The work of Linda Braz has always transformed seemingly everyday materials – from her collaborative installation at the West Oakland Train Station, to her current body of work of intricate pen drawings on found book pages.
Where are you from, and how did you come to be an artist in the Bay Area?
I grew up in the Bay Area and have been here all my life. It’s not an easy place to leave for many reasons. Sometimes I think I would be more well rounded if I had lived elsewhere but then……
I always had an interest in art. After getting my undergrad degree, and taking a few art classes, I decided I really wanted to go to grad school and I wanted it to be about art.
Tell us about your recent trip to Italy.
I am fortunate to have a friend that lives in an incredibly charming small town – Barga – just outside of Lucca in Tuscany. I have been there the last 2 summers and plan to go again this coming year.
Life there is just about perfect.
My Italian is getting better but I have found a lot of folks do speak english.
And then there is the food and wine!
Meals there are on a much slower pace then here and one is encouraged to linger.
Interestingly enough when I go there I host dinner parties and make mexican food – a treat for some ex-pats.
You got involved in a fun geocache project while there, how does it work and is this something you could see yourself pursuing with other artists?
I have an interview online. I think it was fun but it seems like a lot of work to get it together.
More from the studio visit of Linda Braz article on The Studio Work site here
GEOCACHING is an outdoor recreational activity, in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world.
A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing into the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value.
The cultural geocaches of Barga are somewhat different as they in fact do contain objects of value.
The caches contain signed original artworks, drawings, charcoal drawings, prints and etchings by 35 artists working in this area.
There are also mini poems and short stories in Italian and Latin
Professional musicians have prepared a series of cards containing QR codes which when scanned by smart phones will play music specially written for the project. The music includes classic, jazz, piano, tango, rock and folk.
The project is an attempt to “raise the bar” on the level of objects which can be found and exchanged in geocaches.
We hope that the people who find these objects will enjoy them as much as we have in preparing them. (the map for the first and second cultural geocaches can be found here)
Andee Sorenson on facebook
It took me awhile to share about this alluring activity taking place in little town I once lived in Tuscany. This “geocaching” thing was new to me so I had to go get a grip on it. The site linked here is really informative. And now that i have the definition of geocaching handy, it seems funny yet fitting, that in a place where cultural treasures make the physical structure of the environment, locals are having fun planting yet another layer of “hidden treasures” to be discovered, mapped, etc…
Perhaps this modern sprinkling of cultural cache will spark a hunt for the wealth of knowledge and tradition and human spirit that is accessible in Barga and other culturally rich communities in this very green and lush Tuscan valley.
I, for one, am hopeful that this new layering is a sign of human and cultural flourishing in Barga. These places, like many places, will benefit our collective consciousness if they continue to vibrate with local music, art, festivities and food.
painter and photographer - started barganews.com, the first on line news site in Tuscany, Italy back in 1996