Category Archives: Makers

“The Power of Books”

In 2003, artist Mladen Penev worked on a project called “The Power of Books.” The books featured in his project do not have titles or even words at all. In fact they are completely blank, but their stories are nonetheless electric. In “The Power of Books” we are seeing the words instead of reading them. They literally explode off the page just as they would in someone’s mind.

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Paired with Penev’s work is Allison Peters’s poem “Shelved,” as first published in LitCouture.

Shelved” by Allison Peters

 

In a row like that, they look like a painting,

the books, an abstract about liveliness,

delicacy (colors, textures).

In all my time
—trying so hard to be both those things—
to find I am not (except for those

few undocumented moments of

human wholeness,

which, because no one can assert them,

of course are made of magic).

Lying alone below the sky, sometimes

you feel inspiringly small. Like

there are forces above you, about you,

and there are. The books all in a row, and I am

watching, mouth open, as if to speak.

Allison Leigh Peters won an Academy of American Poets Prize in 2010. Her work has appeared in the Michigan Quarterly Review, Burner Magazine, Up the Staircase, Connotation Press, WomenArts Quarterly, Oberon Poetry Magazine, Third Wednesday, Avatar Review, and elsewhere.  

This post was written by Katelyn Rogers.

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Essence

Beth Lipman’s glasswork can be found globally within prestigious venues like the Smithsonian.  Her glass sculptures create the serene impression that they are ghosts of natural counterparts.  Lipman believes the lack of color “captures the essence of an object,” allowing viewers to see the object more purely, unencumbered by the “illusionary perfection” of still life paintings.

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Her pieces freeze a moment in time.  A fragile medium such as glass can simultaneously portray immeasurable strength.  Lipman sees her work capable of making “perishable objects everlasting.”

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To further explore this concept, please enjoy Shane Lake’s poem “A Room Full of Air,” as first published in LitCouture.

 

A Room Full of Air” by Shane Lake

She keeps a secret room lined with glass jars

trapping the air of the world, hundreds of them

sealed & labeled with black letters across a strip of masking tape.

Air Above Central Park Skating Rink.

English Football Match Air from the Stadium of Light.

American Civil War Air, with hint of gunpowder.

Each day she selects one jar, carefully

twists loose the lid, presses her clean skinny lips

over the small open space & inhales, the air

filling her body, humming just above the wrinkles

in her feet, carrying her to each exact moment

the air was captured as if it were painted

on the backs of the shades, pulled

over her like a hallucination. Continue reading

Space and her Family of Stars

Brandon McConnel, a Californian artist with a yearning for the stars, uses the medium of spray paint to create otherworldly paintings.

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This video features the entire process McConnel uses to create his pieces.  His paintings transform before your eyes in a matter of minutes to something strange and celestial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXC7ol2Mmtc

Paired with McConnel’s art is Walter Bargen’s poem “Family of Stars,” as first published in LitCouture.

Family of Stars” by Walter Bargen

When the sky is

no longer just sky, the buffeted debris of wind and light,

sucking black holes

and colliding galaxies, and we are ready to improvise ragged visions

on the bottomless up

we stare into, the endless tales tongued by clouds,

half seen, hardly seen,

much less heard, quickly scudding toward a weathered dissolution,

hail and pounding deluge,

a preparation for yet another resurrection beyond stone worship

and memory.

Continue reading

Toilets have feelings too

Can a porcelain toilet really be the focal point of an exhibit?  All my doubts were flushed away, when I saw Diane Landry’s art collection.  She does not simply take a toilet and call it art (coincidentally there is actually an online museum dedicated to toilet art in case you were worried).

Diane Landry, in her own words, seeks to “challenge the emotional memory’s link” to an object and its designated function–morphing, for instance, “a record turntable into a merry-go-round” or “umbrellas into flowers.”  Her artwork creates a dissonance within our functional memories of an object. This allows new “emotional links” be fostered as our minds reassess an object’s utilization (Landry).  Diane Landry emulates a type of creativity reminiscent of the child within us all.

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Not all art can be as inventive as Diane Landry’s. There are still those modern art pieces, like the toilet, deprived of any function and condemned to sit in a museum corner. To hear their story, please enjoy Andrew Miller’s hilarious “My Life Imitating Art,” as seen on LitCouture.

My Life Imitating Art” by Andrew Miller

By A Toilet Seat

I didn’t ask for this.

It’s not like you wake up one morning and say, ‘Dammit, wouldn’t it be provocative if I hung myself on a white washed wall in some drafty warehouse looking gallery.’

I didn’t ask to be an ‘objecte d’arte.’

This is the fate that was thrust upon me by some hack. Some hack that went to art school, who somehow didn’t get jaded and is now trying to make a career out of it.

When I was young, I just wanted to be amiable, and make it real easy for people to shit on me.

Continue reading

Things and a List of More Things

It is easy to disregard commonplace objects in a commonplace environment. Rune Guneriussen, a Norwegian artist, seeks to bring into relief the inherent strangeness of these items by placing them in unexpected settings, rendering them impossible to overlook.

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Her coupling of nature with select “out of place” elements from our society creates a surprisingly harmonious and ethereal effect.

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None of her art pieces remain, but that itself is quite beautiful.  They only exist within her photographs.  After making a masterful composition, she destroys her work. However, the moment lives on, begging us to ask whether the art is the photograph or the sculpture itself.

This post was written by Katelyn Rogers.

Shadow Sculpting « Kumi Yamashita and “A Shadow of a Chair” by Timothy Kercher

See on Scoop.itThe Art of Everyday

Immensely talented maker Kumi Yamashita uses two of the most basic aspects of the “everyday” as mediums for her artwork: light and shadow. Born in Japan, Yamashita came to America as an exchange student while she was in high school and went on to receive a BFA from the Cornish College of the Arts in Washington State. She then entered an MFA program in fine arts at Glasgow University in Scotland. Through her training and natural gift for understanding the complex relationship between a light source and the objects with which it interacts, Yamashita has earned her reputation at the forefront of shadow sculpting.

“I sculpt shadow with light or sometimes light with shadow, but both function in essentially the same manner. I take objects and carve and place them in relation to a single light source. The complete artwork is therefore comprised of both the material (the solid objects) and the immaterial (the light or shadow),” she explains on her website.

Her 2009 exhibition “Fragments”, featured above, is housed in the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe. Here Yamashita does what she does best: makes something out of, seemingly, nothing. “Fragments” is made up of colored resin tiles onto which is cast the light of one single source. The shadows projected onto the surface are the unique profiled faces of 40 residents of New Mexico whom Yamashita encountered in her travels in the state. “It is both testament and celebration of the people whose names may never make it into the history books or history museums, but who definitely make up the rich fabric of life in a pueblo, city, county, and state,” she writes.

In “City View” (2003), the figure of a woman’s body stands straight, hands perched on a railing — but the silhouette is created entirely in shadows formed by aluminum numbers adhered at varying angles to the wall. The captivating but mindboggling “Lovers” (1999) depicts a couple in motion, their hands nearly, but not quite, intertwined — their shadows separated by the cut aluminum plates that form them.

The down-to-earth artist’s response when asked in an interview with COOL blog to explain the inspiration behind her art is one we can all take to heart:

“Always being happy. If I am happy, ideas naturally spring forth. The more I try to think of good ideas, the worse my work is. The times when I am making good art are the times when I am enjoying making it. If this feeling starts to crumble even a little, I stop working and do something completely different. For example, I’ll participate in a wild flower picking tour in Central Park (laughing), and find that happy feeling in another field. For me, feeling happy is normal and, at the same time, very important“.

Video footage of the construction of Yamashita’s “Dialogue” exhibition is viewable on YouTube. Her personal website is: http://www.kumiyamashita.com/.

 

For your viewing pleasure, this featured “maker’s” work is paired with the following poem, originally published last year in LitCouture.

A Shadow of a Chair by Timothy Kercher

 

Is tucked into a desk, chair
itself gone, tired
of supporting
the ass of this writer—so
far from the seat
of ideas. Across
the city under a single
bulb, a writer’s
shadow in a real
chair at a desk where
his shadowy
hand grips & turns
a pen like a brass
knob with each phrase,
opening the door to
stone.

For more work by Timothy Kercher, check out his poem, “Meeting Yevtushenko’s Translator,” originally published in LitCouture.

3-D Money Sculptures & “Vegas Lights, Hedge Funds, Monetary Policy and Beauty” by Frank Montesonti

See on Scoop.itThe Art of Everyday

Aptly named “Money Pieces”, this series by Canadian visual artist Kristi Malakoff capitalizes on capital. Using the U.S. dollar, Turkish lira, Euro, and a variety of world currency in between, Malakoff takes advantage of the full color spectrum that passes through our hands as paper money around the globe to create her intricate and beautiful sculptures.

Her process requires the money to spend more time in her hands and studio than it does in typical consumer exchanges, though, as Malakoff must take great care in the folding, cutting, and pasting of her designs. The finished pieces range from geometric displays, such as “Desert Cactus” (above, part of the Polyhedra Series), to portraits of Jamaican school children and a Nicaraguan fruit seller. These and the other “Money Pieces” can be viewed on Malakoff’s website.

While on her site, be sure to check out her innovative stamp sculptures – along the same vein of “Money Pieces”, but featuring 3-dimensional images pulled out and propped up from within international postage stamps – and floral installations.

See on www.mymodernmet.com

In this spirit, check out Frank Montesonti’s gorgeous poem, originally published in LitCouture:

 

Vegas Lights, Hedge Funds, Monetary Policy and Beauty

 

In the hotel room, dust, ground from the edges of the long run

blew under the door. Swimming

pool flush as we slipped in.

 

Heat detectors swung

overhead without a sound.

 

I wished then I could turn to your body

and the odds

would come off with your clothes.

 

There used to be an old kind of sadness

a mom-and-pop sadness,

a sadness you could hold in your

 

hands as you buckled over

on the curb and took off your hat,

 

warm, heavy as a wadded nocturne,

that slowed the passing memories

just enough to feel like you

 

could go back if the wind were slight

and westerly. But the new sadness

is monetized.

It knows what we can afford.

 

I’m for hedging

my bets. Look at me, downright distrustful

of beauty, how it locks the risk from the dice—

 

what should be among us, condensed

in even features— ten thousand ships etc., a sea etc.,

I haven’t been the first to question

 

why we are we so wild for something easy

as the clean architecture of a face.

 

Yet when you slipped into the pool

something clean and brutal

possessed me: I was embarrassed

at being like everyone else.

For you see, I have this secret dream

 

almost the opposite song of the soul

I feel blow through me,

a bright string, where the one

 

who makes the beauty, the

queen behind

the universe shivers,

and for moment drops her spade.

Frank Montesonti is the author of Hope Tree (forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press) and the chapbook A Civic Pageant. His work has appeared in Lit, Tin House, AQR, Poems and Plays, Barrow Street, Black Warrior Review, among many others. He teaches creative writing at National University in Los Angeles.

of the of of the of : poetry, redesigned.

See on Scoop.itWord Art

When we meet up to talk poetry, he has to go back out to the car a second time to bring in his new “book.” The thing is wrapped in a throw rug. It takes both of us to set it up, and it takes up a good portion of the table, standing up easel-like.

Hm, doesn’t sound like any poem I know. But yet that’s how James Heflin of The Valley Advocate describes the most recent work of his friend, the poet, artist, and editor Chris Janke in his “Art in Paradise” column.

It’s called of the of of the of. Yes, you read that right (and you’ll probably need to read it again). Rethinking and reconstructing the traditional form of a poem both literally and figuratively, Janke refers to it as an “art book”. It is in fact a book of nine books, formatted into a linear board of illusory, transparent line drawings matched with seemingly unconnected text. At the bottom of the six-by-six-inch, marginless page, you’ll find the parts that most resemble conventional poetry, without line breaks, a blur of unpunctuated, colliding words taken from the jargon of philosophers and neuroscientists. And that’s just where you start.

Next, you move on to the “interpretive” layers that respond to these words. They have “explanatory” names tacked on: the “big bang layer”, “flight map layer”, or “map of spain layer”; and are accompanied by visual elements that, though fragmented, form a larger whole in the full display of the nine books.

In various, inexplicable ways these “Visual elements, too, come into play, subway maps and hybrid creations like a tracing of every occurrence of the word “of,” with each “of” representing a high point in a topographical map,” details Heflin. As the reader opens and interacts with the books, new interpretations reinvent the meaning of the poetry and the relationships between the transparent art of the layering.

[If you still have no idea what could possibly be meant by this description, I don’t take it at all personally. You’re best off checking out the astounding images and explanations on Janke’s website!]

Graffiti Hotel Room In France & Some Ridiculous Bullshit About Dragons

See on Scoop.itThe Art of Everyday

Known as the “Panic Room”, this hotel suite in Marseille’s Au Vieux Panier hotel has been thoroughly “graffiti bombed” by internationall recognized graffiti artist Tilt.

The room features half clean, white walls, and half painted in colorful graffiti by Tilt. Deeming himself a graffiti traditionalist, Tilt “loves demonstrating that basic, primitive graffiti can be as strong as complicated 3D lettering, wildstyles and characters. His focus on fun, high impact shapes and strong colours is a reflection of his history as a true graffiti writer, trained on the streets and in the train yards”. His work with “agnostic fonts” is currently on display through July 7 in Barcelona, and images of all his work are available on his Blogspot site.

See on www.complex.com

Wouldn’t it be cool to “graffiti bomb” a room with Coleman Larkin’s memorable humor piece below (one of our all-time favorites, originally published in LitCouture last summer):

SIT BACK AND RELAX AS I FORCIBLY SUBJECT YOU TO SOME RIDICULOUS BULLSHIT ABOUT DRAGONS

Many moons ago, in the lush forests of Morlop, there lived an elfin wizard by the name of Glarvin. Twas a well known fact that Glarvin was the most pure-hearted of all the wizards in Morlop (there were many) and perhaps the most pure-hearted wizard in the entire kingdom of Exqueematrobe. Indeed, Exqueematrobians spoke at great length of Glarvin’s courage, and it was customary for them to recite tales of his exploits during feasts and banquets, especially the annual Lerfing of the Swynx. “Lerf your melvins high!” the village joops would exclaim. “And drink heartily of thine duggle! For the great Glarvin of Morlop hath delivered us from the wicked Vintrosnog and it is in his honor that we kulm this juicy swynx! May it be a most hunkphorian sacrifice!” And every manling worth his snarkle saddle would lift his melvin to the sky and shout, “To Glarvin of Morlop! Long may his legend be told!

So sit back and relax as I forcibly subject you to some ridiculous bullshit about dragons.

It is said that not since the Cleptruvian Revolution has there been a more fearsome beast than the Vintrosnog. It stands as tall as a full-grown brawsby tree and has a wingspan as wide as the Pludnuffian River. Its skin is like chain mail and its red eyes glow like two embers plucked from the hottest fire. Its teeth are like a ribnut warrior’s daggers, with its foremost fangs, of which there are four, protruding at all times. Down the length of its spine and upon its tail are spikes like jagged shards of nard rock, and its vile tongue lashes wildly like a glumpy mudthicket. One can sense the Vintrosnog’s presence from miles away as it emits from every putrid pore the foul aroma of liblab and rotting sneedberries.

One day, as Glarvin of Morlop busied himself with mickle potions in his treetop laboratory, his nose began to twitch. Liblab and sneedberries were in the air. “And so it begins,” he said to himself, for every summer the Vintrosnog would leave the vast prairies of Nelbung seeking shade and sustenance in the forests of Morlop. His preferred meal, unfortunately, was elves such as Glarvin.

Hurriedly, Glarvin gathered his wand and book of spells, along with a copper amulet and a small vial of womproot extract. He climbed a ladder to his thatched roof and let out a piercing whistle that echoed throughout the land. Almost immediately the dull flapping of wings could be heard in the distance. It grew louder and louder still, culminating in a thunderous sound that shook the long, gray hairs of Glarvin’s beard. The clouds parted and a purple-feathered beast of a bird with a long, slender neck, a silver beak and a suede saddle soared into view. It was Xandeertay, Glarvin’s snarkle. Xandeertay hovered near Glarvin’s roof just long enough for Glarvin to hop onto his back and into the saddle. Glarvin took hold of the rugged belf-hide reigns. “To the Smelmack, Xandeertay!” he commanded. “For we must stave the advances of the wicked Vintrosnog and save Morlop once and for all!”

The Smelmack was a lugent on the nermy stonk of sleem. No doubt it would be the Vintrosnog’s first stop. Glarvin snazzled his brazzlebee and unsheathed his shining dinkly, a weapon bequeathed to him by his father, Trivlyputt, upon the latter’s death at the hands of an Oontharian jinklet during the Drebnettle Uprising. Legend has it that Trivlyputt placed the dinkly in Glarvin’s hand and, with his last breath, whispered, “Glarvin my beloved harble. Inkle this dinkly and melf it in your qualf. The fate of Morlop is in your groodjaw. Sipple your umptugger and slay the vile Vintrosnog.” And then he rujjered.

Glarvin and Xandeertay flew exploratory circles above the yapp bushes of Smelmack. The air was thick with the sickly smell of decayed sneedberries. Sure enough, the Vintrosnog was at hand, his muscular tail protruding from the dense hedges. Glarvin steered Xandeertay closer to the Vintrosnog, deftly maneuvering his trusted snarkle within striking distance. The Vintrosnog lurched and reared its hideous head. Glarvin, undeterred, let out his most blood-curdling Morlopian battle cry.

“AADSFLAAAABBIANDERVERRRRRRR!!” He smelded his dinkly and wurved his markle at the jerbull side of plimy. Six times he mibled the rekward! The flognurd nuggled the buggleby and the hogcurd kleemed off of the jorny’s glarb. “Dumple!” squeered Glarvin. “Dumple mine mert britches!” And the marmut dargled nuddly until its mubber lorfed higglygrubs upon the voodsnatches of zapgravel. The Vintrosnog blerfed Glarvin’s snarkle and drobbered his dinkly. Cloddy mod wallerstein jib numbtruckle doopy. Flarzen mozzle rodd trubly buttle dripcrud mifflipster. Licktrickle hub juggerbeef harf yasser jine larvel.

And they all lived happily ever after.

 

Coleman Larkin is a 28-year-old comedian, artist, writer, and award-winning journalist. His talents are currently wasted as a cook in Lexington, Kentucky.

Decoupaged Globes by Wendy Gold & “Trapped on Djerba, Island of the Lotus Eaters”

See on Scoop.itThe Art of Everyday

North Bay, California based artist Wendy Gold is in the business of giving others the world – literally. Launched in 2010, Gold’s ImagineNations collection takes vintage globes (some so old as to be geographically outdated!) and turns them into the canvases for decoupage art. Gold has experimented with unusual canvases for the past decade, first breaking onto the scene with transformed toilet seats and bathroom scales, before moving on to globes. She uses only recycled materials in her decoupage, and her globe repetoire has grown to include wedding and birth announcements, graduation gifts, and motivational statements, as well as the world of cartoons and children’s books (Superman and other heroes, Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” and Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” are among those sampled on her website).

These and her other beautifully designed globes, including Ceres, shown above, covered in winding vines, florals, and butterflies, are available for perusal at http://artonglobes.com/. Globes are sold in 6, 10, and 12-inch sizes, with customization (addition of names, dates, spotlight areas, etc.) available on any size globe for fees ranging from $50-1,500 and the base price for a 12-inch globe ~$500.

See on artonglobes.com

In the spirit of wanderlust, check out this poem by Nomi Stone, originally published in LitCouture on May 9, 2010:

 

Trapped on Djerba, Island of the Lotus Eaters

 

You are walking through a long grove. Pebbly sand underfoot. On the edge, a field

of colossal flowers, sagging low with pollen. Have you been here before, you think?

 

The sky phosphoresces, broken triangles between branches and stems.

Above you, gigantic pistils and stamens mingling in the cups of the flowers.

Ticks twitch in grass. You feel alive. Also wary.

 

No one stops you when you climb inside those white necks, breathe into

those white necks and lose all sense.    Like

a girl’s belly, like the smell of her collarbone,

 

Like—And what’s more, the gulf was the same blue as the sky. We

(you were not alone) did not know which imitated which. Heavens stretched

out and up. Out, to that great sea roiling with histories. Up, implying

eternities. We lived equally between those blues. We still do.

 

“How to climb out of here?” asked one.

“Why?” answered another. Nothing exists

except what is one eyeblink below, one eyblink above.

 

Nomi Stone’s first book of poems, Stranger’s Notebook (from which the above poem is excerpted) chronicles her time living in one of the last cohesive Jewish communities in North Africa. She has a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford University, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Creative Writing in Tunisia. Stone is currently a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at Columbia University. She has received poetry fellowships and grants from the Vermont Studio Center and the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities. To learn more, please check out the Northwestern University Press website at http://www.nupress.northwestern.edu