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Archive for October, 2010 Line

One of the first things I noticed when I got to Mexico City (right after noticing the immense scale of the city) was the abundance of hand painted signs, called ròtulos, in lieu of printed signage. I can only assume that I’m seeing the ròtulos more in the outlying neighborhoods than in the borough centers because they are still cheaper than digital prints. As with most handicrafts, the lessening cost of digital and technological processes will eventually put them and their makers at risk of going the way of the dodo, but from the little information I could find on the internet about ròtulos, I suspect that they exist in part because of an appreciation for this craft. (I would just go ask around but my Spanish is highly limited at best.)

I have a very small sample of photos below of some ròtulos near where I am in the borough of Tlalpan. I hope to collect many more, as soon as I get over being that tourist-with-a-camera. Sometimes it takes a bit of bravery to be a tourist.

First a view of Mexico City, taken just down the street from where I’m staying. It’s a very, very big city. The third most populous, anywhere. The city and the people go on and on.

And now some ròtulos…

The craftsmanship varies wildly from sign to sign. Some are amazing in their precision, some are simple and crude, but at any quality, big letters on a wall grab your attention and do their work. There is no doubt that for a lot of the ròtuladors, care is given to the basics of good design: color, type and information hierarchy. These things are then coupled with steady hands and craftsmanship, and as a designer who spends all day behind a computer screen, I feel like a bit of a phony when looking at some of this work. This disconnect from (and romanticization of) the handmade is a growing cliche in the “technological age”, one that bubbles to the surface while walking around the neighborhoods with a digital camera taking photos of handmade signs on crumbling buildings. The irony as I upload the photos to my Apple laptop is not lost on me.

My appreciation and interest in these ròtulos, and the general resurgence and interest in the handmade boils down to this: These signs are graphic design in a very pure form, beautiful and effective and free of any pretense.

For more information on ròtulos, with an emphasis on those in Yucatan, visit: http://www.yucatanliving.com/art/rotulos-painting-mexican-art.htm

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I was just reading a fav blog of mine, Design*Sponge, and she was talking about this most awesome of events. The amazing trio who designed THIS WEBSITE have created an amazing book called The Exquisite Book and to celebrate they will party! From the ALSO website about the book, “The Exquisite Book is a project based on the Surrealist game called the Exquisite Corpse. The book is a modified version of the game, played by one hundred contributing contemporary fine artists, illustrators, designers and comic artists”. The collaborative trio of Jenny Volvovski, Matt Lamothe and Julia Rothman also known as the ALSO design agency have long inspired The Adventure School and asking them to design our website remains one of the first and best(!) ideas that Aviva and I had when starting out on our journey of adventure in The Adventure School.

The Exquisite Book from The Exquisite Book on Vimeo.

In other words it’s all coming together for you New Yorkers, if you like The Adventure School, and if you are reading this I know you do, then you most likely love to go to this event! Go check it out and please report back to me as I am in Miami and will not be able to make it to DUMBO. All 100 of the artists in the book will have their page hanging at the show/party.

The deets cribbed from Design*Sponge:

What: The Exquisite Book Party and Art Exhibition
When: Friday October 22nd, 6–9pm
Where: Powerhouse Arena, 37 Main Street (corner of Water & Main St.), DUMBO, Brooklyn
Details: Authors and artists will be signing books, artwork from the book will be on display and for sale and drinks will be served.

*P.S. If you’re out of town or unable to attend, all of the prints from the book will be available to purchase ($60 each) online starting today. They will be available for one month after the show, click to check them out and shop online.

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It appears as though Fall has fallen here in the Pacific Northwest… and not a moment too soon, in my opinion. I’d had enough of the wishy-washy weather that held Seattle in it’s muggy grip for the better part of what we had hoped would be an Indian Summer. There were far too many mornings when I piled on the layers after looking out across Elliot Bay into what I thought were incoming storm clouds, seeing the wind pick up speed over the sound and hit the waterfront in gusts, and only to find, once I stepped outside, nothing more than a little bit of a drizzle and lots of frizzy hair.

And, finally! After weeks of that (thank goodness we don’t live in the Southern States), off I go in the mornings, happily layered, into the crisp air and bright, gorgeous days, clicking my heels in the piles of fallen leaves.

Few things accompany cool evenings as well as a simple, roasted chicken… It is a favorite in our house because one can do so much with the leftovers (we deserve a gold star for what we can do with days-old food). Someday we’ll start with a hen we’ve raised on our farm atop rolling hills and between quiet streams, but until then, and while we inhabit and enjoy our dear city, we pick out a plump one at Rain Shadow Meats in the new Melrose Market. We place the fowl in a roasting pan, cozying it up to thickly sliced carrots, potatoes, leeks, onions… basically anything and everything we have on hand. Then we toss in a few sprigs of rosemary or the like, place a few pats of butter around the bottom of the pan, and drizzle a bit of good olive oil over the top. And then into a 375 degree oven it goes! We figure it usually takes about 20 minutes per pound of chicken. Once it’s done, we open a bottle of pinot noir (we most recently enjoyed a 2008 from Scribe Winery in Sonoma, California) and devour almost every bit of what’s in the pan because it is that damn good.

What we don’t eat– some of the fatty bits, tendons, bones, drippings and leftover vegetables from the pan– gets dropped into a heavy-bottomed pot, topped off with water, a few peppercorns, and the discarded innards. We make sure to chop the bones in half before throwing them in, so as to release more of their flavor. We also toss in any cheese rinds we have on hand (though an apparently well-known tip for making broths, I had no idea about this until my boyfriend’s sister, Alexandra Loew (more on her amazing work soon to come here on The Adventure School Blog!), put one or two rinds in a stock she was making a while back). We usually leave this concoction sitting on low-heat overnight, waking up in the morning to the entire apartment smelling sooooo good that we pour ourselves mugs of the stock for our breakfasts. Once strained of the solid bits, we freeze the stock in ice trays so as to have easy access to just the right amount when we need it later.

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