Solving The Undocumented

Giving undocumented immigrants citizenship doesn’t make sense.

It doesn’t make sense to those of us who came the documented way. Sure, it was costly. Sure, it took time and appointments to the embassy. Sure, it even took some embarrassment when the doctor performing the physical took a peak inside my pants (without asking) after I was told I had to be in a cubicle with my brothers in my underwear–something I never did at home–waiting for him to come and inspect us. I only wondered what would happen to my mother who was in a separate cubicle with my baby brother but I digress.

Andre-Heading West

Photo: Lilibeth Andre-“Heading West”

People come to the U.S. for opportunity. The opportunity to work hard and get ahead. Back at home you can work hard, if you’re lucky to have a job, but it seems you never get ahead. You’re lucky if you maintain your economic ground but it seems that it slips like sand between your fingers more and more. And if you had your own business you probably went under when NAFTA brought all those American chain stores into town and they out-priced you, and you could never support your family on the wages they pay and the hours they require.

The opportunity for jobs is what brings people to America. If people are willing to risk coming as an undocumented migrant, suffering the perils of illegal entry, it is only because you have a high chance of finding a job. When the economy was slow and jobs were not so prevalent, illegal immigration went down. Why risk coming when there are no jobs?

So here’s the solution: Instead of pursuing the illegal migrant, put the burden on the people that hire the undocumented person who is willing to work long hours for low wages and no benefits, illegal employment practices. And if the employer insists that they must hire these undocumented workers (not just the brown ones from the south), then it would be their duty to make their workers legal migrants through work permits.

Work permits give workers the ability to move freely between borders. If fear of deportation or the ability to return is removed then more people will come with a temporary worker mindset. Instead of having to stay in a country they do not consider their own they would be able to go back home and be with their family more easily. This burden could perhaps balance the economics of hiring legal workers and paying them a decent wage and benefits because this loss of jobs for local workers reverberates up the work chain and everyone pays the price when specialized and certified workers are displaced by illegal immigrants who cost the employer less. The consumer pays the ultimate cost disguised under the veil of lower prices.

Citizenship is the ultimate reward for legal immigration. Each country is allowed a certain number of migrants into the U.S. People can be legal, over time they can become residents (with all the rights but to vote), and then they can become citizens, if they choose to do so, with the right to vote. By then, there is a greater understanding of what this country is all about and with assimilation in culture, language, and understanding, the right to participate in the political process is a reward.

Is Free Education the Ticket to Happiness?

When you were a kid, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? I sure didn’t. I was trying to be the best right then and there: the best student, the best class president, the best safety patrol. I was happy chasing rainbows and there were certainly lots to chase. This was the late 60’s in northern California. I had lots of choices and I explored a lot. I did have a tendency to look to art and medicine but I was involved with school politics, sports, and of course, the three R’s. I signed myself up for summer school and loved to choose English, Math, P.E. and Arts for my summer companions. Learning was fun and I enjoyed it.

My parents never boxed me into anything. I could have been whatever I wanted to be and it was up to me.

What if everyone had that opportunity? What if everyone could get a free education in what area called to them?

I started working early to have some spending money. It was good experience. I did sales and office work. I tried babysitting but that was not my cup of tea. I worked my way through school, then got a super job and dropped school but later went back with lots of experience under my belt. I was fortunate that school was affordable. I continue to accrue experience through work and continue to educate myself. Now I also get to give back to share, mentor, and teach.

If everyone had a free education at every point in their life, I think that we would see more happy people from primary to advanced level education. We would experience the joy of learning. I think that if I wanted to be a carpenter, I could go to trade school and become the best carpenter I could be because the school would allow me to apprentice with the best tradesmen who were waiting to pass on their hard and long-earned skills to someone who loved the craft not just someone who couldn’t get any other type of job.

I think that if later in my life I wanted to become an engineer or an industrial designer, a writer, or an inventor, I should be able to go and pursue that education and become the best in the field that I could be.

Dawn by the pond

Lilibeth André, Dawn by the Pond, oil, 16×20. Sold.

What if I was suddenly retired after building widgets all my life? I think I may want to explore photography and be the best or perhaps I may want to be a lab tech or a chef. I should be able to go to school and become the best I could be. Even if I just wanted to be a fisherman out on the lake. I would be a happy fisherman.

What if I was gifted and talented in science or technology? I should be able to get the best guidance counseling and optimize my learning to the best of my abilities throughout my lifetime so that I would be able to contribute to science and advance research and progress.

What ever I chose to do, I should be able to go back to school and hone my skills or acquire new ones through continuing education, if that is what I wanted to do.

Why? Because it would make me happy to pursue my calling, to gain the skills that would allow me to maximize my career when I wanted to do so. And in this pleasure for learning I would gladly give back through mentoring, teaching, or in practicing my skills and knowledge for the betterment of my community.

Free education would let me explore learning for fun and pleasure. It would open the door to giving back, self-fulfillment, and happiness.

Also read: the Future of Work-An Artist’s Perspective. Why we shouldn’t worry about robots and automation.

Memo: Invest Yourself Where It Matters

Lilibeth Andre, Garden Iris, photograph

Lilibeth Andre, Garden Iris, photograph

Are you at peace with life? Are all your ducks in a row? Have you got your bucket list checked off, and planted the trees, written the book, and had the kid?

Nothing shakes you down more than finding you left something undone. Here’s a memo so take note.

We hear about last minute regrets so we prepare and make sure we are ready to find peace, hopefully, in our lifetime and not just at checkout time. We prepare ourselves but wait. What if it is someone else who gets the ticket to ride before you thought they would, and all that prepping you did for yourself, is now tested when you realize you did not prepare to say an early goodbye to someone else. Someone you expected to be here long after you were gone.

Don’t get stuck lining up your ducks, working on your peace, building your accomplishments and collecting your laurel wreaths because stuff is not something we take with us. It is the time we said, “no, can’t do that because I’m busy. It doesn’t fit my schedule or calculated and carefully weighted plan.”

Find who really matters to you and invest yourself in a way that will leave your hands full of memories you can take with you too.

 

The Future of Work – An Artist’s Perspective

The future of work is a concern for many. As we advance technology with artificial intelligence, with drones, with massive analytical capabilities we ask, will machines replace humans? Will there be any jobs left? What will we humans do?

In 2014, I was invited to present my Vision for Houston in 2040. This vision focused on our living environment, the combination of urbanism and nature. Since then, I’ve realized we also need to change how we live at the social level.

Currently we each carry a dollar sign on our chest. It is our value. It is what categorizes us and makes some targets to pursue and others untouchables. It gives us license to adore some and the ability to turn others invisible in their very presence. We relate to each other according to this value but aren’t we more than that?

If we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs we can find a guide for developing our social make-up.

Maslow's pyramid of needs. Found on Wikipedia.

Maslow’s pyramid of needs. Found on Wikipedia.

Each person is unique. We each come to this life with certain gifts. I propose that we allow each person to pursue the development of those gifts, that we allow them to be their passion. With free education to pursue the development of those skills and knowledge people will become richer in areas that make them happy.

By providing a universal basic income thanks to the automation of much of the work we will enable everyone to meet their physiological needs along with their needs for safety and security. Everyone would have food and shelter where they decide to live.  This would be a standard.

We would then be free to pursue love and belonging, esteem, and self actualization. We would become givers instead of takers. Creators instead of consumers. We would all be free to become philanthropists of the gifts we have to give and these gifts would be developed to the level we desire. Some people would pursue technical paths, some would pursue social or natural areas. We would be able to match those who are young and curious with incessant questions with those who are senior and experienced looking to share their accrued knowledge and wisdom.

Everyone could become a master or an expert, or obtain enough experience to suffice for the needs of sharing in their community. The choice would be theirs. Those who want to pursue more could do so. Those who have had a life of making widget number 5 all their life would be invited to learn that which always called to them. This would not stop them from pursuing the great fish that got away but would give meaning to their retirement by giving them the opportunity to kick around that which they always wanted to pursue or practice, even if it was what they always did and loved. They would share of themselves with those looking for just that ability. Each person would be honored at all points of their life.

By finding the space to pursue love and belonging they would become esteemed members of their community. By finding and developing their true calling people would identify their place in the community. For the love of it, they would be scientists, engineers, technology experts, analysts enhancing the the advancements that make life hum. There would be those who engage in the social make-up of the community filling the creative, spiritual, and human need. And there would be those who become explorers, philosophers, and those who contemplate the essence of life. There would be those who become specialists and those who become generalists testing life in various areas at different times in their life. Everyone would be a teacher and a giver at one time or another, some more than others.

By enabling everyone to create a specific space for themselves in the community and valuing them for who they are, we can change the way we see “work” and live. We will recognize that each individual is important for who they are and what they contribute to the rest of us or the world in thought, product or presence. Not to pursue consumption but quality of life and enjoyment. We would pursue the purpose of being human.

 

Fall Art Calendar – Final Stretch

Three events to wrap up the year for the holiday season.

  1. Alpine Artwalk. November 18 & 19, 2016
  2. Guiton St. Artists Fall Open Studio Event. December 3, 2016
  3. Author Visit-A Book Event for Girls and Moms. December 10, 2016

studio-110316-100

 

thinking-girls-2016

These three activities wrap up the event year after which I will sojourn to write and paint in my typical winter hibernation habit. We’ll see what the new year brews for us.

 

Why We Need to Exercise Responsible Parenting In Our Creative Process

At the easel, painting a live portrait, First Saturday Arts Market a few years ago.

At the easel, painting a live portrait, First Saturday Arts Market a few years ago.

Responsible parenting is the magical ability to teach and impart self-managing skills to our children in a gradual and masterful way that fits their learning abilities and level of maturity. You will note that my definition does not assume anyone is an expert as there is a degree of immeasurable wiggle-room and ongoing opportunity for improvement. Perhaps that is why they say you become more of a master with grand-parenting.

If grand-parenting gives us room for improvement because we can stand back and look at our “creation” and learn from our mistakes then perhaps we can use this example in the practice of our creative works as well.

So how do we impart self-managing skills to our creations?

A key element that I find missing from many creative processes when it comes to the production phase is the consideration of what it takes to power your production, maintain it, and the plan for its obsolescence or posterity. In other words, the consideration of its full life cycle.

When we consider the full life cycle of a product we are giving it life skills for self-management. We are making a sustainable product.

What is a sustainable product? This definition is like the one for “organic” products. What is truly organic and what is acceptably “organic”. It depends on who is measuring. Our job is to consider every aspect of the product from its reason for being to its design, use, and end of life. Is the product necessary? What purpose will it serve? Does it enrich, communicate, serve? Is it unique, is it an improvement, is it a copy of something else?

Mitch model

Mitch posing for his Character Sketch at the First Saturday Arts Market.

Over the last few decades, we are again paying more attention to the aesthetics of a product but we are forgetting about its production and operation. We need to maintain the balance of quality control in all aspect of the creation’s life-cycle. Just as we look for the optimum design, the right raw material, the most effective and efficient production process to deliver maximum operation capacity, we also need to consider how it will be maintained and how it will ride off into the sunset…because if we don’t, then someone else will have to pick up the slack of our lack of planning and incur costs that we ultimately should be accountable for as master creators. Ineffective design fails to consider these elements in the rush to get the product out to market before its time.

One of the key elements today when it comes to sustainability of a functional product is how it will be powered. If this is an after thought then we will be incurring potential retrofitting costs to the owner when finding the most effective, efficient, and environmentally responsible source of energy. Operation, maintenance and planned obsolescence are critical to sustainable design.

So when considering birthing your next purposeful design, be mindful of what will go into it, how it will go into it, how it will operate, how it will be powered, how it will be maintained, how it will seize to exist, and how it will reintegrate as raw material for other creations.

Now if we could only write the ultimate parenting guide with that!

Back Room = Art Sale

Lilibth Andre's Back Room, East Wall 1

Lilibth Andre’s Back Room, East Wall 1

If you’ve been to my studio you have seen my back room. This is where I hold paintings that are between events and their new home. The bulk of my available inventory is in this room. Here’s the deal, I’ve been asked to vacate this room so from now until the end of the month, everything in the Back Room is 50% off.

If you’ve had an original ANDRE in mind, now is the time to take it home. I will be there this Saturday, September 24, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and you are welcome to come and see what is available in original art. You will find:

Oils, acrylics, colored pencils, and drawings.

Landscapes, portraits, figures, still lifes, and florals.

Sizes range from 4×6 to 36×48.

Lilibeth Andre's Back Room, Large canvases 1

Lilibeth Andre’s Back Room, Large canvases 1

Most of these pieces are framed or gallery wrapped, and ready to hang in a new home.

If the date and time don’t work for you, please let me know so that we can find a time that is convenient. If you are outside of Houston and have a particular piece in mind, contact me to make special arrangements. Need a payment plan? We can talk.

Here’s the map to the studio. Let me know if you plan to come.

Thank you for your help.

 

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    © Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this text, images or content without express and written permission Lilibeth André is strictly prohibited. For permission to license, exhibit or purchase any of the artwork, email info@lilibethandre.com. Links to this site may be made with full and clear accreditation to Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André.