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Finding an art history masterpiece within some graffiti

April 24th, 2014

For some reason I was drawn to this graffiti (top picture), which I saw in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, so I took a photograph. It wasn’t until some time later that I looked at it again on my computer, and thought I saw something familiar in those pink lines … they almost looked like dancing figures, especially with the round shapes on top looking like heads, and the lower vertical lines looking like legs. And then it hit me – it’s almost like a graffiti version of Matisse’s famous “Dance” painting. I don’t think the original graffiti artist was necessarily going for that reference, but when I placed them side-by-side (see middle row pictures, below), and then tweaked the original to bring in some familiar elements, can you see where I’m making the visual association?

finding an art historical reference to Matisse Dance within some random graffiti


Fresh Meat: SVA Student Comics Fair on May 2nd

April 23rd, 2014

When I was in NYC visiting art galleries last Friday, I picked up a copy of the Village Voice, and realized that while I used to read the Voice all the time when I lived in NYC, I hadn’t really read it much in the 10+ years since I’ve moved to the suburbs. As I was browsing the pages, I happened upon an ad that caught my attention – the headline was “Fresh Meat.”

“Fresh Meat” is an annual Comics Fair organized by the students at SVA (School of Visual Arts, in NYC). It takes place this year on May 2nd, from 6-9pm, and will be located at 271 East 23rd Street. This comics fair allows SVA students to have the opportunity to exhibit their self-published comics and prints, and is considered to be a premier event to meet the rising talent in the next generation of cartoonists. For more information, check out the Fresh Meat site here.

Fresh Meat is the name of an SVA NYC Student Comics Fair, held on May 2


Street art skulls, and more, from Orange NJ to 5 Points, LIC

April 23rd, 2014

I saw a post online about the “Top 10 Best Street Art Skulls,” and I thought: “how does one really qualify the 10 “best” skulls when there are countless street art skulls out there? Which led me to browse through my collection of street art photos (as well as those taken on some of my “Arts Adventurer” series) and I decided to post a collection of them – along with the location where they were found – here for you. I’m not proclaiming any of these to be the “best” of anything, but I do find it to be an interesting collection.

Skull art street art found in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Left and far right: street art skulls found in WIlliamsburg, Brooklyn; center: Halloween decoration also found in Williamsburg.

street art featuring skulls found at 5 Pointz in Long Island City, NYC

A trio of street art pieces featuring skulls found at 5 Pointz in Long Island City

skull or skeleton art found in different places

From left: a Revolutionary War-era gravestone at a cemetery in Orange, NJ; center: detail from a sculpture at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ; right: graffiti at Grounds for Sculpture.

skull theme street art found at 5 Pointz in Long Island City

Another trio of skull theme street art found at 5 Pointz in Long Island City (green seems to be popular).

three skull theme murals found at 5 Pointz graffiti mecca in LIC

Yet another trio of skull murals found at the former 5 Pointz graffiti mecca in Long Island City

street art featuring skulls found in Paris neighborhood of Montmartre

Skulls carved out of painted soda cans; skull street art and graffiti, all three found in Montmartre, Paris

street art and sculpture featuring skulls found in NYC

Left and far right: street art skulls found on the west side of Manhattan; center: skull with baseball hat found in store window, East Village, NYC

skulls found in street art in Bridgeport CT and Bushwick Brooklyn

Left: found in Bridgeport, CT; center and right: skull art found in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Sticker art featuring skulls found in Virginia Beach

Sticker art featuring skulls found in Virginia Beach


Peter Sis: Cartography of the Mind, at the Czech Center New York

April 22nd, 2014

The Czech Center of New York will host an exhibition of works by Peter Sis, a Czech-born American illustrator and writer of children’s books. The exhibition, titled “Cartography of the Mind,” will open on May 8th, and run through September 1, 2014.

The exhibition will feature approximately 50 works, including drawings, watercolors and gouaches from an array of books that explore man’s unending quest for discovery. Sis is a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, the Hans Christian Andersen Foundation Award for Illustration, three Caldecott Honor Book Awards, and has contributed more than 1,000 drawings to The New York Times Book Review. As a cartoonist, his editorial illustrations have appeared in Time, Newsweek, Esquire, and The Atlantic Monthly.

Below are some samples of his work; click here to visit the author/illustrator’s own web site to learn more.

Author and illustrator Peter Sis, exhibiting at the Czech Center, New York

art by Peter Sis


James Dean as street art icon

April 19th, 2014

It seems that James Dean is making a comeback as a street art icon, courtesy of an artist who goes by the name “Rubbuh.” I saw this postal sticker art last night while walking up 7th Avenue in NYC.

#deannyc street art by Rubbuh


Kristen Morgin at Zach Feuer Gallery

April 19th, 2014

I first saw Kristen Morgin’s work last month at Zach Feuer’s booth at The Armory Show, and was intrigued by her work. So it was a pleasant surprise to happen upon a full-scale exhibition of her work at the Zach Feuer Gallery in Chelsea yesterday.

Morgin creates sculptural pieces which reimagine super heroes, characters from fairy tales and popular culture. Below we have from left: “Super Can Man,” “the Marlboro Man,” and “Apollo Creed” from the Rocky movies.

exhibition of Kristen Morgin's art at Zach Feuer Gallery

But here’s the catch, and the magic behind this work … looking at it, one easily assumes that it’s all found objects that have been assembled into mini sculptures. But in fact, every piece in the show is unfired clay and paint! So, in fact she’s hand-crafting the illusion of these objects, almost like sculptural trompe l’oeil.

The Zach Feuer Gallery is located at 548 West 22nd Street, and Morgin’s exhibition remains on view through May 3, 2014 … check it out! Here’s a few more pieces from the show: “Duck Mask,” and “The Incredible Hulk.”

art by Kristen Morgin


The diverse population of Lambertville, NJ

April 18th, 2014

I was in Lambertville, NJ last weekend, and in walking around town, I was struck by the wide variety of faces seen on the streets and in the shops. Here’s a look at some of the characters that I saw:

the faces of Lambertville New Jersey


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


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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