Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Our Visit with photographer Jason Dailey

One of the most prolific art photographers in Lawrence in Jason Dailey.  Daily is the chief photographer for Sunflower Publishing ( part of the World Company).  His work is seen in the slick magazines of  "Lawrence Magazine" and "Kansas" magazine among others.  Dailey also works as a freelancer.  

magazine photo by Dailey

 Portraiture is a specialty of Dailey. He often captures interesting observation and detail of the individuals he is photographing. We asked him about his approach to this taking portraits. 
"I'm looking to connect with the subject in a way to make them comfortable in front of the lens.  Most of the people I photograph are normal people that aren't professionally photographed much."
We like this photo of Jason found on his Facebook page

One of his current projects is photographing musicians.   Daily says of this series "It brings together two things I love, music and photography. And a great way to find used equipment." 

part of the "Musician Series" by Dailey

A future project includes an artist series which will engage artists to contribute to a portrait. "The artist and I will talk about how the photography portrait should look. Then we'll explore options on how to bring the artists touch to the portrait, could be something as simple as painting or digitally enhancing the portrait or something more complex that brings in some of the artists past or present working methods. This idea works because it will be a collaboration that should be a very unique dual perspective on the portrait. Very excited to get this one in the works once I finish the musician series."

More of his art can be seen at:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Studio Visit: Jeremy Rockwell

 Jeremy Rockwell in his studio

We visited the studio space of busy Lawrence artist Jeremy Rockwell and chatted about his latest work.
He has an organized space which includes a workbench with many tools and movable wall. We discuss his latest projects which include his iconic key pieces, traditional figurative, and experimental pieces with intricate designs ( as seen above).

Jeremy's key series utilizes individual keys from computer keyboards in a way that is similar to pixels on a computer screen.  "The key pieces are a product of what the technologies are now...keyboards are the current technology.  I got the idea for this series by seeing the pixels on a computer screen.  The pixels in the imagery are similar to the squares of the keys.  It is all related. "

Jeremy in front of his key piece "Darwin"
Jeremy's space is in the basement of Seedco. The working atmosphere in the basement is unique and Jeremy says the artists feel they thrive on the community they share. Many of the people working at Seedco met through skating.  During our visit,  a crowd was gathered around a laptop watching footage from skateboard and rollerblading jumps filmed outside earlier in the evening. We see Jeremy's impressive jump, and notice a scrape elbow from a crash.

You can see more of Jeremy's work by going to his website:

Friday, July 26, 2013

TJ's Super City

We stopped by the Arts Center to see the cardboard city that TJ Tangpuz and students are working on.  TJ was wearing a lab coat and helping students put details on their unique buildings.  The city will be on display in the lobby of the Arts Center for tonight's Final Friday.

This science laboratory is equipped with a microscope and "Atoms" book

These two built a rocket

What cat could resist this "Cat World" building?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Victor Continental, Nelly Bobble, and Obsolete Pigments Part IV

Foxy by Proxy

We love this pic sent to us by Foxy by Proxy.  They will be included in the last performance of the Victor Continental shows on Friday and Saturday at Liberty Hall. 


We also liked the post on Twitter from Nelly:  Idk what u think it look like me? Aug 6 NELLY bobble head day at BUSH ...!! WOW ...!!

We want one!

Obsolete Pigments
Today, is our final installment of four parts about paints or pigments that are no longer used by artists.  We are posting this information for the nerdy folks we know who can't get enough of facts and useless knowledge. We thank the online Hyperallergic, who originally published these earlier this month in their online magazine.

1. Sepia Ink
Sepia color has far from vanished, although its original main ingredient is not so common. The sepia pigment was originally made in the 18th century from ink sacs taken from animals, particularly cuttlefish (cuttlefish bones were also sometimes used in pigments). According to Painting Materials  by R.J. Gettens and G. L. Stout, “the secretion from one cuttle-fish [was] able to turn a thousand gallons of water opaque in a few seconds.”
Smalt used in Hans Holbein the Younger’s “Sir William Butts” (1540–43) (via National Portait Gallery)

2. Smalt
The powder blue color of Cobalt Blue glass found its way into a pigment called Smalt. It was an affordable color as it was made from ground up blue glass, and the Renaissance painters frequently used it to add a shimmer to their work. You can also see it in Vermeer’s early pieces, like "DIana and her Companions, "  as well as some portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger.
3. Uranium Yellow
Uranium gives off an entrancing glow, and that characteristic made an appearance as a pigment in glass and ceramics. Although the radioactivity of Uranium Yellow wasn’t as hazardous as, say, eating White Lead paint or using Paris Green, it was enough to stop its use.
4. Gamboge
Gamboge, a yellow resin-based pigment sourced from trees in Cambodia, has a rather macabre story as it progressed from the 19th century into the 20th. As Radiolab reported in “The Perfect Yellow,” during that century’s wars, unspent bullets and mud from battlefields were getting mixed into the Gamboge collected.
Veronese’s “Allegory of love,” where the fabric pattern in the background painted with Verdigris has turned from green to brown over the years (via  Wikii Media)

5. Verdigris
The chemistry of the canvas also resulted in the once widely prevalent Verdigris, a bluish green, almost entirely disappearing. It was used in the Middle Ages through the 19th as a popular vibrant green, made with copper plates and acetic acid. This tactic made it very unstable, however, and it would get darker with age. However, as Philip Ball points out in his book Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color,  this may have been a result of mixing it with resin, and that organic addition later turning it black.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Only God Forgives and Obsolete Pigments Part III

We like the polarization of reviews by people who have seen the new movie playing at Liberty Hall Only God Forgives.  People either love or hate the movie.  We like the tweet by Liberty Hall worker @BillyGayCyrus "The only thing patrons find more upsetting than ONLY GOD FORGIVES, is the fact I loved it.  "
A comment from the film's facebook page says "if this film was any slower, it'd go backwards."


Today, we are on part III of IV of our series of paints or pigments that are no longer used by artists.  We are posting this information for the nerdy folks we know who can't get enough of facts and useless knowledge. We thank the online Hyperallergic, who originally published these earlier this month in their online magazine.
Detail of Jan Davidsz. de Heem’s “Festoon with Flowers and Fruit” (1660s), oil on panel, said to have been painted with orpiment (via  Wikimedia)

1. Orpiment
Made from arsenic and sulphide, orpiment was naturally very toxic.  According to New Scientist,  the vivid “King’s Yellow” as it was known was very popular with 17th century Dutch masters, sometimes mixed with blue to make their landscapes green. Yet not only were the fumes poisonous, it also apparently smelled horrid. Furthermore, it would react with the then-common lead pigments. As John Emsley’s The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison describes, “not all artists were so enamoured because it caused other pigments to turn black if it was painted over, and this was especially so if they were using white lead, which slowly reacted with the sulphur in the orpiment to form black lead sulphide.”

2. Hartshorn
One pigment that could mix with the above mentioned orpiment was Hartshorn. Yet the rustic-feeling white got its natural color from calcined deer antlers, which are hard to keep in abundant supply.
Rembrandt, “Old Man with a Gold Chain” (1631), oil on panel (via  Wikimedia)
3. Ivory Black
Hartshorn, however, is not the only bone-based pigment that was once popular. Ivory Black, which was made from singed elephant tusks and other ivory, and bone char, were also used, and were particularly fond of artists like Rembrandt who would paint swathes of black on their work. According to Art in the Making: Rembrandt  by David Bomford, the blacks the artist used were “almost always provided by bone or ivory black, prepared, as the name suggests, from animal bones or waste ivory by charring in a closed crucible.”
4. Paris Green
To go along with those infamously poisonous pigments is the notorious Paris Green. The incredibly toxic pigment was an effort to improve Scheele's Green a copper arsenite, with Paris Green involving arsenic and verdigris (see below). It gets its name from being used to kill rats in the sewers of Paris, and it was also used as an insecticide, but that was all after it had already been used as a pigment in art and other uses, including, most hazardously, wallpaper where when combined with moisture it released an arsine gas.
The Antichrist on the Leviathan, from “Liber Floridus” (1120). Illuminated medieval manuscripts regularly used Iris Green. (via Google Books) 

5. Iris Green
For a less deadly green, illuminated medieval manuscripts were frequently colored with the iris flower in a color called Iris Green. As the Pigment Compendium  by Valentine Walsh and Tracey Chaplin describes, the juice from petals of plants such as parsley, nightshade, rue, and honeysuckle were frequently used, but it was the iris that gave a nice color from its blue and purple petals. Yet it was a time consuming process and required a whole heap of flowers to have enough juice to pull out the pigment (sourced from chlorophyl) with scraps of linen.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Happenings at the Percolator, Science on Tap, and Obsolete Pigments Part II

We have updates on The Percolator,  our favorite East Lawrence gallery.  Construction on a big hotel next store has started. The alley between the Percolator and the construction site now has a privacy fence across the alley or  as the Perc folks call it "a mural to make future mischief." The non-profit gallery is also working on a fundraiser. This week, the Percolator is seeking donations of prints from local artists.  Those who visit the gallery on Friday and make a donation will receive a print.  Danny Pound will be playing music at Friday's event. 
 Note: You can also enter the Percolator from Rhode Island Street.  Look for the Percolator mailbox. 

View of the Privacy fence at the Percolator

Pic of the dye workshop at the Percolator this past weekend

Science on Tap presents Science Fiction Tonight
Tonight, Science on Tap will discuss science fiction at Free State at 7:30. Chris McKitterick, director of KU's Center for The Study of Science Fiction, will lead a discussion on how science fiction "provides our new myths and teaches us how to survive and remain sane in a changing age." 
See the event page here:

Note: Did you know that there is an actual center at KU for the Study of Science Fiction? Yup.  It's been around since 1982.  Read about it here:

Obsolete Pigments

This section of today's post includes Part II of IV of a history lesson on paints and pigments that are no longer used by artists because the contents are hard to come by or hazardous.  The information is geared toward the nerdy folks we know who can't get enough of facts and useless knowledge. We are reproducing content and images found on the online blog Hyperallergic

Mural in the Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii, said to incorporate the Dragon’s Blood pigment. (via WIkimedia)

1. Dragon’s Blood

The pigment known as Dragon’s Blood had the most epic and ridiculous of origin stories, a supposed mix of actual dragon’s blood and elephant’s blood. Andrew Dalby’s Dangerous Tastes  chronicles this incredible story from the 16th century navigator Richard Eden:
“[Elephants] have continual warre against Dragons, which desire their blood, because it is very cold: and therefore the Dragon lying awaite as the Elephant passeth by, windeth his taile, being of exceeding length, about the hinder legs of the Elephant, and when the Elephant waxeth faint, he falleth down on the serpent, being now full of blood, and with the poise of his body breaketh him: so that his owne blood with the blood of the Elephant runneth out of him mingled together, which being colde, is congealed into that substance which the Apothecaries call Sanguis Draconis, that is Dragons blood, otherwise called Cinnabaris.”
Martin Drölling, “L’intérieur d’une cuisine” (1815), believed to have been painted with Mummy Brown (via The Louvre) 

2. Mummy Brown

The pigment, a favored shade of the Pre-Raphaelites, was first made with Egyptian mummies, both cat and human, that were ground up and mixed with white pitch and myrrh. It had a great fleshy color, but due to the actual fleshy components it would crack over time. Martin Drölling, who painted the work shown above, reportedly,  used the mummies of French kings dug up from Saint-Denis in Paris. According to a 1964 Time story, the Mummy Brown pigment didn’t last due to a shortage of its name defining ingredient. Managing director of the London based C. Roberson color maker told the magazine:
“We might have a few odd limbs lying around somewhere, but not enough to make any more paint.”

3. Indian Yellow

According to Philip Ball’s Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color, the vivid color of Indian Yellow was a source of mystery until the late 19th century. It turned out that the yellow color came from the urine of cattle in the Bihar province of India that were fed only mango leaves and water. The mistreatment of the animals led to the color being illegal and it vanished by 1908.

4. Scheele’s Green

From the comments, we got a tip on Scheele's Green. The yellow-green pigment was a cupric hydrogen arsenite, which was very toxic, yet made it into not just paintings, but candles, wallpaper, and children’s toys. In one incident at a Christmas party, a candle dyed with the color poisoned children, and other 19th century incidents include women in green dresses passing out and those using it to print newspapers suffering from its effects. The arsenic vapors also are believed by some to have played a role in the death of Napoleon, who lived in a room paintly brightly green, his favorite color, as traces of arsenic were found in his hair.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Reads: Yoonmi Nam Picks

We continue our series of what books Lawrence artists are currently reading. This week, Yoonmi Nam shares with us her list of books.   She had some great picks!  Here they are: 

Photo of artist Yoomni Nam

1. Birds of America by Lorrie Moore

New York Times Book of the Year 
A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
Winner of the Salon Book Award
Village Voice Book of the Year

 Birds of America is the celebrated collection of twelve stories from Lorrie Moore, one of the finest authors at work today.

2. The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made

Landscape by James Howeard Kunstler

The Geography of Nowhere traces America's evolution from a nation of Main Streets and coherent communities to a land where every place is like no place in particular, where the cities are dead zones and the countryside is a wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots. 
In elegant and often hilarious prose, Kunstler depicts our nation's evolution from the Pilgrim settlements to the modern auto suburb in all its ghastliness.

2. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

A guy walks into a bar car and...

From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved. 

3. Collections of Nothing by William Davies King

Nearly everyone collects something, even those who don’t think of themselves as collectors. William Davies King, on the other hand, has devoted decades to collecting nothing—and a lot of it. With Collections of Nothing, he takes a hard look at this habitual hoarding to see what truths it can reveal about the impulse to accumulate.

4. Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax. As he would later write in the first of a series of award-winning columns for Vanity Fair, he suddenly found himself being deported "from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady." Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis.

5. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

This intense novel follows Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, as he contends with a past he never thought much about—until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance: one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. 

Yoomni also adds some books that she plans to read. They are: 
It Chooses You by Miranda July
You Are Not a Stranger here by Adam Haslett
Moo by Jane Smiley
A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould's Obsessive Quest for the Perfect
Piano by Katie Hafner

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Molly and Clare's Opening and Obsolete Pigments Part 1

Artists Jack Collins with Molly Murphy 

Last night we saw the  new works by Molly Murphy and Clare Doveton at their opening reception at Landmark, Both artists had dramatic landscapes, many with vast skies.  Here are some pics from last night:

Artist Clare Doveton

Art hanging at Landmark


 Obsolete Pigments

This section of today's post includes a history lesson on paints and pigments that are no longer used by artists because the contents are hard to come by or hazardous.  The information is geared toward the nerdy folks we know who can't get enough of facts and useless knowledge. We are reproducing content and images found on the online blog Hyperallergic,

1. Mayan Blue 
On murals, pottery, even possibly painted on the hapless bodies offered as human sacrifices, a sky-blue color has been found in artifacts of the Maya and Aztec. It disappeared around colonial times in Central America, just like the pre-Columbian civilizations themselves. Known as Maya Blue, it’s long been recognized as a mix of a natural clay and a dye from the indigo plant, but how it was so durable in not being subject to fading or even the deterioration of solvents and acids has been a mystery. Earlier this year, however, some chemists announced they may have found the secret in careful variations in the preparation temperatures. Read the chemists' findings here:

Burial Shroud of Charlemagne (early 9th century), made of Byzantine silk colored with Tyrian Purple 

2. Tyrian Purple
The most prized, prestigious pigment of the ancient world was actually made from a rather slimy source: a predatory snail. Tyrian Purple got its name from the best of the marine shellfish used to make the pigment being found off the shore of Phoenicia’s Tyre, according to Pigment Compendium, a dictionary and history of pigments. Not only was it a properly royal color of rich, slightly red purple, it was said to get even more beautiful and brighter when exposed to the sun and the elements. Yet since you needed a whole pile of snails to have enough mucous secretions to make it, it was very expensive, and eventually disappeared.

White Lead in Johannes Vermeer’s “The Glass of Wine” (1658), oil on canvas (via WikiPaintings)

3. White Lead
The luminosity of classical European oil paintings was due in large part to white lead, a pigment of lead carbonate and sulfate. Artists like Vermeer used it to create a special kind of light that radiated from the canvas, the traces of which we can see in its grainy texture. Unfortunately, its striking brightness was rather poisonous. Yet as Applied Polymer Science  explains about the lead paint: “Toxicity was recognized, but accepted.” It’s since been largely replaced by Titanium White, a less hazardous, although not as structurally strong, pigment, yet some artists still seek out the White Lead for its believed superior color and permanence, even if it is more difficult to find and still toxic.

Lapis Lazuli used in a detail of “The Ascension,” attributed to Jacopo di Cione (1371)
(via THe National Gallery, London)

4. Lapis Lazuli
Widely believed to be the most expensive pigment ever created, more pricey than even its weight in gold, the Lapis Lazuli pigment was made from grinding up Lapis Lazuli semi-precious stones. Its use goes back to the 6th century in Afghanistan, but its popularity really took off with wealthy Renaissance patrons who wanted the stunning blue on the robes of Mary and Jesus in religious paintings. The “ultra marine” color, as it was also known, largely disappeared as it was so incredibly expensive and required quarries to collect the stones. However, you can actually buy it in New York City at the Kremer Pigmente store for $360 for five grams.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Clare Doveton and Molly Murphy at Landmark and Interesting Art Web Articles

Molly lays out her work in her studio

It's officially sweltering in Lawrence.  What to do on a hot July day?  The opening reception for new works by Clare Doveton and Molly Murphy are at Landmark Bank ( located around 6th and Wakarusa) from 5:30-7:30.

pic of artist Molly Murphy at the Arts Center Auction

See the Facebook invite here:

Yesterday was the annual Downtown Sidewalk Sale.  Winner of the best item found goes to @larryvillelife who bought a gem film poster that reads "Anybody's Back Seat will do." None of us have seen the movie, but it is on our list.


Interesting Web Articles From This Week

From "The Sandwich Book" by Pawel Piotrowski

There is more proof that performance artist Joseph Beuys invented his war experiences.  Many of his experiences are central to his art themes. A letter he wrote when in the military during World War II has recently been published in the German magazine Spigel.  You can read the article here:

Tiffany Jenkins writes that art schools are failing students in her article found here:
She writes: You can see the evidence every year at any art college exhibition across the country. There is, without doubt, an unwillingness to paint; the medium is seen as too traditional, over and done with. Instead, the end of the course exhibitions are uniformly full of bits of this and that; plastic and wood assembled into something supposedly meaningful, but which appear incomplete. There is little sign of a serious craft.

Friday, July 12, 2013

This Green Space at 9th and New Hampshire

We will miss our nice green space at 9th and New Hampshire. Work crews are starting to break ground for a hotel, meaning that we will no longer have the area that we used to fly kites on.  Artist Dave Loewenstein posted a nice tribute to the area in a photo essay.  Here are some of his pics:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nerd Nite Tonight: Summer Shorts

Pic of adorable nerds from the 1982 Shawnee Mission South Categories Team

Nerd Nite Tonight: Summer Shorts
We are very excited about tonight's Nerd Nite.  The team has arranged two minutes talks on whatever  crazy fact based subjects people want to talk about.  Interesting Indeed!  We'll give you a recap of highlights on Thursday.
Doors open at 7:00, presentations are at 8:00 at The Pachamamas Ballroom

Here are the topics;
1. Drawing A Human Head 101 - Karen Matheis
2. "Punk Side Story: Why A Bunch of Drunks Covering Showtunes Is Fucking Wonderful by Nick Spacek
3. Two Minutes, on a Honeymoon, signifying nothing - Jon Kaleugher
4. KU Memorial Union: supporting KU since 1926 - Michelle Compton
5. Time Travel Theory and Advice from Two Minutes in the Future - Chad O'Bryhim
6. Alexander the Great the worlds best psychopath and the worlds first corporate asshole. - Allison Puderbaugh
7. the Straczynski you know by Sean Wilson
8. Graphic Design on Six Hits of Acid: The Bizarre World of Czech and Polish Film Posters by Abby Olcese
9. Buddhism in Russia? Siberia-ho! by Emily Csinsi
10. From Wickets to Googlies: The Basics of Cricket by Will Price
11. The Lost Presidents - Adrian Jacobs
12. Melvil Dewey - Kristin Soper
13. Midwest Foam Fighting: Yes, I'm *That* Kind of Nerd by Elwood Schaad

And bonus presentations by your co-bosses: 

1. Origins of Nerd Nite in 2 minutes
2. American Sign Language, an Abbreviated History - Emily Fekete
3. The Cruel and Enduring Story of Elephant-Killer Thomas Edison and the Killer-Elephant Topsy by Travis Weller and Amy Mihalevich

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Taking Photos of Yoga and more from Hot Sheets II

The staff at  Larryville Artists has been busy taking photos fror The Yoga Center's website.  We thought we'd post a few today. 


Hot Sheets II
Wonder Fair has Hot Sheets II on view now.  These small treasures pack a punch as many of Lawrence's best artists are participating.  

The show examines the absurd standards that the art market sometimes dictates.  These works on paper were evaluated by a panel of judges who rated works with a number system.  The points value of works were determined by arbitrary factors such as color choices and subject matter. 

Below is one of our favorites by illustrator Kent Smith.  

Kent Smith

 Wonder Fair points system in action
(photo via Wonder Fair)