Good Morning Rome, IMPREINT

Portraits by IMPREINT (1)
IMPREINT is a London-based artist whom I was introduced to recently. He works on several projects, usually involving the public in his art and his art is currently being showcased in the Original Gallery in London. Described as “enigmatic” he feels that his work is more important than his persona.

I was excited to take part in his latest project, Portraits, in Rome and chose the Trevi Fountain, an international symbol of the Eternal City. The artist says “I started [the project] on 16 December 2013 as a natural consequence of the 1000 balloons I had painted a year before. Balloons are like people: they’re all different and imperfect in different ways. I experimented with different ideas – first, I made a series of stop motion videos with pictures of people holding balloons. Then I collected photos sent from all over the world. These two approaches led me think that a scene could be looked at from various perspectives, so I decided to run Portraits for one year. In a way this is like a conversation with the public, based on a concept – a dream to evolve in a natural and spontaneous way.”

Portraits has already seen photos of smiling individuals from all corners of the globe posing with balloons. It’s a fantastically understated concept and I encourage everyone to colloborate with the artist by sending in a photo of themselves.

Below is a soundbite from the artist about his work:

– What is your project Portraits about in five words?
– Sharing, equality, unification, happiness, hope.

– What made you want to start your project?
– The idea to create a common dialogue. The 1000 balloons that I was painting inspired me.

– Where would you like to go with Portraits?
– I prefer not to plan, I dream.

Portraits is a global project and you can see the photos and follow IMPREINT on his facebook page. To find out what others have been saying about his work click herehere and here. Below are some photos from his exhibitions:
IMPREINT I'm a temporary exhibition IMPREINT London IMPREINT Portraits London
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October Round-Up in Rome

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October is the best month to visit Rome as the weather is still summery and there are fewer tourists; don’t even think about coming here in August where it can get up to 40 degrees! This month I managed to sneak a few trips to the beach after work and got to know the teachers and students at my school better, with one of them inviting me to lunch with her family. I also got a little bit of independence and was able to plan some of my own lessons and handouts at school, which I really enjoyed.

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I experienced my first Italian strike (the first of many I’m told!) and got the day off school. Normally a strike (lo sciopero) will be planned in advance and everyone is given prior warning. It is almost always planned on a Friday, so as to give a 3-day weekend (called il ponte-the bridge) and buses will shut down, but metros will still be running.

A few days later, in San Giovanni I got to witness a protest where different groups were lobbying against different things; human rights, the poor treatment of refugees, taxes, the economic system.

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I got to do some more language exchanges but they have gotten far too infrequent. I’ve officially dropped my Italian lessons and decided to learn Italian only through language exchanges.

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I found the most incredible gelateria near my work and went there 5 times in 6 days. The first day I found it was magical! I went off of a recommendation from Revealed in Rome and chose two delicious flavours of gelato (chocolate and Sicilian almonds) and wandered over towards the river and caught the sunset by the Vatican next to the Corte de Cassazione, the grandest building in Rome!

IMG_3356The Justice Palace: definitely gives the Old Bailey a run for its money

I found my local fresh food market at Circo Massimo, part of the 0km “slow food” movement.IMG_3320

I had a crazy day at the beach where strangers just kept coming up to me and talking to me, I made a new friend and a woman took professional photos of me for her portfolio! I won’t put them up here but have included my own from the beach:

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I gave my first private English lesson and got to sample a lot of aperitivos. I also bought my first pair of real leather Italian shoes, bye-bye flip flops!

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This is me after work, hanging out at Piazza Navona:

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Until next week!

My First Month in Rome (September)

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Having visited Rome for four weeks last year, I had already seen all the tourist sites more than once, so I just set about exploring the city on foot, solo. I live just south of the Coliseum in San Giovanni. I love San Giovanni as its tranquilissimo; safe, pleasant and quiet, but the downside means that you have to travel further for all of the action.

1378328_10201195273657930_1012195736_nGROM: I love their gelato!

I paid homage to the traditions of gelato and pizza, making pilgrimages into central Rome everyday just to sample some sweet, sweet salvation. I was disappointed! The quality in the centre was poor and the prices weren’t cheap either. Because I can’t exactly live like a king (or queen) on my British Council salary in future I’m just going to go off of tried and tested recommendations, but the gelato above was my own find 🙂

The weather is incredible, much hotter than an English weather, with temperatures rising to 28 degrees some days. Coming from gray London, I couldn’t get enough of this. (Although to be fair to my native city, we had fantastic weather this summer, thank you London). Most of my time is spent walking around Rome and exploring. I love just looking at all the sunsets, ornate buildings, coffee rituals, Italian conversations, shoe shopping and lots more. I’ve been to the beach countless times…

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The hardest thing to cope with has probably been the language; I have a burning desire to communicate, but can’t transmute my thoughts into words. Its so frustrating, since I felt I’d gotten to a really good level in Spanish, only to have to start back again at square 1. In fact, just today I was speaking Spanish with a native Spanish speaker and once I heard their reply thought “man my Spanish is obviously shitter than I thought,” until I realised he was speaking Italian. Doh!

1383094_10201195279698081_489434106_nSan Giovanni: The melodramatic poses of the statues might even be my favourite thing about Rome

I’ve made a few Italian friends and am doing at least five language exchanges a week, which I feel is still not enough. I will be severely disappointed if I leave Italy not fluent in the language, so will have to step it up a notch. I spend a lot of my time reading and writing at Piazza Navona (the main photo) and my work is just a few minutes walk from there. It might be heaving with tourists, but its popular for a reason and I don’t think my mbile phone photos do it justice!

1378770_10201195276498001_192112001_nI also climbed this badboy made out of bamboo, fittingly called Big Bambu, in Testaccio. You had to sign a disclaimer waiving culpability for death or something like that, but walking up 25 metres on bamboo was scary! Its part of MACRO, the contemporary art museum. I’ve also made some lovely international friends here too.

1391966_10201195267377773_1837321592_nAnd finally here’s me on a vespa. Who’s Vespa? Who knows, but one of my goals is to drive one by the end of the year and maybe take a roadtrip. I don’t know if this will be somewhat impeded by the fact that I can’t drive a car…

Breakast at Guiliemo’s

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Italian’s are shocked at what us English eat for breakfast. Ham? Sausages? EGGS? These foods are far too heavy for early mornings and instead Italians prefer to indulge in un caffé and something sweet; biscotti or un cornetto. Due to early morning starts at the school, I have taken to this routine with gusto! Practicing my Italian with the staff at the café, nipping out of lessons for a quick caffeine fix and indulging my sweet tooth (which only gets sweeter with time) with un marrochino and un cornetto cioccolato for €2. This bar is a 10 second walk from the main doors of my school and can be found on the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II. It’s nice to have a quick breakfast with other teachers before returning back to the chaos of the classroom, alas I fear I am becoming a coffee addict!

Rome’s Most Underrated Attraction: The Tiber River

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Maybe its because I’m a Pisces. Maybe it’s because I can’t swim and like to taunt myself by staring at bodies of water and hanging out at Santa Marinella beach pretending to swim :p. Either way, one of my favourite places in Rome on a sunny day is the Tiber River. Walking down the riverside and descending down away from the chaotic Roman traffic (the sound is at least partially blocked out) and strolling along the Tiber is just incredible. The river bank is completely empty, though the odd cyclist/jogger/illegal vendor cycles/jogs/saunters past, you pretty much get the river to yourself. The reflection of the bridge on the water is bella! On warm days you can usually take part in watersports here or take a cruise downriver. Here are some of my photos, enjoy!

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And just today after work, walking around the maze that is Rome, I happened upon the river and saw this gorgeous sunset over the Vatican:

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Beautiful sights like these are why I always carry my digital camera around in Rome. Its also why I was really angry that I forgot it today so the sunset photo is from my phone..

Arrivederci!