Iran At A Glance Exhibition – Queen Gallery

“Iran at a Glance” Art Exhibition takes on thorny collective issues by Iranian artists living the challenges of social injustices, apparent and the embedded, inside Iran.  The selected art pieces depict the ongoing struggles of numerous communities, relentlessly unveils tensions between cultural practices, absurd traditions, social movements and political ideologies. The exhibition is taking place at Queen Gallery, located at 382 Queen Street East, Toronto till March 30, 2019.

Queen Gallery presents the work of contemporary artists from Toronto and around the world.  Housed in a refurbished brownstone, this distinctive space is a forum where the boundaries of media are greeted, embraced and even challenged.

IMG_396B425EB67B-1

Learn more about “Iran at a Glance” art exhibition through the interview with Mahrokh Ahankhah, founder of the Queen Gallery:

Jupilings: What is Iran at a Glance Exhibition about?

MA:  Iran at a Glance exhibition seeks to offer a new and fresh perspective into Iran’s contemporary art scene. The socio-cultural elements affecting artists/people in Iran are explored through the lens of twenty artists and their artworks. Through their own stylistic techniques, each of the artists gives us a unique glance into their world in Iran. The exhibition was curated by Iranian artist Nina Rastgar and Mahrokh Ahankhah, the founder of Queen Gallery.

Jupilings: Who are the artists:

MH: The artists featured in this exhibition represent the diversity of expressions, concepts and backgrounds among artists in Iran; From emerging to highly established artists.

Jupilings: What are the prevalent themes in this collection?

MH: The collection explores the day-to-day lives and concerns of artists and their experience as a creative individual.

Jupilings: What was the selection criteria for this particular group?

MH: The curator for this exhibition selected artists based on their artistic merit and their originality of ideas, concepts and techniques. Beyond that, the diversity of artists and their backgrounds was one of the key driving factors in selecting artists and artworks for Iran at a Glance Exhibition. 

Jupilings: How does art play in cultural, political and civil resistance in Iran?

MH: The study of Iranian history shows the unbreakable links between art and all other political, cultural, social, and economic events; art has been continuously used as a highly efficient tool to express thoughts and aspirations, as well as to challenge authority, and oppression. The contemporary Iranian artists, represented in Iran at a Glance and beyond, follow the same legacy that prior artists such as Kamal-ol-Molk, Behzad, and Sohrab Sepehri. Today’s artists, in their many different mediums, speak of truth, and the real-life struggles of Iranian artists in Iran.

Jupilings: What other exhibitions do you have coming up?

MH: Our next exhibit features Tina Rouhandeh. Her artworks combine calligraphy, poetry and sewing together; Scribe and Stitch exhibition is open to the public on April 3rd-13th, 2019.

How To Be An Optimist In Tough Times

It is worth mentioning that we have a social responsibility for the benefit of society and our individual lives to engage, be useful, and lead a meaningful life. To fulfill this obligation, two of the fundamental elements that reinforce our state of mind’s wellness and enrich our experience and life for others are cultivating our strengths powered by optimism.

Igor Morski Art
Igor Morski Art

“When you have come to the edge of all the light you have and step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of the two will happen to you, either you’ll find something solid to stand on or you’ll be taught how to fly!”

Richard Bach

The point is that there is always an opposite to a condition. Problems – solutions, adversity – opportunity, and the list goes on. Having a healthier outlook in life means transcending stagnation and despair. Fine, disappointments, intense adversaries, or distressing conditions happen, what can we do? We can contemplate for hours, days, or even years blaming situations, people, or even ourselves for being cut off at the knee, drowning in bitterness and resentment, or disassociate with negative feelings and shoulder responsibility to get out of the dark pit.

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Igor Morski Art

Like Dory in “Finding Nemo,” befittingly remarked, “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming.” Agreed, so how do we embark on shifting our frame of mind and capitalize on our possibilities?

Revisit your goals or set up a new set of goals and purpose – Knowing that your path towards them will not be on a straight line, and you might need to reorient yourself at times, but eventually, the winding road will take you to your intended aspirations.

 

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Igor Morski Art

Change your inner monologue, make sure that they support your goals, make a positive argument against a negative thought that slithers into your mind. A good practice is to look into your mind as a detached observer to search for what sets you apart from your true potential. Slice your line of thinking and actions into parts. Which one of these parts is more aligned with your abilities, intellect, and motives? The part that regularly criticizes, argues, is judgmental or the part that listens, learns, and knows that life is full of challenges and is tainted with difficulties still it has the nobility to rise above with an admirable footprint. As humans, we are capable of thriving under stress and problems. Why? Because our core being is built to support our transcendence from the stage of apprehension to what we want to be. Hence, stop using half-hearted vocabulary. Your words matter; conscious use of positive talk will bring out your inner courage to pursue goals.

Igor Morski Art
Igor Morski Art

Recognize that as an intelligent being, you can identify your shortcomings and build on your strengths – the idea is to be better than you. You can transform and face undesirable insightfully. Just as you go to the gym to attain your physical fitness goals, the same mentality can support your positive outlook. You start a fitness program with the belief that with discipline, practice, and determination, the plan of action will realize your resolution.

 

You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.

Richard Bach

Work on having a problem-solving mind – rational thinking is about progress, well-being, and awareness that life has setbacks and difficulties; however, the knowledge gained through scientific findings, reason, and humanity will enhance our perspective to seek solutions and flourish.

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Igor Morski Art

Believe that progress is real. As humans, we have come a long way to improve our quality of life from life expectancy to human rights to increase leisure time, and the list goes on. Zoom in; personal growth is tangible. This belief is not fiction is a fact.

Keep in mind that stationary conditions to seek security while you have a fighter spirit will only lead to boredom and boredom in turn to spite and malice. To fight against the negative emotions, go forward in life, and fulfill the ethical duty to create a meaningful life and reach the best version of ourselves is the recommended motivation.

 

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Igor Morski Art

Interview with Visual Artist, Faith XLVII

Faith XLVII is an internationally-acclaimed visual artist from South Africa who is currently based in Los Angeles.
Faith XLVII is an internationally-acclaimed visual artist from South Africa who is currently based in Los Angeles.

Street art is one of the powerful forms of self-expression that Faith XLVII, an internationally-acclaimed visual artist from South Africa, uses to touch souls, raise hope, and expose hurt and oppression. Each time a metamorphosized perspective comes to light through her creations, from raising questions about issues that affect our daily lives to reflect on our society. Smart and resourceful muralists, Faith XLVII, explores human experiences, interconnectedness, and the affinity to nature in a creative approach. She captures metaphors, fragility with an intent to provoke universal love.

A disciple of enlightenment, philosophy, and activism, Faith XLVII shares her visual stories through different media such as printmaking, projection mapping, video installation, drawings on streets, and galleries.

Read my interview with Faith XLVII:

Jupilings: What motivates you to create-

FAITH XLVII: Just being alive is motivation enough. The constant flux and challenges of life and perception.

.Courtesy of Faith XLVII
Courtesy of Faith XLVII

Jupilings: Pragmatism and flexibility are an effective response to global challenges still your art is a protest against them- 

FAITH XLVII: Firstly, I don’t think you’re correct in saying that my work is a protest against Pragmatism and Flexibility. I walk the line between reality and the unseen. I believe the two are interrelated.  So awakening to the mystical and the fantastic can also open one to real-world possibilities.  Working on our inner understanding, helps us to be able to understand and make sense of the outer realities.  Global challenges are very overwhelming for the individual to take on, but when you understand that they are a product of our collective mindsets, then that brings the conclusion that working on the individual helps with the consciousness of the whole.  I don’t draw lines between spiritual/personal/ political perspectives. You cannot separate one from the other.

Courtesy of faith47 - lay your weapons down, 1 NYC 2015
Courtesy of faith47 – lay your weapons down, 1 NYC 2015

Jupilings: What does spirituality mean to you-

FAITH XLVII: The constant practice and perseverance in living a conscious, self-aware life.

Courtesy of Faith XLVII - 315 BC - 307 BC Detroit 2016
Courtesy of Faith XLVII – 315 BC – 307 BC Detroit 2016

Jupilings: What is your perspective in life- 

FAITH XLVII: My perspective is still a work in progress.  I do agree with the Wiccan Rede:

‘Do as thy will and harm none.’

I also feel that nature contains all the solutions to the problems we are facing personally, politically and ecologically, and that we should meditate on this.

Courtesy of Faith XLVII - Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto4 - "The health (welfare, good, salvation, felicity) of the people should be the supreme law".
Courtesy of Faith XLVII Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto4 – “The health (welfare, good, salvation, felicity) of the people should be the supreme law”.

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you?

FAITH XLVII: Woman empowerment, like Black empowerment, or any kind of civil rights movement, is the attempt to balance the scales after decades of oppression due to monotheistic white male power structures.  Essentially these movements attempt to move us towards a more EQUAL society where all demographics can have a say in how we are progressing as a species.  We must insist on the dignity of all human beings! I also add animals and the planet to that statement.

Courtesy of FaithXLVII - 580 BC - 265 BC Athens
Courtesy of FaithXLVII – 580 BC – 265 BC Athens

Jupilings: What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt:

FAITH XLVII: I realise my own insignificance in the scheme of things. Fragility is something we are told to be ashamed of and fight through. But I find some strength therein. We are all impermanent, and our lives fleeting. By accepting the very notion of your own short existence, we can gain perspective. Working from that space allows for a certain amount of freedom and realism.

Courtesy of Faith XLVII - Astronomia Nova Sweden
Courtesy of Faith XLVII – Astronomia Nova Sweden

Jupilings: Best piece of advice you have been given-

FAITH XLVII: “If the world appears to be filled with suffering, it is, nevertheless, radiating pure wisdom.”  – Rudolf Steiner.

Courtesy of Faith XLVII - ENCHANTED WORLD
Courtesy of Faith XLVII – ENCHANTED WORLD

Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the leading actor: 

FAITH XLVII: Princess Mononoke and/or Spirited Away

Jupilings: What is your life motto?

FAITH XLVII: Focus on the Breath

Courtesy of Faith XLVII - THE UNBOUND
Courtesy of Faith XLVII – THE UNBOUND

Visionary Canadian Interior Designer – Alessandro Munge

Good enough was never good enough for me.

Alessandro Munge

Alessandro Munge
Alessandro Munge

A public space that unfolds the nodes and nuances of our souls and desires and satisfies our safety and care requires a dazzling and utopian thinker: one that is observant, innovative, and is genuinely attentive to public behavior, social pleasures, and thoughtful relationships. Driven by excellence, Alessandro Munge, the founder of Toronto-based Studio Munge, adheres to these principles and elements to craft harmoniously unique visual stories that transform a space into becoming the “it” destination.

Camden Cocktail Lounge - Studio Munge
Camden Cocktail Lounge Studio Munge

Dubbed as the Interior Designer of the year 2018, Alessandro Munge differentiates his creations by understanding observable behaviors and cultural inclinations. With an impressive roster of international clients, especially in the hospitality realm, Studio Munge evokes sophistication and beauty.

 

Westlight New York
Westlight New York

In anticipation of his latest projects such as Nobu Toronto, for celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor Robert De Niro (opening in 2020) to designing interiors for two Shangri-La Hotel and Resort locations in Nanning and Shanghai (opening in 2021), to the avant-garde interiors of the Lago restaurant by Spanish chef Julian Serrano on the top floor of the Bellagio juxtaposed Shanghai’s historic Puxi district, among many other global ventures, read below the exclusive interview:

Lago - Studio Munge
Lago – Studio Munge

Jupilings: How do you describe yourself-

AM: A naturally intuitive creative who cherishes authentic experiences through design. 

El Catrin - Studio Munge
El Catrin – Studio Munge

Jupilings: How do you challenge yourself with every new project-

AM: I challenge myself with every new project by starting with a completely blank slate. Rather than following one formula or repurposing the same elements and concepts, I look at what we’ve done before, and push myself to form something completely different and new.

Leuca by Studio Munge
Leuca by Studio Munge

Jupilings: It is quite challenging to work on projects on the other side of the world, do you have ground rules on managing expectations that can be applied universally-

AM: No matter the country, area code, language or time zone, effective communication is detrimental to executing a project successfully. We always take the extra time necessary to have weekly or daily briefings to ensure everyone involved is working towards realistic timelines and a clear vision. From international site visits to long conference calls, our expert project management team has been key in managing expectations. Their expansive design and construction knowledge as well as their constant dialogue with contractors, suppliers, and clients helps us monitor progress and ensures the holistic execution of our design intent.  

Nobu - Studio Munge
Nobu – Studio Munge

Jupilings: People, tastes, preferences… change, so what significant principles in your world of design are applied to make things and create concepts that are durable and time-tested-

AM: Our work is consistently concept-driven and developed around the emotional response we envision our end-users to experience within our spaces. Emotions are universal and timeless; they are not limited to trendy colours, finishes or forms. Whether our spaces align with your preferences or specific tastes, they will connect with you on a deeper level withstanding the test of time.

Jupilings: How do you motivate people working for you-

AM: Without the dedication of our almost 60 employees, Studio Munge would not be the dynamic force we are today. I want each member of that team to feel as excited to come into the studio as I do! Motivating every employee comes from leading by example, encouraging individuals to see their own potential while challenging their limitations, and building an inclusive, collaborative and inspiring work environment. Giving back and participating in events together fuels the fire; to name a few activities, we have shared lunches and engage with our community at design-centric events. 

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

AM: Setbacks are an inevitable part of life. What’s important is how you prepare for, react to, and learn from them; it can make or break you. When dealing with the unexpected, remaining calm and collected as well as optimistic is crucial. It allows you to focus on the most effective and efficient solutions without compromising the design intent. 

Mister C Toronto - Studio Munge
Mister C Toronto – Studio Munge

Jupilings: Who inspires you and why-

AM: For me, inspiration doesn’t come from one specific source. From one moment to the next, I’m inspired by new things and experiences all around me. These sparks of intrigue happen organically anytime anywhere I wander, like rough stone textures or the grooves in the sand made by the ocean tide. I’ve started to document more of those textures and moments on my own Instagram. It’s my way of keeping it all in one space and sharing those precious flashes of inspiration with my friends and community.

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JW MARRIOTT Parq Vancouver– Studio Munge

Jupilings: What is your signature personal style? 

AM: My Italian roots and love for fashion and art play a huge part in my personal style. I like to keep things relaxed, clean, elevated and effortless. I love sneakers and detailed basics that are minimal with an edge.

Best Coffee-Table Book To Give As A Gift – Orlando Suero/Photography

“If I’d realized what a wonderful photographer you were, and how nice McCalls was about doing a story — I never would have been the jittery subject I was.” — Jackie Kennedy 1954 (from a letter to Orlando Suero)

The art of visually documenting feelings discovered in great moments is what makes Orlando Suero a great storyteller. His visual representation explores people unplanned or in heartfelt reactions, intentionally capturing the meaningful message in their expressions.

Orlando Suero showed an interest in photography early and started taking pictures in his teens when his father gave him a Kodak Jiffy. A graduate of New York Institute of Photography, his stellar career picked up when he documented newlyweds Jackie and Senator John F. Kennedy for five days at their Georgetown duplex in 1954.

Courtesy of Orlando Suero
Courtesy of Orlando Suero

His amicable relationship with his subjects enabled him to render a real person, one that is accessible with an aura of unfeigned delight. His career extended to his 80’s and at 93, he was thrilled to learn that his new book, Orlando/photography had gone to print by Hatje Cantz. 

Courtesy of Orlando Suero
Courtesy of Orlando Suero

Orlando/Photography is a collection of 200 intimate shots of well-known actors, politicians, musicians, and other celebrities from the 1950s to 1980. It has been gathered by his son Jim and their friend, film producer Rod Hamilton. Sadly as Orlando has suffered a stroke on the day the art publishers gave the nod to publish his artwork, I had the opportunity to interview his son Jim. The latter kindly agreed to elaborate on one of the best photography books that makes a great gift.

Jupilings: How did it happen and what made you decide to publish the Orlando/photography collection-

JS: I had my father’s archives that had been sitting around for years. I really had no idea what to do with them or how to get things going. It was at a mutual friend’s wedding that I was reunited with an old friend Rod Hamilton. Knowing he was a producer in Hollywood I showed him the Instagram account I had started for my father thinking he would like to see vintage photos of Hollywood celebrities. I also explained to him that I had thousands upon thousands of 35mm slides and negatives.

I could tell Rod became immediately interested when I told him about the archives. He implored me, before I do anything, to watch the documentary, “Finding Vivian Maier”.  The film documents the discovery of the archives of street photographer Vivian Maier and the massive task of documenting and organising such a collection. Rod said to me, “this is what we have to do”.

So we set forth on scanning, documenting, organising my father’s life’s work not knowing where it would lead us. We first thought of producing an exhibit, which we would still like to do. However, upon receiving some well-respected advice, we were directed to work on getting a book published first. So through hard work and diligence (many kudos to Rod who really made things happen), we were able to connect with German publisher, Hatje Cantz. Also, we are very happy we did. They are marvellous.

Courtesy of Orlando Suero
Courtesy of Orlando Suero

Jupilings: What makes this book riveting-

JS: I think one thing that makes it riveting is that many of these photos have never been published or rarely seen. They literally have been boxed up for decades. Additionally, I feel it was my father’s eye for the moment. He always would say, “I think with my eyes”.  So, I believe he had a natural intuition to recognise the makings of a great shot and capture it as he envisioned. His style and his knack for getting his subjects to open up to him, to let him in, shows very prominently in his work, especially his close-up portraits. All of this, I feel, keeps one turning the page.

I also want to recognise what a tremendous job that Nadine Barth, Constanze Korb, the rest of the team at Hatje Cantz did to make this happen. Also, the great vision of Art Director Julia Wagner at grafikanstalt. To make a book riveting it takes not only the art (that speaks for itself) but the editing, design and production behind it. We cannot thank all of the individuals enough who worked so hard to make the book what it is.

Jupilings: How would you describe Orlando’s style of photography-

JS: I would describe his style as emotive. Many of his photographs evoke an emotional reaction that hits you right in the chest. There is a certain softness to his photography. You feel his work; you just don’t view it. There are times I am just left amazed at the clarity, at the palpable connection between photographer and subject. I have seen many of these images for decades, and I still get an emotional reaction. There is just a certain beauty in his photography that, and maybe I am biased, sets him apart from the rest.

Jupilings: What are the most emotionally & engaging “catching the moment” images in this collection-

JS: There are many, and I think there will be differing opinions. One of my father’s most recognisable photos in this collection is Jackie lighting the candles. That is one photo of a young Jackie, newlywed to the young and upcoming senator that captures her beauty and grace in such a serene moment as she prepares for a dinner party. It is an iconic shot.

For me personally, there is one photo in this collection, no actually two of Princess Margaret that are side by side on opposite pages that are emotionally engaging. One is of the Princess engaging a boy scout at the Jamaican Independence Ceremony in 1962. Her smile, her eye contact, her connection to the young scout, even though you cannot see his face, is just a very warm and beautiful moment. It’s a photo that I have never seen before, and it really hit me. The opposite photo of her in Los Angeles in 1966, catches the Princess in a quiet moment with a lovely photo bouquet created by Orlando’s talent that evokes a very serene moment. She hasn’t engaged with anyone it is just her. It is just so peaceful and really draws you in and makes you wonder what she is thinking at that time.

One of my favourite, emotionally engaging photographs in the book isn’t necessarily of a famous subject such as Bardot, Wood, Redford or Newman but of actress Jan Watson. I insisted this photo be in the book. It’s just so beautiful. I think it highlights Orlando’s ability to connect with his subject and capture a soft, emotionally engaging photograph. This photo strikes me every time.

Courtesy of Orlando Suero
Courtesy of Orlando Suero

Jupilings: How would this collection influence connecting the dots of stories and background of the subjects or unveiling the public misconception of their narratives- 

JS: Interesting question. Many of these photos are such a small sample of Orlando’s entire archives. Photo sets of Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon, Dennis Hopper and Michelle Phillips, Brigitte Bardot, Michael Caine, Jack and Jackie Kennedy, the list goes on. I feel they both unveil misconceptions but also solidify perceptions.

Courtesy of Orlando Suero
Courtesy of Orlando Suero

For instance, take the Hopper-Phillips photographs from Taos, New Mexico. Their tumultuous 8-day marriage is well known. However, if you look at many of the photos in the complete set, you would see tender moments of a caring, fun-loving young couple. Where the public may believe there was total chaos their entire relationship, that simply isn’t true based on the photographs.

Whereas the moviemaking duo of Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon were well-known to work great together and my father’s work really does capture those moments. So this particular photo set from The Fortune Cookie doesn’t unveil misconceptions but bolsters the perception that they were indeed a great movie making duo and worked tremendously well together (and had fun doing it).

Ultimately, I will leave the viewer to make those connections from the book. I think the photos in my father’s monograph do shed some light on misconceptions (and perceptions), but I really feel one has to consider these photos as part of larger collections that in their entirety may unveil misconceptions or make better connections to what is publicly understood regarding the subjects.

Courtesy of Orlando Suero
Courtesy of Orlando Suero

Interview with Robert Vanderhorst – Surrealist Painter

Robert Vanderhorst’s creativity propels us to squint and examine the original or the rational with intention. At that point, you discover the conflict, the unacceptable, the unpleasant or the hidden desire. The imagery gushes over, the psyche is liberated, and the visual stimulus unravels the nuances of our ideas and rules.  He is adept at bringing together various mental pictures into a fusion of tenacious conventions, compromised perceptions, and wavering imaginations. His capability to point out that impressions, symbols, and patterns have unrealized possibilities, rattles the viewer. Although he deliberately composes the uncertainties, the freedom of thought, choice and the inclination of progress orbit symbolically and eminently in his artwork.

This painting explores the concept of choice. The choices we’re presented, the ones we make, the ones we don’t and the ones that are made for us. Through these choices, we can either find our way or we can be ‘LOST. Two divers, who know each other from past adventures, find themselves in an unlikely environment swimming down an empty country road next to a farmer’s field. The scenery is bleak and grey with the only colour being a hint of silvery purple on the distant tree branches. The corn field next to the road had been long since been hacked down. Snow fills the furrows and the remaining bleached grasses at the roadside crackle as the wind shakes off thin shards of ice. A light snow is falling. One of the divers notices a series of repetitive rectangular shapes running along the tree line and begins heading across the field towards them. A set of doorways come into focus through the cold mist. The other diver stops, hovering above the dirt road. He’s confronted by a foreboding black carriage with two harnessed horses standing before him, motionless. The diver stares directly ahead and is transfixed by the stars in the universe that envelopes the darkness of the horse’s head. Where am I he wonders? What direction should I go?
Lost – By Robert Vanderhorst – This painting explores the concept of choice. The choices we’re presented, the ones we make, the ones we don’t and the ones that are made for us. Through these choices, we can either find our way or we can be ‘LOST. Two divers, who know each other from past adventures, find themselves in an unlikely environment swimming down an empty country road next to a farmer’s field. The scenery is bleak and grey with the only colour being a hint of silvery purple on the distant tree branches. The corn field next to the road had been long since been hacked down. Snow fills the furrows and the remaining bleached grasses at the roadside crackle as the wind shakes off thin shards of ice. A light snow is falling. One of the divers notices a series of repetitive rectangular shapes running along the tree line and begins heading across the field towards them. A set of doorways come into focus through the cold mist. The other diver stops, hovering above the dirt road. He’s confronted by a foreboding black carriage with two harnessed horses standing before him, motionless. The diver stares directly ahead and is transfixed by the stars in the universe that envelopes the darkness of the horse’s head. Where am I he wonders? What direction should I go?

 

Fate's Passage Robert Vanderhorst
Fate’s Passage Robert Vanderhorst – The scene takes place in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. At the end of the light dappled gravel path is the Museum of Natural History. The ‘Museum’ is on this side of the doorway, not through it. The mother and her young son are going out through ’Fate’s Passage’. As she exits, she slowly becomes the space around her. The man standing at the doorway is the museum’s greeter. The astronaut has recently arrived, confused but intrigued. Near the exit, the shadow of a stooped Churchill leans heavily on his cane and the grey figure of an arrogant Napoleon standing on the balcony both suggest that they been guests of the museum for quite some time. This ‘Museum’ is a spectre of our future. Last thing I remember, I was Running for the door I had to find the passage back To the place I was before “Relax, ” said the night man, “We are programmed to receive. You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave! ” Hotel California – The Eagles

Jupilings: Tell us about yourself and how you got into art-

RV: My talent comes through my father’s side of the family. He was an artist/graphic artist in Holland, and he continued that profession after coming to Canada post-WWII. Once I understood that art was my passion, my career path was set. Seeing Dali and Magritte’s work for the first time cemented my love for surrealism.

VIEW FROM THE GALLERY, Part One by Robert Vanderhorst
VIEW FROM THE GALLERY, Part One by Robert Vanderhorst

Jupilings: The fundamental principle in your creations-

RV: Exploration and mystery. Keep everyone thinking and guessing.

Jupilings: What is your perspective on life-

RV: Life is short. Be kind and generous, work hard and stay true to your passion, play when you can, travel and experience life as much as possible and keep your sense of humour intact.

The Immigrant Robert Vanderhorst
The Immigrant Robert Vanderhorst

Jupilings: What do you sell in your art-

RV: To think outside the box.

VIEW FROM THE GALLERY, Part Two by Robert Vanderhorst
VIEW FROM THE GALLERY, Part Two by Robert Vanderhorst

Jupilings: What motivates you to create, is it an emotional state, philosophy of life, politics or advocacy- 

RV: A desire to create realistic imagery that engages, asks questions and searches for answers where the answers ask more questions.

Jupilings: What is your favourite subject to illustrate-

RV: Time and space.

MICOMICON by Robert Vanderhorst
MICOMICON by Robert Vanderhorst

Jupilings: What does “confusion” mean to you? Also, what about “Normality”-

RV: I’m most fond of one of my image titles, ‘And You Thought You Were Normal.’ Says what I need to about confusion and what we perceive as normal.

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you-

RV: Equality.

THE AMERICANIZATION OF GUSTAVE’S PARIS by Robert Vanderhorst
THE AMERICANIZATION OF GUSTAVE’S PARIS by Robert Vanderhorst

Jupilings: What are your tips about building a brand name as an artist-

RV: Develop a unique personal style and stay true to your art. Work your ass off, don’t compromise, network and promote using new and old technologies as much as possible.

Jupilings: What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt-

RV: Ignore it. Believe in yourself and what you’re trying to accomplish and ignore anyone who tells you it can’t be done.

Magritte's Dark Angel By Robert Vanderhorst
Magritte’s Dark Angel By Robert Vanderhorst

Jupilings: The disruptive blockchain technology is addressing the problems of transparency and authenticity for artists; it will increase art sales, democratize art investment, and last but not least allow artists to be fairly paid.  What are your thoughts about the blockchain technology especially in support of art? Would you consider using the blockchain technology platform to reach global art enthusiasts? What are the problems in your industry do you want these platforms to solve?

RV: I am not versed in this platform and at this stage not particularly interested in another tech learning curve. Everyone should be paid fairly and on time, artists, in particular, considering they are often taken for granted and put at the bottom of the list. If this tech addresses the issues you’ve stated above effectively, then I’m all for it.

Jupilings: What superpower you would like to have ? and why- 

RV: I’m happy as is.

Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the lead actor- 

RV: I was a Zombie in a George A. Romero film, and that was perfect for me. Don’t need to be a lead.

THE SENTINEL by Robert Vanderhorst
THE SENTINEL by Robert Vanderhorst

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

RV: Life is complicated. Keep your sense of humour and try not to be an ass.

In the Absence of Light Robert Vanderhorst
In the Absence of Light Robert Vanderhorst
COUNTERVAIL by Robert Vanderhorst
COUNTERVAIL by Robert Vanderhorst
THE YACHT CLUB by Robert Vanderhorst
THE YACHT CLUB by Robert Vanderhorst
ROBERT VANDERHORST
ROBERT VANDERHORST

 

Images: Lost & Fate Passage courtesy of Robert Vanderhorst, other images from Saatchi Art Gallery.

Interview with Sue Tilley – The Artist & The Muse

“The most potent muse of all is our own inner child”

What is ideal? What drives us? What provokes us? What lifts us? We get moving by our physical requirements, by feeling safe, being valued, belongingness, but each of us aspires to reach our full potential and eventually achieve our transcendence.

“What a man can be, he must be”

Doing what we are capable and achieve our greatness is driven by force within our psyche. It can be an idea, a higher purpose, a passion or a muse. Whether an invisible spirit, a demon, a place or the most authentic organism on the planet, the muse deliberately takes over the wheel of a drive. It triggers a spark and lifts you to a place where you can release your genius.

Sue Tilley, the muse behind Luciano Freud, “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping “(1995) that broke records when it was sold to Roman Abramovich in 2008 for £17 million ($33.6 million) is the inspiration that pushed Freud to the edge of his potential.

Sue Tilley
Sue Tilley

Tilley, a local government worker in London and a close friend of Leigh Bowery, a performing artist, fashion designer and the proprietor of extravagant London Club “Taboo,”was part of the hedonistic lifestyle of the 80’s. She met Freud, through Leigh, who was also an inspiration and Freud’s sitter. The iconic plumpness of her curves and folds became one of the most valuable life-size masterworks of human forms. Freud’s exceptional techniques intertwined with Tilley’s authentic and unpretentious repose make the viewer uncomfortable yet with admiration for both the artist and the sitter.

Fast forward, Tilley has retired from her job, and she is exploring her talents as a writer, an illustrator and fashion collaborator with House of Fendi. Her cartoonish drawings of ordinary stuff are printed on Fendi’s Men’s SS2018 “corporate escapism” collection. She also creates portraits and draws dull everyday objects, as she charmingly characterizes them.

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 9.02.14 PM

The magic appeal in her drawings is her ability to observe and render the banal into a jolly artwork. She does not push any boundaries, only reminds us that the ordinary is true, it is present and part of life. Her honest illustration of things that occupy our life moments stamp her “joie de vivre.” Sue Tilley finds her muse deep from her life philosophy and hones her potential in a spirited style.

As for the inspiration behind Tilley’s adventure in writing the biography of “Leigh Bowery: The Life and Times of an Icon” was to pay tribute to her closest friend. She reveals London’s 1980’s nightclub culture and radiantly portrays with such a wit, Bowery as the most provocative and avant-garde performers of that era.

Interview

Jupilings: Tell us about yourself, how you got into illustration and collaboration with House of Fendi:

ST: I trained as an art teacher but I never really worked in that field and more or less stopped drawing. However about five years ago I met a Portuguese artist called Rui Miguel Leitao Ferreira, and we became very good friends. He encouraged me to draw, and I got the bug again. I had a big exhibition and a good friend, Julian Ganio came, and he really loved my pictures and bought several. He is very close to Silvia Fendi and works with her on the Fendi menswear collection, and he suggested that I should draw some everyday objects for spring/summer 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 9.01.42 PMScreen Shot 2018-07-30 at 9.02.25 PM

Jupilings: Which side of Susan Tilley, drives the wheel of her life?  

ST: To be honest, I’m not very driven. I tend to wait for projects to come along and just go with the flow.

Credit: Sue Tilley
Credit: Sue Tilley

Jupilings: You have indicated that your artworks are inspired by mundane. How or why you find excitement in mundane-

ST: Oh, I love ordinary things. I can find pleasure in anything. I didn’t really know what to do for my art exhibition, so decided to base it on my life and draw things that I like such as Dove Bodywash, Heat Magazine, and foods that I love and other things that give me pleasure. I haven’t got expensive taste although I like good quality things.

Credit: Sue Tilley
Credit: Sue Tilley

Jupilings: When you are creating a work of art, you are forging an engagement with a situation or an emotion. Do you aspire to drive public awareness to activism, in any stage of your creation?

ST: Sometimes Rui and I work together, and we put on an exhibition about Brexit and how it was going to ruin Britains relationship with the rest of Europe. However, generally I just paint things that I like, and they are merely for pleasure. I seem to get many commissions to paint dogs, I have no interest in dogs at all, but I like how the owners really love them.

Credit: Sue Tilley - Boris
Credit: Sue Tilley – Boris
Credit: Sue Tilley
Credit: Sue Tilley
Credit: Sue Tilley
Credit: Sue Tilley

 

Credit: Sue Tilley
Credit: Sue Tilley

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you?

ST: It just means that women should have the same rights as men and be treated equally in the home and the workplace.

Jupilings: How do you keep your confidence up as a woman?

St: Just by being me and answering men back if they make a sexist comment or if they try to tell me something that they think I wouldn’t understand as I am a woman.

Jupilings: One advice to a millennial woman

St: Believe in yourself and don’t pander to man and their stupid whims.

Jupilings: What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt:

ST: I think “ I can do this and I will do this” To be honest as I’ve got older I’ve had less self-doubt. You aren’t going to please everyone, and not everyone is going to like you so get on with your life and remove negative people from your life.

Jupilings: How do you describe your relation with Lucian Freud:

St: I just worked for him, we were friends like work colleagues, we had a chat when I was there, but the friendship didn’t continue after I stopped working for him.

Sue Tilley - by Luciano Freud
Sue Tilley – by Luciano Freud

Jupilings: Best advice you received from Lucian Freud:

ST: I’m not a great one for taking advice, and he wasn’t a great one for giving it. However, I did follow his way of eating..buy the best quality fresh produce that you can afford and cook it simply.

Jupilings: One thing about Lucian Freud that nobody knew about it:

ST: He was absolutely hilarious.

Jupilings: What about Leigh Bowery, what did you learn from him that had a positive effect on your life?

ST: Everything that has happened in my life can be traced back to Leigh. For the confidence, he gave me and the belief that he had in me. He was the best friend that anyone could ever have.

Credit: Sue Tilley - Leigh Browery
Credit: Sue Tilley – Leigh Browery

Jupilings: What are your tips about building a brand name as an artist?

ST: I’m not an expert on this, but I put a lot of my work on Instagram and Facebook and try to reach as big an audience as possible.

Credit: Sue Tilley
Credit: Sue Tilley

Jupilings: What superpower you would like to have ? and why?

ST: To be able to eat ice cream all day without it affecting my weight or health. I gave up sugar two months ago, but once a week I allow myself to have one scoop of ice cream.

Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the leading actor: 

ST: Moulin Rouge…but as I can’t sing or dance I wouldn’t have been very good.

Jupilings: What is your life motto?

ST: Just say “Yes.”

Inspiration – Where Does It Come From and How To Realize it?

Where does inspiration come from? For centuries people believed that inspiration derived from gods and thought that is a divine matter, a gift from holy spirit.

Creación_de_Adán_(Miguel_Ángel)

Nevertheless, inspiration defined by Oxford dictionary states:

A sudden brilliant or timely idea

The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative

The drawing in of breath; inhalation

Trash Riot (AKA Terry Ringler)  - Off in the Distance
Trash Riot (AKA Terry Ringler) – Off in the Distance

Whatever your angle, to reach that elevated feeling, a prepared mind is required to interact with the information received from the exterior. By this I mean,  you are partly responsible for an inspiration to happen. The knowledge, the efforts and the discipline must be cultivated to recognize an inspirational experience. You will not be stricken by a sudden flash of inspiration only when you are prepared for it. Therefore, preparation is one of the key ingredients.

Lara Zankoul
Lara Zankoul

As Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favours only the prepared mind.”

Naturally, other conditions allow light-bulb moments to happen. A recall of a memory, an experience beyond the normal level, and an open mind attitude. Moments of clarity achieved by getting rid of self-serving concerns and restraints makes us aware of new possibilities. Clearly,  inspiration favors minds that are open and actively engage in new adventures. Besides, inspired individuals live a purposeful life with the sense of gratitude because of that transcendence state.

Trash Riot (AKA Terry Ringler)
Trash Riot (AKA Terry Ringler)

Indeed, there is a difference between being inspired and being motivated by the inspiration to act. How to create that sense of urgency to actualize the inspiration? Certainly by perceiving the essential value of our goal or desires subjectively and removing any apprehension of how attainable it is. That desirability of the expected reward is a powerful motivator that creates excitement and compels us to put the effort for achievement.

Trash Riot (AKA Terry Ringler)
Trash Riot (AKA Terry Ringler)

Another remarkably important trigger to take action on your inspiration is exposure to inspiring individuals, leaders and role models. Observing how they accumulate and share their knowledge to manage their lives, their resources or their careers. How they motivate and empower to manage people at all levels. How they enable creativity in the face of challenging situations.

Finally, keep in mind,

  The heights of human motivation spring from the beauty and goodness that precede us and awaken us to better possibilities. Thrash and Elliot.

 

 

Interview with Beatriz Ramos, Artist and Founder of DADA.nyc

Art a positive influence, art plays a significant role in cultural tolerance, civic engagement, or political movements. It boosts communities’ local economy, connects the newcomers, develops critical thinking and problem solving, or impels corporations to support the collective through investment.

A visual conversation by artists on dada.nyc
A visual conversation by artists on dada.nyc

Since Web 1.0, fostering a more robust economy, cultural inclusions, and reinforcing the understanding among diverse ethnicities and identities have been transformed beyond physical or geographical borders. Fast forward to this day, removal of the global boundaries through blockchain technology has morphed into trusting the strangers by generating and validating smart contracts. A technology that is rooted in transparency and unconstrained collaboration.

Monster Afternoon - A visual conversation by artists on dada.nyc
Monster Afternoon – A visual conversation by artists on dada.nyc

By embracing the blockchain technology’s vast potentialDADA.nyc encourages artistic aspirations, enables the artists to sell their digital artworks, and be compensated in real-time. The underpinning inclination of this social network is to create a collaborative platform for anyone to express their ideas through art and generate financial value for the artist. DADA.nyc’s marketplace is about honoring creativity and establishing the element of scarcity to appreciate the artistic works.

CreepWeirdos.png
Dada.nyc Marketplace
Art by Beatriz Ramos on DADA
Art by Beatriz Ramos on DADA

DADA.nyc offers simple tools to push your imagination, ignite your inner passion, initiate partnerships with the artists or the audience, and create MAGIC. The application reveals the art’s provenance, and its cooperative ecosystem bypasses “gatekeepers” & champions fair financial reward for the artist.

Art by Beatriz Ramos DADA
Art by Beatriz Ramos DADA

Here is my exclusive interview with Beatriz Ramos, an artist, entrepreneur, film director, producer, illustrator & founder of DADA.nyc. I would like to thank Judy Mam, Co-founder, and CMO of DADA.nyc and Beatriz Ramos for their time and friendly cooperation for this interview.

Jupilings: Tell us about yourself and how you got into art:

Beatriz Ramos: I was an introverted child and spent a good part of my childhood drawing by myself. I didn’t get into art; I was an artist, and I was lucky that my parents encouraged me to be just that.

Jupilings: What is the outside force that compels you to create, leading to a novel idea?

Beatriz Ramos: It’s actually an inside force, a combination of two things: First, I get bored with trends, anything done too many times becomes derivative and uninteresting. I’m not great with conformity, either. I look for what’s unique and personal. Second, in that quest for my own personal voice, I always approach everything I do from the inside out. I try to understand and articulate my motivations, my needs, my values, my concerns, my skills, what makes me tick. What are the life experiences that inform my point of view about the world? I take the same approach, whether for a project, a team, or an organization. Those insights are the base for all the creative decisions I make.

Jupilings: Do you have a creative pattern, routines, or rituals?

Beatriz Ramos: I enjoy the process regardless of the outcome. I trust that if I had fun and loved the experience, it’ll translate into results. I get bored if I repeat myself, so I push myself out of my comfort zone. I put myself in a place where I have no control. Figuring out how to get out of it is exciting, and the new things I discover are rewarding. Melancholy is the mood where I feel more creative, so I listen to very sad music and drink coffee by the window. I love rainy and snowy days. I collect objects that I find beautiful or interesting: rocks, rusty nails, vintage toys, bones, wood printing press letters, instruments, old keys, etc. They inspire me, and I use them in my work. I embrace limitations, mistakes, imperfection, and happy accidents. Ultimately, being creative is part of who we are. I exercise creativity constantly in everything I do.

Art By Beatriz Ramos on DADA
Art By Beatriz Ramos on DADA

Jupilings: What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?

Beatriz Ramos: I can’t think of anything that stuck with me.

Jupilings: What is DADA about?

Beatriz Ramos: Dada.nyc is a platform where people speak to each other through drawings and create collaborative art. Anyone can join. For us, anyone can be an artist; there is no good or bad art, it’s all about self-expression and collaboration.

 

Pase Magico : A visual conversation by artists on dada.nyc
Pase Magico : A visual conversation by artists on dada.nyc

Jupilings: How can an artist make money on DADA?

Beatriz Ramos: We are using blockchain technology to create an economy within our community. We are selling limited edition “Rare Digital Art” created on Dada with IP protection and ownership proof. Soon we will issue our own currency, and creators will be able to earn Dada tokens for drawing, curating, and contributing value to the community.

Jupilings: The blockchain technology provides an incentive for the artist to be in charge and gain from their artwork. What about the investors or patrons of the art? What is the motivation for them?

Beatriz Ramos: Value is subjective. We are looking for new ways for people to receive value from our community beyond the price they pay for artwork. For some collectors, it may be being part of the creative process, or connect in meaningful ways with artists they like; for other people, it may be that they are supporting a community with values they share, or simply that when their drawing made them smile when they were having a bad day. We are creating a system of incentives with more to do with receiving a valuable experience than just capital.

Jupilings: How have you decided on the commercial value of the secondary market’s artwork when it is resold by the first owner?

Beatriz Ramos: We don’t. The seller and buyer decide that. In fact, we don’t think the value of the artwork is equal to the price someone pays for it. There may be an incredible piece of art that nobody wants to buy or that can’t be purchased. We did use blockchain to make sure that every time a particular artwork is sold, a percentage of that profit automatically goes to the artist. Our smart contract can track and verify every transaction and send the money to the artist in real-time, without intermediaries.

Jupilings: What role does an artist have in society?

Beatriz Ramos: Creativity is part of human nature, but societies have evolved in a way where only a few can experience the joy and marvel of creation like artists do. As a result, artists are the ones that don’t conform, we think outside of the box, we create beauty, we inspire people, we speak truth to power, we challenge the status quo. At Dada, we believe it is important for anyone to exercise creative self-expression, so our society becomes more diverse, inclusive, and just.

Jupilings: What are your tips about building a brand name as an artist?

Beatriz Ramos: I think the concept of a brand name is toxic. My tip is to avoid falling on that trap at all costs. I believe artists should spend their time experimenting, honing their skills, playing, creating, and figuring out the most difficult thing to achieve as an artist: finding your own voice.

Jupilings: Who are your biggest influences?

Beatriz Ramos: So many influences and very diverse. I can still find a few in my work’s DNA are Van Gogh, the Brothers QuayAbbas Kiarostami.

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you?

Beatriz Ramos: A reminder that we still have to reclaim the fundamental intrinsic right women have to be free and independent of this day and age.

Jupilings: What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt:

Beatriz Ramos: I rarely feel fear or self-doubt. Perhaps it is about the joy of living and experiencing new things, trusting that the more we do, the more we grow. Embracing failure is part of the process.

Jupilings: What is your life motto?

Beatriz Ramos: To experience life to its fullest.

 

The featured image is Abbas Kiarostami by Beatriz Ramos.
Beatriz Ramos is an artist, entrepreneur, film director, producer, and illustrator. She is the founder of Dancing Diablo Studio in New York and the inventor of Dada.nyc, a visual conversation platform where people speak to each other through drawings. Images courtesy of DADA.nyc.

Ray Caesar – The Artist Who Embraces Gender Fluidity

Ray Caesar – The Artist Who Embraces Gender Fluidity from Jupilings on Vimeo.

Innocent to sinful, unrestrained to attentive, humorous to gloomy, flirtatious to modest, Ray Caesar, the acclaimed digital artist, unlocks his state of mind and his power of imagination through playful and witty themes. He chose to undertake one of the most difficult aspects of life by laying bare his painful and unpleasant life experiences, acknowledging his fears, submerging into his desires and fantasies through art.  His compelling imagery links the dreamy yet self-discovery realities to earthly concerns. He opens up the portals of his multi-layered universe and delves deep into his subconscious and emotional states of being.

Sol - Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Sol – Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House

Ray Caesar’s self-observing depictions challenge us, shake us and impel us in unforeseen directions, perhaps to a place where we re-examine our own realities and progressively relate to our world with compassion. As he gracefully and brilliantly indicates:

” My work is about defining myself in my own way and then sharing that as Art….what if we all did that ?, share our unique qualities in an effort to find our commonality.”

Communion - Courtesy of Ray Caesar /Gallery House
Communion – Courtesy of Ray Caesar /Gallery House

Learn about what drives Ray Caesar’s creativity and his intentions, in an exclusive interview with Jupilings:

Tell us about yourself and how you got into art:

Ray Caesar: I grew up in south London in the 1960s in a very dysfunctional and abusive family. I began making pictures as a way to dissociate and cope with a difficult reality. After immigrating to Canada, I started working at a children’s hospital in Toronto in the medical art and photography department and stayed there for 17 years. I had always painted and sculpted, but during these years, I began to once again make art as a coping mechanism as the material I dealt with at work was quite overwhelming. I then worked for several years in the film industry doing 3D modeling and animation and, from there, began making art with digital tools.

Old Wounds - Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Old Wounds – Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House

Who is your protagonist?

Ray Caesar: She is my alter ego and a way for me to present a side of the fluidity or ambiguity of my gender. As a child, I used to behave and dress very much like the figures in my work, but an expression of that soon became too dangerous in the volatile family I lived with in the 1960s. It was also unnerving to my father that I talked to dolls and insisted they would talk back. Years of therapy have suggested this is a form of dissociative identity disorder, but I have some ideas of this myself of a slightly more mystical nature. I am comfortable with the idea that my protagonist is a side of my subconscious identity that I had to hide in a paracosm or inner world to survive. Today my images are simply a window into that world that has been growing in my mind for over half a century…an aspect of my psyche of gentleness and femininity and also a way to manage a strange but dangerous inclination that in some way has grown up in a separate world from this one.

Sailor Boy - Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Sailor Boy – Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House

What is the fundamental principle in your creations?

Ray Caesar: To explore and heal my own fractured psychology through images by creating my story as if it was a book of pictures. To give the suppressed and partially broken aspect of who I am a physical presentation. I take memory and dissociated emotions and experiences and give them physical form not just in a 2-dimensional picture but as a 3-dimensional virtual environment with a 3-dimensional figure. My protagonist is movable physical doll covered textures of my own skin in virtual rooms and clothing and textures from a variety of memories from my own past. I am writing a story of my life in pictures that evoke feelings I can’t put in words.

You have indicated that your artworks are inspired by your childhood, life experiences and your involvement in Sick Kids Hospital which are the inner force, what about motivation, what is the outside force that compels you to create?

Ray Caesar: To personally see a reflection of who I am. To define myself in my own evolving mind image. We have no control over how others define us …we do have a choice in how we define ourselves and that plays into how we ourselves define others. I didn’t start publicly showing my work for the motivation of profit as I have other skills that could have and did satisfy that need. I certainly don’t do this for motivations of ego as I am extremely shy and uncomfortable making my work public and rarely attend openings and have to force myself to post on social media in fits of agony. For me, my work isn’t Art …it’s a presentation of who I am. A method for self-expression so I can see myself presented in a way that expresses how I feel. I make it public as I have learned that showing work in some strange way “completes it” …it makes that image part of the greater whole and by doing that ….. its meaning changes with each person that looks at it in such a way that I am forced to look at it again as if I have never seen it before …that has always been its greatest mystery and surprise to me.

When you are creating a work of art, you are forging an engagement with a situation or an emotion. Do you aspire to drive public awareness to activism, in any stage of your creation?

Ray Caesar: There is no intended dogma in my work or social commentary other than a very personal exploration of who I am and it is a very self-indulgent process that I need to do for survival. I think of it as a visual diary and personal emotional guide. My work is simply a self-portrait of my own mind and self-image. It’s about my own sense of fluid gender and my inability to comprehend who I am and where I fit in a world of polarized views. I believe we each need a mind view or image of who we are as a template to build our actions and progress and evolve in a strange world. Although my work is very self-indulgent I do think self-exploration leads into how we as a species have to define what it is to be a human being. So much of our problems with race and gender and cultural identity stem from the inability to connect as a species and define our long term goals and aspiration (this absolutely reflects my own problems with dissociation ) ….to take an active role in our own evolution by a series of smaller conscious revolutions that build the template of what a human being is and what it could be and should be. If we define ourselves individually as unique complex individuals with flaws and amazing potential and realize that there has never been another person in all human history just like us and no one has ever had our unique experience…..then that’s how we define others!  Not by our physical sex organs or skin pigmentation or where we were born, or what familial religion or organization we belong to.  We are a species of unique individuals that are attempting to define our spiritual and practical goals and that’s something every single one of us shares. My work is about defining myself in my own way and then sharing that as Art….what if we all did that? Share our unique qualities in an effort to find our commonality.

World Traveler - Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House
World Traveler – Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Ray Caesar: As someone who is fluid gender and who has never really felt entirely male or female and lives in a mind that could be described as ambiguous and hermaphroditic, I am fascinated by recent events in a gradual growing realization of enlightened women and men that patriarchy is fundamentally flawed. I would love to see our species grow beyond a system that is based on self-centered fear, power, and dominance. It’s time for our species to evolve and acknowledge that we all have masculine and feminine aspects to our subconscious psychology. The balance of Anima and Animus is crucial, not just in the individual, but in the very fabric of human society and the way we choose to govern ourselves and interact in a variety of social levels. In my own attempt to reflect this about myself through my work …it is not lost on me that our own personal struggles reflect the greater struggles of our species and society. The empowerment of women is really a foundation stone in the self-realization of what direction we need to travel for the species as a whole that can ultimately benefit the whole. It is an evolution in progress and from a personal point of view, it is amazing and beautiful to witness. In a hopeful way, I see our planet as a fundamentally feminine thing. Earth or Gaia is a living goddess, a tangible deity that exists and is the giver of life. This thin strip of the atmosphere is like a womb feeding and nurturing and protecting the fragile life that exists within it. Within her is a sea of conscious awareness of millions of species and She is the sum of all the consciously aware life on this small blue world. She is a tangible touchable living conscious Goddess and we are destroying her through our primitive patriarchal arrogance, our fear, and ignorance, and our need for power and dominance. This planet is alive and a living thing! …we are part of this life and not separate from it and our conscious awareness is only part of the sum of existence that lives here,  life on this planet is more than just us. We are part of a caring protective matriarchal ecosystem called Earth and dependant on her like a child is of a mother. We cannot exist without her and our species will have to evolve and learn to treasure this Eden before we are expelled from it.

Kat in Laundromat - Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Kat in Laundromat – Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Tainted by the sea - Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery of House
Tainted by the sea – Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery of House

What are your tips about building a brand name as an artist?

Ray Caesar: Make the art you love and explore avenues that excite you and that are fundamentally about you. Realize that your own choices and values create your brand as if it is an expression of your world view. If you make what you love someone else will love it too. Network and find people that have the same passion for art or creation that you do and realize you can’t do this all alone. I work with my wife Jane and my friend and manager Belinda Chun as a kind of team or family. We like to think of all this as a collective of different skills, not unlike a fashion house or crew of a ship and we call that “Gallery House”http://galleryhouse.ca/. I make the Art, Jane keeps spreadsheets tracking every single piece and keeps me balanced and Belinda then builds a series of partnerships with galleries and dealers and organizations around the world that become a kind of extended family. It’s no longer a world of just one gallery and one artist splitting everything 50/50. We learn to trust these galleries and they learn to trust us and it all starts to work like a functioning engine that creates work, markets work and puts that work in places that visitors and collectors can view it and experience it online and in real spaces like galleries and art fairs and boardrooms and charitable events. It’s not just about me ..it’s about the different parts of the engine that function in tandem that create something of emotional value from nothing but a concept and a piece of paper and canvas. Dior wasn’t just Christian …it was a house and a company of people who believed in something beautiful and worked together to build something that was more than just a dress…they made that dress a piece of art.

Merchant of Venice - Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Merchant of Venice – Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House

What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt:

Ray Caesar: I don’t as these are valid emotions … I use fear and self-doubt in a positive and creative way ..it’s not so much the conquering of a thing ( that’s a patriarchal practice ) but understanding that my feelings can create a choice of actions and that’s what I absolutely love about emotions …they give us choice. If I am afraid of something I acknowledge it and calmly look at my choices and use the negative energy in a creative positive way that creates a positive result. Bravery isn’t the absence of fear or the control of it, but understanding you have a choice of calm contemplative action despite the fear. I think a wonderful thing to learn is that fear can actually create calm when you realize it’s a way for the subconscious to communicate to the conscious mind that makes action. I think of all emotions like unformed energy that can be modified like a lump of sculptural clay into form …it’s only when we take action and that clay is cast that we will know the result. If I doubt myself that means I need to examine why I am doubting myself and sometimes that doubt is a very useful justified thing and sometimes it is an illusion. I don’t just try and be creative with Art ..I try and be creative with life.

Helios - Courtesy Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Helios – Courtesy Ray Caesar/Gallery House

 What are your thoughts about blockchain technology especially in support of digital art? Would you consider using a blockchain technology platform to reach global art enthusiasts? What are the problems in the Art Market do you want these platforms to solve?

Ray Caesar: One of the reasons Belinda Chun and I developed a different method of working with galleries is that I had so many problems being paid by previous galleries that sold my work. I have had many problems with my work on consignment not being returned. We now only partner with good trustworthy galleries that work fairly with artists and in doing so we make sure we work fairly with them. Blockchain holds a promise of improving that situation by giving greater clarity of any sale and transfer of work in any gallery in the world and letting everyone involved know when and where it happened. I am also interested in the potential for providence in terms of a digital form of a certificate of authenticity that can make providence absolute and travel from collector to collector. Blockchain is sort of like a digital Antiques Roadshow that carries the history of each item along with it and that history becomes part of the fabric of the art itself and can ultimately even increase the value or story of that particular object. As a printmaker of an unregulated commodity, each piece of an edition is very much like printing currency and in doing so one faces the problems any currency faces. Many years ago I was surprised I had absolutely no control over the price of my work …it developed a price based on demand or more accurately, someone’s guess or gamble of its demand. If I held the price down on my work, dealers bought it all and sold it for a higher price. I learned how the market creates the price and value of a limited unregulated edition whether it is a stamp, a dollar bill, or a piece of art.

What superpower you would like to have ? and why?

Ray Caesar: The ability to become consciously aware of subconscious aspects of my own reality and move towards a greater awareness of not just my own existence but a greater awareness of our species and the multidimensional universe we live in … it’s a superpower I am currently learning to cope with and not like trying to cope with X-ray vision or with the difficulty of wearing a spandex mask and tights and high heels and a troublesome cape that tends to get caught in revolving doors.

Which movie you would have liked to be the leading actor:

Ray Caesar: From childhood, I always wanted to be Emma Peel in the old British Avengers TV spy series…I loved her outfits and how she finished each show drinking champagne. She laughed at fear and always took humorous control and action in any difficult situation. She was a spy and secret agent, a lover, and a sculptor and was probably one of the first strong independent female characters on television. I have modeled myself on Emma Peel since I first saw her as a child in the 1960s….it’s a bit tricky to get into a leather outfit now and zip it all up but I suppose Diana Rigg has the same problem… I also think that she was the basis for M in the recent James Bond films …in fact in She was even referred to as Emma and Bond himself almost gave it away when he said he was mistaken when he thought M was a random letter.

Silent Partner - Courtesy Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Silent Partner – Courtesy Ray Caesar/Gallery House

What is your life motto?

Ray Caesar:: Pick yourself up ..dust yourself off ..and try again….keep in mind the only way out is through and leave by the same door you came in….also Fibre is good but too much Fibre isn’t so good.

Home Coming - Courtesy Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Home Coming – Courtesy Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Bound - Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Bound – Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Precious - Courtesy Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Precious – Courtesy Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Blessed - Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House
Blessed – Courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House

Natalie Shau – Digital Art

Natalie Shau is a mix media artist and a photographer from Vilnius, Lithuania. Influenced by religious imagery, fairytales illustrations and eclectic art world, she taps into the myths, dreams and steers the play of thought to where there is no rational boundary. She explores the complexities of human emotions, by suggesting vulnerability and strength of her surreal and extraordinary creatures.  Natalie renders fantasy and reality themes provocatively and elegantly.  Besides her personal artistic projects, she rigorously creates artwork for musicians, theatre, fashion magazines, writers and advertisement campaigns.

Forest Baby by Natalie Shau
Forest Baby by Natalie Shau
Powder by Natalie Shau
Powder by Natalie Shau

To learn about her and her vision, I had the opportunity to ask her few questions:

What inner force inspires you to create? 

Inspiration is usually the beauty of nature and art (any kind, literature, painting, photography, cinema).

What about motivation, what is the outside force that compels you to create?

Motivation for me is when people like what I create and support my artwork.

Secret Emotions by Natalie Shau
Secret Emotions by Natalie Shau

Do you aspire to drive public awareness on current social or political issues when you are creating a work of art?

Some social issues sometimes, but political absolutely not. Everything nowadays is extremely polarized. And you are running a risk to get into a lot of trouble if you were to express your opinion, freely. I am certain many people prefer not to talk about what they really think nowadays. Specially when you are a public person. 

Mon Plaisir by Natalie Shau
Mon Plaisir by Natalie Shau

What is your dream project? 

I would be very interested in creating a movie & a crazy photography set based on some dark fairytale. 

Justine by Natalie Shau
Justine by Natalie Shau
Snowflake by Natalie Shau
Snowflake by Natalie Shau

And, do you have a particular designer / brand / production that you would like to be involved in their’s marketing campaign? 

Well maybe Gucci? That would be nice. 

Do you have creative patterns, routines or rituals?

Yes, I usually work at night. Daytime I just can’t concentrate.

What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?

Listen to your inner true self.

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Don’t be a victim and fight for your goals.

What are your tips about building a brand name as an artist?

Just a lot of work, people develop styles only by creating and working.

What do you do to conquer fear or self doubt:

In such circumstances, I always think that I have so much while many others don’t even have basic things. So I must not complain. 

What are you thoughts about the blockchain technology specially in support of digital art? 

Well, I have not yet looked deep at it, yet, however, I am very very happy that there will be more possibilities for artists.

Would you consider using blockchain technology platform to reach global art enthusiasts?

Absolutely!

What are the problems in the Art Market that you would like these platforms to solve?

Well the biggest problem nowadays for independent artists is of course how to fund themselves and have the possibility to acquire new materials for their art projects. 

What super power would you have liked to have ? and why?

Being able not to sleep. So I could create more and visit many places. 

Which movie would you have liked to be the leading actor?

La Reine Margot 

What is your life motto?

Stay true to yourself.

Fashion Photography "Snow Yak" by Natalie Shau
Fashion Photography “Snow Yak” by Natalie Shau
Fashion Photography "Kristina" by Natalie Shau
Fashion Photography “Kristina” by Natalie Shau
Cradle of Filth 1 - Music Art Works by Natalie Shau
Cradle of Filth 1 – Music Art Works by Natalie Shau

 

Natalie Shau has collaborated with many brands, please refer to her website: https://natalieshau.carbonmade.com/about

 

Selling your Artwork on Blockchain Technology

In today’s culture, we are inspired or entertained digitally, we are all digitally connected, and we narrate our life stories with digital images. So what is digital art? Connecting the dots, science and art have been blended to improve, stimulate, or influence our lives for better and at times wickedly. Technology has phenomenally enabled artists to express their imagination with computers rendering ultimate realism to alluring fantasy.

LaTurbo Alvedon - SITTIN' UP IN MY ROOM
LaTurbo Alvedon – SITTIN’ UP IN MY ROOM

Yet, the anxiety of copyright and monetizing lingers in the digital sphere! Being fairly compensated for a work of art and the happy hunting ground for all and sundry are liberally ideal! Once again, technology is a positive force that reinforces this concept. The blockchain technology provides the artist with an excellent platform to protect and be awarded deservedly, conveniently, and transparent to the art world’s opacity.

Whether the digital and the new media genres are in our computers or part of our living or working space, it is significantly expressive of our culture, social observations, or just feel-good indulgence. Simultaneously, the fluid creativity that appears in digital work and new media from pointing out the inequalities, oppressions, fighting for justice, questioning mindless behaviors, or beliefs to inspire and improve our ways of life can be viewed, shared, and owned prolifically. Being able to own such artwork that moves you, the provenance is clear, and it might go up in value is appealing to many of us.

Eva Papmargariti - In ‘Always a body, always a thing’ Papamargariti, examines transformation and morphological/ontological fluidity through a series of bizarre incidents – actual or imagined – whose common thread is the ingestion and embodiment of plastic by living beings (fish, frogs) that end up mutating, as well as the appearance of a host of amorphous masses in natural settings (meadows, lakes).
Eva Papmargariti – In ‘Always a body, always a thing’ Papamargariti, examines transformation and morphological/ontological fluidity through a series of bizarre incidents – actual or imagined – whose common thread is the ingestion and embodiment of plastic by living beings (fish, frogs) that end up mutating, as well as the appearance of a host of amorphous masses in natural settings (meadows, lakes).

What’s more, blockchain technology addresses many critical questions for the artists and the whole art world! It transforms the way art is distributed and owned. It tackles the seriousness of censorship by decentralizing. It gives the artist sufficient power over the ownership or use of the artwork, especially by institutions or groups of people whose ideas oppose the artist. Galleries & museums are our contact points with the artist, but what about the ones located on another continent, or are they not mainly household names? Blockchain technology means a significant change in the fairer distribution of wealth and having a democratic choice in our societies’ matrix.

Few online art projects and sites applying blockchain technology:

Dadiani Fine Art is the first gallery in the UK to start accepting cryptocurrency for works of art. Accepted currencies are  bitcoinethereumethereum classic, litecoinripple, dash and NEM.

The left gallery produces and sells downloadable objects.

Cointemporary an online platform for exhibiting and selling artwork.

Ikonotv.art offers a free art stream for internet and SmartTV users.

Featured image by: CARLA GANNIS’S work examines the narrativity of 21st century representational technologies and questions the hybrid nature of identity. (Transfer Gallery)