Remember to vote on November 2nd, and lets keep those vampires out of office!
Remember to vote on November 2nd, and lets keep those vampires out of office!
While we in Utah are busy buying candy and dressing up like Sarah Palin, our friends across the border to the south are preparing for the folk art festival from hell. Okay, from the dead would be more appropriate.
I don’t know a ton about Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), other than the skulls and the gorgeous colors (why can’t all funerals be so vivid?). So I decided to look into it and bring you guys a cultural primer on this most colorful and wonderful festival.
In many parts of Mexico, November 1 is the day for the innocents (Dia de los Inocentes), when children and babies are remembered, and November 2 is the regular old Day of the Dead. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with Halloween, other than falling right after. It is, however, related to the Catholic holidays All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
Families visit graves, decorate them in orange and yellow marigolds (bringing two of my favorite colors to the imagery of the celebration), leave toys, candy, favorite foods and tequila for the dead. Some people dress up as their dead relatives, in a memorial after my own heart.
Symbols include the Catrina and the calvera. The calvera is just a skull – but you see them everywhere and on everything around Day of the Dead. The calvera was first made popular by the lithographs of Mexican artist, José Guadalupe Posada.
Some of the skulls are edible and made from sugar.
The Catrina, which means elegance, is typically a skull-faced doll of an upper-class woman. Jose Guadalupe Posada also started this tradition, in an effort to let fancy-pants ladies know that the Grim Reaper would also come for them despite their priviledges.
Our friends the Grimmleighs have a wonderful series of Catrina dolls. And their little girl, Molly, is dressing up as one for Halloween. What a bitchin’ costume!!
We’d love to invite our artduh readers to join us in another Mexican day of the dead tradition, writing short poems that mock the dead and death. Just post yours to the artduh.com facebook page, and the best one gets a prize.
And here’s some fun Day of the Dead shopping options on Etsy.com:
You may also want to celebrate with these fine folks:
For the past 4 years, I’ve been helping my friend Matt Monson to put on the Fashion Stroll two times per year. This is the lowest brow fashion show around, and is a great chance for emerging fashion designers to see and be seen.
On October 29th, we are all going to dress up as vikings, ghouls, zombies, goblins, Twilight characters and aerobics instructors, and go out on the street and – Monster Mash the shit out of the SLC. Todd’s the viking – or maybe the fox in the party – and I’m the modestly-dressed aerobics instructor from the 1980s KBYU program Hooked on Aerobics.
My friends from Transfusion Hype Dance Company are going to rock the night complete with handmade costumes, baby powder and home-mixed music. And the bands the Suicycles and the Black Arrows will also perform.
But best of all 3 young people from the Youth City Ottinger Hall program are going to make their debut as fashion designers, with 3 of their friends as models. Miriam, Paige and Onnie were all my dance students when I taught at Ottinger Hall in the Youth City Artways program. They are growing up and I couldn’t be more proud of them. I’m going to get mushy for a moment, and admit that teaching these kids for 2 years has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I’m so grateful I get to continue to work with them. I’m amazed by their creativity and potential and I love them very much.
On Thursday afternoon, you’ll find me at Ottinger Hall with the kids and the modeling instructor for our favorite talent agency, Wilhelmina UTG. Wilhelmina will teach the youth to strut their groove thang and project confidence on a runway, then we will stick around to discuss body image and the fact that anyone with poise and confidence can make a wonderful model.
So please come out and support “my kids” in their fashion debut on Friday night. And now a shout out to our partners in crime who make Fashion Stroll possible– the Ottinger Hall teachers Dallas Russell and Scottie, and their administrators back at the home office. My main man Toddy, who puts together our website and helps us with marketing and design. Of course, the Fashion Stroll Big Cheese and one of my very bestest friends, Fashion Stroll Director, Matt Monson. Thanks to Ashlee Prentice and her dancers from Transfusion Hype. SL Citizen and Lindsay and Bob Frendt for being our official boutique. Marcela and Kate for runway coordination. Highlife Salon for hair and make up. Wilhelmina UTG – thank you for the modeling support. And the rest of our wonderful sponsors – Henries Dry Cleaners, Salt Lake Community College Fashion Institute, Downtown Alliance, Xmission, SLUG, In Magazine, City Weekly, Heidi Gress/Aperture Gallery/Marketing, Marinellos and the shops on Broadway, including Retro Rose.
Well, Halloween is coming, and what could be more appropriate than the fantastic artwork of Zdzisław Beksiński to help celebrate the season? This will be a hard one for me to write about. I just want to post a few hundred images, because they are so beautiful and horrible… and because the pictures speak for themselves. But I will try not to overload with images, and give a little background.
Beksiński was born February 24, 1929 in Sanok, Poland. He was ten years old as he watched Nazi Germany and their (then) Russian allies come through and completely tear apart, occupy, and later split up his country. I have read a lot about the history of World War II, and have a very hard time wrapping my mind around Nazi brutality. I can’t imagine seeing it first-hand. Later, Beksiński went on to study architecture in Kraków, and became interested in sculpture and photography, but settled into painting. His first works were very abstract, but later the surreal and fantastic became his main inspiration.
Beksiński spent most of his adult life focusing on his artwork, and became a leading figure in contemporary Polish art. He does have a huge portfolio and, even though I have looked through a lot of his work, there always seems to be more and more to see.
On February 21, 2005, Beksiński was found dead in his Warsaw flat. He’d been stabbed 17 times by a neighbor who Beksiński had refused a loan of $100.
At artduh.com, we don’t think Halloween has to be expensive to be fun. Halloween is bigger this year than ever before, especially for grown-ups. Maybe folks need a break from the bad economic news? Or is it that just that folks want to fight for their right to party? I’m hoping to see some hottie guys dress up as Whiplash from Iron Man II.
Here’s our guide to doing Halloween up cheap, quick and dirty. Just the way we like it:
Foamy - Cut shapes out of foam and decorating them with a little paint can make you look like almost anything – think toast, fried egg or sunshine. Just cut a hole for your head and poke it in.
Bed Bug Epidemic - Tape bugs (plastic will do) to yourself and your kids and there you go! Maybe dad could dress as the exterminator.
Twilight Mom – Dress up a friend as a little boy complete with a big lolly pop (or use your own little boy). Put him in a red wagon. Then do your hair into a “mom” do, put on a Twilight t-shirt from Hot Topic, and grab your Edward doll. Pull your friend around. Occasionally lick Edward.
The Devil You Know – My FAVORITE thing to do is to dress up as people I know, your husband, wife, friends and neighbors are all game. It may be as simple as putting on a Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts and carrying a weed wacker everywhere to be the next door neighbor. Or put on your wife’s favorite dress. If you are brave, you could dress up as your boss. One year I worked with a group of nurses and I went to work in scrubs with an RN badge on Halloween.
Domo-oh-migoto Mister Roboto – A trend we are noticing among our friends is a desire to relive childhood by bringing back the 80s. That’s what I’m doing this year. Remember the show Hooked on Aerobics? My heroes.
Instant Refresh – Did you have a great costume last year, but money is tighter this year? Take a page out of my book and just refresh the costume by adding a pig nose to it. When I was a kid I was a ballerina one year, and a pig the next. The following year I combined the two and went as a pig ballerina. Don’t be surprised to see me next year as a pig Hooked on Aerobics instructor. I’d love to see a pig Geisha. And I have seen some for sale used starting at about $2, but I say spring for $4 for a fresh one.
Do you have cheap, quick and easy ideas to share? We’d love to hear them. Or send us a picture of your own costume. Drop us a comment or post to our Facebook page.
When we decided to start artduh.com, our first step was to meet with our buddy Gavin and get his support. After all, he was our favorite local art and culture blogger. Interestingly, though I expected a competitive relationship, Gavin and I have developed a great friendship. We toss each other information constantly and chat every few days about ideas. It doesn’t hurt that we both work in media, me on the PR side and him in early morning TV. The cool thing is that there is so much going on in the old SLC, that we have been able to refine our specialties. Gavin doesn’t often toss out a recipe or craft project. And I leave comic books, graffiti and gallery stroll to his superior knowledge. All in all, I think between the 2 of us (and Toddy’s occasional art history lesson, of course), we provide a great picture of what’s happening in our town in the alternative arts, entertainment culture scenes.
So today we wanted to talk about Gavin, promote his blog and encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already. Here’s our interview with him, with of course, a Halloween twist:
1) What is your Halloween costume? Why did you choose it?
My costume this year is of The Question from DC Comics. He’s a detective who deals in a lot of conspiracy theories (or theory, singular, as he would say) and disguises himself in a faceless mask. I picked it because I dig the character and the story behind him. He’s kind of a lone gun in one of that universe’s worst cities, almost like Batman but slightly different in many ways. And he’s one of the oddest characters in their library, which makes him fun. Provided my costume is made this year, it’ll be fun running around in a faceless mask that I can see and breathe out of.
2) What is your favorite holiday?
I really don’t have one, but I love the fall. And its not for the color of the trees. That slight warmth and chill mix before we’re pushed into winter, it reminds me of good times. Halloween falls in there, so let’s go with that.
3) Tell us about your collages and art collection. What’s hanging on your walls?
I’ve been covering the scene on the blog for over 2 ½ years, and over time I end up collecting a lot of junk in my pockets. Flyers, cards, passes, tickets, etc. So I decided to take it all and start framing it. I really didn’t know what I was doing with them, at best I thought it would be something fun to hang on an empty wall. Now its going to need more space and its almost become a collective visual tome of our scene, in its own little way. Its by no means an impressive collection, and I don’t really look at them as art, its more of a record of where I’ve been and who I’ve talked to in a more colorful manner. Hopefully people get a kick out of seeing something they’ve done framed in the mess.
4) Who is your favorite local artist?
Oh you know I can’t answer that! I’ve covered so much and see so many various artists, there’s no way to pick a favorite. I’m not gonna say they’re all my favorite, there are some people who’s work is just bland and has no originality, but we have too great a talent pool for me to pick just one and do everyone justice. I will say that at the moment I’m loving the work by B3RG, mainly for the fact that its brief and fleeting. He’s the artist posting all the portraits of the Hungarian girl in the beret, which I didn’t know what it was until I interviewed him. And that’s the problem. Unless you’ve read my interview the chances of the average person knowing who that girl is are slim and none. So of course since she’s dressed up with a uniform and a gun, the city and uneducated people take the meaning the wrong way and are pretty damn gun-ho to mark up and rip down his works. When you can find it you should take a picture of it, because chances are it will be gone within three hours.
5) Why are you so passionate about the local scene?
Honestly, there’s a couple of reasons, but I got into it in my teens playing in terrible bands as a drummer and going out on a regular basis. Some awesome foundation shows back then. It really instilled in me the ideal that there are some really talented people around here that could run circles around what we’d consider “mainstream” entertainment, but get overlooked daily because they’re not “mainstream”. And that stuck with me ever since. A lot of the people here do what they do because they love it, not because they woke up and thought they could make a quick buck off it, and that’s really inspiring and empowering that you can do what you want on the side and possibly make it your career for life. How can you not support that?
6) What’s your take on local media – and changes in entertainment news with the death of the DesNews features desk, cut backs at TV news etc?
I think I’ll skip out on the TV lecture for now… Radio I’m near done with because it seems no one wants to take a chance on localized music beyond block programming. Which I think is pathetic, and anyone who tells you it wouldn’t work is full of shit. There’s an AM station in Boulder and an FM in Denver who have locals playing throughout the day mixed with “popular” singles. And they’re doing absolutely fine. The DesNews has so many factors attached to it, you wanna jump for joy a little but then you start hating everything about it. I had six friends lose their jobs over there, all because they wanted to merge with KSL and make it an LDS paper where readers could become unpaid writers. But hey, you know what? …It’s not my money going to waste. And in the meantime I believe we’d be more than happy to take whatever turned-off readers they send our way.
7) What’s your take on the local art scene?
We’re thriving, but we seriously need a kick in the ass. Maybe a couple. We’ve got this giant sandbox for everyone to play in and others to come observe what they’ve done with it, and then we’ve got people who love to build walls in it. Like the art scene is a giant game of Risk and we’re all fighting over Kamchatka this month. It turns people off from going to galleries, makes artists rethink whether they want to display anywhere, and makes it harder for galleries to find an audience. It’s not like its big fights, just weird little in-bickering. If a number of people could get over that and just do their best, every week could be glorious in this city. Especially with all the artist we have. The print-works crowd alone could turn this city on its ear if they threw a stroll-like night at various businesses. Or the graffiti community, if they took over an abandoned building once a month and painted it from top to bottom. Or hell, let’s take over Pierpont or East Broadway and turn that into a free-display hub for just one evening. Look at what SLUG did with Craft Lake. We have the people, artists, businesses, organizations and drive to do great things in this city that would force people to take the art scene seriously and more than likely propel everyone as a whole into the greater consciousness. But that’s just me as an observer.
The story of St. Anthony the Great is certainly strange. One thing is for sure, it inspired a large number of very unique and strange paintings.
The legend of Anthony goes back almost 1700 years, and was first written down by Athanasius of Alexandria some time around 350 A.D. The book he wrote is called The Life of Anthony and it became one of the most well known stories of the Middle Ages.
The book begins with Anthony being born into a wealthy Egyptian family. When he was 35 or so Anthony decided to follow the words of Jesus, gave away his worldly possession, and moved out into the desert to become a hermit monk. This made the Devil mad, so the Devil caused Anthony to be bored, lazy, and sent visions of phantom women. Anthony was able to overcome boredom, phantom women and the Devil through prayer. Of course, this only made the Devil even more angry, so the Devil went out into the desert and beat Anthony senseless. When Anthony recovered he moved into an old abandoned Roman fort. Well, the Devil was still pretty ticked and sent a bunch of wild animals after Anthony, but the Lord was on Anthony’s side so he just laughed. His laughter caused all of the animals to turn tail and run away. The Devil was scared off and didn’t trouble Anthony any more (well, didn’t cause as much trouble).
A very interesting story, and I can see why so many artists have drawn it over the years. It is a playground for the imagination, and many of the artists shown here have used this story to help inspire some of their most creative and bizarre artwork. For instance, why did Diego Rivera choose to portray Anthony’s Temptations the way he did (below)? I have no idea, but I know I like it!
Theory has it that the right crystal can make you rich, deflect assholes, heal that bad knee and put your mind into overdrive. I want one that makes me into Cat Woman! I’ve even read that crystals were used under the sea in Atlantis!
One of our favorite people in the world, Ashlee Vilos Prentice of Transfusion Hype Dance Co, has recently introduced us to the healing power of crystals. Now, I’m not sure what to think about it, but I’ll try almost anything.
Here’s a little overview to the crystals, from my perspective and in my own words. Some say crystal healing is a science and others say it is magic. As for me, I’ll take the magic.
Crystal healing becomes art when Ashlee selects a shape and turns it into jewelry, turning it into a portable doctor’s office hanging around your neck. Take that, health care reform!
The first important thing in regard to crystals is the shape. Our crystal expert, Ashlee, prefers the Merkaba, or star shape. Why? Because it can give you a force field of course! Force fields are not just for Jem, He-man and Thunder Cats any more. The second important thing is the type of stone, described below. Here’s the stones she likes working with and their “magical” power:
Rose Quartz – Sick of Hungry Man TV dinners consumed alone while watching Law and Order reruns? Get a Rose Quartz and attract a hot guy or gal, and recover from that bad break-up. Sexual healing!
Moonstone- Let’s face it, at that time of the month we all get a little cranky. So get a moon stone. It will also give you ESP!
Bloodstone- Find yourself in Satan’s grip? Bloodstone is the answer, it dispels evil. And once you get it, you will want to throw all your Black Sabbath and Judas Priest tapes in the trash.
Amethyst- Are you stumbling through life drunk? Throwing up on your friends? Amethyst, it’s not just purple, it helps you recover from addiction.
Agate- Cat got your tongue? Can’t think of what to say when someone cuts in front of you in the lunch line? Agate will heal your anger and help you speak up. Soon the words, “No Butt,” will be bursting from your lips.
Aventurine- This is the get-rich-quick stone. Nuff said.
White Jasper- The Eff You stone, it deflects negativity and sends those naysayers packing.
Smokey Quartz- Term paper due? Big presentation tomorrow? Cops caught on to your Ponzi scheme? Smokey quartz relieves stress and instills calm.
Clear Quartz- Is your energy constipated? Clear quartz is your energy laxative.
Labradorite- ‘Imagine all the people,” this stone enhances your imagination and makes John Lennon proud.
Ashlee’s beautiful crystal necklaces rang in price from $15 to $23. Drop us a note if you want us to make an introduction.
On January 24, 1920, Amedeo Modigliani died at age 36 from a life-long battle with tuberculosis. He left behind him what is in my opinion, the most beautiful works of art known to man.
Hashish, absinthe and poverty marked his career. Life drawing was his gig. His paintings are primarily portraits of women with long, mask-like faces, including long noses, long cheek bones, long fingers and long chins.
His nudes are sublime. His portrait of Diego Rivera is so beautiful I see it in my mind when I close my eyes at night.
His sculptures are also well-known, he loved the caryatid, an architectural column shaped like a human being. He also sculpted a lot of busts (women’s heads not their boobs, just to clarify).
About 2 years ago, the University of Utah brought in a show called Monet to Picasso. The show included a single Modigliani portrait. Todd and I felt very fortunate to see it, and went back many times to pay it a visit. Our kitchen is decorated almost entirely in Modigliani prints. The oranges, browns and reds he favored look beautiful with the exposed brick walls of our home, which were erected in 1903 by a Mormon pioneer, a world away from Modigliani’s studio in the midst of French Bohemia.
Modigliani did not have time to paint a lot of paintings, because his life was so short. But what he did paint was, in a word. . . . Perfection.
Chances are at some point you’ve come across at least one of Marshall Arisman’s editorial illustrations. His work has appeared in many nationally distributed magazines including Harper’s, the Nation, Time, U.S. News and World Report, and the New York Times Book Review. He is well known for violent and disturbing images.
Marshall Arisman insists that an artist needs to paint what they know, and when he was first starting his career, Marshall became known for drawing guns.
“I realized, when I was about 28, that the things I actually had knowledge of were guns and deer.
“I made a list of the things I felt I had real knowledge of. The first thing that came up on my list were cows. I was brought up on a dairy farm, and at 28 I had never drawn a cow. The second thing that came up on my list were deer. We hunted deer, we butchered deer, we ate deer, but I had never drawn one. The third thing that came up on my list were guns. My whole town had guns, everybody had a shotgun, my brother carries a gun. And I thought, that’s weird, I’ve never drew a gun. And the fourth thing that came up on my list was psychic phenomenon. My grandmother was a psychic.
“So I picked guns and started doing a series of drawings about guns, and then the series turned into violence that we do to ourselves, and violence we do to each other and suddenly at the end of that year I had 45 drawings about guns. And it never occurred to me that what I had was a portfolio.”*
He went on to publish these drawings as a book, and that book is what helped launch his career.
Marshall Arisman is also a painter, and was the first American invited to exhibit his artwork in mainland China. He’s the chair of the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Program at the School of Visual Arts, New York City. He has written and illustrated many of his own books, and been involved in translating and publishing other books including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and The Wolf Who Loved Music.
I love to look at Marshall Arisman’s images, and just wanted to share them today. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
* Zina Saunders (source)