Energy at Work

I haven't been posting much here, what one update in the last year? Haha.

This is not because I have let my art sit in my room untouched since moving up north. 

Maybe thats the case for one of my paintings though. 

There have been too many things going on! Many artistic and creative ones! 

I'm a health coach who is part of a team that promotes a healthy, active lifestyle that is accessible to everyone. This includes nutritional guidance, fitness tips, ideas, and workouts, and most importantly, the atmosphere and energy to grow your mind. 

Personal Development. If you haven't heard of it, become familiar. If you don't do it, try it. I've had the pleasure of reading some motivation, and action oriented books over the last year and they have helped me incredibly. 

However, this post isn't about how my mind has been stretched, challenged, and inspired. It's about ReignCity Nutrition. This group of coaches I mentioned, has been blessed with the opportunity of opening a physical space. While it is a center for nutrition, goal setting, and even workouts, its also a space where we want to build a family around the healthy active lifestyle. As a member of  that family, I bring all my gifts to the table, which---I think you know where this is leading---means I had a hand in the interior space.

After throwing some interior design ideas in to the pot and making some elevation drafts, this place finally became a reality. Right down to the portrait paintings.

 

MarkHughes


Teenagers (a workshop tale)

I've had a blast the last two summers working as a summer teen camp counselor. I was working with middle school age kids (11-14), and there is something so vastly different about working with teens from working with school age kiddos. They are more familiar with the laws of life, and are more readily available to push them, test boundaries, and thus learn more about the world (whether that means bending rules or regulations that the adults have put in place for safety). While most people shudder when thinking about teenagers in their formative years, I am not one of those people. 

Teenagers are our ticket to the future. And if we can't open a wing, an arm, and welcome them into adulthood with gratitude, then we aren't doing our jobs as humans trying to make this place one we want to live in. 

I'm also a fan of their ability to understand everything we (adults) have to say. Explaining concepts to youngins, while I still love explaining things, can result as a fruitless endeavor. 

Being able to "break it down" with teenagers, to be real with them is such a gift. When I was between 12 and 18, I looked up to adults that were knowledgeable, open and welcoming of my questions, and that seemed "human". A human that erred, a human that laughed, and human, that had passion. And so I strive to be all those things to the budding youths that I have the pleasure to work with.

Granted teen camp is such a different atmosphere to a school environment. But that doesn't mean learning has to be any less fun. Learning a subject with the expectation of a good grade is so trivial in some cases. Americans love to live by progress, and how can we track it other than with calculation, and recording? I understand tests, and grades as a device to document and demonstrate ability. But as an artist, my personal skills as a teacher lie in letting students explore. 

Outside of camp I had the lovely opportunity to work with a couple groups of high school students learning about theatre arts. The current play in production was a Commedia show so appropriately I was able to conduct a mask making workshop. Previously I had worked on some local theatre productions as a prop master, and a set painter. My tie with this school was not only that I had been through the drama program as a student, but the last 2 shows I assisted with the production as a set painter. 

There is something really rewarding about being able to work with the students after being the "set fairy" who just painted at odd hours with her headphones in and kept to herself. Being able to walk them through a process of creating something that was entirely their own was very cool to watch. Not only that but laying the plaster foundation of the mask was something they had to entrust to a partner. As a high schooler, "touching" another person is still really taboo. However, in theatre we have to be able to follow through with trust exercises as its important to know you have a crew to support you. How can you teach that from a book?


The outcome was great not only being able to see what the students created, but being able to learn more about them, it wasn't just silent work time, I was part of their dialogue. As I am still a young person but no longer a teen I hope my concepts of the world were something they could relate with but see as realistic too. I need to help bridge the generation gap as much as I can while I'm in this age bracket. I couldn't be more thankful for this workshop and chance to teach.




John Franklin Koenig—the glue between my present endeavors.

Right now I’m Stage Managing a play called “The Temperamentals”. It’s a play about homosexuals in the 1950s following Harry Hay in particular. Learn more about the play and when to see it [here]. In addition to that, I’ve been trying to release this excessive amount of creative energy into art, and theatre. There’s so much I don’t know where to put it all! I’ve been painting a lot to say the least. I’m also trying to produce a play called Brick and the Rose. I will leave few details on that project because if it happens this blog will probably be flooded with ‘stuff’ regarding it later.

Either way, this guy. John Koenig. 

 

One of those people that is off handedly mentioned in an art history lecture when your professor rambles off a couple names of arts from the northwest. They are only mentioned because you live in the northwest. Since he’s not on the exam you think that you will never see or hear that name again unless you rifle through your notes from class.

Clearly that’s  NOT what I have done, I wouldn’t want to disturb the prestigious amount of dust on my class notes from school. So, as you’ve guessed, he popped up.

In rehearsal to be direct. Haha direct, directing, rehearsal? I made a theatre joke. You can stop reading if you can’t handle it.

Evidently, this guy Koenig was a homosexual. Grew up in the northwest, fought in WWII, started painting, came back to the US, then lived in France, became a painter, and came back to the northwest again. He went to UW, and as a Coug I will refrain from tasteless rivalry jokes out of my respect for this artist..... and the fact that UW is a well-regarded academic institution. Feel free to leave comments if you want to take a stab at the Huskies.

Back to the story. I’m in rehearsal, and this guy is mentioned. Apparently there is going to be a piece of his art involved with this production. I won’t say how, because ITS STILL A SURPRISE. So I hear about this and get all artsy excited, and immediately feel the name is familiar, and use my smart phone to pull up anything I can on him. Not only did he struggle with being a homosexual in the same time frame as our play, but he was also breaking into the art-scene. Heres one of his paintings. And close up of another.

What I found really interesting was that he was a soldier in WWI, and was in a tank division. My dad was a tank commander so that’s cool. Fez’s are cool too. Sad part: he was wounded in the head by shrapnel in the Battle of the Bulge, and while he was recovering and waiting to go back to the US he took a painting class. Funny thing is everything that these soldiers painted are property of the US government. It was called “Soldier art” according to one of the articles I read. WOAH. More stuff to look up, because that sounds super secretive and cool. So skip ahead lots of years, he back in the northwest after living in France and being considered a French painter; after he has a show at the Seattle Art Museum(also RAD), skip ahead further he dies in 2008. However he’s left behind a quote. After mentioning that painting is an act of love he says

“The artist must be on the search for beauty and perfection in his own life through the work “

And its just wonderful. This idea is something I think all artists come to at some point. Doesn’t matter what kind of art, all kinds, whether they believe it, have been searching for it too, or just know about it. This idea is what has connected me to this deceased French, Seattle native, WWII soldier. Those words. Because I have felt that same way. And it’s incredible being able to be touched across time with someone who will never know me.

Insert chills up spine here.

 

 

 

So that’s the news with me. Well not exactly. I’m going to Pullman this weekend to participate in the Art Market as part of the end of year spring festivities at WSU. I’m “selling art” but we shall see. I might just end up in the hole on gas money. And starve a bit. That whole starving artist thing. Its real. And I be living it. Feels great actually.

 

One more thought. These things are getting extremely long.  I wonder if reading this out loud would make a better video blog than a written one. For those of you that read this far, let me know what you think. By saying nothing, it will mean experimentation must be conducted.

 

 

 

Read more on Koenig here:

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=3833

http://www.cs.washington.edu/building/art/JohnFranklinKoenig/

images from google yo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOUR BLOOD COSTS LESS THAN INK THEREFORE YOUR BLOOD IS WORTH LESS TO THE HUMAN RACE.

Let me begin this with a note. A note for those of you who Reddit.

Reddit is something that I have not integrated into my routine. Yet. I’m more terrified that it will create a monster in me. However, from what I know of reddit by word of mouth, is that it's stop #1 for most nerd-related media. I do eventually see or hear about most things relevant to my interests down the line from reddit, via other social media by way of friends.

No matter what it may be, nothing exactly prepares you for someone informing you via reddit sources, that printer ink costs more than human blood by the milliliter.

“INK COSTS MORE THAN HUMAN BLOOD. ARE YOU CRAZY.” My mind screams.

 I pause. How could I mentally work this statistic to somehow make sense. My mind takes me immediately to art. Hard to believe, I know. (that was sarcastic)

Per this very well designed image found here and posted on reddit and mentioned to me by a coworker, it looks like HP black printer ink runs at $.70 per ml. human blood is at a cost of $.39 per ml.

WHAT. SHUT UP. Hold on a second, there may be method in this.

Historically, paying for pigments or oil paints has been expensive. We hear stories in art history about folks only buying  a few colors to paint with since they couldn’t afford anything else(Picasso).

Or we hear of crazy people slapping so much of these pricey paints on canvas that its practically 3-D (Van Gogh: born, lived, and died poor, but had a sweet brother). To keep my research light however, I just did some quick calculations from things that I’m familiar with.

I love my acrylic paints from KROMA, of which I purchased on Granville Island up in Vancouver BC so I used that as an example. I pulled up their price list on their website. Due to my education being in art, I know that cadmium colors are usually more expensive so I looked at the prices for Cadmium Yellow($.13 per ml premixed), and cadmium red($.14 per ml premixed). Well its premixed paint right? I’m sure the dry pigment would cost more. NOPE. Cadmium yellow dry pigment from KROMA runs $.15 per ml, and red is $.19 per ml. (math nerds feel free to harass me about dry things being measured in ml instead of oz. I did a simple conversion to illustrate this. Granted, paint isn’t all that expensive either by today’s consumer-based culture. Though I’m not dedicated enough to calculate inflation since 1598. Love the idea, but no.  

So what are other common knowledge factors that could contribute to this madness? Pigments are traditionally found in nature. Blood is found in nature (human blood is found in humans, go figure). How about HP black ink? NOT FOUND IN NATURE. Found in small plastic cartridges that were manufactured. Test tube pigment, pigment growth cell project. Synthetic. I made up a few things there but you see my point. Sadly it doesn’t keep me from thinking that human blood has been rendered insignificant by price comparing with ink. Luckily on the illustration the other substances listed were much less in price than blood. Maybe blood is discounted since people usually NEED it when they don’t anticipate the need for it; rather than in a way that serves the public by selling it in stores.

My next mission was to find something even remotely close to being as expensive as HP’s masterfully manufactured printer ink. What did I find?

Unfortunately, I tried and failed to find the running price of the wizarding worlds ever rare unicorn blood. And I wasn’t going to ask the black market what they thought.

The next best thing?

I finally found it!

According to an article I found here on how your money is saved by making coffee at home I found some numbers to work with and my math brought me to this. $.38 worth of decent ground coffee will brew you 16oz of coffee. Meaning that the cost of one ml of decent, not fancy, brewed, black coffee comes out to be about NOTHING per ml. So stop paying for $4 cups of coffee and make it at home.

MIND BLOWN.

HP may still be a little insane for charging that much for printer ink. Then again, I just don’t want to think that I pay that much for it.