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Equality

January 4th, 2013

Equality


According to an online dictionary, equality- /iˈkwšlitē/ is defined as ďThe state of being equal, esp. in status, rights, and opportunities.Ē

A few weeks ago while doing a Google search, surprisingly, I found Lincoln on top of a list of 100 icons that shaped U.S. history. I couldnít agree more. The piece here is titled ďLincoln.Ē I did this portrait a few months ago; I love it even more now after having seen the movie.

Yesterday after work, though I still wasnít feeling well, I went to see ďLincoln.Ē The movie sheds light on a very important time in our history. Personally, I didnít remember that there was a difference between the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment. But it was Lincolnís insights into equality that really did it for me. I especially loved the scene between Lincoln and his black female housekeeper, Mariah Vance. I couldnít possibly do it justice in words. I was surprised to find myself teary eyed, almost sobbing. The thought of inequality amongst any of us hit the spot.

Inequality exists not only in our laws, but also in our actions, our words, and even our thoughts. Iím guilty of it myself. Prejudices, however small, create boundaries and keep us from connecting with one another. On many different levels, equality equals freedom. Mandela said it perfectly, ďFor to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.Ē

This morning in reading a few passages from Deepak Chopra, he writes, ďThe essential nature of the universe is the coexistence of opposite valuesÖ you cannot be virtuous unless you also contain the capacity for evil.Ē It made me think of our world then and today. Itís often because our differences and our fears of them that we have inequality amongst us. It made my morning walk a pleasure, my heart felt open. How could I possibly cast any stone when I myself am a reflection of everyone else.

If I can see me in you, and them and there, I can love more easily.

Have a loving lovely weekend.

Campbells Soup and Bottle Service

December 31st, 2012

Campbells Soup and Bottle Service



Uh-oh! I woke this morning not feeling too well. Iím just getting back from a short walk and getting a couple of cans of Campbell soup. Itís my favorite thing to eat when Iím not @100%. It looks like Iíll be spending New Years Eve all alone and calling it an early night. But itís all good. Thereís a difference between being alone and feeling alone. With God's given imagination and all the love in my life, I couldnít possible feel alone. Iím actually looking forward to a quiet day at home in my pajamas.

As I reflect back on this year, though I went through the most challenging time in my life, I remain grateful. Luckily after 4months, it passed and the world didnít end. Weíre still here!

Iím grateful for the memories of being with my family. I will cherish the times we spent in Tulum Mexico and Puerto Rico. Iím grateful for my friends whom have enlightened my life; Iím grateful for their understanding, compassion, and support. Iím grateful inspiration, that after all these years, Iím still being provided with new ideas. Iím grateful for my dreams, each night I go to sleep, Iím inspired, entertained, and even given guidance.

Last night, I finally finished watching both seasons of MTVís show Teen Wolf. The boys are beautiful. Surprisingly, they quoted Winston Churchill, ďWhen going though hell, keep going.Ē I loved this. Through those tough months of what seemed like hell, I kept going, and I survived. I kept walking, reading, writing, drawing, and believing that greatness would come. Surprisingly while going through it, I started my latest series, LITTLE Pop. Itís changed my world. Itís like I get to see the world through color again. The piece here is titled ĎCampbells.í Warhol inspires it.

At work I like to tell Digby that I made my reservations in hell and that I made sure to get Ďbottle serviceí VIP of course! It makes me laugh. Tonight, I wonít be celebrating or drinking, but Iíll look forward to an early morning walk tomorrow. An early morning walk on New Years Day is amazing; itís like I get the city to myself. As the New Year approaches, Iím filled with a great sense of curiosity.

Cheers to you all, to LIFE! I wish each one of you in this world, peace in your hearts and joy in your eyes.

Its Like LIFE

December 28th, 2012

Its Like LIFE

Ah yes, itís Friday! Honestly, it feels like it was just the Friday before.

Itís weird to think that the New Year is just a few days away. My sense of time is off, but I canít complain. Itís a beautiful day!

The piece here is simply titled "Red." It's my second photo from my ďLITTLE SoloĒ photo series. On the first day of taking my first photo I came across a few other red cups. Since taking that first photo, I havenít taken another. As Iíve walked around LA, keeping my eyes open for these red cups, they arenít anywhere to be found. Today again, I came home empty handed. Itís like the more I look, the more I wonít see them. I realize that searching for them is useless. Itís like life. Life doesnít happen while looking for it; life happens when we are in it, completely surrendered. Itís the law of non-resistance. Rilke said it perfectly, ďďMay what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.Ē

And since Iíve decided to stay home and do some housecleaning, Iím going to think of it as playtime. After a little breakfast Iím going to play some Melody Gardot on Pandora and start rocking. Where do I begin? Kitchen... definitely the kitchen.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Red

December 24th, 2012

Red


Ah yes, itís finally XMAS Eve. Iím loving the drizzly day.

After a little work, Iím driving up to Ontario to spend time with the family. After almost 45 years, I still love it and none of us have ever missed it.

In honor of XMAS and of a little something red, the piece featured here is titled ďRed 12.Ē Itís my very first piece from my photo series, ďLTTTLE Solo.Ē Iíve been anxiously waiting to do it. And thankfully to my coworkers/friends Iím finally able to pursue it. They gave me a digital camera for XMAS! Iíll always think about them when I see this piece. (Thank you Digby, Annatte, Sam, and Sadiero).

A few months ago my old camera gave out, but the idea started while vacationing with my siblings in Tulum, Mexico. My little sister Blanca started singing Toby Keithís song, ďRed Solo Cup.í Somehow the lyrics stuck in my head and when I returned to LA, it seemed like this red cups were everywhere. Because I walk so much in LA, Iíd come across them in the strangest of places. I wondered not only about whom left them behind, but about what they were drinking. Where did they come from and why/how they came to be discarded. Most interestingly, I usually see them lying around solo as if they never belonged to anyone.

In some strange way, I see myself every time I see them. Not because Iíve been discarded, but because I realize that thereís more to meet the eyes than what we see. I often wonder what others see about me; thereís a story behind me, behind all each one of us. If we look behind what our eyes see, we can see each other. We see a connection and not just a single one of us. We are not solo; we are together.

ďRed solo cup, I fill you up
Let's have a party, let's have a party.Ē

Merry XMAS. Cheers and Blessings on this Holiday Season.

Imagine

December 17th, 2012

Imagine


Iím back! I took a little week holiday break from writing. Last Monday, I woke up with not a clue about what to write so I decided that after almost 3 years of writing consistently, Iíd take a break.

Iím also just getting back from my morning walk. While out and about, I picked up this weeks LA Weekly and to my surprise I found an article about local LA multimedia artist Aaron Axelrod. And though I wasnít familiar with his work, the article intrigued me. I came home and immediately logged onto Axelrodís website. His ďFreedom From The PressĒ pastel drawings are amazing! I loved that as a young kid, his parents supported his creativity. How special is that.

I also learned of something new, a psychedelic brew called Ayahuasca, which he experimented with. Axel says, ďThat opened my mind to everything. It kind of took away my ego.Ē And taught him that life is all about new experiences and being happy. I now want to try it myself. Umm, where can I find some?

Many years ago, my brother once asked me about what I felt about having experimented with drugs. I told him that I thought it killed some brain cells and kept me from overanalyzing everything. The piece here is a portrait of my brother; itís titled ĎJohnny.í

Picasso once said, ďEvery child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.Ē This quote started off the article about Axelrod; itís what got me reading. Personally, Iíve always felt like an artist. Thankfully, I have kept it up the older I grow. And the older I grow, the more childlike I see we remain.

May you find the artist in yourself; may you grow up to be whom you imagine. May you imagine everything possible.

Cheers.

Hitler Barbie and The Gerber Baby

December 8th, 2012

Hitler Barbie and The Gerber Baby

So what do Hitler, Barbie, and the Gerber Baby have in common? They were all part of my LITTLE Pop Art Show on Thursday night. They were the last 3 portraits I completed. After thinking I was all done, I realized that these 3 iconic figures were meant to be part of my beloved exhibit. Itís interesting that, regardless of how we come to view them icons come in all different shapes and figures. They shaped and shape our world.

Installing the exhibit was somewhat amusing. At first glance it may seem that the portraits were randomly placed, but upon closer inspection one will notice a well thought out pattern. Hitler, for example, hangs right next to the Dalai Lama and Mandela. Above him is Jesus. Not only is he amongst great men, but he also looks gay. Right below him is Leigh Bowery himself, as he had done a Ďpatchí portrait of Hitler from leftover pieces given to him by Lucian Freud.

Overall, it looks beautifully put together. And even though Iím grateful for the opportunity to display my work at Flgiht001, unfortunately, it isnít at a respected gallery or place that would give me recognition. But in writing this I also understand the importance of letting go and of continuing my work.

As I move onward, I realize that there are a countless many other iconic figures like Michael Jackson, Mother Theresa, Shakespeare, Snoopy, Lady Gaga, The Mona Lisa, and Gandhi just to name a few. Iím curious as to how many more of these I will add to the series, as I already have a new series in mind. Iíll trust in God and imagination.

The piece here is my portrait of Hitler. Surprisingly itís my favorite piece from the show. As I mentioned in my last post about Leigh being a Ďbeautified monsterí, the Hitler piece is my ultimate portrait of a now Ďbeautifiedí monster.

Anthony Hopkins once said, ďI am able to play monsters well. I understand monsters. I understand madmen.Ē I believe there is compassion in his words. We all have our own monsters to bear. What we see ugly in another is part of who we are. With a little compassion comes freedom.

Let freedom ring and monsters live.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but monsters will never hurt me.

War Sex and Art

December 3rd, 2012

War  Sex  and  Art


Last night I dreamt about being attacked by giant 10-foot chickens/roosters.

This dream was followed by yet another more interesting dream. I was deployed to 1940ís Nazi Germany. When our helicopter landed safely, everyone got off, but myself; I was taken to another secret location. We landed at a ritzy Nazi occupied hotel. I was left alone without instructions or any personal belongings. Once the helicopter parted, I was escorted, by the concierge, to the pool area where Nazi onlookers stood shocked in seeing me in USA uniform. Because I was without belongings, I dived into the pool fully clothed. A Nazi Commander carrying a loaded rifle followed me in. The rifle like a sharks fin remained above water. I woke up.

I woke up thinking about whether or not I should do a LITTLE Pop portrait of Hitler? Good or bad, there arenít many bigger icons than him. He changed the face of our world. As the morning unfolded, I realized I must. I will begin work on it shortly. I already have a vision in mind.

This morning while riding the stationary bicycle at the gym, I started reading Tom of Finlandís biography. Only 28 pages in and man-o-man itís already intriguing. Thereís talk of uniforms, World War II and anonymous sex. In regards to World War II and its blackouts, Tomís biographer F. Valentine Hooven III writes, ďAll over Europe during this period, the bizarrely quiet war turned citiesÖinto sexual playgrounds.Ē Reading these details felt like Europe during war had become one giant sex club for men in uniforms.

I love the synchronicity of life, my dreams (of cocks and war) and this biography. Deepak Chopra writes, ďSynchronicity is choreographed by a great, pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature, and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul.Ē

After 2+ years of not having sex, is it possible that my Ďsoulí and I need to get laid? A-ha!

Since I wonít be revealing my Hitler piece until after my show this Thursday, hereís a Hitler piece I did from my LITTLE People series. Itís titled, ďImagine Peace.Ē A yes, it all sounds so good.

BEAUTIFUL Monsters in New York

December 1st, 2012

BEAUTIFUL Monsters in New York

Good Morning. Where has it gone already?

Iím just getting back from a little workout at the gym. In the corner of the gym floor, I found a copy of New York magazine. On the cover was a portrait of President Obama by artists Craig Redman and Karl Maier. I felt a little sadness seeing it. I picked it up and brought it home. Though I was unfamiliar with their work, the portrait looked like one of my latest digital pieces. I wondered if I would ever end up in any magazine cover or if Iíd get recognition before dying?

Aside from eating, Iím spending the rest of my day finishing up touches for my art show on Thursday at Flight001. The show is a tribute to Leigh Bowery. After a few months, I just finished his autobiography. Surprisingly he was buried in the nude. And this past week, I re-watched his documentary; surprisingly for only the second time ever. In it heís referred to as a clown and a beautified monster. I loved this phrase; I can relate to it.

MY LITTLE Pop series is in a sense a beautification process. In the end the question remains whether these icons retain their visibility or are they transformed into Ďbeautiful monsters?Ē Or maybe even as Les Child said about Leigh, "someone beyond definition." Iíd like to think that like Leigh, they can be all three.

The piece featured here is my own portrait of President Obama. It a set of six images that show a sort of step by step progess of the eventual final image. Will it and I, one day get recognition? What do I have to do without losing site of who I am? Presient Obama once said, ďďIf you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress.Ē

I guess Iíll keep walking, walking and walking. And as for the copy of New York Magazine, I'm keeping it as a reminder that recognition is on its way.

Happy Weekend!

Meditations on Invisible Art

November 26th, 2012

Meditations on Invisible Art


A few weeks ago I started an online meditation challenge with Deepak Chopra. Itís been an interesting experience. Because I started a day late and missed one day, Iím two days behind; otherwise I would have finished up today. On Wednesday once Iím done, Iím 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. Iíve got lots to do today. But itís work I like doing. So far, itís looking beautiful. Iím excited and curious!

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

In thinking about this upcoming Art Show, I realize that Iíve 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 havenít 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!

ďLet'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.Ē Ė Patti Smith

The beautiful thing about this meditation challenge is that I have done so without expectation. I havenít done it to be a better man nor to have a better life. Iíve 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.

Unorthodox Miracles

November 24th, 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. Iíve lived in this neighborhood for the past 15 years. I love everything about it, especially the name. It feels good here; itís my home.

Throughout life, Iíve 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, ďIf I hadnít lived that life I wouldnít have felt so inspired. It was living that made me want to dance.Ē In coming across these words, I got teary eyed. I felt the same way about my art. For over 25 years, Iíve loved every minute of going out to the clubs here in LA, NYC, and SF. Iíve 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 Iím feeling down, I like to remember the endliss list of memories and people Iíve come across while Ďpartyingí it up. It's been a MIRACLE.

The piece here is titled ďRaja.Ē 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. During the LA fires, his first time performance of Chaka Khan's 'Through The Fire' (at the old Peanuts) remains to be one of my favorite all time drag performances. It was GENIUS! In recent years, Iíve been lucky enough to hang out with Raja. Heís a great talent and a beautiful human being.

Boris Yeltsin once said, ďIt 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.Ē 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, Iím laying low. I love a good quiet Saturday.

 

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