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...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Friday, August 31, 2012

May You Laugh Until You Cry

I can count on one hand the number of times in the past few years that I've found something so funny that I laughed until I cried.  There is a Native American teaching that says that laughing and crying are the best ways to cleanse the soul.  To me, it sounds like good medicine for clearing out the old muck and getting energy moving.

But finding something cry worthy (from a laugh stand point I mean) is not that simple or easy.  It's almost as infrequent as a blue moon! (Sorry, had to get that in there since there is a blue moon today--two full moons in one month--not rare, but certainly uncommon, according to Wikipedia!)

Yes, there is funny stuff on the telly, there is medium funny stuff in magazines, there are cartoons that get a har har or a guffaw.  But finding something that makes me laugh uncontrollably until a giggle becomes a tee-hee-hee and then goes beyond the tee-hee-hee stage to just all out roar...that is a truly challenging task.

The other night I was again watching a TEDTalks show.  It featured Roger Ebert on it.  You know, the movie critic that used to do the two thumbs up or down show with his buddy.  Well, Mr. Ebert has suffered a terrible recurrence of cancer that caused him to lose his throat and jaw.  He is rendered unable to talk.  Instead he synthesized his talk on a PC.  The technical part of this was quite fascinating in and of itself.  Watch for yourself....

Okay.  None of that is the funny part.  In fact, it is heart-wrenching.    I especially was moved by his lovely wife and her clear expression of love and devotion for him.

I have to thank Mr. Ebert because during his talk he mentioned a blog called the Smart Ass Cripple.  I know how cringe-worthy that title is.  He mentioned it because he said it makes him laugh and I thought that anything that could make a man who lost half his face and his ability to speak laugh must be worth a peek.  And after exploring the blog a little, I've come to the conclusion that the man who writes it is quite clearly very level headed and...maybe a wee bit brilliant!

Truth be told, I really needed a good laugh.  I point you now in the direction of Cruz Roja as a case in point.  I decided to read it aloud to my significant other and as I read, I laughed harder and harder--the imagery was so vivid in the scenes he portrayed.  Before long I could not read aloud any more because my giggles had turned to tee-hee-hees and the tee-hee-hees had turned to a roar.  The tears came unbidden and poured down my face.  I couldn't stop laughing.  It was truly uncontrollable.  And it felt soooo good.  Indescribable.

I have to admit...it is sort of becoming my guilty pleasure.  I treated myself the other night to read some past blogs and didn't have to go far before the tears started flowing as a result of Cripple Sports I'd Pay to Watch.  The writer is himself crippled/handicapped or at least confined to a wheelchair so to me his moniker, "expressing pain through sarcasm since 2010" seems a completely accurate description of what to expect from the blog. 

Not only does this blog bring laughter, but also, in my opinion, education and awareness of the experience of being handicapped. Perhaps it will even bring about some form of social change.  I am not a cruel person. I am actually too tender hearted most times.  I empathize over the situations but I cannot help myself that the descriptions elicit laughs galore.

I'm going back for another does of the Smart Ass Cripple now.  I've had a rough day and I need some endorphins.  And a different perspective.  Tomorrow, I'll be like a clean slate and my creative energy will have returned with a vengeance so I can work on my eBook, create some jewelry, and maybe even feel strong enough to continue working on that pesky website.  I've got my hanky ready (yes, I still carry a lovely vintage hanky) and I'm set to tee-hee-hee.  I'm goin' in.  Hope you'll join me.  Have a Happy Smart Ass Day whether you're able bodied or not.  I hope you laugh until you cry!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Ripe Moment

Okay, this might seem a little awkward at first.  Just…relax.  It doesn’t mean you are “crazy,” or “off your nut,” or need psychiatric care (of course, I’m not saying that you aren’t or don’t either!)…

Picture this.  You are zooming along in the art studio.  Making great strides toward completion.  Picking the right colors, the right brushes, making the right marks, adding the right touches, combining the right materials…whatever the case may be, you’re on a roll.

And then, just like a water well gone dry…your energy on the project disappears.  You get bored.  Maybe you stop to take a coffee break or even a nap.  Maybe your eyes glaze over when you think about working on the project and your brain gets fuzzy.  All of these are the perfect symptoms indicative of “A Ripe Moment.”
A Ripe Moment is that place in time and space where a convergence occurs and there is an opportunity to proceed and complete the project.  A Ripe Moment, despite its name, can last for as long as it takes for you to get it that it is A Ripe Moment. 

What do you do when you realize it is A Ripe Moment?

Ask questions.  This is where the partly bonkers stuff comes into play, because you are going to either be talking to yourself, or to your artwork, and no other.

question marks

Ask yourself questions about the work.  For the sake of this blog entry, we’ll refer to painting—with the understanding that this could apply to every medium and technique. 

Such questions might be:  what color would I like to use now?  What brush feels good in my hand?  If I could paint (or put) any subject matter into this, what would I add?  Was there anything that I thought about doing to it but didn’t?  Continue to ask questions that require something more than a yes/no answer until you find your energy for the project restored and can again work on it.


If, as once in a while may happen, you cannot either think of any questions to ask yourself or you aren’t getting any answers that move you to that place where you can work again, begin asking the work questions.  Okay…you’re going to have to use your artist’s imagination here and pretend that the artwork is actually answering you. 

Questions to ask the artwork might be:  What color would you like to have next?  What color would you like more of?  Is there something I need to add that I haven’t?  Is it okay if you turn out “ugly”?  If you were going to hang at any gallery or museum, where would you want to be?  What would get you there?

In the long run, A Ripe Moment is a turning point.  It can be ignored, procrastinated or stopped in its tracks.  Sooner or later, if you wish to return to creating, A Ripe Moment must be embraced. 

May you receive happy answers and stay out of the Looney bin.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Future is Rosy…or is it?

Magazines are tactilely delightful.  They feature glossy pages, bright colors, and advertisements for new stuff I might not have known I needed otherwise.  In between all that, there are sometimes articles we like to read and pictures at which we like to look.


A favorite magazine I like to check out is the bimonthly called The Futurist.  I get it for the articles.  Really!  What an interesting magazine.  Full of all sorts of ideas and inventions that may someday become real and life changing. Fascinating.  Get a little peek at trends for the future, find out why we won’t have any more car crashes, or discover how to overcome the curse of the infrastructure

I’ve been intrigued with the Futurist ever since I heard a gentleman talk about the future of technology during a leadership seminar back in 1998 in Washington DC.  He was telling us about a little hand held device that had a fruity name that would enable us to make telephone calls, keep our contacts straight, provide a method for sending email and much more.  It seemed like pleasant fiction for me since I was trying to figure out how to get a larger purse that could handle my PDA and a charger, my cell phone (and charger), my IPOD (and my charger...), my camera (you get the picture?), etc. and not entice muggers on the Metro.  Then a year later it actually was out and on the market.


Why does this matter to an artist?  For me, besides the fact that I’m generally quite curious about the world.  I am also interested in the creative endeavors of others.  Reading about upcoming technology and thinking of the future stirs my creativity up and makes me wonder what I can do today that might survive into the future.  I might not have the scientific or technical skills, but I’ve never yet come away from reading about potential futures without being awed and inspired.  I recommend it if you feel you are in a rut.  A rut is no place to be.  I’d rather be back in the future.


Whatever we are thinking about right now, is creating the future.  Whatever we are living right now, is a result of the past.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Read a Book

Short and sweet.  Sometimes, the fastest way to jump start creativity is to read a book. Yes, it could be any book.  Sometimes the mind needs relaxation.  For me, at least, reading is a very relaxing activity.

But if you want an even quicker jump start, let me suggest some reading materials in no particular order:

1.  The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron (getting to be a creator classic)

2.  Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie

3.  The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

4.  The Bodacious Book of Succulence by SARK

5.  The Crafter's Devotional by Barbara Call

6.  Creative Sparks by Jim Krause

7.  Caffeine for the Creative Mind by Stefan Mumaw

8.  The Guerilla Art Kit by Keri Smith

9.  Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg

10.  Change Your Life Without Getting Out of Bed by SARK

Yes, I've read all 10 of these books.  I regularly refer back to some of them.  Several of them have been read by me at least three times. Of course, you can always pick up a book pertaining to your preferred medium(s) or autobiographies/biographies about other artists.

The more we expand our brains, force our synapses to function and make connections, it is my belief that we will be not only healthier and more mentally alert, but more creative.*(I'm not a doctor so my opinion may or may not hold water in a lab test.)

If you can read this, get a book!

Friday, August 24, 2012

How the Studio's Coming Along...


It's been quite hot and humid.  And raining like we're in a rain forest.  I've never seen rain come down so thick. I only have a very small air conditioner and a fan in my studio.  I get too hot and sweaty if I stay out there long. (I know, hot and sweaty seem to be a warm or hot glass artist's mantra.)

In fact, I've felt the driving need to avoid making more art so that I could get class proposals and marketing materials in place, update that pesky website, take pictures of my art and jewelry and get it on Etsy, Ebay, Bonanza, Facebook, and Tophatter--all of which takes an enormous amount of time, not to mention trying to blog every day (business day).

Man am I organized or what???
So, the progress on the studio has sort of ground to a halt.  I was doing pretty good during July even though I could only spend a couple hours out there...I have a table set up up, my kilns are in place, the shelves are up and stuff is on them, the cabinets are mostly organized.  And I've even made some enamel jewelry that I was preparing for an upcoming magazine article (in September).

Still have small glass to unpack and "file" in the cabinets.
Part of the concern is that...I have a lot of artwork.  And I have a lot of art supplies.  Since I work in many mediums, depending on what strikes my imagination, I have different areas set up to house different types of artwork supplies. I admit.  I'm a little overwhelmed since my studio space is quite a bit smaller than what I had for the past year and it isn't "finished" in terms of walls, insulation and flooring--so I hesitate to get everything in place when I know I'll eventually be moving it to finish the space out.

Is that a clear counter I see down there?

And clean floor...mostly.
And shelves with lots of stuff and a table...

Did I mention how loud it gets when it rains?  Or the enormous spiders?  or the regular visits from frogs??  As if I don't have enough distractions as it is.
Ginormous spiders that hide in boxes.
Frogs that fall on my head when I open the door.

I have classes I'm scheduling starting in October which will be meeting in the studio, so "finished" or not, I have to finish organizing and setting it up so that it is usable art space.  September is my month to get back in there and get it straightened up the rest of the way.  It will start to be cooler, and I've got that goal of October in the back of my head.

"Mostly" unpacked.  Still a ways to go.  And MUST do
something about that awful bare and glaring light bulb.
Soooo, that's the status update.  May you have a happy weekend and not have any frogs or spiders fall on your head.  See you next week.  P.S.  If you're bored or have money burning a hole in your pocket, stop and shop.

(c) SZing, 2012 all photos and text..  All rights reserved.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Do a Little Image Search

My website update is going slow.  I worked diligently on it for two nights, only to have some whacko glitch occur that caused my files to all be corrupted and blah, blah, blah….as a result of technology hampering me in the extreme these past few months (I have lost count of how many technology related difficulties I’ve run into), there comes a time when a body, or at least a brain, just doesn’t seem to have an iota of creativity left to it.  I’m there.

My brain. Fried from technology glitches and being
put on eternal hold with the help desk.

Unfortunately, I have a little project that I need to finish by Friday.  And I’ve got no good idea how to go about doin’ what needs doin’.  And I don’t have any energy for exhaustive or extensive website searches at the moment nor do I have the luxury of time to have inspiration strike.

The quick and easy shot to the arm is to do a little Image Search.  I put random words (well, not entirely random, they usually have something to do with my upcoming project) into the search bar of my browser.  Then I choose an image search.  I pore over the many images that invariably come up to see if any of them sparks an idea.

Let me be clear here. I’m not doing a hit and run where I steal someone’s artwork. That is copyright infringement.  Instead, what I’m looking for when I do an image search is something that Freud's  psychotherapy tool of free-association did for the baby boomer generation--it helps me find myself again.

I might see some color that I like, or maybe there is an image of a baby, or a flower, for example.  My project might not be right for a baby image, but I might find something about the baby that makes me think of something else…let’s say bottles.  And when I think of baby bottles, I think of milk.  And when I think of milk, I either think of a cow or cookies.  Depending on whether it’s before or after lunch.  Now I have something I might be able to work with.  A cow.

And what can I do with that cow in my work?  Well, I’m not sure.  Since this is all hypothetical. But, as you can see, it’s only a few hops and skips before the brain tangents into an entirely different way of thinking and the creativity inevitably begins to flow.  Barring that, I stop for a snack.

(c)SZing, 2012. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Many years ago I had a personal website.  It had a really cool graphic that somehow I did not save to a hard drive.  Then the site where I had my page went dark and I lost my cool morphing graphic.  It was a little bit like this one:

I'm sorry to say that I do not know who created this to
give them due credit. I discovered it on an image search.
I use it for education purposes to explain morphing.

The shapes it made were a lot cooler, although the colors weren’t as fancy. I chose it because my page was called metamorphosis.  The changing of one thing into another.  A caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly.

In artwork, as in writing, there are times when the creative ideas seem to be dammed up and there is no flow.  One method for breaking the dam is to practice playing and one of those practices is combining two or more things together that really don’t normally go together…to morph them until they create an entirely new something

There is some great software out that allow for morphing of photographs and images.  One online site that focuses primarily on celebrity faces is Morphing.  Here you can take two faces of famous people and create an entirely new look.  For example, today I morphed Prince William with Marilyn Monroe.  Surprisingly, they morph into a very interesting “rock star” or artistic looking person.  Reminds me ever so slightly of Prince Poppycock or David Bowie. Maybe the teensiest bit of Madonna or Lady Gaga.
Princess Willie
Morph from morphthing.com of Prince William and Marilyn Monroe
(c) MorphThing
I’m sorry to report that Cameron Diaz and Mel Gibson do not make such a lovely picture (just slightly disturbing):
Cameron Gibson
Morph from morphthing.com of Cameron Diaz and Mel Gibson
(c) MorphThing
But I especially liked the Yoger I made out of (can you guess?)
Yoda Tiger

Morph from morphthing.com of Yoda and a Tiger
Yoda and a Tiger.  Actually looks pretty cool.  Like Yoda dressing up for Halloween or something.  Or getting ready to be an X-Man.  (What the world needs…a Jedi X-Man.)

These are simple examples of morphing two items into one.  But the creative process works equally as well with ideas and totally non-related items.  Case in point:  Transformers of all types.

The point is, that if you are stuck, you’re possibly thinking too much, too married to a specific idea or outcome, or just expecting too much from yourself.  To lighten up, play with ideas. 

What would be the outcome if Politics and Religions could actually agree?  How about Science and Religion? Science and Politics?  How about the Democrats and Republicans?

What about if we took a portrait by Van Gogh and did it Andy Warhol style? Or Vice Versa.

What would happen if a television could also serve as a microwave oven? or a lamp could double as a stereo system?

How about if we could make a product that resembled wood but wasn’t wood by somehow altering the molecular structure of…trash? (ok, this is a steal from Star Trek and their replicators)…but seriously, if we can think about such ideas, isn’t this where new ‘stuff’ comes from?  Someone gets a “crazy idea” and figures out a way to make it so.  Just think of salted chocolate chip cookies, or fried Twinkies.  Crazy ideas.  But some would say…marvelously delicious.

What doesn’t go with another? Is there a way to make them work together?  What idea from one can I borrow and add to the other?  Let’s morph our old thoughts, our old ideas and unexplored combinations into new forms, art, books, and “stuff.” Get creative.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Who Hasn’t Doodled?

Wow, it wasn’t until I saw that title in the big pink letters that I realized how wrong that sounds.  I’ve been asking that question for years in my classes.  Have always gotten a few sort of funny faces and a lot of giggles as a result but wasn’t sure why until now.

Let’s face it.  Everyone doodles. 
My Bomomo artwork, #1, (c) SZing.
As an artist, my job is to figure out how to make my doodles count.  Doodling is useful for me in a number of ways:
1.  In my art journaling.
2.  When I’m stuck on the phone listening to musak or someone droning on and on…
3.  As a way to clear my mind when I’m getting organized for a project.
4.  To help me think outside of my current color scheme or ideology.
5.  To practice drawing.
Bomomo #2, (c)SZing
I’ve been doodling for as long as I can remember.  My mom doodled profusely. I’m guessing my grandmother might also have been a doodler.  I come from a long line of doodling.
I recently have been looking at online and phone widgets that have artistic applications.  I do a lot of abstract painting and glass work so I want a tool that can help simulate my artwork without too many limitations. I also want to be able to save my work so that I can view it, use it, change it.

Here are a couple of my favorite online widgets:

Scriblink—a great tool for collaborations, whether artistic, business or otherwise.  The thing I don’t like about it is that there is not a way to save a picture—instead it saves a link. That’s not as useful as I’d like it to be for my artistic purposes.  The tools are somewhat limited as well.  You can invite parties to the URL and collaborate. Very cool.  Lots of limitations though.

Qweeky—this is a pretty sophisticated doodling machine. Actually, it really is more designed for drawing rather than just doodling.  Very complex and complicated.  I honestly don’t have the time to sit and figure it out when what I really want to do is get hands-on doodling time in.

Swarmsketch—this is really limited because you only get to put one line in and you’re done.  On the flip side, since it is creating a collaborative art piece, it’s pretty cool.
Bomomo #3 (c)SZing
and of course, my all time favorite so far is Bomomo. There is a large selection of tools. The tools follow the cursor on the screen.  The only things I’d change would be the ability to select the color palette and the chance to change the shapes and sizes of the tools at my whim, not the whim of the widget.  Otherwise, I can spend my late-night before sleep hours watching TV and doodling.

Of course, I still love my hands-on, in my art journal doodling the very best but the digital version are gaining ground.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pinning for Inspiration

Yes, I said Pinning. Not Pining.  Well, maybe a little of both.  If you have not yet discovered Pinterest, I highly encourage it.  It is an excellent means of “collecting” ideas and inspirations.  I think of it as my very own, personalized (by me) catalog of what I'd like to have in my life/world. My expanded treasury or wishlist, if you will.

capture of my pinterest boards
My screen capture (sorry, a little grainy) of some of my current bulletin boards on Pinterest.
(c)SZing, 2012
I’ve only actively been using the actual Pinterest website for the past six weeks or so.  But the idea is not new to me.  For years I have collected and cut out inspirational words, photographs of things I like or that inspire me to create, and ideas for future projects.  These research files or treasuries, if you like, grew to such an extent that this past winter I finally culled my files and created a three binder system.  I’m in the process of going paperless so this culling was necessary. I may eventually even move my binders to a digital format if I can find a methodology that I like and trust.

More on that later.

Binder one is called ART INSPIRATION. It is simply the hard copy cut and pasted pictures of artwork that I like/love or find beautiful—these range in every medium, every timeframe, every color scheme.  I have a very eclectic love of artworks.
Art Inspiration binder1
Art Inspiration binder2
Photographs of my actual hard copy art inspiration binder,
photos from magazines cut and pasted in. The non-digital version of Pinterest.
(c) SZing 2012

The other two binders are Art Articles and a mix called Art Biz, Glass and Public Art.  Art articles are articles about artists, shows, techniques.  The other binder includes articles about the business of art, and photos and articles of glass and public artworks.

Yes, I would like to get to where I am paperless, so my eventual goal is to take these items to a digital format.  But as I mentioned above, I have to trust the format.  I don’t want my items to be lost in some program that I cannot get access to once technology changes.  I am sure that my efforts will most likely turn out to be Adobe format or jpg format.  Perhaps I will create my own ebook of favorite articles and photographs. 

Art binders2
My other hard copy versions of Pinterest. 
These will someday be digitalized,
but since they include articles, never Pinned. 
See how big and bulky?  And
such a loss of tree life.
(c)SZing 2012

But in the interest of avoiding creating additional paper, I use Pinterest as a method of collecting and “pinning” those items that are of interest.  I love this because if I’ve pinned from a specific website, Pinterest saves that information and all I have to do is double click on the item and I can get back to the original page. VERY helpful if I am wanting to purchase something for example, such as art supplies or something that will help my studio be more effective or efficient.  Or if I want to purchase a gift or something for my home.  There does not seem to be a limit to the number of bulletin boards I can create with their own unique themes and my own pins, I get to see the pins of everyone I follow (and vice versa), and in the process, I inevitably find things that inspire me to create.  I love to surf the internet for new and interesting artworks and “stuff” so having a place to collect it all for future reference is very interesting to me.

The one drawback I see to it is that, at this time, there is no way to save the boards or to download the information in any sort of off line product.  This worries me in the sense that if Pinterest goes under, gets sold or changes, I may in fact lose my digital bulletin boards, waste lots of time having put items on them and lose so much that inspires me.  I don’t actually think Pinterest is going to go away, and I have hopes that they will improve and increase functionality to protect my “pins.”  But, when I need a little jolt to my brain, reviewing my own boards or looking at what others have pinned never fails to get my creative thinking cap back in operating order.  I figure in 10 years, we will all be friends with everyone and everyone will be following and liking everyone else’s stuff on these social pages.  It is truly a small world.  Feel free to follow me.  I’d love to see what you find of interest too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Get with the Beat…or Don’t

Tonight I’m going to the monthly drumming circle. I’ll take my tiny ceramic dhoumbek and my giant wood djembe and I’ll drum until my fingers and hands go numb.  And probably my mind too.

Why? one might ask….Because it is an intensely focused form of meditation for me and it has a number of benefits:

1.  It releases my pent up stresses.  I have a few.

2.  It lets my mind chill out and I can just go with the flow.

3.  I’ll sleep like a baby when I get home because I’ll be ultra relaxed.

4.  On Thursday, and for several days after, my focus will be crystal clear and my creativity expanded.

5.  It makes me feel good and happy.  I smile a lot, hum some while I’m drumming and it doesn’t cost a thing except some energy and getting to the group.

These are two great articles that talks about a number of serious studies of the health effects of drumming. 

drum-circle1 (1)
Drumming has a long history and has been found in many cultures across the world and in many timeframes.  The Celts use them, Native Americans use them, Africans use them, even the military uses them.  What would a parade or a football game halftime be without a drum line or drum break?  There are at least 50 different styles and types of drums currently in use around the world.

Now, I’m not fanatical about it.  It’s something I do once a month, sometimes every other month if there is nothing more pressing or of interest to do.  I have not rearranged my life around it.  I only know one or two “official” drum patterns and most of the time I can’t remember them.

As opposed to some circles I’ve drummed with, this particular one is made up of very clean people (literally, as well as in the psychotropic or pharmaceutical sense).  I’ve drummed with the “unwashed” fringe as they were sometimes referred to in another time and town.  But everywhere I’ve drummed, the people have treated me respectfully, accepted me and every other member into the group happily, and basically let each person do their own creative thing without trying to smash down anyone or limit their abilities.  In my mind, that’s pretty good company, whether they’ve taken a bath or not.

So, for a quick creative fix, this week, I’m opting for drumming.  It doesn’t matter whether I’m with the beat or doing my own thing.  In the end, no one cares and it all blends in fine anyway.  We’re just making music.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Fine Line to Genius

Yesterday I mentioned that I had finally discovered TEDtalks.  I was watching the series on Artistry and Illusion.  I was struck by Shea Hembrey and his talk “How I Became 100 Artists.”  In this 16 minute talk/teaser, despite 3 minutes of talk about being a “hick," (his word, not mine), I wondered if I was one of those fortunate people who was experiencing-- through witnessing the talk--genius.  And as they say, there is a fine line between genius and crazy.

horse sense fence
The focus of the talk was his Biennial S E E K.  Instead of actually curating the show, finding the talented artists for the show and organizing the show, he decided it was “easier” to make up the artists and make the artwork himself.

Now, here’s where crazy comes into play.  He developed back stories and biographies for each of the artists.  In that back story, he identified what the focus of that artist’s work defined.  As he talked, it got a little strange as he actually seemed to speak of them as if they truly existed, but then, we call a corporation an entity of itself, so…why not?  There were moments when I wondered if, in fact, he isn’t completely bonkers with 100 or more distinct personalities.  But then there was the admiring part of me that said….

flipped earthHis work and energy somehow reminds me of other artists that I personally consider genius—Andy Warhol immediately came to mind, and Dale Chihuly, and a few others who have within their lifetime, transcended the art worlds’ condescension to become great—while alive.  I wondered if, in fact, I was being exposed to genius.  I admit to a little professional jealousy that I hadn’t thought of it first.  What an astounding way to get your name on the map. 

glass world
The gimmicky part aside, I wasn’t entirely sure if he wasn’t just poking fun at the art world and artists.  Some (if not all—I have not seen the entirety of the collection) of his work genuinely is thought provoking, beautiful, inspiring and in turns meets my undefined expectation for what constitutes art. 

I was astounded by the lengths he went  with each “character” to create a work true to that artist.  I especially loved the work of the fictional “Nell Remmel”—”Flipped Earth”—where he dug out a rectangle in the earth and put mirrors in the dirt (22’ long) reflecting the sky.  The images are breathtaking.  And Zen-like.  And I want one in my yard (except for the "upkeep” part).

colorWhen I finished watching the talk, I looked up Hembrey.  I found Seek.  You cannot see the entirety of the collection.  I am not sure whether it was ever shown anywhere other than the talk.  But, for a cool $1000 a pop, (just $10 per artist), you can purchase a limited edition (1000 copies) book with all of the artist’s bios and artwork included.  I can’t help but believe that there are people who are/have bought this book.  Curiosity is driving me crazy.  If I had a disposable $1000, I’d own one (and see if I could get him—and all the artists to sign it!)

weather I made
So, crazy? Commercially parodying artists/art world? Genius? I don’t know.  What I did find is that he has other artworks listed on his website.  And there is a part of me that asks for each one, “are those real?” or did he “fake” those too. 

what art does when we aren't watchingBesides the intensely creative solution he took to creating art and making a stir in the art world (and I’m sure that there are those who pooh-pooh him and this effort), what I love is that here is an artist who has made quality artworks in many mediums. What I saw were mostly pieces I could imagine seeing in a gallery. This flies in the face of what I hear time and time again that artists should “focus on one medium.”  Yet what I find is that the real genius’ in art history did not focus on a single medium.

fishes in the oceanI applaud Mr. Hembrey.  I would definitely go to see his biennial and “meet the artists” (now there is a trick I’d like to see him pull off) and I continue to be disturbed and provoked.  So all in all, a very successful biennial.

Frankly, I’m excited to see what next year’s biennial will hold from Mr. Hembrey since this was an effort he presented in 2011, my late discovery of it notwithstanding.

All photos in this days blog are © Shea Hembrey. Used for educational purposes.