Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ladies take to the Hills

“We are now in the mountains
and they are in us,
kindling enthusiasm,
filling every pore and cell of us.”               
        - John Muir

“Mountains are not Stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve,
they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.”             
       - Anatoli Boukreev

Under the shadow of the high sierras at home in the mountains. Here are a few photos from our recent trip into the playground that is Alabama Hills at the feet of some of the tallest mountains in the 48. Mount Williamson and Whitney loomed over our campground like sleeping buffalo. We actually had wild buffalo outside of our camp in Africa which was not quite as pleasant or comforting. I couldn't sleep, imagining all night a stampede charging my tent. Fortunately this weekend, we had Darwin the terrier to take care of any hostile threats.

Girl climbing weekend was a brilliant idea. I have a feeling this will be the first of many. We were preceded by a fresh snow in the hills that stayed only long enough to dust the mountains. By the time we got there, things were warming up. Even though it was chilly, we got away with pretty ideal camping weather. My camp mates might argue with me, but forties are not bad when camping in spring. I've stayed in this area and had frozen water by morning, so we got off easy this time.

Being the legitimate campers that we are, we performed the staples of outdoor living: fire, smores and esoteric stories of ghost, aliens, and coincidences. Stories must be told. And mountains must be climbed.

This is the Shark's Fin. It looks tiny from the road, but it is actually somewhere between 40 and 50 feet.. and look at the backdrop.
My first solo rappel, look how clean my rope gathering is, oooh lalala
The foot placement is pretty minimal in places, good on these sticky shoes matey
Second climbing locale, still easy one pitch but from the top the view was outstanding. Then we got burnt, or at least I did.
one half of the view, looking east
Darwin; Ruthie took good care of him in the back seat. He was a pretty fierce guard dog, but has some emotional issues; I'll leave it at that. Leang's first time camping; and she's still alive.
Camp breakfast is so good. Except when it's beer
Camp dinner is so good, note signature stuffed peppers
Darwin and his tongue. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

This African book

In the works! I am fine tuning my African sketchbook to get it ready for printing! I'm really happy to be kind of in view of the finish line. I've always dreamed of having a book... of my own... on my shelf.

The book will be a mix of things: an art book first and foremost with drawings, collage, photographs and funny anecdotes, a travel book with stories of our climb on Kilimanjaro, a memento for people who have climbed Kilimanjaro but arent as obsessive about documenting as me, maybe a paper weight, and perhaps a resource for those who might want to climb, or learn about the climate, plants or routes on the mountain, the Serengeti, a little Swahili or some interesting facts about Tanzania.

There are a good deal of books about Kilimanjaro, but nothing that has an artistic edge or combines all of these elements, so I'm hoping it will have a market.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Check out my interview on btr

More Art Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Suzanne Toro on BlogTalkRadio

I sat down with Suzanne Toro (who's so incredibly wonderful) on BTR a few weeks back. You can check out the interview here where I talk about traveling, art on the run, the pains of art school (ha!) and some of the costumes, drawings and maps that I've been working on.

Monday, April 21, 2014

nugget of pessimistic optimism

Kurt Vonnegut's MO, somehow he manages to be simultaneously jaded and giddy at the same time. He's just light-heartedly chuckling about the hopelessness of the human race. You know, that's all..

I read Cat's Cradle recently in which he makes up a whole religion that doubles back on itself. The first tenant being: “All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies." I walked away with his point being that the lies of religion make people happier than the truth derived from science. 

I wouldn't say I agree, but I still think it is a sound argument. I see it like trying a case without a weapon, DNA, or witnesses. You put together the pieces as best you can, and it seems to make sense with what you have in front of you. But you are working with a short deck. There's this great book with thought-provoking ideas and reasonable assumptions based on a narrow scope of humanity, its actions and effects. Given what society works with, these ideas about religion and science sadly seem to make sense and I can appreciate the casework. But I do think the real picture is a much bigger mystery, outside of the scope of the duality of these two constantly warring sides - religion and science. The unseen knots that bind us, quantum physics, galaxies beyond ours, wave particle paradox and observer effect, the brain, memory, love. None of it can be explained away in terms of science or conventional religion for that matter. Though there may be answers in both, and answers enough for the individual, which is all that matters sometimes, especially if you think that we are only working with one lifetime. Those answers might be enough. For me though, there is comfort in all the questions. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

words from the past live on

Every time I read it, I feel it in my gut.

He wrote this poem back in the seventies, when gang life was prevalent, drugs abundant and communities falling apart. I always thought that the most valuable thing Victor ever taught me was related to acupuncture and energetics. But there are stories he'd tell sitting around dinner or in his living room about the Civil Rights Movement that were so captivating and inspiring, I feel as if I was there.

Really miss those times.

And I miss the truth in these ideals.

As life moves on, the battle to live freely becomes increasingly more difficult. Responsibility, expectation and ambition wear away that lightness of being. You need people around you who see the world this way, who push you on when everything around you is defying your convictions...and that's yet another reason why Victor being gone is a huge terrible hole.

Gonna go eat some sushi tonight with his old buddies to soften the edges.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

music video debut

The music video debuted today! Happy watching!
Congrats to my great friend Elizaveta for her new ep release "Hero" check it out on itunes.

Film Credits include:
Song: "Sorry" by Elizaveta
Dancers: Malece Miller and Nico Greetham from SYTYCD
Director: Nicolas Randall
Cinematography: Isaac Bauman
Choreography: Ryan Heffington
Style/Props: i102fly
Makeup: Kali Kennedy
Video Editing: Stephane Pereira

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sua Suday Chnam Tmey

Happy Cambodian New Year. I love this time of year; I get to vicariously celebrate Cambodia's biggest holiday, relive some of my favorite memories from parties in Phnom Penh, and rope my friends into going to LBC with me eat to unhealthy amounts of Cambodian food.

We usually visit Sophy's. The beef jerky is so good, though I should mention I never had anything like it in Cambodia. They do make lemongrass soup (Somlaw Machu Kreung) which has that "good old taste." I met a girl on the plane to Cambodia. She invited me to take a detour after I got off the plane to come eat at her family's house. I did of course and have that phrase stuck in my head, because that's what she said when her mom brought out the soup. "Ahh that good old taste." 

(pic I took from Cambodian New Years festival in Long Beach a few years ago)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sebastião Salgado and The Valley

A while back I caught Sebastião Salgado's show at Bergamot Station. I looked up where this place is (although it's probably doctored) Brooks Range, Arctic Alaska. Somebody send me on an expedition to the Arctic. I read a fantastic book by a Russian explorer not too long ago and have been dreaming of these landscapes ever since. Uncharted territory.

(The song is The Valleys by a now disbanded British group, Electrelane. The poem performed by an a cappella group is by Siegfried Sassoon circa 1918.)

Monday, April 7, 2014


chaz by swiss on Grooveshark

A playlist in honor of my older brother, who is one of those people who can play an album on loop for 24 hours/24 days straight without getting tired of it. We all shared the stereo when we were young, so I have (in hindsight) fond memories of being badgered with the above tunes for months on end. Now when I listen to them I laugh.

Prints!! Available on Society 6

Moleskin: The alternative to therapy. I'm a big advocate for journals when therapy is too cumbersome or expensive! For the overly active mind it's a great place to dump the waste product of life and come out with a product that not too shabby on the other end.

I'm only half kidding. Journals, art books, sketchbooks whatever you want to call them are my favorite art form, mainly because they are typically unscripted, uncensored and unrefined, so close to looking into the human mind.. I've been tossing ideas into sketchbooks since the beginning when I thought everything that was binded became a library book. Childhood misconceptions are pretty funny, no?

I scanned in a bunch of these pieces for a show last year, but they were only available for purchase locally. Now I'm happy to announce that you can pick up the high quality prints online at Society6. There's a good collection of collage, on the spot drawings, studies, mixed media concepts and whatnot.

I was particularly excited to see the other formats that society6 prints offers. I ordered a couple of these for myself to see how they come out.

Dig both of these clocks. They come in several colors, but I like the black with that mixed emotions face and the wood with the Cambodian text.
That pillow is too cool! They are lyrics to a Cambodian pop song, "where you from, where you going?"
Stationary cards. These two in particularly I like.

Wish I had a iphone just to utilize these things. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Music - Angel Olsen

This song would've been good for this film. She even reminds me of Sarah Polley a little bit. It's a good rainy day song. Happy weekend. Dont get too down with this song!

Photo by Sabrina Rush

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Climbing lately

Realized I haven't written about rock climbing lately, you must be biting your nails!  Let me regale you with some shots of our ventures around Southern California where the granite and sandstone run deep.

James and his lady friiiiiends at Echo. Learned to multi-pitch on this day! We got up around 150 feet over the beautiful Echo Valley.

Looks good from up here!

Done a couple days of bouldering at the legendary Stoney Point* just north of Los Angeles city. I'm still not very good at bouldering (Bouldering: climbing without a rope "short" routes, usually below 15 feet, usually big round rocks). I'm not muscular enough and falling is not an option once you get halfway through your route, ie when it gets hard. It is, however, exceptional for your balance and technique. I've free climbed things and then gone back to the high walls and been shocked at how much better my form was.

Hiking to Echo is a slug with the ropes and gear. Mostly we all complain the whole way and then eat everything we have the minute we get to the base of the cliff.

Are we there yet?>

Made it. Oh, NOW we climb? pshhhh

Ash trying to retrieve gear on a tough route. 

Black Face wall. We got the place locked down like a compound

Taking a break in a tree!
And Leang always looking like an REI or Prana ad. Seriously?! They should sponsor her.

Dylan and Nak hooking up some anchors at Stoney. He saw a huge tarantula, but I was too slow to get a shot.

I got a good perch to take some action shots.

haha this wasnt that bad, I'm making it look like the Alps.

Some not-to-be missed climbing links:

A nice little doc about Stoney
Climbing without a rope, in that dept. no one can touch Honnold