Tag: #inspiration

Banksy’s Exhibition in Toronto

I dare say that being a good observer matters more than ever. Peering into ourselves and the world unboxes the behaviors, the negatives, the positives or the actions that sidetrack us. The daily rummage distracts even the most intelligent beings; however a sudden tilt of the eye towards a mural or a poster sheds lights on our existential dilemma.

Banksy
Banksy

One of the most talented observers of our time is Banksy, the artist. His anarchic wit and his ability to dissect the challenges and communicating them in an intelligently uncluttered way is praiseworthy. The message is never lost in the image. A simple concept from evolutionary references, advocating for peace or justice to the validity of all kinds of love brings out the best version in each of us. His artworks push aside the narcissism of small differences and rely on the hype for compassion.

Banksy
Banksy
Banksy
Banksy

The incognito trademark of Bansky is attractive. His desire to act as a creative surrogate of empathy and heightened awareness portrays him as stimulating. Deep in our conscious, we form an alliance with his emotional intelligence. Unlike the desperate cry for help of Gotham citizens, who relied on one superhero to be rescued using the bat-signal device, Banksy lights the torch for us to observe, be responsible and take action.

 

Banksy
Banksy
Banksy
Banksy

The Banksy Art exhibition in Toronto curated by Steve Lazarides, his former agent, is a collection of references to our society and cultural idolization, obsessions or shenanigans. Still, his deeply-rooted mindfulness and generous care for the vulnerable are felt with clarity. An opportunity to see his artworks that will be returned to 40 different art collectors around the world, is worth the time and money.

 

THE ART OF BANKSY runs till September 2, 2018, at 213 Sterling. $35, stu/srs $32.50, children under five free.

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.”

The woman behind Spallanzani Jewels – Interview with Gaia Spallanzani

GAIA

Dazzling, radiant, appreciated, loved or inspired are among the many attributes & feelings that we all experience whether through our intimate relations to another or our relationship with ourselves. Over the course of centuries,  people tried to appease Gods with gifts, a gesture of gratitude and honour or exchanged them when they met another tribe to build trust. Increasingly, many other celebrations expanded the gift-giving culture. However, at its core, the symbolic act is to honour someone or oneself for personality traits and achievements.

ONLY YOU - LOVE ring Spallanzani Jewels
ONLY YOU – LOVE ring Spallanzani Jewels

Gracefully, communicating the message of recognition based on deep affections and best wishes is not always easy.  Still, explaining oneself with a single word that says it all, is pleasantly indulging.

Only you Bracelet - Spallanzani Jewels
Only you Bracelet – Spallanzani Jewels

The House of Spallanzani Jewels, founded in 1880, is the embodiment of that stylish and elegance admiration. A Milanese jewelry house with 130 years of savoir-faire and a portfolio of iconic designs, Spallanzani has successfully moved through modern times. Only You, the signature design of the house was inspired by Guido Spallanzani’s, (son of the founder) gift to his wife Rosabianca, a coded bracelet with the message – TSTQCA (Tu sei tutto quello che amo / you are all that I love). 

Stella Bracelet Spallanzani Jewels
Stella Bracelet Spallanzani Jewels

Today, Gaia Spallanzani, at the helm of the family business, has taken the jewellery house to new heights. Inspired by the glamour deeply rooted in a desire to influence the power of belief, she captures the “Oomph” in the collections. With her vision and the craftsmanship of Italian finest artisans, the Spallanzani’s jewelry makes an exceptional gift.

Interview

Jupilings: How do you describe yourself-

GS: I am a positive person, very superstitious but also very determined. My brain never stops, and I am always looking for new ideas and inspirations. I can also define myself as a very active woman because I balance my work life and my family life… (I have three kids)

Forever Spallanzani Jewels
Forever Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: What are the principles in lifestyle that you want to manifest in Spallanzani brand-

GS: At Spallanzani, we represent quality, originality of the design, the pride from being made in Italy and also the history of our brand. It’s in our DNA. We are jewellers for 5 generations; we designed our most signature pieces from scratch. We were the innovators of the style (letter bracelets) that became popular in the fine jewelry in the 80’s.

AMOUR Spallanzani Jewels
AMOUR Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: What does elegant design mean to you-

GS: An elegant design to me means something that gives you an ‘allure’ but is timeless at the same time.

Stella hoop earring Spallanzani Jewels
Stella hoop earring Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: What does luxury mean to you-

GS: Luxury is something that is not for everybody. It is for a niche of clients.

Jupilings: What is the favourite aspect of your business-

GS: Creativity is what I love in my business and originality. We need shoes to walk, we need clothes to go out in, but we don’t need jewelry. Jewelry is a plus that makes you look beautiful, powerful, elegant, bold; it is like a cherry on top of the sundae. It is the “touche d’eclat” that makes you different and unique. I love that part of my business.

Jupilings: What is the hardest part of your business

GS: The hardest part of my business is sometimes what our client see the products but overlook the effort that has been employed through the process of making jewelry, especially in Italy. Nowadays, people see a product and buy a bag or a pair of shoes because of the price and the look, and they don’t care anymore about the quality. The clients want to work on consignment, and this kills the market. Gold has a price and so does good quality diamonds.

Only You - Sigillo ring B Spallanzani Jewels
Only You – Sigillo ring B Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have-

GS: I don’t have any routines. I can wake up in the middle of the night and send info of an idea I had while sleeping to my team and when I go into work the next morning (if I don’t do it I will forget it), we brainstorm to create one of a kind pieces. I also decide on a theme, we research for all the info, symbols, icons linked to that idea. Alternatively, I also look at our old designs, and from one single piece, I imagine a full collection.

Stella Bracelet with pearls Spallanzani Jewels
Stella Bracelet with pearls Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: Best piece of advice you’ve been given-

GS: The best piece of advice I have been given is for sure: “you are a good seller only when you will be able to sell your pieces”. It is difficult to sell your pieces, your designs as there is always this limit when you don’t know if people will like it or not and worst if the will tell you or not, so I consider it very difficult, but this is something I am working on it.

Jupilings: What’s one branding lesson you’ve learned in your career and ventures-

GS: For our branding, we pride ourselves on our individuality that brings our clients one of a kind, luxurious pieces. As I’ve been handed down this company through my family, I want to represent Spallanzani as not just another jewelry company. To me, Spallanzani is like no other Jewellery House, and we show this pride through our products by using only the best stones, gold and designs.

stella starlight bracelet pink sapphires Spallanzani Jewels
Stella starlight bracelet pink sapphires Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

GS: A moto that inspires me is ”When there is a problem there is a solution,” so I do all my superstitious routines and then I try to figure out a solution.

Stella chain earring full diamonds Spallanzani Jewels
Stella chain earring full diamonds Spallanzani Jewels

Jupilings: Who inspires you and why-

GS: Who inspires me? I keep thinking of my mother and grandmother. Beautiful, elegant, classy, active and such a determined women, but also very funny.

Jupilings: What does it mean to be a woman today-

GS: A woman in today world does everything. She works, she manages the family, the kids, the house, she organizes the holidays and also the day to day. For me, women are SUPERWOMAN today. I am impressed every day by all a woman can truly handle.

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

GS: I would have loved to be the leading actor of so many movies….above all the movies from the 50’s and 60’s. Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Vacanze Romane...I love Audrey Hepburn she was so classy, natural elegance… so I think I would have loved to be her in one of her movies, but another movie I keep remembering is Sliding Doors with ‘Gwyneth Paltrow.’ This movie explains very well what I firmly think as another motto of mine: “That what has to happen at the end will happen.”

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

GS:  I do have many mottos, one of my favorites would be: “where there is a problem there is a solution and make it happen.”

Only you "I woke up like this" necklace - Spallanzani Jewels Only you "I woke up like this" necklace - Spallanzani Jewels
Only you “I woke up like this” necklace – Spallanzani Jewels

The Art of Afsoon

How to peacefully tackle and question the ideologies, values, and happenings of the 21st century? The disagreements, the conflicts, the foolishness yet the ever-present of innocence and divine are the prismatic reflections in the artwork of Afsoon, a renowned Iranian born,  London-based artist. Her assemblage tells the story of individuals who bare open the vulnerabilities of humanity such as her collection of poets. At the same time, she shed lights to paradoxes of war and allegorical beliefs of our times in an imaginative and whimsical manner.

Poets in Heaven Series - by Afsoon
Poets in Heaven Series – by Afsoon
War Carpets - by Afsoon
War Carpets – by Afsoon

Afsoon explores complexities of our world and takes us a step forward to examine perceptions and tenets. Similar to our pure ideals of love, the original sin, transformation of Adam & Eve, the defiant celebrities to earthlings, or the schisms of feminine experience. Still, hope is in existence. A firm believer of a fairytale, she constructs narratives, she remembers, she solves, and she implies survival of not only the fittest but the one that still believes in humanity.

Adam & Eve - By Afsoon
Adam & Eve – By Afsoon

She makes use of linocut, photography, watercolour, collage, and etching for her multilayered creations. For the most part, she illustrates her deep connection with her homeland while exploring the splendor and the Achilles heel of the East and the West. Afsoon’s works have been extensively exhibited and can be found worldwide in prominent collections and museums, including the British Museum, Los Angeles County Museum and Berger/YSL Collection, among others.

 

Afsoon
Afsoon

Interview

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

A: As long as I can remember, I have been making things. From drawings with crayons at a very young age and my preteen magazine collages to film art in my early twenties to work, I do now.

Jupilings: How do you choose your protagonists-

A: I am my protagonist.

Jupilings: What is the fundamental principle in your creations-

A: Storytelling

War Carpet - by Afsoon
War Carpet – by Afsoon

Jupilings: As an artist, what role and social responsibility you shoulder-

A: An artist should be honest.

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-

A: Emotions are always involved in creating my art. I tell my story and leave it up to the viewers to engage with it in their own way.

Jupilings: What is one undisclosed or mysterious piece of information about yourself, you would bravely share with your audience-

A: I am scared of the dark.

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you-

A: I am a woman and a feminist. Equality is the answer.

Keys from Persian Magic Series - by Afsoon
Keys from Persian Magic Series – by Afsoon

Jupilings: Three tips about building a brand name as an artist-

A: I don’t believe in this brand name and so forth. I am an old-fashioned artist. My only tip is to keep on making art.

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

A: I make art and write short stories.

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

A: I would like to be invisible to see and hear things that are not meant for me.

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

A: Nostalgia by Tarkovsky

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

A: I follow Louise Bourgeois with: Art is a guaranty of sanity.

Forough from Fairytales Icons Series - By Afsoon
Forough from Fairytales Icons Series – By Afsoon

 

Interview with Jana Brike, Echoes of Self-Awareness

What happens when you achieve to liberate your mind, when you weave memories, capture purely personal feelings and unfold your experiences in colour?  Beyond doubt, beautiful imagery! Nothing is as fulfilling when you come to terms with your repressed unconscious.  Latvian pop surrealist artist, Jana Brike is the epitome of this awareness. With Masters in the Art, she transforms taboos, despairs, pleasures, desires, and vulnerabilities by channeling the energies to discover her true self and create a sublime art. Unassumingly, she explores her life story and feelings, re-creates and allows us to re-live the stimulations.

"Summer of Wild Wallflower" by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“Summer of Wild Wallflower” by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Unapologetically, she has put aside manuals, instructions of social behaviors and codes of hierarchical society by refusing to accept conformity without examination. In spite of that, she believes in the naivety of human soul and purity of love in an unconventional manner. She touches on existential life question, embracing with harmony and awareness her transformation much like the cosmic ocean cocooning planets and stars which continually create new forms even if they are interdependently connected and travel in similar paths.

"Echoes from the Center of the World" by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
“Echoes from the Center of the World” by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

I had the opportunity to meet her at Gallery House, Toronto during her exhibition and was able to have an exclusive interview. To begin with, I would like to thank Jana Brike for her generous collaboration, Belinda Chun and David Keyes from Gallery House, Toronto for curating, organizing exhibitions and facilitating this talk:

Jupilings: Jana Brike, tell us about yourself and how you got into art:

JB: Honestly, I’ve been an artist as long as I remember myself. I always was the kind of “beauty would save the world” person and knew I would do something creative. As a little child, I loved art exhibitions, ballet performances, theater, reading books, looking at book illustrations, watching movies and especially animations. It felt like these expressions transcend the human condition so beautifully. So I knew I would do something in that field. I disliked stage though and loved spending countless hours hatching and brewing something creative in the quietness of my room. So painting choice came naturally.

Jupilings: Who is your protagonist? 

JB: It is always me, in a broader sense. My work is my visual poetic auto-biography through which I look at my experiences, at what it means to be human, I change these experiences and conditions into something meaningful, they become like stages of initiation into a broader and more profound self, for myself and hopefully others.

"New Day Rising" by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“New Day Rising” by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: What inner force shapes your artistic concepts:

JB: Personal truth and love. Lately, it is also something more fragile, like naked vulnerability and hope. I feel that the spear that destroys your armor and injures your hardened skin can itself break in the gentle softness of your open heart. That fierce gentleness and complete openness, I want to channel it into my work. Even if living like that in a world like ours is not yet always possible.

"Tour Guide and the Runaway Princess" by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
“Tour Guide and the Runaway Princess” by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: As an artist, what role and social responsibility you shoulder: 

JB: I don’t think it differs much from the role and social responsibility of any human being – to experience the wonder of life to the best of your ability, in the way that expresses the best version of your self. Otherwise, the role differs from artist to artist, there as many forms of visual expression as there are individual personalities of artists out there. I personally always felt that role as some peculiar form of shamanism, for me the work always involves a deeply meditative state, certain transcendental energy, even a sense of ecstasy, specific sensing of and work with the future possibilities like in dream states and more. Work with collective archetypes, with collective daydreaming like in myths. In an as aware way as I currently can. I don’t know if it’s the same for other artists.

Jupilings: What narrative transpired in your latest collection and especially “two angels in the deep dark wood”:

JB: I feel my work less like a linear narrative and more like a piece of visual poetry. Those are stories very much about intimacy – towards your own body, your soul in the first place, and then between you and another. Also, about playfulness, joy, discovery of your true nature, the pleasure of being alive.

"Two angels in deep dark" by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“Two angels in deep dark” by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: You create defiant art, exploring social and cultural pressures, how do you preserve the standards of propriety while discussing and weaving your
visual narrative:

JB: I don’t think my characters defy public opinions or propriety; I feel more like they live as if there were no outside opinions or pressures to consider, as if one’s freedom and integrity and love was the only law to live by – maybe that is what gives this slightly utopian feel to my work. And I don’t think on much else while I paint, and definitely not the collective standards and expectations. If any rules guide me, it’s my personal sense of ethics and my own deeply felt experiences.

"Wildflowers on the Edge of a Cliff" by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
“Wildflowers on the Edge of a Cliff” by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: What is one undisclosed or mysterious piece of information about yourself, you would bravely share with your audience:

JB: All my important personal feelings, thoughts and human experiences are shared through my painting with no reserve and no holding back, truly. At the same time, to me, there is something numinous to the painting process, as if I transcend my trials and tribulations in an in-depth emotional sacral process while I paint, so the finished painting is a sort of personal icon to me. This process is mysterious, even to me, I know for sure that I emerge healed on the other end. The particulars of my life facts don’t matter.

"Mayday" by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
“Mayday” by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you?

JB: Definitely, the first step is finding your own personal power, a broad sense of self-worth, self-love, self-respect, self-care that doesn’t require external validation. I honestly believe that the way you treat and think of yourself, the world will reflect that right back to you. How worthy of the love you consider yourself. And having this personal base foundation strong, the next step is to reach out and help the sisters, to share, support, encourage. The changes in the society do not star from outside and from the top as law as much as they grow from inside – you change yourself, spread it to the family, closest tribe, and then outwards, to the society. From the center of your heart outwards.

Dreams, more real than life sometimes.. by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
Dreams, more real than life sometimes.. by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

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

JB: I think it is first a very honest work with yourself as a human, “brand name” comes much later; first, you need a very solid substance of who you truly are, something to attach that brand name to. You have to find yourself, to dare to be yourself and stay true to yourself, celebrating your uniqueness, your individual view of the world. To dare to speak about what is important to you personally, about what makes you burn, what is your bliss, what is your passion. Then comes very serious, very responsible and professional work ethic and very committed work on the necessary skillsets. And just after all that can you think of brand names. Of course, vice versa is possible, you can come up with some loud noise of a brand name to cover up the emptiness behind, and it would work for one day, but it wouldn’t give satisfaction, nor serve any worthwhile purpose with a capability to last.

"The procession" by Jana Brike - Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“The procession” by Jana Brike – Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

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

JB: Self-doubt is also a kind of fear – that you may fail, that you won’t be good enough etc. – so it’s a question about fear.
To me, the answer is almost constant self-observation. I look at, and question every thought or emotion that rushes through me, and I question where it’s coming from, and what purpose does it serve. And in the very base, I feel there are two basic emotions, or energies – that of love, and that of fear (which further feeds anger, hate, etc.). So I question my motives, viewpoints, decisions, thoughts daily, asking myself where they come from and what I will choose today – love or fear. Every single day. All the time. I don’t think there is any other way. It’s a daily work, daily hygiene – like wash your dishes, make your bed, brush your teeth and also weed out your soul and mind and motivations and keep them clean.

"Blood Moon" by Jana Brike - Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“Blood Moon” by Jana Brike – Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: The blockchain technology will remedy many issues linked to provenance, transparency, copyright, ownership, valuation, and authenticity in the Art Market. And indeed, it could make it easier for artists to get paid and get known. What are your thoughts about this technology which is about unconstrained collaboration, & promise of fair rewards for the artist? Would you consider using blockchain technology platform to reach global art enthusiasts? 

JB: I haven’t investigated its potentials much beyond what is commonly known about new types of currencies, but I am excited about new possibilities and growth, and this new era we live in with new kinds of sharing and exchange. These are exciting times.

Jupilings: What are the problems in the Art Market do you want these platforms to solve?

A lot of issues are already being solved by just internet, like artists complete dependence on the establishment, necessity for some person who is a mediator between viewer and artist and on whose good grace and evaluation an artist depended – it’s nearly gone, you as an artist can find your public even if you don’t have a gallery or a magazine which would publish you. Also if you stand way out and beyond what the establishment considers a value. I think it’s a big gain all in all. More will be changing I expect, so it’s good to have one’s senses keen and alert.

"The Wild Honey Girl"by Jana Brike - Gallery House Toronto
“The Wild Honey Girl”by Jana Brike – Gallery House Toronto

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

JB: I’d like to be able to fly; I think that would be a thrilling sensation.

"Into the Dark" by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“Into the Dark” by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

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

JB: Lead role in my life’s story is enough for me.

"The Deep Waters" by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto
“The Deep Waters” by Jana Brike Courtesy of Gallery House Toronto

Jupilings: What is your life motto?

JB: Stay true to myself, live with an open heart, accept myself as I am – that’s the basic guideline. Although I don’t despair if some days I can’t manage this.
I have somewhat of an inner protest to things like verbal mottos; those tend to turn into self-imposed laws like a box you can’t get out of it. I live as I live, I am what I am, I have my inner compass that guides my path, and it doesn’t depend on pre-conceived mental constructs much.

Jana Brike
Jana Brike

 

 

Luxury Bags for Successful Women – Interview with Julie Cantor, Founder & Chief Executive of Harlen

As a woman, as a leader, as a professional we strive on subjective experiences by pushing onto new boundaries, leveraging our skills and strengths to help others while embracing our femininity. Along the way, we learn to be versatile, organized and pragmatic yet equally with style. We recognize that to be in control; we need unique accessories that support our performance. Other than a smartphone, handbags are one of the essential accessories to flair our convictions, our way of life and our composure.

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LINE | TIBETAN FUR
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LINE | TIBETAN FUR
https://www.instagram.com/harlencollection/
https://www.instagram.com/harlencollection/

Harlen collections, designed out of a need for excellence by the graduate of Stanford University (BA, MA), Berkeley Law (JD), and the Yale University School of Medicine (MD), Julie Cantor, embodies sophistication, independence, and stature. Effortlessly stylish, the collection supports the tale of emancipated woman carrying a load in the twists and turns of her career labyrinth. Cleverly designed, Harlen bags are a perfected evolution rooted in practical and timeless quality, intended to gratify the hard work of powerful women.

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https://harlencollection.com/collection/curve-black

An investment in an amalgamation of simplicity, elegance, tasteful and contemporary style made by the Italian master artisans perfects our desire to do good. For every Harlen you own, the company supports one student in Room to Read’s Girls Education program for one year. A feel-good luxury item that unveils our unassuming libertarian ethos and complies with our standards of quality.

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https://harlencollection.com/collection/arc-taupe
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https://harlencollection.com/collection/arc-taupe
https://www.instagram.com/harlencollection/
https://www.instagram.com/harlencollection/

I had the opportunity to interview the brilliant Julie Cantor to learn about her and Harlen:

Jupilings: How do you describe yourself-

JC: A modern minimalist.  An optimist.  Creative.  Tenacious.  Organized.  Usually wearing black.  An avid fan of art, design, and nearly all things made in Italy.  Advocate for science, integrity, and human rights.  Engaged in the world.  Always striving.

Jupilings: What set you off on your entrepreneurial venture-

JC: I was working at an elite law firm in downtown Los Angeles, and I needed a way to carry my career essentials from home to work, from a meeting to mediation, from day to evening.  The options I found missed the mark.  One wheeled bag was too small, and its handle broke.  A leather tote sagged at the bottom from the weight of my things.  The look was always off, and I could never find my keys.  So I created a few prototypes that reflected my vision of what this perfect work bag would be.  When friends, colleagues, and even strangers were enthusiastic about the pieces and the brand vision, I decided to create a line of “modern career pieces”—designed for the modern professional woman who values quality, needs an accessory with form and function, and wants to move opportunity forward for girls worldwide.  She is a person leading a life of significance with style.

Jupilings: What is the story of your brand name “Harlen”-

JC: The brand is named after my grandparents, Harriet and Lenny.  (I adored them.)  Our brand values of juxtaposing style, savvy, and significance with equality, empowerment, and education can be traced to them.  My grandmother had great personal style—the kind you either have or you don’t.  She had a career.  And she had an endless collection of handbags and shoes.  I can remember clomping around my grandparents’ house as a three-year-old in her heels with one of her handbags draped over my arm.  Very fancy preschooler.

My grandfather was an advocate for girls.  When his two daughters were young, he saw endless organized sports options for boys, but nothing for the girls.  So he started the first girls’ sports league in their town (Levittown, New York).  This was the mid-1950s, long before Title IX, so culturally and socially, he was really swimming upstream.  But he made it happen, and my mom, my aunt, and their friends played softball and basketball in that league.  He also was a firm believer in the power of education and the doors that academic excellence can open.

Their house was designed with lots of blacks and whites and a hint of glamour, which inspired our aesthetic.  Their vintage black, grey, and white couches are in our showroom.

Jupilings: What are the principles in lifestyle that you want to manifest in your brand Harlen-

JC: Modern.  Intelligent.  Design.  Our client needs utility and style, and she understands the quality of pieces made in Italy by second- and third-generation artisans.  She moves the world forward on her terms.  She needs a piece that works in a variety of work environments, and that moves seamlessly from day to night.  She is inspired by the past as well as the possibilities for the future.  She is a mentor and a leader with ambition.  And she is unapologetic about it.

Jupilings: What does refined and simple design mean to you-

JC: Symmetry and clean lines.  Extraordinary materials.  The finest craftsmanship.  Making a statement through style.

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https://harlencollection.com/collection/diag-alligator
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https://harlencollection.com/collection/diag-alligator

Jupilings: What does intelligent and elegant design mean to you-

JC: We thought endlessly about intelligent design and the needs of women as they move through their day and their careers.  An example: Every Harlen closes with a zipper or magnets and a carabiner.  Because things fall out.  Because we deserve privacy.  Because security demands a closure.

We use—exclusively—Raccagni’s Super-R zips.  (In Italy, zippers are “zips.”)  These are, without question, the world’s finest.  I’ve visited the Bergamo facilities, and they hum with a unique blend of technology, creativity, and perfection.  And the Raccagani family lives and breathes zips.  They constantly innovate.  You’d think that after more than 45 years of creating zips that are as exquisite as they are functional that they’d be done.  Not yet.

That kind of intelligent design permeates every aspect of a Harlen.  It’s why we plate our hardware in palladium—it’s stunning, and it is strong.  These are, after all, work bags.  So they are designed to withstand the rigors of daily use and still look as good on day 1,000 as they did on day 1.  We don’t use the kind of leathers that are designed to patina, scratch, and age.  Ours are chosen for beauty and durability.  I like a clean look.

And all of our materials and ateliers follow best environmental practices.  Again, intelligence meeting design to protect our collective future.

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https://harlencollection.com/collection/diag-black
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https://harlencollection.com/collection/diag-black

 

Jupilings: What is the favourite aspect of your business (Harlen)-

JC: Without question, I love seeing how thrilled our clients are to own our pieces.  It’s so gratifying—especially after a decade of work to bring Harlen and its collection to them.  I also love working with our amazing ateliers in Italy.  They are the absolute best in the world at their craft.  It’s like working with the Steven Spielberg of bags, hardware, zippers, plating, lining, leather, and so on.  We are incredibly fortunate to have found these amazing families who also create for the world’s most recognizable and enduring brands.

Jupilings: What is the hardest part of your business (Harlen)-

JC: I think the greatest challenge of any business these days is to have your message rise above the noise.  We are all inundated with information, between your Twitter feed and breaking news and work emails, which can be more like instant messaging than a letter since people expect an instant response.  It’s overwhelming.  And our clients are not 9-5, Monday through Friday people.  They are working.  So the challenge is to engage these incredible people in a meaningful way in a world of constant messaging.

Jupilings: Please tell us about the philanthropic aspect of Harlen-

JC: When a client owns a Harlen, we provide the financial support for one student to participate in Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program for one full year.  That contribution provides girls with the tools they need to thrive and succeed: mentoring and life skills education, tuition and fees, books and uniforms, and additional resources, like a bike, if needed, to get to school.  It is a significant contribution with a significant impact.

We partnered with Room to Read because it is the leading non-profit for literacy and girls’ education, because it employs evidence-based interventions and continues to collect data on and evaluate its work, and because it works hand-in-hand with communities.  It doesn’t just drop off books and leave.  Quite the opposite.  It is a privilege to work with this organization.  Accolades and recognition from groups like Charity Navigator reinforce its quality.

We support girls’ education because, as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof has said, it may not be a silver bullet for fixing the world’s ills, but it’s the closest thing we have to it.  Widely considered to be the world’s best investment, girls’ education and empowerment can end illiteracy, improve health, stabilize societies, curb extremism, boost economies, combat child marriage, foster independence, and advance equality.  Its impact is breathtaking.  It reverberates across societies and throughout generations.  And it alters the trajectory of a life.

And our clients are unbelievably well-educated.  So we move forward the transformative power of education that they’ve experienced—and pay tribute to the countless girls who simply want a chance to learn.

We support other efforts to further education, empowerment, and equality.  For example, we have supported the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the Japanese American Bar Association’s Educational Foundation.  And I am always interested in speaking with people and organizations whose values align with our own to pursue partnerships or support them in unique and creative ways.

https://harlencollection.com/philanthropy/
https://harlencollection.com/philanthropy/

Jupilings: What is the commonality between a social change agent as a law professor and a fashion accessory designer who is a culture-based creative –

JC: My work as a litigator and law professor led directly to Harlen.  And both of my roles—professor and entrepreneur—are about curating choices.  In my reproductive rights course, for example, I discuss women’s rights during pregnancy and how to advocate for clients—and yourself—within a system that does not always follow the best scientific evidence.  It’s about finding solutions within systems.  And that’s very Harlen.  I cultivated relationships with the very finest creators in Italy so women could have the best option for their daily career essentials that strives to be as extraordinary as they are.

Jupilings: Best piece of advice you’ve been given-

JC: Keep going.

Jupilings: As a Lecturer in Law, a litigator and female entrepreneur, can you please share five tips to tap into one’s potential to achieve one’s career or entrepreneurial aspirations-

JC:

  • Details matter.  Pay attention to them.
  • Be prepared.  Unless you’re doing improv, winging it isn’t inspiring.
  • Exceed expectations.  Surprise clients and colleagues with excellence, not just adequacy.
  • Develop good judgment and work with people who have it.
  • Be ethical.  And don’t work with people who aren’t.

Jupilings: What’s one branding lesson you’ve learned in your career and ventures-

JC: Develop and follow a style guide.  Consistency is crucial when sharing your vision and voice.

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

JC: Stay focused on the big picture, reset your goals, and be grateful.  Then keep moving.  In.  Around.  Over.  Through.  Whatever.  Keep moving.

Jupilings: Who inspires you and why-

JC: Fearless women.  And women who face the fear and do it anyway.

Jupilings: What does it mean to be a woman today-

JC: To have more opportunity than ever in human history and still confront a playing field that is far from level.

Jupilings: What is the issue you want media to talk about most-

JC: As a reader and viewer, I would love information at the end of a story or on a website with non-partisan calls to action, so we feel empowered, not just informed, and have the opportunity to take steps to use the information for good.

Jupilings: What is your life motto- 

JC: Forward.  It’s also my license plate.

 

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.