Archive for April, 2013

Nachos of the Living Dead

From the depths of the guacamole dip they rise and they have one thing on their worm filled dead minds:

Your brainzzzzz!

No! This blog post is not sponsored by Doritos ;-})

Consider this an absurdist blog post in an ever increasing absurd world.

Thank you for following and reading my blog  :-})

Mike V. Derderian,
A Homo sapien, a writer, a comic artist and a fierce windmill slayer trying to get a hold of a banana in a world governed by apes ..
Also known as Sardine

Illustration by Sardine

Advertisements

By Mike V. Derderian

A passionate embrace is flooded by streams of light. Gold yellow waves interspersed with darker shades the color of violet, red, orange and white engulf a man and a woman in a state of love.

Stand still, keep quite and watch the enamored couple; the only two who managed to find each other unlike the other men and women who roam the dream-like illuminated pieces of Hammoud Chantout, that are now hanging at Dar Al-Anda Art Gallery in Lweibdeh.

DSC_0018

State of Life, that measures 145 x 120 cm, is but one of the many impressive canvases that Chantout’s hands created. It  conjures up Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. Chantout’s two lovers are caught in a vortex of colors that embody the enlightenment that their love brought fourth.

Unlike the two in State of Life, a title that Chantout used with other pieces, the others appear to be aloof and detached. Viewers will find them standing next to objects that Chantout’s brush brilliantly produced.

DSC_0016

Why is that male artist standing a few meters away from a red chair, while another, a female artist, is leaning on a rail amidst a haze of earthly tones?

Some of Chantout’s colorful personages, and I say colorful because uneven patches of color formulate their construct, are standing next to bright colored pieces of furniture while others are standing under trees that give away echoes of Africa.

Viewers crossing the entrance hall will find a set of six exquisite miniature tableaux to their right. Chantout cleverly created a landscape broken down to six pieces. Each pieces tells part of a story that could have happened anywhere around the world. The architectural edifices that Chantout relies on to create his sceneries give out the feel of Syrian rural mud houses.

DSC_0017

Born in 1956 Chantout graduated from the Suhail Al-Ahdab Art Center in Hama, Syria in 1975. In 1976 he was admitted to the Faculty of Fine Art with a 1st rank. He has been holding solo and collective exhibitions in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Canada, and Turkey since 1972.

At Dar Al-Anda one will also come across a book entitled Chantout and that allows viewers to take a glance at his impressive volume of  work.

DSC_0020

Copies of this book that holds haunting images that found their way out of Chantout’s beautiful mind are most probably on sale.

DSC_0021

The female figure dominates a lot of Chantout’s pieces.

The Bride with the White Mask (70 x 100 cm), Paradise (70 x 100 cm), Hope (80 x 100 cm), Angel (60 x 70 cm) and A Princess from One Thousand Nights (60 x 70 cm) are a celebration of the femme and her role in the building of humanity and the birth of mythology’; a legacy that some are trying to bury.

DSC_0023

Thanks to such poignant pieces by Chantout the celebration continues, and another memory is added to humanity’s collective memory, to remind us of the  femme that haunted the minds of artists throughout the ages.

With Adam’s Apple (60 x 70 cm), and that Dar Al Anda used for the cover of their beautifully designed brochure, a must have, Chantout offers us an interpretation of the ultimate illumination: Knowledge.

Illumination springs from darkness and as one goes through the details of Chantout’s pieces a balance is found. Where there is darkness there are also corners that are illuminated; corners where artists like Chantout, and the likes of him over the centuries, have found themselves standing to illuminate the path for the rest of us.

DSC_0025

Don’t search for clear answers in a painting, enjoy the emotions it yields within you. The above piece Oriental Princess (122 x 100 cm) is but one of many of Chantout’s pieces that will generate discourse in the minds of viewers.

DSC_0026

Anyone entering Dar Al Anda, before Chantout’s Illuminations exhibition wraps on April 25, will come across a torrent of colors and lines that carry within their folds a lot of passion and interpretations that will stir ones’ imagination.

For more information about Dar Al-Anda go to http://www.daralanda.com

DSC_0031

A footnote:

1 … 2 …  3 … 4 …

The text pointer flashed a couple of times before he started typing.

Two years passed since he last wrote a professional art review, a review that used to be published in The Star on a weekly basis; a review that used to be edited. He was edited by three individuals. The one he loved most passed away a few months ago. Rest in peace Abu Hassan.

In 2003 I joined The Star weekly as an intern. My dear father went with me. I managed to get a shot at writing an art review of a botanical exhibition at The Instituto Cervantes in Amman. It was a successful piece even though the exhibition and the description of the pieces were in Spanish. They were impressed and I started getting paid on a freelance basis. After a few weeks I managed to convince the editor that I would be able to write cinema reviews. I was given a column and was asked to come up with a name. Cinerama was born. After a year I got the job and I was a staff writer. Why a year? That’s another story for another blog post.

The above few lines demonstrate how I felt as I wrote this review after three years of not writing any. It only took me a moment to decide. I was outside Dar Al-Anda running an errand.

“It has been so long. Don’t you miss immersing yourself  in art? Go in!” I thought to myself. It was quite an emotional experience that reminded me of the eight years I’ve spent visiting art galleries in my Amman part of my work as a journalist; an experience I loved.

Hopefully I will get back to doing this more often ;-})

 

Amitabh Bachchan by Mlabbas

Like many of you I grew up watching Bollywood movies. Amitabh Bachchan was in a way my hero. Actually he was my hero :-})

I always admired his ability to dodge, jump and beat up a few funny looking cliched henchmen while he was still up there … somewhere … in the air. Rotating like a sinewy cat flung by wicked kids and gyrating like a celestial body that defies the laws of gravity.

The man can jump, fight, sing, love and woe women – even though he never kisses them on screen. In Bollywood on screen kissing is a taboo and you can ask Richard Gere about that.

How did Amitabh get away with all of the above, jump, fight, sing, love and woe women; and yeah beat the baddie to a pulp as the video tape neared its end?

Because he is fuckin’ Amitabh Bachchan that’s why; and I still admire him after all these years!

So the above illustration is  a node to the influence of the hundreds of VHS Bollywood tapes that I grew up watching with my family back in the 80s. What I remember most is how my grandmother Georgette used to break out in tears whenever the lost children, who are all grown, reunited with their mother; blind father; or lost siblings.

It was such a cathartic experience. Good triumphing over evil. It always made me wish if life was more like a Hindi movie. At least in a Hindi movie you get to meet, dance and sing with Ali Larter. Don’t ask – just rent out the 2007 Willard Caroll’s Marigold.

For this design I went with the Pop Art solid look.

Thank you Imad Shawa, my boss at Mlabbas, where I have been working as an Art Director for the past year, for okaying this :-}) Expect more Bollywood t-shirts!

On the sidelines of this blog post, and to explain why I haven’t been writing more, I’ve added the following images of t-shirt designs that I’ve submitted to Threadless. At the moment I am focused on improving my lines as an illustrator and comic artist, and to be honest t-shirt design has become a personal passion.

TMNT 1

http://www.threadless.com/TMNT/turtle-minimalism/

Chicken Bunjee Jump 1

http://www.threadless.com/threadless/chickens-dont-fly-they-bungee-jump/

So feel free to High 5 my designs, leave a comment and share – provided that you like them enough to do so.

P.S: Will blog more … promise!

1

I know …

Why haven’t I been writing more blog posts? I apologize for that. I’ve been busy illustrating. I will always be a writer. At the moment I am focusing more on my life as an illustrator and a comic artist.

So, meet Graffbot Vol. 012 …

It was really hard not to talk or post anything about this.

2

I guess I wanted to know if I was going to be able to pull off a free-hand spray paint street art piece of this size that was not a stencil or a wheat-paste. By the way I did this a few months ago.

This has been in the planning for a week part of a Street Art/Graffiti project with British Street Artist Stik:http://www.stik.org.uk/ and with the British Council.

3

Thank you Wesam a.k.a Wise One for involving me in this project that allowed me to meet amazing young Jordanian graffiti artists like Suhaib, Musalam, Adi, Sen and Mohannad.

4
My job as a writer and an illustrator is to help instill imagination in the minds of youth. This is why I choose to draw a robot that sprayed the word “bekh” and that translates to “spray” on the wall.

I cannot say if doing this piece achieved that but I sure enjoyed hearing the kids of Jabal Al Qal3a gasp in astonishment at this mechanical behemoth. I am also not sure if it still there.

Another thank you goes out to Mike ‘Khalid’ Rahmeh and Nahla Tabba from An Urban Reflection for getting me the permission that allowed me to spray paint this wall.

P.S: Will try to publish more meaningful posts that does not reflect the mad recluse I am turning into through my illustrations and short stories.

I just remembered; on a different note I’ve been writing stories in Arabic. If you are interested in reading some pieces please visit my Thoughts From Within a Sardine Can FB page.