Hand_Painted_Sign_Rotulo_Pam_Bristow

I am working on a design project at the moment that has me wrapped up in Mexican roadside iconography. As a Latin American myself who has traveled pretty extensively throughout Central America and the Carribean, what stands out the most from my tropical roadtrips are the classic handpainted signs – Rotulos – that are sadly starting to be replaces by modern, inexpensive computer printing. Until recently, most signs in these third world countries, even corporate ads for Coca-Cola and Corona, were painted by hand.  It’s a business that has thrives in some parts of the world for hundreds of years…

I read an article recently about the fading trade, that is still hanging on in many parts of Mexico. According to the author…

A Se Vende or Se Renta (“For Sale” or “For Rent”) sign with an accompanying phone number can be painted on your façade for under $200 pesos (less than $20 US). This includes materials and the meticulous lettering styles that the artist in question learned at a special school in Mexico City. Hand-drawn signs are cheaper, according to the painter, but many Mexicans prefer to use the more modern services as they think somehow they must look better.

Really?  Um.  Nah.

Hand_Painted_Sign_2_Pam_BristowRotulos_Pam_Bristow

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I am obsessed with Desiree Dolron‘s eerily intimate portraits of Cuban life. Her photographs of classrooms, kitchens, and sitting rooms are Vermeeresque, dark but angelically lit, Dutch Master-style. The beautiful series, titled Te Di Todos Mis Sueños (I Gave You all my Dreams) is just one more reason for me to get back to the motherland.

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To take my mind off Matt in Paris (during Thanksgiving!) I’m taking imaginary trips to some other capital cities. First off, Brasília, the spectacular mid-century seat of Brazil. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was planned and developed in 1956 with modern design diety Oscar Niemeyer as the principal architect. The city looks like Mies, Saarinen, Le Corbusier, Eames, and Breuer all took a few more classes and vomited all over a two thousand square mile swath of land.

At the age of 100, Neimeyer is the last living modernist design legend.  The centenarian has been invited by president of Angola to design a new capital city for his country, four times the size of Brasilia. In a recent interview Neimeyer laughs, “Four times the size of Brasilia? So it could take four times as long -That’s 16 years!” If he took the commission he would be 115 years old at the time of its inauguration.

These days Neimeyer is apparently happy to sit around and keep in touch with old friends including Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. (He’s a member of the Brazilian Communist Party since 1945, and was presented with the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963.)

Brasília became the capital of Brazil in 1960 and is the seat of all three branches of the Brazilian government.

An awesome article on Neimeyer HERE.  More pics after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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So Matt is in Paris with his friend Steve working on a brilliant public art project entitled L’Attraction de la Boue. I am missing him terribly but the sheer genius of what he’s doing gives me solace when I think of him strolling amongst falling leaves and beautiful French girls in the most romantic city on the planet. Sort of.

An official bit about the project:

Steve Powers (aka ESPO) designed raincoats for Canal Street flyer touts in 2006 and rock stars and parking lot attendants in 2007. In honor of World Aids Day 2008, he and Matt Goias reach out to the ultimate nexus of entertainment and street life; Parisian Prostitutes. It’s a project Mr. Goias titled, “L’Attraction De La Boue” or the “Pull Of The Mud”, after a term the French use to describe the desire to patronize working girls.

In the week leading up to World Aids Day on December 1st, Mr. Powers and Mr. Goias will design and distribute raincoats to the street workers in the red light districts of Paris as a functioning metaphor of the protection we as a society should extend to those most at risk. Powers said of the project, “We strive to protect you from the elements in high fashion and function, from the slick yellow vinyl shell to the latex condoms in the pockets. It’s the most we can do.”

As a commemorative token from “L’Attraction De La Boue”, Goias has produced a limited run of custom hotel key cards that echo our yearning for escape and the search for physical and psychological safety. Led by the hospitality industry’s promise of manufactured comfort, the cards are symbolic of the ways we look for emotional shelter. They act as both a transient and a transformational item that helps unlock (and contain) a separate reality.

A limited edition run of 200 hotel keys will be signed by Matt and Steve and on sale at the inimitable Colette beginning December 1.

That’s my boy.

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lattractiondelaboue-front

 

So Matt is in Paris with his friend Steve working on a brilliant public art project entitled L’Attraction de la Boue. I am missing him terribly but the sheer genius of what he’s doing gives me solace when I think of him strolling amongst falling leaves and beautiful French girls in the most romantic city on the planet. Sort of.

An official bit about the project:

Steve Powers (aka ESPO) designed raincoats for Canal Street flyer touts in 2006 and rock stars and parking lot attendants in 2007. In honor of World Aids Day 2008, he and Matt Goias reach out to the ultimate nexus of entertainment and street life; Parisian Prostitutes. It’s a project Mr. Goias titled, “L’Attraction De La Boue” or the “Pull Of The Mud”, after a term the French use to describe the desire to patronize working girls.

In the week leading up to World Aids Day on December 1st, Mr. Powers and Mr. Goias will design and distribute raincoats to the street workers in the red light districts of Paris as a functioning metaphor of the protection we as a society should extend to those most at risk. Powers said of the project, “We strive to protect you from the elements in high fashion and function, from the slick yellow vinyl shell to the latex condoms in the pockets. It’s the most we can do.”

As a commemorative token from “L’Attraction De La Boue”, Goias has produced a limited run of custom hotel key cards that echo our yearning for escape and the search for physical and psychological safety. Led by the hospitality industry’s promise of manufactured comfort, the cards are symbolic of the ways we look for emotional shelter. They act as both a transient and a transformational item that helps unlock (and contain) a separate reality.

A limited edition run of 200 hotel keys will be signed by Matt and Steve and on sale at the inimitable Colette beginning December 1.

That’s my boy.

lattractiondelaboue-1

Read about this project that me and Steve are doing in Paris…

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Air Strip

10/28/2008

One of my first pieces, titled Hot Wings, was on Braniff, the best airline ever to grace the skies. If you doubt it, check out this vintage commercials from the late 60’s.