Three clips from 1915 and one from 1919 show legendary artists within their celebrated environments—Claude Monet creating work in his garden at Giverny, Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting at home, Auguste Rodin sculpting in his studio, and Edgar Degas taking a leisurely stroll through the streets of Paris. Each of the silent short films showcases the artists instead of the work we have come to associate them with, cameras focusing on the men rather than canvas or sculpture. The cinematic choice is an interesting one, giving us a peak at the techniques and facial expressions of the artist instead of any expression made within the work. (via Neatorama)
With a dizzying flurry of oil paints, watercolors, silkscreen & monotype printing techniques, charcoal, and ink, artist Nelson Makamo captures the daily life of South African children as reflected in their charismatic faces. Based in Johannesburg, Makamo prefers to refer to himself as a storyteller or narrator of what he encounters everyday. “I document each day visually because for me each day is a blessing, being able to capture movements and feelings of people who live around me.” His portraits depict hopeful faces filled with laughter and confidence, awash in spirited dashes of color. Via Salon Ninety One:
Key themes informing Makamo’s practice include the city of Johannesburg with its dizzying dynamism, portraiture, the narrative of the artist’s personal history – an unpolitical archive of personal experience, as well as themes of migration, urbanization, identity, masquerade and the transition from childhood to adulthood. Makamo ultimately strives to communicate a universal experience, which viewers can relate to and access through his artwork.
Makamo has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows in South Africa, France, Italy, the U.S., The Netherlands and Scotland over the last few years. You can see more of his artwork at Candice Berman Fine Art or follow him on Instagram. And just in case you were wondering, his shoes. (via Lustik)
Deeply influenced by a childhood spent growing up on Long Beach in Sag Harbor, N.Y., artist Grant Haffner tries to capture the color and feeling of sunsets burnt into his memories. Haffner works primarily with a mixture of acrylic, marker, pencil and paint pen on wood panels to create vibrant neon depictions of Long Island landscapes from the viewpoint of roadways punctuated with power lines. He shares about his paintings:
The East End of Long Island has been my home for most of my life. I spent many years exploring the trails through the woods, cruising the quiet country roads, and hanging out on the beaches. My childhood here, surrounded by nature and water, was an experience that I cherish. Now that I am older, I can see how the landscape is changing and am reminded that it will never be the same. Hopefully, my paintings will capture the memory of that landscape before it fades.
Heavily tinted blue paintings form space stations, spacesuits, and rockets just after blast. Michael Kagan paints these large-scale works to celebrate the man-made object—machinery that both protects and holds the possibility of instantly killing those that operate the equipment from the inside. To paint the large works, Kagan utilizes an impasto technique with thick strokes that are deliberate and unique, showing an aggression in his application of oil paint on linen.
The New York-based artist focuses on iconic images in his practice, switching back and forth between abstract and representational styles. “The painting is finished when it can fall apart and come back together depending on how it is read and the closeness to the work,” said Kagan about his work. “Each painting is an image, a snapshot, a flash moment, a quick read that is locked into memory by the iconic silhouettes.”
Kagan exhibited this series of space-based paintings last year at Joshua Liner Gallery in an exhibition titled Thunder in the Distance. He was also recently commissioned by The Smithsonian to create three large paintings inspired by their air and space archives. You can see more of his work on his Instagram here. (via Fubiz)
The fun thing about Dismaland is that in addition to pieces by Banksy, you get to immerse yourself in the works of 58 additional artists, and films by 22 directors and animators. It’s impossible to grasp the scope of every last sculpture, painting, and installation, but included here is a small selection of pieces the crowds are buzzing about inside the three large indoor gallery spaces at Dismaland. You can see our additional coverage of the event here, and Evan over at Juxtapoz managed to get an exclusive interview with Banksy before the event.
Lastly, here are links to the 24 short films included in the hour-long Cinema program I helped with.
F*ck That: A Guided Meditation by Jason Headley; Bottle by Kristen Lepore; New York Park by Black Sheep Films; Symmetry by the Mercadantes; Magic Hats by Jake Sumner; Golden Age of Insect Aviation: The Great Grasshoppers by Wayne Unten; Walking on By by Mr. Freeman; Merry-go-round by Vladimír Turner; The Gap by Daniel Sax; 5 mètres 80 by Nicolas Deveaux; I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up! by Dave Fothergill [with audio added]; Danielle by Anthony Cerniello; Anamorphose Temporelle by Adrien M. & Claire B.; Stainless / Shinjuku (excerpt) by Adam Magyar; Collapsing Cooling Towers by Ecotricity; Liberty by Vincent Ullmann [edited with audio added]; The Employment by opusBou; Yawns by the Mercadantes; Rush Hour by Black Sheep Films; Pug Particles by Ramil Valiev; Shell’s priceless Grand Prix moment by Greenpeace Living With Jigsaw by Chris Capell; Teddy Has An Operation by Ze Frank; and Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared #1 by Becky and Joe.
Artist Frank Gonzales refers to his process as a cross-pollination of elements, a mixture of realism and artificiality expressed through acrylic paintings of birds perched atop plants and crystaline formations. “I like to construct and deconstruct during the process, leaving traces of my journey in the end results,” Gonzales says. His careful depictions of wildlife are somewhat reminiscent of Audubon’s style, but the colorful drips of paint and other surreal elements gives each painting a fresh, illustrative feel.
Gonzales most recently toured around New Mexico with Santa Fe Exports and he has a number of prints and original paintings available through several galleries. You can also follow his work on Instagram.
Old master work paintings are frequently cited for their depiction of historical events, documentation of culture, or portraiture of significant people, but there’s one lesser known use of some paintings for those with a keen eye: biology. One such instance is this Renaissance still life of various fruits on a table by Giovanni Stanchi painted sometime in the 1600s that shows a nearly unrecognizable watermelon before it was selectively bred for meatier red flesh.
Horticulture professor James Nienhuis at the University of Wisconsin tells Vox that he’s fascinated by old still life paintings that often contain the only documentation of various fruits and vegetables before we transformed them forever into something more desirable for human use. You can read a bit more about the science behind the changes in watermelons over the last 350 years here. (via Kottke)
Update: Greg Cato writes: “The painting depicts a rare outcome of sub-par growing conditions, known as ‘starring.’ It’s perfectly normal, still happens, and is not the result of selective breeding (although it would be cool if it were).” You can see an example here.