Monday, December 27, 2010

Portrait, bigger than a football field in Ljubljana, Slovenia

I'm going to need a bigger paintbrush: Artist's incredible portraits that are bigger than a football field

Huge ideas spread over canvases bigger than football fields and onto the sides of buildings is how Jorge Rodriguez Gerada expresses his art.

The Cuban lives in Barcelona and has spent the past decade creating his Identity and Terrestrial Series, across Europe and Latin America, on the sides of 60-foot buildings and using 650 tons of sand and gravel spread over two and half acres.

Sometimes using a 4-wheel drive JCB digger to lift and manoeuvre the pigmented and coloured sand for his art, or going through approximately 300 charcoal sticks for each of his 'Identity' series drawings; Jorge does nothing on a small scale.

'Expectation', a portrait of US President Barack Obama, was created using 650 metric tons of sand and gravel. It was designed to be seen from Google Earth
'Expectation', a portrait of US President Barack Obama, was created using 650 metric tons of sand and gravel. It was designed to be seen from Google Earth

'Enric Miralles,' Jorge Rodriguez Gerado's homage to the Spanish architect, was also part of the 'Terrestrial Series'
'Enric Miralles,' Jorge Rodriguez Gerado's homage to the Spanish architect, was also part of the 'Terrestrial Series'

Busy exhibiting his artwork at the N2 Gallery in Barcelona, Jorge, 44, is keen to highlight the importance of a sense of identity in everyday people's lives, but also to highlight new technologies and how they can create works that can elude to the immensity of a certain moment. 

'As part of the Terrestrial Series I created the iconic image of Barack Obama just before the U.S presidential elections,’ said Jorge.

'This was designed to be viewed from space by Google Earth as a way to open a dialogue about the dramatic uncertainty of our times and the irrational search for a hero to save us.

'The large Terrestrial Series of art works are put together using a vector image and GPS technology, so we can map them out on the ground.

'Mapped out digitally it becomes a high art and large scale version of connecting the dots and then we would fill in the roped off areas with the different coloured sands and rocks.'   

Photographed from almost 300 metres up by helicopter, Jorge's representation of Obama was followed up by his slightly smaller work that depicted the famed Catalan architect Enric Miralles.

'Tina' is part of Jorge Rodriguez Gerado's 'Identity' series, and was created on the side of a building in Ljubljana, Slovenia
'Tina' is part of Jorge Rodriguez Gerado's 'Identity' series, and was created on the side of a building in Ljubljana, Slovenia

'Santo', also part of Gerado's 'Identity' series, is in Valencia, Spain. He can take up to one week to complete his stunning building sized drawings
'Santo', also part of Gerado's 'Identity' series, is in Valencia, Spain. He can take up to one week to complete his stunning building sized drawings

His most recent piece created in collaboration with depicted a little girl named Galla and covered over six acres.
'They are part of my fascination with aerial photography and with creating something relevant,' said Jorge who grew up in the United States and divides his time between Barcelona, New York and Buenos Aires.

'I wanted to also incorporate the new ways that we can examine the Earth through Google Maps and even getting the work photographed by satellites passing overhead.

'The Obama work was 120 metres long by 80 metres wide and I was aided by volunteers who supported the project and helped me complete the work.

'We were hampered by the weather during the process of completing the work, but we were ultimately successful and interest from around the world was huge. '   

Remarkably for Jorge, who honed his artistic talents as a young artist in New York City, his Identity series, which he produces on the side of buildings is actually small scale compared to his land art.

The artist works on 'Emma' in 2006 in Barcelona. He says the blending of the charcoal and the wall surface with the wind and rain is the most important part of the process
The artist works on 'Emma' in 2006 in Barcelona. He says the blending of the charcoal and the wall surface with the wind and rain is the most important part of the process

'David' is on a wall in Vitoria, Spain. The artist photographs the subject's face to create a mock-up and then puts a hyper realistic work on the sides of the building
'David' is on a wall in Vitoria, Spain. The artist photographs the subject's face to create a mock-up and then puts a hyper realistic work on the sides of the building

'With the Identity series I select someone who has a strong sense of Identity to the place where they live,' explained Jorge.

'That could be in Slovenia, Spain or Argentina, or even London.

'I then photograph their face to create a mock-up and I go about creating a hyper realistic work on the sides of the building.

'I began the series in 2002 and the drawings are meant to question the controls imposed on public space, the role models that represent us and the type of events that are guarded by the collective memory..

'The blending of the charcoal and the wall surface with the wind and rain is ultimately the most important part of the process. The intent is to have identity, place and memory become one.'

Perfectionist Jorge can sometimes take up to one week to complete his stunning building sized drawings.
'My idea is to show that we should all be seen with dignity. I believe that our identity should come from within not from the brands that we wear. We should question who chooses our cultural icons and role models as well as our values and our aesthetics.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana Opera House seen from a side balcony...Image via WikipediaToday I found this interesting article, written by an American, visiting Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana.
The Hidden Gems of This Capital City
Published August 26, 2010 by:
Cleo Louise
"Ne razumem! Ne razumem!" ("I don't understand!") is undoubtedly a valuable phrase to memorize when conversing with people in Slovenia. Luckily, the majority of citizens in Ljubljana spoke English fluently (with a thick Slovenian accent) and communication wasn't a problem at all.
"Hvala" is "Thank You" in the Slovene language and, in my opinion, is a word which is imperative to know when traveling throughout Slovenia. I know waiters appreciate it when you give your best effort at saying a word in their language, even if it's dreadfully mispronounced. They will always smile.
To conclude this post on the picturesque city of Ljubljana, Slovenia, I want to discuss the differences between what "hanging out" means in America, and what "hanging out" seems to mean in Ljubljana.
Where I come from, the only way to spend time with my friends is to hop in my black car and drive at least ten minutes to a location where we all meet up. Perhaps we go bowling, see a movie, or spend time relaxing at each other's houses.
In Slovenia, one simply doesn't need a car to have an active social life. Youth walk around the town square of Ljubljana and maybe sit a cafe for an hour or two before wandering down the paths by the river. To me, that difference speaks volumes about our two cultures.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Slovenian mount Raduha

Hut on Grohot meadow under mt. Raduha, SloveniaImage via Wikipedia: Hut on Grohot meadow under mt. Raduha
Tadej Štalekar from Mislinjska Dobrava in Slovenia was kind enough to let me use his photos from his recent Alpine-climbing trip to Kamnik-Savinja Alps in municipality Luče.

Mount Raduha (6765 ft / 2062 m) is a peak that offers magnificent views all around. Its SE slopes are covered with spruce forests and meadows to approximately 1600 meters above sea level. Above that there are only grassy slopes and pinetrees. On almost all meadows from both sides you can still see animals grazing on pastures.

The other - NW - side of mount Raduha is a cold and dark rocky wall. Recommended for climbers with at least some experiences.

And if you're not into Alpine climbing in Slovenian Alps, take a trip there via this video below. No mountain shoes and backpack needed! :)

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Slovenefest 2010 music and praises

After talking to several people who attended XXIX Slovenefest in Enon Valley, PA, I have an impression that this was certainly an event well worth experiencing and that I better make sure to be there myself next year... :)

Though, the sweetest testimonial I received from Agnes & Lou Lyman who have also never been at this Slovenian fest at the SNPJ Recreation Center before:

We just returned from a trip to Pennsylvania including a stop at the Enon Valley Slovenefest (our first). Missed seeing you but did talk to Mary Ann & Ralph. Also saw other familiar faces from Spring Hill. It was an enjoyable time.

Best wishes,
Agnes & Lou Lyman

Walt and Eileen Harfmann were also there with their new camera and took several great videos of the bands playing. Below are a few that I chose to share with you.

Most authentic Slovenian music - because it came straight from Slovenia - performed by "Društvo ljubiteljev harmonik, Godič." Mary Ann told me they were excellent and now I can hear/see what she meant.

And some more familiar faces - Bob Kravos and The Boys In The Band with Wayne Habat, doing a famous hit of his Father, Eddie Habat,"This Must Be The Place."

Joe Fedorchak playing with Jack Vasko & Company:

Last but not least, some more American Cleveland-Style polka music legends - Frank Stanger Orchestra joined by Eddie & Kim Rodick:

Monday, July 12, 2010

SNPJ Slovenefest XXIX

Map of Lawrence County higlighting Enon Valley.Image via Wikipedia
Enon Valley, Pennsylvania
This past weekend (Friday through Sunday, July 9-11, 2010) Slovenefest at the SNPJ Recreational Center in Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, was the biggest event with Slovenian food, music and dancing in the country.

I heard from a few people that were attending this festive event. They all told me the same thing:  the music and crowds were good and the weather not too hot.

Larry Zaletel made sure I received the images of this popular event right after it was over. Thank you so much for sharing!!

 Image above: Happy Timers at Slovenefest 2010
Photo © 2010 Isabel Blaha

Photo above: Magic Buttons at Slovenefest 2010
Photo © 2010 Russ Imburgia

Photo above: Mahoning Valley at Slovenefest 2010
Photo © 2010 Russ Imburgia

Photo above: Open jamming at Slovenefest 2010
Photo © 2010 Russ Imburgia

Photo above: Magic Buttons at Slovenefest 2010
Photo © 2010 Larry Zaletel

Photo above: Polka dancing at Slovenefest 2010
Photo © 2010 Larry Zaletel

Photo above: Slovenefest 2010 in Enon Valley, Pennsylvania
Photo © 2010 Larry Zaletel

Photo above: SNPJ Recreation Center, Slovenefest 2010
Photo © 2010 Larry Zaletel

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sunset photography from around the world

Author of all the photos in this post is Larry Zaletel ©.

Thank you, Larry - for sharing them with all of us!!  :)

Kona, Hawaii

Kona in Hawaii

Kona - Hawaii

Petrovac na moru - Montenegro

Sveti Stefan - Montenegro
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Independence Day lyrics

American Flag on Independence Day - July 4, 2008
Photo "American Flag on Independence Day - July 4, 2008" - courtesy of agdenza

Independence Day Lyrics
Artist: Martina McBride

Well she seemed all right by dawn's early light
Though she looked a little worried and weak
She tried to pretend he wasn't drinkin' again
But daddy left the proof on her cheek
and I was only eight years old that summer
And I always seemed to be in the way
So I took myself down to the fair in town
On Independence Day

Well word gets around in a small, small town
They said he was a dangerous man
Mama was proud and she stood her ground
she knew she was on the losin' end
Some folks whispered some folks talked
but everybody looked the other way
when time ran out there was no one about
On Independence Day

Let Freedom ring,let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is a
Day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay, it's
Independence Day

Well she lit up the sky that fourth of July
By the time that the firemen come
They just put out the flames,
and took down some names
And sent me to the county home
Now I ain’t sayin' it's right or it's wrong
but maybe it's the only way
Talk about your revolution
It's Independence Day

Repeat Chorus

Roll the stone away
It's Independence Day

Unique and historical celebrations of Independence Day:

  • Held since 1785, the Bristol Fourth of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island is the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States.
  • Since 1912, the Rebild Society, a Danish-American friendship organization, has held a July 4th weekend festival that serves as a homecoming for Danish-Americans in the Rebild section of Denmark.
  • Since 1916, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City supposedly started as a way to settle a dispute among four immigrants as to who was the most patriotic.
  • Since 1959, the International Freedom Festival is jointly held in Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario during the last week of June each year as a mutual celebration of Independence Day and Canada Day (July 1). It culminates in a large fireworks display over the Detroit River.
  • Numerous major and minor league baseball games are played on Independence Day.
  • The famous Macy's fireworks display usually held over the East River in New York City has been televised nationwide on NBC since 1976. In 2009, the fireworks display was returned to the Hudson River for the first time since 2000 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's exploration of that river.
  • Since 1970, the annual 10 kilometer Peachtree Road Race is held in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The Boston Pops Orchestra has hosted a music and fireworks show over the Charles River Esplanade called the "Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular" annually since 1973. The event has been broadcast nationally since 2003 on CBS.
  • On the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C., “A Capitol Fourth,” a free concert, precedes the fireworks and attracts over half a million people annually.

Bug of the Independence Day
Photo courtesy of urtica

Happy Independence Day everyone!

Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.
~Albert Camus

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Slovenian Unveiling Wedding Traditions

Alpine valley of Krnica near Kranjska Gora, Sl...

Image above: Alpine valley of Krnica in Triglav National Park, Slovenia via Wikipedia
I once asked Bob Kravos what was the very favorite CD of his. He replied, “Unveiling.”
I must have given him a blank look because a moment later he was explaining to me, “You know, that Slovenian wedding tradition. When the bride's veil is removed...”

It's time for me to admit that I had absolutely no idea what Bob was talking about. Maybe in that moment he had some doubts if I was really born and raised in Slovenia...

Both of my parents came from a small family and all of my cousins are younger than  me. So the only time I was attending fairly traditional wedding was when my uncle Bojan, my dad's younger brother got married. They sure didn't do any unveiling there.

For nine years throughout my grade and high school I was dancing in the folklore group “Pastirci” (Shepherds) and we were actually performing the whole traditional wedding of “Mislinjska dolina” (Mislinja Valley) – and I don't remember any unveiling there either.

It seems to me like this meaningful symbolism of unveiling was only traditional in certain parts of Slovenia, not everywhere. And I have yet to discover, where exactly that was.

Red Carnation Corsage
Photo "Red Carnation Corsage" - courtesy of youyou965

However, red carnation bloom has always been a big part of Slovenian tradition, craft and symbolism. No wonder it also found its way into the folk wedding ceremony and added deep meaning to Slovenian bride's unveiling.

And just like Jewish husbands traditionally break the champagne glass, American brides throw their bouquets,  Italians do their pillow dance - Slovenians used to do the unveiling.

The unveiling ceremony is a reminder for the bride and the groom that a new life awaits them. Carefree days of youth are gone and it's time to accept a new role that includes responsibility and loyalty to each other.

red kathwah..pix by ..kathwah.
Photo courtesy of kathwah

Both families (groom's and bride's) toast to the newlywed couple, wishing them luck and at the same time welcome the intertwining of the two families. Then two melodious and somewhat sad songs are sung during the unveiling:

  • "Slovensko dekle" (Slovenian girl) and
  •  "Sinoči je pela" (Last night she was singing)
The bride's veil is removed and and a red carnation flower is pinned in her hair, symbolizing the transition from maidenhood to married life. At the same time, the white boutonnière of a groom gets replaced with a red carnation.

Photo courtesy of

To Slovenians, marriage has always been a sacred promise. One of the reasons for that was - by being mostly catholics, divorce was not an option. Hence, many bystanders dab their eyes with a tissue during the unveiling ceremony.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Florida sunsets

As I've been spending quite some time away from the computer this spring and summer, I've managed to take a sizable collection of sunset photos on some Florida's west coast beaches. Here's a handful, especially for you. They were all taken with my cell phone though, so they are not the highest quality.

Photo above: Sunset on Pine Island, Hernando County

Photo above: Sunset on Sunset Beach, Pinellas County

Photo above: Sunset on Clearwater Beach, Pinellas County

Photo above: Sunset on Dunedin Causeway Beach, Pinellas County

If you too have a nice photo from your vacations that you'd like to share on this blog, please email it to me!

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New image

I decided to change the look of this blog, to make it look more cheerful and summery (to match the season) - and easier to browse. I hope you like it...

Early morning in a Somerset poppy field
Photo "Early morning in a Somerset poppy field" - courtesy of Carl Loves Somerset


Friday, June 25, 2010

Slovenia independence

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle...

Image above: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama pose for a photo during a reception at the Metropolitan Museum in New York with Slovenian president Danilo Türk and his wife Barbara Miklič Türk - via Wikipedia
June 25, 2010 marked 19th anniversary of Slovenia's independence. 76 Slovenians died during the ten-day independence war. That's how Slovenians first won their statehood "on the battlefield", which enabled them to quickly also become "successful behind the negotiating table."

Slovenian president Danilo Türk described dialogue as the core of all strategic development challenges of our time as he addressed the main state ceremony marking the 25 June National Day in Ljubljana on Thursday. 

According to Türk, social dialogue is needed more today than ever before. "Slamming doors and threats are not a way forward," the president said on the eve of National Day, which marks the day when Slovenia declared independence in 1991. (Source)

Video above: "Slovenska himna" (Slovenian anthem)

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to ALL the Daddys out there!Image by Te55  - M♥R1E via Flickr
On this special day I'd like to share with you two famous quotes. I looked through many, some even brought tears to my eyes - but the following two touched my heart most deeply.

I sure wish I could see my dad (I call him "oči") today and give him a hug...

He didn't tell me how to live;
he lived,
and let me watch him do it.
~Clarence Budington Kelland

It is not flesh and blood
but the heart
which makes us fathers and sons.
~Johann Schiller

Happy Father's Day 
to all the loving fathers, 
and grandfathers out there!! :)

And the video I made for dads, with a little sneak-peak into my childhood:

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Just let me go to the football

Since most of the world seems to be focused on everything about soccer these days, I decided to go with the flow and post some more fun videos for you. Both of the videos below are music videos, inspired by football/soccer. Watch when it gets too hot to be outside (happens quite often to me these days).

First, here's polka "Na fuzbal me pust'" (Just let me go to the football game), performed by "Veseli svatje," dressed in soccer uniforms.

And the second video I chose for today is a new Slovenian sports anthem "Slovenija ima krila" (Slovenia's got wings) - also inspired by Slovenian national soccer team success.

Oh, and one last thing: in case you're a big sports/soccer fan, here's the link to pretty complete coverage of Slovenia at the FIFA World Cup from 1974 till today. Click on the link below, it opens a new window:
Slovenia at FIFA World Cup™ - 2010 Soccer Championship in South Africa

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Slovenian soccer fairytale continues

Slovenian football (soccer) player Robert Kore...Image via Wikipedia

"Slovenian soccer fairytale continues," were the words of American reporter on ABC TV channel - after Slovenia won their first game at the FIFA world championship in South Africa.

Midfielder Robert Koren's late goal 'handed Slovenia their first-ever FIFA World Cup victory as well as the top spot in Group C as they beat 10-man Algeria 1-0 in Polokwane.'

Slovenia is the smallest nation ever - in the history of soccer world cup - to qualify for the world championship twice in a row - back to back.

Robert Koren's 79th-minute goal handed Slovenia a 1-0 win over 10-man Algeria on Sunday in Polokwane for their first-ever FIFA World Cup™ victory. Following the US and England's 1-1 draw the night before in Rustenburg, the Slovenians jumped to the top of Group C at a boisterous Peter Mokaba Stadium, which also witnessed second-half substitute Abdelkader Ghezzal sent off after just 15 minutes on the pitch.

In the end, the extra man did not do much for Slovenia, but Budweiser Man of the Match Koren hit his shot well from the edge of the area. Chaouchi seemed to be well-placed to save the shot, but to the shock of the colourful supporters from Algeria, the ball bulged the back of the net.

Slovenia next meet USA in Johannesburg's Ellis Park on 18 June, while Algeria will try to rebound against group favourites England the same day in Cape Town.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Bessemer Accordion Festival 2010

My online friend Larry Zaletel was kind enough to send me this photo, taken at Bessemer Accordion Festival in Pennsylvania this past weekend. It's always good to see what our members and guests are doing all summer long.

Photo above: Linda Hochevar, Frank Moravcik and The Happy Timers at Bessemer Accordion Festival 2010

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