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October 2013

Nikko Hurtado

Nikko HurtadoArtist Nikko Hurtado uses both canvas and skin for his paintings. Both a lowbrow painter and tattoo artist, his medium of choice is almost irrelevant. What is important is the result - fine and compelling portraits, intricate and beautiful still lifes and raw subject matters. The work intrigues. And much of the results are, interestingly, rather classical. This so despite the backstory.

He describes himself as "I'm a tattoo artist/artist. I've been doing art pretty much my whole life. I specialize in portaits, and I like to do what are called alla prima painting its a style of painting thats its a on sitting painting of someone start to finish. I would really like to find some models that would like to sit for me, and it would help me grow in my skills of painting."

Saul Leiter

Saul Leiter 5305521283_62071efc90_bAlthough Edward Steichen exhibited some of Saul Leiter’s color photographs at the Museum of Modern Art in 1953, for forty years afterwards they remained virtually unknown to the art world. Leiter moved to New York in 1946 intending to be a painter and through his friendship with the abstract expressionist Richard Pousette-Dart he quickly recognized the creative potential of photography. Though he continued to paint, exhibiting alongside Philip Guston and Willem de Kooning, Leiter’s camera became — like an extension of his arm and mind — an ever-present interpreter of life in the metropolis.

The semi-mythical notion of the ‘New York street photographer’ was born at the same time, in the late-1940s. But Leiter’s sensibility — comparable to the European intimism of Bonnard, a painter he greatly admires — placed him outside the visceral confrontations with urban anxiety associated with photographers such as Robert Frank or William Klein. Instead, for him the camera provided an alternative way of seeing, of framing events and interpreting reality. He sought out moments of quiet humanity in the Manhattan maelstrom, forging a unique urban pastoral from the most unlikely of circumstances.

None of Leiter’s contemporaries, with the single and partial exception of Helen Levitt, assembled a comparable body of work in color. The lyricism and intensity of his vision come into fullest play in his eloquent handling of color: to the rapid recording of the spontaneous unfolding of life on the street, Leiter adds an unconventional sense of form and a brilliantly improvisational, and frequently almost abstract, use of found colors and tones. Leiter’s visual language of fragmentation, ambiguity and contingency is evoked in Saul Leiter: Early Color by one hundred subtle, painterly images that stretched the boundaries of photography in the second half of the twentieth-century. ( source : steidl )

James Jarvis

 James jarvisJames Jarvis and his American Series of photographs focused on two things.  1)  telling an experience through an image.  2)  Use frames to construct a layered composition that will lead you through said image.

American Aesthetic

For the series ‘American Aesthetic’ I wanted to explore the essence of the U.S. through not only the subjects that fitted my view of a particular locale (check my journal) but also from the nature of the composition themselves.  By subtracting the image into sections I am able to express what is a truly North American urban aesthetic: the rigid grids of urban planning and expression found in all major cities within this nation.   

It is this sense of spatiality that creates the framework for my personal stories and critic which is expressed through paint.  From each subject, I design compositions based on instinct and streamlining the number of canvas’s based on scale.  By using multiple canvases, in irregular positions, the viewer will have the sense of both boldness and detail that comes by taking a closer look at each individual piece. 

It is this aesthetic, the relation of lines and space, which I find to have inspired the drawings of iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright and abstract artist Piet Mondrian whom migrated to New York, the king of this concept in landscape form. 

This is my interpretation of an aesthetic which is strongly associated with the subject of my series, one artwork per city that I visited on my Greyhound bus trip journey.  A nine painting series.  I also take on key features of my own artistic development which relates to two styles that the United States can say they contributed towards the art discourse: photorealistic painting and pop-art.