Thursday, October 18, 2012

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 24

John Frame - It is to this life I belong.

I was very much looking forward to John’s Exquisite Doodle box arriving from Wrightwood, California.  To me, John is a fearless and tireless warrior on a quest to fulfill his dream - the making of a very special film.  And John’s scroll reminds me very much of his work.  Photo: “This is my Body,” ©John Frame
John’s amazing film is called “The Tale Of The Crippled Boy,” and I can see how his is a mind for directing - setting the scenes, laying out the storyline, playing with light, creating emotion, creating mystery.  Truly marvelous.
A while back when I was creating the cover for John’s Exquisite Doodle box, I decided to make a little paper base with the words “the world is within you.”
And now, looking at his drawings, I find myself being pulled in and into the deep waters of my mind.
The artist Agnes Martin once said “not to know but to go on.”  Reading John’s tiny writing on his scroll with a magnifying lens, I felt as though I was deciphering a riddle.  Using some of his own words, I wrote down these lines below.

This photo is a still from "The Tale Of The Crippled Boy":  Photo: “O-Man,” ©John Frame

not to know but to go on

the earth abides
but we must go
where to one wonders

and when we’re gone
only our deeds remain
what for one wonders

and so it is that although soon
I shall be gone and forgotten
it is to this life I belong
it is for this life I go on
Here is the way the scroll turned out after John cut his own paper and started from scratch!  See Post 13 to compare.  Scroll pic 1 of 3,
scroll pic 2 of 3,
and scroll pic 3 of 3.
In deep waters and contemplating the riddle of life itself, I got to thinking… we arrive at those moments of feeling illuminated not by our thoughts at all, but from the inside by some ancient internal instinct.  It’s a little voice that whispers and reminds you that you belong.  Paging through my Agnes Martin book, I came across what she said about those moments and about art.
This photo is available for purchase on his website:
Photo: “What Is and What Might Have Been,” ©John Frame

(On The Perfection Underlying Life, from “Writings” by Agnes Martin, book published to accompany the exhibition Agnes Martin: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1960-1989 at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, 1992.)

…”there seems to be a fine ship at anchor.  Fear is the anchor, convention is the chain, ghosts stalk the decks, the sails are filled with Pride and the ship does not move.
But there are moments for all of us in which the anchor is weighed.  Moments in which we learn what it feels like to move freely, not held back by pride and fear.  Moments that can be recalled with all their fine flavor.
The recall of these moments can be stimulated by freeing experiences including the viewing of works of art.
Artists try to maintain an atmosphere of freedom in order to represent the perfection of those moments.  And others searching for the meaning of art respond by recalling their own free moments.”
I have a somewhat memory of...
feeling inspired… I got out my old typewriter, typed my lines, and then pasted them on the interior of John’s box.
And now I’ve come to the end and I’ve filled this post with many words.  Too many perhaps.  But it’s all good.  Photo: “Words, Words, Words,” ©John Frame

On John’s website you can not only watch the completed film so far, but you can peruse photo galleries of stills and available photos:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 23

Tom Haney - Setting the stage, where magic happens.

I was excited to get Tom’s Exquisite Doodle box all the way from Atlanta, Georgia.  Within my curious imagination, I envision Tom on a stage where I see him taking a bow with his top hat in hand, while gesturing with his other hand to his automata which fill the stage all around him.  And then in turn, all his little figures within their automata stages take a bow one by one.
Photo: (Portrait of Tom Haney) ©Gregory Campbell; Photo: “Innocence Revisited,” ©2006 Tom Haney
I was delighted to find that Tom had doodled on every white space available and that he also painted the interior of his box.  I had started his scroll with a few drawings of a tiny flea musical, and then ended it with a toy ship in a bottle…
and as you can see, where he took it from there is just wonderful.
This is one of Tom’s electric works.  On his website you’ll find he has categorized his sculptures into electric, crank-operated, and motor-driven works, and also figures.  You’ll quickly note how well Tom documents his process.  Once you’ve clicked on an image to see it enlarged, you automatically get access to a series of photos showing how the work was made:
Photo: “A Collection of Thoughts,” ©2008 Tom Haney
Tom also creates static figures.  Even when they don’t have cranks or motors, they are so full of life.  Makes me wonder if maybe she doesn’t come to life in secret when nobody’s watching.  I’ll never know, but there are plenty of videos to watch other works in action on his website and on YouTube:
Photo: “Serene,” ©2011 Tom Haney
Here is the way the scroll turned out after Tom doodled in the white spaces I left for him!  See Post 14 to compare.  Scroll pic 1 of 3,
scroll pic 2 of 3,
and scroll pic 3 of 3.
On Tom’s blog you’ll find the story behind recently finished work with great pics like these:
Photo: “Mixed Signals,” ©2012 Tom Haney
Looking at Tom’s eyes here as he beholds the little flea, the magic behind his work becomes apparent to me.  The beholder is captivated by the work and is magically transformed into storyteller.  For the story in Tom’s imagination that led him to create a work fades to the background as the beholder gives new meaning through what he or she sees.  The stage has been set, and the story finishes in the beholder’s imagination.
See, I told you he painted the interior of his box!  I separated the box parts to show how he didn’t leave out a thing.
And this beauty is Grace.  She’s powered by an 8mm camera motor.  On Tom’s website you can watch a mini video to see how she moves:  And so I close this post with Grace, now you see her stand, now she curtsies and bows her head, and now the curtain closes on the stage…
what happens next, well, that is entirely up to you.
Photo: “Grace,” ©2006 Tom Haney