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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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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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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One Drop of Water…the Art of Saving the World Ripple Effect Style!

One Drop Creating the Ripple Effect!
Visited Montreal recently and ‘dove’ into AQUA, (The Journey into the World of Water), a fascinatingly sober (by American standards) multi-sensory experience at the Montreal Science Centre. Based on this experience and other readings, I imagine water may be the resource wars are fought over one day too soon.

Every Eight Seconds A Child Dies For Lack of Drinking Water

Save the worldAQUA was eye-opening. In America, we take so much for granted…clean water for flushing toilets, showering, brushing our teeth, washing clothes, producing goods, etc. Water flows like…WATER here. Other places around the world, it’s a source of poverty, sickness and death.

But rarely do we EVER consider how many worldwide are forced to survive on less clean water per day than we use to brush our teeth. CRAZY YO! So many things in life to worry about…but this is HUGE!!

I’m Starting with the Man in the Mirror…

Man in the Mirror -  www.bernicesteinbaumgallery.comTo paraphrase Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’ – we have to change our ways. Me, I’ve committed to keeping waterways clean and cutting back on water consumption. No fertilizer this year on the lawn. Granted, the weeds are in full effect…but no runoff in the Harbor! And, no more bottled water at home. And I’m slowly migrating over to environmentally friendly hygiene and cleansing products. Oh, and using both sides of the paper when I’m printing. Baby steps yes, but think of the ripple created by all of us doing just one thing!

One Drop 2 Save the World

Guy - One DropGuy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil and the One Drop Foundation – is soon to become Canada’s first private space explorer and the first person at the International Space Station to perform a Poetic Social Mission in Space. The purpose of his mission is dedicated to making an impact on how water, our most precious resource, is protected and shared. He’ll convey info. on our world’s water related issues using a singular poetic approach. Should be very interesting to say the least! All this to say – peep out his site….follow his mission…join in saving the world.

Make that change! Water for all, all for water yo! Join me in saving the world one drop at a time

Peace & Love,

Todd
aka – the funky Nassau (Long Island, New York) Artist

p.s. – much like love, art is expressed in many ways…thanks to Siedah Garrett, Glen Ballard and Michael Jackson for “Man in the Mirror” and to the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery for the “Man in the Mirror” sculpture picture!

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Obama and the Art of Dreams & Visualizations of Others

May 30, 2009 Sketch

May 30, 2009 Sketch by Todd

Was eating at a diner in Queens the other night with my wife and son. Like most 4 year boys, he was putting on a show…talking, bouncing around, being loud.

This elderly Irish couple sitting next to us took a shine to him (LOVE the NY melting pot thing). So they began to chat with him; asking questions and playing around a bit. The woman thought my son was really smart. And, after interacting for a while, the gentleman, who I think was in his 70’s or 80’s, said to my son, you might grow up to be uh…Senator or something. His wife smiled affectionately upon hearing this. I know he was referring to President Obama.

Horizon - Photo by Rich Harris - http://47photo.wordpress.com

Photo by Rich Harris - http://47photo.wordpress.com

Boy oh boy, my son’s horizon is far different than mine was at his age. The oyster is larger, the ceiling is higher. I think he can do the seemingly impossible – break through and touch the sky.

Growing up, I had big dreams. But dreams and visualizations of reaching the pinnacle of society reflected onto me by others really did not exist. Oh if every child is so blessed…imagine a world dreaming with them.

Change is a slow train coming, but if we listen closely, a whistle blows in the distance, and it will arrive at the station.

Life is art and the world is our canvas. We all are one.

Peace & blessings – Todd

p.s. – Thanks for the photo Rich!

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Life Inspiration: Keeping Commitments

Todd at Pearl Paint - Commited

I miss my Mom!  But the beauty has been getting to know more about her through her dearest friends.  What a blessing this has been.  Gotta’ holla’ to Aunt Pat in Savannah yo! Mom and Aunt Pat

I’m happy today!  I kept commitment #1 from yesterday.  Visit Pearl Paint and pick up some new ‘sticks’ with which to work.  Kept Commitment #2 and visited the new print shop to lower my print cost of production (savings of which will be passed on!).  I pick up a test print this Thursday.  Commitment #3 – paint this weekend.  The Four Agreements at work.

Art of Todd is such the leap of faith.  Artists are crazy!  We blog (like knockin’ on the door of the world)…yet don’t know who’s reading.  We paint, but don’t know who will dig it or buy.  We write music and sing…yet don’t know who will listen or how we’ll will end up in that million dollar studio being produced by someone with more knowledge.  I’ve dreamed 4ever and a day never knowing what wishes may come true.  

So we believe…even against all odds.  And for me, no matter the outcome, the journey is well worth the price of admission yo!  Without faith & dreams (oh, and hard work), what are we?  

Got a call from the local arts council tonight.  I’m scheduled to present my art and music on March 4th.  Really excited.  Don’t much talk about the creative process so should be interesting with an engaged audience & fellow artists.

Yes – those are boa’s I’m posing with at Pearl!  Gettin’ ready for my viral video promo I’m puttin’ together (Commitment #4).  Me & PopsMy Pops thought the ending twist was so ridiculous that he literally couldn’t stop laughing!  

Life of an artist…Gotta’ paint, gotta’ create, gotta’ be true!

Forgot to mention…started my Google AdWords campaign today…I’m still the Black Artist for search purposes (4 now – see earlier post for full story)!  Didn’t have time to research new terms…

 

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Race, Ethnicity, Fine Art & The Super Bowl – Musings from a “Black” Artist

Ben Roethlisberger, when asked by NBC Announcer Dan Patrick what he learned about himself in one of the most exciting Super Bowls of all time – “That anything’s possible.”

Race & ARt – Let’s State the Obvious…

I am Black

Was thinking about why society insists that we fit into a box in this life. Press the change channel button – I’ve decided to create a new dream

When I was hunting for a gallery, Black owners questioned if my art was “Black” enuf – wondering if my view of the world appealed strongly enuf to “the Black buyer”.  You know – do the Black Love theme, Black family ’round the kitchen table theme, Black mothers, etc…Ain’t nothing wrong, but that’s not me!  Is there room for the abstract (thanks Q-Tip)? Then some of the mainstream galleries had problems because since I was obviously Black upon meeting me (even if they liked my art before we met) – the feeling was my art was TOO ethnic.

So, now I’m optimizing my site for search in Google, and I’m like encountering the same questions.  Do I niche out & focus on the Black artist market? Or can I JUST be ART?  Is my art considered Black though characters I portray represent experiences – colorless or multi-colored in my mind – even if features lean one way or the other (doesn’t Angelina Jolie have beautiful full lips!)?  Or, is my art Black because of my skin color? 

 Aren’t our experiences universal?  From history, I don’t think any one group owns suffering or holds the key to absolute joy.  Same wishes for the children yo!  No one rules the world forever though societies think they do.

I am Black…and proud…but proud to be human too.  I am detailing very universal experiences with my art.  It’s called LIFE!!  I’m really considering removing all overt Black references off of my site.  Life is always trying to put us in that L7 squared box, BUT I REBEL!  Hey, after all – this is my dream.

I’ve always had this vision with my music.  When I was in Hip-Hop production and earlier as an artist (with my brother), the question was always – do you have enuf ‘collard greens’ on your music.  Now I do folk (guess because it’s acoustic with vocals), and I’m finally FREE – mixing in jazz and James Brown funk chords with the folk.  Adding dope beats as I feel fit.  Writing thematically about what’s important from my world view…not what might get played on radio.  Knowing, if I’m true to my art…writing from my heart, singing from the depths of my soul – others will get it.  And if they don’t – I’m soulin’ anyway!  Same with my visual art.

I’ve seen chicken with hips and snakes with lips baby!  So we can be whatever we want!

My art is finally free!  Be free!!  Be the circle!!

God bless – Todd

p.s. – God bless Jennifer Hudson.  She SANG the National Anthem before the Super Bowl!

p.s. 2 – NFL Man of the Year Kurt Warner did his thing and I was really pulling for him.  Love his sense of faith.

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How do You Keep the Music Playing? Dealing with the Death of a Loved One, Rebirth Through the New Year & Funky Art!

Oil Pastel Art for the 09...©ArtofTodd.com

Wow – James Ingram is from my hometown of Akron, Ohio.  Of course, so is LeBron “King” James & Chris “Beanie” Wells.  And the point is…

Akron - home of the Goodyear blimp

Akron - home of the Goodyear blimp

Evidently, Ingram is this dope a#s singer from way back in the day. Don’t know how many of you have heard the sappy classic How Do You Keep the Music Playing. But, I was in the mall, heard it, and through the wonders of Google, found out James Ingram sang it.

But I digress…my Mom passed this past October.  It’s left a huge hole in my heart.  I was depressed (so that’s what it’s like).  I’ve heard a parent passing is something you can’t relate to until you go through it.  It’s true & I got new found respect and understanding for Kanye West & his public struggles.  I pretty much stopped creatively.  Had trouble focusing and sleeping. A walking zombie

Thought I was losing it in some ways.  No doubt I miss my Mom…her laugh, smile, unconditional love, encouragement, spirit, humor, guidance…but I have to believe she is in a better place.  And I know she would want me to get my ‘ish’ together and carry on.  I was blessed to have her.  I’m blessed with wonderful family & friends.

So – the New Year is here. And for the first time I feel this real sense of New Year’s Day renewal all up in my chakras. I set up my art table and painted last night.  Was wondering what music to vibe on…having grown past my Tupac and 50 Cent (oh, and Budweiser for now).

Sippin’ on a classier upscale brew (Corona!) while listening to the darkest most sophisticated  Steely Dan track ever (Deacon Blues -one of the absolute most killer lyrics in rock history) and some even darker Gino Vannelli (don’t ask where I got it, but Crazy Life is murder) – I flowed again.  Always feel gotta’ wallow in the dark to see the light.

My Mom was working through me…and I GOT MY MOJO WORKIN’! This art piece is entitled Crazy.  To really get back into my art, I have to do more originals.  To top it off, tonight, I even stopped by the local restaurant and am now booked to play an acoustic set on January 21.  Haven’t practiced my guitar or sung since right before my Mom passed.  And, I joined the local art council.  It’s time to get loose!  Time to find my voice again.

I hope this New Year, the saddle finds u back in it too!  Thanks for stopping by.  Thanks Mom…I feel u talkin’ to me.

"Let's ride!"

Let’s keep the music playing!  Let’s get Tantric up in the chakras!

God bless, Peace and soul y’all – Todd

p.s. – My Black Folk Art expresses the universal experience…and this is mine…hope u feel my flow…

p.s. 2 – wanna’ make this blog an interactive experience? play the Steely Dan or Gino Vannelli tracks above while studying Crazy.  Music sometimes tells me where my head is at a given moment in time.  Feel my flow?

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Obama vs. McCain – Two Dudes, the Election, and the Art of Dreaming BIG Funky Art Style!

"Happy Birthday Mr. President..."

"Happy Birthday...Mr. President"

Click this link to get the 2-D effect while reading this post!

Obama and McCain…more in common than we think?

The one common theme – BIG dreamin’! An art form ya’ dig…pure as rain falling from Peruvian skies.  Really now, has there ever been two more unexpected candidates for president?

McCain looks old as that Biblical dude Methuselah & and with his misremembering, acts just as old too.  Lil’ John’s so old he could be Elmer Fudd’s illegitimate older half brother.  Let’s be real – A POW from ‘Nam means U R OLD.  But give him props – he hasn’t let ANYONE tell him he’s too old to be called “Mr. President“.

Obama…definitely throwin’ big ones on the table!  If you are a Black guy  lookin’ to be called “Mr. President“, shouldn’t your name be something unabashedly Black and easy off the lips like “Lincoln Washington”?

I still got hops y'all

Then “Oback” (it’s just easier for me to combine the names – try it – rolls nicely off the tongue!) spent his formative years in Hawaii for gosh sakes!  Is that really considered part of the U.S. (still not as bad as hailing from ALASKA)?

Good thing he plays basketball!  That’s American!

"Yup he's Black for sure Margaret!"

"Yup he's Black for sure Marg'ret!"

Yet, in spite of the election posturing & satirical humor and, no matter your political leanings, these guys are schooling us.

The lesson – age is no excuse for not pursuing a dream &  color can not be the hurdle that stops one from coming out of the blocks determined to not only run, but WIN the race.

Don’t ever quit, don’t ever give up…fight with me and be the change u are seeking (ha, ha)!  As for the election…

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes

So with all this in mind…I keep drawing my Black Folk Art, keeping dreams of broader horizons alive, living my dream…


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