I chatted with Mike Vanko back in December about his Body of Work "Decaying History." Vanko is an urban explorer/photographer. I had the privilege of helping him put together the first solo exhibition of his photos and videos for an unscheduled popup show at the Addison Center for the Arts from December 15, 2018 to January 12, 2019. Click here to listen to the podcast on SoundCloud.
Come to Peace of Art Gallery January 26, 2019 from 6 to 9 PM to celebrate the gallery's First Anniversary! Peace of Art Gallery is dedicated to exhibiting local artists at affordable prices. They have something for everyone. JAM Fine Arts' Julie Mars has four pieces on display and will be there to chat and enjoy the party with you.
I have an interest in old science illustrations. Part of what I love about them is that they illustrate how science marches on by displaying what was the cutting edge understanding of the world at the time. In hindsight, we have a privileged vantage point to recognize where the images either incomplete or quaintly misguided. Fortunately for all of us science is self-correcting and that is fun to trace through science images.
Open Culture reminded me that I have a fondness for another related group of art and illustration. I get a huge kick out of the writings, diagrams, and illustrations of fringe theorists. They are those who regardless of current scientific consensus, persistently shout about their alternate view of life, the universe, conspiracies, and everything. Open Culture put up some gorgeous images produced by a member of the Muggletonian religious sect from 1846. Half of the images describe why Isaac Newton (Copernicus, Galileo etc. etc.) was wrong. The other half illustrate the One True Cosmos per the Muggletonian view that they claimed are true thanks to scripture. The One True Cosmos Muggletonian view is charmingly wrong but makes gorgeous works of art.
Here is a description of the prints from George Glazer Gallery in New York:
A series of six astronomical engravings in tones of blue, white, yellow, and green, intended to demonstrate that the earth is at the center of the universe, based on planetary charts drawn by Isaac Frost, an artist and scientist associated with a Victorian sect known as the Muggletonians. They were engraved by Chubb & Son, London, and printed by George Baxter, who employed his innovative oil color printing technique that permitted subtle gradations and seamless transitions between colors for a glowing effect.
The art nerd in me was intrigued to hear about the color printing technique because my assumption was that they were hand colored like so many other engravings of the time. Those attractive teals and yellows should be consistent throughout the print runs. Like a lot of other engravings from earlier centuries, the prints were meant to be illustrations in a book rather than wall art. However, as we all know it became common for people to cut the plates out of periodicals and old books and frame them for display. (If you have or come across any antique books with great pictures, please don’t do this. Make a color copy instead.)
(End nerdy digression)
So my dream curiosity cabinet has a restricted section for irrational oddities like these prints. They are beautifully color-crafted engravings with striking compositions.
I am working on a series of pieces influenced by people who are doing this kind of stuff right now. My Pseudosphere Earth Theory project is a response to the baffling beliefs of flat Earth theorists and many other fringe opinions. Nowadays, everybody with a homespun view of the world and a moderate budget can disseminate it with very little sophistication. Occasionally, they produce documentaries that rival the polish of Hollywood studios or NASA’s animation team. I won’t make a very slick video but there will be a video–albeit a cheesy and awkward one.
Thanks to the judge for the “In and Around-Vessels and Jewelry” exhibit at the Fine Line Art Center’s Kavanagh Gallery for the Merit Award in vessels. The show runs from June 18 through August 10, 2018 at the Fine Line Art Center in St. Charles, IL. The art work of many fine artisans and artists is on display. The show has a delightful variety of media and techniques.
The Fine Line Art Center is a gem. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the enriching classes, programs and exhibits on offer there.
Oddball Art Labs organized an amazing art show with a huge reception on July 13, 2018 at Artspace in downtown Elgin, IL. If you ever have a chance to participate in one of their show/happenings jump on it! The show was a blast of pop surrealism. Click here to go to their Facebook page and see some video and more photos from the show.
JAM Arts’ contribution was a bead mosaic vase entitled “The Hapless Missionaries Arrive on the Ravenous ExoMoon.” I finished it the day before the entry deadline. Here’s a cell phone shot of it. (If you look closely you can see that the glue is still white because it is fresh, fresh, fresh.)
…Ravenous Exomoon was inspired by my youngest daughter’s TY toys with giant eyes and some homage to Lisa Frank, as well.
Here are some more cell phone shots from Strange Imaginations and Other Perplexing Wonders:
Materials for necklace above:
Prepare a length of your satin cord to twice the length you want your necklace plus another six to eight inches. Protect one end of your cord from fraying by wrapping a tiny piece of clear tape to the end of it. Twist it into a needle shape to feed it through the tail of the safety pins. (You can also use glue or nail polish if you feel like waiting for it to dry)
Follow the diagrammed pattern above. Pick up a safety pin and add a miracle bead, then two medium blue beads, then two light blue beads. Make two of these and string the looped tail of the safety pins onto your satin cord. (This repeat is important to make it look like a wave instead of a zigzag.) Make sure your safety pins are always facing the same direction. The next pin should start with dark blue–then miracle bead–then one medium blue–then two light blues. You will always have five beads to a pin.
You do not need to only use 3 colors of beads. For this project you can do one color of blue background and just do the wave in a contrasting color OR you can use 5 different shades of blue light to dark with whatever contrasting wave color you want.
Slide the pins down as needed to give you a 3″ tail of cord near where you started. When you have strung all of your pins, check over your work then loop back through the head of the last pin you added and continue stringing through the rest of the heads of the safety pins. When you’ve finished temporarily knot the two ends of the satin cord together to measure it or fit it. Make adjustments as needed.
When you are satisfied with the length, use your needle and thread to stitch the two ends of the cord together so that when you hold the necklace up the loops coming out of both ends are equal and not too long. You can put a little bit of glue or wax on the stitched ends to keep them from fraying.
Use plain 1″ silver safety pin as a clasp. Voila!
Julie Mars' current events, projects, & inspirations.