sakura marker and watercolour on bristol paper by Etsy artist srichter
Recently, I’ve been fiddling around with black ink line drawings on white paper. A simple enough idea, my family calls “doodling.” But, these days, there’s a new word for these line drawings: Zentangle. I admit there’s something a little obsessive about these drawings. My family sometimes wonders what evil spirits compel me to throw such detail and complexity onto a relatively small piece of paper. But, there is something elemental about a simple black line on white paper. That’s why Etsy artist srichter’s art caught my eye.
The subtle addition of colors adds extra dimension to this drawing by srichter
Srichter adds watercolor to the line drawings, creating vivid, mythological worlds that are both realistic and slightly tipsy. What make srichter’s art complex aren’t the lines themselves, but the patterns that emerge under the artist’s hand. These pieces are an excellent example of the old trope that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
In the midst of an amazing experience viewing European art, my son and I stumbled into a world of light, shadows, and an oddly graceful mechanical ballet. U-Ram Choe’s “New Urban Species” exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville is called “kinetic sculpture” but there aren’t really words to describe what Choe does.
When we first saw this piece, the flowers were unlit and all we saw were the tendrils of light. When we walked back through, the flowers were opening and closing, going from dark to light.
Choe, born in Korea in 1970, combines robotics, botany, and art history. The Frist presented Choe’s work perfectly against the dim lights and dark walls of a small, intimate gallery. Hung from the ceiling were conglomerates of gears and metal parts that rotated or opened and shut like the most delicate flower buds. The precise shadows cast by the sculptures created a further layer to each piece, adding to the sense that what we were seeing — though constructed with cold hard metal and precise machination — was somehow alive and supernatural.
If you have ever wanted to have your breath taken away, go see Choe’s exhibit at the Frist. If you can’t do that, he has a website with a well-done gallery of his pieces that shows his evolution as an artist. There are also videos on the website. (http://www.uram.net/) As good as the photographs on the website are, they don’t begin to do justice to the power and imagination of Choe’s art.
Golden Venice - A piece from a series by Lana Rabinovich from Fine Embroidery on Etsy
Lana Rabinovich’s award-winning embroidery is a feast for the eyes and the imagination. Rabinovich is the owner of Fine Embroidery, with two shops on Etsy and a website http://www.embroideryny.com/index.html. She works closely with individual clients, fashion designers, and interior designers to create unique pieces. Her work has been featured in Elle and Stitches magazines.
Close up detail of the amazing embroidery in Golden Venice
Rabinovich is inspired by romantic historical images, in particular the unique masks of Venetian carnival. She used Dupioni silk as the canvas and also incorporated pieces of velvet, satin, organza, tulle, silk, suede, lace and irridescent fabric in the finely detailed work.Embroidered details placed on hand painted “Dupioni” silk.
Browsing through Etsy on a dull post-Christmas morning, I came across lucybones. (http://www.etsy.com/shop/lucybones). Lucybones incorporates nature into the art in a unique way. For instance, “Stem” is an original oil painting and photomicrograph on Hahnemuhle William Turner 310 gsm paper. The subject of this piece is bamboo.
Stem by lucybones on Etsy
“Warmth” is another oil painting and photomicrograph.
Warmth by lucybones on Etsy
The subject of “Warmth” is a silicone breast implant. Lucybones draws on her appreciation of “the unseen world of minerals, plants, and animals” in her art.
Before Christmas, I was thinking about creativity and analogy. I’ve read that very creative people are those who can think in analogies. The Private Eye is an education program based on encouraging just such thinking. Creativity is fostered by looking at common objects through a jeweler’s loupe and asking questions like, “this reminds me of…” or “When I see this it makes me think of…” When I see lucybones’s art, it makes me think she is a master of analogy, for it’s not just anyone who can find warmth and beauty in a silicone breast implant!
As artists, we should all make a New Year’s resolution to look at the things around us with fresh eyes.
Cromora Nicholson, Tightrope Walker Extraordinaire by the Filigree
ScareCrow Moni by thefiligree
Imagine a world where mermaidens sink ships, scarecrows compete to see who is scariest, and the clouds dance in the red glow of October’s Blood Moon. Just such a world exists. Last weekend at the Dickens Christmas Festival in Franklin, Tennessee I was bored by the usual jewelry and pottery vendors and tempted by the fried pie booth (which, oddly enough, was right next door to a booth extolling the benefits of cosmetic surgery) when I was captured by an odd creature about two feet tall offering me a maggot on a serving tray. The creature–a candy troll – was warty and wrinkly and strangely endearing.
Candy Trolls Confectionary
I had stumbled into the world of The Filigree.
The Filigree is actually a newspaper, brilliantly edited by Celena Cavala, that is published four times a year. Articles like Summer solstice in Sangamon Forest – Butterfield Sisters Host Fancy Dress Ball, and State of the Art Haunting – Old School Style at Vic’s Meatatorium, cover the exploits and tragedies of the imaginary population of the Filigree world. Cleverly illustrated advertisements tout the benefit of fantasy products like Never Die Life Elixir and Ligeria Formula stain remover. There are even classifieds, like this one from the Autumn 09 Issue:
“Gorgeous assorted colored glass bottles Empty but very large capacity. Maybe even bottomless as my sister fit a very small storm in one of the blue ones.”
This is no flimsy, gimmacky tabloid. The newspaper is substantial and well done. The writing is engagingly whimsical and original and the artwork (drawings and photos) is excellent. But the best thing about this newspaper is that it “covers” the exploits and tragedies of the imaginary population of the filigree world.
This is where Martin Obakke, Artistic Director of the Filigree, struts his stuff. Obakke brings to life these fascinating creatures, dubbed Filigreetures, with a variety of mediums including resin and polymer clay. Filagreetures are lifelike and etherial at the same time. I would not have been surprised if one of the Filigreetures at the festival drifted up with a gentle breeze and landed on my shoulder. The latent movement contained in these creatures is so powerful, you can’t help suspected they change position in the blink of an eye. Even the clothes in which they are dressed – whispy clouds of thin cotton – take on life, draping the creatures like a gown on a Greek statue.
The marriage of the art and the word enhances the power of each form. It creates a launch pad for the imagination. Subscriptions to the newspaper are only six dollars for one year. The Filigreetures aren’t cheap, but it would be worth it to have one of Obakke’s creations join your household. A selection of black and white photographic prints – filigraphy -are also available. Be sure to look through the Gallery on the Filigry website. ( http://www.thefiligree.com/?content=gallery) The mermaidens escaping from underwater after causing a shipwreck in The Sinking of the Concordia is heart-wrenchingly elegant. But, be warned! A tour through the Filigree’s gallery and newspaper will make you want to lay aside your grown-up things and BELIEVE.
Cromora Nicholson once again claims Crown by the Filigree