How a prison sentence sparked a passion for art
Mar21

How a prison sentence sparked a passion for art

Leyton, who believes that “knowledge is nothing, if not shared,” has also been participating since the start of this year in ongoing painting workshops for inmates at Costa Rica’s La Reforma prison, through artist Juan Carlos Chavarría’s Foundation for Transformation in Violent Times. The project is particularly meaningful to Leytón because he was once an inmate, too, and discovered his own love for painting while behind bars after meeting artist José Fernández and eventually building a painting workshop at La Reforma. He continued to follow his passion after leaving prison and has found success. By being part of this project, Leytón wants to support the men at La Reforma and show them there are ways to achieve their dreams after they serve their time. “Art in general is a state of freedom,” he says. “Man has always sought to make art. The point is to give him the space to make art; if the person feels that he has that opportunity, he will do it.” Source: The Tico...

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Artist Spent a Decade Painting Fifteen Portraits of Migrant Workers
Mar15

Artist Spent a Decade Painting Fifteen Portraits of Migrant Workers

Don Coen: Well, there are fifteen paintings. They’re seven-by-ten feet, except there are two of them that are seven-foot square. They’re airbrushed acrylic, sixty layers of paint. Now, I say sixty layers of paint, but there are some areas where there is no paint. I don’t use black or white paint, and so my paintings are very transparent. But I slowly build up layer over layer over layer, and I gesso the canvas seven times so I have a beautiful, white surface. So where I want a real light color or just a surface left white, it’s just the white of the canvas that you see. Many years ago, I used to do a lot of water, and I think that’s why I paint transparent the way I do. But I also love to use pencil as a texture in my paintings, and so I have carried that over and used that in these paintings. For many years, I painted non-objective. Some of my images were triggered by 2001: A Space Odyssey. I spent all those years painting non-objective, where you only deal with color, shape, texture, form, pattern, and you don’t have an image, and so I learned to think about painting that way. There is absolutely no way that I would ever be able to do paintings that are “realistic” if I hadn’t spent all those years painting non-objective, because I learned just to look at the image and be able to interpret the image from that.  ...

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Who Was Painter Georges Seurat?
Mar08

Who Was Painter Georges Seurat?

Who Was Painter Georges Seurat? Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the imaginary tale of 19th-century pointillist painter Georges Seurat in Broadway’s revival of ‘Sunday in the Park With George.’ We explore the real life of the famously private artist. Neo-Impressionist Georges Seurat is having a revival in New York. Not only does he have a thematic exhibition — based on his famous painting Circus Sideshow — currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but his life is also being fictionalized in the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheimand James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park With George, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Seurat. His interest in drawing was evident at an early age, and he was able to study with notable teachers like French sculptor Justin Lequien as well as Henri Lehmann from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Seurat produced his most famous work at the age of 25. Painted in 1884, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is one of the most famous examples of Seurat’s pointillism. Experimenting with color, form, and light, Seurat exhibited La Grande Jatte in 1886 and from then on, was deemed the forerunner of a new branch of Impressionism called Neo-Impressionism. Source:...

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The World According to Kerry James Marshall 
Mar07

The World According to Kerry James Marshall 

  The artistic trajectory of painter Kerry James Marshall was determined by civil rights movements. Born in 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama, he observed an upheaval before his family relocated to Watts in 1963, where he’d witness the Watts riots. But his experiences were never the ones portrayed by master painters he admired. And so, two years before graduating from Otis Art Institute, Marshall painted A Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self (1980), his first image of a black figure. The piece depicts a man’s coal-black face set against a black background, his only discernible features being the whites of his eyes and a cartoonish rictus—a commentary on the way a black man might be perceived in a white world, which is to say, barely at all. Marshall has painted black figures ever since, less to criticize Western art and more to insert the largely absent African American into a narrative that has captivated him since his first visit to a museum—LACMA—at the age of ten. On March 12 Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, which showcases nearly 80 of the artist’s works, opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art. “One of the effects of a Kerry James Marshall show is a call to thinking,” MOCA cocurator Helen Molesworth says. “Are we prepared to let go of the fantasy that whiteness equals wealth, beauty, fill in the blank?” Source: Los Angeles...

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Rooms by the Sea, 1951 by Edward Hopper
Feb27

Rooms by the Sea, 1951 by Edward Hopper

Hopper first began painting the effects of sunlight as a young art student in Paris, and this interest continued throughout his career. As a mature artist, he lived and worked in New York City and spent most of his summers on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He designed and built a sunny, secluded studio at Truro on the bluff overlooking the ocean. This painting is based on the view out the back door of the studio. Titled in his record book “Rooms by the Sea. Alias The Jumping Off Place,” Hopper noted that the second title was perceived by some to have “malign overtones” and he thus deleted it. While the view from the studio suggested the composition of Rooms by the Sea, the image is more an evocative metaphor of silence and solitude than the transcription of an actual scene. Hopper had a way of communicating his inner life…feelings of despair and desolation, as well as his sense of beauty…finding them in the buildings and objects he painted. He filled empty rooms with the mystery of existence and his own spirit. In essence, he, like Van Gogh, was painting not just the objects themselves, but turning them literally into self-portraits. Source: Edward...

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