Friday, December 28, 2012

A couple of new stuffs....

Wow... no post since October. With the end of the semester, the holidays and applications for shows I have not been able to get to this thing called a blog. Anyhow since then I have completed two new projects and have two more in progress. The set of pics above is the front and back of the same flag. I have started combining the general large one image screen with that of the monoprint silkscreening. The set contains eight. They are about two feet by four feet. The same theme persists here from the past year and a half. I am very much enjoying exploring the realm of zen philosophy and printmaking. The repetition, the image development and the notion of these going out into the world has really become an obsession.

The above is from another set just finished last week. As yet untitled, they measure two feet by 4 feet. They come in a set of nine. This is the second set where I have decided to utilize both the back and front of the nobori. These are printed in the monoprint silkscreen manner. Each of the separate part of the whole image are printed from different stencils on the screen. The particular bell in this set is from Ryoanji temple in Kyoto. You will also start to see more geometric elements in this landscape like set. Mostly a reference to rock garden patterns but also sound waves and whatever you choose to bring to it.

As the holidays just hit and now a spate of crappy weather I have not been able to get these outside yet. I am considering suspending them in a hallwaylike manner. I suppose you could say an outdoor corridor is the intention. As the weekend comes and New Years eve right around the corner I am planning to place them out for the passing of the year. A pretty decent one and I look forward to seeing what 43 brings to the table. This past season I looked at poking back into the political activism of projects from a time not too long ago. I must say that it is interesting on how a shoe may still fit but just no longer feels right. As these nobori and paving stone projects are still pretty young I think I shall keep exploring them in relation to how they can affect the world.

It is so easy to get upset at the world and that which it brings us. And rightfully so. There is much that needs attention and it seems there are plenty of folks who are capable of that. I am enjoying the overlooked aspects of the world and where we can find ourselves in relation to that. I guess sort of sublime. More so that time where we can remember that we are human and mostly lead really decent lives. The marvels we build, the marvels we see in what nature forms, arts of splendor and challenge. This is where I want the Velvet Pelican Projects to go. Some people would call this the spiritual side of life. As I am not spiritual or religious in anyway, very atheist, I suppose it is more Vulcan like. Yup, you just read it, a Star Trek reference, but that is the closest I can come up with right now.

Wow, a lot of writing. I have a bunch of pending projects coming up in the next month and will hopefully see some interesting results for the upcoming year. Fill you in in a few weeks.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In Progress and Another Finished Set....

So this is a set that I showed in production in an earlier entry here on this fine blog. Yes sir, The from of the Blue Box! This is about 60 of them strung up. There are two simple images: A Buddha and a tree and a Buddha and some bird cages. There are another 20 to string up for the set to be complete. I am moving past the super long strands of the summer project and looking into layering.

The last few projects have seen higher numbers of prints being pulled. The idea of repetition mass production and focus have become pretty obsessive lately. I suppose you could call it meditative. There seems to be an act of minimalization developing. How can one or two repeated images create a totality? What is the notion of the group functioning as a whole? Some very curious questions. And then I realize it is not that separate from studying zen koans. The act of much time spent on one story or question is similar to the manner of printing I have taken to. I do not think I could really call these Zen but perhaps the act of printing them just might be. I'll post the finished project after the sewing is complete. I wonder what the storm yesterday has done for them....

Above is another finished project. 60 paving stones in all. I am still playing with the actual layout similar to the one in a previous entry. There are 4 different Buddha images from my travels in Japan. During the production of these the focus has really become focused on the Buddha. No grounds or trees or anything else. I am looking at the paving stone, the image and the collection as a whole piece. I suppose I have started entering the world of sculpture as someone recently pointed out. I have not really looked at them in that perspective. In truth I have really been considering them more as garden art. Not really earth art, not really sculpture, not really in the land of Smithson or Lin. Granted I do admire those artists greatly. I suppose the focus is more dated back to them as part of a larger whole. How would these have fit into a temple in Asia back in the 1300's is more my perspective.

I have another set being started this week. Craziness of the week permitting. this set will be composed of one image over the sixty some stones I have purchased. The idea is to put the above flags and this set of stones together in a mixed set of intentions. It will be interesting to see where it goes.

I believe, finally, after the completion of the next set I will actively work to get these out in the world. elf promotion is not my strong point but as I have a good inventory building up I should probably do something with them. I have about six different projects to work with. Many friends have suggested some good sights to contact and work with. November sounds like a good month for that. As well I have found a residency I will be applying for that would happen next summer... IN RURAL JAPAN!!!!

Until next time....

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Buddha Wall...

Hello friends out there in the world of craziness and mind numbing politics. As of late I have come to notice a large amount of people who are very angry at the state of our current politics. Angry like I have not seen in years. Now I tend to stay fairly politically active but some of the words and things I have heard come out in the world seem to be a very consuming anger. YIKES. My point being: it has reminded me of what I want the work of Velvet Pelican to do. To work out in the general public, in whatever place will take them, and create a sense of solitude for those of us that want or need it. By placing these out in the world and letting people have them as gifts I hope to create a bit of good will and the reminder of taking in that which we often look past.

So with this installment I have just finished the Buddha Wall. This was originally intended to be more in the shape of a well. After some playing around, like a kid does with Legos, the above photograph took shape. This was most definitely not premeditated. It just started to fall into place. Very much like meditating I suppose. The act of the construction as well as that of the printing became of the same intent. Pulling from the act of constructing garden elements and the printing process fell in the same line. I guess this is a step closer to bring my garden obsession with my fondness of printmaking.

I estimate there are about 60 paving stones in this piece. As my new favorite art supply store, Home Depot, has run dry on this particular stone, this project is finished. The are four distinct Buddhas in this set printed in variations with two different trees. These are taken from photos during my trips to Japan. So I have thought of my obsession with the Buddha image. Why so many and not something else. Simply put: I can not think of a more serene image to work with at this time. The Buddha image, in many cultures, brings about the sense of serenity that studying zen koans and philosophy has brought to my life.

I don't see these as some spiritual quest. And no offence to anyone on that road. By and large I am an atheist. These are very Representative of the ordering of the mind and looking for that clarity of mind that zen philosophy bring to my mind. Wow... perhaps this is one of my more honest entries with the blog world. Anyhow, I am going to move on to other parts of my day. I have one more project I am adding to my inventory and then will start looking at places to get these out to. Hopefully around the first of the year.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bird Cages, More Buddhas, Slate and the Paths Project

Wow... since the last post was early August! Oops. Well, since early August and the return of school things got hairy hectic with a few surprises added. None the less the work resumed a bit sporadically during this time. 3 projects in the works at once. The above picture is from a set I am throwing into the "Paths" project I started with the slate this past summer. Home Depot has become a great resource for materials lately. This set is somewhere around 30 right now. Roughly 5" x 8" each in size. God only knows how big I'll let this set get to.

With the "Paths" project experiment I am further exploring my obsession of rock/ dry landscape gardens and printmaking. My brain has toiled with the strangeness of these crossing into the land of being a commercial product. Something I should stay aware of as I move along I suppose. In person they almost look like book relics. The aim here is to get them to read as something more then a paving stone. Booklike is fine. But they are also, literally, pedestrian. These are intended to be walked on along a path, in a pattern, and explored in a natural garden like environment. A little note on the side: It has also been fun test driving them.

 As you will recall from the last post I started working with some recycled slate. Here is the finished set above. This is the backyard of the Blue Box print studio we love so much. They are not yet arranged in a pathlike setting but I wanted to get some sort of an idea how they could function in a garden. The test drive is pretty decent. More arranging and pushing around is definitely in order. But I think I am getting closer to merging that garden/ printmaking merger closer together.

Another detail from the slate set. With the art moving into a more tranquil setting I am also starting to investigate further the idea of bring some solitude into the world as we know it for the general public. I have noticed the I have been too wrapped up in the current politics and drudging through those interesting things life deals out to us. It is very easy to get wrapped up in it. Perhaps if I was still 19 I would still have the urge to stay in that sort of place. BUT.... NNNNNNNNNNNNNNAAAAAHHHHH! There are so many people out there to do that. I am very interested in giving folks a break from that. It is time to start putting these back out into the world. I am learning that it can be difficult to do just that though. Perhaps I just simply need to do it. HHMMMM....

And lastly for this post the above project. No name unfortunately. Just an odd little set of flags with two different images. There are 80 in total. Again exploring the idea of solitude and tranquility. The moment and time of just being. Sitting under a sweetly singing bird or under a random tree and just watching. Perhaps my Zen interest is kicking in a bit here. All the same, these just sort of happened. I am planning to put them together as one long strand and get out onto the beach in the next week. More out in the world for the folks around.

This has been a really long post so I should now shut up and go do something else.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paths and Slate, A New Experiment!

It is stuffy and humid this fine August morning! Blech.... Anyhow, this installment brings an experiment that I started about a week ago. As money is tight at this time of the year I looked around at available materials for printing. This brought me to a big pile of used slate tiles used for roofing! "What the hell!?" I thought, free and available. After some scrubbing they became usable. As what to screen onto them.... the usual and from the archives.

Pretty nifty, huh? I was not sure what to think at first but as the first 5 started to finish I came around and thought the same. A bit cheesy as well I suppose but I will deal with my own little art ethics at some other time. I've been spending a good bit of time this summer trying to figure out how to bring my fondness for gardening together with my art. Perhaps some gardening classes. Nope, way too much in student loans already. Then the idea of paths smacked me in the face. Now that is something I can spend some time on! Like below.

Now that is interesting! Not a bad place to start. And the bamboo likes it too.  After a bit of weatherproofing they became water proof. It took a bit of figuring out how to get the ink to adhere to the slate. Another interesting geeky aspect: Using the color and natural properties of the slate in conjunction with the printed images! An old lesson come back to haunt. Well the experiment expanded from 5 hunks of slate to 10 finished pieces. There are 6 more in process. Yup, it is getting bigger. See below.

One of these days I'll learn to take better pics. I think you pretty much get the idea. Yeah, paths literally and figuratively. My little love of Zen has started to creep in here. I suppose you can't keep from putting the more personal of interests totally out of your work. I won't expound upon it though. I am very much enjoying pushing them around though. Not really sculpture... not too sure what to call them, so "Paths" it is. Here are a couple of details.

Yup... slipped a dragon in there.

I have no idea how big or how many will be made. I suppose until the slate runs out. And then the more interesting question: WHAT DO I DO WITH THEM? As this is the third project I have worked on this summer the inventory is building up. A bunch of nobori and now this. Ideally, I would love to see them in some public garden. Guess some homework is in order. Perhaps some random places around town. Now that has potential as well. Maybe even let them exist as a commodity? Hmmmm. If anyone has suggestions or perhaps a garden for a temporary installment let me know.

Anyways that is all for now.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Velvet Pelican Art Challenge #1 and More of the Blue Box...

Greeting all! For this installment I have decided to host the first Velvet Pelican Art Challenge. Perhaps more like a treasure hunt. I have taken a set of flags from "The Buddha Never Meets the Dragon" series and break them up. As the total length is more then thirty feet I have decided to have a bit of different fun with it. It is in the idea of Velvet Pelican Projects to put work out in the public and let people have it. I do enjoy this as there is a distinct possibility that these will spark some ideas or fir up some one's imagination. Even more so just to, perhaps bring a sense of solitude in these crazy times we dwell in.

I know... color correction! Above is one of the six at this neat location. Please feel free to hunt it down in our fair city of Beverly. Hint: it is on the waterfront. I have been considering expanding a bit. But the more I walk around Beverly the more places I find to install these things. I am moving more towards places that are perhaps underused. I like the idea of having people investigate their locality more closely. You know what they say... think globally, act locally.

Above is a test drive of this particular set earlier last week. Regardless to say it no longer looks like this. This scene is behind the Blue Think Box in our newly made garden.

Speaking of the Blue Box we had our first public opening this past Saturday. And boy did it rain! All the well though. We planted and the gARTen pARTy which was coordinated by our new inmate Ginger. She did a fine job. We must have had 60 plus in attendance. Many thanks to all who dropped in. I suppose next time we should pay attention to our rain date. In October we will be hosting our next thingee... details to come.

A couple of pics from installing. I'll post some of the finished ones sometime soon. That is all.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nuclear Facts Bag and The Blue Box Update....

Greetings folks. In this episode I bring you a bit of a different project: A nuclear waste facts bag on one side and the new Velvet Pelican logo on the other. I have been looking at ways to bring a bit more politics and issues to the fold. I was very tempted to merge them with the nobori but that seemed at adds. Kind of like putting chocolate on a hot dog. A bit of separation is needed in this case. There is time and place in making art when it is necessary to produce in different avenues. From the complicated to the simple. Well these bags definitely fall into the simple and quick.

Most often one looks at their art and really wants to push it far to validate it. The lesson I have learned here is that sometimes the end result requires a more direct approach. So what is the goal here. Education for the most part. Of course the visual appeal is necessary but the info provided in this manner of art is as important. The means is to use the art to convey the information. In this case I have done much research on nuclear waste. Referencing many sources and checking facts to present accurate research. From the Nuclear regulatory Commission, The Sierra Club and the International Atomic Energy Association these facts were pulled.

The above photo gives you the idea. Yup, a little self promotion on the other side of the bag as well. Never hurts I suppose. The more the viewers, the more the reading goes around. I have this idea of someone taking them to the grocery store and the baggage person reading these nifty little facts.... or perhaps some light beach reading. The tone is neither angry nor light hearted. I tend to prefer not to be on a soap box when putting out this kind of work. I merely wish for people to think a bit and let them come to their own conclusions based on actual facts of the matter. A bit of activism I suppose you would say.

And as you can see there are many of them. I figure about 100 of them. It was kind of fun just doing the whole mass production things with the printing. I will have these available first at the Blue Think Box, next week July 28. We are at 29 Cabot Street and hosting the gARTen pARTy from 6 to 10. Come on by and take part. Art in the back garden we just cleared out for this temporary show. See inside and marvel at all of the goodies being made inside.

See this link for more:!/events/378510408870492/

Well, all in all a good summer in the nice ocean side town of Beverly. Enjoy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Buddha and the Dragon Never Find Each Other

Hello on this toasty fine July morning. This is some work from a new set. It is most certainly not finished yet but I am very excited about them. So I decided to post a few of them anyhow. This set is called, "The Bhudda and the Dragon Never Find Each Other."

This set is going to end up with thirty eight flags. Above is a sample of them down at the Blue Box. Currently I am hovering around 21. Not all of them are yet finished but I am really enjoying this one. Perhaps it is the down time between scheduled projects or just the inordinate amount of sun my brain is cooking in.

The above pic is one of my current favorites. It is funny how these favorites change. This set is a bit different in that I started with a title. I know that it is not really proper to go this way but... oh well. The title makes me giggle. And the thought that poor Buddha is chasing a dragon through a bamboo forest kind of cracks me up. I guess the humor is not really apparent which is good. This keeps the project from becoming a one liner.

There is our fine dragon in a not yet finished piece. The real source for this piece is based on Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto. Perhaps my favorite. Anyhow, on the temple ground the Buddha statue is just outside of the main temple. The main hall is seperated by dividers taht have some wonderful dragons in sumi ink. I do suggest you read up on them. The dragon in these pieces are from the main hall. Years ago I would have sneered at placing a dragon or a Buddha in my work. HA! how time can get you to see differently. How ethics change. And you know, at times, I wish I were braver back then to have pulled that off.

There is another view of the set. It is my plan to get these out into the fair town of Beverly by the end of the week. They will not be installed like the past few projects as nobori. I am considering a tree or perhaps a nice alley and stringing them up high. I have babbled enough now and should go work on some other stuff. Pics of the final install next week.



Monday, June 11, 2012

Really Big Nobori... (for me anyways).

Well... just a short time since the last post but I have kept busy. This is a set I was working on that got postponed so I decided to move them forward anyways. This set of three is based on Ginkakuji temple in Kyoto not far from The Philosopher's Trail. The previous sets I worked on in the past are a bit smaller. These measure seven feet tall and two feet wide. And to switch it up a bit I have decided to move back to the trees for this one.

Also a bit different in the set is the use of multiple spacial planes as seen in the pic above. From some deep perspective to grounds that meld back into space to plane old flat. My brain had almost melted trying to remember how to work that trick. It just sort of happened that these in particular worked out that way. Also with these, unfortunately you can not see the text in these pics, each one contains a text of a Zen koan. Sorry but by the time I thought of documenting these they were twelve feet up in the air.

I do believe I will work more with the printed koans on the next project. The sense of serenity they can bring the brain is truly amazing. During the third week of June I will get this set out in the public realm. It is going to take a bit of time to figure out where these will live for a bit of time. I am considering a beach side location as there are plenty of those around here. I have started to consider expanding out into Boston or Cambridge. I think I will be saving that as I am really enjoying locally. Ideally I would love to get them over seas but have not yet figured out how that would work yet.

The lanterns from the previous post will also be out in the third week of June. Almost have it figured out.

Post it soon.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Nuclear Power and Printed Lanterns

Greetings again! The past few months have been busy with projects going out into the world. At the moment there is now some down time and i have started a few new projects. Such as the pic above. These are fashioned after Japanese candle lit lanterns. The scenes are from photos of Kiyomizu-dera and Ryoanji temples in Kyoto. The grounds there are amazing and very contemplative.

So why the title for this post this time? I have been interested in and fearful of nuclear power and weapons since the days of Ronald Reagan. How he did not manage to get us into some nuclear disaster is beyond my imagination. But I will move on. After the disaster in Fukushima last year my interest was rekindled. For some time I have been trying to figure out how to fit it into the art work. These lanterns were intended as a short term project but the notion to fit in my disdain with nuclear power just fell into place. Inside each of these lanterns is a scroll, currently in production, which contains facts on nuclear power. In particular, facts on spent fuel rods.

So why impose nuclear facts onto such peaceful imagery from a land charged with a history with nuclear issues? The idea of these places never being able to be accessed again should a nuclear disaster happen again came to mind. Of course Hiroshima and Nagasaki come to mind. And at the same time what could stop it from happening here. It seems our neighbors to the slight north west in Vermont were working to have a license for one of the reactors there not be renewed. Imagine not being able to return to your home because of a mistake or natural disaster damages the plant. It is not far fetched.

A nice detail shot! Here in the U.S. we store the spent fuel rods. Basically uranium or plutonium pellets are placed in the rods. These rods are the basic fuel that powers a nuclear plant. These plants are generally giant steam engines. Each rod has a shelf life of six years. This is where it gets creepier. When they are no longer viable as fuel they need to be cooled. They are so hot that they must be stored in a pool of water for quite a number of years before they are cool enough to be placed in a concrete container. Think about it. Something stays that long and radioactive for that amount of time. Over my years on this planet I have read numerous articles and heard many of our fair leaders tout nuclear energy as green. How the hell is the byproduct of this type of energy clean? It contaminates ground water, soil and makes whole areas uninhabitable.

A fine bamboo forest above! My goal is to print up one hundred of these to go out into the world. The fact scrolls are currently in production. Thirty of the lanterns are complete. I do like the idea of these delicate little things dealing with something of something with such brute force. I hope to complete them by August 1. I am willing to send a handful out to people who are willing to light them up in different locations on the same day. Nuclear power is something that has been overlooked for a long time now. Even if these get a few people to raise their eyebrows or learn a bit more about the actual facts of nuclear power I will be happy.

So I must go now. I will post further details about getting these out to folks in the next week or two. I also have another nobori set of three in the works. Perhaps I will post those next week.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

And now for something a little different....

The above photo is from the newest set I have been working on. These were made for The "Artifact, Archive, Orchard," project at the Peabody Historical Society at Brooksby Farm. My fine employers, Montserrat College of Art also took part with the help of Sarah Smith presenting some work shops previous to last night. Book arts, poetry and art collided here for a few days to look at the history of Brooksby Farm in particular. Thanks to Colleen Michaels and all for considering me to produces these banners.

This was an interesting challenge for me and an interesting experiment. One, because of the volume of work needed to fill the space. I ended up with a total of 16 banners being installed. Usually the sets are about half of that. Secondly, these are of American history and I have never in my life delved down that lane to make art. None the less, as I started this project, I found myself very involved in it trying to figure out what exactly to do with this subject.

At first, I thought I should represent everything very literally. You know, straight forward landscapes and the like. After a couple of days with that experiment I threw that idea out the door. Silly man! I chose to work similiar to past projects and piece them together stencil by stencil. Very time consuming but much better. It is like solving a puzzle without knowing what the finished puzzle should look like.

Everyone last night at the reception/ reading was very gracious. I even got to bumble my way through a few words in front of everyone. Ted Pattison, a conservator at Harvard College, presented a lecture on books from the 1800's which I found myself wrapped up in.  So with the end of the evening, I decided to leave this set with the Historical Society as they seemed to have found a good home there.

Good day all.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

1 project = 4 months and some thoughts on one year later!

Well now... it has just come to the attention of my brain that I have spent the bulk of the last 5 months working on the repeatedly posted 8 nobori flags. Never in my years on this planet would I have thought I had the attention span to do that. I suppose that makes all well in the land of Velvet Pelican Projects. This past week I was lucky enough to install the at Endicott College as part of the Art in Odd Places project hosted there. See below.

Fortunately none of the other participants had chosen the bridge across the pond. I had originally planned to dig several holes on the campus and plant them. When I drove up I realized the bridge had to be claimed. The idea of using a common passage had not occurred to me. One of the first ideas for this project was to have them meld into a more serene grounding. Then the idea hit me like a brick. So what if they are not as per the first intention? What if the go in a common area. Louis Sullivan did this with his architecture. The melding of organic forms with populated areas. And it makes sense. The return to an easier more calm existence in hurried times.... love it.

This was a very pleasant experience. It was interesting to hear the many people who passed by and talked for a few minutes. All of them enjoyed the notion of having them there and were happy to see them. As I usually exist within my tiny bubble of the art world, it was interesting to hear from others outside of that bubble and hear their thoughts. I think Velvet Pelican Projects will continue along these lines putting more art out into the world. When one exists so much in there own existence it is good to leave that bubble and explore.

I also must thank my young and reluctant helper, my kid, Lucien Camus. He came along after much pushing him out the door. He worked with me for and hour installing them and actually seemed to enjoy it. It is funny. This project brought many thoughts to mind. A year ago I returned to producing art on a regular basis. Starting out with the idea of bringing Velvet Pelican from under the bog, helping open the Blue Think Box and the many days of the week that I get to work in there. Hey! A pretty good life.

I now feel as though I am running out of words. Up for next week is a 19 flag set going up at Brooksby Farm for a poetry festival next week. Posting late next week. Later!