Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Leo and Diane Dillon Illustrations

Leo and Diane Dillon

Leo and Diane Dillon are among the most talented and versatile illustrators in the United States. Their work has been an outstanding contribution to children of all races and cultures.

Leo Dillon and Diane Sorber were born eleven days apart in 1933 --  Leo in Brooklyn, New York, and Diane near Los Angeles, California. When they met at Parsons School of Design in New York City in 1954, each already aspired to a life of art. Meeting first through one another's artwork, they immediately recognized the talent and mastery of the other. Over the years, their competitive friendship evolved into a lasting marriage and artistic partnership. “We've worked together for 40 years. In 1997 we celebrated our 40th anniversary and we completed our 40th book, To Every Thing There Is a Season.

Versatility, diversity, research, and integrity have remained characteristics of the Dillons' work, which ranges from African folktales to Scandinavian epics, from fantasy to science fiction. In addition to two Caldecott Medals (for Ashanti to Zulu and Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears), the Dillons have received four New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, four Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards, two Coretta Scott King Awards, and the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal.

There are two major messages the Dillons want to convey. The first is that all people, whatever their culture or race, experience the same things. "We all have a lot in common. It is our beliefs that divide us. We have little control over what life brings us but we can change our thoughts." The second is that since the beginning of history, people have expressed themselves in wonderful and unique ways. "Art in its many forms has survived to inform us of lives long gone. Art inspires, lifts our spirits, and brings beauty to our lives. We wish to pay homage to it and the people who created it."

Leo and Diane have one son, Lee, who is also a talented painter, sculptor, and jewelry craftsman. They live in New York City.

Larry Golsh Jewelry

An artist is a person who creates beauty for all the world. This perfectly describes Larry Golsh, Native America artist, jeweler, sculptor, and architectural designer, whose work has won international acclaim.  All of his jewelry is exclusively designed, entirely hand fabricated, crafted with the rich color of high-karat gold, silver, and rare stones.

Golsh is a nationally recognized contemporary Native American jeweler. He is best known for his tufa-cast jewelry and his use of gold in his Native American inspired designs. Golsh was born in Phoenix to Native American parents -- his father was a California Pala Mission Indian and his mother was Cherokee. He attended Arizona State University studying engineering, architecture, getting his degree in the art with an emphasis in sculpture. From 1968 to 1972 he apprenticed with architect Paolo Soleri. In 1972 he first learned silversmithing and spent the next 12 years working as a jeweler with French jeweler Pierre Touraine. He also became the first Native American to study at the Gemological Institute of America.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Few Fun Ben Jorj Harris Art Deco Airbrush Illustrations

 Ben Jorj (aka Jorg) Harris was a noted African American artist (1904-1957), related  to Joel Harris, author the Uncle Remus stories, who specialized in airbrushed watercolors. Harris was one of a stable of artists who supplied original watercolors, usually in pairs, to Newman Decor, a high-end interior design firm that decorated apartments during the late 1940s housing boom. This original art work would complement the fabric selected as coverings or, as in this case, the overall mood of the decorations. 

Over the years, Harris' work has become highly sought-after and collectable as he and his wife, Georgette (perhaps the "Jorj" in the signature), were thought to have "perfected the art of airbrushing."

Some Ben Harris watercolors come up for sale recently at Phil Weiss Auctions of Oceanside, "This is find is about saving  strong  examples of Mid-20th Century Design and technique, so they may be purchased by an institution or collector and thus be rescued to circulate in the art world mainstream."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Allan Houser Art

Allan Capron Houser or Haozous (1914-1994) was a Chiricahua Apache sculptor, painter and book illustrator born in Oklahoma. He is one of the most renowned Native American painters and Modernist sculptors of the 20th century.

Houser's work can be found at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. and in numerous major museum collections throughout the North America, Europe, and Japan. Additionally, Houser's Offering of the Sacred Pipe is on display at United States Mission to the United Nations in New York City.

Born in 1914 to Sam and Blossom Haozous on the family farm near Apache, Oklahoma and Fort Sill, Native American artist Allan Houser was the first member of his family from the Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache tribe born outside of captivity since Geronimo’s 1886 surrender and the tribe's imprisonment by the U.S. government. The tribe had been led in battle by the legendary spiritual leader Geronimo, who would later rely on his grandnephew Sam Haozous, Allan’s father, to serve as his translator.

In 1934, Houser left Oklahoma at the age of 20 to study at Dorothy Dunn's Art Studio at the Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dunn's method encouraged working from personal memory, avoiding techniques of perspective or modeling, and stylization of Native iconography. For the latter, Houser made hundreds of drawings and canvasses in Santa Fe and was one of Dunn's top students, but he found the program too constricting.

While Houser's early career was marked by his drawings and paintings, it was for sculpture that he eventually became a world-renowned artist. Beginning in 1940 with simple wood carvings, Houser created his first monumental work in stone in 1949, the iconic piece Comrades in Mourning at the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas. But it would be quite some time before he had the time and resources to produce his remarkable bronzes.

In 1985, Houser’s monumental bronze, Offering of the Sacred Pipe, was dedicated at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City A year later, he made a bronze bust of Geronimo to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the surrender of the Chiricuhua Apaches. A cast of the bust was later presented to the National Portrait Gallery, where it remains in the permanent collection.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Icons From the Age of Anxiety: Comedian and Actor Robin Williams(1951-2014)

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

From the New Yorker Culture Desk
August 18, 2014

The Man Who Could Be Anyone
By Oliver Sacks

One of the most amazing experiences of my life was working with Robin Williams, watching him become me, in the filming of my book “Awakenings,” in 1989. The patients whose experiences I had recounted in the book—some of them were still alive then—loved him, too. Over the next twenty-five years, Robin and I became good friends, and I grew to appreciate—no less than the brilliance of his wit and his sudden, explosive improvisations—his wide reading, the depth of his intelligence, and his humane concerns.

Once, when I gave a talk in San Francisco, a man in the audience asked me an odd question: “Are you English or are you Jewish?

“Both,” I replied.

“You can’t be both,” he said. “You have to be one or the other.

Robin, who was in the audience, brought this up at dinner afterward, and, using an ultra-English, Cambridge voice laced with Yiddish and Yiddish aphorisms, gave a stunning demonstration of how one could indeed be both. I wish we could have recorded this marvellous flower of the moment.

Robin had thousands of voices, and faces, and personae. He could become Lon Chaney, Hamlet, Dr. Strangelove, Mae West—or all of them in a single sentence. Indeed, he could become any animal. When we had lunch together a few months ago, we got to talking about reptiles—Robin had had a pet iguana—and he combined a zoologist’s knowledge of lizards and turtles with an inner understanding of what it was like to be them, and he could imitate their postures and behavior to perfection. Imitate is too mild a word; he became them as, in “Awakenings,” he became me.

I sometimes joined the Williamses in the summer at Lake Tahoe. I would go for long swims in the lake, with Robin paddling next to me in a kayak. We would chat about neurology and biology, literature, history, biographies—he was startlingly well informed on pretty much everything under the sun, and this was a very different Robin—thoughtful, relaxed, not onstage, not “on.”

In addition to all his gifts, Robin was the kindest and most generous of men. William James, the great nineteenth-century psychologist, was called “that adorable genius.” For me, more than anyone I have ever known, Robin, too, was that adorable genius. It is infinitely sad that this unique human being, who gave so much and so fully of himself to all of us, should have taken his own life.

The Phantom: Wahgi War Shields

Lee Falk's hero, The Phantom, made his comic book debut in February 1936, but he also appears on dozens of traditional war shields made by people from the Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea between the 1960s and 1980s. Why?

The Wahgi people of Papua New Guinea have long made enormous shields from tree trunks, and have continued to make these shields as a form of ritual artwork. In the late 20th century, many of these Papua New Guinea highlanders began incorporating "new ideas" into their traditional works, so that shields bore emblems of football teams, beer brands, and, yes, The Phantom. Western comic books became widely available in the region after World War II, and The Phantom became a particularly popular character.

Art educator and dealer Michael Reid notes that two things in particular made The Phantom an ideal subject for a war shield -- he is a hero who protects his home and he is known as "The Man Who Cannot Die." Just as many comic book readers adopt the emblems of their favorite heroes, so too have these artists taken the symbolic power of The Phantom and adapted it to their own traditions.