Two Hands to the Joker

With the passing of Heath Ledger Warner Bros has had to rethink the marketing of the upcoming Batman sequel, The Dark Knight, according to the article, Ledger's Joker a Serious Topic, by Joal Ryan for E!.

Up until yesterday the official movie site featured the first movie poster (pictured) and the first two teaser trailers all of which centre heavily on Heath's character, The Joker. Today if you click over to the site you'll get a simple memorial page to Heath (pictured below) that is classy and pretty much says all that needs to be said.


Unlike many people when I first heard Heath had been cast as the Joker I thought director Christopher Nolan's choice was inspired. Being familiar with Ledger's career and knowing that he was always more aligned with the Johnny Depp school of thought about acting (i.e. taking on roles that are challenging and edgy rather than popular and easy to digest.) I knew Heath would be throwing everything into his performance for The Dark Knight.

Although I'm a Batman fan from way back it is not the excitement of seeing Batman again that is driving me to see the second installment. It is the anticipation of seeing the Joker redefined for the new Batman world. The Joker, as a character, is every bit as recognisable and iconic as Batman. Making him fit into this darker and more realistic Gotham city without his clown-like appearance looking out of place is a challenge in its self.

By all reports coming from the production (and based purely on footage/photos released so far) it appears Heath's Joker is going to be something special. Whilst the E! article contemplates whether this is how Heath would want to be remembered (as a psychopathic killer), should this become his last role (Heath was part way through filming a Terry Gilliam picture at the time of his death), I think, given the effort and work he's put into it, going out with a bang is not a bad way to go!

I hope Warner Bros don't play down marketing The Dark Knight around The Joker. Although I have no idea how good or bad Heath is as The Joker it sounds like a performance that should be celebrated in memory of the kind of 'give it everything' actor that Heath was.

Why so serious? Applaud this one with two hands. Two hands to the Joker.

Playing Tag - Should I or Not?

There's a new trend in online communities called 'tag'. It works like this. Someone tags you, you reveal five facts about yourself, then you tag five other people. Seems harmless enough and it gets you seen online in a similar way to how link rings used to when they were all the rage.

I was first tagged in the video version of the game on Youtube, where you can watch my five fact vlog train response, Now I've been 'blog tagged' by Artist, Eric T. Francis, errr... thanks Eric... I think?

Whenever these games come around, the kind that you didn't know you were playing until you're... well... playing by being tagged there's that brief moment where you think will I keep this thing going or will I be a killjoy and stop it right here? Will anyone care? Should I put this same decision in five other bloggers hands?

To continue this game I'm going to have to spend time looking for people to tag... I guess I'll go looking for people who might appreciate something to blog about - even if it's just to whinge about the inconvenience of having to tag five more people.

But first, five facts:

  1. I was born in South Australia, moved to Western Australia when I was eight then moved back to South Australia at age 29.

  2. I've never traveled outside of Australia and whilst I wouldn't pass up an offer to travel overseas I really don't have any desire to do so. Would rather travel within my own country.

  3. I'm not Sting (the singer) though two people I've never met in person have said I look like him - so don't get me confused. (he has a much cuter nose than mine... oh, and he can sing and play guitar where as I can do neither).

  4. I was instrumental in establishing a community gallery in my home town. It's been open for two years and I've only ever exhibited four paintings there in all that time.

  5. I'm a Batman fan from way back. The first, live action batman on TV I ever watched (back in the 1970s) was the original 1949 cinematic series (which I now own on DVD) that features the best, live action interpretation of Robin (the character) thus far. He's played almost as an equal and very capable side kick to Batman (not a jealous, snot nosed side kick or a flowery verbal mirror to Batman's deductions).

Now my five tagees:

  1. R B Grange - A blog about the Art World through the eyes and experiences of R B Grange (well obviously).

  2. Belinda Lindhardt - Belinda is a great Aussie Artist whose unique art journal I should probably visit a lot more than I have.

  3. Bob Abrahams - Bob is a West Aussie Artist who introduced me to 'plein air' painting (or to be precise gave me the term for that style of art - I just thought it was painting outside but no, 'plein air').

  4. Daniel Sanger - Another Aussie artist and now moderator of Australian Art Forum. Daniel is just as handy with a brush painting as he is creating digital graphics.

  5. Lauren Perkins - Original founder of Australian Art Forum, these days Lauren's taken a back seat so she can spend more time painting girls with longing, far away looks in their eyes (amongst other things).

To finish, for my tagees, the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog. 2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. 3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. 4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

'A silly glimpse...' wins $200 on Viewbug.com



Either someone over at Viewbug just 'gets' my humor or the competition is still just warming up. Whatever the reason I'm happy to accept my $200.00 win in Viewbug's Humor Challenge this week.

My video, A silly glimpse into TET's personality, came out tops over 30 other video submissions. Not bad for a crazy bit of improvisation that just entered my head one morning and evolved into a bit of a stand up comedy routine (and I don't even consider myself to be a comedian).

This is my second substantial win on Viewbug. Previously my video, Blank Canvas IV - Art Critic, won a $30.00 weekly prize.

Thanks Viewbug. If I could find a setting to stop your embeded video players from auto playing I would've used your player instead of Revver's above. Otherwise, readers of this blog and video creators/photographers/musicians especially should check Viewbug out. It's proven very financially rewarding for me thus far.

Funny Gym Video: Work it out baby



Quite possibly the funniest gym/workout video I've seen in a long time, work it out baby is a video by YouTuber, gradualreport, who makes some very sharp and witty comedy videos.

If you've ever been to a gym or got into the whole physical fitness thing, even for a day, you'll get a laugh out of this video. It's a little bit on the 'adult humor' side but nothing that you wouldn't consider 'childishly funny' by the end. I hope you find it 'laugh out loud' funny like I did.

Rylars Art Coffee Lounge


One of the most fascinating murals (or even paintings for that matter) I have ever seen can be found in my home town of Gawler, South Australila. Even more fascinating than the worlds biggest painting on canvas at Broken Hill in fact.

Rylars Art Coffee Lounge is home to one of the most detailed murals you're ever likely to find. The thumbnails above from the Coffee Lounges web site just doesn't do it justice. Not least because you can barely make out the detail but also because this mural circles the walls of the entire dining area. These images wouldn't even be 1% of the total mural.

Mostly black and white, the mural is still a work in progress even after three years. The best way to describe it is simply by quoting from Rylar's web site:
The artistic wizardry invoked within these walls is the culmination of a three year sojourn of indulgence and passion. This amazing work of art exemplifies an eclectic fusion of surrealism with medieval art, exercising an ability for intrinsic fine detail. Indulging and challenging, tempting your eyes to look further and deeper, taking you on a visual journey of fantasy and mystery with a curious blend of illusion and mysticism that will beckon you, as you attempt to unravel its diverse and arcane meanings.
Located at 41b Adelaide Road, Gawler (just next door to Dodd's Deli), Rylar is open Friday through to Monday, 5 - 9pm. My partner and I stopped there for dinner after seeing the movie I am Legend and were blown away by the detail, themes and overall impressive nature of the art.

We were there for around and hour and it was no where near enough time to take in everything. Definitely somewhere you'll want to visit more than once just to see what else you can find within the art.

You'll have no trouble going back either as the food is delicious and competitively priced with other restaurants, hotels and cafes in the region.

I wish I could show you better pictures of the mural just to give you more incentive to visit. It is really worth your while, even if you're not usually into art. This is truly one of Gawler's hidden tourist attractions.

I am Legend.


Having not read the original novel, by Richard Matheson, published in 1954, nor having seen either of the two previous film adaptations (The Last Man on Earth - 1964, The Omega Man - 1971), I came to I am Legend with no real expectations other than it stared Will Smith and he was playing, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Neville, the sole human survivor on planet Earth.

I had heard of The Omega Man, and, when a film interests me enough I usually end up rummaging around the Internet Movie Database to see what information I can dig up.

From this point on, if you haven't seen I am Legend then the rest of this article does contain spoilers so you may wish to stop reading now. As always my intention with these movie articles is to discuss my thoughts about the film, rather than review it as a whole.

I thought the concept of humanity being wiped out by a cure for cancer that went bad (essentially a modified version of the measles virus) was very plausible in today's climate of scientific experimentation (the film is set in our contemporary world). Certainly a much stronger concept than as the result of biological warfare of the previous film, The Omega Man.

With that in mind it does come across, some what unbelievable, that the entire world could become infected. Granted the virus could be caught from the air, the world is a big place and vast oceans have been known to keep viruses at bay between continents. That aside, world wide supply of gas masks and other such breathing apparatus, would surely buy those, not at ground zero, some time to set up environmentally sealed biospheres.

What was the point of quarantining Manhattan Island if the virus was airborne and why weren't those soldiers, screening people for the virus, wearing some kind of breathing filter given that people with the virus were showing up? Not exactly the 'take no chances' precautions we see used in the real world in the event of an anthrax scare.

I know this kind of nit picking is bad. You don't want to let the real world get in the way of story telling and trust me it didn't. For the most part I really enjoyed this movie and it's story - with exception to the rather abrupt ending. It's only afterwards that I've begun to think more about the plausibility of the films virus (known as KV or the Krippin Virus. Named after its creator Dr. Alice Krippin (Emma Thompson))

I did like the concept of the Dark Seekers as the product of the virus. Not knowing much about the story before hand I was surprised to see these other 'humans' in the film.

In the original book the Dark Seekers were actually vampires, a concept that I'm glad was dropped from the current movie, though they did display vampire-like qualities beyond light sensitivity - such as going for the throat when attacking.

Also, in the original novel, the vampires were much more articulate and less primal than the Dark Seekers. I think, I am Legend, the movie, would have been a very different film if the Dark Seekers were on speaking terms. I think it would also be much harder for Neville to hunt them down for his tests on finding a cure.

As I said earlier, I wasn't that impressed by the ending. As we head towards the climax the Dark Seekers seem less and less affected by light, including open flame (which I imagine would also be rather detrimental to light sensitive skin).

It seems to me setting up a wall of UV lights around Neville's house should have been more than enough of a deterrent to the Dark Seekers - even in plague proportions. Neville seemed to have access to power and had plenty of time to barricade his home and set up a minefield of explosives. But in the end none of this was effective.

Neville sacrifices himself to save the human race even though he believes he is the last man on earth (a theory that doesn't quite stand up as well after that damn woman and her kid turned up and shot a hole through it).

Speaking of that woman and her kid, why does Neville not ask the question... Where have you been for the last three years? We learn next to nothing about her or her past yet we have to be happy with her bringing the movie to its final conclusion.

Perhaps it should've ended like the book, with us believing that the last man alive has just died and we've been lucky enough to follow those last few days/years. Man becoming nothing more than a legend.

Blonde Rose featured on Helium.com


Blonde Rose (otherwise known as my sister) had a great day today on Helium, the web site for writers. Her article on South Australia's water wise garden, Timandra was featured in the prime position on Helium's home page (see the screen shot above because featured articles are usually only featured for one day so it may no longer be there when you're reading this).

In these water saving, environmentally conscious times, if you have any interest in such things then Rose's article is well worth a read. Timandra is the the only "Eco-Tourism" accredited garden in the world. Having visited the garden with Rose on our road trip I can attest to it's greenness, even in Australia's dry conditions.

Whilst you're there you may like to read some of Rose's other articles too.

How to Sell Your Art Without Selling Out

Virtually everything you should have been taught in art school about earning a living from visual arts and crafts but weren't is how I'd describe Steve Popkin's 27 part, arts marketing course, How to Sell Your Art Without Selling Out.

Years ago there was a famous ad for Gillette shavers featuring a guy who was 'so impressed he bought the company', well I didn't buy Steve Popkin's company but I did the next best thing and became an affiliate after completing only the first two classes. That's how good the information was!

It's important you know this up front because I don't want to be covert about recommending this as a product. Should you decide to purchase How to Sell Your Art Without Selling Out through the links from this article, you will be giving me a little financial 'thank you' that says you trust my opinion and insight into Steve's course. With that out the way, lets get on with helping you decide if this course is for you.

I purchased the downloadable version of this course after baulking a few times because of the sales letter, the tried and tested landing page that promises the easy life, typical of online marketers for almost any get rich quick product you can imagine.

The sales letter includes, off putting, too good to be true quotes like:
"Now all you have to do is follow the system...and you can make more money in a weekend than most artists do in an entire year!"

"Almost overnight, you will go from selling a few pieces...to selling everything you make and taking orders for more!"

Fortunately these were the exceptions with the majority of claims sounding more solid than 'get rich quick'. Personally I don't think Steve needs these kind of 'instant, easy income' claims but would you wrestle with your decision to purchase if he said things like 'with a little research and effort you could improve your sales over time?' You'd probably stop reading, right?

I powered through all twenty seven classes, ranging from 10 to 40 minutes in length (with exception to the selling your art online section which runs a whopping 85 minutes). It took me the best part of two weeks. There's only so much 'art business' one can digest in a day!

Each class is delivered like a power point presentation. Each key point is displayed on a slide as Steve's voice communicates the lesson. There is a nice picture of Steve to look at too so it almost feels like he is there, delivering the lesson personally.

The first class starts with the answer to the most common question I've heard artists ask, how do I price my art? I've researched this question over and over in the last few years, discovering many different answers. Steve's is the only answer that lays out a realistic strategy for encouraging people to buy your more expensive artworks.

Not only that but Steve looks at different price points and, for me at least, shows you can sell work on ebay and through a gallery without damaging your reputation or undercutting your gallery prices. In fact selling on ebay could compliment your galleries marketing strategy.

That goes pretty much against everything I've heard about selling art on ebay if you want gallery representation - even my own advice to other artists which, in the past has been, if you want gallery representation, steer clear of ebay.

There is too much in the course for me to comment on everything but by the end of it you'll know so much about the arts industry and all the possibilities that you may find yourself bursting with ideas about where to find your market and how you will sell your art.

After pricing some of the highlights for me were:

  • Creating Art for Niche Applications

    It's true. Selling to a niche is much easier than trying to sell to everyone. Steve will tell you why and give you tips on how to do it without selling out.

  • How To Sell Your Art Online

    This will tell you virtually everything you need to know. The pro's and cons of gallery web sites, using ebay, creating your own web site etc. It's a massive section that could of been made even bigger if it looked at the 'Print on Demand' market such as Cafepress and Imagekind but still, more than enough to get you started online.

  • The Secrets Behind Weekend Art Shows

    Having tried and failed at selling my art at a weekend market for the best part of six months, Steve's tips may have come in handy back then.

  • How to Sell to Galleries

    I knew there was a reason I wasn't interested in galleries at this point in my career. Steve explains everything you need to know about approaching bricks and mortar galleries and shows why galleries aren't necessarily a good thing if you're just starting out.

  • One of a Kind, Production Work or Both...

    This class is a must for new and emerging artists. If you think working as a professional artist is simply selling each 'one of a kind piece' as you create it then this will open your eyes to a whole other side of professional art practice that you may not have considered.

There is so much more I could list. Head on over to Steve's Sales letter and click the link to view the full list with descriptions of the 27 topics covered.

I will say that almost every single class had something to offer in the way of new information. This is well worth the money. It's the kind of presentation that you'll refer back to when it comes to applying Steve's concepts. In fact I wouldn't mind this course delivered entirely as an audio presentation so I could keep it handy and refer back to it on my MP3 player.

There are few negatives to mention, apart from the sales letter. It does deliver on most claims and probably would deliver on all of them if you were highly motivated to get started right away (but you know how most people are and I think your brain will feel a little fried from overload after 27 classes).

Some of the classes tended to be a little repetitive but that's just the nature of the business. It really doesn't matter who you're selling to, it's all about finding your market and creating art for it. It's the different ways to find those markets that Steve gives you plenty of advice and ideas on.

I can say that the free bonuses didn't play much of a part in my decision to buy this product. They're certainly good value but other than access to Steve personally, I don't know how much of an impact they'll have on my future business. I certainly don't feel like reading Napolean Hill's 'Think and Grow Rich' as an ebook after pushing through Steve's course. I'll leave it to you to decide if the bonus materials sound like value for money.

How to Sell Your Art Without Selling Out is a course that is ideally suited to any artist just starting out or any artist who's been trying to sell their art for a few years and not really getting any where close to a decent income.

It really doesn't matter what kind of Visual artist or Crafts person you are the strategies will be relevant to you (Steve is a glass artist and uses his art in many examples).

If you've been all over the internet looking for information on the business side of art (I know I have) then you'll find everything you need to know, explained in simple to understand language.

Once you've completed this course you'll be able to have a fresh look at the art you produce and will have plenty of new strategies to help you do what you really want to do... create art.

Having purchased and completed the course myself, I highly recommend it. Read through the sales letter as it actually does tell you quite a bit about what to expect.

Help! The Beatles are unwatchable!

Having watched as much of the digitally remastered Beatles movie, Help! (1965), on public TV as I could stand I've come to the conclusion that not all Beatles memorabilia / projects (call this what you will) should be revived and remembered.

It's not that this movie is particularly bad. The acting is fine. Some of the comedy works and, to agree with some of the people at the link above, the movie does have some very quotable lines. It's just that the plot is so ridiculous. I'm sure it was meant to be over the top and just a bit of fun to showcase the band and the music but it goes too far into extreme silliness.

To get away with this kind of silliness you have to start with a premise that is credible. This movie has a very culturally important sacrificial ring stuck on Ringo's (of course) finger. In the real world you'd just explain the situation to the famous drummer and I'm sure he'd be obliging (might even pay for his own tub of butter to help remove the ring).

However, for some reason, the ring has to recovered covertly by its obscure, Asian Cult owners and from there stupidity ensues. Complicated further by some mad scientist type who believes this ring could help him 'rule the world' (why I don't know? It's a symbolic ring with no real power or significance to anyone other than it's owners).

Maybe I missed something along the way but finally, after 'Paul's tiny adventure on the floor' I decided enough was enough and switched it off. Even as a showcase for The Beatles superb music, there just wasn't enough of it to keep me hooked.

All I can say is that you have to be a real Beatles fan to endure the entire movie. Clearly this was made at a time when the band could release virtually anything and it would find an audience to make it all worthwhile.

Personally this movie probably needs to be remembered for its highlights because as a whole, for me at least, it is unwatchable.
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