Tuesday, May 23, 2017

UON Visuals

 
I came across this awesome, hypnotic animated GIF of changing geometric designs. It is called "Sacred Patterns". At one point it morphs into the interlocking circles of The Flower of Life.


After checking out the artist's Instagram page @uon.visuals I was impressed with the wildly imaginative art & animation. UON Visuals is 3D animator Mike Voskakis, and he has also has a Facebook page and a YouTube channel.

I'd recommend checking out all his mind-bending work.

Here are some more examples I like:



Friday, May 19, 2017

Ants Attack & Eat a Caterpillar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq3f1VV5ZMQ

Last week, I saw a lone caterpillar being swarmed & devoured by small ants. The caterpillar had ventured too close to the ant nest and was overtaken by the colony.

Perhaps the caterpillar was already sick or impaired, but the ants were probably impossible to fight off, anyway.

I took video as close as I could get to it, so it's a little shaky. You can see enough detail to make out the ants crawling on & biting at the larger insect. It was pretty creepy, but the patio was already littered with bodies of other caterpillars, so it was not a unique fate. Nature is crazy & brutal.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"Fantasy Photos" First Art Festival

www.FantasyPhotos.net

Recently, I posted about the new business that I started, called "Fantasy Photos". It is a service where I create high-quality, custom photo composites & digital portraits. 

Customers can order an image of a person, animal, or thing to be digitally inserted into any setting they can imagine.

"Fantasy Photos™" Website:

This past weekend I registered as a vendor at an event for the first time ever, to promote the business. It was at the Mullica Hill Arts & Crafts Festival in NJ. I set up a table with a number of my existing Fantasy Photos in frames, along with business cards & promo postcards.


Here is a digital promo, based on the postcard I was handing out. If you are reading this & save this promo, you can send it in with your order for 10% off!:



Saturday, May 13, 2017

Simulating the Merging of Galaxies

 

On Reddit I saw this NASA simulation of galaxies being formed, as cosmic gases and material coalesce due to gravitational forces.


The scales of distance and time are impossible for the human mind to fully comprehend. However, we can still understand, calculate, and simulate these vast celestial forces. By doing so, we learn more about our Universe and, therefore, ourselves as an integral part of it.

Speaking of self-reflection, while searching for similar animations, I also saw this NASA video of galactic evolution on an even larger scale. Here, the strands of stellar material that thread between & form galaxies, resemble neural cells connecting throughout the fractal universal mind field.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fantasy Photos™

https://www.fantasyphotos.net/

Recently, I posted about being laid off from my graphic design job, due to the financial difficulties being experienced by the studio I was working for.

In that post, I also mentioned my idea to follow my dream & start a new business, called "Fantasy Photos™". Over the past couple weeks, I have been working every day to bring that dream into reality.

I bought a domain and built a website for the first time. After getting advice from people I trust who own businesses & doing a lot of research, I formed a LLC and registered the company. I've also opened a bank account & PayPal for the business. Next, I am going to print business cards & a promo postcard. This weekend, there is a local arts festival where I hope to get a booth and display my business. I've had my first customer already, and I am now ready for many, many more.

Fantasy Photos™ offers customized digital portraits & composite photos. For years, I have made awesome and fun pictures for my family & friends. Now, I want to provide my skills to customers who are looking for excellent quality custom images- in which people, animals, or things are placed in imaginary scenes.

I'll be posting updates as I go along, but I would truly appreciate it if anyone reading this visits & shares the website.


Here's a sample of some of the images I've created. To see more, please visit the IMAGE GALLERY on the website. Thanks!









Saturday, May 06, 2017

CBArt- Alien Botanical Ape

Last weekend I was at a local art festival and came across an artist with a lot of nice work, called CBArt. There were especially unique paintings that I called "Alien Botanicals" because they looked like plant life from another world.



One in particular had an ape looking out from the alien plants, so I told the artist I'd share it here on The Monkey Buddha:


Thursday, May 04, 2017

Darth Vader Art

For Star Wars Day today, I wanted to make a quick post with some Darth Vader art that I made awhile back.

Looking back, it appears there was some premonition involved, especially with this first one. I made this way back in 2002, before the name of Episode III was revealed. Using the pattern of the 5 movie titles that existed up to that point, I figured out that the name of the third prequel would be "Revenge of the Sith". This image also proved to be prescient of the scene from Rogue One, where Vader boards the Rebel ship at the end of the movie, and his red lightsaber glows in the darkness.


This next image was a composite I made in Photoshop, of Hayden Christensen's face with Vader after his helmet was removed in Return of the Jedi. I imagined Anakin Skywalker taking the helmet of Darth Vader off in the privacy of his meditation chamber.


This final image was a visual I made that was similar to yet another Darth Vader scene in Rogue One, when he emerges from a bacta tank. I used the image from the previous picture with his armor still on, which isn't practical, but I was going for the idea of a physically damaged Anakin being treated in the chamber of liquid. The reflection of Emperor Palpatine observing the state of his apprentice can be seen in the glass.

 

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Fractal Wood Burning



On Reddit I saw this animated GIF of a piece of wood being burnt using an electrical current.

In finding it's way through the wood, the electrical energy forms a fractal pattern that burns into the surface.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

This is an example of a Lichtenberg figure, typified by the fractal-like branching.


The resemblance to the shape of trees gives insight into the influence of energy on the appearance of form.

The pathways are trying to connect to the opposite pole. In the same way, energy pathways that make up he shape of trees, and all energetic systems, are configured by the imperative to transfer energy as efficiently as possible and connect interactively with the environment.

Friday, April 28, 2017

TAS- The Adventurous Spark



On my Facebook feed, I came across this awesome post by artist TAS. It is a trippy 360º virtual space made using 3D software:

by TAS

Unfortunately it is not on YouTube, & I have no way to embed it in this blog. I went on the artist's website & YouTube page to find some more examples of this immersive medium.


Here are some other psychedelic 360º videos, using the same effect:



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Paul Micarelli- Graphic Designer Portfolio


The Monday after Easter last week, I was unfortunately laid off from my full-time graphic design position that I've had since I graduated college, over 15 years ago.

One of our main clients was bought out by a bigger company, and because of accounting shenanigans they have not paid for any jobs since January. All the projects that I've been working on have been for them, so my bosses can't pay me for my work. It's a perfect example of how investors or companies buy assets, don't manage them properly, and everyone down the line has to deal with the consequences.

Anyway, I have been trying to figure out a way forward, which is why my posting here has been sparse lately. I'm treating it as an opportunity to branch out, find new possibilities, and start things I've been wanting to do, but haven't had the time. I have some freelance work lined up, and I have an idea for a new business that I've really been wanting to get started. Once I get the logo and a website up & running, I'll share it here.

One thing I did after this happened was add a lot of content to my online portfolio. I use the Coroflot website, and it's a convenient way to show samples of my work:


If anyone who may happen to read this could use a freelance or full-time graphic artist, or knows someone who does, feel free to contact me through this website email: monkeybuddhapaul @ gmail.com ...(just remove the spaces around the "@" when sending the email). Thanks!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lab Chimp Retirement


I think the use of animals for medical research is a very disturbing result of our collective quest for scientific discovery. Although many valuable insights have been found through animal experimentation, it just seems creepy to keep another living thing against it's will to basically torture it, regardless of what the benefits may be.

People sympathize with primates more than "lower" animals, since they are the closest in resemblance to our own species. However, any life form with a nervous system and sensory input is going to experience the same exact sensations that we do when it comes to pain, fear, or discomfort.

I don't know how anyone can not feel bad watching footage of animals in cages or being experimented on. Science should be a top priority in society, but not at the expense of our souls or sense of compassion. There are inevitably sociopaths and sadists in society, but that behavior should be discouraged, not sanctioned.



I saw this article awhile back about lab chimps in the U.S. being sent into retirement at sanctuaries.

Gawker:

It must be a great feeling for the apes to be let free from such confined & miserable circumstances into a natural environment.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Seed of Life - Color Wheel

I have a gallery of 3D rendered art that I created, with hi-res images that I'll continually add to.

 by Paul Micarelli

Here is another addition to the gallery, featuring 7 colored spheres arranged into the "Seed of Life" configuration.


Feel free to download any of the images in the album above, for use as wallpapers or backgrounds. If you share it, please give credit or a link.

I don't run any ads on this site, but I'd appreciate it if you check out my Cafepress shop. There are prints and products with this design available:


The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Usually this symbol is made using flat circles, and it is the basis for the larger "Flower of Life" pattern.


It's a beautiful design, even in 2D, but some interesting things happen when 3D spheres are used. I made the spheres transparent & luminous, so the intersections of the shapes are visible. The white middle sphere, surrounded by the 6 colored spheres, ends up delineating a hexagon in the center. The triangular areas around the white center, formed by the intersecting spaces, create a Star of David or hexagram.

This image also has some color theory within it. The 6 outside spheres are arranged in triads. One set of 3 alternating colors is Red, Green, & Blue. All colors of light can be derived from combinations of these "primary" colors. Combining them all in equal amounts results in the white light at the center of the design. RGB color is used for luminous media, like computer screens and other electronic devices that give off light.

Between each pair of these RGB primary colors is Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, each of which are formed by combining equal amounts of the two primary colors next to them. These colors, plus the black (K) in the background of the image, is the basis for CMYK color printing, used for pigments or inks. 

Here is a chart showing the inverse relationship of additive & subtractive color combinations:


Saturday, April 15, 2017

"Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi" Teaser

 
Yesterday, during the Star Wars Celebration 2017 event, the first teaser trailer for the next Star Wars movie, "The Last Jedi" was released. In this post, I've included some high resolution screenshots of my favorite moments from the video.


Yeah, I'm almost 40... but as a life-long fan, I can say this trailer got me excited like I was a kid again. As I was getting ready to show my fiance the video, she could tell I was giddy, even though I had watched it several times already! She grudgingly let introduce her to Star Wars when we started dating, but she has come to appreciate the depth of the stories & characters, and right away said that this one looks good.

Anyway, my favorite aspects to Star Wars have been the mystical and philosophical elements. Fortunately, it looks like this will be a central focus of "The Last Jedi", as Jedi Master Luke Skywalker trains Rey in the ways of The Force.


Even the captivating opening of the trailer, the shot of the natural world with Luke saying "Breathe.... just breathe....." is the essence of meditative technique in real life. The idea that one can find their spiritual center, through connecting deeply with the natural rhythm of your breath, is the foundation of all mindfulness meditation.

 
I absolutely love and was hoping for the idea of Luke teaching Rey the subtle aspects of the living & cosmic Force. The fictional construct of The Force is what helped open my eyes to the truth of "God" not as a personality or a deity with silly human qualities, but more as a "Tao"- an infinite life force & creative energy that flows through every atom and space throughout The Universe. George Lucas drew on many religious and mythological traditions to create a story that informs us about ourselves and our world. I'm glad this movie will mirror Yoda's training of Luke on the mysteries of The Force, as Rey unlocks her powers to their full potential.


There is a lot of speculation that Luke will train Rey in the path of a "grey" Force user. After hearing about the failure of the original Jedi Order, and seeing his own attempt at a new Jedi academy literally go down in flames, he may realize that it's time to forge a new path for Force users to follow.
 

This new path would not completely forbid human emotion such as love and passion, as the Jedi did, but control them, and focus them as tools for enhancing the self & the greater good. Luke walked the line between the Light & Dark paths in "Return of the Jedi," when he defeated the Sith Lord Darth Vader using anger & aggression, but then saved the soul of his father Anakin Skywalker through genuine compassion and love.

Luke hints at this new approach with his final line, "I only know one truth... it's time for the Jedi to end." He's not turning evil, but has realized that the dogmatic tradition of the Jedi order must be transformed into something new. I can't fully express how awesome I think this direction is, and I think the series is setting up a new world of Star Wars after Episode 9 and the completion of this trilogy.

To do so, it is simultaneously going back to the very origins of the Star Wars galaxy. After the destruction of his new Jedi order, Luke went into exile on the planet Ahch-To. This is the location of the first Jedi temple, and it appears from this trailer that Luke has found some ancient manuscripts and texts that document the origins of the Jedi, and perhaps some long-lost secrets of the Force. A drawing of the Jedi symbol is seen on a moldy, open page from an old book, and I can't wait to see what information is revealed by Luke after studying these millenia-old documents. He hints at The Force being "So much bigger" after Rey uses her Force vision to see "The Light... The Darkness... and The Balance".


On the flip side, we will also get to see the completion of Kylo Ren's training by the enigmatic Supreme Leader Snoke. It will be interesting to see the contrast between the Light Side & Dark Side training, and exactly how Snoke is familiar with The Force. In the trailer, we see Kylo's smashed helmet and his face, with the scar that he received from his lightsaber battle with Rey. I have read some leaks that he adopts a longer cape and a modified helmet in the style of his grandfather Darth Vader, but we don't see that here yet.



So, I think all this is absolutely great, and "The Last Jedi" looks to be the expansion of the lore and mysteries of The Force that I was hoping it to be.

I am a very critical skeptic and love to nitpick. Despite my love for the Star Wars saga, I've had plenty of criticisms about various details of the movies. Overall, though, these movies are a modern-day epic with characters, stories, and ideas that illuminate the deepest aspects of ourselves and our society. They are, in my opinion, the greatest works of fiction in human history, and "The Last Jedi" looks like it will add to the depth and richness that this series has provided. I will be anxiously awaiting more glimpses of the movie until it is released in December of this year!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Astrotheology


I have always had great interest in the many religions and myths of the world. Although I was raised as a Christian, I have studied all the major ( and many of the minor) belief systems throughout history.

The primordial factor that ties many of the organized religions and mythological stories together is the steady, mostly predictable motions of the celestial bodies. The Sun, the Moon, the stars, the planets, and the Milky Way were the ever-present natural forces that were studied and worshiped by our ancestors. The interplay of these cosmic entities were vital to the conception of time, needed for agriculture, migrations, and other types of planning.

I don't know with absolute certainty whether the historical Jesus actually lived. Regardless, the moral & spiritual teachings attributed to him are some of the most enlightened mankind has ever received. I do think that many of the stories and rituals associated with him have some origin in astrotheology and the motions of heavenly bodies, especially the Sun.

It is a well-established fact that the institution we know as The Catholic Church adapted the practices & beliefs of many "pagan" systems, in order to assimilate the indigenous populations of whatever regions The Roman Empire conquered. This would obviously have included Sun worship and any other nature-based religions of Europe and the surrounding areas.

There is a lot of fascinating information and connections available that tie together these various cosmic threads and their relation to religion- including the Sun's motions, the seasons, equinoxes, & solstices, the zodiac, precession & "The Great Year", and other celestial phenomena. The preeminent book on the subject is "Hamlet's Mill", and there are many YouTube videos explaining the mysteries of astrotheology.

Here are some I've watched recently:






Monday, April 10, 2017

Dream Island Paradise

I practice basic techniques of dream yoga & recollection to enhance the hours that I'm asleep. I record some of my more vivid dreams, give myself cues as I fall asleep to remember any dreams, and give myself "reality checks" repeatedly during the day- so I also remember to do so while dreaming. This helps me remember my dream content and also helps me be more self-aware, and therefore more likely to become lucid during dream consciousness.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

One night, I had a dream where I was crawling through thick vegetation and underbrush. When I finally emerged from the overgrown jungle, there was a beautiful tropical beach that was truly a paradise to experience.

Soon after having this dream, I was browsing the blog Awakening Our Truth and saw this image, that looked exactly like the scene in my mind's eye!

“Island of Hidden Animals" by John Mason


The link to this image has been sitting on my desktop, so I'm finally posting it. I barely made out the name of the artist in the corner, John Mason, so I did a search and found many more fantastic scenes he has created.

Here is a link to his website:


Friday, April 07, 2017

Star Wars Art by Eli Hyder

On the subreddit /ImaginaryJedi I've seen a lot of great Star Wars art by Eli Hyder. Here's his Instagram page:

Instagram

He has a very cool style, and I especially like his concepts for Luke Skywalker in the upcoming movie, "Episode VIII: The Last Jedi".

I think every Star Wars fan wants to see the ridiculously overpowered Jedi Master that we all know Luke should be.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, levitating while in meditation on the planet Ahch-To.

 Jedi Master Luke Skywalker levitating multiple lightsabers simultaneously.

Rey, with an awesome teal-colored, double-edged lightsaber, 
approaching the ancient Force tree on the planet Ahch-To.

 Sheev Palpatine as a young Sith Lord, before he becomes Emperor.
"I don't want to live as ordinary beings live."

A physically & psychologically damaged Darth Vader emerging from his bacta tank.


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Vesica Pisces- Pastel Ocean Sunrise

I have a gallery of 3D rendered art that I created, with hi-res images that I'll continually add to.

by Paul Micarelli

Here is another addition to the gallery featuring the "vesica pisces"- a sacred geometry symbol created by two circles, whose edges touch each other's center points.

 "Vesica Pisces- Pastel Ocean Sunrise"
by Paul Micarelli

Floating on an endless expanse of sea, the crystal rings intersect to form the vesica pisces. A rising sun appears out of the water, aligned inside the symbolic womb-like space. It is a simple representation of the profound powers of creation, and the mysterious emergence of order out of chaos.

Feel free to download any of the images in the album above, for use as wallpapers or backgrounds. If you share it, please give credit or a link.

I don't run any ads on this site, but I'd appreciate it if you check out my Cafepress shop. There are prints and products with this design available:

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:
 

Sunday, April 02, 2017

OneZoom Tree of Life Explorer

I recently posted this to the social media I created for The Tree of Life story, and I thought it was worth sharing here, too.

The Tree of Life Explorer is an interactive map of almost 2 million known species. It is a zoomable fractal journey through the interconnected branches of Life:



Friday, March 31, 2017

Donald Grump the Grouch


 Since my last post was dumping on Trump, I'll share this gem I saw on Reddit.

I used to watch Sesame Street as a kid, and Oscar the Grouch was always my favorite character. In 2005 the show apparently created a Grouch based on Donald Trump, who was hosting "The Apprentice" at the time.



I think the depiction is pretty spot on - from the pettiness, egotism, and delight in having his name plastered on all kinds of garbage, it seems just like the real-life Donald!


"I'm Donald Grump 
and I have more trash than ALL of you, 
so nyeh-nyeh-nyenye-nyeh!"

There was speculation that maybe PBS was on the chopping block for fund from the federal budget because of this blow to Trump's ego, by a bunch of fellow puppets. However, I think their funding is really being cut (along with other federal grants for the arts) simply because this administration is a vile gang of culture-less vulgarians.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trump Tower of Babel

One of the countless ways that President Trump has been embarrassing the majority of people in this country is through his constant, inane Twitter posts.

To Trump & his followers, his private Twitter account feels like a way to directly connect and speak to the people. It could very well be a great tool for mass communication, if it weren't coming from an ego-maniacal man-baby. Unfortunately for all of us, it usually comes off as a continual stream of mental diarrhea... unhinged ramblings, deflections from his various daily scandals, childish insults, and just heaps of absolute bullshit that stink up the Internet.

One of the main symbols of the Trump empire is the skyscraper in NYC that was his base of operations during the campaign- Trump Tower. This building reminded me of the biblical Tower of Babel, where man's hubris led to its division. After trying to create a structure that reached to the heavens, God divided man by causing them to speak in different languages. Hence, the term "babble" for nonsense words that can't be understood.

So, inspired yet again by our President to create a graphic, I made this "Trump Tower of Babel". The great tower of pride & ego reaches to the sky, ending in Trump's bulbous head spouting out an endless supply of ridiculous tweets. His self-centered proclamations cause deep division among the people, just like in the Bible story. We have yet to see how much destruction his hubris & babbling ultimately causes.

Click the image for a larger version, where you can see some of the most absurd tweets in all their shameful detail.




Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Illumination" by Paul Micarelli

I updated this image in my album of 3D Art.

The figure in the image is engulfed in the fractal expanse of illuminated mind, expanding from the void.

The colors are now bolder, and it's a higher resolution. Feel free to download it for a wallpaper or desktop. If sharing it, please credit me or link this webpage. Thanks!


(Click to Enlarge)

by Paul Micarelli

  "When you look deeply 
into the center of your mind...
you'll see the dynamic void,
from which the fire of creation 
continually ignites."

* Buy Prints & Products with this design, at The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:
http://www.cafepress.com/monkeybuddha/14480027

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Passing Through the Death Experience


"Dying" by Alex Grey

Seen on DailyZen:

Passing Through the Death Experience
"An ancient Zen text recommends that when people are dying, they should contemplate their mental and physical elements as being void of ultimate reality, having no independent being and no identity of their own.
Further, they should contemplate the true mind as being formless, neither coming nor going, the essence of mind not coming into existence at birth and not going out of existence at death, being forever tranquil.
By this means, people can leave the world; they will not be drawn to beatific visions or frightened by horrific visions, such as they may experience at death, according to their mental states. The mind will be forgotten and merged with the cosmos."
- Muso Kokushi (1275-1351)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Seed of Life- Teal Glow


I have a gallery of 3D rendered art that I created, with hi-res images that I'll continually add to.

by Paul Micarelli

Here is another addition to the gallery, a sacred geometry symbol. It's a glowing arrangement of circles known as "The Seed of Life", reflected to form an overlapping design:

 "Seed of Life- Teal Glow"
by Paul Micarelli


Feel free to download any images for use as wallpapers or backgrounds. If you share it, please give credit or a link.

I used to make a lot of 3D art using Vue software, which was intuitive for me to learn. My previous computer became obsolete, so I wasn't able to run the program anymore. Last year for my birthday, my wonderful fiancée helped me pay for a purchase of a newer Mac Mini. I downloaded the free Vue Pioneer program, and I have been starting to create more 3D art.

I don't run any ads on this site, but I'd appreciate it if you check out my Cafepress shop. There are prints and products with this design available:

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Saturday, March 18, 2017

"Da Vinci's Challenge" Game - IWC Schaffhausen Edition


"Da Vinci's Challenge" is a strategy game that I created as a senior graphic design student in 2001. It was published in 2005 and earned the highest awards in the toy industry and overwhelmingly positive reviews from customers on Amazon. The game board is the pattern of interlocking circles, known as "The Flower of Life". I developed the game with the concepts of the field of study known as sacred geometry in mind.

A new edition of "Da Vinci's Challenge" was recently produced by Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen. It was used as a promotional item for their line of "Da Vinci" luxury watches.

One of the reps from the company came across the official Facebook page for "Da Vinci's Challenge", and reached out to me about licensing the game from me.

Facebook:

The game has been out of print since the publisher was bought out several years ago. I have not had much luck finding a new publisher to produce a retail version of the game, so I was excited to have this opportunity for the creation of a new edition. IWC made a very high-quality item, and I was extremely pleased with the results.

The game comes in an embossed box, wrapped in a ribbon and a metal IWC medallion. The game board is dark stitched leather, with a felt bottom. "The Flower of Life" pattern, the sacred geometry symbol that forms the playing surface, is raised in the leather so the pieces don't slide around. The oval & triangle game pieces are beautiful marbleized acrylic, and come in velvet drawstring pouches. The game rules have an embossed metallic ink logo, and I was directly involved with the design of the print materials.

I created an album of photos I took of one of the sample games I received. I'll post some of the photos here, but you can click the link to see more:

Photo Album:






 

"Da Vinci's Challenge" Game design & rules © Paul M. Micarelli