Black Lamp on the South bank of the Thames. Today was beautiful. Sunday, 21st September. 2008.
Blue skies and happy people walking along the river Thames.
I've decided to focus on some of the non-ubiquitous iconic Londonesque imagery...
... like this black lamp from the South bank of the Thames river. There are the most amazing fish at the bottom of each lamp.
Purple Flowers Waving in the Wind. Imagine an outline of every purple flower that this plant has ever produced. Place each outline on top of one another. Every new flower would add another iteration, eventually approximating an ideal shape.
Picture that shape.
(Did you catch the Yoko Ono allusion?)
Katerina in the Park. Hampstead. July, 2008. A sunny day. We had an orange blanket which we used to push down the wildlife long enough to make some drawings.
Circles are my favourite shapes.
Notice the use of symbols to approximate form. This is my favourite drawing with Katerina.
Leonardo Da Vinci may be the most famous sketchbook artist of all time. Initially collections of loose paper, his drawings and sketches gradually came to inhabit bound sketchbooks and his Codex Leicester has the honor of being the most expensive book, ever… Covering topics as diverse as anatomy, engineering, and architecture, Da Vinci sketchbooks are famous for combining both drawings and ideas on pen and paper. Created hundreds of years ago, few other sketchbooks have surpassed their shear brilliance. But even Leonardo Da Vinci could not have created a sketchbook equal what is now possible.
I first began to keep an active sketchbook three years ago, and since then I’ve filled two dozen volumes with drawings, watercolors, and sketches. My sketchbooks tend to summarize my daily adventures and they’ve most recently chronicled my move from Richmond, Virginia to London, England. Scanning and emailing pictures of those drawings to friends, family and patrons (i.e. clogging inboxes with hundreds of random images) seemed very impractical… so I started my blog, paintings.drawings.arithmetic.
At first, I had the goal of publishing one piece of artwork per day. Only later did paintings.drawings.arithmetic. begin to take on new life as an outlet for the present. I found myself putting up drawings and sketches for paintings that were still in progress. Then, I found myself putting up drawings and sketches for paintings that would probably never be completed. Actually, I began to use paintings.drawings.arithmetic. as a sketchbook in its’ own right, incorporating not only drawings and paintings but also photography and video.
While Leonardo Da Vinci was constrained by the 3-dimensional nature of his sketchbooks, modern artists have a completely new hyper-dimensional platform available.
1) Blogging Breaks the 3-Dimensional Limitations of a Traditional Sketchbook. Moving pictures (in the form of videos) can be added to a blog quickly and easily. Incorporating the notion of change, videos allow for a dynamic depiction of reality that is not easily possible with 2-Dimensional or 3-Dimensional media. Even sound is a possible medium.
2) Blogs Allow for Quick Referencing. When writing, I sometimes allude to specific cultural phenomenon (for instance the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”). With a blog, I can link to that event and put my drawing in context, something not possible with a standard sketchbook. While it’s certainly possible to mention watching this movie in the margin of my drawing, links allow for the nearly instantaneous elucidation of the reader. Traditional sketchbooks can only offer a limited amount of space for footnotes and references. Furthermore, links can be included on a blog as transparent page elements. With a traditional sketchbook, notes and references have aesthetic implications.
3) Blogs are Non-Linear. Western books are traditionally read front-to-back. Blogs, however, can be read backwards, forwards, sideways, horizontally, vertically and zigzag. By tagging articles and linking to old posts, artists can express an infinite number of relationships and cross-references. Actually, people can enter your sketchbook at any point. Blogs allow your sketchbook to have no beginning and no end.
4) Blogs Transcend Physical Boundaries of Space and Time. Posts from an online sketchbook written by an artist in London can be seen by an artist in Manhattan, instantaneously. Via fiber optic cables, ideas can spread as fast as the speed of light (minus small considerations for processing and diffusion). Artists can react to the ideas and work of contemporaries even faster than it would be possible to transport a traditional sketchbook the same distance.
5) Blogs Allow for Dynamic Editing. Post a painting. Write about a drawing. Don’t like what you’ve written? Press the edit button. As your perception of significance changes, edit your old posts. And for all but the most sophisticated internet user, there will me no big blotchy mark to leave a trail. Like traveling back in time, you can use the future to put your past writings into a more knowledgeable perspective
Blogs give artists a greater scope of creation than traditional sketchbooks. Though a hyper-dimensional online sketchbook can be neither held nor touched, such a sketchbook allows artists to communicate and render reality via an entirely new medium. By allowing artists to inject the dynamic into a traditionally static endeavor, blogs allow an insight into the process of creation that has never before been possible.
They keep and capture the fleeting thoughts of an active mind.One day Mike made a marquette. 2-inches tall.
He's designing plans for a dwelling, as tall as a water tower. With an observation deck.
Each lot in the Damien Hirst auction “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” works toward a multi-fold symmetry about one focal point: Death. Overtly, Hirst exposes death in the Sotheby’s auction house on New Bond Street by sticking dead butterflies on paintings and encapsulating carcasses in formaldehyde, but the algebra of his art is expressed by a repetitious use of the ubiquitous skull symbol. Insinuations from collections of medical supplies and dot-decompositions of molecular compounds both point in a similar direction and neither the painting of Hirst embracing a severed head nor the exposed innards of a marbled angel should be ignored. Except that Hirst doesn’t just expose death. He trims it in gold and diamonds.
Within the show, biblical references abound and Hirst gives a two-finger salute to ancient stories of God. Written psalms, character allusions, and sacred names adorn the walls and populate cages, becoming Hirsts’ prisoners. Insect carcasses form ornate church windows and natural beauty is defiled by painted cow hearts and butterfly wings, while his own defilement is preserved in a showcase of cigarette butts. Creating new beasts (winged pigs and severed unicorn heads), Hirst kills them and preserves their death. “Thou shalt not have any other gods before me,” says God, but fake diamonds line the walls and looking-glass panels encapsulate board room tables. “Do not worship false idols,” says God, but by re-instantiating the golden calf Hirst has brought back that which has been forbidden and given individuals a way to practice idolatry openly. The highest-valued lot in the auction, “The Golden Calf”, is the idol to which we will presumably pay the most homage. Hirst has created a pathway to ultimate sin by providing a focal point for his human followers to worship. And all the while he dances in glee.
In the same way that a curse becomes real by people reacting towards the intangible, the next iteration of the devil seems to have been manifested. Celebrating death and enticing his followers to eschew the commandments of God, Hirst has painted himself a cartoon version of the devil. And rather than actualizing his own new works, Hirst has employed a factory of artisans to assume the ultimate responsibility for our moral and spiritual destruction. For it is not the devil himself who does evil, but the men who are influenced by his serpentine whispers.
In the time of a one language internet, we exist in the shadow of Babylon. Melting Artic ice mountains leave us in the impending doom of a world-wide flood. Extremes are renormalizing at a rate that is increasingly exponential and I wonder just how many steps away from the real thing is this current incarnation of the devil? After all, it has been 2000 years. The world almost exploded last Wednesday (or, at least we thought that it would) and whether we want to or not, Damien Hirst begs us to ask “Is the world about to end”? Or, is he retelling the same stories in a different way, all over again?
“Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” is audacious for many reasons. At Sotheby’s request each of the 223 new works were created in the past two years especially for the auction. Following in the footsteps of avant-garde musicians Radiohead, Hirst has chosen to skip the artist-gallery relationship by allowing Sotheby’s to offer new work for the first time in its’ more than two and half centuries of existence. The largest exhibition and show for both Hirst and Sotheby’s, Hirst expects to make more money at one time than any other artist has ever made, ever. And he’ll do it one soul at a time….
A Wooden Block. A blank canvas. An ideal starting place for my Kindergarten series.
Think alphabet blocks.
Call it a reality-based alphabet block.
Telling a story with no words...
Bench Beneath a Tree. I had to drag the other bench over about three feet to get the right view. Which is when I realized that I had forgotten my pencil. Which is when I dragged the bench back to its' original spot, walked back to the car, found my pencil, walked back to the two benches, and dragged the other bench over about three feet. Again.
Back to the Fan, Richmond, Virginia. August 2008 again. Vertical lines left trails in the night before landing light and liquid in my eyes. Then, there were puddles. And the droplets were discrete entities and I wanted to catch them all.
The Gnarly Tree. Notice the approach.An alley in Richmond, Virginia. One sunny day in August.
This tree eats things. One of its' trunks is hollow to the bottom.
But, at least this particular gnarly tree is nice enough to return objects once it's done devouring them.