Arts, culture, ideas & expression of a few wild art monkeys living in an arts loft in Jersey City.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Community in Motion

I had the pleasure of experiencing Insurgo Stage Project's "Art in Motion" on Friday night. It was an evening full of art in all its forms, poetry, visual, music, and movement. I went to support fellow Jersey City performance artist Avianna Perez in what I was sure to be a very successful pursuit and was introduced to so many more talented local artists. What struck me most was the need for more projects like this in the area.

When we sat down in 143 Columbus we were given three cards to fill out, they asked us questions and our answers were used later in the performance. The first of two pieces was called 'The Process of Yes.' 3 women clothed in white stood at the back of the stage area while projections of the city were cast over them, this opening was beautiful and strong. The piece then took us through exactly what the title told us: the process of yes.

The second performance was called 'The Stories We're Made Of" and this performance stole the whole evening for me. Maybe it was the fact that they had an accordion, and I do have a soft spot for anything accordion related. Or possibly that when they read out our answers mine was re-imagined in a hilarious way that was more apt than I knew when I initially wrote the words down. All I know is that when the second act started I immediately felt transported to another time and place. All the ladies moved wonderfully and it was refreshing to find such a strong male dancer in Jason Tseng. The poetry of Kathy Stout was phenomenal; she didn't just speak the words, she made you feel every one of them. When this woman speaks, you listen and I know that I will be looking out for her on the poetry scene in the area and you should be as well.

The whole evening was sponsored by Downtown Live and Grassroots Community Space. Chelo Mercado, Aviana Perez and Justin Woo produced the whole evening and I must say I hope they come together to produce another delightful event very soon.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Come to the darkside. Artists & their demons.

A friend recently said that making art helps keep the demons quiet for a lil while. I agree, but I also think that it's all part of their plan. The voices stay quiet and let us do our thing and lye in the wait, they want us to miss them, and we do. It's so much easier to take advantage of something if it's already vulnerable and those demons know exactly how to marinate our sensitive egos with all the right questions, concerns and aggrivating obstacles that make us ripe for the picking.

Whether its the demon summoning up the unquenchable vices or the demon beckoning your ego to be selfish, the demon is there, or should I say demons.
Before I continue on, in this case I'm not using demon terminology literally. This isn't about demons or deitys are fighting for your soul, rather I'm commenting on the voices from all parts of the ego. The voices want what they want. They want to sate their desires and flush their sensations. For me, art does keep those demons quiet, but not for long. Sometimes it's; Hey johnny, long day in the studio why dont you fix yerself a drink. Other times its much more vulgar and relentless. They comfort me, they accept me and most of all they love to reward me. We sing together, we SHOUT together, we fight off those that stand in our way or try to prevent us from being happy. Those inner demons are our demons, they serve us and they sometimes even protect us so it's no wonder we keep em around. Mine have been around for a long time but they got their own room in my head when I turned 16. Ever since then they have been louder and more demanding and believe me know how to get what they want. It's hard to seperate those things you do for you and those that you do for your demons, bc they tax everything and the lines become blurred. I'm happy enough to say I've managed to learn how to sate them and still be friends and foolish enough to believe I'm in control, but hey atleast i havent given them names. That's when the real shitshow begins. I sure hope none of you are out there naming these things,. NAMES HAVE POWER! Trust me.
We all struggle against our voices and I'm sure there are as many of you out there that are better then me at handling it as there are those that are worse. I only hope that you have something that buys you time, like I have art, because without it I'd be the naked drunken wildman cussing and shouting and fighting my way through existence, living like the devil may already have my soul.

heheh I'm just kidding theres no such thing as a devil. Unless you want there to be.

\Happy trails sinners.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fuck Jersey- An Art show, A sentiment a fun thing to say.

A few years back me and the boys & girls from RockSoup headed south for Art Basel which would be our 2nd or 3rd time traveling to Miami to put on a satellite show. Fuck Jersey-were movin. Was the title of our show and with the exception of making any real sales was successful...atleast in attendance. Due to scheduling conflicts we were unable to attend Art Basel or put on an exhibition last year, but we will be resurrecting the Fuck Jersey brand with our new exhibition; Fuck Jersey- The state you love to hate.

Stay tuned for details on this exhibition. Its sure to be a spectacle greater then the spectacles we've made in the past.


Psychology of Sad people and why it's all your fault.

I've always been fascinated with psychology, but the problem with psychology is it studies defiencies more then the positives of the brain and thus alters the word Psychology giving it a colloquially negative connotation. I prefer the more current psychology practice called Positive Psychology which is the study of those whom are able to exist on a higher plain of happiness and success without all the nasty aftertaste. I've always wondered why people focus so much on the things that make them sad rather then that which makes them happy. I do believe it is important to identify the things in ones life that causes them stress or duress, but to spend ones day complaining and blaming seems to be counter productive and a sure fire way to be in the dumps. I've grown accustomed to identifying these types as "Poor Me" personalities. A term that was coined by James Redfield in his coming of age/ new agey book The Celestine Prophecy.
In any case the book outlines the variety of personality types and the Poor Me type is one of two passive/needy personality types that draw energy from others for their own use. The aggressive types are the intimidator/interrogator and the other passive type is the aloof. We've all been guilty of using these strategies to win favor with others, but when it becomes a consistent pattern we identify that person with one of these terms. If you're wondering- "well John then which are you?" I can answer honestly that I've been accused of being all of them but most identify with the Intimidator or Aloof style of energy taking. I read the Celestine Prophecy many years ago at a typical stage when a person realizes they are on some sort of spiritual path and starts eating up all the books people recommend. The book reads easy and pretty plainly, but I did find the descriptions of personality types quite useful. That being said I'd like to talk about the Poor Me type because I've dealt with alot of these types of people along my path.

First off, lets just say that if you realize you are a Poor Me type as you read this, please try your best not to hate me for pointing out some of the issues I have with these people. I actually have big issues with bully types as well. It's not that these people are bad, but rather I'd like to identify some characteristics of this personality so you can fine tune your own Poor Me barometer and perhaps navigate passed the pitfalls I've endured in my own dealings with them.

Poor Me types are perpetually dealing with their pain. This in an of itself isn't horrible but until they stop blaming and start building up their reserves they really are just being self indulgent. As an outsider you'll never be able to please them, or sate their empty well as its their nature to keep their well empty. Do I have issue with people who interrogate or intimidate me out of my energy? Sure, but I rarely meet these types as these types are bully types and bully types usually pick on weaker energies. I have certainly been guilty of this, but I can say since reading the book have been more aware and thus require less from others. Filling your own well of energy is a healthier strategy and is done the same way for all types, that is to fill your own well so you don't need from others you must simply offer your services, guidance and love to others. In doing so your well fills up. Its also important to have a confidence in your energy as well or you are at risk of depleting the very resources you aim to share.
If I'm saying the way to fill your well is to give to others who need why would I care of this Poor Me type is taking from me? Well it's simple; the Poor Me type always needs and can always find an excuse why they cant do for themselves. They also blame those around them for their circumstances and situations. This does more then simply deplete your well. It harms the structure of the well as well. With the Poor Me type they obsess over themselves in a self indulgent manner. It's always about their pain, their progress, their difficulties, but furthermore its the outside affecting them and usually this leads to cascading emotional outbursts that vary from tears to shouting, self righteousness or down right meanness. This is because by focusing all their energy on thoughts of themselves they believe they are solving something when they point the finger at their would be assailant. In their eyes identifying the culprit of their pain is progress and thus they are making headway. I have strong issue with this as I'm sure you can tell by now I've been at the receiving end of quite a few Poor Me types in my life and for verrrrry long stretches of time. I've exhausted myself trying to build up their confidence only to be blamed for destroying it with a single word, or lack thereof. This is how the Poor Me mind set works. They use the good deeds you offer when it suits them, but they hone in on the off color comment or joke in bad taste and decide that one thing will stay with them all day or week. They may use it as a brick in their emotional wheel barrel unbeknownst to you and it doesnt come out of the wheel barrel if you offer your help, a compliment or a good deed. It stays in that wheel barrel until they've ammassed enough bricks to dump out at once in a grand emotional poor me display of pain and anger. Theres no way of knowing which things you've said or done are being collected, because it's also the things you don't say or do that cripple them. So be warned when dealing with a Poor Me, theres never enough good deeds, kind words or valiant acts that can be done to win their favor because if you were the one whom added a brick to their barrel unknowingly became the grand victimizer in their poor me story. So tread lightly or not all. The best you can hope for a Poor Me is that they move on to the next stage passed identifying their victimizers and begin true forgiveness. The kind without anger or accusation. This is the positive side of psychology we hear less about. The kind of psychology that tells a person; Your strong enough to survive this, change the negative patterns now and take accountability for your own happiness. You can't inflict happiness on someone, thats because it comes from inside of us and it's the only way a Poor Me will find peace.
I wish all you Poor Me people peace. Happy Spring.