Archives for category: Alice Pasquini

This past May, I made my now-annual mid-year trip to the US, I decided to take a short train trip under the Hudson to Jersey City, a place I called home from 1999-early 2001. This was then, a trip back to the past, along with a street art safari. And I wasn’t disappointed. A long walk on Newark Avenue yielded some fantastic results, as you’ll see. The murals are part of the Jersey City Mural Arts project, which is an initiative of the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs. It’s a good idea to check the website or do a bit of Google research to find out where some of the interesting pieces are located. I was happy to see a mural by one of my favorites, Italian artist Alice Pasquini.

Jersey City has gentrified quite a bit over the last 20 years, and there is a decent offering of restaurants and cafes in case you get hungry or thirsty on your way from the Newport PATH station to the Journal Square station. Especially interesting is the row of Indian restaurants just off the Journal Square station.

Sweet spot in doorway chaos

While I was searching for different doorways to make up my recent post on door projects, I stumbled upon this from Alice Pasquini. I see from her facebook page that she’s been doing a lot of mural projects in the NY/Jersey City area, which are my old pre-Barcelona stomping grounds. I can only hope some of them survive until I make my yearly Christmas pilgrimage back to the East Coast. And that the notoriously fickle Northeast winter is kind to me, at least for half a morning.

One of the teachers who had the most impact on me in my years as a university student was Ilja Wachs, who taught a course on 19th century fiction. He was a chain-smoker, constantly bumming cigarettes from me during our bi-weekly conferences in his office where we would talk about the personal project work I was doing in addition to the class assignments.
My project second term was the novel The Brothers Karamazov, which I dutifully read and prepared a well-detailed outline which would culminate in an analysis of the main character’s motivations as well as his relationship with the world around him, careful to include details from the novel, to show that I’d really read the book. After I’d presented my outline, Ilja stubbed his cigarette out on the sole of his shoe, took my 5 page pre-magnum opus and tore it into little pieces over his tiny, grey wastebasket, overflowing with small coffee cups and what I can only imagine were the outlines of my classmates.
“That’s bullshit,” he told me. “Go back and read it again. And re-read it. You’ll find something new every time. Then we can REALLY talk about this book.” So I did re-read it. Not twice, but 1 1/2 times. And some passages dozens of times. Which is pretty good considering the number of books I’d bought and never opened. And he was right. The re-read always revealed something new, as if Doestoevsky had secretly changed something around while the book sat on my desk between reads. The paper that I wrote is long lost, but still remains one of the most meaningful pieces of work I’ve ever done in my life. Without an outline and not a single citation of the text. Just my impressions as I strolled, and re-strolled the side streets and alleys carved out by Dostoyevsky.
In case you’re interested, here’s a video of Ilja in action.
I try to take the same approach when I walk through the streets looking for my shots. Barcelona is geographically a small city, so the possibilities of finding completely new images every trip through are finite. As I’ve stated in previous entries and in my “about” page, part of my objective in this blog is also to re-visit certain favourite places and watch them change with time, an opportunity we don’t have in a museum with their scolding security guards and multi-million-dollar works protected by glass and laser alarms.
Here are a few re-visit shots, in various states of flux and decay.

As always happens when I make one of my morning downtown treks, I went looking for a few specific shots I had seen on various blogs and newsfeeds, and ended up with about 15-20 blog-worthy shots. I had initially gone out looking for new work by the artist Alice Pasquini and of course they came in bits and pieces, spread out around different surfaces in the labyrinth of the old city centre. I’m proud to say that even after nine years in Barcelona, I still frequently get completely lost within these winding streets, the sun blocked by hanging laundry, my path often dotted with puddles of water from the early-morning high-pressure hose crews, unmistakeable in their knee-high rubber boots and thick green aprons. To be lost among all of this, with the soundtrack of the beeping of delivery vans jolting into reverse and neighbours holding conversations out their open windows is a pleasure, albeit a brief one as I eventually come to a rambla (of the Raval or THE Rambles) or an iconic street like carrer Hospital or Ronda Sant Antoni. Maybe the fact that Barcelona is a city where someone can lose themselves so easily even after living in it so long is one of the reasons I still choose to stay. And of course, all the spectacular shots that I snap in my moments of disorientation simply add to the fun.

Familiar artist in a faraway city, part 1

Yesterday was my first day in Amsterdam, and within three blocks of leaving my hotel I had already found some spectacular murals and stickers slapped onto almost every surface imaginable. A multi-picture entry dedicated to Amsterdam is in the works. This is one of (so far) two images that deserves an entry of its own, and it’s from one of my favourite artists, Alice Pasquini. The woman in this image seems to be signing Alice’s name. A self-portrait maybe?

Making (happy) faces...

I stumbled upon this piece from Alice Pasquini while on one of my first runs downtown since the early spring. I was able to get quite a few new shots, as well as some better quality pictures of some older images. So why the happy face? Well, since last Saturday, this blog has been experiencing an unusually high amount of traffic, and checking the statistics at the end of each day, this child’s face almost captures what I’ve been feeling. Internally, at least. Unfortunately, I haven’t been actually giving myself this finger-widened smile. It could be my late thirties, or it could be that stern warning I received from my mother and more than a few responsible adults during my childhood: that if I morph my face long enough, it will get stuck that way. Looking back, I think there are hundreds or worse expressions to have stuck on my face…

Blue eyes, revolution

This image from Alice Pasquini can be found in the Plaça de la Revolució near the center of Gràcia. Walking through the square, if you don’t know what to look for, you’re likely to miss it. To find the blue-eyed woman, you need to look at the doors of the elevator that goes to the underground parking garage below the plaza. I nearly missed it myself.

Alice Pasquini, close-up shots

Both of these images have made recent appearances here, but in much larger contexts. Their popularity on my instagram feed have also convinced me that the closer shots also deserve their own place here.

Losing the fear...

While stretching after my Friday morning run round Gràcia, just off the Plaça de la Virreina, I spotted this piece by Alice Pasquini, an artist who makes regular appearances on this blog. On an electrical switch box, hidden from the locals and tourists having a chilly morning coffee on the terrace of the corner café, this young woman crouches, looking ahead. She’s probably not aware of the message scrawled in Catalan just above her, but I reckon she probably wouldn’t disagree with it, either. The message is aimed at the increasingly corrupt and out-of-touch political class in Spain and Catalunya, which is the target of increasingly desperate and angry street protests. The message, translated, reads: “Watch out! We’re starting to lose our fear.” Let’s hope so.

Doorway smoking, part 2

Across town from the Raval, just on the outskirts of the Born, I found this relatively recent piece from Alice Pasquini. Another doorway, another solitary smoker, but this one decidedly calmer and a perhaps a bit closer to the end of whatever it is she is toking. This picture is a departure from my normal entries, as I usually just catch the individual image and little bit of what surrounds it. Now that I’ve got a better camera, it seems it would be a shame not to capture as much of the scene as possible–isn’t the one-eyed alien hovering over the graffiti garden just as important as young girl enjoying her smoke?