Category Archives: Art

Rza Guided Explorations EP

RZA is without a doubt a master of many talents which is nothing short of his genuine creativity. In support of fellow creatives, right on Wu Wednesday, the abbot of the Wu-Tang Clan dropped a new EP titled Guided Explorations. The five-track EP is a part of a collaborative effort with premiere herbal tea TAZO, where RZA is stationed as the listener’s calming guide to revelation.

The five tracks are strategically formulated to help aspiring creatives breakthrough any burden that may be preventing them from access to their core intuition through the act of meditation.

In a recent interview with Forbes, RZA broke down the purpose behind the creation of the meditative album which the “Triumph” producer revealed was burgeoned by his ability to inspire.

“I’m at the phase in my life where I think the best thing I could do is inspire, whether that’s inspiring some kid from my neighborhood who thinks they’ll never make it out; [or] inspiring someone who picked up a guitar and is frustrated, feeling like the dexterity of his fingers won’t ever get there to hold the chord; or some writer who thinks that they’ll never write anything good because they don’t have the time and they’ve gotta chase the dime. I’m looking to inspire and break that stagnation from other artists and other creative minds.” said RZA.

RZA’s collaboration is not just limited to an EP. Accompanying the gem will be two-day camping retreat called Camp TAZO, where adults will spend time with the Wu icon practicing key measures to help them unlock their creative potential ultimately serving pure zen. The camp is set to take place in Staten Island, his respective stomping grounds.

While RZA has philosophical grounding with the teachings of the Five Percent Nation, he also shares an understanding with Taoism, which inspired his book The Tao of the Wu.

Guided Explorations is currently available for grabs on Spotify and Apple Music

Black History Meets Artistic Expression

Its Black History Month. And in order to celebrate it, every day for  28 days, Seattle mom Cristi Smith-Jones has been posting pictures to Twitter and Facebook of her daughter Lola dressed up as a different famous black woman. The result? One seriously epic photo series.

Just check out this shot of her 5-year-old (on the left) dressed up as infamous changemaker Rosa Parks (pictured at 42):

Pretty powerful, right?

During the past month, Cristi has also dressed Lola up as such modern icons as ballerina Misty Copeland:

And she’s honored scientist Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel into space:

So incredible! And according to Cristi, it all started back in January when Lola came home from school and told her parents she had learned about Martin Luther King Jr.

“She seemed to understand where we were coming from,” Cristi told CNN, then added: “Since it’s a heavy topic, we wanted to find a way to make learning about black history fun for her.”

So the creative mama compiled a list of women in history and showed their pictures to Lola so she could choose the ones she wanted to dress up as. Cristi then shot most of the pics on her phone—her photog friend Kayleigh Stefanko also lent a hand—with Lola tricked out in various wigs and old family clothes and accessories.

The project may have started out as a way to add some levity to a heady topic, but the result is a poignant and empowering celebration of 28 iconic black women. In fact, Cristi’s education-through-art is probably one of the most effective methods of teaching about Black History Month we’ve ever seen. Way to go, Mama—you and that brilliant little muse of yours are truly inspiring!

Check out the rest of the incredible images on Cristi’s Twitter feed.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Grip of The Lions Paw

THE GRIP OF THE LIONS PAW

An important form found among Freemasons is the ‘Lion’s Paw’, or ‘Lion’s Grip’ formed by placing the fingers in the form of a cat’s paw. This grip and its reference to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, has significance in several respects, both legendary and allegorical as it’s message is of transition and everlasting life.

As a symbol, the lion has always been a favorite during Antiquity which lasted through the Christian era as well as during the Middle Ages. The lion has in all ages been noted as symbol of strength and sovereignty. The ‘King of the Beasts,’ whose mighty roar brought fear to the hearts of all, was known and respect by many ancient cultures. The lion’s head and mane, was used in ancient Kemet, recognizing this animal as the ruler of the animal kingdom. Having the ‘heart of a lion’ was, and is today, deemed an acknowledgment of strength and character. Medieval knights adorned their shields and coats of arms with representations of lions, lion’s heads, manes, and paws. Richard, the Lion Hearted, and his famous shield of three lions are well documented, both in history and legend, signifying his sovereignty over England.

The Jews sometimes used the lion as an emblem of the Tribe of Judah as they expected the Messiah to descend from this tribe. This reference was carried over to Christianity where the Lion of the Tribe of Judah refers to Christ, the Messiah. To the ancient craft of Masonry, this symbolism was seen further in the death and the resurrection to life of man. Legend had that a lion’s cub, or whelp, was born dead and brought to life by the roar of its sire. As such, the reference to the lion may be applied to the Messiah, who brought life and the light of immortality to the tribes of Israel, through the roar of God’s word.

Its connection in the legend of Masonry is that, as Solomon was the Chief of the Tribe of Judah, the symbolism of the Lion represents the achievement of that Tribe in producing the Christ who brought all of us the promise of light and the immortality of our soul. Just as Solomon built the beautiful Temple unto the Lord, so the candidate is raised to the living perpendicular of righteousness by the Lion’s Grip. Symbolically he has been resurrected by restoring the purity of his soul. The candidate now bears the responsibility of building his spiritual temple here on earth which will be worthy of eternal life.

This is also the theme of the 3rd degree, or Hiramic Legend which is a story of ‘rebirth’. It is about the resurrection of Hiram Abif, as well as the candidate himself. The candidate symbolically ‘dies’ to his past, the life of the profane, not knowing light, and is ‘resurrected/reborn’ into further light in Masonry. He puts his past life behind him and is now a seeker of enlightenment and moral rectitude. The name HIRAM originates with the word ‘Khairum’ or ‘Khurum’; Khur meaning “white, noble.” The Egyptian deity called by the Greeks, “Horus,” was ‘Her-Ra Khurum’, therefore, improperly called Hiram, is ‘Khur-om’, the same as ‘Her-Ra’, ‘Her-mes’, and ‘Her-acles’, the personification of Light and the Son, the Mediator, Redeemer, and Saviour.

The symbolism of resurrection in masonry is clearly an important part of the journey and quest for Light. In moving from darkness to Light, the initiate recognizes his personal transformation and improvement. Applying this symbolism to the candidate means that he entered the Lodge as a natural man, lost in sin and spiritually buried. By the strong Grip of the Lion’s Paw, he is raised again to a new life, or born again to spiritual righteousness, standing, again in a living perpendicular with a purified inner self accomplished through the direct action of the Redeemer, who was the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

Albert Pike, in his book ‘Morals and Dogma’, gives this interpretation of our legend, saying “The Lion of the House of Judah is the strong grip, never to be broken, with which Christ of the Royal Line of that House, has clasped to Himself the whole human race and embraces them in His wide arms as closely and affectionately as Brethren embrace each other on the five points of fellowship.”

The front cover of his book is the illustration of an “X,” in the form of a crossed gavel and a measuring stick, or rule. The illustrated picture within this book shows how the grip of the Lion’s Paw was given in the Pyramid Mysteries. The priest wore over his head the mask of a lion. By this grip the spirit in man, long buried in the sepulcher of substance, is raised to life, and the candidate goes forth as a builder entitled to the wages of an initiate. The origin of this illustration can be found in a depiction copied from a ‘bas-relief’ in an ancient Kemetic temple at Denderah, which sheds light as to the ORIgin of the Lion’s grip.

In the relief, the candidate, lying on the floor, is about to be ‘raised’ by the powerful grip of the Lion’s paw. The lion is carrying in his right hand the Ankh, symbol of life and reincarnation, or regeneration. The “X” on the man’s chest tells us this is Ausar/Osiris, the Sun God who was slain but arose from the dead, being pieced back together by his beautiful Queen, Auset/Isis. The Black God is represented first as a mummy lying flat on his back. Bit by bit he is raising himself up in a series of positions, till he rises between the outstretched wings of Auset/Isis. This is the same raising of Heru who was raised up to life in This world and not into the world to come.

* Morals and Dogma – Albert Pike
* The Encyclopedia of Freemasonry Vol.1 – Albert Makey
* 777 Qabbalistic Teachings – Aleister Crowley
* Codex Magica – Texe Marrs

The Lion of Kush/Kemet/Judah :

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The Dreamer

J. Cole & Puma – The DREAMER Credits Agency: Dreamville Directors: Amber Grace Johnson, J. Cole, Scott Lazer Executive Producer: Justin Benoliel Producer: Whitney Jackson Production company: Object & Animal Director of Photography: Danny Hiele Editor: Roberta Spitz Colorist: Joseph Bicknell Labi Siffre – My Song Composer: Labi Siffre Licensed courtesy of Demon Music Group Ltd. Billy Joel – Vienna Composer: Billy Joel Connect with J. Cole: https://www.instagram.com/realcoleworld/ https://twitter.com/jcolenc https://www.facebook.com/JColeMusic/

Life Size Re-creation of Animals Into Mask

All images © Liz Sexton, shared with permission

Rejecting anthropocentrism, Liz Sexton wants to break down the boundary between human and animal life. The Minneapolis-based artist creates large papier-mâché pieces of foxes, owls, and other wild animals designed to be worn by humans, creating a hybrid being that she often situates in non-natural environments, like a rat near the subway lines or a porcupine fish out of water.

Sexton began making her facial masks a few years ago after constructing a couple of Halloween costumes, although she’s worked with the versatile paper material for many years. Made of brown paper, paste, and paper pulp, each piece takes a couple of weeks, if not months, to create. The artist tells Colossal that her “hope is that the viewer gains not only awareness of the animal but a sense of kinship and empathy.”

I often work on species facing existential threats, such as marine life, though I suppose this uncertainty applies to most animals at this point. Photographing the animal heads worn out of their natural habitats, and in our immediate world, highlights the displacement that many creatures experience. I also enjoy working on animals that likely live very close to us but we don’t necessary see. Bringing them out into our human habitats, on a human scale, they become neighbors, commuters, a visible part of our community.

When not being worn, Sexton’s masks rest flat on the floor, appearing as a bust and adding to the reverential quality she hopes to inspire. For more of the artist’s animalistic projects—and to see the miniature rhinos, bears, and zebras she recently created for The New York Times Style Magazine⁠—head to Instagram.

 

Source – ThisisCollosal

Ron Husband, The first African American Disney animator

Ron Husband Frank ThomasWho was the first African American Disney animator? Most Disney fans will answer “Floyd Norman” and until last week, I would have said the same thing. However, I am wrong (and you probably are, too). While Floyd Norman did work for Disney animation, he was never technically an animator and the title of first black animator at Disney truly belongs to Ron Husband.

There are many jobs in animation, but the title of “animator” is one that has to be earned. From the early days at Disney until the 1980’s, an artist had to produce 100 feet of animation to get a screen credit. And in terms of rank, most artists started as in-betweeners, then promoted to assistant animators and the lucky few became animators. Floyd Norman’s career diverted from the path of an animator while at Disney as his talents were most effectively used in the story department.

Ron HusbandRon Husband, on the other hand, found himself on the path to becoming an animator and unintentionally became Disney’s first African American one. Fresh out of college, Ron had a wife and two children and took a technical art job to provide for his family. With an unfilled thirst for creativity, he signed up for a night class lead by Sam McKim, who encouraged Ron to submit his portfolio to Disney Animation. Head of the training division at the time was Eric Larson, who saw promise in the loose sketches of an artist who hadn’t considered animation as a career prior.

Back in 1975, all trainees were given four weeks to prove their talent on an animation test. To Ron’s benefit, the judges took into account how much experience each candidate had in animation (in Ron Husband’s case, no prior experience). Among the group of trainees at the same time were Glen Keane, Tad Stones and Jerry Rees and rather than a cutthroat environment, the trainees all supported and encouraged one another even though only one-in-three typically lasted to a fifth week at the studio.

90 wmaquetteRon’s first assignment outside of training was as an in-betweener reporting to Frank Thomas on The Rescuers, which was midway through production at the time. Working on nights and weekends, he earned a promotion to assistant animator on Pete’s Dragon. Shortly after being promoted to an animator on the short The Small One, Husband underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor that would temporarily slow him down.

By the time Ron was back to work full time, production was underway on The Fox and the Hound and he leant his talent to Copper and Chief. Ron was there to experience the climate change at Disney as the studio moved towards live action films for adults and away from animation, relocating the animators from the building Walt built just for them to a series of warehouses.

For much of his time at Disney in the 1980’s, Ron was repeatedly assigned crowd and multi-character scenes. Within animation, these are among the least desirable tasks. However, Ron was able to devote his free time to illustrations and became an ambassador for Disney animation, visiting schools to teach kids about the animation process and sparking a lifelong love of teaching and mentoring. He was able to break free of his crowd work on The Rescuers Down Under when he became a character animator for the first time on Cody.

B&B autograph page-2For Beauty and the Beast, Ron worked on the character unit for Gaston. But perhaps his most iconic moment in the film is the spoons diving into the punch bowl. Glen Keane provided Ron with a caricature of himself next to a drawing of Beast during production, citing Husband jokingly as the character’s inspiration. The caricature back-and-forth between Husband and Keane dates back to their first office at the studio in the mid-70’s, which they both shared fresh out of training.

After moving into the current Sorcerer Hat animation building, he became a lead animator on The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Esmerelda’s goat Djali. For his character research, he spent a morning at Disneyland in the now extinct Big Thunder Ranch area to study goat anatomy. After completing Hunchback, Ron was trained in computer animation for “The Dinosaur Project.” However, his desire to continue in the hand-drawn medium brought him back to help on the traditionally animated Hercules.

Ron got the opportunity to be lead animator on another character while wandering the halls of the Fantasia 2000 unit. The “Firebird Suite” sequence had leads for the Sprite and Firebird, but the Elk was still uncast. Using his Djali experience, he proved his talents and took over for that character.

90@deskIt’s not often that animators get to revisit characters from films they previously worked on, especially since Disney animation has not produced many sequels. But Ron found himself making additions to Beauty and the Beast with the musical sequence “Human Again,” as well as The Lion King with “The Morning Report” (he worked on Scar, Timon & Pumba in the original film). And in a rare occurrence for an animator, some unseen animation that likely would never seen the light of day resurfaced for the 10th anniversary of Pocahontas when “If I Never Knew You” was added back in (Ron was one of the animators of John Smith).

In 2001, Atlantis: The Lost Empire made history for featuring the first black character in a Disney film with Dr. Sweet. It seems only fitting that Ron Husband, the first African American animator at Disney, would lead this character’s journey to the screen. Ron Husband was responsible for the final design and was the lead animator on the six-foot-six doctor on the Ulysses voyage to the lost city.

scan0228Like most traditional animators at Disney, Ron Husband found himself displaced in 2004 when the studio made the decision to abandon traditional hand-drawn animation, but it was not the end of his Disney career. Ron took several animation jobs, some outside of Disney, and worked for Disney Toon Studios on projects, including 3 months in Australia training a team of veteran animators. His passion for teaching continues to this day, and he will also be part of a panel discussion about diversity in animation this week at San Diego Comic-Con alongside Floyd Norman.

Ron Husband has recently retired, but before leaving Disney for good he spent several years as an artist for Disney Publishing. Walt Disney Feature Animation called Ron during this period to ask if he would be interested in returning to animation on The Princess and the Frog, but it would have meant giving up a steady job with no guarantee of work beyond that film (and there sadly hasn’t been a hand-drawn Disney film since 2011). However, fans can learn more about Ron Husband through his blog, which features some amazing pictures and scans of employee invitations and fliers from his time at the studio. More of his artwork can be seen in his book Quick Sketching with Ron Husband, as well as a recent Disney Press release, Steamboat School.

Bamboo Bottles

At school we used to study that it will be our next generation who will be impacted severely by global warming, but humans have screwed up so bad that our own generation is witnessing the nightmare unfold.

Be it the water crisis in Chennai or the heat wave that has struck the entire continent of Europe, climate change is now a monster of a problem that can no longer be ignored.

But there are people out there who are trying to make a difference even if it is in their small immediate environment. We told you sometime ago how the IFS in Andaman switched to bamboo pots instead of plastic for saplings. This is because not only is bamboo natural, it can be reused and disposed, unlike plastic.

bamboo

In a lot of places bamboo products are replacing plastic. And given the benefits of bamboo that far exceed those of plastic, an eco-friendly water bottle has been developed by former IITian from Assam, Dhritiman Bora. These bottles come in different sizes and the cost varies between Rs 400 and Rs 600.

The bottle is made of completely natural products and it is sealed using a cork which makes it leak proof, so there is no tension there.

North East Today reported, “Being a natural product, the water remains cool and hygienic and being sturdy it can be taken anywhere. The plastic bottles are very bad for health and in summer can not be used it become hot.”

But Dhritiman is not alone in this. He was helped by Mousom Bora. Both of them are working together to make these eco-friendly bamboo bottled more accessible to people via an e-commerce platform called http://www.tribalplantes.com. Locals are still not aware of the day-to-day alternative to plastic, and so one of the major obstacles that they are facing is spreading awareness.

bamboo bottle

“I am trying to redefine the natural and raw choice of people through tribalplanets.com. We are trying to make all the products easily available at your doorstep with little amount of digitisation,” North East Today quotes Mousom as saying.

While we are freaking out about the climate change there are people out there actually doing something. You can visit the website and check the cool bottles out.

Source – IndiaTimes 

Koffee : NPR Music Tiny Desk Performance

“It’s been a fairly short musical journey and we have seen fairly much success,” Koffee told the NPR Music offices between songs during her Tiny Desk set. Flashing her braces with each grin, Jamaica’s 19-year old tour de force wasn’t exaggerating. Her debut EP, Rapture, just won a 2020 Grammy for Best Reggae Album, making her the first woman and the youngest artist to ever win in the category. It comes just two years after her tribute song to sprinter, eight-time Gold Medalist and fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt went viral online. Koffee has sustained a steady upwards momentum since then, finding her footing on festival stages and collaborating with others outside her genre. (Her latest single, “W” features Atlanta rapper, Gunna.)

Above all, what makes Koffee so refreshing is that she centers her music around faith, resilience and gratitude. She has a new perspective to add to the pantheon of mostly male reggae greats and it’s resonating with a new generation that’s just getting hip to the iconic sounds. As her Tiny Desk performance shows, Koffee makes the best of her surroundings, channeling the day’s buzzy energy into a balancing act of youthful heart and old-pro precision, proving why she has become one of the most invigorating voices in reggae.

“I want to thank everybody who’s been involved,” Koffee told the crowd halfway through her show. “You have now become a part of my journey.”

SET LIST

  • “Raggamuffin”
  • “Rapture”
  • “Toast”
  • “W”

MUSICIANS

Koffee: vocals; Stephen Asamoah-Duah: drums; Stephen Forbes: percussion; Nana Pokes: bass; David Melodee: keys; Thomas Broussard: guitar; Zhayna France: vocals; Shanice Drysdale: vocals

CREDITS

Producers: Abby O’Neill, Sidney Madden, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative director: Bob Boilen; Audio engineer: Josh Rogosin; Editor: Maia Stern; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Jack Corbett, Kara Frame, CJ Riculan; Associate producer: Bobby Carter; Executive producer: Lauren Onkey; VP, programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Laura Beltran Villamizar

Photographer Captures a Colorful Palette of Mushrooms

Nature Medleys Mushrooms Nature Photography Jill BlissIn her striking series of Nature Medleys, artist and self-described “modern nomad of the Salish Sea” Jill Bliss captures the unexpectedly exquisite colors of mushrooms. Taken during Bliss’ daily walks around the enchanting islands and winding waterways of the Pacific Northwest, this collection of nature photography showcases the area’s rich and radiant biodiversity.

To create each shot, Bliss arranges various found fungi, flora, and other botanical elements into beautifully balanced polychromatic clusters. Each Nature Medley presents a one-of-a-kind color scheme, ranging from captivating jewel tones to muted, neutral hues. In addition to mushrooms of many colors, each image features fungi of various shapes, sizes, and textures, further exhibiting the variety of subject matter readily available to Bliss and her unconventional way of perceiving it.

Like all of the artist’s nature-inspired work, this series captures Bliss’ interest in exploring the outdoors and reimagining her stunning surroundings. Grounded in “close observations of discreet moments in nature,” each Nature Medley presents Bliss’ unique way of seeing the world and offers a colorful glimpse into her artistic practice.

If you’re interesting in purchasing a print, be sure to stop by Bliss’ shop.

In her Nature Medleys series, artist and and nature photography expert Jill Bliss arranges and photographs colorful clusters of mushrooms.

Nature Medleys Mushrooms Nature Photography Jill BlissNature Medleys Mushrooms Nature Photography Jill BlissNature Medleys Mushrooms Nature Photography Jill BlissNature Medleys Mushrooms Nature Photography Jill Bliss

See the full article here MyModernMet

Japanese Rock Face Art Museum

Just a two hours drive northwest of Tokyo, you can find one of the world’s most entertaining museums. It’s called the Chinsekikan, Japanese for ‘hall of curious rocks’, and inside, visitors can find more than 1,700 rocks that look peculiar in some way, 900 of which resemble faces. Among some of the celebrities housed at this Madame Tussaud’s for minerals are E.T., Elvis Presley, and, of course, Jesus Christ.

Where nature is the only artist

The head curator Yoshiko Hayama.

This one of a kind museum was founded by Shozo Hayama who has collected strange-shaped, unaltered rocks for fifty years. Since Hayama passed away in 2010, the museum has been run by Yoshiko Hayama, the late founder’s wife.

Besides the rocks that resemble real and fictional celebrities, among them Japanese sensation Donkey Kong, Mickey Mouse, Nemo the clownfish, or the mercurial Boris Yeltsin, there are also more general human face-resembling rocks such as the ‘chorus rocks’ featured below.

Big "O-faced" rocks.
Big “O-faced” rocks.

The Chinsekikan museum has been featured on many popular Japanese TV shows.  Every rock on display from the collection is completely unaltered keeping true to Shozo Hayama’s legacy — that nature is the only artist.

Elvis
Wrestler and Japanese politician Antonio Inoki
Wrestler and Japanese politician Antonio Inoki
Turtle shell
Turtle shell

Some of the celebrity-lookalike rocks are more convincing than others.

Read the ful article at ZMEScience