Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Orleans Jazz Fest Exhibit and 2013 workshop

Part One:  
Workshop 2013
I'm looking forward to, yet, another exiting New Orleans adventure in 2013.  Sign ups have begun! Hope you can join the fun.  
This year we have a special emphasis on junking.  So we'll be doing a bit of pre-class gathering on a search for rusty things.
Click for more info: 

Part Two:
Strange Angels at Jazz Fest
Come check out some of my Strange Angels at the Purgatori, Paradisio exhibit at Artisans on Taylor in Port Townsend, WA.    After that my little dudes head south to the Big Easy.
They will be featured in the Nouvelle Lune Gallery during the month of May during Jazz Fest.  The gallery is located at  938 Royal St (St Philip), New OrleansLA 

check it out
cheers
M

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Creature Features



I'm doing a little poll.  Asking folks for there favorite mythological being.  The winning creature is the source of my next piece of art.  I'll be running the poll until Thursday evening.
To vote go here
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-deMeng-Assemblage-Art/43224124214

There is an option to add your own choice.
Let's see what I'm doing next.  Can't wait!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Fatanstical Fantoccini: Baba Yaga

Fantastical Fantoccini: Baba Yaga 
Yesterday on FaceBook I posted an image of yet another Fantastical Fantoccini I had been working on and   I decided to do another quiz ...although this time I didn't bother asking folks the marionette's function.  This seemed to obvious.  Yes the wings flap...
Instead I asked what legend or folktale served as the source of inspiration.  Lots and lots got it correct (I need to make my quizzes harder).  
It is indeed Baba Yaga.
Baba Yaga is a witch in slavic folktales.  Sometimes a wise sage, but mostly an evil witch.  She rides in a flying mortar while using her pestle as the rudder.  Her broom is used to brush away her trail.   Here's a comic book version:
art by: Francesco Francavilla
For the most part she is not a nice lady...house surrounded by a fence made of bones, capped by skulls.  Cool idea...unless you one of the skulls....
art by Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin
The pretty girl in the above art is not Baba, but the Vasilisa who is sent out to retrieve light fromt the crone...and is taken hostage.  Ultimately, the beautiful girl is set free by Baba Yaga's pets...not very loyal pets, apparently.

Baba Yaga is a hag.  
 I always think of her as the woman in Drag Me to Hell...
or
 ..perhaps Sea Hag from Popeye.

The Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky's suite Pictures at an Exhibition contains a movement entitled The Hut of Baba Yaga

For me the most interesting thing about her is her house...said to be perched upon chicken legs...or in the Polish version a singular leg, perhaps for mobility.   It seems to me that one leg makes for a bumpy ride.  Two on the other hand...

Art by Yoitisl

It is suspected that this house design was based on an ancient slavic burial structure: 
Art by Nicholas Roerich


On a more contemporary level (though probably not inspired by Baba Yaga) this is from Japan:

Architect Terunobu Fujimori - entitled: Takasugi-an (a teahouse too high).

Now to my version

As usual it is made form various bits and pieces.  

Plastic angel wings, cheap little birdhouse, camera lens...which by the way...is how she keeps an eye on you.

 I was a bit more subtle with the leg...
For some strange reason I tried to keep it a bit more subdued.   

You might see something a bit out of place...
A Virgin Mary above the lens.  
What would that be doing on an old crone's doorway? 
The reason for that was because one of the elements that I find interesting about this character is that she is sometimes bad and sometimes...not as bad.    So when you go to her door...if you were to  see a symbol that embodies the positive...does that mean she will help...or is she merely deceiving the visitor into a false sense of security?  Similar to the candy house in Hansel and Gretel.  
or  
To quote Sir Lawrence Olivier in the Marathon Man:
"Is it safe?"

So...beware the Baba Yaga.  After all, she is sometimes said to be cannibalistic.

 If she offers you a bowl of soup...you might say you've already eaten.


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Caliban the Mooncalf

So as promised.  I said I would share the finished product of my latest puppet...Caliban.  
A number of you got the correct answer on the quiz, asking which play this dude was from.  The answer being the Tempest...my fav of all of Shakespeare's plays...and source of my favorite quotation.
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell
 
And the puppet is the character Caliban...
...the wild and indigenous villain, whose mother is was a socreress and arch-nemisis to the bookish Prospero.  By the way, if you ever have a chance check out the film Prospero's Books...Peter Greenaway's wondrous strange film adaptation.  
As it turns out I am writing a fairytale accompany this creation.
My version is a prequel...and then a sequel.  The Tempest takes place in the middle.  Caliban is not the villain he is accused of in the play...he is a victim of treachery.   

So... now to the puppet...what exactly does he do?  Many of you guessed the claw moved...and many of you guessed the eye...Well...the eye is correct.  Now let's show you...
video





Monday, March 05, 2012

Sketched ou Monday...and a little game...with a House-headed Marionette

So today were going to play a little game.  I've been working on another little marionette-ish thing.  So I thought I start off with a sketch...a few black and white shots....and let you guess what this little dude does.  

Question 1.  This puppet has one simple action.  Pull a string and....What does this marionette do?  

Queston 2.  I am currently writing a fairytale based on this character.  The source for the story is a Shakespearian play.  What is that play?  Bonus...who is the  character
Hint: My favorite quote comes from this play
Hint: It has been suspected that this play is an interpretation of the colonization of the so called "New World".
Tomorrow I will answer the questions and show a full color version of the marionette scene.  Plus...I'll include a video showing the puppet's movement.

see you tomorrow
M