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 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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Warhol…the Artist…Nothing need more be said…

If I am EVER so blessed as to be interviewed for my music or art…substitute black for white skin and this will be me responding to every question. Wouldn’t it be great to go through life like this! Brilliant!! The wonders of the creative force in full display. Ha, ha

Peace yo – Todd, the soon to be reclusive Black artist morphing into a little man with white skin

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It’s the God in Me…by Mary Mary (and Shout to Ryan Leslie)

Peep this…the art in Hip-Hop! It’s the God in Me by Mary Mary. A little off the beaten path of the usual hip-hop pablum. Usual bling subject matter, vocal autotune, etc… but with a nice twist on spirituality. Had 2 share.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Drake, Jay-Z (though neither can bring it live), 50 (a little played) & Lil’ Wayne, but the messages are not necessarily uplifting for the world. So finally, though still in the self-involved style of modern Hip-Hop, The God in Me is something a lil’ off the beaten path.

Hope u enjoy.

Oh…one more – peep this boy out yo! Ryan Leslie (“Diamond Girl”) is kinda’ good and an up-and-comer yo. I like this making of video clip…

Peace – Todd

To quote The Police, We are spirits in the material world…UAKSSMRSBFHPEWPOKGVX

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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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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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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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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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