Luxury condo auctions

My latest story, about luxury condo auctions, is now up: “At Brooklyn’s first luxury condo auction, agent advises ‘buyer beware.'”

To get an idea just how long it had been since I’d written an article, my last one was published in January.

But I didn’t sit idle long. I moved back home to Richmond, saved money, had a two-month stint at a law firm (yeah, I’m not kidding), ran a 5k (a big feat for this former non-runner and couch potato), created my online portfolio (still under construction, but I’m so excited to publish it!) and moved to New York to freelance.

I like staying busy, what can I say?

Coming up with the lede used to be my favorite activity. I’d usually have one in my head before I even sat down to write the story. This time, I was intimidated. I hadn’t written one in so long, I felt I’d forgotten how to do it. I probably fudged with the introductory paragraph for about an hour (which is what newswriting 101 tells you NOT to do), and the rest came out in halting spurts of jumbled thoughts. Still, the key is practice, and I already have another assignment to tackle.

As my editor said, it’s like riding a bicycle.

Currently reading

“Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. … It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head — even if in the end you conclude that someone else’s head is not a place you’d really like to be.”

— Malcolm Gladwell, “What the Dog Saw”

Back to the future, Obey Giant styles

Still in the process of setting up my closet, er, bedroom, I recently came across this picture while searching for photos for the frames above my bed (Yes, *I hung them sans pictures because I thought it would motivate me to print photos ASAP. Mind you, I bought those frames two years ago when I moved into my first apartment. This is progress).

I’d decided to use three pictures of three different markets I photographed in my travels — New York, the Philippines and, where the above photo was taken, Barcelona. There’s nothing remarkable about this picture, I actually didn’t even post it on the blog I had back then, except for the sticker behind the blurred figure. I remember being a bit creeped out, taking the picture and moving on. What I didn’t know was it was a stencil of Andre the Giant by graffiti artist Shepard Fairey.

Why I’m bringing this up now, more than two years after this photo was taken, is simply because I love finding little nuggets like this. Without knowing it, I’d come across artwork by an artist who would blow up a little more than a year later.

Regardless of your political leanings, you most likely have seen this image, especially during the 2008 presidential election. Fairey created this stencil, which became the symbol of the Hope campaign. It has since become an icon.

In April, I was able to check out more of Fairey’s work at the ICA in Boston. Lo and behold, Andre the Giant’s face graced the top of the building. I soon noticed his stuff scattered across the city, on walls, on buildings, on lampposts.

What does it all mean, you ask?

Absolutely nothing.

As humans, we often search for meaning in what we don’t understand by finding tenuous links between things that are likely unrelated.¬†Many who see Fairey’s work come up with their own interpretations.

The funny thing is, the sticker itself means nothing. Its whole reason for existing is to be questioned.¬† There is so much information out there on billboards, advertisements that we passively look at, ingest subconsciously and, without knowing it, accept as truth. Most commercials blatantly tell us what they’re selling rather than letting us discover things for ourselves (Remember when the G campaign first came out? That was an exception). With the Obey Giant campaign, Fairey aims to make us think actively about what we see and question our surroundings.

It’s pretty neat how something that didn’t mean much two years ago suddenly makes a bit more sense. I can’t say I decipher every little thing I encounter these days, but it does make me wonder about what else I’m missing.


*Disclaimer: By “I,” I mean my boyfriend. I don’t know how to draw a straight line, much less hang a series of frames evenly.