Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things I see around the city

This city surprises me daily with subtle beautiful things that wait around every corner. I've never wanted a camera so badly, just to carry around and capture all the small nuances that make me smile. I'm taking these with my camera phone, so the quality isn't as good as I'd like, but it's something.

The Taj Mahal? No, it's the Conservatory of Flowers!

Loved the color of this lion next to the indigo doors:

Saw "The Creak" and "The Trespassers" at a show in a small local pub on Saturday. They were a great bluegrass band, and I met a new friend!

I found a "me" place, meaning a niche out of the way from the general public, a place for solace.

I love the blue in Claes Oldenburg's sculpture next to the brilliant yellow leaves:

This would be the kind of graffiti/chalk drawings in San Francisco:

The "Checks Cashed" place here is better than the one in your city (only because it has a more elaborate roof)!

I didn't know such a thing as "Lawn Bowling" existed, prior to today.

This one reminds me of an Edward Hopper painting. I think it's the harsh highlights and the lonely windows and spire in that tower on the right.

A view of the city from the top of a park that I discovered today. I could see the Golden Gate bridge from here, so I painted it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Requiem for a Dream, condensed in 30 seconds.

My roommate mentioned that Darren Aronofsky had recently directed some new ads for the campaign against meth, featured on methproject.org. He released the public service announcements earlier this month.

Aronofsky is my favorite director, ever since I saw Requiem for a Dream (2000). He continued to amaze me with The Wrestler (2008) and Black Swan (2010). He has such a talent for drawing the viewer in and connecting them so closely to the main character, then proceeds to drag them through a train wreck (albeit a beautiful one).

Take his talent for manufacturing an intensely uncomfortable and bizarre scenario, mix it with a bit of terror and disorientation, direct it toward a substance, and you've got a great meth campaign. Brilliant.

“We were thrilled to collaborate with top-tier talent like Darren Aronofsky, the animation house Studio AKA, and photographer Ron Haviv on this campaign,” said Brad Mancuso, Executive Creative Director, Organic. “Darren had a true understanding of addiction as the main character of the TV spots, and his ability to see and bring to life the darker side of the human spirit was inspiring.” (via The New York Egotist)
Some debate that people aren't easily persuaded by scare tactics, but "since the Meth Project launched in 2006, meth use has declined 65 percent in Arizona, 63 percent in Montana and 52 percent in Idaho." (ABC News) That's pretty significant, I'd say. I'm glad to see another way that effective visual media influences culture positively.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ireland Lake

On this cold and rainy Friday evening at my new place in San Francisco, I find myself missing this backpacking trip I took one weekend with a dear friend of mine who is now halfway across the country en route to New Orleans.

Tommy had this great idea to hike to Ireland Lake from Twolumne, through Lyell Canyon. We backpacked 10 miles and reached the lake before sunset. Upon arriving, we refilled our Nalgenes with ice cold water from the lake. It was the purest water I've ever tasted, free from chlorine or chemicals. Tommy cooked Ramen and tea afterward, and we both walked out into the boulder field nearby, reflecting in silence at the magnificent sunset.

"Vibrant pinks, deep blues, and purples stretched across the sky, staining the mountains in color. Night visibly invaded the last light of day. It was somber, so beautiful it could make you cry. It just all feels so vast, and I'm so small. I feel an unspeakable void within me- maybe the potential for my life, what I could do, who I could be, who I will love. I don't think I've felt so connected with God this whole summer." (September 8, 2011)

Mountaintop experience- literally. It wasn't that everything felt perfect and came together at that moment, in fact, I had been going through a few things and felt mixed up with life. I was tired from the hike, uncomfortably cold and not used to the lower temperature at the higher elevation (which Tommy found funny because he's from Michigan). But as uncertain as things were in my life at that time, I felt a great sense of purpose and love and connection to the universe all at once. It had something to do with God and the span of time, but was too magnanimous to wrap my mind around. It was very deep and spiritual.

I have such a capacity for love, and I'm burning with life. I'm thankful for this chance I've been given. I won't use it idly.