Tag Archives: art

New Fiction Review: ‘Acorn’ by Yoko Ono

12 Aug

Frankie just finished reading ‘Acorn’, a book of instructional pieces by conceptual art extraordinaire Yoko Ono. S/he thought this:

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Yoko’s great. Really, she knows what she’s doing. Her ideas are interesting, she’s clearly quite well read and well informed, she’s an intense and acute observationist, and she’s as much a presence on paper as she is in person. She’s an extraordinary artist, and no one needs reminding. But she’s not my artist. She doesn’t speak to me, she doesn’t resonate, she barely inspires a ripple in my imagination.

And that’s not to say that I don’t have imagination; I make songs, I make collages, I have an investment in art-making and conceptual thinking. But I’m also a pretty standard young person: barely any money, still unsure what I’m willing to do as a real job, concerned about the way I look and how others perceive me, inspired by various Westernisms and very much an urbanite. I’ve been toughened by the city, toughened by a fairly working-class upbringing, toughened by having to deal with assholes on a near-daily basis, toughened by being an unsigned, unloved musician, toughened by club and drug culture, toughened toughened toughened, made bitter, twisted, cynical, unbearable, and pissed off to the max (and yes, that’s everyone else’s fault, actually). Continue reading

Advertisements

Ekaterina Panikanova Paints on Books

7 Jul

rabbit

Artist Ekaterina Panikanova creates paintings out of old books, and they’re pretty neat. The Russian-born Roman takes objects with existing meaning and translates them into works of art. The results are absolutely gorgeous; I especially like how the different shades and makes of paper add interest and depth to the creations.

A lot of these installations feature cakes, which I’m pretty pleased about. I also like her experiments with Rorschach-like ink blots, and I feel like her black centerfolds are something that Little Goth Girl could have painted.

black

What do you think? Personally, I’d like to see her try it with Kindles.

Sunday Crafternoons: Make Your Own Salt Dough Sculpture

11 Nov

Making salt dough is really really easy you guys! It’s not just for Kirstie Allsopp. You can use it to make Christmas ornaments, pretty roses, buttons, jewellery, and to create cute hand-prints of the infants in your life. Baskets seem popular too.

But those ideas are totally boring! Why not bust out the seasonal cookie cutters and make some awesome skull and snowflake decorations for your grandma? Or spell out your favourite swear word? Or, with a little bit of paint and glitter, you can make your own internet meme like me!

♫ nyan nyan nyan-nyan nyan-nyan-nyan-nyan-nyan ♫

Ingredients.

  • A cup of salt
  • A cup of flour
  • A cup of warm water
  • Paint, glitter etc. for decorating [optional]
  • Varnish [optional]

Method.

1. Mix the dry ingredients. (This isn’t that hard you guys. There are two.)

2. Gradually stir in the water until it forms a doughy consistency.

3. Knead your dough for a few minutes. At this point your dough should look like dough, and you’re ready to make some awesome stuff!

4. Cook your dough. I put mine in the oven at 180° until they dried out, but apparently you can blast them in the microwave for a couple of minutes and that works too.

5. You’re freaking done!

Can you guess what my favourite word is?

I told you it was easy. Now you can decorate them, varnish them, or, if you don’t like how they turned out, eat them!

Art Attack: Boxhead

2 Apr

I discovered Boxhead in Amsterdam in Outland Store, a tiny gallery space not far from the Red Light District, and I was blown away. This artist, using such a simple concept, seemed to encapsulate every thing I was feeling at that point in my life. I passed it off as a herbal-tourist-reaction, but months have passed and the feeling remains.

In fact, Boxhead gives me a lot of feelings.

A piece of art has caused me to have an emotional reaction. Is that normal?

Begoña Toledo, otherwise known as Boxhead, cannot remember a time when she didn’t make art. At school in Zaragoza, when most of her friends were playing with dolls, she was drawing. This translated into an interest in fashion when she became older. “Not all the model crap,” she clarifies. “I wanted to make clothes. That’s how I learned to draw the human body, never took drawing lessons, I learned anatomy by copying the model bodies on the magazines to dress them after with my designs.” She studied Fine Arts, in Barcelona before moving to Utrecht to do her postgraduate Visual Arts course, and has now been living in Amsterdam for four years.

Boxhead works primarily with paint on canvas, but she doesn’t limit herself to this medium. “I’m seriously eclectic, I draw, paint, screenprint, make toys, spray, sew… the medium is never the main reason in my work. I use the one that suits better the idea I want to develop.”

Where’s your head at?

Something about her work pertains to categories, being literally ‘put in a box,’ while also defying these categories by denying her audience access to any tangible emotion the subject may be feeling as she walks trough mist, through rain or tears. We don’t know what she’s thinking as she forms part of a manufacturing line, looks down at the landscape around her. We don’t understand – and this feeling is internalised. Do we understand ourselves?

The boxes give these pieces both a private and public life. They are shy and responsive at the same time, protective yet open. We don’t know whether the box is imposed upon Boxhead, or if she is wearing it by choice. We don’t know whether it is a part of her or if she is using it to conceal her true identity. And Boxhead doesn’t privilege us with her subject’s thoughts. It’s a Schrödinger’s cat type situation, in which the subject is both devoid of feelings and overwhelmed, faceless and beautiful, or ugly.

I find it interesting that the subjects are always gendered female, with their typical pocketed dresses and rounded thighs. This speaks to me of a kind of self-awareness, while also conversely pertaining to childhood and uncertainty. According to the artist, Boxhead has “a rebel attitude in the sense of identity.”

Boxhead’s paintings question our notions of identity and self-hood. They speak of gender politics, urban existentialism and consumer culture. They speak, and while I don’t know what they’re saying, exactly, I know I want to listen.

Presumably due to the economy, or some equally romantic starving-artist reason, Boxhead has started selling her paintings through Facebook. I bought a tote. Totes aren’t usually my bag, but this was one of seven, so it’s kind of like I carry my stuff around in my own little horcrux. Which is nice.

I urge you to go check her out before she makes the move to London later this month.

This article was originally written for Autostraddle’s Art Attack month, which was ace. Unfortunately this author was lazy writing her final year dissertation and failed to submit it in time. Please do ‘head’ on over to Autostraddle and take a look at their fine, punctual submissions.