For more please head over to my collection on Flickr, Street Art Photography, an album containing over a thousand photos of street art captured over the past 15 years in NYC and Sacramento, with some images taken in other cities and countries. From tags to large scale murals, with everything in between… Some of this artwork has long disappeared, others remain, some are hidden between buildings, others are displayed prominently, proudly, on visible walls. Many of the photos in this album were taken in Bushwick in Brooklyn over a decade ago, an area which has undergone significant changes in the past few years, with more artwork going up, but, at the same time, a lot disappearing too. Art is everywhere, we just need to look around to see it.
I really enjoyed walking around the city during last year’s mural festival, and was therefore really excited about this year’s Wide Open Walls project! Now that we live downtown it was much easier to walk around documenting the murals in their different states of progression. Over 10 days during this past August 40 or so artists and walls were paired together all around Sacramento, and we now have the luxury of seeing a ton of new and beautiful artwork every day. As we are always on foot I haven’t been able to capture them all yet, and I have progress pictures of some and not of others (I was only a few weeks postpartum AND it was over 100 degrees). I will be adding to the gallery every time I come across a new one. Also, it was impossible to get a good, full picture of the Artners Collaborative mural, but it’s amazing, and they deserve a blog post all to themselves in the near future!
You can find a list of artists and locations right HERE (I think some of them changed a little, and I know there is at least one extra one not on the list). I still need to get up above 27th St to see those up there(especially to se Bryan Valenzuela’s mural as I loved what he did for the Art Street project earlier this year), and down to Oak Park to see those there too. It’s really, really worth it, believe me!
Wide Open Walls 916 will also be hosting a Street Art Mural Jam on October 21st. I will be at Aftershock that weekend, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how the block turns out afterwards!
You may have remembered when I posted about an abandoned hotel that had become a temporary art exhibition last year (see ArtHotel), well the M5Arts collective is back again this year with another temporary exhibit, ArtStreet. This time the project takes place inside and around a huge warehouse in downtown Sacramento and features over 100 artists from all over the world. Cesar and I spent ages walking around all of the different installations earlier this week, depicting so many stories: sadness, despair, hope, love, current events, degradation of society, history among many other themes. So inspiring, I really wish that it was a permanent feature in the city rather than just temporary. Of course I took a bunch of photos of as much as I could, feeling more and more inspired with every step. If you are one of the artists who participated or you know anyone who did, please don't hesitate to tag in the comments. You can also find a full list of all artists here.
The last week of the year is going out like a lead balloon falling straight into the deepest part of the ocean. We have all been suffering from the most terrible cold and haven't set a foot outside of the house since Boxing Day. I find being ill very hard to deal with because I rarely am ever ill, neither are the children really. But I suppose being pregnant just makes it worse. So tonight will see me falling asleep by 9pm with a book on my chest, Cesar working late downtown, and hopefully a restful and peacefully healing night's sleep for our little ones!
Anyway, 2016 has been a strange, interesting, wonderful and terrible year altogether, better than some years in some senses, worse in others, but all in all full of changes, love, friendship and some sadness. Late last year we made the decision to leave our beloved NYC and move nearer my family in Northern California, a decision that still weighs heavy on us. While it's been wonderful to be close to my mum, sister and brother, living here isn't as easy as we had thought it would be, and both Cesar and I still miss NYC terribly. We also know that the move was the best thing for us as a family, so no regrets, just a little nostalgia, and a lot of thoughts towards the next few years and where we see ourselves then. So while the children are watching the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and we all cuddle in bed, coughing and sneezing up a storm, I will write my own little retrospective of the year, complete with my personal favorite blog posts...
This year two of my absolute favourite all-time artists passed away, amongst many other wonderful artists, some of which were a little expected due to age or illness, others whose death came as a sad surprise to us all. Losing David Bowie and Leonard Cohen sure felt like personal losses to me, and while I don’t blame 2016 for “killing” so many favourite icons I do believe that we were hit a little harder than other years, especially those of us who were kids in the early 80’s.
2016 was the year that our eldest turned two and finally started speaking. All of my worries in that department have disappeared as she now speaks as well as a three if not four year old. I shall have to write a follow up blog post to my previous speech-related one in the new year, especially now that our 16 month old has started talking and repeating everything we say. I started a high needs child series on the blog (Sleep is a Luxury, A Heart Warrior Mum's Account, Trust Your Instincts, Trust Your Child) that I hope to continue in 2017, because there are so many things that people don’t tell you when you are pregnant, and so many things that I feel women don’t talk about out of fear of being judged. While I still owe my blog a 15 month summary for my youngest, I’m pretty proud of the fact that I managed to continue her baby book/blog in the same way as I did her sister’s, because I will be taking all of the posts and photos and actually creating real books for them in the future. In other parenting news I blogged about tandem nursing, rambled about middle of the night and daytime thoughts, dreamt of the beach, discussed my vegetarianism, and talked about how we lead by example. And of course, not to forget, our newest news, that baby number three is on his or her way! And by the way, keeping with our tradition of not revealing the name until birth, this time around we will not be revealing the sex either.
One of my most proudest blog feats this year is gathering and publishing a collection of amazing immigration stories, and I hope to continue this series in the new year too (#IAmanImmigrant, The Ten Year Wait Part 1 & 2, Serial Immigrant, Henna from the Heart, In the Dead of the Night, They Are Coming For You, Female Janitors say Ya Basta). There were so many really awful things that happened in the world this year, civil wars spinning out of control with no end in sight, Brexit, US elections that made me want to leave and never come back (something that will happen once we get everything sorted, as we are a multi-nationality family that requires at least one person obtain a specific visa wherever we decide to move in the world), and horrific terrorist attacks leaving us all wondering if we will ever feel safe anywhere ever again. There were many, many other things that I wish I had taken the time to write about, but I’m spread so thin nowadays, between my work assignments, the girls and just trying to find quality time to do the things that I love that some things fall between the cracks. I did find time to continue my travel memoirs series though, and will continue to add stories over the next year (On Kibbutz Evron, One Night on a Felucca, Falling in Love with Barcelona, Working in the Kibbutz Dining Room, Memories of Poland, From Milan to Rome, via Venice and Florence).
When it comes to time, I feel like I haven’t taken the time to really work on my photography enough, and even the things I have worked on I am so behind on editing! So in the new year there will be collection of air show photos, some of Old Sacramento during the Gold Rush Days celebration, and quite a few autumn photos of the kids! In the meantime I have published quite a few albums, a retrospective of NYC street art that I shot and collected over the space of many years living there, the Western States Horse Expo, the California State Fair, the Chalk It Up festival, the Sacramento Mural Festival and the awesome Art Hotel 916, as well as a collection of photos taken in our local park during the summer months. All taken with Canon, FujuFilm and Nikon. I really want to work on more portraits as well as more horse show coverage this coming year, and possibly some sunrise/sunset photos on the delta too, but that will require some advance planning!
I’ve also had the opportunity over this past year to meet some wonderful, like-minded people via the internet, who have become my friends, and had the honour of having quite a few guest posts published. Ally on Life with my Little Duck published five (!) of my childhood stories, Jenny at Mamazou published my ramblings on tandem nursing, the words “fat” and “skinny”, and traditions, Vicki at The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum published my story on raising a multi-ethnic family, a letter to my little girls on Pabarilife, and my story of unmedicated birth in a hospital appeared on Womb n Wellness.
I also had the opportunity to post some wonderful guest posts and interview some amazing people for From the Inside over the past year: Fear is Four Letter Word, So is Bomb by Simay Yildiz, Raising a Heart Hero, and Raising CHD Awareness with Dara McBee, Ramblings with Charlie Romijn from Thought Forms, Interview with the Pechos Libros organization, Interview with Lynn Doak, Holistic Fertility Coach, A Chat with the Inspiring Jenny from Mamazou.
There were many other posts that have been published over the past 12 months, easily accessible via my Archive, and I aim to try to write more next year, at least until our third is born and then it will be a question of really finding the time! I have been blogging in some form or another since I created my LiveJournal account in 2003, and journaling and writing since I was 7 years old, and I love how far I have come in terms of finding my own voice, writing about things that are very important to me, and continuing to maintain my own little place on the web that will never be able to be categorized. I have some self-publishing plans for 2017, so hopefully they will work out and I can finally get some collections of poems, stories and essays out there! One step at a time.
I wish everyone near and far a very Happy New Year, much love, health and happiness in 2017, and to remember to feel blessed with what we have, and to reach out to those who need it, no matter where or who they are. I’m a little apprehensive about 2017, but at the same time very positive too. Come late June/early July we will have another little munchkin joining us, and while the world as it stands today is in complete turmoil, I hope that we can all stand up together to make some real changes. In the meantime, much love to everybody, and I hope that 2017 treats us all well.
I‘ve photographed a lot of street art over the past ten years, mainly in NYC, often just random shots during my walks around, camera around my neck or in my bag. There is so much freedom, diversity, and talent in this art, paintings that sometimes appear overnight under the cover of a darker sky, or sometimes just commissioned by a company. I love walking around a corner to see a mural staring back at me, or finding a tiny little sketch in a corner, hidden by a colourful tag. Streets shouldn’t be perfectly bland and clean, they should be flamboyant, dusty and loud, full of each and every one of us. Streets should represent us all and streets should change over time, capturing our thoughts and actions, portraying what we are and where we are going. Art isn’t meant to be kept behind lock and key, art is for us all to appreciate, take in and assimilate, look at and smile. We have so many forms of expression and visual art is one of the most evocative and also the one most open to interpretation. It always makes me happy to be in a city that allows artists to freely express themselves on walls and railways and bridges.
It’s sometimes hard for me to walk around Sacramento. I still feel a little disconnected, slightly lost, and wonder why everything is just so quiet. I’m slowly getting more used to it, and continue to walk around hoping to find that part of me that I left back in NYC 7 months ago. I may never find it, as it’s probably just waiting for me to come back, but I am finding that there are more and more things that inspire and motivate me. The Art Hotel 916 back in February for example, and just recently the Sacramento Mural Festival. The festival took place between August 20th and 27th and involved 11 artists (and some assistant artists) and 11+ walls around the midtown and downtown areas of Sacramento. During the week the artists each created a mural (or more than one mural) for us, the people who walk around the streets of Sacramento. These 11 artists (Add Fuel, Alicia Palenyy, Andrew Schoultz, David Fiveash, Dog and Pony, Drew Merritt, Irubiel Moreno, Jake Castro, Kristin Farr, Michelle Blade, and Nate Frizzell), were picked earlier in the year (thankfully they made sure to represent some local artists too) and all went out of their way to really make some buildings and alleyways look spectacular. You can find more information on the official website, including a map of locations and artist bios.
I walked around the area on the 20th, the first day of the festival, where some of the artists were just starting up, laying the foundations of their work. I then went back again on the Tuesday, August 23rd, and took more photos, walking around the J, K, and L streets, and then over towards Old Sacramento, and shot some of the works in progress. And then back again during the day on the 27th to see some of the pieces getting their final touches and others already finished and dried. The only mural I didn’t manage to get to was Dog & Pony’s over on C Street, and as soon as I do I will add some pictures to the album. Other than that I have seen every mural in some form or another, and most of them more than once. While I have my own personal favourites, every single piece of art is super original, beautiful and inspiring. To take an idea and to recreate it over such a vast canvas takes such skill, and it was amazing to see it happening in real time.
I chatted briefly to Irubiel Moreno about just how beautiful I found his mural to be, and he was so humble and friendly, explaining that it was all for us, people of Sacramento. He also told me that he didn’t know exactly what he was going to do or how it was going to turn out until he had actually finished it. The pastel colours were a wink to the name of the location, Lavender Heights, and I found that the sheer amount of work that he put into the mural over the space of a few days was just spectacular. I’m really looking to go back and see the final, final result, and again, stroll through the streets of Sacramento and discover more.
Sacramento is all-in-all a beautiful city, still hovering between small town and big city, and for its size has a huge amount of artistic incentives, festivals and exhibitions. I need to get out and about more to join in. You can find the full album of photos taken last week HERE, as well as a collection below. If you know of any events that you think I would enjoy around here I would love to hear about them, and maybe even join in! All photos taken with a FujiFilm XE-1 and a Canon Rebel.
I spent many a day roaming around NYC, snapping photos of buildings, signs, art, sometimes even people if I felt confident enough. There was always at least one camera in my bag, digital and/or film. New York City embodies art. NYC IS art. NYC is a huge, moving and continuously evolving piece of art and there is nowhere in the world quite like it (not that I have found in any case). Over the years I captured many pieces of street art on those cameras, from tags to full blown commissioned murals and anything in between. I moved to Bushwick in early 2008 and found layers and layers of amazing art during my walks, blocks of murals and tags; stencils and wheatpastes. Some work was obviously commissioned and legal, other just appeared overnight on an old wall, and left to stay. Some of the art that I photographed is long gone, other work remains in the same place today, but you never know how long anything will last in the city… Street art remains ephemeral. I have only two regrets, one being that I left shooting Five Points for too long and was too late, and the other being not capturing all of the artists names. If you recognize any please leave a comment and I will add the artist’s name.
This collection of photos spans over 6 years and three boroughs (Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens). I used the following cameras: Canon Rebel Ti1, Canon AE-1 (1978 and 1979), Holga and there are a couple that were taken with an iPhone. Artists include: Blaze, Dasic Fernandez, AWR/MSK Crew, TFP Crew, Jesus Saves, Russell King, Bushwick Collective, Goya, Dave-Foto, DYM Crew, YMI Crew.
The (large) collection of photos is up on Flickr HERE. The photos featured below are only a small example of all of the images that I have collected over the years!
When my sister mentioned her trip to something called the “Art Hotel” last week and sent me some pictures – I knew immediately that it would be something I absolutely needed to see. A building full of art from bottom to top?! Amazing! It really was amazing, and I feel like I was actually lucky to see it in person. The idea was to take a building scheduled to be demolished (in this case the Jade apartment building in downtown Sacramento) and for different artists to transform the insides into a literal art house over the space of a month. The temporary exhibition was only open for a week, from February 5th to the 13th, and we went on the very last day. All of the ticket timeslots were sold out when we got there, but thanks to my mother we were able to get in for a 15 minute visit. I had Aurora strapped in the Ergo so she also got to see some of the amazing artwork, although I doubt she will ever remember!
The concept really is incredible. I don’t really know the history of the building and the hotel next door, but from what I have heard they weren’t in the best part of town (although to be honest I wouldn’t have had any idea, coming from a decade in NYC many places you walk down don’t seem to be the most salubrious but that doesn’t really mean anything). In any case 14 artists from all over the world got together and transformed the entire insides of the building into multiple pieces of art: full apartments, rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, windows, halls, staircases, you name it, everything was decorated, painted, and used as part of a prop to capture the visions of each artist. Beauty, nostalgia, love, hate, blood, fear, angst, humour, dirt, purity, horror, smiles, death, life – all separate concepts and emotions that seemed to come together quite seamlessly. I loved walking through the building, feasting my eyes on each room, hallway and staircase. I love how the entire concept displayed how art really is universal and dynamic, a beautiful mix of talent, space, vision, tools and timing. Art cannot be explained or neatly fitted into a box; it is at times stunning, beautiful, grotesque and outright weird, altogether or separately.
I’d love to see some more of these temporary exhibitions and check out more of the different artists’ work. I’ve posted some photos of what really stood out to me below, and you can find out more information on the individual artists on the M5 Arts website and on the Art Hotel 916 Facebook page. My cameras are unfortunately still stuck on our moving truck somewhere halfway across the country so iPhone photos are all I have (and this is only a small sample of everything that I took during my visit). But you can check my mother’s much better images on her blog. Really excited about seeing what other cool and inspiring events Sacramento has to offer!