Rooms With A View


Banksy.jpgBETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — A Palestinian guest house packed with artwork by the elusive British graffiti artist Banksy unveiled itself Friday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, with a sneak peek of what the owner called the “hotel with the worst view in the world.”

Banksy has made previous forays into the Palestinian territories. In one secret visit, he drew a painting of a girl pulled upward by balloons on the barrier facing his current project. Last year, he is believed to have sneaked into Gaza to draw four street murals, including one on a metal door that depicted the Greek goddess Niobe cowering against the rubble of a destroyed house. The painting, titled “Bomb Damage,” was drawn on the last remaining part of a two-story house that was destroyed in the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

banksy1Wisam Salsaa, 42, said the nine-room Walled Off Hotel will officially open on Mar. 11, but he offered a handful of reporters a tour. The hotel looks directly out at the West Bank separation barrier erected by Israel to ward off potential Palestinian attackers. The barrier, which Palestinians consider to be a land grab that stifles their movement, is heavily decorated by artists, and Banksy has previously painted several murals on a walled segment of it.banksy2The hotel  has the markings of a gentleman’s club from the English colonial period. One small niche accommodates a life-size figure of Arthur James Balfour signing the 1917 letter that came to be known as the Balfour declaration — the basis for the international push for the creation of Israel. banksyThe cheapest room, $30 a night, is a dormitory-style room with bunkbeds.

The whole project took 14 months to complete and was kept under complete secrecy, in accordance with Banksy’s request to protect his anonymity. 

 An Israeli security watch tower is seen from one of the roomsSalsaa said the entire interior was personally overseen by Banksy, to the very last details. The hotel is the largest new body of the artist’s work in years, according to a press release distributed by representatives who attended Friday’s tour.The hotel, several of whose rooms look onto an Israeli security watchtower, is awash in the trademark satirical work of the mysterious artist. The highlight is Room 3, where guests sleep in a king-size bed underneath Banksy’s artwork showing a Palestinian and an Israeli in a pillow fight.

The artist’s satirical stencils — rats, kissing policemen, riot police with yellow smiley faces — first appeared on walls in Bristol before spreading to London and then around the world. His artwork comments on war, child poverty and the environment. His identity remains a mystery, but his works have fetched as much as $1.8 million at auctions. (From the article by NEBI QENA, AP News).

Articles on Banksy’s newest endeavor appeared in The Telegraph (The Walled Off Hotel: Banksy opens dystopian tourist attraction in Bethlehem) and many other publications and internet sources.

Testosterone Plays the Market

A team of researchers of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) determined that exaggerated risk-taking in financial and business endeavors is driven by… increased levels of testosterone.

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair. (Wikipedia.)

This phenomenon creates a state-of-mind where stock brokers feel their luck is unstoppable and things go their way no matter what.  The rise in testosterone level after a successful investment causes the individual loose all care, to take risks with abandon, which, in turn, creates stock market price bubbles.

Female stock brokers, research shows, seem to be largely unaffected, presumably due to lack of testosterone.

Stock market ‘bubbles’ can be caused by soaring testosterone levels among traders.

Makes you wonder, isn’t it? 

The effect is driven by the rise in testosterone level that occurs from a successful investment, which in turn causes the individual to take risks and create price bubbles.

It was also only found to affect performance among men, not women.

Stock market ‘bubbles’ can be caused by soaring testosterone levels among traders.


Lonely And Unloved

konstantin-dverinCharities Relate and Relationships Scotland conducted an annual study on loneliness. Results are discouraging: loneliness is on the rise, with more than one in eight adults saying they do not have a close friend — a three per cent increase compared to the previous years results.

Almost seven million people in the UK do not have someone they can rely on. sad mood

The charity’s report, You’re Not Alone – The Quality of the UK’s Social Relationships, report that 13 per cent of respondents did not have someone they were close with, up from 10 per cent when the same question was asked in 2014 and 2015. Nearly half (45 per cent) of UK adults felt lonely at least some of the time and almost a fifth (18 per cent) felt lonely most if not all the time.

A survey of more than 5,000 people indicates that almost one in six (17 per cent) admit of never (5 per cent) or rarely (12 per cent) having felt loved.  Sad and disheartening.

The research raises concern that increased dependence on social media, lack of work/life balance and the pressures of bringing up children could be affecting people’s friendships.

Image result for lonely WITH COMPUTER IMAGES

Life can take over as we juggle careers with family life and it might seem as if our social media friend count is high but what is the quality of those friendships really like?

Meet The Artist: Sergey Kolesov

red-doorDigital art. Concept art. That’s about Sergey Kolesov.  He was born, brought up and educated in Ivanovo, Russian Federation.

I love drawing since childhood. I drew on desks, in notebooks and in textbooks. I drew comics, ninjas and Schwarzenegger.

Digital art world is global “by design.” Sergey worked for Half Life 2 and then spent two years living and working at Arkane Studios in Brno, Czech Republic.

Nowadays Mr. Kolesov hails from Lyon, France, where he is employed as staff concept artist by Arkane Studios.

See more of Sergey’s works here. He also shows his technique in a series of “sped up”videos on Vimeo. Although digital artwork does not involve waiting for oil paints to dry,  the “road” from one pixel to a complete product is a very, very tedious process. It takes tons of time and patience. And talent, of course, in addition to the expertise in using digital tools. And imagination. Lots of it. Have I mentioned talent?

Cheating Beautiful Bastards

DSC_8768Regal and beautiful birds, swans are admired by all. And how could it be otherwise? After all swan is symbol of  everlasting love, purity and fidelity. But it so?

Not according to the results of the recent study conducted by Australian ornithologists. Love and fidelity of swans, as it happens, is a myth now dispelled by scientists.DSC_8742“Swans have long been renowned as symbols of lifelong fidelity and devotion, but our recent work has shown that infidelity is rife among black swans,” said Raoul Mulder from the University of Melbourne’s zoology department.

He and colleagues tested the DNA of many cygnets and found that one in six (17%) is the product of an illicit encounter. (The Myth of Monogamous Swans.)DSC_8787Interesting that about a quarter of “married” black swan couples are formed by homosexual males. Often a couple of males temporarily teams up with a female and, after she lays eggs, they cruelly expel her from the nest.

In fairness it should be noted that while scientists have traced only for a type of black swans, so it is hoped that the white swans behaved more decently.

Dolls With A Message

_DSC0327Doll “WIFE”, Author Marina Bychkova, Canada

In the words of the doll-maker: Playing with doll-brides, romantic little girls dream of growing up, marrying a handsome prince and live happily ever after in a partnership of two loving hearts. The doll-maker tries to explore the darker side of marriage. By the way, contrary to the stereotype, the violent aggressor may as well be a representative of a weaker sex. All the love stories end in a wedding. And then what?_DSC0330“Survivor” Doll, Author Marina Bychkova, Canada

The tragic image of this doll is a tribute to  women who survived.It is also a tribute to those who could not win …. I beg you – take care of yourself, watch your health, do a mammogram at least once a year. In this creation I express my personal fear of this terrible disease, my clear understanding that one day I may hear, “You have breast cancer.” I can only hope to be as brave as those who faced this disease and conquered it. (Marina Bychkova, excerpt, translation.)

15588Doll “Nicole”, Author Methos, Israel

Nicole is a nightmare of Mitos’ childhood. Once he saw a plaster cast of an ancient female torso, headless and limbless. What is more important in a human body, the most beautiful and attractive? Nicole embodies the fear of amputation, one of the most powerful of fears.


Doll “ALICE”, Author Natas, France

Loosely translating Natas’ own word:  “I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass.
A child is inevitably grows up, gradually growing into a reality, entangled in it, as into a web. Creating our own world, we are running out of time and effort since, growing up, we are more and more concerned with demands of everyday life. Fulfilling these obligations gives us a realistic view of the world , professionalism and routine and, gradually, robs us of magic. Then the rabbit becomes just a rabbit, and the cat never smiles…

But there are exceptions among us — the cranks that never seem to mature. They are different — odd, slightly detached, asking odd questions. They see many of our everyday problems in a different light.  These people aren’t of this world, we often say condescendingly and… enviously. Because not everyone has a luxury to remain a child, living by one’s  own rules. But is it possible to spend one’s entire life in a rabbit hole? And not get bored to tears? It looks like our Alice knows the answer to this question.shocking-art-2012-mimi

Doll “MIMI”, Author Natas, France

The looks are deceiving, as all the external is deceptive. the essence of things. insecurity mask successfully hide dependent, under the veil of romance can be found a liar, beautiful face sometimes masks ugly soul.  We are always on the alert, because of this tend of being deceived all the time. Even the absence of the mask may be a mask. The most elegant way to say a lie is to tell the truth!

Little Mimi is a good girl, we assume, don’t we, although her story remains behind the scenes. There is an ax in her hand. Why? Perhaps, on a freezing autumn evening, she decided to cut some wood for the fireplace. Perhaps — some believe — in a cruel world where she is so helpless and small, she needs an ax to be brave. Might as well, Little Mimi is up to no good…

“What do you think?” the doll-maker asks. He doesn’t know either. No matter how deceptive the looks, our world (and out secrets) are within us. What kind of emotions will prevail is the end? The nature of things are so confusing, both to the artist and to us…

Meet The Artist: Steven Spazuk

It would seem that, in this age of modern technology even gives in to work progress – there are new kinds of hobbies, new musical instruments and new technologies in architecture. And the experienced viewer is already difficult to surprise. However, the human imagination is limitless and always able to present something new.

Canadian artist Steven Spazuk began his career using quite ordinary techniques. First, there were pencil drawings, then oil paintings and watercolors. This was followed by passion for airbrushing. Soon, it has become Stephen’s favorite method due to its soft, smooth shape, a certain lightness and ease.It would seem that, in this day and age, modern technology touches everything, art including. There are new kind of hobbies, new musical instruments and new technologies in architecture. It’s difficult to surprise an experiences art-lover. However, the human imagination is limitless and always able to present something new.

In 2001, Steven Spazuk began working with the burner, discovering a new dimension of creativity.“[This technique] changed my life, it gives me a great deal, it is unique. The spontaneity of the process — that’s the most interesting. Approaching the canvas, I do not know what will happen, what to follow and what’ll come out,” the artist says.

“I don’t control anything, I merely let the candle and its flame to do their job. And then look what happened. Usually what happens is these abstract shapes of soot in which I can see the picture. Looking at these shapes, I suddenly can see an elbow, knee, chest or leg –and then so be it,” says Steven.

Stephen’s unique set of tools includes brushes with metal bristles, needles, feathers.  This is a rather difficult technique, very time-consuming, so the author spends lots of time in his studio.

The idea of “playing with fire” came to the artist in his sleep. In his dream, Steven visited the gallery, where every picture was created using this technique. Incredible but true, in the dream he already knew how create such paintings. Many years since passed, the technique underwent many changes, became more varied and sophisticated.  That’s how it’s done:

Using a burner or a candle the artist gets soot on the sheet. Then, using the “traditional” tools, outlines a drawing adding contours.
And then remains a delicate job of of putting finishing touches with emphasis on smallest details.

Steven is a versatile artist: