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Monthly Archives: October 2016

How to Spray Painting Art

Most people commonly confuse graffiti with spray paint art. While it is true that the basics of both are the same, there is a stark difference between the two. Graffiti is more random and does not involve much thought regarding the artwork, design, or colors. Spray paint artists, on the other hand, pay more attention to all these aspects, and try creating meaningful pieces of art. They also utilize various other tools like brushes, sponges, and stencils to incorporate many shapes into their painting.

A Step-by-step Guide for Beginners

Step 1
To begin with, you need a proper ventilated place to practice. You can choose the wall of your compound, a garage, or a driveway for this. Once you have finalized the location, gather all the materials you will need, lay out newspapers or an old cloth at the place, and take out anything you don’t wish to get the paint on.

Step 2
Take the wooden piece or poster board to the place, and tape it onto the wall on the edges, with the help of masking tape or painter’s tape. This will make it easier for you to remove the board or the piece of wood, once you are done with. Before you start working, wear all protective gear to prevent any paint from falling on your body parts. Gloves and face masks are a must, to protect your hands from the paint and also to prevent intake of any hazardous paint fumes.

Step 3
Since you are a beginner, use spray paint cans for your work. Apply pressure with the help of your fingers on the nozzle of the can to control the rate at which paint flows out from it. You can adjust as much as you want, and see the effect it has on the texture and shading of the paint. Apply a coat of paint on the poster board or wooden piece, and cover it with a glossy magazine page on top. When you take off the magazine page, you will have a different texture of paint at the particular spot. In the same manner, make different layers on the painting surface.

Step 4
To incorporate shapes in your art, use normal household materials. You can form circles using cups and glasses; squares and rectangles can be created using small boxes and so on. Try looking for varied shapes from various daily use items found in your house to create unique and innovative shapes. You can also make use of a stencil.

Step 5
For making straight lines, try using clay-modeling tools. This will also be useful in providing additional texture to your paint. Wood or metal scrapers are useful for making buildings in the painting. You can experiment with these tools by applying many layers of paint on them, and keep learning new ways to make your art more creative.

Points to Consider

While purchasing cans, ensure that you purchase ones of the similar brand. Also, pick up as many colors as possible to make your artwork more lively.
When you set out for doing your artwork, wear old clothes, or clothes used often so that you don’t feel bad, even though they get dirty.
Make sure you wear rubber gloves and a face mask to prevent hands from getting wet in paint and also to avoid inhaling any toxic fumes.
It is advised that pregnant women and people suffering from respiratory disorders keep away from doing any spray paint art.
While you are still a beginner, don’t rush into practicing all possible techniques. Take it slowly, and gradually move on to complex methods, once you are comfortable with the basic stuff.

By following the instructions discussed earlier, try mastering the art yourself. Similar to all forms of painting, spray painting too, requires a lot of practice and patience till you master it. You should find a large enough space, and remove time from your daily schedule every day to improve and polish your skills.

Learn different Graffiti Styles

Graffiti is a highly developed art form and to learn a graffiti style you will need to keep sketching different graffiti letters for a few months till you get the confidence to develop your own style. To learn to draw graffiti styles you will need to observe a lot, and keep copying other artists’s work till you get familiar with the various styles, so that you can come up with your original style.

How to Draw Graffiti Styles

  • Assuming you are a complete beginner to graffiti, it will be good for you to start by observing various graffiti style forms for inspiration. Look around the city for various graffiti artwork on the walls. Carry a digital camera with you in case you want to shoot the artwork and then later on sketch it. If you can’t find much artwork to observe and get inspired, then search online. You will come across various different styles of graffiti.
  • Find 5 – 6 different styles of graffiti style writing and save the images of these graffiti styles. Some of the popular styles are Chinese graffiti style, Bboy styles, Soft bubble lettering, Flava, Oldschool, Wavy, Throwup, etc.
  • Each style has its own set of characters. With a quick image search on the Internet you might even find A to Z letters of some styles. In Throwup style the letters are very curved and fat, while in the Chinese style the letters are very edgy and bold looking, in Bubbles style the letters are also very round and fat with very little space is between the letters. This way you can make observations for different graffiti styles.
  • If you like some styles, then observe them and try to copy the sketches in a rough way. First only draw characters imitating different style. If you like the hooks and barbs kind of letters more, then practice drawing these kinds of graffiti styles more. If you like the more smoother-looking character then Wavy, Bubbles, and Throwup are good styles for you to practice on.
  • Once you had enough practice with drawing these letters, it is time to develop your own unique style. Go with a style which is inspired from a certain style or scribble a lot to come up with a style which is totally unique and new.
  • Sample few graffiti letters to decide which should be your style. Then draw A to Z letters of the style you like. Make sure the letters are neatly drawn and are identified as one style.
  • Then draw words, numbers, words with numbers etc., using these graffiti letters. Draw a word, give it a 3D shadow depth. Then look at different background designs and give a background design which is popular like zigzag arrows, bubbles, blocks, or flames. You can also add a background which matches your word if you wish.
  • Then use ink to fill up the shadows and use colors which can be sketch pens or color pencils to fill up the letters. Use bright one or few colors to fill up the letters. Then color the background and you have finished your first graffiti letter which reflects your original graffiti style.
  • If you wish to paint this word on a wall, then make sure you select a site which allows you to draw graffiti, so that you don’t get into trouble.
So, follow the above steps to develop your own graffiti style, and then use spray cans to draw your graffiti on the wall. With practice you will be able to create your own unique and great-looking graffiti style. Good luck.

Traditional African Art

Any work of art, to be appreciated, has to be understood in context of its cultural origin and culturally cherished values. You cannot view a piece of art in isolation of its origin. In fact, it would be appropriate to say that sometimes the culture speaks through art, and art helps us in understanding a particular culture better, in whatever form it may be. Ancient traditional African art, considered for a long time by the western world as primitive and unevolved, is now being hailed as aesthetic and meaningful. Part of the change in perception is due to the efforts of contemporary African artists and the diaspora, who have tried to blend the traditional with modern, using new creative mediums to express the ideas behind these antique works.

Traditional African art forms mainly include masks, sculptures, headdresses, carvings, dolls, cooking bowls, and jewelry. Most of it was made out of wood, as wood was available in plenty (from trees in West and Central Africa) and used a lot in day-to-day life. Traditional African art, in general, was more practical rather than ornamental, in the sense that the objects were meant to primarily serve practical purposes, not decorative. In addition, the arts were a means to reflect the beliefs, workmanship, and status (the more elaborate the work, the higher the status). For example, a mask (of an ancestor or a god) would be worn as part of a rite of passage by a young boy entering the stage of adulthood, or during a war, when the wearer could derive courage and strength from the mask. Similarly, bowls which were meant for cooking, were made artistically to weave some cultural or social value into it. A lot of the meaning attached to the art was symbolic.

Earlier, the Westerners undervalued African art. However, once they comprehended that this was not just a random art-form to adorn walls but had deeper meaning embedded within it, their perspective towards it changed. Artists like Picasso, Matisse, etc were greatly influenced and inspired by the geometric and abstract qualities of this simple yet complex art form. African art depicts the relationships between people and the unseen forces. It strives to attain a greater understanding and knowledge of the world by combining the seen with the unseen.

The 5 Elements

African art is both simple and complex. It is based on 5 basic elements, which are like common strands running through different works of art throughout the different regions of the continent. It aims to help the people understand their cultural, religious, and social beliefs through their unique designs. It reflected the belief systems, ideas, and values held by various African communities, and encouraged the younger generations to adopt them via various art forms. These elements include the following.

The Use of Human Figure
African art is an artwork created not just to please the eye but also to uphold religious values, and this is why the ‘human figure’ is given prime importance. This art deals with the spiritual and moral aspects of human lives. African artists considered the human figure to have a high aesthetic and religious value and associated it with true beauty. Through human figures, the artists didn’t want to portray a specific set of people. They rather aimed at conveying ideas pertaining to the reality of life. Spiritual beliefs, morals, and principles of life were conveyed through these portrayals. The artists even used animal figurines to put their ideas across.

Luster or Luminosity
African figure sculptures have smooth finishes and glowing, well-polished appearances. As per the African belief, a rough and irregular surface indicates ill-favored, unattractive, hideous, and morally-tarnished images. Thus, the artists made sure that their sculptures were polished well, with no irregularities on the surface, so as to be luminous. The human sculptures are also laden with jewelry to enhance their beauty. Sometimes, intricate designs are also made on the artistic pieces. Interestingly, in many of the African languages, there is only one word to describe both ‘beautiful’ and ‘good’. So, obviously, what is good is beautiful and the reverse is also true.

Composed Demeanor
The African sculptures generally have a calm, cool, and composed look. They are designed in such a way that they appear to be in control of themselves. Dignity, self-respect, elegance, and self-esteem radiate from them. These qualities tell us that the artists wanted their artistic creations to be well-mannered, rational, and logical, with straight and upright postures. Emotional outbursts and expressions were not entertained.

The days of youth were considered to be the prime days of one’s life and hence the artists included this aspect in their art. Since youth symbolized energy, strength, activity, fertility, and tremendous vigor, the artists imbibed these attributes in their creations. They did not want to depict any negative vibes and endeavored solely to promote positive attitudes and attributes.

Symmetry and Balance
This element is the only one which has some similarity to the Western or other forms of art. This refers to the materials used in balance and proportion to create artistic pieces, while the previously mentioned elements focused on the culture, religion, morals, and aesthetic values.

African art works include a wide range of items, namely animal art, body art, masks, jewelry, pottery, textiles, weapons, sculptures, baskets, currency, and bead work. These stunning objects are highly-sought-after nowadays, and adorn the homes and offices of connoisseurs across the globe. So, the next time you come across any piece of African art, stop to think about the idea that went behind making it. Find out which reality of life the African artists were trying to depict through their artwork. Identify the elements involved in the unique pieces and endeavor to appreciate their aesthetics.

The Minimalist Art

The earlier artists that were regarded as minimalist stood against anyone who tried to brand them as self-expressionists. Indeed, minimalistic art had much contrast to Expressionism. The art revolved around mostly simple geometric figures – uniform and symmetric, often cubic, stripped from their complex surroundings and thrown onto the canvas, using unmixed paint right from the tube.

Minimalism – The Masters of Less

Black Square
One of the earliest art that came to be defined as ‘minimal’ came from Kazimir Malevich, known as the Black Square. The painting describes just that – a black square on a white canvas. Originally derived as a concept in Russian Suprematism, the oil on canvas, as described by Kazimir, depicts the purity of an emotion. The black square represents the feeling, while the white background is the void that lies beyond this feeling, waiting for the feeling to end, to take hold of you once it does.

The Movement
In the words of one of the greatest in the Minimalist Movement, Frank Stella’s, “What you see is what you see” quote can be considered as the way to look at minimalist artworks. Of course, what you deduce from what you see is the result of opinions. His work, “The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II”(1959) hinted at his commercial influence. Ad Reinhardt explains the Minimalism as, “The more stuff in it, the busier the work of art, the worse it is. More is less. Less is more. The eye is a menace to clear sight. The laying bare of oneself is obscene. Art begins with the getting rid of nature”. David Burliuk, a Russian Avant-Garde artist, wrote: ‘Minimalism derives its name from the minimum of operating means. Minimalist painting is purely realistic – the subject being the painting itself.’

A View of the Minimalist Movement, 1960

The real Minimalist Art Movement can be believed to have originated around the late 60’s in New York City. This can also be considered around the same time as the beginning of Literary Minimalism. The art depicted an extreme form of simplicity, often coming with a bare-all-without-baring-much attitude, giving minimalist artworks the hard-edge look that defines them. The main characteristics of minimalist art are what separate them from expressionist art – no form of cultural gestures, no representation of any strong public opinion, and absolutely no point of self-explanation of the artist through the painting or the sculpture.

The Names
Through time, the art came to be known as “ABC art”, “literalism” and “Reductive art”, with “Minimalistic” as the most prominent. The word was, however, rejected by most artists in the Movement. One of these was Donald Judd, the man famous for his ‘box art’ structures and installations. One of the people on the forefront of the Minimalist Movement of the 1960s, his work featured at “Primary Structures”, a historic group exhibit held at the Jewish Museum in New York, 1966. Alongside him were Carl Andre, Dan Flavin and Sol Lewitt, other important names of the Movement.

Other Art Forms
Although minimalism can be related to other art forms like Pop art or Land art (it may be debated on which is a derivative of which), minimalism holds its own style of headstrong artwork that is simple to see, yet provides a view into the human minds as heavy as (maybe even heavier than) the others. It still adheres to the concept of beauty being in the eyes of the beholder, but it does so in such a simple manner that we can discuss the effect of the work for hours.

The Passing of a Movement
It was at the end of the 1960s that the Minimalist Movement came to a slow and steady pace, if not been disbanded altogether. Artists moved on, critics fangs bared, attacked all minimalism, calling it frugal, confused and sometimes, ‘minimal’ in the derogatory sense. The most noteworthy critical remarks about the Minimalistic Movement can be found in an essay written by Michael Fried, “Art and Objecthood” (1967).

Towards the end of the 60’s, minimalist artists ended up redefining the concept of minimalism, using sculptures and Land art to almost eliminate the difference between object and the art of that object. This includes the “Light and Space” movement influenced by John McLaughlin. The works often included installations with materials like glass and resin. All works that pertained to the idea of minimalism, created after the Movement came to be known as “Post-Minimalism”.

To a minimalistic artist, less will always be more. They would refrain from an object having to share space, along with the viewers interest, with another object in the same canvas. They believe this to be a cause for unwanted confusion. It was, is, and hopefully will still continue to be, the belief that changed Modern Art.