Final Final

With the series 'Uncanny', a work that looks at both Freud and Mike Kelley's theories of the uncanny and features (for the first time) mostly objects that I have constructed, I have completed my Post-Baccalaureate degree at SFAI. I'm totally freaked/excited about what life is going to bring now that I'm finished, but I know for sure that I will continue to make work as much as I possibly can.

Here's me, my work and two chairs on the last day of my program:


Calculating Color

I stopped making work for a few weeks, which is super dangerous in grad school. I felt that I had done everything that I could do with my white background/studio set up. I was frustrated and started avoiding the studio at all costs...BUT ALAS! Lights, gels, plastic and glass introduced so much possibility with color and composition. The "Transparencies" series is the first set of work to come out of this breakthrough. 

BIG CITY LIVING

Art school is a lot harder than one would think. But the good news is that I’ve been making a lot of new, challenging work (see the STILLS tab). Also, my skin is slowly getting thicker and for the first time I actually look forward to hearing  criticism.

  At night I’ve been super lucky to get some concert gigs with the event site Do The Bay (check it out, it’s awesome), here’s one of my favorite shots of CHVRCHES from Treasure Island Music Fest. Also, this was the first time I got to be in the photo pit which was one of the best moments of my photo career thus far...mostly because I think Jose Gonzalez is my soul mate and he was like FIVE FEET AWAY. s;kldfjasldkfja;sldfjk!!!!!!!!!!!

 

At night I’ve been super lucky to get some concert gigs with the event site Do The Bay (check it out, it’s awesome), here’s one of my favorite shots of CHVRCHES from Treasure Island Music Fest. Also, this was the first time I got to be in the photo pit which was one of the best moments of my photo career thus far...mostly because I think Jose Gonzalez is my soul mate and he was like FIVE FEET AWAY. s;kldfjasldkfja;sldfjk!!!!!!!!!!!

last stop.

We arrived in Siem Reap exhausted, but powered through to go check out the scene. The city has been built up around Angkor Wot so, naturally, it's touristy. But if you get past that, the food is delicious, the live music is great and the markets are dangerous. Toni and I spent the first day at the Angkor complex, starting from sunrise and collapsing around 1pm. It was stunning - what else can I say. 

The next few days we spent relaxing - getting ready to head back to Chiang Mai for work and Song Kran, the Thai New Year celebration/city-wide water fight. All-in-all, the trip was beyond anything I could have ever anticipated/expected/imagined. Like, wow. 

enter cambodia

The bus to Phenom Pehn was long, but there was so so much to see/so many exotic roadside fruits to eat. Also at one point I fell asleep and woke up while our bus was being ferried across the river?! 

Phenom Pehn itself was intense at first - but once we settled in, it was incredible. We seemed to meet the nicest people the whole time - and did a LOT of dancing. The visit to the Killing Fields and S21 (Khmer Rouge's prison) was obviously harrowing...and just hard to swallow.


 

 

But that same night we went to a show at an abandoned French colonial mansion that featured, Kong Nay, the 'Cambodian Ray Charles'.  Years after avoiding incarceration in the 1970s, he's still got it. I don't know that much about it, but there's a sort of cultural renaissance happening in the capitol in which people are picking up where they left off before the coup - so there's a lot of 1960s inspired fashion, rock, film, etc. It was really awesome to witness/take part in, and was one of the reasons that the dancing was so great. We loved it. 

24 hour bus/saigon/12 hour bus

DISCLAIMER: all the following are iPhone photos. 

After Hoi An we got on our second overnight bus to Ho Chi Mihn city. These buses are crazy. They stop at these places in the middle of the night that made us feel like we'd entered the twilight zone. This bus trip was particularly hard because we passed through some incredible places that we would have definitely stopped in if we had had more time. I was also squeezed into the five-person back row with a Russian family who did not like sharing space with me. But all this was remedied by the fact that the only English language book in the Hoi An hostel was Gallant Match, a romance novel set during the Mexican American War that provided hours of entertainment. 


Saigon was immediately incredible. We sat on the roof of our hostel, drank beer, and watched the city at night. We met some nice people, ate some cheap sushi and passed out early. The next day we hit the town hard - from the Reunification Palace to the War Remnants Museum. It was really interesting being in Saigon and getting a feel for the attitude toward Americans/the ways in which the war has affected the South. We decided that now is a great time to be in Vietnam because there are still people to talk to about their experience but at the same time the country is doing so well economically and socially that there is little animosity toward American visitors. 


We watched the sunset from a swanky rooftop bar on the second night. It was incredible and I'm bummed I didn't have my camera with me...but here are some iphone shots: 


 

We then had the most incredible pizza ever - its a restaurant owned by two Japanese men who have spent their lives perfecting the art of mozarella. Toni used to live in Italy, I've eaten pizza everywhere - THIS WAS UNREAL. Seriously the best ever. Please tell me if you ever have plans to go to Saigon so I can force this place on you. 

 

We then went dancing to shake off our post-pizza-blues and ended up joining a public Jazzersize class at 6am. Nice. 

 

The next day we toured the Cu Chi Tunnels (where the VietKong lived and conducted guerrilla warfare). It was eerie... and not only because we watched a video venerating the "number one American hunters". Here are pictures of us looking like Gollum: 

 


I loved Saigon more than I can say. We had about 100 people tell us that we were going to get brutally assaulted by motorbike muggers with knives who slash your purses off of your shoulders, so I never took my camera out with me. In retrospect, I would have probably been fine. Guess I'm going to have to go back to get some real non-iphone shots of the city.


Well while we were disappointed to leave Saigon, we were also STOKED to get to Cambodia. Phenom Pehn here we come. 


hue...

Toni and I were told about a million times by other travellers that we didn't have enough time/we were going to the wrong places/HOW could we skip this waterfall and those caves?! By the time we got to Hue - a 3 hour stop during the first of 3 hellish 24-hour bus rides - we were stressed out about our plans and "doing it wrong". At the same time, we were just getting off an overnight bus and couldn't face using those 3 hours to sightsee. Indecision ensued. So we wandered a bit (and I got some shots of the city) before collapsing in a cafe where a family main-lined us coffee and put a fan in front of us. And that was Hue. 

ha long bay say haaay

 Ha Long Bay is one of the most beautiful destination spots in South East Asia - of course when we went, it was overcast and muggy...but perfect for pretending you're in Pirates of the Caribbean. We took a 2 day cruise around the bay and stopped off for kayaking and cave touring before spending some quality time with the boat crew and their grandmother's rice whiskey. 

One of the highlights of Ha Long was this floating village - it's one the biggest in Vietnam and is almost completely self-sustaining. The people were friendly, even though I'm sure it's not ideal to have people like us cruising through and disrupting their day-to-day life. 

luang prabang

We spent the first day on the boat making friends, hanging off the back porch and soaking up the scenery. Aaaand drinking. We then disembarked in another tourist-hosting town like Chiang Khong and continued to keep the good vibes rolling until the early hours. By the time we got on the boat the next day, we had both 20 new friends and piercing headaches. Slow-boat day 2 was more relaxed/wholesome and by the time we got to Luang Prabang we were just super ready to be in Laos. We tagged along with Hedda&Michelle, our Swedish counterparts, and got a hostel sorted out. Almost immediately we were in love with the place. While it's obviously in Laos, Luang Prabang is a bit of a carve-out as a World Heritage Site/former French colony so we can't say much about the country as a whole. But we loved this small part of it... a lot. We ate at incredible $1 street buffets, went to artisan markets, danced at a Laos club, bowled (like...bowling) at 2am, boated to Buddhists caves, had a real Swedish fika, swam in waterfalls and RODE ELEPHANTS. 100% Success. 

#sloboaterz

After a wild 'last night' in Chiang Mai, Toni and I got into a minivan for the border. Armed with one bag each and absolutely no idea what we were doing, we braved the 3 hours to the first rest-stop, which happened to be the White Temple in Chiang Rai. I wish wish wish I had been allowed to take pictures inside because the murals on the inside included not only traditional Buddhist figures, but also The Terminator, Harry Potter, Aliens, Predators, etc. and it was so confusing and incredible all at once. 

We were allotted no more than 15 minutes to see the temple and the surrounding grounds (this expediency is part of a wider phenomenon that we later dubbed 'ThaiTourguideTime', or TTT) before getting back on the road. We stopped again in a bordertown called Chiang Khong where we would spend the night before heading to the Laos immigration office in the morning. Because it's been built up from hosting border-crossers like us, Chiang Khong was sort of a strange place to visit. But the residents really make the most of its riverside location and put all the parks/bars/sketchy teenage hangouts right by the water - so it seems like a great place to live. 

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After sleeping in probably the worst hotel room in Thailand, we got into a van, got through the border and were thrown onto a boat for the next 2 days. The boat itself was like a giant gondola with a roof that had been outfitted with old cloth bus seats and a homemade 2-stroke engine. Almost immediately we met the guys who brought mini kegs and a cooler on the boat and posted up in their vicinity. Once loaded up, we set off into the Mekong. It was BEAUTIFUL. Only pictures can express: 

muaythai

So here begins my string of 'catch up posts' from the last month. This MuayThai fight was the last thing I shot in Chiang Mai before leaving on a whirlwind tour of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia with my faithful ginger travel / life partner, Toni. <3

I'm embarrassed to say this was my first MauyThai experience - it's kind of an institution in this city. But I met a local fighter a while back (Kom) and he took me a dark, back-room type stadium 20 minutes outside Chiang Mai. It was like an underworld of fighters, coaches, young hopefuls and career gambler-smokers. The actual fight was a lot different than I had expected, but my only background comes from 'Million Dollar Baby' so... 

Each fight started with a prayer before the opponents performed their own rituals. The fighting itself was acrobatic and aggressive but also kind of polite? If one took a rough hit, his competitor would help him up and ask if he was OK. Maybe this is normal, or all the guys are friends on the side...even still, it was nice! 

Here's what I got: 

malemodelz

results of a failed DAA merchandise shoot. well...failed is one way of looking at it. 

invasion

let march 9th go down in history as the day all the world's insects hatched in chiang mai. 

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23.5

today is my half birthday and sophie's 3/4ths birthday which is, obviously, cause for celebration. here are some photos from the strangest ice cream place i've ever been to - apparently owned by a youtube celebrity who posts 'how-to' videos...?? 

motorcycle cult

Yesterday we hosted an opening at the gallery for this month's exhibition - "Motorcycle Cult". This time I got to be involved in every stage of the setup - from choosing photos from the artists' series to cutting board, matting and hanging. It was rewarding to see it all come together. And its official: Thai Harley Davidson riders are badasses. 

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