New Art + Life Trips, Trends + Throbs: 9 Best of 2014


In the beginning there was Light.

For heaven’s sake, what are you going to do Next? Now?

Mathias Kessler_eternal
I know, such a loaded question. Would that it was on repeat, and our answer a brilliant birth of light in every Now moment.

Here’s my simple ART/LIFE/LOVE theory: Deep Space is infinite black and our lives lust and desire to suss it up with our light and color. (Insert operatic singing here)

Peter Max

Brilliant songstress, FKA twigs (@FKAtwigs) wrote on Twitter: “under my tongue i possess a thousand words that can execute all darkness with just one kiss on your lips my love my love my love.”

In the darkest part of the year, and some fairly dark human acts lately, thankfully, I do see some glimmerings of the good light * LOVE seeds * seeds of goodness worth feasting upon as we sail into 2015.

In retrospect, I call 2014 a Hippie, Hipster Love Fest Reunion.

Per usual, here are this month’s New Art+Life Trips, Trends+Throbs through the lens of a system detailed in my upcoming book, Tracing The Nine Stars. The Nine Stars refers to centers where Energy likes to hang out (or hologram) whether that hangout is 9 chakras (energy centers) in our psyches, souls, bodies, homes, workspaces, planet and/or culture.

How to trace, navigate and play empowered with the Nine Stars matrix through nine steps of ritual, libations, potions, cures, hocus-pocus words and sacred sauces will be detailed in the book. Meanwhile, let’s grab some juicy and play here:

TRACING THE 9 STARS, Jade Dressler

Tap The Roots of Pure Fun: Old Pals and Art.

Jade Dressler Patricia O'Driscoll

Nothing like a visit with an old friend, your oldest friend, to suss up the dark of the past. Or an encounter with NEW BIG ART. Or old favorite art. Why? Roots.

Tracing the Nine Stars #1 Jade Dressler

This fall/winter, in the quick, darkening of days, we did both the “someone and something.”

My BFF, Patricia O’Driscoll, (since kindergarten!) was in town (NYC) to photograph the legendary Greg Allman, I was in town to recoup (from being in town all week.) Non-stop laughing at the world and creating together forever since age 6 and beyond, we hit MoMA (The Modern Museum of Art.)  Our grand tour went from mimicking *old friend* paintings like Picasso’s nude models to repartee over the biggest crowds of mesmerized art-monkeys in front of an extravagant domino-effect video to *newer friend* Robert Gober’s cigar in a “kaleidoscopic landscape of a beech forest in autumn installation to *old friend* Balthus’ famed bizarre street scene, which stopped us in our tracks…

#2  Tracing Our Desire Map of Selfies.

Balthus The Street

The Street, a 1933 painting by Balthus. It’s easy to “enter” this life-size painting, to be transported immediately to this captivating tableau where no one seems to be aware of the others, where “mental isolation” precludes even the sexual impropriety happening in their midst.

The painting was scandalous then and like all great art, has new relevance in light of our current cultural passion to root out transgression, however perceived. Our hopes, fears and desires are leaking out from under the “game faces” we put on to walk the street, run a multi-national corporation,”patrol the streets,” present as TV’s most-beloved family man or even set up a selfie in the bathroom mirror.

Time magazine proclaimed 2014 “The Year of The Selfie.”

Kanye, Madonna, Riccardo Tisci

No one is immune from the Selfie, even the mongers of our desires, the likes of Madonna, Kanye and Riccardo Tisci, designer of Givenchy.

Tracing The Nine Stars #2 Jade Dressler

Selfie as navel gazing is an evolution in what I call the “iGod” phase, with art roots from cave “bisons I want to eat” sketches to 1950’s silhouette images, to artist Carter Kustera‘s 1990’s portraits in Progressive Insurance‘s famed corporate reports and art collection, here below, which influenced…

Carter Kundera

Apple‘s famed 2000-era adverts, which became people, birds, and flowery graphics on coffee cups to bedding. From the blank solid infinite silhouette, the age of the selfie has evolved us like newborns fascinated by our crib-mirror, total immersion in joyful coloring in of the outlines.


If the peer-pressure of the Selfie generation is all too much for you, this is how I am lately doing a “selfie,” diving deep into a good-ole, feminine-fire, self-help book from Danielle laPorte. “La Porte” has carried the torch for fire-starting souls for a while now, and this is her latest book. I love her point that the linear term “goals” is fast becoming a golden oldie, while emphasis on “pre-feeling” our desires and dreams, is the more creative and fluid mode of being, plus it Manifests Destiny. The Age of the Selfie in 2014/2015 for me is “The Desire Map” book/map to create myself as a star (remember I called channeling our inner Hippiedom here…)


#3 En-Masse Like Stars.

We Are Here To Stay

image: Mathias Kessler

JR Eric Garner NYC protest

If stars are masses of energy, and people are points of light, each a star in their own right, it seems shocking that we have to gather to remind ourselves of this. The choking death of Eric Garner by the police (uncanny for the selling of cigarettes, themselves taking the breath away) and the en-masse protests are a major cultural shift we are likely to see more of in 2015.

That graffiti artist JR’s soulful eye photographs, usually laid out like a huge rug to be seen from space, in areas of suffering in the world’s shantytowns, ghettos and impoverished places, showed up on the street protests in NYC, was a sublime statement. May the stars in our eyes and hearts centrally unite us, bring us home and together on this Spaceship we share.


Tracing the Nine Stars #3 jade Dressler

#4  Tracing The Heart of Home and Tripping.


In 2010, I was captivated by artist Mathias Kessler‘s piece, “Nowhere to be Found,” a watery tank with living corals and shrimp feeding off the calcium of a skull, which I found to be a finer, deeper statement than the diamonds covering the Damien Hirst‘s skull, “For the Love of God” appearing in our midst in 2007 or even his 1991 shark in the tank, “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.”

This fall, I took a trip to my mentor Mathias’ Brooklyn studio to further mine his skull.

Tracing the Nine Stars #4 Jade Dressler

While I missed his recent show at the Vohn Gallery, with his newest pieces from the Everglades, following his jaunts in remote jungles in Venezuela and Greenland, Mathias’ vigorous, scientifically-chronicled explorations often make my skull feel like it is being chewed on by sea urchins…in a thoroughly delightful and provocative way!

His 9+ ft. wide landscape photographic image of Miami Beach at night from the Everglades is a precious, singular view of the world from absolute black, rarely seen. While we see that his “explorations bear witness to sites of over-production reaching terminal states,” as his gallery states, you can clearly see the poet’s awe at work. “Biology is the new civics course,” states Mathias. Reverence will always open hearts and activate restoration as policy more than scientific facts.

Mathias Kessler_eternal

In light of the ponderous impact we have on the world as a species and even the impact of our own personal heart’s desires, I thought of the origin of Hirst’s title for his skull, allegedly inspired by his mother, who once asked him the prime existential question, as mothers do, “For the love of God, what are you going to do next?”

Mathias Kessler Greenland

Another tank-based preservation precursor to all of this, perhaps is Jeff Koons‘ 1984 “One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spaulding Dr. JK 241 Series)” featuring a basketball vs. a skull or shark, was cited by Stefano Tonchi in his W magazine editor letter this year, as he lived with the piece. He called it a compelling memory, and declared rightly that, “artists are the world’s think tanks.”

jeff koons basketball, stefano tonchi

I’ll just add: “A ball is a planet is a skull is a tank is a universe.” Playing is key. Speaking of play…

#5   The Bi-fur-cation of Identity and Voice.

venus in fur 1

venus in fur 2

Submission to form is both the human dilemma and delight. This year debuted a new re-make of “Venus in Fur,” the story first appearing as the novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, then a song from The Velvet Underground, a play by David Ives and in 2014, a film from Roman Polanski.

One of the best films I have ever seen, it captives for the constantly shifting roles, time zones and relationship between just two actors, Emmanuelle Seigner, the wife of Polanski, in the lead opposite actor, Mathieu Amalric. The brilliance is in the touching of that “in-between” place of dropping attachment to one identity. This film is a place where that moment of higher trust and detachment is eloquently danced and played with.

Tracing the Nine Stars #5 Jade Dressler

Thankfully, even beyond our personal relationships, we are touching that place on every plane, even in government! It’s a cheery trend.

One of my favorite unexpected moments illustrating this in 2014 was when Concita Wurst, the Austrian superstar performer (18 million Youtube views of her song!) and leader in the fight to end gender-based discrimination, met with Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations. Ban Ki-moon is a wonderful man I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Ever on the forefront of change, I’ve been honored to be with this elegant pioneer as he made time in his busy day to view photographs of nature or work to develop women-centric business in Africa. Say hi @secgen.

Conchita Wurst, Ban-Ki Moon

Ban Ki Moon transgender

This meeting in the middle of reflection and appreciation of identity, has appeared in lakes everywhere since Narcissus, to more recent manifestations such as Alexander McQueen‘s 2010 visionary runway show, “Plato’s Atlantis.”  I just read that in 2012 in Cuba of all places, on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a public square hosting a successful “kissing meet-up” to promote diversity meeting equality (LOVE!) and one of my favorite artists, Nick Ervinck, who usually makes building size pieces, also whips up laser, digitals and biology gems for cross-pollination as seen below. A short history perhaps…

Nick Ervinck

…of an immortal relationship…reflection and appreciation…sacred geometry and mutual LOVE.  Oh, the resonance of high vibe creativity. Stare deep into the Matrix!

Nick Ervinck

#6    Tracing The Wisdom of Hippie Girls.

woman with roses

Back in the 1970’s (yup, some of us are still alive now)…I was the 12 year old girl escaping suburbia and sneaking into the city to visit arcane spiritual bookstores, buying Krishna consciousness magazines, incense, and “wacky” women’s revolution and new physics books from Madame Blavatsky, Gary Zukav or this one with its groovy Peter Max cover:

Survival into the 21st century

A look today at the book still reveals some wacky parts, but consider that the author, Viktoras Kulvinskas was one of the first to brilliantly link the eating of sprouts, algae, wheatgrass, plant enzymes, herbals and raw foods to reverse disease and to heal conditions he saw tied to environmental pollutants and our dependance on eating cooked foods. The book is full of words like *Mother Earth, Aquarian family and tantra sex.*

Girl Power stuff for anyone to LOVE.

Tracing the Nine Stars #6 Jade Dressler

Mineheart floral carpet

On a lighter note, along with science and politics, get ready to eagerly chat up things like sustainable fabric rugs with an animal/feminine/flower/Georgia O’Keefe updated thing going on and pink Chesterfield sofas, like these two Manifestations from Mineheart, one of my favorite design teams now.


And it just would not be 2014, without injecting Kimye somehow, yes?

#7    Mercy Me! Tracing The Sentimental Journey of Kimye.

Heidi Elbers, Mercy

Oil on paper in locket
1.125” diameter

Several years ago at a very chic, boisterous holiday bash at mutual friend, Irene Albright’s pad, I met a gentleman named Island Weiss who told me he hosts gallery shows in his penthouse uptown featuring a return to painting. (err, what’s that?) His passion was filed away in my brain, and when I got an invitation several weeks ago from my friend Pryor Callaway to join her this year at Island’s holiday exhibition of artist-imagined lockets,“Love it, Locket, Leave it,” smartly curated by Diana Corvelle… the timing seemed perfect.

Lockets are sentimental and ritualistic talismans to preserve the memory of loved ones as vital to one’s soul worn close to one’s heart. So many in the show were exquisite, yet on impulse I was drawn to artist Heidi Elbers‘ locket and bought it pronto once I read her description:

“I painted someone else’s story. The kitten is named Mercy. She was a gift from Kanye West to Kim Kardashian while they were dating and her name came from Kanye’s song “Mercy” (which was about Kim K and her backside). Kim was allergic to Mercy and after posting a million pics on Instagram with the sweet kitty, she had to give her away. Unfortunately, sweet little Mercy had a rare stomach disease and passed away not long after leaving Kim devastated.”

Tracing the Nine Stars #7 Jade Dress;er

The theme of fame, soul and self-preservation that Kimye excel at, the awarding of the kitten, and 2014 being the definitive year of Kim’s “backside” becoming ever more famous on the cover of Paper magazine…this little locket was having a moment! As Kimye are likely breaking up/making up as we speak, I felt this was indeed the exact moment to recognize “Mercy” and give her an eternal peaceful home. Red dot! Sold!

#8    Pivot The One You’re With.


…Mercy for Earth is here. Whilst still the world economy creeps about with the energy, fear, ownership and wars of ye olde fossil fuel…

It’s Time to PIVOT. I picked up this useful tech term this year at the Hatchery, a venture collaboration forum, ran by my friend Yao Huang, a founder of these exciting 10,000-beams-of-light-power pitch sessions and a leader in the NYC tech scene. Pivot is the word for understanding a moment in a start-up development where one has not come to a “deadend” – one simply notes the moment and PIVOTS in a new direction.

A circular-based logic doesn’t mourn mistakes or fails. Like the intentional imperfection in a Persian rug or the “spirit line” in a Navaho rug, allowing the weaver to escape, next step it and give the rug away, the pivot is a portal to another dimension.

2014 is a PIVOT moment for solar energy. The above picture is the largest solar power plant to date, Solar Star. Gee, How to Love and Pivot the One You are with. The direct line of giving from the sun is ours to be in exchange with. 

Tracing the Nine Stars #8 Jade Dressler

Expect more rainwater conversions and novel new ways go-forward in harmony with the elements!

Water Independance. Just Add Sun.

Besides investors like Apple, Google, and Warren Buffet‘s company giving the nod to the $100 billion dollar solar power industry, two sweet signs of the SOLAR PIVOT for me recently have re-ignited my passion for this industry. One is the re-emergence of the original Real Goods company that I was a shareholder of back in the 90’s as an aspiring off-the-grid homesteader living in an 1890’s country farmhouse. Real Goods founder, John Schaeffer has brought back the brand and store, which sold the first retail solar panel in the United States, and hopefully will newly grow their reputation as THE intel-dispensing leader for expert advice on going off the grid with solar power.

The second is the Desolenator on Indiegogo, a portable which transforms saline or contaminated water into fresh water with solar energy for droughts, developing countries, and times of emergency. Science fair with a heart and zero footprint, I love it!

Transforming elements and ourselves ultimately have their highest expression in…

#9    Systems = Karma. Food = Relationship.


Dr. Pedre Maria Macklowe

Over the woods of NYC winking lights, up high in a steely tower, under a reindeer antler chandelier and over a dinner table one recent Saturday evening, sat a doctor, a restauranteur, a wealth manager, a fitness instructor, a marketing expert, a Wall St. lawyer, a journalist who was in Ferguson, a nurse and myself.  We were having meaningful conversation while eating. If that sounds rather unremarkable, then you haven’t been out to dinner in an ear-blasting NYC restaurant in recently. If you have, you know exactly how miraculous it is to dine slowly and digest both food and talk.

Happily, we were guests at the first Happy Gut dinner, brought together by my client, integrative physician, Dr. Vincent Pedre, to test recipes for his upcoming Spring 2015 book from Harper Collins, called “Happy Gut.” The healthiness of eating communally is a key point of the book, and this dinner, in an expansive art-filled residence, was the first of many planned.

Happy Gut dinner menu

While the image of an happy gut can range from an oblivious beer guzzling man in front of a TV or the awakened Buddha, science is entering a new frontier in understanding how central food and digestion is to our health overall.

The mid-section of our bodies is where our food is processed, it’s the engine of the body. Digestion as a system and a word, contains both death and gestation of energy, functioning like a solar generator. To correctly value change and transformation is to understand the word “karma,” which actually translates to “action.” That all actions are related, is a fact which deepens our understanding of all the relationships of our bio-web we must honor in our choices.

Tracing the Nine Stars #9 Jade Dressler

And now back to the food we ate that evening, please ‘scuse my blurry photo below. Blame the crazy-good, high-energy blue ginger smoothie appetizer giving me buzz:

Happy Gut Dinner menu

Confession: watching chef Maria Marlowe made all my 1970’s Earth Goddess fantasies come alive…

Healthy Pretty

And then, watching her create the Mahi-Mahi in parchment made me realize that perhaps all my “Happy Meals” at McDonalds have been forgiven and I am now on a heavenly karmic path.

Mahi-Mahi in parchment

Dr. Vincent Pedre

Top health trends heartily described by visionary Dr. Pedre and guests included that which “they didn’t teach us in medical school” such as: bone-broth is the next green juice; gluten is not what actually causes the allergy, it’s the dwarf wheat; antibiotic resistant superbugs in our gut biome are increasing; miracle stories on how a diet change can reverse disease, even return a lost sense of smell; and Dr.Pedre’s lightbulb-smart concept that our “health span” should equal our “life span.”  

Maria Marlowe Happy Gut

I learned a lot and my health and life span were happily extended with the almond, hemp, and chocolate truffles proffered as dessert.

As we are motivated to clean up our insides, cleaning the environment goes hand in hand. A Utopia in one’s mind and soul to create it “externally.” While we cheer one another on through some hard steps and times, sharing expertise, the good news is that so many of us are the “Cosmic Runners” of this Peter Max painting, searching for light and finding it always.

Perhaps the most beautiful, hopeful, energizing, hologramic Tracing of Stars is actually happening right now with our every step. (or leap!) LOVE + HAPPINESS for the Holidays! XOXO


Post and photos by Jade Dressler, Vincent Pedre, Alvaro Montagna, or proffered  from Google search.
All others credited or receptive to credits.


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