Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The phrase Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse, originally spoken by actor John Derek in Nicholas Ray's Knock on Any Door (1949), emphasizes how unfulfilled promises have always been fascinating and intriguing for many of us. While some great artists lived up to their full potential, sometimes through decades of fruitful careers, others have passed away long before that, leaving many of us wondering which masterpieces might have lost along with their elder years. Following are 20 great artists that enlightened our souls with their art for a short time, but signed-off to rest in peace before reaching the age of 30.
1) Jean Vigo
French film maker Jean Vigo contributed to poetic realism in film in the 1930s and influenced the French New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s. He died of Tuberculosis on October 5, 1934 when he was 29.
More about Jean Vigo
2) Egon Schiele
Austrian painter Egon Schiele is well known for his twisted body shapes repeating in many of his paintings and drawings. Schiele became one of the notable exponents of Expressionism but died of Influenza on October 31, 1918 when he was 28.
More about Egon Schiele
3) Janis Joplin
In 2004 American singer and songwriter Janis Joplin was ranked by the Rolling Stone magazine #46 on a list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. She was a heroin addict and died of heroin overdose on October 4, 1970 when she was 27.
More about Janis Joplin
4) Kurt Cobain
American musician, singer, guitarist and songwriter Kurt Cobain was co-founder of the Seattle based rock band Nirvana and their leading singer. Even though there are many different versions for what really happened with that shotgun on April 5, 1994 the official version is that Cobain shot himself to death when he was 27.
More about Kurt Cobain
5) Brian Jones
British musician Brian Jones was a founding member, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist of British rock band The Rolling Stones. Jones drowned in his own private swimming pool in Sussex, England on 3 July 1969 when he was 27.
More about Brian Jones
6) Jim Morrison
American singer, poet, songwriter, writer and (frustrated) film director Jim Morrison, also known as The Lizard King and Mr. Mojo Risin', was the founder, leading singer and lyricist of the legendary rock band The Doors. Considered by many as the greatest, most charismatic and influential figure in rock history, Morrison ended up with very few friends and a heart attack while bathing in a Paris hotel room on July 3, 1971. He was 27.
More about Jim Morrison
7) Jimi Hendrix
American guitarist, singer and songwriter Jimi Hendrix is considered as one of the greatest and most influential guitar artists in rock music history. According to Dr. Bannister who attended the star at the time of his death Hendrix was drowned in his own vomit, almost entirely red wine served at an earlier party. The full circumstances which led to his death, however, have never been fully uncovered. Hendrix was 27.
More about Jimi Hendrix
8) Jean Harlow
American film actress Jean Harlow was one of the most prominent sex symbols of the 1930s. Also known as the Platinum Blonde and The Blonde Bombshell, Harlow starred in several films, mainly designed to showcase her magnetic sex appeal. She died of uremic poisoning and kidney failure on June 7, 1937 when she was 26.
More about Jean Harlow
9) Sharon Tate
American film actress and Golden Globe-nominated Sharon Tate was one of Hollywood's most promising upcoming stars even before her marriage to genius film director Roman Polański. She was murdered on August 9, 1969 by the Charles Manson gang. Tate was 26 years old and two weeks from giving birth at the time of her horrific death. This famous photo (from John Gilmore and Ron Kramer's Manson: The Unholy Trail of Charlie and the Family) shows Tate on the murder day.
More about Sharon Tate
10) Georg Heym
German poet Georg Heym is known for his outstanding groundbreaking expressionist poetry. He drowned in a frozen lake during a skating trip while trying to save his friend Ernst Balcke. It was January 16, 1912 and the genius poet was just 25.
More about Georg Heym
11) James Dean
Double Oscar-nominated American film actor James Dean became a cultural icon following his roll as Jim Stark in Nicholas Ray's monumental film Rebel Without a Cause. He played two more pantheon rolls (Cal Trask in East of Eden and as the Jett Rink in Stevens' Giant) but was killed in a car crash accident at the age of 24. Dean was one of the most talented and original style actors Hollywood has ever seen. He was the first actor to receive an "after death" Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Actually, Dean the only actor ever received two such nominations.
More about James Dean
12) Judy Tyler
American film actress Judy Tyler appeared in the 1957 film Bop Girl Goes Calypso but is mostly remembered for her co-starring with Elvis Presley in the movie Jailhouse Rock. After completing her part of the Presley movie filming Tyler and her husband Greg Lafayette went on a vacation. They were killed July 4, 1957 in a car accident north of Rock River, Wyoming. Tyler was only 24 when she died. She was so young she never got to watch any of her only two films.
More about Judy Tyler
13) River Phoenix
American film actor River Phoenix was an Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated and was listed on John Willis's Screen World, Vol. 38 as one of twelve "promising new actors of 1986". On the Halloween morning of October 31, 1993 Phoenix died of speedball (mix of heroin and cocaine) overdose outside a Hollywood night club named the Viper Room. He was 23.
More about River Phoenix
14) Ian Curtis
British vocalist and lyricist Ian Curtis joined the new wave band Joy Division in 1976 and quickly became their undisputed leader. Years after his death Curtis is still a major source of inspiration and a subject for many other artists. Curtis hanged himself in his own kitchen on May 18, 1980 after watching Werner Herzog's Stroszek and listening to Iggy Pop's The Idiot. Amongst suggested reasons for his suicide are epilepsy related problems and failure of his marriage. He was 23 years old.
More about Ian Curtis
15) Dominique Dunne
American actress Dominique Dunne appeared in several made for television movies, television series, and films but was most known for her role as Dana (the oldest daughter) in Poltergeist (1982). Dunne was strangled into coma on November 4, 1982 by her ex-boyfriend John Thomas Sweeney after she refused to reconcile with him. Sweeney, then a popular Los Angeles chef, strangled Dunne in the driveway of her home. She died a few days later, at the age of 22.
More about Dominique Dunne
16) Buddy Holly
American singer-songwriter and rock and roll inventor Charles Hardin Holley aka "Buddy Holly" is considered one of the most influential artists in pop music history but only lived to see about one and a half years of success. He was described as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll" and in 2004 ranked #13 on a list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time by the Rolling Stone magazine. He died in an airplane crash on February 3, 1959 on his way to Fargo, North Dakota. The plane took off in light snow and gusty winds at around 12:55 A.M., but crashed after only a few minutes.
More about Buddy Holly
17) Sid Vicious
British punk musician John Simon Ritchie also known as Sid Vicious was the bass player of the Sex Pistols and one of the most prominent prophets of the punk-rock decade. He died of heroin overdose on February 2, 1979 at the age of 21.
More about Sid Vicious
18) Charles Sorley
Scottish war poet Charles Sorley volunteered for military service in England during World War I and arrived at the Western Front in France as a lieutenant in May 1915. He ranked Captain at the very early age of 20 but was shot in the head by a German sniper at the Battle of Loos on October 13, 1915 and died instantly.
More about Charles Sorley
19) Divya Bharti
Indian film actress Divya Bharti born Divya Om Prakash Bharti was a popular Indian film actress in the early 1990s. Bharti was already a shining star in 1990 when she was just 16 years old. In 1992 she appeared in more than 14 Hindi films which was at the time a record for a newcomer to the Hindi film industry. Bharti's career was ended in April 5, 1993 when she mysteriously accidentally fell off a 5-storey apartment building in Mumbai. She was 19 when she died.
More about Divya Bharti
20) Tara Correa-McMullen
American actress Shalvah McMullen, better known with her stage name Tara Correa-McMullen, was mostly famous for her role as gang member Graciela Reyes on the CBS TV series Judging Amy. McMullen had just about enough time to co-star with Martin Lawrence in a first feature film - Rebound - but was murdered on October 21, 2005. She was just 16 when she died.
More about Tara Correa-McMullen
Enjoyed this article? See also: 20 (More) Great Artists that Never Reached 30
Sunday, March 16, 2008
In continuation with our latest exploration into the subject of humans and lions sharing the same territory we stumbled upon the above photograph of a busted sign taken by Father Dan as he was hiking Coal Canyon November last year. The sign explains what should we do if encountering a mountain lion. We thought that's pretty coherent with the Lions Prefer Blondes photojournalism drama. People and lions just don't mix that well but they sure are able to provide excellent photo ops.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
A truly groundbreaking advertising campaign titled 'The UN Voices Project' was launched by Saatchi & Saatchi Australia earlier this week. Tailored for the United Nations, the new campaign combines innovative creative thinking with cutting edge mobile phone and image recognition technologies. According to Saatchi & Saatchi The UN Voices Project is probably the first attempt to make outdoor posters and press advertisement voice communicating with their targeted audience. Here is how this is done according to bestadsontv.com and four examples already printed (Click images for high-res versions).
"The campaign features outdoor posters, print and online elements. These are combined to reinforce the message of giving a voice to those whose plight normally goes unseen and unheard."
"People around Sydney are encouraged to take a mobile phone photo of the featured person’s mouth and send it to a number on the poster as a text message."
"Using digital image recognition technology and an Australian first call back service, the sender receives a return phone call with a pre-recorded message from the person they have photographed, giving a brief insight into how they live and highlighting some of the issues they face."
"The message then directs people to a UN website where visitors can leave their own comments and thoughts, turning the original seven voices into thousands."
Product: United Nations
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney
Creatives: David Nobay and Steve Back (Creative Director), VINCE LAGANA (Creatives), Steve Jackson (Creatives)
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, we know that since 1953. But did you know 180kg lions also like them very much? Well, at least according to this Daily telegraph story that might just be the case. It is not everyday that death grabs one's soul and hands it back while the entire process gets captured on camera in a perfect photojournalism drama with a heart and a happy end. Yet, for British primary school headmistress Kate Drew that is more or less how things turned out when a 180kg cat pounced on from behind and dragged her to the ground, sinking its teeth into the back of her neck.
Those amazing photos are signed with the watermark "Austral" but it is not clear who is the cool headed person who should be thanked for them.
Working as a volunteer teacher in Tanzania, Drew (28) was spending a few weeks "traveling across Africa on a bus with other backpackers". During this tour the group visited a reserve in Zimbabwe where lions are bred to be released back into the wild and tourists can pay $50 to "walk with several of the big cats" which are "considered tame enough to be allowed contact with humans". Here is what happened in Kate Drew's words:
"We were just leaving and everything seemed to have gone well - until one jumped at me from behind. I was scared enough when he pinned me to the ground, but when I looked up and saw the other two, I thought I'd had it.''
It may have been a miracle or just a random coincidence. Though the wounds on Drew's head left her with 13 stitches (below) they missed her brain stem and she was rescued by the brave reserve wardens (above) who "rushed in with sticks and wrestled the animal away."
According to the Daily Telegraph the lion was not on his way for it's lunch when it grabbed poor Drew but was apparently just playing around a little bit after being "attracted by her mane-like long blonde hair". There goes at least one advantage of being a blonde, ha?
Unfortunately, Drew's story is not always how things end in this genre. According to lairweb.org.nz, a website focusing on endangered large cats, only three out of every one thousand tigers will resort to attacking people, making their reputation as a man-eater "quite inaccurate". Yet, also according to this website, even this low number has been enough to make the tiger responsible for more human deaths than any other predator. Lions are cute but if you are still not sure they also kill people, here is a list of Mountain Lion Attacks On People in the U.S. and Canada since 1986.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
"The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within. Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart so individual freedom will naturally grow from self-determined activity." (Idiot The Wise)
It appears that the paintings of world's hottest British art star Banksy on the Palestinian side of the separation wall in the West Bank in summer 2005 were just the tip of the iceberg. Street art and graffiti scenes gain strong International momentum in Israel recently. Much of this trend is attributed to talented immigrants from former U.S.S.R. countries while there are also many active street artists in Israel who immigrated from European countries and North America.
As opposed to the Banksy case (above) and perhaps to what you may expect from street art in Israel, most of the street art messages are not related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but to internal society issues, while others refer to the conflict in a general, none-confronting approach. Some look at graffiti and street art as a form of vandalism. Others see it as a legitimate way of expression in a world where most public urban space belongs to commercial cooperates. This way or another, the new trend spices up the already heterogenic society in Israel with more multicultural sauce. Following are a few recent outstanding examples.
The Legal Action Gallery and Cosco Urban Lab
There are clear signs that Israeli street art is going mainstream. Take the 2nd Annual Inspiration Art Exhibition opened today (March 6, 2008) in the Legal Action gallery for example. Featuring the work of 100 street artists from around the globe, this spectacular exhibition curated by The Inspire Collective takes place next to the Casco Urban Lab in Florentine - at the heart of the "Soho" quarter in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The Legal Action gallery was founded by artists Jamie Ame and Joy van Erven in October last year and features top street artists from Israel and other countries such as Klone, Know Hope, Zero Cents, Jove, Mi-Shee, Mimi the Clown, TigaPics, Azione, Booty, x10art, Sanko17, Sumone, Omino17, iamunknown and even the only street artist we know of in Iran (yes, Iran) who goes by the name of A1one. Check on this audio visual tour of the 1st annual Inspiration Art Exhibition that took place at Barbur Gallery in Jerusalem in the spring of 2007. Here are two "sneaky previews" from this year:
Ame (35) and van Erven are two living indications for the new trend. Ame, better known as Ame72, is a British origin street and graffiti artist who has been living in Israel in the past three years. He is known in Tel Aviv streets for his use of Lego stencils which "represent thought provoking and funny images of life in today's society". Ame's partner, Joy van Erven, is an experienced Dutch mixed media artist who initiated various crossover projects involving visual arts, architecture and urbanism. Before immigrating to Israel in 2004, he initiated a foundation for public space art in the Netherlands and was the curator of other art exhibitions and urban art projects.
van Erven is also the owner of the Casco Urban Lab in Tel Aviv (above), another alternative culture establishment that combines art, design and food. Casco (Dutch word for "undefined space") allows local artists, designers and performers representing their view of the city.
Above: progress shots from a painting by klone (formerly known as street artist 'Make') made for a group exhibition opening next week March 10, 2008 at the Dweck gallery in Mishkanot Sheananim, Jerusalem. Below is a spectacular panoramic wall piece, collaborated by klone and jesus.
More from Klone at http://www.flickr.com/photos/klone
Inspire - Idiot the Wise
After finding himself alone and homeless in the cold streets of Chicago when he was just 16, Inspire (31) grew himself up to become an International known artist. He immigrated to Israel 5 years ago and his works are well known in Tel Aviv streets.
Other than being the curator of the 2nd Annual Inspiration Art Exhibition mentioned above, Idiot the Wise has been documenting public art and activism in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for the last five years. Being an active cyberspace artist, though, his connections and collaborations go way beyond the borders of Israel. Idiot the Wise (aka SEVEN, INSPIRE, Exodus and TRY) is a "writer of divine names, painter of flowers, public artist and curator" who argues we have been force fed with "false hope and ideals" through "branded advertising that invades our private lives until the two become one".
His Flickr group ArtAttack "urges you to react to your environment" and "talk back" yet emphasizing this is not an act of "war on advertising" but more of an "inside joke" meant to "rattle things a bit" so that people can "start noticing things for themselves again". Idiot the Wise is also the founder of many other popular Flickr groups such as the INSPIRE Collective ("What inspires YOU?" 2,147 Members) and MiddleEastStreetArt (Middle Eastern Graffiti, Street Art, and Public Activism, 942 members).
For more about Inspire check on this interview by Mr. Z or any of the following:
This 22 years old dude immigrated to Israel from New Jersey, USA a few years ago and is already a prominent figure in Israel's street art scene.
Above: "Old woman feeding birds", one of 10 wood cutout installations in 2nd Annual Inspiration Art Exhibition.
Above: Safta (Hebrew for "grandmother"), portrait of Zero Cent's grandmother (photo by nush). Below: banso: detail of a wall by Zero Cents, produced mid 2007. For more walls as well as installations, paintings stickers and paper pain art go to http://flickr.com/photos/zerocents
This is Limbo
Above: "Haven been overcome by tongue-tied times, minor orchestras mend together the tune and in a clumsy accent play: please believe", Cardboard and gauze bandages on cement, Bethlehem Separation Wall 2007. More from This is Limbo at http://www.flickr.com/people/thisislimbo
More street art from aifo2 at http://flickr.com/people/aifo. For more information and articles about urban street art and graffiti around the world see WebUrbanist - the ultimate source for International urban culture.