Tuesday, May 4, 2010

John Pugh

John Pugh is an artist who is best known for creating trompe-l’oeil paintings who are, more often than not, done on murals. His mural paintings are extremely realistic and life-like. When you look at his artwork, you really have to focus on the painting in order to find out what is real and what is not because he blends his artwork with buildings. When one observes his artwork, one would believe that it is real and would experience different emotions depending on the artwork. The people and animals that Pugh paints seem so real that you would need to touch them to find out that they are not. When the artist painted a mural that had a broken wall that led into a museum, one would believe that it was real and would have to walk straight into the wall and hit their face to find out that it is only paint. Everything he paints seems so real because it fools us into believing that it is in three-dimensional. Instead, he creates an illusion and it must be viewed with not only your eyes, but also your touch.
When an audience views his artworks, they cannot help but be intrigued because humans are naturally attracted to illusions and are fascinated by them. People can easily relate to his works because they show a sense of realism and day-to-day activity. There are no particular themes to his paintings and there is not the slight bit of abstract that is found in them. His mural paintings blend in with the building it is painted on. It matches the architectural style of the building, it blends in with the area in general where the building is located and it sometime’s has a historical meaning to it. Its scale varies depending on the wall of the building John Pugh must paint on, but they are usually life-size. If he paints a woman, she will be about the average size of a woman, but if he paints a title wave, the painting will be the actual size of a real one.
Once again, I love any artwork that has to do with realism because I feel that I can connect with the paintings, and I do not have to find the hidden message of the artwork. The simple fact that an artist can reproduce a life-like object, area or person and that they are able to trick their audience into believing that they are real fascinates me. This makes John Pugh’s one of my favourite artists, along with Ron Muek.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pink Floyd The Wall Part 2

The first song that I analyzed was in the Flesh? written by Roger Waters. So far, I have explained the true meaning of the song as well as the two different interpretations people had when they listened to it. Now when it comes to comparing the lyrics to the imagery found in Pink Floyd The Wall, we notice that Roger uses both interpretations in the scene, which makes the clip very fascinating. The first interpretation is that of Pink Floyd fans who are attending Rogers' concert and the second one is that of soldiers fighting in World War II which represents how you need violence and not love in order to survive in life. When the instruments are playing but the vocals have not yet started, we see teenagers how are rioting on the streets, rebelling against police officers, getting searched and taken in for drug possession and everyone is fighting and breaking whatever is in their sight. The scene then changes and soldiers are seen fighting for their lives on a field. We do not see the enemy, only the fighting, wounded or dying soldiers. People are getting hit by bullets and killed by explosions. As the lead singer of the song ‘’in the Flesh?’’ starts to sing, the scene changes. As he is singing, you see Pink, the main character of the movie, coming out on a huge balcony and he talks as if he is singing the song. He is dressed up as Hitler, his eyebrows are shaved off and he is talking to an audience, the rioting teenagers who are now silent and in awe. This was a perfect way to combine the two interpretations of the song. The rioting teenagers were now looking up to an authoritive figure that happened to be a mimic of Hitler himself, the man who caused World War II, making the children take the role of the Nazis. Flags that resembled those of the Nazis were hung up for everyone to see and torches are everywhere in the open area. The flags are vertical, black with a circle in the middle with a picture of two intertwining hammers. There are many different interpretations on the criss crossed hammers symbol but for this particular scene, I believe that it is a symbol of the Nazis. Instead of using marching soldiers in the movie, Roger used ‘’marching’’ hammers and they are best known for one thing: destruction. It is a metaphor that suggests that Nazis only did one thing, and that was to destroy whatever was on their path. You would also hear people screaming ‘’ Hammer! Hammer!’’ throughout the movie, which also suggests the symbolism of the Nazis.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Theo Jansen

Theo Jansen’s artworks are unique and can be quite awkward because they are unfamiliar to us. Jansen is an engineer and sculptor; therefore, he combines both of his occupations into his artworks. The result is that of some sort of animated walking skeleton of an inexistent animal. Theo calls them his ‘’creatures’’ and talks about them as if they were truly alive. They are highly good for the environment because they feed on wind and live by water. With the help of the wind, they can move on their own and their nose always follows the wind. Once the ‘’creature’’ encounters an object that is blocking its way or is at the other end of the beach, the brain of the artwork makes it turn to the opposite direction and carries on its way. If the artwork touches water or dry sand, a tube that is linked to the brain will suck in some of the water, then force it back out which will make it go to the moist sand so it will not stay stuck nor be destroyed. Jansen would say that it is their way of survival. When the object senses that a storm is coming, it hammers itself into the sand in order to stay in place and not follow the tide into the sea. However, it is still not entirely independent. Once it has hammered itself to the ground, it cannot come out without the help of its creator. Some of the creations have ‘’wings’’ that are flicker gracefully in the wind, which makes them move. What is strange about those creations is that Theo does not try to make them look like any mixture of animals we know, such as a lion and a goat, nor does he try to add skin, colour or expressions. What he seems to want is to focus on the engineering itself so it can be able to walk, protect itself and basically act like other wild animals. The artworks move like some sort of insect like spiders and it has the shape of a skeleton. Its scale varies but it usually quite big, but is light enough to be able to be pushed by the wind. Theo Jansen dreams that his creatures will eventually travel around in herds on the beach independently without the help of their creator. However, what would the people who are tanning on the beach think of this? Theo does not seem to care because he believes that they are wild creatures that will roam freely.

Friday, April 16, 2010

In the Flesh? - Pink Floyd The Wall Part 1

I have been working on my Pink Floyd essay for well over a month now and I believe I understand it well enough to post it online. I had to find out wither the the imagery corresponds to the lyrics metaphorically or literally in Pink Floyd the Wall but before I answer my thesis, I believe we need to touch on the movie's producers background. I have also found out that the historical background of an artwork, wither it is a painting, sculpture or movie is extremely important because it helps you understand the work of art. In Pink Floyd the Wall, you need to know that the main character in the movie named Pink, is based on Roger Waters life and that both of them have lost their fathers at World War II and have been greatly affected by the war, they both had a lot of trouble with stardom. and they both tried to create a mental wall around them.
As I was analyzing '' In the Flesh?'', I found out that there were two different interpretations of the song. At first, we believe that the song is about an audience that will go to a Pink Floyd show. Then, we notice that Roger Waters is trying to explain in the lyrics that you want to feel comfortable and accepted by the world but that you will surely be disappointed. He is trying to imply that you need violence instead of love in order to get along with life. Waters uses the phrase '’ go to the show’’ as a metaphor that explains the feeling of acceptance he wants out of life and uses "cold eyes" and "disguise(s)" as well as rioting teenagers and fighting soldiers to express the violence needed to survive life. The significance of the first of the final words spoken in the song, that is, "Lights! Turn on the sound effects! Action!» announces Pinks birth and the final few words "Drop it, drop it on 'em! Drop it on them!" signifies Pink’s first brick, the death of his father.
So so far, the historical context is extremely relevant because we know that Roger Waters is the singer of Pink Floyd and that he has seen rioting teenagers attend his show, and then we understand how Roger feels about the war. So it is a type of biographical movie that is based on his life that is yet fictional as well and full of metaphors. If one did not know of Roger's past and that he had once sang for Pink Floyd and is the producer of the movie, they would not enjoy the artwork as much as they could and they would not understand it all that well either.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Oustanding Field

So far, we have seen paintings, sculptures, modern day architecture, different forms of realism, but nothing like the style of Jim Denevan. He is an extremely fascinating artist because he uses his love of nature and nature itself to create his artworks. Every single one of his artworks is located outside, that is, on the beach, in urban gardens, in community gardens and even on farms. They are all situated at different locations, and the scales vary tremendously. They can be miles big or take place in a small garden. I would say that the treatment would be natural since it has to do with the environment, and nothing else. Jim Denevan has hosted the Outstanding Field about seventy-five times. This event is the gathering of hundreds of who reunite on a farm to eat a five-course dinner. All of the food has either been grown on the farm or comes from one hundred mile radius from it. Chefs cook the food on the spot and the people must bring their own plates, which they call: the sisterhood of the traveling plates. People pay one hundred and eighty dollars to eat lunch on the farm and these farm feasts are organized in order to make people understand where their food comes from. This feast is a cross between a picnic and an art performance. The Outstanding Field is considered a work of art by Denevan which to me is very interesting since there are no paintings, no sculptures, no drawings, however the use of the location of the feast (in a natural environment outdoors), the placing of the tables, the meaning of the event makes it a work of art. Jim Denevan not only hosts the Outstanding Field, but he draws designs in the sand near the ocean. He has started to do so when his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He has also felt connected to the beach since his childhood for he would spend numerous hours on the beach, surfing. His sand drawings can cover the entire beach, they are free hand and unmeasured. I would say that the treatment would be both abstract and natural, for the patterns and designs are totally abstract, but they are done in a natural environment. Once Jim has finished his art, the tide washes it away. I would have thought that Denevan would have been disappointed that the tide would ruin his art but his way of seeing it really surprised me. He explained that the art that he had done that particular day was today’s story. The one that he would make the next day would be tomorrow’s story and that his drawings cannot be repeated. However, photos of his art remain and are portrayed in museums. Jim Denevan has even been a part of a Range Rover commercial. He was on the beach making his design and the Range Rover was parked on a cliff above him. What we would see was the parked car and the drawing of Denevan in the horizon. Jim also explains that he makes these drawings in the meditation of the moment. It is his way to pass his time, to express himself and is a hobby.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The School of Athens - Part 2

The painting is said to hold many different thinkers and artists, however only a few of them can be identified. The lady with a baby on Plato’s left is said to be the poet Sappho. The man in the yellow robe on Plato’s left is said to be Socrates, his teacher. Another famous figure would be the mathematician; Pythagoras who is shown teaching his theory that reality consists of numbers and harmonic ratios. He is located on the bottom left side of the painting surrounded by his students. The chalkboard that is being held by one of his students has a drawing of the divine tetraktys. The dark-skinned scholar in the white turban and green robe who is leaning over Pythagoras is said to be the Arabic philosopher Averroes. It is because of him that Plato and Aristotle’s philosophies were transmitted in the west. At the bottom right side of the painting is a concentrated group of people whom many of them are important figures. The old balding man who is on his knees is the figure of either Euclid or Archimedes who is using a compass to demonstrate a geometrical proposition. The one in the yellow robes standing behind him is said to be Ptolemy, an astronomer and geographer. He is holding the globe of the earth. Behind him is the astronomer and philosopher Zoroaster. He is holding a sphere of the fixed stars. Raphael, the artist of The School of Athens, is located to the right of Zoroaster and Ptolemy. He is the only figure that is staring right back at us.
The man that is lying down in the stairs in front of Aristotle is Diogenes. He was a philosopher who lived very poorly in a barrel in the streets. He was visited by Alexander the Great and was offered anything he wanted. However, he rudely refused. The man located in the front row below Plato who seems to be lost in thought is said to be the philosopher Heraclitus. He was said to be a solitary figure, hence why he is sitting alone. Heraclitus was added last, when the entire artwork was complete. Story goes that Heraclitus looks a lot like Michelangelo, Raphael’s rival. Raphael had secretly managed to take a peak at Michelangelo’s painting on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. He had then added Heraclitus but what was odd was that it looked as if it were Michelangelo himself who had painted it. Back then; imitation was a form of flattery.
Raphael had included himself in his painting as well as important thinkers and his friends. He had included the painter Sodoma who is standing next to him in the painting. The humanist scholar Pietro Bembo, one of his friends, was said to have modeled Zoroaster and the architect Bramante was represented by Euclid (or Archimedes). Plato himself represents his teacher, Leonardo de Vinci.
All in all, I found the painting extremely fascinating because it holds so much history from different periods of the Renaissance. There is a story behind practically every thinker in this painting and there is a subtle explanation of their teachings, such as Plato’s and Aristotle’s books, their posture, the globe of the world held by Ptolemy, the drawing of the divine tetraktys held by Pythagoras’ student etc. The inclusion of Raphael’s friends used to represent thinkers was well thought of. The inclusion of Heraclitus as a way to flatter Michelangelo and his self-portrait are a very fascinating part in the artwork. The architecture as well as the play with lines to find a focus point in the painting is also very captivating. Ly-Ann was right by saying that this painting was intriguing and that I had to analyze it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We were asked to answer a themed question on an architectural or built space that holds a specific significance or symbolism in our day to day lives. As I thought about it, I realized that I encounter many different spaces in my day to day activities but none of them are really dear to me. There is school, the pharmacy I work at, relative’s homes, my boyfriend’s home, my old high school… none of them seemed to inspire me. Therefore, I will write about the place that I am most familiar with, my house. A house can be many different things for a person. It can be a place that one cannot wait to move out of, it can be someone’s sanctuary, someone’s pride and joy. However, my house is the only place where I feel one hundred percent at ease. It is my comfort zone.

I have lived in the same house since the beginning of elementary school. The house looks like a duplex. The white walls with a green roof and balconies make it look like a very modern house, but the inside highlights its history. The floors and doors are made of varnished wood and the walls are all painted in conservative colors. The cracking, uneven floorboards and the heavy wooden doors show us that the house was built well over a century ago. It is where I grew up during my childhood and adolescent years. When I look back at my years spent here, my head is filled with memories. The good: our Christmas’ family reunions, birthdays, diner with family members, mornings when I slept in, quality time with my siblings, gossiping with my friends in my room and the bad: fighting with my parents, mourning the loss of my Rottweiler, arguing with my brother and sister and so on.

My peers will never perceive my home the way I do because of my mother’s career as well as the fact that they have never lived here. Our house is divided into two sections. My family lives on one side, and nine older people who suffer from schizophrenia as well as bipolar disorders live on the other side. My mother’s job is to take care of people with mental disorders. I have grown up with these people and they are a part of my life here at home. Yes, they might act weirdly from time to time, but they looked after me when I was a child. They would bring us to the local drug store, tell us stories and show us how to knit. I have never considered them to be outsiders. Others that come into our house believe we run an asylum, that these people are abnormal and nuts. However, they will never understand. My childhood would have been very different without them.

All in all, my house is my sanctuary. I associate my house to my family. It is the one place that will always make me feel safe no matter what the situation is.