Tag Archives: portraits

ICONIC: OFFICIAL PORTRAITS OF BARACK AND MICHELLE OBAMA UNVEILED

The official portraits of former U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama we’re unveiled Monday at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. It’s a tradition for outgoing presidents to have their portraits painted and hung in the museum for posterity. For official portraits, the paintings of the Obamas are remarkable, formidable works of art on their own, visually arresting and groundbreaking in style and provenance for the genre.

President Obama’s portrait was painted by a Brooklyn-based African-American artist from Los Angeles, Kehinde Wiley, whose work we’re fans of and we’ve posted here before. The First Lady’s portrait was also painted by an African-American artist, the Baltimore-based painter Amy Sherald.

For these two artists, aside from their African-American heritage, their similarities begin and end with their task of depicting the Obamas. Whereas Wiley is a contemporary international art star with a staffed production studio, Sherald, though well-regarded and established, is an artist of lesser renown and a comparatively quieter career to date. This will likely change now that Sherald has painted Mrs. Obama. 

Sherald’s painting is more graphically striking, and her rendering reflects her distinct, interpretive portrait style. She captures an impression of a First Lady known for a bold sense of fashion and sartorial taste. Wiley’s painting of the former President himself is more straightforward and realistic, but the visual context, the setting and its details, express the artist’s signature style and flair. The President’s portrait is more loaded with graphic symbolism and vision. Barack appears seated, serious and engaged in the moment, but he’s depicted with a flowered and verdant background of ivy that is practically engulfing the former president.

In any case, these artworks represent a fresh, confident departure from the otherwise staid and banal aesthetic traditions of such portraiture, which by and large is a collection of old, white men looking sober, bland, predictably statesmen-like and devoid of personality. The possible exception might be former President Bill Clinton’s portrait painted by Chuck Close in that artist’s easily identifiable style of giant, pixelated close-ups.

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これはバラク・オバマ前米国大統領とミシェル・オバマの新しい公式肖像画です。これらの絵は、月曜日にワシントンのスミソニアン博物館の国立肖像画ギャラリーで発表されました。これらの肖像画を描いた芸術家はKehinde WileyとAmy Sheraldです。

In New York … Terry Richardson Street Art Skull Portrait by Bradley Theodore

Artist Bradley Theodore‘s street art of recent months is a series of portraits depicting iconic fashion-world celebrities — such as Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, and Diana Vreeland — as colorful, impressionistic skulls. His recent work pictured below is of infamous downtown photographer and Vice magazine alum Terry Richardson on the exterior wall of a pizza joint on Allen Street in New York’s Lower East Side.

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Street Art … Skeleton Portrait of Fashion Editor Diana Vreeland by Bradley Theodore

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Recent street art painting by Bradley Theodore depicting legendary Vogue magazine editor Diana Vreeland. The artwork is on Lafayette Street between Prince and Spring streets in SoHo, in downtown New York City. Theodore’s street art images are portraits of iconic figures from the fashion world rendered as colorful, grotesque skeletons. He’s done paintings of Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, and Terry Richardson. We love it.

Massive Street Art Mural by ALEC in the Lobby of the W Hotel in Seminyak, Bali

We were pleasantly surprised to find this massive street-art mural by the American artist and street-art rockstar Alec (a.k.a., “Alec Monopoly”) in the lobby of the outrageously epic and luxurious W Hotel in Seminyak, Bali, in Indonesia.  The artwork includes many of the iconic characters and celebrities Alec has included in many of his street artworks over the years, including actor Jack Nicholson, 1960s fashion model Twiggy, and Rich “Uncle” Pennybags (sometimes called “Monopoly Man”), the character from the Monopoly board game and the image Alec is most associated with.

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