Category Archives: Art

A Dystopian’s Utopia: DISMALAND

Dystopians, rejoice! Your Utopia has arrived, in the form of a major Art installation of gargantuan proportions, bigger and badder than ever construed in your minds, more painful, raw, mind-searing and thought-provoking than anything you’ve been preparing for all your lives!

After an extremely secret hush-hush rush spanning several weeks, in the UK’s not-so-secret tourist seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare (where yours truly has fond memories of spending 3 days every month for 2 years doing her Diploma in Consumer Affairs at a majestically run-down, labyrinthine hotel right on the seashore), artist-activist Banksy‘s “Dismaland” has opened to the public.

Contrary to local folklore, gleefully seeded and carefully nurtured by the organisers to add to the urban legend, the old derelict open-air Lido was NOT the site for filming an up-and-coming film codenamed “Grey Fox”. Instead, Dismaland is a pop-up Art installation with the strapline promising to be “The UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction”, spearheaded by Banksy, being a collaboration of more than 50 other artists of international renown.

Staff at Dismaland wear those famous black ears, and bright pink high-visibility vests with the word DISMAL emblazoned on their backs. Only the most morose, bored, dispirited and de-motivated-looking applicants got the job. (Previous Disneyland Mouseketeers and its lawyers need not apply).

Dismaland is an apocalyptic dig at consumerism and capitalism, a dystopian’s wet dream of what will happen to us all frighteningly, if Society today carries on with its relentless, mindless, let’s-all-bleat-to-the-same-sheeple-tune march towards self-annihilation.

Whether or not the general hoi-polloi will get that message, is not clear as yet. Certainly, I envision that many will throng to the attraction for sheer entertainment value, whilst leaving their brains safely cotton-wooled at home. They will come across the many strangely distorted sculptures, bizarre juxtapositions and positionings of Disney princesses, a weird machete-wielding butcher/scientist on a carousel, epilepsy-inducing strobe light effects, depressing messages stencilled in giant letters too big to miss, sooty stencils of humans that look like they were blasted into oblivion against walls etc…and whether or not they understand the underlying message behind the allegorical scenes, or simply accept them at face value i.e “entertainment”, is anyone’s guess.

If they are disappointed by what they find, then Dismaland has lived up to its promise. If they do understand the message, then Dismaland has served its purpose to awaken a few more souls each day.

(If I sound like a drunken poet today, it’s because I’m currently reading Russell Brand‘s latest book “Revolution“, and I may subconsciouly be channelling Russell’s unique way of speaking and writing. What can I say, the man does not speak so much as spout poetry in motion. If Russell Brand ever starts an anti-consumerism, anti-capitalist, alternative lifestyle cult, I’ll be one of the first to follow him. Hell, I’ll make sure I become his First Lieutenant!)

Dismaland will remain open to the public for 5 weeks. So, if you still have the stomach for it, and especially if you “Get it”, then make sure your flight ticket to England is already in your hand.

I’ll leave you with some links for further information on Dismaland, as well as some of the first images of Dismaland starting to flood the internet.

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/08/dismaland/

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/aug/20/banksy-dismaland-amusements-anarchism-weston-super-mare

http://mashable.com/2015/08/20/banksy-dismaland/

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Project NOW : Part 2

Continuing from yesterday’s post, here’s what I’ve done with my N O W wooden letters. And I’ll also explain the Philosophy behind the Art.

NOW:
N = Notice
O = Observe
W = Witness

We must learn to stop rushing about and Notice the little things around us, which makes us stay in the present. Then, Observe in greater detail that which you have noticed, so you may further learn from it. Once you’ve learned the lesson, be a Witness of it and tell the world about it, i.e spread the word.

The funny thing is, I was listening to a CD of Wayne W Dyer speaking, (The Importance Of Being Extraordinary, with Eckhart Tolle, 2 CD set 2013), and he mentioned almost exactly the same thing. Wayne Dyer was quoting a famous poet, Mary Oliver (from 5:12-5:47 of track 1 of CD1), on the secrets of a successful, enlightened life:

“It just boils down to: Pay Attention, Be Astonished, and Tell Other People”.

Now, I was out cycling when I listened to that CD. And when Wayne Dyer said those words, and they were so similar to what I’d been thinking, I nearly fell off my bicycle. Talk about synchronicity!

Another idea I developed from the NOW model was this:

If you live in the Now, you will learn to Own your life for the true miracle that it is, and you will have Won over your egoistic needs.

And so, I present the fruits of my labour, the NOW Project, in its three different configurations:

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The lovely glossy sheen you can see in the photos above come from a spray varnish for cars, of all things. I love that varnish!

The next photos show how all the sides of the letters are covered by Gelli® prints.
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I hope you’ll be inspired to give this a go yourself. These were easy enough to do, as the letters are modern sans serif (no curly stick-out parts). Go on, give it a whirl. NOW! 😄

Project NOW: Part I

Lately, I’ve been hankering after decoupaged wooden letters, the sort you see in trendy homes spelling inspiring words like LOVE, HOME, PEACE, JOY etc.

Like these that I saw on a Google Image search:

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So, when I saw some large wooden letters for sale at Thingz, one of my favourite home decoration stores, I decided to buy some to create my own cutesy letter art “sculpture”.

Why the word NOW? Well, I would’ve bought the letters H O M E or L O V E, but for the fact that each letter cost $7.99 but I could buy 3 for $20. So, I had to choose a 3-letter word, and N O W seemed a great idea.

Those of you following my humble blog will have noticed that I haven’t written about any Gelli® plate printing lately. That’s because I’ve been busy vacillating between reading Mind, Body & Spirit books and creating digital photography art on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. While at the same time fantasising about my Next Big Project. And getting nowhere. There’s just not enough time in the day to do everything, and I can’t clone myself.

As it so happened, I had a whole pile of Gelli® prints lying dormant, awaiting further action. Now would be a perfect time to use up some of them.

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I selected the prints I wanted, then traced around each letter with a fine-tipped Sharpie pen. Then I used scissors and a scalpel (for the fiddly bits) to cut out the shapes.

I used PVA woodworking glue as my adhesive, and stuck the cut out Gelli® print letters to the wooden N O W letters.

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The wooden N O W letters were about an inch thick. I wanted to cover the depth of the letters with my Gelli® prints as well as front, so I measured and cut out several strips of Gelli® prints for the sides.
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And here they are, with front AND sides done. All that’s needed is to seal the surfaces and then varnish the letters.

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There’s another reason why I chose NOW instead of another 3-letter word such as JOY, but I’ll tell you what that is in my next post. 😄

Artist Inspiration : Elspeth McLean

I’ve got dotty over Elspeth McLean‘s art. I mean, literally.

I came across a shared post on Facebook, with a photo of some round stones painted with colourful dots reminiscent of Australian Aboriginal Dot Paintings. The hyperlink took me to Elspeth’s Facebook page.

Elspeth uses mainly a No.0 paintbrush and acrylic paints to paint her dots, a technique she calls “Dotillism”. Her substrates include traditional canvas and board, but also pebbles or stones. Just beautiful!

Here’s a video showing Elspeth painting a flat round stone. It may look simple, but I reckon you need really steady hands and an eye for perfect symmetry and colour.

https://youtu.be/hEA7kpVN29o

Here are my favourite Elspeth McLean paintings, curated from Pinterest and Google Images.

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Artist Inspiration : Riusuke Fukahori and Keng Lye

Those lucky enough to have been in London in the United Kingdom from 1st December 2011 to 11th January 2012 would have had the opportunity to witness the extraordinary exhibition called “Goldfish Salvation“, by the amazing Japanese artist Riusuke Fukahori.

Fukahori painstakingly paints goldfish and Japanese koi, layer by layer, in acrylics and poured resin. He’ll paint some details of the fish, pour a layer of resin over it, wait til it hardens, then paint another layer on top of the resin, pour over another layer of resin, paint, pour resin, and so on. It’s akin to 3D painting. It’s labour-intensive and also requires a good sense of depth perception and the ability to project that out to the viewer.

I saw Fukahori’s work on a friend’s Facebook feed, then did some more research on the artist. This Is Collosal did a nice write-up about Fukahori here.

In 2000, Fukahori, an art graduate, had been suffering from artist block when he started noticing his pet goldfish, which had been neglected for a long time, but which was still surviving. This goldfish gave Fukahori his artistic mojo back. Since then, Fukahori has painted thousands of goldfish and koi.

Here are just a few images of Fukahori’s work, and also a video, sourced from Google and YouTube. The video shows ICN Gallery’s “Goldfish Salvation” exhibition and features Fukahori’s works that were exhibited there.

Link to the video:
https://youtu.be/AVJOQG_bpQM

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Fukahori’s work has inspired other artists to try the same paint/resin/paint technique.

In Singapore, artist Keng Lye produces similar works of art. But Keng Lye deviates from Fukahori in that he repurposes household items as containers for his creations (Fukahori uses wooden and bamboo Japanese food containers), and Keng Lye also paints other aquatic animals – frogs, octopi, prawns, betta fighting fish, terrapins etc. And Keng Lye has gone one step further by making his aquatic creations seemingly rise up out of the water. He does this by cleverly using an eggshell as a terrapin’s shell breaking the surface, or pebbles and stones for a ranchu goldfish and an octopus. This makes his creations even more realistic.

Again, This Is Colossal has a great write-up about Keng Lye.

You can follow Keng Lye on his Facebook page here.

Here is a video showing Keng Lye’s work.

Keng Lye’s series is aptly called “Alive Without Breath”. Here are some images of his work, sourced from Google Images. Keng Lye also has a deviantArt page, where you can see more of his wonderful creations.

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FREEBIES! Gelli® Print images

I must admit I haven’t been practising my Gelli® printing lately, having been drawn in a different direction by my latest mixed media photography art projects. If only there were more hours in the day, if only I could split myself in 2 or even 3, one to do Gelli® printing, one to work on my photographic art, and one to run around town doing other things.

No, housework is NOT one of those other things.

Also, you may have noticed that every time I mention the word Gelli® I now use the ® sign after it. This is with the permission of Gelli Arts®, with whom I have no affiliation. It’s so folks don’t get confused and think I work for Gelli Arts®, or am endorsing their product.

What I Have been doing, these past month, is using photos of my Gelli® prints in conjunction with other photos and clipart on my mobile device, to create images for ongoing projects.

So right now, I have over 200 close up photos of my monoprints. Of which you’re welcome to do whatever you like with the following:

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Have a great weekend, folks!

Project: Inspiration Deck Booster Pack

In January of this year, I started a new project of cards with inspirational sayings. My intention was to create a deck of 25 different cards, which could be boosted by another 25 later on. In February, I finished the first 25 designs, just in time for the Chinese New Year celebrations. You can read about that first deck, and have a look at some of those cards in this post.

A few days ago, I was playing with some Apps and filters, and decided that, instead of trying to fit my prepared background images into some sort of frame, why not simply use a white shape template placed over the image, as a mask? I could then place my text on the mask itself. That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about my text being hard to decipher over a colourful background.

So, here are just a few examples of the “Booster” pack of my Inspiration Deck.

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These are just the rough gems. I have yet to trim, resize and polish them, before they’ll be fit for printing.

With the first batch of the Inspiration Deck, I gave several away at my Uncle’s Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner. And a few days after that, I Abandoned several in my local area, by putting them into envelopes with the Art Abandonment tag stuck on, and leaving them in people’s postboxes. (I live in Australia, where putting mail in postboxes without it going through the Postal system is perfectly legal. Hence all that junk mail one gets).

I expect when I’ve ordered and received a deck of these new cards, another Art Abandonment exercise will be in my diary of things to do.

Bearing in mind though that this is still in the early stages…I’m still playing with a couple of other design ideas in my head, so it all may change at the drop of a hat. I know, I’m fickle :-).

Artist Inspiration : Emily Williams

I first came across the work of Emily Williams in an article by Jenny Zhang for My Modern Met. Wowzer! I’d never heard of “flameworked glass” before, so my interest was piqued. Also, I couldn’t help but be awed and intrigued by the fluid, organic forms of Emily’s creations.

Here is the link to Jenny Zhang’s article. You’ll enjoy Jenny’s excellent full-length, exclusive interview with the artist, which provides insight into how Emily’s family background and experiences helped shape her fascination for biological lifeforms and the artistic format she has chosen for herself.

No artist emerges from a vacuum; ideas and creations stem from our experiences and interactions with others, which form our opinions and beliefs and which provide our sources of inspiration. When I blog about artists who inspire me, under my “Artist Inspiration” titles, it’s actually about 2 things: 1) the Artists who inspire me, and their subjects or techniques, or any other intriguing point of view that makes them stand out from the crowd, and 2) how the Artist in Me is inspired by them, and what lessons or creative ideas I gain from learning about them.

Here is the link to Emily Williams’ own website: http://www.emilywilliamssculpture.com/

Here are some of Emily Williams’ beautifully flameworked borosilicate glass sculptures. I’ve curated them from Google Images, Pinterest and also from the My Modern Met article, and included several images that show Emily at work on a piece, to give you an idea of scale. These are not tiny, delicate handblown glass pieces, these are large pieces painstakingly worked with glass rods and a handheld flame torch, and they can take months to complete.

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Here also is a YouTube video by Emily showing her work process.
http://youtu.be/c3NhykkiFcI

New Artwork : Surreal Fantasy

I had a sudden surge of creativity last week, after stumbling upon some hitherto neglected filters and clipart in an App on my mobile phone. I got so inspired by the possibilities of combining several disparate elements together to create a new series of digital artwork with a Surreal Fantasy theme, that I stayed up late over several nights to finish them.

These have been submitted to my Licensing company for production, fingers crossed they pass the quality standards set by the company. Hopefully then they will be made available on various housewares, such as bedlinen, shower curtains, wall art, placemats etc.

Here are 5 examples, out of the 20 I created. I hope you like them!

image“A Sudden Grand Deluge”

image“Musical Tendrils”

image“Rain Deer”

image“Blue Ballet”

image“As Above, So Below”

These were a lot of fun to create. And I decided to give them all whimsical titles, to add to the surreal fantasy feel. Believe it or not, only 3 Apps were used to create these: PicsArt, Impressionist Fingerpaint and Photo Editor.

Fish!

I was sorting through my thousands of photos in my mobile phone’s camera roll the other day, and came across some poor abandoned, orphaned half-processed images of my Japanese Koi fish. I remembered that at the time of editing those photos, I’d been playing with an App called Trimaginator. And then some other project of mine superceded it, and it got buried under an avalanche of new photos.

My favourite App for blending images on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is “Photo Blender“. It offers more blend modes than you can think of, and is super-easy to use.

Another favourite App of mine for creating colourfield backgrounds is “Impressionist Fingerpaint“. I have a folder in my phone that is just for backgrounds I’ve created using that App.

I decided to have a play with my Fish images, Photo Blender and Impressionist Fingerpaint. The only other App used here is Photo Editor, for tweaking various parameters of the resulting blended images.

Such fun! And I really like the results too. Here are some of them. Please refrain from copying these images, full copyright remains with me, although I have submitted them to my Licensor for licensing on homewares.

These images hold bittersweet memories for me, personally. The fish you see are my own Koi, and since the photos were taken, the number has fallen from 12 down to 4. I’m not very good at keeping fish, and I’m determined to NOT replenish stocks anymore. When the last 4 go, that’s it.

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