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visual artist and writer marisol diaz

i am a self-defined Nuyorican creative (that is a Puerto Rican who is from both the isles of Manhattan, NYC and the Caribbean). I share daily in the joy of education and live in a cute port town in New York, in a 'teensy-weensy' apartment with my two dogs and canary named Valentino. Check out my Etsy shop for purchasable pieces. Please do not reproduce imagery off of this site without explicit credit and no derivatives may be made of my original imagery- Thank You.

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This work by marisol diaz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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Wednesday
Jun152011

Doing Nothing, Disconnecting and Why it's Important (Just in Time For Summer)

"Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen."- Leonardo DaVinci
The Sweetness of Doing Nothing by m.diaz

Not so long ago, I was not me. I was instead an inanimate object. To be clear, I was a rubber-band. I was stretched so thin from being pulled in so many directions that I was bound to snap, and I did. I snapped right in the face of some folks that I care deeply about. Folks who didn't even have a hand in stretching me to begin with, but unfortunately, they were close enough to feel my whiplash.

Now sometimes being stretched that thin is an aid in productivity. I successfully argue that point at every moment in which I accept a new task. In fact, I've just pitched the, "No Worries, I work better under pressure" tagline to myself and my co-workers, friends and students earlier today.

Come on lets face it, I have a superhero complex, ever since I saw that star-studded Chicana, Lynda Carter spin her brunette head into the Wonder Woman of my dreams.

So I'm super capable and yes I can, I can do it all... sound familiar??
But what I've been learning as I get older is not to ask, "Can I?", (because I probably can, but at what cost?) instead I need to ask, "Should I?"

So in lieu of this global race against time, productivity and efficiency, many of us have grown digital appendages that allow us to redefine multi-tasking: cell & smart phones, laptops, ipads, portable hotspots, apps, etc.

As a result, these appendages have become indispensable, and have us 'connected' indefinitely. Personally, if you ask me, the very thought of misplacing my iphone brings cold-sweats, chills and dizziness to mind instantaneously as though it equated a lost limb.

In the New York Times bestseller, Hamlet's Blackberry, William Powers does an astute job of reminding us that the goal of all of our highly efficient technological advances was to gain us more time. It is the 'spaces, gaps, the respites,and stopping places for the mind' that we gain from our ultra-efficiency that we are somehow losing. Despite all of our hyper-connectivity, we are less connected to authentic humanity by constantly being wired to a virtual one.

First I would like to define rest by including anything that alleviates action and restores absorption of the mental, physical, emotional and/or spiritual kind. If you’re like me, you’ll stress about making it to Yoga class on time, and well, that's just not ok.

Somehow we are all hearing ourselves say WE USED to have A LOT more time...

Now seeing as we now have all of these hyper-connective tools that allow us to do multiple tasks at once, we should have MORE time. Yet, instead if you're like me, you're most likely giving all that new found time away. Possibly that new time is being given away to being 'ON' and available in our digital personas/virtual worlds 24/7. If that's the case, well then I think it might be time to reassess our priorities.

Thoreau said that the man that goes back to the post office (substitute email in-box here) over and over is a man who hasn't heard from himself in a long while.

- From Hamlet's Blackberry

So why are these pauses, GAPS of Absorption and PROCESS, these 'moments' or if we dare, DAYS of rest in our busy lives so important?

Well we've all heard the cliché answers: relieving stress, recharging your battery, richer connection and self-reflection. These are indeed vital and incredibly important in gaining the depth/richness and quality of experience we need out of our daily lives (instead of being automatons of brainless routines).
But lets look at some of the rich reasons that I gleaned from Hamlet's Blackberry...

Creativity is defined by the ability to make mental associations ....

" When work is all about darting around screens, we're not doing something thats even more valuable than thinking quickly: thinking creatively.

Of the minds many aptitudes, the most remarkable is its power of association, the ability to see new relationships among things. The brain is the most amazing associative device ever created, with its roughly one hundred billion neurons connected in as many as a quadrillion different ways- more connections than there are stars in the known universe.

Digital devices are, in one sense, a tremendous gift to the associative process because they link us to so many sources of information. The potential they hold out for creative insights and synthesis is breathtaking. The best human creativity, however, happens only when we have the time and mental space to take a new thought and follow it wherever it leads. William James once contrasted 'the sustained attention of the genius, sticking to his subject for hours together,' with the 'commonplace mind' that flits from place to place. geniuses are rare, but by using screens as we do now, constantly jumping around we're ensuring that all of us have fewer ingenious moments and bring less associative creativity to whatever kind of work we do."


- William Powers From Hamlet's Blackberry

In working out and toning your body, muscles need states of strict rest in order to grow and develop. As an educator it is established that in order to learn we need to time to process. Within inter-personal relationships we need time for reflection. As humans we live dichotomously between an inward and outward states and that condition should be balanced. I personally feel we lose control when we do anything in excess and the only true form of satisfaction comes in a perpetual balanced state of moderation. It is how I have come to champion my body this year.

William Powers doesn't advocate disconnect and be a ludite. He advocates the notion that we need to learn to control the aspects of our lives that are controlling us- he advocates moderation and mitigation between you and the technologies that are inhibiting your ability to live a high quality, present, attentive and fully immersed experience of a life- learn when to turn your ON 'green' button OFF in order to truly be ON.

He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities. - Benjamin Franklin

So if I haven't convinced you yet to take a reading gander with Hamlet's Blackberry, let me add some previews of what's in store.
Powers takes on the challenging task of reviewing the philosophies of seven great thinkers throughout human history. He applies their thinking of what had once been the new technologies of their time and the concept of connectivity to today's surge of overwhelming digital data.
You might think this is a far reach, but I found it pleasantly surprising to see how relevant and applicable: Plato's notion of 'distance' is, Seneca's concept of Inner space, Gutenberg's manufacturing brilliance with technologies of Inwardness, Shakespeare's idea that old tools can ease overload, Ben Franklin's adaptation of positive rituals, Thoreau's Walden zones, McLuhan's lowering of the Inner thermostat and William Power's Internet Sabbath. These ideas can apply to you and me and help us moderate our on 24/7 consumption of digital juice.

Finally, if these thoughts don't stimulate your desire to ignite your spatial, tactile and physical awareness with the reality around you, here are some tech-saavy reasons that are not meant to be comical (though they may sound it) to self-moderate your digital connections.

TAKE YOUR REST AND LEARN TO SAY NO & shut off & time out & DISCONNECT every once in a while so you don't get things like:

  • INFORMATION OVERLOAD estimated to be responsible for economic losses (lowered productivity and throttled innovation) of 900billion dollars a year *(result of a 2009 study done by Basex a leading research firm)
  • ATTENTION DEFICIT TRAIT (ADT) symptoms include distractability, restlessness, a sense of gotta go gotta rush, gotta run around and impulsive decision making because you have so many things to do
  • CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION defined as the state of mind in which most of ones attention is on a primary task, but where one is also monitoring several background tasks just in case something more important or interesting comes up
  • EMAIL APNEA a form of shallow breathing while checking email that in some extreme cases leads to an increase in stress related disease
  • INTERNET ADDICTION DISORDER self-explanatory damage...
  • NOMOPHOBIA Fear of being without mobile phone contact
Next, plan your day of rest. It can be any day of the week. Planning is essential to progress. Carve out time and you’ll commit. Practice turning down events, errands, chores, things you don’t truly need to get done under the gun. Plan meals in advance, turn off the iPhone, disconnect your computer, and stick your car keys in a drawer. Instead of being a slave to time, create it by accepting downtime. By taking time out, you’ll have more in the end.
Wednesday
Jun012011

Current Inspiring Chelsea Artist - Sculptor/Ceramicist Emma Rodgers

Using dancers as a source of inspiration, figurative sculptor Emma Rodgers had this piece in the Stricoff gallery that I fell in love with.

I found the sculpture to be riveting in its voluminous form. Both the solid parts, as well as the negative voids implied the girth, gesture and sensuality of a woman's body despite the purposely crude treatment of the tactile material. The tonalities and induction of foreign matter adds to the rich depth of the form and you're left with the desire to run your fingers over the body... very sexy.

However, when I did my annual Chelsea tour last Friday, I visited almost 20 galleries and the Stricoff Fine Art Gallery was the only gallery of the day that poo-pooed me taking pictures (with this age of free marketing and free publicity that bloggers provide both artists and galleries the reprimand seemed nescient and cretinous in nature) so heads up. I snagged this pic before I was told not to take pictures.

Emma Rodgers @ Stricoff Fine Art Gallery in Chelsea NY photo by m. diaz

I also found this fantastic video of Emma Rodgers at work. If you have any interest in Sculpture, Women Artists/Sculptors, Ceramics, Figurative sculpture or are just fascinated by creativity and you have 7 minutes to spare WATCH the female form come to life in this sculptor's hands.

Interesting & RELEVANT LINKS
  • I looked high n low for a website for Emma Rodgers but the site that comes up (www.emmarodgers.co.uk/) seems to be a broken link, instead this Contemporary Gallery SCA had the most extensive and prolific information on Emma Rodgers
Tuesday
May242011

Altered Couture of the Month- Customize Your Shoes Tutorial

Recently, I was in the market for a new pair of black wedge sandals. Though I liked the simple form of these wedges from Urban Outfitters, I wasn't crazy about the non-black heel. At first I thought, "thats ok, I'll just buy them and rub black shoe polish over the pseudo-suede heel." Ok. So probably not the best idea I ever had, but thats the great thing about thinking... sometimes one thought leads you to ANOTHER! And lucky for you my blog on Artful Living is here to share it with you!!

Sunday
May082011

My Chicks salute the Arrival of Their First Spring

our unkept lawn on which the chicks free-range New England Red flowers sprouting Americana Buff Orpington my deck-lookout where I have to lookout for hungry chicken hawks who want to kill my chicks while they free range... frolicking in the yard... EGGS!!!!!!
Sunday
May082011

Been Feeling like only a Sculpture could tell you ...A Day at the MOMA

Sometimes if you are over extended the way I have been or you are just torn between emotional forces and are overwhelmed by defeat- You Just Feel Like THIS:

The River By MAILLOL located at the MOMA Sculpture Garden photo by m. diaz

Interestingly enough Maillol Began this piece as a commission for a pacifist and as a statement against war- he had developed it as a woman who had been stabbed in the back and was falling...and that is what I saw when I first laid eyes on it - but the commission fell through and when he completed it - he developed it as THE RIVER - hence all the movement in the piece- something he had once felt had no place in sculpture - IF you have just a ONE MINUTE and 37 seconds you should listen to this description by chief curator of the Moma on the piece:


OR I can say I have been feeling like this one too - legless - immobile and confounded by the characters in my life...

excerpt of Crying in Public 2003 1 of 8 from a series of nine lithographs with chine-colle by CLAUDETTE SCHREUDERS </span>

A portrait can be illustrated in so many ways - Take for example these portraits - one male and one female, Henrik Olesen‘s Portrait of Scott, a deconstructed 13-inch Macbook, and Portrait of Kirsten, a deconstructed Canon PIXMA iP4200 Photo Printer. Lots of food for thought here...every little underestimated piece a vital part of the whole and the object, the tool the extension to the human...

Me behind Portrait of S. by Henrik Olesen Portrait of S. by Henrik Olesen

Then I kind of fell head over heels over an artist who employs ACTIONS as his art - FRANCIS ALŸS who the students and I see his work akin to Guerilla Art- wonderful for them to see this is not solely a result of the 21st century, but considered much earlier by minds like ALŸS'...I've been intrigued and have started to delve deeply into his concepts.

One of my Favorite ALŸS pieces, ZOCALO in which a social situation lends itself to a sculptural one...read on...

Zócalo (Mexico City, 1999 collaboration with Rafael Ortega) is a 12 hour documentary following the progression of the shadow of the flagpole in the Zócalo (the main square in Mexico City) during the course of a day. The Zócalo was redesigned at the beginning of the revolutionary era as a setting for huge propagandist spectacles and became with time the ideal space to express public discontent. Alÿs' film records how arbitrary social encounters can sometimes be perceived as sculptural situations.

Sunday
Apr242011

If Dot can survive the Downtrodden Overwhelming Speedy Advancement of the Destruction of her World SO can We!! 

Some Whimsy, Inspiration and Creativity to Boost your WEEK from a Nokia Cell phone! The best media related 1 minute and 37 seconds you'll spend this week!

Saturday
Apr162011

Working with Decals

So since I've become part of the Bliss Women's Co-operative I'be been exploring ways to make my artwork more accessible. The latest technique I've tried are decals and I rather enjoyed the process which was simple and direct enough. I'll be making some for my Etsy shop soon as I revamp all my inventory. Here are some the results:

two large decal plates with my illustrations All the plates I applied decals of my work onto....
Saturday
Apr092011

My New Postcard

Saturday
Apr092011

Life With my Backyard Chickens

As you raise sassy organic-fed humane backyard chickens, you start to gain an appreciation for the cackling of a murder of crows, delightful cookbooks, the ultimate chicken dessert (scratch), the wing span of a hawk, moss terrariums, the color turquoise on a new earthy skirt and beautiful baskets to collect eggs in made by a friend. Enjoy these snapshots of my Saturday.

A Moss Terrarium by my Rena from the White Weathered Barn My Moss terrarium reaching up as it grows... my sweet stash as I sit watching my ladies, with a dark chocolate peanut butter cup and a mug of Chai tea Isis and the other girls during a photo-op a new SECOND-HAND skirt with turquoise stones My Easter-Eggers
Sunday
Apr032011

Just Keep Going... a You Tube inspiration from my native NYC

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