Author Archives: Christopher

Jochem Hendricks

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Jochem Hendricks is an artist from Germany, whose works are inspired by his own financial flux. His interview from The New Art Gallery Walsall shows his aluminum, gold, copper and other precious metal pieces that were affected by firearms to give them a sense of brutality beneath their beauty. Other works include vessels made of smelted grains of sand which he paid illegal immigrants to count, questioning the value of labor. Hendricks also shows otherwise failed casted porcelain sculptures in a way that they are still intact, but disproportionate, cracked, bent, and other imperfections.

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Jochem Hendricks also introduced the art world to eye tracker technology, a programmed system where he could draw with his eyes to make an image. The art world rejected his idea, saying that it used too many machines to be rendered human, and was much less art than design oriented. But the audience enjoyed it, and he says that’s all that matters. These works were shown in the 1990’s and are still in circulation in Europe and other countries.

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One of Hendricks’ serieses is “Concetti”, which are made by piercing or puncturing various surfaces including, canvas, gold, copper and aluminum with firearms. They look like high-end hotel decorations until Jochem deciphers their intended meanings. The damage looks like Jochem may have inflicted them by dropping rocks from a very high altitude, but by doing so with guns, it changes the meaning.

    Hendricks’ “Luxury Avatar” series is another one that was shown at the New Art Gallery Walsall. The series is composed of porcelain cast sculptures of Hendricks’ own body, where all but one failed during the curing process. He shows the successful sculpture with a gold plated head, neck and collar. That is all the gold he could afford at the time so he stopped it there to symbolize his then-maximum financial strength. Going broke to contribute to that one piece of art cost him the other luxuries he was used to, a feat that many artists aren’t willing to embrace.

    Another of Hendricks’ works in the exhibit was the porcelain dog sculptures. He didn’t really go into detail about what they meant, but he said that people like dogs… I wish he didn’t show this piece, and that’s all i can say about it. It kinda fails tremendously when sitting aside the others in my honest opinion. All I could think was, “Why put this crap in the show if it has nothing to do with the other pieces?”.

    The last works he showed was the pieces that he did with his eye tracker technology. They were cool to look at, and interesting from any way i could think about it. Because we artists use our eyes to tell our hands what to do, he takes the hands out of the equation.  But the critics saying that this method is too machine-based are wrong, because he still used his mind and ideas to create it. I don’t believe that the only way to validate art is by it being hand-created.

Black Photographer Research

So I looked through a couple of Ernest C. Withers images from the 1950’s & 60’s, and couldn’t help but appreciate his chronicling of those events. Withers forces me to cherish the present, as every moment can possibly help future generations reference a past moment in exact detail. Photos of Emmett Till, Dr. MLK, and other southern incidents that can only be proof to the legends existence. These Images immortalize specific figures and their respective eras. Withers’ work is a great contribution to our history as Americans, and it may also play a part in today’s photographers’ need to chronicle our day & age with their own preferences as their own unique staple.

The first piece i looked at from Withers collection is a black & white photo from the civil rights era that depicts a large group of African-American men holding up signs that say “I AM A MAN”. (Titled, “Memphis Strike”, from 1968) The image suggests that these were a group of men that were alienated from their rights at a certain job, institute or other structure, and decided to protest without being attention-whores, unlike today’s protesters, that raise “awareness” with no real solution. Withers caught an incident that he may have thought would influence other protesters.

The second Image i looked at was one of Isaac Hayes in his Office at Stax Records in Memphis, 1970. The picture is black & white, yet so vibrant and surreal, that a digital color photo reinterpretation would not do it any justice. Isaac’s funkadelic silk shirt with winged collar and serrated vertical stripes, provide subtle contrast with the uniform stripes on the offices walls. Isaac stands up from his plush, leather office-chair holding a burning cigar and holding the phone to his ear. Not to neglect Withers’ shot selection to include hints of Hayes’ nicely decorated desk, donned with awards and sculptures.

The Third image i checked out was the one with B.B. King and his band in front of his tour bus on Beale Street in Memphis, 1955. This is a cool image to say that B.B. King is still touring and landing major label placements. Just months ago, B.B. King was featured on Big K.R.I.T.’s “Prayin’ Man” on his debut album, where he sang & played his blues guitar, staying true to his sound. This image is an excellent reference for anyone unfamiliar with his work, to see that his hustle went that far back and it still holds weight.

The fourth image i examined was of the Waitress in the coffee shop in Memphis. A lot of our present-day coffee shops/cafes try to replicate the interior aesthetics of the 50s-60s era, to attract people that witnessed it. But they weren’t trying to replicate an era before them, but they tried something and it worked. They worked with what they had so why are we trying to copy instead of create anew? Withers’ photo raises the question of will our documented photos be chronicled as a dark age of the “same ol, same ol” or will we be the eccentric point on the timeline.

Another photo that i thought was cool was Withers’ self-portrait standing next to his 1950 Ford Woodie with the park in the background. Withers stands with his hand on the door, holding this massive camera and posing all cool and stuff, giving the viewer a really vivid view into what we now call vintage. I have no idea what that camera is but it has a really big floodlight and it looks like one of the cameras that we got to mess with in class. It makes me wonder what he used to shoot this with. Was it a more expensive and more technical camera or his economy standard? Cool photo, nonetheless.

Post College For An Art Major

(Discretion Advised: Rash Language, Pleighbaw/Pleigh-Guhh)

   After college I’d like to go to grad school. And if that doesn’t work out as soon as i’d like it to, I’m planning to open an art supply store in the gentilly area to service local artists and students from Dillard, UNO, SUNO, etc. seeing as there are none presently in the area. I’d like to continue working as an artist but I gotta get outta my folks crib without working at some bullshit job with a Bachelor’s degree. So if I gotta open a supply shop to live, I’ll make sure to save some space in the shop to use as my studio and just get it how I live, pleighbaw. Straight up, bruh. Over the last two and a half years of teaching i’ve discovered that I just aint got the patience to teach art to no ignorant-ass students that are uninterested. All I could think about was how much I’d rather be working on my own pieces instead of letting my mind idle to show lil Tyrone how to craft some “lil art shit” right quick. Hell naw, man! I’m more than that.

    I’m looking into UNLV, FSU, NYU, OTIS, Louisville, Penland School of the Arts, and Tennessee State grad school programs. And so far, UNLV is looking real good. The area itself is bustling with entertainment traffic, and entertainers are the people that i want to see my work. And the facilities look pretty badass too. That being said, These grad schools wont even bat a blind eye at some last minute throw together lackluster work, so I’ve been taking my time to research, study, experiment, and most importantly, work on the pieces that I’ve been working on and hope and pray that I’m good enough.

The “Oiliest” Civilization

In Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack’s film, “A Crude Awakening”, they claim that our addiction to oil will eventually spark our own apocalypse. Gelpke and McCormack support this claim by showing the film’s viewers how heavily the human race relies on fossil fuels, along with intense, real-life images of once prosperous oilfields in their present and desolate forms. Grueling images of major oil producers in Venezuela, Texas, and even Kuwait are shown in a then-and-now fashion to remind the viewers of our rapid oil consumption. Simultaneously, an orchestra plays music with intentions to personify a catastrophe, signified by the music’s use of deep swells and low tones and overall downbeat tempo. This music is another way to connect with the viewer in pathos, or emotional appeal, and sets the mood for the terrible predictions being stated by some of the world’s top physicians that our oil supply is scarcer than we’d like to believe. The film even cites an incorrect but important prediction by the late Dr. M. King Hubbert, that “the world’s oil supply would be depleted in 10-15 years” (Hubbert, Dr. M. King, 1975) from the year 1975. The film indicates that the only nation that hasn’t peaked in oil production is the Middle East, and that is the reason for our war.

In Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack’s film, “A Crude Awakening”, they lay tons of evidence on the table to educate the viewers of how real the oil crash will be. Using philosophies of the past, such as Dr. M. King Hubbert’s peak theory and comparing them with today’s realities to reveal that those same theorists were a bit exaggerative, but they were on to something. Anyone would suspect that we are running out of oil if prices keep rising, and the markets are hastily searching for alternative fuels, and they wouldn’t be doing that if oil was unlimited. The writers of the film let the evidence speak for itself, eliminating a need for credentials and give the reader the raw truth, and backing up the research with actual physicists and geophysicists’ contributions of their own research. It all makes sense, and they make sure of it. The message in this film is an eye-opener to many, in almost worldwide proportions, but the main audience is the people who disregard the fact that oil is a finite commodity. With the luxuries that oil provides, such as cars, air conditioning, plastics, almost everything that that we rely on so heavily, our comfort zones would be destroyed if we deplete it all. But, it wouldn’t exactly mean an apocalypse because as us being human beings, the most adaptable species, we would surely perceive it as another challenge and get along the best way we can, until we discover an alternative power source. The film provides a great rebuttal, or counter-argument, to the possibilities of alternative fuels such as bio-fuels, by stating that the energy required to produce them is more than the production itself. I agree with Gelpke and McCormack that we are in serious trouble unless we find an alternative energy supply that could equal petroleum. But it seems unlikely as our resources are limited in terms of combustible elements necessary to power our machines. The movie made me reconsider our entire thought process towards mechanical forms of power, because they are all limited to a certain extent. I even thought of a magnetic powered engine that mimics the internal combustion engine but uses sequential magnetic repulsion to rotate the pistons instead of a gasoline explosion. An engine like that would satisfy our needs, but only momentarily, as it wouldn’t burn any gas but it’s still a feeble idea compared to what we, as humans, are capable of thinking of. In the film, the guy being pulled by the horse remarks, “It’s something about these horses. they’re alive, you know?”. And that brings me to thinking about if our transportation had a mind of its own, and not limited to cycles and routines. It would seem that we would have to revert back to rural lifestyles and use animals as our power source, but then that’d be looking backwards. But it’s still a giant step ahead of the oil with all of its handicaps, as living organisms are not limited and can only be endangered or scarce if they are outclassed and forced out of their habitat by pollutants. But I’m confident that we’ll find something sooner or later.

Maintaining Longevity as an Entity

Many college students are under an illusion that their organizations will support them after graduation, and sit the other priorities on a back-burner. In the process, students often lose sight of their individual potential to focus on the hive-mind that is their organization. For example, we Visual Art majors at Dillard are required to have a final exhibition in order to graduate. We had a student when i first enrolled here who should have graduated that year, But he tried to throw together senior exhibition in less than a week. As a result, he ended up creating 4 child-like digital drawings and printing them on foam board and trying to put them in the show. Of course, he was not allowed to exhibit to graduate because his work was poor and did not reflect any of what he had learned in his 4 years as a student. We now use his pieces as dustpans for the studio as a reminder of what cannot be permitted to happen again.

The sad part is, my professor and I studied him scramble to throw that crap together, but he would take his time and skills to craft flyers, posters, paraphernalia, sculptures and even paintings for his greek chapter. He could take that much time to work on something externally hollow for the appearance of importance instead of using those skills to create a path that defined himself as a creative entity. I could say that I would consider hiring him because he’d be a great employee/slave/loyal servant but it bothers me that he’d be satisfied with that. My dad used to tell me, “Work on your own dreams before someone else hires you to work on theirs.” and “Everybody can’t be a leader, a village with all Chiefs ain’t got no order.” So perhaps I’m looking at homeboy from a perspective he never knew. But Jeez Louise, people, please reassure me that common sense isn’t that rare in our students.