Watery eyes on a ginkgo leaf

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Found art, Nature Photography, Photo of the day, Things I saw on my dog walk

I was walking the dogs the other day, on a bright and sunny afternoon, the day after some evening showers. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted this ginkgo leaf in the grass just off the edge of the sidewalk. I was amazed that these two raindrops survived the full sunny day without drying up, but was also struck by the fact that they were positioned in such a way that it looked like eyes on a face. It took a little effort to get the dogs to sit still long enough for me to take a picture, but here’s the result:

two eye-like rain drops on a ginkgo leaf

Chris Hood: Bacchanal Blues

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art gallery exhibitions, Artist Methods, Artist Spotlight

I’m not sure how I got on the mailing list for the Ceysson & Bénétière art gallery in Paris, but I just received an exhibition announcement for their new show, featuring the American painter Chris Hood. The exhibition, titled “Bacchanal Blues,” opens on October 20th and runs through December 9th, 2017.

I thought the image on the exhibition announcement was pretty interesting, so I wanted to learn more about Chris Hood. He grew up in Atlanta, earned his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2010, and now lives and works in New York City. But there’s something about his method of painting that is important to know: he paints on unprimed canvas, but he paints on the back side, with the finished painting being the result of what you see seeping through the canvas and staining the front. So in that sense, he has to paint what he wants in the foreground (of the front) first, and paints his background last. It brings to mind the color field painters of the 1960s, who also stained unprimed canvas, like Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis, but they were staining and showing the front, which Hood is flipping in reverse by staining the back. With a technique like this, it really begs the need to see them in person, to see the surface quality, to better understand how these look, because regular photographs like the two images below could look like the paint is on the front, even though it’s not.

Speaking of the paintings below, we have “So Many Nights,” 2016, below left, and “Burner,” 2015, below right. I’ll have to see if he has any upcoming shows in NYC so I can hopefully have an opportunity to see some in person. If you’d like to see more of his art, check out this coverage at Artsy.

paintings by artist Chris Hood

The Valkyrie in Clear Brook, VA

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

I’m on a road trip to visit my son at his college, and as I pulled over at a rest stop in Clear Brook, VA, I saw this bus parked in the back lot. It’s not every day you see a bus with an airbrushed screaming Valkyrie on the side, so I had to go in for a closer look.

There was no indication if this was a tour bus for a band, as there were no names on it anywhere, just this painted figure … so maybe it’s just owned by someone who likes to showcase their favorite mythological creatures? Anything goes, I suppose …

tour bus with valkyrie figure airbrushed on the side

An army of Halloween Jack-o’-lanterns

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art project, Found art, Installation Art, Photo of the day

This is one of the more-impressive Halloween displays I’ve seen in person, a whole army of threatening Jack-o’-lanterns in front of this house on Benson Street in Glen Ridge (NJ). They’ve done this for a few years in a row now, as evidenced by my being impressed with a similar set-up in 2014.

an army of jack-o'-lanterns in a front yard in Glen Ridge

Here’s a closer view so you can see some more details:

an army of halloween pumpkins

Fight Demo at the Performing Arts Center?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Artist Spotlight, Theater, Videos

I received an e-mail from the South Orange Performing Arts Center (“SOPAC“) with the subject line “Free Stage Fight Demo Friday Night.” I was initially confused but intrigued at the same time, so I found out that they’re hosting an event with Rick Sordelet, who is known as a “Fight Director,” meaning that he works in live theater productions, creating the visual and audible illusions of onstage fighting. This event takes place this Friday, and Sordelet will demonstrate some of his tricks-of-the-trade and show the skill and athleticism required to make a real-looking fight happen on stage.

However, the event is not taking place at SOPAC, but rather at Studio 509 Fitness in Maplewood, and they say one needs to call to make a reservation (since it is free – no tickets necessary).

Here’s a video interview with Rick Sordelet and you can see some of his methods in a few fight demos during the video:

Unusual Halloween Decorations, 2017 Version

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

Did you ever wake up in the morning and think to yourself, “I need a life-size horse skeleton for my front yard this Halloween season!” …? Me neither. But someone at this house in Glen Ridge (NJ) did. I wonder where the horse skeleton resides for the other 11 months of the year? Check out the dinosaur breaking out of his shell in the inset below left … this was at the same house, by the front door. I appreciate the creativity of this front yard display!

life size horse skeleton as a front yard Halloween decoration

Pick up an imitation Klimt at the furniture store

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

I was recently doing some furniture shopping, and had my attention grabbed by this large scale imitation Gustav Klimt, hanging over a white leather sofa. At first I thought it was a composite image, as the two figures on the right looked like a variation on the famous “Kiss” painting. But a little more research revealed that it’s a twist on Klimt’s “Stoclet Frieze” (sometimes referred to as the “Tree of Life”), which is a series of three mosaics created by Klimt for a commission for the Palais Stoclet in Brussels in 1905.

It wasn’t clear to me whether this was for sale, or whether it was just part of the showroom to help showcase the furniture, but it’s so bold that it easily distracted my eye away from the sofa underneath. The idea of making and selling famous painting knockoffs is a whole different subject, about which I have mixed thoughts. On the one hand, it’s cheesy, but on the other hand, if it’s well done, it’s kind of fun to think about having something you could never really have, in the sense of the astronomical value of the original. If you have an opinion on masterpiece knockoffs, please share in the comments section below.

imitation Gustav Klimt painting at the furniture store

October is National Arts and Humanities Month

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art News, Art project

The organization Americans for the Arts has declared October as “National Arts and Humanities Month.” So what does that mean? They are encouraging people to create events and get their community involved, and they have this page full of ideas, including “Community Visioning Forums” and “Creative Communications.”

They also encourage simple ways for individuals to participate, such as showcasing your own art (or for teachers, your students’ art) via social media with the hashtag #ShowYourArt2017 and #NAHM. Another suggestion – one that I would hope people would do every month, not just in October – is to “grab a friend and go to a museum, a play, a festival, or outdoor concerts.”

Here’s a couple of my paintings for the #ShowYourArt2017 idea …


An extension of this #ShowYourArt2017 idea is outlined below, with a suggested theme for every day of the month:

show your art 2017 daily themes

Americans for the Arts has the mission to serve, advance, and lead the network of organizations and individuals who cultivate, promote, sustain, and support the arts in America. They aim to connect the best ideas and leaders from the arts, communities, and business, and work together to ensure that every American has access to the transformative power of the arts.

Intrigued by the blue line flag

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Found art, Photo of the day, Things I saw on my dog walk

As I was coming home from a dog walk today, I noticed that a neighbor was flying a black and white flag with a blue line down the middle, similar to the flag as pictured below. I had never seen a flag like this before, and was curious to learn what it meant.

example of a blue line flag

My first assumption was that it somehow related to all of the news going on these days about the NFL and the protests during the playing of the National Anthem, since flags are often mentioned in the context of this national debate. However, I quickly learned that the “blue line flag” has a completely different meaning: “The blue [line] represents the [police] officer and the courage they find deep inside when faced with insurmountable odds. The black background was designed as a constant reminder of our fallen brother and sister officers.”

“The Blue Line” has been called the line of law enforcement that separates society from anarchy, and while some firmly stand against altering the U.S. flag in any way, many members of law enforcement say they appreciate this design and message.

I saw one article online that suggested the blue line flag has been around as a concept since 1988 … somehow, I had never seen one before today. It makes sense that this particular neighbor would have one, as I know that a member of his family is a state trooper.

Putting on a coat as performance art?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art and Fashion, Art History, Art project

I saw this image (detail, below left) from a magazine ad for the Akris fashion house. As you can see, the woman is wearing a coat featuring an image of a guy putting on a coat … seeing this, I couldn’t help but wonder, what is this all about?

Of course there’s no simple answer, so see if you can follow me here. Albert Kriemler is the creative director of Akris, and he saw an exhibition by Vancouver artist Rodney Graham at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Zurich. This six-panel piece by Graham (below, top right) was one that caught Kriemler’s eye, and it features the artist in a sequence depicting the act of putting on a coat. Both the idea of a motion-sequence study along with the use of a background grid is Graham’s homage to the work of Eadweard Muybridge, one of the first practitioners of serial photography as a way to study motion via photographic stills. You can see a Muybridge piece (below, bottom right), titled “Animal Locomotion, Plate 340,” from 1887, which is part of the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

Akris fashion with Rodney Graham and Eadweard Muybridge

As a result of the inspiration from this art gallery visit, Kriemler reached out to Graham, and an agreement was made to collaborate, resulting in Graham’s images appearing on handbags, scarves, and overcoats – back to our original concept of putting pictures of coats on coats.

Click here to see more fashion by Akris, and click here to see more work by artist Rodney Graham.