Tag Archives: art

Nature’s Art. Nature’s Metaphor.

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Last week, two of my closest friends and I decided to take a day trip to Western Maryland together. For those of you who don’t know, Western Maryland borders Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The Appalachian Mountains cut right through Western Maryland and this area is also home to many state parks, trails, and so on. My friend Mickey is from the Bronx, I, as you all may remember, lived in Queens, and we all, my other friend Keisha included, live about twenty minutes outside of Baltimore, so a day in nature would be a very nice, much needed change of pace.

Our first stop was High Rock in Cascade, MD. As part of the Appalachian Trail, the only way to get there via car (remember we’re still city girls) was to drive up a winding road on an upward slope. If it’s your first time driving in the “mountains,” then this road can be a little intimidating, but, thanks to my hours of adventure in central Puerto Rico, which is full of mountains, the drive up was cake.

Once you arrive to the top, High Rock is the first thing you see. It’s a huge cluster of grey rocks mixed with a set of concrete steps put in to make taking in the sites easier for visitors. If the stature of High Rock isn’t enough to grab your attention, then the rainbow of graffiti will definitely make you look. The enormous rocks look like street art ruins with drawings, patterns, and words in purple, orange, red, white, green, and every other color covering the natural grey backdrop. To me, it looked like nature and the inner city harmoniously collided together to create nature’s art. On the steps central to High Rock in bold white paint, it read “peace, love, compassion,” summing up High Rock perfectly. When you walk up the steps, you see a clear view of the rural towns below and, in the distance, you can see the mountain range, marking the horizon.

The three of us sat at the top of the rock, enjoying the breeze, admiring the view, and feeling at peace. There were times where we sat in silence, but, for most of the time, we talked. We just shared whatever was on our mind, whether it was childhood stories, high school memories, or deep thoughts. The common denominator was we kept everything positive and serene. For a portion of our time at High Rock, we explored around, took some priceless pictures, and conquered some very real fears.

Later that day, we visited Cunningham Falls in Thurmont, MD, which is about fifteen minutes from High Rock. We went on a short hike to see the waterfall, enjoyed the lake for a little while, and played around in the playground like a couple of big kids. Simply put, it was a great day, but the highlight was definitely High Rock.

The serenity it brought me, the uniquely different perspective it creates, and the bonding experience it was for the three of us made it priceless. If I could, I would visit it every weekend just to clear my mind and be at peace. It was just a beautiful metaphor that I’m so grateful to have experienced.

We drove up a winding road, where we couldn’t see how far or close we were to our destination. Once we reached the top, we were in awe of its grandeur and beauty, but, to really appreciate and absorb what it has to offer, we had to move past our nerves, conquer our fear of heights, and climb up those stairs to the top of the rock. Once at the top of the top, you see everything clearly and you’re above it all. You’ve accomplished that, but then you feel the wind pushing against you and you see there is no railing, so you remember a careless decision can take it all away from you. At the same time, you’re in the middle of trees and nature, sitting on a giant boulder covered in graffiti.

The juxtaposition of city life and wilderness. The vulnerability and tranquility. The sense of accomplishment. It all seemed to mirror my life perfectly. It’s experiencing things like this when you realize everything happens for a reason.

High Rock

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Celebrating Nelson Mandela

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Today would have been Nelson Mandela’s 96th birthday, so to celebrate his life and everything he represents, I’m sharing with you all the work of Marco Cianfanelli.  This artist created this sculpture in honor of the 50th anniversary of Mandela’s capture by the apartheid police, which stands in South Africa.

“This represents the momentum gained in the struggle through the symbolic of Mandela’s capture. The 50 columns represent the 50 years since his capture, but they also suggest the idea of many making the whole; of solidarity. It points to an irony as the political act of Mandela’s incarceration cemented his status as an icon of struggle, which helped ferment the groundswell of resistance, solidarity and uprising, bringing about political change and democracy.”
 
-Marco Cianfanelli
 
Nelson Mandela Sculpture

The American Dream

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I was born in Puerto Rico and I’m from a small town where hardly anybody leaves. You never hear of a sabaneño doing big things on the island or anywhere else. People accept their lives for what it is and they’re content with that. They live in their island style cement homes, go to work, pay their bills, and go on with their lives. There isn’t anything out of the ordinary there. Nobody steps out of their comfort zone. Nobody dares to think outside of the box.

Thankfully for me, my parents left Puerto Rico and we’ve been living in the U.S. ever since. I’ve gotten a good education and have gotten great opportunities. I’ve been exposed to different kinds of people, places, and cultures. I live in America for goodness sakes. Anything is possible. I can live the American Dream. I can make my dreams come true, be successful, and be encouraged by the optimistic, ambitious Americans who surround me, right? Well, not so much. It turns out that most people I’ve met are still stuck in the mindset that there’s only one way to be successful and live the American Dream.

The formula is you have to go to college and preferably graduate from a Master’s program or more, make sure that whatever you’re doing is in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math are the way to go in America), and find yourself a stable job with benefits. In about 10 years, you should be making the money you want with a nice family and a house under your name. That’s the formula. That’s what works. That’s how you live the American Dream.

How else do you explain young females who once hated school pursuing nursing or individuals who didn’t know what to do going into computer programming? But what if you hate anything under STEM? What happens if you have an idea bigger than climbing up the corporate ladder? How can a creative mind secure success if they don’t fit into the American Dream formula? Well, just how they would do anything… By thinking outside of the norm.

It’s hard for a person with a real passion to live the life that another person has paved for them. It’s too confining. It’s frustrating. A nine to five kind of job is just not for the creative types. We can’t do it, so we make our own way. We make art, we create businesses, we make something out of what we truly love… our passion. That’s when something magical happens. The motivation, ambitions, and drive are all unstoppable to the point where success is inevitable. That’s how you get billion dollar businesses, Pulitzer Prize winning novels, and legendary records.

If the creative minds had given up on their passions and decided to follow the leader, then there would be no Andy Warhol, no Pharrell, or no Langston Hughes. Fortunately, they all chose to pursue their own American Dream and pave their own way in the ground. They all gifted us the art they’re notorious for and proved that you don’t need STEM or a doctorate to be successful. You simply need dedication, ambition, and passion.

However, most people find it hard to have this vision. They can’t see anything beyond the clear path to success. They think anything outside of that is too risky and simply not worth it. They might say that it won’t work and that your plan B will ultimately be all you have, but I don’t think so. I think that when a person is truly invested in their passion, then success is certain. Living life and finding success in the thing you love most, now that is the real American Dream.

Don’t Forget Your Nails!

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Nail ArtWhen it comes to fashion, so many people forget how much of a difference some great nail art can make.  In my opinion, it is the most underrated fashion accessory there is.  It’s the forgotten sleeper that is oh so wonderful.  When I was younger, I had a slight obsession with nails.  I remember loving my faux nail kits, complete with stickers, rhinestones, and miniature bottles of nail polish, and using them whenever I got the chance.  I’ll admit that when middle school and high school hit, I forgot about my nails.  I usually didn’t wear any nail polish at all or let the color chip away as the days passed.  However, once college came around, I remembered how beautiful nail art can be.  I began with basic one color designs like a bold red all throughout or maybe a hot pink polish.  Then, I moved up to trying simple adornments, trying my hand at stripes, polka dots, and abstract anythings.  I even started doing my own variations of french manicures.  I’m now at the point where I love doing my nails and I love showing them off even more.

The great thing about nail art is that it’s a simple addition to your whole look without stealing away too much attention.  People will always notice your nails… good or bad, so you might as well make sure they look good.  Show off a bit of your personality with a pop of color or a fun design.  It can be the difference between something missing from your look of the day and being on your A-game.  Now that it’s  Fall, I suggest sticking to darker colors.  Reds, purples, and greens are always a good bet in Fall, but don’t be scared to add something flashy.  You can add some glitter, gold, or even a hint of white to make your nails that much more fabulous.  Also, don’t be shy and experiment.  Practice designs, test out new patterns, and just live a little.  The worst that can happen is you need to use your nail polish remover.  Just remember that you can have too many bracelets and rings, but your nails won’t be so loud that you shouldn’t step out of your comfort zone.  Take your fashion to the max this season with your own custom nail art.  Have fun!

Yeezy 2 Cerberus Painting by ROM

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ROM is still busy at work and, as usual, creativity is front and center. Watch as this plain canvas is transformed into the first Hypebeast of his series, the Yeezy 2 Cerberus. It’s inspired by the Yeezy 2 sneakers and the mythologocial Cerberus beast. Combine the two and an aggressive “hypebeast” has been created. Enjoy the video… create and conquer!

Free Me- Joss Stone

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Joss Stone is definitely one of those unique voices who bring a special, positive energy through the art that they create.  I have always been a fan of hers and just recently my appreciation for Joss Stone was revived when I heard this song, one of my favorites, at the gym.  I’ll let the song speak for itself, but I will say that this song has always helped lift my spirits, so I hope you enjoy Joss Stone’s “Free Me.”