Philly-Bob’s Free-for-All 2017

One man's visual art, largely consisting of digital manipulations of images taken from my own photographs or downloaded from the Public Domain.

Portrait by Remo Frangiosa

Artist's Statement

Although I have been interested in art and graphic design all my life, I only began working seriously after I retired in 2010. The images in Philly-Bob's Free-for-All are digital manipulations of images. The images are either from the Public Domain or from my own archives of photos I have taken.

My images are strongly influenced by the optical textures I see when I close my eyes and by what I see when I dream. They are also influenced by the hallucinatory visions I saw under the influence of anaesthesia following open heart surgery.

I often use commercial art, illustration, and typography as a source of ideas.

For maximum effect with my images, click repeatedly on the image until it is full-size, which may be larger than your computer screen.


DISTORTED ORNAMENTS FROM DESTROYED POMPEII
       
From the 1887 Arte Pompeiana : monumenti scelti (Link1; Translation: "Art of Pompei: Selected Monuments"), a decorative tile floor (or is it a wall?); again, the distorted pattern fills my image, with the undistorted image tucked in the lower right along with explanatory text. Pompeii (Link2), you will recall, was the Roman city destroyed by the eruption of a volcano in 79 A.D.
The second image is another Pompeian mosaic sent through computer distortion filters, with the original inside the circle in upper left.
Third image seems to be a wall fresco, depicting Romulus and Remus with the wolf/lion of folklore, seen undistorted in lower right corner.
Fourth image, a wall panel, painted with an image of a winged huntress with spear, above a pair of goats. Original is shown in circle on mid-left.
Not sure what I'm doing here, but I'm enjoying it.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/gri_33125008704492
Link2: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pompeii
March 13-14, 2017


RUSSIAN MAGAZINE ILLUSTRATIONS
       
       
Still exploring the distortion of traditional images using graphic filters. Adding text and small original to make developis products,ment of image a little clearer. Here, I ran across a selection of Russian magazines, and since many of us are thinking about the issue of Russian influence on the recent presidential election, I decided to explore some images drawn from them. Of course, I can't read Russian and don't know how to type Cyrillic letters into Google Translate, so I'm pretty blind. Anyway, here, from a 1958 issue of Angara magazine (Link1), what appears to be a family relaxing in their living room. The Angara is a river in Siberia. NOTE: Remember to click on the image to enlarge enough that you can see the details of the small black-and-white source in the right-bottom corner.
Second image is a distorted soviet star emblem ("CCCP") from an illustration in a 1970 issue (Link2) of the same magazine.
Third image is a bas relief of what seems to be a blacksmith or armorer with some iron products, from a 1969 issue (Link3).
Fourth is a 1913 painting by Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VII from a 1990 issue of Pioneer magazine. (Link4). Here's what one critical source (Link5)said:

"Commonly cited as the pinnacle of Kandinsky's pre-World War I achievement, Composition VII shows the artist's rejection of pictorial representation through a swirling hurricane of colors and shapes. The operatic and tumultuous roiling of forms around the canvas exemplifies Kandinsky's belief that painting could evoke sounds the way music called to mind certain colors and forms. Even the title, Composition VII, aligned with his interest in the intertwining of the musical with the visual and emphasized Kandinsky's non-representational focus in this work. As the different colors and symbols spiral around each other, Kandinsky eliminated traditional references to depth and laid bare the different abstracted glyphs in order to communicate deeper themes and emotions common to all cultures and viewers.
Preoccupied by the theme of apocalypse and redemption throughout the 1910s, Kandinsky formally tied the whirling composition of the painting to the theme of the cyclical processes of destruction and salvation. Despite the seemingly non-objective nature of the work, Kandinsky maintained several symbolic references in this painting. Among the various forms that built Kandinsky's visual vocabulary, he painted glyphs of boats with oars, mountains, and figures. However, he did not intend for viewers to read these symbols literally and instead imbued his paintings with multiple references to the Last Judgment, the Deluge, and the Garden of Eden, seemingly all at once."
Note that the painting appeared in the kid's magazine Pioneer in upright, portrait mode, although the art books show it in sideways, landscape mode.
Fifth image is an illustration from a children's tale, from a 1985 Pioneer (Link6).
Sixth image is an illustration from the same tale.
Seventh image is a picture of a young boy holding some sort of bat or truncheon, from a 1978 Pioneer (Link7). Eighth image is a photo of factory workers from a 1980 isssue of Pioneer (Link8).
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/angara_1958_03
Link2: archive.org/details/angara_1970_03
Link3: archive.org/details/angara_1969_05
Link4: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1990-10
Link5: www.theartstory.org/artist-kandinsky-wassily-artworks.htm
Link6: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1985-09
Link7: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1978-09
Link8: archive.org/details/Pioneer_Magazine_1980-12
March 12-24, 2017

SPRINGTIME CROCUS
 
A collage of pictures of flowers from the 1922 Hastings' Seeds Catalogue: newly sprouted crocuses. "Our earliest and by far most beautiful early Spring flower come from Fall-planted bulbs," the catalog explains. "The Crocus is the first flower to bloom in the Spring." Am considering entering this in our local Spring Flower exhibition.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/hastingsseedscat6419unse
March 11, 2017


DISTORTED COLONIAL CHINA CASE
     
I am continuing my exploration of computer distortion of ordinary images -- here a picture of a "Colonial China Case," a glass-doored wooden cabinet that can be installed into a wall. The image is taken from a wood products catalog (Link1). I am considering entering it into the Plastic Club's April DAILY LIFE & COMMUNITY: POINTS OF VIEW show; see prospectus (Link2). Met with my informal Sunday morning art critics group, who said that the version on the far left would not communicate adequately why it belongs in a show about daily life. Redid the image on the far right, with text and a larger picture of the cabinet.
The main distortion method is the Fractal Trace filter in the open-source image editing program GIMP with parameters -1, 0.5, -1, 1. Not sure where I am going with this, but I like the psychedelic detail. The series expresses some sense that we live in a world (especially the online world) in which the values of civility and reason have been distorted -- Roy Cohn's (Link3) dog-eat-dog world.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/PremierStandardizedWoodworkTheMostCompleteLineOfPracticalCabinetWork
Link2: www.plasticclub.org/prospectus%20daily%20life%20and%20community%204-2017.pdf
Link3: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Cohn
March 11, 2017


DISTORTED DINING ROOM INTERIOR
   
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/SeamlessChenilleRugsAndCarpetsChaumontHawthorneRosslynBiltmore
March 8, 2017


ANGEL VISITS A HOUSEWIFE
   
A built-in folding breakfast table (on right) made from "white" (untreated) pine from the catalog of cabinet-maker Premier standardized woodwork: the most complete line of practical cabinet work. (Link1) The catalog is undated -- probably from 1900-1920. The distorted version, on left, brings to mind the Christian (and Muslim) tale of The Annunciation (Link2), when an angel visits the virgin Mary to inform her that she would bear a son, to be named Jesus. Many Christians observe this event with the Feast of the Annunciation, coming up on Saturday, March 25 -- an approximation of the northern vernal equinox and nine full months before Christmas, the ceremonial birthday of Jesus.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/PremierStandardizedWoodworkTheMostCompleteLineOfPracticalCabinetWork
Link2: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annunciation
March 7, 2017


ELEVATOR CIRCUIT PANEL
   
From the 1923 catalog of elevator company Waygood-Otis lifts, a photo of what is labelled as a "Direct Current Car Switch Control." Distorted version on left, original on right.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/Waygood-otisLifts
March 2, 2017


FOOTBALL MEMORABILIA FOR JAMIE
 
One of my relatives, a football fan, requested a composition based on images of the New England Patriots and their quarterback Tom Brady, who won the 2016 Super Bowl in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons. Myself, I was rooting for the Falcons, and I may have given the image a somewhat sinister look, since I consider Brady a cheating, egotistical superjock, with a rich man's politics and a supermodel wife. But I can see why a young girl would develop a crush on the winning team and even write fan letters to its handsome, 6'4" leader.


Update (March 1): There are political fault lines in this divided country, and diverging judgments about sports star Tom Brady is one of them. Generally, Trump folks like Tom Brady, Anti-Trumpers don't. My own family has members on both sides of the fault line, but we were able to enjoy post-election Thanksgiving dinner without significant conflict. The bonds of kinship, love, and respect are still strong. Here is the polite and empathetic response from Jamie's father (who lives on the other side of the political fault line) to my comments on Brady, along with links to his detailed refutation of the Brady cheating charges.
"Yeah, I get the Brady thing. They have dominated a long time.
This is a topsy-turvey world we are living in. Falcons should NOT have lost that game. The weird cosmic mojo is off kilter for sure.
The lesson seems like: Never turn off the TV because you will never guess what happens next -- Chicago Cubs, Brexit, Trump, Falcons blowing that lead, Cleveland, a sports powerhouse, screwed up Oscars, and a host of 80 degree days in February. Just plain weird, odd and disconcerting.
Incidentally, I was bothered as well by the two scandals of the Patriots. My kids ask me about it because they get grief in school about the "Cheatriots".
If you want to have at least some of your world view rocked as to the facts of the deflate-gate and spygate, check out these thorough accounts (links below). I would say a good portion of what the public thinks and believes they know is based on inaccurate accounts and bad PR spin.
You certainly don't have to change your mind about Brady the rich and powerful kid who has it all but the real bastard in all this is Roger Goodell (Link2), the football league commissioner. He is the very definition of power run amok and pissing all over the players union. Another fat cat dictator who is making up rules as he goes along. Link3 and Link4 point to discussion on the two big Patriot scandals, Deflategate and Spygate."
Sources:
Link1: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Brady
Link2: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Goodell
Link3: yourteamcheats.com/what-is-deflategate
Link4: yourteamcheats.com/what-is-spygate

February 28 - March 1, 2017

DISTORTED BLACK & WHITE WOOD HOUSE
   
Cover drawing from the 1927 Houses of wood for lovers of homes (Link1) by the Arkansas Soft Pine Bureau. Again, the left-hand drawing is the distorted version, the right-hand drawing is the original. There is a tiny version of the original in the lower right-hand corner of the distorted version. The characteristic shape in the center is a result of applying Gimp's Fractal Trace filter with default settings; the documentation explains that the utility "transforms the image with the Mandelbrot fractal: it maps the image to the fractal." It looks to me like the skin of animal.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/ArkansasSoftPineBureau
February 27, 2017


DISTORTED BATHROOM WASH-BASIN
   
Here's another one of my distortions, expressing what? Memories of psychedelic visions from fifty years ago?. A sense of the ordered post-war political world dissolving after Brexit and Trump? This material universe melting away as I leave for the next? Whatever...
The original, on the right, is from a 1927 catalog, Sanitary Appliances by Adamsez, a British company still in business. It shows a two-legged "lavatory" or sink. The hose at top center is a shampoo fitting. The reformed product is on the left, with a tiny version of the original in the lower right corner.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/AdamsezLtd
February 27, 2017


DISTORTED TABLE, WINDOW & CUPBOARD
     
"Slinkied" -- i.e., distorted, recolored, etc. -- illustration from a 1928 catalog by a paint company, Detroit White Lead Works, entitled "Paints, varnishes, stains, enamels, lacquers (Link1). The picture shows a room inside a house with pink walls and green furniture. It is advertising the company's line of "Sanitary Enamels." Instead of my usual trilobite/safety-pin logo, I include a very reduced version of the original in the lower left corner, a temporary move as I'm figuring out what to do with these exercises in psychedelic warping. Warped version on left, original on right.
3/23/2017: Third image is another warped version which I entered in the Plastic Club's April "Daily Life and Community Show" show.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/DetroitWhiteLeadWorks February 26, 2017


Distorted New Refrigerator
   
An illustration of fashionable folks in evening dress admiring a refrigerator from a 1935 brochure General Electric presents a new deluxe monitor top refrigerator (Link1) (The name "Monitor-top" is a reference to the cylinder atop the refrigerator, like the cyclindrical cannon turrets of the Civil War vessel, U.S.S. Monitor.)
Slinkied (i.e., distorted) image is on left, original on right.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/GeneralElectricMonitorTopRegrigerator
February 25, 2017


Lady in Yellow before Bathroom Medicine Cabinet
   
An illustration of a woman in yellow nightgown standing in a red and green bathroom, from a 1939 home supplies catalog (Link1). Distorted (shall we call it "slinkied"?) version is on left, the original is on right. Notice odd shape of white in middle left of modified version; it represents an overlay of white on a significant area. I have known three artists -- Stuart Carstadter, Ted Gutswa, and Steve Giovanni -- who had a "hobby" of buying ordinary tourist postcards and turning them into pieces of great interest -- art -- by tasteful, intelligent patches of white. I may start experimenting with this to offset an excess of detail in some of my pieces.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/PhilipCareyCo
February 25, 2017


Door to Perception
   
Distortion, duplication, recoloring and ornamentation of a single picture (on right) of a Pine front door with glass windows, from a 1935 woodwork catalog (Link1).
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/AngelProductswoodwor
February 24, 2017


Scrambled Tent Cottage Interior
   
Another study in distortion effects. Teacher Alice Meyer-Wallace encouraged me to continue in this direction. Original, undistorted image, is on right. An upcoming Plastic Club show has the subject of domestic life, and I will consider the twisted left-hand image as a possible entry.
It is from a 1930 brochure advertising Kenyon Take Down Houses (Link1), a quick-assembly combination of tent and cabin, called "the little brown bungalow"; it was advertised in a 1914 Popular Mechanics at $195 for five rooms. The illustration is combined with leaded glass from a 1924 catalog by "Revised" international art glass catalog domestic: showing designs of the highest grade art glass (Link2).
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/RLKenyonCo
Link2: archive.org/details/MoundCityArtGlassCompany
February 24, 2017


Power Hand Saw on Tile and Mirror
   
Working with distortion more. My elaborate frames seemed to be getting larger and larger. Now I'm letting them become the whole picture, replacing the starting image. Here, on the left, is my full-distortion all-frame image. The starting image is on the right; it already combines three other images, from a power tools catalog (Link1), a tile catalog (Link2), and a furnishings catalog (Link3).
The subject brings to mind my memories of the 1950's, when Sears was prospering and its line of solidly-built Craftsman tools would last a lifetime -- not like today's hollowed-out company (Link4) with its cheap plastic tools, ideologically-destroyed by a greedy Ayn Rand worshipper.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/SearsRoebuckTools
Link2: archive.org/details/StarkCeramics
Link3: archive.org/details/MiamiCabinetDivision
Link4: observer.com/2017/02/why-sears-is-failing/
February 23, 2017


Zombie, Fan, Ceiling
 
Source:
NA
February 22, 2017


Jewel with Radio on Staircase
 
Source:
Various
February 20, 2017


Entertaining New Series -- But Sneaky Business Plan
 
Unwinding after a stressful weekend, curled up on couch with Janice for Sunday night television. Casual, forbidden Sunday dinner composed of orange slices, dark chocolate, popcorn, and intoxicants. Watched a string of four superior television shows: Homeland, Billions, The Good Fight, and John Oliver's Last Week Tonight. Pictured is a studio collage of three actresses from The Good Fight: from left: Cush Jumbo, Christine Baranski, and Rose Leslie. I respect the artist's composition, sparing use of color, and the suggestive finger sign in the far-right picture of character Maia, a lesbian. It's a promising, fast-paced drama. But the corporate folks running it apparently plan on switching it soon from cable to pay streaming service. You can get comfortable in Trumpland for an evening, maybe, but don't for a minute forget that our corporate overlords, freed from any meaningful government regulation and from any organized consumer voice, are diligently planning their next consumer scam.
Source: Studio
February 20, 2017


Bejeweled Zombie Girl in Library
 
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/perle00n
Link2: archive.org/details/BookStackAndShelvingForLibrariesDesignedByBernardR.Green
February 19, 2017


Owl Dingbat on Jewelry
 
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/perle00n
February 18, 2017


Old Man Confronts Image on Roof
 
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/AmazingStoriesVolume02Number03
Link2: archive.org/details/OrnamentalIronBronzeExecutedByTheWinslowBros.CompanyChicago
February 16, 2017


Hotel Entrance (SF), Library (NY)
 

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/BookStackAndShelvingForLibrariesDesignedByBernardR.Green
Link2: archive.org/details/OrnamentalIronBronzeExecutedByTheWinslowBros.CompanyChicago

February 16, 2017


Fossilized Plant Under Ornamental Iron
 
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/OrnamentalIronBronzeExecutedByTheWinslowBros.CompanyChicago
Link3 archive.org/details/Tablesorganicre00Hall
February 15, 2017


Early Electrical Apparatus
 
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/surlamatireradia00croo
Link2: archive.org/details/FabriqueDornementsEnZincCuivrePlombTolePourLeBtiment

February 15, 2017


HAPPY VALENTINE'S SNAIL
 
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/FabriqueDornementsEnZincCuivrePlombTolePourLeBtiment
February 14, 2017


THE TWITS AND TOFFS HAVE TAKEN OVER
 
Entitled, Richie Rich (Link1) white boys have taken over the world. Not just Trump and his brood. This is Ronald Coyne, a Cambridge University law student and a member of the Cambridge Conservative Union, who made headlines (Link2) in England for posting a video on social media. The video showed Coyne, walking home drunk on a cold February night after a fancy-dress event. Coyne was asked for change by a 31-year-old homeless man. Coyne held up a 20-pound ($50) note and said "I'll give you some change. I've changed it into fire." Coyne is said to be related to a leader of the pro-Brexit Scottish National Party.
According to Dictionary.com, a twit is "an insignificant, silly, or bothersome person" and a toff is "a stylishly dressed, fashionable person, especially one who is or wants to be considered a member of the upper class." Two words I have never used before.
Source:
Link1: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richie_Rich_(comics)
Link2: www.thesun.co.uk/news/2831910/ronald-coyne-cambridge-university-set-fire-20-note-nicola-sturgeon/
February 13, 2017


Gypsy Marina and Chinese Ornament
 

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/ZingariAlConfino
Link2 archive.org/details/examplesofchines00jone
February 12, 2017


Photo from WWII Gypsy Identity Card
 

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/ZingariAlConfino
February 11, 2017


Glass and Botanics
 

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/SiemensGlasGlassVerreVetroVidrio
Link2 commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Kunstformen_der_Natur
February 11, 2017


Off-Center Over Fractal Trace
 

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/RecueilDesDessinsDornementsDarchitectureDeLaManufactureDeJ.Jos

February 10, 2017


Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
 
Been watching Z, the Amazon series about the life of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, shown in a studio photograph. A reminder of Flappers and the Jazz Age. And a depressing reminder that wealth, education, beauty, success and talent aren't enough for a happy life, when you mix in marital infidelity and severe social alcoholism.
Source:
Online
February 9, 2017


Nazi WWII Propaganda
 

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/GermanPropagandaLeaflets

February 9, 2017


PORTRAIT TEACHER'S DRAWING STANCE
 

Source:
Photo by Bob Moore
February 8, 2017


SECOND 2017 PORTRAIT SITTING
       
   
From my latest sitting at Remo Frangiosa's Plastic Club portrait workshop, from left:

  1. Andy Hoffman, known for his cartooning and animation skills, did a quick portrait of me at the last portrait workshop.
  2. Dante Celia took the picture he did at the previous sitting (see February 1) and overlaid it with a wash of linseed oil and brown pigments, then repainted the skin tones.
  3. Here is the palette of acrylic paints that Dante used.
  4. The charcoal portrait of Elizabeth, a relatively new student in the workshop.
  5. Remo's latest unfinished portrait. If you look at Remo's previous portrait of me, used in this page's masthead, above, it was black and white, done with graphite. In the year since, he has switched to color, after he inherited a set of colored chalks from a Plastic Club member that moved away.
  6. In learning the new medium, Remo does test strokes at the edge of his painting, which are interesting in themselves.

Source:
NA
February 7, 2017

HORSE-DRAWN PAVER GANG
 

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/HardPavements
Link2 archive.org/details/CarreauxGrsCrameFinVitrifisWasserbillig
February 6, 2017


HOMAGE TO MARSDEN HARTLEY
 

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/GeneralCatalogueSteelCompanyOfCanadaLimited

February 5, 2017


DECORATIVE DISTORTIONS
 

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/AFewSuggestionsForOrnamentalDecorationInPaintersAndDecoratorsWork
Link2 archive.org/details/StencilsStencilMaterialsDesignedAndPrintedByTheAdv.DepartmentOf
February 3, 2017


STENCIL DISTORTIONS
 

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/APracticalGuideToStencillingByFrankGibson
Link3 archive.org/details/StencilsStencilMaterialsDesignedAndPrintedByTheAdv.DepartmentOf
February 2, 2017


First Sitting in Portrait Class
   
Snapshots of works in progress taken (with permission of the artists) from my first sitting at Remo Frangiosa's Portraits class at the Plastic Club. The first picture is interesting because the artist recycled a canvas she used in a previous drawing session, so my mug is superimposed on a preliminary sketch of a young woman reclining. (An old man's dream.) The second image is by Dante Celia, a museum guard by day, artist by night. My next sitting is Tuesday, 2/7.

Source:
NA
February 1, 2017


Ribs the Radiator
   
A collage of illustrations from the 1893 Hopson & Chapin Mfg Co.'s boilers and radiators for warming and ventilating by hot water (Link1), showing radiators and a furnace boiler. Instead of my usual trilobite signature/logo, I used an illustration of a recently discovered 450-million-year-old trilobite that was discovered with fossilized eggs inside. (Link2)
Following my new work pattern, I am reusing the source from October 13, 2012.
Second image is based on a suggestion by my teacher, Alice Meyer-Wallace, that the image reminded her of a game board, such as Parchesi. Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/TheHopsonChapinMfgCo.sBoilersAndRadiatorsForWarmingAndVentilating
Link2: www.technothirst.com/paleontologists-find-450-million-year-old-fossilized-trilobite-eggs/
January 31, 2017


Death of Richard Russo Character
 
My favorite fiction writer these days is Richard Russo (Link1), who has had a fortunate writerly collaboration with the world of film (Link2). One of Russo's most memorable fictional characters is an angst-filled senior citizen bad boy. In the book Everybody's Fool and in the book and movie Nobody's Fool, this irresponsible but stout-hearted soul was Sully. In Russo's book and television series Empire Falls, the character was named Max. Sully/Max were memorably interpreted by Paul Newman (Link3).
Anyway, recent current events sent me into a depression, and I turned to Russo's latest book, the 500-page, 2016 Everybody's Fool for "bibliotherapy." Russo describes the death of Sully (by heart attack, after outwitting the odious town bully) on page 448 this way:

"So, he thought. This was how it ended, how it had to end. The day had finally come when putting one foot in front of the other was simply fucking impossible, when the forward motion he's depended on his entire life failed him and he it. On your feet, Soldier, he commanded himself, but his body was all done taking orders. The entire world, it seemed, was now reduced to silence and pain, the latter intense, the former unendurable. With the last of his strength he took out his grandfather's stopwatch. The ticking, when he depressed the stem, was loud and strong, a comfort, though it was also the sound of time running out.
"Footsteps approached, but Sully didn't hear them."
I like the lack of theology and romance in Sully's end. The stopwatch carries a symbolic weight as the talisman Sully once gave to his son to help the boy overcome fear.
All this was on my mind when I did the image above, based on a large vase in a 1904 catalog, Catalogue of vases, settees, fountains and other lawn furniture (Link1), which was also the source for the Free-for-All image of October 11, 2012.
Sources:
Link1: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Russo
Link2: www.imdb.com/name/nm0751720/
Link3: www.imdb.com/name/nm0000056/
Link4: archive.org/details/CatalogueOfVasesSetteesFountainsAndOtherLawnFurniture
January 30, 2017

Windmill Plans
 
A collage of detailed pencil drawings from an 1850 book of engineering drawings for Dutch windmills, Theoretisch en practisch molenboek (Link1). This is the same source as the very first image from Philly-Bob's Free-for-All on October 10, 2012.
Quixotic Obsession is an idea which I elaborated in a short story once, the idea that middle-aged men can develop a mental disorder in which they take on an impossible or impractical task, a kind of jousting at windmills in the manner of the cognitively-impaired, romantic fellow in Cervantes' Don Quixote. Sometimes my activities -- most recently these images -- seem to be an old man's Quixotic Obsession. The looping around to a prior source represents an attempt to reduce the day-to-day workload of this endeavor.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/TheoretischEnPractischMolenboek
January 29, 2017


Ink Drawing Reimagined
 
From an 1895 issue of the Bulletin du Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (Link1), an ink drawing of a plant, thoroughly reordered, recolored, and reconfigured.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/bulletindumuseu9muse
January 28, 2017


A Profusion of Patterns
 
In the 1888 report from a Russian archaeological expedition to the Caucasus, Materīaly po arkheologīi Kavkaza : sobrannye ėkspedit︠s︡īi︠a︡mi Imperatorskago Moskovskago Arkheologicheskago Obshchestva (Link1), there are two pages of color illustrations which, I believe, represent fabric patterns or wall stencils. Here, I superimpose both pages. It's a confusing mess -- but sometimes the world just seems a confusing mess, doesn't it?
The pattern I used in yesterday's image, Maroussia, Superheroes, Pattern appears in this version at the top left of the image, the blue, orange, yellow and green semicircles.
Source:
Link1 archive.org/details/materialypoarkhe0004uv
January 27, 2017


Maroussia, Superheroes, Pattern
 
In the background a computer wallpaper collage of superheroes fighting each other from a recent New Movies World (Link1). In front of that, an abstract textile design from an 1888 collection of finds from a Russian archaeological expedition to the Caucasus Mountain, Materīaly po arkheologīi Kavkaza : sobrannye ėkspedit︠s︡īi︠a︡mi Imperatorskago Moskovskago Arkheologicheskago Obshchestva (Link2). Perched on top of the collage, three duplicated figures of the plucky Ukrainian heroine, Maroussia, with flowers gathered in her apron, from the 1890 Maroussia: A Maid Of Ukraine (Link3).
Source:
Link1 ia801503.us.archive.org/7/items/Httpnewmoviesworld.com/38206070-sad-gfghjklirl-wallpaper.jpg
Link3: archive.org/details/MaroussiaAMaidOfUkraine
Link2 archive.org/details/materialypoarkhe0004uv
January 26, 2017


Stage Hypnotism and Door Panels
   
A photograph of a woman in evening dress being hypnotized by a man in a tuxedo from a June, 1930 issue of True Detective Mysteries (Link1). The image appears in an ad with the headline "You Can Learn Hypnotism in Five Days ... or No Cost." Her image is superimposed (three times) on a collage of window panels from two wooden front doors, taken from the 1924 catalog of McMillen Millwork (Link2).
This will be my entry in the Plastic Club's Out of the Box show. This image is not really a radical departure ("out of the box") from my usual work. But it does represent a change in one of my artistic principles of practice. I messed with the proportions! I used Photoshop's Image Size with Constrain Proportions turned off to stretch the image out to fit in a mat that I used in assembling a glass, mat, and wooden frame for a previous image. That's the second image. Generally, I hate when people stretch images to fit graphic design rectangles. It would have been better to pay for a new frame and mat, but I'm feeling -- complicated, intense.
I also didn't use the usual layers of DreamscopeApp filters. Just in time -- they want to start charging $9.99 per month.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/TrueDetectiveJune1930
Link2: archive.org/details/R.McMillanCompany
January 25, 2017


Maroussia in Battle
 
From a French translation of a Ukrainian children's book I described in an earlier Free-for-All entry.
Source:
Link1: http:/gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k65518515

January 23, 2017


Little Girl with Vaccine Scar in Dark Woods
 

Source:
NA In these last dread-filled days before the inauguration of Donald Trump, I have been depressed and listless. One day this week I didn't even go outside. (I hear the Trump alt-right meanies, Oh, poor libtard, special snowflake!).
Attempting to escape this sluggishness, I am (1) going to attend at least one, maybe two, anti-Trump demonstrations; (2) I have begun reading a novel Everybody's Fool by one of my favorite American realists, Richard Russo; (3) I will drag my ambition-less ass to the gym.
Source:
Photo by Janice R. Moore
January 18, 2017


WAR WIDOW KISSES SOLDIER'S PICTURE
 
From an 1873 La Mosaïque: revue pittoresque illustrée de tous les temps et de tous les pays (Link1,Google Translation: "The Mosaic: picturesque illustrated magazine of all times and all countries"), an engraving from a painting entitled Mon Brave!" showing a young woman with flowing hair kissing a picture on a wall of her dead husband or fiance. Janice points out that there is a physical resemblance between the war widow and herself, with the curly hair.
January 15, 2017


RIP, Robert R. Allen
 
For almost a decade, I've had a chance to share space and time with Bob Allen, a small, quiet man with significant physical handicaps. He was a bit of a mystery man, who filled his life with fantastical "Outsider Art." As a young man, Bob had been buddies with underground cartoonist Vaughn Bode. Bob was a man of few words, but he gravitated toward the welcoming communities of the Philadelphia Ethical Society and The Plastic Club. He attended the Plastic Club's Thursday morning "Open Studio" workshop, where he worked silently producing bizarre compositions, which occasionally sold. He loved to get his welcoming hug from Janice upon arrival at the workshop. Daily life was hard for Bob, but he was stubborn and never asked for help. One of the things he was stubborn about (unfortunately) was his drawing medium -- he doggedly stuck to cheap 19-cent ball-point pens. But his fellow students were finally able to convince him to at least upgrade from cheap lined notebook paper to larger artist-quality paper. Bob died last year, and Janice is organizing a show of his work in the Plastic Club's basement gallery next month.
Source:
NA
January 14, 2017


SITTING FOR PORTRAIT CLASS AGAIN
         
     
One of the advantages of hanging around with artists is that you get more than your share of portraits.
Latest news is that I've been asked to serve as model for two upcoming sessions (1/31, 2/5) of Remo Frangiosa's Portraits class at the Plastic Club.
I sat for that class once before, in September 2015, and above are five of my snapshots of the work of that talented group of students of portraiture. The snapshots were taken during my breaks from the rigorous 20-minute sittings. Unfortunately, I don't have the names of the students. The process of sitting is physically and psychologically stressful. Here are my comments after the 2015 session:

"Those 20-minute stretches of silent stillness was the closest I ever come to meditation. Given my pathetic compulsion to "do" things with my time, I figured out that it was a good chance to practice my Roman Room memory techniques to write stanzas of poetry. First day, I wrote a poem called "Hollow Tube." Second day, I wrote notes on the childhood cottage that I use as my Roman Room. Ended up the second session in deep depression, remembering that cottage and realizing that my relative social and economic status and financial security has declined from that of my parents at the equivalent age."
Acquiring another portrait, I traded a piece of my work with a visiting artist from Toronto, Meri Collier, who did this sketch of me (titled "Bob's Your Uncle") during a Thursday morning open workshop in April 2016.
Next, another portrait, also done during class, by fellow student Paul Davis-Jones, who describes himself as a "serial careerist, dabbling in art." And a second class portrait, by Paul.
Also, please note self-portraits and commissioned portraits in the ARCHIVE at the bottom of this webpage. (I keep them handy there in case I need to re-use them.)
Source:
NA January 13, 2017

GERMAN NATURAL HISTORY ILLUSTRATIONS
   
From the 1899 Das Leben der Binnengewässer (Link1; "The Life of Inland Waters"), a color plate showing worms and mollusks. (May turn into a series.) The largest entity, in the center, is Anodonta, a freshwater mussel. In front of that is a Painter's mussel, so called because its shell made it a good paint holder. Center left bottom is a piscicola geometra, a fish leech.
The key (in German) to the life forms shown is on the image's right.

Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/lebenderbinneng00lamp
January 13, 2017


ARABIC ALPHABET
 
In my survey of public domain documents, I am frustrated by seeing so many Arabic-language books, with their elegant swirling alphabets. Since I can't read them, I'm reluctant to use them, because they may be calling for some horrible religious intolerance. But I'm the poorer for my ignorance of Arabic. In the back of my head, I toy with the idea of learning Arabic, although I'm not sure my brain has enough flexibility left. Anyway, with this in mind, I ran across a simple chart explaining the Arabic alphabet, Summarised Tajweed Chart (Link1). Tajweed (or Tajwid) refers to the rules for reading the Koran aloud.
Several charts are superimposed, so they're not readable except when seen close-up.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/SummarisedTajweedChart
January 12, 2017


WORKING DRAWINGS FOR MOVIE SCENARIO
 
From a 1929 issue of The American Cinematographer (Link1), two hand-sketches illustrating a cinematic effect for a single scene in the short silent horror movie, The Fall of the House of Usher (Link2), based on the Edgar Allen Poe story. In the top rectangle, at the beginning of the scene, a woman runs down some stairs against painted scenery. The scene continues, dissolving, in the bottom rectangle, into a closeup of the woman and the stairs.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/americancinematographer10-1929-04
Link2 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fall_of_the_House_of_Usher_(1928_American_film)
January 11, 2017


A FAILED DEMOCRACY AND FINE SHOES
 
The background is an art piece by Julian Palacz (Link1) entitled "Algorithmic Search for Love," from a recent issue of Digimag (Link2), a journal of "digital art and electronic culture."
The foreground is a shoe -- the suede-heeled Aquazzura Disco Thing from an advertisement in a recent issue of the English fashion magazine Living Edge (Link3). The advertising copy enthuses (in fractured English syntax and punctuation):

"The glittering sequin pom-poms and oh-so-on-trend shade of these glorious sandals make them the perfect car to bar to dance floor solution for SS17 and beyond."
(SS17 means the Spring/Summer fashion season in the year 2017. The shoes cost 615 British pounds or $750, sold at the high-end English department store Selfridges (Link4).

If my country is sinking into oligarchic quicksand because of grotesque levels of inequality and because celebrity fashion culture has hollowed out the critical thinking skills of a significant subset of the voting population, I may as well revel in it.
Source:
Link1: julian.palacz.at/en/film/algorithmic-search-for-love
Link2: archive.org/details/5jan13
Link3: archive.org/details/digimag_issue_72_eng
Link4: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selfridges

January 10, 2017

Our Lady of Melancholy
 
An illustration from the cover of a 1910 Portuguese religious pamphlet A Senhora Da Melancolia: Avatares de um Ateu (Link1; Google translation: "The Lady Of Melancholy: Avatars of an Atheist") by Portugese poet Antonio Gomes Leal.
The anguished, plaintive feel of the image appealed to me. In these last days leading to the presidency of a man laughably unsuited for the task, I am listless and depressed. There is not yet a clear and convincing opposition alternative available. The liberals have turned the Democratic Party into a cozy system for trading favors to identity politics brokers in return for votes. (Note that white heterosexual males are NOT part of the identity politics game, and scapegoating of that group is, if not encouraged, at least not discouraged.) I am not moved by other groups' opposition strategies. The anarchists who derailed Occupy are tactically hopeless; and the ultral-leftists are tarnished with Putin's blessing. Meanwhile, much of the media is pretending to a normality that I do not feel. An exhausted Bernie Sanders has not yet offered an across-the-board strategy. Obama may also be a leader, along with Robert Reich and Elizabeth Warner. I hope eventually someone steps up.
Meanwhile, I guess I'll just keep turning forgotten and neglected images that have passed into the public domain into -- what? -- pretty pictures, I guess. Like I say, I am listless and depressed.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/ASenhoraDaMelancoliaGomesLeal

January 9, 2017


Girl Hides Inside a Ceramic Fish
 
An illustration from the 1899 Zodiac Stories (Link1), a collection of stories by Blanche Mary Channing, each story structured around one of the astrological signs of the Zodiac. Here is an illustration for Pisces, showing a little Japanese Girl named Cherry-Bloom who snuck inside the castle of the Dragon and hid inside a ceramic fish to observe the goings-on.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/ZodiacStories

January 7, 2017


Movie Magic Techniques
 
From a 1936 issue of American Cinematographer (Link1), two developments in movie technology. Top, a plastic make-up "clay" is used to sculpt the face of actor Lionel Barrymore (left) into the character of former President Andrew Jackson (right). Bottom, four new MovieFlood bulbs for technicolor lighting from General Electric-Mazda.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/americancinematographer17-1936-09

January 6, 2017


ChemicalWarfare Plant & Latch
 
From a 1937 propaganda magazine by the German Ministry of War, Wehrmacht (Link1), a photograph alleged to show Russian workers preparing chemical warfare agents. Superimposed on that is a drawing of a cabinet door latch, from a 1955 catalog of National builders hardware (Link2).
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/ReichskriegsministeriumDieWehrmacht1937Nr.27193742S.ScanFraktur
Link2 archive.org/details/NationalMfgCohardware
January 6, 2017


Syrian Orphans Weaving Rug
 
An old photograph used on the cover of a 2011 book about Syria, The Emergence Of Minorities In The Middle East (Link1). The original source of the photo is the French Albert Kahn Museum (Link2), where the photo is captioned "Orphans Making a Rug, Damascus, 1921" I like the fact that one of the four orphan girls turns around to level a look at the photographer.
Source:
Link1: archive.org/details/BenjaminThomasWhiteTheEmergenceOfMinoritiesInTheMiddleEastThePoliticsOfCommunityInFrenchMandateSyria
Link2 albert-kahn.hauts-de-seine.fr/english/
January 4, 2017


Seeking Help in an Old-time Hardware Store
 
A woman customer in a crisp house dress handles a hoe (Link1) recommended by a hardware store salesman in a bow tie -- back in the days before hardware stores became cavernous big-box hangars and older salesmen were replaced with clueless kids. The picture is from an undated (but clearly late 40's or early 50's) catalog from the Union Fork and Hoe Company (Link2) of Columbus, Ohio.
In my nostalgic reconstruction, the salesman, a retired schoolteacher, carefully explains to the housewife the differences between various types of hoes (field hoes, garden hoes, meadow hoes, scuffle hoes, mattock hoes, mortar hoes, and so on) and helps her select the right one.
I have fond memories of those neighborhood hardware stores with oil-stained wood tables and walls crammed with product. In my lifetime, I spent a lot of time seeking help in hardware stores. If you could figure out how to describe your situation in words or gestures or crude napkin drawings, chances are that the salesman could tell you how to fix it -- but you had to overcome the tendency to be too intimidated to ask follow-up questions.
Source:
Link1: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoe_(tool)
Link2: archive.org/details/UnionForkAndHoeCatalog18
January 4, 2017


New Year Reorganization

As another calendar page flutters away -- my 72nd -- it's time to put away last year's Philly Bob's Free for All into the 2016 Archive. I also insert a link to that archive in the upper right corner of the masthead, along with other years. And begin another Philly Bob's Free for All -- the 2017 version!

Source:
NA January 3, 2017


Collage of Numismatic Elements & Dying Artist
 
Large circle at lower right is a card game counting token from the 1972 edition of the Token and Medal Society Journal (Link1) devoted to American Game Tokens.
The standing man at left is from a 1971 issue of the same magazine (Link2), illustrating a souvenir token issued by an art gallery depicting the famous statue of Hananuma Masakichi, whose tragic story of love and artistic obsession is worth reading. To quote the Wikipedia entry, "Believing that he was dying from tuberculosis, Hananuma sculpted a life size statue of himself as a gift to the woman he loved, which was completed in 1885. The artist himself died 10 years later, in poverty aged 63."
Underlaying the whole composition is a series of metallic tokens from American fraternal organizations, such as the Elks and the Knights of Pythias, from a 1968 edition of the same journal (Link3) and a color engraving of a ten-rupee note from an undated Hindu Notes presentation (Link4).
Sources:
Link1 archive.org/details/tamsjournal1262toke
Link2 archive.org/details/tamsjournal11n3toke
Link3 archive.org/details/tamsjournal8n06toke
Link4 archive.org/details/NoteNote_201612
January 3, 2017
Woman Warrior After Battle
 
I know next to nothing about the book (Link1) that uses this image as its cover. I know its author is T.A. Paron, and, except for the author's name, the text is entirely in Arabic. I suspect this image is clip-art from somewhere, since it appears in a number of heroic images of Christian "prayer warriors," who view spiritual and personal struggles through the metaphor of old-fashioned sword combat. The Church Militant. For instance, visit the fascinating (if disturbing) Facebook Photos page of Warrior Women of God (Link2).
The picture shows a bloodied and scarred female warrior in a Greek or Roman helmet (and mascara and false eyelashes) in exhausted repose.
You may take this as my sad tribute to Hillary Clinton, loser of a rigged and unverifiable election.
Sources:
Link1 archive.org/details/ketabfm_yahoo_20161219
Link2 www.facebook.com/pg/Warrior-Women-of-God-716187105085032/photos/?ref=page_internal
January 2, 2017
Punk Planet Graphic Series
         
       
The May-June 1997 issue of Chicago's "Punk Planet" (Link1) music magazine ran a series of monochrome graphics used to break up an 8-page article of reviews of other music "zines." They seem to have been collages composed of (1) scans or photographs of parts from a disassembled manual typewriter (the old click-clack type), (2) black layout tape, and (3) ink stippling from a felt pen.
Looking back at these compositions, I like their casual playfulness. I used to work on underground newspapers in the 70's and I am fond of that style -- egalitarian, stoned, unprofessional. Paper so cheap that one page's image bleeds through to the next. Minimum budget, minimum tools, maximum freedom. No one was building up their resume -- we were working to get out the product and enjoying each other.
So, needing a break from my current gloom over electoral disaster, I'm going to start a new, numbered series of digital treatments of these 20-year-old graphics, redoing them in the style of 2017 Philly-Bob -- with a tip of the hat to the anonymous 1997 designer, who is not credited in the magazine. Sources:
Link1 https://archive.org/details/punk_planet_18
December 27, 2016-January 1, 2017

ARCHIVE: Webpage Proprietor's Portraits
       
Time to change my image at top of this web page. The new image is a small pencil portrait done by Remo Frangiosa. It was done while I sat for Remo's portrait class over a two-week period at Philadelphia's historic Plastic Club in September, 2015.
The second image is a larger painting I commissioned from the Plastic Club's Andy Hoffmann.

Next are two other images also used as masthead portraits. Third image is an iPad self-portait in a coffee shop (approx. 2014). It is probably the best representation of my revulsion at the aging process and my sadness at the prospect of diminishing cognitive powers.
Fourth is an attempt to limit portrait to the fewest number of facial features and still be recognizable (approx. 2012). (Sorry: unlike the other images on this page, these masthead pictures don't enlarge when clicked...)

For other images from the portrait class sitting, see entry for September 22, 2015 -- you'll have to click on the "2015 Archive" link at the top of this page.


To contact Philly-Bob, email me at bobmoore [at symbol] pobox.com (of course, replace "[at symbol]" with "@"].

Masthead Portrait by Remo Frangiosa, 2015

12/29/2015