today i will write about artists i am a fan of. these include visual, multimedia, or music artists.
most people who have spent any decent amount of time on the internet are at least familiar with some of bill wurtz’s work. maybe it’s his old vines “oh hi, thanks for checking in, i’m still a piece of garbage!”), but most likely it’s one of his two youtube mega-hits: “history of japan”, and “history of the entire world i guess”.
i’ve been watching wurtz since, probably 2015? i honestly used to be obsessed with i sent him questions on his website constantly, and had the archives of his content practically memorized. i love the combination of pure technical skill and quirky lyrics. it’s like outsider art with insider knowledge. his sense of humor is witty and dry, and there’s some true gems of wisdom in his songs as well. and don’t even get me started on those visuals! especially as his skill progresses… gah!! i really hope to see him irl someday, maybe with the “bill wurtz band”…
cecelia condit is another famous one - or, perhaps, infamous. her 1983 film, “possibly in michigan,” is pretty well-known. (“she put her poodle in the microwave!” “to eat it?”) but she’s still making films to this day! “we were hardly more than children” is one of my favorites, it’s from 2019.
i first watched “possibly in michigan” in full in 2015 and was struck by its depiction of sexuality, violence, and women. her surreal style is right up my alley, and she’s got a lot to say. it’s crazy to me that she’s (according to google) 75 now. her films exude such a youthful and insightful energy.
devi mccallion operates under many aliases, so whenever i tell someone about her it turns out they already know her projects they just didn’t know her name. in any case, she’s a canadian musician who makes very “online” music.
i’ve been hip to mccallion since my pony phase which was… god knows when. a while ago. she’s one of those people i feel like follows me around the internet. at every turn, she’s there, whether she’s making weird pony music, or making hyperpop with ada rook. she’s got an annoying voice and seems kinda unstable and i love her so much.
electronicos fantasticos!, or “nicos”, is led by ei wada. if you don’t know who that is, you’re missing out! in 2009 he started “open reel ensemble,” where reel-to-reel tape recorders are manipulated to create music. nicos was started in 2019 in a similar vein, reincarnating electronic appliances to create new instruments lke the CRTelecaster. my favorite innovation among these involves a barcode scanner.
and honestly, the music goes hard! more than 70 members from several fields have joined Nicos, and they have a wealth of content to explore. please check it out if you get a chance. making a telelele is definitely on my list of future projects!
howard finster was born in 1916 and died in 2001. he was a baptist preacher and bike mechanic. one day, when painting a bike, a drop of paint fell on his thumb and formed a human face, and the face said to him, “paint sacred art.” and paint he did.
i recently went to howard finster’s paradise gardens, and it was deeply moving. howard’s work is everywhere you turn, every inch is covered with paint, faces, bible verses. it’s really beautiful. the work is so naive and pure, it really did feel like being in a heavenly garden. summerville, georgia is a beautiful place for it. if you’re ever in north georgia, please do stop by. it’s most definitely worth it.
jon rafman is another digital artist. his work centers around the effect of technology on daily modern life. the way he romanticism the melancholy of digital landscapes like google earth and second life really draws me in every time. i found rafman through his tumblr blog 9-eyes around… 2015? i was fascinated with the “found footage” vibe of the google street view stills, and wanted to find more of his projects, and that was how i found “kool aid man in second life.”
but my favorite project of rafman’s is “dream journal 2016-2019”, which i’ve lovingly dubbed “xanax girl.” this disturbing and moving film reminds me of the “mind’s eye” series, but with a bizarre and grotesque plot. the saga of xanax girl is riveting and i urge you to watch it!
martien neddam is the creator of mouchette.org, which i have been using since i was even younger than the eponymous character, 12-year-old mouchette herself. i was kinda late to the party, seeing as how some of the features of interactive underbelly of the site were already broken, but still have enjoyed the site for a long time. i’ve also explored some of martine neddam, but the last time i checked a lot of it was broken/unusable. still, her exploration of digital identity and digital footprint is fascinating, and the dark and precocious nature of mouchette captivated me as a tweenager.
olia lialina is honestly an idol of mine. she’s one of the true originators of net art, at least browser-based net art. if you haven’t seen “my boyfriend came back from the war” have you even lived? she also coined the term ‘turing complete user’ (in a wonderful essay of the same name) which got approval from bruce sterling and cory doctorow! how cool is that? she’s living the dream.
i found her through “one terabyte of kilobyte age”, a project she worked/works on with dragan espenschied, highlighting archivied geocities pages. she has several amazing talks on youtube that are kind of comfort listens for me. i always put them on while drawing, and they’re very inspiring. i really want to meet her someday!
there’s a lot to say about ryan trecartin but for some reason i can’t find the words. you really have to watch his disjointed, sporadic films yourself. i recommend i”-be area”, or “a family finds entertainment”, if you’re looking for something shorter.
another one you really just have to watch to understand. “the centrifuge brain project” is about a fake documentary about a fake experiment using physics-defying rides to enhance human brain performance. give it a watch.
i don’t even remember how i found whistlegraph. i think someone sent me one of their tiktoks. they’re a team of three people creating memorable fusions of music, poetry, and art. i’m doing a three-day zoom workshop with them this coming month and i’m looking forward to it! i’ve already make a few whistlegraphs of my own (“saw a work of art trapped inside a frame…”) but i’d love to learn more from them.
i really enjoy their work, but i do wish they were a little less zoomer-y. also jeffrey does nfts which is lame but he can have his opinion (and get that bag) whatever
this list would not be complete without the character designer of the avant-garde anime “serial experiments lain”! he started out as a graffiti artist and his creations tend to have a nice dark and moody atmosphere. i haven’t seen too much of his other works, but it’s on my list and i will soon!
thanks for reading. if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please direct them to the guestbook or any of the outlets listed on my contact page.