The Toys That Made Us

Have you seen the latest docuseries from Netflix: The Toys That Made Us? If not, you really need to put down what you’re doing and immediately binge watch all fours episodes of season one. 

Rarely have I seen a TV series so perfectly aimed at toy photographers and toy collectors. Ok, I will admit I don’t watch a lot of tv so maybe I’m not the best judge. But I can assure you, you will enjoy at least one of the first four episodes.  Continue reading The Toys That Made Us

Ai Weiwei and Lego

As you all know I love my documentaries and especially ones about artists. Last week I watched a documentary called Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and of course it left an impression. If you are not familiar with Ai, he designed Beijing’s National Stadium which is often referred to as the Birds Nest. After his arrest in 2011 his travel has been severely curtailed and he has not been allowed to leave Beijing. This documentary tells the story of Ai’s activism through art which ultimatly led to his virtual imprisonment.

Ai is very active on social media and I soon found myself following him on Twitter and Instagram which then led me to his show in the famous United States prison, Alcatraz. By now you are asking yourself what does this have to do with Lego?  Well, it seems Ai created six large carpets out of 1.2 million LEGO bricks to depict 176 political prisoners. (More information on the Alcatraz show can be found here and here. )

Trace, the show’s most ambitious work, consists of six large carpets of Lego blocks that depict more than 175 prisoners of conscience, past and present Photograph: Mae Ryan
Trace, the show’s most ambitious work, consists of six large carpets of Lego blocks that depict more than 175 prisoners of conscience, past and present Photograph: Mae Ryan

It seems that our beloved LEGO brick is continuing to evolve from a children’s toy to a medium that in the right hands, protests a few of the many injustices of the world. Maybe this children’s toy is growing up?

As I continue to grapple with my own art, I am inspired by a man on the other side of this planet who uses his art to change the world. I follow him on Twitter and Instagram as a reminder that everything is not awesome.

~ xxsjc

Have you seen this show? Would you be interested in seeing this installation?

Do you think LEGO bricks are an appropriate medium for a political statement?

 

Why? and 20,000 Days on Earth

If you have been a reader of this blog for a while you know I love my documentaries, especially ones that illuminate the creative process like Marwencol and Burden of Dreams. When I finally sat down to watch 20,000 Days on Earth I was struck by how this pseudo documentary depicting a day in the life of Nick Cave was pertinent to our continuing series on creativity: “Why?

Drama and reality combine in a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international cultural icon Nick Cave. With startlingly frank insights and an intimate portrayal of the artistic process, the film examines what makes us who we are, and celebrates the transformative power of the creative spirit. Written by Pulse Films

I am pretty sure that the amazing Nick Cave will never write for our blog, so I urge you to take the time to watch this wonderful documentary. If you are interested in music, the creative process and how an artists approaches his work not only on a daily basis but over a life time you will be enthralled.

~ xxsjc

nick-cave-skateboards

When I first saw this photo I immediately thought that Nick Cave would make a great action figure. Luckily I know someone who can create one for me. Hopefully there will be images of Nick Cave brooding on my Instagram feed in the not too distant future. 

Do you have a favorite documentary that depicts the creative process you would like to recommend? 

 

Ordinary Miracles: The Photo League’s New York (Trailer)

I had the pleasure of watching this documentary film recently and I wanted to share it with you. During the 15 years that The Photo League of New York existed, they nurtured, celebrated and discussed some of the greatest photographers of the day. This documentary is a veritable who’s who of photographers who were practicing at the time. These are people who wanted to change the world through there photographs. They wanted to make a difference and for the most part they were successful. 
I urge you to take a look at the trailer and hopefully find the time to watch the whole film. It is good to know the historic foundations of your passion. Many of the figures discussed in this documentary I knew of from my own photo history classes. It was inspiring to hear them discussed in context of The Photo League and it also gave me fresh perspective on this important stage of photography’s history. 
~ xxsjc