November 29, 2015

10th Annual Jingletown Holiday ArtWalk



Saturday & Sunday 
December 5  & 6 

11:00 a.m. 
to 6:00 p.m.

10th Annual
Jingletown Holiday ArtWalk

I will be showing and selling work during the Jingletown Holiday ArtWalk at the Gray Loft Gallery. The event is sponsored by the Jingletown Arts & Business Community.   

Galleries in the neighborhood will also hold 2nd Friday Art Walk receptions on Friday, December 11, from 6 to 9 PM. These events are free and open to the public.
I am exhibiting my new work, Jtown Evening, in the exhibition, NATURE (re)DEFINED at the Gray Loft Gallery. This is a group show of photography inspired by nature open until December 11, 2015. The photograph utilizes a dye-sublimation process printed on metal.

Styrous® ~ Jtown Evening
dye-sublimation print on metal 

2889 Ford Street, #32
Oakland, CA 94601

Galleries in the neighborhood will also hold 2nd Friday Art Walk receptions on 
Friday, December 11, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
These events are free and open to the public.

The 10th Annual Jingletown Winter Art Walk event will include open studios and neighborhood galleries highlighting the work of outstanding artists who live and/or work in Jingletown.  This unique artist district is situated between the Park and Fruitvale Street bridges bordered by the estuary separating Oakland from the island of Alameda.  There will also be a number of food trucks featuring delicious local products in the neighborhood. 

Styrous® ~ Sunday, November 29, 2015  

November 28, 2015

Five turkeys footnote

Five years ago today, in Barcelona, we attempted to recreate the stunning success of the Thanksgiving event we had staged two days previously (see "5 turkeys ago" link below) with totally disastrous results.   

Two of our friends, Chema, Maria and their daughter, Candela, had not been able to attend the feast so we decided to re-stage it for them.  

Tom and I packed up the food into one of our suitcases and began the trudge on the Metro to their piso (apartment) on Carrer de Sant Lluís in La Gràcia near Parc Güell which was designed by Antoni Gaudí

Carrer de Sant Lluís in La Gràcia, Barcelona
 Google maps

We were WAY late as we walked out of our building on Carme but who was walking up the block towards us? Chema, Maria and Candela, we'd neglected to tell them we were bringing the meal to THEM and they thought it was happening at OUR place. If we'd been on time and had left earlier or if they'd been late, we would have missed each other. We would have been standing in the front of their building and they in front of ours; all of us wondering what was going on. This was the only part of the evening that worked out ok. It went down hill from there. 

We went back up to our studio and after talking the situation over, we decided that as the meal was all packed up already, we'd go back to their place. I can't even remember the reasoning for that. Anyway, we all piled on the Metro and went to their place.

Well, after being on our balcony overlooking Carme for two days in the freezing cold, everything was a mess. The potatoes had frozen solid and turned out lumpy; nothing we did could take the lumps out. The turkey was totally dried out and the lovely gravy Tom had made had turned into cement.  

Both Chema and Maria were extremely polite and kept saying it was delicious but the look in their eyes betrayed them.  

 Styrous® ~ Saturday, November 28, 2015

November 25, 2015

Five turkeys ago, four & a half apples away

photos by Styrous®

In 2010, Tom and I celebrated a glorious Thanksgiving in Barcelona we will never forget!     

I had done that there once before in 2006 with friends from the States who were home sick and wanted to observe the holiday (article on that next year). This time was different for various reasons; the main one being that Tom and I did it for our Catalan friends there in Barcelona who had never experienced our "Day of Feasting". 

It was quite an adventure from the very beginning. I knew it would not be as easy as it is in the States to get the things necessary for the grand dinner so I started the preparations a few weeks earlier. And I was right in so many more ways than I had anticipated. And I loved every single minute I spent doing it!  

My first task was to find a turkey (pavo in Spanish). I regularly shopped at a great poultry shop that Janine had introduced me to in 2006, Aviram Pedro Torán, . . .   

. . . located on a very tiny street, Carrer de les Mamelleres . . . 

. . . in El Raval. 


I would go there to buy eggs mostly and occasionally a chicken carcass from which Tom would make a broth he used for his fantastic meals and soups.

It was a blast to shop there; the owner, Pedro Torán, is a fun kind of guy. I would buy my provisions and joke around with him. As with many Catalans, he has a very deadpan sense of humor.  

When I first asked him about buying a turkey for the dinner; he was astounded at the size I wanted. Here in the States a 25 pound turkey (that converts to about 10 Kilograms) is no big deal. Well, it seems although turkeys are very common in Spain, they are not the gigantic monsters we are accustomed to here. He said he would do his best but would not promise he could find one that size. He did a lot of searching but he finally did find one for me.  

A few days before Thanksgiving I was hurrying on my way to Carrefour and as I passed his shop, there in the front window, beautifully displayed in all its glory with other yummy items, was the turkey he'd found.  

I went in and discovered he was so proud of his turkey he had put it on display in the window. He told me people had been walking by the shop and taking photos of it; so, I had to get a shot as well. I was delighted that it turned out to be great marketing for him.    

The next problem to conquer was cranberries for the sauce: this turned out to be the biggest hurdle. I hadn't realized it before but cranberries are a new world, North America item and was introduced to and only found in northern Europe and northern Asia. I had to learn the Spanish name for them and will never forget it as I had to ask about a thousand times for them; they are impossible to find in Barcelona and I have no idea how many specialty stores, shops and mercados I asked for "arándanos agrios" or "arándanos rojos". I finally found four cans in a boutique import (from the US) shop; I bought them all which totally amused the sales girls in the store as no one in Barcelona EVER eats them. But the good thing was that they were not the canned solid jelly usually found here; they were whole berries!   

An amazing part of the cranberry story is that on the way to the store where I found them I got lost and went up the wrong street. As I was crossing a street I heard my name called out and after looking around I discovered it was one of the guests for the dinner, Marta . . .   

. . . She had gotten off the bus where she NEVER does and bingo, we were face to face. She said she wasn't paying attention and got off the bus by accident. Now, how's that for cosmic destiny?  

The rest of the meal was not a problem; La Boqueria was directly behind the studio (el piso in Catalan) we lived in on Carrer Carme. Every kind of food was available there, well, except for arándanos and un gran gall dindi (a big turkey in Catalan)!      

I picked up the turkey a couple of days before Thanksgiving and with great pride, Pedro turned it over to me. A week or so later, I had a large print made of him with it and gave it to him. When I went in shopping later, I saw it was prominently displayed on the wall.  

It was a beauty weighing in at over 10 kilos. I had to bring it back to the studio through the Raval so I used one of our suitcases that had wheels to transport it the four and a half manzanas (in Barcelona a city block is a "manzana" which means apple; never did figure that one out).  

We invited about 40 people and I didn't want to serve the dinner on paper plates so I went out into the Raval where there are dozens of bazaars, stores that sell every kind of item imaginable. I found some really cool plastic plates with a "cow" pattern and napkins to match and some delightfully gaudy plastic "silver wear". 

We had rented the studio on Carrer Carme in the Raval from Xavi and his wife, Kali, who were the best landlords ever! They had two really sweet kids, Tomás and Rita who is adorable.

We only had a microwave and a hot plate on which to cook so Kali let us cook the turkey as well as the whole meal in their kitchen. Kali ended up helping Tom with the dinner. 

Janine (one of the participants in the 2006 event) made a green bean dish and baked an apple pie . . .  

. . .  she had never baked a pie before, so, this was her maiden voyage. It was super!  

I made the mashed potatoes and I was adamant that there should be enough to go around so, of course, I ended up with a couple of gallons of it after the dinner. There was no room in the fridge so we put them out on the balcony overlooking Carme (the weather was colder than a witch's tit).  

Tom made an haricot dish with shaved almonds. Isabel said they were the best green beans she'd ever eaten!         

Miren helped Tom make an incredible gravy with about 20 lbs. of butter. While Tom was busy with other things, Miren kept stirring it for a bazillion hours and couldn't understand why it wouldn't turn brown until Tom noticed and poured the drippings from the turkey into it. Kali added her touch, a sherry or cognac. Voila! Exquisite gravey!    

The studio was VERY tiny so we had to set up the buffet in the laundry room between Xavi and Kali's quarters and our studio . . .  


. . . with a board covered by an orange cloth on the utility sink as a serving table; we made do as best we could.  

The time came to bring in the Bird . . .  

. . . and the feast began!

Our friends had no experience about how to eat a Thanksgiving dinner so they avoided the beautiful cranberry sauce and gravy Tom had made. All they took was the turkey, the vegetables, potatoes and salad, so, I walked around with the huge bowl of gravy, Janine followed me with the bowl of cranberries and we plopped both down on each plate. When they took a taste, they went ecstatic!  

I'd had a great time the previous couple of weeks putting together a humongous 8 hour compilation of American, Catalan and Spanish music especially for the evening.  

I had NEVER seen a Catalan overeat before but that night, when the feast was finished, everyone was laying around, stuffed and wiped out; there were many groans and a lot of belts loosened (sound familiar?).  

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Pedro Torán
Aviram Pedro Torán
Alimentación Aves
C/Ramalleres, 14
08001 Barcelona
Phone:+34 933 17 36 90

Viewfinder links:    

Five turkeys footnote     

Styrous® ~ Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 25, 2015  

November 24, 2015

Tracey Snelling ~ One Thousand Shacks opening reception

photo by Styrous®

Last Friday I attended the opening reception for One Thousand Shacks, which is the latest multimedia installation of Tracey Snelling. It was mind-blowing as well as a lot of fun from the moment you entered the space which belongs to Idan Levin. At the entrance to the space is a vintage, pink and white camper. Ummm . . . 

 entrance to the exhibition
photo by Styrous®

Levin had three of his works on display as well. 

Idan Levin ~ Digital Photo-Composites
photo by Styrous®

Says Levin of his work: 
“‘My subjects are often normal, everyday places that are made unique through access, vantage point, and time. Exposing places in unusual ways results in an intimate view which penetrates into private or exclusive areas. The images evoke the experience of sweeping movement through space, often translating to the progression of projects or events moving through time, i.e. ‘life in the fast lane’ as opposed to ‘cross-town traffic’.”

Also showing with Snelling and Levin was Sharaine Bell, a graduate of The San Francisco Art Institute. Her work is based on tragic events, the latest work the tsunami event in 2011. I remember watching this happen live on network broadcast. I tried to get a shot of her work but none of them turned out. I will have to go back and try again. It's pretty powerful work. Bell says . . .
“The increasing imbalance between civilization and nature drives me to explore the force of nature’s impact on manmade structures. These images are a reflection of my fixation on the seemingly effortless erasure of structures from a particular space. There is recognition of the stillness in the moments after total devastation and the physical and emotional void that is left in the wake of a disaster.

The compositions are meant to communicate nature’s successful attempt to assert its inherent randomness despite our increasingly structured encasement. They are commentaries on the disruption and resilience of natural systems.”

John Wood is in the background
photo by Styrous®

Tracey Snelling statement
"Largely due to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, between 1990 and 2015 the amount of people living in extreme poverty has been reduced by half. Yet with over 1.5 billion people still living in extreme poverty, a 2030 goal has been set to free the world from extreme poverty and hunger. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that while extreme poverty continues to be one of the main challenges of our time, and is a major concern of the international community, ending this scourge will require the combined efforts of governments, society, organizations, and the private sector."

photo by Styrous®

Powerful work, Guys!

Styrous® ~ Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November 22, 2015

Volar per sobre de Barcelona (when a dream comes true)

photos by Styrous®

Five years ago today, I had one of my dreams about Barcelona realized. When I first got there in June, I had seen the beautiful building on the right and thought to myself that the view from the top of it must be spectacular.  

It is the building where the Institut del Paisatge Urba i la Qualitat de Vida (Institute of Urban Landscape and Quality of Life) is located. My goodness! Ok, that means, "Protecting, maintaining and improving landscape values that shape Barcelona's image, and ensuring the orderly and rational use of the urban landscape, as a decisive tool for conserving the environment." The institute promotes Barcelona and its urban development model as a benchmark for all the world's cities.  

I discovered that Xavi, the man from whom we rented our studio on Carme, had his offices in the building and he took me there and allowed me to go on the observation deck that surrounds the top floor. My dream of five months previously was brought to life and I was right; the 360º view is astonishing.   

(click on any image to see slideshow)


Moltes gràcies, Xavi!

volar per sobre de Barcelona
(flying over Barcelona) 

Institut del Paisatge Urba i la Qualitat de Vida
Address - location:
Av. Drassanes, 6-8 pl.20
08001 Barcelona
Tel.: 93 256 25 25

Volar Part 2    

Styrous® ~ Sunday, November 22, 2015