Monday, June 28, 2010

Ceramic Vases; Night Howler series 1998.

Night Howler Vase I (1998) height 220mm. Slip cast, painted with Amaco under glaze colour and incised (sgrafitto technique) and fired to 1120 degrees Celsius. 

The Concept.
Literature remains the generative source for my creativity, however in this series of ceramic vases the emphasis has shifted from religion to an investigation of the richness of African and other non western cultural traditions. The vases were developed as an extension of the theme for a range of Ceramic sculptures (Night Howler III featured here on the left); conceived, developed and constructed for a one person exhibition in 1996 at the Sandton Civic Art Gallery in South Africa (to feature on this blog during the month of July). 
The Theme
The theme as the titles indicate, refer to night-howlers (Dija-Nwana); spirits that take on human shapes and create evil in the land (preparatory drawing on the left). The idea is rooted in African mythology, derived from an investigation of the following literary sources. They include Indaba my children by Credo Mutwa, The famished road  by Ben Okri and African myths about the origin of murder as captured in the book titled, Bantu Heritage written by HP Junod. The conceptual development of the series of ceramic sculptures and vases was in direct response to crime related experiences, being a victim of hijacking and other crime related activities at my apartment block, during my stay in a crime ridden suburb of Yeoville in Johannesburg during the 1990s.

Night Howler Vase I - Detail back view (1998) height 220mm. Slip cast, painted with Amaco under glaze colour and incised (sgrafitto technique) and fired to 1120 degrees Celsius. 

Night Howler Vase II - closeup of technique (1998) height 220mm. Slip cast, painted with Amaco under glaze colour and incised (sgrafitto technique) and fired to 1120 degrees Celsius. 

Night howlers and personal experiences. 
The idea of night-howlers is fused with analogous material drawn from news related events and my personal relationship experiences during this troubled time in my life. Events are reflected in dark images suggestive of pain, dismemberment and menace. What makes this work interesting, is the use of the vase as an expressive product (see concept below). 

Night Howler Vase II - front view (1998) height 220mm (collection Carl Landsberg). Slip cast, painted with Amaco under glaze colour and incised (sgrafitto technique) and fired to 1120 degrees Celsius. 

The concept for the Vase.
The idea of the vase, brightly glazed  in orange in the inside and a vitrified Matt black surface (incised - sgrafitto) on the outside, refers to fires made in punctured petrol drums (cut in half), often found on the side of the road, to heat up the vendors, homeless and now central to every game farm's larger. (image of product at CIRCA)

Night Howler Vase II - side view (1998) height 220mm (collection Carl Landsberg). Slip cast, painted with Amaco under glaze colour and incised (sgrafitto technique) and fired to 1120 degrees Celsius. 

Night Howler Vase II back view (1998) height 220mm (collection Carl Landsberg). Slip cast, painted with Amaco under glaze colour and incised (sgrafitto technique) and fired to 1120 degrees Celsius. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fabulous Kore Flatmo: Tattoo Artist of PluraBella Tattoo.

The work of Tattoo Artist Kore Flatmo of PluraBella Tattoo (follow link below)
This blog entry is an extension of one of my most visited blog postings to date entitled, Best of Tattoos Artists, Books and Bodies. I have constantly visited sites, but not nearly enough, to be in a position to state that I have accumulated enough knowledge about the subject to claim to be an expert on the topic. The growth in this industry has been extensive and covers a broad range of research areas of specialization such as body adornment, tattoos, piercings and body modifications. The subject of tattooing forms part of cultural studies such as anthropology and in particular representation (Culture Representations and Signifying Practices). This post entry merely highlights two interesting tattoo sites that was brought to my attention whilst acquiring material for surface development for one of the Ceramic Installations, titled Spanner in the works. They were cited as posts on the Blog Needles and Sins - a comprehensive and informative blog about the subject. There is also a new book available on the market titled Black Tattoo Art see link below.

What's the cost, the hours and extent of the pain? 

The first site is very interesting, as it captures the experiences of an individual that embarked on getting a Japanese Tattoo. The blog is titled Munewari Minutes  (explorations in Japanese Tattoo). This blog explicates the entire venture since its conception (5 years in the making), the hours, the costs and needless to say, the pain etc. It is a must read for anyone considering such a venture - a tattoo design that  embodies your all. The latest blog post refers in particular to the most painful parts of the body, as he experienced it.

The Tattoo Artist is Horizakura of New York Adorned Tattoo Studio

PluraBella Studio: Kore Flatmo
The second site is one of my foremost tattoo artists discovered recently. His work is outstanding and his craftsmanship rates as one of the best in the field (see title tattoo image at the top and the tattoo images below). Kore Flatmo is a master crafts person in every area of the art of Tattooing. 

Cincinnati based artist Kore Flatmo began his career as a tattoo artist in Hollywood, California in 1990. With two decades in the thick of the Tattoo evolution, Flatmo is a generational tattooer and visual artist. His incredible work and one of kind style has placed him high demand across all walks of life from the dishwasher down the street, to the high profile musician, on through to the banker on wallstreet. Collections of Flatmo’s work can be seen in Juxtapoz Tattoo Book, Acclaim Magazine and Tattoo Master UK, to name a few. (as cited on his Facebook)

His designs are trendy and extend into all the various styles and techniques available. He mainly excels at realism. His website is titled PluraBella Tattoo Studio and he is also represented at myspace. ,  facebook and you could also follow his blog

The work of Tattoo Artist Kore Flatmo of PluraBella Tattoo.

Black Tattoo Art: Modern Expressions of the Tribal: a new book  curated by Marisa Kakoulas - details below.

The book is curated by Marisa Kakoulas (lawyer, writer, circus lady and blogger) Contemporary Expressions of the Tribal would have been a better title for this book.  The 536 page hardcover includes work by tattoo artists from Borneo, Argentina, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Europe and North America. The book weighs nearly ten pounds, and the binding is stitched with silver embossing. It's fat, heavy and gorgeous. As cited on Boing Boing and at website Needles and sins. The site provides relevant information and comments about the publication including visual documentation of the tattoos.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

2010 Soccer/Football World Cup - Official Sites.

More images and sites to visit, to get you in the mood. The image above, A true Springbok rugby fan, is by renowned photographer Warrenski @ FLickr, cited at South African Tours and Travel site. What has this got to do with soccer football  you may ask. Spare a thought for our rugby team. Yesterday the springboks beat the French at Newlands - a trully great performance (stunning game). Bravo to our bokke.

The image above is by Warrenski. more images of his work on Flickr above.

Stunning images of the Cape Town stadium were taken by Deon Maritz and is available @ Flickr for your convenience. His photographs are spectacular (master craftsperson) if you like this kind of approach. His landscape images are also a treat. Well worth the view. Other photographers with incredible images of the stadium is Warrenski (see image above), also available at Flickr.  What follows are the official soccer football world cup sites that provide reviews of the games, images and up-to-date comments for soccer football enthusiasts, including valuable information for international travelers.  

Images above are of three of the stadiums, as cited on the South Africa Expo Site, promoting the World Cup at the China International World Expo recently. 

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Soccer/ Football World Cup Fever.

    The Vuvuzela, the deafening sound has been heard for the past few months and is most certainly one of the unique cultural products of the African experience. We have had church bells calling us to worship and the Islamic call to prayers . Now we have the vuvuzela calling us to play - good luck to the refs and the coaches on the pitch. 

    The opening concert was amazing - the feeling absolutely great. I love watching sport, especially soccer, the Barclays Premier League in England and of course the UEFA Champions League. Hence the post entry today. Enclosed are a few images, the best I could find on the internet - that symbolizes the creative  energy involved in making this a memorable event. For an incredible African experience of the beautiful game, visit the blog Entry of Tina Van der Walt of the Amen Project (follow the Link) - alternatively follow the link via my blog list.

    My two favourite players are Cesc Fabregas (on the right), he plays for Spain and Arsenal, and then there is Messi (Barcelona and Argentina). The player without the shirt is of course the highest paid soccer football player in the world Christiano Ronaldo (Portugal and Real Madrid star). It is going to be just incredible.

    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    Ceramic Installation of Rats.

    Studio Shot of the making of the first of three installations. Slip cast and assembled. 14 moulds are being slip cast to create the animated look - six moulds are cast simultaneously to create the carpet effect (submissive rats).

    Ceramic installations.
    I am in the process of making three installations, the process of which will feature on this blog until they are completed. The one will be titled, I never promised you a rose-garden, the other, A spanner in the works and the third requires further thought. The three concepts for the composite ceramic statements were resolved towards the end of last year. At the moment I am casting and assembling the first two installations, to get a feel for the layout and how the animated rats will be positioned individually, in line with the predetermined shape and form of the ceramic statements. One often has an idea of the layout, but on construction, the actual size and shape requires creative intervention and more importantly reflection; to refine the creative potential of the idea. 

    For the conceptual development of the installations ( reference material, initial concepts and and preparatory drawings)  follow the link - label option at the bottom titled Installations Rats.

    The work photographed above and below is titled, I never promised you a rose-garden, and takes the shape and form of a carpet. The rats are positioned aligned from both sides, their tails forming the carpet-tassels in weapon like fashion. The majority of rats are in a submissive position whilst their counterparts on both sides raise their animated heads, including their tails, in a confrontational manner.  A stand-off occurs in the centre where the two sides collide, reminiscent of parquet-flooring lifting as they expand caused by flooding. 
    There is still allot of work to be done. The animated rats are cast, the body separate from the head.  Joining the head in different parts to the body creates the desired look of stubbornness, aggression and confrontation. There are seven different moulds for the tails, some designed to accommodate the piercing. The raised head and tails are the most aggressive stance. The idea is to cast the carpet with most of the rats being in a submissive position, interspersed in amongst them, will be the aggressors, starting their way from the second row to the back (on both sides) towards the middle, the standoff (pictured above and below). 
    The exact formation needs to be fine-tuned - at this stage of developments, a more gradual confrontation is preferred. But that might change as the final animated rats are being cast and assembled and placed in the gaps, visible in the arial view of the installation (first image).  I envisage more rats to be cast with their heads slightly raised, as if they are in the process of joining their counterparts in the standoff' towards the middle of the carpet. The transition from the both ends of the carpet to the middle will therefore be more gradual and visually enticing. 

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Hand-built Porcelain Sculptures

    Fountain of life (1983) 350 x 310 x 185 mm. Private collection of Hayden Proud. Photographs by Jac De Villiers.

    The following ceramic sculptures were hand-built in porcelain and were the first works completed towards my masters degree at UCT, during the first year of study in 1983. The works focused on the mortal's quest for immortality. This series draws upon Celtic mythology. Reference was made to analogous Christian doctrines, the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist  as a means to obtaining immortality.

    Quest for immortality - Myths pertaining to immortality.

    Fountain of Life (ceramic sculpture above).
    Imagery: This sculpture depicts a gaelic version of the Old testament paradise. The christian saints diving into the Waters of Life in search of spiritual regeneration. Rising out of the water they eat the mandorla-shaped nuts that have fallen from the trees and thereby receive divine inspiration. 

    Slab-constructed and modelled in porcelain. The porcelain was tinted, inlaid and brushed with manganese, copper and cobalt oxide. Porcelain 'Mint' glaze (dipped). Fired to 1250 degrees Celsius. A 'Green' star glaze earthenware glaze was applied and fired to 1060 degrees Celsius. Painted with gold lustre and fired to 720 degrees celsius.

    Immortality Act (1983) 195 x 200 x 110 mm. Private collection. Photographs by Jac De Villiers.

    Imagery: The pretentious mortal is drawn by curiosity to attempt to experience the life of the saints for herself. The waters of life rise up and repel as she approached the well. The saints that swim in it cast her out and abandon her.
    Process: Slab constructed and modeled in oxide-tinted porcelain and biscuit-fired to 900 degrees celsius. Porcelain 'Mint' glaze (dipped) Fired to 1250 degrees celsius. The 'fish' was painted in acrylic. 

    Man is what he eats (1983) 340 x 370 x 60 mm. Private collection Raymond and Emily Hon. Photographs by Jac De Villiers.

    Imagery: The subject, desiring to share in the life of the saints, is dressed in her bathing-constume. Appropriately attired, she can swim in the Waters of Life. She is elevated above a container shaped like a fish, which is analogous to a baptismal font. She is shown at the moment of confrontation with the fish she has caught. She is about to consume the fish which is endowed with divine inspiration and knowledge, and to share in these gifts herself. 

    Process:  Slab constructed and modeled in porcelain. the 'water' was made of porcelain, inlaid with cobalt-tinted porcelain. The 'fish' is painted with a peach underglaze colour and biscuit-fired to 900 degrees celsius. Porcelain 'Mint' glaze (dipped'. fired to 1250 degrees celsius. Painted with lustre colours and fired to 720 degrees celsius. The 'fish' was painted with acrylic. 

    The Apples of Hesperides. (1983) 335 x 345 x 170 mm. Private collection. Photographs by Jac De Villiers.

    Imagery: This sculpture, making reference to Egyptian and Christian iconography, portrays the Soul partaking of the Fruit of Redemption. In the Egyptian mythology the soul, on entering the underworld , is symbolised as a hawk.
    The orchard is placed on a rectangular base representing an altar, referring to the sacrifices of Christ in the Eucharist. the fish together with the apples is symbolic of the New Adam who brings healing and deliverance.
    Process; slab constructed and modeled in porcelain. The porcelain was tinted, inlaid and brushed with manganese, copper and cobalt oxide. Porcelain 'Mint' glaze (dipped). The 'water' was glazed in a earthenware transparent glaze and fired separately to 1060 degrees celsius. Painted with lustre colours and fired to 720 degrees celsius. 
    The 'apples' were painted with a yellow lustre (see detail on the right). The dry lustre was lightly sprayed with paraffin causing it to seperate. An application of red lustre was applied to the wet surface causing the red lustre to move with the paraffin. Once the red lustre and yellow lustre intermingled they produced the third colour which was green.