Monday, 17 December 2007

Winsor McCay

This is taken from part of a comic (Little Nemo in Slumberland) by Winsor McCay. The comic strips were very popular and were featured weekly in the New York Herald in the early 1900's.

Little Nemo in Slumberland is a big favourite of mine. McCays characters are so charming and the colour pallete he uses is eye catching to me because they're not really used in any other work in this day in age. The stories in the comics are so unusual and really do seem dream-like. They're not particularly nice stories-they were often quite violent, threatening, dark and surreal. I think that's why I like it so much. I like odd things that are quirky, dark and surreal, so Little Nemo in Slumberland does it for me.
It's easy to tell what's going on in the comics without the need of the words there. It's all sequential and very easy to follow. The fact that most of the images are closely sequential (almost like a stop motion animation) make it more interesting to me for some reason. The image above is a good example of this technique.

Koloman Moser

Koloman Moser was an Austrian artist who put alot of influence on twentieth-century graphic art and was one of the artists of the Vienna Secession movement. His designs in architecture, furniture, jewelry, graphics, and tapestries helped characterize the work of this era. Moser drew with the style of clean lines and repetitive motifs of classical Greek and Roman art and architecture.

Apparently this image to the right shows "the Judgement of Paris, a story from classical mythology. In the foreground stand three goddesses: Venus, Juno and Minerva. They are parading in front of Paris whose task it is to choose the most beautiful. The choice of subject matter can perhaps be seen as an artist's flattery of his patron, complimenting him on his good judgement and taste"

His work is great and I love the simplicity of the lines. Things aren't over complicated in his work which I like...his characters are made up of a simple language. The only major detail is in the clothing of the characters which is made up of pattern. I'm a big fan of detail, so to see it in such a manner with simplicity of lines is fresh and inspiring for me.

Arthur Rackham

Arthur Rackham produced elaborate illustrations for children's literature and fairy tales, and also for some adult books.
"to make my small elves coats" illustration above is from A Midsummer Night's Dream. It clearly shows what's going on...little elves making coats. He's used lots of clues to show this and to make it obvious for the viewer. I'm a fan of fairytale illustrations and Rackham is my favourite. His drawings have so much character and life to them, and it's always fun to try to figure out what's going on in each illustration. It makes your mind run wild. The colour palette he uses is unusual but lovely. The darkness of it gives an oddness and unusual feeling to the illustrations which I love. His use of line and detail is amazing...each illustration of his I've seen have been quite mysterious and eerie.

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman is known mainly for taking photographs of herself in different costumes and works in series. Her series Untitled Film Stills are more well know and are all done in black and white. She places herself as an unnamed actress in shots reminiscent of foreign films, Hollywood pictures, B-Movies and Film Noir.

The props she uses in the photographs can tell us an awful lot about what she’s trying to tell us in the photograph, and what her character is like. I like the fact that the characters in her photographs are portrayed as being sexy and seductive, and then in others she's seen as being innocent and immature. This image to the left shows a woman lying on what seems to be a bed, with a book in front of her and looking up at something-I imagine that she's watching a TV. Her looking up makes the image quite seductive, and the way she's dressed is flirtatious. Her as a character is maybe an exaggerated stereotype of the actresses in the films at this period of time in the 1970's.
The way she dressed up as actresses etc is really clever in my opinion. She did it well and looked as if it came naturally to her. She knew exactly what she wanted to say in each photograph and to me, sucessfully did it.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

EDWARD HOPPER: Vertical and Lateral thinking

Edward Hopper was an American realist painter and print maker. He was well known for producing paintings of American scenes, expressing the loneliness, emptiness and depression of town life. He showed the world in his paintings as a chilling, alienating and empty place, and in his words "a place of sad desolation." The characters in his works look as if they have been captured just before or just after the climax of a scene. Hopper also used a narrative history in his works. He represented light as it's reflected off familiar objects. What he did was new to art, and was maybe an expression of the sense of hopelessness that characterized the Great Depression of the 1930's.

When Hopper studied painting and illustration at the New York Institute of Art and Design, he was taught by the artist Robert Henri who taught him to show realistic depictions of urban life, and encouraged his students to "make a stir in the world." Henri became a big influence on Hopper from then on.

Edward Hopper made many trips to Europe to study the current art there. Modern art was new at this time and was a new approach to art which placed emphasis on representing emotions, themes, and various abstractions. Artists experimented with new ways of seeing, with fresh ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art, often moving further toward abstraction. Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism and Futurism where other movements that were flourishing at this period of time. World War I brought about artist groups such as Bauhaus which was influential in the development of new ideas about the connection of the arts, architecture, design and art education. Although these movements were popular with many of his fellow artists at this time, including Abstract Expressionism, Hopper instead became influenced by the idealism and detail of the realist painters within the surrounding of American post-war culture. This influence is shown in his earlier works which have an emphasis on colour and shape. This painting to the right is an earlier work by Hopper called "The El Station" (1908)

It looks as if modern techniques are present in his works. The style of his painting Morning in the City (left) has a suggestion of Impressionism. The outlines of the buildings and their windows are too odd and bold to be realism. Also, the heavy gesture of the figure and the way the bedroom walls have been painted are purposely expressionistic. As a whole, the woman's room seems more affected by subtle abstraction than the world outside the window, which could be suggesting a hidden emotional imbalance within her world.

The modern techniques which are mentioned above are visible throughout his work. It shows that he has a knowledge of contemporary new methods and even a subtle technical skill. However, they are added features to subjective meaning and are not formal experiments in Impressionism or Expressionism. A sense of Expressionism surrounds each setting with a mood that seems to appear from the nature of his figures or objects, but the method stays focused around the narrative of a picture rather than the way Hopper has painted them.
Edward Hoppers paintings give a direct view of everyday experiences of modern life.

This well-known painting by Hopper, Automat (1927), shows a lonesome woman holding a cup of coffee in an empty cafe. It uses clear visual language that uses one of the most repeated themes found throughout modern art movements: solipsistic isolation. He has used an expressionistic abstraction and discoloration to build up the surroundings of loneliness and sort of ignores the fact that the person is suffering of some sort...the effect is emotional.

In 1941 was the attack on Pearl Harbour. Edward Hopper began to paint "Nighthawks", shown below, straight after it. After the event of Pearl Harbour, there was a feeling of unhappiness in the United States. Hopper included this feeling in the painting. It could also be believed that the Great Depression in the 1930's were expressed in Hoppers paintings too.

Nighthawks (1942) is one of Hoppers most famous paintings and one of the most recognisable in American art. It shows people sitting in a diner late at night. The scene was inspired by a diner in Greenwich Village, Hopper's home town in Manhattan. The street outside the diner is empty, and the people inside are not looking or even talking to each other. It's like they're lost in their own thoughts. Maybe Hopper was painting the emptiness of an urban city in this painting.

The common theme of Hoppers work, emptiness and loneliness in modern urban life, is obvious in this work. The man with his back to us appears more lonely because of the couple sitting next to him. If you look close at the painting, there is no way out of the bar area because the walls of the counter form a triangle which traps the attendant. The diner also has no door leading outside, which gives the idea of confinement and being trapped.

Hoppers influence is undeniable, and can be seen ranging from not only the art world (he influenced Pop Art and the new realists of the 1960's and 1970's), but also the pop culture and even into contemporary issues which is seen in tributes to Nighthawks using modern icons such as James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. The diner and the people from Nighthawkes were also recreated in Dario Argento's 1976 film 'Deep Red'.

One of the photorealists Hopper influenced was Ralph Goings, who used used Nighthawkes in several paintings of diners.

One of the Imagists, Roger Brown, included a view into a corner cafe in his painting Puerto Rican Wedding (1969), which was a stylized night time street scene. Brown said that it "isn't set up like an imitation of Nighthawks, but still refers to it very much."

Nighthawkes has also been used in television series such as The Simpson's, That 70's Show and Dead Like Me.

This is the scene from The Simpson's where Nighthawkes was used.

Hopper's painting House by the Railroad (shown left) could be said to have influenced the iconic house from Hitchcock's Psycho. Hoppers dramatic use of light and dark made him a favorite among filmmakers.

Finally, Edward Hoppers influence can also be seen in works by artists such as John Sloan's "Backyards, Greenwich Village" (shown right) and...

...William J. Glackens "Parade, Washington Square"(shown left).

Sunday, 25 February 2007


This is the logo for E4 (a digital TV channel), and can also be viewed as advertisement and a character. It's a simple design and is very bold, eye catching and resembles the number 4 with an E inside it! I think this idea is very effective.
This logo is used in many trailers for the channel, which are all animated and make the logo come you could say that the logo is a character itself. I thought that this is relevant to my project because of the way that the logo shown here has been adapted to a different situation and environment than what you'd expect (it's been placed outside on the grass rather than just being viewed on a screen with a plain background, etc). Because the logo is used in trailers and is animated, it means that it's interactive, can survive in different environments, can be normal, passive, active, extrovert, introvert, shown, hidden and can also be an opposite. These are all of the qualities I need to have in my idea, so this can be a real inspiration towards my ideas.

Here is a bad example of a logo:
It's a logo for a band called Rebus. I don't like the layout of the design because it's so bland, boring, and has no 'life' about it! The reason it's similar to my other example is because it's another example of a logo, however, this logo isn't put in different situations/environments, and isn't animated on occasion like the E4 logo is. The fact that the E4 logo can be 'played' with by animation etc, it makes that example far much better than this lifeless logo, and adds more excitement to it.


This is a banner for the band the Switches. It's very eye catching with the simple imagery and colour, and it advertises well the website that it's advertising. I feel that this is quite relevant to this current project because it's interactive, and has many qualities that I have to include in my work for this project, for example, it's passive, active, extrovert, and hidden in parts. I thought that this was very interesting to look at because it's digital, unlike everything else I've looked at, so it'll maybe inspire me in a different way than what I've been focusing on.