Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Artist Profile - Chris Wiley (Kansas City)

Chris Wiley
(Fun fact: this is a self-portrait sketch and not a photo.)

Chris is an artist in the Lee's Summit, Missouri area specializing in the graphite medium. He is a detail-oriented person and enjoys putting as much realism as possible into his pieces. He began creating artwork at an early age, but most recently picked up the pencil again after 20 years of not drawing and began creating artwork again. He believes that if you have the talent, it is just like riding a bike: you never forget. 


Why are you an artist?

From as early of an age as I can recall, I have enjoyed drawing what I see, whether it be with my eyes or my imagination. My grandmother saved all of my rudimentary drawings that I did for her as a child and showed them to me when I was older. I was actually surprised at the attention to detail that I had at such an early age. I still seem to adhere to that philosophy to this day. I enjoy being able to bring lifelike details to all of my artwork. It is that attention to detail that seems to bleed over into everything that I do and is a definite advantage in my real-life career as a pilot. I like to think that I am a "pilot with an artist's soul."

 "Brown Trout"

What is your inspiration?

Inspirations change as our personalities change. My current inspiration is actually my family, my wife in particular.  She is the one that inspired me to pick up the pencil after 20+ years and start drawing again.


Would you consider yourself a designer or artist or both?

I would consider myself to be an artist for the most part. I draw what I see most of the time.



What is your philosophy of Art?

Art is an expression of the soul. Even if you are doing nothing but simply replicating something that you see onto a canvas or drawing board, some part of your personality is going to come through in that piece of art.

"Little Moments"

What is the role of the artist in our society?

Everywhere that you look, and everything that you see, was created by an artist of some genre, whether it be the plate that you are eating off of, the building that you are sitting in, or the clothes that you are wearing.  Somebody with some type of artistic ability is responsible for that. I think that artists are a staple in our society.

"P-51 Wide"

Where do you see yourself as an artist in 5 years? What are your ultimate goals as an artist?

Optimally, I see myself sitting at home in my underwear doing nothing but drawing and turning out commissions every day. Realistically, I foresee myself continuing to drudge on in my current career, making time for my drawing when I can, much as I am doing now.


What does art mean to you?

To me, art is appreciation of life. Imitation is the best form of flattery.

"Inbound Hot"

You can find more of Chris' work (and purchase prints as well) at the links below:


Artist Profile - Joley Wiley (Kansas City)

Joley Wiley

Joley is a Grumbacher Fine Art Instructor in Lee's Summit, Missouri (a suburb of Kansas City). She currently teaches at the Michael's Arts & Crafts store (14685 West 119th St, Olathe, KS./ (913) 397-0545) and offers several different classes from kids to intermediate level experience in acrylic painting workshops. Thematically, she teaches still life, florals, landscapes/seascapes, portraits, and animal portraits. You can find more information about the details of the classes at the bottom of this post.

Why are you an artist?
It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember.  I tried it, I was good at it, I finally gained the confidence to show my work and people seemed to like it...the rest is history.

What is your inspiration?

That's a tough one.  I'm inspired by things everyday that I never would have considered "inspiring"- peoples' moods, the weather, texture, lighting, nature, artwork is usually dramatic and bold.  Like my personality, I suppose.

Would you consider yourself a designer or artist or both?


What is your philosophy of Art?
There are no rules, no guidelines, no boundaries.  "Art" is a frame of mind.

What is the role of the artist in our society? 
Artists can create an alternative vision for those who can't or won't acknowledge the spirit of creativity.  

Where do you see yourself as an artist in 5 years? 
5 years from now I hope to be doing what I am doing now...sharing my experiences through painting with those who have a desire to learn.

What does art mean to you?
"Art" is someone's soul exposed in a thought-provoking way.  Music, sculpture, painting, drawing...we all have a story to tell and everyone has the ability to do so, regardless of the medium.  Art is a way to express our soul and emotions.

(this link shows lessons, schedules, material lists, student work..etc.)

Her Classes at Michael's in Olathe:
Every Saturday
Kids Classes (Ages 6-12): 10am-12pm
Beginners (Ages 13+): 12:15-2:15pm
Intermediate (Ages 13+ with instructors recommendation): 2:30pm-6:30pm

$25 per student per 2 hour workshop (Kids and Beginners) *plus supplies
$50 per student per 4 hour workshop (Intermediate) *plus supplies


Friday, January 11, 2013

Royal Society Journal Archives

My brain is figuratively exploding at the possibilities of what's in this database right now. It's been up and accessible for a year, but still...that so much information is available for free from some of the world's best minds is truly priceless.

Here's the link: Melty Brain Goodness

"You can read Isaac Newton's first published scientific paper, geological work by a young Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin's celebrated account of his electrical kite experiment. As you trawl through them, you'll find some bizarre experiments from the dawn of peer reviewed publishing - including accounts of "monstrous calves, grisly tales of students being struck by lightning, and early experiments on how to coll drinks 'without the Help of Snow, Ice, Haile, Wind or Niter, and That at Any Time of the Year.'"


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Books on Deck / Up Next - Pt. X

I'm thankful to have a family that plays into my more nerdy tendencies as I get stoked when books arrive at my doorstep. This year, I think my brother may have "won" Christmas as his gift just showed up. Here are a few of the books he sent that I'll be digging into over the next month or so.

National Book Award finalist Cristina Garcia delivers a powerful and gorgeous novel about the intertwining lives of the denizens of a luxurious hotel in an unnamed Central American capital in the midst of political turmoil. The lives of six men and women converge over the course of one week. There is a Japanese-Mexican-American matadora in town for a bull-fighting competition; an ex-guerrilla now working as a waitress in the hotel coffee shop; a Korean manufacturer with an underage mistress ensconced in the honeymoon suite; an international adoption lawyer of German descent; a colonel who committed atrocities during his country's long civil war; and a Cuban poet who has come with his American wife to adopt a local infant. With each day, their lives become further entangled, resulting in the unexpected - the clash of histories and the pull of revenge and desire. Cristina Garcia's magnificent orchestration of politics, the intimacies of daily life, and the frailty of human nature unfolds in a moving, ambitious, often comic, and unforgettable tale. 

American Gods is Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet, a scary, strange, and hallucinogenic road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spirit. Gaiman tackles everything from the onslaught of the information age to the meaning of death, but he doesn't sacrifice the razor-sharp plotting and narrative style he's been delivering since his Sandman days. 

"Manuel Munoz's vividly suspenseful first novel is a find blend of Hitchcock's chilly elegance and the sordid passions of James M. Cain; a dark, intimate, heartbreaking tale about four very different women, each one longing to escape the confines of her everyday life through the romantic illusions concocted by Hollywood. Their voices will haunt me for some time to come." - Julia Glass, author of The Widower's Tale and Three Junes

"There is no rigorous and effective deconstruction without the faithful memory of philosophies and literatures, without the respectful and competent reading of texts of the past, as well as singular works of our own time. Deconstruction is also a certain thinking about tradition and context. Mark Taylor evokes this with great clarity in the course of a remarkable introduction. He reconstitutes a set of premises without which no deconstruction could have seen the light of day." - Jacques Derrida

"This critical collection combines astute and graceful interpretations of well-known literary texts from the Americas while at the same time displaying a rich global understanding of the broad reach of magical realism. Fashioning subtle rethinkings of the magical realist movement, it will shape discussion of postmodern and postcolonial literary histories." - Jose David Saldivar, University of California, Berkeley

By exploring central issues in the philosophy of literature, illustrated by a wide range of novels, poems, and plays, Philosophy of Literature gets to the heart of why literature matters to us and sheds new light on the nature and interpretation of literary works. 

"I have read several times the long title-essay of Kenneth Burke's latest book, The Philosophy of Literary Form, and still with the sense of an adventure. It is like following the intrepid explorer who is making a path through the jungle. I indicate the range and density of the speculative field, which is poetic theory, and jungle-like; and also the emancipation of Burke's mind, the explorer's, from common academic restraints - especially from the over-all cast of sobriety which he, in a cold tone, calls 'neo-Aristotelian.'" - John Crowe Ransom


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 Reading List

During my final year of grad school, I decided to keep a running tally of the books I had read that year (excluding the ones assigned for class work). In keeping with that tradition, it's been fun to see where my tastes moved along the literary timeline of the previous twelve months and seems to have helped solidify my memory of reading those books, regardless of whether I enjoyed them or not.

My goal this year, since I had absolutely no class work to do after graduating in December, was to read 100 books. I fell way short and only got to the 50-book mark. I'd like to feel sad about that, but I also got 230 pages of a short story collection written from February to December. Win/win.

A few of the books on the list were ones that I started but didn't finish. They're in bold. I'm leaving them on here and will hopefully be finishing them shortly. For the most part, I was pretty happy with this year's choices, but there were a couple huge duds as well.

2012 Reading List:


01.) Steven Millhauser - "The Barnum Museum" (237pgs)
02.) Joshua Mohr - "Damascus" (206pgs)
03.) Lemony Snicket - "A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 10: The Slippery Slope" (337pgs)
04.) Stephen Beachy - "boneyard" (303pgs)
05.) Italo Calvino - "The Watcher" (181pgs)

(1,264pgs total)


06.) Stephen King - "Dark Tower, Book 1: The Gunslinger" (224pgs)
07.) Stephen King - "Dark Tower, Book 2: The Drawing of the Three" (400pgs)
08.) Blake Butler - "Scorch Atlas" (150pgs)
09.) Lewis Buzbee - "The Haunting of Charles Dickens" (357pgs)
10.) Stephen King - "Dark Tower, Book 3: The Waste Lands" (422pgs)
11.) Don DeLillo - "Libra" (456pgs)

(2,009pgs total)


12.) Stephen King - "Dark Tower, Book 4: Wizard & Glass" (672pgs)
13.) Stephen King - "Dark Tower, Book 5: Wolves of the Calla" (736pgs)
14.) Ben Marcus - "The Flame Alphabet" (304pgs)
15.) Jeremy Robert Johnson - "Extinction Journals" (84pgs)

(1,796pgs total)


16.) Amelia Gray - "Threats: A Novel" (278pgs)
17.) Don DeLillo - "The Body Artist" (126pgs)
18.) Don DeLillo - "Love Lies Bleeding: A Play" (97pgs)
19.) Stephen King - "Dark Tower, Book 6: Song of Susannah" (411pgs)
20.) Roberto Bolano - "The Savage Detectives" (648pgs)
21.) Robert Lopez - "Kamby Bolongo Mean River" (177pgs)
22.) Stephen King - "Dark Tower, Book 7: The Dark Tower" (845pgs)

(2,582pgs total)


23.) Stephen King - "Dark Tower, Book 4.5: The Wind Through the Keyhole" (307pgs)
24.) Rick Moody - "The Four Fingers of Death" (725pgs)

(1,032pgs total)




25.) Thomas Glave - "The Torturer's Wife" (262pgs)
26.) Roald Dahl - "Tales of the Unexpected" (471pgs)
27.) Lemony Snicket - "A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 11: The Grim Grotto" (323pgs)

(1,056pgs total)




28.) Steven Millhauser - "Dangerous Laughter" (244pgs)
29.) (reread) Blake Butler - "Scorch Atlas" (152pgs)
30.) David Mitchell - "Cloud Atlas" (509pgs)
31.) Don DeLillo - "Cosmopolis" (209pgs)
32.) Chuck Palahniuk - "Diary" (260pgs)

(1,374 pgs total)


33.) Italo Calvino - "Difficult Loves" (300pgs)
34.) Don DeLillo - "The Angel Esmerelda" (211pgs)
35.) Flannery O'Connor - "Everything That Rises Must Coverge" (320pgs)
36.) Lemony Snicket - "A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 12: The Penultimate Peril" (353pgs)
37.) Mark Z. Danielewski - "The Fifty Year Sword" (288pgs)

(1,472 pgs total)


38.) Lemony Snicket - "A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 13: The End" (368pgs)
39.) Don DeLillo - "Falling Man" (246pgs)
40.) Chris Adrian - "A Better Angel" (240pgs)
41.) Nick Bantock - "Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence" (48pgs)
42.) Ransom Riggs - "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children" (352pgs)

(1,254 pgs total)


43.) Shirley Jackson - "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" (146pgs)
44.) Salvador Plascencia - "The People of Paper" (245pgs)
45.) Gary Lutz - "Stories in the Worst Way" (151pgs)
46.) Dexter Palmer - "The Dream of Perpetual Motion" (353pgs)
47.) Bruno Schulz - "The Street of Crocodiles" (160pgs)
48.) Ryan Boudinot - "Blueprints of the Afterlife" (427pgs)

(1,482 pgs total)

15,321 pages for the year