Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Was this Henson's inspiration?

I'm currently working on a sculpture that will incorporate a wooden chess set. I painted all of the white pieces red. In the process of doing this the bishops reminded me of a muppet from one of my favourite, classic Muppet Show skits (muppet wiki entry here).

It occurred to me that as an artist inspiration can come from all sorts of places and when you're least expecting it. You can see the man in the moon, creatures in floral textile patterns and wonderful landscapes in a polished stone. You delight in the little details not everyone sees.

Perhaps Jim Henson (R.I.P.) got his inspiration one day, playing chess? Or maybe he just drew and it arrived. I shall have to dig out my Jim Hensons' Muppet Doodlings book and see if there are any sketches for the muppet concerned.

In the meantime have a chuckle, courtesy of my elite photo editing skills ;)

Henson's Inspiration?

Obey the Yellow...

Obey the Yellow
This post might not mean much to anyone outside of Melbourne, or perhaps it will be funnier because of it.

Background info
We have trams running on our roads and yellow lines and bumps to indicate where/when cars are allowed to drive on the tram track area. It’s all very sensible, and exists to minimise delays to trams which have right of way. Obey the Yellow is a current Vic Roads campaign to raise awareness about these road rules unique to Victoria, and most vitally inner Melbourne.

Anyhooo back to this being amusing…
…I find the figure/mascot used in this campaign somewhat weird. While his build is definitely male he has a Ken doll, store mannequin genital bump. His bitumen black body has a bright yellow racing stripe from the top of his head, through his groin and along his inner legs to his feet.

Obey the Yellow
Image from brochure distributed on trams.

In a picture I saw this morning near Melbourne Central he was lying on his side, almost come hither style!
In the TV ads and on the website he morphs out of his CGI road like the T-1000 in Terminator 2, batting his non-existant eyelashes, smiling benevolently, as he swishes a little car about in his hand.
It’s all just a bit odd.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

February 2008, top exhibition picks for this fortnight

Melbourne CBD

I recommend this fine exhibition of sculpture by Bertram Mackennal, " NGV, Fed. Square. It's free, and on until Feb 24th.
He was known for his beautiful female nudes. I grew up familiar with Circe (generally pronounced sur-see in English, but maybe be called sur-kee, or KEER-kee if you want to be more Greek). My dad used to be a security guard at the old gallery before its refurbishment and most Sunday afternoons we would visit and have afternoon tea with him. I used to be both daunted and fascinated by this particular statue. She's still quite imposing up on her pedestal, but more so when you're a child :). I used to stand in front of her as if she were casting a spell over me. She's still got that magic... There also a lovely marble of Diana, Goddess of War.

This afternoon I checked out a few other shows.

The Melbourne Museum has an $8.50 entrance fee. There were some interesting things but I don't feel that it was worth that when there's so much free stuff at NGV that is of wider importance culturally. Half of that price would have been more reasonable.

Craft Victoria has a poetic show of glassworks by Brenda Page, Once Upon... on until March 1. She takes childhood toys and gives them a bigger sense of meaning through the fragile medium of glass, and with little black graphics of bunnies, insects, people, animals, words and guns. My favourite was the sling shots. Nicely installed and an interesting use of colour and medium.

The jewellery show by Caz Guiney, Precious Nothing, also at Craft Victoria. was beautifully presented, perhaps more so than some of the actual pieces merited. I liked the idea of this. However there were a few castings of objects that don't have interesting forms including what appears to be an obsession with pigeon poo! I did like the jewellery taken from architectual features and disposable drinking cup lids. Worth seeing, if only to turn the idea of what is precious on its head.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I love this little passage by Barbara Behrendt describing manatees and their behavior at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, USA.

'Sometimes likened to huge potatoes with flippers, the homely grayish brown herbivores will playfully push their stiff whiskers into swimmers' face masks or barrel-roll for belly scratches.'

From November 2007, Smithsonian magazine, page 28.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I always thought moray eels were creepy...

...Now I know they are even creepier.

Fact for the day
I read yesterday in the November, 2007 Smithsonian magazine about it being recently discovered that they have a second set of jaws reminiscent of Giger's Alien (eep! the horror...). Other fish use the suction created when they open their mouth to suck in prey. Moray eels can't do this since they live in confined spaces which won't allow them to open their mouths so wide. When they bite onto prey the second set comes up from the throat into the mouth. It grabs onto the prey helping to guide it down the esophagus. Other species of fish also have a second set of jaws known as pharyngeal jaws, but none have this remarkable, startling degree of mobility and deftness.

Read more about it here at National Geographic, and see pictures!