ART BLOG Art, Photography, Travel & News

Joseph Pisani: Guest Art Teacher. Q&A with a 6th grade art class from Caracas, Venezuela.
Joseph Pisani: Guest Art Teacher. Q&A with a 6th grade art class from Caracas, Venezuela.

Joseph Pisani: Guest Artist… Photo by Lisa Allen.

Over the past few years, I’ve been invited into a few elementary school classrooms as a guest art teacher / guest artist, which has always been a great experience for me.
Recently, this took on a new form: a long distance Q&A with the sixth grade students from Escuela Campo Alegre in Caracas, Venezuela.

As Art teacher, Lisa Allen, explains:

“My sixth grade students have been studying Abstract Expressionism and looking at many old masters such as Barnett Newmann, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko, but also at the work of contemporary artist Joseph Pisani. Prior units in the course take them through several topics in color theory, including varying cultural responses to colors, practicing monochromatic painting, and a special exploration into using non-traditional painting tools to create unique textures and layering effects in acrylic paints…”

Below are some of the questions from the students. Also included are some of the student’s paintings: their own wonderful interpretations of abstract expressionism!

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Adventure travel with professional camera gear tips
Adventure travel photography with professional camera gear tips

Exploring ruins in Cambodia: Adventure Travel Photography

I’m often asked for advice about adventure travel photography, including what camera gear to bring and the best way to carry that gear during long-term backpacking trips. My methodology for long-term travel, where space and weight are of utmost importance, is completely different than it is for short term professional photography trips, where I would usually have a full kit with me. While backpacking through exotic destinations, there are many additional things to think about.

Considering the high cost of the gear I travel with, as well as how heavy it is, my main goal is to limit what I have with me as much as possible, while still having the right gear to make great photos. Insurance against potential theft is also a must, but still, losing camera gear or even worse, losing my photos, would be detrimental, even while fully insured.

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Bus and train station in Tiraspol, Trans-Dniester
Artist Adventure Travel Series: Bus and train station in Tiraspol, Transdniester

Artist Adventrue Travel Series: Bus and train station in Tiraspol, Transdniester

This is part two of my “Iron Curtain Roulette” Adventure Travel Series. Part one is here.

Traveling east in a rundown minibus along a rough road in Moldova. Jay and I were the only foreigners among the twenty other passengers headed to Transdniester, a small communist strip of land that doesn’t officially exist. The border crossing comprised of a makeshift assortment of old trailers and barracks, with military personnel wearing big guns and milling around smoking cigarettes. An armed officer boarded our bus, and we quickly became the main focus of his attention. Suddenly my attempts at concealing my large camera inside my day-pack seemed like a really bad idea. We had been warned that journalists were sometimes arrested here, and I cursed myself under my breath for not taking the warnings more seriously.

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Iron Curtain Roulette — The rules of this trip were easy: The entire former Soviet Block was in bounds, and every travel decision had to be spontaneously in the bus or train station, as if spinning a roulette wheel at each turn...

Iron Curtain Roulette: The rules of this trip were easy: The entire former Soviet Block was in bounds, and every travel decision had to be spontaneously made in the bus or train station, as if spinning a roulette wheel at each turn…

It’s 3 am in L’viv, Ukraine, and we were standing in a disco called Misto. The dance floor, decked in a beach theme, was covered in sand and the place was jumping. We ended up here by chance, as the rules of this trip were few. The entire former Soviet Union was within bounds, while each travel decision must be made spontaneously at the bus or train station, as if spinning a roulette wheel at each juncture. L’viv. This beautiful, UNESCO world heritage site was a stopover on the way to our goal—Transdniester, a communist sliver of a republic, sandwiched between Ukraine and Moldova. It remains unrecognized by any international organization. How could we resist a country that doesn’t officially exist? But getting there was an adventure all of its own. We arrived in L’viv on a night bus from Warsaw in Poland at 7 am and spent the day exploring. Old tractors mixed with small cars in the city center. An antique tram clacked and zigzagged around town. A closer look revealed many little “red” reminders of Ukraine’s Soviet past.

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Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar
Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar

Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar — one of the few places we could visit before having to evacuate to a hospital in Bangkok.

For me, the only really bad thing about adventure travel is being sick or being in an accident far away from home. Over the years, in search of exotic inspiration, I’ve had my share of illnesses and accidents along the way, and in doing so, built up a slight fear of foreign hospitals. I guess that isn’t all that strange considering some of the places I’ve traveled to, and some of the downright frightening hospitals I’ve encountered along the way. With that said, nothing could have prepared me for what I just went through…

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Headed to a jungle bungalow for the night... ended up being even harder to get to than it looks.
Headed to a jungle bungalow for the night... ended up being even harder to get to than it looks: Artistic Inpirational Travel.

Headed to a jungle bungalow for the night… ended up being even harder to get to than it looks.

If you haven’t been able to reach me over the past few months, there was a rather good reason why. I just arrived back from a three+ month adventure trek across South East Asia & beyond. The journey was filled with a welcome overload of artistic inspirational travel, and a lifetime worth of memories, and plenty of awesome travel photos to base my next abstract paintings on.

As usual, the journey wasn’t planned out more than a plane ticket, the first night’s hotel accommodation, and a few potential ideas. Rather than set stringent travel plans, I let serendipity guide me, and as usual, ended up finding some amazing places I wouldn’t have even thought to plan a trip to, including many exotic (and some more touristy as well) destinations in Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the mega-city Hong Kong…

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Exploring the snake infested Temple

Exploring the snake infested Temple

We knew about the poisonous snakes around, having read all about the vipers and cobras, so I was being extra cautious while exploring the amazing ‘Beng Mealea’ temple. We had woken up extra early to make the 1.5 hour drive to the ruins that have been reclaimed by the jungle. We were mostly alone, apart from a few of the people working there…

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