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Posts Tagged ‘Frankenstein’

Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery, and be overwhelmed by disappointments; yet, when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.

–Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

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GC Myers Frank the Icon 2016This is one of the new pieces I have been working on.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to show it in this state, as it is unfinished, or even when it is finished.  But as it progressed it began to grow on me and was meeting my expectations for what I wanted from it.  So, I thought I would show it and talk a bit about this piece, a 12″ by 24″ canvas that I tentatively calling Frank the Icon.

The idea for this came about from my admiration of religious icon painting and something I read in the foreword of a David McCullough book I recently started reading.  In it McCullough talked about history , while being documented in large and grand acts, often turns on the actions of ordinary people doing small but significant things that inspire or lead others to do those greater deeds.  It made me wonder who these people were today whose everyday  deeds would help rewrite our future history.

I thought it might be interesting to show ordinary figures painted in the style of an icon but in my own style of painting,  And that how Frank came about.  Early on, I was underwhelmed by this piece and could feel the effects of my recent absence from painting.  But midway through it began to pull at me in a way painting sometimes does for me, urging me on with small hints at what might be ahead.  It was an excitement I haven’t felt in a while and it felt very good indeed.  I truly wanted to see what was coming.

There are many things I like about this piece.  Even though I will admit to it being flawed ( as are most of my paintings) there is something in it that makes it alive for me, something that speaks to inner parts of me.  It has a real presence here in the studio and it is easy to engage with him as I walk around and the gold halo seems to push his countenance forward even more.

Cheri came into the studio and after looking at it asked why I hadn’t painted bolts on his neck.  She said he reminded her of the Frankenstein creature.  I could see that as well and thinking about it made me realize that there was something to this idea of an icon with beings that were capable of beings both gods and monsters.

As are we all.

That’s where the quote from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein came in.  It is compelling and fitting, this idea of a naive creature who suffers the suffering and misery of being a lone being in this world, finding comfort in experiencing anew the  beauty of this world that we who know it so well often take for granted.  It even speaks of the halo.

So, that is here I am with this piece.  I am still up in the air as to where it will lead, if anywhere.  Part of me wants to continue with a series of icons but part of me is hesitant.  We shall see…

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Monster Movie MatineeThis is a repost of one of my more popular posts.  I still get people contacting me who have come across this and have memories of Monster Movie Matinee, the Syracuse-based show that ran for many years at 1 PM on Saturdays.  In the years since this ran back in 2009, a documentary has been made which chronicles the show and its effect on the many kids who found themselves glued to the couch watching classic (and not so classic) horror films.  More clips and photos have come to light including the intro at the bottom.  If you are interested in the documentary you can get more info at its Facebook page, Monster Mansion Memories.

Hope you have a very scary Halloween! Or not– it’s not necessarily a holiday suited to everybody’s taste.

Monster Movie Matinee 1With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, my mind switches back to past Halloweens and all the things that go with them.  Part of my normal Saturday routine growing up was to be in front of the TV at 1 o’clock to watch Monster Movie Matinee, a show out of Syracuse that ran for a couple of decades and showed classic ( and not so classic, as the years went by) horror and sci-fi movies.

It was a great kitschy broadcast.  It would start with the camera panning in over an obvious model of an haunted-type mansion on a hill as eerie monster movie music played.  It was hosted by Dr. E. Nick Witty (I think this is supposed to be funny but it eludes me) and his assistant, the wretched Epal.Epal on Monster Movie MatineeYou never saw anything of Dr. Witty but his long emotive fingers.  His voice was kind of a bad Bela Lugosi copy that played perfectly for this type of show.  Epal, played by the station’s longtime weatherman who also played other characters (his other main character,Salty Sam, introduced me to Popeye cartoons) on a number of other shows, was covered in rough-edged scars and wore an eyepatch.  He seemed to constantly erode as the years passed.

They had storylines that they used as they introduced the films, little vignettes that ran from week to week.  Goofy stuff but fun.  They let the movies they showed be the real stars and I saw most of the greats through them.  All the Frankenstein, Dracula and Wolfman movies were in regular rotation in the early years mixed in with a plethora of lower quality, monstery B-movies, which kind of took over in the later years.

215px-Creature_from_the_Black_Lagoon_posterI remember one wet and dark Halloween Saturday back then spending the afternoon watching one of my favorites with Dr. Witty and Epal.  It was The Creature From the Black Lagoon.  It was a movie that was shown at least a few times a year so it became part of the kid memory bank.  It was the story of a group of geological researchers sent to explore a fossilized skeletal claw-like hand found up the Amazon where they encounter the Creature, a rubber-clad Gill-Man who makes repeated attacks on the research vessel, finally abducting the babe girlfriend of the main scientist.

Originally in 3-D in the theaters, was a pretty stylish 50’s monster movie.  Pretty good quality, actually.  The Creature was a great costume, very sleek and somewhat believable- at least to the kid sitting on the couch with the Fig Newtons.  It had nice underwater photography of the Creature gliding after his prey and also had great sound and music that really enhanced the story.  It wasn’t the scariest but it kept you involved with the story.   I always felt more of a connection with the Creature than I did with the crew of researchers and actually felt myself kind of rooting for him at times.  Much like King Kong, he seemed sadly alone.

That wet and dark Saturday many years ago seems to come to life now whenever I think of the Creature or Halloween, for that matter.  I remember the light.  The smell of that living room. Funny how certain things, even the smallest trivialities, imprint on the memory  when coupled with something important, as Halloween was to a kid.

Today I’m thinking of that day and that lonely Gill-Man and Dr. Witty…

 

 

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