What a perfect way to start the new year with the completion of the life size bird mural, So Simple, a Beginning.
It was about a year ago that I first wrote about Jane Kim of InkDwell‘s endeavor to depict the evolution of the world’s birds in a giant 70 x 40 foot mural for Cornell University’s Department of Ornithology. It’s taken a year and that’s pretty miraculous considering the intricate detail and accuracy involved to paint 270 birds and even a few dinosaurs.
Here are InkDwell‘s photos below showing the stunning result. Casart wallcoverings were used in the early stage as temporary wallpaper templates for the continents and geographical locations on top of which the birds were painted.
Many birds painted by Jane Kim
African Section of mural
Cormorant in progress
Great Grey Owl
Detail Broadbill Bird
Congratulations to Jane and her crew for all their hard work to create the largest and first-of-its-kind educational mural about the evolution of birds!!
Casart coverings is glad to have played even a small part in this major endeavor.
For instance, if cleaning clutter and starting with fresh palette in your home is an objective, then find ways to use old things, like using old catalogs to make decorative Christmas trees that you can give as gifts for next year. Check off list early — Christmas gifts for next year are already done and catalogs gone. Cheers!
You can also recycle using Freecycle, where one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Post what you don’t want, leave it outside your house and chances are, someone will answer the call and pick up as theirs to claim.
After watching the film Racing Extinction, I thought it deserving of a blog post, because not only is it well done,* I like animals and I’ve posted about efforts to save sharks and others before but it uses art to get its point across. In writing this post, I realized there have been a series of coincidental confluent events taking place in the process.
Majestic Manta Rays are just some of the animals featured and with a positive outcome.
At the time of this writing, the film has had over 11.5 million viewers, and just the other day, the video sound collaborators projected inspirational images of near extinct animals on the outside of the Vatican. Confluence #1: I just posted about the Pope and a mural created in his honor in my last post.
OK, the location and animation in itself is pretty amazing. Just watch. Note: it requires patience for it starts after 10 minutes of silence with a lot of pauses and shots of the audience at night with only camera phones visible. It’s a meditative piece that is different than the Racing Extinction film but serves a similar purpose. There is no commentary only images and sounds of the animals with beautiful transitions. This gives a lot of time for reflection, which is the objective after all.
You’ll be amazed at how many animals are on the extinction list. Most all of the butterflies that I have painted + my clown fish in my fish tank (precisely because they are in people’s fish tanks and coral reef depletion). These are just to name a few that will hit home.
I had already sent the film information to my husband, who happens to be attending the Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris, thinking he might see the Racing Extinction folks in attendance. No report yet but coincidentally and yet probably strategically planned to market the film a the time of this climate change conference. Confluence #2. Instead, I received a beautiful picture of Paris, “the city of [Christmas / holiday] lights.”
Side note: I enjoyed watching the U2 Live concert the same night they just played in Paris. I always wanted to see them play live and I felt like I was there. There were a lot of moving moments and it was incredible how immediate the news was about it, with thoughts of Paris and San Bernadino and terrorism on everyone’s minds.
Besides man over fishing and killing animals, the film claims that the extinction of some animals is due to climate change. *Here’s where my politics differ to some degree but this is not a political blog so I won’t belabor points here because it’s been a roundabout argument from both sides of the subject. I’ll just say that I agree that some sensible steps to reduce carbon and methane emissions should be carefully considered and where adversely and economically impacted, there has to be a mutual meeting ground in order to get results. I do not believe man is completely in control of the world’s climate — that would be a tall and bold and almost arrogant “projection” to make when the world’s natural climate is changing all the time and there are larger forces than just man alone contributing. Nonetheless, the Racing Extinction group has a petition started on their website, if you’d like to join.
Confluence #3. I had mentioned I had written about efforts helping animal extinction before. This is the film’s main focus. OK, man is one of those animals but primarily it is about other animals with whom we share the planet. The manta ray and rare birds are among some. Confluence #4 will be in a separate post documenting the history of the world’s birds in a mural just completed and about which I just received the story alert at the time of this writing.
Regarding the Oceanic Preservation Society’s film production team: One of the photographers, Joel Sartore, creator of the Photo Arc [I’d like to feature in a single blog post, it is so impressive] and in fact the director, Louie Psihoyos, all work and have worked for the National Geographic, a publication I have been a long time supporter of and even took over my father’s subscription from 1921. I’m still wondering what to do with all the magazines because I’m running out of space, but I renew each year. The visuals and stories are worth reading and I like to support its efforts as well as its photographers, like Stephen Alvarez, about whom I’ve written before. Confluence #5.
Finally, this large-scale film projection is created and “performed” by Obscura Digital, behind the creative force of Travis Threlkel its founder and projection mapping. It is another group about which I’ve featured in a blog post (Confluence #6). Their creative concept is to use not only the Vatican but other buildings while traveling around in a Tesla and projecting on surfaces as moving graffiti if you will is both clever, ambitious and innovative. I’m in awe of the entire production from conception to execution to strategically creating the necessary buzz to spread the word, that there is one thing everyone can do. This in itself, may be an initial start to seeing results. I’ve already started…
During Pope Francis’ trip to the United States, he dropped by to sign his name to the largest paint by number project in Philadelphia.
The mural, Faith and Family in the 21st Century, was officially dedicated on November 30th. It is made up of 153 5 foot square panels painted at the World Meeting of Families on Sept 25. It is the largest 4,200 square feet mural painted by more than 2,700 people and Pope Francis added the final touch with his signature.
Most likely the mural will also gain fame as being entered into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Meg Saligman’s impressive public artwork, Undoing Knots, was on display during the Pope’s visit at Basilica of St. Peter and Paul. It is composed of over 100,000 individual ribbons with handwritten personal struggles that are tied to the 13 feet high and 20 wooden framework that encircles the basilica dome.
Ms. Saligman is most noted for her incredibly large, realistic public art murals in Philadelphia and across the country. We saw some of her work when we were in the city last taking a self-guided public mural tour on foot.
Philadelphia Muses mural by Meg Fish Saligman
There are a couple other recent news items to update.
Regarding the controversial mural I wrote about in Jefferson County, Alabama, the committee was split on a decision for what to do. They agreed to hire a consultant to see if the murals could be removed safely. If not, they will have to come up with another solution. There are two more areas within the courtroom to paint updated murals showing progression with a more contemporary viewpoint.
With the December Christmas season starting to get into full swing, I thought this mural painted by Agostino Lacurci in Rome, Italy, reminded me of a certain jolly fella. Think so?
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d highlight some thankful art.
There is a whole series of illustrations and paintings from the 1890’s by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, who I was unfamiliar with. He was an American born painter who specialized in painting classic American History themes, one of them being Thanksgiving.
Probably the most recognizable painting is the Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want. Artists like Sam Spratt have added in contemporary imagery to make this iconic image more representative of modern times.
Sam Spratt adds a modern take to Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want via Nieman Lab.org
I happen to like this version of the Thanksgiving Parade by Patti Gilley via Fine Art America, particularly for its detail and bright coloration. I can’t tell if those turkeys could be perhaps on the run from winding up as dinner.
via Fine Art America
Considering my first Thanksgiving art looked much like this…
Street art has become a big influence in the art world. I have to be honest that I’m not too keen on all of it, like murals recently commissioned by Justin Bieber, for instance. However, I have been following it and what I’ve posted on this blog via street art and graffiti art posts, I think shows some of the best artistic talent, at least that I’m aware.
I haven’t seen all that much in the Asian countries except for recently when I discovered Pow Wow in Japan and I was very impressed.
Pow Wow is an annual art festival of well-known street artists painting large-scale murals that have pow / impact and causing the viewer to act with a wow reaction. The festival also includes lectures, gallery and musical events all open to the public for artistic enlightenment, education, awareness.
Japanese style mural by@bakibaking and MON Koutaro Ooyama
Fafi and Kamea Hadar collaborated on this mural
mural based on Japanese figurines by @shizentomotel
Tamura Yoshiyasu mural
Get ready for a Pow Wow coming near you. There are plans for Pow Wow to come to the US with events slated for DC, Austin and Long Beach, California. Israel, New Zealand, Jamaica, Singapore, and Germany are among other locations.
How upsetting to learn that one of the musical greats, Allen Toussaint passed away suddenly on November 10th. He was stricken with a heart attack just hours after performing in Madrid with his son. He was 77 years young.
I’ve been wanting to see him live in concert for years. I love his music, especially the song, Yes We Can from the album Our New Orleans recorded with other iconic New Orleans musicians such as Irma Thomas, as a benefit album for the Gulf Coast. This CD got me through some rough, surreal days after Katrina.
There are so many songs you may know that you never knew were written by Allen Toussaint like: Southern Nights made famous by Glen Campbell , Working on a Coal Mine (even Devo did a cover of this), Sneaking Sally through the Alley and Lady Marmalade made famous by Patty LaBelle as her signature song. He played piano on Mother-in-Law earlier in his career with Ernie K-Doe. His song Whipped Cream was made famous by Al Hirt and Herb Albert and their trumpets (and later became known more wildly as the song for the popular Dating Game). He produced Dr. John’s breakout album Right Place, Wrong Time (1973). Many of his other songs were recorded by the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt and Warren Zevon among others.
According to his obit in the Washington Post, he began playing the piano at age 6 and played everyday in the style of Professor Longhair, who was a major influence.
After being born and living all his life in New Orleans, he was forced from his home for the first time during Katrina in 2005. He didn’t make it back until 2013.
Enjoy the official Toussaint website for some Toussaint Tribute and wonderful jazz music to just play in the background. The site hasn’t posted any updated news yet, probably because his death was so unexpected.
Enjoy a little more…from this great musician who will be sadly missed. Fortunately, he’s left us so many songs to happily play.
This post is appropriate with this spooky weekend ahead, with Halloween and things are not as they seem.
I learned of Jennifer Angus’ work from a recent Washington Post article. She is a Madison, Wisconsin based artist, whose work will be exhibited at the Renwick Gallery in DC and will adorn their walls with bugs, that’s right, bugs!!
I’d say this is a case of intellectual + insect = ” insectual ” design!
Jennifer Angus’ Wonder Bug Covered Wall at the Renwick Gallery, images via Dezeen Magazine
Her work is truly fascinating! She based her buggy design on wallpaper!! Her insect use was inspired by her ongoing use of arthropods in her artwork and Victorian pattern, inherent in her teaching at the University of Wisconsin. The insects she uses in this installation are all different colors, shapes, sizes with many iridescent, shimmering shapes. They come together carefully placed on a beautifully, pink-colorwashed backdrop to form an overall design scheme, which is viewed as one succinct visual to the onlooker. The impression is similar to what one might have when walking into someone’s home for the first time and being awe-struck by their room’s ambiance and décor. It’s only after one views more closely that the individual design objects are bugs. As she states, “Many people who visit my exhibitions were never aware that such unusual insects exist.” She describes the purpose and her ethical use of real insects in her work on her website.
Angus’ work is entitled The Midnight Garden and is just one gallery that is a part of the Renwick’s Wonder exhibition, which features 8 other artists who, “transform perception, and work on the border between art and craft,” as stated on Dezeen magazine, where you can also see other bug-related articles. (You can see related posts on this blog on Janet Echelman and Patrick Dougherty, just a few of the artists featured, whom I’ve been inspired by for quite some time.)
While the nine artists featured in WONDER create strikingly different works, they are connected by their interest in creating large-scale installations from unexpected materials. Index cards, marbles, strips of wood—all objects so commonplace and ordinary we often overlook them—are assembled, massed, and juxtaposed to utterly transform spaces and engage us in the most surprising ways. The works are expressions of process, labor, and materials that are grounded in our everyday world, but that combine to produce awe-inspiring results. (via Renwick Gallery)
Nicholas R. Bell, the curator for the show, so eloquently explains this exhibition’s significance in this statement on Dezeen magazine, “The concept of ‘wonder’ – that moment of awe in the face of something new and unknown that transports us out of the everyday – is deeply intertwined with how we experience art…These elements matter in the context of this museum, devoted for more than four decades to the skilled working of materials in extraordinary ways.“
The exhibition will be on view for 3 months but I’m so excited to see it and hope to make the opening on November 13. It is truly going to be “wonderful!”
I’ve written about bug / insect art previously with these posts:
I’ve been so busy and just coming back from vacation to have much reflection on New Orleans 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. Sometimes painful memories are too difficult to relive but still deserve recollection and at the very least acknowledgement, which is what I’m doing (as I write this on 9-11) and at the first opportunity I’ve had since the August 29th anniversary, when my world and beloved city broke and it took a while to put back together.
On this note, rather than recount my own experience, I’ll note a really wonderful essay I read by Adam B. Kushner, who happens to be from New Orleans and the editor of PostEverything and the Outlook section of the Washington Post.
His refection in his article, “I didn’t know what it means to miss New Orleans” (the same title of one of songs that always tugs at my heartstrings), read as if he was writing my own (except maybe without having elderly parents and a dying father who at first did not want to leave and friends who were stranded). The difference is that I didn’t think that we shouldn’t rebuild.
He has since changed his mind, with reasonable thought and reflection on New Orleans, its heritage and it’s significance to all of the country.
This exuberant image of a Mardi Gras Indian embodies the New Orleans Spirit.
New Orleans is still struggling but we’re survivors and after 10 years we’re stronger and striving.