Archive for February, 2013
I would like to introduce everyone to Siren whose Michael inspired artwork is truly awe-inspiring. She is an exceptional human being who donates her time and effort to Michael and everything he stood for and I would like thank her for taking this time to answer some questions about her amazing Michael Jackson pieces and the amount of time she spends doing so many wonderful things to support his legacy, she is a paragon of love and one can see and feel that her talents exude all things Michael in every aspect.
SGAA: Siren, I have followed your beautiful artwork of Michael for some time now, and the essence, or shall I say the aura of Michael is in every piece you do, how did you begin drawing Michael and how are you able to achieve this inner peace he has in your drawings?
Siren: Thank you for your interest and for inviting me to do this interview. I appreciate it so much.
I have been a sketch artist my whole life. I became aware of my ability at a very young age… maybe 7 or 8 years old. My family encouraged me to do more with my art, but I had no passion for it… only sketching sporadically as the mood struck me… and not at all as I got older and got busy with life. Shortly after Michael passed, I tried sketching him a few times but they were really not good. Portraits were never my strength. It would be another two years (September 2011) before I would attempt to draw him again, but when I did it was almost like something took me over… I really had very little to do with it. He just came to life before me on the paper. After that I couldn’t get enough. I guess I discovered my passion…
How am I able to achieve Michael’s inner peace in my drawings? First of all, thank you from the bottom of my heart for that amazing compliment. For me personally, the greatest satisfaction in sharing my art is when someone tells me how it makes them FEEL. If there is any way in the world that my art can connect people with Michael’s energy, his Love… well, I couldn’t ask for any greater reward.
I think Michael said it best when he said: “I believe that all art has as it’s ultimate goal, the union between the material and the spiritual… the human and the divine”.
When one creates – not just visual art but any of the arts; dance, poetry, music, any way in which the soul expresses itself – it really is like a channeling of sorts. In order to capture emotion… the spirit of something… one must connect with it. If one opens themselves to the energy of what they are expressing, it will come through. You just have to surrender to it. Anyone can do it. I really believe that.
SGAA: When did you start drawing and/or painting?
Siren: Well as I mentioned, I began drawing as a child but I never really was the type to venture outside my comfort zone, so I stayed faithful to my pencil until about 5 months ago when I began to experiment with paint. I took about 4 classes in acrylic painting and learned some basics, which I really enjoyed. I work with acrylic and watercolors a fair bit now. It has opened a whole new world for me.
SGAA: How do you choose the work or does it choose you? Meaning the pictures of Michael, do you select them intentionally or do you just see a pose or a photo of MJ that draws you to it at the time?
Siren: Oh it’s definitely impulsive. I rarely sit down with the intent to draw. The images find me, usually when I am catching up with things online. They jump out at me… the beauty of their lines, and the emotion in them… they captivate me. I can’t say no. It makes it hard to get other things done sometimes. You basically have to drop everything and just let the moment have it’s way with you.
SGAA: You show us progress of each of your pieces of work, is that cathartic for you and does it make it easier to complete the work by sharing it step by step?
Siren: Yes, I usually take progress photos as I work. I find that I get so involved with the feeling of the piece, that it is sometimes hard for me to actually see what I am creating. Taking a photo helps to separate me from it for a moment so I can view it with a more critical eye. Sometimes I find the progress photos just as beautiful as the finished works, so I often will share them. Seeing artwork in a simpler form seems to reveal something pure about it. I feel like it offers the viewer an opportunity to see it in a whole different light.
SGAA: I totally agree with you. I have seen some of your work at the beginning stages and they are so lovely. I wanted to ask you why you have been drawn (excuse the pun) to paint Michael?
Siren: Michael was a remarkable human being and remains, in my opinion, the most influential, impeccable role model of all time. If one is looking for an example of how to live a life of selflessness, compassion, strength, integrity, authenticity, responsibility, generosity, perseverance, passion, and brilliance, one needs to look no further than Michael Joseph Jackson. It’s unfortunate that most people missed the genuinely beautiful person that Michael was, and all He did to impact humanity and our planet.
Personally, I see Michael as a modern-day prophet with a message of Universal Love which he carried to us in his music, dance, poetry, and in the way he lived his life. He is a phenomenal example of what the human spirit is capable of. There isn’t any situation that confronts me that I don’t consider what I have learned from him. He inspires everything I do. He has literally transformed me by his example… and continues to. So why do I focus my art on Michael Jackson? True art is an expression of the soul. I don’t really choose what I create… I just allow whatever is inside me to come out. So far it’s all Michael…
SGAA: I know that everything that you draw or paint are all on behalf of Michael and in his name. A portion and sometimes all the earnings you make on the sale of your pieces go to specific charities. We all know that a lot of people use Michael’s name for untoward causes yet you are giving your time and talent to causes you believe. What made you decide to do this rather than make a revenue for yourself personally?
Siren: What I have, he has given me. It’s the least I can do. As I said, he has literally transformed me. How one could witness someone like Michael and not be profoundly affected seems impossible. Michael genuinely loved humanity. He dedicated his entire life towards helping and healing others. There is so much beauty in that. I want to be that Love that he demonstrated. Michael believed our salvation lies in the hearts of our children… and I agree. Most of the charities I give to are orphanages and children’s hospitals. I think if we can teach our children that they matter, that they are Loved, and that Love expands beyond our own families to include all of mankind, then we really are only one generation away from achieving world peace. I want to contribute in any way I can to help heal our planet, but I also want to help preserve Michael’s legacy. They say actions speak louder than words. So many are so closed to hearing the truth about Michael… but what if someone’s heart could be opened to him by witnessing the work others do in his memory? I want to be a part of that in whatever way possible.
SGAA: Siren, one thing that I love that you did, is plant a tree for Michael near your home and decorate it with each season that passes with some beautiful ornaments and candles, etc. I love this idea and am planning to do it myself, what was your thought behind this?
Siren: Oh, I hope you do… I think there should be a tree for Michael in every city in the world! The idea of planting the tree came from my dear friend Brenda Jenkyns. We had returned home from a trip of visiting Michael’s places in California and began talking about how we wished we had somewhere in our own city where Michael was remembered. We decided that if there was going to be one, then we would have to create it, so we did some research and discovered that our city parks department has a “Tribute Tree” program where you can purchase a tree in memory of a loved one and have it planted in one of our public parks. We also had a plaque made which the city installed for us under Michael’s tree with his name and his quote “Let us dream of tomorrow where we can truly Love from the soul and know Love as the ultimate truth at the heart of all Creation”. We did a little ceremony when the plaque was placed and we were even able to bury some special items for Michael underneath it. It was really intimate and beautiful. That little tree means a lot to us. We love to think of people passing by reading Michael’s name and his message… it’s important to us.
SGAA: Brenda Jenkyns – is that the author of the beautiful children’s book Ever After?
Siren: Yes, Brenda is the author of two children’s books about Michael. Her first book, Ever After, is the story of Michael’s life which is intended to inspire children to follow their dreams. Brenda has recently released her second book entitled Forever Loved, which is a beautiful story about Michael’s purpose and continued impact on the world since his passing.
SGAA: I have ordered a few pieces from you Siren and in my orders I always receive some “Love cards” and each one of them has a picture of your many paintings and a quote of Michael’s, why do you send these out with every order at no charge?
Siren: Those cards are one way in which I attempt to help contribute to Michael’s legacy and share his truth. They are intended to be left in places for others to find in hopes that they will read Michael’s message and want to learn more. If even one person found one of my cards and were changed by Michael’s words it would be worthwhile. Whether His message triggers something in them that inspires them to make a positive change in their life, or opens them to the idea of Universal Love, or even if it just makes them reconsider who they think Michael Jackson was… imagine the impact of that! I love to think about the ripples that would result. It drives me to do more.
SGAA: You have your artwork of Michael but there are many other things that you do in Michael’s name, could you name a few?
Siren: That’s a hard question for me to answer. I don’t like to talk about the specifics of what I do, really. I think giving should be a humbling experience, free of any self-serving motivators. What I will say is that no matter how we choose to give back to the world, the most important and most powerful thing we can offer is Love. It is my ultimate goal to be mindful of Love in all my interactions with others and in everything I do… and that motivation comes from Michael. I really feel that is the most imperative way in which I can honor and preserve his memory, and how I can best contribute to making the world a better place.
SGAA: I recently purchased Craig J. Baxter’s book Behind the Mask: What Michael Jackson’s Body Language Told The World and I know that beautiful cover was done by none other than yourself. How does it feel to have a piece of your own as the cover of a bestselling book?
Siren: I am really grateful to Craig for allowing me to be a part of his book. It is so important to me that Michael’s truth be told. To be given the opportunity to contribute to that is a great honor. I really commend Craig for helping to educate people about the kind of human being Michael was, and for sharing his expertise to expose the facts and enlighten a public who have been intentionally mislead for decades. I appreciate him immensely. Craig is a wonderful person.
SGAA: Yes he is and I am glad you got that opportunity to have that beautiful piece of art on the cover. I would like to thank you so much Siren you are a true inspiration and you honor Michael’s legacy with every piece you paint/draw as well as every deed you do in his name. God bless you!
Siren: Thank you again for allowing me to share what Michael means to me, and how he has inspired, and continues to inspire my life in so many ways. Much Love and many Blessings xxx
You can purchase Siren’s artwork on her website
See Siren’s work on her Facebook page
Please Note: 100% of Siren’s proceeds from her print sales and 25% of her commissioned works are donated to charities in Michael’s name.
Siren has many beautiful pieces but I would like to add my personal favourite by Siren to this post. It is called “Angel of Mercy” and you can purchase this and many others on her website. I urge everyone to take a look at her work and I know you will be as impressed and inspired as I am.
Rock Legends Steven Tyler from Aerosmith and Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac spoke in front of the Hawaii Senate on February 8, 2013 regarding an approval of a bill to protect celebrities or any citizen from the intrusive behavior of the paparazzi. Tyler said, “stars today are pestered much worse than previous generations given because of modern technology and lucrative paydays for paparazzi”.
The State Senate Judiciary Committee approved “The Steven Tyler Act” (Bill SB 465) which would limit the paparazzi and people to freely take photos and videos of celebrities when they are in their own homes or on their own property. Tyler, who has a home in Maui emailed the Associated Press “The paradise of Hawaii is a magnet for celebrities who just want a peaceful vacation.”
Steven also made this statement while “First and foremost I’d like to say, being a personality, no matter where we go, we get shot (by photographers). It’s part of the dealio (sic), and it’s OK. It kind of drives us crazy, but, like my mom said, ‘You asked for it, Steven.’
“But when I’m in my own home, and I’m taking a shower or changing clothes or eating or spending Christmas with my children, and I see paparazzi a mile away, shooting at me with lenses this long, and then seeing that very picture in People magazine, you know, it hurts… That’s what they do, they are just constantly taking from us.”
Other celebrities offered their support including: Britney Spears, Neil Diamond, Avril Lavigne, Tommy Lee of Motley Crew, Fred Coury of Cinderella, Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot, Darren Dizzy Reid of Guns N Roses, actresses Margaret Cho and Kat Von D, and members of the Osborne family including Jack, Sharon, Kelly and Ozzy, all supported the bill.
The bill would give people the power to sue others who take photos or video of their private lives in an offensive way, while using telephoto lenses or other advanced equipment to record them on their private properties.
During the hearing, Senate judiciary committee chair Clayton Hee got rid of the bill’s original contents, which was drafted by Tyler’s lawyer, and replaced them with information from a related California statute. This California law was originally passed in 1998 in response to the death of Princess Diana, then amended in 2009 to permit lawsuits against media outlets that pay for and make first use of material they knew was improperly obtained. In addition to provisions against advanced equipment, the California measure has penalties for reckless behavior while attempting to get photos or video of a celebrity. 1
You can read the background of the California Amendment Anti-Paparazzi Statute Section 1708.8 here
As always, media & press agencies are opposed to this bill due to their belief it would punish freedoms of expression protected by the First Amendment. The following were the opposition: the National Press Photographers Association, which submitted testimony on behalf of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press Media Editors and the American Society of News Editors as well as other media groups. The bill was also opposed by: Sony Pictures, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Brothers.
After testimony was given, the state Senate Judiciary Committee approved the legislation, which will take effect from July 1, 2013 if it is passed and signed into law.
Please watch Steven Tyler/Mick Fleetwood Lobby speaking to the Hawaii Legislature. Please pay particular attention beginning at 12:24
This is a huge leap forward in forcing civility and respect by the media that has a long history of defaming and abusing people and celebrities to the point of human life. Whether it be bullying or uncompromising shots, it is now a grim reality that photographers, newspapers and tabloids post slanderous and negative “features or pictures” to sell their fodder. Please read my post on the incident where a photographer died while chasing Justin Bieber’s car here and the history of the paparazzi here to see how far they can and will go to get their special “shot.” All we need to do is to look back at the death of Princess Diana who was CHASED by the paparazzi and killed during that chase. If the paparazzi had not been following her at high speeds to get that million dollar photograph she would be alive today. Even while she lay in her car dying from her wounds pictures were taken and spread all over the world via tabloids and newspapers. Please view this photo
of Princess Diana moments before the crash looking behind her to see she was being chased. I put this picture up because it shows just how close these paps were to her vehicle. I also a found a smal article about the pleas by her children, Prince Harry and William to not show these pictures in a documentary being made.
Michael Jackson was continually hunted by the paparazzi and never had peace in his life. Michael was chased and tormented by these people and even while the ambulance was attempting to get MJ to the hospital on that fateful day of June 25th, photographers were surrounding the ambulance to get their cameras up against the window to take the last picture of Michael hence making it very difficult for the ambulance to get past them. That picture spread like wildfire and was seen on tabloids and newspapers everywhere. You can now find that picture on the internet where it will stay forever.
Princess Diana’s and Michael Jackson’s children see these photographs and you can bet that these paps don’t give that a second thought while taking them, it is all about the money. Even in death there is no peace. They did not ask for this cruelty and disrespect, it needs to be stopped.
These photographers attempt to get the worst possible picture of an individual and then the tabloids fabricate stories based on these pictures. The truth is out there but not with these media hounds who are willing to kill and die for the big story or the big shot. When will it stop? I believe it has to start with us, remember Michael’s words: “And you don’t have to read it, and you don’t have to eat it. To buy it is to feed it, then why do we keep foolin’ ourselves.”
An advocacy group that is working extremely hard to get a law passed in California with respect to the same issue is The Cadeflaw Legacy Law Advocates who wholeheartedly support the above bill and wish to take it a step further by getting the Cadeflaw Anti-Defamation Legacy Law off the ground and hope to get support by MJ fans and people who do not wish to see the deceased defamed and bullied by the media, the paparazzi and the tabloids. Their advocacy is narrow and specific, a law needs to be passed in California allowing for family members on behalf of their deceased love ones to sue for civil damages. Their goal is simple: to protect, preserve the legacy of the deceased. Words are powerful and leave their effect long after they have been uttered. It is reprehensible to continue to damage a person’s reputation be promoting rumour, innuendo, gossip and sensationalism as fact; after a person is deceased and cannot speak for themselves.2
Please sign the petition here http://www.cadeflaw.org and help make this a reality. It has to start somewhere! It should start with us.
Steve Tyler and Mick Fleetwood are the true heroes in getting this bill off the ground. Let’s offer Steven our support by tweeting him a thank you @IamStevenT and let him know that we as MJ advocates and fans support him, there are many of us, let’s make it happen.
Let’s make this dream a reality for MJ, Princess Diana and all the others who have been bullied and tortured throughout their lives due to the absurdity and cruelty of the media both on the airwaves and newsprint. Let us make that change.
Cadeflaw Video: “Are They Going To Stop?” [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAbl_3KNKnI&playnext=1&list=PL41E544E75352BAE6&feature=results_video]
Please watch and share: Words and Violence Curriculum www.voiceseducation.org
If you agree with the Steven Tyler Bill and want this bill enforced you can:
Email the Judiciary committee chairs and members to congratulate them for their decision:
Email your own state legislators and tell them about the bill and how you think it’s a wonderful idea and can be used in your state. Tell them how paparazzi and tabloid journalism fosters bullying and the media should elevate its standards and honor the ethics of civility and dignity in journalism.