Friday, October 03, 2014

Arty Farty Friday ~ James Rizzi

James Rizzi. He was born on 5 October 1950, in Brooklyn, New York, into a family of Irish-Italian background. He died aged 61 in December 2011. I hadn't, knowingly, come across his work before. Its focus is on urban life - New York in particular, a city which he obviously loved a lot. His paintings are usually categorised as "pop art", but are quite different from the work of Warhol, Lichenstein, Hockney; more comparable with Keith Haring 's or Wayne Thiebaud's. (Links are to archived posts of mine.)

Rizzi's paintings are full to the brim, it's hard to ever find a smidgin of blank space. They have a naive, childlike feel: happy, uninhibited, enthusiastic, and....well, not a little zany! His work has been described by critic Glenn O'Brien as a cross between Picasso and Hanna-Barbera, combined with an evocation of Native American friezes.

Rizzi's friend, Matthew Posnick told the New York Daily News that:
“Jimmy always retained the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child, with innocence and fun and a humorous, childlike wonder for everything that happened in this world.”
From obituaries (linked below) he was said to have been
"an ebullient figure, highly sociable and a lover of basketball and golf, who frequently worked for children's and Aids charities."
New York was obviously his first, and abiding love, but German cities seemed to "get" him too, so much so that it was from that country he obtained many commissions. Teddy bears, a boxer's robe, German postage stamps, the dome of a shopping mall in Oberhausen, and the Happy Rizzi House, a psychedelic office block, in Braunschweig. In 1999 he adorned the bodywork of three cars promoting the Volkswagen Beetle.

From his start in the early 1970s, when police would shut him down as he tried to sell his work on the sidewalks of Brooklyn Heights or in Washington Square Park, Rizzi rose to huge international appreciation spanning continents.

More detail at: Wikipedia, The Guardian, New York Daily News.

Examples of his work. Please click on the images for clearer or enlarged views.


The chart is set for 12 noon, as I have found no information on his time of birth.

We can't be sure of Moon's exact position. In late Cancer at 12 noon it could have been in Cancer or early Leo as Rizzi was born. It'd be fitting if he had been born somewhere around noon or early afternoon, because then a Yod would have formed linking Venus (the arts)/Saturn (work)/Mercury(communication) to Moon (inner self) by sextile, and those planets to Jupiter in Aquarius by quincunx. I like to think of a Yod as calming otherwise scratchy aspects and making them work. In this case Jupiter in Aquarius at the apex of the Yod describes Rizzi's art exactly: a lot (Jupiter) of life's oddities (Aquarius). Jupiter in Aquarius, in any case, is acting as a kind of funnel for the loose bundle of planets occupying the other half of the chart.
That's his art signature : Jupiter in Aquarius!


mike said...

I'm often intrigued with the biographies of the people you showcase and when I dig into their lives using the internet, some have in-depth information, others not. Rizzi has the minimal, personal, biographical information available...the same stuff repeated on various sites. Lots of information regarding his career and public endeavors. Rizzi is SO contemporary that I would think a more personal portrayal would be available.

The descriptions of him make him sound like the type everyone should have as a friend and-or neighbor. I tend to believe he may have had a sequestered, very private life that only his close friends and intimates knew, because of his Saturn-Mercury-S Node conjunction, and very much so, if his Moon is indeed in Cancer.

I have seen his art here and there, usually in magazine photos. It's fun, lively, and gregarious, typically displaying some sort of social interaction (very Libra!).

The first blue norther to make it all the way through blew in a couple of hours ago...hooray! The forecast overnight low will be about 64* tomorrow, but then warming-up, and back to hot and humid on Sunday.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Did you find this one:

Written by a close friend of his.
He seems to have been quite a ladies' man as well as a thoroughly nice, fun guy, from what his friend wrote, and not afraid of the spotlight.

Yes, Libra is more aligned with textbook/cookbook expectations in his case.

We're cooler this morning too, 55-ish warming to low 70s later and tomorrow, but back to the 80s again next week.

mike (again) said...

No, I hadn't found the helped to fill-in some gaps. I'm thinking his Moon was in early Leo...would be trine Mars with Venus at the midpoint, sextile both: joie de vivre! Speculative, as we'll never know...LOL.

LB said...

Interesting! Another artist in a long line of artists I'd never heard of until now.

His art kind of reminds me of Laurel Burch's, probably because they were influenced by the same period of time . . . as was I, as a kid! I love the colorful, happy feeling of some pop art.

I was surprised to learn she died at age 61 too, just like James Rizzi.'s+art&qpvt=laurel+burch%27s+art&FORM=IGRE

Did you notice his Venus in Libra is at the Aries Point? Maybe you mentioned it already and I missed it with Mercury about to go retrograde.

It's hotter here on the West Coast than it is where you and mike are. Don't like it much - there seem to be more and more days like this, making it tough to get out and walk, run errands. I miss the fog. And a mosquito woke me up early this morning.:(

It could be worse, but still.

mike (again) said...

LB - I saw that coastal CA is about 100* today, so Santa Ana winds, no doubt. We've been quite hot & humid (air you can wear) up til this morning and this norther is only a two day wonder. Mosquitoes have been outrageous this past month, since we've had rain. I finally bought some 30% DEET to replace the natural lemon eucalyptus, as the eucalyptus wasn't effective against the hordes. We have West Nile virus and the new one, chicungunya, here in the South.

mike (again) said...

Off topic, but related to Arty Farty Friday - Twilight, The Guardian has a story on one of your heroes, William Morris. You have a number of Morris posts, so I'll put the link here:

LB said...

mike ~ Well now I know it could be worse. West Nile has made it to our area too, though I'm sure it's not as prevalent as in your neck of the woods. Chikungunya - yikes!

People are often surprised to learn we have problems with mosquitos here on the coast where the weather is much cooler. My husband and I have lived through two *severe* infestations, both a result of standing water on the properties where we rented.

The only remedies I've tried have been organic lavender (I don't do chemicals and even some essential oils are too strong for me) and taping/re-taping the perimeters of our improperly-fitted window screens. As renters we're sometimes treated more like feudal tenants, don't ya know!

Hope you manage to make the most of your respite from the heat. I can't wait for milder temperatures. Thankfully we live at garden level where it's cooler.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I see the similarity to Lauren Burch's work - yes - as you say, it was "of their time".

I didn't connect Venus at 1.60 with Aries Point. I'd thought that AP related only to 00* of Aries. But a quick search indicates that some systems put it at 0* of all the Cardinal signs, so if that works, it's near, and maybe the stronger for it?

Hope the evening cools for y'all over there on the left coast.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks for the link to the very nice Wm Morris article - enjoyed reading it. He is at the top of my list of heroes in the art world, yes.
His Pre-Raphaelite colleagues, oh - and Charles Rennie Mackintosh are close behind. :-)

JD said...

I prefer Kenny Scharf's style :)

Twilight said...

JD ~ Hmmm - interesting, yes! But though both he and Rizzi are in the drawer labelled "pop-art", they are quite different in "feel". Scharf is way more sophisticated and modern, even satirical, in his style. Rizzi's style simple, childlike, trusting, happy. I suppose if I had to choose one print to hang on our wall I'd choose a Scharf - but there's still something about Rizzi's that becomes infectious after a while, I think.
One of each might be good (especially if originals!!!) ;-)

anyjazz said...

I bet we don't find a Rizzi gathering dust under a table somewhere.