Blog 5: Skills

This blogging assignment is interesting because it make you make a self assessment of your current position and how close you are to your end. End being a euphemism for death.

If you can imagine it you can create it.
It’s hard to remember specifics but I recall many hours being passed with my childhood friend Gunnor imagining wild ass fictional scenarios. For some reason we found enjoyment out of creating something that was so opposite of what reality was that it was funny.  I still play around like this today. Watching this weeks Cowboys game with my friend Connor I said “that’s got to be the second best running play in Cowboys history. right behind Tony Dorset’s 99 yard touchdown. Felix Jones broke two tackles, and evaded the rest of the Baltimore defense while tightroping the sideline before diving into the end zone.”  An exaggeration of a touchdown run that in reality he evaded two arm tackles and found his way through a hole that I could’ve gotten twenty yards out of.

So let’s being by stating where we are at this point in time.  I’m sitting in the Fondren Library it’s October 16th and school is at mid semester. Now an end point. That’s tough. What is it you want to do? Well when I was a young child I wanted to be an astronaut, travel space. But I don’t ride the rides at six flags so there goes that dream. But it okay to not alway hit your intended mark. I’m reminded of stories I was told of Abraham Lincoln ( you might want to fact check this with your hist professor). Pull out a pocket full of change, or just think of the stock image you get when you think of the presidents. There’s a lot you can tell from the likeness portrayed on these coins. Jefferson’s proud and confident, Roosevelt calm and prepared, and you can tell Lincoln’s body has been used, spent, beaten. I’m told he had many failed businesses, was bankrupt, had many failed attempts at running for different positions. But he was persistent and eventually get’s credit for being the president that preserves the union. How different would things be if he wasn’t leader. Would Jefferson Davis of taken over   South America?  Could someone else have filled Lincoln’s role had he of been successful as a business man. Serendipity is a strange woman. A scientist can spend years researching one problem and never solve it, which then their failure might aid future adventurers, or they can solve the intended problem, or sometimes a third thing happens, they come up with a innovation that was not what they set out to discover.

Childhood ends when money becomes a factor in your life. For some reason we develop this want to be self-seficiant, break away , prove we can fly on our own. Maybe that’s because it’s portrayed by society that that is success? that success isn’t achieving a state of eudaemonia but a certain amount of zeros in a bank account. I remember when i thought money would be it. If i could just get it I would have freedom, I could travel and do the things I wanted. Such childish thought. My teenage years have been an experience. I’ve tried to many different paths, some more successful than others. I’ve also seen others chose there’s. The life of a politician is nobel one, if you actually advocate change and not just a reworked definition of what we already have. But you’ve got to be prepared to take a bullet. The life of a drug dealer is nice, spend all day getting high, buying low selling high, a ghetto stock broker. But you’ve got to live your life connected to all your costumers, answering phone calls at all time of day. Real freedom. A sports writer, broadcaster, ect. You love sports, but so do a million others, who wants to hear from someone who’s never played at a high level? you’d better have a famous dad or sleeping with the right guys daughter if you want your foot in door.

So where are we today? Somehow I’m at SMU, i told them I was interested in double majoring because I wanted to learn more than art. So was enrolled in 3 art classes, chemistry and calculus. I dropped the calc because to allow for more free time early in the year. it didn’t make too much sense coming at 8 am and then having three hours until my next class, it left me very spent. I’ve learned many new things but right now what I want to focus on is something that has come to me these last couple of months. My chemistry teacher teaches a class called chemistry in art. I’ve talked to him once for a couple of hours about this. And in my art history class we were assigned reading from Cennino Cennini’s the Craftsman’s hand book, which describes the techniques he spend a lifetime learning. I’d like to know the techniques described by Cennini. To have the ability to paint as I feel painting was intend. I want to labor over ever color,making my own pigments, prepare walls for fresco, create every panel, stretch every canvas. I want to create.

Almost every day i pass the Margo Jones theater and see the quote, “I’m not interested in dreams without action.”

These new desires can be like the fictional ideas I had with my friend Gunnor or I can try and make them reality. I’ve always been attracted to art. But I haven’t always known that it was possible to be an artist. In fact this is something of a new idea. I’m still learning what all this means. It isn’t simply one who makes art. Even in a book like Leon Alberti On Painting,  he talks about the importance of having good character, to be liked, that there are tons of good artist but the ones we know are the ones that were given work, that we are more likely to help or pay for someone we like than someone we don’t. Which can almost make me sick, reminding me of how i felt with sports broadcasting. We are only as good as those who make us. This is where my current grey line is. I understand we have to eat, bills must be payed, but I cringe at the thought of being pretentious in order to gain a little more. Maybe i’d become a better artist if I dressed the part more? Leaving the Meadow’s Museum I was in my normal shirt and jeans, when I was forced upon contact with a couple in an elevator. They were dressed like a million bucks, probably could afford to pay for materials to last a life time. But they were hesitant to make contact with me. And were surprised that I wasn’t lost.
I dont wan’t to change in a way that I lose sight of who I am. I think that this shouldn’t bother me. I should just create and some will love me for who I am. But then this class makes one accept that while your idea is nice, in reality your path might be easier if you play the game a little.

I think i’m intelligent, and can connect fully with about anything. I could become a million things and there are a million things I could have been. I’m here now, I have an idea of what i want to do, but materials aren’t free and I sure as hell can’t afford them, so if I am to do anything I have to find a way to sell myself. to sell myself without selling out.

this is getting long and im getting hungry. So im going to end here. I’m going to continue doing what I love and try making the best of the opportunities that come my way, but this also means I must rush every door that is held slightly open. They may not all lead to what I want, but you’ll never know what’s behind the door if you never walk through. I know no amount of money will ever bring me happiness as I’ve seen those with millions upset and those without a home content with the simplest pleasures of life. I just need to find how I can get enough to create what I must share.

Blog #4 My Motivations

The reading for this blog reminds me of my recent trip to the Ft. Worth Modern. As part of an assignment I was at the muesum observing how people moved around. The floor plan forced the viewers to make many decisions; right or left. There’s no particular correct path, but It seemed to leave most 1st time visitors questioning if they had seen everything.

The experience of watching these people was a bit humors/eerie:

“Is there anything we missed?”

“is that it?”

“what have we not seen?”

“did we go all the way through it? I think so”

“we’ve seen all this; let’s see other stuff.”

These were all things overheard. This reminds me a lot of the “strategic or surface learners” we read about. I watched as a weekend crowd  maneuvered through this space. The majority spend a few seconds at each painting, treating it as a stop along the road, something to check off a list, so that they could say, “oh yeah I’ve seen that.” It seemed more important to these people that they saw everything rather than understanding or making any connections. There’s beauty in everything. I just am not sure how many of us actually see the world, take it in for what it is, and how many are just looking, checking items off a list.

Blog # 3

I became interested in poker sophomore year. It was a lot of fun learning how the game works. If i would have listened better that learning curve would’ve gone by faster, but often times we need to stick our finger in the socket before we accept  that the action will lead to us being shocked. Some of us might not trust the correlation as easily and need to get shocked a few time before we stop. The game took away from school.  I would go to class straight from a local card room often. Not doing any work. I loved the idea of being able to work/play whenever as there is always a game running somewhere. I thought it was as if i could choose my own hours. An ideal work environment. After almost not graduating, I put the game away for a while and focused on school.
This past summer I decided to give it another go, as I was transferring to SMU and knew when I began there would be little time for anything.
This experience changed my values. Right now I’m not to sure what to make of anything. I used to believe love might be possible, but hanging around unhappily married men who see love as something that costs $100/hr changes things. I like to believe the most important value is the “golden rule”. But then if I’m playing a game where the only way i improve is when someone else loses am I really treating my neighbor the way i would want to be treated? But then “it’s a crime to let a sucker keep his money.”
What do I believe? Is there a mean which to live life by? Or did Nietzsche have it right when he called Socrates out on  REASON = VIRTUE= HAPPINESS being complete bullshit.
” It is a self-deception on the part of philosophers and moralists to think that they can escape from decadence merely by making war against it. Such an escape is beyond their strength. What they choose as a means, as salvation, is itself just another expression of decadence- they alter its expression, they do not do away with it itself. Socrates was a misunderstanding; the whole morality of betterment, that of Christianity included, was a misunderstanding. The most glaring daylight, rationality at all costs, a life bright , cold, careful , aware. without instinct, in resistance to the instincts, was itself just a sickness, another sickness,- and not at all a way back to “virtue”, to “health”, to happiness. TO HAVE TO FIGHT THE INSTINCTS– THAT IS THE FORMULA FOR DECADANCE. AS LONG AS LIFE IS ASCENDING, HAPPINESS IS THE SAME AS INSTINCT. “
I could make a decent argument for either side, but none likes a fence straddler. So for now I’d like to believe the peacefulness of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood is possible. Although when in the “real world” this might just seem like a PBS fantasy.

Blog # 2 My Work Habits

Naturally I’m a last minute kind of guy. The night before is when I would get the majority of things done. This needs to change though.  It’s unhealthy to deprive myself of sleep and then go to class tired. I get less from class when sleepy, which means i have to spend more time studying. It’s a bad cycle to get into. Instead a better approach would be to do a little at a time and if possible stay ahead of the pace.
It’s one thing to know what to do, it’s another to do it.
I get work that doesn’t require me to get messy done in the library. Ever so often I’ll switch floors or move to a different side. It’s hard to stay in one place too long. When memorizing things like dates or elements in the periodic table, I like to walk around. Sometimes in circles or on the way to something like food, saying no reward until I get X amount done.
I find it’s good to set goals like that. It gives you a stopping point, but also something to work towards. If hockey were played without goals it would be ice skating with sticks.
That seems to be how I’m most productive. On the other hand, I need to avoid working at home, because there are too many distractions and working tired because I’m not as productive.
It’s nice to have this written down.  Now to stick to the plan.

Blog 1: My History

I’m Michael Arthur DeLeon. I was born December 17, 1991, in Parkland hospital, Dallas, Texas. I have a friend named Eric Vega that was born on the same day in the same place. I sometimes joke that we were switched in the nursery. My mother assures me this isn’t the case, but it is fun to think about. How would i be different had I of grown up Eric Vega and not Michael DeLeon. He has like 7 younger brothers and i’m an only child. How would i perceive this world differently?

I’ve moved around a bit. Lived with both sets of grandparents. A couple of uncles, and spent so much time one summer at Whitaker’s house sometimes his mom would ask me what I wanted for dinner, so i guess you could say I lived there too.

It’s cool to think how this has shaped me. I’ve learn so much from these people. what to do. And most importantly what not to do. I havent seen a lot outside of a 200 mile radius, but i feel I know this circle pretty damn well.

It’s still strange to call myself an artist.  In fact that is something I don’t do. Somewhere I heard you are only an artist if others who are considered artists think of you as one. But then a new friend of mine said that money is the difference. If you’re picking up trash around the building it’s one thing, but once your employed to take care of the building you can call yourself the janitor. This bothers me some. I’m still struggling with the idea of selling art. I’ve visited a few galleries recently and see some of the prices. These places haven’t been buzzing when im there, but someone has to be  dishing out cash or these places wouldn’t exist. A man has to eat. But This still it’s hard to put a monetary value on something like a painting. But if being an artist has no correlation to the way those in other fields view success(ie. money,profit) but it is rather just one who studies/produces painting, drawing, ceramics, ect. Then I think I am an artist because of a moment i distinctly remember from 5th grade. My history/english teacher Ms. Smith had us use color pencil to fill in a map. Instead of just shading in the oceans blue, I tried to make the water as I had felt it existed, as a mix of a bunch of different colors, wildly displayed in no set pattern. She said she liked it and that I should consider becoming an artist. It’s not like after that day i’ve been filling up sketch book after sketch book. But that was the day I grew a connection with art. Whatever this art thing was, it was somewhere I could display how I saw and have people accept it. Imagine if Ms. Smith not seen my work the way she did, would I be here today?

These strange connections are what make life. We can spend days dreaming up wild situations of what if, how could things be different? It’s eerie to think how this is all possible, the randomness that has lead me here; serendipity? I’m not too much different from everyone else, yet why have i been give so much opportunity? This is something I might never understand, but I’d like to use this chance to create. Create from my experiences, in an attempt to change the way life is perceived.