Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shida's art and the analysis of cultural histories.

Interpret artwork through the analysis of cultural histories.

The image I will be comparing art works with through the anals of history, is a piece of street-art by Shida. Within this image I see things like roadkill, the chesire cat, rainbow serpent, skeleton in a shallow grave, distorted figure in a coffin, preserved animal, dragon, muppets, beasts and so on.

Post Modernism (present - 1975)

In popular culture today, we find dragons in movies cartoons and video games:

These cute little muppet critters are from the 1986 movie Labyrinth...

The creature "Flammie" is from the game "Secret of Mana"...

I also see the chesire cat from Alice in Wonderland...

And cats like to stretch, the resemblance is uncanny...

Shida's painting also conjurs creatures preserved in jars... 

Which reminds me of Damien Hirst's post modern piece "The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living"...

Modernism (1975 - 1875)

In Max Ernst's surreal piece, "Ocell de foc", one can see a distorted creature, similar to that in Shida's street art.

During the late 1800's in Mexico, Jose Guadalupe Posada created bold satirical pieces of some of the most horrible people from his time. He was also scaring the shit out of kids with images such as this one titled Calavera Huerista, which is based on the terror General Huerta.

Modern era (1875 - 1500)
Utagawa Kuniyoshi was printing images of the dreaded Tengu, a supernatural winged creature which tranaslates to "Heavenly dogs". In this ukiyo-e style woodblock print from the mid 19th century, we see the samurai Oki no Jiro Hiroari killing one of the monstrous dogs ...

Ernst Heackel a prominent biologist and artist from Germany was creating wonderful scientific drawings of all types of creatures. Though more well known for his documentation of the species radiolaria, he also documented other insects and small animals...

Medieval Era (1500 - 500)

During the medieval era, there were all kinds of stories about dragons and the knights that fought with them.  Here is the Lindorm Dragon, from the alchemical scrolls of Sir George Ripley.  

Ancient History (500 - 3350 BC) 

Ancient Egyptians believed in some strange creatures and gods like Anubis. Anubis often appeared as a sitting jackal and at other times he was portrayed as a man with the head of a jackal. Was Anubis an alien or animorphic creatures made by aliens, or just made up by the Egyptians for the heck of it? I guess we'll never really know. Wow, images, carvings and fetish's of Anubis date back to the 1st Dynasty,  3100-2890 BC.

Pre history (3350BC and beyond)

We return to Australia, where Shida's art hangs on the walls of industrial buildings. Here we find the ancient Aboriginees painted Rainbow Serpents on the walls of caves. Can you believe they were painting critters like this fromt between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Idealogy and the other

The pen is truly mightier than the election signage.

The Sharpie for me represents = Freedom to doodle on anything. DIY Culture - zines, street art. Sticking it to the man, rebelling against the machine. Being a beatnik, hippie or punk and making a ruckus or causing general chaos. Glueing your poster, writing out your protest sign. Fighting the capitalists who try to control our world. Asking questions, until you get an answer. Making art to make people smile. How do I come to identify with the sharpie? Read on to find out more...

I am a white english speaking Australian that grew up in the Gen-X time frame. I am a heterosexual male seperated from my wife but we get along real swell. I had a comfortable to difficult upbringing, as my father did not earn a lot of money. I am mostly a visual person who sometimes requires a hands on approach to fully understand something new. Although I ran away from school before finishing my junior certificate I have gone on to study at a tertiary level. I have had my own business and I also ran a large child care centre for  several years. Recently I gave it all up to study full time, but I still work part time. I identify with many sub-cultures including street art, skate culture, and to some degree pop culture. I run a club of doodlers where there are no rules on what marks you make or who you have to be.

In the song "I should be allowed to think", TMBG mentions the use of magic markers to write on dry walls and uses the first lines from Allen Ginsberg's iconic poem Howl to set the scene for what would seem a dystopian future where you are not allowed to think, yet he is actually referring to now...

They Might Be Giants - I should be allowed to think.

In the movie Juno, Kimya Dawson sings a song about Loose Lips, she says:
"And I'll say fuck Bush and fuck this war
My war paint is Sharpie ink and I'll show you how much my shit stinks
And ask you what you think because your thoughts and words are powerful ".

Sticking it to the man, like Jack Black explains to his students in the movie School of Rock, so this woman does to her boss...

Sharpie's "Write out loud" advertising campaign.

Many street artists who have gone onto become famous artists started somewhere...

Sharpie's 2011 "Self Expression" advertising campaign.

Sharpie's "It starts with something" advertising campaign.

Street art and doodling can appear in the most unusal of places, sometimes it even happens inside under controlled circumstances...
Sharpies make people smile


I struggled to discover the antithesis to my sharpie. I considered it might be something like the machine, a large corporation or mining company, perhaps Clive Palmer himself or even the Liberal party. I mean they don't really seem to dig art at all. They're all about making money, keeping the rich happy and making a surplus. Take for example the Jackson Pollock "Poles" fiasco, where Whitlam was blasted by the LNP for wasting tax payers money on what they considered was a bit of rubbish, painted by a drunk person. The fact that it is now one of Australia's most famous piece of art work, is a credit to Whitlams very large balls. I think Whitlam was A-ok! Then there was Tony Abbott who is quoted as saying the art that hangs inside parliament house is merely avante-gard crap. I suppose Abbott's ideal art piece would be a quaint little oil painting of a shack sitting in the shade of a coolabah tree, what a dull little philistine. Qld has it's own art critic in Campbell Newman who in 2010, had council enter private property to clean up one of Anthony Lister's work, within hours of him having completed it.

But then it hit me, or rather my lecturer gave me the idea that the object that I truly rejected was the advertising for these monkeys. So after careful consideration, I realised he was right. Be it the LNP, Labor or the Greens, all of them are invading my visual space. Like weeds in the garden of eden as I walk the streets of my town. It is bad enough that we have no say in what we see on our streets, in regards to advertising billboards, bus stops and general advertising material. And then every election we are bombarded with the faces of people who seek to control our future. I did some research into the advertising of candidates and I was interested to find some strict rules (click here to read them) were in place. But unfortunately not all candidates follow them. For example election signs must be taken down 1 week after the election. Well two weeks later and here is a sign I saw just today whilst walking home...

I not only reject this but it makes me angry. It's another case of those who have the power are allowed to break the rules and get away with it. It's frustrating that the government can turn a blindeye to this kind of visual vandalism and yet take a dislike to another kind. Read here to see how the LNP plan to destroy all street art in Brisbane.

So what else can we do, but take our sharpies and draw little moustaches upon these election signs. I wonder if that qualifies for a synthesis?