Posts Tagged ‘women’

Artist of the moment……Kunichika Toyohara

Kunichika Toyohara was a world renowned Japanese printmaker born in the Edo district of Tokyo, Japan in the year 1835. The artist got his name by the two masters who taught him, Kunisada and Chikanobu.

His birth name was Oshima Yashohachi. His father ran a public bath house. His father was a poor businessman and lost the family business. Relatives even changed their name to distance themselves from his father.

In this clip we view 50 unique prints by the artist:

The artist loved to drink alcohol and visit the brothels. Toyohara was known for his exploits and lifestyle as much as his paintings. In fact beautiful women serve as a large portion of his artistic output.

Kunichika Toyohara passed away in 1900.

What makes Kunichika Toyohara unique is that he used reds and reddish purple’s more so than any other artist of his time. This would be akin to seeing Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and then a Warhol. His work stood out like this due to his very bold colour choices! Very distinctive!

Price range information: Prints start around $500 and reach as high as $16,000.


Artist of the moment…..Hisashi Otsuka

Hisashi Otsuka is recognized as one of the few living master artists of Japan. Otsuka is certainly my favorite Japanese artist! He is great at design in a variety of genres associated with Eastern culture such as the fighting figures named Ronin. Ronin is another term for a samurai who is without a master. The artist is also well known for his elegant portraits of women dressed in spectacular robes. Otsuka is also famous for his choice of medium, ink on fabric. Otsuka was born in 1947 in Japan. He got his start in the art world thru designing textiles and kimono robes. He was able to apprentice under a master kimono maker in Taeko Jo.

In 1979 the artist relocated to Hawaii and would eventually become an American citizen.

Otsuka is just a great all around artist capable of working in a variety of mediums. He reminds me of the artists here that were prominent artists in the art deco world, but also made great inroads into the world of fine art. If you enjoy Otsuka be sure and check out the art of ERTE, a prominent artist of the 1920s whose great design instincts made his works highly sought after in many mediums such as paintings and clothes.


In this short interview the artist tells us about the unique applique he uses for his work with ink on silk. Part One.

Part Two of the interview with Hisasha Otsuka

Price range information:  Otsuka has produced many collotypes and lithographs that range in price from $100 to $700. He has also made paintings using lacquer based dyes that can range from $7,500 to $30,000. Works done using oils on silk, rather than the artist’s usual method of lacquer based dyes, can reach up to $20,000.

A link to the artist’s own personal website:

Has been part of shows in Beverly Hills, New York city, Indianapolis, New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Hawaii.

Otsuka grew up in Japan and visited Hawaii for the first time in

The main idea I take away from this artist is his ability to blend and mix thoughts. Eastern vs. Western painting ideas. Ancient composition skills from master Eastern artists of yesteryear blended with modern and bright vivid color palette of the modern era. Its great fun to watch artists that have extensive careers in design from industrialized areas of business art such as clothing or furniture design.


In this manner I am reminded of the great American artists that started with commercial illustration and moved onto lucrative and successful careers in fine art such as Steve Huston and Howard Terpning. Terpning is the most highly sought after Western themed painter that is alive today. Paintings of the artist have broken the 1 million dollar barrier. Both Huston and Terpning learned their design skills through working in the commercial advertising field as a poster painter of movies.



Artist of the moment…..Hilary Harkness….

The artist is best known for painting the female figure set among submarines or other large vessels. Most of her paintings make a social commentary on the current and past women of the world and where they are headed into the next century.

The artist was born in the year 1971 in Detroit, Michigan. The artist attended the University of California at Berkeley for her bachelors of art degree. For her M.F.A.  Harkness attended Yale University.

Lives and works out of New York City.

On line and land based gallery:  Mary Boone Gallery in New York City.

Short interview with Hilary Harkness and another artist, Andra Ursata.

Artist and art critic James Kalm visits the Mary Boone Gallery in New York city to view a show given about Hilary Harkness.

For a short period in her life the artist lived in San Francisco. Here she talks about her experiences of living on both coasts, and how each helped to develop her as an artist and as a person. She loved San Francisco but had to move back to the east coast as she couldn’t find a gallery that would take her. She definitely had the last laugh!

The thing I like about this artist is her ability to overcome obstacles in order to achieve her artistic goals. After leaving the east coast and moving west she thought she would stop painting, but living in the Bay area she continued to paint.  Although she tried without success to find gallery representation in San Francisco, she was able to achieve her style. No more mimicking other artists or themes she wasn’t that interested in.

She is now my definition for a modern day Surrealist painter. She has created her own universe void of men and their destructive ways. Her paintings of submarines showing the entire crew to be women are full of detail and bring a new definition to Rosie the riveter!  The new century has seen women move into the workplace faster than ever, in her universe women can be called upon to do anything a man can, only successfully. The more I look at her art, the more it makes me smile. Her vision is somewhat true, as men are shrinking from the workforce at an alarming rate, but this is due to the fact more women are attending college and the industrial jobs that men used to have exclusively go to machines or have disappeared altogether.

The artist seems to make a point of women being seen as sex objects but the paintings are funny in that the women in each painting are trying to be sexy and controlling over each other rather than any man. Is the artist trying to state that even if you remove men from the picture entirely, the women might try to be more controlling or act sexier towards each other?  As I look through her well painted ships its seems I can always find myself another question to ask about a particular painting.

A link to the artist’s website:

Low price range: Graphite drawings starting around $3,000. Original oils at $20,000. The artist paints very slowly and with a great amount of detail only finishing around five paintings per year.

High price range:  Oil painting for $66,000.

I hope this artist inspires you to never give up no matter how many people don’t have confidence in your abilities. Always believe in YOU!

Artists working with the face and figure….Alyssa Monks…

My favorite contemporary artist working with the figure without a doubt.  When I think of her work I make an emotional connection to her subjects. She is always bringing new ideas to an old genre, wet bodies and wet glass.

A brief interview with a gallery owner discussing Alyssa Monks paintings.

A short montage of more of the artist’s portfolio of women and water.

From her website you can purchase giclee prints of her figure work for around $350 plus tax. The prints are small in size such as 9 by 12 inches, but have wonderful color.

medium used: oils on linen

The artist talking at DFN Gallery about a show.  As far as elegant looking artists she is on par with Raphaella Spence!

Of all the figures I have seen painted by the artist, my favorite are the closeup paintings of a female body pressed against glass. The technical skill level is very high and the viewer feels the “wetness” of the skin as well as the heat of the human body.  Another nice aspect of the paintings is the water droplets. A great painting lesson is to replicate droplets of water, be they on a beverage can or on the human.

The artist was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey in 1977. I find her portraits to be very emotional on many levels. Of all the portraits I have seen the most the two artists that inspire me the most would be Rembrandt and Monks.  In most of her pictures the artist is also the model. The same with Rembrandt and his many portraits. Both artists drew and painted their faces so many times its amazing to see the growth not only in anatomy and flesh tones, but also portraying expression. The artist enjoys using herself as a model because she knows her faults and is very comfortable about her body.

The artist was inspired by Jackson Pollack to start placing the figure pressed up against glass in the shower. She makes the viewer take one shot of realism with one shot of abstraction to produce a very lively picture. Please take notice of the American Art Collector that has a painting of hers on the cover. In reality the actual painting was 5 by 7 inches. Hard to believe something so powerful and intriguing could be a magazine cover and only 5 by 7 inches in real life!  A high technical level of ability mixed with new ideas such as glass, steam, and water make for an exciting future for this artist.

She has work available in a variety of sizes from 5 by 7 inches to works 40 by 60 inches. For prices I could only find an 11 by 16 oils on panel for $5,000. The artist seems to appear in the national art magazines such as American Art Collector and ArtNews.

A link for the artist’s own personal website.

mediums used:   oils on panel, linen

Next up I will write about all the interesting art auctions happening in the past few day. A Warhol painting of Elvis, A Rothko, the Scream by Edward Munch.  The last big auction house sold a little more than $380,000,000 worth of art breaking their estimates.


Happy painting!





Artists working the face and figure….Manuel Neri…

A clip from the San Jose Museum of Art with the artist’s agent talking about Mr. Neri’s work.

The artist was born on April 12, 1930. He has worked with many mediums over his years including painting, printmaking, and sculpture. The artist was born to Mexican parents who left Mexico during the Revolution. They took sanctuary in California and Manuel Neri was born in Sanger, California.

Neri started college at San Francisco City College for electronics, but after taking a ceramics class he switched his major to art, and began studying at California College for the Arts and Crafts and the California School for the Fine Arts. Two famous artists the reader might know about instructed the artist in college, Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff.

Interestingly both Bischoff and Diebenkorn started off as realist painters, both went thru an abstract expressionist era, then both returned to the figure. Both artist’s work is loose but structured.

Neri taught ceramics at the California School for the Fine Arts from 1959 to 1965. The artist then was a professor of art at University California at Davis off and on from 1965 until 1990.

He is included in the  Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. , the Denver Art Museum, the El Paso Museum of Art in Texas, the Whitney Museum in New York City and the Honolulu Museum of Art in Hawaii.

Was married to a figure painter named Joan Brown in the 1960s. He had three children that all became artists. His daughter Rubi Neri became known for her graffiti style using the tag “Reminisce.”

In 2006 won a lifetime achievement award for his work in the field of sculpture.

mediums used: watercolor, gouache, oils, charcoal, ink, and sculpture with bronze and plaster and even uses “junk” such as cardboard or burlap

low price range: for paintings and drawings on paper $3000 bronzes start around $5,000

high price range: paintings and works on paper or canvas, $15,000 bronzes go to $70,000    His record is $289,000 for a marble sculpture!

on line and land based galleries:   Robischon Gallery on Wazee St. in Downtown Denver.                              Includes sculpture and paintings for sale.

John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco, California.

The artist uses very bright colors when painting his sculptures. He does this to honor artists that  inspired him such as Pablo Picasso, Mariano Marini, as well as Willem De Kooning. He enjoyed the latter’s use of color in expressing himself.

The artist still keeps a residence and studio in Carrera, Italy where he likes to do sculpting with marble.

How about making a loose interpretation of your next figure in a three dimensional medium!

Keep on learning!