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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Getting it together with Level 7…

This morning the Level 7 guys n gals came into our lowly space to join in with our critique. I love it when we all get together, sadly it doesn’t happen enough. Our group was rather low on numbers as three of the students were absent, (there are 57 varieties of bug going around at the moment), but it was still very cool.

I went for a cold read and the feedback was really good. Most of the group got the anthropomorphic angle, and none of them mentioned Little Red Riding Hood! I was pleased about that, as it means that my own story is coming through now. I had some interesting discussions about theorists too. I hope to have further chats with the 2 students from Level 7 particularly, as we had lots in common. My favourite comment from a Level 7 student was:

Oh my God, I wish I had a mind that worked like yours

I do feel blessed to have such a quirky outlook on life, I have to admit. But then how could I be any other way? It would be enlightening to swap minds with someone else for a day though, imagine that!! Anyway back to the critique…

All of the group loved my book: Wolves Are People Too, which gave me a buzz. I am always amazed when people enjoy and get my art, especially something like a book, which has to work on many levels. This book may not end up being part of my final work for this project, but I am carrying on with the theme next year and I may produce a series of books. I was thinking along the lines of picture books for bigger people.

No suggestions of improvement were out forward, so I will carry on and have more faith in myself, my ideas and my odd mind!

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A Soul Man

 

I was reading Passion of the Western Mind, by Richard Tarnas the other evening, and I came across a name that was new to me.

Meet James Hillman:

I spent the whole of today reading, Googling, listening and watching everything I could about this guy, and I have ordered his book Re-Visioning Psychology, which is mentioned in the YouTube clip above. I even got to look at his birth chart, courtesy of these video’s by Richard Tarnas, who incidentally does seem to share a lot of Hillman’s beliefs.

I am really quite blown away by Mr Hillman. He thought in a way that I believed no one did anymore. He spoke of the Anima Mundi, the soul of the world, an idea that I think originated with Plato. Soul of the world is a concept that I haven’t heard anyone speak of by name maybe ever. Soul is like a dirty word today it seems, its kind of like he who must not be named, in the Harry Potter books. Time we started talking dirty I think.

One really thing that struck me, in one of the clips I watched, was when he spoke of his time in analysis with Jung. He talked about how Jung was such a big man, and his aura was so powerful, so intense, that he knew he could not continue analysis with him, for fear of being swallowed up. I have never heard Jung described in this way before, no wonder he had such an effect on the world. Still, great as Jung was, Hillman takes his depth psychology even further.

I have a long way to go, and a lot of reading to do with James Hillman, I am sorry I discovered him after he died, (in 2011), but I think he is tapping my shoulder from somewhere.