May 30, 2011

oh hum

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:25 am by AZSalsman

oh hum


June 3, 2010

Art – What is it? (Part I)

Posted in Art, Music, Photography, Poetry, Thought-Provoking, Woodturning at 3:59 am by AZSalsman

Art headerRecently, I attended a lecture at the Phoenix Art Museum.  This lecture, in conjunction with Phoenix College, was a “casual” presentation by John McEnroe, world class tennis great and by Eric Fischel, a success alumnus and supporter of Phoenix College.

Eric Fischel makes sense but why John McEnroe you ask?  Apparently he is an avid collector of contemporary art and has been for some time. On this evening, he, alongside Eric, shared his non-tennis passion showing slides of many of the pieces he has owned over the years. His “type A” personality and competitive nature made quite a colorful commentary – one that edged on brash and daring yet maintained respect and insight.

What I wanted to ponder here, though, is not about the lecture, John McEnroe,  nor his art pieces for, in the end, none of them intrigued me.  What I did want to write about in this meandering blog is the question that pierced my mind as I departed the auditorium: “What exactly is ART anyway?”  Here is an art collector who has a passion for art.  Yet, as I viewed the portion of his collection that he chose to share, I was not really impressed.  Sure some had a hint appeal to me but others I just didn’t “get”.  Many seemed more like the doodles I had filling the pages of many of my high school notebooks and surely I could sell those for several thousands of dollars.

So what is ART?

Certainly there is no hard and fast rules.  Inherently built into to the concept of creativity is the ability to go anywhere at anytime without the limitations of definition. Yet it must take on some form if it is to be part of our existence.

First, I think that art is a very personal thing.  It is an extension of the artist himself and he or she exposes the depths of inner thoughts and feelings.  Even if the artist is simply sharing a painting of a beautiful southwest sunset, there is still a song element this seeing what the artist sees.  It is hard for the artist to let go.  I know, because I have personal “masterpieces” of which I cannot let go.  Does that, in and of itself, define art?

Recently the thought struck me  that. perhaps, what seems to make some art ART is the artist’s ability to sell or, at least, his command of entrepreneurship. If the artist is successful at convincing some gallery that his work is genius then he gets notoriety – and hopefully financially compensated.  If the artist is unwilling to let go or to timid to display his or her work, then that masterpiece will never be noticed let alone part of a gallery. I once had a conversation with a colleague of mine.  He told me that once he found an old rusty can on the ground.  It intrigued him.  He entered it, as is, in an art exhibit.  Someone offered to buy his piece of “art” and thanked him for the artist’s insights.

What about the personal opinion of you, the viewer, then.  If you find nothing appealing in a piece of creative work, is that piece still art regardless of the context or the method with which it came to be?  I guess, in part, that is what we are trying to resolve in this discussion.

I seek further for surely art cannot simply boil down to be a product simply of entrepreneurship or a matter of personal pleasure. The other week I was  told that art has to make people upset or it isn’t art!  “UPSET????!!!!” Certainly God’s art is not in the business of making people feel upset.  Why this myopic definition of art? For many pieces of art I appreciate does not in any way make me upset.  Just the opposite. It does, however, make me realize, though that art must invoke an emotion.  It must bring delight, or challenge, or conviction, or intrigue.  If it does not invoke some reaction, it is simply paint on a surface or a lump of baked clay on a stand.

In the end (well, not really the end for this discussion could go on for some time and never REALLY come to a definitive conclusion), perhaps there cannot be a true definition for ART. If there was such an entity, it would immediately dissolve into a scientific formula that no longer contributes to God’s fantastic world and us human creatures that occupy it.

I have some other thoughts that I will wish to share.  I will leave that for another day since, right now, my head hurts.  Please stop back as I update this post with Part II. In the meantime, please share your thoughts

January 28, 2010

Upside Down Sign

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:44 pm by AZSalsman

Upside Down Sign, originally uploaded by azsalsman.

While driving along, I came across an oddity. Although the sign speaks for itself, I wonder why it is not fixed.

I truth, does this mean that if you Australia, you much merge? Does it mean to merge right but the officials were too cheap to buy a new sign? or did I miss something when the world turned upside down.

Either way, I have seen stupid signage in my life – this is just one of them.

December 18, 2009

Just a Little Reminder

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 1:33 pm by AZSalsman

I haven’t really posted anything for a while … not because I have not been “thinking”, just because I haven’t posted anything. [Follow that if you  will].

I received the following story” in my email inbox this morning and thought it was a little charming but mainly a very poignant reminder for all of us during this annual December “rush”.  I hope you enjoy  it and remember it as you head out to the stores and bake the cookies and send each Christmas card.


A woman was out Christmas shopping with her two children.

After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable, and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.

She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season time of the year.

Overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don’t forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

Finally the elevator doors opened and there was already a crowd in the car. She pushed her way into the car dragging her two kids and all the bags of stuff in with her.

When the doors closed she couldn’t take it anymore and stated, “Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot.”

From the back of the car, everyone heard a quiet calm voice respond, “Don’t worry, we already crucified Him.”

The rest of the trip down the elevator was pretty quiet.

Don’t forget this year to keep the One who started this whole Christmas thing in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word.

If we all did it, just think of how different this whole world would be. (Luke 2:1-20)


October 30, 2009

Just a thought

Posted in Random, Uncategorized at 2:21 pm by AZSalsman

I read this in an email today:

Safety is not the absence of danger, but is the presence of God


October 11, 2009

How’d He Do That?

Posted in Random, Woodturning at 10:23 pm by AZSalsman

Arrow in a Goblet

I would tell you how I managed to get the arrow through the goblet….but then I would have to shoot you and that would make a mess that I don’t want to be bothered to clean up.

The goblet, by the way, is made out of Mesquite.

Not a drop of glue or a single break was used in the little project.

September 19, 2009

Outside Inside

Posted in Poetry, Uncategorized tagged , , at 6:52 am by AZSalsman

Have you ever painted your house and felt you had a new house?  Have you ever painted your house, felt you had a new house, and then the roof leaked?

Have you ever put on a suit and tie (or, for the ladies, a new dress and fancy shoes) and became a new person?  Have you ever put on a suit and tie only to trip and fall in a mud hole?  If so, did the “new you” vanish?

When  you think about it, and think about it honestly, these things don’t change who you are.  I barely changes people’s perception of you.  Oh it might inspire some people to want to meet you or to step inside your home, but what happens when they start to learn more about you only to discover you are a jerk or your home is a disaster.

Yet if you change your heart, will not your choice of attire change with it? Will not the exterior things reflect that same change?  Then when stranger meets you, he/she will be delighted with the joy the is the source of that bright reflection.

September 11, 2009

A First Love … and a Sports Hero.

Posted in Random, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 6:41 am by AZSalsman

I recently had a conversation with a gentleman for whom I am doing a small design job. This gentleman is older now, but in his day, he was a giant in his sport – a household name, a superhero, and icon. This gentleman was the inspiration and model for others who subsequently went onto to fame and notoriety in the same arena.

Something possessed me to be direct with this man – whom I enjoy every time I meet him. It kind of surprised me as I was on the clock at work but asked anyway. Knowing he has a relationship with Christ which he did not have at his prime, I asked him how his faith was. Faith in Christ. “Wonderful” he said as he expounded a little further about how God knows every hair on his head (which is kind of funny because he is blind).

But it came next that surprised me … and got me thinking. I had heard him say previously that if he could do things all over again, he would without question. So I asked him if that was true – that he would do the whole thing again. “Absolutely”. “Really” I interjected, “the steroid use that nearly destroyed your body, the physical abuse you put upon yourself through,….? Why”

“Ian,” he said, “for the thrill of the crowd. When you walk into Madison Square Gardens and 24,000 people are on the edge of their seats [for you]. Ian, there is nothing like it. It’s a rush” What he was describing was the adrenalin rush he felt in his sport, a drug that feeds the ego and spurs you on for more. A drug that, left unattended, becomes a sarcoma integrating itself for your very survival.

What got me thinking after this brief interchange was his attraction to the crowd and the need for the rush of there energies. I got to wondering why, as a man who claims God, would settle for second best. That is right. Why would he put himself through such extremes for the rush 24,000 people on the edge of their seats. Why would he not but his energies into anticipating the adrenalin rush of multitudes of saints and angels who will be cheering us on as we enter the “pearly gates”. Think about the celebration that awaits when we get to heaven. This celebration goes on…and we don’t have to prove ourselves, we don’t have to abuse our bodies with steroids, we don’t have to live in fear that if we don’t “measure up” we will lose our place. That is the best adrenalin rush. That is what we ought to anticipate.

I pray for this man. It is not that he is a bad man at all. He is sensitive and unafraid. He makes me laugh as I hear him tell his grand stories. Someday, I will get a chance to tell him this in person…and then tell myself.

September 1, 2009

A Great Big Window

Posted in Random, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 5:45 am by AZSalsman

I am sitting in a small arm chair holding, in my lap, a steaming cup of hot cocoa.  The sunlight pours in through the large picture pane as the sunlight glistens on the frosty landscape that graces my view. I dream about nothing really … just taking in the life and the world in which I am visiting, pondering happy places, the dreams that have come and gone….letting the turmoil take its course until the river waters call for action once again.

Oooo, sometimes, I just want the rain to come and soak the ground or the winter chill of slush that is not quite winter but certainly can’t claim fall.  Either one, though miserable as it may seem, would be a welcome change from sun parched land whose weather forecast is as stale as yesterday’s toast and as dry as the prediction itself.

I gaze now over the glistening snow.  The trees laden with snow that somehow seems fresh, bright and clean stand quiet and eternal.  It is a quiet vista for below the white, virgin snow, lies a world asleep, dormant and reflective, waiting for it’s time to emerge to bring a whole new world of life and splendor and struggles.

It is quiet.  I don’t have many of these days to simply absorb the space that is the world around me, the creation God so careful created, speaking it into existence with mere words; to simply wile away the time in seemingly mindless meanderings.  Yet it is in these times that I rejuvenate my energy.  My soul re-emerges.  I am me.

But the day sets and it is dark. Tomorrow, the sun will come up once again.  Tomorrow it will snow..or rain…or glimmer with the sunlight dancing on the horizon.

Later, I wander by the riverbanks with the wildflowers laughing and playing around my feet.  The snow is gone and with it the crisp crack of the air.  The rains come, the wind arises and the sun appears once again.  The chores around the house are plenty beckoning me always.

Then Summer …  autumn … and once again winter.

Truth be told, the days to dream…day dream….are numbered. Not because there are few left but because I don’t make them and when I do, I can always find something trivial to do to erode those moments.

But right now, what I long for most, is the imperfect world. One of change … one in which the weather creates surprises and alters the day’s activities that brings disappointment, delight, or just about whatever it will bring.  That is what I long for …. and a hot cup of cocoa and a picture window so I can gaze upon its glory, just the way God had intended it.

August 19, 2009

The Mind

Posted in Poetry, Random tagged , , , at 5:07 am by AZSalsman

My mind is a curious thing…

I see it there inside my head

To think about the things I learn

It goes where’er I am bound

And ponders things profound

But oft I find that my mind wanders


…excuse me please

….I’ll be right back

— Ian Salsman

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