Sort of movie review - The Little Prince

This blog post is going to be a bit more personal. It is no secret that I struggled with my new career choice. I've explained in past blog posts how it took awhile to proclaim my status as an Artist. Everyday I am in a constant internal struggle with my brain and heart. I have to convince myself that this ambiguous path ahead of me is worth it and what I really want. I've been so ingrained in certain expectations of adulthood and the sacrifices that come with it. This is where the movie the Little Prince comes in.

Promotional poster for The Little Prince on Netflix.

I've had this movie in my Netflix queue for awhile now. I finally opened it up and started to watch the movie. In past blog posts, I've talked about my admiration for Antoine de Saint-Exupery's beautiful book with its illustrations. The movie version didn't disappoint. The movie is like a story within a story where the main characters live parallel lives to those of Saint-Exupery's tale. It first presents this rigid society where everyone is expected to adhere to certain rules and be "essential". Communities are mapped out in perfect right angles and everyone has a claim to their own square box of land. Houses are all shades of gray and white. The population runs like a finely tuned marching band. In perfect synchronicity, adults proceed with their jobs and lives. Children are expected to mirror the strict routines of their parents to ultimately succeed in their society, thus continuing the circle of life. This is where I felt that I could relate. 

As mentioned in past posts, I've grown up with a rigid belief that you have to sacrifice a lot of your desires to become a successful adult. Life was scheduled into stages and I had to follow these in sequential order. In my case the ultimate goal was to become a successful businesswoman who somehow maintained a lifestyle in Manhattan and eventually got married with kids. In this world there were "rules" on how to behave and dress, pretty much pigeonholing my individuality. Of course as a C.P.A. the stereotype of a nerdy individual who is constantly sitting at a desk and crunching numbers had come from aspects of real life. The first few years of full time work as an accountant, I drank the cool-aid. I thought that it made sense to work crazy hours and be constantly stressed. I thought, eventually I will get to the point where I could call my own shots. Alas, I realized that world was not for me. The world I was living in felt like that gray society in the film. I constantly got up in the morning, got ready for work, did what was expected and came home feeling unfulfilled and dejected. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and that it was normal to feel this way. I was living in a world of facades rather than something genuine.

Back to the movie...It introduces the weird old man in the quirky house next door. His house is a stark contrast to the grays and whites in its neighborhood consisting of an array of colors. This man is the Aviator and he lives by nobody's rules. He is constantly chasing his dreams and holding on to his childlike sense of wonderment. He literally has a beat up airplane in his backyard that he's been trying to repair and ultimately fly again. This old man introduces the main character, the little girl, how to embrace the colors of life. He tells her the story of the Little Prince and how he left his home asteroid to discover life and ultimately himself. The Little Prince is constantly questioning the rationale behind the behaviors of adult characters. One character simply wanted attention and applause for being the best albeit he was the only person on his planet. Another wanted to count all the stars to then further buy more stars to count. Simply put it by Saint-Exupery, "No one is ever satisfied where he is....Only the children know what they’re looking for". 

The little girl character has been molded her entire life to adhere to this rigid society. Her mother is a prime example of someone who buys into these ideals and wants it for her own child. Following these respective steps would then lead them to success, whatever that was. Like the little girl, I felt the same pressures to assimilate to these societal expectations. I was pushed into the straight and narrow path. Naturally I am a very curious person, but curiosity wasn't essential as an Accountant. Eventually I found my own Aviator per se. After a lot of self reflection I decided to embrace what made me happy. I've tried to see the world through a child's eyes and remember fondly the times I was allowed to be creative and experience things at my own pace.

Being an Artist is maddening and exhilarating at the same time. My brain is constantly working to express myself more and create something that evokes feelings and my individuality. I have periods of time where I feel pressured to produce but nothing comes out. The film literally had a big bad boss character who took all the stars in the sky and kept them in a large snow globe like container. He mentions how looking at the stars made lazy men become idle. In his world, looking around you and beyond is not productive but I disagree. As an Artist I sit and think. I walk and think. I look around and wonder. The symbolism of containing these stars really hit me. Most of my life, I was restraining myself. I didn't let myself pursue what I loved to do. Once the little girl in the movie cracks the container and lets the stars out, you see the immediate effect on the gray and gloomy population. They stand and admire the stars instead of going through their monotonous routine. The world and even the universe has been expanded and it reawakens their curiosity and wonderment. 

"The Little Dog Prince", inspired by the book.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it gave me hope for my future. I ended up going through some boxes of old photos and greeting cards. Seeing the look of joy on my face within these pictures and reading the words of my treasured friends inspired me. It inspired me to try to see things as if it was the first time. It also taught me to embrace my past and learn from it, the good bad and the ugly. The animation of the film was a beautiful thing even though I focused mainly on the symbolism of the movie. I would definitely recommend giving the Little Prince movie a looksy and hopefully you would be as moved as I am. 

LA Adventure part 3 - everything else

We rented out an Airbnb for the first time. The beauty of doing so was that we felt like we were in a home rather than one of many guests in a crowded hotel. We chose to stay in the beautiful and idyllic Silver Lake neighborhood which consisted of charming homes, great restaurants and stores and of course art! After spending most of the week visiting other neighborhoods and trying to make it in time for various reservations, we spent our last day in LA taking it easy. My husband got to finally sleep in that day which was a huge win. 

We had lunch at a local place called Masa of Echo Park, popular for their Chicago deep dish style pizzas. The inside was so charming with vintage pieces of furniture, found items and eclectic artwork. The food was good too. After lunch we walked along Sunset Boulevard where there were some shops I was interested in perusing. 

Random surprise painting within a corner of books.

I'm a sucker for any local bookstore. Stories was a used bookstore and cafe. They also had a bar in the back of the store and an outdoor patio where people could hang out. Art prints were framed and hung from the walls while around various corners you would be surprised with a painting or a drawing. 

Next to the bookstore were some quirky stores such as the Time Travel Mart which describes itself as a convenience store for time travelers. I suggest you just check it out. 

Another great spot we visited was a small and unassuming local art gallery called iam8bit. The gallery paid homage to my favorite, geek culture. I discovered an artist that was showing her work at the gallery, Nan Lawson who creates beautiful illustrations of pop culture icons and TV and movie characters. I would definitely check her out if I were you!

The surrounding neighborhoods were no strangers to beautiful murals and art pieces. I couldn't help but get excited and take photos of these artistic expressions. So that was our LA adventure! I've included more pictures in the gallery below. Enjoy!

LA Adventure part 2 - Downtown LA

The only museum we visited during our trip to LA was the Broad, a contemporary art museum in the heart of Downtown. The museum itself is on the smaller side consisting of three floors with only two being used for exhibits. Tickets to the Broad itself is free, but on a first come first served basis. I had to reserve tickets and a time slot a month in advance in order to just get in! Individuals for each time slot have to wait patiently in line until they are ushered in. Then you can actually sign up for a time to visit the main attraction. 

Justin and me in the Infinity Mirrored Room.

The main attraction of the Broad at the moment is Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room. We had to wait two hours just to get in line for the room itself. The staff were very strict and everything is done electronically. When checking in, you are put on a virtual queue counting down to your opportunity to see what most people were dying to see. It is basically a 10X10' box with mirrors on all sides including the ceiling. There are various light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. Each party (usually people go in by themselves) has exactly 45 seconds to enjoy the room. The guy at the door seriously had a stopwatch. My husband and I went in together. The lights would flash every now and then and cause us to feel slightly disoriented. But when the lights would flash back on we felt like we were part of a galaxy. The background of the picture above looks like a cityscape while we are floating in space. Overall I feel like the exhibit was well worth the wait.

While waiting for the Infinity Mirrored Room, my husband and I explored the general admission exhibits. We saw some of the famous Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup paintings, beautiful paintings by Mark Tansey (a new favorite of mine), a bunch of Roy Lichtenstein pieces and many more.

Watery Ecstatic Series by Ellen Gallagher, 2004.

Another featured exhibit was called "Creature". According to the Broad website, "Ranging from artworks that examine the human body, to others that allude to a physical presence outside of the artwork itself, Creature offers an array of lenses through which to view the human experience, some scientifically based and others drawing inspiration from cultural representations of how living things change over time." There was a variety of pieces from the deranged to the adorable. To be honest, the pieces that meant to shock and awe really turned me off, which I guess was the point. There was one artist that stood out for me, her name is Ellen Gallagher. She uses a cut-paper process to portray marine life. She paints parts of her drawings bringing a sense of fantasy and whimsy that I adore.

An art piece made out of books in the Last Bookstore.

In addition to the museum, I really loved our visit to the Last Bookstore. They literally have an upstairs section of books called the labyrinth! It felt like a fun maze filled with the smell of used books. The store itself has two stories filled with books and local art. There is a comfy sitting area on the first floor with well used couches and armchairs. All over the walls were various expressions of art including an art gallery on the second floor. Tiny little shops were also located on the same floor where they sold locally made products. I highly recommend going to this bookstore if you love to read as much as I do!

I've attached more pictures of the beautiful artwork that we enjoyed viewing during our time in Downtown LA. Enjoy and be inspired!

LA Adventure part 1 - Venice Beach

Public Art Walls in Venice Beach.

My husband and I took a few days to visit SoCal, specifically LA. I was particularly excited about visiting Venice Beach. What I didn’t expect was the neighborhood’s commitment to art. The ever so famous Venice Beach boardwalk even has a dedicated section of public walls where graffiti artists are free to express themselves. Graffiti on these walls were considered illegal until the early 2000s where now if you have a permit, you can display your art. 

Arnold at his finest

Just walking around this eclectic neighborhood is a joy for an artist. Commissioned artists create masterpieces on building walls. Each one unique in their own right and expressing the message by its creator. We found an appropriate homage to the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, near the iconic muscle beach.  

Walking up a few blocks to the very trendy and hipster Abbot Kinney Boulevard, we admired a different style of artistic expression. Rather than graffiti on each building, it was obvious that the neighborhood was carefully curated. Restaurants, galleries and stores are designed to the tee. I think I saw the most use of reclaimed wood and succulents in my life! Coffee shops with their outdoor patios have beautiful murals in the backdrop while young people sip their drinks and chat. Even whole storefronts are painted with an array of colors that aim to entice its audience to come in and see what it holds inside. Local artists are represented inside and out; through prints of their artwork, hand carved wood bowls or hand cut wall engravings.  

Beautiful stucco exterior of this house

Small cottages are scattered within the commercial street. Each one has its own personality. I especially loved the texture and patterns on the stucco of this beautiful blue house. 

The vibes in Venice Beach were those of enjoying life and your beautiful surroundings. Appreciating simple and well made foods, housewares and activities seemed to be the modus operandi of the inhabitants of this neighborhood. I have included more beautiful pieces of art from our Venice Beach excursion below. I hope you all can find inspiration from these local artists as much as I have!