DAILY ART FIX: The Philosophy Books that Inspired Francis Bacon’s Art

Art world links which caught my eye…

Francis Bacon- Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud

Francis Bacon “Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud” (1964)

Painter Francis Bacon lived in his infamously messy studio. Books of all kinds were amongst the detritus, including works that shaped (or misshaped) the intellectual life of the 20th century.

Francis Bacon read books just like he painted: deep, dark, and complex. The Irish figurative painter was said to have had an enormous library of books sprawled across his London studio, from modernist giants like T.S.Eliot, Joseph Conrad, and Marcel Proust, to Friedrich Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze, Sigmund Freud, and Jacques Lacan reflecting the artist’s explicit interest in philosophy and psychoanalysis. In a 1966 interview with British art critic David Sylvester, he claimed to know some of these books “by heart”.

“I call it my imagination material,” he told French photographer Francis Giacobetti in 1991, during what would become his final interview before his death the following year. “I need to visualise things that lead me to other forms or subjects, details, images that influence my nervous system and transform the basic idea.” Like Bacon’s own artwork, which could be described as spectacles of horror – visceral, distorted images of crucifixions, mutilations, and monsters – his chosen literature was equally transgressive, often opposing existing philosophical and political ideas of their time…

Bacon’s artworks, while extremely personal, are also a product of their time: the shadowy aftermath of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It’s a subject explored by Steiner in In Bluebeard’s Castle, which – originally published in 1971 – is one of the key cultural texts on post-World War II society, and a popular read for artists and cultural critics alike. Best described as a reflection on the death of western culture, Steiner argues that classical culture died with the Holocaust.

Read the full article here: DAZED – The Philosophy Books that Inspired Francis Bacon’s Art

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

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Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

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DAILY ART FIX: 7 YEARS OF DAILY DRAWING TURNED INTO 2,500-PAGE BOOK

Art world links which caught my eye…

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Ruben Steeman’s “2,500 Days of Rust”

One of my mottos in art and life is persistence is key. Ruben Steeman persistently drew, then persisted to collect the works into an unlikely book.

Ruben Steeman has been posting one drawing per day for seven years on his website. When he reached the unbelievable amount of 2,500 drawings he decided to put them all in a book. Despite several publishers telling it would be impossible to print and publish it he wasn’t put off but remained focused and driven. He crowd funded his project and in the course of time found a book binder and managed to pull it through.

Read the full article here: ART SHEEP – 7 YEARS OF DAILY DRAWING TURNED INTO 2,500-PAGE BOOK

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

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DAILY ART FIX: The Hidden Life of Beatrix Potter

Art world links which caught my eye…

Beatrix Potter “Studies of Bees and Other Insects” watercolor over pencil

Beatrix Potter’s gently strange stories and her illustrations of primly dressed animals have delighted generations. She developed her artistic skills during childhood isolation; her creative work earned her freedom in her maturity.

The experiences she made as a child in many ways inform the plot of her stories. These may appear juvenile at a first glance, as stories of anthropomorphic animals invariably seem unless they are called Animal Farm, yet the subject matter is deeply serious. All the children in her tales have absent parents and deal with life-threatening situations, restriction of one kind or another being the common theme. Constricting clothing, garden walls, tree trunks, barnyard equipment and humans serve as foils to individual freedom in many cases. Although there is no proof for Potter having suffered from depression, it does not seem too far a leap to assume that she channelled her loneliness into writing, producing a creative outlet of sorts to void her negative feelings.

Read the full article here: MEDIUM – The Hidden Life of Beatrix Potter

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

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Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

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DAILY ART FIX: An Unexpected Artistic Birthday Surprise

A true story.

My birthday was September 28. To celebrate, my wife Michele Bledsoe and I both took the day off of work. One of her presents to me was a trip to Bookman’s, a wonderful used bookstore.

I love books. I’ve heard that’s a typical Libra trait. Because we already have waaaay too many books (bibliophiles understand what I mean, it’s a compulsion) we limit our visits to Bookman’s to very special occasions.

We were shocked by what we ended up finding there.

I had found 3 books and we went to check out at the register. As the clerk was processing our transaction, I started examining the display of refrigerator magnets next to the register. I quickly realized they were made by Gary Bowers, a local artist and poet we’ve known for years. The magnets were portraits of other poets done in his signature acrostic style, where he uses the letters of their names to create his own poems on their personalities.

Michele and I started calling out the names of the familiar faces as we identified them. “There’s Manny!” “And Jack Evans!” “Bill  Campana!’

And then I said, “There’s us!”

That’s right. Many years ago, Gary had gifted us one of his portraits, blown up to poster sized. We still have it as a memento of our beloved Deus Ex Machina Gallery, which we helped run from 2007-2012. Gary had used that image for one of his magnets.

Of course we had to buy it. “That’s us!” we proudly exclaimed as we handed it to the cashier. She looked at the magnet, then back to our faces, and said, “It certainly is!”

Thanks to Gary Bowers for an unexpected and memorable birthday treat! The magnet has taken up a place of honor, on our refrigerator.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: Rare and Wonderful 1950s Space Art

Art world links which caught my eye…

The future of the past.

In the early decades of the twentieth century, pulp magazines speculated on what space exploration might look like. While the illustrations didn’t end up being too accurate, they had a lot of style.

Read the full article here: DARK ROASTED BLEND –  Rare and Wonderful 1950s Space Art

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: Rockwell Kent, the Illustrator Who Made Moby Dick Famous

Art world links which caught my eye…

Ahab and the Carpenter | JLC Online

Rockwell Kent: ““I want the elemental, infinite thing; I want to paint the rhythm of eternity.” 

Now considered one of the greatest novels of all time, it seems at one point Herman Melville’s 1851 book Moby Dick had fallen into obscurity. It was a version illustrated by artist Rockwell Kent that popularized it again.

And though it seems surprising, as early as 1929, at age 49, he was already being honored with a monograph of his work. He followed suit in 1930 with an illustrated three-volume limited-edition set of Moby Dick that immediately sold out—no mean feat in the early years of the Great Depression. By that time Herman Melville’s 1851 novel was virtually forgotten and Kent’s illustrated edition played a prominent role in the recognition it enjoys today.

Of Whales in Paint: Rockwell Kent's Moby-Dick | Maine Home+Design

Read the whole article here: EYE ON DESIGN – Rockwell Kent, the Illustrator Who Made Moby Dick Famous

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: Rare, Arresting Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Short Stories by the Irish Stained Glass and Book Artist Harry Clarke

Art world links which caught my eye…

Harry Clarke ““He shrieked once — once only.”

I grew up loving the morbid writings of great American author Edgar Allan Poe. It does not surprise me that many artists have turned to Poe as an inspiration for their own dark Symbolist artwork. From Brain Pickings:

Old fine-lined illustrations and classic tales that outgrim the newspapers’ front pages, twisting the grisly into the sublime, come together in a rare 1933 edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, with illustrations by the Irish stained-glass and book artist Harry Clarke (March 17, 1889–January 6, 1931), whose visionary work influenced the Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and French Symbolism movements…

Clarke’s haunting, terrifying, yet lyrical illustrations become the perfect visual counterpart to Poe’s haunting, terrifying, lyrical prose. 

Harry Clarke ““It was the most noisome quarter of London.” 

Read the full article here: BRAIN PICKINGS – Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Rare, Arresting Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Short Stories by the Irish Stained Glass and Book Artist Harry Clarke

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RICHARD BLEDSOE is a visual story teller; a painter of fables and parables. He received his BFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard has been an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, in both the United States and internationally. He lives and paints happily in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Michele and cat Motorhead. He is the author of Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization:

Remodernism is not a style of art, it is a form of motivation. We express the universal language of inspired humanity.

We do not imitate what came before. We find in ourselves the same divine essence of love and excitement which has inspired masterpieces throughout history. We are strengthened by drawing on traditions thousands of years old.

We integrate the bold, visionary efforts of the Modern era into a holistic, meaningful expression of contemporary life. Remodernism seeks a humble maturity which heals the fragmentation and contradictions of Modernism, and obliterates the narcissistic lies of Postmodernism.

Remodernism is the return of art as a revelation.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: The Great Fictional Artists of Literature: A Reading List

Art world links which caught my eye…

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I have to dispute part of this article. The unnamed author claims “Many writers I know, myself included, fantasize about being able to paint or sculpt. But none of the visual artists I know wish they were writing novels.”

Personally, I’m a visual artist, and I’ve also been trying to write a novel since I was 18 years old.

I did write a non-fiction book, but that’s not the same thing as the world building adventure a novel can be. That’s the kind of novel I’d like to write; it’s the kind of novel I like to read, as well.

Read the article for a list of 10 books which invented a notable artistic character: ELECTRIC LIT – The Great Fictional Artists of Literature: A Reading List

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RICHARD BLEDSOE is a visual story teller; a painter of fables and parables. He received his BFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard has been an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, in both the United States and internationally. He lives and paints happily in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Michele and cat Motorhead. He is the author of Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization:

Remodernism is not a style of art, it is a form of motivation. We express the universal language of inspired humanity.

We do not imitate what came before. We find in ourselves the same divine essence of love and excitement which has inspired masterpieces throughout history. We are strengthened by drawing on traditions thousands of years old.

We integrate the bold, visionary efforts of the Modern era into a holistic, meaningful expression of contemporary life. Remodernism seeks a humble maturity which heals the fragmentation and contradictions of Modernism, and obliterates the narcissistic lies of Postmodernism.

Remodernism is the return of art as a revelation.

**************

I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: Books – We Go to the Gallery by Miriam Elia

An earlier version of this article was posted June 3, 2015

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Miriam Elia illustrates a point

In America, older generations than mine grew up with “Dick and Jane” books. The simple words and clean cut imagery of these works were meant as a teaching tool for young readers.

It seems the British version was “Peter and Jane.”  The names might have been different, but the intent was the same: an educational experience for kids, presented in an easily assimilated,  non-threatening format.

As society grew more cynical, succinct statements  like “Look Jane, see Dick” took on an unwholesome, ironic taint. The images now evoke a whole vanished era, a time of earnest naivete and lost innocence.

UK artist and writer Miriam Elia took full advantage of this gentle nostalgic vibe in 2014.  She released “We Go To The Gallery,” appropriating the traditional format associated with Ladybird, the British publisher of children’s  easy reader books. But in Elia’s version, the kids are being subjected to the soul crushing ordeal of viewing contemporary establishment art.

In panel after panel, Elia skewers the nasty nihilistic productions of the decadent cultural elitists.

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Along the way many recognizable conceptual art works are referenced, with the Mummy character spewing the stale turpitude so essential to post modern poseurs. The corruption and presumptions of culture industry hacks make them ripe targets for such mockery.

On her site Elia used to advertise a lecture on “learning principles”:

-Helping children understand there is nothing to understand

-Ensuring the child’s own opinions match those of the arts elite

-Preparing young people for a lifetime of crippling uncertainty

She’s presenting this as a joke. But when I realize that is exactly what our institutions are actively doing for real, I find it less amusing.

When I first discovered this book in 2015, it was unavailable. It seems the traditional publisher didn’t appreciate the mockery and some legal shenanigans ensued. In some of the images on the internet the character names were changed to John and Susan, and I wonder if that wasn’t an effort to bypass some of the copyright concerns. Now, in 2021, We Go the Gallery is back at Amazon; the site explains: “The 2014 limited edition of We Go to the Gallery was threatened with a lawsuit by Penguin UK (owners of the Ladybird imprint), which was withdrawn following a recent change in UK copyright law allowing for parody and satire.”

There is an extreme disconnect between the feebleness of contemporary art and the attitude of sophisticated superiority the elitists display. Irony was once their weapon. Now it is their shield. Soon it will be their tomb.

A generation’s worth of careers, reputations and investments have been built in a dead end, a pitfall of decadence and power lust. Outside of their carefully screened zones of consensus they are meaningless. But we can’t cede the custodianship of our civilization to these perpetrators. It’s time we start invading their enclaves and confronting their failures both as artists and as human beings.

Concise observations like Elia’s, presented with inescapable deadpan humor, will be the death of the current art bubble. Smart people are looking for the exits already.

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RICHARD BLEDSOE is a visual story teller; a painter of fables and parables. He received his BFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard has been an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, in both the United States and internationally. He lives and paints happily in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Michele and cat Motorhead. He is the author of Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: Video – Henry Miller: To Paint is to Love Again

Art world links which caught my eye…

There’s no other author like Henry Miller. There was a time when his often racy novels were banned in the United States, and had to be smuggled in from Europe. There’s many powerful elements in Miller’s prose. He carries us along by the exuberant tone in his writings, whether he’s musing, or kvetching, or leering. He does plenty of all three. But he did turn his rambling attention to painting, and provided inspiring commentary on what it’s like to work and develop as an artist.

In this video Miller narrates his own written words from his short work To Paint is to Love Again, in his wonderful Brooklyn accent.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!