My very favorite thing to do is undoubtedly traveling. If I could, I would be on the read every month discovering new places, with their exotic perfumes and colors.
Last March, I finally did it and crossed the boarder to visit Mexico. Though things didn’t go as planned, I think we were able to make the most of it.
Mexico City was a bit too grey and chaotic for my liking but it didn’t lack charm. Without a clear plan of what we wanted to do, we spent a lot of time wandering the streets under construction, and trying to find the spots we had on our list, ranging from historical sites, monuments, neighborhoods, museums or markets. But we easily got lost in the residential neighborhoods, walking endlessly to find street food stations and mercados, selling anything and everything from piñatas to quesadillas, shoes, clothes, toys and fresh fruits. All in all, the city was overwhelmingly big. Used to Brussels or San Francisco, both small cities pretending to be big, I had a hard time getting used to the distances but thanks Uber for the most ridiculous prices, even though we crossed the city multiple times, none of our trips exceeded $5, and most of them were under $3. My highlight of the city was undoubtedly Coyoacan, a beautiful neighborhood with houses that could be the protagonists of any of Isabel Allende’s novels. Grandiose, colorful and flowery surrouneded by myseterious walls, creating a tangent between me, the present, and the years and years of stories behind those walls. The crooked streets and uneven pavement, the tall trees and golden light made it all seem like what I imagined Mexico to be and I fancied myself being the character of a book filled with magical realism. All that said, the culture and historical sites were pretty impressive too. I was however very sad to miss the Frida Kahlo museum, in her historical blue house. But I guess it was okay because I rode an air balloon for the first time and flew above the pyramids of Teotihuacan at sunrise, which I was able to cross from my bucket list. Much less scary than what I imagined it to be. We were simply floating in the air admiring the vast world at our feet. If you ever have the chance to, you should experience it!
The smaller towns were also filled with magic and charm. Cuernavaca was adorable but San Miguel de Allende was unbeatable. I’m not a big fan of tourist-y crowds, but the joyful atmosphere of this magical town during the Semana Santa festivities made it all the more fun. Having a great friend and native as a guide was also probably why this week-end in San Miguel was so perfect. Max invited us to stay in one of his family’s gorgeous haciendas, right by the cathedral. He invited us to visit his own family home, where the corridors and rooms seemed like a tunnel taking us through the years of History the building held. Mosaics, colorful architecture, patterned floors, funky tiles, flowers and smiles all over the place!
One last thing I had to say is that Mexican food was ah-mazing, the fancier restaurants were great but the street food and seemingly plain establishments didn’t have anything to envy the more expensive ones. The quesadillas of Las 3 Marias, on the road to Cuernavaca were top not. Looking back, I definitely would have saved some days to enjoy the beach and the wilder side of the country but it will have to wait until our next trip. For now, I’ll share with you some of my favorite shots of the trip. Enjoy!
PS: I got a Go Pro to test for future travel photography, and though it wasn’t the same as my beautiful Mark II, I did have a great time testing it! Still have to get used to it, but definitely a fun toy to have. Can’t wait to try it underwater!
It’s another obsessive Ted Talk day. I always find these so inspiring, comforting and eye opening, that I can’t help but share. Today I came across this speech, at a time where my close graduation and all the questions I get asked about the future are seriously starting to give me anxiety. If you too feel lost in this world of explosive creativity and multiple outlets, I encourage you to see this. These 12 minutes have made me feel better, calmed me and inspired me to keep moving forward. It’s a scary feeling to think what you are supposed to become might not be the path you want to follow anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to contribute into making you a better person, a better creative, and a better professional. I’m terrified of what’s coming this year, but I’m also very excited and looking forward to growing.
Art has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, it has been a part of humanity for as long as we’ve existed. Mankind has always felt the need to create because Art is fascinating, mysterious, changing and constantly evolving. Some say it might be dying. But what does this mean? I would like to address a few points to further understand the place and purpose of Art in our contemporary society and how its evolution has tremendously shifted in the past century. How did we go from Michael Angelo’s perfection to Duchamp’s “Fountain”? At the end of the 19th Century, Nietzsche brings to the table the idea that “God is dead, and we have killed him.” The radical change of Western moral values revolutionized the way creatives approached, perceived and made art. I will discuss this shift by exploring what I believe to be two key pieces in the History of Modern of art: Paul Cézanne’s “Le panier de pommes” (The basket of apples) and Duchamp’s “Fountain” and the ideas behind two revolutionary men.
Arthur Danto, in his book “After the End of Art” states that art has disappeared. But don’t worry, the statement is more apocalyptic than the reality of it. Let me clear one thing before we start, when I talk about the “death of art”, I’m not talking about the end of the artistic production, I’m talking about the way we perceive and talk about Art, as well as its purpose in our society. In the 20th century, life changed. The industrial revolution turned the world upside down, and the World Wars and the Holocaust possibly destroyed mankind, demeaning the sacredness of human life and the meaning of existence. All of these factors heighten the crisis of morality in Western civilization and their impact on the creative minds is worth exploring. What does being alive, good or evil mean? The debris of this time of turmoil is best expressed, at least visually, in the interpretations of great artists trying to create a new vocabulary.
Arguably, the first responsible for this shift in Art History, is Gustave Courbet. The French painter of the 19th century and author of the realist manifesto, was the first one to rebel against traditional art, against its richness, idealism and platonic heroic perspective, in favor of reality and truth. He shined a light on a hidden part of society that we have always tried to ignore. His ideological stance regarding painting and the purpose of art sets free the ship of modernism, going against the idealist luxurious lie that is classic art. Society slowly becomes aware of the outdated distortion of Western Civilization and its Judeo-Christian values bringing a great deal of anxiety and confusion to the people.
During this crisis of thought, we witness an attempt to see what’s real in a society that is coming apart. A re-evaluation of our way of thinking. Artists begin their restless search for a vocabulary of aesthetics, that still remains unresolved to this day. This fragmentation of thinking gives birth to the genius of Cézanne. This fiery French painter becomes the central figure that changes the direction of the ship of modernism. Chances are Cézanne wasn’t aware of the importance of his work, but his innovative and radical approach to painting would influence the leading artists of the 20th century. His still life, “Le panier de pommes” (1895), is a great example of his brilliance, stopping the viewer on the surface, and denying the entrance into the three dimensional picture, the alternative reality that illusionism provides. For the first time, Cézanne breaks the laws of the “window approach”. That’s how, going against every rule of illusionism, he became aware of the anatomy of the painted rectangle or canvas, creating a unique vision of form, composed of multiple perspectives. The control over the image itself and the rendition of form is lost to subjectivity. We are not talking about an awkward distortion of space, that fellow post impressionists relied on, like Van Gogh, Cézanne has a breakthrough. At a time where still life was undermined, he took the chance to renew the view on a neglected subject, free of iconography and symbolism and reinvented the meaning of the most meaningless subject: A basket of apples, opening doors to many others like Picasso or Matisse. From this point on, the beast was set free, allowing many movements to flourish and evolve, such as Fauvism or cubism. The definition of art is meaningless after Cézanne, without an agreed upon language or set of rules.
Danto claims there are three major events in the History of Art: The birth of Art in the 15th century with Vasari’s redefining the craft of relic and icon making as a quest for more and more perfect representation of beauty; the rebirth of art in the 1880’s when illusionism and beauty were replaced by the progress of purity and “truth to materials”; and finally, the death of art, with Warhol’s “Brillo Box”, blurring the lines between art and non art, or high brow and low brow art. However, I believe the piece that brought death to art was Duchamp’s “Fountain”, still animating debates to this day. I still can’t decide if it’s a masterpiece or a social statement. From that point on, from the moment Marcel decided to put his urinal on a pedestal, everything was permitted. Duchamp is a legendary trickster, and the most influential artist on contemporary art education. Suffice to say he was the inventor of the ready-made. He took pre existent objects, and by changing their context, and putting them where they didn’t belonged, turned them into works of art. The first one being “In advance of a broken arm”, when he hung a shovel in Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery walls. This way, he became the father of conceptual art, giving more importance to the idea than the art work. The meaning is derived from the way we see the object, not the object itself. Talk about a revolution!
The triumph of his vision takes the form of a urinal in 1917, more than two decades after Cézanne’s basket of apples, when he places the object on a pedestal, signs it R.Mutt and sneaks it into the submissions of the first American Avant-garde art show. Evidently, the piece was disregarded as a joke, but was eventually exhibited at 291, Stieglitz’s gallery and the rest is history. Duchamp confronts us with the ultimate expression of Courbet’s realism and the anti thesis of traditional art. He creates a celebration of the banal, the unoriginal with his outrageous and subversive masterpiece. If we can’t agree on a vocabulary of culture, then the vocabulary doesn’t have meaning, so why not have some fun with it? With his “Fountain”, Duchamp destroys once and for all the precious, unique and elitist status of art and becomes a symbol of the dada movement. The anti-art group channeled the terror and chaos of war into absurd, yet brilliant art, challenging, like Cézanne or Courbet did, the rules of art. They created from trash, leftovers of life, the mundane and forgotten and mocked society with their ingenious silliness. Even though dada is linked to an escape from the harsh reality through non sense, theories point that they may have been making fun of an upper middle class and critiquing war and capitalism. Despite the darkness laying within, dada is a fun, childish response to a crisis that we all love. Courbet’s mundane heroism, morphed through the dadaists ultimately hits pop artists like Warhol, and still remains a big influence today.
To compare “The fountain” with Cézanne’s basket apples might seem silly. They are, after all, two completely different aesthetic solutions. Cézanne’s painting has nothing to do with Duchamp’s ready-made sculpture. I think what ties them together is their revolutionary nature, and the way they took the most banal subject and put a spotlight on it, turning them into a masterpiece. Both resigned control to follow a more interesting path, disobeying the guidelines of art and exploring the unknown, the prohibited. In a way, they became symbols of experimentation. Cézanne took the painted aesthetic and turned it upside down, Duchamp took the concept of art itself and confronted it to society. They both played and mocked the pre conceived notions of culture in their time, notions of hierarchy and aesthetic. By tearing apart the traditional aspects of art, they both started an intellectual dialogue with their audience about perception and structure. However, their artistic personas couldn’t be more different. While Cézanne was a frustrated artist, who’s basket of apples made history as an unresolved depiction of his genius, Duchamp enjoyed his status of trickster artist, refusing to put the creative production in a pedestal, and mocking the artistic community. On the other hand, Cézanne tried to fit in it without success. One meant for his work to be subversive and to start a conversation, the other indadvertedly did so, but what an amazing accident it was.
Modern art has become the unresolved solution of that endless search for a vocabulary of aesthetics and a moral code after the death of Christianity, that Sartre’s existentialism points out so well. What does it mean to be alive after the atrocities of the first half of the century? Modern art is traumatic art in many ways, an embodiment of the violence and frustrations of a time of insecurity and crisis. It pushes aside the Judeo-Christian shadow over art, destroying power structures and hierarchies. It is an attempt to understand the the previously unconceivable paradox that reason doesn’t lead to salvation and happiness. It’s a shot at processing the chaos of the universe and the ever shifting identity of Western Civilization. Modern artists found different ways to explore the universal meaning of art, wether it’s through rebellious shifts of form and perspective, like Cézanne or subversive ideas, like Duchamp. Both recognized the widening of aesthetic solutions challenging the definition of art.
In these “post historical” times, we are liberated from the “dictated” style. We can enjoy the terrifying freedom of endless possibilities where nothing is excluded. Ironically, we could say that Art History has become a victim of capitalism, and artistic movements, as well as masterpieces, have grown to be raw items sitting on a store’s window, waiting to get picked up, consumed and recycled into the latest art work of the contemporary artist. And in the same fashion, Museums, like supermarkets, feed the hungry creatives with imagery to borrow and styles to adopt. Art has become the triumph of American capitalism. After all, what is the difference between capitalism and culture? It has become our identity. Put it that way, Art does sound pretty dead.
Art as it was, no longer exists. It’s not about craft anymore, Art is what you like it to be.
But to think of the modern era as the end of Art, or death of Art, we need to believe in Art History in the first place, the “grand narrative” that Art Historians have created and shaped for us. It seems as movements have logically succeeded each other through time. However, this narrative is full of contradictions, exceptions and odd figures struggling to fit in a made up timeline. For example, we could argue that Hieronymus Bosch, a painter of the 14th century, was the first modernist when we explore his eccentric imagery. He doesn’t’ belong to any movement of his time, yet his paintings stand still in our books and relate to modern times. He is the first one to defy the idea that the painted image needs to make sense. Bosch proves that threads in Art History are contradictory and confusing. Maybe, just maybe, we could dispute that there was no narrative in the first place, that it was all an invention or an illusion created by historians to make us feel better, to give us a structure, a logical explanation of the uncontrollable evolution of creativity.
Some other thing that I wanted to share with you was a new work that I’ve been doing. This semester, I have taken my camera off the neck to go back to my artistic roots: Paper art. I am enrolled in a book arts class and I am loving it so much! Working with my hands again and seeing a 3D object come to life has been amazing. I decided to mix my two passions and transform some of my images into tunnel books. I’ll share some photos here for you to enjoy. Hope you like these!
Haven’t posted anything in a long while! But I’m back.
After saving up some money, I’ve finally treated myself! Last month I purchased an iPhone 5s. What does this mean? I’ve been shooting more than ever. I haven’t worked on a photo assignment but I have really enjoyed looking at light and color and using my phone camera to capture those little wonders of the every day life. Yesterday, I assisted my boyfriend and amazing artist, Isaac Cara, in doing some screen prints. I loved playing around with ink and exploring this colorful studio so I decided to share some of it with you!
I’m so excited to share with you this video! Adobe contacted me a few weeks ago to create an image to promote their new app: Mix 2.0. We created this little simple composite as we filmed this fun video. I’m sharing with you 12 hours of filming compressed into less than 2mn! What an amazing experience it was, a lot of work that left a big smile on my face and my apartment beautifully decorated.
I had the chance to play with this new tool that is so promising. Mix 2.0 is incredibly easy to use, and such a great on-the-go application. Can’t wait to see where this goes. Who wants to buy me an iPhone so I can keep playing with it?
Video by www.authorsprojects.com, who was an amazing team to work with. I’m not used to being in front of someone else’s camera, but these guys made it a super fun adventure. Follow the link and check out more of their work.
Capilano Suspension Bridge National park awesomeness.
On the road.
A day on Lake Washington. Cheers to chorizo and sunshine.
Most amazing architectural space: Seattle’s public library.
Most amazing architectural space: Seattle’s public library.
Oregon’s giant sand dunes.
Ben on top of Oregon’s giant sand dunes.
Dad on top of Oregon’s giant sand dunes.
When you see it, Oregon’s giant sand dunes
I had such a great time road tripping the West Coast of the USA this summer and I wanted to share with you a piece of it. My family and I drove from San Francisco to Vancouver and back and, as always when I travel, I was amazed about the beauty of this world.
If you’re an artist, professional or amateur, you’ve probably gone through a creative stagnation. Your brain decides to close its factory of ideas and go on vacation somewhere. That’s how I felt for the past few weeks. Dealing with house duties, online classes and a social life has taken most of my time and I was starting to get anxious about creating. When was I going to feel like producing art again? Luckily, I’ve found myself dating one of the creative minds I admire the most. He pushes me to be creative and make art even when during these struggling moments when you don’t know where to start. Yesterday, I finally sat down to doodle some digital self portraits. They are far from being finished, and I have no idea where this new path is going to take but I’m enjoying the trip. I’ve put down my camera this summer but that doesn’t mean I have to stop creating. Find time and find a purpose when you are stuck! Creativity never really leaves you for long and sometimes you just need to lure her back to you.
I finally took the time to explore the conservatory of flowers a few days ago and what a beautiful place! It’s refreshing to find a little flower paradise in this city. The beautiful façade had always fascinated me but its interior is even more wonderful. I recommend you take a trip to the Golden Gate park and stop there!
One of my summer goals this year was to finally learn how to use watercolor. I’ve always admired that medium that is so organic yet surreal. After a few weeks of tutorials and exercises I finally did something I am proud to share with you. Here’s my first portrait. It was an attempt at a self portrait that sort of failed haha. But I still love the color. Not bad for a first! Can’t wait to explore this medium furthermore!
Chema Madoz has always been one of my biggest inspirations. His work is mind-blowing. His imagination out worldly and I couldn’t contain the happiness when I heard that he was having a solo exhibition in Madrid, right when I was coming. My mom and I went to check it out and I was more than pleased with all of the work put up. I didn’t know many of the pieces and I was happy to see that his work just keeps its level of perfection. Simple, elegant, pure, genius and so wonderful. I am full of admiration for this man that I hope I will some day meet!
It’s summer time and the weather is easy.. now that I’m back home in Madrid. It feels nice to wear shorts again and have the time to tan, read, enjoy family and focus on myself.
Here are some snaps of the beautiful sunrise from the plane and the sunset that Madrid welcomed me with.
Looking out the window of an airplane is one of my favorite things to do in the world. It’s so mesmerizing to see the world from that perspective. Let it be beautiful clouds underneath us - a fascination of mine - or a big world turned into a tiny miniature, becoming so fragile and playful.
And here comes March! Can’t believe three months have passed since the beginning of 2015! Time is flying by and with it more videos of this year long visual diary are coming together. Love to be collecting all of these lovely memories!
Just wanted to share with you a couple of details from my last image! I’ve started exploring the wonderful world of digital painting. I’m still a newbie but I had so much fun figuring out how to make it work. Can’t wait to dig deeper into this technique!
As I mentioned earlier, I’m starting a year long project, I’m taking the self discovery road through video this time. I’m beginning to learn how to use this new medium and I couldn’t be having more fun. So I finally finished my first visual diary of the year. Wrapped up the first days of 2015 into this video, sequencing seconds of my daily life. January was very chill, somewhat exciting and very cold. I spent too much time in airports and airplanes but only to find myself surrounded by the people I love the most. I couldn’t have asked for a better beginning of the year!
I’m posting this a little late, still not really used to having a blog on my website. I’m still a Facebook/Instagram person but better now than never. I wanted to share with you one of the few images I created over Christmas. Hearing about the Charlie Hebdo shooting broke my heart. To think that we’ve come to a point of such intolerance and barbarie really saddens me. After all the fighting for freedom of speech and individual rights, we’re back at zero, when solving problems was dealt with weapons and taking lives. To think that humor and art have become a dangerous profession is outrageous. But despite all the violence and hatred that has been built up around the world lately, I wanted to create something to say that Art will always prevail over terror. My heart is in Paris. I’m deeply sorry for humanity today.