creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Federico Hewson in Amsterdam on Feb. 14, 2010

Holidays are moments filled with all manner of ceremony and traditions passed on for generations. Since talking last week a bit about Contemporary Performance Art Rituals and the fact Valentine’s Day is close at hand, I thought it would be great to focus on how one individual, Federico Hewson, is leading the cause to redefine (and ReBegin) the way we perceive the tradition of giving out flowers on that special day (and others) with his non-profit initiative, The Valentine Peace Project (The VPP).

Imagine walking down the street and suddenly coming upon a group of people passing out free Fair Trade produced flowers. Attached to the stem is a refreshing poem about world or inner peace that was written by school children or famous authors submitted to The VPP website. It isn’t about forcing a religious perspective, but about raising awareness of peace, conscious practices, and Fair Trade products. I love it for it’s simple, refreshing take on a ritual that has been mass marketed as a romantic event and excuse for selling sugar and flowers that leave a massive carbon footprint.

Federico and a happy flower recipient in Amsterdam 2009

I’ve participated in handing out the flowers on many occasions since its beginning, and the response from people can be so amazing. I’ve had several experiences where the receiver of the flower was filled with joy by the receipt of the flower, or was moved to tears by the poem. One lady gave me a hug because she had never received a flower on Valentine’s day before. Being a giver of flowers is so rewarding, and there is definitely an energy transfer that takes place as you hand out flowers imbued with messages of peace. In time, with enough people participating in this new type of Contemporary Performance Art Ritual, it could bring about a real transformation in our relationship to peace.

with Rochelle Palkowitz at the Downtown LA Art Walk on Feb 14, 2008
Federico shares the following about his labor of love:

The Valentine Peace Project started as a community project in 2005 to open up the definition of February 14 as a day to not only celebrate romantic love - but love in all its many faces - friendship, basic human connection and community, and to underline the work of peace building.  Love and peace is normally a cliche 60s slogan - but what does love mean outside of romance and next to spiritual practice?  Where is peace in our relationships, in our hearts, and where can we locate it in a global community still plagued by deadly violence?

Moving into the 21st century the Project is now evolving into a social enterprise to be a vehicle for many of our 'symbols of love' to 'work for peace' via products or gifts of love giving to conflict resolution on many levels - a business with a social development goal.

But this is about The VPP as a performance ritual - a ritual that started by writing a poem or message of peace - rolling it into a scroll and giving it away or wrapping it around a flower to handout on the streets.  With thousands of Fair Trade roses donated in the Netherlands together with thousands of poems the city of Amsterdam has been and will be blanketed February 14 in citywide peace performance art with individuals making cards, passing out flower poems, performing music and folding origami to leave on cafe seats or hand out to tourists.  
Children participating in Peace Education project in Amsterdam 2009  that includes putting the poems on flowers before handing them out

"Make something beautiful and give it away.  Energize, underline and help manifest the true integrity of love."

Flowers, poems, cards, thoughts of peace - tied with a ribbon or wrapped around flowers or chocolate or shared virtually - these have been the rituals of the Valentine Peace Project for five years now- reflecting, promoting and acting upon the work of love and the promise of peace in today's connecting world.

SO…Take action - write or find a favorite poem on love and pass it around this February- and check out the website  at to become involved!

More pictures of The Valentine Peace Project in action can be found at:
while singing a song of peace during "Love & P's"party at the Pollination Pavilion on Feb 14, 2010

Shakuntala & Kuva look great with flowers at the Downtown LA ArtWalk on Feb. 14, 2008

Rochelle is one happy woman who loves to pass out flowers for peace!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

CPARS Part 1- Contemporary Performance Art Rituals - Clean Square

Performance Art: an unconventional form of theatrical performance that can occur using a variety of media, anywhere, anytime, and for any length of time
Ritual: a state or condition characterized by the presence of established procedure or routine

Performance Art Rituals are an ancient art form, connected with the power of community gathering, prayer and ceremony. Think about Native American Rain Dances, African Warrior Dances, Catholic Mass, Jewish Seders, and Weddings as a few examples and the deeply rooted cultural roles they play. There is a certain type of sacred power that performing such rituals contain, an energy that comes from a traditional routine passed along for generations. Some new age practitioners and scientists are even looking into the energy fields that are created over time by the repetition of such events, but more on that another time.

Contemporary Western life contains "minor" forms of performance art rituals: one could see a morning cup of coffee while reading the paper or the attendance of an annual sport or theatrical event (like the Super Bowl or Nutcracker) as types of it. Today marks the 2nd Anniversary of the historic Presidential inauguration, which is a good example of one. It was indeed an event attended by a large number of people, involving various performances and a traditional practice passed down for many generations (the swearing in, among other elements). I feel that creating personalized performance art rituals in your life is a great way to manifest more vital creative energy. 

Clean Square from Jason Jenn on Vimeo.

For me personally,  today also marks the 2nd Anniversary of the collaborative creation of my own contemporary performance art ritual: the Clean Square Project - created on a busy urban sidewalk just three blocks away from my loft in MacArthur Park. It was performed at the same time as the inauguration as a symbolic gesture of cleaning up the energy of the past administration and paving the way for a new reality. I really love the message and visuals this project conveyed, and while I looked forward to the creation of many more, some unfortunate issues prevented it from happening. Still, I happily share this footage as an example of what is possible with Contemporary Performance Art Ritual and hope that someday soon it may be revived by its collaborator.

Click picture for larger view

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Change Your Perspective

Changing your perspective can offer such profound improvements in accessing more out of your creative life and it's a wonderful exercise to take on as we enter this new year.  So much can be gained by this simple concept. I don't think too much needs to be said about it, we all know it, but just forget to utilize it enough. Try to more actively/consciously take this concept on in the weeks ahead.

If ever you feel stuck creatively, altering your viewpoint can help shake things up, offer a new insight,  and get the energy flowing again. If you find yourself running up against the same challenges, rather than just approaching it in the same way, try out a new one. You could very well be pleasantly surprised by the results. In fact, a new perspective can simply be getting someone's outside opinion or advice. It's a tool for both art and personal life, and really aids with understanding people who might otherwise seem so strange. A rigid way of looking at things is not a strong one, just stubborn.

I think the following pictures show the concept rather well.

Perspective 1 - a quick snapshot shows off the leaves, but looks rather bland

Perspective 2 - a closer look and skewed angle brings more energy to it

Perspective 3 - a view from above creates a bold visual statement

So, how can you apply this concept immediately to something in your art or life?

Try it out in a variety of ways, and share the results!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tabula Rasa

A blank slate, a clean slate, a fresh start, a new page...

The new year offers new opportunities to take on the transformative process for Your ReBegin. It's a great time of year to start up new endeavors, but also a great time for clearing the slate for what last year was.  Don't skip over the important step of clearing the decks! Allow yourself time to be with nothingness. You can't fill a container that is already full, so after the mad rush of energy that was likely expended toward the end of the year holidays, means January is great for recharging the batteries. Take a breath and allow yourself to slow down a little - empty out. And within that period of nothingness, comes renewed inspiration for the journey ahead.

In the cycle of life, winter in the northern hemisphere is time for slowing down, breaking down the life from the previous year to use as fertilizer for new life.

Worried about past mistakes or overwhelmed with too much on the mind? This is a great time to unleash any baggage or past hindrance to your creativity and tap into your pure potential. Wipe everything else away and start from scratch. Enjoy the refreshing beauty.

Do you fear the idea of nothingness, emptiness? Frightened of a blank canvas, the blank page? Embrace the void as a great place to be - let yourself sit with that for as long as needed. We tend to feel like we have to fill our lives with busy-ness in order to feel alive, but we are part of nature and need to follow the natural rhythm. Just as fields benefit from being fallow from time to time to replenish their nutrients, so must we to recharge the creativity we expend. All manner of life is working beneath the surface, unseen to the eye, but with processes most important for us. Our unconscious mind will come up with all manner of creative ideas to birth out of the blank slate.

HAPPY NEW YEAR (in the Gregorian Calendar that is) 
2011 is a wonderful new canvas for life: 
Enjoy what manifests!