Wonderful and highly inspirational video. Reminds us all to strive for authentic and purposful communication. So chose your words wisely. They are extremely powerful.
Via Karen Dietz
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|Suggested by Josh Duke|
"True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible... In consequence, on
Thoughtful, intentional writing on par with Kahlil Gibran's classic, The Prophet ,Wendell Berry's essay, What are Humans For? should be required reading for artists in every medium. Shoot, the book is grounds for good conversation with anyone who has ever felt creative in even the smallest way, or wished they were. Surrendering will, and seeking humility are at the heart of the matter.
This is pretty exciting stuff - pulled together by source4style's founder and CEO Benita - this week online.
Clothing made from milk protein? Gorgeous wall pieces and clothing made by cooperatives of men and women all over the globe? We're all familiar with the Heifer International project, and other forms of support for local economies and villages but these five designer/producers are focussed on textiles - and as a textile, mixed media artist, I'm so encouraged by the report and by the gorgeous stuff you can find by clicking on the links in the article. Definitely enticing!
Digital revolution has damaged creativity, says Zandra Rhodes, Zandra Rhodes, the pioneering fashion and textile designer, believes computers and the digital revolution has
“I think the computer and the digital revolution has damaged creativity and drawing in textiles. It is too easy to lift photographs. It is too easy to mirror images to create repeats...
Will hand-drawing disappear? Will it be more valued? Will these skills continue into the future or will they become a rare art form? Computers mean that there are now two languages. The one we create with our hands, and language that evolves from the computer.”
Zandra Rhodes built her reputation on colorful - sometimes rather bizarre - exotically patterned textiles. Her dramatic entrance into a gallery was matched only by the dramatic billowing fabrics draping the walls.
Now Rhodes bemoans the use of computers as design tools - as evidenced in the short quote above. And anyone who has followed textile design (or Rhodes) closely must admit the playing field is vastly different from even five years ago; not only because of the introduction of the computer into design school classrooms. Companies like the print-on-demand site www.spoonflower.com have democratized fabric design in short order. Armed with a camera or drawing pad, a free account, and a big dose of experimentation, anyone can design cool fabric in the course of an afternoon and begin constructing as soon as it arrives at week’s end - the typical turnaround time for an order.
I’ve designed artist made fabric for twenty years and spent a good portion of my career teaching others how to think about and make art cloth. So Rhode’s concerns interest me. But I think they’re unfounded.
Tools are tools. It’s the creative ability of the artist/designer that renders inconsequential the choice of tools. Artists who love to draw - forgive the pun - those who are irresistibly drawn to drawing - will always love to draw. Artists compelled to explore inside the computer screen will go there. A fair number may cross over - in a sort of strength training maneuver that marries the best of both worlds. And those of us who love textiles will fall out somewhere along the continuum. Tools are tools. It’s mastery that excites and delights. Which is very encouraging. Some things don’t change!
Dirty car artist Scott Wade creates masterpieces from the grime left on car windows.
I’m a big fan of street art - graffiti of all kinds, actually. I love seeing anything that makes me think “Oh, Wow!” It’s the scale. It’s the daring. It’s the transiency.
Scott Wade’s art form, profiled in this article by David Pierini, is an oh wow for me. Wade literally draws into the dirt on windows. Car windows for starters. But windows of all kinds. And is hoping someone with a really big building will eventually think letting him work on the dirty glass beats cleaning it.
Check out examples - and the video. And be reminded of Buddhist sand paintings - mandalas that take days to create; only to be whisked away by breath, or hand, or both. Such a gentle reminder at the beginning of the New Year of our own exquisite fragility.
How the American obsession with happiness at the expense of sadness robs us of the capacity for a full life.
"One feels as if one were ly
A great review by Maria Popova, of Eric G. Wilson’s Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy. Reviews of books can so easily slip into a one-sided opinion; dumbing down the subtleties and challenges of the subject the author intended to address. Not so with Maria's review, which encourages the broader discussion by reminding readers it’s a slippery slope from acknowledging melancholy as it exists in anyone who is connected to the reality of human existence - to inadvertently being dismissive of the scourge that is the face of unrelenting depression. TWO quite different states of mind. Add then adding into the mix a discussion of the positive rise of happiness programs, degrees and self-proclaimed gurus.
So what’s an artist to think? And/or feel?
Seems to me it always cycles back to balance. Few human beings can live in a perpetually happy state. It’s up to us to discover how to pull out of that funk - how to adopt an attitude of gratitude - as best we can. In the meantime, feelings of melancholy that arise from seeing the world as the imperfect place that it is, can and should fuel creative expression. My experience of being a single mother powered numerous works that other vulnerable people - women and men alike - related to. That’s the power of art; created from a sincere and authentic place. There’s room for the upbeat and glorious celebration of life that was Rumi, Mary Cassatt and Anna Williams. And there’s room for the difficult, painful, and challenging stuff that was Rothko, Van Gogh, and a host of others. There’s room for everything. Striking a balance is key. As is making an effort to stay in community with others. A shield against the darkness.
What if you removed one material possession—just one—from your life each day for a month? What would happen? Taking the minimalism challenge.
Courtney Seiter sums it up. Many of us have too much randomly acquired "stuff" that we could do without.
Of course this applies across the board when it comes to how we live - too many silly kitchen aids; time-saving devices that don't save time because we have to clean them and figure out where to store them! Better to boil a little water if you want to cook a hotdog. Who needs to Weinie Genie?
Since I'm an artist, my thoughts went to all the "stuff" artists acquire in the studio over time. When I cleared out my old space so I could move into a new one, it took three garage sale/giveaways to get rid of paints, fabrics, chemicals and equipment I'd accepted as "love offerings" over the years. Or bought on a whim or in a "what if" moment.
Finally dawned on me - one girl's love offering easily becomes another girl's storage issue! "What ifs" can easily turn into OMG, where did all crap come from?
Clearing and cleaning the studio - whether it's a second bedroom, a part of the garage, or a dedicated space - is time spent wisely. Opening physical space by clearing clutter has a wonderful secondary benefit - it opens up mental space, too. You feel lighter, spacious - ready for new thoughts and glory, glory! Possibly new acts of "making."
So Free Cycle a few art supplies you know in your heart of hearts you won't use any time soon. Take a bag a week to Goodwill, and while you're driving, imagine delight on the face of whoever encounters your stuff and takes it home to a studio that might be missing just what you've cast off.
BTW - good idea NOT to go into the store when you drop off your donation. It takes a few weeks to develop a new habit!
What goes to Goodwill STAYS at Goodwill. At least until next month...
Artist Masumi Hayashi: A Student’s Tribute written by Beth Dubber Masumi Hayashi was a tenured photography professor at Cleveland State University for 24 years. I was fortunate to have been a student of hers for 5 of those years, 1994-1999.
Thanks to Beth Dubber for this poignant piece on Masumi Hayashi. The artist's story - born in an American detainment camp, a successful and sensitive photographer and teacher, murdered senselessly in her apartment building hallway - traverses the depths of emotion, but it's the photographs that stop you in your tracks with their depth of feeling, and terrible beauty.
Composed of hundreds of smaller photos, Hayashi's images of relocation/detainment camps, cityscapes (Cleveland, Ohio) and other sites of power, often misused or misguided, feel sacred to me. Especially the amazing skies in many of the images. Incredible beauty in settings that are mostly desolate and representative of the worst of what human beings do to each other. Looking at them feels like praying.
We explore Julie Blackmon’s take on everyday family life, her photography filling otherwise ordinary scenes with the surreal and the extraordinary.
Julie Blackmon might not be on your radar, but you will be delighted when she is. I read this review of her work, written by Cat Yanish for theculturetrip.com and had to know more.
Blackmon blends photographs of her children and friends with doses of Photoshop and theater, to tell magical visual stories with an emphasis on the craziness, poignancy and ordinariness of daily life. Be sure to click through to Blackmon's galleries in order to fully appreciate her work.
The black and white series, Mind Games, is everything I think of when I try to describe the idea of visual poetry to someone for whom the term is new. If you looked in the encyclopedia, you'd see Blackmon's work as the illustration.
Not to say the color images aren't equally captivating. I thought immediately of Tim Jenison's pursuit of Vermeer in the film Tim's Vermeer. Blackmon looks to be a student of those masters - although her reverence is definitely tongue in cheek!
Couldn't the perfect party game be inspired by her work? Write the Caption! Anyone want to play?
These days, it's possible to spend as much money on a fancy camera as you would on a brand new car.
LOVE, LOVE these pictures! Proof again that creativity lies in the head, heart and hands of the artist/maker and tools are tools. So delightful that even "bad" tools can make great art and entertainment. Made me want to resurrect the pin-hole camera - a favorite of mine from the '80s when my young daughter built a camera in a class and shared her pictures with me. Poetic and poignant.
You'll enjoy these!
For decades, I've been only dimly aware of Rupert Sheldrake as a renegade British biologist who argues that telepathy and other paranormal phenomena (sometimes lumped under ...
Ok. you might ask - what's this got to do with making art? A friend sent a link to a Robert Genn post - one of a weekly series the eminent artist offers as part of his outreach to other artists - http://clicks.robertgenn.com/html/archive.php?clickback=morphic.htm&id=73 in which Genn suggests morphic fields as evidence supporting Jung's collective unconscious theory. Genn goes on to propose this might be what's happening when artists create works that are eerily similar, despite distance and no knowledge of each other.
Read more about morphic fields - as it's one of those concepts you pass by until you're ready to embrace it. That's an experience we can probably all appreciate. Being ready for the teacher and then the teacher comes. Or in this case being ready for the concept, and it surfaces again.
From another perspective, these two articles are fascinating because they reference that old familiar issue - artists who think they've just invented themselves or what they make - without awareness of all the shoulders upon which they stand. It's a certain unfortunate vanity that isn't magnanimous (and curious enough) to honor the source of lessons and wisdom over time! That's why I, for one, am always eager to give credit where credit it due. It's just right behavior.
But on the other hand, there's another half to the equation. Every artist has the inalienable right to "discover" process, technique, and content for his or herself - and to believe in his or her ability to craft something distinctively personal and unique.
Such is the paradox and balancing act: Honoring when honor is due, while harnessing enough self esteem to believe in the power of the evolving self to seek and find the unique, the new and the never been done before.
A worthy challenge.
What do the ’80s post-punk band Liquid Liquid, faded family photographs, and Art Spiegelman have in common? All contributed to the creation of Richard McGuire’s latest graphic novel, Here.
Thanks to hyperallergic.com and Megan Liberty for bringing this to our attention. Richard McGuire's graphic novel is ordered, paid for, and on the way from Amazon.com. I can hardly wait to get it after reading Liberty's article/ review.
One more example of how creative digital can be - when used a tool for art and storytelling! The book's theme - events that might have happened in McGuire's new apartment living room in the years that preceded his acquisition of the space - is made exponentially richer by his use of technology to layer image on image and color over color. I want to do this!
And while I'm not a convert to digital reading (yet) I find it alluring to think about the digital version of this book - available for iPad and Kindle - because sound effects and movement have been incorporated.
How intriguing is that?
In a world in which everyone is trying to plug in, we just want to break out.
Thanks to Stephanie Sharlow and elite daily.com for an article that's hard to read, full of truth, and a challenge to creatives of all ages. At the center of the article is the call to rebuke a daily diet rich on social media bites, but lacking in real life sustenance.
It's ironic to be writing, and therefore participating in, the very thing Sharlow criticizes. The conflict that irony produces is not lost on me. It's IN me. As an artist, the best thing I can do is GO TO THE STUDIO and MAKE ART. Having said that, the teacher in me knows how many people long for connection. A connection that social media provides, right or wrong.
So, as with all things, the another version of the discussion could focus on how we cope with the world THAT IS - since it's unlikely we can change it - in an effort to stay grounded and connected authentically - while using the tools innovation has presented us - without allowing them to rule.
I'm looking for balance all the time - hours in the studio, hours to reflect and write - and an hour a day to reach out to others who are thinking and caring deeply about their work, their time and their creative contribution to the rest of us.
A struggle worth embracing.
Magda Sayeg, aka the Mother of Yarn Bombing, has completely knitted and crocheted over an entire bus in Mexico City. Magda is quite famous in the yarn bombing community and has worked on commissions from companies around the world, including yarn bombs for Absolut Vodka, Mini Cooper, and Smart Car.
Thanks, Kuniko for this fantastic image. I want one. And think about how many productive hours it would be to set a group of young artists to work on a fleet of city busses? Imaginative and so unique!
Some researchers believe that by writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of better health.
Love this! Back story? I lead an online workshop called Artist Strength Training and it's an immersion in the challenges of being an artist; whether you are a professional or someone who has chosen art as a serious and committed avocation.
Tara Parker-Pope quotes a number of experts who focus on expressive writing as a means of actually REWRITING personal history. Through that writing, perceptions of self versus world can actually change.
I'm not familiar with the term expressive writing, but reading the article was like finding a long lost relative. I knew immediately the power researchers describe because I witness it myself all the time.
When we take time - and yes, that is what is required - to settle, think and KNOW ourselves, we begin to see that what happened wasn't always about us. That might sound like a paradox, because often it is. But it does help artists to make more significant, more deeply connected art.
Read the article to understand this phenomenon better. Thanks to the NYTimes.com and researchers Tim Wilson and James Pennebacker, whose studies are featured in the article.
Before there were self-help books and the legions of advice columnists, before Dr. Phil, there was art.
"But here I visit them as I do old friends. They continually nurture, comfort and delight me. They connect me to millions of my fellow humans long dead or still alive."
Lennie Bennett's review of pieces from St. Petersburg"s Museum of Fine Art effectively articulates why art lovers visit art museums. Whether it's the pieces we first saw as children - and grew to know and love through frequent visits (as is true in her article) - or pieces loved from afar and finally viewed in person during a visit to a specific museum, art is about stories and their impact on us.
Haven't thought about it that way? Think again - and think specifically about five pieces of art you yourself love. I bet you'll find it's the connection to the story of the work that makes it resonate for you. Maybe it's the actual story you project onto the piece, maybe it's a story about the artist/artwork connection. Maybe it's a story about how you came to love what you love.. No matter the angle; it was great to be reminded that art carries limitless stories that enrich our appreciation of the who, what, why, how and when of art works that touch our lives.
While other publications sing the praises of the rich and powerful, we like to look at those who are largely overlooked in order to understand the real state of the art world and its discontents.
I am reminded of the adage Be in the world but not of the world. And of my belief that we OR IS IT THEY? (politicians, popular culture, the corporate world, art world “experts”, mavens and others of that ilk) are currently on a slippery slope not unlike the one into addiction. Hitting bottom has to happen before the long climb out of the muck - back to sanity and self-respect - begins. If it ever does.
If you make time to read this list, you’ll easily see that it’s the disenfranchised poor of the art world - interns, purists, artists who refuse to sell out, (performance) artists whose art can’t obviously be manipulated to generate dollars, serious art lovers of acedemia (who also perhaps haven’t chosen to sell out) migrant artisans and workers, and others who are brave enough or powerless enough to rebuke GREED - who continue to remain powerless. It’s always about the poor.
That’s a big community. Will the slow but unstoppable shift that’s scaring the shit out of other old guard entities (whatever that means wherever you are in the world) - include the arts?
Pray for it, if it fits your belief system. But take action however you can, and visualize the change you/we can be. One small act multiplied by all of us who are disgusted and dismayed by this list has the potential to change it.
Though street art is still a boys’ club, women like ELLE, Swoon and Vexta are trying to change the status quo
An expansion of the street art discussion for people who admire outdoor work and want to understand motivation better. The observations in this article by Roland Henry encourage appreciation at a new level - at least that’s what happened for me. And swelled up a big bunch of respect for women painting on the street and their obstacles to making. Names you didn’t know. But now you will.
Also important distinction referenced in the article between tagging (mainly about interior (personal or group confrontation) versus street art - which may be a form of exterior confrontation (out there in the city i.e. private property) but isn’t always. Sometimes it’s a gift to the surroundings. That’s the girl take on it.
These female perspectives offer one more example of art world marginalization. Not even street artists escape the tiresome trivialization of the man art hierarchy.
Sigh. Keep painting, women of the world. On anything you can reach or get your hands on.
Business partners open a pop-up space for showcasing their own, others' art
Glad to see the reformation in Detroit continuing, as witnessed in this article on the Detroit Fiberworks Gallery, founded by Mandisa Smith and Najma Wilson. As a textile person I was especially delighted to read that the gallery's specialty is textile and fiber art work.
There are so many good ideas here! The fact that Detroit makes retail spaces available as pop up spaces for three months - long enough to get as feel for whether the business will be a success or not - without the burden of large investment.
I know in San Antonio, where I live, vacant spaces continue to haunt parts of downtown. Now and then artists are invited to occupy a space - primarily during city sponsored arts events. But wouldn't any city benefit from developing and on-going longterm program for filling space temporarily with art? Would protect vulnerable empty buildings, provide space for projects artists might not otherwise do, and draw an audience to parts of town with which people may not be familiar. Seems like a win-win no matter where you live.
Do you feel like you wander aimlessly through life, or is there a reason you're here? Psychologists say people with a sense of purpose may stress out less. Or they may lead healthier lives.
This piece immediately resonated with the teacher/guide in me. Working with artists - teaching new techniques and sharing ideas - puts me in touch every day with people who love what they do and are constantly stretching and growing. Even when the art making is a second career - or maybe ESPECIALLY when the art making is a second career - the commitment and excitement are tangible. Whether it's putting pen to paper or dropping lengths of fabric into a bucket of dye, the connection to the creative self is there. It's fun, it often feels magical and it's purposeful! hadn't actively thought of creating as a stress buster, but reading this article reminded me that it is.
I know in the Artist Strength Training workshops I teach there is always a discussion about the commitment we feel, the energy that is engaged by hands-on processes, and the value of writing in tandem with creating. All of it purposeful. Worth giving attention to as a way of staying mentally connected and young at heart and in spirit!