Saturday, February 11, 2017

Between the lines...

I hated colouring books as a kid.

I hated colouring in between the lines.

After a while of carefully respecting the model, I would end up scribbling, discard the book and find a blank scrap of paper.

What is it about this colouring book craze?

"The Adult Coloring Book Craze Continues and There is No End in Sight"

What does it say about people's desire to stay between the lines?

Does it mean that people are regressing to childhood?

Does it imply that people need behavioural therapy?

Does it speak of passive surrender?

Does it accompany a rise in authoritarianism?

Does it express an inability to keep up with an ever-changing world with fuzzy boundaries?

“The frightened individual seeks for somebody or something to tie his self
to; he cannot bear to be his own individual self any longer, 
and he tries frantically to get rid of it and to feel security again by the elimination of this burden: 
the self.” 

Erich FrommEscape from Freedom

Does it come with a global existential crisis?

Does it express an escape from freedom?

“Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. 'Patriotism' is its cult...Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one's country which is not part of one's love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.” 

Erich Fromm

According to Michal Ann Strahilevitz, who is described as a "behavioural economist" (wtf?) by Forbes these books popularity can be explained by five factors:

  1. Fun (regression?) : “Every grown up has an inner child that just wants to play, and coloring books are perfect for that,”
  2. Nostalgia (regressive behaviour) “there is a nostalgia element, since coloring books remind us of childhood.”
  3. Relaxation (escapism) : “So many things in life are hard, but coloring in a coloring book is easy. It’s a nice way to relax.” 
  4. Being creative without drawing skills (passivity?): “These books let us be creative with choice of color and create something lovely and unique, and best of all, we don't have to be any good at drawing to make something pretty.”

There is no questioning that art is therapy.

“The task of therapy is not to eliminate suffering but to give a voice to it, to find a form in which it can be expressed. Expression is itself transformation; this is the message that art brings. The therapist then would be an artist of the soul, working with sufferers to enable them to find the proper container for their pain, the form in which it would be embodied.”
– Stephen K. Levine

Writing and drawing here is certainly therapeutic for me.

Between the lines...

For reasons which are beyond me, last night I found nothing better to do than to do a bit of colouring.

I started off with that fine educational philanthropist Betsy Devos.

I wanted to find a way of turning an image of her into a page from a colouring book. I found a solution with Prisma. I then went to town with Paper 53 as my coloured pencil case and followed it up with superimpositions with Fused.

As I played, the images became progressively more monstrous.

The one below reminds me of religious imagery. She has been sanctified with a halo (of dollars?).

She has become some sort of horrific Russian Orthodox Icon.

From one horrific image to another.

I was on a camera roll.

I messed around with 5sGif app.

This morning, I continued my regressive/depressive/expressive colouring artwork.

I have been fascinated by the physical appearance of the goblins that the hardly-elected, so-called President of the US has assembled.

Jeff Sessions has that evil look which would look not out of place in a horror movie.

Bela Lugosi, I thought.

Reg Tillerson, wouldn't look out of place amongst stony faced politiburo  members.

I settled for a post Soviet Russian propagandist image.

Frankly some of these people don't need retouching to let their ugliness shine through.

Flynn looks authentically, damaged, authentically deranged.

I am not sure that colouring these people is making me feel much better frankly.

How do you efface memories of ghouls?

If they scare others, perhaps they are themselves fearful?

Trump vexed by challenges governing presidency.

Is fear the reason for repetitive obsessive behaviour, crowd counting, ratings counting, cable TV addiction?

Does traumatic insecurity underpin a need for power, explain desire for violence?

Artists, powerless that they are, seem inspired.

“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don't come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they're having a piss.” 

BanksyBanging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

“If the meaning of life has become doubtful, if one's relations to others and to oneself do not offer security, then fame is one means to silence one's doubts. It has a function to be compared with that of the Egyptian pyramids or the Christian faith in immortality: it elevates one's individual life from its limitations and instability to the plane of indestructability; if one's name is known to one's contemporaries and if one can hope that it will last for centuries, then one's life has meaning and significance by this very reflection of it in the judgments of others.” 

Erich FrommEscape from Freedom

What is this obsession with buildings, with walls, with deals, with colouring between the lines?

"We cast away precious time in dreams, born of imagination, fed upon illusion, and put to death by reality."

Judy Garland.

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