April Offerings – Part IV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Justin Kane Elder

Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Justin Kane Elder (born 1978): “Using simple geometric shapes to create vividly colorful pop portraiture, Everett-born JKE creates depth by assembling countless individually colored pieces into complex oversize compositions, an effect sometimes enhanced by combining smaller surfaces into larger three dimensional canvases, a technique inspired in part by his study of sculpture at Cornish (College of the Arts, Seattle).”
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American Heroes – Part I of III: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who died 4 April 1968.

Born 4 April 1758 – John Hoppner, an English portrait painter.

Below (left to right) – “Portrait of the Frankland Sisters”; “Lord Nelson”; “Miss Mary Linwood”; “Self-Portrait.”
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American Heroes – Part II of III: Dorthea Dix
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“I have learned to live each day as it comes, and not to borrow trouble by dreading tomorrow. It is the dark menace of the future that makes cowards of us.” – Dorothea Dix, American social activist on behalf of the indigent insane, creator of the first generation of American mental asylums, and Superintendent of Army Nurses during the Civil War, who was born 4 April 1802.

Dorothea Dix convinced both houses of the U.S. Congress to pass the Bill for the Benefit of the Indigent Insane, legislation to set aside 12,225,000 acres of Federal land for the benefit of the insane, as well as the deaf, dumb, and blind, but in 1854 President Franklin Pierce vetoed it, arguing that the federal government should not commit itself to social welfare, which was properly the responsibility of the states.

Some quotes from Dorothea Dix:

“Confession is always weakness. The grave soul keeps its own secrets, and takes its own punishment in silence.”
“It is a queer thing, but imaginary troubles are harder to bear than actual ones.”
“There isn’t a single human being who hasn’t plenty to cry over, and the trick is to make the laughs outweigh the tears.”
“You never saw a very busy person who was unhappy.”
“Nobody wants to kiss when they are hungry.”
“The price of indulging yourself in your youth in the things you cannot afford is poverty and dependence in your old age.”
“We are never happy until we learn to laugh at ourselves.”

Born 4 April 1758 – Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, a French Romantic painter best known for his allegorical works and portraits.

Below (left to right) – “Portrait of Josephine de Beauhamais”; “Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime”; “Portrait of Constance Mayer”; “Venus and Adonis.”

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American Heroes – Part III of III: Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn
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“The golf links lie so near the mill
that almost every day
the laboring children can look out
and watch the men at play.” – “The Golf Links,” by Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn, American poet, Christian socialist, and author of “Portraits and Protests,” who died 4 April 1959.
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From the Music Archives – Part I of IV: Muddy Waters

“I was always singing the way I felt, and maybe I didn’t exactly know it, but I just didn’t like the way things were down there – in Mississippi.” – Muddy Waters, American blues singer and guitarist, who was born 4 April 1913.

Here is the Artist Statement of painter Ariel Zachor: “I was born in Beer Sheba, Israel and moved to the Netherlands in 1988 to pursue my art career.
My artwork is based on figurative pencil drawings and portrait snapshots of photography. My main source of inspiration for the last 10 years is the night life and club scene of Amsterdam.”
Ariel Zachor lives and works in Amsterdam.
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“Temptations come, as a general rule, when they are sought.” – Margaret Oliphant Wilson Oliphant, Scottish novelist and historical writer, who was born 4 April 1828.

Some quotes from the work of Margaret Oliphant:

“To have a man who can flirt is next thing to indispensable to a leader of society.”
“Oh, never mind the fashion. When one has a style of one’s own, it is always twenty times better.”
“For everybody knows that it requires very little to satisfy the gentlemen, if a woman will only give her mind to it.”
“It has been my fate in a long life of production to be credited chiefly with the equivocal virtue of industry, a quality so excellent in morals, so little satisfactory in art.”
“What happiness is there which is not purchased with more or less of pain?”

Belgian Art – Part I of II: Gustave Camus

Born 4 April 1914 – Gustave Camus, a Belgian painter.
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“A pessimist is a man who thinks all women are bad. An optimist is one who hopes they are.” – Chauncey Depew, American attorney and U.S. Senator from New York (1899-1911), who died 4 April 1928.

Some quotes from Chauncey Depew:

“Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.”
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”
“I get my exercise acting as a pallbearer to my friends who exercise.”
“It is a pity that instead of the Pilgrim Fathers landing on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock had not landed on the Pilgrim Fathers.”

Belgian Art – Part II of II: Eddie Stevens

The paintings of Belgian artist Eddy Stevens (born 1965) have been exhibited in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Great Britain, and the United States.
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From the Music Archives – Part II of IV: Olga Lowina

To quote Monty Python – “And Now for Something Completely Different”:

Died 4 April 1994 – Olga Lowina, a Dutch singer who devoted most of her career to perfecting the art of yodeling. Ms Lowina was doubtless first inspired to yodel while wandering among the towering peaks and alpine meadows of Holland.

Here is the Artist Statement of Argentinean painter Sebastian Chillemi (born 1968): “Oil paint and graphite on hand-cut wood are my primary mediums, and I also occasionally work with colored pencils.”
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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, American writer, poet, and author of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” who was born 4 April 1928.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

The free bird leaps
on the back of the win
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and is tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
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Here is the Artist Statement of Latvian painter Dace Liela (born 1957): “I can’t stop admiring nature. It has always been so truthful and fascinating. The light, feelings, sensations and human beings in this vibrating or sometimes calm world are the content of my paintings.”
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“In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory.
But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success.” – Yamamoto Isoroku, Commander-In-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet during World War II and the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor, who was born on 4 April 1884, correctly foreseeing how events would unfold in the Pacific Theater.

After learning that the United States had not received Japan’s declaration of war until after the attack on Pearl Harbor had commenced, Admiral Yamamoto told his naval staff, again prophetically, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

In the words of one critic, Venezuelan painter Armando Barrios (1920-1999) “was a master at capturing light.”
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From the Music Archives – Part III of IV: The Beatles

4 April 1964 – The Beatles’ single “Can’t Buy Me Love” reaches #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remains there for five weeks.

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“A line is a fuse
that’s lit.
The line smolders,
the rhyme explodes—
and by a stanza
a city
is blown to bits.” – Vladimir Mayakovsky, Russian poet, playwright, artist, and actor, who was born 4 April 1930.

“Past One O’Clock”

Past one o’clock.
You must have gone to bed.

The Milky Way streams silver through the night.

I’m in no hurry; with lightning telegrams

I have no cause to wake or trouble you.

And, as they say, the incident is closed.

Love’s boat has smashed against the daily grind.

Now you and I are quits. Why bother then

to balance mutual sorrows, pains, and hurts.

Behold what quiet settles on the world.

Night wraps the sky in tribute from the stars.

In hours like these, one rises to address

The ages, history, and all creation.

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Chinese painter Zhong Biao (born 1968) studied at Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Fine Arts), Hangzhou, China.
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“Television news is like a lightning flash. It makes a loud noise, lights up everything around it, leaves everything else in darkness and then is suddenly gone.” – Hodding Carter, II, American journalist and author, who died 4 April 1972.

Another quote from Hodding Carter, II:

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”

From the Music Archives – Part IV of IV: Steve Miller

4 April 1975 – Police arrest guitarist and singer-songwriter Steve Miller for burning his girlfriend’s clothes. Since when is it a crime in America to burn your girlfriend’s – or your boyfriend’s – clothes? Fascists!

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From the American Old West: Richard Brewer

Died 4 April 1878 – Richard Brewer, American cowboy, gunslinger, and lawman. Brewer was the founder and leader of the Regulators, a deputized posse that fought in the Lincoln County War in the New Mexico Territory, and that included in its membership Billy the Kid and notorious outlaw Jose Chavez y Chavez.

Above – Richard Brewer.
Below – Billy the Kid; Jose Chavez y Chavez.
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From the Movie Archives: Robby Muller

Born 4 April 1940 – Robby Muller, a Dutch cinematographer.

Robby Muller has helped to craft many excellent movies, including “Repo Man” (1984 – starring Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez and directed by Alex Cross), “Paris, Texas” (1984 – starring Harry Dean Stanton and directed by Wim Wenders), “To Live and Die in L.A.” (1985 – starring William Petersen and Willem Dafoe and directed by William Friedkin), “Dead Man” (1995 – starring Johnny Depp and Gary Farmer and directed by Jim Jarmusch), and “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” (starring Forest Whitaker and directed by Jim Jarmusch).

American Art – Part II of IV: Zofia Bogusz

Here is the Artist Statement of Polish-born American artist Zofia Bogusz: “My paintings explore various constructs of identity through the depiction of individual histories, memories, and experiences. As a woman, I strive to render the remarkable balance of effortless beauty and vibrant strength that exists within the female form. I place individuals, generally women, against bold and dramatic landscapes, in which natural elements such as water and sunlight color the dynamic between the individual and the external world. Pop culture imagery also plays a crucial role in my work, creating a grounded sense of the everyday amidst often unusual milieus.
In all my work, a sense of fearless curiosity prevails, seeking to unlock new perspectives and ways of seeing the world.”
Zofia Bogusz lives and works in New York City.
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From the American History Archives: Golden Gate Park

4 April 1870 – In accordance with City Order #800, San Francisco establishes Golden Gate Park.
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Below – Some of the features of Golden Gate Park: San Francisco Botanical Garden; Japanese Tea Garden; de Young Museum; California Academy of Sciences; Conservatory of Flowers; Stow Lake; Bison Paddock; Disc Golf Course.
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American Art – Part III of IV: Erick Jones

Here is one critic describing the artistry of painter Erick Jones: “Erik Jones was born in 1982 in a sunny beach community in St. Petersburg Florida. 
He received a bachelor’s degree from Ringling College of Art and Design in 2007. 
Out of college, working primarily in cover illustration, Erik toured the US, showing 
at different pop culture and art conventions. Erik gradually made his way to 
Brooklyn, New York in 2009, where he now resides.
Erik’s work is vibrant and colorful, expressing a heightened sense of realism, captured 
in his female subjects, juxtaposed with sporadic mark making and nonrepresentational 
forms that could be said to mimic geometric high-end fashion. This effect is achieved by 
using multiple mediums such as watercolor, colored pencil, acrylic, water-soluble wax pastel and water-soluble oil on page paper.”
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“The Toll of the Sea,”
By Sally Wen Mao

The first Technicolor feature in Hollywood, a retelling of  Madame Butterfly,
 starring Anna May Wong
green means go, so run — now — 
green the color of the siren sea, whose favors are a mortgage upon the soul
red means stop, before the cliffs jag downward
red the color of the shore that welcomes
white the color of the man washed ashore, from his shirt to his pants to his brittle shoes
white the color of the screen before Technicolor
white the color of the master narrative
green the color of the ocean, so kind, not leaving a stain on the white shirt
green the color of the girl, so kind — but why?
She speaks: Alone in my garden I heard the cry of wind and wave
In the green girl’s garden, the stranger clamps her, asks:
How would you like to go to America? A lie, soaked in the
red of the chokecherries that turn brown in the heat
red the color of the roses that spy
red the color of their fake marriage
white the color of the white man’s frown
She asks: Is it great lark or great sparrow you call those good times in America?
green the color of his departure
white the color of the counterfeit letters she sends to herself
white the color of their son
white the color of erasure
red the color of the lost footage
red the sea that swallows our stories
red the color of the girl who believed the roses
red the color of the ocean that drowns the girl
red the color of the final restoration
In every story, there is a Technicolor screen: black / white / red  / green
In every story, there is a chance to restore the color
If we recover the flotsam, can we rewrite the script?
Alone in a stranger’s garden, I run — I forge a desert with my own arms
blue the color of our recovered narrative
blue the color of the siren sea, which refuses to keep a white shirt spotless
blue the color of our reclaimed Pacific
blue the ocean that drowns the liars
blue the shore where the girl keeps living
There she rises, on the opposite shore
There she awakens — prismatic, childless, free — 
Shorn of the story that keeps her kneeling
blue is the opposite of sacrifice

Below – Anna May Wong as Lotus Flower in “The Toll of the Sea” (1922 – a variation of the “Madame Butterfly” story).
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American Art – Part IV of IV: Daniel E. Greene

Here is one critic describing the artistic accomplishments of American painter Daniel E. Greene: “Daniel E. Greene is a former instructor of painting at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League of New York. He is the author of’ ‘Pastel’ that was in print for 25 years and ‘The Art of Pastel,’ which were published in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese. In 1969, Mr. Greene was elected to the National Academy of Design. The Encyclopedia Britannica considers Mr. Greene the foremost pastelist in the United States and in 1983, the Pastel Society of America elected him to the Pastel Hall of Fame. In 2003, the Pastel Society of the West Coast named Mr. Greene a Pastel Laureate.”
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