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vintageanchorbooks:

The 1920s was a great time for reading altogether—very possibly the peak decade for reading in American life. Soon it would be overtaken by the passive distractions of radio, but for the moment reading remained most people’s principal method for filling idle time.”
― from “One Summer: America, 1927” By Bill Bryson

#BillBryson wrote one of my favorite books of all time. #author #read #hike #AT

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Non-Aggression & Dharma Art

I’m going back to the basics. Way back to the original motivation for my art practice. 

I’m re-reading True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art by Chogyam Trungpa, founder of Naropa University and Shambhala. It has been in the back of my mind since I initially read it three years ago. I’m choosing now to make it a centerpiece of my thinking and state of mind for making art.

There was a point in my life when I decided that anger, fire, and passion were no longer useful. I chose to try to live a more peaceful, quiet life filled with ease and grace (well, as much as that is even possible!). I want my art to reflect that sense of quiet, and the shifting nature of planning and letting go. It is that sense of confidence, serendipity, playfulness that I’m after. Maybe even a little shrug of the shoulders. As my mom would say, “Oh well!” It is a weight lifted, a beam of light in a darkened space, oneness.

Trungpa says in his book, "Genuine art—dharma art—is simply the act of nonaggression."

This is my sutra.

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Last night I attended a panel discussion at the SAM Olympic Sculpture Park, as part of their Art + Environment series. The topic was transit, and it was super interesting. Transit systems reflect the values of the surrounding communities. They’re always trying to cater to competing interests. The panel talked a lot about economic and efficiency priorities that are usually sought by these government agencies. They have to answer to the public for how they spend tax dollars, after all. 
A great point was made about giving citizens a sense of pride and ownership of the interstitial, transitory, public spaces in their cities. This isn’t accomplished with drab, purely functional design. One panelist mentioned that the government agencies that are solely focused on efficiency end up seeing the system as a machine, and that the human users are often seen as an obstacle to efficiency. How ironic, since it’s the human users that create the need for the system in the first place! 
When people are left out of the equation, their experiences in the “machine” are not considered. Poor experiences with the system are what discourages people from using it. Design and art can bring that human element back into the picture, improving experiences, inviting a little serendipity back into public places.
Interestingly, this morning, I came across this article about exactly that. CityLab reported on a study by researchers at University of Minnesota. They compared how people felt after waiting at a bus stop that had a shelter and/or a bench, or after waiting at a simple, cheap curbside sign. The researchers found that people estimated their wait times differently based on the type of bus stop. People who waited at the shelter underestimated the amount of time they spent waiting, whereas people who waited at a curbside sign experienced the wait as longer and more annoying.
This also reminds me of a story I read a while back. A brand new high rise opened in a big city somewhere. People kept complaining about how long it took for the elevators to arrive. But when designers placed mirrors in the lobby, the complaints ended. People still waited the same amount of time, but their experience was shifted in some positive way. This is what creative thinking, the arts, and design can bring to urban planning.

Last night I attended a panel discussion at the SAM Olympic Sculpture Park, as part of their Art + Environment series. The topic was transit, and it was super interesting. Transit systems reflect the values of the surrounding communities. They’re always trying to cater to competing interests. The panel talked a lot about economic and efficiency priorities that are usually sought by these government agencies. They have to answer to the public for how they spend tax dollars, after all. 

A great point was made about giving citizens a sense of pride and ownership of the interstitial, transitory, public spaces in their cities. This isn’t accomplished with drab, purely functional design. One panelist mentioned that the government agencies that are solely focused on efficiency end up seeing the system as a machine, and that the human users are often seen as an obstacle to efficiency. How ironic, since it’s the human users that create the need for the system in the first place! 

When people are left out of the equation, their experiences in the “machine” are not considered. Poor experiences with the system are what discourages people from using it. Design and art can bring that human element back into the picture, improving experiences, inviting a little serendipity back into public places.

Interestingly, this morning, I came across this article about exactly that. CityLab reported on a study by researchers at University of Minnesota. They compared how people felt after waiting at a bus stop that had a shelter and/or a bench, or after waiting at a simple, cheap curbside sign. The researchers found that people estimated their wait times differently based on the type of bus stop. People who waited at the shelter underestimated the amount of time they spent waiting, whereas people who waited at a curbside sign experienced the wait as longer and more annoying.

This also reminds me of a story I read a while back. A brand new high rise opened in a big city somewhere. People kept complaining about how long it took for the elevators to arrive. But when designers placed mirrors in the lobby, the complaints ended. People still waited the same amount of time, but their experience was shifted in some positive way. This is what creative thinking, the arts, and design can bring to urban planning.

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Spencer Finch is giving a talk here in Seattle next week. I will definitely be there.

The New Foundation Seattle describes his work: “Spencer Finch pursues the ineffable through his work—from the color of a sunset outside a Monument Valley motel room to the afternoon breeze by Walden Pond, the shadows of passing clouds in the yard of Emily Dickinson’s home or the light in a Turner painting.”

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Rhonda introduced this artist, Christine Mackey, to me this morning. She seems to use walking as an important part of her practice. Her drawings are lovely too.

Rhonda introduced this artist, Christine Mackey, to me this morning. She seems to use walking as an important part of her practice. Her drawings are lovely too.

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Life = #Art.
#Backpacking. Taking a quick break at Camp Robber Creek on the way back to the car. Lake Dorothy, Bear Lake, Deer Lake, Snoqualmie Lake. Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington.

Life = #Art.
#Backpacking. Taking a quick break at Camp Robber Creek on the way back to the car. Lake Dorothy, Bear Lake, Deer Lake, Snoqualmie Lake. Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington.

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artruby:

Phyllida Barlow at Hauser & Wirth Somerset.

(via blouinartinfo)

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My art book club just finished this one by Rebecca Solnit. As always, her writing is poetic and lyrical. Her work often has a memoir-quality to it, and this is no different. I was surprised that she seemed so distant and impersonal. She focused mostly on other people who are lost in one way or another, and didn’t really describe her own experience fully. My group wondered if it’s because maybe Solnit herself isn’t comfortable with the loss of control, and so her way of looking at this subject matter necessarily has to come from the outside. It almost even seemed like she is envious of the people she writes about — their apparent freedom from expectations, their rebellion, their refusal to participate in the cultural machine. Ultimately, I was kind-of disappointed by this book. Her exploration of a sense of loss/lost seemed a little bit flat. She didn’t seem to shift point of view or look very deep into the many layers of the material. I guess I just wanted to *feel* more from this book.

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This guy is hand-carving a spoon a day for a year. 
Great way to learn a new skill. 
#woodworking #design

This guy is hand-carving a spoon a day for a year. 

Great way to learn a new skill. 

#woodworking #design

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These Giant Copper Orbs Show Just How Much Metal Comes From a Mine
Artist: Dillon Marsh

These Giant Copper Orbs Show Just How Much Metal Comes From a Mine
Artist: Dillon Marsh

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This is exactly like the giant red map pin I made this summer. I only made one. I should’ve made 100!
Christopher Weed. Windswept. At a rail station in Denver, Colorado.

This is exactly like the giant red map pin I made this summer. I only made one. I should’ve made 100!

Christopher Weed. Windswept. At a rail station in Denver, Colorado.

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creativemorningsseattle:

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In honor of this month’s theme, Color, we’ve compiled a quick list of fun apps for exploring the world of color!

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Muddy River in a Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. 
This is fan-flipping-tastic!

Muddy River in a Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.
This is fan-flipping-tastic!

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This giant map I created is gridded out on a wall at 8 x 9 ft. I coated wooden spheres in resin to make the map pins, and then organized the space with twine. The bottom image gives a better sense of the scale. Next time I’m going to burn the spheres until the pins are almost like charcoal.

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Working on some logo concepts for a credit union client. They want something that references the sun, and something friendly + professional. Sent the first round of ideas (above) off today. I like option “B” the best right now. Have to wait and see what the client thinks.