Why #Imwithher.

 Paradoxes, purposes and ponderances  Comments Off on Why #Imwithher.
Jul 292016
Hillary Clinton #imwithher art by artist BZTAT

Art by BZTAT

I don’t often get political on this blog. Most of my artwork revolves around pet themes, so my writing here typically follows similar paths.

Today I am changing my norm. It is a historical day, and I feel that my art and my words need to acknowledge it.

It is a historical day because, for the first time in history, a woman has been nominated by a major political party as their candidate for president of the United States.

Let that sink in. A woman has been nominated by a major political party as their candidate for president of the United States.

She has been reviled. She has been castigated. She has been falsely accused of everything under the sun. She has been publicly humiliated for deeply personal family problems, then, ironically, she has been criticized for clinging to her need for privacy.

But she has prevailed. And #imwithher.

I have followed Hillary Clinton for many years. I have held admiration for her stands on healthcare, worldwide women’s rights, gun rights and many other issues. I was a therapist for children for 20 years, and I personally saw the impact of her efforts to get healthcare and other needed services for families. I cherished my copy of “It Takes a Village” for its wisdom and its prescience.

I have not liked everything about Hillary, but she has been on the correct side of the values and issues that matter most to me for a long time. She served as a United States senator and as the United States Secretary of State with honor and dignity. She managed to work with disparate parties to get things done on a national and a world stage. These are no small accomplishments.

Despite all that she has done, she has faced unbelievable criticism. Her motives have been questioned, and because she has done so much, she has been criticized for being an “insider”. Although her accomplishments have been awe-inspiring, her voice is considered “shrill” by some, and thus, her oratory skills have been pilloried.

But she has prevailed. And #imwithher.

Hillary has had an upward climb for everything she has gained. Even though she may have had privileged access in some circumstances because of her FLOTUS role, she has faced fierce opposition at every turn. She has endured criticism that no male candidate would ever face, yet she has continued to stand tall and march on.

Yes, she is a politician. Yes, she is an insider.  But as such, she has built coalitions and led people towards mutual goals. As much as we may despise it, that’s what it takes to create lasting change on a grand scale.

Hillary Clinton fits no ideal in the minds of Americans. She is a 69 year old woman who bears the scars of battle and carries the girth that most women gain as the years pass. She wears awkward pantsuits, and she sometimes fails to fuss up her makeup and hair. She is not “human enough” for some flashy TV commentators, and she is not hip enough for the Twitterverse.

But over time, she has prevailed. And #imwithher.

I like Hillary, because she has fought long and hard for causes that matter. She has absorbed herself in the details that most of us disdain, because someone had to do it, and because she was good at it. She has not led with her own personality as some would like her to do, rather, she has led by mobilizing others towards important concerns. She has focused on what mattered, and not on prettying herself up for the cameras.

Whatever her motives, and whatever her purposes, Hillary has worked tirelessly for the common good. As opportunist as some may call her, she has earned more grief than she has gained pleasure or undeserved power. Even so, she has a track record of accomplishment that few can match.

Whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, she is not the Claire Underwood character from House of Cards that she has been portrayed to be. She is not a conniving and selfish female caricature whose singular focus is power. Whatever her motives, she has committed herself to service, and she has many people standing by her and thanking her for it.

And despite all, she has prevailed. And #imwithher.

Hillary Clinton has faced down the bitterest of critics and she is still standing. Not only is she still standing, she is continuing to fight for what she believes is right. She is uniquely talented with the political skills that perhaps we all hate, but the ones that it takes to get things done. Lets not be naive. Our next president needs to be able to work within the system our founders created, and she needs to be able to enlist the support of others to do it.

That is why #imwithher, and why I am committed to helping her to prevail in November.

I feel strongly about Hillary Clinton as a candidate on her own merits. My desire to see her win the presidency, however, is heightened by the frightening possibility of her opponent winning. In my 54 years on this earth, I have never before witnessed a candidate presenting danger to the presidency like Donald Trump does. I have disliked candidates before, and I have feared the directions that their policies might take us. But I have never seen a candidate whose behavior is so reckless and whose ideas are so far away from our country’s values.

Hillary Clinton MUST prevail in November. 

#Iamwithher. I hope that, even if she is not your ideal candidate, you will find it within yourself to vote for her to.

Life is an Adventure!


Is art a luxury or is it something we need right now?

 Paradoxes, purposes and ponderances  Comments Off on Is art a luxury or is it something we need right now?
Jul 142016

heart rainbow painting by Artist BZTATIt would seem that enjoying art during the tumultuous times that we have experienced in recent days would be a luxury. Is art a luxury?

There is so much anguish and so many deep seated problems facing our culture right now. How does enjoying art fit with that?

First of all, art is not just for enjoyment. Art is a part of our culture – the expressive part – that gives image and voice to shared experiences.

Art can raise awareness and rally people to a cause. It can give us iconic images that reveal the nuances of an issue, and it can point out the incongruities in our purposes and actions. Without creative expression, social movements would likely blow away in the wind.

Even so, enjoying art simply for the sake of enjoying it is not frivolous either.

We need reprieves from the strife. Sometimes we need to turn off the news and enjoy quiet beauty to refresh our sense of goodness in the world.

And sometimes, buying a piece of art during a time of important change can bring more meaning to the moment when you look back upon it in the future.

Artist Gwen Seemel says art is not a luxury at all. In fact, it is an essential part of who we are, and we cannot live without it. I agree with her.

We spend considerable amounts of money on many things that are not absolutely necessary for survival. Because we consider these things as part of our daily lives, though, we do not consider these expenses frivolous. Cable TV. Video games and mobile apps. Stylish cloths. Home decor. Gardening and lawn care. Alcohol and snacks. The list goes on and on. We spend lots of money on a variety of items that we do not absolutely need.

But how often do we buy original art?

We experience art regardless of whether we purchase it outright. Often we consume art via television or other mass market publishing outlets to get our creativity fix. It costs more to buy original art directly from an artist, though, so we consider it a luxury.

Why is it more necessary to purchase things that are mass produced by corporations than it is to buy authentic creative expressions from an independent artist?

Watch the video below and see if you still think art is a luxury. And think again before you pass up that artwork you really love but think it is too much of a luxury for you.

The painting above is for sale. Regular price is $100, however, you may purchase it for $75 for a limited time. Discount ends Friday, July 15 at 12:00 AM EDT.

“Heart” $75.00 Acrylic Painting on Wood 12″ H x 16″ W US Shipping – $25 Intl – $45

Buy Now USA Shipping (Use button below for International):

Buy Now International Shipping:

See other paintings by BZTAT for sale here.

Art is not a luxury. from Gwenn Seemel on Vimeo.

Life is an Adventure!


“Officer Down!” Police Dog takes a bullet for his human comrades.

 Paradoxes, purposes and ponderances  Comments Off on “Officer Down!” Police Dog takes a bullet for his human comrades.
Jan 092016

Jethro, a canine police officer who was shot in the line of dutyUPDATE: Sadly, Jethro took a turn for the worse and he succumbed to his injuries on January 10, 2016. He died a hero and saved the lives of his fellow human officers. Funds raised in his name will go towards making other canine officers safer as they perform their duties in our community. RIP Jethro. 

In Canton, Ohio, we value our canine police officers as much as we do their human counterparts. Canton’s police dogs are local heroes, and they have more than earned that status.

As a city whose population is shrinking, Canton has urban crime rates that rival those of much bigger cities. Our safety forces are seriously underfunded and their numbers are truly inadequate for the needs, so canine officers are frequently called upon to intervene in very hazardous situations. This weekend, one of our canine heroes, Jethro, was struck down in the line of duty, and there are few dry eyes in Canton as a result.

Jethro was shot in the line of duty as he chased an armed burglar. The burglar unloaded a series of bullets intended for human officers and Jethro was struck as he chased the criminal down. He literally took the bullet for his human comrades. Despite being shot at least 3 times, Jethro survived, but he is not out of the woods yet. He is being monitored closely and being provided round the clock care at the Stark County Emergency Veterinary Clinic.

(Jethro’s human partner returned fire, as did other officers, and the burglar was wounded and apprehended.)

Most medium to large cities have canine officers, and they perform a critical service for our communities. These animals often go into situations where it is unsafe for human officers to go, and they can be placed in very risky situations. We need to ensure their protection as much as we possibly can, as they are extremely important to our communities’ safety. Many communities lack the resources to do that, though. Canton is one of them.

Although Canton has bullet proof vests for its canine officers, they are old and heavy, and they are rarely used. Jethro was not vested at the time of his shooting.

We now know that we need to improve our protection for our valued canine officers. We are sorry we didn’t do it before, Jethro, but we are doing it now. Local community leader and dog blogger Beth Philly of DOGGIES.COM has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to cover Jethro’s vet bills and to purchase new vests for all of Canton’s canine officers. If you would like to contribute, we would love to accept your donation.

Jethro’s story has touched a nerve in Canton, and it is spreading well beyond Canton’s city limits. When an animal is injured through an act of bravery, it brings us to our knees. Officers from Police Departments across the country have bent a knee and shared prayers and well wishes for Jethro. So have concerned citizens from all over the world. I am told that the parking lot of the Stark County Emergency Veterinary Clinic is full of emergency vehicles with officers standing vigil in the clinic’s lobby for Jethro.

My art is dedicated to celebrating the human/animal bond, and never before have I witnessed such a story about that bond.  I have decided to create a Premiere Pet Portrait Painting of Jethro to celebrate his bond with his community and his fellow officers. The portrait will be given to Officer Ryan Davis, Jethro’s handler, and his family, who considers Jethro a pet. The bond between Jethro and Officer Davis rises to dimensions beyond the traditional human-pet relationship, and the community’s love for Jethro takes on a whole new dimension. How could I resist the artistic challenge of creating this awesome creature’s portrait?

I will post again about Jethro’s story and the progress of his portrait. You can learn more about his entry into the Canton Police force here, and you can contribute to the GoFundMe campaign here. Follow the DOGGIES.COM blog for updates on his condition and medical progress.

Let’s all hope that Jethro has many adventures still left ahead of him.


Life is an Adventure!