The Art of Iris

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Telling stories has always been important to Iris, she sees herself as a visual storyteller and has been working as a freelance illustrator for many different clients in Europe, among them is bestselling author Michael Peinkofer. She designs characters and concept-art for animations, illustrates book covers, illuminates books and stories of many different authors and is even working on her own children’s book about weird witches and not so scary monsters. The medium she works with depends on the project, she loves the traditional feel of watercolour, oil, acrylics, gouache, and just plain old graphite pencils, but has also mastered the use of digital media to enhance her skills. Always eager to learn and grow in her profession she grabs every opportunity with both hands and dives into the exciting projects that are offered to her, giving it the Eyeris treatment.

More information on her work can be found at http://www.eyeris.eu/

“We Drank In The Moon” by Jimmi Langemo

John Atkinson Grimshaw 1882

We Drank In The Moon

The workday was done.
We sat with our feet dangling
O’er the loading dock.

I had brought a beer
For each of us. “Nothing too
Hoppy,” He had said.

We sipped suds as the
Full moon rose high and bright, all
Chubby cheeks and smiles.

“Anything new to
Share?” my Friend asked with a grin,
Followed by a swig.

“I have something new –
A poem of sorts,” I said.
“Let’s hear it,” said He.

I set down my beer
And began to recite the
Lines I had written:

“It is nearly correct to say
I have nothing to gain,
But everything to lose.
It is almost spot-on to say
I have nothing to lose,
Because nothing is mine.
It is close to the Truth to say,
Even though I have nothing,
I need nothing to know Truth.
So beware anyone
Who tries to sell something.
Who sells? Who buys?
What’s bought? What’s sold?
Traps and snares at every turn,
And yet,
Freedom,
Freedom
Everywhere.”

“Not bad,” said my Friend
When I had finished. “Try it
Again with no words.”

I set down my beer,
Pulled Him close and together
We drank in the moon.

“Riddle 45” as translated by Bertha Rogers

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RIDDLE 45 – BREAD DOUGH

Anglo-Saxon

Ic on wi ncle gefrægn     weaxan nathwæt,
þindan ond þunian,     þecene hebban;
on þæt banlease     bryd grapode,
hygewlonc hondum,    hrægle þeahte
þrindende þing     þeodnes dohtor.

RIDDLE 45 – BREAD DOUGH – Bertha Rogers Translation

I heard of a thing     that grows in the dark—
it breathes, blows from within,     lifts up its hat.
There was a bride-girl     who boldly lay hold
of that body without bones.     She cradled it,
handled it.     That daughter of a prince blanketed
the wheezing creature     with her own coat.

~

There are 95 of the Anglo-Saxon Riddle Poems from the Exeter Book, which are about 1,000 years old. The above appears translated and illustrated courtesy of Bertha Rogers.

Bertha Rogers’ poems have been published in literary magazines and journals and in several collections. Her latest collection, Heart Turned Back, was published by Salmon Poetry Publishing, Ireland. Her translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf, was published in 2000 by Birch Brook Press; her translation of the Anglo-Saxon riddle poems from the Exeter Book, Uncommon Creatures, Singing Things, is out now.

“Outside Looking In” by Scott Harrison

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Outside Looking In

As I stand on the outside looking in
At a man having nothing to lose
Spending his days recalling his past
Leaving him totally confused

Thinking of a time when life was great
Having money, love, and fame
The sudden drop of a dime
These things all faded away

Recalling a time he had no worries
His days spent just having fun
His days now spent worried about family
Missing his precious son

You see this man made some choices
Now Regretting them every day
Because these choices he made
Have now taken his freedom away

When on the outside looking in
Things are always much easier to see
But to me they’re so hard to accept

For this man which I speak of is me

An Interview with Scott Wade

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Texas native Scott Wade produces his unique images formed in dust in a way that few could. With his love of art being linked to his father being a cartoonist, and his curiosity to create imagery from the dust of his hometown he has developed a style all his own.

What was it like growing up in Texas? What did you love most about that?

I’m an Air Force brat, and moved a few times when I was very young, but was lucky enough to be at the Air Force Academy from age 5 – 13. That was a real treat, living in the foothills of the rampart range of the Rockies, camping, backpacking, skiing, climbing. I moved to Texas at age 13 in June, and thought I’d moved to Hell. But it wasn’t long before I fell in love with the amazing Texas Hill Country, which I’ve called home ever since.

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Do you think your father being a cartoonist himself encouraged you to pursue what you do? What would you say is the most important thing you learned from him?

My dad was definitely an influence, but despite our mutual love of cartooning, as an artist, I’m very different. My dad had this beautiful, flowing hand. His penmanship was a work of art, and his drawing was effortless. I’ve tried to develop that, but have never come close. I’ve had more training and been exposed to more fine art technique, but I still envy my dad his incredible gift.

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Who are some of your influences?

I’ve had so many influences it’s hard to name. I’m continually influenced by everything I see. I love many of the impressionists, a lot of indigenous art, many Renaissance artists- Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Romantics, like Waterhouse. I’m a huge Andy Goldsworthy fan. I try to appreciate everything- I fail sometimes. Not generally a big fan of purely conceptual art; I want art to affect me viscerally, and while intellectual stimulation is fine, it’s just not enough for me. Art speaks in its own language, so if it can really be said in an essay, maybe it should just be said in an essay.

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Is it easier to work with the dust of your native area than in other places? Which dust seems to work best?

I love the dust that comes from the dirt roads in the Hill Country. It is known as road base, or caliche, as the locals sometimes call it. Crushed limestone gravel and clay; it makes a fine dust that billows up behind vehicles on dry days that coat the rear windows with fine layers that make a wonderful “canvas.” I lived for 20 years on a mile and a half of the stuff, and the cars were always dirty. nowadays, I generally prep vehicles for events with a light coating of oil to make the dust stick, then blow a finely powdered mineral (usually a clay or other mineral purchased at a ceramic supply) with a blow dryer to simulate the “natural canvas.” One can’t always count on dry roads and dirty cars…

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When did you first get the idea to start creating such complicated pieces of art?

I had often drawn funny faces with my fingers on our constantly dirty car windows. Over time, I became curious about trying to get some variation in the line and possible some shading. I began to use sticks I’d pick up off the ground, and brush lightly with the pads of my fingers for shading. The ah ha moment came when I had a chewed up popsicle stick in my mouth and pulled it out, looked at it, and tried using it like a brush. It was very cool. I went into my studio, grabbed my brushes, and started experimenting. This was about 2005. The first piece I did was “Mona Lisa/Starry night,” which proved to me that this was a medium with great possibility.

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Did it take a while to get the hang of the brushes? What actually goes into creating one of your pieces?

It did take a lot of experimenting with the brushes and other tools to gain some mastery. You’re removing the light dust to reveal the dark shadow inside the car. It takes a very light touch to achieve some of the lighter values, and a lot of control for gradients. My process is usually to “pencil in” the basic layout with a sharpened stick. I typically work top to bottom, since the dust falls downward. I use a selection of fan brushes, but often start with a light, 2” – 3” brush for “blocking in” the basic darker areas. I sometimes use a big, soft stipple brush for skies, when there’s a landscape in the image. As the piece is nearing completion, I’m refining the shadows. Dust is filling in the previously worked areas as work is continuing, so that gives me a chance near the end to refine lines, deepen shadows, and basically achieve more value range, and more or less fine-tune the image.

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Is there any particular way to preserve your work?

No. On the cars I prefer to keep the work impermanent and let the rain wash the image away. I have done a few pieces that are more permanent, a couple on glass with another piece of glass in front, inside a frame, and one on a car door we got from the junk yard, for a gallery piece to support the Texas Breastfeeding Coalition. But the transience of this art form has helped me to understand how to appreciate and let go, to see life as an ever-changing journey. And that the length of time an artwork exists, doesn’t have anything to do with it’s quality.

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Do you enjoy seeing people’s reactions to what you do?

Oh yes very much! Of course, my wife, Robin, gets to see most of those, as I’m usually focused on the work. But It is very fun to talk with folks about the work whenever I’m creating the pieces in public, and the reactions are almost always very positive. With the exceptions of a handful of grumpy older folks, it is all smiles.

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How does it feel to be doing something you love?

Personally, I hate it. Just kidding, who doesn’t like to do what turns you on? There are things about doing the work commercially or in public that can be stressful or just not fun, but mostly, it’s a blast.

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Which pieces have been your favorites so far?

The next one. Always my answer to this question (thanks, Frank Lloyd Wright). But there are some I’ve done that I really like. Laurel and Hardy, Hylas and the Nymphs, The Marx Brothers, Desert Dust, Steven and Albert, Food…those are some of my favorites.

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Do you have any dream projects you’d most like to create?

Yes; I want to do this on an office building, or some building with huge amounts of glass. Like a 40 stories tall dirt drawing. That would be very cool. And maybe a scene from a new movie on the limousine that’s dropping of the stars at the premiere?

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Are there any little known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?

I know some folks think this is my main gig, and have seen many comments for years, to the effect that I must have too much time on my hands to be doing this. Actually, I have a full time job as the Senior GUI Designer at a company in San Antonio; I play a few times a month in various bands- been a bar band drummer for 40 years; and I design sets for my local community theatre. I have 2 cats, a dog, a wife, and a 21 year old daughter. So there (smiles).

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What would say is key to a life well lived?

Love as much as you can. Do what you’re inspired to do. Have fun, but be aware of others. Do your best.

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Is there anything you’d like to say before you go?

Thanks for your interest and support. All the best to you and your readers!

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For more on the works of Scott Wade please see: Scott Wade’s Dirty Car Art: Dirt Is Beautiful.

An excerpt from “Beyond Elsewhere” by Gabriel-Arnou Laujeac, translated from the French by Hélène Cardona

“Canto d’amore” by Leonardo Bistolfi

The first love wards off the specter of a world inhabited by rusty winged adults with collapsed dreams, whose automated arms open before you but no longer close. It takes the place of worldly theater, of a societal lie, of a future with deserted temples and a wrinkled forehead. Curtain. Give way to the sun. To all the rising suns.

The light is here, with her.

She reveals herself to my gaze naturally, the way spring unveils the blueness of sky or the gold of your skin. She slowly removes makeup, masks and ornaments, and gives me a vision of herself bewitched, of herself bewitching: she adores me and I unlock her.

Sprung raw from a virginal flame, passion takes us whole under its animal breath: the sun sparks impale our bodies galloping in a crash of oceans.

We reign in this world where the beloved becomes everything, the only face of what is faceless, this shoreless elsewhere suddenly offering itself bare: we reign as servants of the first heartbreak given over to the fervor and dictatorship of our eighteen years.

From Beyond Elsewhere by Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac (White Pine Press, 2016), translated from the French by Hélène Cardona

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Le premier amour

Le premier amour conjure le spectre d’un monde d’adultes aux ailes rouillées, aux rêves effondrés, aux bras d’automates qui s’ouvrent devant vous mais ne se referment plus. Il prend la place du théâtre mondain, du mensonge citoyen et d’un devenir aux temples déserts, au front ridé. Rideau. Place au soleil. À tous les soleils levants.

La lumière est ici, avec elle.

Elle se révèle à mon regard naturellement, comme le printemps dévoile le bleu du ciel ou l’or de votre peau. Elle retire lentement fards, masques et parures et m’offre la vision d’une elle-même ensorcelée, d’une elle-même ensorcelante : une elle-m’aime et moi aussi.

Jaillie à vif d’une flamme virginale, la passion nous prend tout entiers dans son souffle animal : les étincelles du soleil parcourent nos corps au galop dans un fracas d’océans.

Jaillie à vif d’une flamme virginale, la passion nous prend tout entiers dans son souffle animal : les étincelles du soleil parcourent nos corps au galop dans un fracas d’océans.

Nous régnons en ce monde où l’être aimé devient tout, l’unique visage de ce qui n’a pas de visage, cet ailleurs sans rivage qui soudain s’offre à nu : nous régnons en serviteurs de la première brûlure, livrés à la ferveur et à la dictature de nos dix-huit ans.

Excerpt from Plus loin qu’ailleurs by Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac (Éditions du Cygne, 2013)

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Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac is the author of the acclaimed Beyond Elsewhere (Éditions du Cygne, 2013). He has been published in numerous anthologies of short stories and poetry, including Petite anthologie de la jeune poésie française (Éditions Géhess, 2009), Le livre de la prière (Éditions de l’Inférieur, 2013), and literary and philosophical journals, notably Les Citadelles, Poésie Directe, Littérales, Polyglotte, Recours au Poème, Testament, 3è Millénaire and L’Opinion indépendante. He contributed to the book Irak, la faute, with Alain Michel and Fabien Voyer (Éditions du Cerf, 2000). He graduated from Sciences Po and holds a Master’s degree (Fondements des Droits de l’Homme). He also studied philosophy and Eastern poetry.

Hélène Cardona is an award-winning poet and actor, author of Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry), Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry, 2016), Ce que nous portons (Éditions du Cygne, 2014), her translation of Dorianne Laux, Beyond Elsewhere (White Pine Press, 2016), her translation of Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, and The Astonished Universe (Red Hen Press). She holds a Master’s in American Literature from the Sorbonne, taught at Hamilton College and LMU, and received fellowships from the Goethe-Institut & Universidad Internacional de Andalucía. She co-edits Dublin Poetry Review and Fulcrum: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics. Publications include Washington Square, World Literature Today, Poetry International, The Warwick Review, Plume, Irish Literary Times, Los Angeles Review & more.