Gemma Y Lopez Blog

My City Journal

Home Sweet Home [Apr. 25-May 1]

I went home last minute to visit my grandma who had come to visit from Mexico. I hadn't seen her in about 4 years so it was important that I go see her before she left. When I go home, I eat GOOD.....    

   

I don't know how I can live away from this!!!

A lot of randomness

This weekend was pretty nice- well more like Saturday gave off this optimistic feeling that good weather was here to stay. Ha, I spoke too soon because Sunday came and it was overcast all over again:   

One cool thing about Sunday: clouds rolling by really fast.

Yesterday after class, I stayed in the studio we're in and took some self-portraits with objects for my final project of this semester. I am not sure if they're going to work. We'll see. Here are the behind the scenes set up:

I may be going to L.A. next week...big MAYBE. I'll be visiting some relatives that are in town and I think I can take advantage of being home by taking some self-portrait pictures and adding to the series that I've been working on.

MFA Application Results

It's been awhile since my last post (thanksgiving weekend). I got very caught up with the whole application process for graduate school- which swallowed up my Christmas vacation. I didn't even have time to hang out with friends, previous co-workers, or family. Nonetheless, I knew my portfolio had to get done no matter what and it had to be strong, convincing and full of hard-work. I ended up re-doing my whole portfolio and I am surprised I was able to pull it off and complete it on time. I only applied to two schools: The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI, the school I am currently in for my post- baccalaureate degree) and The School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC.

After I turned in my applications I was drained. I think it sucked up all my energy and creativity because this spring semester I have been lagging. It was a very emotional process for me-  I had so many nervous breakdowns (the only other time I had breakdowns were 3 years ago during my architectural degree project). Anyway, in the end it was all worth it.

Here are some images of the whole process:

     

                                                    

You are probably wondering "so did she get in?" I am happy to say that YES- I did get into both schools! I was beyond ecstatic. The problem was, what school should I choose? When I received the phone call from SVA saying that I got in, I was on the street and I freaked out. I jumped, cried, started to shake, screamed- a bunch of emotions ran through me and it was then that I knew that NYC was really where I want to be. So in the fall of 2011, I will begin the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media program at the School of Visual Arts. I am truly happy that I got into such a competitive program. I'll be leaving SF in June, going back home for the month of July and making the biggest move of my life (thus far) in August. The count down begins.

SFAI Graduate Open Studios

Today was the open studios event at the SFAI graduate studios on 3rd street. I was able to pin up my work and showcase what I have worked on. I pinned up what I feel is my most developed work which are the digital composites and manual collages of the baseball stadium. It turned out to be a really good event and I got to see what other students have been working on. It actually got me motivated to finish the semester strong. Here are some of my fellow post-baccalaureate class mates setting up for the event:

                  

The following are some snapshots of art, people. and the event itself:

          

          

          

          

                                    

Thanksgiving Weekend

This year I did not spend Thanksgiving with my family in L.A. Instead, my bf came to visit and we spent the Holiday in Sacramento with one of our friends and his family. It was pretty far but it was nice to see the transition from city to nature.

Thanksgiving day marked the first of many meal feasts that we would have through out the week.

On Friday we headed over to San Tung on Irving Street (between 11th and 12th Ave). We were recommended to order the boneless dried fried chicken. We also ordered the kung pao shrimp which was okay. We were more excited to try the fried chicken but unfortunately they gave us the wrong order and instead gave us chicken wings which were still really good.

Above are images of the complimentary tea and kimchee as well as the Kung Pao Chicken

Before and After- Wrong order of the chicken wings.

On Friday night we went out to Club 6 to watch Digable Planets, Wise Intelligent from Poor Righteous Teachers, Casual from the Hieroglyphics, and Killah Priest from the Wu-Tang Clan.

My favorite was probably Killah Priest but I think it might have something to do with the fact that he covered a lot of ODB songs. Casual was also really good! He was my bf's favorite.

On Saturday we were excited to try out Sushi Zone but apparently you have to get there as soon as they open because their seating accommodations are VERY limited. When we got there, the first batch of people were there and so we would have to wait an hour and a half (or however long the first batch of people decided to stay). I am sure it's a really good place but since both my bf and I were starving we opted to go give San Tung a chance to redeem itself from Friday's mistake. This time, they got our order right and the dried fried chicken was what my bf called "life changing."

We spent the remainder of the week (Saturday & Sunday) being very lazy since it was raining outside. We continued our junk food feast by having Ben & Jerry's "Willie Nelson's Country Peach Cobbler"....I didn't expect it to be that good...BUT IT WAS.

OH and how can I forget to mention Philz Coffee!! My bf is a huge coffee drinker and had recently made the transition from Starbucks coffee to Peets but I assured him that he still didn't know what coffee was until he had Philz and Blue Bottle Coffee. We never made it to Blue Bottle because my BF instantly became addicted and loyal to Philz Coffee. We both had the Ether on Friday. It was a bit too strong for me but it was perfect for him. On Saturday I had Jacobs Wonder, which was perfect because it has hints of chocolate in the coffee without it being too sweet. It's perfect. He had Julies Ultimate and on Sunday he decided that he would mix both the Ether and the Julies which was a successful combination.

[above: Richard Serra's "Ballast," Cor-Ten steel. The sky looked gorgeous after Saturday's rain.]

Spending time with my boyfriend was really nice and I loved every moment of it. But now it's back to reality and the truth is that it's the week before finals which means I have to have my game face on! It'll probably be a few days or even weeks 'till I post anything on this blog. Until then Happy Holidays!

Chilly Tags

The weather has been bearable since my move to the bay but I knew the day would come when I would wish for 80 degree weather. Well, today was that day. At 53 degrees, it felt like it was actually 40 degrees because it was so windy in the Mission Bay & Potrero Hill area. I can't complain too much though- it was a sunny day, it is the day before Thanksgiving, it was a short day at work, I had no classes (well maybe I ditched my 7:30 class), and the bf is coming up to visit!

I like to think of Potrero Hill  as a Tag mecca. Here are some tags I encountered on this chilly day:

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! (Hopefully I really get some stuff done and go full force on my final images for my portfolio after the thanksgiving break).

Santa Cruz Weekend

Since my friend Amalia was in town, I decided to tag along with her as she went to visit some friends in Santa Cruz. My experience could be summed up in one word: FOOD. I must've gained 20 lbs. there...no joke! All we did was eat and sleep.

The Raiders stadium as we took the BART to Santa Cruz.

UCSC campus. Tall trees is the one thing I remember from here.

This is round one of food. First off, breakfast at Walnut Cafe. The reason we went there? Late breakfast! We had this at around 1 or 2pm. Right after we walked over to Penny Ice Cream- the ice cream was nothing special (in my opinion), the doughnuts were superb, and the place was cute.

After round one we went back to the apartment and slept. We woke up at around 6 pm and went out for dinner.

Round 2: Little Shanghai.  Above are the before and after pictures of our plates. The wonton soup was to die for!

After dinner we hung out, drank and even though we were beyond stuffed we still ate some brownies, pizza, and chips... all of us cried "why are we eating?" as we stuffed our faces but it just made the night really funny.

For our last day in Santa Cruz we went to a new burger joint called Burger.

They give out mug shots of celebrities as numbers.

The burger above is something that I would never be brave enough to eat. It's called "The Luther" and it is "BACON/AMERICAN CHEESE/GLAZED DONUT BUNS." Yes, you read right, it has doughnuts as burger buns. I had a bite of it and I was not too fond of it but Kim (the brave soul to have this) found it deliciously suiting to her needs.

I opted for a safer burger:

I had Ozzy Osbourne as a number and had "the burger," which is simply that- a burger (buns, meat, lettuce, tomato, and a secret sauce). To be honest, I've had better burgers (in particular Lucky Devils in Hollywood).

To walk off our massively heavy meals we walked around Downtown, which consisted of 3 blocks:

And as if lunch was not enough...we grabbed ice cream at Marianne's Ice Cream

They have a lot of flavors to choose from. It was a bit overwhelming. I had a scoop of the oatmeal raisin cookie dough ice cream.

Of course, after this we went back to the apartment and napped, woke up and headed back to the city via the Cal Train.

Santa Cruz was a good break from the city. I liked being surrounded by nothing but tall trees, rain, and yes food. I think I am good on the food 'till Thanksgiving.

Friend in town!!

My friend Amalia is in town visiting with old friends (she's a UCSC alum) before her departure to NYC to begin Grad school. I am so happy to have a familiar face for awhile! Yesterday we hung out, I showed her the 3rd street studios, met up with more friends later on and had some really good Thai food at this surprisingly affordable place near Union Square (I had the coconut milk soup with chicken and mushrooms. I highly recommend it). Here's our day:

There are some images with my current sky obsession- What's not to love??!!

Amalia on 3rd Street.

While being in Union Square I was reminded that the holidays are indeed here! I am pretty excited. Union Square has been converted into a mini Rockefeller center with a huge X-mas tree being set up along with an ice skating ring. They even have a station where you can write a letter to Santa (there's an image of my good friend Cecilia and Amalia demonstrating how to do that).

After the whole Union Square thing, we headed over to Berkeley for some drinks. It was my first time being there and I liked it. This weekend I am heading over to Santa Cruz with Amalia to visit and meet some more of her friends. Should be fun times.

The Weekend

This weekend? Nothing...I did not do anything in particular besides the usual editing.But what made this weekend special were two things: 1. The non-frozen dinner that I ate at Starbucks:

So it's not gourmet and there's probably nothing really tasty about this panini but coming from a girl that eats Trader Joe's frozen meals everyday, this was a nice change of pace for once. I was also out of my room which has become my working cave since moving up here. I was happy about my productive Saturday night.

2. The second special thing:

I must confess my Sunday was spent sleeping and trying to deal with my Sinus headache. When I finally woke up (5pm, but who's keeping time?) I decided to take a walk and I am really glad I did. The weather outside felt like the summer nights in L.A. with a touch of a mild breeze. The sky looked like a painting especially with the reflection on the waterfront. The most productive thing about my Sunday was actually going outside and enjoying this view.

I gotta say, today it was a good day...

Today was a very fruitful day! I registered for spring classes and I surprisingly got all the classes I wanted plus a very desirable schedule. I'll only have classes two days out of the week (Mon & Tue...f-yeah!). SO SO SO EXCITED!! Did you know that the speakers from Adobe Photoshop are referred to as "evangelist"? Well they are and one of them came to speak to my Art + Commerce class. He went over how to properly use HDR, Sharpening in camera RAW, how to use puppet warp, and the thing that blew me away...Content Aware Fill...sick!

The graduate and photo-alliance lecture series (held every Friday night at SFAI) was GREAT!

First speaker: Tucker Nichols who's approach to art is very unique, is commissioned by corporate and entertainment companies (like Bravo TV) to draw on their walls.

Another project he has that is worth checking out is this. It's a project where he receives claims from people (good and bad) to give to certain product companies. It is hilarious! I can't explain it, you just have to see it for yourself.

Second speaker and the man of the hour: Jack Fulton. He's such a special character and I feel lucky to have him as a professor at SFAI. His lecture had the whole room laughing. What I love about him is that he uses his background in literature and applies it to his work in a very thoughtful and funny way. What surprised me is that he has a degree in architecture, like me :)

Here's a Fulton image that I thought was beautiful and breathtaking (ignore my reflection in the image):

Also, here's the on-going process of the mural that was being worked on yesterday at school (see previous post for the work in progress image):

One of those days...

I find myself missing home way too often. Today was definitely one of those days when I longed for a familiar face. I went to Chinatown today to continue with my photo series that I have going on there but I felt like I wasn't entirely there. I kept snapping out of daydreams and sometimes I would snap out of them too late because I would realize that I missed a good shot. After I got some shots, I decided to walk back to school and go through little Italy. From there on out, I ran into random cool things in the city that made me forget about my home-sickness. [gallery]

The first image: me on the 30-Stockton, aka "the Dirty 30."

What really put me in a good mood was seeing all the Panetone being displayed in the Italian Cafe storefronts. It reminds me of the holidays.

There is a new mural in the North Beach area in front of Washington Park. Enclosed is a detail of "the beard."

There is a current exhibition at the Diego Rivera Gallery that kinda disturbed me...ok no, it really did disturb me. So much so that I am still thinking about it. Anyway, the 'stairway to heaven' thing is probably the only "pg" friendly thing to post on here.

At school, there is a new mural being worked on, right outside of the cafeteria. I am curious to see the end result tomorrow.

Finally, I worked on the images that I took in Chinatown, and for the most part, I am satisfied with them. I'll probably go back on Saturday though.

The last picture is me on the Dirty 30- Cal Train bound.

Not a bad ending.

oh HI rain...

I was not expecting rain today (or actually the whole week) at all. I walked into work today with the sky being nothing but clear and sunny. I walked out of work and it was cold and rainy....huh? What happened? I wonder if that typically happens here in SF.

The calm AFTER the storm

[gallery] What I have come to love about San Francisco is it's clouds. It never really rains in Los Angeles and so I have never seen how beautiful and fresh the sky looks after a day/night of raining.

The images show the vivid sky with some tents in the foreground. Apparently those tents are for an upcoming show called CAVALIA which is " an innovative multimedia extravaganza...a homage to the bond between human beings and horses..." sounds interesting.

The Marin Headlands

[gallery] Today was really exciting. A classmate and I took a trip to the Marin Headlands in San Francisco. It is across the Golden Gate bridge, it used to serve as a bunker, and it is luscious green. We got some pretty cool shots of the forest. What made it amazing was the fog! It added this sort of creepy feeling. The slideshow shows a creepy tunnel, the amazing tall trees, a cool orange stencil that was on a wall, and lastly the incredible view of the Golden Gate bridge with the cityscape in the background. Seeing that truly made my day.

October in S.F.

[slideshow] The month of October was awesome. The weather was perfect and I got to explore the city a little better. It's worth mentioning some of the images that are in the slideshow. I went to a free "opera in the park" which was an event where the opera (the play Aida) was being broadcasted from AT&T park. I was able to go inside the park for free, and watch the play-but to be honest I was just there to get some interior shots of the stadium. There are some images of paintings, sculptures, etc. from other students that had shows in the Diego Rivera gallery. If you come across one that you like and would like to know more info on it, let me know. In October, I also went to the Polk Street Blues Festival which was really nice to experience. Most importantly, there are some behind the scenes images of photo-shoots. I am getting experience on how to set up scenes and use strobe lighting (amongst other things). This type of stuff is truly exciting for me!!

Also, I got to be a part of my friend's wedding...Congrats Selenne! And yeah, yeah, yeah...the giants won their first world series. I have been documenting the whole thing and I am working on a series examining the relationships that people create with certain spaces. So far I have extensively documented Chinatown, AT&T park, and a BORDERS book store that has closed down....these spaces evoke different feelings in people- which for me, is interesting to explore.

September in S.F.

[slideshow] The slideshow contains some pieces of my current life in S.F.-from what I eat to what I live around and what I've encountered on the streets. I live by the ballpark and there's an image in the slideshow that perfectly shows the view from my apt. Also, the ballpark is by the waterfront so I see that everyday, which is nice when I'm walking. There are these two legit Richard Serra pieces right by my apartment which is really cool! Another thing to mention is the amount of graffiti in the city which is inspiring (there's really good pieces all around). Lastly, some stuff that I see in the public transportation throws me off. It's kinda entertaining though. Enjoy.