Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mr. Norman Rockwell, Pleased To Finally Meet You!

Best architecture in the city of Dayton goes too....


Atop of Grafton Hill, sits a beautiful, classically red bricked tower of cascading stairs that seems to have escaped from a M.C. Esher work. A remarkable piece of Dayton history, the Dayton Art Institute is a museum that once featured an amazing art school that taught great artist friends like Virginia Burroughs and Willis "Bing" Davis.
With incredible exhibits continuing to come to one of Dayton's most impressive treasures such as 100 Years of African American Art: The Arthur Primas Collection, Creating the New Century: Contemporary Art from the Dicke Collection, and From Romance to Rifles: Winslow Homer's Illustrations of 19th Century America, Norman Rockwell is no exception.
Having recently opened November 12th, I went five days later, on a Thursday, when they closed at eight PM.
This was what happened that day.


True story- when I reached the top, those grand epic stairs were closed.
No way was I walking back down!
Carefree and adventurous, I jumped over the short metal chain and made my way...


One minor snag in the art sightseeing venture.
I was starving.
Most unfortunate.
Not planning on viewing the newly opened Norman Rockwell Exhibit on an empty stomach, I ordered light lunch fare from the DAI’s CafĂ© Monet- a delicious, crispy gooey panini grilled two cheese sandwich and sweet, cold lemonade topped with fresh lemon slices.
After devouring a pleasant meal outside by Leo the Lion, I was ready for Mr. Rockwell.


As an opening act, rare footage black and white photographs of his modest home/studio in snowy Massachusetts and humorous captured moments of family life were displayed. One got the sense of what kind of personality this famed illustrator had.
He certainly seemed a jolly fellow.
Not sure if he would enjoy having tofurky and steamed vegetables at my house though.
Plus, this may sound very shallow, but Rockwell was pretty handsome.
I loved his hair.
And of course the way he rocked a paintbrush is nothing to sneeze at!


“The post is the greatest show window for an illustrator. If you did a cover for the Post, you had arrived.”

I suppose truer words have never been spoke, Mr. Rockwell, especially in your case.
Oh, his paintings....
ASTOUNDING!
What more can I say?
I was utterly floored.
Rockwell's work up close and personal was enlightening and just very, very beautiful.
How can one not be amazed by such illustrious talent?
Words fail me!
Certainly wasn't the plan to consider commercialism versus fine art politics, but throughout the exhibit, I thought: fine artist.

Highlights:

1927’s The Law Student.


Diagonal, his body creating an active triangle shape, a young lad takes front stage of the picture plane.
He is obviously of poor disposition- clothing and shoes appear well worn.
But look at all of those books!
Deeply immersed, our law student is inwardly focused on reading/studying amongst framed portraits of Abrahan Lincoln, an impressive lawyer who eventually became the sixteenth President of the United States.
Rockwell not only showcases the desire to learn and the devoted idolization of an inspirational figure, but also a passion to lift oneself up from so low a class.
Anyone can climb the mountain.
Yet it takes persistence, hard work, and undeterred dedication!
Rockwell's painterly technique is absolutely marvelous!
Mesmerized and in awe by thick, glossy chunks of oil paint on the man’s vest, parts of his hair, and the book in his hand, I longed to touch him or gently take one of his many books. He certainly wasn't real, but Rockwell breathed a magical essence into this character. A life captured in a poignant photographic snapshot, this was impeccably flawless in terms of hyper-realism and subject matter.
Another thing to note, in most of Rockwell's nostalgic illustrations, he creates figures portraying specific actions related to the time period. They are almost always either at quarter's profile view like this fellow, have their eyes averted from the viewer, or have their backs turned.

1960's Triple Self Portrait

Rockwell has created many self-portraits.
Most focused on the frustrations of creating a new cover idea.
His easel features clippings of Albrecht Durer (one of my favorite artists!), Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent Van Gogh to inspire a nearly blank canvas. The attempts of mimicking all four of them in the mini black and white sketches had me laughing aloud.
It was simply an unexpected history lesson.
Imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery, but Rockwell certainly has his own particular approach to classical realism.
The warm, earthy tones of his palette make flesh golden and rosy with life, fabrics appear soft and comfortable, and objects emerge three dimensionally, elements of the trompe l'oeil effect at work.
With little minor objects from a period of classicism and elements of American patriotism amongst the work station, let's not forget to mention that the image being painted on the projected canvas is not exactly what Rockwell himself sees in the mirror.
Haha!
A man after my own heart.
Deadlines?
Ah, they suck.
But getting older.
Who wants to?
What do I also see in this piece?
Lies.
Omissions.
Half-truths.
The real, cold hard truth.
A most humorous situation, the anxiety of satisfying the canvas is a rather complex story that all can understand and began to fully appreciate.

1955's The Art Critic


Very "tongue in cheek" light hearted charm.
In an art gallery of fancy framed period art, holding an easel, art book, and a magnifying glass, a young spectator (an aspiring art student perhaps?) engages a bit too closely into a painting of an elegant lady, whose expression is clearly much different than the tiny black and white page he has in his backhand.
Behind him, wine holding gentlemen in another painting are staring straight at the boy in outrageous indignation.
Ah, but the boy clearly stands in an upper crust, aristocratic fashion, in khakis and tennis shoes as if he knows every thing there is to know.
The thing is....
Books and mimicking an artist's style doesn't necessarily make one an expert.
Case in point.
Plus isn't it a bit silly that this boy is a painting being stared at by other paintings?
Catch-22 eh?
Fascinating is that the palette actually has globs.
Rockwell must have squeezed the tubes, but he had to know that that texture would get lost in translation as a magazine cover page.
Just captivating right?
One almost wanted to scrap it off and work with those colors.
Okay.
That was probably just the desperate painter in me.
Moving on...
1952's Day in the Life of a Little Girl is disturbing due to the boy being present so much- a whopping twelve times! While in opposition 1952's Day in the Life of a Boy- a girl is featured only five times.



By these works alone, one learns that boys are active and full of adventure while girls are only obsessed with boys and looking "beautiful." Being a female in this society means women are meant to be glamorous objects without brains or aspirations of becoming bigger and substantial figures.
And we're talking white here.
Not black.
Not Asian.
No other minority.
Apparently, the Saturday Evening Post was dead set against this sort of thing.
So I admire Rockwell for getting out from behind the guards of the publication (ending a 47 year relationship due to political frustration!) and shifting towards making art not only a story for certain kinds of people, but for everyone!
By bringing social injustice and racial politics to light in the only way he knew how, here are two pieces that display a darker, more diverse narrative and how Rockwell places himself in the heart of the Civil Rights Movement.
In these shocking compositions, Rockwell paints more than happy rosy cheeked, peach faces and dreams of white suburbia.

1963's The Problem We All Live With from Look Magazine.


1963 was a big year for civil rights in America.
JFK, Michael Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X gave pivotal, powerhouse speeches- the kind that moved and ultimately shaped a nation.
Segregation was coming underway, meaning black children were finally going to come into all white schools to get the same education, the same kind of treatment that had been robbed from them since they improperly arrived.
That wasn't easy of course.
Mobs of people hated the idea of whites and minorities coming together.
Rockwell illustrated those public battles of horrific outrage and showcased them for every race and creed.
Malice, cruelty, and unnecessary hatred could not be anymore apparent in this painting.
It makes one eat at their conscious, their very soul.
This is a child, someone's little girl getting objects flung at her daily and being called nasty words.
A little dark skinned girl, Ruby Bridges is her name, is walking in between four escorting faceless police officers whose fists are balled.
One wonders are they for or against desegregation.
Do they want to help that Ruby?
Or wish that she would go back to a run down, 3/4 human education that would have continued to be provided for her and so many others?
Rockwell calls out for awareness and justice.
This outcry is simply inexcusable.
The tomato fragments are fat and discarded in disarray amongst the ugly word “NIGGER” spray painted brick wall.
That one smashed fruit symbolized a bloody, immoral psychological conflict.
It's like a "boo" to a bad performer, the insult that makes one want to leave the stage and never return.
In this powerful Rockwell illustration, I saw the contempt that they went through, that pain, that agony. Ruby, the Little Rock Nine, and so many others stayed strong in the face of great evil.
To be publicly tormented just because their skin is darker than pale flesh.
To be crucified....
Ugh,
No words.
So honored and humbled to know that these children and their parents showed immense bravery.
Thank you, Mr. Rockwell for taking the time to masterfully create a piece that symbolized the fight for change and justice in America.
Sadly, however, it is still a problem we all live with.
But nobody wants to talk about or address it.

1965's Murders in Mississippi goes a grisly step further.


Featured in Southern Justice was this rather dark biography of racial malice.
One of the most compelling parts of the exhibit was another side of Rockwell that I had never seen or thought to imagine.
Displayed and framed- pencil/painted sketches, actual photographs of his son and a close friend posing and Rockwell with real blood on his shirt, detailed article clippings from the gruesome story of three companions death in a Mississippi desert, and Rockwell's own jotted notes of the tragic account.
I felt a stronger, deeper connection, wanting to touch the residue of the creative process he left behind. It's surreal that these fragments appeal so much to me, that they seem far more intimate than the paintings themselves.
It interweaves everything.
Build up excitement from reading and looking at his gathered material before seeing the actual painting itself is a wondrous experience.
It's a whole other way of learning about the artist.
There was a long list of other murders that would never be solved due to all white juries and policemen, countless black people and the benevolent whites who joined forces were murdered senselessly and without mercy.
The four girls in the church bombing, Emmett Till, Medger Evans....
How can one's eyes not water?
Everyone knows their stories.
Everyone knows that their cases will never have justice.
Rockwell's paintings say it all.
White supremacy, racism, and senseless violence without a shred of human decency, compassion, or remorse are three things that this country must be greatly aware of.
That cannot be hidden away and buried.
This is our history.
This is our legacy.
Overall, American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell is very fascinating and marvelously put together.
Yes.
I admit standing in front of certain pieces longer than others, but each has its own individual language, it's own context beyond Saturday Evening Post, especially those last two mentioned paintings which have nothing to do with that publication.
Those incredible brush strokes, that attention to precise detail, the glossy texture....
Just thinking about it makes me want to swoon.
Ummm... yes.
I also tend to collapse over art that astonishes me to the point of speechless, romanticized behavior.
Sad but true.
The Norman Rockwell exhibit also contains a very large yet intriguing painting of Ichabod Crane (from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), paintings from Rockwell's days as a young artistic director of Boy's Life, a magazine fronted by the Boy Scouts of America, four of his freedom posters series, all 322 Saturday Evening Post covers in frames, a large Saturday Evening Post backdrop where folks can dress up and take pics (ugh! Missed this part!), and a special gift shop.
Many tied in events coming up like lectures, tea tours, jazz series, and a most special event- Ruby Bridges telling her story on January 19, 2012!
I will be there to write about that once in a lifetime experience!
Woot! Woot!
So come out to enjoy great, conversational art at the DAI!
You won't be disappointed.
Dayton Art Institute is opened from 10AM to 5PM on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 12PM-5PM Sunday, 10AM-8PM Thursday and closed Monday and Tuesday.
Admission for American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell is free for the first trip for members, then return trips $10, $15 for nonmembers, youth (7-17) $10, students w/ID, seniors, and active military $13, and free for children under six years old.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shameless "EJ Dimera For Salem Mayor" Commercial Advertisement


Here are 500 words to describe EJ Dimera:
acute affable apt adroit agile agog abandoned abdicate abiding abrogated accomplished accountability acrimonious adamant adaptive adherent adumbrated advantageous affected afflicted alluring absorbing aggressive altruistic amaranthine amazing ambiguous ambitious ambrosial amiable amusing analytical anxious apprehensive ardent arousing artful articulate assailed assertive assiduous astonishing astounding astute attentive audacious aureate authoritative avaricious aware awe-inspiring beautiful beguiling behooved berated bewildering bewitching bold brassy brazen brilliant burdensome capable cajoling cantankerous captious captivating cautious cavalier cerebral chivalrous clandestined clever charismatic charming cheeky circumspect coaxing cocky cognizant collected commanding compelling complex complicated comprehensive conciliatory conclusive condescending confident conflicted coniving conscientious constructive consuming contemplative contemporary contemptuous contravened conversant convincing copious covetable crafty creative crestfallen criticized culpability cultivated cunning curt cynic cynical dangerous dashing debonair dedicated defiant deleterious deliberate delinquent demagogue deplorable derelict destructive detached determined dexterous devastated devious devoted diffident diligent discarded discouraged disheartened disparaging disseminative distinctive distinguished divine dogmatic doleful doting dubious dulcet duplicitous eager ebullient edgy efficient effervescent efficacious effulgent electrifying elocutionary eloquent engaging energizing engrossing enigmatic enlightening entertaining enthralling enticing entrenched erudited esoteric euphoric evasive everlasting exalted exciting expressive exquisite extraordinary exuberant facile facetious fearless fervent fetching fiery forthright fortitude gallant gallivant gentleman gorgeous graceful grandiloquent gratifying gregarious grey gripping gritty grudging guarded guilt-ridden handsome headstrong heartbroken hellion hot-blooded hasty heartbreaking hesitant humorous hypnotizing iconoclast imaginative imminient impassive incessant incontrovertible indestructible ingenious illustrious impeccable implicated impressive impulsive impetuous implacable impressive impugned inappropriate incandescent incendiary incessant incomparable incorrigible incredulous incredible indefatigable indefinite independent indomitable indubitable ineffectual inexorable inescapable influential iniquitous insightful insistent inspiring instigator insurmountable intellectual intense interfering intransigent intrepid intriguing invaluable inveigle invincible irascible irrepressible irresistible irrefutable jaunting keen kind knowledgeable lambasted lamentable lascivious lavish layered legendary licentious limitless literate lithe logical loner loquacious loving loyal lugubrious luminous magnanimous magnetic magniloquent manipulative marvelous masterful meaningful mellifluous mesmerizing methodical meticulous mind-blowing misanthrope mischievous misconstrued miserable misjudged misread mistrusting misunderstood morose multifaceted mysterious neglected nonpareil notorious noteworthy observant obstinate obstreperous obtruding obtrusive omnipotent open-minded opprobrious opportunistic oppressed original ornate ostentatious overlooked overshadowed overwrought outspoken painstaking paramount passionate paternal patient patronizing pejorative pensive perceptive peremptory permeative pernicious perpetual perplexing persecuted persevering persistence persuasive pertinacious petulant piercing playful poetic poignant polished polite powerful practical pragmatic predatory presaging presumptuous prevailing prevalent proclaimed prodigious productive proficient profitable progressive propelling protective proud provocateur provocative provoking prowess prudent punctilious purposeful quaint querulous quick-witted quintessential quirky rambunctiious rankled rapturous raunchy raw reactionary realistic reasonable rebellious recalcitrant receptive recluse refined reflective relentless reluctant renounced reprehensible reprobated repudiated resolute resplendent resourceful responsive retaliatory revolutionary rigorous riveting robust roguish romantic rooted ruthless sagacious sanguine sarcastic savvy scapegoat scintillating scrumptious scrupulous scornful seducing sensual sensational sensationalized sexy sharp skeptical shrewd sinful sinister slandered slick sophisticated smooth sneaky snide solicitous sonorous spectacular speculative spiteful stalworthhood steadfast stern stirring strategic striking stringent strong-willed stubborn studious stylistic suave subjective subjugator subversive sufficient superlative supreme surmounted suspicious sympathetic systematic tactful tangled tantalizing tempermental tempting tenacious tenacity terse talented thorough titillating tortured touching transcendent tribulated troublemaker tumultuous unappreciated unbeatable unbounded uncertain uncompromising unconventional undaunted undeniable underestimated underhanded undermining undismayed unique unorthodox unparalleled unperturbed unrelenting unrestrained unrivaled unscrupulous unsurpassed unwanted unwavering unyielding urbane utilitarian vacillating validating venturesome versatile vexing victimized vigilant virile visionary vitiated vocal voluptuary vulnerable watchful well-versed well-informed wicked wily withdrawn witty wondrous yearning zany zealous

Now does that make you want to vote for this man????
Albeit some are less charming, but at least he's honestly upfront about who he is!
After all he is a Dimera! :)



With help from the awesomely talented treasure, Diggy (Lamotri-Jane to some!) and a little from yours truly, Greyempires.com co-creator/founder, Elle has designed amazing posters and clothing using these very words to help EJ Dimera win that coveted position of Salem Mayor. Look at all of her dedicated hard work and craftsmanship in getting this sophisticated template together! It demands applause and standing ovation!
Go Elle! Go Diggy! And of course goooooooooo EJ!!!!!




Just got my baseball jersey tee today and couldn't be happier. The words are so miniscule people would need a magnifying glass to see them, but oh boy are they there and look pretty damn awesome! Great conversation starter that's for sure! I will be sporting it with my signed James Scott autographed baseball for they seem to naturally go together! Haha! ;)
You can purchase your very own custom made EJ Dimera shirt here:
http://www.cafepress.com/greyempires
With styles ranging from t-shirts, polos, tanks, sweatshirts, and more with prices at $9.99 and up there's a little something for everyone to enjoy! So let's support our guy by wearing him on our chests with pride and joy!
"Down with Abe and in with EJ!"
Catch the dramatic campaign trail action every weekday on "Days Of Our Lives" at 1PM/EST on NBC!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Thanksgiving Eve Poem

Twas the night before Thanksgiving, it rained and rained,
Hail loudly hit windows and cars, making ones head pained.
All settled in bed, my body extremely ached from a hardcore fitness work out,
Ready for a nap, fatigued muscles dying to relax from the bout.
Visions of Tofurky, mac and cheese, vegetables, and pumpkin pies,
Making mouth water hungrily as tears sprung to my eyes.
Stomach growled in heady anticipation for the next day,
Where the table would be ladled with various foods from along the way.
Awakened from food coma dreams, I heard such a clatter,
I arose out of bed to see what was the matter.
Lo and behold, a sight my eyes were shocked to see,
Mr. Gobble-Gobble, the tallest turkey alive had come to visit me.
Red cheeked, blue faced, and vibrantly feathered,
A bag over his plump shoulder, happy as can be and not weathered.
Standing pajama clad inside of the living room, proud to see his face,
The words he spoke made me feel such happiness and grace.
“Thank you for eating soy meat,
For not consuming me, my children or any of the fleet,
Have a great holiday, but alas I bear a token for you,
For the kindness you’ve shown upon us very small few.”
He plucked feathers off his very back,
Colors of red, purple, and orange were placed upon burgundy sack.
Opening my gift with glee and cheer,
Revealing a gold chained necklace with a dangling pendant of a tiny turkey tier.
“This is so beautiful, I thank you very much,
For I didn’t expect anything but food tomorrow, not presents and such!”
He shook his small head, cackled, and grinned,
“Oh, Miss! I appreciate you for you are a truly good friend.”
I thanked him for stopping by and wished him the best,
But the hour grew late now and I needed to rest.
“Have a pleasant holiday,” said Mr. Gobble-Gobble, “and try to eat well,
Surely you don’t want a tummy ache or your belly to swell!”
“Hahaha!” I laughed with good spirit and ease,
The turkey was so mean for being a tease!
But up my chimney he went, probably to visit others of the vegetarian society,
To praise and give them special presents for having Tofurky.
I stroked the newly acquired necklace resting at my throat, still in shock,
Upon nestling back in my bed, I heard the sound of Mr. Gobble-Gobble’s loud talk,
“Happy Thanksgiving to all, to everyone even the stuffed turkeys on your plate,
May you all have a delightful meal and sleep very late!”
Giggling and yawning, my head on the pillowcase,
I drifted off to somewhere else, a Thanksgiving induced place.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lip Letters



Dear Lips,

People say that I am supposed to like you,
But at times, I cannot make do.
Your bow tipped shape is not so nice,
The only thing you are good for is to entice.
Too fat, too big, and too full,
Are you not breaking a golden rule?
I hate how men often stare,
It is hard pretending to be unaware.
No I am not in denial.
Their comments are shocking, gross, and vile,
See you are the dastardly villains in my world,
Contents that of which the stomach hurled.
Short in height, no I do not wish to be taller,
I want you both to be a little bit smaller.

Sad and ashamed,
Face



Dear Face,

What is the meaning of this disgrace?
For surely I do not take up so much space.
Eyes are big, almond, and brown,
Wide, broad nose takes the middle crown.
I am a striking part above the chin,
Certainly a situation that is beyond a win!
You should love me.
And let this be!
Of a woman who is so beautiful and chaste,
Men do appreciate such fine, quality taste.
Do not feel this impending doubt.
And take the foolish woman’s route.

Yours truly,
Lips


Dear Lips,

Your responses do not make me feel any better.
See why I must write this angry hurt letter?
I weep hard at night.
Pillow simply too wet a sight.
Men say degrading things about you.
Most are sadly quite true.
Perverse words greatly affect me.
So I ask to this degree,
My sensibilities. My conscience. My heart.
Aren’t those traits a finer art?
Yes.
I am highly jealous of your praise.
Obviously the rest of me is not of worthy craze.

Resentfully,
Face


Dear Face

You are being incredibly lame.
I am sick and tired of playing this game!
Be proud and stand up straight.
Believe me, you are first rate.
Lovely, unique, kind, and smart,
You are simply off the chart!
Someone needs to give you a mirror in hand,
Because you are one of the most beautiful women on land.
You probably will not ever accept a word I say,
And to me that is just a damn shame.

Yours always,
Lips


Dear Lips,

It is scarf season,
A very good reason.
Covering you up for a while.
Now that’s a fond cause to smile.

Best regards,
Face


Dear Face,

How can you be so cruel?
Who cares if men must drool!
As lips, we are a good part,
For kisses are dear to the heart.
Now let us get over this depressing hump.
Soft, full, and delightfully plump,
We were made for the coveted kiss,
It is a good man’s kind of bliss.
Slap yourself silly a million times,
Listen to the poetic wind chimes:
“You are a beautiful, vivacious girl,
A wonderful, radiantly sparkling pearl!”

Yours sincerely,
Lips


Dear Lips,

I suppose you are right.
Must put an end to this ridiculous fight!
You are so modest and kind,
I am sorry for being too blind.
Due to that stupid, insecure terror,
I know that I have made a grave error.
Foolishly, I was made to believe,
And have been so utterly deceived.
You are a treasure,
Above all, a sweet, remarkable pleasure.
With tender heart, I’ll always take care of you,
Because first and foremost, I feel that love too!

Genuinely apologetic,
Face


Oh Face!

Your last words had me in tears,
Thank you so much for not succumbing to fears!
No longer do I feel like sobbing,
For now you realize what those men were robbing!
Finally you have also confessed ardent love,
We are just a part of your private cove.
My intelligent, brave, creative dish,
Here is only a most bearable wish:
Keep moistened, soft, and free of rough,
No more bared anger and envy just stay tough!
Continue to be adorably true,
Let those men flock to you.
But never forget that you are not these lips,
You have brains, talent, and very nice hips!

Yours forever,
Lips


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Most Quacked Up Imagination!

Ever since I heard from resident artist Kevin Harris about five dollar Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Dayton Printmaking Coop, I have been super duper excited! It’s an amazing opportunity to use the facility and their materials for so low a price.
It’s a great steal to take advantage of!
Plus, it is an hour’s walk away.
Yes!
Woo hoo!
Now for weeks, I kept wondering what would I make?
What kinds of drawings are worth printing?
Holiday cards are definitely on the way, but I wanted to make other artworks too.
As most of my friends know, I’ve been secretly plotting to squeeze my way into the fashion industry. A few blog posts ago, I shared whimsical fashion dreams- rubber ducky style! Etsy, eBay, Google, JoAnn’s, thrift shops were the places I searched for rubber ducky centric fabrics.
Weeks ago, I found this amazing number for only $1 at the Village!



Yes, $1.
And it was originally $2!
Talk about dated and vintage.
Tote bag? Skirt? A vest?
Who knows what I’ll be making out of it?
There’s plenty to experiment with!
Lastly, coming to a chest near you....
Rob, my awesome older brother and great pals via Twitter have been helping me create witty slogans for an upcoming screen-printing adventure.
You can see them all on Sugarygingersnap's Facebook page- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sugarygingersnap/136626953111613
Starring my beloved rubber ducky, so far I've sketched out an idea in Prismacolor/Sharpie markers and colored pencils for- “Shut The Duck Up!", “Quack Power!”, and “Duck You!”
More to be added later!
Enjoy!



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rubber Duck's Origin: A True Poem

A duck lost his quack.
He wanted to get it back.

Sailing high across a tide,
He searched far and wide.

“Will I ever be the same?
Or be a duck without a name?”

Up on a ditch,
He came across a big, old witch.

The duck had to ask,
To see if she were up to task:

“Have you seen my quack?
I would love to get it back!”

She laughed hard and foul,
Exclaiming very loud:

“Now look you’re only made of rubber,
You have no brains, no guts, no blubber!”

The duck dropped his head,
Thinking of what the witch said.

Perhaps her words were true,
There was no quack to pursue.

The duck thanked her and went on his way,
To find anyone else with something to say.

But suddenly he was lifted by a hand,
Of a chubby cheeked tiny man.

The duck’s belly was given a firm squeeze,
That tickled imaginary, yellow knees.

New sound escaped his beak,
A loud, high-pitched kind of squeak!

It brought him joy,
Not just because he was a toy!

He didn’t miss a quack!
That was not what he lacked.

For inside of his little heart,
Was what set him apart.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Matt Kish: The Superhero Artist Librarian

What happened on another hour walk journey in Dayton-ville?
If you guessed something artsy & fartsy, you get a prize!
Reading this!
Hahaha!


Held in the auditorium of Dayton Metro Library was librarian, Matt Kish's brilliant talk about one of the best art related titles published this year, "Moby Dick In Pictures: One Drawing For Every Page."
Articulately spoken with remarkable insight and humor, Kish gave the visitors a taste of his upbringing (hippy parents? charming!) and his influences (vinyl LP's, illustrated folklore/science fiction paperbacks & JACK KIRBY: COMIC BOOK GOD!!!!).
The passion for Herman Melville's classic, "Moby Dick" was evident in the joyful tone of his voice, the manner of presentation, and in the images themselves.
Funny considering that it all started from an innocent little tagged note on Facebook in which he had made a list of top five books and completely omitted his precious "Moby Dick"...
First of all, I must state that the size of the man's studio would bring any artist to tears- a literal closet turned into a working area?
Simply astounding that he could get anything done in his eighteen month venture!
But alas, that was just another challenge for the brave, compelling artist who doesn't consider himself an artist. He took his last art class in 1987 during his undergraduate freshman year for crying out loud!
Not so long ago though...
Having used to work for Half Priced Books (my favorite bookstore), he secretly acquired boxes of thrown out books, held onto them for two years (typical artistic behavior!), and then boom! This project comes in!
Ranging from hard edged line quality, sharply etched realism to minimal abstract design, he used materials ranging from colored pencils, acrylic paints, and markers on top of pages found from those old, discarded books.
Awesome how things come together right?
With fine contemporary artist Zac Smith's book called, "One Picture For Each Page of Gravity's Rainbow" stuck in his head, Kish brought "Moby Dick" to life- setting forth "a way to connect art to the viewers by giving every aspect of imagery a story, their own individual background."
The results are simply phenomenal.
Engaging and filled with suspenseful variety, the viewer feels a different spirit about each piece of Kish's vision- serenity, ambiguity, barbarism, frightening terror, surrealism...
Every kind of emotion is up for grabs!
Someone had mentioned that he had a woodblock quality to his mechanically precise drawing style, that of which is true and commendable.
Also, the way he incorporated text was very refreshing.
Always amazed at how artists use written language in art, I constantly seek ideas on translating that love further in my own works and Kish has definitely influenced an inkling today!
What profound knowledge he spoke and showed!
It took him nearly two years to complete this inspiring journey (criteria of drawing one page every day and being sequential!).
Obviously he was proud of the achievement and of sharing that with everyone who wished to hear about it.
Frankly, I was glad to have come.
Great fun!
Another enlightening factoid- when you type "moby dick" into Google's search bar, Matt Kish is bound to show up!
He told us so.

Blown up and mounted, here is a little look of actual illustrations from the 552 page book.















Someone on Twitter told me that he often drew in the books.
I thought it a sweet surprise.
More than giving a simple autographed signature, Matt proudly did just that!
In everyone's book, using a set of three different sized black markers, he showcased his artistic talent to avid admiring onlookers!
Each little whale unique in form and design, he listened and thanked us as we all praised his words and work.
It was fascinating.
Watching him draw lines without going over them repeatedly.
Strokes were even, broad, purposeful, and without error.
Quite lovely.




This was just for me.
My own whale with an afro!
Amazing is it not?


Ah, another Sunday art related afternoon!
What will little Dayton think of next?
I know of one thing.
While I'm pondering another impromptu adventure, I must read "Moby Dick!"
I have never read it, but after this talk, I want to.
At least eight times!
Haha!
Kish highly recommended that one must read the book before diving into his huge book of illustrations!
So hard.
It's staring at me all beautifully tempting and what not...

Friday, November 11, 2011

What The Duck Fashion!

This was my dream last night.
A clustered, metaphoric cloud of rubber duck inspiration came to me....


I suppose we all have our little maddening obsessions.
These little things that make us overly happy time and time again.
Mine are of course- chocolate, vintage clothes, art, writing, and rubber ducks!
So combining art, rubber ducks, and fashion made for an exciting sketchbook venture!
From previous posts, you could see that the owl designs being included into the wearable world got me thinking about finding a place for ducks.
What if they could be emphasis for clothes and bags and not just towels, hand dispensers, and other bathroom items?
Starring Prismacolor colored pencils and markers, let's see the five nifty items I've made so far.


Was there ever a fancier tote?
A lot of people will gawk and stare at the fashionista with envy when she walks around painting the town blue and yellow with this glam rubber duck patterned bag!
I have a lot of fantasies swinging this round and round with colored pencils, sketchpad, and chocolates inside.
It must be made!


I like Janelle Monae's tuxedo style and it kind of inspired this just a bit.
With a red tie, vest, orange blouse, and denim skirt, my afro diva was missing something!
Rubber duck tights!
Yes!
That was precisely it!
Though I need to retool this a bit, there was an idea of sheer blue tights with traditional yellow ducks in a pattern.
Don't want to be overdoing the need to outline the ducks. Maybe I will also mainly focus on the legs wearing the tights.
Not a whole entire outfit.
The ducks seem so miniscule here.
So I didn't particularly enjoy this sketch so much.


More tights....
This time with more of a vintage influenced color palette.
Needing to get the ducky out of his/her yellow/orange comfort zone and experiment with other color variations, I had been looking on various retro fashion sites and blogs like Mod Cloth hounding for tasty design, especially in tights where the site has many, many options to choose from- from solid color to lace, celestial bodies, and peacock feathers!
This sketch is going to need further study and rendering, but so far I think something is clicking here.


Bandanna power!
Why not rock this cute scarf over your hair or on the neck?
I suppose it'll be another conversation starter accessory and if not, how about the "Cat's Meow" tank top?
I'll make a colored pencil drawing of this!
Thinking less yellow and blue, more purple, turquoise, lime green, and hot pink....


I love a good ole pleated skirt!
Now in combination with some fancy yellow polka dots and rubber duck enthusiasm, this just makes for a perfect kind of outfit, especially for summer!
But I imagine a nice warm vintage sweater over top, lovely knitted tights, and black knee high boots would keep one cozy in the long winter months!


More fun, ducky inspired fashions (including jewelry and aprons!) to come with African centric elements thrown into the mix, I promise you!
Plus, I'm no sewing genius, but I've been looking on etsy for duck fabrics!
Stay tuned! :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Triple Sarah Michelle Gellar Sightings In Dayton!

Buffy is back and she's in town!
For only a limited time!
Oops.
I mean Sarah Michelle Gellar and her duo identity characters- Siobhan and Bridget on CW's new show, Ringer, which I reviewed weeks ago here: http://sugarygingersnap.blogspot.com/2011/10/double-troubled-ringer-review.html
Still giving it a chance.
Though I must admit, I'm two episodes behind (still missing the talented, curvaceous Gemma *insert sniffle*) on the twisted yet utterly predictable drama.
Strolling through Dayton, seeing larger than life Ringer ads on Smithville (near home) and on Wayne Ave and Main Streets (both downtown) would give "Big Head Portrait" a run for her money!
Also, I kept thinking about Buffy.
Did the Slayer have this many billboards in our town?
Was her presence graced with stakes and crosses telling us to WB?
I miss that show so much.
Damn.
Seem to be missing a lot of things.
When will they ever perfect the time machine?
Need to transport to about thirteen years ago.
The Buffy and Angel comic books are just not the same even with Joss Whedon at the helm.


This is behind the new eclectic eatery, Olive.
Yes, the paint job is horrid on the building Ringer's on, but that used to be the old 2nd Street Market and is currently a parking garage.
Apparently no need to be painted beautifully or interesting for passersby.
As for SMG, Dayton's advertising placement doesn't get any better...


Between a hot pink Trimbach's Auto Shop billboard and Rally's fast food joint our Double Trouble girls!
Hahaha!


Underneath an underpass and the least visible of the three.
I walk pass this Main Street just about everyday.
Not particularly noticeable if a person is driving.
Funny enough, McDonald's is only a block away!
Someone was hungry...