Blog 8

1994 Rwanda, the site of mass genocide that left 800,000 men, women, and children dead.  These deaths were senseless and horrific.  Imagine the loss of twenty percent of this African nation.  Why you ask am I telling you this?  Well I wanted to introduce a powerful piece of African art to you in the context of why it was created.  Once you have watched it, join me for an explanation of who this amazing artist is.


Kofi Setordji was born in Accar in 1957, he started his art career out as a graphic artist and began sculpting under the tutoring of Saka Acquaye.  The story behind the creation of the Genocide Monument, was that Kofi saw television pictures of hundreds of bodies in a mass grave in Rwanda being pushed aside as if they were nothing more than inconvenient trash.  After watching this lack of respect and dignity being given to the fallen innocence of the 1994 mass murder, Kofi decided he had to do something to immortalize these fallen people.  So he went to work for the next two and a half years to bring their story to life.  This culminated in a traveling memorial made of wood, metal, waste, and clay sculptures.  This monument weighs over a ton.  Its materials are fragile, as is the life in which this memorial portrays.

 I choose this piece because it hit such a cord with me.  After doing research on not only the monument and artist, I felt it was necessary to research the atrocity its self.  I will forever remember the events that befell these innocent people and thanks to Kofi many others will have their likenesses burned into their memories forever as well.




Blog 7

My first non western pieces come courtesy of the Ming Dynasty, or more specifically Dai Jin.  Dai Jin (1388-1462) was from Qiantang in the Zhejiang Province.  Dai Jin was a carpenter in his younger years and was well known for his hairpins, statues, and birds.  Later in life he began to pain.  He became a painter for the court but angered the officials and returned to Hangzhound.  He made a living selling his paintings and is well known for his landscapes.



Farewell at Jintai, Dai Jin (1388-1462)

  The first piece I choose was Farewell at Jintai.  I found this piece to be calm and interesting.  The tree stands out the most for me; it’s almost as if it is listening in on the conversation between the men on the ground.  

This next piece, Anchorite Aside Brook, caught my attention because again I was more focused on the tree and almost missed the man sitting on the hill entirely.  The detail in this painting is beautiful and again the background is breathtaking and calming.  This painting tells quite a story, and I’m sure that story is different for everyone that looks at it.

ImageAnchorite Aside Brook, Dai Jin (1388-1462)




Blog 6


Since my family and I have gone through some hard times we decided to go to Walt Disney World this fall.  Looking at the art work done by Thomas Kinkade gives me a sense of whimsy and calm.  The pastel colors and dreamy pictures match perfectly with the Disney way of doing things.  The above piece is entitled Cinderella Wishes Upon a Dream.
Kinkade has the ability to transport you into this fairy tale world and it is just beautiful.

ImageSleeping Beauty, Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade was born January 19, 1958 Kinkade was from Placerville, California and attended from U.C. Berkley and Art Center College of Design in Pacedena, California. He died April 6, 2012.

ImagePinocchio Wishes Upon a Star, Thomas Kinkade

This final picture of Pinocchio is obviously about a Disney character, but if you are willing to look deeper you will see that it is about the wishful child in all of us.  This is a painting of hope and it is beautifully done.

“My Disney Dreams Collection celebrates great moments from Walt Disney Films. I call these paintings “narrative panoramas” because each painting tells the entire story of the film in one image.

For my painting Pinocchio Wishes Upon A Star we see Pinocchio upon a hillside overlooking the setting of his adventures. We see Honest John and Geppetto’s workshop where Pinocchio was formed. On the right we see Pleasure Island and Monstro the whale preparing to engulf Geppetto’s sailing vessel. Butterflies and sparkles lend magical accents as the Blue Fairy and Jiminy Cricket look on.

My prayer is that my Disney Dreams Collection will make dreams come true for all who see these enchanted paintings.”

-Thomas Kinkade

My next artist is Jim Shore.  He is a folk artist that has recently been doing sculpture work for the Walt Disney Company.  The Disney Traditions Collection is fun and different than anything else out there.  Much like Kinkade, Shore is tasked with bring to life beloved Disney characters.

ImageSnow White, Jim Shore

This first piece and the others to follow are fun and inspiring.  The attention to detail in this sculpted medium is beautiful.  Shore has made collecting figurines sun, I should know I have five of them.

ImageEeyore, Jim Shore

Image Sorcerer Mickey Lighted, Jim Shore

What better way to end an exhibit about Disney then to end with the mouse him self.  In Jim Shore’s own words,

“The most rewarding thing about creating my collection,” Jim tells us, “is that it is continually evolving and exciting. It’s not character driven. There’s always room for one more idea – another work in progress.

“Above all, when people look at my work or choose a particular piece, I want them to get joy from it. I get e-mails and letters from people who tell me that one of my pieces symbolizes an important moment in their life – sometimes happy, sometimes quite sad. This is very inspiring to me.”


Blog 5

I picked Shine, performed by Louis Armstrong in 1942.  This upbeat albeit stereotypical song is fantastic and demands you get up and move.  Louis Armstrong was an American Jazz musician from New Orleans.  He was born August 4, 1901 and died July 6, 1971.  Armstrong’s musical gifts presented themselves early in his life and he became well known in the 1920’s as a trumpet player.  Armstrong also possessed a voice that was perfect for scat singing.  He also had a presence on the stage and you were instantly drawn to his amazing sound.  Armstrong was one of a few African Americans that were able to appeal not only to the black culture of the time but the white culture as well.  He was a true talent and pioneer.



Blog 4

Impressionism is a style and era of art that I have always had a hard time relating to or even enjoying.  At first I thought it was boring and then I realized what I was missing.  I was missing a story.  These are more landscape and serene paintings with muted colors and soft brush strokes.  I prefer images that have depth and are dripping with story and relevance. 


Take this painting, Impression, soleil levant, by Claude Monet done in 1872.  This painting to me while nice is rather plain and boring.  It looks almost choppy or unfinished to me.  Kind of like the sketch before the amazing picture is created.  To me Impressionism seems like a good starting place but not an end product.


Also look at this painting L’Absinthe, by Edgar Degas done in 1876.  Even this portraits subject looks bored.  The story and feeling of this painting is some what lacking to me.  She simply looks sad and bored.


But if you take this painting Venus Induces Helen to Fall in Love with Paris, by Angelica Kauffmann done in 1790 you can see it is full of story.  This piece could have been taken from the memory of any person lucky enough to live it.  This is why I prefer Classical art to Impressionistic art. 



Blog 3

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  This is a name that has been recognized since the late 1700’s.  Mozart was a musical prodigy that composed his first piece at age 5 and performed in front of royalty at age 17.  Mozart died in 1791 after a mysterious illness but in his life time composed more than 600 works which include my selection of Requiem Mass in D Minor.  This was Mozart’s Magnum Opus and was partially completed in 1791 but finished after his death by Franz Xaver Sussmayr.  This piece was commissioned anonymously by count Franz von Walsegg for a February 14th mass to commemorate his wife’s death.  There was much mystery as to how much or little Mozart may have done on this piece before his untimely death.  For me I find this piece haunting and beautiful.  This is one of my favorite pieces as it is done in the original Latin and flows effortlessly. I also enjoyed the fact that it was played publicly for all to hear at a public benefit for his grieving wife.  This gave the middle class and anyone else that wanted to listen the opportunity to hear this amazing music.






Blog 2 Baroque Era

What could be more decadent and fantastic than the fusion of music and high drama theater in a new art form called Opera?  This to me was a moving art form that deserves much respect.  Claudio Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea is now a favorite of mine.  First a little background on Monteverdi.  Monteverdi was an Italiann composer, gambist and singer.  It should be noted that Monteverdi was heavily influenced by the catholic church as his teacher was Marc’Antonio Ingegneri,[5] the maestro di cappella at the Cathedral of Cremona.

Monteverdi became a priest in 1632, it was during this time that he created, L’incoronazione di Poppea.  This opera was considered the climax of Monteverdi’s career as it was a tragic, romantic, and comical piece.  It had a more realistic portrayal of characters which made it easy for those in the merchant class to relate to.  It was first performed in Venice during the 1642–43 carnival season.  This was one of the first operas to use historical events and people.  It recounts how Poppea, the mistress of Roman emperor Nero is able to become empress.

I not only enjoyed the moving melodies of the music, I loved the story.  It was told in a way that can still be appreciated today, specifically appreciated by someone who had never listened to true opera in her life.



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