Thomas Hart Benton

My favorite painter is Thomas Hart Benton.  He’s not the greatest technical painter, nor is he the most innovative.  But I loved his murals and easel paintings of the American Scene, and I never get tired of looking at his art.  Benton’s most famous paintings were in the 1930s and 1940s, and they are informed by a love of America.  When I was in college, I loved his work, and was heavily influenced by his design sense.  He was a New Deal liberal, yet was constantly attacked by leftists for his political views not being radical enough and by conservatives for being too liberal.  I think the only artist who was making murals as good as Benton was Rivera, and this was during a time when the mural was becoming very popular in the artworld.

Benton’s goal with his art was to portray the whole of America, warts and all.  As such, he was attacked by both leftist radicals and conservative Republicans for putting in his art both the good and bad of America.  His art is full of blue collar workers and black sharecroppers, politicians and entertainers, sports figures and janitors.  Benton was not the most technically proficient artist, but his best work had a roughness that conveyed some of the energy and brashness of America.  His work is vital in ways that many other works of more proficient artists lack. 

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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