Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Kelvin Okafor

Kelvin Okafor (born November 1, 1985) is a British artist of Nigerian descent who lives in Tottenham, London.

He draws very lifelike portraits of ordinary people and celebrities using pencil and charcoal.

His style is known as Hyperrealism.

He brings portraits to life, as if they were standing right next to you.  

Ultimately, Okafor intends to create art that prompts an emotional response to viewers.

More of Kelvin Okafor‘s amazing works can be found at www.kelvinokaforart.com.

Sunday/Monday Evening Art Gallery Blog — David Martin Stone

Illustrator David Stone Martin  (1913-1992) was one of the most prolific and influential graphic designers of the postwar era, creating over 400 album covers.

Much of his work spotlighted jazz, with his signature hand-drawn, calligraphic line perfectly capturing the energy and spontaneity of the idiom.

Born David Livingstone Martin in Chicago, he later studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and began his career as an assistant to the social realist painter Ben Shahn, designing murals during the 1933 World’s Fair.

Martin spent the remainder of the decade as art director of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and served during World War II as an artist/correspondent for Life magazine.

After returning to the U.S. he mounted a career as a freelance artist; in 1948, he also began teaching at the Brooklyn Museum School of Art, followed in 1950 by a year at New York City’s Workshop School of Advertising and Editorial Art.

Martin entered music illustration through his longtime friendship with producer Norman Granz, designing hundreds of now-classic cover paintings for acts including Count Basie, Art Tatum, Gene Krupa, and Lionel Hampton.

Martin’s work has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and others.

More of David Stone Martin’s magnificent album covers can be found at http://www.birkajazz.com/archive/stonemartin.htm

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Leonardo Da Vinci

We all have heard of Leonard Da Vinci‘s paintings Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.

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But Da Vinci was so much more than a painter.

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Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian polymath, having been a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer.

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He spent a great deal of time immersing himself in nature, testing scientific laws, dissecting bodies (human and animal) and thinking and writing about his observations.

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 This was at the same time as King Henry VII — swords and maces, leeching, pestilence, and non-existent technology.

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That is why, when you are an artist, your mantle is wide and long and                   all-encompassing.

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You are a multi-colored rainbow of curiosity and creativity.

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Just like Leonardo.

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More of Leonardo Da Vinci’s works can be found at http://www.leonardoda-vinci.org/.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Pierre Brissaud

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Pierre Brissaud  (1885- 1964) was a French illustrator, painter, and a prominent figure of French Art Deco.

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He created illustrations for publications Les Feuillets d’Art, La Gazette du Bon Ton, Fortune, House & Garden, Vanity Fair, and Vogue.

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Many of his illustrations are realistic leisure scenes of the well-to-do.

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From the mid-1920 to the early 1930’s, Pierre Brissaud was known for his stencil prints meant for magazine covers and advertising.

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Not only did Brissaud created prints and posters for fashion houses, but he also did book illustrations including Manon Lescaut, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Madame Bovary.

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It is through his creative artistry that the reflections of elegance of days gone by are preserved.

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More about Pierre Brissaud can be found at http://bestarts.org/artist/pierre-brissaud/

Pardon My French

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Bon jour!

Dear me — I’m transforming — again. I have been bitten by the Paris bug.

 I have wandered down many a reincarnation in my short 62-year life. As I have said in other blogs, I went through a Renaissance period in my 30s; shields and maiden dresses and unicorn tapestries. There was a cool working-downtown-Chicago phase when I was really young; I was never cool nor chic enough to keep up with the bubbles downtown, but it was fun pretending while it lasted.

Now I’m on the French train.

I am thinking of changing my writing name to either Claudette or Colette or Jacqui; my short term/long term memory is shot, so I can’t really learn French, but I know enough to eat (who doesn’t know Coq au vin or baguettes or Éclairs?) I have watched Midnight in Paris a hundred times, ordered Hemmingway’s Moveable Feast, and Colette’s Gigi; and signed up for a couple of French  accounts (Haven in Paris on Twitter, Tongue in Cheek in email).

My BoHo Chic wardrobe-in-progress will fit splendidly on my pretend-jaunts through the French countryside, along with the pretend-designer purses I pick up at Good Will for my jaunts into Paris Proper. I have glanced at what basics a French Madame needs (flats, cars, cardigan, boots). Well, still working on that.

What is it twith this L’influence française?

It must be my never-ending desire to role play. To know who I am and who I can pretend to be. Who cares? I never did much dress up as a kid; my body was never conducive to mini skirts or leggings or stilettos. But my imagination has always played the boundaries. And the older I get, the more I can’t help but push.

This newly found love of Paris in the rain and wine tasting at La Cloche des Halles and spending the day at Versailles are all pipe dreams I’ll never really live. Kids, grandkids, work, car repairs, second mortgages, school loans, all take a toll on my very small pocket-book.

But then again, I probably will never wander through the lavender fields in England or the Moors in Scotland or the castles in Germany. But through adult-style role playing, I can write and draw and cook and pretend any time I want.

We all grow up too fast. Watching my 5-year-old grandson pretend to be Ironman or a farmer, he finds all the pleasure without the consciousness of pain and labor and broken dreams. They are happy in their own world, happy that you’re in it, too. That’s the state of mind I want to get back to.

People are so cynical these days. Creativity Creates Chaos. If you don’t look and act your age and status, you’re an easy target for rdicule and repremands.

Well, I say — lighten up.

Am I going to raise children through adverse poverty like in Les Miserables? Am I going to drive around aimlessly in the pouring rain singing La Vie En Rose? Am I going to spend an entire paycheck on some overpriced French perfume?

I think not.

Maybe I love getting lost in someone/someplace else because I have an idea for a story about two people who meet at a French bistro one evening and, for one night, find their soulmate. Or maybe I want to write a poem about the remarkable River Seine. Or maybe I want to sketch an op art picture of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile.

I once wrote a story about a girl who ate lunch at an outdoor cafe, and drifted off to an encounter with a guitarrista in Mexico. I wrote another about a time out of time, a touch of midieval. One of my novels takes place in a displaced Eturia (Rome). I dove into each of those worlds with both feet. I researched ancient Roman cultures, Mexican hideaways, and King Arthur’s realm. And I think it helped make my worlds real.

I want to play with my characters. Feel what they feel. Live in their world. I want to tell their story. And if I get lost in a little pot au feu or astralology or Romans in space, so what?

Use your imagination to be whomever you want to be. You know where your core is — you’ll never get lost. You can come home to your warm bed and IPad and cable TV any time you want.

But in the meantime…(clears throat…)

 

Quand il me prend dans ses bras    

Il me parle tout bas

Je vois la vie en rose…..

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Ramon Bruin

I have heard that life is nothing but an illusion.

Then what would you think of Optical Illusion..ism?

 

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Ramon Bruin, born in 1981 in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, graduated in 2010 from the Airbrush Academie in Lelystad, The Netherlands.  In 2012 he made a worldwide breakthrough with his own invented style which he calls ‘Optical Illusionism’.

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Optical Illusionism is a combination of drawing and photography. Bruin creates drawings that come to live when photographed from the exact right angle.

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Ramon Bruin makes you want to reach out and touch his creations.  As if they existed in your own three dimensions.

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It takes incredible hand and eye coordination to bring a creation to life. To give it breath and depth.

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But it takes less than a moment to appreciate the same.  Less than a flash to marvel and appreciate.

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And all the while you wonder — how does he do that? And like the true magician, the truth will be always elusive.

And that is the beauty of it.

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To find more intricacies of Ramon Bruin, I encourage you to go to his website, http://www.ramon-bruin.com/art/ .

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — M.C. Escher

When you think of M.C. Escher, what do you think of?

I think of college dorm rooms with Escher posters on the wall, symbols of pop culture, statutes of intricate confusion and (no doubt) sources of psychedelic contemplation. They were the kind of images you were supposed to look at and see if the fish move or if the stairs go anywhere. And if you stared long enough, your whole world tilted sideways.

 

 

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As an adult I have revisited his world of lithographs and woodcuts and wood engravings, and have discovered a delightful new way to look at the world.

 

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Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) is one of the world’s most famous graphic artists. During his lifetime, he made 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings and sketches. These feature impossible possibilities, explorations of infinity, and the magic of mathematics.

 

 

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Art like this is done every day by those familiar with computer graphics. But the curved perspectives, the stairs to infinity, the play of light and dark, were sketched at the turn of the century. Which, to me, makes it even more fascinating.

 

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When you stop and look — really look — at the thought and planning that went into the impossibilities in Escher’s work, it makes you appreciate his work even more.  Where do those stairs really go? Which angle am I supposed to be identifying with? Is it a fish or is it a bird?

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Minds like Escher’s work in the fourth dimension. It’s as if they look down at the world from a strange angle and record what they see.

 

 

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Take some time and visit Escher’s official website, http://www.mcescher.com.  You will find yourself wandering through gallery after gallery, wondering how a human mind could be so creative yet so spiral. Take a few moments and just look at the artwork — you will be enchanted by his point of view, and lost in his sketches.

 

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