Monday, October 17, 2011

This fragment

I've been working on this large drawing for almost two month and I haven't been able to take good photos of it. When it is done, I will scan it.

I have been doing more writhing than drowning.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Venn Vello

Venn Vello, via 50 Watts

Oh man.

"She's in a meeting in the mansion." --the words around me

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Rousseau Crow

Boy on the Rocks (1895-7)

Girl with a Doll (1905)

I just read that Boy on the Rocks might be a painting of a dead boy. Somebody may have commissioned Rousseau to paint their dead child. Rousseau painted a tiny man in the flower of early adulthood preparing to flip over these medieval cliffs (the kind that may crag through the wilderness of St. John the Baptist in much older paintings) into eternity, like a fish. Like how Caillebot's zombies (1876-77), strolling in black over gray stones, are really nothing but fish. Rousseau saw them and sent them to heaven in little bodies,

which Balthus, that deviant, tried to return right into his mouth (1949):

I'd like to invite another world to the cacophony, for comparison, from the Rococco Jean-Etienne Liotard (1765):

Look at Rousseau's girl. I'm sure you've noticed she has no legs (mermaid, lobster); the grass may be tall and or it is solid, she may be sitting, she may be floating--

but what legless thing is she holding?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Platonov Drawings

This is a fairy tale by Andrei Platonov. It's called "The Armless Woman." It is about a woman whose brother cuts off her arms and sends her away to go where her eyes lead her. She wanders through the forest until she comes upon an apple orchard. She steals two apples with her mouth, not daring to eat a third. Nevertheless, she's caught by the groundskeeper. Luckily, on her way to another dire punishment, the son of the orchard keeper intercedes upon seeing her face, which has become beautiful on account of her suffering. He's disappointed, but ultimately does not mind that she has no arms. They marry and he goes off to war. She has his child.

Evil befalls her once again, and she is sent wandering through the woods, this time with her baby. They come upon a well and she drops him. "Oh Woe! I have no arms with which to save my child!" she cries, then magically grown arms. They disappear as soon as the babe is saved.

The final drawing in this set depicts the self-inflicted fate of her brother and his wife. This is how the story ends.

Read it in Russian here:

Beautifully scanned by Matt Tracey.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I wanted to compile some Rococo paintings, but it turns out that it's much harder to do than I had supposed. As a result, this is a particularly pervy handful. But I don't just think Rococo is great just for its perviness.

I am drawn to Medieval and early Renaissance art because it is full of creepy characters making strange faces and gestures (and those gross Virgin Marys, squeezing their breasts between their fingers at smiling little men), but many of the the things that are charming and revelatory about those paintings are not intended by the artists.

Then, after a certain point in the Renaissance, painting gets really boring. I hope I'll change my mind about this like I changed my mind about Rococo, but right now the majority of what I see in French, Italian, and Spanish painting (with obvious exceptions such as Velasquez) from the 17th until the mid 18th century is a snooze. It seems like people's excitement about being able to draw these great heaping naked bodies distracted them from what is really important: faces and characters. I went to the Art Institute the other day and I was particularly offended by two things from this period: the decorative rape scenes and general prevalence of gratuitous boobs. The latter would happen in, for example, history paintings. This kind of laziness and lack of motivation makes an already staged-looking painting completely abhorrent. And when the nudity is motivated, as in a rape, I can't help but think of the ugly souls of the kind of people who would display a porcelain statuette of a woman getting raped in their china cabinet.

And then something magical happens in France. Everyone wakes up. The dark popes in their heavy robes, the fleshy, anonymous cherubs, the women who previously only seemed to have looked at their reflections in tapestries instead of in mirrors and the heat of their sheets--good morning! Most of them put some clothes on, the blush returns to their faces, and suddenly, they are very interested in talking to you, the viewer. Some gawk, disturbed and curious, while others keep their distance, luxuriating in their vanity, or climbing it, like a crystal rope, and perching on the branches of haughtiness mistaken for dignity (while the painters laugh). In other paintings, you just get fresh, beautiful faces.

Jean-Etienne Liotard
Marie-Rose de Larlan de Kercadio de Rochefort

The dark backgrounds take on the colors of nature, steal its brightest shades and when they overdo it, they do it consciously--and for joy! (And, in my opinion, much more honestly than the Impressionists.) These worldly portraits return to the vivid, almost cartoonish individuality of the Medieval figures and this time they are real, living men and women. It's such a relief to see them.

Obviously, there is good and bad Rococo painting. But what you can always a deep pleasure in the sexy fruits of life that is, furthermore, often treated with an ironic detachment. And lightness. I was telling these things to my friend Corinne as we were passing into the rooms where we would get to see it, and then, in the very first room the centerpiece was this perfect example by Jean-Baptiste Oudry. I think it's called "Still Life with a Monkey and Sexy Fruits."

My favorite game to play at the Art Institute is finding the monkeys and severed heads in the paintings while going around the collection chronologically. This painting would be that secret corner of an older religious scene (like an adoration of the Magi), but now its really big. Oudry painted this because monkeys are really funny and they deserve to have their own paintings. Because paintings can reflect life, and life's delights.


Bernard D'Agesci
Lady Reading Abelard and Heloise

This painting struck me at when I saw it yesterday because it was the first one I'd seen in a century that had a good reason to show breasts and wasn't some dumb rape scene. This woman is half-naked because she is reading a sexy book and it's hot. The lace of her dress is rubbing against her nipples. She is delaying gratification.


What a sicko.

What a freaky, freaky sicko. Did two different people commission these, did one guy commission two of these, or are these just for Fragonard himself? I love that guy, there is a self-portrait by him at the Art Institute with these thick, Impressionist-y brush strokes that perfectly mold the bony angles and hanging skin of his aged face, but man--what a perv.

This lady gets it:

Jean-Etienne Liotard
Suzanne Navilledes-arts

And so do these guys:

Pietro Longhi
The Rhinoceros

Especially the Rhinoceros.

Monday, August 15, 2011


What is to De Bone?

How do I make my characters more naked? Should they wear more clothes? So much anxiety.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sad Dog

What if when you peed your avatar came out? They would tell you not to. Pessimism.