The 100 #53 – Hopes, Fears, Dreams…

Another text-based public art project by BC Transit. Vancouver, Canada. I found these large poster style images outside and inside of the Broadway / City Hall Sky Train station.

Each image involves a figure seemingly entering a door. The figures are photographed from the rear to presumably ensure anonymity. The figures are overlaid with white text that reflects the hopes, fears, dreams etc of the person depicted. The format of the text is similar for each image and leads me to assume that all participants were asked the same questions. Based on the answers given I am led to believe that all participants are young people.

The following are all of the images shown presented in Gallery format. Click on thumbnails for larger image.

I like the content of the text, especially the dreams and fears and find the innocence of the responses extremely touching ; however, I am puzzled by the intent behind these confessional posters. Someone decided that this is an interesting idea for a public art project – I wish I had been a fly on the wall at those meetings. As a retired teacher of young people I am familiar and always fascinated by their hopes and dreams; however, I wonder how many of the general public share my interest.  What do you think, dear readers, of this project – its mode of presentation and its intent?

The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu

The 100 #52 – Back in the Game…

Self Portrait in circular mirror with text, by Clinock. 2012. Diameter, with writing, 12″. Chalk pastel, conte and black pen.

I have been struggling for some time with my art – a creative slump that had me questioning the meaning and value of what I was doing. Now I am back in the game and will be tentatively sharing some of the new work I have been making. I have gone back to basics. I have been studying colour, life drawing and still life painting and drawing. I have ‘laid-off’ my automatist and intuitive abstract approach for awhile and am attempting to understand, accept and apply a more classical way of working. This has been hard for me and I still find myself wrestling with trying to integrate the two approaches – but I am working again – Hallelujah! I am not abandoning my intuitive approach but I also don’t want to feel that a classical approach is outside of my creative world. I have a button that states: “Fear No Art”.  Although I feel that much of my new work is just feeling out a new path I am sharing because my postings are my way of encouraging myself to make art that is viewed by you and others.  I care what others think about my images because without this sharing I don’t know why I make art. I want to communicate with you through my images. I want to tell you how I see, who I am and what I feel and believe.

Because the text that surrounds my Self Portrait may be difficult to read I am transcribing it here:

Drawing a Self Portrait by Clinock.

“In the mirror my name is lost in forests of colour. Thoughts and feelings vanish in shadows and light. Memories transform into texture and line. My fingers dance to the drums of the Fathers and the chanting of the Mothers. Night spirits whisper and call and the shaman of the sun sings the music that swells inside. Flesh dissolves into rainbows of light. Rich and pulsing darkness purrs upon impossible edges of skin, the illusion of my beginning and ending. I fly in eagles and glide cold depths in the bellies of whales. I am in the tall pine, the voices of the Mothers and the hands of the beater of drums. Proudly I move to the drum. Within this circle of incantation and musty magic I am dancer, warrior and magician and my spirit is straight and true. I look into my eyes and each orb becomes a universe. The stranger in this circumference of glass  guides my hand and I dissolve again into marks moving across paper deserts. I know this language, always becoming, between the stars and the deepest cave of my heart. It speaks of coming home again. It speaks of walking this world proudly and in beauty”.

The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu

The 100 #45 – Russell Crotty

Great Comet Over the Acid Hill.

Russell Crotty (born 1956) is a Northern California based artist whose work incorporates astrological, nautical, and surfing themes. Astronomy has been Crotty’s passion from a very young age. Over the years, he has become an accomplished amateur astronomer. Utilizing his own collection of telescopes he studies the stars and celestial objects then interprets them onto globes and within drawings and books.

Great Comet – detail with text.

His body of work began with flat drawings of stars and deep sky objects, often within a circular motif, as you would see it through the telescope’s viewfinder. In the late 1990s Crotty began creating his signature globe drawings, introducing three-dimensional sculptural elements into his work.

Venus Over High Glade. 2006. 12″ diameter sphere. Ink and Gouache on paper on fiberglass.

Soon after, he began adding text to the drawings, a particular sort of prose which he refers to as “bad poetry.” The text depicts his personal commentary and adds a visual texture to the landscape.

The globes are fabricated in fiberglass then covered with archival paper by professional paper conservators. Crotty draws directly onto the coated globe with a special archival ball-point pen over a wash of watercolor, then a sealant is applied. Globe sizes range from 8 inches to 72 inches in diameter. The resulting body of astronomical work was informed by actual scientific research, yet infused with the poetic license of the artist.

Venus Over High Glade 2. 2006.

Holly Myers of the Los Angeles Times wrote “Crotty is certainly a man of science, although you might find it a quaint sort of science next to the high-tech efforts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech.  His work demonstrates a sublime patience and a tireless faith in detail. That said, the work is not cold or mechanical but engrossingly vibrant. Each image is composed of thousands of thin, short strokes of black ink, which make for a delicate, even sensuous surface quality, despite the seemingly inexpressive nature of the medium (ballpoint pen).  None of the works look like a NASA photograph; inscribed by a human hand, they are imbued with a very personal quality of awe.”

Real Estate Text

In 2007 a new body of work evolved — one of seascapes, landscapes and coastal mapping, citing both familiar and imagined coastlines, ridge lines and horizons. Crotty’s drawing begins with direct, intimate exploration of the landscape and making on-site field notes in personal sketchbooks. The resulting observations are then translated onto globes, books or single drawings, some containing text, a hybrid of rant and prose, worked directly into the drawn landscape.

A Giovata Diatribe (Detail). 2011. 18″ diameter globe. Ink and Gouache on paper on fiberglass sphere.

The text sometimes refers to Crotty’s experience with the land, trees or rocks — other times it is found text from such sources as real estate ads or magazines, a commentary on his concern for the ever increasing degradation of the coastline.

Credits: Wikipedia / russellcrotty.com / undo.net / artnet.com / slash.fr / Google Images.

In the Shadow of Bear Creek Spire. 2007

 

‘The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.

‘The 100’ #43 – Street Art with Text – Morocco…

In Marrakesh, Morocco the street signs for businesses employ rough illustrations of the nature of the business. These are not graffiti or street art as we know it, rather they are echoes of a time long past in north America and Europe when a service offered to the public was advertised with a visual explanation.

The two illustrations in this post are for dentists. No problems understanding the rather macabre pictures of these services.

If your dentist is ‘looking down in the mouth’ show him / her these pictures – it may raise a toothy smile!

‘The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.


‘The 100’ #42 – Street Art with Text – Italy…

I have hung a copy of this piece above my work table since finding it on a wall in Siena, Italy. Its simple wording: “Energy plus Time equals Art” has reminded me of  what, until recently, I considered the essentials. Whenever I have been caught in the web of ennui the figure has lifted its megaphone to its lips and loudly declared into my reluctant ear that which I haven’t wanted to hear and I have reacted with renewed energy. But its message is lost on me now and I have put this photo away along with a small mountain of unfinished work – all that seems equally meaningless to me at this time.

This particular posting is timely because, as some of you have gently hinted and others may have noticed, I have not shared my own art for a while. I have been in a debilitating creative slump and nothing I do to alleviate it has worked. My paintings are not speaking to me – every brushstroke feels false, every colour I apply feels alien and amateurish and every shape, form and line I make appears ridiculous. I know we all go through this at times but that knowledge doesn’t help. I have at least a dozen pieces that I have started that scream out to be resolved. I turn my head. I look at this posted photo and its words and understand that I need to put time and energy into my work but also realize that this is no longer enough. There is another element not mentioned by this anonymous street artist – call it X, or magic or inspiration or self confidence – whatever it is, it is missing and I feel alone.

Writing about this helps me to objectify. I am disgusted to hear myself whinge while my life and health are good and I live like an aristocrat compared to millions of my brothers and sisters. But now it is out and now you know why I am not posting my art and maybe now I can open to the words of Vincent and others:

 “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent van Gogh

“There is no use trying,” said Alice. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” — Lewis Carroll

“So you see, imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.”  — Brenda Ueland

I am away for a few days visiting friends on Vancouver Island to moodle and putter. Will post again on my return.

‘The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.


‘The 100’ #41 – Vancouver Street Art – Hack…

A hoarding decorated by a hired artist displaying iconic images of the north west coast: mountains, forests, ocean and a pod of killer whales. But the image has been hacked and the decorative idealism destroyed. The hacker’s addition is far from visually appealing and is far from the more aesthetic efforts of his spray painting ilk. He / she has hacked the mural with basic and minimalistic text but it is effective within its own context. Most will have considered this as pure vandalism with no artistic merit. I see it as an inartistic but honest attack on the surreal nature of such an image placed amongst the reality of such ugly and unappealing architecture which is itself a hack on the urban environment. The writer has obviously taken much effort to climb up to the high mural to post his / her iconoclastic statement and must have felt strongly enough about the mural to risk discovery and the legal consequences.
What do you think?

Street poem by Robert Montgomery.

‘The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.


‘The 100’ #40 – Vancouver Street Art – Dirge…

Old plywood boards cover the windows of an abandoned building. They are worn by weather and scratched and stencilled with letters and partly concealed words. On a painted white square someone has written ‘Dirge‘ in green.

Wiki tells us that a dirge is a somber song or lament expressing mourning or grief such as would be appropriate for performance at a funeral. The word is also commonly used to describe singing in an un-tuneful manner. Used here it is probably just the street name of the writer, however, the artist and poet in me sees it, in context, as a theme / title for the art work my eyes construct from the whole board. The board is a dirge, a lament for the passing of old buildings, their past inhabitants and time itself – it’s evocation is somber as the board is somber and its visual ‘singing’ is ‘un-tuneful’ in the sense that the board is out-of-tune with the aesthetics of conventional visual art work.

The eponymous poem that follows is about fragmented and futile moments such as are reflected in this post and much of street art. It is about the life of an individual that shrivels amid the institutions and forces of contemporary life. It is about the loss of personal experience in the world of mass culture.

DIRGE by KENNETH FEARING

1-2-3 was the number he played but today the number came 3-2-1; / bought his Carbide at 30 and it went to 29; had the favorite at Bowie but the track was slow-

O, executive type, would you like to drive a floating power, knee-action, silk-upholstered six? Wed a Hollywood star? Shoot the course in 58? Draw to the ace, king, jack?

O, fellow with a will who won’t take no, watch out for three cigarettes on the same, single match; O democratic voter born in August under Mars, beware of liquidated rails—

 Denouement to denouement, he took a personal pride in the certain, certain way he lived his own, private life, / but nevertheless, they shut off his gas; nevertheless, the bank foreclosed; nevertheless, the landlord called; nevertheless, the radio broke,

And twelve o’clock arrived just once too often, /  just the same he wore one gray tweed suit, bought one straw hat, drank one straight Scotch, walked one short step, took one long look, drew one deep breath, /  just one too many,

 And wow he died as wow he lived,

 going whop to the office and blooie home to sleep and biff got married and bam had children and oof got fired,

zowie did he live and zowie did he die,

 With who the hell are you at the corner of his casket, and where the hell we going on the right-hand silver knob, and who / the hell cares walking second from the end with an American Beauty wreath from why the hell not,

 Very much missed by the circulation staff of the New York Evening Post; deeply, deeply mourned by the B.M.T.,

 Wham, Mr. Roosevelt; pow, Sears Roebuck; awk, big dipper; bop, summer rain;

 Bong, Mr., bong, Mr., bong, Mr., bong.

Source: Kenneth Fearing: Selected Poems. Published by The Library of America, 2004.

‘The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.