Sky Is The Limit – A Dream Ride Salar de Uyuni

When I was a kid, I remember looking through a plane window and wishing so strongly that I could just go and run in those puffy clouds. The idea seemed very feasible. Well, it never happened, and I got used to the thought that sky was the limit, which meant that there was no way on earth to reach to the sky. Yet nature astonished me again. There was a 6,500 miles stretch of salt flats in Bolivia called Salar de Uyuni.

Sky Is The Limit
Painting – Acrylic on Canvas

Few times a year during the rainy season, small amounts of water flood the plain, making it the world’s most perfect mirror. In fact, so perfect that NASA uses its surface to calibrate satellite orbits.

Chasing the Pink
Painting – Acrylic on Canvas

Looking through endless photos, where this amazing natural phenomenon made it appear like people were floating effortlessly in between the clouds, made me remember my childhood airplane dreaming. But also, it reminded me of that feeling on the bicycle, when you are going for a long ride and completely zone out at some point. It seems, sometimes, that the surrounding scenery blends altogether and all you see is the sky and a road that disappears in a skyline.

Yaroslav Popovytch in the Pink Desert
Painting – Acrylic on Canvas

Then, I imagined a dream ride in Salar de Uyuni. The whole peloton that only knows one way: straight ahead. The concept of a dream, that became an obsessive idea, over which one loses sleep, visually combined road cycling and the Bolivian salt flat phenomenon in my head.

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I created a series of paintings that depicted that imaginary race. To sum up the project, I am currently planning to go to Bolivia to cross the desert on my road bike and film the experience. The idea is to prove that even the sky is no limit. I will also do a live painting session in Salar de Uyuni and make a final presentation with an artist talk and discussion back in the US.

To see more art check out my Portfolio and follow me on Instagram: @Createdbymasha!

Cheers!

Masha

Perfect Places – How to Love Where You Are [as an immigrant and an artist]

Chocolate Labrador Puppy

It was 8:30 AM. I locked my chocolate lab puppy, grabbed the keys and a tray with painted fondant trees, put the cake in a bag and rushed out. I was excited. 15 hours ago Lorde’s new song ‘Perfect Places’ was trending on Twitter. She asked in the song, what was the perfect place? Today I new it is “where the wild things are”. It was painted on a cake I was bringing to the whether Cake House in Old Town Scottsdale in Arizona. In fact, on the way there, I pulled my “follow the green lights” thing. The trick was to never stop at a red light. Ten years ago that brought me to the doors of the National Art Academy in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ten years after I was parking by the cake house.

View More: http://andrewjadephoto.pass.us/ruze-treats

Jessica, the owner, was making magic with her mom and two other girls at the back of the bakery. She is probably the ‘meant to meet’ kind of person and also, the one who gives the most excited response to anything I paint. That is the second cake we made together, and I find it thrilling to be able to deliver your art to a viewer through food. Not that kind of food, like molecular restaurants, do, that screams: “I am so spoiled and fed up that I need an exquisite something to play with”. No, I learned my homework good. I can still hear Zazu’s voice asking Scar if his mom ever told him to not play with food [in the Lion King movie]. Food is meant to be rich in nutrition.

 

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Click on image to see Prints

Now, sweets are where the game begins. The illustration I painted this time on the cake is taken from the Maurice Sendak’s book. It tells a story of a kid who rejected his parents and dinner, and left his room for the place ‘where the wild things are’, becoming the king of ‘wild things’. The book is only about 338 words long but it gets you deep. How many of us are in search of that perfect wild place? I know Lorde is. I always have been.

Primavera Sound 2016 BCN Spain
Primavera Sound 2016 BCN Spain
A year ago my best friend and I went to Primavera Sound concert in Barcelona for that exact reason. My tattooed [during that trip] on the wrist space shuttle brings me “there” every time I seek to it. Today, she made a video call at 7:30 AM on a beach in Barcelona. I am not there this time, but I am happy to have a puppy and a cake to deal with. #FlashBackFriday right?

 

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Click on image to see Prints

In the book, the little Max kid chooses the comfort of his room and a ‘still hot dinner waiting for him’ to the wild place. But what if you decided to indulge the wildness? What if you moved to a different country or even a continent. Crowds of people speaking a foreign language, strange glances when you do something so habitual to your birthplace, yet completely odd under new circumstances, weird food – all these may make it seem like a legitimate jungle.DSCN7993.JPG

I remember when I was to Starbucks for the first time (during my first visit to AZ at fifteen years). Those bagels with cream cheese ‘to go’ and decaf caramel macchiato amused and took me away. I was seriously thinking of bringing it to Kyiv and emailed Starbucks later on, inquiring on their licensing policy. Naturally, there was a response that they are not interested…

Am I interested in their bagels anymore? Not really. It has become a regularly available item you try to avoid. (See my nutrition reasoning above) On the contrary, Americans are still flattered to be treated to a home cooked meal made completely ‘from scratch’, (meaning of which they had to explain to me over a long period of time), unless it has a ‘weird texture’.

National Donut Day

Ukrainians have no sense of time, so all the meetings are arranged ‘around sometime’ which can be in a range of at least an hour. Americans don’t seem to approach to a lunch with friends as an activity that accedes an hour and a half time period. Unless it’s a football game on Sunday and you meet at a bar over a beer or bloody mary at 10 AM. Back in Kyiv I once bought a bottle of vodka, celery and tomato juice and brought it to my friend’s place in the morning. Not gonna lie, I received that questioning look, as in whether I needed some help or a friends advice.

 

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Click on image to see Prints

The point is, it’s hard to fit in sometimes. It gets confusing. It’s like hyperbolized feeling of leaving your parents home in search of the one of your own. You get to deal with bureaucracy. You need to get a new driving license, work permits, permanent residency cards in addition to rent contracts, cellular etc. I was used to thinking Ukrainian system for that is a disaster, due to corruption. No visible corruption here, in the US. However, you go apply for a driving license, spend 3 hours on a chair, holding random conversations with strangers like you, and then they say you need a social security card. You drive another 40 min to a place, where you can get a social security, only to sit on the same chair waiting for your number to get called and hear you need a driving license, ID or a permanent residency card to receive social security number. And then, like in the book by Marcel Proust it all repeats itself. I traveled a lot around the US. I wanted to stay in Arizona forever, then I cried to leave it forever. According to quantum physics theory and a movie ‘Interstellar’, there are the endless number of layers to our life, we exist within all of them at the same time. To an extent, it will never matter where you at. Finding your inner peace is the key to a ‘Perfect Place’ that is inside of you.

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It’s just being an immigrant makes it more fun! You get to experience multiple childhoods with a need to explore in the ‘trial and fail’ style. It is important to be tolerant, adaptable and motivated to start over and over again. It’s also easy to get lost in a place where nobody seems to care about your existence. But then – see instructions above, regarding the perfect place. In the end of the day, it presents you a life from different angles. Just like that cake that Jessica put on a perfect black stand now. Happy future Birthday baby Max and Happy Birthday to everyone, who immigrated today. For my next move strategy – see a ‘why you should start your bucketlist yesterday‘ post 🙂

 

 

The Fastest Eats Pasta

Finished this one! It’s the newest one out of the cycling series! You can see a process of painting starting from the blank canvas till a signature in the end below.

The piece depicts three champions of the Tour de France 2016 – Chris Froome, Peter Sagan (who also entered the Olympics 2016 as a mountain bike racer. Peter claimed it was his childhood dream and that it’s simply cool) and Nairo Quintana. The subject was inspired by the retired pro cyclists’ talks about eating pasta while competing. A carb filled diet was trending at a time. Also, the cyclists recalled having no team buses as they have now. In fact, they would usually cycle to their hotels right after finishing a stage. It would calm cyclists’ bodies down in addition to saving funds on transportation. Hotels must have been within couple miles radius. Unfortunately, it was rather dangerous as after a dreadful heat or extra tiring mountain climbs cyclists were often losing the focus and could get into an accident on their way to hotels.

This scene puts a race into a cityscape. It is New York and it storms heavily. And while the racers keep competing, in spite of a weather, the only spectators seem to be the people, spinning at the gym. Their room is warm and a heat turns into steam that blurs their view. However, no matter how intensely they spin the pedals, they are only going as far as their machine bike lets. It’s all about the choices and what gets our blood going. Isn’t it?

Painting Process of ‘The Fastest Eats Pasta’ Full from Маша Пасічник on Vimeo.

10 Secret Steps That Will Bring Magic To Your Day (Part 1)

Today I realized how soon is Christmas: 8 days left. Till New Year’s Eve – 16 days. Being from Ukraine made me long for a number of other winter holidays: St Nicholas day (Dec 19) and Orthodox Christmas (that is celebrated on Jan 7). In addition to this, there is another amazing date: Winter Solstice (Dec 21). I always found it silly that people get all crazy over the gifts hunt and ‘made-in-china’ decorations. It amuses me that in America you start to see Christmas promotions in November. However, when I was on the evening walk a few days ago I realized something important, I think. I saw a holiday rush as a means to unite people, make them feel like they belong and are a part of something bigger. It is a natural sensation that makes a human being’s life worth it. In the essay ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man’s futile search for meaning, unity, and clarity in the face of a world devoid of God and eternal truths or values.

Holiday lights

Finding magic in your life is a lot easier than you might think. A traditional ‘fight for the light’ is really not that necessary, while in pursue of magic, buying 25K worth of Christmas decorations to make your house the brightest in a community is an option but far not the only one.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BOBkvXqDJw8/?taken-by=createdbymasha

“A star falls from the sky and into your hands. Then it seeps through your veins and swims inside your blood and becomes every part of you. And then you have to put it back into the sky. And it’s the most painful thing you’ll ever have to do and that you’ve ever done. But what’s yours is yours. Whether it’s up in the sky or here in your hands. And one day, it’ll fall from the sky and hit you in the head real hard and that time, you won’t have to put it back in the sky again.”
― C. JoyBell C.

10 secret steps to make magic happen

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1. Start your day with a special kind of coffee

Recipe by Tove Jansson – novelist, painter, illustrator and comic strip author; she is best known as the author of the Moomin books for children.

You’ll need:

ground coffee, milk, honey and cinnamon

How to make:

  • Combine 1/4 cup of milk with 2/4 cup of water. Add 1/2-1 tsp  of honey; stir well.

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  • Add 2 tsp of grind coffee beans (with a little extra tip). Top it with a pinch of cinnamon. One more pinch of cinnamon you add to the fire that cooks your coffee. Let the fire know what awaits it.

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  • Stir while cooking. And when it is about to escape add a little more cinnamon to the coffee to make it calm down.

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What’s the magic:

Life becomes better after you drink it. Things and dreams that avoided coming true would suddenly start to. Other little wonders will start to occur as well!

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2. Buy/download  and start reading The Little Prince by Antonie de Saint-Exupery while drinking that coffee (see step 1)

It’s very short (just 64 pages). The book is translated into more than 250 languages which makes it fourth most-translated book in the world. It was first published in 1943. The Little Prince is a novella by a French writer, poet and pioneering aviator Saint-Exupery. In this story he is thought to have drawn on the aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert.

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The watercolour illustrations that were made by the author add a magic visuals to a poetic tale about a pilot, who is stranded in a desert and meets a young prince who has fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid.

It was written during the Second World War: France had fallen and Saint-Exupery fled to North America.

Don’t let the cute illustrations fool you, it is much more than a child’s book, although it’s styled as one. It is a voyage of an adult in search of a sincerity and simple childhood-like excitement.

The Little Prince meets a pilot in a desert
A shot of the Paramount Pictures trailer

Where to get it:

  • Buy a printed version at your local book shop. Be old school, books are very cool to hold in your hands and turn over the pages.
  • Buy an e-book on Amazon.
  • Download a free version (pdf, ePUB or Kindle) – no spam, no tricks, this link actually works: http://ebookbees.com/the-little-prince-free-ebook/

3. and 4. Music cures. Dancing too. Get your day moving with a next step. Now we are all different with unique tastes but here’s what I  was writing this article to:

Music really can make magic happen. I love those chill electronics by Moderat (German based group). Even 10 minutes of getting lost in a dance in between day-to-day errands putts a newly polished smile on my face.

FearFree from Маша Пасічник on Vimeo.

Options:

  • Here is one more podcast (it is literally called “Music, cure me”) at Ukrainian online radio. (Even though Intro is in Russian, music is not 🙂

https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?feed=%2Faristocratsfm%2F%25D0%25BC%25D1%2583%25D0%25B7%25D1%258B%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BB%25D0%25B5%25D1%2587%25D0%25B8-%25D1%2581%25D0%25B5%25D0%25B7%25D0%25BE%25D0%25BD-2-%25D1%258D%25D0%25BF%25D0%25B8%25D0%25B7%25D0%25BE%25D0%25B4-12-29112016%2F&hide_cover=1&light=1

  • Feeling more rhythmic? This youtube charnel full of salsa tutorials that are actually very easy to follow fulfills the mood:
  • For a funk mix of electronics this is the way to go:

But seriously go to dancing classes. Literally sign up for tonight’s local class ‘try it out’!! 🙂 It cleans you inside out – body and soul. It took me ages to make this decision. You know how it goes: lack of time, no partner, too expensive, just keep forgetting. It’s all called procrastination – google it! Signing up to classes takes a simple action – just find a school close to you or the one that looks fun, ask a friend, go to yelp, attend evening open dance classes – don’t over think it.

That’s a good movie to get you inspired on the topic (so old – so good):

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5. Seal your wish in an empty bottle of wine.

How to prepare:

          • Buy a bottle of wine (not too expensive, don’t make it too fency, or the wish will think that you are trying to buy it out). It has to be special: pick by nice label picture, or drink the one that a good person gave you, or buy one here – this wine store claims to expose wine to music, that should change its structure and make every cell of your body cheer.

sweepstake-winning-labels

dandelion wine by Ray Bradbury
That’s another great book to read by the way:)
          • Drink it. Preferably in a beautiful place to charge it with some good memories and share it with some good people, but I’ll tell you secretly – drinking it alone for this cause is fine too (maybe not the whole bottle…and don’t drink and drive, right?).
          • Make a wish, blow it inside the bottle and cork it right away (so that a wish can’t escape).

What’s the magic:

Your wish comes true! Really:) Just be humble and you’ll get 10 times worth of a wish.

To be continued…Saving some for the next magical day!!:)

The Music That Shapes You

         Moment by moment our life floats with a current and we are the brave sailors cruising it. Marcel Proust said: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. It goes along with being conscious of a moment and feeling every second of your life. Music adds an extra dimension to it. It thickens the air around us, filling it with a sound that resonates with every our cell.

In fact, multiple studies show how music, that is physically a number of sound waves reacts with water, troubling it in a certain way that causes the water molecules to change its shape for the moment. Microscopic videos depict the crystal structure of water to actually rebuild when exposed to sound. In fact, I found the German wine manufacturer that creates a special kind of wine – exposed to classical music. He claims that it changes it making it have a better influence on those who drink it. Like better kind of karma. I’d drink it haha. As we all learned in school – 90% of our bodies consists of water. Hense music must literally resonate with us as well. As a result, music influences human behavior and Spotify claims to its add providers that music helps to sell too. Here is the whole book on that, in case you wondered.

As Spotify promotes it – there is a sound for every occasion. I am an artist. Sometimes I listen to audiobooks on youtube when I paint. It is very entertaining especially in the last stages of the art process, as it is mostly working on details, that doesn’t involve too much of thinking activity. It still takes a lot of time, so audiobooks fit perfectly. I did a great deal of high school program catch up like that. Also, I discovered plenty interesting lectures podcasts. As another option – I use this time to be listening news or podcasts to practice my German listening skills. But that involves a fair amount of focus. Got to be careful with it.

At other times, when I am just in the beginning stage of a painting, I try to pick music accordingly with the mood that I am trying to recreate in a painting. Music on a background works similarly to a director in the middle of a filming process. An actor has to persuade a viewer that he really feels the emotions, he is depicting. A director has to educate an actor about these emotions. In the way, he temporarily uploads the leading to the current events history and psychological background to the actor’s consciousness.

Modern practices involve a lot of getting into a role preparation. There were multiple articles discussing Leonardo Dicaprio’s preparation to a shooting of the movie ‘Reverent’. They talked about his physical sacrifices to a hyper-naturalistic style of ‘Reverent’. The same stories surrounded Jared Leto’s approach to a Joker role in the new Bateman movie – ‘Suicide Squad’. The speculations in The Atlantic magazine were that this is the death of Hollywood. In the way that it is more so a ‘behind-the-scenes reality show’ that aims at creating promotional drama and coverage, rather than an artistic process.

In reality, this method of getting into the role was invented by the Russian theater director Stanislavski. He revolutionized the classical romantic acting style, turning it into brutally naturalistic. The ‘Stanislavski System’ changed the drama theater forever but it isn’t by any means a contemporary actor’s ‘knowhow’ drawn to gain popularity. It’s nothing more than a style of acting which may be or may be not preferred by a director.

 

The same thing with painting. With establishing of my artistic style, I have been experimenting with different techniques and genres. That included naturalism, impressionism, photorealism, installations, painting, filming etc. At some point, I had to prepare for an art show that would include 10 of my pieces depicting gigantic candies. So I chose Leonardo’s approach – I stocked my fridge with all sorts of sweets I was painting. Doesn’t help as much, I want to say. Music does, though.

I have no preference for styles – I choose to lose myself in a current moment. Yesterday I worked on the new piece. It is about this freezing snowstorm. Three men are trying to push their friend’s car out of the snow. Windows in the nearby houses are all tight shut. Not a single soul at this ungodly time. But right behind the men, there is a cycling peloton, racing through the snow towards the grand win. There is nothing that can possibly stop them. Because bicycles never get stuck, – cars do. You can read a bit more about my winter adventures as a cyclist in the hilly city of Kyiv (Ukraine) here. These memories inspired me to make a painting on this topic today. I really wanted the viewer to feel that vacuum that you find yourself in at this kind of storm. There are no distinct sounds, you almost can’t breathe, as it makes you feel like you freeze from inside, doing it. But you keep going as there are that finish line and a coziness of electric lights and a hot drink.

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Music that filled my painting process yesterday was from the Under Zauber podcast on Radio Aristocrats. It is a Ukrainian radio. But don’t get scared of foreign language talk – the most of the podcast is pure atmospheric music.

The Artist Inside Of You​

Did you ever look at that artist on a street or that painting on a museum wall and wondered – how do they do it? I mean, where do you even start? When painting a portrait for example, do you draw eyes first? Do you start from the top? People got used to considering artists a different breed, ‘free spirits’. But I bet you, there is an artist living inside of you, just being unnoticed!

I grew up in a non-artists family. My father has a degree in engineering and my mom – in foreign linguistics. My grandmother would give me paints and paper so that I entertained myself as a kid when she needed to do some work. That’s how it started and yes, I painted all my life since then. I totally believe any skill is acquirable given time and effort. I was lucky to have a lot of both.

 

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National Academy of Fine Art And Archtecture in Kyiv, Ukraine

 

When I had to choose a college – I wanted to go to Australia and study film production. My parents wouldn’t let me: way too far and I was way too young to even apply (as we used to finish high school at 16 then). As a compromise, I agreed to apply to the National Academy of Fine Art and Architecture in my hometown Kyiv, Ukraine.

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It was close to exams time and I had a lot to catch up. Most applicants graduated already from a community art college. I spent a lot of time studying about theater (as I chose theater stage design as a major due to the least competition). I saw applicants drawing human models at live sketching classes, while I was trying to at least get the general proportions right (pretty unsuccessfully). I was recommended one of the professor’s workshops. It was in historic Kyiv district in a basement. I fell in love with art much more then and met plenty future friends, who as myself succeeded in enrolling to the Academy.

I remember this stage design workshop with another professor. He would have a huge vintage wooden table in the middle of his studio. There were plenty of books everywhere, that we looked through and discussed during a class. He would brew tea and one of the students would always bring some homemade cookies. Then we would show our work in progress. We would talk about whether an idea that was presented works and what are the other possibilities. Our professor said that a stage should remind one of a dream. It shouldn’t be necessarily realistic but it must be persuasive. Whatever it is, it should reflect your relation to an object that you are observing.

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Performance: Sartre ‘FLIES’

One time I was walking with a friend in a park. He wanted to take a photo of a tree, wondering how to make it different. I said that he should show through his photo, how he feels about this tree, how he perceives it. Generally, that is how you learn to tell a story every time you create. Unless you are a journalist that has to depict an unbiased reality, your relationship with a subject should be felt through your work. That is where you have to prove why you want one to spend the time to look at your work.

 

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Painting: ‘Matter of Choice’

 

We all have opinions and feelings. Thinking critically is the first step to awakening that artist inside of us. That is when you become conscious of events surrounding yourself and start to notice things. Anything. Whatever it is that resonates with you. It can be facial expressions of people around you, maybe your family or co-workers. It can be patterns of traffic, or glitter of produce (in my case).When you notice things, you will then start to form your opinions, you will realize how you personally perceive them.

"Life in Traffic" painting
Painting: ‘Life in Traffic’

When you notice things, you will then start to form your opinions about it, how you personally perceive the matter. It doesn’t really matter whether you love the subject or hate it. There is beauty in both approaches.

The next step is to share the message. It is the skill to let people see (or hear) how you feel about your subject and why. Every one of us has a unique mindset. You know how daltonic people might not even know they don’t see colors right. It’s very simple: the way they see is the only way, hence the right one. So when you tell a story, make sure you tell it loud and clear. The idea should be comprehendible. But it’s not the ultimate goal.

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You remember how it feels when you wake up that winter morning and you see that streets got covered with snow over night and it all seems so freezing cold, that it gives you shivers. But then you make yourself some hot tea and while brewing it your inside windows get covered with newly formed condensation from the heat coming from inside the room. It’s warm and bright in the kitchen, where you are at. Remember a smell of that tea and bread or breakfast. It makes you feel ever warm. It’s all about contrast. One feels rich in a poor neighborhood, and one falls in love with rain when living in a desert. Comparison to an obvious opposite makes your idea visible.

They also told us at art school to sometimes rotate our paintings upside down to see what’s wrong. The trick is that we get used to looking at our work from the same perspective. By changing an angle we pay attention to details again. It’s not only in regards an artwork. They say that driving after 3 years of experience is the most dangerous. We don’t have substantial skills yet, but the process already seems very familiar. So we loose focus, hence car crashes. Staying focused is a skill essential to succeeding in any field. In surgery and art particularly.

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And the last thing – you just need to find your language. It can be painting, drawing, photography, installations or video. Whatever it is that resonates with your perception. And when you start, just never stop. That’s what I did. You can see my work here and maybe share what you think about it with me. But even now, having over 10 years of a professional art career, I can start a portrait sometimes, and have hard times delivering it. But eventually, I always do. It’s consistency that makes it possible. Also the passion for a subject of the story, you are trying to tell. And constant questioning yourself – why? why not? and what if?

And after that, there are really no rules. Just explore and live your life with a story worth sharing. Choose to see the ugliness or the beauty. Just be open and feel it.

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Сан-Диего, военный порт и тюлени

 

Для местных ты всегда усугубляешь перенаселенность их рая. Сан-Диего вмещает в себя сразу все штаты, удивляет своей самодостаточностью. На границе с Аризоной и Мексикой, тебя спасает тихо-океанский бриз, и приглашение утонуть в зелени береговых холмов, домов, цветов и бесконечности заката.

Одна из двух дорог ведущих в Сан-Диего из Аризоны занимает около 5 часов и, проходя вдоль границы с Мексикой, не оставляет без адреналина в засушливом горном массиве. В тот первый раз, когда мы решили проехаться туда летом, потолок автомобиля пришлось обклеить теплоизолирующим отражателем. Температура в пустыне превышает 50С. И когда на подъеме в горы загорелась лампочка, предупреждая о низком уровне бензина, мы все умолкли, выключили кондиционер и музыку. Связи конечно нет. На телефоне спасающий GPS говорит, что до заправки 80 км. Стало совсем тихо. В голове возникают какие-то надежды, на то что за перевалом расход будет минимальный. Но тут из-за угла возникает знак, сообщающий, что заправка совсем рядом. Мы съезжаем с трассы. Так же тихо, – хоть бы не мираж. Дорога сразу становится поселочного типа. На обочине встречаются вековые пикапы и остатки урбанизации. Через минут десять, объехав коров, мы паркуемся под одиночной колонкой. Под дверью в здание заправочной станции сидит крупная мексиканка с сэндвичем. Моя подруга и я ослеплены идеей найти конфеты Haribo. Проходим мимо единственного работника заправки, который вытирает руки и нож от крови, чтобы с нами рассчитаться за бензин и конфеты. Понимаем, что это так же местный магазин и мясная лавка. Конфеты нашли, бензина вдоволь – опять в путь.

При въезде в штат Калифорния, частью которого есть Сан-Диего, нас останавливает офицер пункта контроля сельского хозяйства. Ввоз и вывоз инородной флоры запрещен. Калифорния считается самым либеральным штатом. Как результат – большие налоги и бесконечные аэро-электростанции и солнечные батареи. Спускаясь в город тебя ослепляет бесконечность океана и все тот же закат.

 

Сан-Диего разбит на микро города. Есть центр – настоящий город с высотными домами, бизнес центрами, квартирами, – единственная часть Сан-Диего, где люди не носят вьетнамки. Есть более туристический город; город, где ничего нет, кроме набережной и волн для серфинга; есть город, где традиционно много современных хиппи, населяющих трейлер парки.

Есть Ла-Хойя. Там, если встать рано, можно пройти идеальный круг, который включает холмы, застроенные виллами в венецианском стиле, отвесной берег, с еще спящими у его подножия тюленями, улицы с розовыми зданиями, вмещающими мелкие галереи и, поднявшись опять, купить самый дорогой кофе с органическим молоком. А потом присесть на террасе этого же кофе шопа и понять, что все лавки и столы почти развалины, собаки сидят так же рядышком с своими тарелками, места почти нет и жутко уютно, а твой кофе и веганский кекс стоили 15 долларов. До часу дня в воскресенье – “фермерский рынок”, там даже есть гречишный мед, и клубника пахнет.

А можно вместо этого ночью пить ром на крыше и слышать дикую мощь океана. А днем, когда откроется, купить огромное мороженное, тоже органическое и тоже веганское. И конечно привет тюленям и водорослям, а еще разрывному течению, и главное вспомнить: плыть только по-диагонали к берегу.

Заливая (по незнанию) ледяной тихо-океанской водой каяк, проплываешь мимо отвесного берега. В год там около 30 см отвесных утесов из-за эрозии опадают в воду. Ну виллы дорогие там тоже в негодовании очень, т.к. части их территории, уже почти у самих бассейнов тоже давно исчезли с береговой линии. Морские львы меньше тюленей; музей современного искусства в Ла-Хойе – такой себе, а “тако”- что-надо!

В Сан-Диего самый загруженный в мире военный порт: Коронадо. Рядом там тоже живут люди, а пляжи еще белей. Много ветра, холодной воды, и свободы. На краю Соединенных Штатов, этот город – сам-по-себе.

Однажды Сбегая На Дикий Запад

“you can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”

(С англ.: От себя не убежишь, переезжая из одного места в другое.)

― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

Когда первый гусь оказался в озере, а остальные лениво его догнали – оказалось, что это я бегала за ними по парку. Наверно что-то вспомнилось из Нильсона. Так же, как и люди, сбегая на зиму из Канады, – гуси паркуются тут, уже третий год подряд.

Примерно тем же, помню, я объясняла, какой-то совсем неуместный загар в декабрьских коридорах Академии; тогда, как наш преподаватель живописи, Будников, даже не пробовал объяснять (по статусу не положено было). А в памяти – солнце зимой и небо синее, куда не повернешь голову, запах горячей пыли и горы, где-то на горизонте. А потом, кто-то в сентябре показал мне все серии Индианы Джонса; и манящий ноябрьским золотом и пурпуром запад, затянул меня вот уже на три года.

Долой рассказы, что от себя не убежишь! Уехав в самый конец континента, через океан от Киева, ты становишься кем-угодно, и одновременно никем. И каждый штат околдовывает совсем по-своему, как разные планеты в космосе Экзюпери.

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Кентукки

Тебе открываются бесконечные газоны Кентукки с конюшнями, похожими больше на деревенские церкви, и как большинство Киевских архитектурных построек пост-двухтысячных, – с башнями. Их дополняют приветливые люди с рабочими руками, от ухода за лошадьми, и полными гордости глазами, от осведомленности в ситуации в Украине; и, как в подтверждение историями, про давнюю традицию эмиграции ирландцев и украинцев в штат Кентукки. Говорят, они хорошо кладут камень, очень! А затем – жаренные в тесте соленые огурцы и вера в необходимость трансляции CNN в Украине как закрепление ново-образовавшейся дружбы.

И правда, как-то по-доброму наивно звучат отголоски Кентукки в памяти: с простой едой и простыми мыслями.

Монтере

Утонувший в тумане север Калифорнии, город Монтере. От цивилизации и единственного аэропорта отрезанный двухчасовой дорогой, через, как и везде (кроме Кентукки), выгоревшие поля с травой. Монтере двуличный. В тени переплетенных корней, закрученных веток, каменных вилл (как декораций из Властелина Колец или Сонной Лощины), отвесных берегов и оглушающей тишины, ты вдруг находишь проход на залитые солнцем и туристами улицы. Мимо, затрудняясь притормозить, пронесется с горы бело-золотой автомобиль 1920 года. А за холмом, все еще скрываясь в смеси тумана и выхлопов, за приз какой то, пронесется еще 50 таких же артефактов, оживленных заведенными гонщиками, так серьезно сражающимися за первенство. Наслоенные картинки памяти всплывают из описаний автомобильных гонок в книге Жизнь Взаймы, Ремарка.

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“- das Bild eines grauen Marktplatzes, voll von abstraktem Lärm, der durch viele Echos seinen individuellen Ton verloren hatte, und die Gespenster der Wagen, einer hinter dem andern, mit zwei winzigen Funken Leben in jedem, die nichts weiter wollten als sich selbst zu riskieren.”

(С нем.: перед глазами стояла картина: серая Рыночная площадь в Брешии, безликий шум, призраки машин проносились один за другим, машин, в которых было две искорки жизни, двое людей, охваченных только одним желанием — рискнуть своей головой.)

– Erich Maria Remarque, Der Himmel kennt keine Günstlinge

И с каждым вдохом – солнце, вершина холма, блеск ульібок и запыленных начищенных фар; шум какого то праздника, и отблеск не зря горящих свеч. И с каждым выдохом – пустая зыбкая тишина и плохая видимость.

Гул множества моторов действовал, подобно тысячекратной анестезии; проникал в уши, он парализовал и в то же время унифицировал мозг.

– Эрих Мария Ремарк, Жизнь Взаймы

Так, раз вынырнув, чтобы вдохнуть, я лицом к лицу встретилась с тюленем, и из воды выбегала уже я, а не гуси. Монтере уравновешивает, возвращая в точку отсчета.

И почти сразу опять (пока не опомнилась) в туман и наслоенную серость; город – Сиэтл. Там сложней. Глаза, после мещанских салонов Аризоны и Монтере, соблазняет бесплатным (по средам) входом Музей Искусств. Улицы и дома – скомканные и сброшенные в кучу, как и люди. Информации вокруг больше, чем кадров в секунду. И опять скорый вдох в Голдфинч Таверн (новом ресторане, открытом в сотрудничестве с отелем Четыре Сезона) с видом на закат и набережную, наполненный сытостью и теплым полумраком. Просто Итан (шеф повар, у которого родители оказались в балетном деле) пообещал, как-то,  передать сценарий (написанный талантливой Мариной Артеменко в Киеве) своим родителям. Ну да, и конечно ульібки и обещания дружбьі прилагаются. А внизу, там за окнами, куда я вскоре вьіскальзьіваю, к северу от отеля, – нагнетающая атмосфера суетьі и приготовлений к вечеру. Открываются в другой мир двери: обещающие, что-то смиренно-улыбчивые азиатской внешности лица, манящие звуки живой музьіки, волшебно резонирующие с восклицаниями змеевидного потока толпьі, и перекличкой рьібаков на Пайк Плейс. Запах и картинки, заменяя нашатьірньій спирт прорезают сознание. Вино, вода и хлеб от голода – вполне достаточно (не в обиду Итану).

Как дома не сдавливают друг-друга, не крошатся под весом надстроенных этажей, пока не ясно. Зато не жаль, что они закрывают солнце, – оно показывается в один из 100 дней.

Совсем в другую сторону увлек музей авиации. Там цельій мир: истории самьіх смельіх людей. Как бьіло тому, самому первому, в капсуле, запущенной в темноту космоса? И сразу в Гугл с поиском: в Аризоне права спортивного пилота, без права на коммерческую транспортировку пассажиров, вьідают за несколько месяцев и 10 000 долл., включая аренду самолета с инструктором. Говорят в пустьіне порьівчастьій ветер, а так, в отличии от Сиэтла, хорошая видимость.

Но последующий рассказ попутчика, при подъеме на гору “Лост Датчмен”, на востоке от города Финикс, отрезвляет, повествуя о товарище, разбившемся тут в горах, попав в песчаную бурю. Летние месяцьі знаменуют мансун. Он приносит резкие ливни и цельіе стеньі пьіли. Попадая в них – видимость, часто, всего пару метров.

Между смелостью и глупостью – один шаг. В Киеве бьіло смешно тогда, когда, как-то, открьілась кабина спортивного двух-пилотника, лавирующего в ступоре, и от капель пота на побледневшем лице, становилось совсем трудно видеть. Смешно, т.к. в тот момент я заметила, что задвижка в кабине, – как у нас в академии..в туалете только, наверно. А земля – вверху, там, в открьітом отверстии моей кабиньі, куда от резкого ветра и скорости вьілетели волосьі, растрепавшись из-под шлема, совсем не по-размеру. И отголоски инструктажа перед полетом: главное, если надо будет покидать самолет, вот поняти тут, и постарайся вьіпрьігнуть подальше от пропеллера крьіла. Но все же хорошо, в итоге?

Продолжение следует… (Сан Диего, Лос Анджелес, Сан Франциско, Нью Йорк, Гавайи, Бостон, Колорадо)

In Search Of The Earnings

“I need one more dollar.” Says a seven-year old boy.

“How much?” Asks him his grandmother.

“Just one more dollar.”

“Do you know what you have to give, in return?” Grandmother asks, then approaches her chick to the boy. He hesitates, bashfully.

“How much do you want it [a dollar]?”

The kid quickly gives a kiss and runs away holding the earned money towards the Italian Ice truck.

Rome was the Wall Street of the II century BC.

Socialists continuously blamed capitalism for the entrepreneurial approach to life, and materialistic morality of the capitalists. However, regardless of the forms of payment and chosen priorities, everything has its price. This statement has been so often argued. Since the I millennium BC the exchange relationships have been turned into the trade, with the invention of money. International trade practices lead to the establishment of the banking system. Rome was the Wall Street of the II century BC with its silver coins, that were quickly overpowering all the other Mediterranean currencies. In fact, accessibility via trade paths became a “match point” of a country’s prosperity. Between now and then, the only difference in the trade relationships is its ethics. With the progression of the mankind, the society has definitely gained humanity. One is no longer owned by another person (like during the slavery times). One is no longer obliged to work, and can not be imprisoned for the refusal to find a job (like in the USSR society).

However, we ended up in the prison of our own expectations and indulgences, attached to the socially globalized systems. The world’s progress is undoubtedly drastic. Especially with the contemporary physics, technology, and anatomical studies. It’s absolutely beautiful. Yet, while one is expecting the soon-to-be-delivered lab-grown, 3D-printed knee for the more and more affordable high-end surgery; another one is still struggling to provide food for the family. Juggling between the casual employment and hustling locally. Many decide to go abroad in search of the earnings.

Such worker doesn’t demand the medical insurance or legal rights; is not a burden for the local taxpayers, and accepts the wage, that none of the local citizens would willingly work for.

The two legal options are: immigration and temporary working (contractor’s) visas. Now, there is a vast difference not only for the person applying for the change of status (or visa), but also for the hosting country. In the first case, in addition to the extra competition, created on the job market and taken advantage of the social benefits, the country also gains a new citizen, that is seeking to assimilate, pay taxes, spend money on the local economy and hopefully contribute to the country’s prosperity. In the second case, the strict immigration policy in the majority of the developed countries, however, forces the people, seeking the earnings internationally, to apply for a temporary worker visa (or in many cases, when the legal process is still not accomplishable, due to the fees and background checking, – to try to cross the border illegally, risking their lives). A legal temporary worker is very welcomed both by the corporations and the government. Such worker doesn’t demand the medical insurance or legal rights; is not a burden for the local taxpayers, and accepts the wage, that none of the local citizens would willingly work for. On the contrary side, these allows the manufacturers to keep the minimum workers’ wage so low, due to the demand on it from the out-of-state workers. As a result, it takes the jobs from the potential local workers. Certainly, this is arguable in terms of the free market economy.

The International Relations Minister of Poland stated, that, according to the National Bank of Poland, Ukrainians sent a total of 5 billion Euros of their earnings from Poland back to their families in Ukraine in 2015.

In addition to this, the temporary workers create the huge cash outflow. After paying the lodging (which is usually very low, due to the sharing practices, where up to six people live in one room) and transportation expenses, the majority of the earnings is an immigrant remittance. One would be surprised by the dedication of such workers. Committed to providing for their children’s food and education, or saving money to start their own business back at home, the temporary workers would work from dusk till dawn, seven days a week, and won’t spend an extra cent on their own needs. These includes Latin American workers in the US and Eastern European (including my home-country Ukraine) workers in the both EU and US. The International Relations Minister of Poland stated, that, according to the National Bank of Poland, Ukrainians sent a total of 5 billion Euros of their earnings from Poland back to their families in Ukraine in 2015. According to the Pew Research Center survey: immigrants to Canada (mostly temporary foreign workers) send billion dollars per capita in remittances out of Canada. The top countries receiving Canadian remittances are: China (which receives $3.9 billion), India ($3.5 billion) and the Philippines ($2 billion). An estimated 582 billion U.S. dollars was sent by the contractors of the foreign origin from the USA to relatives in their home countries in 2015 (according to the Pew Research Center).

These contractors will choose the outrageous working conditions and separation from their families over the unemployment in their home countries. As long as the inflow of the foreign workers is legally processed (or at least looks legally enough), this system seems to satisfy the corporations and hence gets out of the hosting country’s governmental control. The point is, it keeps the production costs low, and selling prices competitive. Objectively, though, these kind of contract jobs are no different from the feudalism in the Middle Ages. The ultimate argument is: “They have an option to stay in the countries of their origin. Consider the pre-unions times in the industrial USA. Or the post war UK. Workers including children had to work on the factories and in the coal mines with no regulated work hours, or wages. And while at that time it was a rather necessity, due to the economical post war crisis; in the contemporary world it seems to simply be the toll to the global competition.

Luckily for my generation, they are a lot better equipped.

While on one hand, there are rapidly increasing board closures (including Brexit; and the promises to build the wall on the South, between the US and Mexico, of the currently running for the US presidency, candidate Donald Trump), on the other hand, I run over more and more friends, who are already abroad or considering to be there soon. All seeking the earnings and simply better opportunities. Luckily for my generation, they are a lot better equipped. They are young, know foreign languages, are proficient in modern technologies. Even though they might consider themselves the global citizens, in the end of the day it means you have no home. Foreigner both abroad and in your country of origin. Most of them look happy regardless. They say, as long as you know, what do you want. But when do you, truly?

U[S]A Dream

They say “art copies life”, but being an artist I can long argue that. However, if one tries to oversee the general picture, one is likely to observe a certain pattern. I narrowed my examples down to the two counties (USA and Ukraine), due to residential status, and hence the highest awareness of these two nations.

The world famous “happy endings” are definitely the US “licensed” feature. It all comes down to the morals in the end of the story, that proves that it was all forth it: the hardships, one survives, and all the battles, that a character wins. To sum up, it’s all about the win for Americans. American candidate running for a president, Donald Trump constantly uses the ‘win’ slogans in the motivational speeches. “We will have so much winning, if I get elected, that you may get bored with the winning,” Trump said. That really seems to be working. It has long become the ultimate purpose. A gymnastics commentator quoted on the men AA individual competition final: “If you ain’t first you’re last” (Scene where Reese Bobby inspires Ricky). In 2016 Olympics in Rio one will find multiple examples to prove this point. Michael Phelps comes back with a baggage of 18 Olympic gold medals and a series of controversies (boredom chased by dui etc.), only to win four more gold medals. Aly Raisman, who scored 59.566, in the individual all-around, tying with Aliya Mustafina of Russia, but lost the bronze in a tie-breaker and placed fourth, comes back four year later to Rio and wins silver over Russian gymnast Mustafina. Bernard Lagat, a 41-year old runner qualified to represent USA at the Olympics for the fifth time in his life. Lagat finished in 13 minutes, 35.30 seconds while Hassan Mead (13.35.70) (second in qualification 5k race).

For the viewers it is like a smell of that apple pie, your grandma used to make, when you were 6. It is familiar and so desirable. The smell of win. But more importantly the win over the best. Michael Phelps was so cheered for, not only for the 18 previously won medals, but because he won over the Chad Le Clos, South African athlete, who had won the gold in London 2012. and later in 2015 had choice words about Phelps. “Michael Phelps has been talking about how slow the butterfly events have been recently,” he said. “I just did a time he hasn’t done in four years. So he can keep quiet now.” And also because he qualified for the next event finals, twenty minutes after receiving that 22nd gold medal on the Olympic podium in Rio on Aug 11. It’s all that drama and nerves that go along with the win, and make you still talk about it years later, just like that best in the world pie.

On the other hand is the picturesque story of Ukraine. The country that is at a constant war for sovereignty, and hence the self-identification, due to its location on the border between the East and the West. Ukrainian National team is ranked top 20 by the number of participating athletes in Rio Olympics 2016. This year is the fourth Olympics for the independent from Moscow Ukraine. As a result of newly formed independent economy, sports (and arts) were left on the “left-over” budget. The athletes are mostly volunteering their health and time, based on pure dedication to the sports. Based on the example revealed by the Ukrainian men gymnastics team, there are no physical therapists, no modern post USSR training equipment, no rehabilitation funds; simple necessities like tapes and hand gloves are donated or bought by sportsmen out of the pockets. And moreover, if the team doesn’t deliver the medals, the funding cuts even lower. That is exactly what happened after London 2012 Olympics, when the Japanese team filed an appeal, believing that Uchimura should have been given more points for his dismount, which although botched in execution, was landed without an actual fall. After a video review by the judges, Uchimura’s score was increased by 0.7 points to 14.166, bringing Japan back to second place for a silver medal, and knocking Great Britain down to third place for a bronze and Ukraine to fourth place, out of the medal standings. Two of the best Ukrainian gymnasts left the team to go abroad, because of the lack of funding. No medals – no cash. So much for the dramatic story build-up.

So when Martha Karolyi (the women’s gymnastics team USA coordinator) comments on her decision at the qualifications finals: “They need to prove themselves. They need to show that they’re able to handle the stress and their routines are very consistent.” – the Ukrainian national team slogan is more likely to be “neck or nothing”. Ukraine doesn’t have a privilege of consistency, but one can be sure it will be the team that throws it all on the table. When you watch Oleg Verniaiev (Ukrainian gymnast) compete in the individual AA face-to-face (in fact leading at times) with the six time world champion, Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura, be sure there is some history being written. And even when Oleg fails to score enough for the gold, and lets Kohei seal the championship by the lead of 0.9, it is a miracle of dedication that gets your heart bumping. When Serena Williams’ reign as Olympic women’s singles tennis champion comes to a shuddering halt after a shock defeat by Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, there is no place for consistency. It is rather the smell of sweat, produced by adrenaline, when you risked it all at this second. If not now, when?

The little hop during Oleg Verniaiev’s landing at the AA final event separated the gold medal from “what if”. But maybe it is a chance of “what if?”, the adrenaline of allowing yourself this dream of the gold, is what drives the Ukrainians alongside with the American dreamers, regardless of the obstacles surrounding them. It is inspiring to hear Aly Raisman speak of how all the years spent in gym; all the parties, football games and simple teenage joys missed for the cause of sports, are all worth it, when you stand on that pedestal, receiving the medal, and that your life changes completely after that. This is why everyone does it, and this is how it should be.

But there are competitors from team Refugee, who trained for the Olympics without the sneakers, or had to push the boat for three hours just to survive, like Yusra Mardini, 18, or Ukrainian gymnast Verniaiev, who secured the funding for the whole team by winning that medal, that gets a viewer out of the couch and pushes to accomplish more.