Here’s a little self-portrait / photogram composite and part of a larger installation I made at 19, the final of my darkroom class. I had brought my partially broken 35mm Canon to my favorite little cemetery, a tiny fenced in plot holding the 19th century remains of the Chamberlain family in East Albany, VT; I grew up on that family’s hill. I always felt comfortable there among the graves somehow, like their inhabitants could offer me some understanding from the depths of their silence over the heartbreak and health plagues that both cast their shadows upon – and also sought some comfort within – my trips home to them in college.
Grief burns no less at 19 than at later points in life. But at 19, we might wish to dramatize its demons, as the rearing of their heads is more fresh somehow. We are obvious about our pain; we paint it upon ourselves in bold strokes like war paint. We put our heads behind the bars of our dollhouse chairs if actual prisons hold no place for us and our seemingly clean records, and we make selfies.
That is, until we wake up and realize that we all suffer, and that suffering isn’t exclusive, precious, or noteworthy, but simply commonplace. Until we realize that those who need not paint their pain so obviously are maybe the stronger among us. Until we realize that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional, as a friend just reminded me over the phone… CLICK for more. MORE
I was just going through a stack of old snaps I’d taken with my film camera back in my early days in NY. I took this photo where I was living in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, on the morning of 9/11. My friend and roommate had just learned that she was pregnant with her first child, and was out jogging; it was my Dad’s birthday; and I couldn’t understand the tension I was feeling about getting dressed for work. Prior to being alerted, of course, to what was happening just across the river.
I went to the rooftop. Moving my camera from the point of terror upward (CLICK MORE to see it), I found myself shooting the soft and haunting abstracts of a sky whose crystal blue gradient was quickly, but quietly, being taken over by an aggressive courtship with brown, and with the off-white of only those things that are sick…
As a standalone shot (as with all things abstracted from their original sources of muck or stain) what really is happening here in this second shot as a resulting gem of this – the greatest blindside in our country’s experience – but a gorgeous pastel form? One I’m almost inclined to have printed on some bed sheet from a print-on-demand company soliciting from my inbox, so that I might wrap myself in the celebration of being a breathing, seeing enigma in a sea of breathtaking compositions emerging from even the harshest of tragedies. And stay wrapped in that, often.
I am willing to soak in the beauty that is the result of being blindsided. And I know about being blindsided.
Yet if I could feel this openhearted sensitivity about the skyline’s beauty on 9/11, why could I not arrive at that abstract bed sheet of smiles more easily when blindsided by betrayal in more personal a form? CLICK FOR MORE MORE
I am developing a new product, and I am seeking three people from among you to practice on!
WHAT YOU WILL GET: a high value, signed, custom performance piece about your life, programmed onto a 2” push-button playback device, in exchange for simply offering me 10 minutes of yourself via a recorded call, and a testimonial once you’ve received your piece!
MANTRA ME is a 90-second poem about you, written & performed by me. My Mantra Boxes are a new form of custom performance art where I speak to your pain, your person, or your projected desired future, with the intention of prompting emotional catharsis, self-connection, and life celebration within you.
Maybe you need support breaking through addictive thoughts or patterns?
Maybe you are suffering a breakup and need some emotional anchoring to get you through to the other side?
Or maybe you are simply curious about owning a one-of-a-kind performance box that offers my take on who you are?
IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR MY FREE PRACTICE ROUND, CLICK and you will find a link to a form. Please fill it out and submit it back to me by midnight on Thursday 10/2, and I will be in touch! MORE
I have been silent during some significant life transitions these past two months. I hope the summer has treated you all well!
I wanted to let you know that I’m back, and that I’m currently creating a podcast focused on shaking up our perspectives on relationship – in the broadest sense of the term – expanding upon the more audio driven nature of my recent work, The Betrayal Project. (For those of you who have inquired, yes, you will see its face again!)
Why a podcast? I met this summer with Howard Stern’s former manager at CBS Radio, and I’ve thankfully been granted use of the CBS studio for recording a radio pilot. I have also been offered the directional support of the Founder of Big City Radio as well as Programming VP at SiriusXM – both of whom are ready to receive and review my sample clips as I have them prepared – a huge gift. As a podcast acts as the sister format to virtually all radio programs today, there’s no reason not to get started with one as my next step on this path.
Click MORE for how the last two weeks have shaped my direction with this podcast, and how you may get involved and share your own story with me at the mic! MORE
There are some wonderful things happening on the career front, and I’ve been extremely busy focusing my energy where it needs to be right now. I look forward to sharing more about this in the Fall. In the meantime, I am wishing you all a tremendous summer, and I will resume posting my new content before the arrival of Labor Day. I share this matchbook message as a reminder to myself as much as to anyone… that the best things come when we focus outside ourselves. Have an Inspired Summer!
Cyril Connolly said, “The artist one day falls through a hole in the brambles, and from that moment he is following the dark rapids of an underground river which may sometimes flow so near to the surface that the laughing picnic parties are heard above.”
I don’t think the artist one day falls through a hole; I think she is born inside of one. The climb out shows up as creativity to those around her. So she gets the title of Artist, but titles hold zero gravity inside of her inevitable and sometimes desperate pursuit to illuminate the cavernous abyss of her heart’s living room.
But climbing and climbing until finally busting through that river’s surface offers up a potent daily candy made of a sugar for which there are absolutely no substitutes. We get to be mountain climbers while sitting on park benches… Overcoming is great exercise. The eyes it produces can travel the stars by way of some smashed sidewalk glass.
We are all these artists – designing our creative climbs out of what hurts – to where we heard there is some plateau with a picnic spread.
So may you laugh hard inside of an extended reward born of making it above whatever currents have kept you water-bound. May your witnessing of the upcoming overhead twinkling explosions of emerald and white summer snow rewire your attention from the darker rivers to the mystery of the camaraderie inherent in our human order.
I raise a toast to you for busting through, and for being my friend inside the river, too… MORE
A video about my philosophy on Perspective, and the power it holds to liberate us inside of any life situation.
“We have something critical in common: our perspective is ALL we have. We are either imprisoned by it, or we are freed by it, continually. Our friend dies in a car crash, our husband runs off with the secretary, we can’t afford groceries until Friday, our beloved parent gets Parkinson’s disease, and every belief we had about love gets put into the shredder one morning, and we watch ourselves limping around in some kind of shell shock with mental shrapnel piercing our every part. Life breaks us down, but only our perspective has the power to sew us back up…”
CLICK TO WATCH, and thank you! MORE
Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary of a powerful change in my life. I’ll leave you guessing over this melting ice cream I found in Red Hook. I am wishing each of you a particularly warmhearted and spirited Memorial Day weekend, and remember that something as simple as a push pop could open you to a new universe. I will resume sharing new videos next week.
THE VERY REAL LINK BETWEEN SUPPRESSED EMOTIONAL PAIN AND CANCER
Research is showing us that cancer can only exist in the presence of unhealed emotional pain. Suppressed emotional trauma produces an environment of “severe internal stress” that fuels the daily growth of new cancer in the body.
According to the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, “Extreme suppression of anger was the most commonly identified characteristic of 160 breast cancer patients who were given a detailed psychological interview and self-administered questionnaire”. And German cancer surgeon Dr. Ryke-Geerd Hamer, in examining thousands of cancer patients with all types of cancer, noticed that they all shared one thing in common: there had been some sort of psycho-emotional conflict prior to the onset of their cancer that had never been fully resolved.
What does all of this add up to in my case of being blindsided by the one I thought was my beloved to the truth that our shared decade was betrayal-steeped, being trashed and left immediately for another, and having my whole world and understanding of love and commitment completely shattered to the ground? It means giving my anger a voice is actually saving my life.
CLICK for more about what now drives my life’s work.
CLICK to WATCH my fourth illustrated poem of The Betrayal Project. Next week I’ll be sharing the deeper reason that is fueling my release of these rather emotion heavy videos born of my heartbreak… Thank you for taking in what has been the most difficult experience of my life, and for maybe sharing this video with those you think might benefit from a multi-media approach to processing heartbreak and betrayal.
May your day be filled with emotional connection with the good, the bad, and the ugly – all of them beautiful with the eyes and heart that believe them to be.
To your Wellbeing,
We tell our kids when they have leg cramps that they’re probably just experiencing “growing pains” and not to fear. It seems we innately hold more tolerance for pain that is physical, as physicality seems so cut and dry. An arm is an arm, or so it appears. The pain is located inside of something tangible and that we understand. We trust it will pass; we have our arm to gauge whether or not it has. It’s like doing simple math.
Yet the majority of the pain we and our kids experience throughout life is not physical. It hangs around in the intangibles that cloak our physical. Every time it is denied voice, the more repressed of a singer it becomes. Until finally she starts steeping a bitter tea right into the physical we thought we could keep freed up. And so, it is for the repressed singer that I take the stand I do for pain’s expression. All the singer wants is to be given license to grieve her way through the song born of the sad story that is her. The story that doesn’t define her, that doesn’t even contain her, and yet, the story that consciousness is breathing into her.
So I stand up inside the pain for the sake of every repressed singer, so that her story may be felt all the way through, until evaporating into the mists of our mysterious incarnate world outside of our control. Because as mist, she will no longer have a sad tune; she will rise.
CLICK to WATCH MORE
A couple of days ago I received an email from a woman named Christina, and it really moved me. She gave me permission to share her words with my audience, which I do for you here below. They speak to the very reason why I’ve created The Betrayal Project, and are much appreciated fuel as I keep going with it…
“I wanted to share with you something of what happened to me after I watched your video about betrayal yesterday. I think it inspired me to take the stand I took with Geoffrey, a guy I’ve been dating the past three months….
I met with him this past Thursday night. I let him know that I was feeling closer to him and that I’m not dating anyone else (nor have any desire to) – and he indicated the same. I felt myself take a big leap in investing more of my heart into him all of last week.
Yesterday afternoon, he called me when his daughters were at rehearsal. He let me know what a wonderful time he had Thursday night, and then let me know he had set a date with someone else on Tuesday… MORE
Featured here is a specialty multimedia box I was commissioned to make as a gift for a woman who has lived and breathed by the passion of her belief in art’s ability to create enormous social and developmental impact, and who has dedicated her life to its flowering.
For this work, I decided to use a 16″ wide Tenk Hardware Co. seed box from the 50s. This afforded me the chance to use the increasingly widening partitioned spaces (relating to the value of its four originally housed seed types) to showcase what I arrived at being the four most important sectors of my subject’s life, according to their “rank” or priority. Perhaps such ranking is futile. One’s major loves may hold equal space in the heart. But extensive research on my subject had me feel convinced that the widest space of this box needed to be allotted to her family; herself as a mother, a sister, and a daughter en route from Cleveland to New York, and those journeys that took place in-between. It could be seen as cluttered, this room I created. It’s intended to be as chaotic as raising a big family can be, yet bursting with the same colorful rewards that go along with it.
Next at left is the “dining room” representing my subject’s love of artists, and the home entertaining she is known for. This room I papered and decorated in works from her own personal collection, as well as persons in the arts who have held significance for her, simply but a few to represent the many.
Next at left is… MORE
I was approached on Facebook last summer by an undeniably sharp, eccentric, enthusiastically maternal, and creatively driven woman named Elana. She was interested in having a turning point in her life memorialized in matchbox form. Having moved to Berkeley for her husband’s job, and having focused much of her energy into helping her son Maxie overcome speech and sociability challenges in his formative years, Elana was ready to start fueling herself from the inside out with a progressive business direction that mattered to her and that was born of her own terms; one that could hone her talents for writing, design, and the conceptual realms of life she is so clearly fluent in.
To read about my process behind this work, and to see 30 close-up stills, just CLICK! MORE
Here is a work I made a year ago for one of my dearest friends and healer powerhouses, Shana, a Nonviolent Communication Trainer, Restorative Circle Facilitator, Mediator, NLP & Hypnotherapy Practitioner, and Dancer.
Death, and how we choose to either embrace or avoid it, both culturally and personally, has always been of supreme interest to me. And so the focus of Shana’s that I was most drawn to in creating a work about her was her volunteer work as a Doula Companion to the Dying… a form of service that was born of the painful process of losing her Mom five years ago.
Click for all views and to read more about Shana. MORE
I made this miniature matchbox piece as a birthday gift for my sister Michelle, the most caring woman I know, a midwife in the making. I have been astonished by Michelle’s dedication and intense strength as she has put the supreme well being of babies and their mothers at the forefront of her focus, jumping into adrenaline heightened birthing experiences with the true ferocity of love they require. I am certain that the world is becoming a more harmonious place everywhere that Michelle has had a hand in greeting its new inhabitants… The New Moon Box speaks to the many shades of woman, and, to be frank, the hormones they deal with, inside and outside of pregnancy.
CLICK for all views! MORE
For The Donald Box, I busted out of the kitchen matchbox structure and went instead with a sturdy, handcrafted, mini maplewood box, affording me more usable surface area for this 360 degree commission. Requested by Don’s wife in celebration of his upcoming birthday, I would say this is the most male-esque piece I’ve ever arranged!
Some bits on Donald: he’s an avid reader of the NY Times and watches every political show there is through liberal glasses; he’ll not turn down a chance to relax on the couch and cheer on the Giants or the Yankees, coupled with a cigar; he is an amazing father to his fifth grade daughter and delights in touring the museums with her; he loves Harry Potter and old movies; his favorite songs are “Let It Be” by the Beatles and “Ripples” by the Grateful Dead; his foods of choice include steak, lobster, and grilled cheese and bacon; his goal is more stability at work and an ever-increasing money flow, something closely tied with his sense of success; and he cherishes theater and all forms of travel, visiting Paris with his family not long ago.
The round white table atop this piece is something I bought for myself from the Small Steps shop in Burlington, VT, when I was about 12 years old, so this work contains a fragment of personal history. That shop was my crack! The table has been a part of my visual view for so long, I’m glad it’s now a part of Don’s story, and his view of himself.
Please click for detailed shots all around the box! MORE
Featured here is a matchbox piece I made earlier in the year for the very incredible Sasha! An author of many books on tarot, among them Tarot Diva, Sasha is the embodiment of creative exuberance and has a contagious thrust for life with all of its symbols and wildness, ever on the march to unfold more of herself inside of it. She is a real inspiration.
Sasha requested a box “as magical metaphor”… hoping that it might capture and remind her of the magic thriving and available to her as she enters a new chapter, one of fully expressing her voice and talents without inhibition, and guided by intuition.
Some of Sasha’s favorite things include: her getaway farmhouse, snuggling with her daughter, sitting under her willow tree, going to theater/films, reading/writing, her clawfoot tub, poached eggs, candles, cheese plates, and full-bodied red wine. So I played with assembling Sasha’s goal and favorite things in the spirit of magic!
Click for Sasha’s testimonial, and for detailed views of the box! MORE
A photo from my A CLOSER NY collection, Lexington Pink was shot at the side of a white plastic barricade that was forming a temporary sidewalk at a construction site on 85th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. This piece is currently exhibited at Alp Galleries in Frankfurt as a 30″ x 45″ C-print on Dibond.
Winner plays with the Cowboys & Indians theme of America’s past to raise questions about cultural domination and what it means to live as an innocent bi-product benefiting from the comforts of a lifestyle born from ancestral violence and betrayal. Please click for many detailed views of the box and to read my additional thoughts related to its creation!
Winner is currently on exhibition at Alp Galleries in Frankfurt. If you have interest in this work, you may be in touch with the gallery directly. Link provided on the next page. MORE
This work speaks to the pleasantly blinding effect that innocence has on our perspective – prior to its erosion – and to the idea that even though our blinders may be on, the heavy social circumstances surrounding us during any stage of innocence will invariably shape our interior development. Please click for detailed views of the box and to read my additional thoughts related to its creation!
Filters of Youth is currently on exhibition at Alp Galleries in Frankfurt. If you have interest in this work, you may be in touch with the gallery directly. Link provided on the next page. MORE
Featured here is a box I made for Jake Russack! Jake recently finished three years of flying in Saigon as an airline captain. When not in the air, he could be found chasing his curiosity for ethnic cuisine down side roads of the most remote areas, and posting his discoveries to his food blog www.getoffthetrail.com. Upon his move back to the States to take up a captain position in Atlanta, Jake requested from me a box that would celebrate the adventures of his foreign experiences, something that he could be inspired by observing on a daily basis. Some facts about Jake: One of his favorite places is an airplane cockpit, his favorite foods include lasagna and goulash, and among his objects of choice is a BAe 146!
For Jake’s box I chose a sturdy vintage Ohio Blue Tip matchbox. Its face is scattered with Vietnamese characters and Jake’s favorite aircraft. The background of the interior of the box is a repurposed photo from an old cookbook – demonstrating how to picnic with the family when on the road. The floor of the interior of the box is a segment of a photograph from my A CLOSER NY collection, called RWB. Selected for its patriotic splash, it acts as the foundation upon which Jake’s new foodie adventures in America may spring.
CLICK TO SEE ALL 21 STILLS and to read the testimonial I received from Jake! MORE
Featured here is a work commissioned as a gift for a woman named Hilary, a prize-winning author in a love affair with architecture (primarily French 17th century and American 20th century), and most notably the grid system of NYC. In charge of NYU Abu Dhabi, Hilary appreciates the “kaleidoscopic” effect of street life afforded by the grid, and supports the rise in green infrastructure. I learned that apart from her otherwise healthy diet, ice cream sundaes are her delight.
For Hilary’s box I used a slim 4 1/2″ wide “Grand Hotel” wooden matchbox, which is mounted with a rare 1980s plastic Barbie sundae and some early French architecture. On the inside of the box: The woman is an extraction from a faux-vintage greeting card (something about her stance, her look, and her sparkle reminded me of Hilary); the backdrop is from an old postcard of the NYC subway; the NYC grid makes three appearances, and iconic buildings from Abu Dhabi make two. The phrase “Wash the day away” is intended as a wish for Hilary’s renewed health, like a whisper from a side wall suggesting that it may be easier to wash away the harder things in life if we can remain immersed in our fondest loves.
Click for all views! MORE
THE BABY JANE BOX is a commissioned piece created for a most talented writer in Brooklyn named Ethan Hon. He asked me to interpret the Robert Aldrich film from 1962 – What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? – starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. It’s a psychological thriller – the story of two rivaling sisters, both former stars, living in isolation in a decaying mansion. Click MORE for all TWELVE box shots! MORE