Lord of the Thrones

posted by – 06/28/16 @ 11:43am

Berlin_Tomas1On June 2nd in San Francisco, Spoke Art Gallery opened up a show entitled, “Lord of the Thrones”. This show serves as tribute to the two greatest fantasy epics of all time, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, that have defined the fantasy genre for our time. The works featured were inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin. Over 70 internationally recognized artists were invited to participate, and they created an array of original paintings and limited edition prints that featured everything from character portraits, iconic themes and motifs to extremely detailed environments.

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The major link between the two series is the incredible amount of detail that both Martin and Tolkien poured into their hand-crafted worlds. Both authors have not only created a setting, but an entire culture, filled with different peoples and creatures, each with their own language and customs. Both authors also include a complex story line and an element of the epic. Because of this abundant detail, the featured artists had a vast amount of subject matter to choose from, and the wide-ranging and beautifully rendered work of the show reflects that freedom. The pieces reveal themes of loss and triumph, knowledge and sin, but above all the power of fate.

Several of the participating artists include: Stuart Whitton, Bruce White, Geoff Trapp, Maria Suarez-Inclan, Deangus, Meghan Stratman, Nick Stokes, Allison Reimold, Rebecca Rose, Michael Ramstead, Rich Pellegrino, Ruel Pascual, David Moscati, Guillame Morellec, PJ McQuade, Jeff McMillian, Paige Jiyoung Moon, Jeremy Hush, Gene Guynn, Sam Gilbey, Monica Garwood, Alex Garant, James Eads, Matt Dye, Emily Dumas, Sandi Calistro, Adam Caldwell, Joshua Budich, Robert Bowen, Eric Bonhomme, Cory Benhatzel, Oliver Barrett, Derek Ballard, Mia Araujo, Brianna Angelakis, Paul Ainsworth, Bungaloo, Epyon5

Askew defines difference between “Graffiti” and “Street Art”

posted by – 06/23/16 @ 12:15pm

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Askew, a New Zealand-born artist, has worked with both graffiti and street art. However, he considers his own work “post-graffiti”. Often tossed under the label of street artist, Askew argues that there is a definite distinction between street art and graffiti. Askew also views large scale muralism as a category of its own, rather than either graffiti or street art.

He claims that graffiti differs from street art in that it is a wholly dissimilar experience and lifestyle from street art. Askew says that young graffiti artists respond to very specific energies and situations that comprise a distinct experience that is not often found through street art. Many early street artists in Auckland seemed to have a formal art education, while many graffiti artists did not. In addition, many street artists include characters and other public friendly images, while graffiti artists tend to shy away from characters. Instead, they create the illusion of characters through the contorted shapes of the letters. However, this often leads to the public hating the work of graffiti artists, applauding the more relatable wheat paste and stenciled images of street artists.

47_askew_bushwick_2016-594pxhPerhaps the largest difference between graffiti and street art is the risk factor. Much of street art is prepared elsewhere and then applied, whereas graffiti artists create their work in the moment and with much higher risk due to its illegality. For Askew, graffiti is associated with intense pressure, high risk, violence, paranoia, loss and heartbreak. Success is fleeting, and the sacrifice is immense – there are many broken people in graffiti. Furthermore, success in the graffiti world often doesn’t transfer to success in the art world or even in society, and you get no recognition except from the few others in this small world.

Askew claims that the term “Street Art” is too liberally applied, and it doesn’t reflect the entire scope of graffiti, street artists, muralist artists and others who work outdoors. He hopes that “festival organisers, curators, galleries, academics and the media become a bit more respectful of these distinctions”.

Contemporary Female Artists Diversify Portraiture

posted by – 06/21/16 @ 11:55am

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Jordan Casteel, Miles and Jojo, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist.

Last February, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s European Paintings department featured the first-ever solo exhibit of Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, an 18th-century French master who is often overlooked in favor of her male contemporaries. This exhibit was the first solo show for a female painter at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s European Paintings department in over 40 years.

Today, many women are exploring figurative painting, particularly the way that people respond to the topics of this century, such as gender, race, war and violence, social media, personal privacy, and love. Building on the progress of female masters from previous centuries, such as Alice Neel, Leonora Carrington, Faith Ringgold, Nicole Eisenman and Mickalene Thomas, these contemporary female artists are exploring how the big political questions of today influence our perception of what it means to be a human.

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[Left: Amy Sherald, Girl in Purple Dress, 2016; Right: Amy Sherald, Miss Everything (Unsurpressed Deliverance), 2014. Images courtesy of the artist and moniquemeloche, Chicago.]

20 female artists in particular are lauded for their unique and perceptive portrayal of their subjects: Jordan Casteel of Colorado, Sanam Khatibi of Iran, Becky Kolsrud of Los Angeles, California, Nina Chanel Abney of Chicago, Illinois, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum of Botswana, Genieve Figgis of Ireland, Tschabalala Self of New York, Alejandra Hernández of Columbia, Jesse Mockrin of Los Angeles, California, Grace Weaver of Vermont, Hayv Kahraman of Iraq, Gina Beavers of Athens, Greece, Louisa Gagliardi of Switzerland, Firelei Báez of New York, Amy Sherald of Maryland, Aliza Nisenbaum of Mexico City, Mexico, Mira Dancy of the UK, Anna Bjerger of Sweden, Heidi Hahn of Los Angeles, and Emily Mae Smith of Austin, Texas.

Each of these talented women has created a personal style and method of portraying her subjects, and their pieces are inspiring in the contemporary art world, as well as promising for the future.

New York Artist Creates a Masterpiece Using Pigeons

posted by – 06/14/16 @ 4:37pm

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Artist Duke Riley’s project, “Fly by Night”, uses pigeons to create a work of art. Riley’s project is essentially a performance – the audience waits for 90 minutes along a Brooklyn waterfront for the sun to set and stars to emerge, when 2,000 homing pigeons, each fitted with an L.E.D light, will take the to air and create intricate, swooping patterns of light against a Manhattan backdrop. It was created to draw the attention of New York City residents towards the sky and the 2,000 pigeons that also call that city their home. Riley directs the pigeons from above, standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

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The home of the pigeons is the Baylander, stationed in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This decommissioned and refitted naval aircraft is now home to the pigeons, who a century ago, would have carried mail for military purposes. Though many New Yorkers now view pigeons as merely a nuisance in their bustling city, the project that Riley has created gives the birds newly-found captivating and beautiful qualities.

Though the performance is organized and directed by the artist, it is by no means perfectly orchestrated. The birds have a directed course that they are urged to follow, however, many stray birds rebel, flying far from the other birds to observe the human audience below, even swooping close to the seated viewers. Other pigeons fly away mid-flight, intersecting the careful arcs and flying patterns of the flock.

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Through his project, Riley tries to create for the audience the sense of wonder that he finds in observing only one pigeon. Even in a city sick of them, pigeons are still marvelous and beautiful to Duke Riley, and his project calls light to that child-like wonder. His work will grace the Brooklyn sky throughout June.

 

Opportunity for Artists to Gain Gallery Advice

posted by – 06/14/16 @ 2:15pm

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Thursday, June 23, will  jump start a two-part informational series hosted by galleries and geared towards artists. From 11:30 am to 1 pm at The Arts Company gallery, artists are invited to attend a seminar that will relay information about getting into the gallery scene.

Part I of the seminar will consist of a panel discussion monitored by Kirk Schroder, a nationally recognized entertainment attorney with significant expertise in visual art law. It will feature representatives from several galleries in Nashville, including The Arts Company, The Rymer Gallery, Red Arrow Gallery, Zeitgeist Gallery and our very own Tinney Contemporary. The discussion will give artists information on getting into the gallery scene, the responsibilities of each party when in a gallery relationship, how to successfully approach a gallery, how contractual relationships function and much more.

Part II of the seminar is scheduled for Monday, October 17 from 2-5 pm, and attendees of the seminar will be able to register for a portfolio review with the galleries that are featured in the panel. Participants in Part II must have attended Part I to be eligible.

Seminar: $10 Members | $15 Nonmembers

Seminar plus CLE Credit for lawyers: $35 Members | $50 Nonmembers

Teenagers’ prank sparks debate over the question, “What is art?”

posted by – 05/31/16 @ 1:50pm

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During a recent exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, two California teenagers pulled a prank that drew attention to the question of what is really art. After viewing the majority of the exhibits, most of which were extremely simplistic, including two stuffed animals on a blanket, the teens were perplexed at the simplicity of the works, and they wondered if they too could create art with a mere object.

To test this theory, the teens – Kevin Nguyen, 16, and TJ Khayatan, 17 –  placed a pair of eyeglasses on the floor beneath a placard that describes the theme of the gallery. Though they had experimented with placing both a jacket and a baseball cap on the floor, neither drew any attention. However, once the glasses were placed on the floor, they stood back and observed while, within minutes, visitors began to crowd around and even snap pictures of the fake installation.

Kevin claims that neither he nor TJ did anything to influence museum visitors, such as standing around and looking at the glasses, yet visitors quickly crowded around and inspected the object.

After TJ posted photos on Twitter of the event, a lively debate ensued about what should be defined and counted as art. Several news sites, such as The Huffington Post and NBC Bay Area, covered the episode and propelled the discussion.

Click here to read more!

Street Artist Spotlight: Above

posted by – 05/31/16 @ 1:00pm

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Who: Californian born, Berlin-based international street artist

Where:  Throughout the past 17 years, Above has painted in over 100 cities in 60 different countries around the world

What: Above has three different well-known styles of street art – abstract arrow compositions, multilayer social and political stencils and larger text-based murals. Above uses text to convey strong messages and awareness about social and political international current events. Above’s signature symbol is his colorful arrow icon labeled ‘above’.

Street Artist Spotlight: Logan Hicks

posted by – 05/31/16 @ 12:40pm

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Who: New York-based street and stencil artist

Where: CA, MI, London, Norway, Canda and New York

What: Hicks was originally a screen printer, but he also applies these stenciling techniques to his murals and street art. Many of his hand-painted stencils have between 5-8 layers, and their central subject is the dynamics of the urban environment in a city such as New York. Hicks is known for his ability to capture the mundanity of city life, along with its haunting beauty. Hicks has developed his own style of screenprinting where he spray paints his detailed stencils. The grit of the spray paint mimics the decay of the city, while the metallic paint represents hope within the hopelessness of the city. This dual relationship with the city is what inspires Hicks’ work.

Street Artist Spotlight: Faith47

posted by – 05/26/16 @ 12:21pm

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Who: internationally-acclaimed, studio-based street artist from Cape Town, South Africa

Where: Faith47’s artwork has been displayed in Sweden, UK, France, Tunisia, USA, Australia, Italy, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and more, and her street creations can now be found in major cities around the world

What: Faith47 is acknowledged as one of the most politically engaged contemporary artists, and she displays a great social awareness throughout her pieces. Many of Faith47’s works are inspired by the political and social issues in post-apartheid South Africa. One particular focus of Faith47’s work is the feminine existence: the woman as a strong and also struggling figure. Through her art and the wielding of these themes, Faith47 attempts to condemn the injustices in our society and spread a more positive message.

Street Art Spotlight: Swoon

posted by – 05/26/16 @ 12:03pm

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Who: contemporary, American street artist, commissioned to paint a mural in downtown Nashville as Part II of the Nashville Walls Project

Where: Asia, Europe and the USA

What: Swoon is best known for her illustrative portraiture. She works in a wide-ranging practice including installation and performance, and her work has recurring activist themes. Swoon often works with recycled newspaper and glues her work to the sides of architecture in urban settings using wheat paste. Swoon currently lives in New York City.