thomas edison napping, maira kalman 2009
my unintentional art-buying spree* continues apace. i bought a painting this week. and i am so excited about it i can hardly stand it. but i didn't mean to. it was just that i couldn't not buy it, once faced with the opportunity. anyway, it is the piece pictured above. the one of thomas edison napping. in gouache by the incredible-amazing maira kalman. it's a dream come true to own her work. the exhibit, further illuminations, at the julie saul gallery, comprises images from maira's "pursuit of happiness" blog published 2009 in the ny times and will be included in a new book she has by the same name coming out in the fall. the exhibit is showing until may 1 at the saul gallery on 22nd street. or you can view it in the archives of the ny times here. i think i will cancel all my plans for the rest of the year and just fix my eyes on its dreamy wonderfulness. really. not really.
but you should know that i am a big proponent of napping. and thomas edison was too. he is sometimes credited with inventing the nap, or at least popularizing the power nap. he felt short naps were a great way to access the creative genius part of our brains. the part in the subconscious, the part you arrive in before you get to deep sleep. as a hard-driving creative genius who was just about always inventing something (like for example the stock ticker, the first electronic information broadcast, which made him quite wealthy and also some other things like the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the light bulb). he also built the first power station, to manufacture power for large swaths of people. he built it in manhattan. and, he didn't sleep more than 5 hours a night. so he was busy creative problem solving all day long and so he napped with ball bearings in his hand to insure that his nap was short and that he could directly access that creative genius part of his brain. the dreamy subconscious. well, we certainly can't argue with his results. he transformed modern society on the whole planet.
i could easily give you 1500 more reasons why i love this painting. but i will stop now and save us all from that. you should know that it mostly has to do with maira's brilliance as an artist and writer and creative genius and that the thomas edison and the nap part are just the icing on the cake. but anyway it being earth day, that now quite commercial enterprise, i think it would be awfully nice if everyone took a nap instead of buying some new, manufactured, green product we-can't-live-without, with an earth day discount of course, or buying up at an earth day sale or attending a formal earth day fair sponsored by some corporation or other.
a nap for mother earth. doing less is clearly best for her. we would all use less energy, less fossil fuel, spew less carbon into the atmosphere, and less water would be spent. plus we might all wake up refreshed and happy. ready to tackle any creative problem that comes our way. like how to solve all those pesky global problems we are confronted with here on earth. earth day dreaming. maybe best done while napping.
*note: the other week i bought the iron sphere. see here.