exchange rate be damned

For those of you who didn’t get the memo, I’m in Europe! And after 3 summers of easy, inexpensive travel in South-east Asia, I am now dealing with the painful sticker shock of how little the dollar is worth in Europe. I had a hot dog and a hot chocolate from a 7-11 in Copenhagen the other night, and it cost $10 US. Ouch.

Prior to Denmark, I spent a few days in London with my Manila friends Maria Taniguchi and Rita Nazareno, who are now living there. I also got to meet up with Laura McKinney, one of my former Leadership High School students, who’s working there for 6 months! Such a treat.

The weather wasn’t super-cooperative (except for the sunny morning when I left, natch), but I still managed to see some art, to enjoy being back in London, and to goof around with Maria and Rita. Those two totally spoiled me. Rita made spamsilog for breakfast one day! Spamsilog in London. Yesss.

Woff, Rita, Maria in West Hampstead:
And a wall I became obsessed with at a fun bar we went to called Trash Palace, in Chinatown:
I need that wallpaper like yesterday.

Maria’s just finishing up her first year in the MFA program at Goldsmiths: it was a treat to get to visit the campus studios, to see what she’s been working on, and to get a better sense of the young British art scene. We also visited her friend Lui Medina, another artist from Manila who was preparing for her own master’s graduation exhibition at the Slade. Mm, I am SO glad that I’m done with my degree. Also glad that I got my degree from somewhere outside the stressed-out fishbowl of the international art market. There’s some great talent here, but the pressure is intense!

Maria at Goldsmiths:
other Goldsmiths pics (this is Maria’s studio mate):

hallway with graphite “mural”:
Art schools are fun to visit.

After a mildly harrowing day of travel, getting my embarrassingly heavy luggage across half of London , a couple of airports, and a couple of train stations, I made it to Copenhagen Thursday evening.

One thing we don’t get on the California latitude is lovely long summer nights like more northern places do. It’s not even June 21 yet, but it doesn’t get dark in Denmark until about 10:30 pm or so, and then starts getting light again around 4 am. Even though I got in around 6 pm, I could still take a nice, long evening stroll around the city. Gorgeous! I’ll be coming back at least a couple times to see it more in-depth.
Got up the next day, checked out of the hotel, and then dragged my luggage onto a train for Jyderup, a mere hour away.
And Soelyst Artist in Residence Centre, where I’ll be for the next month, is not even a 5-minute walk from the station! Perfect.
I’ve been here a little over 24 hours, and I’m still rubbing my eyes, trying to process the loveliness and simplicity of it all. I’m not sure if I could be further from Oakland if I tried. I dragged my rolly suitcase across all the gravel (great comedy moment) to the main building here:
And was given a warm welcome, and then installed in my bedroom here (the open window):
I got here a little early, so I’ll get my studio space on Monday, I think.

There was a reception for Pastiche, Soelyst’s summer outdoor sculpture exhibition, so a nice little crowd of folks showed up in the evening (these pics were taken around 6 pm) for the event:

A lot of folks from the exhibition are staying at Soelyst through the weekend, so I’ve already met some other nice, talented artists.

I feel just total gratitude to be here, and to finally be able to relax, unwind, and start making art again without daily stress or distraction. It’s so quiet, and green, and lovely, I still can’t quite believe I’m here.
Look! I’m surrounded by trees! How crazy is that?
Wofford, stupefied by the loveliness, and grinning on the inside, big-time.

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