Shay Kun grew up in an environment that smelled heavily of poppy, turpentine and linseed oil. And by the time he was perfecting his first vocabulary he already started differentiating the depth of oxide red from the earthy tone of burnt sienna and identifying the radiance of cadmium yellow from the calmness of cerulean blue. Well, to be fair, much of this learning was absorbed unconsciously by him from his immediate environment after he was born in 1974, Israel, to parents who are themselves noted artists. Naturally, his creative enthusiasm in those days knew no boundaries. He graduated from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel in 1998 with a BA in Fine Arts and followed that up with a Masters Degree completed from Goldsmiths College, London, England, 2000. He felt the atmosphere in Goldsmiths College to be intellectually stimulating but finding his own voice needed much contemplation from his part. In the end, after much mulling over, he did manage crafting a unique pathway for himself that he may call his own. To some extent, an amalgamation of his mother’s optimism and tender–heartedness showcased by her art and his father’s way of interrogating the darkness and decay of the age through his paintings could be seen into Shay Kun’s work.
For nearly two decades Jason Christensen is capering about the glens and crevices of Utah and beyond with a 4x5 film camera in hand; for nearly twenty years he is scanning the reflections on the sparkling water of Snake River, lolling under the glowing moon in Stansbury or gauging the tide at the Pacific coast of El Matador; for the last vicenary Jason is holding conversation with every wild flower that blossoms beside the path he treads, listening to the mournful saga of every fallen leaf in autumn and learning the strange story of every brook that happens to cross his way. Jason Christensen has sipped into the natural grandeur around him and with the help of his trusted camera preserved those cherished moments as much as he could. He gathered all his experiences into a neatly showcased gallery much with the enthusiasm of a child who never forgets his scrapbook over the years. Through his photography he proved his faithfulness to art as he has been truthful to the generous beauty around him, courtesy planet earth. His paragon has been revealing the nature at its pristine best. That is why whenever anyone scrutinises his photograph one is sure to smell the earth and feel the splashes of cool spring water soaking the face, thereby, relieving oneself with the agonies and cares of the day.
Back in 1957, a fourteen year old girl was seen deeply contemplating the work of a 20th century master, Pablo Picasso, in a museum named after him in Paris, France. It was there, for the first time in her life she learned the magnitude of the revolutionary artist’s work – realism tinged with symbolism, cubism, classicism, surrealism and so on. The visual extravaganza impressed her mind immensely and stayed there. The artist in Marcella Hayes Muhammad was stirred to its very core.
With her father being an air – force officer Marcella found herself stationed in many places including Japan, France, Germany and various parts of United States. The experience gathered and all that she has seen through this extensive excursion became a part of her own self. The encouragements of her mother Ruth Hayes, herself an art enthusiast and student of Art Institute of Chicago, and the inspiring stories of her father Harold Hayes that filled her ears as a child made her acutely aware of her own identity from an early age. She was inspired by cubism but had it redefined by dipping the brush in her own cultural heritage and her soulful energy which is self – evident in Plastic Space, a visual journal she is maintaining since 1964. In 1995 after seeing through a successful career in elementary education Marcella set up Maruva Studio in Georgia. Five years later her sister, Dianne Hayes Quarles, joined her and together they established Maruva DQ, Inc.
Marcella’s work is in the permanent collection of National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture Gallery, University of Montgomery, Alabama; The Academy of Arts, Inc. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Alabama; APEX Museum, Atlanta, Georgia to name a few. But perhaps her greatest achievement to this date has come early in her life when she learnt, ‘inspiration exists, but it has to find you working’. It is owing to this lesson that we find her today, relentlessly busy perfecting her craft even after all the successes she managed to achieve to this date.
In 2009, Iris Scott earned her degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts from Washington State University. But more importantly she took a decision that affected her entire life. She set her sail about and reached Taiwan to dedicate an entire year in honing her skills at painting at a relatively lower cost of living. But the universe had an even bigger surprise in store for her. All of a sudden one day, when, she was busy correcting a little blob of paint with her fingers on canvas an idea struck her—what if the entire scene is set up on canvas through painting with fingers? This fanciful thought did not take much time to be translated into action and there born the first of the ‘impressionist finger paintings’ series. With practice, the soft touches on canvas started producing that magical quality in paintings that did not escape notice of the admirers. And, soon Iris started criss-crossing the globe collecting fragments of images that not only touched her heart but were also translated by her waltzing fingers on canvas to capture the audiences’ imaginations.
Jean Haines traversed many a path across the world. And as she observed the many hues of nature, experienced a variety of cultures and the colours of human emotion she absorbed the underlying synergism and in the process let herself be tutored and moulded by her own life experience. Then there are mentors, like the lady in China, who would teach Jean so much about brush control. Precious time spent in China, Dubai, France, and Belgium among other places across the globe effected the vibrancy that every audience of Jean Haines’s artwork experiences today.
Jean Haines is the recipient of Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award, 2009 and Frank Pullen Award, 2006. Her first book, ‘Colour and Light in Watercolour’, was published in 2010 and the book launch took place at Mall Galleries, London. The same year also saw her to be elected as a full member of the SWA, Society for Women Artists. Her DVD, ‘Amazing Ways with Watercolour’ launched in 2011 has received rich accolades from all over the world.