Austin Adventures (April 7th – April 20th)

I didn't find Austin to be a “touristy” town but it seemed like it would be a nice place to live. When I was looking online for things to see in Austin the usual advice was to go visit surrounding areas like San Antonio. Yes, Austin is known for music but Nick is not interested in music whatsoever and I'm a casual listener. The Texas capitol is also known for hosting SXSW (south by soutwest) but we missed it by a few weeks. And then, of course, there are the Congress Bridge bats to see around sunset but I was too tired to stick around to wait for the bats the day we were by the bridge.

Congress Bridge Congress Bridge
 

So what did we do? One weekend we walked around the capitol building grounds and checked out downtown.

Texas capitol building

Also art city austin was held that weekend (April 14-15) in downtown so we visited the different artists' tents. There were some wonderfully beautiful art work on display but the pieces that I would want were way beyond my budget.

On our walk back to our hotel from downtown I saw these 3 men dressed in vintage fashion. I just had to take a pic (one of my most favorite shots)! I wonder where they were struttin' to/from?

3 men struttin' around downtown

The following day I volunteered to help out at art city austin. I was assigned to the kid's block Colin's Hope: Imprinting Activity tent. The main purpose of the tent was to give out information to parents on water safety and drowning prevention. I helped carve potatoes for printing and enjoyed assisting the kids that stopped by.

At one point all activity stopped and there was a scramble to get underneath the tents because there was a sudden deluge of rain. One juggler, however, was nonchalantly walking around doing what he does best.

The volunteer opportunity gave me a better sense of Austin's community and supporting and promoting the arts in some way was personally satisfying.

 

 

 

Austin Adventures (April 7th – April 20th)

A Magical Day in my Tucson Odyssey

Today has been an AMAZING day! When I woke up I headed to our Airbnb host's backyard to do a bit of yoga. Staring at the crystal blue sky and hearing the soothing bubbling sounds from the small water fountain was very peaceful and helped me focus better on my poses. Also my upper back thanked me afterwards.

Later in the morning, while Nick and I headed to the University of Arizona's campus, a hummingbird hovered over my head and I stood still to watch it float against the azure sky. That was a magical moment.

Had the best fries I ever tasted at frog & firkin as our lunch appetizer. I am totally stealing the sinfully mouth-watering idea of topping fries with red sauce and melted mozzarella.

red fries at frog & firkin

After lunch Nick and I sat in a local café drinking the kind of iced chai we like. Then I left Nick to work and I headed to the university's Museum of Art, Poetry Center, and Special Collections.

U of A's Museum of Art

I forgot that most museums are closed on Mondays but I did get a campus map out of it. Since the Joseph Gross Gallery was only a few steps away I went in and was emotionally engaged by student Ben McKee's Matt & Ben (My Big Brother & Me) installation including 3 videos of various screen sizes. Still not quite sure exactly why I felt something so strongly in the pit of my stomach but it most likely has to do with my own relationships with my brothers; I miss them.

Ben McKee's installation

I wasn't sure if there were sensors but a light turned on in the room as I walked alongside the installation and a small video started up when I walked towards it in a separate section on the right (not pictured).

Next I walked over to the Poetry Center which is housed in a beautiful building (I should've taken a photo). They have a small exhibit of artists' books curated by Johanna Drucker. My favorites were works by Keith Smith and Tom Phillips.

Book by Tom Phillips
Out of Sight by Keith Smith

Out of Sight (Book Nr. 107) by Keith Smith

Continuing on my artist book hunt I headed to Special Collections. Thanks to the advice of one very helpful librarian at the Poetry Center I requested to see James Joyce's Ulysses designed by Philip Smith which is stowed away in the Collection's vault. When the librarian wheeled over the book I started feeling teary-eyed and my heart wanted to burst. This was probably the personal equivalent of beholding the holy grail. Every word that pops to mind does not do this treasure justice and the following pictures definitely are poor substitutes.

James Joyce's Ulysses
James Joyce's Ulysses (case)

A book love affair. See them kissing?

If you were wondering, the small slip of paper you see in the photos is a copyright requirement of Special Collections whenever a photo is taken. I am definitely returning to this library to check out more of their book arts collection. I'm still amazed that I actually got to touch the books and smell its pages.

The midday sun is brutal here but I am LOVING Tucson!

(I will still post about our time in Texas and Colorado but was overly excited about today and had to share.)

 

A Magical Day in my Tucson Odyssey

Splendiferous N’awlins (March 24 – April 6)

In New Orleans we stayed at an Airbnb property in the Muses Apartments only a couple of blocks away from the St. Charles streetcar line, which we could take right to the French Quarter (or get there on foot in about a half hour). The one downside to where we were staying was that there was no wi-fi service but thankfully there was Krewe du Brew, a new-ish cafe right on St. Charles Avenue where Nick spent his weekdays for work. Co-owners John and Eugene provides attentive service and friendly conversation. Stop in and say hi if you’re in the neighborhood. I enjoyed their chocolate chip banana bread and drank a lot of raspberry ice tea.

Fleur-de-lis mosaic at Palmer Park

Nick and I both adored New Orleans and would love to return for another visit. It also helped that Nick didn’t suffer allergies the entire time we were there.

A few highlights:

    • Visiting the art galleries of the Warehouse/Art District
Chihuly glass (white)

Chihuly’s white glass series is gorgeous

Michael Pajon, my new favorite artist

Michael Pajon’s collages rock! If I was rich I’d collect his work.

    • Unexpectedly finding this beautiful street art
    • Talking to artists at the Arts Market (held monthly on the last Saturday)

At the market I ran into Yuka Petz, who’s a local book artist I’ve been wanting to meet. I like her play on words and text in her work. I also spoke briefly with printmaker Pippin Frisbie-Calder from whom I got to learn about cypress trees and their knees.

Jimmy Descant
Tao Seeger

Tao Seeger is a great storyteller; I enjoyed hearing about the history of his instruments. One of the stories was about his hundred-year-old banjo!

    • Spending a beautiful day with Nick eating our way through the French Quarter
Cajun Cafe Market
Yummm ... Cafe du Monde's beignets

All the locals who I’ve spoken with says that Cafe du Monde beignets (pronounced “ben-yays”) are the best. We concur!

 

Additional photos:

New Orleans, LA

 

 

Splendiferous N’awlins (March 24 – April 6)

Asian American Identity

I briefly mentioned in an earlier post that I had seen the Asian American Portraits exhibit in DC's National Portrait Gallery. The show provides diverse viewpoints of Asian artists. My favorite artists were Zhang Chun Hong, Hye Yeon Nam, and Roger Shimomura. I wasn't allowed to take photos but please have a look at the links.

Zhang's charcoal drawings of luxuriously long, black hair on large scale scrolls were quietly stunning and gorgeous.

I sat and watched through some of Hye's videos. Her four-part video self-potrait, Walking, Drinking, Eating, and Sitting, symbollically depicted her struggle as a foreigner in the US. It reminded me of my own struggles of helping my parents with language and navigating American society.

Shimomura's paintings utilized humor and his portrait to play on Asian stereotypes such as using his likeness on Hello Kitty's face or depicting himself as George Washington.

Shimomura Crossing the DelawareShimomura Crossing the Delaware

So what's an experience of someone growing up Asian in the US like? Feeling like an outsider, sometimes feeling invisible, being thought of as different or exotic. A character-building struggle to put it (over) simply.

I'm grateful that I got to see this show. Now I want to re-read the New York magazine article entitled Paper Tiger: What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test-taking ends?

Image and video used with respective artist's permission.

 

Asian American Identity

The continuing adventures with Jim

The Paper Museum wasn't the only place Jim and I visited. Far from it. After lunch we took a scenic route on our way to the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. It was neat seeing the beautiful houses along Peachtree Battle Ave(?); each house was beautiful and architecturally unique. As an aside, Atlanta has anywhere from 26 to over 65 streets with Peachtree in its name depending on where I went on the internetz. I believe Jim told me a number in the upper 20s range. Whatever the actual number just know that there's ALOT. I know the street names confused me a bit when I first arrived in this city.

While I lived in NYC I was one of the volunteers helping out during the Rubin Museum's Red Book exhibit that ran from October 2009 to Februaury 2010. I had the chance to view Carl Jung's own art work and mandalas. Now I wanted to visit Oglethorpe to see the university museum's Sacred Round exhibit displaying mandalas by Carl Jung's patients. Feels like I've come full circle (no pun intended).

Visitors weren't allowed to take photos of patients' artwork but I was allowed to take a shot of a quote that I absolutely loved by Carl Jung. His advice to patients in regards to their artwork:

This thrills me to no end as an art therapist and an aspiring book artist!

The small campus was serene and charming. We happened to visit during the university's spring break.

Beautiful stone structures
 

We ended the day touring SCAD and looking at MANY works completed by skilled students. One of the best personal highlights was seeing Julie Chen's book shown at the library. I've admired her work since I first became interested in book arts. I also enjoyed seeing the library's new book arts acquisitions.

How Books Work by Julie Chen/Clifton Meador

 

This has been one very FULL day. Again, I cannot thank Jim enough for his companionship and generosity. My brain is overflowing with creative juice. This will be a good night for dreams.

Favorite quote of the day stated by an OUMA employee, “The answer is always 'No' until you ask.”

 

The continuing adventures with Jim

Reimagining Marbled Paper

Robert C. Williams Paper Museum's exhibit on marbled papers was an eye-opening experience. I did not realize the depth and breadth of this art form.

chicken leg detail of Karli Frigge's Alchemy Marble

 

I did try marbling paper once at New York's Center for Book Arts; I thought of marbled paper as pretty, even very beautiful at times, but did not give it much more consideration. The artists' works showcased in this exhibit completely changed my outlook. The pieces are amazing and some works remind me of contemporary art paintings.

 

I immediately wanted to marble some paper after seeing this show. The colors, lines, and shapes you could achieve made me drool with all the possibilities.

Oh, to own a copy of Josef Halfer's Progress of the Marbling Art (1885)

 

The exhibit also showcased some lovely miniature books.

I wouldn't have been able to see all that I did if it wasn't for my new friend Jim. Thank you Jim a million times over!

More photos:

Paper Museum Visit

 

Reimagining Marbled Paper

A Warm Sunday in Atlanta

Tulips already in full bloom

 

Spring hasn't quite begun yet and it's already very warm. Nick and I enjoyed the summer-like day at Georgia Aquarium.

Whale shark silhouette

 

I learned some fun facts. (1) Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the WORLD. (2) Whale sharks are not really sharks but fish, which makes them the largest fish in the world! (3) And groupers take about 20 years before they reach sexual maturity.

Thirsty anyone?

 

The World of Coca-Cola was just across from the aquarium but we started our day late and ran out of time (spent about 3 hours walking around the aquarium). This was okay with Nick and I since the price of the aquarium tickets were a bit on the high side.

To see more of my photos check out my Picasa album.

A Sunday in Atlanta

 

A Warm Sunday in Atlanta