Car badges

The second in a series of two


This seems like a bolt of lightning on its side, suggesting human dynamism, speed, rather than something from the heavens.  What is different is that the “lightning” pierces the containing circle unlike many other designs.


It is certainly unusual to use an African animal like a lion on a European car and in fighting mode, at that.  The other elements are the rather elegant tail and the man-like legs.


The superimposed ovals suggest mechanical harmony.  My first impression,however, remains  –  I can’t help seeing a man in a cowboy hat, something, I imagine, that would appeal to an American market.


This design is an exploitation of the diagonals of the V and the W, making the former grow out of the latter.  If diagonals are busy, the cirtcle contains this “movement”.


I’m not sure which country Seat comes from, apparently pronounced Say-Aht.  As a design, I find the upper and lower parts of the S “heavy” while there are “skid marks”, as it were across the S, though this could also suggest “downhill racing”.  The containing frame is inventive.


Certainly a brave attempt to do what no one else has done.  The wings of this stylized bird are quite mechanical, even heavy.  I’m not sure whether that hole is part of the original design.


The Renault icon was designed by Victor Vasserely, the leader of the Op Art movement.  This was in 1972.  True to his style, Vasserely created an illusion design  –  the left side seems to be overlapped by the right side which seems to be overlapped by the left side.  I’m not sure how it supports car sales, but it certainly is one of the most interesting designs.

©  Will

Les Semboules, Antibes

May, 2020


My photographs

Car badges

First in a series of two

We see them everyday.  We’ve seen them our whole life.  These tiny symbols, icons of vast industries, crafted for the maximum impact with the fewest elements, an exercise in brilliant economy.   I wish I could get to the history of the decisions for specific designs, the rationale.  In this post I respond only to the design, its elements, what is suggested.


The interlinking circles could symbolize the sections of the production line.  They could also suggest wheels.  The repetition of a form always attracts the eye.  The line of circles, rather than a square of circles with two circles on top of the others, suggests movement from left to right.


The name of the company, as with several other icons, forms part of the design.  I haven’t made up my mind whether this is better than icons that don’t do this.  The blue and white are restful colours mounted in geometric harmony.  When the viewer becomes aware of the colours they have a step-up, step-down effect?  The circles contain the horizontal and vertical lines, making the icon contained.


The chevrons, with us from the earliest prehistoric art, catch the eye with the repetition.  Mechanical harmony is suggested in these chevrons.


This car is a subsection of the Renault industry.  For me, the icon suggests a hearty smile or even a laughing face.


This is one of a number where the name of the company is central.  The design element I like is the frame  –  a round-corner, tapering square.


The “H” of the Hyundai icon suggests movement, even speed, with its “leaning” character.  After some examination, I detected a kind of Yin and Yang in the open spaces of the H, culturally relevant for the Koreans.  The oval frames support the feeling of speed.


The three symmetric spikes “explode” from a central point and are contained by the surrounding circle.  These spikes are delicate, in contrast with the heavy “arms” of a swastika design.  Three remains a magical number.

©  Will

Les Semboules, Antibes

May, 2020


My photographs



What artists have said


I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colours is black  –  Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

“Jazz”, 1952, Henri Matisse

To the artist, there is never anything ugly in nature  –  August Rodin (1840-1917)

Contemporary Aboriginal art, Australia

An artist is typically a being that is filled with so much passion, love or pain for certain lands, ideas, or images that all they can do with that overflow is bleed it out by creating  – Victoria Erickson

An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc. -Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

Argintinian artist

Art is anti-destiny  –  André Malraux  (not an artist of note, but a benefactor)

Stuart Davis

Being an artist means forever tending your own wounds and at the same time endlessly exposing them  –  Annette Messenger

Robert Delauney, ceramic

Art is a form of love, art is the ultimate gift, art heals life  –  Robert Genn

Oswaldo Guayasamin

In art, as with love, instinct is sufficient  –  Anatole France

Chagall, 1915

© Will

Les Semboules, Antibes

January, 2020



Some of these quotations come from AWAD, with permission

Others I have gathered far away and long ago, with no memory of where they come from.


Extraordinary Tales

In 1967, Luis Borges and Adolfo Casares compiled Extraordinary Tales, an international collection of strange, sometimes fantastical stories.  They are all short and I share some of the shortest.  These stories have been an influence in my own flash sagas and writers have said that they teach you about the essence of the narrative.  This little book lies at my bedside.

The Dream of Chuang Tzu

Chuang Tzu dreamt he was a butterfly and, when he awoke, did not know if he was a man who had dreamt he was a butterfly or a butterfly who was dreaming he was a man.

From Chaung Tzu (1889), by Herbert Allen Giles


Hard to Please

Kardan fell ill.  His uncle asked him:

“What would you like to eat?”

“The head of two lambs.”

“There isn’t any.”

“In that case, the two heads of a lamb.”

“There aren’t any.”

“Then I don’t want anything.”

                                                                                     Ibn Abd Rabbith, Kitabul id q el farid, III


 The Statue

The statue of the goddess in Saïs bore the following enigmatic inscription: I am all that has been, all that is, all that will be, and no mortal (up to now) has raised my veil.

                                                               From the ninth paragraph of the treatise ‘Of Isis and   Osiris’ by Plutarch

The Castle

Thus he arrived before a great castle, on whose façade were carved the words:  I belong to no one and to all, before entering you were already there, when you leave you will remain.

                                                                                                   From ‘Jacques Le Fataliste’ (1773), by Diderot

Nosce Te Ipsum

The Mahdi and his hordes were laying siege to Khartum, defended by General Gordon.  A few of the enemy passed through the lines and entered the besieged city.  Gordon received them one by one and indicated a mirror where they might see themselves.  He thought it only right that a man should know his own face before he died.

                                                                                                     Fergus Nicholson, ‘Antologia de espejos


 The Secret Redeemer

It is well known that all ogres live in Ceylon and that all their beings are contained in a single lemon.  A blind man slices the lemon and all the ogres die.

                                                                                                          From the ‘Indian Antiquary’, (1872)



A lady of quality fell so deliriously in love with a certain Mr Dodd, a Puritan preacher, that she begged her husband to allow her to use the marital bed for purposes of procreating an angel or a saint;  but, permission granted, the birth was normal.

                                                                                                         Drummond, ‘Ben Ionsiana’, (c. 1618)


Conclusion for a Fantasy

“How strange!” said the girl, advancing warily. “What a heavy door!”  As she spoke she touched it, and it suddenly banged shut.

“My God!” exclaimed the man. “I don’ think there’s a latch or bolt on the inside here.  Why, you’ve locked both of us up in here.”

“Both of us, no.  Only one of us,” said the girl, as she passed through the door and disappeared.

I.A. Ireland ‘Visitations’ (1919)


© Will

Les Semboules, Antibes

May, 2020



Jorge Luis Borges, Adolfo Casares : Extraordinary Tales (Allison and Busby. Original Spanish 1967) 

Rock ‘n Roll – Rise, Dionysus

The Greco-Roman cult of Dionysus was popular for centuries through the region of the Mediterranean Sea.  And Antibes, where I now am, was no exception.  It certainly helped that Dionysus, later called Bacchus by the Romans, was also the god of wine.

It seems that need to freak out from time to time is old, to say the least.  In our time it is rock ‘n roll that makes me think of Dionysus.  The Charleston dance of the 1920s and the Jitterbug of the 1930s, amongst others, were the forerunners.  From Dixieland jazz came the Big Band era.  Rhythm was playing an ever greater role.

I’m old.  So old that I remember Heartbreak Hotel on the hit parade.  I remember too, the shock on my parents’ faces when they first saw young people jiving.  This was madness.  If the thirties and the forties were the time of lyrics in popular music, the fifties and beyond have been a time of beat.  Music becomes more primitive.


The sixties were, as one writer put it, the Renaissance of popular music, and rock ‘n roll, in particular.  Styles proliferated  –  there was bubblegum music, music for intellectuals, there were rock operas.  For various reasons creativity was exploding and musicians were also becoming politically involved.  The youth rebellion of the sixties, unprecendented in history, had rock at its heart.

In the seventies Bohemian Rhapsody shows the malleability of rock.  At the same time rock was splintering into many directions – underground, punk rock, disco, reggae, to mention a few.  Rock had also become international.


Technology made much possible.  Whatever the culture was up to, it was recorded and archived.  If Dionysus never really left us, it is in the 20th-century that he becomes a permanent part of the landscape.  We have only to peruse record sales to see the historic nature of this phenomenon –  so-called classic music makes up 10% of sales, while the rest is 90%.  With irony, I hear Chuck Berry singing Roll over Beethoven and tell Tschaikovsky the news.

© Will

Les Semboules, Antibes

May, 2020


My soul



My drawings

Photograph – source lost


Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian writer

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) was an Argentinian writer with many talents.  It is sad indeed that he was never awarded the Nobel prize which he richly deserved.  He is one of the most influential writers of the 20th-century and I have the greatest admiration for his work.  A book like Extraordinary Tales (1967), a compilation of international tales, is a bedside book for me.  In Labyrinth there is a monologue called Deutsches Requiem which is the thoughts of a Nazi war criminal awaiting his execution, one of the profoundest pieces of writing I have ever read.  I dug up these statements on the internet and find them true to this unusual mind, the quirkiness and the depth.

Jorge Luis Borges in 1976


While we are asleep in this world, we are awake in another one.

Time looks perpetually toward innumerable futures.

Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence.


So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time. 

All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.


In my next life I will try to commit more errors. 

I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited. 

Doubt is one of the names of intelligence. 

Any life, however long and complicated it may be, actually consists of a single moment — the moment when a man knows forever more who he is.


© Will

Les Semboules, Antibes

April, 2020



The Best Jorge Luis Borges images



Wikipedia Jorge Luis Borges

Nikon Small


Argentinian painting – source lost 










South Gate, Seoul

 The Koreans are set on their patrimony and each piece of historical value, large or small, is carefully numbered and thus, treasured and conserved.  The list stretches to more than one hundred thousand, the inheritance of five millennia.  The Number One on that list is the South Gate of Seoul, a gate structure from the Joseon epoque, between 1396 and 1398, constructed with seven other Gates.

When I crossed the main city throughway to the island on which the South Gate has been since the 14th-century, it was as if the skyscrapers around it, glass-clad, of immaculate design, were guarding the South Gate like cosmic guards.

I was impressed with the actual guards that were on display probably for the sake of tourists, rather enjoying, I imagine, the endless clicking of cameras.  For me there was a massive leap of time in the costumes the guards were wearing, telling of an era in the East that the West was not aware of.

Inside the curved entrance there were painted beams, traditional art from many centuries before, magical in form and colour.

It was thus, with great shock, that on the night of the 10th February (the year was 2008), that I saw on Korean television that someone had set fire to the South Gate.   It was established later that the person was psychologically troubled and was seeking some kind of revenge.  Gigantic flames poured out of the wooden interior changing the whole aspect of the South Gate.  Hundreds of firemen rushed to the scene and massive water curves were seen against the blinding lights around the building.  The shocked crowds were not easy to control.

After some hours the fire was brought under control, but the destruction to the wooden structures in the interior and the roof was total.  From 2008 reconstruction work was carried out.  In 2013 the South Gate was reopened to the public.  For Koreans the whole incident and what has followed carries deep symbolism.

What still haunts me is the image of a man, for some seconds on the television screen, with his arms open surrendering himself to his weeping, his face radiant with tears.


© Will van der Walt.

Les Semboules, Antibes

April, 2020



Wikipedia : South Gate, Seoul ; The Eight Gates of Seoul



South Gate  – source lost

South Gate guard – my photograph

South Gate burning – Korea Times

South Gate, 10th February, 2008 – source lost



It is a year since Notre Dame de Paris burnt down.  If I had to find parallels, it would be the haunting moments, on television, of a woman weeping as she stood in the crowd watching the flames.  “This is France,” she said. “This is our France that is burning here.”  Yes, these events tell me, if I needed to be told, that we are more than flesh and blood.  (See WWT 19.4.19) 

Flamenco – cold flames

I know as much about flamenco as I’ve been told by dancers in the Western Cape.  They mention especially the influence of gypsies in the music, not merely a poetic idea, but essential in understanding where the phenomenon originated.  It is probable that flamenco had its origin in India (refer to the gestures in the dancing) and traversed with gypsies through the many influences of music in the Arabic world.  The destination was Andalusia where it even survived the expulsion of Arabs and Jews in the 1490s.  The gypsies, of course, can’t be expelled; they slip through the guitar strings and they are still there.

Carmen Amaya 1913-1963 Legendary flamenco dancer

Today flamenco is the spirit of Spain.  I’m told that they played flamenco music on the bus for the soccer team heading for the World Cup finals in South Africa in 2010.  The rest is history.

What grabs me is the relationship between the man and the woman on that dance floor  —  it is the stark equality of two profiles confronting each other, both have drunk at the flagon  of proud arrogance, both are turned inwards and allow the world to obtrude in small bits.  The sensuality in flamenco is not flirtatious;  rather, there is a seriousness:  they are aware of each other  —  move, dance, call me from distances, I will allow you into my shadow.

Manitas de Plata 1921-2014 Legendary flamenco guitarist

The music is complex, made for virtuousos.  It is almost as if it isolates the dancer, male or female.  Still, there is passion, implied rather than shown, the passion of white hot coals.  There is drama, there is angry ecstasy in those chords, those runs are a fine rippling over the skin, a suddenness, a stalking, a withholding to drive you mad.  It is the music that intoxicates with a razor sharp sobriety.


© Will

Les Semboules, Antibes

March, 2020



Discussions with dancers

My soul



Carmen Amaya  –  letempsdesdanses.e-mon

Manitas de Plata  –

Flamenco dancer –  source lost

My drawing



It is suggested that readers look up the music of Paco de Lucia and Manitas de Plata on You Tube. 


Dedicated to the dancers and their students at a Cape school.


I can’t let the opportunity go by without mentioning a story about Manitas de Plata (“The hands of platinum”).  At a concert of this world-famous gypsy flamenco guitarist, Picasso was in the first row.  Halfway through the concert, half way through his own divine madness, he rushed up on stage, grabbed the guitar from Manitas and drew on it with a (koki?) pen.  That guitar became millions worth within seconds.  The audience was astounded.  Then Manitas played. 


#  Morocco dancer


Barbara Hepworth, sculptor


Images are sometimes mirrors for us:  we see what is going on inside us.  With abstract art this process becomes more fluid and for me more exciting.  The work of Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)  as a modernist is almost all abstract and there are possibilities.  Are there “people” in these forms?  It is perhaps easier to see feelings and thoughts.  She speaks of the “tension between forms”.  The word tension opens things for us.

I saw this Hepworth at the Galerie-Maeght at Vence.  Is there a tension between the two openings in the form?  She was a lifelong friend of Henry Moore and it is said that these openings in the forms of her work may have influenced him.

Let me speculate.  Is this the heart of a mother?  Hepworth herself gave birth to triplets in 1934.

Is this 1935 work a dialogue between forms in the womb?

Thoughts and feelings ?

A work from 1957 … is it vulnerability?

Is this a mother-and-child?  It was created in 1959.

A clear thought?  Created in 1937.

I’m sure that there will be those critical of my speculations.  They probably expect an academic analysis.  Well, let them do it.  I derive meaning from a personal response and I understand that the more I see the work, there more will come up for me.  In the end art is for people and allows us to project our meanings.

© Will

Les Semboules, Antibes

April, 2020



Wikipedia Barbara Hepworth



My photograph

The rest of the images come from a book that is on my shelf ten thousand kilometres away.  I will fix this gap (“opening”?) as soon as I can.


The Plague – the story becomes real

The second post in a series of two

What is disturbing is that it is not speculation that drives this narrative;  it is the facts.  I wrote a friend in South Africa:  No, he said, there is only one confirmed case and that’s in Nigeria.  Twelves hours later he wrote again:  there is now a case in South Africa.  The next morning there were two.  Since then it has trebled.  To think what could happen if this virus goes unchecked into the townships …  I was disturbed to note a rate of 20 per day in the Côte d’Azur where I am, until, this morning, I saw an increase of 60 in the last 24 hours.

On French television we are told how to avoid the virus.  The discussion groups debate the possibility of a world-wide economic crash.  Where will the world be in a month, where South Africa, France, me?

I have never been so conscious of what’s going on in my body  –  every ache, every sneeze, fatigue, and so on.  If I had to be infected, I don’t want to think what would happen to Claudie, my partner, who is already ill.

Thus, with everybody else, I claw at anything that can comfort.  In the 1980s it was French doctors and reserachers who developed retroviral medication for AIDS sufferers.  We have not cured AIDs, but we have it under control.  This applies too, to the Great Flu of 1918 that decimated more people worldwide than had died in World War One.  Work your magic again.

© Will

Les Semboules, Antibes

March, 2020



Wikipedia:  Corona virus in France, South Africa, Provence-Alps-Côte d’Azur



My drawing 


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