Burgess (Jess) Franklin Collins

The Artwork of Jess Collins

Born in Long Beach, California in August of 1923, Burgess (Jess) Franklin Collins was an American visual artist best known for his elaborate collages that addressed science, mysticism, sexuality, history and popular culture. In his early years, he read books which ranged from Proust to L. Frank Baum, listened to classical music, and constructed scrapbooks with a great aunt. 

In 1942, Jess Collins entered the California Institute of Technology to study chemistry; however with the start of World War II, he was drafted in 1943 into the Army Corps of Engineers.  Collins worked in a junior position at the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the production of plutonium for atomic bombs until 1946. Upon his release from military service, he continued his education at California Institute and graduated with honors in the field of radiochemistry. Collins was given a position at the Hanford Atomic Energy Project located on the Columbia River in the state of Washington.

During his employment at the Hanford site, Jess Collins began adult education classes to study painting. Due to his growing concerns about the nature of his work in the atomic energy sector and the future of the industry, he left his position and decided to pursue a full-time career in the arts. Collins moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began to study art: first at the University of California at Berkeley and later at the California School of Fine Arts. Due to an estrangement with his family, Collins changed his name during this period of study to the singular Jess.

At the California School of Fine Arts, Jess studied with visual artist Elmer Bischoff, a forerunner of Abstract Expressionism in the Bay Area; abstractionist painter Edward Corbett, known for his use of the color black in his work; painter Hassel Smith, whose work went through a succession of art forms from plein air to figurative expressionism; and Clyfford Still, whose work encompassed a wide range of materials. Jess quickly became a member of the 1950s San Francisco art scene and was actively engaged in exhibitions, poetry readings and other creative activities in the area. 

In 1951, Jess met poet Robert Duncan, a member of the Black Mountain College and one of the most influential post-war American poets. They began a lifelong romantic relationship that evolved into a domestic household and an artistic collaboration that became central to the development of their art and poetry. This relationship lasted until Duncan’s death in 1968, thirty-seven years later. Along with abstract expressionist Harry Jacobus, Jess and Duncan opened the King Ubu Gallery in 1952, a venue which became an important exhibition space for alternative art in San Francisco.

Inspired by a gift from Duncan of “ Une Semaine de Bonté”, Max Ernst’s surrealist collage book, Jess began making collages, or Paste-Ups, in the early 1950s. These works, which combined text and image fragments from engravings, photographs, jigsaw pieces, and comic strips, became increasingly more complex over time. Eventually the Paste-Ups would contain thousands of distinct pieces. In 1959, Jess began a series of thirty-two works, entitled “Translation”. Each of the works were painted, enlarged reproductions of found images, such as children’s book illustrations and scientific drawings from old Scientific American periodicals, After being copied on new canvases, the paintings were combined with literary texts from such authors as William Blake, Gertrude Stein, and Plato.

The “Scavenger” series was based on painted or repainted canvases found in  thrift shops. Thick layers of paint were applied covering parts of the former works while leaving other image areas exposed for viewing. Built in layers, the thick new paint reinterpreted the existing work with its added texture and images. The 1959 “Narkossos” began as a pencil drawing for a painting that was based on the myth of Narcissus. This initial drawing became a large scale mixed-media work of graphite rendering and paste-up fragments featuring references from literary and popular culture. This large-scale work with original artist’s frame is currently housed in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 

For the remainder of his life, Jess lived and worked in San Francisco except for a period of travel with Duncan in the mid-1950s to Europe and the Black Mountain College. The couple entertained their extensive but intimate circle of friends at their large Victorian home in the Mission District. The household was filled with artworks by Jess and their many friends, Duncan’s vast library, the couple’s recorded music collection, and many beautiful domestic objects salvaged by Jess from thrift shops. Jess had a major retrospective of his work in 1993-1994 which toured museums in San Francisco, Buffalo, and Washington, DC. 

Jess died of natural causes at his San Francisco home on the second of January in 2004 at the age of eighty. His work appears in major museum collections around the country including: the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and the Museum of Modern Art and the Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco. His work is now represented by the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York City.

Note: The Jess Collins Trust established an archive for Jess’s papers and writings in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. The Trust, which contains images of Jess’s work, exhibition and event information, and information on Robert Duncan’s work, can be found at: https://jesscollins.org

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Jess, Berkeley, California”, 1956-57, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Helen Adam, “Jess Collins, Beach Near Pidgeon Point”, Date Unknown

Third Insert Image: Jess Collins, “Untitled (Car and Male Nude), Date Unknown, Collage, 30.5 x 20.3 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Jess Collins and Robert Duncan, Stinson Beach”, 1958-59

Komail Aijazuddin

Paintings by Komail Aijazuddin

Komail Aijazuddin is a visual artist and writer, whose practice includes drawing, painting, sculpture, and installation work. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Studio Art from New York University and a Master of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute. A strong influence on Aijazuddin’s art is the figurative work of Hungarian-Indian painter Amrita Sher-Gil, considered today a pioneer of modern Indian art and one of the greatest avant-garde women artists of the early twentieth century. 

Drawing from his exploration of both the iconography of Shia Islam and the art of Catholicism, Aijazuddin works in the visual vocabulary of traditional religious art. Hie art is the outcome of the internal journey he has undertaken and includes paintings, illuminations, scrolls, altar pieces and votive objects, and the medium of gold leafing. Through these mediums, Aijazaddin investigates contemporary ideas of religion, belief and worship, divinity, statehood, and one’s sense of belonging and personal faith. 

Komail Aijazuddin’s 2015 collection, entitled “Grace in Hand”, was initially shown at the Khaas Gallery in Islamabad. For these simplified works, he used silhouettes rather than detailed figures and, instead of complicated background patterns, used solid fields of color with washed-out highlights or gold leafing. 

Aijazuddin’s solo exhibition, entitled “Secret History”, was held in 2019 at the Canvas Gallery in Karachi. This collection consisted of life-sized canvases which theorized on a figurative tradition of Islamic art. Influenced by the Christian religious art of Giotto and Duccio, Aijazuddin’s employed the repetitive element of the halo and combined it with elements from traditional Mughal miniature paintings and medieval illuminated manuscripts. His lattice patterned backgrounds taken from the culture of Persia were executed with dry pigments, whose contrasting texture highlighted the images’ figures.

Note: An interesting 2018 discussion between Komail Aijazuddin and figurative artist Salman Toor, also from Lahore, on issues regarding their art practice can be found at the Herald’s online site located at: https://herald.dawn.com/news/1154032

Bottom Insert Image: Komail Aijazuddin, “Angry Icon”, 2018, Oil and Gold Leaf on Panel, 91.4 x 61 cm, Private Collection

J. Carino

The Artwork of J. Carino

Based in Riverside, California, J. Carino is a figurative artist whose work illustrates the interconnection between man with his sense of self-awareness and the natural world, both literal and symbolic. A  2011 graduate of the Parsons School of Design in New York City, he works in a variety of mixed-media techniques and often uses distortion and abstraction in the construction of his work’s figures.

Carino’s images depict nude, queer figures, often monumental in size, who are set in landscapes both idyllic and suffused with danger. Applying ideas from his study of the decorative arts, he explores the concepts of queerness, self-identity, queer intimacy, sensuality, and man’s relationship with the natural world through images of richly colored and patterned, layered figures and flora. During the evolution of his work’s creation, Carino often adds and removes the layers of landscape and figures to achieve the desired result.

J. Carino’s work has appeared in multiple exhibitions both in the United States and overseas. These include both the Act 1 and Act 2 Summer Stage exhibitions at Auxier/Kline in New York, the 2021 online “Eye Candy” exhibition by the WB Gallery,  the 2020 Art Pride International, and, in the United Kingdom, the 2022 collective “Come Out & Play” at London’s BEERS gallery and the 2019 exhibition at Rye’s McCully & Crane Gallery, among others. 

“Like many queer people, there is a dichotomy of wanting to be seen as a whole person, sexuality included, but also the fear of people seeing too much. My figures, often self portraits, inhabit landscapes of abundance and fertility, lush with ferns and fruit, like an eden where these fears dissipate. Through my work, I explore the complicated influence of intimacy, sexuality, and being seen, especially as it relates to gay relationships and our ability to connect with one another and ourselves.” —J. Carino

J. Carino’s work can be found at the artist’s site located at https://www.jcarinoart.com  and  also at the following gallery locations  https://linktr.ee/j.carino.art

Bottom Insert Image: J. Carino, “Self Portrait”, Date Unknown, Mixed Media on Paper

Paul Klee

Paul Klee, “Tale à la Hoffmann”, 1921, Watercolor, Graphite, and Transferred Printing Ink on Paper Bordered with Metallic Foil Mounted on Cardboard, 40.3 x 32.1 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Paul Klee was born in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland, on December 18th of 1879. The son of German music teacher Hans Wilhelm Klee and Swiss singer Ida Marie Frick Klee, he was a talented violinist, who at the age of eleven received an invitation to play with the Bern Music Association. Klee’s attention turned from music to the visual arts; and he enrolled in 1898 at Munich’s Academy of Fine Arts where he studied under portrait painter Heinrich Knirr and painter and print maker Franz von Stuck. 

By 1905, Klee had developed his signature techniques and had completed a series of eleven zinc-plate etchings entitled “Inventions”, which would be his first exhibited works. He also worked  on a series of fifty-seven experimental works, drawings scratched on blackened glass with a needle, which included his 1906 “Portrait of My Father”. Klee’s artwork progress steadily over the nest five years, and led to his first solo exhibitions in 1910 at three Swiss cities. 

During the winter of 1911, Paul Klee, through association with art critic Alfred Kubin, met and collaborated with other artists, including expressionist painter Franz Marc and abstractionist Wassily Kandinsky. After returning to Munich in 1914 from a trip to Tunisia, Klee was inspired by Tunisia’s lightly-lit landscapes and painted his first pure abstract, “In the Style of Kairouan”, a composition of colored circles and rectangles.

By 1917, critics began to cite Klee as one of the best young German artists, which led to his representation for several years by German art dealer Hans Goltz, who was a pioneer for the modernist art movement. Klee taught with great effect at the Brauhaus schools from 1921 to 1931, as did his friend Wassily Kandinsky. Along with expressionist artists Lyonel Feininger and Alexej von Jawlensky and with the support of art dealer Galka Scheyer, they formed “Die Blaue Vier (the Blue Four)” in 1923, which exhibited and lectured in the United States from 1924. A extensive collection of their work is housed in the Städtische Galerie in Munich’s  museum Lenbachhaus.

Paul Klee began teaching at the Dusseldorf Academy in 1931, After the emergence of the Nazi Party to power, he was denounced as a cultural Bolshevist by the emerging Nazi Party; his home was searched by the Gestapo; and he was relieved of his professorship at the Düsseldorf Academy. Klee and his family emigrated to Switzerland in late 1933, where he continued his most prolific year of work, producing nearly five hundred works in 1933. Back in Germany in 1937, seventeen of Klee’s work were included in the “Degenerate Art” exhibition in July at the Institute of Archaeology in the Hofgarten; over one hundred of Klee’s  works in public collections were seized by the Nazi Party. 

Beginning in late 1933, Klee began developing symptoms of scleroderma, an autoimmune disease which results in the hardening of connective tissue. Enduring the pain, he was able to continue his work; his simpler and larger designs, with heavier lines and geometric forms, enabled him to keep up his large output over his final years. Paul Klee died in Muralto, Locarno, Switzerland, on the 29th of june 1940. He is buried at Schosshalden  Cemetery, Bern, Switzerland. His legacy composes approximately nine thousand works of art.

Note: Paul Klee loved the tales of the German poet, writer and painter Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, who was nicknamed “Ghost Hoffmann” in his own country. Klee’s mixed-media “Tale à la Hoffmann” appears to be loosely based on the poet’s best-known 1814 lyrical tale, “The Golden Pot”, a magical story that switches back and forth between high fantasy and everyday life in Dresden. 

“The Golden Pot” recounts the trials of the pure and foolish young Anselmus and his efforts to gain entry to Atlantis, the heaven of poetry. The tree from which he first heard fateful voices speaking to him might thus be on the left; the odd, tubelike construction on the right possibly represents the glass bottle in which Anselmus found himself briefly imprisoned. The tale’s repeated references to time are reflected in the two clocks, and the vessel in the center may stand for the golden pot with the fantastic lily that gives the story its name.

Bottom Insert Image: Paul Klee, “Self-Portrait Full Face, Resting Head in Hand”, 1909, Watercolor on Paper on Cardboard, 16.7 x 13.7 cm, Private Collection

Salem Beiruti

Paintings by Salem Beiruti

Born in Lebanon, Salem Beiruti is a conceptual artist and illustrator residing in Madrid. Working after graduation as an art director in the fields of advertising, graphics, and fashion design, he has more than seventeen years of client and freelance work. Upon his move to Madrid, Beiruti became a full=time illustrator and artist. 

Beiruti’s skillful digital illustrations are unique and inspired by such artists and photographers as Patrick Fillion, Paul Freeman, Issauro Cairo, and Francisco Prato. His project  of mixed-media works “Morphosis” is a result of his personal journey as a man of an Arabic mid-eastern culture and its traditions to the man he is today. The art book was published in June of 2017 by German publisher Bruno Gmnuender.

For those interested in purchasing a print, Art of Salem is offering all prints at a 40% discount for Easter 2021. Please reference Ultrawolves when ordering. Thank you.   https://www.instagram.com/artistsalem/

Tony Fitzpatrick

 

Etchings and Collages by Tony Fitzpatrick

Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1958, Tony Fitzpatrick Is an American actor and artist. In the early 1980s, he seriously began drawing with colored pencils on slate boards in the gallery “The Edge”, located in Villa Park, Illinois. Working there during the day, he tended bar at night just across the street. It was during this time that Fitzpatrick developed strong friendships with film director Jonathan Demme and Chicago radio personality and bluesman Buzz Kilman.

During the late 1980s, Fitzpatrick began exhibiting in gallery shows in New York City and Chicago, selling his work and establishing a career as an artist. An accomplished poet, he has authored and illustrated eight books, including “The Hard Angels: Drawings and Poems” in 1988 and the 2015 essay and art book “Dime Stories”. With assistance from friends and local artists Theresa James and Steve Campbell of Landfall Press, Fitzpatrick opened in 1992 his Chicago printmaking studio, Big Cat Press, which exists today as the artist exhibition space Firecat Projects.

Tony Fitzpatrick’s artistic career originally centered on multi-colored drawings on slate, later followed by works presented through printmaking. He has more recently focused on producing multi-media collage drawings, which blend cartoonish drawing, found images, text, and  ephemera, such as baseball cards and matchbooks. His subjects have included: memories of his father, the cities of Chicago and New Orleans, hobo symbols, super-heroes, and Japan.

Fitzpatrick’s works are in private collections and numerous public institutions, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.  He has done cover art for albums, such as the Neville Brothers “Yellow Moon”, nominated for the Diamond Award: Best Album Cover, and Lou Reed’s album “Big Cat”. Working as an actor, Fitzpatrick had roles in “Primal Fear”, “Philadelphia”, and “Married to the Mob”.  

Alan Spazzali

Photography by Alan Spazzali

Born in Trieste, Italy, Alan Spazzali is a photographer with Dutch citizenship. He graduated with a Bachelors Degree from the Ecole Nationale Superieur des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole des Arts Decoratief in Paris. Spazzali’s post-graduate work was done at the Rietveld Modern Art Academy located in Amsterdam.

Inspired by the work of surrealist artist Max Ernst and the minimalist style of Joan Mirö, Spazzail, a private person by inclination,  constructs his work using various mediums to present a personal and symbolic narrative to his images. His work has been exhibited at the Biennale of Modern Art in Buenos Aires, the Biennale Lorenzo in Florence, and the Biennale Sao Paulo in Brazil. 

Alan Spazzali’s site is located at: https://alanspazzali.wordpress.com/inicio/

Bruno Vekemans

Bruno Vekemans, “De Zwemmer (The Swimmer)”, 1995, Mixed Media on Paper, 85 x 115 centimeters

Bruno Vekemans was born in Antwerp on July 29, 1952. As a child and teenager he is constantly engaged in drawing and painting. Vekemans took one preparatory year of decoration and a two-year interior decoration course at the Technicum Institute, Londenstraat, Antwerp.

In 1971 Vekemans started experimenting with different techniques, experimenting with collages, églomisé and comics. In 1988 his art work was focused on linear works, mostly gouache on pattern paper. Vekemans later replaced the paper patterns with seventeeth century paper and started experimenting with oils on canvas.

Bruno Vekemans has been in several international exhibitions in Tokyo, New York, Paris, and Amsterdam, among others. Influenced by his travels, he has recently completed two thematic series on Africa and Cuba.

Image reblogged with thanks to https://thunderstruck9.tumblr.com

 

Claude Buck

Claude Buck, “Sunburst”, Gouache, Watercolor, Pencil, Pen and Colored Ink on Paper, 1913, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington DC

Claude Buck was born in New York City on July 3, 1890. His father was a traditionally trained, commercial artist, and introduced Buck to drawing at age 4. The young Buck copied Greek classics at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and at age 14 entered the National Academy of Design, taking classes in still life with Emil Carlsen, figure drawing with Francis Jones, and figure painting George DeForest Brush. He studied there until age 22, receiving eight prizes. Buck then studied in Munich and upon his return began a busy schedule of exhibitions.

He moved to Chicago in 1919, teaching painting for some years at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago (SAIC), and becoming a leading member of an avant-garde symbolist artists’ group known as the Introspectives. The group, whose members shared an approach to expressing subjective emotion and experience in their work, included, both Rudolph Weisenborn and Emil Armin. Buck, a modernist, was influenced by writers Edgar Allen Poe and William Blake and eccentric visionary painters Ralph Blakelock and Albert Pinkham Ryder.

He often depicted allegories and literary themes drawn from Romantic sources such as Poe’s poetry, operas by Richard Wagner, as well as classical mythology and the New Testament. He made highly finished still lifes and “hyperrealistic” portraits to support himself and his family. Buck spent the last years of his life in Santa Cruz, and is often considered a California artist despite his deep connections to Chicago.

Tomas Watson

Multi-Media Artwork by Tomas Watson

Tomas Watson was born in Sussex, England in 1971. He studied at Huddersfield College and Slade School of Art and graduated in 1994, having also completed a year’s course in Anatomy for Artists. He received two awards in 1994 and 1996 from the Greek Government and has since lived and worked in Greece. In 1998 Tomas Watson won the BP Portrait Prize and in June 1999 had his first solo exhibition in Britain at Jill George Gallery, which immediately sold out.

Robert Del Tredici

Robert Del Tredici, “Ubiquitous”, 2014, Mixed Media Print on Metallic Paper, New Bedford Whaling Museum

Robert Del Tredici started out as a pen-and-ink landscape-maker in the Marin county hills of California. His first big project was a series of 100 illustrations to “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville. He then took up street photography, made portraits of film-makers, and, with the near-meltdown at the Three Mile Island, started documenting the nuclear age.

His first book, “The People of Three Mile Island”, published in 1980, led to a 1987 book written about the entire US nuclear weapons complex, “At Work in the Fields of the Bomb”. Following its publication, he traveled to the former Soviet Union and photographed nuclear towns and facilities there.

Del Tredici is the founder of The Atomic Photographers Guild, an international collective of photographers dedicated to making visible the nuclear age. Since 2001 he has been creating collages depicting the era of the War on Terror, a series he calls “Evolution Pages 9/11”.

In the mixed media print “Ubiquitous”, artist Del Tredici captions an image of the phases of the moon, with Moby Dick breaching in between them. A quotation from Melville’s novel “Moby Dick” about ghostly sightings of the whale is written at the bottom left.

“One of the wild suggestions coming to be linked with white whale in the minds of the superstitously inclined was the unearthly conceit that Moby Dick was ubiquitous, that he had actually been encountered in opposite latitudes at one and the same instant of time.”