I still don’t really understand what an NFT is, but the concept has become a curious part of the digital art world in recent months. The “Falling Man NFT” comes nowhere near artistic or humorous. It’s a pathetic remake of the photo of one of the 9/11 victims plummeting from a World Trade Center Tower. Many people either fell or leapt to their deaths from those massive buildings on that fateful day. Richard Drew, an Associated Press photojournalist, captured the image that has become an iconic and painful memento of the tragedy.
GameStop had placed the NFT – created by someone named Jules – with the caption “This one probably fell from the MIR space station”; perhaps a reference to the Russian structure that operated from 1986 to 2001. After the outcry, GameStop removed the NFT from its marketplace. The company had already experienced some financial setbacks as the pandemic ravaged the U.S. economy and closed a large number of stores in 2021.
This certainly won’t help them rebuild their reputation.
As a writer and blogger, I know full well that artists are always broaching unknown territory to stun people out of complacency or into some sort of awareness. Yet, some things are still too sensitive to mock, especially for profit.
“Painting for me is about finding that scene or still life or person that moves me to paint. The passion of the subject matter whatever it is. The contrast of light and dark. It’s all about the light for me really. Nature gives me so many beautiful scenes to try and capture and I hope the viewer of the painting can experience the same joy. It’s a journey that takes me to constant challenges and different techniques. Often I found my greatest freedom to explore when I paint over old canvases realizing I have nothing else to lose so why not go for it or do something different.”
Of all potential casualties of climate change, I don’t believe anyone thought art would be one of them. While much of the Northern Hemisphere struggles through one of the hottest summers on record, Europe seems especially hard hit. Hundreds have died and thousands have become sick, as major cities mark record high temperatures where centralized air conditioning isn’t common in most homes. That’s on top of raging wildfires and severe droughts.
Amidst the chaos, a floating project headed down the Weser River towards Documenta – an art festival held every five years in Kassel, Germany – had to stop because the water level is too low. The project, called “Citizenship”, is a barge created from the upside-down former roof of the Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik, the headquarters of the Berlin-based art collective KUNSTrePUBLIK. It was supposed to travel from Berlin to Kassel over the course of 60 days, during which the boat would make scheduled stops to host events such as concerts, workshops, and “cooking evenings.” The boat is powered without fossil fuels and instead moves using sustainable propulsion, a pedal, and rowing systems, as well as “external traction from rowing clubs and swimming teams.”
Meanwhile in England, both the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum closed some exhibitions (or at least limited hours) citing “hazardous working conditions due to the unprecedented heat”. Officials moved some “temperature-sensitive” items from galleries to “cool storage until the extreme conditions dissipate”.
“The amazing thing to me about art is in the idea of the visual as a shared experience. It is communication across cultures, time and experiences. There is magic in art, inviting all to look, and yet allowing each individual to interpret that image in their mind’s eye. Both the artist and the viewer can learn from each other, and that sharing leads to discovery on both sides. It is that communication that inspires me to keep painting and sharing my work.”
Feeling anxious or upset? A number of things exist to help you out – reading, walking, meditation, exercise. But have you ever thought of visiting a museum to ease that apprehension? Turns out that patronizing a museum might be one avenue of relief for anguished souls. A University of Pennsylvaniastudy entitled “Art Museums as Institutions for Human Flourishing” published in the Journal of Positive Psychology indicates as much.
The relatively new field of “positive psychology” studies “the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive.” It draws on research from a variety of academic disciplines while examining how the arts and humanities affect the human condition.
“We believe our collaborative and interdisciplinary work is all the more vital at a time when so many individuals and communities lack the levels of well-being they need to thrive,” said James O. Pawelski of UPenn.
Pawelski and colleague Katherine Cotter had already planned to study the effects of museums on people’s mental health when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Since so many museums were forced to shut down, the duo compiled and reviewed over 100 research articles and government and foundation reports.
They discovered that visiting a museum reduced stress levels, frequent visits decreased anxiety, and viewing figurative art lowered blood pressure. They also found that museum visits lowered the intensity of chronic pain, increased a person’s life span, and lessened the likelihood of being diagnosed with dementia. And those living with dementia saw mental and physical benefits as well: Spending time in a museum induced more dynamic stress responses, higher cognitive function, and improvements in the symptoms of depression.
Going to a museum also left elementary schoolers feeling “restored” and even made medical residents feel less emotionally exhausted.
To most artists, this shouldn’t be surprising. Writers, painters, musicians and the like have always had the ability to unite people when politicians couldn’t. And now, our desires to make people’s lives better has been vindicated once again.
“The importance of family led me to explore ideas of inheritance and the identity that is simultaneously lost and gained through preserving a legacy. Of course, where I’m from plays a big part of who I am, but whether its pride, loyalty, pressure, or a sense of responsibility, family history finds a way to influence the present and future.”
“The chair is where you crash out when the best seat is already taken, that being the window seat. In this shot, Zoey has already claimed the window, so Kitty Girl is quite content with the more spacious option. I painted this particular painting in October, or as cat owners know it – Black Cat Awareness Month. Black cats sometimes get ignored for more colorful cats and they tend to be adopted less than other cats. Although Kitty Girl is almost total black, the sunlight is enhancing her beauty even more. She is so gentle and loving. She was brought her in as a kitten. She likes the indoor life and being on this side of the window, so this is where she is often found. Fortunately for her October is just another month. This painting is titled “The Chair”. If you own cats you might notice the frays in the curtain under the chair that are catching just a glimmer of sunlight. The detail was challenging in this painting but I really enjoyed the challenge. I hope you like it as well. And the next time you visit the shelter, please don’t forget the black cats.”
For the first time in 200 years, a new shade of blue is on sale. In 2009, scientists developed YInMn Blue, which derives its name from its chemical components: indium, manganese and yttrium. It absorbs red and green wavelengths to produce the bright azure shade, which is unique because it’s a hybrid of ultramarine and cobalt blue.
Even though it’s been over a decade, consumer access to the pigment had to process through the usual myriad of government regulations – particularly the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2016, the Shepherd Color Company received a license to sell YInMn Blue and sees the color’s potential industrial usages. The pigment reflects most infrared radiation; thus, keeping building exteriors cool.
The color blue has a lengthy history of discovery and innovation. It is the first human-made pigment; dating to roughly 2,200 B.C.E., when Egyptians created cuprorivaite, known simply as Egyptian blue. Its developers ground limestone mixed with sand and a copper-containing mineral, such as azurite or malachite, then heated it between 1470 and 1650°F. This produced an opaque blue glass, which then had to be crushed and combined with thickening agents such as egg whites to create a long-lasting paint or glaze.
YInMn Blue is available to American consumers only through Golden Paints and Italian Arts Store. Now anyone can purchase a tube of it for USD 179.40. I don’t know if that’s retail or wholesale, but artists have another reason to struggle in the name of their craft.