Weird and Wacky : Fright Lights!

Posted in DESIGN, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2014 by echostains

 

Weird lamps for old!   Lighting has always been a valuable consideration when creating ambiance to a room.  But  if you  want to  add  thrills, drama, laughter or simply offer an unusual focal  point that will get your guests talking (and maybe reeling with shock) – then look no further than these very original and enigmatic lamps!from-simple-to-weird-interior-lamps6

GOOD PUPPY

This naughty ‘pooping’ doggie  is actually called Good Boy.  He may not be to everyone’s taste but he is no shrinking violet in the design stakes. Crafted by  UK artist Whatshisname (really) the doggies little brother Good Puppy is also an attention seeker.  The lamps are floor lamps and  to activate them, one must tread on the accompanying dog turd switch.  They are available from the artist ‘Whatshisname’.

 

Pondering the age-old question about what to do with those dolls heads you keep falling over? I know I am.  Check out this video which shows you how to make your own lamps out of them.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQAxQ9wMXUA&feature=youtu.be

Alternatively you can buy a ready-made weird wired baby lamp from Wired-Weird-Baby-Doll-Lamps-3many sources featured here.

Here's one I saved from an early art project

Here’s one I saved from an early art project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Out Demons Out’ How to out your demons?  Bring them into the light with this cheeky  Demon lamp via here  He’s made from the skull of a land turtle which was found in the hills of Polk County.  His wings are made from copper and brass tubings and when he’s lit (2 x 15w bulbs) he will creep you out!  Maybe not one for the bedroom?

The Demon Lamp

The Demon Lamp

Thought dummies belonged in a shop window?  Here’s some that have escaped. These mannequin lamps from AL-Hamad Design remind me of the veiled mourning statues the Victorians loved so much.

 

17ed1232af040eb8df171ce64006fa76

Embarakiya

Embarakiya

However, when anyone  puts these babies in the corner they won’t be ignored for long.  The male ones talk via a built-in speaker in the torso!  All the lamps have a touch sensor in the hand which include three dimmer setting.  Shaking hands with them will turn them on – and off!  The costumes are dressed in  traditional  Kuwaiti costume.  I think they’re great!

Pooping dog images from here and here.  Video ‘How to make a Dolls Head Nightlight  mausoleum Statue image from here.  Thanks to all.

 

Surreal Thing – Happy Birthday Dali!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , on May 11, 2014 by echostains

Dali is a superb draughtsman.  Some years ago I visited the Dali Universe. County Hall, London. salvador-dali-quotes-famous-best-sayings oneThis 3,000 square metre space housed sculptures, (1935 -1984), lithographs, drawings, furniture inspired by Dali, gold and glass objects and  even copies of the famous lobster telephone and the Mae West lips sofa.  There were no major paintings on display, apart from the oil he did for Hitchcock’s ‘1945 film ‘Spellbound‘.  I took great delight in looking through Dali’s drawings which are simply exquisite and show not only his draughtsmanship skills, but how exacting and precise his execution of drawing was. His imagination may have been wild, but his skills struck me as very honed and precise, not something I associate with Surrealism.  Surreal, I know!

 

Dali and his  wild cat Babou

 

 

 

Too much has been written about this famous Spanish artist: some by myself (please see my earlier birthday posts here and for further Dali eccentricities here ). Dali loved wild animals.  His favorite pet was a wildcat, an Ocelot, called Babou who he would take to restaurants, tethering the animal to a table and causing alarm to fellow diners.

The surreal image below shows Dali emerging from the Paris underground taking two Anteaters for a walk (1969).  Andre Breton, Founder of the Surrealist movement, (who was known  as ‘le tamanoir’ – ‘the anteater’)  used this image as bookplates for several books and Dali was to depict the style of the anteater in his famous 1929 painting ‘The Great Masturbator’

Dali taking a Parisian walk with his pets

Dali taking a Parisian walk with his pets

 

One of Dali’s famous stunts was staged at London’s International Surrealist Exhibition, 1936 when he gave a lecture whilst wearing a deep-sea diving suit and very nearly suffocated.  His wild exaggerated gestures were mistaken for his usual amusing form of eccentricity.  Luckily for him a poet, David Gascoyne rescued Dali – with a spanner!

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Masturbator 1929

surrealism1938

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A mysterious fire broke out in the artist’s bedroom in 1984, fortunately Dali was rescued by a friend, Robert Descharnes.  Dali was returned his beloved  Figueres , Spain (his birthplace), where his friends and  artists looked after him. In November 1988 he went to hospital with heart failure.  On 23rd January 1989, the artist died of heart failure at the age of 84.  He is buried in the crypt in his Teatro Museo in Figueres, much loved and much admired by most artists and non artists alike.

 

Images, with thanks are from here and here     the Ocelot image here, others from here    and here   

For historical characters with unusual pets here

Here’s some stuff you might not know about Dali here

 

The art of Confession. Read all about it – Exclusive! Did you make the bed?

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART QUOTES, HISTORY with tags , , , on September 28, 2012 by echostains

We live in the times of the Confessional.  Privacy is not exclusive.  Well it IS, you can read these ‘exclusive’ stories every day in the newspapers.  It’s amazing how privacy flies out of the window when the price is right…

The act of the confessing is supposed to be between God and the confessor (using the Priest as a mediator or a conduit).  It seems that the act of confessing all has now become an art form, Tracey Emin is a living ambassador of the confessional art, (sometimes known as autobiographical).  In order for the confession to be of any interest to the average audience though, it has to have a shock factor, an air of secrecy and exclusivity, and that is where it falls down (when it loses its exclusivity, where it’s shared among the media and therefore becomes common knowledge.  That doesn’t stop people being interested in others dirty washing though!

Fly on the wall documentaries, and ‘reality’programmes like Big BrotherThe Osbournes   andI’m a Celebrity – get me out of here! now provide popular entertainment .  The confessional aspect of these shows requires starstruck voyeurs to really work. – and we have become a nation of voyeurs (or ‘observers’, as we like to call ourselves).  The Jeremy Kyle Show has even won an award for this abrasive style of interogation (though not much arm twisting is involved to get guests to ‘spill the beans’ or air their dirty washing)  A strange camera technique is used to throw the participant’s face into hideous relief showing up each blemish, wrinkle etc.  the victim is then shouted at , told to ‘grow a pair’ and sent off to a ‘good cop’ (Kyle is ‘Bad cop’) for ‘after care’

Perhaps these shows make us feel better about ourselves or maybe some of the issues they deal with (well, touch upon) actually do affect us, or we have experience of them?  There’s also the added bonus whilst watching these types of shows of the realisation that things could be a lot worse in our own world. I must add though that the reverse is true for me when I watch The Antiques Road Show and see all the personal stuff people have been left and are willing to part for a few quid.  Having never been left anything – and having no rich relatives so never likely to be left anything,  I do confess to a feeling of envy. :-(

The act of confessing is said to  have a cathartic effect: though sometimes the opposite can occur. The opening up of old wounds, the telling of secrets: especially when these ‘secrets’ hurt or effect others lives.

Many agree that the original founder of Confessional art is the French  American artist and sculptor Louise Bourgeois (b 1911 – 2010) . In this interview   (celebrating her 70th birthday and her Retrospective) she revealed  that  her sculptures are mostly self confessional, and that the materials used are personal and symbolic to her and represent parts of her personal life that she felt she needed to ‘explain’ or come to terms with.  There’s a great article about this here

Here’s some quotes by the great sculptress;-

I’m neither a preacher nor a teacher.”

“If the artwork is true, then it will communicate and have value to others.”

“Trust yourself. In your art you must tell your own story and if you tell your own story, you will be interesting.”

“My art is a form of psychoanalysis. I was able to exorcise my demons through art.”

Artist Tracey Emin’s  is  a story-teller.  Her art  is a dichotomy.  On the one hand, it is very self absorbed – all about herself and her experiences – yet it reaches out through its narrative and we become absorbed in it through the artist’s way of communication, which is very powerful.

Roberta Smith of The New Yorker says the following about Tracey’s work:

“If Tracey Emin could sing, she might be Judy Garland, a bundle of irresistible, pathetic, ferocious, self-indulgent, brilliant energy. Since she can’t, or doesn’t, she writes, incorporating autobiographical texts and statements into drawings, monoprints, watercolors, collages, quilts, neon sculptures, installations and videotapes. In her art she tells all, all the truths, both awful and wonderful, but mostly awful, about her life. Physical and psychic pain in the form of rejection, incest, rape, abortion and sex with strangers figure in this tale, as do love, passion and joy.”

The art of the confessional is here to stay – both in the art world and the media.  People will always want to read all about it in Heat magazine or biographys.  Anyone can do it – just make sure you get your story straight……. and don’t tell everything….. leave that for your next book.

Confessional box image from here

Town crier image – here

Louise Bourgeois  images from here and here

Bourgeois quotes from here and here

Roberta Smith interview quote from here

Jeremy Kyle image here

Emin tent image from here Neon sign image here

PLUS

Happy birthday Pablo Picasso

PS  There’s a brand new post over on my other blog BOOKSTAINS

Happy Birthday L S  Lowry! (1st November 1887)  I shall be writing a post about him

Weird and Wacky – A Guitar Bridge too Far?

Posted in DESIGN with tags , , , , , on June 30, 2012 by echostains

Guitars come in all shapes and forms, some  are much coveted and admired – all are meant to played, but if you can’t play, I suppose you can just sit back and imbibe their beauty – or wonder at their wackiness. This  Fender Stratocaster was carved by Mike Deasy for Doug Rowell.  The figure of Jesus lends a helping hand and may have been instrumental in seeing it’s safe return after 25 years from being stolen.  Miracles, it would seem, do happen.  As Jayne County said ‘Rock me Jesus – Roll me Lord, wash me in the blood of Rock and Roll (Rock and Roll Resurrection)

For those obsessives who cannot bear to parted from their guitars for long – how about this guitar gadget for the bathroom (or maybe stairway to heaven? (depending how desperate you are)

Those who prefer the acoustic version and  are feeling a bit flush (:-D) – there’s always this little number from Jammin Johns

This guitar would be ideal for Death Metal music – it comes straight out of Hell with its bat like wings.  They do say that Satan has the best tunes – so what better than a Demon bass to accompany the Satan/Angel guitar?  Unfortunately – the bass is only a toy though (available from here)

The Skatar includes free transport – no roadie required.  Skate to the gig on it, play it and return home, but just be careful not to step on the strings.  For show-offs (and there’s always one) this tripleneck was designed by Steve Vai strictly for those who like to wear their hearts on their sleeves I think.

This Sasquatch guitar is bordering on the ridiculous!  How could one possibly be taken seriously playing it?  Hendrix would have looked a bit daft setting fire to this – and the smell of those burning  plastic split toenails ……..

Finally for those who like to burn the midnight oil and have one burning desire there’s this (probably) eco-friendly petrol can guitar which I quite like.   Probably comes with a warning ‘Do not Smoke’

Jesus guitar and Satan/Angel guitar, heart shaped tripleneck and many more from here

Toilet seat guitar here  acoustic toilet seat by Jammin John

Sasquatch and petrol can guitars from here (with a slideshow of many others) well worth checking out

A bit of Ruff, a bit of smooth, good patches and a golden eggstravaganza

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, DESIGN with tags , , , , , , , on May 31, 2012 by echostains

I’ve not featured any jewellery on echostains for quite a while.  I have been looking for something really unusual – something that can inspire me into flights of fancy.  I am writing this on the birthdate of the Faberge egg (29th May  1885 – 1917) The Faberge egg is instantly recognisable – sumptuous, bejewelled and opulent.  The eggs were  developed by  the House of Faberge (1885 – 1917) in Russia and the miniature eggs were Easter gifts, that were given singly or were worn on a neck chain.

The Karelian egg

The larger more famous eggs (also known as the ‘imperial’ eggs)were originally made for Alexanader 111 and Nicholas 11 of Russia.  Only 50 of these eggs were made, and 42 have survived.  The Karelian and Constellation eggs, planned for 1918 were destined never to be delivered.  Nicholas 11 and his whole family died in an assasination that year and  the year before Nicholas had  abdicated.  The eggs themselves are gorgeous, opulent and seen as a symbol of luxury – jewellers masterpieces.  But it is not these little baubles which once hung from necklaces which caught my eye, but this strange face distorting jewelery by Burcu Buyukunal.   

My first question is ‘why?’  How does this enhanse the face?  By  distorting her face, do we then notice how attractive the woman really is?  They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different ‘looks’ have their admirers, as do fashion, design ect. Maybe one day ‘beauty’ will be played down to be the new beauty. It is this example which  reminded me of how Elizabethan ladies used to pain their faces white and how patches made of velvet were used on the face in the 18th century to disguise blemishes, make the face appear even whiter or draw attention to certain facial features.

circa 1780 patch box

‘Her patches are of every cut,
For pimples and for scars;
Here’s all the wandering planets’ signs,
And some of the fixed stars.’

 In this very short video we see the owner of the painting ‘Une Dam a sa Toilette’ by French painter Francois Boucher (  1703 –  1770)  explain the delicate operation of patch application.  Boucher ‘s art is known for his  voluptuous and idyllic subject matter which is well suited to the Rococo style.  His patroness was  the famous Madame Pompadour, he painted many portraits of her.

Whirls of cigarette smoke envelop ing beautiful women in black and white movies  lend such mystique and intrigue to the silver screen.  The actuality is rather different.  Cigarette Smoke permeates everything it touches including, flesh, clothes and hair – there’s nothing mysterious about that, but I was quite tickled about this cigarette collAr – though I think they missed a trick by not making it a prisoners or slave’s collar to emphasis the entrapment of the noxious weed.  The ‘chain’ association is still there though, and ther is something of the chain smoking beagle about this collar.  These types of collars are not new though – the actual shape of  the ruff collar goes back to the sixteenth century and was worn by men, women and children.  The pleats of the ruff was accomplished by the use of  cone-shaped goffering irons. which were heated.  Ruffs were made from a lot of material.  Elizabeth1 had a ruff of ‘ten yards for the neck and hand’.  During starching, ruffs could be coloured with vegetable dyes, though Elizabeth herself disapproved of the light blue colour;-

“Her Majesty’s pleasure is that no blue starch shall be used or worn by any of her Majesty’s subjects, since blue was the color of the flag of Scotland”

Stiff collars, smooth complextions, disguises used as enhancements – beauty will always be subjective and is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

Karelian egg image here

Lots of these beautiful eggs here

Distorting jewlery from here

Patchbox from here

Video by AndSper with thanks

More about Boucher here

Smoking Dietrich from this article

Elizabeth1 image here

The verse and the source of a lot of delightful information about the history of the patch can be found in Chambers Book of Days

Happy Birthday Eadweard Muybridge!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2012 by echostains

Today is the birthday of English photographer Eadweard Muybridge (b.1830 – 1904)  and it is being commemorated on Google.  He used multiple camera work to capture motion, using what he called his zoopraxiscope which projected motion pictures. He was doing this before the perforated film strip was invented.

He was actually born Edward James Muggeridge and was of Dutch extraction but he changed his name quite a few times in his American career.  He went under the pseudonym Helios, the Greek sun God) on many of his photos.  He named his studio Helios and his son bore this middle name.

Born in Kingston on Thames in 1830, he was to emigrate to the US in 1855 where he started his career as an agent for a publisher and  bookseller.  In 1850 he was involved in a stagecoach accident  in San Francisco and sustained severe head injuries.  He returned to England for a few years after this to recuperate, taking up photography between 1861 – 1866 and using the early photographic process of the wet collodion which was introduced in the 1850s

In 1866  he went back in San Francisco where  he became a successful photographer using mainly architectural and landscape as his subject matter.  He built his reputation with photos of San Francisco and the Yosemite  He quickly became noted for his grand photos of the West and in  1873 he was commissioned to photograph the Madoc War, a US Army’s expedition against the West Coast Indians.

Muybridge is famous for answering a much debated question of the day: do all four of a horses hooves move off the ground at the same time? Former Californian Governor, race horse owner and business Leland Stanford asserted that horses showed their front legs extended forward and their hind legs extended at the rear – as shown in paintings at the time.  This was called ‘unsupported transit’ and in 1872 Leland set out to prove it scientifically  by hiring Muybridge to document it.

Muybridge and Stanford fell out regarding Muybridge’s research on equine locomotion as Stanford published a book called ‘The Horse in Motion’ giving no credit to Muybridge whose photos and research it contained.  This resulted in the Royal Society withdrawing an offer to fund his stop-motion photography.  Muybridge filed a lawsuit against Stanford but lost.

Muybridge’s troubles spilled over into his personal life.  In 1874 he discovered that his wife had taken a Major Harry Larkyns as her lover.  Muybridge got even by shooting him.  He was sent to trial, his defence being the injury he had sustained in the stagecoach accident which had caused him much injury.  Friends even testified that Muybridge’s character dramatically changed from pleasant and genial to erratic and unstable after the accident.  Although the jury dismissed his ‘insanity’ plea, he was acquitted for ‘justifiable homicide’ Stanford stood by him and paid for his criminal defence.

He left the Untied States after his acquittal, taking photographs in Central America and had his son Florado ‘Helios’ Muybridge put in an orphanage, believing Larkyns to be his true father even though in later life the boy bore a strong resemblance to Muybridge.

Muybridge lectured to a sell out audience in 1882 at the Royal institution in London.  Member included the Royal family and the future King Edward V11.  He returned to England for good in 1894, where he published two further books of his work.  He died on 8th of May 1904 in Kingston on Thames.Nude descending staircase by Duchamp Muybridge has inspired a lot of artists as well as making a major contribution to photography.  Thomas Eakins, an American artist who had worked with Muybridge continued the motion studies, incorporating some of his findings into his own artwork.  Thomas Edison owned patents for motion pictures and Surrealist Marcel Duchamp was inspired to paint ‘Nude descending the Staircase No.2’ by Muybridge.  Francis Bacon was a huge fan of Muybridge and a lot of his work was influenced by Muybridge’s photographs.

Eadwaerd Muybridge portrait and more info from here

Muybridge horses and lots of info and images from the EadweardMuybridge site

muybridge_handkerchief image here

Thanks to  for the informative video

Leland pony image here

Nude descending Staircase image from here

PS Update; Happy Birthday Keith Haring!  http://www.haring.com/

PS Happy Birthday Salvador Dali May 11th

Turning over a new leaf – or two

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS, SCULPTURE with tags , , , on March 15, 2012 by echostains

It’s about time we had some more unusual art on here.  A while ago I posted about  artist Willard WiganWillard Wigan sculpture who micro sculptures can only be viewed through a microscope (tiny worlds between heartbeats)  I contrasted the micro art with the work of Hyperrealist sculptor Ron Meuck whose gigantic realistic sculptures have a unerving quality about them.

A new art form has been emerging from China over the last few years.  The process called leaf carving, involves careful precision, as the artist scrapes the outer layers of the leaf, exposing an almost transparent surface. The leaf veins are left intact to give stability to the sculpture.

The leaves preferred by artists are from the Chinar tree, which is native to India, China and Pakistan.  The leaves are considered to have ‘lucky’ qualities and resemble maple leaves and are best suited for sculpting owing to the distribution of their veins.

Each carving can take months of careful work.  But once finished, preserved and framed, the finished art should last decades.

From minute leaf sculpture to these 3D leaf sculptures.  the news may be a couple of years old, but it’s news to me:-)  Apparently a mystery artist  left leaf sculptures along the water of Leith, Edinburgh in the autumn of 2010. One of the figures was dressed in green wellies,and a flat cap.  Next to it,  two charming leaf children clung to the railings.

The Leith river seems to have provided inspiration for Anthony Gormley too.  You would think that  life-sized cast iron  figures would last a little longer than leaf ones, but two of Gormley’s six figures apparently fell victim to the Scottish and were pushed over by heavy tide.

Art officials have insisted that the figures were ‘designed to be tipped over’  Art lovers thought the sculptures had been stolen. 

Leith locals had taken the sculptures to their hearts, donning them with bikinis, Y-fronts and even a MacDonald’s uniform!

 

 

Leaf sculpture video from hldx9 with thanks

Willard Wigan sculpture image from here

Ron Mueck image from here

Leaf sculpture at Leif image from here

Anthony Gormley’s river sculpture images from here

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