Recently I took a day trip to NYC and whipped out my camera to see what I could catch near midtown Manhattan. I love to take photos of people walking around here because there’s so many people on their way to wherever, distracted by the many things happening that they rarely see me holding my camera.
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.
I’ve been making drawings of Hartford to get a feel of my new home. I’ve been riding my bicycle and driving around and taking photographs. I’ve also been looking at old photos of the city and region. It’s been very exciting and interesting to learn about this place. I frankly didn’t know much about Connecticut before I moved here so it’s been great to try and see what this region is about. Of course it’s really fun trying to make art from all of it!
I like trains, so it’s great to look up some of the history of Hartford and find out that there used to be a public transportation system throughout the region that even took you out toward Springfied MA. These trains were torn out by the 1940’s. It’s a real American tragedy told time and time again throughout this country but when you go through these photographs you really get a sense it really connected people. There’s lots of commuter traffic in and out of the city because most of the people in Hartford live in the Suburbs. I’m pretty sure there will be a reverse trend soon here. I can feel it.
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.
The Beach Hill neighborhood of Santa Cruz, California is a great historic mix of late 19th and early 20th century mansions, cottages, mid-century motels, hotels and a wonderful historic hostel called the Carmelita Cottages. I suggest staying here when you visit, but if you are here for the day, take a walk around the neighborhood before you make your way toward more of the popular attractions in the area.
The view from Beach Hill toward the Monterey Bay. The hills on the horizon are the Monterey Peninsula.
One of the many beautiful old Victorian Mansions on the hill.
Beach Hill is situated between the working class Latino community of the Beach Flats, the bustling eclectic Downtown, the suburban West Side neighborhood, The Municipal Wharf and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park. All of these neighborhoods are within easy walking distance.
Earlier in the century the neighborhood was an exclusive community of wealthy families in large multiple story mansions. Over the years this has given way to hotels and motels as well as a few restaurants and apartment buildings both middle class and for the wealthy. The neighborhood has a distinct character that also offers sweeping views of the Monterey Bay and views of other neighborhoods in Santa Cruz.
The many beautiful bungalows and cottages in this neighborhood provide a wonderful backdrop to this famous surf town.
A small walk in this tightly knit neighborhood should give you a quick sense of what life was back in an earlier period of this city. I suggest to bring a camera and walk around and spot many of the hidden architectural gems. Better yet, stay for a few days and enjoy many of the wonderful attractions scattered just beyond the reach of Beach Hill.
Las Palmas is a popular Mexican restaurant in Santa Cruz
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.
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.