Bethlehem, NH – Establishing Community

Bethlehem, NH – Establishing Community

BETHLEHEM, NH – Last Friday morning I drove 3 hours to a small rural community in Franconia National Park. Lately, New Hampshire has been in the news for the elections and the candidates who are running. The town of Franconia was also a prime spot on the campaign trail for many candidates who are running. For me, Bethlehem has as special significance as not only did I go to college in Bethlehem, PA, the famous Christmas and Steel City but I was invited to do a solo show in Bethlehem, NH. My first ever professional solo exhibition! I mean I exhibited my work in a local gift shop out near Northampton a couple of years ago, but that wasn’t nearly as professional. Coming from suburbia and city life experiencing a rural town was quite different. This trip taught me much about establishing community and bringing together what is left of a booming metropolitan. In the 1800s Bethlehem, NH was a booming metropolitan town boasting 20,000 as it was a top getaway destination for New Yokers. The town was situated right on the railroad which made an easy getaway. However after a fire that had destroyed much of the town’s hotels and establishments the town was left with 2500 people. The current residents have come together to establish a community of what was left of the town from the 1800s.

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Back in June 2015, I was invited to do a solo show at 42 Maple Contemporary Art Center one of three of the remaining art centers in the town. There is a historical theater there as well the brings in performances. Being used to city life, I embraced myself for a quiet evening in the town, but the opening happened to be on labor day weekend and the residents said the town ballooned. The attendees where a nice mix of old and young and overall a great experience. One of the neat things I learned about was WREN: Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network. A community of women who have come together to help bring a sense of community to the town. The organization started in Bethlehem, NH but has branched out to help other rural communities come together. If you haven’t been to New Hampshire or anywhere where it is rural, the residents are often very spread out and it is hard to sometimes form a community. I give a shoutout to my airbnb – Rob Macintosh in Benton, NH. I will write a separate post on my experience there!

New England Destination Guide

New England Destination Guide

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New England Destination Guide

I am very excited to have connected with Tomiko Harvey at Passports and Grubs to write this New England Destination Guide! A fellow colleague – Jessie Leiber over at Little Legends Design suggested I do a New England travel guide of the places my work has taken me. Below are some places off the beaten path that are perfect for the aspiring adventurer.

In addition to being a graphic designer, I am a fine art photographer who has exhibited work in over 32 exhibitions in the last 3 years. As an avid traveller, I have made a point to go to the receptions of these exhibitions to mainly network, meet new people and see a new place. I’ve been lucky to have exhibited abroad as well as nationally and have exhibited in almost all of New England. Today, I will share with you gems that cannot be missed that I have discovered while adventuring around New England!

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1. Pomfret, CT – Celebrations Gallery and Shoppes

Unfortunately the shop has since closed, but the town of Pomfret, CT is certainly a destination off the beaten path. Located in the heart of Windham County Connecticut, it is a town that boasts beautiful rolling hills and bed and breakfasts that promote a country vacation. The town it’s self is known for a strong artist and crafters community and it’s businesses are a reflection of that. While on a vacation in the country you can stop by local artistsan shops and find the local dressmaker, furniture maker, holistic health practitioners, ceramics and other unique products. One must not forget to stop by Martha’s Herbery for local greens and herbs.

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2. Beverly, MA – Cabot Street Studios

This business has since dissolved and is now Zeitgeist Gallery. I had my first studio at this location for about 6 months. I feel like Beverly often gets overshadowed a lot because Salem, MA is right next store. The tourists flock to Salem for it’s obvious charm, but Beverly, has a lot of charm of it’s own. It is a small artist and holistic practitioner community that is well connected. With Montserrat College of Art right there, it is a great resource and destination for an emerging artist.

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3. Greenfield, MA – The Boxcar Gallery

This location too has since closed (noticing a trend here??). I swear there are galleries my work has been in elsewhere that have remained open! Greenfield is a hub of commerce and culture and one of the cool things about this gallery was that yes, it was indeed an old Boxcar – turned – gallery! Also interesting to note that this particular exhibition had original works of art from JMW Turner. It was pretty cool to exhibit my work amongst a classic. Greenfield is nestled in the Hampshire County in Western MA, and a great location spring and fall – especially so to see the foliage.

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4. Cambridge, MA – Gallery 263, Kathryn Schultz Gallery, University Place Gallery

Cambridge, MA is an interesting city as it houses many famous universities, businesses and is a high tech cosmopolitan city that boasts historical charm. The combination of the past and the future provides a unique symbiosis for emerging fields in art, science and technology. Cambridge, MA has a lot of unique gems and museums to walk through; for example the Harvard Natural History Museum and the MIT Museum provide invigorating stimulation.

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5. Provincetown, MA – Gallery Ehva

This destination has a fond place in my heart because my family and I would take me to Provincetown every summer growing up. As a child, I had dreamed of exhibiting in Provincetown and finally it happened in June 2014! I had met a gallery owner through an arts festival in Provincetown and we connected and planned to exhibit my work in their upcoming show that reflected Amy Winehouse; it featured works done by my age group (20 somethings) which was rare for me. We later partied the night away in Provincetown.

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6. Bethlehem, NH – 42 Maple Contemporary Arts Center

After going to college in the infamous Christmas City in Pennsylvania, being accepted into an exhibition in Bethlehem, NH was the ultimate irony. Bethlehem, NH is very different than Bethlehem, PA especially it’s location. In New Hampshire it is situated in the middle of Franconia National Park. A location where you can see the sights and hike the mountains. My work was accepted into a show called the Bee’s Knees which promoted the depopulation of the Bee species at a location known as “The Tallest Toy Box in Town” – 42 Maple Contemporary Center.

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7. Gloucester, MA – Rocky Neck Arts Colony

Noted as the oldest artists colony in the country, Rocky Neck Arts Colony is nestled in Gloucester, MA – a charming, unique fishing town on the North Shore. The Rocky Neck Arts Colony community center is located in a renovated church in downtown Gloucester on a stretch of rocky land that sticks out into the water. There are many unique shops, galleries and restaurants to wander around. It is a nice way to spend a summer day without having to go all the way to Cape Cod.

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8. Bar Harbor, ME – MDI Biological Laboratory

This exhibition was unique as it was located at a biological laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. The exhibition was celebrating the centennial of Acadia National Park. I have heard of Bar Harbor being an excellent summer destination and with a unique combination of art and science it was a road trip not to be missed. Traveling only 5 hours from Boston, made it be an accessible getaway for the weekend. The trip was short enough where you weren’t stuck in the car all day but long enough to motivate you to stay longer. The area was magnificent with it’s scenic views and blue horizons. It’s a perfect destination for the outdoorsy and the beach goers. As an emerging artist in the field of art and science exploring the biological laboratory was a dream. It was interesting to see the scientists working there and the types of people the reception attracted.

There you have it! The above locations have a fond place in my heart for they are slightly different than your typical country destination or even your beach community. Adventuring to these locations has been an eye-opener for me to see new sights and senses. It had never occurred to me that you can combine travel with exhibiting art, but if you make a point to attend the events it will naturally become a part of it.

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Kristi Beisecker is an artist and freelance designer in Massachusetts. In her spare time she creates photograms using electricity and organic materials with analog darkroom processing. She also reads and writes about science and spirituality, composes and performs music and gives spiritual guidance.

Check her out on Social Media: instagram | twitter | facebook | pinterest

Shelburne Falls, MA – The Bridge of Flowers

Shelburne Falls, MA – The Bridge of Flowers

Shelburne Falls, MA – Friday night I went to Shelburne Falls where they have a gem called The Bridge of Flowers. It is about 45 minutes from Northampton and while a small bridge, definitely worth a visit. From their website, “The Bridge of Flowers Committee was initiated by the Shelburne Falls Area Women’s Club in 1929. It is a 501 c 3 nonprofit and its gardeners and volunteer members work hard to keep the Bridge’s many flowers, plants, trees, shrubs and vines growing beautifully throughout the season“. The bridge is open from April to October with full bloom all season. It’s worth a visit for the nature inspired and those into Nature Photography. I went with another photographer and we enjoyed a nice walk down the bridge taking photos of the flowers there.

Bar Harbor, ME – A Taste of Blue

Bar Harbor, ME – A Taste of Blue

Team K has taken on Bar Harbor! My intern went to Bar Harbor last week on a family vacation and I am here this week for one of my artist receptions; Pine Needles and Rose are being exhibited at the MDI Biological Laboratory through September. So far it’s been a dream and very reminiscent of my trip to Big Sur in 2013. The coast is just as dramatic. I left Boston at 7 am and arrived on Bar Harbor Rd at 11:45. I made a few stops along the way for food and bathroom breaks but otherwise the drive was very painless. It seemed shorter than I expected.

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Due to the anticipated cloudy weather tomorrow, I decided to do most of the scenic sightseeing today through drives.

Unfortunately for me it was $25 a vehicle to get into the parks of the popular places; sand beach, etc. but I was content driving along the coast. There are a few free entrances to the Wild Gardens, etc. that I will be making a visit to tomorrow before my reception. I ate at Bar Harbor Beerworks and had their mussels which were amazing! I then did a little shopping and pick up blueberry incense and jam and a couple of postcards.

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Harwich, MA – Cape Cod Lavender Farm

A couple of weekends ago, my family and I went to the Cape Cod Lavender Farm in Harwich, MA. Unfortunately we were a bit early to see everything in bloom, but the fragrance was so strong it was still pleasant to walk around and enjoy. I had seen the CCLF on instagram and been following them for awhile, so it was nice to finally check them out and see local Cape Cod farmers! Below are some pics from that excursion.

Stonington, CT – A Day in the Life of…

Stonington, CT – A Day in the Life of…

Tuesday of this past week, a colleague and fellow entrepreneur invited me to be her assistant for a cover shoot for a luxury magazine that she is building. The team she built was coming from New York to Stonington, CT. She had booked a mansion that was on the market (which was actually right across from Taylor Swift’s!), an up and coming pop star – Kristine Elezaj for a cover girl (who made iHeartRadio’s Top 20 Rising Star competition), fashion designers; Carmen Marcvalvo, Bibhu Mohapatra and Slyvio Kovacic. It was a great day for a shoot.

I woke up very early on Thursday for the cover shoot and drove to my colleague’s house. Then we drove to Stonington, CT for the day. 13533150_3145000224227_2026566947744880184_n

We had gorgeous weather for the shoot and it was fun to meet and network with like-minded individuals and creatives. Sometimes if you are not living in New York or LA it’s hard to network with the right crowd. I don’t have any connections in the creative industry in New York so it was great for me to network with these people but also to have this experience. I hope something will come out of it! FullSizeRender

As an assistant of my colleague, I got to help out with the little things; a main job was to hold the reflectors for the different looks and shoots, but also to take behind the scenes pics and other miscellaneous things. I’d love to do more things like this. It’s a nice balance of contributing and being a part of a major production. Maybe something I can add to my repertoire of my visual marketing brand.

The biggest surprise and fun of it all was literally the day after the shoot, I woke up to find my instagram feed from the people I’ve followed from the shoot flooded with press buzzing about it! The photos were featured on Enquirer, OK, Star and Radar magazines.

Check out my behind the scenes short:

Boston, MA – Americans for the Arts Convention

As I lay here trying to sleep, I figured I’d do my write up for the Americans for the Arts Convention that I attended this past weekend. I came back to Wellesley on Thursday to attend a convention that the Mass Cultural Council invited me to. I had been looking for events and networking opportunities over the winter to attend to this year. 13450098_3131250960504_2202132617928704052_n

While the theme of the convention this year was Public Art and I originally felt that it wasn’t really up my alley being a photographer, I still learned a lot from it and gained some inspiration. There are new trends and innovations within the arts community that are crossing over to the corporate world which I find interesting. It was also a unique convention in the sense that since it was public art so you were mingling with city officials from all over. Unfortunately a lot of it I felt was related to policy, which to me is totally unrelatable. Not to mention I felt like it was hard to network with some of these people since they were 10, 20, 30, 40 years older than me. Though it did give me some insight and direction as to where I should aim in my career.

In terms of learning, I felt that the skills, management and processes to produce these monumental projects were of like-mind in the sense that project management is project management no matter what the outcome was, which was very relatable for me. Coming to this event from a marketing/journalism background I thought was interesting. As many of these people were administrative/policy/advocacy members and then wearing the artist hat, it was interesting to see the other sides of the judging panel.

Although the best parts were seeing a colleague of mine and a community that I have been in contact with out here in Western MA there. It was nice to see the staff at the Arts Extension Services there. As if it wasn’t for the class that I took with them, I would not have met my current landlord! I also met and introduced myself to Jane Echelman whom I have admired since college. I told her that I had seen her at her Wellfleet talk last summer and that I wrote a paper about her work in college comparing it to 1960s sculpture; she seemed flattered! Then properly handed her my biz card with a copy of my photographs on it. :)

All in all, I’m glad I went, though I’m glad I was invited by Mass Cultural Council. Unless the theme was really up my alley, I don’t think it was worth $500 to attend, though I did get a lot of inspiration from it.

Boston, MA – BGTravelShow

Boston, MA – BGTravelShow

The annual Boston Globe Travel Trade Show opened this weekend on Friday, February 19th at the Seaport World Trade Center. The weekend began with roundtable; ‘speed-dating’ style discussion groups with representatives of top travel destinations around the world. The morning and afternoon was broken up into different groups of destinations, “Wedding, Honeymoon and Group Travel”, “Family and Intergenerational Travel” and finally “Eco and Adventure Tourism”. These discussions are not to be missed as they provide essential information to booking your next vacation or corporate event. As a PR/Media attendee I was after contacts and establishing relationship with professionals whom otherwise I would not have met!12717220_3014200994328_260099795776186647_n

As a lifestyle specialist, a travel trade show is a small piece of heaven. Many booths were giving away merchandise or pamphlets and according to the destination, cultural foods and drinks – one booth even had a rum bar! As the weekend unfolds, there is much merriment to be had with food demonstrations, cultural performances and opportunity making.

The culinary program of events is impressive with two-full days of food demonstrations from top chefs across the world. If you ever wanted to feel like you’re in a cooking show, this is the next best thing! Throughout both days there are impressive dishes for the discerning New Englander’s tongue or they may provide the perfect inspiration for your next dinner party! If you’re not a foodie, that’s okay as the trade show also provides an educational, in-depth and inspiring cultural program with prominent speakers and writers that will help inspire you to pick your next destination.

Everyone’s objective in going to the Boston Globe Travel Trade Show is different. For me it was networking, building relationships, learning, etc. for some it is purely educational, for others mere entertainment. Whatever it is, I will leave you with my top 4 pieces of advice for going to a travel trade show.

1. Arrive Early
Whether you are there for part of your job, or a general attendee, arrive early. Many things that factor into your travel time there and if you get hung up in traffic or have trouble finding a parking spot the extra time will help. This is especially important for professionals, you do not want to be late!

2. Plan Your Objective
What do you hope to accomplish with your time at a travel trade show? Who are your top professionals that you want to speak to? For me, it was sales and PR representatives, those who can invite me to future press trips or provide sponsorships.

3. Prepare Your Promotional Materials
Many sales representatives will present you with promotional and merchandise materials. Creating yours will help you leave a lasting impression as well as show that you are legitimate. It can be as short and sweet as a sell sheet with your products and services, or as in-depth as media kit. But puh-lease, don’t do it the night before. 😉 It can even be as simple as a business card.

4. Be Open
This is an experience! Experience it by trying new things, live a little, as that is what traveling to a new destination is all about! Don’t be afraid to talk to fellow attendees or introduce yourself, the more people you connect, the more opportunity can be made.

Well there you have it! If you are local, regional or even national, the Boston Globe Travel Trade Show is a great affordable event for all travel enthusiasts. It’s like seeing all the world at once in one room!

Wellfleet, MA Artist Talk: Janet Echelman

Wellfleet, MA Artist Talk: Janet Echelman

Wednesday afternoon, I drove down to my family’s summer home in Eastham to attend an artist talk in Wellfleet later that evening. The artist – Janet Echelman, who I have admired since junior year of college when I wrote a paper about her work comparing it to a 1960s artist. Ever since then, her work has amazed me. When I came down to the reception for Truro – in July, I picked up a Provincetown Art Gallery guide and saw in the back a list of events and saw that Janet Echelman was speaking in Wellfleet. I am very glad I got to attend her talk as she spoke more about her process and journey as an artist. It was refreshing to hear her background as she thought she’d never break into the art world as a traditional artist and it got me thinking about my work and journey. It also impressed me how each design of hers, while the final outcome is the same style and technique and design she has fabricated, the original concept and research is different each time and tailored to each commission/city.

Hyarts, MA – Hyarts Shanty Week!

Hyarts, MA – Hyarts Shanty Week!

People are buying! I’m so excited. Tuesday and Wednesday have been the best days. I think Thursday is going to be a harder day to sell, so far it’s been pretty slow. I’m hoping this weekend will make up for it. There’s been a lot of interest and I’ve been handing out my rack cards and have gotten a few online orders. One person asked for my online shop. So that’s great. One person was really interested in buying Pine Needles #2 and he may come back later. He happened to work in Wellesley! I’m happy with how this week is going so far. Trying different things with my products and see where it goes. It’s just lovely sitting here by the water on the harbor. :) And I get internet access! So I can get caught up on all my marketing and internet work. :)

Bethlehem, NH

Bethlehem, NH

photoLast Week I went to Bethlehem, NH to pick up 3 pieces of artwork from The Bees Knees show. I wish I was in the country so I could’ve attended the reception because it sounded pretty cool. They had a honey tasting and the President of the Bee association came to the reception. The center tried to sell a piece to a well known photographer in the area because he was impressed with the work but it didn’t go through. :( Anyway, I chatted with one of the members there and took pics of the gallery because they invited me to do a solo show next September! I’m excited for it and will probably make a weekend out of it. This ride was the prettiest ride ever to pick up artwork… a drive through the green mountains in June with the flowers blooming and fields of color… September should provide lots of foliage and inspiration for the show. :)

A Search for Gold Turned Into Finding Paper

A Search for Gold Turned Into Finding Paper

I went into Florence last Saturday to do some research and shopping. My host told me about the Orto Botanical which is a botanical garden. This place was interesting in that they labeled everything in the gardens so I was able to put a name to face on some of the plants I have been working with here.DSC_0079

For shopping, I wanted to bring some things back that I hadn’t brought back when I was younger… and couldn’t afford…   I did some research about gold before hand as my parents gave me some spending money for the trip and wanted to take a look and see if there was something I could afford. I read of a place called Oro Due “Firenze” that had decent prices and selections and it was near the bridge. But it ended up being too far for me since I stopped at a couple of places along the way, had lunch in San Macro Piazza and I ended up stopping by some stores along the way.

It started to pour while I was heading towards the other botanical garden my host recommended and decided to just hit the stores. I darted in and around the merchants trying to sell you umbrellas or ponchos (didn’t need one more thing to carry thank you very much and welcomed the cool rain) and darted into a store unknowingly that it was one I wanted to go to – Sigma … best known for the leather books and journals. I picked up and felt the journals available…. they were decent prices and some even discounted. When shopping I am cautious about the space in my luggage since I don’t have much left. Instead of a larger journal I had been fondling I took home a quill with the florentine fleur di lis on it in the turquoise color that is my home office color… and darted back out. On the way I had already stopped by Il Papiro a store of marbled paper made in Italy. I bought some clippings, a pencil holder and stickers with my initial on it.

DSC_0080On the way to Sigma, I passed a few gold shops and decided to poke my head in. A few were busy especially the ones that have been in existence for awhile. I spoke with a salesperson and he gave me some knowledge about buying gold in Italy. Unfortunately some of the styles that were available I didn’t particularly care for, as they didn’t look like you dropped 150 euros on it if you know what I mean… I appreciated the design but it was definitely a tourist trap as it had a reproduction of the florino (the coin of the florence empire) on it… a thin band for 150 euros!! No thanks. I found a design I liked in another shop, but it was a bit more than what I was willing to pay for and not to mention that rings have a higher potential to be lost…

Of Loss…

Of Loss…

I went on a walk today. Not too far away, just in the general area. One of the other artists here told me about an abandoned church that was not too far down the road. Having a vague interest in abandoned buildings I was intrigued. Since I didn’t have anything planned today, today was a good day to do some walking.

I ended up almost missing the church because the original path was overgrown with grass and pine needles and dirt. I started my way back up the road until I spotted a overgrown stone stair case and thought that was peculiar, but also thought it was kind of religious looking. I walked up the stairs and down a path that had grapes growing on either side of the pathway. I followed the pathway all the way up into a wooded area and a small towering church came into view. I had found it!

There was two stone benches attached to the church outside and I decided to take a break and cool off a bit. It was very peaceful as it sat back from the road a bit and you could barely hear the traffic that drove by. I got up and walked over to the front of the church. Unfortunately the doors were bolted shut so I couldn’t go in but I noticed some roses growing out of the masonry work of the church and snapped a few photos.

While I was sitting down, I thought about recently how people were leaving the Catholic faith in droves and here is an abandoned church. I thought about my own spirituality and concluded that they weren’t necessarily leaving religion altogether, but perhaps leaving organized religion and focusing on a more personal journey.

The above image was taken just before I walked down the pathway. My artwork is hugely centered around place/the environment as well as loss. At the beginning of this residency, I ran across an article from Orion Magazine by British author Robert MacFarlane and fell in love with the way he spoke about landscape. How his interest in landscape came from something called “landspeak”… describing one’s surroundings using singular words and sometimes phrases. He also mentioned the botanist, Oliver Rackham and wrote this passage about Rackham’s book, In the History of the Countryside.

“[…], the great botanist Oliver Rackham describes four ways in which “landscape is lost”: through the loss of beauty, the loss of freedom, the loss of wildlife and vegetation, and the loss of meaning. I admire the way that aesthetics, human experience, ecology, and semantics are given parity in his list. Of these losses the last is hardest to measure.”

It was interesting to me that this botanist saw that landscape is lost and he describes this loss through beauty, freedom, wildlife and vegetation and meaning. It made me think of my own healing journey from the loss of my job, a close friendship and relationship and more all in the span of two years. It was as if I was loosing myself and regenerating a new self from going through this pain and healing. I am certainly a different person than I was two years ago. I love the above image as it captures the sense of loss I think that MacFarlane was speaking about. Things change and move around and things get lost in the process. I have felt that this residency was the pinnacle of a turning point in my life. I had nothing but work and sleep for 6-9 months and I made enough money to take a month off and live in Italy to work on my artwork. I definitely sense change is coming and something new will come out of this loss. I had been thinking a lot about this close friendship whom I lost this past year and I definitely caught myself missing him.

Beltane/First Day of Greve

Beltane/First Day of Greve

Happy Beltane!

Finally I am able to blog! Things have been crazy with traveling and work in between. But I traveled through London and arrived in Italy OK. Everything in Italy is a lot more organized than I anticipated it to be – which is reassuring.

Tomorrow, I will be doing my first exposures in the studio here and to test out the device. I’ve found some really awesome flowers today on my first walk around the property.

The other Americana artist here is really nice. He’s acting in a film and asked to film my process which I think would be really cool.

I haven’t worked in the studio yet, I had some graphic design work to do today and intend on doing some exposures tomorrow hopefully. I’ve been working on my artist journal and finding inspirations.

Yesterday, was a really crazy day. I woke up at 4:45 am and left for the airport in London to fly to Florence. I met up with my driver/caretaker who drove me to Greve. This area is absolutely amazing and I’m excited to be here and make art. I definitely feel at home here. :) I unpacked, went into Greve to pick up food and came back, got dressed and went into Florence for an art opening of one of the caretaker’s friends. Came back, had a bottle of wine and worked on some more graphic design stuff and skyped quickly with my client whose based in Dubai then went to bed around 2:30 am.

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage!

On Sunday evening, I will be leaving America to head to my first stop! London! I am so excited that this is finally happening! God bless the universe for being kind to me in terms of money, after working hard these past 6-9 months on my graphic design work, I’ve made enough to be able to attend this residency. And I definitely need a break! My last “vacation” was in September when I went to Canada for the week and I got sick… so it wasn’t really a vacation lol. Then I will be heading to Greve in Chianti for the month of May and Paris the first week of June to celebrate my parents’ anniversary.

I’m excited to be creating more artwork. The last time I created work was around this time last year when I was still in Longmeadow.

Hello world.