Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bonus Post

By Adam Rex

I just got back from a trip to Mexico City, and while there my wife and I visited the studios of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Frida's first:


Note Kahlo's actual wheelchair (from late in life) in front of the easel.



The wall-plaque said:
In this part of the house–designed by Juan O'Gorman in 1944–the artistic essence of Frida Kahlo is distilled: her brushes, her easel (a gift from Nelson Rockefeller), the mirror she used for her self-portraits, and her books...There are also perfume flasks and varnish jars which the artist used to hold her paint.  All of the materials remain exactly as she left them.  One striking feature of the studio is the painting which depicts the evolution of the human fetus, a reminder of Frida's obsession with the maternity she was never able to achieve.
Yeah, so here's that fetus poster they mentioned:


I was also captivated by whatever the hell this was:

Besides awesome.
Next, Diego's set-up:



My wife thought that red canister/scale to the left of the easel was like a little cement mixer.  Thoughts?
Didn't even understand what these were, either.  Pigment manufacturer's samples? Does Gurney read this blog?


And there are boxes of powdered pigment, I guess?  I'd love to read opinions in the comments.

25 comments:

  1. These are amazing pictures. There's a sort of palpable creative energy. Also, though, a palpable creepy energy. I'm not sure I could work with that poster and those hanging skeletons. I like to surround myself with fuzzy bunnies, you know. Not things that look like they could (and might) be used to poison houseguests. I do really dig that horse-under-the-glass thing though.

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    1. Well, that just speaks to how different we are: you call it the horse-under-glass-thing, and I call it the skull-under-glass-thing. Also dig bunnies, though.

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    2. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME THAT I DIDN'T EVEN SEE THE SKULL? Now considering ditching some of these fuzzy bunnies and squishy puppies and replacing them with...what? Dead bugs? Chalk outlines? To rev up my creativity.

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    3. Julie... If you weren't aware of this, I will get the greatest kick out of introducing you to something so wildly appropriate to this comment stream!

      http://danidraws.com/zombie-bunny

      And to Dani, too. She is great. You should check out her webcomic, My Sister, The Freak.
      http://www.mysisterthefreak.com/

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  2. Adam, yes, I love this blog, and I'm glad you're adding to it, as I'm a fan of your stuff. And I really enjoyed this studio tour. I think those color swatches are from a sample kit of Venetian mosaic tiles. Maybe they just dug the colors, or maybe they were redoing a bathroom.

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    1. Ah, you never disappoint, Jim.

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    2. Heh heh, this was great. I don't know if there is any detail that sneaks past Jim. Thanks for sharing Adam, fun post.

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    3. See that, Adam? James Gurney likes your work. You can die happy. Oh, that would be me... :) And I too am glad they enlisted you, because I didn't know of you before muddy colors, and I LOVE your work, and your humor! I've had to read portions to my wife so I could share my laughter. Thank you, and keep the great stuff coming!

      I was thinking that the red thing was a rock tumbler like John, and like him, am now thinking plaster. Or, maybe it was a rock tumbler used to mix plaster?

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  3. It does look like a mini cement mixer.
    Considering that he painted so many frescos, I suspect it's for mixing plaster.

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    1. My first thought was a rock tumbler, but plaster mixer makes more sense.

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    2. maybe he was using it to mix paint? he had a lot of powder pigments and with Frescos and Murals you would need a lot of paint.

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  4. With all the pottery in the background, it could be some type of pug mill. And the tiles are most likely the color samples that companies use for ceramic glazes. Jars could be powder glazes as well. I'm most certain about those tiles though. Lots of glazes go through a big color change from pre-fire to post-fire, so it's always helpful to have something to refer to.

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  5. I just LOVE this blog, I read it every single day. It's the first thing I do in the morning when I wake up. I also follow James Gurney's blog and I found so amusing to see that you artists follow each other. Thank you guys for making my days. By the way, Adam, I love your work. I find it very creative and original and makes me feel like a kid again. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Medusa! I'm a big fan of your stone sculptures. So lifelike.

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  6. Those studios are great. Always curious to see how artists set up their studio. Thanks for sharing.

    It looks like a ball mill for grinding down pigments (and other materials) into finer grits. Those jars of powder look to be chemical pigments/stains for ceramic work (for glazing or painting onto the pieces). Hope that alleviates some of your curiosity.

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  7. The boxes on the left say:"Color for fresco", the bottom one also says "Ultramarine" and the brand is LeFranc, Paris. The bottom middle one says "Color and varnish" and the ones on the right are "powdered colors something" and say "Color for fresco, natural sienna", "Natural dark sienna" and "Dark Burnt sienna"

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  8. I would say rock tumbler. Plaster mixing is better done vertically. Water first, then plaster. Cement is opposite.

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  9. "muestrario de mosaicos venecianos" means "Venetian mosaics sampler" (or something like that). Maybe, this is why they had a cement mixer.

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  10. I just did some research. It's a tequila tumbler. Tumbled not stirred. These are great looks into studios, thanks Adam. By the way i'm also a fan.

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  11. I think Kathleen hit the nail on the head. A ball mill. They are used to crush pigments, which is what looks like he had in those lidded jars. If he was doing frescoes or making his own paint he would need to grind the pigments to the finest dust and then add that to the plaster or painting medium. Great photos of the studios, thanks.

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  12. thanks for the pics. the strange point is when I visited the blue house, taking photos from inside the house was prohibited (we could only take pictures of the garden)...did it change?

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