home: on land and at sea (abstract conformity)

_S081259“[He] travels the globe through the merchant marine, visiting lands and cultures abroad yet always finding the experiences even as close as home just as important.”


Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 presetIt is difficult to recall when, or how, I first came across Abstract Conformity on Instagram. What I do remember about seeing John’s square photography for the first time is thinking, “do people really live like this?” I knew in that moment that I was going to become a fan of  his work. What I didn’t know was that the man behind the lens was a pretty stellar character as well.

When I had initially considered possible collaborators for this new series, one of my first visions was of a home on the sea. With the success of last years series, I knew that I had big shoes to fill. I wanted to bring in artistic people that not only lived a completely different life from my own, but ones that inspired me creatively. I approached John to take part in this new venture, fully expecting to be turned down. His answer was an immediate and resounding yes. He would do it. 

A dozen emails later, still amazed by his kindness, with an even bigger appreciation for his photography skills, and a better understanding of where he comes from, this post is and was finally ready to be published. I hope that each and everyone of you enjoy John’s Home as much as I do.


_DSF15641. Where is your home located?

My brick & mortar, is located on the outskirts of Houston, TX. For 6 months out of the year my body resides aboard a cargo ship somewhere on the planet’s waterways. Due to traveling, I’ve actually slept more in my bed aboard the ship than in my bed with a mailing address.

_DSF33412. What are your thoughts on the idea of ‘home’? 

Home is a location that evokes comfort and safety. It’s a place where others are welcomed in to share in those feelings, giving the place its title of a home rather than a location. A home need not be of brick and mortar or even stationary for me. I’ve had the opportunity to share with people in their homes across the globe from far-fetched mansions to a room lit by candles hardly larger than the bed frame. In those moments, they were all proud to welcome me in to their “home.” It was their comfort to be shared with others that made it a home too.

DSC_9573DSC_95653. What kinds of things influence your design style?

As a society, we change our clothes each season depending on the evolving weather, but we also alter our wardrobes with new trends. This is seen easily as we move amongst one another so why do homes remain stagnant for such long periods of time? Design aesthetics are a reflection of your mood, which for me change less frequently as the weather but they do change so I kept two tips at the forefront.

_DSF1492First, the space must have the ability for people to move about and interact with both their body and their eyes. If it’s overwhelming, you miss out on the purpose of the elements from distraction which then detracts from the comfort. Second, the items must serve the purpose of telling their own story. This can be a family heirloom to a vintage set of barware to a well crafted gun cabinet, which also happens to be a family heirloom. I’m intrigued by so many various “styles” that if I stick with the first two steps they seem to flow. 

DSC_9588DSC_95784. What do you consider to be one of your favourite items in your home? What could you never live without?

For me, all of it is replaceable. They evoke their own emotions and I’m not hoping to lose anything, but once they’ve been in my life the memory is contained within me forever, so the physical element could vanish but the memory of that experience never will.

DSC_9601DSC_9598It’s difficult to narrow to just one, so I will give three for various purposes. My Pendleton blanket, although two years old is a prized piece. It warms me on the couch, lays out on beaches for picnics and travels to globe with me on the ship. That blanket is comfort in more than just physical. My turntable connects generations with its ability to produce sound. I have records from my grandparents up to shows my wife and I saw two months ago. Music is the soundtrack to live and the tangible aspect of the turntable allows me to slow down and appreciate those tunes. Finally, a cast iron skillet that my great grandmother owned is vital. Just as its fed generations of my family, we’ve carried it on road trips to feed others. When I’m not on the ship, it resides on the stuff with extensive use beginning with my morning bacon and eggs just as my great-grandmother cooked for us when we visited. 

DSCF66255. Please share any ideas/stories/pictures that best highlight your home.

My current brick & mortar is going through changes as we bought it at 24 and now at 30 our values have clearly changed to more purpose beyond filling a void in the house.



Abstract Conformity: Blog
Abstract Conformity: Instagram

DSCF6796If you would like to take part in this series, entitled Home, please email me at helloscarlettblog@outlook.com.

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. A very interesting post, with some good pics. Also, thank you for clicking the Like button on my own most recent post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. m88

     /  04/13/2015

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to
    and you are just too great. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you’re stating
    and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to
    keep it wise. I cant wait to read much more from you.
    This is actually a tremendous site.


  3. Adrian Catalin

     /  04/01/2015

    John is an interesting fellow. We share the same profession and i’m glad to see he defines home in ways most seamen don’t. For most of us seafarers the expression “home is where the anchor drops” is true,and for the other ones partly true.

    Fair winds and calm seas make a happy home,away from home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great comment, Adrian. Spoken from someone who is also knowledgeable regarding this lifestyle.

      I think that I’ve seen your feed and your comments on Instagram. I will certainly give you a follow.


  4. Alternative life styles are interesting, and the photos you get on the move… very nice introduction. Cheers, Ritva

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Make Something Mondays

     /  03/31/2015

    Wow, the photography is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing it. I am looking him up on instagram. Great questions, btw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, and thank you again. I appreciate your comments! If you would like to know more about the series, feel free to shoot me an email.

      Have a great weekend. <3<3

      Liked by 1 person

      • Make Something Mondays

         /  04/05/2015

        Thanks! I hope you enjoyed your weekend :-)


  6. Geo's mom

     /  03/31/2015

    Great idea for a series. Very well done !

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How amazing!! This is insanely cool, and he sounds like a man I’d love to meet! I’ve got a crazy wanderlust, and I’d love to do exactly what he’s doing. Thanks you so much for sharing, and I’ll keep an eye out for further posts in this series :)
    xo Kiki

    Liked by 1 person

  8. G

     /  03/30/2015

    That is quite the life! In many ways I’m jealous! The freedom and adventure:) But I’m afraid I would miss those close ppl around me as I traveled the high waters, namely E<3

    Perhaps we should set sail E? House boat on pike lake?

    (Great feature! I really enjoyed this! More please!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Geoffrey, I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I was so excited to bring something completely new and fresh to my blog.

      Yes, we should get a little boat for our home. One that the dogs can fit in. That, or a canoe and a raft.

      As for missing me, that’s very sweet. I have a feeling that you would survive, though, given that we spent the first 1.5 years of our marriage living in different provinces.


  9. Marjorie

     /  03/30/2015

    I love this piece that you made about this man, the photos are beautiful but what really struck me is his answers to your question. I read them and I think, this man spent a lot of time being alone with his thoughts. You could see that his answers have depth. This is the first time I’ve heard of him and I think I am going to follow him on Instagram.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marjorie, what a kind and thoughtful comment. I am so glad that my readers can take pleasure in the posts that my guest bloggers and I work so hard and long to create. Personally, this is why I do it, and in turn I truly appreciate when others strive to introduce me to new faces and artists.

      Thank you again and I’m sure that he would welcome more followers on IG!



    – N

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hello! My name is Emory. I am a wife, mother of four (three on earth in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,925 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: