Archive for the ‘Random Art Bloggery’ Category

New rotting fruit art!

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

I’ve spoken about the amazing work of Kathleen Ryan before. It appears she’s made new fruit and I love them.

I assumed the fruit was larger than life but I had no idea how much larger. It makes me wonder how big her beads are. My beads, even my biggest ones, would not cut it.

Beaver Skull. Here we go.

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

Remember Deer Skull? In a moment of weakness I bought a beaver skull. C’mon guys, it was on sale! I got it for cheaper because the front teeth, the most valuable part of the skull, were broken at the tips. I’m going to cover the whole skull with beads similar to the deer but in gold and jewel tones. I have a lot of beads left over from the acorn necklace.

And after my dad died I submitted a 6″ x 6″ tile to the Museum of Beadwork, I used more of those metallic beads there.

So for this skull instead of matching the color of the bone I’m going hard in the opposite direction. I painted the everything except the teeth blue and put blue and green felt on areas where I might want to shove in some decorative pins. I need a substrate to shove the pins into and bone is notoriously resistant.

I used Apoxie Sculpt to mold clean ends on the teeth. I can cover those bits with beads and you’ll never know they were janky and broken. Fun fact: The reason the fronts of the teeth are orange is because that’s rust. Their teeth are covered with iron.

I want there to be a gold line going from the forehead to the back. Lord, this has been a journey. I first beaded a beautiful strip. I couldn’t believe the richness of the gold color. Then I realized the richness is due to the beads being covered in 24K gold. I had forgotten I had bought them. I am very much not using those beads on a frikkin’ beaver skull so I took it apart.

Attempt #2. I decided I wanted it to be a pointed stripe fading into dark blue. The color blend was too chunky so that one was scrapped.

Attempt #3. Nope.

Attempt #4. YES.

I will clip those loose threads and I can fix the wobbliness when I glue it down by pushing it around until it sets.

That took a solid week to make one strip. This learning curve needs to pick up but I’ll get there. Eventually.

Let’s start the 2021 on the right foot. With charts.

Friday, January 15th, 2021

Several of my favorite charts, the Venn Diagram, which pleases me.

 

And check out this extremely beautiful infographic. I love it.

Art and design. Choices are made. Not all of them are great.

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Design is my career so I unintentionally look at everything and check spacing, check colors, check legibility, check line breaks, etc. It’s maybe not the best trait because I can’t ignore bad art and design which is all over the place. Allow me to share.

Swishy brush fonts are tough. Too much swishy and it looks like a different letter. And sometimes the swishies between two letters touch and you get problems. Let’s not forget the “Clint” nametag incident. “Curt” isn’t workin’ too good either.

Back when we could go places I used to frequent a Korean takeout place. This was the packaging for their chopsticks.

I thought it said OW! for way too long.

Good To Go! A lovely cafe in White Plains where I live. Look at how the tree is nestled between the D and the T. That works.

So why is your overhang this? Why? With the tree as the T? Which is a similar brown to the sign so you can’t see it? It you made the tree white it might have been fine. Please get ladder and fix. Please. It hurts my heart.

I used to pass this in Grand Central Terminal every day.

Perfect. Papyrus, now with the addition of Comic Sans. It’s circled back around to glorious.

And finally…

Everything. Everything is wrong with this. And I had to stare directly at it when I went to the bathroom. Truly blessed.

 

Addendum: I love how each animal gets crappier as your eye slides down the painting.

My dream tile.

Monday, December 21st, 2020

I collect art nouveau tiles. I’ve talked about my Wall O’ Tiles previously. I periodically buy new tiles and swap them out with tiles I don’t totally love. I usually spend somewhere between $25.00 – $65.00. I’ve found some real treasures but there have always been a few I knew I could never have. The primary one is a flower that shows up in every “check out these baller tiles” collage.

One day I was hanging out on eBay looking at tiles when… there it was. For sale. With 14 people bidding on it. So I decided that’s it, I’m going to bid on it, and I did some aggressive soul-searching on what I was willing to spend on it. I went with $350.00 and walked away. I would let the eBay gods decide if I won or not. I cannot convey to you how psyched I was to get the “You’ve won!” email. The bidding ended at $306.00.

I own it, guys. I own the dream tile. I also found a the same tile with a different glaze and it was like $55.00 because you totally can’t see those sweet little flowers in the background. I wanted to have the lesser version to show why the great version is so great.

Dribs and drabs of awesome stuff.

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

1. I joined a group on Facebook called Crustacean Memes for Crabby Fiends.

I love when a someone invents a pleasant but irrelevant meme and out of nowhere it catches on and then it becomes its own thing. That is how we got Reginald.

Seems pretty innocuous. But he seemed to touch people’s hearts and a Life of Reginald was born.

Update: The Crustacean fan group is at war with the Ant fan group! And now the Snail fan group is getting involved!

 

2. When I worked at Publicis I walked past the H&M store on Fifth Avenue. Their window displays were well-designed. However, there are always choices made that are, I don’t know, odd. Counter-intuitive. Allow me to present you with an example.

Wrapped gifts! How nice. Oh, ice skates and a robot!

And a globe! Globes are a great gift. So round and informative.

Wow, a motorcycle!

Musical instruments!

And an enormous cactus. In a bathtub. Wrapped. Like gifts.

That threw me for a loop every time I saw that.

Also in the Rockefeller Center is a Cole Haan store. Cole Haan is pleasant, I loved a purse they had twenty years ago and I loved their summer lobster flip flops a couple years back but that’s pretty much it. Again with the however, they were doing some all-over approach with spikes and I am here for it.

Those shoes are great. If they come in black I will struggle not to buy them. So minimal but then spikes.

 

3. I don’t know what I’ve clicked on to get Facebook to get these news articles but I am a-okay with it.

 

4. Billie Eilish is a musician that’s very popular right now. Someone did a cover of one of her songs on a variety of pumpkins and I might like it better than the original.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlzqHmUqrfM

 

5. I saw a man walking his chicken on a leash in New York. It was a very good-natured chicken.

 

6. And finally, at first glance I was CONVINCED this was someone massaging legs that were horribly broken in a car accident, not someone making bread.

Fun times with the Third Reich.

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

Since my father passed away we’ve been going through his belongings and the man had books. So, so many books. Dad was a professor and one of his classes was on WWII. I guess someone had a book and gave it to my dad and we found it and oh my goodness, what a panoply of unpleasantness it is. I’m going to take you through the more interesting elements.

You ready?

It’s a coffee-table-sized book about Adolf Hitler and what a nifty guy he was.

This says something like “Merry Christmas from your Uncle Karl and Aunt Kamila.” It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

“Adolf Hitler – Photos from the Life of the Fuhrer.”

I was really hoping it would be like: Wake up. Eat chocolate with meth (yup, a real thing, see picture at the end). Yell like a lunatic at your generals. Paint a watercolor. Kill some gays and communists. Take afternoon nap, etc. but it is more pastoral and patriotic than that.

First thing, this font. Why? I mean, I get that it’s super-German but it’s also super-illegible. The whole book is like this. I would have pushed back on this. Also, a forward written by Goebbels! The book is a nightmare.

A lot of children smiling and waving at Hitler ‘n’ Pals.

The picture at the bottom with everyone doing the arm salute? Bone-chilling.

Honestly, Hitler’s art wasn’t bad. I don’t know why the art school dumped on him so hard. That’s excellent perspective right there.

Wasn’t it the SS? With two SSs? One S, does it stand for “Protective” or “Echelon”? You could totally fit both lightning Ss on there if you tried. I love how most people would be like “How horrific that so many teens were brainwashed into this mindset of hate” and I’m like “They could have done a better job with their logo layout, branding matters, folks.”

Ugh, God, with the children. Have I adequately conveyed how much I hate this book?

Now THIS is good branding. Fun game you can play is Count the Swastikas.

There were a ton more pages but I was DONE. The book wasn’t but I sure was. As promised, meth chocolate to keep the troops alert.

The Victorian Era is so much.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

The last time I was in Cape May I went to the Emlen Physick Estate. Aside from having a real interesting name it is a Victorian home open to the public for tours. So sure enough I went on a tour. I thought I was ready. I was not ready. I had an inkling about Victorian design but I had not anticipated the depth and breadth (and width and length) of the design elements and the layering. i will clarify.

I own this book called Artistic Printing. I was intrigued by the variety of patterns all crammed on one postcard. It’s pretty intense.

But here’s the key: It’s an small printed object. Your eye can move off the image and look at nice simple things in your environment like, I don’t know, a clean white towel. When you’re in a room and every surface looks like this it is, honestly, it’s upsetting. You get a little motion sickness.

First, the outside of the mansion. Not bad at all.

 

As you arrive you find yourself in a little foyer where you remove your coat and hat. There’s cool embossed wallpaper made from wood pulp so it holds its shape. That’s fine.

You step forward into the first hallway and oh dear. The bottom part of the wall is one complicated pattern. The top part is another. Going up the stairs? Another. And then on the ceiling there’s like four more wallpapers. I’m not kidding. We haven’t even added in the furniture which is also ornate. Off at the end of the hall? A patterned stained glass window. It’s an assault on the senses.

I didn’t hate everything about this space. Check out the light fixture made of whatever the hell was lying around.

We went through all the rooms on the ground floor. They were all various versions of mismatched chaos. Here’s the ceiling of the parlor.

I had never seen this before: Instead of the house being wired with electricity, it had gas tubes going through all the walls so you could carry a lamp from room to room, plug it in and it would stay lit for as long as you wanted because the gas kept flowing.

There was definitely an Asian aesthetic in many of the rooms because about the time the house was being decorated Asia was really in vogue. So there’s a lot of Oriental (you can use that word when describing decor) decor.

The upstairs is just as bad. The one thing I loved was the tiling around the fireplace. I collect art nouveau tiles from 1895 – 1910 and seeing them in their natural habitat is always a treat. I patted some of them. The other people on the tour were probably weirded out. I did not care.

Here’s another light fixture made from whatever was lying around.

And here’s a light fixture with the exact design shapes from the Artistic Printing book. Scroll back up and you’ll see what I mean.

Finally, my favorite thing on the tour: According to the tour guide celery was hard to come by during the Victorian era so well-to-do folk would place a glass of celery on the table to be like, “Bask, bask in my wealth. By adoring this celery.”

Mexico 2019 Part 9.

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Alebrijes! The main purpose of my visit! But first, other stuff.

I heard low bok-bok-boking at the airport ticket counter and discovered people transporting chickens.

On the flight home, more chickens.

When the Spanish came to Mexico they could not pronounce the “tl” sound at the end of many words so the word “Xocolatl” became “Chocolate” and the word “Tomatl” became “Tomato.” I had no problem saying it, I think the Spaniards were just being lazy.

A stained glass window. I’ve mentioned a bunch of times that it is extremely difficult to get a good shade of purple with glass. It comes out light and muted. So I was impressed with the purple in this window. Strong color, very clear.

Two-toned VW Beetle.

Okay, alebriges. Quick recap:

The first alebrijes, along with invention of the term, originated with Mexico City cartonero Pedro Linares. Linares often told that in the 1930s, he fell very ill, and while he was in bed, unconscious, he dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. There, he saw trees, animals, rocks, clouds that suddenly turned into something strange, some kind of animals, but, unknown animals. He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head, and all of them were shouting one word, “¡Alebrijes!, ¡Alebrijes!”. Upon recovery, he began recreating the creatures he saw in cartonería, a papercraft consisting of strips of paper and glue on an armature.

Summary: A guy had a fever dream where he saw animals and made sculptures of them. Now a town outside of Oaxaca specializes in them. I had a guide take us to the town and I acquired about seven of them, from small inexpensive ones to two pricey collector’s item.

Several notable facts you should know: Alebrijes tend to be covered in symbols belonging to the indigenous people. All the shapes and patterns you see, those all have significance. Often they are painted with natural paints found in plants and rocks. And they are all painted freehand. No one draws the patterns on first. It takes years of training to become a painter. The skill level is unreal.

The first studio we went to was Jacobo and Maria Angeles. They’re the most famous of the alebrije artists. Their work was the inspiration in Pixar’s Coco. Here are some photos I found on the internet showing their work.

One of the things I like is that the artists are constantly incorporating new elements into their work. The Angeles workshop is bringing in gold leaf:

Stones, shells and fossils:

And the coolest thing, masks. The masks are removable so you can see the painted faces underneath but it enhances the fantastical quality of the pieces.

It is possible to commission a piece from them. Every year has an animal associated with it and it cycles, very similar to the Chinese calendar. You can say, “I would like a piece representing my family. I am a jaguar and my oldest child is a turtle and my youngest child is a eagle and we like the color red.” Then a piece would be made for you that looks something like this, with the parent being the big animal and the children being small animals attached.

They’re also exploring only black and white alebrijes. Look at this bear. Look at it.

When we got to the studio they showed how they made their all-natural paints. This one tree, the male has one kind of bark and the female has another which gives them two colors right there.

They have their small selection of colors but they’ve figured out if they mix it with lime juice (acid) or a specific powdered rock (base) a whole new realm of colors emerge.

There was a shrine off to the side that emphasized the importance of corn. It is the staple of all the cuisine.

And please note the dead armadillo on the right.

I bought a piece and their coffee table book just as the owner Jacobo was walking by so we hugged (hugging is a big deal down there and I ain’t mad about it) and he signed my book and we took a picture. It was pretty great.

There were some xoloitzcuintlis wandering around the property and I am still on the fence about them. They’re so cool and demonic-looking which is why the myth is that they lead you to the afterlife, but they’re so bad at being dogs. The big ones look austere and impressive but the little ones look like they have nasty mange and are on the edge of entering the afterlife themselves. They need sunblock and nose cream, it’s a lot.

After we left the Angeles studio we went to David Hernandez’s studio. While Hernandez is nowhere as famous as Angeles’, Hernandez’ alebrijes. particular the painting, are far superior. I think they need a better agent to share their sculptures with the world because they are an unappreciated treasure. Here are some of their pieces that I found on the web.

I mean, look at the stippling to create the gradient. I can’t even.

Quick reminder: None of these painters at any of the galleries draw on the patterns beforehand. They paint them with no guides. It’s awe-inspiring.

Flawless.

All those were pictures I found on the internet. Here are the pictures I took.

The skills, y’all. Acknowledge the skills.

Sometimes they paint a maroon base when they plan to gold leaf something. It makes the gold richer than painting on the light color of the wood. I love that bun-bun, btw.

This bear. Unreal. The carving, the painting, it’s all there.

Now here are the pieces I bought. I got this howling coyote from the Angeles studio.

I love it. I love the carving, the balance of the elements. And the painting is great. But it pales in comparison to the piece I got at David Hernandez’s studio.

This owl. I am in awe of the incredible workmanship on this little guy. Here is my hand for scale. Keep that in mind for when I zoom in.

Every time I look at this owl I notice something new. The last time I discovered the details along the inside of the wings.

And I love that it’s signed (with a paintbrush, I can’t even fathom) so I can seek out other pieces created by that painter. And I will. Oh, I will.

That ends my trip to Mexico. We will return to our regularly scheduled posting. Get psyched for charts and such.

 

Mexico 2019 Part 8.

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

Oaxaca! It’s pronounced wa-HA-ka. I’m diggin’ the last three words of this description:

In present-day Spanish, Oaxaca is pronounced [waxaka] or [wahaka], the latter pronunciation used mostly in dialects of southern Mexico, the Caribbean, much of Central America, some places in South America, and the Canary Islands and western Andalusia in Spain where [x] has become a voiceless glottal fricative ([h]).

Oaxaca is a state in Mexico and it is the home to alebrijes. I’ve spoken about alebrijes before, here and here. My major point of this trip was two-fold: Show The Moomins the famous murals and go to the studios of the top alebriges artists and spend aaaaaall my money.

But first! Oaxaca City. Oaxaca City has a large town square. I asked the hotel concierge what activities happen in the town square and he said, “All of them.” He was not kidding. We woke up out first day there and while eating breakfast in the hotel’s open café several ladies were setting up a baby shower. One of them had made a variety of amigurumi to decorate the diaper cakes and table.

Nice way to start the day. We headed out, walking in and out of churches (that’s where the art is kept). The first church was a big hit for me because it was dedicated to my patron saint, St. Ignatius de Loyola.

Yes, I know I’m Jewish and we don’t have patron saints. I’m saying if I was Catholic this one’s feast day is on my birthday so he’s mine. In concept. Therefore I have a soft spot for him.

Something I was very surprised to discover was how tasteful the churches and cathedrals were. It’s reaaaaall easy to go over-the-top with the decorating if you’re not careful, as referenced here and here and holy crap here. Mexico held back. They showed admirable restraint and it is to be commended. This is the interior of the St. Ignatius church.

Off to one side was a sad reminder of people’s pain and suffering and their hope that God will bring them comfort. A wall of photos, and notes, and occasional locks of hair. I assume these people were missing or dead. I was very moving.

As The Moomins and I headed towards the front of the church we came upon a family baptism off in one of the arms of the cross (the floorplan of many Catholic churches look like crosses).

We lurked in the shadows and watched that for a while. We tried to not be creepy. We probably failed.

It looks like the columns are built with cinder blocks but that’s just the way the stone and adhesive ends up. I kinda want to see columns built with actual cinder blocks, it’s cool.

As The Moomins and I trotted down the main drag we saw a gallery with people milling in it. We decided to check it out. Turns out it was the opening of the exhibition at a small museum. There was a press photographer there so it’s totally possible that we’re in press photos. We met the artist. This is the only picture I took of his art.

As is required by all Mexican art, it’s a little odd and dreamlike. Bonus points because it includes bugs. It’s clearly very important that all Mexican art have an element of LSD in them.

On our continued journey to the town square I got to see another aspect of Oaxaca I had been looking forward to. Many of the buildings are built with lava stone and the lava stone is green-colored. It’s particularly lovely at sunset.

Finally we arrived at the town square. The hotel concierge was right, a whole lot was going on. There were the tourist buses passing by.

The Moomins and were doing a lap around the perimeter when we heard music that could best be described as “enthusiastic.” Then the giant lady puppet heading towards us. And all of a sudden there was festival happening all around us.

Here, a video of… whatever the hell it was.

https://youtu.be/tG980f9TIJE

That went on for fifteen minutes. Still don’t know what was being celebrated. As soon as that wrapped up The Moomins and I completed our All The Churches In Oaxaca Tour with the cathedral. That was more of what I had expected. Lots of detail.

An important thing you need to know about Mexico is everyone is constantly protesting. There are camps set up all over the towns that look like homeless colonies but they’re people camping and waiting for their protest. We exited the cathedral to a protest.

We got dinner around the town square (it was mediocre except for the Mexican hot chocolate which has changed my life) and what appeared to be another festival parade showed up. But it was not. It was a protest. And it was completely identical to the parade. It was around this time I started to feel like I was losing my sense of reality.

Video for comparison.

https://youtu.be/K_0jlu0wOTo

But wait! There’s more! On one side of the square was the protest with the music and the people yelling into megaphones and on the other side of the square was a concert of choirs singing Christmas music. It was bananas. Epic cacophany. I live-texted the whole thing to Snorth.

And thereby ended Day 1 in Oaxaca City. It was a bonkers experience that the Oaxacans go through every day. I can’t even imagine.