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9-11 memorial concept remains up for grabs! //


This monument concept is dedicated to those who perished on 9/11/2001 to honor those we lost. It is intended so that we may grace those sacrificed with the power to inspire cooperation.

In 2010, the city of Birmingham Michigan entertained the idea of commissioning a sculptural monument for a 9/11 memorial to adorn Shane Park. Someone had generously offered to donate the funds to purchase metal from the wreckage of the Twin Towers for use in its construction. Shortly thereafter, the local paper wrote about comments made regarding the controversial/morbid over-tones that some felt associated with this metal (I too openly supported that notion).

In an effort to be considered for this commission, I modeled the following bas-relief sculpture titled “The Cooperative Pursuit of Enlightenment” also referred to as “The Communion of Saints” in clay, Furthermore, I composed the following design that incorporated this Twin Tower metal (or other twisted metal) and a statement in preparation to address the city’s art council with a proposal. At the scheduled 3/17/2010 meeting, it was immediately announced forthright, that a piece of the Twin Tower metal would be purchased and displayed at a local firehouse with a plaque in lieu of the commission. Needless to say, I never got to present the following:

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For a period of time, from out of the sympathy we felt towards all those directly effected; many of us experienced a subtle yet somewhat surreal under-current of heightened empathy towards one another. This silver lining was real, uniting each of us together under its empathetic umbrella –a powerful and significant result of sharing together in the pain and disillusionment that followed in the aftermath of 9/11/2001.

To sum up this vantage point, one need only recall this quiet but powerful underlying current so many of us felt when interacting with others durring the immediate aftermath of the 9-11 tragedy. As a result of this wound, there was this air of forbearance, a deeply seated sense of interconnectedness, and a longing to be a part of it. Furthermore, there was a deep-seated need to project it on to others; and that is exactly what we did. For a time, all that divided melted away, allowing the nature of our brethren to flood over into subtle kindnesses like letting one another in and out of traffic and listening to one another with a deeper sense of empathy.

It’s not as though this is not inherent to us anyway; but the unified loss of these people brought this undercurrent to the surface in such a way, that it arose to the point where we could almost coddle it. However, because we couldn’t we could only honor it by extending it on to others.

This is the manner in which these unfortunate people served us, and if we so choose to honor their loss in this way… they may go on to serve us still. Personally I found these feelings of empathy to be the one blessing that arose from this tragedy, something that I have come to acknowledge as immensely positive… That which I equate with the white dove we associate with the love and peace that leads to compassion and that which we can only discover through the liberation of realizing that: The delivery from the bonds of anger, hatred and its perpetual evils (retaliation) lies solely within the hearts each of us. Therefore, if we can choose to embrace this vision, it provides the opportunity to turn this devastation into an opportunity to liberate ourselves from these bonds and replace them with the noble spirit of camaraderie that so powerfully moves us toward our higher calling.

Ultimately we must choose between honoring the destructive forces that focus on the negativity that caused it, or reinforce initiatives that inspire us to overcome these root causes. The question is, do we want to associate ourselves with the victim persona by demonizing others or empower ourselves through a high minded nurturing principle that casts a heroic light upon the loss of our fallen brothers and sisters?

By focusing on a “nurturing” relationship between us (that which the loss of these people has brought to our consciousness) bestows a nobly inspiring purpose to their sacrifice. From the way I see it, It seems clear to me that; the way in which we choose to honor their demise (be it through either the influential forces of love or those of hate) this choice will ultimately define ourselves as a society.

This monumental concept (like so much of my work) remains in search of the necessary support I need in order to realize these visions as public forums so they may reach out and inspire others. In that light, I appreciate all forms of support financial and otherwise!



A  D E E P L Y  H U M A N  I N I T A T I V E

Waxing Joy

Someone recently asked me: “From where… from what source do you find your perspective and your creative insights, your inspiration and motivations?”

“I found this to be a great line of questioning. After putting considerable thought to the matter, I responded: “I certainly cannot say that these creative insights have emerged entirely from ‘myself.’ What I know is that I put in the effort… bend the measure of time, space and the materials, but certainly I am merely an instrument … like a fine tuned receiver, per se. Because it feels as though something universal is working through me, I cannot declare that I am entirely the origin. All I know is that I simply allow myself to participate in whatever arises from my connection to what feels universal in its consciousness, that which appears to speak to us unconsciously.” Hence, the perspective I respond to feels as universal as it appears intuitive.

By engaging in my intuitions, I feel as though I am responding to something that is far more direct and virtuous, which is what I tend to respond to and thus express. These are the responses that I find most of us tend to shelve behind our ego driven manifestations of fear and insecurity. Where such insecurities tend to emerge from our innate need to obtain some measure of happiness, where unfortunately far to many of us give in to our tendency to fabricate this happiness in superficial ways, and then concoct whatever clever scheme we can to manifest these ways, only to horde what we gain from such efforts as if it were the last of the winter food storage.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to this approach to satisfying this desire for happiness, one that can add an additional (subtler yet deeply penetrating) layer to our human experience, one that contributes to a profoundly gratifying dimension that defines happiness as a form of nurturing fulfillment. To express this form of happiness, I am presenting my bas relief titled “THE COOPERATIVE PURSUIT OF ENLIGHTENMENT” also referred to as “THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS”.

People often declare that they feel powerless to effect change. It seems to me that all change begins with our own awareness. Therefore, if clichés such as “the pen is mightier than the sword” and “a picture speaks a thousand words” ring true, then what better way to initiate change then to openly celebrate our deeply human values (as opposed to corporate values) visually? Corporations obviously understand this; that is why they invest so much in order to saturate every form of our available media with the propaganda that serves their corporate agenda. This leads us to the question; which corporations are serving our collective human interests and which are concerned only with the commercial values that serve their bottom line profit margin? Furthermore, because they own and control just about all forms of our media, is that not significant grounds for questioning the nature of the content that flows through them? Therefore, when a fine artist strives to connect to something more than the bottom line corporate profit margin, and we choose support their creative initiatives, they become a powerful and compelling grass roots podium –from which a voice is levied on behalf of our humanity.

If you are interested in a way to contribute to these values via this initiative, currently, I am raising funds to build and cast a large scale version of THE COOPERATE PURSUIT OF ENLIGHTENMENT (THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS) as a 6’ x 4 ½’ bas-relief sculpture. If you wish purchase or make a contribution to this or others of my efforts, please contact me through this web site. Any gifts and profits obtained from the sales of this mock-up, ALL PROCEEDS WILL BE ALLOCATED TOWARDS THE CONSTRUCTION AND CASTING OF THE LARGE SCALE VERSION AND THE FURTHER EXPPLORATION OF OTHER INITIATIVES.

As a fine artist who responds to what occurs when I put one ear to the climate of my surroundings and one his heart, I openly admit that I need to rely on the support of others. On that note: I am grateful for all contributions and purchases and remain thankful for any support.

Other great questions:

“How is the sculptor different from the painter in the context of emotion rather than the superficial difference in the medium?”

RL: “I cannot speak for other artists! However, I personally find sculpture to be a greater challenge. Because most sculpture is viewed in the round, it must work compositionally by offering something phenomenal from multiple vantage points as opposed to only one. Furthermore, I relate to sculptural expressions at a more interpersonal level because sculpture physically participates amongst us in the three dimensional world. Like wise, painting and other forms of two-dimensional media tend to function more as a window from which to peer into our world, which to its credit allows us to step back and look at life from a more objective perspective. To that end, I feel no greater affinity for either, but I am forever drawn to both.”

“You have mastered the demands of both representational and abstract sculpture in your career. What prompts you to create a work in one rather than the other?”

RL: “Thank you for the compliment!”

“For all I know, It maybe the result of something I ate for breakfast that morning. Actually, when I am most effective, I achieve a state of being whereby creating becomes an intuitive response to the intuitions that resonate through me. My responses are merely an honest reflection of that laden within my character, which is involuntarily stimulated when I truly cut lose and spontaneously follow these intuitions throughout the creative process at an improvisational level. Although, this often reveals surprising and shocking revelations, I know that I must openly engage in the pursuit of what’s in there. This state naturally reveals the truth behind the nature of my transcendental connection with the forces that be. As for what form it will take? Whether representational or abstract? Depends on what feels intuitively appropriate to the intuitive responses that arise. I admit, that I do not control, but perhaps influence the synergy of this bandwidth for which the universal energy field expresses life. However, if I did! Now that, my friend would make for a phenomenal story!”

“Who has influenced you the most among past Masters and Teachers?”

RL: “There are so many people from all walks of life! All those who have and continue to insightfully penetrate the depths of natures subtleties in the effort to seek in its continuity, standards for which to guide our pursuit of a poetic sense of order; people who fearlessly wrestle with harmonies universal truths in the effort to scrutinize ones own character, conduct and place in the world. I admire those who refuse to settle for mediocrity and strive to meet their life nurturing human potential. I admire influential people that pursue art and life as a interdisciplinary practice in the effort to explore the subtleties of both nature and their own human nature by cultuvating the inner-discipline that arises as a result of such creative initiatives –and drawing on them as a guide for conducting their lives. In short, these people have taught me how to focus on art as a means of interdisciplinary practice, to fearlessly pursue my own personal and aesthetic evolution. Ultimately, they have inspired me to take on this arduous journey for myself. Here are just a few. Lorenzo De Medici, Michelangelo, Robert Henri, Kati Kolowitz, Jerry Mander, Erich Fromm, Kevin Bales, Joseph Campbell, Robert Thurman, while the list goes on with other artists, musicians, poets, authors and other visionaries that pursue the objectivity found in an enlightened perspective –those that pursue life by developing their potential to positively effect and inspire others.”

“What does creating art mean to you? And can you describe the nature or essence of your work as an artist?”

Because the act of spontaneously creating art is an intuitive exploration of a highly synthesizing nature, I see it simply as a meditative process that allows me to deeply penetrate life and therefore profoundly relate to it as a human being.

As for its essence, my work is simply a result of my intuitive exploration of fundamental human questions, questions that open up the nature of the world to me and lend to my own personal evolution. Ultimately such questions have become a great concern to me for I have discovered that my personal evolution is the most significant contribution I can make to our humanity at large, therefore it becomes obvious that I must make this a priority.

“Do you care to reveal some of these questions?”

For myself, they begin with what it means to be truly human? What is my potential and how do I reach it? Then other questions evolve like; should we serve our immediate gratifications or invest in the potential momentum of lasting fulfillment? Is it better to throw tomatoes at what appears wrong or inspire others by lead of our finest example? Shall we devote ourselves to that which separates or rally behind the spirit of what binds us universally?

“You created a work to commemorate the tragedy of 9/11?”

RL: “Not exactly, what I have discovered is actually quite universal. After the 9/11 tragedy occurred I simply felt compelled to share something life nurturing, therefore I offered an incomplete sculpture titled “HOPE” for its potential to inspire others (including myself). There were those who agreed and therefore it became swept into service; 9/11 was another among a long line of great set backs for humanity. There was and remains a great loss. However, It seems to me that the greatest honor we can bestow upon those we lost, would be to face its root causes. Few would disagree that greed and its suppression of others are the backbone to anger and aggression and therefore result in such tragedies. So let us honor those lost by bestowing an honorable purpose to their demise by acknowledging the “silver-lining” they bring to light. Let us honor their loss by recognizing the root causes that their sacrifice has brought to the surface of our consciousness, and offer them as the backdrop or as a platform from which we can launch our vast nurturing potential and then strive to achieve that potential. This awareness and the practice of this awareness may very well be our best option. This sculpture (now reworked) joins among others of my work, that express this option as an alternative to such desperate life thwarting acts of aggression.

I find it immensely encouraging that so many have responded to the evolution of this project “JOY” THE JOY OF SELF-LESS-NESS as a source of healing. I truly would like to see it continue to serve publicly in this manner.”