If you want to be a great writer, you read. If you want to be a great actor, you analyze movies. If you want to be a great artist, you study modern artists. Making great art is about understanding the craft perfectly, and the best way to do that is to devote a significant amount of time to art study. 

Select a genre, and then select an artist that’s particularly renowned for excelling in that genre. Study their works, techniques, life, and styles. This will serve as the best source for inspiring your creative and artistic side. Begin by studying some of these incredible artists. 

Sadie Benning (Geometric Abstraction)

Benning is renowned for a myriad of art works, including her efforts as a video artist, which is what has made her famous. However, she’s recently begun dabbling in geometric abstraction, and dabbling quite well. Most of her 2-D works are used to enhance her video work, but they are still impressive pieces by themselves. Though her work falls into the geometric abstraction category, her paintings seem to go above and beyond that medium, showcasing a world of social order and control. She’s an excellent example of how to take a traditional form of art and turn it into a piece of art that says so much more.  

Tim Yanke (Abstraction)

As a reduction of simpler elements and shapes, abstract art is an incredible medium. It offers a work of art that conveys emotions and inspires interpretations unlike any other. Tim Yanke is a particular expert at this type of work, and he has an interesting way of describing what abstract art means to him. 


“Your brain thinks with words, but your soul thinks with music,” he told a representative of Park West Gallery. “When you get that music going, it generates from your soul, from your head, to your hands, to the canvas or whatever it is you’re painting.” 

This is one of the benefits of studying artists. You get to see what inspires them, and you get to be inspired, in turn, by their unique way of engaging with and learning about art. 

Elijah Burgher (Colored Pencil Sketches)

For nearly 10 years, Burgher has been one of Chicago’s favorite scenic artists. He is particularly known for his colored pencil genius, such as in his work “Portrait of Jhon Balance as Talisman Against Suicide,” which he completed in 2013. Colored pencil is not the most common of mediums when it comes to creating lasting, and incredibly moving art pieces, but Burgher seems to be a master at it. 

“Burgher’s finely wrought drawings are embedded with incantations and sigils…that weave together the artist’s desires for his own life, for those of his friends and colleagues, and for historical figures whom he sees as forefathers to his own art,” says a representative of the Whitney Museum of American Art. In his works, you can see into Burgher’s soul with his fine details and intense symbolism. 

Michael Godard (Humor and Symbolism)

For the artist with a sense of humor looking to do something a little different, Michael Godard would be an excellent up and coming artist to study. When you examinehis work, you can always expect three things: a humorous scene involving a personified olive, alcohol, and deep symbolism. 

“The paintings are like a humorous, emotional bath,” he told another representative of Park West Gallery. “Every painting might not be for every person, but everyone, I think, loves to have a laugh.” Godard is a fascinating artist who’s clever use of symbolism, dark colors, and smooth brush work make him an important artist to watch for both educational and entertainment purposes.


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