Monday, November 26, 2012

Meditations on INVISIBLE Art

A few weeks ago I started an online meditation challenge with Deepak Chopra. It’s been an interesting experience. Because I started a day late and missed one day, I’m two days behind; otherwise I would have finished up today. On Wednesday once I’m done, I’m going to continue on my own and see how it goes. 
Though I sit quietly for 15 minutes, on the inside my mind is usually racing, especially today. I kept thinking about my art show next Thursday. I’ve got lots to do today. But it’s work I like doing. So far, it’s looking beautiful. I’m excited and curious! 

The piece here is a snapshot of the work I’m doing today in getting ready. My apartment is a mess, a good mess. 

In thinking about this upcoming Art Show, I realize that I’ve been living as an artist for the past 15 years. And yet after all this time, I still feel a great sense of invisibility. Because I haven’t had the recognition or success I would like, I question whether or not my work really matters. But as I continue onward, I know that this feeling of invisibility will pass and it will not discourage me from doing the work that I most love. Being an artist is who I am and will always be. No matter what! 

“Let's just say that I think any person who aspires, presumes, or feels the calling to be an artist has a built-in sense of duty.” – Patti Smith 

The beautiful thing about this meditation challenge is that I have done so without expectation. I haven’t done it to be a better man nor to have a better life. I’ve meditated because it feels like the good thing to do. Slowly, this feeling of invisibility fades away and connections feel possible. 

May everything in your life be filled with a great sense of possibility. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Unorthodox Miracles!

What a beautiful sunny Saturday in LA. I love this city! 

As I was walking to work early Wednesday morning and thinking about gratitude, the first thing that came to mind was my beloved city and this area called Miracle Mile. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for the past 15 years. I love everything about it, especially the name. It feels good here; it’s my home. 

Throughout life, I’ve been very blessed. The list of people and things to be grateful for is endless. In referring to his unorthodox life of drinking, taking drugs, and smoking, dancer Michael Clark was quoted as saying, “If I hadn’t lived that life I wouldn’t have felt so inspired. It was living that made me want to dance.” In coming across these words, I got teary eyed. I felt the same way about my art. For over 25 years, I’ve loved every minute of going out to the clubs here in LA, NYC, and SF. I’ve met an amazing amount of people who have inspired me and altered my way of seeing our world. It takes great courage to share and explore ones ideas and uniqueness. When I’m feeling down, I like to remember the endliss list of memories and people I’ve come across while ‘partying’ it up. It's been a MIRACLE. 

The piece here is titled “Raja.” Rupauls Drag Race winner inspires it. When I first moved back to LA, Raja was one of the first drag queens I came to admire. I first saw him perform at OZ in Buena Park. I have some fond memories of those drunken days. In recent years, I’ve been lucky enough to hang out with Raja. He’s a great talent and a beautiful human being. 

Boris Yeltsin once said, “It is especially important to encourage unorthodox thinking when the situation is critical: At such moments every new word and fresh thought is more precious than gold. Indeed, people must not be deprived of the right to think their own thoughts.” His words are beautifully and poetically said. I wonder if Mr. Yeltsin had the opportunity to meet drag queens of his own? I think he would have appreciated their courage. 

As for this weekend, I’m laying low. I love a good quiet Saturday. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

IMPURE Thoughts

Hola Monday! 

A few weeks ago while on my way to The Getty to see the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit with one of my favorite people in the world, Christine, I told her about my grade school confessions at St. Marrianes. In knowing I had to go to confession, I found myself filled with anxiety not because of the ‘bad’ things I had done, but because I was good kid and didn’t really feel the need to confess anything. But how could I possibly sit amongst my classmates and not walk into the dreaded confessional. 

What would I tell the priest? Even in confession I lied. I had to come up with some things to tell him. The most often used things were that I lied and had impure thoughts. As I told Christine this, I wondered about what sorts of impure thoughts could an 11 year old possibly have? 

Was me thinking about boys naked impure? Was me hating my dad for making me work so hard impure? I think this normal rather than impure. Who’s to determine the impurity of a thought? Isn’t it subjective? One online dictionary defines impure as “not pure or clean, contaminated. Immoral or sinful. Unclean. Rather than confession, it sounds more like I needed a good laundry detergent. Or even a good spanking. 

Interestingly enough, I had my last confession around 13 years of age. If anything, these so called impure thoughts happened around this same time once I started masturbating! I can only imagine telling the priest about whacking off 10 times a day and possibly even thinking about him naked while on the other side of the veiled wall. 

The piece here is titled, “Mary.” I wonder what sort of impure thoughts she had. Is writing and thinking this impure? If so, at least I know that penance often came with a simple string of Hail Mary’s and possibly one Our Father. Not too shabby for impurity. 

As for thoughts, like waves they come and go; they are what they are. But then again, Buddha once said, “What we think, we become.” If this is the case, I’m one dirty son of a bitch! Pardon the language, the impurity. Let me see what else I can think of… 

Peace and blessings and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A LITTLE PoP of Lies and Generosity

Ah yes it’s F-day. Or at least it was; I was supposed to have posted this yesterday. 

In just about 3 weeks on December 6th, I’ll be debuting my latest series of digital photographs at Flight001. It’s all happening during the annual 3rd Street XMAS party from 9-6PM. 

The series is called LITTLE PoP. And aside from the obvious inspirations of Warhol and Lichtenstein, my mother and Leigh Bowery inspire this series. What a combo! Who would have thought that two very different people could somehow inspire the same person, me. 

I’m halfway done reading Leigh Bowery’s biography by his best friend Sue Tilley. It’s interesting to note that he loved telling lies and yet was very generous with his friends. After reading about how he liked to embarrass and almost humiliate others, I found this to be refreshing. In referencing one of his ‘looks’, he said, “This new look is a cross between polka dots and skin rash…simulating infection and disease.” In my LITTLE PoP series, I’ve loved applying this concept to some of the icons of our times. It’s interesting that regardless of alterations, icons remain visible to the eyes. It’s like the perfect are imperfect. Do we hold them to a higher standard? 

The piece here is the flyer for this show. It’s titled, “Marilyn.” There aren’t many bigger icons of our time. She is the epitome of what we consider iconic. One online dictionary defines the word icon as “a sign or representation that stands for its object by virtue of a resemblance or analogy to it.” Are we breaking the 2nd Commandment in holding anyone to an iconic status? I wonder? Or is this whole idea of breaking commandments a ‘con.’ If I con, will you con? 

I’ll leave it at that for now. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Catchin Kubrick

Hello Monday! This past Saturday I walked over to LACMA to see their latest exhibit: Stanley Kubrick. To my surprise, I loved it. Though I’m familiar with his movie titles, I’ve only seen three of them. (Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut) Surprisingly, I have not seen Lolita, Full Metal Jacket, and not even 2001 Space Odyssey. I have some catching up to do. Tomorrow at LACMA is “Target FREE Tuesday. It’s FREE! 

In doing some research, I found this quote by Mr. Kubrick himself, “However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” I loved coming across these beautiful words; they’re a reminder that light is within us all. That regardless of our challenges, we’re able to move forward and shine brightly. 

While at LACMA, I also saw the works of Ed Ruscha and Robert Mapplethorpe’s once controversial XYZ Portfolio. 20 years ago, I was lucky enough to have seen these images at The Berkeley Art Museum. Finally, I walked through Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective. The sculptures were amazing! After seeing banners all over our LA streets, I was hesitant about seeing the exhibit. But as I did my walk through, closely examining each piece, I wanted to pick one up and bring it home. The shapes and colors were beautiful. Never before, had I been taken by sculptures. 

The piece here is titled, “Innocence.” For a few months now, I’ve had this idea to do a sculpture series called “LITTLE Jars.” There’s something about placing something in a jar that inspires. I’ll be working with toys to convey ideas of emotion and meaning. I’ll see how it develops. I’m curious. Today especially, my brain feels a bit overwhelmed with ideas and creativity. I can’t complain. 

On this Veterans Day, a special thank you to all the Vets and their families who allow us the opportunity to live in this beautiful and abundant country. 

Peace Out, Peace In.

Friday, November 9, 2012

There's A Man In My Mirror

Happy Friday. I love this chilly fall weather. 

On election Tuesday, I had a little Obama fever. More than anything, I believe he cares about our country. 

Today I’m continuing from my previous post. I’ve never been a big fan of Michael Jackson. But of all his songs, ‘Man In The Mirror’ is my favorite. “If you wanna make the world a better place Take a look at yourself and then make a change…” 

One day in my early 20’s, I remember dancing around in my underwear in my apartment in Pacific Heights and feeling the words to this song; I felt alive! Like everything and anything was possible. It remains a dear memory. And though I look back at this time of my life as a good time and place, I’m a different man today. It’s not the wrinkles, the extra pounds, nor the aching bones that make me different. It’s that I’ve evolved and opened myself to seeing life constantly from a different perspective. It’s a shift in perspective that allows us to grow and evolve. 

The piece here is titled, “Bowie Set.” David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust inspires it. It's a 4 step process leading to the final image. Maybe even Bowie was onto something with his song ‘Changes.’ “Ah, changes are takin' the pace I'm goin' through.” 

Right now, I see change happening for myself. It feels good. As a verb, an online dictionary defines the word change as “to become different, to become altered or modified, to become transformed.” I especially like this last word- transformation. Its sound like a process rather than an immediate moment. Though life is changing at every blink of an eye, real change happens over time. 

I want to make and leave this world a better place. I’ll start by looking in the mirror. And as Greek philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis wrote, “Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.” 

Have a beautiful weekend. SEE Differently. LIVE Differently. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

OBAMA 4 President!!!

After not posting over the weekend, here I am today on my favorite day of the week. It’s a beautiful sunny day in LA. While on my morning walk I sent in my ballot and cast my vote for Obama. Tomorrow’s a big day! 

As Americans, we’re fortunate enough to have the right to vote; a liberty not granted to everyone in our world. It boggles then why not everyone single one of us would choose not to vote. If over time everyone voted, I believe that our country and world would be a greater place. There’s no excuse not to vote. It’s not about one vote making a difference; it’s about using our voices to affect change today and tomorrow. As Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” 

The piece here is titled, “Obama.” When choosing a president it can be a simple as thinking from our heart and asking a simple question, “Who would I want, as parents, to raise me?” 

While on my walk this morning, a man driving by blasted Michael Jackson’s “Man In the Mirror.” “I’m going to make a change for once in my life.” To be continued…