We’re getting ready to move back to California in August after 3 years away. Two of those years were in NYC and the last 9 months have been here in Hartford, Connecticut.
During the past 9 months that I’ve been in Hartford a lot has happened. My wife and I had a baby. I made art (as usual). My wife taught at one of the local colleges and I also took Russian class.
During our time here I made the effort to find out a little about the city of Hartford. I tried when I could in between the time I had available to see the sights, taste the local food, and hear the sounds and feel the environment etc. I took lots of photographs and documented as best as I could for the time we were here but also because it would be great to share with my son the place that he was born.
So if there was any art project during our year that I made here it was for me to find the city of Hartford with my little camera preferably with a bicycle but sometimes with a car. Forever we are connected here because of our son being born here. This is a dedication to the city of his birth.
They call liquor stores package stores or “packys” here in Connecticut.
The 50th Puerto Rican Day Parade happened in Hartford this year. I caught some wonderful photographs this day.
A beautiful lonely building in the North End of Hartford. A truly beautiful and vibrant neighborhood that is predominately African American. Lots of history in this neighborhood.
The beautiful architecture in this city is just inspiring
This is a logo exercise I made as a reflection and celebration of my time here.
For the last year I’ve been working on a blog called the Beautiful Bodegas. The blog is a collection of photos and images as a tribute to the neighborhood corner market. I’ve been basically compiling photos of these stores wherever I go and also scouring the internet for images.
Recently I added a submission page so anyone out there can send me photos of their local markets. I’m hoping people will send photos so we have an online collaborative space. Feel free to look at the images, send me a message and hopefully you can also send me some photos, drawings etc. in dedication to the our local store.
There are many reasons to love Philadelphia. We can write for hours and hours to share so much of the beauty that makes up this great city. I can’t say I am an expert of this city, but every time I visit I fall in love with this place. My wife and I went down for a visit this last weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday and we met with some friends to take a walk around with our cameras. We spotted lots of wonderful architecture and had a great meal at Monk’s Cafe. It was a memorable day with agreeable weather that just made everything perfect!
We spotted some beautiful tags known as Wickeds here in Philadelphia, I tried to take a few photos of them but this one made by the writer Smock just has the hand quality of a seasoned graffiti writer. Did you know that there’s a distinct graffiti culture here that pre-dates New York Subway graffiti? A very special city for those who love the American folk art form of graffiti.
I spotted this lovely sign. I couldn’t help but take a photo.
This is a perfect holiday photo with the skaters and the glory that is the Ben Franklin Bridge.
I caught the photo for this illustration on our first day in Kazakhstan this summer. When I saw this car I knew I had to make an illustration of this but I wasn’t sure if it would work for our project. After our project was finished, I decided it would look great as a poster and it somehow represented the image of life in the small towns and cities that work in and around the bazaar culture.
I had these made by a local printer here in Hartford, Connecticut. The print is a limited edition for our project Voices of Taraz. For those who donated 200 dollars or more would receive a special printed poster with the name of the project, signed, dated and numbered.
I think the print came out quite nice! I like the satin paper feel of this. The image is at 24 inches x 18 inches.
Above you can see a close up shot of our logo with a Cossack soldier. Cossack soldiers were part of the Russian military and often served at the borders of the Russian Empire. Many of those people who live in Taraz and the rest of Central Asia are descended from this ethnic group.
I’ve been working on a series of watercolors for those who have contributed to our Voices of Taraz project. A lot of really interesting little works that I hope will make our contributors happy that they’ve helped fund our project.
Some of the works are at 5×7 inches and others are at 8×10 inches. They’re all watercolor on paper and each one will be signed, dated, and with notations that it was part of our project.
Throughout the summer I’ve been working on a project called Voices in Taraz in Kazakhstan. Above is the invite which has already past at this point in time. The exhibit was wonderful and we had a great learning experience. We had a blog for the whole project which was in Russian and English: http://voicesoftaraz.blogspot.com/p/the-idea.html
Lots of incredible artwork came out of the exhibit! I made some video installations, took lots of photographs and most of all my love for watercolor was fully explored this last summer. I painted my favorite subject which are houses!
We had a wonderful exhibition at the Central Exhibition hall in Taraz! There were all sorts of different people from the community who came! We were really happy to see all of the wonderful people who came to talk about their city and local history!
The artist Gulnara Kospakova (Left) Me, and Anthropologist Eva Marie Debuisson on my right
We got to collaborate with a bunch of really wonderful people too! That’s the real power of art when you can bridge the everyday with a project about their city and they can all contribute a little to the project to make it something really fun!
My favorite part of the project may have been making a pinata for the kids as a memory of my own childhood to share with them. It wasn’t easy to do something like this because they had little idea how to play this game. I had to teach them plus I had to build the pinata. They had a great time and someone from the exhibit said they were going to build their own too!
I hope to make more projects in the near future! We’ll see what happens next!
The Central Exhibition Hall in Taraz is an excellent place to see wonderful Soviet art. They have a lot of fine examples of Soviet Socialist Realist Art here and ongoing exhibits of local artists painting the local scenery.
This book is a real find! A book published in 1965 on grain elevators from the Soviet Union! Lots of great photos, illustrations and packed full of information. This book really made my day. Click on the photo above and … Continue reading →
Recently you may have noticed I’ve been missing on this blog. I have been working on a project with my wife Zhanara and a few artist collaborators on a project that tells the stories of childhood and memory in the city of Taraz in Kazakhstan. You can check out this link http://voicesoftaraz.blogspot.se/p/the-idea.html for more on this project.
The Artpologist Collective is running a Kickstarter Campaign for our summer project. If you are intersted in helping or may know anyone who might be interested in donating to our project please forward this link: