Artists! What comes first -The Chicken or the Egg? Plus – How Diddy ALMOST First Met Alicia Keys! The Path of An Artist Continues…

I always found with music,  sometimes u have to change your groove up to get your groove up – buy a new synth, change scenery, hair,  beats, girls (in extreme cases HA)…do something to keep the juices flowing.  Same with art.  

Headed to Mecca 2morrow (Pearl Paint)  to get down on some new Mafioso sizin’, Biggie stylin’, Diddy “I Am King” cologne smellin’ Oil Pastels to get my inspiration on over the long weekend!  

I’m thinking big thick Sennelier joints  and maybe even test driving some Holbeins.  Can’t wait!  

Got another gig  for me music too.  My spiritual warrior  Christy M. is throwing a Brooklyn music party in late February and invited me to perform!  So now that my voice is slowly coming back, better get the ax out and start hittin’.  All ’bout the change yo!

 I’ll share my new art works at end of the weekend… 

Blessings – T

p.s. – Aspiration – Sean “Diddy” Combs – Buy  My Art Yo!!!  Deck your halls, shake your walls!  Barter style – I’ll buy some cologne!  

Funny Diddy Story I just thought about (True Hollywood Story):

Was actually in Diddy’s studio years ago with my bro’ when we were writer/producers (Bro’ is an AMAZING movie script writer now).  We were invited to his studio by one of his dudes.  His security checked us outside the studio & radioed up to clear us.  We entered the building, took the elevator up and who answers the door but…Puffy (at the time)  himself.  We gave the obligatory “what’s up, we are so in so’s“.  He was very modest…said “I’m Puff” and gave us the pound.  

Let’s see now – his studio, his GIANT ASS Oz like entrance door- and he’s introducing himself to our  no-name having selves (like we didn’t know who he was).  Imagine that!  

Then, we met with dude who invited us and he proceeded to play our tracks at literally whisper level so as he said –  no one would steal ’em.  But in retrospect, we realized he played ’em low volume so Puff wouldn’t hear our sound and take it from him.

Funny enuf – in the meeting, one of the tracks we played was this joint we wrote and produced – the first track ever sung in studio by an unsigned Alicia Keys (and was then being played in late night rotation on NYC’s Hot 97).  My how history might have changed for all if Puff heard that joint.  

Strange meeting…stranger world!   Path of an artist…continues…

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The Resident Artist

…has been trapped in his residence.  Artistic brains are insane!

Yo – I appreciate good health.  After a week of allergies turning into a blistering cold featuring gyrating fever, temperature defying chills, stiff shoulders from being pretty much bed-ridden (outside of the family errands) and too much time sucking down the digital thermometer (OH BABY!)…I am back in good health again (thank God).  

Even lost my voice for two daze.  Of course, didn’t help my psyche when a co-worker told me she knew some dude who lost his voice and he never spoke again!  Words of wisdom, pound of prevention, or total psyche out I’m not sure… but made me shut up for two days!  Mum was my favorite word yo!

Had the weirdest dreams too.  One I remember is that NBA  baller Adam Morrison was traded to the Lakers for Sasha Vujačić.  Before the trade, in my dream, Adam and I were chillin’ in a bar somewhere sippin’ brews and shootin’ the gip.  Then I woke up and the trade was confirmed on ESPN, except he was traded for Vlad Radmanivic.  I better lay off the NyQuil!  Good luck Adam!  He was one of my favorite college players and I hope he gets some light in LA.  Dreamin’ ’bout trades – I better get with the Cleveland Cavs again (did a Public Relations internship there back in the day)!  Time to start my career as a GM maybe…

Naturally, I slept so much over the past couple days that I can’t go to sleep now!  Whoever said life makes sense?!  Of course, being the hyper artist I am, I upgraded my WordPress version in my hyper state.  

Peace & Sleep!

Todd

p.s. – still working on lowering my cost per art print production…locally.

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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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sshhh…Artists at Work – New York New Media Meetup Innovators

Attended the New York New Media Meetup Innovators meeting last night.  Very chilled kind of affair.  Met some really interesting folks who truly represent the Digirati of global social media.  In spite of all the rather depressing news out here – impending layoffs, folks out of work, folks looking for work, folks out of work looking to party up…spirits were high overall. My lesson from the evening – digital new media (Web 24.0 yo?) is thriving, moving forward, and VERY MUCH ALIVE!  

Specific lessons learned during the evening –

  • I like free champagne!
  • Blog baby, blog (thanks Sarah Palin…anybody remember her?) 
  • Know that even in a downturn- we media mavens and artists, with a trusty laptop and internet connection, can still shake up the world.  We are the information revolution!
  • Give to give (which has always been my philosophy).  Social networking LIVES!
Thanks to David Gusick & Hubert Lee for organizing.  In spite of the global downturn, we gotta’ keep our heads up to paraphrase my man Tupac!

 

p.s. – I’ve been using the Phillips Sonicare Toothbrush the past week.  Do really clean teeth help the creative process?  We shall see…not unless I stain the chompers with my oil pastels while painting… 

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The Art of Change, Personal Revolution & Hope for the Flowers!

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself    

Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol


          

These boyz could create!
These boyz could create!

 

Well, well, well…change can be swift!  i received my first unsolicited blog comment today and gotta’ say – I am pretty excited!  A kindred spirit named Alinde O’Malley thanked me for mentioning Trina Paulus’ book Hope for the Flowers.  Well I thank Ms. O’Malley for taking time to read my blog, comment and share!  I thank Ms. Paulus for writing such an incredibly uplifting, spiritual book.

Change (in a MAJOR way) came this week in the form of President Obama being sworn in.  Growing up for many, this was truly unfathomable…but the table was set years ago by Rev. Jessie Jackson.  In spite of people’s opinion of Jessie and his recent public faux pas, he did his thing with his Rainbow run in the 80’s and was omnipresent during the Civil Rights movement.  Props to Shirley Chisholm too!  Just shoutin’ out!Obama as President, while not solving all the world’s ills, does give us hope…and hope and faith (along with a dose of elbow grease) is the most we can ask!  Hope is not a quantifiable thang…can’t buy it, can’t put a finger on it, can’t taste it, can’t smell it…but ya’ know when u got it.

So, change is my theme and this is my year of positive change (probably best evidenced by news I recently received saying – ‘hey pal, you might be layed off!’ Lemons to lemonade yo!).  I just wrote this song entitled ‘Revolution‘. Debuted it on my acoustic guitar two nights ago playing a solo gig.  Still flushing it out but it definitely moved the crowd. I’m really excited ’bout the lyrics and hope u enjoy.

(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
fist up, 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, open up my eyes
(chorus)
copyright – artoftodd 2009

 

Well, i gotta’ run.  My mission is to paint one joint per week (fulfill my destiny as a friend  so positively put it!) – so off to the art table and the oil pastels! Peace yo…spread luv like butta’ on toast…stay creative – Todd the Artist

 

Hope u feel my motivation!
Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me – Carol Burnett

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War, Obama, Army Grunts…and Something New in Hip-Hop (Random Thoughts from a Modern-Day Folk Artist)

WAR – What Is It Good For?!

Don’t know what your opinion is regarding what President Obama (a victory for all btw!) will do about the skirmishes around the world in which the U.S.A. is involved.  But no matter your political views on the military deployments  (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.), I have to give a special shout to the Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force soldier boys and girls in the trenches.

Specifically, sending a shout out to my boy Gabe Tolliver. Gabe is the ultimate in creativity and a one man Art of War yo.   And, even though he’s now living the military life, he is still keeping his creative flow going – documenting what life is like from inside the Green Monster. Documenting the fact that soldiers represent something to somebody.   And, no matter our opinion about fighting, they should represent something to us. More than a number…Peace to the world. Spread love not hate. Live the good life but every once in a while…eat a lil’ pork!

Something New in Hip-Hop

Indie Hip-Hop at it's finest

Indie Hip-Hop at it's finest

I recently contributed a lil’ something to the making of a CD by this new Hip-Hop artist named Shake Dizzy.  Tracks are tight, flow is nice and overall great production – especially considering Shake financed this up by the bootstraps style (enterprising dude).  The joint called “Dimes” is as good as any.  Support indie music yo!  I think Shake is gonna’ blow up!  All he needs is the buzz and some airplay!  Somebody gotta’ give my boy Shake some $$ to go into that million dolla’ studio & holla’…ride with him, and let him marinate a bit like chicken on a spit.  He’s there now…just imagine his future yo!!

Check it out…spread the word!

Oh – and check out Shake live on Saturday, February 7th, at Eden (760 8th Avenue between 46th & 47th Manhattan).  Doors open at 10pm.  It’s the album release party yo!

What am I reading now to Keep “my” Soul Together (RIP Freddie Hubbard – the Michael Jordan of trumpeters):

This book is AMAZING.   Spin your cocoon, move down the pillar, and search for your butterfly yo!

Maybe, just maybe, life is this simple.  What a philosophy to live by.

Black folks definitely have a little pathology regarding wealth accumulation.  This book, which is totally on the down-low reading list wise, breaks it down psychologically and historically.  Gotta’ say though, on the whole, this book is great reading for anyone because in some ways – the $$ issues are universal.  My Pops gave this to me some years ago and I am re-reading ’cause it’s time to move on to the next phase!

Art is Life – Peace – Todd

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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…


(more…)

Free Your Mind & Your Ass Will Follow! Welcome to the blog of ArtofTodd.com…Funky Art Central!

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a different way to stand.” Oprah Winfrey

Welcome to my blog y’all – STARDATE 200808.27 (no I’m not a Trekkie, but thought this was kinda’ tight). What could be better than a few select words from Oprah, that beacon of positivity, to kick it off!

George "Dr. Funkenstein" Clinton of P-Funk

George "Dr. Funkenstein" Clinton of P-Funk - Free Your MIND!

I was working out with my trainer (Tony) yesterday and he showed me this new exercise called an ab dip crunch.  I’m athletic (at least i think so!), but was struggling to find my center of gravity – so I kept shaking as I dipped.

I performed three of these shaky dips before I paused,focused on the body part that would stop my shakin’ like an old Dodge trying to push 160mph, and then performed 15 dip crunches sans shakes.

this is a real yellow piss bucket

Ol' piss yellow Dodge

Afterwards, I told Tony I talked to my body and told it what to do so I could perform successfully.  Tony said this is a very spiritual & Buddhist approach to working out – don’t fight the flow, just realign your mind.

so back to Oprah – this workout in the most basic way illustrated  a challenge that forced me to focus and find a new center of gravity…”a different way to stand”.

Oprah Winfrey

Maybe one day Oprah will get down with ArtofTodd.com! Nothing comes to a sleeper but a dream...

On a broader playing field, in this life journey, I think the trick is to continue finding new centers of gravity because staying the same just ain’t an option as new challenges are thrust upon us.

So I gots to keep groovin’ Black Folk Art detailing the universal experience, changing with the wind.!

Peace and blessings –

Todd

p.s. – Thanks to the iGoogle Motivational Quote of the Day!!  Thanks to George “Dr. Funkenstein” Clinton, Eddie Hazel & Ray Davis of P-Funk for this post title!  And, thanks to Rick James for the blog subtitle.

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