Monday, February 23, 2009

Coraline, hmmm...

I saw the animated movie, "Coraline" over the weekend (not the 3D version, more's the pity.) I had an odd, delayed, reaction to it. Don't get me wrong, the animation and the art direction/design are wonderful. But...
I left the movie theatre cheerfully bouyant, had a very good East Asian supper with a friend, and then when I got home I felt horribly displaced- like I really should have gone to my former home, walked to the back door, through the garden under a starry sky, and sat by a crackling fire in the fire place before retiring. Instead I came back to an apartment that that evening all I could see were its many faults, and when I dreamt that night, I dreamt disturbing dreams of Thrums End.
I had an experience like that years ago when I was living in Brooklyn. I had walked the 10 blocks to the local cinema to see Albert Brooks' "Defending Your Life," ostensibly a comedy. I had left the cinema cheerful but by the time I had walked the 10 blocks home, I was in tears. The premise of the film was that as a child, the main character had not stood up to a much older and larger bully and was therefore going to be punished for eternity. Unfortunately, that storyline dovetailed rather too neatly with my own view of God at that time. To say it triggered some existential angst was an understatement.
So, what was it about "Coraline" that caused me to react so?
The parents were cold and distant, more concerned with working than paying any attention to their child; the home they had moved into looked dreary and, again, cold. There was no comfort to be found anywhere in that place. The parents could only be kind and loving to Coraline after they had brought in money- so the equivalence was made: poverty=coldness, not loving; money=warmth, loving. Maybe that was what triggered my reaction.
Anyway, was it a good movie- I can't really say. But that's just me...

Friday, February 20, 2009


Glorioski! I have found my art-ism! My place in the art universe. I am a Stuckist. (profound silence except for the chirping of crickets follows.)
Okay, so what is Stuckism? Well, go here to read the Remodernist manifesto.
I must add that I am very grateful to the founders of Stuckism for not only giving me an identifiable group but also for sparing me the task of having to write my own manifesto. I merely had to go to the cathedral of contemporary art, step up to the doors and read the theses, as it were.
Am I being facetious? No, I am not. I have felt alienated from much of the contemporary art world's cynicism and over-reliance on irony and just plain snarkiness for some time. Also its promotion of profoundly unskilled and untalented people. I visited the Tate Modern the last time I was in London and it had a tremendous effect on me. I was quite thrilled to see the work in the galleries devoted to Stanley ("Cookham") Spencer and other between-the-wars painters. I was quite dismayed when I was in the galleries devoted to very contemporary conceptual art- which seems to only embody the concept "I can't draw, and I can't paint, but I can self-promote to gullible people who are only interested in appearing hip." I had left the former galleries inspired and delighted; the latter, disturbed and upset. Later, when I was talking with the friends I was staying with, I mentioned that since the purpose of the very contemporary art at the Tate seems to be to disturb, and there was much of it concentrated in one place- I left the museum disturbed and upset.
I would rather that after looking at my work, people are thoughtful, inspired and- dare I say it- delighted.

Stuckists of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your cynicism!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Humble Button

A very amusing snippet about buttons and Koumpounophobia- the fear thereof, from Neil Gaiman.

(Buttons rule)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Thought It Was Over...

But I was wrong. I have been out of my former home since September but in the virtual world I was still living at Thrums End. My web site was still up- frozen in time since then but no indication on the site that the house, studio and gardens were no longer mine. The site also had much about my work but according to the statistics, as many people visited the pages about the home as they did for the art. I knew I had to deal with it but I just didn't have the heart.
I had actually built a new site and secured a new domain late last year, but had not arranged for hosting nor finished all the little coding details- yes, I write the code myself. The pressure to close this chapter of my life was building, the hosting for the old site was expensive and holding onto the last shreds of Thrums End was becoming intolerable. I felt dishonest sending people to the old site- it was no longer me.

Well, the time finally came this week. Another tie to my old life has been cut. I had an ache in my heart the whole time and I did shed some tears but I did it . The old site served me well for 16 years, practically an eternity in the life of the internet. All there is left is a placeholder page and soon going to the old address will send visitors immediately to the new address. So, is dead; long live I hope you enjoy your visit.

(PS The Word Project site has been carried over to the new site)