Life is falling down. Living, however…

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Art in Jersey City! #JCAST2015

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@pandasuwann's art!!! Love this girl! #JCAST2015

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I moved out of Manhattan and into Jersey City two years ago, but in the first year, I only slept here. Since most of my friends live in New York, my social life was there, so I essentially treated Jersey City like a bedroom community.

This year, despite spending lots of time between Fair Lawn and Clifton, visiting my dad in the nursing home and my mom at her home, I decided to make an effort getting to know Jersey City a little better. At first, that meant actually hanging out at my neighborhood bar, something I rarely did when I lived in Washington Heights. (I was always downtown, which was silly.)

Then #JCTwitterDrinks happened (thanks to local artist and instructor at School of Visual Arts, Amy Wilson) and I met a community of cool people! And by following them on Twitter, I learned about The Jersey City Art & Studio Tour (#JCAST)– a citywide showcase of the arts, featuring nearly 1,000 participating artists in hundreds of venues that include private studios, galleries, local businesses, and pop-up and public spaces.

At the last minute, I decided to go for the bike tour (with the super cool folks from BikeJC) on late Saturday (Oct. 3) afternoon. Unfortunately, rain from Hurricane/Storm Joaquin marred those plans, but I decided to venture out on my own (on foot, thanks to all the bike parking in the Grove Street area) and see some art. Here’s a bit of what I saw:

The artist of this piece, BeelZan, is from Israel, and he is also a psychologist, who owns a counseling center for families, couples, children, and adolescents. It’s called Footprint. His show was hosted at Indiegrove, a super cool co-working space in the Grove Street area. If I was a freelancer, I’d rent space there.

I then headed over to LITM (great bar, btw) and caught “Thaw,” by artist Beth Achenbach. She explained the concept came to her when she watched frozen cherries thawing out. Pretty cool stuff.

While on the tour, I kept bumping into the awesome street art murals that are popping up all over the city.

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#streetart #mural #jerseycity

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I met these two cutie pies at 150 Bay Street, an awesome work/live loft building, which is many artists call home.

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Love these girls! #JCAST2015 #jerseycity

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#flavaflav #JCAST2015

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Sadly I lost the above artist’s business card, but she had a very cool apartment, served great sangria, and is a professional lighting designer, so all of her art deals with light. Also, she’s a Las Vegas native. Wish I remembered her name!

Stacy Lund Levy’s art celebrated women’s bodies.

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#JCAST2015 #StacyLevy

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Loved this stuff by New Jersey native, artist Piersanti.

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#JCAST2015 #jerseycity

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I also met Ashley Pickett, a photographer who showcased some very cool photos she took in New York and Paris (sadly, I deleted the photos by mistake!), and also her late father’s art. Her dad, Paul Jansen, designed album covers for artists such as Jimi Hendrix!

I ended the night (far too late, of course!) by hitting JCAST after party at the super cool 660 Studios, where I met J Hacha de Zola (a musician) and saw Sunnyside Social Club perform. I also drank too much jaeger, but that’s another blog post! 😉

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More art! 😉 #JCAST2015 #afterparty

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Skateboard decks line a wall at 660 Studios.

The fun didn’t stop there. On Sunday, I popped over to a space in Journal Square to see Amy Wilson’s fiber work!

JCAST is actually celebrating 25 years this month, and the celebration continues through October for Jersey City Art Month.

This futurist hit it on the nose!

This seems to be from a German newspaper of some sort circa 1930s (it originally appeared in black and white from what I can find online, yet this Flickr version is in color). All I can say is the artist (a futurist, obviously!) guessed right; we really ARE living in a time when we can see the person we’re having a ‘phone’ conversation with on a small screen … [source] See more by the same futurist artist here. (h/t to Darren Wershler for tipping me off to this via his Twitter feed.)

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Amazing illustrations by Colombian artist, Paola Escobar

Paola Escobar
Paola Escobar

 

Paola Escobar is a graphic artist who lives and works at an advertising agency in Bogotá, Colombia.

My friends over at Colombian art and culture site, Bacánika, turned me onto Escobar and conducted a Q & A with the young artist. When asked about her style, she gave a non-answer that made perfect sense:

How would you describe your style?

“I do not know, I could not describe it, I can hardly do it because in general those who are dedicated to this we are in a constant struggle to find the style, and you will probably never find it. But I always try to leave my essence in all illustrations, through details, as both my childhood and my life were always marked by them. I like to communicate a story and always try to fill my artwork with them. My style has no name.”

See more of Escobar’s work over at Bacánika and at Behance.

Paola Escobar
Paola Escobar

Pablo Escobar, Alf, and E.T., on the Argentine peso

Drawings on the Argentine peso by El Fafero.
Drawings on the Argentine peso by El Fafero.

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Don’t worry, the country isn’t officially paying homage to the likes of Alf. It’s a guerilla (but not viral, considering he’s not using technology) art campaign by Argentine artist, El Fafero.

Other bills feature Diego Maradona, Robocop, and Marlon Brando. Check out El Fafero’s Twitter page here, and the full story (in Spanish) via Mundo Fox.

Homer Simpson as drug kingpins Pablo Escobar & ‘El Chapo’

Left: Pablo Escobar, Right: 'El Chapo' Guzman, by Alexsandro Palombo
Left: Pablo Escobar, Right: ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, by Alexsandro Palombo

Don’t freak out, it’s NOT an upcoming episode of The Simpsons featuring two of the most infamous drug kingpins in history; it’s art.

Italian artist Alexsandro Palombo debuted new work which features Simpsons’ patriarch, Homer Simpson, as notorious Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar, and recently arrested Sinaloa, Mexico, cartel boss, Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.

“Stop Drug War,” is Palombo’s effort to draw attention to both the drug war that has caused more than 60,000 deaths in Mexico alone, as well as the legalization of drugs, which has has become a popular topic after Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize the production and sale of marijuana and two American states also decriminalized the drug.

One of the images depicts Homer, as Pablo Escobar, kneeling in front of the photographs of journalist and politician Luis Carlos Galán, journalist Guillermo Cano, lawyer and politician Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, and lawyer Carlos Mauro Hoyos– all victims of drug cartel hits in Colombia.

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“Pablo Escobar was a ruthless drug dealer responsible for the massacres of his fellow civilians and officers, but he was also a drug trafficker that was in favor of drug legalization, and his idea was prophetic,” Palombo said in a press release. “If, 30 years ago, the institutions of various countries would have taken the path of the drug legalization, would have there been all that blood shed and a drug dealer as powerful as ‘El Chapo’ today?”

To learn more about Palombo, visit his website.

This blog post contains info gleaned from Deborondo.com and the Huffington Post. 

My latest on ‘Sounds and Colours’

I wanted to share a couple of recent posts I wrote for the London, England,-based Sounds and Colours, a music and culture magazine that focuses on Latin America.

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SOAP OPERA RELIVES COLOMBIAN SOCCER HISTORY

One cannot discuss Colombian history of the 1990s without a mention of the national soccer teams of the era. After all, the squads of that decade made Colombian history, qualifying for three World Cups in a row—Italy ’90, USA ’94 and France ’98.

Now, those moments in futbol history are being played out in a telenovela by Caracol Television that has millions of Colombians hooked. The soap opera, “La Selección,” is also playing in the United States.

The series focuses on four of the country’s best-known players, Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama, Rene Higuita, Freddy Rincon, and Faustino Aspirilla.

Read more here.

BARRANQUILLA IS ARTIST’S CONSTANT INFLUENCE

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If there is one thing I equate with Colombia and its people, flag, music, Carnival, Feria de las Flores, and several other festivals, it is bright, exuberant colors. So I wasn’t surprised when I stumbled upon works by Colombian artist Jorge Luis Rosenvaig.

I was searching for an image for a Chibcha (my parents had a couple of Chibcha wall ornaments when I was a kid) for a possible tattoo when I came across Rosenvaig’s “Chibchacum” on a site called Saatchi Online, a site whose tagline is “Discover Art. Get Discovered.”

Discover I did, and once I started clicking through to his other works, I immediately set out to find out more about the artist. Rosenvaig obliged with the following email interview.

Read the Q & A here.