Sunday, September 16, 2012

Serious Stuff

Onward and upward with Artologica! Even though I am ridiculously old to be doing a lot of things for the first time, it’s better than never doing them at all. So I’m delighted to tell you about two pieces of news. First (the first first? Oh dear), I’ll be co-moderating a session at the ScienceOnline Conference in January with Dr. Cedar Riener. We’ll be talking about visual metaphors in science communication. Sounds pretty serious, huh? I’m practicing this face:

ScienceOnline is just about the best thing ever. I went last year and I met so many great people and learned so much, I am delighted to be part of the official program this year. If you’ve never heard of it, go have a look at the website.

The "second first" is one I told you about earlier, but now it’s actually happened. The novel with my painting on it arrived! There I am in print on the cover of James Meek’s book The Heart Broke In. I’ll be blogging about the book itself soon. It releases on October 2nd, so you can all go down to Barnes & Noble and take pictures of it and tweet them to me. Or buy the book - James would probably appreciate that more ; ) 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Caught in a Bad Translation

On my trip to storage the other day, I found another piece of my past. This is a painting I did many years ago, probably around 2003. It's another watercolor grid, this time with a deeply romantic stanza from the Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov.

Way back in the day, I studied Russian and lived in Moscow for a few years. But now my Russian is fairly rusty, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't too far off in telling you what this painting said. I couldn't find an English translation online, so I ran it through Google translate. Well, as they say in Moscow, kha, kha, kha!

Here's the original Russian:

Одной тобою жил поэт,
Скрываючи в груди мятежной
Страданья многих, многих лет,
Свои мечты, твой образ нежный.

(Up to here is what's actually on the painting)

На зло враждующей судьбе
Имел он лишь одно в пре‹д›мете:
Всю душу посвятить тебе,
И больше никому на свете!..

Here's my rough translation

For you alone the poet lived,
Concealing in his turbulent breast
The sufferings of many, many years, 
His dreams, and your sweet image.

In strife-riven, evil fate,
He had only one subject,
To devote to you his whole soul
And to no one else on earth.

We get the picture. The guy was seriously smitten, and the lady didn't want to know. Here's what Google translate gave me:

One thee poet lived,
Skryvayuchi chest rebel
The suffering of many, many years,
Your dreams, your way of tender.

For evil warring fate
He had only one thing in the pre <x> Weather forecast:
Devote his whole soul to you,
And nobody else in the world! 

Now, to be fair. To be fair, there is some old-fashioned wording in there. The poem was written in 1830. I have no idea why one letter in the word predmet (subject) is in brackets, which obviously threw off the algorithm. But how's that for modern romance?  Poor old Skryvayuchi chest rebel had only one thing in the pre <x> Weather forecast. Oh baby, y u no share ur way of tender?  No wonder he died young of a broken heart. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Great Science Art Giveaway - Day 5

Congrats to @SciTriGrrl!

Last one is an Artologica classic in bright colors. Find it at my shop and buy it for 50 cents.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Politics and Art the Artologica Way

Back before I started painting dividing cells, I painted - other stuff. Mostly abstract watercolors, often in the same kind of grid patterns that I still use. I'm pretty sure that many people suspected my paintings were about nothing, like Seinfeld.  I like to keep my message subtle. I usually don't like art that whacks me over the head with its politics, so I usually don't make it. Here's a little look behind the curtain at some older pieces and what they have to say.

Blue Code 7, 2008

I made a whole series of blue paintings during the run-up to the 2008 election. I was interested in the various symbolic meanings of blue (true blue, blue chip, blue ribbon, etc), especially the idea of "blue states". Blue states, aesthetically speaking , are much calmer and deeper than angry, hot red states. (Of course I would think that because, despite having grown up in Indiana, a became a godless East coast librul.) The scribbles in masking fluid are my thoughts about the primary battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton. I was conflicted. You can read them if you try really hard.

Ballooniverse Too, 2009

After the stock market and housing market crashed, I started obsessively drawing bubbles. Partly it was a very direct (unoriginal?) response to the bursting of the economic bubble. I also painted a lot of floating zeroes, expressing my inability to fathom the gigantic amounts of theoretical wealth that simply "floated away" as housing values and stock market prices crashed.  Interestingly, despite the cheerful, pretty surface of these pieces, nobody really likes them, and I have hardly sold any. Either people just prefer my work in squares or they can detect the influence of the dismal science lurking beneath.

Down with Bush, 2005

This has been sitting in a drawer in my studio (aka dining room) for seven years. I painted three of these, to commemorate the second inaugural of George W. Bush on January 20, 2005. One I gave away to a like-minded friend, one I sold to a drunk person at a festival, and this one I kept. They all feature symbols such as equal signs, question marks and fish. The text, in Russian, says Долой Буша - "Down with Bush". It is unsubtle. That's OK too.

The Great Art Science Giveaway, Day 4

Congrats to RLD! Enjoy your scarf : )

Today's giveaway is soft, if you can wrap your mind around that. Go find it at my shop and it's yours for 50 cents plus shipping.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Great Science Art Giveaway, Day 3

Congrats to @akkleis!

Today's 50 cent painting is the biggest yet - and concerns basic biology. Go find it in my shop and buy it for a mere $.50 plus shipping.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When you keep your brain cells in storage

In January 2011, I had a show of my paintings at the National Institutes of Health. (read about it here). The theme of the show was "Love and Death", and it featured paintings that showed the micro side of each - the various cells and structures involved in love (like the hair, skin, eyes, heart and brain) and death (bacteria, viruses and cancer). 

Some of the paintings from that show have gone on to new homes, some have been in other shows, and one will be on the cover of a book soon. But there was one - the brain - that has been sitting in storage ever since it came home from Bethesda.  I was convinced that it was sloppy and full of mistakes. 

This week, when I started thinking about which paintings to include in my giveaway, it crossed my mind to take a look at it again - maybe give it away, maybe cut it down into a few smaller pieces. So I went to take a look. But when I pulled it into the radiant light of the corridor at E-Z Storage, I had a different reaction than I expected. I wuz like NO WAI! (When I get excited, I speak lolcat.) This thing is rockin'! 

Yeah, it has some painting mistakes. No, I'm not telling you where they are. I'm just going to say OMG will you look at this brain cell painting. I made it. It's good. You should go to my shop and buy it and hang it on your wall. That is all.

The Great Science Art Giveaway, Day 2

This one is off to Australia!

Today's 50 cent painting is viral in nature. Go find it at my shop and buy it for just 50 cents plus shipping.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Great Science Art Giveaway, Day 1

Update: Yeah, it's gone already.

Today's 50 cent painting is neural in nature. Go find it at my shop!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Celebrating Two Great Years on Etsy - with Free Art!

I opened the Artologica shop on etsy on September 7, 2010, with high hopes and modest expectations,which have been greatly surpassed. To say thanks to my wonderful friends, supporters and customers, I decided to give away some artwork this week. Here's how it's going to work.

Every day from Monday to Friday I'll pick one piece in my shop which will be priced at $0.50 - yep, 50 cents. I'll tweet it and blog it. And the first person who finds it can buy it for 50 cents plus shipping. 

You could say, hey, Michele, that's not free, and I would understand that, but this way I can make the freebies (super-cheapies?) available internationally. (And seriously, if you don't think my artwork is worth the cost of postage plus 50 cents, leave it for someone who does.)

I'll select a mix of different types of artwork and big and small pieces. And if you don't wind up with any free art, well, hugs and lolcats are still available at no charge.

Just one more thing: honor system. If you get a free painting, be nice and leave the rest for others, or you will make me sad.