Friday, July 25, 2008

Diving Bell and the Butterfly.... Schnabel's masterpiece..

It takes a painter to make a film like "Diving Bell and the Butterfly". There are moments in this wonderful film that only a painter could ever think up. One scene in particular, a long moment of a girls wind blown hair in an automobile is so subtle, hypnotic, and beautiful, it seems to be lifted directly from one of his abstract paintings.I was fortunate enough to visit Julian Schnabel's studio in Montauk this winter (all the cool kids have studios out in montauk;), and it was so inspiring that I jumped at the opportunity to go see "diving bell and the butterfly", as well as several other of his films, ie "basquiat, and "before the night falls", the later of the two is another epic film worth it's length in gold.
Netflix Before the Night Falls. Netflix Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ridley Scott influenced by Classic Painter Gerome...

I love this... "Gladiator" is such a triumph on so many levels, it wasn't a surprise to read this quote by Ridley Scott (article here), citing Jean Leon Gerome's Gladiator painting as the reason he agreed to make the film:

“I’ve known Walter Parks, the head of DreamWorks for years, he came in and gave me the script and said, ‘I don’t want you to read it yet as it needs a lot of work but this is what it’s all about.’ He then showed me this painting by a French painter called Gerome, I looked at it and said, ‘I’ll do it.’ He looked at me, shocked, and said, ‘But you don’t know what it’s about!”- Ridley Scott

As I watched "Gladiator" again, in preperation for this entry, the classical influence really becomes apparent in terms of cinematography, color, and dramatic compositions. Jean Leon Gerome is one of those ridiculously amazing painters that came from the apex of the french school in the late 19th century, that ebbed due to the rise of modern art that started with Manet and his Salon de Refuses. One of my favorite books of all time is The Judegment of Paris, by Ross King, a book that examines this incredible decade of art history.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Influence: Makoto Aida

There's been so much written about the Japanese artist Makoto Aida, that I feel a bit behind the times to say that I've just recently gotten into his work (he's another epic artist that Kristin Dalton pointed me to, she's on a roll). This "Blender" piece above has obvious characteristics that I'm drawn to, the configurations of the figures become a human "stew", whose gruesome and violent result is clearly and horrifically shown as the iconic modern kitchen tool, the blender, does it's work on humanity(specifically female humanity). it's just such a powerful piece on so many levels. It has a nice Rubens quality, a bit of a modern twist of "overthrow of the damned". (one of my favorite pastimes is linking contemporary artists to the classics, just can't resist). Anyway, possibly one of the coolest things about Makoto Aida is that there's not a clear direction to his work.. and it's kind of rad. He's a bit of a "what is he going to do next" type of guy. Here's a great article that explains what I'm talking about more. enjoy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another Patrick Smith....

How rad is this? There is another Patrick Smith, and he happens to be not only a really good artist, but also, an amazing animator! I dig it. I don't know Patrick, but we do have a few friends in common. Check out his site VectorPark, there's some really interesting stuff, my favorite is the interactive animation called "Spider", it's highly addictive, and I can't get enough of making the little spider with sticky little legs walk around! Enjoy, and thanks Patrick Smith, from Patrick Smith.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Influence: More on Gustav Vigeland...

I discussed the influence of Gustav Vigeland a while back, and I wanted to continue. I originally was drawn to Vigeland due to his use of structural compositions that utilize the figures as a way to build broad configurations (like my drawings, and the sculpture above). Now, another aspect of his work that I'm beginning to appreciate is his use of dynamic, yet truthful, expressive poses that create intimate and subtle relationships between his characters (in my experience, dynamism often relies on exaggeration and not truthful representation). He's a master at rendering multiple characters, and this is even more evident when he's dealing with only two or three. He renders every character with severe emotion within the context of the other character. This sculpture above is so beautiful, i have no words... the only thing that comes to mind is... truth , clarity, strength, humanity and love. At first I was so impressed with his use of structure and weight that I didn't register the emotional content (a product of the differences in my own life, then and now, i guarantee). I can't wait to visit Norway and see these sculptures!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bad Posture...beware!

Let's talk about posture.. fellow artists. A while back I worked with a very talented director, in the course of the time we worked together I visually noticed this poor posture, turning into a slouch, turning into an actual physical condition! I noticed it a few other times, especially with older artists. As I write this, i'm straightening up a bit... i'm not kidding.. we live our lives hunched over a canvas, computer screen, or drawing table... it could happen to you!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More on Scale... Ron Mueck..

Scale is power. It gives art a larger than life energy. Ron Mueck utilizes this concept throughout his amazingly realistic and often disturbing sculptures. I was thrilled to learn that some of his background is in film, transitioning into fine art in the late 90's. I've always been proud of my own background in television production, and i love to learn that other fine artists have similar histories. If you haven't seen some of his work in person, he's def worth seeking out. Mueck's early career was as a model maker and puppeteer for children's television and films, notably the film Labyrinth for which he also contributed the voice of Ludo, and the Jim Henson series The Storyteller.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sketchbook: Fun with Spheres...

Whenever i'm depressed about drawing, or can't seem to loosen up enough to animate, i fall back to my "fun with spheres" game. basically, you draw a sphere, and you place characters onto it, holding it, being crushed by it.. whatever. and what happens is that you gradually loosen up within the context of space, weight, perspective and balance. in addition, i always draw in ink, so you're further forced to give your characters energy and movement. let me know if this little exercise helps anyone else, i swear by it! above is a page from my sketchbook from this past week.