Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Philadelphia Wireman

Have you heard of the mysterious outsider artist, Philadelphia Wireman? Basically, he (or she?) wrapped everything in wire...No one knows who he was, just that 1200 small sculptures of his were abandoned in a Philadelphia alleyway in 1982, where they were found by an art student.

Fleisher-Ollman Gallery which received the works writes:

The Philadelphia Wireman sculptures were found abandoned in an alley off Philadelphia’s South Street on trash night in 1982. Their discovery in a rapidly-changing neighborhood undergoing extensive renovation, compounded with the failure of all attempts to locate the artist, suggests that the works may have been discarded after the maker’s death. The entire collection totals approximately 1200 pieces (and a few small, abstract marker drawings, reminiscent both of Mark Tobey and J.B. Murry) and appears to be the creation of one male artist, due to the strength involved in manipulating often quite heavy-gauge wire into such tightly-wound nuggets. The dense construction of the work, despite a modest range of scale and materials, is singularly obsessive and disciplined in design: a wire armature or exoskeleton firmly binds a bricolage of found objects, including plastic, glass, food packaging, umbrella parts, tape, rubber, batteries, pens, leather, reflectors, nuts and bolts, nails, foil, coins, toys, watches, eyeglasses, tools, and jewelry.

Heavy with associations — anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, and socio-cultural — to wrapped detritus, the totemic sculptures by Philadelphia Wireman have been discussed in the context of work created to fulfill the shamanistic needs of alternative religions in American culture. Curators, collectors, and critics have variously compared certain pieces to Classical antiquity sculptures, Native American medicine bundles, African-American memory jugs, and African fetish objects. Reflecting the artist’s prolific and incredibly focused scavenging impulse, and despite — or perhaps enhanced by — their anonymity, these enigmatic objects function as urban artifacts and arbiters of power, though their origin and purpose is unknown. Philadelphia Wireman, whatever his identity, possessed an astonishing ability to isolate and communicate the concepts of power and energy through the selection and transformation of ordinary materials. Over the course of the past two decades, this collection has come to be regarded as an important discovery in the field of self-taught and vernacular art.

One of the theories that I came across about his identity is that the sculptures were abandoned by an artist or student who was discouraged about being rejected from exhibitions.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

So, I asked for a sale in my Etsy shop yesterday and today I got three! I've always believed that all you have to do is ask the universe, but I didn't put a serious intention out there until yesterday, apparently.

I am very grateful because my shop has been open just a little over a month and the ice is broken now. Thanks to my wonderful collector Deborah for purchasing more of my work.

Hopefully I've not chased away any less "metaphysical" readers today!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lucky Number

Today I have 13 followers of my blog, 13 items listed in my Etsy shop, and 13 people calling my Etsy shop a favorite. This surely means I'm destined to make my first sale on Etsy in the very near future, don't you think? It's gotta be a sign.

Anyone else wanting to become a follower of this blog, don't worry. I haven't stopped the count at 13 so step right up! Same for anyone who wants to check out my shop and add it to their favorites.

Have a great Sunday, everybody!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Just Broaching the Subject

Recent acquisitions

Are most artists into collecting stuff? To me, that's part of of who I am, although it's often a love/hate relationship. Sometimes I envy those who don't create because their lives and homes seem simpler. But they do border on sterile, at least that's how my life would seem if every thought and action didn't somehow seem to involve making something. I'm not going to lie, making money is among those thoughts (and on a good day, actions). Mainly a question of survival/freedom so I can create!

One of my favorite quotes (albeit deliciously cynical) is from Frank Zappa:
"An artist is someone who makes something from nothing and sells it for a lot of money."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beach Find

I came across this on a freezing March day on a windy Chesapeake Bay beach. It seems to be from some kind of water craft--a pedal boat or something lightweight? not a boat as it doesn't seem substantial enough. I've found that pieces of boat make the best driftwood, although having spent years living on boats, it creeps me out to think of them sinking.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Precursor of Lady Gaga?

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhaven (1874-1927) was an obscure Dada poet-artist who finally emerged into the mainstream after 80 years. She had her first gallery exhibition at Francis M. Naumann in 2003, with five of her remaining eight existing works on view. A biography by Irene Gammel was published, examining the baroness's iconoclastic writings and filling us in on all the salacious details of her wild and remarkable life.

She single-handedly presented futuristic fashion to the bohemians of Greenwich Village, scandalizing her neighbors by parading semi-nude along 14th Street, barely covered with feathers....Courageous to an insane degree, Elsa was able to provoke and challenge everyone. She recited her poetry on the street, to passers-by, wearing nothing but tea-balls on her breasts. She was feared and admired in verse by the likes of Ezra Pound, Hart Crane, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens and Djuna Barnes. Elsa's death by gas in 1927 at her home in Paris left her friends wondering if it was an accident or suicide.

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (German, 1874-1927). Cathedral, 1918

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (German, 1874-1927). Limbswish, ca. 1917-1918

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Decorating with Junk

image via JunkFest

image via Funky Junk

I've been busy painting the stairwell with 3 coats of paint (it's done now, thankfully, and it came out really well) so I was looking for stair runner images. I already know what I want, some kind of sisal or a stripe/print, so that's what I was hunting for. I love old signs, everyone else does too, most likely! That's why they're so hard to find. So you can just make your own on your stairs.

I came across this cool idea for a cart while I was at it. We found a cart something like this a couple months ago. Although I don't have that kind of time--mine will probably stay red and out in the garage!

Just a couple visuals on a Sunday afternoon. I'm glad I'm only thinking about doing stuff today.

Enlightened Steampunk

Just what I'm liking these days, industrial combined with a dash of whimsy!

The artist, Tanya Clarke, incorporates found objects, LED lights, hand sculpted glass drops and recycled plumbing and hardware to create Liquid Lights. A portion of the purchase price goes toward action and education on global water justice issues. You can see more of Tanya's work at Liquid Light.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Up to Us In

Up to Us, 16 1/2x 17x3", mixed media assemblage, 2010

Guess what? I've still got "it". I had a piece selected for an upcoming Biennial! I think I keep submitting to these juried shows so I can see if the juror (who Knows) will like anything, and if so, what. This particular work, Up to Us, is pretty meaningful to me on a personal level due to its concept, which is taking care of and respecting our planet. I was overjoyed about finishing it--it was a work in progress for probably a year!--and I think it taught me a lot. You would not have recognized it in its earlier stages (and there were many). Now that it's no longer on my "torment list" (pieces that don't want to get finished), I have even begun to like it. Why is it that some works come right out, bam bam bam and others are practically impossible? So I guess this really is a triumph.