Friday, January 28, 2011

Doubt, part 2

In the last post I mentioned that I made two pieces based on the same piece: they also have the same title: Doubt. This one is an etching that I made at Slugfest Printmaking Workshop with the help of my mom, Margie Simpson, and her lovely partner Tom Drucker.

Here's a detail:

I'm quite happy with this piece, and I'm excited to get to work on a new print. Jim Stroud at Center Street Studios has offered to work with me on another etching- I feel very lucky to have such a plethora of fantastic printmakers around me, especially because I have yet to meet a group of artists I like more.

It's my theory that printmakers are generally down to earth, funny and well socialized because they work in groups in the most insanely humbling medium on earth. It takes a sterling character to work in a process where your weeks worth of work can disappear because you lost track of time. Printmaking is good for the character. Painting, or drawing however- sitting in a room alone for long periods of time doing something that could but probably won't pay off really well...Perhaps we painters and draw-ers should be congratulated if we restrain our megalomania and paranoia for 90 minute stretches at a time...Or we should do printmaking on a regular basis, as a medicinal gesture akin to getting 15 minutes of sun exposure per day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Doubt, part 1

I just finished a couple new pieces based on the same idea. I started a drawing, then went to Austin and made an an etching based on the idea I'd started, then I came home and finished the drawing. I really love the etching and will post images of that soon, but in the meantime here's the drawing. I've posted small images here but larger details are on the website.

It's a real mix of drawing and painting, as you can see in these details. I've taken to taking a paintbrush to the ink that's in my pens every now and then, as well as drawing on top of watercolors like I always do.

The text above says, "However comforting, faith is a far more lethal sword than" followed by a little arrow that points to the central word doubt. There's also a naked dad figure on the left edge of the drawing that you can probably see better in the big images on the website.

That text is right above this image.

I've painted lemmings before, but I realized as I was drawing these that I somehow picked up the idea that lemmings were pretty much the same as guinea pigs with tails. I looked them up this time, after I'd drawn them, and it turns out I'm pretty much right.

Whenever I use lemmings I think about the horrible story of lemmings and the turntable. I'm not sure everyone knows this story, but I never mean them as a simple symbol of mass suicide because of the story. If you don't know, here's the deal, copied from Wikipedia.

The myth of lemming "mass suicide" is long-standing and has been popularized by a number of factors...[among the most] influential was the 1958 Disney film White Wilderness, which won an Academy Award for Documentary Feature, in which staged footage was shown with lemmings jumping into certain death after faked scenes of mass migration. A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, Cruel Camera, found that the lemmings used for White Wilderness were flown from Hudson Bay to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where they did not jump off the cliff, but were in fact launched off the cliff using a turntable.
Insane! Turns out that White Wilderness won an academy award, too!

I love stories of fake things that become myths. I like Arthur Evans and Knossos and the Snake Goddess at the Boston MFA and Robert Graves and the fact that people invented the cyclops because of mammoth skeletons.

But back to Doubt. Here's the last detail.

The text says, "I know so little but this."