Tag Archives: screen prints

Corita Kent: In the Beginning was the Word

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While my mom was in town last week, we stopped by The Frost Art Museum at FIU. One exhibit up for display was the work of Corita Kent. She was an iconic pop artist, prolific activist for peace, and, at one time, a nun. Her pieces were so inspiring and I’d love to plaster them all over my walls. I thought her life story and work was fascinating, and wanted to share a little bit with you guys…

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Her Background: Born Frances Elizabeth Kent in Fort Dodge, Iowa in 1918, Kent joined the Roman Catholic order of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles in 1936. She took the name Sister Mary Corita. After receiving an education in art and art history, she became an teacher and later the chair of the art department at Immaculate Heart College which housed the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Charles & Ray Eames. Her own art was almost exclusively serigraphy, developing innovative methods of screen printing. Over the course of her career she created hundreds of designs, for posters, murals, book covers, and even a U.S. Postal Service stamp. Her art, with a strong focus on messages of peace and love, gained popularity during the 60s and 70s. While her politics, geared toward activism and a strong opposition to war, led her to split from her Catholic order around that same time.

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Her Art: Corita Kent most often used popular culture as material for her art. Her screen prints would incorporate imagery from well-known products and brands alongside texts of a spiritual or peace-promoting leaning. In this way, she created a juxtaposition between acknowledged “art” and imagery most associated with American consumerism, art encountered in everyday life. She placed the ordinary with the holy, the picture on the front of the cereal box with the words of scholars and saints. As Harvey Cox, a theologian and friend of Kent’s, remarked, “Like a priest, a shaman, a magician, she could pass her hands over the commonest of the everyday, the superficial, the oh-so-ordinary, and make it a vehicle of the luminous, the only, and the hope filled.”

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Her Teaching: Whether the faith infused in Kent’s work is holy or human is irrelevant, because her body of work ultimately highlights the inherent fusion of both. As such, in her teaching, Corita Kent focused less on showing her students how to paint and draw and screenprint, and more on helping them see the world anew. She taught her classes to gain new perspectives with the help of a 35 mm slide mount that students could look through to frame compositions and images. She encouraged students to seek out revolution in their everyday. If you’re interested in experiencing Kent’s teachings firsthand, her book is linked below, and is chock-full of unique assignments for fostering creativity.

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Read More: 

Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent

Corita Kent: An overshadowed pop art icon

Learning by Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit by Corita Kent and Jan Steward

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My modest art collection.

Today, I thought I’d show you my extremely modest art collection. All of these pieces make me smile, bring me inspiration, tell a story, and have happy homes on my walls. They are all extremely affordable options to adding a little color and personality to your living space. From maps to prints torn out of books, screenprint shop finds to upcycling a speech trophy…perhaps you’ll find an idea that suits your taste.

Living Room

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Chet and I found these little foxes hanging out in a thrift store in Bowling Green last summer. A Print Mafia piece, these babes have a special place in my heart. And it’s no mistake that my computer matches this print perfectly, Chet custom painted it with this print in mind(and his computer is orange!!). We love these guys!

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Way back in 2002, I lived in Ireland with my family for a spell. We lived in Dublin but we spent a lot of time hiking along the cliffs of the seashore and around the Wicklow mountains. This is a map of some of those peaks. I like that the folds are still visible. I like that at some point it was probably shoved in my Dad’s pocket before it made it’s way across an ocean and into this frame.

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These second-hand framed prints informed the color palette for this room. I love the yellows  and blues and oranges and greens. 

Bedroom

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My mandala-making sister gifted me with this creation back when I was TV-less and the only thing that happened in my living room involved a mat. I called it “the yoga studio.” Now that I’ve scored a TV, this hangs in my bedroom right next to my dresser so I can look at it while I’m getting ready for my day. A gentle reminder to create my own sunshine. 

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I love bees and I love pretty much everything Cricket Press does. I also have a ridiculous love of hanging things with binder clips. (Is it tacky or cute? IDK.) I bought this tiny print at the Woodland Art Fair along with one featuring fireflies for my sister, Katie. 

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When my mom and sister went on a trip to Europe a few years back I requested a painting of the Eiffel Tower that they could buy for me off the street. They did not disappoint. I felt like a real grown-up when I took it to Michael’s to be professionally matted and framed. It’s pure luck that my bedroom wall color matches so well…it was painted that way when I moved in. 

Kitchen

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My favorite Picasso. Bold and fun colors in my kitchen, please!

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I cut this lil abstract number out of a free Bowling Green publication (probably during some vision boarding phase). I received the  frame with a printed certificate inside for talking pretty at Berry College one weekend.  When I was about to chuck it (whoops!) I noticed the reds matched exceptionally well. So I slapped that puppy in the frame, on top of the certificate, and called it a day…and also called it art. 

Dining Room

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My favorite Chagall. Read: Goats. Sidenote: My mom took us to a lot of museums growing up when I was really too bratty to appreciate them. I’m #blessed to HAVE a favorite Chagall. So, thanks Mom. 

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Who doesn’t love Bill Murray? This beautifully-sweatered Bill was popped out of the Bill Murray coloring book gifted to me by my brother and given a frame all his own. Because Bill Murray does not belong on a shelf. 

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and always and forever, my Gordon Lightfoot “Summertime Dream” album.