Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ten years ago Oregon The Taste of Wine came out. It's the book I'm most proud of creating. 

Oregon the Taste of Wine was first published in 2008. The publisher printed a second edition, with a few updates, a couple of years later. A second printing for a picture wine book is like finding a 1787 Chateau Margaux, just not as expensive.

Plus, it won all kinds of awards including Gold Medal for Best Regional Book and even snobby Wine Spectator called it "one of the best reads for wine lovers." 
Richard Sommer, founder of Hillcrest winery and rightfully founder of Oregon's modern wine industry, shows off a new camera to Dyson DeMara, who bought and continues production at Hillcrest.
And, it's still relevant today with surprising stories from folks like Richard Sommer, who had bottled Pinot years before Papa Pinot, who usually gets the credit. 

A big thanks to Jim Bernau and all the kind people who taught me the taste difference between California Ripple and Oregon Pinot noir.


Monday, June 11, 2018

A beginner seeks guide book to god-like powers

About 65,000 years ago a few Homo sapiens left Africa to populate our planet. In that time we sapiens have developed almost god-like powers over other animals and our environment.
What do you think these African Mursi tribe warriors see?

After 18 years of looking back onto the world from remote African tribes, I wonder, do we sapiens have the wisdom to wield our powers? Where's the instruction manual?



Thursday, April 26, 2018

Struck by Creativity Freeze

While creating this image, I choked up. I was totally afraid to make a mistake. I couldn't continue.
Chief Bolugedong dreamed his grandfather told him to take care of the orphans in the tribe. Africa, Ethiopia, Omo region, Suri tribe
I'd been working on this piece for days. It's about the Suri Tribe Chief who dreamed his grandfather told him to care for the tribal orphans. When I dropped in the perfect photograph with a child from my files, I started to like the myth image. 
Then, I froze, afraid to do anything else to it. 
Fortunately, the next morning a little inner voice said, "Hey, Janis, it's not precious. It's just art. So finish it. Surprise yourself." 
Do other artists choke up, afraid to make a mistake, afraid to continue? 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

We all have at least two languages

Yesterday, while listening to the news, it dawned on me that we can speak two languages: The language of the world and the language of the soul.
• I was thinking in the language of the world when I asked the remote Konso tribe elders what advice they would give world leaders. 
• Amazingly, one elder answered in the language of the soul: “We are all made by God. We are all the same. No mater what your tribe, no mater what your religion, we all bleed the same color blood.”
Then he raised his hand with fingers outstretched to conclude: “We all have five fingers.”

Friday, December 22, 2017

Kids' chores remote Africa style

This little bare-bottomed Hamar tribe boy leads the family cattle every morning to the water hole more than a mile away. The image tugged at my heart strings while working on a brochure to pitch museums for a We All Have Five Fingers show. 

Would you include the photograph in the brochure?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Here's happens after you die

LaBun, the famous Bume tribe storyteller in Ethiopia explained to me that when a person dies, he becomes the devil trickster with skin like a rock and a single horn. 

Even though he lives underground, the trickster can cause great mischief for the living. 

Do thoughts of a deceased person haunt you? 

Bume tribe, Omo region, Ethiopia, Africa

Saturday, October 28, 2017

I watched a Dogon shaman dream a Bad Spirit

After scrambling down and down over steep boulder-filled trail, my interpreter and I entered the tiny village of Koundou Gina. We wanted to meet the most powerful shaman in the region.

A woman enters the outskirts of Koundou Gina village, Dogon tribe, Mali, Africa.
As we hiked through dried stalks of a corn field, my interpreter explained that many people came from distant villages to meet with Dugui Dugene (Medicine Man). We met the simple harmless-looking shaman just outside his stone house.

Powerful Dugui Dugene (Medicine Man) showing me how he removes doogu doogu from a person. Koundou Gina village, Dogon tribe, Mail, Africa.

After a bit of chatter, I asked about Doogu Doogu and other terrible things caused by bad spirits.

In an casual tenor voice, the Medicine Man explained: "The bad spirit is created by God. Both good and bad spirits are created by God."

Medicines Dugui Dugene (Medicine Man) gathers in the forest to heal people that come to Koundou Gina village from surrounding villages. Dogon tribe, Mail, Africa.

Medicine Man continued: "We don't see the bad spirits because they have much magic power. They could be right here right now. We just don't see them.

The shaman paused a bit, pointed at me. Then: "But they can see us."

Squating with his back against the mud wall of his one-room house, Medicine Man continued: "I can see them in my dream. When I sleep at night time, I can see them. 

"The bad spirit look like a man. They wear clothes. But some of them has a cow head. Some has only one hand. And some has one breast. Some look like men but not complete man. And always have two, three or ten heads. 

Then he pointed to his hand. "Some have kind of feet here. The feet are cow feet."
My visualization of the Dogon bad spirit as described by the Dogon tribe Medicine Man in Koundou Gina village, Mali, Africa.

When I asked Medicine Man if he was afraid of the bad spirit in his dreams, he replied nonchalantly: "Afraid some, a little bit, but not that much."

Janis: "I would be very afraid."

Medicine Man: "If you suppose to walk with bad spirit and you afraid, they always come to afraid you. And if you afraid of them, you can be crazy. You can become crazy. They can do you something bad." 

Janis: "Can I take a picture of you like you are sleeping, like you are dreaming?