Tag Archives: art

Art site back up.


Art site is back up with subdomain working happy to say but not happy that the down was caused by yours-truly making a mistake doing something as simple as changing dns settings. Yes – head hanging in shame.

Otherwise – busy busy working on comic strip, learning virtual reality and were that not enough and as I mentioned previously, doing a python course. I’ll admit that after the initial shock to my right-hemisphere-dominated brain had passed I’m even beginning to enjoy giving the left side a work out.

Otherwise and talking about the comic strip – below is a screen capture of the Krita UI in which I’m drawing an action that involves the story’s protagonist being shown a way to escape being shot by rogue police – the story is set in the early stages of a civilization in an advanced state of decay. The picture shows my methodology when drawing humans in action and basically just relies on first establishing a line of action, then a stick figure and then fleshing it out and finally adding details. Such as folds in clothes which are problematic in that folds which can be either stretch or gather are often very tricky to get right. The issue is and one that is not so obvious is that our perception or memory of any object is usually dominated by the up and down forgetting the fore and aft. That being if we can usually easily know or can guess how wide and how high something is, it is more difficult to work out and draw how deep it is. I find I have to conscientiously keep this in mind as a mistake in depth is often the reason something just doesn’t look right.

Quick – come!







My other site down and stuff.

Other than working on the comic strip I’m also looking at ways to upload 3d and virtual reality content to the Internet and have run into a few problems. One of those is that WordPress which ‘powers’ this and my other website does not support interactive content other than with a plug-in that enables 3d images and video but not the game-like interactivity I want. The WordPress blog says they are working on this but a possible solution could be to upload the VR content to a standard site and then link it into the WP sites using iframe. Something tells me it won’t work but with enthusiasm and determination to try this workaround I created a subdomain to the WordPress art site only to find it wasn’t visible.

My entrails told me this was going to become a major problem and so contacted the tech support people who advised I needed to change where the DNS points and in ‘up to 24 hours’ the change would propagate and all would be hunky dory. No worries and phew – my entrails were wrong, I did as instructed and found that the change also took the main site off air but a day would not be a major issue. That was three days ago and so far the change has propagated to two – yes two – countries. Now waiting for the good tech people to get back to me with a solution and so can’t say when the art site will be back up.

Talking about entrails and technology-related health issues, I surrendered under the duress of VR creation to the need to upgrade my coding skills and am now spending time learning Python and Java. I kid you not – when I look at code I have an allergic reaction that manifests itself as stomach cramps, sweaty palms and dizziness.  Still, I’m managing to finish modules and maybe this gradual acclimatization to complicated shallow thinking will cure what to a creative person is as boring as watching paint dry. To explain – a creative work is born deep within and then by force of having to manifest itself to the world, it rises up as Ginsberg explained and spews out of the artist. Today with virtual reality creating a space accessible to anyone with an Internet connection there is no escape from learning the tools needed to place texts of all kinds within this space. Actually, virtual reality is not new – Michael Angelo’s Sistine chapel paintings create a virtual environment designed to give the Renaissance peasant a vision of what heaven and hell could be. Pretty sure that had he lived today he would dump paintbrush, hammer and chisel for camera and computer.

OK and other than we are all happy the Thai boys were found safe and healthy, I’ll just dump a link here to a recent Human Rights Watch report on the treatment of gays in Indonesia. If you believe human rights are important including those of people you don’t like or agree with, then maybe cancel that holiday in Indonesia? Who would want to visit a nation where men – for whatever reason – are paraded naked in front of a jeering crowd?

Body and (great) art.

About the boy.

I know, I know, I bang on a lot about ‘the boy’ and some I know question my motives for doing so. The simple answer could be that I just like upsetting people but that would not be true, the question is important with regard to culture and society and so much so Greer wrote a book and made a television documentary on the subject of what she called the ‘beautiful boy’. On the back jacket of the book she declared her intention as follows, ‘I’d like to reclaim for women the right to appreciate the short-lived beauty of boys’.

The book and television documentary drew a lot of criticism with Australian tabloid newspapers accusing her of being a ‘once great academic who was now just a silly old woman’ when they did not outright call her a pedophile. Pedophile I don’t know but great academic she could arguably be and there had to be good reason she identified the ‘beautiful boy’ as something important to female equality. She suggests one reason herself – the boy, she writes, is the most ubiquitous representation of the human form in western art from the renaissance up unto, she claims, the nineteenth century when mysteriously he disappears from art gallery walls. In a well-received essay I wrote over ten years ago, I argued the boy did not disappear in the nineteenth century as a result of women gaining access to art galleries as Greer claims but rather disappeared in the nineteen seventies and as a result of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) been run over by the feminist/LGBTQI movement. Visconti’s 1971 screen adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novelette “Death in Venice” is probably the last major work of art which discuses and celebrates art and culture as embodied in and informed by the ‘beautiful boy’.

This is where the interest, mine included, lies; western art and culture in all its exceptional manifestations is undeniably based on the young male aesthetic and that not just since the renaissance but since antiquity. Many have pointed out the high points of western civilization are also the periods when the most statues, paintings and written texts were created and that celebrate the beauty of young males. Any alien scientist studying the human species would make that observation and declare there must exist a connection between freedom to appreciate the beauty of young males and the creation of great art. Greer made that connection but where she could well have been a ‘silly old woman’ was in the belief that right could be reclaimed (implying it was previously denied) and women would go on to produce works equivalent to those of the best of the male-created masterpieces. She got it all wrong in focusing on the gender and sexual aspects of the issue and she suffered the consequences of that mistake so easily made by someone who does not understand what s/he is trying to discuss. Greer and all those who only see the sexual should read / reread the following passage in Death in Venice,

Ashenbash has received a letter asking him to contribute to a discussion on ‘a certain important cultural problem’ and one Mann writes, ‘that is close to his experience’. Ashenbach, (a famous author in the book and musician in the film) sits down at a table by the beach to write a response – Tadzio, the beautiful boy, is as usual loitering in sight of the writer.

“And what he craved, indeed, was to work on it in Tadzio’s presence, to take the boy’s physique for a model as he wrote, to let his style follow the lineaments of this body which he saw as divine, and to carry its beauty on high into the spiritual world, as the eagle once carried the Trojan shepherd boy into the ether. Never had he felt the joy of the word more sweetly, never had he known so clearly that Eros dwells in language, as during those perilously precious hours in which, seated at his rough table under the awning, in full view of his idol and with the music of his voice in his ears, he shaped upon Tadzio’s beauty his brief essay – that page and a half of exquisite prose which with its limpid nobility and vibrant controlled passion was soon to win the admiration of many.”

In brief and pulling no punches because I and others are getting sick and tired of having to continuously explain ourselves to the most ignorant and prejudiced people God ever breathed life into, if you don’t understand how style can follow the human form in what is its most uncompromised expression then please go fuck yourself or – male or female or as yet not classified – go jerk off to the best of your Kylie video collection.

Yep – it’s a comic strip.

Despite being superstitious about sharing details of a project I think it won’t draw evil upon my current project if i share a few screen shots and words about the why , what and how.

Basically as all reading this blog over the past few years would know, I tend to be like a kid in a toy store when it comes to projects and in particular anything related to the visual arts and story telling. I have a few roughed out books on my hard drive sitting beside a few short near-completed animations and plenty more of the same begging exit from the creative section of my brain. I’m one those people who dive into something and when the creative process is completed and it’s no longer fun and games, I get bored and look for something else to play with. Either that or I go into one of my recurring bouts of clinical depression and select all and delete. I’m sure many can relate to that and the bit where later you find yourself madly going through files on the external hard drive hoping there was a backed-up copy you had forgotten existed. To be fair to myself, some projects are beyond what a person can create by themselves.

Problem is I’m not getting any younger and would like to actually complete a major project and so and summing up what I know and my skill portfolio, I decided a comic strip would be the best option even if figure drawing, the most important skill in comic strip creation, is something I have not done for well over a decade. As my father used to say ‘there is no such thing as the perfect circumstances to start something’, and he was right, at some point if you burn to do or create something then just jump in and get started. Sort out the problems as you go along.

So with no small amount of self-doubt I dragged out from the dark corners of a back-up hard drive a script previously written for an animation based on actual life events experienced by street kids I worked with in the past and went about re-writing it as a story that could be told in drawn frames and speech bubbles. When that was done and there no excuse left, I fired up Krita, the open source paint application, and after a first test (previously posted on this blog) to get a feel for the software which I rarely used before, started roughing out page number One.

I can confirm from that initial experience that drawing people is difficult if there was any lingering doubt in anyone’s mind but as I progress through this work a new problem is becoming apparent and it is that like the proverbial ability to ride a bicycle, long lost figure drawing skills are beginning to return which means I will be going back over the already sketched out pages. My work method is from the written story I sketch out a rough and entirely hand drawn version of each page and then work up a version that is still a pencil sketch but closer to what will later be inked, painted with speech bubbles and text added in the end.  What I’m finding is that the second pencil sketch done using for example Blender 3D to assist with tricky perspective is not as alive as the entirely hand-drawn rough. Below is an example where this difference is apparent. The second version is more detailed and has some obvious background changes but clearly relying less on intuition and spontaneity is I think not as good as the original could be when my confidence returns and I can work with at most a perspective grid.

screen shot of the intial pencil sketch.

Initial sketch that to me communicates the character’s emotional state better than the second sketch of this page (below) which made greater use of software in the drawing process.

Changes to background with computer assistance in drawing the main character.


Miscellaneous subjects.

Everyone getting bored with this Cambridge Analytica bullshit? Our local ABC rebroadcast the BBC report with all the secret footage in which the CEO of Cambridge Analytica disclosed their outrageous methodology such as setting up a politician with a prostitute and disseminating fake news. What? I mean like that’s as worn out a strategy as the story Marcus Inventicus spread around the Forum that Caesar sucked Brutus’ dick. Accepting bribe money? Any politician silly enough to take a brown paper bag under a restaurant table deserves to be jailed. I mean like what is the world coming to? In the past the secret service would set up a whistleblower, honest politician, journalist with the murder of a housewife, have him commit suicide by shooting himself twice in the head and at the very least if sex it must be, make it an under-age boy. No don’t shake your head in disbelief, ‘they’ tried that on a well-known journalist right here in the land of a fair-go and meat pies.

Anyways, the good news is some are seeking in their small way to address the important issues facing life on Earth including the mother and two kids who turned up at the local supermarket on the rather extraordinary electric bicycle below. Not sure if a front-hub motor is a good choice in this case but design considerations aside – it’s top marks for doing something real for the kids’ future.

Electric bike with added seats for kids.

Wasn’t quick enough getting the camera out to snap bike, mum and kids together which believe me, is a shame…

And photos in the alleyway. Not a new idea but first time I’ve seen this in Katoomba. Can’t attribute as the artist didn’t leave a business card on the wall.

Old family style photos stuck on brick wall in Katoomba. Old family style photos stuck on brick wall in Katoomba. Old family style photos stuck on brick wall in Katoomba. Old family style photos stuck on brick wall in Katoomba.

Life goes on.

Trollops in the pond picture taken down from Manchester Gallery walls.

Laugh out Loud – you might have read about how the painting below was taken down from the walls of the Manchester gallery as “exploitive of women”. The official excuse given by curator Clare Gallaway was that the act of taking it down was in itself a work of art designed to start a conversation. About what – whether the picture exploits women or not? Missed completely is the fact the painting if anything is dismissive of women and certainly not exploitive because the artist does obviously not consider women worth exploiting.

Hylas and the Nymphs - Waterhouse 1896. painting of Hylas a young male been seduced into jumping into a pond full of pubescent Nymphs.

Silly boy.

OK – let’s start from the beginning. What we have is a young male been drawn into a pond full of little trollops. Notice how all the females appear stamped out of the same mould with very little variation between them and that they are at an age where they are visibly becoming women but are not quiet there and so are representative of the feminine that is neither mother nor wife and barely sexual partner. Feminine stripped of individuality, seductive maybe but mostly useless because any meaningful relationship is impossible.
Now, the male, Hylas is depicted as a beautiful youth on the cusp of full manhood, a strong individual he is clad in a clinging robe that describes his body near as well as would nakedness and were that not enough indication of his potential as a sexual partner, the robe is held in place by a bright red sash – so you the viewer can’t miss it. One good tug and the gymnastics are on. Sex is present in this painting but it’s sex that does not involve the Nymphs. Hylas’ lover and sexual partner is absent from this picture.

The back-story tells us Hylas was ‘a servant’ of Heracles and I think it safe to say ‘servant’ in this context means younger lover. The poet Theocritus wrote about the love between Hylas and Heracles in the 3rd century BC. Hylas was so beautiful the Nymphs collectively fell in love with him and devised a plan to get him for their own immoral purposes. They seduce him, kidnap him, Heracles looks for him but eventually gives up. The painting shows the silly boy been drawn into the trollop pond and his destruction.
Morality? Young beautiful men should stay with their man lovers until ready to marry and not allow themselves to be seduced by loose little trollops.

1898 the year this painting was created was the time of Oscar Wilde’s trial and incarceration and this painting fits well into that era of what we call gay rights now but then was more social movement seeking acceptance of relationships between same-gender youth and adults. What they called Greek love. The debate was widespread throughout Europe between the elite, artists and writers and other intellectuals. This painting could easily be seen as part of that debate and have nothing at all to do with ‘exploitation of women’ as understood today. I find it incomprehensible that a woman who is curator of a major public gallery could misread a painting to the point of giving it a completely false interpretation. Or did she? By taking the painting down and framing the debate as one about the alleged past exploitation of women she draws public attention away from the actual meaning of Waterhouse’s work.