Friday, May 30, 2008

Day 13- May 30: Caught and a Rent boy!

I was riding on the street car without a ticket today and got caught!!!!!

I cant believe it because i have taken it at least 50 times now and never once seen anyone checking! The ticket inspector asked for 6,000 forints but i did the "i don't understand what you are talking about and why is one ticket cost 6,000 forints, i want to speak to the American citizens assistance, blah blah blah) and she got so frustrated with me and walked away! I bullshitted myself out of that ticket, thank god!

I than run down to to the ticket counter and got myself a 7 day pass for 4,000 forints. heheheh. Today was all about hardware stores and getting the last of materials so i can make my art and things are finally looking up after countless trips and research. It's wonderful that it's finally paying off! I do have to work hard and catch up on my work next week.

I made my way to venci st. which is very touristy it was not that great. Old Town Pasadena has better shopping and restaurants! I left quickly and than walk a couple blocks to the Danube for another wonderful sunset. After one hour sitting there on the bench a guy approached me and started a conversation and i later found out that he is in the sex trade, locals called "rent boys" he wanted 5,000 forints for some sexual service. I told him he should pay me 200,000 forints for the same service because i am from California and hot, i don't need to pay anyone for sex!!! LOL

He said sorry he only had 1,000 forints and we laughed. He is actually pretty nice, 26 and i feel terrible that he has to do this. We talked some more and walked to the subway station together. he was a perfect gentlemen and a nice person.

The last couple of days had been very interesting is it full moon?

Day 12- May 29th: Scary Adventure

It's been a interesting day and it started just as normal as any other day for me here in Budapest. I had 2 pieces of cake for breakfast, 2 cups of tea and some ham slices. I had to do some errands before attending Beata's art opening at 5pm so I rushed myself and get my web material uploaded and went to a frame store and talked to the owner about getting my doll heads framed.

I than hoped on the train and arrived Beata's opening. It was near Angal st. where I had wondered around before and the art work and installation are beautiful and a couple pieces reminds me of my work “How are you, my darling? (2005)” I hope I had a role of inspiring Beata's work.

Four of us met some local artists and talked to a few people and played with Beata's grandson Patti and dog Max; both adorable. We escaped the gallery from Megan's older gentleman suitor (who I affectionately called her long lost Hungarian father). We had dinner at Mexical (a Hungarian Mexican food restaurant) after dinner the fun began....

We were followed by a young man in his early 20th and clearly on drugs from his uncontrolled movements and blurred speech. Rudee had mistakenly strike a conversation with him and gave him some cigarettes and very much the pigeons she feeds in the park every morning, came back for more.

He followed us on the train and back to the hotel and on the way he verbally assaulted a young woman on the train and she left the train cursing at him in Hungarian. Megan, Lisa and I took a detour and hoped the guy doesn't find out where we are staying but Rudee end up spending more time talking to him in the park. Three of us felt a great deal of threat from this stranger and we also got a bit annoyed that Rudee had put us in this situation.
I alerted the hotel security and let's hope my head will still be attached to my body tomorrow morning, unlike my dolls.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day 11- May 28th: Modern vs. Classical

I had a somewhat earlier start today. After yesterday's misadventure I feel confident on finding my way today. I took the train and even stopped at the Market place for a refreshing fresh hand- squeezed orange juice; a great relief in this high heat and humidity.

Upon on looking over at Hungarian architecture students work I realized how the training in our field is so much the same and yet so different. A good amount of the students here presented their final thesis on designing classical buildings and some worked on a hybrid of the two and the rest, modern designs like what we did in the States. I have never seen students or schools that actually taught students to design or even attempt to work on classical architecture other than learning them in history classes.

Is classical architecture dead? Or are we just too ignorant to have it as part of of our lives?

After meeting with some faculty member and got the information I needed; I said goodbye to the university and continued my search. After going to both stores they recommended I did find a very thick Plexiglas sheet, a 8ply basswood pressed board, glue and color films. I hope it will work and if not than I am out of luck. I feel very lucky to have had studied in the U.S. and didn't have to worry about not having materials to work with. We have the best materials, and selection possible and even pricing.... non necessities items are very expensive here, no matter how cheap they might be in Target back in the States.

Day 10- May 27th: Wild goose- chase and chopping off doll heads

Hot, hot, hot! It's been so hot the last few days and today is no expection; if not it's even worse. I got ready and made on my way to the university in search of the model making materials. It took me a while to find the “dot” on the map but on the way I discovered a wonderful market place and spent sometime there. I arrived at the university and from what students told me it's an Economic University and the Architecture University is across the river. Beata had sent me on a wild goose- chase. I walked over the bridge and realized that most faculty and student are gone for the day and I was asked to come back the next day. One positive note, I did stumble on the wonderful cave church and the beautiful Buda hills and park the church is in. I spent sometime there climbing the hills and looked at the wild flower bloom in this almost unbearable heat.

I feel like as if I am Alice in Wonderland looking for the curious rabbit in a strange but fascinating land of the unknown. Even though the process of material searching has been difficult but this also helped me on learned and see the city in whole new different light.

Later in the night I started making my art work by sawing the dolls head off!!! It's completely insane of me sitting in a hotel room alone holding a saw and cutting the dolls head off in the darkest of the night. What happened to the sophisticated designer from LA? This is such a unreal experience.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Day 9- May 26: The real Fleas of The Flea Market

I am getting a little uneasy about finding the right material for my art work so today, I must go to the flea market. It was a 30 mins bus ride away from downtown Budapest. The bus was pretty easy to find and the ride there was interesting. This is the real Hungary that must tourist won't see. It's mostly poor and a little it rundown; factories, big box stores, residential buildings and abandoned structures lined the Highway.

It was about 1130am when I arrived there and according to their business hours they are open from 7am-4pm weekdays and weekend with shorter hours. A completely surprised : the place is 90 percent closed with only a few shops opened and even fewer shoppers. I later was told y a shopkeeper that people come early in the morning it was almost a completely wast of time but I did manage to find some bizarre dolls in a basket from a vendor, they are made of rubber, soiled, missing body parts and dusty to the touch.

She wanted a lot of money for such garbage did purchased the dolls after a it bargaining. The final price is 3800Forints about 24 dollars- a complete rip off but only she knew I would have paid even more due to my desperation for the dolls for my art work. The dolls would of cost no more than 5 dollars in most thrift stores in LA. I also got a mink stow for the frame of my art work for 15 USD which is very reasonable. I will have to to back to the flea market this Saturday to search for other materials and hope this time I won't get rip off.

The afternoon was filled with running around to the art stores, the mall and walking around the city and had a very nice dinner alone.

Day8- May 25: Memories of Western restaurants

Didn't wake up until 2pm... got ready and went to my friend's restaurant on the Buda side. It was nice to see this none tourist neighborhood. His restaurant is called “Nevada Bar” and the interior decor is country western very much like “Brother's Restaurant” my mother had in Taipei years ago.

At the Nevada they serve both American and Hungarian food. I must say the food was only ok even my friend is the chef. He treated me and I didn't have to pay and he told me to come back tomorrow for another free meal, I told him I have to go to the flea market and he said come after the flea market for dinner; it's free! I laughed and thank him. Maybe I should tell him if the food is better I might. No no no I am very thankful he is so generous. I know he wouldn't be reading this because he really doesn't understand English.

Day 7- May 24: Being Dramatic... oh

Our residency host and coordinator Beata invited us to see her work at her house so all of us took the trains and a bus over to her house. She is such a great story teller, she lives a very interesting life and have so many intriguing stories to tell. She bursts into life (even more) when she tells stories about her ex marriages, old communist days, and her family drama. I can really relate to her pain but I decided not to share with everyone in the group so I kept it to myself.

Beata is such a wonderful artist, she did work in many different medias and had shown in some major museums in the world. I feel she is able to understand my work. I wish to be like her one day but I do feel bad that she still struggles financially, the life of Artists sigh....

I wanted to do something fun tonight so decided to go to a bar and next thing I know it's 6am... made my way back to the hotel and had breakfast and went to bed.

Day 6-May 23: Storybook day

Four of us decided to go to Hero SQ today: two of the artist wanted to try the Szechenyi Bath / Spa and Meagan and I spent a good amount of time walking around the beautiful sq. and the park ground. We also visited a castle! It was so picturesque and hard to believe a family of royalty actually lived there. I wonder what it was like; amazing, I am sure! We also walk through the Hungarian Agriculture museum (mistaken for the modern art museum) although it was also a nice to know how Hungarians have lived for the past 3000 years.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Day five- May 22ed: Lecture and Nakedness

Day of the presentation- I had a hangover from the night before and rushed to pull myself together for the lecture and slide show. Thankfully I am scheduled in the afternoon and it was amazing experience to have seen what other artists have done. My presentation went pretty well even though I wasn't 100 percent there.

After the presentation I thought it would be fitting to go to a historic bath for some relaxation. I took the Streetcar over to the Buda side and had a interesting time at the Kiraly bath (built 1566). The bath has an old historic essence oozing out it's very pores. The common changing area still has the old Soviet Union feel, everything thing is utilitarian; blend without personal identity. White floor tiles with baby blue accent borders, white paint with white changing cubical and wood mesh painted white as screens.

I walked through a seemingly endless hallway with paint peeling on the edges, as the wind whispered though my ears, came the centralized circular pool with a large group of men sitting on the edge of the healing water. The very same moment as the sunlight beaming down the shadowy interior through small fist size holes on the dome above, I realized most of the men around me are as old as the the building itself. To me they appear to be gentle, classic, with a sense of over easy comfort to public nudity.

After 2 hours spent in the bath I emerged from the water almost a brand new person. I walked the streets around Kiraly Bath and walked on the Margit bridge and watch the spectacular views this wonderful city has to offer.

Day 4 - May 21s: Prep and drunk

As the presentation gets close I started to feel the pressure to preform. So I decided to review and work on getting ready for the presentation in the morning and early afternoon.
After lunch I realized for the last few days my stomach haven't been agreeing with me but the food eaten seem clean enough. As long as it's not too unhealthy I hope to loose some weight through this could be harmful event.

I later went to the Danube's bank for a relaxing and even did a little yoga practice. I arrived around 630pm and patiently waiting for the sun to set, waiting, waiting and waiting... hours had past and it was 9pm and sun still up and the chill forced me to gave up. Dinner was delicious at a restaurant called Veritas for 35 USD; I had, a smoked tuna salad, a glass of Rose wine and Csirke Brassoi Maskepa (garlic marinated chicken pieces with pan- fried potato) and the evening ended with me in a very 'friendly' bar and 5 drinks down my belly.

Note to myself: Never have Hungary wine/ shot called Unicum, it's disgusting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Day Three- Work starts

We had our Art residency meeting today for 7 hours, went over the program's history, information, and what we are expected to do. We later drove to a hardware store on the outskirt of the city and did some material researching. I also realized I haven't had the need to speak a word of Hungarian... shocking how people are able to understand each other without the need of a common language.

I got a metal rod and needed a wire/ rod cutter for it at the store and got the wrong tool. I asked a worker and made a sawing action with my hand and he pointed me to the right tool. We didn't understand each other's language but we understood each other's hearts. That was beautiful.

It's been only 3 days since my arrival but I am starting to fall in love with Budapest and can see myself living in this beautiful city. I can's say the same about Taipei, which is totally ironic because I was born there and lived in Taiwan for 14 years. Life in Taiwan is either too boring in the country or too exciting in the city and Budapest is just right with a mixture of everything and very much like a larger Pasadena, which I totally adore.

Due to unexpected internet problems my blog and flicker sites will be uploaded once every 2 days instead of daily

Day Two- War and lost in Budapest

Today I got up early after sleeping for 12 hours. I went to the Nygugati station (hub) and it's attached Westend mall to shop for a SIM card for my cell phone. The train station is beautiful but I forgot my camera so I will have to go back for pictures, it also helps for being a 10 min walk from the hotel.

The mall is new and supposed to be the largest in Europe and it's just slightly larger than Glendale mall; America has Hungary beaten on this one. The mall design was blend, stores there were boring but I did have the most delicious melon ice cram there.

Very much like the Taiwanese, the Hungarians love their hot spring bath. Bath culture is wonderful here also. I lingered over the Danube river in the afternoon and took a great bath in Ruda's (established in the 1500's) and had a very hairy fat man massage my naked body for 22 USD (yes, I had to paid him, what a lucky guy huh). It was also the first time I worn a lion's cloth which it's much more homo- erotic than being nude (that's how hot springs are done in Asia).

I find the city pretty easy to navigate on foot or via subway. I wish LA will have a greater density of mass- transit system soon, very soon.

Although there are some Asians in the city but they are in such small number I find myself a hot commodity amongst some. I have been getting a lot of curious vibes and it's very interesting because I never encountered this before.

I wondered the city until 10pm walked through many nameless and pedestrian-less alleyways but made it back safely. I was a little uncomfortable and scared that someone might “jump” me. The organizer and travel book had repeatedly warned about tourists mugging, pick-pockets and credit card crimes, so far I still haven't felt 'that' unsafe.

i found ur right hand....

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Day Zero- Budapest here I come.

Long- lines at check in counter

delayed- flight for 2 hours

disgusting- terrible uneatable food

smelly- neighboring passenger

overcast- London weather

smooth- landing

modern- London airport

shopping- heaven

shame- on LAX

beautiful- people

attractive- British accent

5 hours- of walking back and forth

I had such high hopes for being on my first British Airway Flight but it was such a let down. The food was blend (contrarily to American's sodium rich airline food) and tasted terrible. I am waiting for my five hour layover at London Airport and I cant believe how ultra modern the design and architectural hardware are here and it made our LAX airport feels like a third world airport.

The design of the airport is very space- age, Jetson's like with modern materials like glass, stainless- steel and it's a shoppers' heaven with stores like Five- Star, Apple, Gucci, Coach, Boosts, and Harrod's department store. The stores added the sense of humanity to the somewhat cold' interior. The interesting thing is Taipei- Tauoyong airport is exactly opposite (with airport's design modern and with interesting traditional Chinese architecture details but the eve super upscale stores there made it traveler unfriendly).

I finally finished eating at Gordon Ramsey's restaurant “Planefood” and I had Miso crab salad, and small cauliflower soup, both from the appetizer menu. Soup was wonderful sand salad was way too salty and he didn't use fresh crap meant its very salty. The bill came out to be 45 US Dollars.. for just 2 little portion. He is over-rated.

Finally got in to Budapest at 1145. the airport here is petite so it takes 2 mins to get through customs. One other Asian was on board.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Escape from LA!

I am all packed and getting ready to head to the airport and heading for Budapest and later Vienna. I feel extremely lucky to have this opportunity and am glad to be escaping this 90 heat wave of S. Cal.

However the flight might delay for about 2 hours and I will be blogging/ flickr again once I have landed in Budapest.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Benjamin Page: Lectures, Slide Presentation, Gallery Exhibition in Budapest, Hungary 2008-2009

If you happen to be traveling in Europe or planning for a great destination this summer I urge you to join me and other artists from around the globe in Budapest, Hungary for a wonderful culture and mind inspiring experience.

Benjamin Page in International Artist in Residency: Budapest, Hungary
*May 20th- June 13th, 2008 (Residency dates)

Lectures, Slides Presentation and Gallery Exhibition by Benjamin Page and Artists from around the globe all summer long.

  • Lecture and Slide Presentation: 3-4pm, May 22nd , 2208 with topics and discussions on modern sculpture, assemblage, architectural and interior design.

  • Gallery Exhibitions: Untitled art piece created during the residency will be exhibited at the closing exhibition in mid- June 2008, and is scheduled to be exhibited at Vizivarosi Gallery in Budapest, Hungary and Congress Center, Balatonfured, Hungary in the year 2009 (committed, exact dates to be determined).

  • Residency Blog and Flickr: anytime.

International Artists Residencies Lecture and Seminar- Budapest, Hungary 2008:

This residency program and year long event is hosted and facilitated by Hungarian Muti- Culture Center; a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Lecture will be held at: Hunter's roomVI. Jokai ter 9. Budapest, Hungary

*May 22, 2008

09:30 Beata Szechy, HMC
10:30 Lisa Erdman, FL, multimedia
11:30 Rudee Westphal, SD, mixed media
14:00 Megan Randlett, MA, mixed media
15:00 Benjamin Page, CA, mixed media

June 19, 2008

10:30 Odette England, UK, photo
11:30 Jenna Spevack, NY, drawing, installation
14:00 Howard M. Christopherson, MN, photo
15:00 Gregory Euclide, MN, painter
16:00 Niku Kashef, CA, photo, installation
17:00 Andreas Papanastasiu-Greek/UK, photo, painting, video

July 17, 2008

10:30 Candida Pestana, Portugal, painter, video
11:30 Hannah Verlin, MA, installation, performance
14:00 Holly Boruck, CA, painter
15:00 Marlene Vinha, Portugal, mixed media
16:00 Lana Ing Gabor, Canada, photo
17:00 Patricia Tinajero, TN, installation
20:00 Kristine Trever, VA, film

Exhibition and FilmFest by Hungarian Muti- Culture Center: opening reception: August 3, 2008 at 6:00pm


Benjamin Page
Designer- Artist

Studio Functions
architectural, interior, graphic, environmental design

385 S. Oakland Ave. #101Pasadena, CA 91101
626 568 3641P
626 628 3741F

P.S. Many of you have asked about my HGTV appearance--it's still being scheduled and will email once I have more infor