Monday, April 28, 2008
Leaving the Sheraton after one of those complimentary hotel breakfasts, just us in an empty huge dining room while 2 women in uniform are cleaning around us. We woke up late. The ride was not fun, it’s cold this morning, the air is crisp and the freeway is packed with cars. On the other side of the road, a bunch of police units are trying to clear out an accident while traffic stand still for miles and miles in the other direction. We ride. We pass Washington DC without even seeing any of it and cross into Virginia.
There’s really nothing on the freeway to make me realize I’m in a different state aside of a red cardinal on the direction signs. It’s strange to even think about it is a different place because it’s just all the same, trees and cars and Mc Dolands . Ned stops the bike in front of a restaurant, it’s called Bombay and offers Indian food, and also looks uninviting and possibly closed. We both spot a diner sign on the other side of the curve and head there.
29 Diner is a tiny blue and aluminum spot that’s cramped with people. We wait at the counter for some people to leave and sit. It’s strange to be all geared up with leather jackets and helmets and bags full of cloths and computers in a room full of locals who are just in for their Sunday late brunch. The menu has protestant, catholic and Jewish food blessing on the back and there’s a juke box and a beautiful marble counter top. We order the biscuits and gravy and some coffee and tea and get warmer and warmer.
As we get up to leave, a man with missing teeth and long thin hair talks to Ned. He’s got food and grease on his shirt and his hands shakes badly as he’s lifting a cup of coffee to his mouth. When we go outside I ask what he said and Ned say “that he hopes the wind stay to my back”. And then he say “if there is a god, that’s what he looks like” and we drive away.
The great American War
"Look at it like this, Shadow: we are the coming thing. We're shopping malls-your friends are crappy roadside attractions."
- Neil Gaiman, American Gods
We choose the “avoid freeway” root option on the GPS, usually that leads to beautiful spots, but somehow we get on some boring highway that just cruises between one sprawl mall and another, a whole bunch of Dunken donuts - mattress store - Best buy - Starbucks. I’m bored and cold and there’s nothing to take pictures of. I think about multi diversity in nature and how, it feels as if the small restaurants with the cool signs and all the non chain store are getting extinct just like fish and birds. How what the culture is losing in that is not so much the lack of animal or places to shop but the diversity.
I think about the waitress in the 29 diner and how, when Ned asked her where we can get another jacket or sweatshirt for me, she said “Wallmart at the end of the road” right away. How just like driving a huge car and not understanding why do the prices of gas are going up and why are there less wild life than there used to be. Buying in chain stores is ruining one’s own culture and destroying the economical balance of one’s own community.
I think about America and how it seem to always be in some war between different parts of it, how it sometime feels like the only way this country renew itself is by waging a war against what used to be here before, whether it’s The natives, nature, it’s own people or its own economy. Like some strange contained fires to burn all the old wood so that there’s room for new ones.
The great American war of now, is not so much between nature and manmade, but between manmade and manmade. An all somehow like in all the great American wars, you always know who’s going to win, and usually it’s the bad guys.
Blue Ridge parkway – Shenandoha
We took the itinerary from the trip off the Hearly Davidson’s website, so though we knew this is about the root we wanted to take, we didn’t know the details. This was the first destination out of 16 that the guy who made this root send us to. The sky line PYW. As we were getting near, it got more and more clouded and the guy at the entry to the park, said that it’s supposed to rain later. We went in anyway. Just as we got inside the park, we saw a dear, standing then running back into the wood. It felt like a good start.
We started riding up a mountain and stopped in the first view point, where we knew there’s a beautiful view to the valley below, but couldn’t see it with all the mist around us. The trees were still all bare from winter because the top of the mountain is so much colder then the bottom. We went on. And it was getting very misty. We were riding inside a cloud, seeing only this grayish white wall of cloud in front of us from which trees were rising as we got closer to them. It was beautiful and frightening.
I didn’t know whether I should panic or just be amazed at the beauty of it all, Ned was riding very slowly, following the yellow line in the middle of the road. It was a strange and peculiar feeling, knowing that this is probably one of the most dangerous things I’ve ever done in my life an at the same time, being so calm and feeling so peaceful, all this light around me and trees and nothing but the engine sounds to hear. My visor was fogging so I lifted it, it was very cold, it wasn’t raining, well, not exactly, but the air was so moist, tiny droplet of water just accumulated on my jacket and pants and gloves and making me wet and freezing cold.
From within the forest, a deer came out, looked at the road, blinked and run back inside. Another one, from behind one of the ledges were running fat, parallel to the road, all I can see was his strong neck and head popping as he galloped along us for a bit. Looking into a strange looking branch a white and brown barn owl, was staring into the road before swooping into the darkness of the heavy forest. It was like nothing I have ever experience before, not even like a movie or a book, but just this very strange frightening experience which is somehow intimate and somehow much bigger then myself.
I had no idea how long the road is going to be, or how fast we were going. My brain kept making up scary scenarios about getting stuck in there, not being able to go on because the visibility is zero and having so wrap ourselves in the sleeping bags to keep warm and wait for rescue. There was no way to get to another place or road but to ride the whole thing through, this undefined distance that would only get more and more cold and more and more dangerous as darkness falls. It was already 7:00 and I thought about the bears in the bears in the forests and how if something happens to us right now, nobody will know about it till it’s too late. And I thought how even if I do die now because the bike hits a deer on the road, I don’t mind so much, because all this is such a special moment I wouldn’t want to miss it.
Eventually we made it through, the valley bellow was still very misty, but as we came closer to the highway, it cleared a little bit. Ned pulled over in the next gas station to fill up, I went inside and got a cup of coffee which I couldn’t drink, I was too cold and every zip was scolding so I threw it out. We checked in the nearest motel and went into the bath right away, slowly getting all warm and tired and still not quite believing this whole thing really happened.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Morning at the Sheraton Columbia Hotel. It’s clouded and foggy outside, there’s a beautiful view of a lake and a forest. We are in some strange hi tech and business area with really nothing but office buildings andhuge chain outlet stores, by the looks of it.
Still all foggy by the absence of coffee and not enoughsleep. I really wanted to write about Yesterday, but it was already 2:00 AM andI went to sleep. Sitting in the bath while Ned was on the computer. I was doingthis math: Writing down everything that happened today will take about 3 hour,if I also want to download some photos and post them in the website, that’sprobably about another hour, I also want to draw a bit, let say, another halfan hour. And I still won’t be getting everything I want on paper \ file.However, if I wait till morning, not only I probably won’t have the time, butalso, I forget a lot, not so much the other stories of places and people butthat abstract feeling of how a moment is, and how I am in it.
I’m frustrated with the mapping program as well, because i can’t just register everything I want it to. I don’t know why documenting thisjourney is so important, but it feels right now that on every moment I spend onthe road I would have to spend a moment writing about it, is it more importantto document then to experience? Probably not, but then again, the documentation makes the memories, and somehow, making memories feels important now.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
If this was one of those new age spiritual books, every reference to the road would mean something about life. Maybe this one does, but I have, but I have no idea what it is. First lesson on the road – Never leave in rush hour. Manhattan is all plugged traffic just stand still, we are already stressed about leaving so late. We just stand there, looking at spring sales in expensive fashion stores and wait. A police man right in front of us directing the traffic and probably making a bigger mess then necessary. Eventually, we can’t take it anymore, I get off the bike and take Ned’s helmet, he pushes the bike in the middle of the road, probably pissing off a whole bunch of people. After a block, we get on it again and wait till the next police man will let us through.
A woman on a larger Hearly smiles at us, her bike is purple and silver, she’s wearing a matching helmet and have 2 large side bags and a big striped handbag strapped to the language rack in banji cords. She say hi. Her license plates say “May” and have “California” written on them. “Are you out for the weekend?” She asks, Ned say that we are just starting a 2 weeks trip down the Appalachian Mountains and ask her if she’s from California. I’m trying to guess if she just came from there. She looks tough and tanned. “I’ve been in NY for 6 years now, but the insurance is cheaper, so the bike’s listed on my Dad” We pass her as we go through the Holland Tunnel.
Stopping for Gas
New Jersey is the opposite of Tel Aviv, it looks good from distance, but pretty ugly up close. Traffic is getting thinner and right after the toll. We are stopping in a gas station. It’s filled with cars. An old man stops with a smoking engine, his wife, a dyed blond in her 60’s looks strange all dressed up in a gas station, she yells at him as he’s trying to explain the problem to the gas station worker. Then she goes into the bathroom.
I look at the street, 5 of the 6 houses are up for sell or rent or the windows are blocked with wood. A bunch of kids, all probably the same age, but in that awkward age in which some of them look like scrawny boys and some are already as tall as a man sits on the stairs leading to one of the houses. They talk and every couple of seconds one start punching the other. They play, well, not really, they are just there with nothing better to do. A man walks a huge black dog, and I see a stork flying in the sky.
A policeman in uniforms comes over, he asks about our destination, I don’t feel like being friendly, but then he start talking about how he used to do the same trip to upstate New York every June for 6 years in a row.
CheeseQuake PKY (yes, it’s really a name of a place)
We ride and ride, the mind that at first is full of thought, ideas, fears and anxiety is starting to clear, I’m just looking at everything and it’s so beautiful. The sun, not quite setting yet, but the light, under the clouds is starting to get all golden. We pass through a forest and a river and a small perfectly shaped swamp. A white large bird in the air, then suddenly it ducks and dive straight into the water, just to come out a second later holding a fish in its beak. I see all that in a split second before the bike moves on.
All Seasons Diner
Eventually we stop, it’s 7:30 and we are both cold and hungry. It’s one of those horrid sprawl malls, with a Macy’s and an Appelbies and a JC Penny’s, on the other side of the street there’s a diner, but it takes us a while to find the right road to get to it. It’s very crowded inside, mostly, old people, it looks like every part was built or decorated in different time and nothing match. We sit next to a display of huge cakes. As we order, we turn on the computer. We open the map file online and add a couple of stops from the day, I pull out the SD card of the camera and slide it into the computer.
I love that feeling of being amazed with the immediacy of technology, of the fact that I can sit in some NJ diner and put photos and text on a map that people everywhere can see as I’m working on it. It feels like being amazed by the grandeur of nature, though instead of feeling connected to some primal past, I feel like I’m connected to a future. In both cases, the only way I can describe this feeling is “ It’s like in a movie” meaning it’s larger then my own life, I feel connected to something larger than me.
We order omelets which turn to be surprisingly good, and we plan the trip on the Hearly Davidson site, picking someone’s saved trail and changing the first destination point to our home. We sit there for about 2 hours.
In the bathroom, on the toilet paper holder someone wrote “This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time” and I feel sort of good to recognize it’s a Chuck Palinhuk quote and wonder how many other people have recognize that. And I’m thinking of living life to their fullest and how this trip is like that, just going and doing stuff and having a good story to tell. 2 women sitting in the next stalls are talking about a friend who pretended not to see them in the street because she just had a face lift. “If I ever get rich” one of them say “I’m getting my chin fixed, it just dropped over night, my DR. said he can’t do anything about it, because it’s cosmetic and the insurance doesn’t cover it, but he said that DR. Greco is the best. It just happened over night, I’m telling you, The DR. said it’s Gravity, I don’t care what it is, just fix it”.
We stop about an hour later, it’s already 10:00. The only place that’s open is Burger King in some strange food hall that looks the same way mental institutes looks in movies. Big neon lit open space with chairs set in line in front of a TV showing CNN. We have coffee and tea and look for a hotel on the GPS. We are close to a shoreline and the air outside is breezy. All the hotels have names like “pinebeach” and “del mar” and “waterfront”. We google them, Hooking the computer to an electricity outlet under a pay phone. CNN is talking about a person who was bitten by a shark. We check pictures of the room and prices, eventually we come across one that looks nice, we want to call and check if they have any rooms, but then Ned can’t find his phone, we look everywhere, and it’s nowhere. We left it at home. He feels stupid and I’m getting stressed, I don’t know why. I’m getting this mental image of us stuck somewhere and not able to call for help. CNN is talking about the Obama Campaign and about the prices of oil. We decide to get a hotel room and search for the phone and decide what to do later.
We ride and the road is dark and pretty. It’s one of those long long roads with a bunch of motels, car dealerships and restaurants on both sides. I’m taking pictures looking for where the most light is. I think about this:
During the day, on the road, nature overcomes, I shoot trees and fields and clouds, the beauty of nature trumps all and I try to avoid buildings and cars and get all the other stuff. But at night, the nature parts become gaps of darkness in the scenery, and manmade is the only thing I can shoot or see. I love that darkness of seeing a lake or the ocean at night, knowing that it’s there just because of the absence of any light. But I cannot capture that image in my camera or describe it in words, it’s like silence, like nothing, but beautiful.
We cross a bridge onto an island, it’s full of tiny houses and tiny motel, it’s probably very crowded in here in the summer, but it’s still the end of April now and almost all the motels are closed. Eventually we find an open one, the Sea Palace Inn It’s full of teenagers for some reason, something about prom night special. We take the elevator up. In the room next to us, 5 or 6 teenager lay down on 2 queen size beds and watch “Borat” on TV. Two of them smoke outside, on the balcony. The noises die down shortly after we enter the room.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Tomorrow we are heading on a long adventurous trip, Ned and I are planning to ride on the motorcycle along the Appalachian mountains, if we can pull it off, we hope to make it all the way to Tennessee.
This is everything we are taking with us for 2 weeks.
I'm really excited and also nervous. I've never been on such a long trip and it's supposed to rain for a couple of days at least in the weekend. There's a lot of unknown and also a massive amount of freedom - we don't know where we are going or when we'll head back or what's going to happened.
You can follow our progress and some photos and info about the trip in this map:
CommunityWalk Map - Ned And Aya Birthday Adventure
Friday, April 18, 2008
The topic of this week's "Illustration Friday" was Primitive. It's a pretty tricky subject, I wasn't sure what I wanted to say. I guess a part of it was being upset about the whole term, as if there's only one way to be, only one type of intelligent and success and everything else is not as good. As if progress is always better over tradition.
I was looking online for inspiration, a visual way to express this idea, and came across some Edward S. Curtis photos from the 20's. I really liked the way he chose to show the native American as proud and strong, and as specific people, not just a symbol for a culture long gone.
available at my shop
Summer is here, well, spring at least, and it's awesome! we are having so much fun. Last weekend we took Olga, the motorcycle out of the apartment and back where she belong - in the street! ever since then we took her out for a ride each and every day. It's so much fun, I missed riding so much when all 3 of us were stuck in the apartment for the winter and it's so wonderful to be out and about now.
Sadly, that means that I'm doing very little of anything else... And I really didn't craft enough this week, however, I did make some sexy art work for this year's Grafuck book, I really hope I'm going to manage to get in, I got rejected last year and so I'm not hoping for too much, but still it would be really great if I do.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
A few months ago in preparing to a truck show at Ned's mom's house, I made 8 books in 2 days! It went well and they came out beautiful, 6 of them actually sold, however, I think I lost my taste for it after that, it was just a bit too much. However, today, I was back to it and it was very rewarding to discover that I was still able to make them and didn't even need a reminder of how to do it.
The reason for the return to book binding was this custom order:
I suggested this to a really nice girl who was looking for a gift for her boyfriend for when she's away on a trip to NY. I remembered reading in a a Chuck Palahniuk book about an old sailors wife's tradition of writing a diary in their husband's absence so that upon his return, he'll know what went on. I made her 2 matching diaries so they can both write their thoughts and experience while they are apart.
The cover shows a portrait of them and a quote from an EE Cummings poem.
Since I was already making books, I also made one for the store, it's a beautiful Art Nouveau inspired book with a fancy lady on the cover.
Louchelust is one of our website, it started of as an idea that we had, not so much something one can put into words, but more something that we wanted ot feel and to express and didn't quite know how. The idea started off with talks that we had about pornography, being as accessible as it is those days, is no longer interesting because it does not invoke any emotions.
And so as an experiment in art and photography, we started to try and bring back feelings into naked body and sexuality. It grew into a site that contain short clips and photos that we shoot and make together.
Watch our latest piece called Landscapes on louchelust
Monday, April 7, 2008
The Salvation Army on Bedford avenue and N7th street is one of my favorite shops in the world! really, it's so awesome.
First of all, they have great cloths in really cheap prices, which I like!
Second of all, they have really cheap cloths that though I might not be able to wear, like an extra extra extra large red sweater from Moreno wool for 3.99$, I can still buy and use as material to work with and make stuff from.
Third, I really love wearing second hand cloths, not only someone else did all the work and wore and washed them till they got all soft and nice and not too clean and crisp to wear, it's also better for the environment cause cloths gets to go around and last longer in the world.
Forth and probably the nicest thing - I love the way that this is contributing to the community, people who wants to get rid of cloths, have an easy way of doing it, people who wants to buy cloths have a good place to do just that. Stuff get reused and people with no money get to have great stuff if they want to.
Also, for some of the people that work there this is an opportunity to have a real serious job for the first time in their life and gain confidence and work abilities on the way of rejoining to working community. I love to see the same faces there every time and how much better they become in working there.
So today, with an idea about a pink fox in mind I went shopping, I intended to just get a pink sweater and get back to the house, but then some other stuff caught my eyes and this is a result:
1) a pink sweater size Large, as planned....
2) An Ann Taylor Loft Stripy skirt, probably to wear, it's really nice and I can't wait till it's warm enough to actually wear skirts.
3) Another skirt with a brown and pink Paisley motif. I thought of using the fabric as material, but now I think I like it too much as a skirt and don't want to destroy it.
4) A Gap sweater. This was on their posters last fall, and I saw a lot of people wearing it for a while so I'm not sure I'll be able to bring myself to wear something so recognizable, however, it'll make a cute elephant or something if I decide to cut it up.
5) a Red and blue star Tshirt, bought mostly for the stars and for the fact it was 0.99$
So, good day of shopping, 16$ spend on 5 items and spending time in my favorite business in the neighborhood...
Above you can see Henzel the Fox which is made of a half of a salvation Army sweater I got last week at half price of a 3.99$.
Friday, April 4, 2008
This is my Illustration Friday piece, the word was "save". I was actually planing a totally different painting, but eventually, I was going through this vintage children book about the ocean and found this awesome drawing of a whale and realize it's really what I wanted to draw today. So This is what I did and I'm really happy with the way it came out.
You can also buy it in my shop.