Sunday, October 21, 2012

What grew on this year's Burn2 Sculpture

Here is a guide to all the influences which sprouted forth from my campsite Stream of Consciousness currently on display at Burning Man in Second Life...

Style Branch

Art Deco
Inspired by the architects of Ancient Egypt. This angular and asymmetrical style was an attempt to lend a modern eye to elegance during the 20s.
Googie and Atomic Age
Following Art Deco came Streamline Moderne, which took the soul out of its line and often gave buildings a "submarine" look.
After WWII signs and structures tried to define themselves for the future with geometric shapes and odd color schemes, mostly pastel and primary. Some say this post-deco look was inspired in part by Disneyland and the conceptual art of Mary Blair. Others by the proliferation of prefab diners.
Applying this to homes, drive-ins, restaurants, hotels, etc. went on well into the 1960s, where it set the style for the New York World's Fair.
My builds on Hydrangea reflect this style, as well as my fishing marina The Retro Metro in Nova Albion.
USA's involvement in the Pacific also introduced a Polynesian influence. Mix that with Googie and you get a campy cult, which also manifested its own genre of musical styles.
Framed Storybook Cottages
Something I saw a lot of when visiting my mother's side in Alsace-Lorraine.
Strasbourg and Obernai in particular. I'd never seen such detail, not even in Big Ben jigsaw puzzles.

Movie Branch

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
First soundtrack-on-film feature (versus playing a record in sync). Directed by Fritz "Nosferatu" Lang about true love reborn. You WILL weep I don't care who you are.
Back to the Future Trilogy
After Buster Keaton's The Cameraman - a perfect comedy - comes the perfect epic adventure trilogy, in which everything happens for a reason and everything falls into place by the end.
Singin' in the Rain
A perfect account of Hollywood at the dawn of the talkies. This has a little bit of everything in it, and beats American in Paris by a long mile.
A Matter of Life and Death
Brilliant and clever tale of an RAF airman who survives his jump from a burning plane in a way no one would expect. It's refreshing to see foreigners depict American stereotypes.
Jean Cocteau
He had a way of making Orpheus look like a waking dream and La Belle et La Bête like a walking Doré engraving. The moment the poet plunges into the mirror is nothing which has been replicated on film in that way before or since. Not even Eddy Grant...
Flesh and the Devil
Two performers fall in love while shooting a movie about forbidden romance and scandal. You don't think that shows up on film? Hell yeah!
Random Harvest
Okay so this nurse falls in love with an amnesic soldier at the end of WWI and they fall in love, start a life, live in one of those storybook cottages... until one day he remembers who he is and forgets his new life. ARRRGH!
The Forbidden Zone
Danny Elfman's brother made this low budget softcore cult film with Hervé Villechaize, Susan Tyrrell, Oingo Boingo, The Kipper Kids, an obsession with Max Fleischer cartoons, old 78s, chickens, and hardly any budget, The result was a very bizarre but intriguing concoction with surprisingly successful special effects.
North by NortwestWhat do you mean you've never seen this?!

Music Branch

The Beatles
*watching Ed Sullivan* Mommy Mommy why are those girls screaming? They can't hear the music!" "Because they're crazy Dear."
Even today there are very few music acts from any genre who were not even indirectly influenced by The Beatles. Which was your Beatle?
Mine's always been Paul McCartney. I heard the Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey and thus started my listening the radio. He was big stuff at the time with his band Wings, and less interested in making social statements than putting out appealing pop tunes. On a trip to the UK in 1977 I acquired the single "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" which we'd never heard in the States.
The Carpenters
Sick at home and stir crazy I listened to a LOT of pop hits in the summer of 1971 when pursuing the radio, and it was a big year for The Carpenters and their multi-layered sound, which was great in headphones at my friend's house. My parents were pleased that I'd taken to someone they liked as well, and we included a concert as part of a road trip through Pennsylvania.
Electric Light Orchestra
Influences come and influences go, but I always come back to ELO. Still doing AM Radio in 1973 I caught the syndicated weekly AT40 where I got to hear Can't Get It Out of My Head once a week. By 1976 and having owned each single of theirs since AND listened to all their B-sides, I figured it was time to move on to albums.
Simply this: Electric Light Orchestra picked up where The Beatles left off. And Jeff Lynne is God.
i didn't think much of them until Oh No! It's DEVO! In 1982. That and a dream set a short distance from an atomic test site.
Dave Edmunds
High octane rockabilly strait ouda Cardiff.
Paul Whiteman Orchestra
You've got your kind of Jazz and I've got mine. It's just that most of mine are Foxtrot with Vocal Refrain

Art & Animation Branch

Looney Tunes
Who doesn't love Looney Tunes? Funny imagery for kids and shrewd humor for adults.
Thomas Kinkade
There are those framed cottages again, only mostly English. But still that cozy light inside. This man's work was always one step away from total kitsche, but he always maintained that distance.
Disney moment in Cinderella
I knew I was going to be an artist, at least a cartoonist, but a moment of a scene from Cinderella in which the character ran into a darkened room so realistic had me hooked into majoring in animation while in High School. Yeah so what if the character was rotoscoped in the shot. This was my destiny and I had to follow.
Busby Berkley
As you may suspect, Busby Berkley was in fact a drill sergeant at some point. Then coming back to the states after WWI he found work on Broadway choreographing reviews. It made sense to move on to movies, where his formations and patterns became legendary. Try the formulaic "Dames" for some of the best musical sequences.
Osamu Tezuka
My earliest recollection of anime - at the time called Japanimation - was that of Astroboy aka Atom. From there was Kimba aka Leo the Lion. And Amazing Three, about aliens disguised as animals riding in a tire. Picking up my first manga in 1971 found me a host of new characters to follow, but opening a Yochiyen got me all my Tezuka favorites plus MamaChan, Magma, Black Jack, and more. He had the first anime studio and was a pioneer to Japan akin to Walt Disney.
Go Nagai
Don't think I'd ever seen naked characters in a kids comic before then. He got parents in Japan furious in the 60s and 70s. But truly he did some amazing work. His original Devilman series was very sophisticated.
Ishinomori Shotaro
For action, adventure, and again cyborgs and robots with hearts of gold. Much of my timing in comics came from him. At a time when I found American comics cluttered and messy, I found an appeal with simple character design yet perfect poses and amazing embellishments in manga (explosions, etc), mostly from this artist. Kamen Rider, Wild, Cyborg 009, Kikaida... these practically became a part of me.
Speed Racer
Who would have thought? An animated series without talking animals or aliens etc? It was an animated version of an adventure spy thriller, and for the time it worked. When you grow up with Trans Lux' low budget dubbing you can't see it any other way and you wouldn't want to.
John Romita Sr
A clean simple line, perfect poses... these are what I liked about Johnny Romita when he took over Daredevil. The only reason he left was to cover for Ditko on Spider-man. Thus a legend was born.
Gene Colan
My key American inspiration stands right beside Go Nagai and Ishinomori Shotaro with yet another unique storytelling style. A man with a knack for realism straight from the hand with cinematic angles. He was like I am: see things in tones and very difficult to ink. I had resolved to pursue inking in mainstream comics as a result. We were eventually on a first-name basis but I never expressed to him my desire to ink is art and work on a project with him. I suppose somewhere up there he now knows.
Brian Bolland
His inking style is unsurpassed. I wish I could do what he did, and he did it with a brush.
James Montgomery Flagg
An amazing illustrator and cartoonist from early 20th century. What he could do with a few lines was just incredible. While he is known for his Uncle Sam Wants YOU poster it's the black & white cartoons and spot illustrations from an earlier time that I admire most.


Shordurpersav is SubGenius for "Short Duration Personal Savior". It's those things which hit you hard with influence and advance you into a new phase of your life until the next one comes along.
Tin Man
Fascinating. An empty structure with a soul. I felt he had the most heart...
Speed Racer
I saw this during a visit in 1967 to NYC. I obsessed over it once back in Chicago and had to keep drawing it and singing the theme song so I wouldn't forget. Two years later we'd be moving to NYC and that's all I could think of.
Dr Strange
As long as one can go, there's always a path to redemption. I was impressed to learn that in the 60s there were college courses analyzing this Marvel comic series. I boast an impressive collection of original Dr Strange page art, and always wanted to do a piece for Marvel.
Captain Hook
There comes that moment reading the book that you realize that he wasn't the bad guy. In the original version he gets so sick of being tormented by Peter Pan that he climbs down from the ship to kneel in the water before the crocodile.
Eddie Cantor
The original King of All Media. Started impoverished in an immigrant family and became one of the greatest celebrities of his time and a great philanthropist. He also founded the Actors Guild.
Buster Keaton
Easily the best filmmaker. Director and producer AND screenplays. His Rube Goldberg engineering skills were also how he approached his plots.
Danny Elfman
Is he the devil? Is he a manic lead singer? Is he a soundtrack composer? I know him for more than Jack Skellington.
Errol Flynn
He might not have reached his full potential. Flynn was a dysfunctional genius with a great skill for the written word. He also had rage issues which turned him into a monster under the influence. Admitted that he wondered how his life would have been if he weren't so pretty and gotten away with so much. Looked 80 when he died at 50, but lived three times that. Was inspiration for the Tasmanian Devil. Many things written about him since his passing were not true.
My adoptive persona since 2000 has been the Emergency Medical Hologram or Holographic Doctor. To interact realistically with people in a medical environment the EMH was configured with heuristic subroutines which resulted in a sentient lifeform.
The story of the EMH is not just a study of an aware creature finding his place in society but ultimately the story of humanity's future and the question of whether we have truly evolved when mankind creates simulated scenarios for killing and war on the holodeck. People online don't always get that they are ALWAYS evaluated based on whether their values off the computer remain when they interact with strangers online.

Doctor Who
Damn I hated that show in the 70s.
It was some crummy low-budget thing on before wrestling Saturday mornings (in NYC it wasn't on PBS). There's a different first impression between being a 3 yr old hiding behind the couch or being regarded by a film major (case in point Speed Racer, which appears on two branches of my sculpture). My first roomate made me watch it a decade later and it was painful.
Something happened along the way, and now it's the best show on TV anywhere. I jumped on with series 5 in 2010, when most of that year's episodes could hold up in the movie theatre over anything out at the time.

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