Music Video, The Venus Project – (Won’t Hurt)

My daughter Morgan directed this music video. Enjoy!
Georgia Nott, one-half of Kiwi duo Broods, has just released her first solo album. The Venus Project, Pt.1 was made completely by women and released on International Women’s Day. Here’s part one of Georgia’s interview with Marty Duda and a performance of Numb.
Lyrics to “Won’t Hurt”
I could know where I am and I’d still be lost
I could be lonely when the party is mine to host
For all the places I’ve been
I’ve only been skin and bone
So I wrap myself in you and pray that I’m not a ghost
I’m not a ghost
I could be screaming and you wouldn’t hear a word
For however heavy my heart is, my mind is worse
But all that you hear
Is confidence clear as day
So I wrap myself in you and pray that it won’t hurt
It won’t hurt
“It feels awesome to be surrounded by really super strong women that are changing how they present themselves to the world to bring about change and saying what they want to say.” Georgia Nott
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Roof Garden Art, Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout

Hedge Two-way Mirror Walkabout.
Hedge Two-way Mirror Walkabout.

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When I visit the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, I try to visit the roof garden. Not only are installations interactive, the view of Central Park is beautiful.

I hope to get to The Met’s current roof garden Installation, The Theater of Disappearance by Adrián Villar Rojas, which in on display until October 29, 2017.

Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout, exhibited in 2014, was created by American artist Dan Graham and Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt. “Comprising curves of steel and two-way mirrored glass between ivy hedgerows, Graham’s structure is part garden maze and part modernist skyscraper façade, set within a specially engineered terrain.” The glass was “both transparent and reflective, creating a changing and visually complex environment for visitors.”

“For decades, Dan Graham has created work that challenges viewers to think in new and thought-provoking ways about the streets and cities they traverse every day,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum.

For the artist, the mirrored cladding of a corporate headquarters symbolizes economic power and sleek efficiency; it also provides a certain camouflage, reflecting the world around it as it shields what happens inside from prying eyes.

With this signature material, Graham’s pavilions also transform observers of the work into performers within it, and, through the sight of their own reflections, make them acutely aware of their own viewership.

The evergreen plantings that edge the parapets also reminded Graham of the shrubbery that often demarcates private property lines in the New Jersey suburbs of his youth. Graham’s collaboration with Günther Vogt further illuminates the site’s multilayered references—historic gardens, public parks, contemporary corporate architecture, and the suburban lawn—as its pavilion engages the viewer in a historic and complex mirror-play.

Glass and steel "pavilion."

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” Emile Zola

Sources:

Click here to link to The Met’s page with a cool video on how the art was installed.

Click Interesting interview with Dan Graham to learn more about Graham’s work.

Reflections, Astonishing Animation and Interview with Morgan Gruer

Me and Morgan in Bologna, Italy.
Me and Morgan in Bologna, Italy.
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Morgan studying and sketching the Borghese Gallery in Rome.

Over 99,000 views! 

That’s how many times Morgan’s animated video, Reflections, has been viewed (so far) since it was featured as a Vimeo Staff Pick. I’m so proud of Morgan, a Pratt Institute graduate and my talented, ambitious daughter.

The Creator’s Project on Vice.com featured Reflections. Nathaniel Ainley had this to say:

The ephemeral nature of love is captured on-screen in a stunning 2D animation built from a collection of 1,100 individual drawings. Reflections is the expressive, impressive abstract short, and it follows a fleeting relationship between a young couple.

As the the video begins to build the girl starts to question whether the man ever existed or if it was all in her head. Her deliberation is expressed through a series of arm swinging interpretive dance accompanied with explosive graphics and patterns.

Reflections was directed, animated, and edited by Morgan Gruer, a multidisciplinary graphic designer and illustrator who’s done work for heavy hitters like Celine Dion and Gatorade.

In this particular film, the Brooklyn-based artist is careful about her use of color, telling the bulk of the story through gray and black lines. Since color is used so sparingly, however, when it appears, it makes that much more of an impact.

Cheryl Eddy of io9 on the website Gizmodo.com titled her article about the video “Lush 2D Animated Film Reflections Examines the Many Stages of Heartbreak.”

Morgan shares thoughts about her work and insights into the process.

BE:  What was the initial inspiration for Reflections?

MG:  I saw the music video for Breakbot’s song “Baby, I’m Yours,” which is composed entirely of watercolors, and wanted to create something like it. Concept-wise, I was reflecting upon all of my past relationships.

BE:  What themes did you have in mind as you worked on your piece?

MG:  One of the main themes is independence; at the end of the animation the main character walks away alone but stronger.

BE:  Can you explain a little about your process? For example, do you plan it all ahead of time or does it develop as you go along?

MG:  I wrote out the story line and asked some friends to write the music for me loosely based on the concept. Even though the story came before the music, I left the musicians room to express my story line. The plot had an overall beginning, middle and end, but I worked out the in-between parts and loose threads while I was working.

BE:  How did you keep track of 1100 separate digital drawings?

MG:  I compiled each digital drawing in the Timeline Tab of Photo Shop, making it easy to label layers and keep track of everything. I established the frame rate ahead of time.

BE:  How long did the project take you from start to finish?

MG:  Reflections took four months from concept to creation, although I was working on it alongside other projects.

BE:  How do you feel about the finished video?

MG:  I am mostly happy with it, but still see things I would have fixed. At some point, you have to call it done because there are always things you could edit. An artist is always her own worst critic and sees things that need tweaking.

BE:  Are you surprised by the attention its gotten?

MG:  It’s great to get positive feedback and nice to receive validation on a project that hadn’t seen the light of day. It’s exciting that other people relate to my work and appreciate its aesthetic.

Hon, if you haven’t watched it yet, here’s another link to Reflections.

 

Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty

Frieze of Dancers, c.1895
Frieze of Dancers c.1895, Oil on canvas

Good Impressions

I’ve always loved Impressionism, so I felt compelled to visit the MOMA to see the exhibit on Edgar Degas before it closes July 24. Maybe it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when a quote by Degas spoke to my experience as a writer. I write, revise, begin again, write, revise, repeat. I just finished listening to the audio version of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. In the Afterword, Gaiman says he waited until he was a good enough writer to write this book. Maybe writing, revising, beginning again and repeating the process is practice until my writing is good enough to bring my stories to life.

Just maybe.

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Two Dancers, c.1898
Two Dancers c.1898, Pastel on eight sheets of pieced paper
The Road in the Forest, c. 1890
The Road in the Forest c.1890, Monotype in oil on paper
Pathway in a Field, c.1890
Pathway in a Field c.1890, Pastel over monotype in oil on paper
Three Dancers, 1900-1905, charcoal and pastel on tracing paper
Three Dancers 1900-1905, charcoal and pastel on tracing paper

Love In Art, Lovin’ Art

Spray paint cans.
Spray paint cans.

Spray It. Say It.

In a previous post, Steel Pop-Up Books by David Kracov, I visited the Eden Fine Art Gallery in Soho where colorful book sculptures drew me in. Walking further into the gallery, I discovered a room covered in work by Queens-born graffiti artist Hoacs. It was a blast of immersive, colorful collages, concepts and tags. Click here to read an interview with Hoacs where he dishes about No Days Off, his First Solo Exhibit.

Calling all writers! You know how “voice” is a magic word in Kidlit? Click here to hear Hoacs’ distinctive voice. On the website Neighborhood.com he says,” I started doing graffiti in the mid to late 90s. Back then NYC graffiti was on smash, from highways to track spots to street spots, all crushed.”  He’s got voice covered!

I’ve included pics of two more pieces displayed at the gallery. Love in Art.

How true.
Hoacs says he has no days off. Neither do writers.
Surprising work by graffiti artist Hoacs.
Surprising work by graffiti artist Hoacs.
Dorit Levenstein, hand painted aluminum.
Dorit Levenstein, hand painted aluminum.

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Steel Pop-Up Books by David Kracov

Book of Love
“Book of Love”

Concept + Steel + Paint = Amazing Books

One of the things I love about New York City is the abundance of art. There are world renowned museums to visit, outdoor art to experience, and galleries to explore. You never know what you’ll discover.

Hon, you know I love bright colors, so it’s no surprise that I was drawn into the Eden Fine Art Gallery in Soho where David Kracov’s steel sculptures are on display. Aren’t they super cool?

Eden Fine Art’s website sheds light on these one-of-a-kind book-lover’s books:

Kracov’s vibrant color palette shows up again in his unique steel wall sculptures. Each in a limited edition of only 55 works that begin with hundreds of small sketches that are then hand-cut from a single sheet of steel and then finished with detailed hand-painting in a high-grade, water-based, acrylic polymer paint. Each edition is finished individually so that no two are alike. The meticulous steel work along with his scrutinizing attention to detail allow these sculptures to take on a life of their own. These playful and creative works are each a testament to the genius of Kracov as well as his steady hand and wonderfully unique artistic ideas.

Book of Life
“Book of Life”
Notebook
“Notebook”
Eden Fine Art
Eden Fine Art’s window filled with angles and color.

Breathtaking Beauty (a Short Video)

Twirl!

Breathtaking Beauty

In my last post Movement and Music, I shared my daughter Morgan’s rotoscoped video. She showed me another rotoscoped video called Disco. It’s stunning!

On his web-site Colossal, Christopher Jobson featured some of the sketches and paintings that were created for the video.

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This new music video for composer Ralf Hildenbeutel’s track Disco was created from over 1,200 individually hand-painted frames. Directed by Boris Seewald, the clip uses an animation technique called rotoscoping to turn the real-life movements of dancers Althea Corlett and Simone Schmidt into a series of drawings and paintings to make each scene. Despite the wild variety of mediums and techniques used in the hundreds of sketches, the frame to frame continuity almost serves to enhance and accentuate the motions of the dancers.

Rotoscoping is a form of animation where live video is translated into hand-drawn animation stills with the help of a projector or transparencies. Some more notable examples from pop culture include several scenes from both of Disney’s Snow White and Peter Pan, or the 1984 music video for Ah Ha’s Take On Me.

Disco was animated by Boris, Mina, and Mihwa Seewald, and filmed by Georg Simbeni. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)

I’m dedicating this post to my mom. She’s terribly ill. The beauty of this video makes me think of her.

Click here or on the title “Disco” above to link to the video.

Happy viewing, Hon!

Sources:  Christopher Jobson on  his site Colossal, http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/03/rotoscoped-music-video-boris-seewald-disco/ and Vimeo.