As many subscribers to my YouTube channel already know, I like to make short documentaries about my travel adventures. I’ve made really popular short and snappy films about Peru, Thailand & Cambodia, Mexico, Guatemala & Belize, India, and even places closer to home like Montreal and New York.
In any case, seeing as how I just spent a few weeks in Sweden, I thought I might try to capture the essence of Swedish metropolitan culture and blend it with my personal journey there to find simple joys and pleasures in unlikely places.
This is the result! A very short and quick watch. Only 2 minutes and 45 seconds. It will take you longer to finish a cup of coffee.
It kinda plays like SWEDEN! THE MUSICAL haha. I guess I just like making creative, visual pieces out of things that happen in my life. Enjoy!
I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. Especially since it took me 12 straight hours to edit less than 3 minutes worth of film. How do professionals do this?
Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my short documentaries, my published works, my TV interviews, and more!
Life is strange and unpredictable. You never know what’s coming for ya. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. A few months ago, you’ll remember I was interviewed and photographed for a Toronto Life feature , which itself was a lot of fun. Well, more people saw that interview than I bargained for.
I was contacted by the good folks over at TFO 24.7, the Franco-Ontarian TV station here in Canada. They noticed that I speak French, and that many of my love letters are in French, and they asked if they could come over and film me for a Valentine’s Day segment.
They came over and interviewed me for 5 hours. The finished TV segment is less than 4 minutes, it’s a lot of work that goes into making a mere 4 minutes! They filmed me in my bedroom here in Toronto, which I have decorated with the letters, old photographs, antique furniture and typewriters, and then they filmed me at an antique shop and a café.
I really like the way this came out. The music they use is super sweet and it makes my 9 x 15 bedroom look much larger than it actually is! I’m also a little embarrassed, just because this is my bedroom and I’m inviting all of you strangers into my tiny little corner of the world, but hey…. I WOULD DOOOOO ANYTHING FOR LOVVVVVVVE. Har har.
I think this is my favourite shot in the entire segment.
Anyway, watch the entire segment below! It’s in French, of course, but you will probably still get the gist of it even if you don’t speak French. Enjoy! Savourez-le!
This is my Sitto & Jiddo (granny & gramps in Arabic) mucking about on their front porch on Rue Berri in Montreal, circa 1948. Lebanese: lovers, not fighters. They took many snaps from that porch, and I’ve always kept them near and dear to me.
Recently, I was in Montreal for an extended period of time, so I thought I would find that old house just around the corner from the Jean Talon market. When I arrived, I found the house, although it has had extensive renovations over the years, and the new owner was a delightful old retired Vietnamese man who only spoke French. He invited me inside the house so I could take snaps and send them to my family. But while I was there, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a little Dear Photograph.
I’m not very good at it, things are a bit off-kilter, but still, the results are pretty cool.
That little pipsqueak on the staircase? That’s only my Mum!
Not bad, right? And the original photographs really are something. I like to think that the snowy landscape indicates things have frozen over and died since my family left the area. With us, blooms and blossoms grow. Ha ha.
Recently I was invited on a personal tour of Station 16 Gallery in Montreal. I’ve been friendly with its founder Carlo for about four years now, ever since I facilitated an introduction between him and a local street artist. So when I told him that I would be back in my old Montreal stomping grounds, he took a couple hours out of his busy day to show me around the ever-expanding gallery.
Station 16 is located on Boulevard St-Laurent in the heart of le plateau, where the gallery’s presence has boosted the community’s economy and sprouted new growth and development for local businesses. Montreal was hit hard by the economic downturn, and there are still many empty retail spaces around. So Station 16 partnered with the annual Mural Festival to reinvigorate interest in this historical and trendy area.
The goal of Station 16 is to feature and promote local urban artists as well as international favourites. The great thing I noticed when I entered the gallery was how busy it was. Most art galleries are usually very quiet, with one or two patrons an hour, and the receptionists’ shoes usually cost more than your entire annual salary. For many people, visiting art galleries is an intimidating and perhaps snobby-elite experience that feels alienating and ostracising. Not Station 16. Kids, teenagers, families, tourists, street art enthusiasts, art collectors, and dealers abounded the ground-level gallery. It’s a very inclusive and welcoming experience, with a no-pressure enviro, and fosters a sense of community. I think that encouraging everyday people in the process of appreciating, critiquing, and collecting pieces of art is a good thing, and removes the exclusivity that surrounds the art world.
Pure Maple Sizzurp piece by What Is Adam, like an Warhol-throwback!
Took me a moment to realize those are guns.
Olek, my beloved guerilla-knitting-yarn-bombing babe with a clever turn of phrase here. This is actually a silkscreen of her work, but it comes out very 3D! It looks like there’s actual yarn in there! I’ve photographed her in Montreal, NYC, and London!
Le Diamantaire! You can’t turn a single corner in Paris without running into his street diamonds. They’re prolific!
Now this is my kind of toilet. The entire walls are covered in What Is Adam pieces, and what’s that on the loo?
It’s my boyfriend HANKSY!
Enzo Sarto is one half of my NYC favourite Enzo & Nio!
This is the back of Carlo’s computer! I see WIA, Stikki Peaches, Enzo & Nio, Shepard Fairy…. “Never forget how awesome you are.”
How could I?
Station 16 is located at 3523 Boul St-Laurent in Montreal, within walking distance from metro stops Mont-Royal or Sherbrooke. If you go, tell them Chris says hi!
Back in January, I performed at The Moth storyslam in Brooklyn, New York City in front of 400 people. The theme of the night was ‘Cravings’ so I spoke for 5 minutes about being heartbroken, homeless, and hustlin’ on the streets of Europe. It’s basically the conclusion to this spoken word piece I performed at Spark London in the UK back in 2013. I got a standing-O from this crowd, and people were approaching me afterward to give me high-fives and fist-bumps. The crowd was so kind. As I’ve said before, I’ve developed a taste for Spoken Word and live-storytelling, so expect more from me on this front.
My life has been pretty strange over the past two years, but I’ll tell you one thing, it’s never fucking boring.
Live a life less ordinary, munchkins. There are no rules to this thing. Go out and make it yours.
Fanks for watching.
Sorry for not blogging for almost 3 weeks! It’s been crazy around here. I went from Berlin, to Regensburg, to Amsterdam, and now I’m in Paris, where I will be situated for the next little while … ah, the life of resourceful nomad. Expect more photojaculations about all of these adventures!
Anyway, you, my little munchkins, might remember the last few times I have blogged about Laser 3.14, the graff-poet of Amsterdam. Well, I let him know that I would be in Amsterdam for a week, and he sent me all the locations of his most recent bombings. The work, as always, is thrilling and moving. Dude speaks exactly what is on my mind and in my heart, and he has recently had a few gallery exhibitions and openings that have been met with lots of press and accolades. Dude is going places.
This one I found on my own. Someone had wrapped up the tarp & knotted it through itself (see the hole right before the 3?). I had to unravel it just to photograph it. Almost get yelled at the home owner. Totally worth it.
Found this one also by mistake. It’s part of an older batch, hence its poor state. It says “blind idealism destroys reason.”
Found this by accident. It’s one of my favourites.
Another from his older series. “Don’t just murmur your insanity.”
Again, an older one that I just stumbled upon. It says “Travis the streets are swept.” You’ll see in some of these pieces I’m about to blog that he likes to use the names of his friends in his tags….
“Oh you’ll know when it’s too late.”
When I found this one in the pouring rain, that red bike was blocking the piece. I had to pick that fucking tank up and move it out of the way. It was obvious that bike hadn’t been moved in some time because of the cobwebs on it. I’ve seen some pics lately of others photographing this piece and the bike is where I left it.
YOU’RE ALL WELCOME!!!!
“This panorama is for you.”
What a panorama…. cough.
“Mind control is everything, everything is mind control…” upside down.
“Things don’t work that way Timmy.”
Remember what I said about the names?
“Nobody believes the media… except when it’s in their own interest.”
“Reap the tame heart, and all.”
This was on the other side of the previous one! Two tags on one corner= my idea of christmas.
As I’ve noted in past blogs, Laser 3.14 almost exclusively only tags construction boards and tarps. My guess is that he does it so that no one’s property is damaged by his tags. Those tarps and construction boards are only up temporarily. Also, they seem to provide an awfully potent frame for his poetry. The boards act like excellent frames, and the tarps give his words a kind of ethereal beauty. Lately I find myself extremely disappointed when I pass a construction site and cannot find his work.
And this one was on the other side of the previous. It’s like a poetry corner!
“Wrong underdog, try the one next door.”
Again with the friends’ names 🙂
This has to be some inside joke, I don’t get it. Who’s egg man?
This one is my absolute favourite and really speaks to me. “Too much love for after the fact.”
Yes, yes, GOOD GAWD YES.
BACK OFF, GET YOUR OWN IDEALS!
So nice, he tagged it twice.
“The Goggle age questions your ideals.”
As you’ve seen from this huge haul of his work, Laser 3.14 is interested in online privacy, the theatre of the media, capitalist ideals, the state of Europe, personal agency, and of course, as always, matters of the heart. This is what good street art is, people. TAKE NOTES.
Check out my Laser 3.14 category for more of his work that I’ve photographed.
I guess this could have many different titles…. ugh, “one direction.” VOMIT. Anyway, how wonderful is this? Found it on Holywell Lane next to the Village Underground
“Love is kind of like…
… when you see a fog….
… in the morning…
…when you wake up…
… before the sun comes out.
It’s just a little while…
… and then it burns away.
Love is a fog….
… with the first…
… of reality.”
After my last post where I mentioned being homeless and a waif, I got quite a few private messages from you, my munchkins. It’s been about four months now, and I haven’t really talked about why I’m not in Germany anymore. In fact, most of my friends didn’t even know I had left until weeks (and for some, months) after the fact.
Truth be told, I couldn’t talk about it.
I figured the only kind of catharsis I could afford was to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and tell my story. So I did that a few weeks ago at Spark London, a live storytelling event in London. All the stories are true and told without notes. So, the above video is my true story.
I posted this on Facebook the day after the event, and the outpouring of comments and private messages from people on there was so supportive and heartwarming to affirming. Here’s a cross section:
-“I just watched the video. Then wept.”
-“your video really moved me. i watched it three times and it made me cry. you are such a brave woman.”
-“I watched your video. it was artful and cathartic…you are honest, and blunt as hell. and have fire and i like it.”
-“I’ve watched your video a couple of times and it really moved me. You are wonderful and brave…You have a lovely soul, which was visible when you bared it. Xx”
-“I just watched your video and while I knew so much of that I’m sitting on a bus, bawling.”
-“OH MY goodness. I just watched this piece you performed and it made me cry. I bet tons of people have said that. I don’t have the words to express how much empathy, anger, compassion, sadness and love that I feel for you but also for everyone who has gone through something like this – it’s so universal….just watched it again and now I’m in tears AGAIN..”
-“It may not be much of a concillation, but you are a brilliant storyteller, and we’re all very lucky to be able to hear your stories.”
-“Just wanted to say that killed me and I’m bawling at 9:45 on a Wednesday. You’re a gift to art.”
-“Oh, sniffles, your video is amazing. I don’t know how you told your story with an even voice. You’re incredible.”
-“That was amazingly profound. I am Verklempt.”
-“you are a good one, Estima.”
-“good for you for recognizing a situation that was wrong for you. Many wouldn’t have the strength to leave.”
-“your video shook me and awoke a memory in me I thought I’d long ago purged. I’m ok knowing there’s still peace to come.”
I feel like a digital age Blanche Dubois, in that, I’ve always depended on the kindness of random internet followers;)
I’m okay now. I’ve been okay since I did this event. It’s like I let it go. I’ve moved on and I’m so happy now. My life is so charmed and wonderful, and I’ll never let someone make me feel anything less than wonderful again.
And besides, I’m living here!
So I can’t officially complain.
Anyway, the lesson herein is this:
Live a life that you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, find the strength to start over again.