I have been honored and blessed to create art with loving, talented people in the service of the art spirit. I thank all of the beautiful souls who have helped me bring more beauty and grace to our world. Onward and upward!
Queen I, Model- Sophie Fletcher
This post continues my celebration of people that have modeled for me throughout my art career. Click on the images to see them larger.
Sophie Fletcher has a sweet natural demeanor which translates into exotic realism. Elegant and beautiful.
Polaroid of Victoria Lowe. Circa 1989.
I love people. I love the human figure. The body is a magnificent creation and I enjoy celebrating it in my art. Much of my imagery conceptually begins with the human being. The body is universal, timeless and immediately relatable. Throughout my illustration career I fought to use a nude body whenever possible in my images, because it strips the human down to a symbolic physicality. This way the art can represent everyman, or everywoman.
I have worked with a lot of models. Family, friends, neighbors, professionals, and strangers have graced many of my creations. Many times I became the model, sometimes turning myself into another being, a child or woman perhaps. What is most fascinating to me is watching the person transform into the model, then the model becoming art.
In the 80’s and into the 90’s the SX70 Polaroid was my camera of choice to shoot much of my reference. It was fast, maddening and magical. Sometimes the images would not develop properly and the film was wasted, other times it would create beautiful unearthly photographs, some of which you see here.
I would also cut up the film and collage them together to help me see a composition more clearly, other times I would integrate them into the final art.
On some occasions the models were people who happened to be in the area where I was working, like this fighter (above) who was at the Sugar Ray Leonard gym (Sugar to the right), or a dancer from Paris.
How the photos of Sugar translate into a piece of art (this was for Sports Illustrated).
Another example of cutting up the Polaroids. This technique was used to illustrate different articles, two are below on debating the abortion issue, and unnecessary surgeries.
Polaroid of Michelle Barnes who modeled for many of my illustrations in the 80’s, including the “LuLu” opera poster created for the San Francisco Opera below.
Susan Steinberg was a continued source of inspiration in the 80’s. We experimented a lot with the SX70 and she modeled for many of my illustrations.
This Polaroid of Tricia Oricht was used straight up for the CD cover of Bingo Durango.
Here I painted over the Polaroid to more clearly define shapes. Lisa Tate was the model for the classic, “The Visions of Vespertina” image below, early 90’s.
Above is a selection of some favorite Polaroids that were printed in the, “Art of Greg Spalenka” book. Here we see my brother and his wife, as well as lovers and friends. It is a joy to celebrate these moments when the line blurs between the purpose of the model, and the art they become.
*This is the first in a series of posts that honor the people that have modeled for me, inspired me and helped me bring more beauty into the world.
In August of 2003, Roxana and I embarked on a journey to a small village in the Austrian Alps called Reichenau for a Visionary Artist workshop. While learning the Mische technique through Philip Rubinov-Jacobson’s, Old Masters New Visions art class we also saw museums in Vienna and visited the grand, Ernst Fuchs Villa.
Pallas Athena statue in the Athenebrunnen fountain in front of the Parliament building.
The artful metal facades seen around the city were superb.
The Kunst Museum held a treasure of Egyptian artifacts. Loved this granite Pharaoh Goddess.
Enjoyed the design of this effigy and headdress.
The iconic, Kiss by Klimt at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere.
Featuring over 40 paintings and approximately 180 works on paper, the Leopold Museum is the largest and most prominent collection with works of Egon Schiele worldwide.
The Ernst Fuchs Villa (now a museum) was awe inspiring with almost everything in the house designed by the artist, including furniture, lights, and doorknobs. The house was filled with his art.
One of the seductive marble and goldleaf sculptures of Fuch’s Sphinx.
Fuchs also designed and built a temple that was surrealistic. It was filled with stained glass, large gold leaf covered bronze sculptures of esoteric imagery. Beautiful and beguiling it feels like you are standing in a psychedelic dream.
Alex Grey is attempting to create a temple called Entheon in a similar spirit. Check it out.
A Fuchs painting using the classic Mische technique that we learned in the workshop that was taught by Philip Rubinov-Jacobson. Philip was mentored by Fuchs.
One of Fuchs large graphite drawings in a gallery show at the time. This piece was about 7′ high on paper and framed under glass.
Michael Fuchs (Ernst Fuchs son) was also teaching at the workshop and this was one of his Mische paintings. One of the unique properties of this painting technique is the stained glass like transparency that can be achieved through numerous glazes.
If you are interested in learning more about this technique check out Philip Rubinov-Jacobson’s wokshops.