Genius 2.0

My nephews are geniuses.

Luke & I April 2017Eth & I April 2017

The next generation is in good hands.

A recent visit to family in Denver allowed me to spend time with my nephews. These two twenty-somethings have already contributed to the 21st cultural landscape.

Luke is an extraordinary manipulative photographer. His pictures “re-purpose” reality. Visionary impressionism rides the creative edge of a serrated knife. Luke’s pictures create ragged beauty. His images leave palpable impressions and opportunity for the thousands that follow him to create from the original creation. Here is some of our conversation.

Luke & I April 2017Uncle Mark: What motivates you to take pictures?

Luke: I am never satisfied. I always feel that I have yet to create my best work.

UM: What is your passion for creativity?

Luke: To show the viewer something she has not seen before.

UM: What fosters your verbal-visual creativity?

Luke: I am influenced by music, lyrics, and concepts from songs.

UM: When someone says you have a “good eye,” what does that mean to you?

luke april 2017Luke: An artist sees something else when others see the same thing. Artistry depends on being in the right place at the right moment. One must appreciate art in life. It’s all about seeing a photo without a camera.

UM: Is art simply experiential, left up to the viewpoint of the individual?

Luke: The answer should be “Yes.” But an artist’s intention comes from her viewpoint. Art is personal but depends on expertise and tools that not everyone has.

UM: What has your work in photography taught you about yourself.

Luke & I April 2017Luke: I have learned that I love to teach what I know. I love to inspire people. I am excited when others take my work and create more from it.

You can find Luke’s exceptional work at Luke’s work has been published in numerous journalistic outlets.

Eth & I April 2017Ethan writes with cadence and content his generation understands. Ethan’s words are loud, boisterous, and often, raw. Ethan and his ideas are transparent and honest. A visitor to six continents, Ethan has thousands of followers around the world. Ethan’s words are his art. Part of our conversation follows.

UM: You just wrote your third book, this one on “loneliness.” Why choose that subject?

Ethan: I traveled the world alone; it was relevant to me. There is a general wanderlust in my generation.

UM: Your friends and your generation as a whole seems to travel quite a bit. Why?

Ethan april 2017Ethan: Travel gives me and my friends a different perspective on life. To millennials travel means having a good life. But what we discover is that any attempt to escape our place and time is unfulfilling.

UM: What should people anticipate from your book?

Ethan: An increased depth of relationships, severing certain distractions in their lives.

UM: Your name and persona went viral after your famous Chicago interview (see it here). How much of your following in social media is based on your “celebrity” status?

Ethan: I talk about “fame” in my book for that very reason. My point in the book about celebrity and public status is that my generation more than any other finds fame unfulfilling.

You can find Ethan’s writing at You can find Ethan most anywhere on social media. He loves to gain new friends.

Mom and I April 2017A proud uncle, Dr. Mark Eckel (or DRUM, as Ethan & Luke like to call me) is President of The Comenius Institute. A proud son, Virginia Eckel, proud grandmother to Ethan & Luke, is my mom.

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