Friday, January 8, 2016

SEAN QUALLS - DAILY/WEEKLY PAINTINGS #8


Part of the joy and challenge of being an artist for me,


is not knowing exactly how a work a will evolve or look when finished. And although I usually have something of a vision of what I want, rarely does a painting turn out exactly how I imagined - sometimes it's close and I'm satisfied and sometimes I'm
happily surprised by the results.
Much of my personal work has been inspired and influenced by vintage advertising graphics, more specifically products featuring African-Americans or those geared to
African-Americans.

A few years back, I created this piece based on the idea of a fictitious line of hair products called New Age Hair Grease.
On the same theme, later I did this piece but with no hand lettering.
Fast forward to 2015, I wanted to do more with the NAHG theme. I didn't have a really strong vision of what I wanted the piece to look like but knew that I wanted it to be a step forward from the previous ones.
Especially with my daily/weekly paintings, I try to keep things simple (and small) so
that I can easily move onto the next one and not get stuck. Simple enough in theory but it seems like there's often a "hiccup" which impedes progress - as it was this piece was leaving me very dissatisfied.

I decided to move onto other paintings but eventually came back to it and decided to strip away most parts, the hand lettering most of all. 
I also wanted to base the face on a woman from a previous piece (above) that I was happier with.
I added more overall contrast. This was definitely a case where I did not have a strong vision for the final art, but I 
knew it still wasn't quite there. I integrated hand lettering but decided not to continue with the original NAHG theme. I added more subtlety of color and values.

Finally finished.
I have a few prints of some of the above images available ranging from $30-$50 plus shipping.

NAHG #1 is 13X16", image size 9x12" with 2" boarders on all sides - $50 
Star Power is 9x9", image size 5x5" with 2" boarders on all sides - $30 (currently sold-out, back in stock soon.)
Afro Psyche #1 is 10 x 13", image size is 6x9" with 2" boarders on all sides - $45 (currently sold out-order now, back in stock soon)
Red Psyche is also 10 x 13", image size is 6x9" with 2" boarders on all sides - $45
Fro is also available 10x10", image size is 6x6" with 2" boarders on all sides - $40

I have a limited number of prints, first come, first serve. Each one is printed on 300lbs.ph-neutral, 
oba-free, watercolor paper with archival inks. Just leave a comment and we can work out the details.
Again, stay tuned. If you know anyone you think may be interested please direct them here to my blog or have them contact me and I’ll add them to my list.
Apologies to those who have been waiting for updates. Now that I'm in my new studio I hope to keep the blog updated with new work more regularly. 

Sean





Saturday, November 7, 2015

DAILY/WEEKLY PAINTING #7

I don't remember exactly when I first heard the story of Sara Baartman, 

nor do I recall the first time I heard the term "Hottentot Venus" as she became known but what I do recall is my fascination with her and her life. If you don't already know it, read more here.Briefly, she was born in South Africa in the 19th Century and was taken to Europe in her early 20's to be examined by doctors then shown off in a circus because of her unusually large buttocks.When she died her brain and other body parts were displayed in a museum in France until the 1980's. Author, visual artist and poet Barbara Chase-Riboud wrote a novel based on her life.
Part of the animating force behind my personal work is uncovering "invisible histories" or untold stories. Another book (and similar story) I recently discovered is about Ota Benga a man from the Democratic Republic of Congo who lived in the 19th & 20th centuries.
Here's this week's piece:Displaying This one is 6x6, mixed media on masonite panel.
Again, I'll be creating new posts every week, hopefully on Friday but if not, before the weekend is over. If you know of anyone interested please refer them here.
Right now, I'm in Columbus, OH  about to speak on a panel: “The Power of Picture Books: Illustrators Who Use Pictures to Speak” for the 17th Annual Conference for American Association of School Librarians, AASL. Also,next weekend, Selina and I will be at the Brooklyn Museum's Ninth Annual Children's Book Fair on Saturday Nov. 14 from 12-4pm.
Thanks!
Sean


Saturday, October 31, 2015

DAILY/WEEKLY PAINTING #6

In the first picture book I illustrated,

The Baby on the Way, I was required to alternate between scenes of the rural south and an urban rooftop garden. This was back in 2004 when I first began using hand-painted paper as collage for grass and other foliage.
Soon after, I was offered the opportunity to illustrate The Poet Slave of Cuba While I did use some collage for the art, I mostly painted the foliage.
Around the same time I was creating art for the book Dizzy, about the life of jazz icon Dizzy Gillespie. I used the same stylization for flames as I had been for grass.
I came to really enjoy adding these decorative elements to my art not only enhanced the imagery but also gave me an opportunity to be more abstract in my work.

By the time I illustrated Lullaby , I wanted to take a different approach to these elements and began including magazine collage along with my hand-painted collage papers and the foliage took on a greater prominence.
And with Emmanuel's Dream, I decided that a dialed back, hand-painted collage paper approach would work best to accent the landscape of Ghana.
This week I have two pieces to share:

From time to time, I like to return to my earlier art to see what I was doing at the time. Often, I'll find elements in the work that I want to explore further. I like to think of it as finding forgotten conversations.
These are both mixed media on 6x6" on masonite.
Next week I'll be in Columbus, OH speaking on a panel: “The Power of Picture Books: Illustrators Who Use Pictures to Speak” for the 17th Annual Conference for American Association of School Librarians, AASL (http://national.aasl.org/) . Also, Selina and I will be at theBrooklyn Museum's Ninth Annual Children's Book Fair (https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/calendar/event/ninth_annual_childrens_book_fair) on Nov. 14 from 12-4pm. Thanks! Sean

Friday, October 16, 2015

DAILY/WEEKLY PAINTING #5

Hair as a crown.

In a previous post, I wrote about my childhood afro-envy. Because hair adorns one's, head
 it can be likened to a crown. Personally, I see hair as an outward extension of one's consciousness,  
one's inner personality and not just a fashion statement, although it can be

The sixties were a perfect example. Long haired hippies made a statement about how 

they were different than their parents' generation and about their desires to be free from 
social norms and constrictions.


Similarly, in the 60's, the afro became a statement for African-Americans about being comfortable with themselves, defining their own values and replacing the conk
Similarly, in the 60's, the afro became a statement for African-Americans about being comfortable with themselves, defining their own values and replacing the conk

and other previous straightened hair styles with their natural hair texture. Even James Brown stopped straightening his hair and proclaimed - "Say it loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud.
And of course there were the the Black Panthers.  

Finally, this week's piece was inspired by these two women:
Angela Davis

& Kathleen Cleaver

Afro Psyche #1 is 6x9" (slightly larger than my usual 6x6" pieces) mixed media on 1/2" plywood.
Again, I'll be sending out updates every week, hopefully on Friday but if not before the weekend is over. If you know of anyone interested please send them this way. 
Lastly, Selina and I had a blast last week at The NAIBA Conference where we accepted the Carla Cohen Free Speech Award for The Case for Loving. Here's a very blurry photo of us giving our acceptance speech.
Best,
Sean



Saturday, October 3, 2015

DAILY/WEEKLY PAINTING #4


Going to the movies

isn't always fun for me. I find myself fighting not to surrender to the messages they intentionally or unintentionally feed us. Are films (and television) only entertainment or do they suggest how we see ourselves and the rest of the world?

In considering this question, I started to think about how much (or how little) the role of African-Americans has changed in Hollywood. At the most elemental level, I asked myself, "Are there more leading and supporting black characters in Hollywood now than there were 100 years ago?" This led to thoughts of who were the first black actors in Hollywood?" I thought of Stepin Fetchit, Amos & Andy, Mantan Moreland and, of course,D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation which did employ some black actors but also featured white men in "black face."



I asked myself, "who were these men (and women) and how did they see themselves compared to the one-dimensional stereotypes they portrayed?"

I began doing sketches for paintings on the subject.


First, I did a larger piece about the actor Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry also known as Stepin Fetchit - A Brief History of Stepin Fetchit 24x30 mixed media on 1/4" hardboard.


That lead to these two smaller pieces I did for my daily/weekly painting. They are not about the characters the actors played but more of a contemplation of the inner lives' of the actors.



They are both 6x6, acrylic, pencil and collage on 1/8" hardboard. Again, I'll be updating my blog every week, hopefully on Friday but if not before the weekend is over. If you know of anyone interested in receiving updates please direct them here. 

Best,

Sean







Monday, September 28, 2015

DAILY/WEEKLY PAINTING #3

Before coming to Brooklyn

In the early 90’s, I didn’t know a thing about jazz. I considered it the soundtrack to the affairs of old folks.
Later as a student at Pratt, I began listening to WKCR in my dorm room. Although they played other genres, jazz was a large part of their programming. They often played day long marathons of one artist. I heard the music of Sarah Vaughn, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. I started to learn about the different types of jazz and how distinct one is from another. I learned that jazz is as sophisticated as the art forms I was learning about in art school. I started to view jazz musicians like Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Sun Ra not only as great artists but as iconoclasts and men of mystery who were forging new paths in music and creating “the shape of jazz to come.”
When Ornette Coleman died this summer, I decided to pay tribute to him with a painting.
This one is 6x6”, acrylic paint, pencil and collage on 1/8” hardboard.
Again, stay tuned if you want to continue receiving updates. If you know anyone you think may be interested please share this email with them or have them contact me and I’ll add them to my list.

Best,

Sean

Friday, September 18, 2015

DAILY PAINTING #2

As a kid,

Growing an afro was one of my greatest ambitions and frustrations. All of my attempts resulted in a lumpy, uneven, grease packed mess! Still, ads for afro-sheen and other black hair products gave me hope. In the end, they never seemed to deliver what they promised - my hair was left unchanged, sometimes worse off. Eventually, I gave up.
To this day, afros still fascinate me and leave me longing. People who sport them seem to have a sense of pride and personal power. For me, the memory of these ads (and their promise of a better life) still reverberate from my childhood. Years after the fact, I find myself inspired by the optimism and mystique of the graphics used to promote them.
This painting, FRO #1, is 6x6”, acrylic paint, pencil and collage on 1/8” hardboard.

Again, stay tuned if you want to continue receiving updates. If you know anyone you think may be interested please share this with them or have them contact me here and I’ll add them to my list. If you missed my first daily painting you can check it out herehttp://seanqualls.blogspot.com/2015/09/daily-painting-1.html
Best,

Sean

Thursday, September 10, 2015

DAILY PAINTING #1

** For the past two months

I've dedicated myself to painting daily. You may be asking yourself, "Don't most artists paint everyday anyway?" Well, I can only speak for myself and the truth is I wasn't. I allowed other things to take over my day instead of making time to do personal work i.e. painting for me. Even if I was doing commissioned work like illustrating a book, I could spend most of my work day gathering reference material or responding to emails but not painting or drawing let alone doing it for myself.

By personal work I mean art that speaks to me about how I see myself, the world, race, identity and the media, I've been inspired by the Daily Painting Movement which is a growing number of artists who have dedicated themselves to painting everyday, some starting and completing a new piece every 24 hours, generally a small work. So far, for me, I'm averaging one and a half pieces per week.

If you're interested in keeping up with my progress stay tuned, I plan to send out updates every Friday with new work. If you know someone you think may be interested, please share this blog post with them or have them contact me and I will add them to my weekly mailing list.

For this week I'd like to share this piece:



Reverend Ike was a minister my mom listened to and watched on television in the 1970's. Recently, I found a link to one of his interviews on youtube. I was instantly brought back to my childhood and my mother's $ contributions to his ministry watching this flamboyant televangelist. Ever since hearing about the minister Jim Jones when I was a kid, I've been fascinated by extreme religious personalities and their lives. I'm sure Reverend Ike is only one of many off-beat religious characters that I will paint. This one is 6x6", ( a little larger than a cd case but slightly smaller than a 45rpm record) mixed media (acrylic paint, pencil) and collage on 1/8" hardboard.
#reverend ike, #rev ike, #Frederick Eikerenkoetter, #preacher,  #seanQualls, #dailypainting, #mydailypainting, 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What Ever Happened to Sean Qualls's Blog?


In case you were wondering why I  haven't posted here in a while,
it's because I've moved things over to my artist page on facebook. If you're into the social media thing (I'm not so much, I really only do fb and instagram), browse my artist page facebook.com/seanquallsartist Remember to click the "like" button. While I'll still post stuff here once in a blue, I've been updating my artist page about once a week. You can read about my new book LULLABY (by Langston Hughes) and also get details on things like the 5th Ave. Street Fair in Brooklyn where I'll be selling and signing copies of LULLABY, some of my other books and prints too, today!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Visit My Studio, Win a Free Book



I am participating in GO a borough-wide open studio project organized by the Brooklyn Museum. Over 1800 Brooklyn artists will open their studios this weekend
Visitors get to vote for their favorite artists. 
Artists who receive the most votes will be included in an exhibit at the 
Brooklyn Museum this December.

I’ll be showing art from over 13 children’s books that I've illustrated, 
personal work (including drawings and sketchbooks) and works in progress.

My studio (and my wife's) will be open from 11am-7pm Saturday, Sept. 8 and Sunday, Sept. 9.

Our address: 399A Prospect Ave. (bet. 7th & 8th Ave.- Brooklyn of course)

Drop by, sip wine, drink beer, be entertained by our kids and 
ENJOY ART!

I would love to see you! Bring friends.

**Did I mention? Lucky visitors/voters will receive a free copy of one of my books!! 
I’ll be giving away five copies each day.

Check out the GO website for more details on how to participate.

If you want to support us here's what to do:
  • Register to vote (you can do this before visiting or up to 24hrs after visiting our studios.)
  • Add my studio to your itinerary.  Plan a walking studio day and see tons of art, have lunch at Thistle Hill, which is right near our place.
  • Tell your friends, neighbors, families and colleagues to come visit our studios this weekend.
  • Share your itinerary via Facebook, Twitter, email, or blog.
  • Download the GO App to assist your tour.