SMOCA ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

Art. What a revered word. It’s silly to give that much power to three letters: A-R-T. However, I think it’s completely natural. The next step, at least for me, would be to define what art is. And how many books, articles, lectures have been spent debating what “art” is?  Moving past that, I would venture that this fear is rooted in adoration and wanting to create fine works of art myself. So what a treat it is when artists can meld their mediums together!

How I admire those craftswomen and men who know their art on a first name basis. Folks who were at the ART OUT LOUD: POETRY IN THE MUSEUM GALLERIES event tonight at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts (SMoCA).

Art Out Loud

Per SMOCA’s website:

“Poets Sally Ball, Allyson Boggess, Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow, Logan Phillips, Mark Haunschild, Pinna Joseph and Myrlin Hepworth perform new work inspired by art found in the SMOCA Fall exhibitions Narrow Road to the Interior: Contemporary Japanese Artists and Julianne Swartz: How Deep Is Your.”

What follows is my personal recollection of the evening. An evening with poets.

Pinna Joseph

After being introduced to us as poet and event coordinator at Changing Hands bookstore (among other things), Pinna Joseph opened the evening for our intimate group of, perhaps, 30 of us, in front of a serene painting of translucent black leaves and white abstract flower petals. She started with a chant, which startled me. I expected the spoken word. Her confidence was inspiring and put us all to ease. Consider this: some folks are terrified of public speaking and this was public chanting. However, had I caught it earlier from the curator’s introduction, I would have known (but I quickly caught on) that Pinna is a chantress. Her chanting, and perhaps it was her intention, paired with her spoken words rippled through me like the hydrangea petals falling on a smooth pond. 

Yoshiko Shimano

Allyson Boggess

Petite, almost miniature, photos of  swans craning their necks, a dolphin in a tank looking at a woman as if she were the exhibit, stars and other black and white photos of almost supernatural scenes were the inspiration and backdrop for Allyson as she read. Afterwards,  she shared with us how the small photographs and their whimsical images called out to her as they echoed her preferred style of writing poetry.

Bite-size lines that don’t feel fragmented. Staccato.

While it seems she hasn’t updated her blog in awhile, Allyson does have some poems online that I encourage you to check out.

Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow stood in front of a box that, as she pointed out in her poem, we would have overlooked. Considered it a place to sit for a moment. While there were elaborate pieces of artwork that snaked throughout the museum this box was unassuming and yet she made it sing for us.

What I’ve come to admire about Cynthia is her deliberate way. She doesn’t put a word down if it is not important. This can also be said of how she performs. When she shares her poetry — whether it be at SMoCA, at Changing Hands or in a boutique store where women are trying to get some shopping in — she is deliberate. And it is a good thing. Articulating clearly so that we leave knowing that the box before us is filled with love, other secrets and ideas. Holding a pause but keeping her eyes locked so we know there is more to be said and to hold our applause. And, oh boy, did we applaud.

Should you have the opportunity to hear Cynthia share her works, go.  While we’re at it, visit her blog to learn of any upcoming events or new work being published.

Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

Logan Phillips

The curator introduced us to Logan Phillips as the slam poet from Tucson. Or at least that’s what I recalled. This was at the end of the event as things were getting jumbled. Logan’s poem was tied to Julianne Swartz’s “Loop” which was kept in a separate room and we all couldn’t fit in at once.

I was a part of the second group and I followed Logan’s instructions to get as close to the red, yellow, green, pink, blue tangled wires with speaker cones exposed at eye- and ear- level with me. His poem was hypnotic and from the speaker cones came the sounds of insects chirping, footsteps, children laughing and bits and spoken words from languages I couldn’t identify.  Combing the elements together was, in my opinion, like trip hop meets poetry. His words, sometimes loud and clear and others times hushed like a whisper, meshed with the sounds from the “Loop” and my mind wandered. It was delightful.

Be sure to check out Logan at his website or DJing at Palabra in Phoenix mañana.

Ask Forgiveness Now And Giving Thanks

The poets went out for Mexican food after. Mostly to escape the cold and because we couldn’t find the new location of the Cornish Pasty Co. in Scottsdale. No, we mostly went to commemorate the event. I planted myself in the middle and considered myself very lucky to be in the company of poets with different thoughts, styles and approaches.

To Mark  HaunschildSally Ball, and Myrlin Hepworth, I apologize for not having included you in this post. I’ve just run out of time and brain juice. But please, my beloved reader, check these talented poets out too.

And thanks to all the poets for sharing your art with us. With me.

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How To Make Your Workspace A Creative Space

In truth, creativity sparks wherever it will and hopefully you’re ready when it does. However, there are things one can do to transform their workspace in to a creative space to help entice your muse to come out of hiding.

I imagine that it will be different for everyone, however these are snapshots of my completed office and perhaps there are some elements you might like to incorporate in to your creative space.

One day I will have a Vintage Smith Corona typewriter here. Pink would be lovely. However, in the meantime, my computer works splendidly.

The creative office series.
Don’t be scared. This is Mictlantechutli, the Aztec God of the Underworld. His wife, Mictecacihuatl, is my muse. I found Mictlantechutli on Etsy by JBarnum. She does wonderful things with watercolor.

The creative office series.
On the bottom left hand corner is the surprise picture book that the Hubbs made for me. Hanging from the ceiling are poms made by Pom Love.

The creative office series.
Aww, my pin state artwork. Inspired by my vows, I created the artwork next to the pin state artwork as inspired by a pin on Pinterest. Wanna give it a go? See how it’s done by The Baby Blackbird.

The creative office series.
When you can, support local artists. Inside the now-closed Mandala Tea Room in Scottsdale I first saw Vikki Reed’s mandala artwork. It was for sale but out of my budget. She was at a meta-physical bookstore and selling giclee prints. Wooo! Those I could afford. I choose “Joy – Solar Plexus Chakra Mandala.” Check out Vikki’s watercolors.

The silver Chinese take-out boxes are left-over from my wedding. Before they held roses as the centerpiece for each table. Now they hold my colored pencils and crayons.

The creative office series.
The fishbowl was $2 from Goodwill and once home to a beautiful beta named Tobiko Masharu Morimoto Gojira. Or Tobiko for short. Now it’s home to three beautiful soft succulents — Peacock Echeveria, Aeonium Canariense and Aeonium Decorum. Learn how to make a tabletop terrarium.

The creative office series.
I love the Damask pattern — so elegant and striking. Within these magazine file holders I try to keep inspiration close and my work closer. In fact, I just got a three-year subscription to the Gettysburg Review because they are celebrating their 25 year anniversary and offering a substantial discount. Winning!

The creative office series.
Do you have artwork that you love but you’re appreciation of it is hard to share with others? This would be mine. I saw this figurine, a larger version, on a family vacation in the Dominican Republic and then sought a figurine of my own for years in tourist shops and speciality bookstores. Finally I found these two, a male and female (in my mind), with the solar plexus missing (just like the larger version) and I, well of course, had to have them.

The creative office series.
Awww, it’s a Zander! He’s one of my favorite distractions.

The creative office series.
The computer can often be a distraction. Better said, the Internet can be a distraction. Having a writer’s desk is a nice reprieve from Facebook and Pinterest. I got this former canary-yellow desk at a garage sale and with Hubbs’ help spray-painted it all white. Not too shabby, huh.

Oh, what’s that? I think my muse is calling me.  I must obey.

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