More is know less no more


The Chinese Lantern Festival , a 2000 year old tradition, is held around this time, the fifteenth day of the Chinese Lunar Calendar or the 26th— last Friday. For the children there were lanterns, riddles and, dancing lions and dragons, and for everyone, a full moon.

Brush painting by Janney

Design is about creating and then resolving visual tension. Creating visual tension attracts the eye, it is interesting, it can be either or both, related to the common content ·what is it—where, when etc— or the visual elements of line, shape, texture, etc.

Sometimes the line, color, shape, texture are interesting in themselves, they are the image..

Alameda Creek

It is difficult to make blanket statements about causes which have meaning, the more specific they are, the less general or common they are.and the meaning is increasingly diluted..

Rubber necking on the highway, it commonly happens and always there is someone to comment that it “means people are morbid,” the commenter is trying to put a “content” meaning on it implying people enjoy seeing other people suffering. But some people are, some are not, some are just stuck in the traffic line and others maybe concerned about danger, but it clear that there is a visual interest which attracts the eye.

It is a tension, not necessarily good or bad, its just most people want resolve that tension, connect the dots . . . answer the question . . . solve the riddle. The viewer is interested because there is a question. Resolution means the viewer finds an answer. In successful design this is all done unconsciously, the viewer just “knows without thinking” the question and the answer.

its a photograph, and one part of that tension is, What is it?

For some a photograph is a record of a moment of time—a feeling of happiness, a wedding, a Pulitzer Prize image, a portrait of someone famous or infamous, a moment of personal achievement. Sometimes its some quality of the subject, enhanced, unique, an artistic image of some everyday thing or something we have never seen before such as an aerial image of patterns.

I think my images do not make judgements about the subjects . .
and the whole photograph is the subject, not any “thing, or sub-subject in it..

Design likes odd numbers which can always be reduced into two more and less groups, movement and stillness, large and small, anything which makes the viewer unconsciously, feel a question and seek an answer—this is visual interest.

Unconsciously? without thinking?. Humans have instincts, with a complex biological database-like relationship between the senses and the brain. The body is like radar, senses are always working but only call it to the attention of the brain when there is a reason, a sensual question which cannot be answered or the answer needs thinking. When you wake in the morning, sit up, put your feet on the floor and then stand up, you never think  “Will this floor hold me?”. Yet when the floor gives out your body knows it without thinking and responds..

Finding relationships and “causes for things to happen” is a successful pragmatic for survival but in the universe its just the universe, there are no reasons or causes or effects.

Things are this way or that way, there may or not be a “cause” but there is a relationship and for survival humans, as do other living things, have learned to increase their chances for survival by avoiding harm, and found successful in relating causes to danger. Its a tool of survival., if humans did not do it they would not have survived . . .

Still even after you have past the memory, Heart Sutra lingers on:
In this case, Shaariputra,
form is voidness and voidness is itself form;
voidness is not different from form, and form is not different from voidness;
that which is form is voidness, and that which is voidness is form.

Less is know more no less

Line is no line, color is no color, texture is no texture, form is no form.

A simple example of contrasting odd numbers, three mountains and five antelopes, or including reflections can be seen. as seven antelopes. Three mountains in groups of 1 and 2, and five antelopes in groups of 3 a2 or 3 and 4, the three are moving and the two are drinking.The mountains which are bigger in “real life” while than the smaller antelopes are bigger in the weaving, contrasting “illogical” big and small to create perspective.

Janney‘s painting also uses a creative sense of design— Surprise, The “empty space” is in the middle. It uses the elements of the Lantern Festival—the moon, lanterns swinging from tree branches and vendor stalls, and the children on a road to adventure, one with her lantern urges the other onward as the rhythm of the color red calls them up the road.

Japanese TV shows

I have been enjoying Japanese TV shows for decades. In the 1980s a local TV station broadcast them on Saturday and Sunday evenings and They stopped broadcasting about 2008 and I would buy them on DVD to play with an all region modified DVD player. Later thanks to WWW was able to get more from direct downloads. 

Sources  started to dry up. For years I have heard from others how great Netflix is and two months ago I read about the “great five new Japanese TV shows” on Netflix,, and from the PR description, they sounded interesting so I subscribed.

Most Japanese TV shows easily available in US , such as from Netflix, Amazon, or Raku are bizarre anime, violent horror or young people falling in love with stupid sex stuff. The only redeeming factor for me was that Netflix had some of the Midnight Diner series, but I already owned it, and watched again so not feel cheated, but after four weeks I canceled.

Japanese TV, like TV everywhere, is lowest common denominator. However some of the Japanese shows, in my opinion, have other redeeming qualities. In Still, Life Goes On as a child the young man lost his young sister to a brutal sex crime and murder committed by the older brother of the woman. Time passed, people moved on, the killer brother, now an adult, is released from prison, the couple meets, first without knowing their relationship, later discovering it, and having to deal with their feelings about themselves, towards each other and, in the past of shame and in the ugly head of recidivism, face challenges to their commitments and obligations to their family members and each other.

In Mother a young woman, with her own mother psychological baggage discovers a child in the garbage—wrapped & sealed in a black garbage bag— and undertakes a picaresque mission to protect the child, winding through a web of mothers so the viewer sees what it means to be a mother from different perspectives

If only people would do what I tell them to do, the world would be at peace, I guess its the same for 7.647 billion other people except the world would not be at peace, there is no way any one person can get every one else in the world to do things , though that does not seem to stop those who aspire to be political authortatians, dictators, who seek to use political power to force others do what they want. And knowledge, pragmatism and just common sense do not work either—especially look at the so-called “religious” groups who think “their “rights or perhaps “rites” is a better word, are being denied because as a group they want to spread the Covid disease in the name of worshipping their god. A lesson learned, you cannot even get the paid help not to leave the door open.

The side of San Francisco building on a corner on a Market Street corner, up near Civic Center, painting by Alicia McCarthy. I had an interesting conversation about this work with her father one day, not knowing it was him, we talked as if we were strangers who had just met on the street.

Mal Sharpe (April 2, 1936 – March 10, 2020) at the Savoy Tivoli across Columbus Ave on Grant Street, North Beach. Sometimes on a Saturday I would be walking around San Francisco, and late in the after noon work my way over to the Savoy Tivoli where for years a Mal Sharpe, playing trombone and band would be performing. For years on Lous Armstrong’s birthday he would put together a band— I have three CDs from three different performances.

Whatever about Mal Sharpe it would be great a understatement to say he enjoyed playing music, he enjoyed performing, and people enjoyed listening to him and whatever group of musicians he got join him. At the Tivoli the front of the bar was open to the street where the crowd on the sidewalk often blocked the way. Later I was told that the performances were stopped because the computer hi-tech new residents did not like the “noise” on a Saturday afternoon.

The gate of no gate, the person of no person, the light of no darkness, how to no my self.

Gate Gate, paragate,
Bodhi svaha

2 thoughts on “More is know less no more

  1. Was that the same Mal Sharpe who did man-on-the-street interviews on the radio? I recall him in the 80s on KMEL on Friday mornings? I see on Wikipedia he started on KGO which was my fall-to-sleep tradition in my teens from Southern Oregon.


  2. David,

    That is the same Mal Sharpe, he is a tall guy, way over me and I am 6’1″ .

    His man on the street were fun, A few years before KGO imploded he did some ads for a house painting company using the man on the street style. Somewhere I havea few recordings of his Sunday nght radio show on New Orleans style music at the San Mateo College radio station and KFAT used to broadcast his Man on the Street work.

    His CDs for Louis Armstrong’s birthday are excellent, and his trombone was really funny. At the Tivoli the band would play classic jazz songs and Mal would make up new, “more contemporary” lyrics for them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s