Thursday, December 31, 2009

upcoming topics

Another short week of work has given me the opportunity to work on some grants and applications for upcoming show. I am eager to see what will come of the proposals I am suggesting. I also am hoping to write a few entries in the blog. here are a couple pictures that give you a preview of what is to come!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

new music

I've become a little bit of a NPR junkie at work. I'm on a mission to find some new music to buy. Here are a few tunes I enjoyed.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Morro da Coroa

Rio de Janeiro is a city full of beautiful wonders. For each individual spectator, the beauty is found any many different forms. For me, Rio is beautiful for not only their wonderful beaches but also their lush, rich mountains, colorful and crowed streets, and most importantly, for the people that come from all over the world with the same mission, to see this marvelous place!! Sometimes I still can't pin point why I enjoy this place as much as I do. I think some of the reasons are indescribable but rather a feeling and an instinct that keeps coming back and will for some time. Often I feel like when I am there, I am somehow a different person, which in some ways one could argue is quite ironic. I felt like I was more myself in this other country, with a different language and culture. I guess in some ways it’s because these last few months, I was finding myself, the things I like and dislike along with discovering the new and I haven’t had the chance to do this any other time or at least be happy about it! I was confident, I was happy with myself, and I was enjoying everything about my life.

When it comes to being in a new place or environment, my natural instinct is to want to familiarize myself with the simple things. I often times find myself trying to remember landmarks on a street or certain names that will forever remain in my memory. When I rode throughout the city, whether that be on the bus or in a taxi I always was people watching or glued to the window and captivated by the scenery. I think some of my favorite memories spent in Rio, this past trip, were actually when I was commuting around the city by bus or foot trying to reach a destination for a meeting or to visit my family. It’s hard to believe at one time I was petrified of riding the bus because after a few weeks, I took it everywhere and often 3 or 4 times a day. On my many adventures around town, I once in awhile found myself taking a cab from the south zone to the north zone either on my way to the Rodaviara or bus station. It is impossible to drive through Rio without spotting a mountain covered with a favela or shantytown, which are the homes of thousands of Cariocas, each one uniquely different and spread throughout the city. One in particular has always been of interest to me because of the absurd color palette. See it is common to pass by a favela and just be amazed at the colors that are created by the mismatch placement of each building. I found it is easy to appreciate the beauty found in these communities and just how captivating they are to many people. Well in this one favela I had noticed, there are sections that have been painted this funky blue and I was always questioning why this was. I asked a few people and had some different responses. One response involved a theory about the different communities within the favela or possibly a way in which the drug lords mark off territory but I wasn’t really buying any that I had heard. It didn’t really make sense to me. So….I decided to do a little research on the net and see what I could find.

With the help of google maps I was able to identify the area where the favela was located, I’ve identified the favela as Morro da Coroa. Here is a pic that I found through my search. Gives you an idea of what I was talking about with the blue buildings but it looks even more absurd from afar.

Through my search, I stumbled upon this site about two guys from The Netherlands that started painting murals inside favelas in Rio. I am not really sure if this is what is being worked on in Coroa but thought it would make for an interesting post. They launched the Firmeza Foundation that supports the creation of striking artworks in unexpected places. It collaborates with local people to use art as a tool to inspire, create beauty, combat prejudice and attract attention. The project has really taken off in the last few years and it seems they have gained a lot of exposure through what they are doing. Here is a link to their site Favela Paintings and also some youtube videos you should check out. These projects look amazing and what they are planning next will be incredible. They want to organize a project where an entire favela will be painted with the help of everyone in the community. Each house hold would help paint their own house. From what I have read, it seems that the project will take place in a favela located in Copacabana but I am still not sure. They don't give a direct name. I was hoping it was the Morro da Coroa! Here is a link from their site about it. Check it out!

More Info

Getting involved in something like this seems like a great opportunity. Something new to look into to during my next trip!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Picture of the Day- Feliz Natal-RJ

Christmas on the Lagoa and one day I will be there for it!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Brazil on NPR

Here is another story I heard today at work about Brazil. From now on, anytime I hear one I'll post it to share. Enjoy.

Image of the Day- Grutas in Sete Lagoa

I share this for not really this image but to remind me of a trip I took out to Sete Lagoa. While I was visiting Belo Horizonte I was staying with a friend I had met and since she was working during the week, I had all day to go explore different areas around the city as well as some hidden gems by myself. Now usually I would be one to not travel alone but when I visited Brazil this trip, I realized how much I like to travel on my own because I felt like I was able to challenge myself more. I decided one day to go see some grutas also known as caves or caverns. I had read about them in my lonely planet book and decided it seemed like something that might be good inspiration for my work sooooooo I went to the bus station and found what bus would drop my approximately in the right area. I ended up asking the motorista (driver) where I would need to get off and when I had arrived he got my attention and I jumped off. Kind of strange because I was on the side of a highway. Was my portuguese that bad? Confused and a little worried I began to walk and noticed right across the traffic there was a huge sign for the grutas and a deserted parking lot in the backdrop. I quickly crossed the street and walked towards a small building that I assumed was the entrance. As I got closer a young girl greeted me and in my usual fashion I attempted to explain to her why I was there. She quickly realized I couldn't speak extremely well Portuguese but I reassured her I could understand and I did..for the most part. We had a few moments when I would be explaining something to her and mix up some word with another. We would laugh about once we figured it out. She was a really geniunly nice person and she was good company while I was waiting for the tour to begin. It was reccomended that I ate lunch before heading up the hill so I sat and ate a snack and drank fresh water right from the coconut. Once it was time to head up the hill, I met my guide who was another girl. Since it was the beginning of the week, I was the only visitor so I got my own guided tour in all Portuguese... I attempted to comprehend and she attempted to explain to me how the caves were formed and I understood bits and pieces..just a little too fast but I tried my best and even asked a few questions :) Portguese is such a pretty language! at times when I can't even understand I am just blown away by how beautiful it sounds.

When I returned back to the office, the first girl I had met was nice enough to help me find a bus back to Belo. Since I was dropped on the side of the road,I assumed that was were I would catch a bus but still was a little unsure about it. She offered to wait with my on the side of the road and it was the first time in a few weeks where I had this moment when I felt like I needed to be pinched because it didn't seem like I was really there and this was really happening. We were sitting on the side of the road and a little old woman was hobbled over a little juice stand that was shaped like a giant orange and inside for two heis she was selling the most delicious homemade juice I had ever had. Every few minutes a car or bus would pull up to buy some from her. The nice girl who was waiting with me told me I had to try some and I much obliged to the offer. It was abaxaci (pineapple) juice and sooooooo good. It was ice cold and thick with pieces of pineapple in it. There is nothing like fresh fruit juice and having a conversation with a complete stranger. Even if you can only communicate in simple forms. We talked a little about Rio and also more about the caverns. It made for a perfect day and I began to realize how kind people are in Minas. They have a lot of pride for their country and are welcoming to all people.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Brasil Series #5

I am currently in the process of looking for a space so I can start working on some ideas for pieces I have been thinking about. For now I am trying to keep up with the marquetry work I was doing in Brazil. I am hoping to start a new piece this week. The piece will be a reference to my experience walking around Sao Paulo. I'll let you know when I have more progress!!

This piece is a reference to the CIEPs found throughout Rio. I wrote about them in an early post. Here is a recap.

Image of the Day- Santa Teresa- RJ

This is the famous bonde that you can take across the Arcos da Lapa on your way to Santa Teresa. I hadn't had the opportunity to actually ride the train up the hill to this cute little area in the city, full of the boheimian side of Rio, until my last few weeks in Brazil. It is one of my favorite parts of the city and somewhere I could see myself living someday in the near future. It was also the first time I met a new friend named Paulina who was studying at USP in Sao Paulo but was from Paris. She allowed for me to visit and stay with her in Sao Paulo a few weeks after I showed her around Rio.


Since I have begun my normal, everyday office job I have started listening to npr to make the time go by faster. I decided to search to see what news they had gathered about Rio with the Olympics and problems with the favelas since it seems to have caused a lot of attention in the media in the last few months. Some of these issues that are discussed, I have been thinking a lot about myself. (Posts to come! I promise!) It's amazing how many conversations I had with people about favelas either by other gringos who were interested in seeing this place (which I fear often times is because of the movie City of God..I in fact had a few people reference it, while we were speaking! Come on! Really! It's a movie! Don't justify your reasonings based off of this!) or by those who lived in other parts of Rio. I myself, began to volunteer in a favela but for a short time.I was jumping around too much, traveling to other places. I think not long enough to really be able to share many thoughts but at least a few. I think it is extremely important to note, each favela is different and some are more dangerous than others. Either way, I wanted to just post some of these news reports that I recently listened to..both positive and negative.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Image of the Day- CS friend's eating Jabutacaba- Belo Horizonte

I met wonderful people on my spur of the moment trip to Belo Horizonte. It was a much needed trip and a chance to get away from the madness of Rio for a bit. It was a chance for me to see what normal life is like in Brazil without all the glam and glitz of the big cities. It was much like if a Brazilian came to visit Columbus. We'll I loved it and had a lot of fun learning about the culture north of Rio. I stayed with a friend I met through couch surfing. (yes, I did use this site quite a bit during my trip. more explanation on a later post!!) She and her father lived in a suburb outside the city of Belo Horizonte. She was so welcoming and wanted to take me everywhere around the city. She and a few other friends went with me to a great park called Inhotim. This picture was taken there when we were eating Jabutacaba (my favorite fruit) off the trees, in hopes of not getting caught!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Picture of the day- Volta Redonda Madame Zero

Volta Redonda has been on my list of places to visit in Rio since even before my first trip and this time around I was able to visit. It was all that I was hoping in more. Very surreal in many ways, which the steel mill in the middle of this city. I was sitting in a mall looking out the window with a skyline of factory buildings and smoke.

This picture is from this amazing concert I went to to see and meet Luciana's cousin's husbands band...whoooooo! that was a mouth full! He is the bass player and they are called Madame Zero. I am not going to lie..the singer reminded me of Missy..slighty...I may be crazy. She called me Mary Jane all night and about 10 other people. We had way too much fun and before we knew it, it was daylight and we were waiting for a local cafe to open for breakfast before heading home to bed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Picture of the Day- Ouro Preto, MG

I am going to try something keep myself more on track with my blog, I am going to start posting a picture of the day. Each picture I post will be related to my trip. I recently realized, that I am a pretty forgetful person. I didn't do a whole lot of writing while I was on my trip so now is my time to reflect and share the stories.

I took this picture while I was visited a city that is 5 hours north of Rio de Janeiro called Ouro Preto. In English this would translate as Black Gold and at one time this was the prosperous capital of gold mining in the country. I had read a little bit about this little city during my research and thought I had to see it for myself. It is known for its beautiful Baroque style churches and hilly mountain sides. The streets are pretty small and narrow so it was easy to walk everywhere by foot, the only problem was the size of some of these hills. It was definitely a workout.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

my third home

Wow. What can I say about the last four months. Crazy. Life changing. Hectic. Scary. Great. FABULOUS. A huge learning experience. Learning more about myself everyday. What I like..dislike. was it a Failure? Success? success for sure but in areas I didn't expect I think. I went with high hopes for work and ended up traveling a lot instead..alone in fact and I liked it. I ended up meeting TONS of people. I feel like I have a life there now. My third home, I think. This trip was 10 times better than the last so I am expecting the next to be 20 times better. ha ha! I feel like I pushed my comfort level which was a big step for me. It felt good and I feel like I had some really valuable experiences on many different levels.

So I've been home about two weeks already..which is a little crazy to me. Start a new job on Monday, full time and on a hunt for a space to work. I realized when I was in Brazil. I kept talking to people and telling them I was an artist and in my head that is what I believe. I've had this conversation numerous times with my sister and she hates that term. I somewhat agreed with her for awhile but now or shall say lately..I've felt like using that word only makes me more determined to make it a reality. Being in Brazil allowed me to work on some ideas and in a studio sometimes twice a week and I loved it. I am hoping to start that here, in Ohio. I've had all these ideas in my head..for sculptures and installations. It is killing me I haven't started any sooooo I'm on the hunt for a space at the moment. Once I've found it the next few months will be focused on that along with grants...working full time at Cardinal Health will be tiring but for me it will keep me on schedule and focused. I'm excited and that's a good feeling to have.

A couple days ago I met with my cousin Nalita and I had the chance to share some of my stories from my trip. It felt really good. I was getting really into it. Talking way too fast and overly enthusiastic. It has been one of the rare occasions I was able to share my thoughts about the trip and there are so many. Lots of what I like to call Gringo moments...the ones that are surreal..many. But back to Nalita...She helped me look online and I found a visa I think I can apply for. It costs a bit but am thinking about saving to apply. That way I can look into work there at some point..legally. Either way that next year will involve a lot of life decisions that could lead me in many different paths.

Today I went to visit the OSU campus and Thursday I have a meeting with the director for the Art Education department there. I am keeping my options open for finishing this fall. Right now I am thinking Baltimore but that would involve me moving back there and the thought of moving petrifies me..I guess all the things to bring..though I would like to think I've become much more adaptable to owning less rather than more. I did live on a couch for 4 months... On the other hand, I've been wanting to find a space and start working. I have lots of things in storage to build a space and would want these close by. I could have my own woodshop at this point...but transporting them to Baltimore would be a pain...

my main reasons for wanting to go back to Baltimore are the obvious..friends, the facilities (specifically in terms of the metal shop and old professor friends) and networking. Less so the MAT department. Don't get my wrong. I think it is ok but can see myself finishing there but want to see the cost differences and what OSU has to offer. It is ranked the best in the country there...

So on top of being super busy, I am hoping to plan a trip back to Rio once this temp job ends. I was going to shoot of Carnaval but am not sure if I will make it. Tickets can be rather expensive..twice as much from what I have researched so far. But this trip would only be for a month and specific. even more refined than the last.

Alright I think I rambled on enough for one entry. hope it made somewhat sense.

Monday, October 26, 2009

May's trip to Rio

I was fortunate enough to have a dear friend of mine stop by Rio to see me. We had a wonderful week together and I was able to introduce her to many of my friends. It was pretty surreal having someone from home visiting but at the same time very nice. It was comforting and we had many good laughs about being gringas. Though the weather wasn't ideal during her stay, we visited a few of the highlights in Rio as well as some of the hidden gems. Here are some pics from our week!

and then from our night out with the group!

Piece #4

So I have a lot to fill everyone in on...but haven't had the time to write in the blog. So many pictures to post and stories to share. More this week, I hope! This piece was inspired by my trip to Paraty, a trip I made awhile back that I made a post about. I've decided to make a series of these boxes. Each will be inspired by something during my trip. Probably more so associated with a specific place. The main place or city (I should say) would obviously be Rio but also include the other places I have visited. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tara or Paulo?

Paulo Jose Keffer Franco Netto

Tara Donovan

I promise you this entry was going to be much more substantial..but you be the judge. Both artists work are made with drinking straws. Which do you prefer? I hate to say it because I am a huge Tara Donovan fan but I like the Paulo's better.

The work below is by an artist named Jose Patricio. I found out about his work when I visited Sao Paulo a few months ago. The pieces below are made out of domingos!!

I am planning a second trip there this weekend to visit some additional galleries and hopefully do some networking. They have a residency program there as well I hope to look into.