My Hero: Artist Laurie Lipton

When I came across Laurie Lipton, I was just absolutely blown away by her work. It is rare for me to come across an artist whose technical skills and content are equally brilliant, drenched in my favorite type of macabre loveliness. After spending some wide-eyed time poring through her work, I scream-Tweeted at her in all caps: @laurielipton – YOUR ART IS SO INSPIRING AND AWESOME. I’M IN AWE OF YOUR WORK. JUST SPEECHLESS. THAT’S ALL I CAN SAY. And I fanned her on Facebook. Because that is what fellow artists do when they are star-struck by such juggernauts of talent.

Watch this terrific video of her explaining the reasoning behind some of her pieces – which makes me want to give her a gigantic hug to thank her for “asking the questions rather than answering them”. Her inspiration surfaces through her sense of social responsibility and appropriate outrage towards the media and society which is so delicately expressed in shades of black, white and gray. Her quiet artistic aggression appeals to me as a feminist and her work’s sharp social commentary is nothing short of brilliant. There are artists and then there are smart artists…and Ms. Lipton is a smart one. Her tools of choice are mostly charcoal and pencil on paper for her art but she also has lovely commissioned color pieces. One could spend hours gorging on her gallery drawings – they are like a 7-course gourmet feast of artly awesomeness.

When you are done viewing this clip visit her gallery at www.LaurieLipton.com. God, if I could amass a mere FRACTION of her talent by my life’s end, I would be ecstatic.

According to her website, LaurieLipton.com, she was born in New York and began drawing at the age of  four. She was the first person to  graduate from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pennsylvania with a Fine  Arts Degree in Drawing (with honours).  She has lived in Holland, Belgium, Germany and France and has made  her home in London since 1986. Her work has been exhibited extensively throughout Europe and the USA.

Lipton was inspired by the religious paintings of  the Flemish School. She tried to teach herself how to paint  in the style of the 16th century Dutch Masters and failed. When  traveling around Europe as a student, she began  developing her very own peculiar drawing technique building up tone  with thousands of fine cross-hatching lines  like an egg tempera painting. “It’s an insane way to draw”, she  says, “but the resulting  detail and luminosity  is worth the amount of effort. My drawings take longer to create  than a painting of equal size and detail.”

“It was all abstract and conceptual art when I  attended university.  My teachers told me that figurative art went  ‘out’ in the Middle Ages and that I should express myself using  form and shapes, but splashes on canvas and rocks  on the floor bored me. I knew what I wanted: I wanted to create  something no one had ever seen before, something  that was brewing in the back of my brain. I used to sit for hours  in the library copying Durer, Memling,Van Eyck,  Goya and Rembrandt. The photographer, Diane Arbus, was another of  my inspirations. Her use of black and white hit me at the core of my Being. Black and white is the color of ancient  photographs and old TV shows… it is the color  of ghosts, longing, time passing, memory, and madness. Black and white ached. I realized that it was perfect for the  imagery in my work.”

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The Creepy Company We Keep

In 2005 my husband and I received a frantic emergency call at 9:00pm from our friends Tom and Colleen. We needed to check eBay stat!
 
What we saw put us into such hysterics of tearful laughter that it was imperative that we have this item. The intrinsic humor value was too high to pass by.

The two of us couples won the auction and split the $175 price tag with the verbal agreement of joint custody. And soon Gary the gaping mouth mannequin boy arrived.

To the “waste-of-money” chortles of both of our families, Gary’s presence has endured through two households, two weddings, Christmases, Halloweens, and various other photo opportunities. He is a giant, posable, dressable conversation piece.

When my husband and I had first visitation of Gary, we’d kept him in our living room, I’d walk into the living room from the kitchen, let’s say, and nearly pee myself because I’d forgotten about him being there – this happened 10x a day. Countless times has Gary been the pawn in practical jokes: often being quietly placed in the rooms of sleeping house guests and posed in the front room windows. Through the years his quiet bravado, sassy tilt of the head, and uncanny ability to maintain the same weight has kept us all enamored and intrigued. He’s a friend and a confidant.

Click Here To Friend Gary on Facebook!

The four of us responsible for Gary realize that his acquisition speaks more about us all then it does him. And he has served as a sort of friend litmus test as well; because hey, if you are too cool for school to hang with Gary, the rest of us probably aren’t for you, either. So this post is dedicated to that creepy mannequin art that offers jolts of surprise, laughs, raised eyebrows, and photos year after year.

Gary Lights Up the Neighborhood at Christmas

 
Gary Loves All Things Latin, Too
Guidance? Right This Way

Hes a Real Cut Up at Halloween

He is a HUGE FAN of Bob Marley
Gary is a Certified Zombie Survivalist and Lounge Pants Enthusiast
The Life of the Party
An Entertainer at Weddings
 
If you think Gary would make a good addition to your circle of friends, I’m sure he’d be delighted if you friended him on Facebook