Category Archives: art

Toledo: The Air is Different There

Some places are great because of the people. Others because of the history. And still others for their natural beauty. There is a smaller subset of places that are great because of the light and air. St. Petersburg is one of these places. The light there is unique. Toledo is  another. There is something about the dry air and hot sun that sticks in  your mind. You should go, at least once. And while you are there, check out the El Greco’s. He was Greek (from Crete, then under the control of Venice), but I guess you know that. And he was a highly unusual artist. He did stuff like this back in the 16th century

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I liked this quote from Wikipedia

El Greco’s dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional schoo

Mastery: Teaching Simplicity

Part of living a great life is seeing what is essential. You might ask, “why is this so difficult?” It is a good question. The answer is that humans tend to hold on to lots and lots of stuff in their minds because at least some of this stuff might be useful some day.  Holding on to lots of stuff obscures what is essential and what is just clutter. So we need to re-learn this. And Apple does this teaching at “Apple University” They use Picasso’s bull!

Berlin: Remembering Studio Yva

After the first great war, Weimar era Berlin generated lots of buzz. And among the exciting artists who were working there at that time was a young photographer who called herself Yva. She did fashion shoots that had an edge . She explored her artistic imagination and inspired a new feminine identity.  Helmut Newton worked as her apprentice for two years. Sadly, Yva and her studio were obliterated by the Nazis. But we can and should remember how exciting those early days were when she blazed a trail.  Dazed tells the story rather well. Here is one of her works

Clark, Schama and Great Video

Summer is a great time to find new inspiration. You can get this from a walk in the park or from preparing a great meal for friends or family. And you can get it from great video. Great video? The phrase sounds a bit odd. But I can think of no better way to capture the idea. There are out there some truly great video series.

One is the series Civilisation by Kenneth Clark, produced back in 1969. It is a thirteen part masterwork that traces the history of European art from the fall of Rome to the twentieth century.  For me, this is more than just information about the past. Clark shares his deeply felt values about art, life and … well, … civilisation itself.  In other words, this is about where we are headed based on where we have been. Here is the grand man

But Clark does not spend all that much time on individual artists. If this is your thing, check out the series that Simon Schama did back in 2006 called “The Power of Art”.   Each episode is fantastic. But my favorite was the one on Bernini. After all, how can you explain something like this? Schama does it and does it well

Tanaka Tatsuya and Goofy Art

It is a funny thing. I sometimes get bored in museums where you can find really, really great art. But I am nearly always amused by goofy art. Stuff like the  dioramas that Tanaka Tatsuya makes each day.  Here is one

This Japanese Artist Creates a New Diorama Every Day

I found this and more from a Gizmodo post today.  What is the appeal? It is in part the whimsical style. But equally important, this type of art is closer to day to day life than … let’s say Michelangelo’s magnificent David..  Take away the whimsy and move the lens much closer to day to day foibles, and you get the art of Thomas Rowwlandson. These prints from the late 18th and early 19th century are always naughty, satirical and humorous with an edge. Here the new bride enjoys her honeymoon.

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I do have a soft spot for Rowlandson.

Jönköping: Check out Johan Larsson

I have never been to Jönköping, Sweden. It looks like this

If you go there, you might be interested to know that freelance photographer Johan Larrsson lives there. He just did an interview for Berlin’s Posi+Tive Magazine.  And he offers some thoughts on who is who is Swedish photography
My favorite photographers are all swedes. Martin Bogren is talented. I’m inspired by his book Lowlands. It is a personal story about the village he grew up in. One of my photo projects (Barndomsbyn) is very similar to Lowlands. All Swedish photographers, both amateurs and professionals, admire Christer Strömholm. He’s dead now, but he is still very important on the Swedish photo scene.
Thanks Johan!