Getting abstract, talking nonsense

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Calligraphy, type and color

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Calligraphy, type and color 2

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Calligraphy, type and color 3

 

I was trained as a graphic designer right during The Transition. I had to make countless exercises by hand, with traditional instruments, with ancient techniques, with state-of-the-art technology available at that time, which was not yet digital.

My frustration at not achieving perfection was equally state-of-the-art.

I had to design posters using transferable type. There was no transferable type available in the color or the size I wanted, so the final result never looked like the design I had in my mind. And somehow my (now gone) hoarder ways allowed those transfer sheets to survive almost intact for over twenty years. I decided I should use them for what I wanted to do now, now they would be a graphic element like any other. Far from trying to achieve a similar effect with a computer (which I try to use as little as possible) I transferred all the letters I could with all the anger of my accumulated frustration at not achieving a decently aligned text line in 1995.

And now I had inks and watercolors, and enamel plates, and a scanner. And eh, yes, a computer. But it does not dictate what I want to do. It only helps me to make images like the ones I have in my mind.

I like being able to mix it all up and make something more expressive and above all, pretty much like what I had in my mind. Something spontaneous and very colorful. I always wear black clothes, but I like color. I LOVE color. The more saturated and contrasting, the better. I think of all the colors that come in flowers, fruits, fish and birds. Color is a powerful force. Keep that in mind.

 

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Gestural calligraphy series

rooster

Rooster

frigatebird

Frigatebird

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Abstract calligraphy

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Abstract calligraphy

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Abstract calligraphy

AfricanCrane

Grey crowned crane

lettercrow

calligraphic crow

head

portrait of a girl

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heart of letters

tulips

pot of tulips

birdsinnest

baby birds in a nest

 

This series was made between 2013 and 2015 to experiment with calligraphic textures that occupy more or less defined areas. They also proved to be a relaxing therapy by not having to think too hard about what to write with a pen. It is related to automatic writing exercises where you shouldn’t think before writing and the hand is not controlled by the conscious mind.

Probably a good way of telling what you do not want to tell anyone, putting it on paper but also hiding it to make it unreadable. Or, you can simply write what people say around you. And then you give the shape and composition you want.


One of my professors in grad school liked the abstract ones especially
. I guess the gestural and abstract elements are what caught his attention. I like gestural calligraphy because the hand flows without having to express a coherent language, but must also retain control so the strokes are aesthetically pleasing. And it could mean anything.

For someone introverted like me, it can be a way of express yourself without having to say anything.

 

Unknown Papers

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I lost count of how many waves of paper I had to cut!

One day it just clicked. I had to make it with paper.  This is one of the most famous album covers from a great band. Personally my discover route was through Depeche Mode. Their image maker, Anton Corbijn directed a movie called Control, which I watched when it came out in my country in 2008. I love New Order, too, but I had been oblivious to Joy Division. I know… that’s kind of unforgivable, but better late than never, right? I’ve discovered so many legendary bands way later than I should have, but I did.

The story of the cover of Unknown Pleasures relates to astronomy, a favorite subject of mine when I was in high school. Radio waves from a pulsar. It’s also quite interesting how our graphic representations of abstract things can carry beauty as well. White on white paper was the choice because this way, light plays a big part in the appeal of this piece. Depending on the light, the waves look different every time you look at them.

And of course, like every paper sculpture project, it always challenges my patience. It may take a lot of time to complete one of these pieces because of the amount of attention to detail they need. I end up exhausted and never wanting to make the same piece again. But it’s always worth it, at least in the sense of accomplishment!

You can buy the original piece which was made in 2014 here (Etsy)

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The Raven

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This Corvid comes from a literary inspiration (Nevermore, of course). It started as a doodle, I ended up liking it so much that I kept working on it, adding the literary element (calligraphy) as a texture in the background. It could mean thought, it could mean blood, it could mean pain, it could mean a tortured soul, it could mean disorderly intelligence. The raven’s mission is to untangle the confusing thoughts and come up with an answer to the eternal question- what is this life all about?

Buy this smarty-pants bird print on Etsy: The Raven

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Series: The Rumi Birds

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The poems from Rumi are so simple and powerful, maybe because they are about the deepest emotions and true beauty. They go hand in hand with the imagery of birds because to me they represent the highest ideals and a connection to the whole Earth. These three short poems also resonate with me. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for many years and these words help, and drawing helps too.

The King Vulture is my favorite. With time I’ve come to realize no animal is ugly. Humans have associated human qualities with certain animals, which then carry a bad reputation and face real danger because of human misconceptions. Animals play a very important role in this world and they shouldn’t be associated with negative traits.

These drawings started as linear drawings with a calligraphy nib, but then color was necessary (watercolor and gouache).

But listen to me:
For one moment quit being sad
Hear blessings dropping their blossoms
around you.

Out beyond ideas of
wrong doing and right doing
there is a field:
I’ll meet you there


Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.

 

Moana the Albatross

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They say you can’t love what you don’t know. Ever since I discovered a webcam dedicated to albatrosses, I  was completely fascinated. I’ve loved birds since I was a little girl, and I also took care of three duck friends that I still miss dearly since they passed away. Ducks started my love for water birds. And now the albatrosses are the most magnificent creatures in my opinion! They are sleek, elegant, goofy, loving, affectionate. I watched the Royal Albatross cam this year, starring Moana (hatched on January 18th and fledged on September 6th). It was a delight to watch her grow and her parents taking care of their precious chick, in a very beautiful place, Taiaroa Head in Dunedin, New Zealand -which I now have to visit-. I can only wish her safe travels and a healthy and long life.

That’s why I made this paper sculpture, to honor the adorable Moana. It turned out to be a big piece (70 x 90 cm) and the amount of cuts and slices of paper required lots of care and patience. The process itself is also an exercise of consciousness and even discipline.

 

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Series: London Dreams

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The first time I had the privilege of traveling abroad was to the land of my dreams: London. I come from a developing country and the chances to do that are rather scarce for most people, so I consider myself very lucky. Then was when I did realize life is about experiences and not collecting things. Even if it’s only a short trip to a place you haven’t been that is only a couple of hours away, it’s something worth it.

I love to pay attention to the differences, the good and the bad, and the travel experience makes you value the place you are from. Not everything in my city is as horrible as I thought when it was all I know. In fact, Mexico City is a pretty rad place. It’s huge, but that also means it has plenty of cool places to satisfy every interest.

But back to London, it is majestic. So many of the things I grew up loving have a bit of British character. Most of the bands I love are from there. When I was a child, the stories of kings and queens, princes and knights, castles and woods were my favorite. And the language! I tried to study English very hard, with the hope I’d travel to the UK someday.

I took almost two thousand pictures. Everything was new and extraordinary. I developed a keen interest on the vintage stuff, now that it’s so in fashion. Monuments, buildings, street signs, old artifacts in the HMS Belfast, the indescribable feeling of gazing at the beauty of the Kew Gardens, every single thing on the Tube… nothing was uninteresting.

These digital manipulations made in 2012 aimed to recreate the dream-like experience of being in such a place, and remember.

 

Buy these prints on Etsy: Royal Albert Hall, Cromwell Road, Piccadilly Cupid, Albert Memorial, Memories of War (HMS Belfast Instrument), St Anne’s Court Sign

Series: Three Different Birds

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These feathered friends were drawn in 2013. I was intrigued by dictionary art, where people print all sorts of images on old dictionary pages. We of course have our share of old books and encyclopedias. I remember I used to read our 8-volumes encyclopedia for whatever I could find, especially chemistry and technical concepts. (Go figure. Or not really. My mom used to be the electricity workshop teacher at a junior high school)

I didn’t have the nerve to cut out pages, so I scanned the ones I liked the most and made a collage with my calligraphy and once again, photos I took. The Red Crested Cardinal features a coral tree, very common in central Mexico. I grew fond of them since I watched them on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Laysan Albatross live cam. It was a birb haven: besides the majestic ‘Trosses you can watch Hawaiian geese, egrets, mynahs, cardinals, roosters, and more.

The American Robin has a white birch tree on the background. I took that photo from a hotel room in Los Angeles. But the bird is one of my favorites, because I know their songs. I am just ecstatic when I listen to them. It’s so beautiful I could cry. I miss their songs so much during the fall and winter.

And the Blue-Footed Booby, as a respectable seabird, includes a set of buoys hung at some Santa Barbara pier. They are so cute with those blue webbed feet. Their courtship dance involves a lot of blue feet bragging. Just adorable. Ahoy!

With these pieces I thought human made artifacts will never be as perfect as nature made creatures.

 

Buy these prints on Etsy: Booby, Cardinal, Robin

Music and Words

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A paper portrait. Not bad, huh?

Sometimes you discover a band after their most glorious period and that happened to me with Depeche Mode. Today they announced their 14th studio album but it’s been more than 20 years since their keyboardist and many other titles, Mr. Alan Wilder left the band. Rabid fans still long for his presence… but that’s a very different story. The case is, to me the band wouldn’t be what it is if he hadn’t been there. I discovered his solo project and never looked back.

As a fan I couldn’t help but try to make a portrait. I’ve drawn many portraits of the people I admire but this was the very first one that was made with paper. I tried to be as accurate as possible. But there’s always missing, I think. That’s why I’m not really a portrait girl anymore. I’m proud of this one, though. The blue background was painted with acrylic, and I used some writings with my calligraphy to make the base of the head.

Mr. Wilder’s music has a lot of the spoken word element, hence the name of the work: Music and Words.

You deserve what you dream

Mereces lo que sueñas

Mereces lo que sueñas

This sentence comes from Gustavo Cerati’s song Beautiful. It’s a powerful sentence… I mean… what do you dream about? There’s also a song from Gustavo called Al fin sucede (It finally happens) that goes: you wanted it so much that it finally happens… and you were so afraid of it that it finally happens. And sometimes it’s hard to think about what you really want instead of dreading what you don’t want.

To make this piece I drew the lettering with a pencil and ink and was imposed on a digital manipulation of photos of flowers I’ve taken here and there. Kew Gardens in spring comes to mind: it is indeed like living a dream. When you live in a concrete jungle with almost zero parks, you learn to appreciate nature too.

 

Buy this print: Etsy