In a weekend wedged between San Francisco’s early October latesummer and late October earlywinter, right before the city erupted into self-congratulations at its Giants going to the world series, the drab wall in Flax Art & Design’s backlot was transformed into something very very awesome. Graffiti-mural duo Herakut are in town, and they’ve brought their giants with them.
The two of them collaborate in an awesome way; Hera paints loose and lyrically, broad washes, quick grids and swooping lines. Akut does something tight, alchemical and mysterious, which amounts to photorealistic tone and texture from spraypaint. Together their work has to be seen to be believed. This mural, which they completed in two days (actually, they may add text after the rain relents) is part of their Giant Storybook Project. This project has them putting up walls in a variety of cities with characters in common, an emerging narrative. Eventually a book will be made, stitched from the giant murals adorning a score of cities. I love that in its scope and execution the project may well may become a world-famous graffitti campaign, but it’s neither hardcore posturing nor Banksy agitprop: it’s an artistically unique children’s book about imagination.
This mural depicts the Silly Monkeys from mural 1 in Lexington Kentucky, being pursued across rooftops by some snake/arms that might belong to Jay’s creative spirit from mural 5 in Toronto, or the mantle of the standing figure in Rochester’s mural 6 – or maybe that figure is Jay, corrupted with power? At any rate, it’s exciting to see this scene of action across our city’s walls. I don’t think it’s just city pride or that I watched it go up that makes me feel this is the best one yet.
A few scenes from the work in progress:
The dissolving, filmic city that provides the base for the mural is as great as the figures themselves: I watched Hera make these cranes, towers and scaffolding in no time flat. As longtime readers know, I am a sucker for an inky cityscape.
Even if they don’t put type on it later, there’s still this “good job!” hiding behind the buildings in the far corner by the garage door which leads off the cityscape.
Word is they will be painting another later in the week in the Tenderloin? I certainly hope so!
Okay, okay. I know it’s been a lifetime since I actually found some time to post. But once I saw the work of Annie Vought, I knew I had to have a little Experts homecoming. Vought, an Oakland-based artist, finds beauty in what sadly seems to be a vanishing art: the handwritten letter. She meticulously handcuts the correspondences, removing all negative space to showcase the forms of the individual letters themselves.
From Vought’s site:
The handwriting and the lines support the structure of the cut paper, keeping it strong and sculptural, despite its apparent fragility. In these paper cutouts, I focus on the text, structure, and emotion of the letter in an elaborate investigation into the properties of writing and expression. Penmanship, word choice, and spelling all contribute to possible narratives about who that person is and what they are like. My recreating the letters is an extended concentration on peoples’ inner lives and the ways they express their thoughts through writing.
My friend Jen recently convinced me to join Twitter and introduced me to the hot topic of the curator’s code. I am returning to blogging after being remiss for months with a tour de force of curation, replete with absolute full disclosure of all sources. I’ll even use the new unicode symbols, though whether I am being ironic in their use or not is up to the reader.
Act 1: Alberto Seveso
I find these ink and water pieces astonishing because they read like ropy solids that dissolve into smoke without ever being liquid. They are beautiful, if a bit frightening in their squid/dementor-like sense of agency.
Seveso’s work reminds me of this Japanese artist, whose inks aren’t blooming in water but bursting and suspended in air. The moments he is able to capture of suspended inks, waters and paints are sublime. While I’d seen his sumi ink pieces before tonight was the first time I’d seen this lush, mysterious “Gardens” series. Its vignetted, moody lighting and levitating-fluids casting shadows give them all the tension of a David Lynch still.
I can’t help but think I’ve been in a water-art kick recently because I keep going back and looking over galleries of work by Moebius, who died last week. Jean Giraud was a one-of-a-kind talent (and a major visual inspiration for Star Wars, Dune, Tron, and Alien, great article ↬coudal ᔥcasualoptimist). His sense of fluidity and float were uncanny.
Plenty more Moebius all over the web especially these days but as usual I like the curation ↬butdoesitfloat
Oh, how I wish I were in Tokyo right now, rather than stuck at home, sick in bed. If I were in Toyko, I could go to the House Industries, Eames Exhibition. Instead, I guess I’ll have to settle for some of the limited edition prints. They’ve only printed 33 of each design, so go grab one while you still can!
I first saw Lisa Swerling’s fabulous Glass Cathedrals at Renegade Craft Fair last December. I was then reminded of them at the totally awesome Park and Pond (more on Park and Pond later). They feel like little windows onto secret worlds. And there are even some elements on a few of them that she will customize for you!
Here is what Lisa Swerling has to say about the project:
Glass Cathedrals are a series of artboxes that I began working on in London in 2006. The idea of Glass Cathedrals is taken from an episode in the Peter Carey book Oscar and Lucinda — a life-size glass church, made by missionaries in the Australian outback, is seen floating down a river. A trapped dragonfly collides against the walls trying to escape, blind to the concept of glass.
My inspiration for this series was the collision between the seriousness with which we take our lives, and the limitations of our understanding. In Glass Cathedrals the heroes are the tiny figures, my boxes the space where they struggle, aspire, dance, dream.
They are a little hard to see here; head over to Swerling’s site for larger images of a ton more Glass Cathedrals.
Space Oddity kind of freaked me out when I was a kid, so it probably wouldn’t have been my first choice for a kid’s book. But, Andrew Kolb has changed my mind; his illustrations of David Bowie’s classic are great. His book hasn’t been published, but you can download a PDF here. Oh, and check out this crazy Space Oddity “video.”
UPDATE: As many of you have probably noticed, Andrew Kolb isn’t offering the book for download from his site. He has in fact obscured the lyrics and title on the images he has on his site. You can however, view all of the pages at Wired.com.
Alexa Meade‘s art is awesome. Sure, it is a tiny bit reminiscent of the Pageant of the Masters, but the Pageant of the Masters is pretty awesome too. Her work is a true multi-media experience — an amazing combination of painting, installation, performance and photography. Check out a bunch more work, plus some process shots, in her portfolio and on flickr.
Oh, and here are some videos of Alexa showing her process and speaking about her work.