Meet the Correspondent: Marina Grechanik > Tel-Aviv, Israel$show=/search/label/Marina%20Grechanik

"Sketching is one of my passions. I don't feel comfortable when I leave home without a sketchbook and some pens in my bag. I think that my way to put things in my memory is to draw them. And taking pictures isn't the same thing.

I live in a very dynamic surrounding — Israel is a warm country with warm weather and warm people. Of course, we have seashores, which calm us a little bit. I love to sit in a corner of some Tel-Aviv coffee shop and explore relationships: between people, their environment, between myself. All this unique local mix of cultures, languages and styles is always a great source for inspiration. You need to be fast, because, as I said, everything is very dynamic. But that's why I love it so much.

Sometimes, I look around, and I find some usual items like sugar bags or napkins. I use them in my drawings to show the atmosphere. Sometimes I draw directly on placemats."

• Marina's art on Flickr.
• Marina's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Tina Koyama > Seattle$show=/search/label/tina%20koyama

"The dictionary says that a hobby is “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation.” Although urban sketching certainly provides both pleasure and relaxation, I don’t think of it as my hobby. I think of it more as a way of life – something that has become such a normal part of my everydayness that it shapes how I view the world.

For most of my life I had both the fear of drawing as well as the desire to draw. In 2011, inspired by Gabi Campanario’s Seattle Sketcher column, I finally decided to overcome the fear. His drawings of Seattle – my birthplace and lifelong home – were of sights that I had seen many times, yet had never truly seen. I wanted to learn to see, and therefore experience, those locations (and any new ones that I travel to) more completely. Part 8 of the Urban Sketchers Manifesto, to “show the world, one drawing at a time,” has a flip side: Sketching enables me to see my own world, one drawing at a time.

In the last four years, it is not an exaggeration to say that Urban Sketchers has changed my life. I have met and sketched with many wonderful people around the globe, either at symposiums or during other travel, because the USk network brought us together. I sketch almost weekly with my local group, sharing sketches, art supplies and friendship. Even when I stay home and enjoy sketches online, I am still a part of that rich network, learning with every sketch about other people’s lives.

In May, my husband Greg and I went to France for the first time, and I sketched the Eiffel Tower. Sketching one of the world’s most famous icons felt like a dream come true – the ultimate in urban sketching. But although I can’t resist sketching world-famous icons whenever I’m fortunate enough to see them, for me, urban sketching is much more than that.

Urban sketching is a tree with its middle chopped away to accommodate Seattle’s ubiquitous power lines. It’s about a couple of women chatting over coffee, or about workers roofing the house next door. It’s about an excavator filling a hole where a cherry tree once stood. Or the Tibetan monastery I drive by frequently that I couldn’t resist because it’s bright orange. Urban sketching is a string band performing at a local farmers’ market – or perhaps in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Celebrating the mundane as well as the famous is what urban sketching is all about. My sketches are not necessarily about “special” moments; they are moments made special because I sketched them."

Tina has been editor of Drawing Attention since 2013 and now serves on the Urban Sketchers editorial board. See more of her sketches on her blog, on Flickr and on Instagram.

Meet the Correspondent: Pete Scully > Davis, Calif.$show=/search/label/Pete%20Scully

"I am from urban north London, but now live in urbane Davis California. I sketch, I write, sometimes do things and go places and my name is Pete.

When not Davis, I sketch Sacramento, San Francisco, London, or anywhere else I happen to be. I tend to erase people and cars from my cities, but I'm starting to get over this.

Davis: calm, old-fashioned, progressive, quirky, very very hot in the summer. I use micron and copic pens, with watercolour."

• Pete's blog.
• Pete's art on Flickr.

Meet the Correspondent: Suhita Shirodkar > San Jose, Calif.$show=/search/label/Suhita%20Shirodkar

"I was born in Mumbai (Bombay) and lived in different parts of India until I moved to San Jose, California, where I now live.

Travel inspires my art, but, traveling or not, I try to view the world around me as a traveller would; so whether I’m capturing a moment of calm on the banks of the Ganges in India, or sketching over coffee at my local coffee shop, I aim to look deeply, and with wonder, at both the everyday and the exotic, the old and the new.

I love color. My sketch kit consists of Extra Fine Sharpies (the fact that they bleed into the paper as soon as they touch it works really well for me—it forces me to work super-quick), a small set of Prismacolor pencils and a little watercolor travel set".

Meet the Correspondent: Omar Jaramillo > Berlin$show=/search/label/Omar%20Jaramillo

"I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I studied architecture. I moved to Kassel (Germany) in 1999 to accomplish a master degree. Although I have always drawn and paint, it was not until I started studying in the Uni-Kassel, that I started keeping a travel sketchbook. I had a teacher there who used to do a lot of sketches when he travelled on university excursions. When he retired, I helped to organize an exhibition of his sketches. He brought a huge box full of sketchbooks he had filled since he was an architecture student. I spent a whole day selecting the most interesting drawings. It was a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to a new world. In the last 10 years I have the feeling of being in a long journey. I like to discover the cities where I live, to understand why a place is the way it is and what makes it different and unique from others. Drawing is for me a way to learn to love a place, to become part of it. I like to draw architecture but I am more attracted to urban scenery, portraying how people live in the city. Since I’m a foreigner, everything that locals find normal and taken-for-granted, for me is exotic. I always carry a small watercolor travel set from Windsor and Newton and my sketchbook in my bag. I always thought that drawing was a solitary experience until I found Urban Sketchers. It was amazing to find so many people doing the same thing. It is a great place to share!" • Omar's blog. • Omar's art on flickr. • Omar's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

The Trayvon Martin Project touches raw nerves.

On the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States, George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African American high school student. George, a 28-year-old mixed-race Hispanic man, was the neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Martin was temporarily living and where the shooting took place George was told not to follow the youth but he followed anyway.  Responding to an earlier call from Zimmerman, police arrived on the scene within two minutes of the shooting. He was taken into custody, treated for head injuries, then questioned for five hours. The police chief said that Zimmerman was released because there was no evidence to refute the claim of having acted in self-defense. The police chief also said that Zimmerman had had a right to defend himself with lethal force. An arrest was finally made after the incident became national news and protesters filled Sanford. George was given a trial and found not guilty.

Producer Beth Marshal wanted to create a show that deals with the huge divide that Trayvon Martin's death caused in Central Florida and the country. Her son is about the same age as Trayvon and if her son was seen walking through suburban Sanford, quite frankly he would be alive. The show opens with Billy Holiday singing "Strange Fruit" as the audience entered the theater. The song referenced "blood on the leaves" in a sorrowful anguished baled. The show opened with a congressional hearing about the ban on certain items. There were long heated debates about how these items needed to be outlawed for everyone's protection. One committee member had smuggled the item into the hearing like a knife into a courtroom. The committee erupted in chaos as he showed them the hoodie which is quite functional on a cold evening.
John DiDonna acted as the show's narrator. He talked about Sanford's past and how racism has been woven into the fabric of the towns history. Back in 1946, the city of Sanford ran Jackie Robinson out of town while he was playing for the Montreal Royals, the Brooklyn Dodgers AAA team, which trained in Sanford. Then there was the story of schoolteacher Harry Tyson Moore, who was the founder of the first branch of the NAACP in Florida's Seminole County, where Sanford is located. Moore fought tirelessly for racial equality in Sanford, including voting rights for African Americans. That made him a dangerous man to many white people in town. On Christmas night of 1951, the home of Moore and his wife Harriette Vyda Simms Moore was fire bombed. It was the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary. Moore died on his way to a Sanford hospital and his wife died 9 days later of her injuries. In Sanford's more recent past, the 2010 case of Sherman Ware had some troubling similarities to the Trayvon Martin tragedy. On Dec. 4, 2010, 21-year-old Justin Collison, was captured on a YouTube video leaving a Sanford bar, when he walked up behind an unsuspecting Ware, a homeless African American man, and punched him in the back of the head, which drove Ware's face into a utility pole and then onto the pavement breaking his nose. Sanford police questioned Collison who was not cuffed that night and had possession of the video but did not arrest him. You see, Collison's father is a Sanford police lieutenant and his grandfather is a former circuit judge and wealthy Florida landowner.

20 years ago when I moved to Orlando, the Ku Klux Klan held a demonstration at the Jewish Community Center in Maitland.  There was a heated debate at the time about if there should be a counter demonstration. Some argued that by counter demonstrating, we would be giving the KKK the attention they wanted. Hundreds of counter demonstrators showed up verses six or so KKK members hiding behind robes. Janine Klein spoke of isms in her monologue in the show. She was a Jewish school teacher and did grow up facing racism. In the talk back after the show she said that she realized that she wants to be more of an activist to help bring about change. Silence isn't the answer.

The talk back triggered an amazing conversation with the audience. One woman in the audience was of Cuban heritage. One of her cousins had light skin and she was treated differently than all the other children with dark skin. So there was racism even within a family. Sheryl Carbonell, from the cast is inter-racially married to a white police officer. He has been bitten, beaten and shot at on the job. 14 incidents were all caused by black men. None of these incidents were ever covered by the media. The Jordan Davis shooting happened during production of the play. It is clear that these type of shootings continue. Kerry Alce who plays Trayvon said that he is desensitized and frightened by all the shootings of black children. The talk back was every bit as powerful as the production itself. Change only happens when you open a dialogue.This is a daring production that certainly opened that dialogue. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Martin Luther King

There are only 2 shows remaining of The Trayvon Martin Project...
October 4, Saturday at 7:30pm
October 5, Sunday at 2pm
at the Valencia College East Campus Black Box Theatre building 3 (701 North Econolockahatchee Trail Orlando FL).
Tickets are $20 general admission and $15 students. Proceeds from this event benefit The Travyon Martin Foundation.





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