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Jul 14, 2017

The Allure of Shipping Tags



I am not sure why shipping tags are so visually appealling but I decided to make a book centered around them, here's a couple prototypes in-progress. My vision is that they will be little photo books but the photos will be on shipping tags one can pull out to look at in their entirety.



My latest effort to make more time for artistic endeavors has been a one-week-on, one-week-off approach. I'm not very good at following schedules so for a week I spend all my free-time making art and writing. The next week I make fun, exercise, errands and socializing the priority. It's been working pretty well. This week I have not been doing either because my dad is in the hospital but that certainly deserves the time devoted to it.


In other news I got to hang a couple of my Nature Saint paintings in the Neville Building on Samaritan's campus.

Studio Holiday

getting ready for a workshop


Today is the fourth of July. This is not my favorite holiday. I don't get excited about fireworks or potato salad. I don't drink beer or soda pop. I do love my country but I feel ingenuine celebrating our independence from Britain when we are not exactly granting all our citizens their own freedom within this democracy.

I'm not good at debates or providing sources but I see so much evidence that our free market economy has been legislated into siphon that is creating a lot of poverty and struggle while making just a few people rich. Why are banks allowed to make money loaning money they believe they will have one day? Can you do that? I sure can't but it sounds nice especially if the gov is going to bail you out when you make a mistake.

Why are corporations beholden to make a profit for their shareholders but it's OK for them to pay their workers so little they have to apply for public assistance? Why does our justice system fail so blatantly to protect the rights and lives of minorities as equal to whites? I have only scratched the surface but those are the kinds of questions that make it hard for me to be patriotic even while living in a country that I love and feel extremely grateful to be a part of.

I have a four day weekend because of the holiday and I decided to spend it in my studio. During my normal work weeks—being a dutiful element of the siphon, providing a means for insurance and pharmaceutical companies to make a ton of money off people's health issues—I think about how I want to be creating. I look at my accrued PTO and dream of taking a week off to just to work on art and then I think about how I also need an actual vacation to enjoy my human-self and I feel a little discouraged.

Clearly I am fortunate that this is the worst problem occupying my personal sphere besides a large pile student loan debt and indigestion so I decided that on this weekend I could spend 3 days in the studio and still have one day off for relaxing. It was glorious, these last three days. I finished and illustrated a poem, started a couple new paintings, sketched at Jackson-Frazier Wetlands, got ready for my next Artscare class, worked on a couple writing pieces, learned how to use a new tripod attachment so I can get better photos of the paintings I want to reproduce.

I don't want it to stop but I know I need to spend time relaxing and tending to life outside the studio or I will get burned out. I think its very misguided when people have this romantic idea that creative people only care about their work and don't let mundane life in the way. That is one of those ideas society pretends is true to maintain control. If you can keep artists from enjoying their humanity and other humans from enjoying their creativity there will be little visionary art that inspires change.

There is no one right path for creative work. Anyone who touts an adage of a true artist...blah blah blah is full of hot air. We don't need to maintain this siphon that gives a few creatives status and promotes this insidious idea that others shouldn't try, that what they make isn't worth while. We need people engaged in life to talk about that life creatively.

Most of the artists I know are over this stereotype and have fairly balanced lives. I still meet lots of people who feel they couldn't possibly be artists, or performers or writers though. If you are one of them I invite you to try a new way to express yourself and trust that you have things of great value to share.

Jul 2, 2017

Poem: Migrations.































This evening is larger than my thoughts,
possibility buzzes in each shadow
as if trees are swapping molecules with the street
in the moment between a summer day and a rain storm
when the wind feels like thunder.

I am riding my bike down the back streets toward home
 after a presentation about butterflies at the library.
About how humans, in all their folly, can restore things.
About inmates tending to rare flower plantings or caterpillars —
how they cherish it.

Imprisonment is its own tragedy,
each heart in its trajectory—trying to live,
to right poverty or subjugation—
can loose its place of rest
like the dwindling monarchs.

But to learn how the human heart longs
so much
to tend to something precious,
to be tender in the harshest circumstance —
this is everything.

On my bike in the shifty dusk
all my plans are gone,
none so precious as this choice
to tend to the quiet in the wind,
my feet pedaling, the gray street.



























Butterfly lecture by the Institutefor Applied Ecology which is involved with many ecological restoration projects involving men and women inmates.

Did you know that 1 in 100 Americans are incarcerated and only about half of the people in prisons committed violent crimes? Bill Moyers has some excellent articles about this problem.