Archive for July, 2011

Carl Jung’s Red Book

July 31, 2011

When I was a much younger man, a teenager even, the world exploded in my mind. There were many things I’ve discovered since that have helped me make sense of the shrapnel that was left behind but, at the time, one of the most significant for me were the writing and ideas of Carl Jung.

I’m definitely not an expert on Jung and, although I re-read Man and his Symbols again not too long ago, it has been quite a while since I really explored his theories and insights. In October 2009, almost 50 years after his death, The Philemon Foundation published Carl Jung’s very rarely seen Red Book (also known as Liber Novus). A few weeks ago I was finally able to get a copy, and I am fascinated.

Early in his career, Carl Jung was a close friend and follower of Sigmund Freud. In 1912 Jung’s book, The Psychology of the Unconscious, caused a rift and made rivals of Jung and Freud because Jung’s book basically called Freud’s theories incomplete. This caused Jung to sink into a deep depression, and left him completely uncertain of his future. Jung retreated into a sort of meditation and began experiencing unusual states of consciousness which he started writing down. Soon he was editing, revising, illustrating and collecting those writings into what would eventually become known as his Red Book. This intense visionary period lasted from 1913 to 1916, although Jung continued to add to the Red Book throughout the rest of his life.

Some people describe the Red Book as Jung’s descent into madness. Jung himself was afraid he was going crazy, but realized he wasn’t losing his mind because he was able to maintain relationships with his wife and children, saw patients, and interacted with others socially. By contrast, the insane might descend into the imagination and never return. The Red Book, and maybe the ideas that followed, came out of a very profound and irrational time in Jung’s life.  Even now, Jung is sometimes considered to be a little loopy, new age, and maybe even dangerous. From what I understand, there are many psychologist (including some Jungian psychologists) who have severe reservations about the Red Book. Perhaps this is because the book is not written in psychological jargon and the ideas may not be fully developed? Of course, at the time it’s writing, many Jungian terms weren’t defined yet.

The images and illustrations in the book are beautiful. Although some depict scenes or characters from the accompanying text, many have nothing to do with the surrounding copy. A number of them are what Jung would eventually call personal mandala, meant to be meditated upon. The illustrations and pictures in this book build a link between the modern world and our forgotten past, a connection I felt right away. I’ve actually read that, for a brief time, Jung considered becoming a painter. But not for long. He realized that was a temptation meant to distract him away from his real work in psychology.

In the end, the Red Book was a personal journey that allowed Jung to discover and connect with what he might describe as ‘the god within’. Jung believed we all must take a similar journey in order to become complete human beings, and it has been a pleasure for me to wander along the route Jung mapped out for himself.

Here are some links and interviews I also enjoyed:

Where Does Meaning Come From?

Reinvest in Your Inner Life

The General Neurosis of Our Age

Face to Face – Part 1 (of 3)

The World Within – Part 1 (of 6)

New Artist in Town – Exhibit at Broadview University

July 28, 2011
Five Women

Five Women

Edward and Frida

There’s a new artist in town. Casey Landau recently moved from New York City to Salt Lake City to become the librarian at Broadview University, a new campus that offers four programs, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Casey will be showing at the campus’ new art gallery, the Kaye Myhre Gallery at 240 E Morris Avenue.

Her show is called “Librarian by Day, the Art of Campus Librarian.” It kicks off with a reception next week on August 3 from  5 to 7 p.m. The show is a showcase of the past 10 years of Casey’s art, including pieces of a series called Men with Beards, Free Drawings and Faceless Portraits.

Free Drawings 2003-2009

Free Drawings 2003-2009

She draws with charcoal, crayons, pens, stencils, pencils and beer.  Those who visit the show can leave with a page of Casey’s coloring book, called “A Woman’s Place is in this Coloring Book” to color at home. The show runs through September 23.

Todd’s Favorite Food

July 26, 2011
Happy Boy

Happy Boy

Chopped up tempeh

Chopped up tempeh

In case you have never cooked with tempeh, here is a quick primer.  Tempeh is a high protein food. It is originally from Indonesia. It is a fermented soy item that comes in a brick. Uncooked it looks a little bit like pressed brains, because when fermented  it forms curds that are then pressed together.  It has more calories than tofu but is much more edible and easier on the gut.

This is Todd’s favorite recipe of all time. He always asks for it. It is the first thing I ever cooked for him, and I lost the recipe for several years before I yielded to his requests to figure out my own version.

Here goes:

Tempeh Peanut Curry Stir Fry

Stir frying veggies

Stir frying veggies

The Veggies:
Almost any mix will do. You need about 8 cups of raw veggies to feed about 4 people. I use:

Red Onion
Garlic
Mushrooms
Carrots
Green Beans
Zucchini

But feel free to try your own favorites.

The Tempeh:
Buy it at either Whole Foods, Sunflower Market, or in the natural food area of some Smiths. I use one or two bricks chopped into 1 by ½ inch rectangles. You can buy extra and freeze it.

The Sauce:
This is the important part and is pretty easy to go wrong, so be careful. The biggest mistake I have made is to add too much sweetener. This is my modification of a recipe by ethnicvegetarian.com.

Sauce

Sauce

Sauce:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 Tbs. agave nectar
4 Tbs. miso
1 Tbs. sesame oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1.5 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs Oregano
2 Tbs curry powder (or for a more delicious dinner, substitue Cali’s Natural Foods Curry Paste. If your curry paste isn’t potent enough, add more)
1/2 cup water, more if needed

Instructions:
I stir fry the veggies like you normally would and cook up some rice as I make the sauce. For the sauce, I combine all the ingredients and then heat it in the microwave, not to get it hot, just to melt the peanut butter to make it easier to stir. Stir and taste to see if it needs more spice, it should be very spicy. When the veggies are almost cooked add the sauce, mix together and serve over rice garnished with peanuts.

Final product

Final product

Captain America

July 24, 2011

Let's Rap with Cap - Daniel Johnston

I’ve never been that much of a Captain America fan, so I’m surprised by how much I’ve wanted to see the new movie. I haven’t been able to swing it quite yet, but I have a feeling this’ll be a good one. To reacquaint myself I’ve been flipping through some Cap comics, and here are a few I have been enjoying lately.

I’ve already written about how much I enjoyed the first couple arcs of The Ultimates. That storyline starts off with Captain America rallying the troops, storming the occupied beaches, and kicking Nazi poop. It is so well done it’ll make ya want to put your hand on your heart, yell “Hell Yeah!” and kick over your chair.

Recently, I decided to drop a few bucks on the Winter Soldier series that was written by Ed Brubaker. I’ve been pretty bored with most mainstream comics for a while so, even though I’d heard how good the Captain America series had become, I never read it. Now that I have, I can see why it’s gotten so much praise. With Cap pounding on the Red Skull, guest starring S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Invaders (including Bucky!), fighting over the Cosmic Cube, it’s got everything you need in a good Captain America story.

There is also a great new animated series that you can rent and download on iTunes called Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. This cartoon is about the whole Avengers team, but since Captain America was an original member, you’ll get to see him plenty.

Medical Illustration

July 21, 2011
Vesalius Moustache

Vesalius Moustache

Vesalius Torso

It’s a practice that pre-dates the time of Christ, and is one of my main pieces of evidence that, despite what the adults from my youth had to say, creativity is valuable to society. I spent hours and hours in high school and college pouring over this art work. Medical illustration – I’m certain I wouldn’t understand mitosis, meiosis, anaphylaxes or the Krebbs cycle without it. Perhaps its greatest gift to our culture is that it allows us to teach the wonders of human reproduction to children without live models. Considering my background in public health, there isn’t much more interesting to me than an exquisite rendering of a human urethra.

Early manuscripts from the medieval period and in ancient Arab are among the first samples of medical illustration. Many of these examples are now more art than science, having been drafted without direct observation or modern medical technology. In the 1500s, Andreas Vesalius, anatomist, physician and artist published a breakthrough, De Humani Corporis Fabrica (The Fabric of the Human Body), which contained 600 woodcuts based on his observations of human dissection.

Today there are about 2,000 medical illustrators in the U.S. Most have Master’s degrees in medical illustration. Many have Ph.Ds. 3D modeling and animation techniques merge this art with modern technology and make the profession more valuable than ever. Medical illustrators use their imaginations to make sub-cellular processes too small to be seen with the naked eye come to life.

If I had more skill with drawing and computers, I’d love to try my hand at medical illustration. Life science has always been in close competition with art for my attention. It’d be fun to do both at the same time, every day, and maybe gross out some wimps at the same time.

B.A.M. Bikini Awareness Month

July 19, 2011
BAM

BAM photo by Aaron Michael Woods

Last year ArtDuh.com invented a half-assed celebration called “Bikini Awareness Month,” AKA B.A.M. I love to make bikinis so much that we are continuing to celebrate this non-existent holiday again. I’ve made three new designs this year and the 65th anniversary of the bikini’s invention seemed like a great excuse to share them.

Number 1 – The Kennedy

The Kenniki

The Kenniki

This bikini was designed to grace the gorgeous bod of Princess Kennedy in the 2011 Gay PRIDE Parade. Our float, hosted by SLUG Magazine, took first place! It is made from cotton I dyed by hand at Pioneer Craft House in a rainbow of prideful colors. One breast is extroverted, adorned with out-going and popular popcorn stitches to represent the fun-loving lifestyle of a PRIDE princess. The other breast is more introverted, lacy and keeping maybe a little taste of her overwhelming sexuality to herself. The bottom is a lace garter belt adorned with triangles on the corners. However, a single hip is graced with a blossoming flower to symbolize coming out, embracing one’s inner beauty  and learning to love the real you found deep inside. The private areas are covered with tidy whiteys, made over in a bright color, to represent childhood. I know you can’t take it all in with a single glance, but to me, this bikini is the past, present and future of a treasure of our GLBTQ community.

Marilyn and Aaron

Marilyn and Aaron

Number 2 – The Marilyn
Designed for my friend Marilyn Golightly, this bikini has shapes and colors you will remember from the 1950s with all the aggressive sex appeal of 2011. If you like it, come see me at Craft Lake City. My booth will be stocked with string bikinis in this 50s style in a variety of colors and sizes. However, the cream and gold version of this bikini is for Marilyn exclusively. Marilyn brought the hair, makeup, modeling experience and amazing legs, as well as an awesome photographer, Aaron Michael Woods who took most of these photos.

No Hairrah On Top

No Hairrah On Top

Bikini Number 3 – The Farah
No Hairah Faucett (a.k.a. Blossom Bottom) likes the color blue, so a variegated and simple crocheted string bikini top paired with hot pants from Consignment Circuit became the look to outfit her for the 1970s. A twisty gold necklace provides a touch of the exotic, and No Hairah and I teamed up on hair and makeup. However, I can’t take credit for the amazing legs, or the darling ginger toddler that fell for her hard and stole the show when we showed these outfits at the Utah Arts Alliance’s Craft Lake City and Connect party.

I want to thank Kennedy, Marilyn and No Hairah for being my inspiration. I can’t make an outfit without knowing who will wear it, since I design every component to represent that personality, story and moment in time. These three are among the most beautiful and gifted models I have ever worked with.

Long live the bikini! Until next July!

New Single

New Single

Glinda and Toto

Glinda and Toto

Taiwan’s Jade Cabbage

July 17, 2011

When I was a kid, my family lived in Taipei, Taiwan. I had many adventures living there, and spent a lot of my time riding the bus all over and running around the city. There were a lot of things I liked to do and see, but one of my favorites was to spend time in the different museums. I spent a lot of my time at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, just because it was close to where we lived, and I had this nice spot in the surrounding park by a small waterfall where I could read and nobody would ever find me. That was my favorite place, but it wasn’t the only spot I liked wandering off to. Another place I also liked to stroll through was the National Palace Museum.

I’ve been thinking this week about a piece of artwork in the National Palace Museum that somebody once told me was Taiwan’s most important and valuable piece of art. When I’d come across the piece, I’d wonder why it was so important. It just looked like a piece of cabbage to me. There were these little grasshoppers or crickets crawling up the leaves that I liked a lot, and the color of the jade was very interesting in the way the white at the bottom would gradate to a nice dark green toward the top. Just like cabbage, I guess.

Now, I don’t really know if that jade cabbage is really as important as I thought, or if it stirs up all sorts of national pride in the Taiwanese people. It could be that my eleven year mind made a big deal out of some random comment. But maybe not. When Chiang Kai-shek was forced to retreated to Taipei during the Chinese Civil War, I imagine his government didn’t have a lot of time to bring many pieces of art. Perhaps the cabbage is a link to mainland China. Maybe looking at that cabbage is a way for the Taiwanese people to remember and feel a link to the history and traditions that they were forced to leave behind.

Kids Craft-i-peneurs

July 14, 2011

This summer I’ve been teaching a class on marketing craft products – for kids. I teach at a Youth City program in the Avenues, and my students are the best, smartest and most talented kids in all of the SLC! They have learned to write marketing strategies, develop tactical plans, build displays, draw logos, conduct branding and even e-commerce. This past week, they each wrote “copy” to advertise their products. Some took more of an ad-focused approach while others wrote like journalists. Here is what they had to say. Be sure to look for these products around town and support amazing child artists and crafters.

Savanna F with Squeeze Me Lemonade
For Squeeze Me, I sell fresh lemonade. I made the recipe myself. You could by my products for birthdays and other special events, it would be an excelent party treat. Every cup would cost at least 75 cents, or buy ½ dozen cups and get one free. My inspiration was when I was little I had lemonade stands all the time. It was super fun and so I decided to sell lemonade. The reason I am doing it I am trying to buy a house for my mom, but I’m donating at least 10 percent of earned money to charity.

Kay, this is not my class. . but it could be

Kay, this is not my class. . but it could be

Abbie B. With Cookielishisnous
Cookielishisnous selling now. Come buy these delicious cookies sold by kids. Only $10.89 4 a dozen. Choco-ship, butterscotch, pumpkin choco-chip, sugar cookies, snickerdoodles and oatmeal choco-chip.

Lexi Bo Bexi
Lexi Bo Bexi is a product that I make handmade jewelry. Then make a charm of a word out of shrinkidink. I will costomize your jewelry. My inspiration is not always being to express yourself. So one word to describe you will be on your jewelry. It would make an exlent anniversary, valentines, Christmas etc gift. For example some words that may describe you are outgoing, funny and original. So mabey you would choose one to wear so when your out-and-about people will know the one word to describe you.

Rat-It-Too Me by Onnie O.
I make sock monkeys, becouse when I was little my grandma’s friend would always send me sock monkeys in the mail. For $15 recycled. I make magnets with beer caps from Café Molise. (I have connections.) Some hair pins I make are rilly cute! Some of them are hand embroidered roses and vases of flowers. My stuff is pretty cute!!!!!

Brenden M. Anime Today. . . Tomorrow. . . Forever.
I draw anime because it’s fun. Anime is awesome because the detail on the people, the way they dress is different. The animes I draw is Soul Eater, Full metal Alchemest, D-Gray man and Shool rumble all TV Tokyo shows. I teach my self to draw them. I’ve been drawing since I was little and I am pretty good at it. I practice drawing once and awhile. I’ll try to make Plush “dolls,” to end this I say Anime Today. . . Tomorrow. . . Forever.

Crafti Indulgence by Sadiki
I make crafts such as stuffed animals, purses, wallets, jewelry, hair clips, beads, buttons and more! All of my ideas are original and made to fit your needs (or wants) J I will custom make any of the above items (or others) specially for you.

Ain’t No Hothouse Flower

July 11, 2011

“You ain’t no hothouse flower” is something my crochet teacher said her dad used to tell her. When I decided to crochet a wedding gown, I knew “Ain’t No Hothouse Flower” would be its name. One part tribute to my teacher, and the other parts blood, sweat, tears and calusses, this dress took at least 3 years to make. It’s constructed like an apron – backless – and by the time I approached “finishing” it, the yarn store stopped carrying the color. That’s how long this sucker took. The left and right sides of the bodice do not match, intentionally. The bead work across the lace just trails off, as if to say you will be adding to your wedding dress your entire life. It was intended to be creamy brown (cuz its not a nice day for a white wedding), but when the store stopped carrying my color , I ended up striping the skirt to hide the flaw. That’s it – naked backside and unfinished with lopsided boobs and mismatched colors – to me that perfectly espresses the moment of a too young girl standing before a wedding alter. Although I must add, the bride I had in mind to wear this dress is a little more seasoned than the average Utah bride. Maybe she’s just old enough to honestly express she really doesn’t know what she’s getting into. Maybe she just wanted to wear something lacey and beautiful and be queen for a day, and pretend her ass isn’t hanging out. Why did I take on wedding gown, especially considering my complicated emotions around the topic? Well, I had to because it the height of my craft. No other garment in our culture recieves the same attention and workmanship.

I’m showing this piece for the first time at the Utah Arts Alliance, 127 S Main, now until July 30.

Art vs. Craft

July 10, 2011

Anna and I were asked to share our thoughts on Art vs. Craft at the Utah Arts Alliance this last Friday for the opening of their Craft Lake City show, and I thought I’d post what I put together. The post is a bit longer than what I normally shoot for, but I hope you still enjoy.

Laocoön – Roman copy of the Greek Sculpture

There has always been some weird power struggle between art and craft. It seems to me that historically the definition has never been static, but changes depending on what culture values at a specific point in time.

In ancient Greece, which helped lay the foundation for the whole Western artistic tradition, visual artists weren’t called artists. A sculptor or painter was labeled as a craftsman. To the ancient Greeks, the true art forms were mainly the performing arts. Music, drama, and even literature. Do we still see it that way? Would any of us say that classical Greek sculpture wasn’t really art?

This attitude carried through to the Renaissance. It could be that the definition changed because during Medieval times, through and well beyond the Renaissance, the majority of people couldn’t read. Instead, they learned about the world by looking at religious paintings, sculpture, and illuminated manuscripts. So, the mystery around art, and the myth of the artist was born. Still, I don’t think we’d appreciate Michelangelo nearly as much if he didn’t thoroughly understand his craft and it’s tradition.

Another reason there is confusion over the terms today might also be because with the Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars, art during the 20th century changed, along with the rest world. To reflect those changes artists often tried to break their links to the past. But the truth is, even the most modern and postmodern work has its roots in tradition, building a bridge between the future and the past.

When I was younger, I valued the visual and plastic arts to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. Looking back, I see this as very self-limiting. I tend to paint and draw in a very cubist style. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come across incredible patterns and geometry in quilts and other fiber arts that have expanded my visual language and style.

I’ve also been fortunate enough to work with a number of dancers and these last few years. Projecting my work behind the stage during a performance, sometimes even having the dancers interact with my work. I’ve learned more about movement, costuming, and the human figure through dance than I ever could have by sitting around looking at a live model holding the same pose for hours on end. I don’t mean to say that figure drawing has no value, because I’ve done plenty of that too. A creative person just has to remain curious and learn wherever they can.

New and relatively unexplored computer formats have enriched my artwork in ways I cannot begin to guess, adding so much creative potential it is overwhelming. What is amazing to me is digital art is so very young, just getting it’s legs. And still people try to somehow separate my digital work from my drawings and paintings. As if one method has more value than another. The computer is just a creative tool I might choose to express an idea.

Photography was dismissed by a lot of people when it was first introduced, but now that it has a little history behind it and a few individuals have mastered the craft, most of us can appreciate the art-form. Whats funny is even acrylic paint was dismissed when it was first introduced in the 40s because certain people living in their ivory towers thought nothing good could ever come from plastic paint.

I’ve heard it said many times over that the true difference between art and craft is utility. Artwork is only meant to be looked at and serves no real purpose, and craft is functional. Personally, I don’t buy that definition. There is nothing more pleasurable for me than to hold a beautiful piece of artwork in my hand, and then take a drink from it. Or to see somebody wearing a piece of art, like one of Anna’s amazing handmade outfits.

It doesn’t matter what materials were used, but how well a specific technique can carry an idea. In the end, the only thing that matters is the way a piece makes you feel.

It’s easy to hold negative judgements of other points of view when we cling too tightly to our own. It’s easy to diminish others while trying to define ourselves, but identifying with a single view is limiting. Talent and dedication may vary from person to person, but I think that art and craft are the same thing.

I can’t remember now where I first read the following quote, but I know it fit with how I feel:

“If we are able to view craft and art as a part of a continuum, and if we can allow room for ourselves and others on that continuum, then there is no more power struggle between art and craft. Staying curious will automatically create opportunities for learning.”


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