Monday, 23 May 2011

Looking for inspiration (#375769)

Another day in no-inspiration land. How come is my mind so dry? I don't know how it works, it just comes and goes. And I think is deeply attached to whatever is the current mood. I think I'm petrified, I don't know if I'll be able to make a good job at work.I want to make a beautiful magazine and I want to stop being so damn chaotic.
I only find light at the end f this tunnel looking at my favourite books.
Yesterday I remember a book I once saw in New York and never bought until I came back home and regretted it. I then ordered it from Amazon and because is so precious to me I keep it almost hidden in my little library and I often forget I have it. I introduce you to Mayra Kalman and her amazing The Principles of Uncertainty

Her book is a like a personal journal that keeps account of one year of her life using both text and pictures. I admire her honest, simple and reflective writing combined with her almost childish but beautifully made illustrations.

Her style and her way of looking at life have strongly influenced most of my work.
To see more about the book, how and who designed see

I don't know if I'll be making much work this days. But I'll keep myself idle and restless at the same time until I see the light again, oh my.

Photos from

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Magazine (obsession #1)

My Brides magazines is out. A lot of work and not very pleased with the results. I'm posting two images as a homage to both my failure magazines. Hope to get better as I keep on working.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Happy 9 months in Bogota

Muses, inspire me.

Another quick post to celebrate my ninth month back in my ol' town...not exactly loving it but grateful for the job opportunities that 've come up.
I'm now working at a great newspaper, El Espectador designing some of the magazines they have published on certain days of the week (specials??) and I first started with the babies one. It was a complete chaos and we didn't manage to finish it on time so the printing had to be delayed...(will my head roll?) My experience in magazines is ZERO. But everyone has been super cool and patient teaching me the basics and looking after me in general.
I'm just worried about how my inspiration has gone somewhere not to be found. Is this an artist block? A mental block? An emotional block? The past months I was often wondering what would it be of me job wise and how would I manage to make a living and now that i have a proper job I can't seem to reach my potential.
It's a bit frustrating but I guess it's part of the learning process...
For now, i'm looking at beautiful magazines looking for references and languages that I will have to adopt to understand the making of it.

Work, work, work...not much time to draw and think about the other projects i have in mind but have to keep on pushing myself to make it.

THIS POST IS MADE! I hope to keep on doing it regularly.

Monday, 2 May 2011

So much to do and so little time Part 2

As I was also offer a place to exhibit at the Some books are to be tasted show... I made new work and I wanted to show the process from the beginning to the end.

Bogotá is the city I was born in and i hate it and love it. I have to be grateful to it for many things but specially for being my regular source of inspiration. It's hard to live here I can tell you, but you find beautiful things in the everyday.
On the streets of my city there are plenty of people selling of sort of things in order to make a living. Some of them carry battered wooden boxes full of colorful sweets and snacks that fill every single corner of the busy neighborhoods.

They look to me like people selling stores all contained and squeezed in the little uneven compartments. I stole they're improvised aesthetic to create a portable box that contains my story. No, I didn't steal it, I'm inspired by them.

Dad and Mr Luna

My dad knows an amazing craftsmen that made my box exactly the way I wanted it and even more. His name is Hernando Luna, he is a real artist and when we visited his workshop I loved naturally beautiful chaos of it.

Based on the tea boxes he normally makes, he created a pine wooden box for my oh so very artistic purposes.

Tea box

y box is a a much deeper and larger square (45 x 45 x 5 cm) and this is how it looked when finished by Luna

After that I must confess I let ideas get marinated for a while after doing anything to the box itself. It was hard to think what kind of story was containing the box, why was going to be a book, why was just a canvas and the content the meaning...

It was important for me to have a strong presence of color without having defined lines; thus creating a whole with blocks of shades and tones that would make the image itself. I piled papers to create this blocks of color but I didn't get the results I wanted, it looked poor and empty. So I used little cardboard boxes that fitted in the empty spaces of the box creating interesting spaces and little architectures within that where ready to fill up with color.

Now, so I could visualize the image within, but I wanted a meaningful image. I haven't recently been taking much pictures but my dad has and his always fascinated with the way the city is surrounded by the mountains and how they sort of mutate depending on the weather, the light etc. The picture I chose was took on one particularly sunny day, one of those we haven't had in a long time since the whole country is enduring terrible weather, rains and floods.
This was my chosen picture for the colorful box

It was a whole process where I consciously fought against making a criticism about the current state of the city

And based on it I created the color palette for the box' image

I continued painting the little cardboard boxes and even though the box was beautiful to me I always felt it looked raw. I was told it would be really hard to paint it so at first I didn't dear to do anything but after much thinking and observation I varnished it with this two product that I'm not very sure how to translate:

Handcrafted wax and patina

This, I think, gave it a lot more character despite looking a bit battered and not perfectly painted. But I think that was the original idea.
While drying up I kept painting my little boxes which bit by bit deconstructed the original image within the limited space of the big box. In the morning this is how it looked like:

It was time to decide whether all the elements where working fine or not. Content and concept sounded a bit disconnected so I wrote a little story that would give a more coherent connection between image and box:

In spanish:

A veces salía el sol y entonces caminaba por los techos y las baldosas,
buscaba rescatar el verde que peliaba por florecer.
No había mucho por rescatar, pero el conjunto de colores hacía la vista
de alguna manera agradable
"Hay que sobrevivir aquí, hay que inventar una historia antes de que anochezca"
se decía a sí mismo y seguía saltando, buscando ganarle a la puesta de sol.

In english:

Sometimes the sun came out and then walked through the roof and tiles,
seeking to rescue the green that fought to blossom.
There was not much to rescue, but all the colors looked somehow nice
"You have to survive here, you have to invent a story before dark"
he said to himself and kept jumping, looking to beat the sunset.

So that's the story of the box, a travelling, deconstructed painting that tells a short story about a place in Bogotá, a book-box that is open but can't be touched and it reveals nothing more than what it's showing.

The city is the story (itinerant)
La ciudad es la historia (ambulante)
at the Some books are to be tasted exhibition

So much to do and so little time Part 1

Shameful. It's been more than a month and I haven't post anything at all. I think I even forgot my english. But that doesn't really matter since I've been working so hard in other stuff so blogging wasn't priority.
I didn't celebrate my Happy 9 months in Bogotá so I'll have a "bonus" on the next anniversary to post.

Last post I talked about working for Some Books Are to Be Tasted, the book arts exhibition that we recently open and although I will talk a little bit about it I'll keep it short since all the information can be found in the website I created for the exhibition:

Some books are to be tasted...

Some Books Are To Be Tasted was the third edition of a curatorial project of collective Book Triangle, linking three schools of art: University for the Creative Arts (UCA), Maidstone, England, Academy of Fine Arts, Katowice, Poland and the Department of Visual Arts (DAV) at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. The purpose was to exhibit books from different latitudes developed from different definitions of what is called Book-Art. I was in charge of assisting Professor Diana Castellanos for the design and set up of the show. We had been working for long time in order to offer a "taste" of students and alumni ideas.
It was a very rewarding experience from the beginning to the end and I want to thank Diana for making me part of it. I'm so proud of the final result since we all worked hard to make it happen.

The opening night

It was also a great opportunity to see amazing work from all over the world and meet inspiring people like Silke Dettmers, Associate Professor at the UCA, Maidstone and Martin Pover photographer. Thanks for all the support and good vibes!

Polonia and Colombia bookworks

Carolina, Diana, Silke

Now, things to improve for the next exhibition:
- Check schedule everyday, there is always something to add.
- Start spreading the word from early days (Blog, Facebook, cultural magazines and newspapers etc) Also arts and entertainment journalists never have time for you unless you chase them until they get fed up and do something.
- Plan the installation preferably at the gallery (if they are collaborative enough) and place works as a mockup before unpacking everything.
- When unpacking always keep lots of tools, plastic, sellotape or masking tape and gloves.

That's it. Sounds silly but the thing is I generally forget everything so I need to remind myself silly things.