Friday, January 30, 2009

blue frustrations

My roofless dream cottage next to the sea in Peng Chau, for a forthcoming book

When most people move to the bottom half of the world, their litany of concerns goes something like this: how will we get the furniture there, what car shall we buy, what x-rays/shots will I need, where will the kids go to school, etc. Mine center on how to work in a new environment.

How strong is the sunlight? (Sydney has strong UV and lots of sunshine - one reason I was interested in moving here)

What's there to shoot or sketch?

How important are the arts in its residents' priorities?

But a crucial question for many alt-process artists like me is: where's a printshop to make negatives? (see picture below - none of this happens without large-scale negatives)

Hand-tinted blueprint demo from the book

It's a rare print shop that's willing to risk its overheated machines and run my plastic transparencies through them. So far I've spoken with a dozen places in my neighborhood and in central Sydney, but haven't found anywhere that can make a successful print; the rare printers willing to try just shake their heads as my acetates jam their machines.

So with some deadlines looming this week, I've crossed my fingers and printed dozens of images from paper negatives, as architects used to do with their drawings. I've printed these images over and over, for different exposure times, at different chemical concentrations, onto various surfaces. Tracked blue footprints down our newly-carpeted hallway. Spattered the bathroom with cyan rinsewater. I'd hoped that with some tweaking I could get something beautifully blue.

Nope. Not a single image was serviceable, let alone satisfying. The paper simply blocked too much sun, so the prints had very little contrast. Instead, I've had to focus on other endeavors before I leave for Asia.

Still these attempts have gotten me out of my new neighborhood comfort zone: I've shot a new series and will print it - somehow - when I'm back later this year.

There's always a reason for whatever we're doing, sometimes we've just got to make it up as we go along.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Travel Artist Profile: Mary-Anne Bartlett

Artist on safari

As the founder of Art Safari, Mary-Anne Bartlett seamlessly combines artwork with travel, for destinations from Antarctica to Zambia. A woman of many talents, she has also co-written a guidebook on Malawi.

Here she's written an excellent article packed with advice on how to travel. She categorizes sketching travellers into three types: the 'painting traveller', the 'artist on holiday' and the 'travel artist'.

Which one are you?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Flickr Photos & Videos tagged "Obama"

from my Flickr friends around the world

Indonesian Obama by Keith Kelly

A pair of videos & photo from the Inauguration concert in Washington DC, January 18th, by Sixinterr

Obama's car

Snipers setting up for the Inauguration concert

Officials get to climb fences

Election night celebrations, Chicago - by Dave2Quam

Obama in Cambodia - by Jinja

Election day antics at FCC Phnom Penh, by Keith

Dungeons & Dragons for Obama in Washington, DC - by Nguyet

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Words & Pictures

The art market is directly linked to the rest of our markets worldwide.

Charcoal drawing from installation by Dan Perjovschi via "We Make $ not Art. Hugh

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Travel Artist: Fritz Lang

Many years before Fritz Lang made the iconic film Metropolis, from 1911-13 "he travelled the world, visiting North Africa, Turkey, Asia Minor, and Bali. At the time he worked as a travel artist, painting postcards, travel scenes, and advertisements," according to this site.

These travels gave Lang first-hand experiences of life on the other side of the world. He would have tasted spices & exotic intoxicants of all sorts - including women, of course - and this influenced his later work. These new forms of urban architecture gave him a new perspective on western European cities.

Keep an eye out for the nearly full-length version coming out later this year.