The second in a series of drawings inspired by Giovanni Battista Piranesi. I drew the first sketch a few years ago while on a stint modeling 3d Baghdad for the US army – in between IED detonation simulations I was thinking about the Flying Tree from Stephen Baxter’s book Raft… and started imaging it in my notebook. My visual language is drawing on my work as a 3d artist but the look is a few centuries old, an etching technique developed in the fifteenth century and mastered by Piranesi in his capricious fantasies. I really enjoy seeing how the imperfections of the drawing are shaping up in total juxtaposition to the flawless figures I imagine in my head, the dreams of a 21 century polygonal brain.
I returned to the palace of Fine Arts to reshoot photographs I took a month earlier – back then I had wondered into the space by chance and didn’t carry a tripod… which resulted in grain and noise. I looked up the time stamps on the files and then googled for the sunset time for that day. Turned out besides sunset there are all these interesting terms associated with sunset data like Civil Twilight, Nautical Twilight and Astronomical twilight. According to the charts I had taken the picture (below) 20 minutes after sunset and 10 before civil twilight when wild things come out, obviously, beasts are partial to beautiful light.
Today sunset was around 7:30 pm so I waited 2o minutes for the twilight to set in and some amazing things happened during that time – a guy stood under the belly of the dome and sung with the most beautiful voice a song called “Salve Regina” … after that I lied to a couple of Tourists that the Palace was a part of a pre-earthquake bathhouse, absolutely not on purpose and out of sheer ignorance.
So Here it is San Francisco palace of Fine Arts – round Two:
I hit the jackpot st SFMoma and was able to see the three back to back, floor to floor. I totally fell for Robert Frank and the fact that The huge pieces, maybe 4×6 feet, by Avedon had less in them than the tiny by comparison Frank photographs. Yes, frank and honest and authentic, grainy, rainy, oppressive and grim – Robert Frank’s pieces were a crime back in the sugary 50s and still zap you today.
“Quality doesn’t mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That’s not quality, that’s a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy – the tone range isn’t right and things like that – but they’re far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he’s doing, what his mind is. It’s not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It’s got to do with intention.” (Elliott Erwitt)
The think in pictures blog mentions that Jack Kerouac wrote in the introduction of The Americans that “after seeing these pictures you end up finally not knowing any more whether a jukebox is sadder than a coffin.”
“The Sleep of Reason” – a piece by Sui Gian Guo at SFMoma, all made with plastic toy dinosaurs and a plastic Mao, sleeping in the middle of the sea of dinosaurs. What I appreciated in this piece is its honesty and irreverent title – I always appreciate others doing the kind of things I struggle with, like colored plastic and ideology. This work was inspired by an original painting by Goya, titled “The sleep of reason produces monsters”… In the same line of reflection was the movie Goya’s ghosts directed by Milos Forman, who also directed Amadeus.