Monday, 14 July 2008

Artwork Mondays: D.N.A.-Candle Vanitas III


I've blogged about my DNA-Candle Vanitas paintings before, but perhaps I should explain again.

Here is what I said in my first post about this series of images:
Vanitas painting is an old tradition, especially popular in the Northern Renaissance. Usually, it is a still life, depicting perhaps a skull, a broken watch, a candle just snuffed out with the smoke trailing in the air, a book half-read, a tipped over water glass....Pieter Claesz, trained by Franz Hals, is one of my favourite masters of this art style.

The image is one of mortality, with a kind of knock-you-over-the-head symbolism. The message intended is a kind of carpe diem, or "seize the day".

After reading about how telomeres may play a part in the aging process, and that their ends snip off when they replicate, I started coming up with the DNA Candle image. I remember reading something in the 90's that suggested if one could extend telomeres, one may be able to stave off death. The candle melting and the telomere shortening just seemed a natural image. I used DNA as a wick since it is more readily recognisable by most people.

So the ultimate message of the DNA Candle Vanitas is one of seize the day, life is beautiful but finite. The candles are lit and glowing, a loving image and the wax has melted together in union.
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This dramatically purple Vanitas was created for Nevin Douglas and Anya Vena for their wedding, two very artistically talented people, and very good friends of mine.

I've known Nevin for years, and he is an amazingly talented guitarist and songwriter. Nevin used to play in the band Debaser, and can now be heard playing around Toronto as part of the experimental rock outfit, Thee 9am Social. Check out their tracks on their MySpace page!

Anya has a powerful voice, and is the vocalist in the popular Toronto indie band, Personal Circus. Don't miss their shows, Anya's showmanship on stage is compelling and entertaining.

Both these bands have the speed and licks that make it easier for me to paint. If you are in the Toronto area, make sure to check their pages for future shows. I painted the Vanitas with a deep purple that to me, feels like it resonates with the power of Anya's voice, and the painting contains the dark speed of Nevin's guitar.
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15 comments:

Eric T. Jones said...

I like it. Are you a synesthetic?

Glendon Mellow: The Flying Trilobite said...

What a neat concept. I just looked it up.

No, I don't think I am a synesthetic, except perhaps in a cultural sense.

We all imbue colours and meanings from the culture we live in, so I suspect that's what I was feeling when I mentioned the colour relating to Nevin and Anya's music.

The National Post just had an interesting series last week in their Arts section about the culture of colours.

Peter Bond said...

I really like the colour and the wispy candle smoke.

Have you ever thought of incorporating Bucky Balls in your paintings? A bucky ball-Earth...

Glendon Mellow: The Flying Trilobite said...

Come on now Peter, you just like saying the word buckyball, don't you.

Everywhere you go, buckyball this, buckyball that.

But actually no, I haven't. That would be pretty neat. But it does beg the question, Mr. Bond have you thought about doing it? Something frenetic and full of energy like your ammonite piece.

Eric T. Jones said...

Ah that's too bad you aren't one, I hear it's rather fun. I watched a show about a girl that was a synesthetic to sound, colors, and taste. She said she didn't like some guys name because the first part tasted like pickles and the second like chocolate cake. Talk about a bad taste in your mouth! Another story she had was when she first realized she was different. She was eating outside when it started to rain. As each rain drop hit a different cup, bowl or plate, it made a different sound/color. She was talking about it with her fellow diners who didn't share in the same experience and that's when she figured it out.


They say that a lot of artistic people are that way. It also seems to improve your memory if you happen to be lucky (Or is it curse? I don't think it's a bad thing) enough to have it.

Jeff Hayes said...

Clever! Claesz is a favorite of mine too

Glendon Mellow: The Flying Trilobite said...

Eric,
that sounds like both a complicated and beautiful way to live.

I do think my memory recall is quite strong, and very visual. I don't know if there is a correlation there.

Jeff,
Thanks! And Claesz was awesome. The only time I have ever copied some artwork was for a course on historical techniques and materials, and I used pieces by Claesz and Durer.

TheNerd said...

I love it! Got to get me some candles just like those.

Glendon Mellow: The Flying Trilobite said...

Why,
Thankyuhverrymuch, my nerdy friend!

Candle Glass said...

wow, really really good painting and nice "Candle philosophy"!

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks! I have a newer one planned combined with a portrait...oops, I've said too much.

;-)

Anonymous said...

this is amazing, I wanted to ask if I could show your vanitas in my art journal(I'm in grade 10 but I will include this URL and credit where it is due), but if I may ask what are the dimensions of this artwork?

Glendon Mellow said...

Hi Anonymous! Thanks so much for your compliment and interest.

So long as the image is properly credited and not being used to make money, I'd be happy for you to use the image in your art journal. Let me know by email if you'd like a higher-res image. (theflyingtrilobite @ gmail . com)

What's the nature of the project?

Oh, and the original was 8"x10", not including the frame that's visible.

Anonymous said...

well there's no profit involved but i am hoping for a good mark (: im supposed to make my own vanitas but in the process i must find vanitas's that i enjoy and that inspire me. thank you so much!

Glendon Mellow said...

What a terrific project!

If you decide you want to share your project, I'd love to post it here.

Have fun!

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