Hey there! Thanks for looking! I’m Carl Atteniese Jr. (アテニジ、かール), a Tokyo-based Thinker, Writer, Artist, Voice Actor, Comic and Videographer from New York.
This bow was sincere: Until recently I called myself a Zen Buddhist. I know this is Shinto around me, but when visiting temples in Tokyo, I payed respects and this was also a bit of hamming it up for a friend taking my picture. But mostly, I was ecstatic to be in Japan, so bowing to Japan, the Japanese and saying hello to people at home in America in Korea and other places in a way that said, ‘finally I am in the place I’d wanted to be in for years!’
I like to say I was born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, and started growing up in South Korea–in my late twenties.
I make maxims, poems, essays, drawings, photographs, and on occasion mimic voices.
I have taught English as a Second Language for eighteen years, have worked as a voice actor and an industrial & educational actor, have done stand-up comedy and poetry, and am a love counselor of sorts – and activist of sorts, too. No, I don’t do activism particular to Japan or Korea in terms of trying to change the local politics, but online I am a digital activist in relation to my American citizenship and in thinking I am a member of the human species (I’m pretty sure about that last bit, but not certain.).
I have a petition at http://moveon.org to ban private campaign finance and to restore democracy to America. Politically I have also worked for Amnesty International, the Central American Refugee Center, Sierra Club, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (I am straight, but support equal human rights for all), Stop the War and Greenpeace, among others – all as an advocate, or activist.
I began doing voice acting while teaching in South Korea. As a teacher, I lent my knowledge of English grammar, pronunciation, and style to the task of proof-reading and editing the scripts I read as a voice actor and narrator for such clients as CJ E&M Entertainment, The Korea National Broadcasting Federation’s Arirang TV, Android, Hyundai, Samsung, Human, and others. I am also a comic and a mimic. I reproduce voices and personalities, as well as accents. In my comedy I like to impersonate Christopher Walkin, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, George Carlin, and others.
I think English language teaching is a means to peace and environmental resurrection. This is because as a younger man I enjoyed reading the essays of Dr. Einstein and in one of them, I learned that Einstein mourned the loss of Latin as the lingua franca. This is because Latin – as the language of the educated – was a means for people of peace and erudition to communicate and better the human condition.
I think English is now the lingua franca, because billions are learning it the world over, and aside from the geopolitical reasons some would give for that, it is also because it is an accurate and explicit language that says a lot in a little space.
Having a language all people can speak means we can negotiate issues and understand one another. I feel this is very important – not only to maritime, aerospace, scientific and industrial endeavors – but also in medicine, politics, human rights and in the very real dangers posed by climate change and with Near Earth Objects.
Of course English is also essential in helping people of different cultures communicate for the benefit of international commerce and the arts. Many great works of art, in theater, prose, essay and poetry are in English – and let’s not forget about comedy, where the line between humor and news casting has become quite blurred in America.
I write about philosophy, society, culture, politics, ethics, the environment, and space exploration, with the last subject being of great interest to me since I was a boy. I had wanted to become an astronaut — but the arts pulled me in another direction after I realized that proclivities resulting from an unknown ailment at the time kept me quite distracted (I appear to be – and have been, at times, diagnosed as moderately hypoglycemic – the symptoms of which had deleterious affects on my cognition, memory, concentration, and calm until I learned how to care for this condition and manage it – and now I am fine).
The reason I speak and read about all the other issues mentioned here is I feel our voice and compassion are what set us free – if we express ourselves firmly, virtuously and articulately.
POETRY And COMEDY
I have read at poetry at readings in New York, Colorado and Seoul. I can’t wait to do it here, in Tokyo. Once I have new material and the time, I will also do some stand up comedy, as I had in Korea. I am actively writing bits, now.
The picture above was taken of me by My Seoul Photography while I was doing stand up comedy in Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea.
Many of my poems available on the internet are about love and politics. Politics is a subject of compulsion and obligation, not intrinsic love, for me. Many people say they don’t like politics, and this is understandable – but politics is the set of conditions in society – traditions, behaviors, and laws – affecting people. I feel that to be mum on politics is to surrender our freedom to the inertia of society – which is often thoughtless.
I was writing several books when I had the time – one on the process of love, because I feel love is the single-most important skill human beings must learn in order to foster good mental, societal, and relationship-health. I will return to writing them when I am sure of whether I am getting my Japanese visa. I cannot fully relax until that happens.
The picture of me in the hat was taken of me while I worked for Greepeace, in New York City. It was taken by Jonathan Conklin. I would no longer recommend Greenpeace. See my You Tube video about that.
I have been drawing pictures (and writing and entertaining people) since I was a boy. (I draw with my right hand. The picture, here, is a reversed image.)
I did the drawing at left of a dear friend in Korea in 2011. © Carl Atteniese 2018, All Rights Reserved.
When I was young I began drawing astronauts and spaceships and moved on to people in their more natural forms – especially when I became a teenager and young adult in my twenties.
I went first to a community college on Long Island, where I tried my hand in studies of the sciences and liberal arts. Later I went to an art college in Manhattan, New York City.
A Little More About Me
I had planned to become a political illustrator while at the School of Visual Arts–moved by my personal disillusionment at the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger crew, the wars in Vietnam and Latin America, and the Iran Contra Affair.
I learned of that first shuttle disaster in a catalyzing event that began my awareness, one day, on my journey home from college classes. I had stopped at the Homestead bus terminal to change vehicles. Stepping in front of a news and candy kiosk, I asked its vendor about the strange clouds on the little TV screen in the man’s stall; it was a replay of the Space Shuttle exploding over Florida. Almost more disturbing than this news was the fact that the proprietor was smiling when he said, “It is the space shuttle; it exploded.” In addition to the birth of my political awareness and the shattering of my fantasies about NASA and America, this–because of the man’s apparently incongruous reaction–was my first brush with culture shock, something that would become a moment-to-moment occurrence when I would live in South Korea, beginning nine years later.
I made the illustration above in response to the invasion of Iraq. © Carl Atteniese 2018, All Rights Reserved.
I learned of the Iran-Contra scandal when I was a draftsperson in a telecom company. The radio was always on in the engineering department, and I had heard the Iran-Contra hearings each day. This prompted my beginning a study of American involvement in Latin America and Iran. I went on to reading about the American War,” as the Vietnamese called what we did in their country, American involvement in Korea, and before I knew it, America in Panama and then Iraq. All of this influenced my pictures.
I personally studied American covert action and foreign policy, became an Urgent Action letter writer for Amnesty International, and lived through the Reagan-Bush years. All this taught me that democracy, public health, peace, human rights and sensible public policy are what citizens have to be vigilant about.
Whose Art Do I Like?
Aside from poetry, love, and politics, I am very interested in painting, drawing, and prints, as well as in photography. In fact, though I divide my time among many disciplines, I say I could probably do photography all day with no feeling of the passage of time.
My biggest American art influences are Brad Holland, Marshall Arisman, Malcolm Lepke, Marvin Mattleson, Jackson Pollack, and Ansel Adams.
I made this photo-art from a photograph I took the picture, above, entitled “Almost Home” in Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea. © Carl Atteniese 2018, All Rights Reserved. Nothing was added.
European influences include Van Gogh, Monet, Klimpt, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Durer.
The sole source of my interest in Japan — and a great influence in my drawing, are the Japanese woodblock masters Hiroshige, Hokusai, and Yoshitoshi.
Being Somewhat Multi-lingual
I taught myself very basic Korean, Han-geul, Hiragana, Katakana, and basic Japanese, so I could one day learn how to make Japanese prints in Japan (I am now — at this writing — learning Kanji). I would also like to write original Haiku in the native tongue, some day.
The drawing at left was finished in Boulder, Colorado, when I lived there before coming east. I was inspired by all my reading about the Vietnam War and about Vietnamese culture. © Carl Atteniese 2018, All Rights Reserved.
I Like Asia
Asia is special to me because of its aesthetics, gentility, honor, adaptability, and the Eastern philosophies that were perfected there (though I know humankind could not have progressed to where it is without the Greek philosophers, the French enlightenment and the independence movements of France, Great Britain, and the United States).
Contact me. I love life, humanity, and the exchange of ideas. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call me at (090) 516 – 655 – 2478 Japan, (8190) 516 – 655 – 2478 from outside.
Thank you for reading and for your interest and patience.
Carl 卍道 Atteniese