Michael Grab balances stones. Perhaps you have seen a stack of stones in the woods, at the beach or on a mountain? These are nothing like that, or rather, they are just like that, but look like they are a CGI trick. They are not. Just to prove that they are not computer generated, but are actually just one man stacking some rocks, Grab has released a video demonstration of him balancing some rocks. In his words “the process boils down to contemplative stone arrangement; involving patience, adaptation, slow-breathing, steady hands, and a plethora of other practiced skills.” This is nature as spiritual practice as far as I am concerned, and both the process and the results are beautiful and inspiring.
You can learn more about Michael by checking out his website Gravity Glue
This man is AMAZING! Wednesdays are for AMAZING MEN Find More Amazing Men by clicking HERE
The feeling I get watching this video is hard to put into words. It is a gear lust that emanates from my heart center. This is a tool that is art itself. It stands to me as an artifact of this man’s integrity and dedication to his craft. Somehow, through this elegant video alone, I have an overwhelming awe and respect for him and his passion for creating tools of such beauty. I am now officially accepting John Neeman Damascus Steel Knives as gifts 🙂
Perhaps you have seen a samurai sword or the common kitchen knife that is “damascus style”. This is how the real deal is made.
Check it out.
John Neeman of Neeman Tools is an AMAZING man!
For more info: neemantools.com
Every once in a while supreme talent mixes with amazing insights and just the right combination of ancient techniques and modern technology to produce a video as mind blowing as this one.
Visionary Artist Thijme Termaat (pronounced ‘tie-muh’ ‘tir-maat’) put this video together using stop motion animation. He averaged about a minute of video per year! His paintings are amazing even without the awesome video aspect.
You can find more about him on his website here: thijmetermaat.com
This man is AMAZING!
Do you consider yourself to be creative? Do you have a strong critical mind? What connection do you think there is between these two? Which has your education helped develop? Which does the world need you to have more of right now?
Reading the first chapter of the book Presence today I came across the words of Stanford business school professor Michael Ray. Mr. Ray teaches very popular courses on creativity. His courses start with three assumptions:
- Creativity is essential for health, happiness and success in all areas of life, including business.
- Creativity is within everyone
- Even though it is in everyone it is covered by the Voice of Judgement
I couldn’t help but be reminded of the work of Ken Robinson. Sir. Robinson has written some wonderful books on creativity, the modern education system and finding your purpose or “element”. I wrote about “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” earlier in one of my posts on FLOW. In his previous book “Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative” Robinson raises the very pressing possibility that “we are educating people out of their creativity.”
In an article on the Huffington Post Robinson writes, “First, we’re all born with deep natural capacities for creativity and systems of mass education tend to suppress them. Second, it is increasingly urgent to cultivate these capacities — for personal, economic and cultural reasons — and to rethink the dominant approaches to education to make sure that we do.”
Years ago I came across a popular story, perhaps from Robinson, about what happens when you ask school kids who in the room is an artist. The story starts out in a kindergarten class. The question is asked and every hand goes up. Then the question is asked again in the 1st grade classroom, then 2nd grade and on up through senior year in high school. In elementary school the number of hands going up quickly drops towards half and then less. By high school there are only a few hands and by the end of high school a room is lucky to have one hand go up. Often all of the other students agree and say “yes, she is the artist.” What happened? Is school to blame? And does this narrowing of identity really have an impact on our health, happiness and success?
Mr. Ray tells the authors of Presence about “a study by Howard Gardner’s Project Zero at Harvard that involved developing intelligence tests for babies. The project also tested older subjects. The researchers found that up to age four, almost all the children were at the genius level, in terms of the multiple frames of intelligence that Gardner talks about – spatial, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, mathematical, intrapersonal and linguistic. But by age twenty, the percentage of children at genius level was down to 10 percent, and over twenty, the genius level proportion of the subjects sank to 2 percent.
Everyone asks, ‘Where did it go?’ It didn’t go anywhere; it’s covered over by the Voice of Judgement.”
The solution offered by Ray? Become aware of the Voice of Judgement, the voice that tells you “that’s a stupid idea” or “you can’t do that” and choose to disregard that voice. In a sense we must practice willful disobedience within our own minds. The key is simple awareness. Much of what he describes sounds just like meditation, albeit meditation with a specific intention. The first, hardest and most powerful step is simply deciding to notice this voice and label it. That’s it. As I am found of saying, consciousness is curative. When we decide to bring awareness to something with the intention of loving and healing ourselves the solutions do become apparent. We don’t have to be fearlessly creative to begin. We simply have to open up to the possibility that deep within us there lies an immense capability to be creative. We must consider the possibility that our education, training and cultural conditioning has been unbalanced and has favored critical reasoning (the Voice of Judgement) over creative imagining.
If you would like to re-invigorate your creative side and are having a hard time doing so perhaps it is time to look for, label and summarily dismiss your Voice of Judgement. The Voice of Judgement relies 100% on the past to determine what it thinks is possible or reasonable. Being creative, being an entrepreneur or an artist is an unreasonable act. It must be. It is about bringing into being something which does not already exist. All great creators are unreasonable in the eyes of those who did not share their vision. There is a playfulness, a childlike naivety, in all acts of creation. What would you do if you were suddenly free from your Voice of Judgement?
This post is from a series called Insights that are inspired by the work I do with my clients as a Life Coach.
If you are ready to live with more joy, more passion and more purpose then I would love to be of service. Contact me to find out how my Life Coaching Program can kickstart your journey.
That’s right. My sister Aileen is a Creative Director at Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners in NYC. She and her partner wrote the ad above. It was just awarded Bronze at the Clio awards. That’s the Oscars of advertising. She got to hang with Joan Rivers and everything. It’s a brilliant ad, check it out.
I first saw Adam’s work a few years ago on Integral Naked (now Integral Life). He creates what some call ‘Visionary Art’. Alex Grey is probably the most famous of this breed, his work having appeared on albums for artists such as David Byrne, Nirvana, Beastie Boys and TOOL.
Being a long time fan of Alex Grey and having even gotten the opportunity to play in his Chapel of Sacred Mirrors just before it left New York City I was instantly drawn to Adam’s unique visions of that which normally goes unseen by the eyes of flesh. What visionary art attempts to communicate is that which the eye of the mind and the eye of spirit perceive. These painters just somehow manage to get these visions down on canvas.
Upon seeing Adams work for the first time I immediately went to his website and bought a few of his original paintings to hang in my loft for inspiration. What I attempt with music, specifically what David and I did with The Emergence, could in this context be called Visionary Music. We attempted to communicate Spirit and the struggles along the way to such a realization in sound. As soon as we had the CDs for this project I sent one off to Adam hoping only that this kindred spirit and fellow artist that I have immense respect for may enjoy the noise we make.
I have recently been exchanging messages with Adam on facebook (where you should become a fan of his work). He reached out to tell me how much he enjoyed the album and most recently to say that he just spent about 12 hours listening to our CD while working on the painting you see above. Needless to say the finished product is stunning and knowing that I played even a small part in inspiring the work that went into it is a beautiful fuel for my future creative efforts.
I hope to be collaborating with Adam some time in the not too distant future. His work has only been improving in the past few years and I can’t wait to see his new pieces as they emerge. He was recently on the stage painting live with Shpongle and I’m sure things will only advance from here.
You can see more of Adam’s work and purchase prints and originals from his website: http://www.corpuscallosum.cc/ do it
Who wants to buy me the original above???
I’m always wishing I could score more video. Animation has always intrigued me, stop motion in particular (think Wallace and Gromit). I got my first hands on taste of creating stop motion working with Eric while volunteering at Camp Bright Feathers. For years I have been looking for artists to create the visuals for me, so I can focus on the sounds. Volunteers are still welcome, but I’m through just waiting.
I’ve had visitors staying with me 3 of the last 4 weekends. This long weekend I decided to hole up in the house and get creative.
I’ve got my new camera (Canon T1i) that I bought for a trip to India, but will now be using to photograph where ever in South America you all send us while traveling with The Hostel Life instead. I’ve got iStop Motion installed on my little mac mini (got this really cheap from the 2007 MacHeist)and I went to the store around the corner and got some clay. I also grabbed a little wire framed fisherman toy that my mother gave me a while back.
I’m studying Latin rhythms a bit to get ready to travel to South America with The Hostel Life. I taught myself how to play the Timbao rhythm on a djembe (don’t have congas). I didn’t record that though….not there yet. I grabbed some samples of a Samba rhythm and built off of that for the score. I, of course, threw a break beat over the samba to funk it up and then added some individual hits from a kit drum on top of that to give it some heft. Then I recorded some acoustic, electric, classical and bass guitar before layering pads and assorted bits with my new little Micron synth (It’s a bit digital for my taste…I need to get my Virus fixed soon) and a few other soft synths.
What ended up on the video is a 30 second edit of the 2.5 minute track that emerged. The edit was taken at an early stage while the song was still fairly empty. The full track starts out fairly organic and beautiful then takes a sudden turn for the darker before it ends back on the samba groove.
The focus of this stop motion test was to learn about how to sync movement with sound. This is fairly easy to plan when the numbers are simple. If the music is 120 beats per minute and the video is shot at 10 frames per second then I know right away which frames will land on a down beat. The music here is at 115 bpm and the video was shot at 14 frames per second. This is not as simple or consistent. I’m figuring out tricks as I go. I did decide to upgrade to the ‘Express’ version of iStop Motion as this allows soundtracks to be imported and video to be imported for rotoscoping.
What we have here is a 33 second clip comprised of 468 frames made from 431 individual photographs taken while enjoying a glass of red wine (note the drip running down the side of the glass once it is empty).
I’m guessing it’ll be 5 years or so before I’m making anything truly impressive to look at. Owen begs to differ pointing out how the mind links different arts such as music and sound. I’d agree, but things will go a lot faster once I get people like him on board to collaborate.
Here’s the full track:
Just got back from a night out in Brooklyn. Went to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) to see Chunky Move’s Mortal Engine. I could describe, but you should just watch:
Thanks to Kiersten for both turning me on to the performance and for coming with me to see the show.
People have been telling me to see this film for quite some time. I think Tony told me first and most often. Baraka is hard to describe. For some reason I was expecting something more music video than story and more psychedelic than linear. It’s none of these things and all of them. I’m not going to pretend to be able to describe it in detail here. It needs to be watched and the less specific your expectations are the better I think. But I will try to give you an impression of what the experience was like for me.
If ever I had any doubt about just how weird and wonderful this world is in all of its diversity of manifestation, Baraka put that concern to rest. The cinematography is stunning. The music, the sounds amazing. The sequence of shots tells a story that words would have only muddled and confined.
At times I was reminded of Planet Earth simply because of a sense of awe that someone had managed to film what I was looking at and managed to do so in such an intensely beautiful and powerfully delicate way. Nothing seems contrived or rehearsed or even particularly concerned with the camera. The director Ron Fricke plays with time and scale exploring both the sacred and the mundane.
Through ritual, through design, through creating, moving, praying, working and intensely held stillness the scenes that are shown in this movie weave an image of intense differences at many levels, but left me with a sense of a far deeper and more universal common core. Through 152 locations in 24 countries nature is put on display in all of it’s geographical, animal, human and technological forms. I was often left with a sense that there was something at work in all of these scenes, a common drive, a shared want or need, that seems to express itself in the most wonderfully weird and inexplicable ways depending on the environment.
I wasn’t sure how much I would be in the mood for Baraka at home alone on this Sunday morning with a slight hang over and a lot on my mind. I anticipated a broken viewing with a lot of pausing and getting up to eat or sleep or play guitar. I was in state for most of it; transfixed by the unexpected and lulled by the sweetness of it all. Even in it’s darkness the images are tender and full of life.
In case you can’t tell. I highly recommend seeing this film. Find the biggest screen you can and don’t be shy with the volume. And if you do see it or have seen it, please hit the comment button below and share a response. I’d love to hear your reactions.
Baraka was released in 1992. A sequel, Samsara, is scheduled for release in 2010. I can’t wait to see this in the theater. And apparently in 2007 the original film from Baraka was rescanned in an extremely high end custom manner, the audio remastered, and the whole thing released on Blu-ray disc in what Roger Ebert described as “the finest video disc I have ever viewed or ever imagined.” I think it may be time for me to update my DVD player.
I may have held you here before
dragged my feet
and bowed my head
as you looked around for more
and I will not leave
Walked around in circles
dragging nails I bruised your floor
screaming at the birds outside
staring wanton through the door
I followed you
and I followed through
but I let you drown
Winds blow through
like children run
and we might die today
I beg you please don’t turn away
(we might die today)