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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Basquiat – The Radiant Child Trailer!

Jean-Michel Basquiat remains one of my favorite all-time artists. Died young like Tupac and every bit as important as an artistic presence. This documentary looks really interesting…can’t wait for it to come out on DVD.

Trailer of the new documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child.

Directed by Tamra Davis, the documentary features never-before seen footage of the prolific artist painting, talking about his art, and existing in the two years prior to his death in 1988.

The OST features music from Mike D and Ad Rock.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child was released on Feb 21st, 2010.

Peace – Art of Todd…That Funky Long Island Artist

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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.

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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The aRt of Growing Through DeFeat

If you live through defeat, you’re not defeated. If you are beaten but acquire wisdom, you have won. Lose yourself to improve yourself. Only when we shed all self-definition do we find who we really are.
The RZA

Had an interesting conversation with Kenni Hairston, an amazing producer/musician friend with whom I apprenticed back in the day (and hope to work with in the ‘morrow). Was discussing how music is who we are, the seeming losses we both have experienced in the business, and how we keep coming back, no matter how strong the punch.

I Luv a Blank Aluminum Canvas

I Luv a Blank Canvas

Creativity is a blessing and a curse. Between the two though, I choose extreme blessing. Like Kenni said, you do it ’cause you can’t help it. To wake up, pick up my guitar…write, sing, wait for voices to speak through me…insane, but cool. Hey – I haven’t cut my left ear off (yet!). Drinking that sweet ass Maudite beer, Miles Davis on the turntable, painting…caught up in the cool yo! Clock strikes midnight…

I’ve been told NO probably more than about anyone in this life (outside of crazy artists and musicians doing a life bid like myself). But as Kenni and I discussed, the growth is internal and not necessarily externally recognized or acknowledged, even by those closest to u. Lose to improve…if you acquire wisdom you have WON! Definition of self – growth. Pray to recognize – yearning. Lessons for art and life.

Initiate Peace yo – Todd
Creator of original fine art and prints! aka, the Black American Long Island-based artist detailing the universal experience…

p.s. – the RZA’s The Tao of the Wu is one incredibly philosophically and spiritually moving book. Check it out. Thanks for the science Kelly Ann! Wu-Tang 4EVER son!!

p.s. – Dreams and visions…me with my alternative acoustic folk/funk workin’ with the RZA. His beats, my melodies and lyrics…WHAT! Holla’ RZA!!!

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Dreams…I Need A Yoko (new song excerpt!)

SisyphusI don’t know about all this goals & objectives stuff people talk about. Write ’em down…it will happen or so far too many self help experts say. I used to do this back in the day when I was pursuing music production/writing with my bro…but we’d always do everything up to actually signing a deal – which was the goal. So pursuing goals this way made the process almost seem like a waste. And, it sapped my spirit.

99 consecutive steps taken, miss the last one and start all over again as if the first 99 never existed. Talk about disappointment!

But…ain’t life about change or so they say? Well, this year decided to write down my dreams. I don’t necessarily like the phrase goals & objectives because to me life is a journey. Always changing…constantly reshapingl We’re all in some way trying to make a dream come true.

So my first step in my artistic journey that has no end was to have a solo art show before end of year. BONUS ROUND! I not only had a show, but also had an opportunity to play my music with my artwork in the background. Gotta’ thank the amazing Sue Giordano for the opportunity and blessing. This video features my art & an excerpt of my new song entitled I Need a Yoko.

My Pops said “this could have been the ultimate love song John Lennon wrote to Yoko had he lived.” And, I agree. So my Pop’s line will now be the intro. every time I play it yo! Play the video if u please!

Next up – Jimmy Kimmel Show by January 2010! Then Oprah in late 2010!!

Peace Yo!

Todd
The funkiest Human, African-American, Black, Negro, Pan-African, Colored, Universal, Higher-Primate, Opposable Thumb Havin’ Artist-like dude faith based in Long Island

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Yoko Ono & the Art of Lyric Writing

“Yoko is the world’s most famous unknown artist. Everybody knows her name, but nobody knows what she does.” – John Lennon

Let’s HAVE SOME FUN YO!Todd Plays I LOVE the Newsweek article on Yoko Ono. As I have learned more about her, her philosophies, her spirit, over the past month or so after writing the song “I Need a Yoko”. I’ve been nothing but moved by her zest for life.

76 and still doing it well! Very similar to how I feel about Bruce Lee philosophically actually. God, I pray I keep growing and stretching as an artist. No artist wants to grow stale like a five year old Snickers bar.

YokoSo funny, I’m learning so much from her creatively just through writing a song while not knowing much about her at all. And now, I’ve been serendipitously blessed with the opportunity to fill out my knowledge base. Funny now life works.

I’ll download Ms. Ono’s (Between my Head and the Sky) new music, but this is of minor consequence compared to the breadth of her artistic life.

Enjoy the lyrics…can’t wait to share the recording…it is hauntingly beautiful…

I need a Yoko

ever been afraid of love, blind coincidence?
Ever met the one, let love walk away
due to circumstance?

don’t be afraid of love, take it, and u will find
the love u seek

I need a yoko, in her auburn shades
stand by me, through yellow submarine parades
wave white linen sheets, ‘gainst the southern wind
show the world, the kind of love we’re in

indescribably, amazing
beyond beautiful – to me

don’t wanna’ wish, for one more day, to tell u how I feel
one more day, a senseless wish away
why hesitate, when we’re standin’ here

don’t be afraid of love, let’s make it
take a chance, and make this moment real

I need a yoko, in her auburn shades
stand by me, through yellow submarine parades
wave white linen sheets, ‘gainst the southern wind
show the world, the kind of love we’re in

indescribably, amazing
beyond beautiful – to me
where is my yoko?
© ArtofTodd

Peace,

The Funky Artist – ArtofTodd

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Lainie Kazan & the Art of Getting Schooled

Lanie Kazan - Award-Winning Actress from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”

Lanie Kazan - Award-Winning Actress from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”

Checked out Music Under the Stars tonight at Harry Tappan Beach (Glenwood Landing, Long Island). Figured I’d cruise by with the family…didn’t even know who was singing.

So we stroll up and I hear this voice…a voice that obviously knows how to rule the stage, a pure voice that cracks when needed to show life experience in reaching a note almost out of reach, a voice conversely soft as a mother’s caress. A presence able to simultaneously keep the risqué patter up with the audience while singing beautiful, heartfelt classic songs from days gone by.

So finally, I walked up to an older gentleman and asked, “Who is the singer tonight? She sounds amazing?” He said – Lainie Kazan in that ‘what, you don’t know fool!?’ kinda’ way only an older dude can drop on you.

SHAZAM!

T - Memorial Park - July 16 2009I performed a couple of times over the weekend but OBVIOUSLY have a lot to learn and a LOonnnggggg way to go. Feel like I received a singing and stage presence lesson tonight. No pro like an old pro (no offense Ms. Kazan) that’s for sure. In particular, her version of The Man That Got Away was impeccable (Harold Arlen is actually one of my fav all-time writers). Her band was totally up to the task.

ToddAnd to think…this was free. Hearing a seasoned professional like Ms. Kazan was absolutely artistically inspiring. On the beach, by the water, the smell of the sea in the air, a touch of sheet lightning to lend presence to the evening sky. Wow! I hope you feel my flow on this one.

Singers like the gorgeous Ms. Kazan are American treasures. Last year we saw Leslie Uggams on this very beach & she was equally inspiring. Will be interesting to see how this experience impacts my music, my singing, and my art. Music is music no matter the vein.

Pop radio is virtually an embarrassment compared to the emotion expressed not only with the art of Ms. Kazam, but with this style of songwriting as well.

Check out our treasures whenever you can, no matter your musical taste. I got a lotta’ homework to do…

Thanks for the lesson Ms. Kazan!

Peace yo,

Todd the Funky Long Island Artist Painting ‘Bout Our World

Glenwood Arts Gala Opening…Bringing the Funkiest Art to Long Island, New York

Hey Yo! What a thrill. Was blessed to participate in the Glenwood Arts Gala Opening on May 9, 2009. *The debut of this gallery space was amazingly well run, well attended, and off the chain creative (tip of the hat to CEO Greg Sturges and curator Jason Paradis)!

Check out the opening video (yup – that’s me!) –

At the gala, there were some very talented Long Island artists displaying their art. Jason did a wonderful job of selecting and hanging the art.

regina_ress_1The lost art of storytelling was brought back to the present by the extraordinary Regina Ress who weaved incredible tales of emotional complexity out of everyday NYC Village life. The fact that she conveyed her stories in the sanctuary of the church made this an even more intimate experience for all. And, she even changed the title of my song Someday to Someday (This Gift of Life) after listening to me play outside the gala. Thanks Regina! Rappers ain’t got nothin’ on you!

Also featured was the Aeros Quintet, who played some lively, inspired classical and traditional songs from the sanctuary. And, we watched a HILARIOUS short film starring Mary Louise Parker called The Quality of Mercy, by award-winning director Stephen Marro. You never know what to expect with short films, but this one was well directed, acted and generated a ton of laughs from the audience.

The next show is scheduled for June 6th at 8:00 PM in the gallery space. Check it out…the art is as good as any and the vibe is pure creativity. Feel free to donate too.

(This version features a little live music by yours truly! That’s CEO Greg Sturges in the white cap)

I close with this quote from Glen “Big Baby” Davis of the Boston Celtics. Glen "Big Baby" DavisI was trying to write some new music on the beach this past Saturday morning and couldn’t find my flow. Then I remembered this!

“You have to be focused…and basically think without thinking and just shoot it,” Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis (Boston Celtics) said. “Every time I shoot I see myself making game-winning shots. If you see it, you believe it. You shoot millions of shots like that, and every time you shoot it you believe you’re going to make it. And when I shot it, I didn’t even hesitate. It was just a feel.

Feel, be, be in the moment…

Peace – Todd
ArtofTodd.com

*Okay, I’m a little biased as that’s one of my works featured on the opening poster (Sax Player) and, a new work I created was featured as well in the show (oh, and I played a few tunes too). BUT… outside of all of that :-)…it was a GREAT show yo!

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