It’s (almost) the weekend and +Me2 is returning from another sojourn working for Darth, Inc. so I am filling in with a quick post. (He promised me he would make up for his recent absence this weekend.)
Yesterday I posted this photo and the talented +Gordon Webb commented “Great shot Shelly. The pink strat is upside down, unless the squid is a lefty, and plays like Hendrix. :)”
We are willing to accept a guitar playing squid and singing mermaids but not the guitar in a non standard position. The last time I looked, the definition of a guitar is a six or 12 string instrument, not three. What kind of instrument is this really? Does it matter? Is that kind of attention to detail necessary?
There is a trend within the Lego community for an AFOL (or TFOL) to create a signature figure that represents themselves. I myself have a fairly distinct red headed figure I have used for well over a year that is my Lego alter ego. (She even has her own Lego alter ego.) This figure looks nothing like me…nothing. I was talking to a woman the other day who I have know for a few months. She met me first through Instagram. She told me that on our first in person meeting she was very disappointed to find out I looked nothing like my mini figure; where was my pink hair!?!
People take great pride in recreating famous land marks, album covers, particular cars and just about anything else you can think of in the human world with their Lego. In fact many of Lego’s most iconic sets are based on something in the human world: The VW Bug, The Taj Mahal, The London Bridge, The Lego UniMog …the list goes on and on.
But where is the fun in that? How come we can’t make cars that grow flowers or crazy houses that twist and turn, bridges that don’t conform to logic or create a mini figure that looks like who we want to be? Why can we suspend our disbelief about a talking squid and some mermaids but not with an upside down guitar? For all I know Squidward taught Jimmi Hendrix everything he knew about guitar playing. Because in MY Lego world anything is possible.
If you have a Lego mini figure representing you, does it look like you?
When you create with Lego do you work from photographs or from your imagination?
PS – I hope you will check out Gordon’s work on G+ or on Instagram. He creates wonderful, fabulous, unique mech’s – each a thing of beauty that has no basis in reality.
Have you noticed how much toy / childhood imagery there is in the art world lately? Maybe I’m just fine tuned to this genre due to my involvement in the Instagram toy photography community. I noticed that at the art show I was recently attending there were more than a few artists working with toy / childhood imagery in a variety of mediums.
For example there was the titillating photography using HO scale figures called bodyscapes, the crazy 3-D toy collages by David Burton (seriously check this guys work out) and more HO scale photography by Audrey Heller. But my favorite by far was Joachim Knill’s paintings of imaginary stuffed animals.
I first met Joachim many years ago when we both created photography to sell at arts & craft shows. His work has alway been compeling and nicely off kilter. His latest series of paintings is titled “National Treasure”. The idea behind National Treasure is that these paintings are artifacts from another world inhabited by stuffed animals. Just imagine a formal gallery that has been dropped in the middle of your street and these portraits of stuffed animals in gilt frames are there to be “shared, viewed and consumed, ” and you might begin to understand the concept.
These renaissance styled paintings are slightly disturbing yet endlessly intriguing. They are beautiful haunting images that take me back to my childhood and my own well worn stuffed animals.
Talking with Joachim and hearing him refer to his paintings as cultural artifacts was fascinating and certainly rang a familiar bell in my head. I think that whenever you are dealing with mass produced consumer goods in your art work that some aspect of the cultural artifact will naturally occur. It only remains to be seen how you interpret and reflect back your own culture using these ubiquitous objects. Will you become a social commentator, a mirror into the past or create a path into a parallel universe? The possibilities are endless.
I encourage you to look around and see what other artists are creating. It feels like there is a brave new world of toy art upon us.
When I left town a few days ago, I packed a wonderful collection of Lego and all my camera gear with grand intentions. My family and I would be driving nearly 1800 miles (2824 km) across the US and we would be passing by some of my favorite places in the country like Yellowstone National Park and Moab, Utah. I was going to be ready!
Congratulations! Like many people you might have the fantasy of quitting your mind numbing job and joining those carefree bohemien artists creating and selling their art. This is an admirable goal and I salute you.
If you want people to support you as an artist you need to support other artists. It’s as simple as that.
If you were to come to my house for dinner I will prepare the meal using a hand made knife and cooked in a hand made skillet. I will serve your meal on hand made dishes and glasses upon my hand made table. (If I really like you I will pull out the fancy hand made silverware!). As I am preparing your meal you can look at my walls covered with original paintings and sculptures that have been collected over the years. I might be wearing one of my many hand made sweaters and most certainly some hand made jewelry. Of course since my house is always filled with music, we will be listing to my latest music purchase. While you are waiting you might even browse my extensive collection of band posters, records or books… all of which I have purchased to support the various artists that I love.
To me this is what supporting the arts looks like and I have a very good reason for living this way. If I buy from artists, they will often buy from me. Artists will often be your first paying customers. If they have money in their pockets they support the arts, because like me they know how important it is to purchase from artists directly.
I’m not saying you have to buy all your gifts and household items from artists, but next time you are out looking for a creative gift, look beyond the mall and you might be surprised at what you will find. Supporting the arts doesn’t have to mean writing out a donation check to some semi-anonymous arts institution, it can encompass an entire life filled with hand made goodness.
Simply put, what goes around comes around.
Do you support the arts?
If so, how?
If not, why not?
I confess I’ve been watching documentaries again. This one was about Werner Herzog and his epic struggle to complete his movie Fitzcarraldo. The documentary, Burden of Dreams, concerns a movie maker on a seemingly Sisyphean task who’s main character is on a similar, nearly impossible task.
As Werner Herzog is talking about his project, after hitting the umpteenth major snag, he said the following:
“If I abandon this project, I would be a man without dreams and I don’t want to live like that.”
The above quote really struck home.
It is good to remember that dreams are a burden. They ask much of us; sometimes too much. But like Mr. Herzog you have to keep going, no matter how tough it gets. You have to nurture your projects and the dreams they come from. It doesn’t matter if success or failure await you; living without dreams would be a very bleak existence.
Have you ever though about quitting?
If so, what kept you going?
I can relate to +Me2 and his Sunday Painter plight. I am not sure any of us has the stamina or the time to create meaningful art on a daily basis. It is so much easier to do the laundry, cook a meal, play video games or any of the thousands of distractions we encounter daily.
I chose this image by +Gordon Webb to illustrate another time suck that is a big part of our weird Stuckinplastic world,,,forever sorting.
Did you take the time to listen to the TED talk suggested by +Me2 yesterday? I did and I was mildly amused by Sting and his talk. Maybe I was not as taken by it as Me2, but that can be explained by the fact I was also working.
I think it is important to realize that every artist struggles with the artistic process. No matter if you are a multi platinum musician who makes enough off his royalties to live in a chateau and grow his own grapes or the beginning photographer. The creative issues are the same if not the income stream.
So, yes we are all in similar (I will never say: “the same”) boats. The goal is to make relevant art that speaks to who ever might view, listen or read our creative works. There is no magic formula to success, I wish there was. But I do know that if you speak from the heart and are true to your own voice you will make a connection with your audience.
I think it was interesting that Sting had to go back to his roots, the ones he had been denying, to find the motivation and his voice again. Sometimes you have to go to the dark places, the places you want to avoid to do the work that needs to be done. I think the trick is to take your viewers on your journey with you, but still allow them to find themselves in what you are saying. To be personal, but still universal.
By creating honest work we will find ourselves a little closer to the answers and hopefully maintain our inspiration.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I don’t think there is any skill harder to develop than the ability to stay motivated. No matter what you are doing, taking photographs, building your latest MOC or writing the next great novel, staying motivated is hard.