Monthly Archives: August 2009

John & Yoko & Political Performance Art

Two of our all-time favorite New Yorkers and their best known piece of political performance art: the 4oth anniversary of the Bed-In for Peace, covered by NPR here.

My version:

(original in the Grabel Collection of New York)

"La Paix et L'Amour" (John and Yoko)

"La Paix et L'Amour" (John and Yoko)

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Filed under art in new york, original art, pop art, portraits, SOLD

Luv from NYC to Rhode Island, and Back

Ahhh... DEL'S.

Ahhh... DEL'S.

I’m a beach boy. I grew up near the clean, wide, sandy shores of Lake Michigan, and out here on the east coast, I’ve found a slice o’ heaven on earth called Block Island, part of Rhode Island, which isn’t actually an island, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

What we’re talking about is summer and the beach, and when you put those two together anywhere in Rhode Island, there’s sure to be Del’s frozen lemonade. To quote RI’s own Petah Griffin: “It freakin’ rocks.” I did a painting saying as much (now hanging at Dizzy’s in Brooklyn… which also freakin’ rocks), and put it up in my Etsy store, where it was spotted by Courtney Anderson of Rhode Island Monthly. She gave the painting a little bit of love here in a recent post.

Thanks, Courtney. I owe you a Del’s.

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ArtinBrooklyn.com: 3 Steps to Exposure for ARTISTS in Brooklyn

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Mike Sorgatz has been doing the blog artinbrooklyn.com for over a year now.

He features a wide variety of artists and gets more than 5,000 hit a month, a number which is climbing. It’s a good way to keep tabs on art shows and contests. And, it’s easy for Brooklyn artists to be featured on his site:

  1. open a new email message addressed to artinbrooklyn@gmail.com
  2. include a link to your work or 3 jpegs
  3. hit send

That’s it. No obligations. No cost. Mike will take care of the rest, and the artist gets exposure. The weird thing is, it’s surprisingly hard for Mike (and he’s an easy guy to work with) to get them to follow through on these three steps. I understand “art for art’s sake” and “integrity”, but come on.

As a form of communication, art that goes unseen is pretty ineffective, isn’t it? What’s up with that?

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How Chuck Close Redefined His Art and Came Back Stronger

Chuck Close painted like no one else ever quite had. His gigantic, hyper-realist portraits (based on extreme close-ups he’d taken in his studio) were almost indistinguishable from photographic enlargements.

Close and his painting of Philip Glass

Close and his painting of Philip Glass

His was a work about process, and he did it tremendously well for a couple decades. Then he couldn’t anymore. He could barely move. But he reinvented his process and did some of the best work of his career. Colleen Newvine tells the story here on her blog Newvine Growing.

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Portrait of a Magic Man: David Byrne

David Byrne for Mark Brush

David Byrne for Mark Brush

A couple months ago I promoted a contest on this blog. The challenge to readers was to tell me why they dug their favorite musician. My favorite response would receive a custom-made portrait of this musician. The responses were so good, so moving, that I chose two favorites: Mark Brush’s of Ann Arbor, Michigan and Kelsey McCune’s of Portland, Oregon.

Mark’s fave is Mr. David Byrne. Before starting the portrait, I had only a nodding familiarity with his music. Knew the standard stuff, never really got that into it. After reading Mark’s marvelous essay, I checked out a few of Byrne’s CDs from the NY Public Library. I also watched Stop Making Sense, for the first time ever. For further inspiration, Mark sent me a mix CD of his favorite Byrne songs, some with the Talking Heads, most without. To top it off, I went to see him perform live in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. That did it. Now I get David Byrne.

He puts on a helluva show. The music is one thing, but you gotta see it performed live (at least watch Stop Making Sense) to really appreciate David Byrne. The dancers, the lights, the staging, etc. It’s art. And magic. I was there as he cast a spell on several thousand of us that evening in Brooklyn. It was benevolent, and I’m pretty sure David Byrne is a magic man.

About the painting: I wanted to do a statesman-like portrait. There’s a dignity and importance to David Byrne that merits it. But there’s also a certain amount of absurdity, too. And cosmic relevance. And fun. And of course, dancing. This is why I included dancers on the line dividing yin and yang behind him, including the lamp from Stop Making Sense, a tiger behind him (from Life is Long on his latest album), Bugs Bunny (my favorite trickster icon), a ballet dancer (homage to the show I saw where they all came out in tutus for the encore) and Pan, piping away as he leads them all up the slope. The cosmic cherry on top of his whipped-cream hair is a nod to Magritte and his green apples. The roses in the lower corners imply saintliness and the trees growing down from the sky… because, why not? Behind him are some letter that may or may not spell out LIVE, LOVE, or (read from the bottom up and off the page) maybe even EVOLVE. The spacey glyphs on the right are best viewed by cocking your head 90 degrees to your left.

Kelsey McCune told me why Nina Simone rules, and she’s on deck. And boy, is she bad. I should have her portrait finished this month. I appreciate your patience, Mark and Kelsey. It’s been a busy summer.

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