Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Shall Wear My Trousers Rolled


Today I turn 45, and I am consumed with images of sharp geometry.  I live in denial about my firm status as "middle aged."  At half way to 90, I think the designation is sort of a given.  But 90 isn't just old, it's "right."  So, in an odd sense, 45 is also half way to perpendicular.  If that sounds like some sort of metaphor for being half way to the grave (supine the perpendicular state to standing erect), well, bring on the gloom.  But really, I am consumed by symmetry, 45 degrees being the measurement of the smaller angles of a isosceles right triangle, a shape so central to geometry, architecture, and trigonometry.  It may not quite be the Golden Mean that so captivated the ancient Greeks, but it is a fearful symmetry nonetheless.

I'm not such an avid follower of numerology as I am, say, the Tarot, but I do find numbers beautiful.  And I think 45 is a particularly beautiful number.  I am not so trite as to bemoan growing older or to resent a ceaseless accumulation of years to my age.  If anything, I am startled I've been on the planet for so long.  I feel like these years flew by and are only accelerating.  I am caught in that liminal dilemma of fearing speed hastens the end but also wanting to throw my arms in the air, feel the breeze in my hair (what's left of it), and enjoy the ride.  Wheee!

So, my birthday card to the world: some abstract comics that revel in geometry.  The shape of things to come.  The shape of a life.  That beautiful blend of angles and lines, straight and curved.  A snapshot in time, as arbitrary and meaningful as any other frozen moment.  

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Bois of Winter

Here we are, then, caught in the schematics of desire.  It's cold outside, so all the hunky athletes dress up warmly, as they should.  Except for the tease of removing outer layers in a restaurant or the suggestion of a bodily contour under drape, the season thwarts the the lover of eye candy and body (as) art.

Thank Heavens for the Internet, then.  But it's difficult for me to just rejoice in the digital capture of boi beauty, whether posed or candid.  I get bored quickly with just looking, my desire forever deferred to the next (web) page.  Before the advent of digital technology, I used to enjoy collaging hunky models from magazines (not ALL of them porn).  By "enjoy," I mean the full range of pleasure.  Sure, I experienced a prurient titillation in carefully navigating scissors around bicept, razor around buttock.  But there was also compositional pleasure of combining shapes, the artist's (or artist wannabe's) fascination with anatomy, shadow, and form.  

Now, in this age of pixels and fast download, images not only proliferate, but the capacity to manipulate them increases exponentially.  Sure, there's all that worry about copyright and who owns the image.  But always around the edges of that concern are people taking out their metaphorical scissors to "rip," "cut," and "edit" for their own pleasure in the making.  If I were doing this for money, I might feel guilty.  But the eye wanders where it will, and the hand makes what it will.  And the internet (Web 2.0) increasingly becomes a place not just of viewing disseminated images (or other information) but also for interacting with those images and sharing the, um, "fruits" of that interaction.

I admit to my queer male gaze, and its tendency to objectify.  I notice the world around me, and desire guides my eyes.  And yes, it is a desire shaped by my culture.  It would be reductive to imagine that my gaze is about sexual conquest only, that I notice what I find attractive because I want to possess it, or even just bed it.  My mind is full of fantasies, and not all of them have to do with sex.  Some involve color and texture and imagining combinations and compositions. an artist's gaze any less objectifying than a seducer's?  

I think I am not alone in my wandering eye that "violates" others by noticing them in public spaces.  I think I am not alone in gathering images (or other information) "owned" by others and using them for my own art on the internet.  Maybe the prohibitions against doing these sorts of things are silly.  Or maybe, just maybe, it's the prohibitions (silly as they are) that add to the fun.   

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentines ArtSpark


Susan Sanford over at ArtSpark Theatre put together a really interesting Valentine's challenge.  It actually involved surface mail!  For those who expressed interest in playing, she sent us a small envelope of collage materials including a playing card from the suit of Hearts.  I got the Four of Hearts.  The assignment was to make a collage with it and then place the card in a public space and photograph it.  A gift of love and art to the world.

I was happy to take time to make a collage, more or less limiting myself to the materials in the envelope.  (Okay, I added the green star).  I was even happier to leave the gift to the universe on a block in Carbondale, IL where daffodils were just starting to break the surface of snowmelt soaked soil.  This is just in front of a local food grocery store opened recently in protest of the high cost of food in our food coop.  The other businesses in this block are similarly progressive in nature, including one of my favorite haunts, the Longbranch Coffee House.  

The Four of Hearts was an interesting card to work with.  In the Tarot, it is represented by the Four of Cups and signifies a kind of divine discontent.  In the Rider-Waite deck, the card depicts a young man solemnly contemplating three cups before him, yet unaware of the fourth offered from a divine hand behind him.  The meaning of the image is that he is too dissatisfied with what he has and therefore too introspective such that he misses the true gift(s) being offered him.  He needs a fresh perspective.  It is one of my more favorite cards of the Minor Arcana because it offers a message about discontent coming from fixating on certain issues so much that you miss the bigger picture.  I frequently caution myself in times of despair to look over my shoulder for the gift I am not seeing.

On this greeting card holiday meant to create anxiety about our status in love and our willingness to mark that with conspicuous consumption, the Four of Hearts/Cups offers an important message.  And I think ArtSpark Theatre continues to offer gifts unlooked for.  Sanford's challenge effectively spurred me to break away from V-Day cynicism and turn to art as a random gesture of love to the universe and my fellow human (and other) beings.  I love my partner and we express that love as often as we can; but there's something deeply soul confirming about turning that love outward to the universe on this particular day.  

Thank-you, universe, for your endless gifts and unconditional positive regard.  B Mine 4Ever? 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Another Dream -- With Color and Without

The vibration spread out across the universe, distorting wit and structure.  No rhyme, no reason...a train of thought in space, a toss of hollow dice.  Shadow and light.  Those who see do not smile; those who don't, lose perspective.  And if I listen really close, I see thunder. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stuck in the Mud?


This week's theme at Illustration Friday is "muddy."  I'm feeling this one as snow melts and the driveway and walkways become mud pits.  I also feel a sodden metaphorical weight as obligations increase, health stumbles a bit, and suddenly I don't seem able to do as much as I would like.

I'm afraid that my output on this blog is suffering for it not being my highest priority.  But for Illustration Friday the last few weeks, I might not have posted at all.  Still, I remain firmly committed to at least one blog post a week and will try to ratchet up the frequency.  But who can say?

In the interest of keeping any and all who might be reading this post updated on all things Bungy in the blogosphere, here's a short list of links where you can find me (as well as items of interest):
  • I've been contributing a bit over at the "poemicstrips" blog, including a very exciting project putting together an issue of Xerolage on the theme of dialogue balloons.  Check out the open call for participation here and then check out the other beautiful work on the blog. Consider posting a link in response to the current Poemic Inquiry prompt "What might a love/romance poemic look like?"
  • @Platea recently completed is sixth project, "PlateaKnit."  It was a wonderful collaborative project thematically linking fibre crafts with networking and producing a crowdsourced knitting pattern on Twitter.  You can read about the project here, and check back at the blog as we anticipate a wrap-up post soon including lots of pictures of the works people produced.
  • I follow Artspark Theatre regularly.  Recently, one of my comments was highlighted there as both a post and an invitation to others to do art.  I'll be posting my contribution here soon to Susan's Valentine's challenge.  Artspark Theatre is another one of those gems of a blog that never disappoints.  I only wish I could post with something more like Susan's frequency (and, well, depth).
  • I've been following Andre Molotiu's "Abstract Comics" blog, including both amazing artworks and really sophisticated analysis of classic comics.  I comment regularly there, but lately Andrei's post about similarities between our contemporary reception of comics compared to 18th Century debates over musical form has really got me thinking.  
  • Finally, Piotr Szreniawski has started a new blog for "experimental comics."  It's new and eager for both regular readers and contributors.  Why yet another blog?  Well, his thinking is that many of us are doing work with comics that aren't quite poemics and aren't quite abstract comics.  This is a place to share that work under the broader rubric, "experimental."
So, did I mention I have a day job?  Quite a busy one, too.  And yet, somehow we make time for the work that matters, whether it happens at work or on our own time.  Maybe I'm less stuck in the mud than just really committed to getting my hands dirty.