Inspiration

The Not-So-Selfie Selfie

I read a very interesting article this morning on the history of selfies by Jerry Saltz.  It made me think about all the selfies I have taken in the past and how they really aren’t a part of the selfie genre he talks about. My selfies are more posed and composed–definitely more of a true self-portrait than the selfies currently in favor with the Instagram generation.

In this new art form, selfies (according to Saltz) are “A fast self-portrait, made with a smartphone’s camera and immediately distributed and inscribed into a network, is an instant visual communication of where we are, what we’re doing, who we think we are, and who we think is watching.”

“These are not like the self-portraits we are used to. Setting aside the formal dissimilarities between these two forms—of framing, of technique—traditional photographic self-portraiture is far less spontaneous and casual than a selfie is.”

Saltz further distinguishes the selfie: “If both your hands are in the picture and it’s not a mirror shot, technically, it’s not a selfie—it’s a portrait.”

The selfies I take (mostly with my camera on a tripod) are in focus and cropped, manipulated and made as perfect as I can manage.  I guess they are “not-so-selfie” selfies even though I refer to them that way.  Unlike the selfies Saltz describes, I never share photos of myself immediately (or otherwise) on social media. I guess I am just too inhibited and too much a perfectionist with my photography and self-image. Am I really that vain? Um. Yes. I am.

Looking at selfies taken by others is great fun and there are some incredible images to see (and a lot of really awful ones–that means you Kim Kardashian and Anthony Weiner), but I guess I am too set in my own ways to let it all go and post a true selfie.  Except for maybe this one, taken while riding in our convertible this past weekend…

 

 

 

selfie censored small

 

 

Hmmmm.  On second thought, I decided not to post it.  I told you I was a perfectionist and anyway, I thought my hair looked kinda weird. And those wrinkles!  Where in the hell did they come from?

No wonder selfies are a product of the younger generation.

 

 

Read more →

Drawing Inspiration From Kids

I love seeing art made by children…and I love finding inspiration where I least expect it.  Like on a cement wall in a hidden courtyard.

There is something incredibly joyful, playful and wild in these exuberant chalk marks made by children.  They appeared this week on a long cement wall outside the print studio at the Mesa Art Center.  Cy Twombly’s work immediately came to mind and now my fingers are itching to draw something wild and big with total abandon. I think I might have to grab some chunky sidewalk chalk and let my inner child loose.

Mesa Wall Drawing 2 3085Mesa Wall Chalk Drawing 3085; 2014; Digital Photography by Janet Towbin

Mesa Wall Drawing 3 3079Mesa Wall Chalk Drawing 3079; 2014; Digital Photography by Janet Towbin

Mesa Wall Drawing 4 3070Mesa Wall Chalk Drawing 3070; 2014; Digital Photography by Janet Towbin

Mesa Wall Drawing 5 3059Mesa Wall Chalk Drawing 3059; 2014; Digital Photography by Janet Towbin

Mesa Wall Drawing 1 3089Mesa Wall Chalk Drawing 3089; 2014; Digital Photography by Janet Towbin

Mesa Wall Drawing 6 3057Mesa Wall Chalk Drawing 3057; 2014; Digital Photography by Janet Towbin

Mesa Wall Drawing 7 3050Mesa Wall Chalk Drawing 3050; 2014; Digital Photography by Janet Towbin

Read more →

Reaching the Melting Point

Every time I go to Mesa to work in the print studio I find something totally inspiring and/or exciting to photograph.  I generally find things in the print studio (inks, paint splotches, palettes) or on the Mesa Art Center campus (astounding contemporary architecture and desert plants). I manage to take a gazillion photos every time I go there.

Yesterday was a banner day both photographically and inspirationally speaking.  I found some Twombly-like children’s chalk drawings on a cement wall (I’ll post some images soon, I promise!) and a yarn store with an amazing button collection—but what truly made my day was a mural like none I have ever seen.

This mural in downtown Mesa is better than a lot of the ones I’ve seen in Philadelphia,  home of more murals than any other city, I think. Painted on a large stucco building and surrounded by parking lots on two sides, it can be found smack dab in the middle of the business district at 220 W. Main Street. The mural literally made me stop in my tracks—I had to pick my jaw up off the ground while I simultaneously reached for my camera.

Melting Point was painted in 2012 by R.E Wall and Margaret Dewar.  Their company is named Mural Mice which is based in Prescott, AZ.  Melting Point is trompe l’oeil at it’s finest.  The building appears to be melting, wobbling and oozing into a puddle as you look at it. The title has layers of meaning and refers not only to the way the building seems to be made of liquid goo, but also because it was painted in the hottest months of summer.

I can’t believe there hasn’t been more publicity in Phoenix about this mural. It is truly a masterpiece of mural art.  Check out the Mural Mice website which has a lot of information about the Melting Point, wide angle shots of the building and other work they have done. I am now a HUGE fan of Mural Mice.  In fact, I have a wall…

Melting Point by R.E Wall & Margaret Dewar 2012Melting Point; M.E. Wall and Margaret Dewar; 2012

Melting Point by R.E Wall & Margaret Dewar 2012Melting Point; M.E. Wall and Margaret Dewar; 2012

Melting Point by R.E Wall & Margaret Dewar 2012Melting Point; M.E. Wall and Margaret Dewar; 2012

Read more →