Monday, December 31, 2012

Monster found in an egg & More Florida travels.

From The Mystery and Lore of Monsters by C.J.S. Thompson/Curator of the Museum, Royal College of Surgeons
Recently I entered a work in the exhibition Abnormality in St. Petersburg Fl inspired by an account in a book I own on monsters of nature. The work "Monster Found in an Egg" is inspired by the following account by Pare- Another curious monster that he figures, he states was found in the innermost part of an egg. " It had the face of a man but hairs yielding a horrid representation of snakes, the chin had three other snakes stretched forth from the chin. "It was first seen at Autun at the house of one Bancheron, a lawyer, by a maid breaking many eggs to butter. The white of this egg give to a cat presently killed her.                                                                         

The sculpture is made of polyester resin, apoxie( a sculpting material acquired from Aves Studios) and plastic. I plan on creating a series of these or similar egg bound monsters.
Recently Kym and I also took a trip to Cedar Key with a leg of the journey in Silver River and a leg in Yankeetown. It is amazing to me the natural beauty of these places in Florida, especially since growing up in Florida I never saw these places.
Cedar Key is a small community off the west coast of Florida. It is known for its clam farming. We sampled some locally grown clams at the Seabreeze Restaurant along with other delicious fresh caught fish. The sunset was insane and then the nigh-time sky was the clearest view of the stars I have ever seen. The next trip we take here will be planned during a meteor shower to take advantage of the low light pollution.
Crystal River- our next stop- we stayed at the Port Marina and Hotel where we had a second floor private balcony with a view of the docks. In the evening we sat and listened to the manatees blasting air as they surfaced until they actually swam up into the dock area!
Our next stop- Yankeetown- Kym wanted to photograph the signs along the Follow That Dream Parkway. The Elvis Presley film Follow That Dream was filmed(1962) in this area hence the name of the road.

Words & music by Fred Wise - Ben Weisman)
Follow that dream, I gotta follow that dream
Keep a-movin, move along, keep a moving
I've got to follow that dream wherever that dream may lead
I've got to follow that dream to find the love I need

When your heart gets restless, time to move along
When your heart gets weary, time to sing a song
But when a dream is calling you,
There's just one thing that you can do

Well, you gotta follow that dream wherever that dream may lead
You gotta follow that dream to find the love you need

Keep a-movin, move along, keep a moving

Got to find me someone whose heart is free
Someone to look for my dream with me
And when I find her I may find out
Just what my dreams are all about

I've got to follow that dream wherever that dream may lead
I've got to follow that dream to find the love I need

I've got to follow that dream wherever that dream may lead
I've got to follow that dream to find the love I need

Keep a-movin, move along
Keep a-movin, move along
Keep a-movin, move along

We continued along till we stopped at a boat ramp with another astonishing view. Along the way we stopped at a beautiful victorian home for sale with a bunch of very unique features.

This home, which I intend to post more about, has remarkable decorative cast stones filling the gap between the floor and foundation. Very inspiring in their sculptural beauty when loosely stacked and a possible solution for my long time planned lizard habitats.

In the landscape throughout the Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant has a very contrary presence. It is hard to accept the much maligned technology plop right in the center of all the natural beauty, but there it is. I first spied it from Cedar Key on the far horizon and then it continued to show up throughout the next day when a part in the trees allowed a view.
Many strange sights await tourists in the most common road side stops.

Yankeetown at the end of Follow That Dream Parkway.

View of the Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant from Follow That Dream Parkway.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Siesta Key sand sculptures.

November 11th 2012
Here are a few images from the The Siesta Key Master Sand Sculpture Contest.
This event is on its third year and involves only professional "sand artists".
I attended the event to glean the secrets of sand sculpting from the top players and took a few picts.
The events proceeds ($5 a head) go to the Mote Marine Laboratory Sea Turtle Conservation Program.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bats need an audience too....for their paintings.

On October 27th 2012 I traveled to Gainesville Fl to attend the Lubee Bat Festival at the Lubee bat Conservancy ( This organization researches and promotes the conservation of bat populations and ecosystems that bats play a role in. Bats are a much maligned yet incredibly important group of animals. The bats found at Lubee are fruit bats- flying foxes and are lots of fun to watch. I, however, never expected that they are also quite adept at painting.

The painting pictured below was purchased to help the organization raise funds. The picture is attributed to Pteropus vampyrus ( species of bat ) and Pen 11 (location of creation/studio address) and dated June 23rd 2012. 

Below- Bats painting another masterpiece!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Graffiti Wall of Gainesville

On our way to the Lubee Bat Festival in Gainesville Fl we stopped at a public tag wall.
Tampa does not have such a space to my knowledge but I think it is a fantastic idea. As I photographed the wall there were at least two groups working on it. The people working did not know who sponsored the wall- just that it is legal to make art there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Murals of St. Cloud

The first in a series of posts that visually documents recent trips around Florida.
We traveled to St. Cloud Fl, the location of the filming of 2000 Maniacs ( Directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis) and documented, among other things, these murals in the downtown area.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

October 2012- THEEND unfinished and other stuff.

Things Not Seen Before- A Tribute to John Cage exhibited at Edison College through October 13th. Below is an image taken by Tony Palms of his work ( to the left ) and my drawing.
The Fungus Garden of Every Possibility on the right. Works by Tony Palms to the left. Photograph courtesy of Tony Palms

Concept drawing for "Page 136" proposal for "The End"

Concept drawing for "Page 136" resin cast with detritus suspended within.
During the month of October I developed a proposal for a project to be exhibited at Art Basel called "The End". This project is sponsored by the Miami-Dade Public Library, Celeste Network and curated by Gean Moreno. I did not complete the work on my proposal in time for the deadline but am very interested in creating this work anyway.
The piece generated for the proposal is called "Page 136" and is based on a paragraph I would often read over while growing up. The paragraph describes the end of the universe-

"For a long time, an almost interminable time, the fading galaxy will give out a little heat as its white dwarfs shine away their lives and become black dwarfs, unable to find further energy with which to light up their corners of the cosmos. Together with their equally invisible companions, they will rest in space forever- unless, or until, they are swept into the greatest black hole of all, one created by the collapse of the universe itself"
From The Universe, David Bergamini and the editors of TIME-LIFE BOOKS

"Page 136" would be a sculptural work that would appear as a pedestal with a gridded top leading to a central hole. A camera mounted on the edge of the pedestal would be activated by an IR light barrier so that anything entering the hole will have a snap shot taken of it. The internal space of the pedestal would be a spherical mold. People would be encouraged to use the sculpture to throw away things that are useless to them. In the end the piece would generate a group of images of the items just as they enter the opening- frozen forever on the event horizon. At the end of the project's presentation waterclear resin would be poured into the mold producing a sphere of all the items trapped within it.

Maybe a project for the next doomsday.

Monday, October 8, 2012

September 2012

   An update and a flashback for September 2012. In January of this year I participated in the exhibition "Things Not Seen Before- A Tribute to John Cage" at Tempus Projects. The work that I exhibited was titled "The Fungus Garden of Every Possibility"
   "The Fungus Garden of Every Possibility"consists of 1. a drawing of 64 mushrooms, each with one of the 64 hexagrams from the I-Ching 2. A table with 64 sculpted mushrooms, each with one of the 64 hexagrams from the I-Ching 3. A dart and 4. A marker.
The visitors to Tempus Projects were able to throw the dart at the drawing, thereby picking a mushroom (if they actually hit one) and take away the corresponding sculpture from the table. The participants were also expected to sign or initial the mushroom they hit on the drawing.

The Fungus Garden of Every Possibility before darts and signatures.

The Fungus garden of Every Possibility with dart holes and signatures

The Fungus Garden of Every Possibility- mushroom sculptures waiting to be harvested.
"The Fungus Garden of Every Possibility" is also being shown at the Bob Rauschenburg Gallery from August 24th- October 13th 2012 although the version being exhibited is a new drawing with the 64 mushrooms with the 64 hexagrams.

   Also recently two of my Nazar multiples were shown at the Ybor City Hillsborough Community College Art Gallery. They were both hung from the ceiling at the gallery entrance to protect the space during a tribute exhibition to Steve Holm and Jerry Meatyard.
Nazars made specifically for Steve Holm (left) and Jerry Meatyard (right)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Orlando's magnetic and confusing personality

Orlando Florida has for years trumped many other FL towns in it's ability to pull in tourists ( state, national and international). The lure of this enchanted area is on several levels understandable and then on other levels quite mysterious and even dangerous to those who visit. Yes, there is a poison apple or two. Home to numerous theme parks (as varied as Disneyland, Universal Studios, Sea World and The Holy Land Experience) Orlando never ceases to expand the attractions available to the adventurous tourist. As a connoisseur of the underbelly of this town( working as a scenic artist ) I gravitate towards the run down remains of would be money makers that rot on highways such as I192. Here is a sample of one early evening's drive to a Home Depot on 192 to stock up on brushes for a mural project.

This one really puzzled me. The Home Depot parking lot is patterned with these black marks, like scales. Someone took some time to do this and I initially wondered what it was about. I realized that this was a patch job for cracks in the concrete. Maybe they had overstock in the patching material. Maybe there was a sink hole situation- who knows.
Highway 192 is full of old run down themed attractions and themed hotels. This is where you will find Medieval Times Restaraunt and the Capone Dinner show, Above is the mascot for the Gator Motel.
The run down sign that still stands outside the Gator shows that this used to be a themed attraction called Jungle World.
The Paradise Inn entices with painted missiles.

Close by the derelict put put golf coarse that shares the property with the abandoned Viking Motel.
The Viking is a large property and one can imagine it in its better days. How does such a large business get to this point without some change in ownership? It is like a ghost town. I wondered how many squatters must be in this place but kept my distance- I'm not that curious.

Another interesting thing about working in Orlando is the people who you meet. Everyone in the scenic industry has several different talents and scenic work usually just pays the bills. Here, Travis Martin displays some cast eyes for special effects work. Travis is a trained make-up artist turned muralist in Orlando's crazy stew of the scenic industry.
My next post on Orlando will be based on my search for another failed attraction, the Xanadu House of the Future, which I know was off of the very same HWY 192.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

April 2012- 33-1/3, Indian ceremonial mound and scenes from Orlando

April 2012 has been a blur of constant work at Universal Studios Orlando, little side trips to Sarasota and a visit to the 33-1/3 installation at the Tampa Museum of Art. Between the bizarre tasks of troubleshooting  and touching up the floats for Universal Studios new street parade (like adding lead buckshot as ballast to fiberglas jellyfish) I made it out to Sarasota for a weekend trip with Kym O'Donnell. We stopped along the way at Madira Bickel Mound State Archeological Site near Bradenton finding our way there along Bayshore Dr. on Terra Ceia Island. This 20ft high ceremonial mound is about 170ft at its base and the state has put a wooden stairway to the cleared top which sports a fence to protect the mound itself from more foot traffic. This structure is dated at about 2000 years old and is very tranquil. It is, however, not remote. There is an incredible variety of homes around this site which are worth eyeing by themselves.
The top of the mound with Kym looking into the canopy (probably for ghosts). I found a very unusual manifestation at the top of the mound in the form of a tree.
We named it the "Lady Tree" I show it here inverted to get the sense of anatomy.
View of the path descending from the mound- strange and beautiful.

Recently we attended a Tampa Museum of Art "Art After Dark" event to get a glimpse of the 33-1/3 installation attributed to John Cage in use. The installation consists of multiple turn tables and a curated collection of records that are to be used by the audience to create a spontaneous overlapping of sound. The installation had been exhibited since January 29th 2012 and, at the time we viewed it, was to run through May 6th.
The record bins of this installation are filled with selections by invited personalities listed below
 Yoko Ono  Iggy Pop  Graham Nash  David Byrne (Talking Heads)  Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music) Jack White (The White Stripes) Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) Richie Ramone (The Ramones) Jad Fair (Half-Japanese) Alex James (Blur) Meredith Monk Terry Allen Irwin Chusid Arto Lindsay (DNA & Lounge Lizards) Blixa Bargeld (Einsturzende Neubauten) Mike Kelley (Destroy All Monsters) S.A. Martinez (311) David Harrington (Kronos Quartet) Emil Schult (Kraftwerk) Pauline Oliveros The Residents Vito Acconci The Art Guys Martin Atkins (Public Image Ltd.) John Baldessari Matthew Barney William Wegman Christian Marclay Joan LaBarbara Ed Ruscha Jim Rosenquist

This created a very interesting curatorial layer to the project. The project was organized and curated by Jade Dellinger. The selections could have very well been acquired randomly at a thrift store ( I do not think that the installation has any requirements in way of the selection of the records available to the audience.). Curiously, there are statements by John Cage in interviews that he disapproved of recorded sound ( as a record ). One of these examples can be during a scene in a Peter Greenaway short based on John Cage called "4 American Composers: John Cage" which was, as one would gather from the title, one of four shorts based on Philip Glass, Meridith Monk, Robert Ashley and Cage. I believe it is quite clear that Cage's opposition to the record is based on recorded performances replacing the experience of listening to live performances of musical compositions. In a very direct way this artwork seems to invert the technology of record and record player to create a situation where there is no predictable outcome in the sonic menu and it is being produced and experienced in public by the audience.

My next post is all about Orlando....or mostly about Orlando.
It will be filled with confusing pop culture images like the one above and below but I will do my best to decode them.