Monday, January 25, 2010

True African Art

Gathinja Yamokoski

Gathinja Yamokoski is an African artist who is working, through her web site, to restore African art appreciation throughout the world. The site serves the purpose of boosting the African art economy by offering a fair marketplace for African artists without exploitation.

In her own art, Gathinja places her focus on the traditional customs and practices of Kenya and says that her paintings are a direct reflection of her spiritual and intellectual growth as a human being.
Hypnotizing Child

I'm in Three Places

African art has a history that is centuries old. Despite strongly influencing Western Art, theirs is still largely a domain that is unknown and given less credit than it deserves However, today, there has been great interest by art enthusiasts who find Africa to be a colossal and thriving home of contemporary African paintings such as this mixed media painting by Michael Wafula:
Prayer- Under God's Eyes

Gathinja started the True African Art web site to give exposure to the largely undiscovered field of Contemporary African Paintings. As a result, its Artists are reaping never before seen publicity, income, and hope.

True African Art

If you are unable to see the above-video, please click HERE.

Gathinja Yamokoski, who was born and raised in Kenya, now lives on the East Coast of the US. Being an artist herself, opening up an original African Art Paintings website was an easy decision for her.

Gathinja says, "I have always loved art and have always shared it."

In the Village

Artists in Kenya often work in networks in order to gain more business. They offer tips to each other of where to find work and who is looking for it. So when word got out that Gathinja was looking to purchase paintings in Kenya, artists swarmed to get in line. One of them was Jared Juguna who created this piece, entitled, "Inside Face"
Inside Face

True African has for sale over 400 original African Paintings by some 40 African Artists. It includes exclusive video interviews with African Artists and employs a small staff of Africans who work on site on the continent. Though the website painting prices range from $10-$750, most are under $100.

To visit their website go to

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Study With a Mosaic Art Master in Italy!

Imagine yourselves on a hill in Italy standing on the grounds of a beautiful castle from where you can see views over Udine and the exquisite surrounding countryside. As the majestic Alps in the background thrust upward, a master mosaic artist leans over a table in the village below, preparing artists from all over the world to take their skills to a heightened level of expertise. This scenario need not be a figment of your imagination. Mosaic artist, Pam Givens, is a facilitator who brings mosaic artists together to experience this chance of a lifetime opportunity to study with one of the greatest living mosaic artists in the world, Maestro Giulio Menossi

(Please click HERE if you cannot see the video above.)
Maestro Menossi’s specialized techniques are unparalleled in their ability to impart students with the knowledge and skill to reproduce paintings in mosaic with amazing clarity and accuracy. The experience of taking his classes will forever alter one’s approach to the mosaic arts.

The Maestro states:

“I believe that the slow painstaking mosaic process exposes our personal stories. The difficulties of the journey follow the lines of the glass, where each tessera represents a new encounter, where hues and shades harmonize into new colors, where the shapes to close to our noses don’t allow us to recognize the vision as a whole, which we only discover by taking several steps backward and looking with fresh eyes."

"Creating a mosaic is a process of pairing, shaping, adding and removing tessera after tessera until the work is complete. Each piece needs to be chosen not only according to the one that precedes it, but also taking into consideration the ones that will follow. It is a process of deliberate construction and the most important element is passion.”

I encourage you to register for one or both of the two classes that are being offered in May:

Venetian Mosaic Technique Portraiture Course - Double Indirect Method
May 16 - May 28, 2010

Students will be instructed and helped in developing expressive eyes, mouth and stylized hair. They will learn specific andamento for the face, shading, color, cutting and placement that bring life and realism to the human face. Menossi is known as one of the premier portrait mosaicists in the world, and this is your chance for direct guidance in this challenging method.

Copy of a Klimt - Direct Method
May 30 - June 11, 2010

This course offers the student the unique opportunity to work directly learning the techniques of cutting, placement, texture, color theory and artistic interpretation of a painting. Maestro Menossi provides the cartoon, and all material, plus his own inimitable and inspiring style of teaching and method to provide a stellar experience in mosaic discovery.

Here is a video by Pam Givens that gives more detail:

(Please click HERE if you cannot see the video above.)

All the information you’ll need to take this wonderful journey can be found on THIS web site.

You can do this!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sonia King - "Mosaic is hard. Art is harder."

"Mosaic is hard. Art is harder." - Sonia King

Everyone who is anyone in the mosaic art world is familiar with the name, "Sonia King". This artist is, without a doubt, a primary driving force behind today’s contemporary mosaic art… a whirlwind as it were. Sonia teaches, writes books, gives lectures about mosaics worldwide and creates some of the most ambitious and compelling mosaics one will ever see.

Nebula Aqua
In her quests for visual expression through mosaic art, Sonia explores the beauty and physical relationships of the natural world. She travels the globe gathering the finest tesserae to use in her works…shells, smalti, gold, marble, ceramic and elements from nature that, when assembled, are highly inventive, original designs. However, her work also holds hints of familiarity in terms of visually expressing the feeling of place, of dimension and of interconnected relationships with the earth. Her work is visual poetry, art that effects its viewers both on a visceral level and a contextual one. Permafrost
As she flies around the world, Sonia is inspired by the appearance of the topographical features of the earth’s surface as her plane passes overhead. However, she does not necessarily model her works directly from these things.

Sonia’s art remind us of the capacity of an individual to alter the universe by modulating and unifying the outcome with countless individual pieces. These mosaics make manifest the physical presence of light and heighten the viewer’s visual perception when viewed at different angles. As they change with the light, Sonia’s mosaics give the appearance of art that participates with its environment, art that allows reflection and a connection with the natural world.

“Putting together the tangible and intangible, bits of color and texture, tesserae of meaning, I assemble each work one piece at a time, building a world to get lost or even found in. The work is difficult: a struggle to get every piece right while managing its relationship to the next piece and the one before, all the time considering the work as a whole. Creating with a broad range of materials raises the complexity beyond just cutting a piece to fit. Unlimited choices in scale and texture and reflectivity and spacing and more, keep my mind working on many different levels at the same time. It is engrossing and consuming and challenging and hard and I wouldn't do anything else.”
~Sonia King

Spinoff Spinoff detail

She has received many awards for her art including the Spectrum Award which signifies international recognition for 'creativity and achievement' from the tile industry. She has been featured in dozens of publications and on television. She holds a BFA in Environmental Design from the California College of Arts and a MBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She was one of the founders of the American Society of Mosaic Artists and also served as its President. She currently serves as a Vice President of the Associazione Internazionale Mosaicisti Contemporanei, (AIMC) in Italy. She has studios in Dallas and San Francisco and teaches internationally.
Meltdown Meltdown detail

Please visit Sonia’s web site, HERE to enjoy more information and photographs of her work. Interested parties can sign up for her occasional newsletter under the “news” heading on the site.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Linda Vaden-Martin – Mixing Healing with Mosaic Art

Before I write about Linda, I'd like all of you to know about a great creative blog that is celebrating its second anniversary by having a giveaway!
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Click HERE for KV Creative Designs blog!

Now...back to our regularly scheduled program.....

Linda Vaden-Martin

"I believe we are creative beings by nature and to create is therapeutic for our soul."
Linda Vaden-Martin

I’ve known Linda Vaden-Martin through flickr for quite a while now. Additionally, she was one of my son’s (Myles Blackwood) art students a couple of years back, but I didn’t have the opportunity to meet her personally until this past September when I was staying in Aptos, on the Santa Cruz Bay. Mosaic artist and friend, Delaine Hackney drove down from San Francisco to spend the night and Linda joined us for dinner. The three of us had a great time together, laughing and talking.
Linda, Stacy, Delaine
Subsequently, Linda and I walked on the Aptos beach and had a few phone conversations, and as I got to know her better I really started to pay attention to her art in a big way.

It isn’t every day that one finds an artist who is so focused on using her art to the degree Linda does to affect good in the world. Glancing through her portfolio, I discovered her work in, “The Cradle Project”, an installation that was created to promote awareness and raise financial support to help feed, shelter, and educate disadvantaged African children. She isn't doing this to accomplish accolades for herself unlike so many "self-horn-tooters" in the art world, but is doing it out of a genuine concern for these children and for all people.

Linda has a BS in Occupational Therapy and embraces a holistic view of how we, as human beings, are effected by our thoughts, our environments and our overall perspectives. Since I am personally studying psychology with a view toward doing some type of art therapy eventually, Linda’s melding of mosaic art and the healing arts is of great interest to me. She adheres to the simple theory that purposeful activity enriches lives. (A core belief in occupational therapy is that we will flourish by engaging in creative, productive, and playful pursuits.)

The artist states, “I am in an extraordinary position to combine my talents and skills with what I call Therapeutic Mosaics. One of my goals is to facilitate group and community projects that will enrich the lives of those experiencing life challenges, bring community together, and garnish our environment with the beauty of mosaics. My vision is to work with groups of people and their loved ones who have been challenged by devastating illness. I vision a community filled with murals not only to beautify, but to act as an anchor reminding us of what's truly important, each other.”

“I feel mosaics can be likened to life. What may appear to be broken and discarded can be rearranged and transformed into something spectacularly beautiful. In mosaics, as in life, we have many choices to choose from and can easily be overwhelmed. However it isn't until one actually begins to pick the pieces up do we find how easily they fit together. And if they don't, well, that's what we have tools for!”

Much of the strength in Linda’s work lies in her ability to discern and create beautiful and interesting patterns. The surfaces of her mosaics are complex, resembling hand-worked quilts or fine embroidery.

Her subject matter is interesting and often imitates Linda’s strong and playful inner spirit.
Tiny Dancer

Dance Fever

These are examples of more of the work she made in 2009. Note her strong sense of color, texture and design:
Kiss of Love

Back Side of the Sun

Linda lives with her son, Brandon, in Aptos, California where she sometimes teaches mosaic workshops. For more information, please visit her web site, HERE.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Goodbye, 2009!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

May the new year bring peace, happiness and prosperity to you all! As a departure from the usual, I thought I would help commemorate 2009 with National Geographic's top photographs of the year. Enjoy!

Stacy Alexander