Tag Archives: United States

7 Street Art Shots from SXSW 2014

In-the-moment around Austin

Click for locations and full size views via Flickr:

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

I had the good fortune to attend South By Southwest this year in Austin, and I made it a point to document interesting street art wherever I found it. Above are the best random examples I discovered in walking about the city. This is by no means a thorough report, but just what I happened to see wherever my feet took me. Some of these have already been painted over, which I think underscores the fleeting nature of the medium.

What do you think? Ever seen any inspiring street art in your city or on your travels? Ever created any street art yourself? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Get Thee To The Getty

I recently had the pleasure of spending a few hours at The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The only thing wrong with my visit was that it wasn’t long enough. Besides the many great works of art there, The Getty’s architecture and the grounds are a thing to behold. Here are some shots I snapped via Hipstamatic, and a bonus panorama shot. More at Flickr.

Getty01 Getty02 Getty03 Getty04 Getty06 Getty05

What do you think? Have you ever been to The Getty? Do you notice architecture and landscaping for their artistic characteristics? What’s a place where that’s happened for you recently? Let us hear from you in the comments.

This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin: A Review

Note: The folks from Grammarly graciously offered to sponsor this post. I use Grammarly for proofreading online because it can free up more brain power for enjoying music.

Music is everywhere, especially when it has to do with our emotions. Music has the power to move us, physically and spiritually. It is familiarity and exploration simultaneously drawing from experience, atmosphere and energy… spatial points of reference blending in sound.

This is Your Brain on MusicI discovered this book while browsing Audible randomly for something interesting a few weeks back, and I’m glad I did. I found it to be entertaining, well-articulated and just technical enough to make solid points but not so much that I became lost in scientific mumbo jumbo. The author, Daniel J. Levitin states:

“This book is about the science of music from the perspective of cognitive neuroscience – the field that is at the intersection of psychology and neurology.”

Levitin is an experienced producer and studio engineer, who came by his musical appreciation honestly – his father offered to finance a set of headphones as long as the young author promised to use them whenever his dad was home. Sounds like good parenting to me.

Levitin later went on to become a bona-fide brain researcher and Ph.D., incorporating his musical background. This qualifies him to explore what’s happening with the brain in relation to music.

Consider how something as instinctive as “groove” works. Levitin notes: “when we talk about a ‘great groove’ in music… we’re talking about the way in which beat divisions create a strong momentum. ‘Groove’ is that quality that moves the song forward. When the song has a good groove, it invites us into a sonic world we don’t want to leave.”

That’s a pretty darned good description of groove, right there.

Beats and melodies, grooves and lyrics, disconnected ideas forging a shared energy… what happens with music is happening in our brains. So many areas of our consciousness activate together in a musical experience – like performance and interpretation happening at once. I’ve long believed music is the most powerful art form.

The book explores some of the author’s own, and other recent studies conducted on music, musical meaning, and musical pleasure, along with what’s happening in the brain in relation to music, from many perspectives – biological, physical, anthropological, and others.

“Music listening, performance and composition engage nearly every area of the brain that we have identified, and involve nearly every neural subsystem.”

This makes a ton of sense to me, since so many, many hours of my youth were spent listening intently to music closely, over and over, concentrating on untangling its secrets into something I could tap into and impart to others through a shared experience. It’s a beautiful thing, and this book illustrates some of the biological mechanisms that enable such magic. As a self-taught musician, I found it fascinating to consider all this from a physiological and evolutionary point of view.

Above: interview w/ Daniel Levitin on The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Levitin notes that “music is unusual among all human activities, for both its ubiquity and its antiquity.” I agree that there’s something primal about music, something as elemental as the air we breathe, as visceral as any vibration. Like the rhythms of a wind rustling leaves, hoofbeats on a plain, or a brook cascading among the echoes of a forest. It makes sense of the world through organization of energy, with the power to send us elsewhere and take us back home in our minds, something that has been happening since humans first started drumming on logs around a fire, continuing to this day in new and exciting forms.

“As our brains have evolved, so has the music we make with them, and the music we want to hear.”

Just think of a song you know, one that makes you tap your foot to the beat or sing along – maybe just the first melody that pops into your mind, maybe something you heard on the radio on the way to work… in a commercial… in college… last weekend at a friend’s house… years ago when you were just beginning to understand the world, or maybe love — what is that sound? It’s living in your brain right now and likely will be for a long time to come. This book can offer a new appreciation for that kind of art.

Update: author comments & recommendation!

What do you think? Have you ever considered how music affects the brain? What do you consider an example of a song that takes you to a certain place? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Artwork Feature at Xaxor.com

Many thanks to XAXOR.com for featuring my photomontage art today! The lead image is my experiment in understanding the work of  Jerry Uelsmann, documented here at “Learning from the Masters.”

Xaxor.com features my artwork today

My art featured at Xaxor.com. Click to view. See more of my art at 500px.

I happened upon XAXOR.com by way of Pinterest, and enjoy the mountain of interesting visuals there – all neatly arranged in categories. The site describes itself as, “a gallery of the most awesome pictures online. Our frequently updated database contains over 40,000 articles and 1 million photos.” Definitely worth a look if you’re into that kind of thing.

Making Things Happen: Now Featured by WeAreJUXT

Making Things Happen by rsmithing
Making Things Happen, a photo by rsmithing on Flickr.

Two things I’ve been doing lately: travelling and listening to Beats Antique (often simultaneously). The music is, for me, a perfect mood-setter: stimulating, forward moving, and compelling without lyrics. I saw the band twice in 2012, and captured this image of Zoe Jakes at a gig in Asheville, NC. This snapshot makes the perfect foreground for this vista from above the clouds off Florida’s Gulf Coast, brought together via iPhone with the masks & textures of Photoforge2.

Update 3/3: Now Featured by WeAreJUXT

JUXT LogoBig thanks to the folks at WeAreJUXT for including this image in their weekly showcase! This is the second image of mine featured there (here’s the first) and I’m totally flattered, since they constantly and consistently highlight such great creations with insights from their creators (and I’m not just saying that because I’m there). You should definitely check out the whole JUXT site. Here’s what I say about this image over there:

My favorite art is the kind that gets the viewer to consider things in new ways. I believe that’s the most exciting thing about sharing creativity: the opportunity for a mind-expanding experience. That can happen for me through words, music, or with visual art as in the works of my favorite artists, Salvador Dalí and Jerry Uelsmann. The story behind this image is that I was on a business trip last month and happened to be in the air at just the right time to capture a glorious sunrise from above the clouds. I knew I wanted to remember the moment, but didn’t know what form that would take. This week, the vision hit me: a dancer amid the clouds with selective lighting and textures was what I wanted to make happen. I instantly thought of this silhouette image I shot last year at a show by one of my favorite bands, Beats Antique, which happen to be on heavy rotation during my recent travels. The mysterious form in the foreground is the troupe’s Zoe Jakes as shown backlit from behind a screen with exotic costume accents. The spell-casting pose along with textures, layer modes and and masking in Photoforge2 makes the mind-expansion thing happen.

Crestfallen. Twice.

I like making connections. So I’m often on the lookout for them. It’s fun for me to align concepts for an expanded meaning beyond what they may singularly impart. The same is true with writing: symbolism, parallelism, etc. And as a corporate communications professional, connection-making often comes in handy, whether with words, concepts or people.

Crestfallen

Wired February 2013So it was interesting for me to see an uncommon term, “crestfallen” twice in a single issue of Wired this month. The word appeared in David MacNeal’s story on mobile boombox dance parties, as well as Carl Zimmer’s story on sleuthing out deadly mutant bacteria. Both are positive stories overall, but each includes a mention of someone being crestfallen. I think that’s interesting, and am happy to report not being crestfallen at this discovery.

What do you think? Ever notice an uncommon phrase in rapid succession from multiple sources? Do you believe in synchronicity? What are your thoughts on making connections? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Solarized Tree – Rainy Day Inspiration and Flickr Feature

Solarized Tree, by rsmithing

One good thing about rainy afternoons is how the ordinary can take on more beauty. Here’s a snapshot of a tree I noticed in the post-rain haze of my neighborhood. It takes on new depth thanks to the Dynamic Light app’s “solarize” function and some finishing touches with the TtV Photo Studio app.

Flickr Explore PageUpdate: We Made Flickr’s Explore Page!

About 24 hours after this post, I visit the source image at Flickr to respond to any comments, and whaddya know: it’s featured on Flickr’s Explore: Recent Photos gallery!

Flickr’s “Explore” galleries are curated collections of 500 select photos each day. Considering the site gets photos uploaded by the thousands every minute, that’s very flattering. Other categories include “The Commons,” and “Galleries” – and all are fun ways to discover interesting new art and artists.

What an honor – thanks, Flickr!

What do you think? Have you ever been inspired to turn the ordinary into art by way of a rainy day? What are your “go-to” apps for photo editing? Let us hear from you in the comments.