Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Reality is making us sick, and fantasy can't cure us

You’re honey child to a swarm of bees
Gonna blow right through you like a breeze
Give me one last dance
Well slide down the surface of things

You’re the real thing
Yeah the real thing
You’re the real thing
Even better than the real thing

– U2

Fantasy stories, myths, legends, tall tales, fairy tales, horror, all these have been with us for a very long time. Science fiction, as well, has been with us since Mary Shelley found herself in a bet with Lord Byron about the possibility of writing a new kind of horror, one not grounded in the gothic.* So the presence in our popular culture of stories based in unreality of one form or another is certainly nothing new.

It seems to me that there’s been a lot more of it lately, though. Continue reading

This hawk flies high, but alights on terra firma

Artist Michael James Hawk mines our collective unconscious for imagery that’s not only primitive, but alien.

hawk1.jpgOccasionally a visual artist who’s little known, but who seems to draw from an inexhaustible supply of creativity, comes to our attention. Whatever vein he or she has tapped — or opened — its yield is not only as malleable as gold but just as beguiling.

Why, we wonder, isn’t this artist more honored and rewarded? The question, of course, applies to many artists in America. But what if an artist’s work boasts of qualities that should appeal to not only the discerning eye, but the public? That’s the case with Seattle resident Michael James Hawk.

On one hand Hawk’s work bears evidence of his influences: Praxiteles, Moore, Brancusi, Picasso, Miro, Giacometti, and Calder. Current artists whose work speaks to him include Botero, the startling Magdalena Abakanowicz, and international architect Santiago Calatrava. On the other hand, Hawk’s work exhibits an element of — for want of a better word — the fantastic. Continue reading