Julie Nicolle’s “FanArt”.

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Only in her mid-30’s, French painter Julie Nicolle spent her post-university years working in the Paris business world, finally turning her back on commerce while still a twenty-something about to become a thirty-something. She set up her atelier in Orleans and began painting energetic, often distressed large format portraits, some of which she labels ‘FanArt’. See more work at the artist’s site, www.julienicolle.com.

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A 30’s-40’s Era Stylist: Mario Cooper

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President of the American Watercolor Society from 1959 through 1986, Mario Ruben Cooper (1905 – 1995) authored multiple how-to books on the challenging medium, and often worked in watercolor for his commercial illustration assignments, unlike so many contemporaries working in oils or gouache. Born in Mexico City, Cooper grew up In Los Angeles, later studying on the east coast at Columbia University and the Grand Central School of Art.

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His commercial career flourished through the 1930’s and early 1940’s with covers and interior story illustrations for Collier’s, Esquire and other glossies, which included multiple Agatha Christie mysteries and hard-boiled crime fiction thrillers. After WWII he taught at the Pratt Institute, then was assigned to document the history of American aviation for the military, many of his pieces from that era still in the Pentagon’s collection. Cooper is a Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame inductee.

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Brent Joseph Lynch

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Brent Joseph Lynch studied at the Vancouver School Of Art And Design and England’s St. Martin’s School Of Fine Art, eventually working under Nicholas Ray and David Hockney before launching his own successful career as an illustrator and muralist. His fine art work filters sleekly modern and sometimes nearly noir-ish contemporary culture iconography through an ‘Hopper-esque’ style of simplicity, depicting everything from intimate vignettes to blatantly nostalgic scenes.

Spot some influences? We’ll all see some, from Peregrine Heathcote to Jack Vettriano to Edward Hopper to any other of a long list of contemporary painters mining retro-flavored settings and tropes. Myself, I really like the things Lynch is probing in these pieces, and I eagerly look forward to seeing where it all goes.

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More From Richard Blunt

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More work from UK painter Richard Blunt. See a prior post for additional paintings from this modern realist juxtaposing retro imagery with modern themes while exploring his primary interest: the depiction of dramatic light.

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Richard Blunt

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UK artist Richard Blunt hails from West Midlands, studied 3D design, then found himself homeless during his 20’s, gigging with various bands before rediscovering his visually creative side and taking up painting in earnest. His particular interest: the depiction of dramatic light in realistic images, so it’s no surprise that he’d name artists like Michelangelo Caravaggio (almost synonymous with chiaroscuro to many) as an inspiration. Some will see echoes of Scottish painter Jack Vettriano in Blunt’s work, but then some see Vettriano’s influence every time they see a painting of a vaguely retro fellow in a white shirt, suspenders and a brimmed hat.

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Myself, I’m seeing Hamish Blakely, Rachel Bess and Fabian Perez as just a few of the diverse crop of contemporary painters currently juxtaposing retro iconography taken from Golden Age Hollywood films and even postwar vintage illustration with edgier or ironic modern themes and treatments. The result? Often not unlike Neo-Noir in film and literature.

But as always, I’ll leave all that stuff to the professors and art critics and just enjoy the work. More of Richard Blunt’s paintings follow in a subsequent post.

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Ingrid Boot: Noir Via New Zealand

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I first spotted one Ingrid Boot painting at Noirsville (www.noirsville.blogspot.com), which promptly sent me hunting for more info about this artist.

Background info is sparse, but the intriguing artwork speaks for itself.

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Making her home in New Zealand since 2000, Ingrid Boot studied art at Westminster University in London and completed a degree in Illustration at De Monfort. The artist’s work ranges from glamorous retro nostalgia lifted right from a vintage Vogue magazine editorial (go to the artist’s own site at http://www.ingrid.co.nz to view more of those), to ominous yet alluring film noir-inspired pieces, those comprising a 2018 solo show, aptly titled “Film Noir”, at the Bread & Butter Gallery. More from this incredible painter follows in the next post…

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The Mic’s Art, Not The Book.

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Oh, Orrie. Another ‘shattering novel of a nymphomaniac’. I can guess how Orrie Hitt’s 1962 Love Thief  goes, having read my share of Hitt’s novels, and I’ll wager this is one of those postwar paperbacks boasting a cover that’s way better than the book itself.  The art’s often listed here and there as uncredited, but is attributed to Clement Micarelli in some locations. Well, I’m going with that.

Nicknamed Mic to family and friends, Micarelli took his first Rhode Island School of Design figure drawing class at age 12 in 1941, and vintage paperback and retro sleaze enthusiasts have treasured some of his late 1950’s illustration gems for years since. The artist passed away at age 79 in 2008.

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Pascale-Mira Taurua

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Pascale-Mira Taurua didn’t set out to be an artist. Originally a model, she was crowned Miss France in 1978, though relinquishing the title six months later. But painting beckoned, and after studying at the Conservatoire des Arts in Tahiti during the 1980’s, her first gallery show occurred in the early 2000’s, and since, she’s been hard at work in her studio in the small French village of Pau in the shadow of a King Henry IV castle.

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She works primarily in traditional oil on canvas, though sometimes (as seen in examples of her work) more adventurous pieces might be in mixed media acrylics with collage. Clearly much of her work is inspired by the same modeling and fashion worlds she once was a part of, with some paintings even reworking well-known fashion photos. Yes, there’s glamor here. But there’s something more, a cynicism perhaps, or something maybe just a bit darker?

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