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positive reinforcement

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I recently finished reading ‘Water for Elephants’ by Sara Gruen which is written in a memoir style about this would-be veterinarian’s life with the circus.  It’s a fiction but many of the anecdotes and references are based on true stories and were retrieved with diligent research on Gruen’s part which encompassed not only reading about stuff but managing to convince circus performers to meet with her and spill the beans.  The book takes place in the 1930s which was a hard enough time for America, so you can imagine life on a traveling circus was even worse.  However tough it was on humans, it was a lot worse for the animals.  The book is a beautiful tale, but it was really difficult for me to read any references to animal cruelty and there are quite a lot.  I still would totally recommend it but prepare yourself if you are a big cry baby like me when it comes to animals. Outside of the animals, I have a fascination with circuses and carnivals from the whole life on the road thing, to the human oddities, circus acts, rigged games, peep shows, costumes, poster and train art, etc.  I love it. So, all in all I loved this book and it loosely inspired this week’s comic.  (The film version will be released later this year).

–Artist Spotlight—

Check out this incredible artist Alex Queral.  His work is 3 dimensional, can you tell from this piece?

Not quite?  How about this one:

Sort of?  Kind of collage-like?  What if I told you this work was made with a discarded phone book, an x-acto knife and some acrylic paint?  He is probably best known for his greyscale work focusing on portraits of famous people like this one of Pee Wee Herman where you can really see the phone book characteristics:

This one of Einstein is turned to the side so you can really see the 3 dimensionality and details.  Incredible!

My favorite pieces are the ones where the subject is abstract and the features are very exaggerated like this one:

You can see more of Alex Queral’s carved telephone book art here.


I have 3 more pieces to the Love Endures series of art dolls which I’ll be putting up on my art blog soon.  Right now I’m battling this rotten flu, so it might be another day or two.


to everyone who came out to  the Live Painting Event on the 600 block event.  (especially to neal and bethany who gave 2 of my favorite art dolls new homes.)

8 Responses to “positive reinforcement”

  1. Darlene Says:

    Bummer on the flu I had it for 5 days and so has everyone that i have talked to so if can only get better hopefully. Hmm ur websites always gives me my best ideas for some reason…maybe its all the art im surrounded by. But i know what im gonna do with alll the newspapers at my house when i get home

  2. calan Says:

    glad to inspire! surrounding yourself with art is a good way to keep that fire going. as for the flu…yeah, i’m on day 4 and it’s the first day i’ve felt half human so i guess it’s nearly over. yay!!

  3. Seraphine Says:

    i loved water for elephants. i read it last year, and gave some copies ouot to friends as gifts. the film version is coming out soon, it is one film i definitely want to see. what a great story.

    my brother did cruel things to dolls when we were growing up. he would stick pins in them or take their heads off and put them in the toilet. i’m sure we must have had a sock monkey but i don’t remember it. i hope he escaped and found his way back to stockingland or wherever sock monkeys come from.

    locked in a drawer
    with other captive stockings
    escaped in the wash

    which makes me wonder if there is an “underground railroad” for escaped socks and sock monkeys? i bet there is, because it is very strange how many socks come up missing and are never seen again.

    which makes me further wonder if my brother is a serial sock napper?

  4. calan Says:

    omg, tell your brother i want my other bat booty sock back! i’m having to wear one black bat one and one pink one with no bat 🙁

    my brother used to put nooses around my dolls necks and hang them from my bedroom doorway. i thought that was pretty bad, but putting their heads in the toilet? ew!

  5. ted Says:

    I love your sock monkeys! I’m pretty sure that’s actually how I first found your site back in the day – I’d searched google for sock monkeys (how to make them or something) and GingerDead came up! Go search engine!

    Glad your feeling better! I had the flue as well a few weeks ago – I think it’s traveling the country!

  6. ted Says:

    Make that flu – not sure how an “e” snuck in there

  7. calan Says:

    go search engine, for sure! i’m glad you found me and my monkeys and stuff. 🙂

  8. Chance Says:

    That second Queral piece is awesome. Thanks for turning me on to this.

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