Tuesday, April 30, 2013

the blue locket quiz: aubrey levinthal

Aubrey Levinthal, Coffee Through a Straw

Aubrey Levinthal paints everyday things—her lunch, a still life in her studio, a man's broad back in a dark coat—with great care and beauty. As she puts it, "reality mixes freely with a little whimsy." Her eye for detail is incredibly keen. I love the evocative, emotional shapes and her amazing sense of color. (Look at that yellow, just below.) She thinks deeply and writes eloquently on her blog about her own artistic process and other artists she admires. She lives in a charming Philadelphia rowhouse. And best of all, she was kind enough to complete a Blue Locket quiz. You'll definitely see a link between her own work and her list of favorites. Aubrey, thank you so much.

Aubrey Levinthal, Yellow Through Bottle

1. What inspires you? This great quote comes to mind, I think from Chuck Close, that I heard a long time ago—it goes something like inspiration is for amateurs and the rest of us just show up and get working—or something to that effect. There isn't a specific thing that inspires me except the struggle in my studio to paint a more satisfying picture than I ever have before. Which is actually quite a tall order. The other thing that pushes me to make my best work is looking at other artists work, and feeling the need to go back to my studio and paint.

Aubrey Levinthal, Cheerios

2. Who are your favorite artists? This list is sort of rotating at all times but some of my consistent loves are: Matisse, Bonnard, David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Fairfield Porter, Biala.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park No. 129
Biala, Portrait of Igouassou
Henri Matisse, Interior With Egyptian Curtain
Fairfield Porter, Under the Elms

3. Can you name some favorite works of art? I love Egyptian Curtain and Blue Still Life by Matisse. Under the Elms by Porter. Amy Sillman's Shade and many pieces in that 2010 show. Kyle Staver's His Turn. Still Life with a Bowl of Fruit by Bonnard. Picnic at Bedford Hills by Florine Stettheimer. Romare Bearden's Woman in the Garden. There are many more but these are all works that I stood in front of, in person, and felt completely weak in the knees.  
Amy Sillman, Shade

4. Where do you do your best work? I do my best work from home. My studio is in our second bedroom and although it is decidedly too small, I am feeling pretty resistant to getting an exterior studio. I am entertaining the idea of a second studio elsewhere but I love working here. The way my paintings are, made of things in my life, I like creating them among my things. That was a real struggle in graduate school, moving into a big, sterile studio and feeling like it was my space—like I had enough ownership of it to create my work inside of it.

Aubrey Levinthal, Banana
5. What scares you? The only thing I feel truly scared of is running out of time—daily I feel I could use another five hours, and long-term I feel I have so many paintings I want to make and things to explore I just hope I can do it all. But it's a good thing to be scared of, because an even scarier reality would be to feel like I have nothing more I want to do in the studio—but I don't see that happening any time soon.

Monday, April 29, 2013

monday thoughts: art is where you find it

Quintana by Marcelo Romero

Did you know Urban Outfitters has an online print shop? It's a co-venture with Society 6 (itself a treasure trove of super-affordable art prints), curated for Urban Outfitters' clientele. Not surprisingly, the quality, um, varies, and some of the themes are (for lack of a better word) collegiate, but I found some sweet little pieces amidst all the ones better left in dorm rooms. And as for buying art in places like Urban Outfitters, I applaud it. Blue Locket's whole point is that art is in the mall and Target and your kid's scraps of paper as much as on gallery walls.

Secret Surf Map by Matthew Korbel-Bowers
Medusozoa by Edwardblakeedwards

Feather Time by Animaux Circus

Completely Incomplete by Bianca Green

Friday, April 26, 2013

maureen meyer

This is a shameless steal from Design Sponge, but I couldn't resist. Maureen Meyer's indigo paintings are just so completely my thing. Stylized but abstract, geometric but somehow organic at the same time. And they're blue.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

six degrees of separation

I might have taken away this one too late.

I can't get these words out of my head today. They're from Six Degrees of Separation, a beautiful play by John Guare about art and New York and money and class and race.

"I remembered asking my kids' second-grade teacher: 'Why are all your students geniuses? Look at the first grade—blotches of green and black. The third grade—camouflage. But your grade, the second grade, Matisses, every one. You've made my child a Matisse. Let me study with you. Let me into the second grade. What is your secret?' 'I don't have any secret. I just know when to take their drawings away from them.'"

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

etsy roundup

Seaweed print by Alice Stevenson

I gave yesterday's usual Etsy slot to Karina's fantastic inspiration quiz. So today, instead of a single artist, here are a bunch of my favorite recent Etsy finds. I'm into the bold spring colors, and my circle obsession seems to be back.

Wooden bowls from WindandWillowHome
Minimalist print from Eve Sand
Mobile kit from Little Dreamers Inc.
Vintage plate from MidModMomStore
Suede clutches from Patkas
Raspberry photograph by Life's Simple Moments

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

the blue locket quiz: karina bania

Karina Bania, Night Sky Over Texas

Today I'm inaugurating a new Blue Locket feature: artists talking about their inspiration. Karina Bania paints expressionistic, beautiful canvases. She documents her creative process and (and her young daughters' artwork) in her poetic, beautifully photographed blog, Curate the Day. Here she shares—with so much depth and consideration—her thoughts on creativity, art, solitude, and the passing of time. Also, I love seeing the common colors, shapes, and themes in her own paintings and in some of her favorite pieces of art. Karina, thank you so much for your lovely, inspiring words!

1. What inspires you? Everything serves as a source of inspiration for me. The way the sunlight hits the floor, being in nature, a good conversation, a messy studio, the way my kids approach a blank canvas, all inspire my work and, more importantly, my life. I read a lot, so titles of books, the images a few simple words can create, poetry, or odd language, can spark a whole series of paintings. Fashion is also a big influence, the lines of a dress, color combinations, magazine layouts, and runway looks, have all translated into art. Throughout my life, my main influences have been Eastern philosophy, dense urban life, empty spaces, imperfections, the play of light, and our relationship to everyday objects and rituals. 

Karina Bania, Meet You in the Middle

Uta  Barth, Time Series
2. Who are your favorite artists? My lifelong loves are Cy Twombly, Basquiat, and Rauschenberg. I love Uta Barth’s work; it’s transfixing. Helen Frankenthaler, Christopher Wool, Landon Metz, and Ethan Cook are my current sources of inspiration. I love pictures of Picasso’s life, he was a true bon vivant. Ruth Asawa’s work, in particular her crocheted wire sculptures, are incredible. The simplicity and lines of ceramic artists like Lucie Rie and Paula Greif make me melt, as well as the land art sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ascent
Ceramics by Paula Greif

3. Can you name some favorite works of art?
My favorite works of art have a lot to do with seeing them in person and where I was in my life when I saw them. Standing in front of Matisse’s Dance for the first time was life changing. I didn’t know the scale of the work and I experienced the feeling of being brought into the painting. That feeling made me look at art differently and really understand the equation of art object + viewer = art. It was profound. Being surrounded by a body of Rothko’s work is transforming. In particular, Rothko’s No. 61 (Rust and Blue) is one of my favorites. I love anything I can get lost in. I’m always moved by Cy Twombly’s Triumph of Galatea and Joseph Albers Homage to the Square. And I will never pass up seeing Basquiat’s work or a Warhol.

Mark Rothko, No. 61 (Rust and Blue)
Cy Twombly, Triumph of Galatea
Joseph Albers, Homage to the Square

4. Where do you do your best work? In solitude. I talk about this a lot, I need silence and time alone to think and hear inspiration. When my mind is singularly focused in the moment, like while driving, lying in bed, sitting in the garden, or reading, ideas come to the surface. Most of the time, they are unrelated and indirectly inspired by what I am doing. I usually jot them down in the moment. Later, while creating, I am pretty ritualistic. I have an art studio at my house where I work. I like the studio warm, with the same music on that I have listened to for weeks on end, so I am not thinking, I am not retracting at all, I am simply receptive, relaxed and able to create. 

Karina Bania, East Side

5. What scares you? Time scares me. Specifically, the shortness of life and the length of things I want to experience. When this anxiousness arises I try to remember that depth, which is probably the most important aspect of living, is only experienced in the moment and then I try to live fully now. Also, beginning, sometimes, scares me. Not wanting to experience that gap between my ideas and the quality of what I am able to create in the moment. But I know the only way to close that gap is to keep working, so I continue knowing that nothing is permanent. It can always be painted over and something good always comes from the process of creating.

Monday, April 22, 2013

monday thoughts: photos of (my) kids

It's magic week around here: the trees are blooming and the light is perfect.

I'm getting personal today, and I'm just throwing a bunch of thoughts up here this morning, so bear with me. I love taking pictures of my children. I remember moments better; I get to see what they looked like; I get to have something to do, something in my hands, something that makes me feel a tiny bit creative at least, while they're playing. And I like the finished product: I definitely break the rule that says you should display family photos only in private rooms, as a cabinet in our living room is covered with shots of my kids and dog. As for the is-it-art question, my answer is the same as it always is: It's art if you say it is. Besides (at the risk of sounding cheesy), what's more beautiful and meaningful than your family?

These three are some great examples of professional family photographers who transcend the cheesy and make personal art. And I can vouch for this guy myself—he's incredibly talented (at photography and writing) and just plain nice to be around.

Friday, April 19, 2013

angela a'court

Angela A'Court's pastel artwork is like a modern update of Matisse: saturated color, abstracted backgrounds, simplified shapes, everyday subjects like chairs or flowers. The British artist worked as an interior designer for years before turning to fine art, and you can still see her design interest and skill—and her interest in homey things like chairs and cups and candlesticks. Sorry for the many many images, but they're so gorgeous, I couldn't choose among them. And her colors? Those grays against those super rich bright yellows and reds and blues? So good.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

casa otomi on etsy

Multicolored pillow

I have such a weakness for all things embroidered. Mexican otomi is definitely on the bolder end of the spectrum; normally I'm most drawn to the more delicate Indian styles. But this Etsy shop offers the punchiest, prettiest, coolest-looking textiles: pillows, bags, dresses, custom bedding. Their blues and purples (and reds and pinks and greens, for that matter) are outstanding.

Electric blue clutch
Huipil dress
Purple pillow