Posts Tagged ‘trompe’

Artist of the moment…….Sylvan Lionni




Sylvan Lionni is an abstract artist who paints with very bold color. Lionni attended the School of Visual Arts located in New York City earning a B.F.A. The artist went on to earn a M.F.A. from Bard College located in Hudson, New York.

The artist refuses to define himself as to what kind of painter he is. Lionni believes that once you say you are this kind of artist, it closes the door to a level of creativity. The artist admires the minimalist and abstract art movements.

In this clip we visit a show with the great James Kalm featuring the work of Sylvan Lionni:

The artist has also worked as a printmaker most recently as an artist in residence at the University of Connecticut.

Lionni works mainly with arcylics and often works on unique surfaces such as steel.

Price range information: Sorry none available.

Below a link to the website of Sylvan Lionni. The homepage has what at first glance looks to be a photograph of a ruler that is in fact a painting. In creating these works the artist has created a process similar to the way manufactured steel is produced.

Lionni is also shown in the group of artists by the great James Kalm. Lionni’s work appears at 3: 55 into the clip:


What I enjoy most about this artist is his sense of space and the fact that he can create remarkable works of art either abstractly or in a trompe painting style. In his trompe style his rulers often look like photographs, very impressive!


Artist of the moment…….money artist J.S.G. Boggs






J.S.G. Boggs was born in the 1955 in Woodbury, New Jersey He is seen by some governments as a crook, though he works with only one side of the paper when he makes his trademark Boggs bills.

In the next few posts we will look other money painters. The Secret Service was established in 1865 to help combat fraud. One of the first artists they went after was John Haberle. His claim to fame happened when a respected art critic said his art used real stamps and real money glued to a board. When it was proven that the images were really paintings, a true legend was made. Haberle was able to fool the human eye. Below is an example of John Haberle’s style.


In this clip we see the artist in action.

His birth name is Steve Litzner.

A sample of how he uses art as money. He makes both bills and notes. In most transactions notes are used with the premise that the receiver of the note realizes they are accepting art as currency. In most cases the person getting the note doesn’t realize the true value. I would imagine they are shocked to find out the true value of his work. A $10 Boggs bill can fetch more than $1000 on the private market.

A book was made of Boggs and his artwork titled Boggs, A Comedy of Values

He has done several currency works with his own unique style. One was a mural titled All the Worlds a Stage that concentrated on Shakespearean themes. Another was a design featuring Harriet Tubman on the $100 bill rather than Ben Franklin. The F.U.N. note you see in the gallery stands for the Florida United Numismatists.

He has been brought to court by foreign governments for his artwork. First was in 1986 in London. He faced 40 years on this charge. Another was in Australia three years later. He was acquitted on both accounts as he was able to prove the receivers of the notes knew they were not real. He work has been confiscated by the U.S. Government but he has never faced any charges here.

Though his charges were thrown out he was able to cause the Bank of England to change its ways. They now copyright all of their artwork so technically it isn’t to be reproduced at all.

I enjoy artists like this who break the mold. And how about John Haberle! His story about fooling the eye of an art critic reminds me of the two painters who were painting trompe with the subject matter being grapes. One artist’s painted grapes that fooled the other artist into believing it was real. When the second artist reveals his painting and birds came immediately. The other artist gave up in defeat saying that too fool a human is one thing, but to fool the birds is another! What an amazing technical skills are used to develop this style of art!


Painters of food…..Scott Fraser…

surfaced used: board, paper, and  copper

mediums used: oils, graphite


A link to the artist’s personal website:

On line and land based galleries:   Gallery 1261 in downtown Denver, Colorado.

J. Cacciola Gallery in New York, New York.

Jenkins Johnson Gallery in New York and San Francisco.

He was born in 1957 Evanston, Illinois . The artist attended college at the Kansas City Art Institute, University of Colorado at Denver, as well as in Germany. It was in Germany where he learned the process of glazing.   The artist was influenced by a wide variety of painters such as Lucien Freud, Vermeer, Van Dyck, Vander Wyden, Joseph Cornell, Paul Klee, and Frank Auerbach. He was also influenced by some London painters such as Francis Bacon whose face has even appeared in works by Fraser. He credits seeing works by Bacon at the Tate and also in Spain as pushing to make the artist’s work more narrative.  The artist was also inspired by Spanish artists  Lopez Garcia  and Isabella Quintnilla.

The artist went to Europe in his mid twenties and fell in love with the Dutch and Flemish painters of the 1600s. His favorite Vermeer painting is  “Woman Pouring Milk.” Its awesome to see so many different styles that were influenced by the same Renaissance artists.  Wayne Thiebaud, whom I wrote about just days ago, also loved Vermeer and thought his paintings made time stop due to the lack of sharp edges and light glazes of color.

The artist is a slow painter, as is anyone that uses so many glazes, and for the most part paints smaller works many measuring less than 16 inches on a side.  His works on copper are very small but highly detailed.  The artist finds he learns more from large paintings so he tries one or two paintings that he spends up to one year to complete! The drawings takes months alone to complete. He enjoys painting a wide variety of textures.

I enjoy the humor also in the artist’s work. Goldfish that young children eat are swimming in space sometimes.  Hershey kisses are flying on the board. Although he can render an object with a high level of detail what impresses me most is his design using repeating shapes with light glazes of many colors. The artist paints in light acrylics first to see how the art will look when finished. He then finishes the work with layer upon layer of oils I learned this from the artist. Its easier to make changes working this way because the acrylics dries so fast.

Art task of the day: Before you eat all your Easter candy please save piece of chocolate and try to paint it. Take a couple of days and see if you can really sink your teeth into it!

I started a new job yesterday so didn’t finish this in time to post so I will post another artist later today!

Happy painting!



In the artist’s studio hangs a rose he painted when he was only 3 years old. I myself designed many plates when I was little and now use my favorite plate as my palette for my acrylic paints! I think we as artists should always have some works that we made at early ages around to remind us of what level we started at.



The artist is well known for his botanical and food paintings. His Animal crackers come to life and are dancers on a public stage. Another favorite subject of the artist are Hershey’s chocolate kisses. These are incredible for their reflected light. The artist makes well detailed drawings in graphite before he starts the painting. As a trompe painter he enjoys the challenge of giving ordinary objects life.

His works are included in many museum collections.



Awesome Acrylic artist series……John Pugh…

A short clip some murals painted by the artist. Really helps you see that the artist can paint any texture realistically!


Another clip showing the artist working on a piece.

mediums used: acrylics, various mixed media, sculpture

surfaces used: sides and wall of buildings

Sorry I couldn’t find any price ranges. No prints or posters available, ONLY MURALS!


Keep in mind that the people you see are part of the painting. The person in the cafe, the gentleman watching the boat in a bottle, even the woman looking into a building which was a college commission done by the artist. I continue to be amazed at the level of depth achieved by the artist.


For this artist a small work is 10 by 20 feet! He loves to paint murals that fool the eye! After doing so many works on the sides of buildings and flat surfaces he has become a master at the trompe style of painting. By exaggerating perspective and  using the human figure so the viewer can relate to the work, he tricks you into believing the image is reality.

The artist has done many many public commissions from local state, city governments, and universities, as well as private clients.

The artist is having his website updated so stay tuned for more.

He started painting murals in the 1970s. He has traveled the world over painting murals in the United States in the lower forty eight as well as Alaska, Hawaii,  Taiwan, and New Zealand. The artist describes his painting style as narrative illusionism.

The artist attended California  State University at Chico and finished college in 1983.

Not only does he do amazing work with acrylics, but in some cases he also produces sculptures. In addition to making art on several times he has been asked to help with architectural and building designs.


The artist currently lives in Santa Cruz, California. If you are in the California area close to Los Gatos I highly recommend to visit the towns museum as the artist is giving a lecture and meeting the public. The reception and lecture take place on April 26th, 2012 and start at 6pm in the evening.

In the picture gallery you can see a book that he has out showing his many murals that was printed in 2006. I researched on and and a used book can be had for $30. A brand new hardcover will put you back $150.

John Pugh finds great satisfaction in his work. He believes people in general liked to be tricked in a visual manner. When working life size people also can feel or imagine themselves in the picture.

What can’t we learn from this artist! A highly intelligent painter and this guy is a modern day Michelangelo for the amount of public commissions he paints. Think about how long it would take you to design such a large piece. He has painted sides of buildings as long as 80 feet! Just amazing!

Happy painting!