Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary...

Today marks the 3 year anniversary of this blog. There really isn't much more to say about that then that is there? I'm not going to spend any time here going over the experiences of the last three years because if you are really interested, you can read about them yourself by visiting the archive section in the lower right hand area of this page.

Last night, while looking for a film to stream on my television via my laptop via Netflix.com, (I gave comcast cable the boot last week and feel ever so free) I came across a film entitled "Pick Up On South Street". I was surprised that I had not seen it before, though it did sound vaguely familiar. In any case, it ended up being one of the best, if not the best, film-noir works that I have ever had the pleasure to watch and I highly recommend it if you are a fan of noir film.

You can read a great review and synopsis of the film here. It stars Jean Peters ( stunning as a street smart, sassy yet big hearted, slightly slutty siren), Richard Widmark, and Thelma Ritter and Richard Kiley. The film is truly masterful with packed with so many perfect scenes, performances, innuendo and more that it truly beams as a perfect example of the best of film noir. The scene between Ritter and Kiley (described on wikipedia.com as "a touching and believable performance in her climactic scene opposite a communist spy who has come to kill her: she knows she cannot stop him, but she is determined to let him know her contempt for him and all his kind ") absolutely took my breath away. It amazes me that Ritter never won an Oscar for her film work, though she was nominated 6 times.

And Jean Peters, truly phenomenal film eye candy - and her performance is spot on. Absolutely spot on.

Again, if you ever have the chance to watch this film, take it. And, if you happen to have a netflix account, or know someone who does, you can stream this on your computer. I have the ability to connect my laptop to my television, which is an extra treat, but this film is so flawless that it can, and should, be savored at any size.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday, Monday

Somehow, I managed to let my blog slip by for the last four days. Obviously, I've had other issues to focus my attention on that demanded more attention. I've been quite busy working on PR material for a new line of imagery that I've been working on. I have a close friend who had been helping me with branding ideas. I'll post more information about the development of it all here after I copyright any involved material. I have learned the hard way on the importance of copyright.

In fact, I was scheduled today to meet with an attorney in NYC who was interested in performing some pro-bono work on my behalf regarding a copyright infringement suit that I was about to file against a well established company in Manhattan. It came to my knowledge that they purchased a print of my work a while back. They then decided to have that work photographed and then skin all of their delivery vans with the image as well as use it on their website as a backdrop to promote their products. Needless to say really, I was never contacted about such and my name appeared nowhere in connection with their lame-brained marketing idea.

I discovered yesterday afternoon however from a close friend who also happens to be my attorney that their attorney contacted her and informed her that they were indeed removing my image from their vans and the website.

I checked the website and it is indeed gone, as for the vans, well, at this point I can only take their word for it. But I will definitely check that out as well.

So, based upon this news, I will cancel my meeting in NYC today, or reschedule it, if I discover that the company has not followed through totally with their promise. Frankly, I don't want or need to dedicate my energy to that when there is so many other things for me to do. However, if you happen to see a delivery van in NYC with this image plastered on the side...

Please feel free to let me know. You know, this isn't the first time I've had to take folks on legally for using my work improperly. Perhaps one day I'll blog about the time I discovered that a well established luxury condo building in the financial district of Manhattan was using 3 of my works to promote their condos - though, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to speak of that case or not as it was resolved.

Lesson. If you are thinking about using my work without my permission, especially for your own profit, chances are, I WILL find out about it - and I WILL do something about it.

Now, with that said - I finished Tolle's latest book ( see previous post). I must admit, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Initially, I was a bit unsure ( the book clearly isn't for everyone, or perhaps I should say that not everyone is ready for the book - of course, you would have to read it to know what I'm referring to) but the more I read the more I found myself taken with the message.

There is much truth about the book to the following quote from a New York Times article entitled The Wisdom of the Ages, for Now Anyway - “He essentially taken some of the wisdom of the ages and said, ‘Let me make this easier for you,’ ” said Vivien L. Jennings, a major independent bookseller in Fairway, Kan. “And you don’t have to read 20 books to get this wisdom. I’ll give it to you in a $14 paperback.”

The way he writes his message is very compelling and it rings truthful for me. And frankly, I listen much more closely when something rings truthful then when it does not. Finally, after I read the book, I felt glad that I did. For myself, that's the real litmus test.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Show and Tell".

I've been shamefully absent from my blog over the last few days. It's not that I've lost interest, I've just been rather busy - thankfully.

I'm the type of person who reads before falling asleep and I usually keep three or four books and the last three issues of the New Yorker ( still the best magazine ever published) on my nightstand. As of late, I've been drifting off to slumberville after reading Eckhart Tolle's latest tome - "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose".

Tolle is the author of "The Power of Now" which I raved about in this blog when I read it. I may have actually read that book 3 times and will again I'm sure. I'm only about half way through this latest work. Frankly, my jury is still out over this one. That doesn't mean that this isn't a worthwhile read by any means - it's just that I want to finish it before I make any comment on the contents.

Sadly, I discovered today that two singers of two great 1970's songs died today. I enjoy both of these tunes very much and have sang them loudly and unapologetically while painting or cleaning or driving somewhere countless times. The first, and my favorite of the two, is Al Wilson, performer of the fantastically sultry song "Show and Tell".

Man, I can't state enough how much I love this sexy song. His voice is spot on for the tune and the way he slowly builds the momentum with it just throws me. He starts the song almost as if he is in a conversation with his partner, matter-of-a-factly making simple and truthful, yet very symbolic, statements about himself and his love for her such as "these are the eyes that never knew how to smile until you came into my life" and "these are the arms that long to lock you inside every day and every night". Mmmm

As you can hear in the great SoulTrain video above, it just grows more impassioned and heated until by the end of the song he is practically screaming ( in a melodic and controlled sort of way) about his love and desire. This is still one of my favorite sexy songs of all time and a blast to sing.

The other entertainer who died today was Paul Davis, best known for his song "I Go Crazy".

Wow. How may times did I sing this song when a teen? I think I just cranked this up on the irreplaceable XM satellite radio 70's station in the car belting it out during my last drive to the beach. Though Paul looked like he may have fallen from the back of a fast moving, cannabis smoke filled, customized van he had a melodic, emotive and gently sweet sounding voice . "I Go Crazy" really showed that off to perfection.

The lyrics of 'I Go Crazy", about a man who realizes that he never got over being in love with a woman from his past whom he has run into somewhere, are still a bit heartbreaking. Particularly, because he sounds almost as if he is on the verge of tears from longing and frustration through most of the tune. Not unlike "Show and Tell", he starts off as a man in control, an illusion which is quickly uncovered by the end of the song.

Alas, perhaps these two men, who were both in their 60's, can create some awesome afterlife duet somewhere one day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Drop the pilot, try my ballon

I had a welcoming blast from the past yesterday morning. Since those of us in the Garden State have been lucky enough to enjoy a string of pristine weather over the last few days, I decided that yesterday morning would be the kick off day for my "power walk" exercise routine which I dedicate myself to rather compulsive/obsessively as soon as the weather turns sufficiently warm. I stick with it until the onslaught of cold weather returns again which, thankfully, is still many months down the road. In a nutshell, I have arisen from hibernation and want to drop the winter weight.

Mind you, I did have a gym membership for all of the last year, however, with my unique schedule, it just wasn't a place that I found convenient enough for me to dedicate myself to. Frankly, I also just never "clicked" with that particular gym. On the fistful of times that I did visit it, it just didn't do it for me. For some reason, which I still can't put my finger on, I felt like an intruder while exercising there.

When the very perky, overtly sweet smelling, middle-aged gym manager with the glitter pink eyeshadow asked why I was ending the membership, I had to think quickly to come up with an answer that seemed appropriate. I told her that I was moving back to Delaware. I could tell from the brief and awkward moment of silence which seemed only too accentuated by her plastered-on toothy smile and the blank stare the accompanied it that she didn't believe me. It lasted only a moment, but it seemed as if the entire time her eyes were flashing some coded "please rescue me" signal with each blink of her sparkling pink frosted lids.

But I digress. Yesterday morning, I let my iPod shuffle randomly select tunes from my playlist so as to accompany me on my power walk. I was out on the lovely morning when I had my blast o' de past.

Ah... Joan Armatrading. Before there was Corinne Bailey Rae, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, and yes, even Tracy Chapman, there was Joan. I had forgotten what a huge fan I was until I heard "Drop The Pilot" loud and clear through my earphones. Ignore the rather cheesy and highly dated video above and just listen to the song. Clean, concise, brilliant.

She still tours and performs brilliantly, mostly in Europe it seems, and I would love to see her perform live. Here she performs the amazing song "Love and Affection" from a concert from last year.

What a treasure.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hazel Court

Hazel Court, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

Movie 'scream queen' dies at 82


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday...

I've been some what in a bit of a whirl wind of activity since my last blog entry for which I am quite pleased. I've always have been the type of person who likes staying busy. Most of the work has been involving some PR issue for myself which I am not at liberty to discuss at the moment.

I did want to pop briefly in order to make mention that today was/is the birthday of two important people in my life. First, my father would have been 71 on this day had he survived passed the age of 65. Secondly, my friend Tony hits 43 on this date. Tony have been close friends since we first met back in 1978 whilst in Junior High.

Needless to say, he and I have seen and experienced quite a bit together over the last 30 years. He and his lovely wife are quite busy with their very young boys as of late so we've not been able to communicate as frequently recently, but the connection is there nevertheless. He's one of a small group of other wonderful people that compose a very special "group" that has been an important part of my life for a very long time. You know who you are if you happen to be reading this - but, what the hell, here is the list, in no particular order...


Of course, there are many others that spring off from the list, but that is the "core" so to speak. I must admit however, that if anything, I am a man that has been blessed with an amazing, invaluable, and substantial list of close friends. Some I have known for many years, some just a few. Many of them have never met the others and often they have no concept of the others simply because of geographical locations. I tend to think that all of them would get along together fabulously (though I have had that proven wrong on a couple of occasions - but that's best saved for some snowy night before the fire) and that we could throw an amazing party. I'll have to work on that one.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Red Tie

The Red Tie, (© Michael Sprouse 2008) originally uploaded by sprouseart.

It's a cool though sunny Monday morning here by the shore this April 14th. My friend Marnie has been visiting us for the weekend and after a rather wild Saturday night and wonderfully mellow Sunday, we are now sitting around the dining room table sipping our coffees, conversing, and reading the morning news.

My latest digital collage work entitled "The Red Tie" (above) is now available (like the majority of much of my work) on http://Sprouseart.imagekind.com/. You'll find it under the "Digitalart" icon.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Bee Keeper's Daughters

Good news - Yesterday was so lovely that I didn't bother with the blog at all. I did however go on a long walk, wash my car by hand, and enjoyed a wonderful cookout at my friend's house up the street. While today is cooler and a bit overcast, I'm still retaining the elevated mood from yesterday and am glad for it.

Here's a digital work I created this morning while sipping my coffee. It's titled "The Bee Keeper's Daughters".

Of course, if you're interested in wonderful and affordable high quality fine art prints or greeting cards of this work, click here: "The Bee Keeper's Daughters" prints

Enjoy your Friday!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Trained monkey anyone?

It's another cloudy and cool Spring morning here in the Garden State. I'm so anticipatory of just one purely warm and sunny Spring day that I have been stumbling half-awake to the window immediately after rising from my bed to see if my wish has been fulfilled. It makes me feel like a child hoping for a silent overnight snowstorm that would cancel school for the day.

It's just the bleakness of it all that I find so displeasing. All the lovely colors of the season seem to have been sucked away into some punishing vacuum formed by a reluctant sun. Even the beautiful blooms of daffodil and hyacinth that align my front yard sidewalk seem distant and shrouded. The forecast for tomorrow, however, seems much more promising with a hinted high of 73 and afternoon sunshine. Perhaps I can talk some friends of mine into a picnic at the local park.

I can't understand why I've not sold more prints from http://Sprouseart.imagekind.com/ as of yet. Perhaps it's the fault of our failing economy. I know that it isn't an issue of the work because after 20 something years as a visual artist, one develops the knowledge as to whether they have talent or not. I also truly don't believe it's the pricing as there is a huge range of prices available from a large selections of prints to choose from. I need to think of other ways to promote the prints and I am very open to suggestions (hint, hint) . Alas, if things don't improve soon, I may have to find a new line of work...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Mind blowing...

I've been rather busy today, but I wanted to share this quick link with you dedicate readers, all two of you (thanks to my dear hearts Kathryn and Jessie), that I found truly mind blowing, and please pardon the pun. Let's just call it food for thought...
P.S. It may take a moment to load, but it is really worth it.


Monday, April 07, 2008

"Power Pug"

As you can see, I spent the last three days not adding posts on my blog. It wasn’t that I had any particular need to step away from the Sprouseart blog, it was just that I needed to spend a little extra time focused on some other projects. I actually had a rather full weekend, but now it’s late Monday afternoon/early evening, and I simply don’t fill like posting any of the details.

I’m sure however, if it was sunny and 75°F rather than the bleak and overcast 45°F that it has been for the last several days, I would feel a bit more inspired to do something – anything rather than sit in a chair and stare blankly at the steely grey sky counting my blasĂ© sighs.

Truth be told, I was never much for sigh counting, no matter the dramatic appeal. I spent the majority of my time creating art during the last three days. The first of my two works is a small painting that I’ve entitled “Perplexities”. Like the other works from this series (which I call “Narratives”) I chose the title from a word in a sentence from a 1910 book that I own. I incorporated the sentence into the work, as I did with the other works from the series. In this particular work, the sentence, which reads “life had suddenly become a maze of perplexities”, appears in the upper right corner of the work.

The other work that I completed is a digital work entitled “Power Pug”. These are works that I have created as of late with the goal of them being a bit more commercially popular - a la “bread & butter” art – than my traditional paint on canvas works. The “digital pets” are more whimsical, cute, and smaller in size, and, since they are open ended prints, quite affordable for most folks.

While the "Digi-Pets" series are shamelessly aimed at the animal lover, I being one of them, I do feel that I have added an extra spark to these works that, at least according to friends and others who have seen them, make them rise above the fray of hard-core “cutesy” animal prints. And since it beats lying flat on my back and beckoning in sailors in off the street, I also offer personalized digital works featuring the faces of anyone’s beloved pet. Here’s “Power Pug”

Now, just in case you were wondering where you can get a print of these works, the links are here:"Power Pug" and "Perplexities" respectfully.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Anti-Clinton Media Frenzy

For all of those out there that think that there isn't a massive media bias against Clinton, let Lou Dobbs set you straight...

April 3, 2008

cem1, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

I find it frustrating and disheartening that the majority of visitors to this blog probably never actually view this blog. That's because, based upon examination of my visitor stats, that the majority of visits come from people doing image searches on google.com or other search engines.

When someone makes an image search, and an image that is on my blog turns up as a hit on the engine, it counts as a visit to my blog, even though the only item that they have seen from the blog is that image and that image alone embedded in the search engine's hit page. Don't misunderstand me; I use the image search function often and think it a great tool, so I'm not advocating the end of the image search by any means. It's just that sometimes I feel that I'm creating my posts for no one but myself really. It's a rather lonely feeling, and frankly, I've never been fond of loneliness.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April 1, 2008

Today is the first day of April, 2008. I woke just before the sun this morning. I managed to find my slippers and robe in the darkness before somnolently shuffling my way into the kitchen to start the coffee. The only light in the room was the pre-dawn bluish and violet glow that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

I stood and silently and gazed out the window and witnessed the pink watercolor hues from the light of the rising sun stretch across the fading darkness of the morning sky. The room was silent except for the trickling sound of the stream of hot coffee filling the heated pot and the sweet warbling of a mockingbird hidden somewhere close by in shadow.

Not wishing to break the silence, I slowly and quietly opened the window just enough to let the morning air fill the room. A warm breeze fell across my face and I instinctively closed my eyes for a moment to breathe it in. It was perfumed with blooms of hyacinth and a distant light rain that had fallen at some point during the night. It was a magical and exotic scent that can only be experienced during the early morning in spring.

I stood there motionlessly and wordlessly just taking in the scent and watching the orange sun fill the room. As it occurred, my mind was also filled with the wonderful and exhilarating knowledge that winter had indeed passed and that today was the first day of the first full month of the spring of 2008.