Friday, March 29, 2013

3D "Dali's Crucifixion" by Paul Micarelli

Recently, I've been uploading my 3D Art into a Picasa album:

Since it's Good Friday, I thought it would be appropriate to present a rendering based on a painting by the surrealist master, Salvador Dalí. I've had the pleasure of seeing an exhibit with many of Dalí's work & he is definitely one of my favorite artists.

Several years ago, I made the scene in the 3D Vue software & gave a print of it to my sister for a Christmas gift.

It is Dalí's hyper-dimensional portrayal of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ:

(click to enlarge)

Here is the original Dali painting:

Although the subject of the painting is obviously a stylized portrayal of the Crucifixion, there are also elements of Dali's sense of "Nuclear Mysticism".

The Cross itself is a 3-D representation of the theoretical 4-Dimensional object, known as a Hypercube, or Tesseract.

The arrangement of 8 cubes forming The Cross in Dali's painting is an unfolded Hypercube- similar to how an unfolded cube becomes 6 flat squares (which were previously the cube's faces).

By integrating the concept of hypercube geometry into the composition, Dali is equating the eventual Ascension with the idea of transcending this 3D reality, into the "higher" dimensions that are theorized to exist.

In fact, when I made the rendering of Dali's painting, I also made this simple visual explanation of how certain forms are just "shadows" of progressively higher-dimensional forms:

 (click to enlarge) 

• The 0-dimensional point is a shadow of a line.
• The 1-dimensional line is a shadow of a square.
• The 2-dimensional square is a shadow of a cube.
• The 3-dimensional sides of a cube are the shadow of an (unfolded) hypercube.

If you look at the checkered floor in the painting-
Onto the dark squares beneath the Christ figure, Dali has projected the cross shadow (which is 2 dimensions 'lower' than the 4D Hypercube). This detail further emphasizes the theme of expanding into extra-dimensional space.

This painting is brilliant & seeing it in person inspired me to make this 3D homage.  It's been sitting on my computer, so I decided to finally share & comment on it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Cold Alien Shore" by Paul Micarelli

I've uploaded this landscape, of a frozen wasteland on another world. Hopefully the extended winter here in New Jersey is finally over...

There's also more 3D Art in my Picasa album:

The Pros & Cons of Helper Monkeys

When I was a kid, I used to read Cracked magazine all the time.

It was a parody magazine, like MAD, but even less mainstream, & crazy in its own special way. It definitely helped me to achieve my extremely refined sense of humor.

Although the print magazine no longer exists, I'm glad to see they're still online churning out quality content...

"Please Don't Pet Me, I'm Working"

If you need a monkey to help you drive, you are simply a ridiculous human being.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Crossroads of Infinity, by Jack Kirby

This awesomely psychedelic comic book panel is from Fantastic Four #51 (1966), by legendary artist Jack Kirby.

 "I've done it!!
I'm drifting into a world of limitless dimensions!!
It's the Crossroads of Infinity--
The junction to everywhere!"

Using experimental collage techniques, Kirby was trying to visually convey the inconceivable experience of multi-dimensional awareness.

I was never really a fan of the FF comics as a kid, but it was where Jack Kirby introduced my favorite character, the Silver Surfer.

For some very interesting articles about Jack Kirby's work & special brand of pop-culture mysticism, check out the links on The Secret Sun blog.


As a graphic designer, I strive to keep packaging simple & eye-catching.

However, I think this package for "SPECIALMAN" a knockoff Superman toy, might be a little too simple...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Iraq Invasion: Ten Years After

"Of course it's about oil, 
it's very much about oil, and we can't really deny that."

It's was 10 years ago when the last President, George W. Bush, and his neocon cabal launched the invasion of Iraq.

I remember the insanity of those years all too well, & this blog was a regular outlet for my disgust over the disastrous policies of that administration.

Bush, Cheney, & Rumsfeld were truly the unholy trinity...

There have already been countless volumes written about the Iraq invasion & occupation. As people in the future look back & research it, there will continue to be endless analysis of the conflict.

However, I want to assert the fact that I personally thought the war was immoral from the start. To be crystal clear, I have nothing against the military or soldiers. Several good friends of mine have served. The problem was simply an Executive Branch that was run by sociopaths, who were being advised by suit-&-tie warmongers- like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, & Doug Feith.

Far from being a minority opinion, there were hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of conscientious people around the world actively protesting & marching in opposition of War. In the 'bizarro world' we were living in at the time, speaking out about the wars or The President in any way was seen as unpatriotic. Conservatives who now feel free to disparage the current President should remember that their motto during Bush's term was: "America, Love It Or Leave It!"

Unfortunately, the forces of Death & War prevailed over the voices of Reason. To keep the people in line, a climate of perpetual fear was fostered by the Bush Administration (& the HUGE 'security' bureaucracy they spawned) while fighting the conveniently abstract, never-ending "War on Terror".

seen on Bartcop

We've wasted absurd amounts of money, resources, & human life on 2 wars that may not even produce lasting progress for those countries.

Why was the war waged?...
• To make certain wealthy people & companies even more money,
To gain control of oil resources & strategic geographic positions,
• To assert American military power, for the indulgence of sick bastards who thought they were playing with toy army men,
• To help give cover to our allies in the region,
• Mostly, it was a combination of desire for money and power- the nexus of all conflicts.

As time went on, it became clear that Dubya & Co. had no idea what they were doing. Even people who had foolishly believed we were there fighting for some noble purpose began to wake up.

The conflict went on for so long that the average person can barely comprehend the damage that was done. Luckily, there's plenty of documentation to preserve the horrors for later generations. Hopefully they can learn something from the tragedy to help prevent similar abuses of power.

There are many great photo essays revealing the many facets of the Iraq War, many of them horrifying:


Denver Post: 

Although I've seen many grotesque war images of destruction & corpses, the picture below really illustrates the worst aspects of the occupation- the senselessness, the effect on innocents like children, the utter despair of being trapped in a terrifying situation, and the complete degradation of the human being.

 (AP Photo/Jean-Marc Bouju)
An Iraqi prisoner of war comforts his 4-year-old son 
at a regroupment center for POWs of the 101st Airborne Division near An Najaf, March 31, 2003.  

Finally... we should "never forget" one of the most iconic images of the Bush Presidency, capturing the sheer lunacy & short-sightedness of the whole situation:

George W. Bush giving a thumbs up, in front of the infamous "Mission Accomplished" sign... only a couple months into a long, 8-year war.

Unfortunately, one of the lasting legacies of the war is the toxic effects of depleted uranium weapons. Like the once-dismissed "Gulf War Syndrome," our soldiers will also suffer from the consequences of using these horrible weapons.
Iraq War Anniversary: 
Now, the Iraq War is officially over... but the Death Merchants are always looking for an opportunity to roll out new products:

Voice of America:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Google Glass, Through Drunk Irish Eyes

My tech life is dominated by Apple & Google products. I use only Macs & have the greatest invention of the modern age - the iPhone.

Despite the usual complaints of difficulty in upgrading & modifying, I love Apple hardware because it just works & I don't have to tinker with it. For a long time, I resisted getting an iPhone until my old phone totally crapped out, but now it's an integral tool in my daily life.

Google is another company that has created tools that I find indispensable right now. I use Blogger to create The Monkey Buddha blog. I have an online Picasa Photo Album. The navigation program Google Maps is freakin' amazing & has helped immensely with my anxiety when traveling. Google is digitizing works of art & also literature. In fact, they are digitizing the entire planet with Google Earth. One of my most visited pages, Google Search, with options of Images, Shopping, & Video, is absolutely miraculous, to an information sponge like myself. I talk to people all the time about how much it sucked in "the old days," trying to find answers about anything- before the search engine became the powerful resource it is today. The Internet is truly becoming a virtual hive mind, and search engines are the current key to accessing that collective consciousness. Although its power is awesome & could easily have detrimental effects, Google's definitely augmenting the capabilities of the human race in countless ways.

Dicover Magazine:

I don't think there's any question that the digital age is the most radically transformative of any time in known human history. The change & progress we're experiencing only seems to be accelerating, so we have very interesting years ahead.

Although it's been in development for awhile, the interactive eyewear called Google Glass is starting to get some attention. They are basically computerized glasses that can access online content, find directions, take pics & video, etc.

The Google Glass technology is already inspiring spoofs...

 Here's a video imagining how the ubiquitous ad culture will affect the experience:

Just in time for St. Patricks Day, this very funny video came out showing the day's festivities through a user's Google Glass experience:

Since I don't wear glasses, it would be a big change to have eyewear on constantly. Instead of having to speak commands, there should be a way to look at icons & blink to make choices. Although it is interesting, & the state of technology to make it possible is truly astounding, Google Glass is simply another step in a process. The process seems to be the integration of biological & digital systems, to enable a greatly enhanced consciousness. I can't say if there will ever be an endpoint to this process, other than perhaps the conversion of our singular experience into the dimension of pure light.

After this glasses interface, though, it seems like the only logical progression would be to have a direct mind-machine interface that connects directly into the structure of the brain. This will truly alter the way humans perceive & experience reality...

"Irish Celtic Flag"

Celebrate your Celtic heritage, any time of the year, with this Irish design I created:

Book Review: "Lore of the Bard"

I recently finished reading "The Lore of the Bard: A Guide to the Celtic & Druid Mysteries" by Arthur Rowan... just in time for St. Patrick's Day!

Though I have an Italian last name, most of my grandparents were Irish... & I've always felt a strong connection to my Celtic heritage. "Lore of the Bard" was an an excellent introduction to the lost arts of bardry. The Gaelic bard was an artist, usually a musician, who kept the cultural identity and mythology alive through song, poetry, & storytelling.

As an artist, I feel like I've walked in the bardic path through my visual art & can relate to many of the creative methods the author outlines in the book. Like the Druids, who were the educated priestly class, the ancient bards found their inspiration through solitude, silent introspection, & communion with nature. The natural world was a major source of inspiration for the bards, who were intimately connected with the cycles of the seasons & the mysteries of the outdoor environments, like the woods.

With their craft, they were doing more than just entertaining the people in the villages of Ireland. The bards were responsible for maintaining the collective memory of the people- while igniting the imagination & aspirations of the souls who they encountered.

"Lore of the Bard" has alot of great information about what we know of Celtic culture. It also provides illuminating insights into the individual process of becoming a practicing bard.

I definitely recommend it for anyone interested in Celtic culture and the artists it produced, who inspired countless people of pre-Catholic Ireland..

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Man Who Saw Forever!

Saw this on FFFFOUND!

I'd want this to be the cover of my biography...
Perhaps it's a comment on the expansion of human consciousness & perception as they become increasingly augmented by technology:

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Rietzen Family Photo 1983

Most of my grandparents died when I was young. My Dad's parents lived longer, so I have more memories of them. They were Joseph Micarelli (2nd generation Italian) & Marie Rietzen (2nd generation Irish). The funny thing is... my grandfather's brother, John, married my grandmom's twin sister, Elizabeth!

As a result, my extended family today is very extended- w/ many cousins & 2nd cousins. I have a really big family on my Mom's side, too. We all try to stay in contact, especially with social media like Email & Facebook.

My grandparents passed away before computers became a household piece of technology. By posting about them here, I feel like I'm keeping their memory alive, beyond an obituary- which is the only info you'd find out about them online.

This is a photo of my grandmother, Marie, with her siblings & their spouses. I saw it sitting around, in a pile of old photos at my parents house- faded and pretty scratched up.

It's such a nice picture of my grandparents, great aunts & uncles that I wanted to fix it up & preserve it.
Rietzen Family Photo:
"Regina's Wedding Oct. 29, 1983"
Standing: Joseph "Mike" Micarelli, David Rietzen, Bill Bradley, Elizabeth (Rietzen) Micarelli, John Micarelli, Joe Capella, Regina & John Rietzen
Sitting: Marie (Rietzen) Micarelli, Ann Rietzen, Kay (Rietzen) Capella, Helen (Rietzen) Bradley 
Hopefully I'm getting the names right...I'm relying on my Dad for the names of the few people in the photo I don't know for sure. If anyone ends up reading this & sees something wrong- let me know in the comments & I'll fix it.

Here is a scan of the photo before I retouched it.
Behold my Photoshop magic!!!!...

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

"Open Prison" by Paul Micarelli

I've added another image to my online album of 3D Art.

Monkey Buddha Visual Archives:

Click to Enlarge
From 3D Art by Paul Micarelli
 "Open Prison"

This still scene was the basis for the 3D animation I made, "Lotus Meditation":

Friday, March 01, 2013

Reality & The Brain: Interconnected Fractal Systems

I've posted alot about the fractal characteristics of the brain & The Universe which it perceives.

The Monkey Buddha Archives

Even though I'm way too squeamish about certain things to be a doctor, the body as a living system is a source of amazement for me. When you look closely at the components & functions of our bodies, on an abstract level they are fascinating.

On Reddit I saw this mesmerizing closeup photo of a living human brain, with recursive levels of blood vessels covering the surface:

 click image to see all the amazing detail

This seemingly random & chaotic array of organic connections is also found on the cellular scale. The brain's neurons are continually growing a biochemical network that somehow produces the phenomenon we call "consciousness":


Scientist finally have the technology to begin mapping the vast number of connections that make up the brain. It's obvious why the neural network couldn't be modeled before the existence of computer processing like we have today:

The external world also seems to exhibit this pattern of fractal self-similarity & connectivity, even on cosmic scales.  The Millenium Simulation modeled the connectivity of theoretical dark matter between galaxies. One the resulting visualizations is this connective network of galactic clusters:

This fractal pattern of interconnected nodes is now manifesting in mankind's most transformative invention, The Internet. The Opte Project has mapped out the Universal Mind that's being formed by the myriad connections of the World Wide Web:

We truly inhabit The Web of Maya- a light show of the mind's individual experience, created by the interplay of brain cells & the enmeshed energies that affect them.

Reality is One- 
interconnected & exhibiting self-similarity at all scales...