Evil Mickey, 1934.

Mickey Mouse is one of the most popular cartoon characters in Japan, in line with beloved domestics like Totoro, Doraemon and Hello Kitty. But 80 years ago that certainly wasn’t the case, at least not according to a 1934 propaganda film that cast Mickey as an evil invader that’s come to terrorize a happy island community.

In the animated film, released just 8 years before pearl harbor, Mickey Mouse arrives by air, followed by a group of alligators by sea that perhaps symbolize a U.S. Navy fleet. The islanders turn to a fairy tale book for help and out come legendary Japanese fairy tale characters like Momotaro, Kintaro, Issunboshi and Urashima-Taro. Fairy tale characters coming to life is an animation trope that will become widely used later on, and as Open Culture points out, the underlying message here is that Japan has older, stronger and way more numerous fairytale characters.

Spoiler alert: in the end, Mickey is turned into an old, decrepit mouse by a white plume of smoke by Urashima-taro, who had undergone a similar fate in his fairy tale.

Spoon & Tamago has the full story.

Goodies.

My beautiful fabric is here, so there will soon be much horse painting, and my Marty Two Bulls T-shirt has arrived, aaaaand, does anyone want a spider? I had made that as a computer cover, but it’s not needed anymore, so it’s up for grabs. Umm, it’s approx. 21″ x 13″. I have to wash it first, but then it will be ready to go. Also, Giliell, the horses are on their way to you!

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© C. Ford.

Annie Pootoogook Has Walked On.

 A photograph of a still at the IAIA Museum: Artist Annie Pootoogook. Alex Jacobs.

A photograph of a still at the IAIA Museum: Artist Annie Pootoogook. Alex Jacobs.

Annie was a very talented artist, and she will be most missed. This is a terrible loss, not only for all those who loved Annie, but for all those who love art as well. Annie has walked on at age 47, and hopefully, her death will be properly investigated now.  Like too many women, Annie found herself in an abusive relationship, and tried to get out.

Annie Pootoogook – an artist well-known for her lively, in-the-moment, brave, often disturbing and ground-breaking artwork – was a major star in Canada and appreciated by the Inuit, First Nations and art communities, Canadian citizens and contemporary art lovers around the world.

On September 19, Pootoogook’s body was found in the Rideau River in Ottawa, off a park 2 kilometers from Parliament Hill. She was 47 years old. Although the police did not suspect foul play, the major crimes unit is currently investigating.

Though she was not as well-known in the United States including the mainstream American press and most art magazines or critical forums, Ms. Pootoogook won a major Canadian artist prize, was acclaimed by the post-modern art critics at Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany, and had a show at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City.

Within 10 years she was living on the streets in Ottawa and selling her drawings for survival. She had made several criticized choices regarding her male partners, the latest and last was William (Bill) Watt, who since 2010 tried to manage her, her celebrity and money-making capabilities.

Pootoogook told friends she feared for her safety and attempted to leave her situation. When she had left Watt and was going to a Shepherds of Good Hope shelter for assistance, she was later found in the Rideau River. Police have questioned Watt several times and continue with what has now become a high-profile case.

When she made art or engaged people over her art, she was very good and could light up a room. Although deeply shy, if given the occasion she could talk about her art to a room full of people for hours.

As it sometimes happens, she had removed herself from her support networks and ending up in Ottawa’s Inuit homeless community. Art, community and family situations were replaced with drinking, life on the streets and a series of abusive relationships..

To the media she was a celebrity and a story was expected. To the art community, there were many questions, few answers and a lot of speculation. The Native community added Annie to the missing and murdered indigenous women – #MMIW – and wanted answers, she was remembered at a MMIW rally where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke.

The full story is here. Goodbye, Annie, and thank you for all your wonderful gifts to the world.

Beautiful Cave Art.

Garate looka at cave paintings representing horses in the Atxurra cave, above. Researchers will continue to explore Atxurra over the next few years, and the cave will remain closed to the public in hopes to preserve the findings.

Garate looks at cave paintings representing horses in the Atxurra cave, above. Researchers will continue to explore Atxurra over the next few years, and the cave will remain closed to the public in hopes to preserve the findings.

Rock paintings dating back 14,000 years have been found in a cave in a Spanish seaside resort town.

Around 50 paintings depicting horses, bisons and lions were found in a cave located under a building in the centre of Lekeitio, a village in the Basque country.

The Armintxe cave is ‘extremely difficult to access’ and located under a residential building in the centre of Lekeitio in the Basque country, senior local official Andoni Iturbe said.

Cave specialists and archaeologists have examined the paintings found in May and declared them to be the most ‘spectacular and striking’ of their kind ever found in the Iberian peninsula.

The paintings measure up to 150 centimetres (60 inches), say the research team.

They also confirmed that the cave would not be opened to the public both to preserve the paintings and because it is difficult to access.

I am always in awe of artists who took the time to draw, paint, and engrave scenes from their every day life. I’m also beyond thankful, for all the artists going back into the mists of time, for making sure there would always be windows into their world.

Daily Mail has the full story, with many more images. Hat tip to rq for this one!

Art Spacesuit Done by Cancer Patients.

Kate Rubins wears a space suit decorated by patients at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in the International Space Station. All images courtesy of NASA.

Kate Rubins wears a space suit decorated by patients at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in the International Space Station. All images courtesy of NASA.

Surely one of the only downsides to living on the International Space Station (ISS) is the lack of apparel options when it comes to functional space suits! But now, thanks to a collaboration between NASA and the folks at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center, an astronaut on the ISS has a little extra flair in her space wardrobe. The Space Suit Art Project is headed up by director of MD Anderson’s Arts in Medicine Program Ian Cion and resulted in astronaut Kate Rubins donning a vibrant space suit decorated by cancer patients. As Cion tells The Creators Project: “There are many parallels between the lives and experiences of astronauts and the lives and experiences of patients going through cancer treatment—isolation, physical changes to the body, one’s life being at risk, to name a few. This project was not only designed to motivate and inspire patients to make art, but to think about their experience through a different perspective, to acknowledge that many of the qualities of character that make astronauts pillars of heroism are also present in even the youngest patient fighting cancer.”

HOPE on display.

HOPE on display.

The Space Suit Art Project consists of three suits: HOPE, COURAGE, and UNITY. The first suit, HOPE, was constructed from over 500 canvases that were painted and then quilted together by patients, families, and MD Anderson staff. This suit acts as a sculptural representation of the project that stays on the ground for display.

COURAGE, the second suit, features striking decorations created by cancer patients with acrylic paint on a NASA-grade flight suit. “During the creation of COURAGE, NASA astronauts, including Kate Rubins and Nicole Stott, visited the hospital to work on the suit with patients and families,” explains Cion. “Retired Astronaut Nicole Stott was the first person to ever make a painting in space, and Kate Rubins, currently on board the International Space Station, wore the hand-painted flight suit in a live video conversation with MD Anderson pediatric patients who were able to talk to her from Mission Control.”

A patient decorating COURAGE with acrylic paint.

A patient decorating COURAGE with acrylic paint.

In the collaborative spirit of the ISS, the third suit, UNITY, will be produced from a combination of collaborations that took place in cities around the world, where Cion and Stott traveled to present the project. “Each suit was made with the direct participation of patients, families, and staff. The first two were made exclusively at MD Anderson, while UNITY was made with MD Anderson patients and families as well as other hospitals and space stations around the globe,” says Cion.

While the Space Suit Art Project certainly succeeded in creating unique and beautiful garments through collaborative efforts, Cion explains that the project is much more than just an exercise in participatory creativity: “I began working on a series of projects that were collaborative and large scale with patients, so that their art was not just something we taped to the walls of their rooms, but something that connected them to each other, that formed relationships between patients and connected them to the community in a way that celebrated them not as cancer patients, but as artists.”

Keep up with The Space Suit Art Project on their Twitter account, as well as NASA and the MD Anderson Cancer Center’s social media accounts!

This is such an awesome project. Click on over to The Creators Project for more!

At Play.

When your body is uncooperative, and your brain insists on staying on vacation, it is time to play. I’ve been wanting to use the Sharpie Fabric Markers I got on Wednesday, so I raided Rick’s closet, what with him being the T-shirt King and all. I’m even using colours he likes, gosh, I’m so sweet. ;D (I really wanted to run amok with purple.) Sharpie makes much larger packs, with many more colours, but I got the small pack of nine markers, because $20.00 for them. All in all, right now I favour paint, because I have lots more paint, so I can do more, but the markers are fun to use, and work well. They are bleedy, especially when running across the grain. If you don’t mind that too much, go full blast and have fun! I would tack on a serious caution if you’re going to use these on a fine weave, or high thread count. I suspect the bleed might get out of control. Definitely test first, always test first.

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© C. Ford.

Cool Stuff Friday.

On this episode of Monster Lab, Ed Edmunds shows you how to sculpt a very cool-looking alien zombie head to be cast as a 3/4 Halloween mask. A 3/4 mask fits farther over your head than a half-mask, so no elastic string or tie is needed.

First off, Ed goes over the sculpting tools you’ll need, most of which are basic things you likely already have around the house or shop (brushes, bucket, knife, spray bottle) and a few carving tools that are easily acquired. For the sculpting medium, he recommends WED clay. You can get 50 lbs of it for around $25 (minus shipping). After he runs through the basic tools, he goes over some nice-to-have tools if you enjoy your intro to sculpting and decide you want to dive in deeper.

Below is the only exotic tool he highly recommends that you may not be able to get at your local craft store, a serrated double wire sculpting tool that has a triangular wire on one end and a circular wire on the other. The steel wire is serrated and this tool is used for cutting, shaping, and digging out clay material around places like the eye sockets.

One thing I like about this video is that Ed tried to keep all of the tools required as minimal as possible so that newbies could try their hand at it. On that note, for the armature, rather than using a professional head/bust form for modeling, he made a crude one out of 2x4s and a piece of plywood. He also recommends a Lazy Susan, but it’s not required.

Another thing I love about this video, and all well-done instructional videos, is that it makes the process look approachable, very doable. Even if you have no sculpting experience or don’t see yourself as particularly artistic (stop that!), if you create a set-up like he has, gather the basic tools, and carefully follow along, I can almost guarantee that you’ll surprise yourself and end up with something that’s pretty darn impressive.

This is only Part 1 in the series. In the next installment, Ed promises to show us how to cast the alien zombie sculpt into a wearable mask. Monster Lab is hosted by the prop and F/X company, Distortions Unlimited. You can peruse their website here.

Also at Make: 8 Seriously Scary Halloween Costumes / 5-Minute Glowing Ghost Eyes – A ghost with glowing eyes hovers in the window. Watching. Always watching. /

The Octopod Interview:

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And, a whole slew of Rubber Band toys to make:

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All via Make Magazine. I’m a Maker, don’t you want to be a Maker too?

The Cheapshit Medicated Series.

Got a few more cards done (these pass as business cards, of a sort – blog urls & e-address on the back).

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I know better than to buy cheapshit art supplies, I really do, but I do it anyway, because it gives me a near heart attack to part with 60 to 80 dollars for a 20-30 set of good markers. I also take very bad photos when I am cranky and medicated. And no, I don’t know what any of them are, or mean. This is a brain on druuuuugs. ;D

Wandering off for a bit…

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I was at the Pain Clinic yesterday, and boy, did I ever feel that spinal injection. It’s making me a bit nuts today, and I’m having a very rough time sitting, even on two lush cushions, so I’m going to wander off. I have to make some new art cards anyway, as I’m down to two. (Hello, my wonderful pain clinic peoples!) My wonderful pain clinic people treat my cranky self much better than I ever deserve, and yes Doc, you can tease me all you like. :D  So, I’m off to lie down to take pressure off my poor ol’ spine, and play with markers. There might be a late start tomorrow, but I’ll get back into rhythym quickly, I promise. Oh, I don’t have a pic yet, but while I was moaning and groaning about how much some art supplies were eating into my wallet, I came across a wonderful new set of toys: Sharpie Fabric Markers! Excitement. Can’t wait to play with them.

Textile Anatomicals.

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Absolutely amazing work, this. I had no idea that this could even be done.

Tricking the eye to view textile as bone, Lana Crooks (previously) works with bits of hand-dyed wool and silk to recreate the sun-drenched skeletons of snakes, birds, and humans, displaying them each in bell jars. She considers he works “faux specimens” as her delicate sculptures blend science, art, and fantasy. Often her inspirations come from books as well as real specimens, like the ones found in the back rooms of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

Crooks curated the group exhibition All That Remains, where her work can also be seen, at the Stranger Factory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She also has an upcoming two-person exhibition at the Chicago-based Rotofugi titled Night Fall, which opens December 9th, 2016. You can see more of her textile skeletons on her Facebook and Instagram.

Via Colossal Art.