Rise Up Thy Young Blood.

A group of artists whose political artwork work became headline news during the rise of Donald Trump are working together to turn activists’ and artists’ blood into a painting called RISE UP THY YOUNG BLOOD. Contributing to the painting can be seen as quite literally a blood oath, with participants pledging to resist the real estate mogul-turned-politician’s potential presidential policies aimed at targeting women, immigrants, and minorities.

Late last year, Illma Gore, who allegedly received legal threats from members of the Trump campaign for her depiction of Trump with a micropenis, began working with INDECLINE, a guerilla collective that coordinated the simultaneous installation of nude Trump statues in five US cities. In December, Gore issued a call to arms encouraging the art community to challenge the president-elect at every available opportunity. Now, her collaboration with INDECLINE is the first of several planned anti-Trump art actions in the first year of his presidency.

RISE UP THY YOUNG BLOOD begins with a blood drive on January 13, in which “high profile donors from the world of art, music, graffiti and activism,” will contribute up to a pint of blood each. INDECLINE will coordinate the event with an anonymous blood bank, revealing the location to only confirmed donors and documenting the entire process. They’ll deliver the sanguine fluid to Gore, who will produce a blood-red painting, loosely based on the American Flag, to be hung at LA’s Samuel Freeman Gallery on January 15. Gore has already started painting using blood her own blood and donations from INDECLINE members. Germophobes, relax: the painting will be sealed with acrylic to make it safe for viewing.

The full, in-depth article and interview is at The Creators Project.


‘Shit, the monkeys are here…’

The Rock of Gibraltar is an imposing limestone monolith, towering 426 metres over the Mediterranean Sea on the southern coast of Spain in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. Its prominent place in European myths and its impressive views have long made it a draw for tourists, as has the population of Barbary macaques inhabiting the Gibraltar Nature Reserve on the rock’s upper reaches. However, the macaques aren’t bothered by human-imposed borders, frequently venturing off the reserve and into town, where they wreak mischief on tourists and residents alike. Subtly and playfully observed, Eleanor Mortimer’s amusing short documentary Territory puts us on the ground in the ongoing, low-key turf war between the people of Gibraltar and the clever primate cousins who are utterly indifferent to their will.

Via Aeon, where you can see the video full size.

Creepy Nuts.


I can’t claim to understand the words, but I understand the idea well enough, and love the music. The dancing is fabulous, too.

Next month Creepy Nuts are releasing their 2nd mini album and the title track is called joendanyusho (above), which means “award for best supporting actor” in Japanese. The track is upbeat, catchy and more poppy than some of their previous songs. It’s clearly aimed at a broader audience but does a good job of showcasing the versatile talents of the two, who blend elements of j-pop, jazz and Japanese traditional music into their sound.

Their music videos are often humorous and parody some of Japan’s more absurd institutionalizations. And this video is no different. In it, R-Shitei and DJ Matsunaga get swept up into the Japanese pop music factory. They’re quickly replaced by better-looking versions of themselves and the music video chronicles the rise and fall of their own success as their image gets manipulated and eventually spit out by the factory.

There’s a lot to see (including a jab at Pico-Taro and his Justin Beiber-induced rise to fame) and the video moves as quickly as the lyrics so try and keep up.

There’s more at Spoon & Tamago.

The Little Deputy.

In The Little Deputy, the Canadian director Trevor Anderson revisits a memory from a rare father-son outing in 1986, when a shopping mall photographer at a Wild West-themed photo booth handed him a sparkly red dress. It’s uncertain whether the photographer really mistook the boy for a girl, or instead sensed something about him that no one else quite realised. But, even then, Trevor knew that as an adult he would want to have that picture of himself in the dress. He didn’t dare, though, so years later, he finds a way to fulfill that wish.

Inventive, moving and darkly funny, Anderson’s short film about being gay but not quite out was a festival favourite in 2015, appearing at the Sundance Film Festival and AFI Fest, among many others.

Via Aeon.

Shunsuke Tani.

Absolutely mindblowing, this. Delight and joy in every look. Shunsuke Tani builds coin sculptures, which can, and do fall apart now and then, but the beauty of these ephemeral sculptures can’t be denied.


With a little bit of creativity and, occasionally, a whole lot of patience, any household item can be turned into material for art. And it’s often the most mundane of items that have the greatest impact. For Shunsuke Tani, a young biologist major-turned childcare specialist, it was spare change that was lying around his house that became one of his greatest passions.

Specifically, Tani primarily uses 1 and 5 yen coins, the lowest of denominations, and the occasional 500 yen or foreign currency coin, to create stunning, gravity-defying sculptures that, at any moment, look like the could come tumbling down. And indeed they do. To prove to skeptics who, understandably, claim he uses glue or some advanced form of computer graphics to render his creations, Tani occasionally shares videos of his sculptures falling down. It’s a painful moment that stands in stark contrasts with the hours of time and patience required for assembly.


Tani posts his creations to a twitter account where he often shares how much time each sculpture took to create (usually 2 – 3 hours). He also adds some self-deprecating humor like “I have no other skills in life, other than this” or “I sacrificed 2 hours of my life.”

According to an interview, Tani originally began stacking coins about 4 years ago. The inspiration came from the simple act of stacking a 10 and 1 yen coin had with him at the time. Tani’s art is a testament to the fact that even the most simple and ordinary can be honed to perfection.


There’s much more at Spoon & Tamago. And yes, I’ll probably give this a try, or at least make Rick try, we have the obligatory huge jar of coins. Don’t hold your breath though, I’ve never been good with coins, outside spending them. :D

Speechless. Just Speechless.

The one good reason I can come up with for wanting to live longer is to have time, more time to discover all the amazing artists in the world. Ippitsuryu. Did you know about this? I didn’t, and I haven’t managed to pick my jaw up just yet. Truly amazing technique, unique. And so beyond impressive, I don’t have words, I’m right back to being speechless. Ippitsuryu, the art of painting single stroke dragons. Look at this:

WOW, right? I could watch that 10 more times a least, and probably will. It’s like watching magic happen.


Fumiko Takase holding up a completed ippitsuryu painting.

In Japan’s Nikko region there exists an artistic tradition known as ippitsuryu: ippitsu (sometimes called hitofude) meaning single-stroke and ryu meaning dragon. It’s a technique, passed down from generation to generation and kept tightly in the family, of creating the flowing, river-like body of the dragon in just a single stroke.

The artist will typically begin by creating a detailed depiction of the head. Once that is completed the artist moves on to the single-stroke-body. Here, the large brush slowly traverses the canvas, making gentle twists and turns, never once being lifted up until the body is complete. Later, the artist goes back and adds details like whiskers and claws.

The current proprietor to the tradition is claimed by Fumiko Takase, the 3rd in the Takase Family. The tradition is carried on by her siblings and she is also training her son. The tradition, however, is not without controversy. Just steps from Takase’s shop and studio in Nikko is another family, the Kousyu Family, who also practices the same tradition.

According to the Takase Family, a member of the Kousyu Family stole the technique several years ago and then opened up shop claiming to be legitimate proprietors. The Takase Family has a detailed account on their website as to how the technique was stolen. They also have a family tree showing the descendants. The Kousyu Family has no mention of this on their website.

There’s much more at Spoon & Tamago. Who doesn’t love amazing dragons?

Sunday Facepalm.


Something a little different today. I was asked in TNET to watch this video, and what I thought about it. A quick glimpse informed me that ‘LindyBeige’ is a person who lives to complain. I made it through the modern art hate video, decided to skip the rant about global warming. I’ve known a number of people who live to complain, and I can’t say I’ve cared for them much.

Oh, art. In general, people adore spouting off about art, and the sport of art hating has been going on since forever. That’s what a lot of modern art haters miss – they aren’t super bright and doing something new. I’m pretty comfortable saying there were most likely a host of cave art critics who never shut up, and had a great deal of trouble with that modern art. Every generation – modern art. All that said, most people operate on a “I know what I like” basis when it comes to art of any kind, and that’s fine. I do that myself, even when it comes to work I can appreciate, but don’t particularly like personally. There will always be things which grab you immediately, and things you’ll hate, and things which will leave you cold.

Mr. Beige had a problem with one artist in particular, I wasn’t able to catch the name, but this artist worked with shit, or least that was Mr. Beige’s assumption. [Being told who the artist was, and looking up some of their work, it seems rather doubtful dung of any kind was used.] That got a shrug out of me, because that’s hardly new or unusual. Such art tends to be done in order to make a statement. If you get so hung up on the material, you’ll miss that, and I guess that’s fine, too, you don’t have to ‘get’ everything in the art world.

I did almost snort my tea laughing when Mr. Beige announced, in such a sniffy manner, “It made no attempt to please me.” Spare me, please. Artists are not making the slightest effort to please you, Mr. Beige. I’d say most of us are gratefully unaware of your existence, like I was a short while ago. That’s not what art is about. Well, not most of it anyway. There’s an almost unimaginable amount of art in the world, and only a sliver of it ever gets into shows or museums. If you go looking, you’ll find plenty which manages to please you.

As for Mr. Beige’s “I am so insulted” reading of  Mirsad Begič’s blurb, I would have thought that a professional whinger would be, at the very least, marginally aware of all the pretentiousness in the art world, and know to take it all with a healthy dose of salt. That said, life, love, death? Yes, they all do involve a great deal of shit, on the physical and metaphorical levels.

There was then a very rapid look at some other work, and more complaining. All Mr. Beige saw were works which were made without taking his personal sensibilities into account. I saw a number of works which were thought provoking. One function of art is to make people think, to open up, change, or twist perception. It’s not all about painting a pleasing little picture, and if all you’re after is a pleasing little picture, there’s plenty of that to go around. If you’re a person who is going to get their knickers in a knot over going to a particular show based only on the pretentious blurb, that’s on you. A difficult to please person should learn to do their research.

I see a great deal of art work which I find disturbing on a personal level, but even then, I take the time to find out just what it was the artist was out to express, and view it all through different eyes. I may still not like it, or still find it disturbing, but I generally come away with a more thoughtful understanding, and often, a new perspective. That’s rather the point of art.

As for Mr. Beige, I can’t say I think much of his creative endeavors, but I don’t find whinging to be all that.

The artist who set Mr. Beige off?

Mirsad Begič

Graduate of art, born in Glamoč in Bosnia in 1953. After completing art school he continued his studies at the Academy of Art in Ljubljana, where he graduated from the sculptural department under Professors Zdenko Kalin, Slavko Tihec and Drago Tršar. Between 1982 and 1983 he undertook further training in London at St. Martin’s School of Art.

His creative heritage includes several independent exhibitions and many group exhibitions at home and abroad. He has taken part in various international sculptural symposium and colonies. He lives and works in Ljubljana.

He has received a number of awards for his work, including the Prešeren Award in 2000.

I’m now busy looking at a whole lot of Mr. Begič’s work, and I’d be more than pleased to see any of it in person.

In the Blink of an Eye.


Remember Olek? An amazingly talented artist, specializing in crochet. Olek got a bit explosive this time around. There’s a video, and it is a very powerful one, and it might well trigger some people, so read first, and then decide if you want to watch.

In the Blink of an Eye consists of a 19th-century Swedish home crocheted by Olek and a team of assistants that was literally blown to pieces before it was shown to the public. No one but Olek and her team witnessed what the pre-destroyed building looked like, although the artist produced a video of the building while it was still intact and filled with crocheted furniture, decorations, and light fixtures, leading up to the moment of pure explosive destruction.

Olek isn’t a nihilist or looking to make a statement of artistic disownment by burning her own works…In fact, the artist didn’t originally intend to blow-up the work at all. “I had originally intended to just recreate a traditional Swedish home. It was the summer of 2015 and the refugee crisis had started to explode,” Olek explains to The Creators Project. “Since I always work with assistants, I asked the museum to help me get connected with refugees who might need work.”

This proved to be a turning point in the artist’s project: “After a couple days of crocheting, sewing, and listening to music from various countries and audiobooks, me and the refugee assistants broke ice and a conversation started that changed me forever. It is one thing to read about the events in those parts of the world, but it is something totally different to actually look in the eyes of those women who lost everything while running from the war,” the artist reveals.

“These women not only lost their physical home due to the war conflict, but also lost the feeling of home as their families got separated. The idea of exploding the house became clearer and clearer to me,” Olek adds. “Lama’s husband, who had been helping us quite often, brought me a folder with many photographs from their hometown, including their own house and other homes before and after explosions, which served as a source of inspiration for me.”

The Creators Project has the full story.

“If only God would rid us of men.”

A music video with Saudi women is challenging restrictive gender norms in the country — and it’s quickly going viral.

“Hwages,” by director Majed al-Esa of 8ies Studios, a production company based in Riyadh, shows the women skateboarding, playing basketball, dancing, driving bumper cars, and even bowling with a set of pins with men’s faces taped on them. It was first posted two weeks ago and already has over 3 million views.

Loosely translated as “concerns,” Hwages is based on an older Arabic song, and some of the lyrics include “May all men sink into oblivion” and “If only God would rid us of men.”


There are also scenes with Donald Trump, who in the video is leading the “House of Men.” You can probably interpret that how’d you like — it could be referring to Trump’s history of sexual assault, his degrading language towards women, the way his offensive rhetoric about Islam actually helps Muslim extremists, or just simple comedy.

Many have already commended the video, including Saudi Arabian daily Al-Bilad. Amera al-Taweel, the ex-wife of Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal also shared the video with her 1.39 million followers on Twitter.

They did a great job capturing the creepiness that is Trump; they did a great job with the whole video. There’s true resistance and courage.

Via Think Progress.