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.