I hope you are sitting down in a cozy comfortable place because, if this installment of the MPA was a film, it could well be The Lord of the Rings trilogy!
During these last three months I went back to London and Spain to see my family, I came back to the US, visited New York, worked on projects for other people, worked on projects for myself, met lots of animals and spent time with people I love. And even though everything felt a bit like a whirlwind at times, there were also moments of much needed quiet reflection.
So, without further ado, here are December, January & February’s Mobile Phone Adventures.
I was leaving the gym when I saw these people practicing Chinese dragon dances. It was really funny how they moved around pretending to be a cartoon-like animal.
I was working at my desk on Sunday morning, when I turned my head around and saw Zoobie looking at me from the window.
Little panther in the neighbourhood.
It had been 2 years and a half since I last saw my family, so I was excited to go back to Europe. I temporarily said goodbye to Austin.
Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, my first stop was London.
I was really happy to see the girls, even though I was a little surprised when I saw Maisie. It was strange because her voice, personality and mannerisms were exactly the same as before, but she looked completely different.
They had a new member in the family and her name was Bambi. Bambi is a rabbit that behaves like a dog, she follows you everywhere and wants to be petted all the time. Of course, I fell in love with her.
Brennan & Bambi.
British Airways lost my suitcase so I was wearing my cousin’s PJs for almost two days. It was actually great in a way because I got to stay home with Esther and we drew comics together for hours.
My suitcase finally arrived and the girls and I decided to spend the day at the West End. We found a secret quiet world behind Oxford St.
Our first stop was the Photographer’s Gallery.
We then went to Ed’s diner to have lunch while the girls explained how to use Snapchat.
Afterwards, we walked for a while and ended up in Chinatown.
I also played a lot of video games with Brennan and we watched cool films together. I will post some photos I took with my ‘real’ camera another time.
And just after three days, it was time to hop on another plane. I looked at the edge of the world while heading towards my hometown.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that going back to Marbella was tinged by a certain degree of reverse culture shock.
At first, everything seem very old and everyone looked tired. As I walked through the old part of town I saw this old man walking his old dog and felt very old myself.
I kept on walking to go and meet my dad. I took the same route I used to take as a teenager, but with distance and time, everything had become surprising instead of familiar.
After seeing my dad and buying some Xmas presents, I walked back home. As I was taking this ‘selfie’ the guys walking down the street started yelling “paparazzi, paparazzi!” at me. I responded with words never meant to be written down!
When I moved to the US it was strange to me that people didn’t just hang out in public spaces to pass time. Americans even have a negative name for it: loitering. So, after all this time, it was comforting to see men bonding over just having time to spare. At the same time, it made me realize that life in the South is a small stage.
Dog waiting for his owner outside a produce store.
Xmas day arrived and so did my nieces!
Lots of food and fun were had.
Andalusian decor & house naming techniques defy conventions.
Andalusian decor, exhibit II (this was the store-front of a shop called “touche”)
I met up with Laura and we walked down the promenade. The sea was so beautiful and calm.
You could see the fish swimming below the pier we were standing on.
I thought about that Smog song that says “Tonight I’m swimming to my favorite island and I don’t want to see you swimming behind”.
My mom’s car. She has had the cat air-freshener for years, I think she keeps it because she knows I love it.
My sister moved to the countryside and we went to visit her. We were greeted by Poppy.
Iris & Poppy showed me around their new domains.
Iris had adopted a rabbit named Lucy. She was more skittish than Bambi.
I love this photo because Iris is so happy with Lucy while Coco (the dog) is just sitting there thinking “possible dinner?”.
I decided to organize all the things I had left in my mom’s house. It took me almost two weeks to go through everything. I found a lot of half-forgotten treasures.
For example, I had forgotten that there was a time when I could use these.
I had also forgotten I had this super 8 camera…
…and this old polaroid camera. Time travel services were provided by the chemical smell from the incredibly expired film it had inside.
Laura and I spent a lot of time together. I had seen a dog that I thought was lost/abandoned in my neighbourhood and we unsuccessfully looked for him.
I was so happy to be able to walk everywhere, it seemed like such a luxury. So I walked and walked and walked and visited all my favorite corners.
NYE came. I loved this little shop window because in Spain people believe that it is good luck to wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve.
On the last day of the year I stayed with my dad. In the afternoon I went for a walk around his neighbourhood. I found a secret park and a giant patch of land that seemed to belong to nobody. I was very happy because I had discovered a place that was completely unknown to me in a town I know so well.
The unknown patch of land.
There were two dogs in the unknown patch of land. One big and one small. The little one was really happy to see me and ran towards me. I like how it looks like he is flying in this photo.
Little dog. The big one tried to bite me after I took this photo. It was a little bit scary but everything was OK in the end.
Moonrise over the unknown patch of land.
I found the perfect patch of dappled light and couldn’t resist posing next to it.
Bougainvillea always reminds me of Andalucia.
NYE came and went. I usually like to go exploring on New Year’s Day, so I decided to go and see if I could find more unknown patches of land around my dad’s house. I saw the pattern that this tree’s roots made under the road and was fascinated by it.
I crossed the highway. And walked for a while…
I ended up here. Sometimes I am walking and I’ll think “what is at the end of this path?” and if the answer is “bodies” (like it was in this case) I know it is time to turn around.
So I chose a different path.
I was trying to find the sea and bumped into this mosque. It was built by a king.
I sat on some rocks and watched the waves and my hometown sprawl along the coastline. The sea was completely different than when I had seen it with Laura: it was temperamental and the clouds passing over it made its colors shift constantly. The breeze was cool and I suddenly saw my hometown just for what it was. It was funny to me that I had to go so far away and come back to see that and accept it.
And then I walked back.
Remember that I said that me and Laura were looking for a dog that I thought was lost? Well, this is him. After conducting some investigations, my mom’s neighbour told me his name was “El Turco” (The Turk). She also told me that he walked himself everyday while his owner was at work.
Iris came to stay with me for the weekend. When she got home she just unpacked her bag, got her book and started reading.
We then went for a walk with my mother and we all decided it was a good idea to investigate this abandoned sugar factory…
Mom & Iris.
The place was a little bit spooky and there were signs that people lived there from time to time.
My mom wasn’t scared.
We kept walking and we saw these three puppies in a little country house. Their parents barked while I took this photo.
Our final destination! My mom used to swim here with her friends when she was a teenager.
On our way back we met this cat. Iris told me that she wasn’t allowed to pet unknown cats or dogs. I told her that I would acquaint myself with him first and then introduce him to her so she could pet him.
The next day my mom, Iris and I decided to go and climb a mountain.
When we arrived at the peak, we met this puppy. We fed her Spanish omelette and then she followed us everywhere.
The view from the top of the mountain. My hometown below, Africa on the other side of the sea.
I went to see my cousin. She gave me some cool Spanish cowboy boots that didn’t fit and I decided that her cat would make a great Puss in Boots. He hates me.
After working really hard at organizing all my things, this is all that is left of me in my hometown: a pile of boxes as tall as me. It contains all my diaries, drawings, photo prints, mementoes, letters anyone has ever written to me, etc from when I was about 5 until 27.
It was a pain in the neck to get everything in order but I was kind of thankful that I have alway been an emotional pack rat. Because who knew a fake eyelash covered in glitter make up could hold memories?
On the last day in my hometown my mom asked me what I wanted to do and, surprise surprise, I said that I wanted to go for a walk.
Since I miss the seeing the sea so much when I am not here, we decided to walk by the beach. I liked this lone reading man.
In the afternoon I had to say goodbye to my dad. We went to take pictures of the sunset together.
I was pretty sad to leave my family…
Looking at the edge of the world pt II.
I suffered from EXTREME jet-lag the first few days.
But then I felt better and saw this couple on the way to the gym.
Juan and I saw these pizza-stealing raccoons when we came back from seeing Inherent Vice.
I drove from here and there. As I sat at a traffic light, I saw this and thought about how different Austin is from everything else I knew before.
And I was thankful for a quiet Sunday spent in my reading nook.
At the end of the month I decided to got to NYC for a weekend. I had never been there and wanted to spend a few days taking photos and walking everywhere.
After taking the train from Newark to NYC, I came out of the subway station and saw all these incredibly tall buildings surrounding me. There were people walking everywhere, yellow cabs and cars swished by and I was I was completely overwhelmed by the fact that a place like this could exist in real life and I was in the middle of it.
New York baroque.
At the end of my first day there I met up with Jen and she took me to an Alec Soth gallery opening.
Jen teaching me how to be a New Yorker.
When I woke up the next day it was snowing. However, it wasn’t cold enough to stop me taking pictures in my PJs on the rooftop of my Airbnb,
I got ready to go out. I always construct looks based on characters I make up in my head. Here I was going for a 70s NYC art curator.
I took the subway to the Upper West Side. I watched this man thoughtfully writing on his notebook for a while and I was really curious to see what he was noting down. He then got up to get off the train and I saw he had been drawing a cartoon of a smiling girl with giant breasts.
I went to see the Dakota because I love Rosemary’s baby. However, it seemed less foreboding in real life, perhaps because John Lennon fans were taking selfies at the door of the building. I glanced at it quickly and then walked off to Central Park.
I saw a Falcon scoop down from a tree and try to catch a squirrel but it got away.
My favourite part of the park was how all the tall buildings seem to be creeping on the park itself, as if they were trying to conquer it.
I walked down 5th Avenue and saw this dog. I was planning to take an epic photo with the buildings towering above him, but as soon I crouched down to get to his level, he ran towards me to say hi.
Super cool mom, with one side of her head shaved.
5th ave pooch.
Ribbons for dead men.
My feelings about NYC.
I was incredibly fascinated by the steam situation.
I never thought that I would be interested in photographing buildings but that’s because I had never seen any like the ones in NYC. They were all blocky but each one of them had decorations that made them different from each other. When I saw this one, I immediately wanted to use it as my coat of arms.
Couple taking a selfie in front of the Flatiron.
Couple on 34th St.
A dapper man looking at some trousers he found in a trash can on 3rd Ave.
And then it was time to go back to Austin.
I went straight to work. I sometimes get to art direct commercials and I love it because my car is always filled with the most unusual things.
We shot at a Chinese supermarket and they had live fish to sell on the spot. The fish kept on turning in their tank order to keep an eye on me as I worked. It was a little bit uncanny.
Meanwhile in Austin…
Valentine’s day haircut.
Working with Chelsea.
I went for a run and everything was frosty.
Queen of the hill at 7am.