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Wildlife Photography to Raise Awareness

  • By
  • July 18, 2018
Wildlife Conservation Photography

Wildlife Photographers Raising Awareness
Wildlife Photographer Laura Crawford Williams utilizes her skills to bring awareness to wildlife conservation. 

Wildlife Photography to Raise Awareness

An Interview With Laura Crawford Williams, award-winning professional wildlife photographer 

Laura Crawford Williams has served as an advocate for wildlife and conservation for 18 years. She won national and international awards as she has established a reputation for beautiful to impactful photography. You can see her collection of photographs in “Wildlife in Wild Lands Photography for Conservation in Southern South America
By Laura Crawford Williams in cooperation with Fundación Parques Nacionales de Argentina

Wildlife Conservation Photography
Laura Crawford Williams photographs speak to her love of nature and interest in protecting it.

How did your affinity for wildlife progress?

I always had a love of nature and enjoyed my childhood as a true-to-heart tomboy growing up in southern Louisiana. Fortunately, my father and brother were true outdoorsmen and brought me along whenever they could. My father would care for injured or abandoned animals such as alligator, opossum, and raccoon at home as well. As a result, my love of nature spurred my interest in protecting it at a very young age.

I believe we are all connected to the natural world from birth. It is our heritage. I have yet to meet a child who does not experience a deep sense of wonder, adventure, and inspiration when exploring in nature. This is especially true when that child is led by an enthusiastic guide who teaches the secrets, connections, and behaviors of that world.

What is the correlation between wildlife photography and conservation and how does photography raise awareness? How does photography encourage conservation?

Humans are visual creatures. We respond to what is seen with judgment as well as emotion, using both the logical and emotional side of the brain. A successful image is one that stimulates both. The aesthetic appeal of an image is important, but not nearly enough. The successful photographer is able to take an image from interesting or beautiful to impactful. Emotional reaction is crucial, especially in wildlife conservation photography where you are trying to impress and persuade the viewer to care.

If I am a successful photographer, I will bring attention to things you miss in your everyday life, introduce you to the things you never knew existed, and nudge you toward appreciating each a little more. I will tell a story in a fraction of a second, that you may not have known, but will intuitively understand in the same amount of time. Once the brain is engaged in this way, we usually want to learn more about what we are seeing (and feeling). The successful image engages and invites the viewer to care, be curious, and remember.

How did you make the plunge from photographer to photographer/activist and how has that role been received by your colleagues?

Before my life as a wildlife photographer, I worked for a newly established software company. The hours were long, the work was intense, and by the time the company was sold in 1999, I was thoroughly burned-out. To recharge my depleted battery, I would walk with my dogs in the forests and prairies surrounding my home. A creative spark was ignited and I began carrying a camera as I walked. In 2001, my first published images appeared in National Wildlife magazine and by 2007, I had been published in National Geographic magazine. It felt like the pinnacle of success. But, the truth is, I never intended to become a professional wildlife photographer. I was simply doing what I love to do. My friends, family, and co-workers were very envious of the transition. Who wouldn’t want to give up a stressful corporate existence for the allure of the wild? I have been very fortunate in life so far.

How has photography changed the way you view some of the world’s most beautiful destinations and its indigenous animals? 

When you spend time with a subject researching, tracking, observing and engaging you can’t help but develop a special appreciation. I do everything I can to be a respectful, quiet observer. Not to interfere or change behavior with my presence. The gift I am given is a unique insight into the life of another creature. More often than not, I feel empathy, inspiration, wonder, and/or awe. My world seems bigger as a result and I am reminded that we are not alone, we are a part of something larger, and just as miraculous, as ourselves.

When did you begin your relationships with magazines such as National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife, and Nature’s Best and how have those relationships changed your life and career?

The very first of my images to be published appeared in National Wildlife magazine in 2001. The senior editor at the time, John Nuhn, said he had never seen another photographer come so far from “out of nowhere” and have such a grand entrance into the world of wildlife photography. By 2007, I was published in National Geographic magazine. I thought it was the pinnacle of success at the time. It was certainly a milestone that changed how I was perceived as a professional. But, the truth is, I never intended to become a professional wildlife photographer. I was simply doing what I love to do.

What does the invitation to the BBC’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibit at the Museum of Texas Tech University represent to you?

I moved with my mother from New Orleans to Texas when I was 14 years old. I attended Texas Tech University at age 16, after graduating a year early from a local high school. Going back was an amazing experience and I loved seeing familiar faces I hadn’t seen on over 20 years. The fact that the event was tied to the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year simply made it that much more important and special to me. Many of the winning images being exhibited were created by friends and acquaintances I’ve made in the last 18 years. I suppose it was a bit like watching your past and your present collide in one big celebration!

Wildlife Conservation Photography
Laura Crawford Williams has incredible stories to tell from her travels all over North America and Southern South America.

What’s next for you? Are you currently working on projects? 

With so much content, I’d love to produce another book. I have two projects in mind:

Audiences have thoroughly enjoyed hearing stories about being on the road in some of the most remote areas of the world, as well as about working with exotic species in the wild. They can’t believe some of the uncomfortable challenges we had to overcome. After eight years of traveling all over southern South America, there are incredible stories to tell.

I also have a large collection of images taken while living and working in the prairies of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota for 12 years. I’d like to showcase the best of this collection and inspire people to appreciate the subtle and fragile beauty found in our prairie ecosystems. This less dramatic landscape is easily overlooked and often under-appreciated.

What are some of your answers to questions audiences ask during gallery talks and lectures?

Audiences always like hearing about the adventure of wildlife photography, especially when working in wild and exotic locations. The moments that happen “between frames” contain some of the best stories — these are the things I am asked about most. People have a very romanticized view of wildlife photography. They focus on the excitement of travel or working with exotic species and discount the reality of difficulty and discomfort. Most are amazed at the amount of time, effort, and planning it takes to pull these trips together.

Every audience asks about “close calls” or “scary moments” in the field. While I have had a few of these, I prefer not to put emphasis here. They are almost always a result of someone making a mistake or miscalculation. I don’t want people to focus on the “fear factor”. Too many people are afraid of nature as it is. We should admire and respect nature first. I consider it a terrible failure should I find myself in a difficult or dangerous situation.

Where do you call home?

I have called Delray Beach, Florida my home since 2013. Before that, I spent eight years living half of the year in Argentina and the other half in South Dakota.

A Partial List of Awards 

Images for Conservation Pro Tournament: 3rd place out of 20 professional photographers; $21,500 cash prize; month long, invitation-only event for professionals. (2011)

 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards: Honorable Mention in ‘Birds’, professional division

(Exhibited at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum) (2009)

 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards: Two images received ‘Highly Honored’ in ‘Birds’ (Exhibited at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum) (2007)

 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards: Winner of ‘Animal Antics’ (Exhibited at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum) also received a ‘Highly Honored’ image in ‘Birds’ category (2006)

Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards: Honorable Mention in ‘Birds’ category (2013)

Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards: Honorable Mention in ‘Small World’ category (2011)

International Wild Bird Photographer: Winner of the ‘Best Artistic Image’ (2006)

National Wildlife Magazine: Honorable Mention in ‘Birds’ category (2010)

National Wildlife Magazine: Second place in ‘Birds’, professional division (2008)

North American Nature Photographers Association Member Competition: ‘Top 10’ from 4,120 images, as judged by professional photographers of the North American Nature Photographers Association (2009)

Home

Visit lcdphoto.com to read more about Laura Crawford Williams and her photography.

You can purchase a copy of her book on Amazon.com when you click on this link.

DISCLOSURE:

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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99 Epic Guidebook Series America travel destinations Lifestyle Places to visit in St. Augustine St. Augustine Guidebook What is America's oldest continually occupied town?

St. Augustine: Epic Adventures

  • By
  • July 16, 2018
ST. AUGUSTINE TRAVEL BOOKS
ST. AUGUSTINE TRAVEL BOOKS
99 EPIC THINGS TO DO: ST. AUGUSTINE, FL is a complete guide to this historic city. Photos courtesy of Christina and Philip Benjamin

TRAVEL WITH PASSION

ST. AUGUSTINE: IMPRESSIVELY AWESOME

Christina Benjamin is a bestselling and award-winning author of the Young Adult fantasy series, “The Geneva Project.”

“99 EPIC THINGS TO DO: ST. AUGUSTINE, FL” was published in 2016 and is the first in a series of “99 EPIC” travel guides Benjamin and her husband, Philip Benjamin, a graphic designer, plan to co-publish.

So why did Christina decide to jump into travel writing? Because the couple wants to help you enjoy your travels and make each adventure EPIC.  They’re Florida residents and helping you, the traveler, see the best of the best in St. Augustine is part of their life’s mission. Most of the couple’s spare time is spent traveling to destinations where they can spend time on the water.

Their motto is “So wherever you are, go out and be EPIC,” and they’ve selected their extreme favorites from among St. Augustine’s incredible array of eateries, shops, arts, entertainment options, and places to worship. St. Augustine is America’s oldest continually occupied town (in the nation) and it’s also where they began their journeys as college students.

Throughout the guide, you’ll find a brief history, a noteworthy quote to inspire you, and a local tip. Fort Castillo de San Marcos, for example, is one of the best places to view the sunrise and the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States.  They refer to Creekside Dinery as a hidden gem nestled among beautiful magnolia trees on Gonzales Creek. Take the time to read this well-thought-out and innovative guide and you won’t be at a loss for information when you plan your St. Augustine adventure.

St. Augustine Florida Travel Guide
Christina and Philip Benjamin want to make your trip to St. Augustine EPIC. Photos courtesy of Christina and Philip Benjamin

“Give Back” is a section of the book where Christina and Philip offer readers an opportunity to give back. “If you’re looking for a way to give back in St. Augustine, donate to the St. Francis House, a shelter for the homeless, on Washington Street,” they point out.  In fact, they cite a quote from Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” to drive home the point.

99 Epic Things to Do: St. Augustine, FL is indeed a top-notch guide and customizable with space for you to jot down notes about each location you visit.

What’s on the horizon for Christina and Philip?

99 EPIC NEW ORLEANS is in the works as Chrissy makes her way through “The Big Easy.” Visit 99EPIC.COM to keep up with  Christina and Philip’s travels.

Shopping for this book is easy. Click on the link below to buy your copy.

DISCLOSURE:

One or more of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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Books by Skyhorse Publilshing Lifestyle Outdoor Travel Safety Tips Wilderness Survival Tips

Key Survival Tips: Lost and Stranded

  • By
  • July 13, 2018
Wilderness Survival Tips
Wilderness Survival Tips
Timothy Sprinkle offers expert advice to keep you safe in the wilderness.

How fast can the average Grizzly Bear run and what can you do to avoid an encounter with one?

Author and full-time journalist Timothy Sprinkle wants you to be safe if you are “Lost and Stranded” alone in the wilderness and you’ll want to read his book to learn the answer to my Grizzly Bear question.

Sprinkle offers 247 pages of vital information about how you can overcome obstacles if you’re by yourself in the face of danger. If you’ve planned a day hiking who knows what you’ll encounter along the way? What are some circumstances that can turn the peace and quiet in the woods into a nightmare?

“Expert Advice on How to Survive Being Alone in the Wilderness” highlights the common and not-so-common threats from stinging insects, weather events, hazardous terrain, and injury and illness. You might think you know how to treat a spider or snake bite or fend off a territorial animal that feels threatened by your presence but chances are you won’t remember those basic survival tips you learned in scouting years ago. Perhaps, you’re new to outdoor travel and reading Sprinkle’s book could help to save your life. Lost and Stranded is both a refresher and a Wilderness 101 course.

Sprinkle addresses questions readers might have related to more than two dozen scenarios and he utilizes advice from experts in a variety of fields from medical doctors to first responders. Test your skills and knowledge by answering the following questions.

Is a Mountain Lion perched on the side of a mountain a threat?

What’s the most dangerous wild animal you’ll find in the woods?

Why should you avoid crossing a stream that’s above your knee?

What are some symptoms of tick-borne diseases?

Each hazard is presented with (real-life) examples that are based on actual events.

Sprinkle is a full-time journalist and author with expertise in sports, business, travel, and lifestyle. Lost and Stranded was published by Skyhorse Publishing, New York, NY.

Buy Lost and Stranded: Expert Advice on How to Survive Being Alone in the Wilderness by clicking on the Amazon link below.

 

DISCLOSURE:

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

Use this form to reach out to me with your questions.

Fields marked with an * are required
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Lifestyle

Learn Japanese Culture Before You Go

  • By
  • July 11, 2018
Japanese culture

If a trip to Japan is in your future, you should set aside some time to check out  ThisIsAmericaTV. Watch host Dennis Wholey delve into a culture that’s both very modern but also deeply rooted in traditions. Wholey also covers a plethora of other topics related to other countries. In particular, Episode 1822 “ Japan: Tradition & Culture,” describes so beautifully Wholey’s “experiences with “the profound cultural depth of Japan.”

The show notes highlight Wholey’s accounts of what he refers to as “one of the most modern countries on earth.”

“Japan is still rooted in its traditions and culture. Segments focus on meditation in the mountain temples of Koyasan, traditional Washoku cuisine in Kyoto and Shinto beliefs at the Meiji Shrine in the heart of Tokyo.”

With a name like “Matsui,” you can surmise why I continue to be so intrigued by Japanese culture. My husband was born and raised in Japan. Visit my website https://chigirie.com to see examples of Chigirie, the Japanese art of painting with paper. During our month-long visits to the “Land of the Rising Sun,” we visited close to 30 temples and shrines. Japanese temples exude spirituality, harmony with nature, and a culture that is often times mysterious. This video is a great place to begin your Japanese cultural immersion.

I’d love to read your comments after you’ve viewed this video.

Did Wholey reinforce your opinions of Japan? If yes, why?

Japanese temples shrines
Experience centuries’-old architecture and culture in Japanese temples and shrines.
contact

 

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Lifestyle The New York Times Travel Shows Travel Services

2019 New York Times Travel Show Details

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  • June 26, 2018
The 2019 New York Times Travel Show

New York Times Travel Show Organizers Announce 2019 Show Dates

Mark your calendar for Jan. 25-27 if you don’t want to miss The 2019 New York Times Travel Show, a spectacular travel event that can help you find your ideal getaway and plan your journeys.

Tickets for the show will be available in Fall 2018.

You’ll find the details below in this press release issued by the travel show organizers. The New York Times travel show is the largest travel trade and consumer convention in North America. 

NEW YORK, June 25, 2018 – The 2019 New York Times Travel Show will take place Jan. 25-27, 2019, at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City.

Next year’s Travel Show will open with a Trade Day, open exclusively to travel industry professionals and writers, on Friday, Jan. 25, Saturday, Jan. 26, and Sunday, Jan. 27. will be open to the general public, as well as travel professionals and media.

Overall attendance at the 2018 Travel Show—its commemorative 15th anniversary year—was 32,398, the highest in the history of the Travel Show and represented an increase in confidence and interest in leisure travel. These consumer traveler attendees estimated that they would spend more than $100 million in travel trips in the next 12 months, according to Travel Show survey results.

Trade attendance was once again strong at more than 10,268, an 11% increase from the previous year. The estimated volume of travel business represented by travel agents in attendance was a record $3.3 billion, according to Travel Show survey results.

Participating exhibitors also hit a new record with 610 companies representing over 176 countries. In addition to networking and negotiating new deals with travel agents, the 2018 exhibitors estimated that they created additional consumer traveler sales of approximately $7.5 million, on-site or shortly thereafter, according to Travel Show survey results.

Over 1,300 members of domestic and international media – covering all seven continents and dozens of nations and regions – attended the 2018 Travel Show to gain insights from industry-focused seminars and conferences, in addition to two days of consumer events that featured 276 travel industry speakers and experts.

In the coming months, The New York Times Travel Show will announce a variety of dynamic speakers and performers, interactive conference sessions, and other presentations for the 2019 Show. Please visit NYTimes.com/TravelShow and follow @NYTTravelShow for the latest New York Times Travel Show news.

For photos of the 2018 New York Times Travel Show, visit here.

For exhibition opportunities at The New York Times Travel Show, email nytts@mse-management.com.

For speaking opportunities, email NYTTS-Speaking@mse-management.com.

Visit Florida is a Silver sponsor of the 2019 Travel Show; I Love New York is a Bronze sponsor.

Industry Sponsors include: Adventure Travel Trade Association, Africa Travel Association, American Society of Travel Agents, Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Education Foundation, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Cruise Lines International Association, Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association, Family Travel Association, International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, Millennials in Travel, Pacific Asia Travel Association, Professional Travel Bloggers Association, Society of American Travel Writers, United States Tour Operators Association and Well-Being Travel

Media Sponsors include:  GoNomad, Healthy Aging Magazine, Insider Travel Report, ManAboutWorld, Passport Magazine, TA Connect, travAlliancemedia, Travel Market Report.

For sponsorship opportunities, email Brad Kolodny at kolodbi@nytimes.com.

The New York Times Travel Show is the largest trade and consumer travel show in North America.

About The New York Times Travel Show (www.NYTimes.com/TravelShow)

The Travel Show is the largest and longest-running trade and consumer travel show in North America, featuring the Travel Industry Conference, Consumer Seminars, Meet The Experts Pavilion and an interactive Exhibition including more than 600 exhibitors representing travel to all seven continents, positioned within 16 pavilions (including Adventure, Africa, Asia, Australia/South Pacific, Canada, Caribbean, Cruise, Europe, Family, Global, Latin America, L.G.B.T.Q., Mexico, River Cruise, Travel Products, U.S and Wellness USA Pavilions). In addition to discounts and special offers, the show provides educational seminars and live entertainment for families, individuals and couples. Join the conversation and follow @NYTTravelShow for the latest Travel Show news. 

About The New York Times Company

The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) is a global media organization dedicated to enhancing society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news and information. The company includes The New York Times, NYTimes.com and related properties. It is known globally for excellence in its journalism, and innovation in its print and digital storytelling and its business model. Follow news about the company at @NYTimesPR.

Press Contact

Adenike Olanrewaju,  Adenike.Olanrewaju@nytimes.com

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Art in America Artists' Interviews California Artists Interviews Lifestyle Sculpture in America

Randy Morgan: Sculpture Drawn from Nature

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  • June 24, 2018
Randy Morgan Sculptor Nature
Randy Morgan Sculpture
Randy Morgan is an award-winning bronze sculpture artist who specializes in handcrafted bronze doors, architectural elements, and public art pieces. Photos submitted by the artist.

Burning With A Passion for the Arts

An Interview with Randy Morgan

Randy Morgan Sculpture
In addition to designing custom doors and tiles, Randy receives commissions for works of art.

Home and business owners and organizations looking to make a bold, creative statement will be astounded by the depth of detailing  Randy Morgan incorporates into each of his sculptures. Randy is an award-winning bronze sculpture artist who specializes in handcrafted bronze doors, architectural elements, and public art pieces. His works are inspired by his love for nature, history and unique art mediums.

In addition to designing custom doors and tiles, Randy receives commissions for works of art and a few of those are a bronzed wall depicting the history and natural beauty of the Sacramento River region for the Lundberg Family Farms visitors’ center; “The Waterman’s Wall” – a bronzed mural depicting local coastal heroes enjoying a day in the life for the City of Laguna Beach, California; and, a colorful mural celebrating the region’s agricultural heritage for the City of Upland, California.

Meet Randy Morgan

I interviewed Randy by email and understand why art enthusiasts fall madly in love with his work. If his sculptures strike a chord with you, feel free to comment and share this interview.

How does sculpture enhance our landscape and interact with nature?

Sculpture is innately drawn from the shapes and images of nature. Have you ever stared at a pile of rocks until they became dancing gnomes or clouds? Plus the patinas (colors) that are used in sculpture are basically stains and all derivatives of earth tones and more natural colors than paint.

Randy Morgan Interview Nature Sculpture
“Art is my life,” Randy Morgan noted.

What’s the number one reason you chose sculpture as your medium?

As far back as I can remember, I have burned with a passion for the arts. My talents were first recognized at five-years-old by my teacher when she entered my “Painting of a Horse” at the LA County Fair where it won 1st place and a blue ribbon. As a child, my father would bring home large rolls of paper from his print shop and quickly find me immersed in a drawing project. I would spend hour upon hour drawing landscapes and portraits of my sports heroes, cowboys, and Indians.

Destiny eventually paired me with Carl Abel, a world-renowned wood carver in Laguna Beach, California. Abel took an interest in my artistic sense and taught me the ancient art. In 1975, I took a life-changing trip to Mexico where I studied art and was drawn to the works of Diego Rivera and Jorge Orosco. Over the next several years, I combined Abel’s techniques with my own evolving artistic sense and a newfound love for bronze casting. I soon found his works gracing residential, commercial and public arenas throughout the world. Although very satisfied with drawing and painting, when I found sculpture I was thrilled to take my drawing to the next level. Being a child I loved building things and getting dirty. I have been called one of the world’s premiere bas-relief sculptors. The definition of bas-relief is drawing in sculpture so it was just a natural progression for me from drawing and painting.

What percentage of your sculpture is created with nature in mind?

 All of it. Art to me is a mimicking of our universe and the natural world. I create my art with the viewer in mind and trying to evoke some sort of feeling or emotional response.

What are a few of your upcoming projects and what are you working on now?

I am concentrating now on my “Road Map of Art Walls” which are a series of large bas-relief murals that tell a historical story in the communities in which they are placed. Whether it’s icons, the characters, the flora and fauna, the historical landmarks and the stories therein. We round out the story of the making of the art through the magic of film making. You can check these out on my web page at www.randymorganart.com I am currently working on a public art monument in Laguna Beach, California, a Motown industrialization mural in Detroit, Michigan, early next year a wall mural in San Diego, California and we are always evaluating future sites with my fantastic team at Randy Morgan Art.

What motivates you to create on days when you don’t feel particularly creative?

Some days you just have to chop wood (ha ha!) Seriously I love making art. It’s what I do and what I love to do. These days I try to balance my life with my spirituality, my art, and a lot of laughter and the quest for joy and peace.

How does art fit into your life?

Without sounding too cliche, art is my life. Art to me is hard work, planning and a leaving little bit of room at the end of the process for magic.

What’s your all-time favorite project? 

The next one! That’s a tough question it’s like choosing between your children. If I had to just pick one it would have to be the Art Hotel project in Laguna Beach, CA for my friend Gail Duncan at her hotel. This 70 by 10 foot mural around the pool is pure Laguna Beach. I would like to add that we as artists need art patrons. Without art, patrons to share our vision with there would be no Sistine Chapel. I could not have created a single mural on my “Roadmap of Walls” without the support of art patrons. I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with some really extraordinary art patrons without whom my “Roadmap of Art Walls would not be possible.

Artists who would like to be featured on my websites (https://joanmatsuitravelwriter.com, https://chigirie.com, and https://jstockphotos.com should send a bio, at least five (malware and virus-free) images, an artist’s statement, and a list of recent projects. Interviews will be conducted by email, unless otherwise determined, and the posts will be published at my convenience and according to my editorial calendar.

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Art Exhibits Lifestyle New York City Artists World-Acclaimed Artists

Franck de las Mercedes Exhibit

  • By
  • June 18, 2018
franck de las mercedes Urbetivism

Arts’ Happenings

Franck de las Mercedes Urbetivism
Franck de las Mercedes exhibited his “Urbetivism” collection for the first time on June 16 at his studio, fdIM, in New York City. Photo submitted. 

“URBETIVISM”

Who is Franck de las Mercedes?

He’s an internationally recognized artist who is known for creating conceptual abstractions with text and highly-saturated color.   His work entitled “Urbetivism,” is inspired by New York City and his birthplace Nicaragua.

Franck exhibited his Urbetivism paintings for the first time at his open studio on June 16 during “The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance’s 16th annual Uptown Arts Stroll,” an annual summer event in New York City in the Washington Heights, Inwood, and West Harlem neighborhoods. The stroll showcases the painters, photographers, writers, musicians, sculptors, actors, dancers and filmmakers in Northern Manhattan and the exhibit will run through June 30, 2018.

His New York City studio is the backdrop for an array of multifaceted work that incorporates painting, collage, drawing, photography, and writing and combines abstract figuration, journal entry, and hieroglyphic-like text, in energetic abstractions bursting with color to create an intensely emotional urban landscape. Fragments of current events, family dynamics, and books explore the contrast between memory and present-day cultural context.

Franck de las Mercedes Urbetivism
Franck de las Mercedes’ art is multi-faceted with bursts of color. Photo submitted. 

Franck derives imagery from a variety of sources that include candid photographs, art journals, and studies. The exhibit as a whole is a continuation of his signature style that utilizes palette knives to apply abstract text an sharp black lines. He regards the new series as his “coloring book on canvas.”

“In this new series, I continue to work with my urban roots and influences, while now incorporating elements of Nicaraguan Primitivism as reference. I’m also exploring concepts in world mythology to find similarities in everyday life or to comment on current events,” Franck said. “It’s not a total departure from my previous body of work, since the representational has always emerged in some way. But in the new paintings I’m allowing the subjects to become the central point, in order to engage the viewer with the story. Something I came to realize I could only accomplish by breaking from abstraction.”

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Franck achieved worldwide in 2006 with his conceptual art project “The Priority Boxes,” a public project conceived as a way to promote peace through participatory free art. The project has been refashioned as a teaching tool for educators, community centers, and art therapy counselors across the United States. He has been featured in several well-respected publications and on television shows. The list includes CBS Sunday Morning, Complex magazine, CNN, Reader’s Digest, The Daily Beast, Good Day NY, Aqui y Ahora and The Christian Science Monitor.

Recent exhibitions are Sing for Hope Pianos 2017, The 5th Bronx Latin American Art Biennial, Queens Museum, BronxArtSpace, The Joan Mitchel Foundation, The Artists Unite MTA Poster Project, The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt New York, The NY Museum of Modern Art’s “Abstract Currents”, BKLYN Designs, Naples Museum of Art, Folklore Museum of Tripotamos Greece, The National College of Ireland, Ireland and The French Institute Alliance Française. His work is also a part of the Fundación Francisco de Quevedo’s permanent collection in Ciudad Real, Spain.

Learn more about Franck at https://www.franckdelasmercedes.com/

 

 

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Lifestyle Visit Asian Countries Visit Thailand

5 Sights You Should See in Thailand

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  • June 14, 2018
Thailand beauty

Elephant Tourism? 

Well, maybe, the elephants will put on a show for you. They’re definitely a highlight to many a Thailand visitor. In fact, according to Thailand tourism officials, 90 percent of the vacation photos taken in Thailand will feature an elephant.

Why?

Because visitors can view these majestic creatures close up in their natural habitat and/or they love elephants as I do.

But if you choose Thailand for reasons that include but are not limited to elephant photography,  keep in mind the Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam, overflows with beauty and great food. The country is located at the center of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula,  with many beautiful islands, holy temples, and abundant phenomenal cuisine.

Thailand beauty
Thailand – beauty surrounds.

5 things to do in Thailand besides elephants

  1. Temples (Bangkok) 

 

There are over 33,000 active Buddhist temples in Thailand. These temples are very prominent and an integral part of Thailand as 93.6% of all people in Thailand are Buddhists. Because these temples are seen as a holy, the structures are very impressive and immaculately ornate. My personal favorite was the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) which dates back to the 14th century. You can experience the religious culture of Thailand, but remember to cover up! There is nothing but breathtaking views from the entrance to the end. A temple is definitely worth looking at if you are ever in Thailand.

 

Thailand destination beauty
Breathtaking Thailand art and architecture is not to be missed.
  1.   Thai Cooking Class (Chiang Mai) 

 

We attended Thai Cookery School (Pra Nang) where we were guided through the process of preparing and cooking traditional-style Thai food. With a class of 2-10 people, you start out by visiting a local market to select the freshest ingredients for the dishes you will create. We created 5 dishes, which included a soup, stir-fry, curry, an appetizer, and a dessert. Vegan options are also available. The class is 4 hours and will give you insight into the food culture of Thailand. In the end, you will get a recipe book to recreate those traditional dishes and a certificate to prove your mastery.

 

  1.   The Jim Thompson House

 

The Jim Thompson House is a true hidden gem. This museum is about an American, Jim Thompson, who moved to Thailand and changed the silk industry. You get to explore the actual house of Jim Thompson and the mystery behind how he disappeared. There is a silk shop attached as well as an inside/outside restaurant with very tasty and cheap food. This museum will give you an opportunity to learn about Thai silk and all the innovation that surrounded it.

 

  1. Monkey Beach (Ko Phi Phi Don) 

 

This is for those that love animals. Monkey Beach is located on Phi Phi island which is known for its breathtaking views. Imagine going to an island full of monkeys that are happy to see and interact with humans. You are allowed to feed the monkeys and take all the pictures you want. They have boats that you can take over to the island while you take in all the sites or you can rent a kayak and head over there yourself.

 


  1. Chiang Mai Night Safari 

 

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can get up close and personal to all types of animals at Chiang Mai Night Safari. Chiang Mai Night Safari is a nocturnal zoo that will entertain you at every turn. The evening will start off with a narrated animal show that introduces you to cool animals. Next, you’ll hop on a tram and go to the Savanna Zone. The Savanna Zone is full of animals whose habitats are in the African savanna. There you will see giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and more. Afterward, you’ll head over to the Predator Zone which is full of carnivores! There you will see lions, bears, pumas, and more. This is a place you won’t forget as you have face to face interactions with various animals on this night safari.

Follow @BlackTravelPass on Instagram. 

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Lifestyle

18 Best Travel Destinations of 2018 | Where to Travel This Year!

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  • June 12, 2018

Where should YOU TRAVEL in 2018? Watch this video and find out! We share the 18 Best Travel destinations of 2018.

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Lifestyle

My Top 22 Travel Life Hacks & Tips! | Jeanine Amapola

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  • June 11, 2018

HELLO FROM NORWAY! Here are 22 of my best travel life hacks and travel tips! I travel quite often so I thought I would share all my little secrets 🙂 I hope you guys find this helpful!!! See you soon!!
Travel Life Hacks, Organization Tips, Outfits, How To Pack, & Carry On Essentials!- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN3U_6E2DXU&t=306s

Sweater – H&M
Necklace – Freedom Wire Jewelry
Ring- David Yurman
Lipstick- Kylie Cosmetics “Maliboo”

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