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This painting.

The title to this painting came to me like most things that I adore come to me: in a flash.

KEEP         YOUR         BODY         STILL

I feel both satisfaction and dire frustration when I look at this painting. I should have named it “This painting” because it just hurts to even talk about it. I’m being dramatic.

The title is inspired by Phantogram’s “Don’t Move.”

All you do is
Shake shake shake
Keep your body still, keep your body still

Don’t you realize you’re fine
Oh can’t you see that you’re fine
And know that you’re still alive
You know that you’re still alive
Oh don’t you know you’re alive
Don’t you know you’re alive
Burning in the sky

I fell in love with Phantogram music in a most magical way. There was just something about it that clicked. When it comes to music, I prefer female voices and upbeat tempos, but also melancholic lyrics. Also, I do prefer to know about the people in the band so that I can puzzle together what the song could possibly mean. Well, Sarah & Josh from Phanto were not that famous when I first got into them a year ago, so it was kind of hard to find out any personal details about them. However, they finally hit it big this year, and they had a Vevo lift series where Sarah revealed that she wished to be a photographer in her teens to honor her late father (a photographer). I’m not sure if I’m right, but now it all kind of made sense. Their songs are lathered in death imagery, talking to a specific person in an angry/remorseful way, and frustrated screaming.

I can’t explain that well why this title makes sense, and I guess now I understand why artists really don’t discuss their work to the detail that I was prepared to discuss mine. I have tried to explain the piece to a couple of people: it’s intentions, motifs, symbols, metaphors, desires, loves, fears, and secrets. However, my exact explanations of my painting do not make sense to other people. People that I know personally will come up with their own explanations as to why I used pink & blue or what the placement of my family members means to the point that they won’t even believe my own intentions.

I understand.

Even if Sarah from Phantogram tells me tomorrow, in person, that all those songs are not about her frustration that her father died at a time where she didn’t expect/couldn’t handle it and that that same frustration still lingers in her mind so clearly that she can write so many songs about it, I would not believe her. I would let her know she’s a liar that doesn’t even understand her own mind.

So, instead of writing a long, very descriptive explanation about why I did what or what means what or why the title is what in this post, I’m going to let you enjoy this painting; a painting that challenged me so cruelly and savagely. This painting makes me feel so exposed about my issues, frustrations, bliss, upbringing, and view on life. It’s best if I leave all that up to your imagination.




That’s it.

This is all I got from Rome. How did that come to be when I’m a photographer in a beautiful, ancient city? I’ll tell you.

I depart from Barcelona after facing the hard reality that I had to pay seventy euros on top of my Europass cause that’s the way it is. Seventy dollars less and I headed to Rome. The train ride there was pretty incredible. I remember all those views to this day, although we traveled much through the night, mostly through France. At around 3AM, French officers came on the train to check passports. They lingered on me because I’m Salvadoran;  they weren’t really sure if I needed a visa to be there (I didn’t). I don’t know if this was their intention, but they sure made me feel really uncomfortable about my citizenship. It was weird.

I get to Torino, near Milano, I consider just ditching my hostel reservation in Rome to go to Milano… I didn’t though, which I regret now. I’m supposed to take a connecting train from there to Rome. Somehow, because I don’t speak Italian, I missed the first train to Rome. Now, I had to somehow figure out how to speak Italian and change my ticket time. In the booth is this really hard looking Italian man with vanilla skin and sky blue eyes. He talked so romantically but also angrily that I wasn’t understanding a speck of what he was saying. It was like watching a mime show, I could have put mute on that conversation and understood the same amount. The worst look he gave me was actually when I tried to speak Spanish to him; I figured there’s gotta be some words in there he can recognize. Well, he was kind of offended. No, definitely offended.

Due to all those delays, I get to Rome at a time I wouldn’t want to arrive to any new city. It is around 6PM, I roll my trusty luggage companion for a couple miles down nasty, broken up cobblestone. My feet, my hand, my soul was sore. I had assumed Rome would be all delightful beauty but that’s a stupid thing to think. The roads seem to have been paved by a sadist or a masochist, the streets are full of ruins (not the cool kind), trash is scattered everywhere, people are AGGRESSIVE, and drivers seemed not to really know where the road was or what a pedestrian is. It was chaotic for me, or maybe it was my mental state, or MAYBE… possibly the fact that I didn’t book a hostel in a safer area! Only to find out that my hostel is nonexistent. I’m not gonna lie, I cried a lot during my walk to the bus. I mean, thousands of miles away from home or from anyone that cares about me, lost in a a new city at night, with no hostel to sleep at, already very frightened by the environment, and going through personal turmoil all by myself is really not what I should have been doing.

Back at the train station, I reluctantly trusted a British man to help me find a hostel. He assured me that he was a travel guide, and had seen that I was crying so he wanted to help me. When he offered to carry my bags for me, I obviously refused, and he said that it’s good that I’m cautious. It turned out that he was just a really nice man who saved me that day. The next day, Osama Bin Laden died, and I had to get out of Rome ASAP. I had pizza, bread, wine, pasta, and salad at a restaurant next to the hostel, went to sleep, and the next day walked around Rome for two hours, sprinting to the attractions I had wanted to see my entire life, until my train departed to Florence that morning.

I’m traumatized. I hope Zak maybe can de-traumatize me and take me to Rome one of these days.

((( )))