Tag: art

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Teachable Murals

If there were alternate realities, in another my wife and I would have purchased what we call the Schoolhouse nearly five years ago. Location, nearby Alice Birney Elementary, was one of the appealing attributes—that and misguided speculation San Diego would never allow any type of overdevelopment nearby the kids.

A block-long, multi-residence high-rise is under construction across from the school and SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 restrictions kept away students for more than a year. Both are ambience-killers. We’re better off with the decision made in this reality.

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The Lawn God

I don’t know what to make of this thing. Do you? There is something about the, ah, artwork that conjures images of animal idols worshipped by ancient cultures. As such, I am somewhat hesitant to share the Featured Image, captured today using Leica Q2 Monochrom. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 12:44 p.m. PDT. I took another at f/2.8 but prefer this shot.

My understanding is that goats are often associated with the occult or Satan worship. For sure, there is a whole lot of potential symbolic imagery to associate with this thang—and all of it beyond my knowledge to decipher. For example, what’s that emblem on the metal stake through the skull? Are those hanging cogged machine wheels supposed to represent overly large testicles? Or do I make something out of nothing—someone having merely cobbled together junk to make a personal showpiece?

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Stump Sculpture

I vaguely remember when, a few years ago, one of my neighbors created this lawn art over the course of several days. Chainsaw comes to mind as main tool, but my recollection is sketchy. Until shooting the Featured Image, though, I didn’t understand that a massive, magnificent tree reached skyward several stories above the roof. Google Street View reveals what was.

The stump sculpture has aged quite nicely, baked in the San Diego sun.

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Your Art is Garbage

Honestly, if not for the storytelling value, you would not be looking at the homage to narcissism that is the Featured Image. While walking in the San Diego neighborhood of University Heights on Sept. 6, 2021, my wife spotted something in the middle of the intersection at Georgia and Meade. She fetched what turned out to be a mounted print laying face down on the asphalt. Somewhat shocked by the strangeness of the find, she set the abandoned art against a utility poll, pulled out iPhone XS, and snapped a photo. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/530 sec, 26mm; 6:13 p.m. PDT.

I find the thing to be rather repulsive. Near as I can understand from standard web searching, the print is “Armed Forces” from the Hat Series by Chinese painter Yue Minjun. His works depict himself—so, yeah, he is each of the seven smiling weirdos that you see. There’s something oh-so unsettling and insanely appropriate about his style at a time when social media and smartphones propagate narcissists like mold in the damp walls of a leaky house.

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Aspiration is a Long Way from Talent

My artistic talents peaked in first grade and never improved. That school year, I won my one, and only, award for them—and decades later I doubt doing better, if as well, as the ribbon-winner that is the Featured Image. I vaguely remember making this drawing, with the teacher looking over my shoulder either to offer praise or suggestions; perhaps both.

The next clear recollection is my mom talking on the party line to see who would win, my anticipation, and both our excitement at the news. Gosh, I felt so proud. The next day, the second-grade winner and I basked in the limelight and awaited our prize. What would it be? Speculation killed me. Then, with modest fanfare, the teacher presented each of us with a proper drawing pad and black marker. I was crushed. How boring.

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‘Not Politically Correct’

Yesterday, as my wife and I walked along the alley separating Louisiana and Mississippi, between Meade and Monroe, she stopped, then said: it’s “not politically correct”, referring to a framed poster that I hadn’t seen. People put out giveaways all the time, and art ranks low on my interest meter; hence my blind disregard for an object worth inspection. Not only is her statement accurate, it could explain why someone discarded the thing. With all the hubbub about systemic racism, the caricatures could offend someone. Perhaps raised awareness led the owner to let go the wall hanging. Click through to the Featured Image, and you tell me.

I used Leica Q2 to make the moment, choosing to leave the framed poster leaning as we found it, rather than repositioning for the shot. Composition intentionally reveals some of the alley, for context. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4.5, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 9:29 a.m PDT.

Nemu-Nemu

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhtnpEuRqEg]   Here is my third video interview from San Diego Comic-Con 2010 (but fourth recorded). I’ll finish editing and posting the other videos by end of week. Here, I speak with “Nemu Nemu” […]