Male Beauty UnPlugged

Monumental Male Beauty by Vic Briggs

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

About this image: We all have a conception of beauty that is both individual and socially contingent. Having acquired a taste for male beauty with a determinately classic Greek slant (feel free to blame Louvre’s collections of antique sculptures for the bias, if you will), leave it to the new world to unsettle one’s discreetly cultivated status quo.

This particular New York “monument” challenged my preconceptions of what ought to be included in that category (of beauty, rather than Greek sculpture). This male specimen does share something with his classic predecessors: a disregard for actual human proportions. Just as the ancient sculptors used an “ideal” model for their art, often at odds with reality, so did the present artist. Although I believe that while the first promoted a particular vision of beauty, the latter attempts to do the reverse. It questions ideas that would otherwise remain fixed.

What I particularly like about this photo is the fact that not only the statue, but its two onlookers became part of the narrative. It was their discussion of the piece that prompted me to stop and reflect.

If I were a painter

Artist Palette With Basic Colors And Palette Knives

If I were a painter

My knife’s edge would glimmer with life

And lost in a canvass of white

Its spectre would carve

Only you.

A palette of shadows:

Burnt umber will blend with your soul,

Through darkness will seek earthly light

Enthral in my chase

And subdue

Time’s quickening tempo.



This poem was inspired by Sergey Gusev’s portrait painting tutorial “How To Paint Like Old Masters.”

Sergey Gusev Art

In this video tutorial I will show how to paint a man’s portrait using colours of old painters: ochre, umber, ultramarine and white.

I am using a knife only. I blend colours on the palette and paint the portrait using my palette knifes of different sizes,

Thanks for watching! Subscribe to my channel – new portrait paintings are coming in a few days!

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Unusual sources of inspiration

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with SFoxWriting’s Blog 

Earlier today Steven Fox, the blogger of SFoxWriting posted an image titled Multi Coloured Car. I have met Steven some time ago when we crossed swards over an article he had written for Don Charisma’s blog in which he was invited to argue that women make better leaders than men. Steven kindly invited me to expand on a comment I had made and this resulted in a rather more buccaneer response on my part than he had perhaps expected: Women and Leadership | The End of Men as Leaders. Leaving the past aside, today’s post intrigued me. It is only an image. There is no commentary assigned to it and it made me wonder: where do we as bloggers get our inspiration and why certain topics or indeed images appeal to us in the first place.

There is of course a certain freedom for the viewer when faced with an image that does not also provide the author’s or presenter’s opinion and story. We can assign to it whatever comes to mind. After all, the painters of old were not required to be wordsmiths. Their work spoke for itself. The same goes for certain types of photography and yet…

It took me several years to overcome my initial distaste for modern art. I could not relate to it. It did not speak to me and I found it somewhat pretentious. What was I expected to see in a blank canvas with a dot on it? The works of a Rothko or a Judd left me cold. It was the encounter with Minimalism that transformed distaste into curiosity and eventually into appreciation if not love. Specifically, Burlyuk’s words have prompted me to view this development in art in a different light: “Minimalist painting is purely realistic—the subject being the painting itself.”

The subject is the painting itself. Although he referred specifically to minimalist work, this discovery had prompted a snowball effect and I was quick to extrapolate the core of this assertion to art that did not stand comfortably within that category and beyond. It was as if a veil had been lifted and I could see beauty in the most insignificant of objects, stories coursing through space and time all due to one simple fact: they are human creations. I was ready to accept that anything and everything can be deemed art if only the creator, or even “finder” deems it to be so.

It made me reconsider the significance of Marcel Duchapm’s scandalous urinal (signed “R.Mutt” and titled Fountain) as an attempt to question the boundaries between life objects and art, as well as being a subversive dig at the seat  of authority, the art establishment figures who took it upon themselves to decide what constitutes art and what does not. In the words of an anonymous editorial that came in defence of the work:  “Whether Mr Mutt made the fountain with his own hands or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object.”

To return to Steven’s post, by virtue of choosing that image and presenting it under a title, he had transformed it into more than its former self: the object gained new thought. More so, it inspired me to reply in kind with an image of an exhibition piece I have recently photographed and which I now share with you:

Tokyo Exhibition piece: Car and Light. Vic Briggs photography

The image is indicative only in part of what the exhibition piece entailed. One can only glimpse a moment in time. The play of light that emerged from full darkness and mounted in wave-like crescendo until it became incandescent, the sound of an engine about to take flight, set against the backdrop of a snow-covered Tokyo city… Context and art interacted to subdue the senses. It made one question as well as admire. I was persuaded once again that an artist will make believers of us all. Are you?


Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

Or if you happen to be a fellow Hogwartsian send me a letter by owl. ;)

A Date for Valentine’s


“You enter [the Uffizi] and proceed to that most-visited little gallery that exists in the world – the Tribune – and there, against the wall, without obstructing rap or leaf, you may look your fill upon the foulest, the vilest, the obscenest picture the world possesses – Titian’s Venus”.

This is how Mark Twain recorded his encounter with one of Titian’s most famous nudes. Concepts of beauty change over time and the world has moved on from the voluptuous curves of the 16th century to the size zero models of today…

However, it was not the beauty of the painted model that Twain protested against in his Tramp Abroad, but rather the unapologetic sensuality and striking feminine power portrayed by Titian that the author found overwhelming, as many still do.

That luscious bed caressed by silken threads takes up the width of the painting. In the foreground a scene of domesticity unfolds. Perhaps the handmaids are making ready for the day, while the half-screened beauty fixes her visitor with an earnest stare. Skin aglow with the morning sun, a hand finds respite in the nook of her thighs.

She may be unclothed and yet it is the onlooker who feels naked and revealed. She seems to know something that we do not and yet is not ready to share her secret and lets it linger in the faintest of smiles.

Following into Titian’s footsteps, over the centuries many a painter revisited the contrast between innocence and sensuality. Amongst them number artists of equal renown: Velasquez, Goya and Manet. Yet none have decrypted the mystery of those smoky eyes, and it is this unreadable slant in her expression that makes Titian’s Venus unique.

Titian’s Venus is claimed as a must see on countless lists of “things to do before you die” so if you are in Italy for this Valentines season, why not treat yourself to a weekend in Florence and a date with the most beautiful nude ever painted.

Get Naked. Be Art.

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with Http://

skyferreira_albumluna luna: “The photograph is naked and raw and pained. Underlying it is some frustration that likely comes from heartbreak, being a young girl judged to death and becoming a music industry tool before you’ve hit 18. It’s full of depth and tumult accrued in the years it took her to make her music. As she said in the same interview with Stereogum,

“I don’t really feel like my left nipple is all that important.”

And she’s right. The associations in this image are more about anger and angst and sadness. The nudity just becomes a symbol of vulnerability and an act of expression instead of a marketing ploy. And sure, at the end of the day, it is partial marketing — she’s trying to sell albums, after all — but there’s no reason she can’t do that with honesty.

An important question here, however, is whether or not you could chalk up the same “this is art, this is expression” argument if this was Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry. […]

So where’s the divide? Do you need a history of difficulty and clamor for your nudity to seem “real”? When is it empowering and disarming? When is it just a gimmick? It’s a woman’s body, after all. She should be able to qualify it as art when she feels like it.”

For luna luna‘s full article please follow:

Art or NOT Art?

Does it come with a narrative? Does it create meaning? Is meaning created through it?

Perhaps I shouldn’t have answered your question with three of my own, but to me: the artist creates meaning and from this follows the most straightforward definition of art.

Art just is. Whatever we – artists – give meaning to, is art.

It may be somewhat broad, but I do not think that art can ever exhaust reality, nor that reality can ever exhaust art.

So… when it comes to Sky Ferreira’s C.D. cover, and her choice of exposed nipple, then I suppose the question is one of intent as well as meaning.

Commercial intent would not automatically de-categorise it as art. Think Andy Warhol. When it comes to art produced for the masses, or even when it comes to mass-produced art, as long as the artist defines it as such, then – whether you like it or not, buy it or not – it is art.

Sky’s career will not be hurt, I imagine, by this un-cover-ing of herself. Nudity sells. It has done for as long as there were people willing to be nude, and those with the skill to depict it.  If all her past efforts have crashed and burned, and she decided that her label-imposed commercial image does not work for her, then taking control of what she wants to put out there and how she wants it packaged – or unpackaged – certainly seems like a step in the right direction.

There is something haunting in her looks. The grit, the emotion, the hurt all come through. Whenever I see nudity in art I always question first whether its appearance is gratuitous, or whether it adds something to the performance. I refer here primarily to my perception of nudity in plays, but it works in the context of art in general. In some cases the conclusion is the inevitable first: it is there to get bums in seats that otherwise would’ve not paid to see it. Most of the time, however, there is a point to it.

Nudity brings with it both power and vulnerability. Nothing offers the potential to explore both more.

When the performer gets it right, the audience can feel it. And they will, in their admiration, reflect the honesty of the artist.

There is no doubt however that women are asked to take their clothes off more than men. In all art – whether music, photography, theatre, cinema, painting, and in literature too, it is women that are uncovered most often.

Men still dominate all the arenas of artistic and commercial expression. Is it too simplistic to point at this as the key reason for women’s nudity in art and commerce? Whether we accept this or not, the question of whether this is empowering or disarming remains unanswered.


Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

Or if you happen to be a fellow Hogwartsian send me a letter by owl. ;)

What is Art?

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with Writings of a Mrs

“…that you were not engaged with us because of your person; because of the parody of work that you display as “art” are a taint to that which is pure and true.” – anonymous

ART is FreedomThis was the message, sent to Writings of a Mrs by fellow artist that had seemingly supported her work on previous occasions. No wonder that this turn of tide had caused her shock and, dare I say it, pain. She chose not to disclaim the name of that writer, but instead to post an article that invited others to consider the meaning of art. How do you define art?

This was is my reply to her question:

Art just is. Anything we give meaning to is art. And, as writers, poets, photographers, artists – meaning is what we create. Art does not become non-art because someone chooses to declaim it as such. To deny meaning is not art. To create it: is.
This is for you.

Do not be pained
Words do cut deep, but wounds:
We wear their scars with pride.
Be unrestrained
Find meanings new to weave
Against this senseless tide.
Remain untamed
By those who wish you silent.
Their wishes don’t abide.
Be art unframed
And let your poem’s canvass
Against them be your guide.


Let’s Talk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

Or if you happen to be a fellow Hogwartsian send me a letter by owl. ;)