Archive for the Keith’s Komments Kompliments and Komplaints Category

On some of our internal documentation Artists UK has sometimes abbreviated Artists UK to AUK but we are having some second thoughts about this since learning that the Great Auk was a large, flightless alcid that became extinct in the mid-19th century!

It lived in the North Atlantic, and bred on rocky, isolated islands with easy access to both the ocean and a plentiful food supply, a rarity in nature that provided only a few breeding sites for it. The Great Auk was 75 to 85 centimetres (30 to 33 in) tall and weighed around 5 kilograms (11 lb), making it the largest alcid. It had a black back and a white belly. The black beak was heavy and hooked with grooves on its surface. During summer, the Great Auk had a white patch over each eye. During winter, the auk lost this patch, instead developing a white band stretching between the eyes. The auk was a powerful swimmer, a trait that it used in hunting. Humans had hunted the Great Auk for more than 100,000 years, and by the 19th century, its growing rarity increased interest from European museums and private collectors in obtaining skins and eggs of the bird. The last two confirmed specimens were killed off the coast of Iceland on July 3, 1844.  Hopefully, the Great Artists UK will survive rather longer than the poor Great Auk.  More about the Great Auk here.

avengers-assemble_marvel

Have you seen the Marvel Avengers Assemble film yet?  We went yesterday and it was mind-blowingly awesome.  Marvel have pulled off the biggest stunner so far with the Avengers film.  Given how good the films of Marvel’s individual super-heroes The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and Captain America were it isn’t that surprising I suppose.  Apart from still trying to come to terms with a black and too young Nick Fury the Avengers and the villains are all very well-played and at least fairly well cast.  The Black Widow getting ready to face down the alien menace with a handgun did seem a bit daft though.  Couldn’t SHIELD have kitted her out with a better weapon than that?  I don’t want to give any Avengers film spoilers but the film is worth watching just for when the Hulk gets up close and personal with Loki.  That is a real laugh.  In fact in some respects The Hulk steals the show.

The Avengers forming as a team is well done and the Avengers infighting and misunderstandings that were always a trademark of Marvel’s all-too-human superheroes are there and well done.  Each Avenger has such a clear personality and the Avengers film makers have clearly set out to provide the definitive version of each Avenger.

I wasn’t sure about Loki but he won me over in the end.  There is a real slimy nasty menace about Loki and a kind of suave and arrogant way too.  Sadly, he reminded me of too many politicians.  As in the Avengers Marvel comics, it becomes clear who is the boss of the Avengers and Captain America is really impressive.  At first glance he is the weakest of the four Avengers but, as in the Marvel comics of the Avengers, ultimately he is the strongest in what counts – skill and intelligence.

The special effects are with all the stops pulled out in Avengers Assemble.  The jaw-dropping global effects from 2012 are there and plenty of others.  If you haven’t seen the Avengers Assemble film yet then don’t miss Marvel supremo Stan Lee’s cameo at the end where he says that the idea of super-heroes in New York is ridiculous.  Of course it is Stan Lee’s 90th birthday this year, which only goes to prove that Marvel comics keep you young and you live longer.

There are a question or two of course on the Avengers film that you might want to comment on.  Whatever happened to the Avengers Giant Man / Ant Man and The Wasp who were members of the original Avengers line-up?  In a way it seems odd to have Hawkeye and the Black Widow around and leave them out.  I always thought Giant Man was a great Avenger.  That would also have paved the way for Hawkeye to have done his Goliath bit and the Avengers comics of that period had an interesting take on what happened when Hawkeye became Goliath.  We also miss out on Giant Man as Yellowjacket of course who was a real character in the Marvel Avengers comics.   If they felt the need to turn Nick Fury black to introduce a little balance into the predominantly whitey world of Marvel superheroes then why didn’t they bring in The Black Panther?  He’s a rich African tribal chief for goodness sake!  Last but not least there’s The Vision and his unlikely romance with another Avenger The Scarlet Witch (also not included in the Avengers here and nor is her brother Quicksilver).  There are still many poignant, exciting, meaningful and world-shattering moments from the history of Marvel’s Avengers comics that could be put into a film.  Let’s hope some of them make it into the next Avengers Assemble film and if I’ve missed a few ideas I’m sure you’ll put me right in the comments.

If you live anywhere near Glastonbury then the wonderfully talented artist Ed Org will be at the Faerie Fair at Glastonbury on 10-11th March. Celebrated and practically legendary faery artist Brian Froud and his equally talented model-making wife Wendy Froud will also be attending as well as all the other usual artistic suspects.   If you love fantasy art then this is the place to be.  If you are not familiar with artist Ed Org’s amazing work then look here.  If you are really unsure about any of it then you can also find artist Brian Froud’s art here and Wendy Froud art here.

Ed Org will be at the following shows:

November: 10/11/12/13 Milton Keynes Shopping Centre
19/20 Wimpole House, Arrington, Royston, Cambs
26/27 Ludlow Castle Medieval Fayre, Ludlow, Shropshire

December: 8/9/10/11 Chichester Winter Market, Chichester, W.Sussex
17/18 Xmas Arts and Crafts, The Victoria Halls, Hartley Wintney, Nr. Fleet, Hants.

If you are not familiar with his incredible artwork then look here .
Waterfall by MC Escher

Waterfall by MC Escher

MC Escher was an amazing Dutch artist whose surreal art prints like the impossible Waterfall shown here still dumbfound people as was undoubtedly Escher’s intention.  MC Escher challenges the way we look at the world and the way our sense of sight works.  Just glance at any Escher art print or poster and it hits you as he shows how the perspective can be manipulated to trick you into thinking we are seeing something you are not seeing.  Even when you look closely at MC Escher’s art it can be hard to see how it all works.  How did MC Escher manage to make it look like the waterfall is perpetual?  How does it end up where it started defying all the logic of our perceptions?  MC Escher was an extraordinary Dutch artist with a keen interest in geometry.  MC Escher produced many surreal visual puzzles and some of these Escher puzzles were used for album cover art like Reptiles for the Mott the Hoople album.  MC Escher’s work, has never really dated and an MC Escher impossible puzzle looks as freash today as it did back when he drew them.

A guest in your home seeing Escher’s endless waterfall is going to be drawn to comment.  If you’d like to see our range of MC Escher prints and posters then just click here where there are plenty of different Escher products to chose from either for yourself or to give someone else a slice of Escher mind-bending!