Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Floating on the Creative Cloud

A friend of mine loves to search out old advertisements that were painted long ago on the sides of buildings. More than once we've talked about locations of the faded and peeling ones on aged buildings here in Cleveland. Shortly after that I went to New York City and saw lots of those relics of old ad campaigns. When I returned I excitedly told him all about the ones I saw, I even photographed one for him of a debonair sorta guy on the side of a brick office building looking handsome as he lit up his Lucky Strikes cigarette. (From the looks of it I'd bet the painting aged better than the smoker did.)

Over the last 15 years, (maybe even 20), the notion of painting the side of a building has really come back into style but with a cool twist. The painting is not made by some company trying to get you to smoke their cigarettes but rather these newer murals are made by artists who desired the opportunity to paint on the biggest "canvas" they could find. These one-of-a-kind visions are showing up all over the world and usually have the color and flavor of the neighborhood they inhabit. This one below is located in California. (Two murals on the list are located right here in Ohio.)

The website Creative Cloud http://www.cartridgesave.co.uk/news/category/art/ has many good topics to explore and plenty of fascinating images on view like "The 50 Most Stunning Wall Murals From Around the World" or "Propaganda Posters from The Spanish Civil War", or "Barcode Art" and a personal favorite of mine the "Vintage Travel Print Ads".

This site has info for any creative person covering a wide range of topics from art to photography to sci-fi to new innovations in technology. For example – the News sections brings word of the imminent launch of the world's most portable and smallest printer (fits in the palm of your hand...) Tidings that the long cherished and discontinued Polaroid camera will be back in action as Polaroid 600 and "instant photography" will be re-launched using traditional analog film. And word that wireless has spread to printers with Canon introducing the first unit of that generation's technology.

Be sure to check out the section heading Inspiration - subheading "20 Sensational Bookshelves". The uber creative industrial designers have devised great new methods for housing our books.The level of ingenuity for most of these designs is so
far out of the box (no pun intended) it is refreshing. Loved the creation at the left "The Bibliochaise". Comfy, colorful and a heck of a space saver.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


quietus  –noun, plural -tus⋅es. A finishing stroke; anything that effectually ends or settles: discharge or release from life.

This week is about quietus and release from life and/or the finishing stroke.

October 9th would have been John Lennon's 69th birthday. His message still resonates so strongly — "give peace a  chance (war is over is you want it)". How welcome his voice would be now in this day and age — both voices, his singing voice and his political speaking voice. He would have had much to sing to and speak to us about.....Miss him all the time.

Since this week is about websites that sell things here is the link to Lennon's official website and the page with the cool t-shirts that are for sale...http://johnlennon.store2.livenation.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/Store.woa/wa/artist?artistName=John+Lennon&sourceCode=JLEWEB

On another note of quietus, master photographer Irvin Penn left us with his finishing stroke after 92 years this week. The last sixty or so he created images that continue to inspire photographers and artists alike. He worked many years for Vogue magazine and managed to change the way images for magazines were shot in his own creative and elegant way. He simplified his images, used natural light when he could, didn't create fancy sets if he didn't have to. In fact many of his portraits he shot in the bare walled corner of his studio.

Portraits of the famous and the ordinary, gleaming images of grit covered found objects from the street, or simple elegant images of ginko leaves, it didn't matter in Penn's world.  Each of his subjects received the same detailed care and respect. And because of his talent and that magnificent eye for composition, color and form – no matter what or who was in front of his camera lens it took on a radiance that you never saw before, even if you were looking at the very subject with your own eyes.

When you have a moment look up his images, notice the simplicity and grace. Another man whose "voice" will resonate for the decades to come.http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=hp&q=irving+penn+photographs&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=45rSSqWFCYvmM9mD-ZQD&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBkQsAQwAA

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dress Codes at the International Center for Photography

On October 2, 2009 the International Center for Photography in NYC opens their signature exhibition "Dress codes: The Third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video". The show features over 100 recent works by 34 artists from 18 countries. The thematic focus for this year's art is "fashion." Through the eyes of these photographers, videographers and artists, fashion shows itself to be a multi-sided, multi-layered factor in all communities of the world.

Now don't think "fashion" as the designer clothing Madison Avenue has marketed into our conscientiousness' – rather this is a collective look at how people make statements through what they are wearing be it by choice or by circumstance. The bigger question is "What is the subconscious information being conveyed by what a person chose to dress in or is forced to wear?"

The images of this show speak to a deep visual language that resonates about gender, culture, history, geography and personality. Between the lines these artists are asking — do clothing, looks and style communicate individuality, community, or both or something else altogether? How do the costumes or clothing express what the person wearing them intends to express? Do these people dress for power, religious beliefs, climate, fantasy, economic crisis, or personal style? Obviously that decision can be affected by some or all of these topics and much more.

But this show is intended to make you wonder how do people of the global world decide how to construct the their "look" through what they wear or don't wear. Do they even have much of a choice? And after you consider that, you can mull over the statement each artist is making by way the THEIR subject matter is "dressed." The pieces are diverse, wildly creative and fascinating.

"Invasion, 2008" by Martha Rosler

 (Is it any wonder dictators always seem to turn up in military uniforms even if they never served a day in the armed forces of their country? Unless of course they are wearing a Dolce & Gabbana suit....)

The exhibit will be on display until January 17, 2010. The International Center of Photography is located at 1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street, NYC.