1990 was the year that sort of marked the end of my Bohemian lifestyle. Then, at the age of 28, I was living in Paris, trying to figure out where my next steps were going to lead. Not far from the Blvd. de Vaugirard where I lived was a cemetery called Montparnasse. On nice spring and summer days, a group of us would often gather amongst the ornate tombstones in the cemetery to discuss art, music and film.
Straddling the crossroads of continental Asia and Europe is Istanbul, one of my favorite places to spend time wandering around. Like a fine vintage wine cellaring over time, Istanbul serves up many twists and turns, many faces, and a multitude of atmospheres. Quite probably holding the distinction of being the world’s premier multiethnic environment, its many layers would take lifetimes to decipher.
“Be careful because Cambodia is the most dangerous country you will ever visit. You will fall in love with it and eventually it will break your heart.” – Joseph Mussomeli, former US Ambassador to Cambodia.
I spent last December and January travelling through the countries formerly known as French Indochina – Cambodia, Laos and South Vietnam. And now as I write this and look at my photos, I get what the Ambassador meant.
Situated off the coast of Southern India is the tropically lush island nation of Sri Lanka. Formerly known as Ceylon from 1802 to 1972, Sri Lanka was administered under British crown until gaining independence in 1948. That was also the year India gained her independence from Great Britain.
Tunisia is a small North African country flanked by Libya and Algeria. Its central geographic location has made it a significant point of confluence and, over centuries, has attracted various voyagers from other Mediterranean, African, and European regions. They brought with them diverse cultural influences that fostered the development of a rich and unique artistic style.
Travelling through Mexico in early November and getting caught up in a street festival during the day of the dead – el Dia de los Muertos – is an unforgettable experience. The relationship between Mexico and death is unique – as is the Mexican relationship with color.
The energy of color is something we viscerally perceive, and Mexico is a place that thrives in a rich and dynamic color palette.
Nicaragua is a country I really like – the political history of this small country is nothing short of fascinating… from recent historical events such as the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship, the Sandanista uprising, and the Contra war. This country, dubiously designated as the most socioeconomic challenged country in Central America, is also one of the safest, having the lowest crime rate in the region making most of the country very accessible.
Crystalline, Compulsive, Gritty, Optimistic, Hallucinogenic – these are pretty hefty adjectives but for me they aptly describe the genius and raw power of the late Ramojus ‘Ray’ Mozoliauskas who was, in my opinion, one of the most creative forces in American memorial art design over the last century.
Ray, originally from Lithuania, immigrated to the US in the late 1940’s and became a resident of Chicago.
Jozef Tito presided over a multi-ethnic Yugoslavia from 1945 until his death in 1980. During the 11 years following his death, the country gradually fractured into regionalism and ethnic divisions, which finally led to the Homeland Wars in 1991. The land once known as Yugoslavia is now a region consisting of six countries: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro.