Where is Everybody?

11 12 2007

Forgive the delay in posting. Finals week us upon us so most of my time has been spent between studying and working. However, I did complete and present my final project for Advanced Drawing: a response to Yoshitomo Nara’s work:

WhereIsEverybody

Where is Everybody? 60×36 Acrylic and prisma-color pencil on board. 2007.

Everyone had to create a response to a contemporary artist which explored the idea of a time change within our life done in the style of the artist. Nara’s work and ideas synced with my own, I myself moving at a young age from a large city to a very rural state. Like Nara, I spent a lot of time alone.

I   honestly hope this work communicates the same feelings that Nara’s does.

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Living for the City

5 12 2007

Aside from just commenting and presenting current and past artists, I also want to feature some of my own work. I’m currently a Visual Arts Major with a concentration on Printmaking. I also have some other pieces from my Advanced Drawing course I will be showcasing. Of course, with this being Dead Week and finals up ahead I won’t be posting any of my work until after all is said and done. Some of the pieces are finished yet and I would like to show my prints as a whole series since they deal with the same subject.

I’m still trying to find myself as an artist. To be honest, I feel scattered still. It took me a long time for find my concentration, about three years or so, and now that I’m there I still haven’t found out what it is I want to say. When it comes to prints my favorites are from the German Expressionists along with the American Ash-Can school.

Masereel

Frans Masereel is probably my favorite of all the Expressionists, perhaps even  my favorite printmaker. Born in Belgium in1889, Masereel is considered by many to be the master of the woodcut. His topics where usually of the city and of city life, where scenes of work, play, death, and sex are constantly in view. He was a anti-war pacifist in WWI and during WWII his works were banned by the Nazis. In the Soviet Union, his works were praised as scenes of the proletariat, however Masereel was against any form of oppressive government and system along with any political party or affiliation.

His works reflect not only the city, but also the feelings of those who live in the city and the feeling of isolation due to the ‘Modern City’. This sense of loneliness is a common theme  among the Expressionist movement, coming just off the heels of WWI and into the economic depression across Europe–especially in Germany. Many of Masereel’s cityscapes where produced in the 1920s and provide an image into the newly growing Modern City.

Even when in close quarters, the subjects are miles apart in their own spheres.

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I would like to produce work of this caliber. Scenes of city life and the human interaction within have always fascinated me. I grew up for a while in a large city and even though now I live in a somewhat rural area I still feel a sense of connection to these images. These scenes of loneliness are still just as strong today as they were in the 1920s. The ‘Modern City’ has done nothing to remedy the sense of extreme isolation. We still avoid each other in close proximity: on the elevator, the bus, in the hall. We live next door to people for years and never get to know our neighbors. Eye contact is avoided.

If Masereel were still alive today, or if he were just starting out like myself, what would his response be to this wireless, digital world we live in? Where communication has dwindled down to 5 letter text messages and human interaction has been replaced by the Instant Message? If in Masereel’s day people where living for the city, then just what the hell are we living for now?





Grandmothers

4 12 2007

In Miwa Yanagi’s exhibit My Grandmothers, the photographer interviewed over twenty Japanese young women and asked them to detail their lives as grandmothers. Taking these narratives, Yanagi creates images which reenact these stories which her as the main role of grandmother.

These stories range from post-apocalyptic scenarios and sex workers to theme-park CEOs and Sleeping Beauty. What’s so fascinating about these images is how Yanagi has created a window in to the minds of Japanese female youths and the social conscious of contemporary Japanese society.

This one is my favorite. This who I hope to be when I am old, leading herds of my children across snowy fields and leading them on journeys and missions. No matter where I am, I would know that my children are there too…

What is your Grandmother story?





I Don’t Mind If You Forget Me…

3 12 2007

Why do I love the works of Yoshitomo Nara? Because they speak about the desperate loneliness of being a kid. Growing up in rural Japan during the 1960s, Nara was a latch-key-child who spent most of his time reading comic books and watching the newly emerging anime cartoons. Nara, along with other Japanese artists of his generation, were influenced not only by Japanese culture but also the influx of American pop such as the cartoons of Warner Brothers and Walt Disney.

While many compare Nara’s work to those of Takashi Murakami, founder of the Japanese contemporary art movement Super-Flat, and other Japanese artists whom draw their inspiration from the manga anime style, Yoshitomo claims his work couldn’t be farther from the Super-Flat. Most super-flat works explore the Otaku culture and display scenes of Japanese sex fetishes and consumer culture in Japan.

Nara’s works are injected with narrative, usually dipicting the face of a sloe-eyed child before a neutral background. These children are always alone, always engaged in solitary activities, and always give the expression of betrayal. Who are these children? Why are they alone? What have they lost?

Even in the 3-D, the figures do not engage with each other but are always lost in their own solitary world.

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We have all been there before. We know what it’s like. We all as children have been damaged for some reason. Abandoned. Ignored. We are lost. What has been taken from us? What did we lose? Where did we go wrong?