Best Living Artists


I’m always on the lookout for contemporary visual artists that deeply inspire me on some level and although I see excellent artists daily on forums and art sites I frequent, so far only 3 qualify for the title.

First and foremost it has to be Javier Marín, a Mexican sculptor, whom I can compare without hesitation to some of the best sculptors ever, the likes of Michelangelo and Rodin. If it sounds like a bold statement, go and see his website and decide for yourself. It’s not the most user-friendly site, but take your time to check out all the links.

Marín’s body of work consists almost exclusively of nudes of both sexes. Interestingly he’s not interested in the nude in the classical sense. They have nothing to do with eroticism or beauty. He dissects the body and builds it up again, leaving all the marks and scratches of the fusing process, even exagerrating them. And this is where his art parts with classical sculpture and gives it a contemporary feel. Through his nudes he’s exploring the human experience with all its struggles, throwing away the idealism and perfectionism of the classics. There’s a contradiction here: he’s achieving this through sculptures that seem idealized and timeless…He works in bronze, clay and resin and uses coloured slip on some of them, a very interesting contemporary twist again.

Here is a quote from the artist himself: “I see the glorious human being in my figures, full of medals and trophies, full of experience. They are beings loaded with achievements and accomplished goals.”

And another one from a critic, “Time in Marín’s work has not stopped with Michelangelo or Rodin, as some have observed, others have desired, and even others have hoped. Instead, it courses through the neoclassical appearance of its erotic and seductive conceptualization, questioning it in its tragic present.” Antonio Zaya

Here is his website. Enjoy!:

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~ by erikatakacs on January 18, 2008.

16 Responses to “Best Living Artists”

  1. His work is fantastic! Many thanks for this post.

  2. Amazingly gifted sculptor. Loved his site. Seems to me at first glance disturbing, almost violent, dehumanizing treatment of the human form and gimmicky, but incredible talent nonetheless.

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Todd. Kim, I’m surprised by your reaction, my first impression was awe. What do you find gimmicky about it?

  4. Don’t get me wrong. I am in awe. I thought I loaded my comments with compliments about his talent…no? His forms are somewhat classical, writhing and alive. Much of it is dissected, tormented things I would expect in horror movie special effects. His talent is undenyable. Seems like he’s relying on gimmickery a bit to give it modern twist -which sells. It sells!

  5. I respect your opinion, I was just curious what you found gimmicky about it. His motivation seems to be purely artistic according to a sizeable statement he wrote. I don’t know if it sells or not but judging by the large number of solo exhibitions he had over the years, it must be. It’s Mueck who seems gimmickery to me, but that’s another subject…

  6. Take statue of Liberty. Remove body, leaving only head, add rectangular shaped pieces to head…

    Take statue of David. Remove right arm, place in left hand. Add stitching as though portions were sewn on or disected. Add bolts to head…Frankendavid! :P~

    -to equip or embellish with unnecessary features, esp. in order to increase salability, acceptance, etc. (often fol. by up): to gimmick up a sports car with chrome and racing stripes.

    It’s a bit gimmicky. That’s all. Every artist is probably a little gimmicky on some level.

    Mueck…tell us more!

  7. Personally, I’ve always believed sculptoring is the most difficult to master of all the arts.
    I’ve always been in awe of artists who are able to achieve this well, this classic of all art forms.

    Thanks for sharing this artist’s vision.
    It is very powerful……..I can see where his vision might not rest well with all viewers.
    I for one find his work moving in a deep primordial sense………
    Would love to actually see his work in person.

    Personally I think it’s most difficult to truly understand an artist’s motives.
    I like to believe most artist’s position is “I am who I am”, take it or leave it” and not consciously direct his/her work to somehow cater to a “market” via means that truly were not in the artist’s soul. i.e. “gimmicks” to sell.

    If that is the case then I question whether one is a true artist.

    I guess I can be wrong though……

  8. Alan, I agree 100% with you, you put in words much better, than I would be able to. He is a true artist in my eyes and I would be thrilled to see his works in person. I think actually he exhibits in Florida from time to time.

  9. if you’re making your living in art, you have to sell something to put food on the table and pay the rent unless you have a wealthy benefactor. That means you have to make something someone else will be drawn to, like, maybe even something they commissioned, things that suit other people’s taste.

    I’ve been guilty of making things for myself, then expecting everyone else to like it. Doesn’t always work that way. This is why many artists have seperate art they do for pay and then personal work. when you reach a point in your career where you can make whatever you feel like and sign it and everyone wants it, you have successfully marketed your name-just like coca cola and Ralph Lauren. Yes, it cheapens the thing I always held dear as pure and true as a child. Successful artists either hired someone to market their work or are brilliant marketers themselves. Marketing is psychology. Advertising is manipulation of human emotion to make a product seem more important. -The difference between hobby artists and career artists. Not necessarily things I like about art and want to be true, but they ring true.

    I believe to admire artists for their skill is a good thing, but to put them on a pedestal way above yourself and all other humans and pretend they’re infallible and immune to weakness, desire for acceptance, need for food, clothing, shelter and success the rest of us humans are inflicted with isn’t realistic and isn’t the way to grow as an artist. If you do that, you’re not making their art any greater, you’re demeaning your own art and limiting your own potential. They’re human, just like us. Learn from them, admire them. Don’t worship.

    Dale chahuly…marketing genius. What was he doing during the lawsuit between himself and his former glass blower-designer? Well, he had his PR people making statements something like this “The value of the work is in Dale Chahuli’s signature. He signs each one himself” …he wasn’t even blowing the glass or even designing it much of the time, but he signed it. In fact, he can’t blow glass because he lost an eye. These statements were in world wide media. No cost to him, so the lawsuit was a brilliant marketing move. He chose to break from one of his own art marketing strategies to cash in on this publicity. He always believed when other artists immitate you, that is a sign of success and you should play it up instead of fight against it. He was suing this former glass blower for leaving his studio, setting up shop somewhere else and making the same designs under another studio name.

    Chahuly, talented, innovative is one of the most financially successful living artists today.

    Don’t get me wrong. The pieces I make for myself are very spiritual. my ideas come from dreams. Some of my pieces are stages in my own spiritual awakening and are very personal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean people will buy these particular pieces. In fact, the figurative work of mine that sells is pure form where I have played with the lines -no philosopy, no special idea, just form.

    To make it for real as an artist, I have to find a way to make a career of this for every day. Lots of sculptors do portraits. …does everyone want to be a portrait sculptor? not necessarily. We want to express our ideas! be creative! but portraits are a way to make a living. Some sculptors teach. I know one who sells very little of his own work and is surrounded by unsold pieces but he loves to teach and honestly I think he’s a better teacher than sculptor. It’s his calling. He recently expressed that he really wants to sell his work though, so he’s begun to experiment with different styles that he thinks will appeal and get his work juried into shows more and you know what? I think it’s awesome that he’s got a goal and working toward it.

    Sorry for rambling. I guess I’m kind of emotional about this because I just had an eye opening from talking with several who are career artists. It’s finally sunk in. I’m ready to make that move from hobby to real life.

  10. I respect your thoughts and viewpoint Kimiam.
    Quite frankly in balancing a business and pursuit of my artistic vision, I struggle and wrestle with this issue often.

    Be that as it may, mostly what I do as a photographer does not make me an artist.
    In fact, I really don’t consider myself and artist per se, and mostly feel uncomfortable when people classify me as an artist.
    That is just my opinion and I think everyone’s mileage will vary.
    What is art?
    Is everything art?

    I recently responded to another post on the issue of what is art.

    A well written post by Petra and to one which I feel anyone who creates art or in ones mind, tries to determine if their work is art or not.

    Personally, I believe Leo Tolstoy best explained art and society for me.

    “In order correctly to define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life. Viewing it in this way we cannot fail to observe that art is one of the means of intercourse between man and man.”

    ” Every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship both with him who produced, or is producing, the art, and with all those who, simultaneously, previously, or subsequently, receive the same artistic impression.”

    Art, in our society, has been so perverted that not only has bad art come to be considered good, but even the very perception of what art really is has been lost. In order to be able to speak about the art of our society, it is, therefore, first of all necessary to distinguish art from counterfeit art.
    There is one indubitable indication distinguishing real art from its counterfeit, namely, the infectiousness of art. If a man, without exercising effort and without altering his standpoint on reading, hearing, or seeing another man’s work, experiences a mental condition which unites him with that man and with other people who also partake of that work of art, then the object evoking that condition is a work of art. And however poetical, realistic, effectful, or interesting a work may be, it is not a work of art if it does not evoke that feeling (quite distinct from all other feelings) of joy and of spiritual union with another (the author) and with others (those who are also infected by it).”

    “It is true that this indication is an internal one, and that there are people who have forgotten what the action of real art is, who expect something else form art (in our society the great majority are in this state), and that therefore such people may mistake for this aesthetic feeling the feeling of diversion and a certain excitement which they receive from counterfeits of art. But though it is impossible to undeceive these people, just as it is impossible to convince a man suffering from “Daltonism” [a type of color blindness] that green is not red, yet, for all that, this indication remains perfectly definite to those whose feeling for art is neither perverted nor atrophied, and it clearly distinguishes the feeling produced by art from all other feelings.”

    “The chief peculiarity of this feeling is that the receiver of a true artistic impression is so united to the artist that he feels as if the work were his own and not someone else’s – as if what it expresses were just what he had long been wishing to express.
    A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist – not that alone, but also between himself and all whose minds receive this work of art. In this freeing of our personality from its separation and isolation, in this uniting of it with others, lies the chief characteristic and the great attractive force of art.

    If a man is infected by the author’s condition of soul, if he feels this emotion and this union with others, then the object which has effected this is art; but if there be no such infection, if there be not this union with the author and with others who are moved by the same work – then it is not art. And not only is infection a sure sign of art, but the degree of infectiousness is also the sole measure of excellence in art.

    The stronger the infection, the better is the art as art, speaking now apart from its subject matter, i.e., not considering the quality of the feelings it transmits.

    And the degree of the infectiousness of art depends on three conditions:

    1. On the greater or lesser individuality of the feeling transmitted;
    2. on the greater or lesser clearness with which the feeling is transmitted;
    3. on the sincerity of the artist, i.e., on the greater or lesser force with which the artist himself feels the emotion he transmits.

    The absence of any one of these conditions excludes a work form the category of art and relegates it to that of art’s counterfeits. If the work does not transmit the artist’s peculiarity of feeling and is therefore not individual, if it is unintelligibly expressed, or if it has not proceeded from the author’s inner need for expression – it is not a work of art. If all these conditions are present, even in the smallest degree, then the work, even if a weak one, is yet a work of art.

    By this definition, and instinctively and inherently I feel this to be true, I do not feel my commercial work is art. My intention for creating the work was not for the purpose of expressing MY feelings but the feelings others who wish to impress upon others.
    This is not intercourse in a spiritual sense between myself (creator) and the viewer and in many ways as in a sexual context, one feels almost whorelike in it’s literal form.

    I’ve always felt art and all it’s forms has stood for a sense of purity and intent.
    When one turns everything around them and starts calling it art then it cheapens the value of art.
    If one starts to call all minerals that glitter and glow as gold and diamonds then it debases the value………

    I remember my post of the great violinist Joshua Bell and the ignorance and lack of recognition by the masses to a true gifted artist, I contribute this as that our society is so full of counterfeit art in all its forms that one cannot recognize genius amongst ourselves.

    In closing, I’ve never felt the means to an end to creating the art as being relevant as to if it is art or defining art. Meaning that it doesn’t matter if one picks up a camera, brush, glue and paper, computer, etc, and whatever to create art.

    For me, Art becomes Art when distilled, it boils down to intent, sincerity in it’s form to communicate, and the spiritual bonding that happens between the artist and the viewer.

    In closing I don’t put artists on a pedestal over anyone else.
    I just feel for the most part artists generally are closer to the elemental things to which binds us all for the reason of creation in all of us.


  11. It always seems to be going back to the basic question of “What is art?”. And I found my answer to that in St. Francis of Assisi’s quote, that goes something like this: He who works with his hands is a labourer. He who works with his hands and his head is an artisan. He who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist.
    I for myself never put anybody on a pedestal. I can still admire them and get excited about their art. True art is hard to come by in today’s world. Can you name one visual artist that is widely known in the world today? Just one? There’s nobody of Picasso’s stature. So of course I get excited if I see somebody who has the potential to become one of the best.
    Another good one by St.Francis: “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”

  12. thanks I have to find three living artists for my 3D sculpture project. this guy will definitely be one of them.

  13. Hello, I can’t understand how to add your blog ( ) in my rss reader

  14. Hello weapycledly,

    Click on the red RSS feed icon and subscribe to feed.

    The other option is in Meta under Archives, click Entries RSS.

  15. I love his work

  16. Yes, David, he’s getting better and better….

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