Monday, July 23, 2012

Initially, I saw a woman

For some reason when I first looked at this circa 1950s photo I did not see a sapling in front of a blowing flag. Instead, I saw a transparent woman looking up at the flag, with the top of the sapling the back of her head and the wire surround her torso.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The sweet smell of tobacco

This is a drawing by Paul Gebo probably made in the 1930s. A number of Mr. Gebo's drawings were found at a flea market in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Styrofoam giant

If this 20-foot fella at the top looks familiar you probably saw Zombieland, the 2009 film in which a shy student attempting to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the "last Twinkie," and sisters seeking an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America. Zombieland stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone. The towering American Indian was created by Jay Womer Productions, which has a warehouse in intown Atlanta near my home. In the film, the Indian was a wood trading post figure in the Southwest. In real life, he's simply styrofoam and tubing in the Southeast. But even off screen the weathered giant impresses. Womer, who's shown in the second photo, said someone who coveted the foam Indian asked if it could be floated on the Chattahoochee River to his home. That idea was rejected. In Womer's business, crazy requests are not uncommon. The craftsmen under his direction recently completed a green screen for the upcoming Jackie Robinson biopic "42" that was 900 feet long, 80 feet tall and took six weeks to build. "The largest green screen in the world," Womer said. The screen was used to create the illusion of the Brooklyn Dodgers' stadium. The last photo shows a styrofoam head with a gaping wound overlooking Womer's workshop. Victim of a celluloid ax murderer?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

400 IKEA chairs

"Seat" is a big, arching sculpture in a park near my home in Atlanta. Yong Ju Lee and Brian Brush, partners in the New York-based design collaboration E/B Office, created Seat. Using 400 IKEA chairs, Lee and Brush demonstrate that even the simplest arse holders can delight when removed from their familiar domestic setting. flux projects, which organizes temporary outdoor art installations in Atlanta, presented Seat. A Kickstarter campaign raised $3,125 to help fund the installation. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Young pugilists

An illustration, circa 1940s, for some youth publication, I'm guessing. A signature -- Jay somebody -- and the drawing's dimensions -- 15 inches by 11.25 inches -- are penciled in at the bottom.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Jack flees inside to escape the swarm (or is it swirling snow) as a concerned Betty looks on.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

C Butler

The top two photos show a carving that recently sold on eBay. It's signed C Butler and the seller offered no explanation of who C Butler might be, apparently not knowing that the artist is possibly Charles Butler, whose work is held in the American Folk Art Museum. Butler lived in Clearwater, Fla., about 180 miles from the seller's town of Port St. Lucie. He was born in Montgomery, Ala., and worked as a hotel porter, shoe shiner and handyman. He began to carve late in life, using homemade tools. His output was modest, maybe 100 or so carvings. That might help explain why he is not better known. The fourth photo is a Butler carving I've owned for 18 years. Butler died 34 years ago.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blocky old dart board

This well-used board, 2 inches thick and about 12 inches square, is circa 1900 and probably from the Northeast. I like the big slanted numbers.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Deerskin postcard

Leather postcards were common up to 1909 when they were banned by the Postal Service. The great majority of them are Hallmark hokey. This card is only moderately hokey and the folky image is appealing. The date appears to be Aug. 2, 1906. It was mailed at 11 a.m. from Gardiner, N.Y. (just west of Poughkeepsie), to Derby, Conn., 77 miles to the east.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Southern cabinet

Brunk Auctions is selling this furniture on July 14. It is described as a "Southern folk art paint-decorated cabinet,  probably Tennessee or North Carolina, second half 19th century, walnut and poplar in original dry varnished surface, cut nail and pinned construction, lower panel doors with carved and heart-pierced appliques, original porcelain pulls, 78-1/2 x 45 x 17-1/2 in." I'd like to add that it's very pretty.