Archive for the ‘just plain ranting’ Category

Fail Better by Herter Studio Books

“It would not be better if things happened to men just as they wish.” – Heraclitus

“To be an artist is to fail, as no other dare fail..” – Samuel Becket

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” – Abraham Lincoln.

“We only think when we are confronted with a problem.” – John Dewey

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” – Truman Capote

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth


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I have two younger brothers and they are like my children. I helped raise them and I love them to death. We all get along really well together. Chad is the older one and he is more book and science minded while Calvin is the artist. Chad is a social butterfly, has tons of friends and is outgoing. Calvin is a musician, super talented artist, and is on the shy side. Calvin is in his second year in college studying art.

I never really noticed that Calvin was very shy until one day Chad said to me “I wish Calvin would open up to me and talk about art and life the he does with you.” I was flabbergasted. I had never really thought about it. Oh, crap. That’s right Calvin does open up to me because I am another artist and I understand what’s it’s like to be another artist.

See what Chad didn’t understand at that moment was that Chad is kinda guy’s guy. He played football in high school. He was popular. He likes sports. The last thing any artist wants to do is show art to that “guy”. No matter how nice that “guy” is. And Chad is a really nice guy.

So I explained to him like this “oh Chad, don’t feel bad. Making art is like writing a love letter. You’re so raw, you can only show it to so few people, and you feel like crying all the time. And most of the time it’s so bad, you end up  throwing half of it in the garbage anyway.”

I also explained to him as he gets older, he’ll get more comfortable with himself, he’ll begin to open up. He’s learning to become a man. He’ll see. Just give him time.

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New York Magazine let the secret out by ranking Sunnyside, Queens the number 3 best place to live in New York. Then the NY Observer repeated it.

People also asked me why I love living in Queens so much. I always answered because I loved my neighborhood Sunnyside. No on ever recognizes the name. It’s not a very well-known neighborhood. It’s a family one with one of the very first planned housing communities known as the Sunnyside Gardens. We have beautiful tree-lined streets with mom and pop stores and well-kept up pre-war apartments. The graffiti is kept to a minimum because  a group of volunteers do cleanups. For a long time, Sunnyside has been a long secret from the Manhanttanites so rent and real estate prices have been very reasonable but now the secret is out. I just read on the my Sunnyside user groups that the real estate open houses this weekend were unusually jam packed.

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Here’s my speech for the public hearing tomorrow regarding street artist vending at public parks. (It’s Friday April, 23 10:33 pm, and I have already read my speech at around 1:3opm earlier today. This speech and the photos and memos I submitted are now public record so if you want to read it  you can at the NYC public records office.)

My name is Ciara Elend. I am a resident of Queens. I am a small business owner, I am an artist and I am a member of ARTIST. I sell my art at Union Square and I am here to protest the current and proposed set of park rules regarding street artist vendors. I, like my many fellow artist, believe that is considerable evidence that prove that these restrictions have nothing to do with public safety but are a veiled attempt to install more sterile corporate owned vending concessions and corporate promotions in new york city parks to bring in more corporate revenue and push out city artists.

1) The claim made by Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe on March 27, 2010 that artists in parks have no rules on NY1 News is untrue.

“Certain parts of parks have become very overcrowded and people trying to walk to or through the park have to walk through a gauntlet of vendors who don’t have permits, aren’t required to have permits, but just set up pretty much willy-nilly, wherever they like.”

Here’s the Proof. This City of New York Parks & Recreation Memo with Parks Commissioner Adri- an Benepe name on top of it outlines the regulations artists must follow when displaying their art. PEP officers must be aware of this memo that lists the restrictions that apply specifically to artists. The NYPD has a similiar memo concerning these restrictions. PEP officers and park rangers are not enforcing these rules and regulations.

2) The claim that “parks have become very overcrowded and people trying to walk to or through the park have to walk through a gauntlet of [street artist] vendors” insinuating that the public safety was was at risk is clearly false.

Here’s the Proof. Crowds are part of the park experience in new york and here are pictures to show it. Clearly crowds don’t cause a public safety issue.

Union Square Farmer’s Market on a regular Saturday, March 2010

Columbus Circle Holiday Market, December 2009

Bryant Park Holiday Market, December 2009

A Corporate Owned Promotion under Highline Park, 2010

3) What makes NYC different that others cities is it’s vibrant creative sector that is driven but it’s artists and that will be squashed by initiatives like this. You are limiting the way we artists can survive forcing some of us to leave this city. But it’s not just about us artists. These regulations will destroy what is great about NYC parks. Tourists and locals come to our parks because of the artists, and the work we create. How many of you have heard someone remark that Manhattan has become a big commercial shopping mall? I know I have. If you destroy the unique environ- ment that the artist community brings to our parks, you will be putting the revenue interests of the city ahead of the needs of your citizens and visitors. Parks in New York are something sacred. No other city has a Central Park, or a Union Square, no other city has a independant park culture like ours. Artists are part of what makes our parks uniquely ours and, on behalf of all proud New Yorkers, I implore you not to take that away.

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For those of you who buy my shirts on the cheap at Union Square beware! I might not be able to sell at Union Square any more if the city gets their way. Read this article from the the New York Times and let your voice be heard. Email or call the office of mayor  Bloomberg 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC), FAX (212) 312-0700  http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html

The public hearing will be held on April 23, 2010 at Chelsea Recreation Center, 430 West 25th Street in Manhattan, at 11:00 a.m. People seeking to testify at the hearing next Friday should notify the Parks Deptartment’s Laura LaVelle at (212) 360-1335 or laura.lavelle@parks.nyc.gov

April 16, 2010

“City Seeks to Limit the Flocks of Art Vendors at Popular Sites in Parks”


Street vendors who have become fixtures at some of Manhattan’s busiest parks — hawking paintings, kitschy souvenirs and all sorts of ephemera — may find themselves a lonelier crowd, as the Bloomberg administration proposes to cut their numbers by 75 percent.

On Friday [April 23, 2010], the Department of Parks and Recreation is scheduled to hold a hearing on a proposal to slice the number of vendors allowed in parts of Central Park and all of Union Square Park, Battery Park and the High Line Park. If the proposal is approved, as expected, the restrictions would begin to take effect in a month.

The reason for the change, said Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner, is safety — because the vendors block sidewalks and hamper pedestrians, creating hazards. But, he also said, too many vendors are turning the parks into “year-round flea markets” and “selling stuff that you wouldn’t consider expressive art” as protected by the First Amendment, like “refrigerator magnets, small sculptures that are mass produced, books, DVDs, CDs, signs with funny slogans.”

“The artists can vent,” Mr. Benepe said. “The people who sell other goods can vent. And everybody will adjust. This is not the end of art. It is just a very slight and strategic moving of where people can sell art.”

To some art vendors, though, the administration’s proposal smacks of an attempt to remove them as much as is legally permissible — or at least to hurt their incomes — as if they were eyesores or nuisances to tourists and corporations. And one casualty, they believe, will be the kind of spontaneous and messy mingling of art and commerce that makes New York so New York.

“New York City is not a hospital operating room, yet Mike Bloomberg is continuing the sterilization campaign that Rudy Giuliani started in Times Square,” said Robert Lederman, a longtime foe of Mr. Benepe’s and the founder of

A.R.T.I.S.T., an advocacy group with approximately 2,000 members. “And the parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe, sees himself as a real estate agent who’s trying to get the maximum price per square foot for all of our public parks.”

The proposed regulations would limit the number of vendors of printed texts and visual arts in congested areas of the four parks, which are among the city’s busiest, to a total of 81, compared with the more than 300 there now. Vendors would be limited to designated areas on a first-come-first-served basis. The rules would also dictate the dimensions of a seller’s table, as well as a table’s proximity to public property like monuments and benches.

One supporter of the proposal is Edward Wallace, a former councilman who helped to write the original 1982 law that allowed vendors to sell “expressive matter” under the First Amendment’s right to free speech. Mr. Wallace, who is now a lawyer and a lobbyist but does not represent any clients in the current battle, said his goal was simply to allow poets and other artists the liberty to speak freely on street corners.

“This is the law of unintended consequences,” Mr. Wallace said.

Some constitutional law experts were uncertain whether the city would be able to change the rules, as planned.

Ira C. Lupu, a law professor at George Washington University Law School, said that while it was true that “the city can regulate the place, not the content,” it also had to give “reasonable access to the distribution of art.” And reasonable, he said, “is a term of art.” He also said he was troubled by the first-come-first-served provision.

“I don’t know what that means,” Professor Lupu said. “I would be constitutionally more comfortable with a lottery system that you could do online a week ahead of time.”

Lee Stuart, the executive director of New Yorkers for Parks, an advocacy group, said that she found the plan to have the right balance between protecting the parks, and granting the vendors enough room. “I don’t think this is a blanket restriction at all,” she said.

But several artists were dubious about the plan. At the southeast corner of Central Park, Dario Zapata, a caricature artist from the South Bronx, said: “The First Amendment is protection for artists. What will happen if the city limits us to eight spots here? Maybe hundreds of people will sleep on the benches to get a spot.”

Some pedestrians said they were troubled by the idea, too. Walking through Union Square, glancing at paintings, was Kristan Hibron, who studies marketing management at Pace University and works for an outdoor advertising company. “I love that I can come into New York and have a huge, diverse collection of art to choose from,” she said. “I really appreciate it. I respect artists. And this is one of the only venues they have for selling. They need to make money.”

Colin Moynihan and Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.

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The American Heritage Dictionary defines a superhero as “A figure, especially in a comic strip or cartoon, endowed with superhuman powers and usually portrayed as fighting evil or crime.”

Let me set the scene. Here’s a struggling artist in in a struggling economy in a struggling NYC. It’s winter. No one is out shopping. No one can see her art so one one is buying. This is an especially hard month for her, she doesn’t have enough money to cover her rent. When she gets to her studio in the afternoon she laments to her husband about the situation.

She’s depressed about the situation, seeing that there’s no real solution in sight. He tries to cheer her up saying that he’s got invited to a poker game later tonight saying that he’ll try to win her the $500 rent money. Together they laughed at that idea.  After the $100 buy-in, the new business contacts he’d be meeting, and the fact he hadn’t played poker in 15 years, he wasn’t sure what he’d be getting himself into.

She went home, he went off to the game at 8pm. She wished him luck, he gave her a kiss over the phone. Later, she went to sleep. Several hours passed. He woke her up from bed at 3am with a kiss and the $500  for her to pay rent. He had won $600. Now that’s a goddam Superhero.

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For my birthday Adam set me up with a tumblr blog so I could experience a different way to blog. What I have  been able to check out are other bloggers, one of them is called http://fuckyeahtattoos.tumblr.com/. It’s a site where you can upload a pic of your tattoo. Now, I love tattoo art. And I never judge the subject people get, rarely if ever, because people have their own private reasons for getting what they get. BUT I do judge the quality. Oh, boy, Yes I Do Judge QUALITY. And I have seen some badly done tattoos on this site. PLEASE, make sure when you get your next tattoo, make sure you go to an experienced artist. I am that type of person who will comment on badly done art. I don’t bite my tongue on that stuff. You need to know if they did a bad job. Remember it’s permanent art, make sure it’s done right!

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