Wednesday

Paris & the Cabaret!

Paris & The Cabaret

One of my goals as an artist is to make my work "accessible" for EVERYONE!!!  So thank you all so much for all your interest.  Inspiration is what I love most about being an artist.  For me, inspiration is the juice of life!!!  Sometimes before creating new works I enjoy looking back at my own repertoire of work and styles and pulling out from my creative tool box.  However, despite what most people think being an artist is not just about fun and creativity.  It's not just a calling.   Unfortunately, many artists like myself must also address all the interest and demand for our work as a business.  In fact, recently I was meeting with an Art Director and Agent and we just smiled at how many times we saw The Mona Lisa reproduced so many items at the bookshop cafe where we met for our business meeting.  I am being strongly encouraged to do the same with my own art. So that's one of the reasons I also created these recent reproductions of my own women from Paris & The Cabaret.

Paris & The Cabaret
So this past week I have been having fun combining the different aspects of these women in my Paris & The Cabaret series for all of you in my online community to enjoy in different forms as Art posters, shirts, or to enjoy with your morning cup of coffee.  I loved creating these works of art inspired by My Life and Time in Paris.  So I hope you ENJOY these creative new designs I've created for you.  On the left I particularly loved the "humor" of combining the face of my "Can Can Espanola with the ruffled dress of Elsa.  For a humorous effect, in the middle I placed Elsa’s face wearing the tiny dress of my Femme Trapeze. This painting was inspired by performers I met during my time in Paris.  On the far right Femme Trapeze is also wearing the dress of the Can Can Espanola.  Now that I am so inspired by these designs, who knows what will come next...  So stay tuned...  Until next time, thanks again for all your interest.  I look forward to hearing from all of you!

Thursday

Bonjour!

Bonjour! I got up really early this morning.  As you can see from my cup of coffee I am already feeling "creative, connected, and totally inspired."   Having "a cup of inspiration" is a great way to start the day...  I'm also listening to French radio broadcasting Aznavour and Piaf singing passionate love songs directly from Paris like daggers straight into my heart.  What a world!  With French Radio, I am living in America and in Paris too, especially my heart and my spirit!  I plan on starting a new work of art shortly, so I need to keep this post short and especially sweet. Thanks for all your interest and support!  In response, I'm also enjoying taking the  time to write an inspirational post for all of you before I do.  For those of you who keep asking for more photographs,  I decided I would just share a cup of inspiration with everyone here.  So "Bonjour."  Wherever you are in the world, have a beautiful day!

The Early Years

"The Early Years"


Sometimes finding our true selves can come at the most unusual of times and places...  
If you have Quicktime, just click on the following link to watch my own journey from

Monday

On Finding Happiness

"King of Records" Junkshop/Cabaret: Where it all Began

Finding Happiness
My journey as an artist has been a long one.  Like most people, naturally my life has been filled with many peaks and valleys along the way.  I can't write my whole story here, but I thought I'd take the time to write an inspirational post on"finding happiness" for anyone, artist or otherwise.

The Jouney
My journey "finding happiness" began in the most unusual of places.  Many years ago, I had spent time as a bohemian on the streets of Paris.  Naturally, after spending time as a bohemian on the streets of Paris, I had a really hard time readjustiing back to my life in America. I know it is now very hard for most people to imagine, but back then I was once very unhappy working at a 9-5 job at a law firm where I found myself completely bored out of my skull.  So after work and on weekends I would come to my neighborhood junkshop for fun.  The junkshop was called "The King of Records".  The neighborhood actually threw a birthday party and coronated the king on his 50th birthday.  So we would have fun calling him "The King".  That's really where my journey finding happiness first began. 

Confessing Your Truth
At college I had studied photography and European Cinema at Harvard.  My heros were the greats artists and entertainers such as Buster Keaton, Fellini, Charlie Chaplin... Like my heros, I knew I also wanted to pursue art.  But after I graduated and entered the real world I didn't have the courage to admit it to anyone, especially "myself".  So one day the king and I were driving around the streets of Boston picking up merchandise for his junkshop.  As we were driving, we were talking about what I really wanted to do with my life.  The king knew I was very unhappy and even depressed at times working at the law firm.  So we kept talking about what I else I could do that would be more meaningful.  I finally mustered the courage and confessed to him what I REALLY wanted to do.  I told him I wanted to become an artist.  I wanted to make my mark to let the world know I was here. In my own small way, I wanted to inspire the world.  Even though I knew I was just fantasizing, I even confessed wanting to one day travel as an artist to Europe, maybe even have an art exhibition in one of the art capitals of the world like Paris. The king didn't even laugh or criticize me.  He just kept quiet.  Even though it was an OUTRAGEOUS FANTASY, instead, he just took note and didn't even seem to judge me for confessing my outrageous fantasy for what I wanted to do with my life.  

God Listens
I still can't deny that what happened next was an an absolute miracle or just pure coincidence. But suddenly, as we drove through the alleys of Boston looking for junk for his shop, a set of oil pastels suddenly appeared that someone had just thrown out in the trash.  So the king just grabbed the set of oil pastels out of the trash and gave me my first set of art supplies.  That's really how it all began. 

"The Art of Letting Go"
 I now had my art supplies but I still didn't know how to begin the "creative process". On weekends everyone in the neighborhood would come to to perform in his fun junk shop, including jazz musicians and artists, but at night he would close the curtains and his junkshop would become a late night "Cabaret".  I couldn't play an instrument like the musicians performing in his junkshop cabaret.  But having returned as a bohemian from spending time with performance artists on the streets of Paris, I found a place where I could just "let myself go" by having fun dancing and making everyone laugh as a performance artist.  His junkshop cabaret was the only place I could have fun "letting go" being playful acting like the fool as an entertainer.

The Creative Process
Despite acting like a fool for everyone on the outside, inside I was actually feeling something very serious and profound happening inside me.  I was experiencing an "awakening" happening deep within my human spirit and a "transformation" as a person.  After dancing and performing like a performance artist in the king's junkshop, I now felt so liberated inside that creating art came very easily to me.  It was a great time in my life!   Dancing and performing had done something to me.  Instead of being unhappy and depressed, I now felt "happy", free and completely "awake" and "alive".  For once in my life I felt I didn't care what people thought of me.  After dancing and performing in the king's junkshop cabaret I felt so liberated that I would come home and paint, finally having the "freedom" of pursuing my passion for art.  It's really true that "dancing" heals the soul... After a while, I was spending so much time with the King that the neighborhood started calling me "The Prince".  You can laugh all you want.  But with the art supplies that the king gave me from the trash, I had created my first paintings and we now found ourselves in Europe for my art exhibition in Paris.  As a tribute to the King of Records, I even titled that exhibition "Le Petit Prince de la Peinture"  (The Little Prince of Painting").  I was now having the time of my life.... Why?  Because I was pursuing my passion for art and living out my dream.

Lesson Learned
So you don't have to live your life by anyone else's standards.  Start by embracing yourself, not partly but wholeheartedly.  Be careful, though, because once you start living your dream you will definitely invite sharp criticism from people who are bitter about their own lives.  Trust me on this one!  As an artist, I have been criticized to DEATH!!!!  I have been told I am a terrible artist. Let them keep talking, I say...  I just march on!!!  In fact, the criticism used to paralyze me and wipe out my joy and sap my energy.  At times it was so bad that I could barely get out of bed.  Fortunately those days are over.  Creating art and being inspired gives me JOY!  So remember this: No one has the right to take your joy away from you!!!

Celebrate Your Uniqueness
As an artist, so what if I don't paint like Michelangelo.  At least when people look at my art they know it's ME.  More importantly,  when I create art I feel JOY and I won't let anyone take that away from me. Working 9 to 5 at a job I didn't enjoy depleted my energy and left me always asking "Is that all there is?"  So I knew I had to find work that gave me joy and was genuinely meaningful.  So take it from me, the transition won't be easy, but for me it was definitely worth it.  What we need now more than ever is a world filled with love, joy, and inspiration.

My Advice
I can assure you we can live with joy and a sense of wonder pursuing our life purpose in our every day lives. So I have this advice for anyone who wants to "find happiness".  Start by protecting yourself!!!  If necessary, create a circle of positive influence.  Build a shield of protection against the "critics" in your own life.  This may be hard at first because to everyone your dreams may seem so far stretched.  So start by making sure to close out the everyday critics in your life who bring you down! That's why they are called "critics", not artists.  Believe me, your critics won't ever lead you to "finding happiness".  So don't seek their approval.  Instead, surround yourself with people who actually believe in your dreams! The best advice I can give is start today by doing something you enjoy.  For me, dancing was the gateway for entering the realm of creativity in finding true happiness.  But it can be anything you enjoy.  At the very least you will be enjoying your life and living out your purpose.  Isn't that what life is about?  

What is Your Dream?
We all have dreams.  My dream was to become an artist and have an exhibition in Paris.  Even though it was only a pipedream fantasy, needless to say, that fantasy is now REALITY!  But there's no end to what we can dream.  Our dreams keep growing.  Once we attain one dream we then have to dream up new ones that continue to give our life a sense of purpose and meaning.  In my life, for example, my success as an artist also lead to my work in the arts and becoming an Executive Director.  Today I create art because that's where I continue "finding happiness".  I no longer need to travel to Paris for this.  Rather than seeking the acceptance and recognition from the art establishment in Paris, I now have my own American in Paris Gallery.  Through ZermenoGallery, today I enjoy sharing my work with art lovers around the world. So here's my advice.  What is YOUR dream and passion?  Start by asking yourself this simple question.  "What gives me joy?" Trust me.  We all have innate gifts and a unique purpose in life!  If you don't think so, perhaps your dreams may just have been buried so long ago.  Was there a critic in your life who discouraged you before you could get strong enough to get off the ground? Here's my response to that: There's no time like "the present".  So grab a shovel!  It's time to dig out those buried dreams!  I hope my taking the time to write about my life experience has been useful to you.  Wherever you are in the world, by sharing my story finding happiness I also hope I was able to inspire you!