30.10.13

Ancient Footprints of the Colorado River: By Alfredo Acosta Figueroa

This book covers an immense amount of information regarding the nature of the land surrounding the Lower Colorado River Basin Valleys and feels like a manifestation of  a lifetime of work by Alfredo Acosta Figueroa.  This is a primary text for me not only because it directly relates to the tradition and culture of the region that I am from, but because the author is my Tio (my great uncle).  I remember being very young and listening to him and my Tata (grandfather) talk about all sorts of exciting things.   Now as I'm trying to understand the motivation for creating a positive push in my work - this text feels wholly relevant to a lot that I'm making.


This text begins by discussing the mythical city of Aztlan - a place where all native americans originated from.  Figueroa makes a hearty argument that this place isn't mythical at all, but is directly in the Palo Verde Valley.  Figueroa speaks about the historical relevancy of many Intaglios in the area and about various drawings/codices that support his argument.


"The origin of Mexico was on the Colorado River and was the Confederation of Anahuac, which extended from the Rocky Mountains in the north down to Nicaragua. The official version of the Mexican Government states that the nation began when it became independent from Spain on September 16, 1821, and that the mother country is Spain, La Madre Patria Espana. This is a gross misinterpretation of the origin of Mexico since the origin of Mexico as a nation is deeply rooted in its cosmic traditional culture since time immemorial."


Early on, Figueroa's aim becomes clear - one of understanding origin and restoration.  Restoring the land and culture of the Mexica people back to a time when the land was not so disrespected and community was an integral part of culture.  This notion is not unlike other contemporary texts - Terence McKenna spoke avidly about turning back towards the past, toward an Archaic Revival.  Figueroa mentions the destruction of many clues and sacred sites to the past,

"Most of the codices were deliberately destroyed by European zealots living among the colonizers in Mexico, 'silencing the voices from the past'."


Both of my parents are from Blythe, a small town in the Palo Verde Valley.  Many times I've traveled to Blythe as a child, less so as an adult, but I've always felt the vastness of the desert was something sacred that commanded respect.  Many of Figueroa's points relate to the lack of respect there is for this desert as there are many projects that aim to desecrate the land.

The question becomes, how does culture begin to have a cosmological relationship again when many of the clues of the past traditions cannot be found?  Figueroa makes an incredible effort to speak about various cosmic traditions of the past.  I will be rereading this text to absorb its magic power of the past and desert, as well as to study it's cosmological links more closely. 

27.10.13

VERMONT STUDIO RESIDENCY






Fisk and I drove to Vermont! We spent the night in Brattleboro where we swam in the pool, then hung out in the jacuzzi and sauna. Then we had a great meal at this cheesy named restaurant in the hotel Tavern - the food was excellent. Blackened swordfish & Walnut pecan pie. 


This morning we drove around a hill and this smiling face said hello. Or screamed at us, depending on how you perceive it. Or both. We finally made it to the Vermont Studio Center where everything is gorgeous. 




My studio is on the second floor of an old church, so there are nice colors on the walls from the stained glass.  I have a giant studio and I love it.  Tonight there is some sort of reception and then dinner!





It occurred to me when I was informed of no wifi in the houses that I will truly be able to make this time mine.  I'll be free from distractions to make as much work as I like. I'm not sure how much I'll be posting, maybe more, maybe less, maybe the same.  I'm so happy to be here. 

21.10.13

Gowanus Open Studios / Packing.







Gowanus Open Studios was this weekend!  I've never participated in this kind of event, a ton of artists in a single neighborhood opening up their work and studios for a huge number of people to browse and see.  It was an excellent place for learning how to talk about your work in a way that is relevant to the general public - which is always a handy tool to have. I was lucky enough to have my work presented near Lindsay and Jen, so it was fun to go through the entire experience with them.  I'm so grateful to the friends who came out. It was great to chat and spend some time with new people. 

I want to send a huge THANK YOU to everyone at Brooklyn Art Space for all their wonderful help in all thing GOS related.  It's really amazing to have such a great community to be active within. Thanks Rhia and Abby!!




Today is a day for slowing down my mind. The biggest of tasks regarding preparation for Vermont are over and I've only got to finish up the work week - which I've decided should be as playful and least stressful as possible.  Today I've taken my time packing up my supplies for Vermont & pulling my Winter hat out of storage.  Oh! Tonight Fisk, Alex and I will be seeing our good & great friend Miss Jillian Green perform in Brooklyn!  So excited for this. 


15.10.13

The Source Family / Escape From Tomorrow / Mike Kelley @ PS1

---What I've been absorbing as of late...---

The Source Family
This documentary, directed by Maria Demopoulos & Jodi Wille, is the realization of Isis Aquarian, whose role within the Source Family was one of a historian.  Nearly all the material was hers to share, and many interviews were conducted with previous members of the family. During their happiest years the family lived out an old mansion called the mother house, while many members worked at the Source restaurant - the first for local foods in Los Angeles.   Jim Baker - who later became father Yod - started this family for the purpose of sharing love and facilitating a healthy lifestyle for it's members. My favorite aspect of the documentary was it's seemingly non biased opinion of the entire experience.  It easily expressed the desires and motivations for joining the family, while later on revealing the pains that come when theories about love and spirituality come into practice.  This film ultimately pointed to the complexities of human relations, while making it clear that simple ideas around lifestyle can sometimes be the most complicated to achieve. 

Escape From Tomorrow

Escape From Tomorrow is the debut film directed by Randy Moore and acts as a semi horror semi psychological thriller about a family and their trip to DisneyWorld. The special part about this film is that nearly the entire film takes place at the Disney Parks and is filmed there, however Moore never received permission from Disney at all.  I sort of refuse to believe that Disney is unaware of the existence of this film, so I keep trying to think of reasons why they haven't tried to sue Moore yet. Either way, the film is strange and full of bizarre moments that leave you cringing and laughing hysterically. Ultimately the film ends the way Disney would prefer - with the lead's dream coming true.  

 MIKE KELLEY @ PS1













There will never be enough words to describe the quantity of content in this exhibition. The show was incredibly well curated with plenty of space to let works mold each space into their own necessary channels.  Day Is Done, a seminal video by the artist, could be found in a giant dome in front of the museum.  I regret that I didn't have 12 hours to spend watching the variety of amazing videos in this entire exhibition.  Kelley is an artist whose work absorbs and becomes the dark places inside of ourselves, touching on many themes, like gender issues & general perversion while using humor as a means of making all of it easier to swallow. It's difficult to have any thing but admiration and fascination for an artist like Kelley. While I'm pleased to see such a large breadth of his work in person, I'm still saddened to know it's without him. 


9.10.13

Ace Hotel Mural: Room 424


This weekend I painted a mural at the Ace Hotel, NYC. Room 424! 



Myself, looking tired - 16+ hours of painting. 



It was a really fun and amazing experience to get to leave a lasting mark for many future guests of the hotel.  I hope they feel all the positive energy I put in this work! Fisk made a great little time lapse video below, where you can check out the entire process. Many thanks to Fisk for being an amazing help through out the process.  

video

2.10.13

Gowanus Open Studios 2013





The press is out for Gowanus Open Studios, so here it is for you. If you didn't get a chance to check out the Start on Top/Finish on Bottom show, this is a great time to come out and support.  I'll be at number 13, waiting to see your gorgeous face.