In a random women entrepreneurs networking event in Austin, I met a lovely woman called Danielle who turned out to be a founder of a company called Chalk Ink. We hit it off immediately and she invited me to an event she was holding at her office. She seemed nice and I had no plans for the next day so I of course signed up (I might tattoo “Never Stop Exploring” on my chest of forehead soon).
The story of the company is quite interesting. Danielle used to work as a designer for Whole Foods and create their store graphics and signage. She then realized that the chalk markers they were using were not adequate and created her own high quality markers which is now used in all Starbucks, Whole Foods and many other restaurants and establishments. I was also surprised to learn that they are also used in industrial plants and even by the US army to temporarily mark some equipment!
Chalk Ink came up with a very cool event to promote their brand. They invited a bunch of successful Do-It-Yourself and other artsy bloggers to come and hang out in Austin and create stuff with the markers. I had a really fun morning getting inspired by all these talented people and learning how to draw, something I haven’t done since high school. It was such a liberating experience.
A few weeks ago I was feeling artsy and through my loyal friend – Google – I discovered the famousFraenkel Gallery, about 3 blocks from my apartment in SOMA. The art gallery turned out to be one of many in a 5-story building that reminded me more of my alma mater than a creative space. It had long and narrow abandoned hallways that led to different offices with heavy wooden doors and small planks that named the residents. I found Fraenkel Gallery on the 4th floor. Most of the exhibition featured very large photographs of water bodies with one or two people swimming in them. The most interesting thing about them was the price tag that revolved somewhere around US$40k each. I would have paid maybe 20 bucks to have one of them, but who is asking me?
The artist is called Richard Misrach in case you want to find out more..
“The caption of this image said: “When my mom died I bought a taxidermied giraffe. I named it after my mother and hung it up in my studio.”
Example of a 40k photo by Richard Misrach
Despite the creepy emptiness of the building I decided to explore more floors where I saw some avant-garde gay art from Sausalito, strange music installations and more random junk that was pretending to be art. Of course, every single one of these galleries had a white desk with a giant Apple computer screen on it. I think it’s a pre-requisite for getting an operating license in the art industry.
Of course, as always with my expeditions, I ended up discovering the incredible McLoughlin Gallery, which had a NYC Soho vibe with an array of interesting art works, which reminded me of Rio’s colorfulness. Despite my anti-social self, I struck a conversation with the owner, Joan, who happened to share the same love for colorful esthetics (I felt super artsy because I could hold a conversation with a pro!!).
At McLoughlin Gallery
At McLoughlin Gallery
At McLoughlin Gallery
At McLoughlin Gallery
I told her about all the beautiful art I got to know in Brazil. She claimed that she knew the world-famous Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado because he wanted to exhibit in her gallery but his style didn’t fit in with her esthetic interests. I am not sure I buy this because right after she said this, she got completely engrossed in googling his photographs and talking to herself about each one. At first it was amusing but then I started to get bored and to invent an excuse in order to leave.
Joan and I parted on friendly terms with her asking me to find her Brazilian artists to present in her gallery. The random things that happen…
If you’re looking for tips on San Fran, you can read my other posts:
This weekend I took the ferry boat to Sausalito (only $5 with the Clipper card!) and 30 minutes later I found myself at a little piece of heaven. It used to be an artist colony but now it’s a kind of a yuppies-who-sell-artsy-stuff-to-tourists, type of colony. As always, I started walking in the wrong direction and ended up discovering many interesting things. I also discovered my dream house for retirement (hopefully, by next year), well actually maybe 10 of them. This place is so damn cute.
En route to Sausalito
The welcoming committee
The Inn Above Tide
I was told this place is very good. To do for next time
Scoma’s More pretty places
Someone is watching you
This is not a drawing
Did you know that Sausalito is sister city of Vina del Mar in Chile?
This can be a scene from which movie
This can also be a scene from a movie too…
These looked like they were florescenet
I really should have had this conversation
View of San Francisco
Later, I googled “cool things to do in Sausalito” and found out that I have been doing the right main thing: roaming around. I ended up walking 2- 3 miles until I reached Fred’s Place, where food took ages to be served and the waiters were extremely concerned with offering you coffee every 2 mins. When I finally got my Eggs Benedict, the couple in front of me, was screaming at the waiters to take away their coffee cups and stop asking them about refills. The food was quite good so I’d recommend the place. Especially if you like coffee refills.
Afterwards, I took the less scenic route and visited art galleries and quirky shops. My current read, a Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, recommends eavesdropping people as a tool to improve one’s empathy (he claims that even Scott Fitzgerald used to have a notebook to take down all the conversation he had been eavesdropping on). I tried to do the same, but then I overheard a man telling a client that his testosterone levels are low and then saw another looking at phallic pictures on his mobile phone. This was too much information so I am quitting on eavesdropping.
Answer: My first day at my first ever South by Southwest (‘SXSW’ or ‘South by’, as the super cool veterans call it) conference in Austin, TX.
“Overwhelming” is the best word to describe this day. It started with the schedule of panels, meetups, talks, book readings, mentor sessions, parties and keynote speakers. I got so stressed trying to figure out which of 10 events in 10 different venues around the city I should attend at any given hour!
I did RSVP to go to a session about the Internet of Things, getting all excited about learning new trends. Instead, I ended up in a panel of 4 boring middle aged guys, trying to impress each other and the audience by talking about Moore’s law and microchips. When asked by show of hands to answer who is a hardware geek or a software geek, I was one of the few people in the room not to raise my hand. Clear clue to being in the wrong place, eh? After this I just simply gave up and switched the logic to picking stuff that were closest to my physical location at any given time.
My next session was a keynote by Paola Antonelli, the architecture and design curator from the MOMA, titled Curious Bridges: How designers grow the future. Here, the attendants looked much cooler, a mix of hipsters and artsy Japanese people so I was starting to feel cooler myself. But then, when Ms. Antonelli started talking about quantum design, Schrodinger’s Cat, superposition, Entanglement, I started missing my physicist boyfriend and having flashbacks to when he would talk about work and my mind would start going into the blue screen mode. I quickly started snapping photos of her slides, trying to impress him with the level of my intellect, which allowed me to watch such sophisticated lecture. Once I got tired of snapping pictures, I realized that 20 mins have passed and I still had no clue what this lady was talking about.
Just before dropping out of this event, I did learn about the most impressive art piece (UN)known to mankind: the menstruation machine (created by artist Sputniko to show men how does having a period feel like).
You can watch the video about it here
Finally, I stumbled upon a women entrepreneurs event, which lured us in with custom-made cupcakes and free drinks. The ladies (except for some panelists), were pretty cool, and we had a great discussion about why networking, role models, and better pipelines of candidates are all important in getting more women into tech and into leadership roles overall. I really wanted to take over the discussion but it wasn’t allowed 😦
I also got a bunch of business cards because I decided that in the next few days I shall become the networker I have never been. To be continued…
The bohemian neighborhood of Jardim Botanico organized a magical walk through the galleries called Circuito das Artes. After 3 years in Rio, I got to once more discover hidden alleys and cute galleries while checking out some great home decor ideas.