SPONTANEOUS PATHOLOGIES BY KAREL HAVLICEK

by Ariadna Zierold

karel havlicek, drawing, spontaneous, spiritual, monstrous, grotesque, pathological, czech republic, upper playground

Karel Havlíček was a Czech painter who began drawing at the age of 38 years. Working only at night, he followed a ritual reminiscent of the conditioning of the automatic practices. His drawings without premeditation recall, by their spontaneity, spiritualist production. He felt drawn to the monstrous, grotesque or the pathological.

karel havlicek, drawing, spontaneous, spiritual, monstrous, grotesque, pathological, czech republic, upper playground

He found fulfillment in visiting natural museums, reading his favorite Kant and Schopenhauer and especially in drawing. He drew a picture every day for tens of years. The communist regime did not allow to display his work and so he was recognized only by a few artists and writers.

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ART BRUT BY AUGUSTIN LESAGE

by Ariadna Zierold

augustin lesage, france, painting, art brut, spiritualist, spiritual, detailed, upper playground

Augustin Lesage was a French coal miner who became painter and artist through the help of what he considered to be spirit voices. He was untrained and is considered an Outsider artist, part of Art Brut. His work is also categorized as part of the spiritualist movement in art.

augustin lesage, france, painting, art brut, spiritualist, spiritual, detailed, upper playground

Lesage claimed, that he would never have any idea about what he wanted to portray. “I never have an overview of the entire work at any point of the execution. My guides tell me, I surrender to their impulse“.

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EL MAC: A MODERN SPIN ON THE CONVENTIONALITY OF THE HUMAN PORTRAIT

by Ariadna Zierold

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

Miles “Mac” MacGregor is an artistic historian in his own right, capturing the influence of his culture within his works of art. The influence of El Mac’s Mexican and Chicano culture is written all throughout his creations.

He uses the streets as a way to continue the tradition of portraiture. Born in Los Angeles, the self-trained artist focuses on subjects that celebrate and reflect the cultural history of the southwest. Introduced to graffiti as a teenager, it was the materials and process involved in spray painting that captivated the artist more than writing letters.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

Collaboration is a part of graffiti and it’s a practice that Mac embraces, since the city is essentially a large shared space where his work lives. Set against the work of noted artists Nuke and Kofie, the layered mural honors indigenous peoples and invisible histories that are often forgotten.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

Mac like many artists learning their trade began by painting portraits of friends and family members but this output eventually progressed to conceptually heavier material. Choosing to paint a series of anonymous Mexican laborers, these paintings honored those that would not be typically featured in the history of portraiture.

His finished murals are so well regarded they are sometimes seen as unofficial monuments throughout the city. The artist knows these temporary contributions have a much more powerful impact during their life than traditional studio work. Collectively as a body, they celebrate, honor, and speak into human nature and the importance of truth and beauty.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

Mac utilizes an application of spray paint that appears to vibrate and ripple on the wall. Furthermore, precise shading gives life to his subjects, ultimately transmitting an palpable energy through his work that is unlike no other. While each portrait is typically soft from a distance, the crosshatching and line work bursts outward with exuberance.

The history of Mexican and Chicano culture is a constant in Mac’s work. A student of art history, his use of Catholic iconography is unmistakable. While he portrays everyday people, the juxtaposition of a mother and child, the use of blue cloak, or an implied halo around the head of one his sitters signifies the importance of the divine and the role of the church.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

“It’s a visual language that extends back to classical times.” Although not overtly religious himself, Mac sees himself as a spiritual person. He does not seek to teach biblical narratives or virtues but instead references this symbology and imparts its significance to his sitters, making the commonplace extraordinary.

After finishing his “Juarense y Poderosa” mural in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, El Mac moved up north to El Paso where he created another strong and meaningful piece. Titled “Ánimo Sin Fronteras” (Spirit Without Borders) it is another homage to the people that experienced the injustice and violence occurring regularly in the areas on the US/Mexican border. Through this series of murals, he is trying to get pay respect to these people and help them with their fights.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

“This is the mural I painted in El Paso, Texas, titled “Ánimo Sin Fronteras” (spirit without borders). All aerosol and fatcapsIt’s based on photos I shot in 2012 of a man named Melchor Flores, who’s been fighting to get answers and justice for his son who was picked up and disappeared by police in Nuevo León in 2009. This mural is located in the heart of downtown El Paso, and complements the fighting spirit of the classic boxing mural next to it. This is an important mural for me, something I’ve been trying to make happen for a while. It is for all those who fight for justice.”

Mac’s El Paso and Juárez murals are excellent examples of this energy applied to a political framework. The murals feature a different image on each side of the U.S./Mexican border and are a manifestation of Mac’s soft yet powerful voice. Each portrait addresses the violence and corruption with border politics and crime. The first portrait features a young woman whose mother was kidnapped and killed while the other is a man whose son was murdered by the police. The proud and dignified images exude hope and resilience yet simultaneously raise awareness to the awful conditions for those living on the border and the struggles these families have undergone. Mac’s ability to address difficult issues is shrouded in beauty and it makes the harsh truth palpable.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

What makes El Mac’s works so memorable is his ability to put a modern spin on the conventionality of the human portrait by incorporating his detailed line work. This brings an almost distorted, fragmented accompaniment to his creations, opening the doors for varying interpretation. Challenged by creating difficult images, Mac succeeds by making more than a technically executed portrait. They instead are social and spiritual reminders of our humanity, the small details of what makes someone an individual become giant gestures to be admired.

 

 

Kelsey Brookes Video

Kelsey Brookes mb! by Mercedes-Benz Portrait from Nicolas Doldinger on Vimeo.

San Diego-based artist, surfer, and skater Kelsey Brookes was recently selected to create the cover artwork for Mercedes Benz’s latest ‘mixed tape’, ”anniversary bliss”. With plenty of laid back attitude and charm to go around, Brookes describes his artistic process as one that is heavily grounded in science, surfing, and the visual ques of the world at large. For Brookes, this self imposed philosophical approach to art has helped inadvertently link the underlying dreamscape of reality to our spiritual creativity.

From The Citrus Report

Posted By The Citrus Report