Artist Spotlight: Maisie Cousins 

London-based artist Maisie Cousins is creating some beautiful things. 

As her site states, “Her approach to making art is hedonistic and self satisfying. She explores themes of power, femininity, nature, technology, the body and indulgence.” 

Some of her work below… 



Discover more via Instagram or Maisie’s official site. 

Living Aloha

Wrapping up another week in Hawaii…

Finally saw some popular hiking spots on Oahu this trip! Beautiful.

^Waterfall at Manoa – The end of the hike for most, although there is an option to continue climbing the mountain to reach the top of this fall. Next time, with better shoes and an earlier start.

^Diamond Head Lookout – A quick hike, close to Waikiki with great views.

^Manoa Falls Hike Path – Muddy and wet, it was a bit rainy today.

^Manoa Falls Hike Path – Jurassic Park and Lost both filmed some scenes at Moana Falls. Hiking this easy trail is like being on another planet! I love the tropical, jungle atmosphere of the area.

 

My Pal, Meili 

This little guy brightens all of my days!  Meili is turning 4 years old next month. 

He has traveled with me across the country for work the in last several years, at my side whenever possible. 


Photo taken in San Diego, 3/13/16.
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Conservation Required

I’m obsessed with all of the beautiful plant life in California: palm trees, succulents, moss, vines, so many vibrant flowers…

Such a different landscape here on the West Coast, as compared to growing up on a farm in the Midwest. The ground feels different, the plants here in San Diego, alien-like and fascinating.

I am so appreciative to be able to wake up and take a walk each day, surrounded by these lovely things, sprouted from the earth. Surely, this is a feeling that most California transplants experience. 

The sense is a little surreal, especially in juxtaposition with my lifelines back home, posting photos of snow and sleeping trees. Although, the snow has been so minimal this winter, it doesn’t feel the same. 

It’s got me thinking about climate change, and the rate at which our earth is being altered.

It’s scary.

We need to conserve our natural resources and change the harmful ways in which we’re slowly draining the earth.

We could make a change if we would all just commit.

Here is just one of many petitions to encourage global citizens to speak up about climate change,  this one originating in South Africa by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The Change.org petition calls upon U.S. President Barack Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to set a target of 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Radical, yes. But, possible with cooperation and tireless work. It’s all part of a bigger picture, that so many of us are failing to recognize. 

Click here to lend your voice to the solution! It takes literally, one minute. 

Photo taken in my backyard, 3/12/16.

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The Stars Look Very Different Today

Rest In Peace, David Bowie, a beautiful inspiration to so many

“As fragile and inauthentic as our identities are, Bowie let us (and still lets us) believe that we can reinvent ourselves. In fact, we can reinvent ourselves because our identities are so fragile and inauthentic. Just as Bowie seemingly reinvented himself without limits, he allowed us to believe that our own capacity for challenges was limitless. Of course, there are limits–profound limits, mortal limits–in reshaping who we are. But somehow, in listening to his songs–even now–one hears an extraordinary hope that we are not alone and this place can be escaped, just for a day.”

-Simon Critchley’s, “Bowie” 2014

Fish, from the inside out

Here’s an intriguing perspective on your fishbowl friends.

These artistic photographs give us an interesting and beautiful look at the inner structures of these aquatic animals.

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Photograph by Adam Summers.

Creator Dr. Adam Summers has made the photoset accessible to the public, placing the images on display at the Seattle Aquarium.

The exhibit, called Cleared: The Art of Science Photography, features 14 large-format photographic prints of fish specimens that were specially stained with dyes to make their skeletal tissues brightly stand out.

Each image is supplemented by poetry by Sierra Nelson.

With the help of longtime friend Ilya Brook, Summers re-shot and digitally manipulated his images through the use of Photoshop, this time with an artistic intent rather than his usual scientific approach.

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Summers, “The Fabulous Fish Guy,” who was a science consultant for the film Finding Nemo, observes that what makes these images so fetching is the almost unlimited level of detail in the aquatic bodies.

“The images allow you to look really, really, really closely but they also allow you to step back and sort of appreciate a large form. To get to that level of fractal detail is somehow viscerally appealing to people,” said Summers.

The key to creating these outstanding fish prints? It’s all in the technique. Two dyes are used to highlight the many bones in the interior of the animal: Alcian blue for the cartilaginous parts, and Alziarin red for the mineralized tissue that has become hard, like bone.

After that, the fish are lightly bleached with peroxide and an intestinal enzyme is used to dissolve flesh. The animal is then placed in glycerin, which makes them transparent.

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A little bit of work with a huge payoff- the mesmerizing and unexpected look at our underwater friends.

“It was completely suprising,” said Summers. “To take pictures that are not intentionally scientific has been great fun.”

The exhibit will run until Spring 2014 at the Seattle Aquarium.

Muay Thai for 8-year-olds?

I recently discovered the documentary, Buffalo Girls, the brutal and heart wrenching story of two eight-year-old Thai girls participating in their country’s national Muay Thai championship. 

Stam, one of the girls featured in Buffalo Girls, poses after a win.
Stam, one of the girls featured in Buffalo Girls, poses after a win.

For those who aren’t familiar, Muay Thai itself is a 700-year-old martial art with a long and cherished history in Thailand. Brutal in its nature, the fighting style is comparable to that of MMA.

There are some 30,000 children under the age of 15 fighting in the Muay Thai rings of rural Thailand.

Blood, sweat and tears: Muay Thai child fighters

Photos by Jean-Michel Clajot from the Gallery, "Blood, Sweat and Tears: Muay Thai Child Fighters"
Photos by Jean-Michel Clajot from the Gallery, “Blood, Sweat and Tears: Muay Thai Child Fighters”

Fighting without headgear and incurring bruises, bloody noses and even broken bones, there is absolutely a physical toll on the children involved. To Westerners, the participation of children in Muay Thai may appear reprehensible and dangerous.

But in a country where the per-capita income is less than 10% of that of the United States, there are other harsh realities to consider before making judgements. The impoverished farming communities of rural Thailand offer few opportunities for people to better their lives and boxing is one of the few alternatives to the country’s commercial sex trade as a means of escaping the extreme poverty.

Only recently has it become acceptable for females to be near the action, let alone enter the ring, which is all the more reason why the Buffalo Girls documentary is so fascinating.

For the villages involved, an evening of boxing becomes a community event with farmers and laborers enthusiastically betting on the matches. With their limited incomes and little or no access to affordable credit, gambling is viewed as a viable part of the local economy and a means of increasing their meager resources.

Photo by Jean-Michel Clajot from the Gallery, "Blood, Sweat and Tears: Muay Thai Child Fighters"

Photo by Jean-Michel Clajot from the Gallery, "Blood, Sweat and Tears: Muay Thai Child Fighters"
Photos by Jean-Michel Clajot from the Gallery, “Blood, Sweat and Tears: Muay Thai Child Fighters”

These children, if they are successful in the sport, earn enough to provide food for their families, put their siblings through school, improve their own quality of life. Child boxers in Thailand can often earn as much as half of a family’s monthly rent from a single bout, sometimes taking home more than what a farmer or factory worker earns in an entire month.

The documentary, Buffalo Girls, follows the successes of the two eight-year-old girls, Stam and Pet, as they work with professional trainers. They do sit-ups and push-ups, lift weights and run, all in preparation for their upcoming fights. They are lean, powerful and athletic, glowing with confidence from their participation in the sport.

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Photos by Jean-Michel Clajot from the Gallery, “Blood, Sweat and Tears: Muay Thai Child Fighters.”

“When I first saw the children boxing, I absolutely thought it was horrible,” said director Todd Kellstein. But after spending two years in the rural Thai provinces documenting this world, Kellstein admits that his overall perspective has changed. His initial anger with the parents of the children for putting them in the ring gave way to a resigned empathy for their circumstances. 

“It is difficult to understand the economic circumstances that lead to child boxing, but what now angers me is economic inequalities in the world. These circumstances exist and we should think of ways to make it better for everyone. Not just in Thailand, but everywhere.”

What do you think?

Watch the trailer for Buffalo Girls: