Category Archives: Africian Art

Tips for Buying Art at Auction

Anyone who’s ever visited a gallery knows how expensive it can be to purchase original art. Fortunately, there is a more economical alternative for fine art lovers who are on a budget. At an art auction, it’s possible to find a piece you love at an amazing bargain. Below are a few quick tips to ensure that your first auction is a smooth, successful experience:

  • Know which type of auction you’re attending. There are three main categories. Estate auctions (an upscale version of a “moving sale”) are held when a family or heir needs to liquidate everything in the house, regardless of price. Consignment auctions are usually held at an auctioneer house, with most sellers setting minimum reserves to ensure that their pieces don’t sell too cheaply. Mixed auctions are a combination of the two.
  • To find an auction, enter your location and “art auction” into a search engine. You can also check the newspaper and try calling antique dealers and auctioneer houses directly.
  • Once you’ve found an auction, call to make sure the location and time is accurate. Also find out when the preview period starts — this allows you to come a few hours (or sometimes days) early and get a look at the items that will be up for bidding.
  • When registering to bid, find out if the auction house adds a premium to your bids. In some cases, this can increase the total selling amount by 10% or more. Also find out what form of payment they accept.
  • At the auction, choose your seat carefully. Sitting toward the front will give you a close view of the items, but sitting or standing in the back will let you see who else is bidding on an item. Always have a maximum bid in mind for items you’re interested in. Resist the temptation to exceed it, especially in the heat of the moment during the bidding process.
  • Listen carefully to the auctioneer’s descriptions of items. Also pay attention to the conversations going on around you, as this may help you determine the value and authenticity of a piece of art. Write down the selling prices so you can review them later and recognize trends.
  • After winning a piece of art, be sure to get a receipt after the auction is over. If it’s high in value, you might also consider insuring the item.

If you do your research and resist getting carried away, an auction can be a fun and cost-effective way to enhance your art collection.
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Romare Bearden and Abstract Expressionist Art

Romare Bearden was an artist whose personal style went against the “mainstream” of art in the post World War II era. Overtime, Bearden’s style did not change as other artists’ did. He remained consistent in his abstract and expressive approach.  This is evident in all of his paintings and even more so in his collages.

Being an abstract expressionist, Bearden’s individual style developed over time.  At first he drew cartoons for magazines, then he began to paint and finally he started making collages.  All of his art was influenced by locations, people, and culture. His many travels along the east coast of the United States influenced his art work, along with his loyalty to his heritage.

The culture of African American life was a large focus for him. He shed much light on the oppression of African American people from the time of the Great Depression, through the Civil Rights Movement and onto their advancements toward equality.  He also concentrated on his heritage, depicting slaves and their migration to the north.

In addition to this, another common theme of his art was jazz music.  This greatly advanced his individual style. His art relayed one common theme but his style was advanced by his personal interpretation of jazz music.  Bearden constructed collages in the same way jazz musicians created a song — with many staccato notes played by multiple instruments. In the same sense, Bearden cut and pasted many small excerpts of paintings and photographs to create a larger work of art.

He also added paint to his collages making many pieces a hybrid of two art forms; half of the piece was painted and the other half was cut and pasted. Such creativity earned him the title of an abstract expressionist artist. While abstract elements were painted, the collage portions were realistic images taken from photographs.

The reason Bearden used this technique was because he felt that art portraying the lives of African American’s did not give full value to the individual.  This is why he used collages. In doing so he was able to combine abstract art with real images so that people of different cultures could grasp the subject matter of the African American culture: The people. This is why his theme always exemplified people of color.

Through the work of Romare Bearden, many lives were affected and individuals were better positioned to understand the struggles that African Americans faced throughout the 20th century.  The heritage of African American’s influenced an entire movement that advanced human equality.  Their struggle produced freedom.  In effect, the outside the box thinking of Romare Bearden created his unique style. A freedom all of its own.

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Did you love this Segmation blog post? If yes, great! Here are a few more posts you will enjoy:

— How the Father of Abstract Expressionism Forsook Fame to Pursue Art
https://segmation.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/how-father-abstract-expressionism-forsook-fame-pursue-art/

— The Beauty of Abstract Art
https://segmation.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/paint-by-number-kits-create-thousands-artists/

— Knitting Is More Than an Art, It Is a Cause
https://segmation.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/knitting-more-than-art-cause/

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From Sand Castles to Sand Sculptures

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Many of us have fond memories of building sand castles at the beach when we were children; overturning buckets of sand to create towers, digging out moats, and sticking seashells into the damp castle walls. Even though we weren’t consciously aware of it at the time, building sandcastles was a fun, hands-on way to express our creativity and let our imaginations run wild.

Building sand castles is not just for kids anymore! In the 1970s, the art of “sand sculpting” was born on the beaches of California, pioneered by visionaries who took the concept of sand castles several steps further by creating elaborate, detailed, breathtaking monuments out of sand. Animals, architecture and pop culture icons are common subjects for sand sculpture art, although the sky’s the limit. Sand sculptors have depicted everything from African wildlife to Greek gods and goddesses to scaled versions of the Taj Mahal.

Creating complex sand sculptures requires both technical skill and knowledge. In order to stay in place properly, the sand must be a certain consistency and contain a certain degree of moisture. Once the foundation is ready, it takes talent, time and energy to sculpt 3-D images into the sand without the sand falling to pieces. It’s no wonder that the best sand sculptors are actually professionals who get paid to create these magnificent works of art using all-natural materials.

Sand sculptures are a popular attraction on some of the world’s best beaches, from Canada to Florida to Australia. Next time you’re at the beach, why not see what you can create out of sand!

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