creative

You're not in Kansas anymore....

Alternative Working Title: Why Kiwis Really Need a Permit to Operate Safely in Australia (even the relatively safe parts)

Alternative Alternative to the Working Title: There Should Be More Signage In This Country!

An excerpt from the personal file - for your mirth and entertainment.

You may not know this about me (or even care - I'm ignoring that possibility) but, I'm always up for an adventure. And, on the few occasions when these adventures extend past the parameters of my imagination, I like to include nature in the mix. I love nature!

In fact, I love it so much, that growing up I used to fantasise about living the whole Robinson Crusoe lifestyle. It's how I used to fall asleep, imagining myself surviving in the middle of Fiordland, replete with log cabin, suitable camping accoutrements, hunting expertise etc, writing about my daily life. No one believes me now, but I actually came up with the original concept of a Survivor/X-Treme Blog crossover back in the early '80's!

(Unfortunately, in a disappointing sidebar to this story, when I tried to 'run away' and make my really awesome dream a reality, Mum and Dad failed to see the genius behind the motivation. It set up a whole ugly scenario of parental self-chastisement, guilt, trauma, and tears that at age nine, I just hadn't seen coming! Maybe, because I'd bundled up all of Dad's coolest looking fishing lures to aid my survival...

At any rate, I still like getting out into a bit of nature - with or without parental supervision!)

However, my innocent feelings of being 'safe' and happy, bowling carefree through nature, have been dented a tad recently, by my experiences in this country. First, it was the leech falling into my mouth, whilst walking a section at Wilson's Prom (how does that even happen???). Then, it was the really big, weird biting insect incident down my long-johns, resulting in a chaotic, emergency 'down-trou' on an exposed ridge (don't ask! Okay, the answers are, a.) VERY exposed, b.) bitten all over the show, c.) no, the insect was fine, well, maybe slightly traumatised, but otherwise okay, and d.) yep). Now, another addition to the collection. 'Tis a cautionary tale to be sure.... but, I have to ask, is it too much to ask for ONE sign, people??! Just one!

Please, do watch the clip above, and see why many (many) Australians roll their eyes skyward (even snort with derision!), when a hapless kiwi happens to wander blithely through nature, trying NOT to make any noise, naively dangling both legs over rocks beside streams (as if they needed more reason!).

As for as the 'nature' itself, how awesome is it, huh? Colourful, mesmerising, and very beautiful - from a distance! Very awesome to see it all happen.

And yes, Mum, next time I will take a big stick, and a compression bandage. :)

Be Nice To Your Stalkers' Day!

A little humour to celebrate Valentine's Day, otherwise affectionately known as 'VD', or, as I like to call it, "Be Nice To Your Stalkers' Day"!

This image goes out to all the sci fi fans in the cosmos, who just don't get the kudos they deserve on days like this. I know for a fact, that you're some of the most romantic guys and gals out there - you're already star gazers and dreamers, after all!

At any rate, here's to everyone having a lovely day - whatever 'genre' you identify with most.

Don't close those blast doors... this doesn't have to be an overtly commercial or expensive day. Chocolates, cards, flowers or diamonds will never be a real substitute for quality time spent, or heartfelt communication. Although, if you're just starting out, they might just open the door an inch (fingers crossed!). :)

Enjoy, and have fun with those you love today!

(P.S Especially whoever it was who came up with this image in the first place - I'd love to be able to give you the full (image) credit you deserve!)

Inspiration

 Copyright 2009 Roland Tiangco

It may be a sports mad weekend (great job, Cats!), but there should always be time to engage your other passions.

I absolutely love this poster, and the idea behind it. Tip o' the hat to it's creator, Roland Tiangco - great inspiration and thought.

Check out the whole poster story @ Culturehall.com - the creation and process is well worth the look.

Here's to getting our hands a little dirtier for the future.


Welcome to the World - revisited

VP_Shaky_Isles_med_WEB_copyright.jpg

Sometimes, a year can seem to last an eternity. Another will fly by. Missing skies of home today has me thinking back. In the capital, Carlo has turned one. In the fleeting months since creating this Visual Prose to celebrate, I wonder how far I've come, by comparison. At my age, milestones are less visible, not always expected (except growth rings). No longer the blankest canvas, still, I look to learn (although, employing filters). May I not lose that childlike desire, or curiosity.

I may not be standing in the same place, but I still stand under southern skies. Some things change...

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Yes, M.A.M!

It's Friday, so why not time to kick back and watch a little slideshow?

It's relaxing, like watching goldfish... with music!

This is a moving pictures showcase of Visual Prose Moveable Art Magnets (M.A.M's for short!). As you can see, they come with either a white or black border options, on a fun display card, and are an absolute steal at just $AUD5 each!! (Postage & handling a little extra).

They are the ultimate thin, lightweight, post-friendly gift - which is why we can send them anywhere around the world. Go on, try it!

Any image that you see in the image galleries is able to be purchased as a M.A.M (Moveable Art Magnet, in case you missed it!), even if you don't see it as part of the slideshow.

And yes, you can view the slideshow in a slightly bigger format on youtube here. Ahhh, pretty!

Feel free to comment, or email me directly for orders or more information.

Ultimately, sit back, relax, and have an excellent weekend, wherever you are in the world!

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Fear of White, Pt. 3

I liked the idea that the white page is ‘chaos’ (have I read too many comic books?), but what stuck with me was the image of the calligrapher being on a journey. It was an idea that filled me with possibility, rather than dread. I’d always focussed on the end point, of what I was trying to say, and how I was trying to say it. The concept of exploring while I was writing was exciting. The concept that writing was an echo of that journey, also eased the focus on perfection. Echoes are not perfect replications, each is unique.

Without boring you with all of the flow diagrams, and doodles that ensued, with a bit more work, things fell into place. I took actions, based on the principles I'd learned about: self-acceptance, an appreciation of the world’s natural order, altering my view and perception of the situation, while changing my approach (or incorporating new elements into the existing one). Together, it all conspired to have me writing again.

What did I learn from the process... wax on, wax off.... Haha, just kidding. Well, maybe a little - you do have to put work in, in order to make a breakthrough. However, I also learned (in no particular order):

  • When you’re in a situation, sometimes the hardest thing, is to change the way you see and think about it, and be able to see other options. This is where casting the net wide, and being open to suggestions can be invaluable. What I read, gave me different perspective, and most importantly it challenged my perception of the problem. It also challenged me to tackle the problem from a different angle. You can interpret fresh and different ideas and concepts in surprising ways, and make them work for your specific situation.
  • The media message is contradictory, but perfection is a mirage. I still strive to perfect my writing as a way of communicating, and improve one piece upon the next, but I don’t aim for each piece to be perfect. I’m looking for continued progression and growth along the journey. With each passage, I build upon the lessons, and hopefully, ‘beauty’ of the last.
  • I try not to be my harshest critic anymore. Perfect or not, self-expression is authentic. It’s not always up to you to love or hate it, but to be yourself, and accept your work as a reflection of your own (valid) expression.
  • Read widely! (Libraries and secondhand bookstores are cool)
  • Sometimes that square peg, just won’t fit! I subsequently realised that I was attempting to write in a format, that was contrary to my natural style. When I accepted my style, I found a genre that worked for my writing. The world is a big enough place that there is a niche for everyone, even if it ends up being different to the one you thought it would be!
  • Rather than fighting your differences, and attempting to mould yourself into a shape or form that you’re not, recognise that there is a kind of perfection in just being you. If and when you change, it’s organic, shaped by the progression of time, and natural action of experience.
  • No matter how deep you think the hole is (it’s perception, remember), you can beat your brain at it’s own game! It might try and bamboozle you every so often, but you can grow and work through the challenges it presents. Now when I look back through my work, instead of encountering a sad prose cemetery,  it’s a photo album. I might cringe at the odd spiral perm *silent scream*, and wonder how I could’ve worn those jeans so short with those socks, but overall looking back makes me smile. I can’t deny that it was me (even if I do think, that I looked like a poodle), and maybe there’s actually the odd shot that I think is still kind of cool.

I now recognise that each passage of my work is a reflection of me at a certain time, at a certain place. Somedays my writing is better than others, and some pieces are better than others - and, they all have a place in the journey.

When it comes to my creative writing, I observe the following, “nurture all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect." *

All can be beautiful.


*  from, Wabi Sabi Simple, Powell, Richard R. (2004).

Fear of White, Pt. 2


In essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese philosophy and art of finding beauty in imperfection, and profundity in nature, and of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. Wabi-sabi is an aesthetic which embraces principles such as, asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, and an appreciation of the inherent integrity of natural objects and processes. The author, Leonard Koren, describes wabi-sabi as an aesthetic which at its core, finds beauty in the "imperfect, impermanent and incomplete"* - the rusted gate, the shadow of a tree across a path, smile lines at the eyes, indicating the passage of time.

There is a lot I like about wabi-sabi, although it may require a leap to understand how the philosophy could help resolve a case of writer’s block. Maybe you’ll have to take my word for it. Maybe it has something to do with the connections my mind makes(!). At any rate, as I read more about it, the acceptance of imperfection struck a chord with me. I’d found a philosophy that acknowledged everything I loved about the world, and I couldn’t escape the ‘elephant in the room’ - imperfection was the very thing I refused to accept in my writing. This had always been the rotten contradiction. I thought about how I could apply wabi-sabi principles to the way I looked at my writing. For all the lumps and bumps that I saw, could I look past them? Could I appreciate a passage for what it was, not what I thought it could, or should be? I’d tried self-chastisement to solve things - quite unsuccessfully! Was it time for a little self-acceptance?


“C’mon”, I said to myself, “creative writing isn’t a direct dictation of life (that’s non-fiction!), but a series of your interpretations. An interpretation, isn’t perfect or imperfect, it just is, and it’s unique to you”.

“Hmmmm”, I replied.... there was still that nemesis of the stark white page...

Still, thoughts percolated.

In time, I came across the other piece of the puzzle, flicking through a completely unrelated book on Japanese calligraphy (I’d started out just looking at the artwork!), one day in Borders (remember Borders?). I encountered a Japanese description of the blank page, completely contrary to the one I’d been taught growing up, and it was a kicker. 

Here, the empty page was not ‘perfect’, apt to be spoiled or scarred. To Japanese calligraphers’, the paper was in fact itself a representation of a void, or state of chaos, which preceded the creation of form. With the touch of brush to paper, the calligrapher began a journey to draw the lines forth out of chaos. A finished sheet of calligraphy was an echo of each journey.

True, the poetry of this description appealed to me, but it also caused a synapse in my head to snap awake. I could also almost hear it, as I re-read the passage. All of the ideas and thoughts I’d had over the last few months, were prompted to spontaneously swarm, compress, and blend together in the small vortex of my brain. *Bang!* - I could see what might solve my problem.

Better still, it worked.


Concluded in Part III...


*  Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers, Koren, Leonard (1994).

Fear of White, Pt. 1

Okay, so here’s something you might have already figured out about me - I love writing. I’ve always loved to write. I’m fascinated and captivated by the written word, language, communication. From a young age, creating stories for myself and my younger brother (especially of our own fantastic adventures), was my favourite pastime. As I grew up, the writing grew too, and I was successful at it.

But, here’s something you might not know - for quite a long period, I wrangled with a very personal, 'fear of white'. Being confronted with a sheet of blank, white paper made me anxious. Or rather, the prospect of writing on it did. Not all writing eluded me, just anything personal. I never lost the ability to write or edit for others. In fact, once the fear set in, I found it much more gratifying to invest my energy in helping other people  to realise their own written ‘voices’ and stories, than worry about where mine had disappeared to. Writing for other people, I could exercise an objectivity that I found impossible to apply to my personal work. Confronting a blank page for a client is an exciting challenge, full of possibility. Put the same page in front of me for personal writing, and it was a pristine expanse that would only be ‘ruined’ by my inky scrawl.

For one reason or another (seldom is there ever just one), there came a time when nothing I wrote was good enough. I was a walking contradiction. What I loved most about life - the imperfections, the shadows and wrinkles, the flawed qualities of humanity - I came to despise most in my own prose. I was consumed with striving for perfection, phrasing every line and scene ‘perfectly’. I wanted to capture every detail, faithfully reproduce every nuance of what I saw, whether in life, or my mind’s eye. If I felt that an idea wasn’t perfectly conveyed on a page, I’d destroy it. Words no longer flowed like a torrent, each was weighed very heavily. Spontaneity vanished. I became mired in order, rules, descriptions, and definitions. Over time, this rigid pursuit of perfection, and rejecting anything ‘less’, snowballed. It gave way to misgivings, apprehension and fear. Soon, I didn’t want to mar the page at all. Alone, it was pristine, white, perfect. In the end, I lost faith that I could write anything. I was paralysed.

Self-expression is a tricky and stubborn ‘animal’, however. Ultimately, it ‘will out’! I fretted that I might never write personal creations again, but I also knew that there had to be a solution - no two ways about it. It may have looked as if I was standing still, but apparent inaction, doesn’t always mean that there’s no learning in action! What’s that quote about icebergs, or treading water? It’s all going on under the surface?

In the end, I came across two concepts, which resonated with me very powerfully. Although separate, they were catalysts which percolated together, and set me on a course to overcoming my fear of white. First, found on the pages of a dog-eared book about acrylics, in a second-hand bookstore, came the concept of wabi-sabi.

Continued in Part II...

carapace

Ta da! Today I’m very excited to announce and unveil a new direction for Visual Prose, with the addition of original mixed media works . You can check out a selection of these pieces in the new mixed media image gallery, within the lightbox here.

I’m particularly excited by the ‘carapace’ life cast forms, available as wall art. I create each carapace as a unique, one-of-a-kind piece. Examples in the gallery range from those constructed from fibres and threads, to plaster, cloth and concrete (such as the carapace above), and are available in a range of finishes.

Carapace pictured in the gallery measure approximately 62cm (h) x 40cm (w) for both female and male forms full size. Finished weights of final pieces are dependent upon medium used, and vary.

I will be adding to this gallery as new carapace and other mixed media works evolve. Let me know what you think! To contact me regarding availability and pricing for the works pictured in the gallery, or for more information about personally commissioned pieces made to order, simply email.

Early Morning Webs


I haven't met the spider who's awesome work this is - but, I think it deserves a medal. Especially when this is just a small section of the entire work. All in all, this series of webs were strung from paling to paling along the three metre length of our front gate. Quite a feat in one night, and not bad workmanship, considering that they had been subjected to an hour or so of hard winter rain at dawn!

Sitting just below eye-level, they had my attention straight away, shining in the cool morning light. Having just finished a run, I thought twice about going for the camera - moments earlier, I'd been thinking about heading to a good, hot shower. But, something about this small scene caught my full attention. The amount of work was incredible, not to mention the intricacies. The rain had moved on, and the wind was picking up. I knew that in spite of the spider's best efforts, this small world wouldn't last forever. The rain was already an evaporating memory on the concrete driveway, the sun was climbing higher.

I grabbed the camera. The webs were swept away by the day, but I have a little memory of that moment. Whenever I look back, I'll remember that I was tired, and sweaty, and found it hard to keep the camera steady - I was breathing hard after the run, and my hands shook. I held my breath for each shot, scared that if I didn't, I'd puff away these delicate strands. Delicate, yet strong enough to support the heavy raindrops suspended from them. I''ll remember the chill of the sweat in my hair, the goosebumps on my bare legs as I cooled down. I'll remember the thoughts I had while I stood there, thinking about the quality of the light - so different in winter. The way the solidity of the raindrops served to enhance the seemingly tenuous, and fragile appearance of the webs; strength and fragility bound up in one tiny scene. The way that the tree in the garden behind the gate was silhouetted. Even realising that I really need to clean the fence of that mildew at some stage, makes me smile.

Perhaps one of the best things about capturing a small part of that moment, was being able to share it that night after work, with others who otherwise would've missed it.

There are always great and varied reasons for capturing images, and sharing them - even if it means putting off a shower for a moment or two.