¡Oye! A LAtina perspective on food, fashion, familia and art.


Leave a comment

Hiromi Paper

by Laura E. Alvarez

20140721-234925-85765632.jpg

Where am I? Hogwarts? Japan? No, I have entered yet another portal in Santa Monica. A little jem of a place bursting, yes, bursting with papers. My three favorite kinds of shops to get lost in are the following:

1) Book stores.

2) Art supply stores.

3) Stationary shops.

What do these three stores all have in common?

Paper.

Easy.

20140721-234929-85769585.jpg

Hiromi Paper has been going since 1988 on the west side of Los Angeles. Their reach is international. You can find them at paper conferences all over the world. You can find the papers they have collected in art books, prints, installations… and more – all over the world. They actually know the people who make these papers. Washi. The “wa” means Japanese. The “shi” means paper. Hiromi Paper. You can order their products online. Yes! I follow their facebook page. They also have a lovely blog here. It’s a whole world of Washi.

20140721-234926-85766374.jpg

This represents my Martha Stewart obsession for organization that accompanied my first pregnancy. Good times. I’m not like that anymore, but this little shelf of stationary cubbies does make my heart sing a little.

20140721-234931-85771056.jpg

It’s a slice of cedar tree. That you can write on. I’m not making this up.20140721-234924-85764866.jpg

A sheet of blood oranges to make a grocery list on. See what I mean? It’s another world.20140721-234924-85764100.jpg

Pop, pop, pop. There’s a little secret notebook. And pencil.20140721-234923-85763351.jpg

Okay, now. Here’s the story. My boy decided he would make a book. So he chose the above paper in the middle for the cover. Handmade in Nepal. You can’t go wrong. He loved this photo so much that it is his home screen on his ipad mini.20140721-234930-85770320.jpg

Next, he chose the above paper for the pages of his book. It’s pretty thick, kinda green, Chu Tsharsho, naturally dyed from Bhutan.              20140721-234927-85767955.jpg

Joanna and Yuki are part of the Hiromi Paper team. They are super nice, knowledgeable and helpful. They told my boy he could try drawing on a sample of the Chu Tsharsho, naturally dyed from Bhutan. 20140721-234927-85767198.jpg

The drawing on the sample worked out.20140721-234928-85768798.jpg

It’s all wrapped up so pretty. Stay tuned for Hiromi Paper, Part Two where you see how the book gets made!

Also, check out photos here from when I actually got to teach a printmaking workshop at Hiromi Paper. That was SO fun.

 


Leave a comment

rogue parenting – playing hookie

Deviating, renegade, playfully mischievious?  Yes.   Dishonest, to destroy, knavish?  Of course not.  To cheat or no longer belong?  Well, here it gets a little fuzzy.

Rogue.  It’s exciting.  It’s adventurous.  It’s “a handsome rogue.” It’s “She’s gone rogue!”  Oh my goodness, what is she going to do next!  It questions the norm in its actions.  Typical artists… to love this word.  However, rogue is for everyone.  It’s unplugging from the matrix.  It’s connecting.  Are we stretching the definition a bit?

This little cutie has gone rogue.  We know.  You didn’t think that this is what rogue looked like.  Stretch your mind a bit.  It’s a wonderful rainy school day.  These children have made a lovely morning tea party… on a school day.  Yikes!  Rogue!  I warned you.

For the moms – green tea.  For the kids – chocolate chai (decaf).  For all – black berries and rasperries on top of coconut cream.

Requisite contemplative rainy day photo.  Just couldn’t resist.

Our magical destination for going rogue today?  Disneyland?  Six Flags?  Build a Bear?  No.  Atwater!!

This or Die.  A place where you can see art, feel hip AND get your hair cut.

And like, that really cool tattoo artist kind of art.  All fantasy and delicate.

Even the rain boots are celebrating this rogue outing with their purple and gold colors.

No, the salon is not enough.  While the haircuts commence, we need to go buy coffee… and tea… and hot chocolates so we can have a haircut party.

The excitement of the hairbrush!  So many beautiful colors on one head of hair.

Here’s something we do when going rogue.  Going on adventure?  Throw a sketchbook at it.  Oh, and don’t forget the drawing tools like we did.  There is no perfect in going rogue.  No map.  Sometimes you have to wing it and borrow a number two from someone.  And we just want to say the grown ups were drawing, too.  Just have to say.

Indulging in the soft light on a fresh cut.

Indulging in the soft light on a butterfly earring.

Glorious.

Atwater.  And the sun came out.

Bon Vivant Market and Cafe.  A site of riches. It’s like we are on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride!

See, it is a ride.  Hiding monsters.

Not doing that right now, but it’s really pretty.

Hey, maybe this is someone else’s rogue parenting moment.

by Laura E. Alvarez


Leave a comment

rogue parenting – taking kids & teens to an art museum

by Laura E. Alvarez

Next Gen.  It’s not just about the next generation of art lovers, it’s about the next generation of parents.  Thus, rogue parenting.  It’s about:  Guess What?  You get to keep having fun.  Yes, even after having kids.  More fun, actually.  You actually like some of the same music and play it really loud in the car.  That kind of says it all. No “Made for Kids Music” here.  There is a meeting ground.  You let there be a meeting ground.  And sometimes it’s a David Hockney installation that your teenager says he can sit and look at all day or a picnic on the hill by the museum where hopefully, your 12 year old rolls down the hill before ingesting their homemade tacos while you drink coffee from a thermos… but sometimes it’s after.  Fine.

First of all, some kids like to dress for their cultural outings.  Encourage this. It’s just more fun. We are the art.  Of course, not all children agree with this. Fine.  More on that later.*  Here, we have Dr. Who meets Richard Serra.  The colors love each other.

Band, by Richard Serra, collection of Los Angeles Museum of Art, 2006

Eight Bit sunglasses, Burnside shorts, American Apparel shirtSanuk shoes.

Tote full of snacks, aforementioned coffee, sketchbook, picnic blanket.

Youngsters are also handy for taking your outfit photos.  You can do silly poses in front of them in public places.  They often take direction really well  because they are not particularly excited to take over the whole photo shoot.  See, their whole life is a creative outlet.  That’s what being a kid is about, right?  But do not, I repeat do not have a child for the exclusive reason of taking your outfit photos. You’ve got to think these things through!

Kirkland sweater (yes, Costco), H & M pants from Crossroads Trading Co., boots unknown (Holly’s sister’s friend’s closet). Art is Metropolis II by Chris Burden, Los Angeles Museum of Art.

Necklace is concrete rings on suede cords from Tortoise, bag is soda can tabs by Escama Studio. Art is florescent tubes by Robert Irwin.

This looks posed, but it is not.  This is also not a paid advertisement for artist, Robert Irwin since here I am sitting in another Robert Irwin… sculpture (or garden?) at another art museum.  Okay, you don’t have to sketch with your kid (or your friend’s kid) but, there’s a lot of things that are worth trying once in this life or in any life for that matter.

More micro fashion.  Indian textiles with cowboy boots.  I might not have thought of that.

Some teens might draw at art museums.  Its active and exciting.  Also, invite another teen on the trip.  Teens are social creatures.  Remember this time in your life?  An outing with your parents can go from boring to fun if there is another person your age who you can make fun of stuff with.  Also, most important with teens… food. Bookend the trip with food.  Start with food and end with food.  I just read that last part to my very own teen and he said, “That is so true.  If there’s no food, it’s hell.”  Do you see how important food is to them?

*Shoes by Sanuk, shorts by Old Navy, t shirt by… London Games 2012.  This outfit says, “Ready to switch into some Asics and run five miles.”  Pretty cool.

So, we bookended the end of this art museum trip with Balconi Coffee Company.  See, you can even go somewhere you want to go… as long as there’s sugar.

Everyone happy?  Everyone happy.

Re-cap:

1.  Attitude:  Everyone is having fun.

2.  Dress for the outing… More fun!

3.  Meeting Ground.  Find some art everyone might like.  Or almost everyone.

4.  Balance with outdoor time. (i.e. rolling down hill)

5.  Add friends.  Especially if there is a teenager.

6.  And most important… bookend with food.

This photo by artist, Evan Hartzell.

 


Leave a comment

Chicana in the O.C.

By Laura E. Alvarez

   

 A Christmas pepper discovered in the garden Sunday morning!  A sign that this was going to be a particularly Mexican trip to the O.C.

 

 We traveled behind the orange curtain to visit  my dad and go with him to order tamales for Christmas Eve.

 

 El Toro Bravo has it all.  Tamales, good meats, tortilleria (tortilla factory), a small market and a great place to get masa for your tamales.

 

 Waiting in line to order, you are faced with a tempting embarrassment of riches – a pile of chile rellenos.  Chile rellenos are actually really fun to make.  It’s all about the roasting.  They catch fire on the open flame sometimes!  My mom used to make them for birthdays.

    

Here’s where I slip in the Clothes Story:  I decided to go for neon under Victorian like slip blouse with an embroidered folky purse.  What does it MEAN?  What made me wear this?  I have no idea.  Wait, now I have an idea:  Romantic meets an 80’s OC adolescence meets summers spent in my mother’s hometown in Tamaulipas.  Remember Laura Ashley and Wham U.K.?  Nothing like PTSD of the Orange County fashion.   So fun.

 

Requisite artsy photo means we are making art.

What follows is more art.  See?  It’s bigger…

 

 

 

 

 And we’re back! On the way to pick up my dad we picked up a load of tasty Mexican sweet bread from a very nice panaderìa, where we didn’t take any photos because it’s not my dad’s “favorite place”, plus they didn’t have any maranitos (little pigs) – the definition of pan dulce for him.  So we went to Gloria’s next to El Toro Bravo and he got his wish – five maranitos.  Por fin, he was satisfied.  May I suggest a cup of Cuban coffee and a little pan dulce with toda la familia around 11am on a Sunday?  Yes?

   

And what is a trip to Mexicana O.C. without visiting the Diego Sepulveda House?  In the center photo you see my dad saying to Evan, “I remember coming here to visit every Sunday.”… back when his sister, Francis lived in the house with her family in the 1940’s.  Now it’s a museum surrounded by a park.  I remember coming here on a school field trip and telling the other kids my aunt used to live there.

Special thanks to Evan Hartzell for taking all the art-fotos.

 


Leave a comment >

by Laura E. Alvarez

 

Oye! I got to meet with my favorite Chicana poet, Gloria Enedina Alvarez this week.  We collaborated on a California Artist Residency TWENTY YEARS AGO.  I know.  What? Was I 12 or something?  No, but I was kinda fresh outta college, and I had to learn to drive just to do the residency.  Yes, I learned to drive going from Santa Monica to East L.A. in the most stolen car of that year – a 1983 Oldsmobile Delta 88, leather top.  People liked to turn them into low riders.  It was in mint condition, and random old guys were always trying to buy it off me.  But I digress…

Gloria!  She is as youthful, funny, and life-enjoying as the last time I saw her so many years ago.  Here, we pose in front of a French revolution mural in Atwater.  So funny, us being revolutionary Chicana artists and trying to be as French as possible as we get older.  (Yes, that is a marc by Marc Jacobs lace blouse I am wearing.)

God, cars and clothes.  I digress again.

Here is a sprinkling of Gloria Enedina Alvarez mind blowing granules of gold from yesterday:

1)  Her identity is poet.  

That, alone is enough.  I mean, come on.  In my next life my identity will be poet just because it’s so… solid, yet mysterious.  I will reside in a Scottish castle and write poetry.  I will wear electric blue hand knit ponchos, sip Earl Grey, and write about the mist and mi corazòn.

2)  She WANTS to reside in a Scottish castle and write poetry.

That’s where I got the idea.  Duh.

3)  The Repatriation Thingy

In 1932 her dad was just a three year old in Cheyenne, Wyoming (where he was BORN) and his whole family was rounded up and sent “back” to Mexico.  Gloria’s grandfather walked his cattle from Wyoming all the way back to where his family lived in Mexico.  (Can you see my tear stains blotting out these words?  Where’s the app for that?) When Gloria’s dad came back to the U.S. as an adult the government gave him a hard time for being a “draft dodger”. Seriously. This story came out of a collaboration with artist, Christina Fernandez.  Read more about Repatriation here.

4)  Writing Circles About Food

Lately, she gets together with other women and they write poetry about food.  She wants to make an anthology about it.  This sounds so cool. I want to go to one, and I can’t wait to read it.  I’m already hungry.  For now you can check out her work in books such as this.

5)  Ceremonia heals.

Sweat lodges. Herbs.  It’s all true.  I thought you had to go all the way to Taos to do that stuff, but apparently they have sweat lodges here, too.  I’m not going to get into it, but that story blew my mind.

6)  She made some mention of a play or opera she wrote… Paris?

Oh my goodness.  It just gets better.  Peter Sellars directed a couple.  Esa Pekka conducted one.  Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Etc., etc.  Read the full deal here.  Impressive.

7)  Nopales growing guerilla gardening poets like Ari Robles are the kind of magical people that populate her life.

Enough said. I am hooked on all things Gloria.

8)  Eyes are on her last conquest in her goal towards total optimum health domination… SLEEP.

Gotan Project, and Nova Lima… It’s kind of their fault she doesn’t get enough sleep, really. They “call” her from afar and beg her to come dance to their South American rythms. That and something about just loving the night. Artists don’t own cows. I’ve never heard of one, at least.

9)  Spanglish is king.

We didn’t talk about this, but since our get-together I appreciate how much she appreciates this. The beautiful mix of words that can’t be really translated in one language or the other is splendarious (a word made up by one of my favorite poets who inspired the Rey part of Simone Rey). Really. This is just natch for her writing and mine and even more so for the way Gloria talks. I LOVE IT.

10) Here’s what I’m talking about…

Ofrenda

An offering

of starbursts

releases us

to receive each other

for ourselves

to know

it is the spirit

which draws us near

the Embrace of the infinite

that pulls and pulses

in each of us

The Flame

an endless flight

Una ofrenda

de nebula

nos libera

a recibirnos

para nosotros

saber

el espiritu

acercandonos

el Abrazo del infinito

tira y pulsa

en cada quien

La Llama

un vuelo sin fin

by Gloria Enedina Alvarez