Street art at Zhongshan Station, Taipei.

On Friday I went to the Museum of Modern Art in Taipei, to be honest I found the public artworks at the Zhongshan MRT Station much more interesting, it seems sometimes museums get stuck for ideas and just fill the space with work that lacks imagination and impact. I guess this is also just my preference.

I do have a fondness for abstraction and character, so of course these works around the MRT (subway station) caught my eye, I also really appreciate art that is public, as opposed to art that is made exclusive by being housed in a gallery or museum, when it comes to inside art, I still make an effort and enjoy a lot of the works I see, but the whole idea that art is for and by everyone, really is communicated much better through street art, than by art which we often have to pay to see and that is put on a pedestal, .i.e. it exists as some kind of status symbol for those who buy it and I guess the artist too, I do hope to do more exhibitions, don’t get me wrong, but I also like to get work out into the world, literally.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Dead city

The concrete feels devoid of life, bricks and mortar stone cold, silent, with mechanical rolling wheels, and commuters busily walking here and there, life is less and more discreet, polite.

The countryside swishing, hissing and churping with frogs, crickets, birds, rats, mosquitoes, water running, cascading, rain falling, thundering on tin rooves, exhausted by it all.

We are a social species, there’s safety in numbers, follow the herd, are rewarded by giving, love, creativity and sharing, build great things together, supporting one another, our nature seems to be to gather, to congregate, and then defend our place against the outsider, the thief, immigrant, stranger, those who are different, until we become used to and adapt our minds to include and expand our social circle.

An open mind allows reality to change and for the truth to be revealed, or a useful lie to block what we are not ready to see, yet.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

My new online shop

I now have a shop on my website, the first two works are books, the first one is my first book of poetry, featuring a range of works from the past 12 months, ranging from UK focused experiences to Beijing and lots in-between. Secondly is the Camino de Santiago illustrated story, this was inspired by my experiences walking the Camino in Spain in 2011, a 30 day pilgrimage on the “French Way“, I started in Pamploma and ended in Fistera, 700k across the North of Spain.

Thanks for reading and if you decide to read any of my two books and hopefully for supporting my efforts and contributing to my creative process, lots more coming this way. Sam

I see actors and fashion shows everyday

As we walk down the city streets, we present ourselves as we want to be percieved, how we move, speak and dress, is all an act, yet some claim that they are not creative, even seconds after painting their faces like theatre performers, ready to walk around with a well rehearsed, public facial expression, human creativity has become disconnected.

Do artists also have this way of thinking? We all act in public, whether we admit it or not, to conform or resist is perhaps the same, the show goes on, but when we paint, draw and sculpt we seem to be following the same habit, always seeking a raising of status through our art, even doing so in a very calculated way, perhaps this expectation is what has made a lot of art become boring and formulaic, especially with commercial works.

It seems there is so much art produced to order, is the faith is no more? the world is full of art factories slowly doing the same thing over and over, because it sells, nothing wrong with making a living, but where is the inspiration for humanity, if artists aren’t making works that ask questions.

Please share your thoughts, Sam

Laundrette

Every week I come here, for the past three weeks anyway, I’m in the routine now. I have rarely used a laundrette, but it is an interesting experience, feels like I’m in the US, perhaps like an advert for Levis.

The week before last, another volunteer, staying with us at Homgoo Village also used the public laundrette here, but he managed to block the money slot, apparently the staff were extremely patient, as they tried to work out what the problem was, but my view of the incident was from across the street, through a cafe window, to me the laundrette staff member looked really angry, as he was waving his arms all over the place, it’s interesting how things can so easily be miss read, by me atleast, though maybe he had a polite voice, but his frustrations were coming out through his arms.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Camino de Santiago

In my life have taken on some big challenges, courses, jobs, teaching, facing difficult decisions, but nothing can compare to walking across Spain on the Camino de Santiago, (oh except doing a 10 day water fast). Walking along hot dusty roads, 6 hours a day, with the same scenery mile after mile, one of the biggest challenges was boredom, followed closely by pain, thirdly annoyance, getting up at the crack of dawn day in and day out seems like any normal way of living, like working five days a week doing a nine to five, though in comparison, most jobs you do get two days off a week, on the Camino I walked everyday for a month, I had only a couple of days out, but then it was a big change in what I did with my time, a change is as good as a break they say.

Dwelling on the daily grind got me down and distracted me from all the great things happening and opportunities that came my way, whilst on the way, if only I could stop complaining enough to be able to focus on them.

I remember walking one day and feeling very bored and disheartened, I asked myself, what was the point and why continue on that seemingly never ending road, I wondered if there was any way to make the most of things on the road, and if I found a way then, perhaps I could also use it when I returned to normal life, after the Camino.

I decided to focus on the nice things around me, that my senses were experienceing, such as the crunch of stones as I walked, the wind brushing around me, the sound of birds and the view, over time I realised that not thinking was allowing me to be peaceful and really experience the moment.

These days I continue to walk the Camino in my daily life, it is often difficult and I regularlh forget to stop and smell the flowers, to experience the wind and many of the other opportunities to be in the moment, but it is always there for me when I need it, and I do everyday.

Thanks for reading, Sam.