Category Archives: Art

Pterodactyl About Town, pt.2

No ordinary pterodactyl, this one turns up in the swankiest places, like today’s political event, held at the estate of a late city father.

Nice fountain.   Pteri scared it into just dribbling.

Although I will admit that the Buddhist statue guarding the entry way seems to be singularly unimpressed by the sight of a pterodactyl.  Perhaps this happens all the time.

This is more like it:  attacking the stone decorations.

It was a political event, so there must be flags.

And every politician knows the real secret to getting people to turn out for an event is to provide some food.  Nom nom, delicious catered food.  It’s the standard fare of a picnic, baked beans, potato salad, hamburgers and brownies.   To bad that it wasn’t the weather for a picnic, it started to rain, so off we went.

Pterodactyl about town

What is a young pterodactyl to do when exploring a new town?   Why go out and about and see the sights.

Enjoying the local cuisine in a popular restaurant.  Nom, nom.  It’s so delicious.

Or perhaps going for a bit of al fresco dining.   Watch out, those chilis are hot!

This antique curiosity was what the ancients once used to communicate with distant family and friends.  It’s abandoned now but it’s a great place to launch a surprise attack.

Enjoying a bit of the local color and blending right in.

All this running around is thirsty work, but there are a number of watering holes to cool off at.

There was just time for a quick photobomb before heading home, the city is full of such interesting places, he must visit again soon.

 

Icons of the West

When I was a child, westerns were extremely popular in both the television and at the movies.  Cowboys were good (especially if they wore a white hat), Indians were mostly bad, Easterners were idiots and fops, and bankers (who were sometimes Easterners) were evil.  That in a nutshell is the iconic and idealized version of the west, and it perhaps carries a tiny nugget of truth along with a great lump of mythologizing.

Most importantly in the West of the imagination is the cowboy, that lone figure battling against the forces of nature and the encroaching civilization (darn those Easterners).  Armed with a gun and a moral code, bringing law to the lawless frontier, whether it likes it or not.

Here’s a bit of art distilling the essence of the west into a single existential cowboy.   This art resides at the Santa Fe airport, and I am not entirely sure what it means.

Cowboys have to have someone to fight and overcome, so how about a studly Indian.  This guy did not waste his time making arrows and such, he looks as though he hit the gym and worked out everyday.

Every cowboy and Indian needs a horse.  The one the Greeks used to fool the Trojans was not nearly as splendid as this one.

Lest we forget that there were others inhabiting the West, here are some Mariachi ghosts to round out this small tour of icons.

Still more art

There is a certain pleasure in unchanging exhibits at art museums.   It is quite lovely to visit with one’s favorite pieces of art.  When I was a youngster I loved to visit Hosukai’s Great Wave  in it’s hidden corner of the big art museum.  And I thought it was was both beautiful and enigmatic (and a lovely shade of blue).

But there is also something to be said for changing exhibits, especially in a smaller museum, like our local museum.  One never knows what sort of things might be on display:  like these bits of art from Haiti.

I have no idea what this means and all the artistic blather that inspired this piece, I thought it looked interesting (and it was covered in glitter, which is always a good thing).

I do love surrealist art as well.

I had wondered what to do with my collection of tiny plastic figures, here was the answer staring me in the face.

Why not?

Sometimes one has to just surrender to the art.

More Inspiration

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.

Inspiration

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).

 

 

 

More Art

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.   😉

Art

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.

Art Day

I always enjoyed going to the art museum when I was a child:  it was mysterious, beautiful and scary, always an adventure and free.   The local museum is tiny and expensive, except on free days, so you can guess when I am likely to visit (I have forked over money on occasion).  So I was there for the most recent free day, just having time enough for a quick look see.

I took scads of pictures of this display the  last time I was there.   What’s not to like about floating invisible people spiraling down an empty corridor?  This is also I technique that I would like to explore someday (but not today).

The upper gallery displays change from time to time, and today featured a video installation with four screens of waving trees that changed color in a darkened gallery.   Interesting, but what does it mean?   The other gallery featured everyday objects, like a shovel or typewriter, made of glass.   Another gallery had bare speakers hanging from the ceiling playing random noise sounds.   It’s all very artistic I’m sure.

A different sort of glass art is by this guy.   I have seen his stuff in many different places, in the V & A, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Tacoma, WA and here, so his work gets around.   I like the color and form in this piece, it reminds me of the worm in tequila (I’m not saying how I recognize them).

This would be the interactive part of the exhibit, one could write a postcard to one’s mentors and the museum would mail them out.   It’s rather interesting that they chose this old-fashioned format (snail mail, really!).

Then it was on to the next thing I had to do, although I lost all my lovely photos due to user error (so no other pics).  🙁

New

You know that I have tried to limit the number of books that come into my house, and if you know this, then you also know how very bad I am at this.  So here are a few of my newest books.

These lovely books were a gift from my friend GA (not George Ashley), whom I met through the internet.  East End Vernacular is the most recent publication by GA, a collection of paintings of London’s East End.  All of the paintings are previously unpublished works, which just goes to show that talent is not enough to make it in the art world.   The next book,  Traveller’s Children in London Fields, was the very first book that GA published and it is a collection of photographs taken by the late Colin O’Brien.   And then there is A Hoxton Childhood,  a  reprint of a memoir of a working man reflecting back on a long life (and a really wonderful book).   Thanks for the good reads GA.

These books are also from people that I know through the internet.   The Daily Coyote started out as a blog, and Shreve published this wonderful record of Charlie’s life.   Too bad if you see this and want a copy, it was available by subscription only.  Dogs of Avalon is a much more challenging book, and it covers the evils of greyhound racing, and the sanctuary that helps these dogs recover their spirit.   I “met” Laura some years ago after she published her second book “The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken, New Jersey”,  which was a memoir with recipes.

I’m including these calendars in this post just because they come from the internet as well.   I have previously bought a book from The Mincing Mockingbird, but he didn’t have anything new this year, so I just bought his calendars.  And I do love Charlie from The Daily Coyote, he’s actually the only coyote that I like (and he is super adorable).   But, I swear that these are the last books I’m buying (at least for this year, maybe).