Inspiring Artist – Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen was an extremely talented, bright star of the fashion world that left this earth too soon. His work was art with a capital A and will never go out of style. He committed suicide in 2010, he was 40 years old.
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I’m going to share some of my favorites from his body of work but first…

You may be surprised to know that in a former life I was a fashion designer. If you know me you know I dress in jeans and sweatshirts more often than not stained with paint and fabric dye. I majored in Fashion Design at Moore College of Art in the eighties. When I graduated I wasn’t ready to run out and get a job so I stayed in school for a 5th year study where I painted and did my first soft sculpture. Ultimately I took a job as a fashion design assistant. I quickly moved up to head designer and ended up totally burnt out by the end of 3 years. I dabbled in freelance print design but I didn’t see it going anywhere and eventually left the fashion industry altogether to pursue painting and acting. Acting was a great way to get out all my pent up emotions. I loved that it was okay for my character to yell, scream and cry. Anyway, I can relate to how the industry can eat a creative soul alive.

Alexander McQueen inspires me because he was a rebel. Initially trained as a tailor was accepted to Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. He received a master’s degree in Fashion Design in 1992. He was immediately in the press when his entire graduate collection was bought by the fashion stylist Isabella Blow. They became close friends and she supported him throughout his career. In 1996 he was hired to take over Givenchy but the house was so conservative that he didn’t have the freedom he wanted and needed to do his best work. From the beginning his shows under his own label were like performance art or happenings. His work evolved and yes some of it is absolutely outrageous, but it stands the test of time because of its powerful narratives and incredible innovations. I love his nature inspired work and his beautiful silhouettes.

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Spring /Summer 1999 his show ended with a model wearing a dress that was spray painted by 2 robots. You can watch it here.

No.13 spring-summer 2004 interl-h264 576p 6500kbps from Metropolitan Museum of Art on Vimeo.

Inspiring Artist – LuAnn Ostergaard

I found the artist LuAnn Ostergaard on Pinterest. Here is an excerpt from her website “My creative spirit is awakened by the beauty I see in naturally occurring patterns and textures. I find beauty in imperfection and often see it in scarred and weathered surfaces.”

Everyone who knows me knows I love a good rusty object. She starts with an image of rusty surfaces that she then alters digitally. She prints the finished images with archival pigments on hot press fine art paper. The prints are mounted on boxed panels and sealed with clear acrylic gel medium.

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I love the colors and textures. They look like paintings but the fact that they start as found objects makes them feel real and natural.  They look like landscapes which I also love.

Check out her Pinterest board here to see lots more of her work.

Inspiring Artist / Mary Fischer

Whenever I’m in Philly I try to get to the Snyderman – Works Galleries on 303 Cherry Street in Old City. I somehow missed their fiber show, what a shame. I did come upon some ceramic works by Mary Fischer that were captivating. She makes these beautiful little structures with glazed wonky line work on all the joints and other details that make them look like drawings. I love how she makes 3 dimensional objects read as little sketches from an artist’s sketchbook. It’s probably a lot of work to make things not square but have them meet up just right so they hold together. These pieces are  included in the show called Edifice that is up through May 11th.

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Inspiring Artist – Nespoon

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I’m in love with the work of Polish street artist Nespoon. She uses traditional lace patterns to beautify decrepit city walls and other found surfaces. She researches lace work from whatever country she is working in and says “In every lace we can find a universal aesthetic code, which is deeply embedded in every culture. In every lace we find symmetry, some kind of order and harmony. Is it not that which we all are looking instinctively for?”

She uses actual lace from local women’s work to create web-like installations.

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She uses the lace to imprint clay and patch found holes.

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The lace patterns inspire her large murals.

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She strikes a nice balance between the grungy surfaces and the delicate filigree patterns she imposes on them. She calls them “urban jewelry” and feels they bring harmony to an otherwise chaotic place.

Her images made with stencils and spray paint seem to glow where the overspray creates a soft halo effect.

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As seen in this video she doesn’t just just rely on stencils she sometimes paints these patterns free hand using a contrasting dark color to make them pop off the wall.

Nespoon, São Miguel from Enric on Vimeo.

She brings women’s work out of the linen closet giving these lace patterns a new purpose so they can be admired by many.

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Inspiring Artists

Lately I’ve been thinking about all the different ways to manipulate paint in the abstract painting realm. I’m working on a community project that involves collaboratively creating 2 large murals. I’ll share more about that as it nears completion. Here we are just covering the white for the first layer.

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Here I’m tracing a projected drawing onto the ground with a paint marker. This is a great way to work in a layer of drawings over abstract brush work.

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Before that project started I was doing a little research on pendulum painting. It’s a technique shown in a video by Martha Stewart here.

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I played around with it with my artist friend Susan Benarcik but the results were very uneven. Sorry no pictures. Then I saw an artist I’ve admired for a while using it in her artwork and I was really intrigued. She’s using hot wax in a copper funnel and the marks she gets are beautiful.


I think I like them so much because the earth’s gravity and rotation are in play here. I have an attraction to natural occurring marks. I know I’ll be trying this in my work maybe not with hot wax but with acrylic paint. On a day when I’m feeling really adventurous maybe I’ll try this.

Actually it makes me a little quesy just watching it.

My work is all pours right now but sometimes I’m tempted to pick up a brush. I do use my fingers and gravity to direct pours, saves having to wash brushes but forget about having pretty hands. Then I came across this. Look at the size of the brush Fabienne Verdier uses! She studied under a calligraphy master and then changed the game by changing the size of the brush.

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Go to her website to watch a video of her working. It’s amazing.

I found these images of artists working with pours and it really makes me want to get some bigger canvases.

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Hermann Nitsch

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Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler

 

 

Inspiring Artist

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InRush, Mia Pearlman

I’ve been thinking a lot about the art of cut outs. I love the way it looks. Here’s 3 artists that are using cut outs in their work. The first one is Mia Pearlman. A lot of her work is paper. She layers these large pieces of paper that have been intricately cut to create site specific installations that have a dense lushness that borders on chaotic.  She recently finished a public commission. “UPLIFT is a permanent, site-specific, indoor-outdoor sculpture made of waterjet cut stainless steel and aluminum, commissioned by Liberty Mutual Insurance Group for their new headquarters in Back Bay, Boston.”

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The second artist Chris Natrop is also using the technique of cutting out areas to make beautiful intricate patterns. He uses different materials and techniques to achieve these lacy pieces. This piece called Life Above the Fray is 55 x 55 x 180 inches, is acid cut stainless steel with polished mirror finish acid cut stainless steel.

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Lily Ponder : Duplex Mirror Rush, Chris Natrop

Lily Ponder is 65 x 90 inches (each half) 130 x 90 (total) made out of laminated mirrored and clear acrylic sheet.

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Big Brass Bayou is a site-specific artwork created for Baker & McKenzie, Houston.

“Made of 91 pieces of mirror-polished brass, Big Brass Bayou is an abstracted montage of a meandering wetland. While the overall composition and imagery are products of the artist’s imagination, the general concept is, in part, motivated by Houston’s Buffalo Bayou and its native river plants and flowers.

The intial artwork was created in the studio out of hand-cut paper. The contoured imagery resulting from those paper silhouettes were electronically transferred into the computer for further development. Finished outlines were loaded into a 3D computer model and then physically fabricated out of highly polished brass sheeting. The actual metal cutting was done via photo-chemical etching, an acid-based process that cuts through the brass precisely without distortion. Each component was then hand polished and installed in this precise configuration.” excerpt

Denice Bizot uses found shovel heads in her cut out work transforming them into delicate lace inspired sculptures.

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“An interest in found objects, particularly metal, has captured my attention for 15 years. Like many cities undergoing gentrification, New Orleans is replete with discarded metal, miscellaneous street junk and salvage yards teeming with all sorts of debris. For me, the idea of reclaiming, deconstructing and transforming “so-called junk” into works of sculpture is fascinating. Often reworking the surface in terms of color and texture is required to bring out an attractive exterior once covered in mold or metals pitted by weather.” Denice states (excerpted from her website)