Tag Archives: art

Lord of the Rings Artwork from Exile Into Imagination

14 Nov

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So the annoying skin tag on my finger from me stabbing myself with a screwdriver whilst hanging up some art FINALLY fell off. Then I thought – I didn’t tell my blogging friends all about our newest wall art! So… SHOW AND TELL TIME!!! Wheeeeee!!! *runs around in circles*

When we were at FANdom Con here in Pensacola, Florida a few weeks ago we gave in and bought a sketch of Gollum printed out over Lord of the Rings sheet music from Exile Into Imagination. No, it’s not original artwork. Yes, it’s just a copy. No, it’s not autographed. But we just couldn’t help ourselves. Lord of the Rings is just SO underrepresented in our home!

Jonathan and I have a huge autographed wall art collection. I mean HUGE. A combination of our mutual desire to collect rarities – and our love of conventions where autographs from nerdy idols abound – has resulted in our literally having too many framed art pieces to fit our walls. Most of our collection is sitting in storage back in California collecting dust till we can have a place with enough wall space to display them without it looking jumbled and tacky.

While I am an anime / sci-fi / fantasy / video game / pop culture nerd, I’m also a sucker for order and interior design. I try to walk that fine line between fine art display and nerdy man cave exploding on the walls.

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Just a sampling of some of our framed artwork:

Autographed Chris McGrath Dresden Files cover art, autographed Star Wars poster, autographed Hatsune Miku Vocaloid poster, autographed Captain EO poster, autographed Tron: Legacy limited edition art, autographed limited edition Brian Froud Labyrinth concept art, limited edition Blizzard World of Warcraft art, autographed MST3K poster, autographed original Mickey Mouse drawing from Disney animation, autographed Firefly artwork, autographed Rurouni Kenshin art from Nobuhiro Watsuki… so on and so on and so on…

Because of our growing pile of autographed swag, we’ve decided to limit our artwork purchases to only original and extremely rare pieces of art.

For instance, one of the last art purchases we made were some original hand drawn Fruits Basket artwork and painted backdrops from the original FUNimation anime. Whenever you see the Sohma kitchen scenes.. yeah, I OWN the kitchen. It’s hung up in my dining room. (This is seriously my most prized possession, wall-wise.)

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So while we’ve laid down the “no more prints, copies, or unoriginal art purchases” rule, we caved when it came to Gollum leering out at us from sheet music. How could we say no?! Now we just need to get it autographed by Andy Serkis (voice of Gollum) the next time he’s stateside for San Diego Comic Con.

Okay, that’s it for show and tell. Gonna go drown myself in some more coffee. Seriously guys, I have a problem. I need a coffee intervention or something….

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Wordless Wednesdays – October 23, 2013

23 Oct

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Gallery Night in Downtown Pensacola

22 Oct

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Jonathan and I took Tessa to the local Gallery Night at Downtown Pensacola… lots of live music, local art and al fresco dining by local businesses. I was amazed at how hoppin’ this place was. It was much more bustling than the Los Angeles Art Walk, and there was the added bonus of not having to worry about half dressed drunks peeing on the sidewalks.

I much preferred this cleaner, family friendly version, strolling along the brick sidewalks of Downtown Pensacola, with the festive, block-party atmosphere. This is gonna be our regular monthly thing as long as we’re here. I really need to stop falling in love with Pensacola. This spring, and Jonathan’s final orders, are only a couple months away. (Eeeep!)

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Yosemite Renaissance at the Kings Art Center in Hanford, CA

19 Jul

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Like I said in a previous post, when it comes to the Central Valley, a “cultural experience” usually entails risking food poisoning at roadside taco trucks and haggling over wilted vegetables at the weekly swap meets. While I am no art critic, (my inner artist only extends as far as photography, cosplay crafts and the occasion doddering attempt at literary works) I do enjoy immersing myself in the atmosphere of art galleries. The creativity, the intrigue, the skill, the craft and the passion that goes into the art world is one that I love to visit. I got rather spoiled when I was living in Southern California and could visit the monthly LA Art Hop, jumping from gallery to gallery along Spring Street and 1st, sampling wine and cheeses, enjoying and envying the amazing art… and laughing at the travesties masquerading as art. (A dead bird smeared with cat poo? Okay, LA, whatever.)

So while I miss the chaos and hoity toity yupperyof the LA art scene, I’m not completely deprived of the gallery experience in Hanford. We’re not completely without fine art in the Central Valley – though it usually does require some digging to find anything worthwhile. The Kings Art Center has been doing a fantastic job making art readily available to the public and the local community with their free galleries open all week long.

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A couple of days ago I stopped by to visit the current exhibit, Yosemite Renaissance. This is the 28th year of this annual exhibit. The display features 46 paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures from the representational to the abstract, all interpreting the majesty of the Yosemite and the Sierra Nevadas.

Being a sucker for the Sierra Nevada (I am partial to the Sequoias, but do have a deep love for Yosemite as well), I found this exhibit to be thoroughly enjoyable. I was impressed with the variety of mediums displayed, and I would even go so far as to say that this is the best display I have seen at the Kings Art Center to date. It was hard to choose a favorite piece. I am usually predisposed toward the photography works, but I would have to say the piece that riveted my attention the most was the acrylic on canvas painting by Stacey Best, “The Western Redbud in the Sierra”. (Pictured below.)

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The prole, member-of-the-unwashed-masses side of me usually finds a piece of art or two that I scoff at and think, “This is art? Really?” But I didn’t find anything on display that was overly abstract or surreal or irrelevant to invoke my inner critic. Everything was a gorgeous representation of the familiar Yosemite scenes, whether in color, texture or feel. So my art happy? Officially filled up. ^_^

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A Day at the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford, California

21 Jun

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Being in the Central Valley, fine art is hard to come by and “cultural experiences” consist of eating at taco trucks and buying rotten produce at the Mexican flea markets. But in the middle of crops and cow country, there’s a hidden jem in the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture, where world class art exhibits are displayed in small town style. So I usually make a point of visiting whenever they have a new exhibit.

I’m almost always treated as the “college student who is most likely there because it’s a school requirement and not because she has a genuine interest in the exhibits” by the office staff. And no matter how many times I interact with staff (I have arranged cosplay photoshoots on the grounds in the past) or how often I frequent the exhibits as a patron, they never remember me and talk to me as though it’s my first time stepping foot on the property. But regardless, the museum with its main exhibit hall, Japanese garden and sprawling bonsai garden is a Central Valley treasure, and one that I highly recommend.

I was especially interested in the current exhibit: Genji’s World in Japanese Woodblock Prints, because I just finished reading a biography on Hokusai, the famous woodblock artist of the Tenpo Era. While there weren’t any Hokusai prints at the Hanford exhibit, there were a few by print designer and book illustrator Utagawa Kunisada, who worked closely with Hokusai on a number of his famous Manga sketches.

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While I was excited to see the prints, (and even dragged my mum out to see them with me!), I will say it was a bit underwhelming. Having pored over high quality reproductions of woodblock art over the past few weeks, the originals behind glass frames looked… well, exactly the same. There was no discernible difference aside from the coarse, obviously aged papers the art was printed on. I would have been far more impressed if they had on display some of the original woodblocks themselves. And when it comes to studying ink prints, I’d much rather do so on a computer monitor or with a book in the privacy of my own home, instead of having a docent shadow me and trying to engage in conversation in broken English. Don’t get me wrong, the gals there are sugary sweet, it’s just that being such a small museum you will usually be the only guest there and that just gets awkward when you want to have a quiet escape into the realm of fine art and take time just looking or reading plaques.

Additionally, while I was eager to see the prints, I’m not really into the subject matter. After reading all about Hokusai’s work, which deals with the intricacies of the peasant class of feudal Japan (which I find fascinating – he was like the Japanese Pieter Bruegel), this exhibit dealt solely with “The Tale of Genji”, the famous book written over 1,000 years ago by the court lady Murasaki Shikibu – which, while fascinating, is not something I’m overly giddy about. Even though it does seem to dominate the 1830’s woodblock art era.

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Here is the exhibit description from the Clark Center website:

“In the late 1820s, when the writer Ryūtei Tanehiko (1783–1842), the print designer and book illustrator Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1865) and the publisher Tsuruya Kiemon sat down together in Edo to plot the inaugural chapter of the serial novel A Rustic Genji by a Fraudulent Murasaki (Nise Murasaki inaka Genji), it is doubtful that any one of them envisioned that their actions would generate a new genre in Japanese woodblock prints that would flourish until the turn of the century, Genjie (“Genji pictures”). During these sixty years, almost 1,300 original designs were created, of which many were very popular at their time of release.

The story of A Rustic Genji, set in fifteenth-century Japan, is in many respects drawn from the classic novel. It retells the amorous adventures of Mitsuuji—the counterpart to Genji’s Prince Genji—and is delivered in contemporary dialogue combined with kabuki theatrics. By 1838, and concurrent with the release of new Rustic Genji chapters, woodblock-print publishers and artists set out to exploit its success through the creation of individual-sheet prints that depicted the principal characters and the most exciting scenes. Under Kunisada’s lead the theme enjoyed enormous popularity and the craze that gave birth to these publications peaked in the 1850s and continued into the 1860s. Over eighty publishers had Genji designs on offer, and they engaged an increasing number of artists. Featured in this exhibition is a rich array of woodblock prints by many of Japan’s leading print artists.”

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As I said, I found this exhibit to be more of a “quick peek” experience and bit underwhelming, but overall, it was a pleasant visit, as always. They’ve expanded their bonsai garden since I last visited, and it’s truly worth the trip to check out.