#027 - Hyland Mather
#027 - Hyland Mather
Destination: Haifa, Israel
Date: 05 - 11 September, 2016
About the artwork:
Materials: Reclaimed wood and paint on metal base plates
Edition: Series of 35 unique wooden sculptures
A little word by Hyland Mather
“One of the reasons to travel to Haifa was to meet wih my friends from the Broken Fingaz crew. My expectation was that everyone in Israel was going to be as beautiful as they are. I expected to feel culture shock, but instead I felt cultural awakening. I expected that there would be history, but I did not expect the deepness of it. This is after all, a city that has existed for over 3000 years. It is without a doubt the oldest place I have ever visited.
The main thing that inspired me on my trip was the written Hebrew and Arabic languages. To me these languages are so foreign that my eyes don't even see letters, they see shapes and those shapes are exciting and new. This is something that you really don’t experience until you are completely immersed by the languages seeing it everywhere around you.
I feel like the project of making stand alone sculptures is really opening my eyes to new worlds of possibility. I am also very into the zen of sanding. I have done so much sanding of the wood for these little pieces, and I found the act of sanding very meditative. I was reading in a book about 20th century art and zen how most masters of zen don't consider their paintings and calligraphy to be 'art' but rather they see it as a part of their zen practice. I am really digging that idea, and for me the extensive sanding for these little sculptures has been connecting me to that thought.”
Monday, September 5, 2016
So…tonight is the night, I’m leaving from Barcelona (where I just arrived yesterday incidentally) for Haifa, Israel on my jaunt at just around midnight. These pictures are from the studio complex here in Barcelona at the infamous and wonderful La Escocesa where I have a residency for the next 6 months.
I’m already excited to be coming back here after the Jaunt, where I’ll have a good chance to work on my Forma sculptures.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
First day in Haifa. Spent the whole day marveling over depth of time. This city is over 3000 years old . There is a wonderful chapter at the beginning of the Thomas Mann book ‘Joseph and His Brothers’ it is called 'descent into hell’. In this chapter Mann explains that in all of recorded human history no new animals have become domesticated. That is how far back time goes even in the short breath that is all of human existence. I’m pretty taken aback by this place . Plus the apartment I’m in is freaking gorgeous.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
I have a kind of reverence for desolate old abandoned collapsing structures. They are a kind of royalty of decay, some carry tremendous majesty. Haifa is essentially one large garden of collapse, but with sprouts of new shiny buildings intermingled, and dashes of moderately kept buildings as well.
I am absolutely smitten with the written Hebrew language, and Arabic for that matter, though Hebrew is much more prominent here, duh. The written Hebrew words are so foreign to me, representing symbols rather than letters in my mind. I’ve included a picture above of a great old garage door, with these two matching beautiful Hebrew words…apparently it just says ‘no parking’ but it looks awesome to me. I am reminded that when I was enrolled in engineering school many years back, I knew I was toast when I started to be more impressed by the beauty of the written equations than the mathematical power of the equations themselves.
Today while I was walking I found a copy of Trotzki’s ‘Mein Leben’ on the ground. I am wholly reminded of what a melting pot of ideas this place is. Currently, I’m reading the anarchist book, ‘The Temporary Autonomous Zone’, by Hakim Bae, and I am very happy that this is the book I’m reading in a place where Religion and Politics have clashed so mightily for so long. It gives a kind of ‘Fuck is Wrong With Us?’, overview of things.
Though in typical anarchist fashion, there is much philosophical appropriation that is happening here for me as well. For example, today I learned about a Jewish holiday called Sukkot, which indeed carries a lot of religious significance for the devout, but the cool part for a ‘picker and chooser’ such as I, is that you sleep under the sky for a week. That just sounds like something you should do, at least once, every year.
My apartment here is pimp as Drake, with an unreal balcony overlooking the city. I’ll probably sleep under the sky. Shalom Amigos.
Doing some sketches for a wall I am painting here in Haifa. These are in a giant old hard bound Hebrew book I found in the street. It has lots of topographical maps and charts and stuff .
Thursday, August 8, 2016
Was listening to Sonny and The Sunsets, while I sketched this morning and inventoried the collected junk from yesterday. Check this album from Sonny ‘Antenna To The Afterworld’
Today, I saw a little three year old kid with a toy gun, fake shooting everybody. It hurts my teeth to see it, but I’m pretty sure I was the same way when I was a little cowboy with my plastic six shooter. Ready to ‘get them bears’ as I told the ticket agent as I was being shuffled onto the redeye, by my mom and dad when we were moving to Alaska. My father had just taken a job with the Alyeska Pipeline. Question to self…did they really let kids take plastic guns on the airplane back in 74′….hmmm. The world has moved on I guess
Speaking of odd mental meanderings skating around the topic of firearms…I’ll say this, dogma and killing aside, the Israeli Military has some really hot ‘outfits’…I mean uniforms. Talking strictly fashion here, but I saw quite a few service persons today, looking very neat indeed.
I have a thing for uniforms, and since I’ve already brought up both airlines and uniforms, maybe its time now to admit that one of my first and all time favorite nude mags was a stolen Playboy focused on stewardesses…The women of the now defunct Braniff air, as I recall.
Speaking of changing the subject, I got way lost on the bus today. However, if I hadn’t I might never have seen the world famous Bahai gardens (pictured above). Stunning stuff.
A sweet Arabic woman helped me and I learned a few new Arabic words today, ‘marHaban’ (greetings) and ‘shukran’ (thanks).
Even though it felt quite natural as I typed all of this out, I do realize that for the general reader these peaks and valleys of near stream of consciousness writing might not be exactly what’s expected. Nonetheless, that’s my status report for my 2nd full day of Jaunting in Haifa. ::))
Friday, September 9, 2016
With the aid of the Broken Fingaz crew, the homies who sourced the walls, and the help also of the wonderful ladies, Yeala and Sawsan, from the Beit-HaGefen Arab Jewish Culture Center in Haifa, I was able today to paint this dude’s house.
He didn’t speak even like 5 words of English, and you can’t tell from this photo, but he was actually happy and thanked me profusely, and his friends congratulated him…Which I thought was nice. His mother, she also liked it, but she started to walk me around the other parts of the house and show me what else needed to be painted. I just smiled and nodded…maybe tomorrow Grandma.
The pictures are kinda not so good and low light and ‘end of day’, but there is a word here, buried in the Green and Blue colored shapes, the word is ‘Aleph’.
Aleph is the first letter of both the Arabic and Hebrew alphabet, and numerically represents the number one. I also chose the word for it’s meaning from the short story ‘The Aleph’ by Argentinian master, Jorge Luis Borges.
In Borges’ story, the Aleph is a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping or confusion. It is basically, all things, all in one place, all at the same time.
On the wall, behind where the guy is sitting, there is a placard upon which is written, ‘I was born in this city and I have no other homeland but this homeland. I sometimes wonder when will it be possible to enjoy Haifa’s beauty without the fear of wars and bloodshed.’
So…take from that whatever you like people.
Also, if you’ve never read Borges…you should stop binge watching ‘Stranger Things’ and treat yourself. I say this cause I already binge watched that shit, and I’m waiting to be with my girlfriend to binge watch ‘The Get Down’.
Anyways, another great day in Haifa.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Yesterday was pretty darn rad. It was the birthday party for two brothers, Daniel and Tant, born on the same day, but 2 years apart…pretty cool right.
Tant lives way up in the mountains outside of town in an old train car. It’s some legit hippie shit.
So…they set up their sound system, which was a nice bumper. Two of the other dudes from Broken Fingaz crew, Deso and Kip, played backing band to some nice dub MC’in from a handful of really smooth friends.
We listened to beautiful Dub and Reggae music all afternoon. We danced, we partied. The people were amazing. The sunset was awesome. The vibes were radicool, and everyone basically had a really nice celebration.
Happiest birthday wishes to two great bros.
Also included in this post is a cool Street Art piece I spotted in Haifa while bopping around.
Today I head to Tel Aviv. Last day of The Jaunt. Can’t believe how fast it went by.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
The last day of my trip to Israel was a lesson in travel patience. First, traveling on the Shabatt in Israel is pretty bonkers. I had to find a semi legal van bus in order to get from Haifa to Tel Aviv during the day as normal train transport is shut way down. I accidentally was that creepy guy who fell asleep on the girl next to me. She’s gonna tell all her friends how gross it was.
When I did finally make it to Tel Aviv, I was struck full force with what a vibrant city it is, way way more grit and bustle than Haifa. My first Israeli beach trip was in Tel Aviv, went to the beach and finished my nap…less creepy.
So, after I sunburned and slept for a while, I roused, and started to make my way over to a club spot that Unga had told me about. A kind of arty smart complex of studios, restaurants, galleries, radio station amazingness called Teder . When I finally arrived there after walking several kilometers in the wrong direction, I was greeted by a really nice new homie named Itai (cool name I thought).
They watered and fed me, and put me painting on a wall just outside of the amazing first floor restaurant. I only have a few progress photos in the dark right now…but whatever.
I had a blast painting and met some amazing folks.
The upstairs restaurant called Romano Tel Aviv has a ripping ultra warm sounding system made all out of tube amps and old analog equipment. Hot diggity. The food was amazing, I basically had an outstanding chicken caesar, and later some super best thin crust pizza while losing some backgammon to friend, Kip.
Oh and also, they gave me this leaf that Yemen men eat called Khat which was supposed to keep me stimulated and focused while I was painting. It worked!! It’s the plant pictured above. I love how a drug that you have no pre conceived notions of whatsoever is somehow less scary than ones you have fully formed opinions. I mean it could have been as addictive as crack and I would never know.
I wanted to bring some back with me, but that brings me to the next thing…Israeli airport security are ‘hard asses’.. 2 things, first of all, I get it, and I’m glad they take it so seriously, but number 2 is that is sucks when it’s you facing endless questions and disagreeable searches when you’re just trying to leave after a short visit….anyway. If you’re thinking about not being at the airport in Tel Aviv at least 2 hours early think again…come earlier.
The flight back to Barcelona was uneventful…but that’s where the unevents ended. The Passport control in Barcelona was down right crazy, bordering on authentically dangerous….literally thousands of people stuffed like factory hogs into a completely chaotic ‘line’ to wait impatiently for like 6 robot passport stampers. It took 4 hours . I shit you not. People were passing out. No water, No flowing air…Like I said, kinda dangerous.
Essentially, the epiphany for me today was that the actual traveling part of traveling can take the wind out of your sails for the day…Big baby, I guess, because when I finally made it back to Barcelona, me and my pretty girlfriend just went to the beach, watched the sunset, ate burritos and had a beer, so not that bad really.
What is my summary? I need to sorta rap up my whole jaunt. a) The Israeli people were wonderful to me, and I really really enjoyed conversation and participation in their cultures b) The written Hebrew and Arabic languages are beautiful, and absolutely the most visually inspiring part of my trip. c) I like hummus more than I previously thought, and I thought highly of it to start. d) L'chaim is by far my new favorite way to say ‘Cheers’ and e) I’ll be back there someday
Thank you The Jaunt for a truly mind expanding journey.