Archive for January 28, 2013

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.