This was originally posted in 2005 on my old site which is no longer public but given my recent posts on climbing, I thought I’d give a bit of context to how climbing leaked out into other parts of my life.
I made these containers 30 years ago during my undergrad days at the University of Oregon Art and Architecture school. They are salt-fired stoneware with a temoku (dark iron) glaze that interacted with the salt.
The experiment was mixing media. I was an art student but also a serious rock climber and loved climbing gear so tried to work my love of perlon rope, knots, and Japanese printed fabric into my pieces as well.
These two were two of hundreds of experiments I did mixing other media into my work and the result was both visually interesting and also functional and useful.
This photo was scanned by Kodak years ago from a slide I took even more years ago so it’s not the best, but it’s all I’ve got because of this pair, only the piece on the left remains.
My Father's Tools from Wapikoni mobile on Vimeo.
This is a brilliant short video on the production of traditional baskets.
[via The Kid Should See This]
The photographer Steve McCurry has a show at the Rubin Museum in New York: Steve McCurry, India which I saw when I was in New York last Friday.
If you are anywhere near New York once the snow has cleared and you are remotely interested in photography, India, or a beautifully presented show, see this show. Seeing McCurry’s work printed this large and beautifully presented is breathtaking and his are some of the most iconic and magnificent images of life in India I’ve ever seen.
If you don’t know McCurry’s work, you might be familiar with his most iconic image for National Geographic: Afghan Girl.
I hadn’t been to the Rubin Museum before and I must say, it’s a beautiful place, easy to walk through and the presentation of artwork is excellent.
Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011
Note: They’re closed Tuesdays.
This show runs from November 18, 2015 – April 4, 2016 so you have time to wait until the snow melts.
I plan to be in New York again this Wednesday and I’ll be going back to this show, it’s that good.
The Long Game Part 3: Painting in the Dark from Delve on Vimeo.
“Painting in the Dark: The Struggle for Art in A World Obsessed with Popularity is the long overdue follow up to the Long Game Parts 1 & 2 which looked at the creative ups and downs of Leonardo da Vinci. In this new video essay, I’ve taken a look at the forgotten difficult years of another celebrated artist and wondered what it means for creative people working today.”
This is a fantastic video essay by Adam Westbrook that uses the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh to illustrate the idea that people who are driven to create, many times do so in obscurity without much recognition to drive them during their lifetimes.
It also illustrates the messiness of a growth process: people aren’t machines, they make good and bad choices in their lives and have ups and downs. No doubt some of our greatest minds (artists, scientists, and others) have never been discovered and their ideas go to the grave with them.
Adam has made other essays leading up to this one that you should have a look at as well. His Vimeo channel is: Delve.
This is a spectacular building with amazing attention to detail. If you enjoy things Japanese, watch this.
This is a brilliant video from PBS Digital Studios that examines the common reaction to at least some artwork: I could do that, or, my 4 year old could do that.
There has probably always been a cultural bias favoring things that are made that require obvious technical skill and practice (and maybe what we call “talent”). Of course, just because someone has skill, doesn’t mean that the things they make will be useful or aesthetically pleasing. Being able to draw realistically is a great skill but choosing what to draw is just if not more important.
Same with photography: knowing how to adjust the camera to get a perfectly exposed image doesn’t in any way give you the skill to point the camera in the right direction and push the shutter button at the right time.
And, in this world of social media and popularity contests, just because something is popular online doesn’t mean it’s a work of art. On the other hand, not all works of art that are put on a pedestal deserve to remain on their pedestals.
This is a traditional Japanese woodblock print by Shōkoku Yamamoto done between 1900 and 1910.
My flickr contact The Library of Congress has a nice collection of them: Japanese Prints: Seasons & Places.
More on Woodblock printing in Japan.
Consider how multiple colors are done, how registration is kept tight and all of this with more primitive tools than we have today.
A Walk Through the Gallery: Henri Matisse Cut-Outs at MoMA
This is a brilliant virtual tour of the show at the Museum of Modern Art that is now ending.
Anne and I saw this show early on and it was fantastic, almost overwhelming. I highly recommend taking some time and looking at this virtual tour. Zoom your browser window as large as you can get it.
More on Henri Matisse.
Verbank, New York.
A group of women (artists, a poet, and a chef) get together for a special “luck pot” dinner every now and then. Five years ago they asked me to join them as “photographer” and I did, using my Canon 5D and some nice lenses. They loved the images and so, asked me again. I warned them that I now have smaller cameras but I’d give it a go.
I took close to 300 images with both my Ricoh GR and Sony RX100 III and whittled them down to 150 which I burnt on DVDs and sent them. I did very little processing, just a bit of noise reduction and bumped exposure a bit on the GR images which tended to be a bit under exposed in the low light of an evening dinner party.
It’s fun doing this sort of thing: being in the house of an artist who has all sorts of interesting things to photograph and watching these women present their various dishes in aesthetically beautiful ways.
No doubt I could have gotten better images with a Canon 5D III and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens but the small cameras were good enough and much less intrusive.
The Ricoh GR with its bigger sensor made more detailed images with deeper color, but they were consistently under exposed and the camera hunted for focus a lot. The Sony RX100 III nailed focus perfectly, the articulating LCD was very useful and while exposure was almost always perfect, the images lack the depth of the GR (sensor size matters). I was glad to have both cameras and I have a Fuji X100T on order which I’d have enjoyed using as well if it had arrived on time.
This was not a paying job; I know almost all of this group well and I’m happy to do this for them. I gave them the images to do as they like with as long as they cite me as the photographer, don’t alter them before sharing, and don’t sell them.
In the end, doing this kind of shooting helps make me a better photographer and I got a very nice meal with some nice people on top of it.
Coffee and shadows
Samantha Bryan is a mixed media artist working in West Yorkshire, UK. This excellent short documentary about her and her work was done by R&A Collaborations.
Watching her put together these “fairies” is incredible. What amazing attention to detail.