Finding and photographing my own Georgia O’Keeffe

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Finding visual references, Found art, Making an art history comparison, Photo of the day, Photography

When I was in St. John recently, there was some variety of palm tree outside of our rental house that had some blooming flowers on it. I’m not a botanist, so I’m just guessing here, but from an image search it appears this tree might have been a “bottle palm,” or for those who prefer the scientific name, a hyophorbe lagenicaulis. Here’s a first look at the blooming flowers from a distance:

palm tree with blooming flowers in St. John

At any rate, as I was looking around the blooms for an interesting angle for a photograph, I found what I considered to be a “Georgia O’Keeffe angle.” What do you think? My photo is below left, and Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting “Grey Lines with Black, Blue and Yellow,” 1923, is below right.

comparing a palm tree flower to a Georgia O'Keeffe painting

The Arts Adventurer and the art of underwater photography

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Photography, The Arts Adventurer, Underwater photography

You may have noticed that I’ve added a new section to Artsology called “The Arts Adventurer;” it’s actually not new – I started it as a side project and separate website back in 2012. However, over time, I felt like I was neglecting all of the adventures I wanted to share because it was simply too much work to try to keep both Artsology and The Arts Adventurer going full steam ahead with new features on a regular basis.

So I’ve shut down the separate Arts Adventurer site and am in the process of rolling over the past arts adventures here, and will be posting new adventures on Artsology as they take place.

If you’re new to The Art Adventurer and wonder why there’s several scuba diving features on an arts-related site like Artsology, my answer is simple: the amazing and beautiful things that one can see while underwater scuba diving or snorkeling can rival the visual experience of even the best art museum, at least in my humble opinion. The colors and texture of coral (top left, below) can feel like an abstract expressionist painting, and the dots on a spotted trunkfish (top right, below) can give Roy Lichtenstein and Georges Seurat a run for their money.

The pictures below are mine, taken with a GoPro Hero 3+ camera while snorkeling in St. John. In addition to the descriptions of the top 2 pictures already given, I have a large brain coral in Trunk Bay at bottom left, and a blue discus fish next to a coral fan, bottom right.

underwater photography taken in St. John while snorkeling with a GoPro Hero 3+

Make sure to check back on our Arts Adventurer Home Page for more posted arts adventures soon. By the way, The Arts Adventurer is not just about scuba diving or underwater photography; it also covers topics such as architecture, street art and graffiti, historical adventures, and any sort of “art that doesn’t come with white walls and an audio guide,” the concept behind the original website.

Fashion inspired by Gene Davis?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art and Fashion, Finding visual references, Products we'd like to see

My family teases me about having a thing for shirts with stripes, so when I saw this picture of designer Raf Simons wearing this crazy striped shirt, it caught my attention. I did a little research and found out that it’s a Jil Sander multi-coloured geometric striped t-shirt that retails for $583, so I guess I won’t be buying one of those anytime soon. But I do like it, because it reminds me of a Gene Davis painting, seen below right. It’s not an exact match, of course, since Gene Davis’s stripes are all straight vertical stripes, but the color scheme is pretty close.

Raf Simons wearing Jil Sander striped shirt inspired by Gene Davis painting

Creepy Easter Bunnies and their art history counterparts

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Finding visual references

I noticed a wave of “creepy Easter Bunny” memes pop up around the time of the Easter holiday, and seeing some of these creepy and/or awkward Easter photos, I recognized some similarities with various figures and famous images from art history. Check out our composite image below, in a clockwise order from top left: an Easter bunny who has a Salvador Dali-style mustache; an Easter bunny whose large dark pupils bring to mind this James Ensor mask; another James Ensor mask whose narrow slits for eyes feels a little similar to this creepy buck-toothed bunny, and lastly, a pair of twin bunnies putting the squeeze on a kid brings to mind Diane Arbus’ famous twins photograph. Enjoy the holiday, and don’t get creeped out!

creepy easter bunny images and art history counterparts

Funerary Urns from Rome, Japan, and Prince

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art History, Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Making an art history comparison, Products we'd like to see

I saw an article in the NY Times the other day that was a one year follow-up to the death of Prince, and the image accompanying the article showed the urn that holds his ashes. As can be expected with something from Prince, it’s not your ordinary funerary urn; it’s a model-sized reproduction of his compound, Paisley Park.

Seeing this, I was curious to do a little comparison of visual styles of funerary urns over time, so I pulled up a couple examples, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Below left we have a “Marble cinerary urn” which is Roman and from the 1st half of the 1st century A.D. The Met notes that this is an unusual urn, because the principle theme of the imagery is the spoils of war, including piles of weapons and armor.

The urn below right is referenced by the Met as “Funerary Urn (Hunping),” and dates from the Western Jin dynasty (265–316 A.D.). The theme of this urn is described as “a heavenly palatial structure held aloft by a flock of birds.” Additional animals, including an elephant and a deer, surround the palace, along with a row of Buddhas seated in meditation on lion thrones with lotus petals.

Now that I see both of those, Prince’s urn with Paisley Park (seen below the other two examples) doesn’t seem so outlandish or unusual … what do you think? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below.

comparing Prince's Paisley Park urn to ancient urns from Rome and Japan

Viewing art of the underwater type

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Finding visual references, Making an art history comparison, The Arts Adventurer, Underwater photography

I’ve been on a brief hiatus from posting to the Artsology blog due to spending a fantastic 5 days on the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I did a lot of snorkeling on this trip, enjoying all of the sights one can see while swimming alongside coral and tropical fish. It’s like an underwater museum … for example, this school of blue tang fish is kind of like a living and moving version of a painting by Joan Mitchell (below left) or Sam Francis (below right) … abstract expressionism found in tropical waters!

school of blue tang fish seen while snorkeling in St. John

paintings by Joan Mitchell and Sam Francis

Fishing with Led Zeppelin

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Found art, Photo of the day, The Arts Adventurer

I’ve been away from the blog for a few days, and it’s because I’m on a trip with the family to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We’re staying on the east end of the island near Coral Bay, and enjoying the beaches as well as some snorkeling.

Here’s a little oddity found near Coral Bay on Route 107, a large storage container which has been painted with a nice folk art-style fishing scene. But what makes it an oddity is that someone taped up an old Led Zeppelin poster right in the middle of it. Scroll down for a close-up look at both the painted fisherman and the Led Zeppelin poster.

Led Zeppelin poster on a shipping container in Coral Bay, St. John

Led Zeppelin poster alongside a folk art style fishing scene in Coral Bay

Magritte and video games

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art games, Finding visual references, Making an art history comparison, Video Games

The New York Times had an article on video games the other day, and the illustration by Brandon Celi that accompanied the article (below left) gave me a knowing laugh. I say this because it was clear right away that he was making a visual reference to Rene Magritte’s painting “The Human Condition,” 1933, as seen below right. The tv screen whose imagery matches the seascape outside the door is a playful take on Magritte’s canvas on an easel which matches the landscape outside the window.

The basic message of the Times’ article was that video games are not addictive and should not be compared to other addictions, such as drugs or alcohol. They write specifically that “the risk here, of course, is that by treating the immoderate playing of video games as an addiction, we are pathologizing relatively normal behavior.”

Our viewpoint is: if your kid is going to play video games, why not have him or her play Artsology’s art games, and get some exposure to the arts at the same time!

Brandon Celi illustration takes inspiration from Rene Magritte

Picabia showing dogs doing what dogs do

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Museum exhibitions, Art That Makes You Go "Huh?"

At the Francis Picabia exhibition at MoMA, I noticed a painting with some subject matter that I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen represented in art history before … a dog lifting its leg, in order to urinate, as dogs generally do.

The painting in question is titled “Dresseur d’animaux (Animal Trainer),” from 1937, pictured in full below left, with a detail below right. It’s not a big deal, I suppose, I just find it a bit odd to show it in a painting, even though it’s just showing dogs doing what dogs do.

Animal Trainer painting from 1937 by Francis Picabia

Perriand and Mondrian

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Finding visual references, Furniture, Interior Design, Making an art history comparison

It amazes me sometimes how much Piet Mondrian has inspired such a wide range of artists, architects, designers, and more. There’s Mobiado phones inspired by Mondrian, a kitchen design inspired by Mondrian, a “navigation concierge” hologram inside a GPS wearing Mondrian-inspired clothes … why, even Mother Nature has a bird that looks like it spent some time in Mondrian’s studio.

So I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find another creative person inspired by Mondrian: the French architect and designer Charlotte Perriand, whose bookcase or shelving unit, below left, brings to mind a Mondrian painting, an example of which is shown below right.

Charlotte Perriand and Piet Mondrian