Posts Tagged ‘PBS’

Joseph Campbell quoteI’ve been a fan of the late mythologist Joseph Campbell for many, many years.  In his many books on myth, including his classic The Hero With a Thousand Faces, as well as a great PBS series, The Power of Myth,  with Bill Moyers , Campbell documented myths from around the world but more importantly showed how intimately they related to our individual lives.  Campbell showed us that we all had lives that very much followed the patterns that ran through the classic myths of all cultures.

In short, we are all, in our own way, heroes.  We may not slay dragons or find great treasures, but we all at a point experience some form of the hero’s journey.

There’s a wonderful animated short film called What Makes a Hero?  from TED Ed and educator Matthew Winkler that succinctly illustrates Campbell’s premise, including the eleven stages of the hero’s journey.  It’s a delightful short that will hopefully help you to begin to see the mythic elements that make up your own life.

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Georgia O'Keeffe-Cow's Skull  Red, White and  Blue -1931

Georgia O’Keeffe-Cow’s Skull Red, White and Blue -1931

I don’t know if I have talked much about Georgia ‘OKeeffe (1887-1985) here on the blog.  Her work was a big influence on me when I was starting, especially with her use of  bold, clear color and in the way she pared away detail in her compositions, leaving only the essential.  Her lines and forms were always organic and natural, something in them almost creating a harmony or vibration that easily meshed with the viewer on a gut level.

I was looking at films of artists at work earlier and came across a short segment from a 1977 documentary by filmmaker Perry Miller Adato that was aired on PBS at the time to mark O’Keeffe 90th birthday.  I was immediately captivated by the film of her as younger woman early in her time in New Mexico set against her at 90, listening to talk about paintings that were based on the bones she found in the high desert, telling a bit about the iconic painting shown here.

Her words were direct and plain-spoken in a mid-western voice that reflected her mid-western upbringing.  There’s an interesting juxtaposition of her speaking in very simple terms about her work set against a curator speaking in a bit of artspeak.  I’m not saying his point wasn’t valid.  It was just interesting to see how she spoke easily on the subject, it all being just a part of who she was.

It was just a neat clip that reminded me of why I liked her work so much in those early years.  As I said, this is just a clip and I am sorry that I don’t know where you can see the entire film.  But enjoy this and perhaps you’ll stumble across the whole film some other day.

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WSKG Artist Cafe- GC Myers Back in march, I wrote here  about a film crew, Tina Reinhard and Christy Lantz,  from WSKG-TV that had come to my studio to record a segment for a regional TV show  focusing on the arts, both regionally and nationally.  Today is the first airing of that short interview that is one of the segments for the show, Artist Cafe, that is shown locally on public television channel WSKG.   The program also features segments on the movie Life of Pi and  Hamlet from PBS‘ Shakespeare Uncovered.

Artist Cafe shows today at 5:30 PM and there is a re-broadcast on Thursday, June 16th, at 10 PM.  It will also be available in the future on their website as well as on their YouTube channel.  I will let you know when they are up online.

Many thanks to Tina, Christy and WSKG for giving me an opportunity to appear on their show.

Have a great day!

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WSKG Artist CafeI spent yesterday afternoon straightening up my studio a bit, something that I’ve been putting off for some time now.  It really needed tidying and I really did want to de-clutter the place just for the calming effect it normally has but it took the threat of  having a television camera coming in today to put me in action.  Our local PBS channel, WSKG, is showing up here this afternoon to shoot a segment for their Artist Cafe program.  It’s a weekly half hour program with three or four short stories featuring artists from a wide variety of fields.  Some stories are local and some feature folks of national prominence.

I am somewhat ambivalent about the whole thing, to be quite honest.  I am never too comfortable with anyone in my studio space, let alone a stranger with a video camera. Add to this the fact that  I am always wary of anything where I have no control over the final outcome, especially when it comes to my work, and I am made even more anxious.  I always like to set the narrative and while I may know what I will say today, I will not know how it will be presented.

But it will be good to get an idea of how my space looks to the outside world and I am to see how someone who is only slightly acquainted with my story and work will put together the segment.  So perhaps there is a positive spin to be put on this whole thing.  I have been impressed with the shows I have seen so far from this program that debuted late this past year.

Here’s a recent episode that features writer R.L. Stine, known for his Goosebumps  book series;   artist Allen Denny Smith, an Elmira artist whose recent forays into color abstractions has produced some really powerful work ; and  Lady Fiona Carnarvon , the real life resident  of the estate better known to the world as Downton Abbey– hey, it is PBS and that series has paid a lot of bills for them over the last few years!  I will let you know when my episode airs but for now enjoy.

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Tomorrow is the first day of March.  It was in this month 100 years ago, that the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory caught fire, killing 146 garment workers, mostly women and children.  It was discovered that the factory owner had locked the exits to prevent workers from leaving early.  This was an event that brought to light the plight of workers and how they were often subjected to exploitation and dangerous work environments.  It led to the growing support of labor unions and a crusade for labor and safety reform.

Tonight, PBS is airing an episode of The American Experience that features all the grisly details of the Triangle Fire, highlighting the events and factors leading up to the fire along with its consequences.  It’s an interesting time to be showing this show with this national movement currently afoot to destroy labor unions and strip away many of the regulatory controls placed on businesses.  It’s an object lesson in what can happen in an unregulated environment and I recommend it for all those who feel that an unbridled free market will solve all our ills. 

This episode airs at 9 PM in most areas and will be available also on the PBS website within a week or so.

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 Climbing Beyond the Blue There was an episode of Mystery! on PBS starring Kenneth Branagh as Swedish detective Wallander.  It was okay, nice production but nothing remarkable in the story but there was a part at the end that struck home with me and related very much to my life as a painter.  Wallander’s father, played by the great character actor David Warner, was, like me, a landscape painter.  Now aged and in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, his son comes to him and intimates that he can’t go on as a detective, that he can’t take the stress.  The painter then recalls how  when Wallander  was a boy he would ask his father about his painting, asking, “Why are they always the same, Dad?  Why don’t you do something different”

He said he could never explain.  Each morning when he began to paint, he would tell himself that maybe today he would do a seascape or a still life or maybe an abstract, just splash on the paint and see where it takes him.  But then he would start and each day he would paint the same thing- a landscape.  Whatever he did,  that was what came out.  He then said to his son, ” What you have is your painting- I may not like it, you may not like it but it’s yours.”

That may not translate as well on paper without the atmospheric camera shots and the underscored music but for me  it said a lot in how I think about my body of work.  Like the father, I used to worry that I would have to do other things- still lifes, portraits, etc.- to prove my worth as a painter but at the end of each day I found myself  looking at a landscape, most often with a red tree.  As time has passed, I have shed away those worries.  I don’t paint portraits.  Don’t paint still life.  I paint what comes out and most often it is the landscape.  And that red tree that I once damned when I first realized it had became a part of who I am.

I realized you have to stop damning who you are…

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