Tuesday, February 28, 2012

great moments in sculpture # 103

The Lander University campus was invaded last week by the work of my students.  As most students went about their last week before spring break studying, reading and hanging with friends they kept getting bumped by sweating sculpture students lugging large sculptures across the commons. 

This is the largest student exhibit I've attempted so far.  The work looks great and the students should be as proud as I am.

Jermel's Gumby lounger & Jensea's lobster/fish chair

Ali's nose pew

and the other side

Corey's monster toe stool, Vince's aphid chair with private storage compartment & Melissa's rocking horse dog with large intestines

Tavernier's coil vessel, Jaw's coil dog, Alex's laminated hand, Jensea's laminated travel guitar, Adri's laminated brace & Vince's steel bell tower with working bell

Cas's steel house, Blaire's steel architecture & Vince's laminated walking/reading device

Devin, Jonny Cupcakes, Tavernier, Anne, & Ashley's coil vessels

Cessarich, Ashley, Devin, AnnieBob & BJ's coil ceramics

Soundsuits by Mabry, Octavia, John, Eberry & Ali

Alex & Mylissa's steel houses & Amanda's laminated wrists

Jensea's steel house & Cas's laminated laptop stand

Melissa's steel house & Mylissa's laminated shin guards

Sunday, February 26, 2012

tennessee is lumpy

Lumpy was the distinct impression I got anyway.  There were rocks and rivers and all, but everything was just so lumpy. 

Last Thursday I made the drive to Nashville for my day as a guest at Belmont University.  Right up front I'd like to say that I am aware that Belmont is looking for a 3D faculty member and I was reminded of this several times while on campus, but my visit had nothing to do with this search.  I was invited to speak by the School of Religion, if you can believe that, and to specifically speak about the collision of religion and the arts as it applies to my creative work. 

 An old friend of mine teaches in the School of Religion and he teaches some of the Religion and the Arts classes.  He lives in the house in the photo above where I stayed for the trip.  He invited me to speak to his class and to present a slide lecture at one of their Convo events.  The event was advertised with the poster I showed you recently and with this little blurb written by my friend: 

"Have you ever stepped into a rabbit hole that dropped you face first into a Salvador Dali painting where Billy Graham was eating peaches and talking theology with Donald Miller? Well, it's kind of like that."

Keep in mind that it was in his best interest to make me sound much better than I really am.  But speaking of Billy Graham....

There is a large statue of him in front of the Lifeway building in Nashville.  I think it's related to the proportions but there's something unsettling and awkward about the sculpture. 

Equally odd is the presence of this large scale Greek building from my art history book in the middle of a southern town built on country music.  Who knew Athena loved Johnny Cash?

But this is the wrong state for Athens.  The architecture on the trash cans was more appropriate and I was assured I was in the correct city just in time for a 45 mph tour of the sights.  I saw it all....I just saw it all very fast. 

Yes, that's a blurry photo of the moving car tour and yes that's my finger in the top right corner.  I used to blame all my bad photos on the camera in the 3Gs.  Now that my phone is new and the camera is great....I suppose I'll have to admit that I'm a terrible photographer.  Sorry.

The blurry tour was appropriate for Nashville.  There are tons of celebrities in and around Nashville and it's pretty common to see them in Whole Foods, Starbucks or the Belmont campus for that matter, but it's one of the prides of Nashvillians to act like such sightings are no big deal.  It really is a big deal but it's not cool to act like it's a big deal.  It's also not cool to go to the touristy places.  I learned it's a bragging point to tell how long you've lived in Nashville and have never even gone to those areas.  I understand all this but I'm just enough of an idiot to not care. 

And enough of an idiot to seek out what my sources say is where Taylor Swift lives when she's in town.  And if those sources are correct, that's what you're looking at in the photo above.  I know, you're thinking, "Really Doug, Taylor Swift?".

And the answer to that question is simply, yes.  I am not ashamed.  Deal with it.  In this country...and especially in this town if you can make it big by writing your own songs, playing several instruments to create your own music, and by singing those songs well, then you have my respect.  You know what we call those people who criticize talented people like this?  We call them Sandy Singletary....or we call them jealous.  -Don't worry, Sandy doesn't read the blog.

So on 2/24/2012 for a whole 2 hour span, I got to be a little bit famous.  Ok not really famous, but I did get a personalized parking spot on a campus where parking is a pretty big deal.  I'll take it.

I spoke about beauty and absurdity and how those two elements swirl together in my drawings and sculptures.  If you wanted to go and couldn't, just imagine me standing there at the podium and it looked just like that.  Here's the Cliff's Notes version for you:  The Monty Python guys were skilled at using absurd humor as a tool to get viewers to laugh, to think, and to be more creative in their problem solving.  Beauty is more than the aesthetic value of the surface (or of Katie Holmes) and is quite often tied to personal experiences instead.  Add in some Sharpies and some welded steel and you get my drawings and sculptures.

The photo of the new building on Belmont's campus is for my students.  I thought they might want to see how plywood was bent and cut to make the half sphere of the dome.  Very helpful now that the plywood project is over, right?

 The bell tower/water tower/prayer chapel.  An interesting combination that is almost Python-esque.

No one is allowed to leave Nashville without having some sort of musical experience, so after all the official academic work was done we were invited to join a lovely family at a music dive called The Station Inn.  It's a bluegrass venue and we got to see Blue Moon Rising play a great set of music after working all day recording on Music Row.  They fired and rehired the new banjo player, cracked everyone up several times and played some great music.  It was an excellent way to end the trip.

Lumpy with smokestacks and clouds.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

the lent drawings

Today is Fat Tuesday.  We cut loose with a trip to the Mexican restaurant.  No beads, no costumes and the only music this year was Blue and Violet singing “I don’t got a belly button” with the Veggietales gang. 

Something else I didn’t do today – draw.

I figure if Fat Tuesday is about loading up on excess so you can fast for 40 days then not drawing today is in keeping with that tradition.

My ridiculous Lent plan this year is to complete a drawing every day for the 40+ days until Easter.  I know this is not how Lent really works for the devout faster but go back and read about my previous Lent experiments before you judge me. 

You may be wondering, “How is he going to pull this off?”  I am wondering the same thing.  I have no idea.  I figure that is part of the challenge that will keep me on my toes.  I’ve created the challenge for myself and set up the parameters.  The new daily rule will either force me to engage in creative thought or to fail miserably.  While I don’t know exactly what to expect, I think that this may be a good thing for the development of imagery and perhaps even finding a new direction to pursue. 

So I’ll do a complete drawing each day.  Not sure yet if I’ll take Sundays off.  The drawings may be on anything with anything.  I’ll take a photo of each one for proof and I’ll try to post them here so you can keep me honest.  Just know that I’m not into daily blog posting….so be patient.  I’m setting no expectations for the type of imagery.  The drawings need not follow my current themes and may or may not end up in color.  Any size, any media, anytime, and anywhere.

Wish me luck, I know I’ll need it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

find the river

Blue and I went adventuring today.

Please note the Scooby Doo beanie, the pirate's "Arrrrr" face, and the skeleton gloves.

Apparently a giant prehistoric turtle was buried here.

The 4-wheeler perched atop the rocks for scale.

Blue perched below the rocks.

The view up and out.

Where we're pretty sure the bears live.

Light and dirt.  Or beauty, depending on your point of view.

One of the small creeks.

Great sky today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

whale feet

"In The Parking Lot"
ink on wood panel

Just as I was finishing this drawing Blue strolled over to the drawing table and explained that whales do not, in fact, have feet.

My mistake.

Friday, February 10, 2012

going on tour

If you've ever wanted to hear me talk in real life and witness the glare of the lights reflecting off my head.....you're in luck.

The Beauty & the Absurd tour begins Friday, February 24 at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

The Beauty & the Absurd tour will end later that day.

I'll be speaking and showing slides related to beautiful and absurd drawings and sculptures at 10:00 am.  This talk is open to the public and Belmont students can get Convo credit for attending the event.  Later in the day I'll be talking with the Religion and the Arts class, but I doubt you can come to that one. 

After that I'll be lurking around coffee shops hoping to see Ben Folds or maybe trying to find Loretta Lynn's house.

Monday, February 6, 2012

great moments in church drawings # 1

This could easily be a new series of posts.  These two are from last Sunday. 

"This is God...This is me"

"I will give God Candy."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

the latest things

You know those emergency exit doors at Walmart?  The ones with the big red letters on them that say the alarm will sound if you open the door?

The alarm really does sound when you push on the handle.  No, it wasn't me...it was Blue.  Sorry Walmart.

Later we went to the local fish place to eat.  The elderly gentleman seated diagonally across from Blue finished eating and began to relax and clean his teeth.  Suddenly Blue's eyes get really large and he shouts, "Mommy, that man over there just took his teeth out of his mouth!  It was his whole teeth, Mommy, not just one.  How did he do that!?"

And a new drawing:

"You Need To Be Here"
ink on wood