Portrait by Remo Frangiosa
Philly-Bob’s Free-for-All 2022
One man's visual art, largely consisting of digital manipulations of images, taken from (1) my own photographs/videos, (2) downloaded from the Public Domain, or (3) utilized under the Fair Use provision of copyright law. Also, occasional prose observations on politics and life.
Click on a pic to enlarge. May take several clicks to get full-size.
FIGURE: Photo appearing in 1979 issue of Polish cinema journal "Film" (Link1), showing actress and writer Christine Pascal in the 1979 Polish drama "Panny z Wilka" (Link2' trans: 'Maids of Wilko') playing the youngest of five sisters revisited by their tutor after a long absence. Pascal (Link3) died in 1996, committing suicide in a mental hospital; suicide had long been a subject of her writing.
FOSSILS: Two illustrations from 1896 Paleontology book "Die Leitfossilien" (Link4: trans: 'The Lead Fossils') by German scholar Ernst Koken. (Link5)
BACKGROUND: Illustration from 1896 manual on winemaking, "La taille de la vigne: étude comparée des divers systèmes de taille" (Link6: trans: 'The pruning of the vine: comparative study of various pruning systems') showing grapevines on trellises.
Link1: https://archive.org/details/film-1979-01-07-nr-01 Link2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Maids_of_Wilko Link3: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Pascal Link4: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009222165 Link5: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Koken Link4: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009176710
FOREGROUND: Polish actress Krystyna Janda in the 1980 Polish film "The Orchestra Conductor", from a still in the 1980 Polish cinema journal "Film" (Link1). Janda played Marta, a young violinist who discovers her mother had an affair with the conductor, John Gielgud.
BACKGROUND: Images of red and yellow heraldry from the kingdom (now city) of Aragon in Spain, from the 1995 picture book "Coat of Arms of Aragon" (Link2). The lineage was transmitted through the line of women, not men, as was the usual practice at the time.
Link1: https://archive.org/details/film-1980-03-16-nr-11 Link2: https://archive.org/details/blason-de-aragon
In the center, boyishly-thin English actress Twiggy, dressed as a traditional commedia dell'arte clown, perches on a cardboard crescent moon. She is flanked by the imposing duplicate figures of 70-year-old Indian barbell trainer Capt. (Army or Police?) J.N. Bannerjee. Barely visible in the background are some microphotographs of reproductive cells of the Octopbus.
BACKGROUND FIGURE: From the 1973 Polish movie magazine "Film" (Link1), a photo of English model Twiggy in the 1971 movie "Boy Friend".
SEATED MAN: Photograph from 1930 Indian exercise handbook "Muscle Control And Barbell Exercise." (Link2). Caption reads ''Capt. J.N. Bannerjee, Bar-at-law At the age of Seventy." Image is doubled.
BACKGROUND TEXTURE: Matrix of microscopic slides from 2020 book "Invertebrata Embryology & Reproduction" (Link3)
Link1: https://archive.org/details/film-1973-12-30-nr-48 Link2: https://archive.org/details/217858632-muscle-control-and-barbell-exercise Link3: https://archive.org/details/Invertebrata-embryology-reproduction-2020
IMAGE: Illustrations for 1898 science fiction novel "Through The Earth" by American author Clement Fezandie (Link1), digitally altered. Caption reads: "Up He Went, Spinning like a Top."
MUSIC: 1965 Song "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" written by James Brown, performed in 1971 by Singaporean singer 'Sakura' (Link2)
SHAPE: A template for a geometric shape (attach at tabs) from an undated Spanish-language "Plantillas De Poliedros" (Link3; trans 'Polyhedron Templates')
TEXT: "Egyptian Letters" 2021 dingbat font by Ding Bang (Link4)
Link1: https://archive.org/details/through-the-earth Link2: https://archive.org/details/lp_sakura_2 Link3: https://archive.org/details/plantillas-de-poliedros-imprimir-2do Link4: https://www.dafont.com/egyptian-letters.fontJanuary 17, 2022
Photo of automotive motor from 1929 "Audel's Electric Library" (Link1)
A template for a paper triangle (attach at tabs) from an undated Spanish-language "Plantillas De Poliedros" (Link2; trans 'Polyhedron Templates')
Link1: https://archive.org/details/audels-electric-library-vol-8 Link2: https://archive.org/details/plantillas-de-poliedros-imprimir-2do/mode/2up
IMAGE: Photograph from 1929 Russian book "Методика Селекции Льна И Конопли" (Link1; trans 'Flax And Hemp Breeding Technique') shows a young woman washing out flax seeds with tap water. She holds in her hand a tweezer. The book was written before Lysenkoism (Link2) crippled Russian biology research.
Link1: https://archive.org/details/1929_20220106 Link2: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/12/trofim-lysenko-soviet-union-russia/548786/
Another snapshot from my pessimistic worldview. The idea is that as a privileged American I get to observe from safety (like from a bus) the awful atrocities that have happened in my lifetime. And there's little I have been able to do to prevent or relieve them.
FOREGROUND: Photograph of driver's seat and dash of a General Electric bus from a 1929 edition of Audel's 12-volume Electricity Guide (Link1)
BACKGROUND: 1991 painting of 1937 Nanjing Massacre (Link2) of Chinese citizens by Japanese troops by Chinese artist Li Zijian (Link3)
Link1: https://archive.org/details/audels-electric-library-vol-8 Link2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanjing_Massacre Link3: https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1080087.shtml
Looking over human literature, a whole lot of the most imaginative work has been done in the service of wildly implausible spiritual theories. The figure "Spiritual Symbol Man" is meant to represent the variety of these theories.
Although I don't understand Russian, I gather the Russian song about Green Grass -- sung by the tragic Red Army Chorus -- is a children's song:
Green grass, it's my pleasure. Green grass, this is my duvet [blanket]. When I think about it, I lie down on it. When I think about it, I sit on it.
IMAGE: Illustration from 1994 Russian book "Astrology and Myth" by Semira V. Vetash (Link1), showing the Hindu deity Indra.
TEXT: "Egyptian Letters" 2021 dingbat font by Ding Bang (Link2)
MUSIC: Excerpt from song 'Green Grass/Travička Zelena' from 1959 album "The Red Army Marches In Hi-Fi" by The Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble (Link3); in 2016, 64 members of the ensemble were killed in the crash of a Russian Tu-154.
Link1: https://archive.org/details/semira-v.-vetash-astrology-and-myth Link2: https://www.dafont.com/egyptian-letters.font?sort=date Link3: https://archive.org/details/lp_the-red-army-marches-in-hi-fi_the-alexandrov-red-army-ensemble-boris-aleJanuary 4, 2022
Have set myself the goal of one video per week. But this holiday week has been hard, with three false starts -- and I'm not happy with this one.
Not a happy view of human nature as I stumble into 2022. Let's hope the January 6 committee restores my faith.
IMAGE (Left): Bodies piled up in stairway below a second-floor interrogation center in Cambodian prison camp during Khmer Rouge rule in the 1970's, from a travelers visit to a current museum on the site (Link1)
IMAGE: Illustration of space vehicle control room from 1965 book "Orbiting Stations: Stopovers to Space Travel" (Link2)
MUSIC: Excerpt from "Largo & Allegro Vivo" on record "Cello Colours" by André Navarra; Jacqueline Dussol (Link3)
Link1: https://www.keepcalmandwander.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Tuol-Sleng-Genocide-Museum-Cambodia-171.jpg Link2: https://archive.org/details/orbiting-stations Link3: https://archive.org/details/lp_cello-colours_andr-navarra-jacqueline-dussolJanuary 3, 2022
A kind of artistic commemoration of the two strands of my religious past: (1) the Roman Catholic rosary of my childhood and (2) the Runic writing of my old European ancestors.
IMAGE1: Photo of 9th Century Viking Runes carved on 5-ton granite slab in Sweden, from 1923 "Walzel Handbuch Der Literaturwissenschaft" (Link1; trans 'Walzel Handbook of Literary Studies')
IMAGE2: Image from cover of undated pamphlet describing the Roman Catholic prayer beads known as the "Franciscan Crown or the Rosary of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin" (Link2)
Link1: https://archive.org/details/walzel-handbuch-der-literaturwissenschaft-bd-12.1 Link2: https://archive.org/details/franciscan-crown Link3: https://www.dafont.com/bad-times.font
IMAGE: Cover of 1961 35-cent paperback "Brother and Sister: A Tender, Compassionate Novel Of Incestuous Love" by Donald Westlake (Link1) writing under the psuedonym Edwin West. Cover artist not credited.
My 77th birthday. Dinner with friends at a local bar with good food and a pool table -- how long since I've done that? Used to do that three times a week in the old days. Accepting a certain amount of Covid risk.
I feel loved and secure in my place in the world -- but time is running down for an overweight, underexercised near-octagenarian. Every project, every piece, could be my last. I'm okay with that.
MUSIC: Excerpt from 1967 sacred song "Dies Irae: Oratorio Dedicated to the Memory of Those Murdered at Auschwitz" by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki (Link1)
IMAGES: Illustrations from 1900 "Горькие плоды пьянства. Альбом рисунков, изоброажающих вред пьянства" (Link2; trans 'The bitter fruits of drunkenness. Album of drawings depicting the harm of drunkenness') published by Alexander Nevsky Sobriety Society, St. Petersburg.
Link1: https://archive.org/details/lp_penderecki-dies-irae-auschwitz-oratorium_henryk-czyzh-orkiestra-filharmonii-im-karo Link2: https://archive.org/details/gorkie_plody_pyanstvaDecember 23, 2021
IMAGE: Photo by Bob Moore
December 22, 2021
ARCHIVE: Webpage Proprietor's Portraits
Time to change my image at top of this web page. The new image is a small pencil portrait done by Remo Frangiosa. It was done while I sat for Remo's portrait class over a two-week period at Philadelphia's historic Plastic Club in September, 2015.
The second image is a larger painting I commissioned from the Plastic Club's Andy Hoffmann.
Next are two other images also used as masthead portraits. Third image is an iPad self-portait in a coffee shop (approx. 2014). It is probably the best representation of my revulsion at the aging process and my sadness at the prospect of diminishing cognitive powers.
Fourth is an attempt to limit portrait to the fewest number of facial features and still be recognizable (approx. 2012). (Sorry: unlike the other images on this page, these masthead pictures don't enlarge when clicked...)
Fifth is a drawing done in our Open Studio workshop by Meri Collier, a Toronto-based artist and member of the Plastic Club.