All posts by romicortier@yahoo.com

Kehinde Wiley’s Portrait of President Barack Obama

Presidential Portrait of Barack Obama, Kehinde Wiley, Oil on Canvas, 2018
Presidential Portrait of Barack Obama, Kehinde Wiley, Oil on Canvas, 2018
Artist Kehinde Wiley and President Barack Obama, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Official Portrait Unveiling.
Artist Kehinde Wiley and President Barack Obama, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Official Portrait Unveiling.

President Barack Obama’s official Portrait by Kehinde Wiley was unveiled at the Smithsonian National  Portrait Gallery,  Monday February 12th, 2018. The portrait has been met with criticism by some, and applauded by others. I for one am a huge fan of Wiley’s portrait. That said, I wanted to try and wrap my mind around some of the controversy that I’d seen on social media from those who felt it wasn’t ‘on par’ with the tone and tenor of previous Presidential Portraits. So I decided to do some research…

John F. Kennedy Presidential Portrait, Elaine de Kooning, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
John F. Kennedy Presidential Portrait, Elaine de Kooning, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
William Jefferson Clinton, Presidential Portrait by Chuck Close, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
William Jefferson Clinton, Presidential Portrait by Chuck Close, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

What I discovered is that President Barack Obama wasn’t  the first to buck classic portraiture for his official portrait.  Both John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton are represented by the avant-garde artist  of  their day.  As is frequently the case, stories on social media are tailored to reinforce a specific point of view. Namely, that Obama was wack for choosing such an outrageous artist that didn’t represent the traditional norms of the office.  When taking a closer look at the ‘norms’, one can clearly see that there’s been a broader range of painting styles presented at the Smithsonian over the years. Follow the link below to view all of the Presidential Portraits from the last century.

Artnet News: 100 years of Presidential Portraits 

I’ve been a fan of Kehinde Wiley for over a decade, and was thrilled to see his paintings on the tv show EMPIRE. It’s a brilliant choice to have a fictional character like Lucious Lyon, a black music mogul, fill his home with the art of such a highly regarded black artist, thus supporting those at the top of his community.

Kehinde Wiley, Studio Portrait
Kehinde Wiley, Studio Portrait

Here are a few more examples of Wiley’s work.

Starlit Nights, Kehinde Wiley, Oil on Canvas, 2013
Starlit Nights, Oil on Canvas, Kehinde Wiley, 2005
LL Cool J, Oil on Canvas, Kehinde Wiley, 2005
LL Cool J, Oil on Canvas, Kehinde Wiley, 2005
Jean de Carondelet III, Oil on Canvas, Kehinde Wiley, 2013
Jean de Carondelet III, Oil on Canvas, Kehinde Wiley, 2013

As an artist, I absolutely love the magnificent size of his paintings, as well as the lusciousness of the background behind his subjects. His ability to beautifully render skin tones is out of this world, and to quote Obama: I was struck by the degree to which they challenged our ideas of power and privilege. Kehinde juxtaposes contemporary urban culture with centuries old postures and wallpaper like backgrounds.

When I composed my own painting of President Barack Obama in 2011,  I also chose a lush green background to represent his  emotional life. I wanted my image to be reminiscent of a gothic stain glass window with the presidential seal as his halo. My overall theme was about the religious fervor surrounding the election of our first African American President. The ionic column represents democracy, with the red and blue states being represented on their respective sides of the column, blue on the left, red on the right.

Obama and the Tree of Knowledge, Oil on Canvas, Artist Romi Cortier
Obama and the Tree of Knowledge, Oil on Canvas, Artist Romi Cortier

For Wiley, he wove chrysanthemum  into the greenery of the background  (the official flower of Chicago),  and Jasmine for Hawaii, as well as African Blues symbolic of Obama’s heritage. Like the fictional character Lucious Lyon,  President Barack Obama chose one of the finest artist from the black community to forever represent the first African American President  in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. It was a bold choice that I absolutely applaud, and I believe  it will certainly pass the test of time. Great men must be ahead of the curve, not behind it,  paving the way for others to follow.

www.kehindewiley.com 

The Buddha’s of Artist Metis Atash

Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, 2018, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, 2018, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show 2018, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, 2018, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, 2018, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, 2018, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, 2018,  Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, 2018, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, 2018, Photo Romi Cortier
Buddha by Metis Atash, L A Art Show, 2018, Photo Romi Cortier
LA Art Show, Romi Cortier, Recio Young, JD Miller, and Melanie Engle
LA Art Show, Romi Cortier, Recio Young, JD Miller, and Melanie Engle

The Buddha’s of artist Metis Atash took the L A Art Show by storm. Covered in nearly 20 thousand Swarovski crystals, her Buddha’s radiated light in every direction, enticing patrons to take countless photos and videos of  her sculptures. JD Miller of the Dallas based Samuel Lynne Galleries, was a fantastic host on both days of our visit to the art show.

We were there opening night, and then again on the fourth and final day of the show. Opening night was fun and very conversational with several gallery owners and artists. Therefore, we didn’t make it to every booth. So we returned early Sunday morning and made our way to the booths that we’d missed. Our last stop was back were we’d begun… at the Buddha’s!

Atash sculpts in fiberglass, covers her creations with acrylic paint, and then meticulously bathes each piece by hand in upwards of 20,000 Swarovski crystals. The completed works can be an homage to icons like Chanel,  Lichtenstein, Warhol, or Hirst, with a zen vibe rooted  in Daoism. Her artwork has been exhibited in select galleries throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, and has been featured in Vogue, Elle Decor, Architectural Digest and Haute Living.  And most recently her work has been seen on CNBC’s the Secret Lives of the Super Rich.

If one of these beautiful creations is in your future, then reach out to Samuel Lynne Galleries in Dallas and tell them Romi sent you.

Samuel Lynne Galleries, 1105 Dragon St., Dallas TX. 75207

214 965-9027

 

METISH ATASH

My Best Sunsets of 2017

The Pearl Resort, Fiji, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Sunset at The Pearl Resort, Fiji, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Catalina Island, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Sunset at Catalina Island, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Pacific Northwest, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Sunset in the Pacific Northwest, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Laguna Beach, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Sunset at Laguna Beach, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Malibu 2017, Photo Skyler Campbell
Sunset over Malibu,  2017, Photo Skyler Campbell
Malibu, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Sunset over Malibu, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier
Moon Festival, Chinatown, LA, Photo Romi Cortier
Sunset at the Moon Festival, Chinatown, LA, 2017, Photo Romi Cortier

My best sunsets of 2017   takes a look back at some of my favorite moments throughout the year. Any sunset that makes you stop and take notice is a great day in my book, and if it happens to take place on a special occasion, then it’s a an added bonus. With a year full of Breaking News alerts 24/7, it’s nice to take a moment and focus on what was beautiful and right in the world.

The Fiji sunset on January 2nd,  was one of the most serenely colorful sunsets I’ve ever seen. There was  the finest mist of rain coming down on that 80 degree evening, adding a little extra moisture and magic to the reflected light of the sunset. I’d forgotten  that I’d  started 2017 in Fiji, so this image is a beautiful reminder of one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.

Sunset on Catalina Island was  an amazing day for two reasons. I’d surprised my fiancé with a Helicopter ride to the island, which was fantastic because he’d made friends with the pilot while taking this photo below, who then invited him to sit up front on our trek across the channel. This made his first chopper ride an experience that kept him grinning for hours afterwards. The chopper flew at  about 300 feet above the ocean, making the 11 minute journey both quick and thrilling.

Recio and Romi, Helicopter transport from Catalina Express, Longbeach, Ca. 2017
Recio and Romi, Helicopter transport from Catalina Express, Longbeach, Ca. 2017

Part two of July 4th in Catalina was getting  the news about the surprise early birth of my great nephew Cannon, as the fireworks began over the bay.   Someone randomly played the Dynasty theme song on the beach as the fireworks exploded overhead…. magic!! Who could’ve ask for a better day.

Sunset in the Pacific Northwest was taken a few weeks later when I went to visit Cannon, the newly born little nugget. It’s hard to believe that I have three great nieces and nephews at my age…. who knows, at this rate I might get to see some great great nieces and nephews before my days are done here on planet earth. What makes me most happy about this news, is that both of my sisters are now enjoying being grandmothers at such early age.

Sunset at Laguna Beach was a day set aside to celebrate my fiances birthday by doing what he loves most, hanging out on the beach. This was  his first time visiting Laguna, which has always been a special place for me  because of its fantastic  art gallery scene.  Sue Greenwood Fine Art at 330 N. Coast Highway  is worth the drive down from L.A., and is a must see.

Sunset over Malibu Beach was a very special day, as it included one of the most beautiful beach parties I’ve ever attended, with a very small and special group of people.

Sunset at the Moon Festival in Chinatown was a happy accident. I went there to capture a few beautiful Chinoiserie buildings for my Artful Living archives and voila… celebration! It was magical,  fun, and incredibly colorful. I felt like I’d opened a beautiful fortune cookie giving me an unexpected gift.

I thank you for reading Where Art Inspires Beauty, and I hope you’re able to make some of your own magic in the coming year. May 2018 bring you riches beyond your wildest dreams, and most importantly, beautiful sunsets.

 

The Magic of Tiffany & Co. on Rodeo Drive

Tiffany & Co., Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Tiffany & Co., 2017, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Tiffany & Co., Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Tiffany & Co., 2017, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Tiffany & Co., Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Tiffany & Co., 2017,  Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Tiffany & Co., Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Tiffany & Co., 2017, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Tiffany & Co., Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Tiffany & Co., 2017, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier

The magic of Tiffany & Co.  window displays burst on the scene in  1961  when  the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s debuted with Audrey Hepburn.   It solidified the idea of romance with all of  it’s endless  possibilities… so there’s absolutely no pressure to create holiday windows that will still captivate nearly 60 years later, right?

The delicate  details that go into each and every window display are still pure magic. Those beautiful blue-green boxes wrapped in white ribbon keep your minds eye wondering what beautiful treasure might be hidden  inside.  By the way,  did you know that Tiffany Blue has its own Pantone number – PMS1837, however, it can’t be seen in the Pantone swatch book. It’s also copyrighted in some American states… just a few more ways to keep that magic a little more elusive.

Established in 1853, Tiffany & Co. was one of the first stores to clearly mark the price on their goods to prevent any haggling over prices. In addition, against the norm of the time, Tiffany only accepted cash payments and did not accept payments on credit. My how times have changed.  The famous  flagship store on 5th Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan  opened in 1940,  and one of my favorite things about the store is its Art Deco details. If you happen to see newer locations, such as those built  inside a mall, their front  doors still feature those iconic stainless steel deco details.

Tiffany & Co., Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Tiffany & Co., Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier

Even after having been in business for over 160 years, they’ve managed to keep the magic alive. On my sisters recent 50th birthday, we traveled to Manhattan to celebrate… and stop number one, Tiffany’s! If you’re still looking for that last minute holiday gift, you know where to go.

 

Louis Vuitton pairs with Jeff Koons for the Masters Collection

Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier
Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. Photo Romi Cortier

Louis Vuitton has paired up with world renowned artist Jeff Koons to create a line of handbags focusing on old world art masters such as Monet, Gauguin, Manet, Turner and Boucher.  I only discovered this a couple of nights ago while strolling down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. I’m not trying to be bougie… it’s just that I live a few blocks away and it’s so much fun to take in the holiday decorations. It’s free, fun, fantastic and often inspiring to see the holiday window displays.  Plus this year they’ve brought back the Baccarat Chandeliers that are only hung above  the street during some  Christmas seasons, not all. There’s also a little piped in holiday music, and plenty of areas for photo ops  with the hashtag #OnlyOnRodeo. It’s all about branding, plus I think that retailers are having a tough time getting shoppers into stores since online shopping has become everyones ‘easy out’.

As I was walking by Louis Vuitton’s windows I was initially drawn in by the new color combinations of some of the handbags, particularly the ones inspired by the paintings of Turner. The strong lavender-blue tone mixed with the hazy orange tones of Ancient Rome, really did it for me. As I continued to study the windows, I realized that the large white bunny in the entrance, as well as the handbag tags, were  an homage to Jeff Koons balloon animals that he’s so famous for.

Jeff Koons Ballon Rabbit, Eli Broad Collection
Jeff Koons Ballon Rabbit, Eli Broad Collection

And then… there are the LV’s and the JK’s on the handbags, as well as in the windows, another reference to the collaboration between these two iconic companies.  And lastly, there’s that big blue Christmas ball that isn’t a Christmas decoration at all, but rather an homage to his Gazing Ball Paintings.

Jeff Koons Gazing Ball Paintings, Gagosian Gallery
Jeff Koons Gazing Ball Paintings, Gagosian Gallery

Whether you love or hate the new handbags, the holiday windows on Rodeo Drive are a perfect exercise in restraint. They tell the story of the new collection and joint collaboration, while still looking festive from an uniformed point of view.  Bravo!