"Memories That Are Not My Own"
Mural number three was just down the block from the first attempt with Zems. I have a saying here, “If you’re late, you’re probably still early” - BCN. He asked me to meet after lunch, which ended up being 6pm by the time we picked up a 25 kilo bucket of wall paint on a skateboard and arrived at Agricultura where Rombillos was waiting. Here, I learned the impermanence of murals the hard way, as one of the spots they chose was my friend Aru’s “Where I’m From? Planet Earth” mural- where we met. I thankfully ended up in the center spot, and with roller in hand, couldn’t bring myself to make the first stroke as Rombillos took a smoke break. “This is the way it works,” they assured me, and I knew something like this was coming, but it still stung as I rolled fresh paint over the purple background and blue figure. We all began to work as the sun beat down and they asked if it was okay to remove their shirts (gentlemen!). I looked stunned saying “have you been to the beach here?” where most people are either nude, or almost there.. Since this was my first time making something semi-realistic, I got a little nervous starting on the face, focusing and trying to control the spray as much as possible. I was still perfecting these details, as they were both half-way through. They even chatted with me in-between when Rombillos finished first. Though a more 2D style, I was still astonished at the speed, looking over seeing Zems almost there as well! After Ramón left, we worked into the night, until the street lights turned on and we couldn’t see shading any longer. Zems had finished, but with only a face and neck complete, I was certainly returning the next day.
Arriving later than expected the following afternoon, I got to work solo, which is always a very different experience than having a painting buddy. “I need to pick up the pace” I thought- knowing that, like any craft, speed will come over time. A car parked directly in front of where I was working just after I got there, making the step back to assess difficult, and I needed something to stand on to reach the top of the head. I also decided to “take a chance” and put a hair strand directly across the face, accidentally giving the impression of a mustache. “SHEEEEIT!" I couldn’t help saying and started on completely remaking every challenging part around the mouth, in an attempt to mask the hefty mistake that cost me a few hours. Complaining that “it must not be my lucky day” a girl approached asking if I had seen who stole her backpack holding she and her boyfriend’s passports inside. She was shaking and it had just happened within eyesight of where I was working. In that moment, my complaints were trivial and I did the only thing I knew I could, give her a hug. After getting her information and shutting down my camera being that I was alone and couldn’t keep an eye on it as I worked, I went back to the wall, grateful for the experience. All of it. A little while later, the car moved and on my walk to the metro after night fall, I saw a bucket in the trash I could stand on, if there the following day (…yes, I went into day 3!).
This morning, I arrived early, not having to stop at the paint store, and with everything I needed, felt good even as sweat dripped from my mask and glove. Starting to get a little delirious I drank some water and looked at an image on my phone of sand, but put it away and let the paints tell me what to do. Experimenting with colors in the background was fun as I didn’t hold back, knowing this was one of my final marks here with only enough time for 2 more murals after this. The hair needed some height, so with mask in tact, I bravely checked the trash for the bucket that formerly held several gallons of yogurt. My luck had changed, because it was there(!) and sturdy enough to hold my weight until the very last details when it finally collapsed, forcing me to accept where the paint ended up as “perfection.”
While working on this beautiful woman against a dreamy background, I thought of all the wonderful ladies I knew in my life, and those I continue to meet here from around the world, filling me with friendship and gratitude. The name derived from that feeling like we know each other, but not from this life. Finishing late in the afternoon, I held a great feeling of accomplishment, trying not to look a few murals over at one of my favorites to compare, appreciating it for what it is and having love for this experience, with everyone I meet as a reminder that I’m exactly where an when I’m meant to be.