Category Archives: Visual Art

What meets the eye.

Indiano? No Indiano!

Sophia B- SueWhen mentioning to my buddies that my last name resembles an Italian name, I used to get scoffed at. While reading Shantaram today, I came upon a curious cultural comparison that left me feeling somewhat vindicated.

“There is so much Italian in Indians, and so much Indian in Italians. They are both people of the Madonna – they demand a Goddess, even if the religion does not provide one. Every man in both countries is a singer when he is happy; and every woman is a dancer when she walks to the shop corner .For them food is music inside the body and music is food inside the heart. The language of India and the language Italy , they make every man a poet and make something beautiful from every banalite. These are nations where love –amore, pyaar- makes a cavalier of a Borsalino on a street corner, and makes a princess of a peasant girl , if only for the second that her eyes meet yours .”

I know, it’s not really related to my claim. No matter.

Quixotic Creativity: Dubai’s icon

Dubai Tennis Burj

A blog I love recently talked about the concept of quixotic creativity, a kind of thinking that requires imagination, stubbornness and cojones in equal measure.

Quixotic creativity requires the idea to be big. Not the raising-eyebrow sort, but the kind that requires tearing it off altogether. It needs to be mad, in order to evoke a definite reaction. For Dubai, it needed to be the Burj-Al-Arab.

Dubai already had quite a reputation. It’s the fastest growing city on earth, has the swankiest hotels and the sleekest cars. But that, in the end, is simply money. What it didn’t have before the Burj was that signature element, that trademark visual that was quintessentially Dubai and could be identified instantly, globally.

The audacity. Not a mere five-star hotel, but a self-proclaimed seven. A restaurant with great white sharks in the aquarium. And so on… The return on investment for the project is rumoured to be a 100 years, but what’s important is that it gave Dubai its iconic visual.

Burj-Al-Arab

Then they took it one step further. They grabbed two tennis superstars, Agassi and Federer, and flew them over for a game. They also talked Tiger Woods into a little tee-off. All on the hotel’s helipad, the helipad.

tiger-woods-burj3tennis fed

Shock and awe.

Tintin: Billions of billious barbecued blue blistering barnacles!

tintin-grp

80 years. 50 languages. 200 million copies. A 3D movie with Spielberg & Peter Jackson in the works. The creator of Tintin, Georges Remi alias Herge, must be a happy ghost.

The babyfaced reporter and his Shabaab (crew) captured the imagination of Europe and subsequently the entire Commonwealth. Herge relied on a  potent formula: Meticulous research into the geopolitical climate , mischievous illustration, good vs. evil, consistent rib-tickling and satire, and above all, glorious disregard for political correctness. Or, to be precise (a la Thompson and Thomson :)), “a political correctness that disregards glory.”

All sorts of stereotypes are supremely exaggerated; from a naked fakir sitting on a bed of nails to a wild Arab sheikh with a tiger as a pet and a penchant for whipping blondes. We’ve got the savant professor, the foul-mouthed drunken sailor with the heart of gold, and the opera diva.The illustrations play along- African slaves are drawn coal-black, the Asians have no eyes…These comics would never get past the back room if published today, but they are bloody brilliant, and I’m glad that they’re around.

Sheikh Patrash Pashafakir_tintintournesolpendul

One more thing, the abuses in the book are….wait for it…..legendary! To make the book children-friendly but still stay true to his characters, Herge invented innovative non-swearwords used luxuriously by Captain Haddock. These include “ectoplasm!”, “Bashi-Bazouk!” “Patagonian Petticoat!“, and the most famous phrase of them all “Billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles (Mille Millions de mille milliards de mille sabords!)”. Wit combined with alliterative allure make Haddock’s abuses among the most famous comic book expressions of all time, right up there with Mr. Lodge’s “Egad!” and Obelix’s “These Romans are crazy!“.

captain-haddock

*The download link to the entire Tintin series, in PDF, here.

Enjoy the magic of the comics that inspired the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and so many others. Jump into the world of the boy-wonder reporter who became a global icon, so much so  that General Charles de Gaulle once quipped that his “only international rival is Tintin”.

Rain Rain Go Away

It’s heartening to know that with just a $.50 pen and paper, we can create opulent ideas.

Courtesy of itchyhandseng

Speak English, Asshole…Not!

I found this amazing image a few days ago. It is hilarious, and conveys its point with far more eloquence than I could ever aspire to.

national_language