Again and Again

This work seeks truth through the methodical manipulation of a set number of variables and explores the anxieties created by subtle shifts in presentations of the same pieces of information. This process yields a deliberate but limited context for understanding, rendered in a dense collection of multi-layered cells. The accompanying video component (https://vimeo.com/214831225) puts these cells into motion, further blurring understanding while simultaneously putting another element into “real time.” The video is intended to be played on a loop as a nod to internet meme format. The installation is currently on display at art museum The Delaware Contemporary as part of their annual juried exhibition, running 2 June to 8 August. See more at http://sarahkaizar.com/work/installation.html.

 

 

 




Trump in B&W

A humanitarian at heart, native New Yorker, Amy Gilvary’s innovative artistic vision coincides with her social inclination to spread love, kindness and acceptance through creativity. Her works are highly symbolic images of the power of words, particularly the contemporary artist’s role as cultural innovator and change-maker. To commemorate his hundredth day in office, her recent VoicePix: Trump in Black and White is a collection of one hundred of the many, many statements he made pre- and post-election. This is the POTUS’s actual voice taken from speeches, debates, interviews, rallies and press conferences. So in a sense he created this art and would tell you it’s the very, very best piece here.

The sources of this art, Trump’s words, are presented below in a .

1) Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody. 2) I tend to like beautiful women more than unattractive women. 3) There has to be some form of punishment [for a woman who gets an abortion]. 4) And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the [bleeped out]. 5) ’Cause I like kids. I mean I won’t do anything to take care of them. 6) I don’t wanna sound too much like a chauvinist but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof! 7) I was the one that really broke the glass ceiling on behalf of women. 8) I never went bankrupt. 9) Well, you know what? I’m worth five billion dollars, plus, by a lot. 10) Nobody’s stronger than me. 11) I’m gonna get the bathing suits to be smaller and the heels to be higher. 12) There’s nobody bigger or better at the Military than I am. 13) I think you better hold onto your girlfriend, Rosie, because if you lose her, you’ll never be able to get another one. 14) There’s nobody that will take care of women’s health issues better than I will. 15) I know words. I have the best words. 16) There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am. 17) My primary consultant is Myself. 18) I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with uh … white supremacy. 19) Nobody loves the Bible more than I do. 20) Putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing. 21) With the terrorists, you have to take out their families. 22) It’s all fake news. It didn’t happen. 23) Nobody builds walls better than me. 24) I’ve received many environmental awards. Many, many environmental awards for the work I do. 25) I get the biggest crowds. I get the biggest standing ovations. 26) I think it’s [Climate Change] is a big scam. 27) I love The First Amendment. Nobody loves it better than me. Nobody. 28) Nobody’s better to people with disabilities than me. 29) I’m worth many, many billions of dollars. 30) The reporters because they’re a very dishonest lot. 31) I could be the most presidential person ever. Other than possibly the Great Abe Lincoln, alright? 32) Donald Trump has always been very, very successful. 33) I’m the tough guy! 34) There’s nobody that’s done so much for equality as I have. 35) Number one, I’m not stupid, okay? I can tell you that. Right now. Just the opposite. 36) I went to The Warton School of Finance. It’s like one of the hardest schools in the world to get into. 37) There’s nobody more pro-Israel than I am. 38) Of course it’s very hard for them to attack me on looks because I’m so good looking. 39) I would’ve won the popular vote if I was campaigning for the popular vote. 40) My big win in NY – it was a landslide! It’s been like, unprecedented. 41) Some people won’t vote for me because I’m wealthy. 42) I’d like to punch him in the face I tell ya. 43) I have a great temperament. My temperament is very good, very calm. 44) I’m gonna bomb the shit out of ’em. 45) There’s nobody more conservative than me. 46) There’s nobody that understands the horror of Nuclear better than me! 47) Look, I have to do what I have to do. I’m not going to be politically correct. 48) Andrew Jackson- who a lot of people compare the campaign of Trump with. 49) I’m going to take care of everybody. 50) I’m talking with myself number one because I have a very good brain. 51) At least he’s [Putin] a good leader. You know, unlike what we have in this country. 52) He [Obama] likes me. Because I can feel it. You know, that’s what I do in life – it’s called like “I understand.” 53) Putin of Russia – he said “Trump is a genius. He’ll be the next leader.” 54) The wall just got ten feet taller. Believe me. 55) Nobody knows more about trade than me. 56) Let me be unpresidential just for a little while longer. 57) I’m afraid the election’s going to be rigged. I have to be honest. 58) The only thing she’s [Hillary’s] got going, is the Women’s card. 59) I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election – if I win. 60) I’d think my side was rigged. 61) I’m very Pro-life. 62) I’m very Pro-Choice. 63) Well I am not a hypocrite and I haven’t been treated properly. 64) Nobody knows the game better than I do. 65) You [CNN] are Fake News. 66) Written by a nice reporter. Now the poor guy— You gotta see this guy. [mocking disability] “Ah! I don’t remember.” 67) Nobody knows politicians better than I do. 68) I have to give like, my credentials all the time. 69) We won with the poorly educated. I love the poorly educated. 70) I have a great grasp of numbers. 71) There are millions of [illegal] votes in my opinion. 72) I’m best on terrorism; best on the economy; best on trade. 73) Nobody knows more about taxes than I do. 74) Well we were very close. We were just probably anywhere from 10–15 votes short. Could’ve even been closer than that. 75) I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me. 76) I have five million people between Facebook and Twitter! 77) He [McCain] is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured, okay? 78) Nobody knows more about debt than I do. 79) I’m a unifier. I’m very much a unifier. 80) There’s no rally like a Trump rally! 81) It could be 30 [million people] and it could be five. Nobody knows what the number is. 82) Nobody’s ever had crowds like Trump has had. 83) Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife. 84) I don’t have a racist bone in my body. 85) I love the Mexican people. They’re fantastic. 86) I have great relationships with Mexico. 87) I will build a better wall and I’ll build it for cheaper and Mexico will pay! 88) They [Mexico] are not our friend. 89) Nobody in the history of this country has ever known so much about infrastructure than Donald Trump. 90) That wall will cost us nothing. 91) Nobody knows the system better than me. 92) An impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall. 93) I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words. 94) What I’m doing is good for the U.S. It’s also going to be good for Mexico. 95) There’s no ladder going over that! [the wall] There’s no way to get down. Maybe a rope. 96) I never said “repeal it [Obamacare] and replace it within 64 days”. 97) It seems that both sides like Trump and that’s good. 98) Look, I did some things in fun. I’ve said it as an entertainer. 99) And if I see I’m not doing well, then I’ll say “Bye-bye” and I’ll go back to building buildings. I’m not a masochist. 100) Sadly, the American dream is DEAD.

 




Litro #162: Literary Highlife | Building Memories

I’ve been thinking a lot about ghosts lately. Not so much about phantoms, haints or apparitions; no. It has far more to do with back-in-the-day shadows and memories; old ways, old stories and the kind of happenings that national or international talk of independence unearths for me.

With #Ghana60, and this year’s Independence Day celebrations, it came to me, through a quick mental calculation, that in my lifetime – which is getting up there in years – I’ve spent less than a year in total in what is either my mother country, or fatherland – depending on my mood. I reckon I’ve clocked up around nine months in total, and these have been spent in short- to mid-term batches that have essentially involved UK-to-Ghana visits to immediate and extended family, and a lone, Accra-based working assignment when on route to Lagos.

For me, any mention of Ghana – particularly pre-1957 – takes me back to the home I grew up in, where parental reminiscences of what I as a child thought was a pristinely named Gold Coast, were very much a part of my south London oral experience. These were stories of boarding school traumas (mum); being beaten for braving the ocean (dad); school trips to a leprosy hospital (mum); taking cigarettes and books to Sekondi’s Central Prison (dad); a colonial school ban on all talk of apartheid (mum); brief flirtations with life as a photographer (dad); the death of a teenage brother (mum) … all of which have long been lodged in my memory bank. However, these true-life tales always kept Ghana very much as a place “over there” until adulthood, when I zoomed in – via my work as a writer – on the new styles and narratives of design, technology, and architecture; topics that rightly or wrongly became commercial knowledge banks of cultural information.

It’s through editorial means that I’ve forged a new relationship with Ghana. Although the spirit of any country can’t truly be imbibed through print or digital platforms, it’s my focus on future-facing design, the architectural ghosts of Accra and elsewhere and the tributary stories that come from this, that offer an inspirational mishmash of interests in history, art and visual culture that helps me to keep navigating a country from which I get much of my cultural DNA.

It’s thoughts about Ghana’s heritage and its architectural shadows that probably started to take shape a few years back, through a casual conversation with Nat Amarteifio – a curator, architect, art collector and one time Mayor of Accra. An avuncular personality, I met him in Milan for Afrofuture, an African-fused, experimental event with designers, artists, tech activists and photographers who were invited from London, Lagos, Nairobi and Senegal to give the lowdown on African urban creativity to an Italian audience. It was over lunch that I chatted with Amateifio about his post-independence memories of early 1960s Ghana. He’d had an eclectic working life that featured architectural commissions in 1970s US and Canada, followed by similar work in Port Harcourt. He returned to Ghana in the early 1990s, a pre-millennium era when the country’s infrastructural needs were at their most crucial. At that time, Amarteifio had enough international experience to stitch together the country’s physical holes, and a long enough memory to recall on some of his original design influences.

Remembering the “architectural ghosts” of his youth, he recalled a time when the modernist template for many of Ghana’s ministerial buildings – although predominantly designed by Soviet-Union, Polish and Yugoslav architects – were the tropical design template of the country; all very daring in construct at the time, but now revamped to accommodate what he felt was “a whiff of Chinatown”.

He essentially turned my thoughts backwards to some of the bedrock edifices that were once the new aesthetic of Ghana – and elsewhere in Africa. These were the likes of Independence Square, the State House Complex and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Each were built in the early to mid-1960s by men such as Berislav Kalogjera, Nebojsa Weiner, and Miro Marasović, who had the then president as their client and boss, at a time when the political vision for Ghana was specifically global in a newly futuristic sense, and the Eastern European architects were brought over to showcase their experiences of expansive metropolitan building in Ghana.

However, my subsequent editorial focus on the country shifted to the strong whiff of futurism in some of the aspirational design thinking that seemed to be fuelling many of the design narratives that sprung from the ubiquitous “Africa Rising” mantra that was finding its way into and onto media platforms within and beyond the continent.

Keyspaces include the stop-start HOPE City (Home, Office, People and Environment) creation, where a public clash of ambitions seems to have merged with the wish list of multi-functional features needed to create a city within a city. Ambitiously earmarked for Prampram, Greater Accra, the venture has been snagged by problems that continue three years on from its publicity stage, so that it still exists in a redesigned blueprint form, but is thought of by many as an African fantasy.

Nowhere near its glass, sci-fi-influenced image of six cone-shaped mega towers serviced by transparent link bridges, its grounds currently have nothing to offer but an expanse of shrubs fringed by rows of Neem trees.

Despite the hitches, the vision still remains to build a city that takes its aesthetic and community-based inspiration from Ghana’s history and heritage. Designs for the circular towers are based on the compounds of northern Ghana or Cameroon, a nod – by the Italian firm behind the master plan and Ghanaian entrepreneur Roland Agambire – to the fact that they are standing on the shoulders of West African giants.

HOPE City’s public shout out to Ghana’s heritage is part of what informs my thinking about the integration of old and new Ghana and its pre- and post-independence identity.

Bureaucracy aside, it’s relatively easy for non-African organisations to experiment with available or up-for-sale spaces across Ghana’s rapidly populating landscape, but in reshaping the landscape by constructing monolithic, money-generating cities, what happens to the ghosts of the past? How are the old venues cherished or remembered, or old skills reclaimed and repurposed anew?

Looking back at the first independence moments, the East-meets-West designs were strategic, but preservation – of both high and lower-status buildings, as well as design ideals and practices – has over time become an additional narrative in as much as there are flawed notions of what is or should be maintained as part of the nation’s legacy.

To many of Amarteifio’s generation, there’s a particular viewpoint on Ghana’s past and present structures before millennial interest took hold. It’s been said by his peers that the colonial era’s lack of twenty-first-century-style technology meant that an environmental sensitivity did exist without features like manipulated air conditioning. Although there is now a savvy take on what’s possible for home-grown, or at least more accessible, Ghanaian design that’s being done on what feels like a more intricately artistic level. Things are – and have been – happening that are bringing artists, curators, idealists, educators, and inventors together in specifically tactile ways and creating a new preservation, of sorts.

Maybe it’s glaringly obvious, but the country’s chock full with wood that for decades has been architecturally sidestepped – concrete being the go-to, high-end material choice. However, an innovative “movement” was kickstarted over a decade ago by Joe Addo – an architectural don who co-founded the Accra-based ArchiAfrika salon-style forum for creative thinkers to come together to exchange or act on ideas about creative culture. It was Addo (as some sort of inadvertent poster guy for eco-awareness) who coined the term “inno-native” as an explanation for his ideas about integrated architecture. Taking from the past to create the new, his much talked up eco-wood home is a hybrid of European appliances and strict African style, materials and poetic sensibility. Raised wooden decks, solar panels and the use of mud blocks constitute a semi-throwback to colonial building, but with a slick twenty-first-century Ghanaian twist.

What seems like decades of amnesia about stylish wood builds was revived with Addo, but there’s been new life in the design world – and not just from more celebrated names the likes of David Adjaye who does have an Accra-based office.

Younger, smaller firms are bringing back the look and many of the lost skills for producing wood-fronted, sustainable townhouses for greener, more ethical living, and even Accra’s World Bank has come in on the act, with a sixth-floor garden, which works as a pretty good urban vantage point as well as a return to bona fide tropical architecture, as the first green rooftop in Ghana.

Essentially, the splicing together of art and architecture – though far from revolutionary – is finding its flavour in Ghana. Wonderful fusions of PhD thinking and arts curating have shown themselves at platforms including the annual Chale Wote festival where smart aesthetic fusions of waste, agriculture, and art were realised last year, in an installation featuring an almost sensually treated and constructed “coconut wall”, designed (and manufactured) by architect Mae-Ling Lokko. Merged with the jute sacks of artist Serge Attukwei Clottey, the display showcased beauty from waste, art, and agriculture in a perfect cross-sector creation of a prototype wall that looked close to something that Gucci or the House of Versace could have put out.

As resistant as brick – and arguably better looking – there’s a sense of tribute to Ghana’s resources and to what the country has the ability to offer that comes on the flipside of the dumsor power outages, or retrofitting old buildings as churches or shop fronts, as money dwindles or interest in cultural spaces evaporates.

I’m thinking now, of the roll call of cinemas that have disappeared from Ghana’s landscape – or have at least changed their use. Many are gone or now show big screen football as opposed to visual stories, but in the realm of visual arts, there’s been an interesting take on looking backwards to go forwards.

Even though the 1990s VHS explosion and the subsequent Nollywood phenomenon had an inevitably sharp collective impact in Ghana, it’s refreshing to hear about the new life being breathed into the crumbling Rex Cinema in Accra, by the avant-garde, US-Ghanaian filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu. It stands to reason that the limited places to showcase art house films like her own, Drexciya – a haunting piece about a mythical African city – or to regularly promote films that don’t fit the Nolly or Hollywood mold would help spike a mini artistic movement.

What’s interesting is that in trying to breathe new life into old spaces, there’s a new kind of preservation of memories that brings a cross-generational audience together. Older patrons will have been consulted about their memories of places like the Casino Cinema in Tema, Sid Theatre in Dzorwulu or the Opera in Central Accra. A parallel comes from projects in Angola, where many of the open-air movie houses of the 1960s and 1970s have been photographically documented, in a publication by media artist Walter Fernandes and actor Miguel Hurst. Their journey took them throughout the Lusophone country in a bid to highlight the dramatically shaped architectonic gems of their nation’s past.

Back to Ghana, and the cyclical interests in what disappears or what loses its value is being dynamically driven by intersecting sectors. The constellationary blend of youth, artists, economics, heritage, architecture, identity and the fundamental passage of time are potent players in Ghana’s rich mix of past and present blended interests. Adoma Owusu straddles programming, curation, and preservation in her campaign to restore this particular cinema house and although – due to unfortunate red tape realities – her initial project has faltered, she’s chosen to flip the script by documenting the journey behind her mission to revamp the Rex, using her artistic smarts of fact and fiction filmmaking.

In essence, her remixed film project – which hopefully will get high enough off the ground – will ultimately represent another portal through which to view Ghana’s past and blend it with the present, by bringing a brand-new energy to something that’s long been dormant.

If the original idea to revamp the cinema is to get a revisit, it’s essentially mindsets and perhaps a respect for cultural nostalgia that need work, although even this is fodder for further thought about who would benefit from this particular movement. That, in itself, is perhaps a diaspora vs “grassroots” Ghana conversation for another day. In the meantime, who knows; maybe the Rex could at some point be a catalyst for a new wave of avant-garde film centres; something to add to the broader African palette of cultural centres, foundations and gallery spaces that are also finding their way onto the landscape.

In any case, these are my musings; a mash-up of thoughts that stem from what I see as part of the range of narratives about design dreams and realities that can hopefully create a whole slew of new physical monuments, aesthetic ghosts and delectable fantasies for the future.




Litro #154: Cuba | Photography | The Cuban- Americans

CaZYGYUUUAI5bRI In The Cuban-Americans Geandy Pavon contributes a series of photographs on displacement and longing.

When I left Cuba with my family, the only thing we brought with us was a photo album everything else was left behind. For many people in exile Cuba has become a photograph, a memory they protect and long for. I have the feeling that this strong connection to the past has made us forget our present, in some ways is like everything that really matters has a direct connection to the island, meanwhile we forget about the memories we generate somewhere else. To me, photography has become a way to document everyday live of the Cuban Diaspora. I have realized that this is a story that has not been told yet, at least from a photographic perspective.


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My ongoing series The Cuban-Americans is an attempt to tell a story of Cuba outside Cuba. The series takes off from a concept put forth by Cuban-American writer Gustavo Pérez Firmat: a hyphen that both binds and sets apart—nominally and culturally—the Cuban and North American identities. This in-between realm, almost a no man’s land, creates a sort of a-temporal existence and, hence, a strangeness, a complex, un-definable and anachronistic space, the key element of my work.




At Paris’s Galerie Olympe de Gouges, An Art Exhibition Shows a Naked Queen and Lucian Freud

"An Audience with the Queen"– Winner of the Thames & Hudson Pictureworks Prize. "Au-delà" - oil on canvas 162x130cm
Left: An Audience with the Queen, winner of the Thames & Hudson Pictureworks Prize. Right: Au-delà, oil on canvas, 162 x130cm.

Everyone tells me that The Queen has an excellent sense of humor. Sadly, I did not get a chance to test this, since my painting – An Audience with the Queen, which features the monarch and Lucian Freud seated naked on a couch sipping tea and eating Pot Noodles– that was meant to be shown in Dublin for the Queen’s first state visit had to be quickly taken down following some protests.

This month the painting is being given a proper showing on rue de l’Odéon in Paris at Galerie Olympe de Gouges. The response so far has been tremendous, but then the French have never been shy about talking about sex or anything else. The surprise for British readers then is that they have so much sense of humor about it. Half the show is devoted to exploring the stories of those other two great British icons: Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, whose complicated personal lives and relationships with their models provides grist for the large panoramic paintings.

“Her images will not serve for distraction,” says Professor Patrick Healy of Delft University of Technology. “They need attention and thought. They are there to confront and be confronted. Funk presents art as a scene of a crime, a laboratory and theatre where the vivisection of the gaze is the active wrenching from reality of the artist’s precise concerns; the first extraction and reduction.”

Healy continues: “The sharp satire of Funk’s work has now gone to a topic usually highly insulated in terms of imagery. Royalty in Europe depends more and more on image to remain royal in the absence of more traditional means of power. The other taboo which is broken here is that around old age and the rituals of its decay. The stagy setting and the banal activities including the palpable fleshiness of the couple, is as strong as the withering pictures of Hogarth, and is indeed stronger than caricature as it does not depend on exaggeration or distortion, but a precisely imagined reality which traditional image making kept very purposely at bay. This suggests a strange pictorial iconoclasm, where pictures are used to attack imagery in favour of another communication.”

Sending up and being critical of power is a very British tradition. Soon I will have the honor of interviewing and painting the portrait of twice Booker Prize-winning novelist Hilary Mantel. In novels like Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, she has delivered in-depth psychological portraiture of those in King Henry VIII’s court, most notably Thomas Cromwell. And the title of her recent short story collection The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher tells you that this is not an author who stands on decorum. Indeed, a few years ago, she created a stir by making what to my mind is the fair, indeed feminist assertion that the way Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, was being covered in the press was like that of a “jointed doll on which certain rags are hung” and made comparisons with her and Marie Antoinette, “a woman eaten alive by her frocks.”

Satire may be a popular British pastime, but it is not my normal mode.

Beneath the Ice, oil on canvas 162 x 130 cm
Beneath the Ice, oil on canvas, 162 x 130 cm.

So the other half of the show is devoted to works in my Memory of Water series. My family works in theatre and film design; creating mise-en-scène, backgrounds, setting moods. I’ve always been fascinated by film, the moment at the end or the beginning of a scene when you see the traces of the scene before. Transitions. You see this in even the earliest silent movies where the preceding scene leaves an afterburn on the following one. This goes back to an interest in memory and the creative process itself. The moment you try to remember something, to pin it down, it begins to vanish. When I was young I experienced problems with my vision like large sunspots or floaters that blotted out my sight. It was frightening, but also there was an intensity of colour. And whatever I looked at would vanish behind these fields of light. I try to reproduce this effect in painting.

Debora Levi, director of artist relations at Artist Pension Trust Europe, says: “Mia’s paintings are replete with dichotomy. Her works are marked by transparency that reveals certain disturbing absences, which, as a viewer I may say evokes memories. Mia’s work is sometimes subtle and even seemingly faded. Her brushstrokes suggests rather than describes a figure or a scene such as landscape or a private moment.”

Memory of Water, oil on canvas 162 x 130 cm
Memory of Water, oil on canvas, 162 x 130 cm.

I want to tell surreal, enigmatic stories while still portraying a recognizable world. I am interested in beauty, but the paintings also deal with themes that affect us today––the environment, immigration and exile, surveillance society, memory and loss.

Victoria Otero, gallerist and associate curator at Artist Pension Trust, says: “Mia Funk explores in her work both the feminine and masculine parts of painting. She knows how to be realistic on the verge of making us uncomfortable by the strength of her ‘Inside the Artist’s Studio’ series, and how to represent the ephemeral oneiric part of life, where time and space are separated from one another.”

Some people have said my paintings are like “between two worlds”. I think that they literally mean my use of transparency and double figures creates a duality, but it may also be the observation that I have one foot in traditional painting, while being at the same time contemporary. There is a risk when pursuing avant-garde effects that we lose our roots, the knowledge which painters have accumulated over the centuries. I studied in Paris and in Florence, where I learned oil painting and older, pre-Renaissance techniques. A part of me is also indebted to watercolor and ink painting; a lightness of touch drawn from my Chinese roots. And yet today young painters are graduating from art schools–many of them don’t even have basic painting skills–but they know how to market themselves. We need to honour the past or it will be lost to us.

I was in Venice during the summer for the Biennale and was speaking to the art historian and gallerist, Jacopo Scarpa. His gallery APS, specialising in Old Masters, is located next to the Accademia. He has recently started a petition against the new management of the Uffizi and Brera Museums. The Uffizi is now run by Eike Schmidt, a former director Sotheby’s London. Scarpa agrees that changes need to be made to Italian museums in order for them to be modernized, but wants to caution against the risk of making ill-advised art sales in order to carry those changes out. Already he has thousands of signatures from museum directors, art historians, critics and the general public who share his views. In this way, the challenge that museums in Italy are facing today is also that of being caught “between two worlds” – but their worlds are commerce and culture, and how they manage it is crucial for the preservation of Italian art.

I got to speaking to Scarpa about his current projects, which include authenticating by using X-rays and light microscopy on paintings by Titian, Lorenzo Lotto and others. It is a fascinating, multi-layered process with its roots in archaelogy, of which Scarpa is also a professor. Additionally, he has been expert advisor for the American artist Fred Wilson when he represented the US at the Venice Biennale in 2003, but is dissatisfied with much contemporary art he sees. He says we need to return to learning from the Old Masters the way we used to. In Italy today if you go to a museum as an art student and try to paint a copy you will be arrested.

Les Mangeuses de Lotos, oil on canvas 144 x 163 cm
Les Mangeuses de Lotos, oil on canvas, 144 x 163 cm.

Scarpa and I share the same point of view when it comes to line and color. “It’s unusual to find both things in a contemporary artist,” he says of my paintings. “The End of Summer is probably my favourite. Autumn, Saudade or Les Mangeuses de Lotus Bleu are a door to her imagination and sensibility, while others, like the portraits for example, are a more stark representation of reality. It’s unusual to find both the things in a contemporary artist. Why did I like The End of Summer? Because–and that’s another unusual thing in contemporary art–Funk’s paintings show a knowledge of medium that is close to those I’m used to seeing in my beloved Old Masters: for a Venetian the colour is a tridimensional thing, made of physical strokes, masses of pigment that have to find peace on the canvas. The red stripe on the seashore clearly wins against the lines found elsewhere in the painting, and that’s really moving for me. In fact this war between colour and line is the subject of 500 years of discussions between the Florentine (lines) and Venetian (colour) school, as already Vasari pointed out.”

To see more paintings bridging the gap between color and line, visit Mia Funk’s exhibition at Galerie Olympe de Gouges (11 rue de l’Odéon, Paris) until 11th November.  




Trapezoids and History




Chaperones, Gossip, and Banned Books by H. M. Bateman

© H. M. Bateman (1887-1970)

© H. M. Bateman (1887-1970)

© H. M. Bateman (1887-1970)




Lombra by Rodrigo de Souza Leão

Lombra

By Rodrigo de Souza Leão, 2009.

Oil on canvas, 80 x 50 cm.

ACERVO MUSEU DE IMAGENS DO INCONSCIENTE, Rio de Janeiro.




Alex Vannini — Sunset




How to Make a Black Hole

© Steven Appleby

Steven Appleby’s work has appeared in newspapers, on television, on Radio 4, on stage at the ICA and in over 20 books. The Coffee Table Book of Doom, published in September by Square Peg, makes an excellent Christmas present, and is available from all good bookstores and online.




How To Speak French

Steven Appleby’s work has appeared in newspapers, on television, on Radio 4, on stage at the ICA and in over 20 books. His Coffee Table Book of Doom was published in September, and his website is www.stevenappleby.com




How to Make a New Memory




‘Once Upon a Riot’ by Louie Stowell

ArtistLouie Stowell has been drawing cartoons and other illustrations for Litro for a year or so. Her drawings have appeared in other off and online magazines and an annual charity art exhibition called ArtSHO. She also writes children’s books for Usborne and recently co-wrote a book called the Write Your Own Story Book, published at the start of June.

 




Laika by Magda Boreysza






Magda Boreysza

Magda Boreysza is a freelance artist living in Edinburgh, where she graduated from the Edinburgh College of Art in 2007 with a first-class honours degree in visual communication. As well as illustration work, she is also available for mural commissions. Her comic Toastycats is available in selected shops and online at magdaboreysza.com.

 

 




I See The Promised Land by Arthur Flowers & Manu Chitrakar










Arthur Flowers

Writer: Arthur Flowers teaches in the English Department of Syracuse University, USA. A native of Memphis and co-founder of The New Renaissance Guild, he is a performance poet who considers himself heir to the western written tradition as well as the African oral one.

Artist: Manu Chitrakar lives and works in Naya village in Bengal. A Patua scroll artist who sings and paints, he is part of a living art and performance tradition that is as open to contemporary news stories and politics as it is to ancient legend and myth.




Leonard Cohen by C.M. Evans

By C. M. Evans




New Superheroes by C. M. Evans

Cartoonist: C.M. Evans, author, artist, thinker, recycler, philanthropist, grew up in Upstate California. His work, (both art and literary) has been published for many years online and offline in places like Milk Magazine, McSweeney’s, Dear Sir, The Bridge and displayed at various venues in the US, China, and Mexico. He is cartoon-editor- at-large for opiummagazine.com

 




‘Buffalo Chris’ by Chris Wiewiora & Dan Folgar






 

An Adventure of Buffalo Chris: Inspiration & Collaboration
By writer Chris Wiewiora

I came up with the idea of a comic series called The Adventures of Barista Chris while I was working for a corporate coffee chain. The storyline would be based on my job. And so, I planned for my co-workers to be drawn as animals (i.e. my bad-tempered boss would be a bear), thus disguising their names, if not their identities.

For each The Adventure there would be an accompanying An Adventure – a tangent narrative that would somehow connect back to The Adventures. For instance, An Adventure of Buffalo Chris is an adaptation of the Texan-American tall tale of Pecos Bill and the taming of his wild horse Widowmaker. The parallels to The Adventures is that Barista Chris rides a dangerous motorcycle he named Betty Jo (in the tall tale the wild horse is named Widowmaker) and also in The Adventures, Chris eventually falls in love with an apron-only wearing – otherwise nude – woman named Eve (like how Sweet Sue captivates Pecos Bill).

But there’s a problem: I can’t draw. Well, it’s not that I can’t draw, it’s that I don’t draw. I don’t draw, because when I do draw, the best I can do is draw birds as a lowercase m up in the sky.

And so, I got my buddy Dan Folgar (also a former corporate coffee employee) to collaborate with me on The Adventures of Barista Chris. I write. He draws. More accurately, Dan illustrates – he brings alive the imagery of my words.

The first thing at the top of my script for Buffalo Chris was a summary of the character(s), desire, and plot in one sentence:

Buffalo Chris is a feral boy who seeks danger via taming a wild horse.

I noticed the word that I kept using in my script was “wild.” And when I think of wildness I think wilderness, and the struggle to survive in that dangerous and unforgiving environment. But I was curious to see how Dan would represent wildness. The concept sketch Dan sent me was of a wiry boy in a loincloth and wearing a buffalo headdress.

I realize that American tall tales are about the United States’ folk heroes like Pecos Bill (or Buffalo Chris). However, I don’t believe that those stories are only about their characters; rather the characters embody their stories’ settings. The character’s character represents their story’s region. More simply, a story is about place, too.

In Dan’s concept sketch, Buffalo Chris’ hands float out and away from his body over the empty space around him. And maybe here, I can switch roles and give some words for Dan’s illustrations of Buffalo Chris: His landscapes are lush as well as wild. Dan gives dynamic images starting in the Texan deserts heading westward along the prairie, through the forests, over the mountains, and all the way to the Pacific Ocean where the sun sets.

 

Chris Wiewiora

Writer: Chris Wiewiora (chriswiewiora.com) is a MFA candidate at Iowa State University’s Creative Writing and Environment program. He mainly writes nonfiction, but previously collaborated with Dan Folgar illustrating another comic titled Life of the Coffee Bean, published in Bateau. Together, they have compiled a comic anthology that is seeking a publisher.

 

 

Dan Folgar

Artist: Dan Folgar is a cartoonist/artist from Miami, FL. He is currently seeking an MFA in visual arts at the Miami International School of Art and Design. He has comics forthcoming in Candy or Medicine, and an online comic series at sometime-this-century.blogspot.com.




Me and my Dad and a Long Time Ago by Neil Dvorak





 

Neil Dvorak

Writer/artist: Neil Dvorak says: “I think the farthest a human can go is to ask a really great question. Right? There are so few truths or answers on Earth … here are three: I love my friends and family. I love bugs and drawing. I made everything else up.” See easypiecescomics.com




Hand me my Hand by Alan McCormick

‘You can pin a maggot on a mackerel but you can’t pin a mackerel on a maggot,’ whispered the featureless child, his unheard words of wisdom floating away on the wind.

There was lot of wind on the Suffolk coast that day and it was busy dragging the kite belonging to the father of the featureless child along the far side of the beach.

‘Feck it, feck it and feck it,’ scalded Dad.

The snake on a rope thought he said ‘fetch it’ but his impulse to slither over and fetch it was curtailed by a sharp yank on the tie-rope around his neck. His trunk slinked and then coiled up into itself; his gasping tongue protruding to fork the passing currents of air.

Amongst the masses of messed up line attached to the kite emerged a giant ugly deep sea fish. It stank and shouted at a woman and a baby ahead of it.

‘Not mackerel, not a maggot and not a monkfish,’ mumbled and murmured the featureless child.

‘Mmmmer mmmmer mmmmer, can’t make any fecking sense of any fecking thing you say, lad,’ blasted Dad.

‘Sssssand shark, it’sssss a sssssand shark,’ hissssssed the snake.

Dad went to have a closer look. The stinking sand shark bit. He came back with the kite but without his hand.

‘That takes the biscuit,’ sobbed Dad.
‘That took your hand,’ corrected the featureless child.

Dad looked at him for a moment. ‘I understood that bit, lad, you’re right. Good to hear you talk normal for a change.’

The snake slithered back with Dad’s hand.

‘Thanks, snake,’ said Dad with a playful yank at his tie-rope. ‘Now let’s go home, your Mum has got some serious sewing to do.’

 

Alan McCormick and Jonny Voss

Writer: Alan McCormick’s collection of short stories, and shorter pieces illustrated by Jonny Voss, Dogsbodies and Scumsters, is out now on Roast Books. Alan was recently Writer in Residence for the Stroke charity, InterAct Reading Service. His short stories have won numerous prizes and have been widely published and performed, often in London with the Liars’ League.

Artist: Jonny Voss studied illustration at Brighton University and then went on to study at the RCA. He has been working in London as an illustrator since 2000 – see jonnyvoss.com. Alan and Jonny collaborate on illustrated shorts as SCUMSTERS – see scumsters.co.uk, dogsbodiesandscumsters.wordpress.com, 3ammagazine.com and deaddrunkdublin.com