Why I March


The efficacy of marches and protests is always questioned. It is never enough for some naysayers who ask:

Why didn’t you vote?

Marching and voting are not mutually exclusive. I voted. The act of not voting would be a slap in the face to my great-grandmother who was a suffragette and drove other women to the polls in her wagon when their husbands refused to give them a ride. My rights are not god given, but state granted and hard won. Marching is one strategy to demonstrate my active and vigilant participation in the democratic process.

What are you hoping to accomplish?

A march or a protest accomplishes many things. Any time I have participated in an event, I was driven there by a deep feeling of anger and injustice — whether it be gay rights, cuts to education, or police brutality. There is an overwhelming feeling to DO something and take action. In a sense, taking this action calms that feeling of pent up injustice.

Secondly, there is a need to feel validated in one’s anger– when I feel pent up anger towards injustice I start to look around and I think to myself, “Am I being too sensitive? Am I just causing trouble when I should let it lie? Am I being that humorless activist?”  As a woman, there is extra societal pressure to be nice. Here nice means quiet, affable, with the inability to be offended even by the most utterly despicable jokes or statements. Nice reaffirms the status quo — the patriarchy, white supremacy, heteronormativity, and the bourgeoisie (et al. systems of established hierarchy). Nasty affirms justice and equality and shrugs off the shackles of politesse for the greater purpose of working towards a better world. Being nice is rewarded by society, while being nasty is punished. A march or protest opens up a space for vehement nasty expression. We start as individuals with that same burning sensation of injustice in our hearts and we are drawn out to that protest space. When we meet, we recognize that we are not alone in our feelings.

Finally, once we recognize that we are not alone then the true work can begin. We can make connections, join organizations, debate ideas and strategies. The march or protest is only the beginning. It is not one day– it is day one of a greater movement. For many, this is just the beginning of getting involved. Educate yourselves and read, read, read every piece of activist literature you can get your hands on. Develop your critical thinking skills, and take everything with a grain of salt. Make connections with other activists and organize.


An Interview with Marsha Steinberg, Studio Art Coordinator for California State University in Florence

An Interview with Marsha Steinberg, Studio Art Coordinator for California State University in Florence.

by Marissa Danielsen – studio art major

When I imagine her coming to Italy in the 1970’s, I imagine her gazing out of the window of a jet plane holding a book for a companion: Willem De Kooning’s drawings; his chaotic figures speak to her soul. The plane roars to life, angels into the air, taking Marsha Steinberg away from her native Los Angeles, to her new home in Florence, Italy.

It is 2012.  I am in her apartment in Florence facing a wall filled with her paintings and etchings.  They resonate with color and energy.

“Would you like something to drink? Like water or a coffee?” she asks me.

While she is in the kitchen, I examine her bookshelf.   It is filled with art books:  Andy Warhol, art through the decades, books on abstract expressionists.  She returns with a glass of water.  I am one of her studio art students enrolled in the California State University studio art program in Florence  Under her guidance, all thirteen of us studio art students passed the entrance exam for the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze.  We are attending the Accademia in courses of painting, sculpture or etching for the entire academic year 2011-2012. We have weekly critiques in our art advising sessions with Marsha at CSU that are lively, refreshingly honest and helpful.  I volunteered to do an interview with Marsha Steinberg for Flo N’ the Go because Marsha represents what CSU studio art is all about.

She tells me about her life.  In her early 20’s, she went on a vacation to Europe and she fell in love with Italy.  This journey led her to choose the California State University System for its International Program over OTIS College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.  At California State University, Northridge she took classes in painting, etching, drawing and ceramics, as well as a variety of art history courses.  Marsha was also passionate about literature and political science.  She tried to understand the political situation of Vietnam, gas rationing, and the formation of OPEC.  Furthermore, she expanded her political knowledge by reading books on Marxism and other political and economic systems.  Marsha has a love for poetry, English and American literature, especially for the greats such as Yeats, Keats, T. S. Eliot, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck.

At the time, she was the only student attending the Accademia from her CSU International Program.  I begin asking questions.

When did you know you were an artist?

“I discovered I was an artist when I was 19 years old.  I was passionately engaged.  I remember vividly my first year at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze:  I was in a big room by myself and I was painting a woman in different perspectives and combining the perspectives into a single form, then I began undoing the lines.  I fell in love with it then and there.  The teacher, who watched me paint, told another student to leave me alone and let me work.  I was really feeling it at that moment.”

How did your parents feel about your decision to become an artist?

“My parents were afraid that I wouldn’t make any money as an artist.  This is why teaching and painting are in perfect relation to each other.  They provide inspiration and also a secure place in the world. I am very resourceful.”

Do you feel that by moving to Italy you were running to something or away from something? If so, what?

“Honestly, I was running away in order to find out more about myself and take a leave from my family. I was running away with 53 other kids to another country.”

Why did you become a professor?

“I am not the type of person who just works in a studio.  I need to go out and mingle with people, relate with the world directly.  I also wanted to combine my painting and etching with teaching young people.  I wanted to teach them about how to express a personal vocabulary through art.  But, not only that, I had a desire to learn more as well.  When you teach, you also learn from your students.  I wanted to be around minds hungry for knowledge, eager to learn new things, open to new ways of making art and especially to an Italian-European point of view towards making art – research.  Then the expression of this investigation reveals itself in painting, etching, sculpture and drawing (and a multitude of other media forms).

When I started working at Il Bisonte, an etching school here in Florence, I was an assistant to Prof. Viggiano and Prof. Kraczyna.  I loved it but I wanted to teach CSU students who had decided to come abroad as I did; students who wanted to enhance their artistic vocabulary by attending the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze.  I got going by getting other people going.  Something sparked in me; so I went back to school to finish my Master’s.  I needed my Master’s to be able to open up the CSU Art Program again.

I organized a pilot program in 1989 to reinstate a relationship between the California State University and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze. This program has been going on for 23 years and is the only American University program in Florence that collaborates with the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze.

This program was and is in my heart.  I loved attending both schools here in Florence when I was in college.  As a teacher, I wanted my students to have this wonderful opportunity to immerse themselves in a true Italian reality where they could meet Italians and international students and share their views with a new world.  TheAccademia offers a completely different reality from the universities in the States.   Each student, while continuing his or her undergraduate studies, works on a personal project, first researching an idea and then developing this idea or concept into a very personal body of work.  The influence of all the art that Florence offers is of great inspiration to my students, as it is to me.  The old with the new is a perfect combination.  To study the old masters on site, digest them and let yourself learn to love them is what I did and I want to pass these experiences on to my students at CSU.”

What do you feel are the differences of being an artist in the States and being an artist in Italy?

“I don’t think there is a difference.  An artist is international and feels and sees art everywhere in the world.  The basis of today’s art comes from the past: Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, and so on, and they are all available to the artist here in Italy and especially in Florence.”

You’re familiar with the movie Midnight in Paris. If at midnight you could be transported to any time period, which time period would it be?  Who would you want to encounter?

“Well, I mean if it were Midnight in Italy then of course I would want to go back to the early 1900’s and the 1920’s and meet Giorgio de Chirico, or the Futurists like Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Balla and Boccioni.  I would also want to meet the Macchiaioli in 1865, the Italian Impressionists, Giovanni Fattori, Silvestro Lega, and Telemaco Signorini.  I would also like to meet some great painters from the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods: Giotto, Pontormo and Caravaggio. If we are talking about the Rinascimento, then above all I would meet Piero della Francesca, I particularly love him because his paintings are sublime. He transcends beyond what we are looking at.”

Political climates: Do you think there is a parallel between the political climates of the 70’s and today?

“I definitely think there is a parallel. I come from the post WWII generation: baby boomers.  When I was in college there was the war in Vietnam. We were the “flower children”. We were “hippies”. We were rebels. The generation of Vietnam, of rebellion couldn’t help but find itself within the new artistic tendencies that deconstructed and melted the forms, opened up the spaces, and refused to carry out the regulatory function of The Name of the Father as painters like De Kooning, Gorky, Rothko, Pollock, among others, did. Similarly, regarding quantum physics, a theory was developed “devoid of sense” to explain the strange behavior of electrons, as Richard P. Feynman says. Following this line of thought, Art invented the free gesture (as if it were chance contrasted against the necessary), the events, the performance, New Dada, Nouveau Réalisme, etc., as a renunciation to Western Hegemony and I am dealing with the recuperation of a re-presentation that relates to reason and to measurements.  History repeats itself.  In the art world, there was nothing guiding artists then and nothing guiding artists now.  From the 50’s to the 70’s, Abstract Expressionism was very anti-establishment.  Even today, art is very anti-establishment: look at Banksy’s appropriations. It is a return to subject matter but still anti-establishment.”

Is there anything else you would like to say to the young artists of today?

“Try to find a balance between chaos and stillness.  If you go too much into the chaos, you could be easily led away by violent radicals like the ‘68ers. You need to find a happy medium.  In those days, chaos fit me perfectly. The scream of Nietzsche (the need to have chaos inside oneself so that a star can be born) is what I was feeling. I was pure form and color.  Now there is stability and ground but also energy. There is balance.”

What are you currently working on?

“I’m currently working on a series called Cattivi Maestri e Donna / Iniquitous Masters and Woman. They are appropriations of works of my art heroes with my own tweak, a woman in front of them gazing at the painting. It might be hard to explain but I’ll try. I believe that the artist is supposed to guide the viewer to see something; which is the perception of the artist, to guide the viewer to see. In other words, as my analyst Prof. Panaiotis Kantzas says, “to fulfill the function of the Father.  After we have eliminated all Fathers:  from God the Father up to the Father of the family,” I felt and still feel the need for the Father, who shows and reveals that which I am unable to see, as well as what I am unable to say. My heroes are the Abstract Expressionists, and looking back, they gave me a lot of things, but they did not give me everything.  They taught me how to paint, but not what to paint.  They took me to chaos and left me there.  The woman in front of the painting is me.  It is the artist who interrogates abstract art.  And in her questioning, only with her presence, she adds something to the chaos: a question. I want these paintings to raise a question in the viewer’s mind on their own relationship to the work of art, the act of looking at art.  There is a breakdown of separation between the artist and the viewer.  It becomes like an infinity mirror.  You look at the art and the spectator in the art, while you yourself are a spectator looking at a work of art.  I wanted to do these paintings because they are difficult.  Especially Rothko’s works since he paints nothingness.”

Why do you paint bulls?

“Often I went with my ex, Beppe, to a ranch in Maremma (south of Pisa) where bulls, horses and cows were raised and I was very interested in the bulls.  I loved the stillness and their forms.  A Bull is like a huge still life to me.  For me it also brings up the idea of Greek mythology, the idea of Theseus and the Minotaur.  The bull is an entity that brings us to the Minotaurs of Picasso and then to their simplicity:  bulls without being Minos. The energy of the beast presented in its stillness. The bulls have the same energy as my abstract paintings:  they felt like a manifested energy form. As Prof. Rolando Bellini says: “they are masses of physical forms of nature’s energy like rocks, mountains, enormous natural forms, etc.”  I liked the challenge of including abstract forms inside and outside a large animal form.”

What do you want your legacy to be?

“Through painting, I want to transmit passion.  I want to express the relationship between myself and my students and my painting and my students’ painting.  I want to express the interconnectedness of everything.  I want to be a guide for myself, my students and the viewers of my paintings.  I want to raise questions and create a dialogue and not leave my viewers or students in chaos.”

Is there anything else you want to say?

“Yes. I want my new dialogue between myself, my past and present art heroes and master painters to be viewed, to become visible. I want to be and declare myself as being an artist who realizes the function of The Name of the Father.”

“Thank you Marissa.  It was great fun and enlightening having this conversation.” Marsha


In moments of great need, advanced and sophisticated technology is doomed to fail.

My reliable old school Italian phone with state of the art T9 texting decided it would not work in France.  Therefore I had to travel further back in time technology wise and use a payphone.

Naturally I thought all payphone accepted loose change but actually you need a calling card.  I got a calling card after using the extreme limits of my french and excellent charade skills to communicate with a very patient salesperson.

Payphones will forever have a place in my heart.  I used them in highschool to call my mother to come pick me up.  So quite a bit of nostaglia. Much like picking up an N64 and gaming away.

On my way back from the d’Orsay which was closed due to a strike I noticed clouds starting to gather.   I shrugged then I found a phone booth to call my friend.  Just as I finished dialing my friend I watched a torrential downpour in the streets of Paris from the safety of my telephone booth.  There was thunder and lightning and posh people getting soaked by mother nature.  It was quite an experience.  Five minutes later it let up slightly and I ran from the booth to the metro. I was in awe at my luck in that situation.

I was not able to enjoy this turn of luck long. The next day I went to call my friend I went into the booth and closed the door.  I thought nothing of it. I wanted this particular booth because  I wanted to steal a blue “Occupy La Defense Nov. 4th” poster. But I should have left it alone because I had not realized that the phone booth was rusty on one of its hinges. When I closed the door I sealed my fate.  My fate was to become a real life mime trapped in a glass box. I did not realize it until I finished my call.  I tried the door. Slightly jammed  thought. Then it started to dawn on me.  I looked around to see if this was going to be yet another public humiliation. Sure enough a french woman was watching me in a slightly bored manner as she smoked her cigarette.

I went through plenty of emotional phases in that time period.

Naw. I’m not stuck in a phone booth.  Why the fuck isn’t this door opening?! I can’t believe people arent helping me… If I get this door open I swear I’ll never go into one of these booth things again.  Okay goddamnit I guess I am stuck in this thing.

After this acceptance I leveraged my way out of the situation with good ol science.

I did not get applause or anything. But I did walk away feeling like Houdini.

French Memory Board

With my luck, my very nice camera broke the day I was to leave for Paris.  So instead of offering photos, I can only write my vivid memories of Paris before they fade away.

All I offer is a collage of word images:

Puzzles, chocolate, pigeons, people, metros, trees.

In no particular order scattered about like a puzzle, you may put the pieces together anyway you like.

I am at a chocolate festival.  There are throngs of chocoholics around me.  It is a mad house.  The aroma of chocolate wafts through the air.  Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mexico, Switzerland.  All sorts of chocolate from all over the world.  They are offering free samples at some places. I use my natural talent for finding free food (honed by my art major) excellently.  There is also free alcohol. Baileys. Cherry Wine. You name it.

A chocolate fashion show.  French models prance out to whimsical American pop music in outfits of chocolatey delight.  There is a model in chocolate armor.  We named her Xena the Chocolate Warrior Princess.

I am at a cafe at the Bastille with my generous host watching passersbys. I drink an expensive espresso and smoke a cigarette and whisper, “This is the life.”

I am walking along the tumultuous Seine River.  I pass by vendors who greet me with bonjours.  They all sell the same thing.  It is like driving past strip mall after strip mall.  French posters with illustrations.  Old classic rock posters.  Postcards.  Trinkets made of lead from China.

I am crossing a bridge of lovers’ locks where lovers lock their love to a bridge and throw the key into the river.  A money-minded gentleman is selling eternal love locks at an inflated price on the bridge.

I am crossing another bridge where two melodies are clashing, two musicians fighting for attention and money.  One is a french Bob Dylan, the other is an accordion player.  But just like that old joke, no one ever cries when you cut up an accordion.

I am standing behind a bus stop listening to a trio of musicians play an interesting jazz/rock thing.  There is a bass, a banjo, and a clarinet.  For some reason I am reminded of a tableaux of muses, like greek pottery, black on terracotta.

I am at the Louvre.  In lieu of a camera, I have to actually experience art. Without a buffer.  It is strange that I am simply passively looking at art. Enjoying it as it is. Without a camera I feel naked.  Naked as the Venus. Naked as Bacchus. Naked as just about every god in the Louvre, which I suppose puts us on equal footing. Mano a mano.

I know why the Mona Lisa smiles.

Everyday there is a circus around her.

People flock to her not to see her.

But to take her picture.

More so to take a picture with her. Like a prop.

to prove that they have crossed another thing off their bucket list.

It reminds me of a scattered puzzle of a dream I had in which I was trapped in a filthy crowded hospital with elderly catatonics. Their milky eyes stared open and fixed on the ceiling looking but not seeing.  I was trying to leave when an elderly man with empty abysses for eyes stopped me, looked at me, and saw me, saw through me, to the heart of me. He blocked my path. I realize now that I belong with the catatonics… looking but not seeing.  So it is in Paris.  I have no eyes (camera) but now I can look and see.  I don’t need an image, I need an experience.

I am sitting in a garden.  I am watching a small child chase ducks with his remote controlled boat.  All of the sudden everyday occurrences have great metaphorical meaning to me about the relationship between humankind and naturekind.

I am sitting in manmade nature, a nature controlled and well behaved. Balanced.  Apollonian. The gardeners are ripping out the flowers from last season, flowers that are still in full bloom.

I am lost and entranced by the puzzle in front of me.  It is 1500 pieces.  I am working on distant leaves in the background, abstract blobs of red-orange and red-violet and blue-violet.  The colors go together but the pieces don’t fit.

Ellen is a raver.  We bonded over this fact.  She is staring at the puzzle but she cannot focus on a single piece.  She takes in all 1500 pieces at once.  She is having a minor meltdown.  Sometimes the world is so inconceivable often I hardly can breathe. Fleet Foxes.

I am standing in front of a urinal and I am laughing in a room as silent as the grave.  Marcel Duchamp’s urinal is trapped in a glass coffin like a pee-soaked Snow White.

I am talking with Armando on the Metro about hypothetical disasters.  What if the metro stopped and we were snowed in and we had to resort to cannibalism?  We both agreed that we would eat the annoying people first.  Namely the loud Americans.

I step close to the crosswalk. The traffic whizzes past me close as death and I feel no adrenaline rush.  City life has changed me.

We are crammed like sardines into an elevator.  I am pressed against the glass looking at the world falling away from me.  “This would combine someone’s two worst fears – claustrophobia and fear of heights.”  I mutter to Armando.  Behind us there are Texans.  “Nobody fart in here, y’all.”  I hear a perky Texan woman remark. She assures her friends that it’s okay, no one in the elevator understands English. If this elevator were stuck and there was nobody around to rescue us and we had to resort to cannibalism, I would eat her first.

I am vowing to drink a bottle of French wine a night.  After my first night, I wake up to find I haven’t even finished the first bottle.  I lose my alcoholic merit badge.

I am looking for the bathroom in the French cinema.   A woman asks me something about a toliette to which I shrug because I don’t speak French. People keep asking me questions in French.  I going to have nightmares about tourists asking me questions in French.

I am sketching the Joan of Arc Statue, a tourist asks me something about metro in French.  I gesture towards where I think a metro station is.

I am looking for Jim Morrison’s grave, a tourist asks me something about a grave in French.

I am standing in front of a collection of Francis Bacon’s paintings in the Pompidou.  The figures faces melt and flow collapsing inside of themselves like a black hole.

I am going through security to return home and a French woman security guard asks me if I speak French in French. I say no.  She asks if I speak English.  I say yes.  Then she asks me, “May I touch you?”  If I had a nickel for everytime someone said that to me….  Joan Jett is suddenly playing in my head and I try not to laugh while being frisked.

I emerge from the Metro at St. Paul’s to find a caurosel without horses and instead with spaceships.

I am holding back tears as I look at Yayoi Kusama’s paintings.  I have never heard of her before this day but the colors are powerful and vibrate as you look at them.  They are repetitions and repetitions and repetitions trying to form a pattern but they instead look like chaos.  She is trying to replicate her hallucinations of dots that envelope the world and herself.  Her art is beautiful and tragic.  I have to hold back tears.

I am changing directions to avoid a clown.  Repressed childhood memories of It haunt my mind.  I feel my heart racing.

I am trying to get through the Edvard Munch exhibit but there are throngs of people.  I skip his photography.  He paints a subject, and then paints the same thing several times.  Repetitions and Repetitions and Repetitions.  Each time he paints the nude woman, she becomes more forlorn, stuck in the same pose with different brushstrokes. His self-portrait reveals a sad man used to death and sickness.

People are roasting chestnuts outside of the metro station on shopping carts.  They also roast corn on the cob.

My french has increased by 400%.  bonjour, merci, bonsau, au revoir.

Champagne spills on the grave.  A Jim Morrison fan wanted to buy this round.  I am sitting on the tree scribbled with graffiti devoted to the lead singer of the Doors.  Suddenly a group of german students stands around and one of their classmates gives a shaky biography of Morrison in German.  Girls snigger at his performance in the background.  They disperse as soon as he is done.  I get out my sharpie and write on the tree: “No Tears, No Fears.”  A personal motto I have picked up from 20th Century Fox, a song by the Doors.

Status Updates from abroad


Just booked my flight for Florence. How surreal!


Last night in America.


here I am at the airport. it’s pretty awesome.


lots of firsts: international flight, first missed connecting flight, first time flying an overnighter. jesus. I must say that I love the French though. They are amazing people.


I got my luggage back! Amazing. I need to get a phone.


First few days in Florence.
Everything is going well so far. I’m just exhausted from exploring the city and the nightlife. I bought a cellphone for cheap and I set up skype. I don’t know when the best time for you is to take calls, just let me know….


looking for my first apartment – in Florence.


I have a home! – I finally got an apartment! Hurray! I’m not homeless. hahahaha


I visited the Accademia today. – I snuck in and walked around the courtyard. I will upload pictures as soon as I am able. It is SO BAD ASS. In other news, when I get a bike I’m going to spray paint it black and name it Balerion, The Black Dread.


I want to buy una chitara so bad.


I’m alive everybody, don’t worry. so i have been sick for the past week or so. it has sucked. sorry if i havent been posting my internet is shotty at best.


pigeons. we have a pet pigeon that visits our apartment all the time.  he is a handsome pigeon. he is darkly colored grey and purple. his name is francesco.  francesco and i are going to have a problem.  you see we only have a tiny washing machine and a clothesline.  clothes take quite a bit longer to dry than in a dryer.  francesco thinks its funny to shit all over our clothes when they are drying.  at first i thought pigeons were kind of cute in a stupid kind of way.  now i think they are vermin with wings not as bad as zanzare/mosquitos that will eat you alive like tiny pireahana but still annoying and worthy of a vendetta.


today i walked aroumd the top of the duomo.  it is open to the public for only one day… on mary’s birthday. words cannot describe it adequately.  i felt very god like looking down on all of florence.  tomorrow i go to siena and to casa di machiavelli.  good thing i downloaded it to my kindle. tonight i shall be reading the prince.


today we went to siena.  we saw the frescoes on the wall of the town hall.  gold gilded beautiful frescoes.  then i had the best pizza of my life for three euro and sat in il campo which is a seashell shaped piazza in which they have bareback horse races twice a year for il palio. i went to il duomo in siena.  it was an overload of beauty.  i had to sit down and not look at anything else. there are frescoes on the ceilings on the walls. there are mosaics on the floor. gold everywhere. jesus.


when you wake up still buzzed from the night before and your apartment is in a state of disarray with dead soldiers gleaming on the opposite table across the room from your still life which is perfectly intact and illuminated with the pure light of the tuscan morning sun as church bells call for sinners in the distance.


Going to Torino this weekend. Apparently they have a legit Egyptian Museum. Well, as legit as raiding the cultural treasures of other nations can get.


I saw some straight up dead people at the Egyptian museum in Torino. Not sure this is what the ancient egyptians thought of as an afterlife. I don’t know. You die and then your grave robbers stick you in a glass coffin and your mummified ass becomes famous several centuries after you had your heart weighed against a feather. I guess that’s life though.


Tomorrow I will be in Paris.


how many flights do I have to miss before I can just travel with minimal misadventures?


Went to the Louvre yesterday. Saw the Mona Lisa and the circus around her. A lady pushed me out of her picture with the Mona Lisa. Saw some Botticellis, Raphaels, Carravaggios, Delacroixs, some old ass greek and roman statues, some old ass egyptian statues and that was not even the whole wing of one floor of the Louvre. Also french is a difficult language and I cant even say hello correctly.


Paris is the best place take a walk when you have got a lot of things on your mind.


No tears. No fears. Hung out by Jim Morrison’s grave today. A man poured a bottle of champagne onto the grave. Cheers.


My painting class at the Accademia will be fun I think except for the fact that everything is in Italian.  My brain already hurts.  I hope the professor doesn’t think I’m stuck up because I haven’t been responding to her.


My Italian art professor silently smokes a cigarette behind me pondering my painting as I am working on it. What even is my life.


I would have made an 11:11 wish, but I am already in Florence having the time of my life.


I finally broke down and REALLY looked at a map of Europe. Geography is my new hobby. I keep meeting people from places I’ve never heard of.


So I figured out what four downward triangles on Italian ovens mean. It means you just broiled your apple pie.


my life is a series of misadventures.


my Italian professor caught me daydreaming in class today. It was the classic wubwubwub voice then “what do you think Marissa?” Epic failure on my part. I don’t think I am going to survive this grammar class. I can understand most of what she is saying. Grammar is just so BORING.


Idyllic meadows stretching onwards towards violet mountains. A ginko tree silhouetted against its own golden leaves. White and orange fish swimming in the crypt of a church. I really must be a pagan if I can visit the amount of churches I did this weekend and focus on those three things…


In Florence, if you see a redhead dodging vespas carrying a box ridiculously full of books… it’s probably me. In other news, I got a lot of books for free at the market.


Today walking in Florence I saw a dude that looked like a cross between Ludacris and Vladmir Lenin. I didn’t know whether or not to holla at the comrade.


in a coffee shop in Florence with a caffe latte in front of me and bookshelves all around me. yup just another day in the life.


life takes you strange places sometimes.


If there was a heaven it would look like the Boboli Gardens and I would be a lazy cat roaming around them. If there was a hell it would be a bookstore cafe filled with interesting books that are all in a language I don’t understand.


I’m feeling good. I feel like I could raise some hell this week.


A mistake in your grammar notes is a gift that keeps giving.


Perhaps absurdity is the proper reward for hubris.


That awkward moment when you’re listening to Giuseppe Verdi and you’re like “hey! it’s that one song from Looney Tunes.”


In the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Cannot stop thinking about the childhood game of “the floor is lava.” Probably inappropriate.


As I hold my life’s work in my hands, I come to the profound realization that blue really is my favorite color.


Focaccia. Bread is not supposed to taste this good. This must be the work of the Devil.


I just wanted to say that among many things, Botticelli paints hands really well.


tomorrow will be the Art Olympics. How many canvases can I transport to the Accademia without being run over by a vespa?


Somedays I just can’t speak in any language.


Did I just explain how to do a math problem in Italian? You can bet your sweet ass I did.


nothing like having daffodils and tulips on your windowsill looking over the stone city of Florence. I have never before loved flowers this much in my life; with their absence they are sorely missed. Life is more beautiful with seasons.


home is not a place, it’s a state of mind


Dublin, you sure know how to treat a lady.


Spent some time in jail/gaol then frolicked under rainbows through green fields and finished up the night with shepard’s pie and a glass of Jameson. Just another Monday in Dublin.


drinking some holy water from the Vatican. this has really cured my hangover. pretty sure it’s a miracle.


these pictures awaken ancient memories


Always beautiful to see the sun rise in one city and set in the next.


greedily inhaling Dutch culture.


preparing myself for the coming of the sound and fury of Koninginnedag.


I’m all sixes and sevens and nines.


It’s raining outside and I’m lost in the storm cloud of my own thoughts.


I feel like a fish in water.


I need to call a lady about a dog.


champagne you are a cruel mistress.


I have the strangest luck sometimes.


2 days until my art show, 5 days until my final exams, 20 Days until I’m kicked out of my studio art for good, 40 days until my final exam for painting at the Accademia, 41 days until I start house-sitting in Rome, and exactly 70 days left of my Italian adventure, and 71 Days until I return to America a different woman.


It just feels like time is slipping through my fingers at an exponential rate.


how does one pack away an entire life-changing year? I’m going to need an armada of suitcases to haul back these memories.


empty chianti bottles. maps. ticket stubs. old boarding passes. receipts. loose change originating from separate continents. drawings and paintings scattered everywhere…


E’ sembra che non abitavo in Italia. E’ sembra che quest’estate e’ l’estate scorso. Tutto e’ ugale, ma tutto e’ differente. Mi manca moltissimo Firenze. Mi manca i profumi e i puzzi quando caminavo. Mi manca le stesse faccie italiane che vedevo. Mi manca la bellezza meravigliosa di Firenze. Veramente sono tanto tanto triste per partenza dal Italia. Non sono brava a dire arriverderci. Preferisco dire ci vediamo a dopo. Adesso rimango in California, perche c’e sempre una bellezza unica nel posto che crescevo.

La Specola

The natural history museum in Florence.  It is full of taxidermied animals and wax replicas of human anatomy. It is also infinitely creepy and fascinating at the same time.  They have a lot of animals that I have never even heard of before.  They also have a few extinct species like the tasmanian tiger and the dodo.  I mean perhaps they would not have been extinct if those ones had been allowed to live but hey that’s how my brain works.

I got some good sketches of the creepy wax human figures.  Basically think of it as a three dimensional medical text book bisecting and disecting the human body.   skull overlayed with muscles. hands over layed with muscles. muscles overlayed with a circulatory system. the human heart broken into quadrants and then again six different ways.  pieces of the forearm overlayed with muscle.  a section of the spine. a full skeleton with only tendons overlaying it.  muscle over laying a rib cage looking eeriely similar to cow meat or prosciutto or pork.  I felt like I was at the meat aisle of a grocery store.  but then again eating any mammalian animal is also like eating a distant cousin if one subscribes to evolutionary theory.  I don’t know.  Made me think.

Also saw some cool crystals they had for an exhibition.  geometrical chaos. with colors. that are shiny. definitely happy I saw that. the malachite was out of this world!

Academy of Fine Arts: Progetto

After a week I have finally had a conversation with my Italian art professor.  I have been avoiding her because I freeze up when I need to speak Italian.  It’s kind of hard to even describe what I’m going for in a painting in English.

So basically, I’m painting the creepy old man in my dirty hospital dream.  My bosetto (tiny reference sketch)  was beautiful but I was having a difficult time recreating it on a larger scale.  Besides that I am painting in acrylics because I have to paint larger scale this semester.  Acrylics are cheaper than gouache/tempera.   I have a tendency to destroy my brushes anyway.

I also like to just glob paint on my paper.  As many colors I can come up with, I put on the paper.  So I’ve been over working my paintings.  My professor told me to choose two or three colors and then repaint it.