Candy Crush (Laurence Jenkell’s exhibition)

NYC is a natural resource filled with infinite surprises and skilled artists all over the place.  Everywhere you look, you are exposed to the best-of-the-best creative minds that work toward discovery while battling couch critics and experts at every turn.  

So today while in NYC,  I was blessed to see one such amazing exhibition by the French artist, Laurence Jenkell at the 42nd Street Port Authority Bus Terminal. 

These works immediately catch your eye as giant fiberglass multi-colored candy beacons resting in various focal points inside and outside the terminal as well as in a dedicated open storefront with the artist’s featured pieces.  

Reminscent of sculptures by Jeff Koons, Jenkell’s fiberglass works not only reflect on the surface of her creations, but also welcome internal reflection.  Her large candy structures remind you of the DNA double-helix as well as a wordplay of “candy” and “figure.” Pinched and squeezed,  wrapped and wrapt, the observer cannot help but wander along the artist’s 3 dimensional message.  The choice of a seemingly harmless image: candy both beckons and lures as it explores and defines vague concepts that often escape our understanding.  Familiar terms like “international” are newly defined and represented by Jenkell with appealing, shiny, pre-packaged, individually-wrapped national flags.

Further, Laurence Jenkell engages her audience with interactive pieces like her coffee percolator whose lid you can open and close. Her largest piece, a giant reflective “elephant” in the room reflects you as you reflect on it, walking around its circumference pondering its nipped midriff.  

The artist even challenges the viewer to look with childlike curiosity at terms and events with new eyes.  For example, her representation of the national tragedy 9/11 is at once memorialized, the familiar Twin Towers as national symbol re-created by arranging red, white and blue candies into two U.S. flags standing side by side. While there was nothing “sweet” about that event, the artist continues this explicitly New York theme with her candy version of the “Big Apple” moniker that has been bitten to its core.  Once again, the artist is modifying the familiar to diminish and “candy” mold New York’s namesake into a new object: chewed and incomplete.  

Finally,  this artist is a gracious host. Not only is she offering her work to be viewed FREE of charge,  but she also allows other artists some room to show their own. Namely, a fellow French artist,  Georges Moqay and Jean-Francois.  That is a class act. 

In return, I’ve attached some helpful links to the artist’s website as well as  some hashtags which the Laurence Jenkell is promoting on her Facebook page: #jenkell #exhibition #candies #artworks #soloshow #NYC #PABT #laurencejenkell #contemporaryart #usa #manhattan #timessquare 

If you find yourself in New York this year, I encourage you to view this worthwhile artist exhibit! 

Follow Laurence Jenkell on Facebook [@LaurenceJenkellArtisteSculpteur], Twitter [@LJenkelk] and Instagram [jenkell_official].

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From Wilt to Well

Yesterday,  while making breakfast,  I looked up at one of my favorite houseplants and noticed that it was terribly wilted. I panicked.

I have a long history with plant life. Ever since I was a child,  I took to tending and caring to them even as my mom complained about her lack of a “green-thumb” because I always felt that it was my responsibility.  I would talk to them, water them and care for them so that they would thrive.  

This was a personal mission because I knew all plant-life to be living things and respected nature to the point of speaking kindly to trees in the park and around my neighborhood.  I would run my fingers along the bark, feeling their textures and thanking them for yielding oxygen so that I could breathe. 

I loved what these majestic beings represented to me. I didn’t see them as inanimate at all, but actual living lessons of what human beings could aspire to.  Grounded, rooted, stoic and strong, bending and giving and reaching to the sky…

When scientific research determined that plants sleep, respond to music and environment, and even scream, I knew what a huge responsibility it was to have plants in a human’s care.  So when my poor plant was wilting (suffering in this case to lack of water), I had to act immediately!

The location was the issue. This particular plant is kept in an elevated planter in my kitchen which means that during the winter months, while the heat in my home rises, the plant will dry out quicker than the others.  Luckily, the leaves were still green and weren’t yellowing.  This meant that in theory, the plant could spring back to life when watered. So, I acted quickly and dug some holes in the soil to help the water seep in.  

And today, I’m happy to report that the plant has perked up! Ta da!!!


So I considered the lesson that this adorable little houseplant was trying to teach me…wordlessly.  I drew a parallel about self-care. Like houseplants, we all need to be paid attention to, cared for,  and nourished. If we do not carefully care for ourselves,  it is so easy to wilt, grow yellow, fall apart,  and eventually die.  But if we take the time to do the things necessary to care for ourselves, our bodies, and our minds, then we can perk up and join all of the natural world in celebrating life!  Now that’s what I call, “abundance”!

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Still Terrified But Doing It Anyway

Today, I posted a video to my Facebook page going live with my monthly sticker updates (something I have done since I became administrator for a worthwhile Mail Art & Planner Facebook group).

This is something that I get very anxious about. What if no one watches?  What if what I say doesn’t matter?  What if I look like a fool?  I’m afraid, I’m afraid, I’M AFRAID…!!

But I did it anyway.

Sticker Me

Creativity cannot exist in a vacuum.  It requires an exchange of ideas and sharing skill sets, knowledge, and encouragement.  These are crucial to be able to grow and shape who you are as an artist.

But on a personal level, it is allowing myself to be visible and to live my true nature.  It involves embracing my vulnerability, my *gasp* introversion (something that was programmed out of me at a very young age to my detriment), and who I want to show to the world-at-large even at the risk of being ostracized, misunderstood, and criticized.

Trust me, I’ve lived a life where I competed with others to be noticed.  I did it all through high school and college in order to satisfy my parents, teachers, authority figures.  I also did it as a survival strategy in order to be liked, to gain a false sense of self, and to hide behind an image so that I could protect the scared children that lived inside of me.

But this way of life no longer serves me.  It just makes me feel like I’m forcing a square peg in a round hole.

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So here I am world…! I am embracing something new and stepping into the terrifying role of being who I am.

It’s a pleasure virtually meeting you…Hi.

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We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

After an eleven year run at my job, I have been “let go” or “absorbed.” Words like these are meant to soften the blow sprinkling euphemisms like, “selected” and “reduced” to sugar-coat the reality of the situation. None of these words are really helpful nor are they really hurtful–they are just words. But for me,  it just means that I am being released back into a much bigger pool instead of the tank to which I’d grown accustomed. It means newness and change and challenges. It also means discomfort which comes from uncertainty.


There is a process that occurs when someone “moves your cheese” that is similar to grieving. At first,  you may be shocked,  befuddled,  and confused. Then, the feelings give way to anger and incredulity. You may feel as though you need to retaliate or that you are owed something. But no–it is just like a sneeze. Sometimes, it just hangs in the air, as you preemptively brace yourself,  covering  your nasal passages and…a
nd…and…

Nothing. 

Other times, it just springs up seemingly out of nowhere, catching you–and those around you–by surprise.  But still…nothing.  Maybe you never got to cover your nose and mouth in time…but it really is the universe alerting you to pay attention to your environ.

I Can’t Work Now, I’m Allergic!

Have you ever not paid attention to obvious symptoms of an allergy? You end up sitting there itching and scratching, but you don’t do anything.  Even as you complain to anyone within earshot, red and splotchy and irritated, you just sit there too comfortable or lazy or something as your inaction makes things intolerable for you and for others.

ACHOO! Ah, I Feel So Much Better Now…

That’s it. The sneeze has happened. It’s out of the way. But what now? Well, then reality hits. You have to record,  ponder,  take precautions, and move.  No one likes starting over and following a new routine, but it’s just what the doctor ordered. Turns out you didn’t need as many prescriptions as you thought you did. You just need to better manage things to protect yourself as best as you can control. The rest? Well…no one knows.

Is That All You Got???

It’s always best to stay positive while you transition. And even if people try to fret you into oblivion, it’s best to take it slow. It doesn’t mean you don’t understand the gravity of what’s happened, or that you are purposefully procrastinating, but it is an important time to assess the truth of the matter and figure out a simple course of action. Getting all worked up about it won’t help and being too driven can be overwhelming or drive you over the edge. Look, it happened.  It’s okay to feel the feels. This is no time to bury your head in the sand, but it is a time to really surround yourself with all that stuff you’ve been missing or avoiding like the plague.

Maybe you’ve been neglecting that yard work or haven’t built that boat or haven’t groomed your dog or haven’t changed the kitty-litter or haven’t read that book or haven’t been as attentive when listening to your spouse or your children rattle on about their day. Maybe it’s something deeper that you’ve been neglecting, an issue that you haven’t appropriately dealt with, or a problem that you haven’t faced.  Maybe it’s just time that you actually got out and smelled the air and stopped being cooped up in the same place. Maybe you really need to rest and learn to appreciate all that surrounds you and just how lucky you are in comparison to others. Maybe it’s time to stop being a robot and putting on masks and try being human and giving a little of what you earned–and learned–back. 

It was fun while it lasted and I gotta say, I learned a great deal. I am blessed to have shared business (and personal) experiences  with smart, kind, wonderful people. 

And a special thanks to the one lost soul who I imagine made like a bird and floated somewhere in the ether to share a mystical fallafel on my last work day with me. In spirit…

Here’s to new beginnings!

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The Long Journey to Myself

There is a place that exists between doing and thinking, ideas and creation, wishes and actions. So much of my life has been built on notions of what a perfect life was or should be. Images have plagued me from mainstream media, been pitched to me in school, and reinforced over and over again by those who wanted to guide me or help me achieve my goals. 

Well, now I’m here. I am living my best life on the other side of perceived tragedy and anguish that was self-inflicted. So much has had to deal with the internal, the work that involves delving deep inside to discover who we truly are as opposed to our perceptions…which for me, were largely distorted. 

Worse,  while journeying to myself, I came to discover that there’s nothing wrong with my flaws other than being one of many who can own up to them and then begin the long, arduous and S-L-O-W process of getting better. I can work on improving myself only when I finally see the flaws instead of denying that they’re there in the first place. 

Nothing, nothing, and nobody is perfect. Well, we are perfect when we are born, but we learn to assimilate and survive which means that we take on other people’s expectations and emotional baggage and accept these as foregone conclusions. They aren’t. When we choose to grow up, we get to know that it isn’t all that bad if we finally learn to get off of the stationary bike and get somewhere! 

Where do you go? Within. How? Revisiting yoga, affirmations, and meditation.  All of these do not require thoughts nor speaking of any kind. Instead, yoga is about allowing and accepting your body in the moment while connecting to God above and Mother Earth who lies at your feet. The daily affirmations are about silently recognizing your inner power, strength and cultivating abundance while boosting your self-esteem. It re-wires your brain to pull away from negative thinking and allows you to focus on your own inner light.  And finally, meditation gives you the gift of awareness of not just yourself but your world.  All of the things we do not notice, it opens up a channel to tune into positivity. It’s wonderful. 

I am very grateful that I live in a country that grants me access to specific resources to aid me in my quest to integration, wellness and evolution. 

I took this picture today because I felt euphoric listening to Hang Drum lounge/spa/meditative music on YouTube while burning incense in order to allow myself to truly feel my inner and outer feelings.  I was rewarded with wisps of mesmerizing smoke from the incense stick, the dancing flames from the scented candles, and a feeling of pure peace and love that I can have every day of my life. 

I know, I know. I can’t live in a bubble. But I feel that this self-care is essential to living one’s life in peace and harmony. In fact, I know that no one can take away or strip from me all that I’ve learned. I am no longer in control of my life. I am spoken for. And God is truly great to me.

I now can take in the world that surrounds me with curiosity and true love. I am privileged to be a fur-mommy and have learned how my pet communicates with me. She trusts me now and that is a very huge accomplishment! I also accept the true responsibility of being her caregiver.   We have increased our daily walks to two and even when I’m tired, cranky, sleepy–I know that she entrusts me with this task and there is no one else who I would get up that early in the morning for. 

But there are other things I’m learning and everything seems new and fresh and fascinating. I grow to appreciate the enormous blessings.  

I want to stress that it isn’t easy getting here.  It isn’t always fun and I’m not always gushing,  “Welcome wonderful change! Hooray! Show me how powerful you can be!” It’s more like,  “Oh no! Dammit, here comes friggin’ change…of course! Just when I was getting used to the place–WHAM! Destruction and mayhem. Story of my life!”

But I realize that for me, this wind of change has been blowing elsewhere and is long overdue. 

Thank God.

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The Perfect Keepsake: A Letter

I often get asked by aspiring letterwriters what to write when introducing oneself in am initial letter.  This isn’t an easy thing to explain.

Letters are wonderful but require the writer to:

a) invest time 

b) invest energy 

c) gather their wayward thoughts 

d) be semi-coherent or engaged

e) establish a personal style

But even the above list doesn’t cover the numerous ways one can communicate with another human being.  You may discover that one penpals enjoys skiing while another wants to share tea from around the world.  The lists of possibilities are endless and are only limited by your imagination and USPS regulations.

One thing I will say is that if you think you’re boring, you’re not. There are a bunch of ways to bolster creativity, offer aage wisdom and encourage to the recipient on the other end. The magic is what you using–your own unique and amazing brain–decide to express.   

What I will say is based on my own personal life experience. To me, there is nothing worse than opening a beautifully decorated envelope complete with unique washi-tape written on gorgeous stationery all to tell me that you suck at writing letters or that you had the worst bout of anxiety and want to list all if your ailments and troubles in alphabetical order. At the end of such a letter, I just feel tired and a little bitter that you took out your awesome fountain pen with special colored ink just to tell me how much you suck and how terrible your life is going.  To me, this is as inappropriate as inviting me over for tea and scones only to vomit on me. It leaves me feeling negative and a little sick and now I wish I’d never read your letter. What. A. Let. Down.

The old adage saying,  “If you don’t have anything nice to say,  don’t say it” still holds true in all that you do. I’m not saying I’m going to dissect your words, but politeness and kindness really is valuable and will serve to be the way that we are remembered. Who would want to store a troubling letter about your suicidal thoughts as a keepsake?

So I’d encourage you to consider some things to help the newbie letterwriter:

  1. Take your time. You are in charge of the clock. 
  2. Set the rules. If your penpal expects a letter every single week but you cannot make that type of commitment, be honest and tell the person. Make arrangements that match your expectations or move on.
  3. Speak like you. No need to embellish or brag about yourself. 
  4. If this were the last letter you ever wrote, does it best represent who you are as a person?
  5. If someone were to accidentally read this, would it offend or inspire?
  6. Don’t write when you’re tired, angry or worried about something. Wait until you are in good spirits.
  7. Share a little bit of what you know: a cooking recipe to try, a suggestion of where to stay if your recipient ever comes to Iceland, or how to draw a bunny (R.I.P Ray Johnson).
  8. Make a list of things you are grateful for or share a bit of unconventional wisdom.
  9. Share quotes or what you loved about a recent book you read. 
  10. Send a small little thing: something you made (that’s small), a sticker,  a tea bag, a drawing,  a sticky note, small stationery, lip gloss, a dollar store item…

Considering these can help ignite your curiosity and soon you’ll be a letterwriting expert!

Please comment below if you have any letterwriting advice to share.

Enjoy!

     

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    As I See It…

    I walk the boardwalk and I mistook a tied-up white lunch bag as a little white bunny. This is just one example of the world as I see it.

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