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

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ideas don't have feelings {Philosophy Break}

I don't have much capacity for information, just ideas.
I'm horrible at remembering names, or even places I visited on vacation. I don't know band names, am horrible at math and even worse at pointing out a place on a map, but it doesn't stop there. I also noticed a while back that people tended to have much more passion in their recollection of events then I did. I would live the event with passion, but my memory of it was more detached. I wish I could say it's because I am soo present in the moment and that's all there is for me, but I'm sure that's not the case. It's probably because I don't give the past as much credence as the future. When discussing the past, especially where people are involved you will find that they will always bring with them all their past experiences, insecurities, judgments etc;

I've been working at broadening my perspective a bit and as a result I tend to have even less feelings connected to my memories. Some of you may think this is a bad thing, but really it's not.It's not like you become a cold blooded lizard, you just observe from a different perspective.

When a situation transpires it's significance is different for every person involved, but that's not where it ends; then there are those inevitable dramatic re-tellings of the story and the memories of it thereafter. You have the new feelings dry-humping the old feelings into submission. The old feelings concede again and again, in essence changing history. Then ofcourse you have "her feelings". If you find yourself in a situation that involves her feelings you should know that her feelings will always be more important than yours. That is a fact you can not escape. ;)

I say focus on IDEAS because how could anyone's memory stand a chance against someone else's feelings?

Ideas wait for you at the door and ask you to demand more from THEM, meanwhile memories will always demand more from YOU. Ideas don't have feelings, but LOVE THAT WE DO! In fact ideas ask that you bring your passion to the table whenever you meet. Ideas are more powerful then memories or feelings or even people. They can be cultivated, corrupted, capitalized on or bring great consequences. My favorite kinds of ideas keep me up at night. I love all kinds of ideas, from inventions to policy, but the ones I love most are the pure and intangible kind. The big ideas that may have no answer. The sort of ideas that people ask "why do you bother or care"?.

I bother because they are always there waiting for me. They want me to care. They let me pick up where I left off, and if my memory fails me, I get to experience the sensation of rediscovery without consequence. They expose me to even more ideas and with every new idea more feelings are evoked. Not the type of feelings that cloud memory or judgment, the sort of feelings that invigorate and embolden. The good kind. So that's why I bother because it's so much fun and besides, they're expecting me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Figure Drawing... a collaboration

I model for figure drawing classes as often as possible. There are a lot of great opportunities here on this side of the Hudson to attend sessions as an artist. I'm lucky enough to work with Paul Vincent Studios as well as Jersey City Art School

I've always modeled because I love the arts and I can't draw very well. It's what I do to be a part of art, and I guess there's a little vanity thrown in there (it is both humbling and elating to have someone draw you). This whole notion of being a part of art brought me to a discussion the other day, the artist I was working with said that a piece of art that came about from a figure drawing session was a collaboration between the model and artist. This statement changed my mind about what I actually do when I stand still for so long. Rather than thinking that I'm inspiring art, I'd like to think I'm collaborating on it.

(Drawing on wood done by Virginia Kamenitzer)


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse: DYING all the way to the top.

Amy Winehouse died today presumably of an overdose and it made me think of a BANKSY quote I read somewhere; "All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?"
I Love this quote. Clearly Amy is a different type of artist, but it speaks more to an artists willingness to suffer as long as the suffering isn't more hard work at their craft. Artist's love their suffering..well really humans love their suffering. Suffering is something we endure while on our path to success, but then for those proud few successful types whom make it to the top, what do they find when they get there? MORE SUFFERING.
Is it because there is suffering everywhere and it's inescapable? I'm not so sure. I mean yes of course I am aware of the suffering all around us, NAY I am aware of the suffering that FUELS US!
Fuels U.S,
FuelIsU.S. ...

.........We are a world built on the backs of others suffering, so yes its easy to imagine that suffering is an inescapable beast that is hot on our trails, but that's not how I honestly see it. I think we NEED to suffer to believe our lives are worth something. This could be b/c of our history/psychology our own personal pathology, but in any case I think it's there b/c we bring it with us wherever we go and we set it down in place whenever we reach our next goal. Case in point; Amy Winehouse ...or take your pick from a long list of artists/musicians whom reach the coveted spot of super stardom or fame only to let that status unravel them through new levels of indulgence and suffering.
Yes this is inspired by Amy Winehouse's recent passing, but really it's more personal than that. Amy's drug use wasn't a secret. Her last performance was a shitshow fiasco, her relationship proudly displayed it and her songs were cadences to debauchery. So we aren't surprised, especially when deaths happen due to overdoses in the Rock N Roll world, but what really compelled me to write on this topic was the kitchen table conversation I was having here at 660 about a room mates Facebook post that spawned a bunch of hate for "junky artists". I'm currently taking a much needed break from Facebook, so I didn't read the posts, but hearing how many people responded with disdain for her because of the obviousness of her bad habits made me wonder if we would respond similarly if we lost one of our own "junky artists" here in Jersey City? These types of reactions happen all the time. It wasn't any one status message/reaction or commentary that inspired this, its the pattern we all play a part in. A famous somebody passes away and there are reactions on both ends, many are usually dramatic and often there is a call for us all to wake up and quit giving so much credence to one druggy performer's death when there are countless deaths that happen in vein each day for which we should be outraged over. I get it, but I think disdain for the artists that can't manage their vices should be reexamined. I don't see them the same way I see any hustler on the street trying to get his fix at all costs. These are damaged persons, yet talented in their own right and seeing talent go to waste is disappointing and at times aggrivating, however I find their plight is worth understanding because at times it was manageable and treatable..through art. They just forgot how to keep the magic, and it's something easily forgotten, it's intangible.

I lost a tenant a few years back because of a "bad habit" and even though we weren't that close, all you could feel was compassion for him. Good people have bad habits too. He was good people. He suffered, for whatever reason and even suffered by not being able to suffer. Being clean was hard for him, so every day was a struggle. For some of us we can't go a day without a beer or a trip to the bar to see whats good downtown. We can't be alone, hate knowing there's a party going on that we aren't at or an opening everyone will be talking about. And when we get there...we bring our bad habits. Our lil pocket full of suffering.
What would the JC art scene, or perhaps any art/music scene be without its vices? If you live in Jersey City, you've loved an addict. If you party in J.C you are friends with more then a few. Is the vice the issue, or is it how often and how hard that vice is being indulged in? I'm a fan of letting people have their vices as long as they are getting the job done. That job being their art/music/ etc; That's why were here right?? You chose this life so you could be a successful and respected artist right? Well unfortunately when you got here you found out that all the other scenesters were out celebrating something. Maybe it was their opening, their closing, their performance or the fact that it's Tuesday and their day job is done for you partied with them. Whats the difference between you and Amy Winehouse? If you worked hard as she had and achieved her level of success would you have done it with or without your lil friendly vices...and what about all the lil vices that come with the friends that follow you up there?
We're built for endurance, so we test ourselves. We tell ourselves this is what "fun" is, what "rock n roll" is and what being young and makin it happen feels like.
and many forget that when the party is over they should keep making the music, the art, THE MAGIC..
Say what you want about Amy, but she was a great singer, and a balls rockstar. Perhaps she suffered too much/too often to stay focused.
R.I.P Amy Winehouse
R.I.P to all the would-be Winehouses we will lose too early to vice.


Friday, July 22, 2011

If I were elected President- I'd kill all the mosquitos.

..and maybe the roaches too! I'm sure roaches serve a more important purpose in our ecosystem being we are such filthy creatures and need someone to clean up our refuse. However...mosquitos...oh man, I'd wage a war bigger then that of the infamous war on drugs or terror, it would be the war of wars! Casualties everywhere. Mosquitos droppin like flies! In fact there would be so many dead mosquitos that the new saying would be "droppin like mosquitos". What about gnats you ask? Yup them too. Green flies can go as well. Listen whatever predatory animal that feeds on these creatures hasnt stepped up their game and populated enough to handle all these pests so fuck em. I'm sure plenty of mosquitos will slip through the cracks and God knows I'm not goin into the amazon to kill these fuckers, I'm just sayin my administration would effectively eliminate the mosquito issue so that it becomes a non-issue. People would say, "what were mosquitos like mommy" and then they'd talk about how the great President Fathom eradicated all the mosquitos and restored peace to summer. They'd make propaganda posters with me squashing the fuckers all over town and anytime someone completely wiped out a species they'd say "yo he Fathom'd those fuckers".
Yeah, I know, I know thats a horrible thing to have connected to your name, but I'm not concerned with how the bleeding hearts will tel my story. I'm interested in how history will tell of a time when a man with the right kind of vision stepped up and took care of business. When past Presidencies were busy killing humans, I spend mine killing mosquitoes. I'd squash them like the bugs they are and to be honest when it comes to foreign relations, I think foreign leaders would applaud my vision and wish for a mosquito-less country themselves. In fact, I also think they would see me as a man that gets things done and isn't afraid of special interest groups getting in the way of what needs to be done. They would say; "That president Fathom really tackles issues head on. Once that fella gets something in his sights, its good as done"
Damn right!
Death to Mosquitoes.
It's the new revolution. A president that takes care of issues that effect all the people. Every people. After that we can discuss other concerns like parking or why people still won't serve us booze on Sundays. I'll even take on the price of a movie and the end of reality tv shows, but first we tackle the BIG issues.

Fathom for President.?


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Oscar the Grouch-The orgin story.

Last nite I had many strange dreams. Usually my dreams are adventurous and I get to utilize one of my superpowers like flying, floating, long-jumping, levitating, multiplication, multiple perspective or dream suggestion. On this particular evening I had a series of strange story telling dreams. I only can recall a portion of 2 of the dreams like how in the 1st one I appeared as a character in The Wizard of Oz, but my character wasn't from the original screenplay it was a new character...The Steel Plated Shark. Yes, the steel plated shark boasts an entire head plated and riveted in steel while the rest of it's form is left unchanged. I swam through the air and was fearless. That's all I recall from the dream, but the significance is pretty clear. I put sharks up their with my most feared of creatures on earth. They are perfect cold killing machines and I have 0% interest in ever meeting one in person. To steel plate the head of the shark makes it even more powerful so I guess I fashioned myself as unstoppable in this dream although I would normally never liken myself to a shark- too many negative connotations to bad businessmen,.In any case. After having witnessed myself as a shark in this Oz dream I used my power of suggestion and asked myself to take a stab at Sesame Street. The result was the orgin story of OSCAR THE GROUCH.

I thought briefly of Harry Potter and all the films coming out these days and how the orgin story is everyone's favorite. Oscar was always my favorite..although I did like Ernie too. lol. As the story went it showed Oscar as a young apprentice to a powerful sorcerer of Sesame Streets underworld. A world very few, if any even knew of. The young Oscar was tall lean and brightly colored green. He was a bright student whom worked his way up to the esteemed position of apprentice to the sorcerer of sesame street. His role would later become to hold and maintain the position of permanent guardian to the underworld. The underworld is accessible through various portal & chambers, but mainly through Oscars garbage can. The sorcerer put Oscar in this position when he prepared for the incantation and coming of "The BIG Bird".
The big bird was necessary...perhaps as some guardian and protector of the upper-world known as "Sesame Street"- Perhaps to balance some equation?

Oscars grouchiness was no coincidence either. Many might suppose that Oscar's demeanor had to do with some sort of frustration with people or with his position as permanent guardian of the filthy underworld, however it was decided that Oscar would be rude and grouchy as to prevent any interest in the underworld and what lurks beneath the garbage/ sewage of their Sesame City. The idea being; if every time you thought of such things you would think of mean old Oscar= that would kill any curiosity or interest you'd have in the Sesame underworld.

There you have it. Oscar's orgin story. Lets make a movie.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

A More Mature Alicia Ruth

660-er Alicia Ruth is out in full force this summer with a collection of new art pieces to be showcased at Jersey City's White Star bar. The show opens tomorrow (Friday, July 15) at 8pm!

I wrangled the rogue artist and got to talk to her more about her work - listen to the interview here!:

Artist in natural habitat.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On Branding with Susan Newman.

Brand Identity specialist Susan Newman gets to the bottom of RockSoup's logo and all the hows and whys of our whats.

Click here for the interview in original form->

How long has your company been in business? Please tell us a bit about your company, its mission, goals…
JF-Since about 2004, but not officially till 2006. We began as a large art collective that meant to create mixed media events with anyone that had passion and drive, but we streamlined into a collective of just a few organizers producing events and exhibitions with the intention of fostering collaboration and generating interest in the arts.

Do you donate to charities? Tell us about that also and why.
JF-No, not yet.

How did you know what typeface (font) would be right for your company wordmark or logo? If your logo has an illustration, describe why that art was the right thing, animal, place, object, etc…
JF-We hired the great Holly Tienken of Design Grace for our logo design. We went with something with a historic appeal, but also incorporated some scribble on the outside of what looks literally like a type of brand that could be burnt onto the side of a cattle to loosen it up and expand it. We are quite happy with what she came up with for us.

How did you decide on the right color palette to fit your company look and feel?
JF- We always knew we wanted black and white. We considered black and silver as well, but with so many artists involved with different tastes and palettes we trusted in Holly’s ability to produce a classy timeless logo. Bringing color into the branding would have been a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, because we started out with so many artists providing input.

How did you decide which type of designer to work with, or did you design your own identity and web presence?
JF-We saw Holly’s design for Bag the Habit, which is a company she is now partner in and which I always thought was a genius logo… nuff said.

In what order did you present your company to the world? Did you start with marketing and products, or website, blog and social media?
JF-Our website never quite launched. Maintaining the site was too cumbersome for a bunch of artists more interested in making art then the business of promoting it. Beyond that we built a presence through word of mouth driven by community events, parties, exhibitions in NY, Miami and NJ. We also recently launched our blog; which combines the personality of those that work out of our arts building and those that are Rock Soup Studios. Beyond that Twitter and Facebook help keep things moving along fine.

How long after the launch of your company did you start pitching in social media?
JF-Social media has become part of everyone’s life, it’s no longer just a company’s concern. Facebook/Twitter are now corporations pretending to be individuals, while individuals pretend to be companies. Trying to recall when we started pitching is impossible because the transition/merging of our company profile and our personal profile was almost seamless.

Did you do research or study any software, take webinars, teleclasses, before approaching any area of your marketing or web presence?
JF- Nyugen Smith is one the directors here at RSS and he is better versed on the subject then I, so I refer to him when I have questions of this nature and he usually steers us in the right direction.

Do you advertise locally in newspapers and/or nationally in magazines? Are they effective?
JF-We only advertise our events and exhibitions, so have no use for this fairly dated form of advertising.

Do you advertise online using Google, Facebook or on other company sites? Are they effective?
JF- Facebook is effective, but because so few actually check their invites we also use text messaging, flyers and email blasts if/when necessary. The blog will come in handy post production.

When you printed your products, packaging, business cards and other print marketing did you choose an online printer or visit a local vendor?
JF- A local vendor whom I cannot recall. We change vendors with every print job depending on the style, count, location and price.

Did you know anything about different types of papers, when you wanted to print your marketing materials?
JF- Just what your average art student would know.

Have you ever used “green” technology in printing, using FSC certified papers or recycled paper and if not, how likely are you at trying this on a next project?
JF- Do you count using paper I had in the studio and printing at home? lol

If you sell products, are they produced in the U.S.A. or abroad?
JF- U.S.A., we are local artists.

Is there anything you haven’t yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
JF- Of course. As individual artists we hope to continue to grow and expand our careers and the careers of artists we collaborate with through RockSoup via large scale exhibitions in other cities or out of our building at 660 Grand. Personally I’m interested in taking over more buildings like 660 and creating these artist enclaves in different cities.
Time will tell.

Susan manages check out her site for more info on how you can brand yourself better.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

We are water. {Philosophy Break}

I've been thinking alot about WATER. We are mostly water, as is our planet, so why don't we study water, its behavior etc;?
I have some theories I'd like to share, perhaps soon. For now- think about water. Behave like water.
- Fathom