Tag Archives: Abstract Art

Eat Your Heart Out, Jackson Pollock! (Because You Can’t Eat Your Paintings)

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Good Morning:

Given that the Little Griddle sits on Market Street diagonally across from Twitter and only two blocks away from City Hall, I suppose that lunch could cost a lot more than it does. Fortunately, they do an excellent job with burgers and you don’t have to pay extra for french fries (unlike too many places–it’s San Francisco’s worst culinary atrocity), so the Griddle does deserve the occasional visit. Esp. when the huge $12.75 Evil Knievel burger comes looking like this (all shots taken with my iPhone 6 Plus).

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As it happens, I don’t dress my fries in salt and ketchup. Never have. Always preferred mustard and black pepper–seriously, you should give that combo a try, absolutely delicious. Lately, I’ve experimented with mustard, black pepper, and Mexican hot sauces like Chohula’s “Original” red hot sauce and various green habanero sauces. So when I finished off my lunch, the tray looked like this:

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Inspiration.

Using my last french fry as my paintbrush–seemed appropriate–I went all Jackson Pollock on my condiments and ended up with this:

A La Recherche Des Evil Knievel Hamburgers Perdu.

A La Recherche Des Evil Knievel Hamburgers Perdu.

Dang, I’m good. The gentlemen sitting diagonally across from me at the next table perhaps did not think so; he took one look at my efforts and spent the rest of his lunch studiously avoiding looking at me.

True genius has never received proper appreciation in its own time.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Minimally Artistic Art of Instant Minimalist Art: Grey Series, 26 August 2015.

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Good Evening:

More explorations of the most underrated color of the spectrum.

Redwood Alley, San Francisco, CA

Redwood Alley, San Francisco, CA

Interior Pillar, 525 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA

Interior Pillar, 525 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA

Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA

Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA

Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA

Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA

Interior Pillar, 525 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA

Interior Pillar, 525 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA

Vonn Scott Bair

The Instant Art of Instant Minimalist Art: Blue Series, 7 November 2014. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist)

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Good Morning:

The Blue Series represents another of my favorite themes. I photographed of these closeups in San Francisco’s Civic Center neighborhood during a half-hour stretch on Friday afternoon.

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Vonn Scott Bair

Someone Notices the Contrast of White on White, 30 June 2014 (Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts)

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Good Evening:

Another in an ongoing series of explorations of white and shadow, and this time relevant to this week’s Photo Challenge. In these recent shots, I have tried to take advantage of the limitations of my digital cameras. Every square millimeter of every picture that I’ve attached is white (it’s the ceiling of my Artist’s Garret), but thanks to shadows and how digital cameras handle light vs. dark areas, the results are anything but:

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If interested, you may more examples of this theme here, here, here and here. For starters.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Minimally Artistic Art of Instant Minimalist Art: Grey Series, Recent Pictures, 18 May 2014 (Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art)

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Good Evening:

Frequent visitors to The San Francisco Scene–Seen! have become familiar with this phenomenon but might still remain baffled: I really really really like studying the color grey. Grey might seem dull to most folks; perhaps that attracts my attention, seeking to find the sometimes interesting in the usually dull. I know a professional photographer who likes to say, “Do not photograph an interesting object; photograph what is interesting in the object.” I like his approach, which might explain why I sometimes find grey a work of art.

One positive aspect about the color is that shadows play well with it. Here is a shot of a boring wall near Van Ness and Market that only becomes interesting twice a year , and only for a few minutes.

Market Street, 26 April 2014, 4:16:38 p.m.

Market Street, 26 April 2014, 4:16:38 p.m.

You get these shadows only every six months.

I saw this diagonal shadow pattern on a bridge on Illinois Street near Amador, along San Francisco’s East Coast.

Illinois Street Near Amador, 10 May 2014, 7:31:17 p.m.

Illinois Street Near Amador, 10 May 2014, 7:31:17 p.m.

This time, a nice contrast of horizontal vs. diagonal.

Such extreme shadows along walls (I call it “light shaving the wall” because I don’t know the correct term) will throw rougher textures into their greatest contrast, as in this picture, also taken along Market Street on the same day as the first.

Market Street, 26 April 2014, 3:41:30 p.m.

Market Street, 26 April 2014, 3:41:30 p.m.

We have a building a few blocks down on Golden Gate Avenue whose eastern wall frankly has little visual appeal. Most of the time.

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And perhaps it still does, but I like it. Sometimes.

Across from PUC HQ on Redwood Alley you will find the backside of Superior Court, and between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. every six months (notice a pattern?) the curious and useless ledges that stick out–actually, pigeons looking for love do find them useful–will cast extremely long shadows given that they only stick out about 6 inches from the wall.

Redwood Alley, 14 May 2014, 5:08:26 p.m.

Redwood Alley, 14 May 2014, 5:08:26 p.m.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and looks forward to a good week.

Vonn Scott Bair

Murals Blooming (Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring!)

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Good Evening:

Spring means new murals in San Francisco, blooming everywhere. The middle of the 1100 block of Market Street has two construction sites protected by temporary plywood walls, which translated into mural-ese means close to 100 feet of blank canvas begging for a paint job. Here are three new complete ones, covering the plywood protecting a future office-school-theater of the American Conservatory Theater.

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On Sunday, three artists worked on new murals for the adjoining construction site. One was willing to take a break and answer a few questions about the short life span of San Francisco murals. He’s the gentleman in the picture below.

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Murals get replaced frequently; ’tis a rare mural that lasts more than one year, and many only last six months. This muralist works quite often with the two gentlemen who worked on either side of him, and here are their pieces, which replaced their own older work.

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I learned that there exist two primary reasons why murals get replaced so often. The first did not surprise me–graffiti. After a while, murals receive so much disrespectful mistreatment that it becomes simplest simply to paint over everything and create a new art work.

The second reason might surprise you–contracts.

Yes, contracts. Many murals last for only six or twelve months because the contract the muralist signs with the construction company (or whoever else hires them) stipulates that life span. Then the next artist comes in and paints over the old art with a mural lasting another six or twelve months, or perhaps the same artist creates a new one.

Since the artists not only photograph the finished murals, they also videotape the act of creation, they don’t mind the fact that their work doesn’t last. Their photographs and videos become more permanent versions of the original painting. This attitude of the artists toward their own art will a require a bit of adjustment in my own thinking. I have grown used to reading and viewing plays written 25 centuries ago, not to mention looking at sculptures of the same age. The notion that something like a painting designed/contracted for transience feels a bit odd right now.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Artists Leave Their Mark (Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters)

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Good Morning:

And good Heavens, your faithful correspondent has gotten old, hasn’t he? Don’t know if the people who create San Francisco’s magnificent murals call themselves artists, muralists, painters, or taggers. Do know that they do like to leave their mark, and they do like to leave it artistically. All pictures taken on 26 April 2014 with a Nikon D40 DSLR, unedited.

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Vonn Scott Bair