Skip to content

updates to a mini oil painting of a Coventry Toy Store Big Fun

 

So thrilled to finish this piece. It’s not the first time I’ve painted this view.

I distinctly recall painting it the first time. It was during a small snowstorm. I had been making art on Coventry during the early 1990s, so it was not uncommon for me to be painting the buildings. I remember the sky being grey a lot. I remember a small muddy painting on cardboard of yellow construction machinery in front of Coventry library.

Big Fun was physically something different. The sight of a store front as bold as this one, with its primary colors and children’s letter-block design, took my eye. I thought it deserved artistic commemoration. I set up across the street (under an awning!) and captured the obvious contrasts.

This is a version of that original painting with redefined highlights around the legendary letters of the storefront’s signage. It’s a view of a store in its first location, a store lost to the community of physical objects only, but which lives on in every spurting can of springing socks you’ll ever imagine.

To purchase, go here.

 

Image

Professor Coinhead Teaches a New Course

prof coinhead 3 purp.jpg

Halloween Costumes for Lit Types

Trick or Trope! Halloween for Lit Lovers

6245586496_e677d49fea

Trick or Trope! Halloween for Lit Types

Okay. You’re a lit lover and it’s Halloween. Who should you be? The question seems to be unanswerable, but you’ve come to the right place. Let me solve this perennial quandary once and for all. There are five quintessential Halloween costumes that every self-respecting word smith should know well, and I’m talking carnal, experiential knowledge here. So stop wondering and start assembling the necessary materials. Make it work, designers.

  1. An Iconic Author. The list is a lot shorter than you think. Ultimately, the premise is the same as for good writing: you’ve got to know your audience. If this costume is for a group of mainly non-lit lovers, you’re limited to the visages most folks recognize and that list is short: Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman top the list–and dressing up like them would be even more cool if you’re a woman. Others include Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe.
  2. An Iconic Authorghouled up, vampirically turned or zombified. Take the icon from step one, add blood and fangs, maybe a fake mangled arm, and voila! Instant costume and spookily apropos. Here’s what I mean:

Slide1

  1. Famous LITERARY Character. Okay, now things get good. Here’s where we separate the lit lovers from the posers. This category is for characters that appear in books only, not in movies or on TV. Books! Remember those? Writers do.

It’s challenging, but the costume should contain enough recognizable elements so that semi-literary onlookers will get it. Here are some possibilities: Guy De Maupassant’s Horla, from the famous short story of the same name. Kafka’s Gregor Samson in bugged-out transition. Poe’s Berenice, skeletal and grave, real grave, with lots of cool dental adornments–the tooth necklace, hair clips made of teeth, sunglasses with bicuspid rims.

In fact, you could go Poe-crazy with this category. What about the wife from the “Black Cat”? A woman could have half a sheet of drywall in front of her, a fake cat on her head, with an axe going through kitty and head. Or you could be Fortunado from “Cask of Amontillado”, wearing a fake brick wall for a front (cardboard would be perfect). Through an aperture of the brick facade onlookers would see you immured in your harlequin outfit.

Or you could be Raskolnikov with a raving mad look in the eyes, wearing a heavy blood-spattered overcoat, under which hangs an axe looped to your shoulder. There’s also Dickens’ Miss Havisham: a once-white wedding dress covered with rust, ash, and cobwebs. A very old cake as a prop would help too. Extra gross out points for eating parts of it during stylized performances of jilted sobbing.

A variation on this theme–a favorite author at the moment of a bad situation: Percy Shelly being immolated on the beach, William S. Burroughs on the night of the wife shooting, Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the midst of having his Kubla Kahn dream. There’s loads of fun buried alive in this category!

  1. Famous Characters From POETRY. Novels are easy. For experts, try dressing up as a figure from a famous poem. Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus” has loads of creepy imagery in it. I can see your costume now.  Berenice would have nothing on you:

O my enemy.

Do I terrify?–

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?

Anyone would have a field day working up the makeup appropriate for a figure who says:

Out of the ash I rise with my red hair

And I eat men like air.

Or you could dress up as one of Ginsberg’s “angelheaded hipsters” from “Howl.” The dress code would be easy. It would just be you “cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear” and for effect, you might eat fire or show yourself chained to a huge cardboard mockup of a subway car.

Or you could be Alfred J. Prufrock. Half of you would be a middle-aged English man with a hand full of coffee spoons, the other half of you could be a giant, ragged crab claw. You could attend the party with some women dressed as mermaids who sing to everyone but you.

Slide1

5. Go as a Book! Granted, this one would require some extra effort with styrofoam or cardboard, but it could be worth it. You’d build a suit-sized version of your favorite horror book opened to your favorite page, the scariest page in any book you can think of. Mine would be the room 237 scene from The Shining. You could probably get a manager at a local copy shop (they still have those right?) to get creative with you as you design the enlargements for your open pages.

timthumb.php

 

 

 

Check out the video

Collaborative art and poetry?

Find it difficult to imagine? Wonder no longer. Here is a video demonstration as well as a peek inside the collaborative project of art and time we call

Month of Sundays.

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-15 at 11.19.29 AM.pnghttps://www.michaelandsarachaney.com/blog/2018/10/15/month-of-sundays-the-movie-or-just-the-trailer

 

 

Making Rustic Frames from Birch Bark

IMG_3544Once collected, the dried and flattened bark of fallen trees can be used as a material for endless making—pages, of course, but also matting, basketry, coils or fraps.

IMG_3414

The building block of a storehouse full of useful things waits in every fiber.

IMG_3449

IMG_5375

 

It is one of our favorite things to do in our collaboration as painter, poet, and mixed media artists.

IMG_E1585

IMG_5319

We incorporate rustic sticks and old jeans together with some wood glue. Add a miter box, a saw, and a few nails and we create framed canvases for our art works.

 

This type of frame works best for subjects that suit it. It’s lovely and rugged, durable but also delicate. At the edges, paper and wood change places and dance together around a knot or along the ramp of a stiff curl before parting ways forever.

IMG_2539

See more here.

To purchase the above painting, click here.

Latest Collaborative Art Project Month of Sundays

https://michael-chaney-djke.squarespace.com/blog/2018/10/8/month-of-sundays-an-art-and-life-project-for-two?p

michael chaney and sara chaney month of sundays poems with window.jpg

michael chaney and sara chaney month of sundays pastel Oct.jpg

michael chaney and sara chaney month of sundays pastel June.jpg

Rhetorical Devices and a Cartoon

Ever wonder how to analyze a comic using classical rhetoric?

What do you do when your comic seems to fit more than one device or figure?

Look no further….

Michael Chaney and Sara Biggs Chaney comics analysis 1.pngAn interesting editorial cartoon for analysis comes to us from: https://www.cartoonmovement.com/cartoon/52922

This single-image comic is by Sylvain Pongi from France. It is captioned: “Think Different”; and represents a person with B’s inside his head who lives in a world made up of A’s.

As a whole, the image presents a rhetorical antithesis.

To successfully deliver its package of meanings, this cartoon depends upon two details held in balanced opposition: Red A’s dominate the background; blue Bs float inside the figure’s head.

At this juncture, we might say the rhetorical effect of the cartoon is best expressed by dialogismus, ­the figure that ascribes thought to a character or that paraphrases a character’s thoughts.

More interesting here is the doubling of this rhetorical device. For dialogismus happens in two ways here, not merely in the obvious demonstration of a person’s thoughts reduced to a series of Bs. This is only the overt manifestation of dialogismus. There is another, an implied ascription of thought to the world around the figure.

The thought of the world appears in this comic summarized as a linear background script. That it is paraphrased to a series of A’s  makes sense, given the gist of the device to attempt to put thought into words without necessarily succeeding in so grand an enterprise and thus having recourse to a code. The summary of the world’s thoughts is mechanical, impersonal, initial, conformist, regularized, and strictly ruled. At the same time, every A also symbolizes a person who is thinking in this conventional way. Indeed, the A’s picture all those who collectively imagine the A’s they are expected to be thinking.

Seen with this implied ascription of thought in mind, linking the background A’s to unseen people thinking them, the cartoon evinces synecdoche: it compresses an array of personifications (wholes, voices) via their logocentric, typographic means for expression (parts, A’s & B’s, quoted voices). Thus, in a complicated way, the synecdoche of the comic collapses onto citation, both overt and concealed.

There is also a deep ambivalence in the comic. The person looks foolish. One eye is bigger than the other. The nose is out sized. If the comic is an assertion, telling us to think differently, it may also be asking us to risk looking foolish doing so. Or these clues of a person who is thinking with asymmetrical eyes in abecedarian demarcations of difference, defying outer codes to embrace an inner world of alternate if drifting B’s, is also a person who is socially demoted in the process somehow, as if to say beyond the cliched optimism of thinking outside of boxes, that being different is not always so alluring to look upon. Those who think in terms of true innovation, particularly in the sense that B follows A, are liable not to be too much to look at in the final analysis, or so the comic’s depictive ironies suggest, leaving us to look at an innovative thinker whose thinking leaves them marked by confusion and marginality.

In a way, the ambivalence of the comic’s details suggest it to be wary of its own cliched message.

by

Michael A. Chaney   &  Sara Biggs Chaney

P.S. Here’s a painted homage to the acoustic possibilities of the comic speech bubble and its powers of semiotic collapse.

IMG_2269

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: