While I often post up collages on this blog I’m sometimes reticent about it if only because there is a proliferation of collage art on the web. Everyone seems to be at it as it’s a good medium to have online being immediate, colourful and the images used familiar. Having said all that I love Daniel James Leznoff‘s collages for the opposite reasons.
Leznoff comes from a film background and thus his images and the manner in which he juxtaposes them are more complex, have a more surreal aspect to them than your average collage artist. He allows us to create our own narratives, our own stories from his compositions, his pictures often humorous, psychedelic and bizarre. Like many collage artists Leznoff finds his images in old library books, early print ads and family photographs but while many rely on digital processes to create their final image Leznoff relies on the old school technique of scissors and UHU glue.
Jim Gaylord‘s paintings are based on images from found in special effects and action sequences in films. At once familiar and obscure. The scenes he picks are often of that moment of abstraction, the time between, the movement from one action to another. From these sequences Gaylord creates studies by combining several scenes at once on the computer. From this foundation he creates his collages and paintings on paper and canvas.
Gaylord’s process of abstracting images from the screen obliterates the realism and allows colour and form to take precedent. as writer Joseph Akel put it so eloquently:
seismic landscapes that vacillate between the tightly ordered and the precipitously chaotic [in which] intricate honeycombs, matrices, and vectored pathways negotiate a tectonic terrain of floating fields and fractured forms.
Andrei Tarkovsky was one of the most influential Soviet film makers of the post-war era – known for films such as Zerkalo, Offret, Andrei Rublev, Stalker, Nostalghia, Solyaris and Ivan’s Childhood – however I’m here to write about his magnificent polaroids which he took in Russia and Italy between 1979 – 1984. Apparently he was given the camera by the great Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni, and although he was most known for extremely long, slow takes he took to the instant image making camera and in turn transferred his aesthetic into these pictures.
As well as taking personal snapshots of his family he used the camera for work often taking shots of possible locations and on and off set pictures. The images are beautiful, fragments of narratives, of dreamscapes, a memory captured, the light diffused, timeless. In a book of the pictures Tonino Guerra had this to say:
Tarkovsky often reflected on the way that time flies and wanted to stop it, even with these quick Polaroid shots. The melancholy of seeing things for the last time is the highly mysterious and poetic essence that these images leave with us. It is as though Andrei wanted to transmit his own enjoyment quickly to others. And they feel like a fond farewell.
Richard Auxilio‘s photographs are beautiful compositions, experiments in colour, technique and possibility. His pictures are all about learning, about pushing the boundaries of traditional darkroom processes and exploring the key fundamentals of photography; light, tone and form as well as film techniques and equipment.
What you see here are non digital images transferred from 35mm, medium or large negatives via an Epson film scanner. This is work that looks back to the traditions of old classic LA film noir cinematographers while looking forward in search of new ways to represent the World around him.
Auxilio says this about himself:
self-taught film photography and darkroom processing: ongoing experimentation and further understandings of theories in either several subjects such as light and shadow, aesthetics/anti-aesthetics, semiotics and organic abstracts withing a fine art medium
It is interesting work, shimmering. Aesthetically beautiful. Technically fascinating.
Loren Kantor is the kind of artist I love, a man who fell in love with an artform – in this case wood cut printing – and went for it, despite everything, untrained, a true amateur – which incidently comes from the French word meaning: “lover of”. Instead he worked hard, learning by mistakes, through effort, sweat and now, 20 years later, has managed to bring his two big passions together to create some wonderful prints; classic films and printmaking.
Along the way Kantor, who is a writer in Hollywood, started up a blog about his printing life called Woodcuttingfool in which he writes about his woodcuts and the sources that inspire them. Check it out if you’re into film and woodcuts like I am.
I seem to be posting up alot of Portuguese work lately. This time it’s the turn of Esgar Acelerado who sent me in his illustrations, drawings that have a real retro feel to them, a mad mix of typography, bold colours, shapes and hard lines – not dissimilar to the credit sequences on TV shows and films you’d come across in late 60′s and early 70′s.
You can’t help but smile when looking at Acelerado’s work. There’s a sense of over abundance in them, in his characters. Everything’s louder, bigger, brasher; his love of music, comics, a carefree life worn on his artistic sleeve. If you head over to his site you’ll quickly realise that he’s not only an illustrator but a music producer, DJ, writer for a weekly comic, has his own record label as well as being an art teacher.
Laurindo Feliciano‘s collages are clearly inspired by his love of architecture and design and the inspiration he finds in such diverse subjects as natural history, philosophy, animal behaviour, nature, visual art, semiotics, antique books, films and music.
His work has a very classic feel to it – the result of using found images from text books and classic treatises on various topics – and is at once beautifully conceived and wonderfully executed.
Kristen Schiele’s paintings are inspired by stage sets, film, folklore, allegory, kitsch and story telling that’s psychologically dramatic and playful. Using a variety of techniques such as silkscreen, collage, painting and ink transfers she creates what one could call expressionistic illustrations, textural compositions made up with densely layered images that are dying to tell us a story, shards of a dream, a fantastical story that isn’t quite remembered.
Ray Bradbury – one of the most eminent science fiction writers of the last 50 years – who sadly died earlier this year would have been 98 yesterday. Thankfully his books live on as does this wonderful documentary called ‘Ray Bradbury: Story of a Writer’ made by David L. Wolper way back in 1963. The film is filled with insights on writing and the life of a storyteller and all that that entails. Here’s a short excerpt from it:
The first year I made nothing, the second year I made nothing, the third year I made 10 dollars, the fourth year I made 40 dollars. I remember these. I got these indelibly stamped in there. The fifth year I made 80. The sixth year I made 200. The seventh year I made 800. Eighth year, 1,200. Ninth year, 2,000. Tenth year, 4,000. Eleventh year, 8,000 …
Just get a part-time job! Anything that’s half way decent! An usher in a theater … unless you’re a mad man, you can’t make do in the art fields! You’ve gotta be inspired and mad and excited and love it more than anything else in the world!
If you’re a Bonzo Dog Doo – Dah Band fan, oreven know about them, have a vague interest, then you’ll love this film, ‘The Adventures Of The Son Of Exploding Sausage’, a rarely seen Bonzo Dog Band film from 1969. In keeping with its psychedelic, dada influences the film has absolutely no narrative other than it involves a day in the country, some kids and a farm. The British Film Institute desribed it thus:
The Bonzo Dog Band drive into the country in a truck, unload their equipment in some woods only to find some of it taken away by some children. They eat and play at a party, and the Bonzos play a number of instrumentals in a stable yard, including `Rockaliser Baby’, `We are Normal’ and `Quiet Walks and Summer Talks’. At the end they are driven away in a white car. Note: No words are sung. Featured alongside the Bonzo Dog Band are the children Amanda, Jennifer and Ashley Lees, Edward Roebuck, and Olivia Smith.
Jacob Wyatt’s animation film, ‘Metro’ is a gorgeous short about a little girl and a fox and the adventures they have. What starts off as a simple tale of a young girl nervously gettting a ticket for the Metro turns into a tale of the imagination. Wyatt’s style is all about form, colour and wonderful movement. He also has a real eye for telling a story.
Jake Fried‘s beautiful hand drawn animation, ‘Sick Leave’, is a wonderful stream of consciousness that’s rendered in simple ink and white – out and oozes with talent. It’s distinctive, full of indigenous tribal imagery juxtaposed with images of contemporary life – very fast, there’s no stopping him, watch it and be amazed.
A life time ago as a child I often wondered what I would be when I grew up. So now I am grown up and I am still wondering what I have become?
Fame and fortune and celebrity might have been on my teenage wish list but as the years moved they did not appear. I wanted to show jump for Ireland. I wanted to be a marine biologist, a vet, an artist like Picasso. Yet I have never lost the wanderlust, and have a childlike promise to go for anything that might interest, enhance my life skills, amuse me or interest me. So this post is about two contrasting experiences in the film world I had this Spring/Summer.
As an artist I have dabbled with video art, short film creations and performance to Video, a genre I still hold dear but technology and an aging form is holding me back somewhat. I got a call up from Movie Extras to work in Ripper Street, a BBC production, which I think will be aired next September. I was to be a toff, one of twelve extras picked to walk through the streets of London at night – among the then poor, mixed rabble of 19th century England and a City where Jack The Ripper was the notorious killer at large.
The set was very large and realistic. I was fooled into thinking the police station was real, but on touching the bricks they felt like fibre glass. There were about 150 extras working a full 11 hour day/night. I was put into a very tight corset and numerous underskirts, over skirts, dress, jacket and a wig which was nearly as painful as the corset. The wig was real hair and of real value, several thousands of euros, and was treated with care but not my head where the sharp pins went in. I was so restrained by the corset I could hardly breathe and the skirts and hoops surrounding them made going to the loo a bit of a gymnastics event. I can see why the ladies in those times had a fit of the vapours and fainted frequently.
‘Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child’ by Tamra Davis is a documentary film about one of my favourite artists. Ever. The film is centred around an 1986 interview Tamra Davis did with Basquiat. Two years later he was dead of a heroin overdose. Twenty years later Davis unearthed her footage and turned it into the feature-length ‘Radiant Child’.
The title of the film comes from a 1981 Artforum article by poet and critic René Ricard who helped take Basquiat’s work from the streets to the galleries. Ricard credits Basquiat and his contemporary Keith Haring with raising graffiti ‘above the vernacular’ and compares them both to Karl Marx:
Das Kapital was written by one man. This is no graffito, this is no train, this is a Jean-Michel Basquiat. This is a Keith Haring.
A bit much maybe. Okay definitely nonetheless Basquiat made a sizeable impression on everyone that came across him. Haring was to say about Basquiat that:
he disrupted the politics of the art world and insisted that if he had to play their games, he would make the rules. His images entered the dreams and museums of the exploiters, and the world would never be the same.
What’s wonderful about the film is that it not only documents the artist but also the vibrant New York scene that nurtured and embraced him. The soundtrack to the film is packed with music from Davis’ husband Mike D and bandmate Adam Horowitz from the Beastie Boys as well as interviews with Thurston Moore, Julian Schnabel, Fab 5 Freddy and everyone else that was making a noise during the late 70s 80s in New York.
And yes its all about Basquiat, and yes everyone is simpering over him, loved his work but so do I. And I love this film, its not only about the artist, its about one of the most vibrant cities on earth in one of its most creative moments.
Treasure it. Go look at his work.
[ED NOTE: unfortunately YOUTUBE is increasingly being hit for copyright infringements so you can now only see the trailer - you'll have to buy the DVD if you want to see it. I did see it and it's wonderful]
Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968 a documentary film by Thomas Reichman that follows jazz musician Charles Mingus and his five year old daughter on the night before his eviction from his New York apartment for not paying the rent. As Mingus sifts through his belongings he riffs on a variety of subjects; society, women, music, his daughter, politics and the country as a whole.
Its a quiet drama laden with pathos. Mingus plays a few bars on the piano, shoots a bullet into the ceiling, gives his daughter a sip of wine and recites his own version of the Pledge of Allegiance:
I pledge allegiance to the flag–the white flag. I pledge allegiance to the flag of America. When they say “black” or “negro,” it means you’re not an American. I pledge allegiance to your flag. Not that I have to, but just for the hell of it I pledge allegiance. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. The white flag, with no stripes, no stars. It is a prestige badge worn by a profitable minority.
The documentary is intercut with footage of Mingus and his sextet performing at Lennie’s-on-the-Turnpike – a small club in Massachusetts – features Mingus on bass, Dannie Richmond on drums, Charles McPherson on alto saxophone, John Gilmore on tenor saxophone, Lonnie Hillyer on trumpet and Walter Bishop, Jr. on piano.
our next DIY arts festival, the Trash Culture Revue, will take place sometime towards the end of the year. So if you want to create, produce, get involved, play, experiment, try stuff out, have fun, design, administrate, organise, volunteer or just come along then let me know
we provide free creative and production skills for your arts projects and events through our skills exchange so you can experiment, fail, make and play no matter who you are, where you are, what you do or when you do it