Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Drawing the human form…


I recently have been taking a figure drawing class to practice the human form. Been out of practice for about two years, but it is always good to keep your skills up. It’s so simple to study the human form if you study how it works and then applying your drawing skills to the sketches made during your drawing sessions. I recommend that everyone should take a figure drawing class of a naked human form because it’s challenging and you can learn a lot from drawing from 3-D prospective to a 2-D design.  
It’s better to draw a nude model because you see the muscles and forms of the human body and how it works. If that’s not possible, get someone to pose for you with their clothes on once you have been in practice for a while with a nude model. The results will still be the same because you have already studied and drawn what’s underneath the clothing.
The human form in drawing is made up of lines and circles. The lines are like a shape of a capital I, from shoulders-straight across, waist-straight down the middle (same length as the shoulders and hips), and the hips-straight line matching the shoulders. The top line-shoulders and bottom line-hips will move opposite of each other when the human form is movement, position, or posed in a certain way. Look at the Michelangelo’s David and how he stands is a good example of this. Look at the shoulders and hips.
The circles are made of measurements of head, arms, waist, legs, feet, and back side in equal circles on each ligament. The head was the hardest for me. You have to keep reminding yourself that the head is divided into two equal halves of a circle that also includes lines within the circle. The eyes match the top of ears and the length of nose matches the bottom of the ears. The spaces in between the eyes are the same shape of one eye in between both eyes. The space between nose and chin is the same distance from the mouth. (Look at image).
I found out recently that it’s much easier to sketch out a nude female model rather a nude male model, because the females have more shape and curves. For the nude male, it’s no shape but there are muscles and a lot more straight lines than the nude female. On the male nude, the sketches are more focused on shading, lighting, and muscle contour.
When sketching a body form keep in mind the position, the tension in the body, and the lighting. I sometimes would do the same exact position the model is doing to get that feeling of tension in my body. Where the pressure points are, where is the location of my shoulders vs. hips and waist. If you don’t have availability of a nude model, I would use Michelangelo’s David as a good study guide. Good luck! Keep sketching! 



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Basquiat..graffiti artist

Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988)
Basquiat was a graffiti artist in New York City in the late 1970’s and become known as a Neo-expressionist and Primitivist painter by the 1980’s. His paintings were a combination of drawings and paintings of abstraction and figuration.  Basquiat art vision was always the opposite of issues such as: poverty vs. wealth, integration vs. segregation, and inner self vs. outer self-experiences.  Along with, his paintings showing attack of power structures or systems of racism. Basquiat’s expressions of his paintings are views of society imbalances with drawing of lines, use of color, and imagery that is disfigured or abstract figuration. Basquiat paintings are a great example of expression through lines and color, leaving the viewer wondering of the message within the painting. Is there a mystery within these familiar images? What’s he really telling us through these paintings?  These simple lines create images of almost stick figures appearance; almost hollow appearance with wordings combined with disturbing figures or images of familiar things we see around the world. My answer to his paintings being a mystery is yes.
When viewing his art work, the viewer is constantly traveling its eye all around the painting to find clues in what is he saying to us. Noticing that all his figures are colored solid black with white outline or his figures are outlined with black lines, this is expression of Black male importance. Just like calligraphy, Basquiat used words throughout his paintings, along with his signature image of a crown to symbolize the hero within the paintings.  His paintings are also layered as a collage with other drawings, writings of his, and imagery.  He works very fast when creating a painting, almost like he has already placed these images in his mind and then puts them out on a canvas or surface. No doubt that his fastness came from being a graffiti artist in lower Manhattan, where spray painting buildings, etc. had to be done quickly to avoid being caught in the act.
Basquiat young life was full of disappointments, accidents, and sadness, from the death of his younger brother to him living on the streets at age 15. Basquiat was a creative child and wanted to learn all he could, from reading books, knowing and speaking different languages along with his artistic ability to create art work due to his mother Matilde who introduced him to art and became an art influence on him by taking him to museums and enrolling him as a junior member of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Basquiat was an artist whose light shined so bright at a very young age and then burnt out that left  a trail of his magnificent mind on paper or canvas. There is a lot of Basquiat on YouTube documentaries and about his art work and I must say, it’s very interesting to view and listen to them. Basquiat always wanted to be famous hence the graffiti art work that he created, taking this space and being noticed.
Basquiat was a friend of Andy Warhol and worked on several painting with Andy in the 1980’s, working together and becoming friends. What I found interesting is that Basquiat was known to dress in an Armani suit while he painted. Just like Basquiat to paint with a thousand dollar suit while he painted. What would people think?? I found it hilarious and a statement within society as viewing this artist as a poor artist, always a counter diction with Basquiat.
After the death of his friend Andy Warhol of February 22, 1987, Basquiat became very isolated and his heroin addiction and depression became more severe. Jean Michael Basquiat died on August 12, 1988 of a heroin overdose in his art studio in New York’s NoHo district; he was only 27 years old, a very sad ending to a artist that was a genius of graffiti and Neo-expressionist painter of our generation.