Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pope washes feet of "Gay" Irish Priests (letter to Irish Faithful).

Honour thy Father and Mother (Pastoral Care), Light Switch for a Christian Home. Designer unknown. Must have been a naive Christian designer. Sex is a sin - bad thoughts are taboo. The sexual connotation is in the eye of the beholder.Pope Benedict XVI's letter to the Catholic faithful; makes a plea to all closeted gay Catholic Priests to come clean (face up to justice), to declare their status as an act of repentance, healing and renewal.?!

Catholic Church repents of Concessive Concealment - is it enough?
The churches concealment - code of silence ensured the abuse continued. The practical effect of this code of silence has been to allow the priestly abusers to become serial rapists, as they have been shipped off from one assignment to another. Daily Beast, Blogs and stories, James Carroll
It is ironic that the gays are refused communion in the Catholic Church (homosexual activity is sinful), whilst the child abusing, paedophiles, again in the spotlight Catholic Priests, suppose to be celibate, have received and administered communion for years. They did so whilst abusing little boys and girls. The Catholic Church continue to conceal their sexual acts and deny their priest's sexual orientation. They are not permitted to be sexually active, I suppose they therefore can’t be gay. It has been convenient for them all these years, to be celibate in the first place, to conceal their status as closeted homosexuals and lesbians (nuns). No they are not homosexuals, nor should they be treated as paedophiles (criminals). They are untouchable, Gods chosen people, supported by Gods love within Gods sanctuary. What is their sexual orientation, Pope Benedict, are they not homosexuals to?. Do they not desire sex with their own kind, is it not true that their sexual fantasies goes much further, it also includes the seduction of little boys (a very serious crime)?.
They should come clean, accept the fact that they to are homosexuals, come out of the closet, declare themselves gay, be listed as child offenders, and support the gays rights to Holy Communion and their rightful place in society – as an act to redeem themselves. It is time that the Catholic Church admits that their priests are sexual beings, that they are sexually active and that the policy on celibacy should be scrapped – maybe then they wont abuse little boys and girls, suppose to be protected by god’s people in god’s house. This is an abomination Pope Benedict. Instead these Priests, yes they are criminals (paedophiles), are protected by the Catholic Church, and permitted full rights within the Catholic Church, a position god loving homosexuals are denied. Yes the Catholic Church has provided them sanctuary, whilst their gay god loving Christian brothers are denied communion and support. By the way, gays are not paedophiles Pope Benedict. We love sex with our own kind, but we are not paedophiles. One wonders whether the Irish Paedophile Priests had confessed to these acts, before receiving communion, and administered the body and blood of Christ to their congregations. If so, then the Pope and his clergy should please explain why they were permitted to administer and continue to receive communion, whilst god loving and fearing gays are constantly refused to partake.

Act of defiance; protest over the Catholic church policy of refusing communion to homosexuals. The Star, Monday, 11 March 2010.

Seduced and abandoned; Ceramic Competitions!

Spanner in the works, Page one of three. Entry forms for Mixed Media - Ceramics plus, The Nassauische Sparkasse 2010 Talent Award for Ceramics.

Entering Ceramic Competitions is every aspiring ceramist’s dream to gain regional, national and international recognition. The idea is to seek an acclaimed status (celebrated, applauded and much appraised) amongst the elite of one’s ceramic peers. Being accepted and winning an award, boosts one’s creative endeavours and looks great on the CV. However being rejected, especially when you were very confident with your entry, can be devastating!

Spanner in the works, Page two of three. Entry forms for Mixed Media - Ceramics plus, The Nassauische Sparkasse 2010 Talent Award for Ceramics.

Case in point
This post entry is in direct response to my work being rejected for the Mixed media – Ceramic Plus, The Nassausiche Sparkasse 2010 Talent Award for Ceramics. Enclosed are the drawings, images and supporting text submitted for the Ceramic Competition (as requested in the entry forms) –an installation of 16 tattooed rats with actual piercings titled, Spanner in the Works. To my knowledge this is the first time, in an International Ceramic Competition, that your ideas, drawings, models and prototypes had to be submitted for adjudication and not photographic documentation of the finished final piece. I assume most ceramists would have submitted images of their final pieces and not drawings etc as stated on the entry forms.
Emotional Distress
I was very confident with my drawing skills and design layout knowledge, including my highly refined conceptual ability, that I would be one of the 150 out of 350 entries to this prestigious awards exhibition. Especially as the 2010 competition focuses on Art or expressive works rather than studio ceramics and or Ceramic Craft. The inclusion of piercing linked to tattoos, associated with the historically significant event, Operational Spanner UK, seemed the obvious creative direction for me to pursue, and perfectly meets the competition's mixed media criteria. On rejection a carefully constructed letter was compiled and sent to the abandoned and rejected individuals, with these comforting and encouraging words; to consider future participation … “but please: as you surely know, - in another context, with another group of jury members or another theme the decision could have been easily another one involving your wonderful project, too.”

Spanner in the works, Page three of three. Entry forms for Mixed Media - Ceramics plus, The Nassauische Sparkasse 2010 Talent Award for Ceramics.
Most competitions have a policy that the judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into / or entertained at the rejection of the work. No feedback is ever provided. This leaves one with the feeling of self-doubt and rejection, a Dostoyevsky type angst (Crime and Punishment syndrome) associated with a lack of creativity and innovation underpinning one’s work.
In my capacity as a judge, I have myself rejected work for regional and national competitions, and therefore should be well prepared for the worst outcome. However there are those times when one is maybe over confident and forget that there are so many factors that contribute to work being accepted and certain work to be rejected. To try and begin to analyse the reasons for the work’s rejection, is a futile exercise, and in itself destructive. There are always more questions than answers. Doubt is not all bad and if channelled correctly could bring out the best in one’s creativity.
One should take refuge in one’s self belief, and pursue one’s creative passion with ever increasing determination. One needs to get over it, not to take it so personally, and to get on with it. So there you have it. Respect for the judges decision is always good governance, obstinate behaviour could have serious consequences, that draws far too much attention to oneself for the wrong reasons, which most certainly will not aid one’s future career development or successful entry in future competitions.

Monday, March 15, 2010

And the winner is...

Congratulations to the winner, Karen Murray. Follow the link to view her work and profile.

Last month, I ran a competition to celebrate my blog's 1 st year birthday. The prize was a Pair of Crafty Rats, part of an installation, that won The Clay pot Award at last year's Ceramics SA regional awards exhibition. I asked John to adjudicate the draw, and the first correct entry was Karen Murray, a B Tech graduate from the UJ Ceramic department. She was also an award winner at last year's regional. Only a few entries were received, to win the pair of rats, I guess the marketing exercise associated with the event was not really a success. Thanks to those that entered. I trust that next year the event will be a greater success.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Best of Ballpoint pen drawings; 25 years of it.

Long walk to Paradise, Digital Print of Ballpoint pen drawings on acid free paper. Collection of the Artist (1/5) and Carl Landsberg (artist proof)

Drawing with Ballpoint pens.
My drawings have never featured on this blog, especially my passion for drawing with ballpoint pens. This post therefore captures a wide selection of drawings made over the past 25 years. I started drawing with ballpoint pens during my final year of study towards a BAFA in Ceramic Sclulpture - drawing in a bound book for obvious reason explained below. The refinement of my technique; with the emphasis on capturing the three dimensional forms and shapes for ceramic sculptures, was consolidated on a study trip abroad, way back in 1984. These drawings (the last entries on this post) were for my masters obtained in 1986. However its was only recently that I introduced colour, emulating tattoos, placing far greater emphasis on surface decoration (written on the body) than ever before. Although drawings do feature on the blog they more than often support the development of the work. Numerous visitors to the blog expressed and interest in the drawings - what follows is the best of my drawings over 25 years (the drawings of the recently posted pierced rats appear separately under the label attached to this entry) or follow the link provided.

Long Road to Paradise (drawings above)
The drawing above formed part of a curated exhibition to celebrate our young democracy. The tile is derived from Nelson Mandela's book, the long Road to Freedom. The art works had to illustrate the tile of the book, each artist had to conclude the title provided, The long road....... The individual drawings were scanned into a computer, together with a photograph of the platter and the composition was styled using Photoshop. Digital printing on acid free paper ensures that ballpoint pen drawings are preserved (it fades completely with time if exposed to sunlight).

Most complex drawings I have ever done
The first four drawings below are the most complex I have ever made and demonstrates my technique and skill. Further down the post are drawings of different styles developed in support of the ceramic sculptures over the years. Also included is ballpoint pen studies of organic objects, artefacts and renderings showcasing the development of the drawing technique and style. I trust you will find them interesting.

The Minotaur /Pope. see explication below.
The drawing above forms part of a work of art digitally printed on acid free paper - complete work below.
Pope/ Minotaur (ballpoint pen drawing above).
One of my favourite ballpoint pen drawings is the Minotaur featured above. Especially the sculptural qualities; the stylization of the forms and shapes, including the small added details, all of which enhances the Minotaur's gestalt. The ribbon of his apron (tied at the front) serves numerous symbolic functions, its represents a scissor, a symbol for circumcision, it also alludes to his genitals, which is indicative of the Catholic Church's lack of action against the abuse of children amongst their clergy. His hands and arms are outstretched above his head, to take the shape of horns and compliments his outstretched legs, firmly on the ground; a stance of defiance, arrogance and stubbornness. He wears a butchers apron, associated with slaughtering of animals; indicative of the popes stance on homosexuality (gays) and the use of condoms in an aids stricken world.

The Pansy, Final Drawing for a series of ceramic sculptures. (2007-2009)

The drawing above is the first to incorporate a range colours. With reference to tattoos, the surface decoration added another dimension to the expressive function of the ceramic sculptures. The focus on surface decoration is in direct response to the notion of written on the body (referring to tattoos and other forms of body modification). The contemporary cultural representation and signifying practices of tattoos associated with surface decoration on ceramics.

Magic Carpet, Final drawing for Ceramic sculpture based on the myth of Lady Godiva.

The drawing above is arguably one of the more complex drawings I have ever made with ballpoint pens. The use of colour was introduced only three years ago for the first time - inspired by tattoos, as mentioned above, it seemed the logical direction to go. The addition of colour adds another dimension to the drawing technique. I guess it is the stylization of three dimensional forms captured in the drawings, embracing the modeling and moulding techniques of the sculptural process that make them already special. Adding colour and surface decoration, a taboo instilled in me as a Fine Art Student, makes it that much more unique. My recent fascination with surface decoration is very obvious in these drawings. In the drawing above, it is the subtle use of colour that intrigued me. Especially the light grey tones of her body and dress, offset with red ink lipstick decoration on her legs, contrasting sharply with the gaudiness of the butterfly. The detail in the waves should make for interesting decals should I pursue this direction.

Bulls, Bullies, Minotaurs and their victims.
The following set of drawing go back a long time, it started in 1989 and I am still fascinated with the theme. Some of which remain drawings, even though they would make great ideas for ceramic sculptures. The thought of doing an artist book, incorporating them into another expressive format is an obvious one.

Big-shots, Image of war moguls. preparatory drawing for ceramic sculpture dealing with war and mainly violence against woman .

The Bigot, Drawing part of the Bully series; see details below.Ballpoint pen drawing (2007) Original set of drawing completed in Paris.

Big Jaw, Ballpoint pen drawing (2007) Original set of drawing completed in Paris.

The Bully
A Series of drawings based on "bulling" in all shapes and sizes, characters and forces prevalent in society today. This is one of my favourite drawings and images ever created. I was fascinated with Picasso's etchings, paintings, and ceramics based on the Minotaur and the horse. The Minotaur is associated with the labyrinth, it represents death (man's unconquerable enemy) and or our worst enemy. That which haunts us and torments us on a daily basis. These creatures represent those that provoke intolerance and bring out our worst fears!.

Where there is a bully, there must be a victim, find below a reoccurring theme, the swan as a figurehead, vulnerable, yet ready to explode.

Preparatory drawings for image above.

Final drawing for a ceramic sculpture (untitled). Three months spent at the Cite, Paris. Research travel grant.

Final drawing for a ceramic sculpture, Fate two. Three months spent at the Cite, Paris. Research travel grant.

Final Drawing for the porcelain sculpture, The Swine. (1990). Three months spent at the Cite, Paris. Research travel grant.

Drawings for headrest inspired Ceramic Sculptures.
The headrests were interesting as objects, both formally and stylistically, especially the interesting positive and negative shapes and forms. However it is the metaphor of the dream machines (headrests) that provided the vehicle for personal expression, a direct response to all the violence and crime experienced and endured during this period; the late eighties and nineties (living in Yeoville JHB). Here are a few drawings from this series.

Preparatory Drawings (1994-5) for a new series of hand built Ceramic Sculptures.

The role of drawing in the development of sculptural ideas.
Based on headrests (dream machines), with exciting positive and negative spaces, these artefacts provided a mythical and symbolic inspiration for the hand built ceramic sculptures I made during the nineties. The above gestural drawings provide an excellent example of the role of rendering of this kind in the creative process - developing your ideas. The forms and shapes and finally the proportions, including the scale of the work, can be predetermined. Being able to capture the idea on paper, provides an excellent opportunity to be inventive sculpturally - however it simplifies the modelling and moulding phase of the sculpting process. I always photo-stat the work to the required scale, taking into account the shrinkage - it therefore speeds up the modelling process (see studio shot further below).

Night howler, Final Drawing for a porcelain sculpture (1994),
Inspired by African Headrests and myths and narrative on the origin of death. A series of Ceramic sculptures developed to address the violence experienced in South Africa, as a resident in Yeoville in the 1990's.

Final drawing for a Sculpture, inspired by African headrests, Dream machines 1990.

A drawing of an Artefact (1990). I really love this drawing, especially the faces of the monkeys and the composition; the positive and negative shapes.

Drawings of organic objects and artifacts.
Since my travels abroad in 1984, artefacts were the initial inspiration in the sculptural process; they were the departure point in developing innovative and creative forms and shapes. Inspired initially by the evocative quality of literary sources, the artefacts formed a symbolic vehicle from which to start the inventive sculptural process in each of the ceramic statements, in this case wooden carved headrests, pipes and other African indigenous works of art.

Observation studies. Rosendal 1989.

It is always good to draw from nature. It keeps the eyes trained to observe and render. Very necessary skills for a an inventive sculptor. I love drawing and having a bound sketch book, allows one to draw on both sides of the page and to keeps a systematic diary/record of the development of your ideas. It also protects the drawings - loose pages always fold and bend with disastrous consequences.

Ceramic Studio at the Technikon Wiwatersrand (1989). where I taught, with the enlarged photos-tats of drawings on the wall, to aid the sculpting process.

Drawings for the final body of work (Masters of Fine Art 1984-1986)
The drawings that follow are mainly done during my travels as a masters student in 1984. The drawings are captured in abound book, drawings of artefacts and inspirational works of art made during visits to major museums all over the world. From Hong Kong to Paris and Italy, Germany, England and New York. Three months of observation, reflection and inspiration. During the trip, artefacts and sculptures formed the inspiration for the final body of work submitted towards my Masters of Fine Art. The images below are a very small selection of the best drawings I made as a student. The drawings for The Horse and rider, perfectly illustrate to what extent the artefacts influenced the look and feel of the final ceramic statements.

Preparatory Drawings for major works, Masters of Fine Art. 1986. as published in the official magazine of Ceramics SA. 1987.

The Final Drawing, The Horse and Rider (1984), Johannesburg Airport,

Preparatory Drawing for The Horse and the Rider (1984). New York.

Drawings of Artefacts (1984), reference material for the ceramic Sculpture, The Horse and Rider (see the two drawings above), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Museum studies of Egyptian Art. (1984), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.