Little Collared Lizard

Doodlewash®

Little Collared LIzard Doodlewash

According to your vote, we have something bumpy that crawls around in this doodlewash of a little collared lizard. The cool part about this little guy is that he can also run on his hind legs making him resemble a theropod dinosaur like a velociraptor. Cool, I guess, because we just watched Jurassic World 3D again last night and I still have dinosaurs on the brain. Unfortunately, lizards were actually found fossilized inside the stomach of dinosaurs, so this guy wouldn’t have liked to hang out with his fellow theropods very much.

Philippe has loved dinosaurs ever since he was a kid and Jurassic Park was one of the reasons he chose Biology as his field of study. I was nervous for him when we went to see Jurassic World in the theater as I wondered if they could bring back the magic of the first film, since the two after the original were pretty horrible in comparison…

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Purity in Art

I was recently moved by an article I read in The New York Times Magazine entitled  “A Training Ground for Untrained Artists”.  The article details the success of a nonprofit in Oakland called Creative Growth Art Center, where developmentally disabled adults can learn to become skilled and successful artists. Some of the individuals helped by this organization have become fairly renowned artists, selling high-priced works to celebrities and large organizations such as Facebook!  The nature of the story is pretty profound, however what caught my eye and really caused me to become introspective was this quote about the center’s executive director Tom Di Maria near the beginning of the article:

He was immediately taken by the merit of the work being produced at Creative Growth, he said. The center, he felt, also offered an escape from the pretensions of the art world. ‘‘It was pure,’’ he says. ‘‘I don’t mean to fetishize that word, but it’s true. They are using their work as a means to communicate.’’

Hmmm, purity in art?  What is that?  Is it truly working in a void where outside influence, particularly of the “art world,” is non-existent? I think most artists operate under some amount of pressure from expectations, frameworks, and the want to make some kind of living.  Yet, I think there is still an opportunity to be pure and true to one’s own vision.  Else we would not have artists like Pablo Picasso, who went against the grain, creating something they believed in while still longing for recognition from the art world.

Also, can we consider works from the Creative Growth Center to be truly pure?  The pupils at the center have the option to learn art techniques from teachers.  These teachers are artists who carry with them influences which have shaped their approach to creating.  Other staff members at the center are artists as well.  Surely at least some have been submerged in “the pretensions of the art world.”  Purity, it seems, can easily fall away in such an environment.

Art is a word with many definitions and synonyms.  Pure may never be one of the latter.

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