Category Archives: United States President

Artist-in-Chief: Presidents are Painters too!

A United States president has a lot of responsibility. From the time when he (and, perhaps in the future, she) is sworn into office, he steps into supreme command over the country’s military; he has the power to sign bills into laws; and he becomes the chief diplomat, a national representative to whom the leaders of other countries look. Needless to say, the president is a busy person. But throughout history, presidents have found time to exercise their artistic talents while in office and at terms end.

In fact, some presidents turned to painting as a release from the stress of a high pressure job. After all, art has been known to relieve tension and serve as an escape from life pressures. According to the American Art Therapy Association, “Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.”

According to an article on MentalFloss.com, four presidents were notable painters.

  1. George W. Bush –

    Most recently, the world has experienced the 43rd president as he took part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, published a book about his father (41st president George H.W. Bush), and enthusiastically showcased his paintings of dogs. His late Scottish terrier isn’t the only subject of the former president’s artwork. In April 2014 a Dallas exhibit showcased over two dozen paintings of fellow world leaders.

  2. Jimmy Carter –

    It is no surprise that artwork adorned with the signature of President Jimmy Carter has fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. Even though he started painting post-presidency, he has become a skillful painter in his own right. Proceeds from his one-of-a-kind nature scenes or portrayals of wildlife mostly go to charitable causes.

  3. Dwight D. Eisenhower –

    It has been said that Dwight D. Eisenhower was prescribed painting as a cure to the stress of being Chief of Staff of the Army. At that time, Winston Churchill, who enjoyed the many benefits of painting, seemed to inspire the future president’s pursuit of the practice. In his lifetime, Eisenhower completed over 250 paintings but even he recognized the monetary value of his art depended on his presidential fame.

  4. Ulysses S. Grant –

    On this list, Ulysses S. Grant is probably the only man who entered the presidency knowing he had innate artistic talent. In fact, it was said that Grant painted with watercolor while attending West Point Academy and was proud every time he completed an artistic project. Many of Grant’s detailed paintings are housed in private collections today.

Every president wears multiple hats while in office, but only a few can be called “artists-in-chiefs.”

United States Presidents have been known to relieve stress by painting. Now you can do the same. Explore the art of peaceful imaging; Segmation offers digital paint-by-number software and patterns of the USA’s most memorable presidents. SegPlay is also available in the Apple App Store.

United States President Caricature by Segmation

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

17 Fun Facts About U.S. Presidents

United States Presidents Were Skilled Musicians

Happy President’s Day!

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

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Since When is Shredding Money a Wise Investment?

Mark Wagner Collage Artist 1Collage artist Mark Wagner sees the term, “It takes money to make money” as literal. His favorite art medium involves making collages of one dollar bills. But don’t let this small currency fool you. He receives thousands of dollars for his artwork.

Working with small bills all day requires a greater investment of time than dollars. When CBS News asked about the expense of using money as his medium, Wagner said, “The bills aren’t the expensive part of the operation. It’s the time – that’s the expensive part.” In order to contrive pieces of dollar bill that will be repurposed and repositioned in his masterpieces requires an X-acto knife and steady hand. Wagner cuts dollar bills into pieces and then organizes the parts into boxes until he is ready to assemble the collage.

On his website, Markwagnerinc.com, Wagner publishes an insightful statement about his infamous collage work:

The one dollar bill is the most ubiquitous piece of paper in America. Collage asks the question: what might be done to make it something else? It is a ripe material: intaglio printed on sturdy linen stock, covered in decorative filigree, and steeped in symbolism and concept. Blade and glue transform it-reproducing the effects of tapestries, paints, engravings, mosaics, and computers—striving for something bizarre, beautiful, or unbelievable… the foreign in the familiar.

Aside from scrupulously breaking down the dollar bill, Wagner has a creative mind to see a dollar as more than currency. His mother says that becoming a professional artist was Mark’s “single-minded pursuit” growing up. She was amazed at the way his mind worked. Now the rest of the world joins her, watching the artist with awe. How does he come up with these designs? And how does he see money so differently than the general public?

In 2009, Wagner made a momentous artistic feat with one of his most well-known pieces titled, “Liberty.” It is a 17 feet tall, six feet wide installment that uses nearly 82,000 individual pieces of dollar bills. Inspired by the Statue of Liberty, the piece tells a much greater story than peace and justice for all. “Beyond its humor, beauty, and spectacle,” a write-up on the Pavel Zoubok Gallery website reads, “Liberty addresses issues of economic, civil liberties, American self-image, and artistic practice.”

Mark Wagner Collage ArtistArtistic practice might be an understatement. The creativity that went into conceptualizing this piece of art is trumped only by the fascination with the medium Wagner used to breathe life into this design. The grandiose presentation is only one of Wagner’s many works of art. He has been using money as his medium for more than a decade.

In addition to his career as a professional collage artist, Wagner is also into writing and bookmaking. He publishes books using the names Bird Brain Press and X-ing Books. He also co-founded The Booklyn Artists Alliance.

Would you like to experience more of Mark Wagner’s work and his aptitude for making collages? Visit his website: http://markwagnerinc.com/.

 

Read more Segmation blog posts about out of the box art:

Lady Liberty (www.segmation.com)

Will the Real George Washington Please Stand Up?

Gilbert Stuart – American Portrait Painter

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

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