Friday, August 3, 2012
I am migrating my blogging from this blogger site to Wordpress and Facebook. You can find my new site for my art and blogging at:
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
After several months of silence, the words and the ideas are brewing within like a long bottle wine that yearn to be un-corked.
Yet in the silence, there has been much contemplation. How best to express? With all my art and social endeavors I am constantly posting movies, photos, galleries and text to a variety of different social services. I want one repository for it all.
I may just have to return to the old idea of having an artist website!
Luckily I've done most of the work five years ago setting up my old Fire-Painter.com website. Stay posted on this site to see the progress of rebuilding from the past into the future, so that I can post my moments away.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Four ladies from the village of Napua pose with 40 new glasses cut yesterday from old bottles at the Trashure studio after an intensive recycling workshop to prepare their wares for the village festival. The women take not only the glasses and a new cutter back to their community, but the idea that waste can be creatively transformed rather than just trashed. Since their last workshop in January they have come up with their own new ideas and creations-- more to come on this!
A Bianca Lattern: using the cut bottle tops we made a prototype candle Lattern (so named after its inventor).
"Unauthorized Use Prohibited": how about "Unplanned Product Packaging Prohibited"? Liquor bottles, like so many other corporate products, have dead-end packaging life-cycles, and thus end up as pollution-- except for this one which is now a glass! Power to the people.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
I was in Sagada last night for a quick trip to use the village bank machine. As so often happens the universe had quite other plans. As I remarked in a previous post, living vivaciously is all about following your intuition every single moment on the twists and turns of the luminous path.
I was in my buddy Jed's restaurant in Sagada about to order dinner when another foreigner, an intriguing-looking young woman, walked in. As we both stood at the counter I insisted she must try Jed's amazing Peanut Veggie Stir Fry.
One thing led to another and before we knew it, we were in the middle of a lively discussion over our great meal. We were talking excitedly about our web development work with the latest Facebook App technology, java script and more. Turns out, Milena was a bright young Israelie programmer. We had lots in common to talk about.
An idea hit me.
The night before, I'd met a bunch of young women who were all first year Xijen college students beginning their studies in IT. It struck me that these young women would immensely benefit from a role model who was successfully navigating the front lines of the computer world in one of the top countries (Israel) for information technology.
I texted my friend Joel, director of Xijen, to see if his college would be interested. He texted back right away.
The next day, scheduled exams were postponed and Milena and I (mainly Milena) did a lecture on "Global Opportunities in the Future of IT" to about 100 rapt students. They were shy as can be, but they were attentive to Milena's every word. In the evening twenty students joined us again for a workshop on Java script. I learned lots too!
Oh... And about my original bank machine plan? There was a electricity failure in all the villages that day and I never did get to that bank machine (sorry Alvin!).
Life is like a box of chocolates, you just never know what you're gonna get.
Milena helps a Xijen student with her Java script attempt.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Yesterday I was walking down the hill in the village. I saw my friend Esther, who runs a local restaurant on the side of the road. She was stoking a burning pile of trash. Noxious tendrils of plastic smoke swirled about her like grasping ghouls from a hellish dimension. Her pile is right beside the river. When it rains all those toxic ashes just wash right down.
I had just finished visiting my friend Gloria. Gloria and I have been working for the last month and a half on a Trash Painting. Rather than burn our garbage, she's been collecting it and diligently cutting and weaving weaving it. My love Bianca helped me to design this dazzling beautiful pattern with Gloria's weaving. The final oeuvre is beautiful in two ways: aesthetically and symbolically.
I waved to Esther and I asked if I could snap her photo (she laughed at the crazy Americano). I then called her over. Under my arm I had the painting, I proudly showed it to her. She loved it.
And so did half a dozen other ladies at the nearby store when they saw us. It was a poignant moment of contrasts. With a little perseverance and creativity we can transform problems to beautiful solutions.
I didn't know what to title this painting. The last one was 'Perserverance'. So, we'll call this one 'Transformation No.1"
Title: 'Transformation No.1'
Creators: Gloria, Bianca, Russell
Creation: Dec-Feb 2012, Sabagan Village
Medium: recycled wrappers
Size: 29.5 x 21 inches
Price: 600$ (available)
Framed: Pine shadow-box back frame
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Detail from canvas #4: Persistence
Of course, I am first and foremost an artist. Thus, what I am most passionate about are the Trash Paintings that we are making using this same technique of weaving used sachets and wrappers.
I am tremendously excited about this. I've been working with the villages and the women weavers for almost a year now to establish the technique of weaving the trash in a compelling abstract aesthetic and mounting them appropriately. They are getting better and better!
And, now we now have a new painting complete!
By: Russell Maier, Karen Kalinga, (created in Sagada and Sabangan villages)
Size: 4'9 x 3'3 (145cm x 100cm)
Medium: woven trash (wrappers)
Price: 1900$ (available)
Framing: to be mounted on a pine stretcher backing (can be easily assembled and dissembled for shipping)
Monday, January 23, 2012
We've been real busy here in the village experimenting with home you can transform Trash to useful, beautiful and salable items. The idea is that by transforming trash three things can happen:
1. transform community pollution
2. increase the standard of living of poor folks with freely-made functional items
3. generate a new stream of livelihood income for the unemployed (mothers, farmers, out-of-school youth).
My house has been transformed into more than even a studio-- a laboratory for playing with trash: creating, refining and using. We've had three workshops now and created the coolest stuff. Here's some photos of our progress and play!
A table made from small plastic Yakult bottles (which are 100% non-recyclable!)
This one is simple but revolutionary-- drinking glasses from bottles. Here a mother's group learns to make them for their homes and to sell. The finished glasses are beautifully sanded and far nicer than the cheap glasses that folks normally here buy.
This table was made entirely from gin bottles.
I've also been working with Aunt Rose (who literally works at a city street corner as she sells candy and cigarettes to passer-byes) to transform drinking straws into mats, lamp shades and placemats.
Using wrappers of every sort I've been working with the local ladies to make everything from wallets, to clutch bags, to placemats and more.
My biggest passion however remains art. We are using the technique of weaving wrappers to generate large abstract "paintings" made entirely of trash. Here's some more examples of artistic collaborations using nothing but trash:
My dream is to show BIG trash canvases back in Paris and Berlin. We've got a few new ones in the pipe. I'll post soon!