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The Bob Teepee Show, 3 am broadcast recorded to tape sometime in June 1989, WOR FM, New York City
Bob is interviewing Francis Montegue, French sculptor.
Bob Teepee: Francis, welcome to the show. Your work has taken the art world by storm. Your sculptures of carved blocks of clay are both abstract and figurative. Sometimes provocative. I know we’re still talking about the riot that happened after your last show.
So, tell us, what inspires your work?
Francis: Thank you, Bob. My inspiration comes from a combination of classical forms and the human figure. I find the simplicity and harmony of platonic forms to be fascinating, and I try to capture that in my sculptures. At the same time, I am also drawn to the beauty and complexity of the female form.
It’s all total bullshit, really.
Bob Teepee: That’s interesting. Your sculptures seem to bridge the gap between the abstract and the figurative. How do you balance those two elements in your work?
Francis: No one can do it. The way around it is with Michelangelo’s scale, of which is hard to acheive. You can avoid the whole conversation about it.
Bob Teepee: Just by size. By being bigger?
Francis: Oh yes! Bigger IS actually better.
Francis: But seriously...
Francis: ...for me, it’s all about finding the right proportions and relationships between the different forms. I start with a basic shape, such as a cube or a sphere, and then I start to carve and shape it until I find the right balance between abstraction and representation.
Bob Teepee: Seems plausible enough. And also your sculptures have a very tactile quality to them. People want to touch them for some reason. Can you tell us about your process for creating them?
Francis: Sure, I work primarily with clay, and I mostly use hand tools, or just my hands to shape and carve the clay. But, ah, I also like to use power tools like a chainsaw to add some roughness and texture to the surface. It’s a bit unorthodox, but I find that it gives the sculptures a unique quality that I can't achieve with just my hands.
Bob Teepee: That’s fascinating. The contrast between the smooth and rough surfaces in your sculptures is really striking. Can you talk about how you decide when to use the chainsaw and when to stick to more traditional carving techniques?
Francis: It really depends on the piece and the feeling I want to convey. Sometimes, I like to use the chainsaw to create a sense of movement or energy in the sculpture, while other times I prefer to use my hands to achieve a more delicate, refined look. It’s all about finding the right balance and experimenting with different techniques to see what works best.
Bob Teepee: One moment Francis, we have to pay the bills around here. Folks, now a short commercial break from our sponsors. (jingle outro)
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Bob Teepee: And we’re back! Let’s continue our conversation with Francis Montegue about his unique sculpting techniques.
Francis: Sure, before the break we were talking about how I use both traditional carving techniques and power tools to create my sculptures.
Bob Teepee: I believe you had mentioned something about a chainsaw. (audience laughter) Can you tell us more about that?
Francis: Yes, as I mentioned earlier, I like to use a chainsaw to add some roughness and texture to the surface of my sculptures. It’s a bit unorthodox, but it gives the sculptures a unique quality that I can't achieve with just my hands.
Bob Teepee: That’s really interesting. I can imagine that using a chainsaw must add a whole new level of danger to the sculpting process.
Francis: It definitely does. Safety is always a top priority, so I make sure to wear all the proper protective gear and to work in a well-ventilated area. (audience laughter)
But I find the risk to be worth it for the unique results that it gives me.
Bob Teepee: Yes, make sure you wear a sturdy pair of leather gloves when you’re running the saw, there. (audience laughter)
I was reading up on your background. Your father was an architect.
Francis: Yes, that’s right.
Bob Teepee: Does the old man’s trade ever influence your work?
Francis: Oh yes, of course. I learned much from my father, by going through his work, his sketchbooks. Looking at old TV programs that talked about his work. One of the concepts that I learned early, as a child is about “circulation”. This refers to how people move through a space and how the design of a building can guide or influence that movement.
I think the idea of circulation is definitely present around us, and it infects my work somehow. I want my sculptures to be interactive and to encourage people to move around them and experience them from different angles. The forms and shapes that I use in my sculptures are meant to guide the viewer’s eye and to create a sense of movement. I believe that a sculpture is not only a static object but also a journey through the forms, shapes and textures, so the viewer can enjoy it from different perspectives.
Bob Teepee: Francis, we’re just about out of time, but before we go, I want to remind our listeners that you have an upcoming show in SoHo featuring your clay figures of women with cat heads and Cleopatra. Can you tell us a little more about that show?
Francis: Yes, I'm really excited about this show. It features a series of sculptures that combine the female form with the grace and elegance of cats. There’s something about their ears, the hollowed conical shape. It’s just, enchanting.
Bob Teepee: Yes, they can be.
Francis: I've also included a few pieces inspired by Cleopatra, one of the most powerful and iconic women in history.
Bob Teepee: Well, and she was very cat-like too, I believe.
Francis: Yes, for sure. Definitely.
Bob Teepee: It sounds like it’s going to be a fantastic show. And for our listeners in the New York City area, the gallery is located in SoHo at “Gallery Phantasma” in that funny little alley just behind Wooster, and the nearest subway station is the N, R, or W train at Prince Street. Be sure to drop by and check out Francis’s work.
Francis: Thanks, Bob. I appreciate your support and I hope to see some of your listeners at the show.
Bob Teepee: It’s been a pleasure having you on the show, Francis. Thank you for sharing your insights and your unique approach to sculpture.
Francis: Thank you, Bob. It’s been a great honor to be here.
(The Bob Teepee Show - Outro jingle)
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The Illuminated Beauty and Terrible Loneliness of Brutalism
The brutalism architecture movement, with its illuminated beauty and terrible loneliness, is a reflection of the shifting moods of modern society. Its concrete forms, with their raw and jagged edges, seem to embody the harshness and isolation of the modern world. Yet, in their stark simplicity, these structures also possess a certain elegance and grace.
As we continue to design and build our cities and buildings, we cannot help but be influenced by the shifting moods of our society. The brutalism movement, with its emphasis on raw materials and unadorned forms, speaks to the growing sense of alienation and disconnection that so many of us feel in the modern world.
But even as we build these structures that seem to embody our fears and anxieties, we also find ourselves drawn to their illuminated beauty. The brutalism architecture movement continues to inspire architects and designers, who find in its raw forms a sense of honesty and authenticity that is often lacking in more polished, polished designs.
In the end, it is the brutalism architecture’s ability to capture the shifting moods of society that makes it such a powerful and enduring movement. Even as the world around us continues to change, these concrete structures will remain, a testament to the beauty and loneliness of the modern world.
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“Know thyself ” in a Nutshell
“Know thyself” is an ancient maxim that has been attributed to the Greek philosopher Socrates. It is often interpreted as a call to self-awareness and self-knowledge, and is considered a key principle of personal development and self-improvement.
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, and how they impact others. By gaining a deeper understanding of oneself, one can make more informed choices, set more realistic goals, and improve one’s overall well-being.
In addition to self-awareness, self-knowledge is also an important aspect of “know thyself”. This includes understanding one’s own strengths, weaknesses, values, and goals, and how they align with the broader context of one’s life. This can help in making decisions, setting priorities, and creating a sense of purpose and meaning in one’s life.
In conclusion, “know thyself” is a powerful concept that encourages self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-knowledge, which are all essential for personal growth and development. It is a reminder that understanding oneself is a crucial step in understanding the world around us and making positive changes in our lives.
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A treatise on the key to success, that is, always begin a solution with: the simplest thing that could possibly work
“The simplest thing that could possibly work” is a principle that is often associated with the Agile software development methodology, which emphasizes the importance of starting with a minimal, working solution and then iteratively adding features and functionality as needed. The idea is that by starting with the simplest solution possible, you can quickly test and validate your assumptions, and then build upon that foundation to create a more robust and feature-rich product.
This principle can also be applied to product design, particularly in the field of technology. The iPhone, for example, is a prime example of a product that was designed with the principle of “the simplest thing that could possibly work” in mind. When it was first released, the iPhone was a relatively simple device that focused on providing a great user experience through a simple and intuitive interface. Over time, Apple has added more features and functionality to the iPhone, but the core user experience has remained the same: simple and easy to use.
The key to success in any field, whether it be software development or product design, is to start with a simple solution and then iteratively build upon it. By focusing on the simplest thing that could possibly work, you can validate your assumptions, test your ideas, and create a product or solution that is both functional and easy to use.
It’s worth to mention that, “The simplest thing that could possibly work” principle can also be applied beyond technology. It can be used in problem-solving, project management, decision making and more, as the idea is to simplify complexity, and to make the process more efficient and effective.
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Seneca was Allen Ginsberg’s Greco-Roman Motif
Though Seneca was from the Roman times, he perfectly well understood then what modern man has realized.
“The mind that is anxious about future events is miserable”
“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked”
In this example, the line from Seneca speaks of the negative impact that worrying about the future can have on a person’s mind and well-being. He says this simply, without adornment. The line from Ginsberg’s “Howl” colorfully speaks of the destruction and suffering that the poet saw in the lives of those around him, particularly among the “best minds” of his generation. The juxtaposition of these two lines highlights the contrast between the Stoic philosophy of Seneca, which emphasizes self-control and acceptance of the present, and the raw, anguished tone of Ginsberg’s poem which reflects the social, political and cultural unrest of the 1950s.
In his letters and essays, Seneca wrote extensively about the nature of pain and suffering, and how to deal with them. He believed that pain and suffering are an inevitable part of life, and that the key to happiness is to learn to accept them and to find meaning in them. He argued that the Stoic philosophy of accepting and enduring pain and suffering is a way to achieve inner peace and tranquility, and that it can help us to become more resilient and better able to cope with difficult situations.
He also believed that pain and suffering can be transformed into a source of wisdom and growth, by using them as an opportunity to learn and to improve oneself. He wrote that pain and suffering can be a teacher, and that accepting and enduring them can help us to develop virtues such as courage, perseverance, and self-control.
For example, in his letter “On the Shortness of Life” he wrote: "It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it."
He emphasized the importance of making the most of our time and not wasting it on pointless activities, and how accepting the brevity of life and to make the best use of it is a way to find peace and contentment.
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“For me, life isn’t about a quest to find answers. It’s a quest to make peace with the questions. The unanswerable questions.”
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