Ride On The Art Train…With Stops In Bejing And Glen Arbor

Ride On The Art Train…With Stops In Bejing And Glen Arbor

Question Remarks
It certainly has been a busy ride this month. I’ve travelled from Bejing to Glen Arbor and back….always on the same quest, searching for those bits and pieces of inspiration that keep driving me onward to create that essential work of art. I seek that one piece that will speak to me, providing all the answers to my never-ending questions about life, art, love and existence, the missing piece to the visual puzzle, a peek into the supernatural, a glimpse at the “irrationality of the creative process,” as Elizabeth Gilbert so perfectly describes it.

In last month’s blog, I asked readers WHAT INSPIRES YOU? I am grateful to the reader who responded by sending me the link to Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk, “A Different Way to Think About the Creative Genius” (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/Elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html.)

Gilbert, I discovered, is the author of “Eat Pray Love,” which I am about to read (more thanks to kind reader!). I was intrigued by the prospect of a creative genius being outside ourselves, a “disembodied genius,” a “dictation from the divine.” Though it does take some getting used to, the idea does take some of the pressure off. But I must admit some days it is hard to find where divinity may be hiding itself. That doesn’t mean we should not keep looking.

For artists, sometimes the divine road to creative endeavors is truly blockaded by all kinds of baggage, like stress and even past lives. It can get to the point where we just reach an impasse in our work. Or come to a roaring halt! Has this ever happened to you? It’s nothing to laugh at.

But there is someone offering help to inspiration-challenged artists. Her name is Elaine Kissel, Ph.D, a hypnotherapist. Yes, I know hypno and Houdini reside in the same vowel sounds. Dr. Kissel’s technique, combined with her astounding program, “Mind Mastery,” will undoubtedly get you back on the road to wherever you were headed. Or, better yet, on a completely new and improved path, one that is more fulfilling and expands your potential.

Based on my experience, you will emerge with a new friend you will hopefully have for life…your subconscious. “What’s that?” you say. Well, you can continue to scratch your head and wonder, or you can head to the website (http://www.elainekissel.com/) and learn more about the amazing things she does (better than Houdini!). FYI, Dr. Kissel is offering a workshop for artists who want to free talents and break through blocks or for those who want to find the latent ‘artist’ within. The workshop is set for June 14; I’ve got dibs on the first chair.

Ride on the Art Train
I’m not an art critic, but I believe that as artists we need to look at lots of art and be aware of what influences our work. Our ‘look around’ has become more daunting because local has become global. We’re going way beyond our neighborhoods and backyards to get the local art scene. Jeff Bourgeau, Director of The Museum of New Art in Pontiac, MI, has been aware of this fact for a long time. Face to Face: Beijing- Detroit opened this month, the third in a series of exhibits titled “Changing Cities” to promote the exchange of art from other countries (read more at http://www.detroitmona.com/PURE_DETROIT_oakland_press.htm).

The quality and breadth of work in this exhibit is on par with a New York or LA exhibit, it’s a must see. Jeff is an accomplished artist in his own right, there is a link on the museum’s website to his 2007 retrospective. There’s also an essay by Jan Van Der Marck that’s well worth taking a look at (http://www.detroitmona.com).

In my own backyard…there were a number of notable artists in the Bejiing show. One in particular caught my eye, a young Korean woman, Jayoung Yoon. Jayoung is a Cranbrook student; her photographs, video and performance titled “Watching the Mind” have a gentle Zen-like quality, very subtle. I am a meditator, so I knew right away what “watching the mind” meant on an experiential level. The work really spoke to me deeply about the transcendence that takes place during meditation.


"Watching the Mind" images by Jayoung Yoon at the MONA in Pontiac

"Watching the Mind" images by Jayoung Yoon at the MONA in Pontiac

Another artist I met was not part of the exhibit, so instead Michael Rappaport showed me images on his mobile phone that were a stark contrast to Jayoung Yoon’s soothing work. Even at this small scale I could see the eccentric frenetic energy his work contained. Like Michael himself, the images were in constant motion, had unlikely juxtapositons and filled with elements of dichotomies. Micheal was showing at the CPop Gallery which has sadly closed, leaving the community with a big gap to fill. Please somebody out there: Michael needs a home for his work!

alt textImages by Michael Rappaport
alt text
Artist as Mom
OK, from Bejiing to Glen Arbor, MI, a small town on the Leelanau Peninsula, home of the Leelanau School www.leelanaua.org. I went there to visit my daughter on Prom weekend. The theme was Alice in Wonderland and it was a wonderland indeed watching as students boarded the bus to travel to the Prom in Traverse City…elegant young men and lovely young women some holding onto their tulle dresses as they carefully made their way up the steps of the bus made for some great photo ops, a few examples:
alt textgirls before the prom, Dale Sparage
alt textGirl getting into car, Dale Sparage
alt textKids on the bus waiting to go to prom, Dale Sparage
alt textCouple on bus, Dale Sparage