Monday, December 31, 2012

Unlikely Elegance

During the set up for one of the DRIP shows, a crew member took some water from a prop and dumped it in the parking lot. The water trickled down the sloping pavement in thin, winding rivers. I happened to walk by and I thought it was stunning. 

I am amazed at how something as simple as water on concrete can transform into so much more. This picture makes me think of long strands of seaweed twisting in a gentle current or a birds eye view of the vast network of streams that make up the Amazon River.

 I stop and marvel at how this empty parking spot has taken me to exotic locations half way around the world.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Beams of Light

I love this shot I was able to capture of my cat. Normally I like to leave the blinds open when I am home, but for some reason on that day I had them at an angle. He curled up on my comforter and placed himself in the best spot to get all the warmth from the sun.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tech Angel

After each DRIP show there is quite a bit of clean up and resetting for the next performance. While we were all scrambling to put the show back together I was able to capture this shot of Kaleb, one of our crew members.

Kaleb was holding one of the props so we could clean it properly. Silhouetted against the lights of the stage he becomes the picture of serenity. While we rush around him he remains still and calm. Almost angelic, with a wrought iron halo to match. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gems of Man Made and Celestial Nature

I was walking from Publix back to my Starbucks when I saw this sky. I stood in the middle of the street and fumbled with my grocery bag to get my phone out of my pocket. A little frustration was worth capturing this peaceful December sky. 

The cool blue sky is famed by the jagged trees as it shifts into dusty lavender. A crescent of light hangs in the distance. The streetlight warms the oncoming night with it's golden glow. The light and power lines stand as equal partners with the trees. A simple reminder of the balance between nature and city life. Photos like this make me feel like they can coexist in harmony. The sky can be beautiful with both gems of man made and celestial nature. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


I remember my job interview with Mariko. I was almost done with my classes at the University of Central Florida and I needed to get an internship. I had two great interviews with two different ad agencies and in both instances I was the second choice. It was great to come so close but frustrating to be just good enough to not get the position. I complained to a coworker at Starbucks about my struggle to find an internship. She worked briefly at the Arts and Cultural Alliance downtown and recommended that I call Mariko to see if she could offer me an internship. I took the number and called Mariko. She told me that the Arts and Cultural Alliance did not need any interns at the time, however, she did have her own side project and asked if I would be interested in helping her. I agreed and we decided to meet for an interview.

My car was broken down at the time and my friend Neill offered to drive me. As I was getting dressed I tried on a few conservative looks I had worn to the other interviews. Nothing felt right. I hadn't had any luck before so I wanted to take a risk this time. I decided to change into a bohemian shirt with a lovely blue trim and some sequin accents. When Neill came to pick me up he raised an eyebrow at my unconventional attire.

"Are you sure you want to wear that?"
"Yes" I said with confidence. "I've got a good feeling about this."

He drove me to the interview destination which was Dandelion Tea. I had never been before and I was expecting a formal restaurant. Dandelion was a small, bright green cafe tucked inside a renovated house. Neill said he would wait for my interview to be done and I headed inside.

I got their before Mariko and nervously thumbed through my portfolio while I waited. When she arrived I was surprised to find out that she was only a few years older than me. She was very nice, she asked me more questions about myself than anyone else I had interviewed with. She bought my food and took time going over my portfolio with me.

At the end of the interview she said that she would like to work with me. We made plans to meet again and I ran out to Neill's car. I was so happy I startled him from his nap.

"What? What's wrong? Did you get it?" he asked as he adjusted his seat back up.
"I GOT IT! I GOT IT!" I remember smiling from ear to ear.

It was an unusual project to say the least. There were late night meetings in backyards of people I had never met. I was spay painting canvas and rolling up plastic tarps. I was holding props and learning to listen for my cues which were timed to music. I remember not having any idea what I was doing. This had nothing to do with graphic design. But everyone I met was nice and the project seemed interesting so I decided to stick it out.

We were actually getting ready for our performance in the 2008 Orlando Fringe Festival. I had never been until that year so I didn't realize what a big deal it was until I was knee deep. We had one of the most complex set ups that had ever been at the Fringe Festival, and we couldn't get a drop of paint anywhere. I always had a towel with me just in case I spotted any stray drops. Everyday we had to move an enormous thirteen foot tall waterfall box in and out of the venue.

Once the performance started I had a hard time keeping up with my cues. By now I knew where they were but I was so enthralled by the performance that it was hard to pull myself away. Up until then I had only seen bits and pieces of the show, but now I was able to see how everything fit together and it was beautiful. Watching the excitement the audiences faces was extremely rewarding. I remember actually being happy to take dirty towels home from the show to wash them. I knew that if I was this happy doing laundry that this was something I need to stay involved in.

At the end of our run at the Fringe Festival Mariko thanked me for all of my help. I just remember looking at her and saying "You will never be rid of me". And I am proud to say that I have been with DRIP since that day. Now, aside from Mariko, I have been with the company the longest.

It took me a while but I found that one of the reasons I fell in love with DRIP was deeply rooted in my childhood. When I was younger I used to try to choreograph dances and plays to music with my younger siblings. As I got older I moved into other types of art. I almost forgot those childhood plays until years later when I found DRIP. In an unusual coincidence, I discovered that Mariko actually did the same thing with her siblings when she was younger.

I had also been through a rough year before joining DRIP and I recall that being a part of that production was one of the first times I had felt truly happy in a long time. That experience was also part of the inspiration for my tattoo. I wanted something to commemorate that for the first time in my life I felt like part of an artistic community. I have six hands done in the style of those found on cave paintings on my right shoulder. It reminds me of the connection I share with all artist who have come before me.

From that show at the Fringe Festival it has been about six years to get our own venue on International Drive. I can't express to you how good it feels to finally be open.

Light illuminating the smoke for our show. 

Dancers waiting in their places during one of the shows performances. 

Jessie splashing in water coming from one of the chandeliers. 

Jessie performing in a piece called "Cleanse". 

The rainbow of colors left on the floor after the show. 

People often ask me if I do any graphic design anymore. I would have to say no. I am immensely proud of what I was able to accomplish at the University of Central Florida and I have absolutely no regrets. I still use all of the knowledge I acquired even if it doesn't manifest in a traditional way. I have always loved art and I realized that as long as I am still making it I will be happy. 

I think that one of my greatest strengths is my ability to follow my instincts. Those instincts have let me to create my website, work with DRIP, and grow as an artist as well as an individual beyond anything I thought I could do. I am so glad that I let myself explore instead of following a narrow path. I firmly believe that the rewards are great if you take risks to do what you love. I have more than I ever thought I would and I owe it all to being open. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Abstracted Landscape

I was taking photos during a walk through Winter Park one day. In between some of the lavish houses was a wooden path that lead to a beautiful lakeside view. I took several photos that day - with great care to frame the scene and adjust the zoom. But this one became my favorite. 

I didn't realize it at the time, but as I slide my phone into my pocket I had accidentally taken one last shot. I managed to catch the edge of the dock and a skewed view of the landscape. I didn't know I had taken this photo until it was loaded on to my computer. I love the symmetry and the minimalist feel. It looks like a post modern painting until you tilt your head. I love this photo because it reminds me that despite all my effort accidental photos can sometimes turn out to be the best ones. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The River

My uncle has some property in Dunnellon, Florida where we occasionally go camping. His house borders the Withlacoochee River and it is brimming with wildlife and beautiful scenery. He has no direct neighbors and you can't see the road from the house. It is easy to forget that the modern world exists beyond the trees. Ever since I can remember we have always collectively referred to the area as "The River".

While here as a child I spent most of my time on the dock. Being on that small patch of wood over the water was like standing on the edge of the unknown. 

The early afternoon sun shining through the trees. 

The neighboring house next door. It looks like it has been abandoned since the 1960's. 

I went exploring in the abandoned house with my siblings and cousins. It was like being on a episode of "Life After People". The long forgotten clothing in the closets was the only thing not covered by a think layer of dirt and leaves. I did like this view of the ceiling. It had collapsed after years of neglect to reveal the robust greenery slowly consuming it inch by inch. 

The sun and its reflection meeting at dusk. 

My brother Jonathan and cousin Andy fishing off the dock. 

My sister Jennifer talking with her boyfriend after her college graduation. 

A view of the creamy evening sky melting into the landscape. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I was at the Blue Bird Bake Shop yet again to grab another delicious cupcake. As I was sitting on one of the lush stuffed chairs my eyes moved around the room. There is a lot to take in: the painting on the wall, the little blue bird statues lining the shelves, and the modest holiday display in the center of the room.

For me, the most striking part of the room was the area where the legs of the table meet the floor.

Although the bake shop is only a few years old the building it is housed in dates back much earlier. The dainty hexagon pattern is old and most likely the original flooring. It was probably white at one time but has mellowed into a soft cream color. The shiny blue legs of the metal table strike down to the floor in smooth, bold lines. They break up the delicate ceramic honeycomb. Modern gloss upon weathered tile.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot with DRIP

I have been a part of DRIP since 2008. I have been lucky enough to see this amazing show grow from backyard rehearsals to designing a full length production on International Drive. As we approach our Grand Opening I would like to share a look back on our first photo shoot for our permanent show.

Mariko and photographer Tisse Mallon guide one of the band members through his head shots. 

I love this shot and the bursts of light that highlight Tisse's frame as she photographs the drummer. 

Mariko and Tisse getting some shots of our teal salt in motion. 

David, our musical director, amidst some of the prop construction. 

This beautiful blend of colors was the result of mixing two different color bags of salt. 

Kelly and Steven, two dancers working together to create a dynamic pose while balancing on ropes suspended above the salt. 

The colors melt and fuse in patches - the delightfully squishy result of mixing the materials over and over again for the photos. 

Kelly getting ready to pose with the props. 

Creating these photos is such a labor intensive process. But you never forget when you show someone the finished product and all they can do is gasp. 

Watching the show is breath-taking, being able to help create it is nothing less than magic. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Magenta Spears

I was sitting outside at a local restaurant called The Greek Corner waiting for my order. Caught between fidgeting to find a good spot in the shade and eavesdropping in the group of three in front of me. I sipped my drink as the older woman with long grey hair talked about a relative that passed away while she flicked the ash from her cigarette into the ash tray.

I turned my attention to the plants around me. Seating at The Greek Corner in primarily outside and their patio is lavishly adored with a kaleidoscope of blooming plants. One in particular caught my eye.

This lovely flower sprouted into magenta spears. Resembling a weapon rather than a delicate flower it burst towards the sky against the smooth leaves and even lines of the fence. A striking display of color and texture. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Constellations Amid the Cosmic Dust

I often feel like some of my best days at Starbucks are the ones I get to work with Matt. Lately our busy lives don't seem to intersect as much as they used to. I had been through an exhausting summer and working mostly morning shifts. Matt was usually working nights and struggling to keep up with his classes. Sometimes we pass each other like two comets in the sky. After a few weeks we decided to meet up for lunch. Once we finished catching up we found ourselves on a spontaneous trip to the Orlando Science Center.

I had been to the Science Center a few weeks earlier and I had been fascinated with the dinosaurs and wildlife exhibits. This was Matt's first visit and he was much more drawn to the hands on displays. Since I had gotten my fix on a previous trip I decided to explore with him. I felt like I got to see a completely different side of the museum as we turned into inquisitive children.

As we walked past this screen we noticed that it picked up our images. As we moved closer to the monitor a floor keyboard lit up on the bottom of the screen. We were able to use our feet to play an invisible piano.

We came across an electronic harp which used lasers instead of strings. Matt, who actually plays the harp, wasted no time in figuring out all of its different settings. 

This metallic disk was engraved with Morse Code. When spun the laser would read the message by beeping.

Matt learning about all of the body functions through this interactive model. 

This table was set up to illustrate the importance of making a building that could withstand an earthquake. Once your structure was in place you could hit a button that would make the table shake. 

Our structure was not sound. 

Matt braving the 78 mile per hour winds of a hurricane. 

This was a table made to show how the eye of a storm is formed by using a gel-like substance. As I spun the table the outer edges swirled rapidly while the interior moved slower and became a perfect circle. The most interesting movement happened when I abruptly stopped the table to spin it in the opposite direction. The swirls became erratic and bunched up as they adjusted to the change in momentum. 

At first I thought the glare was going to make it impossible to get a good shot of this mesmerizing table. However, the glare actually made the shot more intriguing. Suddenly it wasn't just the eye of a storm I was looking at. My perspective broadened and the spots of light became stars and planets in a chaotic and beautiful universe. Constellations amid the cosmic dust. 

After our trip to the Science Center I surprised Matt with a collection of photographs and videos I had taken of him during the first two years of our friendship. Most of them were from silly little outings or just us simply hanging around. Many were from seemingly uneventful days, but combined they become the beacons of a friendship that still surprises me. 

We sat and went through all the photos and laughed. Matt hadn't seen most of them before this day. Memories from the past two years came flooding back. An even though we have only known each other for a short while these images are proof of time well spent. 

Each photo may not amount to much individually but together they begin to number like the stars. Looking back they tell our story the way night sky tells the history of the Earth. These scattered moments become the constellations amid the cosmic dust of our friendship - always chaotic and always beautiful. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The View From Above

We were looking for a spectacular venue to host DRIP's Prison Party Fundraiser. We ended up getting the best view the city had to offer. Gregg Pollack, founder of Envy Labs - a web development shop - has an office on the 20th floor of the Plaza Tower in downtown Orlando. He was generous enough to let us rent the space adjacent to his offices. The view was simply breathtaking.

Jessie admiring the cityscape next to Gregg's inspirational ping pong table. 

Josh, one of our volunteers, enjoying the vista while making a phone call. 

Serafina, a local belly dancer, performing at our fundraiser. 

And finally, as the night came to a close, we were treated to the lovely sight of a glittering golden city wrapped under a purple sky. 

To learn more about Envy Labs please visit their website at:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New Smyrna Beach

My aunt and uncle rented a beach house in New Smyrna for a week. I was lucky enough to have some time to spend with them.

This is photo of the majestic swirling of clouds that marked the first night's sunset. 

Being that my family is from the west coast of Florida I usually get to enjoy sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. Since I was on the east coast I wanted to take the opportunity to see the sun rise over the Atlantic. I set my alarm for 6am the following morning. Once I was awake I decided to go to the roof top patio. I was able to catch this beautiful moment. 

A jagged row of clouds hover just above the ocean. The first bits of pale sunlight creep up slowly. The slight bit of warmth reaches to gently touch the moon while Venus hangs farther above. 

Once I made it down to the beach access I was concerned that all the clouds would make it difficult for me to watch the sunrise. Instead, the clouds seemed to lovingly form the shape of a heart around the neon sun. 

After the sun rose I walked down to the beach to dip my toes in the ocean. When I looked back I saw that my feet had made a perfect track across the sand. 

Later that day we were on our way into town to do some shopping. Out of no where my uncle slammed the breaks on his truck and made a u-turn. My cousin jumped out of the car to rescue a baby Gopher Tortoise that was stranded in the middle of the road. I will still never understand how my uncle was able to see such a tiny little thing while driving such a large truck. 

The bottom of her shell was flat so I could tell she was a female. From her  pebbly shell, to her wrinkly neck, all the way to her scaly feet, her body was an intricate display of texture.

I love the way she nestled perfectly into my hand. 

Later on in the day we brought her back to the beach house before we released her back into the brush. As the cool evening air came in over the ocean I placed her on my lap so she could make use of my body heat. 

The blazing peach and electric blues of the second nights sunset. 

The light house of New Smyrna - lit up with city against the cool night sky.