It’s Day EIGHTEEN and to be honest, it was a pretty low key day. After researching and looking at today’s artist’s work, I found it pretty easy to come up with multiple ideas as to what to paint. I had a nice time painting this piece. Today I am honoring my first POP artist of this challenge.
Tom Wesselmann (February 23, 1931, Cincinnati – December 17, 2004) was an American artist associated with the Pop art movement who worked in painting, collage and sculpture.
From 1949 to 1951 he attended college in Ohio; first at Hiram College, and then transferred to major in Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. He was drafted into the US Army in 1952, but spent his service years stateside. During that time he made his first cartoons, and became interested in pursuing a career in cartooning. After his discharge he completed his psychology degree in 1954, whereupon he began to study drawing at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He achieved some initial success when he sold his first cartoon strips to the magazines 1000 Jokes and True.
Cooper Union accepted him in 1956, and he continued his studies in New York. During a visit to the MoMA he was inspired by the Robert Motherwell painting Elegy to the Spanish Republic: “The first aesthetic experience… He felt a sensation of high visceral excitement in his stomach, and it seemed as though his eyes and stomach were directly connected”.
Wesselmann also admired the work of Willem de Kooning, but he soon rejected action painting: “He realized he had to find his own passion he felt he had to deny to himself all that he loved in de Kooning, and go in as opposite a direction as possible.”
In 1957 Wesselmann met Claire Selley, another Cooper Union student who was to become his friend, model, and later, his wife. 1958 was a pivotal year for Wesselmann. A landscape painting trip to Cooper Union’s Green Camp in rural New Jersey, brought him to the realization that he could pursue painting, rather than cartooning, as a career.
Wesselmann never liked his inclusion in American Pop Art, pointing out how he made an aesthetic use of everyday objects and not a criticism of them as consumer objects: “I dislike labels in general and ‘Pop’ in particular, especially because it overemphasizes the material used. There does seem to be a tendency to use similar materials and images, but the different ways they are used denies any kind of group intention”.
Read more of his extensive biography here.
Like I said earlier, I had a nice relaxing time painting my art piece today. I was a little torn between doing a woman smoking piece or a picture of my foot. I was pretty sure I didn’t want to paint a profile of a penis or boob with a protruding nipple, not that I’m against it! I finally committed to doing a smoking piece since I thought it’d be fun. I apologize for seeming a little lethargic today. I think this project is starting to wear me down a bit. No complaints though! I’m still highly motivated and dedicated. I think I’m just having a lazy Saturday.
I hope you enjoy my piece! See you tomorrow on Day Nineteen. 🙂 Best, Linda