Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kelly's Ghost

Jacobi, Kelly's Ghost, acrylic, 16" x 20", 2008.

This is a painting that I just finished. The title refers to a girl named Kelly who left our school earlier this year. (This was her third year in my 2D Art class.) We were working on a self-portrait painting project at the time. Kelly spent only a day or two on this project; basically, her portrait was just sketched in, using light gray and a brush (I make them establish their drawing with a brush-- no pencils!).

Kelly, who was often absent from class, just sort of faded away. I don't know why she left. She was gone for several weeks before she officially withdrew from the school. Anyway, a piece of canvas paper with her barely begun painting was left behind. I had saved it hoping she would come back. After she withdrew, I went to throw her piece in the trash. I looked at it, and said hey-- I could paint on top of it. I paused to consider if that would be cheesy or weird in any way, but ultimately, I figured what the heck and used it. This final product bears little resemblance to what she had started with (other than the basic composition), and does not resemble her in the least.

Kelly had a cheerful disposition; she was one of those kids that makes teaching fun. The class she was in is somehow diminished without her, yet she remains in our memories. I would like to dedicate this painting to Kelly, wherever she is. We miss you, Kelly!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Who is reading this blog?

Hi-- I'm just curious to know who my readers are. I have over 3,000 hits on this page so I know that somebody is reading it, but I have not been getting very many comments. Are you a working artist, illustrator, art teacher, just interested in art in general, or what?

If you have read more than a couple of my posts, you have probably picked up on the fact that my interests in art are pretty eclectic. When I post stuff, it's usually because it is just what has been on my mind lately, but if I could get a sense of who some of you are and what you are interested in, that might give me incentive to add some emphasis to certain topics.

So... I would really like to hear from you. If you have an interesting blog, I would be interested in swapping links to each other's page.

If you are not a regular blogger and don't know how to leave a comment, it's easy; just scroll to the bottom of the post you would like to comment on, and you will see something like this:

Posted by RJ at 8:00 PM 2 comments (or 3, or 0, or whatever)

Simply click on the word comments, and you will be taken to another page where you may leave your comment.

Again, it would be really great to hear from some of you!



Friday, February 8, 2008

Is it Art? (part 3)

I claim this crack in the floor as my latest work of art. Oh, wait-- it belongs to someone else. I suppose I could just "appropriate" it..... or not.

Is it Art? (part 2)

Jacobi, Masters of the Universe, digital photograph, 2008

A casual snapshot, or fine art? I declare it to be art.

Is it Art? (part 1)

Jacobi, Thin Kerf Rip, 2008

This red saw blade is my latest piece. It is art. Because I say so.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Where Does Creativity Come From?

In addition to the 2D Art classes that I teach (grades 9-12), I also teach a humanities class for 9th graders. My humanities students make daily journal entries, based on a topic or question for the day. The other day, I asked, Where Does Creativity Come From? I received an interesting reply from one of my students: "Creativity comes from the right side of the brain, from the creative gland, scientifically speaking."

If I recall correctly, the "creative gland" is located near the pineal gland. (If you have seen the film From Beyond [based on a story by H. P. Lovecraft], you will be familiar with the pineal gland. You will also be familiar with Barbara Crampton, but that's another story.)

I was talking with one of my colleagues (one of our music teachers) about this journal entry regarding the creative gland. He asked, "So where does creativity come from?" My reply went something like this:

In general, "creativity" and where it comes from is in large part mysterious, but it seems to me that there a couple of main things that we can look at. One major factor would be comprised of the totality of everything that we have experienced throughout or lives-- everything that we have perceived with our senses, all of the emotions we have felt, our dreams (where do they come from?), various random thoughts, etc. The other big thing is something that is more difficult to pin down. A religious person might refer to "a gift from God." A more generically spiritual person might refer to "being in tune with the universe/cosmos." Freud, the subconscious. Jung, the collective unconscious. Some will try to find creativity through altering their consciousness, through drugs, meditation or other means. That's it in a nutshell.

Ultimately, creativity, what it is, and exactly where it comes from remains a mystery. I think that many creatively-minded people look to the arts (consciously or not) as a means of exploring the mysteries of existence, to find ways to make sense out of life.

Opinions are, of course, welcome.

Monday, February 4, 2008


I ran across this image recently, just going through some stuff on my Mac. Digital self-portrait, 2002, Photoshop manipulation.