Jon Weber…A New York Yankee Hero Not Quite Good Enough?

“The Adventure you’re ready for is the one you get. Life is short. Go for it.” – Joseph Campbell.

Jon Weber led the world champion New York Yankees in batting average this spring training. In spite of dude’s metronome consistency, he’s still being sent down to the Yankees’ minor league AAA farm club.

The New York Times wrote an article about Mr. Weber today entitled A .483 Batting Average? Not Quite Good Enough. I admire this guy because he’s 32, has never tasted even a cup of coffee in a real major league game & has a family to support. Yet, he is so passionate about his journey that he teared up while discussing this latest disappointment – and is still going to keep trying.

Life is short and Weber, like an old reliable Timex watch, is gonna’ keep on tickin’. The lesson I think we as artist can learn from Jon Weber is that perseverance counts for everything in this life. We all have our adventure and NOTHING precludes us from going for our dreams. Weber has every excuse in the book to quit and go coach somewhere – he’s old by baseball standards, is a left-handed hitter with a franchise in need of righties and, is battling the perception of being a minor league lifer. Whatever – he persists!

It’s his adventure, his journey, and he is living it. I bet most of us would like to be overnight successes (whatever individual definitions of success may be) like the knighted Yankee Derek Jeter , but few of us are. So we have to accept our adventure and go for it. Be free 2 dream and pursue yo!

Maybe the Times article should have read A .483 Batting Average? Not Quite Good Enough? Notice the question mark AFTER ENOUGH?.

Spiritually, Jon Weber is PLENTY good enuf. It would be great to see him called up, appear as a pinch hitter in the World Series, and win a game with one life-changing hit. But if we don’t ever see this day come true, there is victory in how he lives his life. There is victory for all of us.

Peace, Love & Light – Todd
the funky one yo!

p.s. – shout out to my dawg Frank at the NeedMoreLight music blog for the Joseph Campbell quote. Check his blog – it’s real!

p.s. II – Minor League outfielder Jon Weber won the Yankees’ 2010 James P. Dawson Award, presented annually to the team’s most outstanding rookie in Spring Training.

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SELLING OUT or GETTING PAID – The Artistic Dilemma

I loved this post by Libby Rosuf of The Art Blog and it so made me think about the life of an artist. Specifically she quoted blogger Annette Monnier :

I am reminded of being a young artist and saying something to a friend about this or that person “selling out” to which my wiser friend replied “you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t have done that had it been offered to you.”

An Underrated True 2 The Game Artist

This is such a dilemma for artists, be they musical or visual. Me being both – I completely understand. As a Hip-Hop/R&B writer/ producer when R&B was transitioning to more urban/ghetto messages – the mantra in my ear from A&R folks was less message, more sex (What are you, some kinda’ message band)! In art, going to Black galleries I thought would understand me, the message was we like more overtly BLACK images (read: not the muti-colored folks you are presenting – our audience will not understand).

For me, I ALWAYS reference Spike Lee. To paraphrase, as you enter the business, that’s what you are.

Think about it. If an artists makes big money for a gallery painting little green, three breasted men riding Shetland ponies, why would a gallery or his agent all of a sudden want him being true and painting like Renoir? Conversely, if a singer makes it big on the Lady Gaga vibe, the label surely doesn’t want the next CD to be lyrically deep like Dylan. Ca-CHING!

Being authentic, of course, could lead to delayed gratification or none at all if folks don’t get you (and, I do have friends like this). On the flip side, can you blame someone for taking the bucks to get some publicity & support themselves and their family.

At the end of the day, whatever choice we as artists make, we have to live with it and look ourselves in the mirror each and every morning. Are you happy with what you see? That’s ALL that matters.

Peace,

Art of Todd, the Funky Long Island Artist

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p.s. – I am now a singer/songwriter (YouTube.com/artoftodd) so I can express my thoughts as I choose, being true to myself and my soul. The art still comes from my heart.

Back in the Saddle Again…Getting Creative Juices 2 Flow After Some Time Off

I usually am not a big fan of abstract art, but while searching around for inspiration, came across the blog of abstract artist Lynn Taetzsch. I really like her art. It’s very colorful and lyrical. In her blog, she has nice philosophies to share too. About getting back in rhythm after time off, she said:

I try to stay as relaxed as possible, letting the lines flow, but the beginnings still feel awkward. Once I’ve got something started, then I can intuitively develop the colors, shapes, lines and composition.

This is SO accurate about all creative endeavors. The beginnings often seem a bit rough and awkward.

Opposites attract right? The self-imposed pressure of creating at a specific time after a long break versus trying to relax and let go while in the pressurized state of creativity. This is like getting Godzilla to befriend Mothra yo!

Sometimes, with our busy schedules, the hardest part is finding time to start creating after a break. The trick is relaxing and letting go. So as Taetzsch said – let’s relax, let go and create a friendship between Godzilla and Mothra (okay – I said that part ha, ha)!

Peace – Art of Todd, the funky Sea Cliff, Long Island African-American Artist!

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There is Always Something New 2 Learn in Art

Came across the most interesting blog post entitled Painting Like the Old Masters by an artist blogger named Byrne Smith.

The hippest concept about his post is the following:
The point is, as you’ve heard me say before, there is always something new to learn in art.

Daddy!!!  I'm BORREEEDDDD!!!How many times are we artists like five year old children sitting on the play mat on a Sunday afternoon? I’M BORED DADDY!
Well, Mr. Byrne says it doesn’t have to be that way at all. He has been working with watercolors lately and writes about challenging himself to learn more about the muted colors used by Old Masters such as Leonardo Da Vinci. Specifically, his palette and techniques. Deep!

Me, I recently experimented with a Picasso-like technique using acrylics on a canvas painted with Aluminum Krylon metal paint – taking me far away from my oil pastel comfort zone.

Musically, I am experimenting with alternate tunings on my back-up guitar, screwed up the tunings on one string, and created my own tuning (I guess). Then using the Miles Davis technique of play it first and tell you what it is later, wrote a beautiful song entitled Bread on the Soup Line. Looking forward to debuting this one when I play Valentine’s Eve at The Hideaway in Glen Cove, NY.

We are artists! We should never feel trapped creatively. Thanks Mr. Smith for the instruction and confirmation.

Peace – Todd
ArtofTodd.com

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My 15 Minutes Today…Sex, Art, Music & Practice

Contemplation  ©ArtofTodd.comIn follow up to the blog post by Alyson Stanfield on painting 15 minutes a day to stay connected with one’s art, I had to follow her instruction and my agreement with her advice.

So, I spent 15 minutes painting yesterday (no, I won’t bore you by sharing creativity everyday!) and I feel waaaayyyy more spiritually connected to my art than waiting for that big 4 – 6 hour stretch to create (which is so difficult to come by & which I’ve been doing). Kinda’ like how I make every effort to do 15 minutes of yoga each day. 15 minutes will most certainly help me in morphing to bigger pieces.

Oil pastels are a little more time consuming for me than acrylic, but this is a great start. Gotta’ hit the skins some today as well.

Enjoy! Thanks Ms. Stanfield!

Peace – Todd B., the funky Long Island Artist yo!

The point of the 15 minutes is not to try to create a masterpiece within that short time frame. The point is to stay connected with your art every day. This connection will feed you. It will make you a happier person and a less frustrated artist. – Alyson Stanfield

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Sex, Art, Music & Practice…A Healthy Diet for Artists in 15 Minutes Per Day


My grandmother, Bessie L. Banks, once said sex ain’t never changed, that’s how we all got here. That’s all part of a steady diet.. So what does 15 minutes per day have to do with this yo?

I came across this interesting blog post by Alyson Stanfield on the ArtBizBlog for the bizness of being an artist. She said – I wrote my book in 15 minutes a day. Honest! When I felt disconnected with the content, my coach advised me to “check in” with my book every day. I promised just 15 minutes a day. It worked!

I recall Miles Davis saying he believed in practicing by osmosis (definition – all fields of knowledge apparent in one’s surroundings being effortlessly absorbed through the pores of the human brain solely based on proximity). And, I must say – Ms. Stanfield is dead on with her 15 minute theory. It applies to sex, art, music…EVERYTHING! And it works surely as learning by osmosis does.

Whenever I go to Manhattan for a meeting, I usually carry my trusty Martin Backpacker with me. Even if I can’t stop somewhere like Bryant Park and strum, I’m writing & vibin’ via the proximity of my guitar huggin’ my derrière. And, my guitars are laying all over the house so I can easily pick one up and strum new chords I am assimilating – even if just for 15 minutes.

So, with this in mind, I’m going to devote at least 15 minutes per day to my visual art. The discipline will make me vibe even when away from my oil pastels.

Ms. Stanfield says it’s difficult to be a serious artist without regular studio time and one has to find a way to make art on a consistent basis. I say, to be passionate about anything, you gotta’ DO IT on the regular!

The point of the 15 minutes is not to try to create a masterpiece within that short time frame. The point is to stay connected with your art every day. This connection will feed you. It will make you a happier person and a less frustrated artist. – Alyson Stanfield

Sex, Art, Music & 15 minutes of FURYall part of a daily diet! Let’s get tantric!

Peace yo – Todd the Funky, Sexy, Musicfied, Long Island Artist yo!

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Is Formal Training Needed to be an Inspired Artist?

Robert Ryman

If you care to be recognized and esteemed by the art establishment, I think that the whole idea is to first convince the art community that you know what classic art is, that you know how to be an “academic” artist. Ilan Lichtnayer (artist in his Absolutearts.com blog post

This is such a funny statement and I could not agree more! Now that I’m doing the gallery thing, it’s all good until some fellow artists and patrons find out either by reading my bio or by speaking with me that I did not study formally.

My wife has noticed a literal change in perspective towards me in a few cases. The infamous – I LOVE your work and use of color. Then…the pause…the pensive silent oh…the you are self-taught walk away?!

Like many self-taught and trained artists, I’m pouring every drop of my being and spirit (and beer) into each work. Life, loves, music, angst, pain, joy. So – a guy can place a dot on a white canvas and call it Black Dot on White Paper and it’s valued because he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts? But if an unknown does the same, it’s not cool. It’s all about the art, right?

Art is art and value is in the eye of the beholder’s wallet. After all, to again quote Mr. Lichtnayer, Art does not judge and so doesn’t God. God makes the artist, society makes him successful, but all for a reason, always. And the reason is karma. We as artists, no matter the way of arrival, are meant to create.

So with this in mind, I think artists create regardless of formality. Creativity is karmic and inspired. No license necessary to drive!

Classes will dull your mind, destroy the potential for authentic creativity.
– Dr. John Nash, Nobel prize winner in economics, 1994

Peace – Todd
The Funky Long Island Artist

p.s. – Okay, I am a formally trained musician! But I’ve thrown away the books to compose on my guitar. Sort of agree with Dr. Nash.

p.s. – Find Ilan’s art at Findigart.com.

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Happy New Year!

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou

She is THE TRUTH!

She is THE TRUTH!

I think the operative word in Ms. Angelou’s statement is ‘teach’ which means we as parents, we as spirits on this big round – have to TALK. The assumption it seems is kids just learn about this diversity stuff…they yearn, but we have to learn them.

Happy New Year!

Art of Todd, the funky Long Island artist yo’!

…don’t wanna’ spend my life being a color…

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The Art of the Nintendo Wii & Wii Fit!

Buy a New Wii for $199.00!  Just click the picture!

Buy a New Wii for $199.00 on Amazon.com! Just click the picture!

The Nintendo Wii is surprisingly changing my life! Woke up this morning, did 20 minutes of yoga, 10 minutes of rather strenuous hula-hoop & 10 minutes of strength training all on the Wii Fit. Plus – it measures my BMI (Body Mass Index) and weighs me in like a heavyweight champ before every workout. The bonus – when my son woke up to get ready for school, he decided to get in a “Basic Run” for 10 minutes on the virtual running path in my 2nd fav town – San Franciso! Then he proceeded to do a couple of slalom ski jumps for good measure. The fight against childhood obesity starts at home!

YOGA on the Balance Board!?
images (1)I know what many think – this is a toy and could not possibly get one in shape. Au contraire yo! The yoga, due to the virtues of the separately sold Wii Fit balance board, actually make you work accurately, the aerobic hula hoop on the higher level is torturous and the strength training is pretty impressive as well. I even like the little meditation thing they have in there. There truly is enough variety within the Wii Fit program to keep one going and actively engaged for a LONG time.

Heavyweight Champion of the WORLD!Think I heard the statistic that 80% of people who have a gym membership never show up after the first month. Well, for basically the same price as a gym membership, buy a Wii and Wii Fit Balance Board, work out at home, and have something with which to entertain your friends.

I would highly recommend the Wii & Wii Fit (with Balance Board) for both kids and senior citizens. Wii is Art in it’s highest form. Sure beats gettin’ carpal tunnel and fat eatin’ chips while seated playing ol’ skool video games.

Peace – Todd, the funkiest original print selling artist! Keep your soul 2gether…

This will help him give up the nicotine yo!

Obama Mii? This will help him give up the nicotine yo!

p.s. – wonder if President Obama has one of these Wii Fit joints on Air Force 1?
p.s. II – support an artist (namely me, ha, ha) and buy a wii through my blog! i really believe in this product. thanks!!

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Everybody Needs A Theme Song – the ARt of Music

Don't cha wish a DJ could follow u around?!I think everybody needs a lil’ personally selected theme song – theme music all their own – to help make it through the daze. Wouldn’t it be great to have a DJ escort you around and spin it when u need it yo?!

Here’s the theme song for The Blog of ArtofTodd.com courtesy of the legendary Rick James (just PRESS PLAY):

And, my personally handwritten theme song/anthem 4 the world (under my pseudonym Dylanblack):


gOTTa’ Be A Revolution (lyrics)
copyright – artoftodd 2009

(verse 1)
people, needin’ people
so many needy, always feedin’ the greedy yo
enuf to feed the world, a loaf of bread some bbq chips
but i can’t conceive, eatin’ off my crumb filled dish

(chorus)
gotta’ be, gotta’ be, gotta’ be a revolution
movin’ like a hurricane, ‘cross the ocean in the dark
today gonna’ rise up start a revolution
eye of the hurricane, brewin’ in my heart

(verse 2)
u don’t, have to take it
born into this fire, though u didn’t make it yo
plans and scams of a greedy man, make u stoop instead of stand
so release yourself, your God’s got a better plan, for u

(chorus)

(change)
wake up, WAKE UP, rise up, rise up
throw your fist up , punch it through the sky
rise up, rise up, stand up, stand up
throw your fist up, punch it through the sky

(rap)
everyday, everyday sippin’ gin and juice
’cause the world is makin’ u crazy, cry a bottle of colic like a baby
all alone in your crib screaming save me
green eggs and ham, like sam i am, want something real, world tastes like spam
i gotta’ open up my eyes, open up my eyes,

(chorus)
copyright – artoftodd 2009

Stay up…stay open…stay creative…stay honest.

Dream of Peace – the Artist

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