Although my town is in always in the shadow of the metropolis to the north, we do get the occasional bits of interesting things happening. Besides getting to see Lynda Barry, this month also offered a chance to see in person some artwork from another artist that I admire, but only know from the internet. And it was fabulous!
This is a picture that I took from a video installation (sorry for the picture quality, I am an indifferent photographer). Chiho Aoshima does these anthropomorphic high-rise buildings, mixed with images from Japanese folklore.
It makes me want to squee with adorableness of these buildings.
But there is a fly in the ointment, a mythological figure turns into a cloud of black smoke and then the volcano erupts in this paradise.
Alien ships appear. Notice that the foreground is a cemetery, yikes. And what does it all mean?
A floating deity appears briefly in a cloud.
Then a tsunami knocks over some of the buildings, and makes the rest wobble about.
Bad things are happening, the black and white building grows legs and gets up to move because things are so bad. But the standing buildings grow construction cranes to repair themselves, the sky clears and the rainbow returns.
There’s a happy ending, until it starts all over again, much like life.
Back in 2014 I decided that I wanted to go to Europe, and that it would be nice to combine this trip with some sort of workshop or real reason to be there. So I came up with two great choices: One was learn to write a blog, with the author of the blog Spitalfields Life. This was a two day workshop in London (and this is why this blog exists). My other choice, was eight days over two weeks in France, to learn to write cartoons. As I speak terrible French and could not leave Miss Dog in the kennel for too long I decided on London.
So later I was going to take a class in New York state from this second choice, I had signed up and paid my money, but Miss Dog was ill and I was afraid to leave her lest she die in my absence. So I had never seen this artist in person until now and I was really excited to have the opportunity to see her right here in town. The snow didn’t materialize, and it was two wonderful hours of hearing Lynda Barry speak.
She has moved from drawing about life, to the intersection of neuroscience and art, which are two things that I like.
And I love that she shares some of my obsessions, like octopi, blackbirds, chickens and ghosts.
I did say that she was inspiration too, here is a page from my first collage book, which she kindly signed.
I had shown this page to the author of Spitalfields Life last November, and he mentioned that he had gone to the same college as the poet, just 400 years apart. 🙂 (So they never got to hang out together).
It was fabulous to see her in the flesh and hear her talk. And I decided that if I ever get a chance to take a workshop with her I must seize the opportunity. (Maybe).
The local public university, which started out years ago as an extension of the state university, located in an old unused tuberculosis hospital, has slowly been expanding into the surrounding area. And that is good, because there just was not enough *#*^!+# parking at the main site. And one of the expanding things that the university has is a new art gallery space in a theater building. The inaugural show has just been hung, so I stopped in to check it out. I missed the actual opening, and this is good because there were apparently 650 people crammed into the space for this (and it certainly means I would have missed out on the wine and nibbles).
I have paint cans and other bits of stuff laying about in my garage, why didn’t I ever think of displaying them like this? (Oh, it’s because I would trip over the strings). What you can’t see in this picture is that there was a barrier to prevent any mishaps.
The woman barely visible in this shot is studying to be a curator, so that she can put together shows like this one.
The artist only needed two colors of paint to finish this one.
I guess he forgot that paint runs.
This one is made up of multiple canvases, painted together to make a work large enough to cover the entire wall of this gallery. And me and the other two people at the show got to enjoy the works without any art talk to distract us. 😉
First Friday: the day of the month that all the local galleries try especially hard to flog their wares. The better ones have wine and nibbles, but on this day I decided to try the local museum. Recently acquired by the expensive private college, it seemed like it might be an interesting venue.
This statue formerly stood at the east end of the hall, now he’s here at the west end, ever at the ready to put an arrow in the ceiling, if required.
There is a lounge, shown here full of hipsters. It had a cash bar and art for sale: today it was knitted objects and hand spun skeins of wool, artfully displayed. I actually knew one of the artists from my knitting group, she was one of women who was under 100 years old. 🙂 I don’t know if she sold anything, but bravo to her for getting a show.
What kind of a hipster event would it be without this guy? Stylishly dressed (for a hipster) in his fedora and ink, he was doing a painting in neon colors under a black light. (These things take me back in time: Old guys wore fedoras when I was a kid, and who could forget the popularity of black light posters when we were hippies).
Apparently one of their paintings in the permanent collection has gone out on tour. This portrait of a local girl was painted by John Singer Sargent at the family estate in England. Her life and this very portrait is examined in a new book “Sargent’s Women” by Donna M Lucey. Elsie is getting her moments of fame, only a hundred or so years late.
So that was it, cash bar and no nibbles, perhaps I shall cross this off my list of first Friday venues.
A reflection can be either a thought or an actual thing. I keep most of my reflections on things to myself (for the sake of sanity) but I do have a fascination with the reflections seen in mirrored and other glass. I love the way things get all wiggly and distorted, like this view of the back entrance of the old AT & SF train station, as seen in a nearby building.
The tip of the Gherkin rises out of the top of a smaller building, looking quite stumpy. The towering monument to commerce overlooking the scene looks as though it is ready to wobble into a massive pile of rubble.
This dark and gloomy view of Cheyenne Mountain results from the smoked glass on the building. The sky was actually overcast on that day, but it wasn’t this dull.
This is a more typical reflection of the beautiful blue skies and mountains. I had gone out to get the newspaper (yes, I read a physical newspaper as I am a dinosaur) when I noticed how glorious the sunshine and clouds were. If I was better at art speak blather I could go on and on about the inner meaning of the juxtaposition of the double images, but I’m not. So I’ll just say beauty is where you find it.
As my house is near a park/open space, there are a lot of deer that wander through the neighborhood enjoying the landscaping and hanging out. I have named a number of them, although I am not sure if they recognize their names. 🙂 Some I see only occasionally, and others I see more frequently. And these ones are my favorites, although I do love them all.
This is Rosa, who is the friendliest of the bunch. She came right up to me the other day when I was out fetching the newspaper. She just seems to like people. She had a reddish ear, so I decided her name must be Rosa.
This is Tamara, and she is quite easily spotted. She stopped by without her youngster for once (he must have been off learning how to be a stag). She has been coming by for the past three years at least. I’m not sure how she injured her leg, my veterinarian friend though that she might have been struck by a car. Her full name is Tamara the lame, but she still gets around and enjoys a full life.
This stag is the newest deer to be hanging around the house. From the shape of his antlers, I have decided that he must be Albert’s grandson (Albert used to sleep under the deck some years ago). He had obviously been fighting and lost an antler. He also has an injury to his right hock. I called the Department of Wildlife to see if they could patch him up, but they only euthanize injured animals (not an option). However, they did say that he could survive with only three legs, and that there are a number of three legged deer wandering about town. So I do make sure that he has plenty of water, and I am hoping that he makes a recovery as he seems to be rather nice for a stag.
My friend’s great-grandson stopped by one day and was excited to see the “cows”, so now he expects to see them every time. But they are on their own schedule, and I feel fortunate when I get a glimpse of them.
I get a number of invites to things, for this day I got an invite to tour our municipal power plant. The local real estate interests would love to close down the power plant as it is located where tourists might see it. What we will do for electricity (especially to power our electric cars of the future) remains unclear, but realtors would make lots and lots of money off the deal, they imagine. Anyway, I decided to take a peep at what goes on there. (Sorry but no pictures were allowed inside of the giant machines and such).
There has been a municipal power plant here for a long time. Under the nearby downtown area, there are tunnels for steam heat pipes, connecting a several block area. But they haven’t used this feature for a 100 years or so.
Of course it has been updated and expanded over the years and so we enter the facility through a more modern part of the plant. This turbine that sits out front, is from the unit that caught on fire last year (user error) and could double as a bit of art, for the art on the street program. 🙂
It is rather large to disguise from tourists, but it has a lovely graphic quality. Perhaps we could shine lights on the side of the building to help pretend that it is something else.
My proposal is to simply re-categorize it. When a friend’s grandson was small, he thought it was a cloud machine. Municipal cloud machine sounds so much more friendly, then it could stay where it is until 2035.
As I drive around town I often see the standard sort of thing common in any town (yes I’m talking about you Starbucks. And your ilk). But then again, in my wanderings I often come across things that are unique to here.
This particular piece of civic pride stirred up a major
shit storm controversy as soon as it was installed. A committee decided this would be a great idea, and without notifying anyone, stuck it in at this city park which gets thousands of visitors. They were forced to take it down within the week, but I did snap this photo before that happened (I did not think this would last, but you never know).
Even the cat eyeballing this skeleton though it was a little weird (I mean, what does a skeleton even need with toilet paper?).
This tiny bit of street art was back in it’s cubbyhole after being stolen. (Actually this is a replacement Kissing Camels, they never recovered the original.)
These hilarious leftist signs are located on the private, expensive college in town. I’m not sure how effective these are, as the students need to have large signs telling them: to use a crosswalk, push the button to stop traffic in a crosswalk and to look before they cross the street. All they need is the poster that says ‘Obey’ and they will be set to face life.
And then there are the deer, thick as fleas in some fancy neighborhoods in the foothills (there is just a small herd in my neighborhood). There is a proposal being floated about to shoot them dead in the streets. Which would be both unsporting (they are quite tame) and cruel and unusual. So I hope this never happens, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
And a Happy New Year to everyone from Godzilla, Pteri and Topsy.
Also Rosa sends her best wishes to all for a splendid 2018. She is looking forward to another year of destroying people’s expensive landscaping and she hopes the same for you. (She also hopes that they don’t allow hunting in town of these tame herds of deer).
In the Harry Potter books, a hat sorts persons based on their personality into one of four houses. But at Christmas time, one is sorted (presumably by Santa Claus or some other authority) into one of two categories: Naughty or Nice. The Nice are promised that they will receive lots of lovely presents as a reward for being nice, and the Naughty are threatened with only getting a lump of coal in lieu of a present. But is a lump of coal really such a bad thing?
Here is some coal near my house, free for the taking (sort of). In fact at one time there were working coal mines right in the city limits. As the sources for heat were either wood or coal, this was probably a good thing.
Many of the old houses here in town have a little window to the basement and coal was tipped into the cellar to be shoveled into the furnace by the householder. But in London, there are these splendid covers out on the pavement that were the access point for coal deliveries.
Rather than being drab, utilitarian things, these covers are little works of art.
I suppose that someone had to deal with the business of actually carrying the coal to the fireplaces, etc.
This cover which features mugs of beer was by the Truman’s brewery.
A radiant sun is nice, especially when one has gone a day without seeing it.
And some are just pretty.
As I am possibly on the Naughty list, I expect I shall have rather a lot of coal to burn. 😉