mark Grotjahn….

Mark Grotjahn was born in 1968 in Pasadena, California. He is best known in the art world for his abstract style. He sometimes paints in a manner in which shapes radiate from the center. The shapes are usually long triangles and the paintings are either done in black and white (this is the case for the butterfly series) or using bold and explosive color. In the latter stages of his career he has moved onto installations and sculpture works.

Price range info:  Grotjahn has worked in graphite and colored pencil works that can range from $20,000 to $1.37 million for a work from his butterfly series. Paintings in oils can be found from $1.43 million for a work from the butterfly series, down to $20,000. Grotjahn has occasionally worked in acrylics and gouache but not enough works have been made to get a consistent price list in these mediums.

In this clip we go along with our great art lover friend James Kalm to view a show by Grotjahn.

In this clip you can view a show given by the artist at Gagosian Gallery in New York. The theme of the show was masks, the artist created a variety of masks using found and recycled materials.

Below is a clip from another Gagosian Gallery show with theme being black butterflies. The show was given in 2008.

In this clip visit the artist in his own studio as he works on some “mask” style art.

Grotjahn now lives and works out of Los Angeles, California.

For his artistic education Grotjahn attended the University of Boulder in Colorado earning a bachelor’s degree. He went on to the University of California at Berkeley earning a MFA. After this he became artist in residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Art in Maine.  Grotjahn moved from Maine to Los Angeles and opened up a gallery with a partner. The gallery showed his own works as well as other artist’s.

The artist got into graphic design by making art out of the signs he saw in storefront windows. He then would exchange his artwork with the owners of the store for the original signage.

In his current method the artist doesn’t map all the colors out at first. He does make a drawing in black pencil. Grotjahn then lays the colored pencils out on floor and he starts working on filling the paper with colors.

When I think of Grotjahn I think of a spiral or radial form. A spirograph base, but a more modern and contemporary finish.

In this last clip let us smile and relax and sit back as we see the artist dance in front of one of his own paintings.

For your art homework today how about cutting a rug, (dancing), in front of your favorite painting.


Artist of the moment….John Wesley….


John Wesley is a pop art and minimalist painter. Wesley was born in 1928 in Los Angeles, California.

In the clip you can see some images of paintings by John Wesley from the 1960s to 2000s.

The artist first successful series was done with seals and stamps designs that he made up himself. He then moved on to using cartoon like characters in his works.

Personal friend of miminal artist Donald Judd and also Dan Flavin. Some call the artist a minimalist. The one thing I find similar between Donald Judd and John Wesley are their use of bright and flat fields of color.  Below is an example of a Donald Judd minimalist painting with flat and bright color fields.

For his artistic education the artist attended the Los Angeles City College and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1976.
Awarded grant from National Endowment for the Arts.


Until her death in 2003, John Wesley was a partner of Patrica Broderick who was a painter and playwright. Below is an example of her loose figure painting style.

Wesley is sometimes grouped with Sureallism painting and painters like Salvador Dali.

Many of Wesley’s works have to do with the female figure and sex. His minimal use of line and color also reminds me British artist Julien Opie. Opie also uses flat line and color when drawing the female form, sometimes he even produces digitial works. Here is a great example of a digital work of Julien Opie. With very minimal use of line and no color, the viewer still knows he is looking at various poses of the fantastic and erotic female form.

Price range info:  The artist mainly worked in acrylics and the range goes from $577,000 down to $25,000. Works in gouache range from $10,000 to $70,000.  Serigraphs are the cheapest works by the artist and can be found for around one thousand dollars. Works in oils range $60,000 to $409,000.

Before beginning to concentrate on selling paintings in 1953, John Wesley worked in the commercial field as an illustrator for Northrop Aircraft.

The artist relocated to New York from Los Angeles in 1960. Wesley still lives and works out of New York.

John Wesley is a great example of  a contemporary artist still producing works today that remind the viewer of the pop art days. His use of flat and bold color mixed with repeating shapes is similar to the Pop Art movement’s fixation for working with mass produced items such as newspaper or magazine ads.

Try a minimalist figure painting or drawing. Think of the few lines used by artists’ like Wesley or Julien Opie.