Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The prodigal poster: with good excuse

Hello all--

I have been conspicuously absent from the posts lately due to a project I have been working on in Puerto Viejo. Our current hostel, Rockin'Js, is a pretty incredible joint. This place is set up to handle the masses with dozens of comfortable hammocks, dozens of tents, spaces to do your own camping, as well as private rooms. There is a treehouse commons with tv, a restaurant and bar, and the entire compound ('cause that's really what this is) is strategically studded with tiled stalls and cold water showers. There is even a community kitchen. To boot, the entire place is covered from roof to floor with tile mosaics. It is brilliant. Beautiful, easy to clean, and by offering guests the opportunity to create their own murals, the owner "J" gets a bunch of free art and labor while everyone else gets to leave their mark. The entire place is just a stone's throw from a sliver of beach that gives way to a portion of turbulent Carribbean reef that produces La Salsa Brava.

Here are the dorms. We splurged to stay in tents for the storage, but I have enjoyed a few nights here listening to the surf pound and day dreaming.

The commons

Just one of the myriad mosaic walkways

Anyhow, after J approached me to do a mosaic I got to thinking. I thought of one of my favorite pictures of my fiancé Monine, and then made the decision to try her face. I went to the internet cafe, printed out her picture and bought a few more sheets of blank paper and went to the hostel bar to brainstorm. I grabbed some charcoal from the bonfire pit and started sketching her face and blocking out colors over drinks. The next day I picked out tiles and a suitable section of wall and started transferring my sketch. The rest of the time was devoted to breaking dozens of tiles, hand carving some that were stubborn, and learning how to use the cement and grout.

Monine

In all it took about 40 hours, with close to a quarter of that time working by the light of my headlamp. I have lived an entire lifetime in it. I went through scrapes, and cuts, and cracking fingers from cement for about 6-8 hours a day. During the moments I was working on this, I realized I was living a statement... I was loving Monine through my hands and out through my fingertips. It is the closest I've come to touching her in weeks. It has taught me a lot of compassion for myself and my work.

I used cut glass for the nose ring

It was also meditation for me. I had nothing to do but listen to the ocean, sleep in a hammock, and work... And I worked baby. I worked through fear, self-loathing, hope, lust, appraisal, form, frustration, love, loneliness, and joy. She was with me. The only tools I used for the majority of the time were a pocket leatherman and a round river stone.

Whew! 40 hours and uncountable beers later

I have hated and loved this thing several times in quick succession, so I don't know what I think of it... it changes with my mood. It is a living entity and I will feel a slight pang leaving it to time and space. It has been a satisfying week though. I spent hours on little details, so that when you see it in real life it jumps out at you.

The inspiration for the piece

My contribution to the mosaic farm here at Rockin' Js. Cash got a little taste of the action with me the last night. He helped me by scrubbing and polishing grout until about midnight. Thanks Cash!

So now that this is done, it is time to get work in Panama City. Here's to work and play, to friends and lovers, and to rambling on down the road for another day.

Enjoy

Another day in Paradise

The boys: cue music

5 comments:

Theo said...

I think the mosaic is pretty cool. Looks like a lot of work.

Do all these pictures mean you guys got a new camera?

TryingNotToBurnUpWithEnvy said...

I'm not sure you're allowed to have as much fun as you're having, but I'm pretty sure that if you *are* having that much fun it's not fair to be telling the rest of us!

-- Envious at Compli

Anonymous said...

Your mosaic is absolutely gorgeous and how lovely you are for creating this in awe of your woman. I think that it is a work of art. I was researching mosaics and this came up and totally inspired me. The artistic process is so interesting in that we go through so many emotions/fears/desires but I want you to know that you did great. Keep up the good work :)

Anonymous said...

Your mosaic is absolutely gorgeous and how lovely you are for creating this in awe of your woman. I think that it is a work of art. I was researching mosaics and this came up and totally inspired me. The artistic process is so interesting in that we go through so many emotions/fears/desires but I want you to know that you did great. Keep up the good work :)

Mrs.Pye said...
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