Mendoza

I was surprised by how quickly my time in Chile passed, I felt very at ease in the country. It mix of rugged, beautiful mountains and extensive coast lines were fascinating and I was culturally at ease. It was however, time to go.

I said my fairwells and boarded the night bus to Mendoza. The following eight hours involved clearing customs, a ham and cheese sandwich and not a lot of sleep, but I made it. New country- next phase of 34South|61North.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Tommy and he became my host and tour guide for the next three days.

After walking the streets in the late afternoon sunshine for three hours or so I felt well acquainted with the relatively small city, which is on a grid structure after a devastating earthquake in the 1980’s. We made our way to an opening at ECA, a government run gallery space that occupies an impressive two story building with a domed roof and basement level. The building is an ex-bank that went bust and it still could do with a few long hours of maintenance. Regardless I was impressed by the structure before I even noticed the art being shown.

ECA Mendoza

Installations, paintings, sculpture, video and photography the building was full of contemporary works from both established and young national artists. The mix of work and artists from all stages of their careers was interesting and something that is worth considering when hoping to integrate art and soften the boundaries between the super well known and the obsolete.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Alfredo Dufour a young painter form Mendoza who had shown work at the ECA a month before hand. At the start of his career, its worth keeping an eye on his blog!

Nice Boys
‘Nice Boys’ (Kill Your Idols) Acrilico sobre papel madera, 100 x 70 cm, 2012

The following two days in Mendoza felt more like a holiday I enjoyed the sun, good food and wine and making new friends. Then it was time to move on…next stop La Cumbre.

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Mural Valparaiso

As previously mentioned I split my time in Valpo, as its referred to locally, between making a collage to form part of The Map Exchange and working on a collaborative mural.

Wednesday at six I met Nancy, Christian and a group of his friends in Plaza Soto Mayor in the centre of the city. We got our materials together and began to walk. In Valpo, a city made of hills and valleys and covered in murals, you don’t just pick a wall and begin. You must first find a naked space and then ask permission from the inhabitants of the property. So we walked. This went on for nearly two hours up and down the hills as we searched periodically we came across a space that was suitable. So we would knock or ring, but no body seemed to be at home. We were loosing hope, there was only about an hour of proper day light left, then we walked past a house with the door open. The music was blurring out and children were running up and down the steps that formed the steep street.

We saw a large turquoise wall of corrugated steal. It was perfect. So, we asked. The children ran inside to get the lady who owned the house, she came out. After cautiously questioning us she looked at some of our sketches as we ensured here we would make something beautiful, so cautiously, she agreed.

Amazing. Now we had to discuss what we would create. I had not worked with any of these artists before and seldom use spray paint. Gonzalo decided to make a kitchen scene out of the wall and I was to add abstract formes with the found papers I had cut beforehand.

The following day I returned to view our work. The abstract forms are taken form the nature I have seen in Chile.
The following day I returned to view our work. The abstract forms are taken form the nature I have seen in Chile.

We worked and chatted long into the night until we were exhausted and at that moment the lady who lived in the house along with here sister brought out beer and fresh fried fish!

The Mural

What a great night, painting on the side of a house that looked down onto the city.

Viña Valpo- The Map Exchange

Last week I spent traveling between sculptor Juan Pablo Bahamonde’s family home, in the quiet picturesque beach town of Concón, Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. The three paces are only an hour’s bus ride apart however all have a very individual vibe and look.

I was luck enough to be introduced to Nancy and Christian who live in Valparaiso and are well connected with local artists and know the ins and outs of the street art scene in Valparaiso. They gave me the tour and as we walked up and down the maze of steep hills and colourful streets we decided to meet up later in the week and make our own collaborative mural.

In the mean time Juan Pablo was keen to introduce me to a local organisation Balmaceda who he had worked with in the past. They work with young artists and offer a range of creative work shops and residency programmes. We hoped they would be interested in 34South|61North and more specifically hosting an art work to become part of The Map Exchange. After meeting one of the directors and explaining the details of my project I was allocated a wall space.

Three days later the work was complete and with Juan Pablo’s assistance I hung the collage.

The finished collage.
The finished collage, Mixed Media on found wood, 30x15x2cm.

Thanks to Balmaceda for a special Mention too!

Santiago based Artist Alejandra Basualdo

I spent a few days with artist Alejandra Basualdo in her home and studio about an hour south of Santiago. After ten intense days in the heat of Santiago it was a relief spend a few days sharing her studio and enjoying some rural tranquility.

A seascape in acrylic. Bausaldos use of colour and form is moving.
A seascape in acrylic. Bausaldos use of colour and form is moving.

Here she explains her work:

SOBRE MI PINTURA

De la revalorización de la estética al intimismo agradable y a la vez dramático. Decir las cosas fuertemente con delicadeza. El nervio más sensible. La niebla más profunda del ser humano. La comprensión agridulce del mundo. La utilización de la pintura de manera transparente, en tonalidades frágiles. Sin retórica. Con ausencia.

Detener el movimiento en un encuentro fugaz entre la luz y la sombra, entre la materia leve y liviana y la pesadez del grafismo. Cuestionar la realidad de la belleza y darle un peso plástico. Llegar a la esencia del movimiento, del encuentro con la naturaleza. Mi trabajo se inserta en ese campo, el de la levedad. Son sombras que a la vez son distancias luminosas. Colores como delicados fantasmas, la forma fantasmal de quitar el color. Enormidad y profundidad. Camino a lo desconocido. Un retrato de un mundo mudo, una panorámica de la no frontera. Un relato íntimo de primera magnitud. De desmenuzarse a ojos cerrados (rasparse la pintura). De un escalón hacia un mundo mudo, a un salto a lo no revelado. De un síntoma de sombras, o de tormenta o de mares desérticos. La exploración de una belleza áspera y del poderoso silencio de la pintura. Contemplación desmemoriada del vacío.

To see more of Basualdo’s rugged landscapes and to get in touch with her directly visit her Portfolio.

Take Spaces and Make Them New- La Jardin

Tuesday afternoon in Santiago and I arrived at La Jardin I was hot and tired of carrying by backpack laden with newspapers that Andre had given me to make ‘Take Spaces and Make Them New, Santiago’ with.
I got to cutting and cutting to make the paper chains that would transform an outside space in the garden for just a few hours.

I worked with the same forms taken from the autumn trees that I had used in my previous mural at The Clinic, but this time they varied in size and became more irregular and abstract as the hours of cutting went past. Repetitive process with out rules leads to interesting morphing with in my practice. This morphing of forms can be seen in the growing installation.

Installing the work
Installing the work

This was the first time I installed work outside and the the light breeze played with the paper and moved it so that it swayed, floated and flapped form where it was attached. This gave the installation a sense of freedom and mobility. The light shone throughout the paper and as it moved so did the shadows. The work seemed alive.
Take Spaces and Make Them New

More Photos here: http://on.fb.me/139a91K  

The Map Exchange at Radicales

One afternoon last week I was wandering in the warm March sunshine of Santiago. When I stumbled across a cafe/gallery/residency space that connects to Santiago’s notorious bar The Clinic.
I looked about and was impressed to see so many murals covering the walls. I wanted to be a part of the action!
Before leaving I introduced my self to the staff and explained 34South|61North and that I would like to involve them in The Map Exchange.
Two days later I had been given the grand tour by Danny, one of the managers and had been assigned a wall to make my own.

The wall did not look like anything special... Until I had the chance to work on it!
The wall did not look like anything special…
Until I had the chance to work on it!

I spent the next three days making a mural that is form the same sketches as the work I entered to the RA Summer Show.
Here is how the work progressed:

Pasting cutouts onto the newly whitened wall.
Pasting cutouts onto the newly whitened wall.

All that was left to do was add the sunshine that Santiago has been full of:

Finishing touches...
Finishing touches…

Watch out for developments if you are going to be in Santiago as Danny and the crew plan to keep developing this newly opened space over two more stories to make a cinema, dance space for DJ’s and bands and to open several themed bars. All that is left to say is I am very happy to have completed the first mural collage as part of The Map Exchange and for it to be part of this new creative space, located at: MONJITAS 578, SANTIAGO DE CHILE.

Have a look at The Making of video part one.

Finishing touches.
Finishing touches.
Finished, a mural that brightens up the patio of a cafe and provides information for artists and travellers alike.
Finished, a mural that brightens up the patio of a cafe and provides information for artists and travellers alike.

RA Summer Exhibition desde Santiago

A week in Santiago had passed. So I decided it was time to make some work that reflected on what I had seen, The RA Summer Exhibition, seemed like a good open call to motivate me. So I set about making a collage that captured the glorious late summer of the Chilean capital.

Coming form months of cold and darkness the bright sunlight and exotic vegetation was what struck me the most. So I made a collage typical to my style with found paper, simple natural shapes and vivid colour. The choice of bright yellow was an instinctive decision I made as a gratitude to the sun.

34South|61North, Santiago
34South|61North, Santiago
Close up of the collage
Close up of the collage

After completing the work I went down to the central post office, had a nightmare with envelopes and ensuring the safe transit of my work, but did, finally manage to send it off to Richard.

Lets Hope Correos Chile and the Royal Mail treat it well…

Bon Voyage!
Bon Voyage!