Posts tagged ‘art’

22 January, 2012

Art and Curses

I love urban legends. I also love art. Hence, when they come together, it’s a good day for me. A Certain Fellow brought this to my attention earlier this evening and I actually thought it was entertaining enough to share, especially because there’s a sequel to the painting, which is really interesting in terms of both form and content. The transformation and reiteration of characters in space is interesting, especially considering how much the style has changed. So, here’s the haunted painting, along with its sequel:

space

space

The original with the little boy, is called “The Hands Resist Him” and the sequel painting is “Resistance at the Threshold.” The urban legend suggests that the figures in the first, known also as the “haunted eBay painting”, get out and/or move around the painting at night. Thanks for the nightmares, right? There’s more to the legend, too–apparently there are a couple of deaths associated with it. The Wikipedia page is pretty informative to that end.

The artist, Bill Stoneham, has a pretty great gallery. He’s a surrealist, and a lot of his work his heavily loaded with myth and symbolism.

Similarly, I ran across the “Curse of the Crying Boy”, which is urban legends at their most ridiculous– tabloids and painting burnings. Apparently, kitschy paintings in the UK have been blamed for house fires. I legitimately like “The Hands Resist Him” as a piece of art, though– it’s creepy, it’s uncanny valley territory, it’s unsettling, and it’s compelling to look at. The legend grows out of a very interesting, creepy painting with an interesting provenance. The legend is almost better because the artist is contemporary, and able to respond to and contribute to the painting’s myth. There’s an indulgent goofiness there that I really find charming.

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17 January, 2012

Running All Over Town Before Grad School Runs Me Down

So I cleverly bought myself a week and a half before the semester slammed into me where I could just explore Boston and play and have a grand time before the soul crushing academic grind began again. Of course, I squandered most of my time catching up on TV shows and revisiting old haunts (I really didn’t need three new used books from Raven Books…), but I also continued my quest for the perfect Boston coffee spot.

So, with no further noise on my part, here is how I spent my time:

January 7

My parents are horrific creatures of habit (so am I), so, despite my whining and wincing, we ended up eating at the same places while they were here. My dad didn’t want to know anything about Little Italy or my favorite Turkish diner. New England = sea food. Period. Thus, Legal Seafood. However, Legal serves their tea in these incredibly cool cast-iron teapots. All was well. By the way, the wealth of plaid in the background is my mother’s outerwear.

January 8

Despite my vow that they would not haunt Fanueil Hall (it’s a dangerous addiction) on this trip, we ended up down that way for dinner, anyway, because we spent our day at the aquarium, where we spent a gloriously long time looking at fish, and remarking upon how ugly shark’s teeth were.

January 9

You may not know this (or maybe you’ve sensed the trend) I love shop windows. Especially late at night, when the light gets a little spooky.

January 10

Wandering around Brookline Village it occurred to me that it was January, and there were still green things. Green. These tiny mosses are still alive.

January 11

If you thought this was snow, you’re wrong. It’s baseball diamond sand, which I’m pretty sure is frozen with these footsteps in it.

January 12

Thus begins the frantic travels part of my vacation: two friends and I (yes, I spend time with other humans, hence why I take a lot of late night photos– it’s usually the only time I have a moment to do so) went to the MFA to attempt to finish what a Certain Fellow and I began in October (we failed. A third trip is necessary.) So a Certain Lady, a Certain Fellow, and a Certain Villain went cavorting about the Asian and Buddhist areas of the MFA. Certain Partners in Crime are certainly not in this first photo. Later photos: the funniest thing I saw all day, followed by collection of creepy shadows around a really nifty Japanese Buddhist idol.

YAHHAAAA! I AM AMAZING.

January 13

This is the inside of a great coffee shop whose name I have now forgotten.

January 14

Toured around Newbury St. Signs in stores, sunsets, and other trivial bits. The second one is somewhat hard to read (curses on my tiny camera phone’s screen, which made it look very clear indeed) but it says “keep this little button safe, though humble he could be of great use one day…” Oh, Anthropologie…

January 15

I also love wires and wire intersections. Reservoir Station has a marvelous collection. Plus, sitting down to pleasantly friendly graffiti is always a bonus!

January 16

In the department of new haunts/old haunts, I found a great cafe in Cambridge that I’m now rather partial to (Cafe Crema, to the curious), where I took no photos. Then I prowled around the same stores I always prowl when up in Cambridge. Then a Certain Fellow called to inform me it was snowing. I supply the photographic evidence. All my complaining about the lack of tangible winter has paid off! But first! A picture of feet at the Park St. Station.

12 December, 2011

Another Diversion: Bergdorf Goodman Window Displays

photo from another normal.com (linked below)

Basically the coolest window displays of all time.

http://maisonchaplin.blogspot.com/2011/11/bergdorf-goodmans-christmas-windows_22.html

Even better news: there’s an archive of these gorgeous things.

http://www.anothernormal.com/?page_id=59

9 December, 2011

A few interesting diversions…

1.

Brilliant Paper and Book Art: the Edinburgh mystery sculptor’s works. I love the notes she leaves with her sculptures.  http://thisiscentralstation.co.uk/featured/mysterious-paper-sculptures/

2.

3.

Grad School Barbie: wondering where I went and why it takes me so long to upload photos? This is a pretty thorough answer. http://ceejandem.blogspot.com/2010/02/graduate-school-barbie-tm.html

4.

This, which I can’t explain in more words than just “YES.” http://selfpoptart.tumblr.com/

12 September, 2011

Adventures on the Internet: Knite

Realizing that the guy in my photo had a card stuck in his hat made me go read Lackadaisy, which inevitably collided me with something else rather lovely: Knite.

Yes. This is a full color comic, and it’s free, and every page is this breathtakingly beautiful.

 

Really, really gorgeous work. Three chapters done, with roughs for chapter four, as well. (Which you should read, because artist yuumei’s/Wenqing Yan’s commentary is hilarious.)

Chapter 1 Knite

You can check out the first three chapters and the omakes, as well as the roughs for chapter 4, by following the link above. It’s really a privilege to find talented artists who want, and make a conscious effort, to share and keep their stories free of charge.

Knite does have a publisher, 4DE. That website is here.

11 September, 2011

Mapping the World

“Different maps tell very different stories, and assume very different forms, according to their function, or their point of view. Ptolemy mapped the heavens by standing on earth. Galileo remapped them by imagining that he was standing on the Sun.”

–D.F. McKenzie, Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts, 44.

I stumbled awkwardly through a mire of hilightings and underlinings until this sentiment and I ran headlong into each other on page 44. Yes, it might have been my nerd senses tingling at the mention of a Ptolemy (not, in case you’re wondering, a Pharaonic Ptolemy, but still an Alexandrian), but I also have a pronounced interest in maps and cartography.

Maps are essentially attempt 90 billion on the part of humans to put the universe into nice, neat boxes (or nice, neatly drawn grid squares, in this case), and our need to understand through cataloging is something of a source of perpetual entertainment for me.

One of the strangest realizations is that maps don’t have to be objective. They can show whatever they want to know. They are a reflection of a reflected reality. By this I mean, they are an imperfect written record of an imperfect and biased view (the cartographer’s) view of the world.

I have a character in the project I’m (re)working through right now who’s a cartographer. I wonder what form of imperfection his maps have?

Anyways, onward with the photo project…

Sept. 6: So much rain this weekend. While I was walking to campus from the T stop, I happened to look down. I like sidewalk cracks. Looking at them reminds me that nothing’s forever, and that sooner or later, everything is fragmentary. Sorry, there was no way to phrase that without sounding emo/heavy handed.I could talk more about sidewalk cracks, but I’ll spare you.



Sept. 7: I walk by several goofy signs every day, and while there is nothing inherently goofy about the phrase “Not a through street” in and of itself, I love how squished it looks on this big yellow diamond, like it’s outgrowing the constrictive size of the sign. Think of it like a typographical sumo wrestler trying to wedge himself into skinny jeans.

Sept. 8: This was my day of discovering enormously odd tiny things. Like this guy, hanging out on the concrete steps by the main library. You can tell it rained a little, looking at the discolored concrete.

Sept 9: My city’s library is cooler than your city’s library. Just saying. Beyond those paneled wooden doors? That’s a courtyard. With sculptures. And a fountain. And a garden. And chairs. Just saying. Sorry for the lousy photo quality.

Sept. 10: Today was a pretty productive exploring day. I went to two street festivals, through Quincy Market, and bookstore hunting. More bookstore hunting is in my future. I bumbled into an outdoor concert down by Quincy at the Boston Arts Festival (ahts festival, if you like) and stayed until the group finished their set. I read my book history book. I wonder if the fellow with the card in his hat is a Lackadaisy lover?

Sept 11: I, in fact, didn’t leave my apartment today, so you get a picture of something weird in my room, namely, a sculpture that I now use to keep my hair sticks in check.

 

Until next time, friends.

1 May, 2011

The Madness of Art

We work in the dark–we do what we can–we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.

–Henry James

30 March, 2011

Gothic Fairytales

I ran across these beautiful images from Japanese photographer Miwa Yanagi, and thought they were worth sharing.

More after the break.

 

read more »

4 March, 2011

The American Skeuomorph

A skeuomorph is, basically, an ornament that imitates an earlier, functional incarnation of itself. It is something like the studs on your jeans–which once had a function but are now little more than a decorative accent– or the pocket watch pocket in pants and jackets. Like tiny ghosts, they slip under the radar, never questioned, never removed.

I’ve been thinking for several days about skeuomorphs now, since I stumbled upon them at the beginning of this week. Why do we hang on to these bits of antiquity? Why does the design feel so empty without them? Is it just tradition, or is it a subconscious demand to have something that places us as a link to the past? To something recognizable?

When you’re writing science fiction or fantasy it is always recommended not to stray too far from the familiar– readers need something to fit their fingers around. They need a schematic. Much like a skeuomorph, this schematic is only there as a link to something earlier. Something recognizable. Without it, you can alienate readers– effectively put them into something like culture shock.

Another thought: consider the jargon that gets used in American media all the time that places the United States as a firmly Christian country (despite declining church attendance and affiliation) and rhetoric that suggests we are the greatest world power, and always will be (despite the rise of other countries, such as China). As time moves forward, “old-fashioned American values” and “the American dream” have had less of a tangible role in coming-of-age in America, yet the language lives on. I expect it will continue to live on, as well. Like the pocket watch pocket, its function is minimal (and occasionally re-imagined), and yet, it endures. It is part of the standard design, and without it we would feel somehow incomplete.

“American Love; like coke in green glass bottles…they don’t make it anymore.”

-Alan Moore The Watchmen

 

This has nothing to do with my thoughts on Skeuomorphs, but I have been here, and so has someone else, apparently:

This has happened to me.