Friday, 30 August 2013

The surreal animal sculptures of Ellen Jewett

Ellen Jewett is a Canadian sculptor who makes surreal and occasionally hyper-realistic sculptures in which living creatures and other materials are woven together. She says that her work has 'always been about life; biological narratives, emotions, movement, balance and observations about life's subtleties and overtures'.

I'm not sure exactly what her base sculpture media is but I assume it to be some form of air drying clay. She describes her materials simply as 'mixed media'.

CUSTOM ORDER- Personal Creature

In 2007 Ellen completed her post-secondary education with honours in Biological Anthropology and Fine Art from McMaster University. She hit the ground running and became a full-time studio artist without pause. As a lover of life and the mechanisms of both art and nature, Ellen continues to supplement her knowledge with professional courses and apprenticeships. She aspires to pursue graduate work in anthrozoology whilst maintaining her life as a studio artist.


Visit her website and see lots more sculptures here. And, if you have some spare cash (and how I wish I did!), her work is surprisingly affordable. See here for details.

Thanks to my brother Si for bringing her work to my attention.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Riding the Booster

Wow. Just fecking wow.

From the upcoming Special Edition Ascent: Commemorating Space Shuttle DVD/BluRay by NASA/Glenn. It's a movie from the point of view of the Solid Rocket Booster with sound mixing and enhancement done by the folks at Skywalker Sound. The sound is all from the camera microphones and not faked or replaced with foley artist sound. The Skywalker sound folks just helped bring it out and make it more audible.


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

My position on Cricket

Back in the early 90s I did a series of doodles illustrating positions in cricket. They weren't great - I was still experimenting with styles - but I liked the concept. To celebrate the start of the Final Test today, here they are nearly 20 years later. I may just re-do them in my current arty style. Who knows? They may even work as a print.

All images copyright (c) 2013 Stevyn Colgan

Square leg, Short Leg, Long leg

Silly point, Long on

Cover, Deep Cover, Slip

Third man, Striker, Fine leg

Gully, Point, Bowlers

Monday, 19 August 2013

Tekky tekky tekky tekky tek ting

I love this.

Viennese Percussionist Martin Breinschmid with his version of Leroy Anderson's 'The Typewriter' recorded live at the BASF Concert Hall, Ludwigshafen, Germany in 2008. Also featuring the Strauß Festival Orchestra, Vienna.


Thursday, 15 August 2013

A Brum do

Yesterday evening saw me on stage at The Victoria Theatre Bar and Deep South Diner in John Bright Street, Birmingham, at a Skeptics in the Pub event. I've done quite a few of these and have quite a few more still do to this year. They're small, intimate gigs with beer. What more could a chap want?

The Victoria is a very cool venue. They run all kinds of events there from Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art Club (still-life drawing vs burlesque) sessions to pub quizzes and Whisky Clubs. The place is nicely decorated in an eclectic Victorian theme with old sepia-toned photographic portraits of people with out-sized animal heads. The decor was organised by Davindi and the 'animen' portraits are by Kai Design.

It's all quite odd but it works. I also liked this quirky image of Gilbert and Sullivan by artist Stina Jones:

The food was good too, being a mix of gourmet burgers and Southern US delicacies like jambalaya, corn bread, catfish and various Cajun or chipotle-spiced meats. I ate well and washed it all down with a few pints of Butty Bach. It's also nice to find a pub that's still independent of the major breweries, it being part of a small local chain called Bitters 'n' Twisted.

Anyway, I did my talk and it all went well. It's the first one I've done since my tumble in Edinburgh but it was okay. When the swollen ankle started to ache a bit, I simply leaned on a strategically positioned table and carried on.

(Photos: Brumplum)

The audience of Birmingham Skeptics were so attentive that I ran on a little bit longer than usual, doing around an hour instead of 45 mins. We then had a break for 20 mins and returned for a Q and A session that lasted a further hour. They had so many smart questions. Great bunch of people.

I left the pub around 11.30pm and headed back to my hotel. My short walk took me past the Old Rep Theatre and The Electric - supposedly the oldest cinema in the UK:

What a curious place the Station Street Comfort Inn is! It's amazingly old-fashioned. First thing you notice is the lift. It takes two people at best, or one Stevyn Colgan. My hair was almost brushing the ceiling; it was like travelling in a vertical coffin. And the clanks and clunks and rattles were extraordinary. It also had one of those manually operated concertina doors to get in and out of.

Having tried this unique experience I got to my room which was small but reasonably appointed for a £29 a night hotel. £29 doesn't buy you a view either. This was mine.

You could step directly from my window out on the fire escape, which, I'll admit, made me wonder about whether to leave the window open at night. Then I thought ... 'Ah, there's probably no access to the fire escape from street level'. Then I noticed the small pile of Special Brew cans in the left hand corner - just out of sight in that pic. Either the guest in the room next door was chucking them out of the window or the fire escape was a popular drinking spot. Classy.

But not as classy as finding a box of tissues on the bedside table. Come on Comfort Inn ... we all know that they sometimes get used for things other than a snotty nose, but put them in the bathroom please. Show some subtlety. That said, comfy bed, value for money and the place was clean and tidy - so no complaints.

A fun day away and lovely people to hang out with.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Mummy, please may I stay indoors today?

I  did a spot at Museums Show-Off a month or so ago. This is a London-based open mic event for people who either work in museums or have a connection to one. I was able to 'get away with it' by representing BBC Radio 4's The Museum of Curiosity, for which I research content and co-write scripts. Anyhow, the event is a spin-off from Science Show-Off and both were the brainchild of comedian and science geek Steve Cross. Steve acts as MC to the shows and, during the show I did, he shared some photos with the audience. Now I'd like to share them with you.

These are genuine items of 'playground equipment' he'd found on a housing estate in North London.

Who designs stuff like this? As art, it's not even pleasant to look at. And what function do the pieces perform? Do you climb on them? Throw things at them? Have nightmares about them?

Steve wouldn't be drawn on where exactly they were so I googled 'scary playground equipment' out of curiosity ... and discovered a whole exciting world of terrifying slides, revolting ride-ons and criminal climbing frames. Look!

(Photo: Flickr)

(Source: Strange and Interesting Things))

(Source: Fugly)

(Source: Funelf)

(Photo: Flickr)

(Photo: Flickr)

(Source: Tokyo Times)

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Fringe Cuts #3

It's my 52nd birthday today. And, at the moment, I'm feeling all 18,962 days of it. The ankle is getting less painful although still very swollen and my lardish body is still catching up with the last few manic weeks.

And talking of lardish bodies, here's my final Edinburgh post.

This hugely scary person is Red Bastard. He's one of the best audience participation clowns I've ever seen and he works an audience brilliantly. It's not a show for the faint-hearted or anyone who thinks that they'll just 'stand at the back and not be noticed'. He'll notice you, I promise. And he's very persuasive. He has people kissing strangers, taking off items of clothing, shouting at their partners ... it's all very intense. But it's very funny too as long as you're not the monkey to his organ-grinder. The show was worth going to see if, for no other reason, I doubt he'll transfer easily to TV. Quite unique.

I didn't have time to see many shows (even fewer when my Day 3 was written off by injury) but I did get to see a fair bit of street theatre and a fascinating Skeptics on the Fringe talk by Professor Sophie Scott all about sex differences in the brain.

I did some more walking about too. I took a stroll down to Greyfriars Kirkyard - home of the Greyfriars Bobby legend (emphasis on the word legend there) - and had a look around.

The word 'dour' seems to have been invented for the Scottish temperament and for the rather dull stone with which most of Edinburgh is built. Certainly, the various memorials and tombs in Greyfriars all have a kind of bleak Hammer-Horror ghastliness about them. No shiny marble or fudgey Cotswold here. Just cold grey stone and black pig iron.

I then took a stroll back up through the Royal Mile, noting the hundreds of posters and flyers attached to the Virgin-sponsored pillars ( a good idea to prevent bill sticking on the dour stone walls), the occasional pavement art and odd chalk graffiti.

I also found a shop that wasn't a tartan shop, a souvenir shop or a cafe. But it had gone out of business. Very possibly because it probably did no trade for 50 weeks of the year.

A final stroll up around the area near Edinburgh Castle and that was my lot.

As I said yesterday, my trip home to Buckinghamshire was somewhat fraught and painful but I can't deny the beauty of the North East coast and the views from the train window were wonderful and blessed with sunshine.

I miss Edinburgh already.

Maybe I'll be invited back next year?