My thoughts are dark
The sky grey
The wind’s cold
And lonely feelings stay
The woods are silent
The air clear
I let my soul scream
There is no one here
I wish life was simpler
I wish I just could go
hug a tree
or see a show
My thoughts are dark
The sky is clear
A distant dog bark
I’m still here
-Ellen Gill –
My poem and photographie are also published on my site : www.passionforart.net
I love when art is challenging, when the artists do something unexpected and twists around the world as we know it. The real passion for art! That’s why I think the work of Chinese artist Zhou Weihua is so interesting, the way he is surpassing history and reality.
Zhou Weihua’s paintings reflect the world as an image-making factory. By choosing public images and processing them through a personal filter, he screens a series of valuable spiritual images, which allowing his paintings to enter a cultural image ideology. These self-reflective images present a parallel to human existence. For example, he paints icons of the past (which are ever-present in today’s media) mixed with the young, Chinese generation, all expressing total satisfaction and jumping for the sky.
All of the images are beautiful and joyful in his paintings. You never see misery or tragedy. Zhou Weihua uses images that appear in documentaries and the media. These images are not connected to his private life; they are images of public consumption. Two main categories of people appear on his canvases. The first type is famous icons of the past: such as politician Mao Zedong and Che Guevara; film stars Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Zhou Xuan; singing legend John Lennon with wife Yoko Ono; socialist model-worker Lei Feng; culturalists Lu Xun and Bernarad Shaw and Cai Yuan Pei. The second type of people in Zhou’s paintings is unknown people with physical characteristics which match modern society’s ideals.
Zhou Weihua visually quotes public images. His paintings are a discussion of displaced images in both time and space. For example, in the series “Carefree” and “Playing Together,” historical figures come to modern China and view a modern city. There are scenes of a Zhong Kui play behind Audrey Hepburn. Zhong Kui and Zhou Xuan are with super-girls. Hollywood film toys and Divas of the Beijing opera play together. Besides the time displacement and a created simultaneous existence, the younger generation is floating in the sky, enjoying a hyper-real space.
“Time and space displacement are composed of a representational world of imagery. Chinese contemporary paintings show a large quantity of images,” says media theorist, Marshall McLuhan. He calls these information-bomb images “hot images.” Contemporary painting is evolutionary and Zhou Weihua translates photography imagery into informative and narrative images. In contemporary society, images divert into two groups; private and public.
The world today is filled with its living inhabitants and the legends of historical ghosts. The subject choices in his paintings are very personal. The public images have been broadcast or consumed frequently, and reflect common public interest. This era is an era of image-consumption, thus suggestive of where we stand as a culture. There are increasingly more images that are pleasant or joyful, but without any soul or personality. These representational images verify each other’s existence and form an ideological-structure, which is purely representational. This structure reflects the modern consumer-system, which seems to have three-dimensional, qualities, but is actually flat and deprived of meaning. The people’s consumption within this system will eventually lead to the representational existence of human kind.
The representational existence of images and humans are materialized in consumer society; this is the point of Zhou Weihua’s image system. The inspiration of his images, (like historic icons, fashionable modern Chinese, and Hollywood film toys) are purely representational. The historical images are mostly disconnected from their old and serious characteristics, and the modern images are deprived of all things real and cruel; they are hyper-realistic. Their characteristics are reflective of modern society and pursue something comic and absurd. In other words, the images do not reflect real life. They show the idealized scene of our desires; the public ideology of consumption.
In Zhou Weihua’s paintings, the figures are represented in absolute cuteness and joy. All the representations show the possibility of being free and flowing. They do not live in reality, and the historical people don’t live in the past. In his paintings there are no real dimensions, but only the dimension of absolute happiness. The people in the images are free from any connection to the past, like an existence in a permanent representation, where beauty and joy will last forever.
Zhou Weihua wants to highlight a society of consumption. It’s not necessary that we draw these images back to reality, instead he suggests that we walk from one representation to the next.
Ideally situated in the heart of Southern France, between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, the cosmopolitan and enthusiastic “Ville Rose” joyously mixes heritage and lifestyle, great cultural events and festival pleasures. Toulouse is an absolute must for everyone wanting to explore France. At once both modern and proud of the legacy of its past, open and radiant, you are bound to be seduced by the incomparable Toulousain lifestyle, coupled with the wealth of its cultural heritage. Even if you are not as lucky as me, who has my sister and her family living nearby, your stay in Toulouse will certainly be a time of great pleasure.
Toulouse, France’s fourth biggest city, is bubbling over with life. There’s nothing like a stroll around the historic centre, walking alongside the Garonne and the Canal du Midi, or stopping in one of the many cafés whose terraces spill out onto the streets. All over the city, the ambience is friendly, tinged with the well-meaning familiarity that I find particularly for the people of South France.
Toulouse is also a major shopping destination. All the major internationally-renowned brands in fashion, design, leather goods and jewellery are represented in Toulouse. The city neighbourhoods also live by the rhythm of the open-air and covered markets. Here you’ll find local products from the Midi-Pyrenees, which is one of the South-West’s most important gastronomic regions – producing wine, foie gras, cheeses, charcuterie, and of course cassoulet – the Toulousain dish par excellence.
2,000 years of Toulousain history have left the city scattered with a first-rate heritage that is representative of the Southern French style at various moments in history.
The Saint-Sernin basilica, a jewel of 11th and 12th century Roman art, is an important stage on the Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle pilgrimage. It is home to the grave of Saint Saturnin, first bishop of Toulouse in the 3rd century. The Jacobins convent buildings are visited for their Southern-French gothic architecture including the amazing “palm-tree”, a pillar from which twenty-two branches stem.
At the heart of the antique dealer’s quarter, the Saint Etienne cathedral bears witness to the evolution of several styles of sacred architecture. The city is also very rich in Renaissance townhouses: hôtel de Bernuy, hôtel d’Assézat, hôtel de Pierre… Not to forget the Capitole, currently the City Hall, with its magnificently decorated historic rooms and the immense ‘place’ with its Occitan cross. Sneaking a peek under a porch can sometimes reveal stunning gardens and façades. 19th century industrial buildings renovated as cultural venues prolong the tradition of brick – such as the Galerie du Château d’Eau, the Musée des Abattoirs or the Bazacle – a permanent exhibition space on the banks of the Garonne.
The city at the Garonne river is on the site of an ancient Roman settlement; even today many of the smaller streets follow their Roman counterparts and many of the red brick buildings are of a pseudo-Roman style. These buildings are also what give Toulouse its nickname La ville rose (The pink city).
Toulouse is a big city, but the historical centre is quite small, so you can walk to most beautiful and famous destinations in the inner city quite comfortably. This is definitely the best way to explore the city. My niece and her boyfriend took me exploring the city when I last visited, and I was so impressed, even though I’ve been there before, I left the city with a passionate print in my heart.
I find that Toulouse is one of the most alternative French cities – maybe due to its huge student population and its historical past with half a million Spanish republican/communist/anarchists ‘rebels’ that settled in the region after they failed to rebel against Franco and escaped through the Pyrenees during the ‘Retirada’ in 1939. I don’t know this for sure, but I sensed a rebellion attitude from great graffiti like this:
And of course, during my first visit to The Pink City over twenty years ago I bought a print that has been following me around since, and which I see as one of my art treasures: The print of the Seated Dancer in pink tights by Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec. I know that this artist did not live in Toulouse as one might assume because of his name, but for me, the artist and the city reflects my passion for art and traveling.
This article is also published on www.passionforart.net
Marianna Orlova is a young artist whose work just amazed me. Living in Moscow, she bought her first camera after saving up when she was 17. Her first photos was of her friends, and her work developed to the rare and fascinating art she is giving us today, at the tender age of 19. When I first saw some of her photos, I thought I had stumbled upon a well-known established artist, just unknown to me… And I guess my first interception was right, because Marianna has a lot of fans. Using social media as facebook, she makes her art available for everyone, and she also has a da account.
I asked Marianna what her inspiration for her spectacular work is, and her answers were not surprisingly mostly from music and music videos. She mentions Evanescence, HIM, Skillet and Three Days Grace, and I think it is so great to see an artist getting that kind of inspiration from other artists in other genders. Ohh, this is the real passion for art!
In some of her work she clearly gives us a reborn character from our childhood fairy-tales, like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Marianna also finds her inspiration elsewhere, sometimes even in her dreams. When she told me that I understood better why I myself thought about fantasy characters like elves and unicorns when I absorb some of her work. Marianna is an artist who enables the world to look into her dreams, and be inspired by the love and mystery that is present in all her frames.
Marianna wants to capture the moment, she loves working with her camera in motion, and not a staged scene, even though it might start out as one, she always plays along with what is happening around her. Her eye for lightning and surroundings makes her photos open for playful dreams and fantasy.
Marianna is now a freelance photographer, and her big dream is to continue grow as an artist, and maybe leave Russia to work in a great magazine in another country. I hope her dream comes true, so that this great young girl can continue making her great art available for the rest of us, we need artists as Marianna.
Do you want to read more and see more photos: Go to www.passionforart.net
Living with a passion for art, I’m always on the look-out for places to get that great feeling, when you see something that engages you in a way nothing else can. It’s not always loving and careing feelings; it can be anger, frustration and sadness as well.
Last week I stumbled upon a great blog, called Irishill’s blog. She had posted an article called “Christmas Stocking Fillers” and she had some fabulous prints with colours and originality that really made me want to see more, more, more! The spontaneity of her prints, the movements and the playfulness made me think of dancers and a world of tolerance and joy. I had to know more about this artist, and what I found was even better than I thought:
Iris Hill is the creative utopia imagined by unique British artist Lisa Jean. Named after Lisa’s ever supportive grandmother, Iris Hill is a beautiful fantasy land, filled with flowers and fairies; inspiring vivid brush strokes and colourful female forms. Nymph-like splatters and ethereal washes result in an exceptional style that Lisa is keen to pass on. Believing in the therapeutic power of positivity and calming practice of creation Lisa works with a number of youth arts organisations. Here she mentors youth groups and inspires and educates a future generation of creative while sharing her techniques and motivating others to get involved.
“I’m a big believer in the arts, and the benefits of creativity. There is a certain stigma attached to what people believe art is, but it’s not necessarily about being good at it, but rather the process and enjoyment of it. During tough times, like recession, we can utilise the resources around us with the power of inspiration and community. I encourage my peers to look around them, take pen to paper. It doesn’t cost much; neither does the possibility of opportunity.”
I couldn’t agree more. I think that artists like Lisa Jean can do something about people’s interception of arts.
The dream must be that we all start looking at art the fun way again, the real way, like children do. I don’t mean that art is not serious, but I do believe that people tend to relate to art in the same way they relate to a job-project. “What is this? Do I need this? Can I leave this out of the report?”
Art is so much. Roger Fry said that
Art is a passion or it is nothing
The wonderful magical place of Iris Hill gave me a peace of mind and joy in my heart. And I’m sure a lot of you will experience something good by visiting the world of Irish Hill.
2011 has been an exciting time for Lisa as she started the year with an exhibition at Hanger Farm Arts, whilst also illustrating a range of cards named ‘Mizar’ for major publisher Carte Blanche Greetings ltd. Hopes are high for 2012 to see her success continue to grow.
“My passion for art” wish her all the best, and we will continue to follow her success.
You can find even more information here.
This article is also available at www.passionforart.net
Living with a passion of art, you constantly also are living in conflict with your personal view and the established view. How easy it is to just go with the flow, and don’t make up your own mind, if thousands love this, why shouldn’t I? If you think about if, you know that is not the sort of person you want to be. And we can blame society and aggresive advertising… Or we could look at Banksy: “The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists.. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”
For those of you who don’t know, Banksy is an English graffiti artist who’s work can be seen all over the world. If you take a look at wikipedia it staits:
“Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter.
His work is splendid and spot on, and I must admit, his work often makes me a little uncomftible. Becouse he is right, and I feel ashamed, personly and for this world we are sharing.
“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing.
And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can
make someone smile while they’re having a piss.” Banksy “Banging your head against a brick wall”