The Middle Way

Zen Spot #24 -- Mindfulness, meditation and think-stench of the body electric at 315 Bowery February 14, 2018 00:05

West Side bash-printed street art, 2016

West Side bash-printed street art, 2016

-----------------------------------------------

Midnight in Paris

Owen Wilson's character, a contemporary Los Angeles scriptwriter, finds himself in Paris with his fiance, on vacation with her parents. Inspired by the creative culture in turn-of-the-century Paris, he daydreams  of the body electric collected by Gertrude Stein: Hemingway, Picasso, Fitzgerald, Man Ray, Dali, Bunuel, Barnes, Porter and more. Evening strolls stoke the romance.

Sitting alone on a marble staircase in Montmartre, at midnight, a rowdy vintage limousine slowly pulls up. The passengers warmly wave, inviting him to take a ride. Shortly, having gently time-warped, he arrives at a house party honoring the writer Jean Cocteau, in turn-of-the-century Paris, his heroes all attending the fête.

Think-stench and the body electric

The walls of CBGB, the Punk music club in New York City’s Bowery were true, ambitious, calculated, spiraling and unconscious. Control that could have been exercised over the crucifixion of cheap playbills was turned over to the gods and chance. 

That singular, never-ending, unanswerable, existential question forever torn apart by the intelligentsia floated between the walls. Musicians, artists, writers and thinkers grabbed it. Bash-printing that day's conclusion on the cheapest crap available, they stapled their ten word manifestos to the plaster with hope. Religion of a sort. The body electric drenched in think-stench.

I was alive. Ninety miles away. Too young, but I read, listened and daydreamed. Byrne, Harry, Reed, Warhol, Basquiat, Ramone, Schnabel, The Dolls, Television, Smith and Madonna. My Paris. 

Last month 

Ninety mile bus ride. Broken foot. Hours hobbling through West Side galleries that held the art of the artists I wanted to be, supported by the patrons I wanted to know, in the place I would have died in late-century New York City. The substances that almost took my life in the 90s would have achieved their goal in the 70s.

Sitting on a public staircase across the street from a gallery I had just visited, a rowdy cab pulled up to the curb. A young man , an artist maybe, was waved over by the fares. He got inside.

I took a breath and closed my eyes.

>

About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Invented by DharmaMechanic
-
-
-

Zen Spot #74 — Mindfulness, meditation and a wandering, anonymous street artist February 10, 2018 00:05

Glued 

My love of street art is well documented. From small Sharpie drawings on postal stickers cemented to the back of traffic signs, to large paintings on the outside walls of corner bars, the need for visual artists to express themselves fascinates me. Each tells a personal story.

90 miles of love

Whatever story the artist is telling in the photo above, it turns like the page of an esoteric children’s book. Something about a king and her court perhaps. There is a specificity. No matter, it is personal, for now.

I found it in Philadelphia, in October.

There was no telling, in the moment, that the artwork above was a single page until, while walking on the east side of Eighth Avenue, near Jane Street, in New York City, that I passed another drawing by the same artist, plastered to a similar mail box. It fit the shape of the box the same way — trimmed, with the rounded top. Black and white, but different. Flimsy paper that two or three good rains can destroy. 

I’m not sure if the image had changed or if it was the next page from the same story.

The artist traveled 90 miles. Was she from Brooklyn and visiting Philadelphia? Vice versa? Is the story told, one page at a time, in cities all over the country? All over the world?

I found the New York image in March.

A confession?

Must one travel to turn all the pages to find out what happens? Is the message so personal — and awful — that its truth must be shared, with the express intent of never having one person know the whole story, with its creator still having screamed it quietly to the whole world. 

Guilty. 

You.

The southern sky

In Philadelphia, I leaned back against the green metal, faced the southern sky and folded my legs. An awful page from a personal story opened in my mind’s eye. Never a children’s book.

Sometimes it’s enough to simply absorb the sun on one’s face.

>

About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?