Archives for the month of: February, 2012

Chilean artist Santiago Salvador paints images of tiny, anonymous people often arranged in patterns reminiscent of traditional South American weaving.  “I think of my paintings and drawings as constructions.  I include recognizable elements in them and others that are not, creating a composition in a way loses a narrative logic, but maintains in itself a friendly and mysterious stability.  I think that painting and illustrations are a gateway to the recognizable, the intimate and the ambiguous that surround us.”

Santiago Salvador

Santiago Salvador

Santiago Salvador

For more of Salvador’s images, visit his Flickr site or his blog.

-Jayme Catalano


In Guatemalan folklore, a person can express their concerns to a small worry doll so that the doll may worry in the person’s place.  Artist Renee Laferriere Cinderhouse has created her own series of ceramic worry dolls embodying the twelve most recurrent human concerns:  health, trauma, death, fertility, lust, companionship, love, loneliness, hostility, time, aging, and money.  “A physical manifestation of worry, the dolls are empathetic to our own concerns, our health, our lust, aging, death.  Each doll is a willing audience for the taxing ephemera of our daily toil, they are meant to carry our anxieties for us, so we do not have to.”

Worrydoll...Surgery, 2005 by Renee Laferriere Cinderhouse

Worrydoll...Death, 2005 by Renee Laferriere Cinderhouse

Worrydoll...Love, 2007 by Renee Laferriere Cinderhouse

For more information, visit the artist’s website.

-Jayme Catalano

Unlike many artists, Ed Handelman finds it difficult to discuss his work.  “I’ve always found it hard to make statements about my art.  It implies that there is some kind of philosophy behind my work; I just like painting.”  A number of his paintings are also untitled.  Based in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, his work is currently on exhibition at Nieto Fine Art.

Untitled by Ed Handelman

For more information about the artist, visit his website or Nieto Fine Art.

-Jayme Catalano

Web and graphic designer Seth Hardie recently posted the accidental creative process behind an image he created.  Hardie used his iPhone, the Grid Lens app and the Image Blender app to layer several images together.  Visit his blog here to read about the process behind this image:

Image by Seth Hardie

-Jayme Catalano


Evelin Kasikov is a woman moving backward in time, combining cutting edge digital design with the old-fashioned and historically feminine pursuit of embroidery.  Trained as a graphic designer, Kasikov’s work challenges preconceived notions of embroidery and handicraft.  Deeply analytical, her approach to needlework uses typography, design techniques, and grid systems to create her embroidered illustrations.  Her stitching commission have included The Guardian, WIRED, and the New York Times.

CMYK Colour Chart by Evelin Kasikov

Blateration by Evelin Kasikov

You may purchase an original embroidered print at Evelin Kasikov’s website.

-Jayme Catalano

Illustrator John W. Tomac is inspired by the future that wasn’t:  specifically the mid-century, science fictional future where everyone would drive a flying car or personal rocket and own a robot.  We know now that flying cars and rockets are incredibly fuel inefficient and robots are useless and overpriced.  Tomac’s artwork is a whimsical reminder of our grandparents hopeful naivete.

Dude, Where's My Flying Car? by John W. Tomac

Rocket Man by John W. Tomac

Visit Tomac’s website for more information.
-Jayme Catalano

The Compound Gallery in San Francisco has an answer to the ubiquitous wine and produce subscription services:  art subscription!  Just like a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), subscribers answer a few questions about their likes/dislikes and how often they’d like to receive their $50 deliveries.  Instead of organic produce, however, they receive artwork in a variety of mediums by Bay Area artists.  Featured artists have included ceramicists, print makers, painters, etc.

A recent subscriber box containing work by Jeanne Lorenz.

Visit Art in a Box to sign up.  Click here for more work by Jeanne Lorenz.

-Jayme Catalano

We may finally know what the real Mona Lisa looked like.  The Prado Museum in Madrid recently cleaned and restored one of its more obscure and seemingly unimportant paintings, a copy of Leonardo DaVinci’s ‘Mona Lisa.’  In the museum’s possession since 1819, the copy was thought to have been completed after DaVinci’s death.  During the extensive process, however, museum officials discovered that the painting was done by a pupil working alongside the master: x-rays revealed that the copy evolved and developed just as the original did.  Experts were able to strip away the dark, cracked varnish and a black over paint, revealing a young woman with beautiful skin in front of a colorful Tuscan landscape.  Her eyebrows are visible, her lips are rosy, and she looks years younger than her more famous counterpart.  DaVinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ my hide similar charms under her own aged and discolored varnish.

A copy painted alongside DaVinci's 'Mona Lisa.'

To learn more about the painting, visit the Museo Nacional Prado websiteThe Art Newspaper also covered the story.  Click here to see the painting before restoration.

-Jayme Catalano

When I first encountered ‘Pope Innocent X’ at the Doria Pamphili Gallery in Rome, I was struck by one over-whelming and unshakeable impression:  that man looks exactly like Gene Hackman.  The resemblance is uncanny.  Maybe we’re all walking around with recycled faces, our own doppelgangers lost in obscurity.  One thing is for certain:  Gene Hackman’s own double lived more than three hundred years ago, he schemed and plotted to obtain ultimate power, and he is forever immortalized in Diego Velazquez’ masterpiece of intensity and psyche.

From left to right, actor Gene Hackman and detail from 'Pope Innocent X' by Diego Velazquez.

To see the full painting, visit this website.

-Jayme Catalano

The Gold Scab by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1879.

James Whistler is most famously known for the boldly composed painting of his mother, ‘Arrangements in Grey and Black No. 1.’  ‘The Gold Scab’ is a stark departure:  modern, angry, and comical.  It resembles something out of the oeuvre of Picasso or Dr. Seuss, not a Victorian artist known mostly for sweet portraits of women in somber grey or billowy white.

Directly before embarking on a costly and ruinous libel suit against art critic John Ruskin, Whistler was commissioned to “touch up” a decorative mural in the home of Frederick Leyland.  His task was to “harmonize” the room, improve upon the work done by another interior decorative artist.  Instead, Whistler “went on-without design or sketch-putting in every touch with such freedom…I forgot everything in my joy in it.”  He created a room awash in brilliant blue-green and gold leaf, a complete re-design of the original; he called his masterpiece ‘Harmony in Blue and Gold:  The Peacock Room.’  Leyland, furious with the drastic and unauthorized changes, refused to pay Whistler’s commission fee.  The loss of this much-needed income, a ruined reputation with other art patrons, and his disastrous libel suit against Ruskin resulted in bankruptcy.  Whistler’s beloved White House and his belongings were auctioned off by his creditors, including Leyland.

The enraged artist painted a caricature of Frederick Leyland as a greedy, vain and contemptible peacock sitting atop Whistler’s beloved White House.  The painting is an aggressive personal attack on Leyland and a bitter representation of Whistler’s own anger and disappointment.  He left the painting hanging prominently when his home and its contents were seized, a giant middle finger to Leyland and his other creditors.  The painting and a life-size photographic reproduction of the Peacock Room are currently being exhibited at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco through June 17.

For more information on The Cult of Beauty:  The Victorian Avant-Garde, 1860-1900, visit the Legion of Honor website.

-Jayme Catalano