BerriBlue is a Polish / Irish painter and street artist based in Porto.
After moving to Portugal in 2015, BerriBlue started working prolifically, and quickly became one of the most recognised street artists in Porto. Her pasteups and murals are a now common sight in Porto and Lisbon, and she has taken part in a number of solo and group exhibitions with her studio painting. In 2019, BerriBlue began working in azulejos, and quickly developed a love for painting in glazes. As a newcomer to Portuguese culture, she was able to interpret the traditional medium and approach it from her own unique angle.
Tell us a bit about yourself...
I'm originally from Gdansk in northern Poland. When I was 13, my mum and I moved to Dublin, so I do feel part Irish, having grown up there as a teenager.
My mother is a sculptor, working mostly with bronze, so I've always been around art and artists.
I'm the only child of a single mother, so we had a very strong relationship. From a very young age, I would spend hours sitting next to her, drawing and watching her work. I think it was inevitable I would go to art college. Originally I went into graphic design at the National College of Art & Design, hoping for a more realistic career path from that, but it was quickly apparent that it wasn't for me. I was the only kid in my class with glue and paint all over my desk, totally unable to spell, or space things out. I quickly transferred to fine print.
In my second year at NCAD, I started doing the first paste-ups of my drawings. At the time I was really into illustration, inspired by Harry Clarke, Beardsley, and Bruno Schultz. I very quickly developed a love for street art and the freedom it gave me.
In 2016, I moved to Portugal and this is really where my story began; although I'd already had a 5-year career as a street artist and a couple of solo shows by then, moving to a new country allowed me to reinvent myself, or more accurately, catch up with who I had become.
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I came up with the name BerriBlue - until then I'd gone by my initials JTB. My first name, Jagoda, means "blueberry" in Polish, and I'd gone by "Berri'' to almost everyone in Ireland. When I arrived in Porto, I started working very prolifically, mostly in paste-ups painted on newsprint or brown paper. The work was more confident, a lot less illustrative and restrained. I started working on a larger and larger scale until I was regularly putting up 3-metre-wide pasteups in the city centre.
What themes or ideas do you pursue in your work? Are your works purely visual or is there a meaning behind them?
My work is exploring many common themes, and the imagery I use has lots of symbolism and meaning, although I don't necessarily set out to make a this or that statement. Often it's just a product or reflection of what I'm feeling at the time.
Sexuality, femininity or womanhood, mortality, mental health, and personal identity are all things that come up again and again I wouldn't necessarily describe myself as a conceptual artist, and the aesthetics are obviously very important, but a big thing for me is the process of creating It's almost like performance art in that sense, and I do feel that street art, the act of putting something out there to live its life, is very performative The act of creating a piece of art is like taking a snapshot of your state of mind at that point in time, whether it's a psychotic episode, a period of calm, or a moment of strong emotion It's like performance art but without the immediate audience maybe.
I also feel strongly that people should be able to take their own meaning from the artwork. What it means to me isn't the only correct interpretation, and this is especially true for street art, which is in the public space and so, in a sense, belongs to everyone, concept and all.
Every interpretation is valid. Viewing an artwork is consumption; and the viewer brings their own cultural, social, personal context to that. It can't ever be exactly the same from one viewer to another, or the work itself would be really obtuse, too obvious, hollow, and impersonal.
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Kraowianka 1 Imitation Kraowianka 2
How did you choose your medium?
Over the years I've tried everything I trained as a printmaker; I've worked in oil, pastel, charcoal, spray paint, house paint - everything that makes a mark I tend to lean away from overly clean or perfect media
The thing that I always find myself going back to is raw untreated materials - packing paper, newsprint, wood, chacota (unglazed) tiles. The way they absorb pigment seems organic, more visceral, and they age beautifully, like skin that gets old, changes colour, and slowly deteriorates. Paper that was white ages and browns, gets a tan in the sun. Different paints I've used on the same piece fade or wash away at different rates so that after a few weeks out in the elements, they can look really different.
I also love letting the base material show through. Covering it up would feel a little untrue to the piece, and the physicality of it.
With painting, I love working large. It's like a workout - you feel tired, your arms hurt, it's big and messy, and expressive.
In the last few years, I've really focused on azulejos, traditional Portuguese murals on ceramic tiles, to the point where I'd now comfortably call myself an azulejo artist Living in Porto, you can't avoid azulejos, they're everywhere - simple geometric designs on most buildings, huge intricate murals on churches and public buildings It was only a matter of time before I took it up, and as they're mostly used as exterior architectural elements, they're naturally perfect for street art
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Working with glazes in this way is like painting with glass, and the kiln adds a whole new element to the "lived" existence of the piece. It can change and react in very unexpected, unpredictable ways, throwing a curveball into what I thought I was trying to do with a particular piece
Again, letting the ceramic tiles' natural colour shine through is lovely, although I do cover them with a layer of transparency to seal them. There's a different timescale to azulejos. A paste-up might last weeks or months, but an azulejo piece could last a hundred years, which also demands more consideration in terms of content and subject matter. You're essentially imposing yourself and your image on the street, the community, so you'd better make sure it's not going to cause too much offence or upset
Can you tell us about your process?
I spent the majority of my career, particularly in the early years, dealing with severe mental illness. At age 20, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder after a number of suicide attempts. Working was an impulse and helped me to work through what I was experiencing. One thing that's very common with borderline personality disorder is this very visceral, corporeal feeling, which can seem scary and violent. You're aware, acutely aware, of being flesh and blood I was able to channel that energy into painting or creating, and that helped to get it out If I wasn't able to work, it would build and build There was a time when my studio wasn't set up, so I couldn't paint. I had a very severe psychotic episode and ended up pulling hot coals out of the fire with my bare hands, and giving myself some serious burns.
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So working for me was a base need, like eating and breathing. I noticed also that I what needed was painting - large-scale painting, which engaged my body. My second solo show, The Studio, was an attempt to exhibit that process, and draw a spotlight onto mental health. People were asked to (anonymously) submit their own stories about mental health; what they communicated was really strong and impactful. Things have changed a lot, very quickly - this was only ten years ago - but people weren't so open about mental illness at the time. In fact, none of the main Irish mental health charities would accept the money I raised because they didn't want to be associated with self-harm or suicide, as unbelievably ridiculous as that sounds.
Now I'm moving into my 30s, and I've thankfully dealt with most of my mental health issues. Borderline personality disorder typically peaks in the mid-20s. The suicide rate is frighteningly high.
My process is now much more calm, more loving and considerate. My studio feels like an extension of me. I'm very particular about light, and having large south-facing windows with a tree right outside is amazing. I usually have my birds and dog with me, music or a podcast that makes me feel at home in my surroundings, so I can let the work come out naturally. Often I'll go in there and just sit. For a long time, nothing happens. I might be staring at some tiles on the wall for hours, and then all of a sudden it comes. I also care less, which sounds bad, but I mean that if it doesn't feel right, I know it's not going to be good. I need to be patient, be comfortable, and trust myself, and the work will be natural. Sometimes I'll wake up with an impulse, a seed, or an idea in my head, and by lunchtime, I'll have a two-metre painting on the wall. Other times I'll work on the same piece for days. As long as it's continuous. It rarely works out if I leave something and try to return to it.
Dreams have a huge impact on my work. I dream very strongly, sometimes lucidly, and I'll then try to capture those experiences. One of my favourite street art projects, "Death", was sparked by a dream. I was walking home under the railway bridge in Sopot, with my grandmother, and I saw this tall, black, looming figure of death. I was worried that it was there for my grandmother, but then it leaned down and kissed me on the lips. Ever since, I've been painting my death figures around Porto. It's the only street art I've done directly onto the wall, with black and white house paint, as opposed to pre-painted tiles or paper. People like them mostly, but my grandmother is not a fan. She worries it will frighten someone on their way to work.
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How did your practice evolve or unfold over the years?
After moving to Portugal, I found great freedom in dropping all my baggage and starting again. Porto is a very creative, forgiving, loving environment. I never felt judged, and that allowed me to experiment and grow. Coming to a place where nobody knows you allows you to present yourself as you are, a-contextually, giving you a clean slate.
As an outsider, I think there were things standing out to me that maybe fade into the background if you've grown up with them. Aesthetics come very naturally to the Portuguese, it's such an integral part of their culture that I think they often don't even realise it. I love the architecture in Porto, it's so expressive and interesting. Less so now, but when I arrived first there was this crumbling grandeur, old buildings that must have been stunning in their heyday, now decaying mysteries. It still has some of that, but you have to look hard between the hotels and Airbnbs.
Buildings in Ireland can be very repetitive and dreary, so everything in Portugal then seemed bright and exciting. Moving to Ireland was also very formative for me. Socially, I feel very Irish. I have an Irish sense of humour, and I have such strong memories of growing up in Dublin, the smell of the air, the feel of the streets. I didn't want to move though. At 13, I was leaving behind everything I knew, my dogs, my friends; it was quite traumatic really. That led me to romanticise and idealise my childhood, which in Poland was fantastic. Gdansk and Sopot are profoundly beautiful places to grow up, and I clung to those memories. Culturally, I feel very Polish. My most recent azulejo pieces have been a sort of exploration of that. I've been painting Krakowianki, women dressed in traditional clothes from the area around Krakow, where my father's side of the family are from. I'm not trying to portray this accurately, it's more of an expression of my own memories and cultural identity through the lens of the years. Idealised and stylised, and very much my own.
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Street Art - Death
Street Art - Paste-up
Street Art Azulejos - Principe Real, Lisboa
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Street Art Azulejos - Santa Catarina, Porto
Would you say other artists or art genres have influenced your practice? If yes, how?
Of course. I come from a medieval art background - my mother is really into that, so it was a very present aesthetic for me growing up. Although I'm not religious at all, I was always drawn to the artwork in churches, and this strange, powerful symbology. It's all very visceral and kinky, sex and blood, body parts and organs, and perfect beings. I don't think it's meant that way, but coming from a secular house that's how it comes across. In my teens, I really loved the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and quite compositionally structured work, although I've moved away from that more and more in recent years. These days, I do try to draw a conscious wall between what I like and what I want to make. I can say "I love this work" but I'd hate to be subconsciously reproducing something. It's not just visual artists that influence my work of course; music, film, literature, Instagram feeds - all of these things add to the mood that I'm trying to capture. Anything that makes you think and rolls around in your head will inevitably have an impact on your creative output.
What is your dream project?
When I first visited Portugal, with my mum when I was 15, the metro stations in Lisbon had a huge impact on me. In fact, that holiday was a major factor in choosing to come and live here. Each metro station has stunning azulejos in such a range of vivid colours and styles. Some are abstract, but others have intriguing themes and very specific subject matter. They all have unique character that feeds into the city's soul.
Even before I actually started working in Azulejos, I've always dreamed of having my own metro station in Lisbon. Hopefully one day they'll think of me when they're expanding a line. Another dream project, maybe more of a short-term one, would be exhibiting large azulejo pieces in public spaces in Poland (legally - I already have quite a few street art pieces around the country.)
Azulejos in Portugal have had such a huge impact on me, I'd love to bring them back and introduce them to my home country.
Tell us a bit about the future...
The main thing coming up this year is the Florence Biennale in October. I'll be bringing one or two azulejo pieces there. It's also my first time in Italy, which is exciting. I'm continuing to develop my series exploring my cultural identity, and I suppose my multicultural identity.
Another theme that's coming more into focus in my work is my womanhood. This is something that was always present, but as I've gotten older, and living through me-too and then the lash back to that movement, I've grown more conscious of it. At some stage in my 20s, I realised that I wasn't equal, and what I do, no matter what I do, is seen through a different lens.
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As a female artist, you're constantly coming up against unexpected barriers and abuse, being pigeon-holed by people thinking from a male-gaze, patriarchally saturated viewpoint. You don't get taken seriously, or they look down on you, or you get told you "don't respect yourself" by people you wouldn't expect. You get invited to do all-girl shows or get called a female artist. Ninety percent of all the apparent opportunities you get are just men sleazing or trying to show off.
When you think "artist" you picture an old man, not a young girl. The place in the art world for a young woman is seen as the old man's muse, and it's very difficult to break through that. Street art is a way to get around it of course, nobody knows if you're a man or a woman, the work exists on its own and they either like it or they don't. I've tried to shy away from outspoken feminism in the past, as it's a surprisingly controversial topic (not agreeing with sexism); again, I want to avoid being too implicit with what my work says. However, the strong feelings I have about it, the anger and frustration, do show through, and I think that's becoming a stronger and more solidified theme for me.
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Street Art AzulejosBairro Alto, Lisboa
ART: TUSHITA SINGH
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Meanders, 2022, hand embroidery and appliqué on linen
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Oasis, 2022, hand embroidery with threads sequins and beads on linen
I graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Gandhinagar, Gujarat in May 2004. Since then, I have worked as an Apparel Designer with various export and buying houses, and engaged with buyers worldwide for top brands including Massimo Dutti, Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, Mango, Hallhuber, Anthropologie, and Free People. I completed my postgraduate studies in Cultural Management at IGNCA, New Delhi and in Indian Aesthetics at Jnanapravaha, Mumbai.
In the past 18 years, I have closely observed how hand embroidery techniques seem to be losing their rightful place in the segment of surface ornamentation. The core idea behind my creating and designing these exclusive hand-embroidered artworks is to highlight the beauty and importance of hand embroideries, which seem to be diminishing. I also attempt to utilise the waste fabrics that are discarded by many apparel manufacturing units in Delhi NCR Region. I wish to elevate hand embroidery to a more artistic and tasteful level. I believe it is true luxury and should be given its rightful place in a world of computer-based embroideries and digital prints. The treatment of artisans in this sector is something I feel strongly about.
I love observing the patterns of land and water bodies and they emerge as a strong source of design inspiration for my artworks.
I work daily with an expert embroidery artisan, Sonu Khan, to create these artworks at my Design Studio in New Delhi, India.
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The Waterfall, 2022, hand embroidery on linen
Desert Rose, 2022, hand embroidery with beads and raffia
ART: SHEA WILKINSON
Shea Wilkinson, a Nebraska native, has been sewing since childhood. For most of her art career, she worked in the medium of art quilts, but in 2021, she shifted into creating hand-felted, hand-stitched works of art.
This work is a transition from art quilts into felted and stitched pieces. With this series, I'm envisioning the beginnings - beginnings of life, time, civilization, consciousness. Throughout the work there is a larger presence, sometimes seen, sometimes not seen, but rather felt. There are also groups of people who are led to and by that greater mind, as if on a pilgrimage. They are mysterious figures, representatives of all mankind, as we are led through our lives, searching for something, moving towards an unknown destination.
The work is created with wool and various fibers. The backgrounds are hand-felted, and the images are created by hand-stitching or needle-felting additional fibers and other materials, such as glass beads, metallic threads and silk organza. For me, the tactile experience of working with fibers, threads, and textiles is the most important aspect of creating art.
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WORDS • IDEAS: MICHAEL SWEENEY
Abandoned Zoo Holy mackerel, citizens of seeing things. Big fish are flying with our feelings, through the intersection where the pitchfork meets the green beings. And, there is gusto of gods with such untimely heat. We’ll do it moonlit, turning tides, teeming pride, alluring, touring an otherworldly beat. What do you do with an abandoned zoo?
Sometimes, the wings of things turn into blanket statements. Recovering all the basics taking themselves back, into earth-filled caves and basements. Sometimes the fight for light, turns into a night of flight on burnt out, buried wings. Sometimes the fists hit mist and form open palms, arms lying on/to the grass. Pretending to fly.
Michael Sweeney: I enjoy entertaining a wide range of interpretation, while following a steady stream of thought.
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WORDS • IDEAS: DANNY D. FORD
Cosio Valtellina smoke rises from a ridge I’ll never travail a builder’s van rumbles round the corner autumn cold only surprises the old & the stupid I want to change my socks more than anything in the world right now
Danny D. Ford's poetry & artwork has appeared in numerous online and print titles. The Unfolding Head is co-founder of print collective Never Kill a Rainbow & can be found in Bergamo, Italy. Website: www.theunfoldinghead.com Instagram: @theunfoldinghead
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ART: JINGYI GAO
I heard it sees (Looking at the work station at home), 2022, scan of photographic image
I heard it sees (Looking at Manhattan from Jersey City), 2022, scan of photographic image
I heard it sees (Looking at a human-like sculpture), 2022, scan of photographic image
Jingyi Gao is a New York-based multimedia artist who focuses their practice on photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Her work revolves around the intertwined destiny of technology and the human body. Using Artificial Intelligence as a mirror to reflect on our place in the world.
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ART: BENEDETTA SANROCCOCHOCOLATE & DIRTY CLOTHES
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Benedetta Sanrocco (1991) is an Italian visual artist. She studied Modern Literature at D’Annunzio University in Chieti and obtained the Master in Photographic Project directed by Michele Palazzi at the Meshroom School of Photography in Pescara. In 2022 she was selected for the research program Esaurire/Altrimenti of the curatorial collective Campobase that ended with a restitution to the public in the Art Foundation ‘smART’’ in Rome and she won the contest of Incontri di Fotografia and the Musa National Award for Female Photographer in the section Personal Project, Conceptual Photography, Research and Still Life.
Chocolate & Dirty Clothes 2020-2022
Antonio Pantalone left Italy to look for work. His life was perpetually suspended between two realities: the foreign place of work and the small country of origin.
In the between: the customs. The immigrant Antonio has nothing to declare. Only <<dirty clothes and chocolate for children>>.
In 1962 the Brugg yard gave up a reinforcement. Tons of land collapsed.
After 12 hours of excavation, the rescuers found two people, One victim and one survivor.
Antonio acted as a shield. He probably saved Angelo Lezoli’s life.
Like he, he emigrated from Italy.
Angelo returned home. Antonio did not.
Antonio Pantalone was my grandfather and he was 39 years old. I never knew him, but his story is part of mine.
Starting from a missing image, I arrived elsewhere: from the moment of the accident, my family and the Lezoli’s streets were divided, only after a long search, I intertwined them again in this project.
It was always my mother’s wish to meet the person who had last seen her father alive and who had surely heard his voice. After over fifty years of unsuccessful research, I was able to find it.
I pored the newspapers and weeklies of the time that talked about the accident and that my mother guarded jealously to look for some clue, only the province of origin, Parma, and the name of Angelo Lezoli were recorded but, like that of my grandfather, had been transcribed badly. After several attempts, All in vain, I was able to trace his real name. Thanks to a digital database of tombstones, I recognized his face, which I had learned over time to outline through the photographs of those newspapers, and even though it was now a different face, aged, I had no doubt, and so I got in touch with one of his sons and then I met all the family.
For this work I chose to use only the images I found in the archives of our two families. Through the stories of my mother I was able to build an imaginary: I collected fragments, interstitial spaces and impalpable details to tell an absence that always manifests, to reflect on what remains to those who wait here, on this side of the border.
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ART & WORDS: FEMMENANCY
I'm a mixed media wannabe-poet-rockstar, down to earth, with some strings of hair floating around the universe. Studied film, love words and images combined. Into mental health, post-colonial readings and music.
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WORDS • IDEAS: JAN BALL
Rochester, New York
Our sisters supervise the deterioration of our mothers while we entertain by the pool in summer or attend the Eastman with our season tickets for a snowy night of Strauss waltzes.
Our sisters organize the Sydney weekly lawn mowing, the shoveling of Chicago snow.
Ian’s sister e-mails us that Mum now sips her cappuccino with a straw and tries to pay for groceries with her red lipstick tube.
My sister telephones that Mom tried to sit on her fourteenth floor fire escape on an upside-down wastebasket but the fire escape door was fortunately locked.
Meanwhile, we watch Anthony Hopkins as the forgetful father on Netflix tv and wonder if we’ll be like him.
Jan Ball has had 375 poems published in journals like Nimrod and Parnassus, in the U.S. and internationally. Finishing Line Press has published her three chapbooks and first full length poetry collection. She has been nominated for the Pushcart twice as well as two times for the Best of the Net.
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WORDS • IDEAS: JENNIE E. OWEN
Beautiful Slovenian Girl (1989)
Your sister seems more to you than I can understand. More than blood. You watch her bloom, hear the street vendors as they call out ‘pretty girl’ on the seafront. They hold out t-shirts, handmade jewellery, for her to see. They offer to draw her portrait for a discount. On one stand is a teenage boy, British voice like home to me so many miles away. His face is a seashell, as he passes coins with measured swagger: ‘Beautiful Yugoslavian Girl.’ he says he tries to catch her hand.
‘Beautiful Slovenian Girl’ she replies, leaving the small change on the counter.
Jennie E. Owen has been widely published online, in literary journals and anthologies. She teaches Creative Writing for The Open University and lives in Lancashire, UK with her husband and three children. Jennie is currently working on a poetry PhD with Manchester Metropolitan University.
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ART: ANIRBAN MISHRA
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My Studio, 2022, watercolour on paper, 61 x 71 cm
I am a freelance artist from Tamluk, East Medinipur, West Bengal, India. I have a B.F.A in painting from the Indian College of Arts and Draftsmanship (2017) and a M.F.A in painting from S. N. School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad (2019).
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Hometown, 2022, watercolour on paper, 35.6 x 25.4 cm
In My Garden, 2022, mixed media on paper, 71 x 56 cm
Left: At Morning in Guest House, 2022, mixed media on paper, 25.4 x 61 cm
WORDS • IDEAS: ANNA EMILIA
The after hours; cosmic disco Hollywood excess and pills undressed from their natural habitat Dance floor on fire as I ascend higher Neon lights warm me up in forbidden sin Blurred lines caress my gentle shadows as we walk together on the wet pavement Cuban cigars kiss my throat and hug my lips
White Russian drips from my lips
Street signs and stoplights
Lost alleys and empty highways
Rainbow confetti and party smoke
The DJ is reading my mind; musical notes and playing the songs of my soul Cyberpunk and glamour, bangers and doppelgangers cliff-hangers and boomerangs Infrared mood and lace in deep space on the staircase, someplace Gritty underground My safe place among The secret playlists enraged The soundscapes and vapes Tears fall to the ground I let them drown I am out of body in my sparkling heels Skimpy red dress to my knees In a sea of strangers, I can't find me
Anna Emilia was born January 22, 1990 in Newark, NJ to a Black and Japanese Entrepreneurial Mother and Indo-Trinidadian Immigrant father. She has received her Bachelor's in business Administration from Berkeley College and since then obtained her CPR/BLS, Life Coach and Reiki certifications. When she has free time, it is usually spent drinking coffee, writing more poetry, watching Bob's Burgers, playing with her Shih Tzu Chewy or relaxing in nature. She has been published in Dreams in Hiding Anthology, Prosetics and others. She is also working on her first chapbook.
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WORDS • IDEAS: SOPHIE CLOHERTY
I am anticipating ice & breath the way my soft body breaks muscle for muscle how I move like my mother’s competition skirt ruffle & ruffle & years ago a lunch box of blisters & Sasha, Sasha, Sasha that afternoon at Boston Garden watching Sasha the Olympian masquerade for us for us she performs her lived ballad hip switch toe axel in the air now in the air now in the air now plant, arabesque a body song my mother sang to me in the womb I came out gliding hungry & morphine-infused helmet-less caked in pre-Zamboni slush.
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Not lost on me is the inclination towards the velvet pond is not lost on me but days & days & summers at the rink that rink
sap spiraling up my legs into numb hands the stale cold becomes you the cold becomes you how lovely how lovely how lovely Now I will rage against the helmet at age ten I would rather break & be swallowed by the beautiful cold my pony tail twirled pick toejump pick toe jump toe arms outstretched
while my mother skates backwards away away a zebra scrunchie & Wranglers
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I am age four fleeting always towards her I waddle swaddled in fabrics my face pinched pink How to hold in two mittens the cross yellow red of rinks like this one? the deceased & little g godlike hockey teams on the walls the putrid sweat living on in mats too the absence of artificial time I clutch air & each time I lace up each time in every dilapidated rink I live four lives my mother eighteen flying my mother young & aging into backwards cross-overs myself waddling towards her in the ether I pulsed into grooves left behind into that ephemeral blade trace work & when I chant again Sasha Sasha Sasha I am saying rise rise rise saying glide saying mother mother watch me
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I. In the belly of it
a slow-soaked violet, chilled like an incantation swelling into a body’s spaces— the thumb imprint behind an ear the expanse between hip bone and rib the slope between two fingers.
The lights shiver and only then do I remember the time every bulb was out and I felt my tongue for the first time.
I imagine cold as an archaic being, the same way I think all California fridges are stuck in the pastel fifties— both muted and persistent
like the pins and needles in my hands, the fluorescent glint, glint, glinting of a violent preservation, a violet humming all to condense into something soft, like a painter’s blue period, or into a liquid to be sealed in milk bottles and left.
II. I am outside my life in the wake of it, the automated glint, glint, glinting of fluorescent moons and what has hibernated here? Stalks of a harvest, a mother’s jam, August tomatoes, the early body of a burned sailor.
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To picture the curdled milk of a sun-blistered body is to sink and to ache in automation, like a fridge coded to envelope blue for blue the milk bottles left too long on a Tuesday step, an act of preservation so like the impulse to touch silver gentleness— the kind bodies extract from one another and store so distant from every other body.
Sophie is an arts writer and aspiring poet located in Brooklyn, NY. When not writing, she's digging in dirt or singing atop a lighthouse.
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ART: KATIE MOLLON
Katie Mollon is a fine art photographer based in Detroit, Michigan. She uses experimental techniques, films, and cameras to explore the feelings a place evokes.
P A G E 4 7 | T H E P U R P O S E F U L M A Y O N N A I S E
WORDS • IDEAS: PETER VIGGERS
I found them buried under a pile of papers misplaced in a corner of my cellar an album of photographs taken in Tuscany and stuck together as firmly as we once were.
The dampness came as a surprise I should have taken more care returning to a past I can no longer prise apart for fear of the damage done to fragile memories.
If I put them blurred and torn on my wall what could their display achieve would it help me to remember your smile or that day by the Porta dell’ Arco its featureless faces, the chill in your voice?
All that is left the way your colours dissolve into mine as the pines melt into hills and the sun blends with clouds the sparrow hawk becomes one with its shadow all merged into the ghost of a time I can no more see than the gate’s stone faces stretching out to where land falls away.
Peter Viggers gained an MA in Poetry (2016) from the University of Manchester. Poems have been shortlisted for the Bridport Competition (2018 / 2022) and the Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award 2018 and published among others in Orbis, SMOKE and Best New British and Irish Poets Anthology.
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ART: JACEY RAIN
I am an artist and educator originally from Lansing, MI. I now reside and work in the Detroit area. I make work about disability, my culture, and other issues that intersect with theseincluding the places I find belonging, try to belong to, or imagine in my mind.
Website: sites.google.com/view/jacey-rain/home Instagram: @jacey.rain
P A G E 4 9 | T H E P U R P O S E F U L M A Y O N N A I S E
9 monther f world thee trunk
WORDS • IDEAS: ANDY PHILLIPS
Procrastinating sleep for fear of dreams less magical than this moment. Exhausted but unable to rest with the excitement of you by my side. You melt into my arms as the burning moonlight silhouettes your frame warming this new city chill. Heaven is the stick of our skin unwilling to let go for cooler air. The night sky somehow now clearer and brighter than the blurry gloomy day. The anticipating dawn still ahead seems so distant as we lay. Illuminated.
Tower lights glisten in the distance like jewels on display dancing amongst the sparkle of the stars. The sheer wonder of it all feels like a private show just for us. A foreign land has never felt more like home. The grooves of an unfamiliar bed have never felt more comfortable. Strange sounds have never sounded so soothing. Here and now with you is all there is and the only place I want to be.
Andy Phillips is an actor/writer/poet probably currently dreaming of where he wants to travel to next or whether or not to have another espresso. He's performed works in New York and Paris. Recent publications have been featured in 21 Magazine of Charles University Prague and The Bosphorus Review Istanbul.
P A G E 5 0 | T H E P U R P O S E F U L M A Y O N N A I S E
FAM (b. 1987) is a French visual artist who lives and works near Paris. Before becoming an artist, FAM studied computer science and pursued two years of a PhD thesis at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne university, which she dropped and devoted entirely to her art.
FAM has exhibited her work in different art fairs and galleries around her area in France, Germany, United States. She works with different media such as digital painting, NFTs, digital collage, oil and acrylic painting, drawing, and printmaking to explore themes like psychological states, beauty, identity, the body, gender, sexual orientation, doctrines and cognitive biases.
FAM's artistic goal is to question rather than cast judgment.
Website: www.famarts.studio Instagram: @fam.officially
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WORDS • IDEAS: LAVINIA LEON
Sometimes It’s Saturday Morning; Most Other Times It’s Not
The North Saskatchewan River flows mainly eastward from the Columbia Icefields in the Rocky Mountains, meandering through a septentrional human settlement known most often now as Edmonton* and a placeless neuronal encampment holding memories from Romania, before its blue, blended with others’, reaches the Hudson Bay on the Canadian Shield.
Sometimes my bus is so quiet that I can hear my thoughts and I wonder how the first words will sound like.
Sometimes there are clouds and the river that has just freed itself from the ice prison has the same colour as dead grass. Sometimes I see the gulls congregate in empty parking lots on Saturday mornings. I always forget my bus thoughts by the time I get home, but I have this bright, comforting feeling that they’re always the same because something else I always do the same way is to postpone my wandering through the spruces on the hills or in the covertly grandiose river valley that I, not unlike many others, take for granted.
I always look out the bus window, but sometimes my mind stalks inward, reaching for those books that gave me images for words and are now about to fall into the abyss of neverbeing. Yes, you see a willow, but how about The Wind in the Willows? Now tell me how that isn’t what you really see. How could I say otherwise when that thought also brings the peacefulness of the weeping willow that found its place by our porch and has now grown much taller than I am? When another story, one that’s never been translated from the original Romanian in which a wordsmith named Vladimir Colin wrote it, steps or seeps forward to remind me about a mystical walnut tree and a mysterious ruby frog, I think about how that story made me dream that our own walnut tree was charmed. It wasn’t — in fact, the year that we stood under that tree the night before St. George’s day was a very bad year or maybe I’m entirely wrong and the superstition worked and it was what kept my mother alive after that accident on a Wednesday in June— —the same summer I ran out of books as I tried to run from seeing and knowing the immediate aftermath of having a limb severed by the wheels of a train— —but I did know where my aunt, who owned overflowing bookshelves, hid her house key when she left for work—
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—now I also know that hiding it was never her intention but she’s been gone for twenty-one years and I can only thank her in my dreams, her agony was only three weeks long and the last one of those she’d stopped talking, although she understood and I tried very hard to smile in response to her eyes asking me if I knew the truth, because I did, I’d seen the lymph node above her left collarbone and we’d just learned about stomach cancer and the meaning of that swollen node in semiology, they called it the Virchow–Troisier sign, which on its own sounds quite innocuous, doesn’t it, but no one else would tell her and it was not my place to do that, not consciously, at least, so then I did my very best or worst to convince my face to lie, since her own children had asked her doctors to give her a fake discharge note saying “sarcoidosis”, a condition supposedly much milder in comparison, and her daughter crushed tears between her teeth while rubbing her mother’s feet with some gel meant to take away a millionth of the pain, that was right before they had to go to morphine for a little while, just until it all ended, when the daughter said she felt as if her heart had been ripped out of her chest and she called the other two women in the house, but not me, not yet then ready for this rite of passage, as if we ever could be ready, to help wash and dress her mother one last time, just as I was writing her a letter I knew she’d never read asking her to please forgive me if she can in this realm or the one she was rejoining for not having gone to visit her in the hospital during the few days she’d been there to see if she has ulcer, which she did not have, but the CAT scan never found the primary tumour, it must have been smaller than the distance between slices, and they buried her in December on a Saturday and my coat caught fire from the candles, and I did go to visit my uncle, her husband, in the hospital five years later, after he’d had a stroke that convinced him I was my mother, whom he adored as if she was his daughter, and although the daughter couldn’t leave her new country at short notice to be there — so I guess the distance spared her the same kind of grief she’d already inhabited, only to give her the one of not having said farewell instead — seeing my mother in me made him so happy that he spoke and I believed he was getting better but he wasn’t and he died the next day, the day I bought my one-way plane ticket across the Atlantic to this eerily magnificent Canadian boreal prairie town where I live filled in equal measure with gratitude and wrath and sometimes I still find the thoughts that I’ll never see the dead ones again and that they ever existed equally hard to believe—
—at the same time I remember how I used to sneak inside their house to borrow books, I feel the sadness that I thought would never let me go (indeed, it never did) once I’d finished the last volume of a solar and melancholic trilogy, Ionel Teodoreanu’s La Medeleni, which I hear is being published in English next summer and I can’t wait to read that resplendent rainbow prose again under the unneeded ruse that it’s in a different language, because it’s not the language-processing headquarters it dispatches but the whole way I see and feel my way through all of this, through its characters who move in a world otherwise as frozen between the World Wars as the North Saskatchewan flowing still stilted between the phases of seemingly eternal water it carries, and in which the most beautiful and vital character, a young woman named Olga, whose hair is as black as mine, ends all
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that brimming life inside her with the aid of a revolver after learning she has cancer and there’s something about either the light described in the book in that scene — which I don’t know if I’ll skip this time — or the light in my room as I read it or maybe I’m wrong and it’s not either but both, something about that light, in any case, that never let me sleep around the golden hour, when even the prehistoric humans must have known that the demons crawl out of the spaces where we manage to convince them to stay during the day, and that alone is a miracle and I don’t know what we give them demons to buy their clemency for even a fragment of that time — free reign at night, perhaps— —the same light, because individual photons don’t matter, only their collective indifference transcends the energy-matter barrier just enough for our low-grade rods to catch and interpret, passes through Bohemian crystal in a café in Vienna very much the same way it refracts through cheap glassware in an otherwise chic pastry shop in BaiaMare, northwestern Transylvania, not far from the prison at Sighet, one of the too many places all of them were too many, in fact — where they’d locked up the most dangerous of the disruptive, bourgeois elements called intellectuals during the odious years of Stalinization and where the poets they tortured wrote on the walls about Christ, who descended in their cell, unashamed of His wounds as we should all be of ours if we claim to believe in His example, and ennobled the long-suffering earthborn with Stigmata as incense smoke descended from the moon —and my heart, as uncertainly bound to the notion of the rest of what I call me as it is for all of us, recoils wondering how they could survive as long as some, not all, of them did through the supplice so methodically organized by the country they’d loved, because it shouldn’t be in our fragile, impermanent nature to withstand that, not for dignity nor for some other abstraction as small as an idea, but then inevitably understands that the unsurpassable, overwhelming atrociousness of it is how easily we attain and I’m sure sometimes even rejoice in the willingness and power to hurt another traveler through all of this, and I guess any slope gets slippery or always is and we like to relinquish control to our slopes and the hollering demons who blanket them in ice, don’t we, and could it be possible that all of us bear scars but some burn candles at both ends struggling to conceal them, because Christ spoke of how we need to love one another and we heard hide and cause pain from and to another since that’s always been the one we understood better, and this is some of what remains with me until my neurons depolarize forever inside this particular temporary structure only to be rebuilt in another someday and most of us probably have a thing or more very much like these that we carry as we would a compass wherever we go, whether we stroll through the valley of a river born from a glacier on a lovely Saturday inundated with all-embracing northern sunlight in *amiskwaciy-wâskahikan or not ***
Lavinia Leon (nom de plume) holds an MD degree that she has never used in the way it was intended and a PhD that may have honed her academic writing skills She lives in Canada Her poetry has appeared in a Romanian periodical in the late '90s and, more recently, in The Purposeful Mayonnaise and the 2022 Poetry Marathon Anthology (upcoming)
Website: lavinialeon com Instagram: @aquariangreen
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ART: CHADWICK MOORE
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Mid Mega Valley, 2021, collage, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 122 x 183 cm
Chadwick received an MFA in Painting from The San Francisco Art Institute in 2004, and a BFA in Painting from the University of Georgia in 1999; he has exhibited throughout the United States as well as Europe and Asia and has been published in international art and literary magazines including online publications. Born in 1975 in Georgia, he lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly twenty years. In late 2020 Chadwick moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where he currently lives and maintains a studio.
My work draws from various sources such as consumerism, mythology, meteorology, religion and analytical psychology. I'm interested in depicting how divergent fields like these collide, converge and entangle to form new biomorphic beings and swirling mental landscapes.
Website: www.chadwickheathmoore.com Instagram: @chadwick_moore_art
76.2 x 101.6 cm
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Beulah Land, 2021, collage, acrylic and pen on canvas, 122 x 183 cm
Big Rock Candy Mountain, 2021, collage, gesso, acrylic and charcoal on paper,
ART: KSENIIA GERASIMENKO - EVENING CRICKETS (2022)
collage on cardboard, gouache, charcoal, color pencils, 24 x 36 cm
collage on cardboard, gouache, ink, color pencils, graphite pencils, 24 x 36 cm
collage on cardboard, gouache, ink, graphite pencils, black marker, 18 x 22 cm
collage on cardboard, acrylic, ink, black marker, 18 x 25 cm
collage on cardboard, acrylic, ink, black marker. 18 x 25 cm
I'm an emerging artist, whose main theme is shadows. In my works I create a secret, magical world, which you can see in every place around, when it gets dark. With my art I invite the viewers to feel this special atmosphere, when shadows are becoming almost living beings. Just a bit of imagination, and you find yourself in a whole new world. This is the series of small works dedicated to one late evening at the balcony, with an emphasis on the sound of crickets and reflection of the electric light in windows.
P A G E 5 7 | T H E P U R P O S E F U L M A Y O N N A I S E
WORDS • IDEAS: WILLIAM BARKER
One Horse Town
dozens of blackbirds are perched on telephone wires against a backdrop of morning mist shrouding the tops of autumn's paintbrush bristle trees, in a town I've always known, an oil painting time-lapsed in the mind across the seasons of four decades, this grid of 3.365 square miles I've circled ceaselessly like a goldfish, its glass perimeters now in shards, the water long gone, and oblivion closing in.
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The Nostalgia Factory
the sweet aroma of cookies and crackers plumping in massive ovens could be smelled for miles billowing from a mammoth factory of tan brick cutting into the skyline for the last 63 years, the smokestacks plume with an intoxicating odor, making the tummies of little cookie junkies like me rumble with desperation and yearning, as we rolled down the window, inhaled deeply of the sugary air, and smiled.
William Barker lives in New Jersey with his wife, two boys, and black cat, Ziggy. He runs a used book business. When he is able to unbury himself from the piles of books long enough, he enjoys translating the concert inside his head into poetry and prose. He has previously published three collections of poetry, one chapbook, and had poems published by Heroin Love Songs, Soup Can Magazine, Silver Birch Press, Laughing Ronin Press, Alien Buddha Press, and several others.
P A G E 5 9 | T H E P U R P O S E F U L M A Y O N N A I S E
WORDS • IDEAS: IAN C SMITH
A boy emigrates to Australia on an ex-WW11 troopship, sees fathomless sights, flying fish skimming the deck in the heaving Indian Ocean, an Irish bantamweight boxer training in a storage area. On arrival he picks up local idiom and other assets like the rough and tumble of their football, poses in school, a laughing larrikin, the classroom kookaburra, but his parents are scarred. Escaping outside after his family’s angry evening meals, with his dog, smoking, the only sound, bullfrogs’ croaking, he longs to live like moody characters in urban movies, or stories.
He sells newspapers, hefts travellers’ suitcases from train station to bus stop on weekends, saving hustled tips to buy his first camera at thirteen. Waiting between trains in that terminal town burned by the sun he composes pictures with captions in a notebook he shall one day wish had survived. Those robbed of their past are the most avid photographers.
Irritated by his parents’ jealousy of his integration, then obsession, their sorrowful bandaged past, not understanding how this shall one day influence his art, he budgets for his initial monochrome efforts’ developing and new rolls of film, analysing his expectations: intention, results, self-editing honestly, chiaroscuro, soft focus, still in his future.
Reading about Man Ray leads to Arbus, whose art gave her a perverse thrill, Doisneau, Kapa, heart pierced by this stark calling. Seeking ways of utilising Australia’s fierce light, excited by shadow’s prospects, he admires Max Dupain, and Olive Cotton’s work, paintings by Russell Drysdale, the film Blow-Up starring a young man with a camera. Itching to see his birthplace again, he embarks for the Old World, contact addresses of holy grail journals in a new notebook next to his passport with its self-portrait photo.
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He enters Europe like entering a ruined temple. His decrepit car amusing border guards as he tracks history’s blitzed legacy, he captures their sneered pose that a small journal accepts, his CV beginning.In the rain near Lubeck he frames holidaymakers, hard-boiled noir images illustrating a breakthrough photojournalistic article about the Mann family.
Another time, tailed from above by East German polizei along the potholed autobahn past Leipzig’s cindering orange pollution haze, he surreptitiously shoots their chopper in the carpark of an inexpensive servo where he eats and gases up, joking with locals. Sturm und Drang stimulate him despite Auden’s claim photography brought a new sadness to the world. As if there isn’t already enough.
Galleries of years elapsed, back in Australia at the forty-second place he has lived, locked in the dark room of late life, his memory playing catch-me-if-you-can, it’s his safety now, not this icy silence, that does him in No more vodka, marriages kaput, grown children estranged, basic needs those of the lone wolf, he sits, retired bedroll gathering dust, with the records of his achievements, precious lenses in leather pouches with other talismans of devotion to timing and silver emulsion.
When the eye blinks it sucks someone else inside it. He sees refugees on TV, their tears coursing for what once was, recalls seeing a man jump into the Le Havre night from their docking ferry. Oh, what he would give for life to be pre-digital again, to concentrate once more on composition and the miracle of light, eagerly rounding corners of the human map, snow falling, silent. ***
Ian C Smith’s work has been published in BBC Radio 4 Sounds, The Dalhousie Review, Gargoyle, Ginosko Literary Journal, Griffith Review, Southword, The Stony Thursday Book, & Two Thirds North His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island.
P A G E 6 1 | T H E P U R P O S E F U L M A Y O N N A I S E
ART: THE MESSDECK
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Fabian Reu, film photography
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Vicente Fos, Edificio, 2022, spray paint
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Dolores Ros, Place 3 & 2, 2022, from the series: Donde me encuentro, graphite on paper
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Catherine Ward, Bull Island 1971, 2022, oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
Catherine Ward, Bull Island 2013, 2022, oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
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Ashley Cundall, Deansgate, 2022, gouache and uni ball pen
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Ziemowit Fincek, From Aschersleben to Pyongjang, 2022, oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm
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Claudia Habringer, In resonance with the GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM NY, 2020, marker and acrylics on canvas, 100 x 100 cm
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Serhii Polianychko, Coming in with the peace, 2019, oil on canvas, 90 x 120 cm
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Francesco Puliga, Argentiera, 2022, ink on paper, 39 x 21.6 cm
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Ashley Pelfrey, Dancing House, 2015, etching, 10.2 x 15.2 cm