Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Guy Delisle Graphic Artist/Journalist

I found three, yes three, of his brilliant graphic memoirs at an estate sale the other day(this is how my continuing consumerist impulses are satisfied these days-with a dip in the ocean of someone else's leftover life).

Through DRAWN! I found his now completed blog from Jerusalem (see my blog roll).

The idea of blogs with a foreseeable end, also gleaned from the movie Julie and Julia, is very appealing. My blogs are all endlessly fascinating no doubt but are also endless and lacking in direction which no doubt reflects my own lack of same. One clear goal I could set on this the first day of 2010 is the completion of, say, fifty Stress Positions by...the end of March. If you are out there (I tend to doubt it) please stay on my back.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Escalator in the Mall

Art Magic continued

My plan to record all my lesson plans for the Art Magic sessions quickly met the roadblocks of not enough time or energy but the lessons went ahead. Two I record here as especially enjoyable:

White Wax/Black Ink Drawings

The technique here is simple (see samples of my own wax resist drawings) and one I first picked up after seeing the work of Victor Brauner in the show "Aftermath" at the Barbican Art Gallery in 1982.
I provided a collection of white wax crayons of all brands, along with a collection of plain white wax candles, and had the students draw on their white paper, a sturdy paper that can take a beating. I then inked over their drawings as working with young kids and india ink is hazardous on the laundry front.
The initial exitement is easily come by. Seeing those wax forms emerge is fun. What I hoped to do was take this to a further level. By working from light ink washes to dark one can create incredible depth in an image. by repeating the steps of inking then applying wax, then scratching into wax or removing excess wax the variations of light and dark are endless. Incised lines fill with black and scraped off areas lighten.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

26 Poems by Kenneth Patchen

Here is another beautiful jacket this time for a Kenneth Patchen book. To say he is a much overlooked and under appreciated pre-beat poet (who was called "a man of anger and light" by Henry Miller and was amongst the first to read his poems to Jazz) is putting it lightly.

Art in Them Thar Books

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bernard Williams

I encountered Bernard Williams through the internet so I have not seen these in person (and he hasn't encountered me). He is part of a show at Rupert Ravens Fine Arts in Newark that features 24 Solo Projects. For more of his work go to Ethan Cohen Fine Arts from where I picked the image shown. I respond to his work for obvious reasons (if you know my work) but in efforts to go deeper can find little press about him as of yet. I'm guessing he uses cut out cardboard, ply and so forth, and clearly, given the title, is willing to tackle the big themes which he does from an approach that shows the influence of Basquiat amongst many others.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Art Magic—Second Session

DAY 2 (10.8.09-Jefferson)

Portraits Without Worry
Progressive drawing techniques

I like to do drawing games. I think of them as a way of loosening up a bit like playing scales on the piano or stretching before exercise. 

This is a game in two parts:

When you think of drawing portraits you probably imagine yourselves holding a pad of paper, a crayon or pencil, and sitting with the person you are going to draw facing you. You then begin to draw-or do you? Are you stuck already? Do you begin with the nose, or the eyes or the shape of the head? Do you add shading or fill in, do every hair on their head? It does not really matter but for arguments sake we will only use lines. While you are drawing I want you to look very carefully at the person you are drawing. What makes this a little different though, is this:  Do NOT look at your drawing as you draw.  and don’t lift your crayon from the paper!

  1. Look carefully at your subject, in this case your subject is the person you are drawing.
  2. Do NOT look at the paper you are drawing on while you are drawing. This is hard to do. I’ll be impressed if you can do this.
  3. Do NOT lift your crayon from the paper. This may be even harder to do.

Remember this is a drawing game, and should be fun.
There is a difference between silly and fun. The more serious you are about trying to do a good drawing the funnier the end results. Hopefully you will be surprised and delighted by what you did.


Now we will do this again but this time you will use your other hand, ...or your feet!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Art Magic—First Lesson

Art Magic

I’ve called my program of lessons Art Magic

This is not because I am going to pull a painting out of a top hat, or have you painting pictures of people being sawn in half or doing card tricks. I’ve called it Art Magic because it is my hope that you will leave each hour with me surprised and pleased by something you made. 

Often we inhibit ourselves with preconceptions or with tried and tested approaches that can channel one all too soon into an approach to Art making that may well be enjoyable but can preclude the discovery of other approaches. How often have you been asked: What is your favorite color? My answer is often I like them all. How often has someone asked: Do you prefer to draw or paint? I like to do both. That said I do have a special fondness for drawing for the simple reason that it is, for me, where ideas begin. The definition of drawing can be very broad and we will explore different ways of drawing throughout this program. 

I enjoy taking away choices or/and limiting choices of materials and approaches and then slowly adding them back again like ingredients to a cake. Sometimes you find that too many ingredients make the cake TOO sweet. If you sit down with a hundred colors in front of you might find that you cannot decide which color to use. If, on the other hand, someone gives you a crayon and a piece of paper, and instructions on how to begin you are then free to simply see where your imagination takes you. Because of those limitations you’ll see how the imagination rises up in indignation and finds a way to fight back. This will not be because of what I have done but because of what you do in response to my suggestions. 

Lesson plan:

DAY 1 (10.7.09)

Progressive drawing techniques

I’ve called this, today’s drawing game, Symmetrees for a reason. Symmetry is a word that describes a form of patterning that usually incorporates repeat patterns up down or left right. Single images can be created in this process but one side of the image will often mirror the other side of the image. This can be a very exacting way of making images or one can apply the process loosely to create something a little more organic and surprising. How one approaches this is personal but the approach I prefer is more organic and loose. I do not want any of you to get too uptight or worried about how you do this. The project is supposed to be fun and you will leave today’s class with something that surprises you.

Every piece of paper in this bag is unique. As I come around each of you should take one piece. There are no tricks here and no piece of paper is better or worse as far as I am concerned.

In this bag are a pile of crayons. I want you to each reach in and take one. I’d like to go very fast. I don’t want to see you thinking too hard—not today. If we have time at the end we will do another quick drawing game.

This, the first class, lasted all of half an hour. There was a conflict of interest. The sun was shining outside and it was a warm, fall afternoon, and the kids wanted to go outside. Before that though we had fun. Some responded seriously, listening and applying my instructions with due diligence. Some embroidered on my suggestions and some, given the slightest encouragement, went nuts and essentially destroyed their drawings in the process.

Friday, September 18, 2009

BODY PARTS:Chapter 8

K had just come to the awkward conclusion that he was, in all likelihood, a cannibal. Over the years he’d eaten a lot of street meat and once it was covered in all those hot sauces and yoghurt sauces you really never knew. You couldn’t tell what you were digging into as you sat on some filthy stoop hungrily raking it in during a pinched lunch break. Certainly if perfectly nice folks like Helena Bonham Carter chopped people up into mince pies what was to stop all the other perfectly nice folks out there, finding themselves strapped for cash, from doing the same? Well okay Helena was only playing a character, but we all know, all too well, that the line between fiction and fact is thin. One person sees it and says: Woah! That was entertaining but thank goodness it doesn’t really happen in true life, and another responds: The movie is based on a real story you know! And another simply thinks: That is a good idea! I have an old coal-chute in the back of my house! If I select my borders with care I’d have it made! It may be a stretch but only a little one. I read the newspapers. So went K's thoughts. They went in, then out again, leaving only an after taste, a taste for flesh to be precise.

Hungry he decided to try a different vendor, one, he'd noticed, who preferred to set up his cart in a side street away from the throng. Why? K asked himself. What is the man hiding?

I’ll take the lamb with rice. Thanks. The price was certainly right. On the main street he usually paid $4 but here (where was here?) it only cost $3 and for a heaping pile of food. He chose a different stoop from the usual and sat down next to a lady with reddened eyes. She looked as if she hadn’t slept in a while. That or someone close to her had died. Why so sad? K asked. My child is missing, she responded. Oh, pull the other one! He thought but he only nodded in response and then he got down to the business at hand—eating.

As he chowed down his mystery food he pondered the fact that he’d never encountered fingernails or any other such tell tale signs. But then again he’d never found chicken claws in his food either. Meat was meat. The meat he was eating just then was distinctly darker than the usual and made all the more disturbing by the lady staring at his food in horror.

What? K edged away from her but she kept staring. She didn’t respond because she was far away deep in her worst, most inarticulate fears. K continued to eat. He was hungry. When all you’ve been doing is xeroxing legal papers all day one gets hungry. You’d only know if you’d held a similar low wage job.
The lady was staring again.
K looked daggers at her.
Would you stop staring at me!
Oh, I’m sorry! She responded polite as could be, only it reminded me of. . .then her voice trailed off as she sighed a deep sigh.
Of what? Said K a hint of gentleness in his voice.

My son you see he. . .it was. . .he couldn’t have been gone more than. . .I can’t.
Can’t what?
Can’t talk about it, she said and then she got up and walked away.

K looked down at his empty styrofoam container and the two little bits of gristle he’d shoved to the side. Looking down the street he could see the vendor serving up another plateful to some other poor unsuspecting stranger. He got up, tied off the plastic bag, dropped it in the nearest garbage can, and headed back to work.

World In (Total) Disarray

Featured in issue number 4 of NOZONE in which such graphic luminaries as Stephen Appleby, Peter Kuper, Steven Marcus, Ron Barrett and Santiago Cohen also waxed lyrical.

The World In Disarray (From NOZONE 5)

This issue of NOZONE, as always published and edited by Nicholas Blechman, featured such fine artists as Jonathan Rosen, David Mazuchelli and, on the cover, Joost Swarte.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Joaquín Torres Garcia

JOAQUÍN TORRES-GARCÍA: CONSTRUCTING ABSTRACTION WITH WOODPaintings, drawings and a wide variety of wooden sculptures from the 1920s to the 1940s make up this show of works by Torres-García, the founder of an influential Latin American Constructivist art movement. Sept. 24 through Jan. 3 at the Menil Collection, Houston, (713) 525-9400, Travels to the San Diego Museum of Art (Feb. 20 through May 30).

Special Report - Contemporary art - At Last, Artists Harness the Internet -

Special Report - Contemporary art - At Last, Artists Harness the Internet -

The Remorseful Banker

Has the time of the Remorseful Banker arrived?

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Doing Lines

Asemic writing