It's no big secret that I love art, particularly when an artist manages to combine incredible skill + wit + humor. WIN WIN WIN. Today's example of such an artist is Laurie Lipton. She pretty much rules. Her drawings are so tight. So detailed. So carefully done. And -- huge bonus -- her drawings are rather dark and hilarious. And they shine a spotlight onto some of the absurdities/horrors/obsessions in modern day life. Enjoy!
Laurie Lipton was born in New York and began drawing at the age of four. She was the first person to graduate from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pennsylvania with a Fine Arts Degree in Drawing (with honors). She has lived in Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, the UK and has recently moved to Los Angeles after 36 years abroad. Her work has been exhibited extensively throughout Europe and the USA.
Lipton was inspired by the religious paintings of the Flemish School. She tried to teach herself how to paint in the style of the 16th century Dutch Masters and failed. When traveling around Europe as a student, she began developing her very own peculiar drawing technique building up tone with thousands of fine cross-hatching lines like an egg tempera painting. “It’s an insane way to draw”, she says, “but the resulting detail and luminosity is worth the amount of effort. My drawings take longer to create than a painting of equal size and detail.”
“It was all abstract and conceptual art when I attended university. My teachers told me that figurative art went ‘out’ in the Middle Ages and that I should express myself using form and shapes, but splashes on canvas and rocks on the floor bored me. I knew what I wanted: I wanted to create something no one had ever seen before, something that was brewing in the back of my brain. I used to sit for hours in the library copying Durer, Memling, Van Eyck, Goya and Rembrandt. The photographer, Diane Arbus, was another of my inspirations. Her use of black and white hit me at the core of my Being. Black and white is the color of ancient photographs and old TV shows… it is the color of ghosts, longing, time passing, memory, and madness. Black and white ached. I realized that it was perfect for the imagery in my work.”
source for artist info above
images found here and here
On a personal note, I love love love art, but I really don't like going to galleries so much. Museums are so much easier -- they generally have better art, they aren't trying to sell you anything, they aren't trying to determine your income level/purchasing potential, etc. So...I usually avoid going to galleries. But I really wanted to see Laurie Lipton's works in person, so I mustered up a bit of pluck and made my way over to Ace Gallery (one of the biggest, most famous/infamous galleries in Los Angeles). It was pretty easy to find the gallery, and I found metered parking and headed into the building. There was a doorman (?!) that showed me into the elevator -- a tiny/kind of creepy elevator with room for about 2.5 not-too-chubby people. The doorman asked where I was headed, locked us in, and took me up to the second floor. Weird, but he was nice, and he told me that he had had the same job for 40 years. !!!!!!!
The elevator doors opened, and I slid out into the gallery. A couple of gallery chicks were working in the front; one ignored me, and the other one and I exchanged what I refer to as "customer smiles". Fine by me -- if the choices are to be ignored or given a fake, yet polite smile, or be pounced on by an aggressive sales person, I'll take the the fake smile.
Ace Gallery is HUGE. It has a staggering amount of square footage, and I'd say there were 4 or 5 different exhibitions running concurrently. That is nuts. All I could think was WHAT THE HELL DOES THE RENT COST IN THIS JOINT? Just so much space. It was very neat, very tidy, with very nice presentation. The art worked well in the space, and was of high quality.
So, if you are wanting to venture out into the LA gallery scene, Ace Gallery isn't that scary. If I can venture into a gallery, you can too. If you have the interest. Clearly I am of the chickenshit variety, but I'm trying to make more of an effort to not be HOBBLED by all of my issues. They just get in the way.
Side note: VISITING galleries is one thing. Working for them (and or letting them represent you as an artist) is another thing. If you are ever looking for a job in the art world in LA, feel free to email me and I'll let you know which galleries, artists and museums have the worst reputations and should be avoided if at all possible. :)