Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Love Thursday: Yo to the bro

I've LT'd my sister and my half-brother, so now it's my, um, whole brother's turn. As with my sister, there are lots of things we don't have in common. He's a vegan, a long-distance runner and bicylist with like 0.1% body fat, an artist and sculptor who's also extremely handy with any and all tools. He rehabbed a 100-year-old rowhouse a few years ago, with almost no professional help (it's in South Philadelphia and will be for sale next year--in case you're in the market). He's married, but he and his wife have no plans to have children. He wears long-sleeved, plain t-shirts and Gramicci rock-climbing pants every single day (OK, substitute "jeans" for "rock-climbing pants" and we do have that in common).

When we were kids, he was forever building with Legos. I can still hear that scraping sound of him digging through a plastic bin for whichever brick he needed next. He also had a group of stuffed animals that included a walrus named Wally and a tugboat (seriously) named Tuggy.

Later he got much more creative. He now has a master's degree in fine arts and teaches at a university. You can see one of his pieces in TB's Gallery of the Weird (he won me a prize!). His art is conceptual, but not in the chocolate-smearing, performance art kind of way. I usually describe it as "science for art's sake." He keeps all kinds of statistics, tallies, and records, and then turns the data into art. For example, several years ago he kept track of little old ladies that he saw on the street (his criterion was "anyone who looks like she could be my grandma"). Then he took a map of Philadelphia, made pinpricks in all the LOL locations, and mounted the map on a lightbox, so little points of light shone through. He also included a speaker with a recording of him saying "Little Old Lady, 4th and Market... Little Old Lady, 10th and South..." This piece was on display on the side of a gallery for several months.

He does a lot of biking. He and his wife are out on their tandem most weekends. He's done a cross-country (USA) trip, a summer-long circuit around Europe, and a halfway-around-the-world journey that started in Portugal and ended in Singapore (but skipped some hot spots in the middle). On these trips, he'd routinely go 50 to 100 miles a day. He and his wife did a month-long camping/biking honeymoon (which for me would totally be grounds for divorce, but they loved it).

Another of his art pieces developed out of a bike accident. He was mountain biking and wiped out, resulting in a huge scab on his shin. He took pictures of it every day and traced the outline of the scab. Then he turned the series of drawings into the blueprint for a 3D "Scab Mountain" by layering them on top of one another. The base of the mountain, which he made out of some kind of black resin, is the scab at its largest point, and the tip is its size just before it disappeared.

See? Weird. But kinda cool. And certainly creative.

On the road again

P.S. Oh, and his wife is awesome and makes a great sister-in-law. Aside from being a biker/swimmer/yoga whiz and vegan chef, she's an illustrator and graphic designer who sends cards of her own design for every holiday and birthday. She's also sold her work to Hallmark and a lot of British clients such as Boots). She'll patiently draw cats and dogs for Jo for hours and spent a good deal of our beach vacation this summer chaperoning Jo in the pool.

They'll be here for Christmas. We can't wait.


Emily said...

How adorable!

mothergoosemouse said...

Like I said about your sis, I'm bummed that I haven't yet been able to meet your bro and his wife. I was impressed by that bike trip before, but now I'm jealous too. I could totally hang on that trip now (but I'd need a little animal-based chow now and then).

And I can attest to the coolness of his artwork. Definitely more thoughtful and thought-provoking than modern art of the chocolate-smearing ilk.

PastorMac's Ann said...

Great tribute to your bro. Sounds like you're blessed to have him in your life.

Happy Love Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Your family sounds pretty awesome, Mayberry!

Lady M said...

The idea of a Little Old Lady map makes me laugh! Max Bialystock (from the Producers) would like that.

tallulah said...

Oh. My. Gosh! Your brother and sister-in-law sound so cool and make me feel like a total schmuck.
I love people that can take everyday things like Grandma's and scabs and turn them in to art!

Izzy said...

I'm always so envious when I hear of people that have good and/or close relationships with their siblings.

You're really lucky :)

Tree said...

Your bro sounds like a really interesting person! What a lovely tribute from a perspective only a sister could have.