Botanical illustrations

 

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I’m finding these to be really aesthetically appealing to me lately. I like the simplicity of the illustrations and the way that the forms float on the page, and I also love the way that each item is labelled, for the sake of identification of course. I tend to enjoy labels also for their directness and am interested in labeling or identifying scenes that I draw with text. So there are some correlations here. Also have been looking at Anna Atkins’ beautiful cyanotype prints. They’re executed in the simplest way, just by laying different plants onto coated light-sensitive paper, but they have a really unusual effect to me, a little bit abstract and mysterious, but also direct in their intent to lay out specimens. 

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Naked women and art

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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

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Picasso

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Cezanne

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Gauguin

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Emil Nolde

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Max Beckmann

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Randy Asplund (I don’t like these)

I’ve been thinking about the incredible amount of images of the female nude in art, and in any medium really, but I’m most interested in paintings or prints. Obviously, people have thought a lot about this before, but I can’t help being surprised when I think about it. I hadn’t taken any art history classes before college, but still understood that this was “the thing”.

I hadn’t thought about it so much before, but any work that I make has been influenced strongly by every single thing that came before it. I am curious as to why the female nude is one of those concepts I’m still drawn to, even though it may only be because everyone else was drawn to it before I was. I like to incorporate conventions and tropes in a slightly more conscious way in my drawings, but to try sometimes to turn them around. I’m interested in finding different ways to think about our cultural obsession with this kind of imagery, and to somehow illustrate that. Not sure if this makes sense. . .  Also thinking about gender politics, and the way that this accumulation of female forms effects any woman in particular, or women in general, and the way they view their own bodies. And that’s not to say that this is a negative thing.

Also, I like the last three images by this Randy Asplund guy. I think they’re really creepy and awkward, probably moreso because I don’t think they were meant to be.

Lynda Barry!!

 

 

 

 

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One of my favorite artists of all time. Not only is her stuff aesthetically appealing to me, but she’s also a very smart and thoughtful artist as well. Her interest in narrative and semi-somewhat autobiography makes her important to me especially.  Vice interview:

” Do you think people can really be taught how to write?

I don’t think anyone needs to be taught how to write. They just need to be reminded that they already know how to tell stories in the same way they know how to use their thumbs and fingers. The class is about what people already know how to do but most have abandoned, kind of like the way I abandoned my best ways of working to try to write a book on a computer.” 

Her illustrated book “Cruddy” came out in 1999. The original manuscript was all hand-painted in ink, though the published version replaces this with type, but painted images are still an integral part of the book. It seems to me to be one of the most unusual books I’ve seen in a long time. Her combination of text and imagery is almost always effortless and effective. I’m always trying to get to where she’s at. 

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John Kricfalusi

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Creator of Ren and Stimpy. I like the idea of not being an animator or ever having to animate, but being able to find aspects of animation that are still useful to what I’m doing. Kricfalusi has an interesting blog (http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/) where he makes a lot of posts about his work and the work of various animators, especially going back to earlier animation. A lot of his work is about conveying emotion simply and directly, or exaggerating aspects of the figure in a really neat way. It’s interesting to look at John K’s sketches too, since they’re so lively and fun.

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Inuit Printmaking: Parr

Parr’s engravings below have struck me as some of the most unusual and interesting prints I’ve seen. Printmaking was never part of a natural art-historical progression in the arctic, and the earliest printmaking studios have only been in existence there since the late 1950’s. Parr made his works at the Cape Dorset studio in Arctic Canada as one of the earliest Inuit artists. The fact that he began to make his work so late in life, and with such a traditional, nomadic background as a hunter makes his art especially interesting, from a western standpoint. Also interesting are questions raised about modernity and western influence in the Arctic regions and the art produced there since the 1950’s. The description below of his work as “naive” seems questionable. Another way of putting it may be to say that his prints have a feeling of frankness and clarity to them that are specific to their context in the Arctic.

Arctic prints have always been a real interest to me, and until recently I hadn’t noticed the importance of Cape Dorset prints to the idea of printmaking to me as a whole. I am interested in the emotion and deceptively simple forms displayed in prints like Parr’s, and would like to achieve in my own prints a similar feeling, though obviously coming out of a completely different background and intent. I especially don’t want to appropriate imagerey or line-quality or subject matter from these prints, but would still somehow like this type of work to be involved in what I make myself.

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Walrus Hunt (1963)

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Geese and Man (1964)

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Untitled (1962)

http://www.spiritwrestler.com/catalog/index.php?artists_id=770

”  Parr led a traditional nomadic existence for most of his life. A serious hunting accident obliged him to settle permanently in Cape Dorset in 1961, where he began drawing at age 68. In his short artistic career he produced over 2000 drawings and contributed 34 prints to the annual Cape Dorset print collections. Filled with animals and hunters and drawn with a distinctive, primitive style with little regard for naturalism or perspective, Parr’s naive images are powerful expressions of an old man’s love for a disappearing way of life. Often considered crude and childish, his works were largely unappreciated during his lifetime. Only after his death were there major exhibitions of his work, and a posthumously published print, Hunters of Old, was selected for a 1977 Canadian postage stamp.”

Ingo Hessel, The Canadian Encyclopedia, 1985, page 1366.