Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Boxes, coffins, death and dying

My mom took me to the Tohono Chul Park art exhibit the other day to see the show "Re-Visions: Art from Reclaimed Materials". It was awesome, me being a sucker for old stuff and all. But I was particularly fascinated by the several assemblage artists who stuck all their stuff in boxes. Found boxes, fabricated boxes, filled with ephemera and oddities. I loved them.
art box collage

(I got a thing for putting stuff in boxes myself.)

After the art show we went and visited my mom's father in the hospital. He's very old and got really sick over the weekend. Lying there in the hospital bed mortality seemed to lay very heavy upon him. He's in his eighties. Everyone accepts that it is only a matter of time.

Which is the same for all of us.

At a recent family gathering I was struck by how much I could see the writing of years upon friends and family members. Knowing they could see the same on me.
We are all just little wind-up toys tick-tocking away, the slow process of wearing down, wearing out, unwinding till we stop and are put in a box then put in the ground ourselves. In our graves.

Which brings to mind the recent cemetery scandal of bodies being dug up and the plots resold for profit.

It also brings to mind the art of Kiki Smith.

These things are always on my mind.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Christ + Blood pt 2

Did a little sketching in church concerning my son's theological question; "how did Jesus put our blood in?" Here's what I came up with:
blood of christ

[color and burlap texture added in photoshop.]

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Christ + Blood

"Mom" my 5 yr old asks, "How did Jesus put our Blood in us?"

My son delights me no end.

So speaking of Jesus and Blood, my little bro (who's on a mission) asked me to draw some pictures of Jesus for him. All I could come up with for ideas was Jesus as a Night Elf, or a Vampire (re the whole blood thing).

Then a friend reminded me of the Zombie Jesus genre. So very very delighted, all over again.)

Here's a Movie Trailer

And some artistic renditions

(including, of course, the zombie last supper, where Jesus is consumed by zombie disciples)
Finally, my own favorite sketch of Jesus; my study of Jose Benjamin Lopez's 8 ft wooden sculpture of Christ where his wounds become large bloody sores covering his body
bloody jesus

Anyhow... none of these are anything my little bro would appreciate....
But I'm excited for MY own next Christ-oriented art project

three items of interest

1) I went to the art store and buy paint yesterday. It's been several years (?) since I have had to buy paint because it has been several years since I have used any of the paints I have. Also, the week before, I went and bought three new paint brushes. Because all the ones I had had been used only by young children for several years and were in horrible shape.
so nice to be buying art materials again.

2) I'm having to deal with the technicalities/complications of creating R rated paintings in a household frequently overrun by young children. "Mom, why is his head missing" my son asked of my latest painting. And I showed him how the naked lady had cut off his head and was holding it in her hand. And tried to make it sound... child friendly... (need to get a lock for my studio.)

and finally...

3) Note to self - 18 x 24 inches is too big if you are planning on doing a painting a week. Just too much area to cover. Keep it to 14 x 17 or 11 x 14 or smaller. Much better chance of finishing it in a week.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

not a painting every week...

Meh... only my second week into my attempt to finish a painting every week, and already I've missed my first deadline.
I had a sense it might happen; it was a week packed with family obligations and I had a houseful of kids that fully occupied two days and one night. On top of that, my right hand has been acting up, the knuckles and wrist are inflamed and achy. I'm worried my art making is to blame. I am paranoid that it bodes ill for future art production, but am hoping it is something temporary and easily reversed. (Keeping my stiff sore fingers crossed.)
artistic highlights of the week: I did start doing some thumbnails for a hypothetical Tarot Deck dedicated to Amanda Palmer. And I did at least start the next painting (I will have it done by Sunday. I will I will). It's something to be glad about.
studio shot

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

shit, eros, and gods

I just stumbled across Break the Vessel by Vylar Kaftan at Pseudopod. If you're not into feces, or eroticism, or violent religious retribution (or horror in general), than don't bother going to that link. Me, those are some of my basic fascinations. Questioning faith and tradition, examining the gods we have created, exposing graphically explicit details about the bodily functions we usually hide behind closed doors... Kaftan's story will stay with me a good long while.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A painting a week.

amanda f. palmer

Inspired by Calan Ree's weekly haiku derived paintings, and jump-started by Amanda Palmer's offering of her nekkid body for artistic purposes, I have my new goal: a painting a week. Working with the cast of characters in my mind and the floating flexible exoskeleton of a story-line, It's enough. I'm sure. And I'm excited.

It's been a while since I have painted. Over 3 years. Such a breath of fresh air to get into it again over Amanda's body. I am surrounded by muses.

Monday, July 13, 2009

blood fail

My veins failed me at the blood bank on Saturday. It was humiliating, I pride myself on my fat veins and their ability, when punctured, to fill a pint bag with astonishing speed. But not Saturday, which, when I thought about it (while eating cookies and drinking juice at the blood bank's cafeteria) was a fitting close to a week in which I indulged more than usual on things gore-ish, dark, gruesome and morbid.

I started the week revisiting the illustrations of Henry Darger before moving on to Hieronymous Bosch. Then our netflix queue delivered Sweeny Todd and Tim Burton delivered buckets of bright red blood splashed all over the gloom of London (plus amazing performances by some of my most favorite thespians.) To top that, I discovered two wonderfully talented, very inspiring (delightfully dark and morbid) webcomics: gingerdead by Calan Ree and unconscious ink by Joenis Norac.

Each of the aforementioned artists deserves a post all for themselves, but time is short at the moment. As my vein stopped filling the bag just short of a full pint and the phlebotomist tried twisting the needle back and forth, sliding it in and out, trying to get the flow going again, I decided to just make one post full of blood and needles and sharp things and dark things. Since almost a full pint of my own blood had to be dumped down the drain.
Have a nice day!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

sex and the cross

"I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain that I could not wish to be rid of it."
-the vision of St Teresa of Avila

A friend of mine just wrote a racy little tale of sex and religious innuendo. It tickled the hell out of me, religion and sex being one of my recurring themes at the moment; doodle after doodle of couples having sex on the cross, an obsession with St Teresa's orgasmic vision of God , and a sweaty palmed preoccupation with God's propositions to a young Jewish virgin.

I love the oedipal twist Richard Dawkin's puts on the matter of God's condescension: "...The Inventor of the law of physics and Programmer of the DNA code decided to enter the uterus of a Jewish virgin [and] got himself born..."

The divine lover becoming the divine son.

The mistress becoming the mother.

Just some thoughts.
Now, to move beyond the juvenile fixation with the missionary style into something more sophisticated.
Or, maybe not.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bruce Mau's incomplete manifesto

So, immediately after getting just a little bit whiny and morose about feeling stuck and stagnant a friend linked to Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. Some pretty darn good suggestions.

My favorites (numbered how they are in the Manifesto):

8. Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism...

9. Begin Anywhere.
John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere...

18. Stay Up late.
Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you're separated from the rest of the world...

21. Repeat Yourself. If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again...

33. Take Field Trips.
The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment...


37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it...

They are all good, all 43 points.
Something to kick me in the pants a bit. To jump start, to light the fire, something.

no time

Or maybe no initiative?
Not sure.
It seems that all I do lately is rough studies of other people's art.
Just copying what others have done. This used to feed my own fire, lead into my own work, my own original pieces.
Right now I'm not getting past the copying phase and only doing that infrequently and with haste.

I was going to say it is because I have no time. But this past weekend I had to myself, and had the determination to spend several hours working in the studio. Not sure where those hours went, wish I could account for them, but they weren't memorable. Puttering and frittering (and facebooking) and making dinner and reading a book etc.

I should just admit I'm in avoidance mode and deal with that, instead of trying to whine about no time.
(I've written before about my artist's block and my neglected studio. Yet another form of avoidance: blogging about it. ha!)