I get a lot of criticism from folks accusing me of being Mr. Nasty and negative all the time and to be honest its baffling to me. I'm passionate about art that I love and equally passionate about art and the people surrounding it, that I love... less. Wouldn't the world be a fabulous place if everyone were as transparent about their feelings on something as completely subjective as art?
The answer is yes by the way.
So I get to play the role of the grouch and cynic and negative nancy. I'm okay with that because at least I know it's coming from an honest place and genuine love for the scene. But the perception that I hate everything and everyone leads to me continually be asked the same question: "What do you like?"
I understand the question quite well but being asked it always throws me for loop. It's as if I'm being put on the spot to justify anything negative I may have said with praise for something else. That there must be a balance. Or worse, that I'm being tested. That unless I can quickly say how much I love something that you also love my negative opinions about something else can more easily be dismissed as uninformed or stupid. But as silly as the question is, with at least the motive in which it is usually asked of me, I figured it only fair for me to as plainly as I can point out a couple of pieces that keep me interested in this art form and give me reason to be so frustrated when other, lesser, art gets equal or higher praise simply for being created at all.
Major Minnow by Scott Tolleson
This is a limited run of 10 resin figures Scott did for his Past the Cosmos show at Screaming Sky Gallery in Oregon. You cannot look at this little guy and not smile and that is what I love most about Scott's art. It isn't trying to be anything other than charming and I appreciate that. The quality of the sculpt to the clean paint and blending of colors over the body of Major Minnow is perfection. I've looked this piece over quite a bit since I was fortunate enough to snag it from the gallery and I can't find a single errant line or fudged spot anywhere. There was great care taken in putting this character together and it shows (even in my crappy pictures).
Over the last couple of years Scott has taken a distinctly family-friendly approach to his art. Moving away from the more adult oriented styling he'd mastered moving into a more character based mode. His characters are infectious and, I'm going to use this word again because it's apt, charming. Major Minow stands at the ready, batton in hand, and I watch him fully expecting to watch him start moving right in front of me.
While this piece is a standalone figure and doesn't (as far as I know, anyway) work into the character family/line of his recent Nosellots plush line, or his Uncle Argh Qee, you can tell that they do all exist in the same universe and that is a kind of universal vision we don't see enough of.
Heart Squeeze by Brian Anderson
I don't know a thing about the artist or his past work but I saw this figure on the Kid Robot forums for sale and I bought it immediately. Call me a sucker for cute and whimsical characters, because it's true, but this little guy gave me a tingle in my chest. Yes, there is a heart in there. The very simple character clutching at, jumping as if to catch his love as it drifts away, and the small soulful eyes on the expressionless face all do it for me. The figure tells a story and conveys emotion so beautifully and for the $45 this resin piece cost me, I couldn't point to single vinyl figure in my collection that comes close to making me actually feel something for anywhere near that price. It is a piece I can look at over and over and from every angle I can appreciate something different. The dynamism is exciting to see and really makes me what to see more from this artist soon.
Perhaps it says something that these pieces are both resin. Vinyl has been a great friend to me but I have noticed myself over the last few months spending more of my time learning about and looking at artists working releasing in resin than those of vinyl. There is a connection with the artist that is palpable when you buy something they mixed and poured themselves. When I feel the heft in my hand and can appreciate the different shapes, designs, and character that can be achieved with the medium it makes me doubt the longevity of vinyl going forward as more and more artists dabble in their garages and perfect their slinging skills.
So there you go; two pieces from my collection that keep me interested and in love and why the over hyped bad and boring stuff gives me such heartburn.