Archive for November 7, 2013

Artist of the moment……David Levinthal

David Levinthal is an American photographer born in the year 1949 in San Francisco, California. Certainly one of the smartest artists I have profiled here Levinthal has earned a degree from MIT Sloan School of Management, a masters of fine art photography from Yale, and a bachelor degree in studio art from Stanford. Wow!

As for his photography, Levinthal images are easily recognized for his compositions and for the fact that most are shot by a Polaroid camera. For his compositions Levinthal uses toys, dolls, really anything small in scale and then creates a unique environment for the characters using a shoebox.

In this clip we take a look at the Polaroid Art Collection. David Levinthal is interviewed at the six minute mark into the clip. Polaroid had always supported artists and liked to see the way different artists used their materials. Because of their close relationship with artists, their collection of photography was among the best in the world including artists like Levinthal and Ansel Adams.

In this clip we view  a show titled “Jesus” by David Levinthal. We visit the artist at the shows opening and he tells us about his inspirations for this series:

With the shoebox format he can recreate anything from a diner to a hotel room or billiard hall.

The artist is the epitome of Pop art as he explores issues that trouble us all on a daily basis from politics, to racism, to racial stereotypes.

In addition Levinthal enjoys using toys for his art as Levinthal sees this as a way of socializing our young.

David Levinthal is  one of my favorite photographers because his style is so adultlike and childlike at the same time. When was the last time you played with a G.I. Joe action figure or Barbie Doll? David Levinthal is lucky enough and skilled enough as an artisan photographer he does it on a daily basis!

Price range information:  Works range from $4,000 to $60,000.

David Levinthal is a recipient a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Levinthal is also the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts.

To close we will take a look at a work dealing with racism. The work is titled Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Impressive the way toys can be used for social commentary! Awesome!

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Artist of the moment……Harris G. Strong

Harris G. Strong was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin in the year 1920. He was among the first artist to paint directly onto ceramic tile. Harris  Strong was inspired to become an artist as one of his aunts owned a greeting card company. Strong loved to create and enjoyed making ceramic tiles, prints, woodcuts, collages, and paintings.

For his collegiate education Strong credits his aunt. His father wouldn’t pay for his education, but his aunt offered to as she believed in his goal to become an artist. His aunt not only paid his tuition, she also gave him weekly spending money. What an aunt!

A friend of the artist was Simon Lissim. Lissim was a painter but also worked with ceramics. After seeing Lissim’s work Strong chose to learn more about ceramics. Lissim was renowned for working with mixed media and below a work of Lissim’s that was produced with watercolor and metallic inks on board. Lissim worked for Lennox pottery.

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The artist enrolled at North Carolina State and was a chemical engineer as he wanted to learn more about the art of mixing ceramic glazes. Like many people of his generation the artist left college to help out the country in World War 2.

After the war Strong finished college and ended up taking ceramic lessons at New York University.

After working for some ceramics companies the artist with the encouragement of his wife started his own business. Strong’s business flourished in New York and his business eventually employed 39 people. Soon the company grew to 47 employees and Strong moved the company to Maine. The company produced not only ceramics, but also prints, engravings, photography, and woodcuts.

At his peak his artwork appeared in locations including New York, Chicago, Japan, and Europe.

As a business owner Strong was involved in every aspect of his businesses, even developing a better way to pack and ship that dramatically cut down his companies level of items that would be broken upon receipt.

The artist developed asbestos related breathing problems due to his working conditions.

Price range information: Works range from $500 to $3,000.

Harris G. Strong passed away in 2006.

Similar to the Japanese ceramic masters, Strong spent many years researching and developing different unique glazes for his art.

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Artist of the moment……Larry Poons

Larry Poons was born in Tokyo, Japan in the year 1937. Poons is associated with the Color Field painters and also the Op- Art movement. For his artistic education Poons attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Art Students League of New York City. Poons began college with the intent of being a professional musician and studied at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Poons has taught at the Art Students League and continues to do so.

One of Poons’ favorite hobbies is to race vintage motorcycles. One of his favorites is the Ducati 250.

Price range information: Poons works mainly with acrylics and also printmaking. Prices range from $1,000 to $120,000.

Larry Poons is based out of New York City.

In this clip Mr. Poons shares with us some stories about a poetry shop he used to own and run back in the late 1950s and also about some friends in his artistic circle:

Below is a clip featuring a show with Larry Poons. We don’t really get good close up shots as with the master James Kalm, but the viewer can get a good idea of to the vast size of Mr. Poons’ art.

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