In college, I learned of Peter Paul Rubens. All I knew before that was how sometimes full figured ladies were described as 'Rubenesque.' I was given a monogragh of his work and his fleshy passionate bodies and his sensative way he portrayed faces moved me. He had a movement to his paintings. A very volitile approach to compositions, even in serene settings. His mythological allegories displayed much symbolism. He worked tirelessly for the court of Marie D' Medici in the 16th century. A Baroque artist. I studied how he represented foliage, hair, fabric, water, and above all. flesh. One of my favorite artists. Whenever I am in Paris, I journey to the Louvre to see the grandiose Rubens Room. 20 huge canvases detailing the expliots of Marie, her husband Henry II, and any number of gods and goddesses in graceful compositions. I have used portions of his paintings in many of my paintings including DECEPTION, ENRAPTURE, and many others
There was an inspiration in the 70’s fashion movies. I suppose I should explain further, since they are.. dubious. I tend to absorb stimuli from the things that come into my life and evaluate which things I should hone in on that will help me, whether for enjoyment, to learn a lesson and that will be useful in order to do my best work as a young boy discovering my artistic gift, these movies had a good stimuli to work with. When painting beautiful woman, they have to look clean polished and there’s hair and cloth and tree sometimes beads or fur or flowers. And they taught me how to work with models.
In 1976 I was12, living in a small superb nestled between Napa and an Air force base since my stepfather was a officer and a pilot. I remember Diana Ross was already a huge power way back then, when a diva was still an opera singer! Mahogany was an event. I remember a friend of my mother’s telling me the movie play by play! The song was#1 forever! It has crazy with crazy clothes but you look at her clothes and the clothes in 5th element and you just know Gaultier was taking notes! And the big message of is her larger but shallow fashion job more important that his much smaller but more important political one. Fashion is art so there you go! I think one reason there are not more female artists is that so many creative woman use it their day to day styling, make up and hair to express their creativity, that doesn’t work as well with men. After Mahogany , Lipstick came out, about a model getting raped and then eventually shooting him in a red sequin gown in a parking lot with a hunting rifle. Margaux Hemingway( the’ Babe’ model) was one of the first wave of supermodels along with Gia, Cheryl Tiegs, and Beverly Johnson! She was the first Portrait did,, on typing paper. She had such strong features she was easy to capture so it was encouraging. I even used the opening sequence billboard design ( in which it’s just the features and no hairline or jawline.) to do a portrait of My sister Donna but with an iris covering one eye in mine. I drew Maurgaux many times in many ways. A couple of year later Eyes of Laura Mars came out and I was gone I was doing pastureland pencil work (see yesterday’s post) and tubed watercolors all on board. I really liked the one model Lulu, she had a long nose and piercing eyes. the above painting is one of my earliest acrylic on canvas. It’s a commentary on violence in art. Playboy ( remember this is 70’s suburbia/ air force culture, Playboy was very important) ran a feature on the photos used in the movie by Helmut Newton and Rebecca Blake. So I had the faces to work with, also Mad magazine also did a spoof of it so I used that as well. The features on the painting above is from that Mad Magazine. This is way before even Beta or VCR’s.. There was early Showtime so I could try to watch it whenever I could frantically sketching away, pages filled with random eyes and lips. I remember feeling really stressed even though I could have put down the pencil anytime. The last on my list came out 1980, Looker with Susan Dey and being that The Partridge Family was the second Album I ever bought after ABC by the Jackson Five I was in. It also had Terri Welles, a beautiful Playboy playmate of the year. It has a great beach scene where Susan has to repeatedly fall onto the sand. I used this pose once for an Eve painting making it grass. and an apple. It’s focus’s on how computer’s had to perfect commercial’s since the actresses weren’t perfect. One final asset I’ve come to find out is that these fashion sequences go amazingly well with Lady Gaga’s songs. I plan to Yout ube them so I’ll keep you posted. The opening to Mahogany syncs well with” Nothing else I can say” the Orange Dragon dress scene goes well with “So Happy I Could Die” Lipstick’s opening sequence goes well with “I Like it Rough” Laura Mars’ studio fashion shoot ( with the Ah Ah Eh Eh song) goes well with “Bad Romance” and the Looker beach scene goes well with “Summerboy”
September 26, 2015 · Jeffrey
In the mid seventies, free spirited youths, embraced the art of Mucha on their bedroom walls. The flowing lines and soft colors were very appealing to the Sunshine generation. Flower power in a naturalistic style. Historically, Alphonsa Mucha was best known for the posters of Belle Époque actress Sarah Bernhardt. Mucha was from Prague, and he invented the style of art nouveau in posters, ads, and book illustrations.His goddess like ladies and geometric borders as well as floating stars and haloed heads all appealed to me. And his illustrative manner was a good starting point. It would be awhile before I dared copy Dali’s style (see FAITH and FORTUNE). I drew in color a portrait of the keyboardist of the band ‘Journey’ with an ornate art nouveau border. I also did several ‘Jewel’ ladies (EMERALD, PEARL). I used his style of ladies for many of the illustrations I did for my high school yearbook. Many of these early works were lost in ‘starving artist’ unstable living situations.
Last Christmas, my spouse and I went to Prague & saw many of his works. It was easy to see how this medieval city with its cobblestone streets would influence his design style. My main reason for the visit was to see his 18overwhelming ‘Slav Epic. Canvases. They are less popular tourist attractions and we had to hunt them down at a museum outside outside old town, they were war inspiring! 20×20 ft canvases showing the religious and cultural struggles of his ancestors. My husband Clif, researched them on his phone and read their interpretations to me as I studied the massive paintings. It was amazing.
DENIAL (48” x 72”) A group of large 'elephants in the room' burst through the urban cityscape, while ghosts of dubious culture icons, survey this scene like gods. Angelina Jolie, Al Gore, Martin Luther King, Bill Clinton, Putin etc. Reflected in the mirror maze of buildings, can be seen multiple reflections of a high wire walker. The machine works spell out “The greatest show on earth”, and a central building have its vertical lines spell out, Denial.
MADNESS (24" x 36") Random colorful items fly freely and alter their form in a mythological circus with faces of Charles Manson, Norma Desmond & other luminaries fly around a nude woman with her doll and a homeless man undressed from the waist down.
ORIGIN (36" x 48") Two monkeys tear at an oversized be on an 'Oregon Honey' poster, thinking it's a monster, though in truth it is the supreme life giver. They stand on obsolete typewriters with the histories of Shakespeare in them ( monkeys in a room with typewriters, a metaphor to evolution & also the Royal typewriters ' winners' writing the history) Their as they tear the Oregon is converted to Origin and the Honey becomes One. As they seek explanation, their tears reveal a dilapidating Rubens crucifixion fresco underneath, with stars & sky under that. The tears also form a portrait of Darwin, who looks very much like the Christian Lord.
DECEPTION (36”x 48”) The Trojan Horse story is retold in a fanciful warfare the 1000 ship launched are replaced by airships representing the planets. All manner of warfare is being planned and practiced by over a hundred little soldiers ( or children playing). Under the horse, the soldiers form three heads based on Ruben's 'Judgement of Paris', with the central head being crowned and the soldiers spell out 'love', but that is a red herring. The title is spelled out in the tent flags, what all war is really about. Deception.
My name is Jeffrey Stewart . I have considered myself a serious artist all my life, first and foremost. In everything I do, I try to apply a superlative, unusual approach, whether it be painting, planning a theme party, wrapping a present, or trying a new craft like mosaic or ceramics! It’s as if I have no choice, it’s my mainframe. To be the best I can be. That's what drives me!
My primary style is surreal with a socio-political subtext. But I have many other distinctive ideas that I wish to further develop into series of paintings. I plan to discuss and display the process of these grand surreal dreamscapes. As well as the other techniques I’ve developed.
The hardest part for me and I’m assuming most artists is that they / I have so many ideas that require time to develop and complete and there are only so many hours in the day. You must filter out which ideas are worthy of execution. For every piece of artwork I do there are at least five ideas that don’t make the cut.
For the last 15 years, I worked also as a personal stylist for many successful men in San Francisco where I lived. It was a good situation. I worked mostly by appointments, made my own schedule and my clients were the most gracious interesting men! But people define you by what you do. No matter how skilled or dedicated I was, I was still a suit salesman and the time I spent in retail prevented me from realizing certain projects. So I decided to quit my retail endeavors, so I could develop and execute the many ideas I come up with. I will document those projects and the philosophies that inspire them, here.