Thursday, January 31, 2008

etsy shop: sweetjuniper
listing: Mies van der Rohe, Lafayette Tower West (8x10)
artist: Jim

Jim's photograph of Lafayette Tower West captures the striking simplicity of Mie van der Rohe's architecture while demonstrating the subtle unique characteristics of each individual window while maintaining a consistent color palette throughout the repetition of grid-based windows. That was a really long sentence.

Info on the The Mies van der Rohe Residential District from which Lafayette Tower West is a part (via nps.gov):

The Mies van der Rohe Residential District is both an outstanding example of Modernist architecture and one of America's most successful post-World War II urban redevelopment projects... The buildings reflect classic elements of Miesian design: steel skeleton frames that made no attempt to hide the building's structure, aluminum and glass skins, and open interiors that created a feeling of spaciousness. While the success of their work can be measured by the praise it has received over the years--one observer called it "the most spatially successful and socially significant statement in urban renewal"

sweetjuniper's esty shop features a small collection of photos taken in the urban setting of Detroit. If you like what you see in Jim's etsy shop, then check out his Detroit flickr photos. He accepts orders of photos from his flickr collection.

I love the intensive list of inspiration found at sweetjuniper.org. I counted 313 items in the list. Among my favorite are museum guards (of which I once was), ring-a-ding-dingers, and anyone who worked on those alaskan salmon boats.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

etsy shop: lotsa
listing: Dirty Clean Soap - Original Painting
artist: Liz Clay

Liz Clay's etsy shop currently offers 27 paintings for sale. All of which are studies of bottles. It's intriguing to contemplate the full range of all these paintings. They share similar foundations in their subject matter and style, yet each painting is clearly unique unto itself through varying use of layout and colors. Her paintings are excellent examples of the fundamental design and art properties of layout, repetition, variety and color theory.

I find myself first looking at the arrangement of the bottles. All her paintings feature different layouts that keeps each painting fresh. In the example shown above there's a horizon line (or "reflecting line" as described by Liz) defined by the bottles. Above the horizon line, the bottles are upright. Below the horizon line the bottles are facing downward. Simple, clean approachable layouts are commonplace in all her paintings. And simple layouts are the core for great design. Liz establishes a solid foundation of clean design from which she is able to elaborate further through the use of repetition.

Do a google search on "repetition in design" and you'll find countless pages detailing the many benefits. Liz maximizes these qualities by keeping her focus on the bottle as subject matter and presenting in them in simple layouts and with a color palettes that share a similar sense of simplicity.

Look through all her paintings and you'll see the color palette is always simple. If the color palette was complex, it would overpower the harmony found in the layout and repetition.

Finally, variety is found in the bottles themselves. No two bottles are the same. Each one is inherently different. It's not only fun to look at the overall layout of the painting, but it's equally entertaining to study each individual bottle. It' like having dozens of tiny paintings in one painting.

Liz Clay's paintings are interesting studies in the art of painting and are excellent examples in the vocabulary of design.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

etsy shop: Beastlies
listing: Otis the Beastlie
artist: Leslie

From the item description:

Otis says, "BLAAAAAARGGH." And he doesn't say much else, really. But once you get to know him, you can tell with reasonable accuracy what he means just by the inflections he puts into it. It's a bit odd, but it works.

And he's pretty nice, too.

I'm rather impressed that these curious, original, one-of-a-kind creatures sell for between 12 and 15 dollars and 5 dollars shipping.


Monday, January 28, 2008

etsy shop: ryanstudio
listing: Powdered Donut, Original Daily oil Painting a Day
artist: Abbey Ryan

Hungry for art? Try Abbey Ryan's "Powdered Donut". Abbey Ryan is a celebrated "painting a day" artist. Her etsy shop features a solid collection of still life paintings.

Her painting style is similar to certain members of the Ash Can School including John Sloan and George Wesley Bellows. The Ash Can School movement started in 1908 and their techniques broke from traditional American art academies of the early 20th century by displaying evidence of the brushstrokes.

In Abbey's etsy shop you will find traditional subject matter including apples and peaches, but you'll also find oreo cookies, lollipops, chocolate wrappers, and of course donuts. I guess I have an affection for the sweet stuff.


Friday, January 25, 2008

etsy shop: michelleramin
listing: Chocolate Landscape
artist: Michelle Ramin

Ok, honestly, I'm not doing this on purpose. I'm not specifically seeking out art from Portland. It's pure coincidence that 33% (3 out of 9) of the art features on this blog thus far feature art from that city. I think that says a lot about the great art community that resides in Portland. Artist Michelle Ramin expresses her inspiring love for Portland in her etsy bio:

Hello! My name is Michelle and am a Portland, Oregon artist. I grew up in the comfortable rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania. About two years ago, I found myself wondering across the country in search of a creative muse. I came upon Portland and have yet to experience its equivalent anywhere else in the world. It's beautiful here! Every day I feel inspired and am constantly working on new and beautiful little pieces that reflect my every day environment.

A large majority of Michelle's etsy shop features landscape drawings. It's interesting to relate her love of Portland to her transcendental, otherworldly drawings. I call it quietly vibrant Surreal Pop. Consistently throughout, delicate horizontal lines shimmer across the horizon while crisp lines define the labyrinthine sky while falling from the sky. It's a uniquely curious exploration of the abundant natural beauty found in Oregon.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

etsy shop: ejwarhus
listing: like cake (be sure to hit the zoom link below the image to see all the detail)
artist: Erika Warhus

Today's etsyart.com feature is a mixed media painting by Portland artist Erika Warhus. Just the other day etsyart.com featured fellow Portlander, Sarah Kamsler. I don't know what the city of Portland puts in its water, but it sure helps their artists produce interesting abstract art.

Erika's "like cake" can be enjoyed as purely abstract art with no subjective connections or as a representational painting as implied by the title, or better yet as both. Her painting blurs the line between abstract and reality. It that respect I am reminded of celebrated Abstract Expressionist icon, Willem de Kooning. The use of repeated forms and layering of colors and shapes are more themes in Erika's work that recall de Kooning. This loose abstract association allows the viewer to use their imagination to fill in the spaces to define representation.

Yet, the spirit of the Erika's work couldn't be more different that de Kooning. Where de Kooning's paintings express feelings of anger and angst, Erika's paintings denote a sense of explorative joy.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

etsy shop: finalapproach
listing: octopus
artist: a young couple from east tennessee

Wouldn't it be nice to have an octopus carry your luggage for you? That's can be hard to arrange so the next best thing is to have a kickin' painting of an octo on your luggage.

The color palette is sophisticated featuring soft blues and beiges with hints of black and white. The subtle curves of the case complements the flexures of the octopus. The composition of the sea beast is dynamic with the tentacle on the far left sloping upwards to the head with its far right tentacle ready to strike. This octopus is not to be messed with.

I came across the finalapproach etsy shop just as they opened their doors for business. They will be adding more items in the future. Be sure to check 'em out again to see what they have in store. If it's anywhere as slick as the octopus suitcase, then they'll certainly be a hit in the etsy community.


etsy store: MoTowne
listing: original art
artist: Michael Richard Moses Towne Jr

Michael Richard Moses Towne Jr sounds like one interesting cat.

He has a fair amount of variety in his etsy shop from a painted animal skull (not for sale) to an Outsider-Artish-anguish-face painting to abstract, trippy, biomorphic paintings. It's the later that will be the focus here.

The tags for each of these paintings gives some great insight. Here's a taste: pop, funk, retro, mod modern, hip, surreal, blob, awesome, explosion, cupcake, glamour, dance floor, vans, vineyard, turkey, swirls, circles.

Each person will bring their own interpretation to the paintings, but I like the idea hinted by Micahel that they are exploding cupcakes.


Monday, January 21, 2008

etsy store: sarahkamsler
listing: alternate channels
artist: Sarah Kamsler

Based in Portland, Oregon, Sarah Kamsler surely has some great inspiration and it's apparent in her paintings. Nature is prevalent throughout her work with trees often being the focal point.

Consistently throughout her work, Sarah's paintings have a certain playful, yet spiritual feel to them. It's a curiously equal combination of the two that's rarely seen in the art world and Kamsler makes it work. Art that attempts to fuse both elements of playful and spiritual often heavily lean towards one direction or another. It's this duality that causes me to reflect how her paintings came to this point.

Sarah paints her trees in a simple, yet profound iconic manner. They can be interpreted as trees or as arrows boldly pointing to the heavens.

The trees are seen doing different things within each environment. Sometimes they're grounded in the earth. Other times they dance about in the sky. It seems these trees, despite their iconic state, have different lively personalities.

Trees are an easy thing to overlook in our society. After all, we see them everywhere from parks to parking lots to street corners. In her paintings, Sarah Kamsler reminds us that trees and nature offer boundless reflections of the variety of all forms of life from environment nature to human nature.


Friday, January 18, 2008

etsy store: Constant Dreamer
listing: Giraffe Print
artist: Shaylind Standing

The first line in the "description" field of this etsy store item made me laugh, "This giraffe would probably eat that flower if he had a mouth." Funny, yet so sad. Judging from body language, the giraffe is quite interested in this unique flower that equals the height of the giraffe. Certainly, this giraffe rarely sees such a treat. The flower is painted in such a way that it's almost turning to the giraffe and saying, "I dare you to eat me. Ha! You can't!" This notion reaches to emotions of need, greed, desire through the playful interaction of a giraffe and a flower.

Visually, it's a smart composition following elements of the rule of thirds. And the rough background texture serves as an excellent contrast the simple geometric forms of the subject matter.

From Shaylind's etsy bio:

I have a BFA from the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I am always exploring the connection between my formal art education and the art from my childhood. My work encompasses childlike simplicity on a more complex foundation.

When I'm not being the Mama or creating things, I'm probably reading or playing videogames (currently Oblivion and BioShock on XBox360 and Zelda Majora's Mask on GameCube).

It's cool how she lists the video games she plays.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

etsy store: yellowmoonstudio
listing: The Number of Grace
artist: Teresa

I never heard of the number 5 representing grace, so I did a little google search and came across the following, "Four is the number of the world. It represents man’s weakness and helplessness. But 4+1=5 is when Divine strength is added. We are made perfect in our weakness. ‘My Grace is sufficient for thee’".

This painting represents that statement well. The square has four sides. Rarely is a square shape seen in nature. It's a development of mankind thus further emphasizing the role of mankind in this equation. The singular shape next to the square is obviously the number "5", but it also is symbolic of the number "1" without directly pointing it out. Divine strength often works in a similar mysterious manner. The 5 (and 1) are directly to the right of the square thus representing the 4+1=5 equation.

Teresa is a fellow Illinoisian.

From Teresa's bio:

I've been painting for the past ten years. I have an admitted obsession for repetitive geometric shapes. I'm fascinated by color and segmented space. Add a pinch of minimalism, a dash of whimsy and you have - me, well, my abstract art anyway.


etsy store: louisartworld
listing: Gone Fishing
artist: Louis Vuittonet

Louis' work follows a strong Outsider Art feel. I wonder what the white-hatted fisherman is fishing for. Certainly it's not crocodiles. That fishing pole can't withstand the weight of a croc. That fisherman is quite brave. I'm glad to see his right hand has a strong grip on the tree branch.

Seriously though, this painting has interesting use of perspective. The painting style is clearly flat. However, arrangement of the elements in the painting displays a unique depth of field. Look at the arrangement of the crocs, location of the fishing line in the water, placement of the tree and the fisherman.

Louis' bio:

Self-taught artist, been painting over forty years. My art work is in private collections in the U.S. and other countries. I paint what I feel at the moment, I hope you enjoy.


etsy store: equivoque.etsy.com
listing: each day we begin again
artist: Elinor Scott-Sutter

There's a great deal of fantastic art on etsy. It was difficult selecting the very first piece to be featured on etsyart.com until I came across this photograph by photographer/poet/Unix systems admin, Elinor Scott-Sutter. The title is appropriate: "each day we begin again". Among the current 32 items for sale in Elinor's etsy shop are about a dozen dynamically tranquil photographs of Lake Superior.

From Elinor's shop announcement:
I am not as much interested in photographing people, places, or things as I am in photographing light. Light is what interests me. It is what inspires me. After that, I am interested in the ways in which different media record those instances of light. Vintage and toy cameras used in combination with a variety of films are among the tools I love best, though I do enjoy working with digital cameras and Adobe Photoshop as well. My interest in Polaroid photography, however, easily eclipses my affinity to all other camera and media types