A Big Magic Kahuna with Creative Content

There have been two books I’ve read recently that deserve big recognition for their ability to express the subtleties of man living in consort with Nature and the mystery of inspiration. It’s Elizabeth’s Gilbert’s Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear that takes the prize, however, for boldly being able to give meaning to and explain the creative process and the pathways to choose for achieving the most positive results.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert_Art Is EverywhereShe begins her book with a simple question and answer, “What is creativity? [It is] the relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration.” This blog, by the way, is primarily about witnessing such inspiration and marveling in the creative process involved.

Gilbert eloquently describes the moment that one’s revelation of an idea occurs is when a person is open to receive the thought that may have been there but they were not cognizant of seeing it. Kinda like the thought of the potential for art being everywhere exists around us but it takes the perceptive individual to notice. She likens an idea to a living entity that gets its life force through a person, as if the person is the vehicle for bringing it to light. If the person is unwilling to engage the idea, not receptive or too late to act on it, then the idea goes elsewhere looking for another individual to entice. She describes an example when her idea for a book was passed to another author simply through a hug. It was not the best timing for her to commit to the idea so the idea left for another host and this other author wrote a wonderful book involving this same idea. The idea was never discussed between the writers in advance. It only came to light when Ann Patchet (the other author) was describing her new book, State of Wonder. You might think Gilbert would be incensed that her idea had been “stolen.” How would you react? Instead, she appreciated Ann Patchet’s work and was delighted that the idea finally came to light. One does not have ownership over an idea, she notes. The idea has ownership over you.

This concept makes sense when waves of ideas come and they go. They aren’t always there but when they are, it’s always magical to see many ways the idea can manifest itself.

I’m having one of these moments in a new series of artwork I’m trying to produce. The concept has been with me for a while but I’ve just now gotten the chance to fully act on it. Her book gave me the impetus I needed with the suggestion that the idea will go elsewhere if not used. Now I’m fully immersed in it; albeit, while trying to manage my business(es), which is probably my other creative idea(s) that I’ve been nurturing for the last 8+ years.

She likens living in the moment while manifesting the idea as the most magical experience, full of pure joy, of which I can attest, when it happens:

“You may know this feeling. It’s the feeling you get when you’ve made [or done] something wonderful and when you look at it later, all you can say is, “I don’t even know where that came from.” You can’t repeat it. You can’t explain it. But it felt as if you were guided…It’s the most magnificent sensation imaginable when it arrives…[maybe] not a more perfect happiness to be found in life than this state, except perhaps falling in love.”

She calls this having a genius, as the Romans did, not as we do now “being” a genius. The difference keeps the creative person’s ego in check. This is contrary to those pinned with the label of genius (i.e. Harper Lee) or the self-absorbed artist, singer (e.g. Kanye West) or actress or lawyer, politician or any person for that matter who thinks they are, unique, one-of-a kind. They can be either too scared to create again having reached a pinnacle or too frighteningly egocentric when they do. We are all creators and living life fully is in the act of doing something. I call it “finding Balance.”

She describes the paradoxes involved. The moment the idea comes and you act on it is sacred and related to divine mystery, which I agree. I often explain coincidences that happen as more than just mere coincidences. However, she warns that although you must take the work involved seriously, you cannot think it too important or let it torment you or create such disruption that the work becomes a burden, then you lose the miraculous flow. The creative idea is then affected and becomes too heavy when it needs to remain light, not necessarily easy but enough so to bring joy. Life is about creating (the process) not necessarily the results of what you create. It’s great if the result is a masterpiece or a best seller, as her book Eat Pray Love was, but the intent cannot be just for this goal. There is too much pressure and a set up for self-destined failure, which may be why Harper Lee never wrote anything after To Kill a Mockingbird. Ann Patchet’s work is so highly regarded not only because she is a wonderful writer but mainly because of her similar philosophy, “I don’t write for an audience, I don’t think whether my book will sell, I don’t sell it before I finish writing it.

Gilbert states, “in the end, creativity is a gift to the creator, not the audience.” I would even say and creativity should be received gratefully, giving gratitude to the Creator. She says the creative work must be the most important thing to live artistically but not matter at all in order to live sanely. Again, finding that balance, while always being grateful and enjoying the good and bad of what you do. That’s a lesson I remember my father telling me, no matter what you do in life, make sure is something you enjoy doing.” This way you can overcome hardships that will happen along the way.

Gilbert’s book is all about the creative process. How the idea forms, how one chooses or doesn’t choose to act on the inspiration and how there is work involved when you choose to act, which she humorously calls the “shit sandwich.” I don’t have a problem with this language because it is aptly named when you understand the reasoning behind it. It refers to all the frustration involved and hardships to overcome in making the idea materialize. You’re either willing to eat the shit sandwich, that no one wants or chooses to eat, or not. How badly do you want to make your idea work? There are lessons in this book for everyone to follow. Persistence, not perfection, pays off. The shit sandwich is what happens in between the bright moments of the easy flow of inspiration. There are other lessons: trust in what you love, learn from fear, be open-minded and curious, say yes to inquisitiveness and interests because they are often clues pointing you to a path that you might not fully see, stop complaining, get doing.

I chose this book for my book group as a philosophy book not as a self-help. We enjoyed discussing during our Mardi Gras celebration — enjoying life in the doing — as described in my previous post.

This was just after the previous book we read last month called Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, which is another one that I’d highly recommend. Sy Montgomery is a Naturalist who’s written a series of books that demonstrate Man’s symbiotic connection to Nature through the many experiences she has encountered. This one has to do with her observation and what we can learn from highly intelligent octopuses (not the more popular, but incorrect octopi). When reading her account, you learn how remarkable these mysterious and often feared creatures are but also how human emotions can become entangled and elevated with another type of being. As the book jacket states, her story “reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.

Soul of an Octopus_Sy Montgomery_Art Is EverywhereThis is what I wrote to my book group about it. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see the connection between the two books and my delight in discovering them, coincidentally seeing how they relate to discovery and Art Is Everywhere:

I loved this book, btw and gave it a 10, which I rarely give, but it really spoke to me. I’ve been enamored with the sea and all its mysterious creatures, which is why I probably collect and paint seashells, sea life murals and have enjoyed a fresh and marine fish tank for over 20 years. Fish, surprisingly, also have personalities.

Sy Montgomery coincidentally mentions Cozumel as her first dive and likens it to something similar to visiting an alien planet right here on earth…It’s on my bucket list to go deep sea diving but until then, I’m going to go swimming with whale sharks (extra video ref). I learned about how this phenomenon came about through the Racing Extinction film (very worth watching even with some overtly political overtones). It aired in December but you may still be able to see it on the Discovery Channel?

Following suit on the philosophy take-away regarding this book about Karma and Consciousness,* I’m choosing Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear. I believe it was written as a followup to her Ted Talk on Creativity that I was so impressed with that I  emailed the book group about way back. I just discovered she’s expanded it into book form. We’ve read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love and Committed before and discussed how she can have a somewhat self-absorbing nature to her writing but even though her stories are shared from personal experience, this broad topic on creativity and inspiration may grab our group of very creative ladies both collectively and individually.

I almost chose another book, Nonesense, the Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes and will still recommend because I think it might be the perfect followup to Gilbert’s book. This one is filled with unknown facts behind veils of deception — from what you think you might know. Both books seem enlightening for living in the present.

Montgomery marries science with poetry in her descriptions of her dives along with her cultural knowledge in explaining the meaning of karma and consciousness.

The desire to change our ordinary, everyday consciousness does not seize everyone, but it’s a persistent them in human culture. Expanding the mind beyond self allows us to relive our loneliness, to connect to what Jung called universal consciousness…Plato called the animus mundi, the all-extensive world soul shared by all of life…Karma is interchanged with destiny…but the idea of karma has a deeper and more promising meaning than fate…Our karma is something over which, unlike fate, we do have control. “Volition is karma,” the Buddha is reported to have said. Karma, in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, is conscious action. Karma is not fate, but, in fact, its opposite. Karma is choice.”

In her chapter, Consciousness to think, to feel, to know, she describes the following reflection about the meaning of the Soul while attending a Tahitian church service, she “understands the power of worship, and the importance of contemplating mystery…in all our relationships, in all our deepest wonderings. We seek to fathom the soul…[The Soul] gives life meaning and purpose. The Soul is the fingerprint of God. Others say that soul is our innermost being, the thing that gives us our senses, our intelligence, our emotions, our desires, our will, our personalities, our identity. Perhaps none of this is true, [but as she sits in the pew she ponders,] I am certain of one thing…if I have a soul — and I think I do — an octopus has a soul too.

Strangely enough, she contemplates this idea (which I think has to do with connection and creativity as it takes on its own life as the title of her book) while she is transported by the pastor’s sermon to the “Gilbert Islands, where the octopus god, Na Kitka, was said to be the son of the first beings, and with his eight strong arms, shoved the islands up from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean…Immersed in mystery, my natural response, even on an expedition in the name of science, is to pray.”

Perhaps I’m more reflective with my birthday a day away, but not thinking there is really a connection to this, except that these two books brought great inspiration, in a timely and interconnected way that is beautifully mysterious. I am grateful to have read them and I can only hope their inspiration will be sustained, at least for a while.




Color a Village

What a remarkable image! Artists color a village in Mexico to bring beauty and benefit to the small town of Pachuca. Quartz appropriately describes it as “color therapy.”

Pachuca village_via  Quartz on Art Is Everywhere

Pachuca village_via Quartz

Oddly named German Crew group is responsible for this urban renewal project with its youth graffiti artists who transformed 209 residents’ homes with swaths of broad strokes of color.

The village is located in the most impoverished area of the Palmitas about 100 miles outside of Mexico City. The project hopes to bring cultural awareness and tourism to help fend off crime while engaging the community to take back their town.

This part of the project has taken six months, from the design by Mibe, a street artist from Mexico City, to the whitewashed basepaint before to the bright colorization.

Pachura before via ArtNet / German Crew on Art Is Everywhere

before via ArtNet / German Crew

Pachura colored via ArtNet / German Crew on Art Is Everywhere

Pachura colored via ArtNet / German Crew

The second phase will add figurative murals to the streets scape. It’s a beautiful work in progress — putting artists to work and adding a beneficial facial “uplift” to the town — in more ways than just cosmetic.

Just look how this Pachura town stands out now. Photo via German Crew on Art Is Everywhere

Just look how this town stands out now! Photo via German Crew

In a previous posts, you can read about how a similar town of Favela was transformed with murals and color.

When Cartoonists Come Together

Like so many around the world, I was shocked and saddened to see the brutal shootings at the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the executions of their editor, cartoonists and support staff unfold, leaving 12 dead and others critically wounded.

This French satirical magazine had it right. Their cartoons clearly define the radical Muslim faction. In fact, the cartoonists ominously called-out their fanatical behavior. These murderers brought these cartoons in which they were depicted to life. Their mistake is that the whole world now sees them for who they truly were. Even though the two brothers who carried out this attack have been killed, there are so many others with the same philosophy that they leave to carry on their hate crimes in their wake. However, I believe that this event and several other senseless massacres will ultimately spiral their downfall.

Here are the cartoons that caused the terrorists to inflict their rage. Their translations are explained via Slate.

Chalie Hebdo Cartoon on Art Is EverywhereWhat I’ve been most impressed with is the rallying cry, particularly among other cartoonists, illustrators and artists. Art became their weapon — as expressive response. They didn’t lay down their pens. Instead, they’ve fearlessly have come together to bring clarity to this madness and to prove that the power of the pen and freedom will endure. Just look at the number of tweets that these have been shared (prior to this posting). With social media and blogs, these messages will be a virus that will hopefully kill any support for these terrorists.

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 1 on Art Is Everywhere

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 5 on Art Is Everywhere

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 3 on Art Is EverywhereCharlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 4 on Art Is EverywhereThe French most certainly can relate to this image of their beloved Liberté.

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 6 on Art Is EverywhereJust as we can relate to this image of the Twin Towers recalling our 9-11 attack.

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 5 on Art Is EverywhereCartoonists are a rare breed because they have to find the essence in their message to depict it with such simplicity and meaning. Knowing this and how hard it is to render a cartoon, especially when so fraught with emotion, this one below by Lucille Clerc is one of my favorites: taking something that is broken, sharpening it to a point — to bring it life again. This is art! The terrorists on the other hand, are not this clever or brilliant.

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reaction 7 on Art Is EverywhereSources:  Buzzfeed – 23 Heartbreaking Cartoons from Artists in Response, Daily Mail UK and ABC World News Tonight








Exploiting Eyeballs!

Any article that describes misuse of an artist’s artwork gets my attention, as much as one about an artist who plagiarized his source (previous post on Shepard Fairey).

Evidently, this time it is the company American Eagle company that has clearly used the Miami street artist David Anasagasti’s, known as, Ahol Sniffs Glue, graffiti-style “eyeball artwork” for their latest ‘Street Beach’ ad campaign — but without giving him credit. Not good. On top of which, they imply he endorses their use by featuring a spray-can toting artist with the artwork that could indicate the artist’s approval. Only thing is their ‘idea of a graffiti artist’ is not even close to what he really looks like.

Huffington Post_Ahol's Street Art used

All pictures via Huffington Post

Ahol Snifs Glue photo via Culture Designers

Ahol Snifs Glue photo vi aCulture Designers

You can read more about the artist on this Culture Designers post.

American Eagle didn’t go lightly with the use either. They’ve just about plastered his Eyeball artwork everywhere they could think to do so for exploitation and benefiting their own products.  These pictures below from the Huffington Post show many of the examples used in the court case against American Eagle.

http://www.ashley-spencer.com/ArtIsEverywhere/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Huffington-Post_AMERICAN-EAGLE-AHOL-SNIFFS-GLUE-images.jpgThese pictures below were from the premier party during the Street Beach launch and also as a part of the court case against American Eagle. In fact, American Eagle actually hired other artists to recreate the Eyeball artwork for the event and branded it as their own. This is the worst — not only not asking permission but blatantly stealing.

Huffington Post_Street Art case pics

I’m not one for liking all graffiti or street-style art but I like Ahol Sniffs Glue’s Eyeballs. They are iconographic to his work and style. He is one of Miami’s more popular muralists, well-known for his work.  He has sued the American Eagle company and I hope he wins. They could have simply just asked and compensated him for the use of his artwork. They probably could have gotten even better ads from exhibiting this common courtesy.

You can read more of the Huffington Post story here. Be sure to scroll down the page on the link to see other pictures of Miami’s street art. Until we find out how this case is decided, enjoy some of Ahol’s Eyeballs.

Ahols Eyeballs_via dogslobber on Flickr

via dogslobber on Flickr

Interesting note about the above picture that I found on dogslobber’s Flickr page is that there is one comment that mentions that the artist has a “has a piece in nola [New Orleans] across from dat dog on Magazine street.” How about that, I now have another thing to scout out when I’m back home next.

The pictures below are from Smitten Studio by Sarah Sherman Samuel, who is a creative director and designer herself. She not only has some fabulous photos of more murals located in the Wynwood art district of Miami but she has a very cool product line that I discovered of artisanal goods from her Sunny Afternoon company, worth checking out. (I love when fortuitous happenstance happens through just simple search and discovery.) *

Ahol Eyeballs closeup by Saarah Sherman Samuel


After I saw her post on a lace tunic top that she recently bought as a beach cover up at Chico’s (my mother’s favorite store), I’m looking into getting it for our upcoming beach vacation. What a great find! beach-tunic-smittenstudio4

Thinking Globally by Limitation

This post was set to draft and never posted last week – so it is now the post for this week…After my last post regarding collaboration of collective art media and initiatives that generate positive public art, I was inspired to think more holistically in my blogging approach. It is not the quantity, well sometimes it is in the blogosphere where it can be only about the SEO rankings, but the quality of posts generated. After reaching over 500 posts — this is my 512th — I’ve decided to cut back to one post a week. I realize this is bucking the trend of posting more not less but time, mental health, my other business and my family are all more important. It takes quite a chunk of time to write blog posts and I’ve been doing this since 2008, so no fly-by-night here, but with more things needing my attention, there is just so much time to be able to spread my self any thinner. I had thought about ending this blog altogether, although, I have always received enjoyment from writing it, in particular due to the discovery of all the new things out there each day. I would never be able to post all of the 60 pages of 12 entries on each that I’ve collected to write about over the years. Some of them, although interesting, are out of date, needless to say.

This is the end of the month and start of a new fall season so it seems an appropriate time to switch my posts to Wednesday’s Once a Week. I’ll still keep reporting on all of the same topics, Murals and Kick Starting the Weekend won’t go away but they will share the post time and will most certainly alternate with other subjects. That is what this blog is about — many subjects with Art being Everywhere.

On this note, I saw this texturized painting, which reminds me of of a sculpture, called “hope” by Segun Aiyesan and thought about the past meeting present and it seemed to sum up my state of mind. Blogging has been an education – always reflecting on what has come before in relation to what is new and there is joyfulness within the search, correlation and discovery. I thought this interview on Next with the artist was quite interesting to learn that he was self taught, coming from an engineering background and to learn about his creative process and what inspires and drives him to create art. Learning about this from other artist’s perspectives gives introspective insight that is always enlightening and often inspirational to me.

Segun-Aiyesan.StreamServer via Next, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Segun Aiysean's sculpture

michelangelo-creation-of-man as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Michelangelo's Creation of Man

You see the reference right? On a humorous note, I’ve been saving this mural below and can’t resist posting now….and how cyclical it is. This mural, a spoof on God’s Gift to Woman, is by Studio Vertu, as described here on The Huffington Post, and painted in Cincinnati (see last post, where this one started).

1_Clooney-mural_StudioVertu_as seen on Art Is Everywhere

George Clooney as God's Gift to Woman painted by Studio Vertu in Cincinnati

Now you know what is weird about this trail, is it leads me really full circle, back to my decorative art business.  I’ve been following this group for their Fresco Wall™ technology, where a mural can be commissioned and ordered as a portable fresco to install — either permanently or with Velco®. This has been interesting to me ever since I first learned about it over a year ago in my Faux Finisher magazine, which has since stopped publishing. I’ve been following because it generalizes the same concept of my decorative painting being transferred to a wallcovering substrate that is independent of the wall and in my case, removable and reusable, Casart coverings. We’ve gone one step further in being able to also customize the work.

I can’t leave this without sharing  recommended readings for the following: 1) Blogging is Big Business (2008 / WTAE.com) — where the state of blogging started (when I began) to although not saying goodbye yet but cutting back, and Saying Goodbye (ArtTalk – Chicago, 2009), which states some great parting sentiments regarding art reviews from writer Kathryn Born – well worth reading.

Finally what you’ve all been waiting for, a little music to Kick Start Your Weekend (and in this case, your week, as this is posting late ) — a collective One Love by Bob Marly by various artist around the world through the effort Playing for Change.

A Few Follow Ups

Thinking of last Friday’s post, I thought I’d post links as follow ups.

• I think Eric Maisel’s  blog on Creativity Central is interesting. I particularly liked this post by Beth Barany who describes the Artist Entrepreneurship pretty well. Putting the art first is a wise philosophy.

• Todd Henry of Accidental Creative describes the Paradox of Rejection in how it can provide growth for the artist.

• Since he quotes Michelangelo, this is the latest scientific discovery that “unlocks some of the Mona Lisa magic.” It’s no mystery that Michelangelo used multiple layers of glazes called “sfumato” (softening of contour lines) to create his subtle effect of this painting’s memorable smile, but modern x-ray technology shows the precises layers as they are built up as well as the exact pigments that were used.

• If you want to see some wonderful drawings and artwork by Michelangelo, go here — Michelangelo, the Man and the Myth. Although this exhibit is long since over, you can still tour it through a virtual gallery.

Syracuse University Michelangelo Exhibit on Art Is Everywhere

Syracuse University's Michelangelo Exhibit

• Because my father was a neurosurgeon, I can’t help but be fascinated by science that relates to the brain and this is just in the latest Science News: “Study finds a link between personality traits and the size of certain brain regions.”

Above-average conscientiousness was associated with a larger region of the lateral prefrontal cortex, which is involved in planning and voluntary control of behavior…The only trait without a significant neuroanatomical relationship, according to the report, was openness/intellect, which researchers said reflects imagination, curiosity, and artistic and intellectual interests…genes and the environment play important roles….When it [personality] does, that change is accompanied by changes in the brain.

I’m ready to get my brain scan...

Ending with some strange new music to Kick-Start another heat wave of a weekend, “…And the World Laughs with You,” by Flying Lotus from their Cosmogramma Album. Thom Yorke of my favorite band Radiohead sings the lyrics. Another interesting thing about this musical choice is that my son Jackson has told me about Flying Lotus for over a year. We listened to sound tracks on the long, long roadtrip back home from Sewanee last year. Even though, this is not my favorite song on the album, their other work is very interesting and it’s really nice to share musical interests with your children. On another side note: I have to give high marks to David Cameron, the new prime minister of England, who exchanged art gifts with Obama, during his recent visit to the States, including music by Radiohead and the Smiths….Good taste.

The Marriage of Two Posts for Gulf Coast Aid

This is where two posts meet. I could have easily found a quick mention for Friday and included my weekly Kick Start your Weekend music but I’m dealing with a conundrum and in also trying to find something to write for my other weekly blog post, Slipcovers for your Walls, I realized as I was searching for this one, that in thinking through this creative process, I found the answer to both. I’ve already posted this on the casartblog but here it is with more thought process.

I keep  list of topics to write on and my favorite always comes back to the creative process. It is how artwork begins and how it evolves. There are hoards of information on this topic but I always find inspiration in unlikely places: from the creative innovation of the Old Spice commercials that I just blogged on; to research for finding visual inspiration; to explanations regarding how to give good critical analysis; to the visual humor describing the interactions between artist and client (I’ve had some of these types of moments); to some brilliance and clarity in a web enthusiast’s and an electrical-engineer graduate’s take on The Art of Design and Creative Thinking, just among many. I believe the analytical process of design is similar if not the same as creating artwork. Artwork may not always have function whereas design might. If you click my Design category (on the right), you’ll see plenty of examples that involve art. Richie Thimmaiah of Richworks above states, “Design is Everywhere.” Well, I can’t help but agree and also in that Art is Everywhere.

Here’s my conundrum (not only trying to figure out what to write) but the value — the artistic merit and importance of some latest designs / artwork that I’m working on for Casart coverings. We posted a while ago on the Slipcovers for your Walls blog about our efforts to help the Gulf Coast recovery. It’s an issue that is very personal to me and I’m passionate about wanting to do something.  As Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, states so truthfully in his editorial, this area needs some help. It’s still reeling from Katrina and now this?!

As an artist, I think about art to help in the response, so I have created a Gulf Coast Mural and designs where proceeds will go to two selected organizations that are at the forefront, helping in this effort. I helped this way for Katrina and other artists that I have posted on, have done the same. But what do you do when you start to question whether or not it makes sense to do. Will people like it? How will they use it? Will they purchase it? Will they even understand it? I have some valid answers that I think apply to all of these but I know I am too close to decide.

There are some valid points from the links above to consider and some quotes I’ll pull:

I like to say, to find inspiration, one should take a look around. What is surrounding you?” — Rebecca Reilering (Research to Feed Your Visual Mind)

“...destroying your designer’s artistic confidence by tearing down a design without acknowledging any positive points, is usually not good policy…One reality that I feel escapes many clients who hire graphic designers is that while this is a form of commercial art, the process is still art. The creative process is still emotional, inspirational and can be very personal, so it’s important to acknowledge…” — Fuschia Mac

” I’ve looped my mother in the conversation…she has a good eye for design….The design you put together needs some brighter colors…perhaps a little pink? Throw in a kitten or two. Everybody loves kittens!…All hope is lost…You are no longer a [web] designer.”Oatmeal (How a Web Design Goes to Hell)

“Success without taking risks is impossible. Mistakes are a part and parcel in the process of achieving extraordinary results. A good designer is not taken apart by such mistakes, rather he learns from itSome people embrace it and others don’t. If you want to to survive in a world which is changing rapidly as we speak, I suggest you listen closely to the former kind and try your best avoiding the latter.”Richworks (The Art of Design/Creative Thinking)

And a quote he pulled for his blog that I found really thought provoking:

“Talent hits the target no one else can hit; genius hits the target no one else can see” — Arthur Shoepenhauer

OK, so now I know why some artists, myself included at times, feel a little crazy and that part may explain the stereotype. Can you have talent and genius together? I would say yes, I hope so.

Here’s a glimpse at the latest work. I’ve posted a blog poll to get feedback and of course you can always comment with more specifics but I’d like to know your thoughts. The concept here is to offer an interactive mural — a way for the customer to design their own mural (from these already painted creations). This is an example. The hard part is how to explain this on a website where we don’t have the technology to create something with code to drop and drag in the images. I wish we did.


This mural can be created in any configuration with these separate panels

Here’s an example of one of the individual panels with wording. They will also be offered without wording in a white or water background.


Casart Pelican for Gulf Coast recovery

Since you can’t bring your wall artwork with you to show others in public, what about wearing your mural, or parts of it? I came up with a new Crawfish Cotillion design made with the crawfish that I painted. So, I thought, why not make it into a weekender or beach bag that you can hopefully use on the Gulf Coast beaches? Here are some preliminary designs for this concept, showing two ways to offer the crawfish design + we’ll have this in many colors. Cross over the the Casartblog to vote on your favorite patterns, after you vote here.


Weekender Bag concept with Crawfish Cotillion Design

Casart-coverings_BagConcept1_blog, ArtisEverywhere

Casart coverings Beach bag concept with a mural element

Many thanks for your input and in keeping with tradition, here’s some appropriate music to Kick Start your Weekend, and one of my very favorites for New Orleans’ music, “Yes We Can” by Allen Toussaint, accompanied by Elvis Costello:

Engineering and Art

This post brings several aspects of engineering together with relation to art.

1) Teaching art and creativity can be done through “Reverse Engineering” — thinking backwards from the final product on how the artist created/constructed it and his or her creative process in the making to improve upon, rather than copying the object or artwork.

2) Reading about Tony May’s work on ArtShift SanJosé, made me think of the engineering needed to construct his sculptures, some of which are made with books.

Tony May_good-reading-light_courtesy ArtShiftSanJose, seen on Art Is Everywhere

Tony May_good-reading-light_courtesy ArtShiftSanJose

Tony May_third-variable-construction_via ArtShiftSanJose

Tony May_third-variable-construction_via ArtShiftSanJose

Tony May_red-branch-books-open_Via ArtShiftSanJose as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Tony May_red-branch-books-open_Via ArtShiftSanJose

Tony May_open-red-branch_via ArtShiftSanJose as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Tony May_altco-open-red-branch_via ArtShiftSanJose

3) The late  George Adams was an engineer and a self taught artist, who helped restore many murals in the US Capitol. His engineering skills helped him decipher the best innovative tactics for this important restoration work.

George Adama_via WashingtonPost. Photo by Paul Vignola, seen on Art Is Everywhere

George Adams via Washington Post.

4) Murals entitled, The History of the United States Locomotives, which were painted as part of the 1930’s WPA government program to employ artists, have been returned to the original owners, The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. They are on permanent display at The Standard building in Cleveland, after a circuitous route of finding their way back home.

Train Murals via Cleveland.com as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Train Murals via Cleveland.com

5) I like how in this article, The Art and Science of Innovation, by Jeffrey Phillips on Blogging Innovation describes how the innovation of science requires thinking like an artist. I’ve long believed this! On a side note: I recently introduced my younger son to Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain to help him “break down / decipher” basic drawing skills and my older son is practicing the art of innovation by solving problems daily as a civil engineer intern with Clark Construction this summer. Great opportunities for both boys.

Finally, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that ABC News chose Luke Jerram as their Person of the Week last Friday, due to his public art installation, Play Me I’m Yours. Click here to read my previous post on artist,  Luke Jerram‘s technical, artistic and engineering skills to achieve his other interactive and innovative  public artwork.

Some music from this traveling exhibit to Kick-Start your weekend:

Oil Spill

As news of the BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana became more severe, I have become more worried about the impact — both environmentally and economically. These folks have just gotten back on their feet since Katrina. It just seems like they have a magnet for bad blows. This however, could impact the entire nation's seafood industry as well as the eco-system in the wetlands for years to come. This makes me sad but hopeful that this is not the case. My mother said she could smell tar in the air. That's not a good sign when it's 30 miles offshore.

My husband recently returned from a whirlwind, one-day, tour in preparation for the Congressional hearing today to investigate the facts on cause and result. I'm confident, if he's on the case, the facts will be revealed — if the uncontrollable, political game doesn't get in the way. This is a time when it shouldn't, but as we've all seen in the health care debate and legislation, it does.

As an artist, I look for beauty in destruction, for my philosophy is that I think it's always there, like good and evil existing. Two opposing quintessential aspects of life working simultaneously together. Here are some very artistic photos with a few documenting the event. All photo credits are in mouseovers. I was looking for just one that I saw in the paper and of course never found it (note to self clip out next time) but the last one is very close. This reminds me of how abstractly beautiful water can be.


You can see the oil both above the water and below at the point of origin in this photo (below).




Oil- Spill1_Daniel-Beltra_Reuters_WP





For some odd reason, this photo of the booms reminds me of rows tulips on Holland.


That rig is oh so subtle in the background and when I see pelicans I'm reminded of prehistoric, dinosaur days.






You've got to give credit to the entrepreneurial spirit. These New Orleans and Southern folk have found ways to create products that raise awareness with proceeds benefiting efforts to help in the clean up.

mignon-faget-pin. Photo Mignon Faget via Time Picayune

Mignon Faget redfish pin to raise awareness and

Nola Couture ties to benefit Greater New Orleans Foundation's Oil Spill Recovery Fund.

Nola couture ties. via Times Picayune

Health Care

“I lived in a time in which there was liberty in America…” This is what I’ll be telling my grand kids. I normally don’t offer political commentary in my blog. There is a time and a place and with the recent Obama health care bill passage, now is the time. If there is one issue that I have felt strongly about (as so many others do), this is it. I can see the writing on the wall of what is to come.

Actually, this post has an art mention. This is the email that I sent out recently to those who care about this health care issue. If you don’t think it won’t affect you, it will eventually and when you need it most.

Dear family and friends,

I saw a report on ABC news the other night regarding a concert master’s brain surgery operation. The atypical thing about this was that he was asked to play his violin during the surgery so the surgeon could pinpoint where to embed an electrode to counteract the electrical pulsations that were causing him to have tremors and not be able to play his music. He can now play his music again.

I’m weepy when it comes to neurosurgery for several reasons. My father was a neurosurgeon and friends who have required brain surgery and in this case, art being saved by medicine. But despite these emotions, what really brought tears to my eyes was simultaneous and contradictory: 1) the innovation of this medical technology and surgery here, in America and 2) the fact that this kind of incredible outcome due to the advances of medicine will disappear as the quality of health care will change as we know it and stifle innovation — once the full effects of this health care overhaul legislation are realized.

Please do not accept the outcome. Work hard as I will to help patriotic members take back The People’s House and repeal this decision and then do the right thing for health care fixes.

Reading this Wall Street Journal editorial, The Obamacare Crossroads, might fire you up!

Since I’ve sent this, this article, Capitalism Gone with a Whimper by Stanislav Mishin in the Pravda Russian paper has come to my attention. I’d say this Russian author knows socialism from personal experience. I have to say that all my fears about Obama becoming President are coming true. We are heading in this “Nanny State” direction as socialists measures slowly, yet with a bang, as in this Health Care case, set in.

More reasonable legislation to control costs with tort reform, portability, affordability and Medisave (Health Care Savings) accounts were offered by the minority but simply disregarded as “incremental” changes. Yes, but they address the major cost issues. Health care is not a problem that can be fixed in one fell swoop. There is no fiscal responsibility with the government to pay for this. They leave it to the taxpayers, who for the majority do not want it.  I think this bill will do the exact opposite of what it has claimed to do: It will further stifle the economy; further increase our national debt; increase health care premiums in order for insurance companies to pay for procedures; businesses will not be able to afford these higher rates for their employees (already Caterpillar, AT&T, Verizon have announced their employees’ health care plans will be reduced); small businesses can’t hire readily; it will lock you in your job because otherwise, you’re put into a pool of those without health care and you’re fined if you don’t purchase it; and it will further disparage and separate the poor from the wealthy in the type of health care they receive. The government will become the same “big bad insurance companies” that they rallied against in passing it. If they now are controlling the funding, they will have the power, rather than the patient, to determine what type of medical procedure to use.


Charles Krauthammer said it so well when he stated in his article, The Vat Man Cometh:

By introducing universal health care, he [Obama} has pulled off the largest expansion of the welfare state in four decades. And the most expensive. He will have succeeded in reversing Reaganism…Liberals have long complained that Reagan’s strategy was to starve the governmental beast in order to shrink it: First, cut taxes — then ultimately you, have to reduce government spending. Obama’s strategy is exactly the opposite: Expand the beast and then feed it. Spend first — which then forces taxation. Now that, with the institution of universal health care, we are becoming the full entitlement state, the beast will have to be fed. Taxing consumption [with the VAT / value added tax] makes infinitely more sense than taxing work. VAT must be added on top of the income tax…Ultimately, even that won’t be enough. As the population ages and health care becomes increasingly expensive, the only way to avoid fiscal ruin (as Britain, for example, has discovered) is, heath-care rationing…It will take a while to break the American populace to that idea. In the meantime, get ready for the VAT. Or start fighting it!

I choose the latter!

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