Guest Post! Undive/Middle River: Salvador Dali Tribute

It’s that time again! My best friend and fellow blogger, Naomi, are teaming up this week to celebrate her favorite artist, Salvador Dali. This week will include posts inspired by her love for the passionate and eccentric surrealist. Be sure to check out her blog, Embrace the Crazy, for more poetry and musings about the events and people in her life! Here’s day 1 one of Dali Week – Enjoy!

Happy Birthday to my favorite artist, Salvador Dali!

To honor and celebrate this day, each year I try to collaborate with my best friend (another favorite artist and painter) Traci, and I’m really excited about our plans this time around!

Tune into the blog all this week as we combine the world of creative writing with modern art, as I’ll be sharing poetry and writing pieces to go along with her visuals. I feel honored to be involved in this collaboration. Traci is an up and coming artist who produces bold works that never cease to pull at my heart strings and inspire me to be better, work harder and feel all the things. Please please follow her blog: A Purple Paintbrush, and visit her website to view and purchase more of her works.


Undive ~ Traci L. Turner

I swim, to the middle of your river and
Let me drown
In my own expectations and frivolities– all the lies you’ve said to me
The scent of you all over me
Washed in these waters; I can’t get clean
Or rid of the stink of reality
If the illusion of truth lies on the surface
I choose to sink
Never to emerge from underneath
Too broken and damaged

A Bit of Inspiration: Frida Kahlo


This is a photo I saw in person at an exhibition about a year or two ago that really inspired me. It’s Mexican artist Frida Kahlo strapped up and bed-ridden sometime after the trolley accident that left her dealing with physical pain and treatment for much of her life. When I saw it, immediately I thought, “Well damn, I really have no excuse! Nobody does!” To see her rigged up the way that she was, most likely in quite a bit of pain, yet still pushing herself to create left me awe-struck. Even if she was doing this just to pass the time, it’s still quite remarkable. This is an image that I think back on whenever I realize that I’m making excuses about my own lack of production. It’s an image that gave me a jolt of motivation at a time when I was in a deep creative slump and didn’t prioritize much time for expelling any creative energy.

I don’t claim to know a whole lot about Frida Kahlo, but I will say that the photo above told me so much about her spirit and passion. A fire that I think artists (or perhaps anyone, really) need to harness and apply to life in order to stand a good chance at attaining a bit of personal fulfillment. To be honest I wouldn’t even say that Kahlo’s painting skills were technically perfect (sorry!). A lot of us may have seen artwork that we would deem more precise and dynamic than hers, that just comes down to personal opinion obviously. But looking back at her body of work, to me it was clear that she put her heart and soul into whatever she created; losing herself in the meaning and the act of expressing her inner self regardless of how it looked next to anyone else’s art.

The Broken Column by Frida Kahlo OSA164

“The Broken Column”, 1944. Oil on canvas.

That’s what I take away from her legacy and that’s what has pushed me to take risks with my own work this year, and hopefully beyond. Thinking about that woman’s tenacity deeply inspired me to finally start to care a lot less about any external factors, just create whatever the hell I wanted to express, and keep pushing forward in my own way. And maybe that’s all it’s really about.

These things I share in the hope that you Artists out there reading this will either renew or maintain momentum with your work. It’s a constant struggle, I know, but it’s not impossible! Even if Frida Kahlo’s work has never moved you before, I ask that you take another look. At the very least “right click” and “save as” the image of her in bed above, use it as a reminder to refuse to roadblock yourself.

Your thoughts?

Naomi and Dali 2013: Finding Your Muse


Salvador Dali

I have a large coffee table book of Salvador Dali paintings. My entire living room is decorated around it. It is what moves me. However, with a two year old walking around vandalizing everything in her wake I had to put it away and it now lives underneath my bed. I’m a person heavy into symbolism– and I do believe that at that time I had also put away a large part of myself. To stand out from others, even at my age, is tiring. It is exhausting to constantly fight just to be yourself.

My annual celebration of Dali week, of course seems silly to most and is strange indeed, but opening up old books and viewing art that takes my breath away reminds me why I’m alive. It is a very personal thing for me that I choose to share because I believe creativity and art is a gift to the world. We cheapen words with biased interpretations, we prostitute visual art to the highest bidder, and taint our music to feed the mindless masses. I don’t want to be told what to do, I just want to feel.

"Three Young Surrealist Women Holding in Their Arms Skins of an Orchestra", 1936.

“Three Young Surrealist Women Holding in Their Arms Skins of an Orchestra”, 1936.

Salvador Dali was able to transfer emotion onto the canvas. Most of my favorite pieces summon dark emotion in me…such as the melancholy that often comes with the desire to create. Dali was loved for his outrageous persona, and praised for his art but in the end was clearly misunderstood and written off as crazy by most. Which goes to show that sometimes people take from others what they want but often won’t accept or appreciate the whole.


“The Burning Giraffe”, 1937.

Through my obsessive love for Dali I’ve learned to appreciate it all. People will bleed you dry, extracting your talent from you and leaving your core to be eaten by the judgmental wolves that attack what they don’t understand. I have a fascination and love for Dali the artist, the madman, the elitist, the intellectual and it is a mirror for how I choose to love and accept others. This is what moves me.


“Sleep (Le Sommeil)”, 1937.

I celebrate Dali week each year to motivate others to find their own inspiration. Hold fast to whatever inspires you in the world of art and creativity. The world is damning enough and it’s totally ok to seek refuge and to be influenced by reality and people who are just as imperfect as you. It is ok to allow the creativity of others to be your life’s muse.

To my favorite muse, Señor Salvador Dalí, happy birthday.


“The Persistence of Memory”, 1931.

Dali Week, Reposts

Salvador Dali, 1904-1989.

Salvador Dali, 1904-1989.

For those that don’t know, Salvador Dali’s birthday is this Saturday. Last year around this time, I asked my friend, Naomi, to write a few posts about the artist she so dearly loves. If you missed it, are a huge Dali fan and need a fix, or just need some reading to get you through the day, I invite you to check out her spin on topics like sex and beauty with a key lime twist of Dali.

This weekend I’ll share a new musing by Naomi to celebrate the life of this ever eccentric artist. For now, please enjoy these posts from last year! Please don’t hesitate to comment.

In the Home
In Dreams

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann: Clove

Palimpsest, 2012. Woodcut, sumi ink, acrylic on cut paper.

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the opening to DC-based artist Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann’s show, Clove at Project 4 Gallery located on U St in Northwest DC. I caught a preview of her work at the (e)merge art fair (which I did a post on here) so when receiving info about her latest solo exhibition I just had to see more of what she had to offer. Katherine is currently an instructor at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, and has been in several solo and group shows throughout the east coast since 2006. This is her first exhibition at Project 4.

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann’s paintings involve a process of her reacting to an ink stain that applies at the beginning of each painting, allowing it to take form and dry on the floor of her studio. Then the rest of the piece unfolds as she intuitively layers other shapes and motifs into the composition. The resulting piece is an organic mass of different forms and shapes that are rhythmically connected throughout the surface. Mann’s scaled paintings are truly arresting, as the viewer is able to be both overwhelmed and drawn into the worlds that she creates. One of the reasons I liked her work is because they were effective on any scale, and when viewed from afar or up close. In fact, I think it’s difficult not to walk up to get a closer look at the forms undulating before you. I know that I could lose myself gazing at her paintings, trying to decipher which elements were methodically placed by the artist and which were the random occurrences of the materials.

Nursery, 2012. Acrylic, sumi ink on paper stretched over canvas.

Nursery, 2012 (closeup). Acrylic, sumi ink on paper stretched over canvas.

Embroideries, 2012. Acrylic, sumi ink on paper.

I definitely recommend making a trip to Project 4 Gallery to see Clove by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann. The show runs until Dec. 15. Read up on more about Katherine and Project 4 Gallery:
Katherine’s official website
Project 4 Gallery

Blogathon 2012 Guest Post: Gabryyl Pierce

A Few of My Favorite Things by Gabryyl Pierce

When I found Traci’s blog on the 5th annual WordCount Blogathon guest post
exchange I was excited and intimidated. I’ve never been a great artist. Or even a
bad one, truth be told (even my stick figures look like they need life support). But
I do know computers, and they’ve opened a whole new world to us, the talent-
free. Drawing programs, collage makers and the like allow us to express ourselves
in ways we never dreamed were possible.

On my Blogathon journey I decided to do a theme of My Favorite Things. And,
since Traci’s blog is about art, I decided to combine the two and create a work of
art with some of my favorite things. So, without further ado, here is my first guest
post and my first collage.


About Gabryyl Pierce, Writer of Words ~ Purveyor of Awesome

I’m a terminally single full-time freelance writer and book reviewer from
Cincinnati, Ohio. My name reflects my Welsh heritage (they do love their Y’s) & is
pronounced like Gabrielle. And no, it’s not my real name. I made it up years ago,
for a variety of reasons. You can read about them here.

Naomi and Dali: The Craziest of These is Love

Salvador Dali and the love of his life, Gala

I didnt want to write about this topic because I didn’t think there would be a way for me to mask the tone of my heavy heart. However, this is my foundation and the very reason I was drawn to Dali in the first place. The intensity and the complexity of Dali’s relationship with Gala appealed to me initially because it was such a foreign concept. How could a man so full of greatness and charm allow himself to be brought to his knees for the love of this insignificant woman? It wasn’t until I experienced this kind of rare, all-consuming love for myself that I was able to come to more of an understanding of the dynamic of their relationship.

Toward the end of their lives together, Gala’s numerous affairs with younger men began to take their toll on the relationship. In addition, her gambling habits and generosity toward these men put a strain on the pockets as well. Even in her eighties, Gala showed a resentment toward growing older, creating yet more tension– enough that she was now giving her husband drugs that led to the eventual breakdown of his nervous system leaving him unable to paint. Eventually Gala moved alone into a castle Dali had built for her, unseen unless upon written request. Still, when Gala passed away, the elderly painter embarked on a downward spiral struggling with depression. There were even a series of freak “accidents” that hint of possible suicide attempts. With his muse forever gone, was there any reason left to live?

It is a beautiful thing to simply fall in love. It is quite another to find your reason to live. All control is lost as you allow yourself to be poisoned, broken and lost yet unashamed of your shameless weakness. In the end, the intensity of the obsession proves to be maddening and a certain pathway to your psychological demise. You have found in this person the perfect blend between reality and illusion, and you refuse to be awakened from this dreamlike state.  A glitch in the system has been discovered that allows you to somehow exist in this world and be able to escape to a parallel universe with this person. A utopia where each other’s flaws don’t exist and it doesn’t matter if this person is draining everything from your life’s force. In that world, dull moments are extinct and no tomorrows are the same. You have given in to complete insanity making the complexities of common love totally void. By giving in to this kind of love you have given in to destruction.

Memento mori, my friend! Destruction is inevitable. Endure the pain, suffer all consequences, and take all risks for a love most surreal. Drink heartily of the poison, and before you do, look your muse in the eyes and say “cheers”!