Artistically Speaking!

Hi! I’m Jonathan Abney! I’m an art major who writes for the website and I wanted to introduce you to my segment called Artistically Speaking. It goes over all sorts of media, television shows, video games, movies, and essentially anything that catches my eye. I wanna talk about how things work artistically in everyday life and what makes you enjoy what you enjoy even more (or less). 

Artist Spotlight: Hannah Hook

Apple Still Life by Hannah Hook. 2020

Hannah Hook is a local student artist who attends Randolph Community College in Asheboro, North Carolina. Originally from Virginia, Hannah and her family moved to North Carolina in 2003 and have been here ever since.

Hannah Hook

Ever since she was a kid, Hannah loved art and loved making art. It wasn’t until High School when she really devoted herself to her art.

“My mom was very artistic so there was always that vibe in the house.” She says.

When I asked her, “Why do you do art?” She states, “I just fucking do it, I just do it. I like it. That’s it.”

Hannah has experimented with most mediums, but she typically enjoys painting with oil the most and experimenting with mixed media and found objects.

Baba Yaga’s House. Hannah Hook. Needle felting.

“You have more room to play with when messing with oil since it takes longer to dry. There’s space to try different styles, and since I really like impressionist and fauvist painting, you can choose how well you want to blend everything or choose to have the brush strokes to be very thick and obvious.”

Billie Eilish, Hannah Hook. Oil Paint.

Though Hannah does not want to pursue art as a career, she wants to keep it as a hobby she continues to practice.

“I like to be in complete control of my art.” She states. “Once there’s a deadline or a ‘grade’ put on a piece, it only brings me stress instead of joy and I don’t want that to happen with something I love.”

You can find Hannah and her work on her Instagram below.

Hannah Hook’s Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/samhook55/

For The First Time In Over 200 Years, New Blue Pigment Is Discovered

This new shade of blue called “YInMn” or “Yin Min Blue” was created accidentally by chemists at Oregon State University in 2009.

The color had to first be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in order for Yin Min Blue to be used for commercial use.

It can be found for sale in select stores, but don’t rush over to your local craft store just yet, as a 1.3-ounce can go for $179.40.

The color is so special due to how opaque it is and is much more durable than Prussian blue. It also reflects infrared radiation, keeping the surface underneath cool.

Artists like it for its use of color, but what is especially important is what the pigment does for environmental regulations when it comes to building products.

Though the pigment is approved for commercial use, it is rare to find it, as some find it too expensive, and then it seems that those that do buy it, buy it for bragging rights.

Resources:

https://nypost.com/2021/01/27/new-pigment-yinmn-blue-discovered-now-for-sale/

Artistically Speaking: De Blob

Hey, so today I wanna talk about a video game that has been a part of my life since childhood and apparently everyone else’s too! Coming out originally in 2008, De blob is a platformer that has a small irregularly shaped blob (hence the name) that has the power to color the world that he lives in with the power of paint. This being especially useful as Chroma City, the place he lives(?) or sleeps(?) in, is being invaded by INKT, a corporation entirely bent on taking the world’s color away, leaving nothing but empty, barren black and white landscapes. It’s essentially a fight between those who want to live a life of freedom in color and INKT who want a world without it. 

Right, but this ain’t about that. This is about what this game does artistically. First, its presentation. I think, while in today’s standards, there’s absolutely no doubt that it doesn’t look all that appealing. Oh god, the character models. But what stands out about this game is its style. The UI (User Interface) is always important in a game, as it’s used to translate to the player how the game operates. Animation helps a lot with that and it makes up a big part of this game’s personality. Everything that moves on the screen is wonderfully spaced so you get enough of what you’re and what you need to do. And from the way that everything jumps when you touch it, to the characters themselves being expressive and showing you how they feel through their movement, this game does so much with what little it has. 

julianozuca's Review of de Blob - GameSpot

And my favorite part has GOT TO BE THE MUSIC! When you gain color, it plays a little ditty. Each color has a specific sound to it for each song and the more color there is, the more music you hear. This type of progression of the music helps make doing anything in the game more immersive, as the sound that plays follows along with the music playing throughout the level. And all of it culminates together to create a gaming experience that you seriously can’t forget. Which is probably why so many people remember it from their childhood. Nostalgia everyone.

Unveiling for Michael Rakowitz’s ‘The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist’ in Trafalgar Square (Lamassau)

by: Malcolm Ford

Michael Rakowitz, “The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist” (2018), on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth (photo © Gautier DeBlonde, courtesy the Mayor of London’s Office) https://hyperallergic.com/436134/michael-rakowitz-fourth-plinth-trafalgar-square-london/


I feel this is a great unveiling of Michael Rakowitz’s project as a whole. ‘The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist’ is the name of the project which seems to be a protest against the destruction and frankly pillaging of Iraqi art to be put in Western museums. A common and most striking theme about the collection is the use of Iraqi labeled products in the sculptures or on the outside of the Lamassau. The labels all say “Product of Iraq” which is a great way of showing how far off some of our understanding of the origins of some of these pieces truly rooted from.

Michael Rakowitz, “The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist” (2018), on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth (photo © Gautier DeBlonde, courtesy the Mayor of London’s Office) https://hyperallergic.com/436134/michael-rakowitz-fourth-plinth-trafalgar-square-london/

“Speakers Outside Justice Center 11” Portland, OR

by Malcolm Ford

Steve Mumford, Speakers Outside Justice Center II, Portland, OR, Jul. 31, 2020, 2020, pencil and ink on paper, 11 × 15.5 inches. https://bombmagazine.org/articles/protest-drawings/


The crowd suggests that this demonstration was successful and all who could draw the nerve were able to speak their hearts at the stage and explain some of their frustrations with such a faulty system. Those few got to be the burning spears of the offense of police and judicial reform. You can tell he really tried to capture the raw emotion the man was feeling when he had to say these words. It’s painful and the fact that the “I’M SORRY!!” is in red is just another painful reminder to just how hopeless and empty those words feel now, just as they did back then.

Steve Mumford, Speakers Outside Justice Center II, Portland, OR, Jul. 31, 2020, 2020, pencil and ink on paper, 11 × 15.5 inches. https://bombmagazine.org/articles/protest-drawings/

“Black Lives Matter Protestor Shouts at Cop and Back the Blue Demonstrators” Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY

by Malcolm Ford

BLM Protestor Shouts at Cops and Back the Blue Demonstrators, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY, Jul. 12, 2020, 2020, pencil on paper, 11 × 15.5 inches.  https://bombmagazine.org/discipline/art/

A powerful scene yet one of many in Steve Mumford’s collection of drawings and paintings of his day to day in New York. With the BLM movement in full swing and all of the demonstrations going on this was obviously a great opportunity for him as well as helping spread awareness through his art.

The empty space of the crowd with only a few heads poking out and the only one given much detail being the one with a microphone, speaks volumes to how many people of color felt, feel and are feeling when police reform doesn’t change.

A great way to describe it is like the voice inside your head, you can’t make it any louder however hard you try or at least that’s what it feels like when no amount of protest, demonstrations, phone calls or hugs feel like enough and you’re left there to fight an insurmountable, inconceivable, unrepeatable fight.

BLM Protestor Shouts at Cops and Back the Blue Demonstrators, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY, Jul. 12, 2020, 2020, pencil on paper, 11 × 15.5 inches.  https://bombmagazine.org/discipline/art/

Swiss Museum Calls for the End of Lockdown

Some museums in Basel, Switzerland, had issued for a quick reopening as museums are necessary for the “mental well-being of all” and as long as public health precautions are in place, their reopening do not pose a threat to the public.

The museums arguments were that typical visits do not accumulate a grand abundance of visitors and, while the world is in such a strange and uneasy time, visiting the museums are important to people’s cultural benefit as well as their mental health.

Most governments across Europe have proposed for stricter lockdown measures as well as curfews in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Museums are struggling financially to stay open as a second major lockdown was placed. They are hoping to end the lockdown on museums before spring, but the vote on whether or not to end the lockdown won’t be until June.

Museum curators continue to argue the importance of the community being engaged with its cultural history and how the continuation of a lockdown may halt the education and culture which comes with visiting the museums.

Resources: https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/swiss-museum-directors-demand-lockdown-end-1234582259/

Mummy with Gold Tongue Found in Egypt

A mummy with a golden tongue found at the Taposiris Magna Temple. Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

At the Taposiris Magna Temple in western Alexandria, Egypt, archaeologists discovered 16 burial shafts. In one of those shafts, they discovered a mummy who found a gold foil tongue in its mouth.

This practice of being buried with a “golden tongue” was to ensure that the dead would be able to speak to the court of Osiris in the afterlife in order to decide the deceased’s fate.

Led by Kathleen Martinez of the University of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, she identified two important finds in the mummies. She reported to CNN that one of the mummies “bears gilded decorations showing Osiris, the god of the afterlife, while the other wears a crown decorated with horns and a cobra snake on the forehead.”

Findings of funeral masks and marble masks that date back to the Roman and Greek periods show the importance of preserving one’s soul in the afterlife and ensuring those people get to meet with the Gods in death in order to live a fulfilling and harmonious eternity. These findings also show the amount of great craftsmanship that went into such creations that were going to be buried with the dead rather than be on display for everyone to see. It shows us how important both life and death were to this culture.

Resources:

Stolen Picasso from Athens Gallery May Still Be in Greece

Pablo Picasso’s Head of a Woman was among the works stolen from the National Art Gallery in Athens. Courtesy National Gallery in Athens

About a decade ago, two thieves stole several pieces of artwork, including Picasso’s Head of a Woman, at the National Gallery in Athens. Since the break-in, museum curators have heightened their security system but new research suggests that the painting may still be in the country.

Head of a Woman was painted in 1939  using a cubist style. The painting has a muddy, blue-green background and the head of the woman is made using sharp, geometric lines and shapes. She wears a white shirt and has black hair. Like most Picasso portraits, the composition of her face is all awry as her mouth is placed on her right cheek and her nose extends below her mouth.

The painting itself was gifted to the National Gallery in 1946 in recognition of the resistance of the Nazi agenda in Athens. 

The heist itself is among one of the biggest that Athens has ever seen. Security footage shows the two men removing the paintings from the walls and setting off alarms away from the paintings to stray away the guards. Eventually, two men were arrested for the heist, but the leader behind this group has not been found.

Authorities were hoping to retrieve the stolen pieces to return to the museum to celebrate its recent renovation. The National Gallery is scheduled for reopening on March 25th to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Greek War of Independence.

Resources: