Archive for August 2011

stair and floor

not to be confused with stair 1

Mister Linky's sleeping...........


TLV_27.8.11_059, originally uploaded by millikatz.

When Im not Painting

When I am not painting I love to sing and play my guitar or Ukulele.  Every Friday night I get together with the rest of the band to laugh, sing and play.    We call ourselves "Chooks on a Hot Tin Roof" - layin em in the aisles is our mission statement.  This weekend we will be cooped up recording in the chook house - watch this space for the  much anticipated  release of our CD.  Feathers will fly!!


It took me a few moments to realize that SPA was not what I originally thought...
Mister Linky's sleeping..........

Clive posters in Shanghai

Acid Midget has been quiet during the past few weeks. I've been blog-time poor while travelling around Europe. I'm currently in Barcelona and nursing a hangover.

When I find a free moment here, I post street art on our Facebook page. I try and update this every day, so keep a look out to see what I've found.

Also, thanks to everyone for the emails. You've sent some great photos. And speaking of which, I blogged a Clive wheatpaste not long ago and he liked it enough to send over his own photos.

Clive does these trippy wheatpastes around Shanghai. This one, and the one above it, were stuck to an iPad advertisement outside Jing'an Temple Station.

I'm not sure who Clive is associated with, however, he appears to be linked to the Salted Planet Collective.

If you know more about his work please comment below.

And if these posters make you miss Madonna music videos circa 1991, please get in touch.

You might also like:

Shanghai Subway Poster Art



Six weeks to go and counting

Early in the morning is my favourite time, when the rest of the house is sleeping and I hear the birds starting to stir and the waves pounding away on the beach,  I like to make my way downstairs and continue on from what I was doing the day before.

5am this morning I entered the studio and thought to myself hmmmmmmmm I need a larger table.  Yes, its finally happened I have now moved onto the floor.  I have either got too much going on at once (impossible) or just been to busy to notice that I need to have a tidy up. 

I think the paper piled on the turps soaked rug next to the heater is a nice "workplace safety" touch.

I have just done the math and realised I have six weeks to go till the launch of exhibition - eeeekkkkkk.  I need to clone myself and fast!


by the time you read this I will be already on a short vacation,
and newspapers are not part of my itinerary.
it may take me a few days to catch up with your posts for this week and next, but the linky is on auto post, so carry on without me!
Mister Linky's  sleeping

Just have fun

Social Media Marketing Strategy

Recently read "The New Conversation: Taking Social Media from Talk to Action" anHarvard Business Review Analitic Serviceds Report regarding Social Media strategies. Follow the link to read the full text

Executive Summary
The exponential growth of social media, from blogs, Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and YouTube, offers organizations the chance to join a conversation with millions of customers around the globe every day. This promise is why nearly two-thirds of the 2,100 companies who participated in a recent survey by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services said they are either currently using social media channels or have social media plans in the works. But many still say social media is an experiment, as they try to understand how to best use the different channels, gauge their effectiveness, and integrate social media into their strategy.
Despite the vast potential social media brings, many companies seem focused on social media activity primarily as a one-way promotional channel, and have yet to capitalize on the ability to not only listen to, but analyze, consumer conversations and turn the information into insights that impact the bottom line.

For instance:

  • Three-quarters (75%) of the companies in the survey said they did not know where their most valuable customers were talking about them. 

  • Nearly one-third (31%) do not measure effectiveness of social media.

  • Less than one-quarter (23%) are using social media analytic tools. 

  • A fraction (7%) of participating companies are able to integrate social media into their marketing activities.

While still searching for best practice and measurements, two-thirds of the companies surveyed are convinced their use of social media will grow, and many anticipate investing more in it next year, even as spending in traditional media declines.

Only a small group — 12 percent — of the companies in the survey said they felt they were currently effective users of social media. These were the companies most likely to deploy multiple channels, use metrics, have a strategy for social media use, and integrate their social media into their overall marketing operations.

Clearly, most companies are still searching for the best practices and metrics so they can understand where to invest and target their social media activities and build their own competitive advantage. It will take those new tools and strategies to create what Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Analytics Evangelist, describes as a new reality in harnessing the power of social media. “Too many companies have not evolved from what I call ‘shout marketing’ — think TV, newspapers, magazine ads — to influence by initiating and participating in conversations with consumers,” he said. “There needs to be a generational shift.”

Round A Lazy CRAZY Bend

Deserts, Rivers, Bush
Finally I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  For the last couple of months I have had my head stuck in paintings for the "Round a Lazy Bend" exhibition and now as they slowly begin to take shape and guide me over the finish line, clarity and calmness returns.  This image is a slice of a larger work.  People often ask me how do I know when a painting is finished?  Painters intuition??  Whatever the answer may be  - I know what the feeling is.  Now onto the drawings..........

Heading Back Around

from Hotel Hong Kong in Pokhara

Kathmandu has been my home for eleven months and three days, but today I'm leaving Nepal and heading back to the United States. I've had a pretty great time teaching at Shree Udaya Kharka, working with NELTA and Fulbright, teaching with a wonderful counterpart teacher and staying with a headmaster who has accepted me into his family. Since the grant ended, I've been writing articles, interviewing linguists at Tribhuvan University and teachers at multilingual schools, helping with the orientation for the new batch of Fulbrighters, editing grants and organizing the library catalogue of the LDC (my brilliant friend John helped me put a search engine for the library catalogue on their website), and, of course, having crazy adventures across the width and breadth of Nepal. But now I feel that it is about time for me to return to my homeland. By which I mean that if I don't leave soon, my government-paid airplane ticket will expire.

If all goes according to plan, though, it will take me some time to get back. I'm flying to Bangkok, and then taking a bus to Battambang, Cambodia. There I will attend a Vipassana meditation course, why not? Long hours of meditation, seclusion, diet, and no talking for 10 days. Those that know me well (and those that don't can probably guess) know that I am not good at keeping my mouth shut and even worse at sitting still. So this should be an interesting challenge for me. It reminds me of a joke, actually:

"A novice monk is told by the leader of his order that to enter a monastic life he must first complete five years of service to the monastery under a vow of silence. On the anniversary of each year he may say two, and only two, words, but every other day he must maintain complete silence. The novice works hard and faithfully throughout the first year, and on the anniversary of the first year he is approached by the leader and asked if he has anything to say. The novice replies, 'Terrible food.'

After another year of faithful service, he is once again approached by the leader and asked if he has anything to say. This time, the novice replies, 'Hard beds.'

After the third year, the novice himself approaches the leader of his order, hands over his habit, says 'I quit,' and walks out of the monastery. The leader calls after him, 'You might as well! You've done nothing but complain since you got here!'"

(Apparently this joke, or rather a slightly different version of it, is old Irish monastic humor. This website here has translations of the joke in English, Irish, and 105 other languages.)

... but hopefully my experience will be much more positive. After that I will visit a few different sites in Cambodia and Thailand and then return to the United States on September 10th.

ALEE | M3C Style


ALEE X My Distro

Interview: Philjames

(Surry Hills, Sydney)

Philjames is a Sydney artist who creates works that can be playfully satirical yet world-weary.

He has been an enigma to me for his willingness to communicate through street art, while being somewhat difficult to find.

I eventually found the man - and he was happy to be interviewed for this blog. Enjoy.


Hi Phil, so who are you?

My name is Philjames. This is my art name anyway, as a kid my dad called me Philjames so I use that as a kind of "nom de plume", a sort of nod to my family.

When did you start making street art?

I started making making art for the streets during my time as a student at the National Art School around 2001-ish. I wasn't using the name Philjames then but I was majoring in printmaking and had access to all the screenprinting facilities so I was doing a lot of postering. I followed Juxtapos alot and I guess the work of OBEY really inspired me back then. I kind of fell out of it after a few years and got back to it I guess five years later after a stint in Tokyo.

Not long ago you pasted two Warholesque posters near the Ray Hughes Gallery. Were you sending Hughes a message?

Coming back to it was kind of born of frustration with my dealings in the art world. Ive mentioned in other press stuff that I feel alot of people feel ill-at-ease in a gallery environment, and from a commercial standpoint my work didnt really sit well in it either, so I thought I would take the art to the people (without trying to sound too righteous!).

What part of Sydney are you based in?

I'm currently based around Paddo, which is why my work centres around that area, it's nice to be able to walk around and check the progress of the work.


What have you been working on lately?

I'm currently working on a show for Damien Minton Gallery in Redfern and of course putting together a few pieces for the streets also, so I'm pretty busy with my job as well so time is pretty full on.

Are you involved in any upcoming exhibitions? When was the last exhibition you were involved in?

I just came back from a stint in the US where I had a show in Montreal with mixed results commercially, but it was a great experience. Anyway I'm currently broke, in love and working my arse off back to LA!


What drives you to make art in the streets?

The drive to make work for the streets is the drive to make work at all. Its what Im best at, its all I wanna do and I get a great sense of satisfaction from doing it. The feedback tends to generally be positive but ultimately its like therapy for me. I just feel an urge to do it.

Have you had issues with pedestrians working in the street?

With the art is a cunt posters yeah, I was sending a message I guess, Im not gonna name names or tread on any toes but certain events took place that were a little disappointing and I felt they could have been handled better, but the real message there is that art, like any creative field, is a tough racket, often you'll get bent over and sometimes you have some victories but yeah, its tough to make a living and everyones a critic. As I said before, it serves as a kind of therapy. I think a certain "somebody" was responsible for painting out the "ART" on that poster to make it read "Philjames is a Cunt". I thought that was great. To establish some kind of reparte with the public is a great result for me, it actually strengthened the work so thank you, (you know who you are).

What will keep you busy in 2011?

From here on in 2011 is gonna be busy. A show in September at the annex space of Damien Minton on Elizabeth Street opening on Sept 21 and then pick up my shit and head back to LA to get the girl (her name is Flo btw and shes the shit!!). So yeah its time to get biz-zay!

SIGN (AFK) in S. Tel Aviv

Unknown, Tel Aviv, 2011, originally uploaded by Brian K. Edwards.

ETHER in Tel Aviv, 2011

Unknown, Tel Aviv, 2011, originally uploaded by Brian K. Edwards.


personally, when this store first opened about a year or so ago, all I could think of was Coronation Street.
I wondered what happened to their local supermarket?

Mister Linky is sleeping. Please come back next week for more signs.

From the Ground Up

 Going thru all my old work I found an image of a painting that I had completed in 2007.   It is based on an imagined landscape, at the time I  had not planned or even thought about traveling to Alice Springs, so it came as a surprise when I realised how similar it was to the photos I took of Fenn Gapp - Alice Springs 3 years later.  Careful what you wish for.

Shrawan Ghumgham (A Monsoon Stroll from Kathmandu to Muktinath)

I have just uploaded a travel documentary that I made during my recent 12-day Nepal farewell expedition. With no exaggeration and in all modesty, I think that I can safely say that it is better than Planet Earth and Baraka combined. It is on Youtube and only 20 minutes long, and below I have provided a description of the locations and events. Check it out!

Indra Chowk contains one of the best fabric markets in the old part of Kathmandu. I was there to buy dhakka fabric, which is the patterned fabric most famously used in the national hat of Nepal. I was buying fabric to ship to the United States and give to the Multicultural Refugee Coalition, an organization in Austin that provides support for refugees entering the United States. I have volunteered there and I have friends among the ethnically Nepali Bhutanese refugee community, and the fabric is for their sewing programs. When I was finished, I went to the spice market at Asan Chowk and bought cardamom, because I like it and it's cheap there.

I left Kathmandu by motorcycle and followed the Prithvi Highway. My driver and traveling companion was my daai Saroj. We stopped at the roadside town of Malekhu. Because it is a popular rest stop on the road from Kathmandu to Pokhara, I have been in Malekhu at least a dozen times, but this was my first time eating the fried fish that Malekhu is famous for. 

Saroj at the gateway to Bandipur
In the afternoon we rolled into Bandipur, a beautiful hill town a few miles from Dumre. The touristification of the town has only increased in the two years since I last stayed there for my education research project, but it is still a great place. My favorite part about staying in Bandipur back in the day was living above a restaurant, because in the morning I would come down to breakfast and people from the town would be sitting and drinking tea and discussing news and politics, and I always felt a welcome party to interesting conversations. Saroj and I stayed in the same place and I introduced him to some of my old friends.

Bandipur's Khadga Dev Temple, which didn't make it into the documentary, contains the sacred sword of Mukunda Sen, the ancient King of Palpa. I was told that the sword bends and vibrates and grants superhuman strength to the priests who worship it on the festival day when it is taken out. Always covered, it is passed first to the Kame (Blacksmith) priest, the blacksmiths being father to the sword-goddess, and then to the Magar priest, the Magars being the warriors.

Saroj and I misjudged the distance from Bandipur way down the hill to Siddhi Cave, and we ended up walking down the hill for most of the morning. We were attacked by leeches for the first time, although I escaped with only one tiny bite. Passing the shrines at the entrance, we made our way into the cave. In the cave I met a young man who had come from Dumre and we continued further than I had ever been into the cave, down a long slippery ladder and past an underground lake. We continued down a very narrow crevice with water flowing through it until it became too steep and tight for us.

The next day Saroj and I parted ways. He drove his motorcycle down to Chitwan and I continued by bus to Pokhara. I stayed in Lakeside in the usual touristy areas and I read and ate some pizza while looking out over the bar scene. The next day I met my bhaai Min, who studies in Pokhara but is from the village of Tangting, across the valley from Sikles. I had been to Tangting twice before (see Return to Tangting), but never in the rainy season, and I was unprepared for how difficult it would be to get there. We took two buses, one which had to ford through a river (on the way back the river had gotten too deep and we had to wade across), and then continued up the side of the hill on foot for five hours through the pouring rain. When I finally came to Tangting, it was dark, I had 34 leech bites on my legs and the beginnings of a fever and sinus infection that kept me pretty grumpy for the next four days. But I was staying with old friends who cooked me rice and lentils and water buffalo meat and gave me strong home-brewed liquor as 'medicine' and let me sleep the rest of the next day. During the rainy season, Tangting seems to rest inside a cloud 24-7, which made walking its cobbled streets a beautiful and eerie experience.

I walked down the next day and made it back to Pokhara. I had planned on taking a plane flight to Jomsom, but the Jomsom airport had been closed for four days straight due to bad weather, and for three days in a row after that I arrived at the airport at five in the morning only to see my flight cancelled. It was a good thing, though, because I had a chance to recover.

This guy did not have a chance to recover.

On the third day I decided to cancel my plane ticket and take the bus route from Pokhara to Beni. After Beni the roads are very unreliable during the wet season because of constant landslides. At the site of a landslide, the bus stops and all the passengers walk across until they arrive at the other end, where there will hopefully be another bus or jeep waiting to take the passengers to the next landslide. In this way I ended up in Tatopani and stayed in a trekker's lodge. There I met Sanjeev, a driver from Delhi who was making a pilgrimage to Muktinath Temple in Mustang. We travelled the rest of the way together. Tatopani is famous for its hot springs, which I enjoyed early the next morning before embarking on a series of quick jeep rides and hikes across landslides (the longest hike of the day was about an hour and a half). On the path I saw sadhu holy men on their own pilgrimages to Muktinath, European and American trekkers, Australian educational development workers, and local villagers and students. At one point we traveled in a jeep hired by the development workers, which stopped to pick up a sick person in a village to take them to a health post further along the road. We often had to wait for jeeps to fill up with passengers, or for bus drivers to finish their meals, but soon enough the emerald green forests became dark brown scrub hillsides and we arrived in Jomsom early in the evening.

Jomsom and Marpha are trekker hotspots, and they are known for growing the best apples in the area. I had promised an old teacher of mine that I would bring him some apple brandy from Jomsom, which was not hard to find. The shelves of all the stores are filled with apple juice, apple brandy, experimentally home-brewed apple ciders... I wanted to buy apples but they were not yet in season. Sanjeev made friends with a Jomsom butcher who was originally from Bangalore, and he showed us the apple orchards and tried unsuccessfully to convince an apple farmer to give us some samples. 

The next day we bought bus tickets. Sanjeev employed one of the boys from the butcher shop to guide us to Muktinath and to find him a salikram, a sacred fossil-stone from the waters of the Kali Gandaki river below Muktinath Temple which is an integral part of a Vishnu shrine. This time of year the river rushes with muddy water as dark as oil. It must be crossed on foot, which is a difficult feat because of the rushing water, deep mud, and sharp hidden rocks. 

Why are you smiling, you fool?

At Muktinath I started feeling the wintry cold and the altitude. There was a drizzle, and we passed some tourist lodges and Buddhist monasteries before making the slight ascent up to the main temple complex. There Sanjeev did puja at the Muktinath Temple to Vishnu and bathed in the sacred 108 water taps (head-achingly cold water in the wintry air). He filled a water bottle with the sacred water for later use. We visited the Buddhist temple where the 'self-arisen' natural eternally burning flame is contained, and then we headed back. I got stuck crossing the river by myself for about twenty minutes, and one of the buses broke down and had to be pushed down the hill to a small town, but we returned to Jomsom with daylight to spare.

The cast of adventurers: a pilgrim, an American, and a butcher.

Early in the morning the skies were finally clear and a plane flight back to Pokhara looked probable. At the airport, security officers stopped checking my bag and started to question a group of French trekkers and their Nepali guide, who had brought back a large statue that they claimed to have purchased. The security officers doubted the authenticity of their receipt and the age of the statue and accused the trekkers of temple-robbing, but I did not get to see how that drama played out because my plane landed and it was time for a dramatic flight back to Pokhara. It took only 20 minutes to cover the same ground that had taken 2 days by bus. 

More Articles in NELTA Choutari

I have an article in the August issue of NELTA Choutari (I had previously written an article for the July issue). This issue also includes articles by my fellow ETAs Simon and Alban:

"Brief Experience of Teaching English in Nepal" - Alban Holyoke

"Within and Beyond the Classroom for Teaching English" - Simon Taranto

"Encouraging Creative Production in the Classroom" - Luke Lindemann

Meanwhile, The Himalayan Times reported yesterday that a small secondary school in Balkot would receive 15.7 million Indian rupees in aid. Two years ago, when I was living in Balkot with Pitzer College and doing a project on education, I did research and taught English classes at that same school. I'll have to ask about this when I see my old professors on Tuesday. Here's the article:

Rupees 15.7 million Indian aid for Bhaktapur School