James and Tommy, co-owners of Enlightened Brewery Company, have been creating tasty beer for Milwaukeans for some time. They recently celebrated their tenth anniversary. James was a former student of mine, and to say I’m proud would be a bit of an understatement. What better way to enjoy a beverage than to be greeted by these two as you enter their taproom.
Based on the photo from 1908, with his wife in Venice, I can’t help but smile at how humbled Monet may have felt in this moment. Arguably one of history’s most important artists, his presence seems lost on the pigeons.
This was a custom order from fans of George Rodrigue, the famed artist from NOLA artist. The ghost, Julie, sits atop his gallery. From the galleries website…”The building is also a stop on the nightly New Orleans ghost tours. Some 150 years ago a young woman named Julie, mistress to an Uptown businessman, wanted desperately to marry her lover.Tired of her pleading, he challenged her to stand naked overnight on the roof of the French Quarter apartment building where he supported her. Never thinking she would accept this bizarre proposal (made during the revelry of a ball), he was surprised to find her the following cold winter’s day on the roof — naked, frozen to death, and still clinging to the chimney. It is said that one can see her ghost even now wandering the roof and hear her sadness as she cries for her lover.
But the story gets stranger still—Created in the mid 1980’s A Night Alone is George Rodrigue’s rendering of this famous ghost story, and for many locals this painting has come to represent Julie’s image (in the same way that Rodrigue ‘invented’ the image of Jolie Blonde). Now his gallery will be housed in this same building — the setting for the only painting Rodrigue ever created of the French Quarter.”
Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is perhaps my favorite painting. One of the twentieth centuries’ most important paintings, it is now part of the collection of Museum of Modern Art in New York. Preceded by nearly 100 sketches, it has been stated that Picasso’s creativity was spontaneous, but carefully conceived. The five women, all prostitutes, seem to be neither behind or in front of the drapery. In addition, the women are painted in response to Cezanne, Matisse and African masks.
A little too large for a chair, Three Musicians fit perfectly on a bench. Created by Picasso in 1921, it is now part of the collection in the New York Museum of Modern Art. Although it is an oil painting, Three Musicians looks like a collage made from cut out pieces of colored paper. The forms are simplified into angular shapes that interlock like a jigsaw puzzle, and the flat colors create a surface pattern with multiple spatial ambiguities. Dark brown is used for the background wall and also for a foreground table, parts of the figures’ faces, and the silhouette of a dog lying under the table. Harlequin’s mask is part of a large, complex blue shape that covers much of the Pierrot. The same blue appears in the lower portion of the painting, possibly as furniture, and on the table top as part of a still life. While some objects are easily identifiable — the guitar in the center, the sheet music, and the clarinet on the left — others, like the pile of objects on the table, are less clear. (www.PabloPicasso)
This has always been one of my favorite paintings, and was an honor to recreate as a chair.
The Scream (Norwegian: Skrik) is a composition created by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1893. The agonized face in the painting has become one of the most iconic images of art, seen as symbolizing the anxiety of the human condition. Munch’s work, including The Scream, would go on to have a formative influence on the Expressionistmovement.
In his diary in an entry headed “Nice 22 January 1892”, Munch wrote:
One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord – the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.
In 2018, the portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. The date their unveiling, deliberately chosen by Barack Obama, was February 12, Lincoln’s birthday. The 44th president has made no secret that he admired the 16th. These paintings have captivated audiences from around the world.
With commissioned artwork, I am often asked to reproduce a celebrity’s iconic look. Which brings us to Lady Gaga…how do you narrow her fashion style onto just one chair…plastic bubbles, Kermit the Frog dolls, raw meat? With numerous conversations and considerations, we went with her portrayal of Elizabeth Johnson, the “Countess” from American Horror Story. Gaga won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of the ritzy bloodsucker.
I was recently commissioned to pay tribute to the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll, Tina Turner.
Turner began her career with Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm in 1957 where she was part of such great works as “River Deep – Mountain High,” “Proud Mary” and “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine.” In 1976, the band disbanded, and in the 80s Tina returned to launch her solo career marking one of the greatest comebacks in music.
Her 1984 multi-platinum “Private Dancer” album is amazing, and features “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” It also won record of the Year.
At the age of 44 she became the oldest female solo artist to top the Hot 100. Tina is a two-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with Ike Turner in 1991 and as a solo artist in 2021. She is also the 2005 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and Women of the Year award.