The Psychology Behind Japanese Tattoos

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The art of Japanese tattooing has gained great popularity over the years. From the days when it was associated with the Yakuza, it has come a long way in representing the whole of Japanese culture and tradition. Japanese art always has something for everyone. Whether you want a cherry blossom design or wish to go for a fierce dragon, you will find it all in different styles, colors and designs. Ranging from a koi fish to a mortal combat scene, Japanese tattoos have a variety of meanings associated with their art.

History and significance of Japanese tattoos

There is a rich and strong historical background behind all Japanese tattoos. There are designs inspired by old figurines on tombs and some historical documents indicate that Japanese men used to have their faces and bodies decorated in various colors and styles. Then later in Japanese history when Chinese culture left its influence on Japan, tattooing became taboo and was reserved for criminals and outcasts. Traditional Japanese tattoos used to symbolize different types of character in people. Currently, Japanese tattoos are famous for ranging from small tattoos to brilliant large-sized designs that can cover an entire arm of the person having it tattooed.

Japanese tattoo designs and symbolism

There are various types of Japanese tattoo designs that are famous among people for their special significance. Some of these are the following:

Cherry Blossom: These are symbolic of life and are also known as Sakura. Though cherry blossoms are fragile it is considered to be their beauty that they are able to survive and bloom even in harsh conditions. Japanese culture believes that life should be lived to the fullest and the awareness of death should govern good living. That is the power of a cherry blossom tattoo, and one should take good care of it when it is tattooed onto the body.

Koi Fish: Koi fish are brightly-colored fish that are related to the spiritual significance of the Japanese culture and are very famous in tattoo designs. It is believed by Japanese people that koi fish go upstream to reach the gates of heaven where they become dragons. Koi fish are representative of power, ambition, strength, luck and individuality. If a tattoo has to symbolize a person’s struggle in life, then a koi fish tattoo is the perfect way to do that.

Dragons: Being an important part of the culture of Japan, dragons symbolize wisdom, strength, freedom, power and courage. They even symbolize supernatural powers at times. It is important to choose the right colors for dragons, though, as each symbolizes something different. So, you can get dragons designed in a variety of ways after checking their significance with your artist.

Hannya Masks: This is a traditional design where the meaning of demonic masks comes from kabuki plays. These tattoos represent good luck and are believed to ward off evil.

There are several other Japanese tattoo designs that you might like, but make sure you know their meanings and significance before getting any of them tattooed.

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Source by Kristen Dunn

Composition and Painting – Learn the Techniques of the Masters With Online Art Lessons

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People who appreciate fine art are much more in tune with the beauty of their surroundings. The color of a sunset, the texture a seashell, and the spice-colored palette of an autumn landscape can provide daily inspiration to anyone, but artistic souls are so visually stimulated, they want to recreate the beauty that surrounds them. Have you ever wished you had taken art lessons as a young adult? Or perhaps you are a homeschooler looking for art lessons for your children. Now, it is possible to take art lessons online with some of the most talented artists of our time without ever leaving your home.

Taking lessons in art can make the difference between a mild interest in painting and a lifelong passion for the arts. Art instruction for elementary school students can uncover talents that lie just beneath the surface in a child, and discovering these skills early in life can instill confidence and develop career options that might have otherwise been missed. Art classes can now be taken with an online video training course, such as the Value of Dark and Light course, or the Color Wheel Magic 101 and 202. Taking both of these courses is highly recommended for people who want to make powerful and harmonious color while employing dark and light values.

Understanding how to use color creatively along with dark and light shading can make a world of difference in a piece of artwork. Other online art instruction include bead art, polymer clay courses, digital art, colored pencil techniques, art theory, composition and photography. Whether you are looking for primary art lessons for students or secondary art lessons for budding professionals, the easiest way to master new techniques is through online art lessons.

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Source by Donna Kato

The Inspiration of Dragonball and Dragonball Z

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With Dragon Ball Z (or “Dragonball Z”) hitting the top of the anime series charts, many anime fans have asked what it was that inspired the artist to create this truly exciting series. Dragon Ball Z has taken the world by storm and there is no question that Japanese manga artist, Akira Toriyama created an anime series that has been pure pleasure for fans throughout the world. The Dragon Ball series has sparked the creation of dozens of best-selling video fighting games, popular the world over. Not only can you buy the Dragon Ball video games, including Dragon Ball GT, there are also myriad sites to obtain cheats and walk-throughs for all the games.

But what inspired this incredible mixture of fantasy and imagination? What has taken Dragon Ball beyond others for anime fans and placed it at the top of the ranks? What are its roots?

As a child, Akira avidly watched anime, a style of Japanese video cartoon animation. When he was 10 years old, he moved into manga, which is the Japanese word for comics. He assimilated his inspiration from other sources as well. Growing up as a Jackie Chan fan, a key stimulus for Dragon Ball was Jackie Chan’s first movie, Drunken Master.

How did he come to make it in the manga world? It all started with submitting a story to a monthly contest for amateur artists, and although he didn’t win, the editor later hired him. After a year of hard work, he became a pro. Doing manga, he feels, can bring out his individuality since he creates both the story and the art.

The incredibly illustrated attacks that come to fruition in Dragon Ball Z were inspired by an ancient art in China, Chi (also spelled Ki), which means Universal Life Energy. Chi is usually formless and invisible, but in manga art, Toriyama gave it form so it is easily grasped. In Dragon Ball, another well-known attack is called kamehameha, for which our anime artist did many poses himself and chose the best.

Plot developments and characters were often inspired by letters from readers, such as one character, Vegeta. Toriyama found that he was often inspired by the feedback of his fans and used the advantage to spark the imagination in his anime series.

Influenced by Walt Disney’s works such as 101 Dalmatians, and the work of another manga artist writer and illustrator, Osamu Tezuka (creator of Astro Boy and known as the “Walt Disney of Japan”), he made his creations come alive in Dragon Ball, perhaps inspired by the aforementioned, but truly the creativity of his own mind. The Dragon Ball anime series has likely been the inspiration of other manga artists in its own right.

When asked what materials he uses in creating his art, he responds that he used to use quill pens and color inks, but today uses a Macintosh. And who can question the efficiency in modern equipment in exceptional anime and manga.

And with a new re-mastered Dragon Ball Z Season One (the first 39 episodes restored) coming in as the best selling series to date, Japanese artist, Akira Toriyama will most certainly be known as the most inspired manga artist of his time.

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Source by Andrew Wills

Paint Fumes Air Purifier – 5 Best Features For Effectiveness

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The effects of breathing paint fumes can produce uncomfortable symptoms as well as serious health problems when exposure is continuous for long periods. Using an air cleaner to eliminate these hazardous chemicals is the most effective and here are 5 features the cleaner should have in order to work.

Carbon Filter — Carbon is recognized the world over as being superior in its ability to remove gaseous pollutants such as chemicals, gases, and odors. If you’re dealing with fumes from paints, this filter is a must-have.

A fairly large quantity of carbon makes it able to work well. And to be effective quantities should range from 7 to 15 pounds.

Additive to Enhance Carbon’s Capability — Noxious fumes such as those created by some paints, oil in particular, are tough for even carbon alone to completely eliminate.

So in addition to the carbon, there should also be an additive used to enhance its ability to effectively remove the VOCs. The most effective additive has proven to be potassium iodide.

Ability to Operate 24 Hours — The odor from paint can be noticeable anywhere from several days to a week. Even though the smell may be more subtle, it can takes weeks for this chemicals to stop. And just because the nose can no longer smell them doesn’t mean they aren’t still there.

Having a cleaner that can continually trap these odors keeps the air fresh and healthy all the time. In order to be able to operate continuously, a split capacitor motor is necessary.

Check the technical specifications or the owner’s manual to verify that the unit has this type of motor. If it does, you can relax knowing that these fumes are being removed 24 hours a day by the purifier without risking the safety of your family or your home.

Multiple Filtration Speeds — A unit with that will allow you to speed up filtration when the air is thick and cut back on the speed when all is well will save you money, and ultimately give you the most control over your air.

Being able to take the fumes out almost as quickly as they go into the air allows you to breathe the freshest air possible all the time.

It Can Go With You — Being able to have the unit move across the floor or across the country with you offers huge benefits.. A two prong plug assures you that it can plug in safely anywhere you need it to without requiring an adapter for the plug. It also means that you can relax knowing that regardless of the source of the airborne chemicals, clean air is always as close as the nearest outlet.

Description – If you are exposed to paint fumes on a regular basis, clearing the air of the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) that evaporate into the air is crucial if you are to maintain your good health. Here are 5 features that the air purifier must have if it is to be effective.

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Source by Debbie Davis

How to Overcome the Six Stages of Anger

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Perhaps it is fair to say that none of us can avoid anger. Whether we like it or not something is going to tick us off that may eventually spiral out of control and lead us to places we wish we had never ventured into. There are mainly two types of anger, the quick fire anger which reaches its peak in a matter of seconds and the slow burn which unravels itself in due time. Nevertheless for either type to succeed, anger must go through several stages before it boils over into something more sinister. We can determine the six stages of anger by these words from the bible, 'Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.' Below is an examination of these stages and how we can overcome them.

Bitterness
Bitterness is the embryonic stage of anger. Its birth is as a result of our inner self disagreeing with something. This is human and cannot be avoided. The truth is this is can be healthy to a point because in its own way establishes our identity. We know who we are, what we like and dislike and it can be a pretext for gaining wisdom and understanding. If bitterness is addressed in the correct way and reflected upon we can easily rise above it and gain understanding. There are various outlets for this, agreeing to disagree, accepting others opinion, allowing time to gain understanding and accepting that matters can be beyond our control. If any of these are applied correctly then our bitterness is easily uprooted. If not we are led into the next stage of anger which is wrath.

Wrath
In wrath we are fuming and expect ourselves to react to the bitterness we endured. For people with the quick fire anger, this stage of anger barely exists as they unleash their wrath on others without allowing time for reflection. For the slow burn it is a case of developing hatred as the thoughts that formulate within their minds set off alarm bells for retaliation. Wrath is the key stage to walk away from anger. It is the point of forgiveness where we realize nothing we do can change how we feel about the situation. It is a case of walking away or willing ourselves not to be drawn into the next stage. In any event it is our last saving point of grace before we get angry.

Anger
Anger at this point in the process means, we are unable to control bitterness and have allowed our wrath to take control of us. Without God's grace it would be impossible to turn this anger into righteous anger. Righteous anger in this case is instructional and focused on correction rather than retaliation. To distinguish between righteous anger and that which isn't we can examine the results from either. Righteous anger leads to a better understanding where as unrighteous anger usually results in disaster. If unrighteous anger takes over at this point then we head straight for clamor.

Clamor
Perhaps righteous anger may spill over to clamor to get our point across and ensure that the corrective message gets through. Most times the loud voice will still hold authority and be controlled. With unrighteous anger clamor is loud, aggressive and intentionally destructive. It is meant to hurt, frighten and oppress and most times it gets these results for its effort. If we have reached this stage of anger and are not in the righteous mood then we must walk away from the situation. It means we have no control of what happens next and its best not to be in the vicinity of what may have brought this on. When clamor has taken its toll on us we move into evil speaking.

Evil Speaking
In this there is no control of our anger. There is no spirit of good left in our actions and our sole purpose is to inflict pain. This stage of anger is the quaking stage, we become breathless and evil surrounds our being. We call upon every component of arrogance, pride and all the bad we can muster from the world to exert whatever force of evil we can find on what has made us angry. It is a difficult place to come back from unless we are saved by the grace of the Lord. We should hope that there is someone else available to pull us from this place. It is unsafe and can spill over to a place of no return called malice.

Malice
Malice is the final stage of anger and the worst place to be. Here we we have become judge and jury of our thoughts and want retribution. If those who suffer from the slow burn anger ever get to this stage, their actions are premeditated. They have determined carefully what they wish to do and are now exacting their anger in accordance. For those of the quick fire anger, their actions are swift, disastrous and terminal. Either way there is no safe bed to come from this except regret and repentance. Perhaps the best thing to do after exerting our malice on anyone is to ask for forgiveness. There is no way else out of this except seeking God.

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Source by Leslie Musoko

The Intersection of "The Jam Part I – A History of Rock and Roll" Pointillism Artwork and Motorcycle

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The home of Canadian pen and ink artist Michael Keirstead has echoed a rhythmic ratta-at-tat for most of the past two decades; the delicate tapping succumbing to the occasional four stroke chrome-clad roar from the garage. Naturally, the neighbors appreciated the substantial musical accompaniment and the constant buzz of conversation and laughter from the ever-present family and friends!

In this household, everyone is drawn to the ratta-tat-tat from the Art Studio, and the driveway served a continual stream of 2-wheeled traffic. The Art Studio is where it all went down. You see, while the rest of us were tinkering with our motorycyles and doing that 9-5 thing, Mike was busy in his studio with an additional passion: the dotting. Ratta-tat-tat.

This crazy guy came up with the idea to mastermind a drawing, which would bring together the faces of over one hundred of the most influential contemporary musicians and chronicle the evolution of rock music. However, it was not to be simply be a drawing, "The Jam" would be a HUGE drawing: four feet high and eight feet wide. Big enough to make a piece of plywood shake in its boots. Mike was to spend months selecting which musicians to include and where to place them relative to one another so that a story would be told.

"The Jam" followed Buddy Holly and Elvis through to Motown, Folk, the British Invasion, Heavy Metal, and Punk, including classics such as the Stones, Doors, and Beatles. Mike soon discovered that a task of this scope would not be completed in a single summer, especially because the gargantuan masterpiece he envisioned would not be a sketch, but a stipple: a pointillism, comprised of little dots made with a black ink pen.

Ratta-tat-tat is the sound his pen made as it contacted the canvas. Ratta-tat-tat is the sound the tunes muffled when they were cranked. Ratta-tat-tat was the only sound that could be heard late into the afternoons when Mike worked in solitude, hoping his vision would one day be complete. Each little dot worked with each other little dot to create the shading and form which fools the eye into seeing a picture. The farther apart the dots are, the lighter the tones; the closer together the dots are, the darker the tones. The project, begun in 1979, took him eight years and would have driven him mad if not for his motorcycle.

You see, Mike was working on another project; rebuilding a 1973 Triumph Daytona 500 to have a customized tank, six-foot forks, dazzling chrome, and a luscious Springer front end. The Triumph also made a ratta-tat-tat sound (oops!), But he was hoping for a purr, a humm and was willing to put in the effort and elbow grease and learn more about bikes in the process. Speaking with Mike about it now, he says that the detail of rebuilding and customizing his Triumph ran parallel to the attention to detail that was required to complete the faces on "The Jam".

As each bolt was chromed, the bike would slowly come together much the same way as with each completed face the artwork would come together. At times when the artwork seemed too painstakingly slow, it was refreshing to do something physical with his body: welding, lifting, sweating, getting dirty, using his mind for something 3D, instead of sitting still dotting, getting a hand cramp, being ultra clean and not smudging, and working in two dimensions. Mike would dot for a while then build his Triumph for a while, then dot, then go for a spin on his rigid 1978 Shovelhead.

Towards the end of that eight year dotting period, after numerous bolts were taken down the road for re-chroming, the finished Triumph was given its reins and Mike was finally able to take her for those re-energizing rides he needed so much. The theory was, if the chopper could be finished, so could "The Jam": Mike was spurred on, but there was a nagging thought in his head, is your custom classic bike ever really completed? Isn't there always more tinkering to do?

This same conflict is what Mike was up against with his artwork, too. There were far too many talented musicians to recognize than could possibly fit into "The Jam". Rock music had not stood still and exciting bands were emerging all over the place. The canvas was full, but the story of rock was incomplete. There was only one solution: "The Jam" would have to become part of a series of artworks, its full name would be "The Jam Part I – A History" and Michael would eventually have to stipple a "Part II".

In 1986 "The Jam Part I – A History" was finished and Mike sold many thousands of the poster-sized versions and 300 original sized 4 x 8 foot Limited Edition silk-screens to people at rock festivals and to his fellow bike-enthusiasts. Every self-respecting music fan seemed to want one or to have one hanging on their walls. The sales of these prints took the "starving" out of "starving artist". As a reward for his artistic efforts, Mike soon acquired a 1985 Heritage Softail and headed out to BC to spend his time cruising the Coquahalla. In BC he met his patron, a fellow bike-enthusiast.

His patron's first commission was a "Jam" Motorcycle: a custom paint job based on Keirstead's copyrighted, "The Jam Part I" artwork airbrushed onto a Kenny Boyce framed 108 cubic inch SS. Permission was granted and the airbrushing on the tank and fenders was magnificently sprayed by Todd Goggal. Sweet! The bike was on display at the old The Dayton Boot Co. Ltd. location on Granville Street in Vancouver.

Once settled in BC and with the help of his Medici-esque patron, began the intense work on the second "Jam" artwork full time. While dotting the second "Jam", Mike acquired the custom 1982 FXR Harley (which he currently rides) and also began to rekindle his boyhood love of dirt biking. He began collecting Honda CT70s and Honda Enduros. When he was 9 years old Mike would bomb around his family's Uxbridge, Ontario farm on a Honda CT70, and now he was teaching his two kids and his girlfriend to ride. It looks like some things just get passed on from generation to generation. His girlfriend Lola has mastered the CT70 and has now moved up to the Enduro. She is now teaching her girlfriends to ride the trails at their home.

History again repeated itself when Mike was dotting his second piece "The Jam Part II – Long Live Rock & Roll", as he again spent many a year doing the ratta-tat-tat dotting interspersed with a biking. But this time, it was riding the dirt trails near his home in the Okanagan Valley that provided the much needed release from his painstaking art. "The Jam Part II" was begun in the mid-1990's and completed in 2002. It continues telling the story of rock music and again depicts over 140 musician faces plus elements of the rock lifestyle. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kurt Cobain, Tom Cochrane and many others grace this masterpiece.

To those in the know, "The Jam" has become a legacy, and now that the second in the series has been completed, a bridge has been built for generations of music lovers. Plans are in the works to commission another "Jam" motorcycle; Mike is thinking perhaps "The Jam Part II" will be airbrushed onto a Road King this time. Or perhaps he'll have it airbrushed onto his first love, his old Triumph?

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Source by Melanie TerBorg

Symbolism of the Machine As a Savior in Modern Art

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The transformation of society that began with the invention of the steam engine has been aptly called the industrial revolution. The colossal impact of technology on the formerly rural, agrarian culture of the western world can scarcely be imagined today. For some, the increasingly widespread use of the machine elicited messianic hope.

This ecstatic view of technology is graphically revealed in the work of a number of modern artists. One of the prime examples of this view of technology and the machine as savior for the human race is Robert Delaunay’s “Homage to Bleriot,” painted in 1914.

In the late 1800’s, the machine was often heralded as the quintessential symbol of man’s continued progress. Obedient and strong, the machine was a slave that necessitated little moral apprehension. The machine was an expression not only of man’s rational nature, but also of his unlimited creative potential. In line with this thinking, Robert Delaunay’s “Homage to Bleriot ” is virtually a hymn of praise to the genius and confidence of modern man in his machines.

The painting is named after Louis Bleriot, a French aviator who was the first to fly the English Channel. Bleriot was Delaunay’s prototype of the modern man. Man was now creating his own world through the use of benevolent and powerful machines. Likewise, the conventions of painting and the arts would have to give way to a new order.

Traditional, naturalistic perspective was no longer appropriate. Instead, Delaunay and his fellow Cubists flattened and distorted space. In “Homage to Bleriot,” the representational images of flight (propellers, wheels, wings) project and recede based solely on the artist’s will. Delaunay’s combination of sharp edges and blended lines further indicates that air and matter are no longer clearly differentiated. This is no cause for concern, however, since man as the aviator is now the master of both.

Through the victorious capabilities of the aircraft, man is no longer tied to the ground and can soar freely. Even Delaunay’s image of the earthbound Eiffel Tower floats in amorphous space. The machine has given man a new sense of the infinite reaches of the universe available for exploration and conquest. Delaunay’s colorful and energetic shapes do not completely fill the canvas, but fade into a blue-purple on the upper horizon like a deep night sky beckoning humanity onward.

The new sense of speed and dynamism bestowed by machine transportation can be seen in Delaunay’s multiple perspectives and the shifting complexity of “Homage to Bleriot.” Shapes are superimposed upon one another in a bright and almost flickering succession. Delaunay’s prominent discs symbolize the raw energy now at man’s disposal. The repeated discs of varying sizes as well as the use of multiple focal points keep the viewer’s eye in almost constant motion. Life is no longer static, and the future heralded by the machine is full of constructive activity.

Even the human-like figures depicted just below the Eiffel Tower are twisting and turning. Man himself is in full swing. Surely he will solve all of the problems of society with the aid of his trusty technological servants! No longer reliant only on hope and prayer, man is now a new type of Creator.

Man’s inventions and their promise inspire an almost religious awe. Delaunay’s carefully placed shapes of geometric color are undoubtedly references to the stained glass windows proudly displayed for centuries in chapels and cathedrals to teach religious truth to the masses.

For Delaunay and other artistic heralds of the modern world, mankind’s salvation seems to lie not in the God-given bounty of agriculture and land, but in the wealth of industry sired by the machine. Other than Delaunay’s possible stylized references to the sky and the earth, “Homage to Bleriot” is almost devoid of natural objects.

Like other modernist movements including Futurism, the Cubists saw the power of the machine as a means to attain freedom from the social injustices of history. The good, obedient machine would serve all equally and democratically. Nobility and title would be meaningless. Following the lead of art focused on internal interactions rather than on a hierarchy of subject and background, class lines in politics would soon be abolished. In this progressive restructuring of the natural order, speed was of the essence. The industrial revolution would complete what was begun in the French and American political revolutions.

The energy and rapid pace of life bestowed by the machine is emphasized in “Homage to Bleriot” through the strong color scheme based on red, yellow, green, blue and black. The extensive and labored shading that had long been utilized in more naturalistic renderings has been replaced with pure, almost unmixed hues. Although Delaunay is working in the traditional media of oil on canvas, the browns, tans, grays, and muted greens of earlier landscapes are replaced by the colors of the imagination and of the mind.

These colors do not depict a peaceful meditation, however, but a deafening roar of motors. Delaunay’s brassy color scheme is like that of an optimistic, cheerful child whose fairy godmother has finally arrived. She is beautiful and powerful, clothed in steel and flying with the aid of a propeller glinting in the sun. Welcome to the modern world where the machine is the new savior.

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Source by Kathleen Karlsen

Contemporary Art in Guadeloupe

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When thinking of Caribbean art, seascapes and brightly painted tropical scenes usually spring to mind. But in the case of Guadeloupe’s contemporary art scene, you may be surprised to discover a wealth of originality. While Guadeloupe’s artists do call upon island influences in creating their works, the results are often far from expected.

Koukara

The predominant art movement in Guadeloupe today, Koukara, began in 1988. Meaning “the Caribbean colors,” Koukara emphasizes the unity of the Caribbean people. Founded by art professors Klodi Cancelier, Lucien Léogane, and Jacques Lampécinado, its avant-garde aesthetic tends to be abstract or surreal, often with indigenous touches.

The movement’s artists characteristically use the Fibressences method to create mixed media pieces. Fibressences incorporates natural materials in artworks, such as bits of wood, coconut fibers, sugar cane, and sand. These elements add an interesting three-dimensional quality to the work, as well as creating a close connection to the environment. Paintings in vibrant and deep hues make up the majority of pieces, but there are some exceptions. Karine Gabon paints on hanging fabrics and other materials, with an earth-toned color palette that enhances her primitive motifs; she also creates abstract sculptures. And Klodi Cancelier’s paper series juxtaposed pieces of handmade papers painted with different colors and symbols.

The Koukara group has grown rapidly since its inception. With many of Guadeloupe’s artists taking part in the movement, its style and ideals will likely continue to thrive in the coming years.

Other Contemporary Art

While Koukara is an important movement, it isn’t the only type of art to be found in Guadeloupe. Thierry Bergame’s surreal pop art displays a singular style and sense of humor. On the other hand, Déglas paints scenes with lighter tones and in a more naturalistic style, though he often includes fantastic elements like anthropomorphic animals and skeletons. Jean-Marc Hunt mainly uses objects like tools, pieces of wood, and even a sewing machine to create his sculptures. And while his paintings share a similar style with the Koukara group, his subject matter is generally quite different.

Guadeloupe’s contemporary art scene has captured international attention. Its artists have participated in exhibits throughout the Caribbean, France, the U.S., Canada, and Costa Rica. In spite of its relatively small size, this island nation cultivates big talent.

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Source by Karen Joslin

Meiji Art in Japan

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What is the Meiji Era?

The Meiji Era was a time period in Japan, under which Emperor Meiji started Japan’s modernization. Under Meiji, Japan climbed to world power status. Emperor Meiji’s rule ran from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. The Meiji restoration effectively brought the Shogun feudal system to an end and restored imperial rule.

The Effects of Meiji and the Restoration

The Meiji and imperial restoration was largely responsible for the industrialization of Japan which allowed Japan to rise as a military power by 1905. This was accomplished in mainly two ways: the first was the 3,000 or so foreign experts that were brought into Japan to teach an assortment of specialist subjects; the second was government subsidies to students to go abroad into mainly Europe and America. This vast influx of western culture and ideals impacted many aspects of Japanese life in this era, one being the arts.

Art in Japan during the Meiji Era

These new western ideas split Japan in two directions, upholding traditional values or assimilate these new, different – sometimes radical – new ideas into their own culture. By the early 1900’s, many European forms of art were already well known and their intermingling with Japanese art created some noteworthy architectural feats such as the Tokyo Train Station and the National Diet Building. During the Meiji Era, manga were first drawn; manga was inspired from French and English political cartoons. The polarity of traditional versus western cause two distinct art styles to develop: Yooga (Western-influenced) and Nihonga (Traditional Japanese style).

Yooga was characterized as Renaissance style painting – oil paintings on a canvas, dramatic lighting, the subject matter is adorned in western attire, using the third dimension and using techniques such as vanishing points and having distant objects be vague. Two artists who were important to the expansion of western style painting and art were Kawakami Togai and Koyama Shoutaro. Because of these two men, and Togai’s assistant Takahashi Yuichi, western art became a school of art in the Meiji period. However the pendulum swung both ways; while many seemed to embrace the new western lifestyle, there were also those who opposed change. This rapid influx of foreign culture also caused a state of confusion, many Japanese felt that Japan had lost its identity and would often look towards Asia for a reminder of where they fit in. This also had an influence on the style at the time, Yokoyama Taikan’s “Ryuutou” or “Floating Lanterns” is an example of an attempt to confirm Japan’s identity as part of Asia. The Meiji era ended in 1912 with the death of the Emperor.

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Source by Craig Lodge

The Delicate Art Of Give And Take

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Recently, a young lady, who asked to be identified as "Lost my Soulmate" wrote in to an advice column after her fiancé broke up with her. It was five months later, and she was still hurting terribly.
"… Now I'm severely depressed, I bared my soul to him, I loved him with my heart, body and soul … I let my career go, I defied my parents, (I had a solid, loving relationship With my parents and now I've lost even that), I defended him against everyone and everything I did, I did it for him …. He let me love him, and loved me back, so I build my world and dreams around him …
I've just lost myself. Everything that was important to me my entire 26years of life, I gave up, just to make this relationship work, I even compromised on my principles and now I don't have the one thing I prided above all, my honor. Now I'm just a shattered body with no soul and no honor, used, betrayed and lost …. "

My heart ached for her. She had put all her eggs in one basket. When her fiancé left, she was completely lost, having invested in nothing else and sacrificed everything for the sake of the relationship. In my response to her, I gently explained that no man who truly loved her would ask her to sacrifice such things and destroy her honor.

Lost my Soulmate got me to thinking about sacrifice and relationships. When is it necessary, and when have you given too much?

Let's face it; all healthy relationships require lots of give and take. One works to put the other through school. The wife hates Mexican food, but goes to Mexican restaurants regularly due to her husband's love of the stuff. The wife gets an offer to work at her dream job out of the state, and the husband quits his job and relocates with her. Big or small, adjustments will be made when you choose to pair up with someone. So, how can you tell when it's a sacrifice that is unhealthy for you and the relationship?

Here are a few tell tale signs:

o You are the only one sacrificing

o Your partner is asking things of you that go against your values

o You find yourself sacrificing everything else for the sake of the relationship

o Your sacrifices are bringing you further from your life goals

If you look at Lost my Soulmate and her situation, she made several of these mistakes. Even if she and her partner were still together, her sacrifices are still unhealthy and would not help her self worth or the stability of the relationship. There are many ways, however that you can collaborate with your partner to make your personal life and the relationship thrive.

Here are a few ways:

o Help each other fulfill personal dreams and ambitions

o Work and sacrifice together to meet common goals

o Help each other maximize your strengths and manage your deficits

When you and your partner both agree to collaborate and work as a team towards personal goals as well as joined ambitions, you help each other grow to meet your potential. Collaboration helps boost your self esteem, the self esteem of your partner, and the stability of your relationship as you move purposefully together towards the brightening future. So next time you stand at the cross roads of give and take, ask yourself if doing so will build yourself and your partnership up, or if it will cause you to sacrifice things that will only damage you and your relationship.

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Source by Wendy Bridger

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