Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In Protest of No Camera

I went to the Louvre in France a while back. I can't post any pictures because the powers that be in their infinite wisdom have declared that there shall be no cameras within a 200 mile radius of the Mona Lisa.

In addition to stabbing, shooting, blowing up, or doing other cartoon-like things to the famous Leonardo painting... God Forbid someone might take a picture.

So, in keeping with this, there shall be no pictures of anything in this post. Because the Louvre says no. No pictures in this post whatsoever. I swear.

I took this trip long before I had any real appreciation of paintings, sculpture, or anything I saw in the Louvre at the time. But I most remember the Victory (a sculpture stationed on a cliff for sailors). Note in the picture that I haven't posted (no cameras) how much detail the artist put into the folds of fabric. And the wings are absolutely beautiful.


Seeing the Mona Lisa in person for the first time was breathtaking... even though I didn't fully understand very much about the work itself. Here I stood in front of the most famous painting ever made. I noticed the sky first. The Mona Lisa prints I'd seen before this had a bland gray sky of a dreary day. But the real thing had a multicolored sky that looked like the middle of a beautiful sunset. Too bad my protest doesn't allow me to post a picture.

I broke my promise.
What are you going to do about it?

Frustrating as hell not having a camera. I can't find any images of the Mona Lisa that depicted what I saw when standing in front of the thing, so the above work is what you get to see.

Anywho, the Mona Lisa isn't yellow like the above picture. It's FULL of color. It saddens me that the real work isn't all over the internet. It might have something to do with the real thing hiding behind bulletproof glass and security that even Bugs Bunny would have a hard time getting through.

The Mona Lisa is so important that it's importance is controversial. All this security to prevent activists from the radical artistic positions from destroying it. Even those who want to destroy it because of it's importance hold it important to destroy. Makes them hypocritical to me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Can They... Do That?

The Swing was painted around the dawn of the Rococo period in the 1700s. The man who commissioned the painting wanted a rather controversial painting of his mistress (That's right, not his wife).

Here was the result.

infidelity incarnate

This Fragonard painting is not just a shallow painting about a french man's little girlfriend residing at his pleasure house. One man in the painting guides the woman on the swing with a pair of ropes. The other hides in the bush so that he can see up the woman's dress.

As you can probably guess, the man hiding in the bush... yes bush... pun intended by the painter...

Anywho. The man hiding in the bush symbolizes the man who commissioned the painting. He has positioned himself so that he can look up the woman's dress. He's having a little cheap fun... a little vulgar, but why not?

The other man with the ropes was originally supposed to be a bishop, or other member of the clergy, but Fragonard depersonalized the idea and made the character simply another man.

The girl in the swing wears a frilly dress (usual attire for the rich in the period) and sings happily, her shoe flying off. This shoe has a number of symbolic values. The shoe in French symbolism represents virginity. When shoes come off... well... you can guess what comes next. So this woman's shoe flying off her foot is meant to be more than just a little mistake. It means something more.

Now, this is all fine and dandy. The work of art is an appreciated work of art typical of the Rococo period.

But check out this little screenshot of the new Disney movie, Rapunzel.

flying shoe!

Now Disney is Disney. There's a pretty glaring issue here. It might be offensive, it might not be. The 2-D animation for Rapunzel will be meant to look like an animated traditional oil painting, so the reference is anything but accidental.

The question is, should Disney be making reference to this type of symbolism?

Take it as you will.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Archangel of Justice, Tyrael

Continuing my series on Angels.

See my posts on Angels in Art and Angel Wings.

This post will be talking about a truly unique representation of an angel in popular culture. The Archangel of Justice, Tyrael.

He's ready to kick Satan's ass... again

In the video game series 'Diablo', starting with Diablo 2, the Angel Tyrael, who is the Archangel of Justice, makes an appearance as the angel who is charged to help the human hero defeat Diablo.

Tyrael is introduced in the beginning of Diablo 2 as a supernatural being that has come to visit a man named Marius in prison. We find out later that's not exactly what happened, but you'll just have to play the game.

The first real introduction of Tyrael was in the cinematic of the game preceding Act III. In this cinematic, Tyrael comes to fulfill his duty. But he is distracted, fighting Satan himself who Tyrael misjudged as being the greatest threat to the release of Satan's brother, Baal.

And well... see for yourself.

"The Beast contained herein shall not be set free, not even by you!"

Those words have power. Especially for those familiar with Christianity. Tyrael is willing to fight to the end of time to keep this creature trapped. And he's so incredibly powerful. Yet, he still fails.

And even in failing, his ability in battle is only surpassed by his faith in humanity. He entrusts the person who released Baal to imprison him again. Charges the sinner with erasing his own sin while he attempts to contain the two prime evils in this tomb.


But on to what I want to talk about.

The first thing that is noticeable about Tyrael is his wings.

Balance is a bitch

Since the Babylonian inspiration of wings that has so affected the Christian representation of angels, angels with wings have simply had those... wings. Angel wings have only been used to do what wings do... fly.

Now, compared to most representations of angels, Tyrael is a bit of an oddball. He has these tentacles of light that make up his wings. He doesn't fly by flapping them, he just levitates around. The wings are not to fly, but are just as much of a weapon as his sword. He uses them as whips and extra hands.

Also might use them to gain energy

They also represent his illuminating holiness in the same way that an aura or halo does. Thus, Tyrael has no halo. His wings already do the job. They even get bigger in situations that require great faith.

Most angel representations use their wings as wings. Wings simply give them the ability to fly around. Tyrael is the only angel I'm aware of that uses wings as something else, especially as a weapon, and beyond that, doesn't use them to fly.

I would like to see more angels represented like this.

Tyrael, though fictional even from most Christians' point of view, remains my favorite angel.

Can't wait for D3

Fuckin Finally: ULTRAMAN 2!!! well... sorta.

Well, this was finally fucking made.

See this absolutely incredible blog that all men should aspire to!

Making this film was one of the things that solidified my dream to be a filmmaker. After only a year of film school though, I've realized really how much more we could have done with this if Jared had remembered to bring an extra damn tape.

My part in this film was Camera operator some of the time, combat director, and the part of Ultraman when he's in his awesome mode. Because, Jared isn't cool enough to really direct in prime from inside a suit with beady little eyes.

Acting in this was fun, but wearing that suit was a bitch and a half. After the first round of shooting, I took of the jacket and my shirt was literally soaked (and I hadn't been anywhere near water). That was a very warm costume. Can't imagine what the oldschool Godzilla Suit must have been like.


Working with Don Frye was a blast. For someone that you would expect to be up his own ass with egotism since he can kick everyone's ass, he's really laid back. Seriously, Don Frye is awesome.

When we asked him to do the project (or really Jared), he was really chill about it. He was like, "Sure!"

I told him that he was going to do a fight scene with me and he gave me this look like 'dude, sweet'. Then he found out what it actually was and he laughed his ass off.

Yes, there was supposed to be a lot more choreography in the fighting, but dumbass Jared didn't bring an extra tape, and the one he had only had fifteen minutes left, so we had to cut the fighting footage short. Which was honestly a shame because I did a lot of extra fight choreography with grappling and throws. But we only had time for the beams and telekinesis.

The nerd-festedness that covered the shoot made the experience all the more fun. When Jared stood up and asked, "What's the motion that ultraman does that does the buzzsaw thing... it's like... (trails off)" Someone else stood up and said, "I know! It's like this! (does motion)."

Unfortunately, the morning of the shoot for the prelude, I was hungover with monster movies or something, so I couldn't join him. Which is really kind of a bummer, because looking back, I should have gotten off my ass and went.

But I didn't, so oh well. It turned out well though.

I'm grateful that Jared involved me in this shoot. I love making movies with him because he's so randomly inspired and the shoots are always spontaneous, so you never know what to expect. I don't think we even knew what the next shot was going to be half the time until we set up for it. Whereas a lot of people would get angry at this, I loved every second of it.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Editing fun


So I made this film using Micah on a whim as an experimental film. Working with editing. Expect expansion on this concept in some upcoming experiments. I'm making a five minute short that is going to be dealing with this concept, so I'll be making some experiments to increase my skill with people doing unnatural and supernatural things through editing. Mainly disappearing and teleportation.

Teleport isn't in the oxford english dictionary by the way.


Newfound Appreciation

I've found that over the past couple years I've been finding a new appreciation in art (paintings that is). I've even made some myself recently.

Before I took a screen-printing class last year, I had no interest in Art or Art History beyond literature and film, or other forms of art that I had already invested in. Since that class and the more recent Art History class that I'm still taking, I've found that there's a whole world of art that I've previously had ignored, and even hated out of some ignorance.

I still find most Madonna and Child paintings redundant, but whereas I found nearly all paintings boring, I've connected them to my historical interests and my interests in philosophy. I've found that most artists were interested in many of the same subjects that I'm interested in as well. They simply embodied these interests as well as their opinions on them in their paintings.

I find that my life is simply one eye opening experience after another. I can either embrace these experiences or ignore them. In the case of Art. I think I'll embrace it. I value understanding over most other things.

Nothing really profound in this post, just a remark about my constant evolution in opinions. A side-effect of having an open mind is that it changes often.