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Monthly Archives: April 2018

Techniques and Styles of Graffiti

Many times, you may wonder, how would you differentiate two pieces of graffiti artwork from each other, when everything looks the same. Just as I realized the explanation of all the points given below, I stopped to wonder!

Jumbled Graphic Graffiti

◾ Tag – Tagging is used as the basic form of calligraphy to render an artist’s name in a uniform color. It also depicts a writer’s signature. If the artist or the writer is associated with a crew, then the crew’s name or initials are contributed too. Graffiti tags are often spotted on the New York City subway trains and many freeways surrounding the city. Tags are created by spray paints, sketch pens or even markers.

◾ Throw-ups – Throw-ups is an artwork, not nearly as elaborate as a piece, but created by using few colors and are done very quickly and repeatedly. These styles of graffiti writing are done in bubble letters that are large-rounded, using one color that displays a uniform sync in the image. Of course the outlines are variably emblazoned.

◾ Wild-Style – Wild-style uplifts a work piece. It is honorably popularized even more by the graffiti artists like Tracy 168 and Zephyr in New York City. This style of graffiti writing implies the use of arrows, spikes, curves and connecting points and also interlocks different letters and designs to yield an image. Wild-style frequently are in the forms of 3D and for a naive to identify this form of style would take a historic period.

◾ Blockbuster – As the name suggests, this is the form of graffiti which makes large bold-block letters by covering maximum area on a given property. The art of painting blockbuster graffiti can be attained with two or more colors of paint using commodities like paint rollers.

◾ Heaven – Heaven! The name itself, does not give us a feeling which is anywhere touching the earth-level. In fact, it elevates our imagination to a very high level location. Well that’s right! These graffiti styles are scrawled on the tops of tall buildings, houses or even on freeway hoardings. This artwork sounds so risky and inexplicable, that graffiti artists pulling off to get such a master piece, must be bestowing mutual respect from their adversaries.

◾ Stencil – Using definite objects like stencils, creating different styles of graffiti gets simpler. By using spray cans, the evolved picture is still considered as a random image, but by holding a stencil against the wall and by merely spraying it, you can acquire a much more elaborate picture. In minimum time, a stencil graffiti style can be thrown up creating two or three layers of intricate pattern which you can quickly color. In modern days, this graffiti style has been taken hold by many graffiti writers, which was once made popular by Blek le rat and Banksy.

◾ Piece – Short for (masterpiece) is a painting consisting of at least three colors put so well together, that the efforts evolved to gain a piece for a masterpiece has earned respect as a legitimate art form. Compared to tags, pieces are much more complex, and are hard to do due to the efforts that the artists have put up with this graffiti style.

For a production of a piece, all these graffiti styles involve a vast imagination, great deal of efforts, planning and passion for the art.

Apart from the art of drawing graffiti, we shall see how these styles and techniques can be executed to get a clear picture to the emergence of this art.

Outdoor Wall Graffiti
Indoor Wall Graffiti

◾ Hip-Hop Graffiti – Hip-Hop that indicates the culture of the African-American population, is the most traditional form of graffiti.

◾ Challenge Graffiti – This graffiti style denotes that, someone “was here.”

◾ Invisible Graffiti – This form consists of sketched logos basically it’s symbolic.

◾ Poster Graffiti – This type of graffiti style is practiced on pictures or posters that shows faces of people; for instance: drawing hair on a bald celebrity’s head.

◾ Tree Graffiti – Graffiti that is carved on trees.
Each type of the above graffiti techniques are used on different platforms like the train cars, subways, freeways or they’re even showed up on walls.

Few Tips and Tricks to do Graffiti

◾ Study the history of graffiti and the work of early writers.
◾ Initiate your graffiti art first on letters and then pick up a complicated work.
◾ Practice the drawings and paintings on your sketch book with pencils,sketch pens and note down your ideas in it.
◾ Be creative, imaginative and develop your own art style.
◾ For practice, you can try the graffiti on your computer’s paint program or on a plank of wood found in spare.

How to Create Light Graffiti

Creating light graffiti isn’t half as bad as you may think it is. All you would require is a camera (preferably a DSLR), a variety of colored LED lights, or maybe even flashlights, and lastly a tripod or a flat surface. Take a look at one of the easiest light graffiti ideas that you could try out. It involves the use of LED lights or glow sticks (take your pick), and a digital camera. It’s simple, hassle-free, and most importantly it’s fun! So, here’s a guide for drawing light graffiti with a digital camera.

◆ Begin by gathering up all the material / equipment that you need at a convenient distance around you. You will need it like that in order to be able to move swiftly when attempting to create the light graffiti. Make sure you have everything (basically, the lights and your camera).

◆ The next thing you want to do is fix your camera settings that will be best suited for this job. What’s recommended for this is a camera with long exposure, an ISO setting of 100, and an aperture set to the smallest setting possible on the camera. Also, for its full effect, the best recommended shutter speed should preferably be anything between 5 seconds to 30 seconds. If situations permit it, you could also use an ISO of 200 or more. You will have to use your discretion for that though.

◆ Now that you have your camera fixed to the required setting, get ready to create some magical illumination. Do not forget though, to keep the flash of the camera off, as also to work in a dark or extremely poorly lit room. Working in a room with poor lighting will allow you the complete effect of what you are trying to achieve.

◆ Most of what you need to do while preparing to do light graffiti has been covered. It is now time to head to moving in front of the camera with the lights, while creating an image / word or whatever it is that you are aiming at.

While there is no real tip that can be offered to get it right, the one suggestion that can be offered is that of practice. Also, do not hesitate to use a variety of lights, such as glow sticks (use varied sizes & colors) in order to achieve an array of looks for your graffiti. Also, to add to the aesthetic value of what you are doing, feel free to use any good looking element available in the background. Oh, and don’t forget… When writing, make sure you do it backwards so that it looks right when you get a picture of it. All right then, what’s keeping you from it? Go get experimental, keep at it with some practice, and there should be no problem with getting to a point of perfection for some fabulous light graffiti.

1960s’ Psychedelic Artists

The works of the following famous artists inundated the 60s decade and revolutionized the graphics as well as the commercial arts scenario! Thank God these mavericks chose to walk the less traveled road, else the world would have been deprived of the possibilities of a different but creative form of expression!

Warren Dayton
Warren Lloyd Dayton (March 1940-Present) is among the most distinguished psychedelic artists of the 60s and currently lives in Sierra’s, near California. He is an American illustrator, graphic designer and poster artists whose posters imbibe considerable psychedelic influence.

Vaughn Bode
Vaughn Bode (July 1941-July 1975) is known for his involvement in, and contribution to, underground comics, graphic design and graffiti. His best known creation is the comic strip character Cheech Wizard and a typical feature of his art style is the depiction of voluptuous women.

Barney Bubbles
Barney Bubbles (July 1942-November 1983) was an English graphic artist whose career involvements included painting, graphic design and directing music videos. Barney designed sleeves and albums for many popular music and rock bands including Quintessence, Hawkwind and Brinsley Schwarz.

Karl Ferris
An English photographer and graphic designer, Karl is a pioneer and chief innovator of what is known as psychedelic photography. He worked with Jimi Hendrix in the late sixties as his photographer and album cover designer.

Jimi Franklin
Jimi Franklin (1943-Present) is best known for his poster art incorporating armadillo motifs, which he later used to illustrate the 1st record album of psychedelic rock band Shiva’s Headband.

Hapshash and the Colored Coat
The Hapshash were a British graphics team who were active in the 1960s and are best known for their psychedelic posters which reflected strong art nouveau influences. They had promoted the appearances of such iconic bands as Pink Floyd.

John Hurford
John Hurford (1948-Present) is an English artist whose work is characterized by pronounced depictions of fantasy like landscapes and creatures and mythical beings. He has designed album covers for musicians like Judy Duble.

Alton Kelley
Kelley (June 1940-June 2008) was an American artist whose major works include designs for rock concerts and albums in the 1960s.

Abdul Mati Klarwein
Klarwein (April 1932-March 2002) was born in Germany and is an artist of the 60s whose work is influenced by surrealism as well as pop culture and his artworks reflect his penchant for depicting non Western deities and his interest in symbolism.

Bob Masse
Among the most distinguished poster artists of the 1960s, Bob Masse is still wears the crown of being Canada’s top rock poster artist. He is among the most coveted modern psychedelic artists whose works have garnered lots of attention and appreciation in the middle and latter part of the 60s.

Peter Max Finkelstein
Peter Max (October 1937-Present) is an American artist with German ethnicity and is well known for his iconic style of expression. His poster art style, popularly known as the Cosmic 60s art, could be seen on the walls of colleges and dorms all across America during the 60s.

Victor Moscoso
Moscoso (1936-Present) is an American psychedelic comic book artist, and designer whose best known works include posters for concerts and illustration of many underground comix.

Stanley Mouse
Born Stanley George Miller (October 1940-Present), Mouse is best known for his 1960s’ psychedelic rock concert poster and Grateful Dead’s album cover designs.

Martin Sharp
Sharp (1942-Present) is an Australian underground cartoonist, film-maker, song writer and artist. He is best known for his contribution to Australian and International pop art since the early 60s. His most popular works include psychedelic posters of Bob Dylan, Donovan, etc.

Gilbert Shelton
Shelton (May 1940-Present) is a prominent American cartoon artist who has also contributed towards underground comix arts. His most popular creations include The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Fat Freddy’s Cat, Wonder Wart-Hog, Not Quite Dead and the cover for Grateful Dead’s 1970s’ album Shakedown Street.

Dave Sheridan
Dave (June 1943-March 1982) was a remarkable American cartoon artist of the late sixties throughout the seventies. His famous works include Dealer McDope and Tales From The Leather Nun. He is also the co-creator of the The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers along with Gilbert Shelton and Paul Mavrides.

Keiichi Tanaami
Tanaami (1936-Present) is a Japanese artist and designer whose works have adorned many a print and film and his psychedelic paintings have been widely exhibited. He has over 50 solo exhibitions, spanning across the late 1950′ to the early 2000s, to his credit and has written more than thirty books and essays on painting, print and films.

John Van Hamersveld
Hamersveld (1941-Present) is a known for his designs for psychedelic bands’ albums and record jackets. He is a graphic artist and illustrator by profession and his most prominent works include the graphic designs of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street and The Grateful Dead’s Skeletons in the Closet.

Wes Wilson
An American and psychedelic poster designer, Wilson (July 1937-Present) is well known for his design of the posters for Bill Graham of The Filmore. His style is synonymous with the peace movement and the 60s psychedelic art.

Mark Boyle
Born in Glasgow, Mark Boyle (May 1934-May 2005) was very active in the 1950s, having influenced the Underground subculture of 1950’s UK with his artistic creations. He is famous for his World Series work which he started working on in the late 1960s and which consists of recreation of various spots on the Earth’s surface that were selected randomly. Boyle has used natural materials from the sites of his creations as well as fiberglass and certain resins to create the specific artistic effects and impressions.

Apart from, the aforementioned icons, other brilliant psychedelic artists and famous painters of this genre include Pedro Bell, Fred Schrier, Ellis D Fogg, Amanda Sage, Rick Griffin, Alex Grey, etc. The unconventional has always attracted widespread attention but few have had the courage to walk the untrodden path. These artists dared to differ and create fantastic art bordering on surrealism that left the world amazed. Psychedelic art is for those who dare to foray into their subconscious – that plane of existence which does not fall along the lines of logic. This art form is a beautiful way to express the subconscious and give form to fantasy.

Aboriginal Art: Five Most Fascinating Facts

Based on their ‘Creation Myths’
Every art form that is Aboriginal, is primarily based on their ancient myths and legends. Even the modern pieces of Aboriginal art are based on ‘the Dreamtime’, a set of their creation myths. These ‘Dreamtime’ myths, which are more than 50,000 years old, are a great storehouse of their oral heritage which has been handed down from generation to generation. Interestingly, our only source of the ‘Dreamtime’ stories, of course other than the Aborigines themselves, is Aboriginal art, owing to the fact that we have no written sources of the same.

More than just Art
The Aborigines did not seem to believe in the philosophy of ‘art for art’s sake’. On the contrary, the Aborigines wrote through their arts. We get a large number of references with respect to their day-to-day lives, festivities and celebrations, modes of pastime, religious beliefs, social structure, hunting practices and so on. Apart from being a mode of expression and depiction, art was also used as a platform to maintain secrecy. After the colonization of Australia, the Aborigines felt that their spiritual and clandestine knowledge was in danger, and so it was thought that there needed to be a system with which they could hide it from the eyes of ‘outsiders’. The famous Aboriginal dot paintings resulted from this fear. It is believed that the dots were purposely made over holy symbolic depictions so that they could obscure the sacred knowledge.

More than what Meets the Eye
The depictions of Aborigines were naturalistic, as well as abstract in nature. The term ‘naturalistic’ refers to the depiction of natural surroundings, flora and fauna. So, we have depictions of animals, plants, people and other natural phenomena in various forms. On the other hand, the term ‘abstract’ refers to depictions, which may seem unrealistic at a first glance, but may in actuality possess much deeper connotations. So, we also have a huge array of drawings with geometrical shapes and symbols, which we, as the ‘other’ may not understand, but the Aborigines would definitely do.

Use of Natural Colors and Stabilizers
The colors used for their paintings were obtained from natural and locally available materials, predominantly ochre, a natural mineral, which was ground on a stone slab while adding small amounts of water and stabilizing agent. Red, yellow and white colors were obtained from different pigments of ochre, and so we see a wide usage of these colors in Aboriginal paintings. Black was obtained from charcoal, but was rarely used owing to the complicated procedure of making it. Olive color, which can be seen in some of the paintings was obtained by mixing black and yellow colors. It is very fascinating how the ancient Aborigines figured out a natural resource in the juice of an orchid plant, which could be used as a fixative to avoid flaking or peeling of the paint. Modern Aboriginal artists on the other hand, use artificial colors as well.

The Aboriginal Art Movement
Modern techniques of depicting Aboriginal art forms on canvas and paper, came into being some 40 years ago in 1971, when a school teacher named Geoffrey Bardon, noticed a group of Aboriginal men telling stories and drawing symbols in sand. This caught his interest and he encouraged those men to depict their stories on canvas and paper, two media, which were completely alien to them before that day. Thus started the famous ‘Aboriginal Art Movement’ which encouraged more and more Aboriginal artists to present their works before the world and become famous. Some non-Aboriginal artists also showed their interest in this art form, and began to practice it. Not surprisingly, Aboriginal art is considered to be the most inspiring contemporary art of the 20th century.

Intriguing Facts

♣ Bark paintings are the oldest forms of Aboriginal paintings. However, not many of them survive today due to natural disintegration of the bark.
♣ Aboriginal art symbols are collectively known as iconography. Aboriginal people traveled long distances across their country and recorded information regarding their travel in the form of symbols.
♣ A particular Aboriginal art symbol would have multiple meanings. Only an Aborigine, who knew his history and culture would be able to decipher what symbol had what meaning in what context.
♣ Numerous Aboriginal paintings have been discovered on sacred sites. This throws light on their sacred connotations.
♣ As remnants of the ancient Aboriginal culture, we have what has been termed as ‘aerial landscape art’ created across the Australian deserts. These cannot be figured out easily from the ground level, but a bird’s-eye view of these sites gives us a feel that we are actually looking at wonderful sculptures.
♣ The X-ray style paintings are one of the distinctive features of Aboriginal art. Apart from the outer bodies of the animals/humans, the internal organs and bones are also depicted in them. This also shows that the ancient Aborigines did have an idea of animal/human anatomy.
♣ There are two museums, which have been specially dedicated to the Aboriginal arts and crafts. These are the Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art, located in Utrecht in the Netherlands, and the Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, known as the Kluge-Ruhe.
♣ Body painting is an art that is of great cultural significance for the Aborigines. The motifs, which are painted on their bodies, particularly during religious ceremonies, not only signify their social status, but also depict totemic symbols of various clans by which they can be identified.
♣ Aboriginal art forms include their sculptures and specially carved pearl shells called ‘Rijis’. Sacred patterns are carved on these shells, thus giving them religious affiliations. We also have a number of small sculptures of imp-like creatures, locally known as the ‘Mimis’. They are believed to have taught the Aborigines’ ancestors to hunt and to make use of fire. Hence, they are revered beings.

The Magical World of Surrealist Paintings

Towards the end of the First World War, many artists who had moved to different parts of the world from Paris became proponents of the Dadaism movement which held the belief that the war was a result of excessive rationalization, and an increase in bourgeois living. The way in which Dadaists protested the war was with anti-art movements, different performances, art works, and literary works. History tells us that the first seeds of thought regarding the Surrealist movement were conceptualized from the remnants of the Dadaism movement. The person who can be called the founder of the Surrealism movement was Andre Breton who regarded the movement a form of revolution. The definition as given by him says that it is a “pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.”

Extremely influenced by Freudian theories, Surrealism is in a manner the expression of imagination as seen in one’s dreams. The entire gamut of Freud’s theories that dealt with free association, analysis of dreams, and of the unconscious, were extremely important to the artists who were a part of this movement. Most artists of the movement laid their claim on eccentricity without an acceptance of being mad. As can be figured out from what Salvador Dali very famously said, “There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.”

Another important characteristic of the movement was the juxtaposition of elements that were rarely ever actually featured together. The aim behind combining two disparate elements was to create something that shocked and startled. Most artists of the movement aimed at breaking the shackles that bound people to conventional, rational behavior, and customs and traditions.

One of the most famous painters on a Surrealist canvas was very obviously Salvador Dali, who helped popularizing this art movement. A lot has been said and written about the relation between the art movement and Dali and the effect that the artist had on the way people perceived this artistic movement. If you study the art form in detail, you will see that there is a lot of technique involved, as well as focus on content. But despite this, there was an attempt to appreciate what an untrained artist would see as art. This stemmed from the belief that free from rules, a mind tends to be more imaginative in the ideas it generates.

Most artists who painted in the Surrealist form, used free association and one of two methods of expression; Absolute Surrealism and Veristic Surrealism. While the former believed in the expression of ideas of the subconscious, the latter focused on creating a connection between the abstract and the real. Salvador Dali worked in the Veristic school, often juxtaposing images from the real world with imaginary situations. It is believed that movements of the art world like Abstract Expressionism and Magic Realism were born from this movement. Lowbrow art is also a throwback from this art movement.

It is difficult to understand this movement completely without maybe taking a lesson. Paintings like Elle Loge La Folie, Indefinite Divisibility, or Woman with Her Throat Cut, are works that just give you an insight into the shock and awe that Surrealism art inspires.