Steampunk called him home…

Have you ever felt that you were born in the wrong time or era?  Are you very creative and eclectic?  Do you have a fondness for fantasy and sci-fi?  If so then you are like many of us who have discovered the magic of the Steampunk Culture!  One person who felt the call to “go home” to Steampunk in a big way is Jeff Mach!  I met Jeff several years ago when he was planning his first Steampunk World’s Fair event in Central NJ….it took over a large room in a corporate hotel and has now expanded to a 3 day extravaganza, often taking over two complete corporate hotels, with hundreds  of cosplayers, artisans, vendors, musicians and those that want to just be a part of the spectacle!

Goth Girl

Goth Girl

As you may or may not know, Steampunk combines sci-fi with the Victorian Era, so fantastical contraptions are created as if solely fired by steam power.  Elements of Goth, fantasy and anime can be found as well.  Here’s a taste of what Jeff’s events bring…  https://www.facebook.com/SteampunkTendencies/videos/1317398068374556/?pnref=story

And in his own words, here’s a bit about what drew him to all this madness: 

3D computer graphics of a cyborg woman with a headdress in science fiction style

There’s a simple goal I have for every Jeff Mach Event: I make weekend-long homes for unusual people.

What does that mean?
The second martial arts school I attended was literally in the back of an alley, up a long flight of stairs. And leading to the school door, there was a pair of signs. The first was a standard martial-arts school notice, “Please remove shoes”. This simple act gave a physical reminder that I was leaving one place—“the street”—and stepping into a different world, with different rules.
The second was at the top of the stairs. “You are entering a traditional karate dojo. Please act accordingly”.
How did one “act accordingly”? I knew many common rules and practices—I also knew that every school I had seen had its own style, rules, approach. What was proper in one school might be utterly wrong in another.
Yet the practical value of that sign was enormous. It always gave me pause, called to my mind all of my associations with training grounds, what I learned there, and who and what those things made me. “Act accordingly”: know what you have come to do, know what you are doing, at least in your own mind. Or, at the barest minimum, recognize in your gut that you’ve come to a place where things are different. Don’t just take that difference passively, when it enters your space; make it a part of your consciousness.
And thus. And so.
You’ve entered our world, a place where we belong, a place where we are not the outsiders, a place where what we do matters, is meaningful, is real, and we are NOT the only ones who know it.
Steampunk, Rocky Horror, Renaissance Faires, Geeky spaces; it doesn’t matter.
Leave the outside world for outsiders.
We bring our homes with us, inside us, we foster them with love and passion.  We’re different–not better, just not the same–and sometimes, we realize: we are not alone.
And that place?  That place is home.
The next Steampunk World’s Fair is May 5-7, 2017 in Central NJ….here’s where you can find all the info & tickets:  www.SteampunkWorldsFair.com

Goth comes back to life in NJ

Goth Girl
Some of you may remember the Gothic sub-cultural movement of the 80’s….to me it was a heyday for music, fashion, art, literature and more…with roots stretching as far back as Victorian England, to 70’s punk & a romantic way to rebel against the mainstream, Goth became a major genre & continues on today…it waned for a while but has been making a huge comeback & Steampunk Convention guru, Jeff Mach has joined forces with Gothic networking powerhouse VampireFreaks to create a brand new event….
Dark Side of the Con asks the simplest question:  Why aren’t there any weekend-long Goth/Dark Alternative events in the US anymore?

Answer: Dark Side of the Con…an Underground Event for meeting alternative-minded people; A Three Day Gothic, Dark Alternative Festival and Convention in New Jersey!

Jeff Mach says:  I’ve had the good fortune to run into Jet from VampireFreaks a few times as I’ve run around doing The Steampunk World’s Fair and Glimmerdark and Wicked Faire and our other events.  He’s such a great guy, and his team is pretty marvelous to work with.  And VampireFreaks has helped us put together such an incredible weekend.
I mean, we’ve got Voltaire, we’ve got Xentrifgue, The Amatory Murder, Nigel from Platform One, and a whole slew of panels.  We’ve a hundred vendors, and marvelous drink specials.  And, of course, we’ve got dance parties to suit every taste, running until the wee hours.
We’re working with our favorite hotel, the Radisson of Piscataway.  I look forward to seeing everyone there!
Here’s a bit more info from the event site:

St Patrick’s Weekend – for 3 Days we take over the beautiful Radisson Hotel in Piscataway, NJ and provide you with an escape to socialize, make new friends and create new experiences.

To show our support for independent businesses and alternative culture, we will have a wide variety of unique and unusual vendors, catering to all your dark needs.

For your entertainment pleasure we bring you a host of events, entertainers, panels and activities.

Sponsored by VampireFreaks and Jeff Mach Events, both companies have an impressive history of hosting events and bringing people together in the dark alternative scenes.

The very preliminary schedule is up; check out all the cool things we have going on!

Here are the links:

www.darksideofthecon.com for info, darksideofthecon.com/tickets/ for tickets, and https://www.facebook.com/events/199366893801128/ to follow on FB, and http://vampirefreaks.com/cult/DarkSideOfTheCon on VampireFreaks.

Honoring an Artist’s Wild Spirit

It’s so important that artists & creatives support each other!  Although my long-time friend, Australian artist Lina Eve, & I are literally across the globe from each other we have stayed in touch and supported each other’s work.  Aside from being an amazing painter, Lina is a talented film maker and writer and is now trying to fund a YouTube project that honors a true artist’s wild spirit, Vali Myers (1930-2003).  Lina introduced me to the inspiring and bold work of this way-too-overlooked, unique soul years ago and now she wants to share Vali’s artistic legacy with the world, so please read on about this fascinating project and visit the link for more info and to find out how you can help make Lina’s dream a reality!
Lina Eve:  for my talented and lovely friend, Lauren Curtis
1999: Whilst browsing one of my favorite 2nd hand bookshops, I chanced upon Vali’s beautiful book of paintings and writing titled , “Vali Myers”.  A day or so after this rare and fabulous find, I heard Vali being interviewed on ABC Radio National.  Her unique Aussie accent, her raw and earthy take on life, combined with the amazing artwork in her book, had me toasting her talent and fierce honesty.
Vali and I eventually met in her studio in Melbourne some months later.
We had only exchanged a few letters and chatted on the phone, 
but when we met there was instant rapport. She introduced me to the Turkish spirit Raki, and we got pretty legless on it.  At least I did.  Vali would have been able to drink most people under the table! Spending glorious afternoons with Vali, filling our glasses and talking about everything under the sun became my ritual every time I traveled to Melbourne from then on. “
lina-eve-vali-myers
(Lina, left…Vali, right)
“Vali died in 2003 and although she had a loyal following of fans, her work is largely unknown around the world. Vali’s work is highly personal, and therefore, like other amazing women artists, was not picked up by the media for the truly unique art it is.  Now I’m  trying to raise funds towards a YouTube tribute video about Vali  …..a beautiful friend, who created a whole world of powerful and magical art.”
valis-moby-dick
                                                            “Moby Dick” (c)Vali Myers
Wikipedia:    “Vali Myers (2 August 1930 – 12 February 2003) 
was an Australian visionary artist, dancer, bohemian and muse whose coverage by the media was mostly in the decades of the 1950s and 1960s in Europe and the United States.”
I’m now collecting permission from the photographers  of my favourite portraits of her, and already have permission ( from the Vali Myers Trust) to use all her images for the video
If you can help with a donation, that would be wonderful and if you could also please pass on my Go fund me link, it would be very, very much appreciated!
  “Vali Myers : Wild Spirit”

A Beautiful & Powerful Art Exhibit

“Beautiful and Powerful Statements” is an art exhibit featuring the arts of calligraphy and re-purposed materials.  It opens Saturday, January 28, 2-5pm at Nails in the Wall, the Gallery at St. Luke’s, 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen.  The exhibit includes nearly 70 pieces in many media, from photography and video to fabric, ceramic and glass as well as all manner of re-purposed materials. Work from all over the U.S. and as far away as Israel is included in this show, along with the work of New Jersey artists. The approach to calligraphy was a very broad one and was open to any work that was text-predominant. That has allowed us to include not only work with elegant traditional calligraphy in many diverse languages, but other pieces that are very powerful and direct. “Anatolia” by Woodbridge, NJ artist Gozde Ture includes a quotation from the Orkhon Inscriptions with calligraphy in the Goturk alphabet that speaks about time. Ruth Schreiber’s works, from Israel, while connected to the Hebrew Scriptures, employ a “fantasy writing” using porcelain and other images. And California calligrapher Beverly Womack creates her work using layers of materials and images. The photography-based altered prints of East Orange artist, Onnie Strother, on the other hand, use bold text to speak directly to their viewer, and Georgia-based Craig Wilson’s almost stream-of-consciousness words dance all over the page. The art from “repurposed materials” makes their statements by way of the material itself…employing everything from actual bees and beeswax as Montclair artist Art Paxton does in “Buzz”, to the steampunk-related cast-offs used by NY artist and teacher Seth Apter, and another Steampunk influenced 3D piece by Lauren Curtis, as well as a piece by  Metuchen artist Amy Brooks in her work “Post-Truth Apocalypse”. “We were sought to incorporate in the show work featuring calligraphy or text that made, individually and collectively, a powerful statement. We were also interested that the work accepted using re-purposed materials had an inherent, accessible beauty. We were constantly weighing those two interests as we reviewed the work and decided what would fit well in this show, so that each piece really was appropriately “Beautiful and Powerful, “ noted Gallery Board Member Robert Hopkins. The Opening will be carried by Facebook Live, beginning around 2:30pm. This will be especially helpful for the artists who live great distances. It will allow anyone who wishes to log on to the Nails in the Wall Gallery FB page and interact with the visitors present at the gallery. Nails in the Wall is in the midst of its fifth year presenting international, interfaith exhibits of high-quality fine art. To learn more about the gallery, visit www.nailsinthewall.org or call the Director 732.322.6512.  Link to the Facebook invite:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1765730973753205/

steampunkboxfeb2012

I’ll have this large, 3-D Steampunk style box in the show.

nailsinwallbeautifulpowerjan2017

Yule Blessings, Season’s Greetings & Hope for 2017

Happy Holidays! Blessed Yule! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Joyful Kwanzaa! Happy New Year!  I think that covers it but if I missed anything, then happy merry for that too!  Now more than ever we need to be accepting and appreciative of our own cultures as well as the cultures & traditions of others!  There is beauty in diversity…it would be so dull if we were all the same, wouldn’t it?  (If you don’t think so then that’s your call but really think about it….what foods do you like?  Bet at least some come from other countries….  What movies, books, art, etc. are you interested in?  Doubt they all come from a homogeneous source!)

Sure, times are scary, the unknown can be scary, but what’s the most frightening is hatred for what we don’t understand and what that can lead to!  As an artist I’ve gained so much by studying art & mythology from across the globe…it’s lead me to travel, meeting great, new people, trying delicious foods and to creating unique art.

So I wish for all of you to have a Happy Healthy Holiday, whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate…and a diverse, fun, peaceful New Year!  And now I’d like to share some holiday/winter themed photographs I’ve taken recently as well as through the last several years.  Enjoy the slide show!

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all images (c)Lauren Curtis

SITTING BEYOND YOURSELF

These certainly are trying times….economically, politically, spiritually…and for many of us, we don’t always know how to cope….and I think creative people tend to feel this even more intensely….so my friend, a very creative, spiritually attuned person, Stephen Fountain, agreed to share some of his insights with us….

SITTING BEYOND YOURSELF     By Stephen E. Fountain (c)2016

XraytedPowerOfWordsJan2012sm

(“Power of Words” (c)Lauren Curtis)

Sitting… for hours upon hours, days upon days and month after month, getting so much done, and yet, nothing accomplished. You sit some more, unable to see and wondering what you have been doing in the past year. Feeling drawn to this technological vortex, pulling oneself away can be a delightful journey into a world yet discovered. Sometimes you flail in inertia, as if on the event horizon of a black hole in the deepest of space. Who can hear you? I make my own music to reflect the sound of my heart. Paddling through the cosmos, taking my time to observe the regal beauty of stars stories behold, while the brunt of society focuses on their little box, sitting on the edge of their chair, while electors and electees waltz in a room that covers the doom of their lying gloom, and people, blindly aware, clap and cheer and leave their intuition and instinct to rest in a tomb. Surely the world has gone mad or has my isolation allowed me to view a world I never knew, that I thought was in sync with me. I feel lost in expression that has voided its own appeal, competing with sugar coated commercialism that they drink so wildly, as if they cannot notice their under garments fit so perfectly. Praying for change, it is me that has evolved while the world remains grasping in its ways. Where am I going and what will I do? Times like this obsoleting movement bring me to a place of screaming torched solitude, where I am in harmony with the groundhogs waddle and the hummingbirds buzz. I tend to my garden in beauty and peace, while at the same time I continue to sit and stare and my endless work, knowing that my soulmates are there, yet flattened and splayed like a supernova. What really is important when everyone is sounding their view and no one listens? Inside my process I hide as I yell and long for the beings of light and love to stop building their utopic doom. Like memory gongs, in a sea swallowing me, I transcend depths that become steps. Looking back, it was me drowning in my own illumination that the world had misplaced. They refuse to learn and instead they stay where I was. I hope they follow my steps instead of bedazzling in their own dread.

To learn more about Stephen & his organization…

Design, art, music, literature, humanities, elements, inventions, temple, spiritualism, travel, environments, science, culture, community development.

http://www.thezoc.org

Myth, Music & Art Collide

Don’t you love it when 3 of your favorite things combine into one, very cool thing? This happened when a new freelance art client contacted me to commission me to create a new CD cover for his Jazz project, based on ancient Greek mythology!  Musician Jim Gailloreto discovered my X-RAYted art series online and messaged me about designing the cover for his PYTHIAD jazz CD & asked me to create a unique x-ray piece for it and do the design work as well. This was an exciting project as I listened to the music and loved it, especially since it is based on the myth of the ancient seer & mystic, the Pythia. Gailloreto’s music, accompanied by vocalist Cheryl Wilson, conveys the mystery of this visionary woman, The Oracle of Delphi,  who could foretell many things to those who dared to ask….

PythiadCDcover3LayersP Apr2016

artwork (c)2016 Lauren Curtis   CD music & concept (c) 2016 Jim Gailloreto

Here’s a bit of what Jim has to say about this fascinating musical project:

“The Pythiad” is a nine-movement vocal work for Jazz String Quintet; an interdisciplinary ensemble that blends improvisations with traditional string quartet.

The music and words combine to weave the stories of nearly a dozen lesser-known Greek heroes and heroines.

Vocalist Cheryl Wilson and the string quartet are exceptional. Coleman Gailloreto (our son) wrote the lyric and the story held within is magical.

Go to this link to listen.

https://jazzstringquintet.bandcamp.com/album/the-pythiad-featuring-cheryl-wilson