Art Works Blog

Your Artist Crushes: Oh La La!

It's easy to fall in love with artists—after all, they create work that moves our hearts and minds. So with Valentine's Day just around the corner, we asked our Twitter followers and Facebook friends to tell us about their artist crush. Here's what you had to say. PUCKER UP!

Donna Youmans Haber: Marc Chagall. His colorful paintings express what it feels like to be so head over heels in love that you literally float with your beloved among the trees and stars. And his paintings depict the many types of love: romantic, patriotic, spiritual.

Augustyn Artworks: My high school art teacher, John Yakel. He inspired me in my crazy teenager years. Pottery was something that grounded me, and set me on the path I am on right now. That was over 35 years ago. He was a wonderful potter and teacher.

Amanda Dowd: Cai Guo-Qiang. I'm always amazed at his ability to express the complexities of human existence through several different and new mediums. His work is profound and at the same time simplistic, but all together it often expresses the common human interest to understand the world we live in and our relationship with one another. Also, his work is just breathtakingly beautiful.

Port Angeles Arts Council: Raymond Carver, who said, “That's all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones.” And they are.

Craig LeDoux: Renoir. The number of simply stunning and ethereal paintings in the Barnes Collection is breathtaking.

Katja von Schuttenbach: Jerry Ross Barrish (Pacifica, California). His jazz vocalists and trios (life-size, made entirely of recycled plastic!) have kept me in awe ever since first seeing them in the early 2000s.

Naomi Schneider: As an art teacher, my heart flutters when I see children who are challenged finding joy and succeeding in the arts.

Elizabeth Laul Healey: When I was 16-years-old, I went to Paris in love with Monet and the Impressionists, and as soon as I saw the [Stravinksy] fountain with the work of Niki de St. Phalle and her spitting red lips, I was forever changed into loving contemporary art from that day forward! Now I have seen her art in New York, DC, Paris, California, and beyond and she has influenced the art I do too! 

@erinmharris: Mine has been @NickBantock for years. Beautiful mixing of elements, wonderful imagination, intriguing storytelling. Fascinating.

Lauren Cook: Operatic bass-baritone Samuel Ramey! That booming low voice! His portrayal of romantic bad boy Don Giovanni! Those runs in "Why do the Nations" from Handel's Messiah! Total swoon. They don't call them #barihunksfor nothing!

Cathy Welborn: The pianist Valentina Lisista is absolutely mesmerizing to watch. And I'd give anything to be able to hear the British tenor Ian Bostridge sing Schubert, Vaughn Williams, and Britten.

Sunburst Arts: Bryan Bowers—heard this man for the first time over the weekend. He is certainly a national treasure with his performance on the autoharp and his storytelling skills. He had a room that had been filled with noise and chatter silent as everyone leaned forward to hear his music and words. Who knew that an autoharp could create such sounds?

Amelia Caruso: Kiki Smith, she can do anything and proves that going to art school followed by an MFA isn’t the only way to be a successful artist

Faye Passow: Ann Wood and Dean Lucker—they work on projects together and also do their own thing individually, and all of it is sublime. Moving sculptures. Paintings with mixed media elements. Work I cannot describe. And all of their work makes you feel warm inside.

Stacey Swigart: Mo Willems—he connects people with his stories and he has The Pigeon, a jealous egomaniac that sneaks into all his work!

Elizabeth Kanost: Olafur Eliasson. His art promotes social change, like the Little Sun project, as well as challenging viewers' perspectives on things like weather, nature, and community. He orchestrated a project/publication on compassion. Plus, he's not bad to look at. If that's not an art crush I don't know what is.

Lucienne Bond Simon: Dale Chihuly and his glass artists! Great example of teamwork, playful spirit, and joyful transformation of materials!

Christopher Johnson: I actually could cite a large number of "art crushes" in all art forms. I suppose that if I had to go with one, it would be Caravaggio. I wouldn't want him as a friend—he was too much of hothead. But he was genius when he held a brush in his hand. In his Martyrdom of St. Matthew, I admire the "controlled chaos" of the composition, and I note how the artist refused to sugarcoat the terror of the moment. And I've always loved his Loreto Madonna for its human touch; this is no Queen of Heaven, this is an Italian girl being honored by two barefoot poor people.

@SSSSASSSY: Josh Groban. He can sing. He can act. He's witty. A real Renaissance man.

Bárbara Herrnsdorf Photography: I still remember the first time I read James Baldwin. I have been absolutely categorically enraptured ever since. I was so sad when I had learned he died since he was (and still is) someone I would have given absolutely anything to meet. He is not only talented and brilliant, but he is compassionate and keen.

Alison Price Art: James Edward Scherbarth is one of my heART crushes! His exquisite use of cold wax and oil makes my heart still, and eyes widen. Figures, text, landscapes all emerge and retreat in his dreamy abstract creations.



The first time I saw the work of Roberto Matta at MOMA in Miami I was overwlmed, not only by the size of his canvases, but the complexity of his content. I was even more suprised to discover later on, he was originally an architect from Chile, who went to Paris and later New York, and to learn how we were connected, as love should be.

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