Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Can Artists Change the World?



I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of the now 32 artists that have been featured in the Inspirational magazine. I have tried to pick artists that have come from different disciplines, have different lifestyles, and travel along different creative life paths. However, they all have similar intentions and that is to project their unique view of the world, through their artwork and out into the world of the viewer.

It is always wonderful to be able to see so much artistic work being produced, and we should feel ourselves lucky to be living in such extraordinarily creative times. It says much about a species that has so many problems, and so many potential problems, that it can find the effort to produce work that has depth, understanding, and sensitivity to both the human species and to the planet that they inhabit.

There is something significant about the creative work being produced today and that is that much of it seems selfless. By that I mean that the ego tends not to be as engaged as perhaps it was in the twentieth century. I am not saying that significant work wasn't produced in the last century, it obviously was and we should be grateful for the amount of effort that was put into innovation and experimentation during that century, but we seem to be in a period now where the name and ego of the artist plays a secondary nature to the perspective and projection of the work itself, and that can only be a good thing.

Artists seem to have become much more sensitive, much more aware of the finite balances and harmonies of the planet, understanding that nature is not just something out there, but that it is an integral part of our essence, of our souls if you like. 

Life is all about connection, and it is the spreading and widening of those connections through harmony and balance that will take us from the world of the difficult adolescence of our species into one where the adult begins to flower, to flourish as never before. 

Art can play its role in that transformation, artists are the examples of this change, they are the guides if you like, towards a better understanding and a better life harmony. The more connections that artists can make, the more their work can be seen, discussed, understood, the more this most fundamental understanding can spread.

So can artists change the world? You bet they can, and they are in the process of doing so one individual at a time, and for that we all have to be forever grateful. Artists are the flag-wavers for the new world to come, I am confident and assured of that, which is why there is a ttb, and why now there is an Inspirational.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Issue 4 of Inspirational is released!

Illuistration: The cover of issue 4 of Inspirational featuring the work of Frikkx

Today sees the release of issue 4 of the Inspirational magazine. It seems hard to believe that we are at issue 4 already, but then again it seems hard to believe sometimes that this project ever got the gift of life, and for that I am grateful. I am grateful to all those who have bought copies, to those who have supported the idea of Inspirational, and of course the now thirty two artists that have been featured.

This time round is the turn of another eight artists who are: the fiber artist Betty Busby, the digital artist Frikkx, the textile artist Helen Terry, the ceramic artist Jessica Jordan, the painter Joan Anderson, the mixed media artist Karen Margolis, the sculptural artist Nnenna Okore, the painter Carol Nelson. A great and rich batch of inspirational and aspirational artists, from a range of disciplines, all portraying their unique view on the world through their varied work.

Illustration: A glimpse of the article featuring the work of Betty Busby

I am so glad that Inspirational is out there and still working for people. Anyone who knows me and knows ttb will also know that I am adamant about promoting the positive over the negative, about promoting and expanding the positive effect that the creative arts can have on our outlook as individuals as well as our outlook as both communities and as a species. 

The role of the artist is a vital element in what it takes to make us human. To be able to see, understand, and interpret the world within us and without us, to project that perspective into the simple, the complex, into the intimate, into the overarching concept, is a celebratory wonder that can never be tarnished, no matter how dark and stunted the cynic.

Artistic self-expression is in our lifeblood, it is the essence of who we are as a species and who we are as the sentient intelligence that we so clearly are. We are all reflectors of the cosmic awareness, and those who take up the creative arts are pinpointing that awareness and expressing it thorough thoughtful sensitivity and understanding. 

Illustration: A glimpse of the article featuring the work of Carol Nelson

Although some may be happy to engineer the arts into the 'extra-curricular' corner, it will always win out in the end :)

Issue 4 weighs in at 157 pages with 150 full colour illustrations. It can instantly be purchased and downloaded, along with all the other issues of the magazine, from the dedicated Inspirational Magazine page, which can also be found right above this article next to the Home tab. Also, please feel free to sign up for the Inspirational newsletter to get all the news as to the latest on the upcoming issue of the magazine.

Talking of the next issue, issue 5 will be available from July 15 2015, until then I hope that you enjoy issue 4.

Have yourself a great day

John

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Inspirational Issue 4!


One week until the release of issue 4 of the Inspirational magazine (May 13), so it might be nice to give you all a short introduction as to what to expect in this upcoming issue. 

The eight artists featured in this issue are: the fiber artist Betty Busby, the digital artist Frikkx, the textile artist Helen Terry, the ceramic artist Jessica Jordan, the painter Joan Anderson, the mixed media artist Karen Margolis, the sculptural artist Nnenna Okore, and the painter Carol Nelson.

This gives the magazine a good mixture of disciplines and styles, with each artist having their own unique understanding of the world around them and how they interpret that understanding. There will also be an article called 'The Infinity of Expression' as well as the usual 'First Word', and 'Last Word'.

This issue will be about the same size as issue 3, which came in at 175 pages with 151 colour illustrations, the magazine will either stay at about that size, or possibly larger, but not smaller.


I am quite excited about this coming issue, as I have been about all the issues so far. I think that Inspirational is beginning to make headway, beginning to find its place in the world, and for that I can only be grateful to those who have bought the magazine, those who have been featured in it, and those who have promoted it, and for that I am truly thankful.

Inspirational is a great coming together of individuals who share a common bond, the promotion of the artist as more than an extra-curricular activity, an understanding that the creative arts are central to who we are, and of great importance for our own well-being, the well-being of the planet, and the well being of our future.

With this coming issue Inspirational will have featured 32 artists so far. It is a lot of work on my part, and can be stressful at times, but I do so think this project is worth doing and so I will continue adding artists to be featured, I am already thinking of candidates for issue 5!

Thank you everyone for supporting Inspirational and I hope that you enjoy this issue when it reaches on May 15. 

This issue and previous issues of Inspirational are always available for instant download from the ttb site. Sign up for the newsletter and you will be kept informed as to all future issues of Inspirational.

Thanks for your time.

John

Thursday, April 30, 2015

International Fiber Arts VII

Illustration: Kathleen A. Loomis 'Crazed Suburban Dream' Best of show (2013)

I just wanted to draw your attention to an event later this year, as well as a new departure for me. The event is the International Fiber Arts VII being held between October 22 and November 28 2015 at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, at Sebastopol, California. 

The departure for me is that I have been asked to be one of the jurors, I didn't see that one coming, but I am thrilled to be taking part, as much as I am thrilled to be doing something new and interesting, something to add to the great tapestry of life.

Illustration: International Fiber Arts VI (2013)

The event is biannual, all of the illustrations for this article are from the last event in 2013. It seems to be a very open event, accepting entries from a broad spectrum of fiber art designations, so it includes two and three-dimensional work, as well wearable and installation art, both traditional and contemporary outlooks are welcome, as well as traditional and untraditional materials, it is really good to see one of these events where the viewpoint is so open to both tradition and innovation.

Illustration: International Fiber Arts VI (2013)

International Fiber Arts VII is open to anyone across the planet, irrespective of their geographical position, which to my mind is always a great and positive place to be, and entries can be accepted until September 1 2015. By the way, as a judge I am nearly incorruptible :)

I have no intention of cajoling any of you into entering, but it would be great to see some of the people I both know and admire being seen at this event, though it should be known that as a judge I will be near incorruptible :)

Illustration: James Arendt 'Ellie' third place (2013)

More detailed information of the event and entry requirements are shown below. Good luck, I wish you all the best:


CALL FOR ENTRIES for International Fiber Arts Vll

CONTACT:                        Catherine Devriese
                                    707/829-4797 M - F 10 am - 5 pm
                                    email catherined@sebarts.org
                                    website http://sebarts.org/index.php/calls-entry/

SEBASTOPOL: Sebastopol Center for the Arts
International Fiber Arts Vll is a juried exhibition presenting a distinct approach to innovative and traditional fiber techniques, and a contemporary concept for the use of traditional and unusual materials. The chosen work invites the viewer to experience the many facets of fiber art.  Accepting both two or three-dimensional pieces including wearable and installation art. Accepting entries from international and US artists for this outstanding celebration of fiber arts.
The exhibit is held every two years at Sebastopol Center for the Arts (SCA).  Fiber Art Now magazine (www.fiberartnow.net) is joining SCA in presenting this 7th biannual exhibit.

AWARDS
$500 Best of Show, $200 Second Prize, $100 Award of Excellence from Fiber Art Now, Coordinators’ Merit Awards, and a membership to SCA

JURORS
Lia Cook (http://www.liacook.com/) combines weaving with painting, photography, video and digital technology. Her current practice explores the sensuality of the woven image and emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth.
John Hopper (http://thetextileblog.blogspot.com/) has a degree in textile design. Since 2008, he has produced The Textile Blog, an inspirational site for artists and makers, covering many aspects of the world of creativity within art and craft.
Kyoko Kumai (http://browngrotta.com/Pages/kumai.php ) currently is an Honorary Professor of Nagaoka Institute of Design in Japan. She is in museum collections and exhibits internationally, notably at the 1987 13th International Tapestry Biennial Lausanne, Switzerland and 1998 9th International Tapestry Triennial Lodz, Poland.

ENTRY FEES
The entry fee for SCA members and Fiber Art Now subscribers is $15 per entry or 3 entries for $35. For non-members and non-subscribers $20 per entry or 3 for $50.

DEADLINE for submission September 1. 2015



EXHIBIT DATES: October 22 – November 28, 2015
Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 High Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472. 707/829-4797

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Inspirational Newsletter


Just to let everyone know that the first Inspirational newsletter will be going out on Friday (April 17), so you still have time to sign up in order to see this first newsletter. This particular premier newsletter gives you the chance to be the first to get to see the list of eight new artists that will be featured in the coming issue 4, as well as the cover, publicity material for the artist concerned, and a section of text. It will be a week or so before I start releasing publicity for issue 4, which will be on sale on May 13.

Anyone who signs up for the newsletter feature will also be told when each issue is released, so that you don't miss your chance to buy a copy.

This newsletter will now be a regular feature, but I have no intention of bombarding you with information in your email boxes. This is purely to let you have some insight into all oncoming issues, as well as a reminder when the release date comes along. So you can rest easy in the knowledge that if you do sign up for the Inspirational newsletter, you will only get two emails per issue.

I hope that you take advantage of this offer, it is genuinely and generously made. I am very excited about the line up of artists for issue 4, but it is hard knowing that I can't tell anyone who is being featured yet, but at least for those who do sign up for the newsletter I will be able to let them know on Friday!

The newsletter signing in page can be found HERE

John X

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Seventh Anniversary of ttb


This week sees the anniversary of the start of The Textile Blog way back in spring 2008. Ttb is now in its seventh year, and although every spring I am surprised that it has lasted another year, and every spring I think that perhaps it is at last time to lay the ttb to rest, move on to other projects, other vistas, new horizons, it is still here! 

Ttb has spread itself across aspects of the internet, particularly social media, which is why you can see the ttb badge on twitter, facebook, google+, tumblr, pinterest, youtube, haven't quite managed to sort out instagram yet though. I am a big fan of the purposing of the internet, of allowing it to develop as a connector of humanity, of continually emphasising the positive and the constructive, as a born optimist I can't do otherwise. Your life path should be about projecting and magnifying the positive, not the negative, call me naive, but that is my perspective on the world in this lifetime, and I'm sticking to it!

Although ttb is now in its seventh year, has a back catalogue of articles, and a clutch of books penned by me, I have not stood still. I loathe standing in one place too long, ticking over, I get itchy feet and need new challenges. One of the new challenges I started recently was the Inspirational magazine. A project that was started in October 2014 and has now become an important element of ttb. I believe it has given the site a new emphasis, a new direction, and a new zest to both myself and ttb. It's a lot of hard work, I write, edit, publish, and promote each issue by myself, but I think that it is an important project for me as an individual and for my own creative pathway, but I also think that it is an important project for me to put out into the world, and I believe that it adds value, and that is important to me, to add value to the world, to promote the positive, when so many feel compelled to promote only the negative, it has to be worth it.

In many ways, Inspirational is my way of celebrating human creativity, of projecting the thoughts and ideals of the artists featured, and to be fair, of myself. I have covered twenty-four artists in three issues, with another eight to be released in issue 4 on May 13 2015. I like to think of the artists as my Inspirational tribe, though I am sure they think otherwise, but that's OK. Who knows I might get them all onto a beach somewhere on the planet one day and we'll have an Inspirational party :)


I have also started rolling out the Inspirational newsletter, the first one should be due out in the middle of this month. It will give those who sign up a chance to see who is going to be featured in the next issue of the magazine, some publicity material, perhaps even a glimpse at some text, long before it is released to the public. For issue 4 there is a really interesting mix of individual artists and disciplines, quite a lot of colour this time round as well, so quite excited about that!

This seventh anniversary is not so much a celebration as more a marker of where I am myself at the moment. Ttb has taken on much more of a personal character over the last year or two, more than I ever intended when I started it back in 2008. In many ways, I hid behind the fa├žade of ttb, for a long time few were aware that there was even an individual attached to the site, but times have changed and now I am more than happy for people to know that ttb is actually just me, that's John by the way :) 

For a long while I tried to make ttb separate from myself, not to include me and my beliefs, perspectives, ideals, but that can only go so far before you run out of steam. At some point you need to start injecting your real passions, the things that drive you, the things that make you want to change things, that make you want to wave your flag from the hilltop and celebrate what makes your world work for you.

So as people will have noticed, the posts on ttb have become much more personal, much more reflective, more acute, focused on personal passions of mine such as nature, creativity, our unique and individual perceptions and perspectives of our inner and outer selves, and of our connection to all and everything. Not to everyone's tastes or inclinations I understand, but it is where I have to go, so what can you do, but go where you need to go.

So what about this coming year for ttb? Well, there will be more Inspirational magazine issues, one every two months of the year and into 2016 at least. I will be releasing at least two new books, one with the working title of 'Can Artists Change the World?' which is kind of self-explanatory, as in can artists make a positive, constructive contribution towards a better future for humanity, that would be yes by the way, but I don't think I'm spoiling it for anyone by saying that. Another working title 'The Ghost in the Machine' is to be about our connection, disconnection, and eventual reconnection with nature. I also want to put some of my photographs of nature together in some form of book project, suggested recently by a reader of the ttb actually, though not quite sure what form that will take yet. I have a few other interesting diversions in the pipeline, including the grand sounding role of international judge for a fiber art show later in the year, now that seemed to pop up from nowhere, but often it works that way as you know.


If anyone wants to sign up for the new Inspirational newsletter, getting the information for issue 4 of the magazine before anyone else, as well as to be reminded of release dates, then please feel free to sign up - Inspirational newsletter, no pressure, but it would be nice to give you all a chance to see each issue as a work in progress.

And that is definitely it. A heartfelt thanks to all and everyone who has supported ttb in any possible way over the last seven years, and to anyone who will do so in the future. Each gesture of support is one more positive step in the world :)

Thank you

All Love

John X

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Coming of Spring and the Continuing Cycle

Illustration: Spring daffodils by John Hopper.

Well spring is here for some, autumn/fall for others. The change of seasons is always one of those markers of life, it reveals to us the seemingly eternal cycle of endless beginnings, and no more so than the coming of spring. Spring gives us our renewed faith in the rebirth. The cold stillness of winter, the withdrawing of the natural world into a seasonal sleep, reminds us that everything needs a rest period, a time to take stock, to recharge batteries, ready for the next step in the path of life, like taking a breath in in order to breath back out again.

It is interesting that our contemporary world has become fixated with the ideal of life as being a straight line, despite the obvious expression of nature. Somewhere on our modern line we have designated a beginning point, a birth, and a little further down that line is another point, which is meant to denote the end of life. We are all tagged with dates in brackets after our name, we have our birth year, a dash, and then our death year, simple, effective, but at total odds with the way we actually see and experience the world.

Illustration: Spring catkins by John Hopper.

When looking at seasons, without looking to see what number the year is, all we can really see is part of an endless circle. We see spring come around, only to be followed by summer, autumn/fall, winter, and then we are back to spring. So we start off at one season and end up back at that same season, endlessly. So where has the line gone? If we remove the line altogether all we really experience is a world of endlessly recurring loops, cycles that interact and intertwine with each other, that we are part of that complex intertwining seems obvious, we must surely be integral to the whole.

By measuring time with an external measuring stick, rather than with our own inbuilt and long-term sense of time, we have become disconnected from the world, disconnected from the cyclical life of the planet, and in that respect we have become either a willing or unwilling dysfunctional component of the whole. We have stepped out of real time, creating an artificial one that we stubbornly cling to despite the obvious dysfunction.

Illustration: Spring gorse by John Hopper.

There was a time, to be honest for most of the history of our species, where the seasons were our most fundamental basis of life, it was our measure of the travel of life around the great circles. Every aspect of our planet was seen to have these cycles of life, whether they were a tree, a mountain, an ocean, a bird or a human. The cycles might well have been different in duration, but they followed the same pattern as the seasons, you were born, you travelled around your circle, came back to the beginning, and then died.

Of course that also means that everything within the great complex of cycles is born, dies, and then is reborn again, just as in the seasons, in a seemingly everlasting celebration of life. To see life and time as a circle rather than a straight line, is to understand the fundament of life, to not see it that way is to miss the point of life and the interconnection of that life with everything else. To imagine that we each have a sole, lonely lifeline that goes from a to b and nowhere else, to not understand the connections you have with all other life forms, no matter how different from your own, to not understand that you are part of the great loop of continuing life, that you are not separate from it is one of the greatest tragedies of our modern age, and leads directly to our misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and ultimately our betrayal of life on the planet.

Illustration: Spring primroses by John Hopper.

Only by understanding that we are part of this great cycle can we expect to reconnect with the rest of the planet. In order to be able to overcome our present dysfunction we need to be able to see the connections that are everywhere on the planet and beyond. The most obvious revelation of that great cycle with its endless connections is of course the passage of seasons. It could be said that the seasons give us that rich understanding for how life really is lived on the planet, rather than how we have measured it to be.

The seasons are in some ways like the ritual form of life. We see birth, death, and rebirth a number of times through the years of our lives. It is the celebration of this ritual of cycles that is important and it is something we should definitely take as being a much more fundamental part of those lives. Although a handy guide for us, it is ultimately irrelevant whether we are in the sixteenth century, the twenty first, or the forty third, the planet and its complex pattern of life forms spins through its cycles over and over again, unconcerned and probably unaware of our dating methods, as long as the cycles continue that is all that really matters.

Illustration: Flowing water in spring by John Hopper.

So anyway, I suppose what I am trying to say is spend a little less time locked into the straight line of the human calendar, and open up a little more to the cycles of the planet. Watch yourself as well as the life around you change as the seasons change. Enjoy being part of the cycle, seeing your life and the experience of that life as part of the whole. See it as a celebration of the machination that is the planet and ultimately of the universe. The cycles are endless, life is endless, therefore you are endless.

John X

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Creative Life and the Work of Martin Ebrey

Illustration: Martin Ebrey. Moby Dick.

Running along on the general theme of the Inspirational magazine, inspiring and aspiring others, I thought that it might be nice to feature one of the many artists that have recently come into the creative arts. 

Many of these individuals come into the creative arts for a range of reasons, running from redundancy and retirement, restlessness and disillusionment with the norm, to seeking new and better horizons, a way of becoming the authentic individual that they always knew they were meant to be.

Illustration: Martin Ebrey. Archangel Orifiel.

Many come from strictly non-creative backgrounds, though to be fair there is little in our lives that cannot be counted as creative in some form or another. Many have no formal training, many in fact have never been near an art college before. However, that is not necessarily a good or bad thing, it often depends on the projection and perspective of the individual. Many creative individuals thrive in a collage environment, but on the other hand, many do not. To me, it is a personal choice on whether you take that road or not, and you shouldn't be judged either way as to that decision.

Anyway, today we are featuring the work of the artist Martin Ebrey. Martin is a mixed media artist who specialises in textiles, although as with most mixed media artists, certainly not exclusively. Martin has a truly energetic and eclectic style, pulling in inspiration and reflection from many avenues. Each piece of his work is like a many-stranded story, all told through the medium of reclaimed fabrics, vintage jewellery, buttons, driftwood from the local beach, stories, observations, sentiment, and insight, all are meaningful and all have purpose.

Illustration: Martin Ebrey. Blackbird.

Martin was until recently a teacher, but because of health issues had to abandon that career, so he started another one. He bought a sewing machine and has never really looked back. Along with his partner John, also a teacher, they have formed Ebrey Decorative. They produce and sell mixed media artwork that shows a sophistication and sensitivity well beyond their relatively short period in the wonderful world of the creative arts.

I think that it is important to be able to highlight the lives of individuals like Martin. These are people who have become drawn to the creative arts, some simply, others in extraordinarily complex and circuitous pathways, but they all end up at the same place. Whether you are a newly graduated individual in your twenties, a career switcher in your forties, or a retiree in your sixties or seventies, professional or amateur, it matters little. What does matter is the enthusiasm, the positivity, the focus, and the inspiration you give others, these are the important markers of your individual path towards a creative life, and they are markers that only you can make and only you can understand. 

Illustration: Martin Ebrey. Summer Stream.

It is always important that you tread your own path within the world of the creative arts, but it is also extremely important that you try to help others along your way. To be creative is not, as many believe it to be, a selfish choice, but is in fact one that is selfless, it is showing the life that should be led, one that is supportive, cooperative, reflective, thoughtful, compassionate, the complete opposite of what we are often told is the real norm of us as humans, to be confrontational, to be singularly motivated to the detriment of all others, quick to judge, slow to forgive.

If more and more individuals are led to this wonderfully dynamic and energetic world of creativity, then the world can only become a better place. The expansion of artistic creativity through such individuals as Martin is vital. For communities across the planet to understand through example that to be an artist can be the norm, rather than the exception, is one of the most important of steps. 

Illustration: Martin Ebrey. Miss Haversham.

So to me, the real expansion of this precious world of the creative lifestyle, one in which Martin has now made his home, is one that needs to be encouraged and fostered as a norm, rather than as a puzzling alternative. The more individuals who are happy and content within their creative careers, the more examples we have to show that there is a different and better way to see the world than the one we were handed as the perceived norm.

That is why I have taken on the project of Inspirational, and that is why I decided to feature the work of Martin on ttb. Life is changing, the creative arts population is expanding, becoming more complex and inter-dimensional, constantly bringing in more and more practitioners into the community, from so many avenues of life.

Illustration: Martin Ebrey. Atargatis, the First Mermaid.

I am sure that we all wish and support Martin and his partner John in leading the best of lives, having the best of creative perspectives, and the best in happiness, and contentment in their life within the community that is the creative arts.

Martin and Ebrey Decorative have a great visual website at Ebrey Decorative as well as a comprehensive Etsy shop 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Release of Inspirational Issue 3 is Here!


Today sees the release of issue 3 of the Inspirational magazine. This issue is a bumper one as it is more than twice the size of earlier issues with over twice as many pages, 157 as opposed to 75 pages, and more than twice as many colour photos, 151 as opposed to 70. It also has, on top of the eight articles featuring the work of artists, an extra article entitled Artists and Nature. 

When you say that you are going to release issue 3 on March 12 it is always difficult to decide when that will be, as different people experience the date at different times. So, rather than wait until I in the UK get to March 12, I have decided to release it a few hours early as some of you are already at the date, and it only seems fair that if I want this magazine to be a truly international experience, rather than local or regional, I should be aware that we live in a world of different time zones, a circle of continuing life, of getting up and going to bed, which is a nice way to think of it.

Illustration: Sample of the inside of issue 3 of Inspirational.

Anyway, this issue features the work of eight new artists, some of whom you may be familiar with, others not, but each and every one have vision, perspective, and a dynamism in their work and character that makes them truly inspirational and so worth finding out more about if yuo are unfamiliar with the names.

The eight artists featured in this issue are in order of appearance, mixed media artist Wen Redmond, textile and mixed media artist Gizella K. Warburton, painter and visual artist Karine Leger, ceramicist David Brown, textile artist Caroline Bell, basketry artist Matt Tommey, mixed media artist Annie Coe, mixed media artist Christine Mauersberger.

I hope that you will enjoy this issue as much, if not more than you have enjoyed the other two issues. It was written for you as much as it was for the artists. We are all involved in this inspirational and aspirational creative world and if this magazine can help to highlight and expand that world, then it has done what it has set out to do.

Illustration: Sample of the inside of issue 3 of Inspirational.

This issue, as well as issue 1 and 2, is available for purchase from the Inspirational Magazine page, either follow the link just given or press on the 'Inspirational Magazine' tab just below the ttb-inspirational header at the top of the page. All details on how to purchase, and how to view are included on that page. 

Issue 4 will be released on May 13 2015. If you would like to sign up for the Inspirational project newsletter, to keep yourself updated as to what is happening next as far as new artists, new articles, new release dates, please join the Inspirational mailing list

Thank you all for your most generous support and enthusiasm for this project, it would be nothing without you. It has been a lot of hard work to get this project off the ground and each issue is a journey in itself, but knowing that I have that support out there is precious an lifesaving. Till the next issue.

John XXX

Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Artist and Nature - Ambassadors of Connection


Alongside the eight regular articles featuring the work of contemporary and inspiring artists, I have decided in issue 3 of the Inspirational magazine, to add an additional feature article concerning the artist and nature. I have been wanting to start adding extra articles alongside those of featured artists since the first issue, but have only now had time to do so.

Anyone who has followed ttb, Inspirational, or my social media platform will be aware how important I see a good perspective on nature towards the heath of the creative arts. It is one of the major themes of ttb and I have never made any apologies for such, nor will I.

To me it doesn't matter where you are on the planet, you have access to the natural world. You can be deep in a forest, or deep in a city centre, high on a mountain, or at the edge of an ocean, all should be equal and all should be touchable. Everything in and on the planet is ultimately about perception and the perspective you give to that perception.

All is very much rooted in and on the personal, from moment to moment. We all see the world around us coloured by our lifestyle, by our expectation, by our history, and by our emotions. The world we see through these and more prisms, is the world that is our own definition of 'real.'

But how do you see the world, truly see the world from your standpoint, the space that you inhabit on this planet, from moment to moment, during this present lifeline?

To be a creative artist is to often have an acute sense of perception, particularly when it comes to the natural environment. Nature is in the blood stream of all of us, it is in our essence, in our past, and in our direction of the seemingly yet to come. But it is often the artist that gets to explore that essence of nature that flows through us all, and it is often the artist that can project that understanding of the importance of nature towards the rest of humanity.

Artists often sit within the realm between worlds, they are the connectors between human and natural worlds. Despite the fact that we humans are part of the natural process, part of the planet and its structure and life stream, it is sometimes difficult to understand that particularly when we are within our artificially created shell, difficult to understand that we are in fact a part of the whole, not apart from the whole.

The human species needs ambassadors of connection, now more than ever, which is what the contemporary artist of today is and should be. We are reminders of the ongoing real, as opposed to the transitory real, we are the reminders that the relationship with nature is the primary one, not the secondary, but above all we are reminders that the natural world is not a material asset, not an adventure park, not even a meditation zone, it is the beating heart of the planet and it echoes our own beating hearts.

We are forever enmeshed within the planetary system, to forget that is to forget who and what we are, so it makes perfect sense for the creative artist to be the reminder. It is a job worth doing, and it is one that has a vital role to play in the unfolding of our future as a species, and that is one of the main reasons why I have made the additional article available to all readers of issue 3.

Issue 3 of the Inspirational magazine, with the additional article 'Artist and Nature' will be available from March 12 2015.