mirrorshard: (Default)
For those of you who don't read Eithin, or [livejournal.com profile] eithinarts, and because I wanted to show it off -

One White Tree - Black 1

Original post here.

Prints will be for sale when I acquire a suitable number of spoons.
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I made this (original blog post) a while ago, and have been thinking about some others in the same style.


The question is, how far is it OK to go here? The technique positively requires tearing up printed matter.

[Poll #1416309]

Royal fail

Jun. 13th, 2009 01:06 pm
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Looks like Prince Charles is being an idiot again.

Summary: Foreign firm Qatari Diar commissions Lord Rogers to design a block of flats. Charlie writes in to complain, probably in green ink. Qatari Diar withdraws planning application.

Dammit, I want attractive modern buildings on my city's skyline. I don't want a half-arsed pastiche job that looks like it belongs in some third-rate Lowry knockoff.

He'd be a lovely chap if only he gave up the princing job. (And the duking job, and everything else he got from his mum.)


Dec. 16th, 2008 10:48 pm
mirrorshard: (Ink & paper)
Since I've added quite a few friends since the last time I did this -

I keep another blog at Eithin, in which I talk about art & design, and post things I've done or been working on. (I do printmaking, painting, drawing, calligraphy, some photography, and basically some of anything else that catches my eye. There's a gallery here, which I update from time to time with what I think are the keepers.)

I do sell originals or prints, and will usually be happy to take on custom orders or specific projects if anyone's interested. The digital versions are CC:BY licensed (unless I've given a photo credit, as here) so they're free to reuse, modify, and generally muck around with so long as you link back to my original.

There's an LJ feed at [livejournal.com profile] eithinarts, too.

Have a work-in-progress picture, too. (Flickr link - the original post is here.) It's an attempt to represent the firework dragon Gandalf summons at Bilbo's birthday party, as it might appear if The Fellowship of the Ring were a mediaeval illuminated manuscript. (Incidentally, Pauline Baynes got her start on illustration with some reinterpretations of manuscript marginalia.)

Dragon 1 - WIP

It's currently sitting on my workboard with the first colour coat - red, naturally - drying.
mirrorshard: (Ink & paper)
I like to call myself an artist, but I'm rather hesitant about being an Artist. I'm not under the illusion that what I do is fine art - I mess around, mostly. A lot of it involves paint, or canvas, or both together. Mostly, this is a hobby, but I'd rather like to see if I can make some money from it too.

explanation, links, and poll below cut )
mirrorshard: (Autumn skin)
It's International Blog Against Racism Week, so here's a brain dump for you.

First - I posted about this on Eithin the other day, but it's worth mentioning here - the blog Skin Coloured is "intended to be a collaborative, visual exploration of what it is to be non-white in a white culture." I'm white myself (dark skinned, but unmistakably white), but this issue fascinates me. Racism, art & design, and usability issues all rolled into one.

They're looking for more pictures with examples, so please do drop them a line if you have any.

Second - London is plastered with advertisements for Spamalot, the Monty Python musical, and this particular crop proclaim that Sanjeev Bhaskar is Arthur, King of the Britons. Apart from a Kitchener reference in the design, the advertisements make no mention at all of the fact that this nigh-stereotypical Englishman (technically he was Welsh, but try telling that to the English who idolize him) is being portrayed by an unmistakably subcontinental actor. It's rather nice to see, and what's even nicer is that (as far as my Google-fu can tell) nobody is complaining about it.

Third - I've posted before about doing body art, but something I've never mentioned in the past is that all the models I've used for this have been white. It's always annoyed me, but it's hard to talk about most of the time because you end up coming off like the creepy guy who's desperate for a Hot Asian Girlfriend. I know why they're all white, of course - it's because they were all friends, and most of my social life is via geek-dom. And geek-dom isn't just whitebread, it's practically Tesco Value white bread. The bi and poly social groups are better, but not much better.
mirrorshard: (Ultramarine)
Jonathon Jones writes on Banksy in the Guardian, and totally misses the point.

Probably the rise of Banksy means that moment is coming to an end; people care more about other things. He is a background artist, as in background music: like all graffiti, his is essentially an accompaniment to other activities. Chunky sprayed-letter graffiti is a background to skateboarding. Banksy is a background to hating New Labour. The reason to admire Damien Hirst is that he makes art as if art mattered. In Banksy, the philistines are getting their revenge.

Background artist? Nonsense. What Jones is missing is that Banksy's work isn't about paint on walls, it's about the walls. It's not portable art, it plays with its context. Subversive, if you really want buzzwords.

So yes, if you only look at the designs themselves, if you only look at a particular graffito, it's not particularly interesting or profound. The same goes for most modern art, without its historical and stylistic context. This just has something more concrete to react against.

It's all about colonizing public space (where, of course, "public" is used in the same sense as "the public interest", ie. something quite different from "us"), repurposing it, validating individual experience. I suspect that part of J.J.'s problem with Banksy is that as an established critic, he's firmly entrenched in the Public rather than the masses, and wants to react to art as Art, rather than letting art grab his sense of social space and tango with it across the city.


Apr. 28th, 2007 09:09 pm
mirrorshard: (Ultramarine)
Here's the full-size version of my new icon.

I was inspired by a visit to the William Morris gallery - currently under threat from the council - and by reading Morris's Some hints on Pattern-Designing.

One of the things I've always had trouble with is working with multiple colours in one piece, and there's a passage in there that gave me one of those Aha moments.

Now, to speak broadly, the first of these methods of relief is used by those who are chiefly thinking about form, the second by those whose minds are most set on colour; and you will easily see, if you come to think of it, how widely different the two methods are. Those who have been used to the first method of dark upon light, or light upon dark, often get confused and troubled when they have to deal with many colours, and wonder why it is that, in spite of all their attempts at refinement of colour, their designs still look wrong. The fact is, that when you have many colours, when you are making up your design by contrast of hues and variety of shades, you must use the bounding line to some extent, if not through and through.

The design itself is the result of messing around with diagonals - it's built on a 3x3 grid of rectangles, and elaborated from there. I knew I wanted silverwork in the triangular sections, but that wouldn't work in itself as a bounding line, so I added in black bounding lines for that, and made the border more solid than I had originally intended.

[livejournal.com profile] keira_online commented that it looked like a stained-glass window, which wasn't what I'd been thinking when I did it, but seems accurate. Part of that, of course, is because I decided to spoil myself and use French ultramarine. I hadn't worked with oils for years, and I have no idea why not after that - the feeling is wonderful. I still need to varnish it, to bring out the depth and brilliancy of the other colours (the black, purple, and silver are acrylic), but doing that always feels so definite.
mirrorshard: (Blue flower tea)
From today's Observer, the new installation in the turbine hall at Tate Modern will be opening on Tuesday.

It's a giant playground with slides by Carsten Holler, and visitors will be encouraged to slide down them. At least one uses the entire five-storey height of the turbine hall.

I plan on going ASAP, most likely Tuesday or Wednesday, and would be delighted to have company.
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I'm in Edinburgh, having fun about half the time, and let's see what I can do by way of highlights for my first week or so in Scotland.
the misfortunes of travel )shiny things at Kelvingrove )
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Jonathan Jones on Mark Rothko's Seagram murals in the Tate Modern.


Rothko's not by any stretch of the imagination an easy artist to grok or to think about. Basically, he painted large brooding colour fields.

This article, though, says a lot about the way he thought, and why he went back on his commission to provide "600 square feet of paintings for the most exclusive room in the new Four Seasons restaurant at the Seagram Building in New York - the most prestigious public commission that had ever been awarded to an abstract expressionist painter, a tremendously lucrative and enviable chance to take his work to new heights of ambition."
lots more )
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This was last Saturday, or the Day of the Great Whale, and I've been meaning to post about it since, but not got around to it. I went up to London to look at the house in Leytonstone I am planning on sharing with [livejournal.com profile] pfy, and it seemed a shame not to go do a few other things while I was at it.
Read more... )


Oct. 3rd, 2005 06:04 pm
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New pictures up, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] nou kindly agreeing to lie still and not do anything for awhile. I've started using Flickr for ease of use now, and may start migrating the older pictures across from the Deviantart page eventually.


It's impressive to see the amount of difference taking the pictures under a daylight bulb makes - compare 'Skin and ink 2' (normal domestic bulb) with 4 and 5 (energy-saver blue-spectrum daylight bulb). I'm tempted to say I prefer the domestic one for taking pictures, despite daylight bulbs being much easier on the eye and the SAD.

The whiteboard marker definitely seems to be the way to go, if not using actual paint - it fades gracefully, and the pattern was still definitely visible a few days later despite normal bathing, but can be removed with a bit of scrubbing if need be.

[Edit: though these two photos should be SFW, the page linked to has thumbnails for a couple that may well not be.]
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All the best artists have manifestos[1], and generally rather a lot of the less good ones have too, so I really should get around sometime to a statement of what this lot - http://www.livejournal.com/users/mirrorshard/70218.html for example - means.

Mind you, the standard artistic disclaimers apply, and there are a few questions that must, for the sake of tradition, be asked and answered.

to save space... )


Sep. 2nd, 2005 02:25 am
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As promised, pictures of [livejournal.com profile] nou, or to be more specific the designs she kindly allowed me to paint on her.

http://www.deviantart.com/view/22449051/ is a full design, over her back, in dark-blue acrylic paint.

http://www.deviantart.com/view/22448226/ is a sketch in black pen (whiteboard marker, actually) on her left breast.

Warning, both of these may be NSFW depending on how picky your W is and which way your monitor faces.
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Further to my post about outsider art awhile back[1], here's one about something similar.

http://www.designobserver.com/archives/000883.html (via xBlog, http://xplane.com/xblog//index.php )

Sure, [scrapbooking is] goofy and its homespun (if there's such a thing as outsider art, maybe this is insider art) but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take it seriously.

[1] http://www.livejournal.com/users/mirrorshard/32562.html
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There's an interesting article[1] in the Fortean Times about 'Outsider Art', which is as I understand it art created by those who are outside the formal artistic system - "art by psychiatric patients, alcoholics, visionaries, sociopaths, loners, naifs, vagrants, street kids and hobos."

I'm wondering, though, how one qualifies as an Outsider for these purposes, as distinct from an ordinary artist who just happens to be disturbed, maladjusted, insufficiently socialized, or just strange.

Caravaggio[2], for instance - a "truculent, drunken murderer". Some of his work[3] is certainly disturbing enough.

Or visionaries, perhaps? I bid William Blake[4], and if you can see Blake and raise me, you're welcome to the pot.

Psychiatric patients - well, plenty of artists have been hospitalised at some point in their lives, though I can't pull out an example offhand. I'm reminded, however of this[5], a collection of murals found in an abandoned mental hospital.

I have the urge to try making some outsider art myself. I wonder if there's anyone currently working who self-identifies as an outsider artist?

[1] http://www.forteantimes.com/articles/189_outsider.shtml
[2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/0,11711,1411485,00.html?gusrc=rss
[3] http://www.english.upenn.edu/~schreyer/Caravaggio_Judith.html
[4] http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/blake/
[5] http://www.darkpassage.com/hopscotch/dioramas/swimming.htm
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I've always loved the Ramayana of Valmiki, ever since I read a Fontana translation at the age of 7 or so. This is a wonderful comic book version.


And the Boing Boing post with background material.

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Warning: not work-safe. Contains hot-Asian-girl-on-octopus action. You have been warned.


And for a translation of the dialogue:


MAIDEN: You hateful octopus! Your sucking at the mouth of my womb makes me gasp for breath! Aah! yes... it's... There.!!! With the sucker, the
sucker!! inside, squiggle, squiggle, Oooh! Oooh, good, Oooh good! There, there! Theeeeere! Goood! Whew! Aah! Good, good, Aaaaaaaaaah! Not yet!
Until now it was I that men called an octopus! An octopus! Ooh! Whew! How are you able...!? Ooh! "yoyoyooh, Saa... Hicha hicha gucha gucha, yuchyuu
chyu guzu guzu suu suuu...."
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Had a wonderful time there- (thanks to Vikki, for the company) - and saw, as always, some lovely things. It's always hard to pull away from the Monet, but the lovely colour field paintings in the same room (though I'm blessed if I can remember the artist) managed it.

The one that always amuses me, though, is Carl Andre's Steel Zinc Plain (1969) [2], which I remembered to make a note of for once. It's a six-by-six chequerboard of steel and zinc floor tiles, put straight onto the gallery floor, without any fence around it or notice beside it (the Tate policy is to put the title & comment cards about six or ten feet away, so you don't get distracted from the work by them - I approve). The comment card for this one says that the artist designed it to be walked on.

On the other hand, I refuse to believe that nobody ever designed all those gorgeous, luscious bronzes not to be touched and hugged and, well, groped, frankly (can you tell I'm a bit of a bronze sculpture fan? Umberto Boccioni's Unique Forms of Continuity of Space (1913)[1] is to die for), so the curators clearly have their own opinions on the proper way to treat Art.

So, we have this piece of Art sitting, without any explanation or label for the casual viewer, on the gallery floor. Most people were carefully walking around it; one didn't seem to notice it at all, and walked straight across; and a lot of the ones who walked around didn't steer clear, but swung one foot casually over the corner of the tiles. One, a boy of about six, carefully walked up to the edge, put one foot onto the tiles, then turned around with a big grin on his face and walked neatly around them to rejoin his parents. This time, I walked around it, but when I first encountered it, I did much the same as the boy - a sort of awkward compromise between fulfilling the artist's intentions and not going out of the normal way to do so. A very British response to art I suppose.

[1] http://www.moma.org/collection/depts/paint_sculpt/blowups/paint_sculpt_012.html

[2] http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=21770&searchid=6637
So, the question!

What would YOU do?


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