Levitt in Color, New at MoMA

There are no installation views of the Projects exhibition in which Helen Levitt first presented her color photographs to MoMA’s public, for one simple reason: all forty pictures were projected onto the wall, fading as quickly as they appeared. The year was 1974, and Levitt was in the midst of a creative outburst—unusual not only because […] http://bit.ly/aWjbvq

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Books by or about Helen Levitt

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Feeds…

There’s a few feeds that will start showing up here in this blog today thanks to Twitterfeed and PingFM. The ones that I’m adding today are Entropia Gateway – the official blog of Entropia Universe, Atlas Haven Radio’s Tweets – which is Atlas Haven Radio’s Twitter Tweets, and Satteliteguys.us’s Tweets too. I also added a link to CGW’s recent articles because I like to read them and log in here at my own blog more than often than I have time to read their website all the time.

The reason that I’m adding these is that I personally like to follow stuff like this and think a lot of other folks do too if they are reading this blog. Each of these postings has a short url at the end that can take you to the original source, so no, this is not splog or copyright infringment or whatever… If these folks did not want people following their info, they would not have put together nice RSS Feeds to make this sort of stuff possible. Right now, even though there are ads on this blog, I’m not making any money off of them. I consider this to be a personal blog, not a commercial blog, even though it’s about showing you my interests, hobbies, etc.

Atlas Haven Radio Feed Posts will be prefixed as AHR:
Entropia Gateway’s Feed Posts will be prefixed as E.Gate:
Satelliteguys Blog Feed Posts will be prefixed as S.Guys:
Computer Graphic World’s Article Feeds will be prefixed as CGW:

I’m trying to keep the prefixes short since tweets are already pretty limited in how long they can be, and the prefix only makes the tweets even shorter. Hopefully they are still long enough to be useable.

Happy reading.

Inspirations – http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/

Clarissa left me a little comment over at https://jeffthomann.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/mall-small-19-drawing/ talking about her friend’s website at http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/ so I figured I’d visit and do this Inspirations posting about it. I have not really done many (read any, lol) inspirations postings up til now that have to do with anyone’s art that I did not know about before now. Time to change that, and start exploring the art world in these here intra-web tubes.

As indicated at http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/page8.php wordsaroundtown.com is owned by Kevin McCartney Studios.

Kevin appears to be a very good photographer.

The words around town site seems to be made of various pictures that Kevin has taken and converted in to fonts to spell out words.
He’s using the forms he finds in his compositions as letters.

As stated in the site, Kevin has a real enthusiasm about this obscure typographical artform…

The challenge of finding objects around us that we normally pass by everyday without a second glance which look like letters has been exciting and fun!

Finding the hidden beauty in everyday things that we often pass by without a second glance IS, in my opinion one of the great things that exploring art does for people that get in to art.

Finding the invisible forms as Kevin is doing and making it visible is sort of a theme that has run through art for many years. It is an obscure idea that can be traced back to the Surrealist movement, especially in Salvador Dalí’s paintings… but the idea actually goes back a lot further than that.

Trompe-l’œil means “fool the eye” and that phrase is what is best used to describe or categorize this form of art. Actually, almost every form of 2-dimensional work that goes back to the earliest known cave arts is somewhat in this to some degree – since after all making a window out of something that is not a window as paintings do is fooling the eye so to speak.

It’s all about hidden messages or meanings, and really being a keen observer of the world in order to see the form and the way that simple basic design principles can allow multiple things to happen in the same plane.

The idea of bringing the reality of the 2-dimensional canvas of a painting or photograph in to the viewers plain sight so that it’s simple beauty can be observed in and of itself outside of all other rules and principles of creating illusion is a very modern idea that is seen over and over and over again in 20th centrury art. That’s why I say that genres like Cubism, Op-Art, and a lot of other genres that focus on the 2-dimensional existence of the plane in an artwork are MORE REALISTIC than simple little paintings that pretend to be windows showing pretty landscapes or cityscapes that most other people classify as Realistic…

Is it realistic to pretend that the 2 dimensional surface on a wall is something other than a surface on a wall? Sure there can be little pictures in there, just like there is on that flat plane you are looking in to to see these words, or that you will view tonight as you watch Prime Time TV… but isn’t it more realistic to acknowledge that what you are looking at is really a 2 dimensional flat surface?… as Kevin has done by seeing the letters in his photographs?

Some folks even take this sort of idea in photography to a whole different level in the form of Photomosaics… After all, if a photograph is really just a bunch of dots made up of 4 colors, CYMK (Cyan Yellow, Magenta, and blacK), it makes sense that each photo is balanced more towards one of those 4, so it makes sense to use an entire photo as one small element in a larger picture… Actually, given enough time and photos, photomosaic technology could go to a whole new level and allow an infinite amount of images to exist hidden inside of a set of photos… the first level would look like something from space, then as you approach it to the airplane level it would phase and each level as you get closer and closer could phase in to a new image, hidden… only to dissolve as new ones come in to play. The hidden typography that Kevin is searching for is a little different than Photomosaics, but not completely. There is a lot of similarities there – searching for what is hidden in plain view.

It’s strange but all language and all these ideas that get thrown at us daily in these little windows that are not windows are something that connects us all as a society. People from 200 years ago would think we are crazy staring at computers and tvs and spending as much time as we do daily on these devices that are really 2 dimensional boxes producing light. Works like this make people think. They can become kitsch or cliche sometimes if overdone, but they do start to open the mind, and let people begin to question reality itself on some level, which, in my opinion is what all great art should do.

Keep looking for the hidden meanings Kevin. Your typographic photos are amazing. Keep spreading the Love.

A few thoughts about illustration… copyright, trademarks, why “Work-for-hire” is EVIL… and Zombies, or actually Golems Really due exist!

While I say I love illustration, and want to get in to the illustration field, I think it only fair to give you a little bit of background about me, and some of my own personal biases and things about illustration… In the wide world of illustration, usually the client always comes first. The artist does work for the client. The artist creates things, but seeks approval from the client at each step of the process. The preliminary concept art is just thought of as something to hand to the client to seek approval. The client and artist then have a disucssion and talk about things, and go to the next step… and the artist continually changes the idea to be in agreement with what the client is wanting since the client has the ultimate say as the artist is seeking payment for the work from the client.

A little bit of a philisophical problem that I have with that sort of thing, at least in my own works, is that I consider each work of art that is created in every stage of creation as a seperate and unique art form… something that is not just a preliminary work for something later, to be discarded like pretty wrapping paper that is torn apart as a Christmas present is opened. The process of creation has multiple stages. Quick little doodles done in a sketchbook are just as valid as a final work of art as something that’s been re-worked three hundred times by an illustrator or designer that is seeking permission from his or her client.

Another huge issue in all of that is the “work-for-hire” issue. Many clients want illustrators and designers that work for them to consider their work as “work-for-hire.” According to the way contract law works, art that is created as “work-for-hire” is artwork that the client will own the copyright to. In other words, if an artist creates work-for-hire artwork, the artist will have to seek permission from the copyright owner to republish the work that he or she created, and the same thing applies to and “derivitive” work… that is work that is dervived from the original… That puts artists that work in “work-for-hire” contracts in a really sticky situation since they can never use the work for hire stuff unless they get permission again, which might actually end up costing them money, etc. The derivitive issue makes the bad situation even worse because most artist tend to build a sort of visual library in their subconscious that forces works they create later in life to resemble works they created earlier… which is something they could possibly get sued for if the earlier work was a work-for-hire form of art.

For this reason, I’m not sure if I could ever “really” be a full time illustrator. However, I do like the idea of illustrating things, and creating narrative structures, so it’s possible that I might be able to get in to this field sort of. One reason I really am attracted to using Public Domain stuff as the basis of illustration is that the original copyright owner no longer has copyright over that stuff, nor does anyone else… so it’s free game for anyone… However, writers that no longer have copyrights on their books are probably long gone, and so other people probably have created derivitive works of those books and artforms over and over throughout the years, so it leaves the ancient stuff as content that will be difficult to gain any economic profits off of in a direct manner… since dead writers won’t pay anything usually… That’s why I got interested in Cafe Press, Lulu.com and other similar types of places in my exploration of all of this stuff. The internet has created a lot of new little niche areas for many of us to investigate if we want to take the time to get in to it. There’s a lot to explore and play around with in the huge playground of tweaking public domain concepts, ideas, and works, and redistrubting them with our own little additions, changes, etc.

Eventually, if I do get in to making book covers and interior illustrations for Public domain books I will build up a lot of variety and introduce new fresh ideas, in hopes that maybe someday a real writer that is alive today might ask me to do some works for their books, magazine articles, blogs, etc. If that does happen, this whole work-for-hire issue will likely come up down the road. I guess I’ll cross those bridges if/when I get to that point. Regardless, if you create artwork, this IS something you should be thinking about somewhat. There’s a lot to copyright and trademark laws. I don’t claim to be a lawyer, but do know that this sort of stuff can be a major hassle if you don’t think about it before you dive in to a contract or situation similar to a contract that is all done with verbal agreements, etc.

Do you really want to give away your right to be creative?!?… Just something to think about.

A similar thing to think about – be sure that you are honoring the Copyrights and Trademarks of other… If you want to create a work of art depicting a soda can or car, are you aware that you could be sued by Ford or Coke, or any other company if the work looks too much like theirs? This is especially true of photographs. Speaking as someone that has had some photos removed from Turbosquid a few years ago because Turbosquid received a Cease and Desist Letter from Ford due to the fact that there was a Ford car somewhere in the forground of a picture I shot once, even though it was not the main focus of the composition, I can say this stuff is a reality you SHOULD think about before and while you are making your artworks. The possibility of having to go to court and pay high lawyer fees and court fees just because you clicked your camera in the wrong place is not a fun situation to be in! Ford is probably one of the biggest companies that chases people down for this sort of thing, but any copyright or trademark owner can do similar at any time because copyright and trademark law DOES apply to “derivitive works.”

For yourself, this can be a good thing, as you could possibly sue others if they create artworks that are in your style or just look too much like your work for your liking… However, what comes around goes around, and the you can find yourself on the receiving end of the same issue if you create works that are too much like other folk’s stuff too… which is something we all need to think about a LOT as everywhere you turn today there’s some namebrand, logo, or copyrighted thing in your face 24/7.

Your computer has a logo on it… oops better not photograph or draw it. You want to take a photo of a street – oops there’s a car on it that was created by an automobile company that has a trademark on that design. You shoot a photo of a gargoyle on a building – oops there’s an architect or sculptor somewhere that owns the copyright to that design. You shoot a picture of the sunset – oops there’s an airplane flying low there that was designed by a company with a trademark on that shape. You take a picture of a wall in your house – oops someone has a tradmark, and probably a copyright on the design of that wallpaper… Where is nature? That is one of the few things people can’t copyright… Nope?!?… someone has done a picture of a deer posing in that posture before! YIKES!

If you take a photo of someone, or create any form of artwork depicting anyone – you have even more issues to deal with since there are privacy laws. That’s why you always see notices in various films, literary works, etc. say any resmblence to real people in the characters depicted is coincidental, etc. It’s also why photographers need to get the permission of anyone they photograph, usually in a written form so that they can prove that the permission was obtained. The little photo of Barrack Obama standing next to the China Wall that was put in Times Square by the coat company is just one of the newest little examples of where these sort of issues can come up and cause major problems for all parties involved…

All of these little issues are amplified by the fact that Zombies, or at least Golems really do exist! As mentioned in How to Argue & Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Everyday, corporations and money are both lifeless beings that we give life to… things that are really dead that we give power to.

(*Perhaps the Golem are the invisible corporations and the Zombies are the employees that become “dead” 40 hours a week to serve the golem?*)

Sometimes, actually far more times than we probably want to acknowledge, we actually give our entire lives to these souless, lifeless beings! Corporations are our society’s gods from the ancient world. They don’t really exist but everyone knows that they are there. Everyone talks about them… shares stories about them… We even give them Social Security Numbers and call those Tax Identification Numbers… We give them life through our <a href="Memes“>about them.

Logos and employees are just one sign of their existence, as are all the contracts created in their names… Curators of Universities, CEOs, Company Presidents and others in power in the coporate world, just to name a few, are the priests of this religion that we don’t call a religion, but they are NOT the corporation itself, even if they think they are. They are hired and fired by the invisible zombies or golems that we breathe life into, just like everyone else. The piece of paper that creates a corporation is NOT the corporation itself. The corporations don’t really exist in our world, but we all pretend that they do and continue to bring life to them in our belief in them… continue to pay homage to them every time we think about that brand name we want to pay for, etc…. They are the true gollems that all of us helped bring in to power to submit our entire beings too in some way, shape, or form.

Advertising, and all of the little illustrations that come from it is just one of the many little offerings that are given to these souless, lifeless zombies to help them exist. You can call me a crazy lunatic if you want, but when you really dig deep and think about it, you have got to know that it’s true!

Does this mean I don’t want to be an illustrator. Of course not. I love to illustrate things, tell stories, bring life to the lifeless objects around me.

In a strange way, all people that create art, or anything really – letters that you made when you hit the keyboard on your computer (you do know that each letter and phrase is different from place to place in the world which is why there’s different languages that exist – we all breathe life in to our own perception of reality that the elders in our tribe have taught us IS reality and so we make it become OUR reality too), recipies you put together to eat, All Things that we do really… sort of do the same thing, whether it’s for a corporation or their own needs and wants to create. Art itself is something we breathe life in to, and it sort of takes on a life of it’s own in that process. Maybe all of this is something Jesus was talking about when he said you cannot serve God and Mammon?… but in reality, that’s not really possible is it, at least not if we want to live in this world and exist – Give to Ceaser what belongs to Ceaser…

Anyways, I am a living being, just as you are, and as The Universe’s Creator is. The act of creating things is in some ways the real and ultimate goal and meaning of the universe?… or is it? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, be sure to make your works your own, and unique enough that you don’t get sued for copyright infringment by other humans or the golems that exist in our society.

Just something to think about…

Interesting Reading – Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: A Historical Look at the Old and New Testament

You folks reading this might think I’m nuts doing this many Interesting Reading posts in this short of a timespan, but there’s a lot of various books that I’ve read and/or am in the middle of reading that have a lot of relevance to this blog and life in general really, and are just great books that I think everyone should at least take a glance at some point in time… I’ll probably add more interesting reading posts in the not-too-distant future…

Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: A Historical Look at the Old and New Testaments is a very interesting book. Asimov, possibly one the greatest science fiction writers of all time, explores the bible from a scientific and historical perspective in this book. He’s an athiest, (and a former Jew I think) but that does not matter. He covers a lot of the historical aspects of each chapter of the Bible in this book from a scientific perspective. There’s not a lot of mushy love and miracle belief talk in the book like you see in a lot of the bible study books that are written by Christians. Also there’s a lot of discussion about geography and history of the locations in the bible, and how each of the main characters in the bible is thought of from a historian’s perspective and how they sort of fit in to the Social Studies and History books. That is something you don’t typically get a lot of with a lot of other books about the Bible. I don’t know that I agree with him on everything (since he is an atheist after all), but I do think he presents a lot of ideas that anyone interested in Religion, History, or Geography, regardless of whether they are Christian or not a Christian might find interesting.

His explanations that seem to explain away miracles or give them a new twist by allowing you to think about them in a different way than the way you might have been taught in Bible School by adding a bit of science is somewhat refreshing, and for the most part does not make the Bible any less relevant or True.

Remember, there are multiple perspectives to our reality… What everyone that witnesses anything experiences is likely slightly different than others that witnessed the same darn thing. It is good to sometimes think about things from a different angle. There might be a slight challenge to your faith in some of the info in this book, but that actually might be a catalyst that will help you gain a stronger faith by reading the book. There is a lot of historical and geographic info in here that you probably won’t come across many other places unless you are theologian and have read a LOT of ancient texts and have a masters degree in religion. It’s good to learn a few new things. and think about things in a different way on occassion! 🙂

Interesting Reading – When I say no, I feel guilty

Manuel J. Smith’s book, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty is a very good book about being assertive. If you have been unassertive in the past for whatever reason, as I have been sometimes, it can help you get past that, and start placing value on your own opinion and rights so that people are not always walking all over your every day.

The book introduces something called the Assertive Bill Of Rights that should be thought of as rules that you can and should apply to your everyday thoughts, and way of living, but probably have not always done in the past.

The Assertive Bill of rights are:
I have the right to be the ultimate judge of my own behavior, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon myself.

Yes, you are the judge of your own reality ultimately. The Church, your parents, your boss, your coworkers, even the bobble heads on the News Channels and everyone else in the world is not the ultimate judge of your own thoughts, and emotions. You are a real person, just like everyone else. Underneath the surface there’s no difference between you and the President, any kings you read about in history, any slaves you read about or have seen yourself at your place of employment. Since you are responsible for yourself, you have the right to be assertive in this crazy world and not let everyone else tell you what to think, do, and be.

I have the right to offer no reasons or excuses to justify my behavior.
Just because someone asks you to logically explain any action you take does not mean that you have to give them a logical reason. Logic is really just a way for people to try to manipulate them in to doing what they want sometimes… That’s why statistics lie a lot – change the population of any stat, and the odds are likely that the result of that statistic will change as well. The world is malleable, and not all black and white. People change their thoughts and actions daily. You have the right to not have to justify yourself to anyone other than yourself, and even then sometimes you don’t even need to do that because your subconscious mind knows what the right thing to do is even if your conscious mind does not…


I have the right to judge whether I am responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.

You don’t have the entire world on your shoulders unless you choose to put it there… Take care of yourself BEFORE you take care of others and you might find that you do a better job taking care of both!


I have the right to change my mind.

In other words, your ideas about the way the world is should not be thought of as the only way at any given point in time. You have the right to change what you think about anything at any given point in time, just like anyone else.


I have the right to make mistakes – and to be responsible for them.

No one is perfect. Own your mistakes, but don’t let guilt about them ruin your life.


I have the right to say, “I don’t know.”

That’s right. You can say, “I don’t know” no matter how many people say that you can’t do that. However, don’t take this to the extreme and use “I don’t know” as an excuse for laziness as some people do when asked anything. You have a brain, use it. However, just because you have a brain does not mean that your ideas about the right course of actions to take at any point in time is always 100% yes or no, or whatever. Sometimes you just have to say, “I don’t know” when someone asks you something and expects a yes or no out of you immediately. Take your time and think things over. Don’t let the people around you in your life ruin your life by forcing you to commit to things immediately all the time.

I have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.
Some people many not think so, but you do have the ultimate right to take care of yourself before you take care of others. Who cares what the ladies at church think, or the guys that want you to come out to the bars to drink until you are smashed on a work night. Forget what frat guys using peer pressure are trying to get you to do… Of course your boss wants you to work overtime every day and every weekend. You are the ultimate ruler of yourself and your behaviors. Be responsible and good to yourself! Stand up for your rights!


I have the right to make decisions without using logic.

As mentioned above, logic is really just a way for people to manipulate one another in to thinking the thought patterns that the logic giver is giving. Throwing logic out the door can sometimes get you what you want. That manager at the grocery store won’t come to talk to you – maybe you should stand in line at the check out counter and refuse to move until he changes his mind. If that doesn’t work, maybe you should take your shirt off (if you are a guy – no need to break the law ladies)… and then yell a bit louder… pound your fists on that darn table and raise a ruckus. Who cares if logic tells you that you are embarressing yourself and will get no response. Taboos are a part of the logic that is deeply embedded in our society and sometimes they exist for stupid reasons that really are not all that logical at the core…

I have the right to say, “I don’t understand.”
The only dumb question is one that’s never asked.

I have the right to say, “I don’t care.”
That’s right. Who gives a hoot is sometimes the best answer! Who cares if your sister is mad at you for not coming to her Christmas party when you really want to go to your in-laws that is at the same time instead. She’ll get over it. Who cares what the ladies at Church think. They are not your God.

The assertive bill of rights is to mainly be reserved for use when you are dealing with people that are manipulating you because you don’t want to make yourself out to be a real pushy jerk… but for folks that are not too assertive naturally, sometimes, that may not be such a bad idea… perhaps they will think twice before they try to stress you out by getting you to do something they want you to do when you really should be doing something else, or just don’t want to do what they want you to do… YOU ARE ALIVE! YOU ARE HUMAN! YOU HAVE RIGHTS TOO!

Interesting Reading – Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Dave’s Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness is a very good book. In post-stock market crash world we live in today, it’s reliance on using stocks as the main method of making money once you get financially stable is a bit questionable. However, all of the steps in the book to get to that point are sound, and simple enough that anyone can do them.

The main “baby steps” that need to be taken as the first steps to get financially stable that are listed in the book are:

1. Save $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund. The goal here is to get yourself to a place where you never use a credit card again, or have to take out a loan again in your life if possible. If you can get 1k in savings, and ONLY use it when you have a real emergency (car blows up, etc.), you can slowly get yourself off of relying on plastic and loans.

2. Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball. The idea with the snowball payments is to pay off the smallest debt (loan, credit card, etc.) that you have first, and pay minimum payments on everything else until that little debt is killed off. Then keep paying the same amount you would have to the little loan, and just apply the extra to the next biggest debt, and keep doing that so that you are basically doubling or tripling your payments over time as more things get paid off so that you minimize the amount of time it gets to get completely debt free to a few years instead of to a few decades.

3. Save up 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings. This step is important since it gives you a chance to really build up your savings account. The reason you do this now instead of earlier in step 1 is so that you could drop more cash in to the debt earlier before you do this so that you are not killing your savings interest rate with the interest rate of outgoing cash going in to paying off the stuff in step 2. Honestly, I think for most people, in todays unstable economy, it might be smarter to actually save up 1-2 years instead of only 6 months if possible, just so that you are safe. The unemployment rate is raising a lot more, a lot faster than it has in the past, and I personally know a few people that have been on unemployment (except for a few part time job seasonal monthly jobs) for a couple of years… so it’s a good idea to save!

4. Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement. I’m not sure I agree with Dave on this. I do agree it’s good to invest in something, but since IRAs are still one form of stocks, they can loose money if you the market goes down again… It might be better to invest in US savings bonds. They at least have a guaranteed interest rate that is backed by the Government. I’m pretty sure the government back out on paying bonds any time soon, even if our national debt grows every year at the rate it has for the last few years…

5. Save up College funding for children if you have kids, or alternatively, save up a little nest egg for yourself to get yourself ready to start up that home business you’ve always wanted to start, or to give you enough cash so that you are safe and can try to switch jobs and start doing what you really want to do if you don’t have kids. If you don’t want to do a business and don’t have kids, save up anyways. You never know what the future will bring. I think I read somewhere the other day that on average, a retirement home can eat up about one million dollars over the course of 2-5 years!

6. Pay off your house early. This one just makes sense. Get that mortgage gone so you can be completely debt free. However, don’t make it a priority over other debts unless the total payoff on it is lower than other debts because typically interest rates on houses are a heck of a lot lower than on credit cards and other unsecured debt. You also might put off paying minimum payments on your college loans right before paying off the house, depending on how many college loans you have and if you consolidated, etc. since college loans typically have a death clause and a low interest rate. (The death clause pays off the debt if you die so those you leave behind won’t be paying off your college loans forever after you are gone).

7. Build wealth and give! The ultimate goal is to be completely debt free, and never to rely on loans or credit cards again. Once you get to this point, you can start looking at a lot of different ways to invest and let your money grow itself for you. When you get to this point, and you are not living paycheck to paycheck, you can start looking in to giving money away to charities or people in need. Help them out. It’ll help you out spiritually, and probably mentally too. It’s nice to help people when you can. It’s just hard to get to a point in your life where you can do that without worrying about all the other debt… If you follow Dave’s baby steps, you can get to this point a lot sooner than you might think! 🙂