Original Art: An Almost Wordless Story – Virtual Gallery

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A lot of non-dedicated spaces exist as art galleries. Here in my current hometown of Mansfield, OH, our coffee shop & indie bookstore continuously host art by local artists. That says something about this area, I believe.

Some friends of mine own a salon downtown. These same guys have, for a while now, been patrons-of-sorts. They regularly encourage me, offer feedback on my creations & pass art supplies & knowledge my way. I’m so grateful.

During this past holiday season, I displayed some paintings & handmade ornaments in their shop. That morphed into an idea: What if they allowed me to show in their nontraditional space? Treat it like an art gallery? As in, regularly change out my pieces, say, once per month for all of 2019?

This would keep me creating on deadline. Structure’s good sometimes. A series of fresh pieces on a monthly basis.

My friends readily & whole-heartedly agreed. (It could be that they’ve been nudging me to show my pieces there for a while now…)

Their business caters to an existing clientele. It’s not exactly a public space. For a wider audience, I figured I’d share my pieces here each month. That’s another way to hold myself accountable to this New Year’s commitment. Also a solid way to revive this site I’ve been aggressively neglecting.

I reckon another part in sharing this is to challenge other artists. No official “Art Gallery” where you live? Or maybe there are such galleries, but, for whatever reason, they’re not a good fit for your art?

Stretch your perspective; get creative. That is, after all, something you’re great at.

Shoot, hang your pieces on a wall in your own home, snaps pics & post them online. Blogs are free. I’m starting to remember this fact. This very blog scored me the sell of a sculpture to Fox Studios & an amazing commission via a design firm in Seattle for a project in South Korea. I’ve even sold a few pieces thanks to simply posting pics on my Facebook page. Dude, unexpected. And easy.

Assuming I keep this commitment throughout the year (you know how fickle/flaky us artists can be sometimes), a range of subjects & styles will spill out. Ya know how some artists have a particular style, technique, media, what have you? Yeah, not me. All depends on what materials I have available, what I feel I need to express/purge through my art at any given moment, whatever inspiration comes.

I fought this niggling for years. Felt a need to nail my style down, focus, find that singular visual vocabulary that’s identifiably me. Well, at some point here recently, I kinda got over that. Somewhere in all my pieces, there’s my metaphorical fingerprint, right?

I’m betting you’ve got one, too.

If you like anything you see, let me know.

I hope to see your work. I also hope to hear your ideas of how artists can get their work out there in creative ways.

If we don’t do it for ourselves, who will?

Mustard Sandwich No. 20190110

mustard sandwich 20190110 (22)

Artist Eating A Mustard Sandwich

via Mustard Sandwich No. 20190110

I wrote that ^ piece about how us creative folk (artists, writers, etc) are generally pretty okay with not starving.

I’ve tried many, many times. It’s impossible to eat exposure.

We Stand With Standing Rock

So, I performed some poetry etc in support of Standing Rock.
I happened to be wearing a bird mask for part of it.

#waterislife #allthesparrowsare1

Voices from the Borderlands

15420897_10154356588862830_684050273966762102_nIn late July, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stating their concern that a pipeline slated to be built encroached upon ancestral lands.

It’s a five dollar donation to get in the doors of the Standing Rock Solidarity Benefit show, to be enveloped in the warmth, the glow, the murmur of conversations cut frequently by loud laughter. It looks like someone’s family reunion with folding chairs and cheap plastic table cloths, a buffet set-up with six donated Two Cousin’s Gut Buster pizzas and cheap booze. As the place slowly fills with people, the room becomes a beacon in the cold night, a bright light in a row of dim buildings, a convention of friends new and old, setting the stage for solidarity.

September 4th, Dakota Access begins clearing ground for the pipeline, bulldozing over sacred sites and burials. Protesters are attacked…

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Pronouncement: An Invocation for the Standing Rock Benefit Concert, Mansfield, Ohio, December 9, 2016

Pronouncement   who speaks who speaks   who speaks who speaks   who speaks who speaks   the hollow-cheeked mother of winter is pulling her gray cloak across the sky is pulling h…

Source: Pronouncement: An Invocation for the Standing Rock Benefit Concert, Mansfield, Ohio, December 9, 2016

Family Historian – Interactive Map

This is probably gonna seem a little bit weird.

I’m creating an online, interactive map for my family. The plan is to include places we’ve lived, cemeteries where folks are buried, and other landmarks important to our family & my personal mythology.

Well, Google Maps requires a public URL to link pics to the map markers.
This is my first post, which will serve as that photo library for Google Maps to access.

These photos (and videos?) were captured during my recent 9-day trip to Johnston County, NC between Jan 26, 2016 & Feb 3, 2016.

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I’ll be working on the map for a while.

A big part of this is deciphering my feverishly scribble notes from my Aunt Joyce (who feels more like a grandma, or a great-aunt, since she raised my Mama & her 4 siblings after both their parents died) as she drove us around the backwoods & told stories. I’m also rewatching the videos I recorded along the way to catch the details (locations, chronology, etc) I missed in the moment.

Here’s a link to the map, still in its seedling stage:
Pope Family Map

Climbing the Family Tree(s)

If you ever wanted to see me
– petting a cat &
– chillin’ in my “writer clothes”
– while laughing &
– crying &
– getting hella personal
– but also discovering universal truths we all share, then:

You should check this video out.

Yeah, yeah, it’s probably a little long for some folk, but if you give it 5 focused minutes, and can just turn it off & walk away after that, then – okay, cool. (But I bet you’ll want to stay for the end of the story :: winky face ::)

Shift Happens

milky way

I’m gonna get really, REALLY personal for a minute. You might think I’m loopy.

If it makes you more comfortable, just pretend this is an excerpt from a story or something.

Some people say there’s a major, widespread shift going on in human consciousness right now.

Evolution could be one word for it. YouTube likes the words “Ascension” or “Awakening” or that it’s caused by “Wave X”.

Some people say this is happening because our solar system, which cyclically drifts up and down as it orbits the center of the galaxy, is above the galactic horizon.

You know how the Milky Way is a spiral? And those spiral arms are flattened (like a disc) as opposed to the spherical center? As the solar systems drifts up over the center-line of that disk, there’s less insulating matter between us and the galactic center. The bulk of it isn’t there anymore. That leaves us exposed to more gamma radiation than we’re used to. At least, in recorded history.

We’re not sure what effects that increase in constant gamma bombardment might have on the solar system, Earth, us.

I’ve learned all this ^^^ in the last couple days. (Of course, filtered through me, it takes on a science/astronomy vibe. lol) I stumbled upon it all while I was searching for answers for this actual ~thing~ that’s absolutely been going on with me.

I know, I know! It sounds like a bunch of sci-fi or comic book mumbo jumbo. All I have to save to that is, what would a Victorian Era person think if you tried to explain our current technology them?




Listen, there’s some (what even I would consider) kooky stuff out there, too. Stuff like personal messages from aliens & channeling beings from other worlds and such. That doesn’t resonate with me. But I’m wondering if each of us feels this shift in a very personal way, sifted through who we are as individuals and what we’re passionate about.

That makes perfect sense to me. If human consciousness is evolving, wouldn’t it build upon the individual’s experience of consciousness up to that point?

My whatever-this-is happens to be manifesting in a mashup of art, writing, and science.

I can trace back the shift, or beginning of the overhauling change, in my life to something like “a few months ago”, but I’m not sure exactly when things began. What I do know ~for sure~ is these last 2 weeks, everything has gone into hyperdrive.

Art has been POURING out of me. New, fresh, techniques and ideas. Like, EXTREMELY novel & seemingly out of nowhere. I’ve completed ~at least~ 2 dozen pieces. And that excludes dozens of sketches.

Since around Xmas, I’ve written (and illustrated) more in my journal than in the entire year before. Maybe more than the last 2 years combined. (Again, these complex ideas just pouring out.)

A good portion of those ideas revolve around this understanding that quantum theory doesn’t actually measure what we call matter. Quarks & Leptons & Bosons and that whole zoo of quantum particles?

They measure what we call “consciousness” & how it interacts with matter.

That’s why physicists are marveling at the “weirdness” they’re finding. They’re experimenting and discovering things that are shaking up everything we thought we knew.

It’s interesting, because I don’t have any formal training in that field, but all the things I’ve watched, read, and kinda mulled over ~for fun~ over the last few years suddenly make complete sense as a whole. The connection is crystal clear to me & I’m able to explain these complex ideas in simple, (engaging?) terms to others.

The clarity is just one astonishing aspect of all this.

So forget all that science/consciousness business for a minute!

Let’s talk about tangible, real-life examples.

Last week, I experienced this day of utter gratitude, where thankfulness was like air to me. Never in my life have I experienced such reverence for clean dishwater, a fork, or my breath, or the sky, or the fact that I can wear these beautiful tattoos–as art–right on my body. That I have a body at all. That this body holds the precious cargo of the essence that is the real me. That I get to experience this 3-D world with all these separate senses.

On that day, everything tiny, insignificant–just everything–I did was infused with gratitude. And that intense thankfulness permeated everyone around me. I didn’t have to say a word! People saw. They knew there was some extra sparkle all over me. The joy of sharing that sparkle! Amazing, amazing.

If that’s what “awakening” feels like, then I want EVERYONE to experience it.

I live in what I guess you’d call a small ‘city’, or a sizable town. Big & constructed but no skyscrapers. You know the kind. All the roads are paved. In my neighborhood, everyone has a little patch of land boxed off by driveways and little fences and clear edges. There are some trees around, but it is by no means a “natural” setting.

Well, last Saturday, I was at a local hostel on a quiet, foggy night, set in rolling, tree-covered hills. A stream flows close to the house, there’s a pond across the street & a perfectly spiraling 400-year-old tree right outside the front door. We won’t even talk about the overnight snowfall. Or that it was the first New Moon following the winter solstice. Or my sacred experience with the wind the next morning.

The people gathered that night were all artists, musicians, composers, writers, book people, actors, teachers, etc (a.k.a. ‘creative folk’).

That night was, in a word: magical. So much energy in that place: the music, the conversations, the smiles, the hugs, the openness, connection, just the whole vibe. It was completely “secular”, but, wow, the frequency of us all gathered together? It felt like “church” or “temple” in the purest possible meaning of those words. So much genuine love. Everyone knew very early on that we were sharing a special place & time.

But we also knew it was more. Something unseen, something special, something deeper.

I know that sounds hippie-dippy. It doesn’t change the truth.

Overall, nowadays, there’s just this ~ease~ to my life. Things flow. Unexpected money and gifts and opportunities keep materializing.

I’m not complaining in my head about every little thing that’s slowing me down, or knocking me off track. Obstacles and I just flow around each other and keep on going. There’s no needless tension. Life is peaceful. And my empathy–wow–we’re talking a HUGE shift.

I’m in the moment, savoring its presence & thankful I get to experience each one. I never knew I was missing this amazingness until it arrived.

I went from sucking down coffee every waking hour, to now I can’t drink enough water. The more I drink, the more I want. And I keep craving fruits & veggies in this insistent way I’ve never, ever felt before.

I could go on.

Something phenomenal continues to take place inside me. I don’t know how far it will go. But I don’t want it to stop.

And, the coolest thing, as I share what I’m experiencing, more and more people in my life are recognizing evidence of this shift inside themselves.

I think it’s kind of like my idea that quarks actually measure consciousness. Once we start noticing the shift, things seem weird at first. But then, as we get accustomed to that newness, we begin to understand it.

For the record, this is not a story or an excerpt. This is my 100% real-life experience. I mean it.

Who else out there is experiencing something like this?
Please share.

If it makes you more comfortable, just pretend you’re telling a story or something. 😀


milky way

Where Holiday Magic Hides


Stuff gets jumbled, and left out, for kids like me—kids born too close to Christmas. Instead of getting two holidays in one, we really only get half of each.

I remember smiling as big as I could when grownups wished me Merry Birthday. Then they smiled back when I put a bow on my head, because, see, I was a gift. But the bow never stayed on since little bits of wrapping paper were already stuck on the sticky part.

So this season, for me, has never been about Christmas or my birthday. I mean, presents are cool, food and family are nice and all that.

But the lights.

Lights are special. Unusual. These bright, colored beings all shiny in the night where, at every other time of the year, there’s darkness I’d rather ignore.

But the lights make me look. They want to prove they’re special and alive with their pops and sparks and colors burning against the night. Glowing. Mesmerizing.

As a kid, I’d lie on the floor in my footy pajamas, wrapped in a blanket, the rest of the house dark, everyone asleep, silence all around me, and just stare at the tree’s lights forever. I’d breathe them in. As they sparkled, and I crossed me eyes so the lights would go fuzzy and get even sparklier, that’s where the magic hid.

Not just in my tree, or just in my lights, or only while I was alone. Sometimes, a lot of us could see the magic all together at once.

My trailer-park family would pile in the truck and drive around to the biggest displays. It’s funny how they were always at the same houses that gave out the best Halloween candy.

The most amazing thing was when we’d round a curve, and the pine trees would open up to a winter cornfield, and there—magic—out of nowhere. Surprise lights in surprise places in the night.

Those were the ones where the most magic hid.