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Posts Tagged ‘san diego’

I finished my visual journal a week after Roxanne Evans Stout’s beautiful workshop, but left right away to Oaxaca, Mexico ( photos forthcoming 😊). Here are some photos taken outside of Jana Freeman’s fabulous Way Art Yonder workshops (above) , Day 2 of the workshop ( details from Roxanne’s teaching table and my work area with “preparatory piles”) and, finally, my completed journal.

At home, I had to co-opt my kitchen ( I need my studio back 🤪)… but thought this would make a nice tableau, so I’m sharing it here. This is how things looked deep in the night, two Sundays ago..

And finally…c’est fini! My first art journal – and first video posted here on SketchBloom.

All of the lovely journals from the workshop:

A closing plen air celebration at the end of the weekend. Can’t wait for my next (February) art workshop…

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Paintings by Suanne Summers

On Sunday I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon at my friend Jana Freeman’s Way Art Yonder Studio for one of her monthly open studio days. I met Jana at my school, first we were friendly colleagues then mischievous friends, and now she is living the Dream running her own art studio and hosting incredible workshops with Mixed Media artists the world over…

Here is a sample of the work I was “curiousing” on on Sunday ( yes, I am making up this word). Most of the vibrant work I photographed is by Suanne Summers, then there is the dreamy stitch/ fabric art of Shelley Watkins and the layered collages of Krista Jarrard. Jana, the studio owner, can be seen completing one of her exquisite pieces. This is my Art tribe, comprising of Carla Bange who could not make it this time.

Paintings by Suanne Summers

Collage in progress by Krista Jarrard

Jana in the process of assembling one of her captivating mixed media works on small square canvases, painted black.

This cool collage is by a sweet lady from Minnesota (!) . I will find out her name 🤔[[[[[[

Fabric/stitch art by Shelley Watkins. She dyes her own fabric 😮

Above, Jana and her regal ring touching one of Shelley’s distressed samples of fabric. She uses a process involving peroxide to “ eat through” the fabric. We named this “ Dickensian Orphanage, or the street urchins.”

Here is more of Suanne’s work:

What can I say, these ladies have been at this a long time and I need to up my game and get back to my collages instead of collecting drawerfuls of materials (but if I say so my self I have lots of exciting materia prima from my travels).

But first I want to finish my “flower portrait”- here is the work-in-progress ( which will include poetry and mixed media). The

The original was GORGEOUS, made for me by a very special person who ” painted” my portrait with handpicked flowers. {swoon}

Work in progress, acrylic on canvas.

Jana and I at Way Art Yonder, my happy place!

Thank you Jana!

I will soon be back under the portico with my bags 😉

This is one place where I don’t feel bad lugging all my stuff with me- as all the other tribe members do the same. I think I found my people.

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You heard me talking about Visual Notes before. Sketchnoting is something I’ve started to explore lately.

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One has to start somewhere…

After finishing my sketch I ran into two dear friends who had come to the cafe.

Perhaps the cafés can be the new piazzettas somehow.

Here’s to spontaneous gathering and holiday cheers.

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Encinitas, January 2017.


Mission Beach, San Diego, January 2017



Beautiful Thinking

By Angie Estes

Each morning, before the sun rises
over the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer
on the Côte d’Azur, cruise ships drop anchor

so that motor launches from shore
can nurse alongside. All afternoon we studied
les structures où nous sommes l’objet, structures

in which we are the object—le soleil
me dérange, le Côte d’Azur nous manque—
while the pompiers angled their Bombardiers

down to the sea, skimming its surface
like pelicans and rising, filled
with water to drop on inland, inaccessible

wildfires. Once, a swimmer was found face down
in a tree like the unfledged robin I saw
flung to the ground, rowing

its pink shoulders as if in the middle
of the butterfly stroke, rising a moment
above water. Oiseau is the shortest word

in French to use all five vowels: “the soul
and tie of every word,” which Dante named
auieo. All through December, a ladybug circles

high around the kitchen walls looking for
spring, the way we search for a word that will hold
all vows and avowals: eunoia, Greek

for “beautiful thinking,” because the world’s
a magic slate, sleight of hand—now
you see it, now you don’t—not exactly

a slight, although in Elizabethan English, “nothing”
was pronounced “noting.” In the Bodleian Library
at Oxford, letters of the alphabet hang

from the ceiling like the teats
of the wolf that suckled Romulus
and Remus, but their alibi

keeps changing, slate gray like the sea’s
massage: You were more in me than I was
in me. . . . You remained within while I

went outside. Hard to say
whether it was Augustine
speaking to God or my mother

talking to me. Gulls ink the sky
with view, while waves throw themselves
on the mercy of the shore.

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The Tuscan/Pomegranate sky in San Diego right now. Absolutely no filter.

Pomegranate

By Kevin Pilkington


A woman walks by the bench I’m sitting on

with her dog that looks part Lab, part Buick,

stops and asks if I would like to dance.

I smile, tell her of course I do. We decide

on a waltz that she begins to hum.

We spin and sway across the street in between

parked cars and I can tell she realizes

she chose a man who understands the rhythm

of sand, the boundaries of thought. We glide

and Fred and Ginger might come to mind or

a breeze filled with the scent of flowers of your choice.

Coffee stops flowing as a waitress stares out the window

of a diner while I lead my partner back across the street.

When we come to the end of our dance,

we compliment each other and to repay the favor

I tell her to be careful since the world comes to an end

three blocks to the east of where we stand. Then

I remind her as long as there is a ’59 Cadillac parked

somewhere in a backyard between here and Boise

she will dance again.


As she leaves content with her dog, its tail wagging

like gossip, I am convinced now more than ever

that I once held hundreds of roses in my hands

the first time I cut open a pomegranate.

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 Little brothers and sisters: 

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”

Joseph Campbell

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Piazzetta Basilone e Civico 1845. Little Italy, San Diego.  Graphite, ink, and marker. September 2016.

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Mission Beach, San Diego, California. 19th of June, 2016

Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Cafe'-inspired ink drawing and collage. San Diego, June 2016

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Café Lulu, Sun and Moon. San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter, June 2016.

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The Reader. Café Bassam. San Diego, June 2016.

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Rosa de Tijuana 1/15 . June 2016.



A Mi Tijuana

Milton Ríos

Spanish | English


La olvidada, la 100 por ciento criticada!..

A la que puedes dar mil opiniones sobre ella

La única que es coherente con su equilibrio

Entre las cosas buenas y malas!

La ciudad malvada… la maravillada,

La llena de narcos!

Artistas, multicolores y muchos tantos…

Esta ciudad… ciudad de paso

Y paso a ser mía,

Mi ciudad! Mi metrópoli confundida

Ayer la mas violenta

Hoy el ejemplo de paz!

Pero solo en mi Tijuana se puede vivir esto!

Balazos, teatro… buena música, cineastas en acción

El party el revolución! La que ya no es nada

Por que nació la calle 6ta.

Donde se junta lo subterráneo,

Las culturas urbanas, donde no ahí negros ni blancos!

Ni mexicanos ni gringos…

lo que importa es la noche bohemia,

algo de baile y alcohol

que viva la diversión…

la ciudad de segunda!

De segundas oportunidades

Donde caen los deportados

Donde comen y duermen los emigrados,

Donde se respira libertad

Donde ahí policías buenos y malos!

Y aquí te preguntas? Para que ir al otro lado…

Si acaso nomas de compras,

 a conocer lo bien planeado.

Pero para dormir a gusto! Para respirar a diario…

Con la adrenalina constante,

De Tijuana ahí que ser amante.

Y así a donde vallas al decir soy de Tijuana

Obtendrás ese silencio! Que es un silencio ganado

De respeto por que para criticar Tijuana

Solo  nosotros los que la vivimos

Los que la hemos hecho nuestra

Y ser tijuanense, claro que satisface

Pero también pesa y cuesta!…




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We are the Stargazers,
We are the Memorykeepers

We are the stargazers,
we are the memorykeepers
the nightwalkers
the moonseekers
we are the solitude dwellers
we pause, head lifted to look at clouds
moving fast through the night skies
like steam raising from hot coffee
in a makeshift cafe.

[ stop looking at your phone
and look at the stars ]

We are impractical madness.
We are the timeconjurers,
propelled through dark hours
chasing follies
– we pause to take photographs when we’re late; we always answer the muse
and she comes at the most inopportune moments.
We are the harbingers,
we are the jesters.
We sit on street corners in the cold, listening to the banter of clochards.
Our hands hurt
we write poems no-one will read.

We are the stargazers,
we are the memorykeepers
we are the storytellers.
We are the art warriors,
we battle against the loss of words,
which come unexpected and vanish so quickly, like the tendrils of love in the morning.

We fight against time which consumes.
We succeed – and steal one verse or image from the frenetic chasm.
We indulge in vain attempts to capture stars.

We are the dreamers,
we are the songcollectors
we are the last romantics.
Our job is to always have innocent eyes.
We are the wanderers.
Our job is to remember and coalesce.
We preserve life’s gossamer fragments of beauty, we keep them like strands of lights in a jar.

We are the butterflies,
we are the petal priests,
we run red lights.

We wander at night and are consumed by fire.
In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

San Diego. January 18, 2016

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You might remember this drawing from November.
I finally finished at the beginning of January, on a cold (for San Diego) night, sitting in front of this 100-yearY building, under a portico.
Balboa Park always takes me back home. This entire drawing was done plen air and took me few sessions over several months to complete.
It will be on its way to San José, Costa Rica soon.

This is a quick photo, but i have a piecemeal scanned version ( sheet too large for my scanner, and the wide format at work is not very kind to graphite).I will try to compose the image and sub for it soon – but it has already been a whole week since this post languished in the draft purgatory and i want to get to my next night photography post.
Clouds make nocturnal old San Diego heartbreakingly beautiful.

By the way, i hope you all had a fantastic Holiday Break.
I just got back from another trip to México, and i have Mayan pyramids,cenotes, colonial towns and caribbean waters to share. I cannot believe i haven’t had the chance to share my two trips to Ciudad de México D.F from last July and November (¡Frida!) ..yet.
So next there will be a series of posts on México “lindo y querido”.

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The light in your soul is far greater than the darkness. Shine your light.

Lailah Gifty Akita

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No se trata de velocidad
Si no de resistencia
Para lograr lo que se quiere.

To achieve what we want
It’s not about speed,
But resistance.

I wish you a Glorious 2016.

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A rare rainy Sunday brought us close to
Paris. Vive La France ❤

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San Diego Museum of Man in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. Graphite on paper. 24"X30". August 2015.

A commissioned work in progress.
One more plen air session and lineweight application and this baby is traveling to Costa Rica.
[Gracias por la Pura Vida]
I was asked to draw something that, to me, was intrinsically San Diego.
I love this building, and Balboa Park.
This is my neighborhood, my California home.

The buildings in Balboa park were chimeras, they were not supposed to last. They were stuccoed renditions, built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition.
It was San Diego dreaming of a past it did not possess, recreating its version of Spain, a classical city of porticoes, fountains and piazzas. Balboa Park represents both a stage and utopia.

My mind knows i am looking at façade architecture, in some cases as authentic as a movie set. It also knows none of the hundreds of plants and trees in the park are native. Yet, i am seduced.  I indulge in a state ‘suspension of disbelief’, as Wordsworth  asked of his reader.
This is my Romantic ruin.

Balboa Park today enchants as a beautiful urban park, the cultural heart of San Diego with more than twenty museums, gardens, landscaped vistas and hikes through the natural canyons (and, always, street artists).

When I see the blue-tiled dome and its storied tower, emerge like a hazy dream across a bridge that translates in elegant modern forms a Roman aqueduct, i escape.

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Balboa Park, the 'Crown Jewel of San Diego'.

No. This photo was not ‘shopped. The sky really looks like this all year-round here.
And you should see the sunsets.
Don’t hate. We pay for this in other ways.

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Another month of quickening days, of white skies, of scorching heat, of California monsoons has gone by.

The weather in San Diego has been positively schizophrenic.  Life has been full (I dislike the word “busy”), heartbreaking and healing at turns, magic, adventurous, challenging and with an overall trend of daily progress towards balance, harmony and mindfullness. Things are good.

I have been blessed to have crossed paths with soulful fellow travelers.

Since the beginning of 2015, the posts here at Sketchbloom have been so sparse…it’s embarassing. I miss my days before my professorship where I had the luxury of being an artist full time. Yet there were, of course, different struggles at the time.  I always heard that with privileges come responsibilities, and I felt those, so much, this past school year. Although the school year ended, culminating with Graduation at the end of June, I feel I am only (sort-of) beginning to breath now.

I completed my six-week five-credit Arabic course yesterday. I signed up for the class on what must have been an adrenaline rush from the tough Spring I had. The course started during Finals week at my University, which meant a seamless, yet intense/insane transition! I have some calligraphy to share from the course, and I am happy to say I can finally read and write in Arabic!

This month also saw me in Ciudad de Mexico DF for few days. I will post soon  some photographs  and recollections from that city of thousand faces. Alas, no drawings. (no time)

How to sum up a whole year? Only through recollection in tranquility. I am finally on break, and I plan to catch up with all the posts from my travels. I have notebooks full of thoughts and words, that might become verses, once distilled. Yet, this is also the time to make. I read that, a year from now, you will wish you had started today. SO I am starting, again, today. Every time I post here it feels like a new beginning. For those of you who have been following this blog (more than a thousand!), thank you for your patience and for the kind forgetfulness, and forgiveness, of promises not (yet) kept. I started running behind in 2013….no comment. My art and this blog can hardly catch up with my life and travels. I guess that is a good problem to have. Maybe you want to wander here, and see why time flies.

Annnyyyyhow…..Here are the rest of this spring’s nudes from Monday nights at the San Diego Arts Institute.

I noticed, going through the various drawings done there, that I tend to experiment with a different medium and paper each time. I guess I really miss my collages. I had the time to scan these drawings (i always feel quick and dirty when I post shots from my phone), and, well, what a difference.

One good piece of news is that I will get back my art studio in the Fall. I was part of the Brokers’ Building Artist Colony from 2003-2008 and I cannot wait to have a special place for my art again.

This summer – this year, really – feels like the long backward run, the gathering momentum

overdue

of the pole jumper.

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First experiment in Digital nude painting on my Android HTC ONE phone, using the Paint Commander App and the Sensu brush.

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Two months to the day of my last post, I return.

Like a lover who walks into the door surreptitiously, I offer no explanations.

Just Kidding.

This quarter saw me teaching three courses with a total of 120 students, so, dear Single Reader, the reason for my hiatus is self-evident. It was a ten-week long journey into different periods of History of Architecture and Urban Design, Urban Issues and so. much. more.

Here are snapshots of my bimonthly art dates. I have quite a few drawings, but could not conjure up the time and mental space to scan and post them. Ideally, these will be scanned version soon..but here they are.

I embarked on an Arabic adventure as of Monday, and this will be a spectacular summer, I feel and know.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”


Anne Bradstreet

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I walk at night.
You can keep mornings, with the aftershave of salesmen, rush hour…with the Starbucks lines and hair perfectly
well done.

(Mafalda says that everything good in life messes up your hair)

You can have the morning with its blinding light, its lack of nuances…leave the night to blur lines, to hide and to reveal.

The morning of road warriors, weekend warriors, commute warriors, checkers of life’s milestones – I lost count, and it is not my race.

Leave me the profound night, let me walk at hours of my choosing, when empty streets whispher poetry lines, if you just listen.

This is my queendom, let me patrol my land of empty office buildings, of Mexican night workers, of quiet and shadows.

The night of orange streetlights, of vacant lots and sleeping churches.

Of red windows, where the artists burn.

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In January I collided with two splendid creatures in Balboa Park, Lila’Angelique and Thoth, which together form Tribal Baroque.

I wanted to share some portraits I took of them, in order to share some of the magic of their presence and music.

Nothing prepares you for the beauty that is Tribal Baroque, but here is a taste of what’s in store if you can make it to one of their prayformances in the park.

This is the Facebook page of Tribal Baroque, so you can catch these fairies who are here in San Diego for a limited time.

{more to come…see below}
…….

Four days ago, I spent two hours crafting the perfect posts on my muses, full of links and perfectly ( to me) worded prose.

When I went to publish the post, I LOST everything. It is the first time that this has happened on WordPress, which is usually excellent at saving drafts in progress.

I have been too heartbroken to come back and re-craft my post, but I have new art from Saturday and tonight – yes i started sketching and painting again (!) – and new photographs that I want to share, and life must go on.

Enjoy this images for now.. I will come back in the morning, refreshed, and tell you its stories…
…….

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Thank you for bringing the *triple* rainbow and pink sky 😉 :
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California Building Tower. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. January 2015.


In the past couple of months, we’ve had the most spectacular sunsets – the most magnificent skies, really.

In addition, balmy, magical nights.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but San Diego and Southern California are becoming more and more lovely and precious each day.
It is like falling in love, all over again.

Tonight I want to share some night and sunset shots, reserving the day skies for another post.
These photos have all been taken and corrected on my HTC One camera, hence the sometimes annoying light ‘spilling’, low res and graininess.
I will start carrying my Panasonic camera again, and correcting on Photoshop. I realize that my photos look better on a small screen…
One day I would like to invest in a proper Digital DSRL, but for now accept these artisanal shots.

I have taken to making nightly pilgrimages to our Balboa Park.
This is our cultural park, with more than twenty art museums and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. The pairing of Spanish architecture and tropical greenery take me to Cuba, to Puerto Rico…to the Caribbeans. Balboa Park was built in 1915 for the Pan-American Exhibition, and is celebrating its Centenary this year!

The central plaza, Plaza de Panama, is now restored as the living room of the city.

To my eye, the park is more and more beautiful each month that goes by.

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View from Cabrillo Bridge. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. January 2015.

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Night view from Cabrillo Bridge. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. January 2015.

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View of Plaza De Panama. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. March 2015.

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Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. March 2015.

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Arboretum. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. March 2015.

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Sculpture Garden. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. March 2015.

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Museum of Man. Balboa Park, Uptown San Diego. March 2015.

And here are other end-of-day scenes from San Diego.

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Normal Heights, San Diego. January 2015.

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Bankers' Hill, San Diego. January 2015.

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Hillcrest, San Diego. February 2015.

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University Heights, San Diego. February 2015.

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Hillcrest, San Diego. February 2015.

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Downtown San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter, Horton Plaza. December 2014

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Downtown San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter, Horton Plaza. December 2014.

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Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego. Cafe' Sevilla. January 2015.

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163 South Highway towards Downtown San Diego. View from Cabrillo Bridge, Balboa Park. March 2015.


And now, two poems to the Night.

The Night is Still

by Edith Matilda Thomas


The night is still, the moon looks kind,
The dew hangs jewels in the heath,
An ivy climbs across thy blind,
And throws a light and misty wreath.

 
The dew hangs jewels in the heath,
Buds bloom for which the bee has pined;
I haste along, I quicker breathe,
The night is still, the moon looks kind.

Buds bloom for which the bee has pined,
The primrose slips its jealous sheath,
As up the flower-watched path I wind
And come thy window-ledge beneath.

The primrose slips its jealous sheath,—
Then open wide that churlish blind,
And kiss me through the ivy wreath!
The night is still, the moon looks kind.

….

A Gift

by Leonora Speyer


I Woke: —
Night, lingering, poured upon the world
Of drowsy hill and wood and lake
Her moon-song,
And the breeze accompanied with hushed fingers
On the birches.

 
Gently the dawn held out to me
A golden handful of bird’s-notes.


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San Diego, Bankers' Hill, March 15, 2015

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San Diego, Bankers' Hill, March 15, 2015

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San Diego, Bankers' Hill, March 15, 2015

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San Diego, Bankers' Hill, March 15, 2015

Autobiography of Eve

 by Ansel Elkins

Wearing nothing but snakeskin
boots, I blazed a footpath, the first
radical road out of that old kingdom
toward a new unknown.
When I came to those great flaming gates
of burning gold,
I stood alone in terror at the threshold
between Paradise and Earth.
There I heard a mysterious echo:
my own voice
singing to me from across the forbidden
side. I shook awake—
at once alive in a blaze of green fire.

Let it be known: I did not fall from grace.

I leapt
to freedom.

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Plaza de Panama. Balboa Park, San Diego. December 2014.



I was trying to find a poem
To describe your skin, night
But the poets don’t know
the hours, or the look i just tried on you–
I cannot find you in their words.

I am always hiding in their verses,
moon behind clouds.
Distilling memories, crafting them into images, words:
what is the wine that we drink?
and who can write about the way you held me?

They do not have a name for this, for how perfect we were, the amber and coffee
of our hips.
Your kind chest,
your arms, taut as steel,
and the fact that i did not look at you, not once, afraid of learning too much
from the way you walked,
or the way your clothes fell.

Drowning so sweet,
tender fire.

Name the nights this year,
count them on the palm
of one hand.
Indifferent city, i stole moments of brilliance
from your stingy months.
I ride dark, subversive waters
and capsize
continuously.

‘Until the inconscious is made conscious, the subconscious will rule your life,
and you will call it Destiny.’
Carl Jung

Do the poets write
of a lion lying with his lioness?
Of fleeting things?

You drove and i held your hand
You told me one must laugh, pray and cry,
everyday.
I argued the last point.

San Diego, December 2014

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Habeas Corpus

by Jeffrey Schultz

 


In memoriam the once-frozen North

Our collective consciousness does not allow punishment where it cannot impose blame.

United States v. Lyon
Judge Alvin Benjamin Rubin, dissenting

 


There is of course the other idea: that the intricate latticework
Of our bodies loosed from us at last will leave us free
To become anything, pure light, perhaps, or wing-beats

In fresh powder beneath some maples locked up in their thin veneer
Of ice. But then as always a sudden gust and the limbs’ clacking,
And, as when some insurgent sound crosses over the porous border

Of a dream, the world recrystallizes around us: midday, snow-
Grayed, the wind-chill’s sub-zero like a ball-peen to the forehead.
It’s cold enough to quiet even the soul’s feathery throat-song,

And so it does. Nothing moves and I move through the woods
At the edge of its city with dog, hoping he’ll shit his daily shit
Before this reddening flesh numbs entirely. Nothing moves,

But beneath months-thick ice and powder, winter’s put up its dead:
Squirrels and sparrows, the wren and the fox, whole families
Of field mice posed as if in the pet store’s deep freeze, even,

Here and there, scattered and whole, occasional missing persons.
For now, for guilty, for guiltless, no matter, the world offers neither
Deliverance nor decay, and though we trust in that the thaw

Will come, that someday soon some pond water, water
Still and softly rippled as pre-War window-glass, will again reflect
Its image of the bloodless sky, cut, at intervals, by spring’s

First returning vultures, and though the police will then take
A little comfort, as they kick the MOBILE CRIME LAB’s tires
Before rolling it out for the season, that the birds help at least

To ease the legwork, we know no one’s, you know, going to be
Set free. The skull’s thin as eggshell so far as the beak’s thick curve
Is concerned. The raisin of the eye’s an easy delicacy.

And so to imagine the future is to imagine the present, but warmer,
But more forthrightly, more honestly violent. And so another day’s
Bones picked clean. There is of course the idea’s consolation:

For eternal patience, eternal reward, for the meek, the Earth’s
Corpse. Instead, a sort of waking sleep, a sort of waking slow;
We rub our eyes, warm the last of yesterday’s coffee, stare

As our email loads: surely something must have come, surely
Someone has spirited us that which would make all the difference.
We call to complain that nothing’s working because we like

The on-hold music, which is a sound other than our breathing.
We ask the music if we can speak to its supervisor but when we try
To explain it only laughs, Guiltless!
Who do you think you are anyway?,

Laughs its little soprano sax laugh before it loops back to its loop’s
Beginning. The coffee pot runs on mediated coal and drips acids.
The car’s topped up with artillery and emits amputees. The idea was

Waking would make things clearer, would startle us as from any night’s
Nightmare: these sheets’ cold which is not bare concrete floor,
This patch of light the moon has cast not the interrogator’s light,

This knocking in our head not some still-indecipherable code
Tapped against an adjacent wall by who knows who, by someone
We can’t even begin to imagine, someone stuck here longer

Than even ourselves yet still committed to the idea that finding
A way to speak to each other would help matters, this knocking
None of that but rather something real, here, furnace clank or thief

In the night, something real and something present and not
The dream of what must be held that way until it stops thrashing,
Not the dream of being held that way, but what could be danger

Or else nothing once more, which means we prowl once more
The house, ridiculous in our underwear, ridiculous with a flashlight
Gripped like a truncheon, the floorboards cold somehow as bare

Concrete, the floorboards that croak somehow like vultures who are
Not here, who winter south, scan the Sonoran desert’s northern
Edge, its empty water bottles and tire ruts and those nameless

It dries to a sort of jerky, those nameless who labored in vain
To cross it, who had hoped that in crossing, they would be set free.
Nothing’s wrong, the house secure, bolts bolted, latches latched.

Somewhere in the distance beyond the kitchen window, downtown
And its bus bench bail bondsman, downtown and its graffiti
Covered wall’s Great Writ:Repent! The End Is Nigh! As always, as always,

Answers the darkness. But, pre-War? In what will soon enough be
Dawn-light, in this near-light, who can tell if it’s blood spread thin
On our hands or else just a healthy, living glow?  Outside, the idea

Of night and the idea of day seem to have come to a standoff.

No one’s calling for negotiations. We know what happens next:
Whether the stars flicker or merely flinch, the sun, whose face

Is a badge, has always been a little trigger happy. And though
The firestorm will consume, soon enough, everything, it seems
For the moment this will go on. As if indefinitely. As if without cause.

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These Rocks Were Put Together By Cats {American Officer}

These Rocks Were Put Together By Cats {American Flag}

Bobby Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Bobby Doesn’t Live Here Anymore


Decoupage: A technique were text is disassembled and reassembled, leading to new interpretation. Used by David Bowie to compose lyrics.
. …

Love in the Morning

By Annie Finch

Morning’s a new bird
stirring against me
out of a quiet nest,
coming to flight—

quick-changing,
slow-nodding,
breath-filling body,

life-holding,
waiting,
clean as clear water,

warmth-given,
fire-driven
kindling companion,

mystery and mountain,
dark-rooted,
earth-anchored.

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Thank you mamma for letting me draw on the walls with permanent markers, for drawing our profiles in the moonlight, for the watermelon eaten with spoons on a beach still asleep, for all the walks,  for the picnics in lawns amongst the highways, where you would bring my net, so I could catch butterflies.

I’m still catching butterflies.
I love you.

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The sacrificial lamb- an old leather jacket already repaired twice.

The sacrificial lamb- an old leather jacket already repaired twice.

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With my pattern and leather in the Materials Lab, to trace images in Illustrator and experiment with the laser cutting process. “The object feels good if the process feels good.”

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The laser etched leather swatches. Fire drawings…scars…tattoos and cattle branding.

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Preparing for night surgical cutting, tailoring and riveting. And documenting. The whole project came about in three days (Friday to Sunday), but was months in the making (and in the thinking, and in the promising).

 

 

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The prototypes are done!

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Laying out this graphic board illustrating the process took longer than I would like to admit. In the end, it was a process of elimination…which is the secret to design, really.

 

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Exhibit time. Board layout #2 with Illustrator patterns :).

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Project fini. Ready-to-wear, custom-made temporary leather tattoos....by yours truly.

Project fini. Ready-to-wear, custom-made temporary leather tattoos….by yours truly.

 

 

Idea #13: Temporary Leather Tattoos

Experiments with recycled leather, tattoo patterns and the laser cutter in our Materials Lab for the Action/Reaction Faculty show, where students react to faculty work.

I chose to explore these tribal tattoo patterns I drew long ago and finally turn them into ‘temporary’ leather tattoos – since an actual tribal armband tattoo is out of the question (#italianmother).

In the process, I learned how to make leather-on-leather tattoos, used the laser cutter for the first time, hand-cut till my hands were sore, learned how to put rivets, and was taught about vector lines and patterns in lllustrator by my wonderful, patient students.
Thanks to student feedback/critique (which was extremely positive about the artifacts :)) the board could use one more ‘pass’ as far as fonts and background, but I wanted to post this now, as the show is coming to a close.

While researching case studies, I was astonished by the amount of cool accessories, arm bands and earrings made with recycled bike tires and inner tubes.

Etsy, here I come.

 

Here are some photos from the Action|Reaction opening, by Donn Angel Perez, the curator of the show (and author of the beautiful paintings shown), along with student Chuck Wilson

For the opening- in keeping with the recycled/sustainable theme, and to save time 😉 – I projected my board.

 

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…….

littlescreenshot <<<and this, this little guy on my desktop just makes me happy.

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Shift #5

Ali Liebegott

for Seamus Heaney

 

 

a box of coconut water
two cans of coconut milk

so many looking for help

some people care when a poet dies

a poem is a conscience
a report card, a confession:

today my lies were a motor that spun the Earth

how can you get truth from a hill
when I am the continent that drifts?

how can I taste what I’m mourning
when soon everything will be salt from the sea?

 

—8/30/13, Register 6
1 PM—5:15 p.m.

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Pluto and Mars. Digitally enhanced photo. San Diego, February 2014.

 

I return with the Spring.

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San Diego, May 2013.



A lover knows only humility,
He has no choice.
He steals into your alley at night,
He has no choice.
He longs to kiss every lock of your hair,
Don’t fret,
He has no choice.
In his frenzied love for you,
He longs to break the chains of his imprisonment,
He has no choice.

A lover asked his beloved,
“Do you love yourself more than you love me?”
And the loved replied:
“I have died to myself and I live for you,
I’ve disappeared from myself and my attributes,
I am present only for you.
I have forgotten all my learnings,
But from knowing you I have become a scholar.
I have lost all my strength,
But from your power I am able.
I love myself,
I love you.
I love you,
I love myself.”

I am your lover,
Come to my side,
I will open the gate to your love.
Come settle with me,
Let us be neighbors in the stars.
You have been hiding so long,
Endlessly drifting in the sea of my love.
Even so, you have always been connected to me.
Concealed, revealed, in the norm, in the un-manifest.
I am life itself.
You have been a prisoner of a little pond,
I am the ocean and its turbulent flood.
Come merge with me.
Leave this world behind us.
Be with me,
I will open the gate to your love.

I desire you more than food or drink.
My body, my senses, my mind,
Hunger for your taste.
I can sense your presence in my heart.
Although you belong to all the world,
I wait in silent passion,
For one gesture, one glance.

Rumi

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Fog – Chinese Quarter, San Diego. January 2014.

“I choose not the suffocating anesthetic of the suburbs, but the violent jolt of the Capital.”

Virginia Woolf in ‘The Hours’

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San Diego, December 14, 2011.

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Ink on Miquelrius paper + Digital collage. October 2011



I want to share these two poems by Ilyas Abu Shabaku, which were given to me as a gift. Poetry is a candle in a dark room: our job in this life may just be to burn as bright as torches, as bright and as alive and loud as we can, for each glorious day we have left.

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened,

Happiness never decreases by being shared.

Buddha



YOU OR I?

By Ilyas Abu Shabaku, Lebanese poet (1903-1947)

This beauty, is it yours or mine?

In you I see a person beautiful in love

Like me. And which of us has given me life?

Is it your shape or mine that i love so?

When in my dream I see love’s images

Is it your shadow in my soul or mine?

Love, all of love, dwells in all I see

Whence all this light? Your universal soul?

Did I create you in the world of fancy

Or are you my creator?

Am I the first whom inspiration blessed

Or was it you? Who writes this verse?

Did I write it for you or you for me?

And who in love can be dictated to

And who dictates? Our imaginations blend,

Your soul within my soul, your mind in mine

When things appear obscure to me I see

A doubting shadow dawning in your eyes

When we met first I found my beginning

As if you were a lost part of my being.

Translated by Adam Haydar and Michael Beard




I LOVE YOU


By Ilyas Abu Shabaku, Lebanese poet (1903-1947)

I love you more than human heart can bear

More than a poet dreams or lover feels

You are the perfumed cloud from heaven sent

To rain upon me your enchanted dew;

I feel your heart, your veins flow into mine,

No gap to let the impure world creep in;

My heart confronts your heart, finding its twin,

As two cups meet in one eternal vow;

In us when wine is made to mix with wine,

A blend of perfume, breeze, and dew combine;

My inspiration dwells within your eyes,

And swells when lip on lip instructs my art;

For us the fire rages, though unfed,

Though we are calm, a storm erupts within.

Translated by Adam Haydar and Michael Beard

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Everytime it rains in San Diego, I get giddy.

I used to dislike rainy days but now, they are just…”Paris days.”

The city acquires a new depth, a warm, poetic melancholy.
That feeling of being inside a Caillebotte painting, where the real city, what I see, what i inhabit, what i fall into, is the image in the water; that wet,beautiful canvas. The rain on the asphalth, rivulets, currents, puddles become a mirror that scrambles, abstractizes, seduces….

The rain on the windows when you are sitting in a literary cafe’, and the place becomes a haven not only for the soul (as it usually is), but a toasty, welcoming,peopled orange-glow that will shelter the body in the intemperate, stormy weather. So seeing the sign of the cafe’ in the rain, in the mist,  is what the ship, no longer wreck-bound,  feels at the first glimpses of  the watchtower in the fog, keeper of her dreams and saviour.

It is as though the rain is inside the cafe’. The window panes are frosted and dewy. We could be anywhere. We could be in Paris.

Or all of it sunk in an ocean, a majestic  ruin overgrown with algaes and debris. All of it, wooden tables and chairs from Lebanon, credenzas and tapestries from Jordan. The wine, the coffee, the tea jars. They are all tubling down. And us with them.

It is as though we are sinking in a sweet, decadent oblivion. We drink in the atmosphere while we happily drown in a vague past with no memories. Where everything is possible, allowed, forgiven. And everywhere else, outside of this retro submarine, is desert.

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Ink and Graphite on Paper. October 2011

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It has been ten long days since my last post, ten days of travels, of letters written and not sent, of (re) search.

In the middle of it all, I experienced the ‘biggest blackout in the history of San Diego county’. Thursday, September 8th, 2011, power went off for millions of people in Southern California, Baja California and Arizona. No ATM’s , shuttered stores, nowhere to buy food or water in a world where, when the machines stop, the city stops. The blackout lasted for almost nine hours, from 3.30 Pm till just before Midnight, and it was all it took to plunge my two neighborhoods in an atmosphere that was at times apocalyptic, at others, surreal, magical, “european”. Beyond the novelty, even excitement, felt by some there were people trapped in high-rise elevators, in trolley cars over canyons, in mid-rise buildings without water. It was a time where everything stopped and a battery radio and candles (my only emergency preparedness) help whiled away the hours. It was a movie. And a dream.

Before I share what I have been working on in the past few days, here is my dispatch from the Blackout and some urban moments caught on camera.

PS: From http://www.nakedtranslations.com/en/2004/entre-chien-et-loup  nakedtranslations.com:

Entre chien et loup is a multi-layered expression. It is used to describe a specific time of day, just before night, when the light is so dim you can’t distinguish a dog from a wolf. However, it’s not all about levels of light. It also expresses that limit between the familiar, the comfortable versus the unknown and the dangerous (or between the domestic and the wild). It is an uncertain threshold between hope and fear.

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The night we saw the stars.

Full moon, venus, motherlight.

Flaws and flames

Not multiplied

It is so quiet

we can hear ourselves

If the end of the world comes

I want you to know

We are fine.

By Moon Light.

 

Read ”La Noche que Volvimos a Ser Gente”or “The Night We Became People Again” by José Luis González, a short story on the big blackout in New York City.

If you are left with a battery powered CD player when the world ends- and speak italian- you could do worse than listen to Caffe’ Letterario.

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Almost finished with my city of felt.
ArtWalk in Little Italy provided the inspiration and urgency to come back today. Good people and my new San Diego coffee love, Caffe’ Vergnano, provided the energy. Happy May.

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Updated March 15

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Homeless man reading. March 11, 2011.

For about a year, I have been lackadaisically documenting street conditions in San Diego.
The paranoia towards publicly shared space, the  ordinances (no sitting allowed, no loitering), the lack of benches. Downtown San Diego is the antithesis of porosity, a built environment that refuses to be interacted with. We purchase community: getting out your billfold is the only way to experience publicness. Ok. So there is Seaport Village…but that is not the streets….urban San Diego.

On the street of the America’s Finest City on any given night you find first and third world country sharing the sidewalk (sorry am I being un-PC? I meant developing country.)

I refrained from taking photos of homeless people until now, out of respect. But yesterday I learned that politeness can be the opposite of sincerity.
The work of an artist/flaneur is (also) to look at things most people gloss over, or willingly ignore. We are walking bookmarks. So tonight I asked this man what he was reading. ‘Science fiction’ he said. ‘It was originally published in 1952.’

:: :: ::
Later on that evening

Yoga class having come and gone (again), I will take a page from Neruda the Brazilian writer Martha Medeiros and stop going home the same route. I will sit for an apple mint sheesha (hookah, as it’s known here) and purchase me some people time.

:: :: ::
Later on that week….

This is ‘Dies Slowly’ or ‘Muere Lentamente’, a poem misattributed to Pablo Neruda, from the original ‘A Morte Devagar’ by Martha Medeiros:

The poem and the English version which follows – and which I slightly modified – come from this blog

Muere lentamente quien se transforma en esclavo del hábito, repitiendo todos los días los mismos trayectos, quien no cambia de marca, no arriesga vestir un color nuevo y nole habla a quien no conoce.

Muere lentamente quien evita una pasión, quien prefiere el negro sobre blanco y los puntos sobres las “ies” a un remolino de emociones, justamente las que rescatan el brillo de los ojos, sonrisas delos bostezos, corazones a los tropiezos y sentimientos.

Muere lentamente quien no voltea la mesa cuando está infeliz en el trabajo, quien no arriesga lo cierto por lo incierto para ir detrás de un sueño, quien no se permite porlo menos una vez en la vida, huir de los consejos sensatos.

Muere lentamente quien no viaja, quien no lee, quien no oye música, quien no encuentra gracia en sí mismo.

Muere lentamente quien destruye su amor propio, quien nose deja ayudar.

Muere lentamente quien pasa los días quejándose de sumala suerte o de la lluvia incesante.

Muere lentamente quien abandona un proyecto antes deiniciarlo, no preguntando de un asunto que desconoce o norespondiendo cuando le indagan sobre algo que sabe.

Evitemos la muerte en suaves cuotas, recordando siempre que estar vivo exige un esfuerzo mucho mayor que elsimple hecho de respirar.

Solamente la ardiente paciencia hará que conquistemos una espléndida felicidad.

He dies a slow death who becomes a slave to habit, repeating everyday the same paths, who doesn’t change the mark he leaves, won’t risk wearing a new color, nor talk to people he doesn’t know.

He dies a slow death who avoids passion, who prefers black to white and dotted i’s over a whirlwind of emotions,especially those that make the eyes sparkle , rescue smiles from yawns, hearts clumsy with feelings.

He dies a slow death who doesn’t upend the table when he is unhappy at work, who won’t risk a sure thing for the uncertainty behind a dream, who won’t allow himself, at least once in his life, to flee from sensible advice.

He dies a slow death who doesn’t travel, nor read, nor hear music, who doesn’t laugh at himself.

He dies a slow death who destroys self-love, who won’t let himself be helped.

He dies a slow death who spends his days complaining of his bad luck or of the neverending rain.

He dies a slow death who quits a project before starting it, not asking about what he doesn’t know, or not answering when asked about something he does know.

Let us avoid death in gentle doses, remembering always that being alive demands an effort much greater than the simple act of breathing.

Only burning patience will allow us to conquer
a splendid happiness.

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Bjarke Ingels came to speak to our school Friday night.

The venue was the Museum of Natural History in scenic Balboa Park.

I am still blown away by the lecture and, more importantly, the message.

It was truly (r)evolutionary.  The fact that BIG’s insanely brilliant concepts not only get built but a) give back to the community in terms of urban interaction b) are socially and ecologically responsible and c) are giving him fame and making him a household name is galvanizing.

Expanding the collective idea of what is possible through architecture: this is the optimism we need after years of gloom, in face of all the naysayers and ‘pie-in-the-sky’ disablers.  Something is blooming in the state of Denmark.

What an event. My friend Alan Rosenblum told me it would be as if  ‘Lady Gaga came to San Diego’.

And. It. Was.  The students loved it. Three days later, and we are all still giddy.

I could not agree more.  Thank you Mr. Ingels.
You intensified the dialogue between students and educators, and showed us how the ‘crazy’ ideas that are developed in studio and propose new typologies for the city are not only possible but timely and welcome. This creates a better learning environment, where pragmatism actually means being part of the solution, not propagating the problem.

I had the same dilemma when working in traditional, corporate offices and found refuge in academia. BIG showed us that there is a third way, the ‘Bigamy’ way. You can have it all. You can be good and successful. You can be extremely famous
and not be arrogant. He spoke of pragmatic idealism, and hedonistic sustainability. He demonstrated how to create building that are fun to experience as inhabitants and city neighbors and yet are sustainable. He showed us the intellectual approach and use of hybridization of traditional typologies to achieve new functions and forms. To wit: the Garbage to Energy plant in the middle of Copenhagen, which will be the city’s tallest structure and will house a ski slope (!) and blow smoke rings each time one ton of CO2 is burned. These are usually ‘crazy’ projects that we see coming from the upper studio division, when we ask the students to ‘dream big’ (pun intended) and question the drab, anti-interactive reality of center cities such as San Diego. The students, deep inside, try to dream but are conditioned to think that projects such as the one we saw in the lecture could never be built due to various factors such as financial interests or politics of control, or even lack of relevance of our role as architects.

We have been liberated from all of this because we can now point to BIG’s projects. Here it was demonstrated that the only limits we have as architects and human beings are those self-imposed, or those we feel ‘reality’ has burdened us with. I know that as faculty we felt validated by BIG’s successes ( does it make sense?). The music and videos, the whole presentation and BIG’s  infectious enthusiasm, warmth and positive energy were, in the words of a student ‘AWESOME’. Another student told me he learned a lot about diagrams from the lecture.
The lecture also was a model for engaging presentations. I have been toying with the idea, but now I am committed to use music and pop references in my History of Architecture classes; I ran the idea with few students and they were all for it. 🙂 I will quote Ingels when he says that we need to ‘cease to consider the building as objects but focus on what they do for the city’ : this informs and generates a new approach to ‘sacred architectural monsters’ and teaching history of architecture (or as I like to think, architectural stories).

A big thank you to Allen Ghaida, the AIAS and all my colleagues at the NewSchool Arts Foundation for making this dream of an event a reality.

I sketched feverishly- and took down all the provocative quotes. Here are my hybrid/computer-augmented notes.

I will add all of the proper building names and location as soon as possible.

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…..and this was my present 🙂

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This has started to be a weekly blog, and I am not too happy about it. This Quarter has been so intense in a stupendous way: I am involved in a myriad of exciting projects at the school and became involved in new committees – and that has meant less free time, but an overall brand new meaning in what I do. And did I mention the books ? In my studio class we are talking about designing negative space and casting shadows and in history we are in the Golden period of Classical Times : Greece (what have the Greeks done for you lately) and Rome. Who could ask for more?

Throughout it all, we have ‘got to keep the heart’ as Wanda, my sweet ex-neighbor said. Brain food needs to be augmented by daily spirit-food, soul-food…heart-food. As fully-realized human beings we have to ask an incredible amount from each day, but I believe it’s the only way to go…or you could just go on auto-pilot and become numb. Art and what happens here is just that for me, an outlet and inlet of pure ‘heart-stuff’, to balance the facts and seductive theories I’m immersed in everyday. Could we say this is my Dyonisian to the Apollonian? The days that I don’t get to post or practice are somewhat overcast, a bit stuffy, as though not enough light or air was let in.

I finally completed my Viva La Revolucion post and a related ‘revolutionary’ piece {see previous}. It took FOREVER. I don’t know why I keep giving myself homework. But I hope you enjoy that line of thinking, always trying to put it all together in a somewhat cohesive way that has to do with the nature of this forum.
The Holidays are coming and I am looking forward to post more frequently and produce more work. And I have a long list of things/topics so definitely stay tuned!
I finally had some time to do a new collage today.

It all started with this catalog of this year’s Arab Film Festival in San Francisco, and an image of the Salk Institute in San Diego.

I knew I wanted to make a collage using the two for some time, and the inspiration came from a dream last night.

I did not know the word part would materialize. Using the titles of the movie in the Festival, I created a game for myself, a sort of stream-of-consciousness poem generator. Here is one of the early results.

Here is how it all came together, unwritten an unspeakable words, fragments of poems, figments of my imagination…

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Steel frame poetry. Click for more info ore read below.

Choi+Shine, a Massachusetts-based design studio has recently received the Boston Society of Architects Unbuilt Architecture Award for their creative concept Land of Giants™, transforming the generic steel-framed electricity pylons across the Icelandic landscape into unique, individual humanised forms.

Read the World Architecture News article here.

In contrast to the poetry of the unbuilt, and whenever I see vision in design and architecture, there are the missed opportunities of the city around me. In my History of Architecture class I like to tell students that Architecture is built politics. By this I mean that the architecture of the civilizations we study, even the built environment around us, is the embodiment of a people’s values, belief system, socio-economic conditions (or agendas). Architecture can literally be considered ‘the body politik’.
During a recent conversation with a colleague the meaning of absence came up, that is, the absence of benches or piazzas in downtown San Diego. America’s Finest City enjoys the perfect temperate weather, is gifted with a beautiful natural setting, and yet its downtown does not invite enjoyment, people watching, outside of commercial establishment. This is a city that is, peculiarly, not urban at all, but fragmented, servile to cars, at times alienating. In the heart of its historical quarter, the Gaslamp, the city does not yield; no place to sit and pause to take it in.

There could be such place: Horton Plaza.

Downtown San Diego. Horton Plaza is in the 'Core'. Balboa Park is visible on the upper right corner. from onlinesandiegohomes.com

Horton Plaza/Fountain Side is a potential piazza whose use is twarthed by the deliberate use of ‘discomfort’ tactics: rough landscaping and the absence of benches, or seating at human-being level. I see tourists crouching down on curb edges everytime I walk by. There is a plan by the CCDC to ‘reenvision” the public park to make it more attractive‘.

Horton Plaza, facing the U.S Grant Hotel. San Diego, 1910. Fountain and plaza design by Irving Gill, who proposed four tiled walks (the city approved two, not tiled). Notice the cordoned-off lawn, and the absence of benches, even back then. sandiegodailyphoto.blogspot.com

Horton Plaza before 2008, with fountain still operable. It is flanked by a mall by the same name ( I love when malls appropriate the names of public space they displace, names such as 'Plaza', 'Avenues', 'Boulevard' etc.). Tall, unattractive plantings and no benches make the use of this piazza impossible. From http://sdhs1960.org/photos/yesterdaytoday.html. Adding ugliness to infamy, the fountain has remained fenced and inoperable for two years with no immediate plans for restoration. From signonsandiego.com

Horton Plaza/’Farmer Market’ Side is an open space eager to be a piazza, yet at the stage of ‘Piazza. Interrupted’. Why? The absence of seating, appropriate lighting, or a focal point in this location (a fountain? a modern sculpture?) renders this an open space to be traversed as quickly as possible, day or night, where spontaneous gathering is not encouraged (except for the commercially-viable weekly Farmers’ Market half-days or the inescapable ritual of the holiday ice-rink).

Horton Square, between the Horton Plaza Mall and the NBC building in Downtown San Diego. From shindohd@ flickr.com.

But Horton Square has potential, at least it’ s not a permanently-in-shade, unusable ‘public space’ such as those found among high-rises in financial districts nation-wide. You know what I’m talking about.

Wells Fargo 'Plaza', Financial district, San Diego. from frwl @ flickr.com.

Upon reading ‘ Why Public Spaces Fail’, it seems like San Diego has used this article as a blueprint to eschew its public responsibility and alienate the public sphere.
Of course anytime public space is brought up, the issue of the homeless is dragged out like a decaying corpse from the cellar, to once more make an appereance in trite arguments. The refrain goes ‘ We cannot have any public space in San Diego because of the homeless’. Meaning, if you build it, they (the homeless) will come. And we can’t have that. It’s as if the city, to paraphrase Ani di Franco’s words, instead of curing the disease, is bent on suppressing any evidence of the symptoms.
Of course we have the public, but touristy, Seaport Village and our cultural, manicured, Balboa Park. Both are not integrated with the urban fabric of downtown San Diego, that is they are destinations, not generators (can I say incubators?) of urban moments within the streets/flow of the city.
Balboa Parkis a wonderful (or maybe just pretty, depends on the days and my mood) public space, also designed by Irvin Gill,  and yet it is a place apart, an idyllic, bucolic, museum-filled oasis . I have not tried to go there at night, but I suspect that, in addition to dangerous, the park closes at night (like most American parks, something that doesn’t happen for public spaces in Europe). There are no night activities encouraged in Balboa, except for going to eat at The Prado restaurant, which stops serving food around ten. This could also says something about San Diego early bird ethic, and limited vision when it comes to cultural events. Balboa Park could be made an integral part of Downtown by better, more frequent transportation and by its transformation into a cultural hub, with stores and museums open at night. There are already good news: the main plaza of the park, originally designed as a public space and made in recent decades into an ugly valet parking lot is to be restored to its original use (!!). San Diego will finally have a true piazza (hopefully with seating opportunities) and I for one plan to go there sketching as often as possible.

The lack of piazzas or urban public spaces is not of course a San Diego phenomenon, or a Southern Californian one, but a North-American one. Why criminalize the act of spontaneous gathering, why call it ‘loitering’? We do not have this word in the Italian language, not with the negative connotation. What else but healthy loitering and thinking is done in piazzas in Italy? We can speculate, get political, be conspiracy theorists. We could talk about the privatization of public space. We could wax poetic about missing piazzas and the public consciousness of European cities.

Or we could-maybe- all agree on the beauty of (un)built poetry.

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Ink (Pilot Pen) on paper. 2008

Felt Tip Pen and Sharpie on paper. 2008

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From yesterday’s Rendering and Delineation Class. So proud of my color-wary students.


Queen Califia Session

Quen Califia Session II

Queen Califia III

Read the story of the mythical Queen Califia.
California is named after her!

See Niki St. Phalle Sculptural Garden ‘ Queen Califia’s Magical Garden’ in Kit Carson Park, Escondido, California.

Previous posts on the subject:
California and Califia
Listening to Baroque Music in San Francisco
Working with Color
Queen Califia’s Magical Garden {Continued}

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Loose Rendering. Ink, watercolor, prismacolor pencils. August 2010.



Lately, I’ve favored the watercolor and pencil technique, but want to get back to working with markers.

I found these two great tutorials on marker renderings from my blog friend and Urban Sketcher extraordinaire Suzanne Cabrera at An [Open] Sketchbook: can’t wait to share them with my students!

{ Tutorial 1: Furniture/Fabric }

{ Tutorial 2: Interior Rendering }

As usual, the wonderful Color Drawing book by Doyle will provide a lifetime’s worth of lessons.


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Marker Test @ Queen Califia's Magical Garden

Initial Sketch. Felt tip on heavy bond (sketchbook) paper.

Felt Tip on Marker (Rag) Paper.

Applying Watercolor 1.

Applying Watercolor 2.

End of ession at site. 20 Minutes. Wanted to have a loose base of color.

Adding Pencils (Albrecht Durer- Made in Germany), texture, few days after.

Do you remember Niki St. Phalle’s ‘Queen Califia’s Magical Garden’?

Well, I went back with my students for some loose watercolor and pencil renderings.

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Something eye-opening occurred at my school yesterday.

I attended the exhibit for SoCal -Ex : Exploratory Design Workshop, completed by Professor Hector Perez and his students.

Here are the specific of the Workshop:

6 Explorers

Andrea Benavides/Alfredo Melly/Henry Palomino/Charles Santamaria/Nancy Tariga

25 Days

July 12-August 5

10 Field Trips

San Diego/La Jolla/Del Mar/San Juan Capistrano/Los Angeles/Santa Monica/Culver City/Venice/Pasadena/Palm Springs

9 Progressive Practices

Daly Genik Architects/Eric Owen Moss/Estudio Teddy Cruz/Gehry Technologies/Luce Et Studio/Michael Maltzan Architecture/Morphosis/Sebastian Mariscal Studio/Smith and Others

15 Extraordinary Residences

Charles and Ray Eames/Craig Ellwood/Christine & Russell Forester/Albert Frey/Frank Gehry/Greene and Greene/Coop Himmelblau/Alberto Kalach/Ed Killingsworth/Sebastian Mariscal/Kathy McCormick & Ted Smith/Richard NeutraRudolph Schindler/Don Wexler

I spoke with Professor Perez and he told me that the analysis of the case study residences and projects were concentrated on the ‘crown’, ‘body’ and ‘feet’ of the aedifices.

Through collages, reminiscent of Superstudio and Archigram, the field trips become a venue for envisioning alternative architectural and urban scenarios (Design Workshops). I hope you’ll enjoy these images just as much as I did; each collage read like a miniature work of art, and the juxtaposition of architectural drawings and bold hand-drawn colors created fantastic, detailed, abstract constructs.  What a wonderful way to illustrate architectural drawings, and bring to life photographs.  The collages, done by hand, using cutouts, colored pencils and paint had a physical presence, a texture that a purely digital (photoshopped) images invariably lack.

I am inspired to create some more collages of my own and…can’t wait for the book 😉

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I hope everyone’s having a fabulous beginning of August.
I am really trying.

How are you doing, fabulous?

I plan to go to some movie under the stars, or at the park, or on a roof, like Cinema Paradiso. A good black and white movie, preferably a noir Hitchcock, would be the cat’s meow.

I am officially suffering from wanderlust.  If I could be in five places at once I would be home in Calabria (Southern Italy), in Cuba, Ibiza and Greece and of course right where I am, having a Summer of Art with my students. They really need to get this teleportation thing going, so I could just zip away for the weekend, or we could just do three days of plein air sketching in Florence!

Le Corbusier said that we need to see with new eyes. How true; in Architecture, drawing, and, most of all, in life.  Looking is not seeing. SO part of the renewal  is to give your eyes something different to contemplate (i.e. do something new!).  I pledge to pick up my local weekly and get out of my comfort zone (even my beloved neighborhood! I know, hard to believe). Yesterday, to start the month right, I trekked couple of hours to the beach (with my sketchbook, of course!)

Pacific Beach. August1,2010. Ink on paper.

To develop new eyes, and to stretch different parts of the brain, we have been working in class from “Drawing on The Right Side of the Brain.” One of its famous exercises  is to draw an object without looking at the paper, preferably without lifting your pen or pencil. I tried it out with my hand.

The fingerprint/pattern was inspired by a) this fascinating article on The NewYorker on fingerprints, art and forensic science and b) paying attention to things we don’t even see anymore, or take for granted. Here is our uniqueness. We are all snowflakes, and just as fragile.

Felt Tip on paper. August 2, 2010.

Draw your hand without looking at the paper, take a photo and send it to me (sketchbloom at gmail dot com) or linkback.

I am curious.

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Playing the Muse by Bruce Matthes

Perhaps if we all had, every day, time for art and for poetry, just a daily dose, perhaps our lives would feel a little less hurried, a little less hectic, and time would slow down for that cup of tea in front of a vintage art book. Perhaps we could squeeze more out of our day by letting the mind lull a bit, recharge, empty itself so that we could squeeze more info, memories, ideas. How do we download the weight of each day, how do we discharge- our mind like a sieve- retaining only lessons that could benefit us, letting go of the inconsequential? Perhaps with few moments under the sun, or with nature, few breaths and a prayer.

Today I was listening to NPR and I heard a man say that it is the job of  human beings to learn to let go of large quantities, and hold on to the precious little.

Antonio Machado’s poetry, according to Antelitteram, evolved to acquire with time the personal aspects of reevaluation of time, nature and feelings, until it reachead a poetry influenced by a profound interest in philosophy.

Bruce Matthes, a fellow artist and humanist , told me over coffee (what else?)  about his illustrations of Antonio Machado’s poetry.  I was immediately piqued, having completed a similar project- which I hope to share here soon. Bruce was kind enough to let me showcase his beautiful, lyrical work.

Click on each image to enlarge and read the poetry.

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There is nothing that God hath established in a constant course of nature, and which therefore is done every day, but would seem a Miracle, and exercise our admiration, if it were done but once.

 John Donne

 

The Roots of Violence

 

Wealth without work,

Pleasure without conscience,

Knowledge without character,

Commerce without morality,

Science without humanity,

Worship without sacrifice,

Politics without principles.

 

Mahatma Gandhi

 

 As quoted by Dean Gil Cooke in his keynote address.

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Mango. Watercolor. June 6, 2010.

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Happy June!

I hope the long weekend was restful and re-newing for all. I was fortunate enough to enjoy the beautiful weather in San Diego, and explore the Torrey Pines coast and beaches, and hike a cliff (!) For someone like me , a city creature, who believes in the great indoors, this is no small feat. I love seeing the water, just wish I had a Vespa to do this more often.

Torrey Piney Cliff. La Jolla. Photograph, digital manipulation. June 31, 2020

Today I got some good, official news from my University, NewSchool of Architecture and Design: I have been appointed full-time lecturer. I am incredibly excited to continue teaching on a more permanent basis, and to progress in my academic career, to continue sharing and learning with my students. This summer I am slated to teach First Year Studio, a combination of advanced architectural drawing and visual communication techniques, along with Rendering and Delineation and [roll of drums] Freehand Drawing. Needless to say, incredible opportunities to continue drawing, rendering, watercolor and coffee paintings…all of which I will share here.  As some of you may know, there is still some paperwork to go through in regards to my visa, the support of everyone at my school has been incredible, but , like every good movie, there is suspense at the end. Keep sending good energy.

I want to start June with NaBloPoMo, which is short for ‘National Blog Posting Month’. This is a fabolous site for bloggers, with lots of resources and networking opportunities; it is also associated with BlogHer.  The official National Blog Posting Month  is November (and prizes are given!), but every month members can be part of mini-nablopomo…which means I will do my best to post art and writings every day this month.

This month’s theme is ‘NOW’…a great reminder to ‘take life in one day packages’ as I recently read in a quote.

NaBloPoMo also offers interesting writing prompts for this month, Monday to Friday. Today’s prompt is:

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Well, it may not surprise you that I used to gather my friends in the cortile of my house in Milano, a small band of four and five year-olds and set up storytelling classes…I was the ‘teacher’ of course:). I remember planning for each class and thinking of what story I would create for my ‘students’. We only met like four times (it is hard to keep a schedule when you are five and there are so many games and toys to play with).  I distinctly remember looking at books in elementary school and wanting to be a ‘researcher of legends’.

PS: This is my 100th post, a year and three months after I first started SketchBloom, and exactly seven months after its official launch. Here’s to many more!

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Lily Pond. Balboa Park, San Diego. May 2010. Panasonic Lumix Camera.

Two Lilies. Balboa Park, San Diego. May 2010. Panasonic Lumix Camera.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,

but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust



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Bracelet, ring and necklace made of koa wood, bone, string. May 4, 2010

Still thinking about the versatility of wood, building material and jeweler’s materia prima.

This is the drawing (soon watercolor) I mentioned, long time coming, but, also, lots of slanted plumerias…I had to keep at this drawing , for some reason I kept leaving it and coming back to it, and carrying this wooden artifacts in my messenger bag everywhere, looking to finish the work. Perhaps I felt it like an ‘assignment’ and part of me rebelled to it, working on other drawings and ideas instead (which I am happy to say gave me material to now go back and post more regularly.) Perhaps it was the repetition that disturbed me, or it taking longer than i thought. Do you ever give yourself artistic assignment you regret but complete out of discipline–or stubbornness? It is very strange how art is a dichotomy between what is enjoyable and what is necessary, or what we arbitrarily consider necessary. I guess it is a way to give some sense of structure to our work.

I did not allow myself to post anything until I finished this blessed necklace, so you might see a series of plumerias, but I see a struggle XD.

Some say you should not do it once it ceases being fun. I think I would like to set a record for finishing what I started, and this is just an outward offering.

Speaking of flowers, here is walking around Mission Hills in San Diego, with my friend Theresa. Beautiful homes, canyons (we do live in an enchanted land- afternoon light through leaves-shimmering like a blessing), juxtaposed to sceneries right out of the incorporated town of Majestic/Agrestic. Passing by an It’s a Grind at the bottom of a horrific ‘Mediterrenean-Style’ condo on the way to Hillcrest made me chuckle and made me sad at the same time. I am sure the name contains the word ‘Tuscan’ somewhere.

The walk was a spontaneous one, not one of my photo expeditions, so here some unorthodox shots from my cell.

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'I'll Carry You, You'll Carry Me'. ArtWalk in San Diego, Little Italy. 2005

Daydream, delusion, limousine, eyelash

Oh baby with your pretty face

Drop a tear in my wineglass

Look at those big eyes

See what you mean to me

Sweet-cakes and milkshakes

I’m a delusion angel

I’m a fantasy parade

I want you to know what I think

Don’t want you to guess anymore

You have no idea where I came from

We have no idea where we’re going

Lodged in life

Like branches in a river

Flowing downstream

Caught in the current

I’ll carry you

You’ll carry me

That’s how it could be

Don’t you know me?

Don’t you know me by now?

Street Poet from Before Sunrise


With San Diego , it is often all or nothing.

ArtWalk took place this weekend in Little Italia and some lucky folks got to witness the Chihuly Exhibit at the Salk Institute, which is San Diego’s strongest claim to architectural relevance..

Photos courtesy of Professor Joe Nicholson.

Here is The Sun lit up at night.

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Suburban Landscape II- Digital Manipulation. 2005

Suburban Landscape I- Digital Manipulation. 2005

D-Evolution of Suburban 'Dream Home'- San Diego. Digital Manipulation. 2005

D-Evolution of Suburban 'Dream Home' III- San Diego. Digital Manipulation. 2005




I hope everyone was able to enjoy domesticity during the just past holiday. I indulged my inner  domestic goddess by cooking a pretty good ‘Pasta al Forno’, which actually gets better two days after baking, keeps well in the fridge and will feed you for half a week!

I have also been surfing the web and handpicking the best architecture and design sites the world over, thanks to the World Architecture Community– do check out the new blogroll .:Global Architecture:.

Must-See:
1. Architecture Lab, a fresh, young, visually captivating and insightful international online architecture and urban design magazine edited by Aline Chahine, an architect living and working in Beirut, Lebanon.
The Architecture bites offered here are just the right size, as a prelude to your favorite periodical or taken on their own.
Can Architecture be delicious? Well, check out Architecture Lab and let me know. Made me fall in love with A. all over again.
I love Aline’s chosen quote:
” A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart.”- Frank Lloyd Wright

2. NotCot. They believe in ideas, aesthetics, and amusement. And they do it with stunning graphics and provocative by-lines. I’m a believer, too.

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