Sometimes I think the whole dilemma with our lives as artists is that at one time, before we tried or found ourselves compelled by economics to build a living with it, we reveled in it. Whether we played or sang or booked, or managed, at some point, our art was a compendium of absolute love. A collection of passion and inspiration. Then, piece by piece, as we committed more and more of our time and energy and selves to it, art chose to strangle us ever so slowly. Eventually a lot of us found ourselves tied to the metaphorical train tracks of art as a living, being pummeled and pulled apart. Lives fell apart, addictions appeared. Normal -once so offending to us- looked strangely like something we might like to try. And then we found, to our utter surprise and sadness, that no heroic cowboy on a horse was ever going to release us from our artistic bonds. And we remain tied down, year after year, when what we’d really like to do is ride off into the sunset to a place of hope and warmth and conviviality.
But yet, we cannot stop. We create. It is what we do. No matter what form that creation takes: cooking, painting, singing, playing, dancing, drawing, writing,- we, as artists, are compelled to do our utmost to make the world a more palatable, beautiful place for those who don’t practice art as a part of daily life. Through the artist, humans understand they are not alone with their demons and desires. Through the artist, humans are touched at a level that stirs the cells and sweetens the soul. Art, for those of us who make it, is full of raw emotion. We struggle, in so many ways, to harness our creativity and make it presentable and good and true. And if we’re in tune with our souls, and only then, we rise to a level that exceeds mere existence. We connect with spirit, we commune unfettered with God and become wholly the consummate, soul-filled human beings we were meant to be.
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Ian Shaw's Indie and Unsigned show airs Sundays at 9:00pm on WKYZ 96.7 and 101.7 Pirate Radio in Key West Florida. The show features the best of indie music from around the globe.
UK Music Guru Ian Shaw hosts Indie and Unsigned Radio show in Key West
Billy Reeves from the BBC recognized British music producer, Ian Shaw as, "...a bit of a legend, his studio is responsible for some of the most important indie records ever to come out of London."
*There's a difference between music fans and people who just want to party and have fun. You'll encounter both at shows. Learn to deal with each group in effective ways. Knowing the difference between partiers and fans works wonders for your attitude.
As performers, we seek validation through our art. Accept that different performance situations will yield different sorts of audiences and, very often, a mixture of fans, family, friends and partiers.
Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.- don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements
It’s important to realize everyone you know, from the homeless man in McDonalds to your directionless daughter to your super successful neighbor, is doing the best they can do.
You may approach this thought with doubt. “Really?” you question. “I don’t see that my (son,daughter, mother in law, friend, brother, sister, co-worker, boss, etc) is really doing their best. They’re a mess. Constantly in the midst of some sort of drama. They are not doing their best.”
Maybe their best is not YOUR best. Maybe their best is just staying above ground and vertical. Maybe their best is putting one foot in front of the other for a whole day. Maybe their best is not breaking down entirely. Maybe their best is not spending the day in tears.
When we think about the ‘best’ , we assume it’s like the Olympic games. The best won. They did their best. Trophies, honors, medals, endorsements follow because they did their best. But there is a confluence of luck, timing, and stars aligning that have much to do with who won and who did not.
The best is not based on ability. The ‘best’ is a personal gauge. People don’t wake in the morning and think “I’m going to be the worst I can be today.” Human always strive for the best.
If you run into an issue today, think about the best. Don’t judge someone else’s best against what you personally think that is. Judgement is an issue. Judgement frowns and whines and is mostly blind.
Recognize everyone is doing their best, including you. If someone complains about their life, problems, issues and circumstances reply with, “I know you’re doing the best you can do.” And don’t tack on “but…” Just be aware of the spirit and soul inside that human.
To be your personal best factor judgement out of your perception. Approach humans with love and peace and positive energy.
You’ll feel better at the end of the day knowing everyone is doing their best and recognizing that effort in your fellow humans. Love yourself. Love one another.
The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas. -W.C. Jones
Music is a balm. Music uplifts and makes us smile and gives us hope. The creation of it, the listening, the sharing of musical ideas with our band mates, and performance for the public are such spiritual experiences.
I created this art journal for my friend Lorraine who ADORES the color orange. I am not so fond of orange, but I am very fond of my friend and wanted to make something special just for her. So, a lovely little art journal made of old greeting cards, with generous doses of the color orange, seemed just the thing! I call this little book, Orange You Glad (to have a friend like Lorraine).
This book created of recycled greeting cards is not my idea. It is from the astounding artist Jenni Bellie who lives in England ( I am jealous) and creates the most remarkable things from recycled materials. Jenni is a gifted painter and constructor and has an unbelievable imagination! I LOVE HER.
Luckily, Jenni cheerfully and patiently shares her brilliance with the rest of us via online tutorials on her site. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon her wonderfulness, but am so glad I did. Jenni has opened a new creative door within a girl who still considers herself (after only a year and a half of rediscovering her creative self) a fledgling.
You must go visit Jenni at
Not only is she a fascinating artist, she’s quite a writer as well and I have enjoyed reading her blog, her stories and her adventures.
Here are more pics of Lorraine’s Orange You Glad journal.