Sunday, February 26, 2012

Isaac Stolzfuts’ Return: Part I

This is "Part I" of two videos titled Isaac Stolzfuts’ Return. The reader can find much more about Isaac at his old Blog titled Isaac Stolzfut’s Journal, linked here (Isaac Stolzfut’s Journal). Actually, he is a character I created as part of my doctoral dissertation at New York University during the 1990’s. That dissertation, published in 2000 was titled, Isaac Stolzfuts: Images About Male Sexuality and Culture. At the time I envisioned Isaac to be a worldly Pennsylvania Dutch farmer and outsider artist who dressed in silver foil to express the isolation he experienced as a married closeted gay family man. Over time he became so much more than that because he had achieved an independence that denied my authorship. He achieved a virtual life on the Web as a retired resident of the Pine Needle Retirement Home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After several years in the retirement home, he decided to strike out on his own in a warmer climate, moved to south Florida where he created a new life for himself. Isaac Stolzfut’s Journal began on July 1, 2003 and continued until his grandson, Adam posted a memorial to Isaac on Wednesday, October 10, 2007. At that point I began to write this journal, The Art of John Bittinger Klomp.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

South Florida Beach Sunrise

"Sunrise Near Seminole Golf Club, June 6, 2011"

I am not a morning person. I wake up sluggish, and walking into walls ornery – no - the word is cantankerous! Never the less, once every couple of weeks I make myself get up early in the A.M. to sit on one of our south Florida beaches with my trusty camera, and watch the sun come up. I shoot hundreds of photos changing shutter speed, aperture, and focal length. Out of those hundreds I may find 2 or 3 that are worth using alone or mixed with other images in a pastel drawing, perhaps one that will stand alone as a photograph, and or work in combination with other media for one of my mixed media distressed paintings. I end up filing them in my personal massive photo morgue for possible future use. This particular photo was almost a standalone image, but not quite. I may use it in combination with several others for a pastel, but most likely it will end up buried in the layers of a mixed media distressed painting. I post it to demonstrate the selection process involved in creating any of the “Waterworks.” As part of that process the early morning - “I’m so damned tired-” trips to the beach have become a necessity. Oh, I do have to admit (grudgingly) that watching old Sol pierce the horizon with his brilliant yellow and orange light flash, then gradually drift through and above the clouds is an extremely uplifting experience.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Art Related Things I’ve Done to Improve Myself - and indirectly my Art - This Past Week

1. I saw The Tree of Life, winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival, staring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain. Set in the 1950’s and 2000’s it is the somewhat nonlinear story of the relations between the members of one family, in particular one of three brothers, the universe, and God. Though a tall order, the producers, Pitt among them, writer and director, Terrence Malick, and actors have achieved what is the most beautiful film I’ve seen in 35 years.

Moshe Safdie, Arts and Science Museum, Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort (June 23, 2010)

2. I Looked up architect Moshe Safdie, famous for his Habitat 1967 in Quebec, Canada, and the brand “spandie” new Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort in Singapore among a zillion other projects. He is an architect who grew out of the mid 20th century boxy building culture into stacking the boxes, and finally into a Metamodern designer of more organic-like green spaces for Twenty-first Century mega-cities.* *1

Moshe Safdie, United States INstitute of Peace, Wahington D.C. 

3. I Discovered that the United States has an Institute of Peace because I looked up Moshe Safdie. The magnificent Safdie designed Headquarters building is in Washington, D.C. Who would have thought that with all the wars we’ve fought during the past 50 years - the most recent of which we started - that we would actually have an Institute of Peace? Perhaps despite our crazed politics our government manages to do some things correctly. However, our current illustrious congress voted to cut all spending to the Institute. Of course, peace - who needs it or wants it!!! (I refrain from further derogatory reference to our AUGUST congress.)*2

John's Graphite Photorealism (closeup section) "Norma Jeane" (1979)

4. Had a brain-fart in which I began to meld some of the old 1970’s to 80’s Photorealist techniques with my current more organic mark making pastel techniques. These would include, blurry depth of field, and glowing spots where color is lost to intense light.


* Miles, Linda, “A Convergence of Disciplines: Singapore’s New Arts and Science Museum,” imag nation Lincoln Center Institute for the arts in education at Posted March 30, 2011. Viewed 9:50 A.M., EST, Monday, February 13, 2012.

*1 Photograph of the Museum is Copyright 2010, Las Vegas Sands Corp. All Rights Reserved. However, it is understood that one time use of an image for intellectual purposes is within United States copyright law. I have taken the additional liberty of adding a layer to the jpeg image that discloses the copyright by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

*2 Gangal, Sanjay, “United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC by Moshe Safdie Architects,” Photographs by Tim Hursley. AECCAFE Blogs: the latest posts on the AEC Industry at Posted November 26th, 2011. Viewed 10:35 A.M., EST, Monday, February 13, 2012.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Human Detritus

Following my last journal entry with a photographic exploration of some of the more obvious junk we throw into the worlds circulation system, I can't help but ask, "Are we like a disease?"

I constantly take photographs and use them in the art process, and in my art work, though I don't pretend to be a great photographer. These particular photographs may be interestingly composed with nice brown and gray tones and strong contrast because of an extremely bright sun blasting our beach in late spring. However, all the manmade objects in them, plastic and otherwise, were found within a few paces of one another on our south Florida stretch of sand, and all on the same day. The beach was covered with plastic items, old articles of clothing and fishing apparatus. It is hard to know where all the worn manmade junk came from because we know that what washes out is transported around the world and washes in somewhere else.

Never the less, some days when my partner and I walk on the beach we see people leave their trash behind as they gather their towels and chairs to go. Amazingly, the trashcan and recycling bin is on the path that leads through the coconut palms and off the beach. I’ve been known to walk to groups on the beach and pick up the scattered new trash around them while they watch, probably a futile act on my part. Interestingly, folks in Rehoboth Beach and in Lewes Delaware pick up after themselves more often than not. Why do these two sets of beach goers from different parts of the same country behave so differently? I know what the local response here in south Florida would be. "Oh, it’s those other people," and my reaction to that is a resounding NO! It is any/all types of people. And, we need a public campaign to get people to pick up after themselves. The book of Genesis says that we were given “dominion” over the earth, and with dominion comes responsibility.
Yes, God is in the details, and here in south Florida we need to stop passing blame, and be responsible.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Like Grains of Sand

My partner and I often walk on the beach in the early evening because the light accentuates every detail in the sand and water. I took this photograph just before sunset a couple of years ago, and I’m posting it now by way of contrast to those that follow in my next entry. *1 Late in the day frothy wave crests have yellow-orange halos because the rays of photon particles splatter through the tiny bubbles and microscopic globes of splashing water. The sand particles are highlighted, each and every one. All the highlighted colors are tilted toward the warm side of the spectrum, and the shadows toward the cool. As I have often heard from others, "God is in the details."

This image hints at the importance of every single detail in the universe. However, the lines and indentations left by the wave’s leave-taking also indicate that those details can be changed in an instant by normal physical properties. It is not God’s intent to wipe away that perfect moment. It is just that the perfect moment is seized upon by one person, and perhaps appreciated by others. So too in our lives - whether good and perfect - would that such were possible - or bad and defective - God does not wipe any one of us away with intent . It is just that we have our moment, perfect or not, and then the universe changes.

For me that fact of life demonstrates how necessary it is to live and love, to make as perfect as is humanly possible every moment I exist because the waves of change will happen despite the fact of my existence and God’s love.*2


*1 The next entry highlights photographs taken in the same location that demonstrate how our carelessness can destroy the perfect moment.

*2 I am not an evangelical Christian. I am just an ordinary Christian who believes in God’s love and the fact of Jesus Christ’s life as testimony to that love. I do not believe that God would consign any man, woman or child to burn in eternal hellfire just because he or she had not accepted Jesus Christ as his or her personal savior. If such were the case what would have happened to all those unborn single cell (persons?) evangelicals are so worried about (just "sayin").