What's up... again. Did you miss me? No? I would say I'm heartbroken that you didn't miss me, but I can't really blame you. :) OK, I'm here to write the second part of my recent trip to Europe (France and Belgium). If you have no idea of what I'm talking about, or if you want to refresh your memory, feel free to visit and read my previous blog entry, by clicking here.
After going back to Marseilles, France, from Brussels, Belgium, I got to see my sister and family for a few hours, before embarking into another journey. This time, heading to the west of France itself, to the city of Bordeaux. The reason for this trip was to meet in person with the legendary Ijsselina, a model who has been part of my artwork for many years. Ijss has also been featured in the portfolio of many famous pin-up artists.
For this trip, I decided to take my chances and get there by bus. I say take my chances because I personally didn't know what to expect from buses in France (or Europe in general). In Mexico, buses are a very common way of transportation, so I can honestly say that many companies there have really upped their game, making transportation very comfortable. But, again, I had no experience traveling by bus in France, so there was a little bit of an uncertainty about it. I'm happy to say that the buses in which I traveled (back and forth), were awesome: extremely clean and very comfortable. :)
The traveling time was long.. in a regular person's standards (9 hours). But for somebody like me, who used to travel almost 30 hours straight by bus back in the day, or still travels by car for more than 15 hours in a semi-regular basis... well, 9 hours is pretty much nothing, especially traveling during the night.
So, I finally reached Bordeaux and was received by Ijsselina and her husband, David. It was truly a great moment to finally meet with Ijss, after so many years. As I mentioned in previous blogs, this is not the first time I get to meet a model in person after years of virtual collaboration, but the experience of one encounter doesn't take away any magic from the next one. And meeting Ijss proved the truth about that. It is pretty surreal to meet with somebody who has inspired many pieces of my work, especially when that encounter takes several years to happen. Even more, in the case of Ijss, some pieces that I have created years ago based on her, are still very, very popular among my clients.
The fore mentioned pieces of artwork, where I featured Ijss, same pieces that are still popular up to this day, are one of the main reasons why she has remained as a current muse to my work. Ijss and I have never been in constant contact, due to life itself (both her life and mine). Everybody knows how life can be a roller coaster and how some people seem to go away. But, in several occasions, those persons are not gone, they're just... well, away. In the case of Ijss, we may have not been in touch all the time during this past decade, but in my particular case, she's always been part of my life, through my artwork. She never stopped being relevant. People, my clients, wouldn't let me forget about her (not that I wanted or tried to do so). Her pieces always sold, and for that, I included her in every new merchandise items. That's one of the reasons why she stayed relevant, current, alive within my art, even without communication. And, as you know, art is my life... therefore, she remained as part of my life.
Due to what I just mentioned, meeting with her in person was truly a long due moment, where I got to thank her for all her help towards my work, even if she didn't know she had done so. Ijss as a person is no less of extraordinary than who she is as a model.
Ijss and David took me to their home, a beautiful place in the outskirts, outside the city, in a very peaceful area. I was touched by their hospitality, and even chuckled at Ijss' slight stress about trying to be a good hostess (of course she was!). All I need to say is that I had a great time. I have to mention that meeting David was awesome as well. He is an extremely nice person, and I was very happy to see them together. Their attention as hosts is something that will always make me feel grateful. On a side note, David is an extremely talented photographer... and being married to an extremely cool model as Ijss, well, I can see a lot of great work in the near future.
Since my stay there would be extremely short, a little less than 24 hours, we decided to stay put at their house, and leave the tour through Bordeaux for next time. We spent the day talking and catching up, after all, as I mentioned, it was long due. I learned a long time ago that it's better to enjoy the present moment, than trying to do everything at once. We also ate a delicious dinner, sided with spicy chips. Well, the package said spicy, but they really weren't... and that's when I discovered that Ijss apparently cannot handle any spicy foods at all. :)
Another important moment of that day was, when Ijss and I exchanged prints. I've been in that situation before, exchanging prints with models. But same as I mentioned earlier, each experience doesn't take away from subsequent experiences (each personal encounter has their own magic). It was great to receive signed prints from Ijss and also to be able to give her prints of my work where she is the star. A moment truly filled with art, after all, she inspired it.
But, as everything in life, the visit had to come to an end... and so it did. The next morning, David gave me a ride. He was supposed to drop me off at the bus stop. But, after he drove through the center of Bordeaux to show me a bit of the city on our way there, I decided to stay at Bordeaux downtown and take a taxi to the bus stop instead. I still had little time to kill before my bus arrived, and wanted to take a couple of photos of the magnificent (for a lack of a better word) of Bordeaux's architecture... oh la la!
And that's it for my visit with the legendary Ijsselina, I hope you liked reading through it. My huge thanks to both her and David, for treating me so nice. It was a short visit, but it really served to make our friendship stronger, and more real. I hope that someday they get to visit Las Vegas (and if they do, they'll always have a place to stay here at my house if they choose to do so). One more "thank you" to Ijsselina for being who she is, a sensible person inside and outside the art realms, the main reason why she is one of the true muses of my life. :) See you next time, my dear friend!
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because night time is my favorite time to paint.