Thursday, July 31, 2008

GARY PANTER: CHER IN JOHNNY ROTTEN'S CLOTHING?

Artist Gary Panter is all over the news lately. Hollywood gossip magazine Entertainment Weekly placed him on this week's "Must" List along with Cher's new Las Vegas show. The New York Times applauded the arrival of a fancy new two volume, boxed collection of his work.



His recent New York gallery opening was touted (by the gallery) as a "visual tour de force." And Panter's own website announces that Panter is
"possibly the most influential graphic artist of his generation, a fact acknowledged by the Chrysler Design award he received..."
It would take a lot of nerve to question the artistic judgment of Chrysler (which announced this week it had lost another half billion dollars due to its inability to design a decent car). Nevertheless, let's be brave and explore together:

Panter's web site proclaims that he "successfully broke down the barrier that separates 'trash' from 'art'...." Of course, previous artists have made similar claims. In 1961, Italian artist
Piero Manzoni claimed that he successfully broke down the barrier that separates art from shit.



But I'm still not ready to concede that the barrier is completely gone. Perhaps the more interesting question is: which side of the barrier is Panter on?

Panter is a "cyber punk" artist, most famous as the creator of Jimbo, "a post-nuclear punk-rock cartoon character" who first appeared in the LA hardcore-punk paper Slash and later in RAW. Occasionally Panter creates a fine, strong image:



But most of the time, Panter produces the kind of art you'd expect to find in a decent high school literary magazine:







And all too often, Panter's work is (in my opinion) downright awful:







I can hear the Gary Panter fans out there fuming, "the punk movement is exempt from bourgeois standards of taste and beauty." The New York Times didn't compliment the beauty of Panter's images, it complimented his "raw lunatic expression."

Genuine punk was never pretty, but at least it gained some legitimacy from its brute, energetic defiance. I love Johnny Rotten's response to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it tried to honor the Sex Pistols:



What a fabulous message: "Were [sic] not coming. Your [sic] not paying attention." I doubt you would ever see Johnny Rotten bragging on his web site that the Chrysler Corporation had vouched for his artistic ability.

But the point of this post (and believe it or not, I do have one) is not to take a poke at an overrated artist or the the fans who fawn over such minor work. If "raw lunatic expression" is your game, artists such as Jean Dubuffet out-punk Panter by a mile.







Dubuffet's art embodied genuine rebellion. He preferred the art of the mentally ill to the work of classical artists. He wrote raging manifestoes about trashing all museums and abolishing culture. But despite his rebellious message, Dubuffet's drawings and paintings are still deeply beautiful. This is the most important difference between Panter and Dubuffet. Punk or no-punk, Panter is an artistic failure because he never seems to achieve (or even understand) some form of beauty. Regardless of the boldness of his color or line, his work is artistically anemic. He hasn't paid the dues required of those who seek to participate genuinely in form-creating activity.

And I'll even go one step further. For a man who is so eager to eliminate the barrier between art and trash, Panter repeatedly draws a bright line between his art and lowly "commercial" art. For this, commercial artists should be grateful. But it is a tired old cliche for Panter to suggest that illustration or other commercial forms of art can't be as raw as Panter's. Even within the straightjacket of commercial illustration, serious artists manage to look deeper into the abyss than Panter ever does. Panter's fans celebrate his "ratty line," but I don't find his line nearly as raw or unsettling as the truly scary linework in this spot illustration by commercial illustrator Robert Fawcett:



Take a close look at the violence and anarchy of Fawcett's line. For those with eyes to see, Panter is splashing around in a far shallower pool than Fawcett.

I have read the adulatory reviews of Panter's work, looking for help in finding what I am missing. So far, I cannot shake the conclusion that Panter is primarily an entertainer who tells amusing stories for people of a certain maturity level. Nothing wrong with that. But if that's the case, how do we explain all this attention to his work? My only explanation is that shallow, immature times call for shallow, immature art.

the Russian Wolfhound or Borzoi

Russian Wolfhound or BorzoiThose who proclaim the Russian wolfhound, or borzoi, the most wonderful dog in the world have strong grounds for their opinion.
Of great size, a marvelous silky coat not long enough to hide his graceful lines, speed almost equal to a greyhound's, strength almost equal to that of an Irish wolf dog, and with long, muscular jaws, like a grizzly-bear trap, it is no wonder that he is such a favorite, and that beautiful women are so proud of his company.

But the gods always withhold something even from those whom they favor most, and
the borzois we have seen appeared to lack both the keen intelligence and the frank expression characteristic of their British cousins.

We know that the champions of the breed will differ from us in this, but the fact remains that the form of the Russian dog's head leaves little room for brains.

In Russia these hounds are used in wolf-hunting. The wolves are first driven out of
the woods by smaller dogs or by beaters, and when a wolf comes into the open two or three borzois, well matched as to speed and courage, are unleashed and sent after him. They are trained to seize the wolf, one on each side, just behind the ears, and they should do this both at the same moment, so that their antagonist cannot use his formidable teeth on either of them.

They hold their quarry until the huntsman arrives, leaps from his horse, and either dispatches the wolf with a knife or muzzles him and carries him off to be used in training young dogs in a large, railed inclosure made on purpose.

This handsome animal should be of extreme slenderness of head, leg, and waist; narrow
through the shoulders, but very deep in the chest. Pasterns and hocks well let down, and, like the greyhound and whippet, the borzoi should have the back strongly arched or reached to give play to the enormous unbending spring.

The legs are straighter than in the greyhound, especially at the stifle. Color is not a cardinal feature, as in Russia at least the borzoi is really used for wolf-
hunting and the color is unimportant. Here and in England, however, where they are kept solely for their graceful beauty, those in which white predominates, with head and flank markings of lemon, bay, brown, or black, are favorites.

The head should be extremely slender and narrow, the coat deep, silky, and nearly straight, the eyes full and round. Indeed, the eyes of the best dogs look rather flat and scared to one who sees them for the first time. In spite of his slender, rather obsequious, appearance, the borzoi is a serious opponent when in trouble. Woolly hair, bent pasterns, straight back, "cow hocks,'' and a gaily carried tail are all defects to be avoided.

The legs should be strong and straight, of good bone, for speed and endurance. . The feet should not be large, but compact, and with toes well arched and pads deep and elastic. The coach dog should be from 19 to 23 inches high and weigh from 35 to 50 pounds.

From The Book of Dogs: An Intimate Study of Mankind's Best Friend By National Geographic Society (U.S.), Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Ernest Harold Baynes Published 1919. 109 pages Original from Harvard University.

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years.

See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 are now in the public domain In the United States,

This inage is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris in thi case Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874 – 1927) and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from that date. If your use will be outside the United States please check your local law.

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Freefall

Vector illustration by expansiondesign

The Wow Factor: James R. Bingham

Where to begin with this absolute masterpiece by the great James R. Bingham? Wow, what a powerfully designed composition. Practically the whole thing is constructed from basic geometric shapes!


But even more delightful is how Bingham lavishes us with classic 50's Polynesian decorative motifs: black lacquered furniture, Bonsai tree table ornament, cane and wicker contempo chair, Tiki mask on a driftwood-patterned wall, Aztec-inspired decorative wall tiles, all set against a stark, white background...Lordy, I'm practically swooning! And don't get me started on Bingham's bolder-than-bold colour scheme: blood-red drop shadows, for gosh sakes!

I know I keep saying this was supposed to be a week of just one image per day, but I couldn't resist showing the signature "Bingham Babe" from an accompanying spot. Just look at that white gold hair, those luscious red lips, those Hollywood starlet eyes... all framed in a setting of classic 50's textures and colours. Heaven, I tell you.


I've said this before, but I often wonder if two of my favourite comic artists, Steve Ditko and Jim Steranko, didn't both look at Bingham's work and borrow liberally from his style. Whenever I see one of Bingham's detective pieces, I am reminded of aspects of both those other two artists' work.

You really need to see this artwork at full size so you can drink the whole thing in. Take a look in my James R. Bingham Flickr set and prepare to be transported.

ABS Editor Cindy Gimbrone Goes Red Hot Crazy!


I've gone crazy. That's the only way to explain it.
That or the heat got to me.
Fried my frontal lobes so I couldn't reason properly.

Seemed like a good idea when I volunteered. Panic started to set in. How was I going to do two projects? I started to surf the 'net to avoid the whole situation. Ah but nothing like another blog to help you out!

Enter Deryn Mentock's Something Sublime and her Jewelry Challenge using Mary Hettmansperger's new book, Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet. I loved Mary's first book and this one is even better! I bought it immediately and decided I had to do "Project 3: Bead Shelf Necklace."



It was perfect for a phrase that's been running through my head lately,

what lies beneath

I wanted to show a little scene where on the surface it looked one way yet under the shelf or beneath it, you'd see something different. I wanted to keep the copper, antiqued and verdigris colors so I incorporated my flameworked glass beads and spirals in copper green, gaia and opal yellow. The spirals represent those things or situations in our lives that haven't been worked out and keep coming back to us - like in a spiral. I've left a hole on the shelf empty as if it's a hole in the ground, a way for those above to look in and see if they can see what's there.





The completed project is supposed to be a necklace but I wanted this to hang on my wall. Perfect for Ornament Thursday, a small wall ornament.

Let's see what the other Ornament Thursday Girls have created for this month...
Art Bead Scene
ABS Editor Cindy Gimbrone Goes Red Hot Crazy!

Beading Help Web is RED HOT!
Lynn Kvigne takes up the torch and shows you how to make a toe ring using fine silver.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Trendy, Popular and Red Hot!

It's Red Hot July in Arizona!
Lisa finally finishes a project from over a year ago. Check out this "hot" take on a changeable necklace.

Katie's Bead Blog
Check out Katie's Red Hot faux coral necklace! It's a punch of color with a summery feel.

Linda Ausburg at BeadStyle Magazine
Linda shares a red-hot card she created.

Michelle is RED HOT!
Well, really, Margot is...

Savvy Crafter
Hotsie Totsie Plexi-glass Flower pendant over on Candie's blog!

Strands of Beads
The heat is rising, and Melissa is making a Red Hot Firecracker necklace!

Swell Designer a.k.a. Alexa Westerfield
The Swelldesigner gets red hot with a Hunka Hunka Burner Necklace!

Too Red Hot
Our own Michelle Zimmerman has been hard at work this month sculpting a devil of a project for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Dalmatian

The DalmatianThe Dalmatian - The Dalmatian was originally a "pointer" and in his native country was used for sporting purposes. But in England he was found to be very inferior to the native pointer,
and, as he showed a marked fondness for horses and stables, he was specially trained as a "coach" or "carriage" dog.

For more than a hundred years before the day of the automobile, it was a common thing
on English roads to see one of these muscular, deep-lunged, spotted dogs trotting easily between the hind wheels of a fashionable "turnout"' — so close, in fact, that it had the appearance of "weaving" in and out as the horses' heels flew back.

The automobile has virtually done away with it as a vehicle guardian and companion ; still its unusual appearance has been sufficient to maintain it among the fancy and a goodly number find their way to the big shows.

The coach dog strongly resembles a small, straight-legged pointer in general conformation, and differs chiefly in the shorter ear, straight front, and less arched stifle.

In color it must be white, evenly spangled all over with round, clearly defined spots of black or dark brown. Black is preferable and more usual. These spots must be sharp, and the more even and uniformly distributed the better. They may be confluent on the ears — it is a virtue to have dark ears — but elsewhere on the body it is a fault. In size they should be from half an inch to an inch in diameter, roughly.

The legs should be strong and straight, of good bone, for speed and endurance. . The feet should not be large, but compact, and with toes well arched and pads deep and elastic. The coach dog should be from 19 to 23 inches high and weigh from 35 to 50 pounds.

From The Book of Dogs: An Intimate Study of Mankind's Best Friend By National Geographic Society (U.S.), Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Ernest Harold Baynes Published 1919. 109 pages Original from Harvard University.

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years.

See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 are now in the public domain In the United States,

This inage is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris in thi case Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874 – 1927) and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from that date. If your use will be outside the United States please check your local law.

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Studio update

I made some changes to the studio last week.
Needed the IKEA shelves in another room,
so I brought back the blackboard
and some metal shelves to organize all my stuff.
Oh! and I hung the bird cage by my desk
to keep me company.
The Lovebirds came to me yesterday
and asked if they could temporarily use the cage
while the new occupant arrived.
Of course, I said yes :)

The Wow Factor: Denver Gillen

*Whew*! Um... do I really need to explain this one? No, I didn't think so.


Knowing just what would grab the reader, Denver Gillen chose this minor and almost inconsequential line from the story as the inspiration for his illustration:


Cosmo AD, Robert C. Atherton must have been pleased with Gillen's choice. Just look at the wonderful headline type Atherton had done up to compliment the artwork...


The page design comes together beautifully. If you're looking for 'Wow!', I say this spread has it, big-time.


I planned to only show one piece per day this week -- but I couldn't resist including Denver Gillen's fabulously noir-ish back-up illo from this story.


Consider that another artist might have chosen this pivotal scene for the main art. Did Gillen (and Atherton) choose better?

My Denver Gillen Flickr set.

Great Bead Books- Old & New

Like most (tell me I'm not the only one!) bead crazed folks, I simply cannot resist a new bead book on the market. To add to the pain of my pocketbook, I usually can't wait for regular Amazon.com shipment and thus purchase full retail price at Barnes and Noble as soon as the book hits the crafts section. Here are some of my past and recent favorites:

Since I love history and primitive bead making cultures, my bookcase is groaning under the weight of Collectible Beads- A Universal Aesthetic, by Robert K. Liu, 1995. This oversize book is a treasure trove of "ancient, ethnographic and contemporary beads, recognizing them as a revealing and inspiring symbol of humanity's cultural and spiritual aspirations," with 300 photos of ancient and modern beadwork.


In that same vein of thought, there is Beadwork- A World Guide by Caroline Crabtree and Pam Stallebrass, published by Rizzoli in 2002. What I love about this book is the incredible diversity of bead cultures featured from around the world from African tribes to Native American Indian tribes and many more, with amazing color photographs. Incredibly detailed and exhaustively researched, I highly recommend it for a bead enthusiast's library.


Five designers teach us how to make glass, metal, polymer clay and fiber beads in the wonderful Making Beautiful Beads, published by Lark books 2003. It has excellent tutorials with color photographs to demonstrate techniques. Each section features a lengthy "introduction to" a certain medium and then variations of techniques that are different, inspiring and concise enough to refer to for years past the introductory stages.


For the polymer bead artist or prospective artist, I highly recommend Making Polymer Clay Beads by Carol Blackburn, published by Interweave Press 2007. It is exactly what is says on the cover, "step by step techniques for creating beautiful ornamental beads." It covers everything from tools and brands of clay, to conditioning, skinner blends, inclusions, varnishes, metallic powders, and on to wonderful techniques of combing and feathering, how to use bead rollers, drilling, sanding and polishing. It is quite comprehensive. I mean, who knew you can make polymer beads that look like leather?


Just to make my life more difficult for those of us who can't resist delving into new projects no matter how many are piled in the corner, Julia S. Pretl wrote Bead Knitted Bags, 10 projects for Beaders & Knitters. Oh, my goodness, what amazingly beautiful bags. I went totally insane over which gorgeous project to begin first. If you are overwhelmed with projects like me, it will be slow going, as the work is quite small and requires intense concentration, but it comes complete with a DVD that includes 10 printable patterns and 20 video tutorials.


Julia Pretl is also a featured artist in another book nestled on my table, Beading for the Soul, by Deborah Cannarella, published again by Interweave Press 2005. This book explores the "personal power of beads" with 26 inspirational projects from 23 designers. From prayer beads to woven Chinese Good Fortune pouches, you can create sacred beaded objects and adornments with the aid of terrific instructional panels and tutorials. Eleanor Wiley's Handheld Prayer Beads section has a particularly powerful resonance.


Decorative Ornament- More Than 2,350 Historical Designs and Patterns by Owen Jones, is an invaluable resource for color reference for the beader and jewelry designer. Get out your post it stickies and get ready for color combination inspiration on almost every page. This 432 page volume, published in 2006 by Tess Press, is a feast for the designer's eyes. It covers design and ornament of Savage Tribes, Egyptian, Assyrian & Persian, Greek, Pompeian, Roman, Byzantine, Arabian, Turkish, Moresque, Indian, Hindu, Chinese, Celtic, Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, Italian and Leaves and Flowers from Nature Ornament. The colorful illustrations will have you at your sketchbooks in a jiffy and if you are blocked for color combination ideas, this book will get you back on track in no time at all.


Last but not least on my list is Beaded Jewelry- The Complete Guide by Susan Ray, published by Krause Publications 2007. This is my most recent bead book acquisition and it is already a treasured volume. Susan begins her book with a history of beads, with recommended reading lists, and moves on to color expressions, supply sources, care of beads, types of beads, tools and their usage. From there she delves into specialized areas of bead making such as lampwork and polymer, then discusses stringing techniques, findings and closures, to name a few. It has many projects, inspiring photographs, and a very user friendly format.


By no means is this list an exhaustive one. There are many more book sources of inspiration and technical prowess. I hope if you don't have these titles you will search them out at your library or bookstore. And always, have fun!

Written by guest editor Jennifer Stumpf. You can read Jennifer's blog www.jenniferstumpf.blogspot.com and see her art beads and jewelry at her website www.jenniferstumpf.com and etsy shop www.jenniferstumpf.etsy.com.

Ornament Thursday Red Hot Teaser



Art Bead Scene Editor is Red Hot this month creating two projects for Ornament Thursday! One for Art Bead Scene and another for Lampwork Diva!

To give you an hint of what's in store, the OT gang posted a teaser, so until tomorrow, here's a sneaky peeky...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Helium Balloon Ride Central Park New York City

Helium Balloon Ride Central Park New York City

Helium Balloon Ride Central Park New York City

Helium Balloon Ride Central Park New York City

Helium Balloon Ride Central Park New York City
New York City Balloon Ride in Central Park. the balloons are tethered to the ground just west of Bethesda Fountain,next to the 72d street park traverse and are raised and lowered by an electrical winch.

The helium balloon ride carries the operator and four passengers in the wicker basket 300 feet up. The 10-minute ride commerates the 150th anniversary of the park's original design.

AeroBalloon, the company offering the rides, says that the 45 foot-wide balloons are filled with 47,500 cubic feet of helium.

The $25.00 ride is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Aug. 22, children 12 and under ride for $17.50. The company accepts reservations for rides between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Image License: I, (sookietex) the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible, I grant any entity the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

If This image is subject to copyright in your jurisdiction, i (sookietex) the copyright holder have irrevocably released all rights to it, allowing it to be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited in any way by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, with or without attribution of the author, as if in the public domain.

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Vector Icons Pack #2

A free vector icon pack from gwhite83. You'll get a better view if you open the PDF file with Adobe Illustrator and scale the icons up. Many of them are detailed illustrations, that can be refined and styled to what you need. Download

Website Layout Design with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop

It was just about time for the first web design tutorial in this blog. Vector illustration skills are handy not only for print , but also for web design. A warmup exercise from ComputerArts Magazine.

"Craig Grannell shows you how to use Adobe’s two CS3 graphic design powerhouses to work up the layout for a website
Most web designers work with Photoshop or Fireworks when creating websites, and Illustrator is often overlooked. However, Adobe’s vector package is perfect for crafting the initial components of web layouts." Full tutorial and source files via Computer Arts Magazine

Shop update




A new birdie has been added to the shop!
Look for a couple of more new prints
in the shop next week,
and a small handmade edition of
"The Tiny Book of Birds",
Volumes I and II as well.

The Wow Factor: Austin Briggs

Any artwork by Austin Briggs is going to be impressive, but this illustration Briggs did for the January 14th, 1961 issue of the Saturday Evening Post really made me stop and say, "Wow!"



No wonder Walt Reed used it as one of his examples for Briggs' listing in The Illustrator in America.

Briggs uses the intensley swirling patterning in the carpet to great effect. Notice how he chose to have no cast shadows under any of the elements sitting on that carpet?
By contrast, the murdered girl, the focal point of the picture, is rendered in light and shade with great attention to detail.

The flattening effect, as well as the unusual camera angle, creates tremendous visual excitement for the eye and the brain to analyze.

My Austin Briggs Flickr set.