He exists…

The man with chocolate brown irises, bushy dirty-brown hair, and a chipped tooth exists.

I know, I know…color doesn’t matter; the chipped tooth shouldn’t be mentioned, and speaking of the dirt in the man’s hair would probably classify me as a filth-phobe – and yet, I couldn’t resist sketching him.

Have you seen this man somewhere?

Caricature of a happy but dirty looking man with one eye covered.

 

Do let me know if you’d like to order a life-size poster of the above gentleman.

 

Stuck to the Wall and Plugged into the Phone…

Warning: This is a nonsensical post I am making while I am half-asleep. Nonsensical posts are subject to weirdness risk.

I tried out the Pexel image library.

… … …

I have no idea how it happened but the photographer happened to be around when I got tired with all these trials and decided to doze off with my feet stuck to the wall.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

And here’s another picture of me on phone with my friend writer Barbara G. Tarn, as she guides me through the process of inserting Pexel images.

As you can see, even though you can’t hear, I’m still quite confused. My hairdo is a faux Ted Gibson, the makeup, an imitation Bobi Brown, and the dress screams for Brandon Maxwell’s attention. (My near-basic research tells me that Maxwell is Lady Gaga‘s Designer, but check out the picture at the link…shouldn’t he be a model instead?)

BTW, I have no idea how that NSFW picture of mine ended up in the Pexels image library.

Photo by Kamaji Ogino on Pexels.com

Now, finally, I’m ready for the plunge.

You, and only you know what happened to me.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Bye!

My New Year Resolutions – 2021.

Hi Folks,

A very happy new year to you.

For the last three years, I haven’t made nor published any new year resolutions, but I have resolved to do so this year.

Here are 5 things that I will work hard to accomplish this year.

  1.  I will go for my morning walks at least 5 days out of 7 a week. I won’t connect it to weight-loss or even metabolism increase….I am going to walk for the sake of walking. This is something odd – but it sounds like me. I draw for the sake of drawing, write for the sake of writing…do everything because of itself – not because it would lead me toward a higher, loftier goal. So…I promise myself that unless I am unwell, or unless heavens fall upon me once again, I’ll walk at least 5 out 7 days a week.
  2. I will draw or paint for at least an hour each day. Life is short. Drawing and painting is something that helps me create something from nothing – and I love the feeling of seeing my imagination find expression. So, once again, for no higher aim, not for an exhibition, not for commissions and assignments – I will draw and paint for an hour or more each day – solely for the sake of drawing and painting.
  3. I will write at least 2 hours a day, 5 days a week. Again, not to spin out so many tales, or write a given number of words – but for the sake of visualizing a scene or a dialog or a character – for the sake of spinning something from my imagination – and give it a concrete shape (not that text is all that concrete.) So I’ll be writing five days out of seven.
  4. I will record and publish 52 episodes of my podcast, which will bring you inspirational stories from Hindu Mythology and Indian and world history.  I’ll continue to speak my mind through my heart in the podcast.
  5. I will ensure that my social media posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter don’t exceed two per week. This doesn’t require any explanation, I guess. I just want to focus on creation not on putting my creations on display. Everything that I create doesn’t have to be seen…at least immediately.

I guess this is all that I can do in the given situation, and I intend to be among the 8% who keep their resolutions 🙂

Have a Great New Year Ahead. Stay calm and positive.

Take care,

Shafali

The Caricaturist’s New Year Resolutions for 2021 – and the sharing caring mouse.

… to keep or not to keep them is the Question!

But hey, I read somewhere that only about 8% of those who make New Year Resolutions keep them, while almost 50% of world makes them.

So… to flow with the current, to be fashionable, to go along, to be a spoke in the wheel, and to blend in, I can belong to either camp, but then if I did end up keeping them, I’d be a black sheep, an oddball, a misfit, a crackpot!

So, I’ve decided to do it 50-50…because I really want to fit in. I’ve been a shoe that doesn’t fit, a quirky fun-poking trouble-making caricaturist for what…around 12 years now? Now I want to become the snug and comfy grandma’s slippers.

I seriously want to go for a makeover – like some girls I know would, when they get married. The infinite string of boyfriends, the home-breaker routines they pulled on other women, the marijuana puffs, the cigarette-butts, will all be dumped in a memory-closet, as each morning they would cover their heads and touch the feet of their elders to seek their blessings.

Oh wow!

An entirely new life…is what I’ll be looking at with my new year resolutions!

So, here’s your crazy caricaturist going for her crazy makeover.

In the year 2021,

  1. I’ll stop doing caricatures instead I’ll paint sad-looking, pining-for-their-partner women, sitting under a dusty, orphan little shrub growing on the side of our city roads.
  2. I’ll always have a sweet but sad smile pasted on my face; I’ll stop looking people in the eye, and play with my hair while talking to men – so that I appear mysterious and confuse the hell out of them.
  3. I’ll talk with an affected lilt and I’ll twirl and swirl (which I obvious can’t do in a pair of jeans – so I’ll find a broomstick skirt with sufficient flare to twirl.)

You don’t like it, do you?

But hey, I was only making resolutions. Remember, to disappear in the crowd, I must not keep them!

Ouch!

Here’s your caricaturist, doing the right thing. Making caricatures and cartoons – and professing that sharing is caring.

If you have a mouse in your house, dear reader, it is your responsibility to provide the little mite free boarding and lodging…preferably someone on your person. Be as Ron Weasley is to Scabbers. (This, however, isn’t Ron Weasley.)

Happy New Year - 2021 - Card by Shafali - Sharing is Caring

Happy New Year – 2021 – Card by Shafali – Sharing is Caring

 

Have a Beautiful and Safe New Year!

A Cute Little Monster becomes a Pen and Ink drawing

The crazy caricaturist went AWOL again.

She was finally found this morning, sitting in a corner, drawing a cute little monster with her Micron 005 pen. Why? Because she was inspired by a monster-drawing artist on Reddit.

Yes, she’s trying to tell you that she’s checking out Reddit. Her handle is: u/spinningtopSRA

Anyway, here’s the ultra-cute monster. Isn’t he lovable?

Cute Monster – A Pen and Ink Drawing (6″x8″)

That’s all for today.

 

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year :)

Hi friends from all around the world,

This post is to simply wish you all a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year 🙂

At the beginning of 2020, I thought that life was dark enough…and then it became the darkest. The pandemic and the lockdowns just added another coat of black to the inky deep darkness that had welled inside my heart… but I’ve got my fingers crossed for this new year.

This prayer goes out to all those who have been hit by life…in five days, another year begins. I’m going to make my new year resolutions this year – and I’ll post them here 🙂

More later…but still quite soon 🙂

Take care,

Lots of love from your caricaturist.

World News & My Views – An Alien Texan gets Vaccinated!

No…the alien Texan didn’t get vaccinated. In fact, the new Texan isn’t an alien, even though he sometimes looks like one – but hey, aliens do exist and if they ended up in the US, specifically in Texas – there might be some Texan aliens…and they would need to be vaccinated too.

Here are the three top news items that caught the caricaturist’s attention today.

  1. That Aliens exist and Trump knows about them!
  2. That Elon Musk has moved to Texas!
  3. That Pfizer has begun administering the covid vaccine in the UK.

I’m sure Trump knows about the aliens. In fact, aliens too know about Trump or why would they abduct me and have me create Donald Trump‘s caricature? In fact, George Clooney too knows about aliens, as this caricature will prove.

Caricature/Cartoon of George Clooney with two aliens discussing his hairstyle!

Is the Alien Right?

And Tom Cruise too knows about aliens…even though this particular ceremony was kept a secret. I know this is terrible – but if I remember right, it was my first color-caricature, so cut me some slack.

Caricature, Cartoon, color drawing of Tom Cruise and his fourth wife, as Katie Holmes files for divorce due to Tom's insistence of Suri joining the Scientology Church

Tom Cruise finds his Soulmate

About Elon Musk‘s move to Texas, I’m surprised that it didn’t happen before. Whatever little I know of Texans, and whatever littler I know of Musk, tells me that Texas should be his soul-state…if there’s anything like a soul-state. I read somewhere that it’s cheaper to live in Texas and that’s the reason why Musk has moved there – but I think not. He isn’t this guy here – who’d need to scrimp…

Happy Hobo - Caricature, Cartoon, Artwork, Drawing, Poster on Happiness and Spirituality.

Happiness is a State of Mind – Happy Hobo – 7.5 inches by 11 inches. All Rights Reserved, including the Creation of Derivative Works. Contact Artist for Licensing the Artwork.

And that the first shot of Pfizer’s covid vaccine was given to a ninety year old lady in the UK…makes me feel happy. You see, this is how I’ve looked for a while…and it’s really time that I stepped out.

Feeling blessed - a pen and ink drawing - shafali's art. Artists and Commissions.

Feeling frazzled and a bit dazzled!

What’s your take on the news?

A Personal Note…and The Radio Family.

Dear friends and followers of this blog’o’mine,

I find it odd that when too much happens in life, too little gets written about it. It’s also odd that when you are being your strongest, you appear to be weak and damaged.

But then, on the blog of this caricaturist, oddities abound. What is it that she hasn’t yet pushed and pulled and distorted out of shape? You, me, actors, politicians, singers, animals, even words…

But not recently.

Recently, it’s been she who was tossed about and who got all dented out of shape.

Oddly, for no reason at all, I am reminded of this cover-artwork I did some years ago.

I remember doing this cover-art for The American Spectator magazine. The requirement was complex in its simplicity – the Radio family of the 1930s/40s.

Think of it for a moment…

The toys, the clothes, the hairdo of the lady, the radio, the wallpaper….

It was fun…mostly because of my client – who gave me as much rope as he could.

But what reminded me of this cover-art was the radio.

Remember the Radio? What a wonderful thing it was. I still remember how my mom would put it one every morning while she worked in the kitchen.

Those were the days.

Sigh!

Cover Art for the American Spectator Magazine - July August 2013 Issue - The Radio family of 1940s - Shafali

Magazine Cover for the June-July 2013 issue of The American Spectator Magazine

That’s all for now 🙂

Lefties…you are always Right!

Now that title tells a lot about you and me…both.

  • It tells you that there’s a good chance of my being a lefty with an attitude.
    And
  • if it caught your attention, it means that you either are a lefty or have a strong lefty-bias.

We lefties, I believe, were left in a lurch by the right-swaying, right-loving, righty-world – and, possibly to spite us, they built everything in the world for the righties…

But hey, lefties!

Don’t let them pull us down. They do it because they’d give their right hand to be lefties, because you see, lefties are different. They don’t need to get tattoos or get pierced or even get a Lady Gaga hairdo to appear different. All they have to do is be themselves.

caricature cartoon of a human with piercings, tattoos, dermal implants, birds, mice, bees, and butterflies!

I am Unique…I’m different…I’m…

 

Cartoon Caricature Portrait Drawing of Lady Gaga with her weird hairstyle

Hermaphrodite or Robotaphrohermit?!

So you know now, don’t you, my dear lefty. You are blessed. Let the cynics go to devil.

The Tweak – The Novella that will remain Free forever!

The Tweak

(Crime Fiction: Mystery & Suspense)

(Gift it to yourself at the Author’s Website.)

When Mr. Jacob, the District Collector, shoots himself dead in his office, the only witness is Negi Ji, the calm middle-aged caretaker of the office building.

Negi Ji has harbored a grudge for the last twenty-five years, but when he hears the last seven words of Mr. Jacob, he sees an opportunity to rewrite the story of his life. But this isn’t the only secret that is buried in Negi Ji’s chest.

He has been wronged by the world, and by the only person he ever loved.

From the world, he wants his life back; from her, he wants hers.

Viral Sin – A Crime Thriller that’s an Honest Commentary on Human Nature

Viral Sin is not just an entertaining crime thriller but also an honest commentary on human nature.

https://www.amazon.in/dp/B088X52QN7

Viral Sin has a 4.8 star rating on Amazon.in. If you read eBooks, do check it out – it might change your views on a lot of things. Among other things, the book is an honest commentary on human nature and how each among us has the potential of being a victor in this fight against the virus.

It is a crime-thriller, and its primary purpose is to entertain; however, the reason it got written was because the authro needed to express what she felt, and what could otherwise have impacted her own sanity during the lockdown.

From the reviews at https://www.amazon.in/product-reviews/B088X52QN7


* Gripping and cleverly woven!


* A quick read but will remain with you for a long time.


* I would like to recommend this to all those people who are afraid of facing the situation. It will definitely bring positivity to their lives.


*The theme and the plot depicts something which is beyond the thought.

If you have a Kindle Unlimited account, the download is Free.

Here’s the Instagram post I made this morning…

If you read it, do leave your comments either at your Amazon store or at Goodreads.

Thank you…

Caricature Portrait of Lionel (Leo) Messi – Argentine Footballer and Legend.

Lionel Messi is considered to be greatest football player ever, especially when we aren’t speaking of Cristiano Ronaldo – but we aren’t right now, so we’ll go by Lionel Messi being the greatest.

You know that I don’t like perfect faces – mostly because perfection is difficult to caricature. This is why among the two, Lionel Messi won my heart, and I caricatured him.

One look at him and I saw how beautifully unique each of his features is. His deep-set eyes, his straight long slim-ridged nose that ends in a tiny bump, his chin that sticks out even more due to his prickly beard, the lower half of his face sloping inward toward his neck, his ears with a tiny little lobe and a tinier tragus…but his hair that stands right up (quite like mine when I enter my porcupine avatar,) won me over entirely.

I know you want a quick biography of this football star…my way. So here it is:

Lionel Messi’s tiniest biography in the world.

Leo Messi was born on June 24, 1987, which makes him about 33 years old. He’s got some fabulous awards (six Ballon d’Or, six European Golden Shoes, 34 Barcelona Football Club Trophies) Leo Messi is of Italian descent, he celebrates his goals by looking up and thanking his maternal grandmother who would take him to football matches and training sessions. Quite like our sweet and trusting Indian “boys” he just played football, letting his dad manage all his finances, and ended up being investigated for tax-evasion. <– All this courtsey his wikipedia page here. (Reminds you of a certain Indian businessman who committed large-scale frauds and his middle-aged daughters who said something like, “Dad used to take care of all financial matters…we just signed.” <– Can you guess?

With 157M Instagram followers @leomessi is the most followed Instagram celeb of 2020.

 

Teach yourself – Shapes, Forms, Lights, Shadows, Textures, Depths…and other cool stuff.

I have been toying with the idea of writing some tutorials on drawing and how to use lights, shadows and textures to change your two-dimensional flat sketches into well-formed realistic drawings that have volume and depth.

A drawing has form when it convey depth, or in other words, looks three-dimensional. When a drawing presents only the outlines, it has a shape – and while the shape might be identifiable and extremely well-drawn, it keeps the drawing from conveying realism.

The problem that self-taught artists face is that they are very good at capturing the shapes, but not so great at establishing forms. The reason might lie in the fact that the play of lights and shadows must be learned through careful observation and analysis (where the light-source is, how different textures reflect lights, and so on,) and the self-taught artist draws mainly for the love of creating his own representation of what he sees. He wants to do it quickly and then move on the next drawing, and then the next.

I’ve been through the same grind, and I am still learning, but as I once noted, we all are learners situated at different points on the continuum of learning, and each of us has something to contribute to the learning of others. This is why I wrote “Evolution of a Caricaturist-How to Draw Caricatures?“, which has been performing rather well despite its infra-niche audience, and this is why I have started writing this series.

It begins with the basics. Here’s a rough outline, which might change as the series develops.

  • Shapes
  • Forms
  • Shapes vs. Forms
  • Lights
  • Shadows
  • Textures
  • Placement
  • Depth etc.

The History of Art posts will continue…though erratically, because I must write and teach and to teach through virtual sessions, I must practice a software.

Portrait Painting: US Senator John Boozman of the Republican Party – for the TBP Magazine.

This blog has usually brought you my caricatures and cartoons. However, before starting this blog, I had been mostly dedicated to portraiture. I believe that all other types of art, one must be reasonably adept at portraiture, because they hold the key to understanding proportions. Only when you know the rules, you become good at breaking them. Similarly, you must be good at understanding the correct proportions and placements of the human features, before you start exaggerating them.

Today, while rummaging through my old files (on the computer,) I came across two portraits that I did for the TBP magazine in 2016. One of Senator John Boozman and the other of William Conner Eldridge Jr. He is a member of the Democratic Party. For the  2016 U.S. Senate election in Arkansas, he was the nominee of the party, and that was how I came to paint his portrait.

Here’s the portrait of Senator John Boozman that appeared in the Jan-Feb 2016 issue of the TBP Magazine.

Conner Eldridge’s portrait soon 🙂

You can find the writer me at: http://instagram.com/shafalianand/

Taking a break from posts and inviting you over to my Instagram.

My dear blog readers,

While I come up with more caricatures, cartoons, portraits, drawings and other visual stuff to enchant you, why don’t you visit my instagram page and check out this writer-artist’s candid thoughts. (What? You thought that artists didn’t think?! Oh, we do…and we often think a lot more than you think we do!)

Please come visit me at: http://instagram.com/shafalianand

Shafali Anand's Instagram - Author - Evolution of a Caricaturist and Viral Sin

I’ll be back in a jiffy!

The Unreliable Book of Art History – Chapter 3: The Lion Man, the First Artist, and the Great Lady

hohlenstein-stadel or the hollow cave barn in germany where the lion-man, the first example of human art was found.

Hohlenstein-stadel – The cave in which the Lion Man figurine was found.

The Lion Man, The First Artist, and The Great Lady

(A Story)

c. 35ka to c.40ka.

He loved crafting things. As a child he would take a piece of wood and use a knife to carve it into people and animals and his mother would store them in her sack. She never threw anything away, which in a way, was a good thing, because as he became better, he saw her trading his sculptures for meat and sometimes even for sewing needles.

As he grew up, he realized that he was different from other boys his age. While they were boisterous and loved to go mammoth hunting, he liked to stray and watch. He would climb a tree and watch the action – and then he would carry a picture of it in his mind. He would draw it on the ground for the women who stayed at the cave and waited for the men to return with their prize.

So when the Great Lady came to him and told him that he would be excused from hunting so that he could sculpt the Lion-man, he couldn’t believe his luck. The offer was unprecedented in the history of his tribe.

“What about the bones and tusks, and the tools that I would need,” he had asked.

“You will get the material,” she had replied, “you can design your tools yourself.”

And so he had sat outside the entrance to their cave where the women cooked and talked and laughed – and under the Juniper tree, he set out his tools. His precious carving tools included a flint chisel, a burin, a piece of mammoth skin, a few stones to soften the hard edges that the burin and the chisel would leave behind.

It was a tough job and the women were amused. They didn’t think that such a big carving was possible.

“Will its head look really look like a lion’s?” one of the women asked.

He was wary about it too. He hadn’t seen it up close. All he remembered was the general shape – and he hoped that he would be able to reproduce it.

“I think it will,” he replied.

“The Great Lady will like it, I am sure,” his mother grinned at the tusk that he had soaked in water for softening. She still had her front teeth and her smile. He smiled back, then took out the tusk from the puddle and started work.

–0–

He kept a count of how many times the Sun had gone down since he had begun work by accumulating the seeds of the juniper tree in the corner of the room where he kept his tools for they were precious and used for creating the divine sculpture. The chamber was lit only by fire that the Great Lady carried in a bowl, and nobody went inside, except to look at the divine fire and be blessed.

Today, after ten fists full of Juniper seeds, the precious statue was finally done. It stood shining under the morning Sun mesmerizing everyone who looked at it. “The head of the statue,” confirmed the hunt-leader, “looked exactly like the head of a lion.”

They marveled at how he who had never fought a lion could bring about such likeness and how he could make the head look like it belonged to the statue. They looked at it with awe.

Then the Great Lady came out, leaning on a stick. She came right to the place where the statue was and bend a little to pick it up. She examined it by turning it left and right, and when she was satisfied, she looked at him with a benign smile.

The Lowenstein figure or the Lion Man - Material: Mammoth Ivory.

The Löwenmensch figure or the Lion Man – Material: Mammoth Ivory.

“This Lion-man will now be the source of our power. It shall now forever reside within the fire-room.”

The men and women jumped up and down and swung sideways to share their happiness and celebrate the momentous occasion. Then they all followed the Great Lady inside the cave.

He sat under the juniper tree, feeling oddly strange and empty. He had lived with that statue for such a long time, and now it had been taken away from him. He was glad that he would see it everyday, but now he would never get to touch it or caress it, or add another detail to it. It was no longer his.

He didn’t know that 35k years later, his creation shall be called the first known piece of art and become the origin for the art history of the world.

But he was an artist, and he didn’t care.

Here are the previous two chapters of this book:

To Instagram or Not a.k.a. Insta-Confusion! (Cartoon)

Question 1: Should I be on Instagram?

All artists, caricaturists, cartoonists, photo-shoppers, grasshoppers, nitpickers, felt-tippers are on Instagram. They post an average of three pictures a day. They garner likes in hundreds if not thousands. So you see, Instagram is like a galaxy that had a million solar systems that have a billion stars with their planets that together have a zillion satellites. (Read about a Billion Instagram users here.)

Caricature cartoon in black ink of woman girl artist confused about social-networking and trying to decide whether to use instagram or not.

Insta-Confusion!

And I don’t disagree that one should be on Instagram, because that’s where a lot of my audience is.

The answer to the question, “Should I be on Instagram?” lies in another, more practical set of questions.

Question 1 a: Do I have the energy to make, say 3 posts a day?
Question 1 b: Can I actually make 3 posts a day – because that would mean making three caricatures/portraits? And if I can’t…will I be fretting over who is going to find my feed interesting?
Question 1 c: How much time will Instagram demand? 1 hr a day, 2 hrs. a day…
Question 1 d: How long will it be before the time-guzzling Instagram will begin to yield in terms of artistic satisfaction (measured these days in number of likes (or hearts as in IG)?

So you see, questions abound – and the answer is hidden under their fog.

That brings me to the next main question.

Question 2:

Why should I be on Instagram? I really mean WHY?

Question 2 a: As an artist, will it help my work reach more people? (And I mean as the “introverted, stay-in-your-corner-even-on-social-media artist.)
Question 2 b: As a person, will it help me feel better? (I don’t think there’s a lot of interaction happening on Instagram. It’s mostly quick comments and heart-ing.)

I also found some posts that preach the opposite, for instance “I Gave Up Instagram. Here’s why?” and I find myself nodding to a lot of what the post says. And then there’s “What is Instagram an Why should you be Using it?

Pen and Ink Caricatured Portrait of Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker.

I had wanted to do this caricature of Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker for the last ten days – ever since I watched the movie.

Caricature portrait of Joaquin Phoenix as Joker of the Batman movies - a Pen and Ink Drawing.

Joaquin Phoenix: The Joker – Pen and Ink of Strathmore 9″x12″ Acid Free Art paper.

As you can see, I’ve added a couple of things here – one is the thoughtful posture (aided by a gloved hand,) and a cartoon jester/joker – the Joker’s alter-ego. The cartoon jester is the one with whom The Joker shares his plans and ideas – he is the one who is forever happy and playful – and while The Joker must plan his crimes, the cartoon jester is only a sounding board for his ideas.

About The Jokers of the Bat Man movies

We’ve seen four Jokers (if we discount the animated one in the Killing Joke,) played by Jack Nicholson (Batman,) Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight,) Jared Leto (Suicide Squad,) and now Joaquin Phoenix (The Joker.)

Note: Never did Heath Ledger’s portrait/caricature but I might do one now. However, here’s a Jack Nicholson caricature i did years ago.

Caricature or cartoon of Jack Nicholson, the Hollywood actor, and two enterprising birds.

The Secret is Out – This is How Jack Nicholson Accomplishes it!

My personal favorite still is Heath Ledger’s rendition of the Joker, but recently I happened to watch Joaquin Phoenix in The Joker – and now I find it difficult to choose.

My Mental Image of the Joker before The Joker

I had always thought of The Joker as a comic book villain, who liked killing people and playing (death) games with Batman. I have imagined Joker as someone who had a grouse against Batman, who was clearly his antithesis in every possible way.

  • Batman grew up rich, the Joker didn’t.
  • Batman is sane, the Joker has mental issues.
  • Batman is handsome, the Joker is not.
  • Batman fights to save the innocent, the Joker lives to kill the innocents.

So, Joker = !Batman

Why I Liked The Joker Movie (Even though it drained me.)

It was interesting (though draining) to watch The Joker (2019.) For one, it breaks the stereotype of forever-right – however-wronged women. I’m fedup of women being painted as saints and fairies who never do wrong, never lie, never cheat, never fool men – and who are always the exploited and never the exploiter. Though presented meekly (under the garb of mental illness,) The Jokers shows us a manipulative woman as Joker’s mother. I think that this itself was an act of courage on the part of the creators.

What I loved about the Joker in The Joker movie

The other thing that I loved about Joker (2019) is just the opposite of what I loved about Heath Ledger’s Joker, which was his supreme, almost ridiculous caricaturization of his character. Heath Ledger’s  joker fascinated me everything – his dress, his slurping and touching his facial deformations with his tongue, his walk, his intense look.

Joaquin Phoenix, on the other hand, mesmerized me by the intensity of his performance. He was real. He felt it all – and then he transferred all those horrific feelings to the viewers.

The Unreliable Book of Art History – Chapter 2: The Point of Origin – the Lion Man.

First, I must save my hide, so please bear with the disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER

These posts aren’t meant to be educational – they merely present the view of an artist. In fact, a specific artist, that’s yours truly. This is why I request you to consider these posts as a work of fiction inspired by historical facts. I am not sure if I can keep the historical facts correct to the t, and I take no responsibility if you fail an exam because you thought you could use my posts to study.

Remember that I am not an art historian, an art critic, or even an art teacher. I am an artist – and in this book (if it becomes one,) I’ll be presenting the history of art from my own tainted and distorted viewpoint.

The Upper Paleolithic Period (or the time between 50K to 10K years ago,) was the time when invading homo sapiens had gotten rid of the neanderthals in Europe and they were doing new stuff all the time. This is why between 1900 and 1950, archaeologists found art done by them. This art was created in material that was easily available at that time, namely animal bones, mammoth tusks, wall-paintings and so on.

Two Important Artworks of the Upper Paleolithic Period:

In my opinion two extremely important works that have been discovered by archaeologists and that may be classified as art are:
The Lion Man (made of mammoth tusk)
The Willendorf Venus (made of limestone colored with red ochre)

An Extra, Non-arty Nugget:

And two important inventions of this time are:
• Sewing and shoes (Check out a 50,000 year old needle.)
• Flutes made of bones (Check out some paleolithic flutes.)

We aren’t really interested in the inventions (except when they led to art,) so quite selfishly, we’ll only speak about the Lion Man and the Willendorf Venus.

Putting the Lion Man First (and why?)

Lion Man: The Beginning of Human Art

While everyone else may disagree with me, I think that the Lion Man or the Lowenmensch figurine, which stands a little more than a foot tall, is the first example of human art. In my opinion, the timeline of art history begins with the Lion Man.

Here’s the Lion Man

The loewenmensch figurine - or the Lion Man - carved from Mammoth Tusk - Upper Paleolithic

The Lion Man: Image Credit:  Thilo Parg / Wikimedia CommonsLicense: CC BY-SA 3.0.

But why is Lion Man Art?

My reasons are simple: The Lowenmensch figurine is an example of human imagination (thus creativity) used to create a visual expression, that has both aesthetic and emotional appeal. The cave paintings are depiction of what was “seen” – and so there isn’t enough imagination, individual or collective, that would make me see them as art.

(Check out Chapter 1 for the definition of art and art history.)

And Why not the zillion Venuses? Why aren’t they art?

Note: Before the term Venus floods your mind with images from renaissance paintings and you start imagining slim and beautiful young women with streaming blonde hair – Read about the Paleolithic Venuses so that you and I are on the same page.

Weren’t the Venuses a Product of Human Imagination?

As an artist I believe that the Venuses (including the Willendorf Venus) weren’t a product of imagination either – mostly because the way their bodies are sculpted, you need to have seen the effect of gravity on a corpulent human body to be able to sculpt that. The Venus of Hohle fels is more from imagination, I think – and yet, it could also be an inability to reproduce the real effect of corpulence, aging, and gravity, merely due to artistic incompetence.

But Willendorf Venus? Isn’t it art? Everyone says it is.

Here’s the Willendorf Venus:

Venus of Willendorf - Paleolithic Art - Figurine of Limestone

Venus of Willendorf: Image Credit: Oke / CC BY-SA

Ok. Let me call Willendorf Venus art but for another reason. I’ll call it art because of its apparent uselessness.  Remember Oscar Wilde had once said: “All Art is Useless.” Since we love to take quotes of famous men and women as gospel truth, we can use Oscar Wilde’s statement to confirm that Willendorf Venus is indeed art.

Caricature Portrait Reflection Picture of Oscar Wilde Dorian Gray Alfred Douglas and Caliban.

“All art is useless.” – Oscar Wilde

The Willendorf Venus depicts an unusual skill of execution – and for the reasons we call Portraiture art – we can (and should) also call the Willendorf Venus a piece of art.

So is the Lion Man a better example of pre-historic art than the Willendorf Venus?

Yes, I believe it is. The head of Lion placed on the body of a man is clearly symbolic and it requires certain degree of imagination fueled by thought. That the lions and the sabers could bring a mammoth down, is something that would make humans revere the Lion and want to be “like” a lion, and from that emanates the creativity that makes such a figurine possible.

This is why for me, dear readers, the art history timeline starts at the Lion Man – and this is why this book and its contents are quite unreliable.

The next chapter (Chapter 3) will tell us the story of the Lion Man’s creation.

Read “Chapter 1: Defining Art History and Answering the Question of Time” here.

 

Tribal Pen and Ink Portraits: A Gadaba Woman with her neck-rings.

Did this portrait as a diversion from the rather mundane task of editing my novel.

The Gadabas are an Eastern Indian Tribe of Odisha and Andhra. The Gadaba women wear two silver rings around their necks (called Khagla) that together weight between 1 and 1.5 kgs. These rings are never removed (require a blacksmith’s expertise for removal) are removed only after death.

A Young Gadaba Tribal Woman with Silver Neckrings - A Pen and Ink Portrait

A Gadaba Woman. Medium: Pen and Ink on Acid Free Strathmore 9″x12″

It isn’t easy…

I have closed my eyes and tries imagining the rings around my neck – weighing down upon my clavicle when I sit or stand, hitting against my bones when I run, and pushing against my neck when I turn my side to sleep. I don’t think I could wear them for even a few hours – but then habituation is such a marvelous thing.

Stay tuned for my second pen and ink portrait on the Nose-ring, which is coming soon. (You can view the first one here.)

However, the next post shall bring you Chapter-2 from the Unreliable Book of Art History. (Read Chapter 1 from the Unreliable book of Art History here.)

Getting back to work now…

(BTW, if you like any of my works, click/tap the Like button…and your comments are forever welcome.)