Tag Archives: art

Villages in Action

@ethnicsupplies, @projectdiaspora and others who make and sell art for social change in East Africa are today attending Villages in Action! Project Diaspora’s collaborative effort with Business Fights Poverty and Orange Uganda just opened in Kikuube Village, Masindi District, Uganda. Join ’em wherever you are and see what villagers have to say about the UN’s Millenium Development Goals and other issues. Follow the stream on Twitter under the hashtag #VIA2010.


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The Art of Home

It’s been quite some time since I last posted, and this entry will shed some light on why.  Between working  and preparing for field research, I haven’t had time to do much else.  During the rarest of free moments, I’ve been spending time at home with Jenn.  Now, these activities might be susceptible to a bit of ridicule from Christian Lander, but hey, we are who we are.

We don’t really watch much television.  We generally prefer to hand pick from the finer entertainment options available on Netflix.  Yes, yes, we dig The Wire.  We dug the Sopranos, too.  It’s not because the hyper-macho foulmouthed dialogue makes us feel more edgy or something (though at times that’s entertaining in its own crass way) or even because the stories are that great (though humanizing junkies and gangsters offers big dramatic payoffs).  No, it’s really more about time, mutual proximity, and snuggling the pup.

Here’s the thing: we prefer chill time in an environment with some style.  We entertain often and we don’t go out all that much, so whether it’s dinner, dance party, or some other random diversion, it’s got to reflect a contemporary eclecticism.  Jenn and I moved into our place a few months ago, and we started decorating almost immediately by painting four of the rooms.  One of our first art hanging projects was to create a salon wall in the front room.

It’s an ongoing project that will accommodate new pieces and rotating items as we have time and space to shift things around.

Early in August, Jenn completed a painting project on a large heirloom mirror to really tie our central hallway together.  I had never hung a piece this large, so that was pretty interesting, but I got by with a little help from a curator friend.  As with many large frames, the wire causes this mirror to lean into the room slightly at the top.  That works out great as a quasi full length mirror directly between bathroom and bedroom.

One of John Wilson‘s originals from the robot/monkey collection adorns another wall in the same room.  He’s a badass.  We procured a trio of originals from another artist friend over the past year, too.  Olan Quattro, we miss you!  Your witty, francophile collage pieces adorn the wall in our den.

Those curtains in the corner are the latest addition.  As a gift for our fifth anniversary, my mother solicited suggestions from Jenn, designed these curtains, and made them for us.  We just got them up last weekend, and we’re really enjoying them.  Check ’em out behind our superhip extra-long-even-accommodates-pete-for-a-nap vintage couch:

All of this makes for multiple awesome places to read, study, listen, click, converse, chill, snuggle, eat, danceparty, or hold a woodwind quintet rehearsal.  More on that later.  Believe it or not, the pix for that rehearsal were taken on a 35mm, so I have to get the film developed.  Technological dinosaur lovers: holla!


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Featured Artist: John Lytle Wilson

The Robot’s Disciples

Behold, as John Lytle Wilson makes his grand entrance, you’re sure to do a double-take. Wilson’s recent juxtapositions of robots and monkeys have garnered the attention of more than one hip gallery around the country, and his notoriety doesn’t appear to be waning any. It’s tough to know how to react to his work. If we’re being honest, my gut was first somewhere between rolling around on the floor with laughter and running from the room screaming, but then great art always gets a strong reaction, doesn’t it?

Wilson is artist-in-residence at a little local gallery that sits amidst artists’ studios, other galleries, and small, locally-owned shops. When he’s not painting monkey disciples of giant robots, he’s making disciples of the rest of us with his newest “corrected paintings.” About these, Wilson asserts that “occasonally, an artist will paint something, but neglect to include robots and/or monkeys. When I can, I fix that. The result? Side-splitting renderings of robots and monkeys, usually attacking the subject of someone else’s otherwise rather conservative painting:

Blue Robots Assail the Farmhouse

After you get over the initial visual shock, what’s really refreshing about Wilson’s stuff is that it makes you think . . . about technology, about why you never thought about something before, about a kind of existential blues common to a postmodern technological era, about why the hell much of the population appears NOT to be thinking on a given day . . . you know, lighthearted stuff.

It’s not really that nobody else has ever thought out loud about this kind of thing through their visual art. In fact, Wilson put together an entire show featuring like-minded painters and sculptors, and his work has been featured in other contexts where such juxtapositions formed the shared artistic substance that strung the whole bit together. No, what’s really impressive about Wilson’s work is that he does it so starkly, so convincingly, so laugh-or-cry-out-loud well that you can’t help but love it.

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