Mari Velonaki- Robotic Figure in White

MARI VELONAKI

I just recently discovered Mari Velonaki an artist in emerging technologies and who is Director of The Creative Robotics Lab  http://www.niea.unsw.edu.au/research/organisations/creative-robotics-lab-crl and Associate Professor at the  National Insititute for Experimental Arts in Australia http://www.niea.unsw.edu.au/about .

Below is a robotic statue I think you will find impressive. She appeals to the physical senses a-typically, with virtually no signs of Classical Greek proportions.  ‘Attractive’ in a mysterious way she forces us to understand her intuitively not logically. How strange for an entity of artificial intelligence don’t you think?

What I love about Velonaki’s use of new media in Diamandini, 2013 is that we see the moments from initial impulse to ‘connect’ with erratic moments of silence in the movement between human and machine. Movement being sensory directed is her dialogue with human. Even though this contact is in a state of potential and is thus unpredictable, the interactions are poetic. Imagine we are with Diamandini.  I am convinced we would be immediately curious as to what is happening between ourselves and her together in a public space. She is by far so different from us. She is stiff like a porcelain doll and white as milk. She is a work in progress in that soon over the next few years other parts of her body will be less fixed and will perform with more motor control; for instance be able to touch.

As a figure I find her endearing, she has no language but feels like an innocent child roaming around new territory, carrying a trust into an unknown, vulnerable and socially unconditioned. Another feature of her in this stage which perhaps might change in her next phase is her neutral presence, like someone who ‘listens’ as if she hears the many unspoken conversations, or stories rambling through our head. Or even an uncanny ability to connect from a higher plane of consciousness, she is remarkable and so genuine.

Technology is like another kingdom of nature, it has been with us since we needed food, shelter and clothing. I think projects like Diamandini  are a wonderful reminder about the way we use technology- to serve us or to consume us? Either way it has equal potential to destroy and be innovative on a human level.

After seeing the video what did you notice? How do you think you would feel if this girl in white were to follow you in a public space? Do you find her threatening, amicable or a non-entity?

You can learn more about Mari Velonaki here:  http://mvstudio.org

STAY TUNED: Interview with Wylie Sophia Garcia coming up

 

 

 

 

 


ARTIST INTERVIEW – featuring Brian Zeigler

ARTIST INTERVIEW

BRIAN ZEIGLER

 Brian Zeigler is a friend of mine, an artist whose work involves play, the I ching, and thoughts on Charles Baudelaire. While his art sometimes responds to current events, his pictorial world reflects his belief in working the muscle of his intuition, chance and being in the ‘presence’ of this experimentation with materials.

The following interview flows from his context as a professional artist today rather than delving into the meaning behind the works I have presented here. These images therefore give us a glimpse into his visual world that leaves ‘control’ and ‘will’ all behind.

BZ- art work

Brian Zeigler- Untitled, 20 x 16 inches, mixed media collage, 2014

1. Tell us about your work. What is it that you do?

I draw. This is simply what I am committed to, and I believe in drawing. Even if everything I do appears different it is all drawing. I think of all of my work as drawings.

2. What experience(s) did you have that made you realize you were an artist? Were you encouraged because you had a natural inclination towards making things, did you get positive feedback from the universe when you made things? was the impulse guided by something mysterious within you?, and/or was it from inspiration when looking at a Rembrandt or listening to the Bee Gees sort of thing…

It has taken me along time to use that word “Artist” and I still have trouble calling myself that. Even though I spend a lot of time making what people would call art and have an MFA. I still find it difficult to use that word and feel awkward when I do. Not that I am against the idea, far from it, I wouldn’t want to live in a world without it. I think I was interested in this title when I was younger. The mystery and magic of making art was something I wanted to be a part of. Watching someone turn lines into a shark or a lion was super exciting and I wanted to be able to perform the same sort of magic. When I got older the word ‘artist’ seemed to carry the weight of privilege and with this weight a responsibility to use skills, talent, whatever we want to call it, to do something that mattered. By mattered I mean something that would somehow effect what is wrong in the world. This is a simple statement or I have put it in a simple way to say where my brain goes with the title of artist. This has been a struggle and is one I keep coming back to. The important thing and the thing which has made the most impact is that I keep coming back to this thing called ‘art’ and I have not given up. I still believe in it and am trying to find my way within it. I have been thinking more and more about those early experiences or memories and have been trying to give them the weight they deserve. What I mean is realizing the importance of those early events that made me say “yes, I want to continue doing this”, there is something here that will teach me what I have to learn. One of my earliest memories of this is drawing with my mom. My parents gave me a Disney drawing device. I say device because it was this blue plastic machine with rollers. A long plastic sheet was set into the rollers and using a china marker you could trace the Disney characters, then paint them and put a background behind them and roll the sheet. This I was told was how they made the cartoons I loved and being able to physically and visually understand the process was something that gave me immense pleasure. From that experience I went on to hone my skills of copying cartoons from the pages of the Sunday paper and the bad Saturday cartoons on TV. These were my biggest influences and the beginnings of my training in becoming an artist.

Brian Zeigler art work

BZ- BROKE, 36 x 24 inches, mixed media collage, 2014

3. Was this a liberating thing to realize or did the commitment seem overwhelming, thus you postponed or second guessed it?

I believe it has been both liberating and overwhelming. Making art is absolutely liberating in the time with mindfulness spent in the making. The creative process is the most rewarding experience in terms of personal meditation and health. I have found nothing better than consuming one’s whole self in the act of making. The absolute overwhelming part is how what is made should then live in the world, because for the process of making to be fully realized what is made must live.

4. How did you begin that journey after realizing you needed to make it? What steps did you take?

I took as many art classes as I could in high school and drew everyday at my drawing table at home. I went to college and pursued a BFA, majoring in life drawing. At some point after college I decided skill and talent were not enough and I began living. I put myself out in the world and did the things I believed in. I traveled the United States working and learning on organic farms. I became a baker and learned the magic of the rising dough. I worked with the elderly and children. I knew that more than being able to draw standing up and being a part of what I believed in would make me an artist. I am still on this journey of living while trying to connect the practice of making art to my ongoing experiences.

5. What keeps you making here in Vermont?

This is a good question and I mean it in how it sounds. For me I have just begun to make art in this place, I have been here since 2005, but the majority of what I have been making has been in a different time and place. This may be the answer the duel world of existence has much interest to me. The yin and yang of things. This exists because this does. I like black and white. I have been thinking about trees much more these days and rivers and snow, ice, rain and leaves. I have been settling into this natural landscape like a warm bath and it has finally found its way into my art.

 

Brian Ziegler's art work

BZ- Untitled, 48 x 144 inches, mixed-media, 2014

6. How do you start?

I start with play. Then I rely on intuition. Sometimes imagination but, always experimentation. Lately I have been trying to work with chance and I have always stayed open when working with the ‘accident’. I have stopped starting with knowing and become more comfortable with not knowing and admitting that. Most drawings start with a line and go from there. Decisions are made but the ‘being’ for me is unknown, I am just responding to the continuous moment of making. I like the journey the making takes me on. I like the interpretation of the viewer. Most of the time I don’t know what I am making until long after it is done and I have spent time in its presence. This is my truth; of being less of a seeker for the right answers, and moving from that place of ‘what I see’ and ‘respond to’ instead.

BZ'S work

BRIAN ZEIGLER, Untitled, 60 x 144 inches, china marker/ink on Yupo paper, 2014

BZ'S WORK

BZ- Untitled, 60 x 144 inches, china marker/ink on Yupo paper

 

7. Do you think being an artist now is the all time best in the history of art, or do you see yourself suited to another time period?

I am certainly influenced by the AB-EX painters and a lot of the art that happened in the seventies, eighties and nineties. I think anytime I entertain the idea of being in another time period it is because I have the knowledge that what they were up to worked. Now creating is different, I use what has worked in the past to make the work I make. I do believe now is the best time because the past and the present coexist as they never have before and as artists we are free to do whatever we want. The pressure of being original is not hanging over our heads anymore, it has all been done.

 8. Who are those that have influenced you, who have you learned from and do you feel you need to pay homage to them in anyway? 

 I will say I learn best from reading the writings of artists I like. There are many but some of them are…Philip Guston: http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/multimedia/videos/178 , Julie Mehretu: http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/julie-mehretu , Mark Bradford: http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/mark-bradford , Mike Kelley: http://mikekelley.com , The Situationists: http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/jan-d-matthews-an-introduction-to-the-situationists , John Cage: http://johncage.org , Walter Benjamin’s essays on Charles Baudelaire: http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674022874  and older influences like Kathie Kollwitz: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Käthe_Kollwitz , Leonard Baskin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Baskin , Edvard Munch:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edvard_Munch .  The research I get the most out of is when I focus on a particular artist and read what has been written about them but even better if they themselves have done any writing or have done any interviews. So in that way I do think I owe them the time to really try and understand why I respond to they’re work by doing the research required.
Brian Zeigler art

Brian Zeigler, Untitled, 24 x 36 inches, mixed media collage, 2014

9. Do you think your work exists and flows within a tradition? why/Why not? Can you explain?
I feel now in this period of time we are living in as artists we can choose to do whatever we want. We can use any tradition, any time period, and  anything to express ourselves. I do in some ways still cling to the idea of mastery and this is what keeps me drawing the way I do. It is like the practice of Tai Chi; I want to achieve the perfect relationship between movement and breath or in the case of drawing hand and eye, but I don’t know that this has anything to do with saying anything important or not, just some hang up I hold onto, maybe as result of too many kung fu movies as a child, you know, the mastery of a particular practice, and mine just happens to be drawing which I try to push as much as I can.
 
10. Do you think the art of painting could radicalize like it did with the Impressionists, Cubists and Ab.Ex painters?
No, I don’t believe painting can radicalize the way it did in the past. We are living in a time of maximum image soaked reality and the slow process of painting is no match. Not that I don’t believe it is still relevant or important but definitely not radical. I would say that it is really barely visible amongst all the other options out there and possibly most cynically it exists for a certain customer who has newly emerged to fit in with they’re appreciation of high design, as something to accent the illusion of high end with a pinch of soul. This is a dangerous road of thought though and only leads to something much worse in this day and age then complacency, contempt. I for one refuse to level this sort of criticism at any fellow artist knee deep in the muck of making and instead save my anger for the things that need changing.
 
11. If you could would you overthrow the tyranny of tradition and/or how the contemporary art market works?
Yes, I would say anything that sells for over a certain amount of money say for the hundreds of thousands should no longer be considered art. If you are getting rich off of art it is no longer art.  That is sort of silly but the truth is art should come out of the life you live not out of the expectations of the market.
Brian Zeigler's art work

Brian Zeigler- Tracks, 49 x 144 inches, mixed media collage, 2013

All images are the intellectual property of Brian Ziegler. For more information about this artist feel free to visit his website at http://brianzeigler.com

 

 

 


Happiness for 2015 and beyond…

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HAPPINESS

I think we can remember this kind smile as a universal welcome to the New Year. Have a Happy one!

on achieving happiness

LIGHT AND LOVE

“I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”

 – Dalai Lama XIV


The Haunting Gottfried Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein blows me away. An oil painter in photorealism, he strikes to a core. The technical and conceptual brilliance of his work is utterly married together and phenomenal. When I think of the word ‘inspiration’ I tend to think of other words like ‘upbeat, positive, encouraging, adventurous…’ but examining the character of his aesthetic I am inspired to get pretty damn real about life, like let’s not waste time here. He hits me hard. I love it.

 Now, I have stared at Picasso’s Guernica, 1937  http://www.pablopicasso.org/guernica.jsp  and Ruben’s Massacre of the Innocents, 1612 http://artmatters.ca/wp/tag/massacre-of-the-innocents/   and wept about our beastliness, and inhumanity. No joke, those works are powerful. This is different. The feeling of goose bumps move from skin to way way way back inside me and scorches the tips of what I also know to be human: anxiety, physical suffering, fear, victimization. Helnwein brings this kind of emotional reality into a concrete…WOW.

Gottfried Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein

Helwein’s creative gaze captures innocence, loss, powerlessness, unrest, the ‘un-protected’ by forces of safety. When I first saw his work I immediately thought of my daughter. So right there, my insides were turned.  It is like I can see something in the young girl from my own body, to the effect of  ‘ surrender to what I can’t control, a kind of abandonment of will and maybe something will keep me alive’ kind of feeling. I began to probe that maybe the instinct to survive comes in the exact moment after the loss, or victimized feeling that washes over the body?…whatever that feeling is…HOLY CR&^%&!

Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein

Inexplicable torture – Is this to feel? to penetrate numbness? Our culture does a very good job at keeping us trapped in a kind of delirium. Contemporary artist Paul McCarthy defines that for us in his filmic installations. The psychological terror here scares the heck out of me when these expressions stare back. It’s pretty darn literal.

Gottfried Helnwein hyperrealism

Gottfried Helnwein

The purity and then it leaves…

Gottfried Helnwein- The Child series

Gottfried Helnwein

When I see and feel this image I think of- “If I close my eyes maybe the pain will all go away. I just want to not see for a sec…” and ” maybe I can wish for help to come …”

Gottfried Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein

A dark dark presence to reckon with and at the same time there might be a way out…?

Gotta take a breath here. Whoosh!

Below is to show you the ‘average’ scale of his work. Pretty flippin’ large.

Gottfried_HELNWEIN--THE_MURMUR_OF_THE_INNOCENTS-1

Gottfried Helnwein

The artist himself. He is Austrian born, now an Irish citizen, studios in Los Angeles and Ireland, and lives in a castle with his large family. His models are family members. He paints, does costume and theater design, installation works, performance, a draftsman…

He is more than goth, he is Gothic.

 

Photo Gottfried Helnvein

Up close to Gottfried Helnvein-

WOW!


EMBRACE, IGNITE AND BURN

Burning man art

Colossal sculpture EMBRACE at the Burning Man 2014

Burning Man art

EMBRACE AT THE BURNING MAN by The Pier Group

Burning Man colossal sculpture

Burning Man sculpture ‘Embrace’  by The Pier Group 2014

'Embrace' at Burning Man

Preparing ‘Embrace’ by The Pier Group and volunteers

Embrace sculpture at Burning Man

Muggy and grim Black Rock City with  ‘Embrace’ at Burning Man

Embrace at Burning Man

Embrace at night

Burning Man sculpture

A smokey ‘Embrace’ at Burning Man

Embrace the burn

Burning ‘Embrace’

Burning Embrace at Burning Man

Burning Embrace -a feeling of loss

Sculpture burns at Burning ManEmbrace burns at the Burning Man TOTALLY HOT

Full burning at the Burning Man

Totally Consumed


…OF ROYALTY

Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69

Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69, The Adoration of the Magi

 

While I have just stepped into examining KINGS already there are more than a few to admire. One of my favorites is  Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69, The Adoration of the Magi. The Magi are presented here as individualistic, peculiar, grotesque and sophisticated all at the same time. Hieronymous Bosch lurks in the postures. They are exaggerated in an illustrative way; elongated, appearing wise and carrying peasant worn faces of the Flemish Renaissance.  Robed in their own elegant style, their dignity overrides the bustling younger community around them.  Mary caped in sky blue welcomes the 3 strangers with open arms, as she clearly knows they have traveled to Bethlehem following a miraculous star, which has lead them to this nativity scene. Jesus is indulged by their presence and smiles back at them. Their fashion flows between jester, royalty and native non-western ceremonial attire painted in the classical palette of reds, blue, van Eyck green and soft warm whites. Within the ordinary the extra-ordinary (our ‘star’)  guides us. How would you cast the remarkable in your life?

Catherine the Great of Russia

Catherine II by J.B von Lampi 1780

Voltaire called her “STAR OF THE NORTH”. Catherine the Great was a strong proponent of European culture, of art, literature, the education of women and expanded the Russian Empire in western ways. My kind of King in Queen form. Gorgeous decadent color combinations in her attire. However, in her own words on fashion “I did not make beauty or finery the source of my merit, for when one was gone, the other became ridiculous, and only character endured.”  I get it but my mum was ‘royal’ and to her from style your character was born so I will lovingly disagree.

Diego Velasquez- Philip IV in armor

Velasquez- Philip IV in armor

 Look at his unusual  luscious lips, boyish hair and significant nose! A dandy underneath hard exteriors. Mean to Jews, expelled them from France, a nepotist, not a big fan. A fabulous portrait of light, flesh and color, however. Say no more.

Ferdinand VII by Goya

Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes
portraiture of the King of Spain- Ferdinand VII

Something went wrong here. Head and body aren’t connected, his flesh discolors from face to hands, feels like he hopped into some fancy clothes without showering. Can smell his odor, even. Better to have a standin. The formalities of duty call for the ‘pose’ and back to  lordship we go. The background seems unfinished, the legs of the horses on the right are cut off, perhaps two paintings merged into one? Bloated with conceit Ferdinand loves himself, a power that had to pop. Definitely disconnected from his environs. Not impressed.

Portrait of a King- by sam tk

Portrait of a wounded king- by sam  tk

So forget all the grand posturing, really, who are we kidding? I protest! Acknowledge all the wounds that lie herein, I bring thee the opportunity to face them. Yes, we are wounded by our histories, of all our failures, of all our melancholia that forced us to bore into the earth and retrieve something new over and over again. All strata of society and culture need a cathartic release from all this bruising. Let time collapse our tragic past from all kinds of domination.

Instead, let’s turn towards the royalty we are. Inhabit our grandeur within, sing to it with all our heart, let it store within us like a long lasting preserve, a delicacy of profound sweetness. Measure ourselves with the grace of the small, for they smooth all our hard edges and ask us to dance with the gods.

 

 


HIS KINGSHIP

 

He’s a dude for sure: floral and royal, a reversal and universal, and as fine from a gold mine…

More pics and video coming soon!

his kingship- stk vimeo


CHANTILLY LACE

versace-054

(White lace underwear for men by Versace 2013)

 “Chantilly Lace”

Hello baby yeah this is the Big Bopper speaking ha ha you sweet thing

Do I what? will I what? oh baby you know what I like
Chaintily lace and a pretty face and a pony tail hangin’ down
A wiggle and a walk and a giggle and a talk made the world go round
There ain’t nothing in the world
Like a big eyed girl to make me act so funny make me spend my money
Make me fool real loose like a long necked goose
Like a girl oh baby that’s what I like
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(Ulyana Sergeenko f/w 2013)
The intricacies of crafting with lace imagery and other fragile floral references is celebrated here through various mediums such as paper
Rogan-Brown-Paper-art1

(Rogan Brown paper art- organic forms)

in porcelain

intricate-porcelain-skull-sculpture--large-msg-132933280427

(Skull porcelin sculpture)

 in men’s lace underwear from Versace’s winter/fall collection of 2013

versace-029

(Black lace underwear for men by Versace winter/fall collection 2013)

 in blouses that could come from translucent sea life

Balenciaga Sping 2006

(Cream lace from translucent sea- Balanciaga 2006)

 Under black taffeta blazers with knee high black combat boots

BAl7ZSOCUAE1oGy.png-large

(Men’s Black lace under couture, Versace winter/fall 2013)

in the draping marker line of every moment

John Franzen morph-2

(Each Line One Breath- John Franzen drawing)

 in circling and joining up with the most fragile black finery

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(Emanuel Ungaro)

in strong tribal gladiator underarmor

Versace lace for men

(Winter/fall brunettes in Versace lace, 2013)

and in the complexities of 3-Dimensional sculpture

Chihyun Shin's sculpture

(Chihyun Shin’s sculpture)

 so…..

What’s that honey?
Pick you up at 8 and don’t be late
But baby I ain’t got no money honey
hahahahaha
Oh alright baby you know what I like!

elie-saab-fall-2012-couture-black-lace-dresses

(Ladies in black lace gowns- Elie Saab 2012)

 


LET’S GO FOR A RIDE!

bombers on the bike

bikes and bombers

Got my cap n’ tee just preppin’  for a ride

T-shirt heart logo

a tee with my heart illustration silkscreened by hand

motorbike culture

motorbike and bombers

girl and motorbike

sleek, hi-fi motorama- but why the gun? We often associate ‘power and cool’ with popular high tech movies, one day we will evolve…

While the western world goes hype on motorbike aesthetics and design which can be fun by the way, the non-west motors with  utilitarian intentions. Needless to say both seem to be missing one key item. My bomber caps! Bombers and motorbikes are the quintessence of adventure. Only because I love my caps and think anyone can wear them. To be clear they are a luxury, mind you one that will last a long time, and they are also obviously not safe for highway driving.

mb 12

Got the denim blues

Dog meat is a healthy choice to eat

Dog meat has medicinal benefits according to the Chinese-

Now I love to try new things because I do consider myself full of adventure, but dog meat is stretching it. I eat meat and I am an animal lover, can’t do dog. Definitely a cultural difference.  Motoring across town with them? – why how else would you do that?

egg motorbike Viet Nam

My bombers have reached as far as the UK, but I wonder if Viet Nam would wear a bomber ?- a plus against urban noise!

Traub2

World’s rarest motorbike

vintage bike with vintage bomber …hmm…definitely a possibility

motorbike travel no head gear

3 on a motorbike in Tehran

 Very focussed, all together , on a mission are they going to make it??? They would move faster with one of my bombers of course…

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Viet Nam carriage

Both of these images are just darn impressive.

transport_au_viet_nam

A balancing act

Think these forms above are being carried by a bicycle or a motorbike? Do you know what they are? (conical fishing baskets)

woman_on_motorbike

Women’s Micro-Financing world

Business as usual. These ladies are juggling many tasks between work with micro- financing initiatives, family and building a prosperous community. Motorbikes make their life a little more convenient and free. As the saying goes “My cap (hat) goes off to them. “

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6 on a motorbike

In India having fun after attending the baths. Motorbikes tend to have that attitude.

taking a break with my bomber

S’AMUSE bombers and motorbikes

 S’AMUSE bombers are comfy, colorful and considerately kool.

For the sake of adventure and quality design how about giving them a try?

Visit www.samuse.bigcartel.com, SAMUSE on etsy.com or call to order 802.224.6878

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Guess the Garment

guessing garments

Deconstructing garments

Lately I have been in the throes of deconstructing a particular kind of garment. I need this material for my next art installation this coming October 24th at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT. Look closely at the following imagery and see if you can guess what the kind of garment is. For example is the fabric in the imagery coming from women’s lingerie? You need to be as specific as you can with your guess. If you guess correctly you win 50% off of a S’AMUSE scoodie purchase. Scoodies are a hat n’ scarf combo made with eco friendly materials, reversible and one of a kind. They can be seen here- scoodies.  I only have 32 scoodies left!

gg4

Textile Abstractions

GG

Stacked against the odds

guess the garment

The art of deconstructing a garment-

Laying here for a reason…

Fabric cuts, straight edges, shifting lines, interrupting patterns, monochromatic tones…can you see what these fabrics reference?

Have fun guessing!