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Pronounced "Gatherer", but, hey, it's the 21st century and we are reinventing language and culture as evidenced by these snippets of cultural story telling from here and there on the web. I am Tony Johansen, slightly mad artist with Asperger's syndrome and Romani Gypsy background.




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Sep
5th
Thu
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Bill Traylor was born a slave. He was eleven years old when the American Civil War came to an end and was no longer bound by the prospect of a life of servitude. The grinding poverty that followed was no less a weight than the slavery had been, condemning generations of African-Americans to a struggle to survive that sucked the life out of many promising young men.
Bill Traylor, though, had a dream to be an artist. He had no training, no education of any consequence, yet inside his breast beat the heart of a poet.
In 1939 a white artist, Charles Shannon discovered Traylor in a street in Montgomery Alabama. Traylor was 85 years old and had finally reached the point in his life when he could slow down from the working and start painting. Shannon appears to have instantly seen the genius in the old black man and bought art materials for him and tried to get galleries to exhibit Traylors work.
They declined.
It wasn’t until the 1970’s, more than 20 years after Traylor’s death that Shannon was able to persuade museums to finally start buying the collections of drawings and paintings Traylor had produced in his last decade of his life.
Today they are regarded as some of the most important work of folk art produced in the United States. Traylor’s imagination and poetic soul are writ large across his pictures. They are full of madcap scenes that have grown out of everyday life yet show that all along the eye of the man who started life as a slave could see beyond the grind of his life and transform it with whimsy into that poetic space that only the greatest of artists achieve.
Bill Traylor’s dream flowered in his work and the strength of his vision lives on.

Bill Traylor was born a slave. He was eleven years old when the American Civil War came to an end and was no longer bound by the prospect of a life of servitude. The grinding poverty that followed was no less a weight than the slavery had been, condemning generations of African-Americans to a struggle to survive that sucked the life out of many promising young men.

Bill Traylor, though, had a dream to be an artist. He had no training, no education of any consequence, yet inside his breast beat the heart of a poet.

In 1939 a white artist, Charles Shannon discovered Traylor in a street in Montgomery Alabama. Traylor was 85 years old and had finally reached the point in his life when he could slow down from the working and start painting. Shannon appears to have instantly seen the genius in the old black man and bought art materials for him and tried to get galleries to exhibit Traylors work.

They declined.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s, more than 20 years after Traylor’s death that Shannon was able to persuade museums to finally start buying the collections of drawings and paintings Traylor had produced in his last decade of his life.

Today they are regarded as some of the most important work of folk art produced in the United States. Traylor’s imagination and poetic soul are writ large across his pictures. They are full of madcap scenes that have grown out of everyday life yet show that all along the eye of the man who started life as a slave could see beyond the grind of his life and transform it with whimsy into that poetic space that only the greatest of artists achieve.

Bill Traylor’s dream flowered in his work and the strength of his vision lives on.

Apr
9th
Wed
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THE TRAGEDY OF THE POET NAMED “NOBODY”

Annensky is regarded as one of Russia’s greatest poets whose translations were works of art as well. His interpretations of Baudelaire and Rimbaud brought new ideas to Russian poetry in the early years of the 20th century. Sadly he produced little work because he had to work and was unable to write many poems and he only published near the end of his life. His heart was weak and he petitioned to be released from his work. The day this was granted he died of a heart attack while going home. He never heard the words of praise that would be heaped on his grave a year later when his last book of poetry The Cyprus Chest was published and there was a clamor for more by this genius. Plays and his translations of Euripides followed into print in the next few years and his reputation was cemented.

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Inokentii Federovich Annensky 1855-1909His first poetry was published in 1905 but he was told he would lose his job if he published a book so he used the pseudonym “Nobody”. In many ways it was a reference to how he felt about himself as an artist, but it is also a reference to Homer and courageous guile, for Odysseus used the name Nobody to face the Cyclops Polyphemus.His first book was called Quiet Song and the critics ignored it. It was his last book, published posthumouly that was acclaimed as a work that closed the old and opened a new world of poetry.Nobody was suddenly somebody. 

Inokentii Federovich Annensky 1855-1909

His first poetry was published in 1905 but he was told he would lose his job if he published a book so he used the pseudonym “Nobody”. In many ways it was a reference to how he felt about himself as an artist, but it is also a reference to Homer and courageous guile, for Odysseus used the name Nobody to face the Cyclops Polyphemus.

His first book was called Quiet Song and the critics ignored it. It was his last book, published posthumouly that was acclaimed as a work that closed the old and opened a new world of poetry.

Nobody was suddenly somebody. 

Apr
8th
Tue
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A Gas Butterfly

Tell me what’s happening to me?
Why is my heart beating so fervently?
why has this madness, like a wave,
Broken through the rock of habit?

Is it my strength or just my torment
I’m too disturbed to tell:
From the shimmering lines of life
I extract a forgotten phrase…

Is it a thief who turns his lantern
Upon the crowd of dreary letters?
I can’t help reading the phrase,
But haven’t the strength to go back…

It really had to flare up,
But it only harries the darkness;
All night, like a gas-flame butterfly
It trembles, but cannot escape…

- Inokentii Federovich Annensky 

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He had published several books of poetry but they had been ignored by the critics and public. He felt rejected yet soon after his death his last work was published and was given the recognition that he deserved. Paradoxically the acclaim for this posthumous book caused his earlier work to be reassessed and appreciated. It is sad that he never knew.
Apr
7th
Mon
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THE FIRST ARTIST ON THE MOON

Alan Bean went to the moon as part of the Apollo 12 mission. He was the only astronaut to go there who made drawings and later made paintings from them. He saw his life mission as being to convey the sense of what he experienced there for future generations. he wanted to leave a personal record as one of the few who were first to go to the moon. He retired from NASA to become a full time painter in 1981. This is his story as an artist.

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That’s How It Felt To Be On The Moon by Alan Bean"This is my answer to the question I’ve been asked most often since November 19, 1969.  I felt a long, long way from the people and places I love the most.  It seemed unreal…impossible.  From time to time I would look down and say to myself, "this is the moon." And then, I would look up at a small, beautiful, birght blue and white sphere hanging in the mysterious, luminous black sky and think, " that is the earth."  Words have never expressed what I experienced, but I thing that in this work I have captured some of the excitement and exhilaration I felt.  I wanted an eye-arresting image, somthing to communicate the excitement of being on the moon, so I began experimenting with "exciting" colors - bright primary tones.  But that didn’t feel right. then as I worked, I began to see a rainbow effect in the layersof paint.  That feeling, of all colors being mixed but also harmonizing, finally allowed me to tell how it felt to walk on the moon."- Alan Bean 

That’s How It Felt To Be On The Moon by Alan Bean

"This is my answer to the question I’ve been asked most often since November 19, 1969.  I felt a long, long way from the people and places I love the most.  It seemed unreal…impossible.  From time to time I would look down and say to myself, "this is the moon." And then, I would look up at a small, beautiful, birght blue and white sphere hanging in the mysterious, luminous black sky and think, " that is the earth."  Words have never expressed what I experienced, but I thing that in this work I have captured some of the excitement and exhilaration I felt.  I wanted an eye-arresting image, somthing to communicate the excitement of being on the moon, so I began experimenting with "exciting" colors - bright primary tones.  But that didn’t feel right. then as I worked, I began to see a rainbow effect in the layersof paint.  That feeling, of all colors being mixed but also harmonizing, finally allowed me to tell how it felt to walk on the moon."

- Alan Bean 

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Photographs of astronauts walking on the moon are a marvelous testament to one of human kind’s great journeys yet for all their beauty these photos are no more than honest portrayals of what things looked like. In contrast the paintings of Alan Bean convey the human reality of what it felt like to be there in person.

Photographs of astronauts walking on the moon are a marvelous testament to one of human kind’s great journeys yet for all their beauty these photos are no more than honest portrayals of what things looked like. In contrast the paintings of Alan Bean convey the human reality of what it felt like to be there in person.

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I want to create paintings that record mankind’s first exploration of another world. Space is our frontier, and beginning its exploration may be our generation’s greatest contribution to human history.
— Alan Bean
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Alan Bean, artist, in front of one of his paintings of himself as astronaut.

Alan Bean, artist, in front of one of his paintings of himself as astronaut.

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About Alan Bean

Alan Bean, space Artist, Apollo XII astronaut and Skylab II commander. Born in 1932 in Wheeler, Texas, in 1950 Alan Bean was selected for an NROTC Scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin. After earning a BS degree in Engineering, he was commissioned Ensign in the US Navy in 1955. Holder of eleven world records in space and astronautics as well as numerous national and international honors, Alan Bean has had one of the most distinguished peace-time careers. His awards include two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, two Navy Distinguished Service Medals, the Yuri Gagarin gold Medal and the Robert J. Collier Trophy. As the lunar module pilot in 1969 on Apollo XII, he became the fourth of only twelve men to ever walk on the moon. As the spacecraft commander of Skylab Mission II, he set a world record of 24,400,000 miles in the 59-day flight.

When not flying, Bean always enjoyed painting as a hobby. Beginning with night classes at St. Mary’s college in Maryland in 1962, Alan experimented with landscapes. All during training and between missions as a test pilot and astronaut, he continued private art lessons. Even on trips in space, his artist’s eye and talent enabled him to carry away impressions of the moon and space to later be recorded on canvas.

Bean realized that most of those who actively participated in the incredible adventure of the moon missions would be gone in thirty or forty years. He knew that if any credible artistic impressions were to remain for future generations, he must paint them now. Since 1981, when he resigned his position as Chief of Astronaut Training with NASA, he has devoted himself full time to painting our new frontier.