Head in the Clouds


About a month ago I worked at four different social science conferences within about a months time. It was a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of air time. So many times we think of air time as wasted time. A place where if you don’t want to pay ridiculous wifi prices, is totally wireless. It seems so primitive, what do you do with your time if you don’t have internet? You are left with nothing but your thoughts, and well anything that you have downloaded onto your iPad. This is what I normally do; read or listen to music on my iPad, but this time I decided to do something different. 

I decided to try to make the most of my time up here in the clouds and what I found out is that being suspended in air is actually a great time to think through a lot of things.

Its interesting how being in the air breeds creativity. It’s almost an out of body experience if you let it be. You are climbing higher and higher….looking down on reality, everything up here seems possible. Everything on the ground doesn’t matter. Literally and figuratively you are above the world.  Everything below is small and insignificant, but majestic in the same sense. 


When I am on the ground everything seems so restrictive. I am afraid to dance, I am afraid to put my art out there, I am afraid to try new things and yet in the air this is all I want to do….dance…share….celebrate the beauty of life. Why does this feeling dissipate as I approach the ground? Does it have to?

A mentor of mine once told me that if you wait to be liked you will fail. This is a huge problem I have while on the ground…. I censor myself in order to garner more fans and in turn I lose a part of myself. However in so many ways perfection lies only in imperfection. Things that are too perfect end up feeling insincere and lack character.  

I think that this has been a problem in my art as well, I am trying to strive for a perfect match between what I see on the canvas and the subject I am painting, but maybe it’s not supposed to be exactly the same, it’s supposed to take on its own life as if it were a different place; a dream state of the subject. Perhaps I should let the paint brush take me to the deepest part of my mind and pull out the inner emotions, more then the actual physical presence of an object.Image


Hmmmm…..I think as I sip my tomato juice which, by the way, is (I think) the most refreshing airplane ride beverage…next to alcohol of course.  The take away of all of this is let go and just be, but most of all don’t let my restrictive grounded nature keep me from the freedom of flying.  Just as Karl Marx said, “Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.” I feel the same way about my inner conflicts…share with other artists, put myself out there because really I have nothing to lose but my chains. 


Please feel free to share your comments! Have you had a similar in flight experience? Are you more creative in transit? What is it about the body being physically moving in transit that allows the brain to open up creativity?


Perception and Claude Monets Wheatstacks

All we have is our perception of reality to work with. Art is an expression of our reality and this reality, this world, is ever changing. Even the difference between morning and evening can bring new light on a subject. This is why Claude Monet is one of my favorite classical painters, and more specifically his Wheatstack series. This was a collection of at least 25 paintings that feature Wheatstacks from the Fall harvest of 1890 through the Spring of 1891, painted near his home in Giverny, France.


It was genius to take such a simple subject as a wheatstack (somewhat of a boring subject in my opinion) and use it to highlight how different they look in different seasons, weather conditions, and times of day. Six paintings in the series are housed at The Art Institute in Chicago, the place where I was first exposed to them as a young child.

While explaining his series Claude Monet said “For me a landscape hardly exists at all as a landscape, because it’s appearance is constantly changing; but it lives by virtue of it’s surroundings, the air and the light, which vary continually.”

As people we also live in virtue of our surroundings. We are the wheat stacks standing there in our surroundings, changing and changed by the air and the light of our environment. 

Socio-Art: A Fusion of Two Loves.

I believe I wanted to be an artist since the day I was born. I have always been drawn to art of all forms, but was part of this culture that devalued art as a profession. How many times do we have to hear about the cliche the starving artist. Do we really all have to starve?

Feeling the pressure to conform to societies pressures I went to a conventional state college….originally majored in global marketing and soon realized that this was not the right choice for me. I took one sociology class and I was hooked. I felt that sociology gave me an empirical way to explain the social injustices that I saw around me. I was seeking truth. I changed my major and very much enjoyed my sociological study. I finished my BA degree, feeling accomplished, my whole life ahead of me, but now what?

I looked for a job…in fact many jobs, but I had no real direction. How did I want to use this degree? So I decided to go back to college. I figured if I had a MA degree then my job prospects would open up for me. I finished my MA, but something didn’t seem quite right.

This is where my life course changed. This artistic beast inside of me started rearing its head, mad that I had beat it down for so long. I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I also started seeing other creatives around me going after their artistic dreams and making real progress and I got inspired. Maybe we don’t all have to starve. Maybe some of us can not be content just being workers in the traditional job market. We NEED to create, share, and be connected. I started painting again, I learned to sew, and I generally started crafting. This makes me happy. I create therefore I am.

I still explain to many people that I have two loves art and sociology, but until now I thought that they were two different pursuits; that I would have to choose one or the other when thinking about my life trajectory. However sociology is all about trends of society, cultures and life struggles. Art is a perception of life.

Thats when I realized art is social, art is humanity. It is a powerful medium used to express our social problems, our pop culture, our everyday lives. Whether a song, a book, a painting, a quilt, or a piece of pottery, these things evoke so much more then something to look at; they enliven us.

This is what I aspire to do with this blog site. I am on a journey to fuze these two loves and take you along for the rid. There may be times that the sociologist or the artist prevails in a certain blog post but the way I see it, I have never met a sociologist who doesn’t appreciate art or an artist who doesn’t care about society.