Lest I Forget: Great Inspirations and Influences

Today I’m going to introduce you lot to an artist who I learned of when I first begun my studies at foundation level.

Not that I have to justify why I’m doing this (it being my blog and all) but I was recently asked which living artist I found most influential upon my work. For a split second, I thought at first, Richard Hamilton, but then of course I quickly remembered his unfortunate passing last month.

So next in line I thought….as far as living contemporary artists go, it could really be none other than Mr. Samba from the Rep. of Congo, Africa.

It was during my first visit to the Tate Modern back in the autumn of 2007. I heard many things of this wild space for contemporary artists before but when I finally arrived, the gallery itself was damned amazing sight to behold, twas well impressive, crazier than I had imagined.

I thought to myself, I have finally reached. Several floors with many varying viewing spaces, full of diverse works done by many an artist, just buzzing with life and energy. I knew then, that art was my calling, my place, my life. Without question, I must one day have my work exhibited here.

So now you would think that I’d be able to recall a long list of the exhibits, displays and artists which I first became aware of then, but that’s not entirely the case. In fact, what I do remember was very few and far apart. Sure, there are several that still stand out though; naturally the exhibition of Dali’s work, which is what I went to see in the first place, with a good old friend of mine who was equally enthusiastic about Salvador’s and insisted we go to see his surrealist works.

Trust me, seeing any of Dali’s works up close is such a surreal feeling in itself. Actually viewing the Persistence of Time up close is an unreal feeling in itself. I couldn’t believe at the time, that I was actually looking at the real thing.

An All Time Favourite: Persistance of Time - Salvador Dali

Also one or two of Roy Lichtenstein’s, interestingly enough. I didn’t know it then but his work would eventually become quintessential to my studies during second year at CSM. That was whilst I working on Amos [an incomplete work, graphic novel]. What probably surprised me at the time was just seeing a comic styled painting hanging in the walls of some great, well known art gallery and that it was accepted as art. Back then I hardly knew what I know now.

Illustration and Text Combo: Whaam - Roy Lichtenstein

Otherwise, I can’t say that I have distinct memory of much else of that tour…What I will never forget though is the display they had, ‘Popular Painting’ from Kinshasa. The display featured eight paintings five artists from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, collectively known as the ‘School of Popular Painting’ – Headed by Cheri Samba.

Yes, Cheri Samba. Not sure what did it for me more, perhaps it was quality of the brush work or how the sharp, crispness of the colour captured the eye.

Sharp Colour and Poignant Imagery: Les Economistes A Bicyclette

Mosquitos Come, Suck Your Blood: Lutte contre les Moustiques - Cheri Samba

What I do know however, is that this man’s social commentary speaks volumes, the dude is on point. I’ll drop a few links here that I strongly recommend. The following sites are mostly images, so not much more reading for you endure so early in the morning.

This site, http://www.designboom.com/portrait/samba.html has bit of his work and some good info about the artist, bio et al.

This one has virtually no reading, so just view to your heart’s content…
http://galerie-herrmann.com/arts/samba/

And finally, this one where the above image is from, is good as well..
http://www.escapeintolife.com/artist-watch/cheri-samba/
Of course, you could also look elsewhere for the other artists named in the first link ‘five artists’.

This was essentially, an extremely condensed trip down memory lane. Allowing you a brief, look at the artists that helped shape my artistic upbringing through out the various stages of my education at art school.

I need to get my hands on some dilithium crystals to replenish the old time machine’s quantum chamber, so I can bravely traverse back in more vivid detail.

Now before I commence my day; Times well rough, unemployment going through the roof all over the world, I know.

We all have to fight against adversity from time to time and persevere though it’s tough…so here’s a likle tune you may be able to relate to and find motivation through,  Give I&I Some Work – Knowledge. This one is big, this one is bigger than me..

Irie, Folks
H.G. Fields

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