Archive for September, 2010

Just an Illusion

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , on September 26, 2010 by echostains

I had listened to an old 1982 video and putting it on my family blog to illustrate an experience I was writing about when it gave me an idea for a post on echostains!  The music video is by ‘Imagination’ and it’s called ‘Just an Illusion’ (I’d forgotten how good they were:))  Then I thought of artists who use illusion in their work.

The Hallucinogenic Torreador 1969

The first artist I thought of was Salvador Dali.  He liked to slip hidden images into his work.   They usually take the form of faces, figures and sometimes animals.  The Hallucinogenic Toreador (1968 -1970) has all three.  By combining surrealist symbolism with optical illusion Dali creates his own visual language.  The scene set in a bull ring includes a portrait of Gala his wife, a  bulls head either drinking from water or in its own blood.  The pool of water (or blood) in the lower right of the picture shows a yellow raft. Lots of dreamlike symbols in this painting to be found.

zebras 1938 Vasarely

The constructivist practises in Walter Gropius Bauhaus school in Germany invented ‘Op art’.  The term made its way into Times magazine for the first time in 1964 though Victor Vasarely (b. 1908 – 1997 Hungary) had painted his famous zebras in 1938 (there are quite a few versions of this).  Theres a biography of this wonderful artist, who people call the Father of Op Art here


Bridget Riley is famous for her Op Art.  Optical art makes use of illusions.  The works are abstract and play with our perceptions.  Lots of warping, swirling, bending and movement are the keynotes to this type of art.

Bridget Riley Squares

Bridget Riley ( b. 1931 London) has been celebrated for her contribution to optical art.  Her paintings are vibrant and challenge the viewers perceptions.  this is what she said about one of her paintings

‘the eye can travel over the surface in a way parallel to the way it moves over nature. It should feel caressed and soothed, experience frictions and ruptures, glide and drift…One moment there will be nothing to look at and the next second the canvas seems to refill, to be crowded with visual events.’

I have seen quite a bit of Riley’s work, which although I admire it immensely – always make me feel a bit giddy or ‘seasick’ especially when seen en masse 🙂  Optical illusions are still going strong.  I particularly like this one of Jesus.  You stare and stare at the image then look at a blank wall, or sheet of paper.  Jesus appears like a ghost!  I got the image from this excellent site thanks!

jesus Optical image

Thanks to mmusicool for the video!

Dali Hallucenegenic Torredor image from here read about it here

Vasarely images from here  and here Riley Squares image from here and her quote from here

Theres a wonderful Optical Illusion website here – with some very unusual optics…:) HERE



The Mona Lisa Poetry Challenge is still on my other blog Bookstains and open to all!  Just click Mona

Another Poetry Challenge!

Posted in haiku, POEM CHALLENGES, POETRY, WORDS AND COMMUNICATIONS with tags , , , , on September 20, 2010 by echostains

A lot of people go on to my other blog ‘Bookstains’ looking for something to see.  I’ve been putting my own poetry and book reviews on there and just linking to it.  Now I am going to host my poetry challenges on there too!  The Vincent Van Gogh poetry challenge was a real success and all the entries were very individualistic, imaginative and thoughtful:)  I’d like to thank all that joined in – and say that the challenge is  OPEN indefinitely so if you want to join in just click HERE, watch the minute long video and send your poem either in your comment OR just email me and I’ll put it on.  You may copy the ‘Vincent Could have told You’ logo if you want – don’t forget to link to me at Bookstains🙂  It goes without saying that I shall be promoting the challenges after my posts on echostains.

That’s the news – here’s another challenge:-

This poetry challenge is about the smile of the famous Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo Da Vinci between 1503 – 1506.  The lady’s smile (and it has been said that she may not be all ‘she’ seems) is one of the most enigmatic smiles ever painted. The challenge is write a poem or a haiku about that smile, or the lady or the relationship between the artist and the lady.  Here’s an extract of mine :-  to see the rest and to join in with your own, just click the pic and send your poem either in the comment box or by email and I will put it on.  You can use the Mona Lisa pic – but please link back to Bookstains’

Lets have some fun!

The Lips Don’t Lie……

Shut up!



Mona Lisa

As I try to

Keep the brush steady

With my ingenious strokes…

Whilst your countenance



If only……..

(Continued on Bookstains HERE)

original image from here Thanks!

Poll: -Who do you LOVE?

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, ART VIDEOS, POLLS, SCULPTURE with tags , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2010 by echostains

 I’ve now completed 622 posts!  In all those posts I have never yet tried the poll application out.  That is about to be remedied!  Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I have featured some rather unusual artists.  But which artist have you enjoyed the most?  These aren’t really famous artists (like Freud, Hirst etc).  they are artists who have chosen either unusual media to present their art or just have an unusual way of looking at the world.  As with most things in life – Art is subjective and everyone has their own personal taste. This poll is just for fun and just because some artists may not receive any or many votes – it doesn’t mean that their art is undermined.  It just means that not many people are reading this or voting:)

Please feel free to make leave a comment about why you like the art of one particular artist:)

 I’ll start with half a dozen artists, but I will create some more of these polls if this one  is successful!

If you are unfamiliar with the art of these artists just click on the images of their work to read the posts I have done about them.

Kathy Waggoner 'The Taster'

Berlinde de Bruyckere sculpture

Zena Holloway underwater artist

Lui Bolin is somewhere in this image

Emma Hack camouflage artist making people look like paintingsProjected art - watch the short movie to see the happening


Projected art - watch the short movie to see the happening

Take a letter or two Miss Rathbone!

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS, DESIGN with tags , , , , on September 11, 2010 by echostains

Remember the old typewriters of the past?   Yes the past!   It doesn’t seem that long ago when we were all using typewriters with  ribbons, and then cassettes…. and now its keyboards.  I remember years ago  being really impressed with some typewriter art I had seen.  A picture of Jimi Hendrix was one image and a butterfly was another one.  they were typed with x’s and looked fantastic at a distance.

Keira Rathbone

This short video shows a unamed German artist making very impressive art on a typewriter as far back as the late 1950s!  I wouldn’t have a clue where to start with this art form at all.  It must be all planned out carefully?  surely it can’t be done like sketching and by eye?  Keira Rathbone, a 27 year old artist from London began to use her typewriter as a drawing tool after she buying  an old typewriter from a flea market initially to write with.She then found that by experimenting with it artistically, the results were more rewarding! 

As some artists use a pencil or brush to create, Keira creates art by typing symbols, letters and figures.   It almost makes me wish I hadn’t got rid of my typewriter now:(

Keira Rathbone’s website is here.  Join her on Facebook here.  Some more of Keira Rathbone’s typewriter art can be found here

 Typewriter video  by eiffe Thanks!

Art Discovered and Recovered – Morwenna Catt

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED with tags , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by echostains

Morwenna Catt

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog has probably guessed that a lot of my posts are spontaneous and that the subject can be prompted sometimes by anything and everything.   Sometimes it can be the date of an artist’s birthday, or the subject of a poem or something I’ve seen or heard in the media and want to investigate.  Sometimes (like todays post) it is influenced by a comment someone has made.  The comment was made on artistatexit0’s great blog.  The post was about found objects – a lot of them being toys.  This brought back a childhood memory of the artist’s lost toy and I began to rifle through my mind for an artist whose work I either saw or studied a while ago, who used stuffed toys in her work which she x rayed.

Phrenology 111 Morwenna Catt

Further investigation revealed that the artist was Morwenna Catt.   She is an artist whose work confronts the emotional scars of childhood through a storytelling narrative via stuffed toys.  The toys are found objects which the artist has opened up – secreted with a ‘message’. sewn back up and then x rayed.  The results are startling and sometimes a bit disturbing.  Catt invokes a lot of childhood memories anxieties and trauma in these pieces using  the dog eared beloved soft toy  to convey this.

Morwenna Catt horse

Messages lie within these mute childhood toys – like the  horse which hides a key and padlock in its belly:- the message ‘betrayal’ is revealed in this x-ray photo on light box.  As well as the textile work, (the artist hand stitches these animals) Catt also works in 3D installation, paintings,  drawings and with light boxes.


The ‘wounded textile heads in her ‘Phrenology‘ pieces are based around drawings.  They show vulnerability and dysfunction, yet have a disturbing pathos.  this is what the artist has to say about her work:-

Childhood is a recurring theme in my work, I try to dispel Fairy Tale mythologies, stripping back to the bare bones of experience and uncovering some kind of underlying truth using personal narratives alongside subverted imagery. I use the familiar and the nostalgic as a trigger, but disrupt the reading. In recent works the family unit is transformed into animals, either drawn, painted or constructed as 3D textiles; malformed, battered and bruised to evoke the darker side of family life. I am preoccupied with our relationships to trigger objects, memory, nostalgia and psychosis.

 collective memory. The type from my old battered type-writer reminds me of discovering my mothers secret poems. The pattern of simple animal shapes on the Phrenology III head is taken from a 1970s toy pattern book and has that bitter sweet nostalgic quality. Modern life requires that everything is clean and shiny and safe, kitemarked and numbered, my work is the antithesis of this – its slightly grubby, pitiful in its hand-made grotesqueness, the threads hang loose and needles project dangerously from stitched mouths.” peoplesMy work is very ‘hand-made’ – it can look laborious and clumsy, scrawled with hand written text and the faded words from an old ribbon typewriter. I want the work to have a wounded ‘authenticity’ and try to use evocative image and text/process to tap into

Shot painting Morwenna Catt

There is  much, much more to this artist and her work.   She has undertaken many interesting  projects and is always coming up with new and creative ideas.  I’m so glad to have finally found her again!

Morwenna Catt website and gallery here I  Artist statement  excerpt from here.   Images from here and here
Interesting interview here



Clearing out Freud

Posted in ART, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , , on September 7, 2010 by echostains

If I was lucky (or rich enough) to own a painting by Lucien Freud I would never be able to part with it.  Not so with Jerry Hall, former wife of Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones).  She is having a clear out: a clean sweep.  She is getting rid of reminders of  Mick Jagger and the life they shared.  Also going to auction (October 15 – 16th) is work by Frank Auerbach (see my post about another favorite artist of mine) and an  Andy Warhol ‘Dollar Sign’ which the artist gave to Hall for helping him with Warhol TV.

Warhol and Hall

Also going under the hammer are works by Damien Hirst (see my post about this artist), R. B Kitaj  and Frank Auerbach (another favorite of mine!)  Posts mentioning Warhol (here and here) and my Freud post are here and here

Jerry-Hall eight month pregnant painted by Freud

Other items that are heading for the auction include a portrait by Freud of Jerry herself whilst pregnant with hers and Jagger’s fourth child.  I’ve always liked and admired Jerry Hall.  Not only is she beautiful to look at , she has brains too.  Coupled with her laid back attitude, her sense of humour, she also has a LOT of dignity.  I have to add that I think she has wonderful taste in art too:)  I shall be watching this auction and reporting back!

Article about this here images from here


Art Inflation!

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS, SCULPTURE with tags , on September 5, 2010 by echostains

I have never encountered this kind of art before – I would say I was blown away by it but it would be a really bad pun (ok that’s never stopped me before..).  We’ve all seen balloon art at fairs and as part of children’s entertainment, but this inflatable art is just a little bit different.  For a start, the artist Joshua Allen Harris is using garbage bags and tape to make these inflatable statues.  Now I don’t know if these garbage bags are new bags or used bags – but the effect is mesmerizing and provides a great deal of entertainment whilst making people smile.  The animals have life breathed into them, courtesy of subway exhaust air!  My favorite is the Loch Ness monster – which I thought was really comical!  What do you think of them?  A good idea? a bad idea? – which do you like?

Video by  NewYorkMagazine Thanks!