Mexico City is built in the crater of a dead volcano. It is enormous, sprawling, polluted, magical, violent, and enimagitic. It has a reputation for being dangerous. There is a even a seperated metro car for women only, which means that they must need it.
Mexico to me means the art of Posada, pre-hispanic culture, poverty, hardship, passion, family, conflict. I love the many faces of indigenous people, the DIY attitude and entreprenurial spirit. Popular art is Art Brut, no wonder the surrealists were fascinated by Mexico. It’s museums are some of the best in the world. I love to explore mysterious places to unlock their secrets.
When I lived in California I lived in the mexican neighborhood, the Mission. This may be the roots of why I love this country so much, I’ve been exposed to the people and the culture for quite a long time.
I love Mexico city! It is so colorful and full of tectural contrasts. Everywhere I look there’s inspiration. I go through the city at least twice a year to go visit my mother.
My trip to Helsinki was in March, 2017 but I’ve never gotten around to writing about it until now. Blogging has been something I haven’t had much time for anymore. My priorities have changed as well as my readership’s, but I keep this blog as an archive so it is important to me to get this written down. Better late than never, right?
Blackheart Bettie– Bettie came to Paris to perform in a burlesque festival in February 2016. She contacted me because she wanted to collaborate on a tattoo project. She sent me many reference images, and a clear description of what she wanted, plus the freedom to interpret her idea as I saw best. Just how I like to work!
Here’s what I did on her.
We share many of the same passions and are attracted to similar imagery; costumes of the Follies Bergère, boudoir imagery, lithography of the 19th century. During the tattoo process, curious to go deeper, I tried to learn more about her, seeing as how we had similar tastes. I learned that she was a painter too! I asked her to show me her work, I loved it and was also delighted to find out that she is appreciated by the contemporary art world in Finland. She has shown in museums. Her artist name is Petra Innanen.
Later she contacted me and said she wanted me to somehow participate in the, Helsinki Burlesque Festival, that she organizes with her husband Frank. It would be the 10 years anniversary, also the last year. Bettie feels that Burlesque has changed and has lost some of the magic that made her love it in the first place. Bettie explained to me that she and her husband had fell head over heals in love with New Burlesque during a trip to California where they saw The Velvet Hammer. Maybe were present together at the same show? Funny how small the world is.
Backstage- hanging out backstage in theaters is magic; time stands still, the energy is high and you get caught up in the vortex. It’s a world not many outsiders get to see. I was very lucky to be invited backstage as I wasn’t performing. I asked to take photos and it was a good way to start a conversation with some of the artists.
These are the three characters in my performance art/lecture in Spain at The Wild Weekend in Majorca, Spain.
Dr. Swartzvisie, an art critic and criminologist, Shady Cadillac, beatnik artist, and Étoile du Jour, guru and pyschic warrior. The three characters will explain the history of Lowbrow art
For those who were at the first Las Vegas Grind you may remember seeing a few Sunny Buick paintings and at Las Vegas Grind 2 the group art show she organised for us.
Sunny Buick was born in British Columbia, Canada and grew up all over Northern California, finally ending up in San Francisco in her teenage years. In 1986 while attending a high school especially for artists she started to hang out in the milieu of San Francisco tattooing, and began to tattoo professionally in 1992. She served a formal apprenticeship with Henry Goldfield for 6 years. All of her work is heavily influenced by tattoo imagery, a symbolic language in her art.In addition to tattooing Sunny is an accomplished painter and has exposed her work in galleries and museums in the US, Europe and Australia.
Sunny was involved in the West Coast Low Brow and Tiki art movements. She has appeared in several art books like Vicious, Delicious, Abitious and Beatsville, and many others. In San Francisco she participated in the Mexican community ritual of making Day of the Dead installations, in museums and galleries including the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
She also organized a gigantic art show and catalog called SciFi/Western, in San Francisco with over 100 artists from all over the world. She arrived in Paris in 2003, where she opened her own private tattoo shop in 2009. She belongs to a Parisian art collective called Gang of Witches.
Sunny will present a « Eye Candy Bulimia » a spoken word/performance piece about Tattoos/Lowbrow art. Cannibal Bonbon is the title of her artistic manifesto, therefore « Eye Candy Bulimia » will be an extension of how she sees herself within the art community in which she exherts her trade. Since her apprenticeship with Henry Goldfield where she learned tattooing and also the art of storytelling, Sunny has been developing her own skills weaving yarns. She has prepared a personal narrative that is both hypnotic and instructive, and that she hopes you will find amusing.
One of my favorite things that we did in San Francisco this last June was to go to the Wave Organ. If you like experimental music and weird sounds and beautiful views, this place is for you. I heard that the stonework came from recycling gravestones!?????
Another pleasant discovery was the pinball arcade Free Gold Watch 1767 Waller Street in the upper Haight district.
And Clement Street had it’s surprises as well. On an enormous store front that used to be an antique store, someone has their art studio. The place is for lease so maybe the art studion is temporary. I wish I knew more because I think it is very intriguing!
Mural near Clement Street. Jason Jagel 2016
I lived for a while in Mill Valley in the ’90’s. It was cool place to live. We were up on Mount Tamalpias. When I drove to college I could be in the city in 15 minutes. But we were in the middle of a forest! It was pretty cool, except for the having to maintain a vehicle. Anyway, it was nice to visit again even though everything has changed and that life style is no longer a possibility for anyone except the rich. Another place that makes me nostalgic and dreamy.
Cafe Trieste with Al, just magic, sweet memories. Thanks Al, thanks San Francsico!
Oakland is a very nice place to explore. Most of my friends from my San Francisco days now live in Oakland. There seem to be a lot of artists and creative outlets, plus a lot of art deco architecture. And that’s a plus in my book….
As a child and young adult I’ve made the trip to Reno, Navada or Lake Tahoe many times. We had family in Reno and my Uncle has been living in Lake Tahoe since I was an adult. Reno was also my familly’s Christmas destination, and each Christmas we would see snow. Every summer I would drive my ’73 Dodge Dart to witness “hot august nights” a parade of old cars. The thrift stores were really great in the early ’90’s.
Our friend Eddie drove us up the 431 to an observation point, to look at Washoe Lake and the beautiful desert. On the way we passed this crumbled building that left a huge impression on me. I just feel like it stands as a metaphor for neglect and decay of America.
This used to be a restaurant/night club and Eddie used to play his trumpet there in the ’50’s. I was thinking that maybe the roof needed repairs but money was tight and a heavy snow fall caved the roof in. But there were so many rusting antiques around the building, so I feel like the only action the owner of this building is capable of is of accumilation. No energy was lost on reparation or maintaining infrastruture. Procrastination may have been the problem. Or maybe noone came there anymore, interests change, now people prefer to go to glittery strip clubs, sports bars or stay at home in front of cable t.v.
There is a real problem with the derelection of our heritage. It is so tradgic and depressing to see the rot, right before one’s eyes. I wish I could have been there to whisper « make do and mend » to the owner of this building, to « be happy with what you have » instead of searching to have more. Maybe to sell a little to finance repairs. But I know it is so much easier to find a new object to add to the collection than to let go or repair. The high cost of maintaning, added to no value for history and you have this slovenly road side attraction.
V.C. Is in a pretty good state of preservation, nostalgia is high here for the gold rush days. My french friend wanted to live there. I’m sure he was attracted to the idea of isolation, solitude, and romaniticism of America’s past.
Someone is doing nice signpainting in V.C.
Neon in Reno
last visit two years ago I had a feeing we should doccument all the great motel neon in Reno, I was sadly with reason, about a dozen have been bulldozed down since then.
I found out that a developement company bought up a lot of old motels and then abandoned them. Others are attracting bad elements, like prostitutes and junkies. There were some citizens that called for restoring the motels and making them kitsch vintage rentals. I also found out that there is one man trying to save all the neon, Will Durnam. He wants to open a museum. Read about it here.
Nature, beauty, simplicity not much has changed. Thank God!
While exploring Santa Barbara, I stumbled upon my ideal art studio. So European but of course with a California/Spanish influence. Look at this beautiful window! And the patina on that wall! I wonder who’s art studio it was? Maybe a couple of artists, an art colony? Sadly it seems to be offices today, probably lawyers.
We found this record shop by chance. It has a very good selection with beautiful handcrafted record bins. The guy working there was really nice too. I found a Slim Whitman record.
Across the street there is a museum, I didn’t catch the name of the said museum, but the show up at the moment was about the Spanish culture in Santa Barbara and the festival “Old Spanish Days”.
Oh California! If anyone wonders why my art is so influences by Mexican and Chinese imagery, now you know. It’s my growing up in California.
We had lunch next to this beautiful cinema and found a great antique shop nearby. The store had all California/Spanish antiques and jewelery. A real treasure, very expensive, but like a museum in the quality of what was in the store. I was very impressed by this collection of portraits. Anders Aldrin.
I grew up near Santa Cruz, I spent many summer days at the Boardwalk. I don’t remember what was in this warehouse before, when I was a kid, but the museum there shows that it used to be a swimming pool in the 20’s – 40’s. Now it’s miniature golf with a pirate theme, with animatronics! And a super cool lighthouse!
The caveman and cavewoman are still on the aerial tramway. And it still gives me vertigo!
San Diego California, mid June 2018, the begining of a beautiful summer. Here I am unable to stop my planning and scheming for the future. I’m kinda excited about some spiritual growth I’ve made in the last few months. I hope to share more with you soon. This vacation helped me to put some order in my chaotic thoughts.
We visited the Barrio district of San Diego, possibly the most vibrant area in town. Great food, record stores, lowbrow art galleries, art studios, murals. My kind of place!
I’ll be in Stuttgart guest tattooing August 6th through the 12th. At my friend Melli’s new address for her hair salon, Dos ‘n’ Dyes. There is a big party on the 11th. Art, music, food, drink, and tattoos.
Late last year I was invited to do character design for a stop motion co-production Japanese/Mexican annimation film, Lucharobomatic. In conjunction with a promotional teaser I painted the two main characters at the MUJAM museum, Trueno Tigre and Furioso Rosa. The idea of the film is that robots are anonimous, only a dozen or so different series and thousands of copies of each model. They are forced start wearing masks to differentiate, so they can wrestle mexican style. The bad guys are the producers of programmed disfunction the ones who force the robots to fight until death. They battle until total destruction of their oponent. They start to develope an identity under the masks and form a resistance to enslavement and programed obsolescence. Matches are held in an old abandoned mambo club, outside an enormous metal face with giant hands holding morracas. From Tokyo to Mexico city robot masked wrestlers are preparing for the throw down. And I am the Roseheaded pink cotton candy haired artist, asked to pose for photos with Mexican children. The story plot is pretty conventional but there are some interesting Twists and Double twists.
As I’ve been traveling so much this year, I haven’t had the chance to write a little about all my trips. In Febuary I was in Stuttgart for 10 days. It was when I changed my hair to pink! And I did some cool tattoos too.