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Homemade Masterpieces: Art Inspiring Creativity in Our Homes

Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring
Left: Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665, Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands. Right: recreation by Lacey Quinn, 2020, image courtesy of the artist.

Art State of Mind

Homemade Masterpieces: Art Inspiring Creativity in Our Homes

Art enters our homes in a multitude of ways. We might see something that appeals to us in a movie, for example in The Accountant (2016) paintings by Jackson Pollock, Renoir, and Cassius Coolidge feature prominently. Originally the art of Cassius Coolidge entered our lives on cigar boxes as the Dogs Playing Poker series. It could be that you’ve only heard of, for example, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec because of his famous posters depicting the Parisian high life of the 19th century. Art also makes itself known through social media, lately on quite a grand scale. The combination of art and lockdown has inspired a surge of creativity in our homes, and the production of some truly amazing homemade masterpieces!

Homemade Masterpieces: art inspiring creativity in our homes. The Scream by Lies Geven, after Edvard Munch
Left: Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893, Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo, Norway. WikiArt.
Right: Recreation by Lies Geven, 2020, image courtesy of the artist. Artist’s website.

“I am a creative nomad from the Netherlands. Last year I made the choice to leave everything behind and develop myself as an artist. During the first quarantine, I joined a creative Facebook group called “Themedayz”. They create pictures with themselves as models to fit a certain theme. The theme for this picture was “mouth midweek”. I immediately thought about The Scream, and recreated it at my aunt’s place.”

Lies Geven

Social media and the need to be busy and productive have opened up a whole world of new ways to interpret and think about art. Anything can be used to imitate the details of a work, for example the king in the following masterpiece has a particularly beautiful crown! This work of art has entered our homes via master craftsman Erik Bohlin. The original is a recently uncovered frieze on the wall of a medieval Welsh church, St. Cadoc at Llancarfan, artist unknown:

Homemade Masterpieces: art inspiring creativity in our homes. Welsh Medieval Mural by Erik Bohlin
Left: Medieval frieze at St. Cadoc, Llancarfan, Wales, UK. Cadoc at Llancarfan.
Right: Recreation by Erik Bohlin, 2020, image courtesy of the artist.

“I’m Erik Bohlin, and I live in Karlstad, Sweden. I work as a development engineer and have a background in academia (my proper title is Dr Bohlin, although I rarely use it). I have been interested in art since childhood, and even though I have no formal art education, I have worked as an illustrator and set designer for a large part of my life. Photography is also a big interest for me, so when during the corona pandemic it became a trend to recreate works of art with things you have at home, it suited me just right. I think that humor is a good form of expression, and my pictures and photographs are usually funny. There are so many horrible things in this world, so we must take care of all the joy we can give each other!”

Erik Bohlin

Art, whether magnificent or modest, is a means of surrounding ourselves with the things that make us feel cozy, happy, thoughtful, and even safe. We make connections with objects that go beyond the materialistic and they can pull us into a realm where they become anchors for us in difficult times, fixing us to the familiar and to everything we know and love. This has become especially true in this time of Coronavirus.

Homemade Masterpieces: art inspiring creativity in our homes. Morning Sun by Barnali Ghosh, after Edward Hopper
Left: Edward Hopper, Morning Sun, 1952, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH, USA. WikiArt.
Right: Recreation by Barnali Ghosh, 2020. See more of her recreations on Instagram.

“I am a designer and climate justice activist based in Berkeley, CA. I’ve been wanting to recreate a work by the patron saint of isolation but even he could not have predicted the color of this morning’s sky. I’m thankful for our faithful fog that is enveloping us and keeping us safe from the smoke of the fires. It’s not quite the end of the world, but as a friend said this morning, it might be the beginning of the end.”

Barnali Ghosh

We are in a state of relative confusion. Our usual habits have been interrupted and our day-to-day routines are being regularly challenged, sometimes in the most serious of ways. Normal transmission is, in fact, no longer normal at all.

Homemade Masterpieces: art inspiring creativity in our homes. The Confession by Stern and Seltzer, after John Collier
Left: John Collier, The Confession, 1902, private collection. ArtNet.
Right: Recreation by Amanda Stern and Julian Seltzer, 2020, image courtesy of the artist.

“Amanda Jane Stern and Julian Seltzer are based in Brooklyn, NY. They started doing Art Recreations on a “dare” from their friends as part of a virtual double-date activity (their first art recreation was Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Lucas Cranach the Elder). This was a painting that Amanda knew well from the Metropolitan Museum of Arts (in NYC) collection, having visited it many times in person.”

Amanda Stern

Human beings however are amazingly adaptable. We have to stay at home: no more arbitrary visits to friends, swimming pools, art galleries, restaurants. So, what do we do? We find other ways to keep fit, be sociable, work, and be entertained.

Homemade Masterpieces: art inspiring creativity in our homes. The Tailor by Laura Hordern, after Moroni
Left: Giovanni Battista Moroni, The Tailor, 1570-1575, National Gallery, London, England, UK. Wikimedia Commons.
Right: Recreation by Laura Hordern, 2020, image courtesy of the artist.

“I am a 39 year old woman, I live in Brighton, UK, and I work as a counsellor/psychotherapist. During lockdown, the art recreations appealed to me because they were a really fun way of having a creative outlet amidst the potential gloom of staying indoors. I particularly liked doing The Tailor because I love the original painting, and it was fun to do a gender swap and confuse people with my ‘mascara beard’!”

Laura Hordern

My home (and millions of others like it) has actually improved: I have set up a gym (sort of); it is tidier than before; my cooking is a little better, or at least more adventurous; my studio/office is bursting with ideas and filled with materials for making things, including a giant inflatable beach ball. Even my easel has seen the light of day for the first time in a long time. You get the picture!

Homemade Masterpieces: art inspiring creativity in our homes. The Librarian by Lloyd and van Rooijen, after Arcimboldo
Left: Giuseppe Arcimboldo, The Librarian, 1566, Skokloster Castle, Sweden.
Right: Recreation by Mary-Jane van Rooijen and Conrad Lloyd, 2020, image courtesy of the artists.

“This is Conrad Lloyd, 14 years old at the time, and we live in the Netherlands. In March the schools were closed due to Covid 19, and it was difficult to generate any motivation to work. However, this was one thing that was (though very last minute) great fun and a break from all the online instructions and half-hearted attempts at lessons. The recreation of Arcimboldo’s The Librarian was instigated by an assignment he was given by his art teacher during lockdown. It was a project that hovered in the background for weeks, but in the end we put it together in a matter of an hour and a half because the deadline was 6pm. I think he’d chosen the subject the day before and I said it would be easy, but my confidence was misplaced! The ‘headwear’ was seriously tricky to recreate: in the end it was a Flow magazine special stuck into plumes with sticky tape. The facial furniture was cotton wool pads cut in half, taped together and stuck onto his face, and the precarious book ‘body’ was at constant risk of toppling over… made worse by the fact that I found his expressions so funny I couldn’t stop giggling which made him giggle too. Proceedings weren’t made any easier by the dogs getting excited and threatening the whole ‘shoot’!”

Mary-Jane van Rooijen

Additionally, I have had a lot of fun with Facebook groups that offer interaction with people all over the world. The two little girls in the following masterpiece are Janna and Angela. Both love to dance more than anything, but they can’t go to ballet classes because of the lockdown. So, with help from their mother Evgenia, they have made their own fun! Dancing is an irrepressible force in these two, as we can see in Innocence by Anna Bain:

Homemade Masterpieces: art inspiring creativity in our homes.  Innocence by Evgenia, Janna and Angela, after Anna Bain
Left: Anna Bain, Innocence, 2014. Fine Art America.
Right: Recreation by Evgenia, Janna and Angela, 2020, image courtesy of the artist. Find more on Instagram #jannaballerina.

“I’m Evgenia, and originally from Siberia, Russia, but now I live in South Sinai. My daughters Janna and Angela love ballet and it is a big part of our lives, however living between the sea and the desert it is hard to find dance schools. That was true even before the lockdown! The only teacher we had left the school, and so it has been hard on my little dreamer dancers to lose all in a moment. I decided to do my best to keep their love of dance alive, to make them remember all the skills they developed, and to motivate them. Since our first recreation we have made 20 more! We have made so many friends worldwide who loved our recreations.”

Evgenia

One of the Facebook groups that I joined this year (as you may already have guessed) is focused on recreating art with whatever you can find at home. The membership of this group is extremely diverse and so the products of it are extremely varied too, ranging from the reworking of classic masterpieces to, more recently, the recreation of film and cartoon characters, album covers, and vintage photographs. Here is Rousseau‘s Two Monkeys in the Jungle, created by Jill Moxon:

Homemade Masterpieces: art inspiring creativity in our homes. Two Monkeys in the Jungle by Jill Moxon, after Rousseau
Left: Henri Rousseau, Two Monkeys in the Jungle, 1909, private collection. Wikimedia Commons.
Right: Recreation by Jill Moxon, 2020, image courtesy of the artist.

“I am an Art teacher/Head of Department in Yorkshire, UK. Made from found objects in the house, this was a project I was involved in throughout lockdown.”

Jill Moxon

The rules of this group are as follows: ‘choose a painting, then stage a photo recreation of it using only stuff you already have at home’. Different homes have different things in them, so the availability of materials can be completely different from one home to the next. Nevertheless we find all kinds of different things being used inventively, often with beautiful results, and also sometimes with hilarious ones! The following masterpiece, Goya‘s Saturn Devouring his Son, is brought to you by Michael Nuccio:

Saturn Devouring his Son by Michael Nuccio, after Goya
Left: Francisco Goya, Saturn Devouring his Son, 1819–1823, Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.
Right: Recreation by Michael Nuccio, 2020, image courtesy of the artist.

“My name is Michael Nuccio, I’m a sales associate for a bicycle store from Tempe, Arizona, USA. I first became acquainted with the work by Goya through the H.P. Lovecraft short story Pickman’s Model where Goya‘s work was apparently the inspiration for the titular subject of the story. This year, however, I had both the hair and the beard to make it work — throw in a little Aquanet, some Halloween dye spray, a thrift store skirt and a baby doll, et voilà! A monster!”

Michael Nuccio

Approaches vary too. For some crafters it is important to leave a message or perhaps to explore an emotion while for others it is about humor, fun, and finding happiness in a rather dismal year.

Hovedtanke l by Parkinson and Parkinson, after Kvium
Left: Michael Kvium, Hovedtanke I, 1994, private collection. Art Net.
Right: Recreation by Jude and Mike Parkinson, 2020, image courtesy of the artist.

“I took this photo on my digital camera against the grandkids’ bedroom wall for the closest background color. My husband, Mike, is retired, and although reticent he was a willing model. I have used two scraps of lilac / purple material. The one across his head is secured with a safety pin and the one across his chest is sellotaped to him. He wasn’t happy about this as it was like peeling a plaster off when the time came! I also used sellotape to fix the lemon to his head so it didn’t roll off. He made the suggestion of rolling up sellotape behind his ears to push them forward which worked really well. He even let me put red and black lipstick on him to make his mouth more pronounced. We live on the Wirral, UK.”

Jude Parkinson

For many, art is already a concern and a big part of their lives while for others this process of recreation has actively brought art into their homes. It is an opportunity to explore something new, in a unique way. My eldest daughter and I decided to recreate the Venus de Milo (modestly from the rear):

Venus de Milo by Mills and Mills, after Alexandros of Antioch
Left: Alexandros of Antioch, Venus de Milo, 130-100 BCE, Louvre, Paris, France. Pinterest. Right: Recreation by Mair and Sarah Mills, 2020, image courtesy of the artists.

“This took hours, and so much white body paint that we haven’t got any left! We used old throws pinned up against a door/bookshelves, plus a wig that we dug out from a selection of dressing-up stuff. It was a lot of fun!”

Mair and Sarah Mills

It seems that recreating masterpieces is not only a human endeavor. Dogs and cats seem happy to be the stars of a beautiful painting as much as we are! Here is today’s cover photo: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer, brought to life by Lacey Quinn and Radar the Dog.

The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Lacey Quinn and Radar, after Vermeer
Left: Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665,
Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands.
Right: recreation by Lacey Quinn, 2020, image courtesy of the artist.

“Radar is a rescue pup and is about 10 years old. I’m the owner of The Living Room Salon & Art Gallery (one in Newport Beach and a new one in Pasadena). When everything shut down, salons took the hardest hit. We didn’t open for 8 months and being a single woman my poor dog became my muse. I found the Facebook page where we recreate art with found things at home. I did a Frida Kahlo with Radar also, but this one just turned out perfectly. Only one take! I think Radar’s very happy I’m back at work now.”

Lacey Quinn

Many thanks to Erik Bohlin, Mair Mills, Jill Moxon, Laura Hordern, Lies Geven, Mary-Jane van Rooijen and her son Conrad, Amanda Stern and Julian Seltzer, Michael Nuccio, Barnali Ghosh, Evgenia and her daughters Janna and Angela, Jude and Mike Parkinson, Lacey Quinn, and of course Radar the Dog!


Art is there to have fun with it! Check out:

Reader, writer and professional daydreamer (very accomplished at this last one). Huge fan of 20th Century illustrator Charles Keeping, totally in love with the stories of Robert Louis Stevenson and M.R.James, and fascinated by Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy. Sarah studied Music and History of Art and has been writing for Daily Art since 2016. She works as a graphic artist/illustrator, and has a Gothic heart (likes skulls and horror movies, and names cats after Dracula characters). Being undeniably visual, she feels directly connected by art and music to the people of the past and therefore their experiences and feelings.

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