The Fine Lines of Austin Lee and Timothy Curtis at VFA

Many ultra-contemporary artists, meaning those born after 1974, use fine line drawings to create their figurative, landscape, abstract and realistic works.

Some fine line artists, like Timothy Curtis, began their careers as graffiti artists. Others, like Austin Lee who has an MFA from Yale, have been classically trained.

Austin Lee 1983 – present

The works of Austin Lee begin as computer drawings. He even uses a Virtual Reality headset to get three-dimensional effects that appear in his paintings, prints and sculptures.

Austin Lee, 2019

For Lee, it’s not just the form that he’s interested in, it’s also the vibrant colors that define his work.

“On the computer, the color’s really luminous because of the light, versus a painting’s subtractive color,” he says. “On the computer that’s really easy to make, but then to make that with paint is a little trickier. So for me, I’ll be like, ‘Oh, that’s really cool — how do I paint that?’ If I just made a painting physically first, I might not arrive at that. On the computer, it’s endless drawings. I could just draw forever and there’s no risk and I can try everything.”

Timothy Curtis 1982 – present

Graffiti artists have as many different motives for placing their ‘tags’ in public places as they have in the styles they use for their work.

Timothy Curtis, 2017

For Timothy Curtis, who grew up in West Philadelphia, graffiti was a way of life, a way to have fun. The fun he had on the streets of Philadelphia cost him seven years of jail time.

The jail time was well spent. Curtis studied art history and honed his skills, especially the skill he has of drawing faces.

Smiley faces, embellished with a bow tie or a dollar sign, were often used by graffiti artists when Curtis was beginning to get into graffiti.

In prison, where inmates would receive letters and family photos, he drew portraits of his fellow inmates to send to their families in lieu of photos.

In his work, Curtis continues to use faces as expressions of storytelling. “They are portraits or masks that come from the line I developed through all the things I’ve learned through the years: tagging, calligraphy, art history, fighting, climbing, running, taking, giving, even other artists I’ve learned from and admire. It’s all muscle memory and it’s all included in these lines. They are the result of my history and I hope to learn how to use them properly to tell the story I want to tell. It’s really intense to capture so many emotions on one canvas. I’m trying to get them to be more human and relatable to an actual person, as opposed to being too cartoony or candy looking.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Austin Lee, Timothy Curtis or any of the other fine art for sale at VFA.


References:
Keith Estiler. Austin Lee Crafts Whimsical New Artworks for “Aah” Exhibition. Hypebeast. September 16, 2020.
Jessica Stewart. 8 Different Types of Drawing Styles You Can Try Right Now. My Modern Met. August 21, 2019.
Kristen Tauer. Austin Lee Mounts Solo Exhibition ‘Feels Good’ at Jeffrey Deitch. WWD. March 6, 2019.
Joey Garfield. Timothy Curtis: Never One Day Not Having Fun. Juxtapoz. April 2017.

Roy Lichtenstein, Austin Lee & Eddie Martinez

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

Roy Lichtenstein, 1993

Roy Lichtenstein’s keen intellect and talent led him to become one of the most influential forces in the Postmodern era of art in America.

He was a university instructor with a Masters in Fine Arts, and took a lot of heat in the 1960s for combining fine and commercial art until the Pop culture was embraced.

Last July, one of his later works, Nude with Joyous Painting, done in 1994, sold at Christie’s auction for more than $46 million.

Although best know for his paintings, Lichtenstien was also a sculptor and lithographer.

We have some of his finest and unique works available at VFA, including a porcelain Landscape Mobile sculpture done in 1990 and Landscape 6a screenprint collage, done in 1967.

Austin Lee 1983 –

Austin Lee

Like Roy Lichtenstein, the playful style of Austin Lee’s work belies his superior intellect and ability. The New York-based artist received his Masters of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Art in 2013.

In a 2019 piece about his Feels Good show in New York, Sarah Nechamkin wrote in Interview Magazine, “I’m into Austin Lee’s Feels Good because I’ve always wanted to peer inside the Claymation-ized mind of a child high on Elmer’s glue and Lisa Frank. Lee’s portraits of happy-go-lucky humanoids, painted in various shades of Day-Glo, can only come from the imagination of someone not yet corrupted by the cynical forces of fine detail.”

Lee does his preliminary sketches on an iPad and then uses Photoshop or virtual reality technology to complete his work.

Lee’s 2019 Brush Bear is for sale at VFA.

Eddie Martinez 1977 –

Eddie Martinez in his studio, 2017

Graffiti was Eddie Martinez’s medium of choice, until the possibility of arrest made him reconsider graffiti on walls and he opted for work on canvas. Martinez spent a year at the Art Institute of Boston and then set up a studio in Brooklyn, where he creates works that are distinctive and dynamic.

His work has been some of the most sought after in the art market. New York gallerist, Josephine Nash said that his “work is collected globally, and equally by younger and more established collectors.”

Martinez often works in series and repeated design. His paintings and lithographs are instantly recognizable.

Some of his finest lithographs are available at VFA.

Roy Lichtenstein and Other Featured Artists at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the fine art works for sale at VFA.

References:
Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Nude with Joyous Painting’ big hit, Christie’s online sale fetches $421 mn. Economic Times Magazine. London Edition. July 14, 2020.
Martha Schwendener. The Armory Show: Playing It Safe During an Unsettled Time. The New York Times. March 5, 2020.
Sarah Nechamkin. Into: Austin Lee’s Uncynical Day-Glo Humanoids. Interview Magazine. March 2019.
Benjamin Sutton. Why Painter Eddie Martinez Is Having His Biggest Market Year Yet. Artsy. August 6, 2020.
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