We Need Your Help

-by Amy Noe Dudas


As always happens in the life of a nonprofit, it’s time for our first ask. The following letter is going out in today’s mail. We only used addresses we already had and didn’t farm from other organizations with which we’re involved (that seemed wrong). So you may not be likely to get one (I know, DANG) until we grow our mailing list. But please, if you’ve followed our blog, heard about our plans, and LOVE our concept, consider a donation today.

If you aren’t able to give right now, we understand. We would still love to keep you up to date on our goings-on as we make our intended space accessible for all art lovers and acquire the configurable equipment we need to let everyone unleash their inner DIVA. So, at the very least, click here to give us your information.


Here is the real letter, without all the begging above. Thanks for reading it. And if all you’re able to give us right now is your love and emotional support, we love that too.

23 October 2017

Dear Friend:

As you may have heard around town, DIVA has arrived. At least in concept.

DIVA will provide a flexible open venue for the exhibition and performance of any art form and foster an inclusive collaborative environment for inspiration and creation. We are an Indiana Nonprofit Corporation with 501(c)(3) status.

We’ve been blogging (check out, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @imadivastudios). We already have a committed troupe of eager folks who will bring you improv performances. Beyond that, who knows? We envision poetry slams, modern dance performances, chamber music, storytelling, art exhibitions, progressive theater, even cooking demonstrations. Anything goes!

To get the ball rolling, Dudas Properties, LLC (Amy Noe Dudas, Member) recently bought 708-714 East Main Street and began operating Dudas Law (formerly Amy Noe Law) on the second floor. The third floor of this 1878 building (designed by well-known architect John A. Hasecoster, also known for the Gaar House, the Franklin County Courthouse, and the Gennett Mansion, to name a few) is a fabulous wide-open ballroom space with amazing views. Dudas Properties will donate the use of that third floor space to DIVA. But it’s going to take some work.

First of all, the building needs an elevator. Excluding certain artists and art-lovers based on their ability to climb stairs is a non-starter. The intended DIVA space itself also needs some updates and improvements, like an HVAC system, accessible bathrooms, a kitchen and bar area, and even a rooftop deck. We plan to seek grant funding from both government and charitable entities for a portion of this work. However, just putting together a presentation (with solid cost estimates and artistic renderings of our vision) will incur an initial cost.

That’s where you come in. Amy and I already have made some investments and plan to continue to provide funding. We could use additional support from others, like you, who recognize the importance of art in the development of individuals and communities alike. To bring those concerts, poetry slams, and exhibitions to life, we are asking the community to partner with us. The best part? The space will be made available to anyone who wants to unleash his or her inner DIVA by exhibiting or producing any art form. And how you define art is … however you want to define art.

We would love for you to join us in bringing DIVA to life which will, in turn, play a role in the community’s ongoing efforts to redevelop Richmond’s downtown. Feel free to e-mail us at with your ideas and questions. Gifts at any level will help. Please give and unleash your inner DIVA!

Kind regards,

Andrew R. Dudas

President, DIVA


One woman, one man, and a piano

-by Andy Dudas

DIVA board members Amy and Andy Dudas are directing fellow board member Jared Adamson and his co-star Alisa Clapp-Itnyre in a Visionary Production at Richmond Civic Theatre – Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins._DSC1962.JPG

Shows are January 19, 20, and 21. Tickets are on sale now at or call the box office at 765-962-1816. We also have a student matinee January 19 at 930am. Anyone with a valid student ID may come see this show for free. FREE! Space will be limited however as the schools already committed to attending will get seating priority.

This show is about two artists who become an unlikely pair of friends through their love of music. A woman who believes herself to be a world class operatic Soprano but is in fact totally unaware she cannot carry a tune at all and her truly gifted piano accompanist who gets dragged along for the ride._DSC7859.JPG

This story is about friendship. With their love of music acting as a stepping stone to the friendship that will blossom under rather unusual circumstances. The show reminds us all how much we need true friendship in our lives and how much art impacts us everyday._DSC7881.JPG

We would like to thank the The Leland Legacy for their generous act in loaning us their piano for this show and The Two Sisters: Books and More for their loan of their phonograph.

If you have never been to Richmond Civic Theatre, this would be a good show with which to start. A simple show that will have you leaving the theater with a smile on your face. This show will remind us how much good there is in the world. A very clean show with just a couple of slight curse words. A very PG show suitable for everyone but kids under ten may get bored but rest assured there are plenty of laughs for everybody._DSC8085

We would be honored if you could join us for our show.

Andy Dudas 1/10/2018

IMG_7392Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.


If what you have read here today inspires you, please check out the rest of our website.  The Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts needs your support.  Please contact us for more information.diva logo

Everyone’s a Critic

-by Andy Dudas

Amy and I are directing a show on the Visionary Productions stage at Richmond Civic Theatre.  We began our rehearsal cycle a week ago, gearing up for performances in January.  Like DIVA, we too are always on the lookout to find shows and art forms outside of the regular fare and this show is not what I would call ‘standard.’  That’s why DIVA was founded in the first place.

Our show has just two players.  One woman and one man.  Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins written by Stephen Temperley, is a mostly true retelling of a decade or so of her life told through the eyes of one of the most special people she would ever know, Cosme McMoon (portrayed by DIVA board member Jared Adamson).  Jenkins (played by Alisa Clapp-Itnyre, Professor of English at Indiana University East) is a woman of great souvenir script pic 1financial means who thinks she is a world class level operatic soprano but couldn’t hit a note the size of a Buick with a baseball bat from a foot away.  McMoon, a very talented legitimate musician/pianist in his own right has just taken up the job as Jenkins’ accompanist.  With bills too many and takers of his original music too few, the near starving artist caves to reality.

None of the people in Jenkins’ life, for who knows what reasons, told her how truly awful her singing voice was.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Her friends encouraged her to hold larger performances so more people could witness her singing, all the while laughing at her behind her back.  Complimenting her after each recital and using her for their entertainment and not appreciating her for what she thought was her finest exhibition of her love of and expert execution of song.

McMoon was quite torn by this whole process.  An underworked artist who has finally found the means to what was about to be his end in the music business had become attached to, of all things, a sideshow of a performer.  In the beginning at least, being a legitimate musician lowering his own standards to pay the bills was something of which he could never imagine.  As many humans can attest, it’s pretty astounding to what we can grow accustomed.

Helping her, in private, along the way was the easy part.  Sharing the stage with her, in the eyes and to the ears of the audience, that’s what was hard.  It was a personal demon he brushed aside probably quicker than he would have expected he could.  But when your income from a gig lasting just a few months pays the bills for the entire year…?  A lot of us would tend to round off the sharp edges of our principles and look the other way as we find a nice cozy place in our brain to tell ourselves we are still making music after all.

But what constitutes making music?

What constitutes Art?

Is it what others define or is it what we define?  My view of an abstract painting would most certainly be different than everyone else’s.  The different ways in which any of us are moved by a piece of classical music are probably as numerous as the notes on the pages of the score.  So where do our own personal tastes and preferences encroach on that of the person next to us?  Why is one opinion right and one opinion wrong?  Why is a painting open to a multitude of views and opinions but when someone sings an incorrect note; it’s wrong?

Could a singer’s missed note be seen as a different interpretation of the music?  Many would agree the intention of hitting a specific note and missing it is by definition, a mistake.  Or being unaware you have done so, that too, many would agree is wrong.  Or perhaps is our view of a singer’s performance too narrow that we lose something in the process?  Are we so hung up on right and wrong notes and so quick to point out a flaw we miss entirely the artist’s intention?

Without sounding like one who is in favor of handing out participation awards or even ones based on attendance, why are we compelled to share our views on Art?  Why do we wish to sway another person’s views of Art?  There are more than a few movies that I love that either received scathing professional reviews or laid a giant egg at the box office.  An outside opinion meant nothing to me in those instances.  In the end, is it something I like?  Only I have the key to that door.

We share our views on art because we want those around us to share in our enjoyment of something that’s moved us.  Or, to caution others to not waste their time.  I liken it to a member of the the wait staff at a restaurant telling the customers what they recommend or what they enjoy.  The customer is likely a total stranger, how could they possibly know what a complete stranger would enjoy?  To take this comparison further, obviously the waiter has inside knowledge about the menu.  Has been in and around the kitchen to see how things are prepared.  They have heard through word of mouth what has been popular with other customers and are basing their recommendations on those criteria.  And maybe even in the end, have EATEN the food!  As annoyed as many of us feel when given these recommendations, they do know something.

To bring it back to Art (the culinary endeavors are Art by the way) we suddenly feel as though our words and views are as accomplished as a professorial level opinion of the Art we have just witnessed.  Instantly, we are professional critics.

The reality is very simple: only we know what we like.

I don’t know if it’s something inherently American or even wider, human, to take pleasure in telling other’s of our disdain for anything if not everything.  Humans have been creating art for 40,000 years.  I have to imagine even then the artist had to listen to negative grunts in whatever form of verbalized communication the cave dwellers used.  In the end…everyone’s a critic.

Andy Dudas  10/24/2017


Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

If what you have read here today inspires you, please check out the rest of our website.  The Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts needs your support.  Please contact us for more information.

The Healing Power of Art

-by Andy Dudas

We can all feel down at times.  When the mile posts of life go whizzing by at a rate too fast to see much less comprehend.  Days that feel a little bluer than we can handle.  Days when the world is the winner and you are the loser.  Days that after just a few waking moments all you want to do is crawl back into bed and try it again tomorrow…maybe.

Hopefully we all have something on which we can always rely.  Something that no matter what, will never fail us when we need picked up.  Our dearest love.  Cookies rarely let you down.  Pizza is a stalwart citadel of infallibility.  A warm blanket.  Prayers.  Or even Hawkeye Pierce.

Certainly Dr. Pierce was not without fault and cookies and pizza can be burnt or undercooked, but reaching out during those dark and moody times to those things and people that generate happy if not at least happier feelings in us can start us on the road back to feeling better about ourselves.  But Pierce gets me to my point…Art.  He’s a fictional character who was named for a fictional character who was based on a real person.

Art either directly or indirectly has an effect on us.  Being moved to tears by an emotion wrenching motion picture or to convulsive jolts of laughter in response to a standup comic, Art effects us.  These thoughts came to mind recently while a newish(but certainly no less important or special) friend of mine was having one of these blue days.  My mind understood their plight.  My heart feeling, if even only in spirit, the same despair.  I was instantly able to identify with their “I need to be alone today” shout to the world.

My wife will occasionally take a ‘mental health day.’  Those days when you simply just can’t.  When everything is bearing down on you at once.  When you know you are on the verge of a bit of a breakdown if even a small one.  When you just can’t adult(verb).  When all you want to do is build a fort out of the couch cushions or hide under the covers or eat an entire container of ice cream or stand under the shower until all the hot water is gone or watch Rocky IV for the thousandth time or cuddle up as close as possible to that whom you love the most, be it a friend, a spouse or a pet…that thing you do when you are down.

When I need a pick-me-up, my favorite movies never let me down.  Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, That Thing You Do, Spartacus…films that for whatever reason have imprinted on me in specific and personal ways.  Star Trek was something I shared with and got from my Dad and oldest brother.  Star Wars because I grew up with it.  That Thing You Do because it’s awesome.  Spartacus…I’m not sure I can explain why specifically with this one, but it sweeps across so many emotions and boundaries…do I like movies about gladiators?  Yes.  Yes, I do.  And it could possibly be the most wonderful telling of a true love ever filmed.

Rereading a favorite novel by Clive Cussler always does the trick.  Watching a Jim Gaffigan special brightens me right up.  Listening to some Billy Joel.

Consuming Art is just one way it can help.  Creating Art can be just as beneficial.  Applying paint to a canvas.  Pointing a camera at a subject.  Dancing to your favorite song.  Strumming notes on a guitar.

Whatever your medium, Art can cure your ills.  You may very well stay in bed all day.  Watching The Dark Knight again doesn’t guarantee you will hop right up out of bed.  But it may take some of the sting out of staying in bed all day with the curtains drawn.

While I am certainly not advocating looking at a Rembrandt over a trip to your family doctor, or replacing a trip to the therapist in favor of watching Roadhouse, but on those days when it’s just too much and you need some time to just…be, keep some Art close by.  You might be surprised how quickly the road to recovery is found.

IMG_7392Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

If what you have read here today inspires you, please check out the rest of our website.  The Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts needs your support.  Please contact us for more information.

What Will DIVA Be?

By: Amy Noe Dudas

Featured Image Credit: Leap of Faith, by Ron Deane

At the moment, DIVA exists in concept only. We have a board and a building. We have a social media presence and have been blogging about art – as a concept, as a philosophy, as a way of life. We have a lot of ideas. But we’re obviously not up and running yet. And until we make some major improvements to our intended space, we won’t be. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t talking about it!

DIVA will be a blank slate of nearly 2,700 square feet that can be easily configured to suit the art being showcased.

You – the artist – will tell DIVA what you want to do. Maybe you play in a chamber orchestra. Maybe you want to exhibit a collection of your paintings. Maybe you and your collaborators have always wanted to put on The Odd Couple. Maybe you want to organize a poetry slam.

The sky’s the limit at DIVA.

DIVA will supply the space and needed production amenities such as staging, seating, display areas, lighting, and sound. You supply the rest.

DIVA will exist for art’s sake. And everyone has art within. Like Thomas Merton said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

Art is everywhere and within us all. DIVA seeks to make art, in all its forms, accessible to everyone. We hope to remove any barriers to the process of creating, accessing, and enjoying art.

According to a national study on arts and economic prosperity, “Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion of economic activity during 2015—$63.8 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $102.5 billion in event-related expenditures by their audiences.” DIVA also hopes to contribute to the revitalization of Richmond’s downtown.

DIVA will help your unleash your inner DIVA. Help us bring this concept to life.

Amy Noe Dudas is a local attorney, community advocate, and avocational musician.

12 pictures from Richmond, Indiana


Andy Dudas 12/1/2017

IMG_7392Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

If what you have read here today inspires you, please check out the rest of our website.  The Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts needs your support.  Please contact us for more information.


What is Success?

by Andy Dudas-

What is a successful piece of Art?  Is it something renowned and adored by fans?  Is it something garnering critical acclaim?  Or is it just something making the creator a crap ton of money?

It can be any or all of these things.  Using motion pictures as the example by which we will be measuring this question lets start with The Shawshank Redemption.  Pulling a 91% from Rotten Tomatoes this film is liked my many, many people.  But at the box office it just broke even.  As the movie continues to grow more and more beloved with age, we are left to wonder how did it not make more money?

Waterworld, a film widely panned(I liked it) was a domestic failure at the box office.  Post apocalyptic movies are tough for people.  There has been some money made in this genre but in the end I am always thinking we don’t want to be reminded of what our future may hold if it involves diesel fuel guzzling lunatics running roughshod over law and order just to find the next gas station on the way to whatever Hell on Earth we have doomed ourselves.  Kevin Costner had earned enough Hollywood cred from Dances with Wolves(yes I liked that one too!), JFK, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves to get this Esther Williams/Mad Max crossover to the screen.  In the end, I would suspect most people involved would say it wasn’t worth the paltry profits it produced internationally.

But then you have modern films with gigantic budgets well over $150 million.  $150 million is standard these days and they are expected to horn in on $1 billion with steady regularity.  Avatar, Star Wars VII, and Marvel’s The Avengers to name just three, all did this but with budgets that are way on one end of the scale.  Avatar(which I found to be very vanilla), the movie at the top of the all time box office list had profits in the neighborhood nearly 12 times what it cost to produce.  The Force Awakens brought in 8 1/2 times its production budget while Marvel’s The Avengers raked in almost 7 times the amount of money it cost.

But when it comes to success, at least in terms of money…Napoleon Dynamite was a film that only cost $400k to bring to the screen but made that back 115 times over. 115 times!  As impressive as that is, Paranormal Activity managed to break the bank and logic and everything I bet most Hollywood experts thought was the truth about how films are made and the money they bring in.  With a budget of just $15,000 they brought in nearly $200 million!  12,890 times the original budget.  Let’s apply that number to Avatar.  James Cameron spent $237 million and the box office was $2.8 billion.  Using his $237 million and Paranormal Activity’s 12,890, Avatar would have made over $3,000,000,000,000!  That’s 12 zeroes…THREE TRILLION DOLLARS!

When talking about Avatar we are obliged to mention Gone With the Wind.  A nice metric of ‘adjusted for inflation’ brings the 1939 classic to the top of the list a whopping 14 spots in front of Avatar, with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Ten Commandments, and 101 Dalmatians among those in between.  To be fair, these three films have been rereleased a total of 15 times and GWTW 15 more in its own right…so is it an accurate comparison when Avatar has been released just once…perhaps not.

But box office profit margins cannot be the only way in which we gauge the success of these or any films.  In the end, all that’s important is: did you like it?  Eye of the beholder and all that jazz.  Little known independent films versus gargantuan studio mega monsters seems to be a fight that was over before it started.  For as much as I maintain Jurassic Park(a box office smash making 16 times its budget) is my all time favorite movie, there is a place in my heart for a movie even like Wild Wild West(widely recognized as a horrible film and its profits support that not even doubling its budget at the box office).  Both huge in terms of promotion and production but miles apart in terms of how there were received.

Was Jurassic Park expected to be a success?  Certainly, but then again enough people thought Wild Wild West might be too.  How about Avatar?  You don’t convince that many people to front that much money on a film to just break even.  When Cameron produced Titanic, he had to get two movie studios to get on board to spread the cost and burden.  In the end of course, Cameron was right both times.

But when the project is small and financial success an uncertainty…a couple thousand dollars from a benefactor of modest means is worth much more to them than the tens of millions of dollars dropped rather casually on a film coming out of a mainstream juggernaut.  Which is why some, not every, but some times we get a film like Waterworld and people hate it.  But at the other end of the budget spectrum, we also are given Don’t Think Twice(Rotten Tomatoes 98%).  A little film with a limited release that just knocks your socks off.  Raking in a billion dollars was never this film’s destiny.  Writer/director Mike Birbiglia with a budget of just $3 million, whose profits, dollar earned vs dollar spent, actually outpaced those of Wild Wild West and as of this writing is on par with Blade Runner 2049‘s budget/box office numbers.  Take that, replicants!!!

So who is expected to succeed and to whom is failure doomed?  Nobody knows.  Which is why in the end you should just judge these things for yourself.  For every Heaven’s Gate there is another Captain America waiting to break the bank.  For every Rocky lurking in the shadows waiting to surprise the world, there is another John Carter waiting to let us all down.  Yet another film I liked better than Avatar, but what do I know?  I’m the guy who liked Waterworld and cried watching Bring It On.

dollar sign imageAndy Dudas 11/20/2017

IMG_7392Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

If what you have read here today inspires you, please check out the rest of our website.  The Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts needs your support.  Please contact us for more information.diva logo


It Means Something to Me

-by Jared Adamson-

As I sit at my desk and type this blog post, something catches my eye. It’s been there a while and I see it nearly every day. And it’s kind of hard to miss, as the colors are quite vibrant. It’s not what I’d call ‘large’, though it is larger than the photographs of my kids and grandkid that it hovers above.

“What is it?” you may ask. It is a gift from a friend.

Specifically, it is a painting that was created especially for me. Not a lot of people have seen it, for even if you visit my office, it’s kind of tucked away from view. If you were to pop your head in for a quick hello, you might miss it. And in it, the artist, someone I consider a good friend, tried in his way, to translate, to capture, to portray…me.

And even though I’m 100% sure that this friend will read this post (wink, wink), I’m still going to say what I’m going to say. It is, by NO definition known to humanity, great art. An untrained painter, trying to speak a language he has not studied and likely would not grasp much of it. Imagine visiting Europe. Just because you’ve eaten at the Olive Garden and Taco Bell does not mean you will be able to effectively communicate anything if travelling through Italy or Spain.

And yet to me, this work of art is priceless. Because I get it. I understand what the painter is saying. I hear the tone of voice in his brushstrokes. I see his emotion in his color palette. I can see my friend in his own work. I am the only intended audience and it makes me smile. It means something to me.

I’ve recently been reading the Little House book series to my kids. A character, if you will, that I had nearly forgotten and yet continues to reappear each time the Ingalls family sets up housekeeping, is the shepherdess figurine. Just a small porcelain figure that sits upon the mantle of each new home that Pa built. Today, it could have some historic value; it might have some antique value. It would not likely be considered as great art. But to the authoress, Laura, it always meant “home”. It meant something to her.

There are great themes and ideals in any art form that we could discuss at great length. There is much to be learned about the history, technique, application and implication of any art form. From such an education and/or debate/discussion, much could be applied to our creations. And as I said of my friend, he is untrained/inexperienced in many or all of these themes and ideals. But that doesn’t make him ineffective or undesirable as an artist. I have proof in front of me—a very effective, highly treasured painting.

Here’s what I’m getting at: when creating, “success” is not black and white…but neither is it shades of grey. It is a rainbow of options and opinions. It is a Pantone palette of possibilities. One critic may sit on one side of the fence, while another stands on the other. Then a third critic does a balancing act, walking across the fence. And another one points to the fence and says, “Fence?! I thought you meant Fencing!” (And then everyone gets nervous, because he’s clearly someone that should not be trusted with foil nor sword.)

Does “prolific” equal “success”? Does “profit” equal “success”? Does “propensity” equal “success”? Does “persistant” equal “success”? I don’t intend, or even want, to define success for you. But let me challenge you to find art that means something to you. Whether as Creative or Audience, if it is meaningful to you, you have found great art. Even if, or maybe especially if, it comes from an untrained, uneducated, inexperienced, dear and beloved friend.

Jared Adamson 10/2/2017

piano art for Jared

Jared Adamson is the Minister of Worship and Creative Arts at Centerville Christian Church in Centerville, IN.  Studying voice, composition, organ and improv, he has a Bachelor of Music in Church Music with a double major in Bible and piano from Cincinnati Christian University where he later served as an adjunct professor in the music and worship department.


Inspire. Create. Build. Make.

-by Andy Dudas

When going through changes in your life sometimes you come across old things about yourself which you had long forgotten.  One day you have that, “How did I end up here???” introspection and you begin to wonder how you let yourself fall into a place where you cannot truly identify with your surroundings let alone yourself.  In moments like this you may look back to who you used to be or at least who you wanted to be.

Tracing your memory back to when you had different goals.  Hopes of becoming this or that.  That your life would take you down a certain path only to realize too late you have been meandering down a path the likes your former self would never have imagined possible.  At a crossroads…where do you go?

For me, one of things I did was to rekindle my fondness for creating.  Anything.  I did not set out with this goal in mind, it just kind of happened.  One day I realized, “Hey, I’m making stuff again.”  Once my hands were reviving the muscle memory of years gone by and my brain reigniting the neurons of creativity I knew then my life was leading back to the path from years before.

There had always been little dribs and drabs of creativity here and there along the way.  Never truly admitting to shutting off that part of my body but also never truly giving it the attention and responsibility that I had allowed myself to ignore.  Like a giant stone guardian, dormant for centuries come to life.  Slowly but surely and certainly creaky and wobbly in the beginning: my creativity had again become a focal point of my life.

Everyday is now spent creating something.  Even if by the time I fall asleep the thing I have created is just more thought about a larger project waiting to be attempted or finished…I have used my energy to create.  Now as a middle aged adult, I find creating is giving me everything I subconsciously knew it could.

my first foam helmet

I owe a large part of this creation rejuvenation to a few people I discovered on YouTube.  Having been a fan of Mythbusters for years, one day I managed to navigate to a video from Adam Savage’s Tested channel that changed the direction of the rest of my life.  A video of Norm Chan and Evil Ted Smith making a helmet out of foam floor mat material, blew me away.  I was enthralled from the start and have yet to come down from that creative high.  It’s been over a year now and I can see how this one video quite literally changed my life.



medic military helmet
my second attempt

There are many CosPlayers out there with a much larger vault of abilities and talents from which to draw than I possess.  Many of them creating their own DIY videos.  Some of which have become so successful they have actually made this ‘hobby’ of their’s, their occupation.  This led me to Bill and Brit Doran of Punished Props.  Watching the process of building armor from foam floor mats allowed the creative seed Norm and Evil Ted planted to grow quite vigorously.


Which led me to Frank Ippolito.  Learning about the process of silicon mold making really started to get the wheels turning in my head.  “People mold and make stuff?  Lightsabers?  People make their own realistic Lightsabers???”  It was nearly more than I could comprehend.  While I have yet to undertake this as a project…someday…someday.

spartan helmet
my 3rd helmet

Somewhere along the process, a suggested video from Shop Time popped up.  Peter Brown is one of the neatest content creators on YouTube.  A wonderfully creative and grounded man whose approach to making has the appropriate amount of devilishly twisted nonsense thrown in to make his channel a rabbit hole to which you could easily lose an entire weekend.  I know. I did.

And again, through the suggested videos the next inspiring maker came into my life.  Bob Clagett at I Like To Make Stuff.  This guy…WOW!  A former software guy who has had so much success with his Youtube content he was able to quit his job and walk away.  This guy’s job is showing people how to make things…stuff.  How awesome is that???  But don’t let his ‘regular’ fare fool you.  For as often as he uploads a practical DIY project, Bob can create something every bit as odd and totally unnecessary as Peter Brown.  And with that, I give you the Pudding Gun.

All the while, I kept hearing a certain name pop up during these videos.  Jimmy Diresta.  Take everything Evil Ted, Bill and Brit Doran, Peter Brown, Frank Ippolito, and Bob Clagett put into their videos, combine them into one master artist…you get Jimmy Diresta.  I cannot adequately put into words how in awe of this man’s artistic and creative talents I am.  It truly seems there is nothing he cannot make.

number 9 five panel painting.jpg
my latest painting

Each of the people I have listed in this blog have had a profound influence and impact on  not just my artistic tendencies, but in all honesty my life.  By finding a path back to my Art, I have found the person I really wanted to be all along.  But of all these inspiring people and this path back to my creativity, none of it would be happening without my wife.  Amy supplies me with the energy from which I breathe.  Together, she and I created the Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts.  DIVA is alive because we are together.  We inspire each other.  Find the people in the world that inspire you.  Be the person someone else looks to for inspiration.

Inspire.  Create.  Build.  Make.

Andy Dudas 11/8/2017

IMG_7392Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

If what you have read here today inspires you, please check out the rest of our website.  The Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts needs your support.  Please contact us for more information.diva logo

What do you wanna watch?

by Andy Dudas-

There are a lot of options when it comes to our viewing choices.  Streaming movies, DVD movies, even VHS for some still I bet.  And then there is even the old brick and mortar cinema.  Television shows offer up equally if not more options.  To name a few – Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube Red, and of course the old TV sets with their aging broadcast fare.  Sites like Twitch provide live streaming services for an entire community of users ranging from makers and gamers to artists and talk shows.  And of course YouTube offers up all of its user content…I’m looking at you Peter Brown!

Thousands, if not millions of opportunities exist every single minute of every single day.  “What do I watch?  Do I want to get personally invested in a show?  How much of my time am I willing to risk on a show that I have no clue if it’s worth a damn?”

Binge watching…the new American pastime.  For us, we tend to radiate toward classic TV shows.  M*A*S*H, Star Trek(TOS), The Wonder Years, and The Cosby Show(which involved many conversations wondering whether or not we could watch Bill Cosby and not feel wrong by doing so-in the end we tend to separate the art from the artist-so yes we can watch Bill Cosby) have been our most recent trips down nostalgia lane.  But we have also found some newer options and have had some wonderful results with the likes of Scrubs, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  And some builder/reality programming holds a lot of interest to us as well(cough, Mythbusters).

I think there are genuinely only one or two shows that we regularly watch that are currently in production: Forged in Fire and This Week with John Oliver.

Opting for older shows that have already ended their run, we have the benefit of history showing us at the very least the longevity of any particular show.  As to whether or not we will actually like it is still up in the air.  But for shows that are still in production…I am left to wonder how is it possible that a show can be considered good, as being popular is NOT the same thing, and run for so long that I have never watched even a few seconds of it.

Breaking Bad was on for 6 seasons, 62 episodes…never saw even one second of any of them.  That show won like 15 Emmys.  FIFTEEN!!!  NCIS has been on since 2003.  They have made over 340 episodes.  I have seen none of them and surprisingly they have never won an Emmy and only had 3 nominations.  That’s kind of hard to believe.  8 seasons and over 100 episodes of the Walking Dead since 2010 and I still haven’t got around to watching it.  Grey’s Anatomy has been on for 14 seasons, to the tune of over 300 episodes and if it weren’t for the spelling, for all I know this is a show about an exhuming and subsequent autopsy of the late American author Spalding Gray.

Films are no different.  Since 2004 there have been 8 installments in the Saw movie franchise.  Over the last thirteen years there have been 9 motion pictures with the name ‘Madea’ in the title.  From 2002 through 2017 we saw 5 titles each introduced from Pirates of the Caribbean and Ice Age.  For crying out loud, in a stretch from 1984 to 1994 there were 7 Police Academy movies produced!  Of everything I have just mentioned, I think have seen 3.

Since 2002 there have been more than 20 Marvel superhero films released.  At least Star Wars has had the decency to take 40 years to release what will be their ninth film in just over a month.  James Bond/007’s 25 films in just over 54 years gets due credit for most films in a franchise.  While Star Trek, the mother of all franchises has produced 13 movies and a total of 713 episodes over 7 different TV programs since first hitting the airwaves in 1966 and one still has one in production.

Where does all of that lead us?  What in the hell am I supposed to be watching?  Not to mention all of this has been made all the more confusing when my cable provider just recently rearranged my channel order.  Or at the very least, I have managed to enter an option on my remote that moved everything around and I am not smart enough to know that I have done so and if that is the case I wouldn’t be savvy enough to correct it anyway.

While some of the titles/franchises I have already listed are nothing I have any interest in participating in, obviously there are a great many people who choose to do so.  I suppose it all comes down to what you define as ‘worthy of watching.’  How do any of us define what we want to watch?  Single people have a different take on this than those who live with a partner and those who live with children.  Finding something everyone can agree on could become quite the difficult task when you are figuring you may have as many as 5 or 6 different sets of preferences and ages.  But then again the average American household has nearly seven different screens to choose from ranging from TVs to tablets, so maybe getting everyone to agree on what to watch is a thing of the past.

Then there are those shows and films that when you are dialing around, when you come across them you stop what you are doing and you will watch it to the end.  No matter what it is.  We all have those favorites, for better or worse that we are compelled to watch.  It doesn’t matter at what point you find it: in the middle, near the beginning…YOU ARE GOING TO FINISH THIS SHOW!  For me this includes, Road House, any Rocky, probably SpongeBob and Armageddon.

There are no absolutes when it comes to any Art form.  A favorite of yours may be something I hate and vice versa.  Crime, reality, drama, sports, comedy, politics, sci-fi, military, courtroom, animated, anime, competition, hospital, documentary, mockumentary, sports entertainment, DIY, news, religion…the genres are endless.  And that to me is what Art should be about.  What ever you want it to be.

So…what do we watch?

Andy Dudas 11/7/2017


Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

If what you have read here today inspires you, please check out the rest of our website.  The Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts needs your support.  Please contact us for more information.diva logo