Free-fall – A perspective and commentary on art, global and environmental issues–Part 1

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by Joe Carlisi


Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of art and commentary by local painter, Joe Carlisi. Joe has lived all over the world and currently makes his home in Waikiki.

“A New Earth” – A woman sits naked, empty and unafraid with a leopard peacefully draped across her lap. The leopard’s potential ferocity is not an issue. She is not prey but rather, a peacefully coexisting creature, free of the fears that separate people and nature. Seated at the portal of an unfolding tableau of a new earth. An intense, bright sun rising behind the skeletal silhouette of a massive tree representing the past illuminates a new landscape. A tableau charged with a new energy delivered by a growing river of light, infusing the barren earth.


People are frightened, anxious, confused and depressed. There is good reason. The world, as we have known it, is unraveling at a frighteningly accelerating pace.

Let’s start with the fundamental set of elements or platform upon which everything . . . literally everything . . . rests. The host environment . .  planet earth, a sensitive, living platform supporting all life as we know it. Something has changed and continues to change on the deepest level. Dimensional. Radical. The limited predictability of nature’s cycles on which we have always relied and patterned our lives is gone.

Free – Fall!

Nature abhors chaos but, at the same time, is in a constant state of flux, continuously unfolding in a never ending process. Human activity has unbalanced the core patterns of nature on this planet. We are experiencing the undeniable, resultant meltdown. Turn on the TV.

The one constant, prevailing, universal law of nature is that all natural systems seek balance. What appears as chaos is the transient free – fall of natural elements re-configuring toward a new balance. Change and a new equilibrium will necessarily come.

But . . . hey, we want to get back to the way it was . . . to the good old days when we could do whatever we wanted. Blindly flailing, stumbling, never skipping a beat. Driven by the fictional belief that we are special . . .  superior to and above nature . . . gifted with an entire world to treat as our personal warehouse of goods to consume, ravage and casually annihilate as our whims dictate.

Yeah, let’s get back to work and finish the job…n the eve of our own carefully engineered extinction. The good old days.

But wait. Maybe there is an opportunity for us in this remake. Perhaps a time to let go of the fictions and delusions that brought us to this point. Time to embrace . . . revel in change. Why not? The old shit clearly failed . . . enormously.

Segue to Art. Art can jolt your ass . . . shut down, if for only a second, awareness habitually focused and expecting familiar, stale visual stimuli.

Art is a lens through which we see the world. Not necessarily the world that we expect… but a world beyond the familiar and the explainable that opens  our consciousness to the magic of the unknown.


Joseph Carlisi – Biography     

Born and raised in New York City, he earned BA and MA degrees in Philosophy at Hunter College of the City University of New York and then continued his graduate studies in Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology working under the mentorship of Marvin Minsky. Joseph worked as a part time content and copy editor for Harvard University Press (science and medicine) while attending M.I.T.     

After ten years as a university lecturer, researcher and administrator, he started and managed an advertising / public relations firm in San Diego, CA that handled a wide range of commercial accounts. On the academic side, he published a series of seven articles on animal behavior for Harvard Magazine and two books: “A Guide to Personal Power” and most recently “Playing God on the Eve of Extinction”.

Joseph Carlisi creates oil on canvas paintings that can be described as vivid, surreal and unexpected. His paintings have been exhibited and sold in: Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, Miami, Tokyo, Yokohama, Amsterdam, Berlin and Salvador Brazil.

Joe’s art is available for purchase.

Contact him at




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