Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is. - Oscar Wilde
Animation, Art, and Other Shiny Things
Unlike the re-imaginings of Star Wars characters in old world Japan that I’ve posted, Terry Cook went the fine art route and painted them in watercolor. And I do mean ‘fine art’ as the artist has rendered these portraits skillfully enough to rate display on the best wall of any home or gallery.
You can find all 11 prints at Terry Cook’s website.
In a re-imagining akin to the Chris Felker art I posted a couple weeks ago, New York graphic artist Steve Bialik created a series of Ukiyo-e-style (浮世絵 “pictures of the floating world”) prints of Star Wars characters.
You can find more of Mr Bialik’s work at his blog STEVAPALOOZA!
More of this series under the fold. Read more of this post
The legends surrounding Maneki Neko are many and varied. The bones of the old narratives appear placeable in history, but much that wraps them have their roots in Japanese folklore and tradition. (as well as occasional, simple, voracity)
The legend I prefer takes place during a dark and stormy night at a monastery near Edo, Japan (now Tokyo) in the year 1615.
Gotoku-ji temple was very poor. The monk had barely enough food for himself and a cat he had taken in, Tama, but he made do, tending the monastery and following his path as best he could.
After splitting a particularly meager meal, the monk said to Tama, “Your companionship means much to me, but I can not assure you a good meal. You should not starve with me, but find yourself a home worthy of your company.” The cat, of course, did not reply, but went to sit in a window of the temple as cats are wont to do.
Outside in the rain, Ii Naotaka, second son of Ii Naomasa, hereditary owner of Hikone Castle, was returning from the Battle of Tennōji. With the storm worsening, Ii Naotaka and his men took refuge beneath a tree. Looking around he saw the cat in the monastery window. It’s paw raised, the cat seemed to be beckoning the Daimyo to take shelter in the small temple. As he approached the monastery, lightening stabbed down and split the tree that he had just been standing beside. He surely would have been killed had he remained by the tree.
Welcomed in, Ii Naotaka found the old priest to be wise and kind and devoted to his path and his companion Tama. To repay the cat and priest for saving his life he became Gotoku-ji temple’s patron. When Tama died, the cat was given a place of honor in the temple cemetery, where many important members of the Ii family are also buried, and the first Maneki Neko statue was created in his memory.
Today, Gotoku-ji temple is still open for worship and attracts visitors from all over the world.
But the story of Maneki Neko is far from over. Read more of this post
Birds on Paper is a series of drawings by Paula Swisher. While the title is technically correct, the ‘Paper’ part doesn’t fully describe the medium. The paper is the pages of textbooks, preferably ones with graphs.
We’ve all doodled in the margins, maybe even “enhanced” a picture, but Ms Swisher’s work takes it up a notch.
Reminiscent of natural history text illustrations, it feels appropriate, especially as the figure often takes cues from the page it’s drawn upon.
Paula Swisher is currently a professor of Communication Design at Kutztown University […] She enjoys straddling the two worlds of the creative and the technical. The hand-drawn mark, grid-based design, and info graphics are all things that keep her excited.
She has a few different collections and collaborations up at her website, but Birds is my favorite.
More of Paula Swisher’s work at paulaswisher.com
There are many a photographer’s nightmare and horrific pictorial evidence that describe the Family Portrait. It’s unfortunate that even the animals that share our life and home are not spared the indignity.
This ongoing project not only draws on my technical knowledge, but also on my childhood influences. Painters such as George Stubbs and John James Audubon impacted my work in a big way. These historic influences are offset by my modern day means of fabrication. These photographic portraits are mostly done on location with minimal post production work afterwards. I want to challenge beliefs of what we think of as historical or authentic, whether it was made yesterday or hundreds of years ago. To blur the lines of time and to engage the viewer in how we interpret history itself.
His portraits evoke the rich, dusty stillness found in old photographs and turn-of-the-last-century textbook illustrations. This isn’t simply antique tinting the picture, by any stretch.
While there is certainly some color work done to mimic film chromatics of a time and the aging since, Mr Pinkham also pays close attention to the setting, lighting, and focus we instinctively recognize as from another era.
Deep-scene painted backdrops, perhaps the subject is lit just a little too brightly, perspective is just a tad off kilter. The details perfect an image out of time.
What is particularly compelling is his choice of subject in this recent series of portraits; animals.
He has given human-subjected photographs the same treatment to nice effect, but they just don’t quite have the other-time-ness the animal series does to my eye.
(yes, that was a dog picture. an unusual occurrence, i know, but don’t let it throw you. here’s an extra cat, if that’ll help)
John Kenn is a Danish kid’s TV writer/director when he’s not parenting his own set of twins. In whatever spaces of time that are occasionally and accidentally left over he is also an artist of little panels of Gorey-esque macabre.
One of his latest:
If the art itself isn’t cool enough for the heathens among you then I should probably mention that his canvas’ are Post-It Notes. Yep, office supplies…
Mr Kenn shares about a handful of drawings per month and his website has sketches going back almost three years. Make sure you have a good hour or more when you visit for the first time, you’ll want to get through the whole gallery…
This is that post I mentioned in the Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn post, and Cynthia von Buhler is the artist that sent me down this rabbit hole.
Ms von Buhler not only drew the cover art for the Evelyn Evelyn album, but joined Mr Webley and Ms Palmer in creating a companion book to the disc that further details the lives of Eva and Lyn Neville:
Enthusiasts of genuine tragedy and celebrity intrigue, gird your mental loins for an authentic tale of unbelievable hardship and epic catastrophe! This wholly true and accurate account details the extraordinary lives of Evelyn and Evelyn, a darling but unfortunate pair of conjoined twins who brave extreme circumstances of calamity and adversity
…and while poking about on the intertubes to learn more about the Evelyn Evelyn album I went through a side door somewhere and ended up at one of those pages that is art. (and i don’t assign that lightly. at least i hope not… the word really deserves a completely different font as well, but you have to work with what you have)
It is digital magic when an artist’s work and the internets come together to make more than the sum of each (remember retropolis?) and But Who Will Bell The Cats is a terrific example. Another of Ms von Buhler’s sites, The Cat Who Wouldn’t Come Inside, is also a work of art.
Ms von Buhler has illustrated several children’s books, but The Cat Who Wouldn’t Come Inside and But Who Will Bell the Cats? are the only two with their own websites. (though you can get a look inside any of the books in the library) BWWBTC is her latest and looks to be the first Ms von Buhler has also written.
Cynthia von Buhler is an internationally exhibiting visual artist, illustrator, children’s book author, and performer living in New York City. Von Buhler uses traditional as well as unconventional media: painting, sculpture, performance, video projection, installation, living fauna, collage, photography, human detritus, and electronic audio. By innovatively combining these media, often enhanced with text and electronics, von Buhler’s canvasses frequently become elaborate kinetic installations. In March 2006, Art & Antiques named von Buhler “one of the top contemporary surrealists”, however she has also been linked to the Fluxus movement.
The sculptures she creates for these two books are rich and warm and invite you to poke around looking for the little details and surprises. (the reason the books are so popular with kids, no doubt. the library got a dozen copies or so of both books a few weeks ago. got several of evelyn evelyn too, for that matter. but i digress…)
The same attention is given to her websites as well and is what puts them on my ‘best of’ list. Ms von Buhler’s primary site is at cynthiavonbuhler.com and her blog, or rather, one of her blogs is at cynthiavonbuhler.blogspot.com. Both are incredibly packed pieces of imaginary real estate and, much like her books, are great places to poke around in – you’ll never know what you’ll see next or where you’ll end up. Just trying to find the way back to something often has me finding something new. They are also fairly well linked together, so you can pretty much start on any one of Ms von Buhler’s sites and find yourself on her bio page as easily as on the ‘Find the Mouse‘ card trick page. I heartily endorse the ‘click everything’ method of site exploration.