Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

25 OCTOBER, 2011

Picasso Paints on Glass

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A voyeuristic peek at the master making magic.

The great Pablo Picasso — painter, sculptor, printmaker, stage designer, notorious list-maker, cross-disciplinary creator and proponent of combinatorial creativity — would have been 130 today. To celebrate, here’s a piece of now-legendary footage of Picasso painting on glass with a camera rolling on the other side of it, revealing a rare glimpse of the genius at work as he paints his famous Torros with meticulously measured yet effortless brush strokes.

The footage is part of Paul Haesaert’s short 1950 documentary, Visit to Picasso, which you can watch online in its entirety. Go ahead, have your breath taken away.

On a semi-related note, while digging for a DVD copy of the film — to no avail, sadly — I serendipitously discovered this utterly gorgeous original 1971 print of a 1946 poster for a lecture by Picasso and Haesaert, designed by Picasso himself:

For an intimate, revealing and, yes, opinionated journey into the great artist’s heart and mind, look no further than Gertrude Stein’s timeless memoir, simply titled Picasso.

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24 OCTOBER, 2011

Eli, No! An Illustrated Antidote to Perfectionism

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What chasing squirrels has to do with reclaiming childhood from the grip of perfectionist parenting.

Children’s books are often among the finest feats of storytelling — beautifully designed, illustrated and art-directed, they use simple narratives and metaphors to convey complex ideas and lifelong lessons. That’s certainly the case with Eli, No! — a heart-stoppingly delightful new children’s book by Katie Kirk, one half of husband-and-wife illustration and design duo Eight Hour Day, telling the story of their lovable yet mischievous dog named Eli. Throughout Eli’s many adventures and misadventures, his quirks and imperfections, we find ourselves contemplating the gift of unconditional love which, of course, is what the story is really about.

With its minimalist, bold, mid-century-inspired graphics and its heart-warming message, Eli, No! is both an absolute treat for wee ones, a needed one in the age of overambitious parenting, and a charming reminder for the rest of us about cultivating unconditional acceptance of our loved ones’ idiosyncrasies and imperfections, a need one in the age of chronic perfectionism.

via Public School

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24 OCTOBER, 2011

All Nothing: Poetic 1978 Animated Allegory about Mankind’s Greed

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Frédéric Back’s beautiful short film about harmony and the tragic entitlement of our species.

French-born artist and activist-filmmaker Frédéric Back got his professional start in Canada in the 1950s, where he was asked to draw still images promoting moving pictures at Radio-Canada’s graphics department. In 1967, his giant stained glass mural entitled L’histoire de la musique à Montréal (“history of music in Montreal”) became the first work of art to be commissioned for the Montreal metro system. But most striking of all are his animated short films. In 1978, his Tout Rien (“All Nothing”), a delicate and pensive 11-minute animated allegory set to the music of Igor Stravinsky about how our human greed is stealing the happiness of our species, earned him an Oscar nomination. It tackles, with remarkable elegance and sensitivity, our tragic tendency towards anthropocentricity in a world we share with countless other creatures.

Possessions, like happiness, are always eluding our grasp. Instead of constantly wanting to have, wouldn’t it be better simply to be-to watch and let the natural environment exist in peace? A world whose true joys and riches, continually renewed and replenished, we have yet to fully appreciate?” Frédéric Back

The following year, while working on another film and applying a coat of fixative to a drawing, the fumes got into Back’s right eye. The film eventually won him his first Oscar, but his eye never recovered. Back, nonetheless, continued to produce breathtakingly beautiful work underpinned by a thoughtful environmental message through the early 1990s.

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