Thursday, November 23, 2017

#ArtHeartEd: Lesson about Color Theory

My very first lesson with preschool children was about Color Theory. The lesson intends to promote awareness about colors around us. My lesson plan is attached below: 

  • Introduction to the basic form of color theory
  • Requirement: lesson outside of classroom, focus on observational skills and discussion, and activity in the end
  • Students introduction
    • Ask the name of every student and their favorite color, and why is it this color their favorite
  • Give definition to the concept of color
    • Color is the way we describe an object, based on what we see. For example, what color is the sun? Yellow. How do we know? Because we look at it and define its color.
    • Each of you have your own favorite color; there are many colors, and like everything needs an order, (just like you organize your books by putting them on the shelves? ) colors are also organized.

      Colors are organized on the diagram, called a color wheel. It is a big shelf where all of the colors in the world are stored. There are three main colors, called primary, blue, yellow and red. It is easy to remember them because when you think of yellow, what comes to mind? Maybe, the sun? When you think about blue, what comes into mind? The sky? And what do you think about when you think about red? Red leaves, fire?
    • Also, colors have groups and pairs. On the right side, the colors are paired, according to the common colors: red and yellow, but divided into tones. The tones are the tints of color. For example, to make orange, the tone of yellow, I would mix red and yellow.  
      • Activity: call on four students and group the tones of yellow and blue accordingly.
    • The colors, like yellow and purple are called opponent; they are opposites; for example, yellow and purple face each other on the color wheel, creating what is called contrast. Contrast defines an object in space. If you were standing next to the yellow wall and were yellow shirt, then you would have a superpower, you would be invisible. But if you wear a purple shirt and stand next to the yellow wall, then I could tell a difference.
      • Activity: show a picture for them to understand the difference between the contrasts
      • Now, everything has it’s color. What color is grass? Green. What color is the sky? But what if I tell you that the grass is not just green and sky is not just blue. Grass has thousands of different colors and tones. The leaf is not just orange, what colors do you see?
    • Activity: draw your favorite object outside, or classroom from observation by using different colors, and not just plain.  
    • Materials: color pencils, crayons, a sheet of paper
      As one of her favorite objects, my student chose to draw her backyard flowers by utilizing various colors.

      My lesson was successful. Children understood the basic concept of color and color wheel throughly. My favorite part of the lesson was the explaining the concept of color diversity and unity.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Six Ways to Help Kids' Imagination Thrive through Art!

Illustrations and content created by: Arina Novak 

Way Number One: Combine art with music! 

Visual art and music are two easily combined components of art. They help to develop visual, tactile and ocular perception   facilitating the formation of diverse emotion spectrum. By letting your child work with tactile media, such as paint or oil pastels, they will be able to feel the texture of the material and develop awareness of the visual world. It is suggested that music does not have lyrics, such as classical music, it will provide a child with an opportunity to develop his or her own mental image and illustrate it by experiencing the certain set of emotions by listening to the melody. Your child can come up with anything, but in most cases, the tendency is to judge it as of inferior quality based purely on technique, rather let's focus on it being a delightful figment of child's imagination.
Quick advice: Let your child work with various colors, not just the primary three (red, blue, and yellow)
Suggestion: I created a playlist, which might be helpful to your child to develop various emotions, such as confusion or happiness.
Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major by Mozart
Four Seasons, Spring by Vivaldi
 Morning buy Grieg
Carmen Suite No 1 by Bizet

Way Number Two: Tomato Can Be Blue!

When giving your child a coloring book, don't expect his or her immediate understanding that tomato is red. You need to give a child creative freedom by letting him or her to experience the nature of colors. Indeed, banana appears yellow, but it is not just yellow; it contains the combination of a plethora of different colors, such as green, brown, and red. So if a tomato appears blue to your child, explain that anything he or she sees is not a mere plain color! Actually, tomatoes contain some blue! 
Remember: it is much more pleasant to be aware of the colorful world!

Way Number Three: Teach Your Child Relationships Between Colors!

Colors are friends, and if you mix two hues you get the new one. As easy as this concept is, this is a part of the Color Theory, which features the color wheel, or the Bible of all colors. The colors are divided into the four major categories: primary (blue, yellow, red), secondary (green, purple, orange), tertiary (yellow-orange, yellow-grren, blue-purle, blue-green, red-purple, red-orange). To mix the primary colors, the result will be the secondary colors, and mixing primary and secondary hues, the tertiary colors are developed.  Why is it important? It is a basic science for kids and an opportunity to learn how to supplement two different colors to create the new one!
Tip: it is easier explain the concept of secondary colors
Helpful Tool:


Way Number Four: Personification!

When you tell your child to draw something, ask them to represent the subject matter not as they physically appear in real life, but as if an object was a person. For example, by drawing a sun, you and your child can add a squiggly facial expression and create a brief story, explaining why the sun is smiling, or why is it frowning; is it because the clouds decided to occupy a clear sky? By making short stories and instilling personality into an object or natural occurrence, a child is able to develop precious skills of entertaining storytelling and vivid illustrating!
Tip: as an adult, you need to ask your child questions in order to suggest the storyline, such as "Why is the Sun happy?" or "What is the Sun doing?"

Way Number Five: Draw From Observation!

When you look at the flower what do you see? Do you see a complex form or an array of arbitrary lines that create a full image? For a child, simplification of the forms in the key! When looking at an object, children are often confused because they see the full image without breaking it into various parts. As a consequence, instead of drawing from observation, they listen to what adults teach them: the house is consisted of the walls and a triangular roof, which are a triangle and a square. But instead of confining your child in the conventional understanding, it is better to teach him or her to understand the subject matter by purely observing its natural disguise. By doing so, your child will develop awareness of the world and understand the transformation between the three dimensional objects to two dimensional.

Tip: when going for a walk, encourage your child to take a sketchbook and pair of crayons; it would be easier to observe nature outside and record your observation by drawing a hasty sketch. 

Way Number Six: Appreciate Your Child!

After completion of creative work - celebrate! Occasionally, you can initiate small art shows, showcasing your child's work of the walls, inviting your family and neighbors over to contemplate the masterpieces of your little artist.
Advice: if you plan to reinforce your child's skills with positive reinforcement system, do not give small appreciation gifts right away. Be cautious, with an amount of candy or money you give to your child because they might lose a desire to produce high-quality art pieces and orientate themselves primarily on quantity rather than quality! 

My experience working with children!

Being an artist myself, I developed this method primarily to raise awareness about art and its essential place in education for young adults. This is my little student, who applied my philosophy in her artwork. She used method number two by creating a yellow house and drawing purple outlines.   
This is a close-up of her work!

remember to stay #arthearted !!!

Brief History of Impressionism (no images included)

In the middle of 19th century, the group of talented artists with a common attitude decided to rebel against hostile art critics and reach out to the diverse public for the sake of forming a new art style on their own: Impressionism. These artists were able to capture the spirit, the subtle essence, and the unnoticed scenes of daily life. They wanted to catch an instant in time: the here and now. Impressionism became a precursor of modern day art which includes the various painting styles, such as Cubism, Fauvism, Postimpressionism. In the contemporaneousness, the abundance of “ism” in the art world is another demonstration of the phenomenon began by the group of independent artists, the phenomenon of individual interpretation. The Impressionists’ antipathy towards absolute academic standards helped the artists to create a new artistic concept: a unique fusion of revolution and freedom that radically changed the art history forever.
The mood in the country's leadership mirrored the temper of French art. While Emperor Napoleon III dynamically ruled France, the Academie des Beaux-Art harshly dominated the captivating pallets of all French painters. The Academie pursued the strict traditional style of painting and the only conventional subject matter. The Academie preferred precisely finished images that demonstrated the excellence in development of realistic portrayals; no revolutionary techniques, like Impressionism, were favored.  The artwork accurately concealed the artist’s personality obscuring expression and applied methods to the polished surface of the canvas. Historical subjects, authentic portraits, and religious themes were considered to be significant, but mere landscapes or still life was not valued and noticed among the traditional works. One of the singularities the Academians cared of was color. According to one of the academic articles from Encyclopædia Britannica, “the Academie des Beaux-Art,” artists applied golden varnish to subdue their pallets – they had to be conventionally somber; brushstrokes were carefully suppressed.

The Academie had an annual, juried state-sponsored exhibition – called the Salon de Paris. Artists whose work was demonstrated in the art show significantly enhanced their status, and won the different kinds of prizes, including commissions. The standards of the juries represented values of the Academic art. The paintings conveyed the morally instructive message in a classical or historical image. The works were honored if they showed ideals of modern society in precedents in ancient Greece and Rome, either appeared for the Renaissance, historical incidents, or spiritual attainment that are worth emulating. The juries had two different perspectives which formed the division between the displayed artists. The painters who peered themselves as academians depicted classical allusions – monumental, idealized academic paintings, such as Birth of Venus (Naissance de Vénus, 1879) by Adolphe-William Bouguereau, this image includes carefully polished the surface with the simultaneous array of controlled brushstrokes, this painting represents indeed the fascination with the glorify nude. The painters, who depicted their images under the favored Academic conditions, represented the rustic population with vulgar directness, such as The Sleeping Spinner (1853) by Gustave Courbet, a sincere, candid piece of work which represents the psychological beauty of a dramatic creature.

The new, untitled art movement, in the beginning, started to take shape in the 1860s. In fact, the name of the movement came five years later, when the hostile critic, Louis Leroy,  assaulted Monet’s early painting: Impression – Sunrise (1872). Three painters, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, commenced the great journey for the sake of breaking the rules to free the narrow, dependent artists. In summer 1869, Monet and Renoir resided on the Seine and painted landscapes of a swimming resort La Grenouillère. That summer, they studied how to capture ethereal moods of nature applying thick, visible broken-brushstrokes. Monet and Renoir attempted this new style by adapting techniques that Manet had developed a few years earlier.
Eduard Manet was a classically trained artist who appeared to support Realism and Impressionism; he connected a bridge between entirely different techniques showing his innovations with palette and brushwork. In the 1860s, the group of Anonymous Artists began their meetings near Manet’s studio, at Café Guerbois. Eduard Manet was an unofficial leader of the weekly assemblies where were gathered Renoir, Degas, Monet, Émile Zola, Alfred Sisley and rare attendants, Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne among the others. This group pioneered the strange, untitled art movement which rejected classical research and stood by “at one moment and under given condition” principle developed by Manet. During the meetings, they shared their ideas and experience; they all had diverse styles but possessed a common attitude which made them assured in their technique and independence.

The first exhibition of the company, in April 1874,  launched the name to the modern art movement – Impressionism. The first Impressionist exhibition was well attended, in particular, the show attracted critics who were trained to judge only polished allusions and traditional subjects of matter of the Salon artists. Undoubtedly, the critiques were severely shocked by the unbalanced compositions followed by the raw, side-by-side colors on the vibrant surface. According to the article from Encyclopædia Britannica written by William C. Seitz,"Claude Monet." Britannica School, the ironic magazine, Le Charivari, published an account of a visit with Louse Leroy, satirical critique who made fun of Monet’s early painting, Impression: Sunrise (1873) (Seitz). After Leroy’s visit, he coined the term in intends to insult the group of painters:
“Impression: I was sure of it. I was telling myself since I'm so impressed, there must be an impression in it. And what freedom, what ease of handling! A sketch for wallpaper is more finished than that their seascape!” (Leroy, 1874.)

In 1877, the name was officially accepted by the group and courageously resided on the poster designed for the third Impressionist exhibition.
According to the article written by Justin Wolf, “Art History: Impressionism,” impressionists were bounded by a common interest in the representation of visual perception which is based on brief optical impressions and fleeting moments of modern life (Wolf). They painted the general impression of the scene paying attention to the light effects. The artists wanted to paint the observed scenes the way they saw them regarding color, light effects, gingerly depicting every tiny detail, like on the Renoir’s painting, Le Moulin de la Galette (1876). Many impressionist paintings are portrayed en plein art. This technique was shared among the impressionists and launched by Claude Monet.
En Plein art is a technique of painting outdoors and a rapid way to record the impression of a fleeting essence of light working fast enough so that the lighting conditions remain without significant changes. Sometimes one’s painting would take more than one session to be properly painted, and the artist would return at the same time of a day to reproduce the same conditions. For example, Monet painted 25 versions of the haystack at different periods of a day to explore his painting, Meules, Milieu du Jour (1891), in depth. The colors in the impressionist paintings are put arbitrarily which means that the paintings contain the areas of broken color. This technique shows that red can have strokes of orange and green in it, but still appears red from a distance, or that one can mix colors right on the canvas instead of one’s palate, like on Seurat's painting “La Parade” (1889). Before Impressionism began to take shape, the composition was very traditional, a classical painting style leading the eye straight to the focal point. Impressionists experimented with composition, placing focal points in many extraordinary positions, as in the Degas’s painting “Rennpferde” (18XX.)
Other impressionists, like Edgar Degas, were less enthralled by painting outdoors and contradicted the idea that painting should be a spontaneous act. Degas considered himself a keenly skilled portraitist; he preferred indoor, scenes of modern life: musicians in an orchestra pit, a couple sitting in a cafe, lively performing ballet dancers at rehearsal. He also tended to portray his form with greater quality that Monet and Pissarro, applying harder lines and thicker brushstrokes.
Talking about other artists, such as Mary Cassatt, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Berthe Morisot focused on the internal psychology of the individual. Renoir, known for his use of saturated colors, depicted in the everyday life activities of the social pastimes of the Parisian environment. Renoir, like Cassatt and Morisot, also painter outdoors, he intimates psychological attributes of his subjects, using light and lose brushstrokes to emphasize the human essence.

The Impressionist artists were performing constant attempts to capture the fleeting effects of light on the landscape by using a more careful examination of tone and color. Their ideas were inspired by Eugene Chevreul's scientific research on the color theory. The Impressionist artists relinquished the old idea that the shadows consisted of the color of the object with a bit of brown and black mixed in. The impressionists spiced their canvases with the fresh idea: the shadow of any color could be mixed from pure hues with the addition of its opposite color. For instance, the shadow of a green could have some strokes of red into it to enhance its vividness. Impressionist color theory centers on their work of brighter, but more saturated color. The theory took an important part in Impressionist overall strategy; nonetheless, their theory worked in an essential part because of the way impressionists controlled the values of colors. More specifically, they were aware that the relative value of a color affects its chromatic identity.

By the beginning of the 1870s, a small number of professional painters were beginning to discover one another through the series of conceptual exhibitions. The artists were not united by any particular style, but shared a common negative impression towards strict academic standards of fine art, establish at the time my imperative Parisian Salon. In fact, the 1863 Salon exhibition caused a scandal occurred after the misconduct to the unconventional themes and techniques of works, such as Manet’s Le déjeuner sure l'herbe (1863) where the clothed men enjoyed an afternoon picnic with the nude woman. There were eight Impressionist exhibitions held from 1874 to 1886.
The first of these alternative exhibitions took place in the studios of the prominent photographer, Felix Nadar, under the defined title Société Anonyme des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs, etc. From the inception, the exhibition was poorly treated by a public that was eager poke fun at it. The art critiques came without intends to take anything solemnly, without realization what the unique style of painting was trying to achieve understanding from the public. After attending the exhibition, the sarcastic critic Louis Leroy hacked Impressionism to pieces bestowing the newborn art movement with the name. Degas for his part never agreed with the gained title, preferring Independents. After the social rejection, Impressionists desperately sought to trade their painting at the public auction in 1875, where the average sum paid for a painting barely reached 100 francs. The next exhibition was less numerous than at the first show, undoubtedly, the reviews were no better. The art critic, Albert Wolf, wrote in a newspaper, Figaro, an exclusive ignorant article which, unfortunately for him, saved his name from being consigned from oblivion. The third exhibition, in 1877, they began to call themselves Impressionists; Georges Riviere issued five numbers of “The Impressionist, Journal of Art.” Despite all of these deliberate efforts the public came in more numerous flow, remained unconcerned. Final sales at the end of the show brought mediocre results.
By 1878, the company of Impressionists was not able to continue their exhibitions due to the significant lack of money. The artist's group sought the breakup, although a new collector, Murer came on the scene and made careful purchases. The idea of Impressionist art gradually continues to spread beyond the French borders and slowly asserts itself. Eventually, the exhibitions revived from 1879.

Diverse events surrounded the next exhibitions from 1879 to 1886. The fourth exhibition marked the financial success, but brought an unchanged critical disdain; the Impressionists achieved the sure success among the public. At the Salon, which is concurrently presented its show, became a place to the new modest artists. Only Renoir, who exhibited his artwork, Madame Charpentier and Her Children (1878,) had any real success. His luck persuades Monet to enter a painting in the following Salon, as well. The following shows revealed the brand new impressionists. Also, they lend the movement the prosperous factor and success. After the death of Eduard Manet, an eighth and final Impressionist exhibition occurred in 1886. In the review of the show, the French art critic, Felix Feneon, invents the name “Neo-Impressionism” to portray the pointillist pictures of George Seurat among the others.
The lessons of the modern art style were taken up by a new generation. Since Manet built a bridge between Realism and Impressionism, then George Seurat bridged a gap between Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism, as it did Paul Cezanne who connected Impressionism with Post-Impressionism. They involved a more deliberate style of painting, paying an accurate attention to the structure of the forms that were depicted by the broad brushwork. They believed to break down objects into their primary parts, basic geometric shapes, which put a beginning to Cubism by Pablo Picasso. Many modern artists looked to Impressionism as a father to modern art. For instance, although the movement is not considered to have an influential impact on Abstractionism, now one can determine significant similarities in its artists’ works like Philip Guston referred to the suggestion of light and the surface qualities in the work of Claude Monet.
Impressionism is a style of representational art that does not rely on realistic depictions. Many people felt that the spirit of independence among the group’s members mastered the early, experimental styles that won the public attention and wanted to move on to discover new paths. Other people were anxious about the continued commercial defeat of their work due to the spontaneous rebel against the traditional Academie. Nonetheless, the Impressionists sought the optical effect of light and kinetic essence of a faster pace; they wanted to convey the passage of time, moods of weather, and the diverse shifts in the former atmosphere on their canvases. Even so, Impressionism was a movement of the lasting consequence; it inspired people to embrace modernity and philosophical fragmentation of everyday subjects.

Al Razza and His Magic

    In the world of art, some artists obtain fame by inspiring their audience through showcasing their works at the prominent exhibitions with exquisite wine and rare selection of blue cheese. By being successful, they create history, which appears on the yellow pages of dusty textbooks, where the philosophy of those artists gets not only recorded by glorified by many enchanted admirers, knowing that if one likes such artist, then he has a great sense of taste. Each artist has a different story; not only the stories, which are known to us, like the life of Marc Chagall or Jeff Koons, or the great masters who have been already canonized and commended by their viewers, who are only allowed to contemplate their artwork standing 10 feet behind the row of strict guards. Unfortunately, the stories of local artists – who make an impact on their communities – is concealed under a weight of the well-known individuals. These people are the true expressions of the world they live in, and often are eager to share and teach others about art and their extraordinary philosophy. Those artists do not chase for fame but make a significant impact on the visual and mental perception of others.       
Al Razza

    Three years ago, I had started attending the Al Razza's School of Art and Design and had a chance to meet a community of unique learners under the lead of a man who combines color and emotion on a large-scale canvas, imbuing his work with magic. He is not Rembrandt or De Kooning; he is a teacher who raises awareness of art and its grand history by unveiling the creative minds of every individual who comes to his studio. Being born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1954, Al Razza moved to South Florida in 1979 where he currently resides. His pieces are closely affiliated with Expressionism and Abstract Art, but I am greatly convinced that his artworks create a new art form, which can't be explained in words but genuinely in color. I had a chance to talk to Al and record an interview to better understand his philosophy and magic behind the artwork.  

#arthearted: So, good morning, Al! Tell me how did you get involved with art? What enthralls you?
Al: I got involved with art when I was very young. I was always impressed by people who could draw. I always wanted to draw and always wanted to paint. So I spent most of the spare time drawing and painting; while all my friends were doing sports, I was drawing and painting. I started to meet people who would encourage me, and those people were imperative to me because they told me that I can make a character in the art world; it’s tough to do, as you know.
Radioactive, 2014
#arthearted: O.K. So, I see a lot of vivid paintings on the walls. I guess, they pertain to abstract art, expressionism, and mixed media art forms, if I’m not mistaken. What is your primary technique?
Al: My main technique primarily today is mixed media, but I was trained in all kinds of media and all sorts of disciplines from the time when I was very young. I worked with acrylic, watercolors, and, later, I was introduced to oil paints. It was not until when I was in college when I discovered that there were lots of ways of mixing colors, plenty of ways of doing paintings - there was such a broad base of art in art history; that is what truly excited me - to know that I could possibly share some of that and be a part of it.
CQ14, 2013
#arthearted: How absorbing! One time the prominent Greek philosopher, Plato, expressed his opinion on the unchanged beauty of the simple figures and shapes: "straight lines and circles are not only beautiful but eternally and absolutely beautiful.” Do you agree with his statement? What do the shapes mean to you?
Al: His statement is very true. Another artist, more recently, the name of Kandinsky also suggested that lines have meaning, and a feeling and colors evoke a feeling or emotion. So yes, when I paint lines or shapes, I do feel that there is a certain emotion or feeling that can be generated from them. But my most recent work is less about lines and more about color. I like to put colors that excite me and textures that stimulate me. Those things are least where I am working today.
#arthearted: And where do you obtain your inspiration?
Al: My inspiration comes from everywhere. All around me. But most of it lives deep within my soul. You know, in my conscience.
#arthearted: Do you mean that it comes from your mind?
Al: Well, you know, we are influenced by everything around us. Everything tackle, everything visual, everything that we can see, people we talk to; all of those things can make a difference and contribute to all of this stuff. My most recent work, the things that do not reflect the outside world, all of the colors, blendings, those come from just basic instinct.
#arthearted: Alright, what is your opinion on institutional abstract art and expressionism/
Al: That is a difficult question, but I have to say that institutions are important because they preserve art, and they teach people art, they share ideas, and it is a wave for people to gain access to it. I am, however, cautioned by listening to many people’s opinions about what I should do and tell me how I should proceed. I figure a containment that can overly influence me, this is not something I want; when I see something that I like meaning that I really like, I have a tendency to be very cautious about it and step back. I do not want to be all of the sudden copying somebody I really enjoy. It is a kind of like eating a dessert that one admires, for example, ice cream, if you eat too much of it, too fast, then you gain a headache. So, I think of some sort of similarity there.
Arina: Do you make that the techniques, such as abstractionism and expressionism, can influence the future art?
Al: Yes, they do all the time. All techniques, everything I do, things that you do, things that I have seen… It is very difficult to filter out all the positive and negative aspects, but they all carry value into the future art history.
#arthearted: As I can recognize, one of the singularities I have noticed is the color approach. What is your secret relationship with the tint and you enchanted pallet?
Al: Love. How simple is that? I love what I do, and you will, too. As long, as you do, you will succeed. You will alway be happy. You will always find happiness in it because you are not going to measure happiness by money or achievement or even praise that someone would give you. You are going to be happy because you enjoy what you do; you are doing it for this reason.
#arthearted: Thank you! Do you have anything else to say? Maybe a future advice?
Al: The best thing I can say that have enjoyed having you in my class. You are an inspiration to me, and all the people, too.   

#arthearted: Thank you very much!    

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Italian Diaries: Rome -- Intimate Relationship with the City

On the beautiful Wednesday morning, the summer breeze was fondling the milky-white gauze curtains calling unexpected visitors to peek through the shabby window frames of the apartment on via Delle Quattro Fontane. My family and I had arrived to the apartment-hotel that morning and were total strangers who ventured to visit such place, as Rome. It was July - the month of ablaze sun and melting asphalt of the sidewalks. At first, to me, Rome appeared spoiled with strange gapers who did not even realize their impoliteness to intrude authenticity of the ancient city. The crowds of numerous tourists scattered throughout the city, like ants in an anthill. In Rome, I was another guests who craved the beauty and adventures - a true Roman holiday. When I was 8 years old, it was my first experience of such holiday; it was a spring-time, during which the crowds significantly increased due to the fact that Italians were on their long-awaited vacations, which meant that Rome puked people out to the outskirts of its boarders. Thus, tourists were everywhere - from the very heart of Rome to its hidden local streets. From that unforgettable experience I remember how my brother and I bought many scoops of gelato seeking salvation from heat, but all was in vain; to our childish anticipation of an icy splendid taste, the scoops of creamy gelato instantly melted leaving us no chances to satisfy our unquenchable thirst. The city was puking us out to the very outskirts. I came to a disappointing conclusion that I hated Rome, and if it was rejecting my presence, then I had to reject the city's existence. I left home with a silly souvenir - a magnet in a shape of Colosseum, we couldn't even visit; what a shame.

On the summer of 2017, I gave Rome another chance and decided to let in to its ancient ruins. Surprisingly, the city turned out a completely different place from what I expected to see. We stayed in the hotel, where the view from the balcony was worthy of a couple of hundred euros per night. It was incredible; my room contained not only the view but the walls with the gigantic photographs of Sophie Loren and Robert De Niro, which gazed at me as if they were saints. After dropping off our bags, we ventured to explore the city seeking fresh adventures, despite the fact of 99 F heat outside.

The very first plan we had in our adventures list was to find a place where we could eat a decently authentic Italian cuisine. Shortly, we sensed the strong smell of rising dough and ran to the tavern, which was located on the street secluded from the eyes of strangers. My father followed the sacred procedure over the course of many years, ever since from the times when my family used to live in Italy; so, with no intent to cheat on his tradition, he ordered burrata, quattro formaggi and a bottle of prosecco. His funny, but at the same time impressively good Italian never fails to amaze me. Ten minutes elapsed, the pizza as big as a size of my car's wheel dominated the table; it appeared as a work of art - an expressionist painting, that portrayed the entire palette of emotional spectrum. Soon after, the wheel became an empty plate, or a pinnacle of satisfied food prayers.

Our journey continued down the streets of Rome. Nothing has changed - the city remained a paragon of antiquity, but I noticed an interesting fact that young street artists waist off their paint on the insightful signing of their names on the centuries-lasting walls. I believe it's wrong and nonsensical; I highly respect street art, however not the one that lacks fantasy or meaning. Signing your name on the wall to prove everybody that "I was here" is just a mere vandalization of the architecture, you can as simply take a picture in front of the wall and post it on Facebook; to me it sounds like a plan. Anyways, we strolled around the city with no certain destination or intention for a particular search. We attended Campo Marzio - the forth district of Rome with its own miracles. After the contemplation of the beautiful city-scape from Santa Trinita dei Monti and attempts to study a copy of an ancient oblique from Sallustianni Gardens, we ran down the Spanish Steps that was the past place for artists' gatherings and their beautiful models.

Rome was very hot. The endless crowds of tourists along with Vespa drivers blockaded the exit to reality, however we still managed to escape the crowd that suffocated itself. I figured that crowds is one of the main reasons why people tend to underestimate the pleasure of being in an ancient city; it really reminded me of Babylon Captivity. After breaking free, I discovered Rome from the new perspective, we stumbled on the streets, which were not congested with tourists or people at all; these streets were empty and truly authentic. There, I could really tell that Rome became my fabulous acquaintance. The silence prevailed over the smell of roasted chestnuts. Despite the street's simplicity, it was a vivid feast for an eye; the buildings with closed windows but radiantly colored flower beds resembled movie's decorations that managed to survive hundreds of years. To me, those iconic buildings is a true symbol of Rome, or just this street that introduced me to the real environment.  

Lastly, we had a chance to pay a visit to Galleria Doria Pamphilj, where I discovered the definition of art and its magical powers. To give a little bit of history, this place is owned by the family of Doria Pamphilj which derived itself as a result of two marriages; one of them formed a papal closure or a direct attachment to Vatican, which gave the family a chance to gain unquestionable dominance in the state. The family created the gallery in 17th century, and ever since had begun to accumulate the greatest pieces of art, including such masters like Titian and Caravaggio. As we entered the gallery, I realized that this place remained in a complete silence that would be a shame to interrupt; certainty, the gallery directly reminded me of the secluded streets that I previously described. As I figured later on, the most ironic and amazing fact about Rome is that there are a plethora of museums with the greatest artworks one can ever imagine, but those museums have absolutely no visitors. This intimate atmosphere of disclosure with the dead masters and the lively city made me extremely sentimental. As I passed by the canvases and sculptures, I felt that the masterpieces came to life when everybody left the gallery, but I was fortunate enough to contemplate their impersonation ahead of time. My eyes bursted in tears when I came up close to the canvas of Caravaggio: Saint John the Baptist gave me his playful lively look, as if he was a child who wanted to engage in hide and seek. I almost touched its surface. My heart palpitated from observing this miracle. At that moment, the paintings appeared as icons and soul food. I remained still for countless minutes, but someone came from the back and asked me to leave the building because the gallery was about to close. 

Just beautiful. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Introduction to Conceptual Art: "Seriously?"

Tower Bridge, 1906 

Have you even thought of how the world is perceived by various representatives of animal kingdom? For example, bees see through yellow and ultraviolet light, which allows them to observe a completely different dimensions of our conventional reality; it is very different from the way humankind perceives the world. Now, let's say that there is a specific kind of people, which perceives the life and various aspects of it in a completely different, often bizarre, fashion; the category of such unique individuals is called artists. Be it through the juxtaposition of hue and texture or shapes and dimensions, the people of art envision the reality of ordinary aspects through the creativity lens, which magnifies or exaggerates reality by an infinite number of digits. For example, the same way bees see through the ultraaviolet light, the artists like André Derain can envision grey industrial 19th century London through the utilization of vibrant colors and kinetic brushstrokes that instill energy and movement to the two-dimensional surface of a mere canvas. 
Fountain, 1919

To go further, I will ask you another rhetorical question, which will perhaps puzzle your perception: have you ever imagined that a urinal can be an object of art? I am not going to be surprised if the majority thinks that this question is unable to prevent a prompt response,  which is an unhesitant "no." I agree, it may be shocking, but a urinal is a prominent artwork, which serves as an icon of 20th century conceptual art. You may also wonder "am I being serious?", certainly yes! Fountain (1919) is one of the most famous pieces by the dada artist Marcel Duchamp, who was a famous French painter and sculptor. It was enough for the artist to decide to go to the plumbing supply house, called Mott, and purchase an ordinary "readymade" urinal not for the sake of utilizing it for its indeed function, but challenge the conventional norms and create a work of art by simply signing it "R. Mott, 1917." The artist claimed it to be a sculpture, which completely refuted the common conceptions about heroic academic monuments, which convey deep philosophical meaning. But is not art a transformation of ordinary materials into a mind riddle or a clue, which allows our mind to perceive the conceptual reality from the perspective of an artist, and after all, urinal is not a fountain and an opposite from the definition of something aesthetic. Does art have to be made by the hand of an artist? Should art be forced to comply a certain criteria, such as being pleasing and aesthetic?

Is it even for you to decide? 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Personal Passion and Importance of Aspiration

Today, I would like to describe a memorable event, which helped me to establish a solid ground to the new beginning - my art future. Even though, I am only seventeen years old at the moment, I realize how important it is to be dedicated to something you truly love, and even though one cannot predict his future, it is possible to set a potential aspiration as a young adult. Personally, my aspiration has always been to be directly related to the field of historical studies, liberal and fine arts, thus I chose an aspiration to become an art historian, since I have been always in love with art history, galleries, academic books and auction catalogues. Frankly, I am originated from the art family, where my mom is a fashion designer, and my grandfather is a craftsmen; being enthralled by the way my relatives do their work has always been magical to me, I learned how to work with colors, draw according to the academic disciplines, work on the old sewing machine and carve stamps on metal, therefore my desire was confidently defined from the beginning - I want to create and learn. 
So, on a tiresome ordinary spring day, I decided to begin volunteering at the local museum of art. This idea was very spontaneous; I was driving home from school thinking about my future and realized that I do noting significant to attain it, especially to reach my aspiration - to become an art historian one day. So, I skipped my highway exit and went in the direction of my future, art museum. To be honest, the last time I visited the same museum was about six months ago and, frankly, I didn't like the quality of the works that were displayed at the museum. It was a local female-artist, who created a series of brutal pieces of art, which incorporated a big varnished canvas covered in paint with the dissected pieces of various animals, such as wings of flamingo or skin of a snake. I respect local artists, who showcase their artwork in such museums, but I was shocked when I saw the artist's works; the notion of death was like a repetitive and haunting motif throughout the series of paintings, which reminded me of traditional Chinese medicine than art. This art is still art, just very immoral, in my opinion. 
Anyways, I need to admit that the museum made a false first impression on me. I realized it when I couldn't find an unoccupied parking spot at the museum's parking lot. It was Friday, and a vibrant flow of people, from children to elders, kept coming to the same building, the art museum. My very first thought was associated with church; it's hard to believe but the places, such as church and art museums, are not so different. They are both social institutes and community centers, which make society believe in the importance of community, connection, and openness to the world. In art museums, people do not just look at the paintings analyzing their cultural and functional context and demonstrate their exquisite taste, people attend museums for the sake of socializing amongst their peers, receiving education, and having a place to belong. As I walked in, I signed up for the volunteering opportunity and have begun a project of reorganization of the art library at the museum, a place that contains over than a thousand books about art, history and culture. On my first day, when I made a prompt appearance at the time when the doors just get unlocked, I spent 7 hours working and met amazing people, as well as helped a 90-years-old man, who was desperately looking for a book with an illustration of a horse. I had a feeling that I made them happy and applied my knowledge to organize the books by various categories. Moreover, I inferred that art museums can be also categorized, not only in such way as a modern or traditional museum of art, but by the notion of being active or passive. For example, active museums function as an active display of contemporary artists, allowing the audience to get acquainted with the concurrent reality; this kind of museums showcase local artists letting the community to evolve and become aware of arts and culture. In contrast, passive museums serve as a place of storage for the artwork, which was created by the artists of the past. 
Truly speaking, I am glad that I have an opportunity to express my commitment though the task of volunteering and utilizing my knowledge to help and guide people through such important aspect of our society - art. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Lisette Model: Coney Island Bather (1939-1941)

Lisette Model was an Austrian-born photographer who created the numerous series of expressive photographs which crowned her enthusiastic career. Being a versatile person, Model spent her early years training as a musician in Vienna; she studied under the avant-garde composer Arnold Schoenberg who introduced her to Expressionism of the early 20th century, a modernist art movement that conveys the world through the lense of subjective perspectives. 
Coney Island Bather by Lisette Model (1939-1941)
Thus, being impacted by the modern Expressionist outlook, she developed a sense of visual aesthetic by abandoning her musical endeavours and beginning her career as a visual artist. Her aim had always been to attain a genuine expression of the daily life. Initially, she became renowned for a series of photograph she completed in the south of France, photographing men and women resting in deck chairs along the Promenade des Anglais. In 1938, Model moved to the land of opportunities, the United States of America, where she continued her career by photographing subtle essences of the street characters, such as reflections of the individuals in the department store windows in New 
Coney Island Bather by Lisette Model (1939-1941)
York City. Due to the nature of her lively photographs, Harper’s Bazaar Magazine commissioned Model to complete a series of photographs on the Coney Island. Thus, the photographer with the great enthusiasm captured generous forms of a plus-size model using a sense of clever social mockery. The Coney Island Bather is filled with sincere expression of subject matter, a woman who is imbued with verve and energy that make her look aesthetically attractive regardless of her extreme forms. The audience adores her openness and sincerity, therefore nods in agreement that the negative social outlooks on the plus-size ladies are overly exaggerated.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David: The Propaganda Tool

Self-portrait by Jacques-Louis David
Propaganda is a mechanism that utilizes the biased promotion for the sake of persuasion. Due to its biased nature, propaganda can be tacky, ascending from the covers of the tabloid magazines, or can be exquisite, like the paintings by Jacques Louis David. Living in the 18th century France, David was a painter who was an active supporter of the French Revolution and the key dictator of the arts, or, in other words, propaganda at the time. But was he a genius of propaganda? 

For the sake of destruction of the monarchic rule, David remained in the country with his powerful ambition, admiration of the classical ideals and devotion to republican government. David sought Roman Empire's rebirth as a New France, France where Revolution can make a difference and unite social classes, ultimately obliterating the French monarchy. His beliefs embodied the unique art movement, Neoclassicism where the prevalence of polished surface, diligent contours and carefully sculpted forms, created astounding pieces of art that were intended as moral epitomes. 

In my opinion, one of the most powerful pieces of Neo-classicism art with a strong political propagandizing message is The Death of Marat. The subject matter, Jean-Paul Marat, was a friend of Louise David, radical journalist and politician who was one of the most powerful men in Revolutionary France. He ran a biased newspaper called L’Ami du Peuple (or Friend of the People in translation), in which the author published lists that revealed so-called enemies of the people, not much regarding the reasons why whose people were the so-called enemies; thus, he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people due to creating those enemy-lists. Moreover, by some 18th century contemporary accounts, Marat was an unattractive man who suffered from the chronic skin disease, therefore was prescribed with sitting in the bath tubes, such as the one that is pictured on the painting by Louis David. 

The Death of Marat 

The very first impression I perceive while looking at the artwork is fear. The subject, the body of Jean-Paul Marat that is slumped in his bath, is captured in the moment of agonizing death; his expression reveals the sense of dread and pain due to being suddenly assassinated by the opposing party member, supposedly, a monarchic supporter, Charlotte Corday.

Frankly, I believe that the position of the dead body shows a hidden message due to being portrayed in the position of the dead Christ as being taken down from the cross. Such position utilized as a propaganda tool in order to show the righteousness of the French Revolution, and how the Revolutionary devotee was murdered allegedly for making the good acts that were viewed as crime, the same as once the Christ died on the cross for his right deeds which were, however, condemned. Therefore, Marat is painted as an idealized saint who looks younger than his 50 years, and the skin disease has not so much relevance in the portrayal of the ideal features; on the painting, Marat is a victim
The Position of Christ on the Painting by Caravaggio

The evidence of the murderess is implied in the bloody knife and the letter of introduction, which Marat is tightly gripping in his left hand. His assassin's letter which which, in reality, never existed says: "July 13, 1793. Marieanne Charlotte Cordray to Citizen Marat. Because I am unhappy I have the right to call on your goodwill." 

In contrast to the note, there is another letter lying on the top of the rough crate. The letter serves as visual clue, again clearly showing the favorable propaganda of the French revolutionary movement; in the latter, the widow who lost her husband is requesting a donation for the sake of helping her 5 children children. The banknote that is placed on the the side of the letter suggests that Marat was about to give a donation to a suffering woman. However, with no evidence, in real life, that Marat was actually a charitable man, on the painting it is evident that he is alacrative and eager to submit the donation to the poor woman, but the murdered stripped Marat of the right to commit a kind deed by killing him in cold blood. Now, it becomes clear that the French Revolution is initiated for the sake of supporting the lower social classes and is willing to accomodate the needs of those who can't afford the basic necessities. 

Therefore, according to all my cultural analysis, I believe that Jacques Louis David was a genius of his craft, not only in painting but ultimately in propaganda. Just by analyzing the cultural context of one of his works of art, it is evident that the utilization of the revolutionary martyr clearly states his personal political convictions and compels his audience in his rightness of political ideals. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

How to Feel a Painting's Heartbeat?

    When I often observe a blank canvas before starting my new piece, I realize that I paint history. In my own definition, history is what is truly created by us; we are the history consisted of diverse snippets. Every life is a snippet, a story, that adds up to the grand history of the

 Universe. But is the story going to continue existing after one farewells with his/her life? Thus, often times, people desire to leave something significant after them, usually in a physical way. Frankly, it doesn't matter what continues living after one's dead, be it his/her donated organs, memory boxes, or an apple pie recipe. However, in my opinion, one of the objects that can breath after its creator died is a painting

   When I go to a museum I always look closely at the painting, carefully moving my sight across the canvas's surface, I see the brushstrokes that act as an engine of the painting; I can not only see, but feel the kinetic movement of the strokes which organically arrange the composition. Fuel that makes the surface appear kinetic is paint; it fires the paint setting the engine on to work as a single organism. Every brushstroke is a dedication, to what someone loved that dearly to the point when a painting is created. Every brush's movement conveys a painter by showing his charism, mood and attitudes. The artist puts his soul into this, and by such commitment lightens the hearts of his audience. 

Especially, Impressionist artists, like Claude Monet, give me a feeling that I'm able to hold a conversation with someone who passed away almost one and a half century ago. It's truly astounding, how some can master life by living a viable artifact, such as a painting, after them.