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".
Blog
Flickr

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

A Study of Dreams.

 [By Thomas Thorspecken]

  Ricky Brigante contacted me about sketching what I assumed was a haunted house experience. He and Sarah Elger had produced a warehouse interactive experience called Catharsis which was beautifully designed and a joy to sketch. This production was built around the idea of being a dream world. Sigmund Freud considered dreams as wish fulfillment and this production pushed that concept to the edge.

Tickets for this show sold out within hours of going on sale. Groups are limited to ten guests at a time. The experience was a beta test for a bar concept that the producers are considering. They used the home as a way to work out the kinks of a possible ongoing  interactive experience. Were they able to bring the idea to International Drive, it might very well take off.

I paused at the entrance to the home, afraid to ring the doorbell. Something was off. It was a small unassuming house in Thornton Park. The front windows were all covered with plush red fabric. Ricky met me outside and escorted me through dark corridors to the living room area. This was the heart of the show where much of the action would take place. I set to work immediately. Sarah asked if I could execute a sketch in 5 minutes. I didn't want to abandon what I had already started. Ricky showed me a photo of the scene she was considering. A beautiful nude woman stood in the shower bathed in red light. Bloody hell I thought, I need to figure out how to sketch faster, but I most certainly would be an odd addition to the bathroom. Ricky smiled and said, "I forgot to mention, this is a 21 and up show."

A flat screen TV next to the bar had abstract images in motion. An actor looking at the screen prior to the show suddenly realized that the images were pornographic. Once you could see the images, it couldn't be unseen. Sarah explained that guests were essentially kidnapped from a local park and then transported by van to the site. I had about 20 minutes to work before guests would get to the living room area. Odd cubist painting hung from the ceiling along with translucent gauze fabric. A spinning store rack had black mannequin heads with white strips of paper taped to the foreheads. Guests would take the strip with their name on it to find out what dream wish fulfillment awaited them. Menus also defined the delights that awaited.

A married couple had come to the experience. He wanted to experience the dreams as a way to get rid of his wife's nightmares. She was shy and afraid that others were watching her, even desiring her. She was pulled away and he encouraged her to go alone. That wasn't a great decision. The dream world was built by a doctor who was obsessed with phrenology, the study of skull shapes. The doctor, dressed all in black sat next to me on the couch. He had a drink and his hand shook. He was mumbling to himself that everyone should escape while they still could. The dreams didn't all function as wish fulfillments, sometime there were darker unexpected consequences.

The wife returned while her husband was off in another room. She was transformed, sensual and ravenous for interaction and pleasure. A woman seated next to referred to her as a succubus. She sat on the arm of the couch next to me and asked what my greatest desire was. I was a bit flummoxed. My desire at that moment was strictly to finish the sketch I has started. A man entered the room dressed only in his underwear, holding his crumpled clothes to his chest. He had just come from the bathroom and apparently had taken a shower with the sensual woman inside.

A red glow emanated from the next room. Red icicles dripped light from the ceiling. I could hear the moans of a woman the entire time I sketched. One guest rifled through all the papers looking for clues about what was happening. I couldn't avoid being part of the experience. Guests were curious about what I was doing. My sketch might be a vital clue. I simply explained that I was sketching the dream and kept working.

A semi-nude woman pulled a man down onto the mattresses on the floor to my right. They embraced passionately and kissed, but these moments happened so quickly that I didn't manage to catch them in the sketch. The husband was approached by the doctor who was holding a large drill. He said it was time to wake up, just before drilling into the husband's head in a horrific violent moment. The dreamers just watched in amazement. I imagine this was some barbaric form of lobotomy.

Towards the end of the evening, the disheveled husband was held in a chair by other women and his wife undressed in front of him. In a black garter she teased him and then strangled him. Pleasure always seemed laced with pain in his dreams. I finished my sketch after the guests had been called back to their waking life and responsibilities. I slipped out before the next guests began their dream. My dream had been fulfilled.

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