Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Where do we find hope?

Where do we find hope for a better world when the news paints such a dismal picture; failed states sending explosive underwear bombers out to kill, two wars with more brewing, and on and on. I watched tonight's news with a heavy heart. Soon after hope rang; I received a phone call from friends (Muslims) wanting to plan a big party to bring Muslims and non-Muslims together to get past the head lines. We dreamt of who to invite, and how to proceed. After a half an hour of laughing and sharing ideas I hung up with a feather weight heart. Maybe it is a sin, like the Egyptians believed, to live a life that would give you a heavy heart.

I find hope from friends who remind me to act.

I am also reading a great book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans. It is a window into the world of the American South of 1936. Let me tell you- things HAVE gotten better.

I find hope in change.

James Agee wrote: " Above all else; in God's name don't think of it as Art. Every fury on earth has been absorbed in time, as art, or as religion, or as authority in one form or another. The deadliest blow the enemy of the human soul can strike is to do fury honor. Swift, Blake, Beethoven, Christ, Joyce, Kafka, name me a one who has not been thus castrated. Official acceptance is the one unmistakeable symptom that salvation is beaten again, and is the one surest sign of fatal misunderstanding, and is the kiss of Judas."

I find hope in the fury of life.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Donkey Library

Inspiring. "Man lives in what he sees. But he sees only what he dreams." Check out this seer who has made a place on this earth for his dream.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Where White Means Death.

Where Have You Hidden It?

You say we are a storm, drifting from a distant place,
come to disrupt your home.
You call us diseased.
With pity, we should be cured.
You say that we are less, deserving, less, entitled, less, than you.
But we are your sons, your daughters.
We are your brothers, sisters, family and friends.
We are not a storm, brewing off the coast,
but we are equally, if not more, the heart of this nation.
We were born and raised, just as you, with the promise of freedom and equality.
The only thing that sets us apart, the only thing in the entire world, is that when we grew up, we didn't find it.
Well, where have you hidden it?
Because to tell you the truth, these childish games have started to get old.
And the fact of the matter is that
we love too.

by Reid Drake

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Help Portrait Project

Calling all photographers. Help someone in need with a portrait- for free- this holiday season. Learn more here on this growing community of artists taking direct action to make the world a better place.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Back of the Bus Policy in NC

The proposed new rules for admission for children of undocumented immigrants into Community Colleges in North Carolina is, in my opinion, a new "back of the bus" policy- charging out-of-state tuition to children who may have grown up in the state, and providing them access to classes as long as no "legal" student needs the spot. What a disingenuous invitation to an education. I thought of this last month as I sat at a conference of community college professors and was served lunch by an all Hispanic staff. My slave owning ancestors would have felt right at home!

I am trying to think up a performance piece involving a bus to make the point that this new policy is deeply flawed. Any suggestions?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Low Rent + Artists = Raised Rents = Gentrification - Artists

Rayna from the land down under tells me that gentrification is a growing problem in her country as developers swoop in on artists who gather around low rent, develop the neighborhood and then raise rentsand drive out the very artists that gathered there before them. Rayna sent me this cool video that won this year's Earthsharing Australia short film contest. Also, check out Rayna's facebook group dedicated to addressing this growing problem.

Madame Tutli - Putli

Take 10 minutes to watch Madame Tutli-Putli at You Tube Screening Room. (Select the movie after going to the page or a random selection will play.) It is about a women on a night train...and so much more. Enjoyed it over coffee this morning with my son, the poet. I have been thinking about it all day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Look Past The Eyes

Shirin Neshat is a Iranian expatriate who has been making video art for years on the experience of being a women in Persia. In September, she won the Silver Lion Award for best director at the 66th Venice Film Festival for her first feature film, Women Without Men. Here is an interview of her I found on YouTube. A trailer for her movie is on YouTube but you must sign in to view it- apparently something in it requires you to be a mature viewer. In Women Without Men, Shirin shows us the lives of four women seeking freedom against the backdrop of 1953 Military Coup that installed the Shah. Like many good artists, her work was one step ahead of the world and although she began work on it 6 years ago it speaks to the current Green Movement's struggles in Iran.

Take time to sign into You Tube and look up "Women without Men" it is worth seeing and will be worth watching in its entirety when it comes to the states.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dan adds new meaning to "My house is your house."

Dan Phillips is showing the rest of us how to really recycle! Time to check out Hunstville!

Whose gonna whipe your baby's face.....who's gonna build your wall?

These images are in black and white but Tom Russell's questions are relevant and of the moment. When we finally settle health care reform are we gonna be brave enough to tackle immigration reform? If not, why? Time to ask these hard questions. Thanks Tom for using the art of your song writing to look at this issue straight on- I'm afraid of the golf shirt crowd too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Own Four Walls Project

Diane Nilan is trying to open all our eyes. Wake up America.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Leap Before You Look

by Linda Faltin

Look before you leap, the old adage tells us.
Play it safe.
Better safe than sorry.
Never talk to strangers.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Birds of a feather flock together.

But what kind of life portrait
would we paint if these words
formed our only palette? if
coloring inside the lines in
black and white and shades
of gray were preferable to
living life in the rainbow hues
of daring and delight?

Sometimes the only way to
grow is to make a leap of faith.
unsure of where or how you'll land
but certain that the landscape
of your life will change...
and how, pray, tell, will you ever
make new friends if strangers
are off-limits? out-of-bounds?

So- we need new adages, it seems to me:
Leap before you look.
Play it daring.
Better sorry than always risk-free.
Smile at strangers...dare to engage.
Those birds in the bush have a song worth hearing.
and with arms open wide, welcome every "kind"
into your flock.

Now, that's a life in living color!

(Linda dedicated this poem to me. Thanks Linda, you have no idea how much this means to me.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Krystle Warren

Found this on a perfect autumn day. She's from Kansas City and has become a big deal in Europe.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blu and David Ellis prove all it takes is imagination (and hard work)

COMBO a collaborative animation by Blu and David Ellis (2 times loop) from blu on Vimeo.

This installation painting project's site struck me as the perfect symbol for the Great Recession we are in. These artists take what looks like an abandoned Italian apartment courtyard and give it new life. I hope this video is going viral. Now, if we could make their creativity infectious we might just all survive.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Maya Lin's Last Monument


What is Missing is Maya Lin's self proclaimed last monument. If you have walked the slight grade of the Vietnam Memorial and felt the slow rise of the names in black stone, then you know the feeling she is after with this monument. In this instance, it is the slow disappearance of species after species, habitat after habitat, that our mindless human activities is erasing from the planet. The non-traditional memorial take form in many ways, including digitally. Check out Lin's website on the project. Haunting.

Saving Eden

Sitting in the audience last night at the 1st annual Land Jam I was touched to hear this song about the very place where I work; Rockingham County and Eden, NC. Laurelyn Dossett's song Leaving Eden sums up the struggles in that community, the plant closings, and the death of so many opportunities. I and my colleges are working to give them another option; education and in my case, creativity.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gary Gresco Doesn't take it sitting down

THe City of Greensboro blew it when they listened to the trite complaints of a few community members and removed a wonderful sculpture from the new greenway in Greensboro. Gary speaks the truth in this News and Record article. Sorry Gary. Your benches were awesome. I apologize that my community cannot elect smarter officials. It's a direct result of our less than acceptable public education where art and art appreciation have gone the way of dial phones and typewriters. I hope the publicity from this gets you 15 more grants. I guess all those "no-good bumbs and prostitutes" are gone now from the streets of Greensboro. What a shame that your art attracted them.

Removal of public art was a desecration


When I first poured my heart and soul into the Warnersville bench installation, I had no idea this art project would have such a profound impact.

How could steel and stone be responsible for the ills of this community? Especially when there are so many other benches throughout Greensboro. This question was a major topic of conversation at the Tri-State Sculptors' annual conference at Elon University last weekend.

I have reached some conclusions. The Warnersville bench was removed to thwart the very words inscribed on each segment. They are:

-- Remove Endurance and replace it with surrender.

-- Remove Triumph and replace it with failure.

-- Remove Faith and replace it with apathy.

-- Remove Strength and replace it with weakness.

-- Remove Hope and replace it with despair.

Read rest of article

AMAZING Comment by Zhak on News and Record Comment Board:

"One summer evening a couple spotted five freshly varnished chairs glowing in the moonlight in the Warnersville neighborhood. He wished to sit on the chair marked 'endurance.' She had only ten minutes to spare so vetoed the idea. She wished to sit on the chair marked 'faith' since she had not yet seen his wallet. He suggested 'triumph' as he looked forward to having his way without the benefit of responsibility or character. She preferred 'strength' as would she have the strength to make it through one more shift. Neither considered 'hope' as this seat was taken by the community that hoped by some miracle someone would make this whole situation go away."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Moore, Sandburg, Woodie

I watched Moore's newest movie "Capitalism-A Love Story" this weekend and realized that he is the living voice of straight talkers like Carl Sandburg and Woodie Guthrie - survivors from our last economic disaster. They saw the plight of the common man and recognized that it was piss not rain falling on their heads from those "above" them. I've posted some of my favorite Guthrie songs here. Also, here is one of my favorite Sandburg poems- worth following the link and reading it all.


by Carl Sandburg

You come along. . . tearing your shirt. . . yelling about
Where do you get that stuff?
What do you know about Jesus?
Jesus had a way of talking soft and outside of a few
bankers and higher-ups among the con men of Jerusalem
everybody liked to have this Jesus around because
he never made any fake passes and everything
he said went and he helped the sick and gave the
people hope.

Rest of Poem

Ahhh...Thank You Creative Muses!

Houx knows how to hoe a truthful tune

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Long Train Home

More on Chris Smither.

Every generation lets something slip away. Sometimes it's a good thing- like Racism or Homophobia. Sometimes it's not so good. I wonder if we have let the feeling of the sacred slip away. Maybe it slid out between the teeth and gins of hypocritical preachers or between the shouts of Christians who want the Lord to be a Warrior rather than a Shepherd. Maybe it slipped away because we were too self conscious to teach our children to pray. Or maybe pop culture stole it when they made Christ into a bobble headed dash board toy. I don't know.

I find the sacred still. In nature, in art. In pastors like my friends Linda and Brady who speak the truth even when the truth is not popular. And in songs like this one.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Crash This Train

This song is a prayer to stop the mad ride we are on; 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan.......

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good Questions

Bret Dennen asks some great questions and shares some honest thoughts on Justice and finding a place for one's soul. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and enjoy three minutes of deep listening and deeper thinking.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

State Street - an Angel of a Book

The poem in this book is as beautiful as the cover. The author brings us along in her life post-Katrina. You will feel like you stood by her side or in her head after reading it.


Watch how you use the word NAZI

The term Nazi is thrown around like a pink play thing these days; "Soup Nazi", "Obama-Nazi." As time passes we are forgetting the real meaning of that term. This documentary, Night and Fog, is a wide-eyed reminder of what Nazi really means. It is also a provocation that warns of the half sleeping monster that lies in wait among us all.

I have not been to the Holocaust Museum in DC. Much of this information was new to me. Shame be onto the Holocaust deniers.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hamburger Eyes: A Documentary on Urban Decay

Hamburger Eyes from Nick Fogarty on Vimeo.

These are some great photographs and photographers. They are finding art in the everyday we all overlook or run from in the urban landscape. Inspiring.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Artist Dies for his Art

WARNING: This video is very disturbing and contains scenes of violence, death, and sexuality.

The above movie trailer is for the documentary La Vida Loca made by Christian Poveda. It was made by a french documentary artist who was killed on September 4th, 2009, while working on his gang related documentary project in Tonacatepeque, a rural region north of the capital of El Salvador. He was shot in the head.

I hope you will pause a moment in your busy life to pay respect for this brave artist who gave his life to shed light on the human disaster of poverty and gang related violence.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Monsters in my head

Self-taught animator Bruce Bickford created an amazing world of images. Like many passionate outsider artists it also became his world. Check out his animation at www.monstorroad.com Art reflects our world- as scary as it can be, it is made better when we turn our visions and thoughts into creative actions like this- rather than the easier ways some choose to hurt themselves and others.

Also check out Bickford's Dupree's Paradise.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hope Filled Designs for 9th Ward, New Orleans

Hope springs like a weed, pushing through the hurt and broken promises with the Make It Right Project in New Orleans. Check out the amazingly bold designs being built right now in New Orleans.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Of Ophans, Art, and Halos

Too bad art therapist have such a hard time finding funding in the US. They do so much good worldwide- we need their halos here too. Check out this video and then take a look at Halo Foundation's Website.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


CHECK OUT THIS BLOG BY THE ARTIST: http://nicolasheller.wordpress.com/

Modest Mouse ruins my new hobby

Dang it. I just bought a fishing license and new reel. Now whenever I fish for trout I will be thinking of this provocative animation. It's for Modest Mouse's song King Rat and is a dark, graphic reminder of the injustice of illegal whaling practices still common in the world. This project was headed up by Keath Ledger before his death. Proceeds from the first month of sales of this song on itunes will go toward a non-profit fighting illegal whaling. Like all great art, its impact will go well beyond that. Steel yourself before watching, but do watch, and listen, and think.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Modern Masterpiece in the woods

This animation of Fallingwater, Frank L. Wrights masterpiece build on Bear Run Creek in Western PA, is wonderful. It does not however do it justice. What the animator could not put in is how much nature embraces the property. Visiting this building was a highlight of an otherwise personally awful summer. I was awe struck at how carefully Wright slotted this building into the landscape and how well the owners, the Kaufmanns, folded in nature on top of the site with new plantings. Today it looks like God created the house along with boulders and stream. That statement might have pleased the architect- who thought much of his abilities. Vanity aside, Wright has left us a monument to an alternate universe, one in which man lives WITH nature instead of against it. It is a vision of a future that we all should embrace and dedicate our lives to- begin by going to this "cathedral in the woods."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

We cannot afford to do without the arts.

Check out this speaker on the importance of creativity and education. As our state supported schools and private schools struggle with budgets they should DOUBLE the funding for creative practices! We cannot spend our way out of a recession, we have to invent our way.

April 13th, 1927 - July 18, 2009

My mother, Elizabeth Shaw, died this past month. I have taken some time off from a lot of small things to process this profound event in my life.

I am inching back into the rush of everyday life and will begin again to celebrate here my passion for great humanist art.

Here is a website I just found and want to share.

Thanks for your continued interest in this funny little blog that, like me, so wants to make the world a better place.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Laughing With...........

Maybe it is because I have a gravely ill loved one in the hospital, but I find this new song by Regina Spektor to be profound.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Recycled Book Publishing

You may have heard of the two reporters being held in North Korea. They work for Current TV. Check out this short (too short) documentary on artists publishing books using recycled material. Check out the other documentaries at Current as well.

Update: I just watch a longer documentary by Current and am a total fan. Check out "Thankyou, Recession." Consider joining the Face Book Group that is supporting the family of the two current journalists.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Something Wonderful from Next to Nothing

In this time of shrinking wealth and growing worry it is refreshing and inspiring to see imagination at its best. The Guggenheim Grotto, an Indie band from Dublin, has created a wonderful music video for their song 'Her Beautiful Ideas.' If you've studied art history you may be successful in finding the numerous art references.

Touching Portraits by Laura

Laura Chasman has created a touching series of paintings of elderly nursing home residents and the aids and nurses that care for them. I came across her work while doing research for a similar project I am considering. Her gouache paintings stood out as I did a good image search of nursing home portraits. Laura has painted other groups of people. I like the way she has used her natural communities (family, friends, work) as the subject matter. Her work has the same directness as Alice Neel's. It comes across unassuming yet profound. Be sure to visit her site to see these excellent paintings.

Keep Getting Better

Maybe you bought the CD like I did and played it to death, but I bet you will still enjoy this video from the Playing for Change folks. Their music is great but combined with the images it is overwhelmingly excellent. Watch the expression of emotion on these singers' faces and you will get why art (music in this case) is so important to being fully human. These guys exude the suffering that New Orleans went through with Katrina- yet through their art their spirits have triumphed- yours will be raised as well. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spanish Version of Give Me Eyes Book now online

This is a book I published in 2007. It is written in both Spanish and English. It tells the story of a couple who cross the border illegally. It was created in collaboration with undocumented immigrants living in my community and with families left behind in Mexico. I hope to share this video across Mexico. This book is now for sale on Amazon.com and on lulu.com

Friday, May 22, 2009

Has Nothing Changed?

More on Wislawa Szymborska

by Wislawa Szymborska

Nothing has changed.
The body is a reservoir of pain;
it has to eat and breathe the air, and sleep;
it has thin skin and the blood is just beneath it;
it has a good supply of teeth and fingernails;
its bones can be broken; its joints can be stretched.
In tortures, all of this is considered.

Nothing has changed.
The body still trembles as it trembled
before Rome was founded and after,
in the twentieth century before and after Christ.
Tortures are just what they were, only the earth has shrunk
and whatever goes on sounds as if it's just a room away.

Nothing has changed.
Except there are more people,
and new offenses have sprung up beside the old ones--
real, make-believe, short-lived, and nonexistent.
But the cry with which the body answers for them
was, is, and will be a cry of innocence
in keeping with the age-old scale and pitch.

Nothing has changed.
Except perhaps the manners, ceremonies, dances.
The gesture of the hands shielding the head
has nonetheless remained the same.
The body writhes, jerks, and tugs,
falls to the ground when shoved, pulls up its knees,
bruises, swells, drools, and bleeds.

Nothing has changed.
Except the run of rivers,
the shapes of forests, shores, deserts, and glaciers.
The little soul roams among these landscapes,
disappears, returns, draws near, moves away,
evasive and a stranger to itself,
now sure, now uncertain of its own existence,
whereas the body is and is and is
and has nowhere to go.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chaos in Calais - Another Perspective on Undocumented Immigration

You may have never heard of the port city of Calai, France or may think of Rodin's Burghers of Calais. (see below) Today, Calais is in the news for their tent city called "The Jungle" . It is an abandoned bit of woods that is shelter for undocumented immigrants coming from all over Africa, and the Middle East including Iraq and Afghanistan. We in the US tend to think only of Mexico and Latin America when we think of undocumented immigration. The issue of migration is a world wide one and tied tightly to the issue of human suffering and dreams for a better life. This video examines the issue from all sides; the immigrants, the volunteers, and the officials. Particularly touching for me is the migrant who came to Europe to pursue his love of Western Music and was shocked by the racism he found. Worth looking at also are the comments left by viewers on You Tube- sad, truly sad. (Click on the video to go to You Tube and scroll down to read comments.)

Rodin's sculpture memorialized the willingness of man to sacrifice for the love of others- a lesson we are still learning.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Latest "Playing for Change" video

If you have not picked up the new Playing for Change CD and DVD, then you have to see and hear this video. The audio version is great but combined with the imagery it is awesome and inspiring.

(Click on the above video box if your view of the video is clipped on the right.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Homeless In Gaza


This is a powerful slideshow with audio that shows the lingering effects of war. The Gaza War seems old news to us, we have moved to Swine Flu and so forth, but for this family with their children and grandparents, the war still looks them in the face every morning when the rise, and it sleeps with them at night. I respect the job the BBC News staff did in compiling this slideshow, you can hear the flames popping the wood as the photo comes into view of the father starting the fire. They also give everyone a voice, providing subtitles when needed. Heather Sharp, Hamada Abuqammar, and Paul Kerley have put together one of the best presentations of this kind I have seen. Touching. Disturbing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

To Be Rather Than to Seem

Check out my new project that is finally ready to go public. I have been traveling the state of North Carolina for the last year collaborating with Muslim Americans to help them create self portrait images. Go to www.muslimselfportrait.info

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chinese Artist Wei Wei takes Dragon by the Tale

Artist Ai Wei Wei, who helped design the Chinese Olympic Stadium, has been collecting the names of the children who died in last years quake. His goal is to find a total number of children's deaths, that's all. His blog has become a popular site for parents and others. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Maybe he has enough visibility as an international artist not to be disappeared.

SORRY but this blog is the only one I could find on his activities. It has a Honda commercial at the start.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Women Are Heros

WARNING: Mature images and content. Grow up and watch it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Beautiful Site on Ugly Reality: 287g

Check out this well designed project on the ugly truth of deportation practices in our state.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Makes we want to run

Onwards from akqa on Vimeo.

This animation by James Jarvis is excellent. If you have ever run regularly you will recognize the joy and awe in this animation. For me, it brings back memories of a long run once when it began to snow, by the time I got home I had ice on my beard and a fire in my heart. From the very first stretches the yellow man makes you can recognize its honesty and accuracy. Man, I gotta get back out there. There is music - after a moment.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

PROP master at Gibbes

Susan and Juan have a great installation up in Charleston, SC. Enjoy this well produced video.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Playground documentary is a must see for responsible adults- but be prepared

Libby Spears has created a documentary that sheds a light on the dark underbelly of American culture; the child sex trade. Even looking at this trailer makes me sick and sick hearted. But unlike stopping to look at a bloody car wreck, we can actually accomplish something by seeing this side of reality. Watch, then figure out what you can do to help stop this exploitation of our country's children.

One thing you can do is attend this public screening:

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Reception at 6:00pm
Screening at 6:30 pm

Question and answer session with panel following screening.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fire and Police Training Academy
1770 Shopton Road
Charlotte, North Carolina 28217
704.432.1709 (for directions)

For questions and registration, contact estefanias@lssp.org.
Registration closes end of day on May 5, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Join me on iPeace

I just joined this sit, www.ipeace.me, and the Artists United for Peace Group.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More than Ants

Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Found this on Thriving Too, a blog that I have linked to on my blog (at the very bottom of the page). Visit the list if you haven't yet. There are some cool sites found there.

A Dollar Bill and so much more

I come from brothers, I am a brother, and I am father to brothers. When my father died in 1963, my Uncle took a dollar bill from his brother's wallet and kept it. When my Uncle died a few years back it came to me. I often wondered why my Uncle did that. I did not get a chance to ask him, but I would guess it was a simple attempt to hold onto something from his beloved brother. What would have happened had my Uncle invested that dollar, say in stocks? I guess that was not the point. There are more valuable things that pass between family members. That Uncle who took the dollar taught me a more valuable lesson about sticking by family. I watched and learned as the decades rolled by and he cared for my grandparents through thick and thin. My brother and I had a long talk this morning about the recession and the many ways it is eating at our lives. My sons text message each other and have their cell numbers memorized. There are so many ways to share a name.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rainy Day with Charlie

I had come to the mountains to camp and ski with my son's youth group. The rain and cold had kept us from hiking in the woods so we decided to urban hike along King Street in downtown Boone, North Carolina. After picking up some dark chocolate at Mast General Store we headed for the Turchin Arts Center. In an upstairs gallery I discovered Charlie Brouwer's installation "Hope Remains Part II" The big tree in the middle filled the room with a strong presence (the artist's? ) but it was the 30 monochrom drawing /paintings that captured my attention. Each image was uniquely designed and carried a layer of meanings; a working man figure, trees, leaf outlines, and words. Each work was mounted to the wall with simple white tabs and thumbtacks. I liked this approach and will borrow it for my own paper works. Each picture seemed at first hastily drawn but on closer examination betrayed a master's eye. The paper seemed to stretch and bend internally, pushing itself off the wall at times- giving it another layer of life. Brouwer has lived long enough to find heros like Joseph Beuys who echo his own love of nature and mankind. I enjoyed my travels around the room looking at each drawing. I recognizing many leaf shapes and found from time to time the working man figure. Although the words at time seemed too close to greeting card quotes, I found the artist's honest sharing and depth of hinted at wisdom refreshing. Not a bad substitute for a real walk in the woods. Thanks Charles.

PG animation shows plight of Gaza

This animation speaks the truth for many Gaza citizens. Though it goes light on the effects of violence, it creates a memorable image of what it must be like to live in Gaza today. BTW, this was made by an Israeli illustrator. Read more here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sun Mu - Artist Speaks Truth to Power

"What are they feeding me?" by Sun Mu.

Sun Mu is a North Korean artist who has excaped to South Korea and is now turning his training in propaganda painting into a voice for free expression. Check out Sun's work here and read the New York Times article on his intriguing journey as an artist.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Avett Brothers' Salvation Song - Valentine to the us all.

If you take my heart
Don't leave the smallest part
I've no need to live if you're to come up gone
An as my life turns to a song
And if and when I treat you wrong
No I never want to hurt our family

And I would give up everything
No this is not just about me
And I don't know a plainer way to say it Babe
And they may pay us off in fame
Though that is not why we came
And I know well and good that won't heal our hearts

We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that's good that's how we'll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way

Now if I'm walkin' through the rain
And I hear you call my name
I will break into a run without a pause
And if your love laughs at your dreams
Well it's not as bad as it seems
Either way one of them has got to go
And if you take of my soul
You can still leave it whole
With the pieces of you own you leave behind

We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that's good that's how we'll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way

And I would give up everything
And if you were to come up clean
And see you shine so bright in a world of woe
And they may pay us off in fame
But that is not why we came
And if it compromises truth then we will go

We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that's good that's how we'll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way

Art makes good medicine

St. Francis Children's Hospital in Tulsa OK.

Casey and Emily Lewis, owners of Beechwood Metalworks in Burlington, NC, are creating art that reaches a very specific community; the sick patients and their families spending days and nights in hospitals. If you have ever had to spend time there yourself- and I have spent many many days there with sick family- you know that the view from a hospital room can be depressing. Often the view includes parking decks, more buildings, and heating/ AC units. Casey and Emily have found a way to bring a smile to those who look out their window and find metal sculptures of flowers and animals waiting patiently to be discovered. Such unexpected whimsy can bring a smile to even the sickest patient- and what good medicine that can be.

Beechwood has installed sculptures at UNC Children's Hospital in Chapel Hill and at St. Francis Children's Hospital in Tulsa OK. More locations are in the works.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Playing for Change!

President Obama is not the only agent of change. Artists worldwide like these good people from Playing for Change - Peace Through Music are binding together to become an upstoppable force for a better world. While you listen to this wonderful song, think about the possibility for good that our world village can now accomplish. Then, find a way to add your voice! Stop watching the news and worrying! Stand up and make something for PEACE, JUSTICE, and a BETTER FUTURE. The momentum is there- join it!

Heres is a Bill Moyer's interview with PFC founder Mark Johnson on this Project.

Great Resource for Obscure Films from Europe

Check out this great online resource for European Film called Europa Film Treasures. What a well of inspirational resources for our new media artists!

First National Teaching Artist Research Project

Do you teach art? If so, join this research project from the University of Chicago. Here more information from the press release I received:

If you are a teaching artist in any discipline (visual arts, music, dance, theater, writing, etc) or manage teaching artists, register for the First National Teaching Artist Research Project at http://teachingartists.uchicago.edu

The Obama campaign pledged to advance arts education and to create an ArtistsCorps, and that means the coming years will be important for teaching artists. What we learn through this study will help assure that new policies and practices create meaningful opportunities and real support for artists who do extraordinary work but who have rarely been recognized. Whether you teach in a school or a community site (a church, a prison, acommunity art center, a youth or social service agency or a street corner), what ever your art form, whether you teach adults or children, we want to learn about your experience. The more artists we include in this research, the more inclusive, accurate, and helpful the study will be.

This study focuses on teaching artists who live or work in the metro areas of Boston, Providence, or Seattle, in Chicago, and in these California communities -- the Bay Area (Alameda and San Francisco Counties), Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, Salinas, Bakersfield, and Humboldt County. So, if you're a teaching artist, or if you run a program that hires teaching artists, and live or work in one of our study site areas, please use the above link to sign up!

Even if you are not a teaching artist, everyone can help us by forwarding this email to all of your contacts who are.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or ideas of ways that we can reach out to more teaching artists. All those who complete the survey will be given a free CD of two amazing stories about teaching artists from Ira Glass' radio program 'This American Life'.


Nick Rabkin

Teaching Artist Research Project

NORC at the University of Chicago

1155 E. 60th St.

Chicago, IL 60637

House Made of Stone Stands to Help Those Who Help Others

Tina Firesheets, News and Record reporter, has a new story out The Stone House, a retreat in Mebane, NC created for community activists and others. Check out the story online.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Almost as Good as Obama's Speech

My son just shared this video with me. It's by Brett Dennen. The song is called "Ain't No Reason" off of his album So Much More. It's powerful. Listen to the lyrics carefully and watch the video all the way through.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth Passes

Andrew Wyeth has died at age 91. I just looked through a wonderful book on his art and noticed how he created so much over the 1940s to the 1990's. His work remained consistent and has a timelessness to it. I remember looking at an 8MM film on his work in Junior High School. As a kid, he was the second artist I fell in love with after Norman Rockwell.

This painting of his is at the NC Museum of Art and shows a young boy running down a hill. It was painted after the death of his father, N.C. Wyeth. I have been told the hill represents his father. I connect with this work having lost a father, step-father, and grand-father - all men who meant a great deal to me. I know the loss his family is feeling. His work remains on many a wall, but more importantly in the hearts of minds of so many.

I raise my brush in silent tribute to a great artist.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's the message that matters not the medium

This video reminds me of my childhood when I made dioramas and played with that oily clay. Take a moment from your busy life to enjoy this quiet song by the Weepies and this imaginative claymation.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Simply Put: Art is the Cure

Rich, a young British artist, has started a movement with the simple but profound statement: Art is the Cure. Being creative helped save him from the darker demons and as he shared this fact he has found others who it has helped as well. Check out his website and consider buying one of his t-shirts or joining his facebook group.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Put this on your new year's resolution list

Found this on Eric Wilson's blog Artevist. Worth Sharing

Student Participants Needed for Project on Cluster Bombs

"Landmine" by Bill Fick

THE CLUSTER PROJECT is an online collaborative art exhibition that surveys the social, historical, financial, and technological underpinnings of cluster bombs. The web exhibition will display some 22 installations (or rooms or bomblets) made by a variety of artists using animation, illustration, photography, video and other techniques.

For one of the works called WHAT THE PEOPLE KNOW, we invite teachers to help us involve student artists and journalists from around the country in interviewing citizens in their communities.

While the United States has traditionally manufactured, sold and used the great bulk of cluster bombs around the world, it’s citizenry knows virtually nothing of the weapons, nor does it want to know. It is this combination of complicity and ignorance that The Cluster Project seeks to confront.

One of the works in the project, What the People Know, involves student media-makers questioning people in their communities. These will be simple man-in-the-street interviews in which subjects are
asked, “What is a cluster bomb?” They are then invited to discuss whatever they know about cluster munitions. The resulting material will then be sent to The Cluster Project where it will be collected and brought together in an exhibition installation.

Our goal is to gather responses from all fifty states.

For university teachers of video production and related subjects, this assignment can take as little as a single class period. We will help provide information for the classroom context that explains both the nature of cluster munitions and the aims of this project. We will also include a brief protocol for the production shoot including the required questions and issues regarding location and approach.

Students from any discipline can participate, but they must have access to video and audio equipment and have a basic knowledge of field production.

All collaborators and institutions involved in the project will be credited.

Students participating in What the People Know should benefit from their collaboration in a national art project, their practical
experience in the documentary tradition and a greater awareness of their nation’s role in the use, sale and development of dangerous weapons.

Contact either Erich Woodrum or Bob Paris below:

Erich Woodrum, producer of What The People Know, thinkhuman@riseup.net

Bob Paris, director of The Cluster Project (and Assistant Professor in Kinetic Imaging at VCU’s School of the Arts in Richmond, VA), parisikov@theclusterproject.com


Too much coffee mixed with a powerful movie on the transience of life ( Benjamin Button) caused me to stay awake all night last night. In the middle of these episodes of insomnia, I often despair about growing old and useless. This morning's light brings to me a story in the paper on Joshua Silver, a grey beared physicist, who has invented a way to bring affordable prescription grade eye glasses to the poor around the world. By self-injecting small amounts of silicon into the lenses, these glasses can be adjusted by the wearer. Wow! Hundreds of thousands of these have already been distributed worldwide. The US military have bought thousands to give away in Africa. His business, Adaptive Eye-care is selling these glasses at about $19.

Whenever I get down- like last night- something like this comes along to remind me that one is never too old to make a difference in the world. Maybe I am biased but I also believe the creative mind, put to work for good, is the antidote for many late night despairs. Except for opthomologists, billions more worldwide will live (and sleep) better because Joshua Silver believed an idea could make the a better place.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hope Man Peace Man Blog

You may have heard of this blog written by one man in Gaza and another just outside in Israel, they call themselves Peace Man and Hope Man respectively. Peace man is trapped amid the violence in Gaza. Their blog was featured on NPR yesterday. Here is a link to the blog. Be sure to see the earlier post here on the Arte.TV site that shows life on both sides through video and interviews.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bail Out Biennial Opens Jan. 16th

LINCOLN (blood currency portait) by Severn Eaton

The first (and perhaps only) biennial to address the current economic "crisis" or "scandal," the 700+ billion dollar bailout, capitalism, global economy, postindustrialism,greed and profit. Organized by elin o'Hara slavick and Jeff Waites
with special thanks to Nancy Kitterman. Housed in a big empty space with high ceilings and tall windows surrounding
the room, Bail Out Biennial is located in downtown Durham – a post-industrial city that is struggling to revitalize itself in the midst of a global economic meltdown. The exhibition is free. Artists pay for their own shipping. Unlike
most biennials, this one was put together quickly from a simple call for submissions, has no budget, and will require plywood sheets to be screwed into the existing wooden pillars from the old tobacco pouch production factory to
make walls for all the art. Speaking of the art, 26 artists were selected for Bail Out Biennial, representing
10 states and 4 countries. The work includes: giveaway spoofs on previous biennials and Duchamp – free bail out bonds and pins that state how much each of us is paying for this bail out, $2,296.84; the story of shrimp and how this
luxury item becomes a common commodity on our tables; dot matrix portraits of the men on our paper money, made from the artist's blood; large color photographs of found rainbows, minikins, homeless people holding what they
keep, demolition derbys, empty condos and undeveloped gated communities; paintings of pennies from heaven, a gargantuan pig, communist and capitalist symbols on paper plates, wringing hands, dead powerful men; and more.
How can and do we respond to the economic, political and social world around us as artists at a time of heightened frenzy and pending doom? Can art shed some light on the current situation or poke some holes in the dull screen of it
all? Can we make beauty out of nothing, humor out of tragedy, critical understanding out of superficial materials, a sense of wonder, purpose or awe out of crumbs? Can these works compel viewers to action in order to begin shift towards a new and different economy of desire, cooperation, and possibilities?

Show runs January 16 - March 15, 2009

OPENING RECEPTION Friday, January 16, 6 – 9 pm

Open Monday - Saturday 10am - 6pm and Sunday 12-5pm or by appointment 967-7700

Lauren Adams, Becca Albee, Joshua Bienko, Clare Britt, Ann Chwatsky, María DeGuzmán,
Severn Eaton, Lorena Endara, Paul Evans, Peter Eversoll, Cathryn Griffin, Michael Itkoff,
Andrew Johnson, Geoffrey Owen Miller, Susan Mullally, Shaw Osha, Conor Peterson, elin
o'Hara slavick, Susanne Slavick, Hiroshi Sunairi, David Tinapple, Julie Thomson, Paul
Valadez, Stacy Waddell, Jeff Waites, Karen Frimkess Wolff
At Golden Belt, 807 East Main Street, Durham, NC 27701, Building #2
Questions? eoslavic at gmail.com

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Went fishing.... caught database!

Being totally exhausted today from the last three days of physical work, I went "fishing" online for new art and activism resources ( Yes, I am total bore.) and man did I catch a big one. It is a database of resources for groups and individuals working all around the world on art that has a goal of social change. Put together by the International Centre of Art for Social Change, this database is worth reviewing.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Join our Face Book Group

I have gained so much support from this blog over the last year. My sense of isolation as an activist artist has been erased and replaced with motivation after discovering all the wonderful efforts of other artists. I want to expand that experience to other artists by starting a face book group that will allow like minded artists and creative types an opportunity to network, offer support, and give free brainstormings. Here is the direct link: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=42301323579 I am not sure it will work unless you are signed in to face book. If not, just search "Make Art Like You Care" on Face book and join the group.

Here to a year filled with new possibilities.

Time to wake up and see past the dead zone.

The news of bombs coming in to and out of Gaza is everywhere. I think we in the West have developed a dumb ear and blind eye to the suffering from this part of the world. We seem to think that it has always been so and always will be so.

Enter Arte.tv from France and GazaSderot. Through interviews with everyday people living in Gaza and in Sderot -just next door to Gaza but in Israel, they are attempting to surpass the dead zone created by the same old news. Their broadcasts have been watch worldwide. Even more importantly they have been seen in both the Gaza and Sderot communities and have been for some the first time they themselves have seen past the news and rhetoric. Take a moment to watch these broadcasts. Arte.tv was filming right up until the current explosion of conflict.

If we are to make the world a better place we must first open our eyes and engage our minds to the suffering around us and end the dead zone that begins first in our minds and hearts. It is from this internal dead zone that all the rest springs. These videos provoke us to let in the light