Steve Ditko (b. 1927) is an American comic book artist and writer best known as the artist and co-creator, with Stan Lee, of ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘Doctor Strange.’ As of mid-2012, Ditko continues to work at a studio in Manhattan’s Midtown West neighborhood. He has refused to give interviews or make public appearances since the 1960s, explaining in 1969 that, ‘When I do a job, it’s not my personality that I’m offering the readers but my artwork. It’s not what I’m like that counts; it’s what I did and how well it was done…. I produce a product, a comic art story. Steve Ditko is the brand name.’ He has, however, contributed numerous essays to Robin Snyder’s fanzine ‘The Comics.’
Ditko studied under ‘Batman’ artist Jerry Robinson in Manhattan at the Cartoonist and Illustrators School (later the School of Visual Arts). He began his professional career in 1953, working in the studio of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, beginning as an inker and coming under the influence of artist Mort Meskin. During this time, he then began his long association with Charlton Comics, where he did work in the genres of science fiction, horror, and mystery. He also co-created the superhero ‘Captain Atom’ in 1960.read more »
Susan Kare (b. 1954) is an artist and graphic designer who created many of the interface elements for the Apple Macintosh in the 1980s. She left Apple with Steve Jobs in 1985 to be the Creative Director at his new company NeXT.
Kare was born in Ithaca, New York, and is the sister of noted aerospace engineer Jordin Kare. She graduated from Harriton High School in 1971, received her B.A., summa cum laude, in Art from Mount Holyoke College in 1975 and her Ph.D. from New York University in 1978. She next moved to San Francisco and worked for the Museum of Modern Art. Today, the MOMA store in New York City carries stationery and notebooks featuring her designs.read more »
Anthony Charles Grant Thompson (b 1959), better known as Anthony Ausgang, is an LA based artist and writer born in Pointe-à-Pierre, Trinidad and Tobago. He is a principal painter associated with Lowbrow art, a populist movement with cultural roots in underground comix, punk music, and hot-rod culture. Ausgang was one of ‘the first major wave of lowbrow artists’ to show in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. The protagonists of his paintings are cats — ‘psychedelic, wide eyed, with a kind of evil look in their eyes.’
By 1993, his artistic production consisted of customized cars, original acrylic paintings, and commercial merchandise, including clothing, puzzles, toys, lighters, and posters. Laguna Art Museum commissioned Ausgang to design a hole for a miniature golf course exhibit at South Coast Plaza in 1996. In 2010, he did the cover art for the MGMT release ‘Congratulations,’ ‘an eye grabbing illustration that could easily been found on a Grateful dead release circa 1974.’
David LaChapelle (b. 1963) is an American photographer and film director. He is best known for his photography, which often references art history and sometimes conveys social messages. His style has been described as ‘hyper-real and slyly subversive’ and as ‘kitsch pop surrealism.’ One 1996 article called him the ‘Fellini of photography,’ a phrase that continues to be applied to him.
He grew up in Connecticut and North Carolina. He has said to have loved the public schools in Connecticut and thrived in their art program as a child and teenager, although he struggled with bullying growing up. He was bullied in his North Carolina school for being gay. When he was 15 years old, he ran away from home to become a busboy at Studio 54 in New York. Eventually he returned home to enroll in the North Carolina School of Arts. He would later attend the School of Visual Arts in NYC.read more »
Florentijn Hofman (b. 1977) is a Dutch artist known for playful urban installations such as the ‘Rubber Duck’ (a giant floating sculpture). They were built in various sizes, including one created in 2007 that is the largest rubber duck in the world at 105 feet long. Hofman’s tour was named ‘Spreading joy around the world.’ He aimed to recall everyone’s childhood memories by exhibiting the duck in 14 cities. The ducks are constructed with more than 200 pieces of PVC. There is an opening at the back of the body so that staff can perform maintenance. In addition, there is an electric fan in its body so that it can be inflated at any time, in either good or bad weather.
Since 2007, the ducks have been on display in Amsterdam, Belgium, Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, and Pittsburg. In 2009, while it was on display in Belgium, vandals stabbed the duck 42 times. The duck on display in Hong Kong was damaged and deflated in Taiwan after an earthquake, before bursting a few weeks later. In 2013, Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblog, blocked the terms ‘Big Yellow Duck.’ The censorship occurred because a photoshopped version of ‘Tank Man’ (the Tiananmen Square protester), which swapped all tanks with this sculpture, had been circulating.
Bill Watterson (b. 1958) is an American artist and the author of the comic strip ‘Calvin and Hobbes,’ which was syndicated from 1985 to 1995. Watterson stopped drawing the strip at the end of 1995 with a short statement to newspaper editors and his readers that he felt he had achieved all he could in the medium.
Watterson is known for his views on licensing (he refused to merchandise his creations on the grounds that displaying their images on commercially sold mugs, stickers and T-shirts would devalue the characters and their personalities) and his move back into private life after ‘Calvin and Hobbes.’read more »
Kehinde [keh-hin-day] Wiley (b. 1977) is a New York-based portrait painter, who is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of people with black and brown skin in heroic poses. His portraits are based on photographs of young men who Wiley sees on the street. He painted men from Harlem’s 125th Street, then South Central neighborhood where he was born.
Dressed in street clothes, his models were asked to assume poses from the paintings of Renaissance masters, such as Tiziano Vecellio and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The artist describes his approach as ‘interrogating the notion of the master painter, at once critical and complicit.’ His figurative paintings ‘quote historical sources and position young black men within that field of power.’read more »
George Grosz [grohs] (1893 – 1959) was a German artist known especially for his caricatural drawings of Berlin life in the 1920s. He was a prominent member of the Berlin Dada and New Objectivity group during the Weimar Republic before he emigrated to the United States in 1933.
According to art critic Robert Hughes: ‘In Grosz’s Germany, everything and everybody is for sale. All human transactions, except for the class solidarity of the workers, are poisoned. The world is owned by four breeds of pig: the capitalist, the officer, the priest and the hooker, whose other form is the sociable wife. He was one of the hanging judges of art.’read more »
Erwin Wurm (b. 1954) is an Austrian artist; since the late 1980s, he has developed an ongoing series of ‘One Minute Sculptures,’ in which he poses himself or his models in unexpected relationships with everyday objects close at hand, prompting the viewer to question the very definition of sculpture. He seeks to use the ‘shortest path’ in creating a sculpture — a clear and fast, sometimes humorous, form of expression. As the sculptures are fleeting and meant to be spontaneous and temporary, the images are only captured in photos or on film.
Most Recently, Erwin Wurm has worked on a series of sculpture titled ‘Fat Car,’ which depict ‘puffy, obese, life-size sculptures that bulge like overfilled sacks.’ The first of this series was developed with Opel designers but they were unsuccessful in achieving the kind of shape that Wurm had in mind. In order to create the quality of fat, the artist uses polyurethane foam and styrofoam covered with lacquer.read more »
Syd Mead (b. 1933), is a ‘visual futurist’ and concept artist. He is best known for his designs for science-fiction films such as ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘Aliens,’ and ‘Tron.’ Of his work, Mead was once moved to comment: ‘I’ve called science fiction ‘reality ahead of schedule.” Sydney Jay Mead was born in Saint Paul Minnesota, but spent only a few years there before moving to what would be the second of many homes throughout the western United States prior to graduating from high school in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1951.
After serving a three-year enlistment in the U.S. Army, Syd Mead continued on to the Art Center School in Los Angeles, (now the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena) where he graduated in 1959. He was recruited by the Ford Motor Company’s Advanced Styling Studio under the management of Elwood Engel. Mead left the studio after two years to accept a variety of assignments to illustrate books and catalogues for large corporate entities such as United States Steel, Celanese, Allis Chalmers and Atlas Cement.read more »
Evan Penny (b. 1953) is a South African-Canadian artist currently living and working in Toronto (he completed a postgraduate degree from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 1978). He makes sculptures of human forms out of silicone, pigment, hair and aluminium. His pieces range from the almost precisely lifelike, to the blurred or stretched. Penny says one of his interests ‘is to situate the sculptures perceptually between the way we might see each other in real time and space and the way we imagine our equivalent in a photographic representation.’ Though his creations are lifelike, Penny believes that ‘the real can’t be represented or symbolized,’ leaving everything to be a representation.read more »
Nathan Sawaya (b. 1973), is a New York-based artist who builds custom three-dimensional sculptures and large-scale mosaics from popular everyday items and is best known for his work with standard LEGO toy bricks. His unique art creations are commissioned by companies, charities, individuals, museums and galleries all over the world. He first came to national attention in 2004, when he left his job as an attorney to work full-time as a LEGO artist. After working for the LEGO company less than six months, he branched off and in 2004 opened an art studio in New York City. As a professional artist, Sawaya is no longer an employee of the toy company, however he has been officially recognized by The LEGO Group as a LEGO Certified Professional. To date he is the only person ever to be recognized as both a LEGO Master Builder and a LEGO Certified Professional.
Sawaya has created some of the most recognizable art out of LEGO in the world, including a 7-foot (2.1 m)-long replica of the Brooklyn Bridge, a life-size tyrannosaurus rex, a 6-foot (1.8 m)-tall Han Solo frozen in carbonite. His signature pieces include human form sculptures titled ‘Yellow,’ ‘Red,’ and ‘Blue.’ He had his first solo art exhibit in the Spring of 2007 at the Lancaster Museum of Art. ‘The Art of the Brick’ is the first major museum exhibition in the U.S. to focus exclusively on the use of Lego building blocks as an art medium.