=== Brief Hiatus ===

Dear SOTA Friends,

We are extremely bummed to have to announce that the [rescheduled] July 31st show has been officially CANCELLED due to conflicts with the venue that could not be overcome.

We want to apologize to anyone who has been inconvenienced by our inconsistent messaging. This is not how we aim to operate and we strive to do better. There will be no SOTA show in August as we are taking the month off to regroup.

On a POSITIVE note, SOTA will be back and better than ever in September at a new location!! We are super excited. More details to follow in the near future so stay tuned!

Thanks for your understanding, everyone, and know that your continued support means everything to us. See yas in September!

Keith, Julia, Lauryn & Rachel

Don’t Let The Boomers Get You Down

Were you born between 1980 and 1999? Then you may have noticed that our society has labeled you as a “millennial”. Our country loves to label things and people, so I think we’re stuck with it. Instead of wasting time trying to argue against it (because millennial is lame), I would rather address and unpack the implications that come with being categorized as a millennial.

I was born in ’85, so I am a millennial, and I am annoyed with all the shit talking that has been going on in the media by older people, specifically Generation Xers (1965-1979) and Baby Boomers (1945-1964). This is not a new issue – ageism. In the history of people, older people always think that younger people don’t know as much as them, which is infuriating on many levels, specifically because it’s true (but only to a certain degree!). Considering the length of time they’ve been on this planet, technically Boomers and Xers do know more than us, because they have lived through more experiences. But is that it? Do I just have to take it, when I am feeling shamed for working and living my life in my own way? Or, when I am reading/watching the news, or overhearing people in public, do I just ignore comments on our generation as being lazy and spoiled? Actually, yes I do.

Yes, because the way I see it – the joke is on them, because we have only just begun. We can laugh with the older, grumpy naysayers, who are picking on us or any other undeserving population for not conforming to their expectations. The joke is on them; because we millennials know that time is on our side. Boomers are aging out of the work force, and relatively, we have just entered. Why are they so agitated? Maybe it’s because they can sense the change that is mounting. We millennials welcome change. We steer away from routine and static, where as boomers thrive on homeostasis. What might have caused their fear of change?

Their parents (the greatest generation 1901-1924; the silent generation 1925-1945) came from the world war era, a time when Americans could not help but covet the notion of the ideal, stable, happy, intact nuclear family. The wars and the Great Depression had beat many American’s psyches down to a pulp. In light of the social and political confusion experienced during this period in time, the world war generations unknowingly placed a desire for the American Dream on their kids, the boomers, if only out of hope for a better America in light of the wars. No wonder the boomers lost it half way in 2001 with the WTC disaster, and then completely in 2008 after the market collapsed again – that type of social and economic instability was what they had been trying to avoid their entire lives. Now, guns, health care, the internet and personal privacy, education, taxation, marriage… the boomer generation is all fired up about these issues and many others, because now that the internet has pushed society to be more consistent and transparent, the concept of the American Dream and Keeping Up with the Jonses is not desirable anymore. The world is beginning to realize that the “perfect” life is not definable, because it is different for everyone. Millennials pretty much stay clear of the P word.

The Boomers are so pissed at our country’s non-homeostatic nature, that it’s a factor in their alarmingly high divorce rate. Statistics from the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University show that despite the overall divorce rate in the U.S. dropping over the last 20 years, the divorce rate among people age 50 and over has doubled. Issues with empty nest syndrome and communication were also noted as major factors of divorce. Ummmmm empty nest syndrome? What a nice euphemistic title for a maladaptive reaction to the change brought on by a child moving out.

If you are a non-millennial reading this, have you worked amongst one of us yet? Do you find our work ethic to be different from yours? Well that’s because it is. One study found millennials to be a “generation that experienced first-hand the toll of parents consumed by careers.” We watched our parents work like crazy, and now we are trying to find balance. Today, our work doesn’t come off as the most important thing in our lives, because for many of us it’s not. Our work does not define us, but rather the balance between work and play often does. We know that we can’t have it all, so we take what we can get. Like Garth Algar, we live in the now. We are mindful and try to appreciate what we have. We are educated and cautious, armed with data behind our opinions (because we know how to use the internet). We keep our expectations low so life’s dealt cards are less of a shock. We are concerned about our contribution to the greater good. We are not afraid to ask questions or ask for help.

Overall, we are just trying to make the most out of life, and we’ve realized that we have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of anyone or anything else. So if we seem selfish and spoiled, lazy or entitled, it’s because we are still trying to figure ourselves out while we navigate through America’s (often unjust) constructs.

So, what do we do while we wait for all the old folks in this country to calm the fuck down? Stay strong and remember your own reasoning for your life choices. Though some choices may make your parents, bosses, or other older people frustrated – know that their confusion is due to how you are doing things, more so than why. Be confident in your dreams and desires, because it doesn’t matter how you get there, or even if you actually do – all that matters is that you explore all the possibilities of getting there, try not to give up, and be respectful of all the people you run into in the process. After all, if the boomers have taught us anything, we know that it’s not so much what you know, it’s who you know that equates to effective networking, a fruitful work experience, and a satisfying personal life.

Until next time – do work, be respectful, give back, and ignore the haters.



“Life is short…False. It’s the longest thing you do.”

Rachel Clarke

Dwight Schrute once said, “Life is short…False. It’s the longest thing you do.” Due to science and medicine, many of us will get to live some long ass lives. Sometimes that scares me; sometimes it makes me happy, and then other times I’m not thinking about the meaning of life, because I am busy doing “real” stuff. That being said, besides your place of work, where do you spend the most time of your life? I am going to assume many of you said, “home”, so let’s focus on that.

78.7 years is the average lifespan of an American, which can seem like a long time to live. However, now that we are living longer, it also means that we have more time on this planet to make our homes our own. As we go through our daily rituals of socializing, exercising and/or running errands, doing housework, going to our jobs, eating and so on, we usually end the day in our homes. To many of us, home is our sanctuary. It is where we recharge and re-center. It is where we dream and plan our lives. No matter what may be going on in the outside world, the structures in which we live and sleep should also be considered our own escape, and we must curate them as such.

Curate? Yes. Your home is a mirror of you and everything you believe and know, and you work too much and slept too little, to come home to a boring house every night. You are valuable and so is your home. It is worthwhile to create a space that reflects your taste and desires, including the artwork on your walls. Though it may be difficult to quantify the value that derives from a pleasing and artistic home, as your collection grows, so will the vale you place on it – whether it’s numerical, emotional, or both.

All of the artwork within your home tells a story about you. They are discussion pieces, as cliché as that sounds. They are reminders of a shared event, a shared value, and a shared vision for the home and the future. The intrinsic value of your home’s character is built upon, with every worthwhile (and seemingly impulsive) acquisition of unique artwork.

So, don’t be afraid to scrap a desk from a neighbor’s trash pile to make your own. Don’t talk yourself out of buying a weird porcelain dog figurine from the second hand store. Don’t be shy about going out to art shows and other creative events, if only to get more inspiration for your own home. Always keep your eyes peeled for artwork that speaks to you. And remember, life is long – so display your treasures with pride. After all, they help you tell your story, and are physical tokens of your own experiences within this life.

Mike Simpson, Ohio artist at State of the Art

This month, State of the Art would like to draw special attention to our featured artist, Mike Simpson. Geodesic Designs, the host of State of the Art would not exist if not for the mentoring of Mike Simpson. As both an educator and an artist, his influence inspires awe. It is a personal honor to have Mr. Simpson in both last month’s showcase and the upcoming May 15th event. We implore you to visit us at Barleycorn this Thursday to catch this fabulous artist’s incredible achievement.

We recently interviewed Mike Simpson about his work:

When you discuss your work displayed at our last showcase with people, how do you describe it/ title it?

The sculptures have no titles. Rarely if a large shape of Styrofoam suggests reality such as a seated owl it will be titled.

How would you describe the path that culminated and lead to the creation of this current body of work?

The revered psychologist Karl Jung wrote about his discovery of psychological types. One of many was intuition. An intuitive individual is a seeker who asks upon finding an object, what can I do with it. The imposition of the intuitive challenge is allowing something to inspire his/her creativity. Manifesting this idea, are three major artists (among others):

Henry Moore would endlessly search for stones and animal skeletons whose forms and certain shapes he found interesting. No certain shapes were searched for to meet a preconceived idea, but those forms that he found interesting. Many forms would lay in wait in his studio until Moore was inspired to create or discard.

Robert Rauschenberg found his inspirations in the city streets. He searched for items that inspired this creativity.

Louise Nevelson, a personal favorite of mine, was also inspired by the castoffs of society found in scrap piles in the streets. She used to wade through old buildings that were being torn down, and/or destined to be destroyed. An example was a beautiful wooden hand railing from an abandoned schoolhouse. Many wonderful pieces of sculpture were brought to life from theses findings.

Please describe the technical process involved in making your body of work.

Worshiping Nevelson and not wanting to copy her, I chose Styrofoam packing forms to inspire my work. These forms were used in their entirety or in sections I found interesting through my non-rational or preordained decisions – also known as, “intuition”. After arranging them face side down in a steel form, I buried them in concrete to the top of the form. The next day, the Styrofoam was completely removed and the concrete sculpture exposed.

Where and how do you think your sculptures are best displayed?

The sculpture compositions are best placed outside – lawn – patio, etcetera. The suns movement allows for constant design changes within the frame. The shadows and highlights vary considerably. The work can be placed indoors in an appropriate area. The small sculptures also make classy bookends.

Mike Simpson’s artwork is available for purchase at Thursday’s event. Please contact Keith Skogstrom or Julia Kepler for pricing information.