Saturday, 3 September 2016

Super Humans - Akiane

   Akiane Kramarik (/əˈkiːənə/; born on July 9, 1994), referred to mononymously as Akiane, is an American poet and artist. She was known as a child prodigy for making a concrete image of Jesus and had begun drawing at the age of four. Kramarik's best-known painting is Prince of Peace, which was completed at the age of eight. Akiane Kramarik was born on July 9, 1994, in Mount Morris, Illinois to a Lithuanian mother and an American father. Her education began at a public school but she was later homeschooled. She is a self-taught painter. She states that God spoke to her when she was four years old, encouraging her to draw and paint her visions. Her parents were atheists at the time (they later converted to Christianity because of Kramarik's paintings and visions). She began to draw at the age of four, advanced to painting at six, and began to write poetry at seven. Her first completed self-portrait sold for US$10,000. Kramarik donates a portion of the revenue from art sales to charities. Her paintings are often allegorical as well as spiritual, involving likenesses of Jesus, children, and animals, as well as self-portraits. She often draws inspiration from magazine pictures. However, according to Kramarik, her main inspiration comes from her visions of heaven and her personal connection with God. At the age of 10, she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show; at the age of 12, on CNN. Additional appearances include The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Episode: 1x68, April 25, 2005) and The Katie Couric Show (Episode: 1x21, October 8, 2012). By age 12, she had completed sixty large paintings. Some of her works have been purchased by the US Embassy in Singapore. Overall, she has completed over 200 artworks and 800 literary works and has published two best-selling books. In the spring of 2003, Akiane painted her first portrait of Jesus, entitled Prince of Peace. John Roth, a carpenter from Sandpoint, Idaho, was asked by Akiane to model for the painting representing Jesus. Colton Burpo, a near-death survivor at age four, had been identifying deceased family members from photographs, and the family had been searching for images that matched the boy's description of Jesus. It was not until Kramarik's Prince of Peace, a portrait of Jesus, was shown many years later on Glenn Beck's The Blaze, that Burpo confirmed that "they finally got one right." Burpo's story is told in the New York Times number-one, best-selling book, Heaven Is for Real (2010) and the identically titled film (2014). Kramarik is referenced in the film as the "young Lithuanian girl" and is shown with her painting at the beginning and the end of the movie.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Super Humans - Bada Shanren

Bada Shanren (born Zhu Da ca. 1626—1705) was a Han Chinese painter of ink wash painting and a calligrapher. He was of noble lineage, being a descendant of the Ming dynasty prince Zhu Quan. Art historians have named him as a leading painter of the period. Bada Shanren, a purported child prodigy, began painting and writing poetry in his early childhood. About the year 1644, when the Ming emperor committed suicide and the Manchu army from the north attacked Beijing, the young Han Chinese man sought refuge in a vihara. Because he was a Ming prince, the dynastic upheaval created a great amount of uncertainty for his position in society. As years passed and the Qing dynasty became more firmly established, there was less and less insecurity among the Qing regime about remaining Ming loyalties and possible future rebellions. Due to these more stable circumstances, after 40 years, Bada Shanren deemed it acceptable to leave the monastery and to re-enter day-to-day life among society. In the aftermath of a nervous breakdown that could have been staged to avoid retribution for his family background, Zhu Da abandoned his monastic life and developed a career as a professional painter, adopting a series of descriptive pseudonyms, most notably Bada Shanren by which he is most often known today. Bada Shanren is believed to have a mental illness. He is said to have screamed and made weird sounds while painting. The stylized vertical writing of his pseudonym Bada Shanren (八大山人) looks like the characters for laugh (笑) and cry (哭), thus by signing his paintings he implied his confusion and feelings of grief for the fate of his country and home.

His paintings feature sharp brush strokes which are attributed to the sideways manner by which he held his brush. In the 1930s, Chinese painter Zhang Daqian produced several forgeries of Bada Shanren's works but they are easily spotted by the trained eye, because the modern copies were softer and rounder. Yale University scholar Fred Fangyu Wang was a major collector of Bada Shanren paintings from the 1960s until his death in 1997.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Super Humans - Edmund Thomas Clint

Edmund Thomas Clint (1976–1983) was an Indian child prodigy known for having drawn over 30,000 paintings during his short life of seven years. Clint was the lone son of M.T. Joseph and Chinnamma Joseph. He was named after actor and director Clint Eastwood. He loved painting Hindu festivals and traditional events near his home in Kochi, Kerala. When he died of kidney failure in 1983, he was just six years and 11 months old, yet left behind some 20,000 artworks. Normally it would take years of analytical study and training to draw such paintings. His work has been displayed in exhibitions in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala in 1995 and 2007. At the age of 5, he secured first place in a competition held for painters below the age 18.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Super Humans - Aelita Andre

  Aelita Andre (born 9 January 2007) is an Australian abstract artist known for her Surrealist painting style and her young age. She began to paint when aged nine months, and her work was displayed publicly in a group exhibition shortly after she turned two. Her first solo exhibition opened in New York City in June 2011, when she was four years old. Andre was born to Australian father Michael Andre and Russian mother Nikka Kalashnikova. As a baby, she often watched her parents, both artists themselves, work on canvases on the floor. She learned to paint before she could walk, several months prior to her first birthday. She and her family currently reside in Melbourne. 

  Andre's mother, believing her daughter to be a child prodigy, showed some of Andre's paintings to a Melbourne-based art curator when the girl was 22 months old. Impressed with the work, the curator agreed to include it in a group exhibition in the Brunswick Street Gallery, and he began advertising the show with Andre's paintings before he learned of her age. Although he was surprised, he kept his promise to display the work. The show opened shortly after her second birthday and also featured Kalashnikova's photography. Several months later, Andre and her parents visited Hong Kong, where she sold her most expensive painting to date for $24,000. Andre's first solo exhibition, The Prodigy of Color, ran from 4 to 25 June 2011 at the Agora Gallery, a gallery in Chelsea. It contained 24 of her paintings, each on sale for between $4,400 and $10,000. The press nicknamed her "the Pee-wee Picasso" after nine of the works sold for a total of more than $30,000. According to the BBC, these sales may make the four-year-old "the youngest ever professional artist". Andre's second solo exhibition, Secret Universe, ran from 12 June to 3 July 2012 at the Agora Gallery.

  Art critics have noted Andre's work, classified as abstract expressionism, for its employment of the Surrealist techniques automatism and accidentalism. She paints with acrylics and often adds three-dimensional objects, including bark, twigs, and feathers, to the canvases. Buyers of her art at her New York show commented favourably on the paintings' simplicity and richness in texture. A number of major news sources, including Time, the BBC, The Washington Post, the The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC News, and the New York Post, have generally responded favourably to Andre's work and to her early success. Several of them have compared her to Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso. At least one other, The New York Times, acknowledged her widespread notoriety but commented that her paintings "are hardly novel from a formal vantage, nor do they provide added meaning below the surface." It also noted that although her 2009 exhibition in Melbourne was not at a vanity gallery, the Agora Gallery's pay-for-show operation generated controversy about the legitimacy of her international fame. Nevertheless, the interest that collectors and the media showed in her exhibition at Agora resulted in every painting in the show being sold within two weeks, indicating that the show contributed to the growth of her international reputation.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Attention span and the warning of the luddites

A recent study found out that our attention span shortened from 12 to 8 seconds in less than one decade. Officially us, humans, have shorter attention span than a goldfish (9 seconds on average). The hypothesized that this is the effect of technology and all the disruptions of the modern era.

What can you do?
One solution is to do a run or a walk every day, unplugged and disconnected from all the technology.

Super Humans - Angelica Kauffman

Maria Anna Angelika Kauffmann RA (30 October 1741 – 5 November 1807), usually known in English as Angelica Kauffman, was an Austrian Neoclassical painter who had a successful career in London and Rome. Remembered primarily as an history painter, Kauffmann was a skilled portraitist, landscape and decoration painter. A contemporary of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough, she was one of the two female founding members of the Royal Academy in London in 1768. Kauffman was born at Chur in Graubünden, Switzerland, where her father was working for the local bishop but grew up in Schwarzenberg in Vorarlberg/Austria where her family originated. Her father, Joseph Johann Kauffmann, was a relatively poor man but a skilled painter, who was often traveling for his work. It was he who taught his precocious daughter. Angelica, a child prodigy, rapidly acquired several languages from her mother, Cleophea Lutz, read incessantly and showed talent as a musician, but her greatest progress was in painting, and by her twelfth year she had become known as a painter, with bishops and nobles being her sitters. In 1754 her father took her to Milan. Later visits to Italy of long duration followed. She became a member of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze in 1762. In 1763 she visited Rome, returning again in 1764. From Rome she passed to Bologna and Venice, everywhere feted for her talents and charm. Writing from Rome in August 1764 to his friend Franke, Winckelmann refers to her popularity; she was then painting his picture, a half-length; of which she also made an etching. She spoke Italian as well as German, he says, and expressed herself with facility in French and English - one result of the last-named accomplishment being that she became a popular portraitist for British visitors to Rome. "She may be styled beautiful," he adds, "and in singing may vie with our best virtuosi."

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Super Humans - Albrecht Dürer

   Albrecht Dürer (/ˈdʊərər, ˈdjʊərər/; German: [ˈalbʁɛçt ˈdyːʁɐ]; 21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528) was a painter, printmaker and theorist of the German Renaissance. Born in Nuremberg, Dürer established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties, due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He was in communication with the major Italian artists of his time, including Raphael, Giovanni Bellini and Leonardo da Vinci, and from 1512 he was patronized by emperor Maximilian I. His vast body of work includes engravings, his preferred technique in his later prints, altarpieces, portraits and self-portraits, watercolours and books. The woodcuts, such as the Apocalypse series (1498), retain a more Gothic flavour than the rest of his work. His well-known engravings include the Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514) and Melencolia I (1514), which has been the subject of extensive analysis and interpretation. His watercolours also mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his ambitious woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium. Dürer's introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, has secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions.

   Dürer was born on 21 May 1471, third child and second son of his parents, who had at least fourteen and possibly as many as eighteen children. His father, Albrecht Dürer the Elder, was a successful goldsmith, originally Ajtósi, who in 1455 had moved to Nuremberg from Ajtós, near Gyula in Hungary. The German name "Dürer" is a translation from the Hungarian, "Ajtósi". Initially, it was "Türer," meaning doormaker, which is "ajtós" in Hungarian (from "ajtó", meaning door). A door is featured in the coat-of-arms the family acquired. Albrecht Dürer the Younger later changed "Türer", his father's diction of the family's surname, to "Dürer", to adapt to the local Nuremberg dialect. Albrecht Dürer the Elder married Barbara Holper, the daughter of his master, when he himself became a master in 1467. Dürer's godfather was Anton Koberger, who left goldsmithing to become a printer and publisher in the year of Dürer's birth and quickly became the most successful publisher in Germany, eventually owning twenty-four printing-presses and having many offices in Germany and abroad. Koberger's most famous publication was the Nuremberg Chronicle, published in 1493 in German and Latin editions. It contained an unprecedented 1,809 woodcut illustrations (albeit with many repeated uses of the same block) by the Wolgemut workshop. Dürer may have worked on some of these, as the work on the project began while he was with Wolgemut. Because Dürer left autobiographical writings and became very famous by his mid-twenties, his life is well documented by several sources. After a few years of school, Dürer started to learn the basics of goldsmithing and drawing from his father. Though his father wanted him to continue his training as a goldsmith, he showed such a precocious talent in drawing that he started as an apprentice to Michael Wolgemut at the age of fifteen in 1486. A self-portrait, a drawing in silverpoint, is dated 1484 (Albertina, Vienna) "when I was a child," as his later inscription says. Wolgemut was the leading artist in Nuremberg at the time, with a large workshop producing a variety of works of art, in particular woodcuts for books. Nuremberg was then an important and prosperous city, a centre for publishing and many luxury trades. It had strong links with Italy, especially Venice, a relatively short distance across the Alps.