Why I do what I do

For as long as I can remember, creating “Art” of any kind has been been more about the process than the end product. Even as a child, I didn’t draw to replicate what I was seeing, but to respond to things emotionally. I was acutely aware of how what I saw affected me, and how what I was feeling affected the way I saw.  For example, a donut will look very different depending on whether I’m hungry or not. When not distracted by hunger, I’m more inclined to notice all the different colours, shapes, textures, smells, and imagine how they might taste. I’m more aware of details, such as how the light reflects off the individual specs of sugar; the contoured edges of the glossy frosting; the spongy, rounded surface of the golden pastry…

When I’m starving, I see a singular thing: a donut.

Whenever I produce a physical, tangible, visual response to my own internal chatter, things become clearer. My muddled thoughts start sorting themselves into orderly queues instead of simultaneously clamouring for attention.

To put it another way: imagine hundreds of oddly shaped, different coloured Lego bricks scattered on the floor around you, making it difficult to step in any direction without hurting your feet. Each brick simply one part of the unsightly, stress-inducing, insurmountable MESS.

It is easy to become so focused on “The Mess” and planning how to be rid of it or how to get around it that you fail to see The Bigger Picture. But what if you were to stop, crouch down for a closer look, give each and every brick your full attention, sort through them, start piecing them together to build a single, solid something? You might see how each seemingly insignificant piece, while not much use on its own, transforms into something entirely different when connected to the others. Each little piece plays a vital role in constructing The Whole. By the end of the process, you’ll still have the same number of oddly shaped, different coloured bricks as you had before, but now there is cohesion and clarity, and more space in which to manoeuvre (For the techies: like defragmenting the hard drive on your computer)

That’s how I see the arts process; picking through the chaos in my head, examining and fitting together seemingly random thoughts and feelings until I find a common thread. Because everything is related. Nothing is random. no thought meaningless. Everything matters. The answers are, more often than not, hidden in plain sight.

And then there’s The Flow! Have you ever tried catching a feather or leaf that’s fluttering on the breeze? The more you wave your arms or move your hand, the further away it gets. When I get into that creative zone, aka “the flow”, my mind becomes very still. I’m no longer chasing or running or flailing about desperately trying to make sense of things. I’m quietly opening myself up, letting those fluttering objects drift down and settle upon me.

Externalising my thoughts, feelings and imaginings in this way also makes them accessible to others. This exposure to scrutiny and criticism terrifies me, and I do feel extremely vulnerable. So why do it?? because I feel more connected to “The World” when I am open and honest about my reactions to it.

It’s something I find very difficult to write about without feeling a tad wanky. But there you have it.

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Nazi-Acquired Buddha Statue Came From Outer Space

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

Date: 26 September 2012 Time: 01:12 PM ET
A Buddha statue dating back to the 8th to 10th centuries is carved from a rare iron meteorite.
CREDIT: Elmar Buchne

It sounds like a mash-up of Indiana Jones’ plots, but German researchers say a heavy Buddha statue brought to Europe by the Nazis was carved from a meteorite that likely fell 10,000 years ago along the Siberia-Mongolia border.

This space Buddha, also known as “iron man” to the researchers, is of unknown age, though the best estimates date the statue to sometime between the eighth and 10th centuries. The carving depicts a man, probably a Buddhist god, perched with his legs tucked in, holding something in his left hand. On his chest is a Buddhist swastika, a symbol of luck that was later co-opted by the Nazi party of Germany.

“One can speculate whether the swastika symbol on the statue was a potential motivation to displace the ‘iron man’ meteorite artifact to Germany,” the researchers wrote online Sept. 14 in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

Iron man adventure

The iron man first came to Germany after a 1938-1939 Tibet expedition by zoologist and ethnology Ernst Schäfer, who was sent to the region by the Nazi party to find the roots of Aryan origin. The statue then passed into the hands of a private owner. [Fallen Stars: A Gallery of Famous Meteorites]

Stuttgart University researcher Elmar Bucher and his colleagues first analyzed the statue in 2007, when the owner allowed them to take five miniscule samples of it. In 2009, the team had the opportunity to take larger samples from the inside of the statue, which is less prone to contamination by weathering or human handling than the outside where the initial samples were taken.

They found that the statue is carved from a rare class of space rocks known as ataxite meteorites. These mostly iron meteorites have a high level of nickel. The largest-ever known meteorite, the Hoba meteorite of Namibia, is an ataxite meteorite that may weigh more than 60 tons.

It came from outer space

A chemical analysis of the iron man samples revealed they are a close match for a famous scattering of space rocks from the Siberia and Mongolian border. The Chinga meteorite field holds at least 250 meteorite fragments, most relatively small, though two topping 22 pounds (10 kg) have been found there. Scientists estimate the Chinga meteorite fell 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. The field’s first discovery was recorded in 1913, but the statue’s existence suggests people were mining the field for artistic materials long before that, Buchner said.

The Buddha meteorite matches those found in the Chinga meteorite field. CREDIT: Elmar Buchner

The identity of the carved man is unclear, but the researchers suspect he may be the Buddhist god Vaisravana, also known as Jambhala. Vaisravana is the god of wealth or war, and he is often portrayed holding a lemon (a symbol of wealth) or moneybag in his hand. The iron man holds an unidentified object in his hand. The statue is about 9.5 inches (24 cm) tall and weighs about 23 pounds (10.6 kg).

Many cultures used meteorite iron to make daggers and even jewelry, Buchner and his colleagues wrote, and meteorite worship is common among many ancient cultures. But the Buddha carving is unique.

“The Iron Man statue is the only known illustration of a human figure to be carved into a meteorite, which means we have nothing to compare it to when assessing value,” Buchner said in a statement. “Its origins alone may value it at $20,000; however, if our estimation of its age is correct and it is nearly a thousand years old it could be invaluable.”

Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas or LiveScience @livescience. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.



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‘World’s oldest’ graphic art discovered

Researchers have reportedly discovered what could be the oldest evidence of graphic imagery in a cave in southwest France.

The New York Times reports a drawing of a female vulva, thought to be 37,000 years old, has been found on the collapsed roof of a rock shelter at the Abri Castanet site in the Vézère River valley.

The area was being researched by a team including New York University anthropologist Randall White who said the discovery was “the oldest evidence of any kind of graphic imagery.”

Dr White said the drawing was illustrated by circles with small slits on one side.

“You see this again and again and again,” Dr. White said. There are also very simple images, in profile, of animals, including horses and lionlike big cats, he told the New York Times.

Dr White said humans at the time lived in the shelters and often used ivory beads and other ornamentation to decorate their bodies.

Dr White said his team report their findings in the current issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team home that by deciphering more of the art they can understand the culture of the people better.

“What we hope to be able to do is map the distribution of images on the ceiling and all of the activities of the time,” he said.

“There may be a relationship between the art on the ceiling and their lives.”


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Man buys $2m Andy Warhol sketch for $5

A British businessman is said to have stumbled on a never-before-seen Andy Warhol sketch at a US art sale – picking it up for less than $5.

The 1930s sketch was hidden among other items Andy Field bought in Las Vegas, The Sun newspaper reported.

The signed work is thought to have been etched by Warhol when he was either ten or 11.

Experts have hailed it the earliest known example of the late American’s Pop Art.

And the value? A cool $2m on a formal valuation but it could go for a lot more than that.

Despite the possibility he could sell and cash in, Mr Field says he has no plans to sell the piece he found in 2010.

“It moves the birth of Pop Art back two decades, showing Warhol was already doing that sort of stuff at a far younger age,” he told The Sun.

“I’m not interested in the financial gain for now. It’s only right that great art should be shared.”

The figure in the drawing is 1930s singer and actor Rudy Vallee. The seller was a drug abuser who told Andy his aunt had been a carer for Warhol in his youth.

via Found – artwork from Warhol, age 10 – The West Australian.

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Thatcher snatched Ronald Raegan’s doodle 30 years ago


Margaret Thatcher swiped some of Ronald Reagan's drawings at a summit more than 30 years ago, newly released papers revealed. Picture: AP

FORMER British prime minister Margaret Thatcher swiped a page of doodles by then-US president Ronald Reagan at a summit more than 30 years ago, newly released papers revealed.
Britain’s only female prime minister to date noticed the US leader sketching during a G7 summit in Canada in 1981 and decided to pocket the drawings, according to a historian who recalled her talking about the doodles.

“She had seen him doing it during the meeting,” said Chris Collins, a historian with the Margaret Thatcher Foundation which promotes the former premier’s conservative, free market philosophy.

“He thought it was of no value whatsoever and left. She thought it was rather fun and picked it up.”

The drawings of five heads, an eye and a man’s torso, executed in blue ink at a meeting of leaders of the world’s seven richest countries, were among a collection of Thatcher’s private papers dating from 1981released today.

Thatcher, who led Britain from 1979 until 1990, labeled the page with the words “Ronald Reagan’s ‘doodling’ at the Ottawa conference” in the bottom right-hand corner.

One of the characters sports a trilby and is smoking a pipe, while another has a bushy beard.

Reagan and the woman known as the “Iron Lady” shared strong anti-communist and free market convictions and became firm personal friends during Thatcher’s premiership.

The former Conservative leader, now 86, agreed nearly a decade ago for her personal documents to be housed at Cambridge University.

US actress Meryl Streep won an Oscar last month for her portrayal of the increasingly frail ex-leader, who suffers from dementia, in The Iron Lady.

via A sketchy thief: Thatcher stole Ronald Raegan’s doodles 30 years ago | News.com.au.

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Euthanasia roller-coaster designed to kill

Euthanasia Coaster concept. Photo: SWNS.COM

Get ready for the ride of your life… which, mind you, will also be your last.A Lithuanian engineer has come up with a unique roller-coaster concept that not only promises passengers a thrilling ride, but also imminent death at the end of their journey.

According to Julijonas Urbonas, the ‘mastermind’ behind the concept, the Euthanasia Coaster has been engineered to take the life of a human being “humanely, with elegance and euphoria”.

Passengers would be subject to many extreme experiences, from euphoria to tunnel vision and loss of consciousness, The Daily Mail reports.

Urbonas, who has been involved with amusement park development since childhood, explained that passengers would die of cerebral hypoxia after being exposed to speeds of up to 100km/s.

“Thanks to the marriage of the advanced cross-disciplinary research in space medicine, mechanical engineering, material technologies and, of course, gravity, the fatal journey is made pleasing, elegant and meaningful,” the engineer, who describes his concept as “artistic and philosophical”, said.

Nonetheless, Dr Peter Saunders, from leading anti-euthanasia organisation Care Not Killing, has criticised the concept.

“Whilst appreciating the artist’s sense of humour and light-heartedness, we also need to remember that the life a human being cannot ever be taken ‘humanely with elegance and euphoria’ and with this method the last sensation would more probably be one of overwhelming vertigo and fright,” Saunders said.

“Let’s hope that this imaginative method never becomes legal.”

via ‘Euthanasia’ roller-coaster designed to thrill and kill riders – Yahoo!7.

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Graffiti artist David Choe set for Facebook windfall

A US graffiti artist who painted Facebook’s offices is set to become a multi-millionaire when the social network begins trading as a public company.

David Choe painted the first Facebook offices in 2005

David Choe, who first spray-painted the walls of Facebook HQ in 2005, accepted shares in payment for his work.

Now the site is planning to float on the stock market, its thought his share could be worth around $200m (£126m).

Writing on his blog, Choe said he was the “highest paid decorator alive”.

Although he had initially thought the idea of the social network was “ridiculous and pointless”, the artist decided to take the stock option instead of cash “in the thousands of dollars” according to the New York Times.

Choe’s payout could be worth more money than auction house Sotheby’s attracted for its record-breaking $200.7m (£127m) sale in 2008 for a collection of work by Damien Hirst.

The Korean-American artist, 35, was first asked to paint erotic murals for Facebook’s first office in Palo Alto, California, by the site’s then-president, Sean Parker.

The site’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, later asked Choe to paint “tamer” art for its second office in 2007.

However art from the original headquarters was cut out from the walls and is on display at other Facebook offices around the world.

Choe – whose work can now be seen in galleries all over the world – is currently painting the site’s new offices in Menlo Park, California.

The artist, who began spray-painting in his teens, created the cover art for Jay-Z and Linkin Park’s multi-platinum album Collision Course in 2004.

In 2008, he also painted a portrait of the then-Senator Barack Obama – a picture that now hangs in the White House.

BBC News – Graffiti artist David Choe set for Facebook windfall.

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Woman rubs her bottom over $30m painting

A WOMAN dropped her pants at a museum and rubbed her rear end all over a painting valued at $30 million, according to police.

Carmen Tisch, 36, was arrested after scratching, punching and, well, rubbing her butt against Clyfford Still’s “1957-J no.2” and causing an estimated $10,000 damage to the artwork at the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver. Police believe she was drunk during the late December incident.

“You have to wonder where her friends were,” a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office told the Denver Post.

Tisch was charged with felony criminal mischief on Wednesday and has been held on a $20,000 bond since the incident in late December, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

The oil-on-canvas abstract expressionist painting was spared additional damage when the woman tried to urinate on it but apparently missed.

“It doesn’t appear she urinated on the painting or that the urine damaged it, so she’s not being charged with that,” Kimbrough said according to the Denver Post.

Still, who lived from 1904 to 1980, was considered one of the most influential of the American post-World War Two abstract expressionist artists, although he was not as well known as others such as Jackson Pollock. Four of his works were auctioned by Sotheby’s last year for $114 million to endow the Denver museum, which opened in November.

via Woman rubs her butt over $30m painting | thetelegraph.com.au.

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Performance artist gives birth in gallery

Marni Kotak in the gallery with husband Jason Robert Bell. (AAP)

A performance artist who said giving birth is the “highest form of art” has delivered a baby boy — inside a New York City art gallery.

Marni Kotak gave birth at 10.17am on Tuesday, the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn said in a brief statement, adding that everyone was recuperating on Wednesday.

It said the baby was 53cm long and weighed 4.08 kg but the gallery did not say how many people attended the birth or offer other details.

A video of the birth will be added to the gallery’s upcoming exhibition.

The 36-year-old artist had set up a home-birth centre at the gallery, turning the space into a brightly decorated bedroom with ocean blue walls and photo-imprinted pillows.

During The Birth of Baby X durational piece, which began on October 8, Kotak spent as much time at the gallery as possible talking to visitors about motherhood, art and other issues.

She said those who left their contact information would be notified when she went into labour.

She expected about 15 people to attend.

Kotak, who was born in Norwood, Massachusetts, said all her performances focus on everyday life experiences.

She has been re-enacting events from her life for more than 10 years, including her own birth, losing her virginity in “a sunny blue Plymouth” and her grandfather’s funeral.

In combining the birth of her child with artistic expression, Kotak said she wanted to show “this amazing life performance that … is essentially hidden from public view” and that addresses social taboos regarding the human body.

“She’s in the tradition of using your life as your authentic material and shaping and forming it” — a tradition that goes back to 1959 when filmmaker Stan Brakhage recorded the birth of his first child as a work of art, said feminist artist Carolee Schneemann, whose own works deal with taboo themes of sexuality.

“She’s vulnerable, she’s exposed,” she said of Kotak. “It’s the most basic visceral experience that also has the most taboos.”

The entire gallery was given over to the installation.

The artist even carved out space for a fully-stocked refrigerator and a portable shower with curtain pockets filled with photos from her three baby showers.

Performance artist gives birth in gallery.

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art lover to marry painting after falling for girl in the portrait


An oddball art lover is to marry one of his paintings after falling for the girl in the portrait.

Obsessed Tomasz Urynowicz, 37, from Nowa Huta, Poland,  has spent 10 years trying to track down the brown-haired girl in the picture painted 56 years ago.

“It shows a young girl hanging laundry. She has brown hair that shimmers in the sun – absolute beauty. For the last decade, I have been trying to find this girl. I thought that one of my neighbours may know her or the artist.”

He explained: “I just wanted to meet her, sit down and have coffee and a chat – to see who she is and what her life has been like.”

But after years of failure, Urynoqicz is now looking for a priest who will marry him to the painted version of the girl of his dreams.

He said: “I don’t know what the laws on this sort of thing are in Poland. But if I can’t do it here, I’ll go somewhere else and do it.”

Austrian Times

via Easel-ly lover – Around the World News – Austrian Times Online News – English Newspaper.

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