JIM DORAN

Diorama-rama Deux

duex

And I quote: “Wonder Commons presents Diorama-Rama Deux, a celebration of creative storytelling inside the box. Join us in our second year as we compete for awards and celebrate what can be seen through the miniature. Introductory Diorama demonstration by artist Jim Doran.”

rules

So, I set some of my work out and talked with folks about Diorama-ing.

talk

I quickly put together a zine about some of my work.

zines

This event is put on by Wonder Commons – Robert Marbury and his wife Alix Fenhagen.

Rob

The theme was “March Madness,” which has something to do with baseball or something. I made two dioramas that are NOT paper cut-outs.

I get a mild form of madness called SPRING FEVER. Perhaps you’ve heard of it – it doesn’t help that, after days of glorious weather, it snowed yesterday.

 

spring-fever-scale

And here’s part two, which has EVERYTHING to do with baseball:

mm-bottom-view

(More on both of these dioramas can be read in their own post).

I won “Best in Show!”

bis

Please notice that the trophy has two baseball bats AND two cups on top.

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This is a smart, fun (and amusing) event. I saw a lot of the same faces from last year’s event, and a few new ones. NEXT YEAR, we are going to have a “make your own diorama session” before the judging kicks off, and I have offered to help people realize their own diorama-rama-ness.

All of the entries were great – here are a few more:

FUN

This-is-not-a-peep

cesar

tulip

run

more

spring

Keep an eye out for next year’s Diorama-rama, and come!

Alchemical Vessels

Art heals.

I have watched Art transform people when I worked as an expressive therapist. I know it from my own life, too.

cigar-box-888

I’m in an exhibition at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts that opened last night. Here’s the introductory blurb for this exhibit:

“The definition of alchemy is to transform something toxic into an illuminated substance, which why we ask each artist to transform a cigar box by means of his or her own personal aesthetic and medium—taking a box that would be normally filled with a polarizing object as a cigar and creating an alchemical vessel, an original piece of artwork in order to benefit the Smith Center’s cancer support programs. We hope you will join our efforts in realizing this community-building art exhibition and benefit to support our important work with cancer patients, their caregivers, and veterans.”

As a prompt, artists were encouraged to answer the following 3 questions (either with a partner, or alone). Here they are, if you’d like to follow along at home:

  1. What is one of the most difficult things you have ever had to go through (Feel free to tell as much or as little of details as you want. But reflect on what was challenging about the situation.)
  2. What helped you get through that? What did you draw on (friends, family, spiritual practices, God, nutrition, silence, intuition, ……etc)?
  3. How does getting through that inform or affect the way you live your life now?

av-wip

wip2

The ladder is made from a coffee stirrer.

I spent a couple of days answering these questions and came up with “Out of the Woods,” a diorama containing several of my own alchemic symbols relating to the healing power of making art. And this is the first time I’ve made a diorama in a cigar box.

 

av-888

March 18 – May 6, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, March 18, 7–9pm
Artists’ Closing Reception: Friday, May 6, 7–9pm

More information is on their Website.

Points of Departure

This is for a show at The New Mexico State University Art Gallery. The show, and this piece, are called “Points of Departure.”

pistachio

When I first heard the title of the show, I thought of Andrew Hill’s 1964 album “Point of Departure,” which is considered by most to be essential listening for any Jazz enthusiast.

bones

I was going to do a work around “New Monastery,” and then decided to make this. The threads in the piece (literally, the threads) connect the figures, who are moving from/to in each scene. There are 10 boxes so far, each capturing a specific moment in time. There are red, blue, yellow, white and black threads. I was thinking about a piece of music (recorded or otherwise) where there are multiple instruments playing – drums, piano, saxophone, bass – maybe other horns/strings. If you could snatch a moment in time and hold ALL the music at once (visually – Synesthesia or aurally), then you would have a complete scene. Since music is time based, there are countless moments where things are moving/changing/happening. Everything is both a connected part of a greater whole, and a single, individual element.

This is a monoscenic view of a moment in time.

RUN

detail

pod-wip

There’s another layer, too. As I was sitting down to write this, I glanced at a copy of the New York Times on my couch and, on the front page, I read the following:

In a landmark study, scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands reported that they had conducted an experiment that they say proved one of the most fundamental claims of quantum theory — that objects separated by great distance can instantaneously affect each other’s behavior.

The full article is also online. Dr. Kaiser said “I believe in my bones that quantum mechanics is the correct description of nature.”

I will write more about this as it relates to future/other pieces.

 

Death Salon – Mütter Museum

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I’m very excited to say that I’ll be part of The Dark Artisans’ Bazaar at this year’s Death Salon, which takes place at the Mütter Museum! I’ll have a table with a lot of art and some new surprises. The Death Salon will take place on October 5 & 6, 2015.

The Mütter is located at:
19 S 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

As of this writing, tickets are still available.

dsmmdarkartisansbazaarjpg

UPDATE, POST Salon

It was a big trip – the first time I’ve tried having a table somewhere. The introvert in me still enjoyed every moment.

the-table

At last, I had Caitlin Doughty write a haiku for me in my copy of Smoke Gets in your Eyes

caitlin

There were murder ballads at night. And lots of DEATH BANGS. And, speaking of which, I FINALLY got to have a real life, in person meeting with my pal and fellow Order member Sarah Troop (Nourishing Death and Death and the Maiden, etc.).

DEATH-BANGS

The museum itself is fascinating, as is the history of the founder. I had a private tour of the bone room and wet specimen room, and while it’s not a huge place, I want to go back and study the exhibits. There is a great Vesalius exhibit, the wall of 139 skulls and the Soap Lady. A huge amount to read and study.

mutter-windows

I love the talks, the people and the Museum. I am very grateful I had the chance to be a part of this.

Wonder Commons presents Diorama-rama

Dioramarama_Invite

I was a judge at Wonder Commons’ Diorama-rama, at the Allied Binding Company downtown. About twenty other diorama-ists ventured out on that icy night with a fantastic showing of work around the theme “At Last, Great Last Moments.”

One of my favorite pieces were the edible dioramas, made from rice crispy treats and the accompanying bowl of cheese balls. BALLS.

cheesy

Here are a few more of my favorites. I wish I had more/better photos, because everything was really great – even the inedible art.

the-wire

the-cliff

train-wreck

exhibit-a

last-of-a-species

my-stuff

And just about everyone took a medal home.

hip-hop

after

And the party even got a write up in Baltimore Magazine:

http://www.baltimoremagazine.net/2015/5/14/the-chatter-may-2015

No Small Deaths

March 1, 2015
Wicomico Street

Pigtown’s Allied Binding Company, where they still bind real books, hosts tonight’s “Diorama-rama” competition—a celebration of old-school storytelling in a box—hosted by the local arts group Wonder Commons. The theme is “Notable Last Moments,” with judges including Jaime Kauffman, program director with nonprofit Art with a Heart, and Bruce Goldfarb, an expert on the Maryland Chief Medical Examiner’s Office’s renowned Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death dioramas.

“One goal with Wonder Commons,” explains organizer Robert Marbury, author of Taxidermy Art: A Rogue’s Guide, “is to get people who are non-artists to make things.” That said, genuinely talented folks are here, like Jim Doran, who specializes in making tiny dioramas in iPod cases and kitchen spoons.

Among the entries is an homage to just-departed Leonard Nimoy, featuring an anime figurine of Star Trek’s Spock falling through strobe lights inside a parking cone to the “Final Frontier.” Best in Show goes to game developer Shawn Cook for “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank,” featuring a watercolor painted boat swaying between a dozen waves, enhanced by bottom-of-the-sea LED lighting—all inside a six-inch box.

Meanwhile, the Cornell Prize, named for surrealist assemblage artist Joseph Cornell, goes to writer Zoë Nardo, for “The Wire,” which plays not off the acclaimed HBO series, but The Flying Wallendas. Her two-foot-tall cardboard frame depicts Baltimore’s harbor, its row-house neighborhoods, and a high wire strung from the iconic “Domino Sugars” sign in Locust Point to the neon Mr. Boh in Canton. An accompanying poem tells the tale of the diorama’s thrill-seeking protagonist—only her tutu and legs visible after a headfirst fall into the water:

“Halfway through she slipped and messed up the plan.
She never made it to the one-eyed man.”