Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This blog replaced by other blogs!

Well the time has come.... this blog started off as my and Amy's blog, then became my blog again, and now i've not posted here in months because i've got several other blogs going.... so here's how it breaks down.... Fine Art and Information Technology:
early-adopter, the blog Jay's artwork and various random opinions Jay Van Buren My new SL project that is taking off like a rocket: Brooklyn is Watching

Friday, February 01, 2008

Yahoo shareholders, please, don't do it

I really hope this doesn't happen... mostly because most things that yahoo owns that i interact with work really well, while most things that microsoft owns that i interact with are buggy pieces of crap... also i'm sentimental about the yahoo brand is suppose and their stuff tends not to be nearly as ugly- especially in the last few years... but the funniest reason that we should all hope this merger doesn't happen is because the folks at microsoft somehow think this chart explains anything at all. (beautiful photo by Niall Kennedy) You have to click through to the flickr page this came from so you can see the comments on this photo they are hilarious.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Germans... check, Fishes..check, smoke machine... check

The scene was pandemonium on Stanton street. We needed a red carpet, a velvet rope and somebody with a microphone to criticize everyone's outfits. My studio mates Adele and Kerstin's show at the tiny Amy Stewart Smith gallery really needed a bigger venue as the absurdity of the performance was in neck-and-neck competition with the absurdity of a throng of wet art-fans getting rained on while climbing over each other to get a peek inside. I decided to go get a beer and wait for the crowd to die down. When I got back I was able to see the installation inside- a large scale painting on paper, photographs of Kerstin and Adele dressed up as various characters that are beautiful, funny, weird, slightly disturbing all at once in a way that is really hard to explain. The are in between seeming like real characters and seeming like a silly dress-up game, and like the performance seem self-mocking but not entirely so. I really like the whole thing together. I might be biased because the painting is so good. Kerstin can really paint, so i'm inclined to be willing to go pretty far in believing in the photography, a medium i claim more ignorance of.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

pic of foxcoon portrait

I'm working on this portrait-- i need to work a little more on it before i have Foxwell the Foxcoon come back to my studio so i can finish it- can't wait to get back in the studio!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Goin' to the Movies

Of course, you are far too sophisticated to go see a movie because it is a runaway hit; actually, that fact might keep you from going. So let me give some other reasons to take in a couple of new films, despite their popularity.


There are at least two good reasons you might want to put the movie Beowulf on your don't-miss list. One is that you are familiar with the original, and you want to see what they've done with it. (Unless you are a true purist, you shouldn't be disappointed.) The other is that you are an animation- and/or techno-geek, and you want to see what they've done with it. (I don't happen to fall into this category, but I don't see how you could be disappointed here, either.)

If you remember the 1000-year-old Anglo-Saxon poem, you will recognize the boastful talk of the heroes, and the gore and excitement of the fight scenes. You will also probably recognize Angelina Jolie, but by her lips, not by her role as Grendel's mother, who never used to be a babe!

I puzzled to myself why they used the motion-capture technology to create cartoonish versions of the actors involved. Especially since the degree of cartoonishness varies considerably from one scene to another. It certainly isn't necessary in order to make them match the much-computerized Grendel (think Gollum writ large and horrifying) of the first half of the story, or the truly wonderful nasty dragon of the second half. We're already accustomed to this kind of magic, from Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potters, and other films.

But I think I've worked it out. The scenes of Grendel in the mead hall, which you may remember were plenty gory on the page, are even more so on the screen; director Robert Zemecki does them up right, with blood, severed parts and dead bodies everywhere. Audiences, even as jaded as we are today, probably couldn't have tolerated all this up-close slaughter had the victims been completely human. Better they should look like video-game characters, a bit distanced from us.

A secondary benefit is that we are also distanced from the period-appropriate boasting of Beowulf and the other heroes (as well as the subservience of the women). Political correctness be damned; that's the way a real hero talked, and the women-well, they were virtually invisible, if I remember correctly.

There will be those who criticize the whole plot line relating to Grendel's mother, or who complain that Beowulf didn't really stay in Denmark and marry Hrothgar's wife, but trundled back home and slew his dragon there. But, face it-the poem as we have it (at least some sections are missing-who knows how many) gets kind of boring after the slaying of Grendel's mother. To say the least, that old story didn't have a very good arc. So I'm quite happy with what Zemecki and his crew have done with the plot. And my other half didn't mind at all looking at Angelina as the gold light slid off her only slightly-altered naked form.

Don't take any under-15 children, and not even then if you are concerned about nudity. And don't go yourself if you can't stand violence, or if you require depth in your movies. (Anthony Hopkins is awfully good, though, as the hag-ridden Hrothgar, even through the computerization.)


As for Enchanted , I'd be hard-pressed to say why anyone would not want to see it. Well, if you never loved the Walt Disney oeuvre, you neither know nor like New York, you have no sense of fun or irony, and you aren't interested in animation, period, then this might not be a movie you should see.

This not-really-a-musical (although it has at least one great musical sequence), not entirely a kids' movie (although kids will probably love it), not quite a satire (but certainly a postmodern re-take on Disney by Disney) is finally a sort of a love story (with a darling, very real little girl, plus a beautiful princess, handsome prince, etc.) proving that "true love's kiss" is truly the most powerful thing in the world. Ahem! Well, sort of. Yeah.

As you will know if you've seen any of the publicity, Enchanted involves a Disney animated fairytale princess-to-be (Giselle, played by Amy Adams). Think Snow White or Cinderella, complete with bluebirds, doves, and mice who help with such things as dressing and clean-up. Early in the film, the Evil Stepmother/Queen (definitely ala Snow White) contrives to push the bride-to-be down a well, so that she pops up in a real-life 2007ish Time Square, New York-a place where "there is no happily ever after."

What ensues--well--has to be seen to be believed. It is by turns funny, scarey (in mostly a fairy-tale sort of way), a little sad, and sweet. Virtually every Disney classic cliche is visited and tweaked. The talking chipmunk who is Giselle's special friend and protector also shows up in NYC-and it's a tribute to the seamless weaving together of live action and animation that I didn't think to notice until after I'd left the theater that, even though he couldn't talk in the "real world," that chipmunk was doing other things no real chipmunk ever did! Another one of the best parts is when Giselle calls on the birds and rodents of NYC to help clean up her new protector's messy apartment (think Ratatouille with real, uh, rats!).

Rachel Covey is entirely convincing as 6-year-old Morgan Phillips, daughter of the disillusioned Manhattan divorce attorney who befriends a befuddled Giselle (Patrick Dempsey as Robert-I liked him a lot!) James Marsden manages charming-but-hapless in a difficult role as the dashing but not too bright Prince. Susan Sarandon loves chewing scenery as the wicked queen, come to NYC finish off Giselle, and Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew from the Harry Potter films) is actually quite funny in spots as Nathaniel, the Queen's flunky. Idina Menzel is satisfactory as Nancy, Robert's intended. And the Big Apple, which becomes a character in its own right-well, it is what it is, or at least a post-mod Disney version thereof. (Not to minimize the importance of those other apples the Queen uses to, well, you know....)

The Evil Stepmother Queen is really, really fairy-tale nasty in the "real world"-could be too intense for younger children. And I wouldn't recommend it for boys from whenever they start to hate girls until at least the time they start to really like them again. Probably it's going to be enjoyed most by adults anyway. But take a kid along if you need an excuse.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Long thread on Furries, Fursuiters, my paintings and fucking chewbaca

um... wow. I just discovered this today a post on UNFOGGED,with 108 comments five days after the fact, because i was wondering why so many hits came into my site from this URL. Thanks to BECKS for mentioning my project in the first place. I have to respond to some of these things... can't help myself: (comment numbers in parens)

I Love Pearson-Wright's painting as far as I can see from the photos, thanks for turning me onto him . Fischl has always really underwhelmed me in person- the way they're painted just doesn't do it for me(107). Clearly TwoFurTea.com should be the name of a furry-speed-dating site(144), my paintings do not look like photos with photoshop filters applied in person(36), i promise, come see if you don't believe me, and taking the piss out of furries may be very 2003, but seeing what happens when you actually take them seriously as an expression of a universal human longing to be other than we are is TOOOtally 2007, man(74).


thanks to Cryptic Ned Frowner for 106- he hits on several things that I feel too- I admire my furry friends for the fact that they're doing something that they know people are going to think is dorky but they just love to do it so they do it anyway with no pretense to it being anything other than straight ahead-open-hearted-goofiness of a kind that is pretty rare in my world otherwise. As for the whole sex thing, as i've said any chance i've gotten- its really only a small part of the whole furry scene- and the thing you gotta realize is there are as many reasons for being into furry stuff as there are people who are into it-- I'm not a furry myself and there is and may always be something about it that i just don't get, which is part of why it is utterly fascinating to me.... Viva la Difference! I dont' expect everyone to understand why i love painting so much.

latest version of artist statement

I thought i'd put up this version of my artist statement from the KC show...

My paintings revolve around irrepressible enthusiasms. In all cases the first subject matter of the painting is the (admittedly irrational and irrepressible) love of painting itself that I've never been able to talk myself out of. The secondary subject matter, which serves mostly just as “as good an excuse as any to paint,” relates to the irrepressible enthusiasms of other people: the things that people love, even though other people think they are dorky, or weird, or hopelessly romantic and outdated.

The Fursuit Portrait Project is a series of life-sized paintings of people from the "Furry Fandom,” a rapidly growing, highly-creative, and world-wide subculture that celebrates anthropomorphism (the combining of human and animal characteristics so common in popular culture, e.g., Mickey Mouse, who, although a mouse, walks upright, talks, and wears gloves and shoes). The people/animals depicted are some of the most dedicated members of the Fandom, the "fursuiters,” people who have either made for themselves or have commissioned from professional suit-makers a full-body animal costume that they wear at Furry events and other special occasions, or just for fun at random on the street. I always paint from life, usually taking three two-to-three-hour sessions on different days to do one painting. This time spent together is filled with conversation and I’m proud to count each of the (11 so far) people that I’ve painted as my friends. I try in each painting to represent both the spirit of the human inside the suit and the personality ("Fursonna") of the suit itself.

The Stuffed Animal (Knuffel Besten) series are portrait/still-life paintings of animals of personal significance to me and other people that I’ve met.

Soul-mate Detectors 1.0 and 2.0 are groups of 16 small gestural abstract paintings that will be of interest to any fans of gestural abstraction but which also contain secret information that, while being recognizable to some extent to non-nerds, will be fully decoded only by the most geekalicious of observers.

Fursuit Portrait Paint-Off: This event is first and foremost meant to be fun. It's also a good excuse to do something that I've been wanting to do which is to bring the furry subculture together with the underground art subculture. Both are filled with dedicated, creative people doing something they love mostly for the appreciation of other people within the subculture, and without much notice from outsiders. I like the idea of collapsing these groups into one event where we can all get to know each other and have a good time. I had the idea for this because the first fursuiter I painted, Rapid T. Rabbit, of Queens, New York, video-taped me painting him. Having the camera trained on me, made me aware of the performative aspect of what I was doing. There is something of a time-traveling performance to putting on my painting apron, mixing my paint and engaging enthusiastically with this obsolete technology. The magic that still fascinates me utterly, in painting, is something that for most people is a hokey religion or an ancient weapon, just a lot of simple tricks and nonsense...

Jay Van Buren

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Come see me and Foxwell on Saturday

He'll be sitting for his portrait and I'll be painting it saturday afternoon at Jack the Pelican Presents. This is the last of three such performances....er... FURformances? :)