By Leva levitra
Saturday May 25, 2013 | May 2013 Issue
With apologies in advance to the readers of this column, this month I’d like to discuss something to do with my own artwork and the exploration of something new. Last year I began the concept of marrying video technology with traditional drawing.
SANCTUS GUEVARUS CASTRUM CANIS. Charcoal on paper, electronics, video player and video. 27.5 x 27 inches. Circa 2010 by F. Lennox Campello
This piece was my first video drawing... a good success, if I may say so myself. I then asked several museum collectors and two of the top video collectors in the world: "Have you seen or know of anyone who is marrying drawing with video?"
The answer came back no. I'm not sure of this, but as far as I am concerned, if a few top notch museum curators have never heard of someone integrating video with drawing, and (more to my taste) two of the folks who regularly make it to art magazine lists of one sort or another concur, that makes me feel confident that I could be breaking new ground here and making Lennon and McCartney look bad.
In my head, I've been playing with creating a series of these marriages of highly accomplished drawings together with videos related to the subject of the drawings.
The first series that came to my head was a series of video drawings on Latin American icons - each drawing showing them as an icon, with a little flavor of ancient Rome in the presentation of the iconic image with a few drops of human venom dropped in for good - in the video part.
With the first video drawing focusing on the serial murderer known as Che Guevara it was easy. That "historic first ever video drawing showed Che as a saint while the video exposed a documented firing squad ordered by that Argentinean psychopath.
For the second one, I wanted to approach the artistic love of my life, the painter Frida Kahlo. It all started with the drawing (note to self: next time start with the video).
Then I inscribed it with a Latin inscription, as icons tend to have, which proclaims: "Ave Frida, Nulli Secunda." "Hail Frida, Second to None."
That was finished about six weeks ago. Then I struggled with the technical aspects of the video part. I wanted to have a good-sized screen play a video relating to Kahlo.
One lesson learned from the first drawing was the size of the screen, so I shopped around for larger (and more affordable) screens which could play videos. Then I bought several of them, tried them all out, wasted precious hours trying to decipher their badly translated manuals so that I could learn how to actually play a video on their machines, and eventually settled on a model. Most of the wasted hours also related to the software that I was using to convert the native video format of my camera to the MPEG-1, 2 and 4 that the digital player said it could play. In the end, it was all the fault of the conversion software, which was a commercial software. I discarded it, tried a free version that I found online, and not only was it super-easy to use, but it also worked great.
The drawing was finished, the custom made, hand-carved frame was done, and I had a video machine screen ready to go. Now all I needed was the video.
Add tons of hours researching Frida Kahlo videos. Did I mention that I wanted to show a Kahlo "home movie" as the video? Did I mention that I wanted an eye-catching Kahlo video? Did I mention that I wanted a controversial movie playing in my drawing?
So then hours looking for reference materials, which soon led me to three sources. I then purchased copies of all three biographical documentaries on Kahlo, and the one done for Mexican television was the one that yielded copies of rare footage of Frida.
I shot the video, did a little basic editing and tried it out. I then realized that I would have to install the video screen upside down, otherwise the remote control wouldn't work as there was no space left on the drawing to cut out a little hole for the infrared sensor. So I had to re-shoot all the videos, this time upside down, and re-edit them all.
The venom in this discovered video is a short clip of a very feral Kahlo about to devour an intensely scared young girl. Was this a set up? Was Rivera filming the young offering that he had brought his wife?
I then cut out Frida's heart out of the drawing. This will be the window into her soul and the window into the scant "moving pictures" references of her life. It is a feral heart, armed with sharp fangs that bite huge chunks of life out of life.
Here is the drawing with the shape of the heart window which has been cut out of it:
And here is the drawing with the video screen playing the video. This will be fitted behind the drawing.
And here is a close-up of the window in her heart:
And here is what the final piece will look like once matted, framed and assembled:
AVE FRIDA NULLI SECUNDA. Charcoal on paper, electronics, video player with remote control and video. 27.5 x 27 inches. Circa 2011 by F. Lennox Campello
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