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Posts by Joe

July 19, 2012 | Posted by | No Comments

Hearing Colors

Image: www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Neil Harbisson is making it official. The Barcelona artist, who wears an electronic device that allows him to hear colors, considers himself to be a cyborg – so much so that he wants it included in his passport photo.

Harbisson was born with achromatopsia, a condition of total color blindness, which is congenital. He says that he actually hated color as child due to his inability to perceive it. Choosing to become an artist might seem like an unlikely choice for someone in his position, but he has clearly found an innovative way to overcome his obstacles.

Image: Wikipedia

The “Eyeborg,” which he developed with a partner he met at a cybernetics conference, allows Harbisson to hear colors as tones. All in all he has charted and recognizes 360 colors (based on the color wheel) as distinct sounds generated by the device. He calls his system, “Sonochromatic Scales,” and generates paintings and videos using associated concepts.

Image: artisancolour.blogspot.com

For instance, the painting above is a visual representation of the sound waves contained in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

Harbisson argues that the Eyeborg has become so integral to his sense of perception that it should be allowed in his passport photo. Electronic devices are typically not allowed to appear in official documentation, but the artist is hoping rules will be bent as the line between humans and machines blurs more and more over time.

 

 

July 12, 2012 | Posted by | No Comments

Art (Not) Made to Last

Image: jimdenevan.com

Ever since my previous post, Cloudy With A Chance of Awesome, I’ve been a bit obsessed with ephemeral art. I’m into investigating what motivates people to create, and artists who work within the context of impermanence are particularly interesting to me.

Image: jimdenevan.com

Most of us create to literally create – something, a painting, a sculpture, a drawing, a photo. We can hold these things in our hands, look at them, share them, save them and come back and revisit the ideas that informed their creation later on.

So, what does it mean when someone makes something that’s not meant to stick around? Like those messages in the Mission: Impossible movies – things that self-destruct in their own way. For some artists, like Andy Goldsworthy or  Jim Denevan, destruction is a part of the process of making art.

Image: jimdenevan.com

Jim is renown for etching huge designs on beaches with sticks, rakes and shovels. He’s not alone in embracing the medium, but he is my favorite artist within the niche. The best part of his work is that it’s never meant to stay around too long. His pieces are like sparks, bright flashes of illumination and beauty that disappear quickly in the grand scheme of things. His choice to work within the tidal plane informs his entire creative process – and he’s got to work quickly, because the tide is always coming back in.

Image: jimdenevan.com

So what do you think? Does including destruction or disappearance in artwork make it more interesting or beautiful? Or, is it just another interesting way to spend a day and have nothing to show for it?

 

July 3, 2012 | Posted by | No Comments

Artist Blogtastic

Image: HuffingtonPost.com

Surfing cool art websites (wink, wink) or coming across great work by an artist you’ve never heard of before is pretty awesome. Coming across that artist’s blog and gaining all sorts of insight into his or her work and process is extra awesome.

Image: HuffingtonPost.com

That just happened for me with Meg Hitchcock. One way or another (who can really recount the spinning, winding way in which we all navigate the web these days) I ended up on the Huffington Post, checking out Meg’s spellbinding work. That it’s compelling is a no-brainer – intricate mandalas and organic shapes are always interesting to me, especially when they’re made up of text.

Image: HuffingtonPost.com

Fortunately, I looked a little deeper into the site and found Meg’s blog. Here she discusses her work in detail, and I learned a lot. For instance, I was blown away when I found out that this piece was not only made entirely of text from Salman Rushdie’s, The Satanic Verses, it also spells out an entire chapter of the Koran called, “Repentance.” The process, the message, and the meditation are all intense. I won’t go deep into an explanation on this work (you can read all about Rushdie’s controversial book here), and I don’t want to spoil what the artist has to say about her work, but I will say it can be very worthwhile to check out an artist’s blog.

I strongly encourage you to take a few moments to see if your favorite artists here on Zatista have blogs of their own. If so, it’s a great way to gain insights into the artwork, and who knows what other cool things you might learn? You may just want to own a piece of their artwork!

 

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June 26, 2012 | Posted by | No Comments

Kevin, I Think You’re Missing the Point

Image: WashingtonExaminer.com

A South Dakota court ruled recently that actor Kevin Costner was not at fault in a suit raised by sculptor Peggy Detmers. The artist claimed that Costner had breached a contract associated with a failed resort the actor had planned to build near a local casino. When plans for the property ceased moving forward, Costner installed the bronze sculpture, which depicts Native Americans pursuing buffalo, at another location, prompting the artist to sue him.

Image: morethanakevincostnerfan.blogspot.com

All-in-all, the case is an interesting education on the commerce of art. Detmers stated that she gave Costner a break on the price of the sculpture because she expected the piece to generate  interest in her work. Additional merchandising opportunities, including the potential for sales of miniature versions of the piece in the resort gift shop, never materialized once the development fell through.

Image: DetmersStudios.com

Indeed, $300,000 for upwards of ten life-sized sculptures does seem like a good deal. The bronze alone probably accounted for the bulk of that payment, and the artist spent more than six years on the work. Forget about working out an hourly rate – it’s probably safe to say that Detmers lost money on the deal. The contract called for Costner to sell the piece and split the proceeds with the sculptor should the resort not be constructed, but the actor (some might even call him an artist) sidestepped that contingency in court.

With all due respect Your Honor, I still feel like saying, “Come on Kevin, this isn’t Waterworld! There are rules here – or at least a little something called decency.” What’s your ruling? Share your thoughts with us here on WallSpin.

 

June 19, 2012 | Posted by | No Comments

We Love You So

Last month, children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak passed away at age 83. He will be remembered for his stylized illustrations and unique perspective, epitomized by his 1963 book Where the Wild Things Are.

Even though I was born sixteen years after its publication, I consider myself a part of the Wild Things generation. The truth is that the label has spanned almost every generation since the early 60s, so integral a part of American childhood has Sendak’s work become. To me it represented everything about my own muted capacity for rebellion as a child, a common bond between myself and my pre-k comrades in arms. We were all Max in our own minds, striving to subvert the (really quite reasonable) policies of our authoritarian parents.

Image: today.msnbc.msn.com

Finishing your peas and carrots? Bedtime? Who needed ‘em? I always secretly wished I could don my own animal costume and sail away with my hero. Something about Sendak’s words and images have real sticking power, which was never more clear than when director Spike Jonze embarked on the production of a movie based on the book. Reactions were passionate, bordering on vitriolic, and stories about 30-year-olds storming out of theaters in tears abounded when it was released.

Image: ProvLib.org

For so many of us, books are our first encounter with art, through the images on the pages. Maurice Sendak produced the best-of-the-best, iconic stuff that will endure and inspire for generations of wild things to come. Rest in peace, Mr. Sendak.

 

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