I finally have my own personal website, which I’m being told is a must for creative professionals in today’s competitive online marketplace. Here it is: www.dukepope.com
To be honest I’m still trying to figure out how to get ahead in this rat race of self promotion and social media mumbo jumbo. I sometimes wish we could go back to the time of knocking doors and calling up solid desktop telephones with gut shaking mechanical ringing and get through to a real person on the other side. In reality I guess there’s nothing stopping us from knocking doors and ringing up people, and despite the mantra of “online presence is everything” perhaps this is still the way that would actually get you somewhere as an aspiring creative professional. I guess it’s time to put it to the test! (And perhaps I’ll even let you know how it goes). In the meantime please have a look at my webpage and let me know what you think of it! (And as a side note, if you click the “music” link, it will take you to my soundcloud and my latest song, which I finished last week, called Believe in Love.)
I have always been a collector of little things. My first collection was a shoe box full of pine cones. Later I found it more exiting to collect objects that didn’t all look the same, like stamps for instance. My grandfather was a diligent and proud philatelist and used to give me stamps for Christmas. As I child I spent hours organizing and admiring these little artpieces, which is a labour I appreciate now, many years later. As well as being amazing graphic design pieces, these stamps are also icons of a bygone era. A digital print of an Adobe Illustrator file will never be quite the same as a miniature engraving, as many of the old stamps are. Here are some of the favourite pieces from my collection; the rest of the set can be found here: Thirty Stamps
I scanned these images from a book found in Keith Fawkes Books in Hampstead, London. It’s the messiest and most chaotic bookshop I’ve ever been into, but those are the kind of places where strange treasures like “Visions of the Future” can be found. The subtitle reads: “An exciting and novel selction of science fiction art of today”. The book was a British publication, featuring at the time young British artists. Judging from a quick round on google, most of them seem to be active still. So there is plenty of inspiration out there! Here are five of my favourite artworks from the book, which stood out among all the weird and funky sci-fi kitsch.
Allthough Wes Wilson is seen as the father of the psychedelic rock poster, the poster art of Victor Moscoso stands for me as the archetypal expression of the hippie era. With vibrating colours and psychedelic imagery, his posters take you straight back to that special vibe of the late 1960s San Fransisco. Victor Moscoso was born in Spain in 1937, but moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York three years later, where he spent most of his youth and childhood. He went on to study art at Yale under the supervision of Josef Albers, whose color theory later became an important inspiration for him. Jack Kerouac’s On the Road was a motivating factor for Moscoso to move on to California and San Fransisco in 1959. But it wasn’t until 1967 with the Summer of Love that Victor Moscoso rose to international fame, with his posters for the Avalon Ballroom (whose concerts featured artists such as Janis Joplin and the Doors). There is an excellent interview with him at The Comics Journal, for those who would like to read more about his fascinating life and refreshing take on art. Victor Moscoso is still active as an artist.
I decided it’s time for me to showcase some of my own work, namely my digital collages. The first one was created in 2005 after a visit to a friend in Spain. Having collected all sorts of things since childhood, the flamboyant gay man with the baroque wig was responsible for turning my collection into a creative laboratory. I found him on a leaflet in Barcelona, announcing a major gay disco event. When I came back home, he just fit right in with the glossy collectable pictures I had gotten from my sister as a child. In the background I put a starry sky and space rockets from my father’s 1950s trading cards collection. The resulting piece can be seen underneath. Since then I have been steadily adding new works to my digital collage universe, with the herbal Jesus as the latest addition, made in 2011. They were all part of an exhibition in Mumbai, India in 2011, together with Ismael Sanz Peña’s animations. Himali Singh Soin arranged the exhibition and actually made it happen. To see more of my artwork, look here.
Canned sardines, caught in the fjords of Western Norway, were once a staple food in both Europe and the USA. To appeal to buyers in foreign markets, the Norwegian canning factories came up with an abundance of colorful designs, more or less related to the contents of the tin. In the first half of the 20th century, when the canning industry reached it’s peak, there were dozens of canning factories in the southwestern city of Stavanger. In fact the canning industry was one of the main reasons for the city’s growth in this period. Today, Stavanger’s canning museum is the only memory left of the once booming sardine industry, and crude oil has long since replaced it as the main source of income. Most of the images are borrowed from www.norwegiancollector.com.
The South Ndebele People of Southern Africa have the amazing tradition of painting their houses with brightly coloured geometric designs. The custom started after the Ndebele moved from straw huts to mud-walled houses in the mid 1800s. The loss of the 1883 war with the neighbouring Boer settlers brought hardship and repression for the Ndbele. Their symbolic art is said to have taken form during this harsh period, as a subtle language of cultural resistance which went undetected by the Boers.
Esther Mahlangu has become world famous as a master of the Ndebele painting style. Since being discovered by a team of french culture and art researchers in the mid eighties, she has done commissioned work across the world, including an art car for BMW in 1991. More recently she has also decorated the new Fiat 500.
Russian pensioner Olga Kostina has a very cool art project going on. She is in the process of covering her houses on the Siberian taiga with plastic bottle caps, nailing them to the wooden walls one by one. The themes range from cute pixel animals to traditional Russian macrame motifs, which is a textile knotting technique. The images are the courtesy of REUTERS / Ilya Naymushin. Via Odditycentral.
This short movie by Dutch animators Studio Smack shows the enormous amount of branded images we encounter just by spending five minutes in a big city. Normally however, we are so visually overstimulated that we subconsciously filter out most of it. Hundertwasser, one of my favourite artists, sums it up quite well in this famous quote: “Visual pollution is more poisonous than any other pollution because it kills the soul”.
The Japanese Tradition of turning manhole covers into funky artpieces must be the world’s longest lasting and most extensive street art project. The colorful customization of the covers started in the nineteen eighties, when Japanese authorities issued a standard measure and shape for manhole covers. This new measure ignited strong resistance among Japanese local communities, which in turn led to a compromise giving every municipality full freedom over the artwork depicted on the manhole covers. Below are a selection of images from the Japanese manhole covers group pool on Flickr. Click the images below to go to the respective owners’ Flickr page.
Today’s sleek and soulless computer animations have a long and quirky history behind them. Steve Rutt and Bill Etra were two of the pioneers of computer animation, and revolutionized the field with their video synthesizer from 1972. In the somewhat surrealistic video below, Bill Etra himself explains some of the features of their synthesizer: