Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What is it like to be married to the Zymoglyphic Museum?

Jim tells me “what does your wife/Judy/Mrs. Stewart think about the Zymoglyphic Museum?” is in his top 10 most frequently asked questions. Here is an effort to explain, in mere words, what the museum means to me.

By the way - I am Judy/Jude/Judith Hoffman - not Mrs. Stewart. Nothing wrong with the Stewarts, I love them dearly. But when I divorced my first husband I decided if I remarried I would not take my husband’s name again. It’s anachronistic in my opinion.

In 2011 I made a pinhole film camera called the Zymo 127, took photos, and made an artist’s book titled Spirits Under Glass to house the photos. Spirits Under Glass and the Zymo 127 now reside in the Zymoglyphic Museum.

When I completed the Zymo 127 project I wrote:

“The Zymoglyphic Museum
We all know, at least in theory, that life is not static. Change occurs constantly and the world is new again and again. The Zymoglyphic Museum is the perfect example of this. Its displays are constantly evolving. The museum staff doesn't try to fight this trend, instead they embrace it. Many of the displays contain objects that are rusty, or made of dirt or decaying objects. There is no effort to stabilize the displays. Things decay as time passes. Little pools of rust or dirt fall around the base of some of the objects and become as much a part of the museum as the original object. Dust, cobwebs and blown-in leaves accumulate.

When it's not open for visitors, the Zymoglyphic Museum is a dark and shadowy place. Light comes in a single window and illuminates a jumble of mysterious objects waiting to be placed in their display cases. With their interior lights off, the dioramas are dark windows, with shadowy figures behind. (img274lookingtowardwindow.psd) or kachina photo?

Over the years the museum has taken on its own personality, just as each person does. It is made of some deep thoughts, some random junk and some accumulated stuff that may or may not be valuable. It is a place to meditate on life and death. The exhibits are not about "Xenophora" for example, but about how life progresses. It's wonders and mysteries, how we change over the years, becoming both wiser and a little crusty, and how even the lowliest insect or a decayed leaf can be beautiful and mysterious.”

My take on it now: I like it very much - it’s magical and mysterious, dreamy and ugly/beautiful. I don’t mind the dead animals or bones. My major objection for years was that I have an allergy to dust and mold. Some times of the year my reaction can be pretty bad. When we lived in San Mateo there were fewer displays. The dioramas and a few free-standing figures were housed in Jim’s study, a spare bedroom. When I learned of my allergies, I persuaded him to get a garden shed to house the museum. I felt bad about it. Although he agreed, he seemed to feel rejected. Things did work out well in the end. As the museum space increased the number of displays increased. For years it was Jim's main weekend project. Unfortunately over the years more and more random stuff accumulated in the museum prep area in our attached garage, hence the need for a large detached garage here in Portland.

I am a student of the Zymoglyphic way, which is an intuitive thing. I may never truly get it. I know it helps if things are weird, decaying or unidentifiable. Still I often pick up things when we are out walking and show them to Jim just to have him put them back. There is an undefined criteria each object must meet.

It is true that when we met I had boxes marked “skulls” on my shelves of art materials. (Rabbit skulls) Also some mummified mice and other strange things I had been attracted to. Of course they all joined the museum collection long ago.

I must also confess to some envy - Jim set up shop, started telling people about the museum and they started coming. Word spreads, it has become more and more popular. We have been in Portland 3 1/2 years and he seems to average 100 visitors a month. I would love to put my books somewhere and have that kind of audience. Of course I am also very happy for him, and proud of his success. The museum is a one-of-a-kind place that needs to be seen. And you can call me Mrs. Zymoglyphic if you want to.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Museum Hours

How could an artist not want to watch a movie with the title "Museum Hours?" This is one of my all time favorite movies. The first time I watched it, a scene with a visiting lecturer explaining Bruegel paintings stuck in my mind as the best part.

My recent second viewing seemed very different - there is a scene at the very end of the movie that I now think is possibly the best part. The narrator (Johann, a museum guard) describes an everyday scene in the movie as if it is a painting. It's the kind of thing we all see daily and probably don't notice. He says "And here, a landscape of sorts. A tall building stands on a rise and just as it draws your eye up and away the figure of an elderly woman, her clothes black as pitch, appears and makes its way up a central path which curves to the right at just enough of an incline to make one sense the lady's resolution. For it's cold and snow is just starting to fall and she must get where she's headed before obstacles increase. And one begins to wonder what the main subject is. A distant building which, tall as it is, can only rule over this kind of working class suburb or the old woman setting herself against the cold and the asphalt path until she disappears behind an enormous hedge. Leading us to wonder if the main thing could be the path itself and then there is the grey-white atmosphere which calls special attention to the bright red taillights of the cars on the left which seem impossibly red and even beautiful. . . "

I think most people will love or hate this movie - no chase scenes, no car wrecks, no vampires, no blood and gore. Just people looking at art and talking to each other.

Here is a trailer:

I thought IMDB had a place where you could see a list of places to view a movie, but I can't find that now. However just seems to be helpful:

Experiments With Text

Playing in my sketch book I came up with this - In my dreams I have been many things, a troll, a mean demon, a man, a bear, also people living in different times. It's part of what I find so interesting about dreaming. I think people's dreams are individual, there are no real "standard" ways of looking at things in dreams.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Some free stuff

23 Sandy (Laura Russell) just posted a free book you can print and make yourself.

I also wanted to pass on several free downloads from Marc Taro Holmes - these are drawing and watercolor tips. The one called Tea, Milk, Honey is a small one sheet book with watercolor tips.

In the vein of free downloads, I have a free pattern for paper spectacles on my website. There are two versions - one has a few collage elements, another has just a map of Mars and some stars.

And there is a little one sheet book called Dreaming Made Easy you can download and assemble.

Dreaming Made Easy was in an online show Marc Snyder did of free downloadable books.

I love the idea of sending books out into the world this way!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Day ?? Inktober

Another drawing for Inktober. This one was started with a smear of Ziller ink. At first I started drawing faces but then started to see the animal and liked the idea of a made-up skeleton for an imaginary animal. It is partly inspired by the fold out anatomical parts in old books and partly by drawings of Godzilla insides. I also used a copic pen with black ink, a white and an ivory Posca pen. #Inktober #Inktober2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

Continuing with Inktober

I'm falling behind, I had dental surgery the beginning of the week. I'm not sure if it was the medications or my general frame of mind, but I didn't want to draw at all. By yesterday (Thursday) it was fun again. So now I'm trying to catch up. My original goal was to do some experimenting with content. I want to explore the possibilities of seeing imagery in marks. I started with scribbly lines but quickly changed to ink splattered and dropped on the paper. Now my other goal is to have 31 sketches by the end of the month. A few will cover several days.

I won't assign days to the drawings since they are done in groups, its enough to be getting them done. Originally I wanted to draw more than I normally do, but haven't been. It takes time to take photos, edit them and upload. I committed to doing this on Sktchy as well as here, so I am also distracted by everyone else's wonderful drawings.
This is Ogim, my new crush. His photo was found on Sketchy. In order to catch up I am doing some very quick, loose sketches.

Ogim again, more quick sketches. This is out of order, date-wise, but I'm showing the least interesting first.

Very quick studies of cat and dog skeletons. I wanted to see how the legs work, but ended up also really liking the spines.

The image on the right was for day 12, I'm showing both sides of the sketchbook because they relate to each other a little. I'm not sure I like the totem pole effect, but I do like the dog crossing behind.

I wasn't crazy about this one at first, it seems a little too obvious with the wings. But I like it better now. The paper had water sprayed on, then ink dropped on.

I worked on this one for several days and will count it as two. It seems a little scattered to me. However there are parts I do like and could probably make it into two or three drawings. I keep forgetting I don't like 90 degree cross hatching. It makes me think of those plastic net bags we used to get onions and oranges in. I think I need to get out my inspiration books out again. #Inktober #Inktober2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

More Inktober - Day 8 to 12

I'm falling behind in some ways - didn't take photos until yesterday. I do have drawings from most days.
Day 8. This one is from a photo on Sktchy - I do like the painted faces some people post. The Halloweeny ones and many of the Day of the Dead ones aren't so interesting, but the really unusual ones are fun to draw.

Day 9, 10 and 11. The figure on the right was from Sktchy too. I recorded the date wrong, but it was done over three days. I started with the face and three trees and had no idea where it would go.

Day 12. I have been splashing ink on pairs of pages to get a surface to start on. This particular page seemed to have a long nose and eyes, I didn't like the idea of it much so didn't do the drawing. But every time I looked at that page I couldn't see a different image. So I finally decided to give in and do the drawing. The body is from a beautiful photo of a young gorilla.

The pressure to draw every day took the fun out of #Inktober for me at first. Before Inktober I was drawing almost every day, so it seemed like an easy challenge. But thinking of posting, having people see the drawings and feeling like it's an assignment was not sitting well with me. I also found it hard to get the photos taken, uploaded, edited, etc. Once I articulated the problem I decided I don't have to draw every day, don't have to show my drawings to anyone, can upload when convenient and can drop out at any point. And presto! I started enjoying the drawing again and managed to do something most days. I'm not sure about this coming week, but hope to catch up and "get with the program." (As my Mom used to say.) My larger goal here is to explore unconscious imagery. I have been doing this some on my ipad with Procreate and wanted to do it on paper. #Inktober2017