Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who paints Three Nosed Santa?
Although you wouldn't know it by the weather, it is holiday season in Chicago. The surest sign of that to me is the presence of Three Nosed Santa.  The anonymous painter who creates these window paintings seems to work on the northside of the city and the adjacent suburbs.  This photo was taken on Church Street in Skokie.  If I see more paintings by this artist I will post them here.
I started calling this version of St. Nicholas Three Nosed Santa because from a distance or in passing the rosy cheeks and nose seem to blur together into three noses.  The artist uses brush strokes that render the features very hard to distinguish from each other.  And this technique makes his or her art immediately identifiable.
  The close up here reveals one more mark of identification.  Santa has leaves (mistletoe?) for eyebrows.
  You'll see window paintings like this around town at small businesses and storefronts.  CVS Drugs or Bennigan's is not about to have corporate messaging weakened by anything approaching localized, individualized creativity.  A merry ho-ho-ho to you, oh anonymous creator.  I hope to see Three Nosed Santa for many Christmases to come.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Turn Banks into Libraries
I've returned from a jaunt to New England.  My wife and I took a trip to her alma mater, The Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.  The school has taken a bank in the city and converted it into a library and dormitories for undergraduates.  Not to burden anyone with my political opinions, but this is something that should happen in every city.  Ponderous multi-story spaces with columns galore and marble to spare were ably converted into a surprisingly warm and welcoming environment.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thoughts on the visuals in A Field Guide to the Elves of Northern Europe

As I think about how a paperback copy of Rod Crenshaw's best-selling work on the identification of Elves might look, it occurs to me that most of us (even the most skilled and highly trained in elf-spotting) will probably only get a fleeting  glimpse of an elf or elves.
  And even then, we would be lucky to catch a silhouette or shadow.  So something like this page from A Pocket Guide to Trees; How to Identify and Enjoy Them by Rutherford Platt (Washington Square Press, 1960) would probably be very useful.
  As we'll see in Book Two, the sudden commercial success of a book originally intended for a scholarly audience will have implications for not only Rod Crenshaw but possibly even Manny Tippitoes.
  And there's something else in Rutherford Platt's Pocket Guide that I want to share with you later.