Posts Tagged ‘keith haring’

Artist of the moment……..A.R. Penck

A.R. Penck is a German artist associated with the Neo-Expressionist movement. A.R. Penck was born in Dresden, Germany in the year 1939. The artist was considered a rogue dissident who was under surveillance by the East Germany Communist regime/ party that ruled the country during the 1980s. Penck is a painter, printmaker, and sculptor.

Penck during this time was included in art shows that took place in West Germany.

Penck also creates soft sculptures in addition to regular sculptures from found materials including wood, tape, wire, carboard,  and cans. The artist loves to create on anything. In this manner he reminds of the great American artist Keith Haring. I find  the characters of Penck to be very expressionist. The viewer can feel the emotion of his characters immediately.

Price range information: Sorry none available.

In this clip we visit a show featuring A.R. Penck with out dear friend and fellow art enthusiast James Kalm:

What a great artist!



Artist of the moment….L.A. II also known as Angel Ortiz…

Angel Ortiz is a well known street and graffiti artist born in New York city in 1967. He also uses different tags when signing his street works such as L.A. II or L.A. Rock or L.A. 2. The nickname is short for “Little Angle.”

Price range information:  Ortiz has worked with acrylics, oils, ink, and market. Prices range  $500 to $4,000.

Ortiz started tagging at the age of 13 years old when he met Keith Haring for the first time. I wrote a little about Haring in my piece about Betty Mbitjana, as I found their styles similar. Its easy to see his influence on the line work of Ortiz. His lines like Harings are flowing with life and movement. The couple were an odd pair as Haring was a gay art school dropout that would pass away from A.I.D.S.  in 1990. Ortiz was a young Puerto Rican teen looking for an idol that he ended up finding in Haring. The two were great friends and Haring even referred to him as a younger brother.

In this interview Angel Ortiz tells us about his relationship with Keith Haring.

After the death of Keith Haring, Ortiz had some difficult times dropping out of high school. Ortiz went back to the streets and became a heroin addict serving 8 months in jail.

Ortiz seems to feel he contributed to success of Keith Haring, even working on collaborations but without any financial gain or even recognition for the artist.

Angel Ortiz had his first large showing in New York in 1982 at the Tony Shafrazi gallery.

In this clip we see a show at a gallery given for Angel Ortiz and another street artist named Kidlew. Kidlew is presented first and a brief interview with Angel Ortiz starts 3 minutes into the clip. Artwork is also shown.

L.A. Ortiz and artists like Cool Disco Dan laid the ground work for the street/ graffiti movement that currently exists in the art world.


Artist of the moment…..Betty Mbitjana….

Betty Mbitjana hails from Australia and was born in 1955. In her artwork she uses symbols and colors associated with her Aboriginal background. She was born in the Northern Territory of Australia. Her mother was also a famous artist named Minnie Pwerle. Pwerle was born in 1922 and passed away in 2006. An example of Pwerle’s style below. I love the way Aboriginal painters emphasize color in their art. Many works are painted are very dark black background, when color is added it JUMPS off the page!


In this clip we see some very large works by the artist.

Mbitjana works in acrylics.

When looking at the work of Mbitjana many artists come to mind.  When looking at her very large works there is a shape repeated over and over that reminds me of footprints. When looking at these in particular I am reminded of the great artist Keith Haring. Though you may dislike his work or dismiss it as too cartoony, Haring’s works contain movement in their line quality. The figure could be a stick figure, but with Haring even stick figures had movement. Mbitjana’s circle shapes also seem to move and vibrate. Below are some great examples of Keith Haring and his style of art. Notice he usually doesn’t put in little details such as the eyes, nose, or mouth but its very easy to grasp the emotion of his figures.

Another artist that comes to mind when watching Mbitjana painting is Vance Kirkland. Kirkland started painting in a realistic style, then switched to an abstract method in which he hung from the ceiling in a hammock like product he made himself. He painted with his canvas flat on the ground, much in the same manner Mbitjana produces her artwork.

I enjoy Mbitjana for her creative mixture of abstraction and I would call a primitive version of Op- Art. Another interesting idea is the fact that art colonies exist in much the same way they did centuries ago. Take the Aboriginals of Australia and the Inuits of Canada, both have seen the demise of their lifestyle due to urbanization and economic factors of their home countries. Both peoples continue to churn out great works of art and also families that have multiple generations of working artists.

price range information: Many works are priced from $500 to $3,000.


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!