Beck and the Realization that Happy is Hard

I was delighted to read the Art of Sound story in the New York Times Magazine recently and even happier to discover Beck (Hansen) was one of the three iconic musicians profiled, along with Lamar Kendrick and Tom Waits.

Beck via NYTimes magazine on Art Is Everywhere

Beck via NYTimes Magazine

Wyatt Mason, the article’s author, describes music as the art form that “unlike a painting cannot reach out and turn your head as you walk by” or like other art forms that mandate engagement, “songs live in the air.” The more creative of my two sons perceptively thinks that music is the truest art form in that is “speaks” to everyone. Personally, I think it is up to the listener to hear music — by being “open” to hearing.

Beck is one of my favorite musicians. Not only do I love his music, his creative genius but his ability to create his own music independent of what might be a best seller. Morning Phase, his most recent creation, did just that though without the intention. It received the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2014 — and well deserved. Interestingly, I never heard any of the songs from this collection played on the main-stream radio; I confess, to which I hardly listen to anymore but was listening to in 2014. It occurred to me that the songs must have gained their popularity through online-radio-streaming. This is exactly where we (my husband and I) heard it first — streaming on the Morning Phase Radio through Apple iTunes Radio that is now our go-to radio station. Listening to any of these songs, particularly Blue Moon and Morning, can help center my distracted thoughts and calm stress anytime during the day.

Beck_Morning_Phase on Art Is Everywhere

I’m naturally curious about what next phase of songs Beck will put out. Imagine my surprise to discover while reading the article that he must believe in a Big Magic moment too. He tells the story of how he had met Pharrell (Williams) in the studio and having “this strong feeling that he wanted to work with him.” In fact, he had a strong feeling about writing happy songs for “a number of years.” It never happened and Pharrell told Beck that he had just produced this song called, “Happy.” Well, we all know how that took off….!

Beck doesn’t beat himself up but I think he believes that the timing just wasn’t right for him for this type of song and besides, he concedes Pharrell, “kinda nailed this one.” We all have to agree but the idea was out there for someone’s taking. The more it is thought of, I think the more it comes to life — at least for someone. Side note: This is the exact sequence that did happen to me and coincidentally right after describing Big Magic in a previous post.  My big idea that I had been working on for months was ready to unveil but I couldn’tl until my website was completed. Technology was my hold up and the unveiling of my idea was hijacked by another company. Although, the design styles and quality of the materials are not the same, the concept was. Although frustrating, you just keep going and enjoy that you’ve created something — and that you had a good idea.

Beck’s next phase of songs are as Mason describes, “huge, dance floor-ready” with a “whole new sonic range” and “nothing like Beck has done before.” I’ve heard this song on my Beck radio but since other artists play on it, I wasn’t aware it was Beck.

Even though Beck describes happy songs similar to comedy in that they are the “easiest to fail at” because they are the “hardest to write,” I bet he’s done a pretty good job and I’m eager to hear more of the outcome.

When asked when is he his happiest, Beck answered, as a true artist would,
“My most alive place is in the moment of, maybe not fulfillment, but where there’s the possibility.”

I can relate. For me, it’s the enthusiasm, the excitement and the inspiration of the discovery of something that is and could be really good. The doing to make it a reality is the hard part. There is satisfaction in the completion but it is not the same as the initial possibility and its exuberance.

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The Fearless Girl

Last Wednesday a week ago, many women abandoned their work and marched to recognize “A Day Without A Woman” but I found the Fearless Girl statue facing down the well-known “raging” Wall Street Bull sculpture much more remarkable and leaving a powerful impression. Ironically the US-based political march was mostly by angry women striking about a life without women with participants shouting visceral chants against the newest administration. I’m for free speech but I think the Fearless Girl, precisely as little as she is, has more impact.

The march was strategically planned on International Women’s Day, which has a long history (since 1911) of celebrating the positive accomplishments of women. It brings recognition to the importance of women, since the oppression of women was first recognized in 1908 — with a march. The recent women’s strike was not mentioned on the IWD’s website.

This is not to say marches don’t send a message. They can and have affected change. I’m in Northern VA, where schools had to close because female teachers didn’t come to work. The Fearless Girl statue, however, gives an enduring visual perspective through the personal expression of art that a fleeting march just can’t. The statue brought all sorts of questions to mind because I didn’t know its backstory but wondered who the artist was and how the statue was able to be placed in the current location. Will it stay?

Here’s what I learned. The statue was commissioned and officially put in location by State Street Global Advisors and they tweeted this statementWe wanted to highlight the power of women in leadership. So we made room in the one place business couldn’t ignore.

Fearless Girl video by State Street Advisors via Youtube on AIE

Fearless Girl video by State Street Advisors via YouTube. Click this link to play.

This is a wonderful video! I love the demonstration of the creative process and the message. Hey, but where’s the credit to the artist, who is female, by the way?!!

Here’s how they installed — the day before the women’s march and IWD.

And the message at this little super power of a statue’s feet says much.

Fearless girl statue base via CNN on AIE

The Fearless Girl faces the Charging Wall Street Bull.

Fearless girl statue back via wbur_AIE

via WBUR

Fearless girl statue front via CNN_AIE

She really does look like a super heroine, with her stance and standing strong in the wind, visible by the flow of her dress and movement of her hair. I hope she stays in place. Based on some of the comments on Twitter, sadly, it looks like this is a temporary installation. There is a petition going around to keep her in place, however.

Also, at the time of this writing, I could not find a single mention of credit (via State Street or the McCannNY Ad Agency, who is running their campaign) given to the female artist who created the statue and who is shown in the video. I asked about it on YouTube because overlooking this significant information seems contrary to the message the statue is being used by the ad agency to give — females make a difference (girl power and #shemakesadifference) — and should be noted as such, as should all artists.

Finally, I found the artist mentioned on KTLA 5 news, where I found the picture below. Her name is Kristen Visbal, and here’s her wonderful work!

My favorite picture thus far is how this beautifully rendered statue has already inspired little girls to be the super heros they are.

Abrianna Tabor Almonte wears her red-and-pink superhero outfit to go see the “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street. (Credit: Amanda Marmor via CNN)_AIE

Abrianna Tabor Almonte wears her red-and-pink superhero outfit to go see the “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street. (Credit: Amanda Marmor via CNN)

Post this publication, here’s a reader’s comment in the Washington Post remarking on the same, non-mention of the artist.

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Artistic Coincidence

Imagine my surprise to read of another artist with my name and in the same week about a Spencer mural. This is some interesting artistic coincidence.

The first alert had the headline, “Ashley Jackson’s paintings feature as murals at Wakefiled Kirkgate Station underpass,” via the Huddersfield Daily Examiner. This is my full maiden name but happens to be profiling a male British artist who paints lovely murals and watercolors at age 75.

Ashley Jackson artist in Yorkshire mural 1 on Art Is Everywhere

via Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Photos by Ashley Jackson

Ashley Jackson artist in Yorkshire mural 2 on Art Is Everywhere

Coincidentally, my parents named all their children, including all the sisters, with English male first names, which helped to make our pretty common last name, Jackson, stand out.

You can see more of his wonderful work on his website. You can see more of my work on mine. 😉

Farmhouse on Blackshaw Moore by Ashley Spencer of Yorkshire on Art Is Everywhere end of day when all is calm by Ashley Jackson of Yorkshire on Art Is Everywhere

The second coincidence regards the Spencer mural in Spencer, Iowa. It’s actually a proposed mural by Myles and Amanda Musser, owners of Salon M Spa.

Spencer Iowa Salon M proposed mural on Art Is Everywhere

Spencer Iowa Salon M proposed mural via The Daily Reporter

They were smart to go to the City Council prior to painting. There have been plenty of businesses in other cities where murals have unfortunately been painted over because they violated the city’s sign ordinance. As lovely as this murals is, it sadly has been put on the back burner because it’s an issue that Spencer town officials are reluctant to address. Here’s a synopsis with some of the quotes from the Daily Reporter:

Currently, city ordinances limit a building’s commercial signage to 20 percent of any exterior wall. In addition, if murals were deemed to be art, they would not be allowed to be used for advertising, as they would generally exceed the allotted 20 percent…

In order for the mural to be “less distracting to traffic and so forth,” Don Hemphill, the City Attorney drafted an amendment to the ordinance which states:

…defined murals as signs and specified several regulations the murals would be subject to, such as limiting text in the mural to 3 percent of the composition and a limit of one mural per wall face. The draft allows murals an exemption from a portion of the sign ordinance that requires a licensed sign erector to install the signage. In addition, murals would be limited to walls that do not face a street…

The Salon’s mural would face the alley.

Hemphill went on to clarify, “We have a provision in our ordinance that prohibits obscene signs, to the extent that those can be defined. That would still apply here…” and “…We don’t regulate content. So this could result in a mural that you would think is just horrible but, as long as it’s not obscene or somehow distracts from the traffic, it’s going to be permitted,”

The City Engineer Jim Thiesse mentioned:

Everybody here is like-minded and the people that are proposing the mural are like-minded,” Thiesse said, referring to the original request by the Mussers. “They’re going to put something out there that’s decent and that’s what you’re addressing and trying to allow.”

However Thiesse went on to say that changing the ordinance would also make it more difficult to remove a mural the public found objectionable. Rather, Thiesse noted that variances for murals could be approved on a case by case basis.

“There’s a lid on the box and you’re going to take the lid off the box. I would just caution you that it seems good when everybody’s thinking alike. The problem with the public is that there can be people out there that think differently and it can be not good.”

The Council also seemed to question, what is advertising, really? There was some interesting philosophical discussion regarding this but:

Ultimately, the commission voted to not forward a recommendation of the current draft on to the Spencer City Council. Hemphill indicated that the commission could potentially conduct a public hearing regarding murals at a later time, as could the City Council.

Hopefully the mural will eventually get painted. It says a lot without words!

And here’s an added way to bind these together with all the different uses of the mighty binder clip. This video will make you think differently of this magical tool.

Binder Clips video_AIE

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Healing through Art

Just a reminder that the health and healing can come from the power of art.

healing-painting on Art Is Everywhere

via US News

You can read the informative article The Power of Creative Arts in Health and Healing by Ronit Fallek by clicking the link.

Keeping this in mind, The blog will be taking a sick-leave break until October while I recover from a bad sinus / ear infection / chest cold and hope it doesn’t progress into bronchitis, the usual next phase for me. I haven’t been ill in long time but I’ve already bounced back faster this time by not taking antibiotics while building up my own immunity.

All this is occurring during a planned marketing campaign that has been delayed but now now set back on track, so scoot over to Slipcovers for Your Walls for when it posts.

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Summer Schedule

Hello readers, with the summer schedule and needing to put forth extra energy and effort to my main CasartCoverings.com website and migrating the Slipcovers for your walls blog to an updated version, the posts on this blog will move to a temporary and limited, twice-a-month schedule.

Thank you for your continued interest as art oriented observations will still be posted, just not as frequently, like this little video-ditty about the singer Miquel’s creative process, on NPR’s Noteworthy series.

NPR_creative process film_AIE

I’ve listened to but not all that familiar with Miguel’s music and only like some of it, particularly the rhythm and blues, funk and more psychedelic-soul / lounge oriented pieces, but his thought process regarding creating music and how the artist is affected is surprisingly very thoughtful. I enjoyed learning more about him and his music as he discusses the inspiration for his latest music and video. He states the importance of being in the moment to absorb those bits of creative sparks that are so quickly fleeting. He recalls his time on the beach in letting those moments flow. I’ll be thinking of this as vacation to the beach is quickly coming and I don’t want to bring too much work this time. Click the image below to view.

Personally, I like his custom wallpaper 😉

Miguel wallpaper_AIE

Go ahead and subscribe (sidebar link) to this blog so you won’t miss out and won’t have to remember to check back. This way the posts will come to your inbox.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the summer and finding art is everywhere.

A Thermodynamic Mural View

This post is just in time for some summer July heat, especially just after celebrating a Fourth of July holiday weekend.

As featured on Creativity, Lennox, the air conditioning/ cooling and heating company, has partnered with 5 street artists for them to paint L.A. murals using thermodynamic / thermochromic paint. The paint changes with the temperature while the murals morph into new images. There are basically 2 murals in one. Pretty spectacular!

This octopus mural named Adaptive by Bacon changes just like in real life.

It makes me think of one of my favorite books, The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery.

Adaptive Octopus thermochromic mural by Bacon_Art Is Everywhere

Click this link to read more and see the full video, which is really creative and well done.

Thermochomic paint video_via Creativity on Art Is Everywhere

via Creativity

Here are the other Degrees of Perfect video teasers for reference.

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FIN DAC fin de stencil

FIN DAC is a talented, stand-alone, self-taught, street artist. In the process of creating his artwork, he ends the traditional use of the stencil. Stencils are used as his essential template to start and then he builds upon them with layers. He also uses stencils as masks to diffuse and soften his spray paint additions while creating these beautiful and exotic images.

All images via WHUDAT.

Fin DAC portrait1_AIE Fin DAC portrait2_AIE Fin DAC with portraits_AIE fin_dac_mural_spain_03_AIE fin_dac_mural_spain_04_AIE

fin_dac_mural_spain_05_AIE

fin_dac_mural_spain_01_AIEHere’s an video clip that gives insight into his work and process.

Artist Series: FIN DAC from Abid Khan on Vimeo.

Animal Inspiration and Patience

My original intent was to post my Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog post here this week but then I received these incredible pictures of animal sculptures made with cut paper. I’ll do a little of both. Plus, you’ll see an appropriate mention at the bottom in light of Mother’s Day this Sunday.

Firstly, here’s a snippet of the Animal Inspiration post:

 I recently learned of a new video about one of my favorite artists, Jane Kim, of Ink Dwell Studios. The video not only depicts her creative process but explains how she paints with Nature always in mind, through animal inspiration.

Jane’s artistic talent is tremendous as is some of her projects.

We’ve posted about Jane and Ink Dwell previously regarding the project (and here on AIE), in which she used Casart wallcoverings as templates to paint the continents for her exceptional and huge mural at Cornell University’s Ornithology Lab.

1_Many-birds-painted-by-Jane-Kim_InkDwell_AIE

Many birds painted by Jane Kim / Ink Dwell

Jane has also completed an ocean collage mural at Baltimore’s National Aquarium, which I’m dying to go see, using a combination of paint and cut paper techniques, and that perfectly leading into part two of this post.

Jane-Kim_livingseashore_inkdwell_18-960x423_AIEClick here to read more of the full story...

Another amazingly talented artist using Nature and animals as their inspiration is Calvin Nichols. He creates incredibly intricate paper sculptures. He’s such a keen observer of his subjects. It’s almost as if he’s created a 3D format for scientific illustration. I love how the pieces break their framed boundaries, which is very indicative of trompe l’oeil artwork, but this is not because you know it is not real, however, the intricacy and detail is just as jaw- dropping in wonderment.

(Most of the wording below is taken from the email that I received — so I cannot take credit for it.)

1_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEHe has worked 25 years to perfect his method. First he draws his subject, then he cuts paper shapes to create the foundation or form upon which more intricate cut paper is adhereed on top. It must take pain-staking patience. (Something I lose more and more as I get older.)

This particular series is appropriately titled, “Paper Zoo.”Fish_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEBut he doesn’t just draw on it. He shapes it to create intricate works of staggering detail and beauty. 2_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_bear-process_AIE 3_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_bear_AIETo make the art, he starts by observing real-life animals and their movements. He takes numerous sketches that he will later use as reference for his paper art. He then cuts up thousands of tiny pieces of paper and pastes them together to form each animal. 4_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_hummingbird process_AIE 5_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_hummingbird_AIE 6_Owl_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEThe texture he is able to achieve with this technique is astounding. Given that he’s only working with white paper, the details must be exactly right in order to create the appropriate depth and shadowing. Each small piece can take many weeks to complete. Owl Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEIt’s incredibly delicate work. Each small piece can take many weeks to complete. Flying Birds_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEWhile the bigger ones can take months, or even years. Flying Doves_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Dog_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE

The texture he’s been able to achieve gives the illusion that it must be soft. Make you want to touch it to find out.

Fox_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEHis work has been featured in National Geographic, as well as numerous galleries and art shows all over the world.

The porcupine is probably my favorite with all those wispy paper pieces.Porcupine_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEHe uses X-ACTO knives, scalpels, and scissors in the construction of his critters. Beavers_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Bobcat_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Mama Monkey_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEThis intricacy of this money and his face captures our emotion when viewing.Monkey Surprise_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Orangutan_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Bamboo Bear_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEThe commitment these amazing pieces of art require is just mind-blowing. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if you messed up a little detail on those pieces? Talent like this just doesn’t come around that often.

I’m not sure how he was able to achieve the realism of these zebras with different colored paper but his work is for sale and he does demonstrations, so worth looking into.Zebras_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEIf you’d like to learn more, for there is not much info about this artist on his website except that he is from Canada, go to his Facebook page to see his most recent news.

In keeping with our animal inspiration theme and with Mother’s Day this weekend, here’s a beautiful mural that could use some motherly care in the Mothers Building, which was originally designed to be a resting place for nursing mothers at the San Francisco Zoo. The building, with its Greco-Roman style and WPA project murals, was built in 1925 but has been closed to the public since 2002. The murals visually depict the story of Noah’s Ark in the largest existing, egg tempera work in the Western US. They could soon be lost and are in need of repair. Click here to read more of the story.

Full Mothers Building Mural_475x316_AIE

images via San Francisco Chronicle

Mothers Building Mural_475x316_AIE Lamas in Mothers Building Mural_475x316_AIE

Cloud Formations

Along with a month of celebrations, comes the pressure with lack of time to create new designs, which I’m trying to complete now for a presentation. In light of this, this will be a quick post on beautiful cloud formations as seen in this time-lapse video (via Gothamist) of artist James Wall Finn painting a ceiling mural panel for New York Public Library’s Bill Blass Catalog Room.

Cloud Mural_NewYork Public Library_Art Is EverywhereI find this quite inspiring, especially with other Cloud Murals that I’ve created and always looking to do more. Clouds are pretty amazing, always forming something new.

This is what the library’s sky mural looked like before — pretty dark. The new mural will be light and airy and certainly help to open up the space.

NYPL prev cloud mural 1_via Gothamist_Art Is Everywhere NYPL prev cloud mural 2_via Gothamist_Art Is Everywhere

Mosaic Brick Murals and Snow Steps

While searching information for a post, I happened upon artist Charis Tsevis, via Creative Boom, who creates the most interesting African portrait murals using digitally-painted, mosaic bricks. These colorful blocks are comprised of various African patterns with references to African culture. You would think all the patterns would render an image flat or make it appear discombobulating but the portraits have amazing depth and come alive with color.

African Mosaic Brick Portrait Mural for Sasi via Creative Boom on Art Is EverywhereThe murals were created for Sasi’s, his wife’s family’s African restaurant in Athens, Greece and are printed over a textured plywood to give further dimension.

African Mosaic Bricks for Sasi via Creative Boom4_on Art Is Everywhere

The murals depict every day life events in various African tribes, including the Zulus — the very tribe for which a famous New Orleans Krewe is named and that was mentioned during recent Mardi Gras festivities.

African Mosaic Bricks for Sasi via Creative Boom3_Art Is EverywhereThe murals pay tribute to the artist’s deep affection for Africa and its constant inspiration.

African Mosaic Bricks for Sasi via Creative Boom2_Art Is EverywhereBeyond these beautiful pieces hanging in Sasi’s, there are many well-known clients who also appreciate Tsevis’ artwork.

Going full spectrum in the other direction with absence of color and change in temperature, there are two snow artists getting attention making their own detailed murals but, step by step by step. Too bad their artwork doesn’t last longer than the cold weather, however.

It is interesting to see these artists’ different styles.

 It’s a lot of extra shoveling but Semen Bukharin, a Russian Janitor, creates lovely snow murals with a shovel (via Mother Nature Network).

Semen Bukharin snow mural 3_Art Is Everywhere

via Mother Nature Network

snow-murals_Semen Bukharin_Art Is EverywhereMany of the murals are whimsical, yet intricate, using folk depictions taken from Russian and Nordic references as well as even an African Safari.

Semen Bukharin snow mural 2_Art Is EverywhereSemen Bukharin4_African Safari Snow Mural_Art Is EverywhereAnother style of snow murals can be seen in British snow-artist Simon Beck’s geometric, snow murals on Powder Mountain, Utah. He creates elaborate “snowflakes” with footprints using snow shoes, as described on the Standard Examiner.

Simon Beck Snow Mural 1_Art Is Everywhere

images via Standard Examiner

Simon Beck Snow Mural 2_Art Is Everywhere Simon Beck Snow Mural 3_Art Is Everywhere Simon Beck Snow Mural 4_Art Is Everywhere Simon Beck Snow Mural 5_Art Is Everywhere Simon Beck Snow Mural 6_Art Is EverywhereIt may seem less arduous than shoveling but there’s a lot of ground to cover and walking in the snow is a workout. Fortunately, he has some helpers above!

Be sure to click this video from Digg to hear a snippet directly from Simon Beck about his murals, see his process and some other beautiful ones that he’s stepped in snow.

Simon Beck Snow Mural video_Art Is EverywherePS: As this post publishes today, this story about Simon Beck is receiving global attention. Here are two more on Colossal and Daily Mail, which shows how he’s been able to monetize his snow murals = smart!

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