Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Project 4 - UPDATE 1

Marshall and I got an early start by working on Saturday. He and Cory had gone to Home Depot to pick up some MDF and we spent most of Saturday cutting the sheets down to the correct sizes for all 19 boxes.

Tuesday's studio time was VERY productive because we had the whole group together. Marshall focused on finishing up the boxes, Alex and I filled in the finishing nail holes with putty and Alan finished them off by sanding them smooth. A lot of good progress made.

Project 4 (FINAL) - Museum Exhibit

Museum Proposal

Concept: Our exhibit will display a series of situations, habits, addictions, obsessions, etc. that people desire to keep secret and boxed in, yet can never truly hide from the prying eyes/interests of others. If given a few moments, each of us can conjure images in our minds of things we desire to keep left unseen. Most of us would be embarrassed or ashamed to reveal these to friends, family or even complete strangers. The installations will target taboo issues in a series of boxes containing images that are viewable only through a “voyeuresqe” peep hole, some of which contain lenses or other means to alter/change the meaning contained within.

Process: Members from the team will be assigned tasks. Construction of the unit itself will require, at minimum, intermediate craftsmanship skills. Images will need to be collected/created to represent each situation. Each image will be placed in a box representative of an idea that supports the over-all theme. A small slit in the top panel of each box will provide illumination for the eye of the viewer as they examine each through the appropriate peep hole.

Installation: The display will be constructed through a series of boxes at varying levels of height, attached to a large 4’ x 8’ sheet of ply. The final piece will be attached to the museum wall at an appropriate height so that any individual can easily access/view all of the series.

Items Needed:

• 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood
• Material to construct each box (TBD)
• 20 – 30 images
• Paint & paint supplies
• Assorted lenses to alter perspective/meaning

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Artist - Thomas Ott

Thomas Ott (1966) is a German artist from Zürich. He received training as a graphic artist at the School of Design in Zürich and has been a free-lance comics artist and illustrator since 1987. From 1998-2001 Ott attended film studies at the University of Art and Design in Zürich. He currently lives and works in Zürich and Paris. Ott is also the lead singer of The Playboys.

Ott is another "dark artist", which I seem to be gravitating to as I look through my artists' list. What makes his work unique and totally pimp is that he uses scratchboard. The level of detail and value/shading that he is able to create is phenominal. Most of his scratchboard comics are wordless with images powerful enough to provide the narrative.

"Swiss cartoonist Ott employs neither dialogue nor captions in his stories; words appear rarely, usually as chapter titles or signs in the background. Appropriately, Ott uses the early silent cinema as a motif... In keeping with the silent movie motif, Ott uses black, white and grays, enveloping his realistically drawn characters and settings in an expressionistic mood. The characters initially display understated emotions, and their situations seem familiar. Ott's storytelling moves at a slow but steady pace, making his protagonists' extreme reactions more believable when they, and the readers, are caught in Ott's imaginatively conceived, masterfully executed traps."
– Publishers Weekly

Friday, April 23, 2010

Artist - Bill Plympton

Bill Plympton was born in Portland, Oregon, and from 1964 to 1968 he attended Portland State University, where he was a member of the film society and worked on the yearbook. In 1968, he transferred to the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Plympton's political illustrations and cartoons have been published in a number of magazines and newspaper including The New York Times, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Penthouse, and National Lampoon. His political cartoon strip Plympton eventually appeared in over 20 newspapers. I can remember watching these as a child because distinctive style is so easily recognized.

Plympton is considered the first animator to draw every frame for an animated feature film by himself. Signe Baumane, also a director and animator, has been inking and painting Plympton's cels for many years. As of 2006, Plympton had created 26 animated short films and five animated features. He has also published a comic book, The Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton. Plympton usually publishes a graphic novel version during the production of each feature in order to raise money for the film itself.

"Idiots and Angels" - Click HERE to watch preview

Monday, April 19, 2010

Artist - Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer was a German painter, printmaker and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since. Dürer's introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, have secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatise which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions.

Dürer exerted a huge influence on the artists of succeeding generations, especially in printmaking, the medium through which his contemporaries mostly experienced his art, as his paintings were predominately in private collections located in only a few cities. His success in spreading his reputation across Europe through prints was undoubtedly an inspiration for major artists such as Raphael, Titian, and Parmigianino, who entered into collaborations with printmakers to distribute their work beyond their local region.

Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta

I want this book so bad. I've wanted it for years and it just popped in my head again tonight, so I thought I'd look it up and see how much it was. You can click here and find out for yourself. I was like, "really?! That much for a book? I know it's amazing and all... but, really!?"

In 1561-62, Georg Bocskay, imperial secretary to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, inscribed the Mira calligraphiae monumenta as a testament to his preeminence among scribes. He assembled a vast selection of contemporary and historical scripts, which nearly thirty years later were further embellished by Joris Hoefnagel, Europe's last great manuscript illuminator. This book, now in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, is reproduced here in complete facsimile form, accompanied by a commentary that includes a full description; a discussion of its patron, Rudolf II, and his cultural and historical milieu; the biographies of Hoefnagel and Bocskay; and an analysis of the manuscript's role in their careers. The introduction discusses the broader issues raised by the manuscript. Topics include Hoefnagel's nature imagery, which encompasses plants, fruits, and small animals, and its relation to the spread of interest in botany and zoology at the end of the sixteenth century. Another topic is calligraphy and its place in the art and culture of the sixteenth century. The manuscript's remarkable calligraphy will be of particular interest not only to scholars but to collectors, graphic designers, and typographers as well.

"This small book is a joy to hold and to behold, and should be of special interest to graphic designers, calligraphers, and other artists as well as to art historians. Recommended for all libraries."--Choice

Artist - Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander was born in Johannesburg in 1959 and her focus is South African art. She studied at the University of Witwatersrand, receiving a B.F.A. in 1982 and a M.F.A in 1988. As a student, Alexander was influenced by the socio-political unrest of South Africa and began creating works addressing the aggression, violence, and suffering within society.

She is best known for her life-size sculptures, featuring human forms altered with horns, wings, hooves, and other found objects. Although her sculptures often have an eerie, otherwordly feel, they also manage to project very human psychological states such as alienation, loneliness, and a sense of discomfort or entrapment. The sculptures are often placed in a manner that confronts viewers, forcing them to decipher the ideas present within the work. She also works in photomontage, often using her sculptures as her subjects. She has received a number of awards and has participated in both solo and group shows in South Africa and internationally. Jane Alexander currently lives Cape Town, where she teaches at the Michaelis School of Fine Art.

Although she's created a number of impressive pieces, the most famous/well kown of them is The Butcher Boys (1985/86). Three life-size human/beasts whose figures are or appear to be devoid of their senses. Their ears are nothing more than holes in their heads and their mouths appears to be covered with thick roughened skin. While this may look like a scary statue of naked monster men but it’s really some kind of statement about apartheid in South Africa. It was created when apartheid was still around and because it’s art one must assume that it’s against apartheid. Maybe not. Seems like monster men would support that sort of thing, you know, being monster men and all.

Museum Stuffs


1. Describe what you see

Lots of stonework at varying levels with quotes from all different people. There's quotes from Moses to Gandhi. There are benches made of stone, a waterfall, some plaques a sculpture of Ann Frank, etc.

2. Describe the varying degrees of representation

There are representations in sculpture, in the text on the plaques and through the audio that plays through the hand-crank boxes.

3. What are visual elements/principles that dominate in the memorial?

Scale... it's a very large memorial. Also the amount of stone and the "central" seating/bench area.

4. Is this memorial "site-specific"?

No, this is just in an open space downtown. I don't believe that anything happened here that relates to the evens of the memorial.

5. Who created, designed and funded this memorial?

One of the stones said, "Idaho human rights education center gratitude to Boise City council and mayor Brent Coles." But I am unaware of who actually designed and built the thing.

6. What materials/media were used to create this material?

A crap load of stone. Also metal for the sculpture, natural resources for the landscaping and someone had to record their voice to be played back for each of the audio boxes.

7. How does the text/word elements function?

They function as the part of the memorial that informs you. They give quotes, explanations of what the memorial is about.

8. Reflecting on your answers to the previous questions, what do you think was the intended meaning/function?

To make us stop and think about our rights as human beings. It's about freedom, but not taking advantage of our freedom. There's plaques remembering war victims and quotes about freedom all over the memorial. Although it's called the Ann Frank Memorial, it's not just about Ann Frank, but more about what she represents.

9. In your opinion, how successful is this memorial?

I think it's a great addition to downtown Boise. We need more impactful/cross media pieces like this. The location adds to the overall effect with the water and landscape and stone.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Artist - Zdzislaw Beksinski

Zdzislaw Deksinski (24 February, 1929 – 21 February, 2005) was a renowned Polish painter, photographer, and sculptor who is best known as a fantasy artist. Beksinski labeled his paintings and drawings either in what he called a 'Baroque' or a 'Gothic' manner. He really had two styles. The first style came from his 'fantastic realism' period when he painted disturbing images of a surrealistic, nightmarish environments. The second style is more abstract and is shown by Beksiński's later paintings. Beksinski had no formal training as an artist. His paintings were mainly created using oil paint on hardboard panels which he personally prepared, although he also experimented with acrylic paints. He abhorred silence, and always listened to classical music while painting. He was murdered in 2005.

Beksinski's work reminds me a lot of H.R. Geiger. Very dark, very other-worldly and in a sense, very similar stylistically. Most images are somewhat anemic when it comes to color... they seem either desaturated, or limited in palette.

Where they depart from each other is in the way that the image is contructed. Geiger's work often contains elements of biomechanics. His world as well as surreal creatures often contain mechanical parts, or are entirely mechanical. Beksinski seems to stick to organic representations. There also seems to be a bit more spirituality to his work. I've noticed many pieces containing crosses, or depictions of scenes with scriptural references. Beksinski also seems to have more of an ability to work in abstract. Images that seem to have no set orientation or rules to bind them.

Wedding Invitation

A friend of mine asked if I'd make her wedding invitations - what an honor. This was a fun little project... I always prefer projects like this -laid back and easy going- over the the high stress corporate client with a short time frame.

During first and only meeting we met at the Library Coffee House in Meridian and talked concept. Since they were getting married at the Idaho Botanical Garden they wanted something open, natural and caz-fun. I started with what I call a "specimen sheet", which is really just a fancy name for a brainstorm. I knew that because of the large amount of copy I wanted to really focus on making it interesting typographically.

specimen sheet

first concept


They liked the first concept and that was it, done (with the exception of butchering the word "following"). Another great thing about them... I HATE doing 5,000 revisions to a project. I get sick of looking at the same damn thing and lose interest, which makes me prone to mistakes. Bad.

The final step is to choose the right paper to print them on. I dropped a sample off at the bank she works at today... I think she'll go for it 'cause they are so laid back... and because the paper is cool.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Artist - Fonny Davidson

Western Landscape Artist Fonny Davidson was born in Wenatchee Washington in 1947 and has spent his whole life involved with the arts. His mother started him playing the violin when he was four, and he has continued to be an active musician all of his life. Fonny’s ties to the Northwest region run deep. His mother’s family settled in the central Washington area as cattle people during the mid 1800s. His father, born in 1887, was raised along the Lolo Pass in Idaho where his grandfather Davidson was a blacksmith.

While attending Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa Idaho Fonny began to study the fine art of painting. Under his mentor Delbert Gish, he studied the classical traditions of drawing and painting passed down from the Russian school of teaching. Del Gish, who at that time was fresh from being taught by Sergi Bongart, was an enthusiastic teacher. They soon became good friends. Fonny says “Del changed my life,and gave me insight into what being an artist is truly about”. After graduation, Fonny was invited by NNC to stay on with the college as a teacher, where he taught pottery for two years. He then taught art in the Idaho public school system for ten years. “During the time I spent teaching I continued to do my own art, and always planned to quit teaching and become a full time professional artist”. Fonny has never wavered from the goal to spend his life as an artist. He has spent significant amounts of time learning how to be a potter and a sculptor, and the last twenty five years have been devoted solely to painting.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

B&W Photo - Portrait

Our most recent assignment in my intro to creative photography class was portrait photography. I thought I'd pack along my digital SLR just to help set up the shots before taking the film equivalent, which was major helpful.

Overall I think they turned out fairly well for my first attempt at "real" portrait shots. Maybe an upper division photography major would look at them and laugh, but that's ok... just like a fine wine, I'll improve with time.

This last one is just an edited version of the one above... ah, photoshop.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Art 108 Midterm. Sculpt something out of a single bar of WHITE soap. Sculpt something. Out of soap... sculpt. Crap.

Yeah, I've never really made a solid effort to sculpt something, not that I'm closed to the idea... I like to think of myself as very open to new things, but when you attach a grade to it and throw it at a panel of judges to critique things change just a bit. Bottom line is I didn't feel quite saucy enough to make this the scenario for my first sculpture. What to do.

Good news is we have our entire spring break to work on this project. Bad news is it took me most of spring break just to figure out what I wanted to do conceptually. Originally I wanted to melt the bar of soap down and create an action/still of what would look like milk pouring out of a milk pale slashing onto a floor. This remains a cool idea, but my ability and all-around practicality prevented me from actually pulling this off. What I ended up doing was a modified version of my original concept. Instead of pouring out from an elevated pale into a time-fozen "splash" I would just have a milk glass on its side with the milk running out of it. Sounds easy enough.

The most frustrating part of this project was what I thought would be the easiest - melting down the soap. Not the case... in fact it proved the largest hurtle to overcome. Blender, frying pan, microwave, oven, you name it and I tried it. What eventually worked was using a DOVE brand bar of soap finely grated in a double boiler and adding some water.

I'll post a few pics of the process and the final piece once I get it back from Earnest.