kiss 3
the little known of gallery-tm

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Janis Joplin -
Robert Crumb:
The Kiss of Comix 
& Blues Rock
the photographer raps:

"Through his bug-eye lens, the fly-on-the-wall photographer witnesses history, even when he buzzes too close and lands in the soup. 
    "This is the popular perception of photography. It’s far from the truth. A photographer sees with more than one eye. He sees through his film, through a dozen lenses, through the chemistry of the darkroom. He experiments with tradition. 
    "Yes, pictures are historical windows, to the vision of their time. 
    "The 1969 New Comix Show at the Phoenix Gallery in Berkeley featured Robert Crumb among the cartoonists. The highlight of the opening though was Janis Joplin, arriving late in her psychedlic Porsche. 
    "Painted in bright swirls, the car was its own show, on display outside the gallery’s glass door. A white fur hat marked Janis herself, inside the dimly-lit gallery. The only light was on the art. Janis, however, with her casual ease and enthusiastic gaity, brought a sense of party with her. She made Robert her center. Several cameras took notice. 
    "'What about photographers?' Robert asked quickly. 
    "'Ignore them,' Janis said freely. 
    "Sure in his art, but anxious in the public eye, Robert tried. 
    "Given the gallery’s darkness, I used surveillance film, ASA 4000; the grain on enlargement is the size of buck-shot. But what I saw was colored by the art on the wall, and the people around me. After all, an opening is a revealing, a public relations event to be sure, but also a celebration, among fans and friends, a crystallization of time in place, to applause. 
    "To convey the vision, I’ve used extra-ordinary techniques, sometimes overlapping. For if a photographer is a fly on the wall, his eyes have two hundred views. And Janis and Robert that number of personalities. In this spirit, I’ve produced as many variations, as they evolved, consistent with my sense of photographic moment, so that every eye-well opens."

© 1990 Elihu Blotnick, all rights reserved

Also of interest

The Nature of Art: Concerning the Illustrations of Gladys Perint Palmer

All art rises from a common ground. A sketch book is an inside look through the artist's eyes as she toys with her vision. Art is a cat's paw that colors the page. Her trail is the blood of opinion. Another day she sees differently. The art gains a life of its own and acquires meaning beyond the moment it was created. The artist herself can claim all of history as personal possession. Yes, fine art is a world in itself, it serves no purpose but its own, it exists on many levels, defines itself, speaks uniquely to us all. Illustration, on the other hand, is tied to a source, be it an event, an essay, or a product. Yet, illustration can transcend its purpose when it resonates, when the string holding the balloon breaks and the art flows over us to create a new light in the sky. Artists inspire more than others. A fantasy in cloth creates a fictional resonance, when the artist herself uses the runway to take off. If her flight finds styles never seen in a showroom, then all at once we know, fashion is the surprising reality of fantasy. In an art book, illumination is essential, newness more so. The text should shine light on the art, and the art itself should glow with life from within. Images should flow into and against each other, changing in size, color, energy, and style to vary the pace, keep the interest, support the meaning, especially in an art book with a broad historical flow, where principles are timeless. My favorite sketches always are those that stand on their own, without comment, reference or history. What these sketches have in common is a playful, rhythmic array of color and line. The playful is seemingly spontaneously expressed and subtly disciplined. The rhythmic element appears organic, growing appealingly into an inevitable attitude, that's both striking and original. The fashion is the artistic technique, in the end. These thoughts always guide me in the final selection.

2013 Elihu Blotnick, editor