Tuesday, January 28, 2014

iPhone Photos As Art

Part II

It was the coldest day and evening of the latest arctic blast of January 2014, the same that brought almost a foot of snow and temperatures of 0 degrees Fahrenheit to our hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. My husband and I decided to visit our beach here in southeast Florida before dinner bundled in our doubled-up shirts and sweaters. Now, the last time we were below freezing in Palm Beach County was 3 years ago, and it certainly wasn't the kind of bone chilling cold we used to experience up north. Never the less, I was chilled standing on our beach in the 65 degree Fahrenheit winds gusting out of the north, northeast last week. Surfers, some in bikinis were just coming into shore with their boards, and they assured us that the water was very warm.

I had recently decided that I should see my iPhone as capable of taking pictures that anyone might consider Art, rather than just iPhone curiosities - probably because I hate those ubiquitous arms-length self portraits in the social media.   I’m sure most of those will someday be considered early Twenty-first Century trash art - not kitsch, just junk that is beyond redemption.

With the goal of obtaining an "artistic," pretty photo of the beach and waves, I shot one picture after another as the sun sunk lower and lower behind us. All the photos in the series show cumulous clouds hanging-out low in the sky, over the Gulfstream less than 3 miles off shore. Long shadows from the palms and buildings behind us fall across the beach and onto the water, and these, the deep green hue of the water, and extreme contrast of the image indicate the winter season. The images are not as detailed and crystalline as might be those taken with an expensive 15 or 20 megapixel camera, but the elements mentioned above, and that single bird, blurred from speed, diving between surf and sand in the lower right section of the picture combine to present the grandeur and slightly abandoned feeling of a chilled and mostly deserted winter beach.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

iPhone Photos As Art

I suspect that 25 years from now all those ubiquitous iPhone self-portraits taken at arms length will be seen by the Art world elitist as worthless kitsch if they’re not now. I also know that my iPhone camera has great limitations. However, I am enjoying the fact that it is always with me, and I can shoot photos and videos everywhere I go. I’ve posted a few of these on Facebook to illustrate daily observations, and I’ve been amazed at the comments received – things like “great photo” or “pretty” and "WOW!" Thus, I’m starting to play with the camera in earnest. The photo here is an example I took at sunset about a month ago. It was before I thought to produce an “artistic” result. Quite accidentally, I’ve got a very “pretty” image, if according to my trained artist's mentality, a bit trite. Now, I must come up with a subject or subjects that deserve to be called “Art.” At the same time, I recall a student who said to me many years after leaving my classroom, “You told me that my sunset was trite, that sunsets are boring because they are done over and over again.” Perhaps I was wrong to say such a thing then, and perhaps I am wrong now. The photo is pretty, and my iPhone has done justice to the subject.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Six Years of January Graphics:

At The Art of John Bittinger Klomp

I continue to create a series of entries each month that look at some of the photos, montages, illustrations, mixed media paintings and other graphic images created for this Blog.

As I reviewed the past six years I was surprised by the variety in the type of January graphic images. First, in 2008, I was complaining about the size of our gas guzzling cars as the economy imploded, and took the auto industry with it. In 2009 I discussed how spirituality affected my artwork, and invented this image to represent my idea that God is located beneath that which makes us who we are, and all around us at the same time. During our 2010 Christmas visit with Joe’s sister in the Florida Panhandle, we discovered giant footprints in an old macadam road surface at the park and I invented the Mari Yeti from Marianna. 2011 marked my disgusted and prolonged (to the current moment) reaction about the January 2010 Supreme Court “Citizen’s United” decision, a pronouncement that allowed giant corporation’s wealth to function in the market of public opinion as though it were created by an actual single individual human being instead of a Machiavellian machine designed to make money. Increasingly, both sides of the political spectrum are becoming more and more interested in taking down the functionality of social security, a program that is completely solvent (if Congress doesn’t mess with it) for another 40 years! I voiced my displeasure with that trend in 2012 with “DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH MY SOCIAL SECURITY!” Finally, “FAG,” my entry from 2013 marked the creation of the LGBT Pictionary, a compendium of terms based in the history of Marginalized sexualities.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Personal U.S. Art History:

Then and Now

I started to do my review of January graphics, and instead, I found “Then and Now” in the oldest folder from this blog, January of 2008. It isn’t a graphic in my mind, and as a viewer it isn’t my favorite of the digital montages though I really like the intent of historical placement. It is an illustrative explication that ties my own and family history to that of the literature, art and politics of the United States. In order to do that, I included photographic references to members of my own family, like the photo of my grandmother with Laddie Boy. No, he was not an Airedale like President Warren G. Harding’s famous first White House pet, though my mother told many stories of her Airedale, "Lad" from the nineteen-teens (my own word), and twenties. I’ve often wondered if she didn’t purposefully tie these together with another famous Lad in her imagination - Albert Payson Terhune,’s Lad, a Dog - a complex memory, part real and part fiction, and an encomium to her childhood pet.

I put the great lesbian expatriate writer of the 1920’s, Gertrude Stein in the background of “Then and Now.” Equally for obvious reason, Walt Whitman, the great American poet stands behind my grandmother. In the most distant background is downtown Manhattan with an artists’ image of the completed(at the time barely begun) One World Trade Center. The cosmology (metaphysical symbolism) of the artwork also includes a splatter of red paint, a male torso with transparent 1920’s garb, a pointing hand, a flying eagle, a Boeing 727, a slaves “Manumission” certificate, a soldier with a semi-automatic weapon, a hand written Whitman manuscript, daisies and oblique lines of various colors that divide the space into several triangular and trapezoidal areas. Some of the lines cast shadows like the abstract illusionist art of the 1960’s to 1980’s. I leave it to the viewer to his/her own understanding of all these, as Post Modern and Metamodern theory pretty much do away with the artist's intent.

So, it would seem that I must review January graphics in my next entry.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Good Morning January 1st, 2014

Such a beautiful morning – I’m wishing for all the impossible things for the New Year - world peace, an end to hate and prejudice of any kind which would also bring with it an end to terrorism, a recognition by the various Christian churches that Jesus Christ was inclusive, not exclusive, and an end to the AIDS epidemic to mention just a few - all of this wishing done with a bit of wistful irony, and a touch of hope.  Perhaps this time!?!