Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thank you all for 2012

iTOMB Javiera (Chile) II 12.23.12

As the year softens to a close I look at the little painting above and all I can say is, "Thank you". Thank you all, for as long as I shall paint, I will never make a one like the one above. Look at the fire in that sky:-) And thank you Javiera. This one was made just days before Christmas and since then the rain has been bad and things just too cold to do any painting at all. So, this may well be the last great painting at iTOMB in 2012. And so be it. It has been a great year.

Since beginning as an activist vehicle for Occupy Wall Street, I Think Outside My Box (iTOMB) has seen an organic growth into a vehicle from which over 1200 artists have been inspired to etch their own thoughts on a little 3" X 3" canvas - all from a simple request, stated over and over by people watching me paint, that said "Hey, can I paint too?" And so iTOMB was born again - a place where everyone can have their shot at spontaneous self expression. A place where peace, and a little snippet of New York City skyway, can be a place of respite, of reflection and of creation. All wildly different. All widely original.

My thanks also to Ronnit Bendavid-Val and all the staff on The High Line - without who's gracious work and space, iTOMB would never have grown to the community project it has now become.

On Christmas Eve, all my painting supplies were stolen from the rolling mobile studio I use for iTOMB. In a bag, atop the cart, all paints, rulers, glues and all manner of gear with which we all use to paint were unceremoniously lifted by someone who thought they needed the stuff, or value, more than I - and maybe they did. But I doubt they will be put to use by so many for as much expression as I have seen this past fall at iTOMB. Should you wish to make a donation to help me replace supplies and to build an even more functional display space for the over 500 real artworks that have been entrusted to me, please find the PayPal button in the sidebar and help out with any amount.

And still I thank you. In 2013, I will work to make iTOMB a non-profit foundation and hope to see the concept spread from New York to as far as an idea will go. And with your help, I'm sure that's to infinity :-) Peace.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Introducing: BabyHarmony

BabyHarmony lets you voice over melodies for your children!
Recently I helped my friends Emmannuel and Isabelle in Munich introduce a new concept in music for children - this one, where parents can include their voices over pleasant melodies for their newborns or about-to-be-borns over the Internet. Introducing: BabyHarmony, the world's first Internet recording studio for parents and their kids - kind of like mom & dad's Karaoke for Mozart kids:)

I think it's a very big idea and this is just the Beta stage. I can easily see parents singing all sorts of songs for their children as this concept matures. Take a look at their site and make a song if you like. With all the kids we have painting at iTOMB, I thought it was fitting here for the parents to check out yet another interactivist format that let's you create that special atmosphere. Roll over Beethoven:)

Monday, December 10, 2012

"What do I get if I win?"

iTOMB. Tala (Syria) 11.24.12  (not the girl described below)

"What do I get if I win?", the little girl asked as she sat down, eagerly, to paint her little square. "Well, nothing", I said laughing, "It's not a competition." - as her father looked reassuringly at me, smiling warmly as well at my answer. 

Yet so goes the state of education in America and dare I say, much of the rest of the world that I have seen - including, of course, Asia. Kids, especially the more well to do ones, are raised as sort of show ponies so that the elements of whatever might be taught to them are much less important than what might be gained by getting the correct answers on a series of tests that will eventually get them into the right university where they will then study the right subjects and get the right answers to the right questions to get the right job - or husband or wife:( - making students so deathly afraid to fail at even the smallest task.

And that's what I love about art. There are no "right" answers. And for that matter, there are no wrong ones either. At iTOMB the first priority had better be "fun" and after that, I'm perfectly pleased to let the cards fall where they may as far as whether people think works are good or bad or inconsequential.

At iTOMB I'm fairly famous for saying two things as people approach and decide to paint or not. #1) "There's no skill assessment here" and #2) "I give absolutely NO instruction". And with those two sentiments, I believe we begin to discover what makes all the work as endearing as it is. 

In this environment, I try as best I can, to offer total freedom as it seems to be what many if not all the painters seem to crave - if even for the short time it takes to fill a 3" X 3" cardboard square. Maybe I should have said that everybody wins - because they get to do whatever they want for once in their life. A lesson that just might make them want a little more of that.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

#iTOMB and NEST+m: New York's Premier K-12 Public School for gifted and Talented Students

iTOMB - NEST+m, Anon 10.27.12
"Amor et reverentia pro scientia (love and respect for knowledge): It is our hope that every student works and lives by these words. - NEST+m is a New York City Department of Education city-wide coeducational school for Gifted & Talented students, grades K to 12. We offer an academically challenging curriculum designed to produce young scholars who are distinguished by their intellectual capabilities, communication skills, capacity for leadership, ethical values, and readiness to contribute to the betterment of the world at large. We are the only public Gifted & Talented school in New York City in which students can move seamlessly from kindergarten through 12th grade - NEST+m is committed to providing not just an outstanding academic education for all our students, but to creating programs that support their growth as scholars, artists, and citizens of the world. We aim to teach outstanding communication skills, whether through one of the five world languages that we offer, the required computer courses, our workshop model of reading and writing, or an expanded vocabulary in physics."

And so reads the website of NEST+m. On October 27th, #iTOMB was pleased to be a guest at the school bringing inspiration, freedom of thought and a boatload of cardboard and paint for student expression. As one iTOMB painter said, "There are fewer and fewer opportunities for random self expression" - and so I continue to believe that that's what makes the #iTOMB Interactivist experience continue to work - to provide an open opportunity, an open book, the breathing room to exhale with a brush and inhale with the spirit of new experience.

I look forward to more schools in the future. If you're in education and would like to know more about school programs, shoot me a mail. And enjoy the fine work below.

Friday, November 16, 2012

#iTOMB: The Little "Gates"?

#iTOMB.Jackie (9) 09.22.12

My apologies the last few weeks all. Things became hurricane based for a week with no power and the High Line closed and they have been slow to return. Our collection of small paintings continues to grow and is now nearing 1000. Who knew? As thankful as I am to all the painters out there, I am more thankful to you for just making me feel like a king on a daily basis. Often I have said, that never have I had a job where people thank me for what I'm doing all day. My days at #iTOMB are truly gratifying because of all of your spirits.

A few days ago, while I was packing up, a woman named Britte (pronounced BriTa) approached, quite deliberately and said, with a great smile, "I cant WAIT, to see what you do with all these paintings!" Returning the smile I acknowledged and then admitted to her that I didn't quite know what to do with them. Galleries are for selling art, and museums seem almost overwhelmed with submissions as is the High Line Art staff who seem not to see what we're doing every day in the shadow of an El Anatsui installation that is indeed captivating but certainly no more captivating by the quality, diversity and style that #iTOMB painters are pulling off every day. Devoid of pretension, not for sale and ever evolving, the #iTOMB cannon continues to amaze and impress even the most jaded of New York art patrons. And it certainly has impressed Britte.

Christo: The Gates
You know, she said to me, "It recalls to me The Gates", a massive art installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Central Park in 2005. And taken aback, I said, "What? How? Why?", fully well understanding the cost, effort, time and stature of Christo's work in New York not so many years ago. "It's about the experience", she said. "Have you noticed the joy with which people take in your work, this experience, this participation, this art? It's the same as people wondered and wandered through the gates", like it was something that wasn't supposed to be there but is anyway - so it is partaken as a gift. I smiled and told her I knew it was an extremely large compliment, because it was. So first, a comparison to Paul Klee and now this. And I realize we are all creating something - something together. And where it goes, nobody knows. I think that's very fair. Very fair and reasonable - an interactivist experience.

Friday, October 26, 2012

#iTOMB for the Pasos Peace Museum

David and #iTOMB for the Pasos Peace Museum at the Riverdale Arts Festival
On October 14th, #iTOMB began a new chapter in Interactivism by working with the Pasos Peace Museum to activate a new fundraising effort for the non-profit. Named, "Be the Change You Wish to See", the effort featured by myself and #iTOMB painting with children and adults alike for the afternoon at the Riverdale Arts Festival in the far North Bronx, New York. Working with museum board member Lisa Brandon-Colon the #iTOMB concept was used to bring an interactive element to a festival that otherwise mostly consisted of displays of art with little chance to actually make any. "Your activity is great.", said Lisa and the afternoon produced more than 30 paintings, all brilliant in their own interpretation but more importantly, important because of the experience they provided their creators.

This Saturday I am pleased to bring #iTOMB and our special brand of Interactivism to NEST+m, New York’s premier K-12 public school for Gifted & Talented students for a Halloween Festival - and don't think I'm not just a little scared, about letting NYC's best and brightest show me up just a little:-) Nah, but 500 smart kids can be a little spooky even without the costumes, right? Should you know of an event or organisation that could use the spirit, activity and creative fun of #iTOMB, please let me know. As Frankenstorms approach and the weather turns less hospitable, we're ready to head indoors to keep the brushes and ideas flying. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The High Line - Above It All

David Everitt-Carlson and iTOMB, The High Line, NYC. Photo: Will O'Mailley
Last week a journalist asked me to describe the High Line, the New York City park built on an old abandoned elevated railway where I execute iTOMB, in three words. "Above It All", I said. She smiled, and I thought that would make a lovely promotional line for the park. I'd be very happy to see the line used in that way - and thanks to Will O'Mailley, a visitor to iTOMB, for the lovely image.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

#iTOMB: Work of the Week 10.01.12

#iTOMB.Yeheli (12) (Israel) 10.05.12

The week of 01 October produced not only more pure genius but some genuine emotion as well. Above, my favourite from our painting sessions on The Highline in NYC for the week. At just 12 years old, Yeheli from Israel, shows an artistic wisdom far beyond his years. Whipping this gem off in about 10 minutes he proudly presented it to me, saying offhandedly, "All the paitings at MoMA look like that". Geez. Out of the mouths of babes:)

Also in the show this week (see below) our first engagement! Painting quietly and quickly, Su Hyun made me promise not to reveal the subject of her painting to her boyfriend, Hong Gyu. After I photographed it she stole the work away to her pocket - the answer to a question she had been asked earlier in the weekend:) For his part, Hong Gyu painted a bright and bouncy letter "M" - to signify her English name, Mary. Who knew that love could bloom at a funny painted box in the middle of a frenetic city? How sweet. Thank you all, artists, for continuing to amaze me and the viewers of the world:)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

#iTOMB: Interactivism Now Comes to You!

The original #iTOMB 10.06.11 Zuccotti Park, NYC

Wall Street Journal
From activist statement to interactive family experience, months have passed since the NYPD surrounded me in Zuccotti Park and Union Square in 'iThink Outside My Box' (iTOMB) and eventually arrested me for that First Amendment activity:) All charges were subsequently dropped and I'm now in the business of counter suing the boyz in blue for false arrest and confiscating all my artworks and belongings. Too much fun:) But having passed our first anniversary, Occupy survives as an activist octopus of varying actions and iTOMB continues as performance art, activism and interactivity.

Now I've moved the whole enterprise to The Highline at 22nd St. and have had nothing but positive responses from the staff and visitors. Aside from just me working, now anyone can paint a picture and boy do they paint! See this selection of the best of September's work by visitors to iTOMB

Through visitor and fan suggestions I am now making the Interactivism activity of #iTOMB available for school, social organisation and corporate programmes. That means I can travel anywhere in the 5 boroughs and set up a painting exercise for all ages at a very reasonable fee - and with my mix of performance, humour, painting and encouragement a few minutes behind the brush brings a welcome break to virtually all ages. Can you think of any schools, companies, orgs or programmes where this would work well? Let me know. I'm excited to bring the box on the road and share the experience with as many people as need a dose of creative juice. Otherwise, check out the rest of the site and see all the things we're up to.

#iTOMB today 10.04.12 The Highline, NYC- Interactive activism:)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

#iTOMB: Work of the Week 09.24.12

#iTOMB.Romi (21 mos) 09.30.12

This week iThink Outside My Box is proud to introduce our Work of the Week - but since this a new feature, it's more like a compendium of the best work done in the month of September. See below for the full show. Above, my favourite from our painting sessions on The Highline in NYC until now. Working in a 3"X3" cardboard canvas space, Romi, at 21 months, creates a swirling post-modernist abstract that by most accounts, would be just at home at MoMA if it were 3'X3' or 30'X30'. Remember, there is no age requirement at iTOMB and certainly no skill evaluation to paint. Our current cardboard Rembrandts range from 13 mos to infinity - yet all bring a spirit that truly knows no boundaries. Thank you all, artists, for continuing to amaze me and the viewers of the world:)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Messages From a Box - by Vincent J. Tomeo

S e p t e m b e r  1 6 ,  2 0 1 2

M e s s a g e s  F r o m  A  B o x


A graphic designer occupies Wall Street
What can an artist do with a cardboard box occupying Wall Street?
He can put things into the box
He can think outside the box
The box can become a work of art
The box can become a sign of protest
He can occupy the box
He can announce to the world they too can occupy a box

On the Highline in New York City
he thinks outside the box
He now sits inside the box

WTF he occupies the box
The box is now a living museum of mix messages
View the box...
Study the box...
Walk around the box...
Tour the box...
See the artist in the box
like Paul Klee he paints simple signs that sing

This poem is dedicated to David Everitt-Carslon

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

#iTOMB Interactive - Where Everyone Can Sit Outside My Box and Think Outside Their Box

I Think Outside My Box (#iTOMB) has gone Interactive - enabling anyone to sit outside my box and  think outside their box, painting their thought of the moment. Given that each person works with exactly the same materials, paint and a 3"X3" piece of cardboard, I find it enlightening just how different each person's interpretation is. What makes up your box and how do you think outside of it?

Monday, August 27, 2012

The ©cupy T-Shirt Now Available on Ebay

Scan this QR code and order the ©cupy T-Shirt from Ebay.  

Only 7 left of this limited edition design:)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Occupy's Next Top Model Sports Our Limited Edition T-shirt

No expense was spared on our t-shirt model -  not one single penny
Appearing tan rested and ready to paint, our model sports the Occupy t-shirt in moss green on brilliant white. 100% cotton (s/m/l/xl) available as shown or in purple, red or black in shades that match the box colours. $30 + shipping and handling. Please send email to order with your size/colour specs and delivery address.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Limited Edition Occupy T-Shirts Now On Sale!

Occupy T-shirts. Red, Green, Black, Violet on White. S/M/L/XL 100% cotton

The Occupy t-shirts are now in and dare I say, they are positively smashing:) 

Playing a small joke on the concept of occupying intellectual property, the shirts are made of heavy weight 100% cotton and available in S/M/L and XL. (Sorry XXL-ers but Mayor Bloomberg thinks you should drink smaller sugary sodas.)

All on white, the pastel colours vary from PMS Super Warm Red to Moss Green, Soft Violet and of course, your garden variety Bauhaus Black for the hipsters on the block.

To order please email me with sizes and quantities. $30 each + shipping and handling. I'll send you return mail to confirm final price and payment (PayPal) details.

Quantities are limited so order quickly. Upon request I will be happy to sign and date each shirt.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Munch Gallery Opening performance art. Turning Lemonade into Lemons

Paul Cabezas and David Everitt-Carlson, Munch Gallery, 21 July - 'Up Against It' - Photo: Populist

As many of you are aware, all the art requested of me for the Up Against It Show by Munch Gallery curator Billy Miller was lost to mysterious circumstances the week before the show, so at submission deadline time, I had nothing to deliver as promised to the event. What to do? I was essentially out of an exhibition before I ever got in. But in the spirit of struggle as described by Billy and feeling truly up against it, I spent a day or two grousing and then set about coming up with a replacement piece for the exhibition. Quite the job considering the then limited timeframe and the need to relinquish any space that had been reserved for my installation at the show. What to do again.

A thumbnail idea
And the new rules were as such: Come up with an idea that would remain true to the original spirit of over-articulated protest signs and do it with no space available on the gallery floor or walls. Hmmm. The pencil drawing on the left was sent to Billy along with an explanation that 'performance art' had always been part of the concept - I would simply make as many signs as possible to fit on a jacket and wear the art, taking up the exact same amount of space as I would as a participant at the opening. Problem solved. Billy throught it was a good idea as well and we agreed that after the show the jacket could be placed on a hangar and hung from the ceiling with fishing line. Problem solved. Now all I needed to do was make the art. Enough art to have it work both as clothing and as signage meant to communicate.

Full mental jacket
The finished jacket ended up being a thrift store Jos. A. Bank's with all signs relating to the original Occupy Wall Street call for financial transparency and justice. The coat itself contained 22 signs including one on the inside breast pocket with the inscription "Wanna Buy A House?" (Please place tongue firmly in cheek.) Reactions from attendees were certainly mixed, in one way because people were not accustomed to dealing with walking art, and another in that they were surprised and pleased to see humour used in the context of protest. So with all logistical problems solved the only question now to be asked would be, "But is it art?" Up Against It runs through 11 August.

Monday, July 9, 2012

'I Think Outside My Box' at Munch Gallery, NYC, 21 July, 2012

Panels from Box II, October 2001, Occupy Wall Street, Zuccotti Park, NYC - David Everitt-Carlson

As I have been threatening for the last few months, many of the signs and images you see here will be featured in a gallery exhibition entitled, "Up Against It" at the Munch Gallery on Broome St. in New York City. Opening reception is on 21 July and the show will run until August 11. Please stop by opening night to meet or at another time during the run to peruse at your leisure.  I am pleased to see the work being given a spotlight it was not intended for and happy to see it communicating across boundaries that were not so well defined at its inception.

From top left: Luke Butler, Mark Shetabi. From bottom left: Scott Hug, Carl Ferrero, Mary Nicholson


Up Against It 
The Art of Struggle

July 21 - August 11, 2012

Opening Reception: Saturday, July 21 from 6-8 pm

New York, NY, July 9, 2012 – Munch Gallery is pleased to present ‘Up Against it’, a group exhibition curated by Billy Miller

The current global financial and political crises have prompted a groundswell of protest worldwide. From Tahir Square in Egypt to Zuccotti Park in NYC; throughout the U.S., Europe and elsewhere; the people have spoken and told their 'leaders' that they demand change. That change has been slow or not at all; and most of those responsible for these crises have yet to be held accountable.

In an attempt to understand the upheavals and social movements of the past, we often look to art as a compass to show us the temperament of the society that produced those conflicts. Sculpture, painting, photography, dance, cinema, literature and performance have all been utilized to reflect the zeitgeist of each era. And from Goya to Gйrricault, Hogarth, Grosz, Rivera, Picasso, Wojnarowicz, et al, artists have felt the call to bear witness to the issues of their times.

Brought together here for a limited time only, ‘Up Against it’ presents an artistic response to the issues of OUR times; interpreted individually and collectively by an assembly of artists of varying backgrounds, politics, and points of view.


D-L Alvarez, Anonymous, Jonathan Berger, Michael Bilsborough, Matt Borruso, Kathe Burkhart, Luke Butler, David Everitt-CarlsonBrendan Carroll, Mavado Charon, Sam Dargan, Pia Dehne, Daniel Derwelis, Eric Doeringer,  Peter Eide, Carl Ferrero, Gregory Green, Teenie Harris, Cliff Hengst, Christian Holstad, Scott Hug, Dennis Kane, Brenda Ann Kenneally, David King, Lisa Kirk, Noah Lyon, Michael Magnan, Yeni Mao, Darrin Martin, Rachel Mason, Jan-Holger Mauss, Salvor (Ross Menuez), John Monteith, Glynnis McDaris, Mary Nicholson, Mark Ohe, Gwenaлl Rattke, Nick Rule, Tara Sinn, Superm (Brian Kenny Slava Mogutin), Paul Taylor, Margaret Tedesco, Scott Treleaven, Jan Wandrag

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Occupy Info at #NatGat

Occupy Info ran a full shop for the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia this week with a little helpful signage.


A little cardboard square. A little gold paint. WTF?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Free Books

At Occupy Union Square, books are always free:)

Big Man, Small Box

The other day a big man came. He asked if he could get in my box. This is the best we could do:)