On the way to one section of a bookstore over Thanksgiving break my eyes skimmed over the kid’s books section. Ah yes! Abandoning initial book search I had a look for old favorites, eyes re-bulging after adulthood hiatus. Children’s books: enticing large pages, few per bind, not undermining the magical content of hypnotizing illustrations and large set type splashed across glossy paper. The pages fanning your face with each page turn. All of these components at some point were exposed to our young brains, by the beloved picture storybook.
Read to us while tucked in bed, or in a classroom sitting crossed legged gaping up at large reading god (teacher), there are likely pivotal books that jostle a cord in your memory. Perhaps Green Eggs and Ham, or Corduroy?
As filmmakers, artists, animators, writers what have you, storytelling and technical skills are a combo tool. Technical skills facilitate the blooming action of creativity, the lungs perhaps. Meanwhile storytelling is the beating heart, the solid platform that’s contouring spidery capillaries and veins provide engaging content.
Our ability as storytellers, most certainly derives from our early childhood days of picture storybooks. Down nostalgia lane we all have our favorites…
Here are a few storybooks that are inductive to the magical abyss of storytelling and green lit many imaginations to go wild.
Food called Snozzcumbers. Giants called Fleshlumpeater and Gizzardgulper, need I say more.
Bush magic and magic food are needed to make the little possum invisible.
A group of “hairy Peruvians” set sail across the seas to Australia in an an old tea kettle..
Måns Swanberg, the gentleman behind Blacklist Director Pistachios, has just launched the OTO Taco Truck on his Famous OTO website (toy company!), it’s super rad. I’m still particularly won over by the Ice Cream Truck for Cats – so cute.
Check it out www.famousoto.com
There has been a bit of a switcheroo in nature’s appearance. After summery green lushness, more naked trunks dwell decorated with sparse golden glinting leaves. Cascades of these fallen leaves also meander the sidewalks creating colorful imagery over the asphalt. The chill bites your face giving a sunburnt look and does something magical to your hairdo- the cold smoothes it perhaps. Almost like nature is saying “I’ll strip away all the greenery but my weather will make your hair look cool.”
1. ‘SYMPHONY in D MINOR’ from Patrick Gallagher.
Livin’ in the city you experience nature to a lesser extent, but no worries, alternatively there’s a plethora of art and films that allow you to indulge and get your nature fix. Today it’s wet outside so the first piece I’ll include is Symphony in D Minor. It’s an installation where a thunderstorm is experienced indoors, via kinetic sculptures suspended in the air. Visitors can push the suspended tubes to create the sounds of a storm, the tubes glowing with abstract clouds.
2. The second piece emulates more of a spring day due to the colors and sereness. Falling Garden by artists Gerda Steiner and Jorg Lenzlinger is an installation of hanging floral delights from the ceiling of very old church in Venice. Visitors get to lie down and stare above at the floating botanical objects. Clearly this is quite a relaxing venture.
3. Tomás Saraceno’s Cloud Cities was exhibited in Berlin a few years ago and consisted of approximately twenty of his biosphere works. The environmental centric works provoke thought on space, place and our relationship with nature. Cloud Cities has a predominantly monochrome color scheme and coupled with its sharp geometrical shapes it evokes a winter wonderland aesthetic.
4. The Planet Earth TV series is excellent. Grab your hands on the box office set and you can nature binge watch; Mountains, Fresh Water, Ice Worlds, and Seasonal Forests and so forth. Blink away from the screen and you’ll be startled by your urban surroundings.
5. Rounding off this segment honors shall be given to Sir David Attenborough. Absolutely anything Attenborough utterly transports you into the nature sphere. His episodes are captivating with imagery of the rich diversity of animals across the world and their dynamic habitats. Attenborough’s voice is remarkable as narrator on the episodes – I’ve always thought his voice as an alarm clock would be a soothing way to be awakened.
International Flavor Friday
Some beautiful collages are coming from out yonder – Melbourne, Australia. Lillian O’Neil is the artist behind various large transfixing collages that have a reoccurring theme of LOVE.
Moon Lovers, 2013 (104.2 x 389.1cm)
Love Bomb, 2011
Lil is all about true love and passion, the notion of heartbreak and relationships, spilling these into an assemblage of impressionable collages. The collages all consistently have a space feel (stars and the moon kind of space) that aid in evoking the outer world dreaminess and heightened emotional condition one exists in when in the love zone. Sourcing images from old catalogues, photography books, film stills and from other archival materials, Lil draws on her interest of how images massed together, compress time and history.
I recently caught up with Lil while she was in New York and we had a good chat about illogical international romances, sweets (donuts) and the importance of having an evacuation plan on days when the full moon looms above. She boldly rode a bike through Times Square and said she felt “real fear.”
Billy Name: The Silver Age
Currently exhibiting at Milk Gallery is Billy Name – The Silver Age.
As resident photographer of the Warhol Factory, his images are a time capsule/legacy of Factory life and people in all its commotion and haze. We have all seen many of his iconic Factory shots, particularly of Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick and Nico at some point. I’m drawn to this exhibit because it rekindles nostalgia for my teen years when I went through my Warhol Superstar obsession. I ordered any book about Edie Sedgwick, watched Ciao Manhattan far too many times and listened to The Velvet Underground religiously.
Billy Name was attached to the Warhol Factory from 1964 – 1970. In that time he had a short romance with Andy Warhol, helping him set up the Factory and adorning it in silver. Clad only with a camera manual, self-taught Billy Name was able to finesse his skills in the Factory, shooting the superstars while experimenting with composition and lighting. Name lived in the Factory and his darkroom existed in one of the Factory bathrooms. The set up allowed him to catch every essence of Factory life.
Check it out at Milk Gallery until December 7th!