Why You Should Buy Art

(Cale Mc in action.)

Sometimes it’s hard to commit to buying art. I’m sure I have made plenty of excuses, particularly that art can be expensive. I want to propose some ideas about why buying art is good for you and your community and why you should make a habit of buying it. 

Art is excellent for placing color on a white wall without upsetting your landlord. We aren’t meant to live within a world of walls, but if we must be confined to a box, we might as well make it beautiful. Putting art up on your wall contributes to the Feng Shui of a room. It creates ambiance in a space meant to entertain guests and will help them feel comfortable and welcomed. It sparks conversation, unique thoughts, ideas, or concepts. Art can provoke meditation, deep thinking, and inner healing. Art is an excellent form of self-expression, giving your peers an insight into your style, personality, dreams, and fears. Art can remind you of something you are trying to put into your practice or take out of your routine. 

You can find art that resonates with you by attending local events. All types of themes attract artists and entertainers who gather at festivals as well as fairs. If you have a niche you’re dying to scratch, search for the nearest festival that caters to that niche. If there isn’t one, try something similar to it, and you will come to recognize people at the event who also relate to your niche. You can also turn to Instagram and social media to find artists that produce what you’re looking for.

But you’re a starving artist or don’t have the money to spend. This is no excuse. Buy art you can afford, prints are a great alternative! Get something small or settle with an artist that may not be your absolute favorite. When you buy art, you learn about the process. You have a product to critique, admire, to share with the people you love. Only good things come from buying art. Even better, the more art you purchase and the more of a collection you acquire, the more you expand your mind, provoke conversation, support your community, engage in imagination, and gain an inner fulfillment that people who do not buy art will never understand.

SUPPORT ARTISTS <3<3

Interview with Adam Schluter: Hello, From a Stranger.

August 24, 2022: Transcribed Zoom Interview

Natascha : Hello Readers,

My name is Natascha with Humboldt counties lifestyle blog, Little Lost Forest. Today I will be talking to Adam Schluter, producer, and photographer of Hello, From a Stranger.

Hi Adam.

Adam: Hey Natascha, thanks for having me.

Natascha: How are you feeling today?

Adam: I’m feeling- I’m feeling pretty good. Honestly, I think you saw I had open heart surgery like two months ago and I just had some weird ups and downs but it’s summertime, it’s wedding season, we’re filming the show, it’s Monday Night Dinners, I’ve just been pushing it too much. I think I’ve just been an introvert crashing, hard but other than that life’s good.

Natascha: You’re looking great and you’re spreading positive energy, you are much appreciated.

Adam: Thanks, Natascha.

Natascha: Where are you talking to us from?

Adam: I’m in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.

Natascha: Cool. How’s the weather out there?

Adam: It’s magic, perfect. Like 85 sunny but in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho you have like three months of good weather, June, July, August. September, October are usually pretty nice. You never really know. But then you have literal six months of deep pure winter. There’s six hours of sunshine during the day. It’s brutal. This area is perfect.

Natascha: Do you stay in the area year round?

Adam: No, fuck, no. That’s why I photograph weddings during the summer. I make all my income for the whole year in those three months and then I have nine months off, so I like to spend like one month in the winter because, it’s very ideal like a hallmark town. Everything shuts down, you walk everywhere. It’s like ten feet of snow a month. It’s just gorgeous. But you know if I’m not working, and I don’t have routines in place it’s really easy to succumb to seasonal depression and my mental health stuff. So, it allows me that time to travel out into the world and focus on my project which gives me a lot of purpose.

Natascha: I can understand that we have a year around cloud coverage here in Eureka. Winters can be harsh.

Adam: What do you mean year around?

Natascha: We’re right there by the bay. Right there in Eureka, not in southern Humboldt or in Oregon but right where I’m at, clouds accumulated by the water and were stuck with it.

Adam: That’s tough.

Natascha: Can you tell my audience a little about Hello, From a Stranger?

Adam: Six years ago, I lived in Mexico and I wanted to move to a place with more opportunity. I was in a long-term relationship with a girl that I loved like crazy- with all my heart. I thought we were going to get married. So, we got sponsored by this outdoor company to travel the Pacific Coast highway from the southern tip of Mexico to Alaska and pick the best place to live out of the three countries. 22,000 miles, I spent ten months on the PCH, and I chose this town where I’m living now, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.

We spent ten months together. Every day was bliss. We were on vacation, everything was cool. We were both travelers, so everything was cool. We were running from some demons. She was really running from some demons. She was getting over drugs and alcoholism, and a whole bunch of some darkness we were running from.

So, once we slowed down and we moved into this home that I’m in right now we literally had nothing, we only had enough money for the prorated first month’s rent and the deposit- we had nothing left for groceries, for food, we had no jobs, didn’t know anyone. But we made it work, got jobs, figured it out, obviously. Once we got more comfortable those demons came back and it pulled us apart. It came to a spot where I couldn’t do it anymore and we ended up breaking up. I was in a town where I didn’t know a single person and I was way far away from my family and friends, and I moved here with this girl that I thought I was going to marry and be with for the rest of my life and now she’s gone.

I was living in Mexico for three and a half years and I didn’t have a phone, so I just didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to make meaningful relationships without technology in America, especially. It’s easier in third world countries. I finally hit a wall. I was going into the first winter out here and I was suicidal. I was thinking about suicide, I was actually planning it. And one day, I really just didn’t want to do it to my family. So, one day I was just looking at a world map, just kind of dreaming, still very broke, not very much money. I was waiting tables at a restaurant, but I knew I was going to die if I stayed in this house stuck in my thoughts. I just said fuck it I’ll just do what scares me the most. If it confirms my fears that I’m alone and the worlds not there, then I can still commit suicide and give up but maybe it will wake me up and get me out of my head.

I booked the cheapest flight the furthest I could away, which was Copenhagen, Denmark and almost no money left, again. I was homeless in my late twenties. It never bothered me. I’ve always lived a very minimal life guy. I don’t mind being uncomfortable. I was like fuck I need to sleep somewhere, and I need transportation. The trains- the trains are all over Europe. There’s one company, Euro Rail, that does 95% of all trains in Europe. I just started hounding them to sponsor me for it, I didn’t have a big portfolio, it was just an idea, and we went down to Fort Bay to ask the group that sponsored part of the trip. Okay I can sleep on the trains; I can move around on the trains. From there my only plan was to find the beauty in the world and try to wake myself up creatively and do what scared me the most, which was to say hello to people and to interact with people. It’s easy as a photographer to be behind the camera and photograph stuff from a distance. I was trying to wake up. I was really trying to wake myself up. I knew I had to really challenge myself.

I’m an introvert. I’m terrified of rejection. So, I was like what is the scariest thing I can do? It’s like just go say hello to strangers and try to have conversations with them. That was the base of this whole thing. Now we’re twenty-one countries in thousands and thousands of strangers, been published three times by National Geographic, there’s a Ted Talk. There’s a book and we have a second book coming out on it this year. We started filming the show last year. We’ll have a show coming up here too. It’s still a work in progress. Mental health is not like one and done, alright I’ve solved this. No, I need to continue moving this project forward. It’s because give me a lot of purpose and it reminds me of the things I need to do for my own mental health and just keep trying.

Natascha: Your story gives me goosebumps. Congratulations on moving this project forward.

Adam: Thanks, Natascha.

Natascha: Of course. Out of all the creative outlets you could have pursued what influenced you to talk with strangers?

Adam: I think- A) I was incredibly alone. I felt incredibly alone but I was surrounded by people. It was like how the fuck does that make sense- I’m sorry, I guess you can take that out- I’m surrounded by people, I feel completely alone. We have social media and people around us, but there’s no in-person depth of those relationships, and that’s hard. It’s easy to send a text but it’s hard to sit with someone. It can be awkward sometimes. And ask for help, sometimes, and to give help when it is asked of you. They really need to learn this, because the technology, it doesn’t matter how many friends I have on that. It makes me feel worse. It makes me feel more alone. Because it’s not in person. The cool thing about this, I was actually so afraid, the first night I was throwing up in my room. I was deathly terrified. And there was no turning back. I didn’t have the money to go back. So, I put it all on the line and it saved my life, but I made up this script because I thought I better sound cool approaching strangers. I have to sound like I have this all thought out and put together. The script was on approaching and saying hello to strangers all over the world but only if I saw something beautiful and, in this moment, this is so beautiful would you mind if I took your photograph? That sounds aliquant and cool. but what I found was that when I approached these strangers you have a millisecond to earn their trust. You have to decide if they can trust me, if I’m trying to sell you something, see if I’m trying to get something from you and if you think that I’m bullshit then in that millisecond you’ll just walk away. You’ll never stop to talk to me. I found that script was dis-ingenuine. And so, through hundreds of rejections. I was getting rejected 90% plus when I was using the script. I just became more and more vulnerable. I was tired and beat down, I was still trying to figure this out. And the more vulnerable I became- you know I thought as a man it was dangerous to be vulnerable, weak to be vulnerable and foolish, obviously. The more vulnerable I became, everyone started trusting me and everyone started opening up to me. Strangers are crying on my shoulder five minutes after I said hello to them, it’s like what the fuck is going on. I didn’t have to do anything. I’m awkward and goofy. I don’t have the right thing to say, there’s moments when I don’t know what to say but like- it’s read as authentic and that’s all it takes.

Natascha: Cool. How do you choose your subjects? How do you decide that a moment is beautiful?

Adam: Honestly just pure curiosity. I love to pay attention to the world around me. There are absolutely no rules to it. It’s never forced, there’s days where I’m like I should get some stories today and I’ll go out and I just don’t find anything that inspires me that day but it’s just mostly I try to inspire people to put their phones down and notice the world around them and I feel that if people did that- come here [grabs cat]- I feel that if people do that and get off of the technology I think we’ll have a much more realistic, the actual beauty of the world around us, no fluff, no over optimism, reality by itself is pretty fucking beautiful. It’s pretty fucking special. And so, I just go out into the world, I’ll pay attention and I’ll see something that makes me curious. A lot of times it’s like a person reading a book in a park, it’s a person covered in tattoos, some of that sticks out. But I’ll say this, I never approach anybody that is staring at a phone.

Natascha: [laughs]

Adam: I don’t try to be cynical about that, it’s just really there’s nothing interesting about that and I already feel that your head is going to be completely busy if I say hello to you and it’s just not my deal. I prefer people that are doing something else.

Natascha: While abroad how did foreigners view you as an American?

Adam: Yeah, really cool question. The main reason above all why I wanted to do this internationally is that I wanted to do it in places where I didn’t speak the same language, I don’t look the same as the other people that are with me. I’m doing it all in countries that I have never been to. That I don’t know the customs, the rules, the cultures, and what I’m really trying to show above all, now, is the power of vulnerability and the crucial necessity of intuition. Those two things together are enough to open the entire world to help you navigate it.

I found me by being myself, being vulnerable and being curious, it’s also- people like to see curiosity because you can see that I’m excited about something I’m passionate about it. People open up to me with that. I’ve been in some of the most complicated situations in countries around the planet, like the Jamaican story, I did this for six weeks in Jamaica. I would always be the minority. I wanted to be the minority, as a white guy to be the minority- unlike in America where I’m not. I wanted to really stick out, I wanted to earn that respect and not be able to hide at all and that’s a great example of that. We never felt those differences. We never noticed it. We’re sitting there, we’re not talking about things that divide us, we’re not talking about things that are different, we’re not talking about politics or religion, we’re talking about life and humanity and emotions and relationships and stuff that as humans we all share. Whatever the differences are we never notice them because they really don’t matter, we’re talking about real human stuff and in those conversations we both feel very human together. I’ve always been welcomed. I have only had one bad situation ever out of thirty-eight countries I think I’ve been in throughout my life. This is all spontaneous traveling. I only have plans for the first two nights, to get established and then it’s up to me to meet the communities, interact with the world, leave my comfort zone, and let them lead me to where to go next. I am very very vulnerable in these spots. And they do have chances too but I’m intuitive and that’s crucial but I’m also, the world is a pretty damn good place, it really is.

Natascha: You must be pretty street smart as well.

Adam: It comes with experience.

Natascha: If you don’t talk about current affairs, religion, or politics, do you avoid these subjects or does it not come up, does it not cause people pain and other emotions when you approach them?  

Adam: I try not to set any rules to it. The problem is if we get into a political conversation accidently let’s say, I’m just very honest. I don’t know enough about politics to have a strong opinion about it and that’s by choice. Also, I’m not saying that everyone should be like that, that’s just how I am. I haven’t owned a TV in ten years. I haven’t watched the news in six months. I just blissfully go out into the world to go see the real story and see what it is for myself. I just don’t know a lot about it. If someone is- the problem with politics or religion- people have already made up their minds. They’ve already created their identities. They already know their speech, they know exactly-there’s no balance to that. Most of the time, like 95% of the time, there’s no doubts to those conversations. It’s I know this, and this is this, and that’s how it’s going to be. There’s nothing for me to learn from in that. I learn a little bit but there’s nothing for them to learn also. Those conversations aren’t very connected. If they do come up, I’ll stop it or I’ll let someone do a rant. If it just continues to not be balanced, I’ll just wish them a nice day and walk away.

Natascha: Are there any common topics or themes that arise in conversations?

Adam: No not at all, honestly. A very broad one, I love to talk about relationships. I love to talk about what inspires people, what they do outside of their jobs that give them inspiration or purpose. I love to talk about families, because I’m really trying to learn about those things. A lot of this is me being curious to help myself learn how to continue growing. I’ve never been married, I don’t have kids, I would love those things. I’ve been through some really tough relationships and I’m trying to learn from other people on how to make sense of that but it’s also a way for me to learn about myself too, in conversation. I’ll tell you this- the secret sauce to this is people know when I’m talking to them that my mind is totally clear. They know that I’m listening. They know that I am genuinely there, present in that conversation and that’s what allows people to open up to me so much because they know that I’m listening. If I had bullet point questions, oh yeah there’s that sound snippet – okay, next! They won’t tell you anything. And that’s fair, I shouldn’t. I’m not really listening. But I really am listening and there’s no format to the conversation and that’s why they go so deep.

Natascha: What are some fears or passions you’ve heard of?

Adam: That’s a great question. Passions are very individual and unique. I’ve just heard millions from juggling to painting to, I hear lots of music, to being a mom. Really beautiful stuff. I just love to hear all the stuff that people are passionate about because it inspires me to continue trying to find them myself. Fear is a lot more- there’s definitely a dread in the entire world right now of fear about life as we know it changing so dramatically so as a global humanity, as a global society, whatever you want to call it, were breaking apart. And so there’s a lot of loneliness that is felt all over the world, everywhere I go. There’s less in third world countries because those are really built on relationships because there’s poverty and poverty doesn’t have much besides the relationships. There’s deep, deep, deep understanding being communicated about technology creating a bit of a chaos that we don’t know what to do about. And the world’s very scared of that. What it’s doing to relationships to communication, friendships to love, and daring. The addiction, people don’t really know what it’s going to continue doing to us. It’s just taking us away from each other in person, so I think we’re going to see a lot of the damage that it causes.

Natascha: Thank you for sharing. Can we talk about your hardware for a second? What is your favorite camera and lens for portrait photography?

Adam: Great question. I always use only one lens ever, for my entire project and it is a Sigma R rig 50 ml 1.4 lens. I’m cheap and I travel light. I just mastered that lens. And I’ve always used ninety-nine cameras. I’ve had a Nikon, D7000, but this project has always been on the D750 and I moved it to the Nikon Z6 last year and it’s made my job incredibly easy. What’s so helpful about having the exact same camera and lens for the entire thing is- I’ve always seen the world in pictures. I’m cursed as a photographer, a lot of us are. I already see the exact picture. I don’t need to take out the camera, I don’t need to take out the lens, I don’t need to look through it. I know the lens so well, it’s like in my eyes so well that it saves me a lot of time and also, I already know exactly what the picture is going to be. If it is something real quick, like holy shit this is an amazing shot, I can get it in to take a picture in two seconds I can get the picture and then we can get into conversation. It helps me a lot.

Natascha: Nifty, cheap and trustworthy.

Adam: Yes.

Natascha: I know we’ve talked about this a bit but what is your stance on the social media dilemma?

Adam: I think that it’s the end of the absolute foundation of relationships that is absolutely critical to us being able to move forward. We’re already seeing it, I mean suicides of despair are down to the age of eight now. There’s eight-year old’s committing suicide. It is so heartbreaking.

An example of that is, I was photographing a wedding and there was this adorable girl, she was eight years old too. She had this little dress her mom gave her and we were all running around. And I said, Hey! Let me get this shoot, it is such a beautiful shot of you. I went to take the pictures and she says, no! Not this side of my face. I only like this side of my face. And I was like, you’re eight years old, where did you get it? She was like, my mom says it all the time. And I see it on TikTok all the time. Children are mimicking what they’re seeing.

I didn’t know when it got cool to be so self-critical. Somehow it got cool for people to feel ugly and talk about themselves poorly. If we don’t have self-confidence then- it’s not ego, it’s self-confidence. It’s like pride in the person that you are. You don’t have to have the best body or be the most beautiful person in the world. Just being okay with who you are. It takes some self-work and that’s a gift we should give ourselves and to the world around us but right now that’s just not the norm. The norm is self-criticism, self-deprecating, belittling ourselves. That’s a bit of cancer to other people around us because then other people around us are like hey that persons beautiful, then I’m ugly. They think they’re ugly then I have to be ugly. There’s no end to that.

So that all being said, with this insane addiction that didn’t exist a few years ago, where people wake up with their phones and they go to bed with their phones, everything in the present moment has been lost. And obviously, the less present we are, the more anxious we are, more depressed we are, the more chaotic we are, we’re not planning on the future, we’re not thinking about people that are right in front of us in that moment everything is expedient, everything needs to be fast. And the most important parts in life are not fast. Love is not fast; relationships are not fast. Like communication is not supposed to be fast. And now I feel like I need to jam in a thirty-minute scheduled time with my friends just to catch up on how life is. We can’t live like that; people are dying because of that and have been. It’s just getting worse and worse every day.

Natascha: Thank you. How do you suggest breaking down barriers within a community?

Adam: I think that’s an easy one, I mean A) barriers are obviously constructed on pride, again, whatever barriers have come in between connections has to come from us swallowing our pride first. And so, the only reason that I wouldn’t go out and try to connect with the community and the people around me is if I was being prideful. Like oh man if they reject me, I’m going to be hurt by it or I’m going to be mad about it, so we think about ourselves so much that we end up not doing what the world needs us to do. To help the world out also, so.

For me, breaking down those barriers is forming relationships and conversations that are vulnerable, authentic, but also not focusing on those things that divide us. I mean, because that is just too easy to do and those are based on identity. Not based on who that person actually is. A lot of people right now with social media, all the stimulus and technology, they don’t really know who they are, they don’t really give themselves the time to find out who they are. They latch on to an identity, this is who I am, this is how I think, this is what’s right, this is what’s wrong. Again, there’s no balance to that. Focus on what’s behind all of that. It’s like who are you really and what do you love? What scares you? What inspires you? And not just question, question, question, because that’s not balanced. It’s like telling them about you also, like really having a balanced conversation. It allows people to have this foundation of trust, that all those barriers just melt away.

Natascha: Good. How do you see conversations with strangers as a healing tool? How can a person overcome their own barriers and talk to a stranger?

Adam: Yup, well however to overcome your own barriers, it’s kind of related to the question before. But again, just try. Like that’s honestly all I can say. What do you have to lose other than your pride? Just try. Hey, I want to talk to that girl. Hi, my name’s Adam. How are you? Hi my name’s Natascha. Nice to meet you. Hey ya’- I’m really busy right now, I can’t really talk. Okay, no worries. And then you learn a little bit. Have a nice day, I just wanted to say hello.

Also, I’d say appear to people without expectations and without an agenda because people can feel an agenda, too. So that’s important, to have an open personality when you approach someone. I think the most healing part of conversations with strangers is this understanding that I saw you. Everybody sees you, and we know that everybody sees us. So rarely do people interact with the world around them that even though everyone sees us, we still feel alone. And so, here’s an idea, I saw you, I said hello to you, and I was vulnerable with you. It’s very scary to do but now I know that you see me. And now we’re going to have a real conversation and we’re both going to walk away from that feeling less alone and more connected to the world around us but also understanding that each and every day we can do that. It might be hard, it might not work, it might be awkward sometimes. But we can do that. So now we have that understanding, we’re back in our home or apartment or whatever and our mental health is having a bad day we know what to do about it. Now if we do it, that is up to us but we at least know something that we can do to help.

Natascha: Do… you believe in BigFoot?

Adam: Oh, that’s a cool question.

Natascha: We are big believers here in Humboldt County.

Adam: I was going to say no. But I’ll just say no because I don’t know enough about it. To not know definitively but know I haven’t researched and don’t know enough about it. I watched I’m All Gas No Breaks on the BigFoot rally, it was pretty revealing but I don’t know enough about it. Do you believe in BigFoot?

Natascha: Yeah, yeah. They are interstellar type of beings that can be- not necessary here all the time, kind of jumps through dimensions type deal. I have another Humboldt County question for you, any stories that relate to pot farms for marijuana enthusiasts.

Adam: Oh man, I can do a whole movie on my time there. I mean the whole thing was so wild. We lived in Clear Lake, but it was off the grid in the wild, this was like twelve years ago. It was like the wild west. Those people are recreational. It was like you can have ninety-nine plants with a doctor’s order, if you had one hundred it was a federal felony so like ninety-nine plants. There were no police because Fish and Game Conservation were the closest thing to police that we had. You’re on your own fucking island. Out in the middle of nowhere. Lots of money in the house, lots of weed plants in the house, you have guns in the house, it was wild. And, toward harvest time there’s like no protection, you know, there’s no regulation. Everyone would do these twelve-hour shifts and there’s people sleeping on patios with shotguns. There were these two sixteen-year-old kids that were out there, and they came out on four wheelers. Not on our farm but the neighboring farms, grabbed a bunch of plants and the people from the farm chased them down and the kids accidently drove off the cliff on the four wheelers and killed both of them. It’s the wild west. There’s a lot of- you probably want more of an optimistic story, but you know.

Natascha: That’s a common story unfortunately.

Adam: Yeah, it is. A lot of boredom really, so fucking boring. You’re trimming ten hours a day, and it was before cell phones were big. You get bored of it. Everybody’s on drugs, a lot of people are on drugs because of the boredom, and I never did drugs. I smoked pot and ate mushrooms. I love those two things, a lot. But I’ve never done hard drugs. And everyone’s on some real hardcore drugs. We had people overdosing. One of our closest friends, out there, OD’d and died. It’s just boredom. People really don’t know what the fuck to do. They’re really just sitting in the house together doing nothing at all. Every once in a while, there will be cool stuff. Like one of the owners of the farm who would never talk to us like the trimmers and the people in it, but he’d come in and he was this very ominous figure. He was nice. He’d go up to the kitchen and sterilize every single thing in the kitchen and nobody was ever allowed to go toward the kitchen. He would put on Grateful Dead, and he would stand there for like twelve hours and he’d just be silent. You know never say a word. We’re all feeling his presence. And then he would walk away without a word, and we’d never see him again. So, there’s just interesting characters.

Natascha: Yeah, yup. My zoom is cutting me short. It says I have three minutes remaining unless I upgrade to pro, which was unexpected. Can you just tell us what you plan on doing next?

Adam: In my personal life I am starting to date for the first time in my life. Really trying to figure out relationships. It’s kind of complicated for me, for the reasons that we talked about before. With my show, my project, we just sold forty percent of it to a major production studio and now we have a major team that is taking, really my team- which is just my director and my camera man, two close friends of mine, and were all merging forces. The next six weeks we are creating our new trailer and we’re taking that too market to sell the show. Which we expect it to sell. Hopefully in the next two to three months we’ll have the show sold and you guys will be able to see what it looks like.

But for my Monday Night Dinners, concept which I do in just Coeur D’Alene, I’m going to be taking it on the road this winter. The idea is to put me in a new city, new country, new place, anywhere in the world. I have two weeks to be there. I have to meet all the strangers but everyone that I meet, every stranger that I met and have a story, I’m going to invite them to have dinner on the end of that trip, two weeks down the line because I always wanted to leave the cities and countries more connected after I leave because, you know, I’m meeting these people and then I just leave. I want to put you all around a table together and I want you to meet each other too. Because of my time there, because of all of our time together, we’re just connecting the world, bringing it a little closer together with every place we visit. Hello, from a Stranger is merging with Monday Night Dinners and that would be the actual show. Some really cool stuff. I’m very excited for them.

Natascha: Alright Adam. Thank you so much for sharing with us. These are some beautiful projects you got going on that are very inspiring and feel good. Looking through your art makes me feel- good.

Adam: Thank you, I appreciate you looking at it and I appreciate this time I really do! It’s an honor and an opportunity. I just want to spread it and remind people that they can do this too. I actually need them to do it because I’m only one person and it’s a big world out there.   

Natascha: Thank you, readers, for checking in at Little Lost Forest. Please check out our IG @littlelostforestart. You can find Adam Schluter at hellofromastranger.com and purchase his book at hellofromastranger.com/orderthebook. 100% of all sales go back to the humanitarian mission.

LGBTQ in Children’s Animation

Living in a liberal state, I am surprised to hear the uproar in the mom’s’ community on LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) in Disney, Pixar, and children’s animation in general. Children’s’ cartoons have always had heterosexual lead roles. As society becomes more accepting of people in our community, diversity is inching onto the big screen. Yet, some parents insist that homosexuality is being pushed onto their children. For years the princess will one day meet her prince was the “only way” that a child’s movie would play out. I want to ask, “How long are we going to keep homosexuality in the closet?”

In 2013, the hit movie “Frozen” came out, a coming-of-age animation about two princesses, Elsa and Anna, one of whom is overcome with the powers of winter. Frozen was the first Disney movie to portray witchcraft in a positive light, a significant progression compared to Disney’s bias towards Christianity. The hit song “Let it Go” was said to have been an innuendo for coming “out of the closet” and a piece on self-acceptance. Even though I did not find any correlation with to homosexuality in this film, this song started the buzz. When will Disney include everyone in their movies, not just heterosexuals? 

In 2020, the Pixar animation “Onward” was released with a butch lesbian supporting character as the father figure. By no means was this character a leading role. Now with the cat out of the bag, we’re not all made to fit into generic categories. I witnessed mother’s’ taking offense to this character like she was invading their children’s perspective on how they might feel about themselves. If this is the root cause, then these parents also need to reflect on how they view their children, and whether they would love them if they are different. Perhaps that is what Disney has tried to teach people through diversity in their movies: to love everyone and not just those that fit into your category. 

“When The Proud Family premiered on Disney Channel in 2001, it was not only the first original animated show on the channel but one of the few all-ages animation programs on television at the time centered around a Black family.”

(-Radulovic, polygon.com)

Bringing backThe Proud Family” was nostalgic to all 90’s babies. What kind yet strong-headed lead would we want on television for our kids, other than 14-year-old Penny ProudDisney brought it back asLouder and Prouder,” and accompanying the Proud family, in a supporting role is a gay couple with non-binary siblings. They brought in voice actors that also identify as their characters—bringing work and awareness to the community. I am an open space, but it pains me to hear other mothers take offense to this rising trend and the feeling that we can’t be honest with our children about treating people as equals. Let your children follow their hearts instead of making them feel like they have to hide. 

So on that note, is it just a rising trend? This is a rebuttal I heard the other day. “I would be okay with it [homosexuality in animation] if they [animation studios] weren’t doing it to make money from a fad.” 

Well, I hate to break it to you, but as a bisexual female, I have been waiting my whole life for homosexuality to be in children’s animation. I honestly found heterosexuality kind of gross growing up. Seeing the go-to man marry a woman scenario over and over; got me sick. There are so many things we should be protecting our children from,: war, violence, hatred, negativity, but love? If we shield our children from love, what kind of hope are we giving them for the future?

Lastly, Disney released a short film called “Out,” about a man having difficulty telling his parents he’s in a relationship with another man. He switches lives with his dog and they play cat-and-mouse, almost exposing his live-in boyfriend to his folks. My husband didn’t like the movie when he saw it. The situation was all too familiar to him. We’ve all heard of the struggle LGBTQ people may have coming out to their parents. He wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. This was the first step. There it’s “out,” it’s been spoken. For a story to be told, it has to build from the beginning. Otherwise, the audience may not understand the world’s laws, but here it was. I would expect Disney to prep their audience to understand the struggle of queerness through this simple short, so that more complex characters can come into play in the future. Instead of immediately judging the characters, the audience may show compassion. We all live on this earth together. 

Radulovic, P. Feb 17, 2022. Polygon.com, The Proud Family creators: ‘There’s not just one view of Blackness or a Black family.’ https://www.polygon.com/disney-plus/22939385/proud-family-louder-and-prouder-creator-interview

Kinetic Sculpture Races

“For the Glory!” The crowd cheered at the finish line of the Kinetic Sculpture Race in Ferndale, CA on May 30 2021. Fifty three participants created a Kinetic Sculpture and raced from Arcata to Ferndale within three days, over hills and through water. There are no set rules on  building a kinetic sculpture race car besides that there shall be no motor! Sculptures may have any number of wheels or pilots, they can not be bigger than 8’x14’, all steering wheels are welcomed, must be able to move through land and sea, and most importantly your chassis (a.k.a frame). Kinetic race sculptures should also acquire chains, wheels, welding, axles, bearings, sprockets, gears, brakes and a whole lot more you can find here! Growing in interest, you can find people from all over coming to Humboldt county to participate in the national, grand championship Kinetic Sculpture Races!

Hobart Brown, founder of The Kinetic Sculpture Race in 1969 began building his art in local Ferndale studio, Mind’s Eye. He started the Sculpture Race with his own contractions and kids down Ferndale’s main plaza. This home of magical inventions and contraptions did not cease with Hobart but continued on as Marc and Lieah Daniels, current owners  of Mind’s Eye, offer studio space to local crafters and artist while maintaining a hub for Marc’s True North Boats, as stated on his website, “We create one-of-a-kind custom kayaks, teach skin boat building workshops, and are committed to helping traditional skin boat building thrive in the Native communities where it was originally invented and developed.” Over coffee we chatted about the beauties of Alaska and I got a sneak peak on a newer project, a wide frame boat they will attempt to use a skin in replace of wood panels. Anyhoo… back to the races!

If the art cars don’t completely take you away then allow it to be the celebratory finish line where my family and I awaited for the cars to zoom to their final destination! The Kinetic Sculpture band was a hoot. The bandleader led with a spatula as the announcers on a truck bed hollered, “If you like the band buy them a beer, if you don’t like the band buy them two. They play better when they’re drunk!” Colorful misfits and sparkle ponies, fairy godmothers, and “Kops” with bubble guns stormed the street. Performers playing with hula hoops, unicycles and poi. The historical buildings have a magical lust for such a festival. 

Kids and adults of all ages danced to the music and as the cars came in one by one the audience collected memorabilia from the Kinetic Sculpture’s squads, ranging from balls, stickers, to the “Bear Minimum” (a piece of paper stating just that!) Everyone was in great spirits and people from all over opened their hearts to this incredibly artistic event after such a long silence of COVID.

The sculptures and riders don’t have it easy and I would assume their following posse do not either. Starting in Arcata at noon all racers take off as onlookers cheer for their favorite stylized and sustainable art car. They finish day one at Halvorsen Park in Eureka. Day two starts off at Wharfinger Boat Ramp. Art cars must test their skill through the waters and finish at Samoa Bridge. On Memorial Day the racers started at Crab Park through the Eel River bridge, to the valley and ending on historic Main Street. Through the finish line came glory steelers and then our actual winners, in first place was Lemonheads, second was Live Wrong, and third place with Wing Nuts. Speed is not the only ranking place that the judges look for but also the Grand Champion, Best Art, Best Engineering, Best Pageantry and many more (that have yet to be posted!) You can find those results here! Our favorites being the three humped camel and plan bee! Thank you kinetic sculpture championship for such a family friendly and exciting event.

Renascence Festival Pre-Party

[Contains Adult Content] 

May 21, 2022- Arcata Theater Lounge hosts the Renascence Festival pre-party/ Mad Hatter Tea Party. With room to breathe, festy goers mingled and got down to dirty bass music. Headliner Ahee, known for his dubstep and 90’s smash mixes, drew in an eccentric crowd of all ages. Jewelry, merchandise, and crystal vendors lined the walls: local artist Joe Mallory painted acrylic on canvas with abstract surrealism concepts that opened the viewer’s third eye. Fire dancers and performers set the stage for theater doll Tori Love as Alice, who took away the show. Despite the teenyboppers, this was an adult party, and we can expect the Laytonville music festival to live up to this raunchy dance hall. 

Arcata Theater Lounge

Arcata Theater Lounge was opened in 1938, showing six films at a given time. Since then, the theater has expanded its offerings to include concerts and other events but still cherishes its vintage form. Drinks are affordable. Three levels from the stage allow for a pit, a dance floor with high chair seating, and a top-level for vending and coat check. The theater’s sound is crisp, without reverb despite the heavy bass. A comfy bean bag in the VIP lounge for the festy snoots. 

Ahee!

I was honored to speak with Chris Adams, a.k.a. Ahee, who has performed at music festivals like Infrasound, Excision, and Lucidity. His particular style could be categorized as “Alien Music.” While he makes the booties on the dance floor drop, he explores mixing his tunes with songs such as Eiffel 65’s Blue (Da Ba Dee) and All-Star by Smash Mouth. Besides his dirty bass and dubstep tunes. You can also find psytrance tracks and collaborations on Soundcloud. This DJ stands out for his relationship with his audience, feeling the crowd and recognizing them in his Facebook posts, never missing a group photo. Ahee creates tutorials on youtube so that you, too, can become a dubstep DJ with wubby bass. A lot of respect goes out to Ahee for being personal. When I asked him where he was from, it wasn’t a surprise that he answered, “I’m from here [Arcata, CA.]” Aliens like this come from out of the redwoods. 

Live artist Joe Mallory is nothing close to ordinary, inspired by psychedelic art and surreal nature. When asked, “What is this all about?” He replies, “Psychedelics play a big part but, as of recently, so does past life regression.” He explains to me that we come to this earth to experience and how each lifetime, we learn something new through life and death. He continued to share his past lives with me as a ceramics artist and his death by scooter. When asked how I could tap into past life regression, he replied to find an excellent psychic or look further into past life regression with a combination of psychedelics. Joe paints redwood trees, snowy mountains, and ocean landscapes with “moai” statues, oceans, and sacred geometry patterns. You can find Joe Mallory vending on the streets of Arts Alive in Eureka frequently. 

What would a Mad Hatter Tea Party be without Alice? And what better Alice than burlesque dancer Tori Love. Along with juggler Wiley, poi performer FigBungus and a fire spinning duet couple, these performers took the stage! Tori’s specialty twerk made this a randy R-rated performance! We can thank these performers for bringing the audience onto the stage for a costume contest. The winner, Mr.Komboujia, aroused the audience with his goldilocks wig and renaissance dress sporting and supporting Humboldt’s LGBTQ community. Also in the crowd were Little Lost Forest top hats that will be set up at a DIY station at the Mateel’s Summer Arts and Music festival. 

Are you dying to see more of the Renascence’s Crew? The festival will be held in Laytonville on June 10-12. Initially postponed due to COVID, Renascence’s team has been working hard to bring you a spiritually enlightening experience. We can expect to dance under the stars along with, aerial arts, amazing DJs, and vendors at this exquisite northern California event. Headliners include but are not limited to An-ten-nae, Mimosa, Atyya, Suds, and Beat Kitty.

600+ acres, fifteen minutes from downtown Laytonville. They encourage carpooling for parking is limited. Camping and glamping on site. They are still accepting vendor and volunteer applications. 

See you there!

My Experience with Full Sail University as a Creative Writing BA Student

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Since I was six and spent my summers with my grandparents in Germany, I found the language barrier difficult to overcome, and I read whatever English books they sold at the bookstore. At the time, the Harry Potter books were being released, and I took an interest in those; sometimes, all they had was adult fiction, and I would read those too. At eleven years old, I remember taking a solid liking to The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Zafon. When my dad took me to the bookstores in my teens, he began monitoring my choices. I remember begging for I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francisca Lia Block because it had mature content, and he let it slip. While reading was a passion, so was writing. I have journals dating back to when I was seven—hundreds of journals in a chest. I have online journals that are locked. I have journals that have been lost by sites that have washed away my accounts. To say the least, if I ever had a passion, it was reading and writing. 

I went to San Francisco State University for creative writing in 2008. I lasted one year, and in my second semester, I got arrested for possession of psilocybin mushrooms. My roommate called me in, and when I went to jail, the guard told me that she didn’t know they were illegal. It discouraged me from returning to the University, and I moved forward with community colleges. I began dropping out of classes and schools. I went to five different community colleges and didn’t finish more than a class or two. When I felt like I was turning my wheels, I fell into a party scene I would associate with the closest thing I had to home. It wasn’t until I met my partner that I found a new home and was able to stabilize my life. 

Then I got into a car accident where I was found guilty. The world came crashing down on me. I was raising my partner’s five-year-old daughter, and the thought of what could result from the accident sent me spiraling. I wanted to be seen as a productive member of society, and at the time, I didn’t feel like that was what I was. I had been looking at Full Sail University for a while. I had lived in Florida and was familiar with the name. I have a passion for animation, and I knew this was an entertainment-driven school. They accept anyone with a high school diploma. I was passionate when I talked to the recruiter. Then I did more research and read all these bad reviews. It’s a private school for profit, and I can’t transfer my units, and it’s a big loan. I was petrified. I’ve never made a substantial amount of money, and this was an overwhelming decision. 

The Benefits

It didn’t take long for me to make the jump. I decided on this school because they had creative writing for entertainment expedited bachelor program, which meant I could skip the four years. I didn’t have to take a zillion general ed classes, and I would learn to write for television (having a passion for animation.) In my introductory course, I made a video expressing the desires that led me to Full Sail. This passion would drive me through my program. I was an A student, receiving two B’s throughout my education. I received a grant for $1500 when my loans would not fully cover the tuition. I received the Salutatorian of my class, and I graduated in two years. Since this was an online course, I also received my Cal Grants for being a California resident and didn’t have to pay out-of-state tuition, which I am thankful for. 

The Negatives

As great as that sounds, as many grants as I applied for, I didn’t qualify for any others besides what the school had given me. After cal grants, I was left with a $40,000 loan, subsidized and unsubsidized. There was no job placement. I met with my career counselor twice a month for four months. He encouraged me to build a website, business, and blog, which I did, but it didn’t make any money. The school calls me to ask what I’m doing with my degree and when I tell them I am not making any money with it, they ask about the blog and the small business. They use that as leverage that my degree is being utilized so that I can’t get forgiveness from FASFA or my loan agency. These are consequences I have to deal with. A year later, I joined an emergency substitute teacher program which was the first thing I used my degree towards. It is on call and makes very little money. I find a lot of fulfillment in working with kids, and I have built relationships with my students even as a sub, and I enjoy working with the schools. Then again, my mom sent me a Tik Tok that stated Substitute Teaching is the worst reason to get a degree. I had to remind her and myself that this isn’t the reason why I got a degree. 

Is the school flawed? No, I got an education. They used a lot (perhaps too many) online sources accessible to anyone. I did enjoy the checklist and easy accessibility of the Launch box. They provided me with a laptop and tablet that I’d never, otherwise, be able to afford. The school was manageable, and I was able to excel where I couldn’t in community college.

Is the system flawed? Yes, there is a significant flaw in loans and accruing interest. I don’t know how anyone can smile and say I’m going to University without the heavyweight on their shoulders that they are putting themselves in debt that can double or triple. I put my family at risk that they may not be financially stable or that I will not be able to provide for them even with a degree. It’s all so incredibly overwhelming, and it makes me sad. Shouldn’t going to school make you proud? 

In the end, you shouldn’t go to Full Sail if you expect to get a great job with some high-end studio. They will tell you how competitive the job market is, and this is so true. They will tell you that they have excellent job placement, but this is not true. Yet I don’t regret going at all. I am so proud of myself for finishing something, following my passion, and creating a future for myself. I am one step closer to writing a novel, writing for animation, and creating comics, all the reasons that I began this journey. I also have embedded in my mind how to structure a story, I learned how to organize my time, I was reminded to have fun, and I had great experiences collaborating with other students. The school is not what’s flawed; it is the loan system and our government for allowing them to double or even triple our loans, making it impossible to want to further our education. The solution to this would be; not to collect interest on loans that are being paid on time. If we’re paying the loans, leave us alone, we’re doing the best we can. 

Student Show; Humboldt High School and Humboldt State Artist Exhibit

Saturday, May 7th 2022 RAA (Redwood Art Association, 603 F Street,)– showcased Humboldt County High School students from Arcata, Fortuna, and Eureka alongside Humboldt State University. It was a beautiful mix of emotion, progression, and styles brought on by these inspirational artists. I found my heart over stimulated with a variety of art techniques, media, and themes. High school students expressed in-depth, mature, and well analyzed concepts along with impactful self theory, imagination, and creativity.

(Redwoods Art Association, Eureka)

(All pronouns unless otherwise given remain they/their)

Naia Ponzo won first place out of the high school showcase for their drawing Through the Woods. They were complemented on its use of texture and detail using pen on paper. A scene of a porcupine captures the depth of a small woodland area and the complexity of nature and life. 

(Naia Ponzos, Fortuna)

This exhibit was a great reminder for any adult to not give up on their creative drive. Artistic spark can be drowned out by the need to survive. While stories are told through creative endeavors.

(Natalie Rodriquez, Fortuna)

Natalie Rodriquez, Lily of the Valley, a fantasy painting of a woman holding a harp in the forest accompanied by woodland creatures. Reflects life in the redwoods and finding wellness in isolation.

(Louis Marak, Arcata)

Louis Marak’s Night Skull linoleum print won third place. A creature with a hut attached to its body with smoke lifting from the chimney. The artist left room for the interpreter’s mind to -=their own story. 

(Nico Headlee, Eureka)

Honorable mention of Nico Headlee and the unique medium, tempera, Untitled impressionist painting of a castle. The depth and dull colors makes you feel like you could step into this world. A sense of playfulness and realism. 

The styles of these student’s show through their work. Specific choices to use mediums, canvases, and themes that will surely reoccur in their future projects as well as reflect their passions and mindset of their youth. As an observer I am reminded of how talented humans are and how heavy the critique ego can be on the heart.

(Natalie Rodriquez, Fortuna)

Natalie Rodriquez, drawing Forget Me Not, a well executed cartoon like depiction of lesbians embracing. The shading is well placed and defined. Framed and characterized with flowers. 

(Chloe Asness, Arcata)

Forgive my picture taking. Chloe Asness Untitled, surrealism ink drawing. A woman’s mind blown out with searching eyeballs, perhaps symbolizing the fear of how one is interpreted by others. 

(Mariza Guimares, Fortuna)

This magnificent painting by Mariza Guimares called Deep End, a woman underwater in a yellow dress. The soft colors and reflection in the water, another well executed impressionist piece. 

(Cassidy Thorpe, Arcata)

This picture got a lot of shine but Cassidy Thorpe, Untitled, oil painting of vases and flowers similar to the Old Master Rachel Ruysch’s style with a dark background and an exquisite floral arrangement. The painting almost looks wet in the smooth strokes where the petals hit the water. 

(Tasuki Kato, McKinleyville)

Tasuki Kato, Untitled, graphite portrait. A young woman, hair and facial depth well defined. So life like you could pick this character out at a grocery store. Something in the eyes, playfully bringing on the future. 

(Alden Mauro, Arcata)

Alden Mauro won first prize, Untitled, a two piece floral oil painting. Experimenting with a variety of flowers and fitting detail and color into the vase while keeping a sense of space around it. The fallen petals can be interpreted as a reminder of a temporary form. 

(Mirian Wheeler, McKinleyville)

Walking into the RAA you would have been greeted with ceramic art. Here is Mirian Wheeler’s ceramic jar Feeling Peachy. I really enjoy the surreal gore aspect here. The metaphoric use of a peach may speak to you as the sweetness of a child’s life is full of chaos. 

(Samuel Hood, Arcata)

Samuel Hood’s Untitled colored pencil portrait of a flower woman in the nude. Being one with nature and producing the flower.

It is easy to relate high school with innocence. A lot of first times, fewer responsibilities, and less worldly knowledge, we can easily forget that our experiences are built from a core experience. Many of which start in high school. Themes of money aren’t very common here but I think many of us can still relate to the depictions in these pictures and our very own first experiences and how they shaped us to be who we are today. 

(Keigen Shaykett, Arcata)

“This is living.”

(-SHAWNA CHANCE)

Keigen Shaaykett’s Hot Wax Rider, a graphite drawing, has a clear similarity to 50’s cartoons while expressing a fast drug life and party scene. A candle burning on top of his head, as if the birthdays are coming so fast, he might as well keep the candle lit. A broken hula hoop framing a character on a bicycle’s face. A bottle in this mouth, holding a pill bottle spilling drug content. His other hand is in an almost yogi zen position, waving high. Accompanied by five other hands, a mix of pop art and surrealism. 

(Keioni Young, Arcata)

Keioni Young, Untitled, a beautiful Graphite drawing of a young man going somewhere. Bag in hand, smile on his face, dressed in comfort, this picture captures a moment, a feeling of freedom and adventure. 

(Paycie Holland, Arcata)

Paycie Holland, Gliophorus Psittacinus, modern art, digital painting of a green mushroom woman dancing. Themes of body acceptance, and therapeutic mushrooms are expressed here against bold contrasting colors of orange and green. Bringing up a controversial topic of allowing medicinal mushrooms to be widely accepted and the healing that can occur when we accept all body shapes and live in self love. 

(Abigail Garcia, McKinleyville)

Abigail Garcia, Untitled, watercolor uses blends of colors to draw emotions out of the young woman’s face. A fun, playful, coming of age image.

The following images are from Cal Poly Humboldt students.

(Valie Ward, Arcata)

Valie Ward’s outstanding image, Bliss, an acrylic painting on canvas with crystals. This image captures feeling and sound. It provokes an emotion of soothing comfort like when you give yourself a hug.

(Karina Juarez, Arcata)

Karina Juarez honorable mention, Nido De Abejas (Honeycomb,) ceramic tea set. Life sized bees and a beautifully presented soft curved honeycomb.

(Jolie Chaidez and Catalina Carlton, Arcata)

Jolie Chaidez ceramic vase, I’m your Venus (Left) blue and purple colors, rounded edges flowing gracefully, this piece looks like the liquids not meant to be trapped inside but can easily pour out. Catalina Carlton, Untitled, a sinful creature with tattoos, smoking a cigarette, the devil in all of us. Fun and excitable.

(Jacqueline Vasquez, McKinleyville)

Best in Show went to Jacqueline Vasquez, ceramic piece, Slab City. A tower, similar to a magician’s top hat, indented with many lines, waves at the brim, folded into its sides and open at the crown. This image represents a city built up by nomads towering for sustainability, and fighting for security. This piece has so much to say and represents it in texture.

Little Lost Forest Deviation Runes

Guide to using Deviation Runes

Deviation runes are said to have come before time from the center of the cosmos. They were used by Norse and Germanic civilization. The original 18 letter alphabet is told to have been a gift from Odin after he went through nine obstacles that cost him a lot of pain and distress. There are many different tales of how he sacrificed himself by hanging himself and being reborn a higher being. Each rune has a spiritual meaning and was used for writing language as well as mystic purposes. Later this set would become a 23 letter set with an added destiny card.

Choose a set of runes and speak clearly to you. Tad lock them rather in blood or saliva mixed with water and paint and draw the symbol on the rune and then on your forehead. Meditate with the rune and its meaning. Say out loud a spell that works to your liking similar too “I do this as an offering to create a link so that this rune can speak its truth to me.”  Or “I name you _”runes name”, I breathe life into your meaning. To you this name I fasten. As I will it, it shall be.” or “Mote it be.” Finish by breathing toward it. (Bewitched Bemused, You Tube.)

You may use the runes in multiple ways. Use the symbol in your everyday routine either in charm bags, under your pillow, in a window seal or shrine to amplify its energy and purpose. Clear the stones energy before each use either with incense, shaking the bag or with a crystal. 

You can use the deviation runes to ask as single question by pulling a rune. If more information is needed pull out another and place in a row from left to right discarding any runes that are showing a blank face. You can pull three stones for past, present, and future. Again, if more information is needed you can draw more runes for clarification. When casting the bag of stones, empty the bag onto a surface and remove any backward facing runes. Read the runes, taking special notes of any clusters. I prefer to shape them as a circle as you can see I have done in my last blog post.

We are selling sets of runes on the Etsy Little Lost Forest store made from epoxy resin. We can customize front and back colors, and have options to add gold flakes or fine glitter.

Deviation Meanings

The runes are in the order as displayed in this photo.

1. Kenaz Torch/ Luck/ Purging Fire/ Controlled Energy/ Gift for Skill/ Knowledge/ Warmth/ Caregiving/ Intellectual

Enlightenment/ Transformation/ Purification/ Clarity of Mind/ Stagma/ Creative Work

2. Ansuz Odin/ Wisdom/ Ancestor/ the God

Wisdom/ Healing Power/ Occult Power/ Language/ Communication

3. Hagalaz Hail Stones/ Disruption/ The Unanticipated/ Damaging/ Rebirth/ Change/ Protection Thwarted

4. Wunjo Joy/ Comfort/ Blessings/ Wisdom/ Good Reputation/ Friendship/ Happiness/ Success/ Peace

6. Tiwaz War God/ Victory/ Order/ Success/ Justice/ Legal Matters/ Fight/ Will/ Competition

5. Mannaz Evolution of Individual/ Female/ Self Perfected/ Social Standing / Self-improvement/ Communication/

Meditate/ Memory/ Intelligence/ Human Condition

7. Laguz Lake/ Healing/ Life Energy/ Flow/ Water/ Endless/ Terrifying/ Wild/ Dangerous/ Road to Adventure/

Transition/ Aid Intuition/ Influence/ Growth

8. Eihwaz Yew Tree/ Saftey/ Channeling/ Otherworld Communication/ Dynamic and Ongoing/ Protection/ Strength/

Paradox

9. Ingwaz Fertility/ Earth God/ Invoking/ Completion/ Grounding/ Progression/ Life Cycle/ Masculine (Barring fruit)/

Magical

10. Nauthiz Constraint/ a Need/ Defense/ Self Control/ Restriction/ Destress/ Limitations

11. Jera Year/ Sucess/ Harvest/ Year’s Cycle/ Hardwork/ Cause and Effect

12. Thurisaz Thorn/ Protection/ Overcome Resistance/ Weapon/ Barrier/ Rage/ Impulsive/ Losing Control/ Willpower

13. Sowilo Self/ Sun Wheel/ Wholeness/ Vital Energies/ Centering/ Higher-self/ Nourishing/ Clarification/ Illumination/

Journey over Water/ Strength/ Life Force/ Arrogance/ Cruelty 

14. Othala Prosperity/ Possession/ Ancestral Power/ Property/ Estate/ Enheritance/ Sacrafice/ Hardwork/ Skill/ Effort/

Family/ Environment/ Status/ Invoking Ancestors

 15. Berkanu Earth Mother/ Love/ Goddess/ Fertility/ New Endeavour/ Need for Neutering/ Invoking/ Emotional

Stability/ New Starts

16. Gebo Marriage/ Union/ Power Given and Received/ Gift/ Generosity/ Hospitality/ Equal Exchange/ Partnership/

Agreement

18. Isa Ice/ Standstill/ Delaying Defense/ Rest Period/ Stop Slander/ Relaxation/ Calm/ Coldness/ Unexpressed

17. Perthro Fate/ Game Piece/ Future/ Evolving Karma/ Hidden Forces/ Take Risks/ Lighten Up/ Sudden Luck/

Discover Secrets/ Emotions/ Meditation/ Rest

18. Ehwaz Horse/ Trust/ Motion/ Safe Journey/ Adjustments/ Astral Travel/ Mobility/ Prosperity/ Aristocracy/ Working

Together/ Cooperation/ Psychic Journey

20. Algiz Moose/ Friendship/ Protection/ Shielding/ Sharp Edges/ The Hunt/ Protected/ Incompentent

21. Raidho Ride/ Journey/ Quest/ Defense/ Decisions/ Taking Control/ Team Organization

22. Fehu Cattle/ Weatlh/ Good Fortune

Prosperity/ Power/ Creative Energy/ Love/ Growth

23. Dagaz Home/ Breakthrough/ Twilight/ Between Two Worlds/ Invisibility/ Light and Strength of Sun/ The

Awakening/ Enlightenment/ Hope/ Happiness/ Collective Consciousness/ Peak 

24. Uruz Strength/ Physical Health/ Vitality/ Strength/ Courage/ Healing/ Untamed/ Warrior Spirit/ Wild Natural

Energy 

25. Blank Destiny

References

  1. Bewitched Bemused, Aug 26,2020, Youtube, “Into the Runes: How to Charge them and Use them for Deviation.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUFoD4Zk9mE&list=PL2q7eRR0LSt-D7wQ8pdRdMwmtJa86mVWK&index=1&t=1s

Interview with Impressionist, Acrylic Painter, Ceak Kytrell

Ceak Kytrell

Eureka, CA: July 7, 2021: I met Ceak (pronounced like seek) painting on 2nd Street and F in downtown Eureka during the wind down of COVID about a month and a half ago. His outgoing personality and welcoming smile easily draws in anyone passing by. Hours can be spent, staring at his artwork, deciphering the larger picture. I had the opportunity to interview Ceak at my home while he was working on a tribute piece to African American Women athletes, starring Sha’Carri Richardson. This is what Ceak had to share.

Ceak, Monday’s with Michaele, and Myself in downtown Eureka.


Me: Today, we will be interviewing Ceak. Please introduce yourself and your social media accounts.


Ceak: Hello, my name is Ceak.I am a visual artist that uses paints, more than likely acrylic paints. You can find me on Instagram at @CeakKytrelll and @Visions_Channels_.


Me: Thank you very much! Where are you from?


Ceak: I am originally from Virginia, North of the seven cities. Shout out to them. Do I miss it? No. But, it’s cool to visit my peoples whenever I can.


Me: What is your history in art?

Ceak Kytrell


Ceak: My history in art is pretty much. I grew up drawing a whole lot in school when I was a young whooper snapper. I just sort of, I didn’t take any classes. It was just something I really loved doing. It gave me motivation and gave me energy. It gives me the feeling of life, pretty much, when I do it, and people like it, so I keep doing it.


Me: That’s beautiful. What style do you paint?


Ceak: Well, I don’t know, really. There’s a couple people that say I’m an impressionist. There’s a couple of people that say Im a comic. I do a whole lot of cartoon work or whatever. I just do what feels right as far as the colors is concerned.


Me: Can you tell us more about the colors?


Ceak: Well, for me, when many people ask me which my favorite one is, I can’t really say just one color because literally all of them. It takes every color in the spectrum to make what is so called one color, red, green, blue, yellow. Any color, it needs every color, every shade, every hue to make that one color. I can’t really say I like either one of them. My colors on my paintings reflect that, and they just come out as far as how I feel.


Me: I know you said you use acrylics but can you tell us a little more about the project besides acrylic on canvas? What else can we see you painting on?


Ceak: You can see me painting on wood, on a school, or painting pretty much anywhere. Anywhere I get an opportunity to paint, that where I choose to paint and everything. I paint on canvas, but it’s not limited to, and I’m not in a box as far as that’s concerned. I go where the art takes me.


Me: What influences your style?


Ceak: What influences my style is, I would say, a heavy background in a whole lot of comic book art, honestly. There is this one guy named Joe Jusko which I really love the way he brings out the characters that he displays, Julie, and there’s this one artist, I can’t believe I forget, people keep saying, oh yeah, Alex Gray, people keep telling me ohh you’re just like that. I swear to god I’m not trying to be like Alex Gray. I’m nowhere near his fucking talent, but yeah, he just sort of influences the flow of my art pieces sometimes. It’s really awesome, honestly.
Me: Do you feel like your style has changed since you lived on the East Coast compared to the West Coast?
Ceak: Absolutely. When I was on the East Coast, I was doing nothing but working my fucking butt off for people who didn’t really care. Over here, it’s kind of the same, but you can kind of feel the love more so out here. But maybe for meit has just been a growing journey experience. Nobodies really got to care about you for you to make who you are, who you are, and everything. It really boils down to what you want to do. You know what I’m saying? Your passions, your life, pretty much. It really has nothing to do with anyone else but you and what you’re trying to display in your art, you know. I see some of your art and stuff, and it blows me away some of the things that you do, you know. Keep doing it, keep going. For me, it’s just, like I said, a constant maturing and growing, what I know, and incorporating what you see.


Me: That’s awesome. What gets you in a flow state-


Ceak: Hahaha,


ME: -When you’re painting for hours at a time-


Ceak: Mushrooms!! Okay, I’ll stop.


Me: No, that’s okay. Be honest with it.

Ceak Kytrell


Ceak: It definitely has a lot to do with the people that I hang around. Shout out to Joel and Carol Lily and their children. Shout out to you, too. If I get around people who are generally down for being cool like that, it really motivates me to paint and continue to shine my light, my particular light, and just have a good, good camaraderie. That’s what helps me and motivates me.


Me: That’s awesome. How long does it take you to finish a painting?


Ceak: Depending upon the size, it could take me from a week to, it can take me from even a night, depending on how motivated I am, to a week, pretty much.


Me: Is that like a medium-sized canvas or like a large-sized.


Ceak: Yeah, it’s like a medium-sized canvas.


Me: So between a day and a week?


Ceak: Mmhm.


Me: Wow. Where do you see your art career in 10 years?


Ceak: Wow, thats a good question, actually. I don’t think of the future when it comes to my art. I would like people to. I would love it if, not necessarily be known, but like, it would be nice for people to want more of my stuff honestly and constantly gravitate toward it, you know. That’s crazy. I mean, ten years…. I’m thinking five. I’m thinking like one.
Me: Okay, in five years, where do you see it in five years?


Ceak: I see myself blowing up in five years. I see a whole lot of people, literally, getting my stuff.


Me: That’s great.


Ceak: And wanting more of me.


Me: Absolutely.


Ceak: And all of that, my growth honesty, in my artwork. Maybe within five years-


Me: Well, in five years, it’s gotta look like Alex Gray.


Ceak: It has to be. It has to look like Alex Gray. Not that I’m trying to look like him but-


Me: When you’re painting everyday.


Ceak: He wants people to be influenced by his stuff, so- why not? Absolutely, I’m down. I’m definitely cool with that.


Me: Alright, we’re almost done here. Any advice to amateur artists?


Ceak: Hmm. Keep moving, keep going, don’t stop. If this is what you like to do, I know life happens, and I know that things will get in the way, but if you love doing it, don’t stop doing it. It’s the worst thing in the world. Sometimes, I’ve seen people have a great awesome talent. They show me their own stuff, or they do a little sketch, but their lives are pulling them elsewhere, and it’s okay. It’s what happens. It’s almost like a wasted god’s gift that you have, that you really need to capitalize on and that people will buy and people will gravitate to. They will love it. It’s the conundrum of the century. Life, you have all this talent. I’m not even talking about art or painting or anything. I’m talking about raw talent. They get left behind ’cause, not even left behind, but they let their artwork falter just because, simply because, quote on quote, people don’t want to buy it or see it or whatever. You should always sharpen your sharpest blade. You know what I’m saying. You should always keep it on point, on fire.

Ceak Kytrell


Me: You never know, huh?


Ceak: You never fucking know.


Me: Where can we catch you next?


Ceak: You can catch me- outside. You can probably catch me anywhere, I say anywhere, but that’s where I’m trying to take it too. I’m trying to expand beyond Arcata and Eureka. You know what I’m saying, but nine times out of ten you will see me in those areas. Yeah.


Me: Alright, thank you so much! I appreciate it! Anything else you want to add?


Ceak: I love you guys. That’s it.


Me: Until next time.

Please follow Ceak at

https://www.facebook.com/ceak.kytrell.9

IG: @Visions_channels_

@Ceakkytrell

Soft **** Reopening Arts Alive, July 2021

Augustus Clark, C Street Studios

Eureka, CA: Saturday, July 3, 2021: Eureka took a beating during COVID as businesses shut down and the northern California community became a ghost town, until last night when the streets filled with people and the buzzing of open restaurants, busy business, and the echo of street musicians sung throughout the streets. The city was alive, and the wine was flowing abundantly as out of towners and the widespread Humboldt community united between C and H street. At nine pm the shops usually close and darkness fills the town but not last night. There was a pleasant resilience to go home, and business remained open, and people continued to roam and congregate on the streets of Old Town. 

Starting on H street, I had the pleasure of stumbling into Art Center Space. The art gallery welcomes local artists to hang up their creations without a monthly fee. She asks the artist to sign a one-year contract with a 25% commission. The canvases blew me away, ranging from contemporary to abstract with no single theme. Prints in rows offered art for every type of collector to enjoy. Outside of Art Center Space, Eva Nebenzahl, a recent graduate from Humboldt State University, displayed her ceramic art. Hand-carved pieces to hold liquids of all kinds, her dedication to the trade shinned through the mugs with skulls and fish imprints and delicate, detailed leaves. Eva is on Instagram at @eva_nebenzahl. 

On F street, the next stop was Sage Clothing, which showcased their resident oil painter from Ferndale, Shawn Griggs owner of Redeye Laboratories. His surf art style is a portal to a tropical island where the waves of detail wash away all problems. His warm and welcoming personality will inspire any artist to go home and paint with oils, a medium that gives in quickly to fine detail compared to acrylic paint. You can find Shawn on Instagram @redeyelaboratories. 

Exploring Old Town is full of unique stores like Good Relations, which offered a comfortable LGBTQ environment, accompanied by exquisite tea vendors out front and an open artist studio hidden up a flight of stairs to the west. Gorgeous women (or men) wore classy lingerie and read sex-themed books through their glass windows in a steampunk/ Victorian fashion.

Lux Lounge, hidden on E street, was full of an all-women staff who pampered and gossiped every wonderer who entered. They can easily coax anyone into sitting in a chair and enjoying the amenities of the luxurious saloon. My most beloved local artist, Czeak, painted live. Last night he worked on a small-sized canvas, using a beautiful blend of reds and orange with acrylic. He painted a face emphasizing the breath in a multidimensional space. You can find Czeaks art on Instagram @visions_channels_. He is known for his unique new-age style and reasonable prices. 

After dinner at Five Eleven (I recommend skipping the Fish and Chips and jumping straight to the Flat Steak), I was fortunate enough to wander backward and come across some of the most inspiring galleries yet @ 272 C Street. Here they are offering $5 Figure Drawing Sessions on Thursdays from 7-9 (707-442-0309.) If the hallway art doesn’t catch your attention, make sure to visit Augustus Clark. The studio is full of thousands of hours of bright-colored artwork, paintings of famous musicians, popular film characters, eastern religious deities and gods, abstract statues, and 3-dimensional art. Besides his fun concepts and bright color styles, I enjoyed the multi-media elements and use of metallics and shiny paints. 

We were leaving, headed out the door, but something stopped me, and as my friends descended the stairs, I took a few more steps into the hallway to the very last door to find a studio still open. Ryan Jensen, a local impressionist oil painter from the bay area, draws his inspiration from nature, fishing, and his children. His self-portraits spoke to me and his ability to capture an image that can only be an astral projection. A thankful reminder of the great artists throughout time, Ryan’s name could easily accompany that list.