Further art discussions and notifications for the artwork of Sam Thorp

Monday, April 30, 2012


Behold, my useless diploma

So… some little number crunchers took a look at the average earnings  for certain degree holders in such areas as:
-Recent graduate employment
-Experienced graduate employment
-Recent graduate earnings
-Experienced graduate earnings
-Projected growth in total number of jobs, 2010–2020
…. and low and behold …. some areas make more money than others.
now this could mean many things but the article decided to interpret it to mean that some college majors are "worthless".

Of course you can also interpret the data in lots of other ways too:
Money does not equal happiness or all definitions of success.


Colleges have failed to prepare these students to fully succeed and reach their potential.

College may be one of the worst places to learn how to be an artist. It doesn't mean that Art is not worth learning about.... or it's not worth it to make art. It's kinda like the desert is the worst place to learn how to swim. College is an intellectual, creative desert to the potential artist. And better yet, this desert will set you back $30,000 to $50,000 in debt. You know how many art supplies you could buy with that?

I've addressed my thoughts in colleges and art schools here:

There is serious concerns over the current cost of higher education.
And i have to agree that with technology, the price should be coming down… not going up.
Is it really worth it to spend that much money, go into that much debt, and only get so much in return?

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Report form Art All Night

 Things have really progressed. Even though it's an all volunteer- all amateur event i was impressed how well organized it was. Check out is SO much easier than it used to be.

I had to do a photo shoot in the morning so Lauren dropped my art off for me.  Lauren and I were scheduled to do a live collaborative painting.

We started painting at 9pm in front of a nice sized crowd. Our painting idea was a play off Bottecelli's Birth of Venus. The image offered a good opportunity to combine our strengths. ... birds & naked women.
The painting turned out pretty well. We got a lot of attention and some good feedback. We finished up at 2am. We were both wiped out, and sat in the GetGo parking lot till 3:30 am eating a sandwich.
As tired as we were, the guy making the sandwiches had an infinitely tougher night.

I returned the next morning with  my nieces to see more of the artwork in daylight.
Found out I have an  interested buyer for my wrestling painting.
I haven't found out who it is yet, but i love them already.

And … great news… there were 2 bids on the collaborative painting Lauren & I did.

The local hipster hangout wants to display the large painting for a few months, and there is another private bid that i hope to get the details about soon.
I'm not sure how much was bid or how the money will be split. ( I guess we should have worked that out earlier....)
Not a bad for a night's work. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Why are some people better at drawing?

 One of the big influences on my art education was was an early edition of Drawing on the Right side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. Some of the lessons were very important to me because it didn't just teach me how to draw but how to think and to see.

When I teach drawing to beginners I often use an analogy of the Matrix.
At the end of the first movie, the Neo character finally sees the world as what it is…. In his case green code. But when you are able to switch over your vision and think to see the "code" that makes the figure; figure drawing becomes much easier to do.

You have to see what you see…. not what you think you see. Not what you expect to see. you have to really look. With out judgment or expectation and   without naming things.
(I still recommend the book. Get an early edition if you can. )

Anyway, turns out there's a bit more science to back this up.

Why are some people better at drawing?

"First, people who can't draw well aren't seeing the world as it really is. When we look at an object, our visual systems automatically misjudge such attributes as size, shape and color; research over the past three years shows at least some of these misperceptions translate into drawing errors."

Yep, they are looking at it without the left side of the brian. Using the skills embedded in the right side, gives you a more accurate, but less verbal view.

The article goes on to suggest memory is also a factory. You look at the model, look down at your paper, and then you've already forgotten what you have seen.
Technique can help with this. Proper set up and posture can help. memory can be improved with practice.

And practice is another vital step.
"Columbia University Press, Chamberlain and her colleagues found practicing drawing significantly improved people's abilities over time"
There's no shortcut to getting out of hard work. You get what you give.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012


American Scene Painting or American Social Realism

Just a few thoughts upon reading the article here: "An antimodernist style and reaction against the modern European style, American Scene Painting was seen as an attempt to define a uniquely American style of art. The term does not signify an organized movement, but rather an aspect of a broad tendency for American artists to move away from abstraction and the avant-garde in the period between the two world wars." In my experience there has always been a preference for realism with the blue collar class. Perhaps because with realism, the viewer has something to compare it against… reality. The belief that if the drawing looks like the real thing, it's "right". In the Blue collar world view you either get it "right" or you fail. Much like following orders of some authority. The Blue collar/lower class has been educated mostly by rote memorization. Creativity, and abstract think is not rewarded. … or maybe i'm stereotyping…. nevermind. "These artists insisted that the real solution to the many and growing problems of urban American life, made clear by the Great Depression, was for the United States to return to its agrarian roots." Today we find history repeating itself. The recent economic meltdown thanks to Bank deregulation, Factory Farming scandals and the looming threat of global warming we see a serious trend toward "sustainability" and "green technology". A trend back to small local organic farming. After the economic crash, we go back to the basics.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Art All Night is this Saturday April 28.
This is one of Pittsburgh's best events. It's all volunteer and open to everyone. I've been exhibiting since the year 2000 and volunteering in some form or another. My nieces started putting work in 2 years ago.
More info can be seen here:

A sneak peek at the work I'm entering:

This is the 3rd year I'm painting live during Art All Night.
Painting in front of the crowds on oversized canvas.
This time I'm teamed up with Lauren Toohey. Expect great things.

Friday, April 13, 2012


PERSAD Celebrate Life, Celebrate Art.

PERSAD center improves the well being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and people living with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones. PERSAD offers counseling, education, prevention and advocacy programs. The art auction is PERSAD's main fundraising event. Only select artists, gallery owners, and private collectors are asked to provide art for this exclusive event. So… guess who's going? Yep, I have a piece up for auction. Today is just the preview, the actual auction takes place May 14th. I hope some of you consider bidding on my work.

Monday, April 09, 2012


Goodbye, Thomas Kinkade.

The Art world lost it's "Warrior of Light".
I could nitpick certain pieces of art for bad perspective, unrealistic light sources and bad color schemes. And if you look at the work as a whole it's repetitive
But it IS still possible to like the work for its own sake.
A painting does not have to be technically perfect or photo realistic to be appreciated for it's message.
The Message… on the other hand.
Kinkade sold Christianity. Sacred spiritual beliefs were used as a tool to bilk people out of their money. And remember this wasn't even for the actual art, but a reproduction…. a glorified color copy. Many bought the reproductions because it was presented as a religious opportunity. The repro's came with bible verses. Not much different than the TV Evangelicals who will send you a glow in the dark dashboard crucifixion in exchange for your "donation" of $200 or so. People bought the art for a feeling of fulfillment throughout "wholesome Christian object".
Which is an empty gesture. "Things" don't bring fulfillment and you don't have to pay to pray.
Plus I never thought Kinkade was sincere. I don't think he was filled with as much "light" as he claimed. I think he found a method to get money from people and mined it for all he could.
There are countless articles of his fraudulent business practices. Customers, Investors Franchise gallery owners claiming to be ripped off. Kinkade got out his responsibility by declaring bankruptcy.
There was also some personal misbehavior, the DUi's, the claims of sexual harassment, the FBI investigations, and taking a leak on Whinnie the Pooh; that led me to believe that…again/// Kinkade was not sincere.
This violates another of my personal ethics.
You must be honest with your art.
Whatever your skill, whatever your message, you must be honest about it.
Bad perspective and bad color can sill make good art, as long as you are honest about it.
And Kinkade was not.
"Kinkade said he gained his inspiration from his religious beliefs and that his work was intended to contain a larger moral dimension. He has also said that his goal as an artist was to touch people of all faiths, to bring peace and joy into their lives through the images he creates. Many pictures contain specific chapter-and-verse allusions to certain Bible passages." … Sorry but that's aloud of Shite and I'm calling you on it.
Making art for the masses is commercial art, not fine art.
Defrauding people is bad enough, but doing it in the name of "God" & "Morality" is quite despicable.


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