MEXICO: Dia de Muertos in Oaxaca

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The Day of the Dead is about giving respect and honouring our loved ones who passed away, but here in Mexico they do it in a festive and colourful way.

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On a dia de muertos tour arranged by my amigas, I went to the southern part of Mexico in a place called Oaxaca (wa-ha-ka). Packed in a small bus, fellow travellers and I were brought to a local public cemetery. 

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There was a stage with loud blaring speakers, a street market selling food and souvenirs, people offering us pan de muerto (a special bread during the day of the dead) and hot chocolate de oaxaca for free.

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There was a bit of pushing and shoving to get inside the cemetery.

Once inside, a sensory overload!

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Friends and families gathered around elaborately decorated graves, the air a mix of marigolds and smoke from burning candles, mourning melodies sang by hired musicians accompanied by their guitars.

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It’s like one big fiesta for the departed.

It feels good to be alive!

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FOLLOW YOUR ART: the importance of having your own creative space

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tree branch from our fallen tree

I’ve always wanted to have my own atelier. I used to have a makeshift studio in my father’s photo studio, my friend’s kitchen, A’s living room, and my sister’s old apartment. I understood the need to have your own space to just create, when i had the privilege to have my own atelier in Paris overlooking the river Seine and was given my own room during an artist residency in CASA San Miguel in Zambales.

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my chopping board artwork entitled “i consume therefore i am”

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Now I’m happy to have a creative space of my own.

I feel that it is important to have a dedicated space to cultivate one’s creativity and ignite one’s imagination. To surround oneself with a collection of inspiration, that can help push one’s art forward. To create an environment where one can transform ideas to reality.

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a wooden softdrink case with my knick knack collection

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art books and food packaging
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miniature food collection

For me, I prefer not to work in the same room where I also sleep. It’s like going to office to work, and going home to rest. Ika nga ng aking mga katribo sa Baguio, kailangan ng lipad at landing. It is in my atelier where i fly, and it is in my bedroom where i land.

It is in this atelier that I designed a vodka skull which i entitled “Ang Mamatay nang Dahil sa Iyo” (To Die For You), where I created my “MULTIVERSE” exhibition, and edited my personal documentary “Kailangang Umalis para Makabalik” (One Must Leave in order to Return). For the past months, this has also been my classroom where I teach myself to paint.

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garapata bag & james bond greek movie poster
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camera collection and necklace i got from london & trainspotting movie poster in greek

I always thought that my atelier could be better if it had more natural light. We have a tree in front that separates me from the outside world. I love that I can watch the world down below from my terrace, without them noticing me. But one time, I woke up with the tree fallen on the ground. There was a strong typhoon that uprooted a lot of trees in my ‘hood, ours was one of them.

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atelier work station – 2 small tables i bought from a manong with kariton, and my paintings on repurposed cartons
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art book i got from booksale, which serves as my reference for painting
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basquiat print on wood i got from france and a tree branch shaped like the letter J, which i picked up from the street

When the rain finally stopped and the sun decided to say hi, I noticed how bright my space was. My wish of having more natural light finally came true. I was really affected when the tree fell, but on the brighter side, my “artalyer” is now glowing with light. Also, ideas of using parts of the fallen tree is now on the works.

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my collection of products with nice packaging i got from my trips abroad, and my miniature camera collection
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skull (australia) / red heart paper necklace (portugal) / wood and dried leaf (sagada) / red ceramic cup (paris)/ bulol (banaue) / small red knapsack (japan) /cross (lucban) / wire bike (amsterdam) / silver dog (provence) / L  / lagerfeld coke bottle (paris) / miniature violin with bow & case (porto) / miniature theater (japan) / black doll (france) / darama (japan) / horse (lucban) / camera necklace / cat (japan) / 2 cartoon character prints (manila)

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Every morning i wake up excited to create.

I look forward spending time on my own and getting lost in my world, playnting (playing/painting).

I always thought I can get by creating my art wherever, but i love the nest i have built here. And now that i am a full-time artist, I need my ‘artalyer’ more than ever. This is my space, I AM WHERE I NEED TO BE.

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images shot with Lipad my i-pad

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Japan: SAKURA FANTASIES and HANAMI DREAMS

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ceci les couleurs des mes reves
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this looks like a neo-impressionist painting by Georges Seurat

I’ve been going on and on about this, since my first Japan blog entry… One of the main reason why I came here during spring time is to see the sakura and experience hanami. Scenes of people drinking and having their picnic under the cherryblossom trees kept playing in my head since i was a kid. I remember watching it on tv from a Japanese documentary.

Continue reading “Japan: SAKURA FANTASIES and HANAMI DREAMS”

Nirvana in GUNMA, Japan

Today, we’re heading to Onsen paradise – GUNMA.

Honestly, I’m not too keen to be naked in front of strangers in a natural hot spring, but Gunma is famous for that, so might as well try it, right? Right!

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I woke up extra early and found Naomi and Satoshi in the kitchen preparing some oniguri for our roadtrip. I really wish to recreate this dish at home. It’s so simple and yummy to eat, everything in one bite! It’s also good to bring on the road as you don’t need utensils to consume it.

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 We passed nearby towns before arriving in Gunma. We also have Toto, their cutie pie doggy, with us.

Continue reading “Nirvana in GUNMA, Japan”