I will have my studio open at GRACe in Denver's RiNo Art District this upcoming First Friday from 6-9pm. I’ll be painting throughout the evening and will have other works in progress on display. I will also have small to large works for sale.
I will have my studio open at GRACe in Denver's RiNo Art District this upcoming First Friday from 6-9pm. I’ll be painting throughout the evening and will have other works in progress on display. I will also have small to large works for sale.
Big news around here! I've officially begun a new chapter with my artwork and art business.
I recently moved on from my long (in a good way) full-time career as a software design (UX) consultant to consult part time and focus on my art, which I've been pursuing part time for years.
Before, and with that shift, I was growing out of my little studio and craving more, consistent time to work on my art and business. My studio and job were good to me but it was time for new space, in all ways. I've found some that I'm pretty happy with. I think the pup likes it too!
I'm so looking forward to having a whole lot more room to make more large paintings, work with more people, host events and workshops, and to be part of a great community of Denver artists at GRACe studios in the RiNo district.
I'll be writing all about this new chapter and everything it entails, and I also have some events planned for the coming weeks. If you'd like to be updated on any or all of that, you can sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of any page on my site angelacravenart.com (or via the link in my profile), or follow me on Instagram or Facebook.
Here's to new chapters, and to following your "must".
2015 has included some incredible experiences: time with family, making new friends, connecting with old friends, more studio time, a lot of new artwork, stimulating work, travel and a lot of change. It has been an intense year on a global, local and personal note. It has also been a memorable one and I'm grateful to have these 365 days of art and words as my own record of it. I'll write more on this tomorrow but I'm off to have one more glass of champagne and ring in the new year.
May 2016 bring you the best kind of change!
A little something from Sam Cooke to kick it off...
"Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions determine your outcome." - Sarah Robbins
“Don't simply dream, create. Don't simply create, ship. Don't simply ship, dream.” ― Ryan Lilly
“Where you stumble and fall, there you will find gold.” ― Joseph Campbell
“Ply the original path that life has laid out for you. Don't let it get shrouded with weeds” ― Constance Chuks Friday
“Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.” ― Will Smith
“You rest now. Rest for longer than you are used to resting. Make a stillness around you, a field of peace. Your best work, the best time of your life will grow out of this peace.” ― Peter Heller
“Family isn't about blood relationships, it's about the meaning behind them. I rearlier now that sharing chromosomes is not the only way to having a family, it's about the friendship behind it.” ― Sarah Dessen
"Artistically I am still a child with a whole life ahead of me to discover and create. I want something, but I won't know what it is until I succeed in doing it." - Alberto Giacometti
“The stability of the structure is directly related to the security of the foundation” ― Blake Higginbotham
"It is not so much where my motivation comes from but rather how it manages to survive." (Louise Bourgeois)
"Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. As long as you stick to good, you’ll never have real growth." Bruce Mau
"A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
"Of course, I don't go onto the studio with the idea of 'saying' something – that's ludicrous. What I do is face the blank canvas, which is terrifying." (Richard Diebenkorn)
“When you assess your own life, consider it with the eye of a gardener. Underneath the surface lies rich, fertile soil waiting to nurture the seeds you sow. Even more than you can imagine will grow there if given a chance.” ― Steve Goodier
“When the apple is ripe it will fall.” — Irish proverb
“Halloween shadows played upon the walls of the houses. In the sky the Halloween moon raced in and out of the clouds. The Halloween wind was blowing, not a blasting of wind but a right-sized swelling, falling, and gushing of wind. It was a lovely and exciting night, exactly the kind of night Halloween should be.”
― Eleanor Estes
“Every time we look at the clock, we must learn to feel a sense of urgency. We must learn to realize that “now” is happening and will very soon be gone. We must look at the digits on the display and be overcome with an urge to do something before those digits change. Before “now” slips through our fingers. We must look at the ink on the calendar and see an immediate opportunity to do something wonderful, incredible, or beautiful. It’s that simple. We need to change our thinking from “when the number changes” to “before the number changes”.” ― Dan Pearce
"I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams..." Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
"Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship." - Omar N. Bradley
“The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.” ― Dale Carnegie
“Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you - sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever.” ― Lauren Oliver
“I only share when I have no unmet needs that I'm trying to fill. I firmly believe that being vulnerable with a larger audience is only a good idea if the healing is tied to the sharing, not to the expectations I might have for the response I get.” ― Brené Brown
“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is "timing" it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” ― Fulton J. Sheen
“Coming back is the thing that enables you to see how all the dots in your life are connected, how one decision leads you another, how one twist of fate, good or bad, brings you to a door that later takes you to another door, which aided by several detours--long hallways and unforeseen stairwells--eventually puts you in the place you are now.” ― Ann Patchett
"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it."
“We must not only protect the country side and save it from destruction, we must restore what has been destroyed and salvage the beauty and charm of our cities … Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted.”
- Lyndon B. Johnson President of the United States
"Patience is never more important than when you are on the verge of losing it." - unknown
“I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before!”
― C. JoyBell C.
“I loved the city. We were anonymous, and even then I had the sense that cities were yielding; that they moved over and made room.” ― Sheridan Hay
"Work inspires inspiration. Keep working. If you succeed, keep working. If you fail, keep working. If you’re interested, keep working. If you’re bored, keep working." ~Michael Crichton
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” ~Ray Bradbury
"Risk is exactly what I'm going for." - Picasso (via the film, Mystery of Picasso)
"It's so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas." - Paul Cezanne
“Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.” ― Susan Sontag
"Abstract literally means to draw from or separate. In this sense every artist is abstract... a realistic or non-objective approach makes no difference. The result is what counts." (Richard Diebenkorn)
I've shared it before and I can't help but share it again, it's too good not to. If you haven't heard it, this quote is a small excerpt from an interview with Ira Glass. Watch this clip (and the lovely way it was visualized), watch the full video (accessible via this clip in 4 parts). Even if you've seen them all before, watch them again. It's a great reminder for any type of creative work.
“The lessons you are meant to learn are in your work. To see them, you need only look at the work clearly — without judgment, without need or fear, without wishes or hopes. Without emotional expectations. Ask your work what it needs, not what you need. Then set aside your fears and listen, the way a good parent listens to a child” ~David Bayles
“The cheapest route to a new opportunity is conversation."
― Mario L Castellanos
“What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously. A convention is a social convenience, as, for example, money ... but it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth ... In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are "coins" for real things.”
― Alan W. Watts
“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” ― Ansel Adams
“By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.” ~ Helen Hunt Jackson
“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture - it's really a stupid thing to want to do.” ― Elvis Costello
“Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.”
― John Lubbock
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats
Being an artist is not just about what happens when you are in the studio... The way you live, the people you choose to love and the way you love them, the way you vote, the words that come out of your mouth … will also become the raw material for the art you make.” - Teresita Fernández
“You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.” ― Henry David Thoreau
“Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make.” ~Bruce Lee
“This was my first real lesson in politics… If you are cast on a desert island with only a screwdriver, hatchet, and the chisel to make a boat with, why, go and make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you haven't, so with men.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
“Grace is darkness and light, peacefully co-existing, as illumination.” ― Jaeda DeWalt
We bounce between looking and talking... words are autopsies of seeing... In the best cases, these perceptual post-mortems can sharpen our understanding of what must have occurred in the moments of seeing, including clues about how and why seeing stopped... and, when they reach their limit, they provoke the viewer into more looking. - Michael Barnes
“Do not sit still; start moving now. In the beginning, you may not go in the direction you want, but as long as you are moving, you are creating alternatives and possibilities.” ― Rodolfo Costa
"Ease is the enemy of the artist. When things get too easy, you're in trouble."
- Chuck Close
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
"People don't buy what you do; people buy why you do it." - Simon Sinek
What do you think? Is this statement true for you? How about when it comes to art? Should art be immediately visually striking, profoundly felt and understood? Or, can its "why" or the story that led to its creation alone make it beautiful? Or, should it be all of those things and more? I recently saw the film MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ: The Artist Is Present which made me think about my own conflicting opinions on this subject of "why" and art.
The film, a documentary, follows performance artist Marina Abramović as she prepares for her retrospective at New York's MoMA in 2010. I remember hearing about the show when I was living in Brooklyn. I was somewhat curious but never made it to the museum to check it out. Aside from the fact that performance art had never completely grabbed me, fighting the especially large weekend museum crowds (because of all of the show's hype/cachet) seemed daunting. After seeing this film, I regret not going while I had the chance.
In the film you learn about her life, her childhood, her art career and her mission. You also learn how they all very much relate. Her main "piece" at her MoMA retrospective is the culmination of it all; she sits in a chair (every day for three months, open to close) across from museum goers who competitively line up ahead of the museum's opening to capture her gaze one at a time. If you're not familiar with her or her work, I'm sure this sounds like the world's longest staring contest and you're wondering, "yes, but why is it art?" But when you see it... Some people hold her gaze and smile, others look disapprovingly at her, and a lot of people just start sobbing. It's moving, as well-executed art usually is. It turns out, staring into Marina's eyes (and anyone's, really - try it) for an extended period of time in silence is intimate, intense and revealing.
Getting a glimpse of her creative process and her drive to elevate performance art from its "alternative" status in the film, has made the art form and her work much more intriguing for me. In one part of the film, she reads her "Artist's Life Manifesto." If the film isn't a wonderful illustration of her "why," her manifesto is (especially as she reads it in this video). I might have to take a cue from her and write my own.
So back to that question... Is it true for you? Are you more likely to be wooed by the artistic process than its result? Or do you need both to appreciate a work of art? What's your manifesto?
"August brings into sharp focus and a furious boil everything I've been listening to in the late spring and summer." - Henry Rollins
"The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life."
Today's 365 is a collaboration with my niece. She loves art and reminds me to get lost in the details (like strawberry seeds, for instance) whenever we get the chance to paint together.
“We're all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can.” ― Will Rodgers
"A drawing is simply a line going for a walk." - Paul Klee
“We see in order to move; we move in order to see.” ― William Gibson
“How quick and rushing life can sometimes seem, when at the same time it's so slow and sweet and everlasting.” ― Graham Swift
"depth and substance. the two most exquisite qualities. be it in a poem or a person.” ― Sanober Khan
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol
"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is.. unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far." - Alice Neel
“Open my heart and you will see Graved inside of it, "Italy".” ― Robert Browning
"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'" - Kurt Vonnegut
A while ago, I asked a close family friend what phrase or quote is most meaningful to him and he said, "pax dei." I wasn't familiar with the phrase, only the latin word pax (peace). According to Wikipedia, it "was a movement in the Middle Ages by the Catholic Church that applied spiritual sanctions to limit the violence of feuding." (also known as the Peace and Truce of God).
When I asked recently what those words mean to him he said, "Back in a time when the worst we could do to each other was with a bow and arrow, a sword or some hot oil, people realized there needed to be limits. Today we have no limits in the destruction of others. We need to be reminded."
To me, he embodies those words. He teaches with his actions just how valuable peace and compassion really are. People are drawn to him. The words don't make him who he is of course but they serve as a reminder to focus on what is important to him.
There's something powerful about the words to which we attach our thoughts and beliefs. If you focus on a specific set of words long enough, you can embody their meaning... or come back to what's meaningful to you. What word, quote, phrase or mantra is most meaningful to you?
"Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too,” Isabel Allende
"The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.- Mark Twain (Letter to George Bainton, 10/15/1888)” ― Mark Twain
“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” ― Mark Twain
"If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's." (Joseph Campbell)
"The act of creation is a kind of ritual. The origins of art and human existence lie hidden in this mystery of creation. Human creativity reaffirms and mystifies the power of 'life.' " (Keith Haring)
“What's right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity - intellect and resources - to do some thing about them.” ― Henry Ford II
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
― Brené Brown
“What is home? My favorite definition is "a safe place," a place where one is free from attack, a place where one experiences secure relationships and affirmation. It's a place where people share and understand each other. Its relationships are nurturing. The people in it do not need to be perfect; instead, they need to be honest, loving, supportive, recognizing a common humanity that makes all of us vulnerable.” ― Gladys Hunt
"The superfluous, a very necessary thing." Voltaire
I quickly doodled this after seeing Nick Cave's exhibition, Sojourn, at the Denver Art Museum in 2013. I must have spent half an hour studying one piece in particular (pictured below) right at the entrance to the show. It was covered in shiny white beads and buttons made of shells, all intricately sewn together. It was some of the most thoughtfully crafted work I've seen and it was completely mesmerizing.
(image via New York Public Library)
Nick Cave started his career dancing with Alvin Ailey and later moved to sculpture and performance art. He is well known for these opulent wearable sculptures he calls Soundsuits. The craft and attention to detail in all of his work is impressive to say the least, and even more impressive when you see the pieces move and shake in performances. They're so well made, they almost seem unbreakable. Beyond that, the message and meaning behind these Soundsuits he has been making for years is still very relevant and powerful:
Inspired by his fear and outrage at the Rodney King beating, Nick Cave picked up a stick and crafted a new world.
Baffled and enraged at how police treated a "larger-than-life terrifyingly buffed-out black male," Cave considered how to best respond to a world that judged him not on who he was, but on the color of his skin. Musing on this while walking in a park near his home, he picked up a twig. Intrigued by its seeming insignificance, he picked up another and yet another. Before he knew it, he had crafted a pair of pants and a jacket out of sticks. Donning his new attire, he was surprised to find that "the twigs rattled and cracked in a provocatively belligerent way." This became the first of Nick Cave's Soundsuits -- wearable art sculptures. In these suits, Cave felt protected: larger-than-life and buffed-out in his own unique coat of armor.
Perhaps the most important thing Cave learned from creating these wearable art sculptures was not how they made him feel, but how they made everyone else react. You see, when wearing a Soundsuit, the identity of the wearer is completely concealed: gender, skin color, body size and shape are all hidden beneath the suit. In crafting his Soundsuits, Cave created a world where people don't judge each other based on the color of their skin. After all, you can't judge someone based on their appearance if you can't see them. Instead, Cave forces us to let go of our expectations about what someone should be like based on their appearance. And for both parties the experience is very freeing. (via Huffington Post)
Right now, and through the fall ('15), he has what looks like another incredible show at Cranbrook Art Museum which features a Soundsuit inspired by Trayvon Martin. Its opening was ironically just three days after the horrific shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.
Nick Cave's work is the type of work I (and I think most artists) strive to make. It only comes with time, dedication to craft and close observation of life. It pulls you in with it's unique beauty and thoughtful craftsmanship but its true power is held in its meaning. It's relatable and authentic, and a record of life. This kind of work is raw and vulnerable and scary to make, which is exactly what makes it so stunning when someone achieves it.
“Family is not an important thing. It's everything. - Michael J. Fox
“Because when a teacher appreciates you, you think "I am something!" In a society where people believe girls are weak, and not capable of anything except cooking and cleaning, you think "I have a talent." When a teacher tells you that all great leaders and scientists were once children, too, you think, "Maybe we can be the great ones tomorrow." In a country where so many people consider it a waste to send girls to school, it is a teacher who helps you believe in your dreams.” ― Malala Yousafzai
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
- Charles Bukowski
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” ― Nikola Tesla
“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” ― Anaïs Nin
"The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.”
― Maya Angelou
They say there is no game without pain
Well I must gaining a lot
But I'll give it all that I've got, to bring it on
Well it seems that I've been here before
So if this means that there is more, bring it on
It's written in the good book
That we'll never be asked
To take anymore than we can
Sounds like a good plan, so bring it on
If I can't see it or feel it, I don't worry said someone
And I'll have to say I agree, bring it on
Well I know you're out there 'cause I hear you breathing
But it still don't mean nothing to me, so bring it on
It's written in the good book
That we'll never be asked
To take anymore than we can
Sounds like a good plan, to bring it on
And it's written in good book
That we'll never be ask
To take anymore then we can
Sounds like a good plan
So bring it on
Bring it on
Bring it on
It's just one more storm in the sea
Bring it on
Bring it on
Bring it on
It's just one more storm in the sea
So bring it on
“You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn't depend on blood. Nor is it exclusive of friendship. Family members can be your best friends, you know. And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family.” ― Trenton Lee Stewart
"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like."
- Lao Tzu
“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert
"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
“A tree growing out of the ground is as wonderful today as it ever was. It does not need to adopt new and startling methods.”
― Robert Henri
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” ― Anaïs Nin
“To learn to see- to accustom the eye to calmness, to patience, and to allow things to come up to it; to defer judgment, and to acquire the habit of approaching and grasping an individual case from all sides. This is the first preparatory schooling of intellectuality. One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
"People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White
I needed a reminder...
“Don’t sign on for more problems than you must. Resist the temptation to involve yourself in other people’s zones of expertise and responsibility. Monitor troublesome situations if you need to, but don’t insert yourself unless you’re running out of time and a solution is nowhere in sight. In short, stifle your inner control freak.” ― Twyla Tharp
Reasons to buy flowers for yourself or someone else:
“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.” ― Luther Burbank
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen."
- my fortune from tonight's takeout
I made this card after a hilarious experience with former roommates who are now dear friends. If I told you the story, you'd be vey confused so I'll spare you. Just know that it was one of the hardest belly laughs I've ever had and those are always good, right? Thinking about it again makes me wonder if the secret to happiness is straight forward: lots of weird inside jokes with people you love. (Sorry about the hand gesture, totally unintentional...)
A one-minute collaborative doodle with friends before a fun night out.
“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.” ― George Orwell
“You only live but once, and when you're dead you're done, so let the good times roll.” ― B.B. King
“It’s important to live life with the experience, and therefore the knowledge, of its mystery and of your own mystery. This gives life a new radiance, a new harmony, a new splendor.” ― Joseph Campbell
“The artist and the mother are vehicles, not originators. They don't create the new life, they only bear it. This is why birth is such a humbling experience. The new mom weeps in awe at the little miracle in her arms. She knows it came out of her but not from her, through her but not of her.” ― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
“Look at the rain long enough, with no thoughts in your head, and you gradually feel your body falling loose, shaking free of the world of reality. Rain has the power to hypnotize.”
― Haruki Murakami
Part Two of the Traveling Triptych...
Part One of the Traveling Triptych...
"May and June. Soft syllables, gentle names for the two best months in the garden year: cool, misty mornings gently burned away with a warming spring sun, followed by breezy afternoons and chilly nights. The discussion of philosophy is over; it's time for work to begin."
- Peter Loewer
"The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.” (Julia Child)
There is always movement, even in stillness. Things around us are constantly changing in tiny ways that we don’t notice, eventually building up to growth and death. In “Confluence,” a new film by director Noah Shulman, viewers look beyond what the human eye is capable of seeing to experience those moments in between the transformations that we perceive. Through the lens, the tiniest movements reveal entire ecosystems of complicated, interconnected life.
Director Noah Shulman, director of photography Timur Civan and architect Ion Popian shot an array of processes both natural and mechanical at incredibly close range and in a controlled environment, allowing them to isolate the micro-movements that constantly occur around us in a nearly balletic way. The film includes extreme close-ups of everything from magnetic to chemical and heat reactions, but it’s up to the viewers to extrapolate from what they can see to imagine the larger, more conventional view that they can’t. Trying to discern what it is you’re watching is part and parcel of the mental exercise.
Created with specialty macro lenses and microscopes and shot in 4K resolution, the film reveals hauntingly beautiful movement at the microscopic level and reminds viewers that everything around them is in flux, even when the surface is calm. Tiny movements that would normally be hidden compound upon each other to create the kind of change that’s noticeable to conventional human perception. The film provides a temporary level of a hyper-perception; for a few minutes, the viewer interprets life through bionic eyes.
Because of the ultra high-definition resolution, not only are Shulman, Civan and Popian able to reveal these micro-movements, but utilizing technology, viewers gain a more complete and cohesive understanding of the complexities that surround them.
The film is part of Mental Fabrications, an installation by architect Ion Popian that aims to map the mind's mental landscape through electroencephalogram (EEG). To do that, “Confluence” seeks to stimulate particular brain activities and reactions and then convert them into physical sculptures. It's art in the purest form; directly from the brain to creation.
While the desired brain activity occurs, it’s tracked with a standard EEG headset that the viewers wear. Once the data has been collected, the brain’s landscape can then be replicated with a 3D printer, making manifest a representation of a formerly hidden human process. Not only does the film reveal micro-processes in and of themselves, but it also reveals the generally unseen results of discovering those movements.
Through that process, the installation proves that not only do the micro-movements studied in “Confluence” compound upon one another to form their own, larger physical changes that humans can sense, but they also have the astonishingly powerful ability to affect change that isn’t directly related to them. They’re sculptors, these tiny movements, in more ways than average human perception could ever conceptualize.
“I think I am, therefore, I am... I think.” ― George Carlin
“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ― Helen Keller
1. What is the first creative moment you remember? 2. Was anyone there to witness or appreciate it? 3. What is the best idea you’ve ever had? 4. What made it great in your mind? 5. What is the dumbest idea? 6. What made it stupid? 7. Can you connect the dots that led you to this idea? 8. What is your creative ambition? 9. What are the obstacles to this ambition? 10. What are the vital steps to achieving this ambition? 11. How do you begin your day? 12. What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat? 13. Describe your first successful creative act. 14. Describe your second successful creative act. 15. Compare them. 16. What are your attitudes toward: money, power, praise, rivals, work, play? 17. Which artists do you admire most? 18. Why are they your role models? 19. What do you and your role models have in common? 20. Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you? 21. Who is your muse? 22. Define muse. 23. When confronted with superior intelligence or talent, how do you respond? 24. When faced with stupidity, hostility, intransigence, laziness, or indifference in others, how do you respond? 25. When faced with impending success or the threat of failure, how do you respond? 26. When you work, do you love the process or the result? 27. At what moments do you feel your reach exceeds your grasp? 28. What is your ideal creative activity? 29. What is your greatest fear? 30. What is the likelihood of either of the answers to the previous two questions happening? 31. Which of your answers would you most like to change? 32. What is your idea of mastery? 33. What is your greatest dream?”
― From 'The Creative Habit' by Twyla Tharp
What is your answer to one or all of these questions? What is your creative biography?
"Put blinders on to those things that conspire to hold you back, especially the ones in your own head."
— Meryl Streep
"Energy begets energy."
- Dolly Parton
This song has been in my head all day. While the tune has little to do with this painting, Bob Dylan is the coolest poet I never knew and his message is a good one. May you stay forever young.
“PHOSPHORESCENCE. Now there's a word to lift your hat to... to find that phosphorescence, that light within, that's the genius behind poetry.” ― Emily Dickinson
"The creative act is like writing a letter. A letter is a project; you don't sit down to write a letter unless you know what you want to say and to whom you want to say it."
- Lukas Foss
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young
"The colour blue - that is my colour - and the colour blue means you have left the drabness of day-to-day reality to be transported into - not a world of fantasy, it's not a world of fantasy - but a world of freedom where you can say what you like and what you don't like. This has been expressed forever by the colour blue, which is really sky blue."
- Louise Bourgeois
Remember this symbol (I took some liberties and swapped the colors) that took over your social media feeds in 2013? Two years ago today, the issue of marriage equality was argued in the Supreme Court...
Most United States Supreme Court cases, however significant, pass largely unnoticed when they are argued. But the opening of hearings over the legal definition of marriage was a cultural moment that brought America to its front porch. (source)
And soon after, we learned...
The Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday by a 5-4 vote.
"The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. "By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment." (source)
This symbol for marriage equality is a perfect example that images have the power to inspire people and progress in ways that words cannot. Granted, this symbol did not directly inform the Supreme Court's decision but it did start many a conversation and spread awareness around an issue that might not have been discussed as widely otherwise.
Art is a powerful tool for communication and connection. Surround yourself with images that inspire conversations, spur memories or evoke emotions. Who knows what (or who) else they might inspire.
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity."
- John Muir, Our National Parks
It's older but arguably one of the very best Radiolab episodes, all about the pace of a city. Give it a listen in your studio or during your commute, workout, lunch, workday - whenever you get an hour for inspiration tomorrow. You might find yourself getting things done more efficiently after.
There's no scientific metric for measuring a city's personality. But step out on the sidewalk, and you can see and feel it. Two physicists explain one tidy mathematical formula that they believe holds the key to what drives a city. Yet math can't explain most of the human-scale details that make urban life unique. So we head out in search of what the numbers miss, and meet a reluctant city dweller, a man who's walked 700 feet below Manhattan, and a once-thriving community that's slipping away.
“Coming back is the thing that enables you to see how all the dots in your life are connected, how one decision leads you another, how one twist of fate, good or bad, brings you to a door that later takes you to another door, which aided by several detours--long hallways and unforeseen stairwells--eventually puts you in the place you are now.”
― Ann Patchett
"If you’re alive, you can’t be bored in San Francisco. If you’re not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life."
I don't think anyone is ever writing so that you can throw it away. You're always writing it to be something. Later, you decide whether it'll ever see the light of day. But at the moment of its writing, it's always meant to be something. So, to me, there's no practicing; there's only editing and publishing or not publishing.
- Steve Martin
"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do."
- Georgia O'Keeffe
"The little things? The little moments? They aren't little.”
― Jon Kabat-Zinn
“On the other days one is hurrying through the other things one imagines one has to do to keep one’s life going. You get the garden planted. You get the roof fixed. You take the dog to the vet. You spend a day with a friend. . . . You may even enjoy doing such things. . . . But always you are hurrying through these things with a certain amount of aggravation so that you can get at the paintings again because that is the high spot—in a way it is what you do all the other things for. . . . The painting is like a thread that runs through all the reasons for all the other things that make one’s life.”
― Mason Currey, Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work
Pivot: a good reminder, a business buzzword and Ross....
"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer."
- Barbara Kingsolver
“Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery.”
- Bill Watterson
Denver was supposedly set to win the snow lottery over the weekend (15-20 inches) and we ended up with about 70 cents worth. The city's major news stations were claiming "Snowmageddon" and grocery stores were running out of milk and other important blizzard supplies. I'm not old or wise enough to say things like, "when I was a kid, we walked to the bus stop in 2 feet of snow." But...um, yes... that.
“Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint.”
"Venturing out of your comfort zone may be dangerous, yet do it anyways because our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable."
Rusty Griswold: Dad, this is not the car you ordered!
Clark: Settle down Russ. Let me handle this. Ed, uh... this is not the car I ordered. I distinctly ordered the Antartic Blue Super Sports Wagon with the C.B. and optional rally fun pack.
Ed, the car salesman: You didn't order the Metallic Pea?
Clark: Metallic Pea?
- National Lampoon's Vacation
Manhattanhenge — sometimes referred to as the Manhattan Solstice — is an event during which the setting sun is aligned with the east–west streets of the main street grid of Manhattan, New York City. This occurs twice a year, on dates evenly spaced around the summer solstice. The first Manhattanhenge occurs around May 28, while the second occurs around July 12. (via Wikipedia)
It might not quite yet be Summer (or Manhattan) Solstice, but the days are definitely getting longer, the sun feels warmer and the snow is slushier. Spring is coming... I think... I hope. Until those snowy days are fewer, however, I'm choosing to think about warm summery things.
"Every moment happens twice: inside and outside, and they are two different histories."
- Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“I am enthusiastic over humanity’s extraordinary and sometimes very timely ingenuity. If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem.”
― Buckminster Fuller
If we were simply bringing clean fresh breaths in with every inhale and getting rid of the old stale air with every exhale, that would be reason enough to pay attention to how we were breathing. But there is more. Yogis teach that through our breathing we are also distributing prana, or life force, throughout our systems.
Prana exists all around us. It is the energy that sustains all living things. The electricity that manifests as a bolt of lightning when two clouds crash into each other is the same prana involved in the electrochemical reactions within our nervous system. Prana motivates our thoughts, our feelings, our movements, our organs, everything. We absorb prana through our breath via our nostrils and lungs, through our skin via our pores, though food, and through water. Prana is distributed throughout the body along nadis, or channels, that are similar to (but are not the same as) the pathways of nerves that run through the body. Where prana is blocked, energy cannot flow and disease and imbalance set in. When prana is flowing through every cell of the body, we are vital, radiant, strong, healthy, and clear in thought, speech, and action.
Finger, Alan, and Al. Bingham. Yoga Zone Introduction to Yoga: A Beginner's Guide to Health, Fitness, and Relaxation. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2000.
"What has reasoning to do with painting."
- William Blake
"Never play a thing the same way twice."
- Louis Armstrong
“Because the most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
“What you learn from others you can use to follow. What you learn for yourself you can use to lead.”
― Richard Hamming, The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn
"Believe it or not, I can actually draw."
- Jean-Michel Basquiat
What do you see?
The Rorschach Inkblot Test is a projective psychological test consisting of 10 inkblots printed on cards (five in black and white, five in color) created in 1921 with the publication of Psychodiagnostik by Hermann Rorschach. During the 1940s and 1950s, the test was synonymous with clinical psychology. Throughout much of the 20th century, the Rorschach inkblot test was a commonly used and interpreted psychological test. In surveys in 1947 (Louttit and Browne) and 1961 (Sundberg), for instance, it was the fourth and first, respectively, most frequently used psychological test.
Despite its widespread use, it has also been the center of much controversy. It has often proven to be difficult for researchers to study the test and its results in any systematic manner, and the use of multiple kinds of scoring systems for the responses given to each inkblot has led to some confusion.
“It's a lot easier to say when something ended rather than when it began. Most of us can recognize the end from a mile away, but the beginning always slips up on us, lulling us into thinking what we're living through is yet another moment, in yet another day.”
― Steve Yarbrough
"Fall 7 times, stand up 8."
- Japanese Proverb
"What a recipe! Take metal - hard and inflexible - and make it flex and flow; use contemporary aluminum bottle caps, commercial waste, to represent a valued tradition; make a sculpture that sits like a giant canvas falling off a wall; take detritus and turn it, through the alchemy of art, into gold."
Binder, Lisa M. El Anatsui: The Last Time I Wrote to You about Africa. Long Island City, NY: Museum for African Art, 2010.
" I start a picture and I finish it. I don't think about art while I work. I try to think about life."
"Our destiny often looks like a fruit-tree in winter. Who would think from its pitiable aspect that those rigid boughs, those rough twigs could next spring again be green, bloom, and even bear fruit? Yet we hope it, we know it."
~Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Wilhelm Meister’s Travels
(translated from German by A.H. Gunlogson, from the later and enlarged edition)
"There are plenty of bumps in the road. I'm sure I'll find most of them and that's all right. I'll just keep traveling." - M. Craven
My husband and I were talking about entrepreneurship when he said this. Sure it applies to entrepreneurship and obviously his own path but I think it also applies to pretty much everyone trying to get somewhere or achieve something that isn't directly in sight. It's hard to know when you should keep going and when you should just call it a day. If I really listen to myself, not that external expectations voice, I can tell the difference between the two. If something is worth pursuing, the bumps seem more like bumps and less like walls.
On January 18th, 2013 I went to see the play War Horse in Denver. The play, which takes place during World War I, is about a boy and his horse. Going into the show, those were the only details I knew. I rarely seek out plays but love going to them when I get the chance mostly because I'm fascinated by set design and its parallels to abstraction. It's inspiring to me to see what set designers do with their limited spaces and materials, how they hint at the visual elements of a story and where they rely on the imagination of the audience. This play was amazing in that respect. The horse was a huge lifelike puppet made from cane and controlled by three puppeteers. Its movements were so fluid, ear twitching included, that I quickly lost track of the puppeteers hiding inside of it.
If you're fascinated by that kind of craftsmanship too, here are a couple of videos about the process of making the horse:
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Lao Tzu
Day two of a juice cleanse. Have you ever done one? Did you finish it? Are you a believer? Why would you do that to yourself? I kid, I kid. But, really, I'd love to hear -- what makes you a believer?
It's true what they say, the first day is the hardest. My appetite seemed to expect less and my headache subsided but something occurred to me the second day (is clearer thinking a benefit?). Isn't my liver supposed to be doing full-time detox for my body? Isn't that its number one job? With that logic, I did not go on to a third and final detox day. I decided I just needed to eat well more consistently and let my liver do its magic. So, really, it turns out I'm not cut out for a cleanse and that's how I justified throwing in the towel. What do you think? Did I miss meeting my spirit animal? Seriously though, did I miss some major benefits?
“There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now;
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
"The vertebral column is a flexuous and flexible column, formed of a series of bones called vertebrae.
The vertebrae are thirty-three in number, and are grouped under the names cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal, according to the regions they occupy; there are seven in the cervical region, twelve in the thoracic, five in the lumbar, five in the sacral, and four in the coccygeal.
This number is sometimes increased by an additional vertebra in one region, or it may be diminished in one region, the deficiency often being supplied by an additional vertebra in another. The number of cervical vertebrae is, however, very rarely increased or diminished.
The vertebrae in the upper three regions of the column remain distinct throughout life, and are known as true or movable vertebræ; those of the sacral and coccygeal regions, on the other hand, are termed false or fixed vertebrae, because they are united with one another in the adult to form two bones—five forming the upper bone or sacrum, and four the terminal bone or coccyx.
With the exception of the first and second cervical, the true or movable vertebrae present certain common characteristics which are best studied by examining one from the middle of the thoracic region.
A typical vertebra consists of two essential parts—viz., an anterior segment, the body, and a posterior part, the vertebral or neural arch; these enclose a foramen, the vertebral foramen. The vertebral arch consists of a pair of pedicles and a pair of laminæ, and supports seven processes—viz., four articular, two transverse, and one spinous.
When the vertebrae are articulated with each other the bodies form a strong pillar for the support of the head and trunk, and the vertebral foramina constitute a canal for the protection of the medulla spinalis (spinal cord), while between every pair of vertebrae are two apertures, the intervertebral foramina, one on either side, for the transmission of the spinal nerves and vessels."
- "Anatomy of the human body," by Henry Gray. 20th ed., thoroughly rev. and re-edited by Warren H. Lewis.
On August 23rd, I participated in a local art show along with 39 other artists from all genres representing the Denver indie art scene. I showed some of my larger paintings (new and recent) alongside a number of photographs and photo transfer pieces from my 365 Days of Art project.
I met and talked with a lot of interesting people, sold most of my pieces and had a blast. It was a big success all the way around. Thank you so much for those of you who came out to the show and for those who bought tickets but weren't able to make it.
The experience from beginning to end was a great one that I would gladly do again, and it turns out I'll have that chance! I found out recently that I was selected as one of the Denver RAW Artists Director's Highlights for the year which means I'll be showcasing some new paintings at the same venue on December 4th, 2013. This show also happens to be the Semi-Finals for RAWards. If I am selected as a Semi-Finalist, I have a chance to represent Denver in the National RAWards. To qualify for that, I have to receive a LOT of votes over the next week. So, I would be grateful for your help to get there. To vote for me, please go to my profile and select the "VOTE NOW" button (you'll have to create a login if you don't already have one, which is quick and helps them regulate votes) once a day starting today and through next Tuesday, October 8th. You can vote once per day for all seven days.
I'll be posting more information about the show on December 4th soon but, in the meantime, thank you so much for your vote and support!