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Well my idea of posting more has gone nowhere this year so here’s something I’ve been collecting in recent years. Most of us probably browse past these records thinking ‘oh it’s a cheesy 60’s Latin take on Bond themes, probably won’t play it more than once’, but we’ve missed out on some great arrangements, playing and production! At least 80% of the compilations have been hugely entertaining to my ears, not sure what the rest of the tenants in my building think ha ha.

Not to mention the usually glorious covers! The rule seems to be to include as many as the art department can afford scantily clad ‘Bond-type’ women striking action poses in imaginary spy or crime films and TV shows. I think this ‘imaginary’ aspect actually allows for more interesting visual interpretations of the tunes than the usual screen shots used from productions. The Basie Meets Bond, Thunderball and Senor 007 covers are particularly striking, or ridiculous, depending on your point of view. Others like the Al Caiola and Bang Bang Bang records feature more imaginative design work.  I have found roughly half of these so far, which means the hunt shall continue!

Now it has to be said that in reality the covers were exploiting a current trend and one gets the sense that they were pumped out at the same rate as the movies themselves. Some have a distinct sense of something brazen and even illegal going on, much like the many Bond spin-offs and spoof films themselves. But again, some of the films and soundtracks are totally worth finding.

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Or more accurately 3D animation, real time computer graphics and projection mapping interacting with electronic music to create something that merges theater set design and production, cinema, live music and virtual reality. One could imagine a character out of say, Blade Runner, walking into a concert or nightclub scene resembling what I saw in this performance. Unfortunately it wasn’t live but on YouTube, though it would be quite an experience to see it at the Sydney Opera House in person. As usual, my discovery was out of tune with any sequential time sequence as I’m busy bouncing all over the place.

I first stumbled upon it while looking up Amon Tobin, the Brazilian electronic musician who collaborated on this project with director Vello Virkhaus, media production collective V Squared Labs, Leviathan and set designer Vita Motus. The music was originally from Tobin’s album ISAM (which has been a part of my lounge room ‘ambience’ lately), an Acronym for “Invented Sound Applied to Music”, the record was: ‘an experiment in synthesizing field recordings and transforming them into new physically playable instruments to create unique sound palettes.’

The set itself at various times looks like a dystopian city of the future, a mass of broken T.V. sets, a giant game of Tetris or some kind of self conscious but irrational space ship with Tobin embedded in the structure as the captain. It’s at times a disorienting 21st century version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis assembled from musique and video concrete sources, filtered through Kraftwerk’s industrial elegance and finally interpreted by the mix, match and fusion of DJ culture. This is a one of a kind audio/visual spectacle and definitely worth your time dear reader. Let it paint unique pictures in your own mind.



vsquaredlabs.com

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By looking at these images one might think that the sculptures were made of stone, bronze, clay etc but not toilet paper rolls. Well that’s exactly what these brilliant and funny faces are made from. It’s like a gallery of theatre masks or an expressionist puppet show.

From my own experience, these rolls can be hard to work with as the cardboard is very thin. These objects are painted and then shellacked from what I understand which may increase the strength of the material. All in all, a great bit of upcycling here.

 

Well here’s an interesting way to up-cycle or reuse old materials, why not paint on coins? There’s a twofold action going on here, appropriation of historical figures and use of objects we may not even need anymore in a few years time. It’s a very clever but less conceptual approach to readymades, which makes it even better in my book. Get too abstract or philosophical and you’ve lost me. This is art you can exhibit in a gallery or sell as jewellery at a local market. Miniature Pop Art one can collect like baseball cards or wear around one’s neck.

The Brazilian illustrator, art director and visual artist uses the contours of the original figures to transform them into pop culture icons, a kind of update for the TV and video game generation. The personal (painting on objects we use everyday day) meets our mass produced media commodities (the new idols or gods if you will). There is also something mischievous at play here that reminds me of graffiti, that supposedly sacrilegious moment when an anonymous citizen decides to redecorate a billboard or any number of bronze deities in our parks and squares. But instead of just writing his or her name, what you get is something thought provoking or at least entertaining. More info on the project below:

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www.zhion.com.br

Ah the joys of surrealism, my go to cure whenever the well runs dry. Blending or juxtaposing together sometimes completely unrelated images, words or sounds to come up with something neither the maker or the audience is ready for. What I wasn’t ready for is the seemingly simple beauty of the work of Susana Blasco, graphic designer, illustrator, collage artist and junk hunter based in Bilbao, Spain. Don’t know about you dear reader but that description just ticked a whole lot of boxes for me.

As much as we all may be bored by even the words ‘vintage’ or ‘antique’ at this point, Blasco’s montage of decades old photographs and quite random objects is at times funny, ridiculous, bizarre and dark but somehow always appropriate. Sense in nonsense, a kind of inner logic where the brain fills in the missing parts for us. The juxtaposition of photograph and three dimensional object is where the unexpected magic happens.

www.susanablasco.com

 

Eric’s light paintings first caught my eye when I bought the ‘Games’ LP by electronic composer Larry Fast aka Synergy. The cover fits the music quite well, his contemporaries were Isao Tomita and Jean Michel Jarre among others in case you’re interested. This is quite fitting actually, as both Staller and Fast are considered pioneers in their respective fields. Much of the work presented here was done at night in late 70’s New York City, which adds a very sci-fi/ film noir quality to the proceedings. It made me think of everything from War of the Worlds and Odyssey:2001 to the Philip K. Dick based Blade Runner, here was something mysterious, elemental and alien.

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Utilizing various light sources as a brush or pen as it were, the drawings were photographed over long time-exposures in deserted urban landscapes. There is something very eerie about these uninhabited spaces, as though these lights were the only living organisms left roaming our cities. Or could it be that these signals, waves and objects are the signs of an oncoming alien invasion? For some reason, I can now hear a John Carpenter soundtrack coming on ha ha

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ericstaller.com

 

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So I’ve been using another blog for my own work, but I don’t think that site has been maintained by its developers since 2013 at least?? Not sure what was happening there, but it was unstable at best and at times I couldn’t log in at all which is a bit of a problem when you’re the admin ha ha. Anyway, I’ve shared bits and pieces of it on this blog but now it’s been fully integrated into another WordPress site so we’ll see how the juggling act evolves during the year.

remakeremodelstudio.wordpress.com

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This blog is basically the research and inspiration board for my work under the Remake/Remodel moniker, the name borrowed from a Roxy Music song but signifying using any materials around you as springboards for creative work. I just find that working with what you have available in your own environment is a more realistic way to get inspired and a truer reflection of who you really are.

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Well this post comes out of the blue, a flash of inspiration if you will. One of my favorite hidden little bars The Coffee Pot puts on a fantastic movie night once a month, so you get to see gems such as Suspiria, Turkey Shoot, Cat In The Brain, Creepshow and The Wicker Man on a slightly larger screen. Now, for a variety of reasons, The Wicker Man is one of those films you just have to ‘experience’ in all its creepy, slightly sleazy 70’s folk pagan horror glory ha ha. There’s plenty of naked dancing, psychedelic folksy sing-a-longs and Christopher Lee in one of the leading roles. You get to see him prancing around in white makeup and a wig, a precursor to Death Metal? Really, what more do you need??

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When the locals start wearing ceremonial masks during the second half though, I was reminded of the fact that in some regions of Eastern Europe (this is as far as I know, it probably includes most of the continent)  a lot of these traditions have remained from pre-Christian times. Halloween is an offshoot of these practices, for example. Basically its the difference between worshiping god (ourselves really) and worshiping our planet (hoping our environment doesn’t kill us). A lot of the pagan costumes, masks and ‘magic’ objects were a big inspiration to modern artists in the early 20th century. They have a force you cant learn in art school, it comes from something non-intellectual and has been made and remade over many centuries. It reflects our animal self and is ever present. It exposes us to War, Sex and Death, all the things we’d like to shut off so we can safely watch it on TV. I’ll be exploring a photographer who’s been documenting European ritual costumes in the next post.

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Popular or urban culture has always had a link with folk horror and so it continues today, from Giallo/Slasher film and soundtrack revivalists such as Death Waltz Recording Company, Zombi and Umberto to the Sci-Fi/Folk Horror revival or rather re-imagining by the Ghost Box record label I’ve posted about before. Ghost Box artists such as The Focus Group and The Advisory Circle at times sound like they formed specifically to soundtrack films like The Wicker Man. Recent films The Babadook, Berberian Sound Studio, Where The Wild Things Are, The Ring and Pan’s Labyrinth all draw from our pagan myths and rituals too.

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Leading on from my last post about French street artist Invader, here is a local offshoot (Adelaide, South Australia, to be precise) and he works under the name of Tyler Mario. Most of the information I could find is in the article I scanned above, because I’m old school like that ha ha. Below are some examples of pixelated versions of characters the artist likes, and now I wonder how many other people have put their own spin on this idea around the world?Photos taken during the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Mario pieces being only a small part of a whole street makeover called Little Rundle Street Project, and believe me a lot of streets in this town need more colour!

 

Taking his inspiration from 70’s and 80’s video games (his name is derived from the ‘Space Invaders’ arcade game), French artist Invader is interesting in a variety of ways, not least in the fact that he uses mosaics instead of spray paint. He has also used Star Wars characters, Pink Panther and Popeye. Like Banksy and many others, Invader protects his identity and refers to himself as an Unidentified Free Artist and has been ‘invading’ city spaces all over the world since 1998. In true video gaming style, he’s also kept score: 3280 Invaders / 65 CITIES ha ha. And speaking of identity, he’s one the artists who appears in the film ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’, itself an interesting and often funny look at celebrity and the art world.

If you’ve ever had to remove tiles you’ll know that its easier to break them than to save them as some collectors have found out with Invader’s work. One of his solutions is to offer ‘invasion kits’ for sale, so you too can build-your-own Space Invaders ha ha ha. Alternatively you could go to your local home-depot-bunnings-masters-whatever monstrosity you have in your town and purchase some construction strength glue and cheap building material and invade space with your own creation! Anyway, I like the approachable nature of this project and the fact that its industrial nature has the potential to make it almost invisible. ‘Why would you want to make it invisible?’ I hear you say and my point is that quietly altering a highly regimented and controlled environment is more important than getting arrested, banned or being famous for 15 minutes.

I don’t think I’ve written much about street art previously, but this process, along with old-school DIY book/zine/record publishing and the still largely decentralized internet, seems to be the last frontier of free expression and speech. Wanting to side step the museum and gallery system, Invader sees himself as a ‘hacker’ of public space, displaying work at street level for everyone to enjoy. Working in public spaces also rearranges a city’s architecture to an extent, at least giving it a much needed splash of colour. We already have our head and physical spaces invaded by all kinds of junk so why not Space Invaders or Shepard Fairey’s Andre The Giant?

www.space-invaders.com

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