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Jeremy Geddes May 9, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Surreal.
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Post by Taylor Grant


Jeremy Geddes is a working illustrator in Melbourne, Australia.  Beginning his career as a video game artist and art director, Geddes made a name for himself in the world of comics, game art and graphic novels. Having studied painting in the 90’s, Jeremy became a master of oils and turned to a career as a full time painter in 2003. His paintings exhibit an amazing capacity for rendering,with rich tones, extreme detail and a carefully considered composition. In order to achieve such refined finishes, Geddes starts with a preliminary painting which allow him to work out the composition, color and tone before starting on the finish.  From there, the painting is drawn out using washes of color to prep the canvas.  Finally, the painting is completed and then an additional level of glazes is added to enhance the depth of colors and texture.

(above)  The Cafe, right- details


A combination of conceptual planning and technical ability makes Geddes’ pieces incredibly compelling.  The extreme photorealism of his rendering creates scenes that are completely believable, despite the surrealist elements. This idea is exemplified in Heat Death which features an astronaut floating weightlessly in an urban setting. Though his gravity defying pose is impossible, the figure and setting are both recognizable and realistic. I think this juxtaposition heightens the surrealism because I read the scene as a photograph, making it disconcerting because I know it could not actually occur.

(above)  Heat Death


The same eerie discontentment is seen in Cluster. but unlike other works by Geddes, this piece is not in a setting but instead uses the negative space to add to the surrealism. the figures are intertwined to create an uncomfortable cluster in the center of the page. Their limbs are entangled but the weight of the form is limp.  The discomfort of their pose is haunting, which is again heightened by the believability of the rendering .

(above) The Cluster


Jeremy Geddes continues to illustrate graphic novels, commissioned paintings and his own personally conceptualized work. You can view more of his paintings at: www.jeremygeddesart.com

Natural History Class Pic November 28, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Class Assignments, Class Topics, Picture files and Reference, Surreal.
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(above) Some of the Fall ’10 class in front of the reproduction of the Easter Island Moai


This fall we met at the Museum of Natural History to sketch/ gather reference for an assignment exploring surrealism. Surrealism in art portrays the dream, the element of surprise sometimes with unexpected juxtapositions of things within the same space. The museum is an amazing place to sketch , draw and photograph not only animal life (taxidermied) but also exhibits of different cultures around the world. Of course the museum is also extremely surreal it self with it’s own sometimes odd juxtapositions of exhibits. View lowland gorillas and then turn the corner and you’re in Mexico .

We met on the 3rd floor which has displays of Indonesian shadow puppets, pacific islander culture along with other Native American exhibits. The museum is like one big living scrap(reference) file that you can walk through.  I’ve always found their exhibits organized similarly to how a sketchbook could be organized. Details called out from models, notes , captions. Where a part of an artifact  is missing the visual information is drawn in.  Then there is the subway stop with the mosaics depicting the evolution of species.

(above) For Want of a Nail, 2000  Glass and ceramic mosaic, handmade ceramic relief tiles, hand-cast glass, bronze and cut granite floor tiles throughout the 81st subway stop.


A very inspiring place…

Two Awesome Worlds Collide April 19, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in 3-D work, Animation, Film, Music, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Surreal.
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Post by Grace Lang


In recent months, I have been watching a lot of music videos, specifically ones that feature dope-ass animation. It was sensational to realize that there are so many places for illustration within the music realm because jams, tunes, and diddies inspire most of us in some way or another.   SO…I wanna share what I’ve found!

Chad Vangaalen is a musician from Canada whose music I got into during high school. A few months ago, a friend showed me one of his music videos and I realized that he is actually an incredible illustrator and animator as well.  I think its pretty amazing when a person can master music and visual art. TOUGH STUFF. Here is a still from that video…it is called “Molten Light” and the song is off his album, “Soft Airplane.” The link to watch it on youtube is below the photo.



In 2009, Chad released an album under the alias, Black Mold, called “Snow Blindness is Crystal Antz.” It doesn’t feature lyrics like his other stuff, but is effin incredible anyway. Here is a still and link to a video for the song, “Metal Spiderwebs.”



Seriously, y’al. All his videos are phenomenal and totally worth checking out, SO DO IT.

NEXT UP is a bitchin claymation video for the Grizzly Bear (a Brooklyn-based folk rock group) song, “Ready, Able,” off the album, “Veckatimest.” The guys in the band didn’t make the video, as they aren’t animators like Mr. Vangaalen . This video is unbelievable and inspiring. I like it because it seems like a new approach to a somewhat common form of animation (claymation). The way it mixes media is especially fresh. Again, here is a still and a link:



The last video I want to share is from a band called Ramona Falls and it’s for their song, “I Say Fever.” Ciara, another  student in the illustration Dept., showed me this video and I am infinitely grateful because not only is it one of the best things I have EVER seen, but it also exposed me to a great new band. (I bought the album. SO GOOD.) The band is based in Portland, Oregon and their first/only album is titled, “Intuit.” This video is super different from the others. It doesn’t have as much of a hand-drawn feeling as Chad Vangaalen’s stuff, but there’s no disputing that it’s an insane and beautiful concept. I am drawn (PUN SO INTENDED) to it mostly because it fuses so many things that I like together: intricate line-work, bizarre imagery, good color choices, and ANIMALS. It’s also really nice to see something that was clearly manifested on the computer, but doesn’t feel super technology-y.




Oh, and another thing. When I got this album, I was overjoyed to realize that one of my long-time favorite illustrators, Theo Ellsworth, did the album artwork. This made me really happy because he’s beyond brilliant and I am glad to see he is getting such cool jobs. Here is the album cover and I highly suggest looking up more of his work. His book, “Capacity,” is especially inspiring.

The Foolish Corpse April 8, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Drawing, Events, Student Post, Student work, Surreal.
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By Masuko Jo

Honestly, I have never been too fond of using tablets, nor been nice about admiring digital art, but I’ll have to admit, using a screen tablet was quite a joy. 
On April 1st, I took part in the Foolish Corpse event, which was held in the Aronson gallery at Parsons the New School for Design.

As stated on the thousands of flyers found taped all around the school walls, “Foolish Corpse is a collaboration between the Parsons Foundation and Illustration programs. It is a live drawing event with rotating team and three video projectors that create one scroll-like image…” No matter how many times I’ve read that, I didn’t have the slightest clue on what we were going to do, until I arrived at the gallery, and begun drawing on the Wacom Cintiq screen tablets! It was absolutely fascinating. What I had drawn on the screen, projected on the walls in front of us! (To someone who isn’t at all tech-savvy, this was like witnessing a Leprechaun place a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.) 

(above) Students drawing on the Wacom Cintiq Screen Tablets while being projected on to wall.
There were three of these large screen tablets placed next to each other, and as we drew on the screen, we had to be aware of what the artists sitting around us were doing. We had to interact our image with theirs, like “the Surrealist parlor game, the Exquisite Corpse!” In addition to that, other students who brought their own laptops were able to use Wacom Cintiq Intuos tablets to draw and upload their work into a drop box to be used as “raw material” for the images projected on the screen. 

(above) Students using the Wacom Cintiq Intuos tablets
This might have been the most multi-tasking position I have ever put myself in. On top of having to make sure that the image I was creating moved fluidly with the other two screens projected on the wall, and having to keep uploading small drawings others have uploaded on the drop box to incorporate into the piece, we had random words thrown at us to enhance our piece towards a new direction! This was absolutely insane, but insanely absolute! 

(above) Collaborative illustrations projected on wall

It was a great opportunity for me to experience Wacom’s products, and really gave a new perspective of digital art (It’s a lot more difficult than you think!) The Foolish Corpse event was a fun event where I was able to collaborate with strangers in creating hilarious pieces, and I hope there will be a similar event soon to come again! ♡

Mona Hatoum February 20, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in 3-D work, Student Blog posts, Surreal.
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Post by Leila Ehtesham

Mona Hatoum is a Lebanese artist of Palestinian origin. She has spent much of her career living in London and, more recently, Berlin.  Hatoum works primarily with installations and video.

I first came across the work of Mona Hatoum about three years ago.  I didn’t know what to think of this artist who weaved Palestinian keffieh scarves from human hair, constructed welcome mats from needles or privacy screens  from giant cheese graters.   Hatoum’s work  made me a little uncomfortable,  it also made me curious. What is it about her pieces that make them seem all at once familiar yet foreign, personal yet clinical and minimalist, somber but still humorous?  She takes the everyday and transforms it into a surrealist dream. In a interview with the BBC’s John Tusa, Hatoum said of her own work: “I’m trying to make people question what they’re looking at, walk away with more questions than answers, complicate things so that it becomes a kind of one, challenging one’s assumptions about the world” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/johntusainterview/hatoum_transcript.shtml). I would agree that Mona Hatoum does just that: generates questions. You want to comprehend on an intellectual level what you already sense on an emotional one.

Although I found no overt mention of politics in my research, I do get the impression that Hatoum’s work reflects something of the Middle East, particularly Palestinian solidarity. The Kufiya has become a symbol of this in the Arab world, and the fact that she chose to weave the scarf from human hair seems to represent a personal sense of loss. The objects she uses in her pieces are largely household ones, and that she takes something like a sharp kitchen appliance or needle and juxtaposes it with something typically comforting like a bed implies a hostel force within day to day life. This is what I imagine when I think of people living in areas that are rocked by political and social divide, as is the case with the Israelis and Palestinians. Other artists have created or altered  objects into conceptual art, Marcel  Duchamp’s  readymades for example.  Because I get the impression of socio-political aim in Hatoum’s work, I don’t see too many ties with Duchamp’s Fountain/Urinal for instance, which I view more as having a comic motive rather than political.

Love it or hate it, the one thing I can say about Hatoum’s work with absolute conviction is that it’s memorable.

Web Bed (2002)

Pull (1995)

Keffieh (1993-1999)

The Grater Divide (2002)

Traffic (2002)

All work © Mona Hatoum

A covering Worn on the Face to Conceal One’s Identity November 10, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in 3-D work, Handmade, Surreal.
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A mask…got your attention…that’s what they do.

Green man Mask(above) a carved wooden Greenman or Wild Man  mask from  Germany(Austria?) . For “Fasnacht” a carnival held in Bavaria, Switzerland and Austria similar to Mardi-gras.

A great gallery collection of masks  amassed by someone over the last 20 years.
  The Maskatorium,

Raiders of the Lost Arcimboldo March 21, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in 3-D work, Art History, Public art, Student Post, Surreal.
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by Alex Iezzi

The  15th century, Italian painter,  Giuseppe Arcimboldo is one of the most instantly recognizable artists in western art.  From Milan, Arcimboldo  worked  as a court painter, as well as court decorator, and fashion designer, painting the Royalty, in Prague. And he painted them as fruit, and other objects.

arcim_1(above left) Vertumnus (portrait of Emperor Rudolf II)c. 1590  (middle) Winter c. 1563 (right) Win

Arcimboldo had an uncanny ability to look at a human figure and turn it into still life observational-plant-matter-mosaic of sorts.  Arcimboldo can be seen as the grandfather of this style; influencing  A number of artists historically, and in contemporary art  in techniques, and mediums.
His influence on artists of the 20th century can be seen in the work of  the Surreal and Dada artists. The artists of these movements were influenced by the bizarre quality of  Arcimboldo’s work.  Salvador Dali,  a surrealist,  oftentimes created  hidden images within images, although doing it much more abstractly  and stranger than Arcimboldo.



(above) Dali’s landscape  with hidden face.

Since the 1970’s, Mexican painter Octavio Ocampo has been creating  images  influenced by Arcimboldo.  His subject matter usually deals with religious, and traditional  Mexican imagery. Ocampo’s  portraits are comprised of juxtaposed historical images, painted and  composed in such a way as to create  very interesting  allusions relating to  a superimposed likeness. I would not  quite call it pop art.

(above) Ocampo’s portrait of Don Quixote.

Moving to our contemporaries, a very large body of work has been  created in the style of Guiseppe Arcimboldo, even in mediums other  than painting.  Joel-Peter Witkin has referenced Arcimboldo, and  with his influence created  horrifying photographic works.  Witkin credits the witnessing of  woman’s decapitation during his childhood to be the source of his own  aesthetic sensibilities.  Like Acrimboldo, he arranges organic and man-made material  into portraits. Witkin’s portraits can seem disgusting and be of confusing scenes, whose purpose is to leave a  deep, and sick impression in the viewer. Here for more: www.edelmangallery.com/witkin.htm.

peterjoelwitkin(above) Joel-Peter Witkin’s photographs obviously are influenced by the work of  the late Arcimboldo.

Vik Muniz is another artist who uses this material-assemblage technique  and then photographs the result.  Muniz uses junk in a junkyard  setting and rearranges it in order to create images, which can only be captured by a camera hung from a crane far overhead.  The images  are  copies of some  great master paintings, including  Caravaggio, Guido Reni, Correggio, and Goya. Despite the use of a simmilar assemblage style Muniz does recreate a Arcimboldo. The similarities are interesting to note.  Here for more: www.vikmuniz.net/

(above) Muniz’s rendition of Goya’s Saturn Devouring One of His Sons.

A younger generation has also picked up on the style of Arcimboldo and  worked in a very grand scale, much like Vik Muniz. Blu, an Italian  mural artist most famous for his moving graffiti animations www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuGaqLT-gO4 , has exhibited influence in Arcimboldo. This can be  seen in his 2007 Berlin work. Here for more www.blublu.org

blu(above) Blu’s mural.

The last artist we look at is my personal favorite of the group, the  young (25), Aurel Schmidt.  Her drawings of the grotesque and  deranged can also show Arcimboldo’s influence.  She has a  modern twist however, using her own collections of trash to mold  monsters out of them.  Her drawings are incredibly detailed, every  inch is completely rendered, and should be seen in person to get the true effect.  Not only is Schmidt a master of capturing minute detail  in her drawings, but she masterfully lays them down into chilling  compositions that Arcimboldo would surely be proud of! Here for more: www.tinyvices.com/Aurel_Schmidt.html

aurelschmidtall (above) Aurel Schmidt’s beautifully intricate drawings.

Lite on the Starch…er A-1 sauce Please July 31, 2008

Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Class Topics, Surreal, Visually Cool & Relevant.
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If I were clueless enough to point out that clothes can be art there would be such a large collective groan from the student body that surely it would initiate some natural catastrophe. That disclaimer having been said…conceptual clothing seems to be a must mention for a concepts class.

Above (Left) David Byrne –photo by Annie Leibovitz (Right) Condom Dress – Adriana Bertini

Annie Leibovitz’s hommage above to Belgian surrealist René Magritte will also be mentioned in the post “The Treachery of Images”.

Meat as clothing could be it’s own sub category. As a side note artist Pinar Yolacan photographs portraits of ladies wearing clothes fashioned from meat parts and Italian artist Simone Rachel has constructed  household items ( a hair blower, a mixer, a chair out of meat. I’m sure this is just the tip of the ice…uh pork chop. I’ve just posted the following:

Above (Left) photo by Michelle Nolan (Right) Meat Dress by Canadian artist Jana Sterbak

Photographer Philip Toledano has created a baby suit, a dress made out of breasts among others. I suggest you check out his site, it is stunning.

Any clothes you’ve encountered please let me know , I’ll try and post them. As always the source/credit is a must.   -L