Art2Arts Online Magazine
Featured Artwork, Art News, Artists & Exhibitions.
The battle between realistic artwork and abstract imagery has been waged since the early 20th century. Some of the biggest names on either side of the fence have made massive contributions to the world of art, but can it really be said that one style is better than the other? There are those dedicated artists and passionate enthusiasts on either side that will say yes, while many people are able to appreciate both. We’ve taken a look at the two styles to see what each has to offer, and some of the common criticisms.
Many fans of realistic art will often say that abstract art is just a bunch of random lines and smudges. The criticism is that there’s not as much skill required to produce abstract art. The lack of intricate detail is often mistaken for a lack of experience or lower quality art. This isn’t necessarily the case, as most abstract artists will start out being trained in more classical art-styles.
The argument to this common misconception is that art is supposed to be an expression of yourself or a reflection of what you see. The use of colour, brush strokes and patterns in abstract art can be just as emotionally inspiring and though provoking as realism. There’s no denying that realism has been a mainstream artistic style for a long time, but it has had to share the spotlight since the inception of contemporary movements such as Cubism and Expressionism.
Realistic painting has roots much older than abstract art. The 1800s saw the development of what is known as the realism movement, with iconic artists such as Maxfield Parrish and Augustus Vincent Tack. The aim of realism is to depict everyday situations by observing common places or activities. Britain’s biggest museums are home to some of the most famous realistic paintings in the world. These draw in hundreds of viewers every day, which indicates a love for this more classic style of art.
Unfortunately the idea of which style is better, is purely down to personal opinion and cannot be answered definitively. The two types of art are the antithesis of each other in terms of style, but are the same in terms of their goal, which is to portray life. Realism illustrates life in a realistic way, whereas abstract art portrays life in a non-realistic way. The two styles are simply different ways of approaching the same question.
Anyone who uses Snapchat will probably have heard of Frida Kahlo, or at least be familiar with the filter that helps you look like her. The renowned Mexican painter, best known for her self-portraits, has become a pop culture icon over the last few months after taking the social media world by storm. For those who are interested in learning more about the woman behind the filter, and her contributions to the world of art, this is a celebration of Frida Kahlo.
Born in July 1907, Frida was a promising student of medicine who was left paralysed from polio at a young age. She turned to art, which was just a hobby at the time, after being forced to quit her studies for health reasons. While travelling around Mexico and the US, working on commissions, Kahlo began to develop her unique artistic style.
The self-taught painter was renowned for not pulling any punches with her creations. One particular piece, ‘The Suicide of Dorothy Hale’, was the subject of much controversy due to its abrupt, graphic depiction of the American actress’s death. Frida’s visual style was heavily influenced by Mexican folk art, mixing fantasy with realism. The tone of her chosen themes often reflected her political taste, touching on issues of race, class and gender identity.
Her work is recognised globally for its bold representation of Mexican indigenous tradition, with her paintings being displayed in museums all over America and other areas of the world. She was the first Mexican artist whose work was featured in the Louvre’s collection. Later she began teaching hopeful artists and co-founded the Mexican Culture Seminar. Celebrated by feminist for her unyielding portrayal of the female form, Frida still remains an iconic figure 60 years after her death.
Something else that Frida was known for, besides her many contributions to the world of art, was her appearance. Her strikingly distinguished look is acclaimed by her peers as part of her empowering legacy. To coincide with International Women’s Day, leaders of the Frida Kahlo Corporation teamed up with Snapchat to allow people everywhere to share the artist’s unique look. More recently, a number of Frida’s portrait pieces have been reimagined in digital form as emojis. Conceived by graphic designer Sam Cantor, these cartoon conversions will bring Kahlo’s creations into the digital age.
As a painter and a public figure, she was revered and loved by her fans and fellow artists. As a women, she gained the respect and admiration of millions. Even today, Frida Kahlo is a dominant figure in pop culture, and will be remembered for generations.
If you’re a fan of Frida’s style, browse our collection of online art to find something similar for your home or place of work?
The world of art is always buzzing with new events and exhibits popping up throughout Britain. With so many venues hosting all kinds of events, planning your calendar can be difficult. In order to help you get the most out of your month, we’ve picked some of the must-see exhibits opening up throughout June.
America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s
Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly
This exhibit looks at American paintings by a variety of different artists from the 1930s, an era of industrialisation and financial drought. Featuring 46 pieces, the exhibit illustrates the condition of life in the US after the Wall Street crash in 1929.The centrepiece of the exhibition is Grant Wood’s famous painting American Gothic.
Art of Power: Masterpieces from the Bute Collection
Mount Stuart, Ilse of Bute
Hosted at the magnificent Mount Stuart building, this exhibit is a must-see. The Bute collection is Scotland’s finest collection of classic art, including 18th century portraits from painters such as Ramsay, Reynolds and Gainsborough. The building is a piece of art in itself, housing beautiful classical furniture and architecture. The exhibit is open all throughout June and is simultaneously showing at the University of Glasgow.
British Art: Ancient Landscapes
Despite the erratic and often gloomy weather, Britain has some beautiful scenery if you know where to look. This exhibit, which is running throughout June, displays work inspired by the UKs best landscapes. Featuring some of the finest British art from the last 250 years, from artists such as Henry Moore, Paul Nash and Richard Long.
Japanese history is rich with culture and artistic work that’s among the finest in the world. This exhibit features art that celebrates the Edo period, focusing on the unique visual style of Japanese woodblock printing. Any fans of Japanese art, or looking to learn about its long history, are sure to enjoy this exciting event.
Queer British Art
5 April – 1 October 2017
This exhibit is a celebration of Britain’s LGBT community and the contributions it has made to the world of art. Since the decriminalising of homosexuality 50 years ago, there have been a number of progressive movements helping to improve equality in the UK. The exhibit is a showcase of work from artists whose self-expression was previously suppressed.
If you’re heading to an exhibition this month, check out our online art gallery magazine before you go to make sure you’re up to date with all the latest news and faces.
One of the first things that comes to mind when looking at a painting or piece of art, aside from admiration of its style, is the question of where it came from. It’s fascinating thinking about the mind-set of the artist, and trying to figure out where they were or what they were thinking about during the inception of the piece. Inspiration can come in many forms and is manifested in different ways depending on the artist. Here we take a look at some famous landscape paintings and the real locations that inspired their creation.
Christina’s World - Andrew Wyeth
Created by American artist Andrew Wyeth, this is one of the most well-known paintings of the 20th century. The piece, which features a woman lying in the grass down field from two buildings, is actually a depiction of the Olson House in Cushing, Maine, United States. Years after the painting was conceived, the owner of the pictured house had it refurbished to match the depiction in the painting.
Chalk Cliffs on Rügen - Caspar David Friedrich
This oil painting by Caspar David Friedrich portrays the white chalk cliffs of the Stubbenkammer on the island of Rügen. The painting was conceived while painter Friedrich was on honeymoon with his new bride, Christiane Caroline Bommer. Created in 1818, the piece now resides in Museum Oskar Reinhart in Switzerland.
Looking Down Yosemite Valley - Albert Bierstadt
This beautifully detailed piece by German-American painter, Albert Bierstadt portrays one of California's most iconic sights. Bierstadt produced several landscape portrayals of the Yosemite Valley but this was his first full large-scale painting. It was created in 1865 and is currently being displayed at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Along the River during the Qingming Festival - Zhang Zeduan
Created during the Song Dynasty, this incredibly intricate handscroll painting was completed by artist Zhang Zeduan over a period of 60 years. The canvas stretches over 17 feet, illustrating the daily lives of people in China as well as celebrations during the Qingming Festival.
Cass - Rita Angus
As one of the leading creator of New Zealand art, Rita Angus was well known for her landscapes and her portrait pieces. This iconic piece of imagery is a portrayal of Cass in Canterbury, New Zealand. Angus’s approach to this piece involved meticulous planning and observation before finishing the painting in the studio.
Browse our landscapes art here.
The Saatchi Gallery’s current exhibition, ‘From Selfie to Self Expression’ is on everyone’s lips and we’re not surprised! This ground-breaking contemporary art show is the first of its kind to celebrate the selfie as a new and notable way of making art. We explored this subject further in our recent blog post, ‘From Self-Portrait to Selfie: ‘The Evolution of Artistic Self-expression’.
In the run up to its opening, a #saatchiselfie competition was launched, encouraging the public to submit their most daring and innovative selfie. The results can be seen in this post from Dazed Digital and they take the standard selfie format to new, creative heights.
Now, as the exhibition has been open to the public for a few weeks, we thought we’d turn our attention to the work hosted here at Art2Arts that fit into this new, updated selfie category to pay homage to this incredible exhibit.
If you’ve been to the Saatchi’s exhibition or if you’re dying to go, here is some more selfie-worthy art to admire, with a difference.
Now, thanks to filters and digital effects, the selfie can take on new and fantastical forms like those seen in this canvas. If taken by the hands of an artistic subject, we could imagine a similar looking futuristic image being posted on Instagram, receiving many ‘double tap’ likes in admiration.
This collaged ‘selfie’ uses many layers to create its final result, much like those adopted by image conscious artists behind the front facing camera lens. While these layers may often take on the form of costume, makeup and careful framing, the layers in this collage are more literal, making an equally as anarchic statement.
We couldn’t curate our most selfie-worth art without mentioning this piece by Eraclis Artistidou.As the name suggests, the words ‘selfie obsession’ take centre stage in this mixed-media collage, perhaps making a statement about this cultural trend. Regardless of how you interpret this message, it is presented in a wonderful, colourful cubist form, with the theme of music also remaining prominent.
What are your thoughts on the selfie entering the world of art?
How does it differ from the self-portrait style? Would you buy a selfie, digital or painted, to hang in your house? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or let us know via our social media channels.
If the 60s was all about psychedelic swirls and the 80s is summed up by garish designs, the 2010s could only be defined by a much more serious aesthetic. ‘All Black Everything’ is the trend seen in stylish wardrobes and in the home. And with the release of Black 2.0, the blackest black on the market, the world won’t be hanging up its gothic shoes any time soon. Leading online art gallery, Art2Arts highlights its affordable art for sale that pays homage to this moody style.
Black 2.0, created by artist, Stuart Semple, was released three years after Vantablack was first launched. While this incredible artist’s tool absorbed up to 99.6 percent of light, other creatives were banned from using it after artist Anish Kapoor bought exclusive rights to the product. Semple’s Black 2.0 is available for anyone to purchase (except Kapoor), paving the way for more delightfully dark creations to come.
Wendy Hyde’s ‘Abstraction in Monochrome’ series is just the type of dramatic work that this new black pigment was made for, only letting small sections of white light through its bold, brave and black brush strokes. Fitting the monochrome trend perfectly, the colourful character of the sky is represented using sophisticated dark shades.
Alternatively, in rare occasions the All Black Everything lifestyle can sometimes be accented by carefully curated bursts of colour. The cosmic-inspired round canvas of ‘Blissful Dance 3’ by Irina Rumyantseva would work well in any dark room, with its subtle splash of deep turquoise offsetting the black canvas, adding interest, depth and texture.
Michelle Gibbs, Director at Art2Arts revealed, “The world is certainly enamoured by the colour black right now, and quite rightly so! There is no other shade as synonymous with class, style and sophistication than this iconic hue. Now that Black 2.0 has been released, we’re bound to see the art reflecting this trend slip further and further into darkness – and the results are bound to be simply spectacular!”
Those adhering to an all-black colour palette in their clothes and home accessories often do so to make a strong impression. While light, colourful characters may be represented by sunshine and spring, there is no other weather condition more appropriate for ‘black’ than Dawn Roger’s Approaching Storm. Brave, bold and with undoubtedly black undertones, this gloomy landscape may be small but its impact can transform the feel of any room.
Last December .art, an internet domain just for creatives, was launched. However, this rejection of the .com, .co.uk and .org has received renewed attention in March after it was adopted by London’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), a sign of the domain’s infiltration of the digital world. Art2Arts, a leading online art gallery that was launched in 2006, welcomes this move, and what it could mean for the artistic online community.
Early adopters of this innovative internet suffix include industry publication, The Art Newspaper, curator, director and consultant, Love Watts and the Pissarro Gallery. Following on the ICA also swapping its org.uk domain for the catchier .art address this year, it is rumoured that institutions such as the Tate and the Guggenheim will follow.
Michelle Gibbs, Director at Art2Arts revealed, “The widespread use of the internet has transformed the art industry as we know it, and the launch of .art recognises this. With a few simple letters, any website using the term is part of an instantly recognisable community, with its credentials immediately validated. Just as an .ac.uk web address helps users recognise trustworthy academic and research organisations, .art will help browsers distinguish between the most innovative, informative, inspiring and of course, authentic art based websites.
“Launched in December, it is still in its early days but the possibilities it could bring are incredible. Online art galleries, such as my own, are just one example of how the artistic world is benefiting from digital platforms. In reality, it is helping to fuel not only a new interest in the creative arts, but to enable more to get involved - .art will only help to push this discovery and opportunity further.”
E-flux, an artistic publishing platform, is acting as an advisor to UKCI, the British business responsible for administering the .art domain. Only artistic professionals and businesses will be given the opportunity to register at the domain for a period of three months, before it is more openly accessible.
Art2Arts first came online over a decade ago, giving artists and art buyers a safe, reliable, one-of-a-kind online hub to securely sell and purchase original art.
The world of art is fantastic in that its practitioners can enter the industry at almost any age (something which we are tackling in our blog next month). Many artists, no matter how talented, often abandon their skill for fear of being unable to make a true career in the world – something which we aim to help tackle with our online art gallery platform!
Richard Young is one of these artists. Although his skill was apparent from an early age, it wasn’t until after pursuing a career in engineering that he decided to explore his talent once more. And the team at Art2Arts, as well as our customers, are very happy he did!
Here we talked to Richard to learn more about his personal journey into the world of art once more:
‘Sultry Dancer’- View it online.
You have practiced art from a young age, gaining success and media publicity. Yet, you chose to study engineering. Why did you make this decision?
I was financially driven at the time when I decided to study engineering. I had no career advice or guidance in school or college so did not believe that I could earn a living as an artist. Working for myself and selling directly to the public, or via a gallery, didn’t even cross my mind. It’s one of only a few decisions that I seriously regret.
Do you think a formal training in art is necessary to become a professional artist?
No. I didn't have any formal art training. I had guidance, but with practice and self-teaching, I succeeded in developing my own style, technique and niche market.
With your engineering degree and while working as a design consultant, you spent time working in the Middle East. Did these experiences influence your artistic creations today?
Yes, tremendously. I think that working within engineering in the Middle East gave me the time to develop my own style and allowed me to practice. Especially to produce intricate art using a knife. I didn't need to generate revenue when I started painting as it was purely a hobby. The subject matter, style and technique I have has changed a lot and sort of evolved. It's a modern type of realism. It took me a couple of years and a lot of effort to develop that.
Then there is the engineer side of me that wants my art to be anatomically correct and accurate as I pay attention to the finest detail. Also, being a manager in a company, I know how to administer the business side of my work, representing myself as a company rather than an artist. When I started painting I did a few Middle East inspired paintings such as belly dancers, falcons and camels in desert scenes.
‘Arabian Coffee Awakes’ – View it online.
Once passionate about art, as you were when you are young, did this passion continue through adulthood? Did you ever stop painting while you pursued another career?
I stopped painting from aged 21 until I was 41. I had a long break and took up painting when I had to give up playing competitive squash.
Although you studied engineering, did you ever feel as if you would one day work within the world of art?
No. Never. I actually forgot about art when I walked away from it! Starting again was never planned and a last minute knee jerk decision.
Your work is mainly focussed around dynamic dancers now – what other subjects have you been fascinated by throughout your artistic career?
Subjects that I find fascinating are horses, birds, musicians, and portraits; that's in terms of what I like to create. For viewing I have an extremely broad spectrum, as I also like landscapes, seascapes and still life.
‘Solo Flamenco Dancer’ – View it online
And when did the dancers become the main subject?
In 2006. Passion of Dance was my first dancer. I often call it my ‘one hit wonder’, as it’s still my lost popular in terms of merchandising.
Do you ever feel drawn to painting landscapes or abstract pieces?
You also say you are enamoured by light, and this shows through in your work. Why do you love dramatic lighting?
Dramatic lighting adds atmosphere and extra dimension to the subject. It gives you more to think about and makes the painting deeper and more dramatic. It enhances the passion in the subject also… Most photographers use fill in lighting on the opposite side to the main light source and I find it so distracting!
‘Bellydance of the Pyramids’ – View it online.
Your impressive work is created using a knife – when did you start using this technique and why?
It was 2005 when I first started painting with a knife. It took me about 2 years to get to a stage where I can show my art work. My first pieces of art with a knife were, let's say, fun!
I also used to wear out 2 sable brushes for per painting. And I estimated a saving of 20% of the painting time just by using a knife that cleans easily between slight colour and shade variations. I was very driven by need to work within a timescale if I was to achieve commercial success.
Do you also collect art yourself? Is your personal preference the same as your style, or do you appreciate other kinds of art?
Yes I do collect art in a very small way. The spectrum is broader when I collect, however, my favourites are still figurative and in particular William Bouguereau's. Oh to have an original. I wish…
Richard Young’s portfolio continues to amaze us, fascinated by the drama and details that each piece provides. View the rest of his work on his dedicated gallery section here.