02 Nov 2020

The Magic of Art

I firmly believe in holistic health. Holistic health is defined as caring for the whole person, providing for physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs. It’s rooted in the understanding that all these aspects affect your overall health and being depleted in one aspect affects you in others. But, if all four aspects are grounded in an enriching and positive environment this will enable a person to live their life to its happiest and fullest. Art provides this environment.

In my website, on my blog page, there are five pillars that line the path that leads to holistic health, cooking, music, art, outdoor activities and exercise. I have expressed the positive reinforcement and enriching power in cooking and music.
Now, it’s time to investigate the Magic of Art.

We must first define art. Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. This, granted is a most primitive definition of art. Art is more, much more than a primitive definition. Art is a reflection or interpretation of the depths of ones inner being. Art is a microscope which the artist fixes on the secrets of his soul, and shows to people these secrets which are common to all. Think of a painting that is a rendition of pain, it evokes similar emotions and feeling in us all. Art transcends cultural, spiritual and racial lines, just about any demarkation you can conceive. In a word, art transcends.

The Magic of Art: Art has many facets, such as contemporary, abstract expressionism, art deco, impressionism, surrealism and avant-garde, this is a small part of the expansiveness of art. In order to throughly examine and explore each facet of art would be impossible, my life expectancy would not grant me the time. Therefore, I will reveal some of the more salient facts about art.

How does  art impact our lives? With the art that we are surrounded by, whether it’s a painting, music or even videos can have a huge impact on our mood and emotions. All kinds of art can affect our mood in a positive way, making us feel happier, calmer, or even inspired to do something. Think of the Nike saying, “Just Do It”. Or reading a comic strip that overwhelm you with laughter.

Art is important because it encompasses all the developmental domains in child development. Art increases physical development and the enhancement of fine and gross motor skills. Children learn about themselves and others through art activities. It really helps them build self-esteem and confidence. I can still see the look on my child’s face when I hung one of his first drawing on the fridge. His confidence and self-esteem soared, he proudly showed everyone his accomplishment. This not only improved his outlook but overwhelmed me with joy for I am the little artist proud father.

Art is generally understood as any activity or product done by people with a communicative or aesthetic purpose, something that expresses an idea, an emotion, more generally, a world view. It is a component of culture, reflecting economic and social trends in its design.

Self expression is one of the purposes of art. It is a way to show our feelings and emotions. It can also make a political statement a religious statement or even a whimsical statement. Art, is very personal and evokes different feelings in different people. That’s why good art is art that allows you to enter from a variety of angles and to emerge with a variety of views.

More evidence of the Magic of Art: There is an increasing amount of scientific evidence that proves art enhances brain function. It has an impact on brain wave patterns and emotions, the nervous system and can actually raise serotonin levels. Art can change a person’s outlook and the way they experience the world. Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have a soul.

Researchers have explored the benefits of art therapy for treating a variety of physical health difficulties. Some of their findings show art therapy helped reduced pain, decrease symptoms of stress and improve quality of life in adult cancer patients. Studies have also shown that expressing themselves through art can help people with depression and anxiety. And, doing so has been linked to improved memory, reasoning and resilience in healthy older people. The beneficial effects of creating aren’t dependent on a person skill or talent.

Furthermore, the benefits of art aren’t merely in your head. The impact of art, music and writing can be seen in your physical body as well. A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine used writing as a treatment for HIV patients, found that writing resulted in improvements of CD4+lymphocyte counts. That’s the fancy way of saying the act of writing actually impacted the cells inside the patient’s body and improved their immune system. In other words, the process of creating art doesn’t just make you feel better, it also creates real, physical changes inside your body. In our always-on, always-connected world of television, social media, and on-demand everything, it can be stupidly easy to spend your entire day consuming information and simply responding to all the inputs that bombard your life. Art offers an outlet and a release from all of that. Take a minute to ignore all of the incoming signals and create an outgoing one instead. Produce something. Express yourself in some way. As long as you contribute rather than consume anything you do, can be a work of art.
Creating art isn’t just for artists, art is for everyone! Within each of us lies a spark of creativity. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try drawing, painting, sculpting, or fine art photography, but never had the time or opportunity to do so. With the knowledge of all the benefits artistic pursuits can provide, I hope you won’t put off exploring your artistic side any longer! You have nothing to loose and everything to gain, go for it. Be safe and enjoy life to its fullest, we only get one shot at life so give it your “best”.

11 Jul 2020

How the Art World Takes on COVID-19


Being an artist during the coronavirus era feels like a luxury in some ways. You don’t need to worry about venturing outside because you’re probably not an essential employee. That means you can stay at home, focus on your work, and potentially receive a paycheck.

That setup means you also have a responsibility to care for those who are not in such a privileged spot.

Even if your income tanked because people bought toilet paper before your next masterpiece, there are still ambitious ways to give back to your community. Hans-Ulrich Obrist, who serves as the artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries, wants to create a massive public art project to support our cultural institutions.

Obrist Compares His Idea to the Great Depression Work Programs

The United States was in rough shape during the 1930s. With unemployment rates at 25% and higher in most communities, the government took the initiative to set up the Works Progress Administration and the Public Works of Art Project.

These programs went to communities to give artists a salary, allowing them to research projects and create work during the New Deal. It was the first commission that many of the workers experienced during that era. It was a scheme that produced over 15,000 pieces while employing over 3,700 people.

Obrist wants to modernize that idea for the UK because of COVID-19.

All museums and galleries are closed because of government orders to shut non-essential businesses. That means new commissions are halted, and most art fairs around the world are no longer planned. By reinvigorating the artistic community, the goal is to help the economy rebound when people must shelter to stay safe.

Plans Are in Place to Help Artists Already

Arts Council England released plans for an emergency response package to help artists affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It provides cash grants of up to £2,500 and millions more to companies outside of the national portfolio.

Efforts in other countries are also supporting artists directly or indirectly. The stimulus package passed by the United States provides up to $1,200 of direct cash support to individuals or $2,400 to married couples. Children get $500 each. That means a family of six could potentially receive $4,400 from the government – a substantial amount for many working artists.

If sales happen from the artwork produced by this investment, then the artist would get to keep the money. Even if a small business loan was taken out to cover these needs, most legislation allows a three- to six-month delay in the first payment requirement.

The last time a global financial emergency threatened the welfare of artists, names like Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock got their start. Today’s situation might be scary and uncertain, but it is also an opportunity to discover the next generation of great artists.

All it takes is a little bit of funding and the political willpower to make an idea like this happen. We are currently living in a moment of history. Our grandchildren will visit museums to learn about this era at some time. The choices we make now will dictate the experience they get to enjoy. 

21 May 2020

Why Art and Fashion Need Each Other Right Now


How long does it take to create a painting?

The answer to that question depends on the artist. It is a process that takes more than the actual application of the paint to the canvas. You must also get yourself to the point where you’re ready to create it. That means it could take two hours or two years – or even longer.

The world of fashion moves at a much higher speed. Now is a time when designers seek out unique collaborations that can offer some marketing buzz. What is considered trendy today might get forgotten tomorrow, which means everyone is always in a state of evolution.

Art and fashion need each other right now, not because of a pandemic or a lack of creativity, but because each needs the perspective of the other.

Why Does Art Take So Long to Develop?

Fashion moves at the speed of the consumer. It seeks to establish specific trends to anticipate individual needs. That’s how the industry creates the temptation to start shopping.

The art world moves at a different pace because it sees the customer base as an expectation. Instead of working in a world filled with deadlines, painters move at a pace that embraces their imagination.

That doesn’t mean every artist is slow and methodical. Pablo Picasso was remarkably prolific over his 75-year career, producing over 13,500 paintings and designs. He also made 34,000 book illustrations, 100,000 engravings and prints, and about 300 ceramics and sculptures. The total value of his work is more than $500 million.

It is that speed that fashion brings to art. The imagination is what art can bring to fashion.

Isn’t Fashion a Form of Art in Itself?

Some would say that fashion is a unique form of art. You could call it applied or decorative in its concept, but the effort to create a specific expression still exists. Does it matter if the medium is clothing instead of pottery? 

The flipside of that argument is that fashion tells us what people wore during certain periods because it was their preference. When you see a television show produced in the 1980s, you can see distinctive common elements with other images and documentation from that era.

Fashion needs to slow down because the industry’s approach isn’t sustainable economically, environmentally, or socially – not because it doesn’t meet our preferences. Over 92 million tons of solid waste dumped into landfills each year comes from fashion-related products.

Another 100,000 marine animals get killed annually because of plastic waste that includes microfibers from the fashion industry.

Artwork considers the environment in its approach because it works to capture a moment in time – much like the styles of a decade come to define that era. By slowing this process down for the fashion world to take the same stance, each stage of the supply chain can start the processes of ethical creation.

The art world is circular, and that is what the fashion industry needs. That’s why both need each other. 

11 May 2020

$10 Million Reward Sits Unclaimed for Art Heist of the Century


It happened over 30 years ago in Boston. Two burglars were able to take 13 rare works of art in a case that’s been called the “Heist of the Century” for some time.

It happened at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the reward first hit this limit in 2017 with a limited-time offer to find the crooks. Now the amount is a permanent option to return artwork that’s valued at up to $500 million if it were sold on the open market.

The first reward of $5 million generated a lot of leads, but almost all of them were dead ends. Will this new push to return the priceless artwork result in something better?

How Did Two Thieves Steal All of that Artwork?

The heist happened at the end of the celebrations on St. Patrick’s Day in 1990. It only took the two men 81 minutes to steal these valuable paintings. It wasn’t an elaborate effort by an organized crime syndicate either. It was just two people disguised as police officers who bluffed their way into the museum, tricking the security staff into opening the door.

 The most famous pieces that were taken during this heist were “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt, “Chez Tortoni” by Manet, and “The Concert” by Vermeer.

Although the details of the heist aren’t entirely known, there are details to suggest that the thieves either knew what they wanted or had instructions to follow. That’s because they bypassed some paintings that were of equal or greater value to the ones that they took.

Some links to the theft suggested that they’d been shipped to Ireland, but the FBI announced in 2013 on the 23rd anniversary of the heist that the items were transported to Pennsylvania and possibly offered for sale there.

It Is the Holy Grail for Art Detectives

Several books have been written about the Gardner collection, and this hoard has won over the attention of several art detectives. The reward, in combination with the fame that would come for recovering these pieces, is a challenging combination to ignore.

It often takes something more than the value of the artwork stolen to lure thieves to return items. The theft of a gold statuary from the University of British Columbia in 2008 required one that was significantly higher than the raw materials contained in the item.

Some rewards backfire. After 28 paintings were stolen in Milan, a reward allowed them to be returned by associates of the thieves. After the items went back on display, they were stolen again – likely to get more reward money.

Will the artwork be found one day? That depends on who currently has these pieces. Most buyers who’d be willing to purchase the stolen paintings might pay 10% of its actual value, but that’s still a lot of money when it could be worth $50 million.

Offering a reward of $10 million might be a step in the right direction. 

08 May 2020

Online Viewing Rooms Become the New Normal for Art Galleries

Going to an art gallery is no longer an option in many communities around the world. Instead of shutting down the business entirely, many business owners are taking a creative approach to the “new normal” that the coronavirus brought to our planet. They are launching online viewing rooms that provide VIP treatment in digital ways.

It would be fair to say that the line between innovation and improvisation is quite thin. In an era when almost every commercial event in the art world must cancel, the VIP opening of Hong Kong’s Art Basel changed the way that we think about seeing new pieces.

VIPs get the first chance to view the artwork through the online viewing rooms. The platform featured 234 galleries for the March event, which was 95% of the original roster. A combined 2,100 works, with a value of $270 million, went on display.

Why Has the Art World Avoided Online Galleries Before?

Online viewing rooms traditionally feature a lower price for the pieces that are on display. The people who can afford seven-figure items typically want to see what their investment looks like in person before distributing that amount of cash.

With COVID-19 disrupting this process in temporary, but possibly permanent ways, several galleries decided to take a gamble by showing big-ticket items. A total of 70 pieces that were part of Art Basel Hong Kong were valued at $1 million or more. 

The event organizers told each participating gallery hat the price range or the exact cost of the piece must be on display for each work. Although pre-selling takes place at every fair, the added flexibility of going digital means that works could get replaced immediately. If a gallery sold out of items, then they could add more.

Online Viewing Rooms Allow for Simultaneous Presentations

Lisson Shanghai took advantage of the online viewing rooms promoted by Art Basel to expand its digital opportunities during this fair. The gallery partnered with five others from China, Taiwan, and Singapore to offer 10-minute presentations of their works. Each one got to host a virtual walkthrough, promoting the community spirit that the festivals hope to achieve with each event.

That means the traditional art market models can change for galleries. Online viewing rooms allow for up to 500 people to complete a tour at the same time, although it could be a limitless number with enough bandwidth. Industry professionals can work with multiple galleries at the same time, completing what would take a week in the past in only a few hours.

Local galleries are already implementing the lessons learned from the Art Basel experience. Several businesses in Hong Kong are now collaborating online to manage the city’s art month that is scheduled for May 2020. Although the event isn’t technically commercialized, the collaboration includes online talks, artist interviews, and live-streamed gallery tours.

Change for the sake of trying something new doesn’t make sense. You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel, after all. When the world decides that a different approach is necessary, then that’s when innovation is required . Online viewing rooms provide just that for today’s art galleries. 

30 Apr 2020

How to Create Fantastic Art When You Don’t Call Yourself an Artist


Some people take pride in the idea of calling themselves an artist. When you put a brush to canvas or create in some other way, then the creative energy can define who you are as a person.

Others are prolific artists who don’t see themselves in that light. They compare the works that get produced to famous names like Da Vinci or Picasso, find themselves falling short, and refuse to award themselves with the label.

If you’re starting your journey of exploration within your creativity, then here are some ways to begin that process.

1. Get Started in Painting Immediately

The only elements that you need to worry about when you first start to pain are your brush, palette, and surface. What you create with these materials matters less than the comfort you develop when using them. Once it feels natural to use them, then you can start to have more fun creating something new.

2. Get to Know Perspective

Understanding how perspective works is an essential element of any artistic effort. If you want to achieve a realistic outcome, then you must understand how to find the horizon line. You’ll also need to know what the vanishing point is and an overview of linear perspective. Getting the small details right is what leads to larger successes down the road. 

3. Master the Art of Form

It helps to take a break from your drawing to stand several feet back from the piece. Then glance back and forth between your art and the reference image that you’re using. It will give you a fresh perspective on the form you hope to achieve. If it is accurate, then you can continue. If not, then you can fix it before reaching a point of no return.

4. Draw Upside Down

If you are unable to determine the identity of a specific image, then start making your artwork by drawing it upside down. This effort changes your perspective so that your mind is willing to take on something complex when it would normally rebel against such an action.

5. Get to Know Basic Shapes

Every element of life is made of specific basic shapes. The average adult human is about six lengths of their head and next tall. That means their body is about the size of two heads, while their legs are the length of three. As you put together circles, ovals, squares, and other shapes, then you’ll get a feel for this process so that it comes naturally.

6. Practice

You need to get all of your lousy artwork efforts out of the way before you can create something incredible. If you put something together that doesn’t make you feel successful, then start another project. Keep going, no matter what. The best artists of all time were once beginners, just like you are today. They chose to never give up.

Creating art doesn’t require you to be an expert. It just needs your passion. Now find your favorite medium so that you can get to work!

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