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

Winter Park Florida bans artists.

by Thor,  Orlando Florida USA.

On December 14, 2015 the City of Winter Park passed an ordinance that makes it illegal for artists to "perform" on Park Avenue, New England Avenue and Hannibal Square.  "Perform" is broadly defined as, ,"acting, singing, playing musical instruments, pantomime, mime, magic, dancing, artistry or the sale of visual art and wares." The broad definition is because a city can't discriminate based on content. Any artist caught performing could face 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. To protect our first amendment rights, the city designated Winter Park's Central Park as a "First Amendment Zone." This will make the annual Winter Park Sidewalk Art festival happening this coming March, a perfectly legal money maker for the City and Park Avenue merchants. If I try and sketch that festival from the opposite side of Park Avenue however, I could go to jail. It could be argued that taking a cell phone photo could be considered "artistry" or even witchery so keep those phones in your pockets people.

The ordinance, "finds that the existence of street performers … would interfere with the public health, safety and welfare of the pedestrian traffic … [by] attracting audiences which congest the prohibited public area" and would "adversely affect the city's interests in the aesthetics in a city with a unique historic downtown district." To think that a visual artist might attract an audience that could block traffic is ridiculous. Most people don't even notice an artist at work. I'm also surprised they think artists are a public health hazard and ruin a city's aesthetics.

The ordinance was modeled after a similar ordinance in Saint Augustine which bans street performers and artists. That ordinance is being contested in court. That ruling is still pending. Winter Park merchants decided they need the ordinance because of some rather loud street performers. One band allegedly used a car battery to power amplifiers that blasted the music so loud that nearby merchants couldn't hear their own store muzak or thoughts. Rather than come up with an ordinance to ban amplified music or restrict noise above a certain decibel level, the city decided to ban all artists. Visual artists are not street performers. They are no more intrusive than a person reading a book, or an iPad. This is something that city officials and law makers do not seem to understand.

On January 5th, I was invited by a Winter Park merchant to sketch and report on the opening of their new men's department store. I got to the store a bit early and peaked inside to find the place rather empty. It looked like a boring sketch opportunity.  Instead I strolled up Park Avenue with every intent to break the law. I stopped in front of Bank of America and decided to sketch a group of men having a bottle of wine outside the Wine Room. The scene reminded me of a cafe painted by Van Gogh in Provence. Thank god police didn't catch him in the act. Flames flickered up in the vertical space heaters at Luma. For once it was cool enough out so that I wouldn't sweat as I sketched. One person walking by joked that my sketch wasn't complete, since I didn't include the bank's ATM. Another person wanted to shoot a photo of me at work. I allowed it, but now realize that the photo could be incriminating evidence in a court of law.

It turns out, that an old friend, was one of the men at the table. He was seated facing away from me, so I didn't notice him at first. When he got up to leave he noticed me sketching and came over to say hello. He joked that most of the men at the table were deviants, but little did he know that he was speaking to a hardened criminal practicing his dark and mysterious craft. I love the warm glow of Park Avenue at night, but I was lucky that I wasn't caught as I tried to capture it. Winter Park is now a place that doesn't welcome artists, so I will simply no longer consider it one of my sketching destinations, unless there are protests against this insane new ordinance. After finishing a sketch, I usually order a drink or food, but this night I slipped away like a criminal into the night.

Analog Artist Digital World





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