Since 2014・Volume 5
Slideshow above : All artwork Media Graffiti series and 365DAZE project; ballpoint pen on printed matter. All artwork © Lennie Mace.
Sept 22—Oct 27, 2018 NOW UP
Rebecca Yanovskaya solo exhibition
Haven Gallery Northport, NY (Long Island)
The first solo exhibition of Yanovskaya's ballpoint-&-goldleaf masterpieces (Ceremonial 2 pictured, cropped) that we are aware of. Stand by for more info. More info.
Robert De Niro plays Fred Blake, a New York mobster under witness protection in France with his wife, son and daughter. Fred is a typecasting parody of De Niro's onscreen gangster persona in the same way as his character in Analyze This was. In school, Fred's son Warren (John D'Leo, pictured) is reminded by his teacher that he is expected to contribute something in English to the school newspaper ...
OFF TOPIC Points of interest in the arts, from elsewhere on the internet
The Report: Aging elbow-rubber and chronicler of the 1970s, 80s and 90s celeb social circuit Haden-Guest was fishing for a timely topic to chime in on and he found one in Outsider Art. Although he touches on some valid points, the article is provided no space for him to actually go anywhere with it. Just lots of name dropping — Henry Darger, Adolf Wolfi, Joe Coleman — enough to prove he may still know what he's talking about.
The Point: Usage of ballpoint pens to create art has its own outsider element of which Haden-Guest is either unaware or wasn't provided enough space to touch upon. But his closing statement about the "surge of faux, unfelt Outsiderism into the marketplace" hits a nail on the head. Whatever will cover the high cost of an art-star lifestyle and expensive gallery space; a Jeff Koons exhibition of ballpoint PEN tings would fit that description. B. Neufeld
Associated Press・Detroit police issue warrant for street artist Fairey artwork・June 25, 2015
The Report: Shepard Fairey, ''who created the Hope poster that came to symbolize President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign'' vandalized buildings across Detroit, and ''would be arrested if he returns to Detroit and doesn't turn himself in ''. Fame ''does not take away the fact that he is also a vandal '', a police sergeant is quoted as saying.
The Point: Indeed, this is still what it takes to be considered 'cool' in the 21st century. Personally, I 'Hope ' he's made an example of. R. Bell
Newsweek・Fox Channel Blurs Out Breasts on Picasso Painting・Lucy Westcott・May 15, 2015
The Report: Pablo Picasso's The Women of Algiers (1955) broke the record for most expensive work of art to sell at auction, but apparently had its bare nipples blurred during a news report of the sale.
The Point: Considering Picasso's cubist painting style, the only way an impressionable mind would even recognize 'nipples' is if someone told them they were nipples, and the only way they would consider nipples bad would be if someone taught them they were bad. Apparently someone at Fox must've been cut off from mother's milk too soon and still holds a grudge. B. Neufeld
BBC NEWS (UK)・Painting sale sets $300m record・Feb 7, 2015
The Report: Paul Gaugain's Nafea fas ipoipo? (1892) was privately sold for $300 million to an unidentified buyer in Qatar.
The Point: That same amount of money could... A: Buy 300 works of art for a million dollars each. B: Buy a million artworks for 300 dollars each. C: Feed the unfed of the world. D: Wipe my ass 300 million times at a buck a wipe. E: All of the above. B. Neufeld
Elizabeth Renzetti・Oct 17, 2014
The Report: The 'godfather of punk' says he'd have to ''tend bars between sets'' if he had to live off of royalties from his music alone, because 'everyone wants to listen' but 'no one wants to pay'.
The Point: The important matter of artistic value in the easy-access digital age. Visual artists face the same challenge. O. Lebron
The Report : Originating from the UK and operated by Epilepsy Action, National Doodle Day is a fundraising event to benefit ''600,000 people in the UK living with epilepsy''.
The Point : Epilepsy! Donate a doodle, buy a doodle or learn how you can get involved in other ways. O. Lebron
Daily Mail Online (UK)・As prices for Damien Hirst's works plummet, pity the credulous saps who spent fortunes on his tosh・November, 2012
The Report : Auction prices for Damien Hirst artworks are falling and some are being withdrawn unsold, circumstances cheered by the proudly biased (''Finally...!'') writer of the article (Ruth Dudley Edwards?).
The Point : At the time of Hirst's rise as darling of the art world (mid/late-1990s), suckers still speculated on art-as-trophy-investment. What's happened since then is a fine example of what happens when the now-proverbial 'wow factor ' is all you have. After the thrill is gone, someone is bound to notice: ''Uhm, it's a shark. In a tank... Isn't that what Museums of Natural History or aquariums are for ?''. It's just as much the fault of the media for reporting about such bull-shit-artists in the first place. B. Neufeld
In the wake of publicity stirred up by the 2002 opening of his Tokyo Viewseum came a wave of interest attracting new patrons with grander commissions. Mace hadn't solicited attention to the Viewseum himself but, being work commissioned as a salon interior, the patron did. Soon enough, word simply got around about the salon-with-a-view. Mace elaborated upon design details from the Viewseum to fill requests for commissions, and there happened to be plenty of design details and commissions—whole brass sections-worth of trumpets, flugelhorns, cornets and tubas hand-crafted into light fixtures, even a chandelier; Walls completely resurfaced with CD and vinyl picture-discs, affixed using artful arrangements of washers and other stainless steel hardware; walls, doors and ceilings wallpapered in a collaging of magazine pages, fabrics, stickers and, again, hardware.
Finding new things to do and new ways to do them using new tools and materials further fueled Mace's already-voracious appetite to create. Output exploded in every direction, leading him into a prolific period which continues to bear fruit. A one-man renaissance had been set into motion, but unless you were in direct contact with Mace or his circle of supporters you might never have known about much of it. It was all a publicists dream, but by that time Mace was already quietly enjoying a career of his own and feeling less-inclined to, in his own words, ''pander'' ...
''A businessman who'd seen my Mona Lisa in New York (in 1993) commissioned me to do something similar in Japan. Since the subject would be Japanese and the finished artwork would end up in Japan, I suggested they send me there to do the drawing. If I drew it in New York, it would cost them to get the artwork to Japan safely anyway,'' Mace reasoned. ''I told them they could consider the cost of the trip as partial payment and they took me up on the offer. Next thing you know, I'm in Tokyo for a month, and Kyoto, where I drew the Toji pagoda on site. I never particularly cared about Japan, and if it weren't for that commission I might never have gone, but I saw an opportunity to travel and had a good reason, so I took it. That one month was like fate. I knew I started something there and couldn't just leave it at that, so I made plans to spend more time.''
If work as an illustrator defined Mace's career in the decade prior to 1994, Japan defined it for the decade that followed, and thereafter. Appearances at high profile art expos such as NICAF in Yokohama and Tokyo's then-fledgling Design Festa during his first years there elicited art world and public interest. By 1997, Mace was holding solo exhibitions at least twice a year in Japan. Exhibitions at Isetan department store in Tokyo became part of his rounds, and provided prestige; department store exhibitions garner mass media attention and, therefore, respect for artists in Japan...
RETROSPECTACLE by E. Lee, with R. Bell posted Mar. 12, 2018
Lennie Mace・Tokyo, Japan
Decade 3 : 2004-2014 Ballpoints PLUS
Japan correspondent E. Lee wraps up his online retrospective of illustrious ballpointer Lennie Mace with this long-awaited Part 3 of 3, bringing us up to date with his career between 2004 and now—decade three and into decade four for Mace as a professional artist—during which additions of new techniques, new materials, new projects and overall maturation blossomed.
By 2004, Lennie Mace had been mastering the artistic capabilities of ballpoint pens for over two decades and working with them professionally for nearly as long, producing groundbreaking 'wow'-worthy halftone effects which show little trace of the ballpoint line-work used in their creation; his so-called 'PENtings'. Mace had always been one of the few true ballpoint purists—an artist whose body of work consists mostly, if not completely, of ballpoint pen usage—but during the early years of the 21st century his creative instincts would manifest in ways that matched, and sometimes superseded, his mastery of the pen. More below...
RETROSPECTACLE by E. Lee originally posted Dec. 17, 2016
Lennie Mace・Tokyo, Japan
Decade 2 : 1994-2004 Global & Mobile
By 1994, Lennie Mace had made a name for himself as an illustrator and had been exhibiting his ballpoint pen artwork in New York annually since 1990. Neither realizing it nor striving for it, he became the first artist to make news by using ballpoint pens to create halftone effects never imagined achievable, in fine figurative art which elevated the pens from their proletarian origins and association with doodling. Just as media attention and success was peaking in the US, even if only as 'that ballpoint pen guy', Mace suddenly packed up and moved to Japan, to the surprise of everyone and against the urging of advisors. More below...
All artwork in this article © Lennie Mace/THE LAB
・ lenniemace.com presents a ticker tape scroll of artwork, c.1998-2011
・ lenniemacemarket.com presents goods for sale.
A comprehensive book documenting Mace's artwork & art life in far greater detail than space permits here is slated for publication in time for Mace's 2020 Summer Olympic Ballpoint Summit group exhibition in Tokyo.
The Ballpointer will report the book's release and the exhibition.
Warren remembers a joke from his youth, overheard between two 'wise guys', which referenced the Russian opera Boris Godunov. He picks up his handy Bic, jots down the joke and submits it. Wouldn't you know it: that very newspaper makes it back to the very mobster who told the joke, who also happens to be the one trying to locate (and rub out) Fred ...
July 15—21, 2018 NOW UP
Birorama: Real and Irreal Landscapes solo exhibition
The Coningsby Gallery London, UK (Fitzrovia)
Italian ballpointer Alberto Repetti exhibiting some of his more identifiably landscape-related ballpoint pen abstracts (La Sabbia Intorno pictured, cropped). More info.
All but the keenest viewers may have missed the many ballpoint pen cameos on screens big and small over the years. Ballpoints are regulars in Hollywood productions, and not just as set dressing...
Godunov for Bic ?
・The Family (also Malavita) 2013・Director Luc Besson
Product placement and modern moviemaking are thick as thieves, but never has ballpoint pen placement stolen a scene as in this Martin Scorcese executive-produced, France-based mafia dramedy. It didn't hijack the film, as Fedex did with Cast Away, but the one scene in which the pens appear here approaches Wayne's World's product placement parody. The minutes-long classroom scene shows several students all using the easily recognizable 4-color Bic ballpoint. Viewers outside of France might wonder, as I did: 'Is Bic the official ballpoint pen provider to all of the country's students'? ...
May 12—June 16, 2018 NOW UP
Hong Kong Dimensions group exhibition
Blue Lotus Gallery Hong Kong
Mixed media ballpoint art by Peter Ross (pictured) in a show of work presenting ''a deeper and unique journey'' through Hong Kong ''in terms of space, time, the ultra real, the imagined, and the point where they intersect''. More info.
Picking up where he left off last July (Decade 1: 1984-1994),
E. Lee's online retrospective of ballpointer Lennie Mace continues, from slideshow presentations and notes compiled during a week-long visit to the artist's Ena Castle in Japan last January…
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The movie ends with the death of all pursuers and De Niro's (Fred's) clan fleeing to a new hideaway. No artistic use of the ballpoint pen in this film, but if it's Godunov for director Luc Besson we assume it's good enough for Bic・
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INKBLOTTER last revised June 10, 2018
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