photo by Zalman Berkowitz
photo by Zalman Berkowitz

details like a scrap of paper

at a bus stop looking

closely a fortune cookie no cookie

“you are talented with your hands” thanks

the Gift and the Practice that

comes with it reminder:

talent alone won’t save us because Vigilance

and cookies are so delicious to my mind

sometimes Even talented

hands miss messages

like scraps of paper

through fingertips crunch

of sugar egg flour fortunes from

strangers we make marks always

before outcomes like

my heart now and the light

downtown sun rays golden filtered through silver clouds ground damp and cold cozy inside.

I wonder if the sun knows what

sunlight looks like to my eyes now

like gifts from strangers I am found reflecting

of course not, that’s impossible

like walking or breathing or life based on Carbon

smile thankful

there are muscles in the face that if you squeeze them right

they make you happy

how cool is that!


Zalman Berkowitz art in the world update

The Moody Woman by Zalman Berkowitz

Hello there!

Just finished up a short video on “the making of Moody” for the zalMania codeX. I enjoyed the chance to perform the poem that seems to fit with this painting. Let me know whatcha think! Creative productions often leave me with more questions than answers, but hey: such is the nature of creative work. Enjoy!

Here is the linkage:

And the latest from the Gallery [context] “Survival of the Interesting” Exhibition, which runs until June 4th. Stop on by!

“Dissipative Structures” [zalMania codeX]

This series was the first to be designed as modular, built on a square and intended to change orientations (just to create new associations and keep it interesting) I like to call it an “interchangeable quadtych”.

Before I share my notes on this work, here are the creative writings of some High School Students in Tucson AZ:

Student One: 

With a keyboard spiraling through the background, my attention is drawn to the center. I see a snakeskin with dashes of unique designs that mesmerize me. Beware – closer to the center there’s shapes that will give you vertigo, and lines that rotate. Wait! There’s a pacman! It appears to be after the dot in the second layer. But pacman will seem to fall off the board and into the background. He tries to jump it. Though it seems like pacman is shooting laser shapes at the dot, perhaps it’s a laser that will bring the dot to him. Did I mention this is no ordinary dot? There are flares of curved lines rotating clockwise. Then reversing to counter clock-wise… good luck, pacman, you get that dot… Just be careful D: Don’t fall into that background and die, the universe is depending on the defeat of that dot. Devour it.

Student Two:

This picture makes me think of the way of life because it has different colors representing your emotions or your moods and then shapes are representing how much color or emotions you may have. It is also showing that there are many messages being told in this picture some messages would be that there are obstacles in life and that they are mazes and you have to find your way through them. Also it is saying that during those obstacles you may find trouble or emotional boundaries that will stop you from achieving your own goals.

Student Three: 

Entering a world of unknown environments, being lost and caged in the spirit of nothing that is to be captured. It continues on for centuries and beyond the immortals. All the beings in the little cardboard box are sad, but why? Does it not being promise and comfort of home, or is it a cage for which is not known at all? It does not collapse, it does not end, it stays closed with no lock or key. The demons inside you cannot fathom, but you stay and rot anyway, no matter the cost. All the caged beings are sad in this little box, and no one has taken one second to save them. Survival of the fittest, nothing more, so tell me why no one has escaped this twilight zone.

Student Four: 

This painting puts me in an energetic and bouncy mood. A message that I receive from this painting is try something new and don’t always be like everyone else. Sometimes people are scared to go outside of their comfort zone. Being different from everyone else is not always a bad thing. In fact, it makes you stand out. Spiral through life, being as colorful as you are. Never apologize for being yourself.

And from a friend:

I see complexity. I see the beauty and pain of existence. I want to dive into this painting and swim around all the colors. I want to experience what it would look like to open my eyes inside those colors. I want to sense the textures against my skin, and get chill bumps all over… I want to sing this painting into song. My voice would spill out silky, haunting, and hypnotizing. I want to write this painting into a poem, and let the words speak to the universals of human interest in art and the specifics of my need for it:

I visualize myself in another dimension

Imagine what I have not seen in my current reality

I am diversified, and don’t feel that I am bound to

One version of myself;

There is more to the possible than I can fathom at the moment,

With what I have to work with,

But if purposeful, positive, curious, loving –

I might see more of it than I would have.

That would do.

AWESOME! Thanks yawl. I love that Art does not exist in a vacuum. A wonderful reminder that it is a vibrant discourse of perception, of looking and feeling that breathes the life into ART.

I love that we each come up with our own reflective stories on thangs.

Here’s what I was thinking’:

 “dissipative structures”

is made of four 18 inch panels and took about a year to paint. The project began just after 9/11 in 2001, and ended on my birthday in 2002. Each panel begins with the same basic armature and then takes on its unique direction through the creative development of color composition. I was reading about African Fractal patterns at the time, and this notion of the possibility of an innate, intrinsic natural structure, a pattern to our lives here on earth, a “doctrine of signatures”…I still find that comforting in a post-9/11, now 2012 world culture. The panels are designed to fit together, and share a subtle circle. the series references patterns I observe in myself: struggle and despair, disciplined practice, purposeful action, and joyous celebration of the moment. each panel is accompanied by a short poem, which attempts to express the emotional state it was created in.

DS 1 :: [struggle]

I understanding

practice never perfect

all ways beautiful

there is joy

there is pain

and the refrain:

same, same, same.

DS 2 ::  [work]


intent to represent: dedication

the indication of motivation,

I!  pumping blood!

DS 3 ::  [purpose]

sun, moon and stars are

Three expressions of creativity

so we are, and we be

this ethereal material

one breath, bliss.

DS 4 :: [being]


to suggest


the rest

give it the best:



—–Now I am reminded of how we are each an evolving process of becoming. I love that about the work: revisiting a place and finding it at once familiar and then also changed, as I have changed. I love uncovering the mystery one small piece at a time. Keeps me interested!
All good things,