quinta-feira, 22 de novembro de 2007

ITHAKA (aka Darin Papas)

Lure#3, Escultura feita a partir de uma prancha de surf
Ou a forma de transformar uma thruster numa "fish"!

No ano passado, tive a oportunidade de trocar algumas impressões com o Darin Pappas, o multifacetado artista e vocalista hip-hop, também conhecido por ITHAKA.

O espaço onde pretendia colocar a entrevista realizada na altura nunca chegou, no entanto, a concretizar-se, pelo que, com alguma pena minha, ficou guardada na gaveta!

Há uns dias atrás, porém, recebi, com agrado, um mail com a divulgação da exposição "The Reincarnation of a Surfboard” (by Ithaka) que inaugura hoje, dia 22 de Novembro e que estará patente até ao dia 22 de Dezembro na galeria de arte contemporânea WOA (Way os Arts), em São João do Estoril.

E, a propósito da efeméride, achei que fazia todo o sentido vir partilhar aqui a nossa conversa mesmo que com o atraso de um ano. Quem sabe, criar-vos a curiosidade e evitar que percam a oportunidade de conhecer de perto o seu trabalho.

A entrevista segue em Inglês por achar que, de alguma forma, se poderia perder algum substrato numa tradução.

Vista do estúdio, Los Angeles, 2005

- One of the facts that surprise me the most in you is the amount of different activities that you embrace in your life. You are a musician, writer, photographer, sculptor, surfer…What do you usually answer when people ask you what you do for a living?
That usually depends on who I'm talking to and how I will relate to that person, and if I have something in common with that person or not. Sometimes it gets confusing trying to define myself, so I'll simplify and choose one vocation or I'll just say I'm an "audio-visual artist".

- And how do you relate with money? You have been so many times in difficult (limit) situations for the lack of it, isn't it?
I've had a great life in some many ways and am in NO position to complain, but I've had strange relationship with money ever since I came to this planet... For the most part, financially it has seemed like a real struggle.But the important thing for me to remember is to stay active, stay creative, and stay travelling and keep surfing even if it's not financially comfortable to do so; these are all essential to my well-being and happiness.Meaning......... I somehow always get shit done whether I have the money to do it or not or whether or not I'm being paid or not.But unfortunately....... sometimes things take longer than I'd like...
(A LOT longer than I'd like), this is the main drawback of being an indie artist.Patience is something I have begun to learn over the years out of necessity.

- I know you came to Portugal with nothing but a one way ticket and a few dollars in your pocket. We don't always need a lot of resources to travel and that has been a constant in your life. Do you have an idea in how many countries you have been? Can you name them all?
(Photo: Ithaka, self-portrait near Mombasa, Kenya 1997)
Probably not as many places as some people might think. But some of the stays have been for very extended periods of time.
Portugal (6 years), Brazil (1 year), Japan (1 year), Greece (6 months) + visits to Cabo Verde, Mexico, Peru, Indonesia, Philippines, Morocco, New Zealand, Tanzania, Kenya... and Spain, France, England, Germany, Holland, Switzerland.

- What does travelling mean for you? What do you usually seek in a trip? I suppose it has nothing to do with staying in a resort with all included…
I'm usually visiting friends, working on some kind of project, surfing or just plain backpacking...except for occasional paid work trips the voyages are usually absent of luxury, very frugal, Lonely Planet-style kind of adventures. (I'm really not interested in all- enclosed resort type atmosphere).
Travelling gives me energy, gives me inspiration, keeps me healthy and interested in life and people.
Being out on the street is the best way to experience any place. Getting to know the life of ordinary native people.
I like seeing how they survive, what they wear, what they eat, what kind of entertainment they dig etc....
I love photographing on trips.

- What will your next travel be?
Hopefully Australia (next month) to deliver a surfboard sculpture to a client in Sydney.I've never been there. and am excited to know the place.

- Let's go back to what you do.
When I read about your work, especially in your site, there was a project among the others that caught my attention, it's called "Quality Time" if I'm not mistaken. For what I understood the project consisted in closing yourself in a relatively small space, like an apartment, were you would have to photograph whatever was there…that is, you would have to turn small objects in valid photographic models, giving them new life and possibly a new meaning
I find this project interesting because it represents somehow what you do with your creations and your life. Do you agree?
(Photo: Quality Time, Tokyo)
This was a photo/text experiment I did in Tokyo about "forced" creativity, spontaneity and using what you have in front
of you in a small, confined space.......in a limited amount of time.I spend most of my life using BIG things, BIG places for fuel, but not ever art-adventure has to be a actual physical "voyage"...this was about 'inner exploration'.

- How did you begin to use surfboards as raw material for your sculptures? What meaning do you give to that?
(Sem Título, Escultura 2004)
I was a photographer living in Hollywood, a little too far from the ocean to enjoy it on a daily basis, but once while surfing, I broke one of my own boards by accident.
I eventually turned it into a wall hanging sculpture. Friends saw it and brought me more boards to work on.... that’s how REINCARNATION OF A SURFBOARD project was born, I've been doing them ever since then.

- What is your motivation in doing it?
Working on the pieces keeps me connected with the ocean even when I not near it. It's about giving new life to inanimate objects that have given me personally a life worth living. I've been doing this shit for 17 years and I STILL loving blasting loud hip hop, drinking a lot coffee or energy drinks and "getting busy' on my pieces.I'll never get sick of it.

- By the way, beside recicling surfboards for your sculptures have you ever shaped any?
I tried to shape one when I was about 15- 16 years old, But It was so bad I didn't even bother to glass it.

(Ithaka big wave surfing in Portugal, 1995-98, Photographer unknown)

- And who did your favourite board ever? (Who shaped it?)
Paulo Mandacaru (PMD designs) a shaper from São Paulo who lived in Portugal for many years.I've been riding his boards since 1995.He's now back in Brasil. I am still using PMD boards. I've ridden a few Al Merrick's over the years and liked them a lot. I had a great board from Pete Johnson (Hawaii) too.

-What place would you choose to live and surf? Not only because of the waves, but also for all things that are important to you?
LISBON was one of the most perfect places in the world for me. I think I discovered who I REALLY am there (an urban/ocean genetic hybrid mutante).It's a great blend of city meets ocean..great urban culture and great waves There aren't many interesting places in the world that have both next to each other like that. Right now I live in Rio. Rio is excellent as well. The culture is fascinating and the waves are A LOT better than most people will ever know. I'd also like to know Durban, Luanda and Maputo, Maybe someday I'll try a total natural surf environment , but I doubt I'll ever be in a big city that doesn't have quick access to the surf.Many people think I should move to New York for my career. I love New York, but the surf is too far from town and REALLY COLD in winter!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Ithaka surfing Ponta Delgada, Madeira Portugal, 1995, Photograph: João Valente)

- And in Portugal, what was your favourite spot to surf?
Madeira, Azores!!!!!!!!! On the continent; Coxos, Supertubos, Arrifana, Carcavelos.

- In the most hardcore surf movie I know, Second Thoughts from Timmy Turner, we hear your sound…how did that come to happen?
I heard he was doing the movie and sent him some cds. He licensed the song, THE PLOT and then never got back to me.I thought he edited it out, I only knew the song was in there for sure because of the SURFER POLL awards.

(Ithaka surfing in West Africa, 2004, Photograph: Joao Barbosa)

- Does surfing inspire you in the lyrics you write and the sound you make?
Definitely, ALWAYS... some songs are about surfing and sometimes it's just a general energy force, not a specific inspiration.

- And how about the opposite? Does your sound inspire you to surf?
... Don't think I've ever listened to my own albums before a session,but music in general definitely gets me hyped up for a surf. Hip hop and funk specifically ...and sometimes rock and dance tracks.

- I know you have recently recorded an album in Portugal, "Remixed in Lisbon", what can you say about it?
It's called ITHAKA: REMIXED IN LISBON BY BULLLET. Lisbon-based BULLLET (founded by Armando Teixeira) is using the occipella vocal recordings from my last album RECORDED IN RIO and will do all new instrumentals for ten of the tracks + four all new songs that we already recorded when I was last in Portugal (4 months in spring 2005).

- What are you up to, what projects do you have now?
(Ithaka surfing the newly discovered Jardim do Mar, 1995, Portugal)
I'm in California at the moment working on new sculptures and visiting family.
In Rio (before I left) Tito Gomes and I had just finished preproduction on a new ITHAKA album called "RAVENSHARK CHRONICLES". Basically the album is finished except for the vocals which I am planning to record here in Los Angeles with Conley Abrams (who I collaborated on my album SOMEWHERE SOUTH OF SOMALIA). There is a new remix of IN PORTUGAL by TITO GOMES up on www.myspace.com/ithakamusic.
In addition to REMIXED IN LISBON BY BULLLET, I am working on a spoken word story album called "CACTUS CRATER" with Franco-Portuguese producer called Henri Sanrame (who is a great Setubal-based producer/engineer who works with DJ VIBE etc)... this is a kind of 70 minute novel with ambient music and sound fx.... we recorded the guide voice in 1995 and henri has been putting all the pieces together... should be funny and weird I'm looking forward to it... I'm hoping to come back to Portugal this year to finish this project.

Other things:
The Ithaka song WHO'S THE ENEMY? (featuring GABRIEL O PENSADOR) is in the new SAVE THE WAVES COALITION surf documentary about Madeira directed by Jacob Holcomb called "LOST JEWEL OF THE ATLANTIC". A new version of SEABRA IS MAD will appear in Greg Schell's surf flick "CHASING THE LOTUS" written by Jaymie Brisick narrated by actor, JEFF BRIDGES. The song, WHATCHA GOTTA DO just got licenced for the soundtrack of a new XBOX 360 basketball game calledNBA 2K7... (MOS DEF and JURASSIC FIVE are also on the soundtrack

Nota: As últimas perguntas, que se debruçam sobre os trabalhos mais recentes do Darin, foram respondidas à cerca de ano e meio, pelo que, como é óbvio, encontram-se um pouco desactualizadas e incompletas... Entretanto foi lançado um novo álbum de Ithaka, SALTWATER NOMAD.

Partilho ainda o post scriptum do último mail que trocámos para a concretização desta entrevista…

ps:...I got up EARLY this morning and surfed perfect waves at 60th street newport beach6 foot+ and super hollow I ate shit a bunch of times, but ended up getting the best tube I've had in six months.Thank you Lord Neptune!

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