I'm glad that we live in a world where we can express ourselves in more ways than cave painting. If only Ogg had a larger brain and a well-stocked 7-11 at his disposal, perhaps he could have made art approaching the sheer beauty of Ben Harben's. Ben is a Florida native who moved to Columbia, Missouri last January. He and his significant other weren't prepared for the crazybitter cold of the Missouri winter (did anyone catch a whiff of native Nebraska sarcasm?). Ben did what any sensible human would do in the face of such adversity...settle down in front of the television! The television provided him with perfect source material for his chosen artistic medium, which is making paintings out of CHEWING GUM! He began painting the stars of the inescapable reality shows on television--Paris Hilton, Ruben Studdard, William Hung...and will now paint a custom portrait for you. Ben gave some details about his technique in this newspaper interview:
"It’s only about $30 for a bag of 200," he said. "About the cost to fill a cavity."Each painting costs around $275, a huge bargain considering the love (and probable dental bills) that go into them.
Ben Harben uses seven different colors and white, which he mixes with the colors to create tints.
He chews up several pieces of one color and mixes them together for consistency.
It took Ben Harben several attempts to find the perfect gum and the perfect method. He only uses the Dubble Bubble brand, and he only chews enough to break up the candy shell that coats the gum ball, eliminating the gritty texture while retaining the gum’s rich color. Then, he leaves the gum to dry overnight.
The next day, he lays the colors on the panel after creating an outline based on a photo. The last step involves covering the portrait with resin to preserve the works so that they won’t decay.
I was one of those kids who gave up on toys as soon as I could stick my nose in a book. Not that I was an overly-serious kid, but I spent my twenties accumulating ton of toys and kitschy little 70's and 80's hipster totems. Welcome Back Kotter garbage can? Must have. Mint condition Six Million Dollar Man doll? Where do I send my money. I've gotten much much better about acquiring kitschy toys, but perhaps I should have attacked the problem at its root. Adults need to play! One person who knows this is Didi Dunphy, an Athens, Georgia based artist who builds beautiful toys for big boys and girls. Pictured above is her naugahyde-covered skateboard. She also makes swings, teeter-totters, room dividers, and a very serious lite-brite.
As if that wasn't enough, Did is out to subvert the entire male-dominated world of 20th Century painting. How does she do this? Through CROSS STITCH, of course! She has created embroidery patterns for your dish towels and baby bibs inspired by such artistic loose cannons as Ad Reinhart, Elsworth Kelly, and Piet Mondrian. Embroider one for your baby to transform into a Jackson Pollack when he or she throws up all over it.
LINK to Modern Convenience, LINK to Cross stitch patterns
We all have one . . . a little personified something that lives in our creative space, encouraging us on when the making gets tough. Maybe yours is a stuffed frog, or maybe it's a modified Barbie. Maybe it's a photo of your great grandmother.
Martha Wasacz has compiled an utterly charming slideshow called the Studio Confidante Project. She asked creative people from all over to photograph their own Studio Confidantes in their natural habitats. It'll make you want to dust and re-arrange your own little band of creative totems, guaranteed.
I've just moved out here to the left coast, and am just getting the lay of the land. This event could be totally rad, completely dorky, both or none of the above. I'm thinking about going. If you'd like to go too, email me at k i r s t e n at d i v m o d dot com.
I'm not sure how they make these - Washi Tiles-but they are each made by hand - recycled glass remelted and combined with Japanese Washi paper. They can be made into panels, or tiles. Takes the idea of plexiglass and makes it into a natural recycled form.
I recently met Alyce Santoro of Sonic Fabric at a fiber arts show I curated in far west Texas. She had just driven 2,000 miles all the way from Brooklyn NY. She's brilliant - funky shoulder bags + found sounds. Her work is a combination of performance art and wearable art. Best of all, she works with a sweatshop-free co-op in India. She's now in her car, which is packed full of her fabrics, and is retracing the 2,000 miles back to NYC, where she'll be taking part in a sound project at Lincoln Center later this month. In October, it looks like she'll be doing a workshop at Swap-O-Rama-Rama.