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Let’s All Go to Berlin

READY, SET, GO

Berlin transit map

Train pulling in at Turmstrasse

Red man = stop!

Green man = go!

Kotbusser Tor station

Kirfurstenstrasse

Sky and Alicia on the U-Bahn

Tony and Leah on the U-Bahn

Mirror shot

GOLDEN DAYS OF FALL

Victory column

Tony and Leah at a cafe

Dortmunderstrasse

Alicia and Leah at a cafe

Purple turban lady

boat cleaners on the Spree

Empty bottles

Yellow flowers

Cafe V's sidewalk

Cafe V's yellow tree

Cafe V's breakfast

Green and red ivy street

Red vines

ART IS INEVITABLE AND UNAVOIDABLE

Fist

Mural

cannibalism?

I <3 Berlin

Llamas

Hungry mural

Peace stencil

Lounging sculpture

Apple tree

Apple tree - closer inspection

Orange leaves over the Wall

Buy your happiness

Plague mask graffiti

They all love you

Love art mural

Tony at Berlin MOMA

Ok! stencil

THEN IT GOT COLD

Socks purchased

Sky's wardrobe

Guy with bikes

Friedrichstrasse

Flowers and coffee

MAKING WARM THINGS

Yarn store

Yarn for sale

Leah crocheting

JUST LOOKING: TURKISH MARKET – FLEA MARKET – SECOND HAND

Tony did not buy this hat

1981 plaque

funky interior

Canal behind the Turkish market

Turkish market

Flowers for sale

Flea market food court

REMNANTS AND REMEMBRANCES OF THE PAST

Jewish History Museum

Thumbs up

Small people - small things
Terrier on the Wall

Drinking coffee at the Wall
Checkpoint Charlie

You are leaving the American Sector

More walls to tear down

Wireframe church

Public art

Holocaust Memorial - vertical

Holocaust Memorial - sky

Holocaust Memorial - stairs

DIAMOND ROAD SHOW

Diamond Road Show

Diamond Road Show - projector setup

Diamond Road Show - red

FAREWELL, SISTERS

The Four

AUF WIEDERSEHEN, BERLIN

Brandenburg Gate - Festival of Lights

19
Nov 2012
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Germany

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Autumn Arrives in Prague

After almost two terrific weeks in Budapest, Leah and Sky came with us to Prague and we spent our time doing our usual travel habits of wandering the city, having coffee in cafes, eating too many pastries, and taking a million photos.  We also visited a lot of second hand stores because fall was solidly upon us and most of our clothes were for summer weather.

Our Lady of Tyn

Wenceslas Square

St. James Basilica

beehive

Astronomical Clock

old vines

Basilica of St. Peter and Paul

Basilica of St. Peter and Paul - interior

Vyšehrad Cemetery

feeding swans

Leah and Sky

Swans from above

waterfront afternoon

Wallenstein Garden from afar

Wallenstein Garden

Tony at the Lennon Wall

Lennon Wall

Charles Bridge

Dancing House

Beautiful, right?  Prague had plenty of the unconventional, too.

Street performers advertising for a brand of paint.

little green men

The best one man band we’ve ever seen.

One man band

Bizarre art.

science plaque

guns

Shark - Saddam

ballerina on the wall

Giant babies

Familiar looking license plates at the flea market.

license plates

Snowboarding at the flea market.

snowboard hill

And the Infant of Prague – a baby Jesus statue with a whole wardrobe of elaborately embroidered gowns.

Infant of Prague

Buy your own replica for home!

Infant of Prague gift shop

We also found an Indian cafeteria style restaurant that had wonderful food and sold whatever they had left at a 50% discount if you arrived an hour before closing.  We ate there… a lot.

Leah and Sky

18
Nov 2012
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Czech Republic

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Istanbul: Pattern, Texture, Color

Karabatak Karaköy Cafe
Karabatak Karaköy Cafe

Cream rug
Antique rug, Türk-Islam Eserleri Müzesi

Wood panel
Minbar detail, Türk-Islam Eserleri Müzesi

Cream rug
Antique rug, Türk-Islam Eserleri Müzesi

Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque

Navy rug pattern
Antique rug, Türk-Islam Eserleri Müzesi

Tiny tiles on building exterior
Tiny tiles on building exterior, Galata

Wood panel with rose detail
Minbar detail, Türk-Islam Eserleri Müzesi

Süleymaniye Mosque
Süleymaniye Mosque

Blue Mosque perimeter ceiling
Perimeter ceiling, Blue Mosque

Old tile on Haydarpaşa ferry terminal
Haydarpaşa ferry terminal

Hagia Sofia/Aya Sofya
Aya Sofya

27
Sep 2012
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Turkey

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Cigarettes: mandatory. Respirator: optional.

(Click here for the video.)

Between a half day in a tattoo studio (more on that soon) and eating some wonderful buckwheat crepes with our friend Sharla, we just happened to walk through the square at Place du Capitole where Toulouse Graffiti Jam 3 had just started. Half of the square was transformed into a maze of plywood walls with paintings in-progress by over 30 artists, while a live DJ spun French hip-hop and timely tributes to Beastie Boy MCA, who had passed away less than a week earlier. Most of the artists were native to Toulouse and Paris, while others came from UK, Spain, Italy, and even Atlanta and LA.

Graffiti seems to be a reoccurring theme, even back to our first day in Reykjavik. It continued in Glasgow where I thought to myself, “…can’t tell if there is a lot of decent street art here, or if I’m just from the midwest and don’t know whats normal.” In Paris, I spotted an Invader tile mosaic strategically placed next to one of Hector Guimard’s Metro station entrances. The artist who tattooed me in Madrid (… also more on that soon) started sneaking out to spray paint when he was 13, and even had plans right after my appointment to go paint some walls with friends who were in town from northern Europe.

I was vaguely familiar with a couple of the French artists at the Toulouse event, which made it exceptionally cool to just happen across giant pieces of their work in public.

The first was a giant floating one-eyed head by Leopold Geb. I recognized his style from seeing a few of his drawings online. When I searched around enough to find out his name, his tumblr linked to an artist I had met with earlier that day.

Then there was a piece by Vincent Abadie Hafez, also known as Zepha. Zepha’s work is composed with broad-stroked and impeccably (impossibly) balanced writing, influenced by arabic calligraphy. That writing was instantly recognizable in giant gold brush strokes amidst darker layers. I loved it enough to get a decent photo, not even realizing it was actually unfinished. When we walked through again a couple days later, it was covered in an almost-opaque red except where he had encouraged random viewers to rub it away with their hands. This revealed an under-painted circle of lettering he had put down beforehand, which I think told an interesting story about this type of art.

Graffiti has roots in defacement. And the defacement side of graffiti is sadly still kicking. The territorial pissings of taggers exist in every city we’ve been in. It defaced legitimate street art in Reykjavik. Our first view of the Eiffel Tower was through the harshly scratched-up glass of a Paris Metro car. The lift room for the tower at Sagrada Familia was filled with carvings of every kid who ever had to stand in line. At Vardzia, the nearly thousand year old frescos outside the tiny cave-church are barely out of reach, but the feet of saints and angels are almost erased by names and pledges of young love.

To say the graffiti at this event is something completely different is an overstatement. Street art culture has evolved to form a collective conscience that keeps most of it on dilapidated buildings and other urban decay. It’s also become respected enough as medium that artists like Geb and Zepha now display their work in galleries. Another artist that was there, TOTEM2, does commissions for advertisement murals. But none of them honed their talent on municipal plywood in this much sunlight. They retain their credibility as street artists because they still get out at night and make art in the street.

Maybe it’s getting hard to use the word “defacement” any more when so many of those surfaces are being improved. But Zepha brought that term full circle in Toulouse, where the finished product of his work would only be fully realized through literal defacement by the public– ironically, the only defacement taking place at a graffiti exhibition. He described it on his site as “Calligraphic text and then covered… To be newly discovered by curious hands.”

-T

15
Jun 2012
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France

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Toulouse Miscellany

A little collection of photos from Toulouse. A view of the city from Sharla’s semi-supersecret location, the Pont Neuf at night, all the used Converse your heart desires (every vintage and second-hand shop had piles of them), delicious food, political stickers on the street (we were there a few days after President Hollande was elected).

The last photo is a stunning culinary find from a subway stop convenience store for the price of just a few Euros. Back home, these things grow wild and are difficult to find even if you know what you’re doing. If you’d rather have someone else do all the hard work for you, not very affordable. Alicia rehydrated them and cooked them for dinner. Yum!

14
Jun 2012
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France

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Parc Güell

We visited Antoni Gaudi’s Parc Güell one evening. We started at the top of a very large hill (a series of escalators were very helpful in getting us there) and watched the sun set, then wound our way down to the main terrace. It was a fun end to a long day.

05
Jun 2012
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Spain

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Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família was one of the places we knew we had to visit this year, even before we had any sort of an idea where were going or when. After a good night’s sleep, we headed down to the center of the city and planned to do nothing else that day.

It was gorgeous. We spent the entire afternoon with our necks craned back, staring at the column forest, the impossibly complex facades, and the tiny details of the relief carvings in the doors.

Sagrada Família has been under construction since 1882 and is scheduled to be completed in 2026. We’re thinking it would be worth a trip back to see it.

02
Jun 2012
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Spain

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Reykjavik Street Art

We loved the street art that was all over the city. The scale and quality of many pieces suggest they are commissioned, but others were obviously gifted to the city, unrequested. Here is an older article from 2008.

24
Apr 2012
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Iceland

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