I mentioned in an earlier post that one of my hobbies lately has been going through old street art blogs and magazines looking for artists and their artworks.
I used to have the mindset that if you admire an artist, its beneficial to find out who they were inspired by and by doing so you'll learn about new artists and gain a deeper understanding on what shaped other artists style. I think when younger artists are desperate to find "their style" its very easy to pigeonhole oneself into making the same image over and over again. I'm very guilty of it. The best way to move on and to find your own voice in my opinion is to expose yourself to newer ways of making without putting so much emphasis on making it "look like your style" and putting the emphasis on making.
I still believe that research is an effective way to learn, but I’m a lot less hyper fixated on researching artists than I used to, and now I try and breakdown images a little more to see what I like about them, and what I don't like.
There was a real strong hunger in my early 20s to make my own digital library of inspiration to the point where on one of my old hard drives (I dropped it and it stopped working, it now stays in a drawer hoping that one day I’ll have enough money to do a data recovery on it), I had folders and folders of dated and titled photos of old oil painters, contemporary artists and street artists that I found interesting.
In the spirit of sharing inspiration, I thought today I’d list a few artists that I enjoy looking up when I want to get pumped up for making work.
If I want to get myself hyped to go paint outdoors:
-Charlie Isoe. I'll link an example of his work here. He kind of went AWOL from the art scene a few years back after having two (seemingly very successful) solo shows at Lazarides Gallery. I love his street work though, Theres a few pics of his street work online and I feel they stand up quite strongly 15 years later. -Nug. Territorial Pissing is a classic video that I watched over and over as a teenager. It captures a weird territory between graffiti and performance art, really capturing the energy that comes with mark making in the context of graffiti. What I find wild, is that back in 2008 he presented Territorial Pissing as his final for a Master of Arts Degree. There was a whole criminal investigation and a push for him to have his degree revoked, but the university stood by him saying that once the degree is awarded it cannot be withdrawn.
-Shida. Shida's early work in particular (around 2009-2013ish) really excites me. You can look through his flickr to see his albums. I really like the stuff in the europe album if you scroll down a bit. The stuff around the dates mentioned, has a nice energy to the line work that I really appreciate. It was around 2009-2010 that I discovered his work, I think because of that, looking at these old pieces hold a certain level of nostalgia where a lot of the street scene felt new and exciting to me.
-George Whelan. I remember really digging Georg's stuff when I first discovered his work. I could tell from when I saw his work that he shared my appreciation to a mutual source of inspiration (Egon Schiele). His instagram has a lot of his stuff on canvas, but if you're lucky you might catch some of his wall antics in his stories. He brings the same energy to walls that got me hooked. Some of his paintings on walls still stick in my mind more than any others. Particularly this piece he painted in hosier years back. I saw his work on a wall by an old flea market when I first went to Germany and was very excited by it.
If I want to get myself hyped to go paint in the studio:
-Egon Sciele. I've already mentioned that I'm a big fan. His mastery of line-work is on another level. I remember reading from a book that when he did watercolours, they were often drawn out then painted later on away from the subject. I like it when artists do exercises like this as I think it pushes them to figure out an understanding on how to resolve an image without trying to make it look like a copy of whats observed.
-Connor Harrington. He's still active today and doing great work but his exhibition Headless Heroes, from 2009 is a great body of work. Some of these paintings feel a lot more stripped down compared to his current works, but I kind of like that about them. He included a few sketches in pencil, which show an interesting angle of his work that I wish I saw more of in his current practice.
-Heesco. He might seem a bit out of place in this list as he's well known today for being a prolific mural painter, but his show Liminal from 2014 is a series that demonstrates his skill at a smaller scale. Its an intense body of abstracts that displays his skill with colour and form. The paintings utilise palettes that are very colourful for how intense the abstract compositions feel; often when I see artists try to invoke a feeling of intensity the results are muddy, low chroma palettes.
I cut down the list to avoid me rambling on and getting too carried away. If you're wanting to check out some work that you might not be familiar with, maybe there'll be something in the artists I've listed that is pleasing to your eye. I've got more artists that I find cool and inspirational but I might save them for another time.
If you have any that you'd like to recommend to me, let me know!