Sunday, May 27, 2018

"Psychedelic" Art Exhibit

by Paul Micarelli

This month, I've had some of my artwork on display at a local art gallery. It is part of the Grande Theater in Williamstown, NJ.


The exhibit theme is "Psychedelic" & it coincides with the theatre's production of the play that takes place in the 1960's, "Hair".

I have plenty of abstract art that fits this theme, so I picked out some of my favorites to make prints & frame.


 "Retro Peace Poster"
by Paul Micarelli

by Paul Micarelli

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Shupp's Grove Market Finds

Last weekend, my family went to Lancaster for a dinner & show at the Rainbow Comedy Club. For the last few Christmases, my parents have given our family tickets to the theater and reservations at the Richmond House bed & breakfast. We always have a great time on the trip, and before heading home, we usually stop at some antique markets in the morning.

This year, we went to Shupp's Grove in Adamstown, PA. It's set nicely in a wooded area, and luckily the weather was good. When I go to these places, I am astounded at the amount of random crap on display. There's just tables & tables of STUFF of all kinds. Some of it is valuable antique, most of it is total junk, & much of it is probably open to interpretation.

I love to take pictures of the weirder and more humorous items I see at these markets. Since I'm a man of few wants & needs, I rarely see anything I actually want to buy. The one thing I'm a sucker for is books. This time, I did get an American Medical Association: Encyclopedia of Medicine for $1.

Anyway, here are some of the crazier items that caught my eye...

This creepy-ass clock man was one of the first things I saw:

I always notice monkey-related things for this blog. 
Here's one made from a coconut shell:

Decorative Eggs, one of the collections of random items on display:

A phrenology bust by L.N. Fowler:

Another monkey item, this time a cookie jar:

 My fiancée Loretta was confused by this wooden lady:

This large wood dragon carving was actually pretty cool:
 
 
A Native American stereotype figure:

 "Smilin' Sam from Alabam'
The Salted Peanut Man"
One of the less racist depictions of African-Americans from yesteryear:

There's always guaranteed to be strange mannequin heads somewhere:

This was one of my favorites-
Pairs of dirty kids shoes being used as planters:
 
 Last, but not least, "Farm Country Ranch: Action Rodeo Set" 
Yee-haa kids!

Here is a family pic we took before we went to the dinner theater:
Sawyer & Micarelli Family
Greg, Mandi, Loretta, Paul M., Karen, Paul J., Sylvia, Joe, Johanna, & Justin

Friday, May 18, 2018

Conscious Living for You


This is a little promo for another blog I created with my soon-to-be wife Loretta, called "Conscious Living for You."

Blogger:

We created the brand & the blog as a resource for people who want to lead a healthier lifestyle. In addition to being a creative professional and being interested in spirituality & meditative traditions, I have a science background and love to learn about everything. Loretta is a nurse and a yoga teacher with a strong medical education.

Together, we want to introduce concepts and research that supports lifestyle choices that lead to positive results for the mind, body, and spirit.

So far we have written about the effects of stress, the benefits of breath control, sugar addiction, yoga, and other topics that are of interest to anyone who wants to improve their state of being.

Please follow our blog on Google, or Like or page on Facebook to get our latest posts.

Facebook:

Thank you for your support! We hope to bring a healthier way of living to you and all people.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Spring Flowers

 
Although it has been rainy this week, overall the weather is getting warmer and the Spring weather is causing all the plant life to bloom.

I love this time of year and enjoy experiencing nature come back to life.

by Paul Micarelli

I took the above photo of a flower on my Mom's porch where her feeders attract swarms of hummingbirds.


Friday, May 11, 2018

The Informational Universe


 This PBS article asks the question about the nature of reality:


It might seem like a weird question. Our perceptions experience the world as made of matter & energy. However, we now know that there are much more exotic properties to reality at the most basic quantum levels.

How does existence organize itself out of the seeming chaos of the quantum field? How is information preserved throughout all levels, to give rise to atomic order, physical form, forces, and all the other systems that keep the Universe running as it does?

These are deep questions that compel us to dive head-first into infinity, to try and comprehend the unimaginable complexity that we are immersed in.

If the Universe is really made of information, then how much can be stored in a given space? According to the article, the maximum limit is 10^69 bits per square meter, and if you tried to pack information more densely than that, it would collapse into a black hole.

This idea of the world as information has been discussed by the late Terence McKenna, who said

“The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.” 

By "words", he was referring to information- the idea is that by understanding the way in which the Universe processes information, we can use that knowledge to affect it according to our intentions.

McKenna also was interested in "novelty" or new phenomena, which the article also discusses as an aspect of information theory. Basically the Universe favors surprises & additive or cumulative information.

Nassim Haramein has also been exploring the possibility of unifying our view of physics through the organizational patterns of sacred geometry, and he has proposed the theory that ALL information in the Universe is stored at EVERY point in the field. It is a fractal, holographic storage system built into the fabric of reality itself.

 Resonance Science Foundation:


https://resonance.is/spacetime-as-information-an-ordering-principle-for-living-systems/
 Planck-Scale Information Network of Spacetime

Ultimately, these are all just labels and primitive attempts at our monkey mind to grasp the infinite expanse & depth of our world. However, by thinking about these things and better understanding this miraculous existence we inhabit, we actually fulfill our purpose. We ARE the Universe itself, learning & cycling back information into a feedback loop that informs every aspect of reality. We are at the same time a tiny piece, yet an integral part of the whole.


Monday, May 07, 2018

The Droid Emperor (+ Criticism of the New Trilogy)

by Jean Paul aka Ivanuss

I saw this cool concept for a Star Wars character on r/ImaginaryJedi and it got me thinking...

How awesome would a story line in the new movies have been where the main antagonist was an A.I. like this- who could somehow wield the Force, or simulate it? What kind of interesting dynamics could have been explored if there was a dichotomy established between cybernetic intelligence vs. organic life?

In the artist's page for this rendering, he talks about this being from an alternate timeline, where the Separatist Droid Army prevails and eventually leads to artificial intelligence that can manipulate The Force:

"Some alternate history path lead to the early death of Darth Sidious (possibly at the hands of Mace Windu) before the infamous order 66. Then the separatist suddenly came with a new AI development in superior tactical droids. But something didn't went as plan. And then the AI took over and began the systematically eradication of all organic life in the galaxy. In response the fallen Republic built a response, another type of new AI that could replicate "the force" in synthetic ways. Like manipulation of gravity, magnetism, anti-matter, photon particles, etc."

How would a human (or any other sentient, biological species) address the threat coming from a computerized or robotic being that had a cold, calculating decision to destroy all life? Perhaps it isn't even a single being. Maybe there is a hive mind or collective intelligence in which the droid is just a vehicle for a digital cloud consciousness.

There are so many mind-bending possibilities, and to some extent some ideas have already been explored in other media, such as Marvel's Ultron storylines, Mass Effect games and many others. The complex relationship between human & machine is always a very relevant topic. So why didn't Star Wars go this route in the new trilogy?

I've been waiting to write this post, & thinking about level to which this single illustration intrigued me. So, to be honest, it made me realize just how un-creative the new trilogy has been when you really consider it. This is coming from a lifelong Star Wars fan, who credits these movies with heavily influencing my outlooks & perspectives on many aspects of life. I've written reviews for both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and I truly enjoyed them for what they are. However, they have serious flaws and the stories are pretty unimaginative after seeing how they are unfolding so far.

For instance, instead of something compelling like The Droid Emperor, we got Supreme Leader Snoke, whose enigmatic potential was literally cut down unceremoniously by his apprentice Kylo Ren in Episode 8. As I explained before, I understand the attempt to have a contrast between Snoke & Luke's worldly exits, but it seems like there was so much left hanging or completely untouched there. When I got my first glimpses of him in the gold robes, I thought there would be some study of him as the conniving ultra-capitalist or social elitist, with opulent gold or decorative surroundings. It would have been a great contrast to Luke's simple hermetic existence.

Nope, we got him sitting in The Emperor's Throne Room 2.0, with the exact same techno-bland "Imperial" color scheme (with some more red). Again, I understand echoing aspects of the movies or creating rhythmic patterns in visuals or storytelling, but it doesn't seem like any real conceptual risks were taken. Before Episode 7 & the first look at Snoke's hologram, I remember seeing concepts for him that looked like a snake-like alien. That would have been so much more terrifying and compelling than a disfigured old humanoid:


Which also reminds me of the overall lack of cool aliens in these movies, either new or from existing species. As someone said in a comment thread- There is a casino planet... but no Hutts are around? The crazy, yet familiar aliens are one of the main factors that define Star Wars. They were mostly absent from The Last Jedi. This, and the lack of interesting locations, led to Episode 8 feeling shallow and not very rich in world building. 

In addition to a more alien Snoke or a robotic villain, what if they drew from the Legends material & had an extra-galactic alien threat like the Yuuzhan Vong that invaded the Republic? ...Nah! Lets just have The Galactic Empire 2.0... I mean, The First Order, somehow running the galaxy again despite being comically inept. Then the Republic reverts back into the Rebellion & we're back where we started in A New Hope. Again, this is all simply a lack of imagination.

Probably the best part of The Last Jedi was the revelation of Luke's Force projection power & transcendence into the equivalent of a light body. Unfortunately, there was way less focus on Force training (both light & dark) than I had hoped. There is so much metaphysical depth to be examined, but it seems like The Last Jedi sacrificed this potential for inane side plots and nonsensical space chases.

My final complaint is how Luke was handled. I didn't mind that he exiled himself to an island on a remote planet. The fact that it was the location of the first Jedi temple made it interesting. The absurd part is that Luke "cut himself off" from The Force while in exile. This is so dumb. How can you even do that? It's like saying, I cut myself off from the quantum field. Even worse, he proceeds to teach Rey about The Force. Why would he share that knowledge if he didn't want to be connected to it? It would have been much cooler to see Luke as a wise (but still hardened) old master who sought solitude to deepen his connection with the Force and achieve understanding- not act like it doesn't exist! On a more positive note, they did do the right thing by making him win by not actually fighting at all in the final battle, a very Taoist approach to his showdown with his nephew.

Ok, so those are my rants, inspired by the excellent & imaginative concept art at the top of the post. I still love the Star Wars movies and I'm hoping that the conclusion of the Trilogy of Trilogies in Episode 9 is satisfying. It should tie up loose ends and encompass the entire saga. It is a tall order based on what has been produced so far in the new series, but there are definitely ways to bring this epic story to a fitting ending. We'll see what Disney & Lucasfilm deliver...

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Pixel Art of Paul Robertson

Void


After seeing the awesome, trippy animation above, I looked into the artist Paul Robertson, who has done animations & graphics for clients like Adult Swim.

Tumblr:
 
He uses a pixelated art style and uses old programs & techniques to achieve this look. Despite the outdated methods, the results are a higher dimension of mind-blowing visuals.

Sociedelic:


He has so many crazy images & animated GIFS, it's difficult to pick ones that stand out. Here are a few I really liked, but definitely check out his Tumblr for more:

 Help Me

Expedition

Adult Swim

Thursday, April 26, 2018

We Would Be Honored If You Would Join Us

I saw this awesome oil painting of Boba Fett on r/imaginaryjedi & loved the perspective. The reflection in his faceplate shows Darth Vader confronting Han Solo, Chewbacca, & Leia after Lando Calrissian leads them into Vader's trap at Cloud City.

Boba Fett, was one of the cooler Star Wars characters, especially before the prequels demystified his background. The persona of a enigmatic, bad-ass bounty hunter in weapon-covered armor was a great addition to the series.


The artist is Christian Waggoner, and the original title isn't quite accurate, but it doesn't take away from the quality of this image.

Artstation:


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"Venom" Movie Trailer


I just watched the official trailer for the "Venom" movie. I used to be an avid comic book collector when I was a kid, and Venom was one of my favorite characters.


During the Secret Wars series in the 1980's, Spider-Man acquired a black suit with special powers, like enhanced speed & strength, unlimited webbing, and being able to shape-shift into any clothing. It also just looked awesome. However, it turned out that the "suit" was actually alive, a symbiotic alien life form that had merged with Peter Parker.


He tries to separate from the symbiote, using sonic waves that disrupt the alien. The alien then finds Eddie Brock, a down & out reporter who is ready to commit suicide. The symbiote bonds with Brock, and takes on his aggressive and violent personality. The merged pair becomes the terrifying creature known as Venom, one of Spider-Man's most powerful enemies and a great villain character.


Anyway, the Venom character has been done in movies before, in Spider-Man 3, but the full Venom appeared only briefly and was handled in a pretty lame way. With many years and more advanced CGI since then, this iteration of Venom looks pretty good, and hopefully the character gets more screen time.

Unfortunately, as is the situation with certain superhero movies, the involvement & ownership of these properties by different studios leads to results that do not do the characters or their stories justice. It appears that, because this is a Sony movie and not a Marvel production, Spider-Man will not be a part of this movie, which is idiotic. Venom's origin story IS Spider-Man, so to not include him would be like having a Joker movie with no Batman.

I'm pretty critical of movies in general, especially when it comes to characters that I am very familiar with & like. Sometimes, I wish I could be a consultant for these types of movies to tell everyone how things should be done. When I read other people's opinions online, most people complain about the same things I criticize. Perhaps one day there will be a proper movie with Spider-Man vs. Venom that is true to the original story. Until then, I won't bother seeing this in the theater, but may see it eventually if it seems to get good reviews.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Internationally Approved Weapons

I saw this cartoon on Phroyd's World awhile back, and unfortunately it's still as relevant as ever.



People set up this strange dichotomy in their heads- where killing by a certain group & methods is wrong- but killing by their group using "officially sanctioned" methods (even that which results in collateral damage) is justified.

It's all the same destruction of human life, and especially when non-combatants are murdered, military action can be just as barbaric as the actions of any terrorist group. People who are cheerleaders for war are blinded by patriotic emotion that prevents them from seeing others in foreign lands as fellow living beings.

The detachment of humans from killing other humans, through technology such as drones & smart missiles, is an extremely dangerous situation. It allows for the murder of anyone, with the personal responsibility of no one. This is why so many people are arguing against the implementation of AI and autonomous robots in combat. This terrifying possibilities of this concept is illustrated in the fictional (for now) Slaughterbots video below:



This desensitization of war's effects, leading to the justification for state-sanctioned death of innocent people, is one of the main catalysts for terrorism in the first place. We kill innocents while trying to get the "bad guys", so they kill innocents... and the cycle of revenge never stops.

The only people who benefit from this endless destruction are those who are profiting from it, through the creation & utilization of weapons- the "military-industrial complex" that President Eisenhower presciently warned us about at 8:41 in the video below.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Macro Photography- Tiny Beetle

I've been taking some macro photography using a lens for my iPhone that I received for Christmas this year. It is awesome for taking photos of tiny natural features and textures.

by Paul Micarelli

I saw this tiny beetle crawling on my desk & wanted to see how detailed of an image I could get of it. When I say tiny, I mean it was smaller than the tip of a ballpoint pen! To illustrate the size, I took a few "zoom-out" photos, showing it in relation to a pen. The macro lens magnified it so well, I was able to see its head & the camo-like pattern on it's back.

 


Monday, April 09, 2018

Cool 3D World


Two things I enjoy are 3D animation and surrealism... and there are few places where those two ideas collide as thoroughly & weirdly as Cool 3D World.






Cool 3D World is a team of artists, Jon Baken & Brian Tessler who clearly delight in using their technical skills to push the limits of the absurd.

DazedDigital.com:

If you want to be completely confused & disgusted, be sure to watch their videos- featuring morphing humanoids, nonsensical scenery, disturbing sound effects, and generally mind-warpingly bizarre animation.


Here are some examples of the insane animations produced by Cool 3D World. For the love of all that's good, do not try to make sense of any of it:

2015 Compilation

Dreaming Boy

Earth & Moon


Thursday, April 05, 2018

Macro Photography- Coral

I received a macro lens for my iPhone from my fiancée's parents on Christmas. I love taking nature photos, and this allows me to capture new perspectives from extremely close up. I will be adding them to my album of nature photos.

by Paul Micarelli

I've been taking some random pictures of things that I think have cool textures or interesting features. This is a piece of coral that I saved from a trip to Mexico many years ago. When you zoom into it, the many tiny pieces of sand embedded in the nooks become more evident.

Reality is endlessly fractal, with ever-more levels of detail to discover.




Monday, April 02, 2018

Frostfire Monkey

I came across this awesome illustration by Italian artist Pierluigi Vessichelli, and since I love anything involving metaphysical monkeys I had to share it!



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Conscious Living for You


My fiancée has brought many things into my life for which I will forever be grateful. One of the most important things is an appreciation for healthy living.

Even before we met, I tried to be conscious of my lifestyle. Although I may have indulged in things that were not beneficial, and ignored various aspects of my life that were detrimental- I did not lead a bad life. I exercised, meditated, and have always tried to be generally positive.

However, she has taken me to another level in all aspects of my life, while I have likewise helped push her to achieve what she wouldn't have thought possible before. We both eat very healthy, stay fit, do yoga, stay in touch with our spiritual lives, learn as much as we can, and try to be positive forces in the world. I've had The Monkey Buddha blog for many years, & she's had a "Conscious" page on Facebook to share information to elevate others.

Recently, I was talking to her about re-branding her Facebook page, and it evolved into an idea I had... to embark on a journey together. She is a registered nurse who has started teaching yoga and has helped people with nutritional plans. I am a content creator, and enjoy teaching people about art, culture, science, meditation, and spirituality. My idea was to create a brand that would encompass all these things that can help other people, and more. Being very experienced in marketing & branding, I thought the name "Conscious Living for You" would be a powerful name to cover all the topics we wanted to address.

The first thing I knew we had to do was create a blog and a Facebook page to begin sharing information and providing content. After taking a month or two to finally get around to it, we finally sat down one night and created both pages:

Blogger:

Facebook:


If you are reading this, your support by "following" or "liking" these pages would be deeply appreciated. We will both start adding interesting and helpful content to those who want to live a better, more fulfilling life.

Eventually, we want to provide guides and original content that we create for our readers. Then, our ultimate vision is to have a studio or some kind of Consciousness Center, for like-minded people to join, learn, and practice with us.

As a graphic designer and creative professional, the most important thing I've learned about approaching any project is to start it! Then, it snowballs and grows. Without implementation, an idea stays just that... an idea. So, now that we've started it, we will continue to nurture this project and make it grow.

Thank you for reading this, and hopefully for supporting our new venture.

Friday, March 23, 2018

March 2018 Nor'easter Photos

 

This past week, we experienced a March Nor'easter here in New Jersey.

The snowstorm was pretty rough (power out for 2 days & cracked car windshield) but I got beautiful pics of the snow covered trees against the blue sky after the storm cleared.

I added them to my album of nature photos:

by Paul Micarelli



 


Monday, March 19, 2018

"Floral Mandala" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract art. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

by Paul Micarelli

A radiating arrangement of petal-like shapes morphs into an ever-shrinking circular pattern as it extends out from the center:

 "Floral Mandala"
by Paul Micarelli

**Buy Prints & Products With This Design***
The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

BUY "Floral Mandala"