Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs — Transformations Gallery

Matisse - The Circus, 1947

Matisse – The Circus, 1947

Matisse — Jazz

It is easy to be inspired by Matisse. Seeing Henri Matisse the Cut-Outs exhibit at MOMA, the exuberance of color, the freedom of forms — you want to be able to paint like that. The later rooms with the wall-sized works, and especially the photographs of how his studio was so full of this art as he created it — you want to live in rooms like that. I walked out of the exhibit wanting to play with color, to hold it in my hand and create pure forms with it as he did. Even if you don’t like Matisse, you have to be inspired by the absolute passion he had for creating art, so undeniable that it that led him to invent a new way to make art when he could no longer paint. MatisseCat_6g-fhd4--040727_agostinoartsChapter 10 of my book is titled “Matisse’s Cat”, in reference to the inspiration I draw from these struggles of great artists to find a way to satisfy that passion, and Matisse particularly because he spoke of the struggle, and left us evidence of his explorations and battles with line and form and color. I was writing about my own struggles to develop new cat face designs, particularly one based on a statue at the Bronx Zoo of a puma coming down a cliff, and in this iteration I had simplified the puma shape so much that it reminded me of a Matisse cut-out, and that encouraged me to loosen my hold on the realistic image and pursue it’s essence instead. This is the encouragement I take from Matisse: aim for the essential.

Matisse — Blue Dancer

We paint faces mostly with pure color. You might do blending in the sponge work, but then the imagery on top is usually solid colors with minimal shading — so the Cut-Outs relate directly. In adapting the Cut-Out figures to a face you have the additional playfulness of trying to fit his forms to the shapes of the face, which becomes an exercise in the fundamental skill of placing a flat image over the curves of the face. And I do mean “exercise” — I learn more about painting faces when I try to imitate the Cut-Outs.

Matisse - The Rumanian Blouse 1940

The Rumanian Blouse 1940

Matisse_RoumanianBlouse_artface_140920_agostinoartsMatisse’s painted portraits also adapt well, as he worked often with flat areas of pure color and precise linework. Strong colors and clean linework make for effective faces.



Face Gallery (Body Paintings below) ——————————————

at FABAIC 2011

at FABAIC 2011

Matisse-Icarus 2011

Matisse-Icarus 2011

Matisse-Icarus 2011

Matisse-Icarus 2011

Matisse Remix 2008

Matisse Remix 2008

Portrait of the Artist's Wife, 1912

Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, 1912

Red Fish 1911

Red Fish 1911

Matisse Remix 2008

Matisse Remix 2008

Matisse Remix 2008

Matisse Remix 2008

Matisse Inspired bodypainting by Raphealle Fieldhouse

Matisse Inspired bodypainting by Raphealle Fieldhouse

Nov 9: StoryFaces at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

from the Bethel Woods website:



Bethel Woods is excited to host this intriguing, interactive performance!  Catering to family audiences, Christopher Agostino shares discoveries from his 30-year adventure in theatre, storytelling, and painting faces. Audience volunteers are brought on stage and face painted to illustrate the stories as he tells them, fully engaging the audience with a skillful spoken word performance combined with his unique visual art.  After the performance, Agostino will lead two face painting demonstrations/workshops for kids where additional participants can get their faces painted.  For more information about this show, go to Christopher Agostino’s official website

The World Stage Series presents music and performing arts from around the world with the goal of promoting respect for diversity and an appreciation of the arts in all audiences. World Stage Series performances are available for school audiences on school days and for youth, families, and the community on weekend days.

Bethel Woods’ Educational and Children’s programming is supported by Annelise Gerry and Family and the Rhulen/Loughlin Family – In Memory of Trevor John Loughlin.  Transportation, admission, and scholarships provided in part by TD Charitable Foundation and First Niagara Foundation.

Buy Tickets

  • Nov 9 , 2014
  • Event Gallery
  • 1:30 PM Doors Open
    2:00 PM Show Time
  • View Seating Chart
  • FREE – tickets required
  • Sign-up for a free after-show workshop by email at education@bethelwoodscenter.org.
    (max. capacity for each workshop 18 people – two workshops available)
  • Buy Tickets Now



See the new video: What is a StoryFace?


I am a painter and a storyteller, and this is how I tell my stories.
Learn more at http://agostinoarts.com/StoryFaces
Christopher Agostino’s StoryFaces

learn about all we do at: agostinoarts.com

Dia De Los Muertos — Face Painting Gallery

The Day of the Dead — Faces by Christopher Agostino  10/30/2014 – updated 2015  #transformationsny

DiaDeLosMuertos_Mex_SkullFlowers_agostinoartsMy introduction to this Mexican fusion of death and beauty came via the mummies of Guanajuato when I was there as a student in the 80s. In 2001 I had the opportunity to return to Guanajuato as part of the Festival International Cervantino, painting faces in the street as one of a number of international performance artists. A few days after the festival ended, just before I had to leave, the center of the town was filled with stalls of the artisans creating items for the coming Dia De los Muertos. I bought this mask, and felt really great when the woman who sold it recognized me as a fellow artist for the facepainting I’d done in those plazas the week before.

Posada_LaCatrinaI approach the Day of the Dead as a celebration of the presence of death within life, and the continuation of life within death through the love we retain for those who have passed.  I want to retain stark images of death in the faces I paint, and for inspiration I look less to the current sugar skull style and more to traditional imagery such as Posada’s La Catrina and Mexican skeleton figurines.

Most of these photographs are from Dia De Los Metros events at the Hudson River Museum in 2014 and 2015.  Learn about all we do at: agostinoarts.com

learn about all we do at: agostinoarts.com

Related Posts:

Halloween Face Painting Gallery 2014

by Christopher Agostino #transformationsny

Here are some of the photos from the Halloween events I’ve already done this season, plus some from last year that weren’t yet posted. With Halloween still to come this Friday, our event schedule will continue through the coming weekend, crossing over with some Day of the Dead events. See schedule.

learn about all we do at: agostinoarts.com

Dia De Los Muertos — Calpulli Mexican Dance Company

Our artist Miguel Cossio will be doing makeup for for  Calpulli Mexican Dance Company — Dia de los Muertos Performance on Saturday, November 1 at the City College Center for the Arts’ Aaron Davis Hall, NYC –  2:00 pm and 7:00 pm – ticket information
Here’s more information from the Calpulli company promotional materials:
Music and dance transcend
Música y danza trascienden
Dancers and musicians in Calpulli Mexican Dance Company’s “Dia de los muertos” capture humor, passion, longing, and hope. They create celebrations of life in which Los enamorados, Skeleto, and La Catrina partake. Dancers are often the pawns of these characters, being easily manipulated for a purpose. A tapestry of live music is the background of the stories traveling from the serenades of the Mariachi, to the heart-pounding rhythms of the Aztec, to the brass bands of northern Mexico.
The performances will feature the debut of the following:
  • the suite “Hermoso Oaxaca” (Beautiful Oaxaca) choreographed by Alberto Lopez & Noemy Hernandez capturing a glimpse of the world-famous Guelaguetza
  • the piece “El jarabillo” choreographed by Roberto Lara explores the stylized dances from Michoacan
  • a reprise of “El regreso/ petalos” (The Return/ Petals)a contemporary piece depicting the welcoming of a loved one
Box office/ Taquilla: 212-650-6900
Bailarines y músicos en “Día de los Muertos” de Calpulli Danza Mexicana captan el humor, la pasión, el anhelo, y la esperanza. Crean celebraciones de la vida en la que Los enamoradosSkeleto, y La Catrina participan. Los bailarines suelen ser los peones de estos personajes, siendo fáciles de manipular para un propósito. Un tapiz de la música en vivo es el trasfondo de las historias que viajan desde las serenatas de mariachi, a los ritmos palpitantes de los aztecas, y las bandas de viento del norte de México. Las actuaciones contarán con el debut de:

  • un cuadro “Hermoso Oaxaca” con coreografía de Alberto Lopez y Noemy Hernandez captando un vistazo de la mundialmente famosa Guelaguetza
  • la pieza “El jarabillo” con coreografía de Roberto Lara explora las danzas estilizadas de Michoacán
  • una nueva version de “El Regreso / petalos” una pieza contemporanea que representa la acogida de un ser querido.
Next week meet/ La proxima semana conozca a
La Catrina