Tiébélé

The African Village where every House is a work of Art

Thanks: Olga Stavrakis from TravelwithOlga.com  Much changed since I was there……original photo collection is amazing:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/rietje/sets/72157615598783227/with/3375700723/

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

All photography by Rita Willaert

Burkina Faso is by no means an area frequented by tourists, but at the base of a hill overlooking the surrounding sun-drenched West African savannah lies an extraordinary village, a circular 1.2 hectare complex of intricately embellished earthen architecture. It is the residence of the chief, the royal court and the nobility of the Kassena people, who first settled the region in the 15th century, making them one of the oldest ethnic groups in Burkina Faso.

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

I found these rare photographs of the village from a dedicated Flickr user Rita Willaert who traveled to Tiébélé in 2009 despite all odds (see all her photos of the village here). The village keeps itself extremely isolated and closed to outsiders, most likely to ensure the conservation and integrity of their structures and to protect the local traditions.  There is interest in developing the site as a cultural tourism destination to generate economic resources for conservation but it is a delicate process.

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

Travel blogger, Olga Stavrakis from TravelwithOlga.com also visited the site in 2009 and recalls her visit. She writes:

… It was only through a process of year long negotiations that we were permitted to enter the royal palace the entrance of which is pictured here. They were awaiting us and the grand old men of the village, the nobility, were all seated waiting for us. Each of the villages has muslims and animists (local religions) and no one much cares who believes in what. However, we were told in advance that we must not wear anything red and we may not carry an umbrella. Only the chiefly noble family is permitted that privilege and to do so would constitute a great affront to our hosts… 

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

A royal residence in West Africa is not what we might think of when we imagine royal palaces. In Tiébélé, the Cour Royale is made up of a series of small mud brick structures inside a compound, covered with natural clay paints in elaborate geometric patterns to differentiate them from the homes of the common people.

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

The chief’s house has the smallest door for protection.

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

Olga and her group were even granted access to the interiors of the structures and found that even in a palace compound, the kitchen is simple, differing only from the rest of the kitchens in West Africa by the presence of a few extra clay and iron pots.

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

“Most meals are cooked in one pot over a brazier,” explains Olga, “There is little cutting and preparation required. They generally make a starch foofoo or thick paste like porridge which is then dipped into a sauce of vegetables and peppers. The richer the family the more goes into the sauce. Foofoo is made of cassava, yam, plantain, or corn.”

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

Some of the most elaborately decorated houses however are not actually living quarters but mausoleums for the dead, who are laid to rest in the same compound.  The photograph by Rita Willaert below is an example of one of the village mausoleums.

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

Some of the art is symbolic while a lot of it is purely decoration– all a result of the traditional skills of the isolated Kassena culture. DIY Level: 1000!

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

 

Cour Royale à Tiébélé

 

See dozens more photos of the village by Rita Willaert and read more about Olga’s account of her tour around the village on Travel with Olga

Doors Recycled–Reused–Rescued

 

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downtoearthstyle.blogspot.com
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Door / window repurpose in the garden

Repurposed Doors In The Garden

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houzz.com

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justimagine-ddoc.com

Old Paned Window planters

Old Paned Window planters

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heatherbullard.typepad.com

old wrought iron garden gate

old wrought iron garden gate

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heatherbullard.typepad.com

realcutflowergarden.blogspot.com

decorated garden gate

decorated garden gate

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Old doors.

Old doors.

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images.search.yahoo.com

Image detail for -Primitive Country Decor Stands The Test Time Pictures

Image detail for -Primitive Country Decor Stands The Test Time Pictures

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cdn.indulgy.com

old window chair

old window chair

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bernideensteatimeblog.blogspot.com

weathered door

weathered door

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diekleineprinzessin.tumblr.com

use old doors to decorate!

use old doors to decorate!

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interiorstyledesign.tumblr.com

LOVE this Garden Gate~

LOVE this Garden Gate~

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apartmenttherapy.com

reuse a panel door

reuse a panel door

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flickr.com

Great idea!         love!
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canadiangardening.com

good reuse of doors

good reuse of doors

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forums2.gardenweb.com

Screen door trellis

Screen door trellis

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inspirationoooooahhhhh.tumblr.com

Old door turned into clock

Old door turned into clock

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huckleberrylanefurniture.blogspot.com

backyard swing <3

backyard swing ♥

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houzz.com

Recycled garden backdrop    Cool garden installation made from recycled windows, a door frame and wrought iron.

Recycled garden backdrop Cool garden installation made from recycled windows, a door frame and wrought iron.

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Our summer yard art project.  Repurposed old door and window frame with a pallet path :)

Our summer yard art project. Repurposed old door and window frame with a pallet path 🙂

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woodlandslifestylesandhomes.com

A mirror, shutters and a gate painted black — gives the illusion of a door that leads to another side beyond the fence.

A mirror, shutters and a gate painted black — gives the illusion of a door that leads to another side beyond the fence.

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Potting bench with old sink and door ---> Love the shelves...but maybe a cupboard?

Potting bench with old sink and door —> Love the shelves…but maybe a cupboard?

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hometalk.com

Old doors are easily found on garbage day. This old door must have been from the 70's.  Perfectly shabby making it ideal for a garden (plant) bench

Old doors are easily found on garbage day. This old door must have been from the 70’s. Perfectly shabby making it ideal for a garden (plant) bench

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A screen door project my husband made for my mom :)  Nice garden addition!!!

A screen door project my husband made for my mom 🙂 Nice garden addition!!!

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yearroundveggiegardener.blogspot.com

Niki Jabbour - The Year Round Veggie Gardener: I'm back.. with wonderful winter garden photos to share!

Niki Jabbour – The Year Round Veggie Gardener: I’m back.. with wonderful winter garden photos to share!

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teencraftconnection.com

DIY Vertical Kitchen garden & seed starting trays. Single repuposed bi-fold shuttered closet door and dollar store container trays. Materials used and the how Mom did it on Teen Craft Connection's page.

DIY Vertical Kitchen garden & seed starting trays. Single repuposed bi-fold shuttered closet door and dollar store container trays. Materials used and the how Mom did it on Teen Craft Connection’s page.

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Gorgeous & Colorful shed made of ten recycled doors, discovered in yes, you guessed it: Door County, WI

Gorgeous & Colorful shed made of ten recycled doors, discovered in yes, you guessed it: Door County, WI

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indulgy.com

repurposing old doors and windows | greenhouse made from old windows, love the tin siding (old tin ceiling ...

repurposing old doors and windows | greenhouse made from old windows, love the tin siding (old tin ceiling …

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blog.bernideens.com

There's so many ways to use old doors in the garen. This one is very romantic looking.

There’s so many ways to use old doors in the garen. This one is very romantic looking.

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junkmarketstyle.com

Dressing up the Yard, My attempt at re-purposing an old bi-fold door

Dressing up the Yard, My attempt at re-purposing an old bi-fold door

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Often we have problem on what to do with our defective doors, they would take a lot of our storage space! But if you are a crafty person, then you can upcycle them for a different purpose!

Often we have problem on what to do with our defective doors, they would take a lot of our storage space! But if you are a crafty person, then you can upcycle them for a different purpose!

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flickr.com

That door should be saved and not left to     rot.

That door should be saved and not left to rot.

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garden bench made from repurposed door...

garden bench made from repurposed door…

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fairenotions.blogspot.com

Repurposed Door garden shed.  But of course!  Why didn't I think of this?  Okay girls... looks like GG is a hunting at her ReStore.

Repurposed Door garden shed. But of course! Why didn’t I think of this? Okay girls… looks like GG is a hunting at her ReStore.

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flickr.com

reusing glass doors from a for funky decor in garden - maybe one day when we have a bigger place

reusing glass doors from a for funky decor in garden – maybe one day when we have a bigger place

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repinly.at-my-style.com

garden decor: Re-purposed old French doors used for pseudo-wall/screen in the patio setting...love!  Idea to note: would start trailing vines to drape over

garden decor: Re-purposed old French doors used for pseudo-wall/screen in the patio setting…love! Idea to note: would start trailing vines to drape over

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myrepurposedlife.net

Door turned into a shelf; could easily be made into bench with storage underneath.  Picture the window panes with b/w photos in each.  Sweet!

Door turned into a shelf; could easily be made into bench with storage underneath. Picture the window panes with b/w photos in each. Sweet!

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hometalk.com

Garden Salvage  I took an old door and coated the glass with mirror paint, then I mounted it on my fence. I added some porch poles and bunk bed slats as a frame around the door; decorating it with paint and flower pot finials. I added a decorative piece of steel as a topper and put some stepping stones in front of it. This is my

Garden Salvage I took an old door and coated the glass with mirror paint, then I mounted it on my fence. I added some porch poles and bunk bed slats as a frame around the door; decorating it with paint and flower pot finials. I added a decorative piece of steel as a topper and put some stepping stones in front of it. This is my “secret” door to nowhere.

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landliebe-cottage-garden.blogspot.com.au

Re-purposed shutters as a garden screen. This is a great idea.  We used our front door's -  Old wrought iron doors for the back yard.....the ivy has started climbing.

Re-purposed shutters as a garden screen. This is a great idea. We used our front door’s – Old wrought iron doors for the back yard…..the ivy has started climbing.

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dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.com

New Takes On Old Doors: Salvaged Doors Repurposed potting bench for gardeners DIY. I had one of these from the red barn in Modesto. had to sell it when we moved. I guess I will make my next one.

New Takes On Old Doors: Salvaged Doors Repurposed potting bench for gardeners DIY. I had one of these from the red barn in Modesto. had to sell it when we moved. I guess I will make my next one.

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No instructions, but it looks pretty self-explanatory.

No instructions, but it looks pretty self-explanatory.

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Red, antique door used as a garden gate.  What a great idea!  garden ideas.  vintage doors.  repurposed doors.  gardening.  garden gate.

Red, antique door used as a garden gate. What a great idea! garden ideas. vintage doors. repurposed doors. gardening. garden gate.

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Worthy. Wonderful Photographer in Cuba

Nine Questions for Arien Chang Castán, a Photographer from Havana

A small portrait of Firuzeh Shokooh Valle

Arien Chang_Ciudad

I was looking for someone. After my first foray into illustrated interviews, I wanted more. So, my editor Solana Larsen suggested a friend, Arien Chang Castán, a photographer from Havana, Cuba. As soon as I saw his beautiful website filled with old people, seas, solitudes, cities, colours, darknesses, I wrote to him.

The questions in this interview are based entirely on what I observed of his photos and what I read about him on his website. The questions, and answers, were given in an email exchange that took several weeks. I would need more time and closeness to be able to describe and tell the story of Arien Chang, but in the absence of this, below, a photographer in/from Havana.

Global Voices (GV): Tell me the story of your last name. 

Arien Chang (AC): My grandfather came to Cuba as an illegal immigrant in 1927. He moved to Old Havana, very close to where I have lived my whole life. He started out in the business of casinos, gaming houses, bars, he even joined a political party that brought together many Chinese immigrants that, like him, had come to Cuba with the hope of new opportunities. Some had even used Cuba as a bridge to cross to the United States (a bridge that we still use…) Of course, working and living in Old Havana, he fell in love with a mulata, who ended up being my grandmother; hence the mix of races and the last name.

Chang is one of the most common family names in China. I had the opportunity to verify this first hand in February, thanks to “Red Gate,” a well-known institution that offers grants to artists from all over the world. For two months I was working on my project, which involved trying to find my roots, the place where my grandfather was born and raised – not because I feel rootless or that I need to find an identity in China, but rather because of the impatience that pursues us and makes us believe that we exist, simply, because we know where we come from.

As a photographer I’m always looking – in my house, in my neighbourhood, in my country – for a new image, a new concept, something that indicates why we exist, where we are going. Photography is my medium and my last name might seem exotic on this island, but that’s what is magnificent and photogenic about Cuba: the races, the ages, the history of a whole people are mixed together in its streets. And what’s more, in Cuba we use two family names, the father’s and then the mother’s. My second family name is Castán, which comes from Arabic, and that’s a whole other story of roots and immigrants.

Arien Chang_Bailarina

GV: Photographer, why? 

AC: I don’t think there is a ‘why’, but I can tell you a bit about how I started, how my life, or rather, how photography changed my life or how my life became photography.

It all started during the hot summer of 2003 (not as hot as it is now), in the América Theatre, a spectacular construction representative of Art Deco, in Galiano Avenue in the centre of Old Havana. They were offering a photography course, along with other unrelated courses like massage and hairdressing, but I just wanted to learn how to use a camera (in those days I didn’t even think about light). It was a very basic course, but in it I finally learned how to use the Russian camera that my father had brought from the Soviet Union, it was a Zenit that had been in a drawer in my house since I was little. I used to play with it and move its controls, it all seemed very fun, of course back then I never imagined that photography would become my life, but I already knew that I liked having a camera around and pushing the shutter.

When I finished the course in the América Theatre, I discovered that I did indeed know how to work the controls but I didn’t know a thing about taking photos. Since I’m a bit stubborn and when I get my mind set on an idea I have to do it, I discovered that the best school for me was on the streets of Havana. Documentary photography is what I wanted to do, what I have done and will continue to do; I’m a photography addict and it’s too late to fix that, now all I can do is surrender myself to this addiction and feed it each day with more work. Photography exists and people can see it, but it must be discovered.

GV: Cuba has been the object of countless photographers. So many that it has developed an image difficult to reinvent. How do you photograph Cuba from the inside?

AC: Photographing Havana from the inside is very easy… you just have to have a Libreta de Abastecimiento (ration booklet) and permanent residence, an ID card or anything that allows you to live here for a while.

The life of a Cuban is not reduced to going to work in the morning and coming home in the evening, people in this country go through an odyssey every day. They are constantly tried by the dynamic of life that we have in this country, to put a name to it. The (non-)transport, the (non-)money, and all the other “nons” that each Cuban faces every day leave marks on their faces, in their clothes, in their spirit, sometimes of desperation, sometimes of fun, but they always reflect a story that if you don’t live it yourself or you don’t know how to read it, you can’t take the photo. We can add to this the incredible architecture, that as we all know is frozen in time and sometimes makes us believe we are in the 40’s. It is this apparent disguise that makes Havana easy and not-so-easy to photograph. This damned Havana is a double-edged sword, which I thank for who I am and what I do.

To create an image you must live it, you must suffer it, and that is why you can sometimes find photos of Cuba that are very well composed, with an impeccable use of colour and light, but at the end of the day they are empty, they are nice little postcards, because the photographer cannot go beyond the impression that Havana makes at first contact.

You have to touch Havana every day, handle it, enjoy it, you have to understand it.

Arien Chang_Viejo

GV: Why take portraits of old people?

AC: For their experience, their tranquility and their wrinkles.

Old people don’t mince their words, they have lived enough to have nothing to lose. In my photos you can see sweet expressions and also looks of hate-disgust at having the lens pointed directly at them. Elderly people, like children, say what they think, they act and get by without fear of the future, because the future for them is already the past.

The series “Longevity”, which I started to develop a few years ago, consists of taking photos of people over 100 years old. A century is a lot of history, even for a country, someone over 100 years old sometimes has less to say with words than with their feelings, expressions.

Old age is intriguing, I don’t expect to live long enough to take my own self portrait and add it to the series; but to photograph someone over a century old is always impressive for me.

Arien Chang_Malecón

GV: Tell me about the sea.

AC: It’s impossible to ignore the sea in photography, especially if you live your whole life on an island. Since I was a kid I would escape from school with my friends to go and swim at the Malecón (waterfront esplanade) and like me, generations and generations of Cubans have grown up using this coast-beach, full of reefs, dog-tooth (sharp rocks), as we call it here. Getting to the Malecón, taking off your school uniform and throwing yourself from the highest, most dangerous, deepest part, is less an action than a sense of belonging, a power relationship, you use the sea, sometimes it uses you. Thousands of accidents have happened on Havana’s Malecón, but even so, no-one is afraid of it. The Malecón, or “el Bleco” as we neighbourhood locals affectionately call it, is there and always will be, sometimes calm and sometimes agitated, like the idiosyncrasies of Cubans themselves. It has learned to live with us and us with it, though I hope that the prohibition on swimming at the Malecón doesn’t last.

I miss the sea, when I don’t see it for a few days I miss it, my whole life it has been near me, near my city. The Malecón series, the one that carries the name “el Bleco” in honour of my childhood, is my reconciliation with this city, with this country. It is a debt that I owe it for being Cuban, for being from Havana, for living in it for part of my childhood, my adolescence, for being part of my life.

GV: Black and white or colour? 

AC: I don’t think I could choose one, that would be like choosing between two pretty girls, the difference is that I don’t have to choose just one, I can stay with both and be happy.

When I started out in photography my work was all in black and white, analogue and processed in a “laboratory”, that is, the room where I was born on the corner of Monte and Ángeles streets, without any way to close it off, often without water; but with a good enlarger, from the beginning of the 20th century, which allowed me to do my own prints, control my own image from another perspective. There I learned more than anywhere else about lights, shadows, composition and I really enjoyed doing the whole process to my photos.

I spent seven years doing just black and white, even when I made that much-feared change to digital, I still didn’t use colour. It’s only in the last few years that my photos have started having “some” colour. I have always believed that colour is a very difficult technique in documentary photography, the dramatic quality of a black and white photo is always more attractive; but the use of colour when it is necessary, when the image practically cries out for it, has an undeniable strength. But, really, when you see photography you can tell when it is in colour and when it is in black and white. It’s only now that I am trying to understand the language of colour, translate it, I am searching for a personal style; always basing myself on those years that I worked only in black and white, but that helped me begin to understand colour in a different way, I’m trying to reinvent it in these colourful streets of Havana.

I can say that recently I have developed a certain fetish for colour, I really like it a lot and I don’t know… the black and white phase hasn’t ended but I think that in the future colour will predominate my work, that’s my intention.

Arien Chang_Ventana

GV: A bleeding window?

AC: That bleeding window only has one culprit: The Havana Biennial. This kind of big party was happening at that moment, with artists on the streets of Havana, where they intervene in spaces with different art forms, I simply passed by that street, that house. The bleeding window, a coincidence, I saw the image, the dress, the sandals, the contrast of colour with the window, the yellow wall, so I took the photo.

If the window had been another colour or hadn’t been bleeding, or the woman hadn’t been there, maybe I wouldn’t have taken a photo or maybe I would have, but of course, it would be a completely different one. I didn’t seek it out, the window came to me and that is what’s incredible about documentary photography, the spontaneity of the moment.

Arien Chang_BN

GV: Solitude permeates your photography. 

AC: That’s an interesting question because no-one has ever spoken to me that way about my photography. I just do photography and that’s what I see, maybe it’s the solitude and abandonment of this city that has so many needs, so much history, so many bad memories, and good memories too, but those are secondary.

Solitude, you say, permeates my photography, but being a documentary photographer is a kind of solitude too, it’s a way of being alone, even when you are surrounded by thousands of people, only you know what you capture with your camera that only you can control. What can I say, there are people who are solitary, sad, bitter, just as there are people who are happy, fun, sociable; I simply try to capture their feelings, the stories that they drag around often without realizing that in the way they walk, talk, move around the world, they carry their own load, their own particular solitude.

GV: What is your relationship with the city, Havana?

AC: I really feel as if I were wearing pijamas on the streets of this Havana that has watched me grow and that I am constantly looking at and looking at again and rethinking. I get home, after a whole day of moving around out there, and then, instead of resting, I take my work home because at the end of the day that’s what we photographers are, slaves to our own way of life. I download the photos, I edit, I edit again, I look at them, look at them again, you never know what surprises Havana has in store for you. Sometimes I feel like I violate her, that I am taking advantage of her, that I use her for my own good, but in the end I always thank her with my photos, or at least I try to.

Rediscovering Havana is my main project, my constant aspiration, because sometimes just going out onto her streets is not enough, you have to go into her houses, go up to her roof terraces, talk with her domino players, with the ones who have fighting cocks, with the woman who sells on the corner, and the child who plays ball. In short, my relationship with Havana is very simple: to wake up every day and go out…

Ryan Hale

Abstract artist. American.

desert city--matt thomas

 Owned by Matt Thomas.
Bandit 4″x4″ acrylic on canvas by Ryan Hale

Ryan Hale finds small paintings challenging in a different way. Since he is an abstract artist, he likes to work freely and intuitively.
Ryan likes to interpret patterns of aerial views of landscapes. He’s fascinated by how land is divided, especially when seen from above, where civilization and nature both co-exist and collide. You can appreciate his intentions in these larger paintings entitled “Daily Intervals,” which measures 60”X72”, and “The Forming Earth,” which is 36”X36.”
So, when it came time to do some 12”X12” paintings, Ryan decided to work on several at once, so they would be related and could be hung together in different orientations. While he was painting them, he would move them around. “It’s a challenge, like creating a puzzle,” he said. “I takes a lot of thought to get a strong enough image on a small canvas.” WILDE MEYER GALLERY.

Structure IV 12″x12″ acrylic on canvas by Ryan Hale

I think these two small paintings, entitled “Structure III” and “Structure IV” are very successful. They reflect Ryan’s considered style and thoughtful color selections, and work well as a single unit or together. He also included a figurative painting, “Bandit,” which probably comes from another part of his creative brain!

Structure III 12″x12″ acrylic on canvas by Ryan Hale

Even in Excess Art

Jack Vettriano grew up in the industrial seaside town of MethilFife. He grew up in poverty with his mother and father and older brother, in a spartan miner’s cottage, sharing a bed with his brother and wearing handed down clothes. From the age of 10, his father sent him out delivering papers and milk, cleaning windows, picking potatoes, any job that could earn money. His father took half his earnings. His name was Jack Hoggan.

In 1987, at 36, Vettriano left his wife of eight years, Gail, and stepdaughter, and his job in educational research, and moved to Edinburgh. There, he adopted his mother’s maiden name, gave away his suits to a neighbour and started dressing as an Edwardian dandy. He applied to study Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh, but his portfolio was rejected.

His easel paintings cost between £48,000 and £195,000 new, but he is thought to make more money from the sale of reproductions. According to The Guardian, he earns £500,000 a year in print royalties. Each year a new set of limited edition prints are published, and his most popular work, The Singing Butler sells more posters and postcards than any other artist in the UK. On 21 April 2004, the original canvas of The Singing Butler sold at auction for £744,500. It had been rejected in 1992 by the Royal Academy summer exhibition.

Vettriano-Hoggan_Singing_Butler

Notes.

In April 2010 Seven out of ten paintings by Vettriano failed to sell at Sotheby‘s spring auction of Scottish pictures. Those that sell sold for half their previous prices. The Scotsman suggested collectors who bought his paintings as investments could be seriously out of pocket if they put their purchases back on the . open market.[8] Of course. this was not long after the collapse of Lehmans and the grand recession.

In 2012, when stopped for drunk-driving, he was caught with drugs which he claimed were cocaine (but he had been sold Meth). Nonetheless, he was banned from driving. He is now 60.

The Lady in Red is apparently Orla Brady. And the pose is pure art manual: vettrianocomposite203