Art 1 – Due 12/16 – Star Wallowing Bull

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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?

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.

This week’s homework sketch is the “metamorphosis drawing” started in class.

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24 responses »

  1. Star Wallowing Bull only became a full-time artist through the support from James Rosenquist, both financially and emotionally. Rosenquist, in a way, became Bull’s benefactor. He was with Bull every step of the way on his journey to becoming a professional artist. Because of this, Rosenquist was seen as Bull’s father in the art world, and he treats him as such. The connection the two artists formed was certainly both personal and artistic, with their personal relationship spilling into Bull’s artwork.

  2. Rosenquist saw the potential in Bull’s Works, and took him on as his apprentice and brought him into the limelight. This helped him to gain the rough rider award for art in North Dakota. His art is interesting because it exaggerates human features – such as the whites of ones eyes or the forehead.

  3. Rosenquist helped bull’s confidence in what he was doing. Bull wasn’t making it as an artist, and needed supplies. Rosenquist gave him these supplies as well as helpful insight. Bull could now get his art out with a famous artist patronizing his work. “Twinkle Twinkle” is very interesting, because it is has a nice mixture of colors that contrasts to the black and white image in the center. It is organized a little oddly, because it is very compact shapes and designs on the left, and the images and shapes have whites space separating them.

  4. I think that without rosenquist, Bull would definitely not be the same. It’s like batman. Batman wouldn’t be batman without all that money and stuff. Okay, that was a terrible analogy, but still. Rosenquist bolstered his confidence and helped him with money and such. Kind of like a Jedi and his master, you know?

  5. I think Rosenquist’s encouragement helped Wallowing Bull because he was kind of stuck in an economic low and probably felt pretty bad about his art. Having another artist appreciate his art enough to buy a painting and try to get him a show was probably very heartening and kept him working at it.

    I like Little Star #2. The colors in the picture are very bright and attractive. There are many images of modern culture which I think are things that affected Wallowing Bull in his childhood. All the images are surrounding a picture of him which makes me think that maybe he was trying to paint what his mind might feel like.

  6. I believe that by Rosenquist giving Wallowing Bull paints he was giving him a message that he believed in Wallowing Bull. With the knowledge that Rosenquist believed in him enough to buy one of his paintings, get him materials and keep in touch Wallowing Bull was able to have the confidence to make art his career.
    I think that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Now I Know Who You Really Are is very interesting, because it combines pop culture references such as Mickey Mouse with bright colors, and different symbols. The shape of the painting reminds me of the Mayan Calendar, and makes me wonder why he chose to portray the painting in that way.

  7. I think that it is very important that Rosenquist helped Wallowing Bull believe in himself. In many different situations, there is someone who does not know if anyone likes something of theirs or if anyone even cares. When they realize that there are people out there who care about their work, it makes it much easier for the person to appreciate their own work to be great.
    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Now I Know Who You Really Are is a really cool piece because everything ties together very well. The layers of the piece is like a collage how all the images are in the different grounds (fore, mid and back) and no matter where you look, you must look again to see what exactly you just saw. The piece is amazing because as you look at it, more things jump out at you and it is always a mini adventure.

  8. It is always helpful and inspiring to be supported by someone that has found success in something that you aspire to become successful in. By impressing them once, you feel a need to work harder and keep impressing them. This motivates you to improve faster, and makes it so their approval is something that you strive for every day. For these reasons, Wallowing Bull was positively affected by Rosenquist. Also, it helped that Rosenquist financially supported Wallowing Bull, by sending him supplies to get started.
    My favorite work of his is “New Age Fancy Dancer.” To me, it seems abstract, as there are recognizable figures, but it can be interpreted many different ways. The whole thing together looks something like a person dancing, but it isn’t completely clear. Basically, he has arranged a bunch of unrelated objects into a dancing figure. Many of the objects are non-objective, so they don’t symbolize anything, but there is one thing that looks like Calvin’s hair from “Calvin and Hobbes,” so that would be a pop culture reference.

  9. Rosenquist, I think he is kind of the most important peoson in Bull’s artist life. He led Bull step by step to become a professional artist. He is the person who supported Bull both financially and emotionally, we can see the emotion from Bull to Rosenquist from Bull’s drawing, in some drawing, it has Rosenquist picture in it. I like the “little star” pretty much, it has couple cartoon characters or factors in this picture, include the photo of Rosenquist, which is the symble of the emotion. And look at the whole picture, the colorful combination make it looks good.

  10. I feel as though Rosenquist’s support both gave Bull the confidence to persevere with his art when he was beginning and gave him the materials to do do the creative exploration necessary to succeed artistically.

    I find Bull’s painting of the melting wax figure to be intriguing. The contours make the figure rather abstract allowing for further interpretation by the viewer than it otherwise could have. I personally say the piece as an image of a melting snowman with the sun on one side creating the contrast in lighter colors on the right to the dark on the left. The red shape that I see as a nose or a hat also grabs the viewers attention and guides it to through the rest of the work.

  11. Before he met James Rosenquist, Star Wallowing Bull was struggling financially and wasn’t very self-confident. Rosenquist encouraged him to keep drawing, and assured him that his artwork was high quality.

    The work, “New Age Fancy Dancer” is a combination of shapes to form an abstract figure. Each shape has a pattern or design, and they are basic shapes. The piece suggests the idea of a person, but it isn’t clear that the figure is a human, rather than a combination of shapes. The image flows, because some shapes share the same lines.

  12. Rosenquist assumed a role as a mentor and supporter for Bull. I think pursuing a career in art would be extremely difficult because it’s just so unstable, not only financially but inspiration can sometimes be lost for a huge amount of time. So Rosenquist’s advice and encouragement was especially meaningful for Bull.

    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a particularly intriguing piece. Normally I enjoy abstract/nonobjective work but this just isn’t visually pleasing at all. I think that’s what Bull was going for. However, unlike what some other people said, I’m having trouble finding any sort of continuity between the images. Maybe I’m just being cynical and refusing to see the symbolism, but it feels like Bull just threw in random images that contrast together so hideously just to make himself look super artsy and deep.

  13. I think Rosenquist inspired Star Wallowing Bull to believe in his ability to make it big. He made him realize a life of professional art was a possible if not probable and deserved future for him. Artistically Rosenquist’s style of verging on chaotic mixtures of different images is apparent in Star Wallowing Bull’s work. He employs the same use of collage-like techniques but adds a component of Native American culture into the mix. His Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Now I Know Who You Really Are piece incorporates many different animals, pop culture references, and people in a circular shape with many pretty decorations of flowers connecting the unrelated parts. I think this symbolizes the unity of all living thinks and the likeness of all people especially. It shows that all people can think and are alike in the fact that we all recognize say Mickey mouse or mother Mary and that even “Indians” are people and can think. I think this piece is against racism and racial stereotypes. I notice that m24cedes (hmm I wonder who that could be…) also reflected on how this piece is tied together and collage-like. And I also agree with her, I mean his or her :), comment on the depth of Star
    Wallowing Bull’s art and how the viewer must “look again” to see the full image.

  14. With Rosenquist personal and connection and encouragement, Star Wallowing Bull was inspired. Rosenquist even helped him financially. He was Star’s teacher into the professional artist life.

    I personally like Fiber Optic Paint Brush, 2012, on Acrylic on canvas with size 40″ x 30.” While the design may be simple, I feel it shows just how complex and creative art can be. The brush seems to be a typical everyday paintbrush but the bristles themselves are each a different color. I don’t know how to explain it. I feel as though its showing that with every color a different thing can be made, image be seen, or emotion be felt. There is so much to art that is indescribable just as there are so many ways of doing and creating art.

  15. I think that James saw promise in Star Wallowing Bull’s work and James also made Star Wallowing Bull see talent in him self. It must of been amazing for Star Wallowing Bull to meet James especially because he was struggling finically. I like the little star #2 because of the mix of nature and pop culture.

  16. I think that Rosenquist’s support, both financially and emotionally, helped Wallowing Bull make name for himself in the art world and more importantly helped him develope his technique and personal style.

    Wallowing Bull’s piece Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Now I Know Who You Really Are is, as other people have commented, organized a bit irregularly for a painting. Everything is centered around the star, which in turn is centered around the photo of the girl. I like the wide spectrum of colors he uses and it somehow doesn’t look too busy.

  17. Despite lacking a bit of self-confidence and feeling that his paintings weren’t making him any profit, Rosenquist helped Star Wallowing Bull to sustain his career and gain a bit of training from someone with experience. To have someone as famous as Rosenquist lend a hand was an honor and made Star Wallowing Bull feel that his paintings were worthwhile.

    In “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Now I Know Who You Really Are” I see several different cultures, all clashing together with references to Native American history, circling around the star and picture of the girl. There is also an unbalanced scale atop the star, which without knowing what the symbols on each side of the scale refer to I wouldn’t be able to decipher what it might be saying to viewers. I agree that the way he arranges his colors and shapes into a mosaic-style seal makes it seem less busy. For a piece of many colors and many details, Star Wallowing Bull still manages to keep it organized and “readable.”

  18. I think that Rosenquist’s style is very present in the painting, but it is taken a new directions where only the figure has broken into parts. The support of such a well known artist as Rosenquist allowed Wallowing Bull to become well known and successful himself. His support must have allowed his personal confidence to grow and his artistic talent to shine.

  19. I think that their connections inspired Wallowing bull to follow his passions as an artist and also influenced his style. you can see that they have similar styles in some of his paintings like A Five Star Double Feature

    One work I find particularly interesting is Rez Dog. I like how he has the colourful dog with the background shown in harsh realism. though it is messy in the background and the dog is not painted in a way that it is immediately recognisable but seems cheerful nonetheless, it is able to capture life on a reservation quite well, i believe.

  20. Rosenquist supported gave wallowing bull the push he needed to dedicate himself to his work and make the leap of faith and commit himself completely to life as an artist. He did this by giving him a financial boost and probably, the most important part, boosted his self-esteem and gave him the belief that he was good enough to succeed in the art world.

    I found New Age Fancy Dancer to be very interesting because it utilizes traditional, native american color schemes and bright, very defined lines in an abstract way that comes together to form a flowing image. It takes a minute to see how it is a dancer, but the way that it comes together in some areas, and is implied in others combined with the flowing style makes for a very colorful, movement filled piece.

  21. How do you think the personal connection and encouragement with Rosenquist affected the young artist on both a personal level and artistic level?
    I think that for many people self esteem especially when pursuing a far reaching dream like being an artist can at points be fragile. For a starving artist such as Star Wallowing Bull a mentor can be hugely important both on an individual, emotional level and an artistic level. I believe that someone rallying for you and just simply letting you know that you are good enough and you will make it made a huge difference in his emotional state. It’s kind of like when you are taking a math test and you get really confused and befuddled on one problem the rest of the test proceeds to look more confusing but if you get on a role of getting the problems and understanding then you have more hope towards future problems eventually performing at a higher level. This I think is the impact Rosenquist had on Star Wallowing Bull.

    I found Black Elk’s Sandman really interesting because with the bright colors combined with the chaotic formation of objects all over the place and overlapping you a jolt of images and emotions tied alongside it. You can also really see Rosenquist’s pop art influence with his use of the american flag and eagle.I think the bright colors signify the brightness and vibrancy of the his culture which is a very interesting on Rosenquist pop art paintings and peices

  22. I think Rosenquist’s relationship with Bull gave the latter more self-confidence in his work and assurance that he could make it as a painter. More importantly, though, Rosenquist financially supported Bull, which definitely jump-started his career.

    I chose “Taking the Short Cut.” The piece portrays three Native American men in the front seat of a car. In front of them is a “road closed ahead” sign and a bull’s eye with two arrows stuck in the eye. I think the balance of the design is very nice–unlike much of his work, this piece isn’t too crowed. It focuses on two main images, the men in the car and the bull’s eye, with accompanying objects around that give the viewer clues as to the message he is sending. I think the meaning of the painting is that Native Americans/Indians are being forced on a road that has a dead end. They are unhappy, poor, etc. but they continue on the road because it’s the only one they’ve got.

  23. I think the confidence it takes to make it as an artist cannot be overstated. When Rosenquist took an interest in Star Wallowing Bull’s work—and, further, when he bought pieces and financially supported the operation—he essentially gave Bull’s work validity. In another blog post, Bull discusses the process of writing about another artist and asserts that “one can never really know the contents of an artist’s soul” and thus that artwork shouldn’t be judged without an understanding the process and thinking behind it. That precise point is why I think Rosenquist’s “seal of approval,” so to speak, was so influential for Bull; by buying Bull’s artwork, Rosenquist communicated that he trusted the young artist, trusted both his artistic skill and his inner mind/motivation, to become something spectacular. Not an artist myself, I cannot speak to the experience of having work recognized by someone you respect, but I imagine that meeting Rosenquist gave Bull the confidence he needed to truly commit to his artwork.
    In addition being a confidence-booster, Rosenquist influenced Bull’s artistic style. Much of Rosenquist’s work is in a collage style, and the same is true for Bull’s (including but not limited to the piece I chose). This cannot be a simple coincidence.
    The piece I chose (“Taking the Short Cut”) demonstrates the technique of collage and super-imposition, however it strays from Rosenquist’s example by incorporating native American imagery. By forcing disparate images to interact on the canvas—the road signs in contrast to the archery, the traditional patterns (blue and orange on the right side) in contrast to the industrialized roads—Bull makes a point about the intersection of American and Native cultures. I think the collage is extremely important to convey this message.

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