This week I did some watercolor practices in my sketchbook of clouds and some more substantial objects like fruits. Next class I plan to start my project.
The two articles we read this quarter dealt with how much arts are funded by the government and how much the arts budget gets cut. The first article "When the Government Funded the Arts" discusses two viewpoints of different men, one who supports increasing funding for the arts and one who believes that the arts get funded enough. The other article titled "Euro Crisis Hits Museums" talks about how funding for the arts in Europe is bad in a lot of places because some nations simply cannot afford to keep up with their old history, art, and architecture. Funding for the arts is a touchy subject because there is no right or wrong answer, but I personally believe that in order to keep the culture and history of a place its art must be preserved and the community must be involved or else it will not flourish.
George McGovern, a senator, discusses the numerous reasons why he believes the arts should be funded. While I agree with his general belief, I do no think that all of his methods of funding them would be very effective. He believes that increasing public awareness for art will help in funding it somehow. While it will bring general awareness to the issue, it will not necessarily help in the big scheme of things. Another thing he addressed is giving grants to specific artists. There are a lot of problems with this, including deciding who gets grants and who does not. If it is portfolio based then there has to be a committee to review it but who can say if art is worthy enough for a grant or not? Or if it is based on past exhibitions, how do newer artists get funded? One part of his argument I did agree with was that he wanted to make cultural centers where artists can come together and make and appreciate art. I think this can be more valuable than funding museums in some cases because it is open to more people. The other man in the article believed that the art has enough funding already. I disagree with this but I feel like my points have been clear throughout this essay.
One thing I did not realize about arts funding was that a lot of places, specifically smaller countries in Europe, simply cannot keep up with the amount of work that needs to be put into preserving certain art (mainly architecture). The second article mentioned specifically that Italy cannot even preserve Pompeii, its most popular tourist destination. This is incredibly saddening to hear because there is not much that Italy can do about it. Sometimes art requires a lot more work than people expect it to and there has to be limits. I understand that art cannot have an unlimited budget but I'm not sure I understand what the limit for the budget should be. This issue is so difficult to discuss because there is no right or wrong answer and no one way to solve it. The arts should be funded more but not every government has the ability to do so.
Ivan Alifan's art is some of the most beautifully intricate and realistic art I have ever seen. His body of work focuses on huge paintings of people covered in thick substances like whipped cream and honey. The large size of his pieces lets him capture every small detail, shadow, and highlight that is made on his subjects. He sticks to a primarily pastel color scheme with lots of white which contrasts his somewhat impure subject matter. In addition to depicting faces and bodies, he paints abstracted and not so abstracted images of masturbation and sex. He does not do an underpainting or much of a sketch first- because I follow him on Instagram, I get to see his process and how he effortlessly puts paint onto the canvas and makes it look realistic. One thing I admire about his work is that he takes pretty much all of his reference photos for the paintings of people covered in cream. This way, he makes sure that he gets the perfect image he wants and he can adjust anything he needs to. I'd like to try and do this more with my work and really control my subject matter.
MJ Lindo is an artist that I've been following on Instagram for a few years. When I first got Instagram, I used it primarily to keep up with smaller artists and to take inspiration from them. Although now I post more frequently and follow fewer artists, I still follow the ones I have been since I got my Instagram. The cool thing about keeping up with someone for so long is that you can see their progression as an artist throughout the years. Lindo has been painting pretty glowing girls for years. It seems to be her shtick and I'm into it. She pays close attention to color and incorporates beautiful color schemes into her pieces. She primarily paints on gessoed wood panel with oil paint. Another cool thing about following her on Instagram is that she posts a lot of process shots and process videos on it. This really helps me understand how her, and other artists on Instagram, get from a blank panel to a finished piece. She gets her saturated colors through numerous thin layers of oil paint. It seems incredibly painstaking, but it always adds a sort of depth that she could not have gotten with acrylic paint. One of the captions on one of her process posts is "It's not about being perfect, let the paint do what it wants to do" which has really inspired me to realize that the medium can really characterize a piece. She captures her subjects so well but also slightly abstracts them by using wild colors and adding weird objects to the paintings. I love how her body of work is so individual to her and how it is all tied together through her recognizable style.
This quarter I went to the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the VMFA. I don't know much about fashion but I went to see it because I think fashion design is a sort of underappreciated art. When I walked in, I was greeted with hundreds of drawings of models with different outfits on accompanied by swatches of cloth. Even before seeing the outfits themselves I loved being able to see the thought process behind the designer. It was also shocking to see how many ideas he had as well- I'm not sure if he ever ran out of ideas in his life. As for the actual clothing, it was stunning. Some of it was elegant and some of it was almost kitschy and cartoony in a thoughtful way. He played around with different fabrics and colors and made clothes for all genders. I found out he was a pretty progressive designer at the time and would include people of color as models and liked to play around with the androgynous look. I liked that it opened my eyes up to a whole new world of art that is not normally exhibited at museums. Seeing the real pieces that models had worn was incredible. Everything was so detailed, from his sketches to his choices of accessories to go along with his looks. I really enjoyed this exhibit and might go again just because it was that cool.
This quarter I've been focusing on making a bunch of different elements that I'm going to piece together later. Right now I have an acrylic painting with white pen on top, an outline of the same shapes in white pen on black paper, and a watercolor painting of the shapes as well. This week I've been trying to figure out how to combine these pieces and I've begun to cut out parts of the drawing on the black paper with an x-acto knife so I can layer it over the watercolor. Pictures will be up soon!
I first found out about Jerry Uelsmann during photo class the other day and I immediately fell in love with his work. My teacher explained his work perfectly by saying that he created photoshop before it even existed. Uelsmann would take multiple pictures and after developing the film he would cut up the negatives and put them together seamlessly to create a flawless surrealist image. His photographs are so complex that he sometimes uses multiple enlargers just to get each photo perfectly the way he wants them to be. He approached photography with a completely different mindset and took photographs, which are already works of art, and made them into even better works of art. His photos have a sort of painterly feel to them because he reflects a lot of aspects that are characteristic to Surrealist paintings. The detail of his work is the most captivating part because I understand that making perfect prints is difficult enough without merging multiple negatives together.
Guayasamin is an Ecuadorian artist my friend recently showed me. He paints a lot of Picasso-esque people but he puts his own spin on them. As for his background, he graduated from a School of Fine Arts in Quito as a painter and a sculptor but he also studied architecture while he was there. He dedicated his life to art. He was also a supported the communist Cuban Revolution, especially Fidel Castro. He was given a prize for "an entire life of work for peace" and he is still considered a national treasure. Going back to his art, Guayasamin was inspired by different cultures. He even made jewelry that was inspired by pre-Colombian art. My personal favorite thing about his work is his use of color and how he borders the line between realism and abstraction. I appreciate his work even more knowing about the cool things he did with his life.