December 22, 2009

Mark Summers: Person of The Year (art)

When Time Magazine picked their Person of The Year for '09, they knew that in these past few months, the economy has been at the center of everyone's attention. That's probably why when it came to commissioning a portrait, they chose to let Mark Summers reimagine the dollar for them.

As The Ispot says, "Mark Summers’ signature engraving style was the perfect medium for this ripped-from-currency cover portrait of Ben Bernanke for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year issue."

Mark Summers, Time Cover

From the article: "Bernanke is the 56-year-old chairman of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the U.S., the most important and least understood force shaping the American — and global — economy. Those green bills featuring dead Presidents are labeled "Federal Reserve Note" for a reason: the Fed controls the money supply. It is an independent government agency that conducts monetary policy, which means it sets short-term interest rates — which means it has immense influence over inflation, unemployment, the strength of the dollar and the strength of your wallet. And ever since global credit markets began imploding, its mild-mannered chairman has dramatically expanded those powers and reinvented the Fed." (read more)

December 21, 2009

Rock Out With You Chalk Out

This week’s featured illustrator is Gary Kelley
This week’s featured illustrator is Gary Kelley

Richard at Art Basel

For those of you who are not familiar with Art Basel Miami, it is the largest and most prestigious art fair in the Americas. It takes place once a year in Miami Beach. The Basel Switzerland fair is nĂºmero uno in the world, and Art Basel Miami is an offshoot of that. I have just a few examples, but you can get a little sense of it by clicking on the pictures in this post to go on to their websites.

For five days every December Miami and Miami Beach are literally overrun with art of every possible stripe imaginable. The centerpiece is the Convention Center… Imagine four to six football fields chock a block with hundreds of dealer booths containing thousands of artworks including 3D, video, installations and sculpture, above and beyond flat art. Now picture twenty other smaller fairs going on simultaneously in various venues plus street fairs, people watching, and the usual south Beach madness… That’s Art Basel Miami!

I made my headquarters in a lovely small Art Deco hotel in South Beach within walking distance of the Convention Center. One night after one of the fairs devoted to emerging artists in the Design District, I decided to take a walk through a tough and rundown neighborhood... hey, I was born in NYC, that sort of thing does not faze me. Anyway, on many of the abandoned buildings are large Graffiti wall paintings, some quite good. Up ahead I see a young man spray painting a very large wall. This "kid" is in his early 20's and is up on a ladder with various spray cans, and salsa music playing from a boombox. I knew in a nanosecond he was the real deal. We talked for 20 minutes and I told him I was VERY excited about his work. In retrospect, that was the highlight of the trip...go figure, right? You've got to trust in fate.

Oh, one more thing. On the way to Art Basel my car service was running 45 minutes late. It was raining, 37 degrees, and I'm dressed for spring. So I hail a yellow cab. The driver is from Haiti and we get to talking. He says: would you like to hear music from my country? "...sure..." L'ORCHESTRE TROPICANA D'HAITI, I loved it! He sees that I'm really into it and offers to give the CD to me. He told me to go to a club in Queens to hear the GOOD STUFF. I'd like to give it a shot.

- Rick's Art Basel adventure.