Boring Stuff, Guns, Murder, and Numbers!

This artist has a sort of sickness. I love looking at statistics and fact checking stuff. This is one of the reason much of my art is like this piece titled Static Repercussions. I thought I would share some my research on fire arms and violence. This is really just numbers. I won’t include my conclusions here.


BTW I generally compare countries that have cultural and political similarities. So no Syria and Iraq stuff. If you see I made a typo let me know, after all I am only human. Included are the places I found the data. Not all the places I double checked it, because that gets crazy.
Do some comparisons from other sources yourself too. I am sure you will find it as fun as I do.

Oddly enough, I tend to feel all fired up and inspired to make art after doing research.


33% of Americans own firearm.

41% of households report owning at least one firearm

85% of Americans support back ground checks on all gun sales including private and gun show sales.

(Pew Research poll in July)

77% of Americans think better access to mental health treatment and screening would do a lot or some to reduce gun violence. (CBS/Times Poll in December)

Homicide rates 2013 Per Capita (per 100,000)

USA  5

Germany 1

Austria 1

Spain 1

Switzerland 1

Denmark 1

Poland 1

Sweden 1

Norway 1

United Kingdom 1

Australia 1

France 1

Canada 1

Guns per 100 residents 2014

United States 88.8

Germany 30.3

Austria 30.4

Spain 10.4

Switzerland 45.7

Denmark 12

Poland  1.3

Sweden 31.8

Norway 31.3

United Kingdom 6.6

Australia 15

France 31.2

Canada 30.8



Gun Laws Based on a Tradition of Responsibility

I would love to see gun laws that speak to the wisdom I was taught about gun ownership growing up and in the army.
Owning a gun is a responsibility. A gun is for killing and if you choose to own one, you take that responsibly. If you can not handle that, then you fore fit your right to hold and own one. RESPONSIBILITY.
hunting-togetherUnlike other inventions,  guns serve the intended purpose of killing. You pick a gun up knowing – that is the intended purpose for a gun. If you use it for target practice you still know, it was invented to kill and target practice is secondary to that. A gun is not a toy.
A car is built to drive, not to kill. A rake is built to rake, not kill. That is the difference, and yet we make people get drivers’ licenses and revoke them when needed. When car manufactures and rake manufactures try to improve the design, they never think this has to be able to kill more efficiently. Improved stopping power for a car is different than improved stopping power for a gun.
If you hand a gun to someone else, and they cause harm it is your responsibility. You are responsible for ensuring that a person you hand a gun to is not a loose cannon and is educated in gun safety. RESPONSIBILITY.
This rule should be applied to gun dealers and manufacture and citizen gun owners.
If you want to hand a gun over to someone you don’t know personally, and be able to be a responsible gun owner, then you should support background checks in order to facilitate that. It would be fair for the law to say, as long as you did this, then you are no longer responsible. If you sell a gun illegally, then you are held responsible and you will lose your right to have guns – and serve time. Again RESPONSIBILITY.
Other laws should follow.
If you threaten anyone with violence or make it publicly known that you want to harm anyone, then your right to own a gun should be revoked, and any guns you have should be taken. This could be contested in a court room and decided by a jury of your peers, in order to prevent people being wrongly accused of such things. Yes, this would be an exception to being innocent until proven guilty, because the danger can be immediate and needs to be prevented and no one is being jailed or fined. It won’t kill anyone wrongly accused to be without their gun for a time, until they can prove otherwise. Believe it or not, a person can go many months with out holding a gun in their hand and be just fine. A gun is not a necessity for survival in modern society.
If someone is injured or killed by a gun in your possession, you forfeit your right to having a gun. It does not matter if it was an accident. At that point you have proven yourself incapable of handling the responsibility. There should be no accidents when it comes to guns.
If you shoot yourself accidentally and live through it the same should apply. At that point you have proven yourself incapable of handling the responsibility.
Let us face it. “I did not know it was loaded” is an admission to not being able to handle the responsibility of having a gun.
If a gun you own is found left unsecured, the above should be enforced. At that point you have proven yourself incapable of handling the responsibility.
In short, I would raise the standard of who can have a gun. Any responsible citizen who truly wants to own a gun should be able to meet this standard. Any of the above mentioned points are enforced in the military and many soldiers prove to be capable of meeting this standard. The public should feel a sense that anyone carrying a gun can meet some standard of ability. Any responsible adult in a family of gun owners preaches these very things to their children.
The ownership of firearms should require safety classes and licensing. This is no different than driving a car, and millions of Americans do this very thing to be able to drive a car. This is not a difficult burden for someone who is able to handle a gun responsibly.
Yes, background checks should be needed to purchase a gun or a very large quantity of ammunition. You go to the store, you show them your gun license, they do a background check and if all is good then they sell you a gun. No one needs to buy a gun in an emergency, OMG I need a gun now. That is probably a sign that you should not be sold a gun if you think you need a gun now.
And to those of you that think you need a gun to defend yourself from the government if it became a police state, get a grip. There is no manner of guns and ammo you can own that will protect you from government forces if it ever came to that. Such forces would have highly trained solders with the backing of an arsenal that is big enough to wage war on multiple First World countries at one time. The drones alone make your Rambo dream stupid and lame. If you want to protect yourself from a police state then help ensure that our country is run democratically. If we fail at that, then I suggest you grab your legally bought gun and go run and hide someplace far away, for we are all probably screwed and you being killed by a drone or twenty armed professional soldiers won’t change that.
To those that say they need a gun for self defense. Firstly, if you can not handle a licensing process, then you are more likely to shoot a friend or yourself when you are attacked. Secondly, you have no clue whether you have any ability to shoot an attacker. Police and soldiers train constantly to be able to perform that very task because it is extremely difficult. You are better off running for help, anyway. If you are so convinced that you can handle that, again passing the test should not be a problem.
To those that like hunting. I do, too. I would feel much safer hunting if I knew more people in the woods with me had better training. I would also feel better knowing that everyone else knows, shooting me because you thought I was a deer will land you in jail and you will lose your guns. Maybe people would stop shooting at everything that moves in the bushes.
To those who want to shoot cans or what ever target practice thing you got going. Seriously, you can take the class and get the background check. There is no ‘target practice emergency, I need to shoot round disks now’ events in life.
To those that think only criminals would have guns. No, actual trained, responsible citizens would have them too, and not just any nut job that walks into Wal-Mart. If we add on better law enforcement to stop illegal gun trade – that reduce illegal guns, and less people buying guns legally that can’t handle the responsibility would equal less guns being available for criminals to procure illegally.
It is all about reasonability and any gun owner should have the guts to meet the standard.

Anyone is an Artist?!

These professions all require a lot of dedicated practice and learning.




Of these only one is commonly referred to as everyone is a blank.
An artist can dedicate many many hours of their lives, blood, sweat and tears to their craft. They either go to school or get it by emulating and studying other artist on their own. Either way it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. 90% hard work and 10% talent.
When an artist hears “everyone is an artist” or “anyone can be an artist” and it bugs them to hear that, they are called an elitist. I doubt if you swap artist for most other professions in these statements it would make sense to many people.
Everyone is a doctor? Everyone is a nurse? Everyone is an accountant? Everyone is a plumber?
Nope I never hear that and I am glad for it.
Just a thought for people to chew on.



Seriously what is going on? Everything is apparently the most mind blowing thing ever. How will we know when something is actually mind blowing? I would probably not click it and never find out that a astroid is colliding with the earth tomorrow and Orono is ground zero.

Connecting with Others! Where Art can make a Difference.

I find that making art and sharing it with others is an incredible way to find connection with my fellow humans. Working in the virtual world space of Second Life has offered amazing opportunities to see this at work and provided me with confirmation of just how art can make connections on levels that are much deeper than simply talking.

An example of a particular piece, that I created in Second Life that was an exploration of life in a dysfunctional family environment and home. The piece had no outwardly apparent literal signs of what the narrative of the piece was. I create a room that seemed typical as an apartments go. There was a chair, a hallway, a table, a closet with boxes and clothes. The only odd element was a ghostly figure of a girl standing and sitting that occasionally appeared at random.

I thought people would mistake it as some ghost story or something else than the narrative that I had in mind. However, I continued with being ambiguous and focused on colors and textures that somehow felt to me felt like a sad and dysfunctional space with bad memories. The title of the piece was simply Apartment 5B.



As people from around the world visited this work virtually through their computers I was astonished at how often the piece was connecting with people and conveying the intended narrative. Some of the people never happened to see the ghostly girl that appeared randomly and still had the sense that a difficult the memories of a difficult family environment haunted the space. One person, who didn’t speak English and lived on the other side of the planet, shared with me that the piece made them think of their troubled childhood and that the piece made them feel as though someone else understood this as well. The resulting conversation, as short as it was, seemed to be very healing and comforting for both of us.

Experiences like this that have weaved their way through my life of making art often leads me to wondering about how people could find and make connections with others that they perceive as being  different.

I often wonder if we couldn’t make the world a fundamentally better place if each of us found the value in being surrounded by diversity. What if people saw the act of reaching out and meeting people that seemed different as important as eating healthy, being a productive citizen, and the other array of values  of our society? I think intentionally embracing diversity would do more good for our world than any of those other values.

Below I am adding some links to other examples of finding ways for people to connect, get past differences, see we are all in this together, see that our differences are small in comparison to what we share, and maybe somehow make more room for acceptance in peoples hearts. Along with these, go to a art museum or gallery, see a play, maybe a dance production, the ways to find true connection and see through another eyes are all there to explore and cherish. We need to hunger for this.

Hope all this will inspire you to find a way to connect and make our world a better place.


What is an Artist?

So, I was reading a post that asked “what is an artist?”. I, of course, scrolled down to read all the comments that straightaway devolved into arguments. This is of course a debate that is as old as arguing. It did however get me thinking about what I thought may be the answer to the question.

After speaking to a musician friend, Molly Webster on the topic of what makes a person an artist we found that saying “you are not an artist because of this and that” is what seems to be offensive to people and where the line to oppressiveness  is crossed. As Molly put it “I wouldn’t want to stifle someone by telling them they are or are not a musician or artist.” I defiantly agree with that as well, but there seems that an answer can be given that doesn’t involved this, rather on that asks people to decide for themselves but provide some suggestion of where the lines are drawn.

It is about creating a culture of thought were one feels that there is a higher standard in proclaiming ones self an artist, and not the job of out side observers to deem it so or not so.

This is important to promote appreciation and respect for art and the work done by artist, while allowing a freedom of choice through self reflection. Also, if someone makes art, but can not see themselves as an artist there is no reason to feel that is somehow deeming or devalues the personal benefits of making art. Anyone can make art, but not everyone is an artist.

With this line of thinking,

artist-brainAn artist is someone who not only makes art but puts a great deal of life commitment into the making of art. This is not someone that makes art that copies others art as a means to an end. It can be making art and drawing from others, but also should include a purpose of contributing some expansion of the art from ones self. Simply put, not just copying other work and saying “I’m an artist”

Going to school for art does not cut it if the above is lacking.

Being self taught does still cut it if the above is still there as the primary goal and process. Self taught as an expression is rather supercilious anyway, sense no one just teaches them self without drawing from somewhere, like books, videos, or just seeing someone else’s art. A better phrase for this is probably self directed taught. That is a whole other bag of monkeys.

If you choose to take on the mantle of being an artist you should do so knowing full well that many before and many now wake up every morning and dedicate their lives to being artist.

If you can look these dedicated people in the eyes and say I am an artist and sleep at night, who are we to contradict you, though we should urge some to think hard on it as a matter of respect to those who came before.

In the end art is an amazing thing and an important part of our society. Art and those who have endeavored to be artist deserve some respect and not find themselves surrounded by posers claiming they are artist when they pick up the nearest crayon. I think this applies to many things, such as Musician, Poet, Writer and etc.

If you love painting or what ever but don’t see yourself fitting into this model, it’s perfectly fine. Paint that painting and reap the rewards that doing so gives. Maybe doing that you will fall in love with art and want to strive to be an artist and when you are there you will know.

To relax I like to build fun things in SecondLife

To relax I like to build fun things in second life. It is stress free creativity booster. Sort of like building a model ship. Here are photos of a space station I am making. It is just at the beginning. Of course my avatar Alexx needs to wear a space suite for safety. I use primary colors mostly for the initial build. This he ops identify edges and connection better until I add textures and nicer colors.