A collection of video experiments, imagery, commentary, and some paintings.
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LAWRENCE OF ARRAKIS
It’s clear that in writing his 1965 novel Dune, Frank Herbert was inspired, in part, by the career of T. E. Lawrence. The over-arching themes and character traits are obvious: both Lawrence and Dune’s protagonist, Paul Atreides, are outsiders from foreign empires who lead a native populations in revolt against their current imperial occupiers. Both are portrayed as natural leaders, but enigmatic, complicated, and unknowable.
But there’s much more.
Anyone familiar with Dune who watches David Lean’s 1962 epic historical film Lawrence of Arabia will be struck by how many specific, important scenes, lines of dialogue, and images from Lean’s film appear in Herbert’s book, often with very little alteration. Watching Lawrence of Arabia, it certainly appears that Herbert didn’t just borrow from the historical exploits of T. E. Lawrence, but that he specifically studied Lean’s film and adapted it for science fiction.
REPLICANT PROTAGONISTS: FIRST MAN + BLADE RUNNER 2049
A comparison of the protagonists Agent K and Neil Armstrong in Blade Runner 2049 and First Man. Both characters have similar emotional profiles and affects, and both movies use strikingly similar motifs to explore similar themes and challenges:
ICONIC GLAMOUR IMAGES FROM BLADE RUNNER AND BASIC INSTINCT
Virginia [Virginia Postrel, DeepGlamour Editor-in-chief] recently asked “What photos should absolutely be in a book on glamour?” While putting together this collection of recommendations from pop-culture, I sought out the two photos above, of Sean Young in Blade Runner and Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.
But it wasn’t until I saw them side by side that I realized how similar they are. Not only do both women know how to hold the hell out of a cigarette, but the images’ contexts are nearly identical.
ART AND NEUROBIOLOGY IN THE AGE OF INSIGHT
Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Alexander C. Kafka reviews an interesting-looking new book on aesthetics by neuroscientist Eric Kandel: The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present. Kafka quotes Kandel’s analysis of Gustav Klimt’s Judith and the Head of Holofernes:
“At a base level, the aesthetics of the image’s luminous gold surface, the soft rendering of the body, and the overall harmonious combination of colors could activate the pleasure circuits, triggering the release of dopamine. If Judith’s smooth skin and exposed breast trigger the release of endorphins, oxytocin, and vasopressin, one might feel sexual excitement.”
ALISON GOLDFRAPP’S GLAMOUR, GRIT, AND GAZE
Described by The Independent as a “glamorous gold chameleon,” British singer-songwriter Alison Goldfrapp projects strong, stylized imagery in all her performances, whether on screen or on stage. I suspect she’s just showing off here in demonstrating that with super-slick audio and visual production values—and the right pair of legs—glamour can even shine through gritty images of ashtrays, toilets, and garbage.
1944 US ARMY INTELLIGENCE REPORT BY BORIS KRASS
My grandfather, Boris Krass, was born in Russia, and while still very young spent several years as a refugee in Germany before coming to the US at age 12. A few years later, as a young man, fluent in English, Russian, Yiddish, and German, he was an intelligence officer in the US Army during WWII. In 1944 he interrogated hundreds of Russian forced-labor prisoners that the Allies had liberated from the Nazis.
This is a report he made to the Army and OSS about their situation, which included sabotage, black markets, hangings, and murders:
THE GRASSHOPPER LIES HEAVY
The short, Philip K. Dick-worthy wartime adventures of my Italian-American great-grandfather, Mario Boet. According to this 1942 New York Times report, he apparently spent his war years inventing—and possibly trying to realize—alternate post-war realities.
Espionage, sabotage, secret submarine landings, Allied defeat, and fascist occupation…
THE DANCING FAUN IN POWER AND PATHOS
The New York Times calls the J. Paul Getty Museum’s current exhibit of 40 ancient bronzes, Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World “one of the best exhibitions of sculpture you may ever see.”
For the Los Angeles leg of its tour, the exhibit featured the life-size Seated Boxer. But when it came time for the exhibit to move to Washington, D.C., the Vatican recalled the Boxer to Rome, so it could be displayed in conjunction with 2016 Jubilee festivities.
METAL CASTING INTO 3D PRINTS
I’ve been experimenting with various metal casting techniques using 3D printing. Here I show how I cast low temperature Bismuth directly into a 3D printed ABS mold.
My Cosmonaut figure as Venus, on a Replicator, after Botticelli. Archetype meets Renaissance meets 1920s futurism meets bleeding-edge pop culture. She’s getting closer and closer to stepping out into the real world.
SHORELINE SURVEY, ORANGE COUNTY
Whenever I hear the opening minute of Loretta Lynn and Jack White’s duet Portland Oregon, I think that’s surf music. I had to set some Southern California beach imagery to it.
JULIET LEWIS + DAFT PUNK + BEYONCÉ: SINGLE LADIES MASHUP
I really like the Gap ad with Juliette Lewis and Daft Punk. There’s something very genuine about Lewis’ performance, movements, and expressions—it seems like she was having fun making the ad, and it comes through. Watching the Beyoncé video Single Ladies, with its trio of dancers and simple backdrop, it struck me that these two videos need mashing.
TAKE THIS LOLLIPOP MASHUP
A mashup of the clever interactive Facebook site Take This Lollipop.
Instead of watching the stalker track you down, in my version we watch him experience the full range of emotions that typically accompany first exposure to dubstep: wonder, rage, intrigue, confusion, and, finally, bloodlust.
AUGUSTUS THE INSUFFERABLE: THE SUPERCUT
A collection of Augustus’ dialog from I, Claudius. The guy was an insufferable blowhard, a square, and a scold. He just plain had to go.
IMAGES DEPICTING ELEMENTS OF GLAMOUR
FIGURE PAINTINGS FROM LIFE
A few of my figure paintings from life, by eye, in acrylic and oil. I did these in Beverly Bledsoe’s Life Painting courses at Otis College of Arts and Design.
DETAIL AFTER BELLOTTO’S DRESDEN FROM THE RIGHT BANK OF THE ELBE
Detail (second image) after Bellotto’s Dresden from the Right Bank of the Elbe, above the Augustusbrucke.
7.5″ x 10″
Oil on masonite
Audio from Daniel Dennet’s Magic of Consciousness presentation.
GOD EMPEROR CLAUDIUS
This video shows my process from my original photograph of the Vatican museum’s bust of Claudius, through photo editing, to layout in pencil, and painting in acrylic on canvas (36″ x 48″). The recital of Robert Graves’ “The Sibyl’s Prophecy” is from I, Claudius, BBC, 1976.
SKULLS, SKETCHES, AND METHODS
A few sketches from life (death, actually). The first batch are very quick outlines done while playing with a camera lucida. The last one was done by eye, over an hour or so, using a rough approximation of Sight-Size method.
86″ x 45″ x 4.5″
A loose line drawing of an Akkadian artifact—a small trinket depicting a lion—faintly peeking out from the multicolored backdrop.
Abstract paintings in acrylic and latex on canvas and canvas board.
Sizes range from 11″ x 14″ to 30″ x 22″.
Acrylic on canvas board
16″ x 20″