Sunday, May 31

BRUCE LEE ::: His Own Words

Bruce Lee was one of the biggest movie stars in history. An American-born Chinese martial artist, philosopher, instructor, martial arts actor and the founder of the Jeet Kune Do combat form ~ widely regarded as the most influential martial artist ever. Though he died at age 32, Bruce inspired millions of people around the world and was a cultural icon.

I found this documentary on the legendary martial artist, philosopher, father and friend to many, Bruce Lee. His "Words of Wisdom and Philosophy" are inspiring and thought provoking.

Heroes are remembered, but legends live forever. Long live Bruce Lee.




Bruce Lee quotes:
"The ideal is un-natural naturalness, or natural un-naturalness."
"To express yourself honestly, not lying to yourself. That, my friend, is very hard to do."
"How do you express yourself totally and completely? Think about it on your journey on continued growth."

Tuesday, May 19

Meet the Artist ~ Nshira

I recently met this talented painter named Daniel Akortia via email after he visited our website and Blog. His introduction was so sincere that I had to smile. Daniel is a new artist from Ghana, Africa who wants to make it big in the art market. He has a passion for painting and would like to market his art to buyers and art lovers. Daniel just needs a little help from us.

Daniel emailed me asking for help in promoting his work in the United States. Our mission is to inspire others, and also to get the word out about the many talented artists creating art around the world! So of course I was excited and willing to helping another artist succeed. Daniel is looking to sell about 10 of his original oil paintings. Below is a sample of his work.

Mr. Akortia is currently working on a new painting of Obama about the President and his moto YES WE CAN. Custom Canvas Art will assist Daniel to produce a production of prints for sale of the Obama painting around the world.

ABOUT THE ARTIST / Daniel Akortia
Daniel Akortia signs his paintings as Nshira, which means blessing. He is a native Ghanaian and was born in 1979. After finishing secondary schooling in 1998, he attended Art College for three years, pursuing drawing, painting, textile design and graphic design. In his own words “I live in a world of my own, and therefore refuse to be drawn from real life. I concentrate on drawing my personal visions.”

Daniel goes on to state “My aim is to depict the history and culture of Africa as it really is, in the true colors of nature. After completing college, I have spent all my time painting. I mainly use bright colors and my paintings are often like decorative patterns of abstract expression”.

Many of his paintings can be found in private homes and collections, art galleries in Ghana, and he also exhibits his work at national and international art fairs.

Give Daniel some feedback here with your comments. We are currently pricing Daniel's work for sale. Most of his paintings are a large 30" x 40" on canvas. Check back for information from on how to buy work from this artist.

Email Daniel

Monday, May 18

Drawings of My Sweet Angels

Baby Kris
Baby Kris Jr. ~ the best son a mother could have.

He was always a good boy, going to bed on his own by age 2 with a quick "I'm tired" and crawl into the toddler bed. (Awwww)

Today, he walks his sister to school and does his chores everyday to make my life a little bit better.

I had him senior year in Undergrad at the University of Michigan. I was proud to walk across the stage with him in my arms. =)

Princess JJ
Jayden Simone, age 6 going on 16 ~ smart sassy beautiful little 6 year old mama, trying to do everything and know everything her brother does.

She has my eyes, and my sisters love of fashion and hair!

Jayden is shy and loud at the same time and utterly herself and into her full grown personality already. LOVE IT.

Enjoy your kids today, hug them and love them just as they are.

Before they grew up to become LITTLE MONSTERS!

Friday, May 15


I would like to introduce you to my new friends. They are called Ice Men. The “Ice Men” love music, art, food, dancing, jamming, and loads of fun ... but sitting to ponder the melt is what they crave most of all. Their favorite 2 songs are "Slip Sliding Away" and "Your as Cold as Ice ~ Although, they do have a hard time going to the bathroom. Watch your step today ~ try not to slip slide away.

Ice Sculptures of Melting Men by Nele Azevedo

Melting Men is a series of art installations from the Minimum Monument project created by Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo. Since 2005, Azevedo has been setting up her Melting Men is various countries around the world. Although originally intended as a critic of the role of monuments in cities, environmentalists around the world are adopting her work as climate change art. ~ READ MORE ~

SPECIAL THANKS to contributing writer, Jackie Trudel-Lane from Virginia Beach, for providing the photos and corresponding quote. Jackie has a great eye for finding interesting images that evoke our emotions, and inspire CREATIVITY!

Doodle 4 Google

Doodle 4 Google - a competition where Google invites K-12 students to play around with Google’s homepage logo and see what new designs they come up with. This year they’re inviting U.S. kids to join in the doodling fun, around the intriguing theme “What I Wish for the World.”

Both our country and the world are undergoing significant change. At Google we believe in thinking big, and dreaming big, and we can’t think of anything more important than encouraging students to do the same.

The Doodle 4 Google competition is open to all U.S. residents between the ages of 5 and 18 who attend elementary and secondary schools (i.e. grades K-12) in the U.S. Doodles will be judged in the following brackets:

* Kindergarten - Grade 3
* Grade 4 - Grade 6
* Grade 7 - Grade 9
* Grade 10 - Grade 12

All students attending private schools and home schools are also eligible to participate. The 4 finalists from last year’s competition are ineligible to win, but they are allowed to submit doodles and participate in this year’s competition.

Cast your votes here for the National Finalists between May 11th - 18th. The winner will appear on on May 21st. VOTE NOW!

Wednesday, May 13

My Work

Hello friends and clients, its your favorite silly dorky creative girl MARTY! As many of you know, Custom Canvas Art is my dream art company that I have always wanted to start. This company is also my thesis project for Graduate School at Columbia College Chicago, where I am getting my Masters of Art Management ~ Media Management.

I am working on the website from scratch myself, doing research on art programs for kids in Chicago, and printing new canvases for my growing number of clients. I should have our new website, complete with store and gallery ~ up and running by the end of June! Check back for updates!

On the Calender for May + June:
1. Create new comic strip sketches for @mbrowntheremix
2. Finish Myspace profile page design for @junmhoon
3. Twitter background fix for @DAlocksmithtips
4. Creating print, gallery wrap frame of "Little Genius" for @Megaton
5. Frame "Prayer" for best friend Deidra Avery Jackson.
6. New photograph to canvas print for Valerie Warner of her kids
7. Two new paintings in process for Terryn Murphy
8. Finish business plan research for thesis project
9. Research grant funding + get donations for new art program at CPS schools
10. Sleep + try to take a breath + hire an intern!

Monday, May 11

Poetry ::: BLEMISH

Poem by Leslie Ebony Perry

My skin - its clear - depending on the time of the month that is,
but the real blemish
causing me insecurity
stands behind and beside me
my past it sometimes haunts me.

First, I tired to shower it off,
and when that didn’t work
I thought maybe a bath
could erase my past

But the shadow of “back then”
still appeared then and again

And I heard about this thing called church and prayer
and I was told that the blood of this great man known by almost all
well they said there was forgiveness for all
and that his blood could make me clean – lily white like

And I’ll admit
that it did seem to help a bit

But then that ghost from back when
came creeping up again

And dare I say that my past
aint really that bad

at least if I can compare to somebody’s elses story
but then again
if I compare it to some of my friends
well if they knew my full story
I wonder if we would still be friends

And that is really the problem I face
cause I am confronted with judgment not so much from within
but when I decide to share that part of me that some may regard as sin

sin defined by men . . . and when tell them about what happened "when"
well the look in their eyes is as if I caught them by surprise
and the thing that trips me out the most is
most have committed the same quote unquote transgression
but it just so happens that only a few
are left with lifelong residue

its like they got away with murder
because there was no trace of gun powder
but they will be real quick to deny an acquittal to another (sigh) oh brother!

but Ill go head and take the blame
cause maybe it is a character stain

every year I grow to accept that there are somethings that can’t be changed
the kindness and humility that you liked/loved about me is a result of the pain
that has shaped and MAKES me

and I am not staying everybody got to like me or accept me
those actions are my own personal responsibility

but don’t you dare paint me with the brush of being “bad”
attempting to make me somehow inferior

i still have a lot of open wounds so yes stick stones and also words hurt me

and I realize that a big part of this is my fault
cause I shouldn’t be so quick to open the vault
which is my heart

but thank you for reminding me that somethings should only be told
on as they say
a need to know basis

but sometimes I find myself in a place where I am so in love with me
i assume the world will also embrace the complete me
and see the beauty below the surface and beyond any grime from past lifetimes

but then I end up finding out that Im wrong
and end up singing a sad song
about how somebody done me wrong
cause I shared a blemish that I have had to carry far too long

now im carrying one extra bag cause 7 instead of 6 now know
and along with that I got these bags under my eyes from crying
and trying to hold tight to when you said “I hope we can still be friends”

then reality became clear and I realized those words were meant to pacify
for future reference
I would have preferred if you would have said a simple “bye”
instead of telling that lie

sometimes it seems like the blemish is right below my eye
confusing and distorting the way I see people and
the way I think they see me.

how I wish he was looking at me
if he did I know he would see the beauty that is me,
but this blemish distracts him from seeing who I really be.
although attractive this blemish overshadows me
causing me to be quite ugly

People tell me to dress a bit more sexy, do you hair, dress better,
at least put on some nail polish
But what for when all someone may end up seeing is the blemish.

And when I am done throwing my little pity party
And sometimes I make everyone leave early . . .
cause if depression start to get loose with it –
he sometime try to stay around a minute

So, I stand in the mirror and I start encouraging me and tell myself . . .

Your real value is in your heart and you just don’t perform it . . .
you yourself are a piece of fine artwork
Molding and crafting the individual within you daily
faithfully growing a little better
as human day by day

So goodness gracious
so one person decides to walk away and prefers not be your friend
And you think the world done come to an end

Girlfriend please remember that no matter what happened back then
or sometime before then or during a passage of time called when
You my sister are a gem!

ABOUT THE ARTIST / Profound skill, haunting depth and refreshing energy barely scratches the surface when describing the spoken word phenom known as Leslie Ebony. Imbued with Sybil's insight, the engrossing stage presence of Ella Fitzgerald, and an ambidextrous grasp on the English language pleasing both a queen as well as those steeped in the urban backdrop of Leslie’s native Chicago.


Visit her Myspace Page for other upcoming events + shows.
Follow her Blog musings.

Thursday, May 7

Jack Kerouac + The Beat Generation

THE BEAT GENERATION is a group of American writers and artists who came to prominence in the 1950s. They wrote about cultural phenomena, and inspired a label of beatniks. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and the crew represent elements of "Beat" culture in their rejection of mainstream American values, experimentation with drugs and alternate forms of sexuality, and an interest in Eastern spirituality.

During the spring of 1951 Kerouac completed, in a three-week burst of writing, a typescript entitled variously “Beat Generation” and “On the Road. These were different names for "a scroll of paper three inches thick made up of one single-spaced, unbroken 120 feet long paragraph” as a friend recalls.

Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" is one of the most controversial American novels of the 20th century. Reading the iconic book, I fell inside his travel journal and was exhilarated. It is the winding phrases and fast paced talking that keep readers interesting in the road trip. I followed Kerouac, Corso, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, di Prima and Burroughs the whole way.

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes Awww!”
~ Jack Kerouac ~

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angel headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz."
~ Allen Ginsberg ~

These are two of my favorite quotes from these talented Beat writers. I learned a great deal about the Beat Generation while producing an original video for a Spring 2008 Columbia College Chicago exhibition "... and the beats go on". The exhibition turned one campus gallery into a real Beat Cafe complete with books, pillows, ipods, video, live music, and poetry.

You can view the video piece "The Beats" and more from my YouTube: Aesthetic Circle channel.

“And everything is going to the beat. It's the beat generation, it BE-AT, it's the beat to keep, it's the beat of the heart, it's being beat and down in the world and like old time lowdown and like in ancient civilizations the slave boatmen rowing galleys to a beat and servants spinning pottery to a beat.”
~ Jack Kerouac ~


Visit The Beat Museum online
Read Beat Poetry
Get the History
Beat Generation Videos on YouTube

Wednesday, May 6

Art + Poetry Between the Miles

Sometimes life is hard to bear, when a friend is not there.

Between The Miles
by Heather Stoop

Because existence can become severe
in one day,
just sense me and I'll be there.
In the minds eye,
I'm not so far away.

If you hold out your hand,
in the whispers,
I'll become the zephyr.
and besiege you.

If your eye's upon the stars,
in the crystalline darkness,
I'll become the moon.

And the light shall guide you.
If you rest upon the ground,
in the warmth,
I'll become the grass.
And embrace you.

If you turn outside,
in the wetness,
I'll become the rain.
And upon your forehead, kiss you.

If you free the air,
in the light of day,
I'll become the sun.
And smile for you.

Between the miles-
if you need me.
If you need a friend.
Let me be the friend, I want to be.

Monday, May 4

Live Painting Videos

Painting live requires skill, patience, and a cool audience that is totally into what you're doing! These videos have all three.

Artist paints Jimi Hendrix live, and upside down!

Artist: Michael Israel painting Muhammad Ali Upside-Down

Saturday, May 2

Meet the Artist ~ Edaw Wade

My father, Eugene 'Edaw' Wade is the kind of man that you want to become. His uncompromising belief that we all have a purpose in life comes through in his extraordinary body of work.

His early oil paintings depict a world of love and struggle, in a depth and style this is unique only to those truly talented.

During his early years as an artist, Edaw spent much of his life painting on canvas with oil and acrylic. His murals grace the walls of many Chicago streets, to tell our story in a picture painting woven in history.

(Edaw with his bronze sculpture, 1973)

(Heritage mural, 1980)

(Edaw and his 'Working Hands' mural, 1990)

(Edaw at Kennedy King College working on Black History mural, 1999)

He is a true testament to how artists and adults can adapt with a new Digital age. At the age of 60, Edaw added Digital Painting to his creative repertoire. He fell in love with digital art creation, and discovered painting on a computer screen was just as exhilarating ... without the mess! With the right tools and software, a Wacom Drawing Tablet, Coral Painter, and Photoshop software he is part of the mastery of creation at Custom Canvas Art. Where artists can create art on all mediums ~ walls, doors, canvas, paper, and computers.

Ah, the beauty of technology!

(Digital art made from Kennedy King mural of Kennedy & King! 2007)


(Marty and Edaw in studio with canvas printer, 2008)

Edaw Wade was a Teacher of Drawing, Mural, and Painting classes as a tenure professor with the City Colleges of Chicago for over 30 years. In 2006, he retired to a his dream home town in Zachary, Louisiana to work on his craft and continue teaching. Edaw's murals can be seen gracing the walls of Chicago streets, and depict the glory and struggle of American life. He holds a Master of Fine Art from Howard University.

Photobucket(Rebel! Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr and Angela Davis, by Edaw Wade, Digital Art 2008)

See more of Edaw's work Custom Canvas Art Gallery: ARTWORK
To contact the artist email :::

Friday, May 1

Playing for Change

Playing For Change | Song Around The World "Stand By Me" from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

This video spoke to me so loudly that I had to post it on my blog. It inspires me to keep creating new work. It inspires me to fulfill a dream of meeting other artists around the globe to help showcase their work. It will make you smile, sing, and even cry. Join the Movement to help build schools, connect students, and inspire communities in need through music by sharing this video.

From the award-winning documentary "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music" comes the first of many songs around the world being released independently. In this featured video is a cover of the Ben E. King classic Stand By Me recorded by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it traveled the globe. They are all unknown artists in a street virtual studio all around the world. It all started with a base track, vocals, and guitar recorded on the streets of Santa Monica, California, by street musician Roger Ridley. The base track was then taken to New Orleans, Louisiana, where Grandpa Elliott, a blind singer, added vocals + harmonica while listening to Ridley's base track on headphones.

The producers then took the resulting mix all through Europe, Africa, and South America, adding new tracks with multiple instruments and vocals that were assembled in the final version you are seeing in this video. All this done with a simple laptop + microphones. Who said you need a big fancy studio?!

You can order the CD/DVD Playing For Change "Songs Around The World" now at Amazon!

May Artist of the Month - Steven Lopez

Steven Lopez is amazing. His latest "After Midnight Series" is a collection of portraits celebrating notable musicians. Lopez shot videos of the process that inspire me to get a camera out and bite his idea. His style of painting makes canvas come alive and almost sing! Lopez said that early he discovered that Jazz, Funk, Soul and Hip-Hop seemed to be ingrained into his very being. Not only did these influences release his creativity, they brought it to life. You can still see this in his respected graffiti art, as well as in his unique contemporary style that has become the “After Midnight Series”. American soul singer Erykah Badu is currently using his portrait of her for her MySpace profile pic, but Steven Lopez is humble about it.

The artist is also an activist and savvy businessman. He recently partnered up with Erykah Badu to get involved in good causes for social change. Lopez describes Badu as one of his favorite performers whose music he has wanted to artistically interpret since first hearing her in concert in 2005. “She understands the healing power of sound and she delivers strength which is often lost in today’s music,” said Lopez. A portion of all proceeds on the sale of the prints will go directly to B.L.I.N.D - a charity organized by Badu to provide community-based programs for inner city youth.

You can purchase the above painting “Amerykahn Promise” as one of the 100 limited edition 40” X 30” giclee´ Prints Signed and Numbered by Erykah Badu and Artist Steven Lopez from the artist's website.

Contacting the artist:

After Midnight Soul website
Myspace gallery