Why I Would Have Failed Kindergarten In China


Learning calligraphy appealed to me because I enjoy painting and sketching with ink and brush.  Plus, I bought one of those calligra-pens a while back and impressed the heck out of people with my fancy penmanship.  At this point I should mention that I do not have good handwriting.  Way back in elementary school when we were graded on how well we wrote (not as in how literate we were, but how well we formed the letters of the alphabet), invariably I got terrible marks. So anything that would let me leave this ancient shame behind sounded appealing.

Well, it turns out that writing with a chiseled marker from an art store is NOT the same thing as Chinese calligraphy.  That was a painful surprise.  read more…

Surviving the Business of Art or Sugar Daddy Wanted

By Ellen Rogers, MFA, DVM

A dilemma that plagues artists and designers is where they should be on the continuum from art-making as an authentic personal expression to the reality of selling one’s work to survive.  Must artists be of two minds, two personalities (or even two different people): the idealistic, playful, exploratory creator and the pragmatic entrepreneur? read more…

My Broken Spirit

or   The Big Wave Is A-Coming!

“Want to see the tsunami maps?” my husband asked me this morning.1 He is a news and internet junkie and apparently someone recorded an earthquake in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a 7.7 on the Richter scale (read very scary). Immediately people predicted if, when, and where tsunamis would hit. After the horrors of the 2005 tsunami made front page/top story news here in the States, we remain sensitized to that type of suffering.

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Academia tends to be compartmentalized, but isolation of fields is not effective in solving real world problems.  Science and technology alone have not, and cannot, provide complete answers to the massive problems facing us today. Inter-disciplinary approaches are needed to provide workable solutions.  The incorporation of Art into STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) courses (known as STEAM) adds processes for needed reflection on problems that STEM alone cannot provide. read more…

St. Anthony’s Fire

or   Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Mattias Grunewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece reflects a fascinating intersection of art, biology, and religion. The polyptych was commissioned for an Antonite monastery which attended to people with so-called “St. Anthony’s Fire,” a disease now known to be caused by ergot poisoning (ergotism), a widespread problem at that period of time. The images include horrific and wondrous images of Christ and St. Anthony to offer solace to afflicted hospital patients by suggesting that, like Christ and St. Anthony, suffering offered a means for them to embrace their religion.¹

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Life Imitates Art


Inspiration from Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Valley Curtain


Deep, loose sand made every step a struggle, like walking on the beach where the water never reaches. But there was no ocean for frolicking……. no trees, no rocks, no shade, just dunes stretching out to the horizon. I was hot, tired, my calves were screaming for me to stop, and the African sun beat down on me as I carried a heavy load of metal poles. read more…

Corporaclast Manifesto

Corporaclast Manifesto

cor.por.a.clast  n.

  1. One who destroys corporations
  2. One who attacks unconstrained capitalism

“In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism.  In the 1990s it triumphed over democracy and the market economy.”                    David C. Korten, The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism read more…

The Beginnings of Graphic Design

Or    The Writing Is On The Wall

When we consider the first use of graphic design (GD), we have to first clarify what we mean by the term.  Common definitions of graphic Design mention the combination of text and images used as a form of visual communications.  But, written language, or text, is a rather recent invention the 170,000+ year history of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens), which would seem to limit GD to the past 5,000 years or so.

However, if we consider text to be a visual mark with symbolic meaning (after all, the marks on a page for the written word “elephant” refers to the spoken word for “elephant,” which in turn, refers to the actual animal “elephant”), this pushes the start of GD back to the first use of visual representation used for communication.

The artists of the caves of Lascaux, France were graphic designers an estimated 40,000 years ago, long, long before written language was invented.  read more…

No Place for a Lady

or  Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad

What does biology have to do with the History of Art?  If women had had full control over their bodies, history would be quite different.  Art-world equality between the genders could have happened far back in time, rather than us still waiting for it.  And the Gorilla Girls, the activist art group that points out the disparity between men and women in the art world, would never have been necessary.

What does biology have to do with sexism?  read more…

Earthworks, Earth Fails

Earthworks are human induced changes to the landscape.  Although sometimes called Environmental Art or EcoArt, they can range from basically benign to destructive in terms of the environment they invade.  We may be creating a dialogue about things other than people, but rarely are we actually talking about (or helping) the natural world.

Once art and artists escaped the former boundaries of the four white walls of the traditional art gallery, they spread into different areas and mediums with different purposes.  Using a broad definition of earthworks, you can include artists combining architecture with landscape (landscape with architecture?) and those who speak to nature and our role in the natural world, imposing ON landscape versus dialogue WITH landscape.

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