Monday, March 30, 2009

Molly Devlin :"Visual Culture Paper"

You’re a Visual Culture Paper.
I like to think of my art as an extreme obsession that conflicts with two dimensions of style. I use obsessive ness to achieve realism, but sometimes I use style to create a world I’ve seen before,’ the way I wish it looked.’ That’s the part of me that sees art as an opportunity to recreate what I’ve observed, to poke fun at the everyday world, and at the same time I want it all to be believable. I decided to go research some artist that I find was told I might be able to relate to, one of those artists was Jean Michel Basquiat and the other was Chuck Close.
It’s interesting how you wanted me to look at Basquiat’s work, although I had heard of him for years I never really understood what kind of approach he had to art. After reading some of his back stories, about how he grew up in Brooklyn spray painting on subways and selling post cards to people; I see him as someone who thinks that art is knowledge to be visually shared, and he seemed to get his expressiveness out of real life encounters or ideas. He appears to mimic the people or events around him, he was very in touch with his subjects and that emotions shines through in his work. I admire his expressive style, and I can see how I might possess some of Basquiat’s same processing of both life an art. I find his approach to fame very interesting and it sounded like he fantasized about being a celebrity, ''I'd think about all my heroes, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix. . . . I had a romantic feeling of how people had become famous. Even when I didn't think my stuff was that good, I'd have faith’’ (McGuigan 5). The paranoia and other social aspects of money, drugs, and fame drove him to an early demise; I think there was a point where Basquiat didn’t understand why people wanted to pay so much money for something he had made. Artist consider art an everyday thing, not just something you need to pump out on a canvas and drop off with some yuppie art dealer. Art can be written, painted or slapped on anything.
It’s funny how the public can become obsessed with what is ‘famous’ art; even the art that Basquiat had scattered all over and stepped on was still an piece that someone wanted to pay him money for. There comes a point where people aren’t even paying attention to what you are saying or making, all they care about is if you’ll sign it for them. That must be frustrating, Basquiat was an artist who mirrored his lifestyle, attitude, and experience into his art. He was expressing himself, and he had a hard time coaping with people exploiting that.
Artist Chuck Close has a more ‘understood’ approach to art. He produces such time consuming, jaw-dropping portraits, I’ve never seen a more realistic looking painting of a face than I did at the Metropolitan. I really admire Chuck Closes brain; he can account for any slight detail in a subject and translate it into a painting. He doesn’t just paint pictures of faces, he creates characters and attitude with the models expression and he blows it up to a size that’s unreal. Basically, he is obsessed with detail and when he attempts to do photorealism, he doesn’t give up until it is perfect. I can really relate to this obsession, I’ve been realizing that in the past few years my attempts at photorealism have been pushed further an further, that’s why I find Chuck Close inspiring…. he makes me not feel as crazy for caring about little details so much.
My own style is not something I can make complete sense of, I just know that I can look at both of these artist and see myself in them. I admire each of their work for different reasons and I can see how I’ve been secretly channeling these artist without even being aware of similarities. It’s makes me feel connected to them and when I look at their work, I begin to see how they came about getting there and what kind of relationship they formed with their pieces.

Works Cited

Marmor, John. Close Chuck. June 1997. 18 Feb 2009
McGuigan, Cathleen. “New Art, New Money” The New York Times. 10 Feb1985.
Seed, John. “The Life of Jean-Michel Basquiat.” 16 February 2009


  1. Your quote, "I use obsessive ness to achieve realism, but sometimes I use style to create a world I’ve seen before, the way I wish it looked" is very appropriate in describing yourself. I love the "all American Love" (I think that is the name of the piece) piece you painted because we have all seen those characters before in some way or another and I love the way you chose to portray them.

  2. Molly,
    As discussed, these two artists do seem to mirror your tendencies quite accurately. Question is, can they be synthesized together to make "Molly's art"? Basquiat thought nothing was impossible, so I imagine you can (will) do this too. The results will, no doubt, be interesting.