Monday, October 26, 2009


Moan, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 30 in

This is the painting that I mentioned in previous posts. I've tried some new things with it.

I have also started doing a set of diagrams for the chapter I am working on. Below is a panorama of Independence Square. It's a base for the diagram I am about to do.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I'm reorganising my thesis. kind of...

It's the same stuff but framed in a different way. I suppose thats good. That way I move away from a general story about Carnival toward an actual Thesis...

I've reorganized my chapters and have now begun to reframe the text itself. I've been advised to represent as much information as I can visually, rather than through a terrifyingly vast and boring essay.

My paintings, I have reconsidered in this version with more intentional purpose and placement. Also, I have finished my the painting I mentioned in the previous post. It's 24 x 36". I've titled it "Moan". Will take pics shortly.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

thoughts on paintings

Throughout this thesis process, I have envisioned myself using my paintings. I have not been entirely sure where they would go in. In my life I have never actually painted as much as I am doing now, and especially not with the idea of using them for a particular collection. I also didn't foresee my Conte drawings becoming what they are to me now. It’s strange how even when you don't think you have a fixed idea of what your own creativity is, you actually do. I feel confused pretty often about what the particular artwork is - whether it should mean something particular and if it should be of a particular place. But the good stuff never really comes out of strategy. I have to keep fighting my desire to make something beautiful and relevant in order to bring out stuff that are behind my eyes and without my knowing. I am discovering a darkness in my work that I haven't seen before. It surprises me when I see some of the things that I draw and paint and they make me wonder...
Oh well. So it goes. I have a canvas up in my room at the moment. The sketch I have on it now is inspired by a passage in The Famished Road by Ben Okri. It's a book about this Nigerian boy who is part human and part spirit. He can see both worlds and his visions are totally incandescent. I have to stop and breathe every few pages and let the images settle. This passage I'm painting from is an image of a huge masquerade / demon thing that charges through the streets during a riot. I haven't started the actual painting of it yet (it’s still a sketch). I want to try something new with it. Will post it when it’s done.
' ‘I wandered through the violent terrain, listening to the laughter of mischievous spirits. There was a crescent moon in the sky, darkness over houses, broken bottles and splintered wood on the road. I wandered barefoot. Fires sprouted over rubbish heaps, men were dragged out of cars, thick smoke billowed from houses. Stumbling along, looking for mum, I found myself in a dark street. There was a solitary candle burning on a stand near an abandoned house. I heard a deep chanting that made the street tremble. Shadows stormed past, giving off a stench of sweat and rage. Drums vibrated in the air. A cat cried out as if it had been thrown on to a fire. Then a gigantic Masquerade burst out of the road, with plumes of smoke billowing from its head. I gave a frightened cry and hid behind a stall. The Masquerade was terrifying and fiery, its funereal roar filled the street with an ancient silence. I watched it in horror. I watched it by its shadow of a great tree burning, as it danced in the empty street.
Then the darkness filled with its attendants. They were stout men with glistening faces. They held on to the luminous ropes attached to the towering figure. Dancing wildly, it dragged them towards the rioting. When it strode past, sundering the air, I crept out of my hiding place. Swirling with hallucinations, I started back towards the main road.’ p 11

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Rant

Maybe its okay that people continually have tried to gentrify Carnival. maybe that's where it gets its beauty - through rebellion and vulgarity. If everything were embraced and allowed there would be no breaking through.

Perhaps it is that kind of general acceptance from society that makes Pretty Mas so simplistic and bereft of creativity. It is an accepted activity lacking in the euphoria of rebellion but rather embracing the simple ecstasy of showing one's sex and skin.

I won't hide my contempt for Pretty Mas. And i admit that I am extremely biased having not played it myself. My attraction has never been to bikini Mas. I see no transcendence through that than egotism. For myself I see true transcendence in the man who play his dragon each year and the bands that build their Indian mas over and over again. It's a livelihood then and a neighborhood and a real kind of love. Buying a costume one year that you don't build your self and that you toss out after 2 days seems such a strange parody of a great thing. Such a missed oppostunity to create someting phenomenal.

The great thing about designing mas is that you aren't just designing a costume or a head dress or a bodice. No. You are designing an experience. You are framing a story in city space. It's a chance for the people you are designing for to see themselves, their city and their bodies in a brand new way. This isn't about 'look at me, look at me'. No! This drama goes far beyond sexy. This is possession.