This is one of my new favorite restaurants! I seriously haven't had such good food in a while. Everything I tasted was better than the last.
My aunt came to NY to visit my cousin and we all went out to dinner in Carroll Gardens. And guess what! They had paper on the tables! I was intrigued by the glassware on the table, so that was my subject for the evening.
My dad came to visit me in New York and took me and my boyfriend out to dinner in Brooklyn. It was the first time he was going to really spend some time with my boyfriend so I was a little nervous but mostly really excited (my two favorite men and delicious food!).
We went to Flatbush Farm, where I usually sit at the bar and order the Mo' Stomy cocktail and eat from the bar menu. But you know, you gotta make it more comfortable for the 'rents, so we sat in the dining room. And what do you know! They have paper on the tables! And what else do you know! There's a beautiful insect wing lying on the table and the candle light is reflecting off of it. I had to use it somehow.
I ended up drawing an insect to go with this pretty wing, then it developed into insect sex. Totally appropriate for the occasion, yes? Yes.
One night I while I was reflecting on adventure, I thought about what I would have wanted to be if I were a little boy. When I was little I wanted to be all the typical girly things; a princess, ballerina, mermaid...but some of my other dreams were not typical. I wanted to ride a hot air balloon, be a stand up comic, a cartoonist, and an obstetrician. But none of these things were dangerous, daring, or the stuff of legend. So I thought I should explore that a little more.
It usually takes me a few weeks to design a papel picado piece, but this triptych was cranked out in one night. It just flowed out of me as if these childhood fantasies that were never verbalized finally had their moment to shine. And actually now as an adult, I totally want to be all three of these things.
So here they are, my pirate, cowboy, and astronaut adventures:
Although I think I might have a heart attack if I went into outer space and saw the planet earth as a distant rock, the idea of exploring the universe gives me a nerd-gasm.
I have a particular affinity with stories of cowboys after growing up in New Mexico. Billy the Kid totally fascinated me. The allure for me lies in sleeping under the stars every night which is so romantic, but also being a good marksman and on the wrong side of the law; doing your own thing. Paul Newman and Robert Redford as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid...hawt.
And of course after PIrates of the Caribbean came out, who doesn't want to be a sexy pirate like Jack Sparrow? Same idea as the cowboy: going where you want, taking what you want, and being smack in the middle of the elements. And you'd get a rad tan and drink a lot of rum.
So a friend of mine has commissioned a piece for his new living room in Fort Green, Brooklyn. He chose an image that he originally wanted as a tattoo but he knew he'd never actually get...a hot air balloon with an anchor hanging from the basket. It's actually an intriguing concept and I think I can get in some really nice detail with the balloon, wicker basket and clouds. So I'm making a large (24 x 30in) piece for him with an elaborate frame like I usually do, probably layered paper in three colors.
This is the rough sketch. After meeting with him we decided to change a few things, but this gives you an idea of where we're going with it. I think it will turn out nicely once it's done. The trouble is actually finishing it!
I'm getting some supplies ready to go to a collage workshop and what do I find amongst my pictures? This picture of an embroidery piece of what looks to me like an embroidered Latina or African American woman. She definitely looks urban, with a 'fro and gold hoop earrings, blue eyeshadow, and stars and expressive lines surrounding her head. I remember cutting this image out of a magazine years and years ago. I wish I had kept the rest of the image and knew who the artist was.
It remains a mystery. But it's pretty funny that I found this right after trying my hand at embroidery for the first time just this week.
Whenever I go to a restaurant that uses butcher paper to cover the table, I can't resist drawing on it. It probably seems childish to onlookers, but there's no way I'm getting up from that table without leaving my mark on it.
The other night I went to see the improv duo TJ and Dave. Not only were they hilarious, they described some unforgettable visual images that were stuck in my head upon leaving...one being an eagle carrying an orangutan. I forget what the context was, but when one of them described this occurring, the other asked, "But why?".
So here's my interpretation of that scenario at the bar later that night.
Clearly I've never drawn an eagle or an orangutan before. The eagle looks more like a chicken and the orangutan looks more like Chewbacca
So, TJ and Dave, if you are out there, here is my answer to your question, "But why?" An eagle would carry away an orangutan because they're in outer space, where there are no rules.
Yes, it's true! I've returned to my blog!
Lately I've been feeling the itch to try new mediums, so I took an embroidery workshop just to see what would happen. I always love crafts, and this class was craftacular! About a half hour into the workshop we began stitching our names, and I could not wipe the grin off of my face! It's true what they say, embroidery is relaxing. I felt silly for being so giddy with excitement. After all, I was sitting still in a chair crouching over my work, but inside I felt like I was surfing a huge wave! After the workshop I went straight home to practice what I had learned. Here is the piece of fabric I worked on:
As you can see from the green quote, I've been listening non-stop to Kanye West and JAY Z's album Watch the Throne.
I like this piece because you can see my progress, from learning my first stitches to text and then the eye, over the course of the day. I didn't draw anything out before stitching, it's all free hand.
They way in which I approached embroidery is similar to how I approach my papel picado. They are both labeled "crafts" but they are nonetheless vehicles for creative expression, and I love the contrast of a "feminine" art form and a bold, unapologetic statement. I definitely want to explore this further.
And if you want to see some real expert, witty, beautiful embroidery, check out my friend Cristy Davies! Some day all my linens will be original Davies pieces :)
Kai Margarida-Ramírez is an artist, specializing in paper cutting and embroidery. She is based in Brooklyn, New York, and is getting her MFA in Fine Arts at Parsons the New School for Design (hence her sporadic blogging since 2012).
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