Welcome to my world! I always thought it would be fun to be the ruler of my own place, and now I can be! I see it as an island within a big city full of life, culture and lots of laughter. Consider yourself a citizen.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Figure Drawing Friday

Monday, March 27, 2006

Monet's Gardens

Lisa's post brought me back to my last trip to France and my visit to Giverny, home to Monet's studio and gardens.

Nothing could have been better at the time of year I visited. The gardens were in full bloom, the water lily were a little sparse but did not take away from anything. In the distance you can see Monet's Oriental Bridge that he painted so many times.

A highlight was actually visiting Les Nymphs (The Water Lillies) at Le Orangerie in the eliptical galleries designed to show them in, after seeing the gardens in person.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bob Marleystein?

I have heard of Matisyahu, and thought he was nothing more than another novelty act, much like Weird Al! And then I heard a song on the radio without knowing who it was and liked the vibe. His new album is Youth, his debut is Live at Stubbs.

Then on Sunday Morning this morning, they did a profile of Matisyahu. He is a Hasidic Jew Reggae star. Really! Album debuts at No. 1 on the Reggae chart, No. 4 on the overall chart! He aint no novelty act, well long term he may be, but for now he is really cool.

The reporter on Sunday Morning summed his music up as "Spiritual Lyrics, Reggae rhythms and Hip Hop Undertones." Sums it up well for me!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Waiting for warm weather

These are the pots that in the spring and summer are bountiful with color and herbs on my back steps/porch. The sunset last night lit them up with much optimism.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Illustration Friday - monster

This Illustration Friday is very much like something that has been going on in the design world at a blog called Speak Up. They call it Word It

Figure Drawing Friday

Thursday, March 23, 2006


No, you're not it. Tag is a book and art piece by Mark Wagner, see yesterday's post!

Tag is a book, as well, that is about a man discovering that the garment tag itching at the back of his neck is not attached to his shirt, but to himself. The tag becomes a metaphor for the private humanity within every individual.

This jacket was made completely of various garment tags. If it is all about the labels, why not wear the labels I suppose!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mark Wagner's Money

I made it to the show today. Mark Wagner's Money Collages at the Western Exhibition gallery.

It was a small show but really interesting. The show also had much of the documentation of each, or at least several, of the pieces. The four shown are my favorites as they simply take a single dollar bill, and transform it into something else. The names of the pieces are very unspecific and talk more about what they look like, than what they seem to say about money. I have my own personal interpretation, but that is mine. I am sure you may have your own story to be told which these could easily illustrate.

There was another set of pieces that were very Victorian in feel. Delicate little pictures constructed from money, all one dollar bills but several were most likely used. They were also placed within a wide formal printed border to set them off like jewels.

Lastly there was a larger series called Liberty and Freedom. These were quite large pieces that used currency as the artists medium more than anything else. They too were quite elaborate in their detail and attention to the printed image on the currency.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Voting in Cook County, IL District 8-2

I voted. I said I would and I did! But here is a little story!

Cook County has changed over from punch card "hanging chad" style ballots to optical cards, the kind you fill in the circle. That meant new equipment etc.

You have to options with these cards, make a clear x through the box or fill in the box completely. I opted for the X as it seemed more efficient with a pen.

I finish my ballot and stand behind an African American man, yes, that fact is important. They are inserting his ballot into the reader and it gets spit back out. They try again, it gets spit back out. Again, the same. They call tech support. Open the back, hit a reset button, insert again, it gets spit back out.

All the while we are making small talk like, nice new machine, this should work nicely, have they tested this new equipment?

So he says to the election judges, try the white guys ballot! I said that would just be embarrassing if mine worked and his didn't. We asked each other did you skip any, did you use the X method or fill in the circles, just trying to do some laymen trouble shooting as the judges all scurried about trying to make the machine work.

Finally a judge said let's try your (my) ballot. It went into the machine beeped and was accepted! The other man and myself just looked at each other and laughed. He said it was just like voting in Alabama! They then went back and tried his ballot, again, it was rejected.

I waited a couple more minutes to see if his ballot was going to be accepted. The machine was not accepting it. I shook the man's hand, wished him luck and left. The last thing I heard was them saying he may need to fill in a new ballot.

I walked home shaking my head.

Election Day

I wasn't going to vote today. I do not like having to declare my party during these primary elections, as sometimes I do like a candidate who does not follow my party lines.

And then I turned on the television to see our babbling bobble head of a president snicker and smirk his way through a press conference. Being dismissive and glib aint a way to conduct oneself when there are rather serious issues that need some serious attention.

So I will be posting this, and heading out to the polls. Even though I often find myself voting AGAINST someone rather than FOR someone, it is my right and duty to do so.

Get out and vote today!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Money changes everything! Or can you change money?

Akitu and The Bubble

Mark Wagner got the idea for his money collages, now showing at Western Exhibitions, after having lunch with a friend. “I got out my wallet, and he reached into his pocket and pulled out this tangled mass of bills. He had to spend some time smoothing it out. Something about that transgression of money stuck in my mind. I was uneasy at the messiness of it, but it had an appeal—like watching a horror movie. You’re not supposed to like it, but you watch it anyway. That visceral reaction is one of the strongest things about art.” There’s an antiauthoritarian streak at work too; Wagner once cut up his college diploma to use in a collage. At this show’s opening, he wore a paper flower cut from two one-dollar bills: “I made it that morning, after some phone consultations with my girlfriend.” All his money collages are made from one-dollar bills. For some, he cuts a single dollar into very thin strips and reshapes the bill, pasting it onto a board. In The Bubble, the dollar is bent into an elegant curved shape with a keyhole opening in the middle. In Chatter, it’s cut into thin diagonal strips, then pasted back together with the order of the strips reversed, making the whole bill look fuzzy. Other collages use more than one dollar to make designs. The almost surreal Akitu is a clutter of George Washington faces and face fragments; Topiary Dollar collages the leaf shapes on the bills’ borders into a “bush” shaped like a dollar sign.

“I try to choose subject matter that relates as tightly as possible to the materials,” Wagner says. “I like as many things as possible within the work to relate to each other. If your materials are clothing tags, the thing to make out of them is a garment.” He’s done that here in Tag Jacket, displayed near an artist’s book, Tag, that collages many clothes labels on each page. “With the money collages, I thought of monetary value as well as other kinds of value—I did some collage portraits of my friends. I also thought of Americana and did money portraits of Ben Franklin and George Washington.” Wagner, who grew up in rural central Wisconsin, is the son of an auto and farm-equipment mechanic and sees himself as a bluecollar worker. “I’m making things. I think of my dad’s and mom’s workshops, and my early tinkering there.” As a child he made wooden toys, and his mom taught him to sew at four. Now he tracks the hours he works on each piece and calculates his salary per hour if it sells—often $50 to $100, but that doesn’t take into account his costs, and many don’t sell.

Among the courses Wagner took at the University of Wisconsin at Madison—he received a BFA in 1995—was a video and performance art class with Marshall Weber that he says blew his mind: “He kept relating video art to the culture at large, and he would go on these wild tangents where he would link up all this stuff together, connecting Marx to Martha Stewart. He introduced me to the idea of critiquing the media.” A course in making artist’s books started Wagner working in that mode; now living in Brooklyn, he helped found Booklyn, a nonprofit selling artists’ books. In general he takes a hardheaded, practical approach. “I always try to think of my viewers rather than myself,” he says. “I try to find things that I will be interested in and that viewers will be too. A lot of artists are too self-centered—they don’t realize that they’re servants of their viewers. Your first job is to get someone to look at it, providing the pure retinal pleasure of looking. If they don’t want to think about it more, I like to at least give them that. I also like to give the people who like to think something to chew on as well.” —Fred Camper

Friday, March 17, 2006

Figure Drawing Friday

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Half Nekkid Thursday

From the Hawaiin islands to you!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Street Tromp L'oile

I showed my students the 3D Rooms, yesterday's post. They come back with this!

This is street art from Julian Beever. They are chalk drawings that rise up from the surface of the street. Julian Beever is an English artist who's famous for his art on the pavement of England, France, Germany, Australia and Belgium.

Here is what another looks like when viewed from the right direction.

And if you look at it from the wrong direction, it looks like this!

And a few others just for fun!

This one fooled many people into actually walking around it!

Why do I love my job? Other than the two day work week and the summers off and other perks, it would have to be the STUDENTS! They are into everything and are willing to share. And I learn as much from them as hopefully they do from me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

3D Rooms

This is some really cool stuff. Call it wacked interior design, installation art or life size optical illusions you can walk through. Whatever they are, or it is, it is way way cool. They seem to be called 3D Rooms. They are the amazing work of an artist named Felice Varini.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Spring blooms

My orchid is blooming once again, so it must be spring.

Many say they cannot get their orchids to bloom. Well, after about three years my orchid now blooms regularly, not once, but twice a year, and has for at least the past four or five years! And from the first bloom to the last it is at least a couple of months of beauty!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Bike Rack

I love when someone takes an ordinary thing and makes it special. Why does something for the masses have to be generic and totally untilitarian in look and feel. Well it doesn't. Look at the bike racks seen throughout Hawaii!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Figure Drawing Friday

Shadow Portrait of Rex

Thursday, March 09, 2006

They did it again!

First the $20, then the $50 and now they have tinkered with the $10.

I have not been a big fan of this current redesign. I have found it minor and inconsequential. Designed by bureaucrats and people unaware of good design and the power of it.

Perhaps I am a little bias, spending the better part of a year writing a thesis about currency design and how it can brand a country, and then meeting another from India who also wrote an interesting paper about the power of money and what it says about national identity, but I just wish our country would come out and make a powerful stand in the design if what is commonly known as "international currency."

But here I find myself, a little more impressed than I have been with one certain element on the new $10. On the face side to the right of Hamilton's portrait are the words "We The People." Finally, words of meaning. Words everyone understands. Words that start to express our BRAND as a country. What makes our country so unique and desirable to everyone everywhere? WE THE PEOPLE. Our freedoms. Our opportunities.

In 1999, when the US was going to begin this redesign process, ID magazine asked several designers how they would redesign the $20. Jennifer Sterling and Eric La Brecque, San Francisco, chose a unique approach to explore a theme more central to our national identity, words. Be it the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, the words of the Declaration of Independence or even the Constitution. These words endure. As Jennifer said "It makes sense to move away from the cult of presidents and move toward a cult of texts.

I could not agree more.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Penny saved is a penny earned?

Here is everything you ever wanted to know about pennies. Well maybe not EVERYTHING, but some interesting facts you can use at your next party!

How much does it cost to produce a penny?
According to the U.S General Accounting Office, it cost 0.8 cents to produce each penny. The cost is 0.7 cents each according to the U.S. Mint. (U.S GAO, July 1996)

How many pennies are issued annually?
There are 132 billion pennies in circulation today. Ten to fourteen billion pennies are produced each year. That's fifty pennies for each Americans. Two-third of these pennies will end up stashed in a drawer or jar somewhere by the end of the year, out of circulation.

What is a pound of pennies worth?
Approximately two hundred pennies ($2) equal one pound in weight. (US News and World Report 1/17/97)

Wouldn't a flood of pennies ruin the market price for copper?
No. The copper content of a post-1982 penny is 2.5 percent (the jacket). 97.5 percent of a penny is made from zinc, and penny production makes up a very small percentage of world zinc sales each year. Penny production accounted for less than three percent of U.S. zinc consumption in 1995.

If hoarders released their pennies into circulation, and the U.S. Mint stopped producing pennies for a year, who would lose?
According the U.S. GAO, penny production accounts for $1.2 million in truck driver wages, $700,000 in chemical sales, and 356 jobs in zinc refining and smelting. Copper coated zinc blanks are manufactured in Tennessee and Illinois. They are then minted in Denver or Philadelphia.

When was the first penny produced?
The U.S. Congress authorized production of the penny in 1792.

Does penny production cause pollution?
According to the U.S. GAO (Federal News Service, July 16, 1996), the mining of zinc causes metal leaching into the water system. Zinc smelting results in air pollution. But the elimination of penny production would have an insignificant effect on overall pollution. According the Garbage Project at the University of Arizona, household threw out only 3 pennies per year during 1980 - 1986. This had an insignificant effect on landfills.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Piggy Banks

Since I referred to these on another blog, I thought I would share them here in order of currency contained within!

The one on the left holds pennies. It is the largest, r gets to be the largest as it expands as the bank fills. Yes, it is made of wood and expands. It is one long coil that makes it able to do so.

Next is the milk bottle holding milk money from grammar school also known as nickels.

The dimes in the next bank will be hard to get to as this is an old fashion bank that once money is put in, you need to break the bank to get it out. Of course with enough shaking, coins will drop back out of the slot!

COINK! is the last bank on the right. I first saw it at the MoMA store and treated myself to it as an after Christmas present. It is perfect for quarters. My previous bank was a folk art bank made of welded tin, below, and it could not withstand the weight of the quarters.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Figure Drawing Friday

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Half-Nekkid Thursday

A common nekkid scene at my home!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

The profits of Mardi Gras and I did not have to flash or drop trou once!