Posts Tagged: art

January 2nd: Camellias blooming in London and the Grayson Perry Exhibition

Camellias blooming in London on Jan 2nd!
Tottenham Court Tube exit Reflections The British Museum Courtyard of The British Museum Alison, Andy and the ADOX Grayson Perry's Motorcycle with a Alan Measles Stunt Double Quarter Moon upon exiting the British Museum about 5pm

Photos by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N8.

Mon 01.02.12 – It must be a warm winter as a camellia bush in Bayswater is already in full bloom.
Today I had the opportunity to go with Alison Austin and Andy Budd to the Grayson PerryThe Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman‘ exhibition at the British Museum and then to the Teddy Bear Tea afterwards in the 3rd story cafe.
The exhibition was wonderful, humorous, thoughtful, and many layered; go see it. I have a new favorite artist thanks to Alison!
Best part of writing this blog post is discovering that Grayson Perry’s teddy bear, Alan Measles, has a blog.

Thomas Shahan’s DIY Approach to High Magnification Photography

Wed 12.21.11 – Thomas Shahan, a photographer and printmaker from Oklahoma, has an amazing photography high magnification photography practice with garage sale DIY camera set up and his work has been published in National Geographic.
From today’s Flickr blog:

Thomas knowledge about his photographic subjects is paired with gear that helps him achieve the stunning results you see throughout this article: “I’m currently using a Pentax K-x body, a set of extension tubes, and either a vintage 50mm f/1.7, or 28mm prime lens reversed to the end of the tubes. For lighting, I have an old Vivitar Thyristor flash mounted to a flash bracket diffused with a homemade softbox constructed from cardboard, tinfoil, and paper towel. In the past, I’ve used a Pentax K200D body, and before that – a Pentax *ist DL. I’ve stood by Pentax as their bodies work with just about any lens they’ve produced, even back through the film era – meaning as a frugal guy, I could easily attain high quality glass for cheap.”
Given that Thomas works a lot with reversed lenses, I was curious if he uses a special filter or other means to protect them. But this isn’t a big concern of him: “I’m not the guy to ask about protecting lenses – I’m using 20 dollar lenses that are significantly scratched after years of tumbling around in my backpack without proper caps. I usually keep spare lenses in socks. My 28mm, a garage-sale find, is almost solely mounted backwards and never used as it was intended. I admittedly take very poor care of my equipment.”
Asked if he uses any equipment that he would call “out of the norm”, “DIY”, or “repurposed”, Thomas explains that “Reverse-lens macrophotography is a pretty odd way to go – but offers a lot of magnification for cheap.”

I love it when I see folks working with whatever photo tool that they have at hand and then pushing the medium to make great photos. Bravo, Mr. Shahan!

The Canvas Shop Grand Opening Party

Dan Canvas Shop grand opening crowd Uncle Marty and Earl Sr. Tammy and Solomon Karen and Terri Hide 'n Seek Carolyn Seal Beach ladies Ryan using his new Square on his iPhone Ralph and Megan Kurt and friend
All photos taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N8.

Sat 11.19.11 – After many months of hard work and much planning, design, and thought, Tammy and Ryan Callis had the Grand Opening party of their new Canvas Shop tonight.
It was good fun to not only see how they have transformed the 1940s era boat canvas space into a dual custom canvas creating shop in the back and a locally sourced art / creative gift shop in the front. They are selling a wide range of California created art and artisan created objects from local band’s CDs to jalapeno jelly to handmade surfboards to books and paintings. It is wonderfully eclectic and a great addition to Seal Beach.
Canvas Shop
702 Marina Dr. (corner of Marina & PCH)
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Fantasy, Science Fiction, Imagination, Faith, and Modernity

There has been quite the internet blog-o-sphere to do revolving around Michael Weingrad’s essay “Why There Is No Jewish Narnia“, which led to D.G. Myers asserting that “Fantasy is a Genre of Christianity“, where upon E.D. Kain proposes that it is not Christianity but Anglophone culture that is the root of Fantasy literature in “Fantasy and the Anglosphere“.
In “Fantasy and the Anglosphere” Kain writes,

“When I published my fantasy piece in the Atlantic it was linked (reproduced?) by Richard Dawkins’ site and a number of the atheists in the commentariat had scathing things to say about fantasy literature. Apparently it is not enough that readers of fantasy do not, in fact, believe in their make-believe. Apparently the fact that dragons and sorcery are not based in science is enough to earn the scorn of some anti-religious types.
This reminds me of the reaction of many conservative Christian groups to various fantasy novels, from Harry Potter to The Golden Compass and the attempt by some conservative groups to ban these books in schools due to all that witchcraft and other devil-worshipping (you know, all those satanic rituals Harry Potter and Hermione engage in before the strange sexual acts begin.)
But many, many Christians and atheists and people of various other faiths enjoy fantasy. “

It struck my absurdity bone as darkly funny that folks are unable to enjoy fiction because it is not science.
And then being the internet it gets better, as Alyssa Rosenberg jumps in the fray with “Is Fantasy Inherently Christian?” and Adam Serwer joins in with “High Fantasy is a Subgene of Fantasy“, wherein Mr. Serwer brings in the fantasy traditions of many cultures worldwide.
What I find interesting is that none of the writers above, after name checking C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and Chesterton, with one or two brief references to Arthurian legends of the high Middle Ages, discuss the Romantic and Victorian infatuation with all things that we would now label as Fantasy: elves, fairies, the sublime, the door between the worlds, other worlds, etc. Not just the folks in the British tradition, but also Wagner (The Ring Cycle), the Russian literature around Baba Yaga, the Welsh Mabinogion, the Celtic revival of Yeats, Wilde, et al, etc etc.
Or how about the writer that both Lewis and Tolkein gave much credit to, George MacDonald. While MacDonald was a poet, writer, and minister, many of his tales border between a mash up of older Scottish fairy tales with the early Modern Christian allegory tradition, wherein the fairy tales come out a bit stronger in his stories than any claims to a 19th Century version of Pilgrim’s Progress.
Wherever we want to trace the history and genealogy of contemporary Fantasy literature, it is far deeper and broader than Tolkein, Lewis, and Chesterton. The Bridge of Birds immediately leaps to mind.
Also to say that Judaism is only concerned with the here and now, and thus couldn’t produce a tradition of Fantasy is also only looking at the last 100 years or so of history. I would love a time machine to take me back to 1100 or 1200 AD to Cordoba or Granada to sit at the feet of a Jewish storyteller and hear of the tales being told in that moment in Andalucia. Maimonides may have had a few good fantastical stories to tell that weren’t all theological in nature.
We, a people who have lived through and beyond the age of the early Modern explorers, the empires where stories leaked back and forth between subject & subjector, as well as the Modernist love of all things industrial progress and the rational, dip into many strands of fantasy in our TV, books, films, and now internets, of which many of these strands may have root in the primary culture we live in right now or the stories may scamper up and down other trees and roots of places we have not yet seen nor heard of.
Many of the stories we now think of as Christian or Medieval are stories that have been radically reshaped or completely created anew in the last 200 years the Industrial Revolution, the Romantics, and the various Revivals of the late 19th century. How much of the current genre we call Fantasy is not necessarily the creative child of Christianity but really the rebellious teenager of rational Modernism?

Pacific Standard Time and Photos from Wandering Around the Getty Today

Travertine blocks and Crow
Walking up to the Getty Center entrance Erika and TM4 View of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island Rebar and Bougainvillea Stream Three Squares Gyratory The Water Maze and Gardens Looking up into a Belladonna flower Color Contrast Curly vine flower Tram stop in golden light Sculpture in the last bright light

Photos taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N8.

Fri 10.07.11 – This afternoon, Erika and I went to the Getty Center to see the Crosscurrents Paintings in the Pacific Standard Time exhibit and we walked out to the Getty’s gardens to see the sculpture that was also a part of the PST exhibition and to wander around the maze area.
The afternoon was the perfect Los Angeles weather right after a rain storm has pulled out and the air is sparkly, the surfaces clean, and the view spectacular. The best time to go to the Getty.
I recommend if you live in SoCal or are visiting any time in the next six months to get out to one or more of the various Pacific Standard Time art exhibitions that are in museums and galleries in LA, Orange County, Palm Springs, San Diego, and Santa Barbara. The scope of modern and contemporary (1945 -1990) that was made in Southern California in so many different spaces is monumental.
Two weeks ago, Erika and I went to see the Sam Maloof PST show at the Huntington, the Crosscurrents Painting exhibition at the Getty today, and sometime within the next few weeks I will be going to MOCA to see “Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974 – 1981” as Kim Vollstedt has recommended it. Anyone want to join me?


Yesterday about 2pm, I was waiting on someone and decided to check my Twitter stream on my mobile, when I saw that singer Amy Winehouse had been found dead.
Russel Brand describes why best in ‘For Amy‘:

“When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.
Frustratingly it’s not a call you can ever make it must be received. It is impossible to intervene.”

While I did not know Ms. Winehouse, I have had that phone call a few too many times. Over the years, more than a fair share of the highly talented artists, musicians, and writers I have know have fallen down the black hole of addiction.
Todd died. Jimmy shipwrecked his life on the siren singing razor rocks of heroin. Others woke up years later and we got the call that they were stopping. Years eaten by the locusts, not to be rewound, but now alive and trying to thrive.
I truly would have wished Ms. Winehouse had woken up one day and decided that she wanted to start on the long, hard road to recovery and sobriety rather than being found dead. But what is done is done.
Ms. Winehouse, thank you for all the heart and soul you put into your music and shared with us. I truly hope you have found peace, rather than just oblivion.