Ted Joans Biography

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Bird Lives! is an oil on canvas board painting done by Ted Joans in 1958, which currently resides in the deYoung Museum in San Francisco, California. Ted Joans was a well-known poet, musician, artists, and adventurer during the 1950-1960s (Boyd). The painting, Bird Lives!, is homage to Charlie Parker, also known as “Bird”, a famous Jazz musician who died in 1955 (Boyd). Ted Joans was a surrealist painter, but was later more known for his poetry (Boyd). Many musicians, artists, and writers were devastated by Charlie Parker’s death, but Joans put a twist on the tragedy by writing “Bird Lives” on the streets of New York City. The painting Bird Lives! was painted three years after Charlie Parker’s death and is an outagraph painted image of…show more content…
Despite losing someone so close to him, Joans still manage to try and find a way to uplift the mood in the artistic community following Parker’s death. By creating the Bird Lives graffiti series and the painting, Joans managed to keep Charlie Parker’s spirit alive. This was not only meaningful for fans, but helped make Parker, also known as Bird, immortal. The painting also catches the eye, because it is like looking into an empty space where something was supposed to be, but went missing. Very much like how Charlie Parker was such a big figure in the jazz community and left a void after his death. Since, Joans is more prominently a poet his artwork comes off as poetic, like how Bird Lives! symbolizes the gap left after Charlie Parker died, but is titled in a way to say he is still living through what he has left in the…show more content…
By using an oil-based paint he creates texture from the layering of paint and the amount of time he pent between each coating. Oil paints are slow to dry and shows that despite the rushed look of the painting, Joans took his time to paint the painting. The colors used also reveal that this painting is not something that is supposed to be extremely uplifting or happy, but is supposed to be symbolic of the life and death of Charlie Parker. While the painting itself looks rushed and not very carefully made, the painting itself was given a lot of though as seen through the decided coloring and composition. As a surrealist painter, Joans left his artwork a bit abstract and left people staring. Bird Lives! has the same effect and leaves people wondering what was going through Joans mind when he decided to paint Bird Lives! and what he meant by making it an outagraph painting. By making the painting an outagraph style painting he leaves the observer to determine the mood and feeling that would have been shown if a more detailed rendition of Charlie Parker was painted instead of the pitch black silhouette. Bird Lives! leaves people staring because of the way the painting is stylized and left practically blank and open to interpretation. The painting itself is setup to where you can visualize a detailed and colorful image being able to fill the blank space. The painting itself is powerful because it not only symbolized

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