Friday, September 30, 2011
September has come and gone by way too swiftly. Things are in full swing at work/school and the extra-curricular duties and demands seem to be piling up lately. Still, I've been making the time to work on art, as I continue to pursue work on a comic book story, a grad-level painting class, and of course the daily Splotch Monster. This is simply a need I refuse to ignore, as much as I feel I neglect my creative side more often than not. I'm more exited than ever with the Splotch Monsters and they seem to have taken somewhat of a different turn since I started working in strictly black and white for over a week now. I've tried to keep things fresh this month, trying out some slightly different approaches, angles and formats, always balancing spontaneity and chance with some control and precision. I like to call it serious fun, and while many of these could very well hold their own, I like to view this ongoing project as the sum being greater than the parts - an ever-growing, constantly mutating work in progress . I've been greatly inspired by reading "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life" by Dr. Wayne Dyer, as well as some various translations of Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching. Two, in particular stood out to me from the S. Mitchell translation, including verse 41 which says "The greatest wisdom seems childish" and "The greatest art seems unsophisticated" (it accidentally said "are" instead of "art", which most other translations say in 41), and verse 45 stating how "True art seems artless". When making these monsters, I try not to think too much at all. I just do them. Still, some are born far easier than others. When I'm having trouble or if a shadow of doubt sets in, I've found verses 41 and 45 to be of great help. I think I might explore this black and white approach a little bit more, going into October now.
Monday, September 19, 2011
"Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment" - Jalal ad-Din Rumi, poet
Over the weekend Kris and I headed out to NYC to catch the I Can Do It conference, hosted by Hay House publishing group. It was somewhat of a last minute decision, and Kris and I have been saying for a while that if Dr. Wayne Dyer (above photo) and Louise Hay (see below) came around within reasonable vicinity, we're there, without hesitation. It's a good thing my wife has Facebook (which you can't pay me to join), 'cause we might not have known about this amazing event.
Kris heard about the work of Louise Hay through a friend back in Trinidad, during a time when she was going through some rough patches in her life. Shortly after, when Kris first visited me in the states, we found Louise's groundbreaking book "You Can Heal Your Life" at a nearby yard sale for fifty cents. It turned out to be a hugely inspirational read for both of us, this manifesto on the power of positive thinking. When the book was first published, there was barely a thing out there about this kind of stuff, even remotely. While it seems like everyone is getting on the bandwagon with this kind of thing (which is not necessarily a bad thing at all), it's still very much a rare and even alien notion for most people that you can actually change your life for the better simply by the way you think about yourself and others. In the wrong hands, this can seem like total fluff or come off as incredibly corny subject matter, however, both Hay and Dyer have been through some truly hellish times and consciously made a choice and concerted effort to overcome these situations in life and experience their lives at their highest potential. These guys are the real deal, and the emphasis is on the word "choice".
Unfortunately we weren't able to catch the event in it's entirety, but were able to see, in addition to Hay and Dyer, Marianne Williamson speak at the conference, whose work I'm looking forward to checking out more now, after her presentation, as well as the ever-fascinating Gregg Braden at a special, free screening of two new Hay House-related movies at the Director's Guild, which I'm not supposed to blog about right now (so, I certainly won't).
Kris and I are still in awe that we got to see and hear Dyer in person, finally. We've read some of his books, seen him on film, and listen to his Monday night internet radio show, but to hear him in person took it to a whole other level. I think that was the general consensus for most in attendance that weekend as well. I found out about Dyer from some very insightful interview footage on the You Can Heal Your Life film and ended up checking out The Shift on DVD. This led me to reading his amazing book, Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life , where Dyer lived an entire year based on the ancient wisdom of Lao-tzu's texts from the poetic and deeply profound Tao Te Ching. What I love about Dyer, without watering down what could be some potentially heavy and heady subject matter, is that he is able to bring concepts regarding spirituality, ego, and existence down to earth for everyday people to relate to and apply. And when he speaks about his life experiences, both ordinary and incredibly extraordinary, he can be damn funny! What I've only recently gleaned from Dyer's work is his writings on the destructive power of indulgence in the ego and its negative, degenerative effect on both the individual and the world when not kept in check, replacing intentions from the heart.
It's difficult to put into words how worth the while our visit to New York was, to attend this event. At a time when so many sources, both on a personal level, and media-based bombard our collective consciousness with big, stinking heaps of doom, gloom, pessimism, social polarization and negativity, it's good to know there are real, intelligent and positive solutions and sources of light out there willing to help and show us the alternatives, if we choose to accept them. And again, the emphasis is on choice, which is that simple. In about a year, Kris and I will be looking forward to being in the same company, next time, in our own back yard in Washington, DC. Hope you can make it there too!
On a final note, I want to thank the kind soul who gave Kris and I, and a couple of others free passes (worth quite a bit of money), upgrading our seating to nearly the front of the auditorium. Again, huge, huge thanks, whoever you are! In the meantime, below is an interview I absolutely love with Dyer, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. It's well worth the nine minutes of your time! :)
Monday, September 5, 2011
These are my five favorites from August, excluding the Splotch Monster Medley for the "Wish You Were Here" show in London. Since there were fifteen monsters in that medley, monster-making has been on a two-week plus hiatus, which worked out well with getting back into the school/teacher groove, as well as taking on a few other current projects. In the meantime, once again I'll start posting new ones at the Splotch Monster blog, so stay tuned!