Accidental art made with bird poop

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Found art, Photo of the day

As I got out of my car this morning, I noticed a bright white spot on the back of my otherwise clean car, and sure enough, a close look revealed it to be bird poop. But a close look also revealed the reflection of trees and a basketball hoop, with the bird poop almost resembling a splotchy moon in a red sky … art from bird poop? Or am I stretching the concept a bit too much here?

bird poop art, reflection of trees and a basketball hoop on the trunk of my car

A basketball player with a passion for history

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Art News, Black History Month, Creative Writing, Historical Figures in Art

I was fascinated to learn that former NBA basketball player Chris Webber has a significant and important collection of African-American documents, books, photos, and more. His collection includes a first edition book of Phillis Wheatley’s “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral,” published in 1773. The collection also contains a program autographed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., letters written by scientist George Washington Carver and educator Booker T. Washington, and an early-1800s accounting ledger from Virginia documenting the buying and selling of slaves. Initially, the items were for Webber’s personal inspiration. As the collection grew, he realized its potential to help educate society – especially kids – about these important people that helped shape America. Webber now shares his collection with the public by way of ongoing exhibitions. Check out this video featuring Chris Webber showcasing some of his collection:

Two heads on the sidewalk, set in slate stone

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Finding visual references, Found art, Optical Illusions, Photo of the day

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that there have been numerous occasions over the years where I tend to see interesting things on the slate sidewalks in Glen Ridge, NJ. Even though I’m often walking the exact same path (down Ridgewood Avenue), either while walking my dogs or on my way to the train station, I still tend to see different things at different times, depending on my level of attention. Others – like the Adolph Gottlieb bubblegum – I remember the location and notice on a regular basis.

At any rate, today I noticed these two “heads.” I first saw the one on the right, and thought – especially with the location of the skinny yellow leaf – that it seemed like a straight-faced profile, so I snapped a picture. Then I have to admit, I was hoping I could find another head-like indentation in the slate sidewalks still ahead of me, and then I saw this guy, below left. In this case, I’ll admit – while the leaf was indeed stuck within that wet spot, I did turn it sideways so that it could look like an eye similar to the first one. But that was the only thing I did with either of these – otherwise, they’re straight photos. With the dark wet spots, big open mouth and flapping lips, the guy on the left looks like he’s pretty mad and hollering at the guy on the right, who simply keeps calm. Pretty good stuff, don’t ya think?

two heads seen on the slate sidewalks of Glen Ridge, NJ

Obama portraits are unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art and Fashion, Art News, Political Art

The official presidential portraits of Barack Obama and the former first lady, Michelle Obama, were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC yesterday. President Obama’s portrait was painted by Kehinde Wiley, and Michelle Obama’s portrait was painted by Amy Sherald. Not only are the Obamas the first African-American presidential couple, but Wiley and Sherald are also the first African-American artists to paint presidential and first lady portraits.

Obama official portraits previewed at National Portrait Gallery

Kehinde Wiley’s backdrop of green leaves and flowers provide some specific geographical references for Barack Obama: there are chrysanthemums (the official flower of Chicago), jasmine (symbolic of Hawaii where the president spent most of his childhood), and African blue lilies (referencing the president’s late Kenyan father). Amy Sherald’s painting also has a symbolic reference: the pattern on the dress (an actual design by Michelle Smith) resembles the strikingly modernist quilts created by the isolated African-American community of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, beginning in the late nineteenth century.

official Obama presidential portraits

All I can say is that both of these portraits are a drastic change in style compared to the previous four presidential portraits, as seen below!

portraits of George W Bush, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush, and Ronald Reagan

Mysterious skywriting

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Found art, Photo of the day

The other day I was walking home from an errand and noticed two planes leaving white trails in the sky … except one was going at a nearly-perfect 90 degree angle through the other one. It’s easy enough to say “what’s the big, who cares?” but on the flip side, I’m still curious why someone would hire two skywriters and put up the money to have them fly and create this cross pattern in the sky? (scroll down below the picture for more)

skywriting cross in the sky

Of course, it could just be a coincidence – the white trails are technically called “contrails,” and are actually just trails of condensation that form when hot and humid airplane exhaust hits cooler upper atmospheric temperatures. But one could counter this by saying there are certainly other planes flying across the NYC metropolitan area at any given time and these are the only two that have visible contrails. Conspiracy theorists might say that the contrails are chemicals (compliments of the government) used to make us sick. Prince was even quoted once as saying “When I was a kid, I used to see these trails in the sky all the time. So that’s cool, a jet just went over. And then you started to see a whole bunch of them, and next thing you know everybody in your neighborhood was fighting and arguing and you didn’t know why.”

It seems this myth has been debunked numerous times, so I’m not trying to feed any hysteria, but seeing this unexpected and precise intersection in the sky certainly does cause my curiosity to kick in. And just for the record, after seeing these contrails, I did not fight or argue with anyone …

Plenty of art on earth

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art project, Artist Spotlight, Photo of the day

I’ve seen this bumper sticker a few times, and have always liked what I perceived to be the meaning: the idea that if you look closely around you here on planet earth, you’ll find plenty of art. It’s kind of the mindset that I have with The Arts Adventurer, which aims to explore and find art in our surroundings as opposed to what you might find in an art gallery or museum. (scroll down for more below the picture)

earth art bumper sticker

But after seeing this bumper sticker again yesterday, I wanted to find out who makes it and what they might be hoping to achieve with this message. The sticker and concept was created by Oakland-based artist Philip Krohn, who uses recyclable items in his art – you can see more at his website here. But the website where he sells the stickers – earthsticker.com – provides more information on this particular iconic graphic. All proceeds from EARTH stickers and clothing go to non-profit organizations working to protect the natural world. So, in this sense, it’s more about the “earth” than the “art within the earth.” Or, at least that’s the way I’m interpreting it. At any rate, it’s a great cause, a great idea, and here’s a list of “grantees” who have received funds from the sale of Krohn’s products.

What the Presidents are wearing

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Historical Figures in Art, Street Art

On a recent visit to NYC, I saw two instances of former Presidents showing their current-day style … or rather, the fashion that two particular artists envision for these Presidents. At left, we have George Washington looking cool with his jean jacket, a painting by Jac Lahav on view at 326 Gallery on 7th Avenue. And at right, we have Abraham Lincoln wearing his “Pharrell” hat and his BKNY track suit jacket, as portrayed by SacSix.

George Washington by Jac Lahav and Abraham Lincoln by SacSix