Day 21: Olek

To put it simply, Olek is a fiber artist from Poland working in the US. Where her artistry gets more complex is in the ways she showcases it. Agata Oleksiak crochets and uses this medium in art installations,

Knitting is for Pussies

kiss me I crochet (inflatable)

Living sculptures,

Crocheted Drum Set

Performance pieces,


Working Woman in Red (Lots of female artists incorporate textiles into their work to revisit and pay homage to women's crafts throughout the ages)

and what she insists is not guerilla art,

"I don't yarn bomb, I make art. If someone calls my bull a yarn bomb, I get really upset. Lots of people have aunts or grandmas who paint. Do you want to see that work in the galleries? No. The street is an extension of the gallery. Not everyone’s work deserves to be in public." Lots of Aunts and Grandmas crochet too Olek. Just Sayin'.

Crocheted Banksy!

Olek’s work was going to be featured in a film called Yarnana but it was canceled on June 28th due to lack of funding. It’s too bad, because it looked like it would’ve been a cute movie:

If you, or anyone you know is at all interested in crocheting and/or guerilla art, there are some great resources here:

The Pythia

Day 20: Martin Wittfooth

I attempt to change for the better all the time. I have few regrets, but I suppose I had to make whatever mistakes I feel I’ve made to have an awareness of how to improve.

His artist statement from the “Cute and Creepy” exhibition at Florida State University:

Martin Wittfooth’s work stems from a personal desire to process and reflect on the increasingly haywire relationship, confusion, and general detachment – both of experience and understanding – that the modern-day industrialized world has with its surrounding environment, and the forced and uneasy assimilations that take place when the two inevitably meet.

Baachus (2010)


Saints Preserve Us (2009)

By removing the human figure from the works and instead portraying nature in man-made or manufactured settings, Wittfooth’s work forces us to be impartial observers to these scenes and to process the tension within them as mere witnesses rather than active participants.

A Milder Fate Than Tyranny (2009)

Much of this work deals with violence, disquiet, chaos and collapse, but not entirely absent in these works is also the suggestion of hope and the presence of beauty.

Anger (2009)

The Great Parade Of The Unwashed (2008)

Wittfooth’s art draws both technical and conceptual inspiration from a wide variety of classical painters, but in their subject matter and themes his paintings are concerned with addressing a broad range of contemporary issues.


Day 19: Pamela Masik

This artist has a lot of work that I really admire but I’d like to focus on one of her projects in particular.

The Forgotten’ Project

A title chosen to describe society’s apathy
Toward a group of women marginalized
By class, race, gender, and sexuality.
From 1978 to early 2000’s,
69 women went missing
From Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Over the year’s, some women removed off the poster,
But I stuck with the original number.
These women are still gone.
Society was ignoring what was going on,
But the friends, family and community
From which they came, did not.

I lived on the DTES.
Studio around the corner from my apartment.
My son was scared to walk to the studio.
Needles human feces at my front porch.
He questioned my kindness to strangers.
I said, never judge, everyone has a story.

Media sensationalized these stories,
Public blamed a serial killer,
But there were deeper issues
To confront.

Some collectors wouldn’t visit me in the area,
Asked if I finished painting the whores yet.
It made my blood boil.
The ignorance.
But I knew it was fear.

What if I could create a body of work so powerfully moving
That views could be challenged
That the realization of society’s role,
Our play in this tragedy,
Could inspire social change?

I dedicated five years now,
To create a body of work,
To confront issues
Violence, not having a voice,

I didn’t deny the truth,
The innocence and beauty too.
I created this collection to create awareness on issues
That still exist throughout the world
And especially for
Women most vulnerable

I struggled with the information or lack thereof.
I questioned my own material that was researched on-line,
Through media and family and friends.
What is the truth? Why did this happen?
What would it take?
How could I contribute to something so important to me as a woman, a mother?

The only voice I know, is through my paintbrush,
So I paint.
Trusting the day will come
When the collection can inspire
World conferences,
discussions leading to increased awareness,
Students challenged to think about social change,
Bridging a gap between classes
And inspiring the possibility of a better future
For women at risk.

These women may have been victim’s to a brutal violence
Due to social apathy,
But today I like to think of them as heroes.
Who will inspire social change,
And never truly ‘forgotten’.

Pam was supposed to exhibit the collection at MOA

But was unfortunately met with a lot of opposition.

I understand this is a great divide in feminism, speaking on issues that you yourself aren’t a part of, but I think in Pam’s case she was doing a service to these women and used art to transcend language and she expressed her message wonderfully. I also dont much care for the statement made that she is obsessed with being photographed. That’s a little unnecessary. She’s a beautiful woman, if she wants to be photographed that’s her right.

Masik is also a performance artist and sculptor, you should check out more of her work.

The Pythia

Day 18: Fred Einaudi

Fred Einaudi has a few recurring themes to his work that I find quite compelling.

Innocence that he juxtaposes alongside death.

The Mermaid


Don’t all children like to play with dead things?


1940s war propaganda that he juxtaposes alongside apocalyptic destruction.


Paddy Paws

Sex but in an uncomfortable way.

Tulips (Tulips, Two Lips, get it?)

Leda and the Swan (this is an interesting take on that myth)

Children who seek security amongst the destruction and become prey.


Starry Night (I even get sexual vibes from this as well)

What will remain of us once everything is destroyed.


Extinction (study)

Holywar (study)


Day 17: Pamela Wilson

According to her website Pamela Wilson deals with absurdity and isolation in her work. The places we find ourselves as we grow and create ourselves.

“There are otherworlds and contrived realities going on in my head all the time- I love to work at making these designer-worlds of mine become paintings. I work in surreality in that sense- without the melting clocks. Dream-worlds are fun and free of constraint, and anything can happen in a dream. And still make dream sense. Whether intricate or simple, all of my ideas are very personal. I am inspired arbitrarily by just about anything- I read, I watch films, I argue, I shop, I cry, I dream, I complain, I laugh, I do laundry, I look at art. I never know when an idea will grab me, and take me on a wild ride.  Any idea, or object, or place, or person may transport me, and give me the impetus for a painting or a series…  I don’t think I create ideas; I only interpret them. I stay open to them, and I try to keep them open to interpretation. I think we all share similar experiences and emotions.”

The Last Escapist (2011)

“When we dream, it seems that it is without choice, beyond our control, at the whim and fancy of our subconscious. But I am beginning to understand, through painting, that I choose my dreams by day- and design my worlds- whatever they may hold- while I am awake. Through my work, I hope to encourage others to do the same.”

The Undoing of Jenny (2011)

“ I never know when they will speak to me, but “ghosts” and I have a rapport. I read a lot, and find that the more I put in my brain- the more I get out. I live in extremes- I’m either bored to tears, or highly titillated. My mother used to tell me if I’m bored- it’s my fault.”

Prelude to Mad Hope (2010)

Crest Fallen Interlopers (2010)

Sleepwalking with Scarecrows (2010)

The Nuisance (2010)

An Inviting Abyss (2009)

Regarding Rex (2008)

Carrie Ann Baade is supposed to sit for her sometime,

The Pythia

Day 16: Auguste Rodin

Sorry! My internet has been off.

(1893) "The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation. "

Auguste Rodin started drawing at an early age. “When I was very young, as far as I can remember, I made drawings.
A grocer patronized by my mother used to wrap his prunes in paper bags made of pages torn from illustrated books, or even prints. I copied them;  they were my first models.”  At 14 he became a student at Petite École where he took drawing and copied 18th century French artists. Though he was a studious individual, his near-sightedness made him struggle a great deal and his classmates and teachers never thought he was someone of exceptional talent.

In 1857 he failed the entrance exams for the third time to get into École des Beaux-Arts. These experiences with academia would be the reason he had such a strong aversion to school and conventional art.

(1860) Jean Baptiste Rodin (Auguste's father). From 1858-1862 Rodin worked as a brick mason. "In my opinion too, this was certainly inferior work. But I had to learn at this development process that this point of view was incorrect."

In 1862, his sister passed away.

Man with Broken nose (1862)

Seeking solace, he started studying to enter the priesthood at Les Pères du Saint-Sacrément. While there, he sculpted a bust of the founder Father Pierre-Julien Eymard.

Father Pierre-Julien Eymard (1863)

Recognizing his gift, Father Eymard suggested that he leave the order to pursue his passion. Rodin took his advice and became a member of L’Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs. 

(1864) The year he met his life partner, seamstress Rose Beuret. She becomes his model and tends to his work while he studies and travels abroad.

Young Lady with Flower Hat (1865)

In 1866, Auguste-Eugene Beuret is born, Auguste and Rose’s first child. He fell through a window and suffered severe head trauma that made him incapable of normal cognitive development. He never reached his father’s expectations of him.

Mignon (1869) Modeled after Rose.

In 1870 the Franco-Prussian war broke out and Rodin’s near sightedness saved him from the draft.In 1871, while he was working in Brussel’s his mother passed away. Rose moved in with his father to help take care of the man slipping farther into senility and their son. The next year Rose joined him in Brussels and left her son and his father in the care of his Aunt.

In 1875 Auguste created studies of a Belgium Soldier named Auguste Neyt. These studies are what later become “The Age of Bronze” in 1877.

The Age of Bronze (1877) There was a scandal over this piece the first 2 times he showed it. It was thought that he had caste the figure from life. That it was too detailed and perfect to have been sculpted by hand.

“Owing to these terrible doubts raised by the jury, I find myself robbed of the fruits of my labors. Contrary to what people think I did not cast my figure from the model but spent a year and a half on it; during that time my model came to the studio almost constantly. Moreover I have spent my savings working on my figure, which I had hoped would be as much of a success in Paris as it was in Belgium since the modeling seems good – it is only the procedure that has been attacked. How painful it is to find that my figure can be of no help to my future; how painful to see it rejected on account of a slanderous suspicion!”

St. John The Baptist Preaching (1877)

“(The sculptor) represents the transition from one pose to another – he indicates how insensibly the first glides into the second. In his work we still see a part of what was and we discover a part of what is to be. (..). Now, for example, while my Saint John is represented with both feet on the ground, it is probable that an instantaneous photograph from a model making the same movement would show the back feet already raised and carried forward to the other.(..) Now it is exactly for that reason that this model photographed would present the odd appearance of a man suddenly stricken with paralysis and petrified in his pose. (..) It is the artist who is truthful and it is photography which lies, for in reality time does not stop, and if the artist succeeds in producing the impression of a movement which takes several moments for accomplishment, his work is certainly much less conventional than the scientific image, where time is abruptly suspended.”

The Call to Arms (1877) Rodin submitted a terracotta sketch of this piece to a monument competition for a tribute to the French-Prussian war. It was thought to be too violent for the new calm France. It didn't even receive an honorable mention.

The Thinker (1880) One of the most famous sculptures in history, featured in his piece "The Gates of Hell"

The Gates of Hell (1880) On top stands 3 copies of his famous sculpture "the shade"

Shades of Eve (1881) Rodin said he saw this model change with every sitting, finally, after altering the piece each time he found out that she was pregnant. He thought this lucky and presented Eve in the same way. However, since his model left on maternity leave, he never got to complete it.

In 1883, he met Camille Claudel. In 1884 he won a competition and earned the comission for ”The Burghers of Calais’ which he completed with Camille’s assistance in 1889.

The Burghers of Calais (1889)

Rodin broke away from tradition by not presenting the figures in a pyramid form, but by showing them non-hierarchically grouped amongst each other.

From 1884 to 1889 Rodin created many pieces reflecting his relationship with Camille.

Fugitive Love (1884)

Danaid (1885) Camille posed for this piece.

Faun and Nymph (1886) Rodin portrayed himself as the Faun and Camille as the Nymph. Fauns are notorious for their insatiable sexual apetite and were often portrayed with erections in Greek art.

Paolo & Francesca (1887) Two characters from his beloved Divine Comedy

The Sirens (1887) Rodin displayed female homosexuality several times in his work like in "Damned Women".

Centauress (1887 or 1889)

The Kiss (1888)

In 1888, Camille’s family found out about the true nature of her relationship with Rodin and kick her out of the house.

Eternal Idol (1889) This year, Rodin exhibited with his friend Claude Monet, who complained about his friends work but the exhibition was still a huge success.

As I said in my last blog, Camille was his model, muse, confidante, etc. She mixed his gypsum, she built models, as well as enlarged them, she created important parts of his pieces, particularly the hands and feet. Camille, who loved to carve marble, also got to do this. Rodin usually hired a practitioner or had his assistants carve his marble for him.

Farewell (1892) Though they spent the year abroad together the year before, Camille and Auguste bid eachother audieu.

Orpheus and Eurydice (1892)

Pygmalion (1908) An echo of Camille's Sakountala.

Bust of Gustav Mahler (1909) Composer he thought very highly of. He made a bust titled "Mozart" that was just another portrait of Mahler.

In 1913 Camille was institutionalized, he helped pay the medical bill. In 1917 he and Rose passed away. I’m sorry for cutting this short but I lost a lot of time when my internet was down and Id like to get through more material.

This will be the last of my “couple” blogs… for now

The Pythia

Day 15: Camille Claudel

"You find me at work; excuse the dust on my blouse. I sculpt my marble myself." (1884 age 19) Wasn't she beautiful?

Camille Claudel was born December 8, 1864. At 12, she already realized her life’s ambition to become an artist; making terra cotta figures of David and Goliath and Napolean. Alfred Boucher saw her work and realizing her talent, entreated her father to move to Paris where she could receive a formal education in sculpting. Her father relocated his family when she was 14.

Camille (at 14)

Camille attended Academie Colarossi, one of the few private universities that accepted female students. There she took courses on drawing and anatomy among others. Most of her early work (Mythological and religious figures) was not preserved.

Bust of Paul Claudel at age 13. (1881) Paul Claudel was her younger brother (4 years younger) who later became a famous French Poet. While Camille attended the academy, he went to Collège Louis-le-Grand.

Diane (1881)

She sculpted a bust titled “La Vieille Hélène” of an old woman, extremely innovative for the time.

In 1882 Camille, at 17, rented a studio with other artists (including Jessie Lipscomb). In 1883 during Alfred Boucher’s absence, Auguste Rodin started supervising the group.

A letter from the fall of 1883, from Rodin to his “ferocious friend”

“This morning I ran around (for hours) to all our spots without finding you. Death would be sweeter! And how long is my agony. Why didn’t you wait for me in the atelier, where are you going? (…) In a single instant I feel your terrible force. Have pity, mean girl. I can’t go on. I can’t go another day without seeing you. Atrocious madness, it’s the end, I won’t be able to work anymore. Malevolent goddess, and yet I love you furiously… . (…) Let me see you every day, which would be a good idea and might make me better, for only you can save me with your generosity. Don’t let this slow and hideous sickness overtake my intelligence, the ardened and pure love I have for you – in short, have pity, my beloved, and you will be rewarded.”

Rodin, 43, had been in a relationship with Rose Beuret for 19 years and had a son that was Camille’s age when they met and began their affair.

In 1884, a year after her first exhibiton she became a trainee under Rodin. Though her roles would also include his assistant, muse, model and confidante. Some of the works she inspired: ‘Fugitive Love’ (1884), ‘L’Éternel Printemps’ (1884), ‘Aurore’ (1885), ‘Avarice and Lust’ (1885), ‘Faun and Nymph’ (1886), ‘The Kiss’ (1886), ‘Paolo & Francesca’ (1887), ‘Death of Adonis’ (1888) and ‘Eternal Idol’ (1889) and ‘Danaid’ (1885). Some say “Celle qui fut la Belle Heaulmière” was inspired by Camille’s “La vieille Hélène”.

Giganti or, Head of a Bandit, 1885 (bronze)

In 1885 Camille became an official collaborator of Rodin’s and with her friend Jessie worked in his studio. During her time with Rodin she helped him complete such pieces as Burghers of Calais in 1895 and Gates of Hell, 1900.

Jeune Fille (1886)

L´Homme penche (The man bending over) 1886

“Camille, my beloved, in spite of everything,” Rodin wrote in 1886. “I am at the end of my tether. I can no longer go a day without seeing you.”

Camille in 1887

Rodin and Claudel had a troubled relationship. She kept asking him to leave Rose for her, and Rodin always refused. In 1886, Jessie and Rodin exchanged letters to each other discussing the partnership and weighting his options between Rose and their son and Camille. In October Camille dictated a contract to him in which he would only take her as a pupil, only support her work, relinquish all former contacts, models and other women and take a 6 month journey with her that would end in their marriage. Though it is signed by Rodin, the contract was obviously never fulfilled.

Sakuntala or "L'Abandon" (1888) She began work on this piece in 1886, and worked tirelessly twelve hours a day, seven days a week until it's completion is 1888. Depicting Sakountala and her true love in Nirvana. Though they had been estranged on earth, and though they were now without ego and detached in the cosmos, they found eachother because of their promise to remember. She donated this piece in 1895 to Museum of Chateauroux. For a long time it was kept in storage and heavily damaged because of the debate it provoked in periodicals throughout the province about its quality.

Read the story here:

The Prayer (1889) She parted ways with Rodin when this was sculpted.

The Waltz (1891) Back with Rodin, she sculpted this piece. Armond Dayot, a French art critic requested that the nude figures be draped. Lenard Renard joked that "In this group of a waltzing couple, they seem to want to finish the dance so they can go to bed and make love." A copy of this piece was owned by Claude Debussy.

In 1890 Camille stayed at the Chateau de L’Islette at Azay-Le Rideau with Rodin and concentrated on his work and their relationship. “I sleep completely naked to make me believe you are here, but when I wake up it is not the same thing.” she wrote to him.

Bust of Rodin (1892)

Some say Camille began seeing Claude Debussy, but was unable to let go of her love of Rodin. Debussy said of Camille: “In the works sculpted by Camille Claudel, there is a fixed kind of beauty that her gestures already sketched… This kind of beauty realized by a woman… has a plastic eloquence of an extraordinary power blended with a deep accent of intimacy as an echo of secret or familiar emotions sprung from a strong interior where they sing at mid voice”

Clotho (1893) Camille revisits non-idealized portraiture in her depiction of Clotho, one of the 3 fates, spinning her own hair as the thread of life. It has been speculated that this piece shows her emotional struggle between Debussy and her past with Rodin, but also fear of her own fate. She was commissioned to do this piece again for a festival in honor of artist Puvis De Chavannes, but being a woman is unable to attend herself.

The Age of Maturity (1893) I think this piece is pretty self explanatory.

Rodin, frightened by the young woman’s desire for commitment, moved to the country with his partner and child and ended communication with Claudel. “You promised to take care of me and not to turn your back on me. How is it possible that you never wrote to me even once and you never came back to see me? Do you think that it is fun for me to spend months, even years, without any news, without any hope!” she wrote him.

She quickly dropped contact with him as well, and worked hard to establish her own artistic career and independence.

Rodin, still very loyal to her continued to boast about her work to his contacts. Though this got her attention, it cast his long shadow over her work.

“I showed her where she would find gold, but the gold she finds is her very own” he said.

“Monsieur Rodin is not unaware that many nasty people have said he made my sculpture. If Monsieur Rodin really wishes me well, he can do it without having people believe that owe the success of the sculptures on which I work to his advice and his inspiration” she responded.

In 1895 Camille was one of the few artists to support Rodin’s new style. During this time, he revisited her portraits and redid many of them in this new style. Sshe was also trying a new style, working with shapes and themes found in her beloved nature.

La Vague

La Vague (1897) Inspired by the paintings of Hokusai.

La Vague (detail)

It wasn’t until 1897 that the 32 year old sculptor could finally live off her own work. She had a patron until 1905 that she produced for. Until a quarrel between Countess De Maigret ended their professional relationship.

Perseus and The Gorgon (1899)

In 1904 she met Eugene Blot an art dealer who became her agent. Without him, she surely would’ve starved. He had many of her pieces copied and sold as well as organized exhibitions for her. “Take this helping hand I am holding out to you,” he wrote to her. “I have never ceased to be your friend.”

The Flute Player (1904)

But after years of onslaught from the public and heavy critique of her work, as well as her own family’s lack of support, it soon became too much for Camille. “If there was still time to change corporate I’d prefer that. I would have done better to buy beautiful dresses and beautiful hats […] than to indulge in my passion.” she said.

Though she was still exhibiting, and sculpting, she lost a lot of exhibitions and commissions. “It is in fact agreed that I am the plague, the cholera of the benevolent and generous men who are interested in art and that, when I show myself with my plasters, even the Emperor of the Sahara would flee.” she joked bitterly.

Her friend, Henri Asselin soon began to worry about her. “From 1906, every summer, Camille began to systematically destroy, with a hammer, all her works of the year. Her two workshops provided then a spectactle of lamentable ruins and devastation” It’s true, during this time she grew increasingly reclusive, suspicious and paranoid.

“I took all my wax studies and threw them in the fire… that’s the way it is when something unpleasant happens to me. I take my hammer and I squash a figure.” she said.

In 1913 her father passed away, she did not attend the funeral, possibly because she wasnt told by the family.

She wrote to her cousin Charles: “I am scared; I don’t know what is going to happen to me. What was the point of working so hard and of being talented, to be rewarded like this? Never a penny, tormented all my life. It is horrible; one cannot imagine it.”

8 days after the passing of her father, her brother Paul had her institutionalized at Maison de Sante in Ville-Evrard.

Rodin sent money to help pay her hospital expenses, and by the suggestion of Mathias Morhardt had a room at Hotel Biron dedicated to Camille.

In 1915 she demanded her family release her or take her to a hospital in Paris but her mother refused. 2 years later, Rodin finally married Rose Beuret, though they both died the same year.  In 1920 a doctor at the hospital suggests that Camille return to the family, but again, she is refused by her mother. She wrote to her mother in 1927: “You are very hard to deny me asylum in Villeneuve. I would not be a scandal as you think. I’d be too happy to resume ordinary life to do anything. I dare not move anymore so I suffered.”

She finally passed October 19, 1943 after 30 years in asylums.

I felt a lump in my throat as I wrote this blog that swelled more and more with every word. My stomach felt like someone had poured lead into it. I wanted to cry as I read and recounted all the information I was gathering. I don’t want to compare and contrast Rodin and Claudel’s work (as many do) and I definitely don’t want to pass judgement on either of them and their life choices.

I hope you do the same,

The Pythia