Archive for January, 2013

Artist of the moment …Nick Walker

Nick Walker is a British artist born in 1969. He is best known for his artwork that refers to
icons and imagery. For instance when you hear of Mona Lisa you think of her smile
whereas Mr. Walker thinks of her Kardashian like booty!

In this clip see the artist interviewed by Fused magazine in 2010.

This is an awesome clip, right up there with watching Jackson Pollack drip his paint and spill his ashes onto his canvas. Here we see Nick Walker do a painter you may have seen in the gallery and the one I mentioned at the beginning with Mona Lisa being renamed Moona Lisa. Its awesome to see street art come to life and I hope more people give these street artists more credit.

Price range information:  Works done in pochoir or stencils can fetch between $10,000 and $25,000. Works done in spray paint range from $3,000 to $30,000.

As a street artist Walker is a great printmaker and often works with stencils. For black and white imagery he is as talented as Banksy. Banksy is perhaps the most famous street artist in the world because no one knows his true identity. Banksy comes from London and is famous worldwide for his street art. Here is a great example of his signature stencil style.


Banksy is also a passionate artist that enjoys expressing his political views. In this awesome clip we see see Banksy making his graffiti art or vandalism if you like, on the segregation wall that separates Israel from Palestine.

Walker is given credit for introducing street art to Bristol, England and in this manner is seen as the artist who inspired Banksy to do his thing years later.

Nick Walker was also used by Stanley Kubrick to reproduce the scenes involving the streets of the big city in his thriller with Tom Cruise titled Eyes Wide Shut. This was the movie with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman where he ends up at a party thrown by very rich people that end up having a sex party that he should never have seen.


I must say like Banksy, this artist has developed a quick reputation in the art world and his works sell for very large amounts. Moona Lisa sold in 2006 for $86,000 U.S. dollars or around 54,000 British pounds at Bonhams auction house of London.

Walker still lives and works out of Bristol, England.

This artist is great for all to enjoy. I have tremendous respect for artists who take their work to the street. At least the feedback would be very honest if not brutal if we all worked in this same manner.  Thankfully we have artists like Crash, Banksy, Nick Walker, and Swoon to inspire us all!






Art , smoking, and cigarettes….

although this industry has certainly seen better days, that is why Tobacco Row exists on the eastern part of the United States. Lets take a look at artists who have been inspired by such figures as the Marlboro Man or for such large tobacco companies as Lucky Strike. Lets think back to just a few short decades ago when Virginia Slims sponsored some major tennis tours and it was the Jack Benny Program sponsored by Lucky Strike

Here we have Chinese artist Shi Wei and a series he did titled Skinny lady.


Richard Hambleton is a well known artist from Canada who did a series inspired by the Marlboro Man advertisements. He started out a street artist and works mainly with figure in silhouette form.


In this clip we see the great musician Bob Dylan and good ole Andy Warhol share a smoke. Different times indeed!

Al Hirschfeld was m favorite caricature artist hands down. He was the reason I started drawing figures as a young boy. I enjoyed his clean lines and the clever way he hid his daughters name Nina in every work. I loved the way he made the smoke appear in many circular shapes and patterns. Here we see Humphrey Bogart enjoying a cigarette.


And here we see famous comedian Groucho Marx with his signature cigar. Its fun to see what the artist does with the smoke patterns, they remind me of the pill artist Fred Tomaselli.


Here is a signature work by famed artist Fred Tomaselli, its who I think about when looking at Hirschfeld’s figures that are smoking. Tomaselli uses pills, leaves, and any materials he can find in designing his wonderful works of art.


Here we have artist Keith Haring and some works he did back in the late 1980s with the Lucky Strike logo.


And another Haring offering.


Here we have famed figure artist Mel Ramos working with the Lucky Strike brand.


Its only recently that smoking has come under attack in North America. Companies like Phillip Morris and British American Tobacco are growing at a great pace in overseas markets. Here we see artist Jesus Bubu Negron with two very large and used up cigarettes. This was Art Basel in Miami this past December.


Xu Bing is very innovative artist who brings to use a idea for cigarettes other than smoking them, making art with them. Here is a video clip because the picture is nice, but you need to see something where the view goes back and forth so that you can get an idea as to how much thought went into the design of these Tiger Carpets.


This film clip goes back and forth to give a better idea as to design.

Smoking was so popular in this country that even ashtray design and fashion was a very large market at one time. Here we see famed design duo Georges Jouve and Mathieu Mategot.

Here is a great example of a bear claw style of ashtray.


Another artist working with the rural south would be the great Dean Mitchell. He grew up in Quincy, Florida about twenty miles from Tallahassee, Florida. He worked in these tobacco fields when he was growing up and he enjoys their nostalgic feel, back to a time when cigarette ads featuring celebrities were everywhere.  Here we see one of these tobacco farms that the artist enjoys painting. This is a painting of a southern tobacco barn.




And here we have some  works by Pablo Picasso.

picasso1 picasso2




And finally we have Alex Katz with a great piece of art.


Hope you enjoyed this look into tobacco and art!

After a comment regarding this genre, I recently found a new piece by Julian Opie featuring a woman and a cigarette,  that is just wonderful!




Artist of the moment……Kazimir/ Kasimir Malevich…..

Kazimir Malevich was born in Kiev, Russia in the year 1879. Some sources say 1878, but it is officially 1879.

Malevich did a fair amount of work promoting the Political ideas of the Communist party. I enjoy his works in this style that would be perfect for woodcuts or linocuts.

When you think of the artist Kazimir Malevich, Suprematism should come to mind. This was a movement that dealt with art as non objective or with reference to something. The square wasn’t supposed to be anything else. Not a brillo pad box or box of  Wheaties, just a square. Malevich made his first type of painting in this style in 1913.

Here is a great clip featuring a show at the Gagosian Gallery. Its great to watch the curator get so excited about his Suprematist works. He made barely more than eighty, forty seven are in public museums, around twenty were destroyed. These are his most significant works so take five minutes to relax and check out his masterworks! The breakout year for Malevich was in 1915.

In the clip above the curator tells us also showing at the same time is Richard Serra. I found these two artists experimented with the same ideas of form and space. Here is a piece done in 1915 titled black square by Malevich.


Richard Serra has spent much of his career working with form and especially with the black square format. Here is a great example of Serra’s style, he is primarily known for his work with sculpting and the basic geometric shapes.


Malevich produced many lithographs which can be found from $2,500 to $20,000. The artist set a record for himself and a painting titled Suprematist Composition that sold for $60 million dollars in 2008.

In this clip some of the artists work set to piano music.

Malevich’s family came to Russia from Poland. His father ran a sugar factory. Malevich was one of fourteen children, nine made it to adult age.

Malevich first studied drawing at the age of sixteen and seventeen years old. The artist went on to attend the Moscow School of Painting. In addition to going to class, the artist was able to learn from a professional painter in a studio setting. His teacher’s name was Fedor Rerberg.

Rerberg was a  great painter of all things. Check out this picture that is a indeed a great still life (watermelons, nude (the two ladies), and seascape ( the setting with the nude and water reminds me of Jeremy Lipking, Anders Zorn, or John Whorf who also painted great nudes alongside the water. ) The painting below is by Rerberg.


Malevich also explored the theme of painting with shades of white. Or if you like books, a modern very light fifty shades of grey! This work is held in the Museum of  Modern Art’s Collection.


Another artist who explored the same idea decades later was Robert Rauschenberg. Here is style of white on white painting.


Malevich died from cancer in 1935 at the age of fifty six years old . At his funeral his body was shown below a black square and funeral goers were allowed to wave black banners.


Artist of the moment……Al Held…..

Al Held was known for painting geometric shapes in a third dimension style. Held was born in Brookly, New York in the year 1928.

Held grew up making art as all children do, but not becoming obsessed or even with the thought of becoming a professional artist. This changed in 1947 when he departed from the United States Navy. Held moved back to New York and started taking classes inspired by another artist who went along the same path. I am speaking of the artist Nicholas Krushenick.

Price range information: Held works in many mediums including lithographs and serigraphs which start at $500. Watercolors range from $5,000 to $40,000. Held was most prolific with acrylics and they range from $10,000 to $300,000. Works in ink range from $5,000 to $90,000.

Krushenick served in World War II, when he got out started taking courses at the Art Students League of New York, and became a professional painter held in high regard by his peers. Below is a great example of Krushenick’s very colorful style and fun use of shapes. I can see some influence on Al Held in his compositions.



Below is a gallery featuring works by Al Held. The painting above was by his inspiration, Nicholas Krushenick.




For his artistic education Al Held was able to use the Government Infantry Bill or G.I. Bill, to attend school in Paris, France. Whilst in Paris Held attended the Academie de la Grande Chaumier. Held went to school for three years time then returned to New York. He would make his breakthrough after a few lean and tough years whilst he was trying to find his true artistic voice.

Held received his first solo exhibition in 1959. At this time he was considered an Abstract Expressionist painter.

Here we see fellow artist Judy Pfaff. I have written about her and have seen her fantastic flower installations in person. She is asked to talk about Al Held’s prints and paintings.

Its so exciting to see, but here we have another artist who received many large public commissions. One commission earned the artist more than one million dollars for his troubles! Held has works in the New York city subway system.

Many works of the artist here. Its easy to see the influence of artists like this man and Rex Ray on the screensavers on all of our computers!

Taught at Yale University from 1962 until 1980. Yale has one of the best art programs in the country and have given us such artists as Mickalene Thomas, Kehinde Wiley, and Hilary Harkness.

Won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1966.

He took a break from his type of painting shapes by going back to black and white images with many interlocking shapes. These weren’t received well by critics and after a few years time Held put color back into his work.

Al Held passed away in 2005 at the age of seventy six years old.

With his style and use of bold color the Held reminds me of the great Roy Lichtenstein. Lichenstein is well known for his use of Ben Day dots, but he had tremendous knowledge of color.  Below is a great example of a seascape done with very simple shapes, bold color, and great composition.


Have some fun and relax with a painting using simple geometric shapes and complimentary colors!

Most important, HAVE SOME FUN!


Artist of the moment…..Stephen Magsig….

Lets check out one of my favorite painters of the city and urban scene, Stephen Magsig. When I think of large industrial cities I think of the wonderful paintings of this artist. If you enjoy cityscape paintings as much as me I also encourage you to set aside one hundred dollars and invest in this artist! Yes, this artist also sells smaller plein air works that are 5 by 7 inches in size and well executed. The smaller works he sells on ebay start at $1oo with free shipping. His larger oil paintings sell deep into the five figures.

In this clip we see the artist at David Klein Gallery.

The artist is of a high pedigree appearing in such national art magazines as American Art Collector in 2006. Magsig has also appeared in Art and Antiques magazine.

A link to Magsig’s own website:  Many nice paintings of Detroit to see here.

If you enjoy paintings of the city you must check out Dean Mitchell. Mitchell paints the industrial and tobacco south. He also enjoys painting cities like New Orleans. Below is a wonderful example of Dean Mitchell’s watercolor magic.


Another artist who paints awesome city scenes is Richard Estes. Estes is known for this paintings of reflections. You can tell he is an excellent technical artist, with a great sense of composition. Its great to check out the abstraction seen in the window reflections. This work by Estes’ has to do with a large industrial city in Japan.


And I am excited to talk about Andy again as when I think if New York city, I think of the Empire State Building. Andy thought of the building as a star, which in its day it was. Originally this movie lasted many hours, but I would like to own a smaller length repeating loop version. Its great because the Empire State Building is a great symbol of New York.

Here is a link to the location on ebay where Mr. Magsig sells some smaller plein air works. As you can tell he is quite experienced at selling his smaller works at auction, completing more than 800 auctions:

In his artistic statement Magsig tells us “Light, since it defines everything, is what my work is about.”  Magsig enjoys finding the right mix of organic and geometric shapes and working high contrasts in light and dark shapes.


I hope you take some time to find the artistic magic that can be found in paintings of large cities!  Try painting an urban scene today!


Artist of the moment….Sarah Morris….

Sarah Morris is an artist known for her use of geometric shapes and bold explosive color. Sarah Morris was born in Sevenoaks, Kent located in England in the year 1967.

For her collegiate studies the artist attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. As all artists know, being an artist means growing constantly! Morris takes this to heart and went to study in London at Jesus College, Cambridge University in London. She also has taken courses at the Whitney Museum in New York city. Morris graduated magna cum laude.

Morris splits her time between London and New York.

She paints with super glossy house paint on most of her works.

In college she had a double major for her course of study. Morris studied political science and also semiotics.  Semiotics will be your word of the day, its the study of signs and symbols. One artist who understood this point very well an who incorporated symbols and sign language in his graffiti style works was Martin Wong. Wong died in 1999 but he was important for bringing graffiti art to the galleries and he had a very large collections of graffiti art that he donated to the city of New York. Below is a great example of semiotics or symbols used in Wong’s style of painting.


Morris also enjoys making films. Some themes in the past of been celebrity life in Los Angeles and another was life in the city of Chicago, before and after President Barack Obama. In this clip we see some moments from her tenth film, the aforementioned Chicago. Her films are great for dissecting not only way a city is laid out and its architecture, but also the power players and prominent citizens involved.

In this clip titled AM/PM also by Sarah Morris, we are taken above and throughout the city of Las Vegas!  Very exciting and set to good music!

Well its impossible to talk about film and art without mentioning my favorite artist, ANDY WARHOL!  In this brief interview we here why Warhol himself made the move from printmaking and painting to film. Andy talks about his love of films and the underground film scene. Andy loves cameras!

Morris named her studio Parallax. Parallax refers to an optical illusion that happens when the position or direction of an object appears to change if the viewer changes position.

You know I enjoy reading artists that have done public commissioned works, and Morris has done many works in prominent locations. She has works at the Big Ben in London and Lincoln Center in New York.

In 2012 Morris did a feature film on the city of Rio De Janiero, Brazil.

Price range information:  For paintings in oils and acrylics they both range from $20,000 to $160,000. Digital prints can be found starting around $1,000.

Artist of the moment……Jane Dickson…..

Jane Dickson is a contemporary artist  born in Chicago, Illinois in the year 1952. Dickson is best known for two basic ideas themes found in her art. One idea is that of painting the night life of the Big Apple, New York city. Not only the night life, but in particular the seedy part of town including hookers and police on the beat.  She also is known for painting on carpet, many times in fact she has painted on astroturf. It gives her work a surreal feeling and feeling of space.

For her collegiate studies Dickson attended Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She also studied at the Boston Museum School of the Fine Arts.

In this clip we see the artist talking about a series she made concerning gambling.

In this clip we see Jane Dickson give a brief presentation at a college campus alongside her husband film director  Charles Ahearn. Dickson’s part of the interview starts close to 3:10 into the clip. Ahearn has long worked with exploring culture such as the graffiti artists of New York such as Martin Wong to the hip hop scene. Ahearn was a chief producer in the movie Wild Style, this movie documented the hip hop scene of the 1970s and 1980s.

Jane Dickson artwork reminds me of the artist Susan Grossman. Grossman works in charcoal and pastels on paper and her works have a great sense of atmosphere and give the feeling of the movement of lights and darks thru the big city. Below is a great example of Susan Grossman’s style using charcoal and pastel on paper.


Not only does Dickson use carpet and astroturf she experimented with vinyl and sandpaper for her surfaces.

Dickson has artwork in many prestigious museums including the Chicago Institute of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of Art.

The artist has done a public commission mosaic work for the MTA station on 42nd street in New York city.

A link to Jane Dickson’s own website:

Price range information:  Etchings can be found from $500 to $1000. Works in oils range from $1,000 to $7,000.

I find Dickson’s work awesome for its use of carpet and other surfaces. In much the same manner of painting with oils on copper, painting on carpet brings a unique textural feel also. It seems perfecting for depicting night scenes where many edges are lost and dark shadows are found in many locations. Try painting your favorite city on a unique surface like carpet or turf!

Happy painting!


Artist of the moment…..Russ Vickers…..

Do you enjoy western movies as I do. Actually I enjoy all movies!  Russ Vickers gained national attention for his paintings of the Old West that were featured in the  movie Chisum featuring John Wayne. Below is the opening credits from the movie and we get an opportunity to see many works from with both far away and close views.

Price range information:  Lithographs can be found for a few hundred dollars to $2000. Vickers was primarily an oil painter, and a prolific one, with prices ranging from $2,000 to $33,000.

Russ Vickers  is my favorite when it comes to seeing breath taking works of art on very small scales. The artist worked on large pieces but if you ever see his works in person its amazing the detail and the great compositions that the artist used in rendering this small majestic jewels of art. Great design and composition by the artist painting small groups of cowboys and indians in the heart of the American Old West.

Vickers was born to a horse trader in Paris, Texas in the year 1923.

Worked as an illustrator in the aerospace industry for twenty years. He was based out of Los Angeles, California.

Vickers was part of the marines in World War II. He was also a combat artist in the Korean War.

Do you remember answering those ads for correspondence courses where you could learn to draw? I remember entering one by drawing a landscape. Vickers passed the Famous Artists School Correspondence Course and soon after finishing began showing his works in Sedona, Arizona.

I encourage you if you visit Denver to travel to Boulder, Colorado and visit the Leaning Tree Museum of Western Art where you can see three of the artists magnificent small small paintings. They are incredible for the detail found in the landscape and the people. At the musuem it says the artist tried to finish three of these smaller scale studies in one month in addition to his paid illustration duties.


The Museum is located in Gunbarrell and you can see such famous artists as Vickers,  Wilson Hurley, Bob Kuhn, Larry Fanning, and Joseph LaRusso. Below is a great painting by another artist featured at this gallery, Arnold Friberg. Friberg illustrated the Book of Mormon. His works are also incredible for the detail and variety of textures found in trees and even clothing and moccasins. Friberg was also known for a series featuring the Western Mounties.




Vickers passed away in 1997 at the age of 74 years old.



Artist of the moment…Julio Larraz…..

Julio Larraz is another well known artist that was born in Havana, Cuba in the year 1944. His father owned was the publisher of a newspaper. Larraz’s painting style is wonderful mix of realism and fantasy. I enjoy looking at his art as he is able to push color as  you would expect a Caribbean artist to do. By that I mean I learned as a painter that if I had a red rose, to grey down the red and only use straight from the tube red where I wanted the viewers eye to go. Larraz lives in where maximum color exists everywhere! From the brightly colored fruit in the trees to the flesh tones of the beach and bright pink and bright yellow houses!  Every artist should go to the Caribbean if no other reason than to experience life with an abundance of color everywhere.

A great clip here! Here we see the Larraz’s painting the Tropic of Cancer, go up for auction at Sotheby’s.

Quick selection of the artist’s wide variety of painting from figures and surrealistic works to still life paintings.

In 1961 his family left Cuba and came to the United States. The family lived in Miami, Washington D.C. and then New York city. Over little more than five years time he was able to study with such master painters (in modern times not when he studied with them) Burton Silverman, Aaron Shickler, and David Levine. Its easy to see some influences the artist had from David Levine who was a well known caricaturist working in pen and ink for the most part. Larraz became known as a caricaturist when he was beginning his artistic career.

Here is a wonderful example of David Levine’s caricature style, the celebrity in case you can’t tell, is film director Woody Allen.


Aaron Shikler is a well known artist best known for his portraits. From his paintings I can see that he influenced Larraz on using black, or very dark tones close to it in his works which give them a different feeling of space. Very quiet and still. Below is a great example of Shikler’s style.


Larraz is included in the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

Larraz began working as a full time artist in 1967.

First solo exhibition in the United States took place in Washington D.C. in 1971.

Another artist who has a similar style at least in perspective in that this artist paints many times from views right above the subject. I have blogged about him before and he makes wonderful still lifes, his name is Kenne Gregoire. Here is an example of his above the subject viewpoint. This painting of a nude in bed reminds me a great deal of the painting sold by Larraz at Sotheby’s titled Tropic of Cancer.


Price range information:  Larraz is an old school artisan craftsman well schooled in many mediums from oils ranging from $30,000 to $360,000.  Pastels range from $10,000 to $40,000.

Watercolors range from $6,000 to $25,000. Not enough sales to make a judgement on prices for sculpture works.

Larraz lives and works out of Miami, Florida.

I enjoy this artist for his bright color palette and strong contrasting darks. Also a great technique to include views from above. For some art homework try a view from straight above your subject!

Keep learning!


Artist of the moment…..Giacomo Balla….

A brief montage of works by Giacomo Balla.

As the title suggest more than 40 works to see in less than one minutes time!

Giacomo Balla was born in Turin, Italy in 1871. He was known for his use of abstract and organic shapes as well as dynamic realism. He was very well schooled in drawing, but could make exciting drawings and paintings as he had a very unique way of capturing the movement and pattern of light. For instance the streetlight. He takes time to record every color that the possible spectator might see whilst looking up. Greens, reds, and yellows are all  represented.

He came from a well to do family whose father was a chemist. As a child Balla studied music. Until the age of nine when his father died. He gave up music and began to express himself via music. For his collegiate studies the artist attended the University of  Turin.

When he was in his twenties the artist was given exhibitions and shown in museums. The artist having the most influence on him was Filippo Marinetti. Marinetti is seen as the father of Futurism.  An art movement that dealt with explaining what would happen in the future. Below is great example of Marinetti’s work which reminds this viewer of the master collage artist Kurt Schwitters.


Price range information: The artist worked in many mediums. Pencils range from $2,500 to $250,000. Serigraph prints range from $500 to $2000. Oils are the highest priced works ranging from $5,000 to $4.0  million dollars! Pastels can range as high $60,000. Many small sculptures and jewelry works are found for less than $500.

My favorite piece of artwork produced by the art is titled Dog on a leash. What movement not only by the dog, but also by the person’s feet and even the dog’s leash.  The artist is usually listed as a futurist style artist, but he is just such a master at creating movement. I feel as if the dog is going to scurry right off the page. The dog is taking the owner for a walk, not vice-a-versa!

Another artist that did a great job capturing movement was Al Hirschfeld was my favorite caricature artist. He drew great simple caricatures of celebrities and actors using ink on rice paper. Working in lithography for the most part the artist had a great life as an artist living nearly to nearly one hundred years. This picture below is of the 1940s thru 1960s star Danny Kaye. Kaye was always moving and dancing in the movies that made him famous and Hirschfeld did a great job capturing this.


One artist making wonderful works capturing movement in oils would be Robert Liberace. Liberace makes wonderful Renaissance looking type art usually featuring one lone figure moving across the picture plane. I love his style for his end compositions and movement of objects across the picture plane. He is able to establish a great amount of depth which is tough to achieve on such small sized works. Here is a great example of Robert Liberace’s style of art. He has some great dvds out on drawing using classical methods and techniques.




Balla passed away in 1958 at the age of 86 years old! I enjoy this artist for his awesome and wonderful moving images of the human figure.




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