Saturday, May 19, 2007

Abstract Art with Improvised Brushes

While in Costa Rica, I was invited Norma Varela at the Colegio Tecnico Artistico in Liberia to give a workshop to her class of fine arts students. The school is the only public arts high school in the country that is free of charge, and many of the students are from poorer communities in and around the city.

She had wanted me to give a demonstration of calligraphy, but since we had no brushes or ink, I decided to ask the students to make their own brushes from found objects around the school.

We were able to gather some yarn, sticks, leaves, feathers, grass, cloth (from an old shirt), glue, and paper from a phone book. I showed the students how to design and secure the brush heads as well.

Paint and paper were also in very short supply, so we worked in groups of 2-3. I asked the students create expressions of a memory or a feeling. They mixed water into left over tempera paint bottles and poured the paint directly unto the paper. Then they used the brushes to move the pigment around.

This was their first experiment with abstract art, and it was very exciting!

Students: Norma Mendez, Monica Contreras, Mario Alcazar, Yarlin Ramirez, Andrea Araya, Christina Rivas, Fransela Melendez, Diana Rodriguez

Friday, May 11, 2007

Alterarte: Mural for Experimental Youth Theater in Liberia

A group of 10-13 youth who live in the small city of Liberia in the Guanalcaste region of Costa Rica are part of this exciting experimental theater group run by visionary Director Jorge Baltodano.

The performer and activist, Guadalupe Urbina had put me in touch with them, and so I went to help them create sets for their next play, which is about violence. Since most of the youth had no prior experience in painting or drawing, we looked at some of Luciano's work and incorporated stencils and graffiti techniques to develop backdrops for the show.

In Guadalupe's words, "They built this theater with their own hands, at the back of this church..."

I was so touched by the passion of these youth for theater, and their incredible skill and devotion.

Breakdancers at CENAC

Performing Graffiti @ Fadau

A mutual friend introduced me to Argentine-Costa Rican urban art virtuoso, Luciano Fevier, with whom I collaborated (and borrowed stencils from) for the performance.