Saturday, June 30, 2012

Urban Art Fair, London, Celebrates 10 Years

London’s largest open-air art fair will be celebrating its 10th birthday this July. The Urban Art Fair is a free event hosted by the residents of Josephine Avenue, London. Approximately 2,000 works of art will be on display, by nearly 160 artists. Art of all mediums will be on exhibit, including paintings, prints, graffiti art, and photographs.

Local artist and Josephine Avenue resident Timothy Sutton established the Urban Art Fair in 2002. He realized his neighborhood was an ideal gallery space and knew that local artists were desperate for a place to show their work. The fair provides a unique opportunity for up and coming artists to exhibit their work for the public, often launching their careers as professionals.

The inhabitants of Josephine Avenue volunteer their time to transform the street into the alfresco fair. Besides having art on display, graffiti artists will also be creating art, live, on their Urban Art Walls for viewers to see. Food stalls with international cuisine will accompany the works. A Sound stage will feature music from local musicians. Ten percent of all sales will be donated to charity: Holy Trinity School, Jubilee Primary School, and the Southside Rehabilitation Centre. More than 8,000 people are expected to attend the fair this year.

The Urban Art Fair is a fantastic opportunity to see new and original art and meet the artists themselves. The fair runs from July 14-15th from 10am-6pm, on Josephine Avenue, London. For those interested in the urban art genre you may want to check out Thumbprint Gallery in La Jolla. The emerging gallery features high quality low brow and urban art.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kandinsky: A Spiritual Artist

 Written by Samantha Tutone

"Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul". – Vasily Kandinsky

Contemporary art is often abstract. This fact has not fazed viewers and critics for years. On occasion one artist produces some kind of expressionist art that not only pushes the boundaries of our artistic understanding, but also makes connections to broader philosophical questions. Vasily Kandisky was most definitely one of those artists.

Early Influences

Vasily Kandinsky was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1866. He studied law and economics at the University of Moscow, and became a professor at the University of Dorpat until he began to study painting at the age of 30. Kandinsky moved to Munich in 1896 to study art. During the early years of his artistic study, Kandinsky was influenced by Monet’s sense of color and thick use of paint. Richard Wagner’s melodic freedom and Blavatsky’s writing on Theosophy also influenced him.

Joyful Noise
Der Blau Reiter

Expressionist art was growing in popularity during Kandinsky’s time in Munich. Artists like K├Ąthe Kollowitz and Egon Schiele were using art as a form of self-expression and to make a meaningful statement. Kandinsky began using his ideas on spirituality in art within his own paintings. He and a fellow artist, Franz Marc, became the founding fathers of an expressionist art movement dubbed: Der Blau Reiter (meaning “The Blue Rider”). The movement was named after the image of St. George on the Moscow city emblem. Both artists considered the color blue to be the color of (non-religious) spirituality. All other colors were considered “chaotic.”

Theosophy in Art and Imagery

Kandisky was preoccupied with apocalyptic imagery. His expressionist art was almost prophetic since his paintings were shown just before WWI. Chaotic lines and shapes combined with bright colors make the viewer feel an apocalyptic intensity. Kandisky never intended for viewers to understand his paintings. Rather he wanted to bring about a pure sense of spirituality through color. Wagner’s influences lead Kandinsky to believe that all musical notes had a color frequency. Kandisky never really titled his works; instead named them in similar fashion to musical compositions.

Kandinsky wrote extensively on the importance of spiritual art. He wrote several compositions including: "Der Blau Reiter Almanac," "Concerning the Spiritual In Art," and "Looks on the Past."

Kandinsky was a great influence on modern expressionist art and paved the way for many new artistic movements to come forth. Abstract art has flourished since the early 1900s and many abstract art prints are now widely available worldwide. Kandinsky’s work is shown in museums and private collections around the world, a large portion of them residing in the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Abstract art prints of Kandinsky’s paintings remain popular to this day.

To learn more about abstract art prints, urban, and lowbrow art, visit Thumbprint Gallery in La Jolla. Open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12-4pm.


Art History, Revised Second Edition, by Marilyn Stockstad, Chapter 28, pgs. 1026-1031.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Banksy artwork on sale at Bonhams in Los Angeles

Banksy is known for street art in public spaces
Bonhams will host an urban art sale for the first time in its Los Angeles location on Oct. 29, 2012. The exhibition will feature the works from the infamous street artist Banksy. Part of the exhibition will include newly discovered artworks which had been recovered in the Bristol area where the artist was raised in the 1980s. His provocative stencil-based imagery touches on a variety of social and political issues with an almost anarchist disdain for authority. The artist became famous for having his works appear in various unusual public places all over the city. Banksy since left his special brand of street art in public places without asking permission from authorities in cities all over the world.

The art sale is a follow up to Bonhams's highly successful urban art auctions in London. The auctioneer also held a street art sale in New Bond Street, London, which was incredibly successful. In the upcoming sale in Los Angeles, Banksy's famous piece “Precision Bombing” is estimated anywhere from $35,000 to $45,000. Some of the other works from the artist will include “Winnie the Pooh” which is valued from $50,000 to $80,000. Some of the other artists which will be featured include, Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Blek le Rat and Beejoir.

In the meantime, while you are waiting for the action to happen in Los Angeles, you may want to check out Thumbprint Gallery, which features quality contemporary urban art. Many of the artists have been inspired by the likes of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and some of the other artists included in the show at Bonhams. You can take a look at the art gallery's offerings by clicking here.