Better Know an Artist, IB, 1st Quarter

For this round of “Better Know an Artist,” I would like you to select an artist from the art movement you just researched.

If you have been mostly falling back on the same artists and movements, I challenge you to find someone new.  You have been looking at and writing a bunch about Van Gogh? Well then, its time to go look at Gauguin or Cezanne…

Once you have made your selection, you will need to provide the following information on your artist:

  1. Biographical information: When was the artist born, and when did he or she die? Were they married or single? Did they suffer some kind of tragic illness or addiction?  Were they always artists or only began working late in life? Were they formally trained or self-taught? Try to keep this brief and only mention the aspects of their life that seem to have a bearing on their artwork (ex: your artist was a woman who in turn produced a lot of pro-feminist art work).
  2. Art Movement: What art movement(s) did they belong to, or create? Additionally describe the characteristics of this art movement, and how these characteristics can be seen in the artist’s work.
  3. Personal Artistic Style: This is about personal style as opposed to the art movement. What are the visual characteristics of how your artist works? Do they have a particular way of applying paint, certain colors they favor, or a subject matter they always use? What are the hallmarks of how they paint/draw/sculpt/etc. by which you could always recognize their work.
  4. Select an iconic work, and critique it: Select one work of art by your artist that embodies their style. This is often a work that they are most famous for or that is considered their best work. This must also be a work that we have not discussed in class.  Once you have selected the work, do a formal critique of the image. Your critique may tie in information that you discovered in the previous steps.
  5. Provide additional artwork samples: Include and additional 3-4 images, examples of the artist’s work.  Keep these images small enough to paste in your sketchbook. The works should be representative of the style of artwork your artist is most famous for.
  6. Cite all references.  As an IB student you must cite everything.  So cite any books you used, websites you visited, and of course include the citations for the artwork you select.  If you have any citation questions, bug me or make use of the resource or the Purdue Owl writing website to help you with any and all questions regarding to MLA format.  You will also be grateful for these citations later, if we choose to use this material in your Comparative Essay.

Length of Paper
As a general guideline, the entire project should not take more than two to three pages, not including the sample artwork.

Due Date
The project is due Tuesday, 10/10, by 11 p.m.  This assignment counts as two formative grades:

  • 1 formative for the biographical information and additional images.
  • 1 formative grade for the critique.

Turn this in via Dropbox.
Label the Word/Pages document and leave it in your Dropbox for me to grade later.

Remember to include your name in the file name.

The following is provided as an example of the format I wish for you to follow on your “Better Know an Artist” assignment.

Wayne Thiebaud

1.  Biographical information:
Wayne Thiebaud is a contemporary artist. He was born in 1920 and raised in Long Beach, California. Thiebaud began as a struggling graphic artist as he worked on his Masters of Art and teaching credentials. During the 1950’s Thiebaud’s career as a fine artist really took off and he began to land a series of one-man shows. He continues to paint today, and teaches at the University of California. His deep ties to California manifest in his artwork, where the impact of the rolling hills and strong light of the west coast become apparent.

2.  Art Movement:
Thiebaud does not fit easily into any one art movement. His early work is often called Pop Art, an artistic movement that was predominately fascinated with advertising and graphic art images. While Thiebaud’s paintings do borrow some of the same visual language as advertising art, he did not seem to have the same fixation on American popular culture as, say Andy Warhol. Additionally, his later landscape paintings look as bold and colorful as his earlier work, but landscape has never been a Pop Art subject. He seems to fall into a category of his own.

3.  Style:
Thiebaud has a very recognizable style. He uses thick applications of paint to build up a rich surface. The paint is applied like butter to the canvas, and brush strokes are readily visible. He uses very strong eye-catching colors and shadows, elements that some have compared to advertising art techniques. On close examination, he likes to intensify the “pop” of colors by including bold touches, like bursts of red along a shadow. Much of his early work is based on repetition of objects like pies or pinball machines. Much of his later works are cityscapes or landscapes.

4.  Critique:

(I hope I don’t really need to give you an example of a critique :) )

5. Additional artwork samples:

6.  Works Cited n.d. (accessed May 28, 2012).

Arida, Saeed. 2003. (accessed May 28, 2012).

Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, A Global History, 13th Edition. Boston: Wadsworth, Inc., 2009.

Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History, 3rd Edition. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008.