Diane Pieri Art Video

June 29, 2022

Diane Pieri, 2022

Artist Diane Pieri (and long time friend) has a show of her current work now at No. 5 Butchie Alley in Philadelphia. She sent me the this video in which she is interviewed about her work. She speaks of her influences and her process, which make it relevant for this blog focussed on the imagination. Although she is generous here in her sharing about her work, you will see that the vibrant work also speaks for itself- as art does. Enjoy. https://youtu.be/qrJn2s42-Vk(appx. 10 minutes)

I love this work. Click through for more and larger images.

This article from Psyche rings true to me. I have had many conversations with friends and colleagues who have encouraged me to take whatever creative product I have just shared and monetize it by finding a commercial outlet. While I find this flattering, I also am displeased by their extrapolation of the product of a creative moment to the realm of the commercial. I know from my experience that thoughts of commercial success and the behaviors that would be expected are dampeners to my imagination and creative process. Although I would enjoy the attention that commercial success implies, I would not trade it for the joy of the imagination, the interaction with the media and tools, the problem solving, and sense of completion- however fleeting. The striving takes me out of the moment, or replaces the in-the-moment joy with attention to the future rather than the now and away from the intensely personal experience into one that invites the judgement of others. I have been fortunate to not have to depend on my amateur interests to make a living- my career took another path related but not the same. And so now retired from that career I can spend more time and attention what I love.


When I rekindled my relationship with the piano and tapped into my inner amateur, I discovered a quiet room of my own
— Read on psyche.co/ideas/feel-free-to-stop-striving-learn-to-relish-being-an-amateur

John Keats on his deathbed. The Print Collector via Getty Images

“…Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason — Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge.”

With this statement in a letter to his brothers in 1817, John Keats, the singular English poet, describes his concept of Negative Capability. It seems clear that this concept describes a condition in which the potential for creativity is optimized.

See also this post from Richard Gunderman in The Conversation.

John Keats died 200 years ago tomorrow, February 23, 1821.

Screen Shot 2020-10-10 at 4.58.24 PM

Leonora Carrington. “And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur.” 1953. Oil on canvas.


I’m always happy to see surrealist images pop up now and then on the web, like this one from MOMA. I’m happier still to read about how an individual uses art for their mental health. The take-away quote: “There are things that are not sayable. That’s why we have art”.


From The Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., NY

As a Surrealist, #LeonoraCarrington’s works are fantastical and otherworldly, but more than that, they give us a window into her inner world.

On #WorldMentalHealthDay, engage in a guided visualization of Carrington’s “And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur,” led by Jackie Armstrong on our Education team, for our Artful Practices for Well-Being audio playlist.

Visualization and mindfulness can be powerful tools for reducing anxiety, increasing awareness, and healing distress; the artist understood that mental wellbeing is inextricably linked to physical health, and that balance is important.

Throughout her life, Carrington struggled with her mental health, at one point being involuntarily committed to an asylum as grief over her lover Max Ernst’s internment at a prison camp caused a severe decline in both her mental and physical health.

Carrington was ultimately able to use her art to process and heal. As she writes in her memoir, “There are things that are not sayable. That’s why we have art.”

Start listening at the link in our bio. #ArtfulPracticesforWellbeing

[Leonora Carrington. “And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur.” 1953. Oil on canvas. © 2020 Leonora Carrington / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York]


I recently met Tom Holmes and, after discussing his work, I decided to check out his web site. There I found hundreds of images of a variety of media- metal, wood, stone, and even ice. A NEPA resident, Tom has shown his work widely. I recommend taking a look at tomholmes.com to see his prolific and imaginative art.



In a grand gesture of imagination Ornette Coleman created Harmolodics, a radically creative and innovative approach to playing music that is accessible to all. His first Harmolodics album, The Shape of Jazz to Come, was released in 1959. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007. Reportedly, he was dyslexic, which may have played a role in his imagining the opening of the structures of music. Follow the Open Culture link below to read more and listen to Coleman play in several videos.

From Open Culture, text and video about this creative genius:  http://www.openculture.com/2020/07/how-ornette-coleman-freed-jazz-with-his-theory-of-harmolodics.html


A short film by John Thornton. (20:08) This is a short but rich biographical film about the contemporary art of Frank Galuszka with comments from the artist and many pictures of his beautiful paintings. Recommended.

The Recipes of Famous Artists: Dinners & Cocktails From Tolstoy, Miles Davis, Marilyn Monroe, David Lynch & Many More | Open Culture
— Read on www.openculture.com/2020/08/the-recipes-of-famous-artists.html

Abstract art can help evoke a sense of psychological distance, a new study finds. That distance is enough to change our mindsets in a measurable way.
— Read on www.inverse.com/mind-body/abstract-art-mindset-study

Art as therapy is wonderful and effective. I wonder if any of these museums will consider hiring a credentialed art therapist to direct these programs. Credentialed art therapists have been professionally trained in the therapeutic use of art and can facilitate and oversee effective programming.


Music and art as an “accumulation of wisdom, the context art gives us that puts life into perspective, (Sonny Rollins) and transcends politics. From an article in the New York Times, May 18, 2020, as told to Ian Carlino.


January 5, 2020


From Brain Pickings: The Art of Centering: Potter and Poet M.C. Richards on What She Learned at the Wheel About Non-Dualism, Creative Wholeness, and the Poetry of Personhood

This book was a must read during my art studies in the 60’s. Richards’ musings about duality/non-duality, inner/outer awareness, and interrelatedness were seminal in my development of understanding about being and the importance of creativity in the process of being.

Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings is a wonderful site. She exhibits a brilliance with her knowledge of literature and the arts and with her pattern recognition- her awesome ability to notice and explain connections and similarities among a disparate field of writers and other artists.

Popova on Richards: “Richards explores the poetry of personhood through the metaphor of centering, drawn from the craftsmanship of pottery — a potter brings the clay to the center of the wheel, then begins the process of giving the amorphous spinning mass the desired shape.


This video below shows a graphic comic artist demonstrating automatic drawing. I learned to do this in the late sixties when I was studying art. Although the artist says, “let your brain” do the work, I actually experience it as letting my body/mind do the drawing while suspending any conscious, deliberate attention. (I imagined that the energy for the movement of the drawing come directly from my heart through my arm, bypassing my head. I felt like an observer to my own drawing process.) While following along as an observer I was always surprised at what emerged. At some point late in the process I would notice an object emerging from the markings. At this point I would redirect my attention and apply deliberate action to bringing out the newly discovered object. This process of automatic drawing has been very rewarding, both as a meditative process and a way to discover new images heretofore hidden below my conscious awareness.


Mary Oliver on Creativity

September 7, 2019

The Third Self: Mary Oliver on Time, Concentration, the Artist’s Task, and the Central Commitment of the Creative Life (from Brain Pickings)

“Certainly there is within each of us a self that is neither a child, nor a servant of the hours. It is a third self, occasional in some of us, tyrant in others. This self is out of love with the ordinary; it is out of love with time. It has a hunger for eternity.

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”

Mary Oliver in “Of Power and Time,” found in Upstream: Selected Essays(public library).


Toil and Hope

November 6, 2018

Here is my latest sculpture, “Toil and Hope”.  It is made of a found object, wood, and gold leaf. It 19.75″ tall and 10.5″ wide.

Toil and Hope

Toil and Hope


Here is a very good article on creative flow from an angle from which you may not be aware. Enjoy.


How to Unleash the Great Perfection of Creativity

By Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

From Lion’s Roar; Buddhist Wisdom for Our Time, July 2, 2017

Informed by the profound teachings of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal tells us how to unleash powerful creative energy we can use anywhere, from the office to the art studio.

Photo by Jennifer Pack.



My first Native American flute build. This is from a kit sold by Blue Bear Flutes and is made of cedar. I added some detail of my own, of course, with an inlay of poplar along two sides and a crow totem on the sound block. Thanks to Charlie Mato-Toyela for his great YouTube video guidance, supplies, and book on the subject.

Listen to a brief recording of me playing this flute.

Fireplace Tiles by Sandy and Bob 1:29:2018

This is our most recent art project completion. It is a pair of fireplace tiles made of Premo Sculpey, 9″ x 9″ x .25″. Sandy made the underwater otter on the left and I made the calling crow on the right. Placed on the mantle only for this photo so they could be next to each other, they will be mounted on the left and right front of the stone fireplace over the now unused heatilator vents. Fun.



A New Moment

July 2, 2017

I have finally reached that moment where when I awoke today I could think that I had no more clients. Not for today, tomorrow, or the foreseeable future. I had a feeling of relief and joy yesterday as my last appointment came to an end. It has been a bit sad and a bit sweet to experience the conclusion of the therapy relationship with client after client. As each was so different in their therapy- their needs, thought patterns, feelings, style of learning- so have they been different in closure which had begun some time ago and ended yesterday.

I will miss those people, each of whom was so different and with each of whom I shared a unique relationship. Some I had seen for years. They were the easiest with whom to say goodby- the most ready to go, although not necessarily wanting to let go. Some I had seen for only weeks. I was a little harder to say goodby to them. While they were appreciative for what they learned in our short time, we were both aware of the potential that will be lost.

Some I expect to hear from in the future, after some time passes, to sit over a coffee or tea more like old friends. No expectations, no demands. Some I will not hear from and they will eventually fade from my memory.

There are still many tasks to be done to close my 46 year career and 37 year independent practice. Offices to close, papers to organize or trash, furniture to redistribute, professional organizations to contact and modify my memberships, shifting in budgeting concerns, modifying tax obligations, etc.

But the biggest adjustment of all will be with regard to how I use my time. This is a mystery to be solved, or at least understood, only with experience. I need time to understand my new relationship to time. I expect to no longer have the constraints of the appointment day to day schedule. I imagine that, over time, I will settle into a rhythm of activity which will be more consistent with myself and less deferent to the demands of the professional world and the management of client contacts. I think there will be days when I forget about time and just attend to whatever I am doing. And I think there will be other days when I my attention is wide and spacious and not focused on any outcome.

Many years ago, a close friend and colleague once told me that I was ambivalent about money. I rejected the idea but, upon contemplation, i discovered that I was, indeed, ambivalent about time. While I wanted to build a prosperous career, I also did not want to give up my more personal time. This realization helped me to focus my imagination on the form and construction of my career with a minimization of conflict over loss of time.

So now I have arrived at a new moment. My calendar is cleared of repeating appointments and therapy sessions. I walk into my studio/workshop feeling such a wide breadth of opportunity and possibility that I stand there in awe with no specific form to my next move and many raw possibilities gathering to be brought to form. Stay tuned. This is what I hoped for. And so it begins.

Art as Therapy: Alain de Botton on the 7 Psychological Functions of Art

Here’s a philosophical take on the therapeutic value of art. i don’t need any more convincing but its always interesting to get a fresh perspective. thanks to Maria Popova at Brain Pickings- http://www.brainpickings.com.

Screen shot 2010-09-14 at 6.10.00 PM

Joshua Wolf Shenk has a new series on Slate.com on creative pairs, Two is the Magic Number. Accompanying a long essay is a 3+ minute video on John Lennon and Paul McCartney's creative relationship. Related to the previous post here on creative relationship evidenced by remixing, this article explores in depth the "myth of the lone creator". This is Part 1, here is Part 2Part 3. Enjoy.

Interesting new web site

September 11, 2010

Guided Imagery Collective Logo

Take a look at this new web site I discovered a couple of days ago, Guided Imagery Collective. Jose Said Osio is a kindred spirit and his well constructed and attractive site is about his interest in guided imagery, art, wellness, and spirit. Check it out.

Beautiful and Strange

June 21, 2010

Tony Wood Photo 
Screen shot 2010-06-21 at 2.08.17 PM
    Photo by Anthony Wood 

These photos by Anthony Wood caught my eye and my imagination. I found them to be strange and beautiful- surreal and evocative. This is Photoshop-ing that avoids over-use and shows how one can make fine art with the same tools that so often stray into harshness or kitsch. There are three sets of photos on the web site– Nudes, Angels-Visions-Visitations, and Trees. I found the Nudes to be most interesting but all three bear a close look. Enjoy.



I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and re-post a couple of items that were posted elsewhere this week. This post is about the art work of Mike Dacey who has a studio in Boston, Repeat Press, where he produces wonderful prints. Mike makes use of screen printing, vintage letterpresses and wooden type blocks to make designs like no other- both up-to-the-moment modern and also antique in look and feel. 

Mike has been making posters for bands and other events and, as you will see with a visit to the studio through the photos of Meighan O'Toole at her blog, "My Love for You You…". Mike was also written up by Christine Liu, Correspondent for the Boston Globe, at the Boston Globe web site, boston.com where you will see an example of the wallpaper Mike has produced using his designs.

Full disclosure: I have known Mike for many years and visited his studio just last September. Congrats, Mike!

Glaser draws and talks

In the short video below by C. McCoy via Vimeo, Milton Glaser talks about the importance of drawing- while drawing, of course! 



Fellini’s Imagination

October 24, 2009

Fellini sketch 

"For me the world of my imagination is always closer to the truth than is the truth." 

"If I wander around the world looking at things, it is only to reassure myself that the world I have invented is true."

Frederico Fellini (1920-1993)

Every issue of Life Magazine until the end of 1972 is available on Google Books for free. I did a search there for imagination and found this entry: From the July 30, 1971 issue of Life is an article by Dora Jane Hamblin on Frederico Fellini , the great Italian movie director. This piece is about the creation of his made-for-tv film, The Clowns. If you are familiar with his films you know how imaginative they are- perhaps some of the best examples of imagination in filmmaking. The Life magazine article has sketches made by Fellini as studies for this film.

Apparently, Fellini was greatly influenced the Jungian analyst Dr. Ernst Bernhard and by the autobiography of Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. It seems that some of Jung's ideas influenced some of his important films– 81/2 (1963), Juliet of the Spirits (1965), Satyricon (1969), Casanova (1976), and City of Women (1980).


A Short Video Trip

July 24, 2009


Peripetics by ZEITGUISED from NotForPaper on Vimeo.

This is a very imaginative, beautifully constructed video. There are several parts to it but all are connected by the wonder-ful surreal psychedelic imagery. Thoroughly enjoyable. 3:20


Born this day in 1887, French artist Marc Chagall created images based on emotional and poetic associations, and his early works, which predated Surrealismwere among the first expressions of psychic reality in modern art. (Both links are to Britannica.com)

The Blissful Love Filling All Space, Gru-Gu Choegyal Rinpoche

"The Blissful Love Filling All Space" 

Gru-Gu Choegyal Rinpoche

A show of contemporary painting from Tibet took place in Rome, Italy, in February and March of 2009 organized by the Italian NGO ASIA Onlus.  Tibetan Visions Contemporary Painting from Tibet can be seen at a web site where the art is shown at asianart.com. There are eight painters shown, and fifty-one paintings. The painter's work shown is quite different, one to another. None of the work represented has the feel of traditional Tibetan painting, although several of the artists have a spiritual theme that is recognizable as Tibetan. I found the art here to be quite interesting in theme and style. I was particularly attracted to the work of Gru-Gu Choegyal Rinpoche, whose work is shown above here, because of the use of abstraction to portray states and experience- and perhaps because of the non-traditional approach to the traditional themes.  Enjoy.

Happy Birthday, Dali

May 11, 2009

Inventions of the Monsters 1937 Dali

"Inventions of the Monsters", 1937, S. Dali

Today is the 105th birthday of Salvadore Dali (1904-1989), the Spanish artist who combined the newly emerging work of Sigmund Freud on the unconscious and sexuality and of the surrealist artists and writers of Paris to develop his own unique and powerful artistic vision. His work, like no other at the time, piqued my imagination when I first saw prints of his work in the 1950's. Knowledge of his work work seems widespread, so let this post honor his work and his memory. But if you are not familiar with the large body of dazzling, exciting work he produced, let this be the beginning. Enjoy.

Thanks to the Encyclopedia Britannica for the image and the links.

New Book of the Moment

January 20, 2009

 Art Psalms image 

It's time for a new Book of the Moment (see left column). The Book of the Moment, on this web site, is a book that I feel deserves wide attention and that has in some way in it's content reference to imagination, creativity, and learning/growing/healing. This new book by Alex Grey, Art Psalms, like it's predecessor, Tibetan Sound Healing, by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, also is very spiritual. 

I have written here about Alex Grey before, here, and I admit a particular fondness for his work which I perceive as illustrative of a state of being in open awareness that is difficult to describe in words. In this book, Grey writes poetry with his art to express his vision and further the communication of it. 

The first verse of his psalm The Vast Expanse (page 126):

I acknowledge the privilege of being alive
In a human body at this moment,
Endowed with senses, memories, emotions, thoughts,
And the space of mind in its wisdom aspect.

This is a beautifully produced book in hardcover with many full color illustrations, reproductions of paintings and drawings, his original psalms, and studies of some works of past master artists. Highly recommended, if you are attracted to this sort of thing, as I am.

What do you think?

Visionary Art

January 20, 2009

One of the best examples of the use of the imagination is visionary art. According to Wikipedia: Visionary art is art that purports to transcend the physical world and portray a wider vision of awareness including spiritual or mystical themes, or is based in such experiences. Some famous artists of the past that fit this description are Hieronymous Bosch, William Blake, Gustave Moreau, and Ernst Fuchs.
One contemporary artist who is considered to be visionary, and a favorite of mine, is Alex Grey, whose work is truly mind-expanding and illustrative of experiences and conditions difficult to otherwise describe. In his book The Mission of Art (1998) he states that artistic creation can and should contribute to the enlightenment of the artist and the viewer of the art production.
Some of the many additional additional resources are The Society for Art of the Imagination; American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MDVisionary Review; and Raw Vision Magazine.

This video is about a fascinating community project called Electric Sheep in which art is uploaded to a server, configured into video, and combined with other submissions, all through the connection of thousands of sleeping computers who are running their screen saver program. This results in a continually evolving abstract animation with over 60,000 daily participants. The artist/computer scientist Scott Draves has been developing this for years and has created what he calls "meta art". Electric Sheep is permanently hosted at the New York's Museum Of Modern Art web site, MoMA.org's Design and the Elastic Mind. You can find out more from the links above or at Wikipedia.

My experience of watching the examples of this was that the images were beautiful and trippy, reminiscent of natural forms and cells as well as cosmic images and modern art. Sometimes the images evolved into painting-like forms that reminded me of paintings I had seen- or that I wish I had made! The YouTube video below is 9:53 in length. Enjoy!

Aram & Sandy at Smith Island pic
I have just returned from a visit of a few hours to a very special place
– one that really piqued the imagination. Smith Island is Maryland’s only inhabited offshore island. Reachable only by boat, it lies 13 miles west of Crisfield, MD, between the Tangier Sound and the Chesapeake Bay. What attracted us to visit this island is its history. It was settled in the early 1700’s by the British and, due to the isolation of the island, there is a distinctive speech pattern noted which is a holdover from the Elizabethan/Cornwall dialect. For Smith Island links click here and here (Wikipedia).

What we found was Ewell, a small, quaint fishing village, where primarily oysters and crabs are caught by the locals for sale to the mainland, connected by a mile-long road to Rhodes Point, another even smaller quaint fishing village. There is another town, Tylerton, on the island but it is only reachable by yet another boat ride and we did not partake. Rhodes Point was originally called Rogue’s Point for the pirates who frequented the location and preyed upon merchant ships in the many area lagoons. One of these pirates was, apparently, the infamous Blackbeard. That certainly got my imagination going.

Riding around the island on our bikes it was easy to imagine this place as a haven for an artist to really get away to write, paint, etc. There is little to do- there are no bars, convenience stores, movie theaters, liquor stores, fast food, boutiques, amusement parks, or laundromats- so lots of time to focus on the work at hand. Also, there is a very spacious quality as the island is very small and the surrounding water and sky are very big. The marshes that make up a large part of the island are flat and beautiful with various shades of green and yellow grasses and many varieties of birds may be seen and heard everywhere around.

The people with whom we came into contact were all friendly to varying degrees- some wave and say hi, some want to talk about where we’re from. But one resident really caught our attention. In the midst of all this fishing village motif we espied a sign that said, “The New York Experience”! The property on which it was located was festooned with arty, playful, objects and a street corner food cart like you are likely to see everywhere in many cities in the U.S. like in New York or Philadelphia. It was hard to resist finding out more, and a cup of good coffee sounded appealing, so we biked over to say hello.

There we met the energetic and loquacious Aram Polster, a tattooed transplant from New York City who moved here with his wife Miriam a few years go. Look there, and you’ll see a bicycle on the way to being completely covered with Blue Moon bottle caps. In another part of the yard is a small tree with dozens of deep blue glass bottle stuck on the ends of the branches through the opening in the neck. Several other trees had other colors of bottles. Cylindrical wire containers held still more bottles, sticking out through the openings in the wire, color coordinated so as to appear like odd bushes in the front yard of the house.

When I asked Aram (emphasis on the second syllable) if he were an artist he said he prefers to call himself an assembler. I mentioned outsider art because of the idiosyncratic nature of the objects but he objected, rightfully. We agreed, however, that the work was, indeed, outside.

Aram and Miriam have purchased another house down the road that is intended as a gallery and artist retreat. I wish them the best with this. But, if you want to go and have your creative retreat there, you better not wait too long. There is one big problem….

A sad note, but also one that stimulated my imagination was the news from Aram that Smith Island is slowly sinking into the sea- or rather, the sea is slowly rising to cover the land. The island is only one foot above sea level, so it won’t take much to lose this place. Aram said he could already see places where the land is sinking and expects that in twenty years the island may not be livable. Man made or not, here’s place where global warming and the ensuing rise of the earth’s oceans will have a devastating effect. It was impossible to ignore the tragic dimensions of this, standing on this very spot, which may well, be under water in a generation.  To go from the delightful fantasy of the artist creatively ensconced in his or her little house on this lovely island to the specter of the sinking of the island is so sad-

As we were getting ready to leave Aram handed me a coffee card, “BUY 9 CUPS AND GET THE 10th FREE!” The irony was inescapable- would I get back to this isolated island often enough to get my 10th and free cup? Will “The New York Experience” coffee stand, Aram, Miriam, and even Smith Island be here long enough for me to do so?


In a subsequent email Aram reminded me that he and Miriam are hosting artists of various stripe who would like to find a retreat to create. You can contact him at hiddenharborretreat@gmail.com. (Tell him where you got it!) 



Addendum, September 3, 2008

Some small island nations are tabling a resolution calling on the UN Security Council to address climate change as a pressing threat to international peace and security. Avaaz.com has offered an opportunity to sign a petition to the UN General Assembly & Security Council to take action.


In looking over my past blogs, I am surprised to see that I have not yet written about the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. I have been writing about the imagination, and things related to the imagination, and this museum has to be one of the best repositories of imaginative activity that I have seen. An argument could be made that any art museum or gallery could fit that description, but this collection has a kind of purity that seems largely unadulterated with ambition; style, trends, and fashion; or even self-consciousness.

Here’s how the folks at the museum define visionary art: ‘ “Visionary art as defined for the purposes of the American Visionary Art Museum refers to art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself.” In short, visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices of the soul, and often may not even be thought of as ‘art’ by its creator.’ (I took this definition from their well-designed web site which gives lots of information about who, what, when, and where.)


CNN on line reports that next fall there will be a show at the museum featuring the work of Frank Calloway, a 112 year old African/American artist, who makes his art at a mental facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and who has been institutionalized since 1952 after a diagnosis of schizophrenia. It is one of the pleasures of attendance at the museum to find such idiosyncratic, emotional, spiritualized, and joyful work.


From Ted.com: Sculptor and engineer Arthur Ganson talks about his kinetic art — which explores deep philosophical ideas and is gee-whiz fun (and surprisingly moving) to view. (Recorded February 2002 in Monterey, California. Duration: 15:44.)


Persistence Today, Sunday, May 11, 2008, would be the 104th birthday of Salvador Dali if he were still alive.  He died in 1989 but his work is still highly recognized and admired.

His work was influenced by Sigmund Freud’s work on the subconscious, published around the 1920’s, and he was a member of the Surrealists, a group of artists in Paris around the same time who emphasized the unconscious over reason.

I had the good fortune to be present at the opening of a show of his in New York 30 or 40 years ago where he was present. Although I do not remember him as large in physical stature, I clearly recall his enormous charisma as he entered the room in his black, crimson-lined cape and walking stick. I often now wish I had the temerity then to approach him. I cherish the memory of that event.

Read about Dali at Britannica.com.

Read about Dali at Wikipedia.

Performance Art Video

February 28, 2008

This video is strangely exciting and moving. "Frozen Grand Central", by ImprovEverywhere is a performance art project that is reminiscent of some cinema special effects, some techniques seen in TV commercials, and of dreams. I wonder what reaction I would have had if I had been there in person as it was happening- confusion, fear, excitement?

Imaginative Illustration

October 24, 2007

Check out this very cool, imaginative, artful, and amusing illustration:

Pneumatic Anatomica by ~freeny.


Hearing a Painting

March 29, 2007

I recently visited a retrospective art show at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, of the work of the French surrealist artist, Henri Rousseau. I have been attracted to his painting since I became aware of it, sometime in the 60’s, probably, as an art student. His work has a primitive feel and commonly uses themes of jungle, animals, and native peoples. For me, it conveyed a feeling of innocence, potential violence, and mystery.
This seemed to be a very comprehensive show, showing early work, magazine and other artifacts of the culture of the time that were related to the images he painted, and later work including his last painting, and masterpiece, The Dream.
As I approached this large painting I was enveloped by the sensuality of it- the large size, the rich color, the repeating patterns of the foliage, the rhythm of the composition, and the mystique and mystery. As I allowed myself to be absorbed in this sensuality, I realized that I was experiencing it like music and, as I opened up to that experience, I began to “hear” the painting as music, a phenomenon known as synaesthesia. As I stood in front of this wonderful painting I heard the rhythm of the leaves and dark dots placed throughout the work; I experienced the objects such as the figures and animals as musical counterpoints, different instruments in an orchestra of sound. As long as I stood there, the music persisted and only waned as I reluctantly left the piece to move on.
This was a one-of a-kind experience for me, so far, that, even if I never experience again, I will treasure. When I get some time between my other projects I hope to try to re-create that music I heard- we’ll “see” about that.
From Wikipedia:
Henri Julien Félix Rousseau (May 21, 1844 – September 2, 1910) was a French Post-Impressionist painter in the Naive or Primitive manner. He is also known as Le Douanier (the customs officer) after his place of employment. Ridiculed during his life, he came to be recognized as a self-taught genius whose works are of high artistic quality.

Addendum: May 21, 2008

On this day in 1844, Rousseau was born in Laval, France. Read the Encyclopedia Britannica article here.

Visionary Art

February 13, 2007

One of the best examples of the use of the imagination is visionary art. According to Wikipedia: Visionary art is art that purports to transcend the physical world and portray a wider vision of awareness including spiritual or mystical themes, or is based in such experiences. Some famous artists of the past that fit this description are Hieronymous Bosch, William Blake, Gustave Moreau, and Ernst Fuchs.
One contemporary artist who is considered to be visionary, and a favorite of mine, is Alex Grey, whose work is truly mind-expanding and illustrative of experiences and conditions difficult to otherwise describe. In his book The Mission of Art (1998) he states that artistic creation can and should contribute to the enlightenment of the artist and the viewer of the art production.
Some of the many additional additional resources are The Society for Art of the Imagination; American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MDVisionary Review; and Raw Vision Magazine.