31 August 2005

Yet more Billy

I knew I used to have something where he got into Mayan stuff (on a CD that's one of the many victims of my peripatetic lifestyle), and I've found it again - this time with a snazzy animation attached: Ah Pook is here.

29 August 2005

Ha ha

I've sussed out what my entry will be. Funnily enough, it's a variation on the six-panel thing I was working on and abandoned, but using canvases that worked instead of the ones that didn't. I call it Signs of a doomed civilisation.

I've used Blogger's upload pic function again. Click on the sucker to see a slightly bigger version.

Time to freak out

A friend of mine reminded me today that Wallace Award entries need to be in by Thursday. I'm not sure what I'll put in, but will try to suss it out this evening.

Uncharacteristic political post

I really can't see National winning the election. They don't have anything like a credible alternative government. Even the Guardian is amazed at how amateur hour Brash is.

Now it turns out that his coup was backed by New Right ideologues. What a surprise. No wonder he's keen to find out who's leaking this stuff.

28 August 2005

Some more Billy

This article is about Billy Burroughs' pictures. I really like the early collages and Shot Sherriff ones, but not the later paintings.


Along with a lot of other things I was into when I was younger I'm getting back into Billy Burroughs.

27 August 2005

Some blithering about art

What makes a good work of art a good work of art? There've been many different answers over the years. For most of the last 500, a good work of art has been (broadly speaking) pretty narrowly defined as a technically well executed history painting. After modernism though that all changed. There was a time when a good work of art was defined as a specific type of abstract painting, but that of course is thankfully no longer the case. Nowadays, a good work of art is usually defined as anything presented as art that makes you question (or something like that).

That's one way of looking at it anyway. What about a historically independent definition of good art, one that you can apply equally well to a 15th century religious altarpiece, an early modernist abstraction, or a contemporary anything? One old idea that I think has legs is that in a good work of art form and content reinforce each other. I prefer to think of it as the visual and the conceptual reinforcing each other. Something that looks good but that is vapid is obviously not as good as something that looks good that is not vapid, but something where looking good and meaning something are mutually interdependent is even better.

I don't think I'm explaining myself very well. Looking good is obviously subjective. I personally like cool, calm, balanced pictures. Other people like vibrant, bright, busy pictures. It's not maths - there's no proof either way - so the visual style of a picture can't be a determinant of whether it's good or not. Take Piero della Francesca's Baptism for example, it's not the visual style of the picture that makes it great but how he's encoded the meaning of it into the structure of it, at all sorts of levels from the geometric construction of the composition to the paint treatment of the River Jordan.

Of course, once again it's not like maths. The meaning in the Baptism is totally unlike the meaning of 2 + 2 = 4 - different people get different meanings out of the picture but I sincerely hope they don't out of the equation. The meaning of a work of art resides in the associations that work provokes in the mind of the viewer. However, this still gives us a somewhat objective measuring stick. Lots of people get lots out of the Baptism because there's so much in there to be got.

Art's a funny business. People worry about who's hot and who's not, who's in which gallery, who's selling for how much. It's important to remember none of that stuff matters. What matters is doing good shit and getting it out there any way you can.

Let's see what this looks like

This is just a wee experiment to check out using Blogger's add image function (instead of uploading images to my website).

Update five seconds later:

Okay, I don't like it. I think I'll stick to the tried and true.

Update ten seconds later:

On reflection, I think that was a bad choice of pic. I might try again with a better one at some later date.

Too much stuff

I've been finding things a bit full on recently - too much stuff going on. I've resigned from my job, though at least this time I've got another one to go to. It's dependent on me getting a security clearence, so one of the things to do this weekend is fill in the 50 million page form detailing everyone I've ever met so the spooks can check me out.

I've also got to track down someone to witness me signing my divorce papers, and reopen negotiations with IRD, but these will be next week's treats. There's also finishing off this thing I'm helping Bek with, and then I think I might be clear to concentrate on my own stuff.

26 August 2005

Change blindness

Those boffins with their whizzy toys have sussed out why we sometimes fail to see big changes right in front of us. They talk about how this is exploited by magicians, but I'm sure there must be some art applications as well.

Flying Spaghetti Monsterism

My seventh form statistics project studied whether there was a statistical correlation between the price of Robert Jones shares and the humidity in Nelson during the month of August 1987. I found that there was. So of course I've got a lot of time for a theory that global warming is a direct effect of the declining number of pirates over the last 200 years.

What does that have to do with this pic? Read all about it here.

22 August 2005

Oh yeah

If you haven't already followed the links to the Histrionics in this post of Rose's (and even if you have but missed it the first time round), check out Appropriation. No prizes for guessing the tune to this one.

Some words

It's just been lots of sound and fury lately, signifying of course nothing. At least I've got my tax nightmare sorted out (sort of).

I wanted to get some work done over the weekend, but it didn't really happen. Maybe the problem is there's things sitting in my head waiting to be transferred to paper, and I get a bit fixated.

Came across an interesting sounding evolutionary theory of psychosis in, of all places, this book review - basically the theory is that a key point in the evolution of homo sapiens from early hominids was a genetic mutation that caused a twist, or torque, in the two hemispheres of our brains, and this twist allowed not only language but also psychosis and schizophrenia.

One of the great things about art is that it's about the only field I can think of where glossing over a simplified account of something quite complicated and then engaging in wild speculation can have quite fruitful results. Not necessarily immediately, but you never know when one odd thing here will link up with one odd thing over there and you're away laughing.

13 August 2005

Some more images

This is some of the stuff I've been playing round with in the last week or so:

06 August 2005


Melbourne art blog.

04 August 2005

Website update

I've updated the old website here and here and here.

03 August 2005

Some images of the show what Rose took

My stuff:

Some of Sandra's stuff:

01 August 2005

Sneak preview

This is a somewhat pointless pic of the coastal view I was talking about:

I'll try to take a better one at some stage. I need to update the images on my website something chronic anyway, replace the crap ones with proper ones and add stuff that isn't there.
visitors since 29 March 2004.