What a time we are living through, can certainly be an understatement. People have talked about trying to skip the rest of 2020. But times like these are what makes change. Artist of various mediums in many cases are at the forefront of the change. Artis such as Benny Andrews, Robert Indiana, Philip Guston, Moneta Sleet Jr., Jack Whitten and even one of my favorite artist of all time Norman Rockwell. They painted and sculpted on the social turmoil that surrounded them. They created visual symbols of resistance, liberation and empowerment. They made us think, examine our inner being. In these dark times, some great art is created.
It has been close to a month since the pandemic lockdown. You almost can almost forget what day of the week it is, let alone the time. One thing about it, is that with being “hunkered down” is you have more time on your hands. And for an artist, that can be a blessing. A time to work on your art work and time to try a new art form. I have used a little of that time to go back to making tiny drawings. What has been different is trying a different subject matter. One night I was going through some photos from a prior trip I found a photo that caught my attention and just had to attempt. I call it “Ice Cream Break”. It brought back some good memories and of a time when we could enjoy restraints, movies and many other activities that we are now missing. I hope you enjoy this drawing and reminds you a a fun time and hope for being able to get out and enjoy such treats.
One day in the not so long ago past, I wondered what it was, all of those years ago that got me interested in art. I found out one day when wondering through the children section of the bookstore looking for a book for a grandson. It hit me when looking at the multitude of illustrations throughout those many books. I found that day, that I continue to be amazed at those illustrations. Those illustrations helped my imagination run with the story that my parents would read to me from those books. The book of “Sam the Firefly” really caught my attention many years ago, when I looked at those pages. Now, they were not bright and cheery. They had a dark blue background with yellow and white light to bring the picture to life. If you are not familiar with the story, it takes place at night and night time illustrations are no where near as bright as day time illustrations and that is what makes the art work standout. And standout to me it did.
One thing that I love about art in general, is that there are so many different styles and so many different items that can be included. One style that I really like is the “folk art” style. One of my favorite artist in this style, is from the neighborhood where my grandparents lived. This area is known as Strawberry Hill in Kansas City Kansas. And Strawberry Hill is one of the city’s best-known ethnic communities. A little history about the Hill is that most of its Slavic population arrived around the turn of the 20th century. They were attracted to the United States by economic opportunities. The new immigrants first settled in the Kansas River bottoms, where they found work in packing houses, stockyards, and railroads. They soon built a church for Croatian immigrants on the mound, named by tradition “Strawberry Hill” for the wild berries that once grew there. As arrivals became more established and prosperous, they began to move up from the bottoms onto the Hill. It became an ethnic enclave, a traditional village within a modern city, filled with Croatian businesses patronized by Croatian workers. Residents spoke the same language, sang the same songs, attended each other’s weddings and funerals. Quite a community!
My favorite artist from the “Hill” is Marijana Grisnik. She was born, lived and painted the area in a wonderful “Folk Art” style. I have posted some of her paintings. I hope you enjoy!
I never cease to be amazed at how much art surrounds us on a daily basis. We may have paintings on our walls that we recognize as art. But what about that magazine cover? Or how about that sleak front end of the new car? What about the dinning room table and chairs? What about that old Carnage Library building?
Well the answer to each of those examples, an artist was involved some where along the process. The artist may use a computer, sculpting tools, a brush, a sprayer, cloth and material of various types. Art is there, and was conceived and completed by an artist.
Next time you look at any item, take a few seconds to think about the artist. And you will see art surrounds you.