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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3 Stores For The Rest Of Your Life

(Then again, a french supermarket might be a good idea, as you’d never lack for sweets…how DO they stay so slim?!) Paris, France

If you could only shop at 3 businesses for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This is, shop for EVERYTHING. Food, clothes, makeup, hardware, technology, EVERYTHING !

We humans love to choose our “favourites”. Favourite food? Favourite television show when you were seven? Favourite shade of white to use for a wedding dress? No matter how trivial, we like to declare our personal favourites.

I’ll start off with mine:

  • Any of the huge European general stores/hypermarkets. Carrefour, etc.  Like a Wal-Mart (which I refuse to step into or support), but way better quality products. Food, toiletries, you name it….
  • Bloomingdales. What can I say, they carry everything you could possibly need to outfit yourself for any situation, casual or formal.
  • Apple. Because unfortunately my two other options don’t carry technology products. Maybe I should say some other technology store that as more variety, in case I want other things? Ok, I was a weak one with this choice.

But then again, there’s also Etsy….where you can buy clothes, collectibles, craft kits to entertain you forever…and vintage porcelain at www.etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc

Nostalgia & Quality

(I think the graffiti only adds to the character, don’t you?) Bushwick, Brooklyn New York

Monday morning musings about the tie between nostalgia and the quality of products

“Antique-design table”. “Retro hand-mirror”. “Converted radio flyer planter”. Every which way you turn, something harkens to days past, when it may in fact be brand new.  Nostalgia for days gone by, your younger years, has always been present. However, I feel more and more, in pop articles and articles generated by the bunch, that people are yearning for yesteryear. Why does this seem more prevalanet? Times were always simpler, inventions and such have always existed.

This is a topic that has been long debated, and I won’t profess to having any answer. However, in terms of nostalgia pertaining to home products, this is a lot easier to pin down.

Quality is the key word to this nostalgia for old products, buildings and designs. As I walk along Fulton Street in Brooklyn, I see so many old brownstones being gutted, just empty shells standing, while other less desirable structures are merely bulldozed and new, generic, bland looking buildings are erected in what feels like mere minutes. No decorative detailing, and everything looks eerily temporary, despite the steel beams and cement.

Technology, although wonderful with all we can accomplish, has made the process of mass production possible. The more of something that exists, the less desirable it becomes, as it is not rare, unique. We humans seem to crave uniqueness, why, maybe because we have less and less to worry about. “Too much of a good thing” is perhaps true. If you were to all of a sudden possess 300 Sailor Moon Sculptures, the original would immediately lose its value, its prestige, when before it was as rare as the “Heart of The Ocean” (diamond necklace from Titanic, duh!)

When something is handmade now, we see it as a gift from the heart, something special, something that will ultimately cost more money because it took much more time and skill to produce.  It is something unique, as no mold is being used, no two products can be completely identical.

As time goes by and the technology is honed and perfected, it somehow makes products less and less respectable, despite often improving certain aspects about them. New materials and ways of using old ones to maximize profit and minimize costs are being produced. For example, polyester is cheap, and man-made, and although can imitate silk, it does not hold a candle to the quality of silk, no matter how nice the drape is.

The items hailed from simpler times, when the current worries of the modern world did not exist, or were just a far off future issue that were not actively on our minds. With worrying about whether your Instagram post was filtered enough or if the Starbucks new drink is going to have too many calories, it is nice to rest your eyes on something from a time where you had to wait by the landline phone to hear back from someone and milk cost 10 cents, not 8$ at WholeFoods. Sub-conciously, they sooth us.

Maybe when all of the similar looking brownstones were developed, people felt the same way about them .”Oh look, another 3-window façade with a flowered scroll etched in the cement above them. Not again!” Just because we see NOW that they were quite beautiful structures, doesn’t mean that when they were new, people thought the same thing.

Perhaps it takes a lot of time to pass to realize what we had, to adjust, to accept, to realize that something is not all that bad. Maybe sixty years from now we’ll think that that clothes from Forever21 are something to clamor for, but in the meantime….. I’ll just shop for vintage porcelain dinnerware and other cute vintage 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!