Skip to: site menu | section menu | main content

Kerstin Peters

It is all about art...

2014 Jan./Febr. Blog Entries

Blog 1, January 3, 2014

Beginnings

 

 

Starting this year, I would like to give you a closer look at my career, why and how I paint, some tips of the trade. This first blog is dedicated to the painting that started it all: “Jessie – Forever In My Heart”.

 

“Jessie – Forever In My Heart” is a 11” x 14” acrylic painting of our Golden Retriever Jessie who died suddenly in October 2005. We had adopted her on one of the coldest nights of January 1996 to help me get over my fear of dogs. This anxiety was so bad that I did not want to leave our house because there were many dogs in the neighbourhood. She was basically my first child. She was my constant companion while I tried to get settled in a new country far away from my family and friends. She helped me overcome my fear of dogs and opened my world to so much pleasure and the unconditional love dogs give. She was at my side during many life crises.

 

I was devastated after her death. It really pulled the floor away under my feet. A couple of months into the new year, I decided to paint a portrait of her on her 10th birthday which was the day before she died. Everyone else had gone to Halloween parties and I had stayed home with her as we had found out two days before that she would only have a couple of days left with us. I had tried to draw her that evening but was too devastated to bring anything to paper.

 

When I started the painting early in 2006, I wanted to make sure I would not forget her. However, I was still so filled with grief that I had to stop painting many times. Instead, I started a portrait of my daughter from a photo I took the evening of the Halloween parties. When Arteast put a call out for the Budding Artist Exhibition that spring, I entered both paintings. “Princess Christine” won high marks but it was “Jessie – Forever In My Heart” which won a prize. I was overwhelmed with joy when I got the phone call, and I remember that no one was around at the time with whom I could have shared the good news.

 

This award gave me the confidence to paint more and to get more serious about my painting. I painted more, joined a group of plein air painters, and entered exhibitions regularly. To this point Jessie is still my most painted subject. I have done paintings of our two new dogs Alex and Candy as well as many other dogs. One of them, “His Majesty Ringo I” won first place in the Ottawa Art Association Award Show in 2009 in the mixed media category.

 

Many people ask me at shows if the dogs in my paintings are my own dogs. The answer is always “no”. I could never sell a painting of our dogs. They are part of our family. I also would never sell a painting of my kids. I don't mind having the image on greeting cards but the original stays with me – close to my heart.

 

 

Blog 2, January 10, 2014

How I Became an Acrylic Painter

 

 

Starting this year, I would like to give you a closer look at my career, why and how I paint, some tips of the trade. In this blog I tell you why acrylic paint is my preferred medium.

 

When I started painting as a adult, I started with oil paints. It was in the late eighties and although acrylic paints had become very popular through the Pop Art of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, oil paints were still the traditional painting medium. As my teacher, German painter Inge Besgen, used oil paints for her paintings, it was just natural for me to follow her example. I continued to paint with oil paints at the Ottawa School of Art after I had immigrated to Canada. I never thought about using another medium as I liked the way I could move the paint on the painting until we had our first child.

 

In our first house in Canada, I did not have a permanent place to paint. Instead, I put up the easel in the kitchen. This worked well until our son was able to walk. Having a little person with lots of curiosity around, is not safe if you are using slow drying and toxic paints. At this point I tried acrylic paints for the first time, and loved them because I could still create pieces that looked similar to to oil paintings I admired. I did not have to worry about toxic fumes, messy cleanups, problems to store the wet painting, or my son's finger prints on my art. The fast drying time has been also in my favour for showing my works in exhibitions as I often finish a piece just hours before a show.

 

These days, with all the different acrylic mediums and pastes around you can basically create everything you can think of. Acrylic paints are the most versatile on the market. The paints can be used on canvas, paper, fabric, leather, metal, and wood. They have little odour and no fumes which make them a good medium for people with allergic reactions to oil paints and the solvents used. Acrylics can be brushed, put on with painting knives, sprayed, poured, splattered, scraped or carved. You can put thin paint over thick. They dry quickly which makes re-working and layering easy. For clean-up you just need water and soap. At least, as long as you make sure that the paint does not dry on your brushes. After drying the paint becomes permanent and flexible so that surfaces will not crack. However, paints become increasingly brittle in temperatures under 9ºC. This is one of the reasons why I do not use acrylic paints for plein air painting anymore. Even in warmer weather, especially in windy and/or sunny conditions, I got frustrated because I was not able to work the paint the way I was used to in my studio. The paint did just dry too fast. Even the invention of slower drying acrylic paints like the Golden Open Acrylic did not solve that problem for me.

 

If you would like more information about acrylic paint and its differences to watercolour and oil paints, I have good news as I am just in the middle of writing a free eBook about this subject which should be finished by the end of January. I will also start sending out a monthly newsletter on the last Wednesday of every month with more tips. You are certainly always welcome to contact me personally for any questions.

 

If you liked this block, I would appreciate it if you forwarded the link to friends who might be interested in the subject. Thank you for your interest in my art.

 

 

Blog 3, January 17, 2014

The Importance of Animals in Art

 

One of my passion is painting animals, especially dogs, but I have also painted cats, birds, cows, horses, a goat, bunnies, and a lion. Today's blog looks at the importance of animals in art. I gathered the information with the help of the following sources:

 

- http://www.slideshare.net/RJardin/animals-in-art-timeline-by-sahil

- http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/sitting-pretty-dog-portraiture/183

 

The first animals paintings, pictures of bulls, were found in caves in Altamira, Northern Spain and are estimated to be approximately 17000 years old .

 

The Egyptians were the first to use colourful pictures of animals to decorate tombs and other religions statues.

 

During the Roman Empire, animals appeared in illustrations of their every day life often showing the cruel treatment of animals.

 

In the middle ages, animals became very prominent in art representing mythical beasts or religious symbols, and decorating medieval manuscripts.

 

During the time of the renaissance the popularity of animals in paintings grew further. The animals were painted very realistically by such famous artists as Leonardo Da Vinci.

 

During the 19th century, pets and livestock became popular subjects largely due to aristocratic values. Hunting was a favourite pastime, and no hunting portrait would be complete without the dogs chasing the prey. Paintings were a way of immortalizing the subject matter and making future generations aware of, and pay reverence to, the heritage.

 

In the 19th and 20th century, famous artists like Franz Marc, Pablo Picasso, and Norval Morrisseau did not want to be restricted by the outer appearance of creature but wanted to show emotions, energy, and the essential presence of the animals using surreal colours and dividing the body into abstract shapes.

 

The rising trend of animal portraiture in the last couple of years is probably due to the strong bond that has developed between pets and humans. Pets are considered man's best friend. They are loyal and love unconditionally in a world were relationships are fragile and changes in all areas of life happen fast. No wonder, pets are treated in today's society like family. A portrait of the beloved animal will help people keep the memory alive even after their pet has died. A painted portrait is something special as it can reflect the personality of an animal better than a single photo can.

 

If you are interested in having a painting of your best furry friend done, and you like what you see on my website, why don't you contact me, and I will gladly explain what you can expect when commissioning a pet portrait.

 

Please let me know if there are any other art related topics you would like to learn more about. I would be happy to include them in my blog or newsletter. If you enjoyed this block, please leave a comment.

 

 

 

Blog 4, January 24, 2014

Strutting - The Year of the Horse

In today's blog I will take a closer look at my painting “Strutting” which is very fitting as 2014 is the Chinese year of the Horse.



The horse is the seventh of the 12 animals signs of the Chinese zodiac calendar. In the Chinese culture, the horse is a symbol of nobility, class, speed and perseverance. 



The Chinese liked horses as a quick means of transportation before the invention of automobiles. Therefore, the horse is not only a symbol of travelling but also a sign of speedy success.

Horses like to compete with each other. They fight for their freedom, passion and leadership. They are intelligent wild animals that need to be trained to become useful to humans.



I have a healthy respect of horses, that is to say I am afraid of them. Their mere size intimidates me. However, their majestic movement and muscular bodies fascinate me. The shine of their coat, their flowing manes and tails create a picture of beauty. Not to forget their beautiful big eyes which are the biggest of any land mammal.



My acrylic painting “Strutting” is a 16” x 20” acrylic I created in the studio in the spring of 2008. My reference were photos taken during a plein air session in the area of St. Pascal, Ontario, in September of 2007. I painted it for a group exhibition at the “Galerie Old Chelsea”, which was themed “Heritage”.



I was still fairly new to plein air painting when we went to St. Pascal. It was a beautiful day in late September and the sun was burning down on us. Even though I was fascinated by the barn and the two black horses, I decided that this would be too challenging and painted a fall scene with some trees and a winding road instead. I enjoyed the surroundings and the warm sun but got very frustrated with my acrylic paints. Painting in the open landscape without any restrictions is quite overwhelming. There is so much to take in and it is not easy to limit yourself to a canvas. The extra challenge of getting my paint onto the canvas before it dried made me feel very annoyed. Later in the studio, I finished the painting but it never was one of my favourites. However, I felt very much drawn to the barn and the two beautiful horses. The barn was supposed to be the focus of the painting but once I started working on the horses, I realized that they were my main interest. I just love their strong muscular bodies and I am quite happy with the way their black coats are shining on my canvas. It was my first attempt at painting horses. In the meantime, I have taken many more photos of horses but so far I never felt the urge to paint one again.

 

 

 

 

Blog 5, January 31, 2014

 

Princess Christine - The Challenges of Painting Portraits

 

 

In today's blog I will take a closer look at my painting “Princess Christine” and why it is so difficult to paint successful portraits.

 


Princess Christine is an 11" x 14" acrylic painting of my daughter which I started in early 2006. I used reference photos I took the previous Halloween. It is one of the few portraits of people I have done. While it is very exciting for the artist to see how the person comes alive on the canvas, portraits are a very hard subject to paint because everyone has a slightly different perception of a person. You probably all have been in a situation where a friend commented on the resemblance your son or daughter has with you. The next friend, however, cannot believe how much your child looks just like his father. How is this possible? Well, both of them just see what they want to see.

This phenomenon is not only true for portraits. If you have a group of painters painting a still life or even en plein air, you will hardly find two paintings which look the same because everyone is attracted to different aspects of the scene.

A realistic portrait is even harder to paint than a landscape because nobody will really notice if you make slight changes in a landscape but if you move a couple of important lines in the person's face you can completely change the look of the person.

I find it very crucial to know the person I am painting. This way, I do not only have to rely on the photos which are never precise. Certain colours just do not look the same on a photo than in nature, and there are little details which the camera just does not catch. This might be different if you are a professional photographer but for most recreational photographers this is certainly true.

So far, I have only done one portrait of a person I did not know. In that case I did not even have a photograph as a reference but a sketch another artist had created. It was very challenging to create the painting as the sketch did not show the person's body. I worked with additional photos of people in similar positions.

 

  What I should have realized before I took on the commission was that I did not know anything about the person I was supposed to paint. I did not even know the person who commissioned the painting of his father, e. g. anything about his relationship and views of his father. In addition, the sketch was already an interpretation of what the first artist saw when he looked at the person. So basically, I painted an interpretation of an interpretation. Once I started the painting, I realized very quickly that I did not have enough information about the gentleman I was painting to do a successful portrait. While the drawing could do with just the suggestion of some body parts, this did not work for my painting style.

 

At the end, my customer and I agreed that although it was a successful painting of a gentleman, it was not a successful painting of his father. For me it was still not a write-off as it was a good experience. I learned a lot in the process of painting this portrait, and also saw where my limits are.

 
My customer still had a positive experience as we had a wonderful dialogue about the painting and our different (and very subjective) views. At the end, he picked another painting from my portfolio.

 

Painting Christine, however, was very rewarding. At one point in the painting process I was surprised to see a lot of myself in her face. In the final painting most of this is gone, and you see her own personality.

 

At the age of four years, Christine just loved being a princess but she never was the girly girl. She was always looking up to her brother, and trying to follow in his footsteps.

 

When I painted the portrait, she was my little sunshine in a very sad world. I had a hard time coping with the sudden death of my first “baby”, our Golden Retriever Jessie. Christine was still too small to understand what had happened. She did not have the same strong bond with Jessie as her brother who saw Jessie as a great buddy he had spent lots of time with. Even though Christine's happiness hurt at times, it also helped me out of my big hole.

 

Christine had a couple of different princess dresses in her closet but we both loved the blue one the most as blue was and still is her favourite colour. She just looked adorable in her dress. I also love the way her eyes sparkle in this painting.

 

If I would do the portrait again, I would probably look for a different facial expression as it is very difficult to paint teeth in a natural way.

 

If you enjoyed today's blog and would like to hear more about my career, please go to my website www.KerstinPeters.ca where you can read the previous blogs. There, you can also sign up to my monthly newsletter and receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint, But Where Do I Start?” as a token of my appreciation.

 

 

Blog 6, February 7, 2014

 What to Expect When You Commission a Painting


If you love art, there might come a day when you decide you would like to have a certain subject painted according to your wishes.

 

Before you even contact a painter, go to galleries or local art shows to see what you like. Look at the different subjects, styles, and mediums of the paintings you see and decide what you are looking for. Take business cards of artists whose work you like, and check out their websites. Often, you will already find out on their websites if they are welcoming commissions, and get a feeling for the price range you are looking at.

 

Once you are ready to talk with an artist about your commission, be sure you know what you want and make arrangements to meet at the artist's studio to see more of his/her original art. Let the artist know if you like or dislike certain colours, and if there is a similar painting you really admire. The more information you can give to the artist the better.

 

When discussing the price of the painting, it is important to let the artist know your budget. There are often ways to accommodate a smaller budget by offering to paint the subject in a smaller size or on a different type of support (e.g. paper, canvas, boards). Sometimes, it might be worth to wait and save up some money before commissioning the painting.

 

If the artist agrees to take on the commission, be sure to have the terms stated in a contract. This is beneficial for both of you.

 

The contract between the two parties should state:

  • both party's names

  • date of the agreement

  • subject of the painting, medium, size, format

  • payment and delivery terms

  • arrangements with regard to revision times

I usually prefer to paint from photos I have taken. This way I have personally seen and observed the subject and have build a connection with the subject. However, if this is not possible, the photos serving as reference material have to be taken by you. Professional photos are protected under the copyright law and cannot be used without written consent from the photographer. The photos have to be sharp to make out details of the image.

 

In the case of an imagined scene or character, it is very important that you can describe the image you wish to see in the painting in detail – maybe by providing reference photos from similar images. Make sure the artist you contact is used to working from imagination rather than from reality.

 

Once the painting is started, make sure to see the painting progress regularly to be able to give your feedback. Do not hesitate to voice concerns or ask for changes you would like to see as they are much easier implemented during the painting process than once the painting is almost finished. Some painting mediums make changes almost impossible after the stage of the initial drawing (eg. watercolour paintings or ink drawings), so it is crucial to take a very assertive look at the sketch. However, in general, revisions are part of the painting process. Please do not feel you are inconveniencing the artist. The final painting is supposed to be something that you really love. Therefore, it is necessary to mention things that bother you. Usually, changes can be easily made.

 

When setting up the contract, it is important to know that you are just purchasing the original painting. The copyright of the painting stays with the artist. You can hang it up in your house but you cannot make reproductions of any kind from it. The artist can still make and sell prints from the digital copy of your painting, use it in his/her portfolio, or license the image out. If you would like to reproduce the image, you will need the artist's permission – either by adding a clause to the contract or contacting the artist once you plan to reproduce the image.


I have done portraits of many dogs, cats, some family members as well as a commission of a Cumberland mansion. In general, the buyers were very happy with their painting. In all those cases, both my client and I had done our homework before agreeing to the contract. Only once, I was not able to deliver what the client had expected, which was the case in the painting “Gentleman Smoking His Pipe”, a painting I wrote about in last week's blog post.

 

If you enjoyed today's blog I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment in my guest book http://www.kerstinpeters.ca/guest-book.htm or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KerstinPetersPaintings.

 

To hear more about my career, please go to my website www.KerstinPeters.ca where you can read the previous blogs. There, you can also sign up to my monthly newsletter and receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint, But Where Do I Start?” as a token of my appreciation.

 

If you are interested in talking with me about a commission, please do not hesitate to contact me at kpeters@DomingoInformatics.ca.

 

 

 

Blog 7, February 14, 2014

 Creating Art Is For Everyone

 

 

 
Today is Valentine's Day – the day of love, jewelry, flowers, chocolates, greeting cards and if you believe one furniture store a day to give the special person in your life a new couch and a love seat. Even though some women might support Marilyn Monroe's claim that “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend”, there are other ways to show someone your love.

 

Why not give something very personal like a little art piece made by you for your loved one? You might say that this is absolutely out of the question, that you do not have a single artistic bone in your body but I would disagree. You just have not found what you are passionate about. You might not end up being the next celebrated master but you might learn something about yourself that will surprise you as well as your family and friends.

 

  There are many reasons why people start making art: Some just like to create things, some want to try something new, for some it is fun and relaxing, for others it is a means to express themselves when words fail - a way to express their feelings, thoughts or memory. This is a reason why art is often very beneficial to deal with feelings of frustration, depression, anxiety or anger. Creating art is both for people who are looking for solitude as well as for those who would like to meet and spend time with other like-minded people. Art brings happiness to yourself and so many others, too.

 

The important part is that you have fun creating and are happy with the results. Do not compare your art to the one of the person next to you because art is very personal and always contains a little part of the person who created it. This does not mean that you should not admire and learn from others but make sure that you are not just copying.

 

Art is also not just painting but any creative activity, e.g. sculpting, photography, writing, acting. Even needlework, sewing, gardening and cooking can be considered art. You just have to find what inspires you by being open to new challenges. Try different materials, techniques, and styles. Learn from the masters and give it your own touch.

 

Once you start being creative, more and more new ideas will come. You will start to see the world differently. Since I started painting en plein air, I see nature differently because I really observe colours and shapes. I don't just think how things should be but look for myself.

 

Even though most of my works are for sale, ultimately I paint for myself. My paintings show my interpretation of the world. It is exciting to hear when other people can relate to what I am painting and appreciate my work. My paintings are often the trigger to wonderful discussions with the visitors of art shows. When one of my paintings finally finds a “forever home” it is the “icing on the cake”.

 

When I am teaching, I try to share this passion and feel very happy when my students have a hard time packing up their painting materials at the end of the class. I try to help everyone to find their strengths and to encourage them to follow their path.

 

I hope you have not only enjoyed my blog but are inspired to try your own hand at art. I would like to hear what new artistic side you would like to explore. Please leave me a comment in my guest book http://www.kerstinpeters.ca/guest-book.htm or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KerstinPetersPaintings.

 

To hear more about my career, please go to my website www.KerstinPeters.ca where you can read the previous blogs. If I awakened your curiosity and you are thinking about picking up a brush, I encourage you to sign up for my monthly newsletter. This way you can also receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint, But Where Do I Start?”.

 

 

Blog 8, February 21, 2014

 How to Talk to an Artist about Their Work

 

 

 
Last week I talked about the pleasure of discussing my work with art lovers. However, from time to time an
awkward remark or question about my work makes me cringe.

 

Showing my art in public is a big step for me and every other artist. Out of the security of the studio, my paintings become a target of criticism and judgement. I am as much a target because every painting shows my interpretation of the world, it contains a little bit of me, and has its own history. Some pieces come together easily, while others have caused a lot of frustration.

 

Therefore, never ask an artist how long it took to make an art piece. There is no easy answer for it anyway. It is not like painting by numbers. Artists work at their own speed. Just because one artist can finish a painting fast does not mean less effort was put into the creation. At the same time, taking your time does not mean that you are less skilled. With or without an art degree, all artists spent a lot of time and money on learning and improving their skills. All this is part of the art works created.

 

Moreover, the majority of artists does not only create art but is also responsible for all the other tasks of a small business, e.g. marketing, sales, packing and shipping. Those administrative parts of the business can take up 50% of their work time. If you are serious about your art business, you no longer enjoy a fun hobby in your spare time but have to work hard to make your business visible to the art buyers.

 

For the same reason, asking for a considerable discount is an insult to the artist. Often, there is room to negotiate a 10% reduction, especially if you buy more than one work. However, asking for more makes the artist feel like you do not appreciate the work. Most artists price their work very conservatively, basing their calculation on materials and a small pay for the time invested as well as their experience.

 

Never ask whether a work is finished if it is for sale. This is as embarrassing as asking a woman whether she is pregnant because she has a belly in an outfit or gained a little weight. Instead, respect every art work for the effort put into it, even if you do not like the work itself.

 

To find more about an artist ask him/her to talk about his/her work and the inspiration behind it. Find out why the artist likes to paint certain subjects. Ask about the story behind a painting.

 

If you would like to learn how to paint, ask directly “Do you teach?” instead of pointing out that you want to learn how to paint when you retire or have more free time. This remark might imply that you do not really value the art displayed but think you could easily do the same as a hobbyist. Always remember how much time it took the artist to paint this way. There is no shortcut in painting, although having a teacher helps you progress faster. It takes practice, practice and more practice.

 

In general, just taking the time to really look at the art works is enough praise for the artists to feel taken seriously. You do not need to be an art expert to appreciate art. Just trust your own judgement. Sometimes, no words are needed but a smile appearing on the viewers face says it all. As an artist you would like to have your efforts recognized and to be supported. It is exciting to hear when other people can relate to your art. We artists know that there are many reasons why someone cannot buy our art but positive feedback is always appreciated. Some remarks stay so much longer in our memory than the actual sale of a painting.

 

Here are just some examples of my most memorable interactions:

 

My most insulting experience was while painting at the Tulip Festival when a grandmother came up to me to ask whether her granddaughter could just take my brush and pretend she was painting while she took a photo of her. Really, what was she thinking? It is not child's play. Not much better was the remark that my paintings looked much better from afar.

 

One of the best ones came from a client who visited my booth a year after a purchase. She told me that she still enjoyed my painting every day because the animal looked so much alive that it made her happy ever time she looked at it. The second one was from a teenager who wrote that she thought my paintings were the best of the show.

 

Aside from thoughtless remarks, there is one more thing you should never do: Never take pictures of art work without permission. You might just want to have a nice recollection of all the beautiful art you saw but unfortunately there are people out there who take photos of work to reproduce the art work either by making prints or by copying the work. This also applies to images taken from the artist's website or any other online source. Being an artist is not easy. Therefore, please respect our hard work and our copyright.

 

I am always happy to hear from you, so please leave me a comment in my guest book http://www.kerstinpeters.ca/guest-book.htm or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KerstinPetersPaintings.

 

To hear more about my career, please go to my website www.KerstinPeters.ca where you can read the previous blogs. If you know someone who might enjoy my blog, please share it. To read more about my art world, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter at www.KerstinPeters.ca. Every subscriber will receive a copy of me free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint, But Where Do I Start?”.

 

 

Blog 9, February 28, 2014

 

 The Interaction of Fashion and Art


After I had finished school, I wanted to become a fashion designer. I spent 6 months in the offices and factory of Schachenmayer in Salach in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It was my first time away from home. I spent some time in the factory spinning wool, and even creating my own wool, watching the chemists create new colours and characteristics for new products. What I enjoyed most was the interactions with the two designers. We created new knitting patterns, tried out new wool types, had to find names for the new colours of the season, and created new designs for clothes for the different publications. Our inspiration came from the pictures of the latest collections created by the famous international designers. Unfortunately, when I applied to university, the number of applicants was about 20 times higher than the students that were accepted. I did not get in and studied languages instead.

 

To this day, I am still very interested in fashion. However, I did not really pay attention to the interaction of fashion and art until one of my teachers pointed out that the colours used in the newest fashion trends also influence not only colours and design in home decor but also the colours offered by paint manufacturers and used in artworks.

 

This does not come as a surprise as many people are influenced by fashion trends. Even if you do not like certain colours or colour combinations showing up in the stores at the beginning of a new season, often you end up getting used to and even liking them as you see these colours popping up everywhere around you.

 

It is also interesting to note that a lot of people chose the same colours for their clothes as well as for their home decorations. However, many are still reluctant to use trend colours to paint their walls or for big item purchases. The reason is quite simple: Many people are afraid to pick a trend colour because they are afraid they would not tolerate the colour on a daily basis for a long period of time. This is the main reason why many people only use bright and dominant colours to accessories both their clothing and their home.

 

Both fashion and art are a means to express oneself. As clothing choices allow some conclusions about a person's personality, the same is true for the artist's choice of style, colours, and composition in his/her paintings. Both fashion and arts are influenced by social and cultural changes. Fashion is part of how we choose to live – whether we are setting, following or refusing trends. New trends are influenced by the visual arts, literature, and performing arts. Usually, most of the trends are not new. Instead we see a new take on trends that were already there in the past. Every art gives the artists the chance to express themselves without words, interpreting what they see, hear or feel and creating pieces which evoke emotions. Every piece can inspire the creation of something else and produce more ideas for other projects. Therefore, it is not rare that artists working closely together influence each other as seen for example with the Group of Seven.

 

Pop culture influences both arts and fashion. The celebrities are constantly visible in the media and are closely monitored and copied. A culture of mass production and mass consumption is created. The celebrities become very attractive to fashion producers wanting to extend their popularity to their brands. Some recent examples of influential celebrities are the main characters from “Sex and the City”, Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey.


One influence that changes fast from subculture to fashion are street movements like Graffiti, New Wave, Hip Hop, Break Dance.

 

The influence of art in the fashion world is easily visible when big fashion companies ask artists to work with them on the creation of new products. Louis Vuitton is just one of the designer labels which uses inspiration from artists in their line of fashion. One collaboration was with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama who is famous for the Polka-dots in her artworks.

 

However, even lower priced labels like the GAP have asked some famous contemporary artists to design images for their clothes, like the GAP Artist Editions T-Shirts. Chuck Close, Jeff Koons, Marilyn Minter, Kiki Smith, Cai Guo-Qiang, Barbara Kruger, Ashley Bickerton, Kenny Scharf, Glenn Ligon, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kerry James Marshall, Hanna Liden and Sarah Sze were the artists involved in this project.

 

On the other hand, fashion has also influenced art. If you look at the old masters you can clearly see how much emphasis they put on capturing the look and feel of the clothes the people portraited were wearing.

 

The interaction between art and fashion is also clearly visible in advertising campaigns. Often, photo shoots are done in art galleries, or ads are created in the style of famous artists, like the Pop-Art artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

 

So next time you pick up a fashion magazine, look what is new and then see whether these trends and especially colours are also picked up in artworks you see in local art shows or art magazines.

 

Back to top

Subscribe to my mailing list and receive a copy of my free e-Book "I am ready to paint, but where do I start?"

* indicates required
Sales info, click the Contact tab.