Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Well, I made it. As you may have guessed. It was 30 hours of airplanes and airports begining to end and I adjusted quite well. Not really much jet lag at all. Sydney is amazingly beautiful, more than I even imagined. Been kind of a whirlwind few days meeting up with Judy's friends ...suprisingly I have been really good at remembering everyone's names...I usually am horrible..I 'm usually lost without name. Perhaps its the laid back quality of life that is harder and harder to find in the states...even Missoula.

Last night met up with more of Judy's mates. We went to a place called the Iceberg's Club. Wonderful dinner...amazing view overlooking Bondi Beach. A great view at night for sure. So the skinny on the club is that it is the Australian version of the Polar Bears...kind of. They have a pool that they keep at winter temperatures. I didn't try it out, but my guess is that it's nothing compared to the Montana Polar Bears who swim in 20 degree frozen lake water...of course the Montana Polar Bears typically don't stay in longer that 30 seconds.
Grabbing a plane here in a few and then heading to the Western coast of Perth. Which is about the same distance as New York to Los Angeles. I hear that it is beautiful. Just wanted to let everyone know I have arrived safe and sound and having a blast.

Haven't really taken the camera out yet. Will get post more images (one's I actually took versus stealing from the internet)...promise

Cheers
Michael

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Busy...busy...before I fly away

So I am off soon. Just trying to get everything under control before I leave.

I just got back from a meeting at my favorite junk haunt....Home Resource. They take all the junk from remodels and demolitions and recycle it and make it available at incredibly low prices. Every year they do an event called Spontaneous Construction, in which they have a big party where artists and non-artists get to make things out of there goodies. I'm offering some input on the event this year. Should be bigger and better from the sound of it...but you'll have to wait till August to start your constructions. Here's a link to last years event http://www.homeresource.org/sponcon/review/


Monday, February 19, 2007

The 13th Card

So as i prepare for my trip, I've been pondering issues of mortality. Not mine, just in general. It's not unusual for me to ponder those kinds of thoughts. Much of what I do in my work is reflective of our fragile existence on this planet. The reason for this melancholy mood, is that my girlfriend lost a family friend yesterday and I feel her sadness from the opposite side of the globe.

One thing I've noticed is that, for me, death has a strange sensation of experiencing the most horrible with the most beautiful simultaneously. It is the saddest thing in the world to loose someone close. My first experience with death was my grandfather, who I was quite close with. The toughest thing was the horror of knowing that I would not see him again. Oddly, the most beautiful thoughts were in my mind at this time. I was in pain, but I was in pain because I had so many wonderful experiences with him. Its that idea that without contrasts one could never appreciate the opposite. Beauty becomes even more beautiful when compared to it's counterpart...in fact without the opposite would beauty even exist. I remember, reading or hearing a concept that the idea of the Devil was not to be a villain, but rather as a point of comparison, so the one could see that which is good. Wish I could remember where I heard that.

Death in many ways can serve the same purpose. I think this is why I have always gravitated towards the Mexican death traditions...they always struck me as the perfect balance of light and dark. Shadow and light combined in a meaningful way, neither element more important than the other.

All these thoughts bring to mind a recent tragedy that in all honesty I haven't really had time to digest. Last month a friend of mine died in a fire. I hadn't seen her in years. She died because she was trying to rescue here animals from the burning house, and she herself was badly burnt in the process. She died the next day. How horrible a death, how beautiful and sacrificing a soul.

Sorry for the melancholic nature of this post, but the loss of Judy's friend made me realize I had my own ghosts that needed tending to.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Australia, Artfest, and Artisans on Taylor

So just trying to get things tied up before I head to Australia, for Artistic Journey. Seems like I'm more or less caught up. I'll be gone for a bit, so I'm trying to remember everything. What to bring etc.

When I get back, I'll have a few days to recover from jet lag then off to ArtFest. This is such a great venue to teach at. Love the area, love the town, love the attendees and of course I love Teesha and Tracy Moore the founders of ArtFest.

So a few bits of info for the Port Townsend residents or ArtFest attendees...

All the art work that will be featured in my book, in other words, all ten of the myths that I have interpreted will be on display as of the end of March in Port Townsend at Artisans on Taylor
I'll be attending artist receptions there on Thursday March 29th 5- 8 and Saturday March 31 5-7. The reason for two receptions is that the typical Saturday opening might be tough for some of the ArtFest attendees to attend. So we figured a ArtFest opening as well as a local Port Townsend/Seattle area opening would be appropriate.

So there you have it, if you're in the area at the end of March. Stop by and say "hey", or "hello", or "move your flippin' car" or anything else you want to come up with.

And to you Aussies....see you soon...very soon.

some more goodies to peruse:




Saturday, February 17, 2007

Laurie Zuckerman...check out her shrines

So as most of you know by now I am shrinishly biased, thus you might consider me to be a Neo-Shrinalist. Some might call me a Post-Neo-Shrinalist, while others might just call me a Shriner. Well, whatever you want to call this style of art, you need to see the work of Laurie Zuckerman. She's an amazing photographer but also a shrine-maker extraordinaire. I was quite glad and quite honored that she has decided to take my workshop in Oaxaca during Day of the Dead. Check out her stuff...it rocks. http://lauriezuckerman.blogspot.com/.

Also I have added some new links of friends and favorite artists. Check em out.

ciao,
Michael

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Some new things to look at

Hey all,

Not much new to report. Oh, want to try something fun. Go to www.pandora.com
You basically plug in a song or a musical artist and it will generate a playlist of similar artists based on the style, sound...it all very technical. Not really sure how they do it. Great way to find new music though.

While you're generating some muzak, here are some new goodies for you guys to peruse.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentines Day


Was doing a bit of reading on the topic of Valentines Day....in particular Saint Valentines. Kind of interesting in that St. Valentines is actually three men who were martyred for there faith in the 3rd century B.C. Even the Pope Gelasius said in 496 "... whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God." In other words not really sure who these guys were, but they did something worthy of respect. Apparently Valentinus was a fairly common name in that time (from the root meaning: being strong).

It became a lovers holiday in the 1400s due mostly to Chaucer and the courtly love trends. As with many holidays the dates were chosen to overshadow pagan festivals. Originally Feb 15th was Lupercalia in Rome, a fertility fesitival. Nude men would run through the streets. Times have changed. I heading out the door right now....thought I'd go for a naked jog through Missoula in the 26 degree weather.

So happy Lupericalia or Valentines Day, whichever you wish to celebrate. (a special xo to JJJ).
Michael

P.S.
CRAFTLAB NOTE
some people have asked about the use of the photo in the episode, in particular when to add it. Well, here's the thing...you don't have to add it at all if you don't want. I usually use it at the base of the image, but sometimes, I'll use pieces of it on the most surface areas. ...and sometimes just the frame is used. What I'm getting at...and I really go into this when I teach...don't get hung up on the rules. Everything I have ever created has been through experimentation...right and wrong don't really exist in assemblage; this is true because you're trying to put things together that don't really belong together. Ultimately, the only question you have to answer is "how does it look", much less important is "did I do it right". Phooey on right. Break some rules.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ybarra studios



Had a nice day with some friends George and Kate Ybarra. George is a sculptor who uses massive pieces of metal ranging from car parts to...well....whatever, in his art. In fact, after a nice breakfast at his home, he stopped by my studio with a welded Mad Max-esque staff, which he gave to me - in the hopes I'd modify it ala me....He imagined me showing up at art openings with the staff in hand. Impressive... most impressive. One thing for sure is that I'd never get mugged with this thing.

The above image is from his Botanicals series...a series of bouquets of welded flowers. You can see his work at http://www.blueempress.com/

Friday, February 09, 2007

I'm whooped


Man, it's been a whirlwind couple of days. I'm trying to get things tied up before I head to Australia for a month. Teaching as well as a bit of play. I'm teaching in Perth...then to Sydney for the remainder. My girlfriend lives in Sydney... Judy (check out some samples of her visual anthologies here http://www.redvelvetcreations.blogspot.com/).

A number of things are in the works. Paint kits that have all the Golden Paints I use for my washes (complete with lunch box to hold all the goodies and aprons). These should be out by May.

My Tarot card limited edition prints (I'll be releasing them periodically through out the years....and then eventually all 72 in a deck format...yikes...sounds like a lot of work). The first two to be released this Spring will be the Fool and the Magician. I'll also release the High Priestess and the Empress later this year.

Also...a treat for ArtFestians and Port Townsenders. I will be exhibiting all the art in "Secrets of Rusty Things" at Artisans on Taylor (a gallery in Port Townsend) during the ArtFest and beyond. More info to follow this coming week.

Just filling in the spaces for my teaching schedule...I'll be everywhere man. ArtUnraveled is going live this week so zoom over to that site. I'm teaching four classes.

So...lots is going on. Some think I'm a bit nuts with everything I have happening. Well, perhaps, but I have a theory that there are times in one's life when blessings appear, as if a door has magically opened. I believe that one has to jump in with all there heart when this happens because you never know when it will open again. So I'm jumping...I'm just glad I don't have to bartend anymore...though. I still do make a mean martini.

to be continued
M

Thursday, February 08, 2007

100 Artists SOS Show at Mary Lou Zeek Gallery




Here's an a show you should support. I'm sure you'll recognize a least a few of the artists involved.

"Shelter"
Shelter
February 6 - Mar 3, 2007
First Wednesday, February 7, 5-7 pm

Salem, OR

The Mary Lou Zeek Gallery http://www.zeekgallery.com/ will be presenting the "100 Artists – S.O.S. Show 2007", the show will run from February 6 – March 3, 2007. Over the last 4 years, these shows have been a favorite of the gallery clients and also people across the nation.

About the Shelter: YWCA's Salem Outreach Shelter (S.O.S). Nine is the average age of a homeless person in the United States. Families with children account for 40% of the nation's homeless population. These two shocking statistics emphasize the importance of the YWCA's Salem Outreach Shelter (S.O.S). www.ywcasalem.org The shelter's goal is to break the cycle of homelessness in our community, 10 families at a time. SOS has been providing shelter and supportive services for families since 1987. Families stay in a stable, nurturing environment for up to 6 months while changing and improving their lives. They attend classes on money management, parenting, and life skills. Children receive tutoring and mentoring and participate in life enrichment activities. The shelter is unique in the Salem area, as it is the only transitional housing shelter that also provides intensive, goal-oriented case management.


The concept
Participating artists each received a 5" x 8" piece of cardboard through the mail on October 15, 2006. The item was used as a starting point for their piece of art with a completed maximum size of 8"x 8". Each piece of cardboard was sent "as is", was not packaged, but rather processed directly by the postal service firsthand. The stamps and address on the back will remain a part of the artwork for identification and for the evidence of the actual mailing.
Artists have had over two months to transform, build, imagine, infuse, reduce or reinvent the item into a work of art. Many of the 100 artists have created "outside" their typical medium or element. Many have been painters and find themselves creating in 3-D.Some have been assemblage artists finding new ways to use old materials, theme in hand and goal in mind.

The Exhibit/Event
The exhibit opens on February 6, 2007 with artist reception on February 7, 5-7 pm. The public will bid on their favorite artwork. Beginning bids are $50 with increments of $5.00. We will be posting the show online for everyone to see and bid during the entire month of February. Bidding begins on February 6th at 10 am. and will end at 5pm on March 3rd. Proceeds from this show will benefit the Salem Outreach Shelter.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Stampers Anonymous

Want to see all twelve of my new stamp line. Well you can...I won't stop you. Head on over to Stampers Anonymous http://www.stampersanonymous.com/cat-index.html
and scroll down the left hand side to pages 156 to 159.

Michael

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, anyone?

The Oaxaca Workshop is still happening!!!!! Hooray!

For those of you who have been out of the loop, I've been planning a Day of the Dead assemblage workshop in Oaxaca Mexico (the coolest place in the world...at least one of them). Then, about a year ago some protests closed the historic district.

Now, everything is rapidly getting back to normal. The very needed tourist trade is coming back. For those who don't know, this area is one of the richest in indigenous arts (as well as contemporary Mexican art). The indigenous people were hit hard by the lack of tourism. I'm so glad to see that things have come around.

It is one of those magical places, and the experience of Dia de los Muertos can't be beat. What is great about Oaxaca is that during this time of year there are so many options. Do you go to the cemetary and see the thousands of candles, marigolds, sand paintings, music and mescal, or do you watch the processions around town, or do you go to the local galleries to see more contemporary performances. It is mind blowing how much there is to do.

So click here for the skinny: http://www.michaeldemeng.com/Mexico.htm

or you can contact the organizer, Colleen Darling, directly:
contact:
Colleen Darling
colleen950@hotmail.com
Home 805-688-1221
Cell 805-448-1509

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Thanks for all the comments

Just wanted to say I appreciate all the nice comments about CraftLab. Now, I want to see it! I had a few questions posed to me so I thought I'd answer them in a post (I never know how to answer questions on a blog...not sure if I should do a post or respond in comment form).

Anyhow, for those who asked the about the book date: May...fingers crossed. Remember if you want a special signed version (including a custom designed bookplate and an ATC) you can preorder now (theres a button on the top right sidebar). My editor already has me thinking about another book proposal...the idea I have, if I do say so myself, is way cool...not going to tell you yet...but I'm really excited about putting this proposal together.

The putty colored glue I use...is...most of you know the answer....Liquid Nails. buy it at the hardware store. Also do yourself a favor for heavy duty projects...invest in a caulk gun and buy the Heavy Duty Liquid Nails. Super strong, becuase it is designed for exterior use. I just came across it this fall. It rocks.

Okay out to the studio I go,

Michael

Friday, February 02, 2007

CraftLab and stamps

Hi there,
Just got back from CHA....holy smokes what a giganto experience. Lots of schmoozing etc. and a bit exhausting. A few new places have popped up in the workshop category...so I'll fill you in as that stuff gets firmed up.
Stamps
The deMeng stamps are going well. So soon you'll be able to pick them up at your local store. They haven't been added to Stampers Anonymous's website yet but if you're interested you can allways contact them: http://www.stampersanonymous.com/index.html
I too will be selling them as soon as my shopping cart is up an running. Here's a sampling:





CRAFTLAB
Well apparently my first episode of Craftlab aired today. I thought it was supposed to be later in spring...maybe that is the second episode. I haven't seen it...but I have been receiving very nice responses from it. So if you're interested in seeing the project go here: http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/cr_photo_projects/article/0,2025,DIY_13772_5320859,00.html