Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Neijing Tu"- Taoist Inner Landscape

I have been doing hatha yoga pretty regularly for awhile now. There are a couple yoga studios near me that my fiancée & I go to once a week, and I practice on my own, as well. It is a great way to stay in shape and have a healthy connection between body & mind.

In addition to regular yoga practice, I have also attended classes on Kundalini yoga. Kundalini refers to the "serpent energy" of the nervous system that rises up the spinal column into the brain. This energy can be harnessed and directed within the body, using a combination of physical and meditative techniques. There is no doubt that the human body has energetic properties, and yoga practices like Kundalini allow us to utilize these energies- like our physical body uses our hands & arms to lift objects.

In my Facebook feed, I saw a comment in which someone posted this image of what they called "Taoist Kundalini":



Since there was no further explanation, but the image intrigued me, I did a reverse image search on Google. The Taoist diagram of the "inner landscape' is called Neijing Tu. It uses nature to represent the various energies and systems in the human body. Meditators & self-explorers were familiar with these subtle aspects of our being, that we are beginning to re-discover. Ancient people described and mapped these abstract concepts to the best of their ability. For the Eastern followers of the Tao, this meant relating the ideas of our inner landscapes to the external nature world.

Here is a PDF with an extremely detailed description of the subject matter in this "Neijing Tu" diagram:


While browsing Google Images, I also came across this interesting graphic "Taoist Inner Alchemy Anatomy Chart: Relationship of Body, Mind, and Spirit". As much as I love science & factual knowledge, that is not the only mode of thinking available to us. Sometimes the allegorical and metaphysical connections made by ancient cultures have as much meaning as our physical observations.

click to enlarge

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Mall Knockoff Toys

The other night, my fiancée & went Christmas shopping at the Hamilton Mall in NJ. It's the first time I've been in a mall in... I don't even know how long!

Although the mall wasn't empty, there didn't seem like there was a lot of shoppers for the holiday season. It's evidence of the impact online shopping has had on brick-and-mortar stores, and malls, in particular.

Anyway, I was in one store, called Unique Gifts or something, with all kinds of useless crap to buy. I walked buy the toy racks and was pulled in against my will by the hilarious selection of cheap knockoff toys from China & other east Asian countries.

I have a soft spot for knockoffs & bootleg toys, mostly because of the ridiculous "Engrish" and horrible graphic design. I've had many years of experience designing toys, games, & their packaging- so it's amusing how bad some of the products & graphics on the packages can be.

Here are some of my favorites, I had to get photos of the funniest ones:

This was the first one that caught my eye: 
"Super Dino Force", Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles combined with Jurassic Park dinosaurs.

 
 This one cracked me up- "Street Fighter: Man Wrestle"
Featuring Super MAN!

 
Low-budget Justice League: "Super Justice Force". 
The only weapon they need is the katana blade.
"Ultimate Fighter Hero" complete with Luchador mask, and ladder, chainsaw, & spiked bat accessories for ultra-violent play!

 
 "Universal Hero"
A ninja Capt. America ripoff with Wolverine Claws

  
No, this is not a Transformer, it is a "Universal Super Change Robot"!

 
Finally, an archery set with a knife & Native American stereotype thrown in for good measure.

Friday, December 08, 2017

"4D Gem" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery recently. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

"4D Gem" is a rare multi-dimensional jewel, of infinite detail.

by Paul Micarelli

 "4D Gem"
by Paul Micarelli

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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Quantum Mandala #2


I have an app called Forge of Neon that allows you to make these awesome 3D designs made of light points & trails.

As I was making one of these designs, it reminded me of a combination of patterns of quantum energy & a spiritual mandala. So, I decided to make a series of "Quantum Mandala" designs in both looping animated GIF format & as a video.

On the fundamental level, Reality is an infinite sea of pulsations of patterned energy. This is an attempt to visualize the beauty & intricacy of these ubiquitous energy patterns that form our world.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Big Paul's '69 Camaro


Recently, I came across an article on HotRod.com that my Dad had showed me recently.


Big Paul loves cars, and especially classic muscle cars. He was reunited with his old 1969 orange Z28 Camaro, that he sold in the late 1970's, around the time I was born.

I remember seeing it in old photos, and he was finally able to get back behind the wheel after he met the current owner, Steve Shauger. They are now friends, and have visited each other on a few occasions.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Centipede

I saw this multi-legged creature crawling in my bathroom. I think it's a centipede of some kind?

Since I don't like killing animals (no matter how creepy-looking) I caught it & took it outside. I put it in an old tree stump so it could crawl along its merry way, back in nature where it belongs:

Monday, November 27, 2017

IN-SHADOW- A Modern Odyssey


I came across this absolutely mind-blowing short film (13 min.) while scrolling through the many inanities of the Facebook news feed. I reposted it, with just a Keanu Reeves-like "Woah."

Official Website:


It was written, directed & produced by Lubomir Arsov, and it is a work of genius by those involved.

The movie attempts to rip apart the facade of maya, the illusion that envelopes our society & our perceptions. This cosmic web of apparently unique phenomena is actually a singular Unity, an underlying energy at the quantum level. This infinite array of interacting, energetic patterns only seems to be a bunch of different things on the level of human perception.

The virtual light show in our skull creates the appearance of difference. Good, bad, neutral, moral, immoral, positive, negative, horrible, wonderful, indifferent... they are all modes of that fundamental base energy that has no human characteristics (but somehow still gives rise to those characteristics in the human form).

“No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven 
unless its roots reach down to hell.”
-C.G. Jung

IN-SHADOW explores the darker sides of human nature & culture, before annihilating it all in a psychedelic, spiritual ascension. Systems of control on a personal level, as well as on a social scale, are unmasked. Industries such as pharmaceuticals, factory farming, mass media, fast food, banking, politics (yes, politics is clearly an industry), military, and technology are all shown as interconnected systems with negative aspects that are manifested from the base impulses of greed, fear, hate, and ignorance. Of course, they are not all completely bad, but are among the most commonly corrupted.

The Jung quote above, from the IN-SHADOW movie page, refers to the transformation that signifies all hero journeys- the descent into the "lower" realms of human experience, before merging with the light. This is a theme that occurs in many stories, including my favorite Star Wars. We have to understand the worst aspects of the world to know what we might face and how to overcome it. If we can't overcome it, we need to know how to at least be at peace with ourselves and our collective infinite nature.

If you've already read to this point & haven't watched the movie, take about 10 minutes to check it out. It is an awe-inspiring movie that is worth watching.

As one of the YouTube comments said,

Friday, November 24, 2017

"Infinite Imagination" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery recently. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

"Infinite Imagination" represents the endless, recursive loops of mental energy that create consciousness.

by Paul Micarelli

 "Infinite Imagination"
by Paul Micarelli

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Nature of Love

Last night, I was browsing Instagram, and came across a quote that inspired me.

It was a quote by Aristotle on the nature of love:

"Love is composed 
of a single soul 
inhabiting two bodies." 
- Aristotle

I'm engaged to a woman who I consider to be my soul mate & spiritual partner. We have a deep connection that comes from many years of finding ourselves, dating other people, and being friends before entering a relationship with one another.

We refer to our life together as a "Figure 8", where we go out into the world for our individual endeavors, then come back to one another & share our experiences together.

When I saw this quote, I was compelled to create a graphic that illustrates this figure 8, or infinity symbol, as an energetic expression of our connection.


**Buy Prints & Products With This Design***
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"Gravity: A Child's Search for Meaning" on Kindle


For the last few months, I have been helping my good friend Danny Ling with the graphic design & layout for his storybook, "Gravity: A Child's Search for Meaning".

He has just published the ebook for Kindle! Please support his effort to enlighten minds both young & old, by downloading this wonderful book! Only $3.99!

Kindle Edition:

From the book description:

Devastated by the loss of his dog, young David found himself asking the most important question about his existence: "Why am I here?" 

Under an apple tree, David meets Mr. Watzu. Thereafter, this story moves from deep loss to soaring discovery, all thanks to Mr. Watzu's charm and uncanny wisdom. 

An inspirational story for readers both young and old, David's journey offers insight into fundamental questions we have faced since the dawn of time.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Peak Demotivation

I saw this wonderfully cynical graphic, & you could say it is the "peak" of demotivational posters.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Universe is Inside the Earth


I'm pretty well-versed in conspiracy theories & outlandish ideas of all kinds.

 "The universe is not only stranger than we imagine; 
but stranger than we CAN imagine."

-J. B. S. Haldane 

Although all kinds of strange things may be possible, we still have to use our senses and critical thinking to understand our world as accurately as possible.

That is why ideas like the "flat earth" movement drive me nuts. It's just stupid. There's nothing about the reality that we experience that would make it probable that the Earth is a flat disc. Matter naturally accumulates into a sphere, as gravity pulls mass toward all other mass. Look at water droplets, bubbles, etc.

When looking at other celestial bodies it's clear that they have to be spherical in nature. This is self-evident, unless you believe that there is a massive conspiracy involving literally every space agency, astronomer, & anyone who's ever looked through a telescope.

As with so many things in today's interconnected world of limitless digital media, it's tough to tell who is a troll and who really believes this stuff. "The Flat Earth Society" is as ridiculous as a "Moon is Made of Green Cheese" society. Yeah ok, there is a infinitesimal chance it's true, & we've been fed a vast web of lies, but it's so unlikely & defies common sense that it's really just silly.

Then, there is a whole new level of craziness people take their theories to, whether or not it's something they truly believe or are making a joke.


I saw this funny approach to out-doing conspiracy theorists using the Moon, & the comments led me to the amazing image at the top of this post. The 'flat earth' theory seems plausible compared to that configuration. It illustrates the absurd notion that the Universe & the cosmos are actually inside the Earth.

It's a hysterically bizarre & unlikely view of the world. I refuse to accept that someone could actually believe that reality is organized as depicted in that image. It has to be a joke, right???

Oh, I guess not...


Flat Earth Must Decrease, LSC Concave Earth Must Increase 

However, the same the question arises in this model, as in the accepted scientific view of the Universe- What is 'outside' of the boundaries? The image at top depicts a hard boundary between the crust of the earth and... blackness? In actuality, the idea of cosmic boundaries may not even apply. I think the Universe is a fractal pattern, infinitely self-enclosed with no discernible edge. Our brain cannot formulate the idea of something without edges or definition.

That is why people come up with simple explanations of the way the world works- because the truth is so complex & unimaginable that the mind is powerless to truly envision it all.

Monday, November 13, 2017

"Guardian" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery recently. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

This one I imagine as an ancient energetic entity or spirit that exists in another dimension, watching over the physical realm & intervening if needed.

by Paul Micarelli

"Guardian"
by Paul Micarelli

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Street Racing" by Daniel Liang

 
by Daniel Liang 

I saw this 3D rendering by artist Daniel Liang on Instagram and thought it was pretty awesome.

The use of a radiant bodhisattva-like statue in a futuristic city setting is a great juxtaposition of spirituality and technology.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

"Ultraviolet Vision 2" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery recently. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

by Paul Micarelli

 

"Ultraviolet Vision 2"
by Paul Micarelli

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

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

"Think & Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill


 2017 has been a year of transformation for me. I was unexpectedly laid off of my longtime job at a design studio, and collected unemployment insurance for the first time at age 39. Seeing freedom & opportunity instead of defeat, my intention was to re-invent myself and create a new life. I began to grow my freelance business, Paul Micarelli Design, and also created a new photo booth & custom portrait company, Fantasy Photos. I've been promoting my fine art as well, and having my work featured in local galleries.

In the midst of all this professional change, I have been planning a wedding with the love of my life & spiritual soulmate! My fiancée's parents started a heating oil company this year, 5 Star Heating Oil. I'm a part of this company, too, handling the creative aspects, marketing, and promotions. My soon-to-be stepfather-in-law is an entrepreneur and has started several businesses. He has been a mentor to me & gave me a copy of a book that is like his bible.

by Napoleon Hill


Here is a PDF version, and there are plenty of audiobook recordings available.

This book was originally written in 1937, but the lessons are still wholly applicable today.

The explicit purpose of the book is to help people become successful and, therefore, wealthy. However, there is a much deeper & almost metaphysical aspect to the seemingly superficial premise. What Napoleon Hill was trying to convey was the power of the mind to affect reality.

Our creative visualization, mental intention, and physical actualization are the powerful sequential tools to direct our lives into the direction we want.

On the other hand, the greatest obstacle a person faces is their own mental and emotional blocks. Fear is the Mind-Killer, the most debilitating emotion when it comes to personal growth.

As Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha observed:

"The mind is everything. 
What you think you become."

"Think & Grow Rich" was an excellent read and has greatly affected my view of business, professional success, and personal fulfillment. Napoleon Hill's book is a classic, and I've now become aware of references to it.

Actually, the book that I am currently reading, "Zen & the Art of Making a Living" mentions & quotes it several times.

There is a lot in "Think & Grow Rich" to ponder & act upon. It is not only blueprint for success in a career or business, it is a guide to optimize one's consciousness.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to start a business or just improve their own life. It is a deeply influential work that I will probably revisit every so often as a motivational refresher.



Thursday, November 02, 2017

"Movement" Exhibit at Grand Theatre

I've had some of my abstract artwork on display at a local gallery for the past couple weeks.

by Paul Micarelli

The exhibit, "Movement" has been at the Grand Theatre Galleria, in Williamstown, NJ. It has coincided with the production of "Billy Elliot" playing at the theatre. I haven't been able to make it to the gallery while it was open, but I stopped by tonight and took some pictures through the window.

Underneath each photo is the digital image & link to the original post. There you can buy prints & products with these designs.


by Paul Micarelli



by Paul Micarelli



by Paul Micarelli

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"Technocubist Flower" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery recently. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

by Paul Micarelli

This image takes the geometric, angular approach of cubism & merges them with the organic form of the flower.

 "Technocubist Flower" 
by Paul Micarelli


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

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Quantum Mandala #1


I have an app called Forge of Neon that allows you to make these awesome 3D designs made of light points & trails.

As I was making one of these designs, it reminded me of a combination of patterns of quantum energy & a spiritual mandala. So, I decided to save it as a "Quantum Mandala" in both looping animated GIF format & as a video.

On the fundamental level, Reality is an infinite sea of pulsations of patterned energy. This is an attempt to visualize the beauty & intricacy of these ubiquitous energy patterns that form our world.



Friday, October 27, 2017

Large Orange Fungus


In front of my parents' house, there's a stump that has grown this large & awesome-looking fungus. It is bright orange & yellow. The size and color of the array of mushrooms makes it stand out starkly against the autumn forest.

The form of this bizarre living organism was so intriguing that I took photos from a bunch of different angles, & added them into my album:




 My hand for size!



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Anakin & Padme Skywalker Costumes

This past weekend I had a booth for my business Fantasy Photos at the Autumn Fest in Pitman, NJ. It was a 2-day event, and my fiancée Loretta & I dressed up both days as Star Wars characters Anakin Skywalker & his wife Padme Amidala.

I have been growing my hair out for awhile, so I chose to go with Anakin's look from Episode III, "Revenge the Sith" before he becomes Darth Vader. We borrowed the lightsaber & a dart gun that I painted from my nephews. I added the scar over the eye & a leather glove to complete the character. My lovely partner takes her Halloween costumes seriously, & really went to town with her "Padme on Geonosis" costume. When I saw her in it, I was pleasantly surprised at her attention to detail. I thought our outfits were pretty on point.

We also went to a Halloween party over the weekend, and this photo is from the party. We took it easy, since we had to get up for the festival again the next day, but it was a lot of fun.


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***:

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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