May 06, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Show news/ Spring '13
If you can rate a show as means of making money, Cat Works has just returned from it's best show ever. That show is the Festival of the Arts in Oklahoma City. it ran from April 22 to April 28 and Cat Works sold in the low ten figures. My show inventory was decimated and I easily sold 280 pieces or more. The feline goddess was smiling on me.
I had to cancel my next show (Springfield MO, on the first weekend in May),not enought time to replenish my stock. So my next real appearance will be in Springfield IL the third week in May and then three weeks later it's The Old Town Art Show in Chicago. I looking forward to Old Town because everything I've been told is that outside of The One Show (in December) THIS is the most profitable show for artists. My brother lives in the northern suburb of Deerfield so lodging should not be an issue.
Lastly I have been offered a position as a Resident Artist in the newly formed Clayton Gallery in up-scale Saint Louis County. This is the old Gateway Gallery with a whole new stable of artists, you will see a quantum jump in quality. I expect to see the felines have a field day. I believe we are looking at June 1st to kick this off.
Attacks on Science by Government
Here's something I found online that we can generally catalog as "Attacks on Science by Government"
This is from "The Guardian"....Most scientists, on achieving high office, keep their public remarks to the bland and reassuring. Last week Nina Fedoroff, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), broke ranks in a spectacular manner.
She confessed that she was now "scared to death" by the anti-science movement that was spreading, uncontrolled, across the US and the rest of the western world.
"We are sliding back into a dark era," she said. "And there seems little we can do about it. I am profoundly depressed at just how difficult it has become merely to get a realistic conversation started on issues such as climate change or genetically modified organisms."
From the "Bad Astronomy" blog...I’m used to attacks on science; they’ve been endemic for years now. Antivaxxers, global warming deniers, creationists, what have you. And I’ve even gotten used to, at some level, egregiously antiscience rhetoric and machinations from government officials.
But over the past few days and weeks things seem to have gone to 11. I’m reeling from the absolute unfettered nonsense and sheer manipulation going on by our elected officials, and I’ll be honest: It’s scary.
To start, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), WHO IS A GLOBAL WARMING DENIER, BY THE WAY, is the head of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. He has recently decided that the National Science Foundation—a globally respected agency of scientific research and investigation—SHOULD NO LONGER USE PEER REVIEW TO FUND GRANTS. Instead it should essentially GET POLITICAL PERMISSION FOR THEWHICH RESEARCH TO FUND. .This is not a joke. Smith wants politics to trump science at the National Science Foundation.
But there is some good news on this issue from the White House...The White House science adviser criticized Republican efforts to curtail science spending that does not have a direct link to national interests and gave a spirited endorsement of the importance of political science and social science research and of peer review in a speech at a scientific conference here Thursday.
In remarks at the science policy forum of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, made a series of points related to Congress's vote last month to bar National Science Foundation funding for political science research for the 2013 fiscal year and, last week, a leading Republican lawmaker's personal questioning of the validity of specific social science projects financed by the foundation.
Keep Calm and Carry On...
On the right you will see elements of my OBEY THE KITTY picture. The top shows a form that this was used as photo header on my facebook page (before I closed it). Next are a few of the cats that were used and under them is part of the walking man design taken from the Libary of Congress.
At the bottem is the full OBEY THE KITTY image. But after all this I was still not happy with it. I felt that there was just too much going on and that your eye just wanders all over the place. But I loved the walking men and I was convinced that it would work in a long rectangle format.
So I created a new distressed wall (the infastructure on the feline world is in worse shape than ours) and added the British WWII poster copy "Keep Calm and Carry On."
Now quite suddenly the whole picture WORKS. The new composition is only produced in one limited edition of 10. The size is 13" x 24" and of this writing only 5 are left.
Here is the story for the picture... The jury in the "Einstein vs. Jesus: The Right to Free Thought" trial are shown returning from lunch. These "Nine Angry Felines'" are preparing to find against science on ALL counts. Tea and Milk Party attitudes and beliefs are prevalent everywhere. Beware.
April 01, 2013 • Leave a Comment
This is one of my most iconic pictures it was completed in late December of 2012. It will be shown for the first time at the Queeny Art Fair in Saint Louis County the first weekend in April 2013.
The picture is composed of 4 main elements. The body: A download from the library of congress of an image from the Bain Collection (all LOC images are in the public domain). The head: A marvelous cat that I photographed at the Chowder Hose in Saint Louis in November of 2011. The eyes actually belong to a different cat, the original had both blue and green and although striking... I thought it too distracting for the finished composition. The Bowler: Original photography. The Background: This was created from various photos of mine and then heavily blended with textures, both mine and third party sources.
Here is my marketing story for this picture..." René Morningfur was always a little odd. As a young apprentice he excelled in the traditional painting disciplines, BUT recently, with the explosion of the surrealism movement his work achieved a deeper dimension. This is his self-portrait called 'The Mysterious Bowler'."
I do a great deal of research on the web, both general and specific. One of the things that struck me was the fascination of the public with René Magritte, the Belgian surrealist.
What is it about his work that translates so intimately to us today? For one thing they are almost universally witty, simple and stark in composition and thought provoking. His works has been frequently adapted or plagiarized in advertisements, posters, book covers and the like. This popular awareness has driven his popularity to an all-time high.
The Magritte man (It's also called "the son of man") is never shown in motion, he is always shown straight-on, with one or more of his defining elements, the bowler, the apple, the crescent moon. obscuring the face on the figure.
According to Magritte, "At least it hides the face partly. Well, so you have the apparent face, the apple, hiding the visible but hidden, the face of the person. It's something that happens constantly. Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see."
On the web, Magritte and Dali are BY FAR the most copied of the surrealists painters. And of the Magritte images the "son of man" and its versions is by far the most popular. On the left is a small collection of images I've found. Some are good, some are crap and some are in-between.
Is there something about my work that is different from the rest? Well...a couple of things. First I do not cover the face, for me the face is the story. Secondly my approach, with this picture, was to try to put myself into the mind of Magritte. What would he think if the world is controled by felines? Actually I think he would be most pleased.
The Mysterious Bowler is offered in three different limited editions.
20" x 24" edition of 25 $85.00
February 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment
The Weather Report:
Nobody gives a shit about February, nobody likes it starting and no one notices that it's ending. The only thing good about February is Valentine's Day and the Oscars, and the Oscars weren't that good. Wait....smell that? Peanuts and hotdogs? Must be spring training. Thank god for March!
Keeper of Secrets:
The subject this time is the evolution of the picture called "Keeper of Secrets." On the right is source material for Keeper, this is a download from the digital photos collection of the Library of Congress. The original resolution was not that great so I had use some image transformation. To enlarge this image (as well as ANY image I enlarge) HOT TIP: I use "Perfect Resize" from onOne software. This uses fractal-based interpolation algorithms, very superior to anything native in Photoshop. Also I included this background element, a hieroglyph wall fragment from the public domain. Next are two of my felines from various photo shoots.
The first finished version is shown next. In this offering I have the feline staring directly to the viewer, the hand is close to her mouth like she is telling a secret. But I latter decided that the head was to too big for the body and I grew unfound of the torn parchment look.
In the second version from 2011 or so, changed the cat head to something that looked to me was more worshipful to unseen gods. But I fear I complicated the background with pyramids, sphinx and a Egyptian bird icon AS WELL as retaining the hieroglyph wall. That plus the confused lighting keeps this picture from fully working.
Well, third time's a charm, right?
The final effort (shown below) retains the full head and body from the 2011 version, while adding more fur to the arms,. The background has been greatly simplified and by centering the remaining objects. MOST IMPORTANTLY I've added much needed lighting. The lighting echo's the light on the feline face as well as the Egyptian body, and it adds to the worshipful feel of the overall picture
Here is my story for this picture...
Isis: The Keeper of Secrets, dark hallways and that which must NOT be spoken.
The Kepper of Secrets (the third version) was completed Febuary 18th 2013.
January 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment
A popular feature of some of my blog posts is a sort-of-how-it's-done-and-here-are-some-of-the-pieces...kind of thing. This time I thought I'd tell you about how my digital composition
There were three influence sources: "The Warriors" is a 1979 American cult action/thrillern film directed by Walter Hill. The way to see this film today in through the "Ultimate Director's Cut" DVD that shows a slightly reedited version with comic book-style sequences between scenes. A gang called The Warriors from Coney Island travel to large meeting of rival gangs in upper Manhattan, a murder takes place and our Warriors are blamed, they then have to bop (fight) their way back home
The second source is the excellent Martin Scorsese production called "The Gangs of New York." A 2002 American fictional historical drama set in lower Manhattan. This were I got the coustoming ideas, the "dead-rabbits" moniker and the "four-points" location.
The third and final source is the very young adult series of novels "Warriors," published under the pseudonym Erin Hunter from 2003 to present.
I managed to get my granddaughter reading this series of 20+ novels, not only for their entertainment value BUT because I wanted to read them myself. And, of course, I'm much too old to be reading such material. But we read and trade books back and forth and have developed a whole language shared between us with words like "kitty pet," "to be's," "up-walkers," "warriors code," "mouse-brain," "leaf-bear"and "StarClan". Complex stuff for a 9 years old and a curmudgeon.
Here's a quick synopsis. The series follows the adventures of four Clans of wild cats, ThunderClan, WindClan, ShadowClan, and RiverClan, in their forest homes. Major themes in the series deal with forbidden love, the concept of nature versus nurture, the reactions of different faiths meeting each other, and characters being a mix of good and bad. The authors draw inspiration from several natural locations and other authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and William Shakespeare... although I find the most direct relationship to be that of "Watership Down" by Richard Adams.
So as you can tell WARRIORS (the Books) is the MAIN influence formy artwork. On the left is the original source material for most of the figurative elements, this is from the Library of Congress.
And below that is the background I created. I originally used this background for Circus Dreams (which I have now mostly discontinued), but with some additional work now seem right for the Warriors, below that I also have a fence that was photographed for the picture.
Finally a couple of the feline heads that I used. All the cats were selected from my October 2012 cat shoot at The Open Door.
The Warriors was completed a couple of weeks before Christmas 2012.
December 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Let me warn you...
In some circles its popular to compare Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Obama. Here's a point or two to consider:
When FDR came to power the previous Republican administration had managed to destroy the economy and create The Great Depression, by the time Obama had taken over, the economy was in what would be called The Great Resession. Sound familiar?
FDR said this in 1936... "For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away..." Sound familar?
How about THIS from a FDR speech in 1936...
"Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge!
Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace: business and financial monopoly, unregulated wall-street speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs.
We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today.
They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred." Sound familiar?
Let me warn you...
I need to quote Time magazine on their Person of the Year issue where they say..."40% of America is ecstatic, 20% is accepting and 40% thinks the country is going to hell. The only other time we have seen that was with FDR in 1936." And this... "those who are alienated believe the President and his values are not grounded in American values." Sound familiar?
Tierney Sneed (of US News wrote)"There is an undercurrent in American politics that goes way back—this xenophobic fear of the other. In Roosevelt's day, that fear of the other was communism or Jews. There was this whole cottage industry that was trying to prove Roosevelt was Jewish and that he was part of an international Jewish conspiracy to take over America." Sound familiar?
Just slightly off topic...
Beverly Bandler writes in her article Dismantling FDR's Legacy...
The Great Recession that began in late 2007 follows Ronald Reagan’s deregulation fervor of the 1980s and fits more with the pattern of the pre-New Deal days. Now, the Republicans, in effect, want to impose a Herbert Hoover-style response to the current crisis by getting rid of President Barack Obama and electing Mitt Romney (at least that didn't happen).
In the Republicans’ mythological age of the 1920s, there was great prosperity, which is true, but it was a prosperity that primarily benefited the rich. Wealth did not “trickle down” any better then than it has since the 1980s. In the 1920s in rural America, for example, nine out of every ten families lived without electricity.
The authoritarian and elitist Republicans don’t want Americans to know this history (particularly since the New Deal put the Democrats in power from 1933 until 1952 and the party was the dominant influence until 1968) or to know that GOP conservative policies helped create the Great Depression as they did the current Great Recession (admittedly, in the latter they had help from those Democrats who have forgotten history as well).
Republicans reject government intervention as a threat to “liberty.” They define “liberty” as the right for the powerful to get what they want, when they want, and how they want it with no restrictions. Sound familiar? Today’s Republicans want a return to the same rule of privilege. No questions asked; no accounting required.
Many people thing I'm a solicialist and just this side of a dyied-in-the-wool commie. I'm not, not even close. Here's one of my new pictures...
The Performance is one of my newest pictures finished on 12/22/12 (one day after the worle ended). The story...
Returning warriors clapped and stomped their feet will wild abandon. Abigail Softfur has just finished her awe-inspiring version of The Star-Spangled Banner. The USO club will be rocking tonight.
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