Are You Giving Your Power Away?

Recently I had posed a question on Facebook to engage a bit of conversation. The question was, “Why does there always seem to be a struggle ClickHandlerbetween knowledge and power?” – ie: why can’t these two play nicely with each other?

I find that these two entities play a role in every aspect of life, relationships being the most prevalent, but at the moment we are seeing them play out a tragic Shakespearean drama all around us (Richard the Third anyone?).

Yes, there is the argument that knowledge IS power but that is not always the case, am I right? I think we’re seeing that all over the place these days.

Having always been a strong and independent minded woman, I regularly pursue knowledge in all its forms. I love learning new things no matter what the subject matter.  Unfortunately, in the world we live in, people don’t welcome the independent, strong woman as readily as they do a strong, independent man. I have the knowledge but not the power, though I do acknowledge that we all give away our power in varying amounts and don’t recognize how much power we each carry innately.  How do we balance out our knowledge vs. power? I find that I can gain a bit of power by acting a bit more demurely but then I am sacrificing part of myself as the cost for that power.  I see women doing this every day, no, multiple times a day every day.  When can we stop doing this because it’s going to take some of us a long time to get out of the habit of having to conceal our true selves. Time table? Anyone?….

NYC – Not Gotham, the Emerald City, Right?

So, just spent another glorious weekend in NYC. My goodness, how rejuvenated I feel after an art infused weekend there. All of my stresses sort

The Front Page on Broadway

The Front Page on Broadway

themselves out and become strengths again. So fabulous!

Let’s see. Got in a ticket at a short, two week run of The Front Page with John Slattery (could he be more silvery and foxy?), Nathan Lane (stole the show, he’s magic on stage), John Goodman (so great to see him in person), as well as names you know, but you don’t know, you know? – Holland Taylor, Jefferson Mays and lovely Robert Morse (could there be more Mad Men in this production?). I feel so blessed and honored to have seen this crew in this particular production. I’ve seen The Front Page before but the chaos this crew created was so much fun! Thanks to all for a wonderful night!

The best name of show ever!

The best name of show ever!

Earlier in the day, spent some time at MoMA, as I tend to do, and saw the Francis Picabia retrospective – so great. I’m definitely partial to his later work but I had just come in from the women’s march and, as you can see, the title of the show was as apropos as can be.

Later in the weekend I made my way over to the Kerry James Marshall show, Mastry, at the MET Breuer because I had heard such amazing things about it, including that it was “mind blowing”. That it was.

There was so much to see in each painting that I could have probably sat and looked at each one for an hour. Marshall

Still Life with Wedding Portrait, Kerry James Marshall

Still Life with Wedding Portrait, Kerry James Marshall

has essentially put black people’s culture and experience back into western painting. Seeing this show makes you hit your forehead and realize how much of the American experience has been missing from every other show you’ve seen. He was born before the civil rights act was in place and so has seen the gamut of this experience in relation to being visible and invisible and whether a person of color would want to be each or not in a specific situation.

I was so enthralled by Marshall’s work that I completely forgot that I hadn’t really eaten all day and was a mess, but pressed on to finish the show before the museum closed. I don’t do that for just anyone. This was special.

I wouldn’t miss this if I were you. Go, go, go….

 

 

Have You Heard of the New Intimists?

So, a new movement has been stirring in the painting world. I guess you could call it a mini-movement but a movement none-the-less.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Nwantinti, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, 2012

This movement is being called the new Intimists, coming after the older Intimist movement consisting of a group of late 19th and early 20th century artists that included Jean-Edouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard.  The paintings from the original Intimist movement consisted of intimate portraits of people together, in physically compromising situations, various stages of undress and close studies of specific parts of the body (not there!…well, sometimes there…).

New Intimists, originating in New York City, consist of artists such as Akunyili Crosby and Shara Hughes who are looking to bring intimacy and personal experiences into their work in an honest way – being able to feel the painter, the touch and the closeness behind the work.

I find this interesting as, many of you who follow my work know, I am working on an art app – yes, a phone application – that continues in the footsteps of All the Bandages, which was the first project under the heading of Social Acupuncture/Social Meditation.  These projects all work on the premise of promoting compassion and empathy to create a clear path to community and kinder living – in other words – think different for a better world. Don’t we need that right now? Does that make me a new Intimist? Is this a painting only movement or can installation/sculptors play too?

ClickHandlerI will be slowly releasing more information on the new app called, All the Pardons, in the coming months and will need help launching it as I plan on holding a Kickstarter campaign to help fund it. In the meantime, I am leaking information about it through my Twitter and Facebook pages, if you’d like to follow along. Also, you can email me through my website, if you’d like to be added to my mailing list (or above on the right there). I send something out several times a year with an update on where I am with different projects.

Kickstarter campaigns are great as they can fund a large project with the majority of supporters donating only a dollar or two.  When I went to the site to begin researching other Kickstarter campaigns, I fell in love with a few and threw a few dollars their way without any intention to do so in the first place. They are fun! It is where the future inventions of the world are coming from and I LOVE creative thinking so it energizes me. Check it out.

Have You Seen These Two Brilliant Films Yet?

I have seen several amazing films so far this Oscar season and I haven’t even seen La La Land yet. As a former film student, that is very exciting! Not every year is this strong.

Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea

So, the two standouts so far (even though Arrival was so wonderful with it’s 2001 references) have been Manchester by the Sea, a devastating film about people’s damage and their ability or inability to recover and forgive themselves for mistakes they’ve made.

The performances are so amazingly real while the script portrays true reactions to one of life’s unimaginable tragedies. People don’t often rally and live happily ever after, as Hollywood would often like us to believe. They often shut down and break down, resembling the walking dead, hardly showing any life at all. I see them out in the world every day. I don’t know what they’ve been through, but like the woman who I encountered on the T the morning that resulted in the creation of All the Bandages, they are hurting, and functioning…barely.

Paterson

Paterson

So, the second film I saw that I am still thinking about over a week later is Paterson. It stars Adam Driver and is a very simply complex film filled with patterns. Literal patterns, personality patterns, similarities in people and things, the patterns of daily routine life, and twins. This is such a beautiful film about loving the simple pleasures in life and really appreciating them – encouraging us to value the people in our lives and treat them with care and delicacy to nurture the relationships and the thoughts we have about them.

Paterson, the lead character’s name and the name of the town he was born and lives in (another duplicate item), is an army vet and bus driver and, I would assume, served in Iraq but it’s never discussed. There are many allusions to it from the way he folds his clothes to the way he disarms a desperate man who holds a gun in a bar, yet is startled and disturbed at what has just occurred. Paterson just wants a simple and uneventful life, the opposite of where he’s been. It reminds us that we are surrounded by army vets more and more as we rack up years of the longest ever running wars and damage is left with each of them.

We appreciate, or don’t even think, of the sacrifices that these people are making for us and our country yet we hear that they aren’t taken care of properly and often live with debilitating physical and mental scars for the rest of their lives. More reasons to be kind to strangers we meet who we don’t understand or don’t act the way we think they should.

What Are Your Stories?

This week I finally saw the amazing Sarah Polley directed film, Stories We Tell, from 2012.  What an amazing film!

Stories We Tell

Stories We Tell

This film seems to have come together organically, over time, from a feeling, an inkling, that was jokingly referred to over the years in her family, that Sarah Polley herself may not be her father’s child.  I will not reveal any more than that but this film is done in the most unique and unusual way. A way that is new for documentaries and new for story telling. The film considers every possible angle of the stories families tell each other, and ourselves, and wonders whether we ever really know the truth, and each other, at all.

It’s amazing how many times I felt thrown for a loop during the course of the film. Polley is a filmmaker in a realm all her own. She’s one of those unusual, pure artists who listens to the muse deep inside her and follows it blindly, trusting that it will lead her to truth and beauty. It does.

The joy that this film brought me, as all good art does, was mirrored Monday morning as I took my 3 year old niece, Rayna, for her first trip to the Museum of Fine Arts. I could feel her hesitation as she entered the monolithic building that dwarfed her, but soon, she relaxed and started darting from work to work. She ran up to a giant painting done by John Singleton Copley and said, “That looks like Paul Revere.”, which shocked me, as it did indeed look like Paul Revere. What most interested me though was her attraction to a video installation by artist, Polly Chang, called Melons.  This was a feminist piece on expectations she felt were expected of her as a woman on her own and within her family. She wore a thick nursing bra which was stuffed, each side, with a half melon facing out. As she spoke, she cut the front of the bra off with a knife and proceeded to eat the melon with a spoon. Rayna loved this and wanted to watch the video loop over and over and later repeated exactly what she saw for her father. A feminist at 3. We need her.

Bye 2016… Will You Miss It?

Bye Bye 2016

Bye Bye 2016

The end of 2016 is nigh and I have yet to talk to anyone who will miss it.

All the Bandages Installation allthebandages.com

All the Bandages Installation allthebandages.com

As some of you know, I’ve had a particularly hard year (two years really), with scammers plaguing my family, sickness and care taking of my parents consuming my time, hospital errors and bad treatment making it worse, my father eventually dying, a few friends turning out to be quite the opposite, and time for art being as scarce as kindness on the internet.

Well, this year will be different. It has already begun. As many of you have seen, my All the Bandages project, which is the first project under the heading of Social Acupuncture/Social Meditation has been officially launched as a virtual installation.  The next step will be some adjustments to my website that will make it so much more user and visually friendly.

The next exciting announcement is an app I’m working on which will serve as the second project under the SASM heading. More info to come but I consider it an art app that also encourages empathy and compassion. All of these projects will be pushing our thoughts in that general direction – please come with me.

One of my last thoughts comes from a story I heard on NPR this week about how the Earth, as all scientists know, will end at some point. The argument is whether it will freeze or burn. They explained how the Earth would most likely freeze and all particles will be isolated and alone….then saying, “But, cheer up! Ending with fire is still possible.” Ha! Interesting analogy….

I will end this post with a list of gratitude as, I believe, this is the best way to deal with such a negative time and space. Ready?

~I am grateful for all of the old friends who have come back into my life in new and meaningful ways ~The new friends who are so supportive of me and helpful in ways I can and cannot explain ~My old and new projects and the excitement behind them ~My ability to be creative again (when I thought I’d lost it) ~My family who is always there and loves me ~All of the amazing art in the world that inspires me ~My daily safety ~My access to great food and things that make me comfortable ~My love of film and that there are so many great ones out there for me to see this year ~That I have a sense of humor to see me through all of the good and the bad ~My thanks to all of you who read this blog and who may read it in the future, my love to you to bring you into the new year (leave a comment for me, yes?)

 

 

Want to Add Your Bandages to My Bandages?

Hello lovely readers!

All the Bandages

All the Bandages

I am excited to announce the official launch, well, technically last week, but who’s counting…of my All the Bandages online installation website!

All the Bandages is the first project under my Social Acupuncture/Social Meditation heading. I’ve installed the piece several times so far, to great response, but this is the translation into virtual land. I thought that the piece would adapt well into a virtual version, and so it has!

Here is a little background on the piece and a video I did explaining how the piece came together.

The custom T-shirts you see here you represent the individuals in the world who you pass every day. You may be one of them, in fact, I’m sure you are one of them, as am I. We all have internal scars and baggage which makes us who we are. So, what if we could see this damage on everyone as they pass us in the street? What if you were looking at this evidence of pain as someone said something rude to you or pushed in front of you? Would you react to them differently?

Each of these T-shirts is original and represents an individual. Each “bandage” sewn on with “scar tissue” stitches, represents a life and the struggle that person has overcome to continue on, wearing their baggage on the outside. Interested in wearing a piece of art in your everyday life? Be part of the installation…

Consider buying a shirt for yourself or someone else for the holidays, or any other time for that matter. Imagine….if we all wore a shirt and remembered to be kind and patient with one another….it would be a different world…..www.allthebandages.com

buy-now1

Does Everyone Know About Us….?

So, short post this week.

Bostonians

Bostonians

I wanted to add a last observation from Cleveland land.  I took an Uber to pick up my rental car and had a long talk with the driver along the way.  Drivers are so much more friendly in Cleveland than Boston (who’s shocked?) and they provide snacks and water for us patrons, giving us the royal treatment.

Well, my driver was from Russia originally and has lived in more places in the US than I have. He has also pontificated on people and living in these various places. That being the case, he started telling me all about how unfriendly Bostonians are (again, who’s shocked?) and how he had heard about their legendary unfriendliness before he even came to the States. Wait. Really? Wow. Sad. #SASM #SocialAcupunctureSocialMeditation

Socrates and What Have You Noticed Lately?

I’m contemplating my past.  Where you’ve been reflects where you’re going.

Dear Old Dad

Being with my parents, watching the damage done from my mother’s stroke, and the very slow healing thereafter, makes one reflect on these things. She’s doing much better but, still, patience is important to keep on the forefront of one’s thoughts.

This situation has made me much more observant (for anyone reading this who knows me, I think this officially makes being observant my super power).  Hence, I’ve been moving around the suburbs of Cleveland feeling like I can see through everything.

Here’s the first comic observance.  My sweet little old Dad (the “sweet” is intricately tied to “old”), who now shuffles as a style of walking, looks uncannily like Charlie Chaplin – really seriously, he does.  I have to repeatedly stop myself from chuckling as I walk on ahead, then turn around and wait for him to catch up.  You must understand, I LOVE the Little Tramp (we’re talking about Charlie now, not my Dad, though I’m rather fond of him too) and, being a film major originally, have seen just about all of Chaplin’s early films as the Little Tramp. So, it’s fun to now be related to him.

Ok, next, quick trip to the grocery store and I see a flock (they come in a flock, don’t they?) of catholic school girls in their little short skirts.  Ok, um, who decided that 14-16 year old hormonal girls should wear skirts that barely cover their, excuse me, short hairs?  Does anyone else see the root of problems waiting (and have repeatedly, I’m sure) to happen? Does anyone see a pattern here?

socratesLastly, according to Socrates, my life is worth living because I so regularly examine it.  Sometimes I could give him a good argument on that one but most of the time I agree. Dealing with aging and death, life these days is mostly about coming to terms with our mortality through those around us (I have so many friends dealing with these same issues).  I think the reason that Socrates would say such a thing in the first place is because, without examination we can’t improve and grow as people – and that, my friends, is my proudest accomplishment.

#SocialAcupuncture/SocialMeditation #SASM

Life Is Hard….So Who Are You Grateful For?

So, this is a hard one.

Rock

Mom

I am a very independent and a generally happy person, but life has intervened.  I usually like all of the ups and downs life brings. It’s a challenge and I think of it as a test of my character as to whether I can be the best person I can be through whatever life (let’s call her Josephine) throws at me.  My meaning is not just keeping my head above water, my meaning is to take care of others that I care about along the way too, making sure I’m not just thinking of myself (successful or not).

Well, this one has hit me at bone level.

My mother, my best friend, has had a stroke and, though she’s doing ok, I am shaken to the core. She is the one who believes in me, who thinks I can do anything, who adores me, who I can talk to about anything.

BeautifulMusical

Beautiful the Musical

This week I went to see the musical Beautiful, about Carol King.  It was fabulous. I think I was the only one crying intermittently through the whole thing though (it was really good but not sad and not a crying level of art).  She had a difficult but supportive relationship with her mother, but I don’t. Mine is really good.  I mean, she has her flaws and I have mine, but she is just about the best mother one could ask for.

My mother gave me the freedom to be whatever I wanted to be. She told me once that if she could be anyone in the world, she would want to be me (seriously, I couldn’t make that up, right?). Sniff. Josephine, stop it already!

Yesterday, when she was struggling to talk from her hospital bed, she said (about a professional skill building trip I just got back from) I was thinking about your trip all last night and this morning and I feel badly that you didn’t get everything you had hoped out of it, but I know you will find it somewhere.  Ok, am I the luckiest person in the world or what?

Besides any talent that the universe has deemed to give me, she is the reason I’m an artist. She is the creative personality who taught me to think differently and be myself. Who are you grateful for?