Monday, April 5, 2010


Claude Monet and Impressionism


The first artist that I find to be extremely compelling is Chuck Close. From the very first time I saw a piece done by him, I was completely in awe at the level of realism he created. Ever since then I have aspired to also be able to create that level of realism. However, I always have seemed to come up short because his work is so precise it’s almost an exact replica of his subject. I chose to work with the medium of drawing as opposed to painting because I personally find it much more enjoyable, but we both use the same subject matter.

Close had something happen to him that had a huge impact on him and on his art.

On December 7, 1988, Close felt a strange pain in his chest. That day he was at a ceremony honoring local artists in New York City and was waiting to be called to the podium to present an award. Close delivered his speech and then made his way across the street to Beth Israel Medical Center where he suffered a seizure, which left him paralyzed from the neck down. The cause was diagnosed as a spinal artery collapse. Close called that day "The Event." For months Close was in rehab strengthening his muscles; he soon had slight movement in his arms and could walk, yet only for a few steps. He has relied on a wheelchair since. However, Close continued to paint on with a brush strapped onto his wrist with tape, creating large portraits in low-resolution grid squares created by an assistant. Viewed from afar, these squares appear as a single, unified image which attempt photo-reality, albeit in pixilated form. Although the paralysis restricted his ability to paint as meticulously as before, Close had, in a sense, placed artificial restrictions upon his hyper-realist approach well before the injury. That is, he adopted materials and techniques that did not lend themselves well to achieving a photorealistic effect. Small bits of irregular paper or inked fingerprints were used as media to achieve astoundingly realistic and interesting results. Close proved able to create his desired effects even with the most difficult of materials to control” (Chuck Close).

Although after “The Event” he was unable to create the same type of artwork, I still admire him greatly for continuing to create as much art as he possibly can. Even though I don’t find his newer work quite as appealing, it is still remarkable that he was able to create what he did using a brush that was strapped to his wrist, and I find the style that he used to be a lot more creative than in his older work.

One of the things that I admire most about Chuck Close is that he always finds his inspiration from people that he knows; his friends and family. The reason I admire this so much because this is something I do as well. Another thing that I really admire about him is the fact that he consciously tried to make art harder for himself. The way that he tried to do this was by “throwing away his tools” (Chuck Close). The reason why he did this was because “if you impose a limit to not do something you've done before, it will push you to where you've never gone before” (Chuck Close). I hope to accomplish achieving something I have never done before, and now because of how he did this I know that the way to do that is to limit myself. I will try to use him as inspiration to limit myself in my art.

The second artist that is very compelling to me is Claude Monet. When my friend first showed me one of his paintings of water lilies, I was so captivated by how he used color to create something so beautiful. Now, after having tried and failed miserably at painting myself, I have an even grater respect for how he can make what he does. One of the reasons I like his work so much is because he uses nature as his subject matter, and that is one thing that I am very attracted to. Another thing that he uses for subject matter is his family. The subject he mainly uses is his wife, which I find to be very sentimental, and I can relate to it because I also like to use people that I know as subjects for my own work.

The main thing that I am attracted to with Monet is the fact that he was so revolutionary and didn’t do what everyone else was doing. He did whatever it was that he wanted to do. For example, when everyone else was copying old masters, he would go off by himself and paint whatever he saw. He also helped to create the style of art called Impressionism (Claude Monet and Impressionism). In my opinion, it takes someone who really has a strong passion for art to create his or her own style of it. So the fact that he did that gives me great respect for him and shows that he was truly dedicated to what he did. I respect him so much for this because I have a tendency to follow the trend of what other people are doing, even if I don’t agree with it, and I wish that I had the courage to create my own path. Monet is my inspiration for doing what I want to do and create my own path for my art.

The last artist that is compelling to me is M.C. Escher. The main reason that I am attracted to Escher’s work is because his work is so similar to my own. It is similar to my work in the sense that he draws realistically and he is one of the very few, if not the only contemporary realistic drawer that I know, so that makes me feel very connected to his work.

Another thing that I really like about Escher’s work is its’ versatility and complexity. Each piece that he does is so different from the next. For example, his drawing Circle Limit III is completely symmetrical and completely abstract; whereas Hand with Reflecting Sphere is completely realistic. And his drawings are so complex because he uses math and science to come up with the concepts for his work. I find it to be so amazing how he has that amount of intellect to incorporate some of the things that he does in his work. His work is also so incredibly accurate and realistic that the things he draws look like they are photographs or computer generated images, even if the concept of the drawing is seemingly impossible. He also chooses to draw very difficult subjects, such as reflections, or things that don’t really exist, which takes a lot of creativity and dedication.

Many different things in the world outside of the art world also have a big influence on my art. The first thing is the book Draw Real People by Lee Hammond. My mom bought me this book when I was at a point in my drawing where I had taught myself as much as I could, and I needed something else to help me grow further. This book offered me many tips about how to make my drawings look less like characters and more like realistic people. It taught me many different techniques to use such as shading in order to create depth and dimension, and to not ever use a hard outline on anything because nothing in real life actually has a hard outline.

One of the best tips for me was,

“ With every hour that you practice, you will become better. Practice everyday. Set aside a certain time just for you and your art. Draw from snapshots or magazine pictures. Practice entire portraits and individual facial features. It really doesn’t matter as long as you are drawing. The more you draw, the more natural this procedure will become. Soon, you won’t have to think about it quite as much; it will become second nature to you. Everything will suddenly become easier to draw because you will be “seeing” it differently” (Hammond).

This quote specifically, and the book in general also gave me a great sense of motivation. It was a very defining moment in my drawing career when I looked at the pictures in the book and thought, “If other people are capable of drawing like that then I am too. All I have to do is practice as much as I possibly can.” That completely motivated me to be as dedicated to practicing as the author of the book was so that I could hopefully draw as well as him some day.

Another one of the things from outside of the art world that influences my art is the media; specifically music. The music that I listen to has such a major influence on my art because I am almost constantly listening to music, especially while I am drawing, or coming up with the concepts for my drawings, and when I am listening to it, I take the lyrics and words from those songs and find meanings in them that I can use in my work. They spark ideas for the art that I am creating. Also, even subconsciously, the type of music that I am listening to influences my mood; which in turn influences my drawings. I have a very eclectic taste in music. Having such an eclectic taste in music results in a very eclectic taste in my art. I try to always do something completely different every time that I am making something. The main artists that I listen to who influence my art are metal artists such as The Devil Wears Prada, Disturbed, Cinderella’s Revenge, and Five Finger Death Punch, or more acoustic artists such as John Mayer, Jason Mraz, or Gavin Degraw. I also listen to many Christian artists, and many artists that are on popular radio stations. There is a very wide variety in the music that I listen to.

Different types of music influence you in different ways. For example, when you listen to metal, it tends to make you feel calmer because it is associated with releasing negative emotions, however, usually when you listen to metal it is because you have negative emotions such as anger or depression that you need to release. When you listen to acoustic music, it makes you feel very relaxed and at ease. In contrast, if you are listening to hip-hop or pop, which is very upbeat, it will make you feel very lively. That is why music can have such a big influence on your art. Depending on the type of music you listen to, your art will be very different. So having such an eclectic taste in music results in having an eclectic work of art.

Another part of the media that influences my art is the people in it. I often take images of famous musicians or actors and try to recreate them. I find them to have a lot of inspiration.

The last thing outside the art world that influences me is nature. I have always felt very connected to nature and the environment because of the fact that I live in it. The environment that I live in and the things that constantly surround me give me inspiration in many different forms. One way that I get inspiration from nature is to go out and experience it in any way that I can, and try and use art to capture my experience and how the experience made me feel through my art. The next way is to go out and find things in nature that I can collect and recreate using art. Because of my personality type, nature is something that I am very attracted to, and being involved in it gives me a very good feeling.

There are also many personal influences that I have that have a strong affect on my art. First and foremost is religion. Religion is the most important thing in my life. My strong faith is what has the biggest influence on my entire life, and I try to incorporate that into every aspect of my life; including drawing. I believe that the only reason I am able to create the art that I do is because of God. He has made me who I am and I make all of my art for Him. That is where I get all of my inspiration from so I incorporate things that have to do with religion and my spiritual beliefs into my art a lot. I feel it is very important to do this.

The next one of these influences is the people in my life; specifically my family and my friends. My family; specifically my parents, have influenced a lot of what I do in my life. They were the ones who always encouraged my art from a very young age. My friends have also encouraged me a lot as well. My best friends were the ones who gave me my first sketchbook; which made me want to start drawing in the first place. And one of my other friends liked to draw a lot and he was extremely talented at it so that made me inspired to become as talented as he was. That was the reason I practiced so much when I was younger. And after lots and lots of practice, everyone told me that I had talent too, and that made me feel incredibly good, so it inspired me to work even harder and get even better. It is still my main motivation for doing art.

The final personal thing that inspires me is myself. Being an introvert, I often enjoy spending time by myself and thinking about different things. This time alone sparks my creativity and gives me many great ideas for things to draw. It gives me a very good feeling when I know that I have come up with something by myself that other people can enjoy as well. I feel that it is very valuable to spend time alone so you are able to gather all of your thoughts and use those thoughts creatively to make art that can inspire someone else to do the same.