Saturday, October 3, 2009

My New Hero

Last week I went to see the Botero exhibit at the Berkeley Museum. It was a great exhibit and what surprised me is that Botero donated all of his paintings to the Berkeley Museum. How generous. However I wanted to talk about an artist I stumble upon at the museum and her amazing work. Her work formulated everything that was on my mind for a long time. In Lisa Solmon’s class I had to talk about thing that inspires me. I organized my presentation around three big topics. Texture, repetition and political art those are the big topics my art is organized around. During the summer I was constantly thinking of how can I incorporate all three in my artwork. And there it was, eureka all of that was formulated in Deborah Grants art. I was blown away. Her drawings are not just random images but charged with political and historical meaning and when you look at the artwork as a whole it tells a tale like no other. I would call it a story within a story within a story that conveys one big story. I found a clip on the internet where Grant talks beautifully about her work. I watched it now 5 times and I can not believe how much what she says was formulated in my head over and over again. Deborah Grant is my new hero. Now I just need to figure it out where I go from here. I know now that repetition, texture and political art is a perfect combination I just need to find my own voice in it. Her is Grant’s video in case you guys are interested.


  1. Wow! I saw the video and was really interested in her approach to depicting and combining historical and political themes together in order to make a theatrical story in a 2-D world.

    When she showed her piece, “The Golden Touch,” I was able to see that she is, in a way, like a contemporary Egyptian artist. She creates her own symbols that she uses repetitively, such a single crutch or a rifle, to represent something meaningful to her. Looking at her pieces makes her symbols become her own hieroglyphics. One can get an overall idea or theme of what Grant may be depicting, but if one really wants to understand the story, that person would need to decode her symbols to reveal an even deeper understanding. I guess I also can compare her work to hieroglyphic and Egyptian art because her figures are clean-cut and follow the similar prototypical formulas: legs, arms, and head in profile view, while the torso and eyes are in frontal view. Because of her consistency, it makes her work stand out and have an empowering presence.

    Her black and white cut-out pieces were also interesting. They were very clean and one could tell that there was a story that needed to be decoded throughout the collages.

    Seeing the video was refreshing. It gave me a different perspective in ways one could represent art, especially political or theatrical art. She also shows how early art can still serve as an influence for contemporary artists today. I guess I have noticed that a lot of young contemporary artists say that a lot of their ideas just “came to them” and they think that no one has ever done the type of work that they are creating. Instead, Grant embraces what she has learned from previous artists and uses her knowledge as a way to enhance her style and approach to creating art.

    Thanks for sharing the information!!!!

  2. The Deborah Grant stuff is indeed can you go wrong using images from Bill Traylor. for those of you who don't know the funky/skinny figures in her work are appropriated from the folk artist Bill Trylor. Bill was born a slave and began painting at age 85! that said I enjoy her work and this is the first time I've seen it, thanks for finding this to share. Its great to find someone doing and saying what you yourself are grappling with. The Botero stuff is not to shabby, the good one are great but at times the lesser ones seem formulaic to me, as if he didn't give the compositions much thought.. but that may be just me... I like strong compositions.still they are grueling

  3. Wow,you sound really excited. I can't wait to see what you come up with for your art work.

  4. I really like the folk elements in her work and her compositions are so interactive. Thanks for sharing!