If our words shape our thinking, then looking at this elegant Arabic page from a manuscript of the Quran makes me appreciate how important our basic language is in bridging our understanding of one another.

There are roughly 300 million Arabic speakers in the world.  Pretty close to the population of the U.S. (313 million).

How does our vocabulary shape the way we think?

How would our thinking change if we could speak each other’s language?

haunting faces

Human sculpture is one of my favorite things to photograph.  There’s nothing more haunting to me than seeing hand-carved representations of people throughout the ages, frozen in time, in three dimensions.

Sculpture as an art form goes back to Prehistoric times.  Most Stone Age statuettes were made of soft stone or ivory, like the Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest prehistoric sculpture on record, carbon dated to at least 35,000 years ago.  The Lady of Uruk, dated 3100 BC, is one of the earliest representations of the human face.  The Egyptian sphinxes were built around 2500 BC.  Ancient Greek sculpture emerged around 900 BC and sculptures of the Buddha began emerging from the 1st century AD in Northern India.

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band – richard serra

Richard Serra’s “Band” sculpture is something everyone should experience.

The huge scale and sheer mass of his meandering steel ribbon inside this placid room at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum is truly inspiring.  At 12 feet high and more than 70 feet long, it took two-and-a-half years to develop, and required the shaping of 200 tons of hot steel down to a single millimeter.

What I love most about it is the incredible deep rust color and lava-like patina.  It feels like rough stone, and when you sit inside the hollows, the inverted walls wrap you in a silent cone of sepia.  Art that envelopes you…amazing!

tokyo cuteness

Japanese stores always make me smile.

There’s something so artful and adorable about Japanese displays, trinkets and packaging.  They have a way with making seemingly mundane objects feel genuinely delightful.  Entire aisles are dedicated to creating amusing lunchboxes.  As in, you open up your lunchbox and it’s like Disneyland in there!

The attention to detail is extraordinary.  I find myself wanting to buy delicate wooden spoons, funny looking snacks, and ceramic incense burners for no reason whatsoever.  How can anyone resist tiny frog-shaped bells on keychains and Pocky, I ask you?



Now In Production:  TASTEMAKERS

Meet the Tastemakers, a global series that identifies creative leaders who are shaping and transforming their cultures, and making our world a far more fascinating place.

Get an inside look at their lives, and discover how their perspectives are impacting the way we see, listen, share and think across borders.

Serena Yang connects the dots in a world that’s now intimately wired through technology, communication and constant cross-pollination. A lifelong arts, culture and entertainment reporter with pioneering shows on CNN, Discovery, Travel Channel and E!, Serena searches for innovators who are shaping contemporary culture and transforming the arts, the streets, business, technology and thought leadership around the world.

“The world is now a deeply interconnected place,” she says. “Technology is dramatically shifting our work and lives. Revolutionary change is happening every day, and mindshare makes us all better. This series is about new markets, new ways of thinking, and how we can inspire each other.”

Discover the people who are forging new paths in their respective fields of film, music, design, social action and entrepreneurship.

Get a taste of what’s happening out there…from people making it happen.

tips for artists

tips for artists

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with language, typography and graphic design, and I love the wit and the irony of this painting by John Baldessari.  It boldly tells you what sells, and breaks every rule.

Baldessari once said, “I think when I’m doing art, I’m questioning how to do it. I’d say, ‘Well, why is this art? Why isn’t that art?'”

A pioneer of conceptual art in the 1960s, he’s one of the most influential artists of his generation.  This painting was one of his first breakthrough works.  It sold, and it’s worth millions today.

What do you think of it?  What does it make you feel about art and commerce?