St. Petersburg: Alisa, 29, was sitting on her foldable bicycle, waiting for her friend Sasha. Alisa was carrying her painting gear on her back. She said she was going to paint the St. Petersburg cityscape with her friend. Born and raised in Rostov, Alisa moved to St. Pete several years ago in part because of the city’s beauty. Alisa is an architect as are both her father and brother. Sasha is also an architect as are his sister, dad, aunt, grandmother and grandfather. Sasha said his dad and grandfather also paint because they were limited in their architectural creativity during Soviet times.
TBILISI, GEORGIA: Anna, 17, is a high school student that currently lives with her aunt in a village outside Tbilisi. The teenager said her father died 10 years ago from illness while the current economic downturn has pushed her mom to seek work in Turkey, explaining why she is living with her mom's sister. Anna, who was named after her Ukrainian grandmother, said it is sometimes hard being without both parents, so she tries to keep busy. She spends most of her free time drawing, walking around town and meeting friends. Anna would like to study architecture in Norway as she believes the universities are better there than in Georgia. She said a friend told her about Norway and she liked the idea. Her big plan this summer is to attend an outdoor rock concert.
CHITA, EASTERN SIBERIA: Yura, 20, a third-year design student, was sporting pants with suspenders and a tattoo of Michelangelo's David on his arm as he hung out at a barbershop. Yura has already left his artistic mark on his native city, decorating the walls of a bar and barbershop. But he hopes next to leave his city for Germany, where he spent the summer with relatives. "I fell in love with Germany following my two month stay there. I love the architecture [in Germany] and have always been attracted to beautiful buildings." Yura, who has German roots, said the political disputes between Russia and west hasn't impacted one bit his love for Europe.