Here is my little dance to the tune of a Bulgarian folk song – I am preparing several canvases the traditional way. I stretch my own raw linen, size it with rabbit skin glue and prime it with several thin coats of lead oil, which I let dry for two weeks between coats. The tricky part with lead is that it is toxic so I dress up hazmat fot this little dance.
Sorry for the plunder directly from wikipedia but it was too good to just link to.
Planck length Visualization:
“The size of the Planck length can be visualized as follows: if a particle or dot about 0.1mm in size (which is at or near the smallest the unaided human eye can see) were magnified in size to be as large as the observable universe, then inside that universe-sized “dot”, the Planck length would be roughly the size of an actual 0.1mm dot, that is, about the size of smallest object the naked human eye can see. In other words, the diameter of the observable universe is to within less than an order of magnitude, larger than a 0.1 millimeter object, roughly at or near the limits of the unaided human eye, by about the same factor (10^31) as that 0.1mm object or dot is larger than the Planck length. More simply – on a logarithmic scale, a dot is halfway between the Planck length and the size of the universe.”
I get attached to the materials I work with – I have ben a life-long computer geek, a brush geek, a linen geek, a paper geek. After all, for a time – you and the instrument in your hand become a one in the pursuit of a work of art, or simply of work. Knowing what we now know of the micro-world of particles, the simple act of commanding an object is a miracle.
My grandfather was an oil painter and a successful businessman, very skilled in the technique of Intarsia. He was very active in Bulgarian society prior to 1944 and was nominated, as part of a delegation of the Bulgarian trade elite, a godfather to King Simeon II of Bulgaria. He lost almost everything and escaped barely with his life during the communist revolution of 1944-47. He escaped execution with the help of a friendly lawyer but watched in terror from his house’s terrace high on the hills – the muzzle flashes of executions of many of his friends and colleagues. He was later sent to labor camps, was registered in the communist party’s archives as an enemy of the state and was not allowed to work for the rest of his life. Growing up I remember a very strange man living in my grandparents’ house – he was installed to spy on my grandparents’ activities and was there for almost 20 years. As a kid I was kept ignorant of the family history and only learned things piece by piece after my grandfather passed from a heart condition shortly after the Chernobyl incident. I vividly remember, however, my grandpa listening to the BBC and the Voice of America, a highly illegal activity at the time.
Grandfather at Union Club – Sofia, 1938:
I always keep at least one of grandpa’s works in sight. Here is my “wet” studio where I handle more toxic processes – I just laid first coat of Lead Oil primer on newly stretched linen canvases and also dry an underpainting created with genuine Chinese Vermilion ( the very toxic Mercuric Sulphide ). And grandpa’s landscape Intarsia of the old capital of Bulgaria is hiding behind the printer box waiting to be hung:
We’re scientists and engineers on NASA’s Voyager mission. Our spacecraft is now in interstellar space. Ask Us Anything!September 12th, 2013
Reddit IAMA of NASA scientists and engineers working on the Voyager mission: Today we announced that our spacecraft Voyager 1 is now in interstellar space. Link.
And my favorite question and answer:
” Q.: What is the application of this kind of knowledge? Understanding how particles move through space?
A.: James Van Allen once told me that the pursuit of knowledge was a sufficient answer for questions about applicability of space exploration. It’s all about understanding who we are, where we come from, and where we’re going. We’re all the stuff of stars, and now were actually examining that ’stuff’ “ Bill Kurth, Voyager plasma wave co-investigator, University of Iowa
There are very few things that really stop me in my tracks and I can watch and listen to for hours on end without ever getting tired – one of these things is anything Space and Cosmos. I could live on Nasa.tv and steamed broccoli.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, talks about Newton and the importance of keeping the lines of thought and conversation open. He says when open conversation ratchets up – you make discoveries and you make discoveries rapidly..
There is a wonderful story in the Upanishads about the god Indra. Now it happened at this time that a great monster had enclosed all the waters of the earth, so there was a terrible drought, and the world was in a very bad condition. It took Indra quite a while to realize that he had a box of thunderbolts and that all he had to do was drop a thunderbolt on the monster and blow him up. When he did that, the waters flowed, and the world was refreshed, and Indra said. “What a great boy am I”.
So, thinking, “What a great boy am I”, Indra goes up to the cosmic mountain, which is the central mountain in the world, and decides to build a palace worthy of such as he. The main carpenter of the gods goes to work on it, and in very quick order he gets the palace into pretty good condition. But every time Indra comes to inspect it, he had bigger ideas about how splendid and grandiose the palace should be. Finally, the carpenter says, “My god, we are both immortal, and there is no end to his desires. I am caught for eternity. So he decides to go Brahma, the creator god, and complain.
Brahma sits on a lotus, the symbol of divine energy and divine grace. The lotus grows from the navel of Vishnu, who is the sleeping god, whose dream is the universe. So the carpenter comes to the edge of the great lotus pond of the universe and tells his story to Brahma. Brahma says, ” You go home. I will fix this up.” Brahma gets off his lotus and kneels down to address sleeping Vishnu. Vishnu just makes a gesture and says something like, “Listen, fly, something is going to happen.”
Next morning, at the gate of the palace that is being built, there appears a beautiful blue-black boy with a lot of children around him, just admiring his beauty. The porter at the gate of the new palace goes running to Indra, and Indra says, “Well, bring in the boy.” The boy is brought in, and Indra, the kind god, sitting on his throne, says, “Young man, welcome. And what brings you to my palace?”
“Well, says the boy with a voice like thunder rolling on the horizon, “I have been told that you are building such a palace as no Indra before you ever built.”
And Indra says, “Indras before me, youn man – what are you talking about?”
The boy says, “Indras before you. I have seen them come and go, come and go. Just think, Vishnu sleeps in the cosmic ocean, and the lotus of the Universe grows from his navel. On the lotus sits Brahma, the creator. Brahma opens his eyes, and a world comes into being, governed by an Indra. Brahma closes his eye, and a world goes out of being. The life of a Brahma is four hundred and thirty-two thousand years. When he dies, the lotus goes back, and another lotus is formed, and another Brahma. Then think of the galaxies beyond galaxies in infinite space, each a lotus, with a Brahma sitting on it, opening his eyes, closing his eyes. And Indras? There may be wise men in your court who would volunteer to count the drops of water in the oceans of the world or the grains of sand on the beaches, but no one would count those Bramin, let alone those Indras.”
While the boy is talking, an army of ants parades across the floor. The boy laughs when he sees them, and Indra’s hair stands on end, and he says to the boy, “Why do you laugh?”
The boy answers, “Dont ask unless you are willing to be hurt.”
Indra says, “I ask. Teach.”( That, by the way, is a good Oriental idea: you don’t teach until you are asked. You don’t force your mission down people’s throats.)
And so the boy points to the ants and says, “Former Indras all. Through many lifetimes they rise from the lowest conditions to the highest illumination. And then they drop their thunderbolt on a monster, and they think, ‘What a good boy am I.’ And down they go again.”
It was great to see you at my Bushwick Show – Invented Mythologies ! And Thank you for braving the heat in Bushwick, some of you coming from upstate or Manhattan, which is just as far:)
I got a fresh point of view and heard your comments about the work and your honest opinions. I was amazed at the insights some of you had about what you thought was a successful piece and what you thought was the best part of a successful piece. And what you thought didn’t work. Artists sometimes like to say they do the work for themselves. The truth is we are part of a soup, physiologically and cognitively, we constantly shed cells and replenish with new ones, we are constantly engaged in the world mentally.. so unless we a are a Robinson Crusoe – we are an amalgamation, and so is our work.. to some degree.
I worked as an artist for George Lucas and I am very familiar with “The Ranch” in Northern California, where Lucas held 4th of July parties every year. The following conversations between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell took place at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, right before Campbell’s death in 1987.
Everyone is a hero in his birth. He’s undergone a tremendous transformation, from a little water creature living in the realm of the amniotic fluid and so forth, then coming out and becoming an air breathing mammal that ultimately will be self-standing. This is an enormous transformation and a heroic act, Joseph Campbell said. He wrote “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, a seminal work of comparative mythology.
Apologies – the links on soundcloud no longer work – someone took good care to take them down but it was good while it lasted.
Bill Moyers released Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth” in 6 episodes on soundcloud. It includes Chief Seattle’s letter to the US Government:
Ep. 1: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth – The Hero’s Adventure
Ep. 2: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth – The Message of the Myth
Ep. 3: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth – The First Storytellers
Ep. 4: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth – Sacrifice and Bliss
Ep. 5: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth – Love and the Goddess
Ep. 6: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth — ‘Masks of Eternity’