Thursday, October 19, 2017

"Metal Melt" by Paul Micarelli


I have been busy trying to grow my custom portrait business Fantasy Photos & my freelance graphic design career as Paul Micarelli Design. I am also working for my fiancée's family, doing the marketing & promotion for their home heating oil company- 5 Star Heating Oil. Despite the feeling that I don't have nearly enough time in the day, I also want to keep my general creative spirit flowing.

By sharing my artwork, I hope to maintain this aspect of my creativity. I have a huge archive of my images that I can post & offer for sale.

This week I dropped off some prints of my abstract art to a local gallery.

One of the images was this one, that I had not uploaded to my online album yet:

by Paul Micarelli

"Metal Melt"
by Paul Micarelli


***Buy Prints & Products With This Design***:

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:
 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Natural Efficiency



A link about a cool tattoo based on the Fibonacci pattern led me to this article about the mathematical efficiency of the

 ThatsMaths:

It is a short, but informative, explanation of the unexplainable- why space & matter are organized in certain ways. The natural world follows recognizable patterns (like the Fibonacci sequence). These are describable with mathematical syntax, but are utterly indescribably in their mystery and essential beauty.

The tendency to create patterns like the Fibonacci spiral of the sunflower, or the hexagon arrangement used by bees for their hives, is one that is ingrained in the fundamental nature of reality. Trying to understand & explain these phenomena should not take away from their mystery. In fact, it should only deepen it.

On a related note... here is a design that I created, of the GOLDEN spiral. There are items with this representation of the Fibonacci spiral & golden mean available in my shop:

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" Trailer


I woke up early this morning to see the trailer for "Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi".



 Although I think the teaser trailer was more intriguing in certain ways, this trailer definitely got me excited to see the next installment in my favorite movie series. I have to say, the music by the legendary John Williams is absolutely epic & it's edited into this trailer in a masterful way. I love the powerful music at :30s, as Rey journeys into the mystical tree to see the ancient Jedi manuscripts, then switches to a majestic version of "Jedi Steps" when she begins to move the rocks around her in meditation.

Speaking of which, I really like the concentration (pun intended) on meditative techniques, shown as Rey sits in lotus position and begins affecting her surroundings. It was also expressed in the teaser and in the mini-teaser for this trailer, with Luke instructing, "Breathe, just... breathe." I see the spiritual aspects of Star Wars as reflections of our own spiritual truths, and I am hopeful we will get Luke in the same role as Yoda, being a catalyst for the cultivation of inner awakening.


In my previous post about the teaser, I already went into detail about my thoughts of Rey's training with the now-reclusive Luke Skywalker. I suspect a more nuanced view of The Force will be explored- one that transcends the binary Light vs. Dark dynamic that drove the previous movies. There has been a lot of talk about Luke as a neutral "Grey Jedi," who recognizes the need for emotion, discipline, & morality in balance. I think this will open up a whole new vision of the mystical aspects of Star Wars for future storylines.


The island of Ahch-To, where Luke is exiled, looks to hold some fascinating secrets to the history of the Jedi and the Star Wars galaxy. Rey is going to be put through the necessary challenges & trials to ensure she can properly harness her powers. It appears that she will also experience the spiritual and intellectual awakening that accompanies such growth.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:


We finally see Luke speaking in this trailer, and not just hear his voice. I can't wait to see how they treat him as an older, wiser, and seemingly more cynical Jedi master. Luke seems startled & unsettled by Rey's abilities. Clearly, both he & Supreme Leader Snoke are aware of the "raw power" that this new generation of Force-wielders possess. Where Snoke probably wants to control this power for his own ends, Skywalker recognizes the danger in it.


The other new & powerful Force user is Luke's nephew Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren. He killed his own father, Han Solo, in his bid to become powerful in the Dark Side. In this trailer, they make it look like he may kill his mother, Leia, as well. However, I think this trailer was edited to be a bit misleading. I don't know if Kylo will actually destroy her, but I think he finds that he cannot do it. Maybe someone else does, which throws him through a loop. One of the cool & unexpected visual elements was Kylo's cybernetic or carbon fiber patch over his facial scar. This must be earlier in the movie, because later in the trailer it shows the scar has healed, without the futuristic wound dressing.


We also get to see Kylo Ren's Tie Silencer in action, and it appears that he has inherited his grandfather Anakin & his dad Han's piloting skills.


A shot we already saw in the mini-teaser was Kylo picking his lightsaber off the floor of Snoke's red throne room, with the feet of Snoke's personal Praetorian Guard in the background.


We are going to get a much better view of the Supreme Leader in this movie, and a shot shows his partially-obscured face in more detail than we've seen so far. He doesn't look alien, but appears to be a badly damaged & old human. Perhaps like Palpatine, he was sustained by the Dark Side beyond his natural lifespan, leading to his corrupted, decayed appearance. It also seems likely he was badly disfigured in a battle or incident, perhaps by Luke himself. He is wearing gold robes, and may represent the power-hungry, lavish elite that our own world is familiar with.

I think one theme of this movie will be the contrast between the simple, almost poverty-like conditions of Luke's hermitage, and the trappings of wealth & power displayed by Snoke and the rich inhabitants of the casino world of Canto Bight.


In another scene, Snoke is Force-lifting and immobilizing Rey. You can see him & his guards by his throne in the background, and when enlarging the image, it's even possible to make out the large black crystal ring that is rumored to be a focus of Dark Side power.


It is going to be interesting to learn some more about the enigmatic Snoke's background and how all these characters play into the story. Another great visual was the closeup of Captain Phasma's helmet during a battle with Finn, as the electricity from the baton reflects off the chrome mask. It looks like Phasma may be more of a threat in this movie than in 'The Force Awakens".


So, yes, after almost 40 years on this planet & having grown up watching the Star Wars saga, the trailer for a new movie can can still get me excited like I'm a kid again. It is a testament to the vision and creativity that goes into these movies, that generations of people anticipate a new chapter in a story that has its roots in all aspects of human culture and experience. I have always appreciated the elements of mythology, religion, history, and the hero quest that have been incorporated into the Star Wars universe.

I look forward to seeing the new & familiar aspects come together into another episode of the greatest movie series of all time... and in my opinion, the greatest fictional work of the modern age.

"This is NOT going to go the way you think!"
-Luke Skywalker

Monday, October 09, 2017

Byzantium 1200



One of the amazing things that digital technology has given humanity is the ability to virtually travel through time & space.

I have posted before about the use of 3D modeling & virtual reality to reconstruct ancient cities. We are approaching the point where we will have photo-realistic, fully-populated recreations of locations that we can explore like we were really there.

Although I don't play video games anymore, the Assassin's Creed games were awesome because they let you visualize what these historic environments would have been like- better than reading about it or seeing a still picture.

I came across this website on the fascinating subreddit r/papertowns, which features drawings & reconstructions of pre-industrial cities. It is a project called Byzantium 1200 that focuses on creating a comprehensive 3D model of ancient Istanbul, Turkey.

The creators of this project also have a website with a 3D reconstruction of Babylon.

Perhaps one day, there will be something similar, or part of, Google Earth, where these virtual cities will be mapped over their actual locations & you can pick the time period you want to experience.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Return of "Christopher Walken Stick"!

The baby walking stick who was crawling across my desk showed up again the next day. I had put him on a plant in my bedroom, but it somehow made its way downstairs in the kitchen!

I let him crawl around on my hand for a little bit. My fiancée was joking that he is our son, & I named him "Christopher Walken Stick". After getting a final picture, I took him outside and placed him back in the woods.

by Paul Micarelli


Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Mushroom in Potting Soil

This yellow-white mushroom was growing in a potted plant. The fuzzy mycelium (or body) of the fungus is visible in the dirt.

I added these images to my photo gallery:

by Paul Micarelli


 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Baby Walking Stick


I was at my desk & saw this tiny insect crawling along. I guessed it was a baby walking stick. It moved very slow, like an adult walking stick, until I tried to scoop it up on a piece of paper. Then, it started to scamper around faster. My fiancée said it was like our baby, & I called him "Christopher Walken Stick".

I took a couple photos for my Nature Photography album, then filmed some close up video of it moving around.

Filmed & Edited by Paul Micarelli

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Strange Little Slug


This tiny slug with very interesting features was clinging to my car. I went for a drive & it was still there when I got back.  I took him off with a stick & placed him onto a plant in the woods.

This weird creature was so small, it was hard to zoom in on it, but I got a decent photo for my nature album:

by Paul Micarelli

Monday, September 25, 2017

Hummingbirds Close Up

https://youtu.be/_BR_rPyTdEU

In honor of my mom Karen's birthday, I uploaded a new hummingbird video that I took last month. My mother loves hummingbirds, & they are like her spirit animal. She is always buzzing around, can't sit still, and is (lovingly) territorial!

After I took the last hummingbird video, I moved the feeder onto the deck so I could sit closer to it. I caught the ruby throat shining in the sunlight, the buzz of the wings, and some chirps, as they checked me out in between drinks.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Kazoo Kid


I've come across this ridiculous remix by Mike Diva, of an already ridiculous video, several times now.

It makes me laugh every time, so I'm posting it here, Kazoo Kid-Trap Remix:



As one of the YouTube comments says: "This is too lit fam"


Here is an edit of the original video, You On Kazoo!


On a related note, Mike Diva also created this crazy hilarious Japanese Donald Trump video that I linked to before.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Autumn Hornet

This large insect was on a rocky windowsill, so I got a couple photos.

by Paul Micarelli

It seemed slightly bothered when I got close, but it didn't fly away. I left it alone after taking some pics. It was cool-looking and had autumn colors.

After looking it up, I found that it was a European Hornet.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Walking Stick on a Window

Walking sticks are one of those insects that are so well camouflaged, that you will never notice them unless they are on an artificial surface. They usually stay completely still, so they are not picked off by birds or other predators. This makes it easy to take a photo for my album:

by Paul Micarelli

This one was clinging on a window at my parents' house, so its camo disguise didn't work very well. I showed my niece, who was fascinated by its strange form. She was amused when I suggested that maybe he still thought he was on a tree! I pointed out its tiny eyes, with the long antennae protruding from its head.

Walking sticks are one of the many truly alien-looking creatures that are actually common in our own natural world.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Frog in the Bushes


I saw this gray frog hopping into the bushes, so I got down close and saw it in the leaves. I took a photo to add to my album:

by Paul Micarelli

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Let's Paint, Exercise, & Blend Drinks!


I am a connoisseur of the absurd.

Nothing brings me more pleasure than seeing something that is totally insane or nonsensical, especially with humorous intent.

This video from Let's Paint TV by John Kilduff is a ridiculous attempt to exercise, take live calls, paint, and make blended drinks... all while wearing a suit & tie. To complete the package, there are crazy camera zooms & psychedelic video effects.

When I was in high school (before the endless entertainment of the internet) my friends and I amused ourselves by watching bad movies and cable access TV. If I would have seen this gem back then, I would've absolutely flipped out.


Friday, September 08, 2017

Blaise Pascal on War


I saw this quote by Reddit user noplusnoequalsno by scientist Blaise Pascal, and thought it described my views of nationalism and patriotic motivations for war pretty well.

"Can anything be more ridiculous than that a man should have the right to kill me because he lives on other sides of the water, and because his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have none with him?" - Blaise Pascal

The patriotic sentiment was never strong in me, even when I was younger. My preference is to label myself as a living being, first & foremost. Everything else is just tribal politics.

I do appreciate the fact that I live in a relatively developed country with a degree of freedom, and access to goods & services. However, the idea that we should be willing to put our lives on the line for war against another country, is cultural brainwashing. Nationalist wars (especially invasions & wars of conquest) rarely benefit anyone except the wealthy sociopaths who profit off conflict and human misery.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Paul Micarelli on LinkedIn


When I first started this blog, I tried to keep it separate from my personal life. I saw it as a pseudonym that I didn't want associated with my real identity. However, over the years I've posted my art & some personal experiences that I wanted to share. Because it's all sort of melded together now, I've ended up just approaching this blog as an aspect of my personality, instead of a distinct entity.

Over the past few months, I've been posting about my efforts to build both my Paul Micarelli Design business & the Fantasy Photos custom portrait service.

Since I'm trying to unleash my entrepreneurial potential, I recently created an account on LinkedIn. This is a social media platform for professionals & businesses. I've made my profile public, so my credentials and experience are visible. If anyone reading this is a member, feel free to connect with me.

LinkedIn:
Graphic Designer, Creative Director, & Entrepreneur

Friday, September 01, 2017

Henry Rollins: The One Decision that Changed My Life Forever


I have been at a major turning point in my life this year, and I've been reading very motivational books about how to approach a career and create the reality I want to experience.

Over the summer, I finished "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill, which (despite the title) was almost an esoteric and mystical approach to wealth. I'm now reading "Zen & the Art of Making a Living" by Laurence Boldt and "Care of the Soul" by Thomas Moore. I'm working to unleash my potential and make the most out of this life that I'm experiencing.

Today, I was watching a YouTube video of an entertainer, Tommy D, who I met recently at a business networking meetup. I then saw the video below of one of my adolescent idols of spoken word & music, Henry Rollins, talking about the single most transformative moment in his life. He came to a crucial crossroads & he created his destiny through his choice. I think it's interesting that he wonders what would've happened if he didn't accept the audition for his future band, Black Flag. I think all of us do this sometimes, but ultimately we have to accept the choices we've made, good or bad- and move on to the next choice that life presents us.

Even before watching the video, I have always tried to take this approach to heart. Especially in the last few months, I have kept my focus and been motivate each day to build the foundation for my future life and career. Not just in forming my businesses, but in maintaining my health. I have to give a lot of credit to my fiancé, who is a health guru compared to me. I was always fairly healthy & exercised, but I now eat very healthy and do different kinds of yoga in addition to working out. Each one of these little decisions we make each day forms the content of our experience. We cannot control all aspects of our environment, but we can control how we react to these circumstances.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Unexplored Ruins 06 (Buddha) by Renju Mv


In the subreddit r/ImaginaryLandscapes, I saw this digital painting that blew me away.

(click to enlarge)

I love the detail & scale of this mystical landscape, featuring animals (including monkeys) and a giant buddha statue in a mountainous jungle environment.

The artist is Renju Mv, and I would recommend checking out his other work on Artstation or deviantArt. The talent, skill, and vision of artists like Renju are breathtaking to behold.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Beeple

 
 This was the first example of Beeple's work that I saw & was like, "Wooooah!"

I have been following a bunch of artists on Instagram, but one of my favorites is "Beeple", the pseudonym of Mike Winkelmann. 

Beeple creates amazing, mind-blowing 3D and abstract imagery every day, for over 10 years! The quality and output of his work is absolutely astounding to me. It is super-human levels of artistry.

Some of my picks are posted below, but it's difficult for me to choose favorites of his work, because I love it all. I would suggest just bookmarking his pages and following them. 

Website:

 Instagram:

Facebook:

Twitter:






Thursday, August 24, 2017

Black and White Moth


 I saw this cool-looking black and white camouflage-patterned moth sitting on my desk while I was on my computer. I let him hang out there, but I wanted to get a photo to add to my nature album:


by Paul Micarelli

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

Yesterday, I was able to watch the solar eclipse as the moon's path crossed in front of the sun. It's one of the cosmic events that is able to capture everyone's attention.

The last major eclipse I saw was a lunar one, where the Earth's shadow turned the moon blood red.

Unfortunately, I'm in NJ & we weren't in the path of the totality, where the entire sun is covered and the sky goes dark. However, it was still cool to see (through special glasses) the shadow of the moon as it slowly worked it's way past the sun's disc.

Here is a photo of me looking super cool in my eclipse glasses. I had absolutely no equipment to photograph the event properly, so I tried to take a pic with my phone through the filtered glasses lenses, but it didn't work very well since the moon's shadow wasn't visible at all.



Sunday, August 20, 2017

There's a Bee in my Tea!

I was looking at older nature photos I've taken, and saw this one that was pretty cool from September 2015.

It was a bee that went into my cup and grabbed onto the string of my tea bag. It was licking off the honey that was soaked into the material:

by Paul Micarelli

 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fungus Photos

UPDATE: More fungus photos added!

I've been taking a lot of nature photos, mostly of animals & plants. I thought it was time to add some pics of strange fungi to my album:

by Paul Micarelli

 I got down on the lawn to get an elf's eye view of this mushroom in the grass.


This fungus that looked like orange flowers was growing in a linear cluster.

 


 This large fungus looked like a folded up pancake.



There were several protrusions of fungi growing from this rotting stump after a rainstorm.


 When I opened this photo up, I realized there was also a small slug right above the fungus:



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Find the Grasshopper

(click to enlarge)

 I've been on a roll photographing animals & nature this summer, and added this photo to my album:

by Paul Micarelli

I was sitting in the back yard, and saw this small grasshopper land among the green blades of grass. I got as close as I could, so you see some of its cool details. In the photo, it blends in well with the lawn. It's coloring is a natural camouflage.

Monday, August 14, 2017

"Fantasy Photos" on Facebook

I posted recently about starting a Facebook page for my graphic design business, Paul Micarelli Design.


At the same time, I created a page for my startup business, Fantasy Photos.

www.fantasyphotos.net

Fantasy Photos is a company I started that specializes in fun, custom portraits. They are perfect for gifts or special occasions. If you are reading this and have a Facebook page, please give the page a "Like" to support my efforts.

Facebook:

For many years I created these special portraits for my family & friends. After I got laid off from my job at a graphic design studio this year, I decided to follow my own dream by starting Fantasy Photos.

I also offer the Fantasy Photo Booth service, for parties or live events. I take the customer's photo against a green screen, & replace the background with a scene of the person's choice! It has proven to be very popular at festivals and shows that I've attended as a vendor, and I'm looking to book more events.

Visit the website at www.FantasyPhotos.net for more info. Thanks!

https://www.fantasyphotos.net/fantasy-photo-booth

Friday, August 11, 2017

Daddy Long Legs

I added a new photo to my nature album:

by Paul Micarelli

Earlier this week, I saw this daddy long legs spider on a leaf. I was able to get in close while it was resting there.

We have these creatures all around us... but when you look at them, they are are totally bizarre.