Friday, May 24, 2013

Confessions of a Beauty Glutton

I feel so lucky to live in a time when I can communicate with and share with creative spirits around the world.  When a phenomenal photographer like Kristy Mitchell creates a new epic fantastical narrative photograph, or a phenomenal artist like Charles Vess is creating art for his new book, we get to see the results immediately.  Sometimes we even get to see the piece in stages as it unfolds.  What an inspiring and amazing opportunity!  The mythic arts community is closer and closer at hand, and we all feel much less alone.

However, there is an unintended and unfortunate side-effect to all of this ready access to aesthetic wonder:  We've become a society of beauty gluttons.

New images bombard us constantly.  Every day I undergo a delicious assault of wondrous imagery.  Pinterest overwhelms my senses, and after a while I just have to let all of the beauty wash over me in waves of awe.  But I find myself waxing nostalgic for the time as a teenager that a single image would refresh my senses for days...weeks...sometimes years.  I would stumble on an artwork that really spoke to me on the cover of a card in a random gift shop in a mall I would visit on a vacation, and I would stare at the purchased card all the way home, putting it up in my room and letting it fill my heart with motivation, awe, magic, belief.  Part of me really misses the singularity of that experience.

This painting by Helena Nelson Reed captivated me as a teenager.

Now, I see new images just as soul-stirring as the ones on those cards every single day.  New artwork by an entire globe of kindred spirits is brought before me like a feast before a queen.  And unlike a physical feast, it can be a challenge to know when I'm "full" of beauty and any more will leave me a bit overwhelmed.  I start depending on the visual stimulation like a drug.  I become numb to anything less than the best, and any emotional "beauty buzz" I feel lasts for less and less time.  As a fine art photography model, I can have a photographer send me an incredible image from a session that blows me away with its emotive and mystical brilliance, and yet a few days later I am restless for my next "fix."  

I know...I'm mixing my metaphors is both a feast and a drug.  It makes me wonder just how the admirable Aesthetes of the Victorian age would respond today to Pinterest and Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram.  These followers of visual pleasure who counted beauty as their religion and not just as shallow impression...would they also be overwhelmed and not know how to deal with such a steady visual assault?  Would they remain content to gaze upon the beauty of a sunflower for hours when they have new images by Brian Froud, by Tim Walker, by Forest Rogers, displayed before them on a semi-regular basis like the most wonderfully-formed of bouquets ever?

How would they deal without becoming reliant and anaesthetized?  How do you?  How can I? 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Man Behind the Masquerade

So hi.'s been a while.  Like...a month and a half or so while.  And I'm quite sorry.  I could say that I got caught up in working on my garden, which would excuse me for the last few weeks, but honestly I just got caught up in coming home and perching on the sofa, curled in a comfortable ball and surfing Pinterest and the internet on my iPad (which is quite a challenge to write blog posts on).  

I've been writing down ideas for blog posts though, and I know the easiest way to get myself back into the game is just to jump right in and post a new blog. 

So here it is! 

There's this artist...his name is Kit Williams.  Perhaps you know his name already, perhaps you don't.  But you've probably heard of the little book he illustrated in the 70s called Masquerade.  The entire thing was a riddle, with a breathtaking treasure buried in a secret location only unlocked by following the clues in the artworks. 

There's much more to the story of Masquerade, which brings me to the topic of the outstanding documentary, The Man Behind the Masquerade, from BBC.  The documentary tells the story of what happened to the buried treasure Kit created, and shows us what Kit is doing these days.

Come to find out, he lives in a VERY Domythic house, making VERY Domythic artworks that utilize their frames, shapes and symbols, and secret stories.  He lives simply and quietly, with a core group of collectors who know where to find him.  I finished the documentary with a sense that here is a man who truly lives a life of magical creation.

The documentary used to be on YouTube, and if you know of a way to see it, please let me know!  I took these caps based on a few random parts of it that are still on YouTube.

Kit at work on a painting.

I love his shelves and shelves of books and relics and mysterious objects.

A collector discusses one of his works.  He creates the phenomenal frames for his art as well, and makes them a part of the piece.  This is a gorgeous example.

Love the Escher quality of this photo

More shots of his workspace.  So many warm glowing honey colors and wood tones....

Another example of how he plays with the borders of his pieces.

This image was what sent me in search of the documentary again to share it with you.  This is Kit's front door..  Oh yes.

More intriguing objects.

Love how it looks like he has wings in this shot.

Imagine having his art on your walls.  Instant enchantment.

Costumes and wings for model reference.

Or how about a whole bunch of his artworks?

Once again playing with the borders of his art.

His beautiful door and courtyard.

I know, Kit,  if I lived here I'd never leave either...


What a charming and subtle sign!