THE SECRET OF ART

1 10 2014

ART, DESIGN AND THE WISDOM OF MILTON GLASER

Two days ago I was checking my FineArt America newsletter and I came across an interesting topic, that stemmed from a popular blog by a prolific and super talented Graphic Designer Milton Glaser. He is the creator of more than 300 posters for clients in the areas of publishing, music, theater, film, institutional and civic enterprise, as well as those for commercial products and services.

Milton Glaser Secret of Art Success copyIn the Article that I read – that actually was a talk he has given quite a while ago – Mr. Glaser touches interesting subjects that no one talks about. The everyday search for work, the effort to preserve integrity despite the pressure to earn income, the everlasting pull-push relationship between Client – Consumer – Designer. Mr. Glaser is a graphic designer. However – his insights are equally valid  – probably even more so for Artists. I know – some Artists are looking down on Designers – for some inexplicable reason. How I know? I am a Designer.   Has been one for all my life. But I am also an Artist . A good one too. Ultimately I am hybrid of the two.  Where does the Designer end and the Artist begin?

I wondered many times. Once of my Facebook connections – I saw a comment about a Designer – by a novice Artist saying: “…. He is just a trained technician – that is what designers do …”  I  laughed out loud. I could no believe that someone could be so narrow-minded. This made me think.  What is the difference between Artists and Designers? And where is the fine line between the two – if in fact it does exist?  Here is my view on this . Designers are Artists, who learn how to harness their talent and skills to the specific need of a market of a Client, who use their creativity to produce an great amount of designs. Their final result is measured by the reaction of the Client and /or their Public – and in that sense it might be geared to a specific extroverted effect. Designs can be groundbreaking, innovative, uplifting, flattering, complimentary…. Designers seldom stand and admire their own work…. They are already on the next project…. While Art is more intuitive, introspective, meditative and philosophical .  Artists vision is unharnessed by their Clients wishes – rather, they are expected to provide their own criteria and   aesthetic value. Designers act  like aesthetic agents for their clients while  Artists possess an  aesthetic nucleus,  which is a reflection of their own perspective on life. Their Collectors ( Clients)  follow.

In general, however  – Artists can learn a lot more from Designers. Designer  work requires more discipline – freedom is conditional. Yet – in essence – the two professions blend in a way that leaves us asking for more. It is not an accident that the best projects in Public Art are a result of the successful amalgam of  Design (Landscape Architecture)  and Art or Sculpture and architecture or poster designs and contemporary painting. And if anyone wants to dig deeper through the centuries – they can go as  far back as Gian Lorenzo Bernini – or his successor Michelangelo. They were both Sculptors and architectural designers. I suppose these titans of art were the harbingers of interdisciplinary practice of blending design and art seamlessly.

So – here are  the 10 things Milton Glaser has learned…. My fellow Artists, are you listening?  Good Designers are Artists – and good Artists are Designers. I will let ponder this on your own.  I found the text below – both incisive and rather an eye opener. Here it is:

10 Things I Have Learned – The Secret of Art

 Ten Things I Have Learned, Part of AIGA Talk in London, November 22, 2001

1.YOU CAN ONLY WORK FOR PEOPLE THAT YOU LIKE.

This is a curious rule and it took me a long time to learn because in fact at the beginning of my practice I felt the opposite. Professionalism required that you didn’t particularly like the people that you worked for or at least maintained an arms length relationship to them, which meant that I never had lunch with a client or saw them socially. Then some years ago I realised that the opposite was true. I discovered that all the work I had done that was meaningful and significant came out of an affectionate relationship with a client. And I am not talking about professionalism; I am talking about affection. I am talking about a client and you sharing some common ground. That in fact your view of life is someway congruent with the client, otherwise it is a bitter and hopeless struggle.

2.IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE NEVER HAVE A JOB.

One night I was sitting in my car outside Columbia University where my wife Shirley was studying Anthropology. While I was waiting I was listening to the radio and heard an interviewer ask ‘Now that you have reached 75 have you any advice for our audience about how to prepare for your old age?’ An irritated voice said ‘Why is everyone asking me about old age these days?’ I recognised the voice as John Cage. I am sure that many of you know who he was – the composer and philosopher who influenced people like Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham as well as the music world in general. I knew him slightly and admired his contribution to our times. ‘You know, I do know how to prepare for old age’ he said. ‘Never have a job, because if you have a job someday someone will take it away from you and then you will be unprepared for your old age. For me, it has always been the same every since the age of 12. I wake up in the morning and I try to figure out how am I going to put bread on the table today? It is the same at 75, I wake up every morning and I think how am I going to put bread on the table today? I am exceedingly well prepared for my old age’ he said.

2.SOME PEOPLE ARE TOXIC AVOID THEM.

This is a subtext of number one. There was in the sixties a man named Fritz Perls who was a gestalt therapist. Gestalt therapy derives from art history, it proposes you must understand the ‘whole’ before you can understand the details. What you have to look at is the entire culture, the entire family and community and so on. Perls proposed that in all relationships people could be either toxic or nourishing towards one another. It is not necessarily true that the same person will be toxic or nourishing in every relationship, but the combination of any two people in a relationship produces toxic or nourishing consequences. And the important thing that I can tell you is that there is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them. Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energised or less energised. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.

4.PROFESSIONALISM IS NOT ENOUGH or THE GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF THE GREAT.

Early in my career I wanted to be professional, that was my complete aspiration in my early life because professionals seemed to know everything – not to mention they got paid for it. Later I discovered after working for a while that professionalism itself was a limitation. After all, what professionalism means in most cases is diminishing risks. So if you want to get your car fixed you go to a mechanic who knows how to deal with transmission problems in the same way each time. I suppose if you needed brain surgery you wouldn’t want the doctor to fool around and invent a new way of connecting your nerve endings. Please do it in the way that has worked in the past.

Unfortunately in our field, in the so-called creative – I hate that word because it is misused so often. I also hate the fact that it is used as a noun. Can you imagine calling someone a creative? Anyhow, when you are doing something in a recurring way to diminish risk or doing it in the same way as you have done it before, it is clear why professionalism is not enough. After all, what is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success. So professionalism as a lifetime aspiration is a limited goal.

5.LESS IS NOT NECESSARILY MORE.

Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realised that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless. But it sounds great because it contains within it a paradox that is resistant to understanding. But it simply does not obtain when you think about the visual of the history of the world. If you look at a Persian rug, you cannot say that less is more because you realise that every part of that rug, every change of colour, every shift in form is absolutely essential for its aesthetic success. You cannot prove to me that a solid blue rug is in any way superior. That also goes for the work of Gaudi, Persian miniatures, art nouveau and everything else. However, I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate. ‘Just enough is more.’

6. STYLE IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED.

I think this idea first occurred to me when I was looking at a marvellous etching of a bull by Picasso. It was an illustration for a story by Balzac called The Hidden Masterpiece. I am sure that you all know it. It is a bull that is expressed in 12 different styles going from very naturalistic version of a bull to an absolutely reductive single line abstraction and everything else along the way. What is clear just from looking at this single print is that style is irrelevant. In every one of these cases, from extreme abstraction to acute naturalism they are extraordinary regardless of the style. It’s absurd to be loyal to a style. It does not deserve your loyalty. I must say that for old design professionals it is a problem because the field is driven by economic consideration more than anything else. Style change is usually linked to economic factors, as all of you know who have read Marx. Also fatigue occurs when people see too much of the same thing too often. So every ten years or so there is a stylistic shift and things are made to look different. Typefaces go in and out of style and the visual system shifts a little bit. If you are around for a long time as a designer, you have an essential problem of what to do. I mean, after all, you have developed a vocabulary, a form that is your own. It is one of the ways that you distinguish yourself from your peers, and establish your identity in the field. How you maintain your own belief system and preferences becomes a real balancing act. The question of whether you pursue change or whether you maintain your own distinct form becomes difficult. We have all seen the work of illustrious practitioners that suddenly look old-fashioned or, more precisely, belonging to another moment in time. And there are sad stories such as the one about Cassandre, arguably the greatest graphic designer of the twentieth century, who couldn’t make a living at the end of his life and committed suicide.

But the point is that anybody who is in this for the long haul has to decide how to respond to change in the zeitgeist. What is it that people now expect that they formerly didn’t want? And how to respond to that desire in a way that doesn’t change your sense of integrity and purpose.

7. HOW YOU LIVE CHANGES YOUR BRAIN.

The brain is the most responsive organ of the body. Actually it is the organ that is most susceptible to change and regeneration of all the organs in the body. I have a friend named Gerald Edelman who was a great scholar of brain studies and he says that the analogy of the brain to a computer is pathetic. The brain is actually more like an overgrown garden that is constantly growing and throwing off seeds, regenerating and so on. And he believes that the brain is susceptible, in a way that we are not fully conscious of, to almost every experience of our life and every encounter we have. I was fascinated by a story in a newspaper a few years ago about the search for perfect pitch. A group of scientists decided that they were going to find out why certain people have perfect pitch. You know certain people hear a note precisely and are able to replicate it at exactly the right pitch. Some people have relevant pitch; perfect pitch is rare even among musicians. The scientists discovered – I don’t know how – that among people with perfect pitch the brain was different. Certain lobes of the brain had undergone some change or deformation that was always present with those who had perfect pitch. This was interesting enough in itself. But then they discovered something even more fascinating. If you took a bunch of kids and taught them to play the violin at the age of 4 or 5 after a couple of years some of them developed perfect pitch, and in all of those cases their brain structure had changed. Well what could that mean for the rest of us? We tend to believe that the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind, although we do not generally believe that everything we do affects the brain. I am convinced that if someone was to yell at me from across the street my brain could be affected and my life might changed. That is why your mother always said, ‘Don’t hang out with those bad kids.’ Mama was right. Thought changes our life and our behaviour. I also believe that drawing works in the same way. I am a great advocate of drawing, not in order to become an illustrator, but because I believe drawing changes the brain in the same way as the search to create the right note changes the brain of a violinist. Drawing also makes you attentive. It makes you pay attention to what you are looking at, which is not so easy.

8. DOUBT IS BETTER THAN CERTAINTY.

Everyone always talks about confidence in believing what you do. I remember once going to a class in yoga where the teacher said that, spirituality speaking, if you believed that you had achieved enlightenment you have merely arrived at your limitation. I think that is also true in a practical sense. Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. It makes me nervous when someone believes too deeply or too much. I think that being sceptical and questioning all deeply held beliefs is essential. Of course we must know the difference between scepticism and cynicism because cynicism is as much a restriction of one’s openness to the world as passionate belief is. They are sort of twins. And then in a very real way, solving any problem is more important than being right. There is a significant sense of self-righteousness in both the art and design world. Perhaps it begins at school. Art school often begins with the Ayn Rand model of the single personality resisting the ideas of the surrounding culture. The theory of the avant garde is that as an individual you can transform the world, which is true up to a point. One of the signs of a damaged ego is absolute certainty.

Schools encourage the idea of not compromising and defending your work at all costs. Well, the issue at work is usually all about the nature of compromise. You just have to know what to compromise. Blind pursuit of your own ends which excludes the possibility that others may be right does not allow for the fact that in design we are always dealing with a triad – the client, the audience and you.

Ideally, making everyone win through acts of accommodation is desirable. But self-righteousness is often the enemy. Self-righteousness and narcissism generally come out of some sort of childhood trauma, which we do not have to go into. It is a consistently difficult thing in human affairs. Some years ago I read a most remarkable thing about love, that also applies to the nature of co-existing with others. It was a quotation from Iris Murdoch in her obituary. It read ‘ Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real.’ Isn’t that fantastic! The best insight on the subject of love that one can imagine.

9. ON AGING.

Last year someone gave me a charming book by Roger Rosenblatt called ‘Ageing Gracefully’ I got it on my birthday. I did not appreciate the title at the time but it contains a series of rules for ageing gracefully. The first rule is the best. Rule number one is that ‘it doesn’t matter.’ ‘It doesn’t matter that what you think. Follow this rule and it will add decades to your life. It does not matter if you are late or early, if you are here or there, if you said it or didn’t say it, if you are clever or if you were stupid. If you were having a bad hair day or a no hair day or if your boss looks at you cockeyed or your boyfriend or girlfriend looks at you cockeyed, if you are cockeyed. If you don’t get that promotion or prize or house or if you do – it doesn’t matter.’ Wisdom at last. Then I heard a marvellous joke that seemed related to rule number 10. A butcher was opening his market one morning and as he did a rabbit popped his head through the door. The butcher was surprised when the rabbit inquired ‘Got any cabbage?’ The butcher said ‘This is a meat market – we sell meat, not vegetables.’ The rabbit hopped off. The next day the butcher is opening the shop and sure enough the rabbit pops his head round and says ‘You got any cabbage?’ The butcher now irritated says ‘Listen you little rodent I told you yesterday we sell meat, we do not sell vegetables and the next time you come here I am going to grab you by the throat and nail those floppy ears to the floor.’ The rabbit disappeared hastily and nothing happened for a week. Then one morning the rabbit popped his head around the corner and said ‘Got any nails?’ The butcher said ‘No.’ The rabbit said ‘Ok. Got any cabbage?’

10.TELL THE TRUTH

The rabbit joke is relevant because it occurred to me that looking for a cabbage in a butcher’s shop might be like looking for ethics in the design field. It may not be the most obvious place to find either. It’s interesting to observe that in the new AIGA’s code of ethics there is a significant amount of useful information about appropriate behaviour towards clients and other designers, but not a word about a designer’s relationship to the public. We expect a butcher to sell us eatable meat and that he doesn’t misrepresent his wares. I remember reading that during the Stalin years in Russia that everything labelled veal was actually chicken. I can’t imagine what everything labelled chicken was. We can accept certain kinds of misrepresentation, such as fudging about the amount of fat in his hamburger but once a butcher knowingly sells us spoiled meat we go elsewhere. As a designer, do we have less responsibility to our public than a butcher? Everyone interested in licensing our field might note that the reason licensing has been invented is to protect the public not designers or clients. ‘Do no harm’ is an admonition to doctors concerning their relationship to their patients, not to their fellow practitioners or the drug companies. If we were licensed, telling the truth might become more central to what we do.

To learn more about this prolific and wise artist , please visit his website MiltonGlaser.com. The design Company is located in NY, if anyone is interested to subscribe for their newsletter visit their website.    Milton Glaser, Inc. 207 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016   T: 212-889-3161  F: 212-213-4072     studio@miltonglaser.com.

IMG_0016

Tsvetana For Art Chronicle





CLIFF GARTEN STUDIO | A BRIGHT LIGHT ON THE HORIZON OF PUBLIC ART

17 05 2014

 

I have discovered Cliff Garten’s work in 2013, during my routine research about Harvard graduates of the Graduate School of Design. I was very inspired by what I saw – the scope of his work , the depth, the scale and the playful creativity, all while encompassing large projects with infrasctucture connotation. I was attracted and inspired by the Bullet & Suspect” composition imagery. Despite the harshness of the theme –since the project is a Forensic lab in Denver – and the hard durable materials – the poetry of the composition is undeniable. This is very similar to the well balanced wave design of the Los Angeles Overpass – the Baldwin Cliff Garten Bullet&Suspect Pic2Hills gateway, strongly reminiscent of e lace ribbon. There is a continuity in Cliff Garten’s work – that is rooted in his inner equilibrium. I was inspired by this giant visionary, who breaks boundaries and makes a statement – with harmony and without antagonizing the environment and the public.

Cliff Garten’s clear interest and in the connection between the Public and Private realm as it relates to Art , has always been close to my heart. Mr.Garten artistically embodies my inner belief system in that field. It is not incidental that my own artistic expression covers a wide range of medium, that can only be categorized as “multimedia “. That multidisciplinary quality was another one of Cliff Garden, that I deeply relate to. Somehow through the years – I always believed that Art and Architecture are closely related and the tangent is called Landscape Architecture.

CLIFF GARTEN STUDIO | Philosophy | Purpose
There is a latent potential in every public place and situation to become more than the specific functions it appears to perform. Public and private experiences are never distinct, but exchange places throughout the +Cliff Garten - Studio BLWH E-May2014day. My search for a place where desire intersects with our everyday activity is the search for sculptural forms which engage us in the poetry of our own actions and define our personal and social histories. The necessary facts of our public infrastructure are cause for the possibility of a public expression through the conscious design and integration of art. Sculpture defines our interaction and movement by creating energy between things, generating interest in public activity, reframing our private lives and creating a sense of place within public and private realms” ._C.G

 
Apparently the Harvard School of Design shares that view, since the graduate Public Art program and the graduate Landscape Architecture program belong to the same school.

On May 12th, 2013, the Los Angeles Arts Commission launched a new program of Open Studio talks with Artists – I was excited to attend to the Cliff Garten’s Open Studio. I was one of approximately twenty attendants. It was a great pleasure to meet Mr.Garten in person – for his level of sophistication, he is an approachable, kind mannered tall man. The presentation was a revelation of his noteworthy projects, his approach and his methodology.
Cliff Garten receptor Pic1There is hardly enough space to point out the details of the presentation- what was clear was that the success of the Studio is lined with depth , dedication and careful planning. Cliff Garten Studio . is a multidisciplinary Art studio for Public Art with the structure, discipline and organization of an Architectural studio, incorporating digital technology along with hands on craft. As Mr.Garten said – “You simply cannot buy a software and become a great designer because of it. The software is a tool – just like the brush and the sculpture rake.” You cannot design something that you are unable to craft with your own hands…” Excellent point. Artists vision for the concept comes first, dictated by the site and or the location – everything else follows, including the digital craft. To say that I agree is an understatement – I share this opinion 100%.
I am very enthusiastic about the rest of the Artists open studio events . Despite the facts that I have attended the most interesting and most inspiring Art talk. Why ? Perhaps because this new form of Art, the so called Public Art is a relatively new phenomenon and is born in the Unites States. And perhaps because it is the only form of Art, that has the capacity to transform the infrastructure of the public realm in this beautiful vast country of ours. Because America might be beautiful – when it comes to nature – but with the demographic +CliffGartenPhoto +Prsentingexpansion comes building an construction expansion that takes over and it is very easy to turn a green field into a concrete desert.

Cliff Garten’s vision has made vast breakthroughs in that regard – by showing that Public Infrastructure can be harmonious and functional at the same time. It is what people call beautiful. I call it simply brilliant.
If there is any slippery slope between Art and Function – it was not present in Cliff’s Garten’s work. When it comes to Public Art – Form and Function is allowed as long as it does carry artistic vision of a genius like Cliff Garten to unite the two in a interplay that brings subtle , yet unforgettable experiences.

Yours Truly,

IMG_0016Public Art Lover,
Tsvetana Yvanova

for the ArtChronicle

 

 





BOGDAN ALEXANDROV – A Modern Bulgarian Master

28 06 2013

Dear Friends, it has been a while… forgive my inconsistency! While the desire to write about artistic events and work that interest me is as usual boundless – time seems to be the only limitation. However – for those of you who enjoy these writings, that come from the heart of my love for Art , I am restarting my writing with this post– about a Bulgarian artist, whose work has crossed boundaries. I have always wanted to devote special posts to my Facebook ‘discoveries’. Some of these Artists  are unbelievable.1  Susanne Kessler ( a sophisticated installation Artist from Germany ), Philip Geist, Ross Ashton ( brilliant Multimedia artists from Germany and Great Britain ) ,  Cliff Garten ( a California Public Artist with incredible visions) to name a few.  These artists have something in common – they are absolutely brilliant! And inspirational!

     SUSPENDED (E)MOTION

As I promised in the beginning – I only show you artists who have in some way astounded me and inspired me. That is a promise I will keep! So before I resort to presenting each an every one of them in time, allow me to present you a very talented and masterful BOGDAN ALEXANDROV, whose latest work, that was exhibited in Yuzina Gallery(2013) –  I also encountered on Facebook.  The genuineness of his vision is undisputed. His latest exhibition in Sofia  has created quite a sensation. It id here – on the West coast by means of digital  media. The large canvases  by Bogdan Alexandrov convey a certain mood, that seems to captivate the viewer and leave a lasting impression. AndBOGDAn ART (3) makes us think. Makes us relate to the people in the images. ” What are they thinking? What are they talking about…? “After these questions fade away , we discover that it does not really matter. What matters is – that these paintings have captured a moment in time – that will never happen again. The eternal ‘now” as the Zen philosophy points it. The only moment that actually exists.

Regarding his method, in Mr.Alexandrov’s own words: ” Nowadays , people document life with greater ease than ever.” Says the Artist. ” Equipped with new technology, reporters, filmmakers and artists are “capturing” images constantly. The digital medium transmits images in a format, where the image is reduced to a time code and is modified by the imperfections of he optical systems being used.” These imperfections have been superimposed and intelligently used as the foundation of his method, that is difficult to define – by creating the illusion of the movement, without the still  frames…

BOGDAn ART (4)The Artist: “In my works I depict the characters by synthesizing multimedia images in a series of transitional transparencies. Their hands, faces, gestures and movements are in a state in which the conventional two-dimensions representational painting is replaced by the dynamic of the movement.”

The Artist Bogdan Alexandrov lives and works in Bulgaria, his website and his blog  are: http://bogdanaleksandrov.blogspot.com/

Enjoy !

Your Truly.

IMG_0016

Tsvetana  for

TheArtChronicle

For Your Viewing Experience – Below is Bogdan Alexandrovs List of Exhibits

__________________________________________

Bogdan Aleksandrov, Born in 1960, Vidin, Bulgaria.

 1

1989 – “St. Cyril and Methodius” University, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria,

M.A. in Fine Art Painting.Lives and works in Vidin, Bulgaria.

Solo Exhibitions:

2012 “Purgatorium”, Rayko Aleksiev gallery, Sofia, BG. Curator Desislava Moneva.

2012 “Creation from nothing”, St. st. Cyril and Methodius University Veliko Turnovo, BG. Curator Georghi Minchev.
2012 “Local cooling”, Gallery L’Union, Plovdiv, (BG), painting.

2010 “Panta rei”, painting, Novi Sad, Serbia.

2010 “Noise”, Sofia City Gallery, Sofia,(BG), painting, sound installation.

2008 “Entrebaillement” Cite International Des Arts, Paris, France,  Video projection and performance

2008  “mixed”, Art Alley Gallery, Sofia, (BG), digital print, painting, video,drawings.

2007 “Initial E”, Gallery L’Union, Plovdiv, (BG), Video installation, work on handmade Japanese paper.

2007 “Replacement” , Nikola Petrov Gallery, Vidin (BG), painting and video projection,  curator Gordon Carter

2006 “Residual image”, Narodni muzej, Zajchar, Serbia

2005 “Residual image”, Stara Capetanjia Art Gallery, Zemun, Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro

2003 “Anthropomorphous version”, National Art Gallery, Sofia (BG)

2002 “My Glagolitsa”, painting, Sofia Art Gallery, London (UK)

2001 “Shores”, painting, King’s Head Gallery, Presteign, Wales (UK)

1999 “Metamorphoses of the Instant”, painting and plastic arts, “Art 36″ Art Gallery, Sofia (BG)

1997 “DURE” Art Gallery, Timishoara, Romania

1997 “Stalbata” Art Gallery, Sofia (BG)

1994 Painting, “Spectra” Art Gallery, Veliko Tarnovo; “Ilia Beshkov” Art Gallery, Pleven (BG)

1993 “Agora” Art Gallery, Reshitza, Romania

1993 Painting & Drawing, Art Museum, Kalafat, Romania

1992 Painting, “Nikola Petrov” Art Gallery, Vidin (BG)

1990 Painting & Drawing, Higher Institute of Architecture, Sofia (BG)

1990 “Version of Progress”, Kinetic installation, Higher Institute of Architecture, Sofia (BG)

 

 

 





THE LA ART SHOW 2013

31 01 2013

THE LOS ANGELES ART SHOW AS SEEN BY THE ART CHRONICLE

The LA Art Show was much expected by Artists and Collectors and Art lovers just the same. It was here and it is gone Iphone 420now. I was able to attend for a brief Saturday afternoon – and it was packed! I thought I was in some kind of futuristic Art version of Neiman Marcus … Not that Neiman was ever that packed with visitors. That was the curious part – apparently, the organizers did a wonderful job promoting it.

Most impressive part was the variety of Art and the presence of Chinese Artists and GalleriesLA ART (27). Among the American Galleries, who are always present at every show like ABBY TAYLOR GALLERY (Boston) and LUREI GALLERY (Los Angeles) just to name a couple – the presence of Chinese art galleries was strong both as number of galleries and quality of Art. The Chinese traditional mastery was possibly the most impressive – A wonderdful large-scale portrait of an elderly lady stayed with me long after I left the show. Daniele Sculpture Woman with w cigaretteImpeccable brushstroke – and emotion for detail. For the short time I was able to view the show  – one other thing made an impression on me – very little sculpture. Almost nonexistent. Could it be that this means a Sculpture Art Show is in the making for 2014?  Hmmm – Maybe next ART SHOW  will have a special section exclusively for sculpture – Contemporary and Traditional Figurative…. In any case – LURIE GALLERY had two California Artists, both dramatically different in their sculpture technique – Jon Krawzhyk - contemporary abstract medium, usually  large scale and Daniele Matalon - traditional figurative third to half-life size bronzes. Daniele Matalon’s “Petra” is exquisite, sensual in a contained kind of way, and masterful in its execution. Daniele Matalon is a Sculptor, who started her career in early 2000. ‘Petra’ reminds me of a sculptural version of an Var5gas and Olivia’s glamourous pin-ups. To view the show , for you is a brief video on the Art Chronicle YOUTUBE  channel ( click on the red text to activate the link).  See you soon!

 Yours Truly,

BIG SMILE

 

 

 

Tsvetana Yvanova,

for The Art Chronicle





TURNING DREAMS INTO BRONZE

6 06 2012

 PORTRAIT OF NICK

The story of this portrait is probably most unusual and has more depth  for  me than anyone else.  Our story started officially on June 3d. But it began a year before that. I have no intention of boring you with details of how I met Nick – but the truth is  it was   an accidental unexpected stroke of  simple destiny.  The suddenness, the beauty and the poetry of it –   will stay with me forever.  Instant bond.  He had this inexplicable capacity to bring the best in people.  Our connection ignited into a wonderful exchange of moments where we would literally finish each other’s thoughts.

On our first trip on Roamer III – he  invited me for lunch. Lunch was an hour away by water  from Marina Del Rey to Redondo Beach.  In  a warm California day in June, there is no better place to be than on water off the coast. The ocean  at this time of the year  is dark blue with playful ripples  as far as the eyes can see.  The coolness of the water, maintaining the steady 64 degrees Farenheit  offsets the summer heat. This extravagant gesture was meant to impress me – and that it did ! Magnificent ocean  views aside – on a purely intellectual level, I  always had a fascination of Motor Yachts  as well – their compact design, the aerodynamic grace, with which they are seeming gliding  on the surface, while reaching depths to preserve balance. The  inherent wisdom of their utility, where nothing must be in excess, except quality – the fine balance between necessities and  luxuries. The lack of space was complimented by high quality of craftsmanship and ingenuous design. Like a giant jewelry box  – everything in Roamer  III was well maintained, despite the fact that she was ready to be retired.

I was very new at Yachting – and fascinated immensely – being at awe of the ocean to begin with.  Roamer III was a lady. What a brave adventurer she was – a wanderer.  She could be tosses left and right – but always maintained balance.  (I believe it has a lot to do with technology on board.)  Roamer and I were quickly became best friends.  I loved the way the engine hummed away  – while gliding    through the surface of the water making its way towards the breakers.  I had to learn the terminology – ‘top deck’  ‘starboard’ and ‘port’  – and  at some point I even graduated to navigating it for an hour   in open ocean and was able to dock Roamer back into her slot, without wrecking it !

That particular day – it was a beautiful day in  June  9th  in early 2000  –  on top deck , on our way to Redondo Beach  – I observed him very carefully . It was sheer joy to see Nick navigate or dock his 75 foot ‘Princess’,  with focused and precise movements, that came  so naturally to him.  His profile was so distinctively British and hansome with the unruly long hair and bronzed skin. There was a remarkable unity between the color of his Celtic blue eyes and the color of the Pacific ocean at that moment. I    marveled the moment   –  while he watched me  be enthralled with the school of dolphins, that were  racing  the yacht.  I  wanted to remember this moment forever.  He  looked incredibly content in his reserved quiet kind of  way – given away only by the glimmer in his blue eyes!  I took some photos. This moment – the ocean, with all its blue power ,  the joy  of dancing dolphins,  Nick with  his boundless passion for yachting and me – all in one place  – will stay with me until my last day .

In the summer of 2005, I was getting ready for an art  show and I wanted to make a sculpture portrait of  Nick  as a surprise. The thought stayed with me for a long time. It always takes me a while before I make a decision to sculpt or paint someone close. In spring 2005 I finally started. I decided to  use water based clay, because it allowed me to work faster and achieve a more spontaneous effects.  His long unruly hair was a challenge – but it worked out well. Nick was   a  passionate Contemporary Art Collector with rather avant-guarde  taste and the portrait needed to reflect his persona and his visionary temperament.  There was something inspirational about him, that does not lend itself  to defining in words. I finished the piece on time and was able to cast it on time for the show.  As the show approached – I was  hoping Nick will come. He was out of town – in Cleveland, where he maintained a permanent residence – a place he loved very, very  much and where he spent a great deal of time.

The Art reception and opening were on July 9, 2005.  Attendance was fantastic –  Tony Michaels  piano virtuoso and Carol Chaikin  on trumpet  –  filled the air with  exquisite jazz improvisations;  everyone had a wonderful time. The next two days brought great  sales too.  Reception was at the Balboa Bay Club,  in Newport Beach. Nick did not come. He could not make it –  he sent someone else  instead  as an act of grace. He always used to do this. His impeccable  blue blood manners were his signature. After the show we talked  a  lot. A couple of weeks after the show we were planing to have dinner as soon as he returns from his short trip to London and Bordeaux, France. That was the last time we spoke.

He never  went to France.   Nor  to London that month. He never  even saw his portrait . Things developed with lightning speed. On August 19 – I received a call. Nick had undergone a six hour emergency operation, from which he did not wake up. It had happened the day before.

But the portrait,  remained  as a pure embodiment of that beautiful June afternoon, when  the stars  were aligned and the world was happy – Nick was happy – and I was extatic. He literally changed my perception of life. He brought out the best in me. That moment – I try to capture  in his subtle smile. His  head is tilted, looking down at the rotor handling  with absolute  precision  the   Read the rest of this entry »





ANGEL – THE PRISONER- ARTIST

6 03 2012

THE SAN CLEMENTE FREE SPIRIT

That January morning,  the 12th,  I accidentally caught on a TV clip about a prisoner, who  started painting in prison. San Clemente – if I am not mistaken. This man, of Mexican descent,  incarcerated for something he did in, was in  great pain and deep  remorse of his actions.  Pouring out his pain     –  and  his disappointment  from his own mistakes by drawing on the prison wall. In these brief few minutes, the presenter let him speak. He said, that when he draws and paints – he is at peace.e has time to think and look deeper in his soul. He kept drawing on the walls, with (permission of the guards) without  having any formal training. His enthusiasm was so contagious, that the other prisoners started supplying him with  whatever they can, so he can continue his work. Pencils, crayons.
It was admirable! Watching this human being, who fell  prey to circumstances and his  to  own temper perhaps, and entrapped himself – to elevate himself and rise from the ashes of self-destruction. He found a way to awaken a   talent , he did not know he had  – and found a noble  way to bypass anger and  channel  it into  a whole new level  of thinking.

Talk about the transformational quality   of Art!
It made me think  about imprisonment  of the spirit. Imprisonment of the spirit, that has nothing to do  with walls  – everything to do  with the limitations in our minds. Do we imprison our spirit when  we  surround ourselves with people, whose superficiality is  numbing ? Do we imprison our spirit when we distract ourselves with things that have no relevance to the world around us or within us? Do we imprison our minds when we squander valuable time and devote time to  exploring limiting belief systems, that impose on us ready-made values, impose on us how to think, how to react -to the point that we become a mere reflection , not a source?
Angel – the  imprisoned person with a   free spirit – made me think.
The power  of this unusual  uplifting of a human being still stays with me. The paintings were a pure expression of his pain. The mural was executed in mixed medium  – crayons, pencils and acrylics – whatever he finds.  (I presume there are no art shops in prison…. ). Not only does he lack the conventional environment of being an artist – not only is he lacking in mental stimulus of his environment  by virtue of a formal art education!  Yet the little glimmer of opportunity, time and space became his main motivator. After all – he does have the encouragement of the other prisoners and even of the prison guards, who gave him a permission to draw and paint. He needed permission to draw!!!!!

Think about it!
The sheer focus and determination he had! Many of us would try to achieve and sometimes it simply does not work. Could it be that the more freedom and  time we have – the less our desire to value it?

Could it be that the very presence of obstacles generates light and power beyond one’s expectations not only to overcome but  to excel?

Is it any wonder that some of the greatest creations of art have been created under impossible circumstances. Maybe the obstacles are simply  a spark plug that gets the desire to create in a  mode, that  overrides the trivial,  the unimportant and  the minutia?
Some of us create, because they love art and have spent time to develop their  skills and talents and want to share with the world. We simply breathe and live Art. Others create – because they have an obligation for a project or  a commission  or a gallery. Lucky ones! And then there are  many levels of creativity  between the highly skilled professional and the dilletante. But to create in the face of insurmountable obstacles  – is probably the highest form of Art.  What he lacks in  training – complements in inner desire to express  and  reflect the life-changing experience  his life.

Angel – the prisoner – artist , whose spirit  is anything but imprisoned. I was hoping I could find some  photograph of his work – but none was accessible. What I saw – was a complex composition, a large mural, depicting the events of his life, that lead him to this corner. So, I have no pictures  of Angel nor of his murals.  Just a deep impression from an accidental TV show about a prison and an incredible human being. And a deep admiration of the human spirit  and the  transformational power  of Art.

Stay inspired, my friends! Stay inspired, despite all odds! Stay inspired – no matter what!

Yours truly,

Tsvetana for TheArtChronicle

PS.The photo inset above is by Gerhard Richter.

And the Signature Image below is a Painting by this Author..





TONY CRAGG – ABSTRACT SCULPTOR

10 02 2012

One cannot not notice once in a while a giant  among us. A giant, that is the same height, same stature like everyone of us – only his  mind and his prolific resume make him a giant. Meet Tony Gragg. An unbelievably prolific sculptor – in a class of his own.

Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool, England in 1949. Internationally recognized as one of the leading abstract sculptors of his generation, Cragg has produced a highly influential body of work centered on the manipulation of shapes and surfaces as they relate to the human environment. Using such diverse materials as bronze, glass, and found objects, Cragg has created enigmatic works that meld bio-morphic shapes with otherworldly textures. In 1988, Tony Cragg was awarded the Turner Prize from the Tate Gallery, London, England. Tony Cragg has exhibited in museums throughout the world including The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas; the Tate Gallery, London, England; Musee National d’Art Moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Wiener Secession, Vienna, Austria; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain.

London Art Award nomination Tony Cragg: ‘I’m not a religious person—I’m an absolute materialist—and for me material is exciting and ultimately sublime. When I’m involved in making sculpture, I’m looking for a system of belief or ethics in the material. I want that material to have a dynamic, to push and move and grow.’

The Telegraph: “His move away from assemblage towards a material freighted with art-historical baggage could well have made Cragg look antediluvian. But as a show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art reveals, over the last 20 years Cragg not only faced the challenge but revelled in it, making bronzes that weigh many tons, and yet look as though they’d been freed from the laws of gravity and inertia, zigzagging giddily upwards, as vertiginous in their verticality as Brancusi’s Endless Column. In these amazing sculptures Cragg appears at times to be engaging in a private conversation with the great masters of early 20th-century sculpture.”

Cragg: “There is this idea that sculpture is static, or maybe even dead, but I feel absolutely contrary to that. I’m not a religious person—I’m an absolute materialist—and for me material is exciting and ultimately sublime. When I’m involved in making sculpture, I’m looking for a system of belief or ethics in the material. I want that material to have a dynamic, to push and move and grow.

“I also want that to happen over the course of making things, so that as soon as one generation of sculptures has gone up, another generation is coming on and things are growing up around me. That’s how it seems to work for me.”

The Liverpool-born visual artist is currently the director of Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, and has lived in Germany since 1977. He won the Turner prize in 1988, and for his services to art received a CBE in 2002. He also opened a sculpture park in Wuppertal, Germany. All his sculptures are handmade, and he is well-known for scorn of factory-made art; likening non-handmade works to relatives that one has never met.

 View Tiny Craggs work in a Waldfrieden Sculpture Partk in Germany

Tsvetana,

for the ArtChronicle








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.