Detroit: Door of Opportunity – DDOO


Trying something new.

I generally seek to explore what I can do in new areas or new combinations – methodology, mediums, ideas…

It has been a while since I have painted and been in an exhibition (First one on July 10 at North End Studios). I am part of year long series of shows called Detroit: Door of Opportunity – DDOO (see more at

“Doors are a symbol of beginnings, transitions, endings and entrances into new worlds and places. Detroit has always been a place of new beginnings, innovation and trailblazing. It is a city open to new things while treasuring its history. Doors are the perfect medium to tell the Detroit story; its past, its present and it future.  This exhibition is Detroit artists, creatively conveying the magnificence of Detroit and all the opportunities that it has had for people in the past, currently and in the future. This is a suggested interpretation. We encourage you to be creative and look forward to your interpretation of the theme.”

So I explore something new for me with my DDOO door. The door is a threshold and my style is about change, the space between and the palpable in the subtle. For this piece there are five ways one can be caught into the threshold. The grain of the door, the text of the quote, the flow of the highlighted poem from the words of the quote, the colored wood stains and the iridescent paint pattern. Each is subtle and requires attention. Photography does not capture the changing nature or the detail. The name is “The Present Moment” and the quote is from Thich Nhat Hanh (a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered throughout the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace):

“The present moment is the the only moment available to us: the door to all moments.” The poem that arises from the repetition of this sentence is: 

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I was writing about the surface design (patterns for fabric, wallpaper, paper – anything that has a surface) aspect of my work and it came to me that there is something more there than the ‘surface’ concept of decorating. It is essential to each of us to create with what resonates with us – what we find attractive and beautiful – our spaces, places and homes here because it is a representative, living embodiment of each of us.

Space-place-home making is the creative unfolding of the ever evolving emBODYment of Us.

Elevating the consciousness of that we do habitually and naturally to a state where we can see who we are, have been, and are becoming by the extension of the physical environment we create. Trends are not prescriptions of how your place should look but rather suggestions and interpretations of other people’s creative visions. I think they are for us to understand how we are in relation to the context of the time.

It brings the world into harmony to know ourselves so as to live out our uniqueness and what better way than to create our space-place-home from what speaks with our heart and soul. In this way, I see my surface designs and art as thresholds and raw materials for an adventure for those of you that find them beautiful and joyful.

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conversationFor over a decade now, I have been drawing characters of a tribe of squiggly people in conversations. It is an abstract way to capture the energetics of different interactions – sometimes humorous, sometimes serious and sometimes unintelligible. Most of the time, I wonder about their world and imagine the stories they might be sharing with each other. Below are a two of them, one with a (true?) observation and the other with a snippet of the conversation possibly overheard while eavesdropping. Enjoy…

future together

falling down copy

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An artist is….

Artist Definition_RGP

I have been thinking for a long while how to define an artist and creativity. Especially since I often hear from different people that they feel that they are not creative. I firmly hold that being an artist and the creative ability is not exclusive to a few but rather that it is what we are all born of and into…the only difference is the unique way it manifests in each of us. I have come to the related definitions: An artist embraces uncertainty and the unknown and is in conversation with the world. Creativity is the conversation that navigates the unknown into beautiful being.

I read in The Atlantic (January/February 2015) a very interesting article (The Death of the Artist – and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur) that describes the evolution of the idea of artist in our society. And the important thing for me was that artist and creativity is evolving and is defined by each of us. And can be re-defined for us individually.

“Yet the notion of the artist as a solitary genius—so potent a cultural force, so determinative, still, of the way we think of creativity in general—is decades out of date. So out of date, in fact, that the model that replaced it is itself already out of date. A new paradigm is emerging, and has been since about the turn of the millennium, one that’s in the process of reshaping what artists are: how they work, train, trade, collaborate, think of themselves and are thought of—even what art is—just as the solitary-genius model did two centuries ago.”


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failure / success: which way do you go after some damage?

(updated post from 2011, as we ponder our new year and past)

From artist Teresita Fernández’ 2013 commencement speech at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts, “On Amnesia, Broken Pottery, and the Inside of a Form”: 

“In Japan there is a kind of reverence for the art of mending. In the context of the tea ceremony there is no such thing as failure or success in the way we are accustomed to using those words. A broken bowl would be valued precisely because of the exquisite nature of how it was repaired, a distinctly Japanese tradition of kintsugi, meaning to “to patch with gold”. Often, we try to repair broken things in such a way as to conceal the repair and make it “good as new.” But the tea masters understood that by repairing the broken bowl with the distinct beauty of radiant gold, they could create an alternative to “good as new” and instead employ a “better than new” aesthetic. They understood that a conspicuous, artful repair actually adds value. Because after mending, the bowl’s unique fault lines were transformed into little rivers of gold that post repair were even more special because the bowl could then resemble nothing but itself. Here lies that radical physical transformation from useless to priceless, from failure to success. All of the fumbling and awkward moments you will go through, all of the failed attempts, all of the near misses, all of the spontaneous curiosity will eventually start to steer you in exactly the right direction.”

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Rita Patel. Untitled response to the Anna Akhmatova print.


I wrote this poem in response to the print of Anna Akhmatova I received in the mail from Pea River Journal. Seeing an image of someone’s face and looking for traces of the person and realizing that the traces – the markings of one’s living – are everywhere.

Originally posted on pea river journal:

Your face
a luminous clay vessel

drawn into
another realm

expressing edges
from your cosmos

of what has been
of what was seen
of what was experienced
of what is felt
of what only you can know
…and not know
…and lost?

and I must wonder
should I, as you
maybe at this moment
“In full forgetfulness, seek for my former trace.”

—last line from To the Artist (1924) translated by Yevgeny Bonver


View original

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Do you see the rabbit_6 Do you see the rabbit_21Do you see the rabbit? (book)

“Do you see the rabbit?” is a series of collages inspired by the rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll as well as the general fantastical and dreamlike mood of the whole story.

The white rabbit enters in the beginning of the story and is muttering “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!” The rabbit seems oddly placed in this story as he is rushing around. His behavior brings to my mind our relationship to clocktime. I often wonder about the idea of time and how the way we think about it influences how we are and who we become.

For a while, I was only skimming the surface of time and then one day, I stopped and began creating these collages. I found the ground, landed deep into a moment, and new possibilities unfolded. The rabbit also paused and became part of the art. This collection of my art, collages and poetry is an invitation. My wish is that you enjoy the time you spend here. Perhaps you may also experience this time differently than when rushing around to get things done. And, you may even see more than one rabbit…


Do you see the Rabbit?

Time is now,

later, then,

yesterday, before,


and nowhere, not now

In every moment.

To be aware

but not focused




of these times

is being with

the eternal

both endless

and momentary

deeply uncapturable

all the past, present, future


all the universes of

all our lives

before, now, after

at the same time


By being

in this moment.

—-Rita Patel

Do you see the rabbit_9

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