Creative Time in Oaxaca

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Back in February of this year, I traveled to Oaxaca City in Mexico for the first installment of a new creative residency project - Pocoapoco. It was my first time in Mexico in quite some time. When I was a kid, my family lived briefly on the outskirts of Tijuana, in the mountains, where my mom was working in a clinic. Each week my dad would drive across the border to go to work and I went to pre-school "kinder" in a small school near our house. All of my first memories are from this time. Aside from a quick day trip to Tijuana years later, I've never spent any time in Mexico since then. 

I flew all night from Chicago, through Mexico City, leaving the cold air behind, and awoke to the sunrise over the mountains and Oaxaca as we landed. I took a collectivo to the city center and walked a few blocks over cobblestone streets to the B & B where I was to stay with the other artists gathering for the residency. There was coffee and sun and a plant filled courtyard to wake up in. In looking back now, I really was waking up - every day a little bit more, for the whole week in Oaxaca. After years of working too much and not allowing myself enough time for a studio practice, the week was a week to refocus and begin again. 

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Over the course of the week I made a lot of resolutions. I took a lot of deep breaths. I worked on my sunburn. I read and painted for hours in the courtyard everyday. I met a lot of other creatives from New York City and Oaxaca. As a group and solo, there were daily adventures to find the best tacos, markets, to the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca, to Monte Albán, to the Centro de las Artes de San Agustín, and to palenques in Santiago Matatlán and San Balthazar Guel.

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The week in Oaxaca was eight months ago, almost to the day. It feels like yesterday and at the same time also light years away. A lot has happened since then and in writing this post I decided I'd revisit some of those resolutions I made back in February to see how I've done:

1. Get back to Oaxaca again (Still planning this part).

2. Leave my full time job to freelance, try something new, and focus on my own creative projects. (I went part time as soon as I got back from Mexico and started freelancing last month!) 

3. Design a new jewelry collection inspired by the shapes and colors of Oaxaca. (Check it out here: www.rebeccamirgrady.com/lookbook !)

4. Carve out more creative studio time to work on new books, paintings and photographs. (in progress - sketches and new work to follow!)

5. Stay in touch and visit Oaxaca family in NYC. (Partway there on this one - had the pleasure of a coffee with Chi in NYC when I got stranded there for a night and got to see Pete on a last minute trip to Chicago)

Rebecca Grady