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Shifting The Paradigm On Sustainable Agriculture with Anna Lappé.
A Visual & Written Essay by Clark Patrick.


Anna speaking at the Westminster Town Hall Forum this spring.


Signing copies of her books and speaking with audience members after her talk.





Here is Anna's full presentation at the Westminster Town Hall Forum

This spring I had the opportunity to hear Anna Lappé speak at the Westminster Town Hall Forum and sit down with her for a bit after her talk to chat about all the amazing projects and organizations she is involved with. I was honored to be able to connect with her in person and share her mission of being a voice for a more sustainable food system.

A handful of years ago I felt a type of discontentment in my life and a sense of disconnection with the greater natural world and the food I ate. I was frustrated for eating out so much and consuming unhealthy processed foods. It bothered me to be eating so much food that came in way too much packaging and knowing it was filled with extra chemicals and preservatives that were clearly not good for me or for anyone else’s health.

But, at that time I didn’t have a lot of information about how to live differently. I didn’t grow up on an organic farm or have parents that made me home cooked meals every night with food from a family garden. I didn’t study agriculture or sustainability in college. And I didn’t have any friends who lived differently than I did or know anything about the connection between environmental changes and our food system.

The only thing I knew at the time was that something was wrong and I needed to adjust my life towards things that were better. I needed to proactively change my lifestyle to become more healthy, more aware, and more connected to where my food was coming from, how it was prepared, - and how that connected to our greater environment and climate change.

The first thing I did was start reading. I read all of Michael Pollan's books and Anna’s mother’s book Diet for a Small Planet. I also started reading the labels on the food I was buying and eating. And I watched documentaries on farming practices and made a big effort to educate myself on every level I could about what is really going on in the food system. It was, and still is, a hugely eye opening process.

I had no idea how bad some industrial farming and food-processing practices really are. I also hadn’t thought that deeply before about how connected farming practices are to our greater climate and climate change. It didn’t really occur to me that our water tables, rivers, forests, and even the air, is so greatly impacted by farming, especially large scale industrial farming. Although, that all seems so obvious to me now.

One of the other major things I did was grow my own food. My dad and I started gardening on a fairly large scale and the process of growing my own food was so impactful on me that I even decided to go work on a few different farms and enrolled in a sustainable agricultural business school program called, Farm Beginnings, that was created and is run by a nonprofit called the Land Stewardship Project. Each year I slowly adjusted my level of awareness and lifestyle towards a more sustainable living, eating, consuming, and way of being. Where I am now, and how I live, is in many ways considerably different than it was before I knew what I know now.

All of this is why Anna’s work is so incredibly important. Anna is a teacher, an advocate, and a conduit of valuable knowledge for people just like me. Anna’s books, organizations, speaking engagements, films, and Twitter posts all serve to help inform a wider audience about what is really going on in an aspect of our world that not all of us automatically know everything about. If you watch the full video above from Anna’s talk you will understand that she’s not just helping spread the facts about why sustainable farming practices are better for all of us she’s also an actual voice for the farmers who are already living and working this way. The entire food movement needs people like her to keep spreading the message that there is a different way forward. A different way that is healthier for us, for our children, and for the future of our entire eco-system.

Anna’s work and message is so important because none of us can make better choices in our lives about how we eat or live if we aren’t fully aware of different paths available to us. And the reality is that not everyone can, or will want to change their buying, eating, or consuming habits as much as I have. But, knowing what is really going on and being more aware gives each of us more information to work with in helping us make better choices if we want to do that. And that is at the heart of why I love Anna’s work, books, presentations and her tireless dedication to being a voice for a more positive and healthy food paradigm shift.

Something that is also very inspiring to me about the work Anna and others like her are doing is that it’s clearly working. As she mentions in her talk, "I'm not saying that we'll make this paradigm shift about food overnight, but I know because I've seen it with my own eyes that this shift is already happening all across the planet." I know she’s right because I see the same shift happening with my peers in my own community. More and more of my friends are buying food from co-ops and farmers directly through CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) programs and paying attention to where their food is coming from and who is producing it. Some of my friends have also started their own gardens. And more people are starting to learn about our governments farm policies and protest industrial agriculture companies like Monsanto that produce and market unsafe and unhealthy profit-only motivated products.

More and more people are starting to wake up to what is really going on and making connections to things they didn’t previously know or understand. As the saying goes, ‘knowledge is power.’

And Anna is a serious knowledge maven in an area we could all stand to learn a little more about.

This video produced by and featuring Anna is a part of a larger media campaign called Food MythBusters that is exactly what I’m talking about – dropping some serious good food and farming knowledge!

I absolutely LOVE this video and have forwarded it to everyone I know.



Here are links to some of Anna's other great projects and organizations. Each of these organizations are a clearinghouse of information and resources to help spread Anna's and many others wider message that there is another way forward in building a better food system.

Food MythBusters
The Real Story About What We Eat.

Small Planet
"Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé founded the Small Planet Institute in 2001 to further a historic transition: a worldwide shift from the dominant, failing notion of democracy — as something done to us or for us — toward democracy as a rewarding way of life: a culture in which citizens infuse the values of inclusion, fairness and mutual accountability into all dimensions of public life. We call this Living Democracy."

Small Planet Fund
"We started the Fund in 2001 to support courageous movements bringing to life citizen-led solutions to hunger, poverty, and environmental devastation around the world. Every year, we fund core grantees and make strategic grants to additional groups throughout the world for whom a relatively small infusion of resources can make a world of difference.
Since we launched the Fund, two of our core grantees have been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize: Muhammad Yunus and colleagues at the Grameen Bank and Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement.
With the support of hundreds of donors from across the country, we have raised and given away more than $800,000."


Take A Bite Out Of Climate Change
"Take a Bite plunges into the heart of the debate with a powerful message: If we are serious about the crisis, we’ve got to talk about food.
With nearly one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions coming from the food and agriculture sector, we at Take a Bite are here to help you learn about the connection between global warming and the food on your plate and what you can do about it."

Here's a link to Anna's Books & Other Writing Projects

And you can connect with her via social media here: Facebook, Twitter

Thank you Anna Lappé for sharing your knowledge and being an advocate and voice for a more sustainable farming, eating, and living path for us all moving forward! Keep up the great work!
BEING WORDICAL WITH CHANK DIESEL.
A Visual & Written Essay by Chunk Patrick.


Do this!


Yeah!


Yes!


Chank's early fonts found deep in the archives of Cake Magazine. Circa 1994-ish.


Every year Chank does a self portrait in January. That's a rad idea.


Chank art.


More art.


Some of Chank's fonts found in the real world.


Close-up. Hello face.


Chank's roof-top imagination station.

Oh, Hello. Lets talk about the one Mr. Chank Diesel for a minute.

First off, according to a party goer at the last party I attended, "Chank, oh yeah, he knows everyone. Or I guess everyone knows Chank." Hum, well that would certainly be a lot of people to keep track of... I only know almost everyone... so Chank has got me beat. Nicez.

But, just in case you're one of those folks who does not already know Chank I'll fill you in on his magical wordical goodness.

Chank is a Twin Cities based custom font designer, painter, artist, and knower of everyone. He also happens to be a very nice fellow and taller than I am so very good at taking stellar group photos via his very smart phone. Which of course is an underrated skill.

I've known Chank for a few years and have always enjoyed his company and conversation-ing over a tasty adult beverage. However, I didn't know how totally font famous he was until we sat down for this jam session.

Chank's custom fonts can be found all over the world (literally) via all kinds of mediums, websites, food packaging, book covers, inside video games, stickers, ring tones (ok, I made that one up), but you get my point - the dudes words or rather word designs are everywhere. Whoa.

On a serious note- if you stop and think about it for a second it is kind of amazing to realize that all of the worlds letters had to be hand designed by someone at some point. And that this is a real job! If I were a font designer the best I could do would be to create all fonts using Crayons in my own horrible handwriting. Which would mean that every word everywhere would be ugly. So, it's a good thing Chank does what he does!

The other thing I learned about the one Mr. Chank superstar is that he is also a painter. As you might imagine much of his painted works have and use letters and words. Bam! Zoom! Zoyinks!

Beyond that he paints interesting portraits, yearly self portraits, and architectural works. He's very much a fine artist.

I really enjoyed checking out his archives of numbered works that he's created over the years and appreciate the large body of work he's produced. It's always fun to be able to see how an artist changes and grows over the years. One thing that has stayed consistant in his work is that he's always producing new stuff and exploring new territory. It was great to be able to see so many different approaches and styles he's developed over the years. Again, I knew he was a killer-tastic font designer, but didn't know he was such a talented fine artists too.

On a bro to bro level I really like Chank and I love knowing he's rocking a career as a font designer in our hood. If you're a person who likes to collect original fine art prints I would check out his collection because he's got tons of cool original pieces that would add some snap to any room. I also have a sneaking suspicion his fine art prints will end-up gaining some good auction value for the monied collector set as well, if you're into that angle within the art world.

Thanks Chank for being so totally radical and making the world a more artful space!

Read about Chank in the newspaper HERE!
Find Chank on Wikipedia. (Dude must be famous.)
Follow Chank on Twitter.
Like Chank on Facebook.
And check out Chank on the MN Originals TV series HERE. Awesome!
Doing Better Business & Having Lots Of Fun With Six Speed.
A Visual & Written Essay by Clark Patrick.


Andi Dickson, one of Six Speed's founding partners doing some last minute checks on top of the starting line tower for the 2013 Red Bull Crashed Ice event in St. Paul. I spent the day hanging out with the whole Six Speed crew as they pulled together all the final details before the big event.



Jane Dullum, managing registration and athlete relations before the evening's final rounds.



Chris Hergott, watching over the athlete tent with athletes from over 20 countries. And rocking a steller winter beard to keep it warm on this insanely cold day.



Danielle Dziedzic - All smiles here folks!



"Yep. On it."



Blade sharpening shop in full effect.



Whoa.



World rankings. Bam.



The Six Speed road warriors hearing some tales from mother Russia. This guy was having a blast.



Nothing to see here. No fun happening in this ride.



Party time?



The boys ready to ride.



More like full speed.



Um. Yeah it was as cold as it looks.




Just a little operation... you know with about 80 billion lights and other moving parts.



Do Doan putting up a sign reading: "This is a no fun zone. Go home and be lame." Or something along those lines. ;-)



Tom Cusciotta - founding partner and owner of SixSpeed. Takin' care of business.



Hailee rocking major positive vibes in the negative temps.

(The photos above were taken as the Six Speed crew was pulling together all the final touches for the very large (115,000 visitors) Red Bull World Championship Crashed Ice event during January in St. Paul, MN. The Six Speed team helped produce this event along with many other Red Bull events throughout the year. Hangman Productions worked closely with the Six Speed team on this event building the track. Six Speed is a full service creative and production agency based in the Twin Cities. Take a moment to check out their full client roster to see all the other great projects they're responsible for.)

Six Speed is a financial sponsor of the Clark Loves Me project. So, it might seem sort of obvious that I would then in fact also LOVE Six Speed. That's true. But, Six Speed's financial support of my project is not the only reason, or even the most important reason why I love all the fine folks over at Six Speed.

Even though this is a post about a business relationship I have with a creative agency it is also a personal post. If you've read any of the previous posts on all the other amazing folks and organizations featured here you'll notice a pattern - it's all personal - every post is personal. This whole project is personal. It's about artists, creators, doers, organizations, musicians, and other awesome folks that I (Clark Patrick) LOVE.

The entire point of this project is about being real. It's about being truly authentic, genuine, honest, and not having to cater to anyone or anything, including and especially my sponsors.

For some of you this concept might seem kind of bold and maybe even a little bit daft. But, I believe genuineness is the true foundation of good business practices, partnerships, relationships and really everything else. In today's often insanely misguided business world it takes courage to maintain that line, but people recognize it when they see it.

I've been a commercial photographer for the last 7 years. During that time I've worked with many companies, ad agencies, individuals, models, on-sets, on-locations, in the air (literally), land, sea, underground - you name it...

I have worked with some great companies (like Six Speed) and some "not so great" companies. Without going into a graduate level dissertation on the topic here unfortunately a lot of those "not so great" (insert favorite expletive here) companies have been traditional advertising agencies that are theoretical competitors to and have simliar "capabilities" as Six Speed. But, the reason why I'm proud to tell people from an honest place why I love having Six Speed as my sponsor goes way beyond their agencies "capabilities". Because all things being equal there are tons of companies that can do good design work, launch a new campaign, organize a great event, or in my world- the photo world, that can get you some decent photos. So, why am I so amped on Six Speed? Well, lucky for me, and lucky for Six Speed all things are not equal and a whole hell of a lot matters beyond "capabilities".

A few years ago when I was working with a bunch of those "not so great" companies I hit a wall. And all of my bad experiences ended up becoming a major catalyst for the creation and launch of this entire project. Having a string of not so fun working years forced me to step back and try to understand the bigger picture. What was really going on?

Right around that time I saw this TED talk (below) for the first time and it rocked my world. It helped me understand a lot of the things I was thinking and feeling at the time, but hadn't been able to articulate for myself yet. If you haven't seen this video yet, watch it now. Yes, it's 18 minutes long, but it's that important and there is a reason why it's now one of the most watched TED talks. (And it will help you understand further why I love Six Speed so much).



(If you didn't watch the video I'm going to reach through my computer screen and smack you right now!)

Here's my major takeaway from this video as it applies to my relationship with Six Speed:

ONLY DO BUSINESS WITH THOSE PEOPLE, ORGANIZATIONS, OR BUSINESSES THAT BELIEVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE.

In case that isn't clear enough for you what I mean by that is this; when I was working with those "not so great" advertising agencies and their "not so great" clients I realized it wasn't their fault that I was having a few "not so fun" working years. It was my fault. But, wait, didn't those companies super suck? Yep. To the max. So... why was it not their fault? Because I was choosing to work with and for them. I was allowing them to treat me like crap and I was being hired for my "capabilities" or rather "what" I do instead of "why" I do what I do. (The main point of the TED talk highlighted above.)

After my epic-ish realization that it was just as much my own fault for working with crappy companies as it was their fault for sucking so much in the first place I circled back to my life and my career with a new set of questions, "What do I believe? What does matter to me? And what companies believe what I believe? Who do I want to work with? And why?

From this new point of view and approach to business and my life as a whole the Clark Loves Me project was born. And my alignment with companies that believe what I believe fell further into place. Which is how and why the creative agency known as Six Speed and I started spreading some more love together.

What does Six Speed believe in that inspires me and makes me proud to have them as a sponsor?

Six Speed Believes This:

Six Speed is a company that believes in treating their employees right by going the extra mile and taking care of them in deeper ways beyond their paychecks and not thinking of them as disposable worker-bee-drones, but rather as real awesome hard working human souls. Six Speed is a company that believes in working crazy-crazy hard for their clients. Six Speed is a company that believes in being honest about deadlines, about budget requirements, about what they can and can not do, and about what it takes to do things the right way - or in other words - they believe in being honest, period. Six Speed is a company that believes in under-promising and over-delivering. Six Speed is a company that believes in paying their vendors fairly and always on time. Six Speed is a company that believes in having, creating, living, breathing, and jumping up and down with one of life's most important elements - FUN. Six Speed believes in working with companies that share their passions. Six Speed is a company that believes in working with other hard working, legit, honest, passionate, and FUN companies and people.

And Six Speed believes in taking creative risks by doing all kinds of other amazing and awesome things. "Awe"-some things like supporting this project.

It is for these reasons, and for others that I'm sure I left out, why I'm happy to be in a business relationship with this company. Because they are a company that is so much more than a name on the side of a building full of folks with some "capabilities". Six Speed is a company that believes in many of the same things that I believe in. Good things. Important things. Real and fun things.

Six Speed is a sponsor for the Clark Loves Me project because their company inspires me and gives me hope that there are still at least a few legit creative agencies out there doing great work with integrity built into their foundations.

Thank you everyone over at Six Speed for being so radical. I can't wait to watch your future business endeavors unfold and get to dip in on the fun from time to time moving forward.

Oh, and since I didn't even get into the details of what Six Speed's steller "capabilities" actually are. Check out their website for all the rocking details. Or better yet give them a call. Ask for Andi and tell him you heard that some random artist dude name Clark really loves him. ha! I guarantee he'll take care of you.

Also:
Fan them on thy-old Facebook here.
Tweet jam with them here.

Represent! Sixth gear on the floor! Whoot, whoot!









Talking about Enough with Patrick Rhone.
A Visual & Written Essay by c.p.



"We find truth in the things we come back to. The longer you hold onto what you love the more you realize that it is something you truly love. In that sense you don't define your passions your passion defines you." - Patrick Rhone

I'm really glad to have had the opportunity to meet with Patrick Rhone. This guy has amazing energy and a creative spirit.

When we connected we had a total-nerd-chat-jam-session. It felt like we literally talked about everything... our backgrounds, minimalism, writing, art, being an artists, photography, technology, our families, our lives, the universe- the conversation was wonderful. We covered so much ground it's hard to articulate it well after the fact, but since the reason I reached out to Patrick in the first place was because I was interested in his writing I'll focus on that.

Patrick has written a couple books of essays that are both great and I particularly like his book titled, Enough.

The book focuses on the word and/or rather the concept of - Enough. What does that mean? Well, in the introduction to the book Patrick states, "I'm convinced that a successful life is largely driven by balance and moderation. Not too much of anything. Not too little, either. Just enough."

Explaining further, "Enough is a very personal metric. Like our center of gravity, each of us must find what is enough by swaying from less to more until a comfortable medium is found."

Thinking more mindfully about what is enough in my own life is something I've been very focused on over the last few years. The busyness of life often seems to overtake our time and ability to step back for a minute and ask ourselves some basic questions about how we're living individually and collectively. Are we spending our time on the things that make us most happy? Are we spending our money on things that are productive, healthy, worthwhile, important, or genuine? Are we working too hard on things that don't matter and not hard enough on things that do matter? And as Patrick notes - are we living in balance and moderation?

Taking stalk of your life requires some effort. You actually have to slow down. You have to take a step back. And you have to be really honest with yourself about how you are living and why. That process is hard for a lot of people. We don't want to slow down... that seems weak. We don't want to have to stop what we're doing to think about it. And more than anything else being honest with ourselves sucks because it means we're going to have to own up to our own shit. We're going to have to look in the mirror and admit that in some aspects of our lives we're off track. We aren't balanced (in some aspect of our lives), we aren't living in moderation (in some aspects of our lives), and we aren't focused on what is enough for ourselves. We are tired, distracted, sad, lonely, over-worked, over-consuming, or sometimes something even worse. Looking in the mirror can hurt.

But, the thing is that once you get over the pain of the honesty required to truthfully evaluate your life and you're ready to move forward in a better way- everything gets easier after that.

Being honest with yourself leads to clarity. Clarity leads to answers and solutions for living more rightly. Living more rightly, in alignment with your being- your core, leads to more happiness. More happiness leads to more happiness. And happiness is exactly enough.

The essays in Patrick's book are little nuggets of wisdom to help you find your own sense of enough. His essays are tools, thoughts, and ideas about how to get there.

One of the things we talked about during our meeting was farming. I went back to agricultural business school last year and my personal and professional interest has moved directly into that world. Patrick told me a story about his connection with a young women farmer. The story is great and you can watch a talk he gave on it here.

Besides his books Patrick regularly writes on his blog about all kinds of other enlightened topics here.

And you can also find more of Patrick's thoughts and musings on Twitter.

Thank you Patrick for helping me maintain my focus and reminding me of the importance in knowing and living my own version of - Enough.
Monster Puppets Take Over! At Transylvania Television.
A Visual & Written Essay by Count Clark.



Count LeShoc



Furry Ackermonster



Brian Ledeskyu



Esmerelda the Gypsy



Gorzon the Cosmic Destroyer



Cryptomicus







Awesome set details.



The TV network.



Season 1 Ep. 13 - Burger Czar



Season 1 Ep. 9 - LeShoc Flounces the Internets



Season 2 Ep 1 - Cutbacks pt 1



Season 2 Ep 3 - Cutbacks pt 2



Season 2 Ep 5 - Cutbacks Pt 3

Transylvania Television

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Gordon Smuder the founder and co-creator of Transylvania TV to talk about his show and the art of puppetry. TVTV is a (primarily) web based adult puppet show about the antics of Count LeShoc and his fellow Transylvania castle folk running their own TV network.

I first came across TVTV a few years ago and immediately thought it was funny. I was even more impressed by the show and its high production quality once I found out it was produced locally essentially without funding.

When I met with Gordon I learned about the backstory behind the show and was totally inspired by his passion for his art. It's not everyday that most of us think about the role puppets have played in our own lives. But, as we talked Gordon reminded me how many shows from my childhood (and all of our childhood's) were puppet based. He described these shows as 'living cartoons' with the types of characters that feel just a bit more life-like and more real to us than animated cartoons. Thinking back on my childhood that idea or that type of feeling really resonated with me.

Gordon's passion for puppets has grown up with him and has become his art. While visiting the shows studio space where they store their (amazingly detailed) sets, gear, and puppets Gordon showed me dozens of the puppets he's made over the years. As a puppet appreciator only via the TV screen it was really great to be able to see his creations up close. There is clearly a skill, science, and art behind making a puppet.

Part of our conversation moved towards talking about living and working as an artist. It was fun to chat about how friends and family often don't quite understand our passions or our mediums and we joked a bit about how basically all artists parents really just want their kids to become doctors. Gordon told me that his wife is very supportive of his passion and chips into in all kinds of ways.

He told me something else about their long production days that I just loved, which is whenever they shoot they (or rather.. Jennifer Menken) always makes a point to cook really good homemade food for everyone involved. Making that meal is a way to express his deep appreciation for everyone who is there to help. The meal is meant to be a family meal because he thinks of everyone who is a part of making the show as a family. He said, "We're asking everyone to work really hard on this and it's just not honest if we don't take care of them." It was such a wonderful way of framing a good, homemade, family-style, meal - as something 'honest.' So, cool.

While I was photographing the portraits of the puppets Gordon explained to me more about their unique character traits and many of the ideas for shows that haven't been made yet or other ideas that got tabled for one reason or another. It was fun to hear about things that could be and things that never will be. I've always loved the insider info. on people's passions.

Hanging out with Gordon for a few hours was really fun, informative, and reminded me why doing this project is so important to me. Because people like Gordon, his show, his work, his craft and his passion inspire me and make the world a better place. Puppets rule!

Thanks Grodon for going your own way and putting something special out there for folks like me to appreciate.

Be sure to check out other episodes of TVTV on the TVTV website, Facebook, & Twitter:

Transylvania Television
TVTV Facebook
TVTV Twitter

You can also find TVTV on digital cable playing on the TUFF TV channel affiliates around the country.

A link to the production company:
The Puppet Forge

And TVTV Production Crew Credits:

Production heads: Michael Heagle, Gordon Smuder, Jennifer Menken, Clarke Stone, Troy LaFaye.

Puppeteers: Charles Hubbell, Jeff Neppl, Laz Nemesi, Renee Werbowski, Michael Huyck, Michael Heagle, Troy LaFaye, Gordon Smuder

Lighting Lead: Alan Lloyd
Sound: Rob Whithoff

Pre-Production Crew: Michael Huyck, Jason
Writers: Matt Gallagher, Jim Hibbler, Damian Johnson, Michael Heagle, Gordon Smuder

Puppets: Count LeShoc, Furry Ackermonster, Cryptomicus, Brian Ledeskyu, Gorzon the Cosmic Destroyer, Esmerelda the Gypsy.
The Power Of An Open Door With Bronze Sculptor Doug Freeman.
A Visual & Written Essay by Clark Patrick.



Small clay models of ideas for bronze sculptures most of which eventually became full-scale realized bronze public art pieces.



I worked with Doug on this dancing lion sculpture for 11 months during 2003-2004. I stopped working with Doug a week before it shipped out the door to it's final resting place in California.



Storage of plaster and rubber molding used in the bronze sculpture making process. (And lots of other supplies!)



One-eyed Willy.



Drawers of tools.





The lunch table with leaves, glue sticks, pens, bread, water, shells, bits of paper, and of course a loon coaster.



The loft that Doug lived in during his early 30's.



The studio walls.



The dividing wall of Doug's studio that shows it's own age by the marks of Children's heights.



Doug's faithful studio companion, Captain - an unbelievable 23-year-old pigeon.



Truth.





A very 'Doug' look.



And a very 'Doug' smile.



An image of the dancing lion at it's final home in LA as a part of a public fountain. It looks wonderful.

Doug Freeman is an amazing bronze sculptor who has been working at his craft and creating public art for more than 30 years. Broze sculptural work is an intense, time consuming, complex, and major artistic endeavor. Each final creation is the product of a long multi-staged process.

I worked with Doug fulltime for 11 months on only one project - the 10 foot tall dancing lion seen above. The final piece weighs many tons.

Before working with Doug I had never been involved in the bronze making process and had no prior experience. Doug said to me, "It's ok, I'll teach you." And teach me he did.

If you don't have any idea what goes into making a bronze sculpture here's a quick outline of the process:

1.) First you need an idea. A concept. And a good reason to spend many months and years of your life creating a final work of art.
2.) Then you need to draw it out and create models.
3.) You make models our of clay that are built on foundations of steel armatures attached to wooden bases. You build models to get a sense of scale and to understand and create accurate proportions. The models act as your guide for making the final piece.
4.) Once you think you've got it all right you set out to make the life sized version.
5.) You build steel armatures that are true to the final size of the piece.
6.) You then build out of clay the full-sized actual final version of your sculpture.
7.) Once you've got it just right. You build layers of rubber molding covering the whole piece. 5-7 layers.
8.) Once the whole sculpture is encased in rubber. You do it again in plaster.
9.) Once the sculpture is encased in rubber and plaster you cut all the layers off into smaller pieces.
10.) After you've cut the pieces off you make another layer inside the rubber molding out of wax. Many layers of wax.
11.) When you have very think layers of wax of the inside of the molding completed you pull the rubber layers off and take the wax molds to the foundry and pour the bronze into chambers that fill the space of where the wax is taking up it's form.
12.) Then you have a ton of pieces of bronze that fit together like a 3-D puzzle of the final sculpture.
13.) You weld these pieces together. And fix the surface so it's just as you've intended it to be.
14.) You patina the surface to give it its final color and weather protection.
15.) And then you figure out how you're going to move it and install it.

Once all that is done. You've done it. You've make a bronze sculpture for the world to enjoy!

This whole process can take anywhere from 1-7 years per final sculpture depending on it's size and on the approval process of the end client.

Again, this is a serious endeavor and takes years to perfect. Doug told me once that all famous bronze sculptors we very old when they become noteworthy and that was because the process is so time consuming it takes years to learn, years to create singular pieces, and years to become recognized for what you do. Understanding the process definitely explains that. Whenever I see any bronze public art pieces now I think back on the time I spent working for Doug and appreciate the effort that went into their creation.

It is a truly amazing artistic medium and Doug is very much a living leader in his field.

So far all of the artists I've featured in the Clark Loves Me series have been artists I know personally and have worked with in some way or another in the past. But, none of the artists I've featured have I spent as much time with as I have with Doug. I consider Doug one of my mentors. Although, we don't see each other that often anymore Doug was a big part of setting me up on the artistic path that I've been traveling down for the last 10 years.

How I ended up meeting Doug and then working for him is an interesting story.

I graduated college in 2003 and my first job out of college was a paid internship with Minnesota State Senator and now Governor Mark Dayton. I worked for Mark for less than a year in Washington D.C. and after my internship was over I decided working on the hill wasn't the right place for me and moved back to Minnesota.

At that time I was 21-years-old and had absolutely no idea what I should do next with my life. I had gone to college focusing most of my education on political science and after my time in Washington I knew staying on that road wasn't for me.

At that time the only thing that I felt in my heart where I should focus my energy was 'something to do with art'. It was a very vague approach to moving forward and I no idea what type of job could or would come from that line of thinking.

I decided that I needed to get out into the world and trust that something would connect for me that was right at that time in my life. I realized that even though I had grown up in Minnesota and knew how large our art community was that I had not been to most of the art galleries in town and many of the art museums either. So I went. To all of them. I spend 2 whole entire weeks going to art galleries, going to museums, wandering around some of the buildings that housed artists studios, and just immersing myself in the art of our city. It was a wonderful way to spend a couple weeks lost in art.

Although I had no idea what I was going to do with my life or how I was going to make any money I wasn't scared, I wasn't afraid of my future, where I'd end up, or how I was going to make a living, because I was listening to my heart and following my intuition.

And that's how Doug and I connected.

I was looking for an art gallery that had apparently been closed for years and I had some incorrect contact information for. I was in downtown Minneapolis and walked by a building that looked like it housed artists studios and on the side of the building there was a door that was open... so I walked in.

Inside the door was a large studio, Doug's studio, and the first thing I saw when I walked in was Doug standing on a ladder in the middle of the room working on a large sculpture. The Lion.

Doug said cheerfully, "Can I help you?"

I explained that I was looking for a specific gallery and couldn't seem to find it. He informed me that it had been closed for years and inquired as to why I was looking for it. I explained my story. I was looking for something - but not really just that gallery. I was looking for a new path and a new job. And I was doing it by exploring and being open to what might connect. I was trying to let the world help me instead of trying to force my way into something. I trusted that it would all work out somehow and that my new path would reveal itself to me.

Doug and I had a really wonderful chat. We said our hello and goodbye and I left to go on my way.

When I was a few blocks away I heard someone calling my name. I stopped and saw it was Doug a block or so behind me. He jogged up to me slightly out of breath and said, "Hey, you know what, I've been thinking lately that I need some extra help on this big project I'm working on. I've been kind of waiting for the universe to reveal that person to me in the same way you've been looking for a new path. And I think you're that person. Even though we just met and we don't know each other, what do you think about coming to work for me?" I was a bit surprised, but somehow I had the same feeling about it too. I said, "I don't have any experience as a bronze sculptor..." And that's when Doug said, "It's ok, I'll teach you."

I started working for Doug 3 days later and worked with him full time for almost a year.

Looking back on the seemingly endless amounts of jobs I've had during my working life since I started when I was 13-years-old working with Doug was probably the best job I've ever had.

We would take long lunches and have great chats about the arts, politics, and everything else under the sun. We'd listen to music for hours at a time without talking. We'd have a tea break in the morning, or a late afternoon run to get some sort of supplies. Doug's main assistant, a women named Donna worked with us too. And to this day I think she still might be the kindest person I've ever met.

Every once and a while Doug would crawl up into his loft and read to Donna and I from a sculpture book, or a poem, or even a few lines from The Little Prince.

A lot of the time I worked with Doug I had time to be inside my own head too. I'd listen to the music and think about where I wanted my life to go after our project was over. Doug helped me process a way to move forward. He helped me frame the things that were important to me and mentored me as a young man.

At that time I had a lot of energy and was eager to direct it in all kinds of new directions. Shortly after I stopped working for Doug I left to move to Austin, Texas and pursue the next phase of my life.

Now nearly 10 years later thinking back on the amazing way in which we connected - In how, I was open to the world conspiring in my favor, and then it seemingly doing so.... I still understand the power of finding your way forward by being open to it, instead of trying to create it.

There are so many elements of our society that try to get us all to think we need to create everything for ourselves. Letting things happen is for slackers or the unmotivated, it's for the weak, and people who don't know what they want for themselves.

But, my experience wasn't like that. My experience was that I did know what I wanted and was being proactive and motivated to find the next step. I put myself out there without fear and I went through an open door. I didn't make a pathway forward... I found one that was waiting for me.

It's sort of like taking a walk in the woods. There are a million ways to get through the forest and the first step is to just start walking - then the path reveals itself to you. You're both taking and creating your own path one step at a time. The beginning and end of the path aren't as important as the process of moving through it.

For me, true happiness is not a destination in of itself, but rather a process of enjoying the movements of your own path.

Doug and I chatted about this a bit when we connected for this project.

I told Doug that I was looking for a new job. I told him that I had gone back to school and was ready to move forward on a new path. I told him that I had learned a lot of lessons while running my photography business for the last 7 years, but that I had reframed photography in my life as an art form I'd always do, but something I was no longer interested in building as my career. More or less I told Doug I wanted to live a more stable and sustainable lifestyle. And to build a more solid foundation for myself moving forward.

As a person I have looked to for advice and guidance over the last 10 years I sort of expected Doug to be someone disappointed in my new way of thinking. As my most important artistic mentor I thought he might put some effort into convincing me to push forward and stay committed to my medium as my career.

But, Doug didn't do that. Doug echoed my thoughts and said that his early 30's was when he moved into his studio space. He didn't regret his choice to become a full time artist, but he spoke from experience how hard the path really is. He told me that if he could have changed something in his past he would have started teaching early on as a more secure way to generate an income.

The difference between where Doug and I sit now on our own paths is the he's 30 years ahead of me on his timeline. He has been bold. He has been a full-time working bronze sculptor for longer than I have been alive and he doesn't regret it.

However, he agreed with my thoughts, feelings, and intuition of moving forward during the next phase of my life being more mindful of the fact that my choices today are creating the consequences and rewards of my future.

I am very much a believer of staying focused, mindful, and happy in the moments of your life. I believe happiness has a lot to do with enjoying the daily moments of right where you are in your journey. But, I also believe that staying awake, aware, and mindful of your present don't mean you can or should ignore the realities of the choices you've made in the past that have lead you to where you are now. Or that being present means you don't also need to be mindful of the likelihood that you do still have a future and that your choices now impact and create that future for you.

This year I've found this intense sense of balance. I'm in a wonderful and powerful mental place where I'm somehow able to be equally mindful of my past, present, and future. Feeling this way is guiding me towards more thought out, more safe, and more responsible choices while allowing me to still be appreciative and joyful in every moment of my life. Even while doing things that previously seemed horrible, like getting sick, or doing my taxes.

It's hard to fully explain. But, the balance I feel now has lead to the greatest and most deep sense of contentment and happiness I've ever know.

I am also very much back to an open place. I am again fully ready for the world to conspire in my favor. I am moving forward proactively, not forcing anything, not scared, not worried, and through the experiences I've had throughout my 20's even more prepared to recognize the next open door in my life. An open door to a space with a new kind of foundation.

Thank you Doug for being a reason why I know the Universe conspires in our collective favors when we are open to our path and our path is open to us.

I look forward to the next 30 years of our friendship, journey, and contentment.

Bowing in appreciation of you. Your young apprentice, Clark.







The Smiles & Styles of Desiree Forget of Owl & Lark.
A Visual & Written Essay by Lark O. Patrick.



The lovely and talented Desire-o-ray.



Oh, hello and whooo are youuu. ;-)





Whistle bling.



In the studio, yo.



A tiny hammer. Needed for tiny amounts of pounding.





Camera locket. Pimp!




Nice.



Oh, Desire-o-ray. How the years fly by.

I'm not sure exactly when I first met Desiree, but I do remember the first time I had a good conversation with her. It was at a Chinese food restaurant in Dinkytown after a long day on set shooting stills for Shane Nelson who was directing the music video Big Drag for the band Limbeck in 2007. (Which funny enough I had also brought Gabe Douglas with me to be an extra. You'll find him at exactly 1:59 in the video.)

I have absolutely no idea what we talked about when we first met, but I do remember two things about her. One was that she has basically the best and most wonderful-ist laugh ever. And two, I remember thinking to myself, "this girl is legit." (Or something along those lines.)

Both of those things hold true now as much as ever. The day we first chatted Desiree was doing styling work for the video, which is of course one of her millions of talents. Besides creating amazing jewelry for your wearing pleasure she is a clothing, set, hair, and make-up stylist for photo and video productions. (And yes, she is good at ALL of those things.)

She's a constant doer and creator. Usually wearable and always cute little creations pour out of her like a magic waterfall.

Over the years Desiree and I have spent many hours chilling, chatting, and imaginat-ing, all kinds of face melting projects and ideas with lots of giggling involved. Yes, giggling. Generally, speaking I wouldn't consider myself a giggler, but Desiree brings it out of me. Which is awesome.

There's so much goodness about Desiree it's hard to nail it all down here. But, if I had to sum it up... I'd say, she is one of the nicest, kindest, most caring, giving, sweetest, funniest, most hard working-est, baller-est, badass-est, persons I know.

I love Desiree for everything that she is. She's a great friend of mine and I'm thankful that we're buddies. It's so easy being friends with her because she is so balanced, fun to be around, has her shit together, does good work, and is an all around great person.

I know Desiree and I will be life long friends and I'll always be here to promote her amazingness.

So, on that note....

To see (and buy!) more of Desiree's awesome jewelry stop by her holiday Owl & Lark trunk sale this weekend Sat. Nov. 24, 2012 at Rogue Buddha Gallery from 12-5pm.

Also, check out and shop at Desiree's Owl & Lark Esty Shop. Get the latest news on her Owl & Lark Blog. And of course 'fan' her Owl & Lark Facebook Page.
Little Bro In The Bow David Mendolia.
A Visual & Written Essay by Clarkus Patriacus.







I've known David for a number of years now. We first met because he called me up when he was young... like in middle school young, and wanted to talk about the 'business' of photography. Because he was so young and so serious... I was all about it. I'm a fan of serious people. Especially those serious about creating.

In the time that I've known David he's been working consistently at his craft. He's always shooting. He stays motivated and isn't discouraged by the reality of the 'business' of photography. He's having fun with his work and the people he shoots. He's on top of the latest and greatest in the gear world and always up on trying out something from the photographic past too. He's exploring. He is into cars, he's in college, and on every level he's just doing his thing.

David has got the freedom to play around with his creative projects without the worries of agency clients or anything else messing with his Ch'i. With his freedom David is doing something that seems to happen when you feel your own freedom. He is getting better.

I've seen both David and his work grow up in the time we've been friends. I can see where he is starting to develop his own style and where his talent is moving. And I'm all about it.

Although we don't spend tons of time together I sort of think of David as a younger brother to me. As I've seen him grow in his work it keeps me motivated to keep exploring in my own work. It's like playing basketball with your younger bro. For years you humor him when playing together... you could always beat him. But, as time passes he catches up fast, and now, well, you can still win, but you have to try a lot harder than you'd like to admit in order to beat him. And sometimes he's going to get you anyway. You start to see your younger bro as one of your peers instead of your younger brother and you're proud of that. You can take ownership over how pimp your little bro really is and perhaps feel a bit of pride in your relationship to shaping his growth. I'm not sure I had much to do with David's growth as an artist. But, I can say that his growth has helped me stay motived in searching for my own.

So, shine on little bro. Thanks for pushing me to try and be on top of my game. And try not to beat me up too bad when you're crushing it as a world famous photographer someday!

Here are some of David's images that I dig found in his ever growing body of work.

Work Hard & Be Nice To People.
Bowing in appreciation of Anne Ulku.

A Visual & Written Essay by c.p.









Here's Annie and I playing outside on a nice fall evening.

The fun, talented, hard-working, and ever busy Anne (or Annie) Ulku and I have been good friends and business collaborators since the very first day we met to work together on a project in the spring of 2009.

I had seen some of Annie's student portfolio work and recognized her talent right away. At that time she had a full-time design job and was doing freelance work on the side. Not too long after that she was out on her own and she's been crushin' it ever since. The degree, depth, breath, and level of the work she's been creating since we first met is mind-numbing. Annie is a graphic design machine. A very talented machine.

Annie is very professional, way more organized than most other artists and designers I know, she stays focused on her projects and in her medium, and she's moving forward in leaps and bounds. She has won a number of awards recently and is gaining bigger and better client projects with every passing month. And none of that is by accident.

Annie and I become Walker Arts members together (which, btw, Annie we need to go to more events soon... jeez.) and we went to hear the graphic designer and artist Anthony Burrill speak at a lecture there earlier this year. He created a poster that gained world-wide success and sales that simply stated the thought, "Work Hard & Be Nice To People" in bold black wood-cut letter typography.

It was a great way to spend the night with Annie and Anthony was really funny and his background story was interesting, insightful, and inspiring. When I sat down to think about what I could say about my friend Annie my mind immediately went to Anthony's poster - "Work Hard & Be Nice To People" because that is exactly what Annie does and who she is.

She's a very nice person. She's fun to be around, she laughs a lot, she doesn't talk shit about other people or their work, she goes to lots of shows, and has a genuinely good time with her friends. She's a happy good-hearted spirit and I love being friends with her. Some of the people I've written about so far for this project are people I love but, for any number of reasons haven't spent as much time with as I have with Annie. But, Annie and I really are close friends. And a big part of the reason we are such close friends is because she's such a great person to be around and we both share an intense level of drive and passion for the work that we do. I mean, how could you not want to be good friends with a fun, nice, hard-working person?

Oh, and did I mention she's hard-working yet? A machine? Yeah, while maybe one of the other big reasons why we might be such good friends is because she is always a person I know I can call very late at night because she'll still be working. And she's not the type of person who works at night and sleeps all day... she starts working in the morning too. That's what hard working means. Annie's intense dedication to her work inspires me. Having a friend I know who works as hard, or more realistically harder than I do keeps me moving. Seeing her career move forward and grow from all of her hard work and because she's a good person makes me feel that at least a few things are right in the world.

Beyond Annie's hard work and nice-ness is something else. Her talent. Talent is always a hot topic for discussion in the art world or any other world really... because it's hard to define. Talent in the world of art and design lives somewhere in-between a jumbled mess of individual and societal tastes, aesthetics, lucky breaks, trends, awards, and other such mental hurricanes. But, the thing about talent is that when someone really has it... most everyone agrees on it.

Take a moment to look over Annie's work. I think you'll agree with me, that even if you don't know how hard she works, or how nice she is, that she does indeed have a whole lot of - talent.

Annie - Thank you for your friendship, for your kindness, for working hard, and for inspiring me. It has been a true pleasure and honor working with you over the last 4 years. I look forward to many more collaborations and good times in the future!

Cheers & Namaste to you.

Anne's Portfolio

Find more Annie here:
Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Anne's Store,
Six Word Story Every Day, SWSED Society 6 Store

Here's a few links to design work Annie has done in collaboration with me on some of my crazy ideas:

Design for an invitation to one of my parties and a submission to her Six Word Story Every Day project: (Link to my site about it) (Link to her site about it).



Here are some logo designs she's created for some of my other projects:

Unite Bike



A Road Not Taken



What Happens When Your Vision Becomes Real?
Charles Youel founder of ARTCRANK knows.

A Visual & Written Essay by ClArk PAtrick.



Charles looking dapper as per usual.



Charles at the office taking care of business!



ARTCRANK poster for the 2010 San Francisco show hanging on the wall of Charles's office.



Official ARTCRANK adult beverage glasses. Party.



Posters for shows from around the world. Awesome.



Charles repping a little hometown pride. Cycle Minneapolis. True dat.



I use to live in ATX. It's a solid biking city. And a place that knows how to party.



I asked Charles if there was anything that was representative of the poster shows besides the posters themselves... and he pulled out these babies. Poster clips of course!



The custom designed ride. And yes, Charles rides it often.



More Art? Charles and I agree - yes, please!!!



Charles outside his office. A regular guy with an idea, a personal project, a passion, and an artful life that lead him to create the ARTCRANK movement.

I feel like everyone already knows about ARTCRANK, but if you don't (don't admit that to anyone and...) check out the website for the full story, background, and information about upcoming events.

In short, ARTCRANK is a poster show for bike people. The website explains:

Bikes are the world’s most fun, accessible way to get around. Posters are the world’s most fun, accessible art form. ARTCRANK™ brings them together.

ARTCRANK is a show of bicycle-inspired poster artwork that introduces people to talented local artists and sends them home with affordable, original works of art. Every ARTCRANK show features posters created by local artists from the host city. Admission is always free, and posters are priced to let everybody take home at least one.


It's a simple awesome idea and that's what makes it so great.

Charles and I first met in 2008 shortly after I had created my own cycling related personal project called Unite Bike. We met to connect over our intersecting passion for art and cycling. The vision behind my project was slightly different than Charles, but we were both really excited to meet and find ways to work together.

Although we didn't end up working directly together after our initial meetings ARTCRANK grew by leaps and bounds and changed Charles life.

When we reconnected for this photo shoot it was a really great opportunity for Charles and I to catch up on all the growth his personal project has experienced since it's first poster show in 2007.

It's grown so much it has become Charles full time job and has him on the road for much of the year going to events all over the country and aboard.

I asked Charles when he first envisioned ARTCRANK if he had hoped his once small personal project would grow into what it has become now. He said, "When I first came up with the idea for ARTCRANK I thought it was something I would do once. I thought it was something I would do for my friends, for fun, and that would be it. I had no idea how big of a response the show would get." Going on to say, "After that first show, since the response was so great, I thought, people really appreciate this... so I'll do it again... and it kept going from there. It's funny because the only possibility I hadn't planned for was the one that has happened since... that it would become as successful as it has."

Talking with Charles about ARTCRANK really re-inspired me about how important it is to do the things you love wether or not you know what the outcome will be. It's entirely possible Charles original vision might have only happened once. Maybe only his friends would have shown up and maybe it would have only been something worth doing simply because he wanted to put into the world his creative vision. Charles launched his idea without any expectations of where it would lead, without fear, and without resources simply because he cared enough to make it happen.

Creating from that place is the best way to go.

When you live and work as an artist you often hope and dream of having your work reach an audience. You want to be successful and make a living from the ideas and art you put out into the world. But, the hard part is that you never know what might connect, when, or why. As an artist you don't get to decide if other people will ever care about what you do or not, but if you love what you do at least you can always come back to that. In case you haven't noticed yet this project is all about the love, and not just about me showing and telling you about all the people I love and why. It's also about helping remind you that if you love an idea enough than you have to do it... no matter what. No matter if it loves you back. Even if you can't imagine how it would ever pay off for you in the future... that's the beautiful point when the world might just give you some real love back. Loving your life, your work, your art, and your people without expectations is hard to do. But, if you can get there the love you put out into the world will shine back on you and your life just might be changed forever. Charles knows it's true.

Thanks bud for following your heart, your art, your passion, and keeping your vision alive!

Be sure to check out and follow all ARTCRANK news on the inter-webs here:
Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo



Here is the original 2008 Unite Bike group photo that was made into a poster for the 2009 Minneapolis ARTCRANK show. I worked on the Unite Bike project from 2008-2011. It isn't currently an active project of mine for a number of reasons, but it is something I intend to re-vision and reinitiate someday.

 
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