Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stills from Music-toons Cartoons

I have already mentioned Music-toons productions, the ill-fated cartoon studio, (Archives, June 3rd, Some Doof History), stating that there were publicity photos that survived the fire. Through a stroke of good luck, I was able to retrieve a dozen or so of this priceless artifacts. I would like to share some with you.

Scene from "A Christmas Star", made in 1929.

Scene from "A Christmas Star", made in 1929.
The group of characters are Vinnie Vulture, Droops the Cat and Puppy Schultz.

Scene from "Doof's Bad Day", made in 1929. This is a dark story
where the Doof meets the scary Murderous Mike.

Scene from "Treasure Isle", again made in 1929. The Doof and Ratso Rodent
are shipwrecked on an island full of pirate treasure.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Clyde Darrow: Doof Artist of the Insane

Clyde Darrow (American, 1902 - 1981) was a fellow patient and friend of Doof visionary painter T. L. Douveres at the Arkham Asylum. He became interested in making art after observing Douveres painting in the hospital’s day room. Darrow painted hauntingly apocalyptic paintings that sometimes frightened the staff doctors. He was persuaded to give up painting when the hospital installed television sets in 1961.

Clyde Darrow, The Doof Appeared to Me and My Friend Jimmy, 1937, oil on canvas

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Artists who have flirted with the Doof

Here are some photos of famous artists who have used the image of the Doof in their work. Although most of the flirtations were brief and the work quickly forgotten.

Hans Hoffman

Alberto Giacometti

Josef Albers

Mark Rothko

Philip Guston

Frida Kahlo

Piet Mondrian

Morris Graves

Jackson Pollack

Salvador Dali

Sir Peter Blake

Friday, September 4, 2009

Strange Oddities: Selections from the Doof Museum of Culture and History

These are fresh photos from my new exhibition that opens today at Studio Quercus.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Some Doof History

The Doof's history has not always been a subject to easy research.  A lot of facts about the Doof have turned out to be fictitious. This has frustrated Doof historians and made their work most difficult. But sometimes the hard work pays off and a story about the Doof  proves to be factual as in the case before you.

The Doof has been traced back and it's origin has been mostly recognized to have begun in the 1920's at a small animation studio, Music-toons Productions. The Doof was mainly a supporting character and made it's debut in one of the studios productions, "Snow White". Snow White was an silent cartoon short produced some eight years before Walt Disney's enchanting version. The Doof  started life as Looking Gus, the magical mirror that gave the evil queen daily reports on her beauty.  Alas the studio went bankrupt in the crash of 1929 and the film was never released along with other shorts that used the Doof image. Adding to the bankruptcy was a mysterious fire that destroyed the studio and all its films. 

The image of the Doof could have died in that fire, but luckily an employee in the sales department had in his possession, publicity photos of the Doof which he gave to his daughter. This salesman, whose name has been lost with time, was a resourceful man, so losing his job at the studio was not a great setback. He was a good salesman and he knew that all he needed was a product to sell. He had a friend who was an out of work chemist who had a line of medical salves and ointments.  A partnership formed as as the story goes, it was the daughter who proposed the use of the Doof image to represent the products. The Doof products made a modest profit for the two men but the line failed eventual. The by-product from the exposure of the Doof image was that folk artists, seeing their children responding favorably to the Doof , began to use the image in their artwork. Writers, who saw the work of the folk artists, wrote stories of the Doof as if it had magical qualities, not unlike a lucky charm. But the Doof never connected with the general public and the Doof culture was regulated to the outer edge of society, fading away until the 1950's. But that is another story.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Doof Artist Profile: Jesus Diablo

One of the many leading practitioners of west coast graffiti style in the early 1980's,  Jesus Diablo, (1959-) painted controversial murals in the parking garage for the Whitney biennale. Diablo retreated from the art world for the rest of the twentieth century but remerged in the new millennium when he  became acquainted with Doof imagery and culture through a friend, artist Tim Sharman. Diablo began a  Doof graffiti project in 2004 using a street persona, Mazo and created urban friendly disposable graffiti. Diablo soon retreated from this practice and started to use the Doof in the traditional format of the retablo. His retablos has the Doof as a vision or night visitor that haunts a balding middle aged artist in his pajamas.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Doof Artist Profile: Christian Paul

Christian Paul
Conceptual Doof Photographer

Born 1977, Milwaukee WI
Lives in New York, Chicago, Berlin

Education: MFA Florida State University,
Attended: Stanford, Yale, Brown and the
Berlin Art Academy.

Christian Paul is a photographer who employs modern
image taking technology to capture images of memory.
His visions of antique toy boxes filled with treasures from
so long ago.

The actors in Paul’s dramas are from his late father’s
collection of Doof memoribllia. His father collected all forms
of the Doof. Paul found boxes of the stuff in his father’s
house after his father’s passing and decided to dedicate his artistic career the contents of those boxes.

Quote: “Memory should not be forgotten.”

His direction has changed over his career. He began as an outdoor type. He surfed, backpacked and skate and ski boarded. Artistically, he was into video and was a lead singer for a small time punk band, the Drags.

Like the great photographer, Andres Sorrono, Paul sometimes shoots his subject through liquids, enhancing the mystery of the subject.

Christian was considered at one time to be of interest and was to be invited to be included in some really big group shows, but it never materialized.

His mother and father were both in the food industries. They also were “Dead Heads”.

Paul sees the Doof as a lost American icon. A slowing fading memory in the nation’s mind.

Paul was a wrestler in high school and college. He got his masters in art while on scholarship to Florida State University.

Paul was for a short period, an underwear model.

His father told him to take up photography, for he felt his son did not possess the drafting skills needed to become a fine artist.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Doof Artist Profile: Timmy Lee

Timmy Lee was one of 12 children born to Brutus and Sarah Lee on October 17, 1925. The Family lived in the Central Valley of California. Brutus was the owner of an orchard started by his great grand father. But Brutus was never meant to cultivate the land and so took a job as a deputy sheriff for Toulume county and the family settled into the little foothill town of Sonora.

Lee grew up restless and when he finished high school, he immediately joined the Navy. When he was discharged he came back to California and landed in the lumber industry of Northern
California. Because of his training of painting the sides of the Navy ships while at sea, Lee was very agile and could climb a tree fast and surely, and the need for climbers were always a priority. After a few falls, he made his way to jobs in the local lumbermills and worked the saws until a freak runaway man-size saw blade accident left him an arm and two toes short.

After the accident, Lee discovered religion and became a member of the flock of the Church of the Reasonable Christ. Filled with the holy spirit, Lee soon opened, Carving for Christ, a wood carving studio deep in California’s northwest. It was a mixture of the losing of limbs and gaining of spirituality that gave Lee a new fervor in which to make things of art and he worked with a passion.

In time, Lee was introduced to the Doof Wood Collective who had a chapter near Lee’s home and longed admired how Lee did all his carving with just a handsaw. They invited him to join in their wood carving get-togethers and Lee accepted. Lee became exposed to the image of the Doof and had his second religious experience. He became obsessed with the image and is still carving Doofs at the ripe old age of 87.

Timmy Lee's Photo Gallery

In the late 1980’s created a series of work that closely resembled the sculptural work of H. C. Westerman. The pieces were carved from redwood posts that were the cast offs that Lee would collect in his old pick-up truck from construction sites in the area.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Doof Artist Profile: T.L. Douveres

The Doof Museum of Culture and History has examples of Doof artists in our archives, each with a rich history and artwork that is engaging as it is visually stunting. But one gem in a chest full of jewels is T. L. Douveres, Doof painter and visionary.

T. L. Douveres painting in his studio/room at Arkham Asylum.

A Humble Beginning

After spending thirty years as a file clerk in a San Francisco law firm, T.L. Douveres (1862-1942) retired and he moved with his wife, Prudence, north to the Alhambra Valley, outside of the charming little town of Martinez. Life for Douveres became very quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of the city, so he took up landscape painting to fill his time. He was drawn to the beauty of Mt. Diablo and began to paint it in earnest. Douveres painted the mountain from all locations and in all seasons not unlike the French painter, Paul Cezanne did with his paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire. Douveres began selling his paintings and eventually placed his work in a number of galleries. To his surprise, Douveres was becoming successful as an artist.

T.L. Douveres married Prudence Mcduffle on October 17, 1925. They met while Douveres worked as a file clerk for the law firm of Winkman, Blinkman and Nodd. Prudence supported Douveres when he began his art career but became alarmed and distraught when he started to create his Doof world. After Douveres died Prudence married a mortician and they moved to the midwest, settling in Iowa.

T. L. Douveres before the camping accident, painting at the foot of Mount Diablo, what was his favorite subject before the Doof inspired landscapes.

A Sudden Change

In 1932, something happened that changed Douveres forever. While on an artistic retreat in the Sierra, Douveres was struck by lightening in a freakish summer thunderstorm. Miraculously unscathed, Douveres returned to his studio where a strange thing happened. He became abnormally fascinated with a cartoon character named the Doof. The Doof was a minor star in cartoons produced by Music-toons productions. Music-toons was a small animation studio in the late 1920s that almost rivaled Disney only to mysteriously go out of business. Douveres convinced himself that the Doof was part of the natural world and he saw Doofs everywhere. Douveres still went out to Mount Diablo to paint landscapes but now his canvases became populated with Doof birds, Doof animals and Doof vegetation. Douveres immersed himself into his newly created world. Alas his financial success suffered from this irrational artistic change for the sales of his paintings ebbed and then dried up altogether. Undaunted, Douveres kept painting his Doof world despite the constant urging by his wife that their money was running out. Douveres ignored these pleas and his wife had no choice but to have him institutionalized. Douveres continued to paint Doofs while in the asylum, giving paintings to his fellow inmates and medical staff until one spring day he put down his brushes because suddenly he was convinced he was Napoleon Bonaparte. Douveres gave up painting for conquering Europe. He died in quiet exile a few months later.

Arkham Asylum, where Douveres spent his last seven years, was nestled in between Napa and Sonoma Valleys. It was considered one of the finest institutes in the state for the care that its patients received. One doctor in particular, Herman Ricardo, was instrumental in allowing Douveres to continue painting Doofs in Nature although it was thought that the activity was the basis of Douveres’s psychosis. The Doctor received many paintings from Douveres and in return provided the painter with all the supplies he required. Douveres befriended many other patients during his stay at Arkham, encouraged many to take up painting and helped organized painting parties that took place on the hospital grounds. Doof Tree, 1935, oil on hardboard

T.L. Douveres Gallery

Doof Tree, 1935, oil on harboard

Beach Doofs, 1940, oil on hardboard

Bonfire of Doofs, 1942, oil on hardboard

Dancing Winter Doofs, 1940, oil on hardboard

Migrating Doofs, 1941, oil on hardboard

Doof Gallery

a changing survey of the growing Doof Culture collection.

Doof Bling

Doof Bling

T. L. Douveres

T. L. Douveres
my portrait of the famous Doof visionary

Doof Toy

Doof Toy

Doof in a Box

Doof in a Box

Jack O'latern Doof

Jack O'latern Doof

Doof in a Marsh

Doof in a Marsh
9 x 12"

Graphite Doof

Graphite Doof
graphite on museum board, 35 x 27"

Beach Doof

Beach Doof
rocks,water and sand