Monday, December 8, 2008

Yo Imae (Marissa's Pick)

I recently came across this young photographer from Japan that is now living in Brooklyn. I am really hoping to go visit and talk with him, as he seems to be dealing with many of the same issues I’ve been thinking about throughout this project. Unfortunately, there is little information about him or his process except for one interview. His photographs are simple yet powerful portraits of people he asks to photograph on the street. He is exploring perception as well as the process of interacting with his subjects.

“I hope to use my basic tools as a human, everything I have inside and out, and my camera as a tool to mediate this exchange of perception, and serve as another tool for clarity. Through my camera I hope to take what I perceive as clearly as possible, and feel the value of interaction. I simply want to react to the world as far as possible, and photograph subtle perception which I think leads me to some degree of clarity.

By being on one street and taking pictures of people also on the street, I am interested in what we perceive, and the connection we make. More than individuality, or different looking people, I am interested in displaying unity. Through a simple interaction, I hope that my pictures display some commonalities that can be perceived by everyone." - Yo Imae

I am really excited to have found this photographer. I really appreciate how he addresses his interaction with the people he is photographing. Many photographers feel it is important to portray their subjects as an entity and not influenced by the camera or the photographer, but this ideal of subject objectivity just seems to a more deceitful. The relationship between the subject and photographer is not always something to be avoided. In this case the relationship is a huge part of the image and the acknowledgement of it makes it closer to reality.

I think this relates to many photographers such as David Hilliard. He is exploring the world through his camera and chooses to accentuate this with multiple cohesive images. He is exploring spacial relations in reality, but undeniably through his camera.

William Eggleston (Cory's Pick)

My last artist pick is William Eggleston. While he is only tangentially related to what I'm doing right now, I really like his style. He takes pictures of ordinary moments, much like David Hilliard, and makes them significant. He doesn't transform the ordinary to make it interesting, he captures the interesting moments in the ordinary. I really enjoy his portrayal of the world, and think his style aesthetically captures my vision of the "past". There's a good video of his images with some audio from an interview with Eggleston's son at . There are more images too if you're interested. (I can't get the images to display right, so they're coming out pretty cropped.)

Kurt Wenner (Chris's Pick)

For this week I choose another artist who does sidewalk art. But it is not his sidewalk art that interested me. He also does paintings, architecture, and design; all of which are influenced by the Renaissance period. His ornamentation deals a great deal with perspective and illusion. He takes the sidewalk perspective art to another level by using numerous panels. He uses illusion and original designs to create everything from advertisements to murals.

He had one work in particular that caught my eye and that work alone made me choose him as my artist pick for this section. These two images show the ideal piece that I am trying to create. His ability to line up the perspectival lines fascinates me. The first image shows each panel of his box when laid out flat and the second image shows them when assembled together.

The next piece by him that interested me was his painting of St. George's Church. He painted an arched ceiling on a flat ceiling; another illusion that I am trying to create.

This website has some absolutely ridiculously amazing pieces.
Definitely worth checking out.

Bobby Chiu (Casey's Pick)

Bobby Chiu is a great artist that I found on the Imaginism Studios website. He is an artist and teacher, primarily working with digital painting techniques. He does most of his work making creatures, which I thought related to Emily's pick, though most of them seem far friendlier. Chiu invents creatures, which seem to be a lot of mashing up of already existing creatures, a well as describing how they function in their environment. His digital paintings are a ton of fun and on his blog you can even watch him create them. I think most of his stuff is pretty self explanatory, so here it is!

Shogo Endo and Shoji Otomo (Emily's Pick)

With the semester wrapping up, I've got a little something kitschy and nostalgic for you all.

Per usual, I can find very little information about the artists I've chosen. Most of the articles I've been able to find have been translated crudely with Google before I was able to glean any information at all, so you'll have to excuse the roughness of this post.

However, Shogo Endo and Shoji Otomo's joint efforts do speak a lot for themselves. These images come from the book, An Anatomical Guide to Monsters, 1967, 1997. The book's text and original concepts are attributed to Shoji Otomo, the man who pioneered the whole "kaiju biology" penomenon (more easily understandable for English speakers: "strange beast biology" or "monster biology" relating to those monsters from the old Godzilla, Gamera, Rodan, Mothra days... if you are a geek like I am). The illustrations to Shogo Endo, an accomplished animator and illustrator.

Shogo Endo has been a major animator on many more movies and animated television shows than I could count or name (or find English information about for that matter). Shoji Otomo had a stunningly full career for his years, a magazine editor and tireless proponent of Japanese science fiction during his 36 years.

These images appeal to me for obvious reasons, but kaiju eiga (怪獣映画 or simply: "monster movies") have always appealed to me for others. Godzilla (or Gojira, if we're getting technical) in particular is excellent if only for the sympathetic nature of Godzilla (and we're talking original 1954 Godzilla, you dig? Not the 1998 waste-of-money, Hollywood film). Yeah, he's pretty upset with Tokyo, but wouldn't you be upset if you were awoken by Hydrogen bomb tests in your own home waters which also mutate you to the point of gigantism and other strange bodily side effects? These monsters are imagined outsiders: stuck outside of humanity, outside of the animal kingdom, and outside of nature. But there is something real inside of them nonetheless, whether that reality is emotion or organs.

Shogo Endo and Shoji Otomo's collaborative efforts remind me most of Alice Newstead (Jenny's Pick). These pictures humanize creatures in a way most viewers would probably not think of without them. While Newstead uses her body to portray the pain and mistreatment of sharks, the images in An Anatomical Guide to Monsters remind us that even imaginary monsters have glands, brains, and marrow, and probably feelings too.

The book has just been re-released in Japan and one can buy it for only about $12.50 in US Dollars. (Check it outttt!)

Souun Takeda (Akio's Pick)

While I'm creating the sumi-e pieces this semester, my last post is on a calligrapher, Souun Takeda. The calligrapher was taught by his mother Soyo Takeda, who is also a calligrapher. He began his career as a calligrapher by creating his artwork on streets, in a manner similar to some musicians performing on the streets and in the subway stations. Up to this point, Takeda has collaborated with the professionals of different genres like the Noh actors and musicians, and was featured in various events such as the Fuji Rock Festival and the IAAF World Championship in Athletics. 

Like myself, Takeda's form of art is based on something that originated in the Eastern Asia and is aimed to be viewed and understood by people of the world, no matter what language they speak. The Chinese characters, the origin of all Japanese characters, have been around for over 3,000 years and were written and understood only by those who speak that particular language. The calligrapher is known as one of the forerunners who began the calligraphic style of deforming those characters in a way so they are more pictographic and emotional, and therefore could be understood by more people. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Alice Newstead (Jenny's Pick)

While I have narrowed down my project to the mistreatment of animals in sports, Alice Newstead’s performance piece on shark finning relates to my overall idea of the corrupt environment. She suspended herself with hooks through her back and said “I am doing this because the demand for shark fin soup and other shark products is wiping out the shark population” (Newstead). I am fascinated to learn how Newstead voices the protection of sharks.

The demand for shark fins has increased due to its Chinese delicacy. The finning results in the waste of the rest of the animal, throwing the shark overboard still alive and incapable of survival. Newstead is commenting on the decrease of the shark population, which is ultimately unnatural and inhumane. By putting herself in the same position as the shark she says she “will be left with scars, but the wounds will heal” (Newstead). Sharks on the other-hand will continue to perish if finning persists. I feel that by using her own body this may work well for the artist to draw awareness in a more alarmed manner. The loss of shark populations is driving them into extinction, thus upsetting their environment as a species and ecosystem.

I think that Alice Newstead’s work relates to David Hilliard (Heather’s pick) in that Heather said Hilliard’s “choice of unusual…human moments…help the audience to understand his objectives for his work.” In Newstead’s performance piece she treats herself like the fish, something very unusual, in order to get her point across.

Artist Statements

In order to facilitate our last critique for Studio Topics, each person should write a brief artist statement describing his/her project this semester. This statement should be printed out – and accompany the artwork on Friday, December 12.


An artist statement is a short description of your artwork and process. It is a written explanation of your work, and potentially the only opportunity for your voice to heard as viewers consider your artwork (since during exhibits or proposals, you are not there to do it).

Writing an artist statement is a way of reflecting on your artwork- and the materials, method, and ideas involved in its creation. There are many ways of writing it- and each person’s statement should reflect your personality, as well as your artwork. So be creative too!


- Make your statement short (150 - 300 words)
- It should be in language anyone can understand
- Write it in the first person- as the artist
- In the beginning, describe your work visually (ex. My small watercolor paintings…)
- Consider – How did you arrive at this theme?
What is your process?
What are your goals for this work?
- It’s not an art historical analysis, write from your point of view
- Be humble and grounded, not grandiose or declarative-
ex. My paintings display the complex dynamic of life and death (Bad!)
ex. I interested in working with human frailty as seen in… (Better)
- Be specific
- Describe context for your work- literature, other artists, pop culture, etc.
- Use present tense
- It should be free from all spelling and grammatical errors

Other resources

Artists Foundation Description of Artist Statement

Samples (look at the artwork and then compare how each artist writes about it)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mark Grieve's work (Sophie's Pick)

Mark Grieve's Temple of Hope. 

Pictures of Mark Grieve's work! (Sophie's pick)

Here are the pictures of Mark Grieve's The Temple of Dreams

Mark Grieve (Sophie's pick)

Mark Grieve is an awesome artist who did a lot of sculptures in the Black Rock Desert. He makes a lot of sculptures that connect to themes such as pollution and alternative transportations and he likes to create places that hold dreams, future, or remind us of people we have lost. He made a piece called Wheel arch which is made of recycled bikes that will be made into new ones for children. This piece is to support recycling, make aware of the alternative ways of transportation and it is supposed to be an experience to walk through it. It was made of 400 wheels and is 18 feet tall. It was made in 2008 over the California Street Plaza in Venture. 
Then there is the Temple of Dreams, which is a pink city, made in 2005 in the Black Rock Desert. It stood for two weeks and then was burned down. It cost $32,000. It is just so pretty when it stands and when it burns down! 
Another one is the Temple of Hope, also called Sand City. Which is supposed to take you to an unknown place. It was up for two weeks and then burned down. It was made in the Black Rick Desert in 2006. It cost $50,000. It just looks like out of a movie and when it burns it is just so beautiful! I love his work. 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Anselm Kiefer (Kate's Pick)

I have been looking at Anselm Kiefer's work lately specifically as it relates to book arts and sculpture, though his career involves a variety of themes and media.  A German artist who studied under Beuys, Kiefer is well known for his paintings and themes regarding German culture after the Holocaust. 

As Kiefer moved into the domain of sculpture, he began to incorporate the ideaof the book.  In his own words: “The book—the idea of a book or the image of a book—is a symbol of learning, of transmitting knowledge. I make my own books to find my own way through the old stories.”  I am particularly interested in his meditation on the book as a symbol and its vast cultural significance. Many of his book sculptures communicate that they have history and "weight" - both literally and figuratively, as the sculptures are made of lead.  Book with Wings is an example of one of these works, and shows that Kiefer imbues these sculptures with spiritual qualities as well.  Where Rachel Whiteread's plaster casts asserted the absence and namelessness of books, Kiefer strongly asserts their presence and physicality.  The two artists show very different ways of approaching the same thematic object.

Though somewhat unrelated, in my searches for Kiefer images I came across a site referencing an Italian exhibit of book arts that made some interesting statements: “What happens when the book object, the book idea, the book 
thought is transformed by the artist and exhibited in an art gallery (where the book as such is not the object to be shown)?
The book changes its nature:
from a subject to be consulted to an object to be contemplated.”

For other images and information on Kiefer, see his section of the Gagosian Gallery site here.  There is also an extensive review (plus images) of some of his more recent paintings and sculptures here, outside the realm of book arts.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tierney Gearon (Nicole's Pick)

Tierney Gearon is a unintentionally controversial photographer. Much like Sally Mann ( , she has been accused of child pornography and exploitation of her kids. Tierney is a true artist in every sense of the word. This is a woman who regardless of recognition she would be making pictures of her family. Photography is her way to understand things in order to process them. Tierney's website it currently under construction but if you go to this link ( you can see more of her pictures and read articles of people who feel offended by her work.

The below works are photographs of Sally Mann.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Adam Phillips and Michael Swain (Scott's Pick)

For my last post, I've decided to use two different animators rather than just one. This is simple because I couldn't decide which one of them I wanted to post. They are not related and they are each awesome for their own reasons. The first animator I picked was Adam Phillips, who in my opinion may be the best internet animator alive. His work is simply amazing, fluid and colorful. He is an ex-Disney animator who left the corporate world and became an indie animator of nearly unmatched talent. His backgrounds are stunning. His characters are relatively simple, yet they have a whole lot of personality. His Brackenwood series (found here: consists of the adventures of a single character in a beautifully developed world, which is particularly surprising given the series lack of dialogue. If you watch no other, than I suggest the YuYu ( simply because it requires no knowledge of anything else in the series, isn't that long and is incredibly beautiful. If I had to relate his work to anything, it would be that Ornulf Opdahl for his ability to create an atmosphere and a full world without being too excessive about it. Here are some pictures of his:

But seriously, go watch his animations. They're amazing. Now, onto the next animator of the day: Michael Swain!

I picked Michael Swain, simply because he is awesome. He winds up putting a lot of detail into his backgrounds and characters, but doing very minimal movement with them. He still manages to create the illusion of life despite the little amout of movement that he uses. Check out his Mastermind series (all his animation can be found here: If I had to relate him to any of the other artists posted here, I'd have to say T.S.R., whose ability to create a strange atmosphere through their work is lauded by Emily. I don't know if I'd call his work grotesque, but twisted would certainly fit. His ability to create a strange mood is quite admirable. His other famous series would be the Blockhead series (found at the same link above), which is a far less obscene and even more quirky series. In this, the animation is even simpler, and the character design for much of it consists of a guy in a recliner (the conscience) and a smiley face with a body attached (the psychotic). These guys are some of the best animators on the web, and I seriously suggest giving them a look. Here are some pictures from Swain, but as I've written before, I highly suggest that you go and watch their animations, as these pictures really don't do their work justice.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Alice Neel (Slater's Pick)

Alice Neel was born in Philidelphia in 1900 and lived until 1984.  She is often recognized as one of the great American painters.   While Neel painted landscapes and still lives, she is most known for her portraits.  Her paintings can be distinguished for their playful use of line and color creating expressions of emotional intensity.
Neel was received her degree in art at the Philadelphia School of Design.  Neel is described as a "painter with a strong social conscience and equally strong left-wing beliefs." In the 1930s Neel packed up her belongings and embraced the diversity of Greenwich Village, NY.  She became an activate participant for the Work Progress Administration by painting urban landscapes.  In 1938, Neel moved again, taking her career to Spanish Harlem, painting the Puerto Rican community as well as neighbors, acquaintances and people in passing.  In the 1960s, Neel continued to paint "political personalities, including black activists and supporters of the women's movement."  Neel became a role model for women for supporters of the feminist movement.
I am very moved by Neel's success and devotion to making artwork that is aesthetically pleasing while maintaining a balance of "social conscience " in conjunction with her liberal themes.  

go to:

Daniel Zeller (Jess' Pick)

Daniel was born in California in 1965. He then moved to the East cost to study at UMass Amherst and then

He Now exhibits all over the country, though the majority of his exhibitions are in NY.

Daniel Zeller creates incredibly intricate works of art on paper, that have often been said to look like something from a topographical map. He works in a very organic way, and never plans out his drawings. He starts with a general idea and then just goes to work and sees what he comes up with. Zeller always works in multiple drawings at a time, he keeps them all in a draw and works on whatever piece inspires him that day.

This is an awesome video of Zeller sitting in his studio drawing and talking about his process/medium/ EVERYTHING. It's pretty awesome and says way more about him that I ever could, so check it out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ornulf Opdahl (Audrey's Pick)

Ornulf Opdahl is most widely known for his landscape work of his home country Norway. The beauty and simplicity of his paintings remind me of Eliza's pick, David Armstrong. Like Armstrong, Opdahl takes simple forms (which aren't necessarily simple images) of the environment in which he grew up and creates beautiful depictions of Norway's coasts. His paintings are not realistic like Armstrong's, however. Their abstract quality evokes intense atmosphere of Norway's ominous nature.

While these landscapes depict existing areas of the islands and coastlines, it appears as though Opdahl is seeing things in shapes instead of as cliffs or valleys or oceans, which gives the paintings that abstract sensation. Something that always impresses me about an artist is the ability to generate such power with a subtle shape or form mixed with color and light. With these shapes and wintry tones, Opdahl creates such mysterious dreary qualities for the viewer. However, there is always a luminescence in the landscape, whether it's the sky or the reflection of light on the side of a mountain or in the snow, that warms these otherwise dark pictures.

Opdahl was born in 1944 and lives and works in western Norway, painting and drawing. He studied at the Norwegian Art Academy and began regularly exhibiting work soon after with figurative paintings which evolved into paintings of the natural world. A recent project he worked on consisted of sketching marine creatures while on board the RV G.O. Sars ship in 2004.

this foreign website offers a great selection of more brilliant images (but not textual information)

this is a really short neat clip of Opdahl at work and on the ship