Matt Woodward’s artwork is reminiscent of a daydream or of recapturing only a part of a memory; you know it is there, and yet it is never quite within your grasp. You sense it, yet can not see it. I was touched by it from the first impression. Woodward is a Chicago based artist whose work is inspired by the “memories of grandeur” implicit in the decay he experiences in the architecture and environment around him.
I had a chance to ask him about his work, the following are excerpts from that conversation:
“It is tough to get into all that (when asked what inspires his creativity)… (more…)
The work of Sara Schneckloth strives to embody moments of remembering. The emotions and memories from our past experiences leave their mark on more than our minds, they affect the function of our organs, our bodies, today. This thought informs Schneckloth’s work as she seeks to channel her painful memories into emotive lines of charcoal on paper.
The following are excerpts from an interview with Leslie Hinton:
I like to have a sense of a loose structure in which I can invent and explore the themes that are most relevant, but it is rarely a pre-determined event. Drawing lends itself to this kind of immediacy, in terms of both materials and how they are handled, and there is always the sense for me that I’m witnessing a thought evolve as I work. The initial phases of the process are much more visceral/intuitive than pre-conceived and intellectualized, but there is (more…)
Graphic designers Pierre & Damien of PleaseLetMeDesign.com recruited belgian racer Stef van Campenhoudt to create a font by tracking the movements of a car with custom software designed by interactive artist Zachary Lieberman of OpenFrameworks.cc and the results are quite entertaining to watch!
This chalk board stop animation music video, directed by Lucinda Schreiber and Yanni Kronenberg, was designed from the stills of a chalk drawing. It’s absolutely beautiful and inspiring. The music is by Firekites. (Discovered via Mashable)
Joshua Allen Harris is a NY street artist who is just doing as any native folk artist does; using the materials of his environment to create something special. The native environment of NYC consists of discarded trash and underground air vents. The result: Lifelike trash monsters who come to life as the vents release air, and then fall again, melting like a wicked witch. What a lift that must be to the unsuspecting passerby!
360° panorama of of the Night Sky from Racetrack Playa in Death Valley. The Milky Way Galaxy is the arc of stars visible in the center of the image. Click to Enlarge:
This amazing image was taken by Dan Duriscoe, for the U.S. National Park Service. The 360-degree full-sky panorama is a composite of 30 images taken in Racetrack Playa in 2005. The image has been digitally processed and increasingly stretched at high altitudes to make it rectangular. A “sailing stone” is also seen in the foreground on the image. In the background is a majestic night sky, featuring thousands of stars and many constellations. The arch across the middle is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy.
When I first discovered this image it was without reference and contained no information. I was spellbound because of it’s excellent balance and composition. So, I set out to discover the original source. Fortunately, I was able to do so. In the mean time, I posted a link to the image on Twitter. The link took off like wildfire and was repeatedly re-tweeted such that the image received 300 hits within 3 hours (as tracked by tr.im). That made me all the more determined to discover the photographer. I hope you enjoyed it.
Considering the work of Henry Darger, it strikes me that we live in a world full of secrets. Occasionally, one gets out.
It was on the day after his birthday, and the last day of his life, that the reclusive hospital janitor’s extraordinary secret life was discovered…
Illustration from The Story of the Vivian Girls by Henry Darger (Click to enlarge)
Henry Darger was born in 1892, and after his parents died at a young age, he was raised in an “Asylum for Feeble Minded Children”. At the asylum he was subject to harsh punishments and forced labor and ultimately escaped a year before the asylum was investigated for abuse. Once free, he found work as a janitor, attended daily Catholic Mass and lived a quiet solitary life in which almost no one knew him or noticed him.
On April 13th, 1973, the last day of Henry Darger’s life, landlord (and accomplished photographer), Nathan Lerner opened the door to the small second story Chicago apartment where Darger had lived in solitude for 40 years. At that time, Darger had been moved to the St. Augustine Mission because of his failing health. Among Darger’s personal affects, Lerner uncovered several astounding works of literature and hundreds of works of art, all created in secret by Henry Darger.
Among these were:
a 15,000 page work of fantasy fiction called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion;
a 5,000 page autobiography entitled The History of my Life;
a 10-year daily weather journal;
a 10,000 page novel entitled Crazy House
Several hundred original illustrations and water color paintings depicting the plight of young children against oppressive and evil adults.
Darger’s images were often violent, even brutal, displaying the torture and murder of the children in his stories. They can also be very colorful, playful, sincere and innocent. Darger surely drew upon his life experiences in the asylum. His unique style has given rise to the term “Dargerism”. The American Folk Art Museum calls Darger “one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century”.
Nathan Lerner, Darger’s landlord, “was inextricably bound up in the history of visual culture in Chicago” (according to the New York Times), and instantly recognized the artistic merit of Darger’s compositions. It was a truly remarkable coincidence that someone, such as Lerner, should be the first to see Darger’s secret works. Under most other circumstances all of his artwork and stories would surely have been lost forever. Nathan Lerner, and his wife Kiyoko, gained the rights to Darger’s estate and have brought the world’s attention to it. Since Lerner’s discovery, Darger’s artwork has achieved wide acclaim as “outsider art“. His stories and paintings (and mental status) have become the subject of books and documentary films.
In The Story of The Vivian Girls, we come to learn that the Earth is actually orbiting a larger planet, much as the moon orbits the Earth. It is upon this larger world that Darger’s story takes place. I believe that for Darger, the inner fantasy world was larger than his reality, and his reality simply orbited this other, more important fantasy world. In Darger’s world, abused children are avenged and innocence conquers all.
Darger’s body now rests in All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, Illinois, in a plot called “The Old People of the Little Sisters of the Poor Plot.” Darger’s modest headstone is inscribed “Artist” and “Protector of Children.”
Several examples of Darger’s larger works (click to enlarge):
Texas “dirty car artist” Scott Wade (pictured here recreating Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”) has found an artistic use for the ever present dust collecting on his car. He has recieved a good bit of notoriety for his creations which wash away with tomorrows rain.
“I don’t do this to try and create immortal works of art” says Wade. “We aren’t going to be around forever, and nothing we do is going to last forever as much as we’d like it to. We need to learn to let go of that I think, and just enjoy what’s here.”
When asked which of his works is his favorite, Wade replies “the next one!”
Later this year, Scott will be creating a special piece for the Atlanta Arts Festival.Correction: Scott Wade created a special piece for the Atlanta Arts Festival in 2008.