To Draw a Horse Almost Perfectly (1 min read + Video)

INSPIRATION

After recently watching an emotionally charged and somewhat american centric YouTube video entitled Teaching art or teaching to think like an artist? by one Cindy Foley, i began thinking back to my educational up bringing in the Arts, and how my experience of navigating the murky in-precise world of Art & Design at college and then later Fine Art at University due to its academic nature – had us approach these subjects in a certain precise manner.

Foley brings up a great point at 4:44 where she presents an image of what schools and so parents consider being creative today; a somewhat atomically accurate drawing of a horse with a merit badge next to it.


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With this (merit badge) information, parents are able to judge whether their child is sufficiently creative yet, and more importantly is the school doing its best to facilitate my child’s creative potential. 


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These formula for teaching Art are both unhelpful and destructive to the creative process, when we focus on repetition of representation of reality through the various mediums we cut off the branch of brain activity that could be utilised in the childs true creative potential.

WHAT WE BELIEVE

These types of approaches also serve to exclude those that belive they are not creative because they cannot draw a horse almost perfectly, as a child this emotional exclusion repeats itself throughout the child’s education and can end up with the child believing they are not creative and that probably never will be. This is further made an issue by parents and adults in general making statements that reinforce the idea you are somehow born creative, this of course is nonsense.


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Part of creativity, as Foley states in her video, is wrapped up in the individual’s desire to know, to keep searching and researching for what it is that interests them, and then take that research and cross examine it again other disciplines, what Foley calls transdisciplinary research or research that serves curiosity.

CRITICAL HABITS

Foley makes the case that Art’s critical value is to develop learners that think like Artists which means learners who are creative, curious, that seek questions, develop ideas, and play. By focusing on three critical habits that artist employ:


1. Comfort with Ambiguity

2. Idea Generation

3. Transdisciplinary Research


There is one more habit i would like to add to Foleys list:


4. Comfort in Failing


Why? because there is a hell of a lot of it along the way, in my opinion conditions set out by schools which repeatedly penalise failure in creativity are missing an important opportunity in the creative process. Those schools that encourage students to find comfort in failing will churn out the next creative potential.

ARE ALL SYSTEMS THE SAME?

Although this video is relative to the state of the American system for teaching creativity, i do see some resonance with the British system, i was not schooled in Sweden however i have done some substitute teaching in a local school as an Art teacher. What i saw was similar techniques being used that Foley describes in her video, almost factory like conditions; and thats not to blame the full time teachers in which i substituted for, but perhaps the Swedish system resembles the American system more than we might have imagined.

VIDEO

I highly recommend watching the video (Link below) and please leave your comments in the comment section below. I would especially like to hear from Art Students, Art teachers, and indeed Artists themselves on how they would like to approach this issue.



Artwork from Video: Teaching art or teaching to think like an artist? | Cindy Foley | TEDxColumbus

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Klättra För Livet – Film Projekt. 

This coming September i will join a wonderful group of guys on a mission to climb the largest mountain in Sweden, AKA Kebenkaiser.

The project is called Klättra För Livet (Climb for Life) and is a homage to Christopher and Niklas friend that took his own life last year, their friend had always wanted to climb Kebenkaiser but never made it to the top – our job is to get a photograph of the friend to the top of the mountain and make a short film along the way. The films purpose will be to raise awareness around mental health issues, and mainly comprise of conversation about mental health and their memories of their friend between Niklas and Christopher as they climb the mountain.

The team comprises of five of us, three of us in the film crew; Peter, myself and David. With Christoffer and Niklas in front of the camera, we plan to get up and down in one day, which is usually around 12 hours when not filming a documentary. I am under the impression it will take us north of 16 hours if weather permits. Alternatively, and something we can not possibly know before hand – if the weather is fine we can also camp on a glacier half way up, in this way we can break the climb in to two parts that will unfold over two days, and will not require us to return to base camp.

The dates are set and we will begin the trip on the 14th of September 2017, if you would like to follow our progress, check out the Klättra För Livet FB page.

 

Working For Instagram And The Great Dis”Content”Ment (2min Read)

SMALL SCREEN BIG VISTA

The absolute irony of trying to use Instagram to market a video production service that deals largely in widescreen cinematic shots is not lost on me, infact it quite annoys me if asked. I think it a challenge someone could enjoy the enormous vast expanse or perspective a video stream from a camera 300 meters up delivers on a mobile phone screen running an app that further crops the image down to such a small and insignificant scale that the only video that looks slightly interesting or vibrant is that of a close up of a blossoming flower or smiling pet cat.

So the dilemma goes! How to get cinematic images seen and enjoyed at scale without having access to the channels for traditional cinema or the required relationships to get on the big screen?

DEPENDENCY

I've begun experimenting using short clips on Instagram to drive traffic to the full length video on YouTube, but as you may know if you use Instagram regularly- which apparently a billion of you do, there is no way to put hyper links in the description, this i am fairly sure is possible if you are willing to pay Instagram but do you know what! – i am not willing to pay them, not a damn penny; for the more money you sink in to these social media channels the more deeper and deeper you become reliant on them for your business to succeed on these platforms, and that feels like a dangerous road to travel.

Sure social media is a good way to get your creative work/business seen, especially if you are not a commercial enterprise but perhaps more of a small business or creative however, how many of these small enterprises are actually measuring their ROI when it comes to social media marketing, and is there even a valid way to do such analysis considering the ever increasing use of bots? And how many young companies and entrepreneurs are building audiences on a platform that is likely to become more and more closed off? – especially if their parent Facebooks behaviour is anything to go by.

DIS-CONTENT-MENT

I am not content with the term "content" it implies the work creatives do is just something to be put inside something else while the audience waits for the next "content" to be put in, and repeat. It feels fleeting, momentary like no body actually cares about the work; it some how looses its artistic credibility, its process, its purpose. If all i did was create content for Instagram, my primary compensation would be paid out in hearts and bot generated comments – which are infuriatingly obvious as they are essentially meaningless, see a recent blog post i made regarding this subject here.

JAB JAB RIGHT HOOK

I have come to the conclusion that the reason to keep posting "content" on Instagram is largely related to Gary Vs Jab Jab Jab Right Hook theory where one needs to stay front of mind, by regularly jabbing your audience with "content" this way you might, if your lucky stay front of mind amongst many many many others trying the same tack tick.

Long term i think we will see more distributed version of these platforms, as people begin to learn that they themselves are able to collectively monitor their social media behaviours for the good of all the users, ideally minus the boheameth middle man entity. (See Steemit for a glimpse in to the future) The users themselves collectively will become the boheimetih and will prosper financially together, i give it another 5 to 10 years though. Hopefully not – but people are fickle and the internet is an ever confusing place, likely to get more confusing over time. How would you suggest moving people to a new ultimately more self beneficial platform? Sounds impossible right?

RACE TO THE BOTTOM

In the end as long as you don't get to siloed in your own beliefes and try to remain open to new opportunities you will discover there is a world of new opportunities out there, especially for so called "Content creators" however be conscious of the inevitable race to the bottom, sites like Fiverr and UpWork put creatives and developers at loggerheads in a quantity vs quality environment, its an unfortunate byproduct of our age, but if you can identify your unique stance, you will have an advantage in the space, this is where I believe your "local" is important i think. look around you, what can you do for those in your immediate vercintiy? Also check out this article on The Drum to see what Proctor and gamble recently did with their digital ad expenditure, i think a clear sign of the future.

Featured Artwork:

Artist: Rich Tella
Medium: Digital Video feedback-loop projection on to Pendulum Monitor
Date: 2006
Location: Exeter

Vetting ICOs

The world of Digital Currency has changed dramatically. I am unsure i should even be calling it 'The world of Digital Currency' anymore as it certainly doesn't resemble any currency i am familiar with – or world, It's more of an entire distributed finacial system now, a new digital economy even. Sure, there have been many out there calling it such for many many moons, hell! – i am certain i used the term a number of times on my own blog; but the fact is that it has never before felt so much like a real functioning economy as it does today. That's both concerning and exciting.

Entering the space today for many will be overwhelming, probably so overwhelming they will seek out professional help from those who they believe can help, that leaves an awful lot of potential for scam artists to enter the mix, not to say they haven't been here the entire time, Ive certainly had my fair share over the years, as have many of the innovators that i have
interviewed.

TEST FIRST

The scams persist, and likely always will however, once you as a digital currency speculator, user or investor/trader lose out to a scammer, you will quickly decide if this game is for you, and whether you want to keep playing. Those that stick around learn quickly the methods for avoiding loosing on a monumental scale by playing small initially, testing the waters, over time as confidence grows one can become susceptible to mistakes, not doing due diligence, not testing a large transfer first with a small pilot, to make sure all is well with the network, and in particular the addresses and wallets provided.

Not a week goes past with out hearing of another hack or scam where some newbie company throws up a site with an ICO in motion, collects Ether to their fund and then POOF! It's gone. Seems like a super easy way to raise a lot of money quickly then vanish with the proceeds claiming unforeseen simple user design miscalculations.

BAD ETHEREUM

All of this activity serves to give Ethereum a bad name in the long term (Untill the regulators catch up that is) Much like Bitcoin had, and still has to some extent, a reputation for money laundering and dark market activity Ethereums reputation could well end up going a similar way. Take the DAO hack of 2016, that ended in the actual Ethereum platform itself forking, resulting in two versions of the platform token Ether. One single contract on the platform resulted in the entire platform being unilaterally altered, at the time it seemed super bad, but it had to be done in order to return confidence to the growing market interest in Ethereum, no matter how much it pissed off the purists.

With all the recent ICOs emerging, (some 300 to date) a significant majority will end up in ruin, that's practically a given indeed many are designed only to raise as much Ether as possible to be cashed out and for the project to be abandoned, leaving the founders wealthy as fuck. So wealthy infact ,they can go on to do it all over again on an ever increasing scale.

So here's a simple three step solution to vetting an ICO, no need to invest in anything, but at least you can investigate as best as possible should you choose to invest anything at a later date.

  1. First do your homework on the people making the promises, are they even real people? These types of project call for a team of experienced, motivated and technically savvy founders. Learn as much as you can about them.
  2. Second, the ICO must solve a real-world problem in a way that cannot be done without the use of blockchain technology. Find out why they are using the Blockchain, is it just for the buzzword?
  3. Third, the solution should have a strong enough network effect so that its code can't be easily copied into a possible competitor. This is a tuff one as all code can be copied, can the ICO get out ahead of competition though?

So yeah! Investing in crypto and now ICOs is pretty dull, unless you find a project that stimulates your senses, something that your can get behind – and there is a lot of them to choose from, so read, read some more, then take a breath, go on holiday or something then read some more. Then figure out what you want to do.

DISCLAIMER

This post covers a token or element in the cryptosphere. The cryptosphere is new and exciting, but changes rapidly and often in ways that do not benefit users. By the time this article is published, changes may have already occurred. Most tokens in the cryptosphere are complete scams that are get-rich-quick-schemes for insiders. Often, we cannot know this beforehand and only later discover this. A person should only trade with money that they’re willing to lose because losses are guaranteed. If you choose to participate in purchasing a token in the cryptosphere, you should do so with the full expectation of a loss and you should also expect it to change in a manner that does not benefit you. There are however very few good ideas in the cryptosphere.

The Wayback Machine 

I am consistently shocked at how many people i speak to that haven’t heard of the internet archives Wayback Machine, its a truly remarkable tool, especially when investigating corporate websites. You will be very surprised to find out how some sites started out. In my experience using the tool to investigate digital currency related startups and so called ICO,s websites i am almost always shocked at how the sites started out, they are often started in an industry or topic entirely unrelated to what its been used for today, this is obviously due to how domain names are traded but because the Wayback machine captures sites rather frequently you can really zoom in on a specific time frame and see the dramatic changes and put these on a timeline against what the current StartUp is claiming on their current site, this often shows if they are being somewhat economic with the truth.

The Wayback machine boasts some 299 billion web pages captured and archived over many many years. You will almost certainly find your own site should you search for it. I wanted to draw wider attention to its very existence, partly because it bothered me so many hadn’t heard of it, and how it is such a fantastic resource that they really ought to have.

So now you know!