Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Morpheus Box

Time for another Online Workshop!
Registration Begins Feb. 28th
Class Starts May 4th

One again I am reaching into the vault and bringing a class from days of yore to the Internet.  This time we've got a bit of movement to spice things up a bit.
The Morpheus Box
As a kid I loved magicians. One of my most cherished memories was when I used to go to magic shops with my grandfather. I was fascinated with secret compartments, velvet curtains and trap doors. Finally, after all these years I have found a way to apply some of those childhood memories to the art-making process.

In this class we will be creating an art chamber with rotating art….literally. Using assemblage and collage the students will create shadow box that has not one, not two, not three, but FOUR options for the viewer. If you get bored with an image, simply give it a spin and…Presto…a new image appears….like magic.

I will be showing students a variety of assemblage,  techniques to build and adorn our chamber of change. Don't worry if you're not the handiest with tools...neither am I.  My construction techniques are very simple and easy to follow.  I do recommend two tools for the class that will make your life a whole lot easier: Dremel Rotary Tool and a power drill.
After the construction is all done I will go over a multitude of painting techniques and collage techniques to get this transformation box looking nice and dreamy.  

Question you may have:

  • How much does it cost?   $99.99 
  • When does it begin? 5/4/13
  • How long does it run?  The class will be available for 2 months
  • How does it differ from live class?  Online classes allow for a bit more in depth explanations of techniques etc.
  • Will there be video?  A: Yes.  I have about 180 of minutes of protected video that only students will be able to access.
  • Will it be live?  No.  I will not be doing live video, but I will be setting up a Yahoo Group where I will be available to discuss your questions.  However I each week I will record a video responding to all the questions posed in the Yahoo group.
  • Can you tell me more about the Yahoo Group?   Students can access this anytime and discuss issues with other students.  A gallery is also available for students to share current and past works. 
  • Is the class segmented or do I get everything at once?  I have designed the class so you will have access to all the information at once and can play with it as you like, at your own speed.  New weekly videos will pop up with additional tidbits and tips.
  • What kind of site is being used to host this class?  I'm using a protected TypePad account.
  • How will I access the TypePad account?  When class begins I will send out passwords and usernames to all the students.  
  • What else will be on the blog?  Along with the Videos I will be posting the major questions as they come up, and the solutions.  I will also do weekly video addressing these questions.
  • Is this for Beginners or Advanced students?  It's for everyone.  I've made it so it is information that can be used by all levels.
  • Will it be entertaining?  Geez, I hope so.  I will try and make it very un-dry and fun.
  • How will  you accept payment?  PayPal
  • What will happen after I sign up?  I'll send you a confirmation to say "howdy" and then just sit back until I start the Yahoo group.  At that point  you'll get an email inviting you to join prior to class and meet some of the other students.  Then on May 4, 2013,  I will send out the TypePad site, codes, etc.
How do I sign up?  A: Click the little button and you're off and running. WooHoo!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Importance of Being Artist

Sometimes the world can be a bit scary.  I mean...really... Russian meteors and fiscal cliffs can really put one in a funk. Unfortunately it's when times are tough that one of the biggest casualties is the Arts and Arts education. Art is often perceived as a luxury item and in school it has become an elective that has little or no value in the harsh pragmatic "real world". Well, let me just say, art is one of the wonders of the universe that make the "real world" something spectacular. Art is a mysterious force. I don't understand it's power...but I do know that it is capable of reaching parts of my soul that nothing else can. It is a way of communicating that speaks beyond our world of atoms and molecules.

It is because of this, I plead to you, don't forget your artists.  Don't forget them because when things seems dim they can bring enlightenment through music and art. Currently it is a tough time for the arts.  Many artists are struggling to survive, in fact many well known artists are having difficulty making a go of it.  I understand, after all, the recession hit everyone and everyone is a bit edgy.  What I'm saying is this:  Support the arts in whatever way you can. If can't afford it monetarily then do it in enthusiasm and promotion.  Trust me when I say that we don't want the arts to fade away. We all will gain when the world is filled with the magic of creativity.  

Here are a few suggestions.  
  1. Buy original art- if you can afford it buying an original piece of art is a great investment in culture.   When giving gifts, original art can be a treat, now matter how much or how little you spend.
  2. Go see live music or plays- it always amazes me how little local bands get paid.  So if you have a place to listen to music…don't wince at the cover charge.  It's for a good cause.  Also if you see a street musician...drop some moolah in the hat.
  3. Take a workshop- many artists make a portion of there living teaching (me included).  There are a number of places around the globe and a tremendous amount of talented folks sharing knowledge.  
  4. Support local festivals and events - many cities have local events that involve artists and performers.  
  5. Education - the arts grow if people understand the importance of art from the get go.  So make sure you share this with your kids.  It's easy for the arts to get pushed aside.  If you are an artist consider contacting local schools.  Many art teachers would love to have an artist come and talk to there class.
  6. Hire a Band - having a party?  Local musicians rock!
  7. Make Art - Not everyone has to be a professional artist, but everyone needs a dose of creativity to reset and get them through the grind.  I can't tell you how many folks I run into take classes to reboot and refresh.  Art is one of those things that helps us connect with ourselves as well as others on the planet...and that seems like a pretty worthwhile thing to do.
  8. Experience Lots of Different Art - Lots of ideas and lots of good stuff out there.  You never know what might be a source of enlightenment or inspiration.  
  9. Visit Galleries and Museums - Many places have gallery nights and walks.  Make sure you check out what's happening locally.  Also not a bad idea to become a member at museums you like.  
  10. Abandon Art - a growing number of artists of all levels are creating art for the sole purpose of abandonment. The purpose is to create art and offer it up to folks without any expectation other than adding beauty to the world.
  11. Talk-Blog-Share-Talk Some More -  tell everyone  you know about artists you like.  It's a big world but sometimes artists need a bit of help finding their audience.  

So let me leave you with of list of places that have supported me through out the years so in turn I want to support them.    The following places are stores, organizations and events that have worked hard to keep creativity alive, so if you can, help keep 'em going.   This is just my list...and is certainly not all inclusive.  It is just my way of saying thanks for all that you do for the community and artists like myself.  

  • My buddy Colleen Darling - she and I have been doing Day of the Dead workshops in Mexico for quite a while now.  Now we are looking at expanding into other areas in Latin America...starting with Mexico City.  She is one of the best-est people on the planet and it has been a treat working with her to share the magic of Mexican culture with folks.  You rock Colleen!

 I encourage you to add links of people or places that are friends to the arts in the comment section.  

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
-Pablo Picasso  

Monday, February 25, 2013

A blast from the past now a workshop for Art is You

Fantastical Fantoccini: Baba Yaga BirdHouse

This is a post from last year.  I thought it was was worth reposting since Ive turned it into a workshop for Art is You Nashville and Petaluma   It should be fun fun.  So here's the Baba Yaga Birdhouse 

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 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 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.  
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 might say you've already eaten.

A little challenge....

My buddy Carmi had a little challenge for me and other artists. The challenge was to transform a simple metal cuff and fish leather. Here's what I came up with... A wearable shriney.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Bat Boy Escapes

Recently I came across an old periodical from days of yore, (well maybe not yore, but certainly days gone by).  It was a copy of the notorious Weekly World News.  I'm sure you remember'd see it at the check out of the grocery store.  Headlines would read things like: Dick Cheney is a Robot or Victims Pajamas are Haunted.

Many of you may have been tempted to pick up a copy and add it to your shopping list...usually it was only if the line was short...or late at night when no one was around.  If it was just you and the check out person you could explain yourself..."this stuff is hilarious" you'd say.

I vividly remember the first issue I purchased had the infamous headline "Bat Child Found". 
 It was 1992 and I was at the supermarket grabbing beer for a poker game.  I couldn't resist.  It was a touching tale of a young bat man that was found in some caves of West Virginia.

A few months passed before I picked up another issue of the Weekly World News.  I was once again hosting a party and needed some noshes.  This headline read: Bat Child Escapes.  
Apparently the infamous child had managed to find it's way out of a government facility.  One of the best things about this particular issue was an op-ed by Ed Anger ( the way was always angry about something), who went on a rant about the how inept U.S. government and its inability to keep and contain this menacing creature.  Over the years, Bat Boy has had a variety of romps in the pages of the WWN.  Now that the print version is no more, Bat Boy seems stronger than ever on there web edition.  Recently:
Heidi Klum and BB are a thing.  Read the whole story here:

Last August:
Paul Ryan is that you?

Bat Boy has become a cultural phenomenon.  He became the source of and off Broadway play...Bat Boy the Musical.

 And he is also featured in comics.

And of course the Bobble Head

A decade later I was at the check out with a friend of a friend (someone that I didn't know very well)...lets call him Bruce.  As we waited I playfully picked up a copy   Bruce laughed because he told me he used to work at the Weekly World News.  He explained the laws in Florida made it possible to print just about anything....thus Bat Boy, dolphins with hands, etc.  He also told me that he and his girlfriend (who was also once employed there) could be seen in past issues wearing various costumes, wigs, fake mustaches, bizarre appendage for accompanying stories.  I asked him, "Bruce...are you Bat Boy?".  He didn't say a word, he just stood there stoically until a small devious smile appeared.  I'm not entirely sure....but I think on that evening long ago...I met Bat Boy.

So if you ever wonder what sorts of things inspire me...among other things look no further than an issue of the Weekly World News.