Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Inspiration: Experimental Music and Nam June Paik

My life revolves around music and art, both influence eachother and inspire me. I'm a big fan of experimental "noise" music and I find the art that influences it stunning as well. Happenings, Fluxus, and Video Art have made it possible for bands like Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance, and Black Dice to really become a revolution, a psychedelic art revival, and communicate visual information along with their music.
Artists like Fast Friends and the Paper Rad crew have gained a huge following in the underground noise scene on the West Coast. The pixilated, Pop, retro technology look is reminiscent of Nam June Paik's Video Art installations and Paik being one of my favorite artist's deserves much of the credit for the look of "noise art" videos. When you watch these videos back to back the similarities pretty easy to indentify. Some of the most amazing musicians of all time were close friends of Paik, in fact John Cage aka "The Godfather of Experimental music" was one of Paik's greatest mentors and influences. Just another reminder that art has the power to influence it's surroundings and inspire even the most brilliant minds.

Watch Nam June Paik's "Global Groove"

Now watch Black Dice's music video for "Kokomo" and Gore

What do you think?

If you are into the noise phenomenon, check out the book "Gore" by Black Dice and Jason Frank Rothernberg.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Photo of the Week

Angelica Huston wearing Alexander Calder's necklace entitled "The Jealous Husband" for the 1976 cover of New York Magazine.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Inspiration: David Downton

I think all watercolor artists have a healthy obsession with illustrators due to their mastery of the medium and David Downton is one of the most talented illustrators out there. I've had a love affair with his work since I first laid eyes on it and it's always exciting to see such successful, technical imagery in illustration. His work is featured in many major advertisement campaigns such as, Chanel, Tiffany & Co., various book covers including the cover of "100 Years of Illustration" as seen below.

His line work is beautiful and his floating imagery creates such interesting use of negative space. As a young artist I sometimes find myself wondering why my work looks so amateur, so ordinary, but I think the key to a really wonderful drawing is due mostly in part to variation in line and strong editing skills. The only real way to deal with this dilemma is drawing more, more, more and it seems as though that's exactly what Downton does. "For me this is the hardest and the most interesting thing. In order to leave something out, first you have to put it in, or at least understand how every thing works. I do dozens of drawings on to layout paper taking the best from each one as I go. When the drawing looks right I start to eliminate, to de-construct if you like. I keep working until it looks spontaneous."

I really enjoyed his answer when asked what the secret to becoming a successful fashion illustrator, "Fluidity, mastery of the medium - capturing a sense of the moment, layout and use of space and most important of all, strong drawing. You can't be too good at drawing." I couldn't agree more and I wish that drawing was pressed upon me more when I was attending art school. I'm still trying to make up for lost time but I do know that my most apparent growth spurts in drawing skill were achieved in my figure drawing classes. Working from life is the most difficult, embarrassing and mandatory thing artists can do.