Graphic design when you need it

Each of us is a gift to the world. Let's celebrate that. Drawing by Melissa Hardiman. She is a gift to the world.

Each of us is a gift to the world. Let’s celebrate that. Drawing by Melissa Hardiman. She is a gift to the world.

I met my dear friend Melissa Hardiman for a long overdue visit today. Her work frequently illustrates and enhances this blog.

She and I share a challenge along with most artists. People think art and creativity are luxuries, and they look for ways to do without them.

Creativity has a bad reputation these days. Creativity nourishes the soul.  By the time young people get through high school they have been worn down by the study of algebra, the burden of grades, and a general lack of encouraging words from the educational system as a whole.

I have posted previously on Ken Robinson’s wonderful analysis of How Schools Kill Creativity in a TED Talk. Adults have been handicapped by the school system when it comes to enjoying both fun and beauty.

Melissa and I want to change the perceptions about the value and glory of art. We are committed to that.

I have photographed Melissa on several occasions and I published the collected works in a Blurb book. The book is charming, as befits the subject. She is a delightful person and a joy to have as a friend.

She can do it. Trust me.

She can do it. Trust me.

If you want to venture into the world of graphic design, or venture further, and you want to be led there by a delightful and talented person, you will be happy with your choice of Melissa.

By coincidence my massage therapist is named Melissa, and I love her too.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.—Steve Jobs

Melissa and I have connected our experiences, and we are available to support you in connecting to artistic expressions of what makes you wonderful.

McDonald’s

Me, in high school. Fifteen cent burgers.

Me. when burgers cost fifteen cents..

Until today I had not been inside a McDonald’s for about forty years. I went there to search for outrageousness. It’s a long story.

I remember when hamburgers cost 15 cents. Yes, I’m that old. This time I paid $4.99. The product has not improved.

There was a young man there who appeared to be in charge. I asked him for permission to pose a question to him. He agreed. I asked how he was treated, and what his ambitions were. He said he was treated well. His first choice would be to become a veterinarian. His second choice would be to manage a restaurant.

I thought the contrast to be quite vivid, but the moment did not provide the opportunity to explore my point of view.

Veterinarian, or restaurant manager? Poet or insurance salesman? What do I know?

I know my readers are of the silent disposition, but you might be willing to share any contrasts in the choices you considered. I’m an artist, but I went into the business world. I went there mostly for the joy of being accepted as one of the team, not for the activity itself. I really craved an experience of belonging.

We don’t make ourselves available to young people who are working through their own map of the world. That may be because we bluffed our own way through the decision making experience, as the manager at McDonald’s is attempting to do.

I think that is strange, and very ominous for today’s adults. We ought to take a look at our craving of caution.

Speak, if you’ve a mind to.

A good quote

This photograph of Taylor is an iconic rendering of joy, celebration, love, and good fortune. I judge it as good as any photo I've seen from anyone.

This photograph of Taylor is a way to quote her joy, her celebration of love and good fortune, and her sense of having no limits.

In 1973 Yogi Berra said about winning in baseball, “It ain’t over until it’s over.” I have long desired to say something so memorable.

Clara Peller, in a television commercial for the Wendy’s burger chain intended to draw attention to skimpy portions from their competitors, shouted “Where’s the beef?” That was in 1984. I remember those commercials.

This blog has more than 400 posts, and I don’t know of a distinctive phrase in any of them. I do think there are some fine photographs, however, and they speak for me.

The photo of Taylor that accompanies this post is a visual poem. She is two years old. She is filled with joy and delight. The sunbeam celebrates with her. Her shadow dances in perfect harmony, obeying its own instincts and sense of purpose. She is totally unaware of any limits. Do you remember feeling this way? Do you still feel this way?

May we all recognize our own version of eloquence, and honor it.

As President Franklin Roosevelt famously said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” He was so right. I remind myself of that several times a day.

Honoring our desires

I know what I like.

I know what I like.

I have a tape cassette player, and I am listening to the recording of the Men and the Life of Desire conference held in 1990 with Robert Bly, Michael Meade, and James Hillman.

They emphasized at that time how much men had fallen prey to their neediness at the expense of cultivating and satisfying their desires. They talked about the dangers of the soft male. The soft male does not accept his desires as valid or trustworthy.

The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.—Arthur Miller

I erased a post I published yesterday because I decided it was too raw. It revealed too much about my attitudes toward soft males. I dread being embarrassed. I’m working on that. The Arthur Miller quote was posted to Facebook this morning, and it was just what I needed.

Most of us have tried to pass the burdens of courage and responsibility to people such as Jon Stewart, Robert Reich, Bill Maher, and others who we want to take our place on the field of battle.

One of the biggest omissions that results from this strategy is that we don’t talk about being men, and we do not serve as role models for boys as they grow up. We also leave women to fend for themselves as we go into retreat.

We don’t know what desire is. We think it’s going shopping.—James Hillman

Being a man requires reverence for the soul, and it requires making the effort to cultivate a relationship with the soul. Soul work is not easy, and soft males want as much ease as possible.

Desire has something to do with the impossible, and that requires imagination.—James Hillman

We define what is possible in very restrictive ways. We have largely abandoned big intentions. We accept ghettos, hunger, and even homelessness for large numbers of people. We accept politicians who are greedy and without mercy. I believe this is because we are willing to discredit our own desires. Hillman points out the close linkage between imagination and desire. They nourish each other.

Our use of imagination is at odds with practices such as texting and posting dreary borrowed images to Facebook, an environment where extremely cautious people make the rules. Imagination is served by having a favored channel of expression. I use photography.

Having latched onto these tapes 25 years ago I have had a lot of time to notice how men have been faring in terms of working with desire. I do not think we have gained any ground.

 

 

 

 

On affirming the unlikely and the impossible

Kai is from the Marshall Islands. He was adopted by my dear friend Yuri. How likely is that coincidence?

Kai is from the Marshall Islands. He was adopted by my dear friend Yuri. Would you have predicted that?

I once thought churches, religions, and bold adults, were responsible for affirming our belief in our ability to achieve the unlikely and the miraculous. I have changed my perspective.

I noticed that few authority figures see their role in affirming the miraculous. Business managers have open disdain for miracles.  They have wrapped themselves in caution. That is our great collective loss.

It is the movie business, and authors of books, who do the heavy lifting in terms of affirming the power of the unlikely and the miraculous.

I have many favorite movies that affirm our confidence in the unlikely and the miraculous. The list includes Field of Dreams, Princess Bride, African Queen, We’re No Angels, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, It’s a Wonderful Life, Wayne’s World. And so many, many more.

Christy

Christy

I watched Wayne’s World again today. I have seen it many times. It is playful, whimsical, and it embraces the absurd. Most of us fear the absurd,

Several times Wayne asks, “Are you mental?” Yes we are, Wayne. We are mental. We have a wacky version of ourselves that we accept as real. Wayne’s World is one of the best films I have ever seen about embracing the unlikely and the impossible.

Business management is dedicated to discrediting the possibility of achieving unlikely and impossible outcomes. So, in my view, are churches. Politicians are even more hopeless.

We must look to artists, and that can include us, to restore and invoke our passion for this particular kind of joy.

Speak up, if you have a mind to. Take a stand for the impossible. It might save the world.

 

 

 

 

Bubble-licious!

Tashua

Gypsy Danger. Also known as Tashua.

Bubble baths never lose their appeal.

I have photographed about 20 ladies in this setting. Some bring their rubber ducky.

Mary Lu painted her toenails. Amanda wore shoes that she dangled over the edge of the tub.

Everyone grins and has fun. Ah, the rewards of being a photographer.

I also photograph young people playing in the tub. The playful young boy is Enakai, Yuri Makino’s adopted son. Kai, as he is also known, is one of the most playful children I have met. At a recent photo shoot I achieved an amazingly low number of successful shots because he was always on the move. We will try again.

Enakai

Enakai

The point I would like to make in this post is to encourage you to consider unusual settings for portraits that remind you to play. Stay young at heart.

My photography blog is HERE.

 

Lessons from Sean Penn

chairs

Let’s sit and talk.

I have watched many of James Lipton’s interviews with actors on Inside the Actor’s Studio. Today I watched the interview with Sean Penn again.

Sean is wonderfully articulate and his values arise from his intuition not from a dogma that was handed to him to be memorized.

Another thing about him that impresses me is how comfortable he obviously is being him. There is a no-smoking rule in the building where the interviews are conducted. He smoked two cigarettes. More significant to me is how he beams and smiles as he enjoys being him.

I am especially sensitive to his bearing because I am critical of myself.  I am presently being tormented by what seems like a marauding beast, but it operates invisibly, cloaked by some kind of magic. It rumbles through my brain, and the ground shakes. It disturbs my sleep.

HeartThe teachers say such beasts are here to inform us, and that we must receive them and ask what they want to teach us. Otherwise they will just continue to make the earth move under our feet and shake us violently.

The beast of the moment is the ill effect of not liking the experience of being me. Seek and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you. I have discovered the beast’s identity.

James asks lots of questions to bring the actor’s experiences and points of view into the conversation. One of the many beautiful points Sean makes is that all artistic creations must communicate something of value. He famously said during the interview that if all you want is entertainment get two hookers and an 8 ball. I had to look up 8 ball. It’s a drug dose.

I don’t get questions, but I write this blog anyway. We would do well to explore the Actor’s Studio formula for bringing out the best in people. I think it would make a big difference in the world.