Monday, March 31, 2008

Circles and Snowmen

This week's theme for Ten Thousand Pixels is "Circling". Today's post is one of hundreds of glass eyeballs in my studio here. I think that one's for a deer.

There's only four days left to vote for FIMP's "Outsider Snowman" in the March Snowman Contest at Today's Snowman. Don't let "American Snowman's" flag lapel pin sway you - Outsider Snowman is the real hope for snowmen everywhere in these difficult times.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tiny Preview

This week's theme for 10,000 Pixels is flight, and today's post is a detail of a block I'm currently cutting. The prints are going to be the title page images for a chapbook, and you'll see the finished results here in a few weeks, but I thought you might like a little sneak preview.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


There are two things in my life that are slightly incompatible:

1. I love books, and certain books I like to keep in as fine a condition as possible, and
2. I have a two-year old daughter.

My daughter is absolutely amazing, the light of my life, but she's really hard on books. She loves 'em, but her love is often shown in more physically demanding ways than is good for the health of the book.

We have bookshelves all over the house, and none of them are safe from our energetic toddler. Except one. I have one very high shelf over my computer in my studio that is, at this point, toddler-proof. So, over time, the books that I most want to preserve have migrated to that shelf. This hasn't become a place for my favorite literature, as most of that is in paperback form, and I figure that paperbacks are built to self-destruct over time anyway, so there's no sense in being too protective of them. What has accumulated there is a few of the art catalogs in the house that I just couldn't stand to see lose their dust jackets or get dog-eared.

The thought struck me that, in grabbing things that I wanted to keep out of the baby's hands, over time I've created a self-portrait of sorts. Sort of accidentally answering one of those "if you could take such-and-such to a desert island, which would you take" type questions. So here, for what it's worth, is the list of those books, a window into those things that I like to look at and want to keep, a "shelf-portrait".

Light and Lens by Robert Hirsch. This one and the linocut exhibition catalog are sort of oddballs in that my own work is reproduced in them, and so they maybe aren't as much a portrait of my tastes as an example of my vanity.
William Kentridge
The Art of William Steig
Drawings of Jim Dine, an exhibition catalog from a show at the National Gallery of Art
Gregory Gillespie, an exhibition catalog from a show of his late work at the Forum Gallery
International Triennial of Graphic Arts Prague 2004, the aforementioned exhibition catalog containing a few of my linocuts.
In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegleman. This is the first "artist's book" up there.
Brucke, a catalog of woodcuts, with some of the essays for individual prints written by an art-historian friend of mine, Tina Yarborough, who is a professor at the small college in Georgia where I used to teach.
Gregory Gillespie, an exhibition catalog from the Hirschorn from 1978
The Art of Richard Diebenkorn
Poetry Speaks
Drawings by David Hughes. You should visit his website.
The Book of Shrigley. You should visit his website, too.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, of course, but illustrated beautifully by David Hughes.
The Essential Joseph Beuys
Anselm Kiefer, an exhibition catalog from the show at the Philadelphia Museum in 1988. Some day I should tell you about the women wearing white gloves who were turning the pages of his gigantic sand covered books, and how their gloves turned progressively browner and browner, and how amusing I thought that was, and how incredible I thought that exhibition was. Well, I guess I just did.
Anselm Kiefer, a catalog from Marian Goodman Gallery
Arnulf Rainer, from a great show I saw in Chicago
Kleinzueg, an artist's book by Arnulf Rainer, by far the coolest wedding present we received.
Walter Pichler
Artist's Books: A Critical Anthology and Sourcebook
John Virtue: London Paintings, a catalog from a beautiful show we saw at the British Museum in New Haven. Ironically, considering the reasoning behind why this book is on this shelf, this was the first show that my tiny daughter ever attended with us. She slept through the whole thing.
Extraordinary Exhibitions: Broadsides from the Collection of Ricky Jay
Jay's Journal of Anomalies, by Ricky Jay
Dieter Roth: Graphic Works
Roth Time, the catalog from a great Dieter Roth retrospective that MOMA put on when it was in its temporary exhibition spaces during the big recent renovation.
Dice: Deception, Fate & Rotten Luck, by Ricky Jay and photographer Rosamund Purcell
Art in its Time by Paul Mattick. I'm not quite sure how this one got up there - it's not in the "must not be dinged" category - more something that must have ridden the studio tides up to that shelf.
Imaginary Economics by Olav Velthuis
Black Box / Chambre Noire by William Kentridge
and finally, a big goofy notebook labeled Every Dumb Idea, which is just a receptacle for everything that crosses my mind that might become a print, drawing, artist's book or whatever. It's not a precious book, just something I need at hand when I'm working on the computer, and it makes a good bookend.

So there's my portrait in catalogs. What would be on your shelf?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Astronauts to Work on Giant Robot - It's About Time!

Today's headlines included this story from the Associated Press:

Astronauts to Work on Giant Robot

and really, it's about time. All I can say, is the pictures from NASA better come back looking something like this:

because, to be honest, to this point the future has kind of sucked, robot-wise.

When I was a kid, the future we imagined was not a digital one. It was one full of really cool mechanical stuff - flying cars for every household, ray-guns, hotels on Mars, and robots that looked pretty much like people but were smarter and didn't mind doing all of the heavy lifting for us. They looked something like "Robot" from Lost in Space:

Now, the future that I've grown into has some really amazing stuff, but it's all about computers, which just aren't that cool to look at. Where are the floating cities? Why are cars still burning gasoline, of all things, instead of being nuclear-powered? Why aren't we battling invading aliens?

Now, admittedly, there are a few things out there that have been better than expected.

The iPhone does kick Kirk's communicator's butt. The communicator couldn't even take pictures or play music. But you know, compared to giant laser-beam-wielding flying killer robots, the iPhone really isn't much. If the future does have to be all about computers, then we should at least expect fully sentient ones that go bad once in a while, like HAL:

Is that too much to ask? But maybe, with the news from NASA today, we're actually heading into a future that will look much more futuristic for a change. Time will tell.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Time Waits For Snowman

Since FIMP is participating in this month's contest at Today's Snowman (you will go over there and vote for "Outsider Snowman", won't you?) I thought I should post the pages to the book in which he starred, Time Waits For Snowman. Ars longa, snow brevis. . .

Monday, March 10, 2008

"How To" 10,000 Pixels

"But the images are so small, and pixellated - they look nothing like my work!"

You often hear artists bemoan the quality of reproduction of artwork on the web.

I've started a new blog that celebrates small images reproduced at 72 ppi. Why fight it? Embrace it. What CAN you do with a mere 10,000 pixels?

This week's theme is "How To". Last week was "anonymous".

Surf on over to 10,000 Pixels and check it out. Let me know what you think.

In unrelated upcoming event news, the snowman from FIMP's The Brief, Tedious and Unfulfilling Life of Mr. Snowman is going to be a contestant in March's snowman contest at Today's Snowman. I hope "Mr. Snowman" can count on your support in these trying times, when you need an experienced snowman who's ready on day one and the like.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Give The People What They Want: "Art Project"

Curious visitors may have noticed the tiny sitemeter logo at the bottom of this blog. This meter provides all kinds of interesting statistics, beyond a simple count of how many people have viewed the site. Of these, I find the "referrals" stats the most intriguing. These referrals tell me how each visitor found the site - what search terms they may have used that led them to one of the entries on this blog. Now, the sad truth is, many of the folks that visit this blog are undoubtedly disappointed by what they find. Searchers for "how to draw a mermaid" or useful tips on visiting Fiji find nothing of use whatsoever here. So, I decided that I could try to give the people what they want. One of the common searches that brings surfers here is "art project", and I'm afraid that they're not finding what they are looking for. So, to correct this lapse in content, here's a FIMP special edition "art project":


Looking for that perfect art project that explores both Minimalism and macaroni? Here it is - your own diorama of Eva Hesse's "Repetition Nineteen III"!

To make this project, you'll need 19 pieces of small rigatoni, two pieces of foamcore, and a picture of Eva Hesse (optional).

1. Arrange the foamcore to make the clean white modern space of the Museum of Modern Art.

2. Deploy the macaroni somewhat randomly on the museum floor.

3. Place Eva Hesse behind the macaroni.

Luckily, the placement of the macaroni is variable, as Hesse stated that "I don't ask that the piece be moved or changed, only that it could be moved and changed. There is not one preferred format." This eliminates the need for glue.

You can learn more about "Repetition Nineteen III" by visiting the Museum of Modern Art's website. Be sure to pay attention to the sexual connotations of the empty vessel forms, as this is info that you can use to embarrass your teacher and get him or her to move on to the next student's project.