Hello! Today I am sharing the work of Joseph Yoakum. Joseph Yoakum (1888-1972) was a self-taught landscape artist who created his drawings from memories of his travels. He traveled extensively due to his employment with a circus, and then with the army during World War I. Yoakum eventually settled in Chicago where he worked various jobs until he began to make art in his 70s. He created over 2,000 artworks within the last ten years of his life!Read more…
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of working with a Chicago artist named David Philpot. David could fill a room with joy. I worked at a museum where he helped us run workshops for our teacher training program. Students that were usually distracted when visiting our museum would drop their jaws in silence when David showed up carrying one of his incredible art staffs (which were usually about 6 to 8 feet tall). From teachers to students, everyone listened eagerly to every word that David said. I am sharing his art today because his work should be even more widely recognized.
David Philpot was born in 1940 in Chicago. He was a self-taught mosaic artist and wood-carver who created intricately detailed and embellished art staffs. He used various discarded items to decorate his staffs, including jewelry, shells, mirrors, and beads. David carved the staffs out of locally sourced wood from the Ailanthus altissima tree or Tree of Heaven, which grow like weeds in Chicago. David used to tell his story about being called by a power higher to go outside to the ailanthus trees and cut one down (they are small trees). That was in 1971. It took him about one year to make his first staff. He went on to create 350 more staffs, which are now in collections all over the world.Read more…
“I am not interested in complicated things nor in the commonplace, I like to paint simple things that are a little strange.”Gertrude Abercrombie
I am excited to share the work of one of my favorite artists, Gertrude Abercrombie. I can’t get over her color palette! It’s gorgeous and moody. We have a painting of an owl and cat in our collection, and it is always a pleasure to view it. (As you may know, I am obsessed with owls.)
Here’s some background information on Gertrude Abercrombie. She was born in Texas in 1909. Her parents worked for a traveling opera company. She and her family briefly lived in Germany until World War I broke out. They relocated to Illinois, where she remained until her death in 1977.
Abercrombie was involved in the Chicago art and jazz scenes. She was a painter and pianist. She loved hosting salons in her apartment with appearances from notable musicians, such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.Read more…
Hello! Today we are rolling out our second interview from our artist interview series! Below is a recent interview with the incredibly talented David Greenhalgh of Green Phoenix Relics. David is an award-winning mixed media artist who works and lives in Los Angeles, California. He transforms vintage found objects and cast-offs into stunning works of art. Look at the intricate details of the artwork below! What an incredible way to repurpose things.
Uncommon Canvas: When did you start making art?
David: Having been brought up in a family of “Creatives” in Southern California, as far back as I can remember I was surrounded by people who were constantly making beautiful objects: My dad painted, made stained glass art and worked with photography while my mother made jewelry and shell ornaments/frames/baskets which she then sold in her gift shop in San Juan Capistrano. Our family also participated in The Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach, which was a great way to see all the local artisan’s different work. Besides my mom & dad, my mother’s sister worked as an animator for an Oscar-winning animation director and my brother designed surf clothing. The cool thing about being exposed to so many different ways in which to express oneself creatively was that I learned (and was encouraged) from a young age to explore any kind of artistic expression that piqued my interest. I think that’s why I enjoy working in 3-dimensional Mixed Media, because I get to incorporate almost anything I find interesting into my work. So, to answer your question, I’ve been creating since I was a kid.Read more…
I am excited to share these exceptional works of art by mixed-media artist, Llanor Alleyne. These really blow my mind. So gorgeous.
Llanor was born in Barbados, raised in New York, and is currently living in Tulsa. Her work is represented by Leonard Tourné Gallery in New York. Llanor’s first exhibition, Fugitive Ecologies, runs through November 15, 2020 and can be viewed online or by private viewing through the gallery. Check it out!
Here is a description of her process from her artist statement:
“Llanor Alleyne’s collages and illustrations explore metaphorical and physical inversion, often employing tearing, cutting, and layering of abstract, figurative, and floral shapes to interrogate empathetic feminine connections to nature while alluding to emotional disruptions that teem just beyond a first or second glance. Influenced by her surroundings as well as imagined landscapes, Llanor creates abstract paintings and drawings on mylar and paper that are the basis of her collages. The lines, colors, and curves of these impermanent abstract ‘first works’ are the vernacular of her recent work—structuring figurative silhouettes and dictating their final emergence as whole, often lone female depictions, while sharing “first work” DNA across several portraits.”
Are these paintings not balm for the soul? These are part of the series, Illusion of Risk, by artist Rachel Berkowitz. Rachel is an emerging artist living in Los Angeles. We recently got acquainted with Rachel and her work, which focuses on the spiritual elements behind risk-taking, fate and chance “using natural landscapes as a primary creative resource.” She is a painter, printmaker, and photographer. Rachel shares thoughts about her artwork and process below.Read more…
Hello folks! We are excited to launch a new artist interview series today. Our goal with this series is to provide a platform for artists to share their process, advice, and inspiration in their own words. We recently interviewed Kat Brandao, a self-taught artist who lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more about her below, and get the added bonus of a Fall recipe!
Uncommon Canvas: When did you start making art?
Kat: I started making art about seven years ago. In my first attempt at painting I thought I was going to paint a poem, then I quickly fell in love with colors which led me to try abstract paintings. Once I started, I was hooked.
Uncommon Canvas: What are your favorite materials to use?
Kat: I really enjoy experimenting with different materials. I use acrylic as my base and I like to incorporate wax crayons, painting markers, charcoal, graffiti, and anything I can get my hands on, really. I also like to try using different materials for mark making. For example, I have used leaves and wood that I’ve found during hikes in some of my paintings. I’ve also used the plastic wrap covering my canvases as an art tool.
Uncommon Canvas: What inspires you when making art?
Kat: I find inspiration in everyday events where emotions are present; some examples are my walks in nature, my interactions with others, my dreams and my reality. Seeing, listening to, and making art in other forms also informs and supports my painting process. I find baking very inspiring, as an art and a connection with my grandmother, who taught me how to bake.
Hello friends & art lovers!
I finally set up an Instagram account for this blog. Follow @theuncommoncanvas on Instagram. It’s an easy way to stay up to date on posts, especially if you are trying to cut down on e-mails. I don’t know about you, but my inbox has been flooded lately! Of course, I will still send out the blog post updates vie e-mail if you are subscribed and prefer that. (I only send about one e-mail per week and only if there is a new post up.)
I will be posting additional content on Instagram, including artists not featured on this blog and book recommendations. Find me there and let’s connect!
One more thing! I should also mention that we have a new artist submission page here. After receiving many e-mails from artists about their work, I decided to create this submission form to make it a more streamlined process. If your art falls along the lines of the work shown on this blog, I would love to share it if it seems to be a good fit.
Take care and stay well!
MARLON MULLEN is a painter living in California. He has been a participating studio artist at NIAD (Nurturing Independence through Artistic Development) Art Center in Richmond, CA, since 1993.
NIAD is a visual arts program located in Richmond, CA. that promotes creative expression, independence, dignity, and community integration for artists with disabilities. Mullen is on the autism spectrum and is mostly non-verbal. As with many disabled artists, his art serves as a way for him to communicate and transcend barriers.
NIAD describes this in more detail:
“He certainly has his own understanding of meaning when it comes to words. Specifically regarding the content of his paintings, he has not verbally communicated at length his intent or fascination with the images that he copies. However, his paintings are sufficient in informing us of the nuances of what he sees.”
Mullen works from found photographs or art magazines (Art Forum or Art in America) which he transforms into obscure, bold colors and shapes. His art has been shown at many notable galleries and has been included in several exhibitions. His work was featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial as well as in SFMOMA’s SECA Art Awards exhibition.
Mullen’s work is represented by JTT in New York and Adams and Ollman in Oregon. He is a great example of an artist who was able to overcome obstacles that normally prevent inclusion in the art world.
“Just a few years ago, the idea that artists with developmental disabilities working in progressive art studios could develop serious careers as contemporary artists seemed idealistic and almost unattainable…These contemporary icons of the progressive art studio movement, however, demonstrate the great promise of inclusive culture – highly original ideas and fascinating new paradigms for understanding and defining art-making.”– Disparate Minds: Marlon Mullen and Helen Rae (February 2019)
If interested in learning more about his work, please visit JTT (for purchase inquiries) or NIAD. NIAD has a long list of other talented artists to explore. Below is a video from SFMOMA showing Mullen working in the studio. Enjoy!
Image credits (top to bottom):
#1 Marlon Mullen, Untitled, 2018, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches
#2 Marlon Mullen, Untitled, 2018, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches
#3 Marlon Mullen, Untitled, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 41 x 48 inches
Please note that all images are copyright © of the individual artists and used on this blog for educational purposes. Selling, printing, or repurposing artwork without an artist’s permission is not nice or permitted.
Aleksandra Apocalisse is a self-taught artist living in Portland, Oregon. Originally from the USSR, she lived most of her life in New York until moving to Portland in 2015. She studied behavioral neuroscience and has a broad and interesting range of experience including working as a circus arts teacher, science teacher, a counselor, and an organic farmer. She is currently a full-time professional artist working with acrylics, watercolors, and pen. Her prints are available for purchase on Etsy at ApocalisseArt, and she is a vendor at Portland Saturday Market.
Aleksandra describes her art below:
“For me, art is more than just a passion or a career. It is my therapist, my teacher, my guide, my meditation, and my truest form of communication. My artworks are, for the most part, bits of my subconscious mind in their attempts to become conscious content. I often get lost in my works, as I immerse myself in ineffable themes and ideas such as death, attachment, connection, the trap of memory, and many more. I like to incorporate in my artworks literary ideas and song lyrics that touch me. I am also greatly inspired by any rock, leaf, fruit, tree, mountain, pair of eyes, or body of water that I happen upon.”
Image credits: (from top to bottom):
Aleksandra Apocalisse, Ghosts
Aleksandra Apocalisse, Cosmic Heron
Aleksandra Apocalisse, Cosmic Bear
Please note that all images are copyright © of the individual artists and used on this blog for educational purposes. Selling, printing, or repurposing artwork without an artist’s permission is not nice.