Sunday, May 29, 2016

Will we set free what's hidden inside our marble souls?

The human soul, like a statute, wants to be free
Come out…come out where ever you are! It’s hard to believe a block of marble can play hide and seek. But that’s how Michelangelo saw it when he was carving his sculptural masterpieces. These forms were hidden in the marble, ancient prisoners waiting to be set free by his carving.

There are also things hidden in society that need to be exposed to the light of day. This is what my new photo 365 project, Lonely Mythos, is all about.  My goal is to create dialogue that destigmatizes loneliness and provides inspiration of how to positively deal with things like isolation and rejection. In order to accomplish this, I need your help!  Will you consider answering a few questions to help make this project a reality?  You can read about the project’s inspiration here and then click on participate to answer the questions.  Thanks for your consideration.

A quick word about adding comments to this blog. Because my blog is rated for mature content (because I sometimes post my art nudes here), Google will not allow comments to be posted within the blog itself.  I regret that this has limited interaction with my readers.  Feel free instead to join the discussion on my Facebook page. You can also follow me on Google + and comment there. I’m happy that my new blog won’t have this limitation.  J

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Do we need to cure loneliness or better understand it?

She traded out a lemonade stand for one that offers psychiatric help for 5¢. A boy approaches whose hair looks like a bass cliff knocked on its side. He sits down and asks, “Can you cure loneliness?” She replies, “For a nickel, I can cure anything.” He presses her again, “Can you cure deep-down, black, bottom-of-the-well, no-hope, end-of-the-world, what's-the-use loneliness?”  She screams back, “FOR THE SAME NICKEL?”

Let's have a dialogue about loneliness
I like the Charlie Brown Valentine special. The exchanges between Lucy and Charlie Brown are classic. While I don’t want to take away from this cute and funny scene, it does make me think about how loneliness is perceived by others. Loneliness is a subject that isn’t often discussed yet permeates our culture. I think the above exchange gives us some clues as to why. To admit that you are lonely implies that something is wrong with you, that you are broken and need to be fixed. Lonely people are branded as hopeless, negative thinkers that haven’t found their purpose in life. If this was all true, then the entire human race consists of nothing but losers. This is, of course, a ridiculous statement. We all have been lonely at some point in our lives. The 2 dimensional caricatures of loneliness do not even begin capture the complexity of the situations people find themselves in.  I believe we need to better understand loneliness.

So what does loneliness mean in our lives and what are helpful and humorous ways we’ve discovered in dealing with it? These questions are going to form the basis of a new photo 365 day blog. I want to interview people of all ages and backgrounds and hear their answers to these questions. These questions will accompany a photograph that relates to  It is my hope that this produces dialogue about this subject that is meaningful and helpful.  If you are interested in learning more about this project or participating in it, you can visit my new blog, Lonely Mythos.

A quick word about adding comments to this blog. Because my blog is rated for mature content (because I sometimes post my art nudes here), Google will not allow comments to be posted within the blog itself.  I regret that this has limited our interaction here.  Feel free instead to join the discussion on my Facebook page,  You can also follow me on Google + and comment there. I’m happy that my new blog won’t have this limitation.  Thanks for reading J

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Will we graduate from our expectations?

Art defies expectations
Their hearts burst forth as if nothing could stop their passionate play upon this urban playground. They leap, twirl and somersault through the air like a choreographed dance routine. Then the unthinkable happens as a new presence rips away their comfortable reality. Everyone freezes as an old player enters this moonlit stage. They quickly scatter like dead leaves before a furious wind. There was nothing more frightening to them than one of their own who was grey and could no longer dance.  She reminded them that they, too, will lose the ability to do the things that make them feel alive. 

One of the most iconic songs in the musical Cats is "Memory." The context is the scene described above where an extremely old cat named Grizabella makes a passionate appeal for acceptance by her fellow felines. She recounts how her once vibrant and beautiful life has been replaced by loneliness and despair.

When I recently saw a high school production of Cats,  it defied my expectations. First, the students made their own cat costumes. This is typically done by parent and community volunteers in these kind of productions.  Next, it was unclear to me  if a high school student could bring the emotional complexity and energy required in "Memory."  My thinking was that such a piece required more life experience and perspective than an 18 year old could draw upon. The senior playing Grizabella was able to move beyond giving a performance to behaving as if what she was singing actually happened to her. When I later went through the cast biography, she referred to her theater group as family. I believe the breakup of this family after graduation was one of the emotional realities she channeled in her character. 

Art at its highest level defines expectations. It moves beyond mediocre and predictable choices to something totally new and vibrant. In this sense, we can create art in our daily lives, at work and in our relationships. Wisdom helps us to recognize that some life events may never come again and now exist only in "memory." This is why it is so important to be able to reinvent ourselves throughout the course of our lives so we can take on new challenges. 

We wish the graduating class of 2016 much success in positively defying expectations!  Will we do the same?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Can seashells change the direction of our lives?

Hear the ocean of a Mother's love
The silent guns sit as moss crossed its legs upon the flowering torrents. Outside of the fort, a mother and son walk across another kind of graveyard. The shell like bones litter the seabed with grave robbers waving their pincher swords.  The unknown possibilities of what hidden treasures they might find made this world a magical place.

The above memory was of my Mom and I at Fort Desoto beach when I was a child. These outings to look for shells required us to wade out into the Gulf of Mexico until we reached a sand bar island. The sense of wonder in my child like mind ignited my sense of discovery and adventure that remain with me to this day. This led me to move out to Colorado where today I find new gems on my hikes: a vista, wildlife or a shooting location. I explore new terrains via photography, writing, painting and short films. All made possible because my Mom took the time to listen to me and my desire to go out to that island. She let me become the person I was meant to be.

What are the events that impacted us so deeply that we can share with our Mothers (or others if no longer living) this Mother’s Day?  Feel free to share by commenting below. Shells are like memories where we can hear the ocean of her love forever.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Will we choose between two monsters?

The cat faced two ferocious beasts. One had hairy legs that would grab her fur like sticker grass. The other could coil its slippery skin all around her. She would have to face one of them in order to make her escape. Which one will she choose?

This setup is a homage to Homer's epic myth, The Odyssey. War hero Odysseus faced many obstacles on his journey back home. One of them involved passing through a strait that has two monsters on either side. One of them was Scylla who would cast its heads onto ships and eat 6 men at a time. The other was Charybdis, which was a giant whirlpool that pulled down entire ships killing everyone aboard. Both monsters were immortal and could not be killed. He was advised to row past the Scylla side, “for it is better to lose six of your men then your entire crew.” It is believed that we get the phrase "between a rock and a hard place" from this story.

We sometimes have to make difficult choices when there are no good options, only degrees of damage. One example: someone we know is engaging in destructive behavior and is unwilling to change. Do we enable the behavior or walk away from it? Charybdis in the situation represents the insidious force that drags us down  into codependency. Scylla is that part of us that is devoured when ending a significant relationship.

Adults are sometimes caught between rocks and hard places. This is why Peter Pan did not want to grow up. Although we have to, the trick is to continue to experience magic in the world in the midst of such difficult decisions. Art is a wonderful platform to do just that! Perhaps our most significant choice is what to do after facing the monster.

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