When David Bowie burst into America’s consciousness in the early 1970s, he was the sort of pop music star the world had never seen before — an androgynous, pasty-faced English enigma with a bouffant of flaming red hair, who sang not of romance or fast cars, but of an extraterrestrial savior coming to rescue our planet from itself.
You may not know sculptor Don Featherstone, but you’ve seen his signature creation grace myriad suburban lawns over the past six decades as an icon of Americans’ affection for tacky.
R&B singer Ben E. King, who passed away April 30 at age 76 in Hackensack, N.J., had a smooth, unaffected baritone and soulful delivery that earned him a string of top 10 singles between the late 1950s and early 1960s, both as a member of the Drifters and as a solo artist.
Jessye Norman's once-in-a-century voice has carried her from 1960s segregated Augusta, Ga., to the opera houses and recital halls of Europe, Asia and America. Norman tells her extraordinary story in a just-published memoir, Stand Up Straight and Sing!
A 69-year-old post office worker who renders paintings for silk scarves that retail for over $300? Yep. Recently I stumbled across a Texas Monthly article that profiled Kermit Oliver, "one of the most important living African-American painters" and the "only American artist to design a scarf for Hermès," an ultra-luxury French brand. The introverted Oliver, who still works the graveyard shift at his local Waco, Texas, post office, was first offered the gig in 1980. The president of Hermès' U.S. operations had asked Lawrence Marcus, the executive vice president of Neiman Marcus, if he knew someone who could render a Southwest-themed scarf design. Marcus suggested Oliver, and 16 scarves later, Oliver is still painting for Hermès.
I'm obsessed with Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama for lots of reasons but one sentence can sum it up: She's inspiring. Kusama, 83, has chosen to live in Japan's Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill for about 30 years for multiple issues, and has still created art that is in worldwide demand. She is best known as an avant-garde, pop art purveyor of repetition and patterns (see video,to the right). But she also shines as an abstract artist, providing a minimalist perspective that has been recognized and acknowledged by the art community. Not only is that inspiring to me, but it's a testament that you can and continue to be successful at any age.
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