Pop Art

What is Pop Art?

Pop Art sprouted in the 1950s. In order to understand the purpose of Pop Art, it is important to understand what the world was going through. This was post WWII and art is something that is generally for the more educated population.

However, artists wanted the general public to be able to appreciate art. How do you reach the general population? You turn to pop culture.

Using popular culture in modern art allowed for people to recognize and understand the art that was being made. For example, Roy Lichtenstein took cells from comic books and would paint the single cell. People knew where the content came from, or at least that it was a comic book, but they weren’t given the context which is where the artistic element comes in. The viewer is still challenged to interpret meaning. It is more comfortable to stand in front of something that you at least know a little bit about- popular culture –> POP ART.

Pop Art, in design, is commercial, colorful, and simple.

Here is a YouTube video that explains Pop Art really well:

Here are some examples of the more well-known Pop Artists:

Andy Warhol

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Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn), 1967

Roy Lichtenstein

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Artist’s Studio “Foot Medication”, 1974

Claes Oldenburg

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Flying Pizza, from New York Ten, 1964

All of the artists I mentioned in this blog post have work displayed in the Art Institute of Chicago in the Modern Wing. Get on the train and check these out.

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I Don’t Know What To Draw

I’m sitting here trying to come up with a topic for this blog post, hitting a wall for ideas. Writers block isn’t only for writers. Ever heard of artists block?

One of the struggles I personally experience a lot with art is trying to figure out what I want to create. I stare at a piece of paper for 30 minutes and end up getting frustrated and watching a movie instead. It always makes me feel like a failure in some way.

Picasso’s Golden Advice

About a year ago I came across a quote from Pablo Picasso: “To know what you want to draw, you have to start drawing.”

I read this and thought “frick yeah this is the answer to my artists block! I am going to draw all the time now and its going to be great.” Here is what happened: I would sit down, pick up my pencil, touch the pencil to the paper, and start drawing lines. Eventually I would just end up with a page full of weird lines. Thanks for the advice Picasso.

My Golden Realization

Within the last month or so, I decided to reflect on the art I have looked at in my art history courses and I realized that art isn’t necessarily about what you draw but rather how you draw. This is where an artist can develop style and skill.sketchbook

Art doesn’t need to be abstract, extravagant, colorful, outrageous, whatever. Obviously it can be and that art is beautiful, but I think one of the most important things an artist can do to stay with it is to practice drawing every day objects.

I discovered this when I was feeling artists block and all I wanted to do was draw something. I also wanted to use my watercolor paints. I have a gingko plant in my room that is planted in a colorful pot. I decided- hm, maybe I’ll draw that. And I freaking did. I was able to spend more time on the actual drawing than thinking about what I was going to draw.1

After this, I took a trip to Dick Blick and bought a pocket size sketchbook. I bring this wibottle-sketchth me everywhere and try to sketch at least one thing per day. I’ll often practice drawing my hand because it is always there, but learning to take whatever is in front of me and just drawing it helps so much.

Maybe this post will help you to become more creative in your daily life. Just remember that practice makes perfect and not everything you draw has to be a masterpiece.

Photos are all my own.

Stop All The Clocks

Moving onto poetry. I’m not a huge poetry buff but I think in order to run an art blog, it is necessary to cover as many forms of art as possible. Written form is used by many who need to express themselves artistically without paint, pencils, or instruments.

penpaperEveryone has some sort of poetry unit in high school literature class. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t take much away from it and I don’t remember how to write a haiku.

I took English 196 freshman year of college when I thought I wanted to be an English major. It didn’t work out because I’m not all that great at reading, but I did end up taking more away from this class than I did back in high school literature (although I still don’t know how to write a haiku). My favorite read from this class was the poetry unit.

Impact of Poetry

I think poetry has a way of reaching the soul and really making a person think. They are often left for the reader to interpret, which I love. My favorite poem is a love poem. Well, it’s more of a mourning poem but the sadness is a result of love.

When I first read Stop All The Clocks by W.H. Auden (see poem below), I wasn’t in the exciting, sunshine filled mindset that I am so blessed to be in now. I was feeling sad and this poem made me feel understood. It’s funny how words on a page can make a person feel so connected.

I’m sorry if you feel this is too personal, but I think that art is a very personal thing and if I’m going to take the liberty of talking about it with you then I am somewhat obligated to be willing to put my feelings out there. Art is a feeling, thought-provoking concept.

W.H. Auden’s Poem

Poetry is words on a page that are strategically put together to express a thought. W.H. Auden writes about the loss of a loved one. Whether it is a breakup, a death, etc. -it is never explicitly stated. I think why I love this poem so much is that losing someone is a normal, common, occurrence. Everyone experiences a loss at some point.

The exact wording seems to be referencing a death. For an English assignment in ENG196, a student went in front of the class and explained her interpretation. She was going through a break up at the time and connected heavily with this poem. I had the same experience and therefore felt connected to another person. I think it is so interesting that two people who have never talked before could read a piece of poetry and have the same interpretation.

This poem is also read in the movie Four Weddings And A Funeral with Hugh Grant. It is read during his lover’s funeral. Just an example of how else this poem is used/interpreted.

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All in all, I think this poem is worth a read. Even if it isn’t something you relate to in any way. Regardless it is a beautiful poem and W.H. Auden is worth reading.

Stop All The Clocks
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

 

Photos:

Pen & Paper

Four Weddings And A Funeral

 

 

Bob Ross

Yes you’ve read correctly. Bob Ross. What’s an art blog without some Bob Ross?

Who is Bob Ross?

Unless you live under a rock you’ve probably heard of Bob Ross. If you don’t know, here’s some background:

He was an American painter, art instructor, and he also had his own show. On this show he would teach everyday people how to paint.

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Painting Style

Ross is known for his landscapes. He used a wet-on-wet style, meaning he wouldn’t let the paint dry before adding another layer of paint. This makes a smooth, blended, seamless effect to a painting. This technique can be very difficult as it is easier to end up with a muddy finish if blended too much or smudged.

What I love so much about his painting style is how for the first 20 minutes of the painting, it looks like blobs of paint. It doesn’t look like much but once he goes in to add subtle details it turns into a masterpiece.

He will typically use a larger brush or a mixing knife with oil paints to paint.

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Bob Ross and Nature

Bob Ross shows a true appreciation of nature in his work, which I appreciate. He paints a lot of mountains and trees in his art. His sunsets are always beautiful.

Art Philosophy

Bob Ross is all about encouraging everyone to paint. You can learn anything if you just practice. As an art gal, I can attest to this mantra. I’ve seen people start drawing for the first time ever during their sophomore year of high school. They practiced a ton and now one of them is studying art at UCLA. Practice makes perfect.

He also kept a positive attitude throughout painting. It is quite endearing. He spoke about his art as if it were living inside the canvas, as if the subject matter had feelings. What a great way to treat your creations.

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Bob Ross painted until his death in 1995. 20 years later and people are still watching his painting videos. He is admired by many for his positivity, sensitivity, and creativity.

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Media Credit:

GIFs

Bob Ross’s videos can be found on:

YouTube

Netflix

Fleet Foxes Album Art

There is so much to be said about album art. Album art sets the tone for what the artist wants to portray for the listener. It is meant to compliment the music. This is done with color, style, subject matter, etc.

Fleet Foxes (2008)

I picked Fleet Foxes out of all the albums out there because the band used 16th century Dutch art to act as the visual component to an album. How interesting.

Background on the Album Art

The art featured on the cover of the album is Netherlandish Proverbs by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1559).

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At first glance it looks like a crowded everyday genre scene (a genre scene is a depiction of everyday life). However, if you look closer, chaos ensues. People are hanging out of windows, running in the water, arguing, shaving lambs, in the middle of the panel there is a fox sitting down at a table like a human, its almost humorous.

The day is hectic and it seems like every individual in the painting is dealing with some kind of crazy. I think one of my favorites is in the bottom right hand corner, a woman spilled a pot of food and shes trying to pick it back up with a spoon. For all of my Office watchers:

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More on Dutch Art

Moving on, this painting is reminiscent of Garden of Earthly Delights (1504) by Bosch. The chaos, the detail, the subdued coloring, the natural elements, strangeness. Something to think about when discussing Dutch art.

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How it influences Fleet Foxes (2008)

The overall feel of this album is very chill, pretty, the songs sound almost echoey.

The vocalist for the band commented, “We were trying to figure out what we wanted to do, and my brother had been working out some stuff, when I saw that Bruegel thpainting in a book my girlfriend had. I liked that it had a really intriguing meaning, like there’s a story to each little scene. Which I just felt fitting for that record- dense but unified, not a collage or anything. And I liked its Where’s Waldo quality, that it was something you could look at for a long time on a vinyl sleeve and find new little things.”

I think this quote explains it pretty well. It makes their album stand out on a variety of levels.

  1. The art is distinctive and interesting in that there is a lot to look at
  2. Who would think to put 16th century art from the Netherlands on the cover of an album?
  3. It gives people something to analyze and appreciate

The music on the album is relaxed enough that the listener could put it on and look at the cover art. Seems like a good time to me.

Songs to listen to

Quiet Houses

Ragged Wood

Oliver James

All of the songs on this album are lovely. These are just the three that stuck out to me.

*The album is available on Spotify

Image Credit:

Netherlandish Proverbs

Garden of Earthly Delights

Fleet Foxes

The Lumineers

Have you ever listened to a song or an album for the first time maybe you find yourself swaying back and forth without even thinking about it?

Music has the ability to bring back memories, change moods, it can be an experience.

9tmri2pkToday I am going to be talking about The Lumineers. Their group is comprised of three individuals: Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites, and Neyla Pekarek. I would categorize them into the genre of indie folk.

The Lumineers (2012)

I first heard The Lumineers a few years ago when they released their self titled album in 2012. I’ve loved this album from the start. My favorites were Dead Sea, Stubborn Love, and Flapper Girl. These are the more melodic tracks on the album. I tend to gravitate towards616wdxrkpol-_sy355_ pretty melodies, rifs that dip and make you sway, an element of music in which The Lumineers have mastered.

The music on this album uses a lot of piano, drums, light guitar, and tambourines.

Cleopatra (2016)

Finally after three years, The Lumineers released their second album, Cleopatra. This album uses more guitar and drums compared to their first album. The style of music remains very similar in the sense that you can easily tell that it is the same band, however, this time around the music is more produced.

Produced does not mean bad. I feel often times when someone says something is produced that it is immediately associated with there being a lack of talent or rawness. I think production can help to enhance the intensity of a song. It also shows effort that is being put into the music besides the work of the musicians. unknown

I like this album more than the first one. I think it holds a stronger theme and seems overall more cohesive. It tells a story if you really pay attention to the lyrics.

What is this album about?

Essentially the album is about the hardships a person going through a relationship. It starts at the beginning, a wild adventure with someone the subject loves. It then moves to a sadder topic. There is a death in the family of the subject.
I say subject because the person being talked about in the album is never given an identity. The only clue we, as the listeners, are given is that the subject is female.

Continuing, the subject goes through a confusing time of deciding whether or not to be in a relationship, is she more comfortable with the identity of single or taken? All of this is going on and her head is spinning. There seems to be a lag where
she is just living life. Relationships and adventure seem to be the main themes of this album.

The song ends with Patience. It features only a piano and it ends with 20 seconds of silence. What a beautiful ending. It leaves the listener to wonder what ends up happening to the woman in the album. Be patient with life, it will run its course whether you like it or not.

Songs to listen to

My favorite songs on the album are Sleep On The Floor, Cleopatra, Angela, My Eyes, and Gun Song.

The album ends with Patience. I don’t think there could be a more fitting ending to the album. It is a piano piece.

If you watch the music videos Sleep On The Floor, Angela, and Cleopatra in that order, they are all related. Its a very cool series.

I would say that overall, The Lumineers hold a sound that is more bare compared to artists such as Drake, One Direction, etc. It is minimal, light, pretty, and easy to listen to. That being said it still holds a sense of uniqueness that stands out among artists today.

Photos:

Band Photo

The Lumineers Album Cover

Cleopatra Album Cover

Bosch

For today’s blogpost, we’re bringing it back to the 16th century. Specifically to 16th century Europe. Hieronymus Bosch was from the Netherlands and although hportrait.jpge is from northern Europe, his work circulated around the entire continent.

I don’t want this post to be a history lesson on Hieronymus Bosch. Instead I am going to focus on one particular painting from Bosch and explain its significance and details.

Garden of Earthly Delights

This painting is currently housed at the Prado museum in Madrid, Spain. This is where I first laid eyes on the panel piece. In real life it is absolutely stunning. It was one of those paintings where people just stop and crowd around for 15-20 minutes at a time.

The painting was originally made as an altarpiece paneling. It depicts heaven on the left panel, earth on the center panel, and hell on the right panel. These types of paintings were generally used to explain certain aspects of religion, in this particular case it is to represent humanity and the after life.

The Panels el_jardin_de_las_delicias_de_el_bosco

It is interesting that Bosch only included three human figures on the heaven panel. I believe it is supposed to be Adam, Eve, and God. I think it is interesting th
at no mortal humans are included.

The earth panel shows all of the sin happening in the natural world. It is over crowded, people are all over one another. It is a chaotic place.

To top the chaos on earth, hell is depicted as a crazy, on fire, really strange place of suffering. There are strange beings all around, such as a pair of ears with a blade in between, half of a shell-like body, a bird man, etc.

Its Significance

This was finished in 1515. Just think about that. How crazy is it that something this bold was created 500 years ago. There are people having sex, killing each other, and being tortured. This was a time where it wasn’t even acceptable to portray nudity unless done so on Greek gods.

swans-reflecting-elephantsPlenty of artists took inspiration from Bosch, including Salvador Dali. Bosch’s work is so bold and unique that it is not difficult to pick out his admirers.

If you are interested in learning about more specific aspects of the painting, BBC has a more in depth observation of the painting.

Photo credit:

Bosch Portrait 

Garden of Earthly Delights

Dali Painting