Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 - For your consideration

I polled people over Facebook and Twitter to find out some of their favorite artists and artworks were for the 2013 year. I am very excited to, at an introductory level, introduce you to those results today! I absolutely love the variety that came back and hope you can appreciate that as well. 

Nancy Everett Fine Art
Eiffel Tower Afternoon, Oil on Canvas, Sold
© Nancy Everett
This first artist is very special because as it turns out, I used to babysit her amazing kids (who aren't kids anymore)! Mrs. Everett is a Georgia-based fine artist with an BFA from UGA. She works primarily in oil and pastel and her style is loose and impressionistic, always emphasizing her love of color.

Her following has been growing steadily around Atlanta - My parents had the pleasure of visiting one of her exhibitions a little while ago and touted her loving use of color and dynamic brushwork. Visit the Westside Market on Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard in Atlanta to find her art on display!

Mrs. Everett has been juried into over 30 regional and national shows and was the first artist from Georgia selected to be an artist in residence in Breckinridge, Colorado’s Tin Shop Guest Artist Program. You can experience more of Mrs. Everett's work at her website and/or Facebook page.

Houston LLew Spiritiles
137 - Stargazer, copper, wood, glass
"These are the days of miracle and wonder." - Paul Simon
© Houston Llew
Another Atlanta-based artist for your consideration (Yay!). Houston Llew was educated at Auburn and has found his passion creating what he calls Spiritiles. These Spiritiles are of American-made copper, glass, and wood. The process requires that Llew paint finely ground colored glass onto copper, where its then fired in a kiln up to 1500 degrees. His compositions are small, but all come with a story.

“They’re about positivity,” Houston says. "The stories on Spiritiles golden sides are especially selected to capture the enlightened moment...Rarely will you find a 'no,' 'don’t' or other negative on a Spiritile."

The inspiration for this artistic style came from 6 gold rings unearthed from a 3,300+ year old tomb in Cyprus. The style as similarly inspired the artists that developed Faberge Eggs, Limoges boxes, and Art Nouveau jewelry.

Llew's work is exclusively sold through galleries nationwide, but his website gives a great sneak peek into is oeuvre!

Kritios Boy 
Kritios Boy. Marble, c. 480 BC
Acropolis Museum, Athens
A beautiful marble statue from the Late Archaic/Early Classical period in Greek Art, Kritios Boy is hailed as the first to bring us the contrapposto stance. Contrapposto in Italian means "counterpose" and refers to a figure whose weight is primarily situated on one foot so that the upper body twists off-axis from the hips and legs to create an "S" curve. This stance is relaxed and realistic - He casually stands as a normal boy would stand.

The lifelike accuracy sets Kritios Boy apart from Archaic kouroi statues of the late 7th and 6th centuries, heralding a new commitment to realism for Greek sculptures. Another departure from the kouroi includes his austere expression - No longer do we see the wry, hyper-curved smile known in the Archaic period, but now we see facial expressions composed with lifelike authenticity to them.

It is thought that Kritios Boy, like many known marble sculptures, may be a marble reproduction of what would have been originally a cast bronze statue. It is named for the Athenian sculptor Kritios, who worked approximately around 480 BC.

Karen Fitzgerald 
Sparrows Eye Peacock, 60", Oil on canvas
© Karen Fitzgerald 
A New-York based teaching artist, Karen Fitzgerald sites her upbringing on a dairy farm in Wisconsin as the core of her work. The gardening and the outdoors are a source of inspiration for her and her painted, unframed tondos. Her artistic process requires thinning her paint with turpentine to create a wash effect. Layering the thinned paint produces in her words, a "deep, rich, luminous surface." As the paint is thin, oftentimes the layers drip - An intentional effect that recalls the changing states of matter.

The piece pictured right is part of a 13 painting series developed in tandem with Carl MaultsBy's 35-minute score titled Eye of the Sparrow. This series debuted at St. Batholomew's Church in NYC in January 2006. I love that!

Find out more about Karen Fitzgerald and her gorgeous tondos at her website.

Anthony Benedetto (Tony Bennett)
Tuscan Landscape
© Anthony Benedetto
Did you know that renowned American singer Tony Bennett was also a fine artist? I didn't! My Dad clued me in to Mr. Bennett's versatile career after reading his autobiography, Life is a Gift: The Zen of Bennett. Aside from being Frank Sinatra's favorite singer...Mr. Bennett can really paint!

He signs his work with his family name, Benedetto, living out his passion for art as an alter ego of his famed stage presence. He paints every day, oftentimes focusing on landscapes. He doesn't limit himself, however - His portrait of Duke Ellington hangs in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. He was commissioned to be the official artist of the 2001 Kentucky Derby and by the United Nations on their 50th anniversary. An exceptional "side-line" career to the one he is most known for, I must say.

Much, much more at his website, including a bio and more examples of his work.

Katie Rodgers
© Katie Rodgers, Paper Fashion
Another New York-based artist, Katie Rodgers's website Paper Fashion (est. 2009) is her outlet and promotion for her fashion watercolors, a love that began with the gifting of her first watercolor set from her aunt when she was 7. She has been commissioned by the likes of Valentino, Swarovski, Kate Spade, Coach, Alicia Keys, Stuart Weitzman, Lacoste, and Glamour Magazine, among others.

As a fashion appreciator, I find Katie's watercolors absolutely exquisite. I want to BE one of her drawings. Not always complete compositions, the minimalist whimsy leaves some of the imagination to the viewer. Her printed illustrations can be ordered off of the website noted above, oftentimes in 8x10 or 11x14 sizes.

Sunflowerman Illustration
Watch 86 - Rolex, watercolor on paper
© Sunflowerman
Serendipitously, to follow Katie Rodgers we have Sunflowerman: an Atlanta-based design agency focusing on Men's Fashion Illustration for Business-to-Business work and consumer product design. Head illustrator, Matthew Miller, hails originally from Michigan and says that Sunflowerman "is a symbol for joy and a desire for community."

Oftentimes, Sunflowerman's work is painted directly on book or newspaper and always in watercolor. His 100 Watches Project endeavored to depict 100 watches (via submissions from followers) across 100 days for $100 commission per personalized painting, completed December 9, 2013. His Aesthetic Guide for the Dapper Man is an inspirational guide for the modern man that details the 2014 aesthetic and promote quality Mens fashion brands in the process. Gentlemen, pay attention!

Sunflowerman has grown to embrace clients like Q Custom Clothier, H.Stockton, and Trio Custom Clothier and can be fund in multiple online avenues, including and Instagram.

Monika Grzymala
Installation at Sumarria Lunn Gallery, London, 2011
© Monika Grzymala
Monika Grzymala is a Polish artist based out of Berlin who specializes in sculptures and installations made out of different kinds of tape. Yes, you read me correctly, tape. Duct tape, masking tape, scotch tape...Tape. Sometimes you will find her work in colored tape, but predominantly the bold contrast of black tape with the white gallery walls seems to be her choice.

She views her works as more of a complex drawing than an installation and as the works require intense physical effort to create, she stresses that her work has performative qualities. That effort extended strengthens the bond she feels to her work, noting that “Whenever I leave a work, I feel as if I leave a part of me, a part of my body behind." Her website is in both German and English, FYI is you're doing to check her out!

Ivan Aivazovsky
American Shipping off the Rock of Gibraltar, 1873
Ivan Aivazovsky
Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900) is a Russian painter (of Armenian descent) considered to be one of the most prominent Russian artists of all time (also one of the most forged). His specialty was seascapes, which constituted more than half of his oeuvre, also making him one of the most renowned marine artists of the 19th century. The emphasis on light and how it danced across the churning waters likened his skill to that of English artist J.M.W. Turner. They actually met in Rome in 1842 and it is said Aivazovsky's marine work inspired Turner to devote a poem to him.

Aivazovsky's ability to diffuse light, whether that be from the sun or moon, through clouds, fog, or night is incredible. He left over 6,000 works behind at the time of his death in 1900 and his renown has only continued to grow. The American Shipping off the Rock of Gibraltar, above, was sold at auction in 2007 for well over $5,000,000 (₤2,710,000) and many of his other works are following suit.

Well, that's it. Whew! A lot to digest for just one post, but I hope you walked away inspired by something or someone new. Cheers to you and the new art you find in 2014!

Thank you to Stephanie, Jade, Alice, Sarah, Dad, Kelly-Anne, Cassie, Ashley, and Grayson for your participation in this project!

"I get by with a little help from my friends." - John Lennon

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