Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Martians VS Devils

So I've had strange struggle over the last week or so.  I've been working on a deMent-triloquist sample for some upcoming workshops (M.E.C.C.A, Zinnia, Valley Ridge, Lemoncholy, CrescenDoh, and Art is You) and was faced with a bit of a quandary.  Originally it was going to be a sideshow devil sort of dude...bright red.  Well that didn't pan out.  
The red was even too creepy for me...looked good but a bit too much like muscular diagram.  So from there it went to a toned down steampunkish devil.  

All was fine but he still seemed a bit creepier than I wanted.  The solution?  Turn him into a Martian of course
  I was astounded how a subtle change on top of the head made the guy slightly less grim.    I said...slightly...
You decide for yourself.  Does it make a difference or not?

This got me thinking...
I decided to compare Martians and Devils.
Lets look at Ray Walston from My Favorite Martian
Here he is an everyday little green man.  
A simple replacement of the antennae...and behold...Ray is much more sinister.  
Okay okay...in an effort of full disclosure...I did enhance his brows.  
Even so, 
I think this guy is way more menacing... 
than this guy:
I know what you're saying...the great Kazoo from the Flintstones is not exactly a good example of an ominous Martian type, but I still think my hypothesis stands.  Martians with long antennas are much less threatening thank devils with horns.  
Now just to confuse the issue a bit more.  
Here's a version of Lucifer from the 1400's, by Michael Pacher
Is this the devil...
or is it an episode of My Favorite Martian: the Early Years?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Mad Alchemist's Construction Guide from Michael deMeng on Vimeo.

Here's the skinny…Minnie:

Mad Alchemist's Construction Guide: 
Online August 18, 2012

Art Lab

It's time for another online workshop!  This time we are going to explore the methods of building and constructing that I use in my assemblage creations.   Here are some of the things we'll cover in the class: 

  • Sticky - what do different glues do
    • E6000 
    • Gorilla Glue
    • Two Part Resin 
    • Much more
  • Screwy - Using hardware to connect things
    • Nuts and Bolts
    • Screws and Nails
    • Rivets and Staples
  • Specialty
    • Pulleys
    • Latches
    • Hinges
    • Springs
  • Plastery
    • Using Plaster as a method of Construction
  • Moldable 
    • Aves Apoxy Clay and Sculpt
    • Sugru Hacking Putty
    • Sculpey
    • Wax
  • Tying it all together
    • Wire
    • Twine
    • Rope 
    • Chain
  • Wood
    • Creating basic wood attachments
  • Armature
    • Making a base to build from
  • Problem Solving 
    • using unusual things in unusual ways

Question you may have:
  • How much does it cost?  A: $59.95
  • When does it begin? A: August 18, 2012
  • How long does it run?  A: The class will be available for 2 months b
  • How does it differ from live class?  A: 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?  A: 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?  A: 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?  A: 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?  A: I'm using a protected TypePad account.
  • How will I access the TypePad account?  A: When class begins I will send out passwords and usernames to all the students.  
  • What else will be on the blog?  A: 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?  A: It's for everyone.  I've made it so it is information that can be used by all levels.
  • Will it be entertaining?  A: Geez, I hope so.  I will try and make it very un-dry and fun.
  • How will  you accept payment.  A: 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 August 18, 2012,  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!

Art Lab

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

deMeng Workshop Map

Hey gang,
I put together a little map for you to keep track of my upcoming workshops. You can browse by region.  Take note...there are some interesting locations on the horizon...very interesting locations.

View deMeng Spanning the Globe in a larger map

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Acts of Art

Well, heading back North to Vancouver after a weekend of fine Southern hospitality.  It all started with a dish called Eggs Abraham at Mean Mr. Mustards, then to antiquing at Needful Things and culminating in the sleepy town of Saluda and a weekend of bizarre critter and shrine making at Random Arts.

Here's a little of what you missed if you weren't there.

Awwwwww….Jane's new store...

Here's a little Zoo-illogical that Bobbie was working on…hide the kids.

Jen went more with a Rockets theme…"Hello my honey, hello my baby, hello my ragtime gal"

Meanwhile Flav was working on a Swan Lake Barbie theme...

Here's a nice one with a medusa hand-thing going down.  Love the contrast with the lilies.  

Of course each class ends with a little class discussion of what everyone accomplished.
Here's me blathering on.

And last but not least Me and my host Jane, and the Patron of Rusty Things Class.  

We had talked about skipping next year for my return but we all had such a fun time… I'll be back.  Next year…puppets and marionettes.  Things with strings.  
Woo hoo!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Wherefore art thou, Wild Things?

You know…sometimes you are unaware of the things that have inspired your life…artistically or otherwise.   When I was a child I had a favorite book, "Where the Wild Things Are",  by Maurice Sendak.  Today Maurice Sendak passed away and I was a bit surprised how sad it made me.   Like millions (I assume, if not more) I read and reread and reread and reread this book.  In my mind, I was the main character, Max... though perhaps I never chased a dog with a fork, but I recall trying to leave my reality by costumes, secret forts, and, of course, art. 
I tried to escape as often as I could.   The truth is, however,  that I didn't have a bad childhood;  my parents were (are) kind, encouraging and supportive,  But as a child I always felt as if I didn't quite belong.   I felt as if somehow, someone made a really big mistake and dropped me off on the wrong the planet.    I wondered how I could find that place where I could be understood and where my dreams could manifest themselves.  Eventually, I realized that my pad of paper was my escape.  It was how I "sailed off through night and day" to a place where I could rule and call my own.  Unfortunately, as rewarding as that is on a certain level,  the truth is that one's mind is a terribly lonely place…as Max discovers, one cannot completely live in the land of dreams.   The challenge is to find a way to sail back and forth between the realms with ease, and more importantly, to manifest those dreams in the "real world". 
To this very day I still visit my personal, secret place.   It is where my art comes from.  I must go there to retrieve strange and wonderful and sometimes frightening inspirations.  The struggle was (and is) to not abandon this place entirely.  The land of maturity, money and pragmatics continually beckons.    Once I became an adult I never wanted to live in the land of "grown ups"…I resisted it,  I still resist it… to my detriment sometimes… to my benefit more often.   Most of you are familiar with this biblical quotation:
       "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
To this I say "phooey".   Instead I offer three personal commandments: 
  1. I shall never abandon that special land across the sea where I can drink from a bubbling spring that makes me…me. 
  2. I shall remain a child, of sorts…and be more of  a child than I was, when I was a child.
  3. And…most importantly, I shall encourage others to never abandon their creativity, and to share their unique visions and explorations with the Universe.  

Nothing, in my mind is more important.
I will never have the opportunity to meet Maurice Sendak, but if I had, I would have liked to tell him why he was so important to me.  Of course, it is only after his death that I realize the profound influence he had on my life.  So thank you, Maurice Sendak, for sharing with me your map to Where the Wild Things Are…I visit as often as I can.

Here are a few links you  might find interesting

June is one busy month I'll tell you...

Classes, Classes and more Classes 

Small Studios 
Cleavland-ish Ohio
June 1,2,3 2012
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
Meanwhile...my beloved wife
Andrea will be teaching
Atypical Aphrodites, Collaging the Translucent, and  Dorian Gray Portraits

and then...Eugene
.I'll be back to the good ol' West Coast...  Oregon to be previce.

Material Exchange Center for Community Arts
June 9-10
Eugene, OR
click here to register  http://www.materials-exchange.org/workshops.html#deMeng

Michael deMeng, Reverend of Rusty Things returns to MECCA!

In case you were wondering, the fear of ventriloquist's dummies is called automatonophobic (which by the way includes the fear of wax dummies and automatons like Zoltar the fortune teller). I can understand how ventriloquist dolls could illicit terror and trepidation; typically they are bit creepy looking. Remember Anthony Hopkins in the film Magic, whose dummy seemed to have a villainous will of its own? Well, in this class, I'm not sure you'll walk away with a self-aware dummy but you will learn how to make deMented dolls that are capable of flapping their jaws. You start with a mannequin head, doll head, bust, taxidermy item, etc. and then using various found objects you will adorn and transform them into something rich and strange. Most importantly, your bizarre creation will be rigged so that it has the power to speak...hopefully not on it's own.

Want a bit of phobia inducing inspiration? Here are a few films in which dummies come to life: "Magic", "Dead of Night", "Devil Doll", "Dead Silence" and Twilight Zone episodes: "Caesar and Me" and "the Dummy." 

and then...Portland
its off to Portland for three days of classes

June 14-16
 in the alberta arts district:     

   1639 ne alberta street      
portland, oregon 97211        
Three days of Classes. Talking Heads, Assemblings of a Mad Watchmaker, and Patron Saint of Rusty Things. 
 and then...Pasadena
1024 Mission Street
South Pasadena, 
CA 91030 626.441.2181
Two classes in three days...

Assemblings of a Mad Watchmake
click here to register: http://zinnia.biz/Michael%20deMeng/zinniamichaeldea.html


and then...
Idyllwild CA
Up in the hills above Palm Desert I'll be back.  Two classes.

Session One
Through the Looking Glass Lightboxes
June 28-29:   
 You remember Pandora and how she released all the rotten things in the universe, all because she got a little curious. Well, if only Pandora had a little peephole or keyhole to check out the innards of that nasty ol' box...think of the grief she could have saved us all. She would have looked and said, "Gee! I really don't want to open that!", and thus we would all be spending our time in Tahiti drinking whatever they drink in Tahiti.  
In this class, we are going to put things right and create secret boxes or chests that can be previewed using keyholes and/or lenses. Not only that but we will illuminate the interior with lighting to make that mysterious space all the more revealing. On the exterior the chests will be adorned using found objects and the process of assemblage. On the interior students will create interesting realms to view, combining assemblage with collage. They can be places filled with secrets, dreams, or fears...locked away for safekeeping.

Session 2 
we'll be making the discarded seemingly sacred in:  
 Patron St. Of Discarded Things
June 30-July 1