Almaz: How to Clean Everything

This has been a week of scrubbing and sanding and sweeping and sanitizing. Which doesn’t sound like fun at first, but can indeed turn quite meditative under the right circumstances. Our little Almaz Collective is coming together. Or is starting to show the beginning signs of a beginning. This afternoon will be spent repainting the walls. Next we’ll wire the space for electricity. After that the world is ours. Or at least one little seventh floor walk-up of it.

It’s been a pretty great past few weeks here in Hanoi. I’m chalking it up to the fact that I saw a white tiger on the first day of the Lunar New Year. And a polar bear. Though it isn’t the Year of the Polar Bear (…yet), so that’s less auspicious. The opening at The Bui Gallery is continuing to receive positive reviews from the local press, and even from the ever enigmatic KVT on the Hanoi Grapevine. A nice crowd crowded in for an art talk a few nights ago, and I’ll meet up with the other photographers in the show on Monday for one more group interview. I also answered a few questions for fellow exhibitor Diego Cortizas on his blog, HERE.

Last but certainly not least, I’ve been meeting up with a small group of local photographers every so often to discuss work and get/give critical feedback. And drink whiskey. Not only is it great to get comments on my works in progress, it’s also nice to see what other people are working on and to take away a little inspiration from that every time we meet up. It pushes me to get out more often and work on those personal projects that sometimes have a way of falling by the wayside. Groupie Julian Abram Wainwright has already posted my rough feelings on his BLOG, so I’m not going to reiterate everything here again. I love the fact that the meeting inspired him to get up early the next morning and shoot his local market, whereas the whiskey from the meeting inspired me to take the morning off and sleep in. Well played, Aaron.

Introducing Almaz

A few weeks ago some friends and I secured the old and recently abandoned top floor of a hotel out in West Lake with the intentions of turning it into a private studio/workplace and an occasionally public art venue. Two days ago we began the unenviable task of cleaning and repainting the entire floor. She’s a fixer-upper, to say the least, but the potential for dialogue and creative use is nigh on endless as far as I’m concerned. It’s difficult to talk about, as the idea behind the space is still forming in the hive mind, but all of the artists involved seem excited about the possibilities, and that in itself is a bit exciting. So here’s something of a brief introduction to the Almaz Collective, so named after the hotel we now inhabit. I’ll be posting more as the progress progresses. But oh it’s alive.