Risky indecision


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In the absence of ideas, we’re lost floating at sea.

Weighed down in idea debt, a lack of action can have the same debilitating effect.

Interia is the purported enemy. Just write the truest sentence already.

What works better is facing fear and proceeding right into it.

Keep your eyes on the prize and spend your time wisely, for the latter is never under your control.

Remain undecided at your own risk. Faith knows that even the wrong ideas fail successfully.

Creativity is a fancy version of productivity


People confuse busyness with productivity. Answering emails all day is mostly a waste of time, as is instant messaging co-workers. Doing something — typing into little boxes all day — fulfills the human desire to feel useful.

Similarly, people often perceive what artists do is an unnecessary use of time. But creativity is a fancy version of productivity.

When it comes to painting, songwriting, and any other artistic vocations, nothing gets wasted. Scraps and shitty rough drafts lead to the best answer.

Sensible work gets us paid. Yet, when we photograph everything, we look at nothing. Without propelling the imagination and putting work on the canvass, we are just waiting for the next rebound under the basketball hoop rather than looking how to score.

Looking sideways


An inner radicalism tugs away at the illusion of coherence. What we strive for often makes zero sense to others, if at all to ourselves. But we feel it.

The contrarian begs to differ if only to avoid the stuckness of traditional thought.

In all likeliness, it’s the things misheard, misquoted, misunderstood — mere accidents — that provoke innovation.

“I like hearing things incorrectly. I think that’s how I get a lot of ideas is by mishearing something.” 

Tom Waits

When we remove the obsession with absolutes, we roll the dice on what could be. Never certain in any outcome, confidently looking sideways at the cracks. Think different.

Paintings by Congolese artist Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga


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“I’m inspired to see different worlds coming together; people living in chaos but partying. It’s like the beauty of a painting that at the same time represents such a harsh reality.”

— Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, Fragile Responsibility

The only reassurance you need


We treat fame and social media status like currency. We presuppose that anonymity or a lack of engagement trivializes what we do.

Even worse, we let TV and Instagram determine our self-worth.

But what and who matters is rarely popular. No one wants to pull back the curtain and see the sweat and tears of a Van Gogh, who toiled in obscurity his entire living life. He never knew publicity.

Even if you’ve achieved some level of recognition, what you consider your best work will almost always contrast with the public perception.

At the end of the day, humans want to feel necessary. They want to commit themselves to a worthy discipline, whether’s it’s expressed through art or driving an Uber to support the art or vice versa.

It’s a canard to think that fame predetermines whether your matter or not. The most important things in your life are provided by the most anonymous people.

Fame is fake stimuli. If you feel like your work matters, that’s the only placebo you need.

Oblique Strategy: Turn it upside down


“Turn a seeming disadvantage to your advantage. The greater the seeming disadvantage, the greater the possible advantage.” 

Robert Fripp

via Brian Eno

Give it time to simmer


Nothing ever gets wasted. It just needs time to ‘simmer.’

Gather everything you need to know, facts and crazy ideas, and then let them have sex while you do other stuff, even procrastinating.

Revelations follow not when you’re always on but when you let the unconscious mind go to work. Being overly wake, in other words, spurns the lucidity of ideas.

Don’t force it.

Wanting discovery and getting it is a process of patience. The rest of the time begs for play.

“The physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But it is best understood by its analogy to music. Because music as an art form is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano.” Alan Watts

gif by David Koblesky

Open to detours


Open to detours, fixated on the wrath of curiosity. The single-minded goal-setter scrounges for practice.

In theory, doggedness is the least path of resistance. Like a magnet, we’re drawn to specialized learning.

But we can’t afford to put the right brain to sleep. Quiescent, it too begs to act.

The creative compulsion knows no boundaries. It explodes in those non-cash working hours, when you’re raging with inspiration.

Like making music, the notion of work and play intertwine.

“The physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But it is best understood by its analogy to music. Because music as an art form is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano.”

Alan Watts

We’re programmed to be ourselves, following the siren song of our vocation. Fight our calling, and we’ll lose. There will be no such luck.

Defining singularity in the mass


The plane I had made for Lufthansa already contained 2,000 small images of the same plane. But I wanted to get to a scale that would be comparable to what felt like the beginning of a whole different paradigm. It was the 1980s, when air transportation had truly become global: airports were becoming cities and, while the whole industry was much smaller than today, it suddenly became very clear that the airplane would change the whole world, like the telephone or television had, or the iPhone would.

Like the factories in the 1960s, the airplane had become a source of horror and beauty, a super-horror and a super-beauty. So I made this airplane that is composed of more than one million little airplanes. Each airplane is different from the others; it was all made by hand, by distorting each piece of latex rubber and photographing it, printing it, and applying it as a collage. Your mind can read and understand differences, and realizes that this airplane is made of all these different parts, each unique.

I believe in total individualism, even in the largest mass. Even in billions, everything is singular and unique. Every cell, every atom, they are singular. I think that’s the richness of art, to define this singularity in the mass.

Thomas Bayrle, an interview with Artspace

Thomas Bayrle is a German visual artist who grew up post-World War amid a world of capitalism, communism, mass production and consumerism.

His work weaves together all the economic and societal contradictions of the time, scenes of abundance minimized into pixels.

Bayrle is also one of the first artists to embrace computers as tools for making media.

Read more about Thomas Bayrle here.

‘Genres aren’t closed boxes. Stuff flows back and forth across the borders all the time’


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PIN IT 

‘Genres aren’t closed boxes. Stuff flows back and forth across the borders all the time.’ 

— Margaret Atwood

Are video games design objects?


René Magritte’s ‘’Le Blanc Seing’ (1965) © National Gallery of Art, Washington

Do video games belong in the museum? 

I remember checking out the old Tetris and Pong video games at a MoMA exhibit in 2013. They certainly seemed to fit as artistic artifacts. 

The world’s leading museum of art and design in London, V & A, is making its new exhibit Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt even more contemporary. 

The show’s curator Marie Foulston wants to illustrate the concept work behind mid-2000s video games by showcasing the notebooks and paintings that influenced the designers. She tells the Financial Times:

“We’re trying to position games as design,” says Foulston. But how do you display games? Surely the point is to play them, and that hardly needs a museum. Wouldn’t it be better suited to a website?

“As with all design,” says Foulston “the process usually begins with a notebook, with pencil sketches. Games designers are always looking at other parts of the culture: at film, painting and architecture. We have the Magritte painting ‘The Blank Signature’ [from 1965], which influenced the design of the game Kentucky Route Zero. Then there’s the controller for the game Line Wobbler, which was inspired by its designer watching a cat on YouTube playing with a sprung doorstop. It’s such a tactile thing.”

What digital art could museums adopt next? My guess in addition to video games and iMacs, iPhones, and Angry Bird could be the worldwide sensation of the invisible digital, like Bitcoin.

The bookstore that inspired JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series


Livaria Lello is the name of the notable bookstore in Porto, Portugal that inspired JK Rowling in writing the Harry Potter series. 

Known as a reader and writer hangout since its inception in 1906, the bookstore includes the fantastical twisting stairwell reminiscent of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.   

Voice acting with Tara Strong


Tara Strong is a voice actor for cartoons like “The Powerpuff Girls,” “Rugrats” and “The Fairly OddParents.” In this video, she talks about her process in coming up with the character voices for babies, villains, and teens.

It’s absolutely fascinating how she can convert the director’s body language into actionable sounds such as a character tumbling off a cliff or fighting bad guys. Cool nugget: she uses her own original voice as the voice of Batgirl.

What a talent!

Moving sculptures


Dutch artist and kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen builds wind propelled sculptures that live on beaches.

Each sculpture contains a rotating spine that allows it to rotate forward and backward. Even more interesting, these moving pieces of art can detect and avoid waves when they get too close. 

But don’t expect to see these mesmerizing “mobile animals” on a beach near you any time soon. You can only find these skeletons in the Netherlands. 

Over time, these skeletons have become increasingly better at surviving the elements such as storm and water and eventually I want to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives. 

Theo Jansen, Dutch Artist/Sculptor 

“Goldsmith Work” by Celsius Pictor


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I’m sure that for me collage is a tool, another vehicle to express myself and to communicate my ideas, and I think that for me collage is a means, not an end in itself. In fact lately I’ve started drawing again and like Max Ernst did, sometimes I draw parts of my pieces that are integrated with collage images without being able to differentiate, in a mixed technique. I think that’s my point, I’m an illustrator and I use collage as I could use pencils or acrylics, as a tool and not as a purpose.

Celsius Pictor, an illustrator and collage artist who describes his craft as “goldsmith work.”