Not just because they are two painters, but also because unlike the above-mentioned artistic couples, they are brothers who have demonstrated their ability to extend their natural link of shared parentage in the creative sphere as well.
For Rob and Christian – born respectively in Dayton, Ohio in 1963 and Denver, Colorado in 1967, both with degrees from the Art Center College of Design of Pasadena (California) – collaboration is something more than just a process.
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Instead, were we to set out to map their artistic influences, we would have to operate at a hypothetical crossroads between Post-Expressionism, Folk Art and Pop Art, with input ranging from the left wing of the Neue Sachlichkeit (Otto Dix in primis) to the plastic experimentation of Ed Kienholz, passing through the simultaneous, multicentric visions of Robert Williams, the true founding father of the Pop Surrealist galaxy.
Yet defining the pictorial style of the Clayton Bros in these terms would be a reductive operation, because it would not sufficiently underline the most original aspect of their research, which lies instead in the ability to integrate the experiences of everyday life, the true motor of their process of sharing, into art.
It works like this: one person creates the first image and passes it to the next participant, but hiding one part of it.
The next makes additions, again partially concealing the results, and passes the image on to the next player. At the end of the game, an unexpected, surprising image appears, the result of a process of creation and interpretation, which amplifies the contribution of the individuals, incorporating them in a collective graphic plot.
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