I ran out of the small spice jars I had been using for the Siberian bloodworms, but I found these on Ebay for about a buck each in a case of twenty-four, including postage. Also, O what a difference natural light makes!
Posts in category Uncategorized
Varying a bit from my fantastic grotesqueries in jars, here’s a historical grotesquery in a box:
If you can’t read the label, it says, “Witch finger’ amulet to ward off evil.”
I’m almost as proud of the box as of the finger:
When I started, it was a plain balsa wood box from a yard sale. I beat it, varnished it, beat it again, rubbed black shoe polish into the cracks and scuffs, varnished it again, baked it so the varnish would bubble, and buffed it with a wire brush.
Coming soon: Things that aren’t as badly affected by my poor photography, I hope!
Writing about art is famously like dancing about architecture, but I’m gonna attempt it anyway. The first part, not the second. Though you should see my Frank Lloyd Wright jitterbug retrospective.
Waaay back, I got an Art Minor with my Lit degree, but I never felt invigorated by the possibilities of my own work. Despite wanting to be a comic book artist through high school, I was never more than an indifferent 2-D artist (never had steady line quality in my ink work, and I hate paintbrushes with a passion that astounds even me), and I felt uninspired even in my sculture class.
Sometime near the end of that whole schooling thing, I discovered back issues of a magazine in the library — I’m not even sure what it was now, it could have been American Craft — that stunned and inspired me. The premise that ran through every issue was that of fine art (however you want to define that) created with the techniques and materials of craft production.
Inspired, as I said, but I was married with one kid, living in a tiny place, laboring in the poverty of studenthood so I could move on to the poverty of the private sector…
So recently I started making the creatures in jars which you see photographed poorly all over this site, inspired by such sites as Propnomicon, and I think it was through a Proponomicon link that I discovered this site: the art of Ron Pippin.
Looking at Pippin’s work got me looking at other assemblages on Etsy, on DeviantArt, etc. In looking around and seeing what I like, I think I’m discovering WHY I like what I like.
1) I like design, which I simply define as “arranging elements in such a way that it’s aesthetically pleasing.” The abstract art I enjoy conveys a sense of design and purpose, even if that purpose isn’t explicit; that’s why I appreciate Mondrian and can’t stand Pollock.
2) I like texture, and assemblages — especially those which incorporate found objects — can put texture front and center.
3) I love assemblages that take identifiable objects or forms — a drawer, a candlestick, a chicken bone — and display them in such a different context that the viewer no longer simply labels them as that familiar object, but has to rediscover them in terms of form and shape. That sounds unbearably pretentious and precious, so let me explain it further (and hope that I end up sounding less pretentious, not more):
We don’t really see the things we’re familiar with; we identify them. If you really saw and examined everything you encounter every day — the fiber of the bedsheets, the sensation of the carpet under our toes, the bevel at the edge of the bathroom mirror, the quality of sound as one steps into the shower, and so on throughout the day — we’d be paralyzed and unable to focus. So instead we identify and dismiss, or at least relegate to its function in our lives: That’s a chair. That’s a cereal box. That’s a spouse. A good assemblage doesn’t hide the origin or identity of its pieces so much as place them in such a context that the function with which we identiy them doesn’t make sense, and we end up looking at them in terms of shape, color, texture, etc. as if they’re new objects.
(Note: As far as I’m concerned, recontextualization by itself is not sufficient to label something as “art.” That’s why I hate hate hate Roy Lichtenstein’s (mis)appropriations of comic panel art, because all it had was recontextualization: In a comic book under a child’s pillow it’s just trash, but in a gallery under inviting lights and surrounded by educated people eating pricy hors d’ouevres, it’s art!)
Anyway. All of this means that after I get done with my current slate of creatures, I’m going to try my hand at assemblages. Hopefully, by then I will be a marginally better photographer, and I’ll exhibit them here.
On the left, a septic parasite; on the right, more Siberian bloodworms, as the label clearly states. These will also be for sale at CONduit on Memorial Day weekend. (I’m planning to have an oodle of bloodworms; everything else will be one of a kind.)
Hostivia, the crappy webhost which let all of my data crash and burn without a backup, apologized by offering three months of free hosting. Obviously, I would rather get something for something than nothing for nothing, so I signed up with another provider. Didn’t bother cancelling my Hostivia account, though.
Got the quarterly email today from Hostivia saying that my hosting payment was due tomorrow. No, not free. They aim to charge me $20.85.
I went to their site to cancel my account before the payment could be taken out.
Aw, gee, the main Hostivia site is completely down.
I feel sooooooo sorry for them. </sarcasm>
So. I’ve got this domain working (obviously), CheapCaffeine.net is spewing out marginally humorous cartoons on a daily basis, Lousy Book Covers is all current (I’m still working on the archives, currently back to the summer of 2012), Cold Fusion Media has a placeholder page, Fifth Planet Design is at least aimed at the right host, and Cold Fusion Video Reviews ain’t coming back.
And what about PulpoftheDay.com?
Well, here’s the thing. In the interests of turning lemons into at least some passing semblance of lemonade, I’ve been wanting to simplify and scale back my web activities, especially those which have become a duty, rather than a pleasure. And I think Pulp of the Day kinda qualifies. It’s not really fun for me, though it is to some other people. So I’m toying with just letting it be gone.
i just posted a little guide to designing your own book cover over at Lousy Book Covers. It’s really good, he said modestly.
Cold Fusion Video Reviews also hosted several movie review subdomains which I referred as the “Cold Fusioneers,” independent movie critics who didn’t mind associating themselves with the Cold Fusion Media Empire. When my web empire died through a server crash, they all died with it.
The first one to arise from the ashes is MonsterHunter, who has a new home propounding his cinematic opinions at Monster Hunter Movie Reviews. Consistently entertaining. Go there.