Monday, March 16, 2009

Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns was born in 1930 in Augusta, Georgia. He is still living and creating art so I will not say too much about him, but tomorrow I plan to post a project inspired by his art. You should certainly know a little something about him. Be sure to check out the links to his artwork so you’ll have something to inspire you when you create your own masterpiece.

Johns didn’t take any formal art lessons as a child but he knew he wanted to be an artist. In 1949 he moved to New York City to study at the Parsons School of Design. There were a lot of artists working in the city at that time and Johns made friends with some of them. He was drafted into the army soon after arriving in New York City, though.

When he returned from war, Johns began to experiment with different styles. At the time, Abstract Expressionism (the movement that included Jackson Pollock) was the popular artistic style. For the Abstract Expressionists, art was all about showing emotion. Johns work is the opposite. This may be one reason his art became as popular as it did.

Johns painted objects that everyone could recognize, like flags, numbers (and more numbers), targets, and maps. The paintings don’t show Johns’ opinions. In fact, the artwork may not have any particular meaning at all. His paintings show us things that we have seen hundreds of times and often just ignore. But we don’t ignore Johns’ paintings. Instead, we study them and find new meaning in the objects he shows us.
Johns has created more than just paintings. He has also made prints of his artwork and he has created sculptures out of found objects.

Tomorrow, create your own Jasper Johns map painting.

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Ms. Julie's Place said...

I really like his work. I am currently intrigued by finding new complexity in the seemingly mundane.
These almost seem to be collages- which may be the seed of a project idea!
Thanks for teaching me so much!

Jessica said...

Some of Johns paintings are collages. To make his flag, for instance, he coated newspaper in pigmented wax (encaustic) and then put together the pieces. This certainly opens up some possibilities for projects, but not from me right now! I'm not sure how to do that in a kid-safe way just yet. Perhaps you'll take up the baton?

Ms. Julie's Place said...

I accept the challenge!
When it will get done though, only heaven knows!

Jessica said...

I suppose you could do it without the wax. just thinly paint cutout newspaper shapes and then assemble them.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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