Monument to the World’s Tallest Man

My shoe next to that of the tallest man ever known to walk the earth.

I’m 6 ft 1in tall and wear size 12 shoes.
Robert Pershing Wadlow was 8ft 11in and wore size 37 shoes.

Out of all the people on the planet, the honor of being the World’s Tallest Man in recorded history belonged  to a gentleman from Alton, IL, a town just 30 minutes from my own hometown.  I thought it only fitting for me to grab my camera and make the short drive to the monument dedicated to him.

The  life-size statue of Wadlow stands on College Avenue in Alton, opposite the Alton Museum of History and Art. The statue was erected in 1986 in honor of the hometown native.  I first visited the statue with my grandparents back in 1995 (check out the shorts I’m rocking in a picture in the gallery below) but hadn’t been back until this past week.  His statue looked just as enormous as it had when I was 12.  Unfortunately I was the only one at the statue when I took pictures…so my shoe was the only point of reference I had to show just how, pardon the pun, largest than life he was.

Known as the Alton Giant, Robert Wadlow was born in 1918. His size was noticeable from an early age with special desks having to be made for him as an elementary school student.  By his freshman year of college he was already over 8ft 3in and showing no signs of stopping.  His celebrity status in American culture comes as no surprise and in 1936 he toured the country with the Ringling Brother Circus.

Mobility was always a problem for Wadlow, often requiring braces to support his 440lb frame.  Sadly his giant stature would be his undoing.  On July 4, 1940 a blister on Robert’s foot became infected requiring doctors to perform an unsuccessful blood transfusion.  He would pass away in his sleep 15 days later at the young age of 22.

It is said his funeral was attended by nearly 40,000 people.  His casket was 10 feet and required 12 pallbearers to take Robert to final resting place, which was interred in a vault of solid concrete.

While Robert Wadlow will likely hold the world record indefinitely at 8ft 11in doctors said that his body showed no signs of slowed growth.  Who knows how tall he could have become.

There are six other life size statues of Wadlow, one of which resides at the Guinness Museum in Niagara Falls.

Here’s a video about his life.

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Make It Count

A lot can happen in a day.  Imagine if you had 10.

Max Joseph and Casey Neistat created this video of their 10 day jaunt around the world.

If you are a fan of inspirational quotes,  you’ll like this video.
If you are a fan of traveling the world, you’ll like this video.
If you are a fan of seeing people embracing life, you’ll like this video.

Be sure to check out Max and Casey’s sites as well.  It’s always motivational for me to see people using their talents in such a cool way.

Caine’s Arcade

Is it wrong for me to be jealous of a 9 year-old?  Ha ha.  I’m kidding of course
…or am I 🙂

When was the last time you went to an arcade?  Chances are you can’t even remember.   As a child I went all the time, well whenever my parent’s would give me some money anyway.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, and the Simpsons were my favorite games, aside from ski ball of course.  Arcades now reside in the world of nostalgia for many, as the home gaming consoles and Angry Birds have taken their place for today’s generation.

Today I ran across a great short documentary called Caine’s Arcade, a story about 9-year-old Caine Monroy from L.A.  who founded his own arcade in his father’s auto parts story.   Oh, did I mention its made out of cardboard.  Directed by Nirvan Mullick, Caine’s Arcade is a touching story about the power of one young child’s imagination.  Nirvan also happened to be Caine’s first customer.

I could tell the whole story for you, but I encourage you to take 10 minutes and discover the joy of this film for yourself. If I still lived in California I’d be a frequent patron of this fine establishment, if only to be reminded of my own childhood days spent at the arcade.

Like Cain’s Arcade on Facebook and be sure to support a Scholarship Fund that has been set up in his name!

Color & Dance – OK Go “Skyscrapers”

OK Go consistently impresses me with their music videos, and their latest is no exception.  It’s not as over the top as their Rube Goldberg music video, but the simplistic play of colors and dancing is quite enjoyable.    If you are colorblind it may not be as fantastic…but the dancing is still good.

OK Go – Skyscrapers – Official Video – YouTube
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Artist Spotlight: Lois Main Templeton

The works of notable abstract artist and poet, and long time Indianapolis resident, Lois Main Templeton were unveiled recently at the Conrad Indianapolis.  I was honored to be given the opportunity to attend the event and visit Lois in her Indianapolis studio.

Organized and presented by the Modern Masters Fine Art, this collection of work is the first solo exhibition for the  storied 84 year old artist at the Conrad.  She has had solo exhibits in seven other states and her work has been exhibited in four museums, and twice showcased by the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Guests of the artist reception enjoyed live music, complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres, as well as a book signing by the artist herself.   In addition to book signings, Templeton was on hand throughout the entire event to take pictures and strike up conversations with those patrons who came to see her works.  Templeton creates vibrant combinations of contemporary art and poetry. Her specialty is abstract paintings done in oil on paper, but she also makes use of acrylics, charcoal and other mediums as well.

Check out the entire photo gallery
HERE

Following the exhibition I was offered the chance to stop by Ms. Templeton’s studio, where I had the opportunity to see the artist in her element.   I was humbled that an established artist such as Ms. Templeton would allow me into her studio space, speak with her about her works, and even let me watch as she prepared another piece of work.

Lois shares the space with another established Indiana artist, Phil O’Malley.  Together they gave me a tour of the studio and elaborated on projects they collaborated on, including work they did for the youth in the area.  They even worked on a children’s book together, which Lois wrote and illustrated herself, titled “Who Makes the Sun Rise?”

Before visiting the studio I had sent Lois a handful of questions.  My purpose was just to give her a few talking points, but what I got in return was far more than I expected.  Lois provided me with pages of hand written answers, a treasure trove of thoughts and ideas from an amazing artist.  It was as if she had invited me into her world and how she perceives it.  After reading her responses I gained a greater appreciation and even a deeper understanding of her work.  I have shared her responses to my questions below.

To say it was a privilege to spend the afternoon with Lois Main Templeton would be an understatement.

What does it mean to you to have your works on display at the Conrad?

The Conrad gives my work a voice, along with Constance Edwards Scopelitis and Walter Knabe.  The really great artists of Pop Art constantly surprise, and make the Conrad an exciting place as well as a gorgeous hotel.   The fact that three Midwestern Artists are included with the greats seems to me an extension of the hotels philosophy as well, of course, of Rhonda Long Sharp (Owner-Modern Masters of Fine Art).

My work is itself; Independent of me.  While in the studio a painting and I have a grand tussle together (from the first marks to the point where it says, “Back off, Lady”).   When it leaves the studio, it is on its own.  If in a home, it becomes part of that person/family.    In a corporate or public space, I hope it says “Hello there!”  I would rather it be somewhat bumptious than just part of the scenery, just another furnishing.

Could you describe your friendship/relationship with Rhonda Long Sharp and how that influenced your career?

I think Rhonda and I took one look at each other and said, “What have we here!”  She hears a piece and places it right where it can sing.  We are direct with each other, can speak our minds freely.  She is a very knowledgeable woman, so I am honored (and a little surprised) that she thinks so highly of my work.  Both of us are family people, a fact very important in my case.

While very much a Middle westerner,  I was more than ready to get out of Dodge.  Indianapolis has been very welcoming and now it was high time the work take off in the hands of a person who has live contacts in and beyond the USA.  Rhonda’s enthusiasm and the energy she puts into her life’s work, are mind boggling.  Plus she’s more darn fun to be with.

What inspired you to include lines of your poetry in your artwork?


Most of us are more than just one person.  We are often a colony of persons – is that how to put it?  I scribble my thoughts as they come.  Just as painters like paint, so I like language.  Faced with a big white surface, I need to mark it up – words, gestures make it my world.  The words don’t have to be mine, for goodness sake, at some point the itch to paint strikes.  Most of those writings and marks will be covered by paint; some are discernable.  Perhaps writing returns as calligraphic gesture in paint or with charcoal.  We are, all of us, body AND mind.  Often my work is a reflection of that common fact.  We are, most of us quite complicated persons – a colony.

Any new projects?

You never can tell!  For instance, lacking studio space for several months in 2011 meant that all I would so was water color…drove me nuts.  An oil painter pushes, scrapes, and digs the paint.  It is very physical.  It is definitely “interactive” – Constantly!  My watercolors include ink, graphite, spit, and gouache.  Rhonda and I decided they should be classified as “mixed media art work”.  Perhaps most importantly, they can be little things done on a dining room table.  So, in answer to your question, it depends on the cards you’re dealt – to some extent.

My new project is that at 84 – I am digging up bits of sketches, snapshots, notes that are here in the Indianapolis studio.  Pinned to a wall here I spotted a remark of Billy Names (he was a photographer of the 1960) “I don’t mind being an antique.  As long as you do something authentic you stick around.”  SO- I am powering through bits of what is to see what feels authentic and THEN see if I can run with it.  Remember what I said about no fear?  Hogwash.  I, at any rate, have fear – until I begin, at which point the paint takes over.

Being authentic is all it takes – and what it takes.  Hmmm?

Check out the entire photo gallery
HERE

Indoor clouds – Weather as Art

It’s cloudy outside, why not blog about the clouds inside?

Photoshop…as many of you know…is my tool of choice.  I therefore can be quite skeptical about the authenticity of a beautiful image, especially if said image looks completely “photoshopped”

My skepticism was in full swing when I saw photos from artist Berndnaut Smilde, depicting nimbus clouds floating in an indoor space.   Surely this had to be the work of a Photoshop master.

How wrong I was.

By controlling temperature and humidity, the Dutch artist plays the role of a sort of gallery god…and the pictures are astounding.  Check out the full article HERE to read more and to see a video of the installation.

Artist Berndnaut Smilde creates indoor clouds – The Style Blog – The Washington Post.

Clever Marketing – Spill Proof Beer

Often times you’ll find that a product and its respective commercial have nothing in common.  Just look at Dos Equis, Old Spice, Geico, etc.

I’ve never had Hahn beer before, but if its as good as their marketing department, then I’m in.  Check out this clever gem from the Australian brewer.   I’ve only seen this one so far, but I must assume the others are of the same caliber (at least I hope so)

Hahn – Spill-Proof Beer – YouTube.