Back in February, I spent a week with nine other creatives, challenging ourselves with our chosen focus, and some wonderful deep dives into perceptions of creative life, and really, our outlooks on life in general. All of this in our lovely flora-filled B&B, and the color dream that is Oaxaca, Mexico.
Our group was the first trial of Pocoapoco (translates to "little by little"), a creative retreat and residency started by two wonderful and beaming humans, Jess Chrastil and Owyn Ruck. Both strikingly open and fully in the present, while simultaneously different personalities.
It was a hugely important week for me, at a time where I felt at peak inner enlightenment after several years of hard self-work, and nearly a year after quitting my nine-to-five; I was hitting a stride and I wanted more. My goal for the week was to greater define what the hell it is I'm doing with my work and come up with an artist statement.
By the end of the week, my mind had absorbed so much information, it felt like it was going to explode. On the final afternoon, I went to take a nap and just laid with eyes open for four straight hours. My body had reached its max. In the end, I'd chiseled off some of the loose layers and gotten closer to specifics but also found comfort in the realization that it's an ever changing endeavor. I will always be evolving, and that's ok, in fact, that's great. It took such a huge load off of my shoulders. I'll always find ways to burden myself with that weight, but like anything, the more I do it, the easier it is to unburden.
My favorite highlight beyond getting to know these amazing people and endless mezcal (seriously) was our one-on-one gallery time with Alejandro Echeverría, an artist I stumbled upon while researching Oaxaca photographers. Within a day of mentioning him to Jess, maybe a week out before the trip, she set up this presentation and conversation with this wildly underrated artist. He was such a joy to watch, not only for his cheeky banter but to watch someone who sees the world similarly to me, capturing in the beauty of every-day details, making a living off of what he loves and enlivening the members of our group, it just made me feel more alive. It's hard to describe, but it made me feel like my slowly defining purpose had more meaning.
This crew has now become some of my dearest friends in NYC (all but one live here, well, besides, Jess, who mostly lives in Oaxaca). We have that week-long bond of vulnerability and shared need for improvement in how we live our lives and what we do. Communities are so vital in any big city, but particularly when you're trying to make a living from expressing yourself in some form. I'm so grateful for these people and excited to see what we all do.
Fun fact: Oaxacan ice creams are icey like our American popsicles and their popsicles are creamy like our ice cream. This was a frustrating discovery. It's ok, the creamy strawberry popsicles made up for it.
Here are some of my favorite shots: