Best with headphones.
Only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is visible to us. Sir Isaac Newton broke the visible portion down even further as an attempt to describe all the possible colors that we see. In third grade we learn that the visible spectrum can be remembered using Roy G. Biv–which must be the strangest mnemonic device ever created–and includes red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Black is the absence of light, white is the presence of all colors in the color spectrum. There are a couple shortcomings in thinking about color in this way.
First, who really knows what indigo is? Some have claimed that Newton organized and labeled his color spectrum to include seven colors, the holiest of numbers, in order to avoid criticism from the church. That seems likely, given that indigo seems to occupy only a small part of the gradient compared with other hues. Thus, many now list the visible spectrum as Roy G Bv. But what about cyan? And what about that bright looking color
Magenta and cyan make up half of the four inks (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) used to print almost all of the printed material in the world. Furthermore, cyan and magenta are prominently represented in the additive color system that powers the computer or phone screen you are currently reading. But magenta is nowhere to be found on the traditional grade school color wheels. And what about Newton’s color spectrum? Where can we place magenta on the map?
As it turns out, Magenta cannot be located on the spectrum because it does not exist on the visible spectrum. Magenta does appear in nature of course, in flowers and between the two parts of a double rainbow. But to understand why it is perceived so brightly but not in the spectrum, we need only to look to our physiology.
We have three kinds of cones in our eyes–receptors configured to receive red, green, or blue-violet light. Ever wonder magenta and cyan are so difficult to look at for long periods of time? Magenta, cyan and yellow appear so bright to our eyes not because they contain more light, but because to perceive those colors two sets of cones are firing at once! Magenta is not a color exactly, it’s two colors–red and blue-violet at once–with a complete absence of green. Got it? One more time–magenta is only perceived psychologically when pure red and blue light mix, and green is completely absent.
Of course, all colors are perceived physiologically and not necessarily “seen”–as color blindness and the extreme differences in color perception between humans and between humans and other species reveal. If a viceroy butterfly sees millions of colors and a golden retriever sees very few, how can color be anything but a physiological phenomena? But magenta is a special case in that it is the only color which may only be perceived as a combination of two other hues.
Color harmony is generally understood as pleasing relationships between two or more colors. But put more scientifically, magenta is already and always a harmony, more akin to the way harmony works music–the perception of multiple wavelengths at once!
This is for my 4D foundations students but I thought I would share.
Embedding is a way to seamlessly insert content into your website or blog. Embedding content makes the browsing experience easier for your site visitors, since they do not have to search and click around for your content.
Here is an example of an embedded sound file:
1. You may elect to share your entire Soundcloud profile (which will embed all of your Soundcloud sounds in a playlist) rather than sharing one sound file at a time. Either way, find and click a share button:
5. In the dropdown area containing more options, you will have the ability to select and copy a string of code. Then,
- If you are using a Weebly site: Copy the top HTML code beginning with <iframe (inline frame). Then jump to step 8.
- If you are using a WordPress site: Copy the WordPress code, a special kind of code for WordPress sites.
6. Paste the code from your clipboard into the text area you normally use to compose your blog posts or pages.
7. For a cleaner look, you may set _showartwork=true to _showartwork=false. Save draft and/or publish and viola! You have successfully embedded sounds into your website or blog.
9. Click Edit Custom HTML and paste the iframe code from the clipboard.
10. Publish the post or page and viola! You have successfully embedded sounds into your website or blog.
Under the pretense that I was an artist, and that the lives of artists should be documented through self-portraiture, I began taking photos of myself around 2000. At that time the idea of turning a camera on one’s self was still commonly seen as odd, despite (or perhaps because of) the sudden proliferation of bad MySpace mirror profile pics. While the practice of spontaneous digital self-portraiture received an enormous boost of in 2013 due to increased usage of camera phones and image-based social media services like Instagram, many still view the practice of taking a selfie as odd or worse–vain, absurd and a reflection of the millennial generation’s self-obsession and inability to enjoy the present moment. But what happens when an artist makes an image of herself? Where is the line between a selfie (#selfie) and self-portraiture?
The artist has long enjoyed a special status in culture, an expectation of self-centeredness or even self-obsession. Thanks to Van Gogh and many others, the self-portrait is connected with ideas of authorship, genius and creative struggle. Strictly speaking, the selfie is a photograph taken with a digital camera and posted to a social network. However, self-portraiture is inherently social in nature; through painting or photographing their own faces and bodies, artists attempt to reveal to others some aspect of their very essence or being. What could be more social than that?
Van Gogh’s famous self-portrait with a bandage on his ear is perhaps the art world’s first #selfie in that it succinctly captures the image-maker in a peculiar moment. While the source of Van Gogh’s injury is still unclear, one thing is certain–the event involved his man-crush of the moment and fellow post-impressionist Paul Gaugin. Perhaps, Van Gogh cut off his own ear in a fit of depression upon hearing Gaugin’s decision to leave their yellow house studio in Arles, France. Or, was it Gaugin that sliced it off during a fencing accident? Either way, the image is nothing if not a provocative update about Van Gogh’s status.
For centuries the words visual artist essentially meant image maker. An image-maker was a particular kind of person and making compelling images required life-long dedication and skill. Now that photographic and digital media technologies have become less expensive and the speed of transmission is approaching instantaneous (i.e. Instagram), nearly anyone with the means and motivation to acquire and learn to use a cell phone can become a prolific–although not necessarily adept–visual creator. This renders the majority of self-portraits in existence anything but artistic. Could an unending stream of images tagged #bored, #drunk, and #cleave really be Joseph Beuys’ dream of the democratization of art?
Since the Renaissance, the self-portrait has been a form of advertising. We feel no shame; as artists, self-promotion is a necessary part of life, for who can survive without patrons? Thus, the self-portrait has survived and enjoyed lasting popularity in art as a two-punch tool: a way to communicate proficiency in one’s chosen medium while maintaining appearances. But Millennials in the twitterverse are not searching for their Medicis. We (and I use “we” loosely as I am caught between Millennial and Gen-X stereotypes) have been voraciously consuming–or reluctantly swallowing–images our entire lives. Why should the right and responsibility to promote and preserve one’s image be reserved for artists and corporations? Seen in this light, the selfie is subversive: The audience becomes the artist, the consumer becomes the producer selling herself back to the world.
For all the selfie’s alluring sociopolitical ramifications and high entertainment value, the quick digital image simply neglects to do well the things that art does well. The selfie does not conform to the elements and principles of design. The selfie is of a positively low-quality. The selfie is impulsive. But isn’t that precisely its charm? The selfie does not apologize for its vanity nor attempt to hide its self-consciousness. The self-portrait, on the other hand, takes itself so seriously that the posturing of artists is often comical. After decades of living in a culture of government and corporate lying and spying, is it any wonder that Millenials distrust the idea of authenticity itself?
Images tagged #selfie and posted to instagram within the last few minutes:
The bad selfie (and most are bad) could be seen as a reflection of the distrust of propaganda (as evidenced by the hashtag “nofilter”): a willingness to put oneself on display without the handling, designing, research and development, testing, photoshoping, retouching, reshooting, retooling, editing and censoring, all the artifice of bureaucracy. The artist too, unfortunately, has no choice but to self-censor, selecting and editing ad nauseam, having lived forever with an unforgiving, internal overlord, possessed by the specter of art history and bent on getting things just right. Just maybe, the less a selfie resembles a self-portrait, the closer the image is to truth. For to create art is to lie. To represent is to misrepresent, and to create a self-portrait is to, well, #filter.
Van Gogh was indeed an interpreter (not a truth teller) but his willingness to interpret, to stretch, to bend and color made him a master and a great innovator of modern art. His paintings are some of the most moving works of all time, in any media; in the strokes you feel his presence, his suffering, his joy, his life. This connection with future viewers, forged by a willingness to overshare, secured his legacy. Most people will never attempt to become great painters or photographers. But our desire to share our sadness and madness and joy and everything between through images with any available technology is a reflection of our humanness. Unfortunately, a quick look at the latest selfies in my feed reveals that society at large still has a great deal of catching up to do–the artist has been sharing for a long, long time.
For a continued exploration of this topic in a fun way, I created an Instagram account dedicated to self-portraits of artists. Follow me on your cell phone or browse the images so far at instagram.com/artselfie.
I was looking at Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp’s pinboards today and was reminded of a passage in Foucault’ The Order of Things. The fact that the French thinker Foucault popped into my head while looking at images of “Things that Look Like the Death Star” is sad. But it is also evidence that his text The Order of Things is intensely relevant, and, that somewhere during grad school I crossed a line and am now as much of a nerdy intellectual as I am artist and rock musician. Anyway, check out this list of classifications for animals from an ancient Chinese encyclopedia (presumably) and consider how closely this idea of order and organization resemble our contemporary Pinterest boards:
(from Foucault, The Order of Things)
This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (1) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off” look like flies’. In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking that.
But is this system of organization such a stark impossibility today? Mr. Sharp’s Pinboards are typical in that each board groups images by personal, often invented, organizing principles. Granted, Pinterest pins are classified images, not “actual” things. But images as signs or symbols are essentially objects or ideas themselves, especially now that our “real” lives are so completely interconnected to our “virtual” lives online. I just pinned an image of buffalo looking like ants and another of an embalmed cat. I could keep going. But what does it mean? Foucault, again:
That passage from Borges kept me laughing a long time, though not without a certain uneasiness that I found hard to shake off. Perhaps because there arose in its wake the suspicion that there is a worse kind of disorder than that of the incongruous, the linking together of things that are inappropriate; I mean the disorder in which fragments of a large number of possible orders glitter separately in the dimension, without law or geometry, of the heteroclite; and that word should be taken in its most literal, etymological sense: in such a state, things are ‘laid’, ‘placed’, ‘arranged’ in sites so very different from one another that it is impossible.
If I told you I did some additional research and that there is no evidence that the original passage came from a Chinese encyclopedia but was instead from a story by author Jorge Luis Borges would it change the meaning? (I think not) I can accept the quote as hyperbole and the idea remains as potent. Foucault’s uneasiness with such seemingly irrational ideas of order has given way to an online celebration of new ways of organizing and seeing. Now I’m gonna get back to drinking coffee and pining some things to my own boards, possible orders, glittering separately in the dimension of the internet.
A few weeks ago, working with the non-profit Artworks Cincinnati I led a group of apprentices in transforming a 1998 Buick LeSabre from an old boring car into a driveable work of art! We painted the car over the course of a weekend during Midpoint Music Festival, working alongside several other teams and cars. The car was stripped and primed at John Hall Body shop in Northside.
The client was my own mother. Oddly enough I did not know that she had submitted her car and she did not know that I was a project manager for ArtCars! After learning that she entered her car it seemed only fitting that I work with her. I created three designs from which my mom would select a favorite. She wanted something that would evoke some flower child hippie magic. I knew I wanted something bright, relatively simple, and non-representational and didn’t want to use flowers. So I thought about ways to do happy and celebratory without being too obviously retro or derivative. So instead of the 60′s I started out by looking at 1950′s magazine ads, and added some intense contemporary tetradic color. Like my mother, I think it’s pretty unique, adventurous, and lovable! She is thrilled.
Thanks to David Heyburn for organizing Artcars this year, Artworks for inviting me back as a lead artist and project manager, and the amazing and talented apprentices Dontriel Nuckols, Alex Sunderman, Previn Beal, Taylor Helms, and Paige Roberts!
Check out some in-progress photos and the results below, and if you’re in the Trenton Ohio area, keep an eye out for Mrs. Hedges.
Did you know the concept of extinction was born in Kentucky? Before unearthing these huge mysterious fossils of unnamed mammals, no westerner had seriously contemplated the idea of extinction. The concept did not jive well with the deist views of our founding fathers–Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and others imagined the universe as kind of a large clock or watch set in motion by God. That this same god would create a creature and then allow ever single member of that particular species to die seemed strange and even unbelievable. This was an America before dinosaur bones had been discovered, before the endangered species list, and just before my ancestors began shooting buffalo from westbound trains for fun.
Letters from Jefferson and others reveal a deep personal interest in these bones from Kentucky, bones which eventually turned out to be new species like the Mastodon, Wolly Mammoth and Jefferson Sloth. These discoveries turned the world of science upside down and gave rise to paleontology, the science of prehistoric life. That these early Americans were forced to accept evidence over ideology (a skill that seems to be lost on many contemporary thinkers) makes for a great narrative. To read these letters and get a first hand account of this story, including some great Native American myths about where the bones came from, I highly recommend the book Big Bone Lick, by Stanley Heeden.
How did Kentucky go from the birthplace of American paleontology to a hotbed of fundamentalism? Now there is even a theme park devoted to debunking hundreds of years of science in the name of religion. It seems to me like Kentucky could benefit from a 1600 square foot mural about natural history!
Last weekend, after a long week of painting mastodon bones as part of an outdoor mural in Covington, KY, I took my girlfriend to the state park to see the site of these discoveries. It’s a great park with some great hiking trails. And as you might expect, yes they do have some big bones on display! These bones below are from bison. The mastodon skull was simply too cool to be captured in a photograph. You’ll have to visit yourself!
We are making good progress on the Artworks mural in Covington, KY! The mural is a celebration of Kentucky’s rich natural history. My thesis work at the University of Cincinnati was largely about the connections between art, the natural world and the human hand. This mural project has been a great opportunity to continue those interests in a more straightforward way.
Artworks summer programs are thankfully designed not only to employ teens but to provide opportunities for enrichment. To prepare for the project and get everyone interested in the subjects of our mural I organized several field trips.
First, we made a trip to the beautifully redesigned Mary Ann Mongan Covington Library just across the street from the mural site at 502 Scott Blvd. I organized something of a scavenger hunt/learning rampage, encouraging the apprentices to explore a variety of topics including: the challenges of public art (as illustrated by the popular story of Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc), the life cycles and roles of viceroy butterflies and honeybees, and the mastodon bones unearthed at Big Bone Lick State Park in the beginning years of America. Also, what is a Dunkleosteus? I have always been interested in synthesizing a lot of information and making connections between seemingly disparate topics.
A couple days after the library trip we went to the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal to visit the natural history museum. We paid particularly close attention to the ice age exhibit, which is simply fantastic. Our mural includes a mastodon skeleton, an early American symbol of power and mystery and one of my favorite creatures! I also included a Brachiopod, the Kentucky state fossil. These fossils are millions of years old, from a time this area was covered in ocean. They should be a familiar sight, if you have ever looked closely at a river rock.
Since then it has been many days of sweating in the sun and drawing, painting, and having fun. I met the most amazing group of teenagers. It is kind of sad wrapping this project up these next couple weeks. Stay tuned for photos of the final result!
I am now the project manager and lead artist of an even larger, more visible Artworks summer mural project! Artworks is a Cincinnati non-profit that “empowers and inspires the creative community to transform our everyday environments through employment, apprenticeships, education, community partnerships, and civic engagement,” although they are mostly known for their murals. This summer, my mural is one of about ten being painted in the Cincinnati area.
After a long saga involving an uncooperative Dayton Kentucky City Council, we have moved upstream. I am now working in the city of Covington, Kentucky, with fellow Cincinnati teaching artist Jasmine Akers and now seven apprentices, amazing young artists from the Cincinnati area Evelynn Meyer , Scott Sanker , William Moore , AJ Newberry, Previn Beal , Alexandra Weibel , and Marvin Gay Lee Jr. We are painting 11 panels on two sides of the Kerry Toyota Collision center at 24 E 5th St, Covington, KY 41011. Marc Camardo and staff have been amazing. If their willingness to help a rag tag group of artists is any indication of their commitment to customer service, I would say this must be the best collision repair center in the world. Additionally, this is the cleanest building I have ever seen, which is a miracle when I consider how many greasy cars come in and out of their every year.
When we aren’t baking in the sun on Scott Blvd. between 4th and 5th Street, we are in our studio space, generously donated by the Covington Artisan’s Enterprise Center. Cate Yellig and Natalie Bowers were instrumental in saving this project and bringing it to Covington. So many people fought so hard to keep this boat afloat. While the last month or so has admittedly been frustrating with so many stops and starts, the fact that we have begun an even bigger and better mural project in such a positive environment is a testament to the power of art. That may seem dramatic, but if you could see what I have seen–people crying, yelling, laughing–all about the possibility of painting, you would recognize. Plato knew it. City Councils know it. Art is power and a simple image can be transformative.
Unfortunately this block in Covington still has many vacant store fronts and unsavory happenings. However, Covington is going through a renaissance and the mural is perfectly positioned and timed to make a meaningful contribution. Our site is just up the street from the historic Roebling bridge, across the street from a newly remodeled Kenton County Public Library, and less than a block from the Gateway Community and Technical College. When we are finished with the mural the entire block will look much different. Our goal is to give the people of the neighborhood something positive, something colorful, something that will inspire young people to dream and wonder.
To see the mural unfold check this live feed! The folks across the street at the PPS group were excited about this project and graciously offered to film it, feed it, and time lapse it later. Check out this link to see the wall live, right now: http://www.theppsgroup.com/ppstv/. We are working near the camera right now (autoposting this blog!). We will wave to you Monday through Friday at exactly noon. Our work day is 9am-2pm.
The Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati will host a performance featuring yours truly Joe Hedges and Jiemei Lin this Monday, June 24, 2013 at 8:00pm in The Living Room. The Living Room is a current exhibition located on Level 2 of CAC that also serves as a flexible arena for summer performances every other monday. Our performance, Scroll Improvisation, is a collaboration that celebrates the connection between art and music. Jiemei and I graduated together from the University of Cincinnati’s MFA program. This is our first performance together.
During the hour long performance I will create improvisational music that combines pre-recorded and live elements while Mei creates a large scroll drawing on the floor. The piece will investigate the function and history of narrative Chinese scrolls in a contemporary fashion while exploring the idea of the western living room as a venue for improvisational ambient and folk music. Other themes include notation and recording as well as cultural identity and control.
Jiemei Lin is an artist, designer, and total badass from Hangzhou, China now living in Cincinnati, OH. Her most recent works combine sculptural elements, found objects, drawings and video works that interrogate the effects of the industrial revolution on Eastern culture, while revealing and questioning her own hybrid identity as an immigrant. But Lin’s greatest passion is drawing. Her ability to create beautiful, spontaneous drawings with graceful natural lines is truly remarkable. Please consider stopping by to see this in progress while I try to keep up!
Here is a link to the event on the CAC’s website.
Welcome to my website. I am an artist, art educator and singer-songwriter living in Cincinnati, OH. My work is wide ranging in both media and content. I am interested in the space between old mysterious objects, the natural world, and contemporary technology. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, feedback, or art emergencies. Thank you for visiting.