She said, in the US people live for the work and here the people live for the people.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t disagree.
If anyone reading this blog is in Barcelona and wants to exchange a story for a portrait, let me know Offer only valid in Barcelona, preferably in Spanish.
I came to Barcelona to do an artist residency at JIWAR in the Gracia district. What I proposed to do here is to draw people and while drawing them to get their story. Of course, in the exchange there is a bit of my story. As I’ve yet to draw an American, the conversation often involves the comparison of counties.
This is a 24 year old super cool guy who was traveling alone as his mother got sick so her and his 14 year old brother (who is on her passport) couldn’t come. He is going to move here and be successful with a perfume store. He was fully, get that? Fully confident (something you can’t be at my age) that he would move here and do that.
I’m sure he will. As ancient greek Virgil said Whether you think you can or you think you can’t You are right
But that’s not the story. The conversation was not completely understood, as both of our spanish was sub-literate and his English was not fluent
I was trying to explain to him that the USA is still a racist county. This came up in conjunction with the African American best-in-the-world gymnast. I said something to the effect that I was so happy for her and that she showed up the way she did for herself and (consciously or not) for her skin color and culture because people of color still don’t get a fair shake in the USA.
He didn’t get that… Obama and all. I tried to clarify and explained that a white policeman in any city (or not even police in stand-your-ground Florida) be it Baltimore or Oakland or Furguson or New Orleans or anywhere really; can wrongfully (as in proven by footage from cellphone bystanders) kill a black person (usually young and male) and get away with it free as a bird.
I don’t think he believed me.
Recently, I replaced three glass lights that had been gracing a path for many years along the coast of Big Sur, California. The insides of these lights had natural debris in them from all those years. It is funny white stuff, like imaginary attic fuzz, like cobwebs but stickier. Lighter than air almost. It is Similar to the dust that miraculously assembles itself out of nothing in usually missed corners but it’s meatier. It also resembles a tissue like paper, so I am wondering if I can get away with putting this webby junk in recycling. The compost can is down the hall.
On closer inspection, which I’ve never done before, of this “stuff” I see something. Yes, a bug, a bug like a bird, all off white, tiny and papery. I pick him out and clean him off. I look for more. I see one and then another and then I see, that it is ALL a mesh of tiny preserved dired up off white bird bugs.
now I know they go back to the earth in compost..
Or does it matter?
Not to those bugs who were traveling towards the light.
I recently travelled from San Francsico to England, Spain and France and back. Going through customs and security varies. The USA being by far the most intense.
I’d think everything was off and out and yet I couldn’t get through the gateway without getting stopped.
it was my “religious” charms setting off the alarms; the guardian angel of dubious, now dull brown medal, given to me at birth and the, bought in Bali, circle dedicated to a Hindu Goddess of creativity. They share a gold chain and are messing things up and at every portal. They and my silver & crystal mala from Amma.
“Oh Yeah, and these.” I say as i lift them off my neck and over my head, into the plastic tray.
Without my charms of hope and belief, I pass easily through.
There are clearly few, who are so talented as Connie WalkerShaw.
Today I pick up the dress she made for me from special fabric that had been given to me when I was 35. I remember because it was given to me by an older woman artist who shares my birthDAY and lives in a synagogue. She gave me the fabric when she was 70. She was twice my age. The fabric has gold threads in it. It is like a color shifting fairy tale fabric that changes from lavender to gold, hinting at rose.
I am late picking up the dress, so her lesson is already underway. I try on the dress which is magical and am ready to go. As I leave, I ask the student seamstress if she knows that Connie also is in a band and that she can play two saxophones at once? The little girl says a shy “no”. I smile, shrug, raise my eyebrows and say “well, she can” and leave.
After WalkerShaw I drive to the beach.. Ocean Beach in San Francisco is like heaven. It is so empty and so nothing. I can see as far as I can see in three directions. My cells take in the empty vastness with relief. This hasn’t changed. I think then, have I changed? Each time I stand at Ocean Beach I remember other times I’ve stood before her. Before the ocean and cried out with my soul for all that I hope for. She solicits requests like that. The ocean is vastness itself. Before her, troubles shrink and expire, being obviously temporary. She emanates eternal presence, over and over, her waves sounding like a large echo of my internal self; of something that helps me let go and know.
It’s the same, and different. It always is.
Two solitary men pass me going one way; then an older couple passes the other way. That’s it. The beach’s nature to human ratio is nourishing, safe and separated from the highway by blocks and blocks of gorgeous graffiti, painted on the ocean side, I assume late at night.
There are birds. That familiar seagull silhouette is everywhere; taking off and landing. I notice a particularly nice one but sense something odd about it. It’s the wrong size. I realize it’s outdoor art of some kind as it is not a real bird and even far away it reads clearly and I like the design so I walk towards it. It takes longer than I expect. Getting closer I see it’s a sign. Not a regular government sign but still it seems official. It says something like “strawberry ice plant sanctuary ends here”, yet there’s nothing but sand for miles.