Travel Inspires Creativity | Artists Name Favorite Destinations | Yampu Tours

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Travel Inspires Creativity | Artists Name Favorite Destinations

By Ellen Lutwak


Whether a fine artist, a weekend watercolorist or an art enthusiast, a creative mind always needs to be refreshed and recharged. Travel is the go-to reset button. A change of scenery inspires the artist in all of us – with new sights, sounds, tastes and scents. But you knew that.



Yampu Tours recently ventured west from a village in Vermont, and set up shop in a refurbished historical building by the booming Los Angeles Arts District. Talk about a change of scenery! Expansive windows of the industrial loft office space look out on the iconic L.A. cityscape. The freshly painted white walls call out for bright artwork reflecting world travel.

We count on local guides on our journeys abroad, so, of course, we turned to the locals in our new neck of the woods: artists immersed in this city’s creative scene who are also inspired by wanderlust. We look to them for ideas for our walls as well as for their stories about their memorable travel destinations.


Go to Their Creative Places


Shana Nys Dambrot

Art Critic / Artist / Curator

Destination: Nairobi, Kenya

Shana Nys Dambrot NAIROBI monday crop -- work in progress by Jay Mark Johnson
By Jay Mark Johnson courtesy of Shana Nys Dambrot


About three years ago, Shana Nys Dambrot traveled to Kenya as part of a team following photographer Jay Mark Johnson’s excursion to photograph the region’s wildebeest migration. While in the capital city of Nairobi, the group also attended several sessions of his urban practice. Notably, they rose before dawn to bivouac in a quaint hotel room overlooking a section of railroad track, and waited for the morning commute to begin. He photographed out the window; she sketched the scene from the bed, and the staff brought in breakfast. Still very proud of the series of drawings and architectural photographs she made on the trip, the recollection of the journey continues to inspire her. Read more and keep up with Shana’s projects on her website.


Shana Nys Dambrot JMJ  Shana Nys Dambrot JMJ in hotel room in Nairobi  Shana Nys Dambrot hotel room in Nairobi

Your Yampu trip:

Kenya’s Capital and the Serengeti



Gary Palmer

Architect / Fine Artist / Street Painter

Destination: Lake Malawi, to the island of Zanzibar in East Africa


   Gary Palmer 3 Gary Palmer 1 Gary Palmer 2


Born in Ireland and trained as an architect, globetrotter Gary Palmer helped build the Venice Beach Back Packers, a magnificent travelers lodge in Lake Malawi. Using creativity as currency allowed him to remain in the village for some time, he was befriended by locals and sketched and photographed scenes of daily life. It was only when he returned to his Venice, California studio that he created his multi-media “Memories of Zanzibar” series, notably applying a pure pigment powder – reminiscent of the African soil – for his large-scale paintings. He continues to travel the world as a street painter, known for his mind-boggling anamorphic perspective chalk masterpieces.

A stone’s throw from the Yampu offices is FATHOM, a gallery that represents Palmer.

Your Yampu trip:

Zambia Safari with Lake Malawi



J.W. Pippen

Fine Artist / Sculptor

Destination: Japan with must-visit cities of Kanazawa, Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo

JWPippen-1200-01-HanshaNikko  JWPippen-1200-02-Untitled  JWPippen-1200-03-Misedashi

It’s no surprise that Louisiana-born artist J.W. Pippen now lives and works in Little Tokyo. Even as a child, he was enthralled by the art and culture he observed in Japanese films.

After a career as an architect, Pippen turned to fine art full time. He ultimately traveled to Japan – the first time 10 years ago with four other trips to follow.  He infuses the craftsmanship and technique of Japanese art in his work – inspired by his journeys.

Pippen’s travel tip: purchase a rail pass stateside and then “cash in” the voucher once in Japan. Hop on the bullet train – the shinkanzen – then hop off to explore the smaller towns. All have their own special attractions, for example, distinctive blue dye, paper-making or samurai battles re-enactment with armor created from cardboard.

For more from J.W. Pippen and full pieces, visit the REN Gallery as well as his website,

Your Yampu trip:

Otaku Tour: Japanese Pop Culture Experience


Surprise Your Favorite Artist with the Gift of Travel

Anangu Dot Painting-Australia

A Yampu Tours Trip Designer is like your personal muse for travel. Every itinerary is a new creation ­– customized for your artist. Start here and chat online with one of our experts, standing by to personalize your Yampu travel experience.

  • Begin with the basics of where, when and with whom – then add to the must-see mix: eccentric museums, unique hotels, quirky architecture and unconventional festivals.
  • Pick up tips from our local guides about supporting local artists; plan a studio visit or mingle with street artists. Purchase original art – whether folk or fine ­– for a cherished souvenir.
  • Pack your Yampu Tours journal and journal every day whether it’s a quick sketch, a recollection of a dream or the lyrics of a popular local song.


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Travel with Yampu Tours once and we’ll keep our eyes open for your next customized creative journey. Offering seamless logistics, local guides and luxury within reach. We have the resources to help you get the greatest reward of all – a refreshed and recharged creative mind.

Tags: Art , Artists , Dambrot , Gift of Travel , JWPippen , Painting , Palmer , Photography , Travel

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