Exposing Your (Creative) Bones

(Don’t flat out refuse like this cowboy) New York, New York

Friday musings about being torn between the reluctance to share and desire to protect.

Exposing Your (Creative)Bones

In college, I took an intro to entrepreneurship class. We were required to present a business idea to the class. I, always brimming with ideas (usually as a result of my own frustration with some aspect of daily life), piped up.

“What if someone steals it?”

My professor didn’t miss a beat, even though he often would pause before speaking.

“You will be doing yourself a disservice. Keeping it to yourself will not prevent anything. It is your idea, your passion. Other people may listen, and like the idea, and yes, they could take it and run with it, but it burns brightly within you, with a fire that they do not possess. If you truly believe in it, and work for it,  it will belong to you.”

(I am paraphrasing this, as my memory has not improved with age, fancy that!)

I pondered this. Did I want to divulge my (what I thought brilliant idea) to a group of young eager students all dying to make money?

Reluctantly, I took his advice. Some of their eyes brightened, a few less had a bone to pick, thus of course driving me crazy, and he himself enjoyed it, but had some reservations, as he did with most of the others too. And that’s when I realized.

You need feedback. Secrecy does one no favours when it comes to developing an idea- we humans are not meant to operate alone; most mammals live in packs or groups. Scores of great things never would have been built/achieved/discovered if it hadn’t been for teamwork.

You need a fresh outlook, a different perspective other then your own. When you love something, often you are too close to it to see the imperfections. You overlook the flaws and focus on the favoured.

With the age of technology and social media, a lot of artists put their work out there. I often ponder this with my own Instagram account- I want people to see and like them, but at the same time, with all of the re-posting that goes on, I am so afraid of someone taking credit for my heart and soul as their own.

Yes, there are selfish people, who are in higher positions and may use the ideas of those less powerful, to spin them into something better, or blatantly copy for higher gain. This is a risk, but unfortunately this can’t always be avoided. A creative idea is almost like a child- you give birth to it, you love it; it’s your creation. The pain of having it stolen away is unbearable. Fight for it back; you can’t let them win.

So, do we shield our ideas from view? If you hide, no one will ever know you are any good, and you will most definitely never get discovered. The written word is especially hard- someone may not copy every line, but steal fragments here and there that sound suitable. But, if no  one ever reads your work, no one will definitely ever want to then read your work.

What do you think? Are you hesitant to expose your ideas, bare your creative being? Not for fear of ridicule, but because it will no longer be yours if it is out there? Or are you all for sharing, growing, editing- confident in the fact that it will remain yours?

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But I Totally Could Have Made That…

 

(All this takes is some yard sale finds and some glue…) Armory Shows, New York, New York

Short musings of art and peoples perception

But..I could make that! You think, shaking your head and muttering at the last art fair you attended. Sometimes, it just seems so absurd. A bunch of Instagram-like party shots of wasted 22 year olds going for thousands of dollars. Maybe I should try to frame mine and give it a go, you think, swirling your non-alcoholic beverage straw. Next up, a bunch of ….whirring Evian bottles?! Has the world gone mad? This looks like a ten year old boy-genius science project.

Yes, I’m sure you can tie a motor to an Evian bottle and call it a day.

But would you? You haven’t yet, have you? Maybe that’s the difference. Some people are more impulsive then others, and whether or not it is easy as pie or as detailed as a Rubens is not, in fact, the important factor. The factor is the act, deciding to make the move.

It’s true that maybe not a lot of thought goes into a plain navy blue canvas that has a smiley face stuck in the top corner.

When I was five I definitely could have painted a canvas blue and stuck a sticker on the top, albeit the brush strokes would not have had that distinct pattern, and …wait. Now suddenly something that seemed so simple, is actually not.

Whether it is simple or not, I feel that the main purpose of art, when it boils down to it, is not simply just decoration, or to add beauty or colour to a room, but to elicit some sort of emotion. Whether it is surprise, disgust, delight, . Art can make you pensive, it can make you incredulous. It just has to make you think something.

It is a conversation starter. The best kind of first date is actually at a museum- and you can learn a lot about someone from what they have to say about art, whether they appreciate it or not.

It can improve our mood. Looking at a mural of kitties definitely would brighten my day.

It can add beauty, colour, life, to an otherwise dull room. Personally, my mood plummets if I am in a bland, ugly space, and I would think that applies to most humans.

Another world to enter when yours is not to your liking. Getting lost in a wildflower field is much preferable to a windowless cubicle.

It can provoke inspiring thoughts and ideas. Your mind opens up while observing, almost like you are the artist. What would you change?

I myself am a fan on Monet and Renoir, the beautiful detailed yet abstract mixture of colours, the soothing scenes that I feel I can enter. I like the precise detail of a Rubens, the mood of Vermeer. I like things that are realistic, that blatantly take hours to produce. Time is money, precious, you can’t buy it. But it doesn’t mean that something that doesn’t take 4 years to produce can’t be just as appealing, does it?

That being said, there is something appealing about modern art, the art that we are referring to, a bunch of geometric triangles suspended from a fish hook. Each piece is for a different setting.

An office, a restaurant, a theatre lobby, a private school, over my toilet, my living room fireplace, a subway passage, a hotel room. Certainly the bronzed poop emoji statue I saw the other day would be much more appropriate at a comedy club then a bunch of Cezanne grapes.

A time and a place for everything.

So yes, I could have ripped that Persian rug that I stapled to a board, but I haven’t. And it would look pretty damn cool, simple or not.  Does everything have to be so detailed, extravagant? Sometimes life simplified is all we need. Soothing. To the point. Direct. Like an all white room. Zen. See? I’m feeling relaxed just writing about it, I can’t even construct a proper full sentence. Buy vintage porcelain pieces and other unique items on www.etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc

The Armory (Art) Show

(Is it just me, or does the head of that…thing wearing the million button coat remind you of the snake in Beetlejuice?) Armory Art Show, Manhattan

Who doesn’t love a good art fair on a  sunny Saturday afternoon? (All our posts in good humor)

This weekend was the annual Armory Art show at the west side piers in Manhattan. Of course, being the creative type, I paid a visit. Here are a few observations that I feel inclined to point out, and, needless to say, I’ve felt that every art show is a copy/paste.

The same kitschy, repetitive subjects. You know, Mickey Mouse, Campbell Soup cans, popular icons du jour. I do adore Marilyn, but if I see one more pixelated image of her sultry face, I’m going to get more then a seven-year itch. Aren’t there other buxom beauties that you can immortalize using discarded eyeglasses and kids sippie cups? 

The least expensive art is also the most buyable. You snoozed your way through modern contemporary, but now that you’re in the venue that actually lists the price next to the art, you wonder if someone got the lists mixed up, as you actually might buy the bronze poop emoji sculpture, unlike that bare taupe square. You know, something tasteful, trendy….

A million selfies with sculptures. Sure, no worries that the giant blue (Blue? Is it rotten? Do I want to know) strawberry is listed at a price more then your years rent, and it would take longer for you to repay the damage then your student loans? Let’s all form a ring around it like we’re strawberry shortcake. Say selfie!

You want to quit your dayjob. If that guy spends his times to make machines that light up like a plastic garbage bag jellyfish, well, I want some of that. Everyone sat around mesmerized like they got the kool-aid, and I’ve always wanted to inspire beyond my jokes at the bottom of the purchase orders I do.

You’ll be tempted by the chocolate babkha. I thought this was about the art ? Not my growling stomach- or more like it, making my stomach growl, as that falafel lunch I scarfed down earlier is still making me look three months along.

Busiest places are ones with free alcohol. You nodded politely at your date’s analysis of WHY he’d buy the “gray sweatpants/ aquarium on a fur rug” piece, but now that you reached the alcohol sponsored venue, you’ve dropped all patience and elbow your way for a free Bombay Sapphire and champagne (gin and champagne? Sure why not). You’re gonna need it.

People are there to be seen, what art? It’s a fabulous place to people watch- where else would you see people who look like they should be installations of art themselves? Not to mention the obligatory hot/not hot couples making the most of his bonus from Morgan Stanley.

The people you are with look at their phones, not the art. “Sorry, I need to get this girl I met the other night at the Gilded Lily in, I told her about my VIP card you know?” “look at this photo my friend posted of her here yesterday” “Martina said she was coming, god that girl is such a bore. Can we go meet her at the entrance?” While you try to point out that we already passed these pieces.

Imagine where you are putting this things in your apartment. I swear, the people who buy this things must live in some sprawling South Dakotan mansion, because where would I fit some sculpture of a dead cowboy with balloons tied to him in my third floor walkup? Meh, maybe I’ll nix the bed. Why sleep when I can enjoy such wonderful art?

The pieces you love are beyond price upon request. Figures that the antique Persian rug with the mushrooms sprouting from it would garner you a smirk and a raised eyebrow when you inquired (damn, maybe my Hello Kitty tee shirt was a bad idea after all).

Quantity, even of quality, can dull even the most brilliant work.. Yes, the ornate frame with the ditsy floral pattern and man riding bareback is amazing, but after you’ve seen 398420 different works, it barely generates a flicker of your eyes. 

There is some lovely, thought provoking pieces amidst it all. Really, after fighting your way through the crowds, you actually can discover why you came here in the first place. Stand, search, sigh, and remember why you love art and buying things in the first place. Visit Japonicanyc.com to purchase vintage tableware and other atsy items!

 

Pickin’ My Brain About American Pickers

(Now, if Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz found something like this, I’d totally go for it…) Hamptons Art Fair, Bridgehampton, New York

Why do we pick to watch what we watch? (All in good humor)

As we all know, when you turn on a TV, practically every channel boasts some reality TV. It’s not just MTV and the Real World, with college kids chugging beers (I don’t know actually, never watched it).  Now, there is a show for everyone- Real Deal for the Wall Street wonders, Iron Chef for those of us who don’t actually set the kitchen on fire, Catfish for those of us who can emote with relatable online dating horror stories, and American Pickers for those who like old stuff. Two friends who travel far and wide, taking that old bowl you were using as an ashtray and declaring it belonged to Napoleon (you know, Bonaparte). The show gets quite the views, but why? Why do we set out (with our ultra American array of snacks) to watch two dudes sift through old tires and trash? Hey, didn’t I just do that the other day at my grandmas? People get paid to do this- and we watch? Here’s why.

It Appeal to our American Columbus-like motives of exploring,but from the comfort of your LaZ-Boy. Go on any dating site, and everyone says “they love to travel/ want to travel/live in a suitcase” etc. The reality is, most people don’t travel further then the McDonalds 15 minutes away (which, in suburbia, is supposedly a bit far to travel for one?) Like (some) of our ancestors, who may have braved the scary dark bowls of a boat across the Atlantic to settle in unknown wilderness, the show appeals to the inner explorer in all of us. Discovering new things, setting out into the unknown…it’s like being a kid with a treasure map.

Speaking of being a kid with a treasure map, it’s not just the act of exploration and setting off on an adventure, but about finding something magnificent. Like Indiana Jones, the idea of pulling some ancient rare artifact from the fiery pit of doom definitely appeals to the greed in us. Even if you aren’t a fan of antiques and old stuff, there is a thrill of finding some beautiful (and expensive) item amidst all of that garbage. And Mike and Fritz are childhood friends, adding to the sweet little scenario of you and your best friend/ next door neighbor digging for gold in his mother’s prize winning petunias until she screamed like Carmela Soprano.

Sense of nostalgia. There are many explanations why we enjoy seeing them unearth tin cafeteria trays that look like our old high schools, even if those trays carried the most questionable lunch meat ever. We like to think of the “good ol’ days”, even if the good ol’ days involved having to run away from Buster Harrison every time you saw him in the hallway.  The American Pickers reality tv show provides 30 minutes of a visual trip down memory lane, just without the hours spent waiting by the phone (landline) and 24 hour Duane Reades.

Instant gratification, without having to do the work, just view it on a screen. Perhaps due to technology, (or where you are raised; I know for a fact that people from Michigan are a lot less impatient waiting those two long minutes for their bacon egg and cheese then I am) we have become increasingly impatient, wanting everything as fast as a Tinder swipe (left, duh). The American Pickers provide this.

The reality is, for every platinum ballerina they find, they find a million pieces of brass and spend days trekking across the country, living off gas station donuts and sifting through some practically blind woman’s claim that she had George Washington’s wig, whereas in reality it was just her husband’s toupee (he pulled it off pretty well, sorry for the pun). But we don’t have to witness that headache, just see them move a few items, and presto! Antique hairdryer.

We all love a bargain. For as much as we want to post “popping bottles” on Instagram, we cringe the next day when we wake up and log onto our bank accounts. As much as people like to pretend money is not option, the inner pushcart haggler in al of us love a good bargain. A penny saved is a penny served you know. So when we see the guys score a vintage scuba outfit for 5$, our inner mother in us (remember when she wouldn’t spend the extra $10 for the light up sneakers? We’re still mad) cheers.

So inspiring is the show, that we feel the urge to actually get up and go see if any old folk nearby need some help cleaning….oh wait, cleaning? Maybe….Shop www.etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc for porcelain tableware and trinkets just like the pickers might find!