Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spain, Portugal and Islam

Since first seeing Islamic tiles, I've been drawn to the style.  I was enchanted by the stylized works of nature and the geometric patterns.

During my college years, I took a class in Islamic Art and Architecture, made molds of Islamic tiles in clay class and created a book of Islamic floral designs for a class assignment.  The period that most fascinated was the height of the Islamic age in Spain.

For many years, I've dreamed going to Spain. More specifically my dreams were to visit the Southern region that Muslims named "Al-Andalus." (Now referred to as Andalucia) This year, it is finally happening and I am trying to hold back my excitement.

My airplane reservations are made - fly into Madrid, exit via Barcelona. Now it's time for some serious planning as I'm told that purchasing Eurail and Alhambra tickets in advance are a must. There's a bit of time to plan since I'm not leaving until Autumn.

At this point, the itinerary is a little loose. Here's my tentative plans in order to avoid doubling back: Overnight train from Madrid to Lisbon, bus Lisbon to Seville, bus Seville to Cordoba, bus Cordoba to Granada, train Granada to Madrid, train Madrid to Barcelona.

Now, Dear Reader, this is where you can help me solidify my itinerary: If you have suggestions for transportation, lodging, food, sight-seeing, eateries, and colorful markets, I'd like to have your recommendations.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Michal Trpák and The Human Condition

Recently, I came upon a young Czech artist who is creating very original art. His name is Michal Trpák (1982-). His academic credentials are impeccable. He studied under Master sculptors and graduated from the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design. His internships were in such far flung parts of the world as Korea, Finland and Canada.

Through all his studies, he has distilled an original style of art works mainly depicting the human form and cultural conditions in a surrealistic manner. This is the first of his works that introduced me to his art:

"Escape into Reality" (2008)

Trpák's sculptural commentaries on the human condition were featured in an exhibit at a civic building in the Czech Republic. "Slightly Uncertain" (2012)

"Stage of Fascination" (2009)

"On the Waves of DNA" (2012)

"Thinkers" (2010)

You can see more of his works at:  Be sure to watch the opening intro. It's fun and worth it!