Wednesday, December 26, 2012

All I Want for Next Christmas . . .
is a compact, desk-top, 3-D replicator.

Head of Serapis (plastic), created by MakerBot
(the original is on display at the Walter's Art Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland)
MakerBot employees travelled to the museum, and using their own digital cameras to capture items in the collection,
built their own copies in miniature inside the MakerBot Replicator.

Have you ever seen a sculpture in a museum that you wanted to draw, but wished you could move it into a different lighting set-up first?  Have you come up with an idea for an art product but cannot come up with a good-looking prototype?  Do you want to paint a self-portrait but hate using mirrors?  Have you ever pictured a complex setting for a figure painting, but did not have the time or ability to make and light the perfect maquette?

 If you have, then a possible solution to your problems can be found in a desktop 3D replicator like that made by Brooklyn-based MakerBot Industries.  Their newest model, the Replicator 2, is their 4th generation model, and it uses heated PLA plastic (made from corn starch) to build up, layer-by-layer, three-dimensional representations of digital design plans.

This past fall, the award-winning MakerBot opened its first retail store, located on Mulberry Street in New York City.  Visitors to the store can step into the first fully-automated MakerBot 3D Photo Booth, and for $5, have a 3D scan made of their face.  For a little bit more (price varies depending on the size of the finished product), customers can then have their scans made into a small, take-home bust.  And if you would like, you can also buy your own Replicator (prices start at $2199.00), and start building your own projects.

The MakerBot Store is located at 298 Mulberry Street in New York City.  They are open from 12 PM - 7 PM, Monday through Saturday, and from 12 PM - 6 PM on Sunday.  For more information, visit their website or call (347) 457-5758.  MakerBot also has a site called "Thingiverse," which features creations made on the company's Replicators (by clicking on the images below, you can visit the corresponding Thingiverse demonstration page).

l. Head of Serapis (Roman), c. image capture by Todd Blatt, r. MakerBot sculpt from scan

Portrait of a Man (original:  Walter's Art Gallery)

Portrait of a Man (origina:  Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland)
Left:  MakerBot copy of original ⟷  Right: speculative restoration by Todd Blatt

Head and Shoulders of a Sphinx of Hatshepsut (original: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

Egyptian bowl (original:  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

Castle of the Maker Empire (original design)

The Puritan, a Sears kit house sculpted after designs found in the 1926 Sears and Roebuck catalog.

3D rendition of the cover to Sid Meier's Civilization game.

Bre Pettis, CEO and co-founder of MakerBot Industries,
explaining the build volume capacity of the Replicator 2 (410 cubic inches)
Photo (c) 2012 Louis Seigal //

Paris Building

Beethoven Mixtape (Beethoven bust designed to hold music collection in its head)

Brown Bear (ursus arctos)
(inspired by the dioramas at the Museum of Natural History in NYC)

Shofar (a functioning ram's horn trumpet)

Dragon Automaton

A Dalek from the sic-fi series, Dr. Who

Three sizes of heads available at the MakerBot Store using the store's MakerBot 3D Photo Booth for scanning

Person scanned using Kinect and ReconstructMe software, then cleaned up in MeshMixer

Miniature bust from a scan of a guest at Maker Faire, Detroit, July 28, 2012

Miniature bust from a scan of a guest at Maker Faire, Detroit, July 31, 2012
(check out the mustaches!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Woodland Santa

Here is a selection of Santa paintings by one of my favorite children's illustrators, Scott Gustafson.  His paintings have long impressed me, and I started collecting images of his work twenty years before I had my wife and I had our first child.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!  Merry Christmas!

Santa at the North Pole

Up, Up, and Away!

Up, Up, and Away! (detail)

Santa with Reindeer

Santa and the Mouse

Santa's Reward

. . . He looked like a Peddler just Opening his Pack. . .

He filled all the stockings. . .

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came. . .

Up on the Rooftop

St. Nicholas in his Study

St. Nicolas in his Study (detail)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Max Ginsburg NYC Workshop - February 2013

Max Ginsburg is offering a two-day workshop at The Art Sudents League of New York this winter, on February 9th and 10th.  Enrollment is limited to 12 students, and the fee for the class is $290. For more information, please visit

Thursday, December 20, 2012

On View: Rose Frantzen's Portrait of Maquoketa - The Dimensional View

"I wanted to bring to my community a tangible connection with the creative process.  By making them the subject, I hoped that their interest would be stirred and that they would be touched somehow by what painting can reveal about the human experience."  ~  Rose Frantzen on her exhibit, Portrait of Maquoketa.

Portrait of Maquoketa - The Dimensional View

Between July, 2005, and July, 2006, Iowa native Rose Frantzen invited anyone from her hometown of Maquoketa to step inside her Main Street studio and volunteer to have their portrait painted from life.  “I wanted to paint my neighbors and fellow Maquoketans without any selection or choice on my part, attempting to capture a direct portrayal of the people around me,” said Frantzen. “Together, we could democratize portraiture, allowing anyone to be painted just by showing up and participating.”  The resulting one-hundred-eighty 12" X 12"  alla prima portraits were grouped together  to form Portrait of Maquoketa, an exhibition which enjoyed a prestigious eight month showing at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., during the 2009/2010 season.

Anyone who has ever lived in a town where farming is a major aspect of daily life understands how much the community is tied to their environment.  The land shapes them as much as they shape the land.  Frantzen has always understood this, and has always envisioned the portrait of her town to be greater than a series of individual pictures of townspeople.   “Although Portrait of Maquoketa has gone places I never imagined,” says Frantzen, “I have felt from the start a desire to set the portrait of the town into a larger framework, namely the landscape - showing this community nestled within the Iowan countryside."

When the opportunity to show Portrait of Maquoketa in the large third floor gallery of the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, was presented to Frantzen, she finally had the venue that would allow her to bring her initial vision to fruition.  Conceived and designed in collaboration between Frantzen and her husband, artist Charles Morris, Portrait of Maquoketa - The Dimensional View allows museum-goers to become part of Frantzen's town - to "visit" a multi-dimensional, multi-sensory artistic interpretation of Maquoketa.  

Portrait of Maquoketa - The Dimensional View consists of a 315 square foot painted landscape depicting the town as seen from a nearby hill, which was then broken into 34 vertical panels suspended from the ceiling. The reverse side of the panels serve as frames for the 180 portraits painted by Frantzen between 2005 and 2006.  The display is 30 feet deep, and as visitors walk within the stand of panels, then can hear an audio track composed by Frantzen's brother, John Frantzen, featuring original music and taped conversations of the portrait subjects discussing their lives and their town.  From one specific vantage point across the room, the panels, which range in height from three-and-a-half feet to ten feet tall, visually merge to create a single image of Frantzen's original landscape design.  At this viewing position is a secondary audio track by John Frantzen, this one featuring music and the sounds of nature.

Much like the living, breathing community which provided the impetus this project, Portrait of Maquoketa has continued to evolve.  It will be interesting to see if Frantzen continues to expand this exhibit in new ways over the next few years, or if this is its final progression.  What is certain, is, for someone who loves life as much as Rose Frantzen does, her modest hometown will never cease providing her with inspiration.

Portrait of Maquoketa - The Dimensional View is on exhibit now through January 20th, 2013 at the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd Street, Davenport, Iowa.  The Museum is open from 10 am -5 pm, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am - 9 pm Thursdays, and 12 - 5 pm Sundays.  Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and students with ID, and $4 for children ages 3-12.  For more information, contact Charles Morris at (563) 321-0727 (afternoons and evenings only).

Frantzen's plein air color study

Inking the underpainting

Configuring the alignment of the panels

Painting the panels

Rose within the panels

Hanging Portrait of Maquoketa - The Dimensional View

The portrait side of the panels - the people of Maquoketa

A side-view of the installation;  the viewing chair can be seen on the right.

The landscape as seen from the viewing chair

Frantzen's book Portrait of Maquoketa, which chronicles the year-long process of creating the 180 portrait paintings of her fellow-townspeople, is still available for sale through Old City Hall Press.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sneak Peek: Maxwell Alexander Gallery
Grand Opening Exhibition

Joseph Todorovitch
24 X 15 in.

Celebrating their Grand Opening this weekend is the Maxwell Alexander Gallery in Culver City, California.  This new showplace, founded by Logan Maxwell Hagege and Beau Alexander (Hagege), aims to introduce a new breed of gallery, and to fill a gap in the artists represented in the Los Angeles area.  “There are many great galleries in Los Angeles and especially here in Culver City,” said  Beau Alexander. “But there are many talented artists whose work is just not available in the Los Angeles area. We are putting a gallery together that is based on curated shows rather than representing a long roster of artists. Our goal is to build lasting relationships with our clients and give the support that the artists we are working with deserve.”  The grand opening exhibition features new and moderately priced paintings by 13 artists including: Jeremy Lipking, Kim Cogan, David Kassan, Bill Schenck, Joseph Todorovitch, Glenn Dean, Jefferson Hayman, Mark D. Nelson, and Logan Maxwell Hagege.

Upcoming exhibits in the 2013 schedule will include a show of contemporary Western Art, a category of prime importance to the gallery.  "We want to show that there is quality in every genre of art, be it Western, or traditional realism," says Alexander.  "There seems to be some prejudice on both coasts against Western art but we feel it needs to be looked at simply as American Art. Collectors shouldn’t be worried about it matching the style of their homes; certain pieces have a modern feel and can fit into any art collection.  It won’t be what people are used to thinking of when it comes to Western Art."

The Maxwell Alexander Gallery is located at 6144 Washington Boulevard, in Culver City, California, 90232.  For more information about the gallery, or about the Grand Opening exhibition specifically, please contact Beau Alexander (818) 635-4632, or visit

Jeremy Lipking
Purple Kimono
10 X 8 in.

Logan Maxwell Hagege
Red Line
30 X 30

Logan Maxwell Hagege
20 X 30 in.
oil and gold leaf

Bill Schenck
Study for Girl in Silk Shirt
20 X 16 in.

Bill Schenck
In the Land of Warriors
24½ X 19½ in.

Bill Schenck
Study for Many Many Miles
18 X 14 in.

Mark D. Nelson
Canyon Lands #3
9 X 9 in.

Josh Elliott
Summer Stream
8 X 16 in.

Josh Elliott
Reynolds Mountain, Glacier
10 X 12 in.

Glenn Dean
Crashing Tide

Kim Cogan
Study of Fishing Boat
20 X 16 in.

Kim Cogan
Skull Study Abstracted
8 X 10 in.

Kim Cogan
Study of a Skull
8 X 10 in.

David Kassan
8 X 8 in.

Jefferson Hayman
Stranger Blue
20 X 20 in.
Pigment Print, artist-made frame, edition 2/9

Jefferson Hayman
10 X 16 in.
Silver gelatin print, artist-made frame, edition 2/25

Jefferson Hayman
6½ X 5 in.
Silver gelatin print, antique frame

Ignat Ignatov
Torso in Green
13 X 11 in.

Jeremy Lipking
Lamp Light
10 X 8 in.

Jeremy Lipking
Warm Shadows
20 X 8 in.

Jeremy Lipking
Turkish Girl
16 X 12 in.

Robert Lemler
Reclining Figure
6 X 10 in.

Joseph Todorovitch
At Rest
10 X 16 in.

Joseph Todorovitch
24 X 16 in.
oil and gold leaf