Archive for ART

Witch Tapes and Singing Trees

Posted in ART with tags , on January 18, 2021 by echostains

 

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I’ve always been a fan of the found object. Ever since discovering the mysterious ‘witch tapes’ years ago. You do remember ‘witch tapes’ don’t you? They’re those bits of unravelled cassette tapes that you used to find caught in trees and around bus stops.

I believe that the term ‘witch tape’ comes from the folk law belief that unravelled cassette/video tape is put there by witches to ensnare people with spells – witches marking their territory …

It’s much more likely to be the debris of frustrated drivers throwing their snarled up rubbish from their cars.

You did used to see tape festooned from bushes or trees quite a lot. If trees could talk – what would they say? The answer my friend is blowing in the wind – literally.

I know of one such tree. It stands on a hill in Burnley. Lancashire. It is known as ‘The Singing Ringing Tree’ (see my post about it

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One artist that uses audio cassette tape and film reels Is Erika Iris Simmons.  In her series ‘Ghost in the Machine’ she uses the tape to make art pieces of musical icons like Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse among others.  She arranges the film into faces with wonderful results. The artist has an interesting approach to her work.

Erika Iris Simmons Woo Arts cassette tape

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” The single cassette tape I thought of as representing the mind. The tape ribbon represents our thoughts, the data within. Taking that data – those bits of memory – and rearranging them to form what we see as a face is my way of finding a “ghost in the machine.” I also liked the fact that when you look at a portrait like Jimi Hendrix out of a cassette tape, you can almost hear the music in your head – so your own “data” is responding to what you see.”  Erika Iris Simmons Woo Arts cassette tape

I will be exploring more art made with found objects in further posts.

Meanwhile……

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Thanks to

Tape creature image Here

Singing Ringing tree info here

Audio Cassette artist Erika Iris Simmons

Google Doodles Do – Art

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, DESIGN, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 30, 2020 by echostains

NEW POST ON BOOKSTAINS HERE

Google Doodles began in 1998 and were unanimated and unhyperlinked until 2010, when Sir Isaac Newton was honoured with the very first animation.

Over 2000 international and regional Doodles have appeared through its homepages, featuring artists, personalities, musicians etc and by 2019, over 4000 Doodles had been created for Google Doodles.

Interactive Doodles made their debut with the 1980s arcade game Pac-Man. Live action video doodles, interactive keyboard doodles, synthesiser doodles, interactive virtual Rubik cubes and games abound. New Google Doodles are being engineered all the time, always topical always innovative.

On the 8th of December, 2011, Google commemorated Mexican artist Diego Rivera’s 125th birthday.  Rivera, who was also an active communist, painted political Murals that helped establish Mexico Mural Movement in the 1920s. He was also  the husband of fellow artist Frida Kahlo, also commemorated by a Google Doodle.

 It’s quite an honour for an artist to be celebrated by Google and there have been some very special and unusual logos in this series.  Though the art is computerised, the artist’s work is still easily identifiable. 

Notable artists who have been celebrated by Google including…. which speaks for itself.

On June 6, 2008, the logo incorporated details from Diego Velázquez’s masterpiece Las Meninas to celebrate the Spanish painter’s birthday (June 6, 1599 – August 6, 1660) here

In 2006, Edvard Munch (born December 12, 1863) was commemorated with a logo incorporating his most famous painting, The Scream here

Vincent Van Gogh received this tribute on his birthday in March 2005 with an immediately recognisable logo here

Please check out all the logos from the Google gallery    Here 

Warhol

Pac- man

Rivera

Kahlo

Velazquez

Van Gogh

Dali

Picasso

Google Doodles more info

Something to crow about?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2020 by echostains

Crow by Arthur Rackham

The other day, feeling a bit miserable looking at the battering rain and dark skies, I began to add some gothic pins to my Pinterest. I came across some crow related items and thought that it would make a good blog theme.

I was struck by the number of Crow pictures I came across.

A murder of crows

A ‘murder of crows’ is a medieval collective term for these birds. Poor people believed that the birds were sent by the devil and were really witches in disguise.

What is it about crows that makes them look so sinister? Traditionally the colour black is associated with mystery, though technically black is not an actual colour, as it completely absorbs colours. That is indeed a mystery in itself, though only one of them.

Black – the ‘colour’ of mystery

The Norse God Odin is sometimes depicted with a another black bird – a raven as his companion. As well as being a carrion loving bird (therefore associated with life and death), the black bird’s croaking voice has become associated with the ability to prophetcise the future and reveal that which is hidden.

Odin and Raven

But back to crows, who are part of the same Corvidae family of ravens. The black bird like mask worn by the Plague Doctor in the 1600s, brought a sense of not relief but more of fear and loathing whenever he was sighted.

Although sinister, the mask actually had a practical purpose. An eye was made of glass for the doctor to see out of and the hollow beak was filled with medicinal herbs, as well as providing two holes in the ‘nostrils’ for breathing .

From a crow being a bird, to a man dressing up as a crow, the association with death, medicine and the future is becoming more black than orange, especially with our political climate and global issues.

Enter The Crowman. The Crowman was also a travelling medicine man who offered ‘little brighteners’ for the ailing from his medicine bag as he went along his way. He may have disappeared but his ‘little brightener has remained in the form of Gin😄

The crowman as featured in the TV series ‘Worzel Gummidge’ was a sinister figure who created scarecrow Worzel. The Crowman makes Worzel many different inter changeable heads to suit different occasions and situations.

Worzel’s ‘Handsome’ head

Amongst these heads, Worzel had a ‘thinking’ head , a handsome head to court the ladies, a Riddle me Ree head and a posh head.

Worzel and Crowman

In Rock band Jethro Tull’s ‘Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow’ the association between death, cold and Christmas warns the listener to be charitable to others who have little and remember the true spirit of the Christmas message:

Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow. (1982)

Through long December nights we talk in words of rain or snow,
while you, through chattering teeth, reply and curse us as you go.
Why not spare a thought this day for those who have no flame
to warm their bones at Christmas time?
Say Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow.

Now as the last broad oak leaf falls, we beg: consider this:
there’s some who have no coin to save for turkey, wine or gifts.
No children’s laughter round the fire, no family left to know.
So lend a warm and a helping hand:
say Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow.
As holly pricks and ivy clings, your fate is none too clear.
The Lord may find you wanting, let your good fortune disappear.
All homely comforts blown away and all that’s left to show
is to share your joy at Christmas time
with Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow.

Through long December nights we talk in words of rain or snow,
while you, through chattering teeth, reply and curse us as you go.
Why not spare a thought this day for those who have no flame
to warm their bones at Christmas time?
Say Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow.

By Ian Anderson
Thanks also to;

Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow lyric Here

Arthur Rackham ‘Crow’ Here

History of the Plague Doctor

Crowman legend

Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow video Here

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, 2020 by echostains

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

The Karelian egg

The larger more famous eggs (also known as the ‘Imperial’ eggs) were originally made for Alexander 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 enhance 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 paint 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 depending on  where they were placed.

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.

There are also accessories which are used to glamourise. Whirls of cigarette smoke enveloping 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 there 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 were 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

Romanov Assassination information here

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

Picture this Poetry Challenge: Haiku ‘The Bedroom at Arles’ Vincent Van Gogh

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART QUOTES, haiku, Picture this Haiku Poetry Challenge, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 25, 2020 by echostains

Vincent Van Gogh painted three versions of this painting ‘The Bedroom at Arles’.  This is the third  version he painted in 1889.  He painted it whilst waiting for his mother to visit him in a Lunatic Asylum in  St Remy.  He was to commit suicide 10 months after this painting.  He called his chair ‘The Seat of happiness’ because the  colours symbolise sunshine, warmth and happiness.

the bedroom

” When I see my canvasses again, after my illness, The one that seemed the best was ‘The Bedroom’

 

The idea is to write a haiku about the painting and link to Echostains and Bookstains and  it shall appear here.  Here’s  mine;

Yellow sunlit chair

light up my starry night of rest

your colours soothe me.

L M Roberts 2020

Image from here

 

Happy Birthday Georges Braque!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2020 by echostains

le viaduct de La Estaque

Le Viaduct de L’ Estaque

 

Georges Braque b. Paris, France (1882-1963) was a  painter, collagist and draughtsman, sculptor and printmaker. His major contribution to  Art History is through Cubisim, which he founded and developed alongside   his close association with  Picasso during the 1908-1912 period.

houses at l estaque 1908

Houses at de L’Estaque

He also participated in Fauvism and Impressionism and his work was full of bold shapes and striking colours.  His work during the War though was more sombre and reflective of the mood, but between the war, when the word changed – so did he, using lighter colours, themes and styles.

man and guitar 1911

Man and Guitar 1911

Cubism though can be found in most of this work throughout his career.  He studied painting at Le Havre Academy,  at first concentrating on Impressionism.  Around  1905,  inspired by Cezanne and Van Gogh and their bright use of colours he became a Fauvist painter and exhibited with Henri Matisse and Andre Derain who were also Fauvists.

Braque had his first solo exhibition in 1908 and from 1909-1914 spent time with Picasso  developing a darker colour palette and use of bold line which was to become the Cubism style.

the portuguese

The Portuguese

Cubism challenged presentable form as perspective and conveyed a different way of ‘seeing’, which reflected the ‘modern’ world. Braque incorporated collage innovatively into his work.  His work after the WW1 changed direction again –   reflecting nature and the effect of light, but he never strayed to far from his Cubist style and his  bold use of lines and colour.

girl with a cross

Girl with a Cross

In 1937 he began to add sculpture to his repertoire and did receive some international success when his pieces went beyond Europe and were shown in the USA. He worked after WW2, concentrating on lighter subjects like landscape, sea and nature.  his health was not robust, yet it did not prevent him forming a new art movement of Cubism along side Picasso.

With thanks to WikiArt

More about Braque here

Images from here

Happy Eccentric Birthday Salvador Dali!

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 11, 2020 by echostains

 

Today is the birthday of the Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)  As I have already written a post about the artist (here) I thought it might be fun to take a look at the personality of Dali the man – the fun bits.   This video I think shows the artist’s very individuality.  Dali illustrates that he is all things to all people (and especially to himself) as he struggles slightly to understand the English language    There is also a childishness, a naivity which I find very charming about the artist.  I suspect that under all the bluster there may have been a rather shy, quiet person.

Dali is one of those people who can be unintentionally funny – though sometimes you are not quite sure what he intends (he was after all a surrealist so strange behaviour is almost compulsory)  The advertisers certainly got their money’s worth from the dramatic Dali in this short advertisement.  Who knew eating chocolate could be such a surreal experience 😀

The last video shows some of the prolific Dali’s paintings. Where did all the eccentric artists go?  There doesn’t seem to be any to measure up to Dali the man, for his sense of humour, his talent and his bizarre way of looking at things.  What a great artist and character he was!

 

Thanks to  and   and  for the videos!

Surreal Thing Happy Birthday Dali!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2020 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 and wonderful  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 whom 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. He 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