Always have been fascinated by images in mirrors. As a child, developed a theory that mirrors were gateways to alternate universes. If you can approach a mirror with absolutely no fear, you may pass through and trade places with the alternate you. Not sure how many times I have actually succeeded, but I do know that often I leave the restroom feeling slightly altered.
For the past three years, I have worn nothing but Five-Finger shoes made by Vibram. That’s a few of the ones I own pictured above. Why do I love them? They quite simply have changed the way I walk for the better – much better – not to mention, they are fun to wear. But they are not for everyone.
A bit of my own personal walkabout history: Up until a few years ago, I walked with a heel-strike (heel to toe, coming down fairly hard on the heel). I spent hundreds (dare I say, thousands) of dollars on shoes with padded heels, gel inserts, etc. so that I might walk more than a few blocks without heel pain. Enter Vibram Five-Fingers. My wife and I had started walking 10,000 steps a day a few months before I got my first pair of VFFs. I tried walking with more of a fore-foot strike, as had been suggested by the manufacturer and countless wearers of the VFFs, but old habits die hard and trying to continue 10,000 steps a day also was not in keeping with the suggested practice of going slowly and wearing the VFFs for short periods until one got used to them. I’d go all day every day. After two months of that, I developed achilles tendonitis on my right foot and I had to stop wearing the VFFs for two months while it healed. When I went back to wearing them, I started slowly and made more of a concerted effort to unlearn all the bad walking habits I’d picked up during my previous fifty or so years wearing over-engineered and inflexible shoes that actually encouraged heel strikes.
Now, three years later and I wear nothing but VFF’s (my favorite is the Bikila model). Heel strikes are a thing of the past, as is heel pain. I feel lighter on my feet, and quite cat-like, truth be told. I love the physical connection I feel with the surfaces I walk on. And I love having my toes back in the equation of walking and standing, providing better balance and putting a spring in every step. Just putting them on before leaving the house in the morning makes me feel like a barefoot kid again. Not bad for a 62 year old man!
I would strongly suggest that anyone considering switching to Vibram Five-Fingers (or any minimalist footwear) to trot on over to Justin Owings’ www.birthdayshoes.com and read the reviews of the various brands and all the informative articles and information the site has to offer, which is considerable.
(Click image to view larger.)
iPhone shot of me in the studio with a brand new yellow wrecking bar. As an assemblage artist, sometimes you have to knock it apart before you can make something worthwhile out of it.
Note: My friend, Christina Doe, upon observing me walking from my car with my new toy, remarked that she could detect a glint in my eye. I guess it was a similar glint to what one might see in the eye of an asteroid (if asteroids had eyes) as it approached am unsuspecting planet. Let’s make art!
Where does the time go? Was it really almost a year ago that I visited with the artist Heather Shirin in Asheville, NC? Betsy and I had driven to Asheville to visit niece Sarra and her boyfriend, Justin. They had recently moved there from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. One of the highlights of the trip was meeting one of Sarra’s new friends, Heather Shirin. Over lunch in downtown Asheville, Heather invited us back to her studio/home to see her work and her creative space. We eagerly accepted. Heather is a wonderful mixed media painter/collage artist whose women-centric, modern-day goddess works pay homage to the Art Nouveau style, while bringing it all together in a very “now” fashion. Please click on over to her website to see more of her beautiful mixed media works and to learn more about her. http://www.heathershirin.com/
And you just might want to “Like” her on Facebook, as well.
Maryland Federation of Art’s Circle Gallery in Annapolis, MD presents “Eye of the Beholder: The Art of the Found Object.” A juried show running from May 31st, 2013 to June 22nd, 2013.
My piece in the show (pictured at left) is “Moon Over Monk’s Train.”
Contact the MFA for more info about this exhibition.
Frankly, there are times that I’m just not sure. There was a time that I lived much more minimally than I do now – which much less stuff. In fact, when I lived in in San Francisco during the early seventies, I had little more than a guitar, a couple of pillows, a sleeping bag, a few clothes, a duffle bag, a plaster Buddha and a discarded wooden crate I picked up in China Town. The wooden crate served as the altar for the Buddha and as my dining table. I seldom went to flea markets or thrift stores (except for the occasional shirt), and I certainly never picked up rusted bits of metal off the street.
Then all that changed. But what changed first? I honestly don’t recall if I became a collector of odd ball castoffs, found objects and inspiring trash and then became a found object artist as a means of using all that weird stuff, or if the collecting was fueled by the desire to make stuff out of other stuff. One way or the other, the collecting and the making now go hand in hand.
The last few years, a new activity has been added out of necessity, creating a kind of holy trinity: organizing. It sort of goes like this: I collect. I organize the stuff I collect. And I make stuff out of what I’ve collected and organized. Or at least that’s how it would go in a perfect world. More often than not, I collect until the boxes and bags of stuff threatens to take over every inch of the space I call “working.” As many of my fellow found object artist friends know, when “working” space becomes “storing” space, working comes to a screeching halt. That’s precisely where I find myself at the moment.
So, with my organizing hat securely on, and my arsenal of see-thru plastic bins of various sizes laid out before me, I reach for that first bag of out-of-sight-out-of-mind treasures and voila!, I am instantly transformed into a kid in a candy store filled with the sweetness of unlimited possibilities. What fun!