Different World Views of Art


Art through the centuries acquired different forms and conceptions. First of all there was naturalism, then developed romanticism, and then there was impressionism, followed by cubism, which was followed by surrealism and finally trends moved on to postmodern art. Here I would like to provide my understanding on various schools of art.

Naturalism proceeded out of mimesis. The aim of art was to mimic nature. A classic example of mimetic art would Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Mona Lisa lives through the ages for its enigmatic style. Another example would be the Last Supper by Da Vinci. Art became permeated heavily with religious motifs. What has naturalism contributed to the world? An answer would be representation of a mimetic ethos. There is very little to interpret in naturalistic art but we can admire its imitation of nature. I would also like to take Michelangelo’s sculpture of David. What would a postmodern interpretation take? It would perhaps couch it as being gay.

Another style of art that developed during the 18th century was romanticism. What is romanticism? The poet Wordsworth defined romanticism as the spontaneous overflow of feelings. Romanticism captured feelings on to the canvas. The canvas became permeated in rich colors of the baroque. Romantic painting is fanciful and ornamental. When we think of romanticism in the postmodern age we encounter a catharsis with the past. Goya’s exhibit: Saturn devouring his son can be taken as a classic example. The grotesque Saturn is portrayed as an admirable beauty. Romantic painters are endowed with passionate neurosis. Feelings and emotions lie with us to contemplate in ravishment.

Another school of art which developed during the beginning of the 19th century was impressionism. The great masters of impressionism are Van Gogh, Monet, and Gauguin. Impressionism is a unique style of art. Impression is marked by a wide usage of brilliant colors. Strokes were left like scars on the canvas. Impressionism was marked by a tendency of art to become modern. Van Gogh was a brilliant artist who etched out paintings in a style that marked a departure from his predecessors. When we look at Van Gogh’s starry night, we get a passion that is akin to listening of music. Similarly Gauguin’s painting: ‘where do we come from and where do we go’, highlights mythical allegories in brilliant dashes of color.

Another school of art which developed during the beginning of the 20th century was Cubism. Its master exponent was Picasso. With the advent cubism art left its mimetic modes and became the sole creation of the artist. Cubism had a tendency to portray art in abstract terms. Picasso’s La Demoiselles D’ Avignon presented harlots. Their features especially their breasts, hips and asses were made incongruous with oedipal fantasies. Another notable creation of Picasso was the Guernica. Guernica is fantastic rendition of the horrors of bombing Basque, presented in abstract terms. When we look at Guernica we become fascinated to the point of disgust. Cubism highlighted that art can be repulsive.

The next school of art which developed by the middle of the 20th century was Surrealism. My most loved surrealistic artists are Dali and Paul Delvaux. Dali’s most famous painting is the ‘persistence of memory’. Surrealism following Freudian psychoanalysis attempted to portray art with a conglomeration of reality and fantasy. In the painting, persistence of memory, we find melting clocks hanging on trees and covered by an embryo. The tree can be symbolized as a phallic construct. The melting clocks portray time as flowing with the literature of streams of consciousness. The embryo can represent the artist’s oedipal trauma. Delvaux most famous painting is the call of the night. In the ‘call of the night’ a barren land is seen with skulls. There is a nude standing on the open with luscious vegetation growing on her head. There is also a nude whose head is covered standing outside a building with a candle on her head. Delvaux is trying to portray ancient fertility rites in modernistic terms. The painting can also be interpreted as a sexual awakening. Thus surrealism attempted to portray dream with reality.

Next I would like to focus on postmodern art. Postmodern art is contemporary and tends to be a rebellion against existing artistic norms. In postmodern art normal objects are presented in unusual terms. For an example: we can take Marcel Duchamp’s inverted urinal. Postmodern art is also famous for inventing pop-art, where cartoons, comic strips and consumer products were drawn as artistic representations. Another interesting example of postmodern art is Rodin’s thinker. The thinker can be interpreted in two ways. One in a way that a person has constipation, another as an intellectual poised in thought. Postmodern art freed art from all inhibitions and pre-existing conceptions.

Tips To Use A Chalk Marker


Have you heard about chalk markers? You may have because they have been increasing in popularity in the here and now. As a matter of fact, they are so popular and useful that they are being used at home, events, restaurants, schools and parties, just to name a few places. There is no doubt that chalk markers are poplar but there are still a lot of people who have no idea how to use them properly. If you want to know how to use them, we suggest that you follow the tips given below.

How To Activate

Before you go ahead and use the marker, the first thing that you need to do is shake the marker, pump and then start drawing. It’s as easy as you have read. Follow the steps given below to get it done.

1. Your first step is to hold the chalk marker diagonally. You don’t need to remove the cap. Instead, you should leave the cap on and then start shaking the marker.

2. Next, you should choose a flat surface, press the chalk tip on it lightly and then release it. Don’t press it more than a second. You may want to keep repeating this step until the tip of the chalk is filled up with the ink. Typically, it may take between 20 and 40 pumps. Just be careful not to damage the tip of the marker.

3. Once you can see the ink in the tip, you should choose a surface and then start drawing.

Tips To Draw The Right Way

· When pumping, you may want be careful not to put too much pressure on the marker tip. If too much pressure is applied, the tip may get deformed. As a result, you may have to buy another chalk marker.

· After use, you may want to store the pen in upright position with the cap on.

· Don’t forget to check the cap to make sure it is tight.

· Before drawing, make sure that the writing surface is clean.

· When erasing, we suggest that you make use of a damp and clean piece of clothing.

· Remember: the ink will take a while to dry.

· You need to keep in mind that chalk markers work on surfaces that are non-porous like slate chalkboards, porcelain chalkboards, metal and glass, just to name a few.

· Also, you should know that some chalkboards don’t work with chalk markers, such as MDF boards that are chalk-painted.

· Before you use the markers on a whole surface, you may want to carry out a spot test, which will help you find out if the surface is suitable for the chalk marker.

How Do You Remove Chalk Marker?

If you need to remove the chalk marker, follow the tips given below.

You can try out a Magic Eraser for cleaning the target surface. As a matter of fact, these removers work great but you should test it first.

Baby wipe is another good alternative.

Another good solution is an ammonia-based solution. They also work great.

So, you may want to use these tips if you want to use a chalk marker.

Funding Opportunities for Artists


With limited methods for the accurate tracking of individuals with arts as their primary income source, estimated figures of total US working artists (from literary to performing, cultural and visual) are around 1.4 million.

It’s often very difficult for working artists to conveniently finance the creation, exhibition, and marketing of their arts thanks to their relatively low earnings. This makes them almost always in need of financial support for art materials, fabrication costs, travel, studio space, exhibition, marketing, and other expenses.

Although most foundations generally provide grants to nonprofit organizations only, artists are the exception to this rule as fellowships and grants are a very popular source of their funding amongst others cited below;

Fellowships and Grants

Often provided by private foundations and a few art agencies (publicly funded), the funds can take care of fees and other expenditures giving the artist freedom to worry only about creativity. Grants are generally competitive and provide assistance of different terms such as the awarded amount, procedures for application, stipulations etc. Some are much more restricted than others with eligibility and openness varying from nomination and application, to need or being awarded as a for a particular competition.

Artist Residencies

This funding opportunity for artists usually requires displacement from normal obligations and environment to benefit from studio space, housing, living stipends, and travel often provided in Residencies.

Fiscal Sponsorship

Contracting with a non-profit for fiscal sponsorship when having projects related to their mission can provide a valuable funding opportunity for artists. This fiscal sponsorship relationship implies the artist makes use of the tax exempt status of the sponsor to solicit for charitable contributions which are tax-deductible.

Free or Discounted Services

Certain organizations and agencies are dedicated to making health care, tax and legal services particularly available to cash-strapped artists facing hard times. Some of these services are provided at discounts with others being totally free.

Even with the existence of numerous funding opportunities for artists such as cash grants, internships, employment and residencies, understanding eligibility issues and qualification requirements is very important and should be given enough attention. Poor proposals account for many artists being overlooked for funding. So, amongst the important activities like research for valuable information, hiring the services of a qualified grant writer will definitely have great enhancement effects on the chances of an artist to be selected for funding because his/her proposals are prepared with professional experience.

Although eligibility is by nomination only, the MacArthur Fellowship and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant are amongst the most valuable and prestigious awards to support artists. With a wide range of different requirements for eligibility, examples of leading artist grant opportunities available for open application include;

The Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences

For: Awesome projects

Time: Awarded monthly. Applications are rolling

Value: $1,000

This Foundation is a group of small philanthropists awarding monthly micro-grants of $1,000 to individuals who have awesome ideas. The grant for every chapter is donated by 10 trustees, $100 each for scientific, artistic and/or social projects. Previous “awesome” beneficiaries include a phone book farm in Ottawa, a pipe organ (portable), and a Boston giant hammock. There are no eligibility restrictions for this awesome grant.

Brooklyn Arts Council Grants

For: Enthusiasts in G train

Time: Late summer, annually

Value: Average between $1,700 and $2,100

This grant is open to artists based in Brooklyn. It rewards projects with public component funding. It covers dance and theater productions, gallery exhibitions, musical concerts, films, workshops, installation of public arts, screenings and curatorial projects. With about 30 – 40 % of applicants usually benefiting from at least some funding, chances of getting assistance upon application are very high. Eligibility requires artists with proof of residence in Brooklyn.

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation

For: Painters, drawers, printmakers, and sculptors

Time: No deadlines

Value: Depending on the circumstances particular to the artist ($5,000 – $20,000)

This foundation, started by Jackson Pollock’s widow, Lee Krasner, who is also an Abstract Expressionist painter awards grants at all times within the year to artists. Applicants are required to be of financial need while possessing and demonstrating peculiar artistic talent with their recent works in galleries, museums and/or exhibition spaces. Examples of Individuals of note who have received this grant include Zoe Leonard, Jane Benson, Valerie Hegarty, Thornton Willis, Alyson Shotz.

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship

For: New York based writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians

Time: annually

Value: $7,000

With ever changing categories and mediums every year, this grant is the Holy Grail for New York based artists. Artists from a wide range of disciplines receive cash awards through the NYFA fellowship without restrictions on how they will be used. Five categories are open for applications each year. Examples of notable grantees include; Zhou Long, Jennifer Egan, Doug Aitken, Barbara Kruger, Todd Haynes, Junot Diaz; Spike Lee, Marilyn Minter, Christian Marclay.

There exist many other accessible national and international grants, fellowships and other funding opportunities for artists which are general or speak to particular groups like disciplines, location, race, sex, religious belief, ethnicity, political background etc. Finding the ideal one only requires proper research and application or follow up.

Chris Bouchard is a creative coach who helps artists and non-profits position themselves for success and realize their full potential. An accomplished grant writer and fundraising consultant, Chris started his business in 2013 to help small non-profits through the sometimes overwhelming prospect of navigating the world of social business.

What First-Timers in a Nightclub Should Know


For every one of us, there might be a first time to enter a nightclub. Most people may have heard many stories, as well as seen the hype, and now they are ready to witness it directly.

However, before they go past the ropes, these are some tips to consider:

Q: What advice can be given to first time club goes to get inside faster and to take full advantage of their first experience at a nightclub?

A: The best thing to do is pay for a VIP table. In doing so, their first time experience will linger longer in their memory than an alcohol sticker shock. They should remember, though, to come early, bring their ID and have fun with every wow factor offered by the local venues.

Q: What additional pointers can other give them in terms of etiquette when standing in line outside the club and inside as well?

A: They should always be polite to have good relations with the staff. They should not request for anything that is not legal. Otherwise, they will be removed from the club.

Q: Will the saying “money talks” work in a nightclub? Will a tip offered to the staff or security help them get in faster?

Honestly, it will not let them go too far. For faster entry, getting table service is a more effective strategy. Or else, they should plan ahead to get themselves on the guest list.

Q: To get on the list, will it be best to speak with a promoter/club host first or talk directly to the club? How will this work?

A: Speaking with the club promoter/host is the best thing to do to make sure they will be taken care of. It will be easier to establish relationships, since hospitality is what motivates people. A promoter will get these first timers on the list and even help in getting their table set up. They will have a VIP host all through the night and to assist them the whole weekend.

Q: What should club goers expect during celebrity-hosted nights? Will they expect fans to be there for the red carpet? Do celebrities mix with the crowd?

A: During celebrity hosted nights, an ideal spot on the dance floor will let them fully view the night’s events. The red carpet can be too fast that it might be over without realizing what the flashes are all about. Many people say that celebrities seldom mix with the crowd, but some have seen it happen. Perhaps it really depends on their mood.

Q: What are the regulations when it comes to taking pictures/videos inside nightclubs?

A: GoPro’s and large camera equipment are usually not allowed. Anyway, smart phones, nowadays, are capable of taking good quality pictures to share on social media, and are acceptable at all venues.

Once you become a nightclub expert, you can now hit the venues in the right way. The above mentioned tips will let you have the best time ever.

Mind Mapping for Creating Characters


Whether you consider it using flow charts, whiteboards or even just free association, Mind Mapping has been around for some time now. People have used it for taking notes, brainstorming, and problem-solving. A Mind Map is a tool used to visually organize information or ideas. As a writer, it can be used for solving writer’s block or creating a workable outline. Today I am going to show you how to create a character sketch.

Character sketches can be very basic or incredibly detailed. It can include eye and hair color or blood type and your heroes first kiss. Many writers go online and look for pre-made character sketches that include hundreds of questions that may not apply to your work. This is where the idea of a mind map comes in handy.

For those who are not familiar with the process, don’t worry creating a mind map is not complicated. It can be done on a piece of paper, a whiteboard or using software programs. It doesn’t have to be expensive. There are several FREE programs that will do an excellent job, including xmind.net, mindmaple.com, and freemind.sourceforge.net. Some of these programs have paid versions, but as a writer, the free versions will do everything you need.

To create a mind map on any subject there are 4 basic steps.

Step 1 – Start by writing a single concept in the middle of a blank page.

Step 2 – Add related ideas to this concept and use lines to connect them.

Step 3 – Branch off each of these ideas to expand and create new thoughts.

Step 4 – Use different colors, symbols, and images to make each branch unique.

To help visualize this process I will use one of my own characters as an example. Every character you create will be different, but if you use these points as a starting place, it will be much easier.

My starting point is always very specific. I use my character’s name and a photo of what I think he or she will look like. Why do I add a photo? Because as the saying goes, “a picture IS worth a thousand words.” Personally, I put the name and photo inside a red circle at the center of the page, like a bullseye.

I add new ideas to focus on around my character. Each idea is placed in its own circle and connected by a wavy line. Why a wavy line? Because straight lines are boring and analytical, I am trying to tap into the creative side of my brain. I will also use a different color for each circle and the line that connects it, for the same reason.

I focus on six main points with each character. These include Family, Friends, Work, Skills, Physical and Secrets. At this point, it might be hard to come up with a photograph for each category, but you can use symbols like a question mark for the section that says Secrets.

This is where the fun begins. Under each main point listed, I include 5 additional sub-ideas. For example, under Family, I would list Mother, Father, Siblings, Other and History. Each of these would also have their own circle, and I would color that circle the same as the primary idea Family.

I can already hear someone saying this won’t work for me, my character’s parents are dead, or my character is an orphan. So? This is only to spark ideas. If the mother is dead, this will remind you of that and be a memory for your character to ponder about. If she’s not, you can describe what he liked or disliked about her the most.

The same idea applies to Siblings, if he has them he can tell stories of when his brother did this, or his sister did that. If he never had one, did he ever wonder what it would be like to have a brother or sister?

You might wonder why I included the word Other. Whether your character’s parents are living or not at some point someone else had a major impact on his life. That could be a babysitter, a scout leader or a teacher. All of us are created by those we have interacted with.

History would include things like who was the black sheep of the family, are all the women in this family short, have there always been anger issues? These are the things the character himself may not even realize affect his (or her) way of thinking.

I could write an entire article on how your character’s family affects the way they act or think or believe. That’s kind of the point of a mind map, you can go as deep as you want. By keeping it simple, (one word at a time) it allows your mind to keep filling in the blanks. Don’t believe me? Just say the word Mother out loud and see what images and thoughts pop into your head.

Most of the categories I listed are obvious, but I do want to take a moment to talk about Secrets. Every person on the planet has them and if you think you can create a character without them, you are sadly mistaken. It could be as simple as they never learned to swim, or as dramatic as they killed their own sister. This is also a good place to include habits. For example, if you wrote Taps, it could remind you when he gets nervous he always taps his fingers. If you wrote the word Ring, you would know she twists her ring when upset. You don’t have to write the whole reason why she twists her ring just write the word to keep your imagination going.

Key points to remember:

1st point – Keep is simple. One word at a time. You are not writing the story you are capturing ideas to include in the story.

2nd point – Use color. Bright, vibrant colors stimulate the mind. The more stimulated the mind, the easier it is to be creative.

3rd point – Use curved lines to connect thoughts. Why? Because if you just use straight lines, the brain gets bored quickly.

4th point – Add images whenever possible. Why? Because if a picture is worth a thousand words, then 10 pictures are worth ten thousand words. By using a word AND an image you engage both sides of the brain without limiting your potential.

Once you start using mind mapping to write, ideas will flow one after another. It’s actually very hard to have writer’s block if ideas come so fast you can’t keep up. It may not solve all your writing problems, but it will make things easier.

Clowns Are No Laughing Matter These Days


Once upon a time, clowns were benevolent figures of laughter and joy.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, American children followed the animated antics of the Bozo the Clown on television each week. The cartoons were introduced by local presenters made up as the carrot-topped Bozo. One was Willard Scott, later to become weatherman with the NBC Today show. Willard Scott was also the first-ever Ronald McDonald, making his debut appearance in a 1963 TV ad for the burger franchise.

Flash forward ten years, to Cook County, Illinois (interestingly enough, the location of one of the first McDonald’s restaurants). A character calling himself Pogo the Clown is a popular attraction at community events. Meanwhile, young men keep going missing…

Underneath the clown makeup and clothes is a psychopath named John Wayne Gacy. In between appearances as Pogo he strangles to death 34 victims. He doesn’t wear the clown outfit when he kills, but his alter-ego of Pogo forever shifts the image of the clown in popular consciousness. Almost overnight, clowns become scary, with Gacy paving the way for numerous portrayals of bad clowns in literature and film, most notably Stephen King’s It.

King’s novel came out in 1986 and was a huge seller. In 1990, his nightmare creation, Pennywise the Clown, was brought to the small screen in a miniseries. Also in 1990, a Florida woman, Marlene Warren opened her front door to a brown-eyed clown bearing flowers and balloons. The clown shot her in the face and drove off in a white Chrysler. The clown’s victim died two days later. The killer, a woman, eluded capture for over a quarter century, but now she’s serving time for murder.

The nineties and noughties saw chilling portrayals of The Joker, the green-haired prankster in the Batman franchise, by the likes of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. Plus we met Krusty, the degenerate clown in The Simpsons.

But it wasn’t until 2016 that Caulrophobia – the fear of clowns – reached truly fever pitch. In the latter part of that year, the world was gripped by a wave of ‘scary clown’ sightings. In the lead-up to Halloween, social media sites received numerous postings about sinister-looking clowns who were reported lurking first in forests, then in a host of urban locations in the US, UK, Australia and a number of other countries. It got so bad that the president of the World Clown Association, Randy Christensen took to YouTube to condemn people dressing up as clowns to frighten people. “Whoever is doing this crazy stuff is not a clown,” stated Christensen, a Minnesota-based party clown. “This is someone who is using a good, clean, wholesome art form and distorting it.’ Christensen added that members of his association had suffered job cancellations and felt under threat following coverage of scary clown sightings.

It all got too much for McDonald’s. On October 11, 2016 the burger giant announced that its mascot would be keeping a lower profile as a result of the incidents. A spokesman said the hamburger clown was cutting back on appearances at community events as a result of the “current climate around clown sightings in communities.”

There was a kneejerk reaction from other corporate entities like Target, which took clown masks from its website and stores. Schools as far apart as Ohio, USA, and Otago, New Zealand, banned clown outfits and masks.

Cut forward to Halloween night, Monday October 31, 2016. Caulrophobia had taken such a terrifying hold in the United States that large numbers of both householders and the parents of trick or treaters had firearms at the ready that night.

Fearing vigilante retribution, most clowns kept a low profile that witches’ eve. Not so in Orange County, Florida, where two men needed medical treatment after being attacked by a group of 20 people in clown masks. But other than that, Halloween night 2016 seems to have been a bit of a fizzer in the scary clown department, given all the hype leading up to it.

Flashing forward now to May 2017. A bald, bespectacled man fronts a court in Nova Scotia, Canada. He is Dale Raincourt, aka Klutzy the Clown. He pleads guilty to the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl over a six week period. The judge jails him for two years and bans him from ever working as a children’s entertainer again. Another nail in the coffin for bona fide clowns trying to earn an honest living.

Then in the fall of 2017 came the big budget cinema production of It. Pennywise was back, scarier than ever! The film proceeded to do very brisk business indeed at the box office, with the biggest attendances ever for a September-October release.

So where does that leave the benevolent, child-friendly clown of yesteryear? Well, a lot of them have hung up their clown outfits and wigs for good. Others have strategically re-aligned themselves in the marketplace, promoting themselves as “balloon artists” and avoiding all use of the “c” word.

And poor old Ronald McDonald has been put out to pasture in most parts of the world. On a recent trip to Thailand, I did encounter his life sized effigy outside a McDonald’s in Bangkok. He had his palms pressed together in a “wei” greeting. Alternatively, he might have been praying, appealing for divine intervention as the clown joins the ranks of vampires, zombies and other denizens of our worst nightmares.

Author of this article, Anthony Maguire, has written a novel called True Madness, about a killer clown who terrorises a female TV reporter. Watch out for a blue-haired clown on the book stalls and websites!

The Mind of an Artist


Art Student, Chiamaka Okenwa, answers the question, ‘What runs through the mind of an artist before the birth of a true masterpiece?’ This is a question that plagues everyone, especially in today’s chaotic world where your identity is easily lost.

The answer to this question is what I have set out to find in my visit to ‘Identities’, an exhibition at Denk Spaces. At the entrance to the gallery was a display by the exhibiting artist Erasmus Onyishi. What had at first appeared to be a mere tangle of wires and clutter took form upon more careful observation as a colony of ants marching up the wall. This mixed media piece, Openly Closed, was perhaps what opened our minds to the existence of other forms of art apart from realism, a concept we had been more or less closed off to.

Stepping into the building, eyes began to fill with wonder. Each separate work was a colorful and vivacious expression of the same, special theme: Identity. The exhibiting artists had identified themselves through their work by their choices of color, line, texture and form, and each work appealed to all of us in different ways. One of Henry Eghosa’s expressive works, depicting a woman in the process of dressing in traditional attire seemed to whisper, our culture is our pride. Stephen Osuchukwu, in his dignified rendition of an elephant herd, drew focus to the matriarch elephant whose leadership position is almost synonymous with its identity. This female cow is the oldest and largest in the herd and is responsible for leading the elephant herd. Their survival rests on her broad shoulders. On deeper reflection we realize that, perhaps, we are a sort of matriarch when we are given leadership positions.

Obinna Makata, in his work Beauty Deeper than Cosmetics II, leads us to realize the need to maintain our own unique identities in a world where society dictates what to wear, how we should look and, ultimately, who we become. Another work of his, Of Race and Identity, tells us Africans that we do not truly conform to the label [Black], but our identities are rainbows of color, because there is a splash of something special in each and every one of us. His artful employment of Ankara emphasizes individuality. Just as each Ankara pattern derives its beauty from its unique pattern, so we derive our own from our difference in identities.

Promise O’nali, whose novel style would identify him in the farthest corners of the world, gives us another take on the term, identity. Because who are we, really? It is something to be deeply reflected upon. His works, in a cool and simple manner, induce the viewer to observe the intricacy of man’s journey through life, and the constant battle to maintain his true self.

At the end of this truly inspiring and eye-opening exhibition, I returned almost on a different plane of mind. I had taken away one general lesson. In the words of Mr. Nnoli, “Art is always involved in our lives… It opens the door to our individual creativity.”

I Might Have Known Him


I schedule my sessions so I can take a break to walk through the neighbourhood. What a wonderful way to clear my head. As I meander down tree-lined streets, I occasionally glance at a house, as if there’s some connection between me and someone living there. And for a moment, I stop and wonder…

Recently I talked by Skype with Renee, an elegant, middle-aged lady with a thick head of dark hair. She smiled as she introduced herself, then gestured to her adult son, sitting behind her.

“Can Bruce-” She stopped, flustered. “I mean Ted-”

The young man narrowed his eyes and stared at his mother.

“Ted,” she repeated with a shake of her head. “I don’t know why I said that.” Then she turned to me. “Can Ted sit in on my session?”

Ted acted like this was the last place he wanted to be. I closed my eyes and began to centre myself, asking my guides to allow me to help this woman and her son. Instantly, I felt a strong connection to a male energy. “I’m getting the sense that he was a strong man. He’s making me feel strapping in my chest. Was he a personal trainer?”

“Yes,” Renee said. “That was my son, Bruce. Ted’s twin.”

“Bruce is telling me his head hurts. A blood vessel burst in his brain. It was totally unexpected. It happened in the gym. There was nothing anyone could do… ”

“Yes,” Renee answered. Bruce came through with several messages for his mother and when he mentioned Ted, the young man’s ears pricked up.

“Bruce is showing me a bowling ball,” I said.

“Yeah,” he mumbled. “I haven’t felt much like doing that since he died. Sometimes he’d go to the bowling alley with me and shoot pool while I played in my league.”

At the end of the session, I felt compelled to stay and chat with Renee to comfort her. Being a mother myself, I could only imagine how difficult it was to lose a child.

“I don’t know why I called Ted by his brother’s name,” she said. “I’ve never done that.”

“I think that was his way of letting you know he was here,” I said. “His presence was very strong.” In fact, I saw him in my mind’s eye so clearly, I could’ve described him down to the buttons on his flannel shirt.

“I’ve never been to a medium before,” Renee said. “One of the reasons I felt comfortable about making an appointment with you is your office is located two streets away from where Bruce lived. He always told me how much he liked living in this area. Everyone is so friendly.”

I felt a chill as I bid adieu to my clients, then gazed out the window. I felt Bruce’s presence still with me. He’d lived in my neighbourhood. I might’ve seen him jogging. My cart might’ve passed his in the grocery store. Could I have said hello to him while out for one of my walks?

Down the street, a portly fellow in a Jays t-shirt was mowing his lawn. He stopped for a moment to chat with a young woman and her daughter, who was walking a beagle. The dog sniffed the man’s ankle, then sniffed around the grass as if it was hoping to find a bone. I didn’t know the woman and her daughter, but the man had helped me start my car a few winters back. I decided to walk over and say hi to them. It’s important to appreciate your neighbours. Bruce would’ve liked that.

Carolyn Molnar is a Toronto based Psychic Medium and Spiritual Teacher. She has over 30 years’ experience. She provides readings and also teaches others how to tap into their intuitive abilities.

Her book, ‘It Is Time: Knowledge From The Other Side’, has made a real impact in how people understand intuition. She has been featured on radio, television and in print. Carolyn believes intuition is accessible to everyone.

Eight Common Characteristics Famous Celebrities Have


Celebrities come and go. They can either stay for a couple of years, but some fail to carve a niche in the entertainment industry and remain a starlet. Some are successful and become iconic in the music scene, television and movies.

You might be wondering why some of them have disappeared in the industry. If you observe their stellar status, the luckiest are those who share common characteristics that made them rich and famous.

Take a peek at the 8 common characteristics famous celebrities have in common. Find out if you have any of these traits that can be helpful in your chosen profession.

1. Strong determination and confidence. Celebrities are confident and determined to pursue their goal no matter what happens. They are the kind of people who do not care about what others say when they pose nude in a men’s magazine or wear a bizarre outfit. Getting out of poverty and to become famous are two things that prodded them to try their luck in Hollywood hoping that they could find the right people to help them in their budding career.

2. Their work ethic is infectious. Actors and singers are deprived of sleep as they have to stay awake until the following day to finish their commitment. They work hard not only because they know that they are highly compensated for their efforts, but because they want to leave a legacy when they are no longer active in the industry. Highest paid actors only spend 2 to 3 hours of sleep until their project is finished. But the prices they get from being workaholics can buy them a new house, a car, a set of jewelry and a swanky bag.

3. They work for the sake of art. Multi-awarded actors are choosy in their roles despite the high talent fee that they could receive for a particular project. Top caliber actors who have become financially stable would pick meaty roles that could earn them an Oscar award. They don’t mind if they have to go bald or topless for as long as the role will increase their level of creativity and transform them into a respected actor. Some celebrities accept roles that are challenging even if they don’t share the same billing stature with the main actors.

4. They are creative and unique. Famous Hollywood personalities defy the standard and social norms. They never stop creating and reinventing themselves to enable them to catch the public’s attention. Miley Cyrus, Madonna, J Lo, Michael Jackson and to name a few, had their own strings of gimmickry and controversy to promote their albums or movies. Even local artist in some key cities in the world do the same thing even if it could ruin their reputation and make them infamous. Defying the norm and ignoring their bashers is the best action that celebrities must do to succeed in their showbiz career. Gossips are part of showbiz and welcoming them with an open heart can make them stronger and better celebrities.

5. They think, believe and dream big. True artists think that there is no small role for them. Budding actors must heed what their veteran counterparts say that in order for them to be recognized and earn big, they should accept any role that can hone their acting prowess. Since the competition in the world of showbiz has become stiff, they must grab every opportunity that comes their way. Not unless they are products of reality shows or beauty contests, penetrating the entertainment industry is a bit hard. Changing their mindset from small to big things will inspire them to strive hard and make it big in showbiz.

6. They have a high emotional quotient. Although beauty and talent are important things to consider when discovering a new talent, movie directors and producers would prefer actors with a good work attitude. Celebrities who are acting like divas will most likely to lose their chance of getting the right break because their attitude can cause a lot of problems during location shooting. High EQ celebrities come to work before call time and they do not cause glitches or delay at work. They can mingle with anyone in the set from the director to the janitor. They can laugh at their own mistakes and can exchange jokes with their fellow workers, even if they have been sleepless for several nights. Most of all, they welcome strangers and mobbing fans for autograph and photo ops.

7. They enjoy every bit of their work. Become passionate about your work as an artist in the real sense of the word will give you more inspiration to hone your craft. Celebrities who are enjoying their career are the one who will become successful as they do not get discouraged when failure comes in one point of their lives.

8. Money and fame are only secondary. These two things that can lead to frustration if celebrities are unable to achieve them. Some famous celebrities who are getting less projects and their fans are ignoring them have become depressed and suicidal. This is because they think that money and fame are the most important things in life. But the truth is, any career that is taken with passion can be a great source of your finances if you know how to save your money.

Celebrities who have lost their careers because of their bad attitude have realized that becoming famous and wealthy does not happen overnight. They have to learn the traits that could propel their popularity and eventually land them a lot of projects.

Aspiring actors/actresses who are given the break should realize that the competition is so high in the industry. A single flaw is observed from you could put you down and it would be too late to realize that a newcomer will soon replace your position in showbiz. Getting rich quick is a mere fantasy as you need to start from scratch, and when you are already at the top of your success, remain humble and grounded.

Wax Prints – An Integral Part of African Society


Africa is known for many things; its natural resources, human resources, beautiful weather and many others. One of these many Africa is known for is its wax prints.

As you may already know we are people who love color and design and our wax prints are not left out.

Wax prints come in many vibrant colors and are worn on an everyday basis and on special occasions. It’s exciting to walk down the fabric bazar with beautiful colors hanging in the stalls. You can get stuck in the market for hours trying to decide which one to pick. Wax prints can be dressed up or dressed down depending on what the individual prefers.

Women normally wear it in 2 pieces; a blouse called a “kaba” and a long skirt called a “slit”. In the past women would have an extra piece of cloth about 1.5 to 2 yards worth of material called the “akatasuo” or “a covering” to wrap around their waist or draped over their shoulder. Traditional attire is slowly fading out as modern women prefer to wear tighter and smaller blouses that do not require the akatasuo. It’s also partly due to changing times and young people wanting to wear clothes more in Western Style.

Men wear their wax print as a wrap using 8 to 12 yards of fabric depending on how big and tall they are. This is seen a lot among older men for special occasions. The younger men wear shirts made with wax prints.

COLOR SIGNIFICANCE

Prints with white backgrounds and black/navy blue patterns are normally worn on special occasions or celebrations such as marriage ceremonies and naming ceremonies. These are also worn to the funerals of people who lived a long and full life or on the last day of the funeral where most of the time the family goes to a thanksgiving service or when a party is held to round off the funeral celebration.

Women who have just delivered are supposed to wear white in the Akan culture for at least 6 months depending on which family they belong to. Black, red, and brown are worn for mourning and sorrow. Red doubles as a color to show anger and sorrow, worn usually at the funeral of someone who dies young or whose death is considered unnatural or tragic. These prints are predominantly black, black and brown, brown and black or red and black and black and red.