Archive for March 29, 2013

Artist of the moment….Pitseolak Ashoona

Pitseolak Ashoona was another artist coming from the Native Inuit tribe of Canada. She was the last of her generation to live the traditional nomadic lifestyle enjoyed by the Inuit since before 1000 B.C.  The tribe lived the basic hunting and gathering life with few material possessions and awful healthcare. She had 17 children and only 5 survived infancy. Ashoona was born around 1904 to 1907 and passed away in 1983.

price range info: Etchings,lithographs, and felt tip markers  range $500 to $2500. Works in stone range $500 to $5000.

Again it was the conduit of the Inuit people and the fine art world James Houston who convinced her to give print making a try.

She specialized in much of the same themes, hunting, riding in the canoe, and fables and legends rather than use stones or antlers to carve her story, the artist enjoyed drawing more than anything else and expressed herself in this method although she had done sculptures in the past it wasn’t a main genre for the artist.

The artist had a great use of color and many works were executed with felt tip pens giving them vivid color.

Pitseolak Ashoona appeared on a Canadian postage stamp for International Women’s Day.

Made a Member of the Order of Canada. The highest civilian honor available in Canada.

The artist married a hunter who passed away due to illness when he was only forty years old.

Included in the National Gallery of Art of Canada.

Artist of the moment…….Benny Andrews…


Benny Andrews was an African American painter who enjoyed working with the figure in a very expressive manner. Benny Andrews was born in the year 1930 to sharecroppers in Plainview Georgia. Andrews was one of ten children. Andrews was the first in his family to accomplish many things taken for granted today. He was the first to graduate from high school and went on to serve in the Air Force.

An excerpt from a documentary made about Benny Andrews.

After leaving the Air Force the artist took advantage of the Government Infantry program to attend college at the Art Institute of Chicago. Whilst at the institute a major influence was Jack Levine whom I have profiled before. Levine was the Daumier of modern times making fun of politicians and making social commentary in his art. Below is a great example of Levine’s work. He lived from 1915 to 2010.


Was named director of visual arts for the National Endowment for the Arts and was part of developing the National Arts Program.

Andrews art was a mixture of minimalism and realism. For minimalism I am reminded of the early works of Dean Mitchell. His small watercolor portraits of persons of color living in the south. Many of Andrews characters seem to move about all the empty space on his finished works. With his style of clothing he gives his characters, Romare Bearden comes to mind. Much like Bearden Andrews enjoyed playing with texture having some very rough and parts of his work appear rough and unfinished in conjunction with other more finished and polished parts of the piece.

The artist seemed to specialize in working with the figure who was under a lot of stress or depressed. Kathe Kollwitz comes to mind when looking at the art of Benny Adams. Kollwitz had a negative view on the world as she struggled living in Germany especially during the time of World War 2. She was placed on the list of degenerate artists like Ernst Wilhelm Nay whom I recently profiled and was forbidden to exhibit her art work. Below is a great example of Kollwitz’s style. Kollwitz was great at capturing the dark feelings of war, especially since many of these works have no color, just black and white. Andrews did series also on the Holocaust, the Native American struggle, and even Hurricane Katrina.


In this clip a brief interview with the artist:

Andrews passed away in 2006 at the age of 75 years old due to cancer. Andrews laid the ground for many African American artists to follow.

Price range information: Collage works are the most expensive going from $5,000 to $20,000. Works done in ink range $1,000 to $3,000. Etchings can be found for around $1,000.

Oils, gouache, and watercolor works reach as high as $20,000.


Artist of the moment….Arman Manookian….


Arman Manookian was a highly skilled artist that took his own life before the age of 28 years old. Though only working for little more than half a decade his works are celebrated for their wonderful use of color. Arman Manookian was born in the year 1904 in the city of Constantinople, Turkey.  I love his use of warm and cool colors, very pop and lively. The boldness reminds me pop art master Peter Max. I would say Manookian’s palette is slightly cooler, but mixed with the reds both artist’s landscapes exude warmth. His father published the Armenian newspaper.

Manookian, much like the Inuit peoples of North America, enjoyed using art to capture his culture and heritage of Hawaii. He was different as he wasn’t a native. His family came from the country of Armenia and other famous Armenian artists would be Gorky and Pinajian, the art worlds newest superstar.

Back in 1915 was the time of the genocide in Armenia. One day 600 highly educated people were gathered up and killed. Manookian’s father hid in his publishing head quarters of his newspaper. His father would die of the flu epidemic in 1917 and his mom sold the newspaper business and gave her son money to come to America.

Joined the armed forces and earned a great deal of positive reviews for some works he did for a Major McClellan.

Aloha! In this awesome clip view a montage of the artist’s paintings of Hawaii.

The artist worked in oils and gouache.

He passed away in 1931 taking his own life by ingesting poison.


Artist of the moment……..Arman….




Arman was a fantastic sculptor that came from France and moved to the United States and became a naturalized citizen. He is renown for his technique of taking something apart, and remaking it. In some ways similar to the art of Mimmo Rotella, taking one thought and reorganizing it. His birth name was Armand Pierre Fernandez born in 1928 in the city of Nice, France. He came from a family that was immersed in art and his father enjoyed photography and painting. Arman is renown for using the same shape over and over in his work. For instance a work might contain 20 different stamps or axes. The axes for example would be welded together in a geometric shape such as a triangle.

The early name for these works were called “cachets.” Works with the accumulated objects on a flat surface, stamps on fabric.  Gaining recognition for these works was a big step in the young artists career.

Became a citizen of the United States in 1971.

Was in a movie that Andy Warhol produced in 1964 titled Dinner at Daley’s.

Produced a large amount of public sculpture work.

Two  accumulations include a collection of 83 military tanks and vehicles. Another exhibition included many matchbox sized automobiles.

Arman enjoyed the work and was heavily inspired by Kurt Schwitters. I have posted about Schwitters before as he often has works for sale on ebay. A wonderful collage and decollage artiss that made wonderful works with the headlines and newspapes, stamps, and bus passes.

Arman studied math and philosophy for his collegiate studies.

First show in the Untied States was in 1961.

Attended Ecole Nationale des Art Decoratifs in Nice, France. A school for the designer arts (graphic design.) Also attended Ecole du Louvre, School of the Louvre in Paris, France majoring in oriental studies.

Became friends with well known french artist Yves Klein. Klein was the artist known for his female nudes and his Klein Blue. Working with Klein the two collaborated in creating a work titled “Fill Up.” It was basically a collection of garbage the duo collected. It brought the duo fame and recognition on Europe.

In this clip view a show given for the artist in 2011.

In this clip our dear art friend James Kalm takes us on a show featuring the artist.

Price range information: Arman was very prolific. Works in acrylics range from $5,000 to the low six figures. Lithographs range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Bronzes range from $500 to the low six figures. Etchings start at $500.

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

With his art and his idea of repeating the same shape it reminds the viewer of Andy Warhol and Pop Art. See how many variations he comes up with for using violins both flat and in three dimensions.