Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

The Easter Island Head

The easter island head is a prop from a planned play that had a Gilligan’s Island type story to it. The play was never made and this prop was kept by one of the producers of the play. They’ve kept it on their lawn for over a decade and it is now is in need of repairs. They decorate it at the holidays, and the whole family seems to enjoy having this odd head displayed on their front lawn.

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Death

The owner of this house was looking for something really unique to display outside his house when he got the idea to put the grim reaper or a skeleton or something otherwise ghoulish on his lawn. He scoured landscaping and decorative shows and found nothing. Eventually he encountered an artist who carved tree stumps. He requested the carver create a grim reaper, and a few weeks later voila! one grim reaper carved from a 6 foot length of tree trunk. Once he was equipped with an actual wooden scythe from an old farm auction, he was complete.

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Odd House of Weehawken

Rudy Bramm is retired employee from MSG who creates art out of everyday objects. He displays them thruout his home, both inside & out. When I first found this house, the owner Mr Bramm was just leaving. He offered to give me a tour if he weren’t busy. I followed up on the offer and Mr Bramm showed me his art gallery/home. Mr Bramm has been featured on various news shows and in magazines. So many people have commented on his house & his art that he should have a show at an art gallery. “but unfortunately I’m an artist, not a business man, which means I’m not an artist either.”

The house is really one flowing piece of art. Individual pieces blend into designs made on the walls and ceilings, and you really can’t tell where one piece of art end and another begins because your eye keep flowing seamlessly from one piece to another. That isn’t to say that you can’t tell individual pieces, it’s just that there are soooo many of them that they form one large collective piece. Created from common items like brooms, toys, Formica tiles, jars and miscellaneous doo-dads, they tell a story. Sometimes. Mr Bramm says that many pieces are meant as dedication to family & friends who have passed away.

Mr Bramm began by showing me the garage. It’s very hard to really describe what I saw. There were a few pieces that involved lights (which he activated for me) and as my eyes flowed from one piece to another, Mr Bramm said he got the components for his work from “a variety of places. “People give me things. When things come into my possession, I use them, and it works.” The tour took me along the side of the house, down an alley between his property & the next. Several of the pieces here involved children’s toys.

The doors are ornately covered with art and the door to the basement was no exception. Inside I saw rows & rows of paintings stacked nearly as if I were in a gallery. The walls were adorned all the way to the 8 foot ceilings with all manner of his art. The tour led into his backyard where I saw the piece I loved the most, shown below. His dog was quite friendly and followed me on the tour. He then led me upstairs and into his 2nd floor apartment (he rents the 1st & 3rd floor). His wife was leaving as we walked in, so he showed me his studio, as well as hers (she paints too).

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Lucy the Elephant

Lucy is an example of zoomorphic architecture, that is, a building shaped like an animal. The concept for an animal shaped building was deemed innovative & unique, and now no one else could build one unless they paid him royalties. Read more about Lucy at the official Lucy the Elephant page or at a Lucy fan page (which tells much more about Lucy then the official page…)

James Lafferty owned a desolate stretch of sand dunes and scrub pine at the Jersey shore. In 1881 constructed Lucy the Elephant as a way to generate interest in the area, and sell real estate. It worked & people came from all around to marvel at the gigantic beast. It was deemed a success, so Lafferty built two more. A twelve-story structure twice as large as Lucy, the “Elephantine Colossus” was located in the center of Coney Island. The third elephant was slightly smaller than Lucy, was called “the Light of Asia,” and helped draw crowds to Cape May The Colossus burned down and the Light of Asia was torn down, leaving Lucy the only survivor.

Lucy is 6 stories tall, weights 90 tons and is made from tin & wood. It can be seen from as far out as 8 miles at sea. It originally housed a bar, which closed during Prohibition, then reopened when the laws were changed. As people began to travel further from home via air, destinations such as the shore faded, and Lucy no longer drew the crowds as she once had. Lucy fell into disrepair, and by the 1960s, was a slated to be torn down. In 1969, the “Save Lucy Committee” was formed by the Margate Civic Association. Lucy was moved to beachfront land owned by the city and was designated as a historic site. Fundraisers have since been conducted, which have allowed Lucy to be fully restored. Tours are conducted routinely for a nominal fee.

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The Musicians Bridge

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The Wantage Pole

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The Titsworth Fort on Route 23 in Wantage, just north of Sussex Borough, was the original site of the landmark totem pole. The home of the first permanent settler, William Titsworth, was a one and a half story rubble stone house that doubled as a Minisink fort to provide protection from the Native Americans until 1781.

Shortly prior to 1928 Peter Hendricks erected a totem pole in the hopes to attract customers on their way to the new High Point State Park. The original pole was destroyed in a car crash in 2002 which killed 3 people. Due to it’s history, local residents, businesses, teachers, and students worked together to recreate the totem pole. The new pole is 20 feet tall and features the profiles of a Native American Chief, Native American Woman, Blue Heron, and a Tree Frog.

I believe it’s located at the intersaection of Lake Wallkill Rd & Bassetts Bridge Rd but I am not 100% sure,

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the strange figures at RWJUH

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital is a well known teaching hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. For whatever reason they have these little figures on an I-beam out in front of the hospital.

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The strange kids swimming at RWJ Children Hospital

The façade of RWJ Children’s Hospital is warm and inviting. The hospital specializes in childrens care so it was designed with children in mind. Part of the outside decor is a large fountain, which the main driveway entrance encircles. The fountain features a half dozen mannequin children, playing and splashing in and around the water.

One child is frozen in the middle of undressing, one is halfway out of the pool/fountain, while others frolic near the spigots of water (that run during the summer). What makes this creepy is that during winter there’s no water running, and its rather unnerving to see a child getting undressed when there’s snow on the ground. Furthermore, parts of the children are painted silver, to mimic the effect of being wet, I presume. Unfortunately this gives them a robotic look, as if the T-1000 from the terminator movies gave birth to children who couldn’t fully form human shapes.

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other art made by Hoop

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Hoop doesn’t just make art, he collects it too. One part of his collection is a series of works by Jack Kevorkian, AKA Dr Death, or the Suicide doctor. The paintings are, as to be expected, rather macabre but extremely moving. Me thinks Mr Kevorkian has issues with authority figures, be it the church or the state….

A Jack Kevorkian original

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Hoop the King of art

Hoop began designing art cars in 1985, and often uses small foreign cars such as the Fiat 850, the Italian Isetta, the Volkswagen Beetle (the old kind) and small 3 wheel cart vehicles. He often covers his vehicles with what is called fun fur. Since it comes in many bright colors, it is well suited to his type of art. Hoop has created time machines, space traveling vehicles, vehicles devoted to luck, and even a vehicle that is a self portrait.

Hoop created the King of Art (and the requisite costume and crown) after appearing on some tv shows such as Richard Bey. It gave him a persona which made him stand out from other artists. Hoop is an artist by nature, producing not just art cars, but paintings, drawings and conceptual art as well. Hoop grew up surrounded by the Andy Warhol crowd that were part of the scene in east Village, and you wouldn’t need him to tell you that to know it. Everything about Hoop screams “artist” from his appearance and clothes, to his manner of speech and the way he carries himself.

Car & Driver has sponsored a wild car contest, and Hoop has won two of the top 10 awards. Why are art cars so popular? Says Hoop, “Take an art car, park it next to a Ferrari, and it’ll get more attention.” The latest project he’s been involved in is a follow-up to Harrod Blank’s 1992 documentary. Blank released a second book called Art Cars: The Cars, the Artists, the Obsession, the Craft. Said Blank, “At first people would have thought I was nuts. People would have thought Hoop was nuts. Now 20 years later, he’s a superstar in the art car world.”

Hoop has a collection of celebrity fingerprints, which is exactly what it sounds like. He would attend parties in the city and if he saw a celebrity he would ask them for their fingerprint. It’s amazing how may of them would comply. In his collection of celebrity fingerprints are such people as the Amazing Kreskin, Captain Kangaroo, George Plimpton, Curtis Sliwa, Michael Anderson (the dwarf from twin peaks) Uncle Floyd, Tiny Tim, Bill Boggs, Allan Ginsberg, Cousin Brucey, Al Lewis, Joe Frazier, and the original Kramer, Kenny Kramer.

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When I asked Hoop to pose with his cars, he donned his Hi-Tek Hoop hat and a gold colored jacket. He then said, “I don’t feel like gold today, I feel like silver…” He grabbed a can of silver spray paint, and spray painted the jacket silver, and after it dried, he posed for the pictures…

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Hoop dismantled this double ended van a few months before I met with him, but in this picture you can see the design is two van fronts married together, a rather Monster Garage type feat if you ask me. He told me that it always turned heads, and on numerous times he was stopped by the police, who would invariably go to the rear of the vehicle and then wonder where the driver was….This happened a few times in Montclair, but after the second time it was usually to have the officers picture taken with this most unusual vehicle. Much like the police of Long Beach are all familiar with Jessie James, I am sure most of Montclair is familiar with their resident art car artist.

Hoop is a big fan of public art, and stated that many times he would drive into the city in one of his unusual cars specifically for the purpose of leaving it parked on the street overnight so people could look at it and marvel. He would often leave the Good Luck truck complete with wishing well, and would find money throw into it. He eventually put a pad of paper and pen next to it, and sure enough he would find that people had written their wish down and throw the paper (and some money) into the wishing well.

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Hoop entered the time machine into the weird car contest at the Lead East 50’s car show and came in second.

Hoops notoriety in this area of art caught the attention of Mattel, maker of Hot Wheels contacted Hoop about creating an art car related to their new series of toy cars” city heroes” Originally they wanted a design based around a taxi cab but Hoop immediately squashed that idea. “Fireman and police officers are heroes, not taxi drivers.” Hoop mulled over the design and finally settled on a meter maid car which he decorated with over 1500 matchbox cars and other car related toys and items. Mattel wanted the car in time for a toy show at the Javitz center. It was debated what would happen to the vehicle after the show but Hoop convinced them to let him keep it, and that he would display it at various art shows or art car events.

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See all my Hoop pictures here

I received this email from Nathan:

I’ve got one for the Art Cars section. This interesting vehicle is in the Paterson Museum…

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