Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

As many of you know I've been spending much of my time in Vancouver...awaiting my Canadian permanent residency.  Often I have taken the B.C. Ferry to Victoria and passed through the breathtaking area called Active Pass.  Last time I took this trek, the boat passed by, what must have been a hundred gulls resting on the water.  As we got closer, they took flight simultaneously and hovered until our ferry passed.  I know that my wife, Andrea, has witnessed pods of Orcas swimming through this channel.  So it is not unusual to see various sea beasties about...and apparently this includes mermaids.   In 1967, ferry passengers witnessed what seemed to be a mermaid chowing down on a salmon at the entrance to Active Pass.  

It was even reported in the papers.  However...all photos have gone missing....hmmm.
I'm sure she looked something like this
Of course she could have been a Fiji mermaid.  Actually the Fiji Mermaid (originally Feejee mermaid) was a trick P.T. Barnum used.  

Upper torso of a monkey skeleton 
back half of a fish
paper mache
Not very seductive.  I guess mermaids don't have to be all that sexy.
  Less erotic versions seem to pop up through the ages.
Though to me...I always envision them as sirens that lure sailors to their ruin.  Now this is more like it.
Those folks who are in for a bit of mermaid burlesque....Coney Island has an annual Parade of Mermaids.
Here's some photos I found online in a post by Brian DubĂ© 
Okay now lets get to my version.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
As some of you might know this particular piece started with a little poll I did on Facebook.  I asked folks to vote on the which mythological creature they would like to see me create a piece of art about.  Mermaids/sirens overwhelmingly won.   

Vampires were second place.  Dragons third.  
I do believe some folks thought I might have a bit trouble addressing such a seemingly innocent creature...well, lets just say there was little doubt that I would bring out this sea-being's more shadowy side.

Much time was spent devising a working mechanism.  It took a bit of figuring out but eventually I got it so the waves move to and fro.

 And, oh course we need some nautical elements

And a shipwrecked sailor...
...or two.
 So I'm certain you'd like to see the piece in action...
Don't get stuck between the Devil and the deep blue sea.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cabinet Card Mythologisms

The idea of taking a piece of art from the past and modifying it into something rich and strange is really nothing new.  Basically this idea is at the very root of collage.  The early 20th center Dada-ists went to town with this.  Great examples of this would be 
Hannah Hock  (left) or her long time partner Raoul Hausmann (right)

Of course, you could certainly argue that assemblage most certainly fits into this category quite nicely on in a 3d sort of way...but for now lets stick with 2d goodies.  For my part I've been altering cabinet cards for a couple of years now.  Admittedly, I do have pangs of guilt every so often...that fear that a distant relative will see and be repulsed with what I've done the Uncle Morris.
(Not really my Uncle Morris.  This was from a series I did a few years ago.  Blue Meanies.)
I thought I'd showcase a few artists that utilize this process.  

A friend of mine and fellow artist, Sonya Paz was what really got me inspired to write a post on this topic by mentioning the art of Eddie Breen (I'm not sure if he actually coined the term "piggyback" art, but I'm guessing he did).  Here are some of his goodies.

The other day I came across come nifty things by Chris McMahon.  He paints monsters onto thrift store paintings.  

Oaxacan tattoo artist, Dr. Larka has a slightly different take on this.  Adding ink to unsuspecting pin-up girls and ladies in waiting.

Alex Gross who does some magnificent Pop Surrealist paintings, also has some fun with cabinet cards.

and now some of my stuff
The term I have started using for my cabinet cards (and for most of my work these days) is "mythologism".  The term comes from the idea of transforming the mundane into something otherworldly and spectacular... into something worthy of a myth or legend.
Therefore I declare myself:  Michael deMeng:  Mythologist.   
Catchy...don't you think?  So without further ado here are my "mythologisms" or "piggybacks" if you prefer:

Unsinkable Molly

 Patricia Landlines

Bedhead Magillicutty

Pointy Pete

Sally and Clarence Spudtoes

 Owen Twinkletter

Happy piggybacking!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

What does the future hold?

I don't need to look into my crystal ball to tell you that my workshop season is just about to get swinging.  So lets take a peek...shall we?

Random Arts in Saluda
click here for the whole skinny:

I'll be rolling into North Carolina in about a month.  Looking forward to a bit of junking and hanging with the Jane and the gang down south...especially since she got her new digs.  Too early for fireflies?  Hope those little dudes.
Anyway hope to see you there...
I'll be teaching:
Patron Saint of Discarded Things

Also coming up fast...

Small Studios
for more info
Heading to the Cleveland area...Westlake to be precise
Will be good to see the infamous my pal Ginny (you know her from the Art Continuum days).  Doing three classes out there...and my beloved wife Andrea Matus will be teaching a series of workshops as well.
I'll be doing
Patron Saint of Rusty Things

Talking Heads AKA mini deMent-triloquism

Assemblings of a Mad Watchmaker

Andrea will be teaching
Atypical Aphrodites, Collaging the Translucent, and  Dorian Gray Portraits

For those of you looking to the is what else is going down


And here is some stuff I'm looking into..
  • Great Britain????
  • Italy??