Before studying Mid and Post Modern art, I did not care too much for “graffiti” or street art. When I hear the those terms I initially think of the stereotypical work of street gangs tagging walls with unrecognizable letters or scribbling that is an eyesore. Street art defined is any art created in public spaces, which includes traditional graffiti, sticker art, and street poster art.  It was not until this study did I recognize there is something to appreciate in “street art” and it is far beyond traditional graffiti.

The street artists I enjoyed researching and their style are John Fekner and Julian Beever. John Fekner’s style of conceptual art, demonstrate that a simple word or phrase on a specific building or object create a powerful message. And many of us may have received the emails of the “Chalk Guy” who is Julian Beever. His amazing creations of 3D art created on sidewalk streets demonstrate the on the spot art that is in-depth, full of skill and technique creating a masterpiece before your very eyes can be enjoyed and appreciated of what makes art beautiful.

Conceptual Art

John Fekner is an innovative artist who created hundreds of conceptual and environmental art with the use of stencil words, symbols, dates and icons spray painted around the world.

"Broken Promises" South Brox 1980 John Fekner

Fekner’s work brought attention in 1980 the conditions in the Black and Latino  communities in the south Bronx  by spray painting stencils in larg letters above crumbling structures. You couldn’t block out the vision and the message that seemed very clear, “you can just sit back and watch, you have a part as well”.

"Last Hope" South Bronx John Fekner August 1980

Throughout John Fekner’s entire career in the arts, he has made a commitment within his work by consistently addressing issues that demonstrate an interest involving concepts of perception and transformation, as well as specific environmental and sociological concerns such as urban decay, greed, chemical pollutants, mass media and Native American Indians.

"Visual Pollution" John Fekner

"Wheels Over Indian Trails"

Fekner’s stencil Wheels Over Indian Trails greeted motorists and international travelers arriving in New York City at the Pulaski Bridge Queens Midtown Tunnel from 1979-1990. Looking at this imagine causes me to reflect on the lands before it became urbanized. My reflection is about the past and the original occupants, American Indians, and how this may have been a place they once occupied. This simple message is powerful and I appreciate that Fekner was able to capture so much in saying so little. The message remained untouched for eleven years, until Earth Day 1990, when Mr. Fekner, feeling the piece had run its course, painted over it.

3D Street Art

Julian Beever, also know as the “Chalk Guy” in emails, is a 3D street art chalk artist. His work is created on the sidewalks and in city centers right before your very eyes! He demonstrates the skill, technique and the ability to create something from his imagination making it a solid a piece of work. His work causes the “awe” and “ooh” effect and I believe for people to enjoy art as it was intended.

"Dungeon", Julian Beever

Julian Beever uses colored chalk to create complex art on sidewalks in public spaces. His work is in larger scale and he uses the “anamorphosis” effect where an image is reflected like a mirror or is distorted in a way that can seen from a particular viewpoint to get the full effect.  Beever’s work draws attention because of his use of the usual and amusing art in a 3D effect.

julian-beever mirror reflection

I have not seen Julian Beever in action, but I have been able to witness other sidewalk artists hard at work on some very amazing pieces. What I enjoy is the skill and talent of the sidewalk artists who brings the work to life right before your very eyes. I am sure others feel as I do when witnessing a sidewalk artist, “I wish I could do that”, or “WOW!”. To see a person bring to life a piece of work with such detail and imagery of color, and not make a mistake (0r if they did you didn’t notice) in a one shot moment simply amazes me. Also, that fact they are doing it in chalk knowing that piece of work will be washing away causes me to appreciate it that much more.

Julian-Beever-3D sidewalk art

Street art can be powerful with a strong message that may cause a person to want to act when struggles or pollution are brought to the front as John Fekner demonstrates. Or street art can cause a person to appreciate the talent and gifts of a person who brings to life a masterpiece right in front of your eyes to purely enjoy in the moment. Funny how art can take you in two directions either with powerful message or create a sense of pure appreciation and enjoyment.









As the United States of American is a growing new country and Industrial Revolution in full swing, these major events opened the door for different cultures to come together in one location where they had the opportunity to learn about new styles and ideas. One of the major cultures newly emerging was the African Americans. The recent end of slavery and the newly open job opportunities in major cities, allowed the African American culture to move to centralized locations and freedom to express their artistic abilities in music, art and literature.

One of the major changes in the art world was music. Composers were going beyond the traditional opera, ballet, sonatas and symphonic music to new innovative methods of harmonic shifts, changing meters and more. Newly emerging in the music world was influenced from Africa, and contributed new rhythm and melodies that set the stage for new music to emerge called jazz.

Scott Joplin (1867-1917)

The early development of the jazz was led by the influenced of ragtime. Ragtime reached its peak in popularity between 1897 and 1918. Scott Joplin was one of the major composers of the ragtime with his hit Maple Leaf Rag. Ragtime‘s main characteristic was its syncopated rhythm, a shifting of accents where they are not suppose to be (normally unaccented beats). Joplin had been playing for years and it was not until his trip to New York just as the Harlem Renaissance was beginning that he made his first mass publication of Maple Leaf Rag. When I listen to Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag, it reminds me of the old western movie scenes where the bartender is entertaining in the saloon or music accompanying a silent movie. It was entertaining, uplifting and happy style of music.

This new genre of music really changed the music world and allowed for new emerging musicians  such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and so many more to continue revolutionizing music. With the invention of airplanes the jazz era was able to spread beyond the United States into places like France, where the jazz continued to change music on an international scale. So many changes were happening in the early 1900’s ranging from industrial revolution, the first major world war, and the ability to travel that tradition drastically changed and new, innovative styles were happening continuously.





Poppies, Near Argenteuil, Claude Monet, 1873.

Impressionism may be characterized by quick brushstrokes and thick application of paint as seen in many of Claude Monet’s artwork.  Many artists such as Monet were interested in subject matters that related to the rise of the middle class brought on by the Industrial Revolution. Many of the subject matters consisted of vacation sites, beaches, city imagery, and countryside. The Impressionists were interested in the law of optics and optical realism, which simply means they portrayed overall visual effects instead of details. I find it interesting that

The Boulevard Montmartre on a Winter Morning, 1897

Impressionism was influenced by the rise of photography. It seems to me that the photography that the artists found appealing was the blurred ones. I think Impressionism is pretty but I do not like having that unfocused feeling. I wear contacts and I feel like I need to correct my vision even more when I look at this sort of work.

Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884-1886 Seurat

I find the Post Impressionist to be more appealing, but that may show some insight into my personality. I enjoy the sense of order and structure of the Post-Impressionism paintings then the previous visual effects you see in the Impressionism work. One of my favorite is a classic painting very well-known is the Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurate.  Seurat developed the technique of Pointillism, which is the use of small, distinct dots of pure color applied in patterns to form an image. I find this technique fascinating because of the time and most importantly the use of one’s patience to create this sort of work. I personally do not have the patience such as Seurat, let alone to take two years to create a painting such as Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

The Starry Night, Van Gogh 1889

The other Post Impressionist I enjoy is Vincent Van Gogh. His famous work The Starry Night demonstrates the use of movement in his paintings. It is not the movement of the painting but his use of the brush to create swirls and spirals. I appreciated the Impressionist work but I definitely prefer the Post Impressionists style and clearer imagines.

I find it interesting how Impressionism and Post-Impressionism are straying away from details of specific meaning. Such in during the Italian and Northern Renaissance eras there were meanings in so many paintings. Such as the use of the color green in portrait, depicting a woman pregnant for sign of marriage and other traditional meanings. It is also moving away from the strictness of religion and what I feel is the ultimate control or power over the society or people. I feel as the paintings progress towards the Impressionist era, it is more about self freedom, self relaxation and that it is okay to dream and imagine yourself beyond where you are currently are. It is like you can obtain more and your place in society means something different now, you can move in another direction with the restricts that were once there.






The Marriage of Figaro composed by Mozart premiered during the classical era in Vienna, Italy May 1786. This opera buffa (comic opera) based on a French stage comedy in 1784 by Pierre Beaumarchais was originally banned in Vienna because of its satire of the aristocracy. Mozart collaborated with Lorenzo Da Ponte the Venetian court opera librettist who turned the play into a libretto (a musical work), and rewriting it in poetic Italian and removing all the original political references.  The Marriage of Figaro had nine performances during 1786. This opera buffa became one of Mozart’s most successful works, especially the overture which is often played as concert piece.

Even though Mozart and Da Ponte removed the political references, it was still well-known for Beaumarchais’s original play poking fun at the nobility, harsh criticism of the French culture and government, and was interpreted dangerous for the times. The Marriage of Figaro came in an era marked by opulence and wealth for nobility and clergy, yet social inequality and poverty was prevalent by the majority. The middle class were becoming more and more educated through political satires and comedies about what their government was doing and how they lavished in their wealth while the public suffered.

I enjoy Mozart works because they are beautiful and enjoyable to listen too. The Marriage of Figaro is about a servant who outsmart the Noble who is trying to steal Figaro’s fiancé. This opera demonstrates how the Count, a person of nobility, feels entitled to anything and everything and has no regard even if it is a bride to be. Through this simple comic opera and after the laughter, the message was very clear of how the leaders in high positions behaved lavishly and did not respect things or people around them, which would be a clear message and feeling to the common people of “my government does not care about me”.  I think this is a genius way of getting a clear, simple message to common people  with little education about what their government is doing.






A Seaport at Sunrise (Oil Canvas 1674) Claude Lorrain (1600-1682)

After studying the Northern Renaissance period, it is apparent this period was transitioning from religious, biblical art to the beginning stages of still life creations of nature and portraits. In the Baroque era, artists ventured from the norm and focused on nature and peasant activities with details within the painting. Claude Lorrain was a significant artists who created visual arts of nature and the worker’s daily life.

Claude Lorrain’s work depicts more realistic scenery views with attention to detail of using light creating a time of day effect. Claude’s work stood out to me because you can see or imagine the weather, if it was mid day or early morning creating a realism as if you are there observing and enjoying your surroundings. After reading he studied nature from sunrise to sunset, it is evident he paid close attention to the details of the sun rising and setting. It seems to me that one of Claude’s goals was to ensure the sun and its effects were a major factor in his paintings.
I really enjoy A Seaport at Sunrise out of his many accomplishments. I feel he was able to capture the early morning feeling and sunrise just as it is coming up over the sea. Many of us have been up at the crack of dawn one time or other and experienced the tranquil, quietness slowly disrupted by the beginnings of daily activity. Looking at this painting, I feel and see this early morning experience-taking place.

Reference: Art Renewal Center – http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artist.php?artistid=820

Pieter Brueghel was born in 1525 in the Netherlands. He was a Flemish artist whose visual art creations were unique and set him apart from other Flemish artists in his time. Bruegel’s paintings were simple yet told a story. The subjects of his many works are what differentiated him from many Northern Renaissance artists of the 16th century. He typically created still life paintings of either nature or peasant life.
Brueghel’s work was away from the Italian Renaissance in that it did not depict the religious stories, or did not attempt to connect you spiritually to God. Brueghel’s work seem a bit on the comical side to me. He spent more time depicting everyday life and upon closer examination sides of human nature that were not appropriate to discuss. I like how The Wedding Dance initially fools into thinking you are looking a people dancing, but in addition to dancing, you see discreetly placed couples kissing or becoming a bit more intimate. During this period, society was highly religious and a major focus was the Protestant Reformation versus the Catholic Church, this creation would seem scandalous.
I also like how Brueghel’s work put the imagination at work. You do not just admire his paintings you imagine what it was like being there. In The Wedding Dance, it is very evident the peasants are having a good time and you can imagine the music, dancing, laughter, and shouting of people enjoying themselves. I like his style of painting using simpler character drawings. This seemed to create his a more animated yet realistic feeling. I feel this is what left more to the imagination and storytelling when admiring his work.

You would think post a blog, downloading picture would be easy, but if you download a picture and cannot find where it downloaded on Windows Vista, it makes it challenging.