New Art: The Jungle Beat

Inspired by my most recent textured/layered work SUPERNOVA, I wanted to round out the month of February with one final piece of abstract art:

This piece is titled THE JUNGLE BEAT.  It’s a picture of an elephant standing at the point where jungle, ocean, savannah, and desert collide.  Originally designed in black and white, I added splashes of color and pieces of texture to bring the picture to life.  I wanted this piece to represent a trance-like tribal dance and for you to feel like this is a hallucinatory “trip.”  I then scanned the photo, inverted the colors, and played with the hue saturation to give you this – I hope I’ve accomplished my goals and that your imagination embraces this as much as mine:

THE JUNGLE BEAT

(c) 2014. Bobby James.

view more Bobby James art here

The Jungle Beat

New Art: A Supernova, Skater Boy, Shadow, Mother Monster, Elephants, & a Vision

I’ve been BUSY creating new [visual] art throughout February (instead of writing, which was the goal!).

You’ve probably seen most of the recent works, which include: Gerry’s Flamingo, DancerLion, Flamboyance, and my surprise 17-piece collection titled Visions of Meditation – but there’s more!

Today I’m unveiling 8 new pieces – in just this one post! As usual, I’ve added small descriptive paragraphs to tell you where I was coming from when I created the piece.

First I begin with Supernova.

Recently I was at a screening for Particle Fever, a documentary about physicists and what could be their greatest discovery – or failure.  The film piqued my interest in the subject (though, I would likely be out of my element in a physics course?) and made me wonder a few things about space and the laws of nature.  Following the screening and discussion, I spoke with an astrophysicist and asked, “What happens on the other side of a black hole?” (there’s more to it, but that was the take away).  I was curious, does life regenerate? Do particles survive? Does the evolutionary process take over and begin anew? He said, “That is the question isn’t it?”  Still is, yes.

Then, earlier today, I was beginning to color an imaginary bird and thought, “What would a supernova look like from this bird’s point of view?” This is what I came up with:

SUPERNOVA

(c) 2014. Bobby James.

Supernova

The next two pieces are directly linked.  On a small (probably quarter sheet of cardstock) I drew an eye.  I thought, why not play around with gender rules a little bit.  So I created a very ambiguous piece titled Shadow.  Featuring only half a face with femininity implied, I leave you to decide the subject’s gender.

SHADOW

(c) 2014. Bobby James.

Shadow

Inspired by Shadow, I decided to craft a fuller picture using my newly broken H&M scarf hanger as a guide.  I used the hanger to create hair lines before adding a face and filling in the necessary parts with color.  Then I wondered, what if I borrowed the makeup concept from Lady GaGa’s Applause? That was it, I had created Mother Monster – but like Shadow, I still wanted to maintain gender ambiguity (you’ll notice the prominent, masculinized chin) and pay homage to Lady GaGa.  Is this a drag queen or literally an aged Mother Monster?  Again, that’s for you to decide:

MOTHER MONSTER

(c) 2014. Bobby James.

Mother Monster

Late last week I was sitting here trying to begin writing (I need to buckle down!) and I started doodling.  My doodle began to grow and what I ended up with was a small piece titled Interconnected.  Many of you know that I have a deep-rooted love for elephants (we’ll call it an inherent thing).  Without elephants entire environments could collapse.  This piece symbolically represents the necessity of elephants in their ecosystem.

INTERCONNECTED

(c) 2014. Bobby James

Interconnected

On the topic of elephants – my friend Kacie must have some sort of ESP because a few days after creating Interconnected, she texted to say she was giving a presentation (titled Ivory Elephants) regarding wildlife crime, particularly the ivory trade. She asked me if I would create some elephant art for her to use during her presentation – so I did, giving her Ivory Elephants and Red Ivory.

IVORY ELEPHANTS

(c) 2014. Bobby James.

Ivory Elephants

 RED IVORY

(c) 2014. Bobby James.

Red Ivory

Now, it’s time to shift gears just a tad.  About a week and a half ago I began a piece for my “Faceless Man” Series titled Skater Boy.  The piece is designed to be patterend and homoerotic – using the colors of spring and summer (does it feel a little Jamaican to you? That’s ok. Me too).  I’m always interested in using the idea of a 3D figure and flattening it to suit my need as a 2D artist (generally). I’m also not concerned with proportions when it comes to drawing human forms – I design and present what I feel looks right for the image I’m creating – being anatomically correct sometimes takes away from that “wonder.” So here he is:

SKATER BOY

(c) 2014. Bobby James

Skater Boy

…and now we’ve come to the final piece for this post.  The 18th addition to my “Visions of Meditation” Series:

FEBRUARY 24

(c) 2014. Bobby James.

February 24

New Art: Visions of Meditation

When I started learning and practicing yoga (in 2008), I began to notice that during meditation I would have “visions.” These “visions” would include bursts of lights, colors, images, and sometimes, white nothingness. Two and a half weeks ago, when I publicly announced and launched my #BeOlympic fitness challenge (see the results here), I secretly launched an artistic challenge:  to create small pieces of art from the visions I have during meditation.

I now present the 17-piece collection titled Visions of Mediation:

See more of my Artwork here

 

#BodyBobby update: The #BeOlympic Challenge Results!

BodyBobby2014withText

To coincide with the opening ceremonies of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, I launched my #BodyBobby Olympic Challenge (#BeOlympic).  The goal was to include daily exercise during every single day of the Olympic games.  Here was the original post.

I had four goals in mind:  1,350 squats, 510 minutes of Yoga & Meditation, 340 minutes of Cardio, and some Stratusfaction! (Stratusphere yoga)

Here are my results:

17 Days.  1,305 squats (45 shy of goal), 479 minutes of Yoga & Meditation (31 minutes shy of goal), 0 minutes of cardio, and mild Stratusphere Yoga.

Initial Weight:  225 pounds.  Current Weight: 226 pounds (+1 pound).

Getting into these results I noticed a couple things – first and foremost, this is not a failure! Just because I didn’t meet all of those goals, doesn’t mean I haven’t been successful.  The fact that I’ve made Yoga & Meditation part of my daily life for the past 17 days is an accomplishment.  I began practicing Yoga in 2008 – and I have never practiced yoga for more than four days in a row, ever! I’m patting myself on the back right now, with some really nice flexibility.

You’ll also notice that my goals were only missed by one day.  They are.  Some days, you wake up and your body just says “no, not today.” That day was Monday, February 17 (or Day #11).  That day began with sore muscles and sinus congestion – but since then, it’s been smooth sailing.

Now, let’s talk about that elephant in the room:

510 planned minutes of Cardio with 0 minutes completed.  I haven’t the slightest clue what I was thinking over the last two and a half weeks.  Why didn’t I do the cardio? I’m not sure.  Perhaps my goals should have been more reasonable to begin with (did I bite off too much, too fast?) or did I just needed to be a lot less lazy about it.  It’s hard to get out there when it’s cold outside, but the cold can’t be an excuse.  Not doing any cardio is a huge misstep – and I’ll need to get that back with my next challenge (launching March 1)!

…and what about Stratusphere Yoga?  Exactly.  I completed none of the DVD workouts – but I did say I completed mild Stratusphere Yoga.  I used what I’d previously learned when designing my own yoga practice – meaning, I added some strength training exercises to the mix. While not a direct use of the Stratusphere program, it was my own tailored yoga/fitness fusion inspired by Stratusphere.

In closing, you’ll also notice that I gained one pound.  I’m going to attribute that pound to my legs and bum (those squats) – because I’m feeling thinner in my clothes, and overall.

Note:  While most of the squats I completed were traditional squats (1,285 to be exact), I added in 15 sumo-prayer squats, and 5 catcher squats.

Here’s a complete calendar listing:

Feb. 7 – Day #1: 30 mins. yoga & meditation (12 min. meditation) / 50 squats

Day #2: 36 mins. yoga & meditation (12 min. meditation) / 50 squats

Day #3: 30 mins. yoga & meditation (6 min. meditation) / 50 squats

Day #4: 30 mins. yoga & meditation (6 min. meditation) / 50 squats

Day #5: 33 mins. yoga & meditation (8 min. meditation) / 50 squats

Day #6: 30 mins. yoga & mediation (6 min. meditation) / 50 squats

Day #7: 15 mins. yoga / 100 squats / 5 catchers squats

Day #8: 38 mins. yoga & mediation (8 min. meditation) / 100 squats

Day #9: 38 mins. yoga & mediation (10 min. mediation) / 100 squats

Day #10: 35 mins. yoga & mediation (8 min. meditation) / 85 squats + 15 sumo-prayer squats

Day #11:  none

Day #12:  38 mins. yoga & mediation (8 min. meditation) / 100 squats

Day #13: 24 mins. yoga & mediation (8 min. meditation) / 100 squats

Day #14: 24 mins. yoga & mediation (8 min. meditation) / 100 squats

Day #15: 30 mins. yoga & mediation (6 min. meditation) / 100 squats

Day #16: 30 mins. yoga & mediation (6 min. meditation) / 100 squats

Feb. 23 – Day #17: 18 mins. yoga & meditation (6 min. meditation) / 100 squats

The Price of Coming Out: Michael Sam

Let me preface this blog with the following statement:  I am not an avid football fan or follower.  My football viewership is limited to Superbowl advertisements and half-time shows.  This is all some people will need to know about what I’m going to say – because that statement alone has its own set of implications and qualifications.

Michael Sam - MizzouMizzou football star Michael Sam recently became the [could be] first openly gay NFL star.  While I’m 99.9% certain he isn’t going to be the first gay NFL player ever to dig his cleats into a gridiron field, I am certain that he’ll pay a price for “coming out” and thinking he can do so openly.

Mizzou Football Star Michael Sam “Comes Out”

American football – the manliest sport in the the United States – has manly written all over it.  In fact, I’m not even sure why the first organizers bothered to rip off the European name for soccer – they should have just called it:  Man Tackle or something equally as superficial and prehistoric.  Then again, Man Tackle sounds slightly homoerotic – and we all know that would never work.  NFL athletes are models for manhood – they define and represent who American men are supposed to be [ideally].

Michael Sam was one of those men – but not any longer.

Now, he’ll pay the price for declaring who he was born to be.  He’s instantly less qualified for the NFL.  His stock will fall.  He’ll require special handling.  He won’t command the salary he may have been able to negotiate previously.  He’ll have a new prefix added to his name, job description, and bylines.  The media will create and sustain a frenzied circus about his sexuality – it’ll always be an interview topic – or magazine cover.  Backwoods rednecks and Catholics alike will demonize and feminize him – they’ll wonder (and mock) about if Michael Sam broke a nail – or if he checked out their favorite player’s manhood, or backside, in the locker room.  He’ll be referred to as a sinner – and heaven forbid someone’s child actually idolizes him – and says, “When I grow up, I want to be like Michael Sam.” They’ll be shamed by their family and told to select a new role model.

Michael SamThis is our America, whether you like it or not.  Everything Michael Sam does for the rest of his life will be qualified with his sexuality – he’ll have to work twice as hard to silence his critics – and even then, he’ll still have them.  From now on, when he makes an aggressive tackle it’ll be noted, and surprise or shock will accompany his ability to display aggression (or just to make a tackle).

This is what we do to those who identify themselves as members of the LGBT community to their surrounding world.  Michael Sam, in an instant, with one action, will have an asterisk placed by his name and be recorded in history as “the first openly gay NFL player.”  There’s a chance he’ll be targeted for physical harm by opponents.  His name will be publicly trashed and mocked.  Then again, he may never be drafted after all.  While he may well become the first openly gay NFL player – what are his chances beyond that – in coaching or broadcasting?

It’s a bleak picture to paint I know – and yes, there are accepting people in the world who would embrace and root for Michael Sam, the same as they would Tom Brady or Peyton Manning – but do you think the majority of football fans are those people when it comes to their sport or its athletes? Who knows, but based on a Sports Illustrated article about what NFL insiders are saying about Michael Sam’s draft stock, I think it’s safe to assume many are not.

Rest assured, Michael Sam will pay a hefty price for coming out – the question is, will he ever be able to overcome it and simply be referred to as Michael Sam ever again?

NOTE:  I am a proud and vocal proponent of LGBT rights, individuality and self-expression.  However, even more than that, I am a proponent of people being people first – none of the rest matters, really.  When interviewed for an article in 2010 at Webster University, one of my main points was a cautionary message to people about disclosing their sexuality because of what I consider to be the “price of coming out.”  Perhaps you find this a controversial, or even contradictory, message – perhaps you don’t and you share my sentiment – whatever you believe, I hope that one day we all believe, people are people first.

The Michael Sam pre-coming out is the same Michael Sam that came out.  Why should he have to pay a price or be told that [suddenly] the world of football isn’t ready for him?  He’s the same person – except now you know just a little bit more about him, big deal.  It [homosexuality] doesn’t stop being a “big deal” until we [the people of America, and the world] stop making it one.

The Sochi Olympics and New Art: “Flamboyance”

Sochi 2014The Sochi Winter Olympics are upon us – and not without controversy.

Last summer, President Vladimir Putin endorsed and signed anti-gay legislation, and recent viral videos suggest that members of the Russian LGBT community are now living in an increasingly hostile environment.  Leading up to these Olympic Games, videos and reports have emerged highlighting detestable acts of animal cruelty (in an effort to “clean up” the host city). Finally, it’s widely reported that there is a terrorist threat from jihadist militants, born out of hatred for Russia.  The Sochi Winter Olympics are sure to be memorable, but I can only hope for the right reasons.

See what I wrote about Putin’s legislation (July 2013)

This past week – because of the Russian government’s cruel (and what I consider criminal) actions – I’ve debated watching the Olympics on NBC.  Does my viewership condone the actions of the Russian government?  Does my viewership represent an oversight, and contradict my stances for LGBT equality and animal conservation and rights? These question have weighed on my mind – and I keep coming back to this one point:  The Olympics are in place to showcase athletes who have worked countless hours and years to compete at these events – I’ll watch for them.

Be assured, my viewership does not mean I condone or stand beside – or that I’m overlooking – the actions of Putin’s government.  Nor will I root against Russia’s athletes just because they’re Russian – may the best athletes win.  To coincide with the Opening Ceremony, I have crafted a piece of art that represents my love for animals and shows my support for environmentalists, animal activists, and the LGBT community.  It’s called Flamboyance.

Flamboyance was created featuring seven varied, yet similar flamingos.  The number seven represents spirituality, understanding and knowledge.  Flamingos represent grace, responsibility, community and vibrancy.  Together, the message is clear – let this serve as my message of support for the oppressed, the Olympic spirit and her athletes, and as defiance against Russia’s oppressive regime.  I now proudly present:

FLAMBOYANCE. (c) 2014. Bobby James

View more of my 2014 Artwork here

Flamboyance with a Message of Hope

DID YOU KNOW?  A colony, group, or flock of flamingos is called a Flamboyance.

NOTE:  I’m infinitely more excited for the Opening Ceremony now that I know t.A.T.u. will be performing “Not Gonna Get Us” live!  I will also add that I’m extremely proud of President Barack Obama for what he’s doing during the ceremony: find out here. So you could familiarize yourself with “Not Gonna Get Us” (and come to love the song, like I do) here’s a lyric video: