Traveler’s Block

Traveler’s Block

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Charles Bukowski

Today I have nothing.

I have written about packing and not packing, carry on luggage, check in luggage, travel clothes, travel companions,  souvenirs, my bracelet collection, my Starbucks collection, my good luck charms, LA – where I live, Manhattan and Brooklyn where I am from, places I love, places I hate, my mother, my dog, people who have died, animals that have been killed, airports, airplanes, stewardesses, airport security, things I’ve learned from traveling and not traveling, hotel rooms and things Ive left behind in them, travel addiction, people who think they are black, superstitions, proverbs and quotes from around the world, movies, books, children’s books and songs that have inspired me to travel, food, restaurants, turkey burgers, acting like a tourist, not acting like a tourist, tourist traps, tourist attractions, holidays, traveling alone,eating alone, random photos, being a godmother, travel etiquette, third world countries, countries that have changed names, countries not to travel to, misspelled countries, auto-correct, photography, art, urban art, music, world affairs terrorists and should you blame your parents if you are one,  philosophy, spirituality, religion, prejudice, meditation, things to say and not say to a world traveler, places I haven’t been to, bucket lists, top ten everything, travel problems, imaginary places, movie locations, trip planning, weddings, World Cup, Olympics, first world problems, blogging, Nellie Bly, touching strangers, things i like, things I dislike, the 100th monkey, coffee, sunrises, how to avoid the paparazzi, travel tv shows and people in the world.

I don’t know why they call it writer’s block. I have idea block. I could start reblogging pieces, post other writers, post more instagram photos, read more books and think about writing. I could hope that this is only a temporary setback, go out and do something and then write about it – like move to Spain, go to a wedding in Africa or perhaps the new Broad Museum in LA.

Fly safe,
JAZ

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Street Art In Brazil

Street Art In Brazil

“Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint.” Banksy

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You don’t have to look for street art in Brazil because in cities like Rio and Sao Paulo, you will see it  every where. (Sao Paulo)

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It is part of the Brazilian culture now and a big influence on urban art throughout the world. (Sao Paulo)

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Urban Art In Brazil falls into two categories – street art for everyone to see and enjoy and graffiti writing which seems to be for other graffiti writers – with coded tags, style of letter and specific color palettes. Graffiti art has rules, specific use of materials (almost always spray paint), easy recognizable styles and a history. (Sao Paulo)

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Street art uses many different materials (paintbrush, computer generated images and spray paint). (Sao Paulo –  Beco de Batman)

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Street art engages us as we walk or drive by and see something beautiful, sad, funny or painful. (Sap Paulo)

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Graffiti art always seems like personal message that we are seeing.

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Both are subversive art movements where work is displayed in a public setting for a brief period. (Rio)

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It is always the knowing that it wont be there the next time I come that makes it more special to me – that it wasn’t painted to be there forever. (Sao Paulo)

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Tagging is different from graffiti. It is known in Brazil as pichacao. (Rio)

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The tagger wants to see his name on a wall and has no interest in aesthetics. It is all over Brazil as well. (Rio)

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Brazil’s street art is very diverse and always willing to challenge the political, environmental and social climate. (Rio – Lapa)

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Urban art is different in Brazil then in other countries because it is everywhere with an abundance of styles, colors and techniques. (Sao Paulo)

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In March 2009, the Brazilian government passed a law making street art and graffiti legal if done with the consent of building owners. (Sao Paulo-Kobra)

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It is all around from the favelas to the upper class neighborhoods with consent or without. (Rio)

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The walls that exist all over the cities whether urban topography or security provide huge spaces for painting. (Sao Paulo)

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The cities of Brazil are a giant canvas for the self-expression of their artists. (Sao Paulo)

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Obrigada and Ciao,

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JAZ

 

 

Ten Reasons To Go To Brazil

Ten Reason To Go To Brazil

“I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.” Paulo Coelho (yes he is Brazilian)

1. The beach – there are over 1500 beaches and five hundred islands.

2. Amazon Rainforest and Eco Tourism –  It is important to support and help preserve our environment in a responsible way.

3. Sao Paulo Street Art – It’s my thing.

4. It is the home of the acai berry.  If you live anywhere that is health trendy like LA, acai is the food of the moment. It comes in a bowl or in a drink as far as I can tell. No one really knows why it is healthy – kind of like the chia seed. You order it at a trendy expensive juice bar in a voice that sounds like you just know. I’m shallow like that. I’m going to learn the  Brazilian way to pronounce it as well so I can correct all the wannabe healthy people.

5. Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio De Janeiro. It’s one of those iconic Brazilian symbols that I always see in photos and movies and wonder if I will ever be there.

6. It’s another one of the best coffee in the world countries. Those are my favorite.

7. I can practice my Spanish. I mean because I will have the time. They speak Portuguese in Brazil. The languages sound similar to us because they are romance languages and not English. I am hopeful that as in any country but America people speak more than one language and Spanish will be one of them. Otherwise I will rely on my third language of hand motions and charades.

8. I’m not a big drinker but I do love Caipirinhas which happens to be the national beverage of Brazil. It is made with cachaca a sweet Brazilian rum made from sugar cane, lime juice and more sugar. I feel as with all cheap liquor now, the market is changing and when I get to Brazil there will be many premium cachacas to try.

9. Capoira combines dance, martial arts, music and acrobatics. It is known for quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for a variety of kicks, spins, and highly mobile techniques. It was started as a fighting technique between African slaves who were forced to fight each other. They found a way to make dance like fighting.

10. The yellow soccer jersey. My first live professional soccer game was in Buenos Aires and I have been hooked ever since. Though they lost the World Cup on their home turf and were humiliated by Germany, they have still won more World Cups then any other country. It is the “o pais do futebol.” – the country of futbol.

Tenha Uma Boa Viagem,

JAZ

JAZ

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them – Graffiti Art In Bogota Colombia

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them – Graffiti Art In Bogota, Colombia

“Graffiti is not about clean lines, pretty colors and beautiful blends. Graffiti is my life’s turbulence exploded on a wall.” Mint Serf

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Graffiti started in Bogotá in the seventies with different futbol fans proclaiming their loyalty. It was a time of drug cartels, poverty and a repressed military society.The graffiti was a way of protesting  and not so much about art.  In the nineties it became more artistic. As in other countries, it was started by art students near the Universities.

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In Bogotá like everywhere else, graffiti and graffiti art was a crime. In 2011 Diego Felipe Becerra was spray-painting his signature  Felix the Cat image on the walls of an underpass when he was killed by police.

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Public outrage and protests led to the city’s change in attitude toward street art as well as the arrest of the officers. Certain walls became legal for graffiti.

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The city began hiring street artists for public murals.

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Many walls were designated for artistic expression and beautiful murals were painted – usually with political or social messages.

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Looking over the photos there is definitely much more of this in Bogotá then in other countries I have been to.

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The street art scene in Bogotá is not so much a street gallery as it is art in the streets. There are many less paid for walls and much more self-expression than in some other cities.

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The paint is expensive so they use cheaper paint that is not long-lasting. .  The art is constantly changing. There are wall wars with people painting over each other’s pieces.

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DJ Lu was one of the earlier street artists and his stencils all had serious political messages. He uses common branding as a way of getting his message across quickly. (pineapple grenades, mosquitos ,guns )

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Rodez paints with his sons (both college graduates) and sometimes gets help from other street artists. They often teach in Buenos Aires.

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Animal Poder Crew is a street art collective started by Stinkfish and has grown to include graffiti artists and writers from all over the world.

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Toxicomono started as a punk rock band and grew into a street art group.

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The increase in street art also produces an increase in tagging or vandalism. It’s hard to tell street artists where they can and cannot paint. It doesn’t go with the nature of street art. It s harder to tell people who are angry or just have something to say that they can’t write their messages on walls either.

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Then there was Justin Bieber. After a concert in Bogotá, he went with a police escort to write on city walls that were off-limits for graffiti. Overnight, hundreds of new artworks appeared on the underpass. When approached by police the artists said, “Why don’t you protect us like you did Justin Bieber?”

Thanks Luiz Lamprea for your knowledge and love of street art.

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Fly safe,

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JAZ

 

 

 

You Are Here – Street Art In Melbourne Australia

You Are Here   –  Street Art In Melbourne, Australia

“Some people want to make the world a better place. I just wanna make the world a better-looking place. If you don’t like it, you can paint over it!” Banksy (In Melbourne)

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I guess what I love about street art is that it is art of the moment. It isn’t meant to be there forever.   You are here .  You can find these words on this spot on this wall.

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The laneways covered in Melbourne street art have become one of the tourist attractions of the city.  I’m not the only person taking photos. The street artists  here work in all mediums from brushes,  spray paint, stencils, street sculptures,  paste ups,  stickers,  and installations.

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It’s the first time I have seen street sculpture.  It is small and hard to find – like  beach treasures.   Maybe as street art becomes more accepted  and mainstream,  artists have to find more creative ways to tell their stories. (soccer ball, but is it art?, eternity)

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One of the main mural streets  was painted over in bright blue by a street artist.  The anti establishment street art  movement? or just someone who had a lot to say in blue?   It is already painted over.

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I loved all the street art quotes and poetry.

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There are a lot of references to literature and history . (founding fathers painted with Aborigine faces, koalas)

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I love the  outdoor galleries.

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Tagging seems less popular. I hated to see some cool piece tagged over by jealousy or stupidity.  I don’t usually mind graffiti but I do when it is covering street art.  Seems a bit like a street art oxymoron.

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“Do art not tags” is the name of a graffiti education presentation being offered  in schools within the city of Melbourne. Actors visit classroom and provide information about the differences between graffiti and street art and how different choices can lead to different consequences.

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The best way to see Melbourne Street Art is with Melbourne Street Art  Tours. http://www.melbournestreettours.com  The tours are given by street artists . You can join a group or hire them privately.

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My tour guide was Michael Fikaris.   He is an excellent artist as well. His portrait of Charles Bukowski was one of my favorites. He brought stickers and left them where he felt they needed to be.  He was very knowledgeable about the art, artists and their stories. (Charles and Michael, commissioned wall by Michael Fikaris, you know who with a twist)

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The great thing about going with Melbourne Street Tours  is that you see art that you wouldn’t normally see. Some of the best stuff was in places I wouldn’t have gone to alone.  They know where to show you the good art and avoid the mediocre.

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You walk by so much street art , when you are out exploring the city.  It is all colorful and fun, and hard to know where to look.

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Street artists use the walls to raise social and political awareness, Others just want to show their artwork. Some are talented and some are enthusiastic.

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Michael immediately points out  the interesting pieces. There are some good artists working out on these streets and it was great to have Michael show them to me. I was getting overwhelmed with so much street art on one wall.  I definitely would have missed a lot doing it on my own.

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Melbourne Street Tours works out of Blender Studios.  You end with a tour of the studios and meet some of the artists.  There are pieces for sale but no pressure to buy.  Of course I got home and wished that I had bought more.  They also run street art workshops and school programs.

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This was the first thing I did in Australia. It turned out to be one of my favorite things. They also made me feel very comfortable on my first day in their country.  It set the tone for a wonderful trip. Whether you are visiting or if you live in Melbourne,  I recommend going to see the street art  with Melbourne Street Tours. Even If you pass these streets everyday, I guarantee you will see new things with them.

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Fly safe,

 

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JAZ

White Walls Say Nothing – Urban Art In Buenos Aires

White Walls  Say Nothing – Urban Art In Buenos Aires

“First day of Advanced Art, my teacher said “I bet none of you know an artist who is currently alive” I raised my hand and said “Banksy” he shook his head and said he wasn’t a real artist, that is  when I knew he wasn’t a real art teacher.” Ariel Dennis

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Streets are the world’s biggest gallery and in Buenos Aires,  graffimundo are the curators.  graffitimundo is a nonprofit organization that promotes street art in Buenos Aires. They have group tours every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at  3 :00 PM and private tours available. It is a great way to see the street art of Buenos Aires. Contact them at http://graffitimundo.com/.

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It is not exactly illegal to paint on the outside walls in Buenos Aires.  As long as the artists have the consent of the building owners,  it is fine.  There are many unoccupied spaces  and dividing walls between buildings. This gives  plenty of  locations for artists to bring a wall to life. IMG_0155 IMG_0157

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It is possible to come across artists painting during the day on the walls.  This is unheard of in most other cities.  Urban artists come from all over the world to paint here. They don’t have to run in the night and have time to create some beautiful thought-provoking pieces.

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I love graffiti art.  My dog is named after a graffiti artist.  It is the art of the community.  People have always written on walls-from cave paintings to love hate propaganda to murals of epic detail and size.  You have to be really committed to paint on a wall knowing it won’t be there forever. The paint will fade, cracks will form or someone can paint over it.   It’s a product of the moment. It is art for art’s sake and not for sale. IMG_0145

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I don’t even mind the writing graffiti. It is some form of communication. When I used to see the freshly painted writing on the trains in NY (I thought it looked great), I would think – another person who has a found a  way to express his anger without a gun. Of course, I’m not the woman in Buenos Aires who washes it off her walls every day or the people who clean up hate crimes of “art”.  There was one street  where a father kept writing I love you to his kids. I wonder what he did that he had to write it all over the walls. There are always stories.

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Johnny Robson was my tour guide and founder of graffitmundo. They started it because they thought the  urban art scene in Buenos Aires was amazing. There was no information about it. graffitimundo was formed to help  share what they had learned with anyone  who was interested. It was their way to support people  who were incredibly talented and under appreciated.

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Johnny is passionate and knowledgeable about the art, artists and their style of painting on the streets of BA.  Every artist and every picture tells a story and Johnny is only too happy to tell them all.  Halfway into the tour , I find myself recognizing artists and styles. The pieces are dynamic. Some express political and social messages and some  may just express emotion.  They are filled with energy, color and life.

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You get to see streets all over Buenos Aires as well.  On the tour we visited walls in Palermo, Villa Crespo, Chacarita and Colegiales.

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I loved the collaborative pieces. In the early graffiti years, Crews (art gangs) have always worked together to paint on the subways and streets. This gave way to Collaboratives  – sometimes political -that could do more than an individual artist. According to Johnny, the artists are happy to share the walls with other talented artists. Another reason  urban artists like to paint in BA.

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We stop off at Hollywood in Cambodia (great name for a gallery) an urban art gallery located on the first floor above Post Bar in Palermo with a rooftop terrace. Americans would probably call it the second floor.  It is run by a few art collectives.  I want to buy everything, but settle on a couple of pieces that I can carry. IMG_0189 IMG_0191

There is not an empty space of wall in the bar below either. IMG_0201 IMG_0199 IMG_0194

The title of this piece is also the title of a documentary that will be out soon. “White Walls Say Nothing” is a feature documentary, produced by White Wall Industries in association with graffitimundo. It is the story of Buenos Aires Urban Art Scene as told by the artists.  I can’t  wait to see it.

I highly recommend this tour in Buenos Aires  if you are interested in modern art or street culture.  For hipsters and scenesters it is the coolest thing to do (unless you are  actually painting on the walls)

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I’m  still amazed by the amount of street art and quality of some of the pieces I saw that day.  I  turned a corner and I saw a painting that I wanted to look at for a long time . I watched people walk by and not even look up.  It’s crazy that they didn’t  see  what they were missing.    Because art , like luck is where you find it.

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Viaje con cuidado,

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JAZ