Googlemania

The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
 

Google bike 

Google bike 

My kids would be the first to tell you that I am so not on the cusp of the new, new thing, or the new thing. Or even just the thing. But after a recent trip to silicon valley and a tiny tour of google, I gained five minutes of hipness in their eyes.  

View from the vegetable garden

View from the vegetable garden

My husband is involved with Conservation International, and we got a glimpse of how google is partnering with conservation groups, and sharing their prodigious coding expertise and data collection, to monitor the health, or lack thereof, of our planet. The implications are encouraging -- we  can tackle problems in a more targeted fashion instead of being trapped by the feeling of helplessness and general handwringing. You can see in real time (almost) where fish are being harvested illegally, or where a forest is being pulled down, or where mountains are being blasted down to anthills. The "whos" of this process are a whole different matter. I love this kind of collaboration between the profit and nonprofit worlds, and it was a thrill to be in a universe that was so foreign, so innovative and playful. There were even topics to think about in the bathroom stalls -- all equipped with Toto toilets.  My stall door had a plastic pouch to showcase articles of interest. In mine was an article called “Code for the Commode” which I’m sure was very clever, but was incomprehensible to me

Google cardboard in action

Google cardboard in action

We returned with a more portable innovation -- google cardboard, and our kids have been jumping down the rabbit hole and exploring this extraordinary google tool. I put aside my trepidation about virtual reality and joined them. We looked at U2’s collaboration with musicians from around the world, and explored places of wonder. It really is visually sumptuous, though I had to take a break because it gave me serious vertigo because I was always whipping around in circles, trying to capture the three dimensional experience. 

Colliseum in Rome

Colliseum in Rome

Of course this device has already been featured everywhere from the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2015/nytvr/ to Wired http://www.wired.com/2015/06/inside-story-googles-unlikely-leap-cardboard-vr/and back again, and is only a new, new thing to me. To get one here….https://www.google.com/get/cardboard/

In this case, seeing really is believing.

Performance Anxiety

It seems I am still doing homework. When I was in  elementary school, my parents never went near my homework. They may have proofed some papers in high school, or noodled around with a math problem, but I was on my own if anything crafty surfaced. 

It’s a different matter these days, and I find myself manipulated with the line: “But, Mom, you’re an artist, you can do ANYTHING.” And off my ego and I go.

It started with a quick sketch in my calendar...

It started with a quick sketch in my calendar...

The fourth grade is studying ancient Eygpt  and its mythology.  Our son was assigned Seth, or Set, the God of chaos, and for those of you who do not know him, this was a good match. However, Seth has both a complicated personality, and visage.  He has a bright red jackal head with menacing devil eyes. 

In the beginning

In the beginning

If you need a blow by blow of Egyptian mythology, our son is your source.  If you want to talk for hours about anything random, bingo. If you need to know the nuances and differences between DC comics and Universal comic characters, he can take hours of your time. But building a jackal head from hell outfit?  Not so much. 

Getting in character

Getting in character

So I bought  paper mache mix and built an armature and got to work covering it and recovering until the whole thing weighed as much as Jay Defeo’s famous painting The Rose. It took days to dry.

It cracked when our son tried it on, and I cracked with it. I had crazy glue in odd places and I had several deadlines lurking in front of me, and spending hours mastering this new sculpting material was not what I had in mind. 

 I skulked and whined. I behaved like a three year old. I wrote a grumpy email to his teacher. My daughter snapped me back to attention: "Mom, you need to calm down, this is fourth grade we're talking about here. FOURTH GRADE. No one cares." 

And then I  started over. I rebuilt the armature and used old fashioned newspaper strips and methyl cellulose and came up with this.

The final product -- Seth's head.

The final product -- Seth's head.

It was fun, campy(our son added the blood smears on the teeth) and best of all, he was delighted and aced his presentation.

Egypt in Aspen

Egypt in Aspen

I hope I get an 'A,' but I'm nervous because one of the front teeth fell off......

 

Juan Felipe Herrera

"Not everybody wants to be looked at. Everybody wants to be seen." Amanda Palmer

Our son and Juan Felipe Herrera on stage at the Paepke Auditorium on the Aspen Institute campus. photo credit: Will Sardinsky

Our son and Juan Felipe Herrera on stage at the Paepke Auditorium on the Aspen Institute campus. photo credit: Will Sardinsky

Last week I took our children to hear our United States poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, who opened the Winter Words lecture series for our local literary organization, Aspen Words. Herrera is an outstanding speaker and a truly compassionate and gentle man. His poetry aligns with his mission -- to sweep those on the fringe back into the margins, back into our sight. Our son asked him a question during the Q and A, and not only did Herrera answer with good humor and sparkle, he also asked Duncan to join him onstage. He then asked our delighted son to repeat what Herrera’s 3rd grade teacher said to him:  “Juan, you have a beautiful voice.“ That simple sentence transformed Herrera’s life and launched him on his journey. Herrera did the same for our son, who is a dreamer and seeker in his own right, and was thrilled to be on stage with this amazing artist. When Herrera became our national poet laureate, he started the Casa de Colores: project as “ a house for all voices. In this house we will feed the hearth and heart of our communities with creativity and imagination. And we will stand together in times of struggle and joy.” https://www.loc.gov/poetry/casadecolores/

Herrera well understands that artists have the power to pull us in, to make us pause to see beyond the tiny scope of our lives. He invites us all to be activists, in a gentle and unrelenting way.  He wrote Poem by Poem for the victims of the Charleston church massacre last year.  Here is an excerpt:

"you have a poem to offer

it is made of action—you must

search for it run

outside and give your life to it

when you find it walk it

back—blow upon it

carry it taller than the city where you live"

May the world nurture more artists like Juan Felipe Herrera.

You can read more about Herrera here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/juan-felipe-herrera or listen to the NPR interview: http://www.npr.org/2015/09/16/437287870/from-mexico-kidnappings-to-eric-garner-hererra-writes-poetry-of-the-moment. 

And he does have a wonderful voice.


Flower Child

Just living is not enough....one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. Hans Christian Andersen

Papaver Orientalis -- The Mojo Garden

Papaver Orientalis -- The Mojo Garden

The gardening catalogues are clogging up our post box and I am daydreaming about my gardening future. I’m beginning to feel the earth move under my feet, even through a foot of snow. 

Lupine in the Mojo Garden

Lupine in the Mojo Garden

Conservation InternationaI's "I need nature" campaign is a household hit, and our kids love the celebrity takes on various "personalities" of our natural world.  The film shorts make a compelling reason for why we all should be conservationists.

Monarda in the Mojo Garden

Monarda in the Mojo Garden

My favorite features Lupita Nyongo and makes me long for my flowers, the Mojo Garden (our garden) and summer. You can find Lupita as flower below, but don’t miss PenelopeCruz as water either.

One World is Enough

I don’t believe in influence. I think that in order to be an artist, you have to move. When you stop moving, then you’re no longer an artist. And if you move from somebody else’s position, you simply cannot know the next step. I think that everyone is on his own line...I do believe we unfold out of ourselves, and we do what we are born to do sooner or later, anyway. Agnes Martin

Pablo Picasso at Museum of Modern Art

Recently, I was in my old hometown of New York.  Between meetings, I tucked into the Museum of Modern Art to see the Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock shows. Both artists are supernovas of the art world, and were worth the crowds, the jostling and the occasional surly guard. Both offered fresh visual surprises and inspiration. Looking at great art, and seeing splendid public art all around the city, rejuvenates me and makes me reflect on my artistic ambitions. My career designs are simpler than they used to be. Time in the studio is my biggest goal, and I no longer worry about being sanctioned by the “art world," since the art world is buffeted by several baffling currents. Among the most baffling: the staggering amount of private money pouring into public institutions, while public monies are declining. For example, the MOMA is poised to raise one billion dollars -- the expectation is that 75% percent of this amount will come from its own Board of Trustees. Other currents include a fascination with posturing, a craving for outlandish flourish, and exclusivity, that leaves the rest of us off kilter and alienated. In some art world venues, it is intimidating to ask questions or talk about the art while looking at a piece. I was discussing a show with a friend at our local museum, and the gallery guide kept inserting himself into our conversation, without invitation. He wanted to make sure we stuck to a scripted interpretation, and kept assuring us that we were looking at real “sophistication.” We retreated to lunch for privacy.

Jackson Pollock at Museum of Modern Art

Although I am represented by two small galleries, I know that representation is fickle and may shift. Age and motherhood have liberated me from craving certain approbations, and I now use the platform of social media to launch my own narrative and explore the work of other artists. The artist Amanda Palmer  wrote: “The ideal sweet spot is the one in which the artist can freely share their talents and directly feel the reverberations of their artistic gifts to their community. In other words, it works best when everybody feels seen. As artists, and as humans: If your fear is scarcity, the solution isn’t necessarily abundance.” I couldn’t agree more, and there is great peace when you finally get to this conclusion.

Mark Hadjipateras Subway Tile Art



November Giveaway:Bringing Potlatch Back

I have been rereading Lewis Hyde’s The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. It is so dense that I have to circle back every few years to refresh my memory. It takes some dedication, but the effort is worth it. In Hyde’s analysis of the currents surrounding creativity and art, he explores the notion of art as a form of gift giving.  He cites the Native American concept of a potlatch, where gift giving becomes a continual reciprocal exchange.  The giver and recipient switch roles, gifts moves back and forth without anxiety, ownership or one-upmanship.  According to Hyde, this approach deemphasizes commerce and preserves the original #generosity of spirit and #gratitude. To quote Walt Whitman: “The gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him—it cannot fail..”

In this spirit, and as a feeble push against the commercial frenzy of the season, I am launching my own #bringingpotlatchback giveaway. At last count I have 33 small prints that are languishing in a drawer, ready to find new homes.  

Starting today, I will be posting an image, or a detail, of each available print.  If you like what you see, follow these steps TO ENTER:

1. 👉🏼Follow me on Instagram here:
http://bit.ly/1GYwumJ

2. 👉🏼Using the hashtag #bringingpotlatchback, share a source of inspiration (PG please) in the comments section: play/poem/ book/phrase/bon mot/photograph/song/painting/sculpture/movie/you name it .

3. 👉🏼Tag a friend to play along with us. (use the @ symbol before your friend’s user name to tag them in the same comment section as your inspiration)

You are contributing to an inspiration “collective” for others to enjoy, especially me, while helping me expand my online community in the process.

In turn, I will enlist the help of a hat and a set of hands, and choose the 🎉winners each Friday in November.

4. I will message the winners and all you have to do is remember to convo me your address.

5. Wait for the mail.  

6. As each print edition runs out, I will start with the next one, until they are all gone.  So as each new print appears just repeat steps 1-4.  So here is a detail of the second print……….  Good luck and Happy Holiday Season!

Win this print starting November 16th, 2015!

Win this print starting November 16th, 2015!

Jody Guralnick

One of the advantages of being an artist is knowing scores of other artists and their work.  In this world of art world celebrity and high stakes collecting, many wonderful and established artists get overlooked.  From time to time, The Creative Rummage will feature some of my artistic community and today’s post is about my friend Jody Guralnick:  http://www.jodyguralnick.com.

The artist in her Aspen studio

The artist in her Aspen studio

I love visiting other artist's homes and studios.  Visual artists well understand the seduction of detail, whimsy and surprise, and almost always bring those skills into play in their home interiors.  Our friends Jody and Michael are no exception and have a wonderful aesthetic.  She is a lush and facile painter; he is an architect and photographer. Jody and I share a passion for botany and the natural world, except she is much more fluent in wildflower identification and more disciplined about invoking proper Latin terminology. 

She collects botanic quirk at every opportunity and pours that inspiration into her paintings and ceramics.  The fusilli pasta like form second to left was a piece of old seaweed she spirited away from a distant shore on Cumberland Island, Georgia on our last visit.  I don't remember how she got it home -- the smell was, er, pungent.  I was on a separate flight. Mercifully.

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           Every studio needs a mascot, an old, comfortable couch and piles of stacked books.

           Every studio needs a mascot, an old, comfortable couch and piles of stacked books.