Artist Katie Benge brings the Forest of Dean vividly to life

staghead

My super talented cousin, Katie Benge, is an artist and designer. Katie explains, “Born on Anglesey, Wales I have lived quite a nomadic life. First with my RAF family and then with my New Zealand husband and for the past four years in the Forest of Dean… My latest work is influenced by my Forest of Dean location, drawing the nature that surrounds me, capturing it on recycled wood or slate. All the pieces are hand drawn with Indian Ink and a quill.”

You can see more of Katie’s work here. You can also buy Katie’s prints and other things from here.
dragonfly crows on slate art_swallows art_Foxhead-940x700 art_cabbage-moth

Artist Katie Benge brings the Forest of Dean vividly to life

Lost Destination prints by Dorothy

I’m a big fan of Dorothy, the Manchester based visual art studio. I posted about (and bought) their famous Film Map a while back. Now they’ve released a new series of prints called Lost Destination, “which take inspiration from the iconic travel posters of the first half of the 20th century, celebrating the unique but often forgotten beauty of buildings that in their heyday were destinations in their own right but have since been either immersed in the everyday or demolished.” Take a look and buy one here.

See more of Dorothy’s work here.

Lost Destination prints by Dorothy

Leaving Manhattan: the last days of Jean-Michel Basquiat

From Vanity Fair, a brilliant article about the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat:

Certainly he was leaving Manhattan. Almost certainly he was, at the age of twenty-seven, giving up the mercantile and treacherous art world. Perhaps he would be a writer. Perhaps he would take what he called an “honest job,” like running a tequila business in Hawaii. The following Thursday, he was leaving for the Ivory Coast, where he was expected in a Senoufo village five hundred miles inland from the capital, Abidjan. Here he would take a tribal cure for the heroin— and other New York wounds.

Tonight, though, Basquiat was quiet. “He didn’t really want to talk about anything,” Bray says, “and soon he started nodding. And I said, I’m sorry—I just can’t stay around. I wrote kind of a weird note . . . I DON’T WANT TO SIT AROUND HERE AND WATCH YOU DIE . . . And then, YES, YOU DO OWE ME SOMETHING. Because we have an ongoing dialogue . . . why he should stop [drugs], why he should keep on painting . . . he never thinks people understand the paintings.”

That agonizing present tense, when the fact of death hasn’t quite sunk in.

Bray passed the note to Basquiat, but he was too loaded to focus, so Bray read it aloud, and left, fuming. “Somebody who gets that high is dying over and over and over again,” he says now.

Read the rest here

Leaving Manhattan: the last days of Jean-Michel Basquiat

Picture books of New York

I am always on the lookout for new picture books to buy for my two sons, Oscar (6) and Mateo (2). So I can’t wait to dig into the these:

“Wow . . . New York! Just like I pictured it. Skyscrapers and everything.” So murmurs a presumably wide-eyed newcomer during a spoken-word break in Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City,” and who among us outlanders and former rubes did not feel that same sense of mingled recognition and awe when we first set foot here? Thanks to movies and TV, magazines, the news, books — iconography in general — all of us, even natives, carry a mental suitcase stuffed with received images of the Big Apple. That’s true of children, too, for whom the city’s superlatives (biggest, loudest, tallest) hold a special fascination. You might even say that New York is to other American cities what dinosaurs are to other animals — minus, one hopes, the extinction event. And if we are — or were — lucky children, picture books play a huge role in how we picture the city, from “Eloise” and “The Snowy Day” to “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile,” “In the Night Kitchen,” “You Can’t Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum” and “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.”

Read the full review here.

 

Picture books of New York

What scientific idea is ready for retirement?

I thought this was a brilliant question for Edge.org: What scientific idea is ready for retirement?

From Jonathan Gottschall’s answer to this question, published with other responses, in the Guardian:

Fifteen thousand years ago in France, a sculptor swam and slithered almost a kilometre down into a mountain cave. Using clay, the artist shaped a big bull rearing up to mount a cow, and then left his creation in the bowels of the earth. The two bison of the Tuc D’Audoubert caves sat undisturbed for many thousands of years until they were rediscovered by spelunking boys [cavers] in 1912. The discovery of the clay bison was one of many shocking 20th-century discoveries of sophisticated cave art stretching back tens of thousands of years. The discoveries overturned our sense of what our caveman ancestors were like. They were not furry, grunting troglodytes. They had artistic souls. They showed us that humans are – by nature, not just by culture – art-making, art-consuming, art-addicted apes.

But why? Why did the sculptor burrow into the earth, make art, and leave it there in the dark? And why does art exist in the first place? Scholars have spun a lot of stories in answer to such questions, but the truth is that we really don’t know. And here’s one reason why: science is lying down on the job.

Read the rest here.

What scientific idea is ready for retirement?