Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Of all amazing and FREE museums in London, the V & A is perhaps my favourite.

So massive!

11 acres, 145 galleries, 7 miles of exhibits and 5 million objects.

It’s not easy to see David in Florence — but you can study an exact replica any time, any day in London. Free. No crowding.

In fact, this space at the V & A called the Cast Courts is perhaps the best. You’ll quickly be diverted from David to other astonishing replicas in those 2 galleries.

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Another of my favourite exhibits is Tippu’s Tiger.

The ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in India had made a carved and painted wood casing representing a tiger savaging a near life-size European man. It moves and makes music.

Are YOU a Manual or Knowledge Worker?

In the 1970s academic kids in my neighbourhood went to Viscount Bennett High School. The rest (losers 😀) went to Earnest Manning High School which had far superior TRADES training.

The internet accelerated the fortunes of knowledge workers. Relative wages of those working in trades declined.

Everyone wanted to be a white collar worker. Sitting all day at a computer manipulating electrons.

Author/mechanic Matthew Crawford argues that is wrong. And is changing.

He quit his job at a Think Tank, instead opening a Motorcycle repair shop.

Matthew’s book is titled Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Van Neistat makes an even better argument. A Spirited Man can build and fix things. Help his friends and family. A real man can do manual labour.

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Me?

I’m hopeless. Not the least handyman you know, … but close.

I ride bikes but can’t fix them when they breakdown.

By comparison, my Dad and brother Rob are career Jack-of-all-Trades.

The late great buddy Rob Glaser was probably my most trusted authority for all things broken.

Needless to say, he was expert in living outdoors. Manipulated firewood with his bare hands, for example.

In the wild you want to carry only those items which can be repaired on the go. Metal, not plastic.

In 2022 it would be smart to seek work in an occupation where you can’t easily be replace by a computer. Gymnastics coach, for example. It will be a long time before Artificial Intelligence replaces human sport coaching.

Take pride in being able to physically make and repair things.

Dan Price – Minimalist Living

Since 1990 Dan has been living off the land in Oregon.

He’s an artist. A writer. A traveller.

For the last 15 years or so he’s been living in a little Hobbit House only 8ft (2.4m) wall to wall with a roof only 4ft (1.2m) high at the entrance rising to 5ft (1.5m) at the back.

Dan has a website called moonlight chronicles where he documents his simple life.

Dan Price’s underground home, art & philosophy on $5,000/year

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Toronto HOLIDAY in December

Having traveled over 90 nations, IF you asked me where to go in December … near bottom of the list would be Toronto, OnTerrible. 😀

Yet for reasons I’m too embarrassed to relate, I ended up staying in a downtown hostel for 5 nights.

ON THE UPSIDE, the Planet Traveler Hostel in Kensington Market is excellent. I knew the eclectic Kensington neighbourhood from the  Canadian television sitcom which aired on CBC Television from 1975 to 1980.

The STAR of King of Kensington was Al Waxman, a household name in those days.

Waxman died in 2001 — but there’s a statue of him in a neighbourhood park. Crowded by homeless tents.

I really did enjoy funky Kensington, however. Weird shops, cafes, and restaurants.

I went looking for the #GardenCar. And found it.

There’s a lot of bad graffiti. And some excellent art.

My best meal was slow cooked ribs and brisket from Hogtown Smoke. I brought it back to the hostel where the wine was cheap. 😀

What do you do in a big city during wet, dark winter?

Photo by Vincent Albos on Pexels.com

MOVIES. MUSEUMS. STAGE PLAY. WALK. WALK. WALK.

First stop was an immersive van Gogh exhibit.

I attended my second NBA game ever. Toronto defeated the defending Champion Bucks — who were without their MVP Giannis that night.

My first visit to the Royal Ontario Museum was a surprise. Expensive. But excellent. The space compares well against the Prado in Madrid, for example.

My highlight? Light of the Desert, the world’s largest faceted cerussite gem, weighing 898 carats (179.6 g).

By Miranda1989

Next December? … Hawaii. 😀

My Name Is Rek” 

Visiting the Prado

Mike Sisson’s favourite work in the Prado Museum, Madrid, is Las Meninas (‘The Ladies-in-waiting‘) by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age.

It’s one of the most widely analyzed works in Western painting.

5-year-old Infanta Margaret Theresa is surrounded by her entourage. The artist is stage left. I like how the entire top half of the painting is wall and ceiling. 😀

Margaret Theresa died age-21.

For some reason, the painting below by Antonio Fabrés jumped out at me.
The Slave Girl. Of course it seems to more be his  erotic fantasy — not anything to do with slavery.

El Greco moved to Toledo, Spain in 1577. So different than anything that had come before that he’s considered unique. Imaginative, colourful and … weird. So different than the endless portraits and dark religious paintings of the day.

Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta caught my eye.

The model for nearly all of the female figures in his genre paintings was Aline Masson, the daughter of the doorman at the Paris residence of the Marqués de Casa Riera.

Immersive Van Gogh

I finally saw one of the many touring Van Gogh shows.

It cost $40 for a 33 minute presentation which I watched twice.

Impressionists and post-Impressionists are my favourites. Van Gogh in particular.

That said, I wouldn’t go again. BUT a 3D virtual reality wearing a headset would be cool, I would think.

Toronto December 2021

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Mike Sissons – Artist

Mike — originally from New Brunswick — has lived around the world. Speaks 5-6 languages. Started as a gymnast and coach. Moved into teaching Physical Education.

But is today an Art teacher at a private school in Madrid.

He lives in the neighbourhood of the major Art museums.

Mike and I have been friends for decades. I really enjoyed a recent chance to visit. Catching up on his philosophical world view and recent Art. He’s currently exploring painting on stained metal. One example:

He’s still sculpting, as well.

Mike works a lot in digital media with his kids at school.

Recently he did some commercial work — major art pieces for Cruise Ships under construction now.

Check his Instagram: sissonsart.

Michelangelo’s David

I was much affected seeing David in Florence when I was a teenager. 

Ever since, sculpture has been my favourite art discipline from the past. 

Unveiled 1504

Leonardo da Vinci was the great master at the time. Michelangelo the young upstart genius. it’s said the two were very competitive.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube