Category Archives: Try Something New

Creative Growth SoCal MeetUp

We just started a MeetUp which will feature events from art, design, and architecture tours to creative classes for everyone–no need to feel you are a great artist.

We currently have three MeetUps scheduled in October 2017. There will be plenty more listed soon. Some of the events come from things that have been done in a class called, Visual Thinking: art + Innovation.

On October 14th, Creative Growth SoCal MeetUp will visit two of the most interesting galleries in L.A.; Edward Cella, and Blum+Poe.

The Land Art Road trip…

Showing a film called Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art to my Visual Thinking students last week, inspired me to start planning a trip to some of these remote large scale creations.

The list begins with a reservation for Walter de Maria’s LIGHTENING FIELD in New Mexico, on to the Great Salt Lake for Smithton’s SPIRAL JETTY,  and then Heizer’s DOUBLE NEGATIVE in Nevada. It makes sense to mix in National Parks, roadside oddities, and whatever else turns up in my research.

Looking forward to further inspiration at the LACMA exhibition of the historic  Dwan Gallery, which opens March 19th. Virginia Dwan was a key supporter of these projects, and many others.

Land Art Road Trip – departure

I was chomping at the bit to get on the road, but had to wrap up some client things. I wanted as much freedom and impulse as possible, so I only had my reservation for The Lightening Field on May 9th. I booked that on February 1st at 5am. Waiting those 5 hours past the reservation opening meant I barely got in.

I was sure that whoever else got up to make a reservation for the cabin would be interesting; some sort of Art Fanatic, for sure.

It has been 5 years since my last vacation. I hope I never wait that long again. Thanks to Yelp and the Priceline App I was able to travel well, never booking a room or campsite more than a day or two in advance. My first two nights at the painfully hip Moxy Hotel in Phoenix were at a 72% discount. It was strategically located near a James Turrell Skyspace that I hadn’t seen before.

Turns out I had the Air Apparent (even geniuses making awful puns) all to myself, and it was a quarter mile from the Moxy. Arriving at dusk the stone/metal perimeter bench was surprisingly comfy. I liked the detailing of this site specific artwork, and I think much of that was due to the aesthetic of a brilliant Arizona architecture, Will Bruder.


Starting the road trip…

Ironically, the day before my road trip, this site got hacked, an issue I wasn’t able to fix until yesterday. I’ve been having a great time. On the first day I drove from San Pedro to Tempe, Arizona. I got a deal on what turned out to be a very trendy hotel, right next to James Turrell’s recent “SkySpace” at Arizona State University.

I visited “Air Apparent” both nights I was in Tempe. Wonderful, evocative. Strangely, I pretty much had the work to myself for an hour at dusk.

Go where you would’t go.

Today I had a lot of mundane tasks, some interesting, some not, but I opened a book* by Eric Maisel, my creativity guru, and trusting the right page would fall open, I saw this exercise under the heading, “Anxious Situations.”

Invent a character to go where you wouldn’t go.

Think for a minute about the sorts of places that, because of your personality, principles, or upbringing you would never venture into.

*A Life in the Arts, p.77, in a chapter titled, “Of Moods and Madness.”

Here is the entire instruction: “Think for a minute about the sorts of places that, because of your personality, principles, or upbringing you would never venture into. Invent a character with the sort of personality traits, principles, or upbringing that would allow him or her to venture into one of those places. Follow that character there. Describe the setting in some detail and indicate why the character is successful or comfortable in that setting and why, by by contrast, you are not.

My bold, alternate self flew to Germany to storm the Olafur studio, and politely, firmly insist he become part of the (dream) team. After being rebuffed a few times, he was invited to join them for a meal, and was shown around the office, where he saw some amazing new projects in development.

A Mobius inspired staircase by Olafur Eliasson Studio.
A Mobius inspired staircase by Olafur Eliasson Studio.

Beautiful Food: a project for Visual Thinking classes

In order to get my students to understand that visual composition matters in everything from architecture to army uniforms to advertising and art, I’ve added a new assignment, called Beautiful Food.

Beautiful Food Composition Project PDF

Junk Food made Fancy
Tartar of hand-cut Hot Rod, egg yolk, and “intense pickle” Doritos, by Jacque LeMerde

And here are the excellent results from the students of Art 350 / Visual Thinking…


Experimental Travel

We just finished a project in the Visual Thinking classes in which students first have a visceral experience of The Night, then make an artwork or presentation that might evoke the emotions of the experience in others. That got me thinking about Experimental Travel. The book and site propose some strategies give priority to chance discovery over comfort and predictability.

Here is a big list of options for travel experiments.

I think I’ve done this intuitively, and once, on the most luxurious tours I will ever take, or coach got lost in a Vineyard which nearly gave the driver a heart attack, but which made me laugh more than anything else on the swanky trip from Barcelona to Paris.

A book on fresh travel strategies embracing the idea of welcoming chance intrusions.
A book on fresh travel strategies embracing the idea of welcoming chance intrusions.