Pin- Up Girls: Erotic Art in Pinup Paintings & Pictures featuring a wide variety of media...

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Newly updated for 2014!

Contemporary Fantasy Pin Up Girl Art Gallery

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  Paintings and pictures of Pin-up girls  have inspired and entertained generations of men, on calendars and all kinds of covers, in magazines and on playing cards. what started in oil many years ago has spread to various media...  Pin-up girl icons adorned the noses of American airplanes, in World War Two and since have become a delightful addition to the male world of garages and barracks. And the age of 'political correctness' has not even come close to putting an end to their appeal. Continuing in this grand tradition, Contemporary American Artist & Illustrator Howard David Johnson  dedicates this gallery to the immortal King of Pin- Up Art, Alberto Vargas...

  With a background in traditional media including oils, pastels and colored pencils, Howard David Johnson embraces leading edge digital media in the creation of his depictions of fairy tales, folklore, mythology, legend, religion, and heroic history. He works in and mixes a wide variety of media * Oil paintings * Acrylic Paintings * Prismacolor Paintings * Drawings * Chalk & Oil Pastel Paintings * Photography * and last but not least: Digital Artistry & Mixed Media * 

 

One of the chief attractions of  fairy paintings for the Mid-Victorians was that it made possible highly realistic and revealing pictures of the female form that would have otherwise been inadmissible... Unlike in modern revisionist  folklore, in traditional faerie lore, fairies were quite sexy! Many of them commonly went about proudly unclothed - uncommonly beautiful - mischievous, and scandalously promiscuous!

 

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The Pin Up Girl Art  of Howard David Johnson;  featuring Oil paintings, Prismacolor Paintings and Mixed Media including Photography, Painting, Drawing & Digital Artistry.

Click the control key plus the + or - keys to zoom in and out or fit the page match to your monitor's settings.

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 Can Pin Up Girl Art be fine Art?

  I say ~ Yes- and no, depending on the piece or your personal tastes. Considering Many great artists like Ingres and most of the Pre-Raphaelites were ridiculed as Kitsch in their time, so such attacks put you in distinguished company! Nothing is more subjective than tastes in art. "Blodeuwedd and Gwydion": (right) Mixed Media.  Blodeuwedd means "born of the flowers" and is Welsh Celtic Mythology in English from "The stories of the Mabinogion" translated by the Lady Charlotte Guest AKA The White book of Rhydderch (Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch) finally written in Welsh ca. 1350 & the Red Book of Hergest (Llyfr Coch Hergest) ca. 1382-1410. 

 

       

 

 "Circe the Enchantress" (below left) from Greek Mythology, is rendered in Colored Pencil on Windsor-Newton Cotman watercolor paper and is based on photographs taken by the artist. In "Elven Fairy Magic", (below Right) Elements of surrealism and symbolism abound, especially in the women's faces in the evaporating mist flowing upward and merging with the forest.  In addition to theme and content, media is an important issue- this is A  Prismacolor "Painting" if you will, because this is not the kind of picture people think of when people hear the word "Drawing".

 

    

 

Below are "The Flower Fairy" (left) and "Pixie Dust" (right) rendered in digital media. I the early days of David's career his preliminary collages were not very presentable but now they are a viable alternative to expensive traditional media for publishing ventures. David LOVES to convert Mixed media pieces like these these to oil on canvas or art on paper.

Original oil paintings and art on paper of select pieces are available, e-mail for info...

 

 
 

 

 

 

Cleopatra, a favorite of Pin Up artists, shown above in the role of seductress and Aphrodite, goddess of physical love...

 

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 "Pandora's Box" above left, Pandora was the first woman according to Hesiod,  the final oil on canvas version and below right the Prismacolor Painting or volume drawing on paper, below left, the original 35mm source photo used for the preliminary photo-montage (not shown) and above right- " Naissance de Aphrodite" [MMX] mixed media

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What is Art?

Some say Pin Up Girl art is not really art. Some say photography is not really art. Some now say digital art is not really art. The snobs USED to say paintings done with tube paint were not real art in Monet's day...

So what then- EXACTLY - IS -   art?

"Moon goddess Diana MMVIII" - media: Prismacolors with Ebony pencil lowlights on Windsor & Newton Cotman 140 lb. Water Color Paper . Background heightened with pastels.)

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              Art ( noun ) [ Middle English, from Old French, from Latin ars (stem art-). ] 1. Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature. 2. The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty; specifically, the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium. 3. The product of these activities; human works of beauty, collectively. 4. High quality of conception or execution, as found in works of beauty; aesthetic value. 5. Any field or category of art, such as painting, music, ballet, or literature. 6. A non-scientific branch of learning; one of the liberal arts. 7. a. A system of principles and methods employed in the performances of a set of activities: the art of building. b. A trade or craft that applies such a system of principles and methods: pursuing the baker's art. 8. A specific skill in adept performance, conceived as requiring the exercise of intuitive faculties that cannot be learned solely by study: the art of writing letters. 9. a. Usually plural.  Artful devices; stratagems; tricks. b. Artfulness; contrivance; cunning. 10. In printing: Illustrative material as distinguished from text.

~ The American Heritage College Dictionary of the English Language

"To those who go around declaring various forms of human expression are not art, may I suggest you invest in a Dictionary"   ~ HDJ

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       There is a school of thought that seems to think that a caveman’s beating on a hollow log with a stick is automatically superior to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony performed by the world’s finest symphony orchestra because less technology is involved. I do not subscribe to this kind of thinking. Personally I LOVE computers! First of all, there’s the freedom from fear! The undo button is empowering and liberating! More importantly, publishing customers can't afford to pay me for old-fashioned traditional methods like oil on canvas. I can do them, and do them well, but no one but millionaire art collectors can afford to pay even poverty level hourly rates for all that time. The masters often took a year for a single painting. With digital media I can create pieces that look very nice for very nice prices and with blazing speed. The publishing industry is not noted for its patience. In the early days of my art career, mailing traditional media originals was scary at best, but now they can be scanned and shipped without risk. Also in my early days adding canvas space to a work in progress was as impossible as growing a second head... but now it is so easy I usually don't even charge extra to adapt them if its just skies or landscapes! Re-dos and revisions were financially catastrophic! No wonder the starving artist became a stereotype! Before the internet, I struggled to find customers in Austin Texas, now nearly every nation on Earth has visited my website! This was beyond my wildest imaginings as a boy. What an amazing era we live in! I love it!!!

~ Howard David Johnson

 

LIMITED EDITION

[of a maximum 1,000 prints per image]

PRINT-ON-DEMAND

Each inspected, hand signed and numbered by the artist!

Gorgeous Quality Printing!

For a LIMITED time and a LIMITED print run many of the illustrations in Johnson's vast portfolio are now available!

Free Shipping and Handling on all orders!

A numbered certificate of authenticity is included.

CHECK OUT WITH

thejohnsongalleries@gmail.com

Sized to fit standard frames!

20x16 inches [508x406mm] & 14x11 inches [356x280 mm]

 

 Poster Size Art Reprints!

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

 

The Johnson Galleries now prints these "in-house" with our new state of the art Epson 7890 oversize printer on Epson 200 year premium photo paper and canvas with Epson inks!

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Thank you for Visiting... Your  business, letters, & links are always welcome.

*****

 

ON SALE NOW from BRANDYWINE PRESS!

 

              

    These beautifully printed 11" x 8.5" 64 page hardcover and trade paperback versions feature 48 full page interior plates in full color starting at only $14.99 USD. Less than the price of a single poster! Featuring Realistic Mythological and Fairy Art created in a style inspired by Classic Illustrators by American Artist & Photographer Howard David Johnson. 

on the covers to order the books from Lulu.com

e-mail for more details at

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Thank you for Visiting... Your  business, letters, & links are always welcome.

*****

Thank You for visiting the Fantasy Pin -Up Girl Art Gallery of Howard David Johnson...

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This Art Gallery has been honored by more than 25,000,000 Unique Visitors 

from the Four Corners of the Earth

My Friends from around the world thus far :

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"Duel of the Amazons" MMX (mixed media) Featuring Fabulous Ferocious Feline Fantasy Fighting Femme Fatales.

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Admission Free Virtual Realistic Art Museum

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The Realistic Art Galleries of Contemporary American Illustrator & Photographer Howard David Johnson

Click on the Icons to visit the  Fun & Educational Art Galleries : Including Realistic Art of Greek Mythology, Mythic art of Rome, Asia, The Celts, The Norsemen, and more ...Fairy and Dragon legends, The King Arthur Legends, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Paintings of Ancient Egypt and Babylon, Illustrations of Ancient Mystic Religious texts, War and Civilization from The Ancient Spartans and the Trojan Horse to World War Two, The World's Great Religions, free lessons in Realistic Art Technique and Essays on Realistic Art and Technology.

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Art Numérique

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About the Artist

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         H D Johnson is a contemporary visual artist and photographer with a background in the natural sciences and history. H D Johnson, or David as he is called, works in a wide variety of media ranging from traditional oils,  pastels and others to today's cutting edge digital media. After a lifetime of drawing and painting, Johnson's Traditional Realistic Art was exhibited in the British Museum in London in 1996, ( 3 years before he got his first computer ) as well as numerous American ones since, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His illustrations have appeared in every major bookstore and gameshop chain in America as well as magazines and educational texts around the world. Some of David's more prestigious clients have included the National Geographic Society, the University of Texas, the University of Cambridge in England, Universal Studios, Paramount Studios, PBS TV, Adobe Photoshop Auto FX, Doubleday, the Book of the Month Club,  and J Walter Thompson Advertising. Licenses to print his existing work are available at surprisingly affordable prices. Realistic Oil Paintings, Colored pencils, Pastels, Mixed media, and Digital art can also be commissioned for select projects - Working in a variety of traditional and cutting edge digital media he offers his customers a variety of options and more than thirty years of experience. As an illustrator David has not only used the computer but has been involved in the development of filter imaging software for Adobe Photoshop. He delivers the rights to these custom made copyright free illustrations and old fashioned customer service when he does work-for-hire. On his existing works license offers start at $99.00

Oil Paintings, Colored pencils, Pastels, Mixed media, and Digital art can also be commissioned for select projects. For A lesson in Math, Design, and Art Theory, The Johnson Galleries, more about how the artist works & essays by the artist on "Realistic art yesterday & today" and "digital art & it's relation to art history" keep scrolling down...

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                    Mixed Media including digital

Prismacolor colored pencils on paper Oil Painting on Canvas                    

With a background in traditional media including oils, pastels and colored pencils, Howard David Johnson embraces leading edge digital media in the creation of his depictions of fairy tales, folklore, mythology, legend, religion, and heroic history. He works in and mixes a wide variety of media * Oil paintings * Acrylic Paintings * Prismacolor Paintings * Drawings * Chalk & Oil Pastel Paintings * Photography * and last but not least: Digital Artistry & Mixed Media * 

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

 

"Those who are enamoured of practice without science are like a pilot who goes into a ship without rudder or compass and never has any certainty where he is going. Practice should always be based upon a sound knowledge of theory, of which perspective is the guide and gateway, and without it nothing can be done well in any kind of painting."

 

Howard David Johnson is a contemporary visual artist and photographer with a background in the natural sciences and history. He works in a wide variety of media ranging from traditional oils,  pastels and others to cutting edge digital media. He loves mixing media. This site features many examples of his Mixed Media Art, including illustration, photography, experimentalism, and fine art.

A portrait of the artist in his painting studio as he is today. This September 2009 photo was taken by his youngest son Erich.

  The various galleries linked to by the icons above show many examples of His Realistic Art, and are grouped by theme rather than media. There are also sample illustrations from his  new books on Fairy Art and World Myth & Legend. 

Since boyhood he has passionately copied the old masters. To create his work, he usually starts with a thematic concept  followed by a rough realistic pencil sketch, then followed by his photography, often traveling to find suitable scenes and locations and then working in his Photography studio with live models from his sketches. He then assembles a variety of elements which are realistic and original. 

        As a boy he dedicated his life to art in 1960. From 1965- 1999 he used xeroxes and tracings to make his preliminary photo montages. This is patterned after  the manner used by Maxfield Parrish and other 19th century notables. Beginning with a tracing, he then draws or paints from these complex original Computer Photo Montages. Many of these are on display on this web and slated for future completion in a variety of realistic traditional art media. As this happens, the finished work is substituted in the exhibit. 

His favourite medium for realistic art is colored pencil because of the high speed and low expense, and people began expressing difficulty in telling his colored pencil drawing from photographs in the early 1980's.  In the last 35 plus years he has also mastered Oils, Pastels, Acrylics, Watercolors, Inks, Scratchboard, Gouache, Photography, and the highly controversial digital media ( Art Numérica ) . As a commercial illustrator Johnson has not only used the computer to create art but has been involved in the development of computer imaging software. Working in a realistic style inspired by classic illustrators HDJ is deeply rooted and grounded in the Greco-Roman artistic tradition, Feeling that with realistic art, the human form is the ultimate arena for artistic expression. His lifelong dream came true when his Traditional Realistic Art was exhibited in the British Museum in London England in 1996. His mixed media has also been displayed in numerous other ones since such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Having achieved international acclaim as a traditional visual artist he discovered digital media ( Art Numérica ) in 1999. Because of his passion for realistic art and photography he elected to embrace it and joyfully be a part of this historic era in the visual arts as a 21st century realistic visual artist.

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     Since 1972 when he began his career as a scientific illustrator for the University of Texas he has earned his living in a variety of ways including illustrating all kinds of books, magazines, CD covers, and all sorts of games, greeting cards, calendars, portraits, murals and the like with his contemporary realistic art... HDJ's Realistic Art has appeared in every major bookstore chain and fantasy gaming shop in The United States and has been used in educational texts and magazines all over the world. This site features realistic paintings & pictures for the twenty-first Century including oil paintings, as well as lots of other exciting media such as colored pencil drawings, pastel paintings, acrylic paintings, gouache paintings, watercolor paintings, and pencil drawings, and also featuring studio,  field, & aerial photography,  digital painting and photo-montage and all these media mixed in an assortment of experimental combinations...Working in a wide variety of media to create his realistic art he offers his customers a host of payment and product options. He delivers the rights to these custom made copyright free illustrations and old fashioned customer service when he does work-for-hire.

         HDJ's creations take their inspiration from the realistic paintings of the old masters. From Romeo and Juliet came West Side Story. Our shared cultural heritage, great works of art, literature, music and drama, cinema, folk tales and fairy tales are all drawn upon again and again by the creators of new works. These works in the public domain are both a catalyst and a wellspring for creativity and innovation. Where would Walt Disney be without the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, or Victor Hugo? Where would Aaron Copeland have been without American folk music? Thomas Nast's Santa Claus without traditional images of Father Christmas? Picasso without African art? Public domain appropriators, one and all. He accepts select commissions to paint custom oil paintings with down payments starting at only one thousand dollars. He grants permission for most educational purposes simply for the asking. To use his existing realistic art works outside the classroom he offers low cost license offers starting around $100.00.

Use the  e-mail links above or below to contact him...

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info@howarddavidjohnson.com

Thank you for Visiting... Your  business, letters, & links are always welcome.

*****

 

Bonus Section:

Personal Opinion Essays on Realistic Art yesterday and today by the artist.

In addition to his mastery of old fashioned traditional art media and photography, Howard David Johnson now Mixes these media, combining drawing, painting, photography, and digital media with more than thirty years of experience in these fields to create his Realistic Art Numérica in 21st century paintings and pictures. Did you know the Greek word "Photography" means "Painting with Light"? Today with the advent of computers it truly lives up to it's name. Due to developments in Art and Technology, a broader definition of painting is needed than that which is found in common usage. Introducing Art Numérica -an exciting merger of traditional visual art and cutting edge technology... a new art form for the twenty- first century... Art Numérica is not limited to realistic art but also offers limitless horizons for everything from cartoons to abstractions. It is the most dramatic development in the visual arts since the Renaissance. In the words of Al Jolson in the movie world's first talking picture" You ain't seen nothin' yet!"

Essay One: "THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME..."

(A Brief essay dealing with attitudes toward Traditional Realistic Paintings, Pastels, Colored Pencils and Art Numérique )

"Painting, in art, the action of laying colour on a surface, or the representation of objects by this means. Considered one of the fine arts"

~Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

"Painting. noun. 1.) The act or employment of laying on colors or paints. 2.) The art of forming figures or objects in colors on canvas or any other surface, or the art of representing to the eye by means of figures and colors any object; the work of an illustrator or painter. 3.) A picture; a likeness or resemblance in shape or colors. 4.) Colors laid on. 5.) Delineation that raises a vivid image in the mind; as in word painting.

~ Webster's Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

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Pastel, Acrylics, and Colored Pencils combined

     Snobbism in the arts is nothing new. Some people will tell you that oils are the only valid medium for realistic paintings. That Colored Pencil, Digital, and other Realistic Painting and Drawing Media are not valid  for "real" art. Young artists, Don't let them bother you. Their forerunners used to condemn Pastels before they gained acceptance and called them "crayons" when Johann Alexander Thiele (1685-1752) invented them.  Mercilessly disrespectful  art critics of the time could not stop the Experimentalists no matter how viciously they attacked and derided them. "Crayon-painting" as it was called in England was practiced early on by persecuted pioneers in Switzerland and many other nations. What a debt we owe to these master artists who refused to knuckle under to the pressure of those short-sighted critics during those historic and experimental times. It took until 1870 with the founding of the "Societe` Des Pastellistes" in France that respect came  at last to these heroic & immortal visual artists.

        In England the liberation of the Pastellists from slight regard and undeserved disrespect came with the first exhibition of "The Pastel Society" at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1880. Pastel Painters like Mary Cassat and others from America and other nations forever silenced  the snobs with their masterworks and gained recognition at long last for Thiele's invention as a valid art medium. I am persuaded that history will repeat itself.  Like Pastels, I believe these wonderful new colored pencils and even Digital Realistic Art Media will one day receive the recognition they deserve as powerful mediums of artistic expression just as pastel paintings did. What is your definition of art? Have you thought about it?

Mine is: "anything that makes you feel or think."

     Consider dancing... it can be a little skip in the step or rise to the level of the incomparable Russian Ballet. Did you know that just the materials alone for a single oil painting cost up to a thousand dollars these days? Even paying the artist less than minimum wage no one but the super rich can afford them anymore. Something's got to give. Realistic paintings in oil have been highly prized for centuries and the appeal and following of realistic art is undiminished to this day. Oil paintings featuring Abstract Art and Realistic Art are generally the most treasured form of all the visual art media and with good reason. But snobbish art critics  favoring abstract art have declared  that realistic paintings, or illustrations are not art for a century. With so many representationalist  paintings by so many immortal master artists hanging in the Louvre, the Hermitage, and the British Museum and others I think the disrespect for realistic illustrators that dominated the 20th century is academically ridiculous as well as vain and intolerant, insisting theirs is the only valid opinion. What is your definition of Art? I believe almost any form of human expression can be raised to the level of "high art" especially  visual art and Realistic illustration...

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The detail reveals Realistic art and abstract art combined

       By my own definition of art, which is: "anything that makes you feel or think" most abstract paintings are not "real art" to me personally, because abstract paintings usually neither make me feel or think,  usually focusing obsessively on technique and avoiding any coherent content. I usually draw a complete blank mentally and emotionally when I look at them. In 1979 the Houston Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed a triptych of 3 giant   paintings they paid fifty thousand dollars for-  three blank white canvasses entitled "untitled". Then there was "The incredible new artistic Genius "with an I.Q. of 62 ...Congo the chimpanzee with his gala New York art exhibition...an elaborate prank played on the Snobbish American Art critics about a generation ago by research scientists in the field of primatology. Imagine how upset they were when he created one of his "ingenious masterpieces" right before their eyes.

( My Source for this is the Time Life Science Library volume entitled "The Primates". )

      Art education has been almost completely removed from American Schools as a result of generations of this kind of  fabulous nonsense contributing to America's cultural illiteracy crisis. Now, the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and other notables are being removed from school libraries.  After generations of this, most American college graduates today cannot name even one living visual artist, abstract or realistic.

There is no way that mandating more math, requiring more reading, or scheduling more science will replace what we have lost as a culture.    

What is your definition of Art?

~HDJ

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Note: Abstract Paintings by Congo the Chimpanzee outsold Warhol and Renoir by over 25,000 dollars in June 2005 at a London art auction. Born in 1954, Congo created more than 400 drawings and paintings between the ages of two and four. He died in 1964 of tuberculosis. There is no precedent for this kind of sale.

Essay Two : The Rebirth of Realism

More thoughts on realistic art yesterday and today by the artist

Art History has entered a new era with the birth of Art Numérica, or digital art media in the 21st century. Artists never stop exploring with mediums. Artists have been developing techniques, experimenting with different tools since at least twenty- five thousand years ago, when the first artist picked up a charred stick and scratched a picture out on the wall of his cave. You'd think everything would have been tried by now, but it hasn't. Exploring new mediums this very day is just as exciting, just as full of freshness and newness as it ever was.

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The creation of Realistic art has been the goal of most artists since the dawn of  civilization. Realistic art was the pride of ancient Greece. The world's greatest museums are full of realistic art. Realistic art WAS art until the advent of the abstract expressionist movement in the twentieth century. The coming of the camera in the nineteenth century changed realistic art forever. Suddenly, realistic art was not the only way to create realism in portraits and historical records. The work of the realistic artist was suddenly made into an expensive luxury. The political power of the realistic artist was broken and they were no longer an indispensable member of society. Hostility to the creators of realistic art goes back to ancient times and the jealousy of advisers to the Pharaohs and others who were not able to spend as much time with their rulers as their portraitists.    Although with the aid of photographs, realistic art achieved levels of excellence undreamed of, the realistic art movement of the late nineteenth century was short.

           None of these people earning their living creating realistic art could compete with the speed and low cost of photographic portraiture.  Determined to survive, great realistic artists like Pablo Picasso ingeniously turned inward and began to explore things that could not be photographed in a new school of art, abstract expressionism. The day of the fine art superstars had arrived. It was now largely just a hobby to abstract and realistic artists alike. Illustration, because of advances in printing technology enabled an elite few to earn a living with their realistic art. These illustrators working in realistic art media  were condemned and ridiculed in much the same way Europe's great symphonic composers were condemned for working in motion pictures after fleeing the Nazis during World War Two. The rift between realistic and abstract art grew wider and wider. The universities and key media usually sided with the abstract camp and derided anyone working in any realistic art media declaring boldly that realistic art was not "real" art. Immortal giants of realistic art such as Maxfield Parrish were mistreated their entire lives. They were accused of selling out for creating beautiful pieces of realistic fine art to earn a living. The attitude that the true artist must suffer and starve and die in poverty became a rule. There were the Abstract art superstars, the professional realistic illustrators, and the hobbyists who, although cut off from gainful employment and social influence still recognized their artistic gifts as a calling rather than a profession.

   Early abstract art  masters proved themselves as realistic artists before delving into realms of the intangible. They had to do this at that time to prove themselves because of the challenges they faced from the establishment for going against the status quo. In the latter part of the 20th century, realistic artists like HDJ were challenged to do abstract art to prove themselves as shown in the example above (Deirdre of the sorrows). Later realistic art training was abandoned in most schools and things like splattering paint in fits of rage  were deemed more than enough. By the end of the 20th century something as destructive and ridiculous as nailing a pack of cigarettes to a shoe was considered fine art but not realistic paintings. Fashions in art have often been as silly as fashions in ladies hats.  As the century drew to a close, many people had had enough. The realistic revolt was at hand. The rebirth of realism was fueled by the advent of the digital era. Now, for the first time in almost two centuries, an artist or illustrator could earn a decent living again with his realistic art. This is historic. Realistic art is not going to go away, especially now that photography has truly merged with traditional realistic visual art. Photography comes from the Greek words meaning "painting with light". Now with the advent of digital media the capability of realistic art has become almost limitless, truly, "painting with light". The merger of all the world's art forms to realize the potential of motion pictures has come now to still realistic art media. This website for example, combines music, prose, poetry, photography and traditional realistic art media to create an experience beyond merely looking at realistic paintings.

         The twenty- first century is already seeing a new renaissance in the arts because of the world wide web. There has never been anything like it. Abstract art, computer art, photographic art, and realistic art are continuing to be separate schools of art but are also blending to create exciting new horizons. Although Digital art does offer completely new horizons to the artist in the 21st century it does not mean the end of our time honored art traditions. Instead, it offers additional ways to keep these traditions and schools of thought  fresh and alive. ~ HDJ

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Essay V

Sexuality, Violence, Morality, and their relationships with the Arts in 21st century American Society

A case for the sacredness, purity, and beauty of the human form

A brief personal opinion essay by the artist

 

     In history, the Classical or Greco-Roman school of art is distinguished by the notion that the human form is the ultimate arena for artistic expression. Unclothed figures were very common in Classical art and their culture was very comfortable with it in general. The Victorians in contrast have always stood out in my mind for their extreme prudishness and puritanicalism. They invented the tablecloth to prevent men from looking at a table's legs because they feared a table leg might make men think of sex. In spite of this, 19th century Victorian Art did allow some unclothed figures in statues and paintings within certain bounds. One of the principal attractions of fairy paintings for the Mid-Victorians was that they made possible highly realistic and erotic pictures of unclad females that would have otherwise been inadmissible. In the 20th century the sexual revolution eliminated all of these traditional boundaries. I can see how the radical transformation of society by the total liberation of the subconscious was a bit too much for most people. In 21st century America however, the sight of a healthy unclad woman is taboo even in the visual arts. 

 

A moral pendulum swinging too far again?

 

   I find this very interesting considering they way American society is so comfortable with children viewing extreme violence and gore on television and in motion pictures. It's terrible- disembowelments, exploding heads with splattering blood and guts, cut off arms and legs are deemed just fine for prime time children's viewing. But not to worry- the profanity has been edited out. It seems too arbitrary to me. If the human body is torn apart or cut to pieces it is all right. Desecration of the human body is embraced or tolerated while appreciation or adoration even in art, is condemned.

 

The average American child sees 20,000 violent deaths on television alone by the age of 10.

 

     After all the outrageous and horrible events that have happened in America surrounding the turn of the millennium I am amazed that the only real public out cry about anything has come about over a harmless affair in a politician's private life and a stray breast at a national sporting event. I also find it interesting that the religious establishment in America feels that the healthy uncovered female human body is a dirty, filthy thing to be ashamed of. I disagree.

 

    Since the source for this stigma is supposed to be the sacred writings of the Judeo-Christians, I present to you the idea that this is not what these actually teach and will use illustrations. This comes from Jesus' saying: "If a man even look at a woman to lust after her, he has already committed adultery in his heart." By this same standard, just thinking about robbing the poor and the elderly is a sin, but in our society the act is considered "a good business move". Don't misunderstand me, he taught that his commandment was to love one another, and basically that if you did that the ceremonial law was fulfilled. A more positive approach; if you love someone you won't murder them, falsely accuse them, etc., etc., If your heart is full of covetousness for a woman, a car or anything it is likely you will transgress this law in practice. Cheating, stealing, and even murder in actual practice are taken in stride by our society, but seeing a woman's left bosom exposed is an outrage. If the Ten Commandments are the standard we're going by as they say-

 

What about the other nine?

 

        Children are diligently taught to dishonor their parents on every "family"television show. It is taboo now- yes, it is actually considered wrong to portray a good father in American movies and television with only the rarest of exceptions. What is so terribly wrong about a portrayal of a good dad? To me, this is an outrage. Stealing the retirements of thousands of teachers who have worked hard all their lives is also not deemed a problem. What about "thou shalt not murder"? (Interestingly, it doesn't say” kill"{ harag } in the original Hebrew text, { Exodus 20:13 } but "murder"{ ratsach }. ) In Nazi Germany, six million people- Jews, Christians, and politicals were secretly murdered in the death camps, but in modern America, more than thirty million baby boys and girls have been publicly murdered in abortion clinics and we call that a “choice". Judeo-Christian morality, and that's what we're talking about here only justifies killing in self-defense. With all the different forms of other effective birth control available I find this astonishing that we as a society can be so cold blooded on such a massive scale. Thankfully, it's not my decision to make, being a man; I wouldn't even know where to start. I can conceive of grievous circumstances that make clear an ongoing need for safe and legal abortions. I just don't understand why people choose it so often over less horrific forms of birth control. I only bring this up because of the disparity between the tolerant reactions to these violent, bloody things and the intolerant and even violent reactions to the sight of a peaceful woman’s uncovered bosom celebrated for it's natural beauty through the arts.

 

        I believe that women are the brightest and loveliest of all of GOD's creations. The sight of a healthy young partially uncovered girl on television even for a split second is considered a crisis and we hear public outrage? The human body itself, filthy; Think about it. Since the basis of this sight of a healthy human body taboo is supposed to be of Judeo-Christian religious origin, I want to examine this outrageous doctrine that the human body is filthy. In the Bible's first book, Genesis, it says, "they were naked and were not ashamed" and it teaches us that men and women were "made in the image of GOD". To follow this line of reasoning, GOD would also have to be filthy. Case closed. I don't think what I perceive to be the crowning achievement of GOD's creation, the woman - is filthy, but is instead pure and beautiful.

 

What I believe to be GOD's greatest creation is considered filthy, and not people's minds?

 

What's wrong with this picture?

 

These outrageous boundaries chosen by our society are so poorly thought out that Michaelangelo's statue of David is even deemed pornography and books with such works of art are being removed from our public school libraries. I'm not suggesting that we remove these boundaries again, Heaven forbid! Only that these new ones are ill conceived and badly placed and I would personally prefer to return to the traditional ones and avoid all these extremes.

~ HD Johnson MMIV

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pencil portrait 0000.jpg (29681 bytes)

'Claire de Lune' ~ music by Claude Achille Debussy (1862- 1918 )

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