Friday, July 27, 2007
Aardman director Luis Cook recently completed a grisy tale entitled The Pearce Sisters. Having already won The Special Jury Award at Annecy and ‘Grand Prix’ at Platform International Animation Festival, the short is currently aiming its award sights towards the Oscars. Unfortunately this means that Aardman can’t put the whole short online, but they’re graciously sharing a few clips — the look of the film is just stunning, and has a unique visual style and technique that makes me crave the film in its entirety. - Drawn!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
But these sort of drawings eventually lead to the ink drawings of this year
I could go on and on about how these two paintings completely fuck with what I was trying to do a year ago. And yet, I know how I got here.
It all began with a sketchbook drawing.
Cognitive Dissonance floating in the Mist
"Propaganda is a soft weapon; hold it in your hands too long, and it will move about like a snake, and strike the other way."
—Jean Anouilh, L'Alouette, 1952
"One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting."
—George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, 1938
"When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything—you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him."
—Robert A. Heinlein, If This Goes On, 1940
"Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda."
—Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951
"Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state."
—Noam Chomsky, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, 1997
"As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: You liberate a city by destroying it. Words are used to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests."
—Gore Vidal, Imperial America, 2004
"A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep."
—Saul Bellow, To Jerusalem and Back, 1976
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
—Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, 1841
"He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense."
—Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim, 1900
"It is worthy of remark that a belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, whilst the brain is impressible, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason."
—Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Dogs do not understand the Brown Bottle Flu excuse.
In an attempt to make my morning extra special, I brought my camera along to shoot some sky porn.
Miso and I ended up on the creek side of the hill and missed the sunrise.
The dog is explaining to me:
"With all that looking up and looking down, your neck is going to get sore."
My fourth studio was short lived because I was tired of Seattle. I decided it was time to go to graduate school.
First, I had to get accepted somewhere.
To improve my chances, I holed up in a cabin with (your friend and mine) Jimmy Ray. I consider that winter with Jimmy Ray and The Ice Machine as my Fifth Studio. I'm sorry. . . I forgot to mention that "Ice Machine" is the name of the dog sitting on the stump in the photograph above.
I am sitting in the outhouse at that moment.
We lived on a pond in Boxford Massachusetts and I studied for the GRE's while Jimmy Ray was teaching at Landmark School ("the largest, most comprehensive school in the U.S., positively changing the lives of students with language-based learning disabilities, such as dyslexia").
I, on the other hand, flopped around and made drawings that eventually became paintings like this:
Zucchini potato pancakes for dinner. I didn't have the wits to photograph the Beet Chips Stacy made earlier. I was too busy snarffing.
We owe many thanks to the Siskiyou Sustainable Coop for our weekly supply.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Before Constable there were generations of practitioners of po mo, "spattered ink," and yi pin, "painting with no constraints." The painting above is a detail of a scroll by Sesshu, a person who lived during the Muromachi Period (which I just learned was in the 15th century). This image is from the Tokyo National Museum. What I gleaned from my two hours of World Wide Wormhole surfing (or am I Burrowing the Web?) is that the brush mark, like sumi ink or even plein air painting, is something that can be copied. A brush mark is something valuable if you believe (like I do) in studying the ancients. But the brush mark can lead to scrupulous imitation of the models and masters of the past. People have tried to break free of the shackles of imitation since. . .since. . . well, at least since the 15th century in China.
It is not just me.
I am just more "self-aware" (read: Post-Modern (aka Po-Mo)) of my return to sources in the "quest for the supreme rule that was born from an absence of rules and that encompassed a multiplicity of rules."
What was that quote?
It seemed to feel right.
I got it from page 205 of Hubert Damisch's A Theory of /Cloud/ and he got it from Les Propos sur la peinture du moine Citrouille-amere de Shitao which translates ala Google to "Remarks on the Pumpkin-bitter painting of the monk of Shitao." (I love this wormhole machine). All I needed to find (I'm sure there was more but my mind was subsequently blown) was an English Google translation of a French translation of a Chinese text.
Here is my soft-edit version which might actually be my Manifesto and Statement of Purpose (except it doesn't account for my take on my drawings approaching The Uncanny Valley which I'll tell you about soon). Barthes-a-licious style:
supreme Simplicity had not divided yet.
(We are talkin' pre-Fish or Cut Bait).
As soon as Supreme Simplicity divides, the rule is established.
On what is based the rule?
The rule is based on the Single one Milked Brush.
The Single one Milked Brush is the origin of all things, the root of all the phenomena;
its function manifest for the spirit, and is hidden in the man, but the vulgar one is unaware of it.
It is by oneself that one must lay down the rule of Single Milked Brush.
The base of the rule of Single Milked Brush resides in the absence of rules which generates the Rule; and the Rule thus obtained embraces the multiplicity of the rules.
Painting emanates from intellect:
that it is about the beauty of the mounts, rivers, characters and things, or that it is of the gasoline (sic and cool) and the character of the birds, the animals, grasses and the trees, or that they are measurements and proportions of the fish ponds, the houses, the buildings and the esplanades, one will not be able about it to penetrate the reasons nor to exhaust the varied aspects, so in the final analysis one does not have this immense measurement of Single Milked Brush.
So far you combine, so high that you go up, it is necessary for you to start with a simple step (in my case it has been a drop of ink or a pond of paint).
Also, the Single one Milked Brush embraces it all, until the most inaccessible distance and out of ten thousand million blows of brush, it is not one of which the beginning and completion do not lie finally in this Single Milked Brush whose control belongs only to the man.
The beginning and end is with us all. We are the puddles that belong to me, and consequently you, you self-aware mammal you.
By the means of Single Milked Brush, the man can restore in miniature a larger entity without anything to lose (Micro = Macro, is my first and (so far) truest peace):
since the spirit is formed of it initially a clear vision, the brush will go to the root of the things.
If one does not paint of a free wrist, faults of painting will follow;
and these faults in their turn will make lose with the wrist its ease inspired.
(Watch your Groove without watching, for it can turn into a Rut).
The turns of the brush must be removed from a movement, and the consistency must be born from the circular motions, while sparing a margin for space.
The finales of the brush must be sliced, and them attacks incisors.
It is necessary to be also skillful for the forms circular or angular, right and curved, ascending and downward; the brush goes on the left, on the right, in relief, in hollow, abrupt and solved, it stops abruptly, it lengthens in oblique, sometimes like water, it descends towards the depths, sometimes it spouts out in height like the flame, and all that with naturalness and without forcing less world.
Once you master The Rules (and that means practice-practice-practice), it is your responsibility to break those rules with a Blink and a Flow.
That the spirit is present everywhere, and the rule will inform all;
that the reason penetrates everywhere, and the most varied aspects could be expressed.
Giving up itself with the liking of the hand, a gesture, one will seize formal appearance as well as the interior dash of the mounts and of the rivers, the characters and the inanimate objects, the birds and the animals, grasses and the trees, the fish ponds and the houses, the buildings and the esplanades, one will paint them according to nature or one will probe of it the significance, one will express of it the character or one will reproduce the atmosphere of it, one will révèlera them in their totality or one will suggest them elliptically.
Paint what honestly feels right.
When well even the man would not seize the achievement of it, similar painting will fulfill the requirements of the spirit.
Because Supreme Simplicity dissociated, also the Rule of Single Milked Brush was established.
This Rule of Single Milked Brush once established, the infinity of the creatures appeared. This is why it was known as:
“My way is that of the Unit which,
embraces the Universal one.”
(To be continued in the Uncanny Valley, the place where the Single Milked Brush has taken me)
"Using photos of oft-snapped subjects (like Notre Dame) scraped from around the Web, Photosynth (based on Seadragon technology) creates breathtaking multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features that outstrip all expectation. Its architect, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, shows it off in this standing-ovation demo. Curious about that speck in corner? Dive into a freefall and watch as the speck becomes a gargoyle. With an unpleasant grimace. And an ant-sized chip in its lower left molar. "Perhaps the most amazing demo I've seen this year," wrote Ethan Zuckerman, after TED2007. Indeed, Photosynth might utterly transform the way we manipulate and experience digital images."
Thanks to Jack Russell for the link to TED.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Thanks for this provoking video link goes to Jason, my friend who owns Ashland's The Crown Jewel. I use only slightly different tools to make my drawings. . . and my failures don't taste as good. (I do not post this in any self-deprecating or humorous way. I have full respect for this craft, and it serves to simultaneously knock me down a few pegs, focus me on the present, and inspires me to strive for something more).
"The story of a man who’s lost everything. Clive Wearing has what Oliver Sacks calls “the most severe case of amnesia ever documented.” Clive’s wife, Deborah Wearing, tells us the story along with Oliver Sacks. And they try to understand why, amidst so much forgetting, Clive remembers two things: Music and Love. "
Thanks to my friend in Scotland, Brock Lueck, for turning me on to WNYC's Radio Lab archives.