Archive for the ‘Authors’ Category
Salvador Dali was a Spanish artist and an icon of Surrealism. Surrealism was an art movement known for dreamlike imagery. His most famous work is The Persistence of Memory, a painting of melting clocks.
Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech was born in1904, in Figueres, Spain. The young Dali was intelligent and advanced for his age, but he got angry easily and was punished for that. His father was a lawyer and very strict. His mother though forgave his occasionally odd behavior. At an early age, Salvador was created sophisticated drawings. His parents built him an art studio, organized his first exhibition, and sent Dali to drawing school. He was an oddball a daydreamer. By the time he was fourteen years old though, he earned a public exhibition at the Municipal Theatre.
In school, Dali was influenced by numerous artists and art movements, especially Cubism, Dadaism, and the work of classical painters like Raphael and Velasquez. After school, he travelled to Paris where he met influential painters like Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Rene Magritte who introduced Dali to Surrealism. His first experiments were oil paintings, small collages of dream images. His classical, detailed technique created a fantastical realism in these dreamscapes. Dali’s biggest contribution to Surrealism was a mental exercise (that he called the “paranoiac-critical method”) that helped him access his subconscious to enhance his creativity. It became a way of life for Dali, and he became a living symbol of the Surrealist movement. His most famous painting, The Persistence of Memory, is also one of the best-known pieces of Surrealist art. Also called Soft Watches, the painting shows pocket watched melting in a landscape. It suggests many ideas including one that time is not rigid and that everything is destructible.
Over time, Dali became infamous for his odd behavior. He grew a famously long mustache, wore capes, and attended parties in strange clothing like wetsuits or women’s clothes. Critics said that his eccentricity overshadowed his art work. His peers organized a “trial” to expel him from the Surrealist Movement. They claimed that it was because Dali refused to take a stand against Fascism, but Dali was been famously apolitical. It is more likely that the other Surrealists were simple embarrassed by Dali’s weirdness.
During World War II, Dali and his wife lived in the United States. While he was there, the Metropolitan Musem of Art hosted a retrospective of his work. Dali wrote an autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali. He moved away from Surrealism to create scientific, historical, and religious paintings. He called this period “Nuclear Mysticism.” Those paintings were famous for their technical brilliance. They incorporated geometry, optical illusions, and holography.
When he moved back to Spain, he purchased the remains of the Municipal Theatre that hosted his first show. He train formed the property into the Teatro-Museo Dali or the Dali Theatre Museum. The museum opened in 1974. It was based on Dali’s designs, and is considered the largest Surrealist structures. Right now, it contains the broadest range of work by the artist from his earliest experiments to artwork that he created in the last years of his life.
I saw an exhibit of Dali’s work when I was pretty young, and I was disappointed to see it in person for some reason. The images I’d seen in books were so interesting and weird. The actual paintings were meticulous and more carefully created than I imagined. Now though as an artist and a teacher, I appreciate the skill and patience that went into these amazing flights of imagination.
I am in the process of teaching my students about Dali right now. Besides being an incredible inspiration to them creatively, his traditional approach to painting gives me an opportunity to teach fundamental skills. In the past month, I have used his example to teach form, depth, perspective, juxtaposition, composition, and more. They’re also pretty tickled by his sense of humor and incredible quotes.
Portrait of Dali drawn by yours truly, Rama Hughes
Ezra Jack Keats was a collage artist and a writer and illustrator of children’s books. His most famous book, The Snowy Day, is considered one of the most important books of the 20th century. It introduced multiculturalism into mainstream American children’s books.
Jacob Ezra Keats grew up in New York City. His family was very poor, but “Jack” loved city life. And he loved making art. He made pictures on any scraps of wood, cloth, and paper he could collect. Once, he even made a drawing right on his mom’s kitchen tabletop. She was so proud of her son that she would life up the tablecloth to show it off when friends came over. Jack’s father was discouraging though. He said that artists lived difficult lives. Nevertheless, Benjamin Katz was secretly proud of his son. He sometimes brought home tubes of paint for Jack claiming, “A starving artist swapped this for a bowl of soup.”
Jack couldn’t afford to go to art school. He studied art though by visiting the public library, reading books, going to museums, and collecting interesting things that he could use to make art. He found jobs making comic books, signs, and murals. During World War II, he served the country by designing camouflage patterns for the Army. After the war, he studied art in Paris and Japan. In reaction to anti-semitism after the war, he changed his name to Ezra Jack Keats.
When Ezra returned to New York, he pursued a career as a commercial artist. His illustrations appeared in Reader’s Digest, The New York Times, and on the jackets of popular books. His work was displayed in store windows and he received to gallery shows in 1950 and 1954.
In his unpublished autobiography, Keats wrote “I didn’t even ask to get into children’s books.” A publisher invited him to draw the first one, Jubilant for Sure, written by Elisabeth Hubbard Lansing. He traveled to rural Kentucky to sketch the locations of the story. Keats illustrated nearly 70 books by other authors. But talking with friends inspired Ezra to write his own book. He looked around for ideas and found a picture he had saved of a little African American boy. The picture inspired him to make the star of his book a black boy also. The Snowy Day became a very famous book, loved by kids and grown-ups all over the world. He went on to write more than twenty of his own books, filled with all kinds of amazing stories, interesting people, and beautiful art.
To make artwork for his books, Ezra put together bits and pieces of all the different materials he collected, like paper fans, leaves, doilies, and painted paper. He used marbled paper to make sky. He used a toothbrush to platter paint in tiny dots.
Ezra Jack Keats won many awards, including the Caldecott Medal for the Snowy Day, and was once even given a parade by some of his fans. Today, his books are still loved by both kids and adults worldwide. From now until September 7th, you can see an exhibition of his work at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
Portrait of Ezra Jack Keats drawn by yours truly, Rama Hughes.
See more of Lisk Feng’s work here:
Handmadefont.com is a side project of the Estonian designers Vladimir Loginov and Maksim Loginov. It was founded in 2008 and has some pretty amazing photohraphed typefaces, all made out of found objects and food!
I can’t get over how nice and atmospheric the quality of James Gilleard’s work is! See more of it here:
The artist that goes by the pseudonym Cosmic Nuggets is an illustrator and animator with an eye for flat, weird, 2d creatures.
Check out his local haunts on the internet here:
I stumbled across this music video last week, and can’t get over how awesome it is. The flat, simple shapes give it a playful vibe that go along well with the lyrics.
Check out more work by the artist Jordan Bruner here:
Sarah Robbins is a recent graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, and still calls Baltimore her home. Originally from Texas, she makes vibrant illustrations that translate well to both print and digital media. I love her thick line work and dynamic sense of composition!
Sammy Slabbnick uses playful vintage clippings to create quirky, appealing landscapes with a surreal quality. His images echo predecessors like Terry Gilliam very strongly. Speaking of animation, he makes short stop motions on Vine as well, be sure to give them a look!