Artists Who Have Inspired Me
This is my second time writing this. Thanks WordPress.
From a very young age we were exposed to art. From the pieces on our walls, going to galleries and being encouraged to paint and draw ourselves. My Grandad was an amazing artist and I would love to go and see him when he was painting and learn all his tricks like sticking the paint brush in your mouth and how not to dip it in your tea. He mainly worked with watercolour and then later in life with acrylics and oils. I have always preferred acrylics and oils- more malleable, pliable. I loved colour. He used the same colours over and over and yet never got bored, I never understood until I went to college, picking the subject yourself was the enjoyable bit!
He was a stickler for the same tools and materials, I loved texture and getting my hands dirty- who said I needed a paintbrush? Just give me a palette knife and some sculpting paste. I always wanted to be an artist but as soon as I set out to do this I realised I enjoyed it as a hobby. During my years at college I loved the creative side, art history, going to galleries and discussing art, learning new techniques. We all hated the site of a new brief, as much as I loved art I couldn’t bring myself to keep up. Anxiety led to illness, time off, more anxiety and eventually to leaving. I didn’t regret it but I had other things I wanted to do. I got a good job, moved into my own home and started putting up art on my walls. Even selling some of my own. I preferred this. I might go back to it, Crawford is a lovely college, maybe I can benefit from it more as an adult. I think my Grandad was disappointed though and that sucked.
I’ve complied a list of my favourite artists with a bit of background on each- not only are their works amazing but they are great individuals. The first artist I remember seeing was Gustav Klimt, I think my Mum had ‘The Kiss’ on our fridge and ‘Mother and Child’ in her room. I loved his use of colour especially gold and the details like the hair and the flowers.
When I first started drawing I found Leonardo Da Vinci’s works- learning his method of drawing faces. The man was a genius. He could think both mathematically and artistically. This is something that doesn’t come easy to most. My Grandmother kept a Mona Lisa in the bathroom always freaked me out!
Damien Hirst was the next artist I obsessed over. He had such an imagination and a ‘fuck it’ attitude that made him my first art crush. People ask me why I like him and it’s probably because he had a bad boy attitude to art and people bough it so why not make it? I have so many favourite pieces of his- ‘Love of God’, ‘Mother and Child Separated’, ‘Cigarettes’, his work with sheer scale, formaldehyde, dots and butterflies. It’s out there dark and insulting and brash and I will always love him.
Frida Kahlo was the first female I discovered, through Salma Hayek actually, she was a fierce feminist, using her culture, beliefs and colours of her home of Mexico and putting them into her work. She was married, bisexual, adulterous, forward thinking, an activist and survivor. Here’s to Frida!
Another woman who has inspired me is Tracey Emin. She is so rude and unapologetic yet so vulnerable. She says all the things I’m too polite to say. And she has just married a rock. An actual rock. My Grandad hated her and this is my favourite piece.
Another badass is Ashley Longshore, the most rude American I’ve ever come across. She uses amazing colour, gold leaf and subjects and has the most amazing collection of jewellery and sunglasses! Follow her on Instagram it is guaranteed to make you smile!
Ai Wei Wei, who smashed a tonne of pots.
Tim Noble and Sue Webster. My favourite couple who are married, divorced and still working together. Their creativity and respect for each other is outstanding.
This painting made my life a whole lot easier in my Leaving Certificate. It was painted by Caravaggio and after seeing it in person I decided that nothing I ever did was going to be as good as this, painted in 1602. 1602 and looks like a photograph. I was done worrying after this.
I had a great list of documentaries to watch on each artist but cant remember half of them now! Viewing discretion is advised- lots of nudity/swearing/etc. If I ever feel stuck in a rut I’ll go and watch one of these and feel totally inspired again!
4od have gotten rid of the Damien Hirst documentary which is a bummer. Here is a little clip though with some other great watching for a Sunday afternoon-
If you have the time I would also recommend Danny Boyle’s Trance.
All images were taken from my ‘Art That Inspires’ Pinterest Board. I am pretty annoyed with this post it just isn’t as nice as my last one but it’s up now. I will add more links if I can remember them.
Hope you have all had a nice Sunday,