Up until college, I had grown up with an appreciation for fine art thanks to my parents, but it was never really something I had sought out on my own.
I knew enough “art” to maintain my sense of weird, self-righteous adolescent pride in being cultured and artsy. My interest was driven by nothing else really of nobler substance.
At 18, I moved to New York for college, and I enrolled in an art crit class on a whim during freshman year: the Art of Now course at New York University.
Fast forward to 2013, when I studied abroad in Shanghai. I decided to take on a heavier workload of art classes and immersed myself in contemporary and Asian art. I don’t remember much of the art I saw in detail, but this period of time would leave an indelible mark on me, and it was a catalyst for my passion.
I returned, enrolled in some more art classes.. a studio class in drawing.
During my time as a student, I had more time in the afternoons and between classes to do other things (doing nothing, meeting friends at cafes or for lunch in the West Village, chilling near fountains – damn life from 18-22 was so sweet) and I began exploring gallery spaces and art exhibitions everywhere! pretty intensely.
I started taking random things at home: scissors, a tableweight, a pepper from the kitchen, a rose and draw.
So newly inspired I was by the intricate beauty in all things that held form, line, and shape.
I was falling in love with art then.
I began to accumulate a larger inventory of the things I liked and disliked, formulate stronger opinions backed by a latticework of thoughts and experiences built thanks to the plenitude of art I’ve seen in the years which have since passed post- college.
For example, I prefer minimalism and modernism. I like French impressionism, and abstract expressionism.
Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele works are so luscious and rich. Contemporary movements like pop surrealism, otherwise knowns as “Lowbrow” art are so cool.
I don’t find a lot of photography art to be impressive, but I’m okay with that. Installations with various forms of media are sometimes a hit or miss for me. I like contemporary art, but I’m not particularly fond of Jeff Koons (active from 1977 – ) or Damien Hirst (1988 – , or Jean-Michel Basquiat (1976 – ). But I do love me my Toyin Ojih Odutola (2008 – , Osamu Yokonami, and Chad Wys (2011 – ) :
It’s 2018 and I love art more than ever.
I move and live every week, drinking in all the things I see, from the daily visuals of life to the more curated representations of art at institutions.
And the more I do that, the more I understand this:
Art is an instrument that instructs the way we see and live our lives. Our lives, in turn, are ripe, breeding grounds for art: new expressions and new manifestos… and who’s to say that the act of life and breathing aren’t art in themselves.
They are synonymous with one another– and I cannot see the difference.
Helmut Newton is a photographer best known for his erotica fueled snapshots and a taste for capturing fun… stripped bare. He was regarded by many as the “King of Kink” and you can go back to so many issues of Vogue easily with his indelible footprint.
Here are a couple of my favorite works from this talented German Australian:
While I don’t appreciate all his works, I do truly think he was the best of his kind for what he did.
There is so much life and mischief captured through a single portrait– he did it so well.
Osamu Yokonami is a Japanese artist and photographer based in Tokyo who devotes his lenses to the development of photographs contemplating homogeneity. His group portraitures are regarded for invoking notions about identity, the collective, naturality, and youth.
I first became acquainted with Yokonami’s works at De Soto Gallery’s exhibition at the 2015 PULSE Art Fair in New York. His “Assembly” series was on display that day, and it most piqued my interest out of the swarms of art set out for many an art viewer’s purveyance. I ended up finding myself walking back to that booth section multiple times that Saturday afternoon, and since then, I’ve been following Yokonami’s activities for nearly two years now (that’s what good art does to you peeps).
I find pleasure in the idyllic qualities and the strange calm surrounding the odd symmetries of his photographs- unsettling, a little disconcerting, and also very beautiful.
I don’t really know what exactly I feel when I see his photographs, it doesn’t remove me and it doesn’t forcefully push me to a place where I’m aggressively thinking about an issue, a topic, or a stance.
Yokonami invites us to dwell on the journey for truth rather than the desination, I think. Or that’s what I feel.
The closest description I could put in regards to Yokonami’s effect on me is that his works put me in a deliberate state of an “in between” (As I see it, my mind occupies at this moment of seeing a super charged space with elements ie. high stimulation + calm + little sparkly little things firing everywhere in harmonious and purposeful direction, but I can’t really determine the end of where they’re going (not sure there’s supposed to be one, or if that’s the even the point/goal)). I feel curiosity seeing his works and pondering on them is an experience beatific.
Scroll through his series of 100×2 photos of female children posed with fruits (apples and oranges) on their shoulders– and you’ll feel something too I bet.