Becoming The Student, #16: Gina TECHNICOLOR Ceylan

Gina Ceylan is an incredible person. Every time I’m with her, I’m amazed at her intelligence, engagement, and desire for true connection and meaning. I knew I had to include her in my Becoming The Student project.

TechnicolorGirlGina TECHNICOLOR Ceylan, Gouache and Colored Pencil on Paper mounted on Panel. 20 inches in diameter. 2014.

Click the image to see this piece larger.


Gina has a genetic condition which has caused her eyesight to degrade over time, and she is – essentially – blind. In spite of this she has developed an extremely acute vision of where education, science, and societal conditions are and where they could be. She’s a passionate student and teacher (she holds a PhD in Science Education). She’s a lover of music and public conversation. She loves to foment deep thought in herself and others.

Part of her experience of losing her sight has meant that her brain is rewiring, taking into account the lack of external visual stimulus and creating manifestations of color and form in Gina’s mind’s eye. Because of these inner experiences, she has taken to talking about her Technicolor experience in grand terms. In some of our past discussions, the story of the blind men and the elephant has taken center stage in the Technicolor arena. I even created a psychedelic elephant for her Facebook page, as seen below:


There is so much I could write about Gina, but I’ll let a few of her own thoughts speak for themselves (with a few key parts emphasized by me).

“I don’t like this phrase “time management” though; it doesn’t sit well. We don’t manage time; we strive for dynamic thought-task coherence through time. Let’s go with thought-task conduction. That’s better, closer to what’s really happening when we work towards our little purposes. Got to love it when the little Technicolor light bulb goes off. Understanding AND potential improved use of the scatter-mind. Score.”

“Some of us dance a little closer to chaos.”

-from Thought Patterns & Thought-task Conduction – December 17, 2013

“Ignorance isn’t something so much as it is really the lack of something [relative awareness maybe], the way darkness is the absence of light. But it behaves like a something, a disgusting kind of living evil something, because we bring it to life. Here’s the worst part: it’s not intentional. Ignorance doesn’t mean to destroy anything anymore than a wisteria vine or kudzu intends to cover the landscape and choke out all other life. The vines are often planted with good intention, and with no knowledge of how they will take root and thrive at the expense of everything.

Life is a collection of countless choices. Our reality emerges through these choices, but there’s too many of them, so our relative subconscious takes care of most of it, and we let society decide so many others. And ignorance emerges, without intention, and without anyone noticing, spreading over everything, choking the life out. Hell is real, you know; it’s a place in our minds and we bring it to life and make it real in our world. The road to hell is paved with ignorance. I think we’re getting there.

I know only myself [pretty big accomplishment]; I’m a fool’s fool. I know nothing else. Which is to say I have a great many well-founded, poorly articulated suspicions that shed just enough light for me to see my ignorance. At least I’m a happy fool, and not in the false bliss of ignorance but in my knowledge of it, and in my pleasure in tearing it up by its roots, possibly burning it just for good measure. It’s a ridiculous effort, the task is too big, but it’s fun.”

-from Ignorance, Intentionality & The Road to Hell – December 8, 2013

Girl at gym: “I want to go to med school and be a pediatrician, but…”
Me: “Well, why not go for it?”
Girl: “I’m scared… scared I’m not smart enough”
Me: “That’s crap! Someone lied to you about the nature of intelligence!”

“What kind of education system teaches people to be afraid of learning to be what they want!? [To hell with] a system that instills this kind of fear in people! We ought to be smarter than that.”

-from a Facebook Rant, April 15, 2014

“Think of The Future possible pathways, sprawled out in front of us in all their dendritic splendor… Yes, for all the same reasons. One choice at a time, travelers.”

-a Facebook Status, December 31, 2013


Keep dancing close to that chaos, Gina. Thank you for grabbing some of us off the sidelines and getting us to dance, too.

To learn more about her, read this article about her life and work. It’s a fantastic read.



Enigma (Teal Grill), Gouache on paper, 12 inches in diameter. 2013.

I’ve been looking at this teal grill for the last six months or so. It’s situated in a little courtyard common area for students who live in nearby residence towers here at the University of Missouri. A few months ago when I moved into my new office/studio space I became even more enamored with this thing. It’s awkward. It’s got a glorious, alchemical color that changes with the weather. I’ve never seen it being used, and yet it’s got a presence and sort of commands a section of the courtyard wall. Situated on an East-West axis, the sun gives the grill a dramatic polyhedral shadow that tracks out, under, and around its gangly legs. Vaguely alien, dingy and unused, and having physical proportions and angular relationships that allow for formal play, it was only a matter of time until I painted it. The exploration was worth it… I might have to dive right back in.

New Router Table Now In Effect

Back in November of last year I did some initial work on my new router table – you can click here to see what my early sketches were. I created this to replace my simple tondo jig system that I made back in 2010 (click here for info on that tool).

Today I finished work on the table – at least enough to make it functional. There are a few cosmetic details to work out, but for now it’s ready to roll. Here are a few images.



These first two images are fore and aft shots, giving a general overview of the beast. The active ingredient is a mid-range Porter Cable Plunging Router. The router has been attached to a Beseler 45MCRX Photo Enlarger body that I scavenged and hacked last year. The motor still works great, which means that my router can be moved horizontally over the table allowing me to make multiple plunges at different locations on the wood. The whole layout of the table is very close to a sketch I made last year.


Here you can see the underside of the router carriage (top half of image). The bit plunges through the oak carriage deck and into the wood that’s to be cut. The wood is sitting on a “lazy susan” deck that grips the panel and may be easily rotated past the router bit.


This is a shot of the lazy susan rotating deck. You can see the points that protrude through the deck (there are four – one point at each corner) that hold the wood in place as it’s being routed into a circular panel.

The first tondo I cut this afternoon was a resounding success. Here’s hoping for many more. It’s definitely an improvement on my old tondo jig. The big plus to this table is that I will be able to make circular frames for my tondo works. I wanted to have the movable routing deck precisely for this feature, and now we’ve got it. I’ll keep you updated.

New Mandalas

I’ve created nearly 30 new mandalas in the last few weeks. Each is primarly oil or oil pastel on paper with colored pencil, crayon, or other mixed media added. Most are about 9 inches in diameter. Below are two of the group. Click for more detail.

“The Bell, Struck” – Tondos by Tim Lowly and Matt Ballou

I’ve got an show coming up in Louisville, KY with Tim Lowly at the 930 Art Center. Click HERE to see the 930’s website for the show. Click HERE to see a gallery of some of the work I’ll be presenting there and HERE for work from Tim. I’m really looking forward to this exhibition! If you’re going to be in the area this summer, check it out!

Above: Bells, acrylic on paper mounted on panel, 24 inches in diameter. In progress.