Posts Tagged ‘Stanley Bodner’

Inherent Risk

Saturday, July 4th, 2009
Send It Up

Send It Up

On this Fourth of July,  a short note. As we memorialize our Nation’s birth it is a point of honor and gratitude that we recall the quest to embrace and engage in risk. Forward momentum and a new horizon would be found for those willing to set foot and family on a leaky ship.

The amount of passion, victory, birth and new life that is our country, well it all began with that first risk taker. There is much ado about American Imperialism these days. I just returned from a short visit to camp Pendleton and a Navy corpsman told me about one of his tours off Somalia as we worked night time, off Oceanside with K38 Rescue. The bulk of his time there had been spent doing humanitarian work on a scale that only our Military could do. He told me that “If I ever make a lot of money, I now know how I will spend my life” He had a freshening of his horizon as his ship sailed into the void. His life story had affected me profoundly.

The reality is this: the foundation of our country is based on a diverse number of people who were willing to engage extreme risk and all the hardships and joys associated with that element in order to establish a new realm of possibility, a new horizon. That has never changed. Today more than ever we need this.

Again, Seth Godin was writing what I was thinking.

This beautiful film trailer says a lot. I hope that Jim Scolari gets to do more of this.

As you examine your prospects, know this: “Stupid is forever” Ray Vickers, race car driver. You gotta love our good ole boys.

This was sent along by global thinker Drew Kampion. Don’t even think about shooting the messenger. A long watch and high view at what could be going on beneath the tableau of world change. The journalist, though a renowned conspiracy theorist, presents a thread of historic fact everyone should examine.

I hope that you celebrate like mad today, and memorialize and give thanks and embrace the far horizon. We as a nation have everything to gain and everything to lose as we sail into what will become a new world. Choose well.

Turn of an age Military transport

Turn of an age Military transport

Collateral Damage?

Collateral Damage?



Generational Aircraft

Generational Aircraft



Into the Looking Glass

Into the Looking Glass

Click on any of the images below for a back story

We are another year older. Hoooo Rah! Let’s go, the horizon beckons.

Below, is a note from the President.

This weekend, our family will join millions of others in celebrating America. We will enjoy the glow of fireworks, the taste of barbeque, and the company of good friends. As we all celebrate this weekend, let’s also remember the remarkable story that led to this day.

Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, our nation was born when a courageous group of patriots pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the proposition that all of us were created equal.

Our country began as a unique experiment in liberty — a bold, evolving quest to achieve a more perfect union. And in every generation, another courageous group of patriots has taken us one step closer to fully realizing the dream our founders enshrined on that great day.

Today, all Americans have a hard-fought birthright to a freedom which enables each of us, no matter our views or background, to help set our nation’s course. America’s greatness has always depended on her citizens embracing that freedom — and fulfilling the duty that comes with it.

As free people, we must each take the challenges and opportunities that face this nation as our own. As long as some Americans still must struggle, none of us can be fully content. And as America comes ever closer to achieving the perfect Union our founders dreamed, that triumph — that pride — belongs to all of us.

So today is a day to reflect on our independence, and the sacrifice of our troops standing in harm’s way to preserve and protect it. It is a day to celebrate all that America is. And today is a time to aspire toward all we can still become.

With very best wishes,

President Barack Obama

July 4th, 2009

P.S. — Our nation’s birthday is also an ideal time to consider serving in your local community. You can find many great ideas for service opportunities near you at

An Addendum. By Stanley Bodner

(Stanley is a lifelong commercial artist and cultural observer, originally from NY now residing in Arizona. The list of people who he has tutored and mentored is both long and distinguished. The affects of he and his social progeny are culturally evident, though he would likely deny this. DP)

I’ve had this burr in my proverbial saddle for a long time. I will try to explain.

Not so many decades ago, women burned their bras in a show of defiance against the stalled system that blocked their path to equality and liberation.

With the passage of time, their goals mostly attained and the effects of gravity working against them, they purchased new Maiden Forms and Spandex.

Now, bras are back and hanging everywhere!

Yet, at the same time, with a Nation divided, The American Flag was desecrated in the same manner.

It ceased being a symbol of this great free nation, and became a defiant icon accompanied with “Proud to be an American” bumper stickers.

Pride is one of the 7 deadly sins, and our flag is much too sacred for that.

It’s a new millennium, and I want my flag back, and a good time to start hanging it, everywhere, is upon us.

It’s time to, “run-it-up…”

I am lucky to be an American. All of us should feel that way.

The Bodner

Thursday, April 30th, 2009


Ever have one of those friends who is just, well, there when  you are together? They are always so present in the moment, that they perpetually gloss over tidbits you would really appreciate knowing about them. Everyone enjoys bragging on their pals and assorted loved ones.  Some people truly are ignorant of their own genius and opt to not give us the chance.  Their vocation is just what they are, so what could the big deal possibly be?

A year ago I met Jessica Bodner and her boyfriend, Robert Catalusci. They had recently relocated from San Francisco to Ventura. Two artists with eclectic backgrounds, but a long track record from what my girlfriend Donna and I could surmise, in producing art. Robert though almost equally obtuse in describing exactly what he does, unwittingly let the cat out of the bag during a housewarming at the industrial space which serves as the joint production studio for the two. He showed us a video segment toned to match the color of the evening sky. Turns out it was an art concept projected on to a big screen built spanning some buildings adjacent to the 280 freeway in SF. The display had stopped rush hour traffic as an array of huge military jets engaged in an ominous dogfight that offered little clue the show was projected. Two days later, the Gulf War began. That is Robert.

But Jessica, wow, nothing but: “Oh I am a welder who makes lamps and has done some sculpture”.

That was the extent of it for the year, till an e mail dropped in containing a photo of a smiling Robert standing next to a large object that looked like a beehive. I am nothing, if not curious. I went by the shop where Jessica was busy welding away. The piece was a large, intricately engineered and fabricated metal sculpture with a value-scope that would be hard to measure in dollars. Yes, it was a lamp.

Over a period of two visits I documented the final construction and Jessica graciously exposed what an amazing talent she is. I needed to know more and the following text was sent to me by her Father, artist Stanley Bodner, who I had met while working on the Ventura Film Festival.

Stan Bodner: “I’ll give you some thoughts from my perspective:

Early on Jessica exhibited her unique view of the world. Sometime after serving her toddler-ship, she asked me what I thought of a miniature drawing that had she made. I don’t remember what I said exactly, it may have been something like “That’s a cute kitten.” I do, however, remember her response. She said, “That’s not a kitten daddy. You can’t see it, because your eyes are too big”.

That was the last time anybody ever mistook what she created.

Jessica’s mother, Alexandra and I both spent our pre-digital lives in front of an easel or behind a drawing table. Jessica spent most of her childhood under the drawing table.

Her summers were spent on the farm with her grandparents. Her grandfather was–before he retired–a welding foreman for Chicago Bridge and Iron. He kept a shop in the garage. As you know manipulating metal became her chosen media.

Yes, Jessica had an inordinate amount of exposure to Art and media, but it would all have been for nothing, without her extraordinary talent and desire to create.

She also had a poem published in grammar school, and was a finalist in a statewide public speaking competition.

Prior to moving west, Jessica graduated from The Chicago Academy for the Arts (a collage preparatory high school for the arts in Chicago). She continued her schooling in LA and San Francisco where she received her BFA.

There is one additional observation that I would like to share;
I made an unannounced visit to the principles office at CAA late in her sophomore year. The office was adorned exclusively with Jessica’s paintings and renderings. This had happened before in Jessica’s Grade school!

I hate to use the phrase “proud to be…” in describing my feelings. I like “lucky to be…” fits so much better.

She is “The Bodner”.  I am, “The Bodner’s father.”

Alexandra Navickas  studied at the Chicago Art Institute and Graduated with a teaching degree from U of Illinois.
Alex worked as a commercial artist designing and photographing fashion catalogs. When Jessica was born, Alex concentrated on her painting, later to be exhibited in Silvia Siegals Oak Street Gallery. After painting, she became a photographer specializing in hand-colored photos, for 15 years, then a few years designing African-American greeting cards, and then on Jessica’s suggestion, began making lighting fixtures 10 yrs ago for her business,


Stanley Bodner recipient of the “Alexander” and “St Guardens” medals for art New York High School system.

Graduated Cooper Union.  After an internship lasting a few years, I started my own Graphic Art Studio. My clients were Advertising Agencies, Mills, Manufactures and publications. I made the transformation from drawing board to computer early on. My introduction to the Mac happened in 1985.

I haven’t shown a portfolio for many years, however, I will e-mail you some current samples under separate cover of Alex’s and my work.

Oh, I just read your mighty blog. I am impressed. One favor I would ask; Please leave the Warhol bit out. It is somewhat demeaning sounding like sour grapes, and I do not wish to bask in reflected glory. Yes, he couldn’t draw, but he was a terrific designer, not unlike the many famous artists that have impressed us through the years. In my opinion, Edgar Dagas could draw, Renoir couldn’t. Both are geniuses.

I did appreciate the Pink Champagne he would send around Christmas. “A toast to Andy Warhol”.

Cheers, to Stanley and Alex (and yes,  Andy too). You’ve given us a true light in The Bodner.

Click on any image to  see the full frame view.

Metaphysical Momentum: Water Carriers

Monday, April 27th, 2009


Ventura has been in the throes of an art boom the past few years. I have watched amusedly as a diverse group of people have been drawn to our little berg from far flung corners of the earth and served as cultural and intellectual fodder for a renaissance of sorts. Creative seedlings they all are,  putting down root, bearing fruit that the town will benefit from.

No where has this been more obvious to me than in the recent Ventura Film Fest event where during a period of four days, film makers, artists and musicians mingled with a diverse cross section of the public to create an organic phenomenon that served to inspire and connect people.

The driving forces behind the festival are myriad, but when one needs to put a finger on the actual pulse, it was film maker and writer Lorenzo DeStefano whose vision for a festival that focused on interactive participation and community based cinema,  fostered what proved to be a unique experience. Simply put, Lorenzo wanted everyone to come and stay four days. What would arise was intended to be a collaboration of sorts that would motivate both film makers and art enthusiasts of all types to migrate here every year to experience, create and encourage. Though I could only attend for two of the days, my own experience illustrates well what happens when the creative commune. The following is one of many stories that developed.

I had been in an entertaining discussion with Director, Writer and Producer Robert Young, whose fantastic career was being profiled at the festival, when I was reluctantly drawn away  to shoot something.  I was collecting some stills and video footage for the VFF. It was a difficult conversation to leave since Robert was being incredibly generous.

The thing with creatives, is that we like to listen, we enjoy communicating, we drink of each others energies and feed off our collective experiences in a manner which in derivative fashion, expands us as people and artists. There is an enthusiastic charge that pulses through a crowd like the one at the event. You simply step into the flow and it carries you along without much effort on your own part. Easy as a languid swim in tropical waters, the experience is simultaneously  relaxing, and energizing. Once you step in.

I found myself with film maker William Farley, whose film Shadow and Light was to screen later in the day. He wanted a cup of coffee. I wanted to hear more in a conversation that had immediately hooked me: the communication of things spiritual via the medium of cinematography. As we strolled down Main St and into Starbucks we shared some of the fantastic things that we had experienced over the years in the course of our work, where when we simply listened, a project would draw us into another world and show us things, tell us tales, that we would never have expected at the onset.

As he sat down in the City Bus stop next to the Elks Lodge, coffee in hand, William expounded on metaphysical reality, quantum physics and the energy signature that is both our lives and the not so workaday process of listening and communicating the voices we hear via sound, imagery and creative intent. He recounted a few of his startling experiences in working with Native Peoples. I in turn shared a couple of mine, and for a period of time that seemed like minutes but was actually two hours, that bus stop became a heiau, a house on a reservation, a distant shore. We simply waved off the  bus drivers piloting the lumbering beasts past.

The key thing that transported us into the time and reality warp of that bus stop was the re enforcement that yes there are others like us out there. People who peer into a world possibly not evident to all, and whose prescient wish is to share a little of it.  Though at times the localized creative process may feel a little like carrying water to a desert, when one has a colleague, the task seems to become it’s own reward. I was so grateful to have been included.

Click on any of the gallery images for a larger view and a little back story on the subject.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.