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Hello Friends!

Can you believe it! We made it to 2021!

For many of us, 2020 was a particularly rough year! We lost friends and family due to the pandemic and were not able to console them in person.

There was civil unrest in many places! At home in Philly, there were several days where all you could hear were helicopters, news of protests, looting and violence!

Our routines changed! Many of us lost our jobs! I personally lost a job that i truly loved and had worked at for 15+ years!

We miss our friends and family, museums and galleries, restaurants and our favorite shops!

At times its even been a daily battle just to get up and face the day!

I and many others fought our way through 2020! I used weapons of creativity, inspiration and hope! And with my art i battled my sadness, fear and anxiety!

For this week’s post I wanted to share some of the work I completed this past year! There’s a lot so let’s get started! 🙂

My first series of work are my reinterpretations of various pieces from admired artists that have passed. Because I was unable to go to art museums, I wanted my favorite pieces at home with me! Top 3 artists – Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh. Middle Row artists – Egon Schiele, Jean Michel Basquiat, Gustav Klimt. Bottom Row artists – Salvador Dali, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat.
One of my favorite things to do is to draw portraits! Here are some I did in 2020!
My first major art commission! Mi amor Frida Kahlo ♡
This year I also ventured into collage art!
My favorite art styles/eras are Baroque, Surrealism and Renaissance. These are some of my pieces that focus on these styles/eras!

I think we all came out of 2020 with several battle scars, some more than others but no matter what, one day at a time I will continue to fight!

Remembering in my heart that some days will be harder than most to get through and on those days it’s ok to take a moment to breathe and perhaps not do anything at all.

Here’s to 2021! To not giving up! To light and love! For the people and fierce warriors on the front lines! Always for art and inspiration! And most importantly, here’s to hope! Hope for you all to have a year, a month, a week, a day and thousands of moments filled with peace, love, health and tons of inspiration! ♡

Cheers Friends! Thanks so much for checking out Memento Vivere Vignettes!

Memento Vivere! ” Remember to live ”

Oh here’s a couple last notes! 😉

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Happy Halloween Everyone! I know it’s been a while since I last posted on #SlayInspireCreate but I have returned with lots of new work to share with you as well as some exciting news!

October brings on one of my favorite art events known as  #Drawlloween! There are many versions but the one that inspires me the most is #mabsdrawlloweenclub created by artist, Mab Graves. Everyone, any medium and all levels are welcome to join! The only goal is to celebrate the season with tons of creative spirit!

Each day there is a new art prompt! And if you visit Mab’s Instagram she has also designed two lite #drawlloween lists that have less prompts. That’s really whats so fun! There are no rules just daily inspiration!

In today’s post I wanted to share all of the pieces I have completed for #mabsdrawlloweenclub!

Now at the beginning, I mentioned some exciting news I had to share! Well, I finally added a shop page to Memento Vivere Vignettes! It’s actually connected to my Etsy shop, so when you choose an item to purchase, you will be taken to Etsy for a secure and protected check out!

Currently I have listed my more Halloween/ darker themed art but I will be updating my shop frequently. At the bottom of my shop page there is also a slide show of a few pieces that are available for purchase but are not listed in my shop. I have to pay to list any item I want to sell so if you are interested in a item that is not currently listed in my shop, feel free to reach out to me and I will create a private listing just for you! 🙂

I will not be listing all of my drawlloween pieces in my shop because there are quite a few but I will be adding a couple so keep a look out! Ok, here we go! For future explanation of individual pieces, please check out my instagram page at http://www.instagram.com/angelpunk1

1. Werewolf.

Image is ( 4″ x 2 1/2″ ) glued to ( 9″ x 6″ ) cardstock, Watercolor, Pen&ink, $15.00

2. Pumpkin.

( 4″ x 2 1/2″ ) Old cabinet card photo, Pen&ink, $15.00

3. Changeling.

Image is ( 2″x 2″ ) glued to ( 9″ x 6″ ) cardstock, Vintage ads, $40.00

4. Poison.

( 9″ x 6″ ) Vintage ads, $7.00

5. Witch.

( Image, ( 3 1/8″ x 3″ ) glued to ( 9″ x 6″ ) cardstock, Graphite Drawing, $ 25.00

6. Familiar.

( 1″ x 1 1/2″ ) Minature Panel, acrylic paint, graphite, tiny faux gems, felt, pen&ink,
$ Not for sale

7. Vampire.

( 9″ x 6″ ) Graphite Drawing, $100.00

8. Tarot.

( 1″ x 1 1/2″ ) Minature Panel, vintage ad, pen & ink, $ Not For Sale

9. Gorgon.

( 9″ x 6″ ) Graphite Drawing, $45.00

10. Hell Hound.

( 9″ x 6″ ) Graphite Drawing, $20.00

11. Grave.

( 9″ x 6″ ) Vintage ads, $20.00

14. Extraterrestrial.

( 7 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ ) Vintage ads, Vintage frame, $60.00

15. Night Crawler.

Image is ( 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ ) glued to ( 4″ x 6″ ) cardstock $15.00 )

17. Frankenstein

( 7 11/16″ x 5″ ) Graphite Drawing, $150.00

18. Undead.

Image is ( 3 1/4″ x 2 3/4″ )glued to ( 9″ x 6″ ) cardstock, Graphite Drawing, $45.00

19. Apothecary.

Assembled items of mine, $ Not For Sale

20. Fur.

Image is ( 3 3/4″ x 1 3/4″ ) glued to ( 9″ x 6″ ) cardstock, Vintage ads, $45.00

21. Yokai.

( 7 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ ) Vintage ads, Vintage frame, $60.00

22. Wizard.

(Image is ( 3 1/4″ x 2 1/4″ ) glued to ( 9″ x 6″ ) cardstock, Graphite drawing, $45.00 )

23. Crypid.

Image is ( 2 1/4″ x 2″ ) glued to ( 4″ x 6″ ) cardstock, Vintage ads, $50.00

24. Winged.

Image is ( 3 3/4″ x 3″ ) glued to ( 9″ x 6″ ) cardstock. Graphite drawing, $100.00

25. Puppet.

(Image is ( 4 1/2″ x 3 1/4″ ) glued to ( 9″ x 6″ ) cardstock, Vintage ads, $50.00

26. Batsquatch.

Image is ( 4 3/4″ x 3 3/4″ ) glued to ( 9″ x 6″ ) cardstock, Graphite drawing, $15.00

27. Lagoon & 28. Haunted

( 9″ x 6″ ) Graphite drawing, $75.00

29. Hydra 30. Mask

( 8 1/2″ x 9″ ) Vintage ads, $75.00

And that’s it! Day 30. Reaper is a currently a work in progress. As I mentioned before I will be adding a few of these pieces to my shop but if you are interested in any of the pieces that are not listed in the shop, just let me know and I’ll create a private listing for you! Thanks again for checking out #SlayInspireCreate and for all your support!

Memento Vivere! 🙂

Now go VOTE like your life depends on it!

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Hey everyone! It’s time for an new installment of #SlayInspireCreate!

Today I want to share a bit about my background and it’s relationship to my life as an artist. I will also be introducing another artist who I feel shares similar experiences and ideology.

The setting was Agra, India. The year was 1980. Perhaps just a few days after I was born, I was abandoned by my unknown birth parents and left at the gates of the ” Home for Crippled and Unwanted Children. ” A few months later, I was adopted and flew to Boston, Massachusetts to join my new family. I have not returned to India since I left in 1980.

In 1957, Shirin Neshat was born in Qazvin, Iran ( possibly the 3rd most religious city in Iran at the time ). At the age of 17, Shirin left Iran to study abroad in the States. Due to the start of the Revolution, she was unable to return to her country for a significant amount of time. In 1990, Shrin did return to Iran but only for a visit.

Because I was a baby when i was adopted i obviously do not remember anything about my life in India and there is no information about my birth family. Over the years I have researched this controversial and sensitive topic. I have come to several conclusions. These revelations have led me to further believe that a search for information about my birth family would only lead to more uncertainty and heartbreak. I’ve had to accept that there will probably always be questions about my past in India that will go unanswered. I am at peace with this. Honestly i believe that my life is a true gift. The stars have aligned in such a way, granting me the life that I’m living today and I consider myself very lucky.

( My parents later told me that they actually adopted me after adopting another child first. Sadly she died before being able to come over to the States. To this day, I celebrate her birthday as mine. Prema’s name is also my middle name in memory of her. )

Shirin and I both grew up in warm, loving supportive families.

Shirin grew up in a home with traditional Muslim values. While I grew up in a home with Christian values.

Shirin’s father encouraged and supported her journey to be an ” individual, to take risks, pursue higher education and to see the world. ”

My parents very much encouraged and supported me to do the same in many ways.

Shirin’s exhile from her country of birth would become a pivotal moment in the foundation of her work. It would spark ideas and feelings about what ” home ” is, as well as the loss of it and finding her identity.

Ever since I was young, I have felt similar emotions. Never quite fitting in or feeling truly accepted by one group or another. I was always looking for my place in the world. I would often retreat to my imagination, music/art and other kindred spirits. Over the years, I have learned to accept myself.

Art was always been a savior in many ways. In countless forms and various mediums, it has always been there for me no matter what, getting me through the darkest times! And whether it’s been drawing, painting, fashion, music, culinary, books, art museums and galleries, other artists or body modification. Art has been my greatest inspiration. To be an artist is everything to me!

Art would also become a way for Shirin to express her feelings of loss of identity and a connection to home as well as cultural differences and the female experience.

Here is a link to a beautiful video about Shirin in her own words. Shirin Neshat, Shirin on Shirin YouTube Channel: Out of Sync – Art in Focus https://youtu.be/VXZkn0nL34Y

Shirin’s return/visit to Iran was also a very important moment in her life. In her own words ” It was probably one of the most shocking experiences that I ever had. The difference between what I had remembered from the Iranian culture and what I was witnessing was enormous. The change was both frightening and exciting. I have never been to a country that was so ideologically based. Most noticeable of course was the change in people’s physical appearance and public behavior. ”

I would eventually like to make my way back to India for a visit. I personally have very few connections to my country of birth. But I would say one of the ways i connect to India is by food. My parents introduced Indian food to me as I was growing up. The intoxicating scent of the diverse and rich flavors takes me to the most comforting place. To this day I always celebrate my birthday by eating delicious Indian food.

I believe what ties Shirin and I together the most, is that the way we express ourselves. We create, live and breathe art as a way to connect with our roots.

Over the years, we have revisited our countries of birth through our art in some way or another. I believe by doing this we have also both found peace within ourselves. We have come to realize that our past will always be a part of us but will not define who we are.

I welcome all of you to continue to follow this blog. And I thank you for reading this very personal post! ♡

One last Note: From the movie Lion, Sia – Never Give Up, YouTube Channel: DopeLyrics https://youtu.be/6EWNV33Ws1g

Memento Vivere or Remember to live!

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Hi everyone!

Today on #SlayInspireCreate were going to look at some art/artists ( mainly my own work 🙂 ) that use the human form and portraiture to tell a story or to reinterprete an existing image.

  • Artist, Cindy Sherman.

Born in 1954, Cindy is an American artist who is known for her photography consisting of self portraits depicting various imagined characters and situations.

In 1989 and 1990, Cindy created a series entitled ” History Portraits ” in which she would photograph herself using props, costumes and prosthetics to portray famous paintings.

Bottom Right ” 193 “, Bottom Middle ” 204, Bottom Middle ” Untitled “, Bottom Left ” 216 “, Top Right, ” 211 “, Top Middle ” 210 “, Top Middle ” 225 “, Top Left ” 224 ” ( Images from wiki art )

Video: How to See Cindy Sherman with Eva Respini, YouTube Channel: The Museum of Modern Art https://youtu.be/bsFsibTO3L4

Video: Cindy Sherman at the National Portrait Gallery YouTube Channel: The Art Channel https://youtu.be/f9Vh28sqXmQ

A while back before the pandemic, when I was still wearing makeup on a regular basis, I would create photographic self portraits simply by using tons of makeup and digital editing. My goal was not to necessarily create specific characters but simply to to see what i able to create, with the foundation being my face.

In the words of Cindy Sherman ” The makeup became the paint and my face became the canvas “.

I also created a series of self portraits with the purpose to convey the feeling of being haunted by something. I wanted to show fear, complete isolation, and then the triumphant state of mind when you overcome the thing/monster that has been haunting you! Perhaps even becoming the monster yourself!

” Fear “
” Isolation ”
” Becoming ”

When quarantine began, I found myself missing my beloved art museums and art galleries. I wanted to have the the art that was near and dear to my heart, close by. This is why i first began doing my take on some of my favorite paintings. If you have been following this blog, you may have seen my art recreations. Here is another!

My rendition of Egon Schiele’s ” Self Portrait with Peacock Waistcoat ” ( watercolor, pen and ink )

Another challenge that began when quarantine started was the #gettymuseumchallenge which was inspired by the Kijksmuseum in Amsterdam and instagram accounts @tussenkunstenquarantaine @betweenartandquarantine

These art challenges asked the participants to recreate iconic artworks using household items.

People have been using everything from toilet paper, cleaning products, canned goods and even their own bodies to recreate works of art.

Video: Art Recreation at Home. Getty Museum Challenge YouTube Channel: Boss DT https://youtu.be/Bo1FnmKh4_E

Just the other night, My friend and i decided to join the challenge!

My take on Leonardo da Vinci’s ” Lady with an Ermine ” 😉

That’s about it for today’s post! Hope you enjoyed it!

One last note! Here is one of my favorite songs by Miles Davis! Miles Davis Quintet It Never Entered My Mind. YouTube Channel: 60otaku4 https://youtu.be/-Np8PJDGq_A

See you next time on #SlayInspireCreate!

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Hey all!

Well this week, we are gonna take a dive into something new! And knowing myself, this blog will definitely take a different direction each week! So be prepared! 🙂

Today, I want to simply share what I’ve been up to recently.

This is the piece I just finished, entitled ” In the Cycle of Rebirth There is Madness “.

I just submitted this piece to a show with a theme of ” Dreams and the Unconscious Mind “. I will give an update, if my work is accepted into the show!

I am inspired by many things. In the world that we all have found ourselves living in today, one of the things I have found the most inspiration in, is my study of art history!

If you have been following this blog you have seen the art and artists that I find interesting and inspiring. Most of the artists I have shared have long passed.

Here are just a few links to some living artists that inspire me.

This week I also ventured out and visited one of my favorite places in my beloved Philadelphia, The Barnes Foundation!

https://www.barnesfoundation.org/

I’ve been there several times and will eventually write a post just focusing on the permanent collection but today, I wanted to share a couple of photos from their current exhibit.

Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miro to Man Ray.

Honestly, I didn’t think I would love this exhibit as much as I did! However, seeing these works in person was amazing and very inspirational! Lol, although now that I think about it, many of these pieces are right up my alley! This particular exhibit will be at the Barnes until August 23rd!

I truly wish my photos could convey how incredible this exhibit was!

Well, I think that’s all for now…

Oh ok, one last note! Here is a link to some music that I was listening to while writing this post. Please enjoy!

See you next time on #SlayInspireCreate!

Heifetz 2016: Beethoven. Cavatina from String Quartet No. 13 in B- flat, Op. 130. YouTube Channel: Heifetz International Music institute

Please stay tuned, there’s so much more to come, I anticipate! 😉

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  • Hi there!
  • Here are some cool activities and crafts inspired by the artists we looked at this week!
  • 1. Spider sculpture inspired by Louise Bourgeois’s spider sculptures
” Maman ” ( image from Flicker, Wikipedia, John talbot )
  • Supplies:
  • Thick bendable wire for legs
  • pipe cleaners or lighter weight wire for the thorax
  • Wire cutters or scissors for pipe cleaners
  • Electrical tape
  • Suggested length of wire for legs of spider. Small – 6in
  • Medium – 12in
  • Large – 24in
  1. Cut wire to desired length in set of 4.
  2. Bend each one to form two legs.
  3. Wrap electrical tape on the ends so not to poke yourself with the cut sharp ends.
  4. Overlap each wire piece in the middle where you folded it so they form circle.
  5. Take the lighter wire or the pipe cleaners and bind all the legs together in the middle to form your spider thorax and head. Your overall spider shape will come together.
  6. Use the electrical tape to to cover the thorax/head area to make everything secure.
  • You now have your very own ” Maman ” spider!
  • 3. Basquiat inspired crowns
  • Artist, Basquiat used many symbols in his work but his most iconic was that of a crown.
  • Many critics have had theories about the symbolism of the crown in Basquiat’s work. Theories include:
  • The 3 pointed crown signifying the letter W for Warhol who Basquiat loved and admired.
  • Basquiat’s fascination with the human head and skull.
  • Basquiat’s logo to symbolize his ambition to rise from obscurity.
My drawing of the iconic Basquiat crown
  • Fold your paper in half lengthwise and cut in half.
  • Measure around your head to see how long your crown needs to be. If you need to extend your crown just glue the two halves together and adjust where needed.
  • When you have a length of paper that fits your head, you can cut the points on your crown.
  • Now it’s time to decorate!
  • When your done, simply attach the two edges of your crown band together to fit on your head.
  • Have fun creating! See you next week for more #SlayInspireCreate!!!
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Hi!

Here are some awesome links to some videos on the artists we looked at on Monday as well as some great ebooks available on Hoopla!

  • Andy Warhol In London – Interview. Revolver Gallery, YouTube Channel: Revolver Gallery – Your Andy Warhol Specialists https://youtu.be/paQtSOIfBbw
  • Here are some great ebooks/ to check out on Hoopla!
  • If you don’t have access to hoopla, these titles should be available elsewhere.
  • http://www.hoopladigital.com
  • Art of the 20th Century – Dorothea Eimert
  • Becoming Andy Warhol Comic – Nick Bertozzi ( teen )
  • Andy Warhol A Biography – Wayne Koestenbaum
  • Basquiat – Movie – Julian Schnabel
  • That’s it for today! See you on Friday for activities and crafts inspired by the artists we looked at this week!
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Hello!

I want to thank you for joining me on this little journey through these various art eras and movements. I will continue to post on #SlayInspireCreate next week but my posts will take a different direction.

Please stay tuned!

All will be revealed in due time!

Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to stop by #SlayInspireCreate!

Memento Vivere!

This week in #SlayInspireCreate we will be looking at some artists from the 20th century.

  • Francis Bacon ( 1909 – 1992
  • Francis Bacon was an Irish – born English painter. He was known for his raw, abstracted figures and portraits. Bacon’s art can be described as brutal, original, bold, aggressive and disturbingly beautiful!
  • Themes in Bacon’s work were as follows:
  • The Crucifixion: Bacon believed the image of the crucifixion represented ” certain areas of human behavior ” and ” a magnificent armature on which you can hang all types of feeling and sensation. ” It was also a theme that had been used by many old master artists.
” Three Studies for a Crucifixion ” ( image from Wikipedia )
  • Popes: Bacon’s figures of popes were distorted and had a nightmarish effect as they screamed silently in the dark.
  • In 1650, artist Diego Velazquez painted ” Portrait of Innocent X “. In 1953, Francis Bacon painted ” Study after Velazquez Portrait of Pope Innocent X “. This would be the first of a series of around 50 variants of the original Velazquez.
Left, Original by Diego Velazquez Right, Francis Bacon’s ” Study after Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X ” ( images from Wikipedia )
  • When asked why he felt the need to revisit Velazquez’s painting so many times, Bacon would say that he had nothing against popes but that it was an excuse to use these particular colors. He also wanted to ” triumph over ” Velazquez!
  • Another common theme in Bacon’s work was reclining figures. These colorful abstracted figures were done as single paintings or very often triptychs, ( sets of three associated art pieces intended to be appreciated together ). Many of Bacon’s works were presented as triptychs.
” Triptych, August 1972 ” ( image from Wikipedia )
  • Bacon never painted from life. He would use many other references such as photographs, movie stills, medical text books and 19th century journals.
  • Some other interesting facts about Francis Bacon are:
  • He loved artist, Pablo Picasso! Bacon is quoted as saying ” Picasso is the reason why I paint. He is the father figure, who gave me the wish to paint. ”
  • In 1937, Bacon was included in a exhibition of ” young British artists “. After the show receiving negative reviews, Francis destroyed all of the works he exhibited! Since his death in 1992, artwork thought to be destroyed from the 50s and 60s has reemerged.
  • Francis Bacon met his partner, George Dyer in 1963. George was an apparent London criminal and addict. It like other relationships could be quite turbulent. When George overdosed in 1971, Bacon took it quite hard and there was noticeably darker tone to his work for the rest of his life.
  • However in 1974, Bacon met John Edwards with whom he spent the rest of his life with. When Bacon died in 1992, his entire 11m estate was bequeathed to Edwards.
  • In 1998, All the contents of Bacon’s London art studio were donated to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin. Francis Bacon’s reconstructed studio has been open to the public since 2001. It contains 570 books, 1,500 photographs, 100 slashed canvases and 70 drawings!
” Bacon’s art studio ” ( image from Wikipedia )
  • Louise Josephine Bourgeois. ( 1911- 2010 )
  • Louise was a French – American artist who was mainly known for her large scale sculpture and installation art, although she was also a painter and printmaker.
  • Louise’s themes included domesticity, family, sexuality, the body, death and the unconscious. Depicting these various themes which coincided with her childhood into her work was therapeutic for Louise.
  • Louise’s mother died in 1932 when she was studying mathematics at Sorbonne College in Paris. Her mother’s death inspired her to give up studying math and pursue art.
  • During this time Bourgeois took a job leading tours at the Louvre. She graduated from Sorbonne in 1935 and went on to study at other various Academy’s in France as well as learning first hand from artists and assisting with exhibitions.
  • Louise married art professor, Robert Goldwater then they both moved to NYC. Their marriage lasted until his death in 1973.
  • In 1954, Bourgeois joined the American Abstract Artists Group. During this time she started creating sculptures made of marble, plaster and bronze. They delta with fear, vulnerability and loss of control.
  • The emotional impact of her childhood inspired Louise’s work in the late 1960s.
  • In the 1970s, Louise was teaching at Pratt Institute, Cooper Union, Brooklyn College and the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture as well as teaching printmaking and sculpture at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
  • Something else that was cool was that Bourgeois would hold art critiques for young student artists at her home! These gathering were called ” Sunday, bloody Sundays because of Louise’s harsh criticism and dry sense of humor.
  • Louise also worked with activists, becoming a member of a feminist anti- censorship collective as well as use her artwork to speak up for LGBT equality and AIDS organization ACT UP.
  • 1978 – Received commission for first public sculpture.
  • 1982 – Received first retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
  • 1989 – Received another retrospective at Dcumenta 9 in Kassel, Germany.
  • In the 1940s, Louise first started drawing spiders. Creepy crawers to some, spiders represented something more personal to Louise. Bourgeois would explain that spiders reminded her of her mother. ” She was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat, and as useful as a spider, “.
  • Louise would go on to say that ” The spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of a tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother. ”
  • In the 1990s her drawings would come to life! Louise’s iconic sculptures came in various sizes. Her smallest was a 4 inch brooch while her largest spider was close to 30 ft tall. These incredible sculptures would lead to her nickname, ” Spiderwoman “.
  • Louise Bourgeois died on May 31st, 2010. Her last works of art would be completed the week just before her death.
” Mamann ” ( Image from Wikipedia )
  • Amrita Sher- Gil ( 1913 – 1941 )
  • Amrita Sher – Gil was a Hungarian – Indian painter. She is often known as the ” Indian Frida Kahlo ” as well as ” one of the greatest avant – garde women artists of the early 20th century “.
  • Amrita started painting when she was a child and started receiving art lessons at the age of 8.
  • In 1924, her mother who was an opera singer along with an Italian sculptor who she had come to know, took Amrita with them to Italy and enrolled her at Santa Annunziata, an art school in Florence. Amrita did not stay long but was introduced to the works of many Italian masters of art.
  • When Amrita was 16, she again traveled with her mother to Europe to train as a painter in Paris. She attended the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere and the Ecole des Beaux -Arts. While there she found inspiration from painters, Paul Cezanne and Paul Gauguin.
  • While in Paris, Amrita’s oil painting, ” Young Girls ” won her a gold medal and election as an associate of the Grand Salon. Amrita was the youngest ever member as well as the only Asian to receive this honor.
  • Her work in Paris included portraits, nude studies and still life studies.
  • In 1933, feeling an intense longing to return to India, Amrita left Paris.
  • Over the next several years, Amrita would go on a journey to rediscover her Indian roots and educate herself in the aspects of traditional Indian art.
  • From 1937 – 1941 Amrita toured South India, got married to her Hungarian first cousin, Dr. Victor Egan and found what she was searching for in her art.
  • Amrita realized that her ” artistic mission ” was to ” express the life of Indian people through her canvas. ” Amrita would go on to say ” I can only paint in India. Europe belongs to Picasso, Matisse, Barque… India belongs only to me “.
  • Amrita’s painting’s often depicted poor women and deprived Indian villagers. She had a lot of empathy for them. Amrita also found inspiration with Gandhi’s teachings and lifestyle.
  • In 1941, just days before the opening of her first major solo show, Amrita became very ill and slipped into a coma. The reason for her death has never been certain. Although many believed that peritonitis might have been the cause. Amrita’s mother accused her husband Victor of murder.
  • ” The day after her death, Britain declared war on Hungary and Victor was sent to jail as a national enemy. “
  • Amrita’s work has been declared as a National art treasure for the Government of India. It has become so important that if it is sold in India, it must stay in the country. Less than 10 of her pieces have been sold globally.
  • She is an inspiration to many contemporary Indian artists and for me, discovering Amrita and her beautiful work has been like finding a new kindred spirit!
Amrita Sher – Gil ( Image from Wikipedia )
” Group of Three Girls ” ( image from Wikipedia )
” Shringaar ” ( image from wiki art )
” Tribal Women ” ( image from wiki art )
  • Margaret D.H. Keane ( Born Peggy Doris Hawkins ) 1927 – present
  • Margaret Keane is an American artist known for her paintings of subjects with big eyes. Her subjects consist of children, women and animals.
  • When Margaret was two, her eardrum was damaged during an operation. Because she was unable to hear properly, a person’s eyes were very important to her as she would look at them in order to understand them.
  • In a 1972 interview on The Mike Douglas Show, Margaret said ” I was always interested in drawing eyes. I used to draw eyes on the margins of my school books.”
  • Keane started drawing as a child. She took classes at the Watkins Institute in Nashville and when she was 18, attended the Traphagen School of Design in NYC for a year.
  • Margaret started off by painting baby cribs and clothing before she started her career in painting portraits.
  • ” Sometime in the mid 1950s, Margaret, married with a child, met Walter Keane. “
  • Walter Keane, who also had been married, divorced in 1952, worked as a real estate salesman and painted on the side.
  • In 1955, Margaret and Walter got married.
  • Apparently, Walter Keane started selling and exhibiting Margaret’s work as his own work immediately. When Margaret figured out what was going on, she remained silent. Margaret would later explain saying, ” I was afraid of him because he [threatened] to have me done in if I said anything. ”
  • ” In the 1960s, Keane became one of the most popular and commercially successful artists of the time. ” Although some critics had other opinions about the work. Even artist, Andy Warhol had something to say about the success of Keane saying ” I think what Keane has done is just terrific. It has to be good. If it were bad, so many people wouldn’t like it. ”
  • Walter was very good at promoting the “big eyed ” paintings and in so many words would say to Margaret that the paintings were signed by Keane, they were both Keanes so basically they were one in the same.
  • While the artwork was being sold under the name of her husband, Margaret was painting continuously for 16 hours a day to keep up with the demand of the paintings.
  • In 1970, after Margaret left Walter, she announced on a radio show that she was the real artist of the paintings.
  • A ” paint – out ” was set up by a reporter from the San Francisco Examiner. Walter did not show up.
  • In 1986, Margaret sued Walter and USA Today for an article claiming that Walter was the actual artist.
  • In the Federal court trial, the judge ordered both Margaret and Walter to each ” create a big – eyed painting in the courtroom, to determine who was telling the truth. ”
  • Walter, citing a sore shoulder declined to paint. Margaret on the other hand finished her painting within 53min.
  • She was awarded 4 million in damages, however in 1990 the award money was overturned. The verdict of defamation was upheld though, which was the most important thing to Margaret.
  • Margaret continued to paint subjects with big eyes after establishing that she in fact was the artist but their expressions took on a slightly ” happier, brighter ” style. Margaret describes her subjects who are crying as having ” tears of joy ” or ” tears of happiness “.
  • In 1970, Margaret married Honolulu sports writer Dan McGuire. Dan was very helpful in assisting Margaret to move on from her turbulent relationship with Walter.
  • In 1991, Keane moved back to California to live with her daughter Jane and son in law Don.
  • In 2014, A biographical film entitled ” Big Eyes ” was directed by Tim Burton. Margaret is portrayed by Amy Adams. Walter is played by Christoph Waltz. Margaret Keane makes an appearance in the film.
  • In 2017, at the age of 90, Margaret began hospice care.
  • Today, you can you can visit her website: http://www.keane-eyes.com where selected prints are sent to Margaret to sign personally.
  • Her gallery is located in San Francisco, California.
” Big Eyes Movie poster ” ( image from Wikipedia )
  • Andy Warhol ( 1928 – 1987 )
  • Andy Warhol ( born Andrew Warhola ) was an American artist, director, and producer. He was an icon in the art movement known as pop art.
  • Warhol is known for his eccentric personality and lifestyle and incorporating pop culture into his work.
  • ” If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it. ” – Andy Warhol, The East Village Other, 1966
  • When Warhol was in the 3rd grade he had Sydenham’s chorea in which he was often confined to his bed. Andy drew, listened to music and collected photos of film stars. He would remember this time as being very important in the development of his ” personality, skill-set and preferences. ”
  • Warhol started off his career in commercial and advertising art.
  • He drew shoes for Glamour magazine and a shoe designer for shoe manufacturer, Israel Miller.
  • Warhol’s ink drawings were part of his first exhibits in NYC.
  • In the 1950s Warhol started using silk screen printmaking as a technique for his paintings. He also started exhibiting his work in several galleries including New York City and Los Angeles.
  • In the 1960s Warhol started making painting’s of American iconic objects ( Campbell’s Soup Cans, Coca-Cola bottles …) and celebrities.
” Campbell’s Soup Cans ” 1962 ( image from Wikipedia )
My rendition of Warhol’s ” Jackie O ”
” Green Coca – Cola Bottles ” ( image from Wikipedia )

Warhol said this about Coca – Cola. ” What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that President drinks Coca-Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca-Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca-Cola, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it. ”

  • It was during this time that Warhol founded his studio, ” The Factory “. Artists, writers, musicians and underground celebrities all hung out at the factory! Everybody came and went as they pleased. Collaboration with the artists who hung out there happened alot. It was because of these ” assistant’s ” that Warhol was able to increase his productivity. The work done at ” the factory ” consisted of paintings, silkscreen, photography and film )
  • The Velvet Underground, an American rock band was formed in 1964 by singer/guitarist Lou Reed. It was briefly managed by Andy Warhol. It also was the house band at ” the Factory “.
  • On June 3rd, 1968 Andy Warhol’s life would change forever.
  • Valerie Solanas, radical feminist writer walked in The Factory shot Warhol three times. She also shot art critic and curator Mario Amaya. Valerie had been at The Factory several times before, appearing in one of Warhol’s film and trying to get him to produce her play.
  • Warhol almost died from the injuries he sustained. He suffered physical effects for the rest of his life, having to wear a surgical corset. The event would end up haunting Warhol and had a profound effect on his art.
  • After the shooting, security increased. The days of ” The Factory of 60s ” was over!
” Skull ” ( image from Wikiart )
  • The 1970s were a quieter decade and were focused on business for Warhol. The shooting had made him much more guarded, fearful a little more odd and a meticulous observer.
  • Andy started recording all of his thoughts no matter how mundane they were. He would also record conversation’s he had with other people. He called his tape recorder his ” wife “.
  • Warhol’s longest relationship would be with his partner, Jed Johnson who went on to become a leading decorators in New York. They spent 12 years together.
  • He was also an avid collector. Warhol collected everything under the sun including 19th century paintings, airplane menus, pizza dough, unpaid invoices and cookie jars.
  • One of Warhol’s most prized collection was that of his wigs. He had over 40 wigs. Andy started with mouse brown, moved on to various shades of blond then on to silver grey.
Andy Warhol ( image from Wikipedia )
  • In the 1980s Warhol had a bit of a rejuvenation due to some new friendships with some prolific artists of the day. One of these artists was Jean – Michel Basquiat. They became very good friends and collaborated on many works of art.
  • Andy Warhol died on February 22, 1987 at age 58. Since the shooting, Andy had become very afraid of doctors and hospitals so he never went to get checkups on issues that were bothering him.
  • Andy Warhol’s legacy continues to this day. Warhol’s will dictated that his estate fund the Warhol Foundation for the advancement of the visual arts which was created later that year.
  • In 1994, The Warhol Museum was opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is the largest museum in North America dedicated to a single artist.
  • Jean – Michel Basquiat ( 1960 – 1988 )
  • Jean – Michel was an American artist of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent. Basquiat was first known as a graffiti artist then later for his paintings and friendship and collaboration with artist Andy Warhol.
” Basquiat in 1986, photo by William Coupon ” ( image from Wikipedia )
  • Basquiat’s mother helped nurture a love for art for him when he was a child by taking him to art museums in Manhattan and enrolling him as a junior member of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
  • Jean was very gifted and learned to read and write by the age of 4 and was fluent in French, Spanish and English by age 11.
  • In 1967, Basquiat attended an arts- oriented private school.
  • When Jean was hit by a car in 1968 and was recuperating, his mother gave him a copy of Gray’s Anatomy. This would be influential in Basquiat’s art.
  • At age 13, Jean’s mother was committed to a mental institution and would spend her life in out of them for the rest of her life.
  • Because of this event and family unrest, Basquiat would eventually run away, drop out of school and become homeless. He would support himself by selling T-shirts and homemade post cards.
  • 1976 – Basquiat began spray painting graffiti on buildings in Lower Manhattan. His work would be tagged under the name SAMO.
  • 1979 – Basquiat formed his band ” Gray “. The band would perform at Max’s Kansas City, CBGB, Hurrah and the Mudd Club.
  • In 1980, Basquiat would make a breakthrough as a solo artist.
  • Basquiat’s art focused themes such as wealth versus poverty, integration vrs segregation, racism, colonialism, historical references and contemporary critique. Jean would use poetry, drawing and painting
  • Basquiat would become close friends with artist, Andy Warhol first meeting him when he sold him his postcard art at a restaurant.
  • The two would spend time painting, working out and going to parties. Many thought they were using each other but it was also clear that the two had a special bond, close to that of father and son.
  • When Warhol died in 1987, Basquiat took it very hard and struggled to make art. He also went back to a destructive lifestyle that would eventually lead to his early death in 1988 by a drug overdose.
  • After Basquiat participated in ” The Times Square Show ” in 1980, he was invited to Italy for his first solo show in 81.
  • From 1981 – 1983, Basquiat would go on to have several more shows in NYC, Italy, Germany and California.
  • From 1984 – 1985, Basquiat was showing work at the Mary Boone Gallery, collaborative shows with Warhol and was the youngest artist to be included in the Whitney Biennial ( Major International exhibition of contemporary art ).
  • On February 10, 1985, Basquiat appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine.
  • Throughout 1986 to 88, the year of his death, Basquiat struggled with the use of heroin. Many friends, including Warhol tried to help Jean but in the end, his addiction overtook him.
  • On August 12, 1988, Jean – Michel Basquiat died of a heroin overdose at his art studio. He was 27 years old.
  • At his memorial, artist Keith Haring had this to say about his friend, ” He truly created a lifetime of works in ten years. Greedily, we wonder what else he might have created, what masterpieces we have been cheated out of by his death, but the fact is that he has created enough work to intrigue generations to come. Only now will people begin to understand the magnitude of his contribution “.
My rendition of Basquiat’s ” Skull ”
  • Thanks for supporting #SlayInspireCreate! See you on Wednesday for awesome links to videos and ebooks on the artists we looked at today!
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#SlayInspireCreate

Hi everyone!

Here are some super fun activities and crafts inspired by our fabulous surrealist artists!

  • 1. Frida Kahlo once said ” I paint self- portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best. ”
  • Frida’s self portraits reflected various times in her life and how she was feeling at the time. They featured her many pets such as monkeys, dogs, birds and even a fawn. Her portraits were colorful and had many aspects of her Mexican culture in them. Frida put her whole heart and true self into every part of her beautiful art.
  • For our first activity I want to encourage you to create a self portrait that shows your personality and what’s in your heart.
  • Here is one of my self portraits!
  • 2. Our second activity is based on the idea that many surrealist artists would look to their dreams for inspiration for their art!
  • I thought it would be a cool idea to start your own dream journals!
  • Start by either making a journal or looking for one that speaks to you in some way.
  • There are of course dream journals you can buy that have templates in them already. Tips, questions or prompts that might help you keep a dream journal. Or you can simply get a sketchbook that can be used for drawing or writing your dreams down.
  • One tip I do have is, keep your journal close to where you sleep so that if you wake up from a dream, you can write or draw a quick sketch immediately. We tend to forget our dreams as time passes so you want to be ready.
  • Have fun! Good luck! And sweet dreams!
  • 3. Many artists from the surrealism movement created collages that depicted often very bizarre images juxtaposed together. Why not create your own surrealist inspired college!
  • Try using images from old magazine’s or photos to create a new scene or fantastical world!
  • Here is a collage by artist, Max Ernst showing some familiar faces from the surrealist movement!
” Loplop Introduces Members of the Surrealist Group ” ( image from Flicker )
  • 4. And of course we can’t leave out our always reliable http://www.supercoloring.com for artist coloring sheets! This week Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo are available to download!

Thanks again for checking out #SlayInspireCreate! See ya next week!

Memento Vivere!

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#SlayInspireCreate

Hi there!

Here are some awesome links to some videos on the artists I introduced this week as well as some great ebooks! Please enjoy! 🙂

  • Remedios Varo: A collection of 103 paintings, YouTube Channel: LearnFromMasters https://youtu.be/DRtiLJT1feg
  • Here are some great Ebooks that can be found on http://www.hoopladigital.com!
  • Many of the books listed can also be found on other platforms as well if you do not have access to Hoopla.
  • Dada & Surrealism for Beginners – Elsa Bethanis, Peter Bethanis
  • Frida Kahlo – Gerry Souter
  • Frida Kahlo. An Illustrated Biography – Zena Alkayat
  • Frida Kahlo and her Animalitos. ( Read along )- Monica Brown Ph.D. ( children’s book )
  • The Secret Life of Salvador Dali – Salvador Dali

Thanks for stopping by #SlayInspireCreate! Stay tuned for Friday’s post on cool surrealist inspired crafts and activities!