From The Big Chair – Andy Warhol Had A Dark Side

The memento mori has a long history in art. For hundreds of years, artists have taken it upon themselves to remind people that no matter who you are in this life, whether you have youth, beauty or power, you will still die. It comes to us all.

Although respected as the progenitor of ‘pop art’ Andy Warhol is rarely considered a profound or even serious artist. He produced his work in The Factory, in a slightly callous mode of mass production.

He concerned himself largely with the iconography of celebrity, such as the famous silkscreen prints of snake hipped singer Elvis Presley and star of the silver screen Marilyn Monroe. These images have an apparent vacuity that if you were to confront Warhol about he would have typically answered with a spaced out ‘Gee, I guess’.

But Warhol cultivated this vacancy, and it was his answer to contemporary culture. His persona ran so deep that it was hard to see under the surface. But a deeper, darker, and more reflective Warhol is visible in his bleakest work of all, Electric Chair (1964). Four years after this, Andy Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanas. This work pre-empted his brush with mortality, which perhaps inspired the repeated revisits to the motif.

The electric chair was used by Warhol partly to question the death penalty, which to many seemed a barbaric and unkindly final form of punishment with no room for repentance or positive change. It simply took a living person and annihilated them in the most coldly efficient way possible. The spectacle of the electric chair is a modern gladiator show where people line up to watch a death that in this instance is inescapable.

This element of performance would have fascinated Warhol, as would the morbidity. It is the thesis of this brief article that the image served a further function, acting in the aforementioned role as a memento mori, a timely reminder of death in a hedonistic age. Even the celebrities who live on through his iconic imagery are condemned to a similar fate, and many of them too soon.

Warhol’s businesslike approach to art shows a nihilistic lack of idealism with regard to art. It appears simply a vehicle to make money and gain notoriety. Whether this is the whole story it is hard to know, Warhol was a complex character. But for a Roman Catholic, he seemed to value surface over substance, the superficial over the profound, and the physical over the ineffable. He once stated famously that he wanted to be plastic. Warhol’s oxidised copper ‘piss-paintings’ added further disrespect to a traditionally valued endeavour.

Furthermore, his filmic work was often deliberately mundane and in its very banality seemed to celebrate absurdity and existential emptiness. His involvement in the Velvet Underground’s sex and sin laden first album is additional evidence for a dark side. The cover may be a humorously sexualised peelback banana with a pink inside, but the contents of the record are bleaker and more disturbing accounts of drug use, S&M and violence. It was a challenging record at the time, but Warhol was always at the razor’s edge.

Warhol was a rare creature in the art world, a character much more profound that he made out, and much more intelligent than he would have you believe. This reversal of the generic model of artistry in which the artist tends to exaggerate their own profundity for credibility lends him the honour of having more credibility, intrigue and pathos than any other artist. He was not just a visual pop star, and history will prove it so.

Guest blogger:  Art enthusiast Geoff writes for electricityprices.org.uk where you can compare the cheapest energy rates 

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Secure Private Storage Facilities For Art Work

Whether you are looking for somewhere to store your furniture for a while, or simply want to keep precious pieces of art out of harm’s way, you will probably need to avail of private storage facilities. Good art can be quite expensive and can also go up in value over time, depending on the recognition that the artist gets. Collectors may want to find the best place to keep their art when they are not displaying it.

Safety First

The very first thing you need to look out for is safety. This means making sure that the private storage facilities you use are going to keep the art dry. When it comes to paintings, you do not water or damp to get into the chamber therefore the entire place needs to be sealed off. It is also necessary to take a look at the material from which the works are made, to make sure that it is stored at an agreeable temperature.

Pricing

The amount you pay is going to depend on a lot of factors. You will need to make sure that you look at everything, such as the security features that have been put in place and general maintenance. Rental can be quite expensive in some areas, so some collectors may choose to store their art in another part of the country.

You will also need to take a look at the amount of space your work is going to take up.

Benefits

By getting experts who regularly store works of art, you will know that your property is kept safe and will be maintained properly. Above all, storing precious art work away will usually mean that it is safe from the likes of fire and theft. Depending on the price, some people may decide to take out insurance as well.

If you choose to store several pieces in the same place, you can also get a discounted deal. By going with professional experts who specialize in storing art, you can end up paying a reasonable price. Of course, for collectors, some art is priceless and therefore any option will do.

Protection from the Elements and Security

Many of the places are fireproof, so there is no need to worry about fire damage. A lot of facilities will also make sure that there is no way for the rain to get in. Protection from the elements is what any collector will want for their pieces.

Twenty-four-hour security is often provided at such facilities as well. Many of them may already be located in somewhat isolated areas, so people generally do not have to worry about this. There will also be a security system put in place with alarm and cameras. Overall, collectors will know that they can rely on the facility they use.

Guest blogger: Leslet Gibson is a avid art blogger with a specialized interest in art appraisal.

The Story of Street Art in Buenos Aires

For most of us, graffiti or ‘tagging’ is considered an act of vandalism; the graphic representation of a bored and disaffected youth that feels it has no other outlet to express its societal discontent. In Britain, artists such as Banksy have raised graffiti-as-art into mainstream consciousness, introducing an unexpected element of commercialism if not respectability to the genre.

In Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires, street art enjoys an entirely different reception. Here, intricate, colourful, surreal and artistic graffitos and murals are virtually welcomed and celebrated, brightening city streets and buildings in a way that is inoffensive and accepted by city dwellers. In fact, the street art of Buenos Aires has gained commercial respect in its own right; many companies now offer guided tours of the finer examples to be found around the city.

The Political Origins of Buenos Aires Street art

As with much graffiti worldwide, the burgeoning culture of modern Buenos Aires street art had politically-motivated beginnings. In the political instability and economic depression immediately following the 1955 coup which deposed radical Argentinian President Juan Peron, competing political parties paid supportive activists to daub the capital city’s walls with political slogans. In retaliation, a counter-culture of purely aesthetic and non-political street art appeared at around the same time.

Further political upheavals in Argentina’s history inadvertently fuelled the fire of Buenos Aires’ street art scene. Following seven years of violent political protest and disorder which ultimately saw the disastrous re-election of the Peron family to Argentinian presidency, a military dictatorship was established in 1976 which saw all expressions of protest – including street art – declared illegal. A new era of democracy returned following public polls in 1983 and street art in Buenos Aires began to flourish once more.

The 21st Century – A Turning Point for Buenos Aires Street Art

In 2001 a combination of circumstances including the linking of the Argentinian Peso with the American Dollar, a dramatic fall in tax revenues and the fallout from years of heavy government borrowing resulted in Argentina’s worst ever financial crisis. Mass unemployment and the imposition of restrictions on bank withdrawals led to large-scale rioting and the ultimate resignation of then president Fernando de la Rua.

Once more a turbulent political scene gave new motivation and emphasis to the street artists of Buenos Aires. They did not, however, turn to expressions of anger or protest at the devastating mismanagement of Argentina’s affairs by successive governments, but instead painted the city’s walls with scenes intended to lift the population’s spirits, combining humour and vibrant cartoon colours to combat the prevailing grey mood. This form of optimistic, aesthetic and non-confrontational street art became the norm, and continues to dominate the streets and neighbourhoods of Argentina’s capital city today.

Buenos Aires street Art Today

In contrast with the world’s other major cities, graffiti and street art has been effectively de-criminalised in Buenos Aires. Free from the risk of prosecution and with the endorsement of the populous, street artists can take their time to produce true works of art on the city’s walls and buildings. The results are often breathtaking, but always imaginative, colourful and fun. Beautiful abstract and surreal works sit cheek-by-jowl with expertly executed portraits, whilst cartoons in bright primary colours sit alongside intricately stencilled images. Far from an act of vandalism, Buenos Aires’ embrace of street art has transformed the city into the world’s largest, most diverse and greatest art gallery.

Guest blogger: Enid Hutt Gallery sells art by contemporary artists including Buenos Aires-born Fabian Perez prints

Embossing Guide With Rubber Stamps

Heat embossing is a fun project that you can do with your kids. You can use these designs for your scrapbooks or personalized holiday cards. It’s very easy to do and requires minimal effort and tools.

Here’s what you need:

  • Rubber stamp
  • Heating gun
  • Brush
  • Scrap paper
  • Card stock
  • Embossing ink
  • Embossing powder

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Choose a rubber stamp. Press the rubber stamp onto the ink. Make sure that the rubber stamp is fully covered with the ink. Press the rubber stamp about three times on the ink pad.
  2. Press the stamp on the card stock or any paper that you are using to the desired position that you want.
  3. Place the card stock above the scrap paper. Sprinkle the design with the embossing powder. Make sure that you coat every part of the design. Be generous with the embossing powder.
  4. Place the card vertically over the scrap paper to remove the excess embossing powder. Tap gently.
  5. Get your brush and remove any other extra embossing powder around the image. Be careful not to brush over the design.
  6. Get your heating gun to set or melt the embossing powder. Hold it a short distance away from the image. Make sure that all sides are evenly heated by sweeping it back and forth over the design. Do this until you see that the powder has melted or has changed texture. Set aside.
  7. Put the excess embossing powder on the scrap paper back into the bottle for future use. To make this task easier, be sure to fold the scrap paper prior to dumping the excess embossing powder so that it will be easier to transfer the powder to the bottle. You’re done!

Tips on Embossing

  • There are a lot of kinds of embossing powder. You can choose from pearlized, metallic, glitter or even perfumed. You can also choose matte, shiny, distressed or antique.
  • There are three types of embossing powder – regular, extra fine and ultra thick. If you’re a beginner, regular embossing powder will do. You can use this in a wide variety of projects. Extra fine can be used to emboss very fine detail. The ultra thick one is used for really big and chunky rubber stamps.
  • The best colors to start with are black, red, silver and gold. You can use these colors in most of your craft projects.
  • Be careful when using your heat guns. There are different types of heat guns depending on the way they direct heat. Some heat guns can cause your paper to catch fire. Choose one that you are comfortable using.
  • As for the stamps, you can use any stamp that you have.

Embossing is a great way to liven up a project. It’s fast, easy and very affordable. Its something that you can teach your kids to do to develop their creativity.

Guest blogger:  This article has been written by compare franking machine, your best place for franking quotes.

Featured Artist: Nan Nevels

LinxWest.com is excited to introduce to you to our August 2012 Featured Artist – Nan Nevels from Southern Joy Artworks!

Nan is a paper clay artist, a craft she learned while living abroad in Japan.  Her style reflects her strong Southern roots, love for children and the beauty and joy she finds in every day life.

Nan’s Background

Nan’s love affair with art began when she was a toddler, as her mother’s old college textbooks, now “enhanced” with her bright Crayola drawings, will prove.  “I even remember when I got my first box of 64 Crayons with the built in sharpener…..oh the possibilities!” mused Nan when asked how she got started in art.

Nan went on to study art in both formal and informal settings; from college pottery and sculpting classes to Japanese sculpting classes at a small local community center in coastal Japan.  It was while she was in Japan that she learned to use paper clay.  “Paper clay is a great medium for relief sculptures because it is so light-weight, enjoys various types of paint, and it air dries,” says Nan.

What Inspires Her

When asked where her inspiration comes from, Nan replied “My inspiration for creating almost always comes from nature and children…two things that always show me God’s mighty hand, amazing grace, and possibilities all wrapped in color and FUN!!!  I treasure the evenings when I can sit on the beach and watch the children giggling as they run up and down the sandy shoreline; drinking in the colors of the ocean against the evening sky. For me, it’s like getting a massive hug from God!!!”

Nan hopes that her art appropriately expresses her love and thankfulness for her amazing life.  “My hope is that people who purchase my work will just walk by it from time to time and smile…even during their most difficult days.”

Where To Find Nan

Nan can be found as a Featured Seller on LinxWest.com.  Her pieces are part of the featured items rotating display on the home page and can also be found under the category “sculpture.”  You can contact Nan to place a custom order on our site or at facebook.com/southernjoyartworks.

Nan’s creations are charming and whimsical and will sure bring a smile to everyone who sees them. We are thrilled to have Nan and her amazing work of art as our August Featured Artist on LinxWest.com.  We are absolutely sure you’ll be touched by her colorful clay dolls and love them as much as we do! Stop by LinxWest.com http://linxwest.com/items/98/folk-art and grab yours now.

Benefits of Online Markets for Artists and Crafters

The road to becoming a successful artist isn’t always an easy one. Often times you must contend with traveling from market to market and gallery to gallery, unpacking and repacking your work just to get it in front of as many prospects as possible. Having to be on the go and constantly seeking out new buyers and gallery representatives doesn’t leave much time for creativity.

This is where the benefits of the online market place come in to play. Online markets give artists an avenue via which to display and present their work to a limitless number of gallery representatives, buyers and art enthusiasts from around the globe.

Finding the Right Venue

Once you’ve made the decision to sell your work online, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is deciding what sites you want to connect with. I’m sure you’ve already thought about sites like Etsy, eBay or Craig’s List, but on these sites you’ll be one of thousands and you’ll have a hard time being discovered.

You’ll want to find a site that is dedicated to the promotion of handmade crafts and original art from emerging artists, a site that cultivates a support system via which artists can connect and share with each other. You’ll also want to ensure the site you choose has a payment system in place that is verified, easy to use and has minimal fees or charges to use its services.

Benefits of the Right Venue

The most obvious benefit of working with an online market place is the exposure it provides for you and your work. Online market places have a limitless reach as they are global and are open 24/7. You will be able to get your work in front of more people in a day than you could possibly do on your own going from market to market in a year.

With the right market place you’ll also have the added marketing support that a large, online market place can provide. Typically these sites create weekly press releases, social postings and blogs to get the word out about their site. Often times you can also contact them about becoming a featured artist or a guest blogger – both of which are great opportunities to get your name out there even more.

Another great advantage to selling online is the cost which tends to be a lot less than having to sell through galleries as they charge somewhere between 40% and 60% which leaves very little to the artist. Typically online markets allow you to set your own prices. This system ensures you’ll retain the most money from the sale of each of your pieces and that you’ll be in complete control.

The LinxWest Market Place

LinxWest.com is an online market place that is dedicated to helping emerging artists and crafters display and sells their work to buyers from all across the globe. They handle all of the marketing for the site at no cost to you and provide tools to assist you in creating the best online store possible.

The environment of LinxWest.com is one of connected community of artists where you can share ideas and connect with other like-minded artists. LinxWest.com also allows you to set your own price for your pieces and even gives you the option to sell your work at a fixed price or via an online auction.

LinxWest.com is dedicated to supporting emerging artists and artisan crafters and to providing them a venue to sell their work and expand their connections.

Getting the Bigger Picture – How to Evaluate Paintings

Our individual opinions of artworks are entirely subjective – what one person may interpret as a talentless mess of random daubings the next may view as a masterpiece – but there is a sufficient richness, diversity and abundance of art worldwide that virtually everybody should find something that appeals or ‘speaks’ to them.

Beyond the initial aesthetic impact of a painting there may be subtleties and subtexts that only become apparent upon closer inspection, evaluation and reflection. Looking at a painting in such a way can hugely enhance our enjoyment and appreciation of it, helping us to understand something of the thought processes and feelings of the artist and what they are trying to convey. Whilst art connoisseurs may spend a lifetime examining every nuance and brush stroke of a painting in fine detail, a consideration of the following five basic questions can make evaluating paintings just as rewarding for beginners.

What is the subject of the painting?
This isn’t necessarily as straightforward as it sounds. When you begin evaluating paintings, all kinds of questions may spring to mind, the answers to which will help you to understand and enjoy the painting. Is it a depiction of a cityscape? Which city? And when? Why was the artist there? Why did he choose this particular scene?

Similar lines of questioning can be applied to portraits – who is the sitter? Why are they being painted? Are they important? – and to still-life paintings, which may reveal a story or meaning that isn’t immediately obvious.

How has the painting been composed?
The way in which a painting has been laid out – composed – is significant to understanding the motive and skill of the artist. An expertly composed picture will subtly lead the viewer’s eye around the painting via techiniques such as contrasting areas of light and shade, and the careful deployment of horizons and vanishing points. Consider how the way in which a painting has been composed affects the mood of the scene; how would the same painting work if the elements depicted had been composed differently?

Is the artist’s use of colour significant?
Colours have a strong subconscious link with human emotions, a fact that artists exploit to elicit different feelings and moods with their paintings. Not only can colours be used to stimulate emotions, they can evoke character, mood and a sense of visual depth in a painting. The use of colour in abstract art is particularly important; it may be the greatest visual clue to as to the artist’s intentions for the painting.

Whether a conventional or abstract painting, consider whether the overall use of colour suggests warmth (reds, oranges, yellows), coolness (blues, greens) or solemnity (darker browns, greys, black and white), and whether the colours have been balanced to suggest calm and harmony or to suggest unrest or turmoil.

What is the artist’s particular style or technique?
Has the artist captured the finest of detail to create an almost photographically realistic reproduction of a scene? Or have they used broader strokes which don’t resolve themselves into a discernible image unless viewed from a distance? What is the artist’s preferred medium – oil, watercolour, acrylic, pastel? Do they have a single style or more than one?

An artist’s particular style and use of materials can often tell us just as much about a picture as the subject and the composition – try to consider whether the artist’s choice of material and execution of the painting was intentional and if so what these choices add to the painting.

How does the painting make me feel?
Your reaction to a particular piece of art is perhaps the most important aspect of its evaluation. Successful art will provoke some kind of response, feeling or emotion in the viewer, be it positive or negative. The key to evaluating and enjoying a painting is to acknowledge how it makes you feel, why it makes you feel the way you do about it and how the artist has managed to evoke this feeling.

If you dislike a painting, don’t summarily dismiss it but explore the reasons why you dislike it; has the artist intentionally combined subject, composition, colour and style in such a way as to deliberately provoke negative feelings or dislike in the viewer? In art, anything is possible…

Guest blog provided by: The Enid Hutt Gallery sells artwork by contemporary artists such as Mackenzie Thorpe