Aubrey Beardsley

November 17, 2009

Date of Birth:
Aubrey Vincent Beardsley was born on August 21, 1872 and died March 16, 1898.

Place of Birth:
Born in Brighton-
A short-lived eccentric, he was one of the most influential and controversial artists of his time. In 1891, under the advice of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, he began doing art as a profession. Beardsley was closely involved with the Yellow Book group of artists and writers, and created many illustrations for their magazine. Artistically, he most closely identified with the Aestheticism and Art Nouveau movements.  Aubrey Beardsley’s artistic works are sophisticated and irreverent. His most famous illustrations were of historical and mythological themes, and include his illustrations for Lysistrata and Oscar Wilde’s Salomé. Beardsley produced an unbelievable number of illustrations for various books and magazines, (for a beautiful edition of Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur) and worked for the magazines The Savoy and The Studio.

Inspiration:
Beardsley’s influence ranges from the work of the French Symbolists, to the work of many Art Nouveau artists like Pape and Clarke.

His unusual style seems to be inspired in part by the decorative features of Greek vases. This stark style was effective for his time period in particular, as illustrative plates in books were printed from etchings, and painterly renderings and value shifts would not translate well in print. Beardsley had the advantage of working directly with print media or ink. His methods of dealing with value shifts and grays are particularly interesting; rather than rendering with hatching and cross-hatching, as most engravers would have done, Beardsley simply renders the contours of grays and lighter shapes with ornamental, swirling dots.

Education:
In 1892 he began attending classes at Westminster School of Art, then under Professor Fred Brown.

Works of Note:

Illustrator Miscellany:
Beardsley was involved with a homosexual clique that included Oscar Wilde, among others, but his own sexuality remains a mystery.

It was rumored that he had an incestuous relationship with his elder sister Mabel, but because of his lifelong health problems and devotion to his work, it has been widely assumed that he was merely asexual.

Wilde said Beardsley had “a face like a silver hatchet, and grass green hair.”

Examination of Materials:

Style Analysis

Though he made a name for himself with his tight, linear style, it is his humorous and sometimes grotesque treatment of subject matter that makes his work memorable. In his piece titled Lysistrata Defending the Acropolis, the viewer is confronted by a group of nubile young women throwing water and breaking wind upon a small, flacid man. Though the piece itself is beautiful and ornamental (even the fart cloud is decorative), the average viewer cannot help but giggle immaturely at something that could have come from the margins of a 12-year old’s school notebook. Aubrey Beardsley’s work is an Aubrey Beardsley’s work is an interesting contrast of positive and negative shapes.

In this piece from Le Morte D’arthur, the stark, ornate whites are set off by harsh blacks. Utter lack of tonal rendering is apparent in virtually all of Beardsley’s work. This makes his images appear flat and decorative, like an illuminated manuscript. His work was also greatly influenced by Japanese wood block prints, and his later works are even signed with a Japanese-style signature. Aubrey Beardsley greatly adored the grotesque, but could move seamlessly from horrid images of squatting demons, to light-as-air ladies with flowers in their flowing locks. His close friend, Oscar Wilde described Beardsley’s muse as having “moods of terrible laughter”. Due to his intense ambition, Aubrey Beardsley continued working, even upon his deathbed. Volpone Adoring His Treasure  was the last piece he ever produced. Oscar Wilde was quoted upon the death of Aubrey Beardsley, saying :“He still had immense powers of development, and had not sounded his last stop. There were great possibilities always in the cavern of his soul.”

On March 16, 1898, tuberculosis had finally consumed his lungs “at the age of a flower”, Wilde described. Upon his deathbed, It was his final request to Wilde that his “naughty” drawings and editions of Lysistrata be destroyed, though, unfortunately for him, this did
not occur. They still survive as an example of his delightfully perverse and artistically brilliant career, one for which he will forever be remembered.

– Julia Marsh, Spring 2009

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Endnotes:

Snodgrass, Chris. “Aubrey Beardsley: Dandy of the Grotesque” 1995. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press
artinthepicture.com, “Aubrey Beardsley.” 2009.http://www.artinthepicture.com
/artists/Aubrey_Beardsley/Biography/ (accessed 10/19/09).

artinthepicture.com, “Aubrey Beardsley.” 2009.http://www.artinthepicture.com
/artists/Aubrey_Beardsley/Biography/ (accessed 10/19/09).

artinthepicture.com, “Aubrey Beardsley.” 2009.http://www.artinthepicture.com
/artists/Aubrey_Beardsley/Biography/ (accessed 10/19/09).

Walker, R.A.. “Aubrey Beardsley.” 2009.http://www.artchive.com/artchive

/B/beardsley.html (accessed 10/20/09).

Cherian , Hima. “In Black and White: Aubrey Beardsley .” Morbid Outlook. http://www.morbidoutlook.com/art/articles/2007_01_beardsley.html (accessed 10/20/09).

Gustav Klimt

November 16, 2009

GK_3

Date of Birth:
Klimt was born on July 14th, 1862 as the second oldest son in a family of seven.

Inspiration:
Klimt was inspired by a painter named Hans Makart, who painted mostly hyper-realistic and academic things.

Education:
His family resided in Austria, very close to Vienna, and was plagued with poverty.  Klimt always showed signs of being artistic, even from an early age.  His oldest and youngest brothers, Ernst and Georg, were also artistically inclined.  Family members and friends pushed Gustav to apply for the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, and at the age of 14, he was accepted on a scholarship.  His brother, Ernst, also attended this school with him.1

Klimt spent 7 years at the school, working with his brother and another student named Franz Matsch. Towards the end of his schooling, Klimt, his brother and Matsch began getting commissions as a team, under the name “Company of Artists”.  They were even able to work with their professor on a mural for the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Works of Note:

Illustrator Miscellany:
For the past few centuries there have been many talented and noteworthy artists and illustrators around the world.  Many of these illustrators go under the radar of the non-artistic world, but there are a few who stand out from the rest and are recognized even today by artists and non-artists alike.  Gustav Klimt is one of these.  He’s an exceptionally talented artist and illustrator, and although he died nearly a century ago, his illustrations still go on to awe and inspire people today.

In 1888, Klimt was awarded the Golden order of Merit from Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria for his mural work.  Up until this time, he has been working alongside his brother in creating his artwork.  In 1892, his father and brother both died unexpectedly, which may have been a factor in Klimt’s change of style in the next few years.2  In 1899, Nikolaus Dumba commissioned Klimt, Makart and Matsch to paint murals for his house and Klimt was given the responsibility of decorating his music room.  This is the first real evidence of Klimt’s change in style.  He begins to look inward, trying to please himself with his art instead of trying to please everyone around him.  During this time, he paints Music II and Schubert at the Piano as well as Nuda Veritas later on in the same year. All of these works have a glowing orange/yellow coloration that’s very common in Klimt’s most famous works.  It’s easy to see that his anatomy, especially female, begins to take a turn away from hyperrealism and develops more into a unique style.  This evolution of style eventually goes so far as to be considered pornographic and perverse by the general public, much different from his highly acclaimed and popular work from school.3

Examination of Materials:
Klimt worked in…

Style Analysis

Klimt’s first notable and important work of art was also the last government-issued commission he ever took on.  In 1894 he was commissioned by the University of Vienna to create three paintings for their Great Hall, depicting philosophy, medicine and jurisprudence.4  An issue arose between Matsch and Klimt that went unresolved that caused a great delay in this project, which easily could have added to Klimt’s irritation with the whole procedure.5  Each of his paintings was titled with the same names and depicted nude women and “overtly sexual” themes.  He had taken symbolism to a new level, and it wasn’t taken well by anyone – government, religious or the general public.6  A poll was taken, and it was decided that his paintings were too pornographic, and thus, were never hung in the Great Hall.7  Klimt inevitably became frustrated and realized public commissions wouldn’t allow him the freedom he wanted with his artwork and refused to take on any more.  Sadly, the SS destroyed these beautiful pieces of work during World War II, and few photos remain to preserve them.

Later on, Klimt entered a Golden Age in his artwork, which not only referred to his work being publicly accepted once again, but also to his famous use of gold leaf within many of his paintings.8  During this time, Klimt created the painting The Kiss, which could easily be considered his most famous painting.  It is meant to “celebrate the attraction of the sexes”9 with a man leaning over a woman in assertive/passive poses.  The robe and clothing in this painting is due credit for the painting’s success and lack of criticism from critics.10  The sexual nature of the painting still seems evident, but Klimt has disguised it in a way that makes it appealing and non-offensive to the public of the time.  It is speculated that the mosaics of Venice and Ravenna inspired Klimt during this time.

The Golden Age produced many amazing works of art for Klimt, one of the most memorable being a frieze in Palais Stoclet, the home of a Belgian industrialist.  In 1909 he collaborated with several other artists, but personally painted two intricate and beautiful mosaics in the dining room called Fulfillment and Expectation.  Klimt even states that they are “probably the ultimate stage of my development of ornate”.  These works are considered to be exceptional examples of the art nouveau movement.11  He created these mosaics in a workshop in Vienna out of precious materials such as gold, silver and jewels.12  This was the last wall that Klimt ever decorated.13  The patterning on each of these is intricate and connected to the other, creating an amazing piece of work that lives up to Klimt’s standards.

For part of his life, Klimt was also part of the Vienna secession, as one of the founding members and also the president for some time.  He was part of this group from 1897 to 1908, and during that time was part of their periodical, Ver Sacrum.  Their goal was to show and publish the best work, and bring the best work to Vienna without being prejudice on style or type of artwork, while focusing on young artists.14  Later on, Klimt began to view the utopian ideals of the secession as obsolete and decided to give up on the great movement he had built.
Towards the very end of his life, Klimt created the painting Life and Death as he contemplated the nearing of the end of his life.15  This painting won him first prize in the world exhibitions that was held in Rome.  This was one of his last great paintings, as he died 7 years later, in 1918, due to stroke and pneumonia.
Klimt led a very productive and successful life.  He seemed to come to terms with the tragedy of poverty and his brother and father dying at an early age.  His work is still highly regarded today and is said to sell for some of the highest prices in the market, beating out even Picasso.16  Although most illustrators go unnoticed by the general public in today’s world, Klimt is one of the lucky few that gets recognition even from the most unusual of places and people.

– Jessie Wright, Spring 2009

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Endnotes:

Ben Hur Baz

November 16, 2009

Untitled3

Date of Birth:
Ben Hur Baz was born in 1906 and died recently in 2003 at the age of 96.

Inspiration:
Because he was a Mexican artist I find it exciting that he didn’t paint in the traditional Mexican art that was popular at the time. Art that artist such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo were popularizing at the time. Because he didn’t seem to attach himself to the style of México it makes me believe that maybe he didn’t grow up in México and was influenced by something in the United States.

Education:
Unknown

Works of Note:

Illustrator Miscellany:
Ben Hur Baz a Mexican artist was one of the most successful pin up artist of his time. He was a regular illustrator for the men magazine Esquire. Because of his work Esquire was established as the original pin up magazine, paving the way for magazines like Maxim, Playboy, and others. The original way of describing what he did was Gallery Glamour, but would later on be simply known as pin up. (1)

Examination of Materials:
A prolific artist he on top of glamor and pin up, he also was a advertising illustrator. He also was a very successful paperback novel artist.  However in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s he seemed to lean towards pin up illustration.  His pin up illustration were in magazines yearly calendars and monthly centerfolds.(2)
There is not much information on how Ben Hur Baz live before he reached his fame. However he is known for his “Marilyn Monroe”, “black gloves”, and a cowgirl on a saddle, all of which are oils. He also painted woman s homes. (3)

Style Analysis

Untitled

I personally really like his work. He has a very smooth way of describing the female form. He also makes them realistic. He didn’t over-exaggerate too much on the more “sexual parts” which is a nice break. He also isn’t typical with his woman. He usually works with woman form different back rounds and nationalities, not just the blond haired big blue eyed girl that most pin up artist of his time did. This is why I think he stood out from the others.  I wish that there was more information on him, I would like to know more of why he choose to do what he did.

I am also glad that I was able to explore him and the pin up  style a bit more.  Because of it, I’ve bought a book or two on the pin up world on Amazon.

Ben Hur Baz is a very underappreciated artist, and I wish esquire would feature him now in the magazines, he was really one of the reasons Esquire is still a huge pin up magazine. Plus photo-retouched girls are kind of overdone.  They should really bring him back.

– Kristina Wright, Spring 2009

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Endnotes:

1″ben hur baz.” wikipedia. Available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben-Hur_Baz. Internet; accessed 22 October 2009.

2″ben hur baz.” ben hur baz. Available from http://www.artarchiv.net/sexarte/doku/BenHurBaz.htm. Internet; accessed 22 October 2009.

3″ben hur baz.” virtual pin ups art gallery. Available from http://www.webagora.com.br/0/bhbaz1.htm. Internet; accessed 22 October 2009.

“famous mexican painters.” aboutmexico.net. Available from http://www.aboutmexico.net/mexico/painters.asp. Internet; accessed 22 October 2009.

Yoshitaka Amano

November 16, 2009

Amano3

Date of Birth:
Born in July 28, 1952 Shizuoka City, Japan

Inspiration:
Early influences came from comic books, both American and Japanese
He was a fan of Neal Adams’ work with DC
In the 70’s he studied Art Nouveau
He also was fascinated with Ukiyo-e a form of woodblock printing

Education:
Yoshitaka Amano was hired very young at the age of 15 in 1967 by Tatsunoko Productions an animation studio
Tatsunoko Productions trained Amano for a year before putting him to work

Works of Note:

Gatchaman
(known as G-force or Battle of the Planets in the US) was a cartoon which he did character designs for when he worked for Tatsunoko Productions and was one of his first jobs).

Vampire Hunter D
In 1983 Amano started doing illustrations for the Hideyuki Kikuchi Novels Vampire Hunter D. The novel was turned into a movie which he also did character design for.

Final Fantasy I-XIV
Amano is most known for his work with the Final Fantasy video game franchise. He has been a part of every Final Fantasy game produced since it’s first debut in 1987. He worked more on first six, but has continued to do all of the logo’s and character work.

Illustrator Miscellany:
The first Final Fantasy game was supposed to be Square’s (the games producer) last game for Nintendo, but due to its success this was certainly not the case. Amano’s spectacular illustrations and character designs certainly played a large part with the success of the game. Without Amano I dare say that Final Fantasy would not have continued.

Amano is known to be infinitely patient and has been known to draw when autographing books making rapid full-page illustrations in every book signed.

As a child Amano would draw on large rolls of paper that his brother brought home from the paper factory where he worked.

Examination of Materials:
Pen and Ink and Wash

Style Analysis
Amano1

The heroic legend of Arslan I feel really represents traditional Amano style. This character spot demonstrates Amano’s design aesthetic, and usual sense of embellishment. The piece is done in the materials he uses all the time, pen and ink, acrylics and watercolor. The color palette is muted and analogous which he uses on quite a few pieces. His color palette is either muted or quite vivid and has overall a light background or quite dark. Despite all the differences he balances his pieces quite effectively. This piece I would say falls under the muted with light background palette which is a personal favorite. The line work is lovely and intricate with a delicate touch and a varied expressive weight. It is descriptive of patterns and textures as well as form and shape. The face is a reoccurring style Amano has with a long thin nose and thin petite lips and a wide triangular eye, almost unnaturally deeply set in the face. The hair is stringy and can be described many ways. At the forehead it is wispy like smoke, and between the hands and at the back of the head it flows like water, but over the shoulders it hangs like moss from a tree. I think his way of rendering hair is just saturated with emotion and style. The skin is pale with little rendering; the hands are skinny with pointed fingernails. You feel the Japanese influences here. The color is applied in washes thinly in this piece, although in others he can get thick and saturated. The subject is always fanciful and magical in nature. His compositions are Iconic, not realistic but overwhelmingly beautiful like portraits of gods. His pieces are expertly designed and you really feel the exorbitant amount of patience he has with all the detailing. My critiques of his pieces are that he gets stuck into rendering faces from the front or complete side profile. It works just fine in most his pieces but there are some when the character is in a more dynamic pose and the head placement and rendering can look wrong, but sometimes he gets it just right.

This piece I presume was an illustration for the Novel of the same title, a interior page or cover perhaps. Either way I think this is a great portrait of a character from the novel that really is effective at sucking you into the fantasy world that is created. The details are what capture the attention to me. The world of fantasy illustration is filled with cheese, but Amano definitely puts out genuine pieces of art. He is an expert with line in my opinion and is very skilled at his craft.  Described by Yumemakura Baku as “a master chaos” with Lines, colors and form that surpass reason. Amano creates his own intricately beautiful world, and his art is the only way we get to see it.

–Louis Richardson, Spring 2009

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Endnotes:

Amano, Yoshitaka, and Unno Hiroshi. Amano: The Complete Prints of Yoshitaka Amano. New York: Collins Design, 2003.

“Yoshitaka Amano – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoshitaka_Amano (accessed October 21, 2009).

“Yoshitaka Amano:  Biography.” God’s Cradle. http://goingreen.tripod.com/amano/amano.html (accessed October 22, 2009).

Kay Nielsen

November 16, 2009

blassie5

Date of Birth:
Kay Nielsen was born in 1886 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Inspiration:
Both Nielson’s mother and father were involved in the Danish theater as celebrated actors. His father, Professor Martunius Nielsen later became the managing director of the Dagmar Theater in Copenhagen. As a result of his background, Nielsen grew up surrounded by celebrities of the Scandinavian theater.1

Influences besides his teachers include his grandfather who brought back art from China such as Japanese woodcuts which can be seen in his asymmetrical compositions, large vacant areas, flattened perspective and sinuous line work.2 Aubrey Beardsley’s work and characteristics are reiterated and play a significant influence in Nielsen’s work such as his “floral style and elongated figures.”3 The Art Nouveau movement was characterized by long smooth curving lines and open spaces, both of which Nielsen was known for.

Education:
Around the age of twelve he was taken out of school and tutored at home. There he considered taking up a career in medicine but soon left home to study art in Montparnasse at the Academies Julian under teachers such as Paul Laurence and Kristian Krag where his work mostly reflected that of nature even though he preferred to produce work from readings and imagination.

Works of Note:

Illustrator Miscellany:
Starting in 1912 Nielsen had several commissions held in London. The first was at Dowdswel Galleries showing his Book of Death, a collection of black and white drawings, which are now believed to be in private collections or possibly lost.4 In 1913 “In Powder and Crinoline” was Nielsen’s first published gift edition book. Some critics believed some of his series of illustrations to be “menacing and grotesque,” however some were light and transient. Nielsen stage designed for the Copenhagen Royal Theater, which allowed him to think much like a designer. His designing skills can clearly be seen in “In Powder and Crinoline which was later published in America as “Twelve Dancing Princesses.”

Nielsen was married to Ulla Pless-Schmidt in 1926, the daughter of a wealthy physician.6 He resided in Denmark until he departed for Los Angeles in ’36 to work on a production with his life long friend, actor and producer, Johannes Poulsen. Poulsen soon passed away and during this period Nielsen began to work for Walt Disney’s Fantasia. He is most known for Fantasia’s The Night on Bald Mountain and Ave Maria segments. With the onset of WWII, Nielsen settled into living in southern Los Angeles with his wife but soon fell on hard times and was somewhat financially dependent on friends. There was a shift in art popularity after WWII from fantasy to “realism and naturalism” which caused the inevitability losing his popularity, however there was a return in importance of Golden Age illustrators among collectors, which aroused more exposure for Nielsen’s past work.

Nielsen’s last displayed work was in the form of murals for Junior High Schools in the Los Angeles area. Jasmine Britton, a board member of a philanthropic foundation, commissioned him.6 The first mural was The First Spring, and it depicted the lines from the Genesis section of the bible. “And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth on the earth after his kind, and God saw that it was good.”6 It is said to be one of the most beautifully painted murals in America. The mural had to be restored shortly after it’s hanging because it was removed very carelessly. Nielsen was commissioned to do three more mural paintings over the next few years of his life. Over those few years of painting murals, Nielsen had a chronic cough. He died in June of 1957 at age 71. His funeral took place in the Wong Chapel in Los Angeles, beneath a mural he had been commissioned to paint.

After World War I, Nielsen’s illustration career came to a halt. He decided to travel back to Copenhagen where he participated in stage design. He made costumes for Aladdin along with mounting other stage productions such as “The Tempest” and a “Midsummer’s night Dream.” In 1924,Nielsen’s career was revived with a completed 24 color plates of the Brother’s Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel with an exhibit at the Leicester Galleries. In 1930, his final illustrated book “Red Magic” was exhibited at Leicester Square.

Examination of Materials:
Neilson works with an ink and watercolor technique. His illustrations have been reprinted in a variety of tones.

Style Analysis
weast_nielsen1

Nielsen’s project “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” is arguably his best work to date. Published in 1915, the illustrations are folk legends of Scandinavia which include, The Black Bull of Norroway, The Brown Bear of Norway, The Daughter of the Skies, The King of Love, The Enchanted Pig, The Tale of the Hoodie, Master Semolina The Sprig of Rosemary, The Enchanted Snake, and White-Bear-King-Valemon in the Norwegian version.5 The themes are very similar to the Hellenistic romance of Eros and Psyche. The Swedish version is called “Prince Hat under the Ground.” Some believe because Nielsen grew up with the tales, this gives reason for the outstanding combination of illustration and story line. The tales depict snowy landscapes and polar bears, all of which Nielsen is used to seeing in his homeland. Nielsen’s 25 watercolors of the Nordic tales of “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” define his career as an unsurpassable illustrator of fairy tales.

Next Thursday evening the White Bear came to fetch her. She seated herself on his back with her bundle, and thus they departed. When they had gone a great part of the way, the White Bear said: “Are you afraid?”
“No, that I am not,” said she.
“Keep tight hold of my fur, and then there is no danger,” said he.

~ from “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”

This illustration from “East of the Sun West of the Moon” Andrew Lang’s collection of Blue Fairy books never ceases to amaze me. In my opinion, I believe Kay Nielsen has portrayed the story of the white bear better than any other illustrator could have.  This piece is very different from a lot of the his other work in that it is a lot less whimsical and noisy in figures and costume design such as in “In Powder and Crinoline”. In this scene there is a very simple flattened perspective of a great mountain they have walked across. There is clearly influence of Art Nouveau in this piece for perfectly placed open space along with the long curving lines in the polar bear’s anatomy and the delicate curving ornamental tree positioned in the foreground. It was done in the medium of watercolors with what looks like an outline of pen and ink on the daughter, the bear and the tree. It was reprinted in a variety of tones. This scene reiterates that Nielsen’s work is purely out of the ordinary world and takes us into a level of fantasy that truly makes his illustrations stand out.

– Marissa Fanelli, Spring 2009

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Endnotes:
1 Commire, Ann. Something About The Author. Detroit: Gale Research Book Tower, 1979.

2 Meyer, Susan. A Treasury Of The Great Children’s Book Illustrators. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1983.

3 Hutter, Heribert. Art Nouveau. Trans. by J. R. Foster. New York: Crown, 1965.

4 Larkin, David, ed. Kay Nielsen. With an introduction by Keith Nicholson. Toronto: Peacock Press, 1975.

5 “ENR Illustrators Project: Kay Nielsen.” University Library System ULS University of Pittsburgh. Ed. Sally Michalski, Michelle Frisque, Beth Keen, and Elizabeth T. Mahoney. Web. 21 Oct. 2009. <http://www.library.pitt.edu/libraries/is/enroom/illustrators/nielsen.htm#secondary&gt;.

6 “ENR Illustrators Project: Kay Nielsen.” University Library System ULS University of Pittsburgh. Ed. Sally Michalski, Michelle Frisque, Beth Keen, and Elizabeth T. Mahoney. Web. 21 Oct. 2009. <http://www.library.pitt.edu/libraries/is/enroom/illustrators/nielsen.htm#secondary&gt;.

Anita Kunz

November 16, 2009

Hillary Clinton

Date of Birth:
Born-1956, Toronto, Canada

Inspiration:
Kunz says she is first and foremost and artist; however, like most artist they have a tendency to get cooped up in their studio for many hours, so Anita gets “outside of herself” by teaching. She teaches workshops and lectures at places such as the Smithsonian and the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington DC. She also has taught summer workshops at the Illustration Academy in Sarasota, Florida and the Masters of Art Degree at Syracuse University. She says she loves the energy students have and this really enriches her life as an illustrator.

As a child Anita was influenced by the work of her late uncle, Robert Kunz. He was an illustrator whose motto was “Art for Education”. Kunz loves to read; from The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and various science magazines, she finds inspiration for her work.6 Stories about Darwinism and ideological warfare, really interest her.

Every year Anita attends the “Ted, Technological Entertainment Design” conference in California. She says, “It is mind expanding, shows you a bigger picture and is incredibly eye opening.”6 These lectures can be viewed free of charge on their website, http://www.Ted.com. The slogan for this website it “Ideas worth spreading” and “Riveting talks by remarkable people”, and it is true. The TED website has lectures on subjects varying from technology, to entertainment, design, business, science, global issues and more. This is perfect for Anita; her mind travels places most are scared to face. She has a distinct Canadian point of view; however, she creates beautiful and intriguing images of the American culture and politics, themes that are not easy. In the article The Curious Mirror, that can be found on her website, Anita says “I incorporate metaphors or symbols to visually articulate late my ideas. Clear communication is important to me in my work. I have no desire to create work that is either elitist or didactic.”4

When asked about influential people who have left a mark on her career and life as an artist, Kunz talked about Fred Woodward, the creator of Rolling Stone’s visual sensibility. Fred was the art director at Rolling Stone’s when Anita was first getting a lot of work for the magazine.6 She said he taught her so much and was one of the best art directors she has ever had the pleasure to work with. In The Curious Mirror, Anita said, “My work is not only influenced by my gender, but by my background, experiences, and environmental and cultural influences.” Another memorable person was Francoise Mouly, a French artist and designer who worked as the art editor for The New Yorker. If you read The New Yorker, or have even seen the magazine on shelves, you have definitely seen an Anita Kunz illustration. She has done dozens of cover illustrations of expressive and whimsical portraits. Anita has grown as an artist through her cover illustrations.

Education:
Kunz graduated from Ontario College of Art in 1978; her work then was benign and less controversial.2 Before she left school, she had brought her portfolio around to small magazine and design companies locally while making appointments to meet with editors and art directors for a chance to get some work. With hard effort, she was doing small illustrations while still enrolled in Ontario College, which transformed into a full-time lifestyle after graduation.6 When asked about advice to give to students who are still in school and looking toward the future, Anita said, “Take full advantage of your time in school: experiment, try everything, be a sponge. By exploring you learn more about yourself and then when graduation time rolls around, tighten up your style. Learn from what you’ve seen and physically experienced.”

Works of Note:

Illustrator Miscellany:
The illustrator Anita Kunz is best known for her humorous play on political and social issues and her celebrity portraits. On a television show titled Arts and Minds, Anita was featured as the artist of the week. It was said that, “Running her own business, she has created over two thousand illustrations over the past twenty-five years.” Tim Brown, the director of the Society of illustrators, has been noted to say that Illustrators, like Anita, hold such a powerful position because of the way that imagery can affect people’s opinions.4

After college Anita moved to England with a friend in hopes of getting more challenging work. Kunz landed illustrations in London for their Sunday paper, various science magazines as well as local magazines.  After London, Kunz lived in New York and is currently in Toronto, Canada. Since her time in London, she has been known for her work with international magazines, book publishers and advertising agencies such as The New York Times, Random House, Time Magazine, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Sports Illustration and illustrating over fifty book jackets. Work like this is what gave her the recognition to have pieces of work in permanent collections at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, the Mussee Militarire de France in France, the Museume of Contemporary art in Rome and the National Portrait Gallery. Not only did she leave a mark in such profound locations, but in 2003 Anita was the first woman and Canadian to have a solo show at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

The October 13th, 2003 cover illustration for The New Yorker was a quirky portrait of George W. Bush, done by Kunz. The earth-tone pallet of this piece has the former president riding a horse through what is painted to be his hometown of Texas with blinders on. By adding props, like these blinders and the horse, not just the figure itself, Anita is conveying a setting, having you questions a specific issue. During the time of this issue, America was dealing with issues post 9/11, concerning the president and the state of the country. Many Americans believed Bush was looking away from the real issues of the people and not just the military issues, hence the blinders. The shocked and worried expression on the horse is representing the people who were worried about where he was going with his decisions. Anita is great with themes like this, making the viewer question his or her standpoint on major issues by showing the reality with a lighthearted twist.

Some wonder how someone can be so successful in the field of illustration, landing various magazine covers and still produce personal work? Anita has an internal energy that just won’t quit. She has always said “if you are in it for the long hall it is about keeping your self interested and challenged.” Kunz, who has been appointed one of the fifty most influential women in Canada by National Past Newspaper, says that her personal art is what she considers her “fine art”. She finds that her personal work is the hardest and the, as she puts it, “most me”.  After September 11th, commissioned illustration jobs were still occurring but seemed to fade in substance. Society had seen things it never thought to see. Times like that and currently with the recession and what she calls “global downturn”, Anita concentrates a lot of her personal series.6 She has produced about a dozen collections ranging from A Woman’s Work, Unexplained Mysterious Elvis Sightings, Flesh and Blood and Rock and Roll, all of which can be viewed on her website.

In 2009, she was made Officer of the Order of Canada. She was given the highest civilian honor “for her contributions as an illustrator whose insightful works have graced publications around the world.” Anita is not only an incredible artist but also a dedicated member of society, a woman with a drive for a better world and a commitment to her beliefs. In The Curious Mirror she says, “If we can understand our links to other species, I believe we can better understand the otherwise unexplainable urges and impulses humans exhibit, often to our own detriment.”4 Tim Brown the director of the society of illustrators believes that illustrators are also journalist and salesmen, constantly grasping the attention of society and Anita Kunz is a great example of this kind of artist.5

Examination of Materials:
The artist sometimes explores acrylics and when she was younger, experimented with inks and oils. However, Anita’s body of work is mainly built using watercolors and gouache with a dry brush technique on illustration board. Her paintings are relatively small, average in size from 5”x8” to 16”x20”6. In The Curious Mirror article Anita says, “The entire process can take from one day to three weeks, depending upon how frequently the magazine is published.” An incredible part of Anita’s technique is that she draws mainly from her head, without photographic reference so “my imagination has complete freedom.”4

Style Analysis

CLONE-FineARt

Illustration is unique art, perhaps because it is commissioned rather than self-generated; nevertheless, it is an immediate art form, addressing social and political concerns on paper that we can physically grasp. In an article, The Curious Mirror, written by Anita Kunz herself, the artist says, “I am a witness to the world around me, and my visual comments are reactions to these events.”4 Ideas like these exemplify influential illustrators, powerful enough to grasp on the world around them and visually connect with the people in it.

The series Woman’s Work, from Anita’s personal paintings is a body of work based upon the issues women face today. Cloning babies, weight, nature vs. nurture, pregnancy difficulties and sibling issues such as favoritism are topics Kunz’s touches upon in these pieces, paintings in which very much resemble the Romantic art movement. With the painting titled CLONE, the artist uses strong darks on the top and bottom to encompass the two dominant figures in the middle. With strong green tones behind them, the identical nude women are attached by an umbilical cord, setting an uncomfortable, beautiful and stern mood to a repeating issue in society. With her unique style, Anita has the viewer question a woman’s role in this serious issue, something she has mastered.

One of the keys to illustration is to know your audience and that the work is just as important as the venue in which it is published, Anita says. Viewpoints such as these are reason why Anita served on the Board of Directors of the illustration conference from 2000-2003. Although her work has been very successful, Anita says there are difficulties in the profession of illustration. “When producing a portrait I sometimes try to poke gentle fun at the subject, but never to malign the person”, Anita said in The Curious Mirror. Being misunderstood in illustration is a common problem. On the subject the artist says:

“Placing myself and my visual opinions before public scrutiny has had some interesting results. I have been, at various times, labeled anti-woman, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic; I’ve been stalked and I’ve been sued. Despite the unfavorable reactions I sometimes generate with my work, or in some cases because of them, I continue to receive commissions to do caricatures of political figures and celebrities.”4

She stands by her work, a quality that is highly respected.

– Emily Nagle, Spring 2009

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Endnotes:

1. “Anita Kunz Art”, http://www.anitakunz.com/. Copyright Anita Kunz.

2. “Anita Kunz News & Events”, http://anitakunz.wordpress.com/.  Anita Kunz.

3. “Anita Kunz: Order of Canada” http://drawn.ca/2009/07/06/anita-kunz-order-of-canada/. Jaleen Grove, July 6th, 2009. Drawn: Illustration  & Cartoon Art.

4. Kunz, Anita. “The Curious Mirror”, NUVO Magazine. Copyright 2009 NUVO Inc.

5. Artist of The Week, Television Episode, Bravo TV, 2009.

6. Phone interview with Anita Kunz. October 15th 2009.

Quentin Blake

November 16, 2009

mrs-armitage-by-quentin-blake1

Date of Birth:
Quentin Blake was born in Sidcup, Kent, England, on the 16 December 1932

Inspiration:
Quentin Blake draws his inspiration from everyday life situations and objects. Most of his illustrations involve real world objects so drawing from the real world makes sense. He does have an amazing imagination, and this can be seen in his book The Life of Birds. In this book he transforms birds into human personalities, and illustrates them in such a way that is recognizable to us. For example, there are birds in suits and ties, birds at hairdressers and children birds playing in the street. The creativity behind these characters is amazing, and the fact that he can draw them in such a way and with such energy is outstanding.

Education:
Blake did not study art full time, but only part time for 2 years so as to improve his drawing and painting skills.

Works of Note:


He has been responsible for amazing characters such as the BFG, Matilda, Mister Magnolia and Mrs. Armitage. To date he has illustrated over 300 books with some extremely well known authors, most notably Roald Dahl. Although he is best known for illustrating children’s books, Blake was also a professor, and head of the Illustration department at the Royal College of Art.

Illustrator Miscellany:
His favorite bird is a heron, which appears a lot in his drawings, aside many other birds.

In April 1999, Quentin Blake was awarded the first ever Children’s Laureate , which is a British award given once every two years to an illustrator or writer to celebrate outstanding achievement.

His first Illustrations were published at the age of 16 in Punch.

Examination of Materials:
When illustrating a book Quentin Blake tries to stick as close to the text as possible, he believes that the text should lead the way, not the pictures. He tries to work as closely with the author as possible to create a set of good images to be used in the book. Quentin Blake is known for his quick, loose style, which can give the impression of him not taking long to do his illustrations at all, however, it is quite the opposite. There is a huge amount of planning that goes into each of his works, and many discarded roughs. Once he has a rough that he likes, and plans on using, he puts it on a light box, and over that he places a sheet of watercolor paper. It is important for him not to be able to see the rough drawing too clearly, as he does not want to trace it, but simply wants to draw it again, with the elements of the rough being in the same place on the finished drawing.

Style Analysis
blake

This is a career-defining image from Quentin Blake’s career. It is a picture of the Big Friendly Giant holding the little girl from the story. Here we can see his great use of watercolor, from choice of color to technique. In this particular drawing he uses the technique of the rough on a light box under watercolor paper, then waterproof black ink for the outlines, and from there he moves onto the color. The colors used in this piece are very friendly, and while not too bright, they are intense enough to grab the attention of any child. Here we can see his ability to create friendly characters that children adore, a huge, friendly giant, and a small, little girl in a night gown with large glasses. All in all, a very successful illustration for this book.

– Mike Lawrence, Spring 2009

_______________

Endnotes:

Quentin Blake Official Website, “About Quentin Blake,” Quentin Blake Official Website,

http://www.quentinblake.com/about/index.html

Children’s Laureate, “About the Award”, Children’s Laureate Official Website,

http://www.childrenslaureate.org.uk/About-the-award

Quentin Blake Official Website, “Interview,” Quentin Blake Official Website,

http://www.quentinblake.com/about/index.html

Ludwig Bemelmans

November 16, 2009

madeline

Date of Birth:
April 27, 1898 – October 1, 1962

Place of Birth:
Meran, Austria

Inspiration:
Declaring he possessed no imagination, his books were created on the basis of relying heavily on familiarity.2 Probably the most influential person in his life was May Massee, children’s book editor for Viking Press, who urged Bemelmans to pen, and illustrate books after discovering his capabilities.3 His renown character, Madeline, was influenced by watching his daughter Barbara, which gave him many book ideas.4 In addition to his daughter, past experiences in the hospitality and restaurant businesses gave him many creative ideas.

Education:
Bemelmans was not a scholar.  He bounced around from different prestigious schools during his childhood.  Thus he had no formal art training, only that his father was somewhat of a painter, and he took art lessons when he was young.5

Works of Note:


The illustrator is primarily known for a collection of books about a character named Madeline.  He accomplished 15 children’s books in his career, which was approximately a book or two every year!6 The illustrator also wrote fiction books for adolescents, however went slightly unnoticed due to his fame and fortune writing story books for kids. Bemelmans’ illustrations graced the covers of many New Yorker magazines, and comprised other clients such as Vogue, Town and Country, Fortune, Harper’s Bazaar, and McCall’s.7 Murals painted in New York’s Carlyle Hotel is the only surviving commission piece open to the public.8 Bemelmans was first published in 1939 for the original Madeline book which was named a Caldecott Honor Book; Madeline’s Rescue, also received a Caldecott Medal.9

Illustrator Miscellany:

As stated, Bemelmans drew inspirations from past careers.  He fell into the hotel business by apprenticing his uncle in Austria due to his lack of success in schools.10 Legend has it that during a dispute, Bemelmans shot and nearly killed a fellow co-worker.  Bemelmans had to choose between immigrating to America, or attending a reform school as punishment.11 He wound up in the big apple of New York City, and continued his career in hospitality until he enlisted in the U.S. Army.12 In 1918 he became an American citizen, and was persuaded to start a new field.13

Examination of Materials:

His work was created with ink and watercolor using quick, confident, and bold mark making.  Possibly using a dry brush technique would accomplish the overall textural feel to his artwork.

Style Analysis
Insert Style Image

As a whole, his body of work has the characteristic of being slightly impressionistic.  Stylization occurs within his paintings without abstracting shapes, making the mood of the work energetic and fun.

Bemelmans used a limited yet vibrant color palette, which was clever, because it would help a child to focus on characters, rather than a distracting background.  It would become apparent that the illustrator was communicating the life of his characters using subtle backgrounds and details to enhance, and clarify situations in the story.  In this particular piece, he has the characters’ backs facing the audience, however one character is looking over her shoulder directly at the viewer.  This should intrigue the viewer in wanting to learn about this character, their personality, and experiences.

I feel Bemelmans was such a successful illustrator and author of children’s books, because he could relate to them through words and pictures.  His style feels naïve, playful and sensitive, all which contribute to a child like personality.  He knew to respect his audience, and to personify children as having smarts about them, “We are writing for children, but not for idiots.” 14

– Molly Wilson, Spring 2009


Endnotes:

 

  1. “Madeline,” www.kidsreads.com/series/series-madeline-author.asp, accessed October 20, 2009.
  2. Roger Miller, “Ludwig Bemelmans,” Arlington National Cemetery, www.arlingtoncemetery.net/lbemelmans.htm
  3. “The Author : Ludwig Bemelmans,” www.madeline.com/author.htm, accessed October 20, 2009.
  4. www.madeline.com/author.htm
  5. Miller, Ludwig Bemelmans
  6. www.kidsreads.com/series/series-madeline-author.asp
  7. Ibid
  8. Ibid
  9. “History of Madeline,” www.madelin.com/history.htm, accessed October 20, 2009
  10. www.kidsreads.com/series/series-madeline-author.asp
  11. Ibid
  12. Miller, Ludwig Bemelmans
  13. Ibid
  14. www.kidsreads.com/series/series-madeline-author.asp

Ralph Steadman

November 16, 2009

The Joke's Over

The Joke's Over

Date of Birth:
Born on May 15th, 1936 in Wallasey, Cheshire

Inspiration:
The author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson and his Gonzo journalism greatly influenced Ralph Steadman’s illustration. Gonzo journalism, which is a form of ‘fictional’ journalism, which places the journalist in the story using the first person. The journalist blends fact with fiction, favors style over accuracy and often uses personal experiences and emotions to provide context to the topic. This is not dissimilar from Steadman’s illustration, which provided a visual representation of Gonzo journalism. [2]

Education:
In 1954 Ralph Steadman worked at McConnell’s Advertising Agency. Steadman soon took a course in cartooning while he was conducted his National Service in the RAF. [3] He also studied art part time with Leslie Richardson at East Ham Technical College from 1959 to 1966, at the London College of Printing, and Sussex University. [4]

Works of Note:

Steadman’s first printed cartoon appeared in the Manchester Evening Chronicle in 1956. It dealt with the Nasser and Suez crisis.

Steadman teamed up with Hunter S. Thompson to create the memorable illustrations for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Steadman continued a relationship with Thompson and illustrated several of his novels.

47 pen and ink illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s 1968 British edition of Alice in Wonderland.

Illustrator Miscellany:
Raised in Towyn, North Wales

Illustrated labels for Flying Dog Brewery and Cardinal “Spiced” Zin’ wine, which is banned in Ohio for the “disturbing” interpretation of a Catholic cardinal on its label. [5]

Contrary to popular belief Steadman was not the unnamed passenger in the car in Fear and Loathing. [6]

He has published three books; The Lives of Sigmund Freud, Leonardo da Vinci and The Big I Am, the story of God.

Examination of Materials:
Steadman is know best for his work with pen and brush ink work, which is what he used for the cover of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as well as the inside illustrations. For the color transition He might have used acrylic paint or watercolor (both typical mediums for him). Steadman also used oils, etching, silkscreen and college in other works.

Style Analysis

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Steadman uses haphazard splatters and quick energetic lines in inking to create the figure ground relationship. He uses simple illusion of landscape by hatched lines closer and closer together as they approach the horizon line. The background is simply a smooth transition from a desaturated pink to more of a yellow. His brutal style matches Thompson’s Gonzo journalism to a key and their art forms will always be associated with one another.

– Cameron Loughrey, Spring 2009

_______________

Endnotes:

[1] Flying Dog Brewery, “Ralph Steadman Bio.,”

http://www.flyingdogales.com/Gonzo-RalphSteadman.aspx

[2] Signature Illustration, “Ralph Steadman & Hunter S. Thompson,”

http://www.signatureillustration.org/illustration-blog/2009/07/ralph-steadman-hunter-s-thompson/

[3] “Ralph Steadman Biography,” British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent

http://opal.kent.ac.uk/cartoonx-cgi/artist.py?id=173

[4] “Ralph Steadman Bio…”

[5] ibid

[6] ibid

The Stenberg Brothers

November 15, 2009

Date of Birth:
Georgii Stenberg was born October 7, 1900 and died October 15, 1933
Vladimir stenberg was born April 4, 1899 and died May 1,
1982.

Inspiration:
Post Revolutionary Soviets in the 1920’s loved film, due to the sixty percent illiterate adult population, film was a huge form of communication and entertainment. The heavy funding from the government gave the film industry the ability to create movies that could be easily digested by an audience as well as cutting edge, avant-garde cinema. These factors all worked together to help introduce the world to the Stenberg brothers and their unique visual style and language.

Education:
With a Swedish father and Russian Mother both brothers were born in Moscow. The Stenbergs both first attended school for engineering but soon moved on to art where they attended the Stogand School of Applied Art in Moscow. In addition to art school, the brothers where involved in Svomas which are free studios for artists in Moscow. The Stenbergs and comrades formed the Society of Young Artists and held their first group exhibition in 1919. They continued to produce work for the society and take part in exhibitions all the way through 1923.

Works of Note:

Illustrator Miscellany:
In 1922 the brothers staged the first “constructivists” exhibit at the Poet’s Cafe in Moscow. That year Vladimir showed work in the landmark First Russian Art Exhibition in
Berlin.

Throughout the 1920’2 and 30’s the brothers where well established in the avant-garde movement in Moscow and The Institute of Artistic Culture along with Varvara Stedanova, Iyvbov Popova, and Alexander Rodchenko who is considered the founder of the Russian Constructivists.

Through 1922 and 1931 the brothers designed sets and costumes for Alexander Tairov’s Moscow Chamber theatre and contributed art to the Art Journal of the Left Front.

Examination of Materials:
The Stenberg brothers practiced in a large variety of media, initially the mainly focus on Constructivist sculptors. In time as theatre designers, architects, and craftspeople. Their deign work covered a huge range of work including clothing, women’s shoes, and rail carriages. Although the brothers where skilled in all of these areas their main talent and interest was in theatre and movie poster design. The large interest in Russian films sparked the brothers creativity for the graphic design of movie posters and paved the way for the brothers to create art that would be widely known as some of the best and most radical art to come out of Russia in a long time. The brothers where at the height of their career during the revolutionary period of politics as well as artistic experimentation in Russia. The Stenbergs assembled photos and previously printed papers that where created by others to create an entirely new style of art that had not been seen before. They realized that art no longer had to be about realism. The Stenbergs helped in the birth of graphic design that utilized the printed reproduction of collages. The Stenberg’s work began to be recognized as legitimate work when they created work for the state. By using distortion of perspective, photomontage, a sense of movement, and a new use of color and typography the Stenberg’s work began to become extremely popular and the brothers began to work mainly on movie posters.

Style Analysis
vertov

In the poster for The Man with the Movie Camera, the stenberg brothers show a great example of why their work was so famous. Instead of using the typical still of the actors and basic text describing what the movie is about, the brothers us a series of images to describe what the movie is about and catch the audiences attention. The Use of the women’s legs to lead the viewers eyes from the title of the film clockwise around the poster to the eye in the camera help create a narrative that gives us a sense of the feeling of the movie. The gunman and the bombs in the upper right of the piece show that the movie has a violent and tense side to it as well as the surprised eye in the camera. The use of colors and contrast also show how different the Stenberg’s work was from other artists in this time period.

To me this piece is still extremely modern looking even though it was created in 1929. I think that it is amazing how far ahead the brothers where of other graphic designers. The use of photos collaged with the flat images keeps me looking at the piece instead of taking in the image and moving on to something els. It is hard to tell what materials where used except for the photos, but it does seem like ink might have been used along with gouache.It is also possible that the piece was printed because of the use of the piece. It is a movie poster, so it was probably printed many times for publicity. Overall the piece is a great example of how innovative the Stenberg brothers where and how talented they where at bringing modern design to illustration.

– Nat Emmett, Spring 2009

_______________

Endnotes:
Smith, Teddy. http://designhistorymashup.blogspot.com/2008/03/stenberg-brothers-revolutionary-poster.html (22 October 2009).

http://www.absolutearts.com/artsnews/1999/08/15/25814.html (22 October 2009).

McHahon, Tom. http://www.tommcmahon.net/2004/01/the_stenberg_br.html (22 October 2009).