A personal, curatorial & bilingual Blog about: Artistic Movements, my Art, Creativity, Innovation, Design, Leadership, Empowerment, Sustainability, Science, Jazz, Movies and other cool pursuits - Blog personal y curatorial bilingüe sobre: Movimentos Artísticos, mi Arte, Creatividad, Innovación, Diseño, Liderazgo, Empoderamiento, Sustentabilidad, Ciencia, Jazz, Películas y otros temas.
Stay in May, as the traditional Art Naples World Festival is now known, is a magnificent example of a comunity getting together to show and involve the general public in the best that the Arts have to offer.
I was very lucky to take part in this year´s event through the invitation of the Naples Art Association and the Festival organizers, and I must say I was impressed by the quality, the care and the variety that this group of hard working individuals have managed to put together year after year.
Just in case you have not seen any of my previous videos, here is a compilation from the Festivals own collection of promotional shorts.
Enjoy (and consider Naples in May for your next vacation! It is very much worth your while!)
The whole concept behind every one of my short lectures, seminars and curses on creative and innovative thinking, working productively in groups, art and other connected subjects, is to engage the imagination and the interest of newcomers to the subject and knowledgeable individuals alike.
It is very common to hear these days about people feeling unhappy with work, and very often with their life choices as well. The end result is an evident tension at home and at the work place, few new ideas, lack of energy to pursue other options, and a general feeling that things are not flowing for them.
Sometimes this has to do with family pressures, sometimes with limitations we set ourselves. Most of the time there is a feeling that we have been given a series of talents and “gifts”, as I call them, and we are not taking advantage of them. There is this numb sensation that life goes on without us doing anything to change our reality and that one day we may realize, maybe even too late, that we did not follow our dreams and that opportunity has knocked on our door, and left forever.
The idea is to deconstruct many of these preconceptions about being creative members of society, resolve common perceptions based on fears, disinformation or social pressures, and open hearts and minds to the immense possibilities of freeing our creative juices, be it for our own benefit, the people we work with, and our community in general.
Attendees should leave these lectures armed with “tools”, concepts (and concrete ways to put them into use) that will help them to be more effective, work better with others, and be more productive in general.
Finally, these lectures and seminars are not about “self-help”. Quite the contrary, they are about recognizing that to be happy and active members of society, things must be less about “me” and a lot more about “us”.
Depending on what is required, and the level of detail, they all can range from 30 minutes + Q&A to 2 hours + Q&A each.
Aimed specially (but not exclusively) at: Students, creative professionals, artists, CEOs/Managers of creative enterprises or corporate areas, and anyone interested in creative activities.
These are single lectures, but they can also be mixed and matched in terms of contents, or converted into full seminars. Any company, group, NGO, or government office interested in any one of these lectures can contact Luz at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Everyone who has explored his or her creative gifts has found that inspiration cannot be kept tied to one single form of expression. The fact is that many painters sing or act, some actors cook or paint, even some dancers are singers or sculptors. The choices and variations are almost limitless.
As you all know, I paint. It is my preferred expressive outlet. I love what I do, I feel I am constantly growing and I love exploring my artistic leanings through color and form. I know that I also have other God given talents. For example, I sing, although my shyness has gotten the best of me. My baritone voice is today a rough expression of a natural gift and it will probably remain so for the foreseeable future; I have also studied acting and I love it. But yet again, I never managed to get that “break” that seems to be necessary to make something of it and that has been that, at least until now.
For a lateral thinker like me, creativity can take on many guises. Cooking was one of the earlier ones, together with painting. My old school buddies still remember me in the kitchen “creating” grape sorbets and crazy cookies when we were just 10 or 12. Today, I probably cook as much as I paint, and I know my friends enjoy coming to visit, see what I’m working on a canvas, and later enjoy a full meal prepared by me while we chat.
For those who are afraid of cooking, let me tell you, it is one of the most creative and freeing exercises you can find. It is quite simple to grasp once you know some of the basic concepts (ALL of them so obviously logical and sensible that you will wonder why you didn’t learn them before).
Food is something to be shared. Both at the preparation stage (with your family, your kids, your wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend or just with friends) and obviously as you all enjoy the end result. It is also a great way to become even more creative.
So, my recommendation would be: Let´s go cooking!
And as long as we are talking about cooking, how about if we look now at some cooking of mine, but of a different kind.
This is Cooking with Art´s Chili Pepper (and a taste of Art Pepper´s Chili Peppers right after it).
For an artist, doing the sure thing, the thing one feels most comfortable with, is usually something close to what is traditionally called “the kiss of death”.
Repeating the same work over and over again has often taken artists from seemingly wonderful work into the realm of the tedious.
The same way, the “system” (to call it something) tends to force its hand by pushing artists into doing over and over again, and maybe with minor variations, those paintings by the artist which “sell”.
The end result may, although not necessarily, be a profitable return on investment, but it mostly turns a creative and artistically rich individual into a laconic, easily infuriated, and mostly frustrated artist.
I have tried my best to be as flexible as possible with the market. I will not deny that I accept that if the public likes something in my work, then it is up to me to give it to them. I accept and embrace the market. But I also make the effort to keep my art close to my heart rather than my pocket. That also means that I keep and feed the energy needed to try to produce something new every time I face blank canvas.
Those who know me and have seen me work, always mention that I quickly demystify the usual idea of the cool artist with a long brush in his or her hand, sitting in front of an easel contemplating life before every brushstroke.
Instead, I usually end up looking like a long distance cross country runner, feeling (and appearing) exhausted after a few hours of “running” free with my ideas and inspiration into a canvas. I suffer, walk, look, leave and comeback, and I work to the point of collapse.
That does not mean that the end result is better or worse, but there is a good chance that something in it will definitely be original. Most of my paintings will say one thing about me, and that is that I will not surrender to the temptation of mere repetition. I am always attempting, at the very least, to come up with something new, explore things I have not tried, and see if in the process I manage to grow, as a person and as an artist, a little bit more.
And to do this, I must jump off the proverbial cliff (or maybe at least “off a Clef”).
I believe that whenever you want to explore your talents, you must endeavor to go where you have not been before. And it does not matter if the cliff is 10 inches or 2 miles deep. The distance matters but the jump is the real key. It is feeling, at least for a moment, that there is nothing keeping you safe on the ground. It is that sensation that nothing you know will save you, so you must look into what you don´t know.
In creativity we may call that “divergent thinking” (term coined by Dr. J. P. Guilford during WWII). It is what happens when your brain faces something that for most people would mean crushing into a mountain, but you manage to come up, under pressure, with a new strategy to avoid it.
This is the experience of painting for me. It is looking for that “unknown factor” that will get my burning plane into a safe landing situation. In a simplified manner, I always say that my biggest thrill is when I manage to turn my mistakes into triumphs.
We all can do it. You just need to take a deep breath, make a quick run, and just jump off the cliff. As simple and as terrifying as that.
So, I dare you. Yes, let´s go together! Just get ready, set…
The number 40 is of great importance in Judeo-Christian tradition.
In biblical times, it was assumed that a person would die 40 days after he or she stopped breathing. The great Kings of Israel (Saul, David and Salomon) all reigned for forty years, Jonas preached for 40 days before Nineveh’s destruction, Noah’s great rains lasted 40 days and Moses received his call at 40 years of age and stayed in Sinai for 40 days. Furthermore, the chosen people lived in the desert for 40 years, while Jesus preached for 40 months, was tempted in the same desert by the devil for 40 days, disappeared from his burial place within 40 hours and appeared after resurrection, and before ascension, for exactly 40 days. And, obviously, forty days is the preparation time before Easter.
Forty was presumed to be THE number required for full transformation or renewal.
So is then forty a magical number? Probably not (I do not have the answer). It may probably be just a number, but it is definitely something else, and that is a message in a bottle.
It may simply mean “give it reasonable time”.
It may exemplify the fact that everything that is important, everything that requires a shift from an accepted paradigm, or a change of perspective, also requires a sensible time to mature and happen.
When I am “stuck” on an issue with my painting, I have two choices. Muddle through or give it time. And more often than not I will chose to give it time. Let it mature. And this means that I should “lay off”. Let it be for a while. Look at my troubled work in that typically artistic stance that is a mixture between despair and admiration for what we have done and may never repeat.
So my recommendation would be, let it be. Give yourself a period to rest. Forty minutes, forty hours or forty days. Fifty, fifteen, twenty or whatever you happen to feel is right, but give it time. And giving it time also means looking for silence, searching for a period to reason, contemplating, and extracting answers and further questions (after all, if anything , we have learned by now that one answer inexorably leads to a new uncertainty).
And letting it be also means going into your own desert, being tempted to do misguided stuff, and finally returning from the horrowing experience free from pressures and erronous stimuli, feeling liberated and ready to resume the correct path.
Forty something, twenty something, sixty something…it doesn´t really matter. It is all probably all pretty much the same. It should simply be a great opportunity to stop, move away, think and maybe, just get it right.
Originally released in early 1963, Monk’s Dream was the first Thelonious Monk album for Columbia Records.
Far from his late 40s early days of play, bop, and boomerang like throws of tempo and melody, by late 1962 his spirit had been broken.
Gone were also the days of his 50s Prestige Albums for which he felt he had had little recognition. Only in the period spanning 1958 to 1962 he was finally received as he felt he should. He was finally considered one of the preeminent figures in contemporary Jazz.
As a matter of fact, he also began recording this album in 1962, and it was released months later in 1963.
Columbia was then the home of Brubeck and Davis, and Monk filled the spot for this trio of sorts for a label building a mark around what was new with jazz.
Monk´s dream is also my panting.
50cmx50cm, acrylic, inks and oil based paints on canvas. Painted in 2015, it expresses the volatility of Monk´s playing, his hot a cold moments, his ups and downs like some cartoon mountain range, his almost mad cap presence, and the difficulty of those around him to keep up with his inventive as well as happy, almost exuberant, playing.
Monk´s Dream was the last of the great Monk, and it became also the best selling album of his career. He topped it only in 1964 when he was in the prestigious cover of Time Magazine with an article called “The loneliest Man”.
Even though he kept playing and releasing albums until 1971, he was no longer the same that had dazzled beatnicks and jazz lovers alike for almost two decades. His unclearly diagnosed mental illness was becoming more of an issue in his life, causing paying and anguish to everyone around him.
He sadly passed away in 1982, at the relatively young age of 64.