My surprise trip to Rome at 5am

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My visit to Rome was guided by a native Italian, my boyfriend, who had been to Rome many times before and knew that I had always wanted to see it ever since I told him I had reoccurring dreams of being in front of the Colosseum. One morning while I was visiting him in Torino, he rushed me on a train at 5 am and didn’t tell me where I was going. A few hours in he looked at me and said “Don’t you want to know where we are going? We are going to Rome.” My mind nor my imagination had nearly been prepared for what I would do if I went to Rome.I stared out the window grasping on to the idea. He had everything prepared for us. All I needed to do was get ready to walk and be mesmerized.

I had been familiar with the architecture in Italy already, but arriving in city limits, I hoped to catch a glimpse of any ancient ruins visible that would tell me I was there. As I stepped onto the streets, It felt like a lucid dream. I looked everywhere for the images I had seen in pictures, books and movies, but still, there was nothing familiar in sight.

Italians are very creative with parking spaces I know this, but the first thing I noticed in Rome was to them parking was a masterful skill in the creative art department. I saw cars parked in crosswalks, sidewalks and in intersections.Walking into Piazza del Popolo we would notice the people saying “Bella Ma!” or “Bella Zi!”  and use endearing terms such as “Caro” often instead of the regular “Ciao Bella!” we were used to hearing in the North. My boyfriend would nudge me and say, “Do you hear the Roman accent?”.

I had expected everyone we passed by to have a look of wonderment on their face like I did.  Of course, people were carrying on with their usual business just like they do in San Francisco, I admit that it surprised me still. As we began walking through the stone streets of Via Del Corso, I was surprised at how many beautiful and ancient dwellings along the street were stuffed with Armani and Burberry shops. The street performance artists in front were much more peculiar than those I had seen in LA or New York.  I had dreamed of a naked Rome, free of modern commercialism, but still, the street artists were quite amusing. We strolled at our own pace through the sprinkling rain to the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. A kiss was made under our umbrellas at every corner. I had seen so many things already and still nothing yet. I caught myself looking around wherever we went to see if I could catch a glimpse of the Colosseum. I didn’t realize that Rome is far more vast than I prepared for and there was no way I would see the Colosseum unless I took a subway ride. 

On the next day the most unexpected view awaited me as I climbed the stairs to daylight out of the conventional looking subway tunnel. The Colosseum, low and behold, was just as I had pictured it. Massive in its white and silver outlines, it’s dark eye sockets peered around  in front of a dismal sky. Many people were standing in line just in front, waiting to get in and sharing the view with their friends and family with the aid of their selfie sticks. Everywhere brown men were waving them in the air for a quick sale. Hour after hour after strolling through Ancient Rome, sitting on the stairs built by Michelangelo, I used my imagination to picture what was going on where I stood during the days of Augustus. By this time, I had toured my way to exhaustion and was almost too heavy to take a peek into the Colosseum. I thought about some Gelato and a nap back at our apartment but Matteo wouldn’t let me miss out. I settled for a nap in the Colosseum on some worn steps overlooking the center of the stadium. Instantly I dreamed. I deemed it the most peculiar nap I have ever taken.IMG_2722

The sight of graffiti and tiny pieces of trash strewn about in places along here and there in some of these sacred spots reminded me that the eternal city that resides in todays time, also suffers the difficulties of today’s time. It is still a city very much alive that will be alive for the passing of many generations, withstanding momentous periods in world history to come.

 

At last we arrived at the Vatican. Here I began to humble myself with what I had known about the world of sculpture and renaissance art.  I touched and passed by many of the most famous works in the world from Van Gogh and Raphael, to Michelangelo and Salvador Dali.  I felt as though it would have taken me at least 3 days to know the Vatican properly. I found myself filtering through pieces and giving glance overs to some of the most ancient and beautiful paintings  I had the privilege of seeing in real life. I had reached my peak of art viewing in the Sistine Chapel, where I was grudgingly disheartened at the people who were taking pictures even though it was forbidden. I was a little tired and hungry at this point so I was less patient with the public world around me. When I reached St. Peters Basilica, the larger than life atmosphere made me forget my petty concern for human behavior. Our size was reduced to field mice in a mansion. I walked through the papal tombs in silence and wonder, under the massive dome in presence of Bernini and Michelangelo. My eyes attempted to burn to memory every last detail offered, accompanied by an eldritch atmosphere of historical figures that used to occupy these spaces. Half of the day had passed, and I sighed in relief as I discovered outside under the Columns, a line of eager humans at least a quarter of a mile long waiting for their turn to have the same magical experience. The trick was to get tickets in advance, I thought.

Leaving the Vatican, the attempt to go into another church seemed meager and unsatisfying. The only thing I needed now was food buon pranzo and my love sitting across from me. Without going further into food, that is how I remember my Rome.

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The Deadliest Parade in San Francisco

A part of what makes the historical Mission District of San Francisco is the rich culture, art and celebrations. The Day of the Dead brings a deeper meaning with it, along with beautiful costumes and handsomly morbid face paintings to roam the streets at night. The Day of the Dead is to remember those who are no longer here.Originating in Mexico, it is celebrated all around the world in most Catholic families. Such things as parades, visiting grave sites, creating alters and lighting candles are also ways El Dia De Los Muertos is celebrated. In San Francisco, and other places like L.A., it can be a large spectacle that residents and tourists come to see regardless of beliefs. For more information on the Day of the Dead go here.

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The dead

The painted

The haunted

Loved

Lost

Forgotten

Souls perched up on rooftops and window seals bellowing their lust for remembrance upon death

For those who forgot to live

For those who live a lie

Sickened by the living world which feeds them leftovers of life

Soak every inch of cloth and hair in paint and radiate the screams of which you hold within

Starve on life and only consume the richest of it, the most precious, so that every last taste is a golden memory

– Inspired on November 2nd, 2015 Mission and Bryant SF, CA

This is not Holloween. A part of what people love about the historical Mission District of San Francisco is the rich culture, art and celebrations. Pictured above, The Day of The Dead is one of them. El Dia De Los Muertos brings a deeper meaning with it than just beautiful costumes and handsomely morbid face paintings. The Day of the Dead is to remember those who are no longer here in ones family. People will dress up and display a picture and/or candles to parade through the streets during the evening. Originating in Mexico, such things as  visiting grave sites, creating alters for the lost ones, and lighting candles are also ways El Dia De Los Muertos is celebrated. In San Francisco, and other places like L.A., it can be a large spectacle that residents and tourists come to see regardless of beliefs. For more information on the Day of The Dead visit here

Underwater Meuseums

Pictures taken underwater are all about breaking barriers in some cases. We all want cool pictures, yeah, but it is also about getting uncomfortable, without a specific expensive camera it can be tough. Getting in the water and making the most out of this fragile time frame that allows for the most captivating setting to be utilized. I was able to take some photos with an iPhone 6 protected by a case made by Lifeproof©. It works! Thanks to that case we were able to capture some moments playing under a mid sized ocean cruiser in the Channel Islands.

A place to plan to go soon is off of the coast of Spain to an actual Underwater Museum. Yes, and it is slightly creepy but it is more breathtakingly beautiful. Jason deCaires Taylor has made several lists for his work including this website which list the top ten underwater photographers in the world.

http://www.topteny.com/top-10-best-underwater-photographers-in-the-world/

“Jason deCaires Taylor is an award winning underwater photographer, underwater naturalist and he is also a qualified diving instructor. He is the creator of the first underwater sculpture park in the world and it was founded in 2006 to be considered by National Geographic as one of the top 25 Wonders of the World. Jason deCaires Taylor aims to encourage marine conservation and environmental awareness through his underwater public art projects. He transforms his art or sculptures from dead objects to living coral reefs by submerging them in the ocean.”

If you enjoy seeing underwater art check out @underwaterwednesdays on instagram as well. They were so kind as to feature one of my ameteur photos and they have something new and inspiring every week.

Cheers to those underwater creatives!

                        

There is a Bansky on view in SF and it’s Free

Destroy Capitalism

Capitalism has a reputation for commodification in many forms. When the public takes action to work against a capitalist society,the ideas and support generated are various and creative, hidden mostly in literature, academia and the arts.   An anonymous artist for over 20 years named Banksy  is popular for his graffiti work and prints that  usually have an anti – war, anti- capitalist viewpoint to provide and mock the current state of society as he sees it. Banksy has become one of the highest selling artists, and the most famous graffiti artist today through his controversial pieces spotted in city streets around the world. Since Banksy’s success as a street artist, his works have turned into profitable pieces that are sold for up to 7 figures to private clients which raises a  question  among common critics whether Banksy has become a part of the Capitalist system that his work is inspired to ridicule. Banksy is not a capitalist, but rather, his art has been commodified by capitalists.

Banksy is a stencil graffiti pop artist who’s identity goes unknown. Anyone can see Banksy’s stencil art, which enables him to reach a large audience and to make strong statements. City officials have the power to paint over works or allow them to stay. Even when his  art is destroyed, it draws attention to political issues. The drama that follows after his art have caused people all around the world to be mystified by evidence of his presence, and commodifying his art as valuable pieces to be  obtained. Art galleries and private sellers take advantage of this and when able to, sell his work for over hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Banksy made most of his money through a couple of documentaries, one, “Exit through the Gift Shop” which highlights the graffiti artist Mr. Brainwash and his rise to fame though pure hype shows Banksy’s attitude toward the commodification of an art form. In 2007, the day after Sotheby’s London sold three Banksy works, all of which soared above predicted values into the six figures, the elusive and anonymous British graffiti artist updated his website with an image of an auction house, the people in the room bidding on a picture with the written words “I Can’t Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit” (Rham).

Bansky’s work usually is done on buildings so that they can be seen by everyone and not be sold or stolen. Despite his original efforts to prevent his work from becoming commodified, art galleries continue to  excavate his work and auction pieces of his off. Sometimes they actually cut pieces out of the buildings that he paints on. Not all art galleries and exhibitions intend to sell his work, some, like the company 836M from San Francisco, do it purely to save his art from being destroyed or stolen so that it may be enjoyed by others for free. 836M started a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund the excavation and shipping of the Haight Street Rat that appeared 5 years ago over the Red Victorian Hotel. It is now publicly displayed through July at a San Francisco art gallery for free viewing (McWilliams).

His work and his stories are live examples of capitalism at work which is yet another statement and example of the society we live in today that he expresses through his art. Just like an activist on television or a teacher in a school, Banksy spreads the message of the perversion of capitalism and the rule of the commodity in our society today among other things.

Find the Haight Street Rat  on display at 836M Studio for free

Haight Street Rat Photo Courtesy of http://www.StencilArchive.org

836 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

GALLERY HOURS: 11am – 4pm (Wed, Thurs, Fri)

http://www.836m.org/

Gathering solid facts about Bansky is rather difficult, in fact, all of the assumptions about his work and his reasons could be false. I have been able to gather information from pieces of other articles and sources online and post the sources below.

Rahm, Danielle. Banksy: The $20 Million Graffiti Artist Who Doesn’t Want His Art To Be Worth Anything. http://www.forbes.com/sites/daniellerahm/2013/10/22/banksy-the-20-million-graffiti-artist-who-doesnt-want-his-art-to-be-worth-anything/ 22 October 2013. Last accessed on 18 May 2015.

Author: unknown. Stencil Revolution. http://www.stencilrevolution.com/profiles/about-banksy/ Last accessed on 18 May 2015

McWilliams, Molly. http://www.sfweekly.com/exhibitionist/2014/12/18/banksys-haight-street-rat-is-coming-home-to-san-francisco. 18 December 2014. Last accessed on 18 May 2015