As we said before it’s been quite a start to the new year. I’m going to leave the artists to tell their stories…
Ripo: I took a few days off for myself to go visit a friend of mine running a magazine, Atypica in another one of the major cities in Argentina, Rosario. It was a nice bit of time off and to get to know another part of the country, and leave a bit of new year’s painting there as well (as you can see above), but the heat was nearly unbearable and I had a very close call while there. The first night I spent there at my friend’s house I was woken up to a closet half ablaze (thanks to a forgotten candle left burning) and dangerously close to spreading quickly. Thankfully we managed to put it out without it going out of control and causing any extensive damage to us or to the house, but it certainly made me stop and think about how this year is going to shape up. While traveling, living in some uncertain situations, it can all change pretty damn quickly…
But that wasn’t the end of it. The same afternoon after the fire while working online it began to rain, but not just rain, this turned into apocalyptic hail storm with rocks of ice pounding down for nearly 30 minutes with insane winds sending them nearly horizontal. I’ve only seen something like this once before in my life, but after the fire the previous morning and now this my head was kind of twisted. But living scared is bullshit and I want to know that if I go tomorrow at least I enjoyed and took advantage of as many moments in my life as possible. That’s what traveling like this is about for me and what following my art is about. Live Life.
I’m not going to go on because I wasn’t the only one with a close calls. I’ll let Above tell you his story…
I’m not sure where to start..? maybe to clear my throat I’ll start off with FUCK YOU THIEVES!
The day after New Years fellow friend and artist El Tono (www.eltono.com/blog) and I were painting together in an area called Villa Urquiza in Buenos Aires. This area has many large walls and open spaces to paint. Many of our local friends have painted this area numerous times over the years and have not had any negative experiences. El Tono and I arrived at the wall (see photo below) around 2 in the afternoon. With the summer in full swing here the sun was intense making painting rather difficult. After painting for almost an hour two young kids suddenly turn the corner of the building, show each El Tono and me their Guns that each had tucked in their pants and demand our cameras from us (in broad day light)! El Tono and I were much older than these two young punks, but we were being robbed at Gunpoint in an area we were not all that familiar with.
As a traveling Artist your camera is one of your best friends and most important asset to document all the hard work and numerable experiences from different countries you encounter. The two thieves didn’t actually see my camera but assumed I had one and kept insisting that I give them my camera. I kept telling them I didn’t have a camera and one thief was telling El Tono in Spanish “see your friend here, he’s dead. I’m going to kill your friend if he doesn’t give us his camera!” I was just as firm in not giving them my camera as they were in demanding it from me….until the thief pulled out his gun and pointed it at me.
Maybe some of your reading this now have had a similar experience or can imagine what thoughts were going thru my head at this point. I was thinking about what was important to me in my life. My security, but just as well my artworks and integrity. Maybe I was brave, or just flat out naive but what is important in life to me is my artwork and photos from past experiences from different countries. I was ready to defend my passion up until the Gun was pointed at my body and felt unsafe. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again that life is “Beautifully Ugly”. Life can change at any point and what is important is to live it as much as possible while you can because there is no security in knowing when something like this could happen.
After handing over my camera to the thieves both El Tono and I were then told to stand next to the wall as our hands were then cuffed with plastic wire by the two kids. Sitting there with our hands cuffed the thieves told us to look at the wall and not to turn around or they would shoot us. 15 seconds later we turned around and the two thieves were gone.
Life is a learning experience and is filled with puzzling situations and outcomes. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise, or just being at the right place, but at the wrong time? The “why” questions perhaps will never be answered but one thing is for sure Anger is a strong and nasty emotion to have. When Anger is held on to for long periods of time it can and will decay a person and their spirit.It’s been a week now since I was robbed at Gunpoint by 2 thieves and up until these past days the Anger was getting the best of me. Time heals as well as a better perspective on life and what is important in it. I have come to terms with this situation and I’m more optimistic about 2008 and all of the great experiences and art that will come out of it! 2008 Full Fucking Speed Ahead! _ABOVE.
Above: The thieves were only interested in our cameras and money. They succeeded in getting both but overlooked our paint. Only minutes after being robbed in literally the exact same spot I painted this on the wall.El Tono’s piece was 1/2 done as you can see. (Photo courtesy of El Tono’s telephone that didn’t get robbed!)