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Walking On A Stormy Beach

February 17th, 2017

Walking On A Stormy Beach

This is how one of my artworks, WALKING ON A STORMY BEACH, would look hanging on a wall.

To order this artwork, click on the following button:

Black Lives Or Black Lies Matter

July 15th, 2016

Some people are doing a great disservice to the world by aggressively pushing a completely false claim that black men in America are being systematically targeted by trigger-happy, white, racist law enforcement officers.

Nothing could be farther from reality.

Consequently, the current wave of outrage over recent, highly-publicized, lethal police shootings of black men is NOT justified. This is misdirected outrage, and it is outrage grossly amplified by lies, engineered to mislead uninformed people in irrational behavior that gives them a sense of satisfaction in a fight for justice. Meanwhile the real source of outrage remains obscured and denied in a confusion of emotional turmoil that has blinded individuals to the truth. The destructive result of all this is a demonic transformation of independently-thinking human beings into thoughtless cells of an angry mob whose mass mind is now corrupted.

The "Black Lives Matter" movement is a racist movement, no less disturbing than some of history's worst racist movements. Its extremely narrow focus on race, in association with lethal shootings, has created a destructive mythology of hate. People who fall for this destructive mythology are themselves victims of a crime -- a crime against humanity itself.

If race is the main focus, and if there IS a reasonable foundation for outrage within this narrow focus, then the reason for outrage is this:

FROM: US Department Of Justice Data

* The number of blacks in 100,000 blacks who are victims of homicide is six times greater than the number of whites in 100,000 whites who are victims of homicide. This means that a black is six times more likely to kill a black than a white is to kill a white.

* The number of blacks in 100,00 blacks who commit homicide is seven times greater than the number of whites in 100,000 whites who commit homicide. This means that a black is seven times more likely to kill than a white.

FROM: the article ... Statistics Trump Slogans On Police Killings Of Black Men ... by ... Deroy Murdock (a black man)

* Between 2009 and 2012, for every black man — criminal or innocent — who was killed by a cop, 40 black men were murdered by other black men. This means that 97% of black men killed are murdered by other black men.

Why is it, then, that lies about black lives seem to matter more than facts about ALL lives?

Part of the answer is that some people will benefit from these lies. Politicians looking to be elected will play into these lies to gain votes. Organizations looking for funding will play into these lies to receive money. People who want meaning in their lives will derive such meaning in a swift dose of thrilling emotions, using these lies. Another part of the answer is that people of any race can become victims of scams. As a result, people of all colors who trust the "Black Lives Matter" movement are being scammed, either by their own wills or by hidden agendas of others.

Now why should I, as an artist, care about any of this? The answer is fairly basic: Art and artists do NOT exist in a vacuum isolated from the rest of culture. My art might hang on a wall, but it also "hangs" within an entire civilization, and I care about bad influences in this civilization where my art "hangs", similar to how I care about bad influences in a room where my art hangs. When a particularly bad influence presents itself, I have to speak up, because it affects the entire setting, in this case, the entire setting of human relationships that enables the positive flow of creative energy.

I have, so far, used a conservative tone in talking about this disturbing trend. Below are a couple of presentations of a LESS conservative tone that might be more fitting:

WARNING -- Graphic Language & Total Honesty that might be unsuitable for viewing by people afraid of the truth


WARNING -- Really, REALLY Graphic Language & Total TOTAL, BRUTAL Honesty that will surely offend the sensibilities of those with milder dispositions

An Everyday Guy Talking About How Corporations Become Vampires

July 12th, 2016

It has become painfully obvious to me that the very concept of "corporation" allows for socially acceptable abuse. This is not your obvious form of abuse, but rather an insidious form of abuse that can mount up slowly, gradually disabling a person from performing what the person was hired to do.

For example, a corporation fails to pay a critical bill that would enable a salesperson to use advertising templates of a franchise with which this corporation has a contract to uphold the franchise's branding standards. Or the corporation does NOT fill a vacant sales manager position that the franchise requires, leaving only one regular salesperson to bear the brunt of selling, in a precarious position now lacking in support, which sets up this one person to be a scape goat, when overall sales fall short of corporate investor expectations. Or the corporation obscurely lists for sale the very property where this person works, which could account for why anything that costs money meets resistance to being purchased.

Why spend money for advertising tools, if you want to wash your hands of the thing being advertised? Why spend money to pay for a key salary, when you can sidestep this cost to maintain the minimum superficial appearance of an asset for potential buyers? -- this is the next owner's problem. It's an asset sales game, where you minimize costs to maximize gains.

I have seen it twice now in actual practice -- a large corporation paints a rosy picture of its mission on an impressive-looking website, only to fall dreadfully short of this mission on a local level. At the local level, real people who work hard to sustain the corporation must end up suffering the woes of slipshod management and lack of support in key areas of operating the business.

This is all part of the dehumanizing force of a corporation, where no one human seems to care about the entire body of the corporation. The very structure of the corporation can be so convoluted, complex, and impersonal that nobody knows who is ultimately responsible for its operation, and so nobody knows who to blame, which is good if you want to evade lawyers.

At this point, therefore, a corporation takes on the air of the fictional vampire -- stronger than any one human, smarter than any one human, seemingly immortal, whose sole mission is to suck as much blood out its resources as possible, in order to enable the survival of corporate investors. Even worse, the corporation becomes a slum lord for its investors, who are so far removed from the life blood (people) of their investments that they regard this life blood merely in terms of monetary sustenance for their cold hearted, soulless, corporate shell.

Corporate vampires are asset flippers of lifeless portfolios. Their huge amount of money is beyond everyday imagination, and so anything related to making money becomes a mere pawn in the asset-maximizing game. A high-rise building is no different than a ton of beans or a few shares of stock. The sheer size of the corporation and the sheer magnitude of multiple millions of dollars (compared to multiple hundreds) overwhelm critical details that determine excellence at the ground level. Sadly, the practice of excellence is easily lost in a quagmire of tunnel visioned financial interests. Individual human casualties, thus, are acceptable collateral damage. After all, there's always another human to suck the blood out of.

The critical flaw here, of course, is gross failure to treat human beings as the greatest assets of any corporation.

Nobody Owns Culture And I Am Not A Racist

July 7th, 2016

In her article, ... THE MEANINGS OF CULTURE (M/C Journal, vol 3, issue 2) ..., Asa Berger writes, "There are, so I understand, something like a hundred different definitions of culture used by anthropologists." Such a statement indicates that people are talking about a nebulous entity, whenever they even utter the word. How, then, can anybody make claims of ownership to an entity that is so open to interpretation? How can anybody invoke the concept of "property" to hold onto something that, by its very nature, evades grasping in a consistent manner?

The simple answer is that nobody reasonably can.

But who ever said that all claims by human beings are reasonable? Many claims are, in fact, unreasonable, which seems to be a characteristic of human cultures, in general. Reason is not the guide, but rather confusion is, which leads to negative feelings, conflicts, and inevitable breakdowns in good relations.

The popular logic of "cultural property", which currently seems to be in vogue in discussions about intellectual property, falls into this quagmire of confused claims that some humans attempt to use in establishing distinct identities in view of other humans whom they view as intellectual-property thieves. "Cultural intellectual property" can refer to any style, design, practice, or idea that anybody assigns to a particular group of people as ..."theirs"... by virtue of their race, historical use, or historical association with such intangibles.

Such logic artificially separates these intangible things from the total flow of human history, and it designates a particular subset of moments in time as the sole result of the particular group. Such logic idealistically distills and purifies the subset of historical moments and creates a code of expectation in how people are supposed to express identity with this group. The effect of such logic is to further isolate one group from another group and to create privileged barriers that prevent cross fertilization of different cultures.

The idea of "cultural property", then, in the sphere of intellectual property, creates walls that disable harmonious contact between people. Rather than creating definitions of people that enable respect, this idea erroneously forces stasis onto people processes that are fluid and dynamic, sometimes messy, subject to contamination and mutation. This is how evolution occurs. Nobody can own evolution. Nobody can own a process this big. Culture, similar to evolution, is a big process, whose boundaries are actually arbitrary in the greater scheme of things. The ideas, styles and designs of culture do not maintain unique identities over long periods -- they get absorbed into new arrangements within the whole course of Earth's evolution. At best, humans can make momentary claims on such things to enable the practical operation of civilizations, but to demand precise identity over long spans is to commit the greatest error imaginable, which is ignoring reality.

Click on this pic to order a t-shirt that rejects the idea:

Nobody Owns Culture

The Fallacy Of Cultural Property And Its Misapplication To Maori Imagery Replies To Criticisms

July 6th, 2016

Czech (and later, New Zealand) artist, Gottfried Lindauer (1839 – 1926), was famous for his portraits. Included among these were portraits of the Maori people of New Zealand. These Maori portraits have been photographed, and the resulting photographs have long been placed into the public domain, where, by law, anybody can use them. Some artists at Fine Art America have done precisely this, by making the images available on shower curtains and other home decor items.

At least six different news stories at five different websites have emerged, championing the logic of cultural property by portraying Fine Art America as a practitioner of cultural misappropriation of the Maori images. Four of the five news stories name or quote the same individuals as authorities, in order to substantiate claims by people who express anger over such commercial uses. In most instances, the different news stories include the same authoritative quotes verbatim, as if originating from the same press release, submitted by the same contact person.

This leads me to recognize a calculated effort by one organization to blanket as many news agencies as possible with a sensationalized story of wrongdoing, in order to bestow special privileges to a particular group.

This appears to be targeted activism, fueled by hypersensitivity to cultural differences, intensified by a heightened focus on ancestry, and driven by a strong determination to preserve the purity of a select group of humanity, using the concept of intellectual property "appropriated" from British law. This promotional effort to place Fine Art America in a negative light "appropriates" the internet as a tool to do so – a tool for which major advances stemmed largely from US Department of Defense developments in the field of computer technology, to say nothing about the numerous contributions by countless unnamed individuals of many cultures before and after that.

The problem, then, is in using the concept of cultural property as a foregone conclusion, when the very concept itself seems very much open to question, let alone appropriate for an enlightened civilization to practice. The problem is also focusing offended feelings about specific images onto one art website that deals with many thousands of other images having nothing to do with the images under scrutiny.

Let’s take a look at some of the authoritative quotes put forth by the various news stories:

(1) People have to imagine it’s their grandparents. How would you feel if that was your grandparent that I was walking all over, that I was using as my shower curtain? It’s about rehumanizing it.

First, the images under scrutiny involve people many more generations removed than just grandparents – more like great, great, great grandparents, about whom many people have little knowledge and so very little to object to on the grounds supposed by the authority quoted here. Second, the entity under discussion is an IMAGE. It is NOT a live person. The image here is a two dimensional expression of a painter’s hand, copied by a camera. An actual person is far removed from being walked upon by feet or splashed upon by water. Third, where is the insult in walking on (or splashing water onto) functional items whose decorations we might find appealing?

If we can appreciate an image enough to accept it on our everyday items, then are we not showing a great deal of respect for such an image? If no, then the authority being quoted here has somehow determined that everyday items are lowly, dehumanizing things on their own, thus, polluters of images placed upon them. Where does the authority to make this judgment originate? This is not MY view, and I dare say that it is NOT the view of many other people either. Such a statement, then, seems extremely over-presumptive. If anything, dehumanization occurred when a dead image of a live person was painted by Gottfried Lindauer. There is nothing to "humanize" now, because it (the painting) was biologically dead to start with, and the subject who inspired the painting is biologically dead now.

If the quoted authority finds everyday objects dehumanizing, then I would suggest that this authority regard such a view as a very personal view, rather than trying to project a very personal view as the most common view. The authority being quoted certainly is entitled to the freedom to exercise this view in personal life, but not to preach it as a universal ethical law.

(2) . . . a level of arrogance and racism that came with the assumption that anyone had the right to use images as they chose without a thought for the meaning behind them.

People have been using images as decorations for the entire duration of human history, many times without any regard for the "meaning behind them". I would ask, "What meaning would people be expected to ascertain? Is everybody expected to ascertain the same meaning for the same image?"

Ask any artist this question, and you will get laughed at, because most artists understand that original meaning and viewer attraction to an image are often two separate phenomena. Any single image does NOT have a single universal meaning, and so the assumption about supposed arrogance and racism lacks logical foundation. If anything, the assumption that everybody should share the quoted authority’s sense of meaning for an image in question is arrogant. The charge of "racism" is simply misplaced, perhaps displaced anger over another, separate issue.

(3) Traditional Maori values honour the sanctity of cleansing and bathing.

In traditional cultural terms, in the context of tikanga Maori of Maori values around the sanctity of the body and the intimacy of the bathroom, to have an ancestor as a shower curtain is profoundly insulting.

My understanding of the English words appropriated here to explain traditional Maori values, then, leaves me completely perplexed. If cleansing and bathing are honorable, then how is incorporating a human image in these honorable acts insulting? If the bathroom is intimate, then how is incorporating a human image into an intimate space insulting? -- unless intimacy is somehow unclean, in which case this would be, yet again, ONE view of intimacy raised to the level of universal ethical law.

I dare say that uncounted millions of people feel zero insult regarding a human image on a shower curtain, whether it was an image of granny or an image of the Grim Reaper. People usually adorn their personal or intimate items with images that appeal to them. How is the appeal of an image on intimate objects not a compliment?

Sports fans put images of admired sports stars on their drinking cups, t-shirts, wall posters, and more. A rock star’s’ photo on a shower curtain would show no less admiration. To have a Maori chief’s image win out over a current pop star’s image on anything would seem to say something very positive about that Maori image. Is this really about respect or honor, then?

(4) He [a lawyer for three iwi in the Wai 262 Treaty claim over cultural and intellectual property rights] said descendants of those depicted in the artwork should write to Fine Art America explaining that the images on the shower curtains are offensive and done without consultation with Māori.

How does one "consult with" an entire culture? What official organization exactly represents the entire culture, and is this organization a true representative of every individual within the culture? Where are the precise boundaries of the culture to determine who the intellectual property owners are? Is someone who is half Maori and half French a qualified owner of such “cultural intellectual property”? Why would anyone just assume that any particular Maori cultural organization is THE organization with whom to "consult" before using imagery deemed public domain imagery by other official organizations? If I am so attuned to my ancestry that I know who they were at the dawn of history, then is it reasonable for me to expect somebody to consult me about using an image that represents this ancestor? How far back in time is a consultation required?

Such questions point to the extreme skepticism that I have regarding "cultural property" as a valid concept.

One of the errors that these news stories consistently make is to conflate all instances of using Maori images into the same offense, when very different offenses are under discussion. For example, one story speaks of a LIVING individual whose image was used without permission on home decor items. This, to me, seems like a clear violation of publicity rights, NOT anywhere near the same thing as using the image of a Maori chief, copied by a camera from a painting in the 1800's. Another example is the situation where a young Maori girl's image was snapped over the shoulder of another photographer who was the official photographer taking her photo, and this image was used on home decor items. Again, ... both a violation of publicity rights and using another photographer's set up to infringe on this photographer's work. ... NOT the same as using a battle scene involving the Maori from the 1800's. The error here is NOT distinguishing the time frames established by copyright laws to give people time in their own lives to use images of themselves, after which the images are most often placed into the public domain, so as not to hog image resources from creative use in the future.

Reply To Moana Maniapoto HANDS OFF OUR IMAGES

July 2nd, 2016

In her article, ...HANDS OFF OUR IMAGES ..., Mona Maniapoto uses charged terms, “racists and nutters”, in close association with her mention of the American website, Fine Art America. Seemingly without taking any time to investigate how this website works, she writes as if Fine Art America is an organization of rigid, centralized editorial standards, tightly policing all art submitted to it, when, in fact, Fine Art America is a clearinghouse for tens of thousands of INDIVIDUAL artist salespeople. Ms. Maniopoto uses her seeming misconception about the website to condemn the WHOLE website, when, in fact, her issue is with ONE artist out of the tens of thousands of artists who use the website. I am one of these artists, and I take offense to being collectively assimilated into her tapestry of “nutters and racists”.

She continues weaving her verbal tapestry around the website with phrases like “lack of taste” and “the appetite of opportunists to make a quick buck”. First, these phrases represent her personal judgments of taste and her personal ideals about how to make money. She elevates her own judgments and personal ideals as fact, when these judgments and ideals are ONE person’s opinion. Second, even if her opinions WERE facts, she is misapplying them to an entire population of artists to whom these opinions simply would NOT apply. That’s two flaws: (1) stating her opinion as if it were fact, and (2) applying a fact/opinion to a specific part as if this specific part were the whole.

Under the influence of her own personal opinion, she writes, “Why any human would buy a tote bag with a mokomōkai on it beggars belief” … , as if this OPINION is the golden standard for every human taste. Obviously, SOMEbody finds a mokomokai on a tote bag very interesting, or why would they even enable such a thing. It beggars MY own personal belief why anyone would consider a urinal in an art gallery as a symbol of modern art, but there it is, and many people revere it as iconic for this very reason. No one person or select group of people gets to say absolutely what is proper use of images and implements, whether adorning a cushion or adorning an artistic movement. This is what art is. Even in the sale of art as a commodity, this is what art is.

Would I myself use this subject on a cushion? No, because it has zero interest and appeal to me. But for someone, it obviously has significant interest and appeal. Why is this not extremely complimentary instead of “extremely hurtful”. People in America take their decor seriously, taking pains to choose the right cushion or shower curtain to hang in their homes. Again, how is this “hurtful”?

Further along in her article, Ms. Maniapoto mentions duvet covers of Hitler or vintage posters of a slave auction, as if this imagery is in the same league as images she is objecting to. News flash ! – images of Hitler and slavery are NOT in the same league as images of the Maori people. That’s false generalization of vastly different parts into the same whole. I would call this a misappropriation of logic. I would also say that implying that Hitler on commercial products in any way corresponds to Maori people on commercial products shows disrespect for Maori images, ... if you really hate Hitler. The fact is, though, some people probably find Hitler interesting, for reasons that have little to do with their own political stances, although I personally would find it difficult to use Hitler in decorations.

Again, Ms. Maniapoto implies an allegiance of all Fine Art America artists with Hitler, slavery, and her other “racists and nutters”. She groups together a whole list of offenses, including infringed images clearly protected by laws or publicity rights, and conveniently plugs in her claim of what amounts to cultural infringement to make her case. And again, I take offense, first (as I said) for her conflating me (by implication) into her hoard of “nutters and racists”, and second for her falsely associating the website of which I am a part with legitimate claims of infringement that the website handles accordingly.

Reading through Ms. Maniapoto’s article and her other comments across the internet, I get the feeling that her deep sense of the human body is anchored in a viewpoint that the human body is ultimately dirty and disgusting, and so anything that the naked human body might come in contact with is somehow soiled. This would explain her disgust with images for pillows on which people sit their rear ends or her disgust for shower curtains on which the water from dirty bodies would splash, hung in a part of the house where the dirty human body carries on its disgusting waste elimination process.

This repulsion of the human body, even though it might be ONE culture’s stance, might NOT be another culture’s stance, and to demand this stance for ALL cultures is a bit presumptive, to say the least. To represent herself as a spokesperson for ALL cultures on this issue is also a bit presumptive.
I, for one, certainly do NOT regard the human body in this light, and I suspect that there are others who do NOT regard the human body in this light. To demand that I accept this viewpoint as a golden rule is to deny me the ability to evolve my own cultural belief about the human body. To use this viewpoint to condemn my use of imagery represses my own cultural creativity in a vastly diverse civilization.

Photographs are IMAGES – two dimensional EXPRESSIONS of once multidimensional, dynamic living forms. EXPRESSIONS are ABSTRACTIONS from reality, and as such, they serve very well as adornments for all manner of things. This is how human beings put such expressions to use, by adorning their surroundings with such expressions, abstractions, or echoes of reality. One more time, how is this “hurtful”? How is this not using the energy of one culture to enhance another?

How is the call for people to keep their hands off certain images not a self-centered call, especially when another culture comes to recognize these images as adornments for the entire human race rather than as static possessions of any one group?

Aside from the questionable logic of her stance and the careless association of offenses without conscience of any gradations between them, my biggest issue with Moana Maniapoto is how she handled her complaint. Why did she not approach the offending artist first in a private email and explain her feelings on the matter? Why did she not attempt to contact the management of Fine Art America? Why did she not consider the thousands of other artists on Fine Art America and their lack of control over what any one of the artists posts on the website? Instead of taking a reasoned, behind the scenes, diplomatic approach in the name of education, she chose to grandstand her outrage, using (or should I say “appropriating”) the Fine Art America website to frame her grandstanding.

Furthermore, the breezy tone of her writing style smacks of entertainment value for an audience of captured readers, rather than carrying forth a tone of seasoned diplomacy. She seems to be trying to please her audience with her opening sentences and their colloquial style of language usage, which, by the way, is an appropriation of language style from another culture.

She seems to find great satisfaction in her expression of outrage, as if mugging for the camera, but instead of a camera, she is mugging for the rapt attention of her potential viewers.

She uses a website dedicated to the Maori people as her platform to do this grandstanding, and she uses a public-domain image of one of her ancestors to illustrate her grandstanding.

She is expressing herself, and she is using already established entities as her instruments of expression. She does a good job at it. She uses her instruments well, as any good artist comes to do. And as any good artist runs the risk of doing, she has outraged some people along the way, myself being one of them.

Do I condemn her as a person? No. I merely point out what she is doing, ... in order that I might represent ANY art (including the art of language) for what it is – a fluid, constantly evolving, moving array of human contrivances that lend themselves to ingenious uses across different eras.

Maori Images And The Misappropriation Of Logic

July 1st, 2016

In light of a rash of articles across the internet condemning Fine Art America because of so called, "cultural misappropriation" of public-domain Maori people images, I feel compelled to continue questioning the very logic of the whole idea.

From Stanford Library, Stanford University, home of Stanford Law School - ranked the second best law school in the United States:
The term “public domain” refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws. The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it.

This alone means that the claim about Fine Art America's cultural misappropriation of Maori people images, symbols or designs does NOT have any legal foundation.

What about ethical foundations?

To answer this question, we have to consider what IS and is NOT ethical. Is it ethical to put an image of Jesus on a roll of toilet paper? This all depends on one's personal feelings about the human body and the human body's functions or on one's personal views about Jesus. If we view the act of defecating as a disgusting lowly act to be denied and avoided (the ultimate dirty act), then we might feel that Jesus on toilet paper is unethical. But is this the ONLY way to view human defecation? Suppose somebody does not even glorify Jesus? Why would we automatically accept a disgusting view of defecation, amplified by glorified worship of Jesus, and allow THIS one viewpoint as the ONLY viewpoint to dictate our definitions of "ethical"?

Another view is that defecation is a natural bodily process necessary for life itself, and that Jesus on toilet paper might adorn this bodily function with greater spiritual meaning. Or Jesus was just an activist and not the son of God.

Even if we believed that Jesus is the son of God, then why would Jesus on toilet paper not make the act of defecating more religious rather than the act of defecating making the image of Jesus more insulted? In other words, are we ethically obligated to accept only one culture's sense of defecation in one historical epoch? Isn't this itself a form of cultural discrimination? And isn't using this discrimination to define a restrictive use of imagery merely a further extension of such discrimination?

Also, why should the demand to know the meaning of all cultural symbols have any validity in a "cultural appropriation" claim? Ask an artist what his or her painting means, compare this to what a total stranger thinks the artist's painting means, and you will most likely get completely different explanations of meanings. It is NOT the moral or ethical duty of the viewer of an aesthetically pleasing image to know what the original meaning is. Meaning is a fluid thing. If different people can find different meanings (or no meanings) in the same image, then this is a good thing, because this is what the creative human mind naturally does.

Any person, then, who advocates restricting the images, symbols or designs of one culture from all other cultures seems to be practicing cultural discrimination -- first by segregating aspects of one culture from another culture, and second, by trying to control how other cultures bring new meanings to these aspects or incorporate these aspects into their own cultures.

Do we, as a modern enlightened civilization, really want to segregate cultural attributes in this way? Isn't this the very thing that we should be trying to avoid?

How is restricting access to public-domain cultural imagery substantially different from restricting access to riding at the front of a bus in public transportation? How is restricting access to public-domain cultural imagery substantially different from restricting access to public bathrooms? When we start isolating cultures and demanding segregation in the name of "respect", isn't this regress instead of progress?

When we start talking about "dominant cultures" vs "minority cultures", we only intensify the problem with faulty divisions. These two labels discriminate in a negative way, plain and simple, and so they seem self defeating from the very start. These labels, then, are of zero use in discussing the idea of "cultural appropriation" with any wisdom. We are better to speak of "human beings" and their great variety, and the blending or fusion of all cultural aspects that leads humanity as a whole to a mass world culture, where all this variety can be used creatively by everyone.

Artists, as individuals, and artists, as business people, are creative. Creative people find new uses for the available materials that surround them. Condemning creativity, therefore, in the guise of preventing "cultural appropriation" is a misappropriation of logic.

Fine Art America Cultural Appropriation Misappropriation Argument Is Inappropriate

June 30th, 2016

Living things, by nature, are appropriators. The universe itself is one big mega-appropriator, ultimately sampling from the infinite, eternal pool of resources to arrive at whatever works. One culture has no special privilege in this grand scheme to demand control over any particular results of this pool of resources, in light of the fact that this is how civilization naturally evolves – by blending, fusing, copying, recombining, and reinterpreting all the various elements of all the cultures of the world.

Music evolves this way. Fashion evolves this way. Food evolves this way. Industry, science, philosophy, humor, … you name it … evolve this way. How is it, then, that the use of imagery should be any different?

Images are made by humans. If a paintbrush or a camera makes images, then this is a tool of humans used to capture some idealized, momentary form of an ephemeral event in the cosmos. How can anybody lay special claim to images that are idealizations made with a human tool – the camera? – images which represent cultures long gone, cultures who made no issues about posing for the camera or taking zero measures to avoid the camera for fear of image misappropriation by another culture in the future?

And who is to say that an image printed on canvas for a living room wall is more honorable than an image printed on toilet paper for the bathroom? Both canvas and toilet paper have valid functions. In an enlightened civilization, the cold, nonliving material base of the canvas wall hanging should NOT have a greater place of esteem than the paper used in a warm, active, living, organic exchange of nutrients transgressing into waste products of a living being, in a bodily function that is positively essential for life itself. Any idealization of the wall hanging over the toilet paper, then, is purely arbitrary – itself a more serious cultural bias than the simple preference of using one image rather than another in either domestic location.

I bring all this up because of a recent flurry of emotions about certain images of a certain culture being made available by Fine Art America on commercial products such as shower curtains or decorative pillows.

A wise point of view would seem to frame the whole issue raised in this emotional flurry as ludicrous self-interest at worst, or, at best, grossly erroneous thinking.

Awesome Beach Gear Ensemble Round Towel Carry Pouch Tote Bag and T Shirt

June 20th, 2016

For people who like matching sets, I have this ensemble of beach gear (click on pics for ordering info):

Round Beach Towel
sun face beach towel by Robert Kernodle

Weekender Tote Bag
sun face carry pouch by Robert Kernodle

Carry-All Pouch
sun face tote bag by Robert Kernodle

sun face t-shirt by Robert Kernodle

The design on this beach gear is one of my own that incorporates elements extracted digitally from a pencil drawing that I did years ago. ... It consists of a personified sun, mysterious symbols that I made up, and layers of color gradients that suggest sunrises over water.

The symbols are purely imaginary - they can mean whatever you want. ... Maybe they are alien zodiac symbols or unknown hieroglyphics from an ancient civilization.

sun face round towel by Robert Kernodle on Maui beach


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