Dazzle Painting

December 27, 2005

The invention of dazzle camouflage is credited to artist Norman Wilkinson, who was on Royal Navy patrol duty in the English Channel during WWI. Dazzle camouflage was first implemented on the merchant ship SS Industry, and HMS Alsatian became the first “dazzle” Navy ship in August 1917 . The US Navy adopted the technique the following year.

While it looks great, dazzle camouflage’s specific purpose was to make it difficult to estimate a target ship’s speed size/type and direction by disrupting the performance of the visual rangefinders used for gunnery at the time. (Anyone who bought OMD’s “Dazzle Ships” when they were younger already knows this.)

The effectiveness of dazzle is not entirely certain. The British Admiralty came to the conclusion that the scheme had no material effect on submarine attacks, but proved to be a morale boost for crews. American naval leadership expressed the dissenting opinion that dazzle camouflage was effective. Dazzle camouflage continued to be used until the end of World War II.

-Condensed mostly from Wikipedia.

Graffiti Observer Jamaica

December 22, 2005

My hopes to work with Jamaican sign painters weren’t quite realized this on this last trip, but I did meet lots of people, 10 sign painters, saw 4 studios – tried to commission works but we ran out of time – I’d like to find an audience in NY for these unique styles. Maybe next time.

I have a photo collection of signs from previous trips & THIS TIME came with them printed and in hand.



December 19, 2005

Sticking a poster outside a small shop in a tiny village – I turn around and 30 people are watching – I’d never experienced anything like it. All ages, women in curlers, men just finished work, kids back from school. And though I was doing something super abstract they were into it! When I finished there was a hush and I was thinking to myself now its done no one will stay on board, so I jumped around yelling “YEAH!” and it was a party – I bought the whole town a beer for $15 – missed the last cab, and partied all night under a deep blanket of stars, slept at a strangers house and caught a cab to Montego Bay at 6am to stick the last poster at the Sum Fest Sound Stage entrance.

The town was Bacon on your way to Treasure Beach. This gentleman to the right is Rum Snake or Satan, and he was hilarious. Local speculation is that the gentleman to the left is Osama Bin Laden.

I caught at least 50 cabs in two weeks – this out the window of one.

We met Maxine at the Hot Spot roadside bar.

Here’s Ryan’s neighborhood in Sav La Mar. Those are homemade kites stuck on the wires, Great designs usually with shopping bags and twigs.

And back home –

New Orleans in NYC

December 1, 2005

Mmm, how to describe a party in the elevator that lasted for hours- Jacques found feedback/distortion with his battery powered pig-nose amp to marti-gras music on the jambox while we second-line’d with passengers and jumped up and down. The lights were covered with gels or blacked out? This was part of a Bar-B-Que following a “Rebuild New Orleans” themed roving street-theatre peice, in Times Square.

Global Cartoon Crisis!

Just when you thought art was quaint and irrelevant in our juiced-up media age – half the planet goes nuts over 12 cartoons- really nuts! In the Middle-East, Asia, Europe, New Zealand, violence, deaths, declarations of war, foreign policy is upended, heads of state get involved – over a cartoon!!! Cartoonists everywhere must be heady with power. Who knew a drawing could mean so much to so many? The twist is that the anger stems from the cartoons being published; & to cover the story, you might reprint them in your gazette – and blam! the editor gets assassinated and bodegas that sell the paper get fire bombed! What happened? Well, don’t tell the story & reprint the controversial things … jeez!

To be fair – Salmon Rushkie proved that Prose could cause violence, and the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh did so with Film by getting himself killed. We assume something about a book that takes 576 pages to read or a film that takes 2 hours 37 minutes to watch, and more trouble & money to create and reprint and distribute – but a cartoon that needs just a glance to read and about as much effort to create and distribute – has caused the most violence of all. That’s amazing.

I’m going to redouble my efforts to create a quick drawing that will spread unparalleled peace and calm throughout the world, and then one that erupts spontaneous love and camaraderie – we artists are back in BIZNAAAASS!


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