Kokopelli


If you lived through the popularity of Native American/Southwest decor fascination of the 1990’s, you know this image.  He was SO fuckin’ hip at the time – I give you, Kokopelli:

This pic is from Chaco Canyon.  Kokopelli is from the Hopi Indians, and he has a great story; he might even be considered part of an archetype of flute/pipe playing deities/symbols (someone disable my slash key, m’kay?) because there are a lot of them.  I got some good information from here:  http://www.shamanicvisions.com/music-folder/kokopelli.html that confirms stuff I have read in the past about this now recognisable figure.  Now I go all quote like, and cut and paste, with all credit to the site above:

The Hopi usually depict Kokopelli, the Humpback Flute Player, as a stick figure in the act     of walking. He has antennae on top of his head. He is usually bent forward, blowing into a     flute that he holds between his hands. His back is bowed, filled with sacred cargo.     Kokopelli is a traveler. His luggage or humpback contains the seeds to be scattered. His  flute calls the rains to nourish the seeds.
The Hopi say that Kokopelli is the antidote for Panayoikyase (an Ancient Being, or Power, which is full of destruction of the earth, of the people). Kokopelli calls forth the energy necessary to defeat Panayoikyase with the magic of his flute, awakening that power within  people’s hearts.

They go on to say he is also a fertility figure, and I know I have seen pictures of him with a big erection, but have not been able to find anything authentic (although I must admit to not wanting to shuffle through page after page of the stuff I DID find).

What makes him Heinous is that his cute little form was used on ALL sorts of things, from jewelry, t-shirts, cards, posters, tattooes, wind-chimes, candles, basically anything that could be sold…

 

…and he was really, really popular, until everyone got sick of his little ass, then began making parodies or should we call them tributes?

No, let’s call them what they really are, the co-opting of an image that sold a lot of stuff.  For a little while, they were cute and gave the impression that someone owning something with this image on it was an Earth-Friendly Non-Threatening Sensitive sort of person who was basically joyfull.  But, as we do, we beat an image into a joke, and it becomes meaningless, or its meaning changes far beyond, to where you have to explain why you have this thing.

I want to call this phenomenon Saturation.  An image gets so much play, or it is co-opted by a group of people to have a certain meaning that really has nothing to do with why it first was crafted, and I suppose mythology can only stay relevant if it is changed, if it wants to be a meme and spread.

We got Saturated with this image to the point of boredom, and we’ve moved on, consumers of the Next Shiny that we are.  Now Kokopelli looks dated and used up, no longer hip.  He looks dated, and that’s too bad, because chewing up and spitting out art is not the way to really consume it – you need to digest it.

Nighthawks


Nighthawks is a familiar painting that has been honored, parodied, and rendered in so many ways that pretty much everyone has seen a version of it.  I like it; there’s a print of it hanging in my home office with a crack in the glass from the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989.  That glass will not be replaced, as a reminder of how much that event impacted this area.

Painted in 1942 by Edward Hopper, it is an image of three people around the counter of a diner, with the cook/server behind the counter.  What makes it evocative is the faces of the people: Why are they there?  What are their stories? What is everyone thinking?  The painting leaves it up to the viewer to decide.

Tom Waits made an album in 1975, Nighthawks at the Diner, which was a live and intimate recording including the title song, and to be honest, I heard that song before I ever saw the painting.  When I saw the painting, well, the two go together very well.

Perhaps I loved it because that was my way at the time (I heard it in the 80’s to be fair; I’m not THAT old!).  Many a late night was spent in a similar diner (or more likely Denny’s – not remotely as romantic) unable to sleep, off work in the middle of the night, and just wanting that last cup of coffee and cigarette.  Often, the people at the counter were workers like me, or just left the bar scene, or just couldn’t sleep, and had to be out of the house.  There is a bit of mystery about the people there, like I mentioned above; it’s almost like a Twilight Zone episode.  A story is there, but the viewer gets to interpret it.

Someone did – Douglas Steinberg made a play about it, and set it up with real live people:

There’s a Simpsons version:

There’s a CSI version (but I don’t watch that show):

and Lego:

Then there’s this:

I kind of like it, but it’s a IDKWTF sort of thing.

Michelangelo’s Pieta (possibly NSFW)


One of the finest pieces of sculpture, possibly one of the first to combine naturalism with classical style.  This statue has had a lot of tongues wagging about what Michelangelo was trying to portray.  Mary looks really young here; was this because she was so incorrupt (being virgin and all)?  Chris Rock put it best as Rufus in Dogma, my ‘go-to’ source for making catholicism make any kind of sense.  I paraphrase:

“Mary was a virgin when she had Jesus, but do you think a married couple never got down after that?”

So to expect her to remain ‘inviolate’ for her whole married life (we assume she stayed with Joseph, right?) is nuts.  My Grandma is crying in heaven right now, at the very idea she did the nasty with her husband.

This is nicked straight from Wikipedia: (start quote)

Another explanation suggests that Michelangelo’s treatment of the subject was influenced by his passion for Dante‘s Divina Commedia: so well-acquainted was he with the work that when he went to Bologna he paid for hospitality by reciting verses from it. In Paradiso (cantica 33 of the poem) Saint Bernard, in a prayer for the Virgin Mary, says “Vergine madre, figlia del tuo figlio” (Virgin mother, daughter of your son). This is said because, being that Christ is one of the three figures of Trinity, Mary would be his daughter, but it is also she who bore him.

A third interpretation is that suggested by Condivi shortly after the passage quoted above: simply that “such freshness and flower of youth, besides being maintained in by natural means, were assisted by act of God”.

Yet another exposition posits that the viewer is actually looking at an image of Mary holding the baby Jesus. Mary’s youthful appearance and apparently serene facial expression, coupled with the position of the arms could suggest that she is seeing her child, while the viewer is seeing an image of the future.

(end quote)

The opinions are interesting to me, as ancient art has gone through stages of being magical symbolism, representative, and finally to a stage that someone might actually make a piece of art to make someone think beyond the depiction.  What do I know?  I just took an Art History class in community college a LONG time ago, been playing with several mediums all my life, making installations and doing performance art without even knowing it.  What I do know is this is an incredibly gorgeous piece:

Sidebar:  My parents were catholic in the sense they just bought into it (probably out of fear, as I was baptized by my mother in a sink, and I suspect she did the same to my son who I was raising as a Godless Heathen) and Mom had a little booklet about this sculpture.  It smelled like roses, and I used to sniff it all the time.  Smelling like roses means something is godly – ask those Amityville house people…until the WALLS START BLEEDING!

So can people do fuckery with this?  Of course they can!

I am told the creator of this did it with a piece of lexan and lit it from the edge.  I am also told this can be done with plexiglas, but lexan has better optical transmission properties.

Whatever.  It makes me think of a toy I had when I was a kid; Lite Brite.  Or  those funky neon pens that show up on black paper.

Heinous?  Not really.  My first thought was someone playing with Photoshop or some such thing.  It’s not an improvement or a new take on the piece, it’s just a “See what I can do!”  I have a couple of icons like that, and I don’t use them anymore.

What I did like was what I found on Covers and Citations:

http://search.it.online.fr/covers/

and:

and:

and:

and:

I like these.  I can’t really call any of the above as a Heinous Reproduction, and I liked looking at the other offerings on the site.

I thought this would be a fun blog to do and rip on shitty stuff that people actually thought was worthy of their walls, but i have found so much more. This is not to say if we find crazy ass shit on etsy or whatever that we won’t make serious fun of it, because we will.  It’s great because I find some great stuff while looking for some shitty stuff, and that’s always a plus.

Not Art…Just NO


Now and again, I see a gif that freaks me out. What possessed a person to create this? I don’t know whether to be freaked out, or whistle in admiration. See below:

um, why?

And this I believe was just created to give me nightmares:

WHY?

That will haunt me for life. The only worse thing would be meeting the person who made it and fall in love with them.

I thought I saw the worst of the worst, you know, Goddess Bunny, La Pequena, Mama Loco, all the freakishness the internet has to offer, then I saw a still – a single still that has convinced me there is no greater evil:

Wow. The only think worse I have seen (and I am not convinced that this picture is worse than the one before) is this recently featured on Dlisted (read that blog!):

NOT the sort of thing I want to see in my bedroom corner!

Geronimo!


I  must admit I don’t think about him so much, despite my father’s interest in Native American art.  I do admit I came across this looking for tacky Native American tourist tat.

When I was a youngster back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, we had a toy called Show and Tell:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Show%27N_Tell

Yep, the height of technology back in the day.  A slide show with a record with narration, maybe a story to tell.  You kids with your YouTube and all…this was our YouTube.  Only we didn’t get to make it, and it was pretty shitty, with that little speaker and all.

Anyway, we had one about General Custer, and it painted the Battle of Little Big Horn with the whiteys as the victims.  My Dad swore up and down, despite being racist in many ways, he related to the Indians (as they have been known in those days, and most Indians I know still use the handle) more than what a shit Custer was.

He told me more about Geronimo, but I don’t remember much of what came from his lips, and I think I have more exposure to information now than he ever did, plus I got to learn how to do research properly.

This has nothing to do with the  shit I am about to share with you.  It has everything to do with how Indians/Native Americans have been portrayed in white culture:

It’s a game, it’s a movie poster (I think) that made him look like a salivating foaming Hellion, which was totally accepted then.  I know I would have figured that out eventually, despite my father’s interest, despite how the propaganda was being spun even that long ago.  I found some interesting stuff about Geronimo, which BTW, not even his real name!

Begin quote:

Geronimo, whose name became the war cry of World War II American paratroopers, was born Goyahkla, “The One Who Yawns,” to the Bedonkohe people, a branch of the Eastern Chiricahua Apache from present day Arizona and New Mexico. Both his name and legendary war tactics were formed in skirmishes with Mexican troops, who in 1850 killed Geronimo’s mother, wife, and children when he was approximately 25 years of age. The Mexican soldiers that encountered his wrath were heard to appeal to St. Jerome, and thus the moniker of “Geronimo’ was born.

Though he did possess admirable “American” traits — such as leadership, perseverance, and independence — those qualities were most fiercely displayed in opposition to U.S. troops. He surrendered for good on September 4, 1886, after a series of capitulations, betrayals by the U.S., and subsequent escapes. Between 1898 and his death, Geronimo participated in numerous expositions and fairs, including an appearance in President Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade. Many of the popular cultural objects in the exhibit date back to the early part of the 20th century.

I got the information here:

http://www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/

Why Am I Putting This Here?

I don’t only want to have funny shit like People of Walmart, (although I would like their notoriety) I found this is a good forum to talk about things that matter to me, like how we treat each other, and  how far we have come in some instances, and how little progress has been made – those 3-D stare-at-me posters that were prevalent in the 90’s?

To the 20 somethings these kind of images tend to be shocking, especially on a child’s toy.  I should take the ultimate step and show images of Golly-Wogs (really offensive) and at one time this was ‘cute’ and the attitude was. “What’s so bad about these?”.

It’s still going on.  I can’t believe that people still exist like this, and take the trouble to make something like this:

Words+Images+Symbols.

I don’t mean to get political here, because I just started this site in good fun, but it is about Art, (depictions people create) and in my digging, I have found so many visuals that were created solely to elicit a response.  If you want equal time, and some GWB pics, if they are Art-Worthy, I will post them.  The only one I can think of is the monkey faces, and it’s silly and stupid, just as stupid and silly as the one above, but the difference is Someone went to a bit of trouble to do this.

I am so tired of this, and wish people would have listened to Dennis Kucinich.

I will get back to the ugly art, promise.

And I hope you get the really broad stroke about imagery and thought.  And get digging, and think for yourself.

Aand Bad Elvis leads to more black velvet


This shit is so bad it’s good.

Actually, I got a kit as a little burgeoning artist that had a black velvet background mapped out with little pots of paint.  I think it was a water wheel on a mill house.  What else did you get for a little perv like me who drew and painted on everything in the 70’s?

Black velvet paintings are cool; I can’t choke on them like I have previous entries, but you will not find them in my house, because they are too cool for me.

Exhibit A:

Your typical black velvet painting.  You go into a house with a guy who has this on his wall and you know where you stand.  Well, maybe nowadays, it would be ironic-hipster, but back in the day, this was a guy who thought he was a ‘player’. I almost want one of these sexy paintings just to have one, as proof that such crap was revered by the same guys who had their vans painted (I feel another blog post coming on).

But I’m supposed to be about the bad shit.  Get ready, here it come

We at Heinous love bad Jesus.  We love Bad Elvis.  When the two come together it is magic.

This one takes the cake though.  I can’t get over the expensive looking frame, like someone cared about this picture.  As much as I appreciate the weirdness, I would not want that in my house ( and you should see what’s in my house).

*This* I can get behind, because we all know:

“It’s a trap!”

Bad, bad Elvis


We know about black velvet Elvis.  We know about Franklin Mint Elvis Plates (okay I own one – I dig the King).

Nothing prepared me for this Elvis:

I do like the frame.  It does not to be holding that  *thing* however.  This reminds me of ‘art project kits’ you could get in the 70’s with colored pebbles you would glue into the boundaries that you made with yarn.  That’s the suit.

The FACE.  Oh, man, the FACE.

Why?  Just Why?

Wasn’t the clown warning enough?