Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Igor Siwanowicz
has amassed a staggeringly large portfolio of otherworldly creatures that live right under our feet. Capturing images of insects (among other critters) through a macro lens, Igor manages to show the real beauty of nature in all of it's chromatic and detailed glory.

What strikes me most about this collection is just how many variations of mantids there are in the world, all of which look like they should be carrying a laser-gun. Pew pew

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

unholy stench

If you tire of the popular bevy of home-scenting products which reek of vanilla, freesia, or raspberry, you may want to try a selection from the Douglas Little Company.

That being said, I will openly admit to being not only a hardened cynic, but a snobbish one, when it comes to fragrance. I am a dabbler/merchant in the fragrance arena myself, and feel that much of the soul of the perfumery industry lies in the poetry of perfume, the seduction of luxurious packaging, the romance of words woven together to create a mental tapestry before the consumer even smells the product.

Even so, I am intrigued by these lovely candles, I have smelled one or two before, and they are quite nice. I am interested in both the Winchester and the Ex Libris scents, given my near-obsessive penchant toward leather/wood/oakmoss scents, and may have to give one or both a try. The debossed boxes and overhanging labels, coupled with lovely typefaces and old ornaments look very nice, and I find it to be a very visually successful line of products.

Post-Script: not to diminish the experience of the smoldering woodsy tones and hand-through-the-fire etching on the glass of the "Salem" candle (above), but I wonder if Mr. Little realizes that no one was actually ever burned as a witch in Salem?

Post-Post-Script: They were actually hanged, for the most part, but I suppose there is little poetry in the earthy smell of wet leather gloves, rough-hewn wood, and the tenacious aroma of hand-wound flaxen rope. But I could be wrong.

Monday, January 28, 2008

a little bit noir

Spanish photographer Eugenio Recuenco creates dark, moody worlds inhabited by stoic, doll-like people.

His work shows up in fashion magazines, advertising campaigns, exhibitions, and even musicians get in on the action (see the Rammstein photo shoot on his website).

I love the tableau-style work that mimics old paintings and photos; the color is eye-squintingly dark and undefined, it's completely unapologetic in that regard, it's great. I find the "15th hour" series to be disturbingly humorous in a "what will she do next?" sort of way, and there is a wry smirk of kitsch in the voyeuristic/fetishism-tinged photos as well.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

old is new

Continuing the theme of artificial artifacts and pickled cryptids, feast your peepers on the work of ALEX CF. He has quite a capable handle on creating authentic looking pieces that really seem to have history to them.
Before you go on your next vampire or werewolf hunt, I'd suggest consulting Alex for all your supply needs.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


A few years back, this guy showed up in a few headlines, mostly in England:

Supposedly, it was found in someone's garage, and they asked their friend, Allistair Mitchell to investigate it, and he speculated that German scientists could have attempted to hoax the English near the end of the 19th century, and that it was offerred to the Natural History Museum, but they dismissed it, and ordered it to be destroyed, and if it weren't for a museum porter (a distant relative of the guy who discovered it in his garage, of course), the entire thing would have been lost forever.

This article, published in January 2004, gives more information....while this article, published in March of the same year, reveals the entire thing to be a publicity stunt created by Mitchell to generate excitement for an upcoming novel of his.

I can't really say whether or not it worked for him, but it's pretty interesting that this approach was taken to sell some books. What is more interesting is all the forums and websites the dragon in a jar showed up on (just do a search for it), and all the people who were hoping it was real.

The dragon, by the way, was created by Crawley Creatures, a cinematic creature, robotics, and prosthetics company.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Walton Ford, creates magnificent, life-sized watercolors of all manner of the world's creatures.
While the work is often satirical and/or political, it disguises itself as that of old naturalist studies.
Truly impressive stuff for not only it's masterful creation, but scale and volume of work.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

hard to reach places

I recently completed this painting for "A Cabinet Of Natural Curiosities", an animal themed group show at Roq La Rue gallery in Seattle, Washington in Feburary.
The Gerenuk is an African antelope that is known for it's exceptionally long neck and ability to survive without water, as it can derive enough moisture from the plants that it eats.

just dirty enough

Some really nice photos can be found on the Flickr page of a photographer who goes by the name Soozika. The "Old and Antique" set is really nice, excellently close macro shots with textures of old books, paper, printing, and other objects. Occasionally there is some jarring and unnecessary Photoshoppery, but for the most part the photos are well-composed and the colors look wonderful.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

life from the clay

Ron Mueck gets a lot of well-deserved attention on the ol' interweb, so I figured why not some more.
I was lucky enough to first encounter his work not through a computer monitor, but in person during the touring Sensation show at the Brooklyn Museum of art. Among the several pieces of his that were present in the show was a sculpture entitled "dead dad" which was a 3 foot long hyper realistic nude sculpture of his dead father, laying on the floor. Much like Robert Lazzarini's work, as mentioned in a previous post, Ron Mueck's work throws your perception for a loop. It's so real, every pore and hair in it's right place, but so unreal because the scale is off, sometimes not by much, sometimes gigantic, and other times very small.

I was very happy to find out that Ron Mueck had also worked for the Jim Henson Creature shop, and was the voice of Ludo in the film Labyrinth.

Take some time to curl up with this amazing short documentary about his art and process for creating these masterpieces. FYI there is a good deal of (artistic)nudity in this following film, for the weak or prude of heart. LINK

splitting hares

Beth Cavener Stichter seems to have the same affliction I do - an unexplainable affinity for rabbits and goats.

Visit her website to see her amazingly alive, visceral, fleshy creations. Be sure to go to the "Materials and Techniques" section and click on the capybara to see the unbelievable amount of work and patience that goes into the large pieces - work that you never see, but is crucial to the piece. I love her sense of weight and movement, all the muscles seem heavy, the skin falling in fleshy piles where you'd expect it to.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

fish eyed lens

Kim Keever shoots amazing photographs of epic landscapes...

...all of which are created in a water tank in his studio.

As impressed as I am by the aesthetic of most of the photos, this might be a case for me where the process is more interesting than the final result,
even though the final result is no less than awe inspiring.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

speaking of household rodentia....

That last post made me remember a film I saw last fall. Christiane Cegavske supposedly put thirteen years of her life into Blood Tea and Red String, a feature-length stop-motion film. Nods to modern animators such as Jan Svankmajer are apparent, but it's pretty original, and I enjoyed seeing the clever and creative solutions she employed (cellophane for water, for example). When I saw it in the theater, the print looked really dark, and my hope is that once transferred to DVD that problem has been taken care of.

The soundtrack is cute, the pennywhistle-styled music seems appropriate for the forest-dwelling characters, and the "what-era-is-this-from" sound of it seems right in line with the anachronistic, low-tech look of the animation, so like works from other animators in the last 25 years (Brothers Quay, etc.), it's not immediately obvious what year this was even made.

Most impressive is the sheer construction of everything - for being the vision of one artist, the puppets are extremely detailed, the clothing, the props, the sets, it's all well thought out and cohesive. It's not perfect, but it's quite well done, and I'm impressed with her overall vision and follow-through.

I'm pretty sure you can rent it on Netflix, so if you have room in your queue, it's definitely worth your 1.5 hours.

marble house

While doing some youtube digging this morning based on a tip that Mandi gave me, I ran across this nice little video by The Knife... I expect we'll be blogging them up more in the future.

Friday, January 18, 2008

pigment-free Friday

For your enjoyment, some albino and leucistic birds. An albino crow, a leucistic red-tailed hawk (who resides at a local raptor rehabilitation center), and a very sweet little leucistic ruby-throated hummingbird.

skewed view

A few years back, I ran across a sculpture of a skewed phone booth at Art Basel in Miami, that made my brain just plain stop working for a few moments. Later I would find out that Robert Lazzarini is in the habit of sculpting this brand of craziness on a regular basis. Sadly for you internetters, these things really have to be seen in person to get the full effect, but the installation photo below might give you an idea of what you're looking at.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

the beauty of ugly

I was thinking this morning on the way to work about why exactly I am drawn to things that aren't just less than perfect, but have obvious defects, wear and tear, or just "wrongness" about them. I came up with three conclusions, all of which play a part in my attraction to, and need to acquire and surround myself with peeling paint, rusting hinges, wobbly joints, and frayed edges.

The simple answer would be simply because I like the aesthetic; old worn objects tend to have a beautiful, unified color statement when placed together, and the patina of age and time has a tendency to soften edges, mute colors, and smooth out the stark corners of newness. Being made of more natural materials as well, the textures and colors just resonate with me; there is such visual poetry in a beat-up wooden bowl, a sun-bleached piece of moss green silk velvet, or the slightly dusty, peeling face of an ancient taxidermied creature. But I think there is more to it than that.

My first conclusion is the feeling of maternal protection many of these things give me. I always thought that if/when I choose a pet from a shelter, I would find the most ragged, three-legged, one-eyed cat they could throw at me, because he would probably be considered unadoptable, but I would love him in his ugliness. Many inanimate objects give me the same feeling, the feeling that they are vulnerable, and need to be loved and protected. Old plush toys with their vacant glass eyes and ripping, handsewn seams are very much like the Velveteen Rabbit - loved into oblivion. Objects can fall into ruin by being loved too much just as they can by being abandoned. Perhaps it's that exact dichotomy that draws me.

Another, probably obvious, idea is the constant search for fellow misfits. So many people feel like they can't relate to "most" other people, or that they are somehow different in a way that is seen by the general populous as "broken" or "strange" or "ill-fitting". I collect things that are misfits. They are old, they have very few, if any, matches in the world, and the very nature of them being produced one at a time means they are not one of a million, and maybe not even one of a thousand. And completely handmade treasures, like home-made toys, were made in a production run of one. Time has affected them all in a unique way, and even if they began life looking identical to their counterparts, they will look vastly different now.

The allure of ugly is very strong. I remember always being upset at the end of Beauty and the Beast stories, when the beast turns into the Prince - I always liked him better as the Beast. All that was interesting about him, all that was a little bit dangerous, a little bit primal, a little bit frightening, was traded in for a clean-shaven square jaw and doofus-y pageboy haircut. So boring. I love the quirks in other people; freckled skin, crooked teeth, cowlicks, shadows of life still marked on them, and in the case of my husband, a scarred upper lip and one pupil that always dilates twice as much as the other one.

I think I'll always be attracted to what is slightly "off", a bit foreign, a bit uncomfortable, a bit dirty. It's not just an aesthetic appeal, it's something that touches me deeply and resonates within me. Perhaps my modern life is just too sterile and branded, I don't know. But I do know that I will continue to create new things that seem like old things, in my neverending quest to fill my world with the comfort of things loved literally to pieces.


It's not often that I'm insanely jealous of someone's collection of frightening nightmarish antiques, but with RADIO GUY, I will make an exception. He's amassed a number of finely aged items that range from dental mannequins to hat sizers. Some of the items are also for sale as it seems.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

flimsy sheets of history

If you're looking for a nice gift for somebody, or yourself, head over to Panteek Antique Prints and check out their selection. Head straight for the "clearance" area, there are a lot of lovely prints there in the 45-dollar range, like this shell print from 1849 .

It's also a great place to go for artistic reference purposes, and I will be the first to admit that I have downloaded just about every image on the website, to catalog it for future usage. The website itself is a far cry from being aesthetically stimulating, but it's easy to navigate.

In the beginning....

I thought I would start this thing off with a bang.

Ron Pippin's work, to me, is the embodiment of aesthetic perfection and craftsmanship.

If you didn't know, now you know. More HERE.