R. Kipling family home Bateman’s

Bateman’s is a 17th-century house located in Burwash, East Sussex. It was a home of Rudyard Kipling from 1902 until his death in 1936.

Etchingham is a village in East Sussex and located on the way to Burwash and Bateman’s.

A bronze statue of Rudyard Kipling is unveiled in Burwash. It shows him seated on a bench with a book called “Just so”. This statue celebrates the work of Kipling and also encourages more visitors of Bateman’s to come into the wonderful village of Burwash itself.

Bateman’s is a beautiful old sandstone house surrounded by Sussex countryside. It was bought by Rudyard Kipling and his wife who fell in love with the house at first sight, it became a family home.

The rooms are much as he left them: artifacts from his Eastern adventures, a book lined study, his Nobel prize certificate for literature, a phonograph playing music.

An amazing garden with an orchard, herb garden, pond and wildflower meadow surrounds the house.


Harry Potter WB Studio Tour “Hogwarts in the snow”

It was a great and unusual experience to spend some time at Hogwarts before Christmas and discover how film-makers created fire, ice and snow. The spectacular Great Hall was decorated with many festive details and covered in silver sparkling snow. Two large tables were set for Christmas dinner with prop versions of roast turkeys, puddings surrounded by real flames. The Great Hall stage was decorated as it was for the iconic Yule Ball. The top section of the Great Hall was transformed with snow-covered Christmas trees, icicles and an orchestra of magical instruments.

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The Gryffindor Common Room and Boys’ Dormitory were decorated with the original props including handmade Christmas cards, and other small and cute festive details.

The Gryffindor Common Room.

Boys’ Dormitory.

The Burrow, the home of the Weasley family, looked very cozy and Christmassy.

Dumbledore’s office.

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Hagrid’s hut is a place of friendship and safety for Harry, Ron and Hermione.

The Forbidden Forest.

Platform nine and three-quarters.

The Hogwarts Express locomotive appeares in all of the Harry Potter films. The train brings new and returning students from London to Hogwarts. To create the Hogwarts Express, the filmmakers rescued an abandoned steam locomotive named Olton Hall (built in 1937).

Of course, it’s necessary to try butterbeer which tastes like a mix of cream soda and lemonade with delicious butterscotch cream on top.

There was outside area too where you could see Knight Bus for example.

Number four, Privet Drive, is the residence of the Dursleys and Harry Potter.

The Diagon Alley set was changed for the winter season too. The original design of the street combined the rich details from the Harry Potter books with inspiration from the streets described in the works of Charles Dickens.

The Hogwarts castle model was transformed with a layer of sparkling snow.





The Art of the Brick

The Art of the Brick is a global touring exhibition rated by CNN as one of the world’s “Must See Exhibition”. This exhibition is created by an award-winning artist Nathan Sawaya and it is the largest exhibition of LEGO. Nathan Sawaya’s Lego sculptures are on display in Moscow for the first time ever.

Each section of exhibition has countless colorful LEGO pieces which Nathan Sawaya transformed into inspiring creations. Honestly, I did not know much about the exhibition before I bought tickets. I love LEGO since my childhood so I decided to attend the exhibition anyway. But I did not expect anything I saw there. All sculptures have its own deep meaning. A common toy was transformed into something meaningful which got a status of contemporary art. Nathan’s quotes explaining every piece of art are amazing too!

Before entering the exhibition, the first sculpture you see is the Beatles in front of British flag. 

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The exhibition began with a cozy room which recreated Nathan’s work studio.

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In my opinion, the next section was created to inspire and encourage people to build their own pieces of art, not to be afraid to face some difficulties and fight for their own choices.  “Art nurtures the brain whether made from clay, paint, wood or a modern-day toy”.

Stepladder “Sometimes when you’re looking for a step up, you don’t have to look any further than yourself. We’re all capable of more than we think” © N. Sawaya

Writer “Let your ideas flow. When you let your creativity loose, be it in writing, art, music or whatever, your ideas take on a life of their own. So take those big ideas and set them free” © N. Sawaya

The next sculpture is one of my favorite ones, mainly because of its meaning. Sometimes it’s really difficult to make a right decision based on a million thoughts (those different colors and miniature people filling our brains with ideas). Which thought should be the one to unlock our mind?

The next section of the exhibition is dedicated to Sawaya’s probably best-known and most famous sculpture Mr. Yellow, which looks a bit creepy but I could not stop staring at it. The main idea of this piece is “how catharsis opening oneself up to the world can be for our souls” © N. Sawaya. I totally agree with this point. But actually, everyone can come up with different meaning of each sculpture which makes the whole exhibition even more exciting.

What follows is a section of brick replicas of the most famous ancient sculptures. It includes statues of David, Venus de Milo, Augustus of Prime Porta, Discobolus  and decorative version of Parthenon which was considered some of the high points of Greek art. It was absolutely mind-blowing experience. Can’t even imagine how much time and patience it took Nathan to create those amazing statues!

Nathan Sawaya also creates absolutely amazing portraits with LEGO bricks. The portraits of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Andy Warhol show some seriously impressive accuracy and shading. And look at the Mickey!!!

Now we are moving to the sections entitled The Human Condition and Human Expressions which contain original artwork featuring many sculptures involving the human form. Those sections are mainly dedicated to human differences, feelings and peace.

“Celebrate difference. If everybody looked and was the same it wouldn’t be a very interesting world, would it? So which shape are you? The circle, square and triangle are the fundamental building blocks of all things. And the colors red, blue and yellow are the primary colors of our world” © N. Sawaya

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Look also at those peace symbols! They were created of thousand colorful bricks. The peace means all different colors in the world working together. What a great idea!

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As I said before every Nathan’s sculpture is meaningful and make people to think about their lives, analyzes them. I especially admire the piece of art which is called Grasp. “No matter where your heart wants to lead you, there will be hands that try to hold you back. Life’s challenge is to find the strength to break free. I created this sculpture in response to so many people telling me “no” in my life. I wanted to break free of those people” © N. Sawaya. Many thanks to Nathan for having created this piece of art. It’s so true! People really like to give some advice which mainly based on their own stereotypes, and usually it’s not just an advice but an enforcement to follow it. Everyone is different with their own tastes, opinions etc. But some people don’t really get it.

There are also sculptures which show emotions we experience in different life conditions/situations. Very impressive! The first sculpture is called Grasp and means that a person should beware the winds of life that nibble away their sense of self. It’s necessary to stay strong to become yourself again.

Mr. Gray is almost a self portrait of Nathan. He explains it as follows “Taking a leap is hard. I used to be a lawyer. There was nothing wrong with being a lawyer, but I always knew there was another me, an Artist Me, lurking inside. Then one day I decided to let the Artist in me out, and I never looked back” So much respect to Nathan!

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Absolutely beautiful sculpture in blue! Swim against the current, find the courage within!

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The last but not the least interesting section of the exhibition is called In pieces. It is a multimedia collaboration between Nathan Sawaya and photographer Dean West. The project is a composition of Dean’s photographs and Nathan’s unique sculptures which surrounds the viewer with the physicality of the art. The sculptures were represented on exhibition along with the photos which contain those sculptures. Can you find all the objects on the pictures? 😊

And finally! I was so surprised to see a gigantic sculpture of a dinosaur. It’s the largest sculpture of Nathan’s collection and contains more than 80 thousands bricks! It took him the whole summer to build a dinosaur. He wanted to create something that children would enjoy. And what is better than a dinosaur? But actually adults were even more excited about that sculpture!

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Overall it was absolutely a great experience! It is worth seeing this inspiring exhibition for adults and kids. There are many more other sculptures represented on exhibition, I have just posted the ones that I loved the most. The exhibition gives a great opportunity to think about many things just looking at the LEGO bricks. “Art makes better humans, art is necessary in understanding the world and art makes people happy. Undeniably, art is not optional” © Thanks to Nathan Sawaya!






Exploring the city of Chicago

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. I think it is necessary to leave all famous tourist places and see different ethnic and cultural corners of the city. The architecture, restaurants, museums of every neighborhood are different. I was lucky to explore the city with my friend and my photography mentor Paul Natkin who knows all the greatest places in Chicago! Many thanks to Paul for all the amazing moments and for making that trip unforgettable!

Chicago is known as a home of the blues. So many places here are connected with the blues history. For example, you can visit Muddy Waters house where he lived and played blues from 1954 to 1974. Actually it is only possible to see the house from outside not entering the building. That Red X on the house means that building is unsafe to enter. It is really sad and disappointing that the house of an international music icon was just left to deteriorate. But hopefully someone can buy this historical house and turn it to a museum dedicated to Muddy Waters great heritage.

Pilsen neighborhood is one of the most recognizable and well known places in the city of Chicago. It is easy to find a piece of public art adorning a façade in nearly every block. The neighborhood looks very colorful but what is more important, every piece of art has its own deep meaning mostly connected with serious political or ethnic problems.

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Here is mural which impressed me the most. It is honoring an aspiring musician and an artist Jeff Macdonaldo Jr. who was killed at the age of 19 as a victim of mistaken identity. He had never been in a gang, he was just getting back from his barber and someone opened a fire. The mural was his friends’ idea, he was an inspiration for them and did many good things so they wanted to give back to his family, helping his parents to get through the worst times. The mural dedicated to peace and tolerance, and called Safe places. It looks really beautiful. World could be a much better place if people have more opportunities to develop their art skills instead of hating each other for some unknown reasons.

There is also a great museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen neighborhood. It is responsible for presenting exhibitions of artistic, cultural and educational value, which demonstrates the unique depth of Mexican art and history. It was really amazing to see many kids visiting museum with their parents. Art is a bridge between communities and it helps to expand minds, which is really necessary for the world we are living in nowadays.

The DuSable Museum of African American history is dedicated to study and conversation of African American history and culture. It is one of the oldest museums dedicated to this topic in the United States. It was founded in 1961 and has been expanding ever since. The museum has a collection of more than15’000 artifacts, books, photographs, paintings, art objects and memorabilia. DuSable museum became a large part of black social activism, hosting festivals, political and community events.

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The exhibitions there are really great and very informative. Actually some parts of exhibitions dedicated to slavery and further segregation horrified me. Of course, everyone knows those terrible moments and events in the American history but seeing all those pictures and artefacts was still very difficult. I can never understand how it is possible to divide people by the color of their skin or their nationality. The saddest part of all this is to realize that we still face the same problems nowadays. The technologies are developing every day, but seems that some people’s minds just stuck with their stereotypes forever.

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Paul Natkin enjoying some art while I’m working as paparazzi 🙂

The museum is surrounded by very beautiful park where we met a group of nice kids who were just running around and enjoying nice summer day. We also met some of their parents and a teacher who told us that those kids were studying history and other subjects by exploring art objects, paintings etc which made the studying process much more interesting. It is great that some organizations are volunteering to help kids to get better future, enter good colleges etc. And it was really heartwarming to see black and white kids playing together not knowing anything about those stupid stereotypes. Hope they will be smart enough to overcome all stereotypes in the future.

I also tried Southern-style soul food for the first time which was really delicious! Pearl’s Place is located in Bronzeville and offers a unique experience combining tasty home-style food with the great service. With photographs of African American jazz legends covering the walls inside and outside the restaurant, you are reminded of Bronzeville’s complex and powerful history.

The Museum of Science and Industry was another great and interesting experience! The main mission of the museum is to build public understanding of science, show how science impacts our society and inspire everyone to think critically about world around us. Exhibitions that cover many important topics are very spectacular and interesting for adults and kids.

Chicago is a great city and it is easy to find something that you enjoy there. If you are interested in photography, “The Photographer’s Curator: Hugh Edwards at the Art Institute of Chicago” exhibition is a must see. It is really an amazing experience which makes you understand what the real outstanding photography is. The exhibition is bringing together nearly 200 photographs by more than 70 artists whose works are held in the permanent collection. Some pictures from the collection are available here:

Here are some more pictures ( which are really mind blowing and should be presented on any exhibition dedicated to photography and history. It is easy to spend all day looking at those pictures, which are different from each other, but all of them are really beautiful, meaningful and very inspiring!


The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism in Chicago

The Rolling Stones exhibition at Navy Pier in Chicago is a great experience for every Rolling Stones fan or every fan of music history overall. When you enter the exhibition, there is “All access with Paul Natkin” gallery, which features amazing shots of the band taken by the greatest and legendary photographer. The photo exhibition is going along with video interview with Paul about his relationship and touring with Stones ( It is absolutely worth seeing this video. Paul can tell so many stories about the times touring with Stones, some hilarious moments, even details of stage design and many more. I was honored and lucky to have a guided tour by Paul which made the exhibition more interesting and valuable to me.

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Exhibitionism does not lack for content. It includes a great collection of music, vintage guitars, rare instruments and lyric books, photography, stage designs, personal diaries and letters, fashion items.

It’s an incredible journey to the Rolling Stones world beginning with their early days living in a one-bedroom flat in Edith Grove which was recreated as a part of exhibition. This flat looks hilarious, it is impossible to find any place without unwashed dished or empty bottles. But there was an impressive collection of classic blues LPs instead. I think it is a great idea to show us their way of living at those times.

What follows are sound mixing boards and the recreation of their studio with an amazing amount of guitars and other musical instruments.

Of course, it is impossible to miss different variations and installations connected with one of the most iconic band’s logos in the history of rock music. This “Tongue and lips” logo could be found almost everywhere through the exhibition but there was also a section explaining its original design.

Other artworks include original paintings by Andy Warhol.

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The Rolling Stones were one of the pioneers of the spectacular live shows, so their stage designs were really mind blowing. It was very interesting to see scale models of the stages and a video explaining the main concepts behind them and realize how much work had been done to make shows so spectacular.

The collection of stage wear and costumes is very impressive and contains iconic stage outfits from the beginning of their careers to nowadays.

The exhibition culminates in a backstage recreation and great 3D live recording of Satisfaction which makes you feel attending the Rolling Stones concert!