Drawing I Essay, Research Paper
“Above all, I feel art should be happy and not lugubrious,” Alexander Calder. Alexander Calder, born in 1898, is most well known for his mobile and stabile sculptures. However, Calder s first real interest in the world of art, and becoming an artist, started with drafting, sketching and drawing. It is in these early works by Calder that we are able to see him develop and evolve into the accomplished artist he became. In other words, Calder s early drawings reveal his infamous sense of humor, movement, fluidity and lust for life, that became more profound as his skills began to catch up with him. In a sense drawing was his palate, which was needed in order to create his later works, including his sculptures, paintings, mobiles and jewelry. Calder graduated from the Stevens Institute of Technology in 1919, with the intent of becoming an engineer. However, after he started working in an engineer s office, in New York City, as a draftsman, Calder decided to enroll in a class in elementary charcoal drawing at a near by public night school. Soon after, eager to learn more, Calder began studying more seriously at the Art Students League, where he excelled in anatomy. It was at this time that we see most of his self portraits done and he was often seen sketching people in the subway. Even though Calder was spending more and more time working on his art, he needed money and maintained two jobs, as an electrician and a framer. Also during this time, in 1924, Calder received a job doing regular, biweekly half page spreads for the national police Gazette, which provided a “congenial opening” for Calder. ” The drawings were not distinguishing throughout the series, however we already see hints of the humor and observation that make up his mature work”. In the spring of 1925, one of Calder s assignments was to cover the circus for two weeks, Calder enjoyed it so much that he was able to fill a half of a page for the Gazette with only one performance. As we will see this assignment foreshadowed Calder s famous wire circus.Also during this time in New York, Calder was frequently found sketching the animals in the Central Park and Bronx Zoos. He had always been fascinated by the way things moved-cars, motors,people and animals. He wanted to show how they looked in motion andto do it with as few lines as possible (Calder) said later that he seemedto have a knack for doing it with a single line. >From these early sketches, Calder published his first book entitled Animal Sketches . Most of the drawings are done with india ink, but Calder preferred to use a brush as opposed to a pen, in order to capture the free flowing movement of the animals. In his book, which was also meant to be a sort of simple instruction book for beginners, Calder wrote; Animals-Action. These two words go hand in hand in Art There is always a feeling of perpetual motion about animals and to draw them successfully this must be borne in mind.” These drawings appear very gestural and simple in form, but heavy with movement and content, which tended to be a motif running through all of Calder s work, not only his drawing, but also his later mobiles and wire sculptures.
Wanting to further his education, in 1926 Calder left for Paris in order to take classes at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. It was at this time that he began to work with wire. His pen and inkdrawings which followed his first wire sculptures are unique. Theyare actually based on the sculpture. Calder used lines exactly as ifthe were pieces of thin wire, drawing nothing that could not havebeen twisted out of wire. Many of these wire sculptures and corresponding drawings, done mostly between 1928 and 1932, represent what are known as Calder s Circus. These “Circus” drawings were Calder s most successful to date, showing a higher level of artistic maturity and understanding than his earlier illustrations for the Police Gazette. However, it is said by critics that his biggest fault was, “the frequency with which he still allowed the illustrations spirit and two dimensional technique to dominate his work.” The figures in his “Circus drawings” seem to be almost caught in a moment, captured in movement, with an almost ambiguous fluidity. In other words, the figures are almost strictly representational, Calder used certain angles and fragments to express the feel of their actions. Which became an important element in his later works-expressing a motion and overall “feeling” with simplicity, using any type of material or subject.Although Calder is not most well known for his sketches and drawings, they played an important role for him as an artist. They began a sort of motif that linked and overlapped into all his work: this motif being motion, simplicity and humor. There is a sort of innocence to Calder s work, he “showed a sensitivity that his elders had stifled in their own work through ex