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.
PIRANESI'S FASCINATION WITH RUINS (Still)
Thinking humans are only too aware of the prideful rise and painful decline of empires over time. Artists are often fascinated by the resulting ruins, from the Roman ruins scattered over England to the toppled Greek columns of the Parthenon, to the collapsing auto factories of my home town Detroit.
In the early 18th century, a Venetian artist and engraver named Piranesi developed a specialty of exquisitely detailed, moody depictions of old ruins (sometimes imaginary). The image here is a Piranesi engraving of Roman artifacts from his 1784 collection "Le Antichità Romane. Divisa In Quattro Tomi. T. 2: Contenente Gli Avanzi De' Monvmenti Sepolcrali Di Roma E Dell'Agro Romano" (Link1; trans: 'The Roman Antiquities. Divided Into Four Tomes. T. 2: Containing the remains of the sepulchral monuments of Rome and the Agro Romano').
Other elements in this image include cartoon children from the cover
of a 1977 Federal booklet "All around you : an environmental study guide" (Link2) and, barely visible in the frame, a pattern from the 1908 "XXX. Ausstellung der Vereinigung Bildender Künstler Österreichs Secession Wien" (Link3; trans: 'XXX. Exhibition of the Association of Austrian Artists Secession Vienna").
April 16, 2021 TATTING EXAMPLES AND ILLUSTRATION (Still)
Some samples of tatting from expert Anne Orr's 1940 book "Tatting Book No. 35 Revised" (Link1). The image also includes, in the center, six photos demonstrating proper tatting technique.
April 14, 2021 ELECTRICITY IN THE TIME OF TESLA (Still)
From a collection (Link1) of marketing photographs from Campbell Electric in the early 1900's, a crude clock-timer in the center and, on each side, various implements used in electrical experiments.
The stringy shapes in the background are from an electrical discharge (a Lichtenburg figure). The photo is from the undated "High Resolution Photos of Tesla Coils from Nikola Tesla, Thomas Burton Kinraide, and Dr. Frederick Finch Strong, Henry Piffard, Charles Campbell, and others" (Link2).
April 13, 2021 OLD TRUCK DELIVERS CULVERTS (Still)
In the center, from a 1910 issue of "Southern Good Roads" (Link1), two men drive a truck precariously loaded with four corrugated iron culvert pipes; the image was used in an ad for ArmCo of Cincinnati.
Above and below that picture, two versions of a black-and-white illustration used in a 2002 edition of the music magazine "Roctober" (Link2), advertising the cultural review website '5Minutes' (Link3).
On the sides are two copies of a 1900 picture of a building wrapped in flags and bunting from a Middlebury (VT) College archival photo. (Link4).
April 12, 2021 ROMANIA: ICON-MAKERS' WORKSHOP (Still)
A beautiful photograph run in a 2007 issue of a Romanian magazine (link1) with no caption or credit. Originally black and white, I added color. It seems to show two women (nuns?) in a well-lit, orderly workshop, apparently absorbed in the making of religious paintings on the walls.
The process in selecting this piece was interesting. After my first social event in a year, in our neighbors' weekly dinner, I had too much to drink: wine, beer and whiskey.
Sadly, the source of this image, "RUST" magazine, "a magazine for the national and Christian resurrection", is a right-wing publication associated with Romania's fascist Iron Guard. As near as I can tell from Google Translate, the picture accompanies an article headlined "The weariness of the Church before the challenges of the century." Fascism has been waiting patiently in Europe for decades, awaiting an American demagogue like Trump.
April 10, 2021 MOM'S FAVORITE THEOLOGIAN DIES (Still)
My mother was disappointed that I didn't share her faith in the Roman Catholic religion, but we did talk about things. One of the things she shared was that she really admired renegade Catholic theologian Hans Kung. Kung died recently, at 93, and I must admit his thinking is much more in line with my current thinking than I would have expected.
Uncredited photo from image accompanying a 2016 article "Hans Küng's appeal to Pope Francis: abolish the dogma of papal infallibility" on the French conservative website "medias-press.info" (Link1).
April 9, 2021 DREDGER & SUPERTUGS THAT FREED SUEZ CANAL (Still)
I was fascinated by the news story of the EverGiven, the massive Container Ship that got stuck sideways in the Suez Canal, and by the exotic work boats that helped free it. Here, from three news sources (Link1), pictures of the blue Dredger that removed sand, and two Super Tugs. The collage is placed upon a design from the cover of an Arabic book "Elferqaaa Zaydyaaa" (Link2). The EverGiven is visible on the far right bottom, next to the Dredger.
April 9, 2021 MESHING PATTERNS OVER BRICKWORK (Still)
Deep in the background is a page of decorative brickwork patterns from the 1942 "Building Construction Vol 2" (Link1)
There is also a lovely 1992 painting, "The Living Sea" used on the cover of a 1998 edition of 'Fauna of Australia. Volume 5., Mollusca' (Link2)
The Geometric pattern in the foreground is a cover from a 2017 Arabic book (Link3: trans: 'The archipelagos of postmodernism are the stakes of the human self. From the hegemony of seclusion to the approval of emancipation')
April 8, 2021 MESHING PATTERNS (Still)
On the outside of the center circle, a digitally-altered two-page spread from the 2021 French comic book "Siegfreid" (Link1). Inside the center circle, two images from the 1983 book "Mohammed, Charlemagne and the Origins of Europe", a book that professes the conservative 1937 "Pirenne Thesis. The two images, superimposed, are, first a Roman coin, a Tremissis dating from 640 A.D. and second, a golden brooch dating from Charlemagne's reign.
April 7, 2021 PATTERN PLAY/PRAY (Still)
Second version is adjusted for print quality.
April 6, 2021 BABYLONIAN EASTER SERMON: ISHTAR (Still)
From Iraq, a terra-cotta relief of Ishtar (a.k.a. Innana) the Mesopotamian Goddess of "love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power," according to Wikipedia. She was worshipped in Sumer from at least 4000 B.C. (i.e., 6,000 years ago) and is a character in what may be humanity's earliest story, the Epic of Gilgamesh, still readable (in translation, of course) to the modern mind. (See the 27-page PDF English translation here.)
Note that my logo has Babylonian origins: the trilobite's wings are from an archaeologist's drawing of a Sumerian statue.
Some Christians claim that the name "Easter" is a derivative of "Ishtar." Another name for Ishtar was "Queen of Heaven" and the Old Testament (Jeremiah) condemns ceremonies honoring the Queen of Heaven.
Anyway. Whatever. I wasnt there. Enjoy your Easter Sunday, everybody. Personally, I don't believe that people come back from the dead, but I like the colorful outfits and the chocolate bunnies. Folks have been having agricultural festivals -- Atiku and Easter were a reminder that it was time to sow barley -- for a long time, and I see no reason to stop now.
April 4, 2021 AKITU: KURDS CELEBRATE NEW YEAR (Still)
A news photograph yesterday (Link1) from Iraqi news site "shafaz.com" shows celebrants dancing at an Akitu festival in Northeastern Syria, an American among them. It was a Babylonian harvest festival; Babylon dates back to 2700 B.C. -- or almost 5000 years ago. See also this. The history -- the age -- of cultures in the Middle East always amazes me. I wish American foreign policy was more mindful of this history. Remember, the location of Babylon was present-day Iraq. Digitally altered.
INTERIOR: Photo of modern-day aircraft control panel, uploaded by user 'Jttu Vm' to photo-sharing "pexels.com" (Link1)
BACKGROUND1 (Face): Cover portrait from 1926 edition of Brazilian movie magazine "A Scena Muda" (Link2) showing actress Patsy Ruth Miller (Link3)
BACKGROUND2 (Birds): Two-page spread from 1977 Croatian children's book "Što je ptica?" (Link4; trans: 'What is a Bird?')
MUSIC: Track "Chillway" from 2021 album 'NEKOU-Type Z' by Indonesian 'lolicore noise' musical group NekouaiZ (Link5)
April 2, 2021 AMELIA'S RECORD SETTING PLANE (0:14)
PHOTO: Interior of Lockheed Vega (Link1), the airplane first built in 1927 (Link2), used by Amelia Earhart (Link3) to be the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932.
EXTERIOR: Digitally altered image from 1802 edition of "La Divina Comedia di Dante Alighieri" written in 1265. (Link4)
MUSIC: Track 9 on 2021 album "Generative Brinksmanship" by D.J. Frankenstone (Link5); Composer Thomas Park notes "All tracks equally reminiscent of calamity".
April 1, 2021 1937: CURTIS HAWK 75 FIGHTER (Still)
March 31, 2021 VIDEO: JET LINER COCKPIT (0:32)
Rethinking things. Doing this inside-cockpit/outside-chaos scene without frame and logo. Considering redoing these scenes and packaging four of them into a multiple-image NFT product. I mentioned the NFT idea at a Plastic Club committee meeting tonight, and the idea was dismissed without discussion -- which makes me determined to at least find out whether it's possible. Update: Our accountant said that if I opened a crypto account and reported it, our tax prep bill would double.
March 30, 2021 VIDEO: STAR WARS SPACE SHIP (0:32)
FOREGROUND: Cockpit of World War II B-29 bomber, used as model for Star Wars space vehicle "Millenial Falcon" (Link1)
BACKGROUND 1: Panel showing forest scene from 1950 edition of Argentinian comic book "Intervalo" (Link2)
BACKGROUND 2: Typographic designs for letters 'A' and 'K' by user Katmada20XX posted on Reddit Inkscape board (Link3)
MUSIC: Track 13 on 2021 album "Generative Brinksmanship" by D.J. Frankenstone (Link4); Composer Thomas Park notes "All tracks equally reminiscent of calamity".
March 29, 2021 VIDEO: GERMAN BOMBER OVER ENGLAND, 1940 (0:33)
PHOTO of bomber cockpit from 1940 Nazi
propaganda pamphlet "Wir greifen England an!"
(Link1 trans: 'We're attacking England!')
BACKGROUND: Photos of sea shells from 1987
issue of “American Conchologist” (Link2)
SWASTIKA: From Wikimedia Commons (Link3)
MUSIC: Song "Even Now They Talked in Their Tombs" on 2021 album 'Forgotten Depths' (Link4) by Lovecraftian musicians Novopanthalassa
March 27, 2021 VIDEO: SCHOOLGIRL IN COSTUME, OVER SEASHELLS (0:12)
Photo of girl from cover of
1983 issue of Polish children’s
magazine “Plomyk” (Link1)
Photos of sea shells from 1987
issue of “American
Music from 2021’’Chacabuco
Parte 4: Despues de la Historia” (Link3;
trans ‘After the Story’) by
Chilean José Miguel Candela
March 25, 2021 COMING OUT AFTER ... (Still)
a year of social distancing.
Image is from a 1988 edition of the Polish children's magazine 'Plomyk' (Link1). It is a photo from an article about maritime survival training. The caption reads: "A lifeguard in fireproof clothing glides through the narrow
nooks and crannies of the ship".
March 20, 2021 COLLECTIVE SPIRIT OF THE INNOCENT (Still)
A change of pace. From a 1956 Russian propaganda poster. Text says: "Students! Wipe your feet thoroughly at the entrance to the school: do not allow dust, dirt and snow to enter the school premises."
March 20, 2021 FIRE OUTSIDE THE WINDOW (Still)
A sitting room window set between two chairs and a framed picture, from the 1920 "Architectural interior and exterior woodwork standardized: the permanent furniture for your home." (Link1) Another inside vs. outside piece, with an ordinary inside and a chaotic outside adapted from a Soviet children's magazine (Link2).
Links made live at Al F's suggestion.
After a year more or less constantly indoors, I feel scared of the outdoors, known only by 'if it bleeds it leads' news footage. Life is good if you're a White Retired Quarantined (but Healthy) American, but not so good if you're a Guatamelan teenager recruited by a cartel gang, or a Rohingya refugee woman.
March 20, 2021 DARKNESS IN A GERMAN FIGHTER PLANE (Still)
Another experiment in inside/outside, with the inside of a cockpit from a WW2 fighter plane Focke-Wulf 190, in a screenshot from a digital aerial combat game (Link1) and a heavily altered outside from a Russian children's magazine (Link2).
What I'm getting at here is a feeling that during these retirement/quarantine/senior years, I can see the world clearly and can do some limited maneuvering from inside my cozy 12th floor cloister -- but outside I see horror and danger and spreading chaos.
March 18, 2021 DARKNESS IN THE PLANE COCKPIT(Still)
Another view from inside a warplane during World War II, from a 1940 edition of the Italian "Cronache della Guerra" (Link1: trans 'Chronicles of the War'). The plane is flying in formation with another plane in the left center. I am attracted to these images because of the deep black masses highlighted against the windows.
At the bottom of the image is a stencil from the undated Canadian "Stephens' Silkstone Stencil Catalogue and instruction book" (Link2). It looks like a Swastika, but it is not.
March 18, 2021 LOST CONTINENT ANGEL (Still)
Adherents of the idea of a "lost continent" of Mu, an island of civilization in the middle of the Pacific, that mysteriously disappeared but whose culture spread across the world, have influenced popular culture, but not scientists, who consider it "psuedo-archeology." Chief Mu advocate was James Churchward. Because he believed in the spread of Mu's culture and religion, Churchward's 1933 book "The Sacred Symbols Of Mu" (Link1) contains many symbols from around the world, some ot them collected in this composition.
In honor of the 36th anniversary of my relationship with Janice, who lets me do my crazy art thing with just a hug and a kiss to show my appreciation for her -- in her pink nightgown and her own own abundant creativity. I'm a lucky man.
March 17, 2021 CHRISTIAN & MUSLIM MOTIFS IN SPANISH POTTERY (Still)
After Spain was reconquered from two centuries of Islamic rule around 1300, there was a period of cross-fertilization between Arab craft and Christian Gothic design. This 15" bowl, from the 1970 book "Valencian Lusterware of the Fifteenth Century" (Link1) combines Arab pottery technique with a heraldic dragon and the Latin words of the Christian Annunciation "Ave Maria Gratia Plena." The floral decoration, with its triplets of dots, is a motif not found in traditional Arab design.
March 16, 2021 BOOKMAN COVERS, STENCIL, WEIRD EYES (Still)
A collage of four elements. Two of them are covers of the literary magazine "The Bookman" from 1927 (Link1) and 1925 (Link2).
Third element (in the lower center) is a design from the undated Canadian "Stephens' Silkstone Stencil Catalogue and instruction book" (Link3).
Fourth element (the creepy eyes spanning the middle of the image) is an illustration from a recent Russian/Ukrainian horror anthology, "Anderhound" (Link4), accompanying an essay on horror's role in "Teaching [Children] Caution and Obedience."
March 15, 2021 INCIDENT OVER THE NORTH SEA, 1940 (Still)
A German pilot (his hand visible on the plane's control yoke, in the lower left of the image) zooms over a merchant ship on the North Sea during the early days of World War II. The picture is from a 1940 issue of the Italian magazine "Cronache della Guerra" (Link 1; trans: 'Chronicles of the War').
Appended to the image at the bottom is a design adapted from the undated Canadian "Stephens' Silkstone Stencil Catalogue and instruction book" (Link2). >
Low energy day, tired after second COVID shot.
March 10, 2021 PLAIN JANE'S HOLLYWOOD MAKEOVER (Still)
From the 1939-41 movie fan magazine "Glamour of Hollywood" (Link1), a photo essay ('Transformation of an Average Girl') shows Mary Wynn Jones getting a makeover from Hollywood experts. She starts as the shy file clerk at bottom left and proceeds through three hours of treatment to become the fetching vamp at upper right. "Call it what you will," the text says, "chrysalis to butterfly, Cinderella into princess, or even Ugly Duckling into swan." The tilt/slant appears in the original layout.
March 10, 2021 CUNEIFORM TEXTURE (for Anders) (Still)
From the 1908 French "Documents Presargoniques, Fascicule I. - Premiere Partie. 30 Planches" (Link1; trans: 'Presargonic Documents, Fascicle I. - Part One. 30 Plates'), a cuneiform inscription on a tablet. Presargonic refers to ancient Mesopotamia from roughly 2700 - 2350 BCE). My treatment is a tribute to the art of Anders Hansen, who covers white paper with careful, tiny marks. The cuneiform is placed over a barely visible layer of Arabic writing (in blue).
March 9, 2021 FROM THE COTTON TO THE KNITTER (Still)
A collage of machinery and decorative elements from the 1921 textile trade journal "Cotton" (Link1). Underlying the composition is a thread chart, overlaid with two images of machinery and a pen-and-ink illustration of a goddess unspooling thread.
March 7, 2021 BYZANTINE EMPRESS THEODORA & PET LIONS (Still)
From a 1921 edition of the movie trade magazine "Wid's Filmdom" (Link1), an image used in an advertisement for the 1921 Italian silent film 'Theodora', which dramatizes the life of Empress Theodora (500-548). The powerful empress, wife of Justinian, emerges with three pet lions on leashes. Once, according to some accounts, an acrobat in a circus, she is remembered as beautiful and charming. Theodora and Justinian introduced Christianity to Byzantium and she is revered as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox church. Their reign was scarred with a terrible plague that killed one out of five people in Constaninople.
March 7, 2021 ENGRAVED MOTHER & DAUGHTER (Still)
Detail from an image advertising the 1912 silent movie "Home-Keeping Hearts." The movie is a melodrama about an ex-convict who redeems himself and wins the respect of his neighbors and the love of a mother and daughter. The movie is now 'lost' -- that is no copies of it exist in any studio archives, private collections, or public archives. The advertisement appears in a 1921 movie fan magazine "Wid's Filmdom" (Link1). The style of the original black-and-white image is done in a loose engraving style, then I use various automatic coloring techniques, very subtly.
Here is a synopsis of this lost movie's plot (Link2): "After serving a ten-year prison sentence for a crime he did not commit, Robert Colton (Thomas H. Swinton) goes to live with a distant relative, Squire Tead (Edward Grace). Tead has been taking care of Colton's daughter, Mary (Mildred Ryan), all this time and he puts the ex-con to work at his creamery. But in spite of Tead's prominence in the village (along with owning the creamery, he is also president of the school board), he is an unpleasant character. He constantly throw's Colton's jail time in his face, squelches competition by bribing government inspectors to condemn the cows belonging to potential competitors and neglects the schoolhouse, which is in dire need of repair. Finally he's faced with the consequences of his deeds -- he doesn't get re-elected to the school board and is beaten to within an inch of his life by one of the cow inspectors. These incidents force him to look at himself and change his nasty attitude. Colton and his daughter reap the rewards of Tead's realization."
March 7, 2021 DOCTOR SEUSS FISH AND CRYPTID-MERMAIDS (Still) Cryptozoology is the fringe psuedoscience that studies mythological ("cryptid") animals, like Big Foot, Minotaurs, and Mermaids. Turns out there is a modern artist, E.B. Hudspeth who draws/visualizes the anatomy of these mythic animals. In the picture above, in the upper left and bottom right, there are depictions of a skeleton of a mermaid by Hudspeth. I first saw them in a 2014 edition of the children's magazine "The Muse" (Link1), from Hudspeth's 2013 book "The Resurrectionist" (Link2).
The mermaid skeletons are laid over an illustration from Dr. Seuss's 1947 children's book "McElligot's Pool" (Link3), an uplifting book that describes the hopes of a boy with a fishing pole, who imagines all the different fish he "might" catch. Dr. Seuss is in the news because his family has withdrawn certain books from publication, including "McElligot" because of alleged insensitivity -- but rereading it, I don't see anything objectionable. Besides, "cancel culture" is unworkable. No doubt, there are things I said on this blog in 2012 that I wouldn't say today.
March 6, 2021 SAINT, SPUTNIK, FLAGS (Still)
This image has three same-size colorful images. First is a chart of marine signal flags from the 1995 "Ocean Sailing Academy - Yacht Hand And Yacht Skipper Training Manual" (Link1). Second is the cover of a 1958 Russian pamphlet "Soviet Sputniks" (Link2). Third is a picture of Saint Valentina from a Romanian pamphlet (Link3). Valentina, a girl from Palestine, was martyred in 309 A.D. for refusing to worship one of the Roman gods.
A collection of inspirational saint stories (Link4) tells Valentina's story: "She was small and known for wearing old, worn out clothing. One day, when she was with her friend Thea, they joined a group of Christians gathered to hear the Holy Scriptures. Local officials broke up the meeting, grabbed Thea and tortured her. Valentina yelled, 'How long will you torment my sister?' When the thugs heard her, they grabbed her, too. Valentina was dragged away to be burned on an altar which had already been prepared by the heathens. Kicking the altar with her feet, she knocked it over. Then, Valentina and Thea were tied together and burnt alive. Saint Valentina’s Christian bond with Saint Thea was so strong that whether or not they were natural sisters, they were spiritual sisters. And, Saint Valentina was not going to let Saint Thea be martyred without her."
March 4, 2021 BAS RELIEF FROM INDIAN BURIAL MOUND (Still)
An ancient bas relief disc from a Buddhist burial mound in India, skillfully redrawn in the 1868 "Tree and serpent worship, or, Illustrations of mythology and art in India in the first and fourth centuries after Christ : from the sculptures of the Buddhist topes [burial mounds] at Sanchi and Amravati" (Link1) by James Fergusson. It shows two men and an elephant surrounded by many young women, kind of a party.
March 4, 2021 ADVERTISING HOME STUDY TO THE AMBITIOUS (Still)
A collage of images from a 1923 issue of "Science And Invention" (Link1), they were used in ads for (top) a homestudy course in Electricity ('Be an Electrical Expert -- Make Big Money') and (bottom) four circular vignettes showing people using their training in Chemistry in daily life. Again, experimenting with coloring by machine -- a combination of G'Mics' Autocolor utility and Dreamscope style transfers.
March 3, 2021 AUTOCOLORED PORTUGUESE EMBROIDERY (Still)
Using two black-and-white images from the 1963 "Bordados e Rendas de Portugal" (Link1 trans: 'Embroidery and Lace from Portugal'), I use my newly discovered autocolor utility in Gimp/G'Mics/Testing/Reptorian/Autofill Coloring Book, blending together two different colorings.
The translated caption on the first image says it is an early embroidery pattern used on a bedspread from Castelo Branco. The translated caption on the second image says it is "gradual work for crossing two pairs of bobbins."
March 1-2, 2021 BLACK SARAH KALI, ROMANI SAINT (Still)
I am not faithful to my boyhood Roman Catholic upbringing, but I know the stories and when I hear a new wrinkle on the stories, I am interested. Today I ran across a 2014 book "Rise Of The Imposter Christ. The Hidden History Of Jesus And John The Baptist" (Link1). Author Mark Gibbs nods to post-Truth relativism when he opens the book with this poem:
"There are three truths. One truth corresponds to facts. Another truth harmonizes with a system of beliefs. And a third truth depends on you."
Gibbs' book begins with visiting space aliens (the Annunaki) who mated with humans to create a hybrid race. All human history is the story of secret conspiracies to spread Annunaki genetics.
Later in the book, the author tells the story of Sarah the Black, otherwise known as Sarah Kali. The story is this: shortly after the Crucifixion, Jesus' mother, Mary, and the mysterious Mary Magdalene, along with other disciples, fled persecution by boat and ended up in France, where Sarah, a servant from India aided them. She is considered the patron saint of the Romani (or gypsies). The image above includes representations/statues of Sarah.
This narrative ties in with novelist Dan Brown's story of the Templars and Cathars and the Holy Grail told so well in the "DaVinci Code."
Just for the record, the wings on my winged trilobite logo are from Sumerian representations of the Annunaki -- not that I believe any of it.
February 28, 2021 JACOBEAN EMBROIDERY & CATALOG FABRICS (Still)
A fanciful design composed of two parts. Foreground is a crewel embroidery pattern from the 1912 book "Jacobean embroidery, its forms and fillings including late Tudor" (Link1). (The Jacobean era was roughly England between 1567 and 1625.) In the background are some fabric designs from a 1954 German department store catalog, "Nordland" (Link2).
February 27, 2021 SNIPER STANDS NEXT TO FAKE TREE (Still)
An image from the 2008 "History Of Sniping And Sharpshooting" (Link1) showing a World War 1 German sniper in camouflage next to his fake-tree sniper's nest. The text explains "German snipers also concealed themselves in cast-iron trees that expertly duplicated real trees in no-man's-land, which were switched at night. 'These trees,' wrote an Australian soldier describing British-made versions, 'were such perfect imitations that a man could walk past within two feet of one and not realize it was a dummy—unless he tapped it.'"
My artistic attention these days is drawn to ordinary images with ordinary explanations -- but, without those explanations, they appear hallucinatory and mysterious -- somewhat sinister. Like today's image, like yesterday's. Because I look around recently -- at Covid masks, at Q-Anon, at the former president's cult -- and it seems like a sci-fi nightmare.
February 25, 2021 MOVIE PROPERTY MANAGER ARRANGES MANNEQUINS (Still)
From a photo essay titled 'Property Men Are Hollywood's Wonder Workers' appearing in a 1950 Toronto "Star Weekly" Sunday supplement. The caption reads 'The property scout walks off with two dummies for use as stand-ins to be thrown off cliffs or under trains. Many of the dummies have facial features like those of famous stars.'
February 25, 2021 NEW COLORING TECHNIQUE ON GEORGE ADE (Still)
I just discovered an alternative to style transfers for adding color to a black-and-white image: it's a bit obscure. It's in GIMP, in the G'Mics extension, under a listing of filters called, simply, "Testing." It's by someone called Reptorian and it's named "Autofill Coloring Book", and in a note Reptorian explains it is designed to "autofill areas with random colors that only appear once." You can't really control the colors except by giving the function a new random number seed.
I run it on a set of cartoon-style illustrations to "Breaking into Society", a 1903 book of satire by turn-of-the century American newspaper humorist George Ade.
February 25, 2021 ARTIST ACCOMPANYING WILD WEST PHOTOGRAPHERS (Still)
Plastic Club member Mike Nathan presented this picture to our artists' Zoom tonight and explained "I was looking through an old magazine and there was an article about how, when the USA was opening up the West, photographers traveled with artists. The artist would hand-color the photographs so they would show everyone back East what the West looked like and would prevent the photographs from fading. This photograph shows one of the artists."
"It reminded me of someone." Mike deadpanned, "but I couldn't be sure." It was hilarious.
The hat is decorated with a feather (used as a quill pen), a set of six small brushes, and my very own artist's mark, the winged trilobite.
Photo taken by Mike Nathan after online Zoom posing session with Bob Moore.
February 24, 2021 CLOISONEE DAGGERS WITH WW2 TEMPTRESS (Still) Cloisonee is a demanding decorative craft, in which wire is used to define areas and then those areas are filled with powdered pigment and heated. Here is a selection of cloisonee sheaths and handles for daggers from the 2012 "The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Weaponry" (Link1). The collage is lightened with an illustration from a World War 2 pamphlet on venereal disease prevention, "She Looked Clean But..." (Link2).
February 22-23, 2021 PILOTING LIFE'S JOURNEY(Still)
I'm cautious about borrowing images from school yearbooks (copyrighted or not) because of concern for the privacy of students, but here I use two yearbook images. Barely visible in the background is a full page of charming drawings of a little Eskimo girl with a puppy, sitting in front of an igloo (Link1) from the 1951 issue of the University of Alberta's "Evergreen and Gold" yearbook; and from the 1930 issue of the same yearbook, an ink-drawing of a ship's helmsman taken from an ad by the yearbook's printer, MacDermid (Link2).
Finally, the confusing lines in the background are from a page titled "Enclosed Ornament" from the 1900 "Handbook of Ornament; a grammar of art, industrial and architectural designing in all its branches, for practical as well as theoretical use" (Link3). They remind me of the markings on a marine navigational or star chart.
The general idea is that in life, we have to steer through a complicated space/map filled with dense but confusing information, all the time facing our own psychological issues, which may distort our view of the information on the chart.
February 21, 2021 WWI: MORTAR ATTACK ON ROMANIAN RIVER-CROSSING(Still)
I can read neither German nor the old black-letter font in the 1917 edition of the German "Illustrirte Zeitung" (Link1; trans: 'Illustrated Newspaper'), but I gather this image depicts an incident in World War I during the Battle for Bucharest when German artillery fired on a Romanian wagon train. The drawing is by German artist Hugo Ungewetter, serving as "war artist" for the periodical.
February 20, 2021 GENIE'S LAMP & FLYING CARPET (Still)
From the 1858 English "The treasury of ornamental art, illustrations of objects of art and vertu" (Link1), two images. On top, an Indian vase, placed upon the carved sandalwood lid of an Indian casket.
Technical note: the title page says "Photographed from the originals and drawn on stone by F. Bedford"
February 18, 2021 OLD IRISH WOMAN AT SPINNING WHEEL (Still)
There's another volume of the 1903 Dutch ethnographic book, "De Volken der Aarde" (Link1; trans: 'Peoples of the Earth') by Johannes Snelleman. The first volume covers Oceania, Australia, and Asia. This is from the second volume (Link2) covering Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. It shows an old Irish woman at her spinning wheel.
February 17, 2021 TWO TIBETAN BUDDHIST TEACHERS (Still)
An image from a 1903 Dutch ethnographic book, "De Volken der Aarde" (Link1; trans: 'Peoples of the Earth') by Johannes Snelleman. It is difficult to read the original Dutch, and as far as I know, there is no English translation available. The caption is 'Tibetan Lamas'. The book has a somewhat old-fashioned colonialist outlook, with a lot of exotic native outfits and bare-breasted young women, but the reproduction of the photographs is excellent.
February 16, 2021 WOOD TYPE AMPERSAND OUTLINE (Still)
A pantograph-cut specimen of old American wood type (maple), an outline and color overlay of the character "&" (Ampersand) (Link1) done by a Rochester, NY company Virgin Wood Type Manufacturing Co. A discussion of the specimen is here.
February 15, 2021 INTERNAL COMBUSTION COOL (Still)
A collage of images of two gasoline engines: (#1) a big one, a 195-220 horsepower REO "Gold Comet" V-8 truck engine, from an ad in a 1955 "Popular Mechanics" magazine (Link1) and (#2) a small one, a model boat engine of "vee-twin type" from the cover of a 1951 issue of the English magazine "Model Engineer" (Link2).
February 12, 2021 SUFFOCATING SMELL IN POE'S PIT (Still)
Illustration by A.M. Trotter for an undated edition of Edgar Allen Poe's "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" (Link1). The image illustrates Poe's 1842 story "The Pit and the Pendulum," in which a victim of the Inquisition encounters a fiendish torture device. The caption reads "A suffocating odour pervades the prison."
February 12, 2021 TEXTILE DIAGRAMS & JEWELRY DESIGN (Still)
February 10, 2021 PAPER CUTOUTS FROM PORTUGESE MOVIE MAG (Still)
There's an old art form involving paper cutting, making silhouettes. A 1925 edition of the Brazilian movie magazine "Revista A Scena Muda" (Link1) had a talented paper-cutter designing some of its print ads. The first silhouette, depicting an idealized island scene, is from an ad for perfumed soap. On the left, a woman washes clothes, on the right a manor house, and in the center a unusually-rigged sailboat. Birds sing in the trees around the woman.
In the background/sky of the island scene is an illustration from the 2018 issue of the countercultural Los Angeles magazine "Razorcake" (Link2).
The second image, from the same issue, presumably by the same artist,
shows a couple snuggling on a balcony overlooking a body of water. The product is "Lady" rice powder, a cosmetic base.
Background/sky is from various sources.
The third image, from a different isssue of the same magazine (Link3), shows a woman and a winged cherub in a boat being towed by two swans. It appears in an ad for Oriental Beauty Cream.
Fourth image shows a variety of birds in an ad for another beauty product, Hummingbird powder gloss, from the same issue.
February 6-8, 2021 WHEN MANUSCRIPT COPYISTS PLAY (Still)
February 4, 2021 1970's NEW AGE OPTIMISM (Still)
A hand-drawn motivational image from "The Rainbow Oracle of Mandala City" (Link1) exhorting readers to "Live Healthy". The booklet was published by the "Rainbow Family Of Living Light". That image of a healthy hippy is superimposed on a decoration from the same booklet; it is a low-tech production, some of it apparently typewritten, exhibiting a genuine West Coast hippy style. The group still has a web page (Link2). The site headlines an "old Native American prophecy": "When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the Rainbow."
From the Text in left top box: "Don't Be Scurgy" (meaning: unknown). Text in right top box "Don't Be Scuzzy." (meaning: Dirty; grimy, disreputable, sleazy).
Bottom text: "Breathe Healthy", "Eat Healthy."
A product of my hippy adolescence, I personally have some sympathy and connection with these predominantly gentle, anti-authoritarian communards -- certainly more than I do with the neofascists and greedheads who ran the place during Trump's America.
February 3, 2021 FOUR CARPETS (Still)
Using newly-discovered adjust/resize/rescale technique on an image of four Axminster rugs from a 1931 Sears catalog of "Rugs of Fine Quality" (Link1). Hoping to synchronize texture of frame with texture of central image.
February 2, 2021 GIRL IN DRESS, LIGHTING HARDWARE (Still)
Researching the QAnon view of the world, one runs across unpleasant material.
Some of it is entirely delusional, such as sex-trafficking world leaders addicted to immortality-conferring adrenochrome obtained from tortured children.
Some of it is all too real, such as the underage girls groomed for sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
One of the first of Epstein's victims (in the early 90's) was Maria Farmer, who survived the abuse and went on to become a figurative painter. The painting of the girl in this image is by Farmer (Link1). Sadly, Farmer, now 51, is suffering from cancer.
As a way of artistically distancing myself from yucky feelings after jumping into this rabbit hole of anti-innocence, I superimposed a page of home lighting fixtures from a 1919 Sears catalog of home kits and furnishings (Link2).
Link1: See "Commissions" on www.mariafarmerart.com/#/artwork-archive
February 2, 2021 CAR CATALOG ELEMENTS (Still)
Experimenting with a last step in my process, in which I adjust/resize/rescale the central image within the frame.
February 1, 2021 TIME HAS COME TODAY (Still)
January 31, 2021 GOD IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE, ASSHOLES (Still)
The Trump era and the January 6 insurrection had a distinctively religious origin, with the Religious Right, Charismatics, Evangelicals, and the right-wing of Catholicism all on board. A frequent rallying cry for religiously motivated Trumpists was "Deus Vult" (trans: 'God Wills it'), the Pope's 11th-century Latin call for the bloody crusades. Here, I use my rusty high-school Latin to revise it: "Deus Non Vult" (trans: 'God most definitely does NOT want it').
The slogan is placed on an illustration from an undated Italian encyclopedia, "Lexicon Vallardi" (Link1), probably dating from the early to mid 19th century. The illustration is from a museum in Bologna, dated 1666, There is little information about the image. It seems to show a child holding a cudgel standing over a jumbled pile of precious silver. This may refer to the 15th century "Bonfire of the Vanities" when the preacher Savanarola sent children to collect books, musical instruments, cosmetics, and other 'occasions of sin' from the wealthy.
January 30, 2021 PHOTOGRAPHER GETS SUSPICIOUS GLARE (Still)
Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson went to Russia and shot this photo of a factory worker for an article in a 1955 issue of the German magazine "Stern" (Link1). The text says that the worker was very suspicious when Cartier-Bresson took the photo.
First image is Cartier-Bresson's original cropping, second image is scaled 150%, third image is scaled 150% again, fourth 150% again. A technical breakthrough. Hopefully, it displays the "spaghetti" texture to advantage.
January 26, 2021 OLD SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY (Still)
A wall painting (Link1) by Renaissance painter Luca Signorelli showing "The Damned in Hell," done between 1499 and 1505. I wish Joe Biden luck in his calls for "Unity", but I also want Congress to open a big can of whoop-ass on people in the government who encouraged and cooperated with the January 6 Capitol riot.
Second version focuses on a detail of the painting, a horned devil carrying a young woman into the flames of hell.
January 23, 2021 WEIRD ONE: THREE SENTIMENTAL CERAMICS (Still)
January 19, 2021 INAUGURATION: DOCTOR JILL IS IN PERIWINKLE (Still)
Done with tears in my eyes during the inauguration celebration. (I include links to the music, but caution you that many browsers are set to automatically play the "next" video that some megacorporation thinks you want to hear after the video you actually want to hear ends.) I especially liked Jon Bon Jovi's "Here Comes the Sun", Yo Yo Ma's "Amazing Grace", the Broadway Medley (with dancer Charlotte d'Amboise at 2;30 in the center square at the end), Yolanda Adams' Hallelujah, John Legend's "Feeling Good", and the mixed Spanish and English "Pass-the-Mic" number.
The image in the center is a composite of (a) a flower of a gentian plant from a 1991 issue of "Kalmiopsis : journal of the Native Plant Society of Oregon" (Link1) and (b) a photo from the 1953 "Kodak Data Books of Applied Photography" (Link2), showing a carbide cutting blade subjected to flourescene, revealing fine cracks. The collage is meant to convey the mess of a country Trump has left for Biden, mismanaged, but with great potential.
Janice tells me that Jill Biden's coat was not Periwinkle. My source was MSNBC commentator Joy Reid.
Janice and I shared a commercial flight (Philadelphia-to-Florida) with the Bidens fifteen or so years ago. The couple seemed pleasant, down-to-earth, and friendly, and Jill seemed quite glamorous in a digified, professional way.
My musical correspondent Hugh reminds me of another upbeat, optimistic song:
Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now".
January 20, 2021 WEIRD ONE: BUGS & FABRICS (Still)
January 19, 2021 WHEN RUBBER CAR TIRES WERE NEW, 1917 (Still)
Illustration for an advertisement by Pirelli Tires in a 1917 issue of the magazine "Touring Club Italiano" (Link1), showing white Pirelli tires (middle right) carrying a heavy load while an old-fashioned wagon wheel lies broken in the lower right corner. Pirelli Tires is still in business, but was bought ("temporarily privatized") by a Chinese chemical company in 2015.
The intensely modernistic style of art is Italian Futurist, a style that became identified with Fascism under Mussolini.
From the 1993 book "Presenting Nature: The Historic Landscape Design of the National Park Service 1916 to 1942" (Link1) by Linda Flint McClelland: a 1915 photo of a scenic highway tunnel. The caption explains: "Photographed in 1915, Mitchell Point Tunnel was one of several naturalistic tunnels constructed along the
Columbia River Highway in Oregon from 1913 to 1922. Carved out of a steep rock embankment that rose from the river, the tunnel was 390-feet long and had arched buttresses that alternated with open galleries to provide the motorist with river views framed by jagged rock work." (Oregon Historical Society).
The book sparked a quarantine fantasy: that after I get my vaccine, I take off in a recreational vehicle and document what has happened to national parks since 1993, visiting sites identified in McClelland's book, now in the public domain. I fear much has been lost under modern management. The Mitchell Point Tunnel was destroyed in 1966 as part of the building of Interstate I-80 under LBJ.
January 18, 2021 YOUNG GIRL PENS A FATEFUL LETTER (Still)
In a scene from the opera "Eugene Onegin," 17-year-old Tatiana writes a letter declaring her passion for a new neighbor, a disillusioned aristocrat. The neighbor rejects her, but decades later he will bitterly regret spurning her love. Pictured is operatic soprano Julia Varady playing the role of Tatiana in Munich in 1977, Photo from a 2018 issue of the classical music magazine "Gramophone " (Link1).
Upon further examination of the 1930 Canadian food journal, "La Revue Culinaire" (Link1), I realized that the magazine employed a staff artist who was very skilled at creating ink drawings, such as yesterday's rushing paper-boy. Here's another ink-drawing, a lovely lady lounging on a sofa. The colors & pattern in the background are from the same source as yesterday's image, color samples in a 1910 paint catalog (Link2) by Alabastine Company of Grand Rapids.
Incidentally, here is a link to various paint catalogs.
January 15, 2021 I READ THE NEWS TODAY, OH BOY (Still)
Something broke inside me when I saw self-styled "patriots" threatening elected legislators in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. My work has been increasingly abstract, escapist. Here, a composition based on color samples in a 1910 paint catalog (Link1) by Alabastine Company of Grand Rapids, using a G'Mic deformation filter, Conformal Map (dipole).
In silhouette, a running newspaper boy from a beer ad in a 1930 Canadian food journal, "La Revue Culinaire" (Link2).
January 15, 2021 GEOMETRIC COLORIZATION IN TED'S STYLE (Still)
Friend and neighbor Gutswa presented a work of art in our Tuesday Digital Sharing session; this is my response to it. It is a stacking of boxes in red, green, blue and black, with successive reductions scalings into the center. Then it is placed on a halftoned background using a Gimp G'Mic filter. (There are so many filters that I forget which one.)
Image by Bob Moore
January 14, 2021 OVER A CLIFF (Still)
Long day to get this done.
January 13, 2021 MISC: DANCER IRENE CASTLE (Still)
From the cover of a 1922 issue of illustrated movie fan magazine "Pantomime" (Link1), a portrait of actress and modern dancer Irene Castle, who, along with her husband Vernon, formed a popular team doing performance and instruction in modern dance -- "they taught the world to two-step".
January 12, 2021 MISC: SELF-PORTRAIT (Still)
Me, looking like a grotesque 76-year-old troll, thoughtful and sad during this unnerving time. Horrified by events in Washington.
Link1: Photo by Janice Moore
January 11, 2021 MISC: BALLET SCENE II (Still)
A costume design by Leon Bakst for a production at Sergei Diaghilev's famous ballet troupe, Ballets Russes. The drawing appears in the 1911 Russian "Sovremenny Balet" (Link1: trans: 'Contemporary Ballet').
January 10, 2021 MISC: BALLET SCENE I (Still) Photo of ballerina Tamara Karsavina in the ballet Giselle. Photo from the 1911 Russian "Sovremenny Balet" (Link1: trans: 'Contemporary Ballet'). The book is listed on archive.org as Public Domain Mark 1.0, which means it is no longer under copyright and you are free to adapt and alter, as I have done here. Photos and posters inside are a treasure.
January 9, 2021 MISC: COLORIZED RUNE STONE (Still) Herman Wirth was a German-Dutch scholar who studied ancient symbols and religions. His fringe theories (for example, the Aryan race came from Atlantis) was popular for a while in Germany in the 30's, but Heinrich Himmler pushed him aside in the Nazi's occult research program (portrayed well in the Indiana Jones movies). Here, from Wirth's 1931 "Die Heilige Urschrift Der Menschheit" (Link1; trans: 'The Sacred Origin of Mankind') Wirth shows a carved gravestone with a twisting snake and runic symbols surrounding it.
I am so horrified by American current events (invasion of the Capitol building) that I seek escape with the old, the arcane, the silly, and the abstract.
January 6, 2021 MISC: RUSSIAN FLYING BICYCLES #1 and #2(Still)
A fanciful image from a 1903 edition of the Russian magazine "Samokat" in St. Petersburg (Link1), billed as "The extraordinary adventures of a scooter in the land of the wheel, where a lot is funny like ours, but very much is beautiful: For boys and girls from 3 to 75 years old. Stories, scenes and cartoons (over 300) from the life of cyclists."
The Russian text (google-translated) explains how the machine works: "It's very simple: to lift you need
just spread the sails and work with the pedals. The blades of the wheels will quickly fill the sails
[and] the apparatus rises into the air.
When they want to go down, little by little
collect sails. If you almost remove them then
the apparatus will drop to the ground."
So charmed by the 1903 Russian flying bikes that I find distraction and shelter from my anger at the takeover of the Capitol Building by Trumpists, by doing another image from the same publication (Link1).
January 5-6, 2021 MISC: SWORDS OVER WORDS OVER GEOMETRY OVER GARDENS (Still)
Complicated collage, seeking abstraction thru pattern to clear my head after yesterday's disturbing piece.
The only representational piece is the design of clashing swords in the center foreground. It is from a 1949 issue of "Weird Tales" (Link1). The pattern of black squares in the middleground is from the 1854 "Perigal's Contributions to Kinematics" (Link2). It shows "bicircloids cut from the lathe using a geometric chuck." A bicircloid is a "curve generated by the uniform motion of a point around the circumference of a circle the center of which itself uniformly describes a circle."
In the deep background are some garden layouts from the 1544 "Regole generali di architettura di Sabastiano Serlio" (Link3; trans: 'General architectural rules of Sabastiano Serlios')
Late addition to the composition: the four Asian characters in orange just to the left of the center, from "The Complete Commercial Artist, Vol. 15," (Link4) 1929 by Hamada Masuji.
January 4, 2021 MISC: LATEST PLASTIC-MOLDED SEX DOLL (Still)
Appealing in its female form but rather terrifying in reality and implication: a TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) molded sex doll. Foreground is the $1595 "hot petite latina Maria" (Link1), with optional spare head, USB-powered heating element, and removable vagina. In the background, is a photo (Link2) used to explain how to clean a sex doll after use, with exaggerated circular breasts at top right and graphic plastic anus and vagina on bottom left. It feels like an evolutionary and psychological tragedy. Like my December 21, 2020, variation on an extremely difficult Kama Sutra sexual maneuver, I tend to obscure rather than clarify sexual subjects.
January 2, 2021 MISC: ROMANTIC RIVALS FIGHT ON CHIMNEY (Still)
A dramatic moment from a silent film, "Zwischen Himmel und Erde"
(Link1; trans: 'Between Heaven and Earth') from a drawing in a 1913 issue of the German film trade journal "Lichtbild-Bühne" (Link1). The plot involves the repair of a giant factory chimney and involves the factory owner's daughter who is courted by the chief engineer and an administrator. The two suitors fight atop the chimney.
January 2, 2021 MISC: UNEASY THRONE (Still)
From a 1913 issue of the German film trade journal "Lichtbild-Bühne" (Link1), a studio photo of leading German actor Albert Basserman in his role as a traveling actor in the silent movie "Der Konig". Basserman left Germany because his wife Elsa, an actress and screenwriter, was Jewish. Basserman did work in Hollywood, but had to deliver his English lines by phonetics.
January 1, 2021 MISC: AIRPLANE AND GYMNASTS (Still)
Foreground are shots of the warplane F-111 Ardvark, a General Dynamics aircraft that pioneered variable-sweep wings, from a 1963 edition of "Aviation Week" (Link1). In the background, two overlaid shots of Romanian gymnasts working out in a field, one of women gymnasts, one of men. From a 1943 issue of the Romanian picture magazine "Signal" (Link2).
Last day of the year, working busily on the transfer from Free-for-All 2020 to Free-for-All 2021. Lot of trouble...Here's where it should be: 2020 Archive.
December 31, 2020 MISC: CHANGE OF YEAR (Still)
An image marking the coming New Year. Relieved that my country's slide into autocratic thuggery has stopped -- or slowed. I'll be happy when January 20th Inauguration comes.
My personal to-do list before the New Year is to transfer web site (Philly-Bob's Free-for-All 2020) to a new year version, Philly-Bob's Free-for-All 2121, for which this will be the first entry. Also, usual holiday stuff, muted by quarantine. My birthday is two days before Christmas, and I hope my friends and family are accustomed to my moody holiday distraction, in terms of cards and gifts. As an old girlfriend once said, "Who pissed on you on Christmas?"
Maybe I should work on a "Greatest" page. I've been doing these images since October 10, 2012, and it must be difficult for new visitors to get oriented.
2021 numerals are from "Hyper Block" font (Link1) by Indonesian design studio Lettersiro (Link2).
Background is numeral in various fonts from 1886 "Letters and Monograms for Marking on Silk, Linen, and Other Fabrics" by Mrs. Jenny June Croly (Link3)