SOUNDS LIKE POWER TO ME…
SOUNDS LIKE POWER TO ME…
Many of you have probably heard of the Mushroom Burial Suit conceived and invented by artist Jae Rhim Lee. It is brilliant and something to seriously think about. In fact I think I might have to re-write my will. If I believe humans as a species are intrinsically connected to the planet then I should eat my words around being responsible on how I leave this earth plane. Cremation is pretty toxic. But Can I forgo cremation? I love having the ashes of my parents, and I want my kids to have them of me. To decline on cremation the option of The Mushroom Burial Suit makes sense from an environmental perspective listen here…
Below is her experimentations of mushrooms that could decompose her nails, skin and hair which I believe are already outgrowths of biological waste we naturally eliminate.
Mycelium Learning at the Edge says
The mycelium organism is the root system of mushrooms; an underground network that connects to the roots of plants and trees and distributes nutrients and information to support the health of the whole ecosystem. This adaptive, pro-health organism is a teacher for us as we ask, “How can humans more successfully interact with each other in ways that nourish ourselves, each other and the world.” http://mycelium.is/about-us/
Well something to contemplate and imagine, right? Could you take this radical step? Perhaps in the meantime if we eat more mushrooms to boost our immune system an illumination will arrive.
FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 1-4
Free Floating Anxiety 1 thru 4 is one of a series of drawings soon to be silkscreened onto textiles for my upcoming robotic interactive installation. This continuous field is an amalgamation of various eco-systems colliding, overlapping and interrupting one another in open space. It reveals a shared world beneath the surface of life where biological, fungal, granular, mineral, and industrial shapes forge, float, bump and transform with one another.
I marvel at the complexities of human and non-human eco-systems where the organic and industrial/artificial meet.
This is my imaginary world of these probing interactions. Miraculously there seems to be space for all.
Below are a few designs for some upcoming garment installations…I am inspired by eco-systems in nature specifically here -fungal life…
More updates to come, always in process, baby steps make life happen…
The Art of W. David Powell
What does the W in your name stand for?
I see you are starting with easy questions. William.
Do all the things you do flow through your art practice of thinking and making? and/or are you thinking of it but maybe not doing it 24/7?
While everything I do is not truly applicable to my art practice, much of my life revolves around it. I am fortunate that my day job as a college art teacher focuses my thinking on the formal aspects of art making and design, so even when I am not making my personal work, a lot of my waking hours are spent in conscious thought about ongoing and gestating projects.
Do you know why you are doing what you are making visible to many others? Where does the urge come from, you think?
I am a maker—a creator. I supposed that I am wired that way. I don’t believe it is a rational decision. As you express it—it is an urge.
You are gifted and talented and do you see yourself as unique as well? How do you see yourself today as an artist?
Thank you. I do not see myself as truly unique. I am constantly reminded by other artists, as well as by writers and scientists, that my quests are not unique, but have elements of universality.
How do you see the role of the artist today? Does it differ from the ancients?
The truly ancients had elements of ritual and tribute that dominated their art. As patronage became a part of the process, perhaps this was somehow subjugated. I suppose my art is coming from a place that the surrealists were investigating… that of being a conduit for the unconscious and “invisible forces”. I have no firm definition of the artist of today. The art world is very wide open now. There seem to be so many personal and subjective directions for creation that it is both vast and mercurial.
Do you believe artists have a responsibility outside of themselves and towards their culture in any way?
Culture seems global now—and corporate. I have no debt to it. Community seems more appropo to creating meaning and change, but in my fine art practice I am not engaged with either in a conscious way. It is just not the way I think or work. I also have a design practice. In that area community is important. I work with performing arts organizations and a coalition of philosopher farmers in Central Vermont that have vision and purpose.
Does living in Vermont have any influence on how you go about your practice and making? if so or not, then how? or why not?
My Vermont home studio provides me with a quiet, undisturbed setting for making art without the distractions of an urban environment. I don’t make Vermont art. I just make art.
What lead you to using Photoshop? I know you collage, draw and paint but why is it predominantly your medium now? Do you think this will change?
I was an early adopter of the mac platform in 1984 and Photoshop when it became available. I seldom draw or paint and digital imaging plays an increasingly minor role in my current art production. To a large degree I have gone retrograde and have returned to a medium that I used in the past, traditional cut and paste collage.
Do you think your work would have an entirely different ‘reading’ if it were completely painted or drawn?
Since my images are appropriated, yes. The physicality and tactility of the original source materials inevitably enter into the reading.
Does the subject matter of your work come from your experience(s) lived, examined and reflected and then you weave it around a focus and/or are you conceptually driven first which you then seek your visual content after? Could you elaborate on how reflection, experience, collecting imagery and composing come together for you in your artistic practice?
In my current mode the collecting comes first (and is ongoing), the random associations come next and the reflection comes after a number of pieces from similar sources come together. The work is not predetermined. It would then become merely illustration. My work in drawing and painting feels overdetermined and interest me less.
Your work is akin to the field of remixing as opposed to creating an ‘original’ from no external sourcing or a personal narrative from scratch that doesn’t ‘collect’ and reconfigure into new contexts. I think your work weaves both but would you say your overriding critical concerns about where humankind is heading with ‘progress’ at the helm is more important right now? Can you explain your creative methods and strategies and those relationships to the content of your work?
The illusion of “progress” crops up over and over again in the work. I just can’t help myself.
What other artists, visionaries, thinkers and tinkerers are you dialoguing with?
I have a group of collage artists who I talk with fairly regularly. They all live pretty far away, so I meet with them less frequently that they meet with each other, but it is always stimulating. We call ourselves the Rio Blanco Riders and we consist of Varujan Boghosian, Peter Thomashow, Marcus Ratliff and me. On the periphery of this group is a young artist named Ben Peberdy who I met at Vermont Studio Center. He has a great mail art project going. We have been showing together for a couple of years now. Other collage artists that I admire and correspond with are Todd Bartel, Michael Oatman and Lou Beach. I cannot communicate with the dead, but if I could I would add Max Erst, Hannah Höch, Raoul Hausman and Ray Johnson to the list. I also greatly admire Wangechi Mutu, a collage artist who I see as the heir to Hannah Höch’s feminist approach to the game.
What impact has the Vermont artistic community had on you? Do you slide right into a sense of belonging with it or is it a challenge to see yourself growing here? or is it both or is ‘place’ not important for your work to thrive here, you could be anywhere flourishing?
For many years I felt like an outlier in the Vermont artistic community. The community is now more progressive and has many more farsighted contemporary practitioners. Thriving is a tricky question. While Vermont is a great place to make art, both the market for art and the institutional support of it are out of synch with the vibrant artistic community that now exists in the state.
It would be silly to blame sales and the viability of a career on the location since its a tough art market now all ‘round, but I think that the artists who reside in Vermont who are making a go of it are not doing it here in this state.
Many of the images above come from a book on Powell’s paper collages. The writing below reads like a manifesto to me and shares his thoughtful energy around image-making in the cultural machinery we live in today.
All images are the property of W.David Powell. Please visit his website if you wish for more information.http://faculty.plattsburgh.edu/Wdavid.Powell/
Stay tuned for next interview with artist Lisa Kippen.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
More pics and video coming soon!
Hello baby yeah this is the Big Bopper speaking ha ha you sweet thing
in men’s lace underwear from Versace’s winter/fall collection of 2013
in blouses that could come from translucent sea life
Under black taffeta blazers with knee high black combat boots
in the draping marker line of every moment
in circling and joining up with the most fragile black finery
in strong tribal gladiator underarmor
and in the complexities of 3-Dimensional sculpture
What’s that honey?
Pick you up at 8 and don’t be late
But baby I ain’t got no money honey
Oh alright baby you know what I like!
Every week day morning I have the opportunity to walk my kids to school which has become a welcoming ritual in my world. We talk about the unfolding events and activities of the day, who is doing what and so forth. Currently we have two days left of the school year which you would think my kids would be super happy about, but this morning unexpectedly my son was in a bad mood. I don’t know what caused him to be mean to his sister, other than it had to be he was hurting inside. Sometimes our hearts and brains around situations are at total odds. We know we can’t live under the sole guidance of the heart. We need the smarts of reason to cooperate. On a bad day such as my son’s this morning, it was evident his brain’s ‘critic’ or ‘protector’ was engaged against his sister and out to fire enough ammunition to burn a city down. What a way to ruin the bubbly self in his sister that loves life innocently says gullible mama. He isn’t always the ‘critic’, like all of us he is guilty of big heart loving and obviously his sister provoked him to get him into a wounding mood. The point is we all act in this play ‘Between Good Heart and Negative Brain’ daily and we do it because we enter the zone of vulnerability. It can suck.
Now I am not a therapist, or a self-help guru on how to overcome vulnerability. I know we can meditate, drink Oprah’s soothing tea recipes, eat lots of vegetables (apparently two pounds daily to prevent cancer), exercise, travel and perhaps we reach equanimity. Even if I do follow the right regimen I am still a little empty. What I realize is if I delve deeper into the quasi inventive characters we are, I can begin to see differently. Humans are blessed with creativity and I am not talking about the reproductive kind altho that too I suppose. From active creativity comes positivity and connection. I think the remedy that cures all is having a sense of wonder as we flow thru our orbits. Try this once and you might get hooked. Let wonder lead the way in your day from one moment to the next. To be caught by the unexpected or the inexplicable is profoundly liberating. First, you could start with this video on The Helical Heart which unravels the construction of the human heart. . It will blow you away.
#2. Dwell on this fantastic Macramé dress to see the intricate symmetry of human craft encase and drape where complexity is trapped in and outside the body. Where is the solid form anyway?
#3. Let’s take on those bad thoughts and feel the heat of fire burn them to ashes…
#4. Let’s look at our biological systems that keep us flowing and grounded on the earth. Our body is often said to be a machine well, it is also pretty darn mysterious like any scientist or mystic will tell you. Jean Paul Gauthier’s body suit below is an intense reminder of the hidden layers of connectivity.
Let’s go back to the 80’s and visit Jana Sterbak’s Meat Dress titled Vanitas. Here we can watch meat age much like we do, from raw innocence to curing wisdom.
“Ah! The Vanity of it All”…might perhaps lead us down the path of meaninglessness but one thing is clear while our hearts are built around perfect symmetry like that which is hidden in natural structures they also contain the seeds of self-mastery. We can chose to feel the beauty that continuously pervades us inside and outside the human hemisphere, the natural law of the cosmos or we can be burned by that nasty magistrate who destroys from the wounded self. The truth is our heart always wins with love. Second last day of school maybe my son will come around…
by Sam TK
Kingliness is the beginning to a larger art installation that examines the myths and roles of sacred ancient Kings. The King hero is a model of a behavioral code that exists in all of us as a kind of ruler or director of operations. He/She (Queen) is associated with how we manage power inside and outside of ourselves. Royalty of this kind is not be identified with, rather we align ourselves to their positive energy. When our egos seek to dominate over someone, community or land’ our sacred ruler in its healthiest state of being influences benevolently. Harmony flows as we act in accord with our environment. If our sovereignty falls ill with grandiosity then chaos ensues, our communities and earth become a wasteland. Thus the dark ruler in us as legends teach us necessitates transformation towards humility, wholeness and knowledge of ordinary life.
Kingliness is my inner image of a king- a mythic perspective of male identity and one that seeks to bring forth a sensual, elegant, masterful energy in our physical and psychological selves. His energy expression is not of a patriarchal order for he cares not to lord over others or destroy that of our environment.
I have hand silkscreened imagery on fine silk/cotton of male and floral reproductive systems. They are interwoven into primordial patterns; a mix of biology, and botany in textile production.
Weaving the human with the patterns of nature roots us with the lush and fecund earth, in our hearts and imaginations.
The crawling vein journeying on top of skin.
Looking at the photos above of wearable jewelry we are taken beyond adornment. We see the flesh of humans as a surface to grow upon or slither across, a skin and object symbiosis, where both enter into a co-creative relationship, mutually satisfying.
DENDRITES, dendritus, dendy-itis...the art of the dendrite. Fashion and Biology
I love to make visual connections between distant ‘matter’ whether ideas, things, places or states of being. But when the ‘matter’ leads to underlying concepts I am absolutely thrilled about the tangential connections I travel on. Speaking of connections and tangent like things lets witness the activity of a dendrite, its physicality, and purpose inside and outside of our body.
Dendrites are branched tree extensions receiving electrical stimulation or impulses from other neurons. They transmit information at synapses between two nerve cells. They facilitate communication in the nervous system.
What does this have to do with fashion? The incredible thing about fashion and other creative contexts is that the designer can explore from every possible discipline and any frontier. Let me take you through some possibilities. Below is an obvious one. Nerves and their dendrite affiliations silkscreened onto ties.
Biological references in clothing flow poetically in the imagery below.
Layers, membranes and cellular activity keeping us together. Biological systems revealing as exteriors, clothing becomes a shelter keeping both inner and outer worlds together harmoniously.
Anna Holvik’s cloth transparencies above make me think of the myelin sheath of an axon. Totally cellular.
I am taken by this photograph. Is it a splash of liquid frozen in a moment of time? It too reveals the inner cellular and membrane composition hitting the solid and serene exterior of human skin. One can see a startling contrast of chaos and order in a larger mystery.
Thomas Deerinck dendrite imagery- microscopic pathways in glorious color
Dendrites can be smooth tapering branches of neurons or the neurons can have dendrites that enlarge at the ends in varying ways. I keep thinking of stuffed non descript toys. Perhaps it is time to make some long dendritic pillows that span a king size bed.
When we look at neurons that exist inside our body on a Petri dish this is what we might see. The dendrites are green, the axons are blue and synapses are the red spots which engage between axons and dendrites. More info here: http://connectomethebook.com/?portfolio=axons-and-dendrites
But as you know dendrite activity is way more complex than this. My intention here is to communicate that deep humility can reside in scientific inquiry, it comes from seeing, feeling and being the beauty in Nature, of what is. Art, fashion, literature and other design disciplines express this endlessly. Humans are inextricably linked to the wonder-filled complexities of living on earth. We aren’t separate from one another. We share the same breath with the earth.
The following video explains the longing of a dendrite.
textile as liquid, in flux, morphing contemplation
Dendrites form on rocky surfaces when weatherization has occurred through the release of ions from minerals.
Dendrites are a part of us and all around us.
I leave you with this poem
A blossom’s beauty hangs in glory
Trampled by the souls of men
Truth be seen, yet for a moment
This offering has come and past
Her velvet dress swayed motionless
To the dance that
He began Rhythm filled like dendrite drums
Chorus coupled; man and beast
In falling moments she lay in peace
Forgotten from the one she loves?
by Manny Galvan