Painting by Rafal Olbinski

I couldn't find the title of this work, even with a reverse image search. I'm just going to assume it's surrealism's answer to "put a bird on it".

I like that the birds are made from bare branches or roots, and it looks like they are tending a small bush or tree-ball in their nest. The cloudy, stormy sky is a nice color contrast to the subjects.

Drawing by Salvador Dalí - City of Drawers

I really like this piece. It's two works of Dalí's that I really enjoy more than the others (although, he is one of my favorite painters in general).

The woman figure is alone in the foreground, which is typical of art I like. Although this is a surrealist work, the is a realistic figure (not like Cubism, which takes away the figure-part). The drawers can have symbolism any which way you like it: her thoughts, her inner spaces, how compartmentalized she is, that they're open to the world, that they're empty...could be anything.

There is a city in the background full of normal figures, as well as another drawer-person and disembodied drawers, indicating another class of people or some accoutrement that, when applied to people, transforms them into a different sort. Of course, that's only if you think that's it is reasonable to apply any sort of meaning or analysis to surrealist art.

I must say, though, nice knobs.

Painting by René Magritte - 'Les Amants'

I guess I like blindfolds.

Oil Painting by Rafael Francisco Salas - 'Porch, Version 2'

My senior year of college, I took a painting class for beginners. That was also the year that Raphael Salas moved back from New York City to teach in Wisconsin, at my college. Having been a professional artist and taken a lot more art classes than the average human, I think he got a little caught up with the mental part of art. In any case, I did not learn how to paint in his class, because he was low on technique and high on the psychology of choosing a subject that year, but we did become friends. He still lives and works in rural Wisconsin, exhibits frequently in Milwaukee, and reviews other art openings in a print publication.

It's interesting to see people's work change over time. This kind of still life is part of his earlier works, where he does portraiture, still life, and animals. After that, he got into this optical illusion thing where he would paint a serious landscape or scene, and then obliterate part of it with bubbles. Now, he's working on something that he feels is "really" what he likes to do, which is to create little sculptures of surrealist landscapes created from found objects, and then draw those landscapes as the final product. His new work is weird (good), but totally different from his paintings.

The last summer before I left college (after graduation), I was working on campus at the advancement office digitizing old records about rich people they could ask for money, and he and another adjunct, Lee Shippey, paid me to model for them as an oil portraiture practice. Later, I went back to Wisconsin and bought both of their paintings for my portrait project. The weekend I took them home was the Class of '75 reunion, so there was food and stuff, and we spent some time eating and chatting. The best part was being mistaken for a member of the Class of '75.....REALLY NOW.

Oil Painting by Angie Renfro - 'Learning As We Go'

I met this artist, Angie, when she shared a work space with a band I played with. We had a practice space at the front of a large warehouse/garage, and she had an artist's studio at the back. She later moved out of that space, but into the same space where my friend Dan (featured earlier) has his space, so I met her again. We're friendly and once I even attended a house warming for her. About a year ago, she was about to move to Seattle when she met a man and decided to stay in Chicago. I haven't seen much of her lately.

Angie does works in series. They all have the same feel and color palette (that copper-oxidized green background never goes away), but there will be subtle variations. When I met her, she was doing weeds and bugs - under-appreciated parts of our landscape. She had a lot of thistle flowers and bees. She also had a series of industrial landscapes and paintings of one or two birds on power lines. After that, she started doing ships for a little bit, and then, most recently, I've seen plants with roots (as in, torn out of the ground), and abstracted shapes, kind of like ice cubes floating.

I used to go to all the art openings and open studio shows. Not all, I guess, but a lot. Once, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a painting by Angie, because she said, "Eh, if I don't sell this one, I'm going to just sand it down." Legit, but no. I bought it and hung it in my bedroom. It's probably 9x9 inches square. So, even though Angie has work in galleries all over the country and I can't afford anything she makes anymore, I have one of her "Weeds" series paintings. The one pictured here isn't it, but it's similar. I really want a "Bees" painting now that I have bees.

Artist's website:

Painting/Collage by Iosua Tai Taeoalii - 'Asphyxiation by Oil Dependency'

I'm not quite sure of the medium for this work. I do know that I saw this artist's work at a local art fair, so, although I'm pretty sure it's mostly a painting, I'm not ruling out some of it being collage.

I like to go to art fairs and walk around collecting business cards from artists I like. Sometimes I buy art too.

Painting by Max Ernst - Was für ein Vogel bist Du?

Possible translations of the title -
Straight: What kind of bird are you?
With inflection: What the hell kind of bird are you supposed to be?
Slang: How dumb are you?? (as in, "How dumb you are!", not a genuine question).

Oil Painting by Charles Demuth - 'The Figure 5 in Gold'

I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold was inspired by the poem, “The Great Figure,” written by Demuth’s friend, William Carlos Williams:

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

Read more about the interpretation of the painting as it relates to the poem:

Oil Painting by Francisco Goya - Saturn Devouring His Son

Ok, time to cut it out with the cute little illustrations.

Here's the scariest motherfukin' painting I've ever seen.

Please note, THE EYES.

Color Illustration by Aleksandr Zudin

Here's another kind of "mystery" drawing, in that I don't know where I found it, and even more mysteriously, a reverse Google image search turns up exactly no results.

In any case, I used this for a desktop quite a bit during college.


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