Thursday, November 11, 2010

La Caza del Hombre Onirico

Finally I've been able to get this video ready to share. It is the making of a mural I painted at my aunt Tuga's house in Chile, called "La Caza del Hombre Onirico" (Hunt of the Oniric Man). The video shows the process of its creation, and while this took about 2 weeks, here you can see it done in three minutes. Movie magic!
The music is a piece called "Pleiades" by amazing composer Iannis Xenakis. Special thanks to my wife Sarah for her help, to my aunt Emi for her advice, my aunt Tuga for letting us camp at her house and make this mural happen, and to Luis Alberto Latorre for putting together the video sequence. Also special thanks to the Museo Precolombino de Chile for their wonderful 2009 exhibit: "Fishermen of the Fog", which in part inspired the piece.

Finalmente pude arreglar este video para compartir. Muestra la creacion de un mural que pinte en la casa de mi tia Tuga en Chile, llamado "La Caza del Hombre Onirico". El video muestra el proceso de creacion que tomo alrededor de dos semanas y aqui puede verse en tres minutos. La magia del cine!
La musica es una pieza llamada "Pleiades" del increible compositor Iannis Xenakis. Agradecimientos especiales a mi mujer Sarah por su ayuda, a mi tia Emi por su consejo, a mi tia Tuga por dejarnos acampar en su casa y realizar este mural, y a Luis Alberto Latorre por la edicion y produccion del video. Agradecimientos tambien al Museo Precolombino de Chile, por su hermosa exposicion el 2009: "Los Pescadores de la Niebla", que sirvio en parte de inspiracion para esta obra.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sketchbook drawings: Diluvian Dreams

Not that I draw as well as I'd like, but still, would like to share these most recent drawings from my sketchbook.
I'm not exactly sure what to say about them. It usually takes me a while before I can begin to understand and talk about my own drawings -at least this type of drawing, very spontaneous and fast, yet present.

Diluvian Dream: Corners and Crevices AA1o

Diluvian Dream: HumaZuma

These ones had a somewhat ominous feeling about them, like a sort of diluvian dream of simbolic importance. I do think they are very significant, at least in regards to my own life work. I keep coming back to certain aspects of them which seem strangely familiar: as if a hidden part of me was making them to communicate some crucial message to my conscious self, which is itself asleep in the daily trance of the mundane.

Diluvian Dream: Anubis Passage

Diluvian Dream: Anubis Vessel

Diluvian Dream: Raft

Maybe the message is: Wake up! get up! do it! build! invent! harmonize! transcend! it's time!!! Do your thing! Awaken your daydream!!

And so I wish I could just allow my Lifeforce to take it from here, so I can fully realize whatever it is that my soul is trying to get me to do.

Diluvian Dream: Elevation



Monday, November 8, 2010

Brugmansia Suaveolens

My Brugmansia tree is in full bloom Today!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Indoors Moss Bed Valley

About three days ago, some guys came to my house to fix the gutters. There was a huge moss bed growing on our roof that I had been wanting to use for a sort of indoors moss-greenhouse I wanted to build. But before I could do anything, the guys had taken all the moss off, and thrown it to the ground!

Moss mess 2

Moss mess

So I collected all the moss, and quickly built a setup in my studio on the third floor: a canvas bed with a plastic bag to create a moist environment for the moss.

Come in
Here, come to my studio, I'll show you...

Moss bed indoors

So this is the moss bed tent, made of a canvas and a plastic bag with alligator clips tied to hooks attached to the ceiling. And here is the inside...

Inside the Moss Bed

I present to you, Moss Bed Valley!

Moss Bed Valley

It is a very comfy place to lay down to think, or rest under a tree..

Moss Bed Valley detail

Or to go for a walk, when I need a break from my work.

View of Moss Bed Valley

So next time you stop by my studio, make sure to visit Moss Bed Valley, and maybe while you are visiting the Coreopsis tree will be in bloom, showing off its wonderful purple flowers.

Moss bed tree

Moss bed landscape



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Naia Sophia Almarza

Naia Sophia Almarza Bauer
Naia Sophia was born into my arms, underwater, yesterday Monday September 20th, 2010, at 5:07 am.
Naia Sophia nacio en mis brazos, bajo el agua, ayer Lunes 20 de Septiembre, 2010, a las 5:07 de la madrugada.

One day old Naia

Naia is a Greek (and possibly Persian) name meaning "Water Nymph" and "flowing". Sophia is the Goddess of Wisdom.

Naia is un nombre griego (y posiblemente Persa) que significa "Ninfa de agua" y "fluir". Sophia es la Diosa de la Sabiduria.

The Almarzas

We welcome you, peaceful being, to this world.

Bienvenida eres, ser de paz, a este mundo.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nature is the Source

Blue Flower AA1o

Haven't posted in a while, haven't really created many physical artworks lately: been busy expecting a baby (any day now!) and setting up my new studio (it's going to be nice, I can't wait to start using it!)

So I figured in the meantime I would share a few moments I managed to capture, featuring one of my most favorite subjects of all time: Nature!

Nature is the Source. Period.

But beside the Macrometaphor of that statement (which would be more like "Nature Is"), is the simpler fact that nature is the source of my inspiration. Nature at large, yes, with humans and everything included, sure, but also nature upclose. Mini nature, unseen nature, underside nature, backyard nature, just-stepped-on-you-so-what nature.

It is not the surface beauty of nature alone that attracts me, but everything about it: its diversity, its birth-growth-and-death, its mechanisms and workings, its scale and scope, and mostly, its simultaneous grantedness and mystery at once.

Yeees. It is here. Look at it. Wowify yourself. Remember yourself in it.
Or else...
Get creeped out by it and perish! Hahahahah

I recommend you view the slideshow in full screen. It is short.

"Recovering from a state of self-forgetfullness, I have found myself counting the stamens of a flower" Tufu

Go look!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Miniature clay firing: Altoids box reduction

This is a project I plan to continue indefinitely; just an easy and time-space-energy-effective process to make some miniature clay objects that I like to make and rarely do because of time-space-energy limitations.
The process is simple.
During camping, I made very small clay whistles and figures that I could fit into an altoids box...

I used a rock as a surface, and my usual tools for whistle making, which include a chopstick, an exacto knife, a palete knife, a needle and a forming tool. You will notice the clay is white prior to firing.

I used sawdust to cushion the whistles as I put them in the altoids box, but also because sawdust will combust within the chamber creating a reduction atmosphere: as the burning hot atmosphere within the box is deprived of oxygen to burn, it will burn the chemical oxygen within the clay, turning it black.

It's like packing a mini kiln, which is something that, of course, attracts me very much. At night, I pack the box full of sawdust completely, and fire it. The most important thing is to increase the temperature slowly in the beginning. Strangely for clay, I fire these almost imediately after they're made, though sometimes they don't survive the temperature shock. I also make sure to reach plenty of temperature once the initial risk of busting is over, otherwise the clay will not bake to a vitrious state. Sometimes I cover the coals where the pieces are buried with metal sheets in order to dramatically increase the temperature. (I have used crushed soda cans; in scarse conditions they work great!)
All this is an alteration of a resurrected Native American technique that I learned very indirectly (via library) from Tewa potter Maria Martinez. I still have many years to practice before my pieces could look remotely as black and soft as hers.

Normally I would not make a fire just to cook some miniature pieces, so I throw the boxes into any other fire I come accross, camping, cooking or at a friend's gathering, etc. In this case though, I am also firing a large vessel, a "mama olla", which I might share in a future post. Unearthing the fired clay is so fun! We make a family event of it every time.

And last, is the reward of opening each small box, each containing miniature music-making treasures: pinch-size bits of meticulous work and devotion. some have survived the process, some have not.

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Canoe Adventures!

My family vacation, canoing at the Bald Eagle River. Life is not all work!

...or is it?...


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuner of Butterflies

I want to share some images of this drawing I just finished called "Tuner of Butterflies", much in the lines of "The Insect Maker."

Part ot the inspiration was found in Brothers Quay's "The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes."

I have always admired the brother's incredible craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail, and yet I have wished their matters were a bit less dark. I figured, on the other side of life's turmoil-generator, there exists an equally laborious creator of peace. and so: as an earthquake happens in the lab of an automaton-making alchemist, a butterfly is hatched in Tokyo...


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Selk' nam

This work is a depiction of a Selk' nam Xo' on, or shaman, acting as the physical vessel for the spirit of a Waiyuwenh, a Selk' nam deity.
Esta obra es una representacion de un Xo'on o shaman Selk' nam, actuando como el cuerpo fisico de un Waiyuwenh, o espiritu.

The Selk' nam, also known as the Ona, lived in the Patagonian region of southern Chile and Argentina. After living relatively peacefully for thousands of years, the entire Selk' nam population was brutally enslaved, massacred, and eventually extinguished completely as an ethnic group by 1972. This work is intended as a physical mark, made in the memory of this rich and mostly unknown culture.
Los Selk' nam, tambien llamados Ona, vivieron en la region Patagonica del sur de Chile y Argentina. Tras vivir relativamente en paz por miles de anos, la poblacion entera de Selk' nam fue brutalmente esclavizada, masacrada y finalmente extinguida completamente como grupo etnico alrededor de 1972. Esta obra tiene como objetivo crear una marca fisica, en honor y memoria de esta rica y mayormente desconocida cultura.

Their existence will forever be remembered.
Su existencia sera por siempre recordada.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Island Vessel Vivarium I

This is the Island Vessel 1.

Photo Courtesy of Mihnea Vasilescu

But before it turned into the vessel it is now, it begun as a simple idea. A vessel inside a vessel. A terrarium inside an aquarium.

The idea soon turned into sketches...

And the sketches became clearer and clearer in my head (as did the potential for the vessel itself to become real, and as did my obssesion with this possibility...)

Then, I was ready. The idea was clear as glass to me, and the thought of making it a reality became a persistent fixation in my head: "I haaave to maaake iiit!!"
But having no experience in blowing glass, I had to turn to the life-saving helping-hand of the true experts...

I took the idea with me, to the Pittsburgh Glass Center. I shared my idea with a fine gentleman named Everett Hirche -a local artist and technician at the Center- and asked him if making the vesssel was possible, and if it was of interest to him. He was definitely up for the challenge and excited to help me out, and soon him and a team at the Glass Center were discussing and preparing for the making of the Island Vessel.

On Friday, March 5th of 2010, during Unblurred on Penn Av, a small team comprised of Everett Hirche, Jason Forck, Steve Stens and Chris Hofman, brought The Island Vessel into this physical world!
To see how things went down the night of the making of the Island Vessel, check this video out (music by my band Shambolish!):


Once the vessel was a full-blown, double-chambered glass piece, I begun building the little worlds inside of it. First I made the terrarium. To do this, I use special tools, some of which I have to make myself. The terrarium contains plants and mosses which I have come to feel comfortable working with, such as 2 species of star moss, violets and a couple of other specimens whose names I don't know. Also in there is a tiny spider and a centipede.
Then, I constructed the aquarium, which contains Java moss, Banana plant, gilled snails and a couple of other snails, barnacles and plants whose names I don't know. There are Ghost shrimp too, and six Zebra Danios.
I showed this piece (unfortunately only for one day) during the GAGI (Geek Arts / Green Innovators Festival) on April 2nd, 2010, along with other of my artworks.

The Island Vessel I (which I also call "my new TV"!) worked just as planned. The magnification produced by the thick concave glass and the water is simply striking. The overal effect is hard to describe or show in the images. It has a beautiful roundedness and definition. As a passionate nature lover, there is nothing more gratifying than observing this active and thriving little ecosystem as if seen through a magnifying lense. I can literally sit to watch this world in a jar for hours!
Also, my ideas as far as the moisture being transferred from one chamber to the other seem to be working great. In the images I do not have the lid on because the terrarium is still too moist to enclose, but Everett did make a special lid that has a sort of drip snout, which conducts drops of condensed water from the aquarium into the terrarium.
Overall, this vessel fascinates me, not because I put it together, but because it is a contained pocket of life; a balanced, living and ever-changing little microworld.

For a slightly closer sense of the qualities of this contained universe, check out this clip of shrimp citizens of Island Vessel:

And I am happy to say that I am not the only one to take great pleasure from the result of all this work. Otherwise, without the chance to create a bit of a sense of wonder in others, my work would be pointless.

Photo Courtesy of Mihnea Vasilescu

Thank you for your interest, which is one of the things that keep my work alive.