Goodbye Granada

This year was very special for me because I spent 8 months working in the south of Spain in a small city called Granada. I moved there because of Antonio Banderas. Well, kind of. I actually worked as an Animator on a film he is producing called ‘Justin And The Knights Of Valour’ due out next summer (you can see a preview of the movie here). My coworkers were from Spain, France, Italy and even Denmark. I was the only native-English speaker on the crew, but I never felt left out. People were so warm, friendly and accepting of me, so I felt like I always had a place in my new adopted country (where I couldn’t understand the language).  I will never forget the kindness and generosity that was shown towards me, especially when I needed it most.

Granada itself is a wonderful little city. It is enriched in history that varies from Moorish (the Alhambra and the ‘Albaycin’ neighbourhood) to Spanish. Walking in the Albaycin is like going back in time as you can still see Arabic shaped doorways and mosaic patterned tiles on the walls. Flamenco originated in this area, so it is a very special place. And for those who don’t know, ‘Granada’ means ‘Pomegranate’ in Spanish, which is considered a sacred fruit in many cultures. (You can see more pics of Granada in my previous post here.)

I have a lot of memories that I take with me from my time there. Some memories include: swimming in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time, experiencing a sorching summer with a daily average of 40C (104F), celebrating Spain’s Euro Cup championship, partying until the sun comes up (and sometimes even later), and rescuing ‘Pumpkin’ a tiny street kitten (who was adopted by a lovely Spanish couple).

When you live in a different country, you tend to adapt to your surroundings.  So, I adopted a Spanish way of life… I slowed down. I learned to relax. I learned to take my time. I learned how to be happy with having very little. I pushed my personal boundaries, I made mistakes, and I learned a lot about myself. This was the first time in my life where I can actually say that I felt truly relaxed, and truly happy with who I am.  I made lots of new friends that made my time here unforgettable, and I learned how to love again.  Granada was a very meaningful experience for me, and one that will be in my heart forever.

Drawings: Café Sketches

I bring my sketchbook everywhere I go just incase I stop for a cup of coffee and get the inspiration to draw.  Here are some café sketches I’ve done in the past couple of weeks:

[Granada, Oct 2012]

[Granada, Oct 2012]

[Munich, Oct 2012]

Press: Plush Toys book

I am delighted to announce that my plush work is featured in the new book ‘Plush Toys’! I have a few full page spreads that show photos of my plush deer, plush dolls, and sketches. It’s very exciting to see my personal artwork published in a book that can be bought in a store — wow!

The book was published by the Barcelona-based publishing house ‘Monsa‘, who creates some of the coolest art books. It’s truly amazing to be a part of this book (especially with TADO on the cover, omg)! I’m not sure how worldwide their distribution is, but they have an online bookshop if you require immediate artistic inspiration. 😉  If you would like to see more of my plush work, please click here.

Urban Vinyl: Android custom ‘Flow’

Flow is an Android custom who was commissioned by an Android collector. The collector allowed me to have free-range of whatever I wanted to do with this custom. As an artist, having free-range is wonderful, however I wanted to create something with a specific theme. I wanted it to have meaning. I named this custom ‘flow’ and gave him a water theme, and I will explain why….

As my time here in Spain is coming to an end (I finished my 8-month contract last week), I thought about my experiences and what has lead me to this moment. My career choice is different than the average person because I don’t know what country I’ll be living in next year, where I’ll be working, or who I will meet. It can be very stressful for someone who is used to (and relies on) stability. As much as it is very exciting, it takes time to get used to the rhythm of this lifestyle. There are blissful moments and moments when I feel like my world is caving in. I have learned a lot of things, but one of the best lessons I’ve learned is it is important to be like water and go with the flow. Life will present many obstacles, challenges and also opportunities. It is important to fight for what you want, but it is equally as important to let things go, and see what surprises life has in store.

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

— Bruce Lee

Photos: Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon was once one of the richest empires during the Age Of Discovery, and it is one of the oldest cities in Europe — even older than London, Paris and Rome! Today Portugal isn’t as financially grand as it once used to be, however a lot of signs of their rich past still remain with monuments, palaces and cathedrals (in the Manueline style — carved stone that looks like a nautical styled twisted & knotted rope from a ship). Lisbon felt more laid back than Spain (if that’s possible), with delicious food, and beautiful weather.