Thursday, February 09, 2006

Super Post

I haven't posted anything for a couple of weeks. Maybe a few random shots are in order.
1- The Stupor Bowl. Ten years ago, Pittsburgh lost a game to Dallas. They should have won, except their quarterback kept throwing interceptions late in the game. Several of us thought the game was rigged.
Now, Pittsburgh beats Seattle, in a game where many thought Seattle played better, and Pittsburgh was the beneficiary of some questionable officiating. Hmm.
Could it be that the game was over before it began? After all, the fat lady sang the national anthem.
At least Mick Jagger didn’t flash the crowd. The stones have always been the oh so commercial rebels, pushing the boundaries of society and then deftly pulling back. The tease. The first song they did, "Start Me Up", has an infamous line about " ...a dead man...". When they first started playing, I was wondering how this would turn out. As it happened, Mick substituted the line before "dead man"..."you make a grown man cry"... until the last stanza, when he did say, "You make a dead man....". Who ever did the bleeping was very artistic, and if you weren't paying close attention, and knew what to listen for, you would have never known the difference. It was win-win...Mick played the bad boy, knowing that nothing would come of it, the NFL cut out the offending word, and lots of commercials were sold. Pardon the expression, it was "classic".
2-I have been working on a picture, and think it is going to be really cool. It is based on a painting by a famous dead european, and is a departure from the geometry that has dominated recent efforts. I have had to learn a few things about drawing random lines with a computer, which has been an experience. I used to do this with pencil and mylar, and erased a lot when I made changes. Erasing is a lot cleaner on the computer, and I can save the changes ad infinitum. I haven’t decided whether to post the final image here, or to my "alternative" blog. There are body parts in this image, and I wouldn't want any sensitive visitors to be scandalized.
3- I seem to have rubbed at least one person the wrong way with my previous post. For more details...possibly too much more...go here.There is a feature on 0203 called "In other cartoon news..." and if you look in the comments you will see the "discussion". Centurdion seems offended that I give god credit for helping me with my images.
Of course, there could be another motive at work here. My comment that started the fracas was this:
Yes, the muslim reaction to the cartoons is regrettable.
What I find interesting is the contrast to jesus worship. In j.w. culture, the image/name of jesus is used in all sorts of tasteless ways.
Apparently, the islamic culture frowns on all sorts of images of the prophet, while j.w. culture thinks it is great. While many of the medieval images of jesus are beautiful, many of the modern uses are in bad taste.
My "favorite" is the blood gushing t-shirts depicting the crucifixion. Gross.
Perhaps the j.w.'s learn from islam, and use the image of jesus less frequently, and with a bit more taste.

What I never mentioned in my commentary was the fact that centurdion owns a "christian" bookstore. Could it be that he sells some of this merchandise which prostitutes the image of jesus?
So anyway, centurdion was dismayed by my attribution of inspiration to a divine source. In his final comment, he said:
Well, that is at least as offensive as placing your artwork on-par with the word of God.
I don’t think I said that.
1- I do not consider the bible to be the word of god.
2- No wars have been fought because of my pictures. ( Not yet anyway)
3- My images have not been used to justify slavery.
4- The images discussed in the post in question are geometric, and do not contain words.
5- I make no claims regarding life after death and my pictures.
6- The source of creative inspiration is an ancient question. My attribution of this gift to god is only one answer. Maybe the answer was inside me all along. Maybe these impulses in my soul are god. Maybe they are the devil ( I doubt this. If there was satanic inspiration, I would probably be better at marketing these images.)
7- I haven’t done any pictures of jesus since 1985. I threw it away when I moved last spring, but I do have some pictures. It might be time to do another one, though.
I don't make images like this anymore. It is big, opaque, with lots of day glo colors. If you look at it with 3d glasses it moves. When I was making this, I had a tough time getting the mouth to look right, so I finally covered it with his beard.
When I look at this image now, I am hit with a wave of nostalgia for the backyard/carport of my former residence.
I realize that I am veering into possible hypocrisy with this image. I said that jesus worshippers should show some taste and restraint in their use of images of jesus, and there are those that think that green hair and a pink nose are outside those boundaries. They will get over it.

12 Comments:

Blogger grant said...

Perhaps the reason why the Muslim world is offended by the cartoons is that most conservative Muslims believe that one should not make an image of a human being. This belief is known as iconoclasm. A simliar belief was held by John Calvin's followers in the early days of the Protestant Reformation. Some Jewish sects also are iconoclasts for the same reason as the Calvinists. Marc Chagall's father was very upset with his career as a painter, because he believed it to be a sin to make images.

Conservative Jews and Calvinists interpret the second commandment from the Ten Commandments that says "You shall not make a graven image and worship it" to mean that one should never make an image of a human being.

Obviously, not all Christian and Jewish sects agree with this, because there are many images in churches and synagouges. (Not to mention Christians and Jews the film industry)

My own thoughts are as follows:
I agree with the statement in Genesis that says humanity was made in God's image. God created them- male and female. (That means that humanity is not complete if one gender is missing.) If I, as an artist, create an image of humanity its OK, because I have meade an image of something that has the image of God stamped upon it.

I think God is the creator of imagination and intuitive decisions as well as logic. Therefore when you create things and you wonder if God is speaking to you as you intuitvly design and create things, you are in a sense acting as a human made in the image of God, because God is an artist, too. Perhaps God guides the hands of artist- perhaps not, but creation glorifies God rather than angers God as the Calvinists believed. (Most contemporary Calvinists are not Iconoclasts) I think they misinterpretted the commandment, which really meant to worship the creator and not the creation.

10:34 PM  
Blogger chamblee54 said...

Grant
I don’t know what to make of this. You thought before you posted.
Thank you for visiting.

11:20 PM  
Blogger grant said...

Its kinda been my rant for a few years now. Ever since the Taliban blew up the Buddhas in Afganistan I've had a lot of questions about how relgions can both inspire artists and censor them.

11:32 PM  
Blogger gratefulbear said...

As a Christian, I don't find your picture of Jesus offensive at all. I like it! The green hair captures something of the "hippie spirit" of this gentle teacher who roamed the countryside in sandals and a robe with 12 unmarried men, healing the sick and upsetting the religious authorities of his day. I hope you do more pictures like this!

10:30 PM  
Blogger chamblee54 said...

Thank you Mr. Bear.
I looked at your comment at work today. My computer had just been hooked up, and I decided to look in on my blog before I went home. When I saw a new comment, I was a bit apprehensive...there are some folks out there who are not very nice. Your comments were a very pleasant surprise.
As for doing another image of 3d jesus... That really isn't my style these days. Of course, when you realize that god is in everything, you also know that an explicit image of "jesus" is not really needed.

6:18 PM  
Blogger grant said...

Chamblee: I looked around a bit more on your blogs and almost wet my pants laughing when you said the line from Stangers in the Night was an exitentialist exhaltation. You're a clever guy. I noticed you like Vonnegut and I was wondering if you were trying to imtitate his understated black irony in your blog posts?
Of course, if you did not intend for any humor in these things I retract my statement and will be shot at sunrise.

7:41 AM  
Blogger chamblee54 said...

Did I say that?
I looked up the lyrics to "Strangers..." once. Apparently, do be do be do is not an original lyric, but rather an improvisation by Mr Sinatra.

4:43 PM  
Blogger grant said...

I was intrigued by your statement, "As for doing another image of 3d jesus... That really isn't my style these days. Of course, when you realize that god is in everything, you also know that an explicit image of "jesus" is not really needed." I was wondering if I can mention it on my blog where we talk about art and spirtuality. There aren't too many people who come by my site, so I don't think you'll have quite the "fracas" as some other blogs you've visited. Some may disagree on the comments, but I believe they will do so respectfully. However, I will not make a post about your statement without your permission.

1:10 PM  
Blogger chamblee54 said...

Grant you can quote me.
You should consider that I might not know what I am talking about.
I am now officially banned from centurdion's blog.The horror. He asked me to send him a question about theology. My reply was, "How do you earn good will for Jesus?" It will be interesting to see his response.
I would say that I am a pantheist, except then I would want to make jokes about frying pantheists and sauce pantheists. I am about as de toxed as I have been since I was 16, so neither of those fit me anymore.
Once again, thanks for visiting.

5:03 PM  
Blogger grant said...

Believe it or not, I don't like going to that blog either. I hope he gives you a worthwhile answer. I think when it comes to God, most of us don't know what we're talking about, but few of us are as honest as you by saying you "might not know" what you're talkng about.
But I'm also not one who is inclined to think that God is shrouded in mystery and completely unknowable. I prefer, mysterious, but knowable.
I'm not sure what answer centurion will give you, but I might offer you my humble answer from my experience:

You may be asking the wrong question by asking "How do you earn good will for Jesus?" Do you mean how do you earn the love and affection of Jesus? or Did you mean how do you keep Jesus happy enough to not damn you?

My answer to the first question would be: you can't earn the affection of God. I use the word "affection", because I think the word "love" in our language is used too much. You cannot earn affection, because it is given just as I can't earn my wife's love- she gives it to me. Now, she may give me love and I could choose to ignore it, but who would want to resist love from such a nice, beautiful, thoughtful person? It would be foolish for me to pass this up. So I accept her love and give her love in return, because her love makes me want to love her and vice versa until you can't remember who started it all.

My experience with God's love is it is like this. I could ignore God, but it would be like ignoring my wife' love. It would be foolish to pass up such a good thing.

12:07 AM  
Blogger chamblee54 said...

I am not referring to the love of god, or of jesus...which may or may not be the same thing, depending on how you define your terms.
To me, god is the fifth element.... earth, air, fire, water, god. In many ways god is similar to fire. This is an imperfect definition, but it expresses a lot of my ideas. It also goes against a lot of jesus worship beliefs, and j.w.'s can be very nasty when that happens.
Now, jesus, on the other hand, is a spirit that lives in the heart of his believers. This force has very little to do with the "historic jesus". This force is expressed through the words and deeds of his believers.
These words and deeds of believers are what I am referring to when I say "create good will for jesus".
This is the short version of this. Every sentence of the above paragraph could serve as a thesis statement for a much longer exposition. One day, when I get around to it (or get a square tuit) I will write some of them. I will make sure I have bulletproof glasses before I read the comments they will generate.

7:04 AM  
Blogger grant said...

I hope you have not felt the need for bullet proof glass when talking to me, my friend. Could you email me? I have some questions about your op-art pieces that go beyound the scope of this post. my email is gcthomas AT illinoisalumni DOT org

9:38 AM  

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