Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Kubla Khan

I thought this was a fitting post for a Blog revolving round my creative thought and inspiration...
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !
A savage place ! as holy and enchanted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover !
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty mountain momently was forced :
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail :
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean :
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice! 
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome ! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Yves Klein

The average steps taken to produce a piece of art...

I saw a post on somebody's Blogpage about this artist, Yves Klein and I had to check him out for myself. His style, although I have never envisaged them together, combines two aspects of my favourite styles of Art and the results are as I would have hoped had I pondered them...stunning! Having blogged furiously about my love for Life Drawing, as well as discussing my admiration for the work of Jasper Johns and Jackson Pollock, Yves Klein's style has provided me with a perfect conclusion as my blog comes towards an end. I said in a comment I made on the post where I saw his work that it reminded me of "Mardi Gras meets Howard Hodgkin"! I havn't spoken about Hodgkin but I love his attitude to his canvas, so carefree and wild, yet the outcome seems structured and well thought out. Klein has the same grasp but instead of brushes or tin cans he uses naked women. It is odd, it is extraordinary, it is fun, it produces great results...it is great art. As I have stated before, I have always seen myself as a fairly traditional reviewer of art. I think it is just paint that I get a bit carried away with!

David Loftus Photography - What of the Subject?


I am not particularly passionate about photography, nor am I at all talented in the field. I know very little about it, other than what I do and do not like. There is obviously so much more to it and I am curious as to why people, who are well-informed on the subject, have their preferences and what counts. Obviously it is personal, much drawing and painting, but how does a photographer make a name for himself taking snaps of food?!

Because David Loftus has. Yes, he has taken many different genres (some examples above) but predominantly, it is his career as a food photographer that made his name. He has worked alongside Jamie Oliver for a few years now and it has been said that he makes "still life works of art, where the food is just begging to be picked off the page and eaten." Quite a compliment, I would say. And a true comment, I would add too, having looked at his work on his website (two tasty samples above). So basically, alongside magnificent photos of moments captured in the wild, enormous views or portraits, can pictures of lunch be the business?

NHM...Boring but worth a Blog.

I know it is a very old, traditional-style building but every time I drive past it it always takes my breath away. And my Great Grandfather helped lay the bricks so I also feel a hint of pride!

"Work began in 1873 and was completed in 1880. The new museum opened in 1881, although the move from the old museum was not fully completed until 1883.

Both the interiors and exteriors of the Waterhouse building make extensive use of terracotta tiles to resist the sooty climate of Victorian London, manufactured by the Tamworth-based company of Gibbs and Canning Limited. The tiles and bricks feature many relief sculptures of flora and fauna, with living and extinct species featured within the west and east wings respectively. This explicit separation was at the request of Owen, and has been seen as a statement of his contemporary rebuttal of Darwin's attempt to link present species with past through the theory of natural selection.

The central axis of the museum is aligned with the tower of Imperial College London (formerly the Imperial Institute) and the Royal Albert Hall and Albert Memorial further north. These all form part of the complex known colloquially as Albertopolis."


Is Banksy Getting Old?

I saw my first Banksy the other day, at least I think I did. It was in Oxford City Centre and I know he has marauded around there before now to "decorate" the city streets. Obviously there are hundreds of copies and it is almost impossible to tell the difference if they are done well, but I just had a feeling that this one was genuine. It was a member of the 'Rat' collection and it was in a location that I am sure Banksy would have chosen. I don't think he would have missed this one, nor do I think a fraud would have discovered it instead. I could just visualise the hooded Banksy crouched down, casually making his mark down this crooked little alleyway. It wasn't hard to spot at all but you had to be lucky to see it. It was at an awkward angle to the direction people would be walking but clearly visible to anyone who takes a glance in the general direction.

I do like alot of his work and find some of it fascinating and amusing but recently I have met more critics than fans. I am beginning to think people are getting bored of Banksy's style and that maybe he is starting to feature more under the label of 'VANDALIZER' than "GRAFFITI ARTIST'? Does he need to step up his game and break another huge boundary, like his paintings on the Palestine/Israel Border Wall (below).

The question is...has Banksy got old?

Monday, 5 October 2009

Army Men Vs IEDs

I saw the other day that the US Army are proposing a new Ad Campaign focused on the threat of EIDs (Improvised Exploding Devices). They are now the number one threat to troops out in Afghanistan, killing 36 in the past month! That, to me, is a shocking statistic. 
"The over arching objective of this media and advertising campaign is to influence the Afghanistan people at all levels (strategic, operational and tactical) [that] will directly translate in the reduction of the number of IED devices used against the Afghanistan people and Coalitional Forces.” (Information Operations division of the Army’s Combined Joint Task Force 82). 
In order to make it more effective than previous campaigns they want to use locals as extras and even as the face of the campaign, for “religious and cultural subject matter expertise.” (General Stanley McChrystal)
I think this is a great idea but I don't think a dramatic action-packed advert is necessarily the answer. After a similar campaign in Iraq, Newsweek described the series of adverts as exploding cars, flying Matrix-style stuntmen and… messages like ‘Don’t Suicide Bomb.'" It is too obvious, too insensitive and lacks emotion and reality. It is interesting that they want to use local Afghani people as it will appeal to the Afghan public more. Good luck to them...

Shu Konishi

Konishi's work both disgusts and intrigues me...I don't know what to do when I see it. I find myself really enjoying his work, yet I cannot look at it for too long. Although this is only a small section of his work, his favoured subject matter is the naked female form and that is what initially grabbed my attention. Not because he creates realistic representations of breasts but that he finds it an appealing and successful basis for these works. I too, love to draw and sculpt the female form as it presents wonderful shape and tension, no matter what size the female is. His additional paint washes over the top make the pieces less mundane and realistic and, as a result, I personally think more successful (less weird).
I know nothing about this guy but he provides us with some bizarre artwork to look at.