Tim Biskup: new interview and book from the great pop surrealist

We've posted on Boing Boing about Tim Biskup's pop surrealist artwork for decades and he's still busier than ever. Most recently, he's opened a new gallery and studio space in Los Angeles called Face Guts, created album art for Lee "Scratch" Perry, and is finally publishing his first monograph, titled Tree of Life. In the new issue of Juxtapoz, Patricia Arquette talks with Tim about his life and work. From Juxtapoz:

You were a punk rocker, right? Do you think that gave you better tools for survival?

Yes. Being able to say, "Fuck it, I don't care," is a very healthy thing. I've often said that the most valuable art supply that you have is right here.

That's your middle finger.

Yes. There's so much of punk rock that is based on loose energy. It's not necessarily about doing everything right. It's about capturing the energy of that moment. There's so much punk rock music that is perfect and there's so much of it that just sounds like trash. I think punk rock taught me how easy it is to make shitty music and how easy it is to make great music. The element that makes the difference is a willingness to work hard on the things that you need to work on and to ignore the things that don't matter. That lesson has followed me through everything in my life. There are a lot of times where I'm like, "Oh, shoot. I'm not doing this part right," but it doesn't matter.

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Where did all of Bob Ross' paintings go?

It's estimated that Bob Ross painted thousands of paintings on his TV show "The Joy of Painting" — but where did they all go? Read the rest

National Parks Service publishes hi-rez scans of Heinrich Berann's iconic, panoramic paintings of America's parks

In the 1980s and 1990s, the National Parks Service commissioned Heinrich Berann to produce gorgeous, panoramic paintings of America's beautiful national parks as part of an advertising campaign; this week the NPS published high-resolution scans of these images for free downloading. Read the rest

The "lost" Leonardo da Vinci painting has been found hanging in a yacht

In 2017, British auction house Christie's auctioned off the painting "Salvator Mundi" by Leonardo da Vinci (or by his workshop, at least) for $450 million. Read the rest

"Invisible ink" features found in Basquiat painting

Art conservator Emily Macdonald-Korth was evaluationg a client's Jean-Michel Basquiat untitled painting from 1981 when she looked at the work under ultraviolet light to reveal any repairs or varnishing. From artnet News:

“I start looking at this thing and I see these arrows,” Macdonald-Korth told artnet News. She flipped the lights back on to make sure she wasn’t imagining things and the arrows disappeared. She flipped the lights off again and there they were: two arrows drawn in what looked like black-light crayon, virtually identical to other arrows drawn visibly on the canvas with red and black oil sticks. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “He basically did a totally secret part of this painting.”

In fact, this isn’t the first time Basquiat has been known to use fluorescent UV materials. In 2012, Sotheby’s London discovered that his painting Orange Sports Figure from 1982—done just months after the one Macdonald-Korth analyzed—contained an invisible-ink signature of the artist’s name in the bottom right corner. But he has never been known to include UV-specific imagery in his work.

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An astronomer's beautiful pastel drawings of the cosmos from the 19th century

In the late 19th century, artist/astronomer Étienne Léopold Trouvelot (1827-1895) painted thousands of stunning works illustrating the beauty and science of the known planets, comets, and celestial phenomena. The Huntington Library near Los Angeles holds 15 of Trouvelot's chromolithographs that were published in 1882 in two portfolios, the Trouvelot Astronomical Drawings:

Initially, the Astronomical Drawings portfolios were sold to astronomy libraries and observatories as reference tools, but as early 20th-century advances in photographic technology allowed for more accurate and detailed depictions of the stars, planets, and phenomena, Trouvelot’s prints were discarded or sold to collectors.

Radiant Beauty: E. L. Trouvelot’s Astronomical Drawings (The Huntington)

See more at Graphicine: "ETIENNE TROUVELOT – ASTRONOMICAL DRAWINGS" (Thanks Anotherone!)

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Translucent backlit fruit slices as fine art

Dennis Wojtkeiwicz paints large-format works of thinly sliced fruit for his Rosettes series, revealing the elegant beauty and symmetry of nature. Read the rest

Robbie Barrat's AI-generated nude paintings make Francis Bacon look like a genteel pre-Raphaelite

Robbie Barrat is generating warped, surreal paintings using artificial intelligence and the results are really something.

Usually the machine just paints people as blobs of flesh with tendrils and limbs randomly growing out - I think it's really surreal. I wonder if that's how machines see us...

Here's Bonnie Burton in CNET:

The results are surreal. Barrat posted many of the final pieces of artwork -- which can only be described as surreal, blobby, swirly naked women -- on Twitter. It's almost like a very intoxicated Salvador Dali and a dizzy Picasso joined forces to make art. ...Barrat's AI-assisted artwork isn't exactly sensual. In fact, most of the nudes look like they are melting on a very hot day.

"The way that it paints faces makes me uncomfortable. It always paints them as like, purple and yellow globs -- that isn't in the training set so I'm actually still not sure why it does that.

I don't like looking at those heads, I really don't.

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British art museum removes a famous 1869 painting of Femme Fatale nymphs

John William Waterhouse's painting, Hylas and the Nymphs (1869), was removed from display at the Manchester Art Gallery in northern England. The museum said it banished the painting to “challenge a Victorian fantasy.”

From Art News:

On the night of January 26, the gallery team and invited collaborators took over the gallery and removed the pre-Raphaelite painting Hylas and the Nymphs (1869) from the wall, as well as postcards of the painting from the shop.

The offending image depicts a mythical scene of bare-chested nymphs tempting Hylas to his death, and is not the only one of its kind in a room devoted to 19th century art that is titled “In Pursuit of Beauty.”

The stunt was filmed as part of a new artwork by Sonia Boyce, who is exploring “gender trouble” in the paintings and wider culture of the 19th century. The full film of the action will be shown in her upcoming retrospective at the gallery, which runs March 23 through September 2.

From Reason:

"For me personally, there is a sense of embarrassment that we haven't dealt with it sooner," Clare Gannaway, the gallery's contemporary art curator, told The Guardian. "Our attention has been elsewhere...we've collectively forgotten to look at this space and think about it properly. We want to do something about it now because we have forgotten about it for so long."

Gannaway also described the painting—and others like it—as old-fashioned for depicting women "either as passive beautiful objects or femmes fatales." She said there were "tricky issues about gender, race and representation." It's a bit unclear what exactly the problem is here, but the curator seems to be suggesting the girls are too white, and too naked.

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Arnold Böcklin's Isle of the Dead as a VR experience

German Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin reimagined "Tomb Island" over and over, pursuing both the scene's dark mystery and its runaway commercial appeal: with the title improved by a canny agent, it became the first great fantasy art wall print. And soon you'll be able to explore each of the variations in virtual reality.

There's precious little to tease the project beyond the trailer embedded above, but I always thought Tomb Island would be the perfect setting for a retro Myst-style mystery adventure game and it looks like I'm going to get exactly what I want.

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Stepping into the trippy, sensational world of artist Bonethrower

Last Saturday on August 5th, the LA venue Rhabbitat held a special release party for the limited edition Adidas Skateboarding x Bonethrower footwear and apparel collection and gave people a chance to step into the trippy, sensational world of artist Bonethrower. Put together by Juxtapoz Magazine and Adidas Skateboarding, the event featured otherworldly sculptures, statues, and paintings by Bonethrower that seemed to come to life through changing, colorful lights and a funky DJ.

Bonethrower was at the event and gave away Adidas Skateboarding x Bonethrower shirts as well as signed posters and skate decks. I had a moment to speak with Bonethrower, who told me that he wants people to have fun when they see his art and to interpret his work in their own way. His art was super fun and psychedelic to be surrounded by for an entire night. One of my favorite pieces at the event was an alien-like throne that people could sit in and put on masks. It was so cool to see everyone interacting and hanging out on this art piece. Be sure to also check out the 200th issue of Juxtapoz magazine which features Bonethrowers’ art.

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Ilya Repin's "Ivan the Terrible and His Young Son Ivan" 1885

I have not seen this painting before. It's called Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on 16 November 1581, and was completed in 1885 by Ilya Repin.

Warped Perspective has an article by Keri O'Shea on the painting:

It took three centuries before this scene was committed to canvas with the gravitas and horror it deserved. The man who proved himself able is arguably Russia’s best-known painter, certainly its best-known Realist painter. That man was Ilya Yefimovich Repin, who returned to historical painting in 1885 to complete ‘Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan’. It is to my mind one of the most haunting pieces of art ever created.

The differences between the Realist style used here and the idealised, unrepresentative portraiture of the day is exaggerated hugely by the savagery of this piece. Repin chose to paint the exact moment of Grozny’s revelation; the awful moment of stillness after the manslaughter of his heir. The two men, one living, one dead, are presented alone in a room whose fire-lit warmth gives the lie to the scene and its circumstances. That warmth, and its crimson finery is ironically juxtaposed with the blood on young Ivan’s head, which is the brightest red here, and the rich, geometric-patterned drapery in the background forms another contrast with Ivan’s curved, inanimate body, fading into nothingness before the grisly focus of the scene. There is evidence of a struggle; furniture is upended, and Ivan’s leg has disarrayed the silk rug beneath their feet – but now all is still.

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New portrait of Queen unveiled

Irishman Colin Davidson painted the new official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

"With anybody I paint, it's a human being in their own right, but with this particular painting I was aware of the gravity and sheer importance and weight which comes with the person I was painting."

Davidson sees it as symbolic of a closer relationship between Britain and Ireland, reports Robbie Meredith. Elizabeth became the world's longest-reigning head of state in October after the death of Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej. Read the rest

Ico and Shadow of the Colossus prints

Ico and Shadow of the Colossus were beautiful, moody video games; games with a sense of place, of weird looming silences. Before gamers realized they didn't want games to be art after all, these were the games they thought were art. And now, more than a decade on, you can finally get the legendary box paintings as gorgeous "giclee" prints. They're expensive: $100 or so each. Read the rest

The theology of Trump

For Christianity Today, theologian Michael Horton explores the "theology" of Donald Trump and his followers. It reads as superficially civil, yet completely contemptuous and comically unprepared: a growing trend among conservative and Christian commentary on the future president.

Vague on doctrine, infiltrated by consumerism and a sentimental moralism intent on helping us all “become a better you,” and sort of interested in “family values” as long as they don’t interfere with our own family breakdowns, many cultural evangelicals are tired of losing the culture wars. They want a winner—“a strong leader.” I’m hardly the first to point out that it’s the stuff of which demagogues are made.

It is not that Trump has caused this transformation in portions of the so-called “evangelical electorate.” Rather, his candidacy has revealed the inner secularization of significant portions of the movement, which surveys have documented for some time now. Four theological words highlight the problem.

I made the digital paintover above in honor of the trash fire currently consuming evangelical political hearts.

In other Trumpery news, a Republican National Committee member today suggested that they're going to freeze Donald Trump out of the nomination irrespective of how many delegates he secures. Riots it will be, then. Read the rest

Trump the Carpathian

On a mountain of skulls, in the castle of pain, I sat on a throne of blood! And let me tell you it was really great. And I have a great relationship with the Moldavian people. They love me. Read the rest

Sleep with van Gogh

One of the most indelible images in art is Vincent van Gogh’s portrait of his bedroom in the Yellow House in Arles, France. I’m sure you’ve seen it dozens of times. You can learn more about it in an article on the website of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

He painted three versions, the second of which in 1889, less than a year before he committed suicide at age 37. It hangs in The Art Institute of Chicago (worth a trip to the city, by the way, all on its own). Amazingly, the Art Institute has recreated the bedroom in full size and is taking reservations for it on airbnb for only 10 bucks a night!

To be able to walk into one of the most famous paintings in the world must be quite an experience. It’s part of an exhibition in which all three versions of “The Bedroom” are exhibited together for the first time: van Gogh’s Bedrooms features approximately 36 works by the artist, including paintings, drawings, and illustrated letters, as well as a selection of books and other ephemera known to have been in van Gogh’s possession. Enhancing the exploration of the artist’s works and his longing for a place of his own are several engaging interactive presentations. A digitally enhanced reconstruction of his bedroom allows viewers the chance to experience his state of mind and the physical reality of the space that so inspired him, while other enriching digital components bring to light significant recent scientific research on the three Bedroom paintings.

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