Friday, May 21, 2021

metaphor / two things come together as one

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Roy R. Behrens, Bird Repair. Digital montage, © 2021.


Robert Frost

Man likes to bring two things together into one…He lives by making associations, and he is doing well by himself and in himself when he thinks of something in connection with something else that no one ever put with it before. That's what we call a metaphor.

the one way by which new ideas come about

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Above Roy R. Behrens, Carry Out. Digital montage, © 2021.


Francis A. Cartier—

There is only one way in which a person acquires a new idea: by the combination or association of two or more ideas he already has into a new juxtaposition in such a manner as to discover a relationship among them of which he was not previously aware. An idea is a feat of association.

the unlikely marriage of cabbages and kings

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Above Roy R. Behrens, Bid Adieu. Digital montage, © 2021.


Arthur Koestler, The Act of Creation

The essence of discovery is that unlikely marriage of cabbages and kings—of previously unrelated frames of reference or universes of discourse—whose union will solve the previously unsoluable problem.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

something you will remember all your life

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Above Roy R. Behrens, Her Master's Voice. Digital montage, © 2021.


Norman Lewis, Jackdaw Cake: An Autobiography. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1985, pp. 7-8—

As confidence and sympathy began growing between us, my Aunt Li and I took to wandering round the countryside together. Li was a small woman, hardly any bigger than me. She would wet me with her tears, and I would listen to her sad ravings and sometimes stroke her hand. One day she must have come to the grand decision to tell me what lay at the root of her sorrow. We climbed a stile and went into a field and, fixing her glistening eyes upon me, she said, “What I am going to tell you now you will remember every single day of your life.” But whatever she revealed must have been so startling that memory rejected it, for not a word of what was said remains in my mind.

great bauhaus barcelona execution chair

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Above Roy R. Behrens, Rear End Collision. Digital montage, © 2021.


In Mark Leyner's My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist (New York: Harmony Books, 1990), a fictional prison inmate, condemned to die in the electric chair, utters the following frolicsome note about Bauhaus-era furniture—

Luckily, I'd developed an unusually close relationship with the warden. Knowing how much I loved Mies van der Rohe, he had an electric Barcelona chair custom-built for my execution. And when the date finally came and I was led into the death chamber, I couldn't help but marvel at the delicate curvature of the X-shaped legs, the perfect finish of the plated steel and the leather upholstery, and the magnificent, almost monumental proportions that have made the Barcelona chair timeless.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Pearl Harbor / Boston's Japanese art collection

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Above Roy R. Behrens, Autodidact. Digital montage, © 2021.


Robert Craft, An Improbable Life. Nashville TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2002, p. 33—

On Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941, my father and I were watching a football game in Rockville Center, Long Island, when a loudspeaker announced the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The game went on as though the statement had not been understood, or taken for another Orson Welles radio hoax, but when twice repeated, the stunned, disbelieving crowd in the bleachers began to drift away. As we drove back to Manhattan, the automobile radio sputtered news bulletins, one of which said that the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston had been cordoned by police because of concern that its great collection of Japanese Art might be endangered by reprisals.

Glen Baxter / a childhood spent in darkest Leeds

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Above Roy R. Behrens, Twin Poseurs. Digital montage, © 2021. 


Glen Baxter in Les Coleman, Unthinking. UK: Littlewood Arc, 1993—

I spent my childhood in darkest Leeds. I had a problem. I stammered. One day my mother sent me down to the local haberdashery shop in Hunslet Carr to purchase a collar stud for my father's shirt. All the way down to the shop I practiced my speech, searching for ways to address the shop assistant without blocking on certain troublesome words. This was clearly an important mission and I must not fail. After a thorough rehearsal of every possible combination of words that would indicate to the person in the shop the nature of my visit, I stepped up and opened the door and marched boldly up to the shop counter. “Do you have any collar studs?” I blurted to the man behind the counter. He looked at me for a moment or two then replied slowly, “I'm afraid we seem to be right out at the moment, but if you care to pop next door to the haberdashery shop, they might indeed be able to help you.” I turned and made my exit through the furniture shop.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

recalling the pleasures of teaching with ede

Above Craig Ede, Self-Portrait (© 2021).


Some many years ago, too long to clearly remember (it was more than three decades ago), I was teaching a course in basic design (not graphic design), the arrangement of visual components, regardless of media. I came up with a brilliant idea: Why not invite an especially capable graduate student to team-teach that course with me? My approach to team-teaching required the combined presence and participation of both teachers in the same classroom at all times. 

But who to ask? It occurred to me that it should be someone who intended to teach in the future at the university level. And of course it should also be someone who had exceptional abilities as an artist / designer, as well as the skills that all teachers should have. To complicate matters, the experiment was non-funded. The student teacher would neither be paid nor would he / she receive course credit. But the experience could be listed on the person’s vita (when applying for teaching positions), with a letter of recommendation, and slide examples of the work that the students produced in the course. 

So who did I choose? Without hesitation, I approached a graduate painting student named Craig Ede, whose recent self-portrait drawing is posted above. At the time, of course, he was three decades or more younger, and did not yet show the scars of the torment of living through both a pandemic and the threatened decay of civilized life. Craig, who has so vividly “captured” himself, is an old friend, a painter, and former professor who lives in Wisconsin. I haven’t seen him for years, but this is such a persuasive reminder, it is almost as if he were present. Or, as he himself explains, it is what he will look like about seven months from now, in December 2021. More than ever, I can clearly see why I invited him to team teach in my classroom. It was a memorable experience, for students as well as the teachers.