Hanoch Piven

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Hanoch Piven

  1. 1. Hanoch Piven <ul><li>I l l u s t r a t o r </li></ul><ul><li>T A S K S </li></ul><ul><li>Brainstorm ‘what makes you – you?’. Your features, interests etc. and then develop some basic sketches in your sketchbook. </li></ul><ul><li>Using a number of basic Photoshop techniques and filters, create at least 3 portraits, 1 of yourself and 2 of other more famous characters with relevant objects associated with yourself. </li></ul><ul><li>Create an illustrated fact-file on Piven linking his work to your own. </li></ul>
  2. 2. Piven says… <ul><li>The process involves sketching with pencil in a 'realistic' way, or a more traditional caricature style. That is to familiarize myself with the face. Parallel to that I read as much as I can about the person. Try to form an opinion, write words which somehow connect to the person. (For example: &quot;plastic, rubbery, fake, electric, mellow, soft.&quot;) Then these words might send me to specific places to look for materials. Being out in the street looking for stuff I end up finding many other things which I think I might use. (Lots of coincidences or 'accidents' happen then.) Then I come back to the studio and start the real 'drawing with the objects .' (I might use stuff I already have thrown around in the studio.) Now I start a process trial and error, trying different possibilities and always looking and waiting for the 'accidents' to happen . These 'accidents' are what make the art interesting and what really generates some of the ideas. Most of what I brought back won't be good but if I'm lucky something will work or start working... </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>The Remarkable Caricature Art Of Hanoch Piven When I discovered Hanoch Piven's website (via authentic boredom ) and encountered the images of his amazing caricature illustrations, I was amused, impressed and inspired. These are true gems of a clever imagination and are preciously perfect in their reflections on the people he has chosen to work on. Using very few elements in his caricatures, Piven assembles a portrait using paint and objects that create a &quot;dimensional&quot; portrait. I found some info about him in this artist bio of Hanoch Piven at the Washington Israeli embassy site: </li></ul><ul><li>Hanoch Piven's bright, colorful, minimalist and witty collages were immediately snatched by the American publishing world upon their first appearance in 1992. Ground meat, underwear, boxing gloves, bananas, chicken fat and smoked fish are a small sample of 'found objects' Piven utilizes to create likenesses. As fellow American caricaturist Steve Brodner wrote in his introduction to Piven's 2001 collection of portraits, &quot;Faces&quot;: &quot;His pictures fill the viewer's eye with strong graphic statements while powerful commentary, deeply ingrained in the graphics, stimulates the mind...&quot; Between the years 1996 and 2001 Piven lived in Israel where his work for the daily Haaretz established him as the country's most visible illustrator. Born in Uruguay, raised in Israel, and schooled in New York City, Piven currently divides his time between Barcelona, New York and Tel Aviv. </li></ul><ul><li>Well this is just what I was looking for. I've just finished reading Dan Pink's A Whole New Mind , which explores and promotes right-brain thinking. The book suggests that to trigger the right brain into activity you should try doing things you don't usually do. So I thought, why not learn more about Piven and his work and try making one of these dimensional portraits myself. I've been stuck in my Photoshop brain for so so long now, and wanted to jump out of the computer and out of the screen. That's exactly what I did, and I've been having an amazingly inspired and happy time creating my own object caricatures, and I will post some soon. I have huge admiration for this humble genius and his beautiful and inspiring work. So we sent some questions to hear more about his creative process and career. So how did you come up with the concept? What was your first portrait like? Was it a Eureka! moment, or more like a happy accident? I owe my career to Saddam Hussein. In 1990 following the Kuwait invasion I was studying in the School of Visual Arts in New York taking a caricature class. At the time I was drawing traditional looking caricatures, on my path to be a bad David Levine clone. SH was so easy to caricature that I began experimenting with subtracting elements and see whether I could still get a likeness without as many features as possible. So that (at least initial) minimalism in my work was intentional but an 'accident' happened when I was working on that portrait: my girlfriend's matches were left on my drawing table and happened to 'fall' on Saddam's face while I was working on it. Taking in consideration that a war, ignited by SH was about to start (the first gulf war) that made all the sense in the world, and artistically it now made the minimal portrait stronger, giving the matches the center stage to convey the idea. Yes it was a happy accident but they were endless ones since and they happen all the time. I believe that the role of the artist is to distinguish the good 'accidents' from the bad ones. In fact my work system many times involves trying to create the circumstances for the accidents to happen. On your website, in the news section, where you have the portrait of Kim Jong Il you say &quot;this is a quick 36 hour job I did for Time.&quot; If 36 hours was quick, how long do the portraits usually take you? And could you also explain the process. Well I don't mean that I sit and work for 36 hours straight, but the time I have since getting the assignment till the time of delivery. (I also happen to have a life, kids to take to school, etc., so a day and a half for an assignment is definitely a rush.) Well the process involves sketching with pencil in a rather more 'realistic' way, or a more traditional caricature style. That is to familiarize myself with the face. Parallel to that I read as much as I can about the person. Try to form an opinion, write words which somehow connect to the person. (For example: &quot;plastic, rubbery, fake, electric, mellow, soft.&quot;) Then these words might send me to specific places to look for materials. Being out in the street looking for stuff I end up finding many other things which I think I might use. (Lots of coincidences or 'accidents' happen then.) Then I come back to the studio and start the real 'drawing with the objects.' (I might use stuff I already have thrown around in the studio.) Now I start a process trial and error, trying different possibilities and always looking and waiting for the 'accidents' to happen. These 'accidents' are what make the art interesting and what really generates some of the ideas. Most of what I brought back won't be good but if I'm lucky something will work or start working... I photograph it with my digital camera, look at it on the screen (which always gives a better impression than looking at it on my studio floor or table because the 3D is changed into 2D). Sometimes I then make quick Photoshop sketches, which eventually might lead me to buy a different size object. I send the sketch to the AD explaining what I'm using if I they cannot see it clearly in the sketch. Then after I get the go ahead to the sketch, I redo many many times. Sometimes I will come up with ideas after the sketch was approved and in many cases when I think they make the piece better I'll go with them. When I feel I'm ready I get in a taxi with all the stuff, go to the photographer. He shoots it with his great digital camera and gives me the piece on a CD. Sometimes I make slight adjustment then in Photoshop but I try as much as possible not to. This is it basically. Then I send it either by E-mail or by Air Courier. Do you get feedback from some of the people in the portraits? Do you have any interesting stories about people's responses to their portraits? Usually not. Specially for work done in the USA. Howard Stern once commented on his radio show about the pickle used for his nose. (It was a reference to his penis and his Long Island Jewish roots.) In Israel where everything is smaller you end up meeting some of the people you caricature. One once tried to convince me that unlike all my other portraits, which she thought were really great, in her own portrait I completely missed. What are your favorite ones? Can't choose. Many of them are for different reasons and the grouping allows me to even accept the less successful ones. You can't hit a homerun every time... (Even Ronaldinho does not score a goal every game.) Which one stumped you and took the longest? Was there one you wanted to do but couldn't get a handle on at all? Pretty women are usually difficult... I don't think I did a good job on Brooke Shields, Ursula Anders, Lady Diana. Have you ever attempted a self-portrait? (If yes, can we see it?) Sure, but I wasn't too happy with it... it sort of looks like me 10 years ago. I'm not sure I have it anywhere. I'll look for it. You encourage people, especially kids, to create their own Piven-type portraits, and obviously some will be more adept at this than others, so do you have any advice or tips for someone who's having a hard time with the process? Just play with the objects, the more objects on the table the more possibilities you'll have. Make a simple face — two round eyes, a simple nose and mouth, and take it from there... try other possibilities... you'll see for yourself what works better... the key word is PLAY. Can you tell us about your current projects, and whether another book is on the way. Current projects involve some kids books: 1- My Dog smells like Dirty Socks which will encourage kids to create family portraits using objects metaphorically. (It will be published this coming spring by Random House.) 2. THE GOLEM, the Jewish folk tale which I am reworking with an Israeli writer, to suit my style of work. It is a story about giving LIFE to dead matter, which in a way what I try to do artistically. 3. WORKSHOPS: I am doing more and more workshops for different ages and groups of participants. Working with objects is a tool which allows anyone without so called &quot;artistic talent&quot; to create and communicate artistically. Specially working with people undergoing some kind of dramatic or traumatic situation has showed me the power of it, and the possibilities of non verbal communication it brings. This past year workshop with cancer patients, both kids and grown ups have been amazingly satisfying for me and by their reactions, also for the participants. Next week I'm off to Brazil where I'll have an exhibition and I'll conduct workshops with children from favelas. Thank you Hanoch, and continued success with your wonderful art! Below are some links to his books at Amazon.com, along with some quick descriptions. Also have a look at Hanoch Piven's website - PivenWorld (there are 60 portraits to look at) — and then get into it yourselves with some of your own Piven projects! Faces: 78 Portraits from Madonna to the Pope In &quot;Faces by Hanoch Piven: 78 Portraits from Madonna to the Pope,&quot; Piven has taken the art of caricature to a whole new level. Within the seven categories of TV, film, music, American politics, the world, finance, and miscellaneous, this book presents 78 deliciously wicked takes on the likes of such diverse folks as Sigmund Freud, Marilyn Monroe, and the Unabomber. With a minimalist stroke of his deft hand, combined with an object related to what the subject is noted for - along with his sharp wit - Piven presents his vision of the celebrities he portrays. Thus we have Steven Spielberg's beard and mustache expressed with strips of film; Jesse Jackson's mouth is a speaker; and, of course, Barbra Steisand's nose is a microphone. This delightful collection of portraits sheds new light on the most familiar faces of our time. Faces: 78 Portraits from Madonna to the Pope at Amazon.com (34% discount) What Athletes Are Made Of Twenty-three competitors, ranging from the celebrated (Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Joe DiMaggio) to the less familiar (Diego Maradona, Michael Schumacher, Annika Sorenstam) are presented on colorful spreads. Each one is introduced with a phrase that reflects the book's title and highlights a defining characteristic (e.g., for Wayne Gretzky, Athletes are made of brains over brawn). A lively paragraph offers a cursory look at a personal event or anecdote that emphasizes that particular trait, describing both accomplishments and foibles. Gouache collage portraits are decorated with items that cleverly reflect each individual's profession and personality. For instance, Babe Ruth (Athletes are made of a hunger for greatness) has Coke-bottle eyebrows, baseball gloves and balls for eyes, a large steak for a nose, and a hot dog with bun for a mouth. Surprisingly, these pictures actually do look like the subjects. Brief biographical facts about each athlete and a small photo are appended. What Athletes Are Made Of at Amazon.com (34% discount) What Presidents Are Made Of Beginning with its wordplay title, this book exhibits Piven's flair for creativity and whimsy. Focusing on 17 U.S. presidents, each single- or double-page entry begins with the same phrase (&quot;Presidents are made of…&quot;), includes an interesting anecdote showing the human side of that individual, and presents a collage caricature made of inventive bits of realia that extend the metaphors suggested in the text. For example, George Washington is &quot;…made of good deeds.&quot; The narrative recounts how he helped extinguish a neighborhood fire at age 67. His &quot;portrait&quot; has eyes made of small resin-coated American flags that reflect enough light to make them twinkle. Thomas Jefferson is made of &quot;comfortable shoes&quot;; Andrew Jackson, &quot;hot tempers&quot;; Theodore Roosevelt, &quot;endless energy&quot;; and Bill Clinton, &quot;enthusiasm.&quot; The last spread has official portraits of all the presidents, their birth and death dates, and their years in office. In the introduction, readers are invited to compare the &quot;object portraits&quot; with the realistic images and to fashion collages of their own. What Presidents Are Made Of at Amazon.com (34% discount) The Perfect Purple Feather Fanciful animals made of found objects make newcomer Piven's photo-story, first published in Israel, a visual standout. Simple rhyming text describes what happens when Jacob, in bed for the night, discovers a purple feather poking up from the mattress. Immediately, a series of animals begins arguing over the attractive object. &quot;I'm missing a wing just look at me!&quot; cries a bluebird made of scissors and a banana painted blue, &quot;Please give me that feather you hold in your hand,/ So I can fly in a flash to a faraway land.&quot; In some portraits, the components take on clever meaning: a porcupine made of nails wants the feather in order to appear &quot;soft and so sweet / I could charm anyone I happened to meet,&quot; an owl composed of computer parts claims the feather as a &quot;fine pen for my ink.&quot; Other animals further the modest story line: a doggy needs the feather for a tail; on the next spread a tiger threatens, &quot;That feather will make a fine toothpick to munch / After I've eaten that doggy for lunch.&quot; An elephant's sneeze (her trunk is inventively fashioned from a curving iron pipe, which straightens on the next spread as she ah-choos) sends the feather &quot;[twirling] and [swirling] through the dark-blue night sky,&quot; high above the heads of a silhouetted Jacob and his supporting cast. An envelope on the final page holds a purple feather. These animal constructions will keep kids returning again and again, long after the purple feather has been carried away. </li></ul>

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