Q: In January you traveled to south India to study ancient Hindu temples. Would you share some photographs from your trip?
A: Yes, I spent three weeks in south India. Having embarked from brown and gray New York City in winter, I was quite stunned by all of the gorgeous color. Since I already posted many photos onto my Facebook and Pinterest pages (see links on sidebar), I will focus on Madurai, perhaps the most photogenic city I visited.
Comments are welcome!
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A: I remember being in a crib at the house where I lived with my parents and sister, a two bedroom Cape Cod in Clifton, New Jersey. I must have been about two or three years old. The crib was next to a wall and I remember putting my right leg through the slats to push against it and rock my crib. I spent hours looking at the space age wallpaper in the room, which depicted ringed planets and flying sci-fi space men. My parents had recently bought the house and the bedroom’s previous occupant had been a boy. This was in the 1950s and I dare say, the wallpaper was very much of its era!
Comments are welcome!
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A: I search the markets and bazaars of Mexico, Guatemala, and elsewhere for folk art objects – masks, carved wooden animals, papier mache figures, children’s toys – to bring back to New York to paint and photograph. Color is very important – the brighter and the more eye-catching the patterns are on these objects the better – plus they must be unique and have lots of personality. I try not to buy anything mass-produced or obviously made for the tourist trade. The objects must have been used or otherwise look like they’ve had a life (i.e., been part of religious festivities) to draw my attention. How and where each one comes into my possession is an important part of my creative process.
Finding, buying, and getting them back to the U.S. is always circuitous, but that, too, is part of the process, an adventure, and often a good story. Here’s an example. In 2009 I was in a small town on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, called Panajachel. After returning from a boat ride across the lake, my friends and I were walking back to our hotel when we discovered a wonderful mask store. I spent some time looking around, made my selections, and was ready to buy five exquisitely-made standing wooden figures, when I learned that Tomas, the store owner, did not accept credit cards. I was heart-broken and thought, “Oh, no, I’ll have to leave them behind.” However, thanks to my good friend, Donna, whose Spanish is much more fluent than mine, the three of us brain-stormed until finally, Tomas had an idea. I could pay for the figures at the hotel up the block and in a few days when the hotel was paid by the credit card company, the hotel would pay Tomas. Fabulous! Tomas, Donna, and I walked to the hotel, where the transaction was made and the first hurdle was overcome. Working out the packing and shipping arrangements took another hour or two, but during that time Tomas and I became friends and exchanged telephone numbers (the store didn’t even have a telephone so he gave me the phone number of the post office next door, saying that when I called, he could easily run next door!). Most surprisingly, the package was waiting for me in New York when I returned home from Guatemala.
Comments are welcome!
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