Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pick the man in the van.

Can you find the man in the van?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Interview with Conchita V. Amata

I recently sat down with Conchita Amata in the beautiful garden of her Todos Santos home/studio. Our conversation ranged from Greek mythology to the neighborhood dogs that killed her rooster. Here is a sample...

M.W. What would you call the source of inspiration for your work?

C.A. L’Anima. The psyche.

M.W. L’Anima?

C.A. The soul. Plus myself. Together. The mystery of the soul, of nature, of this vision, of womanhood in particular in connection with the divine feminine, like the goddess. Because a lot of women they don’t know by experience, they have never experienced a goddess. A lot of women. There are many books written but the experience…that’s the thing that stamps for life your knowledge.

M.W. You work primarily on canvas?

C.A. Canvas can receive my colors and visions and forms. An artist has to have some place to work. I also work on metal. I once did a series of paintings on metal. And the metal was like a mirror; it was very shiny and I used transparent oil color and you can see all the shine behind the transparent paint. I did about six or seven. I sold them all. They were beautiful.

M.W. On metal?

C.A. Sheets of aluminum. The colors of the paint were the image. I used the transparent paint so the shine of the metal, the silver, comes through the colors. It was really interesting. I would like to do more. I couldn’t find the metal. I don’t know where I can find it…And glass I did painting on glass. I did it in reverse, you know.

M.W. Reverse? How?

C.A. You think reverse. You paint behind it. Not a looking glass or mirror….just regular glass. For instance, I can not paint the flesh first and then the eye on top because it will not show in this glass. So I have to paint first what is most prominent…first the eye and then…do you understand?

M.W. Yeah, I do…but that seems very difficult. (Laughs)

C.A. It is. It was. It was a mess. I did a few pieces that were nice.

M.W. You have to start from…what normally would be the very last…touch…

C.A. Yes, the contrary…

M.W. You have to start there and work backwards to the background. So you end with the background?

C.A. Yes. It’s sometimes like a similar situation in life. (laughs)

M.W. So that must have been quite a challenge. Reversing the process?

C.A. And all the time you have to go and see…to check on the opposite side of the painting to make sure it is correct.

M.W. And it has to be reversed. Because you’re painting it here. So what’s on the left…if you’re writing…

C.A. It has to be on the other side. See?

M.W. You would have to write backwards. Flipped.

C.A. I have an etching I did. Kind of strange, beautiful angel. And I wrote a poem. This was really kind of a sensual angel with hair going all over the place and breasts and big wings that wrapped around her. It was a real nice drawing. And I wrote this poem behind her. When it came out of the press it was all reversed. Sometimes in life…let’s take an analogy…that is what the story, the technique is about. That is why my work is very important to me. Some of the work, not all of it, has in there the key to certain initiations into a certain way of living…in a symbolic way that reflects, like mythology, life itself. With me, the only way I can go there is to let it come from my complete genuine being so that I can see it. Although I can be very receptive to other experiences and learn from it but that is learning…information…not an experience...unless it becomes an experience. Experience first, and then all the rest, as far as living is concerned. Because I have to live in a world of mental analysis but you don’t experience this terrestrial, spiritual, sensual, especially soul-like life that is here and is sometimes dramatic, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it is funny. (laughs)

M.W. You also have many masks. Are they paper mache?

C.A. Some are paper mache and some are porcelain. Most are paper mache. It’s a kind of technique I learned in Florence from my master. He makes masks and sculptures. He has a beautiful little shop in Florence.

M.W. What’s his name?

C.A. Augustino Dessi. He comes from Sardena, Italy. It’s a fabulous place. If you want to go to Europe then you have to visit Sardena.

M.W. What’s your opinion of Todos Santos as an artistic community? How has it affected your work?

C.A. At first it affected me fantastically. It still does….especially the earth. The way nature is. The sea is absolutely gorgeous. There is still a touch of primeval…natural. Sometimes I forget I’m in Mexico. I hear people talking, oh yeah, I’m in Mexico. Then I get into the atmosphere. The only thing I’m a little disappointed. The Indios and the Mexican people seem to be two separate parties. The foreigners mix all around. I want to know more in depth about the Mexican people. That is what I’m aiming to do. I know two or three, but I want to see how they…what is their life, what do they think? I know they are very Catholic and a lot of other things, but I want to get into their realm to see how I feel about it. I like it here. This is where the artist comes on. I am weaving a great tapestry with some of my paintings where I see through images the resurgence of women. I wanted to know what my life is, what is my sense. Maybe you follow what it is to be a woman…especially the most important thing, to believe in the gods. Since I was always a little bit inclined to mystical wandering or magic wandering it was important to me to find a location with all the elements since I put all the elements in my paintings. They take a form because not all the elements are invisible. The element of water is true reality. That is water. Water. Think of the liquid things all over the world including the ocean and it is a vital element that belongs to the earth. And then there is fire…that is also movement unless you put the fire into bombs or something that doesn’t move. Can you think of anything that is the fire that doesn’t move. I know…it is when you take an iron and put it in the fire and take it out and it is white.

M.W. Tell me about your career.

C.A. I don’t even think about my career. The fact is this, I was an artist from the time I was small. I did a lot of exhibitions in the United States. Some of my work was so controversial that they made me take it down.

M.W. Tell me about that.

C.A. First, there were some nudes in a big gallery. But I don’t know why they took them down. Maybe the guy was a Puritan or maybe didn’t understand art. There was a big exhibition a year and a half ago in a museum of art and I was invited to participate because I belong to the San Diego Visual Artists Net. The director of the museum said these paintings must go. It was the painting with the tiger. He thought it was too controversial. Some of those people are so Puritan they don’t understand a damn thing. That was what I told them. They don’t understand. They are so blind. That made me real mad.

M.W. How do you finish your work? How do you stay focused? It’s so easy to find excuses.

C.A. Sometimes I take a break. A day or two. I concentrate. And then it will pull me back. The life of an artist is a lonely life in certain ways, unless you belong to the theater. It is work but there is joy when the work comes out exactly as you had imagined you would express it. Sometimes I don’t work. I take time off and do other things. I paint on clothes. Gardening also inspires me with my work. For instance I could do…in a surrealistic sense, the image has just come to me, a man in the desert with a naked body, sitting there. He has a head but his head looks just like that cactus because he has been in the desert so long that is all he can see.

M.W. Plans for the future?

C.A. I have a lot of things in mind for the future. What I call Magic Art…more than Sacred Art. I was thinking about using mirrors in my work. Also to do things that can be opened and closed. A triptych and the painting is inside and when you open it then the painting would be really magic in the sense that I would call the spirit to inhabit that image and then you invite it out.

Conchita V. Amata was trained at the Institute of Fine Arts in Venice, Italy. She teaches art as a spiritual way to meet the power of the Psyche that connects human creativity with the creative energies of nature. Conchita Amata consults with individuals and small groups, guiding her students to discover mythologies of the world as a creative potential in the individual life. She is available for commissions in Painting, Murals, Gold Leaf, Restoration Antiques and design. She also gives intuitive (Tarot) readings and can make delicious pesto sauce from scratch!

A variety of responses to my problems

Just so people realize I am not deaf to the assistance and advice that was given in the past month I´ll post some of the responses to my question ¨Please help me be a better person.¨ This is also an interesting look at the range of responses possible to one question....

Glad to hear there is a new woman in your life - you're right, that other girl was all wrong for you - glad you escaped her clutches! Witch that she was. As Shakespeare said, "Some days are diamonds, some days are stones" or was it something about suffering "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." Whatever, you are absolutely right about the ups and downs of emotions. One of my beliefs about emotions is that they are ALWAYS preceded by a thought! That thought must also be preceded by a sensory event of some sort, such as a song, the sight of something or someone, a sound, a word, but always something precedes the emotion - too many people confuse the emotion as the original event, not recognizing that it was the thought and the interpretation of the sensory event that created the emotion. Knowing this simple fact, one can at least have some sort of better understanding of the reason for the emotion. They may not be able to change the emotion, but at least they know where it comes from. The emotional state of "In loveness" is one of the most brutal and perilous of emotions because it is so powerful - it can truly take over your brain, and if by outrageous fortune, one's love for another is not returned and you find yourself stranded in a state of limerence, as I have heard it described, than one will certainly be likely to suffer. By the way, Google the term "love and limerence" and read about the book written by Dorothy Tennov and read the Amazon reviews from people who have read the book.
I guess you are just approaching how a pirate looks at forty. All of us think if we were in paradise, that it would be paradise. But, it is like that quote "happiness is a journey, not a destination." I say that to myself over and over again.

Don't be shy just let your feelings roll on by. Don't wear fear or no one will know your there. Just lift your head and let your feelings out instead. I forgot. In response to your emotional baggage question: you are one of my favorite people in the universe, and your emotional baggage is what makes you the way you are. I suspect that you are not easily read, and that is what if anything drives people away.

remember with girls, just be yourself. but don't be weird. girls can smell weird and desperate a mile away. being friendly and confident is the best way to go. and sometimes you have to make mistakes to learn how to get it right. but you have to get in the game and try. maybe life is giving you chances to keep practicing til you get it right. you apply what you learn from one try to the next try until you get your system dialed in. then it works for you. i remember when i went to my new college in the 80's (i was about 20) and i felt like such a fool. i wanted to meet a girl so badly, i was so lonely. and i would try to talk to girls, i was so desperate and lonely, i would make myself talk to girls, in the library at school, wherever, just force myself, and i would strike out over and over, i felt so stupid and rejected. i think they could sense my desperation maybe. and then, something happened, something changed. i am not sure how it changed. but suddenly one day i was so popular and had so many girlfriends that one would come to my place, have sex with me, and as she was pulling away, the next girl would be driving up. it was a new world. i somehow quit being desperate, and i became very confident. and it was because i practiced and learned from my mistakes, and also once i got one girl and wasn't desperate, then it seemed easy to start attracting so many girls because they could 'sense' that i was confident and cool. they like that. so, get one and then start going from there. i am like you. i fall in love with girls just like that too. it has nothing to do with the girls really or with reality, it is something in my brain or pysche, also from childhood. but it's just how i am and how it is. so i learn to work with it and accept it and try and live my life. and if this girl asked for your number then duh, all you have to do now is be cool. you are already 'in' so you don't have to get 'in' just stay in by not doing anything to get out. so be cool. be calm. be collected. and let the good times roll.remember, don't get too serious, take it realistically, you're just getting to know someone and vice versa, treat it that way. then she'll come to you. loose and open. PS: just be cool, and experiment with what works for you. i promise you with the right attitude you'll have no trouble meeting girls. although you should probably start exercising too if you really want to meet girls. you have to be in shape, remember girls are looking at the complete package, they want you to be in shape, and really they want you to make money and be a provider, but some of them will make some exceptions to that basic law of being female so you have to pump up whatever assets you do have in a female's eyes. you don't seem like you have a real job or a lot of money, so that's going to cut out a whole lot of women right there for good or bad, it's just how they work, so you have to play out all the assests you do have. get in shape, be yourself, don't be needy, be confident. and so on.

¨So A mexican woman with a kid broke your widdle heart? Is that the new chapter?¨
Editor´s Note¨: This one about the mexican woman with the kid mystifies me. What part of ¨Imaginary Family¨did this person not understand?

¨You were in love with being in love...¨

¨Out of fifty guys in a room I would fall in love with the one who would hurt me the most. Believe me, she was all wrong for you, Marco. I´m sorry. You completely misread her.¨

¨Well, I guess you´ll just have to go Mexican...¨

I'm sad for you that you're experiencing all this. The up side is that it's important self-work and you have probably been building up to it for years. Most people never even realize they have issues and they go through life fumbling it up. Men especially usually don't ever see it until they are old and gray and have already lived a full life. You are pretty young, considering, to have that insight. I am a huge fan of therapy and I think it's a good sign that you are self-aware enough to recognize when you could use it. I'm actually really proud of you for it. I was in therapy for a bit a few years back, and re-started it last winter to deal with unresolved childhood issues among other things. It's hard work and emotionally exhausting to peel yourself apart and expose yourself to all that stuff that's been buried, but in the end, it's like a huge weight lifted. It's tangible. And it opens you up suddenly to love and experiences that you've closed yourself off to subconsciously.

All these bits of advice and comments have at least helped me get out of my own mind for a brief while. Thanks!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dude Beer jam

This is how we do it in the desert!

take your pick...

If anyone has any advice about what to do with these two dogs then please tell me. They would fight like this for hours and end up biting and crying. I couldn´t help!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

can´t talk now I just met a girl...

The same day one girl leaves another one ends up playing piano IN MY favorite SPOT. What music does she like? Ray Charles!!
RAY CHARLES! Jelly Roll Blues!
She says, I´d really like to learn the piano...or the guitar...but I haven´t met a teacher.


I´m not in love yet...so that is a great sign. I said, ¨Let´s get together and listen to Ray Charles and figure out the groove.¨
She asked for my digits. Maybe I won´t leave after all.
It´s exciting.
What was I thinking? That other girl was ALL WRONG FOR ME. I gotta have my head examined.

Never count out the man in the van.

Friday, April 10, 2009

April Blues

The dogs...Chico and Chato

Conchita Amata ....Artist. Interview is in the can but must be transcribed.

The dirt of Mexico and my closest friend.

Monday, April 6, 2009

emotional times

Yes, it´s been an emotional month. But maybe this is the path to some kind of closure on my general attachment issues and codependency and loneliness. I am trying to live in the moment now so there aren´t any funny anecdotes to report. I´ve taken a housesitting gig in town and am sleeping in a bed for the first time since August. Feeding two dogs, Chico and Chato. And birds.
It is a new month and there is a two week vacation from teaching english to the kids. in fact it was because of that gig that I was asked to take care of the house.
First an foremost is my emotional health which has been living on the corner of breakdown and fragile street. At first I thought a woman was to blame but then, like the Buffett song, I decided I was to blame. There is a longing to return to the eternal mother, the anima, the lady resplendent, but it´s an elusive destination.
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.