Tag Archives: Halloween

Spooky Halloween Diorama

Dioramas are 3D scenes created in box-like containers, and a spooky Halloween theme is perfect for this time of year. It’s a great opportunity for kids to make a miniature world filled with skeletons, ghosts, and a few imaginary characters of their own.

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Unsettle Me

Symbols of death, like tombstones and skeletons, help to create all those eerie and unsettling feelings we come to expect this time of year, and cemeteries provide the perfect inspiration. To mark the occasion, here are a few photos of artists’ graves I visited this summer in France. The phantoms and spirits were on their best behaviour during my daytime visits, and the only unsettling visuals came from the public washroom. There are times I’m SO grateful I can’t smell.

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Filed under Halloween, Misc

Paint It White

The artist Niki de Saint Phalle, was a french painter, sculptor, and film maker. Today would have been her 81st birthday. Much of her work is naive in style, and has a playful, whimsical quality. The Tarot Garden in Italy is a perfect example of this, with its large scale sculptures covered in brightly coloured mosaics. So is the Stravinsky Fountain in Paris, filled with water-spraying sculptures made by Niki and her husband Jean Tinguely.

Of course it’s all much too happy looking for Halloween, but as luck would have it, she happened to create a unique looking assemblage called Portail de La Mort providing the perfect inspiration for this unusual, quirky little Halloween project. Trust me to sniff out one of the few colourless pieces she created! Joyeuse Anniversaire Niki.

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Filed under Artists, assemblage, Halloween, Niki de Saint Phalle

Pumpkin Decorating: Beyond The Triangle Eyes

It seems once you enter the world of acrylic mediums, there’s no turning back. They’re highly addictive because they alter paint in such neat ways. They create distortions, crackling effects, and produce all kinds of textures and finishes. This time, I was lured into trying out Pouring Medium to create some wonderful drippy marbling effects on white pumpkins. It turned out to look quite cool.

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Filed under Acrylic Mediums, Halloween, painting

Pickled Bits

Nothing says Happy Halloween quite like an unsettling display of putrefied-looking body parts neatly stuffed into jars. It’s a perfect way to begin the season. So gather up your boxes of Halloween decorations so we can engage in the fine art of extreme pickling.

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The Morning After

The morning after Halloween is much anticipated by the squirrels in this hood, but the pumpkins are terrorized. Just a reminder to hang on to all those candy wrappers your kids will be generating. They can be used to make a Candy Wrapper Collage coming up this month.

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Art Inspired Halloween Costumes

Vanitas by Jana Sterback, 2007. Photo: http://www.rue89.com

A perfect costume for Halloween which requires some planning ahead and some investment. I actually saw this dress in the flesh (ha!) at the Pompidou Centre in 2009 and it was definitely a powerful image. The photo above shows the artist wearing her freshly butchered flank steak (option #1), which obviously served as inspiration to Lady Gaga and her designer. Below is the dried version (option #2) which looked fabulous. This lovely form fitting number had interesting seams and layers, and with a little organza wrap you’d be all set for a smelly evening out. In the end, option #2 isn’t quite as unsettling and disgusting as option #1. Your choice, but you will have to spring a fair bit for all that meat.

Vanitas all dried up. 2009.

Here’s another option, which I’d recommend only doing with someone rather close to you since your pas de deux will involve gnawing on a piece of pickled herring all evening. Any hairy hat will do, and pickled herring is easy to come by. Your investment will be minimal.

Skeletons Fighting Over A Pickled Herring by James Ensor. Image:www.popculture.soup.io/tag/belgia

This is Bosch’s vision of hell and would require a brave group willing to romp around semi-naked, looking punished and petrified all evening, seeking solace from the odd donation of candy. A really economical choice.

Finally, we have Goya’s offering where you can get back to basics and tap into your primitive urges. Once again, you would be semi-naked, looking rather hairy and unkept, but you’ll have your little friend to keep you company throughout the evening. Costs would obviously be minimal.

Saturn Devouring One Of His Sons by Francisco de Goya,1821. Image: http://www.museodelprado.es

Good luck, hope these options help. Feel free to send photos.

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Halloween Crackers

For all of you who can’t bear those rubbishy cracker toys and are equally unimpressed by the flimsy hats that never fit properly, I encourage you to elevate the status of the cracker! It’s been with us since Victorian times and appears to need a little help. Why not have kids make their own fabulous polymer clay minis to put inside, along with an assortment of yummy, quality candy, and some printed words for inspiration or a few laughs. These crackers won’t pop when you open them, but there’s still that satisfying feeling of destruction that comes with pulling them apart.

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Odd Little Creatures

How wonderfully disturbing to greet your guests with these odd little creatures lurking in your entrance. They were inspired by a exhibition I saw, pictured below, by Annette Messager, where she explored the idea of covered things which are half hidden and half revealed. Perfect for Halloween.

Les Piques by Annette Messager. Centre Pompidou, 2009.

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Creepy Garden

This creepy little garden was inspired by Tim Burton, whose wonderful characters and swirly landscapes have always been part of a Halloweenesque world. A terrific exhibition just wrapped up at MoMA and will be coming to the Tiff Bell Lightbox in Toronto in November, offering a selection of paintings, drawings, shortfilms and so on, spanning his career. While it won’t be on time for Halloween, it’s still a great idea to take your kids so they can enjoy his work, and the many activities that will be offered.

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