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visual artist and writer marisol diaz

i am a self-defined Nuyorican creative (that is a Puerto Rican who is from both the isles of Manhattan, NYC and the Caribbean). I share daily in the joy of education and live in a cute port town in New York, in a 'teensy-weensy' apartment with my two dogs and canary named Valentino. Check out my Etsy shop for purchasable pieces. Please do not reproduce imagery off of this site without explicit credit and no derivatives may be made of my original imagery- Thank You.

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Entries in photography (9)


A Survey of Color in Mexico...

Here are a series of photographs that I took this summer in my travels to Ensenada, Mexico and Manzanillo, Mexico. They're a study of color that gave my camera a run for its money and hopefully they spark the iris of your eye.

As a writer, I am often reminded that reality is frequently much more bizarre than fiction- but the same goes for the visual arts - since no painting I could ever do could embody such colors without appearing contrived. So I hope you enjoy these and let me know which are your favorites...


Inspiring Artist You should Know: Denis Darzacq  

Photo BY Denis Darzacq from his Hyper series Denis Darzacq is one of my top all-time favorite living artists. He is a French photographer that I would love love to interview (if I ever could be so honored). He is virally known for his most recent series 'Hyper', but I was introduced to him on the blogosphere with his earlier series entitled, 'La Chute (the Fall)'. Hyper is seemingly a continuation of his work in which he:
asks young street dancers from working class neighborhoods in Paris and Rouen to perform in the aisles of the "hypermarch├ę," the massive supermarkets and global retail chains that have supplanted smaller shops in France and in many countries around the globe. Suspended in mid-air, these floating bodies bring an otherworldliness to common consumerism. Like baroque figures, the dancers rise and fall either victims or victors against the absolutism of globalized commerce. This opposition between being and having, between the person and the environment - a central theme in Darzacq's practice - questions the human cost of materialism.

La Chute was inspired by the 2005 riots in the housing projects ("banlieues") around the outskirts of Paris where many young, disenfranchised, and mostly immigrant inhabitants were blamed for much of the unrest. Like Hyper, the photographs present dreamlike scenes of hovering bodies but in this case they are contrasted against the sparseness of the desolate landscape. La Chute is a meditation on uncertainty, possibility, and desire in the face over overwhelming adversity.

LA CHUTE N┬░ 09 BY Denis Darzacq

Last year I was in a two woman show with fellow artist Nova Gutierrez in the 2/20 Gallery in Chelsea, New York run and owned by Miguel Herrera. The theme of the exhibit revolved around our interpretation of the title of the show, the words 'Unearthly Woman'. Many (not all) of the pieces that I made for that show were loosely inspired by Denis Darzacq and his photographic work.

The Laurence Miller gallery states about Denis Darzacq's work:

The photographs explore the tension between being and having, between the human body and the built environment. They offer a fresh, witty and intensely colorful commentary on global consumerism and freedom of spirit.

I did not use Denis' images as that is not what I mean by inspired.

In fact, that is definitely a topic for future art-making posts, since it is sad and frustrating and much too frequent how many artists struggling for their own content can confuse inspiration with outright copying.

However, using his ethereal capture of frozen moments of the fall, I began to develop my own picture references of the female figure falling as a metaphor for my displacement within dual and competing cultures and locations (place and time) that I feel as a Nuyorican but also as my gender explorations are redefined from that of my biological sex.

Falling to me is a fascinating subject one in which even NPR's show Radio Lab has explored (that I would highly recommend listening to). Falling is at once a loss of control as it is a release of control and it is a fascinating state of altering time. I wanted my translations to be quick and loose, as opposed to my usually tight illustrated style, and done with unresolved marks that pushed the flavor of frozen motion. In my humble opinion, it is that frozen motion that Denis Darzacq captures so masterfully.

one of the charcoal and acrylic paintings for the Unearthly Woman Exhibit one wall of my work for UNEARTHLY WOMAN from last year's Chelsea NY exhibit- quick charcoal & acrylic paintings a scale shift as this is one of the smallest pntgs compared to the larger ones by me

What I'm hoping to convey today with this post is how an artist and their vision can be a catalyst to developing your own unique response and to exploring a communal idea uniquely. In addition, I hope to introduce you to this outstanding artist, his work, and process as he has now made it to one of my top creative minds list.

I also found this fantastic video that shows Denis at work with his process and I thought it an excellent addition to this inspiring artist you should know post:


Dead Birds

My dogs love to bring me gifts. They truly leave these gifts for me to find the second I walk through the door from work. Mind you they have a spot and window they sit at every day to wait for me to come home. They have internal clocks and know when I should be home. When I'm on time they are filled with abnormal joy at my arrival, when I'm late I find wicked behavior like chewing on my table legs. Regardless, they are cognizant of where I come from and when. The gift they are most proud of was perhaps my worst...a dead squirrel that they left on my living room carpet right at the entrance for me, fully intact I might add. All my pups lack are opposable thumbs, wrapping paper and ribbon.

So last week I arrived home from work to get a new gift. I screamed out in complete bloody agony to find a dead little limp bird laying on my living room carpet.

Then just as I got acclimated to the reality of it, and as I was trying to figure out how to pick it up, I walked outside my back door to let the chickens out into the yard and in horror there was another dead bird at my feet. My stomach turned like if this was all a bad omen...a rain of dead birds. However as I faced being home alone and having to address these birds, I gathered courage and began my usual twisting, turning, bloating and wringing of a problem. I couldn't help but to see them as dauntingly beautiful, fragile and spiritless. So on a week where I would have paid to have an extra hour in the day, I proceeded to spend the next four hours photographing dead birds. Here is just one of the results:

my two little dead birds photo by m.diaz

Island Girl- Puerto Rican Vignettes II

Today we went to the Pueblo...and for my family that's Caguas and with all the malls around these days less and less shops have remained open and much of the integrity of the Pueblo shops has been lost, but they're still considered one of the places to go for more inexpensive versions of things.


Water and Weed Wednesday

garden flower by m.diaz Our first batch of carrots! Our carrotsthe lot

-Ciao Amarettogirl


Sass Up For Summer!

Well its getting warm out here and that means some great opportunities to be outside are beginning to abound.

Get ready to take great pics this summer with new blogger Amy from Lemon & Raspberry and her FREE e-book on three simple ways to improve your photography.

I LOVE this PDF! It's quick to download, clear, concise, witty and is structured in a well-organized teaching style. Best of all- its completely FREE!

But like all good blog visitors, if you download Lemon & Raspberry's PDF why don't you consider leaving her a comment and letting her know Amarettogirl sent you:) I get nothing out of it other than the joy supporting and sharing GOOD, accessible information with you all!

Heather Ross fabric still sold in fat quarters only by Blije Olifantje

When I think of summer, one of the many things that come to mind are bodies of water...and they in turn make me think of mermaids...which these days make me think of Heather Ross and her now hard-to-get- mermaid fabric! Heather Ross designed this line with Free Spirit and now it is discontinued... so sad when good things come to an end! She is a wonderful artist (with a fun illustration portfolio) and it has been such a great joy to find her blog!

heather ross fabrics

So my plan to sass up for summer...use some Heather Ross fabric to make this awesome skirt: Beautiful Summer Skirt PDF tutorial for $9. by Hyperart


-Ciao Amarettogirl


Another Amazing Stop Motion...

I was hopping around the blogosphere and I came across Angela Kohler's wonderful blog through checking out my new classmate Breanne Sinibaldi's blog (she's a photographer and graphic designer). I had to post about this for all of my students who have a stop-motion animation soft-spot like me!


Bergdorf Goodman's Holiday Windows part II

So here is the second round of Bergdorf Goodman holiday window photos. After the last round, I'm sure you'll all agree that the artistry in the windows is undeniably superb. Still this round has some of my all time favorites. So here they are:

All Queens Play The Game Bergdorf Goodman Window photo by marisol diaz Her Tower of Cards Bergdorf Goodman Window photo by marisol diaz Curiosities Bergdorf Goodman Window photo by marisol diaz Uprooted Home Bergdorf Goodman window photo by marisol diaz

And we're not done yet! Stay tuned for another round with mirrors, monkeys and galloping topiary horses!! Hope you're inspired...-Amarettogirl


Whats in Your Bag?

While I was in Portland Oregon, I discovered this awesome book entitled Me in My Bag at the famous Powell's Bookstore (a megastore unlike any other bookstore I have ever step foot in - perhaps it would be better to call it a small planet!)


The book is in English and in Chinese. The author Yi Ying Wang is a graphic designer and she worked with fellow photographers, Hiromi Iguchi and Will Farrow to compile a major creative project, the bag book! This project is about photographing the contents of 100 Londoner's bags!!! In seeing the contents of one's bag you get to know a person quite a bit and it is a deeper reflection of who the person is, beyond that of a simple portrait. The book itself is designed like a bag with a plastic cover and handle straps!


A little bit fashion/design/Voyeurism and creative expression the book has a unique fold-out layout in which the bag owner's are first photographed and their image unfolds to reveal the photograph of the bag's contents. In addition, there was a number allotted to each participant and a form they got to fill out in anyway they liked.

The question on the form are:

  • Name: Amarettogirl
  • email:wwamazon@aol.com (in other words 'WonderWoman' was already taken!!)
  • Webadd/blog: You guys know this already! Just look at the address bar above!
  • What do you do? Visual Artist/Writer/ Art Educator (teacher).
  • What does your bag mean to you? Wow, well it means a lot because its an extension of how I express myself...plus if it weren't for that gift certificate I would have never been able to afford that TokiDoki Le Sportsac bag that all design world appreciators were pining over! But I'm working on not identifying so deeply with material objects...we'll see how that goes.
  • What's in your bag today? See for yourself! My laptop, my work folders, my mimobot usb, my ipod, oooh my camera is missing I had to use it to take the pic, but I never leave my house without my canon! My I'm-bored-with-this-mtg-so-i'll-crochet project, my coffee-cup change purse, hand purifier, my self-made accessory holder, my pencil case, sketchbook...yeah this bag can pack a punch!

Well, if you haven't figured it out yet, I want to be #101!!! So you think I'm crazy? Well guess what! It seems I'm not the only one! Apparently, there is a Flicker photogroup all over this What's in Your Bag -question! Click and check them out! I'm not a flicker member yet, but I may have to join to be a part of this pool! In addition, Instyle magazine also has a page dedicated to photos of what's inside people's bags!

I want you all to join me! Answer the questions and tell me what's special in your bag!! Is there anything in there that might surprise us about you??? Share!!!