I was working on this one at Toby's Estate cafe in Woolloomoloo yesterday before poker.
When I walked outside, as I was crossing the road, I passed and old fella who looked identical (sans purple hair) to the critter in the artwork. He was kind of hobo-ish, pulling along an old style shopping wheelie plastic suitcase. The resemblance was that strong that I wanted to snap a pic - but didn't want to intrude. You'll just have to believe me. It was uncanny and thrilling to have the art/reality realms come so close together.
There was no red faced floating head girl in the sky. I checked.
What lesson? you may ask.
And I say, Weren't you paying attention?
To which you reply, Are you talking to me?
And I exclaim, Taxi Driver!
You: Going somewhere?
Y: How soon?
Y: But our lesson...
Y: What was it?
And that is how it goes.
'...Our practice is to die slowly, step by step, gradually dis-identifying with wherever we're caught in. If we're caught anywhere we have not died...Consider your husband or boyfriend or girlfriend - that need. The longer we practice, the more minimal that need becomes. The love becomes greater and the need less. We can't love something we need. If we need approval, we haven't died. If we need power, if we need to have a certain position, if it's not okay with us to do the most menial job, we haven't died. If we need to be seen in a particular way, we haven't died. If we need to have things our way, we haven't died. I haven't died in any of these ways...All I can be is who I am right now; I can experience that and work with it. That's all I can do. The rest is the dream of the ego.' Joko Beck
One of my first big kisses was when I was around 13 or so with a cute blonde American girl called Karen. We were sitting on the footpath outside her parent's apartment near Roppongi in Tokyo. We'd been to a cafe together with a group of friends and I walked her home from the train station. Although I had picked up on the cues myself her girlfriends re-inforced my intentions when they whispered to me that she was probably interested in a bit of romance as we were leaving the cafe. We sat and talked in the street for almost an hour and then kissed for about half an hour. I remember that it felt amazing. Warm, intimate... adjectives cannot do the job...! .... swirling, cosmic, engulfing, liberating, electric.... Phew. I was into it. What a great discovery!
My other great moment around this time was at Sacred Heart International School in Hiroo and it was a Sadie Hawkins dance (a US custom where the girls ask the boys to dance). The Rolling Stones song 'Angie' came on as the lights went low. A sweet, petite Japanese-American girl that I hardly knew asked me to dance. It was unexpected and most welcome. I remember smelling her skin and her long silky black hair and feeling her soft body. My first slow dance! I prayed it would never end. It was without a doubt one of the most incredible three minutes of my life until then. My hormones must have been going insane, rushing around like lunatics - my body had never felt so much, so intensely before. This was good stuff! Even now when I hear that song, I remember that dance.
"If your life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches. For the creative there is no poverty."
My brother Mook helped me track down these Charmant Magna-Flip TV commercials made for Japanese TV sometime around 2003. We shot over three days in Brisbane and Gold Coast with a combined Japanese and Aussie crew. I had a wonderful time as the main talent - made all the sweeter by the way it came about....
I was actually helping the producers who were putting out an Australia-wide casting net and hadn't found the right guy. My job was to do a casting/audition in the Byron Bay area where I was living at the time. At the last moment, my bro suggested I throw in a photo of myself as I was in the right age group. Why not?
I asked my lovely friend and housemate at the time, Jo, to snap a photo of me the next morning before sending off the package to Tokyo. I remember Joey and I cracking up as I ironically posed for a couple of quick pics while standing pre-breakfast, barefoot in the backyard in shorts and singlet, a borrowed shirt and jacket slapped over the top, just-woken-up-faced with a 'this is kind of silly/surreal/hilarious' grin on my face.
Next thing you know, a week later, my brother tells me over the phone from Tokyo that of the 2,000 people considered, the Japanese director had made a decision...
He insisted on me! No audition, no top three choices - it had to be that long haired guy. He liked the natural and relaxed look, he said, and something in the eyes. I swear I thought my brother was joking when he told me. What were the chances?
Of course, I was thrilled. As well as the shoot days, I spent a full day learning and practicing fly-fishing with a local expert, for authenticity, which was fun. And half a day practicing the flipping up and down of the magnetic sunglass lenses and got to drive the brand new Audi ... being paid for my time, of course. We also did a stills campaign and a golf course based scenario as well.
Including roll-overs, made almost as much money as I have made in my entire art career - which is - I dunno - interesting? funny? sad? Anyway, it was a delightful experience - a gift from the gods of eyewear accessories.
Collage Art by Lou Beach
I'm lucky enough to be fb friends with LA Artist Lou Beach and saw in his posts that he's not long ago published a book called 420 Characters which, together with his collages, includes a collection of super-short stories he has written. He's done heaps of awesome album cover work for artists including Weather Report, The Police, YMO (below) and Madonna.
(Click on the above illustration to visit Lou's site.)
I remember seeing some of his work when I was in my 20's and especially digging it because I, too, just out of art school with a double major in painting and photography, was into making collages of my own.
I always wanted to do an album cover and when I got my chance in 1986, for EMI and a band called The Radiators, I chose to go collage crazy...
Not quite as sophisticated as Lou's fine work but I had a fun time doing it - and the band loved it. The back cover was more collage work incorporating the group doing cool stuff - like flying a biplane, throwing a boulder from a waterfall, and, er, I forget the other ones.
Here's a collage piece I did today... seventeen years since the Rad cover. And, yep, still lovin' the ol' cut and paste.
Head in the clouds? Floating free? Contemplating eternity?
It's a good day for it. A good day indeed.
Every day is a new chance for exploration and creation. Find the balance between working with what is presented and moulding something to your liking.
Life is something that takes practice. Little steps, little steps.
It's important, vital even, to back yourself. Trust your inner voice, your judgement, your feelings. Then go with it.
Faith and courage will get you there.
This wonderfully inventive artist, British of Norwegian descent, has recently passed but left behind a legacy of wonderful imagery.
As I teen I had many album covers for bands like Pink Floyd (above), 10cc, Alan Parsons Project and Led Zepplin that featured the art of Storm.
A truly unique and strongly conceptual artist style, Storms most famous work is probably PF's Dark Side of the Moon cover but even some of his lesser know work is striking and effective. I used to hold the covers and ponder them for long, long periods while listening to the music.
Thanks, Storm. Adios.
(Click on cover to link to BBC short doco.)
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
Yes, we can and do put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Why so? What do we imagine we must be or achieve to find satisfaction. Life is a ride. You come fully equipped. Throw your hands up in the air and holler with joy and excitement. It's happening all the time, everywhere. If you are here, you are part of the miracle, the mirage, the mirror, the other 'm' word that should go here. Live it up! Woof!
This was my place of part-time employment in the early eighties while I was at art school. I was an usher. I had to wear a scarlet red jacket, white shirt, black slacks and a black bow tie - and carry a torch and screening schedule at all times.
It was back in the days when Sat and Sun movie sessions were all numbered seats. And we ushers and usherettes would use our torches to guide you there.
I had always thought it would be cool to be an usher since I was a kid and saw them in a movie. 'You get to watch movies for free!' I thought. Of course, the reality of the job meant various duties that took up movie watching time.
One of them was changing the giant plastic letters on the marquee with a 10 metre long claw pole. At least that was fun. I did end up watching a few movies hundreds of times - Chariots of Fire, The Howling, Cannonball Run - spring to mind - now there's a mixed bag of lollies!
ART GETS ME HIGH
Author & Artist