I have been a fan of James Bullough for a while, even before he had a mural in Richmond, which I think is just absolutely amazing. He works in a ton of different mediums which I also really respect. He grew up in Washington DC and now operates out of Berlin. His urban upbringing and love of graffiti and street art is combined with his rigorous training in Old Master oil painting technique. His work is beautifully, realistically painted, but sharp, angsty, and often, site-specific.
He has murals all over the world of figures that are disjointed and cut up. This gives his pieces a great energy and movement that is extremely engaging. His composition and approach to the figure is even more impactful because of the beautiful realism and technique in the actual paintings. Some of his most recent work is paintings of dancers, which I am obviously attracted to. Dancers are great subjects for his work because of their dynamic qualities and their emphasis on movement. In a few of his recent pieces, he paints on the panels of old Berlin dance studios, which is a really interesting blend of painting, site-specific work, movement, and his own personal technique and approach to the figure.
Of dancers he says, “The human form is possibly the oldest and most repeated theme in all of art. I can think of no other subject in the realm of imagination more fascinating, tantalizing, familiar, provocative, and graceful than the human body and the endless possibilities of its positioning and movement. The human form is something that all people can relate to and connect with and is a perfect tool to create mood and emotion in a painting.”
I think he is awesome and I love the energy his work has. I hope my work is a quarter as impactful and exciting as his is and I am really inspired by his approach to movement and the body.
So I found this artist on Instagram, where I find most of the modern artists I like, as well as a lot of inspiration. I was immediately struck by his approach to the figure and how he views the human body. The bodies he draws are not particularly unique, ugly or revolutionary, but the way he uses lines is really inspiring and beautiful. He draws figures, predominantly nudes, but he eliminates most, if not all, unnecessary lines and includes just enough to allude to form and gesture. His drawings are far more minimalistic and edited in comparison to how I approach an image to draw and I really respect that. In a rather unsuccessful home project, I tried to emulate his approach to minimalistic line on a larger scale, on canvas, and with glitter. I did not execute the piece properly, but I can see myself, maybe in college, experimenting on a very small scale with holding back with dense lines and simplifying my images. If not though, I still love his approach to line and figure.
He is a designer, art director, and illustrator and works a lot in graphic design and fashion and his drawings work very well with the minimalist trends, clean lines, and simple color schemes I have seen in fashion and design.
I went to the VMFA with a friend on Senior Skip Day and obviously, I saw a lot of art, not all of which I plan to talk about. I know the VMFA pretty well and am quite familiar with their art. I wanted this post to focus on the Early 20th Century European Art gallery on the first floor, right before you get to the Art Education Center.
There is some European art from certain areas, certain times, and certain regions that I absolutely love. And then there is some that I really, really hate. So I am very divided on this gallery. I adore work from German artists post-WWI; I love Dada; I love Dali; I am not a fan of Picasso; and I am very divided on Matisse and impressionists.
This article brought up a lot of questions about art’s salience and power to incite social change. I think that art is a bit of a niche field. I truly do not think that any art piece, no matter how effective or powerful, can inspire social change. Art is something that exists in response to society and culture. It can have an individual impact that can bring a person to tears or inspire them to volunteer or protest, but it is unable to be the sole promoter of social change. Art is powerful, and universal but not universally powerful. Most of the artists recognize that their art is not going to inspire a movement on its own, but their art is still valuable. Chagoya says, “I am not sure how much art may foment social change, although there is a connection. It is more clear to me how art is affected by changes in society (political, technological, economic, etc). It is harder to measure things the other way around, but I have the impression that it is very minimal.” (Talking Politics 2008, p. 163) Sometimes it may be a personal exploration of social issues or an effort to inform. Social change is done through small steps of individuals that combine to form a movement, in my opinion. Most of these artists recognize that their work can incite small changes, but is simply a part of a culture of change.
This points made were quite conclusive. It did a good job asking relevant questions and talking to a diverse group of people, which is important because political activism in art is a broad topic that requires a broad and far reaching response. One of the greatest weaknesses in this article however was discussed by Emma Bilski in terms of the way the interviews were constructed. She says since, “this was not conducted in an in-person setting, the lack of interaction and commentary between artists provided a lack of insights where some may have been interesting and informative-- this also led to repetition between answers as the artists had no opportunity to interact.” (http://emmabilskiart.weebly.com/blog.html) I think this point is particularly relevant because this is a topic that is very far reaching. The most effective way to promote an insightful and productive discussion on the topic is to have a dialogue. By conducting the interviews through email, it eliminates discussion and interaction which lessens the impact of what the artists actually say.
Something this article discussed that we have barely talked about is how the art market affects art with a message. Unfortunately this is the case with any creative medium, but art is viewed in our society as a product, something to be consumed. This inherently limits how wild or provocative any art can be. I connect to this issue because ballet is an industry that sometimes struggles to stay relevant and provoke in no small part because it relies on donor contributions and ticket sales. Most donors to the ballet are usually older, fabulously wealthy, upper class and white. The people who go to consume dance, especially ballet, are not going to see something that is challenging. Art has a little bit more freedom in this sense because it requires a different level of training and is bred in a different culture, but the monetary and therefore cultural, restrictions still persist. Activism is not done to garner a profit, but art can be. There is a disconnect and a relationship between the motivations here. Again, Chagoya makes a salient point,
“The market is unavoidable. Artists cannot escape this fact of life.It is the structure for the distribution of everything that is created in our capitalist society, and it could work to the advantage or disadvantage of politically charged art. I think artists need to use the market to their advantage. Some art dealers (a minority) like taking chances with art that has political content and that can create a rare collaboration between artists, dealers, and collectors.”
Overall, this article brought up some very interesting questions, but failed to satisfactorily answer them. It provoked a discussion and included many important aspects of the nature of political art, but was redundant and exclusive in a way that hindered dialogue of creative experts rather than promoted it which would have resulted in further insight and understanding not just of the audience, but of the artists themselves.
I am an art student at Maggie Walker and this is the place where I talk about what we're making and what we're learning... Through this I can pour out my heart about my artistic experience.