Artinfo has uncovered the humble beginnings of those who went from starving artists to art world phenomena in “From Math Teacher to Adult Film Extra, the Unexpected Early Jobs of 30 Art Stars.” Artists like Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko emigrate to the United States and design displays in department store windows or work selling newspapers before beginning their artistic practices. Even mysterious street artist Banksy has a storied past: one of an amateur soccer team goalie.
Many artists take inspiration from ordinary objects. Six years ago, Ernie Button began a photographic project capturing images of dried Scotch left at the bottom of glasses. Button experiments with his art by manipulating the whiskey as it dries and shining colored lights on his subjects. Vanishing Spirits: The Dried Remains of Single Malt Scotch consists of approximately 75 photographs, some of which will be displayed at the Islay Festival of Music and Malt in Scotland.
In a site-specific exhibition, artist Jay Shells has installed street signs throughout New York City with rap lyrics that reference the streets they are posted on. “Rap Quotes” is an ongoing art project that features over 30 signs with lyrics by artists like Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes and Heavy D in their corresponding location.