Unplug to Reconnect
For three weeks in early 2014, I travelled to Mexico to study printmaking with Maestro Enrique Flores, experiment with different kinds of art making, and to make new photographs that capture the color and energy (not to mention the sun!) of this beautifully diverse country. This is the second post of a series from that trip.
When people learn I was in Mexico – or any extended trip to another country, for that matter – they often ask, “Did you go for work or vacation?”
It’s certainly a vacation from my regular life: house chores, work obligations, social engagements and distractions, Seattle weather, the internet. But I do consider it work, even though no one is paying me to go. It’s purposeful effort that can leave you exhausted and exhilarated. It’s work to willfully disorient yourself by going to a place you do not know, where the culture and language are different from what you are accustomed to. It’s work to reprogram your brain to look, observe and absorb in order to create.
On this recent trip, I spent everyday walking and looking, often lingering to observe more closely, sometimes stopping to draw, photograph or write about what was in front of me. Back in my regular life, I often just browse. It’s harder to fully immerse myself into anything because something always beckons: a ding signaling a text on my phone; another email topping my inbox; a link to something else, just one click away.
But out in the physical world, what beckons are the subtle shades of green of the stones in a wall, the entrancing patterns formed by tiles, arches, even empty plastic bottles. Over these shapes, my eyes crawl, caressing every crevice and bump, gliding on edges. I fall into their rhythm and nothing else exists.
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