A painting expedition to find the people and places that define Argentina and bring us hope, wonder and inspiration.
El Proyecto en Español: http://antrese.com/un-retrato-de-la-argentina
A Portrait of Argentina is a cultural portrait of my new home.
I am a fine artist, a California girl, a city girl who spent weekends outdoors and vacations in the backcountry. I'm a little bit of a geek with a past career making art for video games. So how does a girl like me end up living on the other side of the equator?
Years ago, I did a semester with NOLS, the National Outdoor Leadership School. We spent 3 months climbing mountains and kayaking through the fjords on the Chilean side of Patagonia. I thought I would never have the opportunity to come back to South America so I took the time to explore other countries.
I returned to the states, grateful for the experience but sure I would never go back. But life had other plans... An Argentine friend of mine had always insisted that my life was not complete until I had experienced an Argentine wedding. So when her brother got married, a group of us went down for the "life changing experience". Little did I know. On that trip, my friend introduced me to someone special, and I fell in love.
Again, I returned to the states. My rational side declared the idea of a long-distance love ludicrous-- best be practical and return to “normal life”. So I did. I focused on my work and tried to forget. The heart though, is crafty, patient, and insistent. It refuses to be ignored and conspires to get what it wants. In the end, my heart won.
So here I am, having just experienced my own Argentine wedding, living in the country I never thought I would see again. I left Los Angeles thinking I was prepared for the culture shock. I was a seasoned traveler, after all, and knew what I was getting myself into. But leaving a city of over 3 million for a small town of barely 5,000; learning a new language and adapting to a new culture changed my life in ways I never anticipated.
As I struggle still with the culture shock I make sense of it the best way I know how: painting.
Inspired by love, this project intends to seek out and share the stories of people and places that inspire hope in the human spirit. People who inspire us to reach higher, to be better than we are.
My goal is to paint Argentina from an individual, national and world perspective. As I paint portraits of the people I meet, I’ll listen to their stories and then paint en plein-aire, the scenes from their daily life; the places the nation is most proud of, and locations familiar to the world.
This is a true cultural portrait of Argentina. In the two years that I have lived here, I’ve noticed a deep sense of resignation in people ‘ asi es la vida’ (‘that’s life’), a feeling that ‘it is what it is’ and you just accept it. There is also another side that refuses to give up. A side that makes something beautiful out of nothing. A fierce pride and a determination to incite change, to be the best. This duality fascinates me. Some quietly do their thing, creating a small but powerful circle of impact. Others are more visible, their work demands it. I will seek out Argentina’s cultural leaders, the innovators who dedicate their lives to creating positive change: Scientists, Engineers, Dancers, Actors, Athletes, Musicians, Teachers, Environmentalists, and yes, Artists. These people inspire hope. I want to hear their stories and share them with you.
Starting from the center of Argentina and radiating outward, I’ll travel through the cities, into the countryside, across the vineyards, into the arid deserts and all the way down to the glaciers. About 15,600 miles in all, a good portion of which is on dirt roads in remote areas.
This project will be funded with donations from people like you. Even a dollar helps, but kick in a little more and you will be rewarded with original sketches, like the ones pictured below, or with an oil painting created on site, “en Plein Air”.
Yes, this is an ambitious project, but not impossible. All donations big and small make a difference. Please do what you can to help me reach my goal.
Kickstarter is all or nothing: if I don’t reach my goal, no-one is charged, and I don’t get a dime.
It’s a big country. I will need a little help getting around. Fortunately, my new husband has a lifetime of experience traveling solo as well as guiding others to the far corners and the topmost peaks of this country. Some segments I will be on my own. My husband will be with me on the longer, more technically challenging/ remote parts of the trip.
We live in the province of Córdoba, which is in the center of the country. Most highways radiate outwards from this hub. Over the first month and a half, I will paint Córdoba, and the province (and city) of Buenos Aires. Next, I will follow the 3 main highways towards Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil, respectively. Then, I will hit wine country: Mendoza and the surrounding provinces (the yellow ones on the map below). The final segment will take me past Bariloche, through Patagonia all the way to Tierra del Fuego “the end of the earth”.
Between each segment, I will return to my studio to finalize the paintings while the experience is still fresh in my mind, and then re-supply and head back out on the road.
The whole project will be about 8 months; approximately half on the road, and half in the studio.
Where does the money go & what can you expect in return?
The biggest expense, by far, is travel and logistics. By my estimation, I’ll need about 43 tanks of gas. I know gas prices have been making the news in the U.S. but in Argentina gas is nearly $7 US dollars per gallon. Ouch.
The goal of $25,000 covers materials: paint, canvas, brushes, etc. It pays for my studio space, travel, gas, car maintenance, cheap hotels, lots of empanadas (Argentine equivalent of Top Ramen or PB& J sandwiches), and the bare essentials to make it through a 15,600 mile road trip. About 15- 20% will go towards preparing and shipping rewards. 10 % is split between kickstarter and bank-fees.
Yes! Backers will be able to choose a landscape, portrait, whatever your fancy. I will post paintings as they are finished. In the event that two backers want the same painting, priority goes to the person who pledged first.