Friday, August 28, 2009

Laughing Is Allowed

Title: The Descent of the Ganges. Location: Mamallapuram, India. Date: 7th C. Medium: Granite. Size: height approx. 30'

I often think that one of the reasons people "don't like" art is because they are afraid they must always be serious around it. For a person who has not studied the visual arts in-depth, they can often seem confusing, elitist, and humorless. O contraire mes amis!! One of my favorite pieces of art is The Descent of the Ganges pictured above. This work shows that even in serious religious art (it is a Hindu piece) there can be hidden gems and a wonderful sense of humor.

Below are two closeup images of the work that demonstrate this for the viewer. In the carving, there is a gorge going straight down through the middle which, is in place for water to come flowing down and fill up the pool below. Directly to the left of this "waterfall" we see an ascetic: he has spent much time in a difficult meditative pose, not allowing himself food or water, to show his serious religious devotion to Shiva. As a reward for such staunch efforts, Shiva is granting him a "boon," or what is his heart's desire.

If we trace our eyes diagonally down from this scene across the "waterfall" we see what at first appears to be another ascetic showing his deep devotion. Upon further investigation it becomes clear that this is no man but a cat who is surrounded by mice at his hind paws. This cat has cleverly imitated the holy and righteous actions of the ascetic in order to trick the mice into thinking he is benevolent and would not harm them. O contraire my little rodent friends, he is indeed going to eat you for dinner!

So the lesson for today is twofold: never judge a book (or cat) by it's cover, and do not assume art doesn't have a sense of humor.


May inspiration and creativity be with you!

Monday, August 17, 2009

School Days

Norman Rockwell, Knowledge is Power, cover for the October 27, 1917 edition of "The Saturday Evening Post."

With much of the country going back to school soon, I thought I would post about an interesting cover Norman Rockwell made for The Saturday Evening Post, the source for all that is Americana. It is often called Knowledge is Power from the writing on the chalkboard created by the student in the image. The young boy is presumably working on his punishment that was doled out, no doubt, because of some cheeky remark about why he must be in school.

The twist of the image, so common to Rockwell works, is in the "power" being transferred to the boy from his teacher by the "knowledge" he himself is gaining in the scene. His teacher is, probably inappropriately, being visited by a suitor in the classroom. We can see the man leaning up against her desk coyly, as he hides a ribbon wrapped package behind his back. The teacher looks uninterested with the man's presence, but, her cool exterior is betrayed by the flush of her cheeks. Despite being punished by his teacher, we can tell the boy is quite pleased by the situation: the happy look upon his face reveals that he too sees the irony in the picture, and knows he now holds some measure of power over his teacher.

How will the boy use this knowledge to his advantage?
Will the teacher make some sort of deal with the student to keep her love affair hush hush?
Does the man receive any kind of reciprocation from the beautiful teacher?

I hope this image makes you smile as you think of the knowledge that will soon be swirling about in the coming school year.

May inspiration and creativity be with you!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Annie Leibovitz is Broke??

Photo by Toni Cenicola

Annie Leibovitz is apparently in trouble...she may possibly lose her homes and the rights to her works. She was recently sued on July 29th for nonpayment of a $24 million dollar loan. Ms. Leibovitz took out the loan last year and used her homes, negatives, and the rights to her photographs as collateral.

All news reports that I have read have no comments from Ms. Leibovitz herself, so I do not have her side of the story to state here. Many do not seem terribly surprised that she got herself into such a financial state of affairs, because, Annie has spent notoriously large amounts of money on incredibly extravagant photo shoots. Adding more coals to the fire is the terrible losses she has experienced in recent years, including the deaths of both her father and partner Susan Sontag within months of each other in 2005.

As a result of her financial problems, Ms. Leiboveitz may loose the reproduction rights of her photography which she has guarded very closely over the years, as well as the negatives to many of her most legendary works. She is probably best known for her work with Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and advertising campaigns for American Express, Gap, the Milk Board, and most recently Louis Vuitton.

For links to some of her most famous works, such as Demi Moore pregnant, Whoopi Goldberg in a tub of milk, and John Lennon with Yoko Ono, see:

May inspiration and creativity be with you!

Blog Awards

Some awards this blog has received thanks to some nice folks!

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award
given on 07/24/2009 by Nanny Dee (