#ILOVEJAX … Part 2

As many of you already know: I love Jacksonville! I spend much time and energy promoting our fabulous city (for free I might add) through my website, facebook, instagram, face to face interactions with everyday folks and I even make art about our fabulous city too (check out the Dingo Loves Jax series). It seems that a while ago, Jacksonville had some pretty major problems and has since been marked by many of it’s locals as a horrible & dangerous city lacking in any arts & culture and with nothing to do. Which is so far from the truth!

I will agree, we still have several issues that need to be addressed such as: the increased violence, murders, and drug crimes that run rampant in many parts of our city making us one of the worst in the state; the ongoing issue between the need for separation between church and state at our city council level; and then there is the desperate need for better & safer pedestrian/cycling infrastructure throughout our city. This is just to name a few.

But I digress, it’s important that as a community we continue to voice our opinions and concerns, while still embracing and celebrating and not forgetting all that is awesome and good about our city. Here are just some of my latest adventures for you to continue to live vicariously through or get up and get in on the fun:

JAX 2025 is a community owned and driven initiative to envision and develop Jacksonville into the city it wants to be by 2025. Anyone can join in the conversations and meetings so be sure to check out their website, just click the the pic. I’ve been to two of their meetings already and the flow of ideas is wonderful. Definitely get in on this or pass along to a friend.

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On January 31st, One Spark held their 2nd town hall meeting at the Florida Theatrer It was so exciting to hear all the great and wonderful creative spirits that live and breathe right here in our very own city. If you don't know what One Spark is, click the link above to get in the know and get involved.

On January 31st, One Spark held their 2nd town hall meeting at the Florida Theater It was so exciting to hear all the great and wonderful creative spirits that live and breathe right here in our very own city. If you don’t know what One Spark is, click the pic above to get in the know and get involved.

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My friend and one of Jacksonville's most prolific artists, Mr. Overstreet Ducasse, did a wonderful One on One artist talk at the Ritz Museum on Jan 22nd. It's always great to hear what goes on inside the mind of an artist. To see and learn more about Overstreet, click the pic and visit his facebook page.

My friend and one of Jacksonville’s most prolific artists, Mr. Overstreet Ducasse, did a wonderful One on One artist talk at the Ritz Museum on Jan 22nd. It’s always great to hear what goes on inside the mind of an artist. To see and learn more about Overstreet, click the pic and visit his facebook page.

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Photo Jax 2013 was a 4 day event (Jan 24-27) spread across 5 venues, celebrating everything that is photography. Part of the event, which is my favorite, was the Instagram Community Response Projection (#PhotoJAX500) which allows everyday Instagram addicts like myself to showcase our goods. I had about 5 of my images selected and projected in front of MoCA during the event along with 495 other lucky participants that got selected. Pictured above, is none other than Gambit (aka the Jacksonville Dingo). Click the pic to find out more about PHOTOJAX :)

Photo Jax 2013 was a 4 day event (Jan 24-27) spread across 5 venues, celebrating everything that is photography. Part of the event, which is my favorite, was the Instagram Community Response Projection (#PhotoJAX500) which allows everyday Instagram addicts like myself to showcase our goods. I had about 5 of my images selected and projected in front of MoCA during the event along with 495 other lucky photos that got selected. Pictured above, is none other than the Jax Dingo (aka Gambit). Click the pic to find out more about PHOTOJAX 🙂

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Earlier in January, a very famous local dingo (aka Gambit) was spotted at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. This is one of Jacksonville's best kept little secrets. With a beautiful lake right smack in the middle of it and tons of beautiful trails all around, and as an added bonus it's totally dog friendly. Absolutely worth checking out. Click the pic for their website.

Earlier in January, a very famous local dingo (aka Gambit) was spotted at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. This is one of Jacksonville’s best kept little secrets. It has a beautiful lake right smack in the middle of it, tons of beautiful trails all around, and as an added bonus it’s totally dog friendly, too. You  absolutely want to check it out. Click the pic for their website.

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A few weeks ago I visited Big Talbot Island and got lost in the beauty that is Boneyard Beach. Not only are there hiking & bike trails around the area but this beach is an absolute gem! Definitely worth the drive, hike, and climb to get to it. Click the pic for a link to their website.

Then there is Big Talbot Island. I got lost in the beauty that is Boneyard Beach. Not only are there hiking & bike trails around the area but this beach is an absolute gem! Definitely worth the drive, hike, and climb to get to it. Click the pic for a link to their website.

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And last but not least, Jacksonville's spectacular sunsets! This one was caught on A1A near Hannah Park.

And last but not least, Jacksonville’s spectacular sunsets! This one was caught on A1A near Hannah Park.

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Not included but also part of my latest adventures in Jacksonville include but are not limited to Hanna Park, a Jacksonville Giants basketball game (which btw is a WINNING team 22-1), & a trip to The Museum of Science & History.

*If you would like to follow my adventures on a daily basis, be sure to follow me on instagram or facebook.

OPERATION: Bring Art to the People- Road Trip to Chattanooga Edition

Anyone who knows me, knows that when I tell a story, I like to start from the beginning. So to tell you about my latest trip to Chattanooga, you guessed it, I have to start from the beginning. So here it goes:

In 2003, after a messy breakup from a an almost 3 year relationship, I found myself  being a single dog/cat “parent”, without a place to live or even a bed to sleep on. My fairly new BFF came to my rescue and offered me a place to stay in her one bedroom apartment with her Japanese Akita dog lovingly named, Jade.

The tight living quarters posed many challenges. For one, my “bedroom” was actually the dining room and second, our dogs were having a super hard time getting along because of their conflicting personalities. Jade, due to her breed, is naturally stubborn, protective, and bossy while Gambit, for who knows what reason, knows he’s not the alpha dog, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to prove otherwise any chance he gets. So needless to say, there were many scuffles between my 50lb dog and my BFF’s 100+lb dog, but eventually, they learned to get along and became BFFs themselves.

Fast-forward several years and many countless memories and life changes later, and my BFF & Jade, have since moved from sunny Jacksonville, FL to Chattanooga, TN and last week I got the phone call that I knew would one day be coming in one way or another: it’s time to let her go. So with much sadness, but with much happiness for a chance to see her one more time, I started to plan my trip to Tennessee. My mind kept going back to just how blessed Jade was to have found my amazing BFF and just how blessed my BFF was to find such a wonderful dog like Jade.

Dogs are truly amazing creations. It’s not hard to imagine them as angels in disguise, whose sole purpose it is on this earth to give us companionship, unconditional love, protection, comfort and so much more. Most of my art work is based on both my first dog, Snoopy (he’s the blue & white dog in my Childhood series) and my current dog, Gambit. If you can’t tell, I have a very warm place in my heart for these wonderful creatures.

So as I prepared for my trip, I realized this was a good opportunity take OPERATION: Bring Art to the People with me on the road for a few Sneaky Love Art Drops, and not only would it be a good distraction from the reality of the visit but, a chance to share the love of art with the focus of the work being on: Doggie Love.

I selected a couple of my favorite works, loaded them & the dog into the car & hit the road. My first drop was at a rest stop somewhere along I-75 North about 2 hours south of Atlanta. As I got closer and closer to Chattanooga, the reality started sinking in again and I couldn’t wait to spend some quality time with my BFF & Jade, and as an added bonus her other BFF & her dog, Brinkley, also drove up and joined in on the get together.

That night, we all talked, we laughed, we cried, we ate, we took pictures, and we loved on the dogs, especially Jade. There were moments when we acted normal, almost as if we had forgotten exactly why we were all there, but then reality would strike us again & the mood would quickly change, but then one of the dogs would do something ridiculous and we’d be right back to laughing uncontrollably. It really was a bittersweet experience.

The next morning we took all the “kids” to the dog park and watched them frolic and play without a care in the world. It was sad though to see how differently the dogs played now compared to 10 years ago. There was less running, less fighting, but there was still so much love & happiness oozing from each of them that we couldn’t help but smile.

Then it was time to say our good-byes to Jade…

We were all numb afterwards, not really knowing what to say, how to act, it didn’t seem real. My BFF didn’t want to go home, she wanted to be distracted, so I suggested an Art Drop and she was all for it, but I have a feeling, if I had told her that I wanted to balance & rotate my own tires, she probably would of agreed to tag along just so she wouldn’t have to stay home. It was amazing how quickly we got distracted looking for the perfect spot to drop the piece, the excitement of trying to go unnoticed, and the exhilaration as we ran away from the scene of the “crime.” For a few minutes, we allowed ourselves to enjoy the present moment before we reconnected with reality.

The next day, I woke up early and started my journey back home with Gambit. Two hours into my drive, I got off at one of the first exits for ATL for the the final Sneaky Love Art Drop of my journey, where a super cool looking diner called the OK Cafe caught my eye, so I strategically dropped the last painting into some bushes for a random person to find. From that same exit, I refueled the car with gas, the dog with some water & myself with some coffee and hit the road again. As I drove down I-75 South, I reflected on my trip with an appreciation for the blessing that my BFF is on my life, for the blessings that our dogs are in our lives, for the moments and memories, both good & bad, that are made a little easier just by releasing the love in our hearts towards each other, whether it’s your best friend or a complete stranger. Our lives are short on this earth, we really need to live everyday with purpose, figure out what we were put here to do, and with a loving heart push through and get it done, help people along the way, never stop searching for wisdom & understanding and embrace every precious moment as the blessings come pouring in…

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OPERATION: Bring Art to the People- Road Trip to Chattanooga Edition

Anyone who knows me, knows that when I tell a story, I like to start from the beginning. So to tell you about my latest trip to Chattanooga, you guessed it, I have to start from the beginning. So here it goes:

In 2003, after a messy breakup from a an almost 3 year relationship, I found myself being a single dog/cat “parent”, without a place to live or even a bed to sleep on. My fairly new BFF came to my rescue and offered me a place to stay in her one bedroom apartment with her Japanese Akita dog lovingly named, Jade.

Jade liked to dominate everything, including the bed she was not allowed to be on (pic taken apprx 2009)

The tight living quarters posed many challenges. For one, my “bedroom” was actually the dining room and second, our dogs were having a super hard time getting along because of their conflicting personalities. Jade, due to her breed, is naturally stubborn, protective, and bossy while Gambit, for who knows what reason, knows he’s not the alpha dog, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to prove otherwise any chance he gets. So needless to say, there were many scuffles between my 50lb dog and my BFF’s 100+lb dog, but eventually, they learned to get along and became BFFs themselves.

Fast-forward several years and many countless memories and life changes later, and my BFF & Jade, have since moved from sunny Jacksonville, FL to Chattanooga, TN and last week I got the phone call that I knew would one day be coming in one way or another: it’s time to let her go. So with much sadness, but with much happiness for a chance to see her one more time, I started to plan my trip to Tennessee. My mind kept going back to just how blessed Jade was to have found my amazing BFF and just how blessed my BFF was to find such a wonderful dog like Jade.

Dogs are truly amazing creations. It’s not hard to imagine them as angels in disguise, whose sole purpose it is on this earth to give us companionship, unconditional love, protection, comfort and so much more. Most of my art work is based on both my first dog, Snoopy (he’s the blue & white dog in my Childhood series) and my current dog, Gambit. If you can’t tell, I have a very warm place in my heart for these wonderful creatures.

Brinkley, Jade & Gambit At the dog park...

So as I prepared for my trip, I realized this was a good opportunity take OPERATION: Bring Art to the People with me on the road for a few Sneaky Love Art Drops, and not only would it be a good distraction from the reality of the visit but, a chance to share the love of art with the focus of the work being on: Doggie Love.

I selected a couple of my favorite works, loaded them & the dog into the car & hit the road. My first drop was at a rest stop somewhere along I-75 North about 2 hours south of Atlanta. As I got closer and closer to Chattanooga, the reality started sinking in again and I couldn’t wait to spend some quality time with my BFF & Jade, and as an added bonus her other BFF & her dog, Brinkley, also drove up and joined in on the get together.

That night, we all talked, we laughed, we cried, we ate, we took pictures, and we loved on the dogs, especially Jade. There were moments when we acted normal, almost as if we had forgotten exactly why we were all there, but then reality would strike us again & the mood would quickly change, but then one of the dogs would do something ridiculous and we’d be right back to laughing uncontrollably. It really was a bittersweet experience.

The next morning we took all the “kids” to the dog park and watched them frolic and play without a care in the world. It was sad though to see how differently the dogs played now compared to 10 years ago. There was less running, less fighting, but there was still so much love & happiness oozing from each of them that we couldn’t help but smile.

Then it was time to say our good-byes to Jade…

We were all numb afterwards, not really knowing what to say, how to act, it didn’t seem real. My BFF didn’t want to go home, she wanted to be distracted, so I suggested an Art Drop and she was all for it, but I have a feeling, if I had told her that I wanted to balance & rotate my own tires, she probably would of agreed to tag along just so she wouldn’t have to stay home. It was amazing how quickly we got distracted looking for the perfect spot to drop the piece, the excitement of trying to go unnoticed, and the exhilaration as we ran away from the scene of the “crime.” For a few minutes, we allowed ourselves to enjoy the present moment before we reconnected with reality.

My BFF playing the part of the Sneaky Agent in Chattanooga...

The next day, I woke up early and started my journey back home with Gambit. Two hours into my drive, I got off at one of the first exits for ATL for the the final Sneaky Love Art Drop of my journey, where a super cool looking diner called the OK Cafe caught my eye, so I strategically dropped the last painting into some bushes for a random person to find. From that same exit, I refueled the car with gas, the dog with some water & myself with some coffee and hit the road again. As I drove down I-75 South, I reflected on my trip with an appreciation for the blessing that my BFF is on my life, for the blessings that our dogs are in our lives, for the moments and memories, both good & bad, that are made a little easier just by releasing the love in our hearts towards each other, whether it’s your best friend or a complete stranger. Our lives are short on this earth, we really need to live everyday with purpose, figure out what we were put here to do, and with a loving heart push through and get it done, help people along the way, never stop searching for wisdom & understanding and embrace every precious moment as the blessings come pouring in…

Happy New Year

To celebrate the New Year, I have decided to add a new series to my line of work. I call it the GAMBIT SERIES (named after my dog, Gambit.) It’s a series of illustrations featuring my dog Gambit as different characters and in different scenarios. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing and anyone who knows me knows how blessed I am to have such an awesome dog with so much personality and loyalty. Most the images on here will be done through photoshop, but I will be working on some larger canvas work and small mixed media works on paper.

2010 has been an adventure, a series of bumps, bruises, and blessings, a total learning experience so I can posture myself for the greatness that’s coming in 2011. I wish everyone a wonderful, safe, and blessed 2011! 🙂