Just a quick note, to provide some juicy food for thought:
What is the relationship between "truth" and "freedom"? (And for later thought, when we want to get more emotional, their relationship with "happiness"?) After watching this video by Donald Hoffman titled "Do we see reality as it is?" (https://youtu.be/oYp5XuGYqqY), I realized why Evolutionary Theory has always given me such a feeling of uneasiness. His lecture also gives you a feeling of immense excitement that we might actually be going in the direction of truth in our search for reality as it is (also for later thought: the meaning of the verb 'to be', as it applies to different phenomena) and thus towards ultimate freedom (from...existence? Our ego? The illusions that comprise our consciousness? After which, where are we? What are we?)
The most exciting statements of the entire lecture were, "What is true about perception may not be true about math and logic"; and also, that space and time are perceptual symbols "designed by evolution to keep us alive".
Why does Evolution want us to stay alive? (Note: every single word in that question makes so many presuppositions that need to be questioned lol)
Next up, I am reading Hoffman's article on Conscious Realism (find it here as a pdf:
And as a little dessert, here's another thought: if space and time are perceptual "symbols", aren't words the quintessential man-made symbol? Are those perhaps our key to unlock this perceptual cage that evolution has locked us in???
Just thought I'd put this up--this is the most current work in progress. It is based on a photograph I took on a bike ride near Point Mugu on the Pacific Crest Highway a couple months earlier. I was really happily surprised to see it got some favorable reactions from the First Friday open studio event at my studio at Bell Arts Factory last Friday. I took some more photos yesterday and will play around with this idea more, especially since I almost never paint (representational) landscapes.
The other thing I wanted to mention is Human Rights Watch, a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to informing the public about global human rights abuses. Check out their website, sign some petitions, and spread the word: www.hrw.org.
This past Saturday I participated in an exciting arts event in Oxnard, CA called "Perfecting the Craft 2" that showcased the talents and work of various artists from the Oxnard-Ventura area. There were photographers, barbers, painters, graffiti writers and artists, tattoo artists, graphic designers, authors, makeup artists, breakdancers, DJs, digital artists, and a band, as well as vendors selling their own clothing lines, professionally printed stickers and decals, and assorted marijuana products. The organizer's vision is to create a space and event for artists like these to connect with each other, to give exposure to otherwise unseen artwork and skills, and to create a community that fosters a culture of appreciation for hard work and dedication to one's art, no matter what medium one works in, and where the artist is along their creative journey.
I was exceedingly anxious for about a month and a half before the event because I am only at the beginning of my art career, and was worried that I would have nothing worthwhile to show anyone. And the reality is that I was entirely correct. The challenge now is to keep going in spite of the feeling that I am at the very beginning, that I have almost no technical skills yet to realize the work I envision in my mind, and work at it until something truly interesting and selfless is realized. The experience was humbling, and I intend to seek out more of these experiences in order to eradicate the ego, create a detachment to my creations, and thus lead my work towards something more pure.
The most interesting work only comes if we can do it with our whole body and mind, without any attachment to it. As Shunryu Suzuki says in 'Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind', "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
1. What is a favorite color? In other words, what does it mean for someone to say that a certain color is their favorite? To think that different people have different favorite colors reminds me of how people enjoy different kinds of music. Colors and sounds are energies of different wavelengths perceived by our bodies and minds. Why is it that people often have certain wavelengths that they enjoy, and on the other side, wavelengths they dislike? And to make it even more interesting, these can change within the same individual over time! Why? New memories? New associations? No reason?
Last last Sunday I saw a performance at LA's Zebulon by Japan's experimental music group Marginal Consort. The performance was fun for a bunch of reasons, first and foremost because it was really, REALLY WEIRD. If you were to walk in at any time during the nearly three-hour long show, you would have wondered why so many people paid $17-20 apiece to see four old Japanese guys scrape their chairs on the floor, throw bean bags in the air, violently swing giant origami triangles, and trip over their piles of ziplock bags and Tupperwares full of metal bits and wires. The sight was really weird and would have been interesting probably for 5 minutes (or maybe a little bit longer, the younger you are) if that was all of it. But the SOUNDS were the main point, the thing that makes this group MASTERS of their craft. Sounds that were initially abrasive or absurdly noisy and unpleasant were turned, somehow, into the musical parts of a very eerily harmonious whole (if you let yourself get to that point.)
The moment I realized this was about 2 hours into the performance. Three of the performers had come to create a background of sounds from their objects, using repetition, rhythm, and controlling the dynamics of the sounds they were making--as though ready for the fourth person to add a foreground layer of sound (sounds like the structure of a concerto, doesn't it?) The guy facing the audience (maybe Kazuo Imai?--the other three were in the other three corners of the room, mixed with the audience) picked up a 12-foot-long 8" diameter PVC pipe and dropped it on the floor. After a few times when it just slapped the floor really loud as it landed, he dropped it on one edge and it bounced back and forth between the two ends, making a more hollow, tube-like sound that increased in frequency as it settled onto the floor. As I watched him do this I suddenly realized I had become TOTALLY immersed in what he was doing, and my memory of the sounds at that moment was that he had found a musical moment for us in this thing in his hands. This object that is normally found in construction sites and hardware stores had taken on a new IDENTITY in the hands of this musician-artist.
Isn't that what the greatest artists do? They take the things around us, and reveal to us the beauty hidden within our world. For those of us lucky enough to experience art of this caliber, it makes us wonder, is this perhaps what it's like to see into the infinite? If we can sense this, what are else are our minds capable of?
This weekend my musical collaborator, Angel Marquez, and I participated in the second Oxnard Performing Arts Convention Center Arts Festival, and I am so happy and proud to be able to say that this was our first ever arts festival! As a newcomer to Ventura County, I have been overwhelmed by how friendly and genuine its residents are, and at the festival in Oxnard I met a diverse and unique community of artists, musicians, dancers, writers, families, scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs. I am excited to see what the future brings and very much looking forward to the next one. Thank you especially to Ghislaine Smith of the PACC for going out of her way to help me navigate this new territory!!
Lots and lot of thanks also to Bell Arts Factory in Ventura, especially Maribel Hernandez and David Yoshitomi, for their enthusiastic support of crazy new ideas and for warmly welcoming us to the Bell Arts Family; C2 Designers for their non-stop encouragement and endless support; and of course thank you to our families for thinking that spray painting gradients and then playing ambient sounds with synthesizers under the table are of course a good idea.
Yesterday a Starbucks employee in La Canada (in Los Angeles County) typed the name "BEANER" on the label for a Hispanic customer's order. A couple weeks ago another Starbucks employee in Philadelphia called the police when black men came into the store to wait for a friend to have coffee. And at a Starbucks in Torrance (also in LA) a black customer was refused use of the restroom.
How does boycotting Starbucks bring us closer to world peace? The more that massive companies feel that people are spending less money as a direct result of racist incidences, the more they will see that people are no longer going to tolerate racism. And, the more other companies will learn from their lesson too. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Riverside, CA did the right thing, including from a business standpoint: a supervisor refused service to a customer who was harrassing another customer for wearing a niqab, and in so doing will earn new customers.
Companies that make sure employees are compassionate and kind should be rewarded. Companies that don't do enough to ensure employees aren't racist or hateful should be punished.
Vote with your money. Every vote counts!
When we ask questions, what are we doing? Is it only a request for information? Can it be something else? What is the point of a rhetorical question? Are there such things as rhetorical questions in all languages? Do they mean the same thing in all languages?
I think questions often communicate more information than they seem, mostly about the person speaking and about the context it's spoken in. Most people would assume that an art history professor asking "Who was Picasso?" is asking a different question from a 6-year-old boy asking "Who was Picasso?" In both cases the words are identical, but the meaning is (probably) very different.
So what do words mean?