© Rita Draper Frazão

Inner Tour is a blog about People, Arts and Traveling by Rita Draper Frazão.
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terça-feira, 2 de julho de 2019

A 10 out of 10 MIA

10 out of 10 © Rita Draper Frazão

This year, MIA Festival turned 10 years old! A book about it, was published to celebrate the occasion, and a special edition happened. I was there drawing, and prepared, for you guys, a special edition, here too! I'd call it the most personal and deep I have ever done, so far. The drawings were also published in Jazz.pt magazine.

Want know more? Follow my lead!

The MIA of this year

For those who haven't been following my work, or don't know MIA, this is an improvised music festival, that takes place in Atouguia da Baleia. Most of musicians are raffled, and the audience just knows who is playing with who, in the proper day of the concert. There is, still, place for already formed groups, and those are announced previously. The keynote of it all, is experimenting and taking risks.

One of my personal inspirations, was that this year, Mia was surrounded by art in many shapes and forms: dance, visual arts, poetry, books, performance, photography, performance... There were even two directors (Bruna Beffart e Pedro Gonçalves) shooting two different documentaries there.

Besides the music, there were outside of the box's inputs, that made me do, think and look for other things besides, writing and drawing! Added to the drawings, in this article, you'll find different references to cinema, jewelry, cartoons, fashion, philosophy, meditation, nature, sustainability, religions of the world, Portuguese political history and many others...

This time, I opted by having as a front cover of this article, something that made part of my process, and not a final result itself. 10 out of 10 was a color testing paper I used, through the process of finishing up all these portraits, and it has a little bit of all the drawings in it. So I feel like it sums up a lot of what was going on in my mind, regarding this experience.

Face Masks

The face as a mask, or the mask as a face could be the theme in common for the next drawings.

Elena Waclawiczek © Rita Draper Frazão

The drawing above, was the first one I have made, during the Punk Puppet Rituals' concert. It's the Austrian dancer, Elena Waclawiczek. The little I knew, back then, how much of a key figure she'd be in this festival. She not only performed as a dancer and a performer, as she conducted one of the ensembles. It was surprising, and stunning! She is a force of nature, that defies the established order of things, whenever she feels like things are getting dull, in a very creative way. She is also a visual artist, and comes from my beloved Vienna city.

What I wanted to portray here, was that exact force, defying the gravity, flying in the air and pushing things forward with motion and beauty. There wasn't even a need to draw her face, as the traction force, starred by her through the chair, was enough to say what I wanted to portray. In a way, it worked as a mask. Atemberaubend! 

So, here's to the firsts, to the pioneers, to the daring, to new breakthroughs, and to the visionaries of the world! Prost!

Giusi Bulotta © Rita Draper Frazão
This one is the Italian double bass player, Giusi Bulotta. I kind of have a special relation with the double bass instrument because, back in the days, that was one of the instruments I've studied. It has always allured me its bass sounds, its musical role of structure as a rhythm setter, and the fact that it wasn't - many times - in the front line, didn't hurt me too, since I've always hated too much exposure.
 I'm telling you this, because this has everything to do with this drawing, the way it is now. In this portrait, I kind of saw Giusi wearing her instrument as her mask, where she could protect her identity, but also express herself through her second skin, her double bass. One could only see her through her sound, not through her face, hence her black body and face.

The perfume of the stars

Stars were a big inspiration in this post. In very different ways, all the next drawings relate to that  theme.

Yoram Rosilio © Rita Draper Frazão
Above is the double bass player, Yoram Rosilio, who happened to play along with Punk Puppet Rituals. Besides playing, and in my vision, he actually kind of danced too, it that gig. 
And throughout MIA festival, he definitely proofed his adventurous and challenging spirit. So, when I did this portrait of him, I kind of envisioned his unkempt head, as an exploding star. Ready to burst and change the course of things. As simple as that.

Healed by earth, Marco Scarassatti © Rita Draper Frazão
Healed by Earth is my portrait of Marco Scarassatti. Marco comes from Brazil, and I think this would be a good starting point to talk a bit more about this drawing, because, from its flag I took the 27 stars. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

When I did this drawing, Marcos was playing his viola de cocho and also his hose blowing horn, an instrument he has built himself, and that he named Trop Kirk Roland. The part of this image that was done live was the drawing and the writing. And I knew, right away, that was unfinished... I had other ideas in mind to close the circle...

The thing that stroke me first, when I saw him playing live, was the therapeutic and telluric connection in him. I also found Marco very conceptual in his playing, and I knew I wanted to have a deep blue dark sky and stars in his drawing, alluding to a higher state of mind and depth. The blue (both the color pencil, as later, the gouache) I chose, is more of a petrol blue, which includes in its composition green (the nature hint). But I wanted to do the stars part in a meaningful way, and didn't had that figured out yet...

The day after we came back from MIA, Marco was invited by the Fine Arts School of Lisbon (where I studied) to do a lecture about his work as an investigator, a visual artist, an improviser and a musician. I attended, and relished it a lot! It was during this lecture of his, that I had the closure idea for my drawing. I mean, it not only confirmed my initial feeling, as it added more content to what I had in mind for his portrait. I'll explain...

His body of work, is tremendously spiritual, plastic, and sustainable. I found it so interesting (and needed) that he recycles materials and incorporates them in his pieces as he also recycles, from times to times, his own pieces (instruments, sound sculptures, etc). Now it was clear, that the material I needed to use for those stars had to be recycled! And I wanted them punched, to give it a bit of a DIY look. Plus, I already had a star puncher! The parallel in my mind was: he makes his own instruments, I make the shapes in my drawing.

And besides the testing color paper I shared (this article's cover), I used another one, a neon yellow paper where I had printed something else, that would go straight to the garbage, later. But I guess, I am a bit like Marco, and I like to be sustainable (even made an exhibition, some years ago, connected to that theme) and so, when the color testing paper, you see in the top of this article, started to be too crowded, I began to use the yellow one, that I'd later star punch 27 times, to use here. The choice of the material I'd use for those stars, was chosen as soon as I knew I was reusing something related to my own process of work.

Scarassatti also shared a lot of spiritual references in his lecture, that made a whole lot of sense to me, and added new meaning to those stars, I already had in mind. There is something profound about this artist, a deep connection to the cosmos, and an understanding and interest in how can art heal one's soul and make us all live in a better planet. And, in the end, that's what this portrait is about.

Pedro Santo © Rita Draper Frazão
This one is the Pedro Santo. This time, I drew this drummer some centimeters away from him, so I was able to see other details, that I would've not noticed if I was sat in the audience. 
 The whole concept of this drawing started by one of those details I could now spot, his small ear piercing. That tiny little dot reminded me of a star, and of this:

Along drawing musicians, I reap, many beautiful memories, musical breakthroughs, special personalities, and personal favorites of mine. I could call them my stars, my personal constellations. 
And I wanted to draw him to the rhythm of the stars, as a part of a constellation (the one specifically in the drawing is his sign's, Virgo).

Time after time, it's an absolute wonder, and pleasure to see him play (see my previous portraits of him here and here). Don't really know how he pulls that off, but he manages to be as fast as he is stable and solid. His agility is key, as his timing and craftsmanship, playing, are remarkable. Pedro makes me want to dance, every time he plays, and that makes me happy!

Domenico Saccente © Rita Draper Frazão
This one is the Italian Domenico Saccente. He plays accordionpiano and keyboards. In this drawing, he was playing piano. 
Ahhhhh... Domenico... What a joy to witness this musician flourish. In my view, he was one of the show stoppers of MIA this year, and for a reason! Comparing to, four years ago, when I last met and drew him, I felt like he was much more confident and willing to give more of himself. And when that took place, on stage, it was magic! The stars represent, him opening up to the Universe, and to the gift of being gifted. That's just for a few. It, somehow, reminded me of the great beauty movie theme: true beauty is so rare and hard to find! And he nailed it!

To the moon and back, Axel Dörner © Rita Draper Frazão
To the moon and back depicts one of my favorite moments of the festival. I did it during Axel Dörner's solo concert... and...what a trip it was!!! I was  a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y  mesmerized by this trumpet player. He got my full attention at the same time he gave me a free ride to a space odyssey! 
It was conceptual, ethereal, logical and bold. My idea, in this drawing, was that he was pushing the boundaries of the trumpet playing forward, by kind of punching it, and linking it to the infinity of the Universe. There wasn't even a question. I could only use silver and gold here.

He inspired me so much and so fast, that I finished this drawing pretty fast, and still had time to write, during the concert, in the back of his drawing a letter to him that relates to the portrait and the moment. Here it is:

Dear Axel,
Thank you to the moon and back
for all the stars, 
the radio, 
for the space flight,
the quietness, 
the alphabet,
the numbers,
for the etymology of all words unknown,
all realms in foam.

Beautifully smashing. One of those concerts I will never forget.

The land of lyrics

Poetry and a certain lyricism, bind together the next drawings.

Da vanguarda à missa do meio dia, PREC © Rita Draper Frazão
This drawing was made during a PREC's concert. I think it's consensual to call this group, MIA's resident band. Its start, merges with MIA's beginning, and has been present in every edition of the festival. 

PREC stands for Projecto Resonant Experimental Criativo (Creative Experimental Resonant Project) and blinks to another PREC - Processo Revolucionário em Curso (Ongoing Revolutionary Process). This last one, regards the carnation revolution post period in Portugal.

One can definitely find a link between the two of them. As politics, music can be a game changer as well, and these dudes have definitely proven that. All in the group (Paulo Chagas, Fernando Simões, Paulo Leal Duarte, Pedro Santo, Paulo Pimentel, Miguel Falcão, Paulo Ramos) were great and made it work!
I specially need to mention the divine intervention of Paulo Ramos, whose poetry and reciting deeply resonated in me. He wrote an absolutely astonishing poem on purpose to this concert, and to the 10th anniversary of this festival. Mia (Música Improvisada de Atoguia da Baleia) also means meow, in Portuguese, and due to that, the cat is the symbol of the festival. And it was the main character of Paulo's text. But it was his sense of timing, the depth of what he wrote, and how he said it, that stroked me the most.

I feel like this concert was about freedom; knowing what you want, even if it's different, and about this so present creative road, we've been all walking in. I tried to channel that in my drawing too, with a loosen hand movement paired with firm lines. The brown earthy road mixed with some spunk pink and silver cat's whiskers - those could've not be forgotten! The drawing also includes a verse of Paulo Ramos' poem "da vanguarda à missa do meio dia" (from the vanguard to the noon mass). It summarizes the reach of this whole MIA thing. From the little fisherman village to the world. Can't beat that.

Anna Marie Ignarro © Rita Draper Frazão
This is my Anna Marie Ignarro's portrait. I found this Italian-American clarinetist, quite a special being. Drawing wise, I felt like the things I had to say, required a story line, a language, a poem, and hand writing... more of a human feel. The rosy hue was chosen, thinking of a sensitive skin tone, the biggest organ in the human body, and the one that allows us the contact with the surroundings and with the other. The omission of the outline of her body was my way to put that idea of sensibility and ethereal nature into paper. I had the feeling her inner world is vast and very rich, and her openness to the others and the world, along with her subtleness are distinctive marks of hers.
Here's the poem:

Anna Marie (i nome fondamentali, i nomi primordiali)
La grazia e la purezza,
la sensibilità,
la pelle d'oca,
la comprensione del mondo,
delle cose sottili,
i gesti del vento,
il volo degli uccelli, 
il significato delle parole,
la danza del tempo,
gli ululati di appartenenza,
l'apparizione della bellezza,
la profondità del mare,
la leggerezza della sabbia,
e i fiori,
i fiori che ho visto in te.

Anna Marie (the fundamental names, the primordial names)
Grace and purity,
the sensibility,
the goosebumps,
the understanding of the world,
of subtle things,
the wind gestures,
the flight of birds,
the meaning of words,
the dance of time,
the howls of belonging,
the apparition of beauty,
the depth of the sea,
the lightness of sand,
and the flowers,
the flowers that I saw in you.

Paulo Silva © Rita Draper Frazão
Different people, bring to the table, different references. I find that per se, so interesting because it makes me dive into other realms and visual expressions to match their personal universes. And I never know what that reference will be. Love to be surprised!
That was exactly what happened in this portrait. It's Paulo Silva who plays guitar. 
I must say that, from all the Portuguese musicians present in this festival, I found Paulo, the one with the most present national folk music influence in his playing. To me, it surpassed the boundaries of Fado music (had in my mind the legacy of Artur Paredes as an inspiration). I saw it most related to the actual way he played the guitar, treating it as filigree. And how interesting to hear that in a context of experimental music! Dope!
I closed my eyes listening to him, and all I could see was an intricate lace, that immediatly led me to the Portuguese Filigree. It's an absolute wonder to me, how these goldsmiths labour the gold with such details and complexity, and that was exactly what I felt Paulo showed to us, so I decided to include, in a discreet way, some shapes inspired (a heart and the beads of Viana do Castelo) by that ancient Portuguese tradition. 

Dream a little dream like this

In the next drawings, oneiric and enchanted visions set the tone of the next drawings.

Hannah White © Rita Draper Frazão
This is my drawing of Hannah White, it's about her softness and beauty. I felt the poetry, the dreamy vibe, the love and the subtleness in her. Besides that, I could also tell there was a surprise factor, and a grounded side in her, represented here by the lines of her skirt. Flying high! 

Ian Thompson © Rita Draper Frazão
The portrait above, is the cello player, Ian Thompson
I felt a deep sensibility in Ian, very attentive and nature related. 
I closed my eyes, while listening to him, and dived into silver waters, where I saw boats sailing and a beautiful colorful day.

O Prado, Silvia Corda © Rita Draper Frazão
O Prado (The Meadow/ Il Prato) is a portrait of the Italian pianist, Silvia Corda. I've portrayed her before, but I always find it refreshing when I feel like, the same person's evolved in a way, that I feel like adding something else to what was already done. 
Lamentably, this year, I was only a couple of hours with her, because she left sooner than most of us. Can you imagine a beautiful green field that never ends? That was what was on my mind when I did this, while listening to Silvia in one of the Jam sessions. I felt her depth (black), freshness (green) and her incisive timing (thought of those triangle shaped metronomes). There's something so poetic about Silvia, cinematic, even, I'd say. 
She's also an amazing visual artist, expressing herself through paintings, drawings and collages, so I decided to incorporate a bit of that in this portrait, as a reference to that.

Dream Peeking, Nuno Rebelo © Rita Draper Frazão

Composição imaginária para trio de improvisadores © Rita Draper Frazão
These two drawings are referent to the same person's world: the guitarist Nuno Rebelo
He's been involved in projects, such as the delicious Street Kids, the mythical group Mler Ife Dada, the writing Expo 98's hymn, or the composition of the Manobras de Maio fashion show's music. 
It was the second year Nuno's participated in MIA festival.
His creativity is limitless, and never ceases to surprise, bringing to his work connections with jewelrydance, theatre, cinema, fine arts, photography, architecture, or poetry, just to name a few. No wonder this year he, not only collaborated as a musician, as he did an installation (such as this) and a performance.

My portrait of Nuno is about his mental openness to new ideas, but also dreams. I actually called this drawing Dream Peeking because I found out that besides being brilliant, Nuno is a sensitive guy as well. Unsurprisingly (with that impressive resume), I see a lot of history within Nuno, as much as I see a lot of the future, of things that are about to become because he had an idea no one had before. Not the way he did! 

The second one, was made during his performance at the very end of the festival, called Composição imaginária para trio de improvisadores (Imaginary composition for a trio of improvisers). He gave everybody (the audience and the chosen musicians) printed instructions, to be read. All passed in between silence and laughter, and communication happened diversely. It was great to feel everybody interacting in a different way, and my drawing is an interpretation of that.

His uniqueness, leads me to the Nuno Rebelo e as guitarras Portuguesas mutantes' documentary about one of his projects. One of the things that I most retained about it, is the fact that he shared he was a self taught musician, and that, to me is the game changer, here. This guy has clearly spent a lot of time exploring new things in an innovative way. The difference here is that he didn't follow, he led the innovations. But the even most impressive thing to me, is his humble and ludic ability to make this look like a walk in the park! Genius!

High contrasts

It requires a certain mood and level of fierceness, to understand opposites, and go down that road. Those are key ideas to the portraits that follow.

Jorge Nuno © Rita Draper Frazão
This one is the guitar player Jorge Nuno, that, at this time of the festival, was playing with one of his projects, Uivo Zebra & Horns. A bit of a psychedelic/stoner rock moment was going on, while all I could see in him was his high contrasts: the intensity and the surface, the shield and the spill, the assertiveness and the sensitivity, the attention and action, the dispersion and the obsession, the cozy and the risky. This could've only led to a black and white drawing, made with graphite and a black pen. A high contrast portrait: him!

António Caramelo © Rita Draper Frazão
In the electronics, was mastering António Caramelo. António is also a visual artist.
The poem I wrote, on purpose for this portrait, pretty much explains the shapes, the color, the type angles, and what I got from him. Here it is:

Is it a feather
is it a spear
go with the weather
not with fear

Bring the city
and slide in the clay
is a feather
is it a spear

Beauty and war
right up in your ear
scratch the earth
and flame cashmere
it is a feather
it is a spear.

Tommy Hughes © Rita Draper Frazão
This one above is the bass player, Tommy Hughes. 
His arm and the bass arm are one. It was frenzy and intense!

Deep down, Juan Calvi © Rita Draper Frazão
This is the Argentinian bass clarinet player, Juan Calvi. He's also presented his book, De Gustibus sí Disputandum, at the festival.
I felt like it took him a while to get comfy enough to show more of himself during MIA. But when he did, at the post MIA Jam, (in Penha Sco, in Lisbon) many things were unleashed and came to surface, from the bottom of the ocean (dark blue). 
Juan showed an intense, deep and heightened vision: a power within. 
Deep down, a brave star, between edges.

André Calvário © Rita Draper Frazão
The portrait above is the bassist André Calvário, and was done during one of the jam sessions.
I couldn't even see his face, because he was in his hoodie mode, bouncing with the groove of his bass! There is just some inner tension that he conveys through heightened musical statements.
A one Japanese brush stroke black portrait!

Dan Cake*

Another good thing that took place this year, was the presence of three Danish musicians. I felt like the three of them brought freshness to the festival. I loved their musical spectrum, loved their eccentric looks, and loved that they were so sweet. This part is solely about them.

Jonathan Aardestrup © Rita Draper Frazão
Jonathan Aardestrup, plays double bass, and was the first one I drew from this crew. There is some trashy refinement in him, and to match that, this portrait actually started with me, just rubbering the paper. No drawing at all. Just a performative gesture with a pencil smudge. 
There's a fun/surprise element to Jonathan, even kind of an enigmatic and reserved vibe that arouses one's attention. But it was his willpower and precision that led me to the theme of converting his instrument into a sharp sword of accuracy, in his portrait. 
The color palette of this drawing were inspired by his clothing. The pattern for his ginger hair, had to match an unconventional mind. His orange socks helped me in that task!

Mads Egetoft © Rita Draper Frazão
Here's my Mads Egetoft portrait. Couldn't help to like the guy, starting by his name (pronounced Mess in Danish), I innerly remembered the quote, from Friedrich NietzscheOne must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. 
This quote, originated a whole work of mine, a while ago (see here); and, I feel it's pertinent to bring that up again, here, because this portrait is about Mads hitting heights, his sight and instrument reach. Not without having started his path first through darkness and chaos. And you guys, it takes a deep leap of faith to do that long journey.

Thorsten Sehested Høeg, TS Hawk © Rita Draper Frazão
This one is the saxophone player, Thorsten Sehested Høeg, a.k.a. TS Hawk. It was done during the concert of The Way Out, with the Danish crew, along with some guests. 
What if our body was made out of dots, and could fly as flocks of birds do, in a dot blotch?
In my drawing, TS could do that, with an overlapping, mixing, merging body.
In fact, I felt like he was the glue of the group, and he brought color and fun to the stage. 
And there is also something tremendously sweet, sensitive and even a bit naïf about him: like if you'd be telling stories for kids, and made them dream. 
These thoughts, led me to a simple visual and graphic language. The colors chosen - black, silver, red, yellow and cyan - are meaningful of of all I mentioned before.

* Dan Cake is a Portuguese brand of crackers, biscuits, toasts and conservation cakes.


The next drawings, regard persons in whom I found a strong sense of identity as well as a creative and conceptual side.

Michel Stawicki © Rita Draper Frazão
This one is my portrait on the sax player, Michel Stawicki. I did it without looking at the paper, to match the abstraction and subtleness I felt in him. A drawing like a crisp, conceptual blow.

Na minha rua, Mário Rua © Rita Draper Frazão
This is the portrait of the drummer Mário Rua

Many times, I consciously want to draw someone, but not always my will becomes real. There are plenty of factors involved here! Keeping the process spontaneous and improvised is paramount to me.

And well, I've been willing to draw Mário for years, and this time, it finally happened! 

You know the expression "that's right up your alley?" That was what I thought about, when I did this portrait. Na minha Rua (means in my street) was obviously a pun with his surname, but also an analogy to portraits (to what they truly mean to me, the persons identity address), and to the feeling we have when we are home, and feel at ease to show who we are.

It was that exact feeling I had, when I heard Mário play: a loose, fast, spicy, strong voice, ready to jump into unknown new territories, with a very curious approach, making questions, proposing a tone of speech, without fearing mistakes, because they compound this whole dynamic and learning curve! Therefore, I used pencil (that can be erased) and a pen corrector. If i didn't use the pen corrector, one couldn't read most of the letters, because a wider scribble was made before.

João Pedro Viegas © Rita Draper Frazão
Kudos to the master of ceremonies of the festival this year!
Even though I consider this drawing unfinished, I decided to include it here, because I find in João Pedro Viegas the same e-motion I feel this sketch has!
I did it as fast as I think his reactions were! Strong personality flowing!

Rui Veiga © Rita Draper Frazão
Rui Veiga was in charge of the electronics. This guy has brainy, creative ideas, and has the ability to materialize them. Here, I was more interested in highlighting his brain (the concept, the space) and hands (the palpable realm, touch) connection. The green color I chose to fill that wire, is a vivid, opaque (almost waxy) hue, instilling the fresh vibe I got from him! Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!

To be unforgettable, be irreplaceable.

Quoting Coco Chanel, In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different. She was one of a kind, and so are the persons whom I have portrayed next.

The Lady and the Lord, Miguel Mira © Rita Draper Frazão

The Lady and the Lord (the title of this drawing) is the portrait of the cellist and visual artist, Miguel Mira
Over the years, I've made some portraits from this musician. The funny thing about portraying the same person, over the years, is that there's a sense of evolution both in the portrayed and in me; and, different things can come up.

So, this portrait is focused in another facet of him... How not to be touched by the refinement of his hands, the delicacy and the humor (I will write more about this, ahead!) that Mira treats his lady cello with? What's there not to like? 
I see a lot of guts and dedication here. Moving, to say the least. And, you know, barefoot or not, deep inside, Miguel is a true gentleman, and that shows up while he's playing too.

Sound Portrait of Marcio Gibson © Rita Draper Frazão
It's been a while since I hear about Marcio Gibson, through common friends. 
I finally got the chance to hear, know and draw him. Every time this Brazilian drummer was on stage, I was m-e-s-m-e-r-i-z-e-d.

In the moment the drawing was made, he was playing with a chopstick, and the main drawing idea here was that his brain, arm, hand, until the very tip of the chopstick, were one. A cohesive whole lot of good stuff.

He's packed with sensibility (light blue), awareness and alertness (orange). The contention, and the precision on where and when to place each sound, each beat was mind blowing. I was astounded with his manual dexterity, his magic slides, the breathing spaces in between, and with his greatest asset: being special.

I was filled with inspiration, and new ideas, and decided to do a portrait with sound in it, with a sound-producing texture in it. I had fun making a little video about the sound this drawing makes! It's my sound portrait of Marcio Gibson.

Kali, Patrícia Guerra © Rita Draper Frazão
This is the drummer and trumpeter, Patrícia Guerra a.k.a. Kali. She's a visual artist as well. Too much on a plate? Not a problem here, for sure! As far as I've seen her play, Kali's stepped up her game with her multitask skills and, gave me, personally, much more than that.
The beauty of a girl (red, Venus) with the strength of a man (blue, Mars)? I definitely felt some of that vibe, while she was playing, and I loved it!! 
So here's my drawing-thought out loud about this all:
It takes a lot of courage to be on stage performing and show your strength along with your scars. Turn your grays into gold? It kind of reminds me the Jodorowsky's Holy Mountain subject. I mean how beautiful can this Alchemical transformation be? That's what this portrait is about.
I feel like her role is much more than being a musician. She can be the voice of many that identify with such matters. And I sense she has the drive it takes, to do that and much more.
And by the way, what a better name like the Hindu Goddess Kali to wrap this gift up? Powerful women! That's what I'm talking about! Death and rebirth in a whole other scale to forever change the rules of the established. Musician Kali's in on it, and that just makes me smile with a feeling of happiness and relief, because she's so needed!

Fala Mariam © Rita Draper Frazão
Fala Mariam is a trombonist and a painter. The word flickering on my mind, while drawing her, was selectiveness. The portrait was made when she played in the Pedro Castello Lopes quartet.

Through a little straw, I could see her deep feelings, her surrender, her commitment. Touching and cathartic... something tremendously sensitive, poetic and mystic that hovers in her. 

There's a sort of a tetralemma (as Buddhists advocate) going on here: a powerful and extreme vibe, that cohabits with fragility. Figurative and abstract shapes. Pencil and watercolor. Drawing and painting. Loneliness and uniqueness. Provocative and observant. Suffering and bliss. It's not OR, it's AND. Both poles are true, none nullifies the other. Both exist, and form a third thing - her presence, her id.

The inebriating scent of a smoking pipe (grey pencil), a chosen sip, a solar drink (orange color), classy furs and the glitters of an introspective old soul. Or just a possibility of a portrait - a symbolic idea of an umbilical identity, of her ultimate solar plexus.

Music Therapy

I like to draw what's going on. Not just the musicians. And, in a concert (and a festival) there's so much more going on, than just them. In the past years, That has deserved my attention too. 
Attention is a practice of consciousness. For me, drawing can be also a deep meditative process and that leads me to the subject of the next portrait.

Ana Valinho © Rita Draper Frazão
Ana Valinho made part of the public at MIA Festival, but I met her just at the post MIA Jam, where this drawing was made. In one of the sets, her posture caught my eye. 

I looked at Ana, and saw her soaking up the music, diving into this ethereal world, with her eyes closed, and a meditative posture, that reminded me of a deep trance.  
I feel like, when the music is good, that's what happens to me too, so I recognized myself a lot in her.

Later on, she'd share with me, her passion for diving. (Another form of meditating?) Therefore, I created a motive with a coral. The colors were inspired by the flowered blouse, she wore that day. And the diving motif suited what I wanted to communicate here: the hidden beauties of the sea, the beauty of music, the beauty I saw in Ana.

The icing on the cake

With all I've shared here, so far, it's easy get my enthusiastic state of mind. But, on top of that, more surprises took place...

L'anello Felice © Rita Draper Frazão
Musicians kept showing up, from the beginning 'till the very end of the MIA post-jam. When the Italian drummer, Felice Furioso, showed up, he stood next to me. As soon as I looked at him, by chance, I saw he had this beautiful ring, on his pinkie. 

Someone in my family (and close to my heart) used to design jewelry. I grew up with it. I love it, and am particularly sensitive to it, due to that.  

I gave him a compliment about it, asked where he got it, and to my surprise, he said he had made it out, himself, from of a brass hexagon nut!! That ultrasonic beauty!!?!?!! From a brass hexagon nut!?!??

I asked him, if he could make one equal for me, and without further ado, he took it out of his finger, and gave it to me. I couldn't believe it! Furthermore, it fitted perfectly in my ring finger.

After the jam, we were starving, and we all kind of took over the nearest Portugalia restaurant. That was when I had the idea to ask Felice, to do a drawing with me. I knew I wanted this ring to be its theme, so I drew his hand with his ring on it, and he did vice versa with me.

I wore red in one of the days of the festival (one of my colors) as Felice wore that Yves Klein Blue (one of his colors). The intersection color was inspired by the brass color, and the rings are painted in gold.

In fact, it's funny, because I see a lot of his hardworking and hyperkinetic side, when he's playing drums, but there are other layers. As, for instance, his out of the ordinary sounds (made out of unconventional materials, and instruments made out of recycled stuff), the little details he's into, and of course, his personal swing - a radical intensity. I also feel here an erratic way (black scribbles in the drawing's background), that leads him into solutions that are totally creative, exotic and unexpected. So it's easy for me to transpose this talk into what he did with that ring. Same artist, just a different canvas.

This gesture of his, escalated the beauty of this ring, and of this human connection, to such a special level, that it needed to be present in my drawing book and here. It made me so happy, it would only make sense that I called this drawing, the L'anello Felice (The happy ring).

Aquela sandes dos anos 60 © Rita Draper Frazão

That same night, some of us would later on, end at Miguel Mira's place.
Talking, laughing, listening to brand new music, and hearing the ever inspiring cracking jokes of Miguel Mira!! This dude's got a sense of humor, and I felt I had to make a drawing about it!! Another side of his!

Aquela sandes dos anos 60 (That 60's sandwich) was just a funny thing that he said, among dozens of others...! What about if I had on a pair of 60's sunglasses, with peace and love lenses, forever altering the colors, and adding other flavors to that sandwich?  This could've happened here!
And I couldn't find a better way to end this post. With a smile!

Above all, I need to thank the affection I received from EVERYBODY I crossed paths with, here.
Special acknowledgments to the support I had from the Festival and from Jazz.pt's trust in my work. You can see my drawings published in the magazine Jazz.pt here too!

I was given a pocketful of rainbows, and found a sky to paint them in!

sexta-feira, 5 de abril de 2019

Mary Halvorson's portrait at Jazz Magazine

Spring's arrived here! Flowers are blooming, and I had the finest gift today.

One of my drawings was chosen to feature in David Cristol's latest article for Jazz Magazine. The photos are from Petra Cvelbar, and the article is about Mary Halvorson's most meaningful albums in her life. A breath of fresh air :) 

A part of the article is online (in the previous link) and the other part of the article is in store's, in the latest Jazz magazine issue.

When I did this portrait of hers, the sun was shining, the weather was sweet, I was at one of the most fascinating gardens in Lisbon, and thrilling music festivals: Gulbenkian's Jazz em Agosto! And I had one of the most original guitarists playing at my front (blessed Mary!), and some of the most inspiring colleagues by my side: the photographer Petra Cvelbar and David Cristol. 

The trine is now reactivated with our joint work here. As in Gestalt, the result is bigger than the sum of the parts. So happy about that! May new adventures follow.

A while ago, I wrote some more about David here. You can find some of his work here, and some of Petra's here. Enjoy!