Monthly Archives: May 2015

Seniors in the streets with spray cans!

I am a long-time fan of street art, and since I’m somewhat… uh, senior in years, I was pretty excited to come across a Lisbon-based project called LATA 65. This organization is providing seniors with the history and basics of street art and graffiti and then arming them with masks, spray cans, and walls in run-down neighborhoods where they can try out street art for themselves. Judging by the photos, it seems like it’s been a joyous experience for the participants!

 

According to LATA 65, the project aims to promote connection and understanding between generations through the arts, by introducing older folks to an art form generally practiced only by younger people.

LATA 65 hopes to promote active aging and demonstrate that age is just a number. Their goal is to “awaken, motivate and excite the elderly through urban art” by presenting them with “new activities, new techniques associated with youth, as a way to escape and to break routines, generating quality, joviality and well-being in their lives.”

 

LATA 65 also stresses the power of urban art to democratize contemporary art by encouraging participation and expression by people of all ages.

I love this project! (Also, what a great logo!)

#stickysketch100

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Back in January, a friend challenged me to participate in an online art project called 100 Sticky Sketch Challenge. The idea was to draw one sketch a day on a 3×3 post-it note, starting February 1st, for 100 days.

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Draw something from your bag or pocket

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Draw something inspired by love

Each week there was a new topic, so there were seven post-it note sketches each week in each category.

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Draw something using only one continuous line

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Make a complete drawing from someone’s scribble

Participants were asked to post photos of their sketches on Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, using the hashtag #stickysketch100 to share with the group.

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Combine two everyday objects to create something new

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Draw something from your shopping list

As you can see, I did accept the challenge. I had been looking for a way to inject more creative discipline into my days, and had actually been looking around for an interesting art class, in search of some structure and inspiring assignments.

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Design a bogus merit badge

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Draw a simplified famous work of art

Although working on little yellow post-its didn’t appeal to me, it also didn’t seem at all daunting. They’re cheap, and if I needed to throw ten away to get one drawing I liked, it was no big deal. In fact, the crumminess of the paper made me feel that not every drawing had to be anything special, which was very freeing. And the small size presented constraints that limited the possibilities, which is always helpful to me when I’m feeling unfocused.

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Draw your favorite song lyrics or movie quotes

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Draw something thrown away

The weekly themes were varied. Most were playful and fun, and I loved them. Some were challenging, in a good way. A favorite week: Choose your own adventure: seven drawings, one topic.

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I was ambivalent about some topics, and those were more of a struggle. Sometimes I was uninspired, and did something lame to get it over with. Some weeks I was busy and fell behind, so I did three or four drawings in one day to get caught up.

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Draw the most boring thing you did today

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Draw something odd you overheard or saw

I posted all my drawings on Facebook and Tumblr. It was fun to get comments on the sketches from friends. I also loved seeing the work that other people did, which was easy to do because of the hashtag. Except for the friend who challenged me, I didn’t know anybody else personally, but I began to recognize people by their drawings. It was great fun to see what everyone else was doing. Whether people are professionals or amateurs, there’s just no end to creativity.

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What will the future look like?

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Draw your sticky selfie

I made it to drawing #100 a few days ago. Towards the end, I was really looking forward to finishing. I had other things I wanted to work on. But the process brought a lot of insights, and I’ll really miss it.

 

Mother art

In my art therapy practice, I have primarily seen children who have been suffering due to very difficult family situations. In most cases, for a variety of reasons, the child’s mother is struggling, is having trouble functioning, and can’t take proper care of the child. These paintings by a mother and her child both convey a sense of their distress.

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Mother’s self-portrait

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7 year-old child’s self-portrait

All children are disturbed and scared by a mother’s dysfunction. But at the same time, they usually have a profound sense of their mother’s love for them, and the longing for that loving mother never goes away. This child’s clay figures show two sides of her mother. Although the mom with the cigarette hanging out of her mouth was a neglectful addict, the child has also often experienced the warmth of that motherly smile.

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My Mother, 8 year-old girl

In spite of whatever distress, dysfunction, neglect, or abuse a child has a experienced, most children cling to that sense of their loving mother through thick and thin.

Me and My Mom, 8 year-old boy

Me and My Mom, 8 year-old boy

Untitled, 14 year-old girl

Untitled, 14 year-old girl

To those mothers who are struggling hard to overcome big, difficult problems and become good mothers to their children, I wish you the best. I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.

Inspiration: Alejandro Durán

 

Alejandro Durán, a Brooklyn-based multimedia artist, has created a series of site-specific sculptures in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, in his native Mexico. His site: undeveloped, federally-protected land, a place named “where heaven was born” by the ancient Mayan people. His material: trash.

“In my current project, Washed Up, I address the issue of plastic pollution making its way across the ocean and onto the shores of Sian Ka’an, Mexico’s largest federally-protected reserve. With more than twenty pre-Columbian archaeological sites, this UNESCO World Heritage site is also home to a vast array of flora and fauna and the world’s second largest coastal barrier reef. Unfortunately, Sian Ka’an is also a repository for the world’s trash, which is carried there by ocean currents from many parts of the globe.”

“Over the course of this project, I have identified plastic waste from fifty nations on six continents that have washed ashore along the coast of Sian Ka’an. I have used this international debris to create color-based, site-specific sculptures.”

“Conflating the hand of man and nature, at times I distribute the objects the way the waves would; at other times, the plastic takes on the shape of algae, roots, rivers, or fruit, reflecting the infiltration of plastics into the natural environment.”

“More than creating a surreal or fantastical landscape, these installations mirror the reality of our current environmental predicament. The resulting photo series depicts a new form of colonization by consumerism, where even undeveloped land is not safe from the far-reaching impact of our disposable culture.”

“…Washed Up speaks to the environmental concerns of our time and its vast quantity of discarded materials. The alchemy of Washed Up lies not only in converting a trashed landscape, but in the project’s potential to raise awareness and change our relationship to consumption and waste.”

For a look at the work of another trash-collecting artist, check out this post about Barry Rosenthal.