Photo Booths

Self-Portraits taken in a Photo-Booth

Today was extremely busy.  A friend of mine in our building has a daughter who is about 11.  She had an art show and a film festival today with photos and films by her on display in both places.  It sounded like a fun thing to do, so I went along for the ride.

The school, and the art centers were really interesting and bring to bear on a running argument that I have with my SO, who claims that there is less culture in the US in general, and in California in particular, than there is in Europe.  To an extent I can understand his perspective, but I’ve always said that we Americans have our cultural events surrounding familial units and children rather than in the streets.  Today’s events made that abundantly clear to me.

It isn’t that we don’t value cultural events, its that they are most vibrant in more closed settings.

Whereas in Spain or France, you go into the street and you see people doing art, and playing music, here you have to know where to go and usually they are open settings but with hidden addresses that you have to know about or be connected to in order to find.

I went to a bunch of different places with her along the way since she had errands to run, and things to pick up.  I saw a local school, the Electric Lodge, Staples, Venice Arts Gallery, and the Lutheran Church where the Kids Film Festival was held.

While we were at the Electric Lodge, they were setting up a photo-booth convention.  Real, not digital, photos ready in 5 minutes.  It sounded fun, so I went back later with my housemate, and we went on further adventures.

Since on a recent weekend outing we found a photo booth, and took our pictures, I’m beginning to amass a collection of photo booth photos.  There are some somewhere with me and one of my first Madrid roommies too.  When I find them I’ll publish them too.

Here’s photobooth photos (digital) of me and H in 2006 and in 2012.

Photo-booth photos 2006, 2012

Watts Towers

Watts Towers: Green X

To celebrate my birthday, although not on the day, we went to see the Watts Towers.

Having seen photos of them, there was an image in my mind of what they were and what they represent.  They always seemed similar to the Sagrada Familia or other Gaudí work.  And they are, but there is something even livelier about them.  Maybe because they are so compact, yet so tall.

Dwarfed By Watts Towers
The Watts Towers are so open and soaring, like a rigid spider-web or a crystalline plant.

Sagrada Familia in 2005
The stone construction of the towers on La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona makes them more like massive teeth.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, has very similar towers on the main entrance.  From the outside though similar in form, they are much more substantial than the Watts Towers.  They feel like oddly shaped gothic teeth, rather than crystalline plants that have sprouted from the earth of their own volition.

Both edifices have beautiful tile and mosaic work, though the image below is from Parc Güell, not from Sagrada Familia.  Sabato Rodia, the architect/artist/builder of Watts Towers built them by hand, by himself.  Gaudí was an architect with an artistic vision which has been realized by thousands of hands over the decades.  Rodia was a single person, inspired by his life to create a vision single-mindedly over the course of more than thirty years.  Both are amazing for their spontaneity, their movement, and their dreaminess.

 

Broken Glass Mosaic: Watts Towers
Found objects used as tile

Parc Guell Tile, Reconstituted
Gaudí repurposed tiles, but chose them from whole tiles

It is interesting to think about how different people create things in different ways.  Art is multi-faceted, and multi-dimensional, and however it is done it can inspire others.  Looking at the world around us, we have created so much, and so much has been created for us, and in turn influences us.  We as artists take the tools we see in the world, and put them together in different ways, creating something new.

 

Here’s some more information if you are eager to follow trivia trails:

Spherical Panoramas of Watts Towers
An official Watts Towers Site
About Nola, Italy’s Lily Festival

Red & Grey Flared Tee

Red & Grey Flare I

Red & Grey Flare II

Red & Grey Flare III

This is an up-cycled Tee inspired by the latest trends in color blocks and 1980’s industrial design color schemes.  Seeing a photo of something from one of this weeks runway shows with a colored pleat, I remembered a halloween costume my mom made me as a kid that had silk scarves in the gores.  Maybe I’ll make a costume like that for halloween this year!