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

Christopher Hansen's one and only night at Pulse.

[By Thomas Thorspecken from Orlando.]

  Artists working an a Pulse Mural being spearheaded by Michael Pilato spoke with Christopher Hansen, who goes by Chansen, at around 2am on September 12, the three month anniversary of the tragic Pulse shooting.   Red wine and coffee kept us all up for a 49 Hour Pulse Mural Marathon Project.

Chansen grew up in Ohio. As a 14 year old, he remembered hearing of Matthew Shepard, a student of the University of Wyoming in Cheyenne, who was robbed, pistol whipped and tortured by two men for being gay. Mathew was found 18 hours later by a bicyclist tied to a fence, left for dead. He died two days later from his head injuries. That happened not far from where Christopher lived at the time He moved to Cheyenne from Ohio. Working at TGI Fridays brought him North to Wyoming. Because of that horrible crime Chansen knew from a very early age, that people hated him just for who he was. On a trip to Orlando, Chansen went to Universal Studios and saw beautiful Cherry Blossom trees in bloom beside the pristine lake. He knew at that moment that he would live in Orlando. He resigned from his job in Ohio and immediately moved to the City Beautiful.

At 11:07pm on June 12th, Chansen entered Pulse wearing an American Flag T-shirt. He had never been to Pulse before. He remembers the exact time because a $10 cover started at 11pm. "Come on," he pleaded. "It's just seven minutes past, no one will notice." He had to pay the cover. Being new to Orlando, he just wanted to relax, have fun, dance and hopefully meet new friends. "Everything about Pulse was amazing." he said. Since it was Latin Night, there was plenty of dancing. Although he doesn't speak Spanish, music is the universal language. He had some drinks. Towards the end of the evening, he ordered a drink at the bar since it was last call. He sank down into a cushy sofa. He remembers not wanting to lean all the way back because he might tumble over backwards. Then the loud bangs started. He thought that the DJ must have been kicking it up a notch. The guy next to him collapsed. There was blood, chaos and pleading.  Glass shattered behind the bar. He dropped to the floor and crawled on his stomach. If he stood and ran, he would make a big moving target.  He considered the bathroom, but remembered a movie in which a date went wrong and someone had to be rescued from the bathroom. No, he had to get out. "Had I been sober, I might have froze." he recalled. Chansen's hand was trampled as he crawled out to the back patio. Once he felt concrete below him, he knew he as out.

On the back patio 10 to 15 people were trying to push open a gate. He is convinced someone was holding the gate closed from outside. Angel was shot down beside him.  He saw Jose Martinez (Junior) lying on the ground, and he reached down and touched his leg, His leg was wet and when Chansen looked at his own hand, it looked like he had dipped it in a bucket of red paint. He threw Junior's arm over his shoulder and made his way across the street. Shots continued to ring out. He saw the shooter walk and shoot Angel a second time. In the blur of activity he believes there could have been a shooter outside as well as a shooter inside. He never saw the shooter's face. He left his glasses at home.

Junior wasn't just shot in the leg. He also was shot in the back. Chansen took off his bandana, tied it in a knot, and shoved it in the hole to slow the bleeding. Outside he also found Alecia who was shot in the arm. Sitting on the sidewalk, he had Alecia lean back in his lap. She just wanted to close her eyes but he kept her alert. He asked her name and asked her questions to keep her focused. He told her, "I'm not leaving you, until someone comes for you." They were both born in May, and she had also just moved to Orlando from Ohio. She loved lions, so he told her she was a king of beasts. He said "Hakuna Matata" which means no worries, "you will survive this." It turns out Alecia was also shot in the back. The pressure of his leg on her back wound may have kept her from bleeding out.  Chansen's blood soaked pants were his first hint of her second wound. She said she was having heart trouble. He hasn't seen Alecia since that horrible night. He did get to speak to her briefly on the phone to find out that she was OK. Chansen called his dad to let him know he was alive. Gunfire was still ringing out in the background. "We were the lucky ones, most people were shot multiple times. We were all directed to go to the hospital." Chansen stayed with his charges, fearful that they wouldn't get the help they needed.  In triage they might be overlooked. Shooting victims were tagged with red or yellow. Yellow shooting victims we loaded into pickup trucks first, since there weren't enough ambulances. He helped carry Alecia to a vehicle.

That night, Chansen helped save two lives, he is a hero, yet still there are haters and trolls who call him a crisis actor. There are even conspiracy theorists who claim the Pulse shooting is a hoax. These arm chair haters are very much the reason such a horrific act could happen right here in Central Florida. Chansen's response is, "We celebrate love because hate attacked us. We don't answer hate with hate." When he got back to his apartment, his American Flag T-shirt was stained with blood.





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