Art has been part of the human experience for millennia; witness the cave painting of Altamira, Spain and Lascaux, France, which date to 15,000 – 10,000 BCE. That human beings need to express themselves in some form or fashion for whatever reason is well-established; that there is a universally agreed upon definition of art and artists is not. Our series will introduce you to six artists who have chosen to convey something about themselves, their life experiences, their craft and their talents through the prism we call “art.” We thank them for sharing their art and their time with us.
Louis Ulman is an artist who gets it. He gets that art is personal expression. He gets that art is a discipline. He gets that art is often misrepresented. And he gets that the modern business of art often rewards artifice over skill.
In Ulman’s studio, a large canvas looms behind him. It is a work in progress that is enigmatic and complex and finally just plain interesting. Concerned with the human form, the piece is rendered in oil, but with a quality, softness and color range that evoke the medium of pastels.
“A painting goes beyond being a picture. You must tell a story with your painting,” said Ulman.
Around the studio are many such stories rendered in a realistic style. Ulman paints and draws a number of subjects including the human figure, landscape, still life and animals.
“I enjoy painting naked women and naked fish,” says Ulman with a laugh.
Louis Ulman is a graduate of Florida State University where he earned an M.A. In 1970, he received an M.F.A. from the University of Miami. Originally from Maryland, Ulman has made the Miami area his home since 1955 and has been a long-time resident of the City of South Miami.
Ulman is both an accomplished artist and a teacher of art who receives high praise from his students at the Miami International University of Art and Design. His respect for artistic traditions, his knowledge of art history and the fact that he is a successful working artist are qualities that make him an ideal teacher. And it also helps that he loves to teach and inspire others. Core values based in those things that shaped the artistic ethos for centuries are also embodied in his work and have served to maintain his strong personal vision about what constitutes art and what does not.
“Too often the trend in arts education has been the skill-less teaching the clueless,” said Ulman.
In the past Ulman used his talents to earn a living as a courtroom artist and muralist for large, corporate clients. He also taught at Miami-Dade Community College, FIU and the University of Miami.
He was employed as the courtroom artist for the Noriega trial in 1991-92, where he learned to work quickly to meet daily deadlines and to capture a good likeness before the attorney dismissed the witness from the stand.
Ulman, an artist who understands form and perspective, once painted horses for the Jockey Club in Miami and other racing enthusiasts. A horseback rider himself, he remembers when the area was so rural that one could ride for hours in locations now devoted to shopping centers. His knowledge of the animal and his love of handicapping served him well in the accurate depiction of the fast-paced excitement of
An artist with a loyal following among private collectors, he also has paintings in public collections. His studio is located on the property of his home and one can visit by appointment (contact him at
305-666-8959). Here, among generous tropical vegetation and a large koi pond, live Louis and Linda Ulman and their dog, Charley.
“I have built my life around art and the teaching of art. I love what I do,” said the artist.