JAY Z - PICAS Baby Performance Art

This came out a while back but it's a solid distraction if you're a fan of Jay-Z and Performance Artist Marina Abramović who is well known for her work, The Artist Is Present, where she sat immobile and silent on a chair for 736 hours at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This performance of Picasso baby rapped Picasso Baby for Six hours at New York's Pace Gallery in front of celebrities and fans. 

Artist Spotlight - Chris Brown

(Portrait Photo Credit:  MIchael A. Muller)

(Portrait Photo Credit:  MIchael A. Muller)

All too often the media we consume on a daily basis is dominated and manipulated with soul sucking stories of chaos and crime.  Consume enough of it and eventually it will alter your perspective of the world, it will jade you. 

Enter Chris Brown... an incredible artist and a hell of a guy.  As the sole curator and custodian of a publication called Refueled, his tireless journey to discover and share content that will leave you inspired is a refreshing change.  Check out our short interview below about life advice, pursuit of passion and inspiration.

Be on the lookout for the 12th issue of Refueled, which is slated for later this year. In the meantime you can find past issues of Refueled for free here, visual inspiration on his tumblr here and even see my pictures from Issue 11 here.

ME. If you could offer a complete stranger one piece of advice, what would it be?

CB. To quote Bob Dylan, "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."

I'm very lucky to be able to do what I do. I'm living the American dream by telling stories about other folks creating theirs. 

ME. I think creative endeavors can be difficult for many people because it requires you to expose yourself to criticism, potential rejection and even "failure". Creating your own magazine from start to finish is a massive undertaking with a significant investment of time and soul. What are your thoughts about and process for, overcoming the resistance/fear that can come from pursuing your passions?

CB. Be true to, and create for yourself and there is no criticism, rejection or failure. I simply write about the things I love, things that mean something to me personally. Refueled has always been more of a journal then a brand, or even a magazine. It's been a huge plus that readers have come back issue after issue, inspired and sharing with others. 

ME. What are the first three websites that you frequent on a daily basis for inspiration?

CB. Being a very visual person, I really dig tumblr. So I find myself keeping up with friends and other creative’s through tumblr. It's really interesting to get a glimpse into a person through the photos and things they post.  Refueled's tumblr is more a personal scrapbook than anything else, but I think it gives a pretty good look into what goes on inside my head and behind-the-scenes.

We are all artist

I have a theory, I believe most people are intimated by the term "artist". To be an artist we have to be creative right? You have to be a photographer, musician or painter - right?  That title is reserved for the chosen few, right?! I'm calling bull shit.

Yesterday, while I was on location shooting I had a conversation with a General Surgeon happened to be the father of some of my talent.  He said "I'm not a creative person, but it's so impressive to see how much goes into making an image". Are you kidding me? He's served our country saving the lives of our soldiers injured in combat zones and now spends his days fixing the rest of us as a surgeon. Someone like him saved my own life several years ago when I almost died from a ruptured appendix.  These men and women are artist. They are artist because their passion to enhance the lives of others are the driving force of their existance. 

The moral to this story is simple, we are all artist in our own ways. It is not a title reserved for the select few, it has been bestowed to all of us. Find something, anything you're passionate about, engage and take action.  Crafting a cup of coffee - loving your friends and family; as long as you do it with passion, you my friend are an artist.  

New Work: Refueled Magazine

Crazy honored to have contributed to Issue 11 of Refueled Magazine with the likes of some very talented artist and makers. If you'll look below, after the cover image you can see my spreads but please do yourself a favor.  Take the time and read the magazine for free here or better yet purchase the print copy here.  Ahh, one last thing, if you would be so kind, please spread the good word to your friends and family about Refueled. The publishing, creative direction and writing are all done by one really rad guy.  How's that for passion?!  More to come on that soon... 

cover shot by - gustav schmiege

cover shot by - gustav schmiege


Fear.

Meet Mike Dixon, my best friend. We have known each other since we were 8 years old. Last night I stumbled across this picture from our cross country road trip. I had one week to get from NC to LA for a job; our plan was to sleep in the car or camp, photograph the journey and experience whatever came our way. In the end all of that and much more happened but this moment in the photograph represents something bigger that I wanted to share.

Four days into our trip we arrived at the Grand Canyon late one evening, set up our tents in the dark and called it an early night so we could be up for sunrise.  Hours later we made our way through the woods and down a hillside to the very edge.  I was in complete awe as I stood there staring into the abyss towards the canyon floor.  My first impression was "hot damn, it really is GRAND!", way more grand than I had ever imagined.  "MIKE, can you believe this.. HOLY S@#T, It's unreal. You have to see this!”,  motioning him towards the edge.  I turned around to find him with hands on knees, pale and visibly nervous.  I had forgotten, he is terrified of heights.

My efforts were futile, he wasn’t having it.  Don’t get me wrong, I tried in the beginning to challenge his manhood, call him a name or two, basically make light of the situation hoping we would budge.  Eventually it occurred to me that fear had paralyzed him.  The only direction he’d even consider was backwards.  I looked him in the eye, told him that I was going to be right there with him, nothing could or would happen; he just had to trust me.  I reminded him that we had traveled thousands of miles and now stood a matter of inches from the edge.  “How could you come this far to only turn around and go back?”, I asked him.  After a few moments he found the courage and faced one of his greatest fears.  Matter of fact we watched the sunrise that morning with our feet dangled over the edge.  Looking back, I feel that that trip was the beginning of incredible change in his life.  He has since gone on to do amazing things and in the process inspire me and countless others.

The moral of the story that I try and constantly remind myself of (yet often forget) is this. All too often as walk towards the metaphorical "edge" of our personal journey to only be paralyzed from taking the next step. Fear is very real and can be a destructive force in our lives if we let it.  It will rob you of the opportunity to truly be ALIVE, to be or do something GREAT.  If you want to beat it, surround yourself with people that will unconditionally support you in those moments.  Ultimately, recognize that what you're really feeling is the resistance to change that is meant for the greater good.

I challenge you next time there is a pressing decision to be made in your life to consider fear as a compass.  Option A = comfortable and complacent, option B = scares the hell out of you... Choose B.  I'm willing to bet that you'll discover something you didn't think possible. 

PS.. You too Jeff Holt, especially yo

inspired

You want to know what I think is great about the world that we live in today?  Well I'll tell you, technology and in particular the Internet has made it easier than ever to discover the best of what the world has to offer. New music, artist, photographers, social movements, places and people that are changing the world are all merely a click away.  This opportunity for exploration translates into inspiration that when nurtured becomes a powerful force for change in our lives.  I know this for a fact based on the impact it's had on my own life. 

Before I was a photographer I worked a corporate job where I wore a suit and tie every day. I worked 80-hour weeks going through the motions. To escape that reality I would lose myself on the Internet every night. I began to nurture my passion for photography, discovered artist that were pushing boundaries and ultimately planted the seeds that inspired me to quit my job and pursue photography full time.

I'm truly passionate about seeing people live their lives to their potential. People have enormous capacity to do incredible things. This potential is often drowned out by fear, self-doubt, insecurities or just life in general. I meet people all the time that wish they were doing something bigger but seem to have no idea where to even begin. I've come to understand that bridging that gap between where they are and where they want to go begins with taking simply ONE SMALL STEP forward.  Being inspired and aware of a world that you didn't know exist is a damn solid first step. 

In the sprit of sharing and hopefully helping others find a starting place I thought I would share a couple of the ways I keep myself inspired. Being that I'm such a visual person I keep "personal mood boards" on Tumblr and Pinterest. Feel free to take a look at mine. I would hope that it inspires you in some way to start your own curation of things that help re-shape the way you see the world. 

ps. The title of my tumblr, "cogito ergo sum" is Latin for you are what you think. It's a powerful theme in my life.

Harley Davidson

There are few companies in the world that carry the mystique, heritage and legacy that one would associate with Harley Davidson. It's truly an American icon and has been for over a hundred years. More than a motorcycle or piece of machinery it represents a way of life for many.  I'm honored to have had the chance to shoot the cover and feature story for the current issue of Harley Davidson's HOG Magazine which is on shelves now. 

Quotes: Jobs

your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. don’t be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of others people’s thinking. don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they some how already know what you truly want to become. everything else is secondary.
— Steve Jobs

Dreamer Journal | Feature

Excited to have had the opportunity to contribute to the current issue of Dreamer Journal. Below is the piece that I wrote and a couple of the portraits. Click here to check out the entire piece and their current issue. 

THE JOURNEY

I have had incredible experiences in my life that have forced me to re-examine the way I see the world.  After a near brush with death I decided to stop "renting" my life and chose to "own" it. I quit my corporate job on a whim but with the clarity that life was too short to spend it plagued by fear and complacency. Prior to that moment I wouldn't have considered myself creative and I lacked any formal training.  What I had was a dream to become a photographer, intuition, and faith that the universe was trying to tell me something. 

Nearly 4 years later I have been changed in unmeasurable ways.  Don't get me wrong the journey has been difficult at times and I am acutely aware of how much and how far is yet to be traveled. But I can say with certainty that the way I look at the world, the way I look at my work and how I live my life have been shaped by experiences that are only gifted to those willing to face fear, sacrifice their comfort and abandon their sense of security.  If you're willing to open your eyes, your heart and your mind then prepare to be blessed with the chance to taste life at it's sweetest. 

For me those blessings have come in many forms but one in particular stands above the rest. That blessing is travel. Opportunities to work with amazing non-profits like Wine to Water who are leaving their mark by waging war against the water crisis that leaves nearly a billion people without access to clean drinking water.  Traveling with Tibetian pilgrims during their 18 month pilgrimage to Lhasa under Chinese occupation and environmental conditions beyond comprehension. These are the blessings where I have come to know the true and universal heart of man in a way that I could have never imagined existed.  My camera has allowed me to document those encounters but more importantly I have come to discover the unspoken language of a photograph. The way in which a fleeting moment in time can bridge two vastly different worlds. 

In the following pages I will share a handful of portraits that represent moments in my life that have changed me forever. These children represent the purest form of our humanity. Our perception of their poverty dismisses their reality of simplicity. Our perception pales in comparison to the love and support of their family and village. What they lack in material goods is more than compensated for with imagination and curiosity. They represent a reminder of how when the heart is full it has limitless impact on the world. 

Tavel in a humanitarian capacity does impact those in need of aid but more importantly it will impact you. It teaches you a conviction for life and your fellow human being. It teaches you how broken we all are and how when we come together it changes everything. From a creative standpoint It teaches you that the only ingredients needed to create greatness are honesty and the marriage of you and your subjects soul.  

 

Artist Spotlight: Gabriel Dawe

Dallas-based artist Gabriel Dawe (previously here and here) creates colorful site-specific installations using bright gradients of suspended thread. Above is a small selection of his work over the past year as part of his Plexus series. Despite the geometric precision in each installation, it’s fascinating to see how some works become sort of amorphous clouds of floating color, and I’m sure seeing these on a computer screen hardly compares to seeing them up close. See much more on his website.

Death Vally

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