Art, Article of the Day, Illustration, Inspiration, Science

Passing by to say hi and to share Paolo Čerić’s work, why not?

I stopped feeding this channel for a while. Life got out of my hands, like when water overflew your fists as a child trying to hold it. I’m still trying to put it back in order, as if there was any before falling in this void. I no longer know whether it’s going further down or the other way. In fact, I feel like floating in space while hearing the tic-toc of an old clock. A clock that is so ancient I can’t dare to question. Not because I don’t want to do it, I’m just exhausted at this point. Life is great…it sure is…keep telling that to yourself, maybe it will become true some day. Hopefully, when “some day” comes you will be riding a wild horse in the prairies. It is Napoleon’s white horse taking you to the horizon where the sun sets at dusk (as if possible). Why not?

A facebook acquaintance shared Adel Abidin’s Life is Short, Let’s Have an Affair installation with me, which I planned to publish originally. Of course, I changed my mind. I found Paolo Čerić instead, a Croatian artist whose talent with Processing kept me from weeping as I typed this text of adulation for his mastery of the medium. Paolo, if you are reading this, please note that I admire your good taste in graphics. Not knowing what to select from his exquisite collection, I finally ‘curated’ the following set he published on Behance. Paolo named it Single Stroke, and it came out when I looked up for the word ‘rape‘ on Behance’s searcher. 

Programming, Digital Art, Paolo Čerić

Programming, Digital Art, Paolo Čerić

Programming, Digital Art, Paolo Čerić

Programming, Digital Art, Paolo Čerić

He created them with Processing, which, as some of you may know, requires the artist to code. Numeric beauty, certainly.

Programming, Digital Art, Paolo Čerić

Here is a link to his tumblr! Visit him and like his stuff if you think it worth your effort, or as you prefer. Thank you for passing by.

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Art, Article of the Day, Inspiration, Photo manipulation

Michel Lamoller likes layers

Michel Lamoller likes layers.  Layerscapes (sculptures) is one of his most recent collection, where he creates the illusion of a 3-dimensional image with varying depth. His cities are harmoniously crafted, as you can see in the pictures below. Tautochronos is another project of his currently on the making and, layers, once more, are primal. However, for this post I only selected pieces from Layerscapes, including those he produced back in 2013 and 2012.

To synthesize his technique Lamoller explains, “I work with many layers of photographs create a new space. This space, still containing photographic information, gets photographed again. In my work I play with the reality of the image, and also with its space by turning the space-illusion into real space again.”(via artistaday)

Don’t forget to visit his website to discover more of Michel Lamoller.

2014

2014

2014

2013

2012

2012

2012

2012

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Art, Article of the Day, Inspiration, Painting

Denzler’s nostalgia

It is somehow romantic to look back into the history of television and consider the fact that there was a time in which its transmission was terrestrial. This also brings into consideration the notion that for a few years the world was seen in black and white, and signal disturbances were common. In comparison to the sleek body of the modern T.V., it once resembled a heavy box with dipole antenna or ‘rabbit ears’ that just enhanced its archaic form. Swiss painter Andy Denzler explores the concept of images disturbances in his 2014 collection, “Between the Fragments”.

«In terrestrial transmission, it was a matter of course that there were also image disturbances.» he explained.

Denzler collaborated with Swiss photographer Lukas Mäder by using selected pictures of his portraits depicting celebrities. In the paintings, however, Denzler distorted the images to reflect them conceptually into the abstract realm, bringing out the sentimentality of an obsolete world through warm colours that recalls their nostalgic antiquity.

Here are the pictures:

Girl with a Peach

Vreneli vom Guggisberg

Nevus

Burgäschi See I

Touch

Decision

Have a look at his website for more of his work!

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Art, Article of the Day, Illustration, Inspiration, Politics

The Leśniak portraits

Portraiture, turns out, is not dead. And it won’t be. What is more, it will continue evolving with the upcoming generation of artists and requests, for where there is demand, there is supply. From the depiction of power through the arrogant form of monarchs and imaginary creatures in ancient times, to the acknowledgment of existence through ‘selfies’ taken in washrooms, alas, portraits prevail.

Piotr Leśniak, an illustrator from Warszaba, Poland, came up with these for different magazines:

Piotr Leśniak

Piotr Leśniak

Piotr Leśniak

Piotr Leśniak

Piotr Leśniak

Piotr Leśniak

Piotr Leśniak
Those, of course, are very different from these, which he made for Playboy:

Piotr Leśniak

Piotr Leśniak

Piotr Leśniak

Piotr Leśniak

Piotr Leśniak
And the ‘selfie’, of course:
Piotr Leśniak

Piotr Leśniak, check out more of his work at http://www.behance.net/lesniak…It’s worth it!

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Inspiration, Literature, Vintage storytelling

Vintage storytelling: HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS, a short story by Ernest Hemingway

Hills Like White Elephants

By Ernest Hemingway
The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun. Close against the side of the station there was the warm shadow of the building and a curtain, made of strings of bamboo beads, hung across the open door into the bar, to keep out flies. The American and the girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building. It was very hot and the express from Barcelona would come in forty minutes. It stopped at this junction for two minutes and went to
Madrid.

‘What should we drink?’ the girl asked. She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.

‘It’s pretty hot,’ the man said.

‘Let’s drink beer.’

‘Dos cervezas,’ the man said into the curtain.

‘Big ones?’ a woman asked from the doorway.

‘Yes. Two big ones.’

The woman brought two glasses of beer and two felt pads. She put the felt pads and the beer glass on the table and looked at the man and the girl. The girl was looking off at the line of hills. They were white in the sun and the country was brown and dry.

‘They look like white elephants,’ she said.

‘I’ve never seen one,’ the man drank his beer.

‘No, you wouldn’t have.’

‘I might have,’ the man said. ‘Just because you say I wouldn’t have doesn’t prove anything.’

The girl looked at the bead curtain. ‘They’ve painted something on it,’ she said. ‘What does it
say?’

Anis del Toro. It’s a drink.’

‘Could we try it?’

The man called ‘Listen’ through the curtain. The woman came out from the bar.

‘Four reales.’ ‘We want two Anis del Toro.’

‘With water?’

‘Do you want it with water?’

‘I don’t know,’ the girl said. ‘Is it good with water?’

‘It’s all right.’

‘You want them with water?’ asked the woman.

‘Yes, with water.’

‘It tastes like liquorice,’ the girl said and put the glass down.

‘That’s the way with everything.’

‘Yes,’ said the girl. ‘Everything tastes of liquorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe.’

‘Oh, cut it out.’

‘You started it,’ the girl said. ‘I was being amused. I was having a fine time.’

‘Well, let’s try and have a fine time.’

‘All right. I was trying. I said the mountains looked like white elephants. Wasn’t that bright?’

‘That was bright.’

‘I wanted to try this new drink. That’s all we do, isn’t it – look at things and try new drinks?’

‘I guess so.’

The girl looked across at the hills. ‘They’re lovely hills,’ she said. ‘They don’t really look like white elephants. I just meant the colouring of their skin through the trees.’

‘Should we have another drink?’

‘All right.’

The warm wind blew the bead curtain against the table.

‘The beer’s nice and cool,’ the man said.

‘It’s lovely,’ the girl said.

‘It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,’ the man said. ‘It’s not really an operation at all.’

The girl looked at the ground the table legs rested on.

‘I know you wouldn’t mind it, Jig. It’s really not anything. It’s just to let the air in.’

The girl did not say anything.

‘I’ll go with you and I’ll stay with you all the time. They just let the air in and then it’s all perfectly natural.’

‘Then what will we do afterwards?’

‘We’ll be fine afterwards. Just like we were before.’

‘What makes you think so?’

‘That’s the only thing that bothers us. It’s the only thing that’s made us unhappy.’

The girl looked at the bead curtain, put her hand out and took hold of two of the strings of beads.

‘And you think then we’ll be all right and be happy.’

‘I know we will. Yon don’t have to be afraid. I’ve known lots of people that have done it.’

‘So have I,’ said the girl. ‘And afterwards they were all so happy.’

‘Well,’ the man said, ‘if you don’t want to you don’t have to. I wouldn’t have you do it if you didn’t want to. But I know it’s perfectly simple.’

‘And you really want to?’

‘I think it’s the best thing to do. But I don’t want you to do it if you don’t really want to.’

‘And if I do it you’ll be happy and things will be like they were and you’ll love me?’

‘I love you now. You know I love you.’

‘I know. But if I do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?’

‘I’ll love it. I love it now but I just can’t think about it. You know how I get when I worry.’

‘If I do it you won’t ever worry?’

‘I won’t worry about that because it’s perfectly simple.’

‘Then I’ll do it. Because I don’t care about me.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I don’t care about me.’

‘Well, I care about you.’

‘Oh, yes. But I don’t care about me. And I’ll do it and then everything will be fine.’

‘I don’t want you to do it if you feel that way.’

The girl stood up and walked to the end of the station. Across, on the other side, were fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro. Far away, beyond the river, were mountains. The shadow of a cloud moved across the field of grain and she saw the river through the trees.

‘And we could have all this,’ she said. ‘And we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.’

‘What did you say?’

‘I said we could have everything.’

‘We can have everything.’No, we can’t.’

‘We can have the whole world.’

‘No, we can’t.’

‘We can go everywhere.’

‘No, we can’t. It isn’t ours any more.’

‘It’s ours.’

‘No, it isn’t. And once they take it away, you never get it back.’

‘But they haven’t taken it away.’

‘We’ll wait and see.’

‘Come on back in the shade,’ he said. ‘You mustn’t feel that way.’

‘I don’t feel any way,’ the girl said. ‘I just know things.’

‘I don’t want you to do anything that you don’t want to do -’

‘Nor that isn’t good for me,’ she said. ‘I know. Could we have another beer?’

‘All right. But you’ve got to realize – ‘

‘I realize,’ the girl said. ‘Can’t we maybe stop talking?’

They sat down at the table and the girl looked across at the hills on the dry side of the valley and the man looked at her and at the table.

‘You’ve got to realize,’ he said, ‘ that I don’t want you to do it if you don’t want to. I’m perfectly willing to go through with it if it means anything to you.’

‘Doesn’t it mean anything to you? We could get along.’

‘Of course it does. But I don’t want anybody but you. I don’t want anyone else. And I know it’s perfectly simple.’

‘Yes, you know it’s perfectly simple.’

‘It’s all right for you to say that, but I do know it.’

‘Would you do something for me now?’

‘I’d do anything for you.’

‘Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?’

He did not say anything but looked at the bags against the wall of the station. There were labels on them from all the hotels where they had spent nights.

‘But I don’t want you to,’ he said, ‘I don’t care anything about it.’

‘I’ll scream,’ the girl siad.

The woman came out through the curtains with two glasses of beer and put them down on the damp felt pads. ‘The train comes in five minutes,’ she said.

‘What did she say?’ asked the girl.

‘That the train is coming in five minutes.’

The girl smiled brightly at the woman, to thank her.

‘I’d better take the bags over to the other side of the station,’ the man said. She smiled at him.

‘All right. Then come back and we’ll finish the beer.’

He picked up the two heavy bags and carried them around the station to the other tracks. He looked up the tracks but could not see the train. Coming back, he walked through the bar-room, where people waiting for the train were drinking. He drank an Anis at the bar and looked at the people. They were all waiting reasonably for the train. He went out through the bead curtain. She was sitting at the table and smiled at him.

‘Do you feel better?’ he asked.

‘I feel fine,’ she said. ‘There’s nothing wrong with me. I feel fine.’

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Art, Article of the Day, Interview

A conversation with painter Alexis Lavoie

About a year ago I attended un vernissage, an art exhibition at the Maison de la Culture Frontenac in Montreal. Don’t get me wrong, but I like going to these events without invitation and help myself with the free wine and fancy snacks kindly offered to guests. Shame on me, I know. Although it is true that I also enjoy being there because art feeds the soul (or so we are told, right?). Since I still have not developed un goût sélectif et raffiné du beau, I turn into a pretentious cynic while contemplating whatever is on display, holding my glass of red wine in one hand and a cracker with cheese and grapes in the other — Like a sir!

Well, this time was different.

Les Dernières Choses (the last things)

Gaudy colours, sceneries of fornication, amputated bodies, abstract spaces… It was like immersing into someone’s mind and looking at snapshots of his memories. Then I saw it, a boy standing in the middle of a circle drawn on a field, and there is what seems to be the piece of a dog’s head on the ground that he is contemplating.

I went back home and contacted the author, Alexis Lavoie, through Facebook and he agreed to give me an interview during the week. Days went by quickly.

Alexis arrived on his bike and, as he parked by the gallery entrance, I rushed to meet him. He had his sun glasses on and a friendly smile, we greeted each other with a kiss on each cheek — custom in Quebec — and rushed inside the gallery. We sit right at the centre of the room. There was a brief silence.

Alexis was born and raised in Montreal, fluent in both French and English. He graduated in 2008 with a B.F.A in Visual and Media Arts from l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), and has not stopped painting since then.

The interview took a good 30 minutes. I was lost and confused when this took place, which clearly reflects on the nature of my questions. Yet, Alexis answered them.

What is the importance of the psyche in your work?

“My work is really about the human being, about psychology. That is my interpretation of it. For every artist, I guess, their work is personal in some way, but it’s not like in Francis Bacon’s work where he talks about his life a lot, like in a diary. For me it can start like that but it’s more about the human being in general. It’s not like an agenda but I think that the subconscious always ends up there. It starts with a general idea and some pictures; then I say, I’m at point A, I have nothing, I want to go to point Z, but then I go through a lot of things during the process and that is where the subconscious comes in, I guess, but in the paintings you see elements of joy, elements of violence, of childhood, something about comfort, about love, about massacre. It’s all together. Symbols with symbolic force. But it’s not a clear narrative, or subject. This is what you have, it’s more atmospheric, it provokes emotion…” He paused for a moment.

“It’s more of an atmosphere than a concrete subject that I’ve already chosen,” He continued, “It’s not something that is very intellectualized all the time.. but it can be. It’s also something that comes directly from the heart, if I can say; but there surely is something more raw in the making of it.”

What is the significance of the rooms?

“A room is a space used to make the elements appear in the the artwork,” he replied, “When I do a painting, the wall is a wall in the sense of the idea of a wall that constructs the space, but it’s also to construct the illustrated space, putting in place the shapes, the colors. When I paint I think a lot of creating an artwork that stands by itself visually, as I also think of creating something that is complete in what I want to represent”

And what would that be? “The thematics”, bien sûr!

Alexis explained, “you put a dead dog’s head next to a child, it can mean something, but at the same time it has to work visually. These are two things that are there together, for all the paintings that are here but not necessarily the rooms, the rooms work somewhat like in the other series of paintings I do. They are colors, spaces; it’s like staging. When I arrive to a place, is what I see real? The rainbow, the ball, why are they placed there? Are they the traces of an event? A crime scene? Like a flash of the past, are they only from the memory? Those places are timeless. I even ask myself why creating them, the meaning the space, it’s all mixed up. When is it? Where? I am getting far from something clear to express through it more raw emotions.”

I pointed at other paintings that do not have walls at all, which he defined for me as a different series. In these ones the viewer could see the horizon.

“You still see the playground”, I said.

“You see an artificial space,” he corrected me, “It’s elements can come together and create something together but now it’s more about the skin. There is still a side to it that is joyful and that can probably come from childhood, which is playful, but at the same time is like a massacre.”

“It feels like you are taking the child outside of the room,” I said, pointing with my stare at the wallless images, “but Maybe my interpretation is a bit off”.

“The name of the series is Découpe,” he clarified, “which is a term used at butcheries (scallop in english). It clearly talks about human flesh and that it dies just like a pig. There is something about the massacre, something about a part of us that is like this and Découpe also means cutting. Like the way I make those paintings.”

Alexis continued to describe the process.

“I draw first,” he said, “then I put tape on the drawing and with an exacto I just cut it off. Then I paint and take off the layer it created, so it looks like a collage a bit. I used the same technique for the rooms. But in this series you are still confronted with the idea of whether it is joyful or really bad, or what is this? What’s happening there? It leads you to some kind of an interrogation room. But there is not something precise that I want to say. I’m exploring, I’m expressing. I think those paintings can make people think.”

“I’m still thinking about the child” I express, pointing at the painting behind him.

“In that one?” He looks at it.

Is it a metaphor? Does it recall an event from your life?

“Let me tell you the story of this painting…”

Which he did.

According to him, “I was at the metro and took a picture of two kids with my phone. I don’t know, I do this wherever I go. Then I went to google and searched for dead dogs. Not because I saw the kids, the two things are not connected…”

He briefly stops, “but in someway, as I told you, I should go see a psychologist to tell me that,” and then resumed “I wanted to see paintings of a dead dog and, when I saw it, I wanted to paint it. In this painting I painted it. Then I did the circles and the orange cones. I wanted to paint the child like this. I don’t know when in the process, how it happens, but the head of the dog is way too big to be a normal head of a dead dog lying on the floor next to a kid. It’s a mascot head, an emblematic animal costume to amuse children, usually, like you see in a parade or at allegoric wagons with the child that observes. The child looks de-personalized, anonymized, and he looks as fake as the dog’s head. So, it’s more the idea of a child instead of trying to paint a real child, they both are. They are glued there and they are in direct relation.”

“As for the metaphor,” he said “I don’t know. Death, infancy, innocence, orange security cones. Maybe, maybe life and death”

Voilà! My curiosity had been satisfied. I, however, had perceived a more dramatic feeling. I tell him so, he thinks about it. “Of course, there is a drama, but it’s latent… un drame latent…

“It feels very surreal” I carry on, because, indeed, when you got inside the gallery, you were suddenly exposed to thoughts, and perhaps memories, captured within the pictures. I stressed the strength of the child painting once more.

He continued, “It’s all that together and you don’t know exactly what or why. But that’s what I was telling you, there is always an element of atmospheric drama or something that you can’t point exactly where it is. But in that one there is no dead head or blood (points at bedroom painting), but it is strange, nonetheless. There is no…”

I interrupt.

Why a bedroom?

“It’s the elements that you see everyday. A bedroom is where you sleep, is where you dream, is where you have sex, is where your parents created you. It’s a symbol and then in this thing you have strange colours. Is it a window or is it just a colour that makes part of the painting and then you have the confettis. There is no clear meaning.”

Briefly he pauses and looks around the salon. “It talks about humans, it talks about the memory, it talks about some things that are hard to confront about the human being. Even if I draw a rainbow, it always comes back in the themes.”

So you basically talk about violence?

“Violence, childhood, artificiality…”

When I asked him what painting was his favourite, he quickly glanced at the one with the circus hanging behind us. All he said was “I really like that one”.

After a pause, nonetheless, he retracted saying that he wouldn’t feel good to answer for they all complement each other.

What did you learn about yourself after putting this show together?

“It’s cool when you do a show, you have the white walls like this and then you can see everything more clear than when it’s in the studio. Now I can see that it goes well together. I can step back and look at the results. I didn’t learn anything new because it’s a continuation of what I’ve been doing previously. But it’s a great feeling seeing them complete. It marks my way.”

Suddenly, the tone of the conversation changed. I was interested to hear his opinion about choosing to be an artist as a career.

Is it hard being an artist?

“It is very hard. You have no security, there is a lot of competition. Although, at the same time it is a gift.”

 Did you ever imagine such a reality as a student?

“It was pretty clear to me that I wanted to do painting all my life. I can’t live without doing it…”

He thought about it for a few seconds, “maybe I can, but I don’t wish to.”

“I think I’m really lucky to have this in my life,” he said, “but at the same time you are somehow doomed because it doesn’t work well for a lot of people. You need to make money, and, you know, be comfortable, well, it’s like you are doomed in a way. You are lucky and doomed because you will have to fight all the time and be in precarity. For a lot of people it’s like that. But me, I consider myself lucky and, yeah, it’s something that I wanted to do and it’s something I am privileged to do and that I love to do. You do it for yourself and you should never paint for others, and if you do it for someone else than yourself, then you are fucked, you should stop. In my case, it’s always been with me, it helped me in my life. It’s part of me. Since I wanted to do a career out of it, I’m happy to show my work to everyone… I’m where I want to be.”

Would you say school is necessary?

“I do think that university helped me a lot. School helped me a lot because while in there the environment was good and I met a lot of other painters that were passionate about creating, so we could exchange ideas; I also met a lot of good teachers. It’s not about the paper you get from school, it’s the people you meet there and then what they teach you, plus it gives you links to the real world afterwards. You can be introduced to people. Like me, my first exhibition was at the Gallery Art Mûr and it was because of uni,” said Alexis.

He then added, “You get to think about your art. I was introduced to a lot of new artists that influenced me while at school and by myself…maybe other people can do it, maybe people who talk to a lot of people, that think a lot, read about it; but me, by myself I don’t think it would have been the same.”

What artists inspired you?

“There are a few,” he replied, “Now I look at pictures in the internet, I read the news, books, and that is what gives me the material to create. It’s through venturing with painting that I create new forms. The matter, the colours, intelligence.”

After pausing he continued, “Intelligent things happen that you wouldn’t be able to think of in the first place. But there are some painters that did make an impact on me like Gerhard Richter, one of the biggest painters alive of the century, he is one that I really like. I don’t know how much you can see of his influence in my paintings. I really like Francis Bacon too. Lots of people compare some of my paintings to Bacon. There is also a young painter from Germany, his name is Matthias Weischer, specially when I create interior spaces, you can recognize this but not in all of my work.”

A message to students…to arts students.

“Good luck”, he replied.

En Pièces (17)

Découpe (6)

En Pièces (20)

Découpe (4)

En Pièces (18)

Découpe (5)

Vue et vision

Découpe (7)

This was Alexis Lavoie, check out his website for more!

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Art, Article of the Day, Photojournalism

Nocturnal procrastination with photographer Navid Baraty

O’ the internet, what would 3 am insomnia be without you? There would probably be the adored-cliche sheep, jumping while regretting their unitary existence in a imaginary situation, or maybe just a lamb preparing to debut at a Korban Pesach. Yet, tonight the situation is different, my stumbling skills of following candy-visuals instinctively landed me on Navid Baraty’s portfolio. However, it was not his ‘eye’ what captured my short-term attention span since photography is not as intellectually stimulating as drawing is in my collection of interests. No, no. He left an unfulfilling career in engineering to pursue his photographic passion. Yes, this guy opted out of engineering to pursue his photographic passion. I chose to share only one of his sets, the one that appealed to my current field of study: urban planning. Yes, I relate to him on the technocratic matter.

Here it is, “Intersection”.

Midtown, New York City – 2013 Financial District, New York City – 2011 Ginza, Tokyo – 2009 Midtown, New York City – 2011 Ginza, Tokyo – 2009 Midtown, New York City – 2011 Ginza, Tokyo – 2009
Midtown, New York City – 2011 Chelsea, New York City – 2011

Good night.

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