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Paintings by Gloria Stuart

Watts Towers by Gloria Stuart
Watts Towers I by Gloria Stuart, 1960s

Oscar nominated actress Gloria Stuart began acting in the 1930s. However, she was probably best known for her role as 101 year old Rose in the 1997 movie Titanic. Stuart did a number of movies in the 1930s and 1940s before taking a 3 decade break from acting from the mid 1940s to the mid 1970s. It was during this break from acting that Stuart began painting.

In her 1999 book I Just Kept Hoping, she says that it was on a 1954 trip to Paris to visit her daughter, where she saw the works of Impressionist and Postimpressionist painters such as Monet, Manet, Seurat, Fantin-Latour, and Degas, that she was inspired to become a painter.

Seeing those paintings for the first time sent me into near Hysterics. Having paused forever in front of each canvas on the way, looking at Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy at the end of the first gallery, I burst into tears.

She goes on to say:

The end result of this happening was my resolve to become a painter.

I knew I could do it!

Stuart’s first of many shows was in 1961 at Hammer Galleries in New York City. It sold out, according to her book.

Stuart says in the book that the subject of her two most important accomplishments is the Watts Towers, referring to the towers built by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia the Watts community in Los Angeles. She says that the large canvases took about three years of very detailed painting. These paintings are now in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Prints of the paintings  are available for sale in the LACMA store.

She said that her favorite subject in figure drawing was Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. She says that she did three very large versions. In the first, a black Adam is taking the apple from a white Eve. One of these paintings is currently available for sale at 1stdibs.

Adam and Eve by Gloria Stuart
Adam and Eve by Gloria Stuart, 1965.

The Paintings Of Jimmy Carter

Painting by Jimmy Carter, Boyhood Farm, Source:The Carter Center
Painting by Jimmy Carter, Boyhood Farm, Source: The Carter Center

Former President Jimmy Carter is said to have taken up painting in the 1980s in his free time after leaving the presidency. His paintings include landscapes, and portraits, often capturing the landscapes and people of his hometown Plains, Georgia, and the many places to which he has traveled. The farm where President Carter lived from age 4 until he left for college is the subject of the painting shown above, titled “Boyhood Farm.”

President Carter has sold a number of his paintings in support of the Carter Center. One of President Carter’s paintings sold for $750,000 in 2016.

Painting by Jimmy Carter, Monarchs and Milkweed, Source: The Carter Center
Painting by Jimmy Carter, Monarchs and Milkweed, Source: The Carter Center

President Carter has also published books of his artwork. In 2015 he published A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, which featured his drawings and poems. In November 2018 he published The Paintings Of Jimmy Carter. According to the publisher: “This book showcases in one place for the first time, more than fifty of his favorite paintings. The works are accompanied by his own written narrative.” A limited edition signed copy of the book is currently up for auction at CharityBuzz.com. Proceeds from the sale of this item support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Greater Los Angeles Chapter.

Homeland – Artwork by Nelson Mandela

Homeland, drawing by Nelson MandelaHomeland, drawing by Nelson Mandela
Courtesy of WeTransfer and The House of Mandela Art

Nelson Mandela was a legendary South African anti-apartheid activist, and political leader. Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black president and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. Mandela served 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid activities, most of that time was at Robben Island from 1964 – 1982. Nelson Mandela was also an artist. After stepping down as South Africa’s president Mandela began creating drawings, using charcoal and pastels, based on his memories at Robben Island and Qunu – the village where he was born.

In honor of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, WeTransfer and The House of Mandela Art are presenting an online exhibition of his artwork. The exhibition, featuring The Homeland series, is accompanied by an interview with Dr. Makaziwe Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s eldest daughter.

Qunu, Mvezo, drawing by Nelson MandelaQunu, Mvezo, drawing by Nelson Mandela
Courtesy of WeTransfer and The House of Mandela Art

People think my dad was a politician and that Nelson Mandela just fell from the sky — that he doesn’t have a sense of place, a sense of belonging. For me, the Homeland sketches are very important for the world because they give a glimpse of who my father was holistically. How proud he was of who he was and where he came from, even though he came from humble beginnings. That’s what I want the world to see. Not just the politician.
– Dr. Makaziwe Mandela

Table Mountain, drawing by Nelson MandelaTable Mountain, drawing by Nelson Mandela
Courtesy of WeTransfer and The House of Mandela Art

Jim Carrey Makes Political Commentary With His Artwork

No Vacancy, painting by Jim Carrey
“No Vacancy”, painting by Jim Carrey

Actor, comedian Jim Carrey is also an artist. He paints, draws and sculpts. He says that he began sketching as a child, but he didn’t start painting until later in life when he was trying to heal a broken heart. He says that painting frees him.

Jim Carrey discusses his artwork and his motivations in the short documentary, “I Needed Color.”

In an interview with W Magazine, Carrey said:

Well, making art in general is not really a choice. Even acting—all this stuff is the same thing to me. It’s just different modes of creativity. I’ve always drawn and sketched and done cartoons, and I find myself doing that still—I’m still an eight-year-old in my room. It’s a wonderful feeling to make something out of nothing, and it took me over for a long time; it’s another appendage now, and a huge one. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not covered in paint or something from doing sculptures.

Jim Carrey recently began selling his art and last September he presented an exhibition of his artwork at at the Signature Gallery Group‘s Las Vegas gallery.

Lately Carrey has been using his artwork to make political commentary. He posts images of his paintings to Twitter with his comments, often expressing his displeasure with President Donald Trump and those that work for him.

Chuck D Brings The Noise With Fine Art Exhibition

Public Enemy,Takes a Nation, Artwork by Chuck D
Chuck D – Public Enemy, Takes a Nation

This is a guest post by Ken Davis at Funkatropolis.

Hip-hop legend Chuck D is renowned for his formidable skills on the mic and politically charged tracks; but what many people aren’t aware of is that he’s also a talented visual artist. And those talents will be on full display at his first fine art exhibition, which will be held throughout March at Gallery 30 South in Pasadena, California.

The exhibition, titled Chuck D: Behind The Seen, will feature artwork that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer created over the years; many of the pieces were created while he was on tour.

Before Chuck D (born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour) was the outspoken frontman of groundbreaking rap group Public Enemy, he was a graphic design major at Long Island’s Adelphi University. He already had a love for hip-hop and would use his graphic arts talents to design promotional flyers for upcoming hip-hop events. He was also the first black student to write and draw a comic strip for the university’s student newspaper, The Delphian.

Additionally, Chuck D co-hosted a hip-hop mix college radio show with fellow DJ Hank Shocklee, who would later become a member of Public Enemy’s famous production team, the Bomb Squad. While hosting the show, he started going by the DJ handle “Chuckie D.” He would often rap over demo tapes that Shocklee had assembled, including a track called “Public Enemy No. 1.”

In addition to Shocklee, Chuck D met musician/rapper William Jonathan Drayton, Jr.—better known by his stage name Flavor Flav—at Adelphi, as well as college radio station program director Bill Stephney (future Bomb Squad member and Def Jam executive). Chuck D and Drayton hit it off and began hanging out and rapping together.

Chuck D formed Public Enemy in 1982 while still a student at Adelphi,and he earned his B.F.A. in graphic design from the university in 1984. (He later received an honorary doctorate from Adelphi in 2013.) Following graduation, he maintained his love for hip-hop and continued to develop Public Enemy. In 1986, the group signed with rising record label Def Jam Recordings. Public Enemy released their debut album, Yo! Bum Rush the Show, on the label in 1987.  The album reverberated throughout the hip-hop community with its strong political themes, powerful raps and the Bomb Squad’s hard-hitting, densely layered production. The album signaled a new direction for hip-hop in which rap artists began addressing social and political issues on their tracks.

The lineup for Public Enemy when they dropped Yo! Bum Rush the Show was Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X (born Norman Rogers), Professor Griff (born Richard Griffin); and the Bomb Squad—Hank Shocklee, Eric “Vietnam” Sadler, Carl Ryder (Chuck D’s production pseudonym) and Bill Stephney.

Chuck D would often use his graphic arts talents to design Public Enemy-related artwork, including the iconic b-boy caught in a rifle’s crosshairs logo.

The group followed up Yo! Bum Rush the Show with their landmark album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988),which is considered one of the most influential albums of all time. The platinum-selling collection was a revelation and forever changed the game in hip-hop.

Public Enemy’s hot streak continued in the early ‘90s with the release of two more rap classics: Fear of a Black Planet (1990) and Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black (1991). The influential rap outfit released more great albums in the ensuing years and have thrilled audiences around the world with their dynamic live shows.

The group dropped their most recent album, Nothing Is Quick in the Desert, in late June of last year. And in addition to performing with Public Enemy, Chuck D tours with rap-rock supergroup Prophets of Rage.

For more information about Chuck D’s upcoming fine art exhibition, visit Gallery 30 South’s website.