I didn’t intend this picture to look menacing. I just needed to balance the interesting curved stem with something, and my mother’s old knife was handy. Besides, it was fun to paint.
For those interested primarily in fashion, I recommend two YouTube videos to watch:
Doris Raymond (her store is The Way We Wore) shares close-up details of Paco Rabanne garments (and look-alikes) from her collection. She also has videos of some YSL for Dior pieces and many other designer pieces including jewelry and accessories. I didn’t know that Rabanne sold kits for those disc dresses!
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have kindly put an 18 minute tour of the Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving exhibit online.
Photograph of Frida Kahlo by Edward Weston, part of the FAMSF Kahlo exhibit.
Some rooms of Frieda Kahlo’s Blue House (La Casa Azul /Frida Kahlo Museum) were kept sealed until 50 years after her death. They contained thousands of photographs and much of her clothing, which has generously been on loan to the De Young Museum in San Francisco until February 7, 2021. COVID restrictions have been eased, and it is now possible to visit the exhibit. But, if you can’t travel to San Francisco, you can enjoy the virtual tour (and perhaps some museum publications.) Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived in San Francisco in the 1930s, and she was often photographed there.
Other YouTube Videos that have cheered me in October:
I’ve been interested in art for a long time, and because I physically can’t do many of the things that used to fill my days — like walking or research or writing — I’ve been watching three specific young artists on YouTube. Now that I’m no longer teaching or working in costume shops, I miss the company of people in their twenties. Besides, it’s much easier (but not as satisfying) to watch other people painting for forty hours — especially when the painting process can be speeded up into a neat ten or twenty minutes!
So I began watching these three inspiring young men, whom I found by chance, and watching them in no particular order: Ten Hundred (aka TENHUN), SLEW, and STRUTHLESS.
Why would a seventy-five year old woman choose to spend hours and days with three guys who love graffiti, wear their baseball caps** backwards, and are lavishly tattooed?
Because they are very skilled, very serious about their work, incredibly hard-working, and good teachers.
SLEW (Samuel Lewis) dresses like he just jumped off a skateboard, and half his art doesn’t appeal to me at all — but the other half documents his progress in fine art drawing and oil painting. (You can skip the ads to see the videos.) He is very serious about improving his art. Also, like my other two recommendations, he is serious about making good videos — and like them, he understands that the ability to organize information is essential to a good teacher.
Ten Hundred (Peter Robinson) is a muralist, but also an entrepreneur. He paints, he teaches, he sells a line of merchandise, he makes well-produced videos, and, by working very hard, he is making a living as an artist. Besides, I do enjoy his use of color — his murals have a joyful quality not always found in street art. The line between graffiti and urban art is sometimes a little blurry — but I learned (from his European mural painting tour) ( get past the ads….) that there is an organization (Global Street Art) which seeks to find legitimate places for outdoor art, where the murals are wanted and appreciated; it also connects muralists so they can collaborate on public pieces. Anyone who thinks being an artist doesn’t require “real” work or self-discipline should watch Ten Hun painting a commissioned mural or seeing how hard he worked to earn an extra $5000 to pay a medical bill: “90+ Art Pieces in 4 Days.”
Ten Hun and SLEW collaborated on a joint portrait mural here.
STRUTHLESS (Campbell Walker) is an Aussie cartoonist and — perhaps oddly — his videos are more about self-improvement than his own art process, although his series of cartoon characters drawn in the styles of ten different artists are quite amusing. He is a born teacher — producing well thought out videos, sharing good advice about art and life with candor and a sense of humor. One video (“The drawing advice that changed my life”) convinced this white-haired old lady that I could learn a lot from this under-thirty guy in the ball cap and colorful tattoos. Any writer or creative artist should watch this video. (Besides, have you ever heard of a “bin chicken?”) If you find that your perfectionism or procrastination keep you from starting to write or draw, STRUTHLESS gives very good advice. Really serious advice, given with tremendous honesty but no self-pity, can be found in “The Five Questions the Changed My Life.” (Trigger warning for abuse survivors like STRUTHLESS….) This is a human being trying to help others, and I admire him very much. Plus, he is entertaining….
I spent many hours over the past week watching these three very young men (SLEW is 24) giving advice, sharing what they’ve learned, working very hard, using exceptional self-discipline to carve out a living by making the art they want to make.
It was only by chance, as I watched video after video, that I realized: at least two of these admirable young men are recovering addicts. They turned their lives around. They are doing good and doing well.
EDIT Oct.31, 2020: I forgot to include a link to How Art Saved My Life.
If you’re feeling desperate for good news, maybe spending time with them will cheer you up as it did me.
**STRUTHLESS wears his cap with the bill in front. He humorously explains why in “How to Go Bald in Your Twenties.”