Art 1 – Due 12/17 – Star Wallowing Bull


Read the following Blog post by the Native American artist, Star Wallowing Bull, which relates an account of the generosity  of James Rosenquist and the tangible encouragement he provided to this struggling artist.

Nomination for James Rosenquist

Visit the website  for the artist (below) and read another slightly different version of Meeting James Rosenquist (scroll down, you will see it below his pictures) and the account, The Wooden Boy, in which he discusses his father and interest in Pinocchio. Look at each of the art works on the site – both the paintings and colored pencil drawings. (Can you find images of Pinocchio and Rosenquist in various paintings?)

Star Wallowing Bull

Comment on the following:

How do you think the personal connection and encouragement with Rosenquist  affected the young artist on both a personal level and artistic level?

What are the artistic similarities and differences between Rosenquist’s work and Star Wallowing Bull’s work?

Choose one work in particular that you find interesting and discuss the balance of the design and overall organization AND the meaning through the placement and relationship of the images. If this is a work that someone else has discussed, add to their insights in a concrete way or disagree with support from the evidence in the work.  Your discussion should be grounded in the work itself – not just an elaborate story that has no connection to the work.

Your sketchbook should be a one hour drawing, inspired by the work of Star Wallowing Bull.


28 responses »

  1. At the time Star Wallowing Bull met Rosenquist, he was frustrated at his art career for both economical problem and lack of confidence. However, Rosenquist showed his great expection and encouraged him not to give up and to work hard, everyone has to overcome the obstacle. He Then bought a painting and sent financial support incessantly. His encouragement gives Bull confidence, and the appreciation from another artist definitely determined his resolution as an artist.

    They both do colorful drawing, but Bull’s work seems more symmetric and related to different culture elements like Native American’s portrait.

    The painting “little star #2” seems like a engagement of lots of pop and culture elements, for example, the figure Pinocchio in the middle, a Chinese calligraphy which means “star”. I thought he wants to show respect to Rosenquist by drawing his portrait on the right below corner.

  2. I think Rosenquist inspired and greatly encouraged Star Wallowing Bull, with both verbal support and financial support.

    Both do colorful pop art, but Rosenquist’s work showed less of each element, while Star Wallowing Bull’s work shows most of every element.

    Wishing Upon a Star seems to me to be about the artist’s life. Fargo is the name of a town in North Dakota, and there is a picture of Pinocchio in the corner.The eagle could represent America.

  3. Rosenquist supported Bull financially and provided him with hope. Both artists do paintings that are very colorfu, but bull seems to have more detail in his drawings. Little star #2 seems to be about his life because there are various aspects of it that represent america, like superman and silver suffer, pinocchio. The is also the word “FARGO” in there.

  4. Rosenquist’s interest in the young artist allowed him to have more self-confidence. Since art is self-expression this probably allowed Star to delve deeper into himself and express himself more fully, bettering his artwork. Rosenquist’s adoption of the young artist allowed the artist to model himself on someone, this would have made his artwork more comprehensive, with the exchange of ideas.

    Both Rosenquist and Bull use bright colors and overlaying of multiple images in their artwork. There is use of patterning in both artists to accentuate the main pieces of the art. They also both use lights and darks for accentuation. That being said they are quite different in content. Bull focuses mostly on his upbringing, and kind of western scenes, while rosenquist is interested in the modern. Bull also uses shapes in his work as part of his accentuation while rosenquist does not.

    I like the painting, “The look out”. The artist uses lines to bring the attention to the crow. The artist also uses the dark of the crow to accentuate it against the bright other shapes. The greenery at the bottom is really well done, again, using lines to bring the attention back to the crow. I do not see the symbolic meaning but, this piece makes me think and that is what a good piece of art should do. It is also aesthetically pleasing.

  5. I think that Star Wallowing Bull was just starting in a new life and career path that was risky and dangerous and tough, and he probably wouldn’t have made it down that road without Rosenquist. The more experienced man was his teacher, mentor, and friend when Bull felt hopeless and abandoned. Without Rosenquist, he might not have become an artist. The fact that Rosenquist took the time to help complete strangers like Bull really shows his passion for art, and more specifically his genre of pop art. I think that Bull probably had a bit of a pop art style already, for he caught Rosenquist’s eye right from the get-go, but I think that their styles are even more similar because Rosenquist is Bull’s inspiration, source of hope, or one might even say muse. They both have almost chaotic pictures with large themes and large colors. My favorite painting is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Now I Know Who You Really Are. The girl in the middle is surrounded by so many different social ideals and media pressures. Her childhood is being shattered by all the weight on her, and the young girl’s song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is being morphed into something more grown up. I think the message the painting sends is sad, but important, and he does it in a colorful and poppy way in order to make people listen to it.

    • In the second Twinkle Twinkle Little Star painting, a boy is in the middle and the weight of the ideals is shown much more clearly. He is crying from stress and pressure that presses down at him from all sides. It’s more dramatic and intense, but I think that both are amazing.

  6. Wallowing bull was struggling with his art career when he met rosenquist. Rosenquist game wallowing bull hope and a drive to make his art work. Wallowing bull owes his art careers to rosenquist. They are similar in that they both use color and in my opinion like to include random details, however wallowing bulls art tends to have more in it like political stuff. I really liked the work little star two because it has a lot of pop culture things in it.

  7. The personal connection and encouragement from rosenquist helped star wallowing bull have a better attitude about his painting career and gave him hope to reach his goals as an artist. Because of all the supplies rosenquist generously brought him, he was given a chance to make art a full time job instead of just a hobby. Both rosenquist and star wallowing bull have a pop art style that incorporate lots of visuals to portray a certain messege. Star wallowing bull uses more cartoons in his work and more small visuals while rosenquist uses large lifelike images.I like the drawing “rise and fall of the industrial age”. The figure in the center portrays human strength and then around are contrasting mandmade and natural things such as tire marks and a catterpillar. I think that things are placed this way to show how much of an impact we have on the industrial and natural world.

  8. I like star wallowing bull and the feeling that his art evokes. I see how he struggled until he was encouraged by Rosenquist. I really enjoyed his email to the governor but for some reason i cant load the page with his artwork. I will try to post the rest at school tomorrow.

  9. Considering Star Wallowing Bull started off in a financial hole without much confidence, I think that his connection with Rosenquist was the best thing that could have happened to him. Rosenquist gave him not only courage, but also a small selection of art supplies. This allowed him to pursue art as a profession, and not just as a hobby.
    Both Rosenquist and Star Wallowing Bull are pop-artists (if that’s a word), who incorporate many images from everyday life, using juxtaposition to convey a message. Star Wallowing Bull tends to use more cartoon characters, where as Rosenquists tends towards tangible things.
    Little Star #2 is an interesting composition. It places a young boy at the center, clasping his face with both hands. He seems stressed or upset. He is surrounded by images from cartoons, movies and games, including superman, transformers, pinnochio, and pacman. He is also surrounded by images from the media, including a depiction of a Native American, Rosenquist, and a pair of lips which could represent beauty. Also there is the word “Fargo”, which was the name of Star Wallowing Bull’s home town. Likely the boy shown in the center is Star Wallowing Bull, as indicated by the star and text around him, and the composition is to depict a conflict of interests, including his childhood and cultural identity, his interests, his likes and dislikes, etc.

    • This interpretation makes good sense because it is well grounded in the artwork. It’s interesting how he is able to combine the personal with the popular imagery so that it has both a public and a more private meaning.

  10. I think that the connection with Rosenquist helped Star Wallowing Bull in multiple ways. Firstly there is the obvious way in that he aided him financially. Before Star Wallowing bull met Rosenquist he was painting with cheep acrylics on cardboard he found in dumpsters, after he was painting on the finest canvas with expensive oil paints. However I think Rosenquist also helped Star Wallowing Bull’s artistic career by giving him hope. He gave him the courage to continue his artistic journey and the materials he needed to do it.

    Rosenquist and Star Wallowing Bulls art are very similar. They both make use of bright, eye catching colors to grab the viewers attention. They both do pop art, using images from everyday life in there art. Both there styles are kind of cartoony, but with just enough realism so you don’t get exasperated. They boat deal with modern problems by using familiar things that we don’t think of as “meaningful” to convey meaning.

    I find Star Wallowing Bull’s work “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Now I Know Who You Really Are” very interesting. First of all, the title just jumps out at you and commands you to look at it. I like art peaces with good titles, not boring titles like “Untitled” or “Roses in a vase” or “lady in chair” or “apples in a bowl” or something dull and dusty like that. I mean no one looks at a title like that and says to themselves “oh I’d better go see that.” If anything it makes people not want to see that art. They would probably think it was some boring cob webby old painting somewhere that no one cairs to look at. Even famous paintings like “The Mona Lisa” or “Starry Night” don’t have particularly interesting titles. We know they are master peaces, but I think a painting should have a name that reflects how creative and great it is. Artists are creative, they should be able to think of a creative name to make me want to look at a painting. Its like they’re trying to bore me! But “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Now I Know Who You Really Are” is interesting and good. It prompts so many questions that you have to look at it.
    Anyway to answer the actual question the entire painting seems to radiate from the photo in the middle. Maybe its him or his sister that he mentioned. There are multiple layers around it most of them circles within themselves and a star shape (thus the little star) that breaks through some of the barriers but not all. There are many cartoonish figures on the outside, hemming in the image at the center. I think these represent the pressures of modern life that are thrust upon children at a very young age. Expectations, stereotypes and rules that confine and crush the inner beauty of a person.

    • Some artists title their work with description titles only because they don’t want the title to detract from the work, overshadow the work or limit the possible interpretations. But, like movie titles, they can be a means to pull in the viewers. Clearly, titles play and important role for you. You might not even want to look at a work called “Untitled #3″…

  11. I think that Star Wallowing Bull needed someone to boost his confidence and tell him that his work was good. Some one to tell him that he wasn’t wasting his time making the sketches and paintings that he had dedicated his life to. Rosenquist turned out to be that person. I don’t think it really mattered if Rosenquuist was a successful artist or not, Star Wallowing Bull just needed support. I thought it was really kind and generous of Rosenquist to help star wallowing bull in such a significant way, not only emotionally, but financially.(once Star Wallowing Bull found out that Rosenquuist was a very successful artist he felt more reassured because he knew the advice rosenquist was giving him was sincere and relevant. He also gave him hope that one day he could be successful as well)

    There are many similarities between these two artists work. They both work in bright colors and paint about meaningful and politically relevant things in there lives. They also both use bold shapes and paint things in pop culture, such as cars. They both paint things from the 1950s.

    The painting that caught my eye was mind to mind combat. In this painting there are two sides. Split directly dow the center, one half uses mostly cool colors like blues and greens to represent sadness, depression and hopelessness and the other side is painted in warm colors with suns. This picture could represent Native Americans living on reservations and whites. There are beer bottles on the blue side swell as pinochio with donkey ears. This could be represent racial minorities feeling out of place and drinking to try to forget their sorrows. There is also a blurb talking about the death Jackson Pollock, whom this painting was probably created in honor of. In the minds of the two people, the sad one has puzzle pieces, like he/she is confused about the world and the happy one has a piece sign like inner peace.

    • There is a lot going on in this one, isn’t there? It mirrors, in a way the bombardment of images in our everyday lives. I like the colored pencil drawings too that are as vibrant as his paintings. Your analysis of the colors is a good one which you may want to apply to your own work.

  12. I think the Star Wallowing Bull was at a point in his life where it was bad. He didn’t believe in his art pieces and Rosenquist gave him a confidence boost. That is exactly what Star Wallowing Bull needed. But Star Wallowing Bull also needed support. He was in a bad place money wise and needed help. Rosenquist also gave him good advice. He told him that he was once in his shoes and not to give up. They both paint with very bright colors and their painting always have something to do with pop culture.

    The painting that caught my eye was the Little Star #2. It caught my eye because the colors and the image in the middle. The soldier in the middle caught my eye for some reason. And then I looked at all as one big picture. At first I was confused because in the picture there are things that you don’t normal see together so it didn’t make sense to me. But then I started to stare at it and I got it. There are things together that don’t go together because he is saying anything can go together. Everything is connected in the world. In some way or another. He also put the soldier in the middle I think because that is the focus. He wanted you to see the soldier and then see everything around it.

  13. I think because Rosenquist took Star Wallowing Bull under his wing, the young artist was able to make great advances in his artwork because of Rosenquist’s constructive criticism as a critic and personal encouragement as a mentor.
    Both Rosenquist and Star Wallowing Bull use bright colors and incorporate everyday objects, but I think Star Wallowing Bull uses more abstract and modern objects while Rosenquist used ones we would see every day.
    I really like Black Elk’s Little Sandman because of the bright colors, and mixture of tribal and American objects/styles in the background.

  14. I think it’s important to note that when Star Wallowing Bull first met Rosenquist he didn’t know that Rosenquist was a famous artist. This implies that the confidence and inspireation Star gained from his experience with Rosenquist came from the simple fact that a person knowledgable about art appreciated and supported his work. Sometimes all we need to keep going is for somebody, anybody, to believe in us.

    Star borrows from Rosenquest’s pop style, but puts his own spin on it. Instead of obfuscating images with layering, Star incorporates abstract patterns which border his symbols.

    “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Now I Know Who You Really Are” is one of Star’s works which caught my attention. It appears to be an introspective work, the title and star in the center referring to the artist. I can not tell with the low resolution image, but I guess that the photograph in the center is of Star as a child. The rest of the painting is comprised of images and symbols which define Star. The mix of American cultural symbols (Mickey Mouse, CBS, Transformers, Statue of Liberty) with those of his Native American heritage, Catholicism and other sources creates a compelling juxtaposition.

  15. The fact that Rosenquist took the time to view Star Wallowing Bull’s artwork and buy several of his pieces to support the struggling artist greatly bolstered Wallowing Bull’s confidence. Also, the later encouragement and supplies from Rosenquist helped the young artist expand his artistic knowledge and experience.

    Both artists combine many pop culture images into their work, and well as using bright contrasting colors. However, Wallowing Bull draws/paints images in a much flatter dimension than Rosenquist, and images are more drawn to scale in comparison to each other.

    I like his work “The Curious Crawler” because he seems to be experimenting with different stylistic choices than his norm. The colors aren’t quite as bright and contrasting, and the myriad of images are childishly strewn across the canvas. This chaotic feel throws the viewer into his messy life as a toddler. I like this piece quite a lot for this reason.

  16. I think Rosenquist not only helped the young artists build the self-confidence, gain their experience and share his experience, and also offered them the painting supply, bought the paintings from the young artists.

    In my view, they both do colorful work, their paintings are full of almost every colors. However, the star wallowing bull’s art more focus on representing many different cultures. And in order to show the cultures, the star wallowing bull shows every details and elements. So always, the paintings are full of your view. But Rosenquist’s arts show less, more focus on one thing.

    I like “Little Star #2” very much. I saw the eagle, which represents America, was behind the big star. And there are the logo of the superman, also the logo of the transformers and so on. These are all product by America. Therefore, the “Little Star #2” tells the interesting cartoons. Also, it reavals the interesting and various cultures, which create the cartoon.

  17. What Rosenquist did is inspiring. It’s nice to hear about established artists (in any form) helping other artists out for no personal gain. To befriend an artist like that, to learn and be mentored by is a rare and special thing that I bet Star Wallowing Bull cherishes every day. She clearly derives a lot of her art from him in that both utilize pop culture as a theme and paint with bright colors. SWP paints… tamer, if that makes sense.

  18. I think Rosenquist’s financial and even direct verbal and emotional support were amazing and not very common in the world of very well known artist, probably a gift SWB still cherishes today.
    They share a love of bright colors and stark symbolism (especially in pop culture) and it’s interesting to see how Rosy almost mentored him.
    I like Custer’s Last Stand. It vastly portrays a Native American’s reception of the white consumer-culture surrounding him, and places the notorious General Custer juxtapose to an advertisement, also pulling from the style of James Rosenquist.

  19. I believe that Star Wallowing Bull just needed the inspiration and moral support to keep him going and convince him that it was okay to dedicate his entire life to his art, making his pieces more than sketches and doodles. I think that even if Rosenquist wasn’t a successful artist, or Star Wallowing Bull had talked so anyone else, it would have had the same effect because all he needed was a little push and show of appreciation.

    Rosenquist and Star Wallowing Bull have many similarities, including using a variation of bright colours all smashed together on one painting. They both focus on pop culture, but I think Star’s focus is broader, while Rosenquist effectively brings accross a point about a certain issue.

    The piece that most stood out to me was “The Look Out”. I found the rest of his work a little clashing for me, so the simplicity of this one was interesting. I particularly enjoyed the Mickey Mouse in the bottom right-hand corner, and the crow looking out over it. I found the idea of the crow looking out interesting because usually it’s the Scare Crows that watch over the feild to keep crows away. I also really enjoy the colours used in the vegetation below the crow’s post, as it shows a little bit of Star Wallowing Bull’s Native origins.

  20. Like everyone else has said, Bull owes his art career to Rosenquist. Before Bull met Rosenquist, he worked on very limited art supplies. I think Rosenquist say the commitment and skill of Bull and was willing to help him out because he knew Bull would appreciate it and make the most use out of the extra art supplies. Rosenquist also gave Bull a lot of confidence in his art ability.

    Rosenquist and Bull actually have very similar artistic styles. They both use a lot of bright colors and a lot of theme especially regarding pop culture.

    I actually really like the Fibre Optic Paint Brush by Bull. It’s very basic but its original. I like his color use against the pale background and I also like that he’s using an art utensil in an art piece.

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