The Artist & His Art
Born in Livorno, Italy, in 1884, Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was an Italian Jewish painter and sculptor, although most of his works were created while he was in France. He is best known for modern style portraits and nudes which bear his characteristic elongation of faces and figures.
The events and choices of the artist’s life are dramatic, and to some extent they parallel his development as an artist. And this parallel makes sense when we look at Modigliani’s artistic motivation; that is, he had the soul of an artist in that he was insistent that his works be a reflection of his views on society.
Physical illness was a recurring theme in Modigliani’s life. Around age 11 he had an attack of pleurisy, leaving him with lingering health problems that may have lead to the case of typhoid fever he developed a few years later. At 16 he once again became ill with pleurisy as well as tuberculosis, and these diseases nearly ended his life this time.
Around this time, and with the help of his mother, Modigliani began to learn from accomplished Italian painters. And it was during this time that he began to truly develop his skills.
In 1906 the Italian artist relocated to Paris, where he eventually was in the company of other soon-to-be influential figures of the art world, including Gino Severini, Juan Gris, and Picasso.
When Modigliani arrived in Paris, he likely regarded himself as an artist who very much fit in with conventional Parisian artists. However, within a year of his move to Paris, he developed a reputation as a figure who was rejecting of middle class values. His lifestyle, and even the look of his apartment, had the mark of personal upheaval, and he demonstrated a rejection of the world of academic art that he was just recently part of. This artistic rejection was sincere, as he is said to have destroyed virtually all of his own earlier works.
Reasons for this sudden turn in Modigliani’s attitude are not known with certainty. However, there is speculation that his behavior here may have been influenced by what had by then become full-fledged addictions to alcohol and drugs, a state which some conjecture may have developed as a result of Modigliani’s strong desire to ease the pain of his diseases. As Tuberculosis is highly contagious, he likely was very motivated to cover up his symptoms, to avoid isolation, so that he could continue to maintain his social life and create his art.
Modigliani’s lifestyle and chronic illness led to his development of tubercular meningitis, a disease that ended his life in 1920. While he did not achieve much commercial success while alive, after his death he became more well known, and his works were able to command high prices.
In the Classroom
Follow this link [http://artprojectsforkids.org/modigliani-self-portrait-tutorial/] to a Modigliani-inspired art project tutorial. (Note: In order to properly view the diagram on the tutorial page, you’ll need to click on it to enlarge it.) Modigliani is known for portraits that make use of elongated faces. This lesson gives kids an easy, guided method to help them create a portrait-type pastel drawing in the style of Modigliani. The author suggests that the requirement to draw the face using a distorted proportion, allows students to feel less self-conscious about the “correctness” of their drawings, so they can just create.
The Artist & His Art
Known as one of the most prominent Jewish artists, Chagall was born in Vitebsk, Byelorussia, to a poor, Jewish-Hassidic family. Much of Chagall’s art was influenced by early 20th Century French painting, and demonstrated a synthesis of various art forms of the day, such as Cubism, Symbolism, and Fauvism. Yet, his work is not regarded as a reflection of any one known art form, and the style he developed is generally regarded as uniquely his own.
Form and style of much of his paintings made use of strong and bright colors and simple imagery, giving his paintings a dreamlike, and non-real quality. Common themes ingrained in many of his works include: religion, fantasy and Chagall’s personal childhood nostalgia. Growing up, the artist’s life was enmeshed in Eastern European Jewish folk culture, and the resulting memories became very important to him. His preoccupation with these childhood experiences is immediately apparent in many of his paintings, as they often contained figures such as animals, workmen, lovers, and musicians. The fiddler on the roof is an example of a figure that shows up in a number of Chagall’s works.
In his paintings, Chagall made use of oils, water colors, and gouaches. He also worked with other media, including ceramics, mosaics, and stained glass. He created a number of famous building decorations, including the ceiling of the Opera House in Paris, murals at the New York Metropolitan Opera, a glass window at the United Nations, wall decorations at the Knesset in Israel, and the well-known twelve stained glass windows at Hadassah Hospital which is also in Israel.
In the Classroom
Here’s a fun art lesson idea from Cindy Ingram that will have kids creating Chagall-inspired works. It’s a great activity for those days when you and the class just need something fun and creative to do. Think of it as high quality art class comfort food: it doesn’t require that your kids learn a new technique; it’s fun; its formulaic instructions mean kids can go from zero to creative very quickly; and it’s quick, which means kids can experience start-to-finish-in-a-single-period instant gratification.
Making Art with Kids: Chagall-Inspired Drawings
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc\_Chagall http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/marc-chagall http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/marc-chagall
The Artist & His Art
M.C. Escher was a Dutch graphic artist born in 1898 in the Netherlands. His professional work consisted of woodcuts, mezzotints, and lithographs.
Likely most of us have come across Escher’s work, whether we know it or not. He is best known for his drawings depicting mind-dazzling optical illusions and his remarkable patterned drawings or tesselations.
Escher’s work was guided by a number of personally held beliefs and his desire to help others to see the world as he did. For example, Escher thought it irrational that we take certain ideas to be irrefutably true, and used his art to encourage us to think about this; blending two and three dimensional objects was one technique he used to this effect.
By 1956 Escher’s work was known world-wide. In particular, he was admired by mathematicians due to the incredible visualization of mathematical concepts depicted in his work, an amazing achievement given that Escher did not study mathematics beyond secondary school.
In the Classroom
Escher’s work represents a great opportunity for teachers to naturally combine art and mathematics through the study of tesselations. Tesselations are repeating patterns which do not overlap and have no gaps, and can be created with the help of geometrical transformations. This image represents an example of such a lesson.
The Artist & His Art
Jim Dine is an influential American artist who’s work was introduced to the art world in the early 1960’s. Dine is best-known for at least two visual forms: works that make use of various media, including actual personal objects, such as clothing, shoes and tools; and art that makes use of a series of repeating objects, such as hearts, palettes and robes.
While a great deal of Dine’s work is visually similar to Pop art, Dine explains that his use of pop culture images, unlike those used by Pop artists, is not about a celebration of the images and what they represent; Dine says he uses such images in an attempt to question the power of these well-known symbols. And those who study Jim Dine describe him as an artist who uses his work, at least in part, to try to understand how images create meaning for us.
While Dine does not consider his work Pop art, his use of popular images, bright colors, and graphic design style earned him a place among the group of influential artists thought to be responsible for the introduction of Pop art in America in the early 1960’s.
Dine is also well-known for his participation in the Happenings Art performances in New York in the early 1960’s. The Happenings artists made use of dance, theater, music, poetry and visual art, creating works that were designed to induce new ways of thinking about and creating art.
In the Classroom
The repetitive, simple images found in Dine’s work make for excellent inspiration in an art class setting. Teachers can explain how Dine chose personally meaningful images that, while simple, convey deeper meaning for the artist. Students can then be instructed to choose simple images that have meaning to them, and their artwork can explore these images with use of color and different design styles.
If you’ve done business with us before, or if you’ve read some of the pages on our site, you may have picked up on our mission statement:
Kids Kreations is about outstanding products and service and a model that truly fosters creativity and a sense of accomplishment in the kids who participate in our programs.
And this statement couldn’t be more true; we love running our business: interacting with great people and organizations, helping them to inspire creativity, producing amazing products. These activities are the core of our business, and they are surely important.
If you were to ask our customers how they feel, our experience tells us they would tell you – we really do live by our mission statement.
And we think these are great reasons to do business with us. However, I’d like to use this section of our site to let you know about some other really great reasons why you might want to partner with us.
Kids Kreations is small enough to allow Lance and I to ensure that every customer gets personalized customer service. Whether you are dealing with myself or Lance or one of our friendly staff members, you will always receive courteous service from someone right here in Fulton, MS. You will never be connected to someone in another country or offsite.
Your satisfaction is our bread and butter. Our families’ long-standing experience as business owners has taught us time and time again that success is determined largely by how we treat others: how fair we are; our willingness to work out problems when they occur; our level of honesty and trustworthiness. This means, among many other things, taking full responsibility if we make a mistake with customers or staff, and doing our best to make things right and leave people feeling satisfied.
To Lance and I, our business life is not separate from any of the other aspects of our lives; Kids Kreations is simply something else that we do. You’ll never hear us saying, “it’s just business”. This doesn’t mean we don’t take the time for other important parts of our lives (family, friends, leisure,…), but it does mean that we conduct our business with the same values that we do anything else in our lives.
You could even say that business is in our blood. I am a fourth generation business owner and Lance is a second generation business owner. In my family, it started with my great grandfather in the late 1800’s, and in Lance’s family it started with his grandfather in the early 1900’s.
Interestingly, way back when we were just starting Kids Kreations, a local business advisor told us that the strongest predictor of business success is growing up in a successful family business. He wasn’t saying that not growing up in a family business means you can’t be successful as a business owner; not at all. His words simply echoed the idea that, like any activity involving sustained interactions with people and collaborative efforts, having the opportunity to live through successful practices is a huge advantage.
Lance and I were fortunate to grow up watching our families live and learn business life. We saw them honor the idea that food on our table was fully dependent on customers. And, this meant continuous discussions in our families about how to make things better. We also watched as our elders demonstrated their caring and sense of responsibility for employees and business partners through happy moments and unhappy ones as well; we watched them laugh with, cry with, give help, and receive help from staff members, partners and customers through many life events.
Essentially, Lance and I watched as our families demonstrated how to run a business in a way that regarded business as an integral part of one’s life. Again, this meant that our families didn’t think twice about relying on their cherished life value systems when it came to business decisions. So, while they fully understood that customer satisfaction was key to surviving, they equally understood that employees and business partners were just as important as customers. The Golden Rule applied equally to everyone.
At Kids Kreations, we are serious about doing our part to help build up our community. Our staff roster is made up of people we see in town on a regular basis: moms, high school students, and dads who need an afternoon job after work. We also employ high school students from a local DECA workshop to mentor young people just entering the workforce. We don’t believe in outsourcing to areas of the world that may be able to offer cheaper labour. We are a US company that produces its products in Fulton, MS, with local staff.
So, getting back to our mission statement… It’s true that it says little about customer focus, people-centred values, and local-minded thinking. And the reason for this is because we believe these things should go without saying. These ways of operating stem from personal value systems and would be part of any operation we ran. If tomorrow Lance and I decided to open a catering business we would build and operate it with the same customer-people-local focus that is the basis of Kids Kreations.
So, there they are, a list of what we feel are the most important reasons why you might want to do business with us.
To us, this is just the beginning of the discussion on this important topic. Periodically, we will post a segment which gives you a real window into our operations. It’s our hope that what soon follows will not only make you feel OK about doing business with us; we hope it will make you feel excited about partnering with a business that is run in a way that truly honours its customers, employees and community.
Until next post,
Founder & Owner of Kids Kreations
Hi there! Welcome to our new site!
Over the last couple of years, in addition to the business-as-usual that we love, all of us at Kids Kreations have been busy bettering our operations to meet current and future eCommerce and web standards. A big part of the change can be seen in our new website, which not only looks different, but has a number of new sections and features.
The largest change to our process is represented by our sleek, new online ordering system – to be released Spring 2015. Before, family members and friends had to place their orders from a printed brochure or a clumsy third party eCommerce site. Soon, they will have the option of visiting our exclusively designed website which has been tailored specifically to art fundraising! Family members will be able to see their child’s artwork superimposed on our great products, and order directly from anywhere in the world! How great is that? . . . for family and friends, art teachers, organizations and schools.
This blog section of our site is also new. Here, we will be posting useful articles on topics related to art, fundraising, and art fundraising in particular. We’ll also use this section to give you a window into our operations and the great people we work with.
So, have a look around, check out the order section and some of the other blog articles we will be posting here, and if you feel like getting in touch for any reason, send us an email or give us a call. Lance, myself and the other team members are always happy to talk to you and answer your questions. And with our new order system, we’ll have even more time to do just that!
That’s it for now. Talk to you soon!