Category Archives: 4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire

4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire: June

Dragon capsule, manufactured by Space-X
Dragon capsule, manufactured by Space-X

It’s not for lack of material that I haven’t done a “4 Things” post since my big announcement in February. I’ve been living in between two cities since then, and working on the book a lot, so it’s been tough to consistently write for BLCKSMTH. But I think I’ve reached an equilibrium, and saw 4 amazing things recently that gave my creativity a boost (click here to check out previous “4 Things” posts). Here are this month’s, in no particular order:

1) SpaceX! Wow, I had no idea what I was in for. A new friend, Meharban, showed me the SpaceX warehouse in Hawthorne, CA. SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, who gave a really excellent TED interview a few months ago (ya know, the guy who also invented PayPal and Tesla Motors? Yeah, that guy). As we entered the vast front office space, Meharban gestured casually over to a large open cubicle: “Oh, Elon’s here today.” OH HOLY SHIT, ELON’S HERE my brain shouted as I nodded casually, noting the intense man hunched over his monitor. Continue reading 4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire: June

4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire: Portland

"This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" from l to r: SUmmer Olsson, Michael James Schneider, Sammi, the extremely patient bartender
“This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”
from l to r: Summer Olsson, Michael James Schneider, Sammi, the extremely patient Clyde Common bartender

“Two roads diverged in a wood”…no, that’s not the quote I’m trying to remember. “Life moves pretty fast; you don’t stop and look around once in awhile you could miss it.” Yup, that’s the one. Thanks Ferris.

I spent the last week exploring Portland, Oregon, for the first time. I fell in love with the city, as I had a suspicion I would. I met a lot of really wonderful people, reconnected with a crap-ton of old friends, conquered formerly-debilitating fears, and almost sliced people’s fingers off when I gave them my business card. The life-changing consequences of all this love are at the end of this post.

1) Summer in Winter! I had a blast creating art with my friend Summer Olsson (Google her)…she’s truly a fun, talented, smart person to create art with! (UPDATE: This was pretty much our soundtrack the entire visit). One brainstorm of ours was to create the characters of Fern and Clyde, two clowns moving to Portland. With the skilled photography of Aaron Warren, we dressed and painted our faces, and created a story in photos and a 6-second Vine clip that tells their story. Follow me on Facebook to get the whole story, released on Wednesdays and Saturdays! Continue reading 4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire: Portland

4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire: NYC

Pumped-up Kicks photo by Helen Darby
Pumped-up Kicks
photo by Helen Darby

Breathless with the cold, eager eyes open to everything around me: this was a trip I was looking forward to…it’s my third visit in a little over a year. In between seeing friends I hadn’t seen in a long time (and in the case of my very first boyfriend, I hadn’t see him in 20 years!), and making new ones (Nina Robinson’s photography is awesome), I got time to check out some inspiring art that fueled my own brain’s creative juices…and yes, handed out more than few of those crazy business cards. Saw stuff that you should check out too. Except in one case, I tried to pick longer-running stuff to include here so by the time you read this, it isn’t over already. So away we go: Continue reading 4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire: NYC

4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire, September

Entrance to the Garden of Flowing Fragrance

I’ve decided to make “4 Things…” a regular series! I’ll publish it monthly, and eventually bi-monthly. Why? Well, no man is an island, and no one can be expected to create art in a vacuum: I need inspiration from other sources to keep me fresh, to keep my voice relevant. Here are a four things that stayed with me, long after I experienced them.

1) The Huntington Gardens are over 120 acres of carefully maintained collections of botanical curiosity, in San Marino, California. I’ve gone there a few times, and this time was ostensibly to see the recently restored and reopened Japanese Gardens, but I found the Chinese Garden, Liu Fang Yuan (“The Garden Of Flowing Fragrance”), really breathtaking. Check it out for both the botany and the architecture.

And then I found a giant baby. Continue reading 4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire, September

4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire, August

Sometimes my brain needs a jump-start. Here are a few things I checked out this week, to fan the flames of my imagination.

1. Made In LA at The Hammer Museum

Meg Cranston’s California (2006), photo by Jeff Sturges

This was pretty great. Made In LA is what it sounds like: a show of artists living in Los Angeles. There was some cool stuff, including Liz Glynn’s Anonymous Needs and Desires, an installation of a huge cabinet of brightly colored drawers, with cast-lead everyday objects that patrons could place in, take out, and manipulate however you want. Another highlight was the app for the show, the Soundmap. You turn it on your phone, drive around, and it plays music curated by local collective DUBLAB. But then you hit a “hotspot”, and an artist briefly interrupts to tell you something specific to that area of town that inspired them, or just a random observation. So cool!

Continue reading 4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire, August