Sabatical Part Three: London vs La Paz

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Sabatical Part Three: London vs La Paz

Lessons & Discoveries

I had settled myself well in La Paz and got stuck into my writing. A challenge because I have never allowed myself such allocated time to write, a beauty but also something I found very difficult. Some things I have learnt so far:

1. Creativity is not a tap you can turn on and off (annoyingly). No matter how hard you concentrate or if you set yourself a time frame or schedule; everything can be thrown out the window.

2. Ideas/ solutions/ energy comes at the weirdest and unnatural times of the day (Usually in the shower or as I am about to sleep?!) It is about knowing and taking that opportunity to acknowledge and start/ write/ expand that idea when it is fresh - i.e at stupid o'clock in the morning.

3. The idea or creative direction will feel spectacular at first then suddenly the next day there's the "what the hell were you thinking?!", IGNORE THIS AND KEEP GOING.

4. I can only concentrate on one or maximum two independent creative projects (consider I am working 8.30am - 8pm Mon -Sat). Anymore than this, and nothing gets done. Is this the same for other creatives? Or jumping into many things keep your mind fresh? Comments welcome.

Is London the best place to be as an Artist?

Most of my journey so far abroad has been geared towards finishing projects to take back into London. London: a busy, over saturated, competitive art hive. I have not begun to discuss the increasing price of living in London. La Paz, due to the exchange rate working in my favour and being less expensive, has allowed me to work on my own things instead of working to stay in a city where the reality is that you find less time to do your art.

I am now questioning where else I can take my work. Is London, or another established city like New York, the 'must be place' to be successful? Whilst being in La Paz, a developing city and meeting new people, I am now directing and heading a new project, a documentary called 'Un Día en Bolivia' and along the way meeting new creatives. They seem to survive. There is less competition, I myself am bringing new processes and this opportunity would have not been offered to me in London; I would have not had nearly the right credentials and experience.

What do we benefit from cities such as London:

Easy access to a market? Resources like libraries/ events/ support workshops and groups? More jobs? You could argue that these reasons are interchangeable and could apply to anywhere, especially now that there is an internet platform to seek new jobs, nurture the creativity. How much do we spend online than outside? I'm sure on average more of our lives are indoors and online. One thing that I do love about London and the reason I know I will keep revisiting is the people. It is the people for me, and I suppose many others, that attract me to the city. Cities bring people from different corners of the world and with them they bring new ideas, resources and inspire us. But I suppose you could potentially find that anywhere?

For one week, due to personal circumstances, I have found myself back in London. I am currently in my favourite tea shop, Yumchaa, in Soho writing this. I am in the luxury of being able for the first time to flit from two contrasting cities, whilst working in the midst of creative projects, and see what feels right for me. Or maybe both? Maybe it is my job to make sure I don't get stuck in one place; although I must say moving from place to place is an exciting one, but sometimes lonely. What happens later when you want to settle? (ha shall come to that when 'that' comes along'). Or I suppose the next question would be, should I wait for the right job and when the fuck will that be? Or wait for it to come to me? I'm gearing towards the latter.

It would be interesting to read your comments. Is London the be all and end all? What has London done for you that you could not find elsewhere?

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Banksy vs GCHQ

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Banksy vs GCHQ

Quite fitting for the project we have been R & Ding and now currently in the process of writing...

A new unconfirmed piece by Guerrilla Graffiti Artist Banksy, painted on the side of a house in Cheltenham, England. It has been ever so conveniently placed near GCHQ on Sunday evening (13th April 2014). If anyone wants to visit it is between Fairview Road and Hewlett Road, and is already catching of course a lot of attention and media interest. This piece is important for us to remember how much our freedom of privacy is being taken away and even in the light of Edward Snowden whistleblowing on the NSA and GCHQ; how still under the covers to the general public the subject is. Either because people do not want to be reminded or maybe they don't understand the full impact it will/ has already on our lives.

Comments from GCHQ

A GCHQ spokesperson said: "This is the first time we have ever been asked to comment on art.

"Although we are not qualified critics, we are as intrigued as the rest of the residents of Cheltenham about the appearance of the mysterious artwork.

"For those who are interested, our website gives a glimpse of what modern-day intelligence operatives are really like, although some may be disappointed by the lack of trench coats and dark glasses."

 

They may be lacking in trench coats and dark glasses but the actions are still the same, or even worse with their newer technology and vast vacuuming of data, known as meta data. 

For more information on understanding recent events with Edward Snowden releasing classfied documents, and the details of surveillance in general check out: http://www.theguardian.com/world/the-nsa-files?INTCMP=mic_232382.

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

'Many Indians say they live in two worlds, but they have to live in more than two worlds. If you live in one world, you are pretty much stuck in one place. Right now, I am living in a cab driving world, the Indian world, the sober world, the art world. The more worlds you live in, the better it is'   -   Frank Big Bear Junior

This is exactly how I have been feeling today and a normal battle within my life and probably for many others. What world/s do I belong in? Why am I arriving and then going? (most of the time very far). How is that I'm involved in so many 'worlds' ? A positive way to look at it, is that the more fulfillment ,excitement and experience is gained with the more places, people and different tasks you undertake. Funny how a quote can change your perception just like that. Frank Big Bear Junior, see his art below. I saw him at a small but amazing exhibition of Native American contemporary artists at the American Indian Museum in New York, a museum to check out and it is free.

Chemical Man in a Toxic World by Frank Big Bear Junior

Chemical Man in a Toxic World by Frank Big Bear Junior

Fawn by Frank Big Bear Junior

Fawn by Frank Big Bear Junior

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Recommended Read: Hidden Cities and artist Lucinda Grange

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Recommended Read: Hidden Cities and artist Lucinda Grange

Hidden Cities by Moses Gates

Lucinda Grange

British urban explorer.

Beautiful photography and proof that it is not a mans game. Let's get exploring!

For people who....

Have ever wondered when traveling what are alternative new places to discover. Free places to discover. Those who want an adventure. People who get a kick of going to restricted areas . For those who like heights. For those who like underground.  For those that are curious to really know the city that they work and live in.

A recommended read which includes stories in London, New York, Poland, Bolivia, Italy and many more ...

 
check out her website www.lucindagrange.com

check out her website www.lucindagrange.com

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Sajama

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Sajama

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Sajama in Bolivia, near the border of Chile. A mountain (ex volcano) with its near by towns, springs, geysers and hot springs.  A cold place reaching somewhere in the minus, the hot sulfur springs was a delicious experience and escape.

Apparently the benefits of bathing in sulfur and or ingesting in crystal form include

-Increasing enzyme production within bodily glands and improving resistance to illness
-Increasing flexibility in muscle tissue (yep as a yogi could benefit from that)
-Increasing blood circulation
-Reducing muscle inflammation and promoting muscle healing
-Promoting the healthy growth of hair and fingernails
-Discouraging the growth of cancer cells through oxygenation (Bingo!)
-Reversing osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease
-Promoting healthy skin production and reducing wrinkles
-Regulating insulin production
-Improving colon function and eliminating colonic parasites

more info here

A Break to Help the Creative Mind

One thing a lot of us forget and one thing for sure I know I do is I forget to change my surroundings, go for a walk, put in new oxygen into my body and just clear the mind. It has been a while since I breathed real clean air, seen blue cloudless skies and beautiful mountains in their natural surroundings. I think it's easier than it seems, there is always nature lurking, parks to be walked, paths to be discovered even if you live in a city; I know this to be true living in New York and London - there are hidden gems out there. Just mental effort is needed to train yourself to explore. Which reminds me of a great book I read whilst in New York: Hidden Cities by Moses Gate. I am going to make an aim to take a walk somewhere new each week and away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Over and out.

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Sabbatical part two, Bolivia

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Sabbatical part two, Bolivia

Now arrived and working in a Japanese 'hut' which is acting as my studio for the next few months. The hut is sat in a large beautiful garden with a view of the mountains of La Paz. This is my Grandmothers and I am incredibly lucky to steal it for this period of time. It has light and electricity and I can nick my Uncle's wifi from next door, all is perfect and work is commencing with a schedule starting from 9am to 8pm (ha roughly). I am excited as to the possibilities and freedom to concentrate for a long period of time on something, instead of in sections. Let's go!

 

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My Sabbtical, part one NY

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My Sabbtical, part one NY

In January 2014 I decided to take a 'Sabbatical' and concentrate entirely on my own art and further my learning outside the beautiful distractions of London. What a different but already beneficial experience. (May I add with hardly any muller in my pocket, I decided one month before leaving :S )

I first went to New York, crashed head first into doing a course at Actors Connection in Times Square, meeting Casting Directors and Agents not fully aware of what I was aiming for. My only aim was to experience what the acting industry is like in New York.

In the freezing cold of winter for the first month I stayed in the Bronx in an artist/ activist loft which included a family. (There was no heating! I fucking hardened up : ) Here I strangely learnt the beauty of activism, how much activists freely give to their own community without asking anything in return. I started my fascination with Native American culture, even taking my first Grandfather ceremony; this is thanks to Har and Yoko for introducing me to this world and also the wonderful music!

I then moved into Greenpoint Brooklyn for two weeks and Prospect Park, Brooklyn for another two. How the hell did I afford this? With luck, love and a patient English friend. New York is a crazy, inspiring, money sucking hot pot. I was able to share with a good friend a bed, cutting costs dramatically, meet wonderful people who let us stay in their apartment for free and look after a dog while a couple was away on holiday, allowing us to stay in another funky apartment by the park (bliss) - Somehow those two months was possible; and in that time I absorbed as much cinema (i hardly ever go to the cinema), acting workshops, cafes and art galleries - more posts to come with what I found.

For me New York and London really are sister cities. Although similar genes, similar energy and diversity, the results are different. Some wonderful and some made me appreciate my London. I say my London now with more pride. I have realised what a inspirational, resourceful and free city London is. In free I mean monetary free, you can enjoy many things in London from galleries, events, parties all at no cost; something I took for granted until visiting New York.

I wondered whether I could work as an Director in New York, and I would love to, but the funding and government support (although of course we moan with reason) is not like it is in England. This is something we need to appreciate more.

From a born and bred New Yorker to you I give you three simple rules which I now keep with me:

1. Pay attention.

2. Always have a back pocket plan.

3. Never let them see you sweat.


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