Art & Aesthetics Art Blog
Well, here__™s one more thing that I invented, discovered, or developed only to find it has already been done. In this case it__™s the practice of putting visual art into words: making art from art, prose from paint. Sure, writing about art is like dancing about architecture; I__™ve been doing that for years, but I guess the ancient Greeks were it doing too " Homer, Aristophanes, and all those guys verbing on their favorite temples and sculptures and stuff. Come to find, there™s even a word for it: ekphrasis. John Keats was still doing it ages later with his Ode to a Grecian Urn.
Any Google genius can find a whole ekphrastic universe out there - creative writers waxing poetic about other people__™s artwork. Why give verbal expression to a painting when every picture tells its own story? Just to keep it honest, I suppose. Maybe a painting doesn__™t really know what it__™s trying to say and I can help articulate its meaning. Maybe not.
I was going to ruminate about Picasso__™s Old Man with a Guitar but I figured I__™d have to mention all those things we already know about Pablo__™s ___blue___ period after the death of his friend, his acquaintance with a seamy society, and how he honed his style on this tiny canvas that, by the way, has the image of a woman painted under the surface of the broken down old blue guitarist (see detail). Is it mere coincidence that there__™s some gal behind this dejected looking fellow? Probably. Pablo just didn__™t have the coin for art supplies. It was early in his career when he migrated to Paris to live on the fringe. Regardless of that, an ekphrastic number has already been done on this painting - Wallace Steven__™s poem, The Man with the Blue Guitar. Here__™s an excerpt:
The man bent over his guitar, A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.
They said, ___You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are.___
The man replied, ___Things as they are Are changed upon the blue guitar.___
And they said to him, ___But play, you must, A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,
A tune upon the blue guitar, Of things exactly as they are.___
That__™s more proof that art says what can__™t be said, but it is ironic that in the actual monochromatic painting the guitar is the only thing that isn__™t some shade of blue. So I sketched up my own pen and ink version of The Old Guitarist in Son of Pete style which is a second cousin to Cubism on the temporal side. It shows things at the moment of abstraction: when the whole starts losing track of its parts. Form escapes from the lines of contour like steam venting through fractures in the continuity. Of course, my process had a head start on this image considering that it was pre-visualized by Picasso, an artist not prone to realism in the first place. But here__™s how I see and say it when all is said and done. Ahem: 'Tis not here Tom Dooley, folks, hangin' down his head, But Pablo "Blind Onion" El Greco instead
Like Howlin' Wolf, Muddy, or Mister Bo Diddle, He gots dem bad blues and plays the git-fiddle.
Coaxing out vibes in a funky blue sonic From a hole that appears to be stereophonic.
Strumming fandangos with knuckles a rappin' Don__™t mind that his forehead it has a big gap in.
While fleet fingers flailing an E-minor chord, He hums Malague__a through that hole in his gourd.
Despite any strange visual cues that decoy, The tune isn't "Flat-footed Floogie with a Floy-Floy."
A song as unheard of as Hank's "Cheatin' Heart" Way back then on any flamenco pop chart
Far fetched as it seems though, it's debatable whether It's some wistful Dylanesque ballad like "Boots of Spanish Leather." -GP
Thank you and, as long as we__™re talking tunes, feel free to listen to my rather rustic solo guitar attempt at Lovesick Blues. Click here. (No, I don__™t yodel or even sing on this instrumental rendition.)