An artist friend of mine, Corrina from Angry Monkey Cartoonz, wrote up a list of 15 artists who influenced her on Facebook today. It got me thinking. So today I present to you, in some order, a list of influential artists on my fine art work and my photography, with a short blurb.
A painter whose body of work I would consider a masterwork in light and emotion. He was also apparently a violent, angry, and unstable man. Sometimes the best art comes from such.
A man whose whole life was defined by his being ostracized from the clergy and the church, whose paintings move even though they are still and portray a more intimate and personal reality than most of his Dutch peers, and whose depth of feeling about all areas of life makes me feel a kinship.
A woman who never really fit. She is most definitely the reason that most of my sculptural work hangs from the ceiling. She taught me to use the floor and the ceiling – to look up.
All about working with his hands, this simple country man went from one kind of beautiful to another seamlessly. His works are simple, elegant, and somehow powerful beyond the simplicity.
A man who challenged his time and captured more reality, movement, and beauty in his partly grotesque forms than most.
Look beyond the random photographs on the walls of people’s houses to his whole body of work, his philosophies, his patience and dedication to each photograph he took – you’ll see a master there. He was also huge into writing – letters, journals – we have information on nearly all of his photographs. For example, this was a rose his Mother gave him.
Nearly all the photographers I know wish they had Annie’s eye. Her spreads in Vanity Fair are a masterwork of posing and lighting, and most of us can’t even come close. Mind you, we don’t have the budget either.
A challenger of the norms, she broke nearly every photographic rule and her work was both criticized and exalted because she did everything differently. Capturing images of regular-issue people that spoke of war, displacement, and discontent, she captured a reality that most were trying to Kodak-moment away.
I actually put Henri here to serve as placeholder to the dozen or so early photographers whose work has resurfaced a hundred years later. I chose him because I think one of my absolute favourite photographs is his – a street kid sleeping in an alley, and one of the most engaging photographs I’ve ever seen that didn’t feature a human face.
My sculpture prof showed me an image of one of Tracey’s works and it caught my attention and affected my work literally for years – it’s still affecting my fine art portfolio ideas. The work is called, “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With” and is a tent written all over with the names or descriptions of people she slept with sexually, in the same bed, in the same room, and finally, a giant word: Myself. I believe the original work was lost in a fire, or it would be on my top ten list of art pieces to see.
Her incredible interactive work was called “Take Care Of Yourself” and featured a breakup letter from her ex that she had hundreds of people – dancers, proofreaders, poets, etc. – interpret in their own way. Then she displayed all of that as a show. Incredibly emotional, engaging, and laid herself out for people’s voyeurism and their own healing. The piece above is the professional English translation of the originally French letter.
TEACHERS – AKA, THE LIVING 😉
My last photography professor in University was probably the man who challenged me most to get out of the boxes I’d created around myself in art school and just do what worked. I owe a great deal of advice and artistic philosophy to his class. His most recent work is also very similar to mine in questioning and philosophy about human relationships.
My sculpture professor, whose encouragement, criticism, and incredible eye for what needed to change, got me to the final project I showed in art school. He is the one whose insistence that I was good at this makes me want to do another show someday.
My high school English teacher, oddly enough, is also an artist. She was one of the people who told me in no uncertain terms that being an artist was my destiny, and she and I developed a friendship back then that has influenced my art ever since.
Bonus: My Family
I live in a family of women who are all artists in their own right. My Mom draws in a realistic style, does embroidery, and other things. My Aunt was excellent at both photography and printmaking. My Grandma is a painter at heart, and is also very good at and committed to photography. They are the reason why I decided to become an artist.