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Art Therapy

April 15th, 2014

I received an interesting e-mail the other day, from a woman who described herself as a “consultant addiction psychiatrist working with an art psychotherapist” in the UK. They were dealing with a patient who experiences visual hallucinations and who has not responded to conventional treatment. Somehow they were familiar with our feature on Outsider Art, and said that one of the paintings on that page – the abstraction by Ognjen (Ogi) Jeremic that is reproduced below – was providing an unexpected benefit to their patient. They reported that “the only approach that has been helpful for this patient has been seeing this picture on your website that ‘keeps the hallucinations busy’ and allows his mind to become quiet.”

Pretty amazing, and very interesting, don’t you think? There’s a chance that the addiction psychiatrist and the art psychotherapist will follow up with us and provide more information about their studies … stay tuned! Her parting words were that the use “… of art in psychiatry has been extremely powerful in my work and is an ever-developing interest.”

outsider artist Ognjen (Ogi) Jeremic


Wood sculptures by John Byam

April 9th, 2014

I saw these little wood sculptures by John Byam at last year’s Outsider Art Fair, and while I find them interesting in their own right, learning a little something about the artist helps give some perspective.

Byam was born in Oneonta, NY in 1929, and has spent most of his life in this small town in upstate New York. With no formal training in art, he spent his life working for the D&H Railroad, followed by a stint in the army from 1950 – 1952, stationed in Japan during the Korean War, and then returned to help his mother and step father run their trailer park in Oneonta. An additional occupation included working as a gravedigger at the Plains Cemetery in Oneonta’s West End. But an especially interesting footnote is that while he spent his life making sculptures as well as drawing and painting, he basically was just doing it for himself, as his work was never exhibited in public until 2012, when a local antiques dealer put together a show at the Project Space Gallery in SUNY Oneonta’s Fine Arts Building. Now 85, Byam currently lives in assisted living in upstate NY.

outsider artist John Byam's sculpture

John Byam artist from Oneonta, NY


Anamorphic art by Salvador Dali

April 4th, 2014

Check out our new arts investigation into anamorphic art featuring a piece by Surrealist artist Salvador Dali, as seen at the Dali Museum in Montmartre. But we find two more “hidden” images beyond what is revealed by the mirrored cylinder … click here to check it out.

example of anamorphic art by Dali at Espace Dali in Montmartre


Sights in the Garment District, NYC

April 2nd, 2014

I usually don’t have much reason to wander around the Garment District in NYC (roughly 34th-40th Street and between 6th Avenue and 9th Avenue), but last night I had tickets to the N.I.T. Final Four at Madison Square Garden, and was in search of something to eat before the games. The fabric stores were especially a big source of bright and wild color, but there was plenty of visual interest all over, as these four examples below indicate. You can see more of Artsology on Instagram here.

fabric samples and lots of buttons, as seen in the Fashion District in NYC

fabrics seen in Fashion District stores in NYC


Artsology is Google’s latest acquisition

April 1st, 2014

From the archives … I posted this on my home page on April 1, 2008. Wishful thinking, no doubt, in addition to being an April’s Fool joke. But hey, Google, we’re much bigger and have a lot more traffic than we did in 2008, so if you’re interested, let’s talk numbers.

april fools joke


Vik Muniz never ceases to amaze me

March 31st, 2014

Below left we have a photograph of a collage by Vik Muniz, based on James Ensor’s 1889 painting “Portait of the Artist Surrounded by Masks, which is also shown below right. Muniz’s piece is titled “Portrait of the Artist Surrounded by Masks, after James Ensor (Pictures of Magazines 2),” 2013. The reference to magazines is what tips it off that Muniz is going beyond just copying Ensor – scroll down and see how Muniz has re-created this image using a collage of non-related images torn from magazines. It’s really quite amazing, don’t you think?

Portrait of the Artist surrounded by Masks, versions by Vik Muniz and James Ensor

Vik Muniz recreates a James Ensor image with magazine tear outs

detail of a Vik Muniz photograph featuring collage images based on James Ensor


Using words to visually define Kurt Cobain

March 29th, 2014

If I were to tell you that this group of words, below, were illustrating Kurt Cobain’s eye, you’d probably tell me I’m nuts, or that I need to get my head checked. But if you step back far enough – and scroll down – you’ll see what I mean.

using words to draw Kurt Cobain's eye

The picture above was just a detail from the overall image of Kurt Cobain created by artist David Hollier, below. As you can see, stepping farther away from the surface of the work, the image of Cobain starts to appear … if you get even further away (or make the image smaller and more-condensed, as we did below top right), you’ll see the strong resemblance to the original photograph of Kurt Cobain, bottom right. To see more of Hollier’s word-based images, check out his website here.

word portrait of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain by artist David Hollier


Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Paddle Game by Jeff Koons

March 29th, 2014

Artspace sent me an e-mail suggesting that I could “add a conversation piece to my art collection” with this Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer paddle game by Jeff Koons (see bottom right). I decided to do a little comparison shopping for goofy paddle games, and came up with some alternatives, below. Which one do you want to buy?

Another question I have is: if an artist is getting into the realm of making art works in editions of nine hundred, as is the case with this Rudolph piece, is that all that far off from mass production for the masses a la Thomas Kinkade? During the presidential campaign of 1928, the Republican Party claimed that if Herbert Hoover won, there would be a “chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” in America. Perhaps we should add “and a Jeff Koons paddle game in every play room” to that popular saying.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer paddle ball game by Jeff Koons


The pensive rock-n-roller

March 28th, 2014

It seems this rock-n-roller is deep in thought as he wanders the streets of NYC. I couldn’t resist snapping this discreet picture due to such an unusual jacket.

A man deep in thought walking the streets of NYC


Print-and-Play Arts Games at Artsology Membership

March 28th, 2014

We have a selection of print-and-play arts games at our Artsology Membership section. In addition to the arts games, Artsology Members can also access our “Gallery Insider” feature, which incorporates contemporary art exhibitions in NYC galleries with optional lesson plans for teachers or homeschoolers to share with their students. We also introduce our new Jazz & Arts Series, where we pair a jazz music composition with a corresponding art project. For more information, check out our Membership Intro here or go our registration page here.

printable arts games at Artsology Membership


Vincent Van Gogh at Artsology Artsology offers free online games about the arts, and delivers investigations into topics in the visual arts, music, and literature. Artsology is a good resource for fun learning about the arts for people of all ages and is enjoyed by students, homeschoolers, and adults. Follow us on Twitter or become a fan of our Facebook page. Pablo Picasso paintings at Artsology

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