Improvised Life » Mindset If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Fri, 22 May 2015 06:55:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Expand Your Emoji + Emoticon Vocabulary …and make ART Thu, 21 May 2015 17:00:52 +0000

Cindy Sherman

Emoticons (short for “emotion icon” formed out of keyboard symbols), and emojis (pictograms) are being so widely used that we’ve been hearing news reports that they might possible become a new language: a sort of modern day hieroglyphics. You can track hundreds being used on Twitter using Emoji TrackerFred Benenson published Emoji Dick, an emoji translation of the Herman Melville’s massive classic Moby Dick. His Emoji Transation Kickstarter proposes to create an emoji translation engine and phrase book. Best of all, artist Cindy Sherman has devised her own set of emojis which she’s offering as a free download.

Although we love possibilities in the realm of emojis (see more below), we like the constraints of making emoticons using just keyboard symbols, and are playing around with Wikipedia’s essential list of FORTY (click to embiggen).  (more…)

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The Reinvention of Normal (Dominic Wilcox) Thu, 21 May 2015 07:46:06 +0000

Reinvention of Normal

(Video link here.) Over the years, we’ve published quite a few of artist/inventor/designer Domnic Wilcox‘s brilliant rethinking of ordinary objects, documented on his site Variations on Normal. We love that Wilcox constantly challenges “normal” because “normal” is often so terribly limiting. And as Wilcox shows, its FUN and illuminating to think outside the normal box.

Reinvention of Normal is 7 minutes of pure joy AND inspiration as we get to see Wilcox’s process. The best: his dad’s insight into his son’s work and LIFE: (more…)

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Look At the ‘Do’ a Field of Sunflowers Inspired Wed, 20 May 2015 20:15:20 +0000

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Community Starts with One, Saying YES Wed, 20 May 2015 06:54:52 +0000

These three surprising examples of communities reminds us that community starts with one person reaching out, taking action...and then another, and another.... ]]> 0
A Tree’s Energy of Strength, Beauty and Balance Tue, 19 May 2015 20:47:08 +0000


Need some? Here you go!


via One Big Photo with thanks to Christopher Eldredge?

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Chris Burden: “”Limits’ is a Relative Term” Tue, 19 May 2015 06:42:29 +0000

(Video link here. We recommend watching with the sound OFF.) We were stunned to hear that artist Chris Burden died last week at the age of 69. Known for pushing limits, Burden used his own body as art material in extraordinarily violent and shocking ways, until he moved into other forms of sculpture. Just two months ago, when we ran a video of his powerful Beam Drop, we somehow thought he’d live forever.

Then, we heard NPR’s 3-minute piece, below, about the artist’s last, wondrous work: a self-propelled zeppelin, and wondered about Burden’s path from having himself shot in front of an audience, to making such magical, meditative last work.  (more…)

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Holly Soloman’s Kitchen: “A Painting I Can Walk Into” Mon, 18 May 2015 17:00:11 +0000


In the annals of kitchen design, art collector/dealer Holly Soloman‘s has to be one of the most out-there. The dazzling, mind-boggling riot of colored mosaic was created artist Dorren Gallo as an on-site installation in the eighties.  Solomon said to the New York Times in 1984“I don’t know how to find an egg in it. But for me it’s a painting I can walk into.” 

The Times’ description of Gallo’s process is both illuminating and inspiring.

Miss Gallo used the whole kitchen, including the refrigerator, as a canvas (more…)

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Emerge into a New Week Mon, 18 May 2015 07:49:19 +0000

Miriam Sweeney/


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Wondrous Spinning Gif + Anne Herbert’s Inimitable Wisdom Thu, 14 May 2015 20:06:16 +0000

We love this beauty of a gif from the great intepid gif-artist DVDP. It reminds us of the very wise words of the mysterious Anne Herbert: (more…)

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Frida Kahlo’s Artful Wardrobe, Painted Casts and All Thu, 14 May 2015 06:42:22 +0000

Ishiuchi Miyako, courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery

One of our most popular posts featured Frida Kahlo painting the plaster cast she had to suffer living in after one of her many operations. Kahlo, confined in terrible casts most of life, painted them, transformed them, took them over as much as she could, turned them into something beautiful, expressive; she turned them into art. That defiant act of transformation resonately deeply with readers.

Recently, we found a trove of powerful images by Japanese photograher Ishiuchi Miyako of Kahlo’s wardrobe, from gloves and stockings to her vividly colored skirts and blouses, as well as her incredible casts, in remarkable detail. Each item is evidence of her powerful drive to self expression, despite her wounds, setbacks and handicaps. (more…)

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Hair as Personal, Cultural, Historical Artform Wed, 13 May 2015 07:47:17 +0000

JD Okhai Ojeikere

When Lagos, Nigeria celebrated its independence from Britain in 1960, a hairstyle called the Tall House “literally sprang up“.  According to the New York Times Lens Blog, hair sculptures as high as two feet “symbolized the aspirations of a new and striving nation”.

Nigerian photographer J. D. ’Okhai Ojeikere, who died last year at the age of 83, spent more than thirty years traveling across Nigeria documenting hundreds of braided styles that appeared during that time. He took close to 1,000 portraits of different braids, twists, plaits and buns, each carrying a distinct meaning.  His book J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere: Photographs contains his most famous series “Hairstyles”. Each is a deeply expressive, rather magical work of personal and cultural art. For us, they are examples of personal expression taken to wondrous heights with the most elemental of materials. (more…)

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Charles Ray: “The Difference Between Making and Discovering” Tue, 12 May 2015 06:24:13 +0000

Charles Ray

We were stunned by a number of passages in “Meaning Machines“,  the New Yorker’s recent profile of sculptor Charles Ray. The first has to do with “making”, something we do a lot of, but we’d never thought about it quite this way. Like Ray, we are haunted by it: (more…)

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Time to Enjoy Blossom Showers and Petal Snow Mon, 11 May 2015 06:04:08 +0000

(Video link here.) The dazzling last gift of cherry and other trees in-flower right now is the “snow” that falls once the blossoms begin to die. We find ourselves walking under lovely showers of petals and (more…)

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A Mime’s Curiously Visionary Design Thu, 07 May 2015 06:17:48 +0000

(Video link here.) Ikeda Yosuke is a mime who incorporates graphic design and typography into his performances. He is not a professional designer, but he practices outside-the-box thinking with everyday objects we take for granted. Here he envisions OPEN’s opposite hidden within: an example of true possibility-thinking.

More of Yosuke’s work here.

via Core 77

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