Like small works of art, well here’s another lovely artist for this blog’s artspiration collection: Naoto Hattori.
I’ve been following Hattori for some time now and his work has always been a great reminder that amazing art can come in small sizes.
Naoto Hattori is a Japanese artist who paints these wonderfully surrealistic acrylic paintings of floating heads, imaginative creatures and adorable one-eyed kittens. Many pieces of his work are smaller than 6×6, which have often given me inspiration in doing my artist card drawings. Not so much in subject matter but rather to serve as an example that an artist doesn’t have to go out and create work that can cover one whole side of a museum in order to create great art. Such large pieces are impressive indeed but as the saying goes “Great things come in small sizes” too or my personal favorite “It’s the little things that count.” So here’s another mark on the scoreboard for lovers and creators of small works of art. 😊
I’ve been wondering about this lately as I see a growing trend towards photo/hyper realistic art. The skill to draw or paint at such a level is phenomenal and inspiring but if you’re just recreating a photograph on canvas what is it that makes it artistic? Is it one’s skill in being able to reproduce realistic images in ones chosen medium or is there more to it?
Back when I was in college my art professors were fond of fussing at me for making my drawings too small. Like most art classes we were always instructed to get a 20×24 pad of newsprint sketching paper, upon which we drew everything. Blind contours, still life, life drawings, nudes, whatever they put before us, we had to draw it…on them damned 20×24 pads of newsprint, using every inch of space there was. The size was overwhelming to me and I hated it. I also hated lugging that thing around, making it so bloody obvious that I was an art student. Til this day whenever I see newsprint I have a knee jerk reaction of disgust. Needless to say, all the fussing didn’t change anything. I still draw small but who would have knew that after all those years “tiny art” would become a thing. With the internet, particularly with social media sites like Instagram, I’m stumbling across more and more artists who have an affinity for the small. Maybe this trend will become a huge deal and more galleries will be open to doing more shows featuring these small works of mastery. I count myself among the many who create miniature art and wanted to share a few that I have come across so far.
“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
If there is any work of art that is a glimpse into my soul, I would have to say it is The Slav Epic by Alphonse Mucha.
Although Mucha is more notably remembered for his poster illustrations of lovely women with flowery decor and fanciful graphic lettering, as well as being one of the well known artists of the Art Nouveau movement. For me, even though I greatly admire his illustrations, which are often a source of inspiration, it is The Slav Epic that has always captivated me the most. There’s something deeply emotive about the work. And the many years it took to for Mucha create such exquisitely impressive paintings, which he considered to be his life’s masterpiece, is something to be in awe about. I hope that one day I can create something as amazing from my own cultural history.
The Slav Epic is a series of 20 huge paintings depicting the history of the Czech and the Slavic people as a celebration of Slavic history. Unfortunately with the rise of fascism during the 1930s, Mucha work was denounced and he became a target during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. He died in the summer of 1939…but thankfully his beautiful works live on.