Meet Spike Deane

I am delighted to have discovered another fabulous artist who is influenced by folk and fairy tales, and who is also a fan of Jack Zipes.

Spike Deane is an Australian artist (yip, we are both in the same hemisphere!), who specialises in textile and glass art. I am totally in love with her pieces, her forest of glass twigs, especially struck a chord, as any of you who follow my rants will no doubt have guessed.

This is entitled: The Wolf I Knew Would Lead Me

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I am more and more convinced as I follow my path through art and life, that I have my very own guide leading me through the collective unconscious, to all the best woods.

Here is Spike’s tribute to my wee heroine with the red hood and her lupine companion in Into the Woods…

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This is Forbidden Chamber from the tale of Bluebeard, how fabulous is this?

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Images courtesy of http://www.spikedeane.com/

 

Red Riding Hood by Anne Sexton

I found this while looking through Transformations , a collection of Anne Sexton’s poetry which is based around the tales of The Brothers Grimm. Sexton was a confessional poet, like her contemporary Sylvia Plath  she suffered from depression and mental illness. I feel at home with the work of both these women. They tell life as it is.

In Transformations Sexton has told these stories as they were portrayed by The Brothes Grimm, but within a darker context. The stage set has changed, the props are different, the lighting is altered but the stories are still there, to be interpreted as we will, or as society dictates.

Red Riding Hood by Anne Sexton

Many are the deceivers:
The suburban matron,
proper in the supermarket,
list in hand so she won’t suddenly fly,
buying her Duz and Chuck Wagon dog food,
meanwhile ascending from earth,
letting her stomach fill up with helium,
letting her arms go loose as kite tails,
getting ready to meet her lover
a mile down Apple Crest Road
in the Congregational Church parking lot.
Two seemingly respectable women
come up to an old Jenny
and show her an envelope
full of money
and promise to share the booty
if she’ll give them ten thou
as an act of faith.
Her life savings are under the mattress
covered with rust stains
and counting.
They are as wrinkled as prunes
but negotiable.
The two women take the money and disappear.
Where is the moral?
Not all knives are for
stabbing the exposed belly.
Rock climbs on rock
and it only makes a seashore.
Old Jenny has lost her belief in mattresses
and now she has no wastebasket in which
to keep her youth.
The standup comic
on the “Tonight” show
who imitates the Vice President
and cracks up Johnny Carson
and delays sleep for millions
of bedfellows watching between their feet,
slits his wrist the next morning
in the Algonquin’s old-fashioned bathroom,
the razor in his hand like a toothbrush,
wall as anonymous as a urinal,
the shower curtain his slack rubberman audience,
and then the slash
as simple as opening as a letter
and the warm blood breaking out like a rose
upon the bathtub with its claw and ball feet.
And I. I too.
Quite collected at cocktail parties,
meanwhile in my head
I’m undergoing open-heart surgery.
The heart, poor fellow,
pounding on his little tin drum
with a faint death beat,
The heart, that eyeless beetle,
running panicked through his maze,
never stopping one foot after the other
one hour after the other
until he gags on an apple
and it’s all over.
And I. I too again.
I built a summer house on Cape Ann.
A simple A-frame and this too was
a deception — nothing haunts a new house.
When I moved in with a bathing suit and tea bags
the ocean rumbled like a train backing up
and at each window secrets came in
like gas. My mother, that departed soul,
sat in my Eames chair and reproached me
for losing her keys to the old cottage.
Even in the electric kitchen there was
the smell of a journey. The ocean
was seeping through its frontiers
and laying me out on its wet rails.
The bed was stale with my childhood
and I could not move to another city
where the worthy make a new life.
Long ago
there was a strange deception:
a wolf dressed in frills,
a kind of transvestite.
But I get ahead of my story.
In the beginning
there was just little Red Riding Hood,
so called because her grandmother
made her a red cape and she was never without it.
It was her Linus blanket, besides
it was red, as red as the Swiss flag,
yes it was red, as red as chicken blood,
But more than she loved her riding hood
she loved her grandmother who lived
far from the city in the big wood.
This one day her mother gave her
a basket of wine and cake
to take to her grandmother
because she was ill.
Wine and cake?
Where’s the aspirin? The penicillin?
Where’s the fruit juice?
Peter Rabbit got chamomile tea.
But wine and cake it was.
On her way in the big wood
Red Riding Hood met the wolf.
Good day, Mr. Wolf, she said,
thinking him no more dangerous
than a streetcar or a panhandler.
He asked where she was going
and she obligingly told him
There among the roots and trunks
with the mushrooms pulsing inside the moss
he planned how to eat them both,
the grandmother an old carrot
and the child a shy budkin
in a red red hood.
He bade her to look at the bloodroot,
the small bunchberry and the dogtooth
and pick some for her grandmother.
And this she did.
Meanwhile he scampered off
to Grandmother’s house and ate her up
as quick as a slap.
Then he put on her nightdress and cap
and snuggled down in to bed.
A deceptive fellow.
Red Riding hood
knocked on the door and entered
with her flowers, her cake, her wine.
Grandmother looked strange,
a dark and hairy disease it seemed.
Oh Grandmother, what big ears you have,
ears, eyes, hands and then the teeth.
The better to eat you with my dear.
So the wolf gobbled Red Riding Hood down
like a gumdrop. Now he was fat.
He appeared to be in his ninth month
and Red Riding Hood and her grandmother
rode like two Jonahs up and down with
his every breath. One pigeon. One partridge.
He was fast asleep,
dreaming in his cap and gown,
wolfless.
Along came a huntsman who heard
the loud contented snores
and knew that was no grandmother.
He opened the door and said,
So it’s you, old sinner.
He raised his gun to shoot him
when it occurred to him that maybe
the wolf had eaten up the old lady.
So he took a knife and began cutting open
the sleeping wolf, a kind of caesarian section.
It was a carnal knife that let
Red Riding Hood out like a poppy,
quite alive from the kingdom of the belly.
And grandmother too
still waiting for cakes and wine.
The wolf, they decided, was too mean
to be simply shot so they filled his belly
with large stones and sewed him up.
He was as heavy as a cemetery
and when he woke up and tried to run off
he fell over dead. Killed by his own weight.
Many a deception ends on such a note.
The huntsman and the grandmother and Red Riding Hood
sat down by his corpse and had a meal of wine and cake.
Those two remembering
nothing naked and brutal
from that little death,
that little birth,
from their going down
and their lifting up.

 

Disney’s First Movie…

The more I read and research the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the more obsessed I become, or is it the other way round? Anyway hunger begets hunting begets knowledge begets hunger begets…hunting begets…

A very strange and trippy movie that is supposedly the first one Walt Disney ever made, circa 1922. You can read more about the history of this 7 minute animated cartoon here.

So here it is, I have borrowed the plot below the movie from www.filmthreat.com

“Little Red Riding Hood” begins rather badly. The scene is a kitchen where a zaftig mother is throwing dough into the air while a cat shoots at the dough with a rifle. As a result of the feline marksman, doughnuts get created. While this is happening, a laughing old bald man with a long white beard watches from a picture frame hanging on the wall.  The man’s beard hangs out of the picture frame, which makes it unclear whether he is real or a bizarre three-dimensional image come to life.

The dough shooting seems to go on endlessly, until the cat decides to taste one of the doughnuts. He immediately gets sick and drops dead.  Nine ghostly spirits parade from his body (complete with a numerical countdown in the corner of the screen) before two feline paramedics arrive to carry the corpse away.

The mother (seemingly unbothered by the death in her kitchen) calls to Red Riding Hood to deliver the doughnuts to Grandma.  Our heroine goes to “Red Riding Hood’s Garage” (what?) and drives off in a car that is powered by a dog chasing sausage links hanging off a stick above his head. When the car gets a flat tire, Red inflates a doughnut with a few vigorous blows and uses it as a spare tire.

If that’s not weird enough, the wolf shows up. Forget the traditional canine villain – this wolf is a dapper male in a top hat who drives a fancy convertible. He stops and engages Red in conversation, and then he decides to take advantage of the fair lass.  He drives off in a wacky short cut to Grandma’s house – at one point, his convertible careens off a cliff and the tires start flapping like wings!  He gets to Grandma’s house and discovers a note on the door that says the old gal is at the movies.  The wolf sneaks into the house, and when Red shows up the house literally begins to shake and jump in violent tumult.

The dog that powered Red’s car witnesses what happens and runs off for help.  A handsome young aviator is standing by his airplane and the dog comes to him for assistance.  The pilot and the pooch take off and lower a skyhook on Grandma’s house, causing the entire structure to become dislodged.  The pilot swoops down to rescue Red while the wolf gets in his convertible to escape.  However, the pilot lowers his skyhook on the wolf’s car and brings it into the air before dropping it in a lake.  Red and her aerial hero begin smooching while the dog covers his eyes in embarrassment.

The people at Film Threat are pretty scathing of this movie, but it does have some interest and I dont think it should be so lightly dismissed! For example, flight was extremely new and I guess it was like the science fiction of the day. Today we have time machines, then they had a flying machine. The car that seems to changes it’s own wheels, well, we all want one of those. It’s like The Wrights brothers meet James Bond except he hasn’t been written yet. The grandmother is totally unphased by the cat that shoots and then steals the doughnuts, she seems very much in control, while grandpa is resigned to a picture on the wall. Red Riding Hood owns the garage too, a touch of feminism going on here maybe? And then Red appears to be playing with the faeries in the wood, the same faeries that seem to be hanging around in the garden when Grandma is calling Red. Or am I just being fanciful again…

Enjoy!

 

 

Big Bad Wolves, Vampires & Cookies…

I don’t like Oreo cookies, but I do like their current advertising campaign :)

The Martin Agency have the right idea about advertising in my book. This is a quote from their website:

Known for its innovative approach to marketing, Oreo has been the world’s favorite cookie for more than 100 years. The shared connection over an Oreo is universal. Our latest campaign, Wonderfilled, focuses on the positive change in perspective the simple act of sharing an Oreo can create, tapping into the universal human feeling of wonder. The ability to wonder is something we all share, but too often forget or ignore.  Wonderfilled captures the feeling that kids are naturally so good at, yet adults need to be reminded of: a sense of wonder in the world.

And this is what I am raving on about:

And another one, what an awesome imagination this company have! Enjoy advertising at its best :)

Silver & Light & Alchemy

I love this kind of passion, and to see this guy standing out like an extinct beautiful penguin or another rare critter.

I have been in love with photography since I was a kid with a 126 Kodak… I remember the excitement of waiting for the prints to come back from the chemist and later developing my own at college. It was real magic! I progressed from my beloved Canon A1, to an EOS 5 and then the Canon Digital Rebel or 300D as it was called in the UK. That was upgraded to a 20D, and my daughter was the last person to use that camera. I had a gorgeous collection of Canon “L” Glass lenses, but sadly I had to sell them for us to live.

No matter, I got an iPhone 4 eventually, and used that as my camera, and I had a lot of fun with Lo-Fi photography. I made a photo book , where all of the images were taken with my iPhone at train stations, or on trains in the UK. I need parameters or I go wild!

The thing is just about everyone is a photographer today, and we can all take very cool photos now, with the minimum of technical ability or skill and so it is more difficult to find something that stands out. I still swear that the best lens we have is the one in our eye and no amount of gorgeous glass can replace that for creativity.

At the end of the day cameras are just another tool. We can paint with a frayed twig, or a Kolinsky sable hair brush, but it’s what is inside that makes the image, tools only help us achieve our vision.

Watching Ian Ruhter in this video, creating paintings with light and silver, breaking the boundaries of basic  photographic materials of a long gone age, is just joyous.

Shaping the Wolf…

I have been working on Ruby’s wolf headdress or hat. This is a rough sketch of what I envisage, but I cant draw wolves… No matter, Maurice Sendak couldn’t draw horses and that didn’t stop him.

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I have decided to make a separate piece for this, but getting the right shape is proving a challenge. Experiments so far have included using cardboard, chicken wire and polystyrene, to try and get the nose shape.

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Johnny and I also took a very cool trip to Nelson Community Art Works,  an amazing art centre run by Faye and Karl Wulf, where they make incredible masks and other art from paper mache.

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Alas, not a wolf in site, but we did meet some amazing Burtonlings, hares, and a very cool unicorn with his friend the Cheshire cat.

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Meeting the Shadow Self

I have been preparing for my seminar for Visual Culture, which is based on Jung’s process of Individuation. This involves meeting the shadow and dealing with it. I found this video by The Family Band. Fab video and for me it totally illustrates the whole shadow story.

Enjoy!

Formative Assessment

Today I set up my work as it stands now,  in the studio for the formative assessment. It was a useful exercise as I learned several things:

  • I need a lot more space than I first envisioned if I am to present my work this way in the exhibiton at the end of the year.
  • My mixed media work of the girl and the beast will look great if it is much bigger. I have sourced some quotes and I think I will get it printed onto a wrapped canvas, in at least A2 size.
  • Given more space I think shadows could work really well even with ambient lighting, depending where I am in the gallery.
  • I need to do the technical research to ensure that my trees and trophy are stable once installed. For the formative I relied on masking tape.

Anyhow, here are the images, the trophy of course has a way to go, but on the whole I am please that I have a clear vision of what my final work will be like.

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The ruination of Ruby…

I started to make Ruby more beastly looking today, but I made a mistake of rushing the process in time for the formative assessment tomorrow. I created her ears ok, but then I applied wet wallpaper paste and tissue paper to the dried Ruby head and of course it soaked through the dry stuff and she ended up a bit if a mush.  :(

I dried her with a hairdryer and added more foam inside, sort of like botox, to push her nose and lips back out. I also experimented with making the wolf hat that will go on top of her head, but didn’t get too far with that.  I kind of managed to resue her but as you can see from the photo below she is rather battered looking. Still I quite like the texture of the new tissue as it looks fur-like. I was going to beastify her anyway so I guess it is not too much of a disaster.

Lesson learned… wet wallpaper paste on top of dry paper mache is a BAD idea!

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Getting ahead…

Ok sorry for that pun there, but meet Ruby… the beginnings of my trophy…

Ruby is created from tissue paper and wallpaper paste around a rubber mold of a head. Removing her from the head mold involved a bit of a frontal lobotomy, but she looks great. I am going to be beastifying her up somehow, to give an anthropomorphic look.

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