Friday, June 10, 2011

Artists to know about: Bertha Lum, Kofie, Craola

I was feeling in a rather creative mood so I thought I would do a post on 3 of my favorite artist of the moment. These are all one's I discovered at Pasadena ArtNight.

Bertha Lum

Mother West Wind (One of my favorites)

An American artist active from the 1900's through the 1930's. Bertha Lum was born Bertha Boynton Bull in Tipton, Iowa to parents who were amateur artists. Although her family was not well-off, she was able to study for a year at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1895, and apparently worked as an artist during her youth. Around this time there were several important exhibitions which helped to popularize Japanese art and culture in America, including the Chicago World's Fair of 1893.

In 1903, Bertha married Bert Lum, a corporate lawyer, and persuaded him to travel to Japan on their honeymoon. Lum was expecting to find many artists working as printmakers, but during this time, Japanese printmaking was in serious decline. It would be several years before the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo revitalized traditional Japanese printmaking with the shin hanga movement. Fortunately, on one of her last days in Yokohama, Lum happened across an old printmaking shop. She was able to learn a little about the printmaking technique and buy the necessary tools to get started.

It would be four years before Lum was able to return to Japan for further study. In the meantime, she made several noteworthy woodblock prints.

In 1907, Lum made her second trip to Japan, primarily to learn more about Japanese printmaking. Through a letter of introduction, Lum was able to study carving in the workshop of Bonkotsu Igami, a master carver. Lum worked there every day for two months, being taught mainly by Igami's two 12 year-old apprentices. After Igami was satisfied with her level of competency at carving, he introduced her to a master printer. Lum learned by watching printers work from her own blocks, and later practiced their techniques of subtle gradients and layered colors. During her early years, Lum insis

After Lum's third visit to Tokyo in 1911, her prints were featured in the 1912 Tenth Annual Art Exhibit in Ueno Park. She was the only Western artist in the show, and her prints were remarkably modern compared to her Japanese contemporaries. Based on the enthusiastic response to her work, Lum soon had print exhibitions at galleries in Chicago and New York. Lum's work was increasingly influenced by the stories of Lafcadio Hearn, a Westerner who translated Japanese legends and fairy tales into popular books.
(biography from


An amazing street artist out of Los Angeles. Augustine “Kofie” has made a huge contribution to the graffiti/street art scene with his unique “drafting” style. Kofie’s artwork has been featured in numerous commercials, music videos, and art galleries. His work is inspirational to me.

This is a video about him, his work, his process. Interesting.

Last but definitely not least. My favorite right now. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have a piece of his artwork!

Greg Simkins is from Torrance California. He grew up with a menagerie of animals including a number of rabbits, which often emerge in his paintings. He began drawing at the early age of three and was inspired by various cartoons and books. Some standout books that still find their way into his art are Watership Down by Richard Adams, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

Simkins’ art continued to progress to the age of 18, when he started doing graffiti under the name “CRAOLA”. Graffiti art became his impetus for creating and gave him the confidence to paint large works. In addition it taught him perspective, color theory and further developed artistic skills, which later translated into his work with acrylics.

After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art from California State University of Long Beach in 1999, Simkins worked as an Illustrator for various clothing companies.

In 2005, Simkins pursued his desire to paint as a full time artist. Since then, he has been featured in numerous group exhibitions has had successfully sold out solo exhibitions. His art is seen in a wide variety of industries from clothing to video games and has also come to life in the form of toys.
Click here for a link to his blog & gallery.

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