Tuesday, July 28, 2009

First week in Rio..

So I´ve made it! Back to Brasil! to Rio de Janeiro! I´ve been here for a little over a week now even though it seems like it has been longer. I compiled a collections of images that highlight what I did my first week here.

Surprisingly from my first step out of the airport it has been a rather interesting trip. There was a little confusion with my friend at the airport so I was forced to put my knowledge of Portuguese to the test from the start. I arrived in Rio and realized my ride and friend hadn´t arrived and after awhile became concerned about where she might be. Unfortunately I didn´t have a phone yet or really any money. I had planned on waiting to exchange my money for heis later that day..and to top it off I didn´t have her phone number BUT I did have my cousin´s Katie. So after about an hour or so of waiting around I decided to start asking people if I could borrow their phones. I had some brazilian change we call them centavos. I had under one real so that didn´t really help me too much. I ended up finding someone who was nice enough to help me out and I got a hold of Katie, ended up taking a cab to her place and arrived in Barra da Tijuca.

Many things are pretty much the same since my last time here. I guess it has been about seis meses. mais ou menos. More or less. I spent the week walking downtown for bit which I always enjoy. I went to the Banco do Brasil which always has art exhibitions and took a look at the current shows that are there.

Now for my pictures...

These are some monkeys that Katie spotted in her yard the other day. Last time I was here she told me that she had monkeys come around sometime but I never had the chance to see any. We gave the some bananas to keep them occupied while I attempted to take their pictures. Strange little fellows. Wanted to come really close..freaked me out a bit.

My dear friend Luciana has moved since the last time I was here. She moved to an area called Tijuca which is in zona norte before she lived in zona sul in Botafogo. These are a few pictures from her place looking out the balcony in the front of her apartment building.

This picture is looking up from the balcony. There were some houses on the top of the hill and in the morning when the sun is shining bright it is really beautiful.

Luciana and the cow. My first night back in Rio and then this past sabado, Luciana took me to a festa junina. This is a festival that happens every year and all over Brasil but originated in Northeastern Brazil. It is one of the oldest and most popular celebrations of the year. Their are bonfires, folk dancing, fireworks, and typical refreshments served. I also had this delicious dessert called canjuica. Eu gosto canjuica. Eu adoro canjuica. It is so good. I guess it kind of tastes like arroz de doce. Sweet rice that is cooked with milk and cinnamon and is served hot or cold BUT instead of rice it is made with a white corn. Very very cook. I think I prefer it hot and sprinkled with some canela. (cinnamon)
These are some of the decorations they have for the festa junina. Lots of flags hang all across the top of the space and little booths selling food and games to play.

Wiki´s definition for the holiday: Portuguese St. John's Day, brought to Brazil during colonial times, has become a popular event that is celebrated during a period that starts one week before St John's Day and ends one week after. As this nationwide festival, called "Festa Junina" (June Festival), happens during the European midsummer, it takes place in the Brazilian midwinter and is most associated with Northeastern Brazil, but is today celebrated in the whole country.Usually taking place in an arraial, a large, open space outdoors, men dress up as farm boys with suspenders and large straw hats and women wear pigtails, freckles, painted gap teeth and red-checkered dresses, all in a loving tribute to the origins of Brazilian country music and of themselves, some of whom are recent immigrants from the countryside to cities such as Olinda, Recife, Maceió and Salvador, and some return to the rural areas during the festival to visit their families. However, nowadays, Saint John festivities are extremely popular in all urban areas and among all social classes. In the Northeast, they are as popular as Carnival.
We went to one in Botafogo and also one in São Cristavo. An area I had never been before but was nice. We went to the largest Festa Junina they have there. Rows and rows of people and lots of things to see and do.

I also had the pleasure of attending meu primo Jorge and his beautiful wife Beth´s wedding. I had a lot of fun. Danced a lot and was able to see a lot of family and friends there. Beth looked so beautiful and they both looked so happy together!

This is my friend and my cousin Paulinho´s fiancé Fernanda. A very sweet person. Always has a smile on her face.
The bride and groom´s first dance of the evening.
Paulinho and I
Crazy Katie and Victor´s sister

The handsome groom, Jorge. My cousin.

Group photo
On domingo, Luciana and I went walking around the mall and along the streets in Botafogo. This was our view. Marvelous. No wonder while they call this city cidade marveloso. Breath taking. The sugar loaf.

These last fotos are from Sunday night. A group of us went out for drinks and dancing! My kind of evening! Many more to come, this I am sure of!

And last and certainly not least..a video for your entertainment...

A goofy television show that does impressions of celebrities. Luciana loves this video. She can never stop laughing when she watches it.

I am going to São Paulo tomorrow noite and am looking forward to it!! I am sure there will be lots of pictures to post!! I will be there for the weekend and am anxious to see life outside of Rio and what it´s like in one of the largest cities in the world! São Paulo here I come!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Juxtapoz Brazil Issue July 2009

As I had mentioned in an earlier post..I recently saw that Juxtapoz Magazine was featuring a month with all Brazilian artist and sure enough I bought the magazine to read up on some of the big names in Brazilian street art. Ran into a few artist I have seen on the street in Rio as well as many new ones I hope to look further into. I chose a few to share.

Titi Freak- TFreak

I found this introduction about the artist Titi Freak pretty humorous so I wanted to share it -

Crawling out of the womb holding a pencil, begin working for a well-known Brazilian comic book company at age 13. Experiment with every material available and you too could have a resume like Titi Freak.

BUT- I do really like his work. He was the only artist in this issue that I am positive I have seen his work somewhere in Rio. I believe he has a dragon similar to the style of these fish right by this tunnel between Rocinha and Barra da Tijuca. I was thinking about on my drive into the city on Sautday and sure enough it was still there.

Here are a few quotes from the interview I found inspirational.

Sempre meaning always represents the desire of maintaining myself as I am now, always working and going after my dreams, always with my heart light and open, always with love, always preserving my character in order to continue growing. It is a way of saying that we will always be learning.

Finding new ways is a consequence of what the person is searching for. I believe that experimenting and adapting lead to different solutions and other ways of creating new languages. Seeing different things, spending time in other places, experiencing other cultures, meeting different people, or simply taking a break from what you usually do is something different.

The interview also brought up something I recently discovered about Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. (home to more than 20 million) I recently started reading a book about Brazil and it had talked about Sao Paulo having the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. I found this rather interesting because most would not suspect this at all. This artist happens to be Japanese and Brazilian. The question was asked: You were born in Liberdade (the Japan quarter of Sao Paulo), married a Japanese woman, and are going to live in Japan for a while. Do you have an interest in preserving your Japanese tradition?

I don’t think my background will ever be completely Japanese. Only part of my ancestors are Japanese, and I was born in Brazil. Even though I live in the Japanese quarter and experienced a little of that with my grandparents, my culture and traditions are Brazilian. My wife comes from a Japanese family but she was born in Brazil. When she was only three months old she went back to Japan. Her culture is completely different from the Japanese culture of Brazil.

I grew up watching Japanese heroes such as Ultra Man, Ultra Sever, and Dragonball. I used to draw all of them. My artwork evolved while I was watching Akira by Katsuriro Otomo, and other artists such as Yoshitomo Nara and Usugrow. All these things got me closer to the Japanese culture, I was able to see and experience it from different angles. In 2007 when I spent some time in Japan, I could see in the flesh what I only knew from magazines. I learned a lot from spending time with my family there and observing the culture. I got very connected to the Japanese graffiti and art scene. This year I am going to spend three months to paint the cities and stay with family and meet my Japanese friends again. I am just worried about keeping united; if we stay united, we preserve the tradition.

Did I mention he was champion yo-yo player?

Bruno 9LI

His work explores cultural miscegenation and spiritual conditions, as well as the rites of passage of African tribes into a contemporary setting with popular culture symbols.

Acrylic and India ink on paper
20.5” x 27.5”

I believe that competitiveness is inside anyone who breathes that sort of energy. I mean, if you don’t let all the feelings that come along with competition get to you, you just don’t take part in it. I’m always searching for the mystery that makes me wake up and work for many hours drawing and painting. Those who like the vibration of my work have the sensibility to read the cartography of my mind and share a vision with me. There’s no rivalry in that. Competition seems to be something related only to business, dealers, and galleries.

I just keep my eyes to the future. There’s a structure, an order to follow, but a mystery between lines and codes. For me, to be innovative means to risk the unknown, I believe that is the way to be a productive artist.

Bruno is based out of Porte Alegre, which is in the southern most part of Brazil. From what I have read about the area and heard, it is very nice and heavily influenced by the Europeans. There is a large German population there. I was darn to his work because his color palette and imagery. At times his work is overwhelming because there are so many things going on but on a few of his pieces I notice how he uses pattern to draw the viewer towards a focal point which are typically African and South American masks. I chose a few quotes from the interview I read about his work. I enjoyed hearing his thoughts in regards to the competitive nature of the “art world” which is something I often think about.


Sesper- Sesper Blog

Sesper is one of the most important names in Brazilian underground art. He is currently finishing up his debut documentary about skateboard art in Brazil. He is a graphic designer for several skateboard magazines and brands. He creates collages that reveal years of collecting magazines, pictures, mail envelopes, and other materials. In keeping with his wish that his reconfigured memories be conserved forever, the final result of his work is heavy and thick, pervaded with strong meanings, the glued traces of Sesper’s insane mind.

Those of you who know me, know how much I love working with different materials and collage is something that never is boring to me. Any chance to experiment with materials I’ll take and Sesper’s collages are really exciting to me. I am particularly drawn to the piece Kids: Playground @ 2034. The use of the stables is interesting and just add to the mood of the piece. His interview talked a lot about his influence on American culture particularly the 80s of music, art, and skateboarding. I chose on question from his interview to share pertaining to his feelings toward American culture.

Kids: Playground @ 2034 (detail)
Paper, found objects, and acrylic.

How do you feel about American culture?

Some people told me that I wouldn’t want to come back and I have to agree. I had a really cool time in California in such a short period of 22 days, I just went to LA and SF, but I don’t think these two cities represent the real America.

What I really hate in America is that there are too many laws and rules. I think that’s why there are so many serial killers. It must drive people crazy. The violence and racial issues make me freak out a little.

Because we grew up in a total macho Latin society, SF is interesting. There is a lot of respect and tolerance for all kinds of people and credos. If someone beats you up in Brazil and you try to get help from a cop, maybe they’ll definitely treat you like a sissy. I just hung out at punk shows and skate spots for 22 days, listening to all the accents from all over the earth. To be honest, sometimes I had to see an American flag to remind me that I was in the USA.

The trash produced in the cities scared me too. I don’t know why but I think we produce less trash for some reason

Mommy Amerikkka
Paper, found objects, and acrylic.
260 cm x 260 cm

I hope to add a few more so check back later in the week.

PS- For those of you wondering. I arrived safetly in Brazil and am now in the process of figuring out what is next here. Pretty exciting. I have a few funny stories to share already but I will safe these for a later post!! :o)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A view from Corcovado at noite

Adam Hilton

I found this artist while searching through StumbleUpon. These are some images by a photographer named Adam Hilton. It appears that he has done several photo studies in foreign countries such as China, Africa, and Cuba to name a few.

I choose a few of my favorite images from a series that focused around a favela in Rio. I love the colors in photographs. They are so rich and vibrant and the night shots complete the picture of the lighting you find in different parts of the city. When I was staying with my cousin Katie in Barra de Tijuca, we would drive by Rochina which is the largest favela in Rio. During the day you see all the hustle and bustle of people commuting from work and home as well as markets and people in their homes hanging out their windows to escape from the heat. It was kind of hard to focus on one because the drive by is so quick. You past by the favela while on a highway that takes you from one part of the city to the next and there is so much to see in such a short amount of time.

When you drive by at night, it transforms into the haven of millions that are captured only by tiny specs that light each area. I couldn't really wrap my head around the situation, how it possibly could be inhabited by over 2 million people in such a confined area?

I wanted to share these photos because it is nice to have a new perspective and be able to look inside and see their view to the rest of the city that is much different than mine.

Adam spoke of his work as follows: These are a collection of images taken from 2001-2004 in the favelas of Rio. The colour work is from the Tavares Bastos favela and forms the main focus of the project. I documented the lives of the majority of favela inhabitants away from the stereotypes of guns and drugs. He says his work is about the relationships between people and how they construct their lives under harsh social conditions.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Inspiring Work

Here is a few work I have been looking at lately that I find inspiring..

This first artist I found through a blog I read and realized I had seen a postcard about this artist for a gallery out in California. Kristina Lewis is the artist and her work looks amazing. She is very much into experimenting with her materials. She was featured in a show with an artist named Jill Gallenstein. They were in a show called Radialvec Both of their work is so beautiful and intricate. I love it!

The next image is from Jen Stark who is an artist that I am fairly familiar with and have been following her work for the last year or so. She graduated from Mica as well and I remember seeing her work on campus for a show she had in the student space gallery. It was phenomenal and I know somewhere in my piles of sketch books I still have the postcard from that show. I am always eager to see what she will do next with this work she has developed. I am hoping to see more video work and think it is an interesting direction for her work.

This past week when I was in Whole Foods I was browsing through the magazines at check out and happened to see the July issue of Juxtapoz Art and Culture plastered with the words BRAZIL ISSUE across the front of it so naturally I picked it up and quickly glance through it while waiting to be rung out. I unfortunately haven't purchased the magazine yet but checked out the website and found some interesting things but still think I am going to have to buy the magazine to thoroughly read everything. I guess you can't access all of it for free.. So more to come!! But from what I did find there were a few things to peruse through. I found this designer who created this font called Cabulosa that I thought was really sweeeet. It is a font that emerged from the depths of a Brazilian ghetto. It's a typeface heavily influenced by the urban calligraphy style of so-called “Pixo-reto”.It was created by Frederico Antunes, a graphic designer and typographer from Porto Alegre, Brazil. Chiba Chiba (as he is also known) works with many type/art related projects, including a set of typographic posters for MTV. Here are is an image with the font and also I poster he designed for a Diplo show who I happened to see at Sound Garden a couple weeks ago..weird.

So for the past two weeks I spent my time in Baltimore working for Mica's YPS (Young Peoples Studio) Program which I interned for last year. This year I had the pleasure of teaching a class and ended up learning a lot and having a lot of fun with the students.

In a nut shell the biggest lessons I learned were:
1. Teachers must be really organized in order to utilize their time in the classroom which often goes for anything. Organization saves time.
2. Don't assume your students will know something. It is better to ask lots of questions and work through the explanation.
3. Teaching can be really tiring! The students demanded my attention the entire time which I gladly offered. I was constantly moving around the room talking to each one about their work. It was very exciting. They were all so involved in their work.
4. Use lot of examples! Images! Samples of the finish piece you are envisioning! demos!Helps the students understand what is expected of them for the assignment.

I taught an upper elementary class that was observational drawing and painting. It wasn't as structured as I had originally had planned but I ended up being really happy with the student's work and so surprised how colorful everything turned out. It was a really valuable and important experience for me because it was the first time I had total control in the classroom and didn't have to worry about being critiqued by professor. A lot less pressure and it felt natural, being there, and working through the assignments. Pretty self gratifing.

The last day we had an artist talk and art show for the students. I was so amazed when I walked into the room to see all the work hung together. It was so inspiring. It made me want to continue teaching and work towards finishing in the next few years and just really excited for the students. I hope to teach with them next summer and hopefully teach more sessions and different classes. Perhaps a sculpture class inspired by artists who work with found objects and everyday materials? I know they would love it. I brought in the book from Tara Donovan's retrospective to show my class and they were so responsive to the different pieces.