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Happy birthday, Hokusai!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 31, 2012 02:49pm | Post a Comment

Self-portrait of Hokusai from 1842

Today is the date traditionally recognized as the birthday of one of my favorite Japanese artists, ?? ?? (Katsushika Hokusai). Without a doubt he is one of (if not the) most famous Japanese artists of all time. His best known work is the ukiyo-e woodblock print series ?????? (Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji), published around 1831. The collection includes his single most recognized work, The great wave off Kanagawa.


The great wave off Kanagawa


Hokusai was born in the Musashi province of Edo (now Tokyo) in 1760. The exact date of his birth is somewhat uncertain although it is often said to have been the 23rd day of the 9th month of the 10th year of the H?reki era, which would be the 31st of October in the Gregorian calendar. His adoptive (and likely biological) father was Nakajima Ise, mirror-maker to the shogun. Since Hokusai wasn’t named as his heir – it is sometimes assumed that his mother was a concubine. Hokusai’s childhood name was
????? (Kawamura Tokitar?). He later went by ?? (Tetsuzo), ?????? (Nakajima Hachiemon) and about thirty other (usually quite colorful) noms d'artiste.

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Happy Birthday, Simeon Solomon

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 9, 2012 02:26pm | Post a Comment
Simeon Solomon was a Jewish Pre-Raphaelite painter. He was born 9 October, 1840 at No. 3 Sandys Street, Bishopsgate, London, England. Were he alive today he'd be turning 172.

Solomon was the eighth and last child Michael (Meyer) Solomon, manufacturer of Leghorn hats, and artist Catherine Levy. Two of his older siblings, Abraham and Rebecca, were also painters. It was Abraham, in fact, who first gave painting instruction to Solomon around 1850.

In 1852 he began attending the Royal Academy where, that same year, his sister's work was being exhibited. At the Academy, Solomon became friends with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the other Pre-Raphaelites, their associates, and Dandy and Decadent poet, Algernon Charles Swinburne.

His first exhibition at the Academy took place in 1858 and, until 1872, he continued exhibiting -- also at the Dudley Gallery. The subject matter of his work was in many ways typical of the Pre-Raphaelites although also drawn from The Tanakh. In 1865 he contributed illustrations to Swinburne's posthumously-published pornographic novel, Lesbia Brandon. Some of his high-profile patrons included Eleanor Tong ColtartJames Leathart, and Lord Battersea.

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Sanae Ponce's Mother Lily's Passing Inspired "Graffiti Against Cancer" Benefit

Posted by Billyjam, October 9, 2012 06:05am | Post a Comment
The sad reality is that cancer is something that many of us can directly relate to; having either lost someone close to us to the deadly disease or else know of someone who has been diagnosed with or died from cancer in its many forms. This year in the US alone a total of 1,638,910 new cancer cases will be diagnosed with a projected 577,190 deaths from cancer predicted by the end of 2012!

Among those to die from cancer this year was 47 year old Beastie Boy Adam Yauch (aka MCA) whose death five months ago followed the artist's three year battle with salivary gland cancer. His shocking death further reminded hip-hop fans of the disease that can strike out at anyone at anytime. Four years ago 30 year old hip-hop artist Camu Tao died following his two year battle with lung cancer. This year his friend/musical collaborator El-P dedicated the acclaimed album Cancer 4 Cure on Fat Possum to Tao's memory. Two years ago Guru of Gang Starr died from cancer related causes. Everyone affected by cancer deals with it in their own way. In the case of San Jose writer Sanae Ponce, who lost her mother a few months ago to cancer, she decided to organize the Graffiti Against Cancer benefit series of fundraising events that will be happening at various galleries throughout the Bay Area later this month. For such a large scale project Ponce is not working alone. "Marito El Nicoya is my right hand man through all this. He's from Cali as well. His family is from Nicaragua. Mario Guitron is also a big part of this event, he's been helping us with the itineraries for these events," Ponce told me when I caught up with her this past week to ask her about her mother, the benefit series, and what folks can do to participate in this timely worthwhile event, that will pass along all proceeds to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

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Endless Canvas' SPECIAL DELIVERY East Bay Art Exhibit Was Great While It Lasted

Posted by Billyjam, October 1, 2012 05:35pm | Post a Comment

If one dollar had been donated for every photo taken at the Berkeley warehouse street art exhibit Endless Canvas' SPECIAL DELIVERY enough money could have been generated to purchase the warehouse building that housed this wonderful, temporary grassroots art exhibit and to keep it open indefinitely - not just in pop-up form. The exhibit ended its all-too-short 3 weekend run yesterday with another extremely well attended day of photo-happy street art fans. For many the temporary nature of SPECIAL DELIVERY  only added to the vibrancy of this exhibit of revered but disposable art - and another reason to document it.

I stopped by yesterday - Sunday September 30th, the sixth and final day - to be simply blown away by the wonderful art on display. About a 100 pieces by such local artists as Swampy and Plant Trees graced near every available corner of this cavernous, two-level 36,000 square-foot abandoned warehouse space down on Fourth Street near Gilman.

Anyone I know who attended this event, like David Ford who worked at it or E-Lit from Amoeba Berkeley who patiently lined up on the very packed opening weekend three weeks ago, were equally impressed by SPECIAL DELIVERY - from the caliber of the art on display to the perfect location of the exhibit. Berkeley's Carbon Warehouse – down near the railway tracks at 1350 4th Street - is a funky and raw building with only natural light. (Hence the darkened, shadowy, shuttered downstairs art area takes a minute for your eyes to adjust to).

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Wall of Sound: West Coast Punk Art Retrospective at Steven Wolf Fine Arts, SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 12, 2012 03:45pm | Post a Comment
Focusing exclusively on the West Coast's punk rock art movement of the 1970's, Wall of Sound at
Exene Cervenka art
Exene Cervenka, Dick, 2008 
Steven Wolf Fine Arts (July 12th - Sept 8th) features work by artists who are better known as musicians, and by musicians who are better known as artists. 

The rise of punk rock in the 1970s provoked an explosion of collage-based visual art. A new generation of rebels reworked dada aesthetics in the design of flyers, zines, and studio art. Some of the most interesting work was done by the musicians themselves. The bridge that formed between music and visual art inaugurated a hybridity now common in studio practice where art history shares equal space with movies, music, and television as source material for artists. 

See work by:
David J. Hastings
Tomata Du Plenty
J.C. Garrett
Fayette Hauser
V. Vale
Matt Heckert
Raymond Pettibon
and more....

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