Omar Ortiz – Hyper Realism – more seeing is disbelieving

Omar Ortiz Enfoque 1 Jun 2011

Enfoque 1 June 2011

From the pictures in this post you may think that the man behind them, Omar Ortiz, is a photographer – and you would be forgiven but you would be wrong.

These pictures are in fact oil-paintings. Yes really!

I came upon, well Stumbled Upon, his works from the My Modern Metropolisart website. They, also known as My Modern Met, describe themselves as a place where art enthusiasts and trend-spotters connect over creative ideas. They are USA based and have been going just over three years.

Omar Ortiz - La Espera (Waiting)

La Espera (Waiting)

If you are looking for a website that collects and curates current art from around the globe then this site is well worth a visit. I plan to spend more time on this site and blogging about some of the art on it. This site also encourages you to register so that you can then not only browse its content but be a contributor of content whether of your own photography, video or blog posts.

Omar Ortiz’s work was posted as part of a contributor named Pinar’s blog-post titled Hyper-Realistic Paintings of the Female Form. If you like the pictures featured in my post you should check out Pinar’s post which includes many many more pictures.

Omar Ortiz also has his own WordPress blog. It is written in his native Spanish language but if you do not speak Spanish that is no barrier to understanding and engaging with this site which is predominantly pictorial with many more examples of his hyper-realist art.

Omar Ortiz at work

Photograph of the artist painting a photograph!

Omar Ortiz is Mexican and a relatively young artist born in Guadalajara in 1977. He studied as a Graphic Designer before becoming a full-time painter in the early 2000’s. His main teacher of Art is fellow Mexican Carmen Alarcon who he considers as a mentor. Further biography can be found on his blog-site along with a photograph of him – well at least I think it is a photograph!

Hyper-realism is a very recent genre of art more modern indeed than Modern Art (itself not literally modern covering as it does the period from the 1860’s to 1970’s!) having began in the early 2000’s. Its art resembles high resolution photography – and not just paintings but sculpture too. Omar Ortiz seems to have been there at its start with art posts on his blog dating back to 2001.

Like Pinar I am staggered at his representation of the human hand. Likewise his representation of bones and veins beneath the skin and of hair.

Despite the ‘Wow-factor’ I have some reservations too – is his work as much high-craft as art?

The technical aspects are expert but in trying to recreate so closely a photographic rendering of the human form is the warmth and art compromised?

Omar Ortiz - El Coloso

El Coloso – The Colossus

The Fades – the deadly living and the living dead

The Fades - BBC 3 - Title LogoThe Fades is a new supernatural drama currently airing on BBC Three. The Fades is directed by Farren Blackburn – his CV includes Holby City and Footballers Wives neither of which will ready you for this. It does though include Survivors which may better prepare you its dystopian ground.

For all those with an atheistic disposition please now take a deep breath – the BBC Three webpage for the show describes its premise as ’17-year-old geek Paul can see the spirits of the dead. Now a vengeful spirit – or Fade – has broken through to our world and Paul’s friends and family are in the eye of the storm.’ – now breathe out.

Seventeen-year old Paul, played by Iain De Caestecker, has a younger sister Anna, played by Lily Loveless, and they are twins but in many ways not twins – he is wary of her and she is embarrassed of him. Paul you see is socially isolated and awkward she is a socially isolating and at ease – in short he is too school for cool, she is too cool for school.

The Fades - Mac and Paul on bicycles

Mac and Paul

They have a doting loving mother and a long-time absent father. Paul has a close friend Mac, played by Daniel Kaluuya. Paul’s sister has a close friend too, Jay, played by Sophie Wu, – and she is more keen to be with Paul than his sister is keen to be with him – will romance bloom between them?

But that is the side-story – the central story as you might expect are The Fades.

The leap of faith we are meant to make with The Fades is not that Paul can see dead people but that some of the spirits are no longer content with wandering aimlessly this bitter earth in concert with similarly desolate lost souls but are now seeking deathly vengeance on the whole human race.

Such programs are staples of the USA Telly Schedules –  Reaper’s central character Sam not only has his soul devil-owned but said devil is his father. You might think such circumstances would be kept quiet by Sam but a few of his closest friends have been let in on this diabolic secret and further greeted it with a shrug of the shoulders – and we has viewers are meant to do so too. And strangely after a few episodes we do, thinking nothing of the devil’s son working for the local branch of DIY chainstore ‘The Work Bench’ or that he is a nice guy with not horror and revulsion towards his father rather ambivalence and at most irritation at his satanic filial circumstance!

The Fades Paul and Jay

Paul and Jay

Alternatively there is Jennifer Love Hewitt as Melinda Gordon, Antique Store Owner and part-time Ghost Whisperer – she also sees Dead People. And as with Reaper her closest bosom-buddy, husband fireman Jim, is quite untroubled by this.

Or boarding school drama Hex where teachers and pupils alike are as likely to inhabit the ancient halls of its Medenham Estate as the nether worlds of hell.

Let alone the currently favoured and fashionable Vampire genre – where we the viewers are expected a unison shrug of our existential shoulders that quite a greater number of our friends and acquaintances than we might think are centuries not decades old, hell-born and/or hell-bound, blood-lusting carnal creatures.

Because we are meant to accept that there is no need to suspend our disbelief, as this genre is not science fiction rather every-day tales of our supernatural existence.

The Fades Johnny Harris

Lead Fade Hunter

But all of this matters not if the story is well-written, plotted and acted – is The Fades worth sixty minutes a week of our (in)finite time?

The Fades are certainly frightening looking – up there with the Doctor Who Sea Monsters from the 1970’s and The Peg Dolls from this year’s Night Terrors episode – and the nether-world which the victims of The Fades inhabit is also convincingly horrific and desolate. The bleak environments of the human world preferable to the waking nightmare Fades world, being covered in what looks like the dust generated by the collapsing Twin Towers of 9/11 and the horrific realization of what that dust contains.

The Fades perhaps is suggesting a metaphor for an existence where too many of us are content to fade into each other? Fade into the background, moving wallpaper – I half-expected Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You to appear on the soundtrack at intermittent points. And that such spirits can only be defeated by all of us reclaiming and proclaiming loudly our individuality?

But I am not sure that these Fades are meant to be metaphorical. I have watched the opening episode and there are five more episodes in this first series to be aired and for me to establish the real (super)nature and intent of The Fades.

And hoping that while doing so it does not fade into the television schedule twilight.

The Body Farm – Dr Eve Lockhart and other TV characters gone solo


Tara Fitzgerald as Dr Eve Lockhart The Body Farm

Tara Fitzgerald as Dr Eve Lockhart

The Body Farm, the new forensic crime series from BBC Drama Production, currently airing on BBC One, also has as one of its co-executive producers Waking The Dead actor Trevor Eve and his company Projector Productions. It is written by Declan Croghan who also wrote for Waking The Dead. And one of the belated characters of that series was Dr Eve Lockhart, played by Tara Fitzgerald. Tara Fitzgerald stars in The Body Farm as well – but it is not just producers writers and actors that have moved onto The Body Farm, but the Tara Fitzgerald character too.

This time pathologist Dr Eve Lockhart leads a team of forensic scientists in a private sector facility. In Silent Witness Emilia Fox as Dr Nikki Alexander resides in the public sector – will this make any difference to the forensic science work? To the crime detection? And most importantly the TV drama?! Only two episodes in and too early to say. I am under Tara Fitzgerald’s spell but other viewers may not be so patient with the show.

Doctor Bones Brennan and Special Agent Booth

Doctor Bones Brennan and Special Agent Booth

As Waking The Dead was a British version of the USA Cold Case, The Body Farm is the British equivalent of Bones – or is that Silent Witness? – is Tara Fitzgerald or Emilia Fox the British Emily Deschanel?!

This set me to wondering how often does a TV character from one show end up as the lead character in another TV show?

In the 1970’s The Six Million Dollar Man’s Bionic Man Steve Austin played by Lee Majors had a female love interest who also amazingly succumbed to a life-threatening accident needing bionic surgery to make her whole again – or better than whole again.

This was Jaime Sommers played by Lindsay Wagner and she became both The Bionic Woman the character and The Bionic Woman the TV series – just three years in duration and it felt longer but remember time was speeded up! – and which incidentally was reprised with Michelle Ryan in the role and which due to a strike by The Writers Guild of America this remake was remaindered – alas a super-woman Michelle Ryan is what TV dreams are made of. Okay my TV dreams!

Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Smith

Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Smith

On our side of the Atlantic our long running sci-fi adventure Doctor Who belatedly saw one of the Doctor’s earlier side-kicks Sarah Jane Smith, played by Elisabeth Sladen, have her own Sarah Jane Adventures – I think too there were other Doctor Who spin-offs, one involving the robot dog K-9 but let’s not go there!

In the 1980’s and early 1990’s we had the Boston-based bar-room comedy Cheers and one of its relatively peripheral if constant characters Dr Frasier Crane found his way to Seattle as a Radio Psychiatrist with Frasier, a show whose success far eclipsed that of the seminal Cheers.

Detective Robert Goren

Vincent D’Onofrio as Detective Robert Goren

Later in the 1990’s there was Buffy The Vampire Slayer whose character Angel, played by David Boreanaz, span off to Angel – his eponymous show – though span-back, as Angel was a prequel to a time prior to him knowing Buffy.

(And David Boreanaz incidentally is a Bones stalwart as Special Agent Seeley Booth alongside Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan showing that in TV there are but Three Degrees of Separation). Though if The Body Farm is our Bones, then the USA get David Boreanaz, we Brits get Keith Allen!

Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson The Closer

Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson

Can you think of any more recent examples?

Dr Eve Lockhart’s new deal also set me to thinking about other shows where one of the characters could cut loose from its script and start up a new life and show of its own.

Detective Robert Goren of Law and Order: Criminal Intent – gone solo from the management constraints of Captain James Deakins with his own Private Detective Agency? Perhaps a US North meets South seeing him teamed up with The Closer ex-cop Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson herself tired of having her proverbial hands handcuffed by boss Assistant Chief Will Pope.

Jack Bauer in ‘9 to 5’ – life after 24 – can he settle down to civilian pace and domestic tranquillity?!

Or Sue Sylvester from Glee? She already has a show within a show with ‘As Sue Sees It’ – does it have legs as a series in its own right?

Any current TV characters you would like to see go it alone?

Angela Morgan – Visual Artist

Angela Morgan Selection of WorksI came upon Angela Morgan Visual Artist perchance.

Perchance dear reader because I was looking – okay of course Googling – for another Angela Morgan.

Rather like the pleasure in going for a drive and getting lost and discovering new places – unless that is you have an appointment to get to!

I was Googling the name Angela Morgan because I had sold my Crooked Rain Crooked Rain CD by Pavement on Amazon to an Angela Morgan and perhaps because I am, cruelly, anal, kindly, hyper-curious, I like to find out a little about the person who bought my stuff, in this case the said Pavement CD. And the Angela Morgan in Scotland that I was looking for I did not find, the Angela Morgan of the Angela Morgans I was searching for that I found instead was Angela Morgan Visual Artist. Okay I think I have made my point!

This Angela Morgan is from Canada.

The homepage of her website and an example of her work greeting us gives us ample impression of what she and her art and work are about but she also includes a brief bio:

Angela Morgan Visual Artist Statement

Her site gives detailed information about her including a CV outlining her education, scholarship and awards, public collections and exhibition history. Another page details all the current galleries she is showing at – they are numerous – my geography knowledge tells me the majority are in her home country Canada – with just one outside of those shores in Europe, specifically Switzerland.

But irrespective of what continent and country you are from all her work is available to see thanks to the everyday wonders of the world wide web. And my maths knowledge tells me there are twenty four of her works available to see on her site.

I include some of my favourites below:

Angela Morgan Big Enough To Block The Sun

big enough to block the sun

Angela Morgan falling effortlessly into my best prunes and prisms voice

falling effortlessly into my best prunes and prisms voice

I find them bright, energetic, fun and creative. In some cases they conjure childhood memories if alas not the kind of childhood activities I ever had!

And I am very glad my wrong-turn happened upon this beautiful place.

Angela Morgan Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Sally Bercow – new columnist for the Daily Star Sunday

Sally and John Bercow

With husband John

Sally Bercow now has a column with the Daily Star Sunday.

The Daily Star Sunday online is a mackerel to hold down – as there is little distinction between it and the Daily Star online – indeed its banner is the ‘Daily Star Sunday – The Daily Star Simply The Best Seven Days A Week’ – so not Daily Star Sunday then! You can’t have a Sunday on a Wednesday – you just can’t!

The Daily Star is owned by Richard Desmond, and among his many other media outlets are The Daily Express and Channel 5 – politically he is to the right if not quite as far as Paul Dacre and Rupert Murdoch.

Sally Bercow is the wife of the Conservative Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow but she is openly a Labour supporter. A very modern marriage if an attitude that seems to irk the ever dull and curmudgeon Daily Mail. So is this lying down with the Daily Star Sunday just Sally Bercow sleeping with her political foes?

I am assuming that Sally Bercow must have been head-hunted by the Daily Star Sunday rather than she submitting her CV to it!? She was you may know one of the housemates in Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother and alas the first housemate to be evicted – your mealy-mouthed words mean nothing Kerry Katona! It would seem if not Richard Desmond himself then someone in the Daily Star has developed a soft-spot for Sally.

And I assumed and later confirmed that the Daily Star has not seen the Damascus Light and shifted left-wards – the bearded boozy face of Garry Bushell was the first image to greet me when I visited their website earlier today.

The Daily Star Sunday

The Daily Star Sunday – or any day of the week…

I welcome the Daily Star having someone of a different political persuasion writing a column for them. Do any of you know whether a conservative pundit writes for example for The Mirror or The Guardian?

A charge often leveled at online media is that it is a bubble world – like attracting like, like minded souls with like minded beliefs and prejudices – but usually this is a charge from newspaper journalists – who don’t seem to realize the irony! At least with the online equivalents of The Guardian and The Sun those of a different political view are able to visit the sites and post comments of a contrary nature – and do they! Taking delight in posting comments designed to wind up the traditional readership – ethical trolling?! Whereas it is far less likely that a Labour supporter would buy The Sun newspaper so as to write critical letters to it and then that such critical letters would get favourably edited let alone published – and likewise a Tory hoping for the same outcome with The Daily Mirror newspaper. Indeed with the online equivalents of The Sun, The Mirror et al this closed-world bubble is bursting.

Also to the credit of the Daily Star Sunday I came upon this article about possible strike action by British Trade Unions starting November 30. It presented the case for it from the Trade Union Congress General Secretary, Brendan Barber, and the case against it from the Conservative Party Co-Chair, Baroness Warsi, without any editorial comment and/or interference of its own. Though I would have liked the article to have been open to comments from its readers.

Sallly Bercow Celebrity Big Brother

Evicted from Celebrity Big Brother

How many readers of the Daily Star Sally Bercow will bring around to her own world-view may prove to be negligible but I admire them both for getting in bed together.

I was though not able to find her column on their site – I came upon this article on there about her and fellow Celebrity Big Brother Housemate and eventual winner Paddy Doherty and it refers to her as ‘housemate’ not as Daily Star Sunday Columnist!

Hiding her light beneath a (Garry) Bushell – sorry! Not got around to updating their website yet? Only available to read in print?

Does that mean I will have to buy a copy of the Daily Star Sunday and worse be seen buying a copy of the Daily Star Sunday?! Thank Darwin for the Tesco Self-Service Checkout! I can surreptitiously swipe it through with my other Sunday Morning comestibles!

Curb Your Enthusiasm – Season Eight UK Debut – The Divorce

Curb Your Enthusiasm The Divorce

With wife Cheryl – for how much longer?…

HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Season 8 premièred in Britain on More 4 Sunday, late Sunday night too – perhaps fittingly and keeping in the spirit of the program as nevermind the 9 o’clock watershed an especial watershed is needed for Curb Your Enthusiasm – loosely Around Midnight – alongside Brass Eye, anything with Sarah Silverman and?!…

In this season opening episode Larry David is finally finalizing his divorce to his – it is a cliche but it is apt – long suffering and seemingly ageless wife Cheryl, played by Cheryl Hines.

Curb Your Enthusiasm’s was Larry David’s follow up to his co-creation Seinfeld – that ran the best part of the 1990’s and an awe-inspiring 174 episodes – awe-inspiring because this really was great quality in great quantity. But Larry David was but its writer/spectator if also a core part of it in the form of George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, the Seinfeld character said to be closest to his own character. And watching Curb Your Enthusiasm – which I will now lapse into the familiar and refer to as Curb – that is quickly confirmed. Curb Your Enthusiasm is Larry David – whom I will now lapse into the over-familiar and refer to as Larry – spectator and performer, and the show has already outlasted Seinfeld in terms of its length now settling into its second decade and eleventh year. On the other-hand a mere eighty-one episodes, Curb being a more leisurely LA affair than the frenetic paced New York based Seinfeld.

For Larry is creative cup runneth over – can he ever be curbed?

Curb Your Enthusiasm - Randy Berg

With lawyer Randy Berg

And where was I? Oh that’s right, Larry is cutting himself adrift from his wife. But can Larry exist without Cheryl? Does he need a wife to provide an anchor in his life, to avoid him regressing to complete adolescence?

Though he has been engaged to be divorced to Cheryl since Season 6 Episode 7 The Tivo Guy when Larry demonstrating his own unique sense of perspective is more worried over his unreliable PVR than the turbulence to his plane – his TV viewing pleasure of more concern than loss of his own life and wife’s!

But here in this ‘The Divorce’ episode it is at last nearing fruition with his lawyer Mr Berg – and whom he believes to be Jewish, like himself. But suspicions are aroused against his Jewishness (!) when pulling up alongside him in traffic he eyeballs Mr Berg – on a motor-bike! It will transpire that he is not Jewish but Swedish! On this basis his lawyer is ditched, and not to his advantage, his replacement Jewish lawyer then loses him their family home, far worse than the original likely settlement.

Curb Your Enthusiasm - Girl Scouts

Angry Girl Scouts

Also in this episode the inevitable quintessentially squirm-in-your-soul moment which has Larry answering the door to a girl-scout selling cookies only to then find she is having her first period. And then having to describe the process of using a tampon to her through his water closet door – like many moments like this in Curb Your Enthusiasm I am glad I watched this moment alone! In equally typically Curb fashion another tampon moment was reprised later in the show – I won’t spoil that one!

I do recall one other awkward men-and-tampons comedy moment in an episode of the 1980’s UK Comedy The Young Ones where character Rick, played by Rik Mayall, discovers a tampon in the handbag of a visiting party-guest, played by a young Jennifer Saunders, and what then ensues with a glass of wine is predictable enough but which moment was embarrassing only for the character Rick, this being Curb the moment was embarrassing for we the viewers too or rather we the male viewers!

Another quintessential moment is a Susie Greene expletive-laden tirade – this time when her husband Jeff Greene calmly comments that if they ever get divorced she could have the house and pretty much whatever else she wanted! And he thought he was being reasonable!

By its heady standards this was a more run-of-the-mill Curb episode, but Larry divorced from Cheryl does set up this series upon a new trajectory – how will Larry David take to single-life reunited?Curb Your Enthusiasm - Cast Info