Philly-Bob’s Free-for-All 2017

One man's visual art, largely consisting of digital manipulations of images taken from my own photographs or downloaded from the Public Domain.

Portrait by Remo Frangiosa

Artist's Statement

Although I have been interested in art and graphic design all my life, I only began working seriously after I retired in 2010. The images in Philly-Bob's Free-for-All are digital manipulations of images. The images are either from the Public Domain or from my own archives of photos I have taken.

My images are strongly influenced by the optical textures I see when I close my eyes and by what I see when I dream. They are also influenced by the hallucinatory visions I saw under the influence of anaesthesia following open heart surgery.

I often use commercial art, illustration, and typography as a source of ideas.

For maximum effect with my images, click repeatedly on the image until it is full-size, which may be larger than your computer screen.


HOME DECORATIONS, 105 YEARS AGO
     
   
   
Image collages and transformation from the 1912 Book of home buildings and decorations (Link1). The source document is from the Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL), which "is primarily a collection of American and Canadian, pre-1964 architectural trade catalogs, house plan books and technical building guides." BTHL is a project of the Association for Preservation Technology of Springfield, Illinois. I like BTHL because of their high-quality, high-definition scans; this book comes in at about 4400 by 6200 pixels; that's huge.
Note: I have been doing these images with fractal frames on top of the image for about six months. Worked out the technique in the Soviet Magazine series of March-April 2017. Getting ready to move on, but don't know where...
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/HenryCollinsBrown0001
August 11, 2017
GLISSANDO DIMINUENDO (OR SOME DAMN MUSICAL TERM)
 
A wallpaper sample from the 1940 Sears Roebuck & Co. catalog Color perfect wallpapers (Link1). The advertising copy extols "[the] rich, vibrant tones you see in the Autumn woods...The brown tones of the background offer excellent contrast to the shades of rust, green, and yellow in the leaf design..."
Trying to do a piece for an upcoming show at the Plastic Club with a theme of Music . This image is intended to show a series of musical sounds dropping in pitch; there probably is a musical name for that, but I don't know what it is. I'll use Glissando Diminuendo as if it's a real term and as if I speak Italian.
8/9 Update:Turns out I was more or less right, Glissando diminuendo is a musical term. Here is a YouTube clip of modern singers doing the difficult vocal maneuver, most notably Philadelphia's own beloved Patti Labelle. Bonus: here's LaBelle in 1964 doing a song that can bring literal tears to my eyes: You'll Never Walk Alone.
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/SearsWallpapers1940
August 8, 2017
SIXTIES FAMILY BUILDING THEIR NEW HOUSE
 
A collage of illustrations from the 1963 do-it-yourself home catalog There's a Miles home in your future (Link1), showing a delighted family with toolbox and blueprints (and dog). The company's slogan: "The only homes actually designed so they can be built by anyone who can drive a nail and follow simple instructions..." It is a sad fact that my three closest male friends (of the generation born before or shortly after the end of World War II) share the following biographical fact: our fathers hand-built a house, from scratch, but we never have. Do our nerdy computer skills compensate for the fact that we've never framed a wall or laid a concrete foundation?
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/CollierBarnettCo.
August 8, 2017
NEW WAYS TO FEEL GOOD
 
A collage of illustration from the 1994 Sensual Massage A Lovers Guide (Link1). Main image shows a masseur dipping their hand into a mixture composed of a "base oil," such as grapeseed, almond, avocado, or apricot oil, combined with a few drops of an "essential oil," such as lavendar or chamomile. What's funny is that, in my life, the discovery of the pleasure in back rubs and scratches and massage occurred almost accidentally, much as the discovery of sexuality as a boy. [With surprise:] Hmmmm, that feels good. Maybe I'll do that again! I wish sex education (or my Catholic Cana is Forever counseling) covered this kind of activity, which lasts over a lifetime, longer than traditional genital fucking. Other couple-specific sensual pleasures I've come to discover: please remove my socks from my overheated feet while I'm relaxing in my recliner, please place your hands (which are cool from recent washing) on my overheated bald head, please let me rub your legs and feet while we're relaxing on the sofa watching television. However, I've not gotten to Pro Level, with the oils; I can't figure out how to do it without the sheets or furniture getting greasy.

Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/SensualMassageALoversGuide
August 7, 2017
GIRL FROM THE MIDWESTERN WILDERNESS
 
The cover of a set of sheet music for the 1915 The girl of the Limberlost (Link1), a sentimental song by Richard A. Whiting about a man pining for his sweetheart back in the woods o Michigan. There was also a popular novel by Gene Stratton-Porter by the name that told the story of a pretty, high-spirited girl from the swamps of Indiana, later done into several movies.
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/b10356964
August 5, 2017
OLD GERMAN STOCK CERTIFICATES
 
A collage of reproductions of old German-language stock certificates from a catalog for a 1973 auction by collector/auctioneer Vladimir Gutowski (Link1).
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/53GutowskiKatalog
August 5, 2017
Rx: YOU GOTTA DANCE LIKE FRED ASTAIRE
 
Re-reading resumed correspondence with old musical friend from hometown Detroit, I realize that I am disheartened these days -- "Sad" as Trump would tweet. It's not just Washington, it's local, as I took on the responsibility of resisting a recent tax increase and that effort seems to be turning hopeless and nasty. Anyway, my hometown friend, sensing my unease, sent a musical prescription, a reference to a simple, bouncy, bubblegum song from our youth: the oddly-titled Long Tall Glasses by singer-songwriter Leo Sayer, shown in Pierrot costume. Here the song is in performance, and here are the lyrics:
I was travellin' down the road
Feelin' hungry and cold
I saw a sign sayin'
Food and drinks for everyone
So naturally I thought
I would take me a look inside
I saw so much food
There was water coming from my eyes

Yeah, there was ham and there was turkey
There was caviar
And long tall glasses
With wine up to y'are
And somebody grabbed me
Threw me out of my chair
Said "before you can eat
You gotta dance like fred astaire"
You know I can't dance
you know I can't dance
You know I can't dance
you know I can't dance
I can't dance

I am a man of the road
A hobo by name
I don't seek entertainment
Just poultry and game
But if it's all the same to you
Then yes, I will try my hand
If you were hungry as me
Then I'm sure you will understand

Hmmmmmm, now wait a minute
Of course I can dance
Of course I can dance
I'm sure I can dance
I'm sure I can dance
I can dance
I can dance
I really hit the floor
Ah, it feels good
Look at me dancing

I did a two-step, quick-step and a bossanova
A little victor sylvester and a rudy valentino
You should have seen me moving
Right across the floor
Hand me down my tuxedo
Next week I'm coming back for more

I can dance
Oh yes, I can dance
Look at me dance on the floor movin'
I feel good
I can dance
I can dance
I can dance
I can dance
I can dance
I can dance
Feel better?
Sources:
Link1: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALeo_Sayer_-_TopPop_1974_02.png
August 4, 2017
KUFIC SPIRIT OF JAZZ
 
Detail from an illustration in The Art of Arabic Calligraphy (Link1), showing a design by Mamoun Sakkal, a contemporary calligrapher originally from Aleppo, Syria, now in the United States. The design is called "Steps and Shadows" and is done in the square Kufic style. I like the rhythm of the piece and may enter it into the Plastic Club's September exhibition with the theme of Music. Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/U1L5CalligraphyPresentation
August 1, 2017
SPIRIT OF LIBERTY & REASON IN BATTLE
 
Cover illustration for an 1897 issue of the French magazine, Le chambard socialiste (Link1), showing Marianne, the bare-breasted symbol of the French Revolution.
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/gri_33125012263832
July 31, 2017
...BUT FLOWERS ALWAYS DIE
 
Another cover illustration for turn-of-the-century sheet music, the 1917 Just like a poor butterfly (Link1). Lyrics:
A butterfly gay
all the summer would play
with sunshine and flowers around
but when summertime fled
and the flowers were dead
then a heart-broken butterfly
lay on the ground

A girl loves a boy
when the sunshine's above
and her heart sings with joy
thru the summer of love
for she never thinks
of the winter of love
She's just like the poor butterfly
So shy
thinking each flower 
will bloom forever
but flowers always die.
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/b10355832
July 29, 2017
GIRL CONTEMPLATING THE PASSING OF TIME
 
An illustration on the cover of a 19th century music score for a song for voice and piano called Twenty-One (Link1) by Irish composer James Molloy. Here is a selection of the sentimental lyrics, written as an old couple looking back at their youth:
"They seem to us when looking back like yesterday,
The days of long ago when we were young.
Across the village winds the old familiar way,
the very same old songs are sung,
the gossips chatting by the well-remember'd tree,
the lovers roaming in the ling'ring summer sun.
They talk of many things as once we did
When we were twenty-one...

And Shhhh, we'll soon forget
if you are growing old
or if you are twenty-one
or if you are twenty-one."
That last four-line phrase -- "And Shhhhh, we'll soon forget" -- I'd like to hear the music that goes with it.
Molloy's most famous song was "Love's Old Sweet Song," known for the opening line of its chorus "Just a song at twilight..."
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/b10357919
July 28, 2017
COLOR WHEEL ADHESIVE NOTE PAD
 
When I worked in a Detroit copy shop in the 1980's, one of the jobs I enjoyed was making note pads -- one sheet of cardboard and 50 or so sheets of printed paper, attached together along one side with glue.
This image, based on illustration from the 1887 The Painter's Handbook (Link1) is meant for a notepad. For my webpage, I added some text: a tag from Woodcutter's dingbat font Graffiti Tags (Link2).
Still busy and stressful time: two observations: Janice points out I tend to forget things during periods like this, and my emotional maturity tends to decline after a meeting has gone on for an hour and a half, especially if it's after 9 PM.
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/B.S.Mills
Link2: www.dafont.com/graffiti-tags.font
July 27, 2017
TWO MISCELLANEOUS IMAGES AT A BUSY TIME
   
Two recent illustrations. The first one is from a 1935 brochure Facts about roofing: a book of sales information for our distributors and their representatives (Link1). I'm going to enter it into the Plastic Club's Members Choice.
The second image is a collage of illustrations of home furnishings (lamps, mirrors, curtains) from the 1937-38 Illustrated Catalog of William Volker and Co. (Link2)
This is a very busy time. I just got a major new responsibility -- chairing a search committee for a new lawyer, with a tight deadline.
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/FlintkoteCompany
Link2: archive.org/details/WilliamVolkerAndCo.
July 21, 2017
EMPOWERING A YOUNG AFGHAN GIRL
 
Illustration from a book in Urdu by Jeanette Winters, Nasreen's Secret School(Link1), the story of a girl who attends a secret school in Afghanistan and learns to read despite extremists' attempts to shut the school down. This illustration shows her joy at the wider world she discovers through the world of literature. (I feel this way sometimes.)
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/NasreensSecretSchool-Urdu
July 21, 2017
METHODS OF JOINING ELEMENTS
     
Detail of a cover illustration from a volume in Time-Life's 1993 Art of Woodworking series, called Handbook of Joinery (Link1), showing various woods securely joined together -- without a screw or nail in sight -- using mortise and tenon, tongue and groove, dovetail, dowel, and finger joints.
Next to that, slightly adapting the joinery design above, a favorite saying of now-deceased Detroit commercial printer Bridget Smith (Lithocolor). She told this to my friend Al Frank, who did occasional design work for her. I never met Bridget, but her simple rule of layout, passed on second-hand by Al, is rule number one when I do graphic design, for instance, laying out lines of type on a poster.
Next to that, a slightly different version.
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/TheArtOfWoodworkingHandbookOfJoinery
July 20, 2017
RUSSIA: CIRCUS OVER SUFFERING
 
In the background, a photo from the 1927 Soviet Photo (Link1), captioned "1919 Victims of Intervention. Stretched by Siberian Bloggardeans", shows four men apparently dead, their bodies tied to a boxcar. The atrocity occured during a now nearly forgotten skirmish of World War I and the Russian Revolution, the Siberian intervention, in a city on the border between China and Russia. The gory photograph is obscured, thankfully, by a brightly colored drawing of a Soviet circus from a 1979 issue of the children's humor magazine called Funny Pictures(Link2).
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1927_11
Link1: archive.org/details/vesyolyie_kartinki_1979_10
July 17, 2017
WAR MOVIE AIR CRAFT CRASH
 
An advertisement in a 1938 issue of Box Office (Link1), heralding the premiere of a movie called "Men With Wings," with Fred MacMurray and Ray Milland.
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/boxofficeoctdec13334unse
July 15, 2017
DISPLAY OF INSECT SPECIMENS
 
An illustration from the 1849 Episodes of Insect Life (Link1)
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/episodesofinsect03budg_0
July 15, 2017
PARTING OF THE RED SEA
 
The book is in Hebrew, so I can't translate its title, but this is a fine woodcut illustration from an undated volume captioned druck00497 (Link1).
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/druck00497
July 13, 2017
CAMBODIAN DANCE SCHOOL
 
A collage of pictures from the 1998 program of the Angkor Dance Troupe, a Massachusetts-based school teaching Cambodian classical and folk dance. In the top center, a dancer takes a traditional pose. In the lower left, a seamstress sews a performer into her close-fitting costume.

Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/ADT1998Booklet
July 10, 2017
INDIAN SISTERS HOLDING CARICATURE
 
An online ad from Dezains (Link1), an Indian business specializing in caricatures. The company has an unusual sideline offering birthday gifts for sisters. I don't know whether the two are models or -- as I prefer to think -- the young sister businesswomen who started the business. They hold one of the company's artistic `caricatures.

Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/Httpsdezains.coms78birthday-gifts-sister
July 9, 2017
PICTISH CARVING FROM SCOTLAND
 
From the 1872 Rude Stone Monuments In All Countries; Their Age And Uses (Link1), a carving labeled "Front of Stone at Aberlemno, with Cross." Aberlemno is in Scotland, and the carvings are said to be Pictish in origin, from the 7th or 8th century.

Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/FergussonJRudeStoneMonumentsInAllCountriesTheirAgeAndUses1872
July 9, 2017
SERENADE IN SEARS WALLPAPER
 
A composition of two wallpaper patterns from the 1952 Sears Wallpaper Book (Link1). The patterns are called "Floral Shadow" and "Flower Screen."
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/SearsRobuckAndCompany
July 5, 2017
SANITARY LADY IN DOORWAY MIRROR
 
A door with mirror from the 1914 products catalog of Huttig Manufacturing, entitled We manufacture all goods shown in this catalogue (Link1). Displayed in the central mirror is an ad for a female sanitary product ("Modess because...") from a 1948 Photoplay (Link2).
Sources:
Link1: archive.org/details/HuttigManufacturingCo.
Link2: archive.org/details/photoplayjuldec100macf_3
July 3, 2017
IMAGES FROM 1991 ISSUE OF SOVIET PHOTO MAGAZINE
     
   
From a 1991 issue of Soviet Photo (Link1).

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1991_01
June 25, 2017
READING BOB
 
Me. Off to the Side. Reading. Content.
Sources:
Photo by Janice R. Moore
June 21, 2017
POSTCARDS OF RUINED FRENCH CHATEAUX
   
 
A recent addition to the Flickr.com set of contributing libraries is the "mediatheque" or Network of Media Libraries of Valence Romans Agglo, Valence, Rhone-Alpes, consisting of 14 public libraries located in the Southeastern region of France. Many showed "chateux" (plural of chateau), a cross between a manor house and a defensible castle.
From that collection:

Sources:
Link1: www.flickr.com/photos/mediathequesvalenceromansagglo/34186245340
Link2: www.flickr.com/photos/mediathequesvalenceromansagglo/33762106893
Link3: www.flickr.com/photos/mediathequesvalenceromansagglo/33873506894
June 18, 2017
MEMORIES OF MIDWESTERN MUSIC
 
First I got word that old hometown buddy Hugh had managed to retrieve the tapes of a series of songs I wrote and performed under the name Robbie Panek. Then, roaming around the Facebook universe, I ran across a picture of another musician friend, Jere Stormer, performing. The picture attracted me for Jere's momentary intensity, as if he was doing a difficult passage. Usually, he's relatively laid back.
Sources:
NA
June 15, 2017
DISTORTION DISCOVERIES ON IMAGES FROM 1958 SOVIET PHOTO
       
       
       
       
       
Wherever this direction is taking me -- further experiments in taking old photos from an old edition of Soviet Photo (Link1) and applying my idiosyncratic transformations and distortions to create various frame-like elements.
  • A cover image of a SCUBA diver.
  • Interior of a steel mill.
  • Atmospheric scene of man in fedora lighting a cigarette under a street lamp.
  • Another SCUBA diver. Departing from text since I'm using bubbly frame.
  • Pears scattered on a table. Again, no text.
  • Airplanes on an airfield.
  • Scene on a factory floor.
  • A policeman herds a group of schoolkids across a street.
  • Industrial smoke stacks and pipeline. (Done during an irresponsible TV binge -- the finales of all six seasons of Shameless on Showtime -- avoiding other work I should do, like preparing for a doctor's visit and board meeting.)
  • Tractor axle assemblies on a factory floor.

  • Sources:
    Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1958_04_djvu
    June 7-14, 2017
    DISTORTION DISCOVERIES ON IMAGES FROM 1960 SOVIET PHOTO
           
           
           
       

    Wherever this direction is taking me -- further experiments in taking old photos from an old edition of Soviet Photo (Link1) and applying my idiosyncratic transformations and distortions on them.
    Sources:
    Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1960_01
    June 2-6, 2017
    POEM DISPLAYED ON DISTORTION OF 1927 SOVIET PHOTO
         
    In our Art workshop today at the Plastic Club, classmate Harold shared this poem with me to explain some of his works. It was a touching poem by Nikki Giovanni, read at the funeral of a respected local poet and artist. I placed it upon one of my "distortion-discoveries," of an old Russian photo. Moving further and further from the photos that form the basis of these experiments in geometric distortions.
    On the far right, I use the image -- of a foggy evening in Moscow -- in my more traditional manner.
    Sources:
    Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1927_10
    June 1, 2017
    MEDITATION BASED ON DISTORTION OF 1927 SOVIET PHOTO
       
    While going through my box of writings looking for the lyrics to the Robbie Panek songs, an unrelated poem caught my eye. It is a biblical quote (James 1:27, English Standrd Version). It dates from my songwriting days, when a co-worker at the radio station where I worked -- Tom Watch, I believe -- had worked it up into a song. I forget the melody, but I was struck by the balance and rhythm of the quote and copied down the words:
    Religion
    That is pure and undefiled
    For God and the Father is this:
    To visit orphans and widows
    In their afflictions
    And to keep one self
    Unstained from the world.
    
    A far cry from the Christianity of budget-makers Paul Ryan and Mike Pence, I might interject. You don't see much religion in my work, but I feel okay about this.
    The photo from the Soviet Photo magazine (Link1) is a bird's eye view of a street scene. No relation between image and text; it is an odd way of working, turning these old photos into textures.
    Sources:
    Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1927_10
    May 29, 2017
    ROBBIE PANEK SONGBOOK BASED ON DISTORTIONS OF 1927 SOVIET PHOTO
       
       
    An alternative cover for a recently rediscovered body of songs by Robbie Panek and the Busted Wing Band from 1981. Robbie Panek was my songwriting psuedonym in those hippie days; Robbie was a street-wise Detroit kid with no girlfriend, no assets, no property, and radical connections. He was fearless because he felt he had no prospects and nothing to lose. Sometimes, when I watch the news these days, I feel the same way.
    This album represents late Robbie Panek, when I was already in transition from Detroit to the East Coast. I wrote the lyrics and sang vocals. My hometown buddy Hugh did guitars (acoustic and electric), bass, and piano. 36 years later, Hugh salvaged the material from deteriorating analog tapes and transferred it to digital CD. What a wonderful surprise it was to receive the CD in the mail.
    The alternative visual design here is based on one of my "distortion discoveries," performed on a photo of two hands shaping clay on a potters' wheel, from a 1927 issue of Soviet Photo magazine (Link1), original on left. It is actually more of a book cover in intention than a CD cover.
    Here are the lyrics to the songs in the album:

    I follow up with some pages of lyrics to those songs, getting away from the content of the old photos and using them as design elements.

    Sources:
    Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1927_10
    May 29, 2017
    DISTORTIONS OF PHOTOS FROM 1927 ISSUE OF SOVIET PHOTO MAGAZINE
       
    I run my distortion-discovery technique on pictures appearing in a 1927 issue of Soviet Photo magazine (Link1). A list of the issues available in the public domain can be found online (Link2).
    1. Cover of the issue, original on left, distorted on right.
    Sources:
    Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1927_10
    Link2: archive.org/details/sovetskoe_foto
    May 28, 2017
    DISTORTIONS OF PHOTOS FROM 1981 ISSUE OF SOVIET PHOTO MAGAZINE
           
           
           
       
    I run my distortion-discovery technique on pictures appearing in a 1981 issue of Soviet Photo magazine (Link1). A list of the issues available in the public domain can be found online (Link2).
    1. Cover of the issue, original on left, distorted on right.
    2. Party Leader Leonid Brezhnev.
    3. From an exhibit of photos appearing in TASS, the Soviet news agency, a photo of a giant borehole drill, captioned "MAYSTERMAI SUPERHOLE DRILL."
    4. From another TASS photo, a boat that runs on an air cushion.
    5. Flirtation, at a Gate
    6. A farm girl at harvest time, by Plains photographer Mark Rozov
    7. Mountain Climbing Scene
    Sources:
    Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1981_12
    Link2: archive.org/details/sovetskoe_foto
    May 21-27, 2017
    DISTORTIONS OF PHOTOS FROM 1926 ISSUE OF SOVIET PHOTO MAGAZINE
           
       
           

    I run my distortion-discovery technique on pictures appearing in a 1926 issue of Soviet Photo magazine (Link1). A list of the issues available in the public domain can be found online (Link2).
    Why am I doing this? Well, first of all I'm riveted by the Washington drama of Donald Trump's connections to today's Russia. I do the labor on these elaborations of Soviet images while I'm watching MSNBC coverage of the latest Trump scandal news. Doing these pieces also helps me think about Russia, which has changed so drastically -- from monarchic empire (19th century) to egalitarian Communist ideology (20th century) to the oligarchic kleptocracy of the 21st century. Finally, there are some interesting modernist trends in Soviet art. And I am learning how to translate from the Cyrillic original (using Google Translate).
    1. Cover of the issue, original on left, distorted on right.
    2. A historic photograph of Vladimir Lenin making a speech as Russia sent troops to Poland in the Polish-Soviet War in 1919-1921.
    3. From an illustration showing how to restore pigments in a photographic printing, three steps in the restoration of an image of esteemed Russian psychologist Vladimir Bekhterev. Bekhterev was a colleague and rival of Pavlov and his work later came to influence the development of Behaviorism. But Bekhterev's life was cut short when, in 1927, he was called in to examine Joseph Stalin. Returning from the exam, Bekhterev told friends "I have just examined a paranoiac." Bekhterev, a healthy man, was dead in 24 hours, "causing speculation that he was poisoned by Stalin as revenge for the diagnosis."
    4. A picture of Vladimir Mayakovsky, Russian poet, graphic artist, and a third in a very Futurist menage-a-trois with critic Osip Brik and actress Lilya Brik. Lilya was muse to many Russian artists. Mayakovsky allegedly committed suicide in 1930 (although some suspect State murder) and included the following in his alleged suicide note, written two days earlier:
      And so they say – "the incident dissolved"
      the love boat smashed up
      on the dreary routine. 
      I'm through with life
      and [we] should absolve
      from mutual hurts, afflictions and spleen.
      
      Is that really a suicide note -- or just a poem written in a dark Russian mood?
    5. A photograph of unidentified dancers or actors.
    Sources:
    Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1926_01
    Link2: archive.org/details/sovetskoe_foto
    May 11, 2017
    DISTORTIONS OF PHOTOS FROM 1934 ISSUE OF SOVIET PHOTO MAGAZINE
           
           
           
    From a 1934 issue of Soviet Photo (Link1), I run my distortion technique on the cover of an early issue of the magazine (Link2). A list of the issues can be found online (Link3).
    1. Cover of the issue, original on left, distorted on right.
    2. A photo by M. Ozersky, captioned "In the collective farm hut they listen to the radio." Original on left, distorted on right.
    3. A photo of a crying baby.
    4. A miner.
    5. A worker, anonymous (and androgynous)
    6. Harvest time
    7. An Asiatic girl wearing a coat made of fur pelts
    Sources:
    Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1934_01
    Link2: www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2015/jun/23/seven-decades-of-soviet-photography-in-pictures
    Link3: archive.org/details/sovetskoe_foto
    May 11-16, 2017
    WOOD GRAIN IMITATOR ON BOOK COVER
    a> 
    From a painting supply catalog dated approximately 1900, the Becker Moore Paint Company of St. Louis, MO (Link1), a drawing of a tool used to make a wood-grain pattern on a flat surface. This catalog image is placed on the intricately patterned book cover of a volume in Urdu, Ahsan Ul Kalaam Fi Tark Il Qirat Khalaf Ul Imam (Link2) and then distorted. Note: Dreamscape, one of my favorite tools, was down tonight.

    Sources:
    Link1: archive.org/details/BeckerMoorePaintCompanyConfidentialPriceList
    Link2: archive.org/details/AhsanUlKalaamFiTarkIlQiratKhalafUlImamVolume2ByMolanaSarfrazKhanSafdarr.a
    May 10, 2017
    SOVIET-ERA PHOTOS, DISTORTION EXPERIMENTS
       
       
       
       
       
       
     
    Images from a Soviet photography magazine, Sovetskoe Foto:
    Sources:
    Link1: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1995_03
    Link2: archive.org/details/sovphoto_v1_1994_02
    May 2-9, 2017
    ARMENIAN PAIR'S STUDIO PORTRAIT
       
    A new donor to the flickr.com picture archives is the Fresno State Armenian Studies program archives of historic photos (Link1), which contributed its store of photos. Given the horrible Armenian genocide of 1915 (Link2), details about the subjects are vague. Here is a formally posed studio portrait of an unidentified young couple: he stands, ldressed up in a crisp blazer with a pocket handkerchief; she sits, a childlike face decorated with a spit curl on her forehead. She wears high heels, a light dress, decorative collar, and pearls. No date, time, or source is provided. Original picture on left. It is hoped that distortion here gives a sense of haunting, impending danger.
    Sources:
    Link1: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide
    Link2: blog.flickr.net/en/2017/03/04/welcome-the-armenian-studies-program-at-fresno-state-to-the-flickr-commons/
    Link3: www.flickr.com/photos/halifaxarchives/33705734735

    May 1, 2017
    NOVA SCOTIA STREETCORNER
    a> 
    From the Halifax (N.S.) Municipal Archives (Link1) stored on flickr.com, a 1960, city Works Department survey photograph of a snowy streetcorner -- specifically, 218 North St -- with a fading "Olympic Taxi" sign. I have visited Nova Scotia only once, and I remember it as a less-than-swanky down-to-earth place not frequented by tourists, but quite pleasant. Distortion in this case was centered around the "Olympic Taxi" sign. I like the sense of struggling small business in this image.
    Sources:
    Link1: www.flickr.com/photos/halifaxarchives/33705734735

    May 1, 2017
    CITY WALKING SHOTS
           

    Sources:
    Personal Photographs
    March 27-29, 2017
    PLASTIC CATALOG ADVERTISEMENT
       
    From the 1941 Modern Plastics Catalog (a collection of manufacturers' literature), an image from a General Electric ad showing various plastic products -- sent through the latest version of my distortion algorithm.
    Second version, on right, incorporates comments by my Art teacher Alice Meyer-Wallace, who thought it would look better in portrait (vertical) orientation and with a less wordy title.
    Sources:
    Link4: archive.org/details/ModernPlasticsCatalog
    March 26-27, 2017
    DISTORTION OF PORTRAIT OF ME
       
    Remo Frangiosa teaches a class for portrait study at the Plastic Club. Because of what I like to think of as "my Hollywood leading-man good looks" (sarcasm), he has had me sit for four sessions as a model at his classes. In the course of all this, I've gotten to know him and his work. This portrait of me, done recently, represents a mid-career technical breakthrough for Remo -- his switch in media from black-and-white graphite and charcoal (as seen in the portrait at the top of this page) to colored pastels. The image was then sent through my distortion process, resulting in image on right.
    Remo's original image is on left.

    Sources:
    Portrait by Remo Frangiosa, Photo by Susan Stomquist, Distortion Treatment by Bob Moore
    March 25, 2017

    DISTORTED CELEBRITY BEAUTIES
       
       
         
       
         
       
    How does distortion work on show-business glamour girls? I chose some televised beauties of our time, and ran them through my distortion process.


    Sources:
    Studio publicity photos
    March 19-20, 2017

    DISTORTED CATALOG ILLUSTRATIONS & THE RETAIL APOCALYPSE

    Besides the well-documented misadventures of the early Trump era, there is another worrying disturbance in the force -- the mass closings of American retail stores, sometimes called the "Retail Apocalypse." According to The New York Times, since October more than 89,000 American retail workers have lost their jobs (Link1). 3,500 stores are expected to close over the next several months, including Payless ShoeSource, hhgregg, The Limited, RadioShack, BCBG, Wet Seal, Gormans, Eastern Outfitters, and Gander Mountain (Link2). Department stores have lost 18 times more jobs than coal mining (Link3) since 2001.

    This has been on my mind lately. Not just the hardships of the laid-off retail workers, low-paid in the first place, with an average $26,000 per year salary. But also, selfishly, the loss of a familiar place to be -- the "brick and mortar" retailer. What is America without stores that sell stuff? Without shopping?

    Although I personally have adjusted to the new American economy -- I never worked in retailing, I don't own a car, and I often buy online, even groceries -- I fondly remember the postwar retail marketplace I was born into. Quiet expanses of neatly folded garments. Display cases of electronic gadgets. Cash registers, changing rooms, perfume counters, fluorescent lights. Those retail stores were a way for a middle-class white boy (who blended in) to wander freely and learn the names and prices of things -- a first rough approximation of how the world works. I especially recall those gleaming shopping malls -- the first ones opened when I was a teenager -- that were the site of so much sociable strolling.

    In this mood, I chose Retro Retail as the theme of an experimental print series. These prints are taken from a 1921 catalog of home furnishings, entitled Let Hartman Feather Your Nest (Link4), from Chicago-based Hartman Furniture & Carpet. The company went bankrupt (Link5) during the Depression, in 1933.

    That catalog, now in the public domain, opens with two pages of upbeat instructions on how to do business with the company:
       

    These two instruction pages consist of twelve sections, each section composed of (1) a hand-lettered headline, (2) a pen-and-ink drawing, and (3) some text. I take the first two, the headline and the drawing, and then replace the text with a small illustration used inside the catalog to identify one of the items advertised. All this -- headline, drawing, catalog illustration -- goes into a little box in the lower right corner like a 3x5 card.

    The larger portion of my image -- the rest of it, the heart, the art -- consists of a wild, joyful distortion of the catalog illustration of the advertised item, enlarged from its appearance in the little box. Enjoy....


         
         
         
         
    Sources:
    Link1: www.nytimes.com/2017/04/15/business/retail-industry.html
    Link2: www.businessinsider.com/retailers-are-going-bankrupt-at-a-staggering-rate-2017-4
    Link3: www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/04/the-silent-crisis-of-retail-employment/523428/
    Link4: archive.org/details/HartmanFurnitureAndCarpetCo.
    Link5: archives.chicagotribune.com/1933/05/27/page/22/article/new-hartman-company-buys-assets-of-firm
    April 6-19, 2017

    RUSSIAN MAGAZINE ILLUSTRATIONS II
         
         
    During the last two weeks, I have been been Facebook-silent because of the districtions of the continuing Washington scandals -- the possible collusion between Russian intelligence agents and the Trump presidential campaign. Tragically, I find the far-fetched story plausible. I personally observed the energetic and irrational postings of anti-Clinton sock puppets and fake news pushers. I also read tortured justifications of Russian aggression, including Trump-supported changes (Link1) to the Republican 2016 platform. I was also puzzled by how quickly after the election Trump got into an apparently pointless pissing match with the American intelligence agencies.
    Finally, there's a logic to a connection between Trump and the Russian oligarchs. As I understand it, for some time American banks have refused to lend money to Trump. (I don't remember my source on this, but considering the man's record of fraud and bankruptcy, I find it believable.) Meanwhile, in Russia, kleptocratic oligarchs, after looting the imploding Soviet empire, amassed large sums of money which needed to be moved elsewhere for safekeeping. So it's kind of natural that credit-starved Trump turned to cash-rich Soviet tycoons for funding his grandiose projects of golf courses, hotels, and casinos.
    There's two other factors here: (1) traditional Communism with its once-inspiring call for social justice has collapsed into some kind of grotesque highly-individualistic capitalism and (2) the pragmatic cooperation between Putin, Russia's intelligence agencies, and the new class of billionaire tycoons.
    History alone makes me suspicious of Russia's rulers. My GI father spoke bitterly of World War II's Katyn Massacre (Link2), a massacre of some 25,000 members of the Polish officer corps by the Russian NKVD. The Soviet Union blamed it on the Nazis, but finally admitted responsibility fifty years later. In the same way, Putin denied any responsibility for aggression in Crimea and the Ukraine. Meanwhile, we read about the more recent assassinations of Putin opponents.
    Altogether, these are "world-historical" events, and I've had to rethink a number of things, and Facebook postings seemed unimportant.


    So what's going on with me, a retired 72-year-old man, with one, maybe two, decades left, and an artistic bent.
    If indeed we're entering into rule by American robber barons, I figure there's a good chance they'll eventually cut back my social security payments, by "privatizing" them. So I'm working on how to increase the income from my small nest egg and reduce living costs. For instance, at Janice's insistence, I'm devoting the month of April to keeping track of food costs, penny-by-penny. What a drag! Those who know me remember how fond I was of the local greasy spoon's blue plate special followed by a lingering coffee over a good book.
    As an artist. I have been continuing my experiments in distortion and text. More of them can be seen on my website (Link3). Remember, in many cases, the "original" before distortion is tucked into the lower right corner. In others, I am returning to my signature emblem of trilobite & safety pin. In response to the news of the day (see above), I have been choosing subject matter drawn from Russian-language magazines of the ideological Communist-era.

    The first image is a distorted soviet star emblem ("CCCP") from an illustration in a 1970 issue of Angara magazine (Link4). The second image is a bas relief of what seems to be a blacksmith or armorer with some iron products, from a 1969 issue of the same magazine (Link5).
    The third image, from a 1985 issue of the Communist Party's youth magazine, Pioneer, is an illustration from a children's story. (Link6).
    The fourth image is from a 1963 issue of Pioneer(Link7), an expressionist painting of a farm worker at harvest time.
    Fifth, a composition of an expressionist painting of a runner, from the same issue.
    Sixth, an image from another issue of Pioneer (Link8), from 1965. It seems to show (remember I can't read Russian) a rendering of a reindeer herd, perhaps by one of the indigenous peoples (Link9) who have herded them for centuries.
    Sources:
    Link1: www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trump-campaign-guts-gops-anti-russia-stance-on-ukraine/2016/07/18/98adb3b0-4cf3-11e6-a7d8-13d06b37f256_story.html?utm_term=.6f0d5e969af2
    Link2: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre
    Link3: www.philly-bob.net
    Link4: archive.org/details/angara_1970_03
    Link5: archive.org/details/angara_1969_05
    Link6: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1985-09
    Link7: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1963-04
    Link8: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1965-03
    Link9: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reindeer_in_Russia
    March 12-April 1, 2017

    DISTORTED ORNAMENTS FROM DESTROYED POMPEII
           
    From the 1887 Arte Pompeiana : monumenti scelti (Link1; Translation: "Art of Pompei: Selected Monuments"), a decorative tile floor (or is it a wall?); again, the distorted pattern fills my image, with the undistorted image tucked in the lower right along with explanatory text. Pompeii (Link2), you will recall, was the Roman city destroyed by the eruption of a volcano in 79 A.D.
    The second image is another Pompeian mosaic sent through computer distortion filters, with the original inside the circle in upper left.
    Third image seems to be a wall fresco, depicting Romulus and Remus with the wolf/lion of folklore, seen undistorted in lower right corner.
    Fourth image, a wall panel, painted with an image of a winged huntress with spear, above a pair of goats. Original is shown in circle on mid-left.
    Not sure what I'm doing here, but I'm enjoying it.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/gri_33125008704492
    Link2: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pompeii
    March 13-14, 2017


    RUSSIAN MAGAZINE ILLUSTRATIONS
           
           
         
         
    Still exploring the distortion of traditional images using graphic filters. Adding text and small original to make developis products,ment of image a little clearer. Here, I ran across a selection of Russian magazines, and since many of us are thinking about the issue of Russian influence on the recent presidential election, I decided to explore some images drawn from them. Of course, I can't read Russian and don't know how to type Cyrillic letters into Google Translate, so I'm pretty blind. Anyway, here, from a 1958 issue of Angara magazine (Link1), what appears to be a family relaxing in their living room. The Angara is a river in Siberia. NOTE: Remember to click on the image to enlarge enough that you can see the details of the small black-and-white source in the right-bottom corner.
    Second image is a distorted soviet star emblem ("CCCP") from an illustration in a 1970 issue (Link2) of the same magazine.
    Third image is a bas relief of what seems to be a blacksmith or armorer with some iron products, from a 1969 issue (Link3).
    Fourth is a 1913 painting by Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VII from a 1990 issue of Pioneer magazine. (Link4). Here's what one critical source (Link5)said:

    "Commonly cited as the pinnacle of Kandinsky's pre-World War I achievement, Composition VII shows the artist's rejection of pictorial representation through a swirling hurricane of colors and shapes. The operatic and tumultuous roiling of forms around the canvas exemplifies Kandinsky's belief that painting could evoke sounds the way music called to mind certain colors and forms. Even the title, Composition VII, aligned with his interest in the intertwining of the musical with the visual and emphasized Kandinsky's non-representational focus in this work. As the different colors and symbols spiral around each other, Kandinsky eliminated traditional references to depth and laid bare the different abstracted glyphs in order to communicate deeper themes and emotions common to all cultures and viewers.
    Preoccupied by the theme of apocalypse and redemption throughout the 1910s, Kandinsky formally tied the whirling composition of the painting to the theme of the cyclical processes of destruction and salvation. Despite the seemingly non-objective nature of the work, Kandinsky maintained several symbolic references in this painting. Among the various forms that built Kandinsky's visual vocabulary, he painted glyphs of boats with oars, mountains, and figures. However, he did not intend for viewers to read these symbols literally and instead imbued his paintings with multiple references to the Last Judgment, the Deluge, and the Garden of Eden, seemingly all at once."
    Note that the painting appeared in the kid's magazine Pioneer in upright, portrait mode, although the art books show it in sideways, landscape mode.
    Fifth image is an illustration from a children's tale, from a 1985 Pioneer (Link6).
    Sixth image is an illustration from the same tale.
    Seventh image is a picture of a young boy holding some sort of bat or truncheon, from a 1978 Pioneer (Link7). Eighth image is a photo of factory workers from a 1980 isssue of Pioneer (Link8).
    Ninth image is cover photo from a 1963 issue of Pioneer(Link9). Tenth image is an expressionist painting of a farm worker at harvest time, from the same edition. Eleventh image, from the same issue, a man struggles against chains. Twelfth, a composition/distortion of a painting of a runner, from the same issue. Thirteenth, a woman soldier nursing a child, with rifle over her shoulder. (Link9)
    Fourteenth, an image from another issue of Pioneer (Link10), from 1965. It seems to show (remember I can't read Russian) a rendering of a reindeer herd, perhaps by one of the indigenous peoples (Link11) who have herded them for centuries.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/angara_1958_03
    Link2: archive.org/details/angara_1970_03
    Link3: archive.org/details/angara_1969_05
    Link4: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1990-10
    Link5: www.theartstory.org/artist-kandinsky-wassily-artworks.htm
    Link6: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1985-09
    Link7: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1978-09
    Link8: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1980-12
    Link9: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1963-04
    Link10: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1965-03
    Link11: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reindeer_in_Russia
    March 12-April 1, 2017

    SPRINGTIME CROCUS
     
    A collage of pictures of flowers from the 1922 Hastings' Seeds Catalogue: newly sprouted crocuses. "Our earliest and by far most beautiful early Spring flower come from Fall-planted bulbs," the catalog explains. "The Crocus is the first flower to bloom in the Spring." Am considering entering this in our local Spring Flower exhibition.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/hastingsseedscat6419unse
    March 11, 2017


    DISTORTED COLONIAL CHINA CASE
         
    I am continuing my exploration of computer distortion of ordinary images -- here a picture of a "Colonial China Case," a glass-doored wooden cabinet that can be installed into a wall. The image is taken from a wood products catalog (Link1). I am considering entering it into the Plastic Club's April DAILY LIFE & COMMUNITY: POINTS OF VIEW show; see prospectus (Link2). Met with my informal Sunday morning art critics group, who said that the version on the far left would not communicate adequately why it belongs in a show about daily life. Redid the image on the far right, with text and a larger picture of the cabinet.
    The main distortion method is the Fractal Trace filter in the open-source image editing program GIMP with parameters -1, 0.5, -1, 1. Not sure where I am going with this, but I like the psychedelic detail. The series expresses some sense that we live in a world (especially the online world) in which the values of civility and reason have been distorted -- Roy Cohn's (Link3) dog-eat-dog world.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/PremierStandardizedWoodworkTheMostCompleteLineOfPracticalCabinetWork
    Link2: www.plasticclub.org/prospectus%20daily%20life%20and%20community%204-2017.pdf
    Link3: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Cohn
    March 11, 2017


    DISTORTED DINING ROOM INTERIOR
       
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/SeamlessChenilleRugsAndCarpetsChaumontHawthorneRosslynBiltmore
    March 8, 2017


    ANGEL VISITS A HOUSEWIFE
       
    A built-in folding breakfast table (on right) made from "white" (untreated) pine from the catalog of cabinet-maker Premier standardized woodwork: the most complete line of practical cabinet work. (Link1) The catalog is undated -- probably from 1900-1920. The distorted version, on left, brings to mind the Christian (and Muslim) tale of The Annunciation (Link2), when an angel visits the virgin Mary to inform her that she would bear a son, to be named Jesus. Many Christians observe this event with the Feast of the Annunciation, coming up on Saturday, March 25 -- an approximation of the northern vernal equinox and nine full months before Christmas, the ceremonial birthday of Jesus.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/PremierStandardizedWoodworkTheMostCompleteLineOfPracticalCabinetWork
    Link2: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annunciation
    March 7, 2017


    ELEVATOR CIRCUIT PANEL
       
    From the 1923 catalog of elevator company Waygood-Otis lifts, a photo of what is labelled as a "Direct Current Car Switch Control." Distorted version on left, original on right.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/Waygood-otisLifts
    March 2, 2017


    FOOTBALL MEMORABILIA FOR JAMIE
     
    One of my relatives, a football fan, requested a composition based on images of the New England Patriots and their quarterback Tom Brady, who won the 2016 Super Bowl in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons. Myself, I was rooting for the Falcons, and I may have given the image a somewhat sinister look, since I consider Brady a cheating, egotistical superjock, with a rich man's politics and a supermodel wife. But I can see why a young girl would develop a crush on the winning team and even write fan letters to its handsome, 6'4" leader.


    Update (March 1): There are political fault lines in this divided country, and diverging judgments about sports star Tom Brady is one of them. Generally, Trump folks like Tom Brady, Anti-Trumpers don't. My own family has members on both sides of the fault line, but we were able to enjoy post-election Thanksgiving dinner without significant conflict. The bonds of kinship, love, and respect are still strong. Here is the polite and empathetic response from Jamie's father (who lives on the other side of the political fault line) to my comments on Brady, along with links to his detailed refutation of the Brady cheating charges.
    "Yeah, I get the Brady thing. They have dominated a long time.
    This is a topsy-turvey world we are living in. Falcons should NOT have lost that game. The weird cosmic mojo is off kilter for sure.
    The lesson seems like: Never turn off the TV because you will never guess what happens next -- Chicago Cubs, Brexit, Trump, Falcons blowing that lead, Cleveland, a sports powerhouse, screwed up Oscars, and a host of 80 degree days in February. Just plain weird, odd and disconcerting.
    Incidentally, I was bothered as well by the two scandals of the Patriots. My kids ask me about it because they get grief in school about the "Cheatriots".
    If you want to have at least some of your world view rocked as to the facts of the deflate-gate and spygate, check out these thorough accounts (links below). I would say a good portion of what the public thinks and believes they know is based on inaccurate accounts and bad PR spin.
    You certainly don't have to change your mind about Brady the rich and powerful kid who has it all but the real bastard in all this is Roger Goodell (Link2), the football league commissioner. He is the very definition of power run amok and pissing all over the players union. Another fat cat dictator who is making up rules as he goes along. Link3 and Link4 point to discussion on the two big Patriot scandals, Deflategate and Spygate."
    Sources:
    Link1: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Brady
    Link2: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Goodell
    Link3: yourteamcheats.com/what-is-deflategate
    Link4: yourteamcheats.com/what-is-spygate

    February 28 - March 1, 2017

    DISTORTED BLACK & WHITE WOOD HOUSE
       
    Cover drawing from the 1927 Houses of wood for lovers of homes (Link1) by the Arkansas Soft Pine Bureau. Again, the left-hand drawing is the distorted version, the right-hand drawing is the original. There is a tiny version of the original in the lower right-hand corner of the distorted version. The characteristic shape in the center is a result of applying Gimp's Fractal Trace filter with default settings; the documentation explains that the utility "transforms the image with the Mandelbrot fractal: it maps the image to the fractal." It looks to me like the skin of animal.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/ArkansasSoftPineBureau
    February 27, 2017


    DISTORTED BATHROOM WASH-BASIN
       
    Here's another one of my distortions, expressing what? Memories of psychedelic visions from fifty years ago?. A sense of the ordered post-war political world dissolving after Brexit and Trump? This material universe melting away as I leave for the next? Whatever...
    The original, on the right, is from a 1927 catalog, Sanitary Appliances by Adamsez, a British company still in business. It shows a two-legged "lavatory" or sink. The hose at top center is a shampoo fitting. The reformed product is on the left, with a tiny version of the original in the lower right corner.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/AdamsezLtd
    February 27, 2017


    DISTORTED TABLE, WINDOW & CUPBOARD
         
    "Slinkied" -- i.e., distorted, recolored, etc. -- illustration from a 1928 catalog by a paint company, Detroit White Lead Works, entitled "Paints, varnishes, stains, enamels, lacquers (Link1). The picture shows a room inside a house with pink walls and green furniture. It is advertising the company's line of "Sanitary Enamels." Instead of my usual trilobite/safety-pin logo, I include a very reduced version of the original in the lower left corner, a temporary move as I'm figuring out what to do with these exercises in psychedelic warping. Warped version on left, original on right.
    3/23/2017: Third image is another warped version which I entered in the Plastic Club's April "Daily Life and Community Show" show.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/DetroitWhiteLeadWorks February 26, 2017


    Distorted New Refrigerator
       
    An illustration of fashionable folks in evening dress admiring a refrigerator from a 1935 brochure General Electric presents a new deluxe monitor top refrigerator (Link1) (The name "Monitor-top" is a reference to the cylinder atop the refrigerator, like the cyclindrical cannon turrets of the Civil War vessel, U.S.S. Monitor.)
    Slinkied (i.e., distorted) image is on left, original on right.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/GeneralElectricMonitorTopRegrigerator
    February 25, 2017


    Lady in Yellow before Bathroom Medicine Cabinet
       
    An illustration of a woman in yellow nightgown standing in a red and green bathroom, from a 1939 home supplies catalog (Link1). Distorted (shall we call it "slinkied"?) version is on left, the original is on right. Notice odd shape of white in middle left of modified version; it represents an overlay of white on a significant area. I have known three artists -- Stuart Carstadter, Ted Gutswa, and Steve Giovanni -- who had a "hobby" of buying ordinary tourist postcards and turning them into pieces of great interest -- art -- by tasteful, intelligent patches of white. I may start experimenting with this to offset an excess of detail in some of my pieces.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/PhilipCareyCo
    February 25, 2017


    Door to Perception
       
    Distortion, duplication, recoloring and ornamentation of a single picture (on right) of a Pine front door with glass windows, from a 1935 woodwork catalog (Link1).
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/AngelProductswoodwor
    February 24, 2017


    Scrambled Tent Cottage Interior
       
    Another study in distortion effects. Teacher Alice Meyer-Wallace encouraged me to continue in this direction. Original, undistorted image, is on right. An upcoming Plastic Club show has the subject of domestic life, and I will consider the twisted left-hand image as a possible entry.
    It is from a 1930 brochure advertising Kenyon Take Down Houses (Link1), a quick-assembly combination of tent and cabin, called "the little brown bungalow"; it was advertised in a 1914 Popular Mechanics at $195 for five rooms. The illustration is combined with leaded glass from a 1924 catalog by "Revised" international art glass catalog domestic: showing designs of the highest grade art glass (Link2).
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/RLKenyonCo
    Link2: archive.org/details/MoundCityArtGlassCompany
    February 24, 2017


    Power Hand Saw on Tile and Mirror
       
    Working with distortion more. My elaborate frames seemed to be getting larger and larger. Now I'm letting them become the whole picture, replacing the starting image. Here, on the left, is my full-distortion all-frame image. The starting image is on the right; it already combines three other images, from a power tools catalog (Link1), a tile catalog (Link2), and a furnishings catalog (Link3).
    The subject brings to mind my memories of the 1950's, when Sears was prospering and its line of solidly-built Craftsman tools would last a lifetime -- not like today's hollowed-out company (Link4) with its cheap plastic tools, ideologically-destroyed by a greedy Ayn Rand worshipper.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/SearsRoebuckTools
    Link2: archive.org/details/StarkCeramics
    Link3: archive.org/details/MiamiCabinetDivision
    Link4: observer.com/2017/02/why-sears-is-failing/
    February 23, 2017


    Zombie, Fan, Ceiling
     
    Source:
    NA
    February 22, 2017


    Jewel with Radio on Staircase
     
    Source:
    Various
    February 20, 2017


    Entertaining New Series -- But Sneaky Business Plan
     
    Unwinding after a stressful weekend, curled up on couch with Janice for Sunday night television. Casual, forbidden Sunday dinner composed of orange slices, dark chocolate, popcorn, and intoxicants. Watched a string of four superior television shows: Homeland, Billions, The Good Fight, and John Oliver's Last Week Tonight. Pictured is a studio collage of three actresses from The Good Fight: from left: Cush Jumbo, Christine Baranski, and Rose Leslie. I respect the artist's composition, sparing use of color, and the suggestive finger sign in the far-right picture of character Maia, a lesbian. It's a promising, fast-paced drama. But the corporate folks running it apparently plan on switching it soon from cable to pay streaming service. You can get comfortable in Trumpland for an evening, maybe, but don't for a minute forget that our corporate overlords, freed from any meaningful government regulation and from any organized consumer voice, are diligently planning their next consumer scam.
    Source: Studio
    February 20, 2017


    Bejeweled Zombie Girl in Library
     
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/perle00n
    Link2: archive.org/details/BookStackAndShelvingForLibrariesDesignedByBernardR.Green
    February 19, 2017


    Owl Dingbat on Jewelry
     
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/perle00n
    February 18, 2017


    Old Man Confronts Image on Roof
     
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/AmazingStoriesVolume02Number03
    Link2: archive.org/details/OrnamentalIronBronzeExecutedByTheWinslowBros.CompanyChicago
    February 16, 2017


    Hotel Entrance (SF), Library (NY)
     

    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/BookStackAndShelvingForLibrariesDesignedByBernardR.Green
    Link2: archive.org/details/OrnamentalIronBronzeExecutedByTheWinslowBros.CompanyChicago

    February 16, 2017


    Fossilized Plant Under Ornamental Iron
     
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/OrnamentalIronBronzeExecutedByTheWinslowBros.CompanyChicago
    Link3 archive.org/details/Tablesorganicre00Hall
    February 15, 2017


    Early Electrical Apparatus
     
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/surlamatireradia00croo
    Link2: archive.org/details/FabriqueDornementsEnZincCuivrePlombTolePourLeBtiment

    February 15, 2017


    HAPPY VALENTINE'S SNAIL
     
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/FabriqueDornementsEnZincCuivrePlombTolePourLeBtiment
    February 14, 2017


    THE TWITS AND TOFFS HAVE TAKEN OVER
     
    Entitled, Richie Rich (Link1) white boys have taken over the world. Not just Trump and his brood. This is Ronald Coyne, a Cambridge University law student and a member of the Cambridge Conservative Union, who made headlines (Link2) in England for posting a video on social media. The video showed Coyne, walking home drunk on a cold February night after a fancy-dress event. Coyne was asked for change by a 31-year-old homeless man. Coyne held up a 20-pound ($50) note and said "I'll give you some change. I've changed it into fire." Coyne is said to be related to a leader of the pro-Brexit Scottish National Party.
    According to Dictionary.com, a twit is "an insignificant, silly, or bothersome person" and a toff is "a stylishly dressed, fashionable person, especially one who is or wants to be considered a member of the upper class." Two words I have never used before.
    Source:
    Link1: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richie_Rich_(comics)
    Link2: www.thesun.co.uk/news/2831910/ronald-coyne-cambridge-university-set-fire-20-note-nicola-sturgeon/
    February 13, 2017


    Gypsy Marina and Chinese Ornament
     

    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/ZingariAlConfino
    Link2 archive.org/details/examplesofchines00jone
    February 12, 2017


    Photo from WWII Gypsy Identity Card
     

    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/ZingariAlConfino
    February 11, 2017


    Glass and Botanics
     

    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/SiemensGlasGlassVerreVetroVidrio
    Link2 commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Kunstformen_der_Natur
    February 11, 2017


    Off-Center Over Fractal Trace
     

    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/RecueilDesDessinsDornementsDarchitectureDeLaManufactureDeJ.Jos

    February 10, 2017


    Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
     
    Been watching Z, the Amazon series about the life of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, shown in a studio photograph. A reminder of Flappers and the Jazz Age. And a depressing reminder that wealth, education, beauty, success and talent aren't enough for a happy life, when you mix in marital infidelity and severe social alcoholism.
    Source:
    Online
    February 9, 2017


    Nazi WWII Propaganda
     

    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/GermanPropagandaLeaflets

    February 9, 2017


    PORTRAIT TEACHER'S DRAWING STANCE
     

    Source:
    Photo by Bob Moore
    February 8, 2017


    SECOND 2017 PORTRAIT SITTING
           
       
    From my latest sitting at Remo Frangiosa's Plastic Club portrait workshop, from left:

    1. Andy Hoffman, known for his cartooning and animation skills, did a quick portrait of me at the last portrait workshop.
    2. Dante Celia took the picture he did at the previous sitting (see February 1) and overlaid it with a wash of linseed oil and brown pigments, then repainted the skin tones.
    3. Here is the palette of acrylic paints that Dante used.
    4. The charcoal portrait of Elizabeth, a relatively new student in the workshop.
    5. Remo's latest unfinished portrait. If you look at Remo's previous portrait of me, used in this page's masthead, above, it was black and white, done with graphite. In the year since, he has switched to color, after he inherited a set of colored chalks from a Plastic Club member that moved away.
    6. In learning the new medium, Remo does test strokes at the edge of his painting, which are interesting in themselves.

    Source:
    NA
    February 7, 2017

    HORSE-DRAWN PAVER GANG
     

    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/HardPavements
    Link2 archive.org/details/CarreauxGrsCrameFinVitrifisWasserbillig
    February 6, 2017


    HOMAGE TO MARSDEN HARTLEY
     

    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/GeneralCatalogueSteelCompanyOfCanadaLimited

    February 5, 2017


    DECORATIVE DISTORTIONS
     

    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/AFewSuggestionsForOrnamentalDecorationInPaintersAndDecoratorsWork
    Link2 archive.org/details/StencilsStencilMaterialsDesignedAndPrintedByTheAdv.DepartmentOf
    February 3, 2017


    STENCIL DISTORTIONS
     

    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/APracticalGuideToStencillingByFrankGibson
    Link3 archive.org/details/StencilsStencilMaterialsDesignedAndPrintedByTheAdv.DepartmentOf
    February 2, 2017


    First Sitting in Portrait Class
       
    Snapshots of works in progress taken (with permission of the artists) from my first sitting at Remo Frangiosa's Portraits class at the Plastic Club. The first picture is interesting because the artist recycled a canvas she used in a previous drawing session, so my mug is superimposed on a preliminary sketch of a young woman reclining. (An old man's dream.) The second image is by Dante Celia, a museum guard by day, artist by night. My next sitting is Tuesday, 2/7.

    Source:
    NA
    February 1, 2017


    Ribs the Radiator
       
    A collage of illustrations from the 1893 Hopson & Chapin Mfg Co.'s boilers and radiators for warming and ventilating by hot water (Link1), showing radiators and a furnace boiler. Instead of my usual trilobite signature/logo, I used an illustration of a recently discovered 450-million-year-old trilobite that was discovered with fossilized eggs inside. (Link2)
    Following my new work pattern, I am reusing the source from October 13, 2012.
    Second image is based on a suggestion by my teacher, Alice Meyer-Wallace, that the image reminded her of a game board, such as Parchesi. Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/TheHopsonChapinMfgCo.sBoilersAndRadiatorsForWarmingAndVentilating
    Link2: www.technothirst.com/paleontologists-find-450-million-year-old-fossilized-trilobite-eggs/
    January 31, 2017


    Death of Richard Russo Character
     
    My favorite fiction writer these days is Richard Russo (Link1), who has had a fortunate writerly collaboration with the world of film (Link2). One of Russo's most memorable fictional characters is an angst-filled senior citizen bad boy. In the book Everybody's Fool and in the book and movie Nobody's Fool, this irresponsible but stout-hearted soul was Sully. In Russo's book and television series Empire Falls, the character was named Max. Sully/Max were memorably interpreted by Paul Newman (Link3).
    Anyway, recent current events sent me into a depression, and I turned to Russo's latest book, the 500-page, 2016 Everybody's Fool for "bibliotherapy." Russo describes the death of Sully (by heart attack, after outwitting the odious town bully) on page 448 this way:

    "So, he thought. This was how it ended, how it had to end. The day had finally come when putting one foot in front of the other was simply fucking impossible, when the forward motion he's depended on his entire life failed him and he it. On your feet, Soldier, he commanded himself, but his body was all done taking orders. The entire world, it seemed, was now reduced to silence and pain, the latter intense, the former unendurable. With the last of his strength he took out his grandfather's stopwatch. The ticking, when he depressed the stem, was loud and strong, a comfort, though it was also the sound of time running out.
    "Footsteps approached, but Sully didn't hear them."
    I like the lack of theology and romance in Sully's end. The stopwatch carries a symbolic weight as the talisman Sully once gave to his son to help the boy overcome fear.
    All this was on my mind when I did the image above, based on a large vase in a 1904 catalog, Catalogue of vases, settees, fountains and other lawn furniture (Link1), which was also the source for the Free-for-All image of October 11, 2012.
    Sources:
    Link1: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Russo
    Link2: www.imdb.com/name/nm0751720/
    Link3: www.imdb.com/name/nm0000056/
    Link4: archive.org/details/CatalogueOfVasesSetteesFountainsAndOtherLawnFurniture
    January 30, 2017

    Windmill Plans
     
    A collage of detailed pencil drawings from an 1850 book of engineering drawings for Dutch windmills, Theoretisch en practisch molenboek (Link1). This is the same source as the very first image from Philly-Bob's Free-for-All on October 10, 2012.
    Quixotic Obsession is an idea which I elaborated in a short story once, the idea that middle-aged men can develop a mental disorder in which they take on an impossible or impractical task, a kind of jousting at windmills in the manner of the cognitively-impaired, romantic fellow in Cervantes' Don Quixote. Sometimes my activities -- most recently these images -- seem to be an old man's Quixotic Obsession. The looping around to a prior source represents an attempt to reduce the day-to-day workload of this endeavor.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/TheoretischEnPractischMolenboek
    January 29, 2017


    Ink Drawing Reimagined
     
    From an 1895 issue of the Bulletin du Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (Link1), an ink drawing of a plant, thoroughly reordered, recolored, and reconfigured.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/bulletindumuseu9muse
    January 28, 2017


    A Profusion of Patterns
     
    In the 1888 report from a Russian archaeological expedition to the Caucasus, Materīaly po arkheologīi Kavkaza : sobrannye ėkspedit︠s︡īi︠a︡mi Imperatorskago Moskovskago Arkheologicheskago Obshchestva (Link1), there are two pages of color illustrations which, I believe, represent fabric patterns or wall stencils. Here, I superimpose both pages. It's a confusing mess -- but sometimes the world just seems a confusing mess, doesn't it?
    The pattern I used in yesterday's image, Maroussia, Superheroes, Pattern appears in this version at the top left of the image, the blue, orange, yellow and green semicircles.
    Source:
    Link1 archive.org/details/materialypoarkhe0004uv
    January 27, 2017


    Maroussia, Superheroes, Pattern
     
    In the background a computer wallpaper collage of superheroes fighting each other from a recent New Movies World (Link1). In front of that, an abstract textile design from an 1888 collection of finds from a Russian archaeological expedition to the Caucasus Mountain, Materīaly po arkheologīi Kavkaza : sobrannye ėkspedit︠s︡īi︠a︡mi Imperatorskago Moskovskago Arkheologicheskago Obshchestva (Link2). Perched on top of the collage, three duplicated figures of the plucky Ukrainian heroine, Maroussia, with flowers gathered in her apron, from the 1890 Maroussia: A Maid Of Ukraine (Link3).
    Source:
    Link1 ia801503.us.archive.org/7/items/Httpnewmoviesworld.com/38206070-sad-gfghjklirl-wallpaper.jpg
    Link3: archive.org/details/MaroussiaAMaidOfUkraine
    Link2 archive.org/details/materialypoarkhe0004uv
    January 26, 2017


    Stage Hypnotism and Door Panels
       
    A photograph of a woman in evening dress being hypnotized by a man in a tuxedo from a June, 1930 issue of True Detective Mysteries (Link1). The image appears in an ad with the headline "You Can Learn Hypnotism in Five Days ... or No Cost." Her image is superimposed (three times) on a collage of window panels from two wooden front doors, taken from the 1924 catalog of McMillen Millwork (Link2).
    This will be my entry in the Plastic Club's Out of the Box show. This image is not really a radical departure ("out of the box") from my usual work. But it does represent a change in one of my artistic principles of practice. I messed with the proportions! I used Photoshop's Image Size with Constrain Proportions turned off to stretch the image out to fit in a mat that I used in assembling a glass, mat, and wooden frame for a previous image. That's the second image. Generally, I hate when people stretch images to fit graphic design rectangles. It would have been better to pay for a new frame and mat, but I'm feeling -- complicated, intense.
    I also didn't use the usual layers of DreamscopeApp filters. Just in time -- they want to start charging $9.99 per month.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/TrueDetectiveJune1930
    Link2: archive.org/details/R.McMillanCompany
    January 25, 2017


    Maroussia in Battle
     
    From a French translation of a Ukrainian children's book I described in an earlier Free-for-All entry.
    Source:
    Link1: http:/gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k65518515

    January 23, 2017


    Little Girl with Vaccine Scar in Dark Woods
     

    Source:
    NA In these last dread-filled days before the inauguration of Donald Trump, I have been depressed and listless. One day this week I didn't even go outside. (I hear the Trump alt-right meanies, Oh, poor libtard, special snowflake!).
    Attempting to escape this sluggishness, I am (1) going to attend at least one, maybe two, anti-Trump demonstrations; (2) I have begun reading a novel Everybody's Fool by one of my favorite American realists, Richard Russo; (3) I will drag my ambition-less ass to the gym.
    Source:
    Photo by Janice R. Moore
    January 18, 2017


    WAR WIDOW KISSES SOLDIER'S PICTURE
     
    From an 1873 La Mosaïque: revue pittoresque illustrée de tous les temps et de tous les pays (Link1,Google Translation: "The Mosaic: picturesque illustrated magazine of all times and all countries"), an engraving from a painting entitled Mon Brave!" showing a young woman with flowing hair kissing a picture on a wall of her dead husband or fiance. Janice points out that there is a physical resemblance between the war widow and herself, with the curly hair.
    January 15, 2017


    RIP, Robert R. Allen
     
    For almost a decade, I've had a chance to share space and time with Bob Allen, a small, quiet man with significant physical handicaps. He was a bit of a mystery man, who filled his life with fantastical "Outsider Art." As a young man, Bob had been buddies with underground cartoonist Vaughn Bode. Bob was a man of few words, but he gravitated toward the welcoming communities of the Philadelphia Ethical Society and The Plastic Club. He attended the Plastic Club's Thursday morning "Open Studio" workshop, where he worked silently producing bizarre compositions, which occasionally sold. He loved to get his welcoming hug from Janice upon arrival at the workshop. Daily life was hard for Bob, but he was stubborn and never asked for help. One of the things he was stubborn about (unfortunately) was his drawing medium -- he doggedly stuck to cheap 19-cent ball-point pens. But his fellow students were finally able to convince him to at least upgrade from cheap lined notebook paper to larger artist-quality paper. Bob died last year, and Janice is organizing a show of his work in the Plastic Club's basement gallery next month.
    Source:
    NA
    January 14, 2017


    SITTING FOR PORTRAIT CLASS AGAIN
             
         
    One of the advantages of hanging around with artists is that you get more than your share of portraits.
    Latest news is that I've been asked to serve as model for two upcoming sessions (1/31, 2/5) of Remo Frangiosa's Portraits class at the Plastic Club.
    I sat for that class once before, in September 2015, and above are five of my snapshots of the work of that talented group of students of portraiture. The snapshots were taken during my breaks from the rigorous 20-minute sittings. Unfortunately, I don't have the names of the students. The process of sitting is physically and psychologically stressful. Here are my comments after the 2015 session:

    "Those 20-minute stretches of silent stillness was the closest I ever come to meditation. Given my pathetic compulsion to "do" things with my time, I figured out that it was a good chance to practice my Roman Room memory techniques to write stanzas of poetry. First day, I wrote a poem called "Hollow Tube." Second day, I wrote notes on the childhood cottage that I use as my Roman Room. Ended up the second session in deep depression, remembering that cottage and realizing that my relative social and economic status and financial security has declined from that of my parents at the equivalent age."
    Acquiring another portrait, I traded a piece of my work with a visiting artist from Toronto, Meri Collier, who did this sketch of me (titled "Bob's Your Uncle") during a Thursday morning open workshop in April 2016.
    Next, another portrait, also done during class, by fellow student Paul Davis-Jones, who describes himself as a "serial careerist, dabbling in art." And a second class portrait, by Paul.
    Also, please note self-portraits and commissioned portraits in the ARCHIVE at the bottom of this webpage. (I keep them handy there in case I need to re-use them.)
    Source:
    NA January 13, 2017

    GERMAN NATURAL HISTORY ILLUSTRATIONS
       
    From the 1899 Das Leben der Binnengewässer (Link1; "The Life of Inland Waters"), a color plate showing worms and mollusks. (May turn into a series.) The largest entity, in the center, is Anodonta, a freshwater mussel. In front of that is a Painter's mussel, so called because its shell made it a good paint holder. Center left bottom is a piscicola geometra, a fish leech.
    The key (in German) to the life forms shown is on the image's right.

    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/lebenderbinneng00lamp
    January 13, 2017


    ARABIC ALPHABET
     
    In my survey of public domain documents, I am frustrated by seeing so many Arabic-language books, with their elegant swirling alphabets. Since I can't read them, I'm reluctant to use them, because they may be calling for some horrible religious intolerance. But I'm the poorer for my ignorance of Arabic. In the back of my head, I toy with the idea of learning Arabic, although I'm not sure my brain has enough flexibility left. Anyway, with this in mind, I ran across a simple chart explaining the Arabic alphabet, Summarised Tajweed Chart (Link1). Tajweed (or Tajwid) refers to the rules for reading the Koran aloud.
    Several charts are superimposed, so they're not readable except when seen close-up.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/SummarisedTajweedChart
    January 12, 2017


    WORKING DRAWINGS FOR MOVIE SCENARIO
     
    From a 1929 issue of The American Cinematographer (Link1), two hand-sketches illustrating a cinematic effect for a single scene in the short silent horror movie, The Fall of the House of Usher (Link2), based on the Edgar Allen Poe story. In the top rectangle, at the beginning of the scene, a woman runs down some stairs against painted scenery. The scene continues, dissolving, in the bottom rectangle, into a closeup of the woman and the stairs.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/americancinematographer10-1929-04
    Link2 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fall_of_the_House_of_Usher_(1928_American_film)
    January 11, 2017


    A FAILED DEMOCRACY AND FINE SHOES
     
    The background is an art piece by Julian Palacz (Link1) entitled "Algorithmic Search for Love," from a recent issue of Digimag (Link2), a journal of "digital art and electronic culture."
    The foreground is a shoe -- the suede-heeled Aquazzura Disco Thing from an advertisement in a recent issue of the English fashion magazine Living Edge (Link3). The advertising copy enthuses (in fractured English syntax and punctuation):

    "The glittering sequin pom-poms and oh-so-on-trend shade of these glorious sandals make them the perfect car to bar to dance floor solution for SS17 and beyond."
    (SS17 means the Spring/Summer fashion season in the year 2017. The shoes cost 615 British pounds or $750, sold at the high-end English department store Selfridges (Link4).

    If my country is sinking into oligarchic quicksand because of grotesque levels of inequality and because celebrity fashion culture has hollowed out the critical thinking skills of a significant subset of the voting population, I may as well revel in it.
    Source:
    Link1: julian.palacz.at/en/film/algorithmic-search-for-love
    Link2: archive.org/details/5jan13
    Link3: archive.org/details/digimag_issue_72_eng
    Link4: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selfridges

    January 10, 2017

    Our Lady of Melancholy
     
    An illustration from the cover of a 1910 Portuguese religious pamphlet A Senhora Da Melancolia: Avatares de um Ateu (Link1; Google translation: "The Lady Of Melancholy: Avatars of an Atheist") by Portugese poet Antonio Gomes Leal.
    The anguished, plaintive feel of the image appealed to me. In these last days leading to the presidency of a man laughably unsuited for the task, I am listless and depressed. There is not yet a clear and convincing opposition alternative available. The liberals have turned the Democratic Party into a cozy system for trading favors to identity politics brokers in return for votes. (Note that white heterosexual males are NOT part of the identity politics game, and scapegoating of that group is, if not encouraged, at least not discouraged.) I am not moved by other groups' opposition strategies. The anarchists who derailed Occupy are tactically hopeless; and the ultral-leftists are tarnished with Putin's blessing. Meanwhile, much of the media is pretending to a normality that I do not feel. An exhausted Bernie Sanders has not yet offered an across-the-board strategy. Obama may also be a leader, along with Robert Reich and Elizabeth Warner. I hope eventually someone steps up.
    Meanwhile, I guess I'll just keep turning forgotten and neglected images that have passed into the public domain into -- what? -- pretty pictures, I guess. Like I say, I am listless and depressed.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/ASenhoraDaMelancoliaGomesLeal

    January 9, 2017


    Girl Hides Inside a Ceramic Fish
     
    An illustration from the 1899 Zodiac Stories (Link1), a collection of stories by Blanche Mary Channing, each story structured around one of the astrological signs of the Zodiac. Here is an illustration for Pisces, showing a little Japanese Girl named Cherry-Bloom who snuck inside the castle of the Dragon and hid inside a ceramic fish to observe the goings-on.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/ZodiacStories

    January 7, 2017


    Movie Magic Techniques
     
    From a 1936 issue of American Cinematographer (Link1), two developments in movie technology. Top, a plastic make-up "clay" is used to sculpt the face of actor Lionel Barrymore (left) into the character of former President Andrew Jackson (right). Bottom, four new MovieFlood bulbs for technicolor lighting from General Electric-Mazda.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/americancinematographer17-1936-09

    January 6, 2017


    ChemicalWarfare Plant & Latch
     
    From a 1937 propaganda magazine by the German Ministry of War, Wehrmacht (Link1), a photograph alleged to show Russian workers preparing chemical warfare agents. Superimposed on that is a drawing of a cabinet door latch, from a 1955 catalog of National builders hardware (Link2).
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/ReichskriegsministeriumDieWehrmacht1937Nr.27193742S.ScanFraktur
    Link2 archive.org/details/NationalMfgCohardware
    January 6, 2017


    Syrian Orphans Weaving Rug
     
    An old photograph used on the cover of a 2011 book about Syria, The Emergence Of Minorities In The Middle East (Link1). The original source of the photo is the French Albert Kahn Museum (Link2), where the photo is captioned "Orphans Making a Rug, Damascus, 1921" I like the fact that one of the four orphan girls turns around to level a look at the photographer.
    Source:
    Link1: archive.org/details/BenjaminThomasWhiteTheEmergenceOfMinoritiesInTheMiddleEastThePoliticsOfCommunityInFrenchMandateSyria
    Link2 albert-kahn.hauts-de-seine.fr/english/
    January 4, 2017


    Seeking Help in an Old-time Hardware Store
     
    A woman customer in a crisp house dress handles a hoe (Link1) recommended by a hardware store salesman in a bow tie -- back in the days before hardware stores became cavernous big-box hangars and older salesmen were replaced with clueless kids. The picture is from an undated (but clearly late 40's or early 50's) catalog from the Union Fork and Hoe Company (Link2) of Columbus, Ohio.
    In my nostalgic reconstruction, the salesman, a retired schoolteacher, carefully explains to the housewife the differences between various types of hoes (field hoes, garden hoes, meadow hoes, scuffle hoes, mattock hoes, mortar hoes, and so on) and helps her select the right one.
    I have fond memories of those neighborhood hardware stores with oil-stained wood tables and walls crammed with product. In my lifetime, I spent a lot of time seeking help in hardware stores. If you could figure out how to describe your situation in words or gestures or crude napkin drawings, chances are that the salesman could tell you how to fix it -- but you had to overcome the tendency to be too intimidated to ask follow-up questions.
    Source:
    Link1: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoe_(tool)
    Link2: archive.org/details/UnionForkAndHoeCatalog18
    January 4, 2017


    New Year Reorganization

    As another calendar page flutters away -- my 72nd -- it's time to put away last year's Philly Bob's Free for All into the 2016 Archive. I also insert a link to that archive in the upper right corner of the masthead, along with other years. And begin another Philly Bob's Free for All -- the 2017 version!

    Source:
    NA January 3, 2017


    Collage of Numismatic Elements & Dying Artist
     
    Large circle at lower right is a card game counting token from the 1972 edition of the Token and Medal Society Journal (Link1) devoted to American Game Tokens.
    The standing man at left is from a 1971 issue of the same magazine (Link2), illustrating a souvenir token issued by an art gallery depicting the famous statue of Hananuma Masakichi, whose tragic story of love and artistic obsession is worth reading. To quote the Wikipedia entry, "Believing that he was dying from tuberculosis, Hananuma sculpted a life size statue of himself as a gift to the woman he loved, which was completed in 1885. The artist himself died 10 years later, in poverty aged 63."
    Underlaying the whole composition is a series of metallic tokens from American fraternal organizations, such as the Elks and the Knights of Pythias, from a 1968 edition of the same journal (Link3) and a color engraving of a ten-rupee note from an undated Hindu Notes presentation (Link4).
    Sources:
    Link1 archive.org/details/tamsjournal1262toke
    Link2 archive.org/details/tamsjournal11n3toke
    Link3 archive.org/details/tamsjournal8n06toke
    Link4 archive.org/details/NoteNote_201612
    January 3, 2017
    Woman Warrior After Battle
     
    I know next to nothing about the book (Link1) that uses this image as its cover. I know its author is T.A. Paron, and, except for the author's name, the text is entirely in Arabic. I suspect this image is clip-art from somewhere, since it appears in a number of heroic images of Christian "prayer warriors," who view spiritual and personal struggles through the metaphor of old-fashioned sword combat. The Church Militant. For instance, visit the fascinating (if disturbing) Facebook Photos page of Warrior Women of God (Link2).
    The picture shows a bloodied and scarred female warrior in a Greek or Roman helmet (and mascara and false eyelashes) in exhausted repose.
    You may take this as my sad tribute to Hillary Clinton, loser of a rigged and unverifiable election.
    Sources:
    Link1 archive.org/details/ketabfm_yahoo_20161219
    Link2 www.facebook.com/pg/Warrior-Women-of-God-716187105085032/photos/?ref=page_internal
    January 2, 2017
    Punk Planet Graphic Series
             
           
    The May-June 1997 issue of Chicago's "Punk Planet" (Link1) music magazine ran a series of monochrome graphics used to break up an 8-page article of reviews of other music "zines." They seem to have been collages composed of (1) scans or photographs of parts from a disassembled manual typewriter (the old click-clack type), (2) black layout tape, and (3) ink stippling from a felt pen.
    Looking back at these compositions, I like their casual playfulness. I used to work on underground newspapers in the 70's and I am fond of that style -- egalitarian, stoned, unprofessional. Paper so cheap that one page's image bleeds through to the next. Minimum budget, minimum tools, maximum freedom. No one was building up their resume -- we were working to get out the product and enjoying each other.
    So, needing a break from my current gloom over electoral disaster, I'm going to start a new, numbered series of digital treatments of these 20-year-old graphics, redoing them in the style of 2017 Philly-Bob -- with a tip of the hat to the anonymous 1997 designer, who is not credited in the magazine. Sources:
    Link1 https://archive.org/details/punk_planet_18
    December 27, 2016-January 1, 2017

    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...)

    For other images from the portrait class sitting, see entry for September 22, 2015 -- you'll have to click on the "2015 Archive" link at the top of this page.


    To contact Philly-Bob, email me at bobmoore [at symbol] pobox.com (of course, replace "[at symbol]" with "@"].

    Masthead Portrait by Remo Frangiosa, 2015

    12/29/2015