Tag: #inspiration

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.

 

 

Modern Luxury – Trends in Branding

The new modern luxury roars freedom, flexibility, and eccentricity.  The collaboration of stylish streetwear with luxury brands, genderless approach, quirky brand images and the flair of uniqueness rattles the traditions.  As our planet moves towards positive partnerships and collaborative sentiments to create flourishing communities, the luxury style is powered by acceptance, inclusion, affiliation, and sustainability.

Gucci - The new men’s Tailoring campaign features Dapper Dan, the Harlem couturier renowned for the custom designs he created for celebrities, athletes and hip-hop artists in the 80s and early 90s.
Gucci – The new men’s Tailoring campaign features Dapper Dan, the Harlem couturier renowned for the custom designs he created for celebrities, athletes and hip-hop artists in the 80s and early 90s.

Undeniably the luxury lifestyle is being emblazoned by street art & fashion, sportswear brands, social and political uncertainties, technology and personal sentiments.  The acceptance of this cultural shift, influenced by emerging designers that have been brought up by the influence of Hip Hop and Rap culture and conspicuously merge authenticity with creativity is apparent throughout luxury brands. At the same time, the majority of growth in this particular market is driven by the change in wealth distribution and the shift in consumption of luxury goods by affluent millennials.  As for the luxury industry, it’s attempt to be relevant and represent this mindset demands adventurous creativity and savvy business approach.

F is for... Campaign:  Six super street legends, got together and wrote the word FUTURE in six different languages inside a giant yellow ring. To spread a mega positive vibe across Rome and beyond, breaking all barriers for a fearless future for all the freaks around! Image by Frendi
F is for… Campaign: Six super street legends, got together and wrote the word FUTURE in six different languages inside a giant yellow ring. To spread a mega positive vibe across Rome and beyond, breaking all barriers for a fearless future for all the freaks around! Image by Frendi

The zeitgeist of our times values unexpected collaborations and distance itself from flying solo. This particular trend has been successful to motivate the affluent millennials.  To engage and consume the intangible image created by luxury life and style is about seduction to the extent that the sense of belonging and acceptance in this particular community is not an option but essential. This idea might appear two-dimensional; however, the underpinning notion of blurring the hierarchy lines between different brands in its way is the language of progress and social inclusion. Distancing from the old styles and introducing fresh attitudes bring brand awareness to a diverse audience.

In 2017, Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with Supreme is undeniably an endorsement of inclusion. Supreme has all the elements of a valuable affiliation due to it’s young demographic, genderless designs and limited editions.  Consumers from different realms of taste, behaviours and dress codes where brought together by their shared interest in fashion honouring their differences.  Together the two brands created a tribal affiliation and an exclusivity hype resulting in a sold-out experience.

Supreme X Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2017
Supreme X Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2017

Another good example is the collaboration between the luxury fashion house Gucci and Spanish artist Ignasi Monreal. For the past few years, Gucci has appealed and secured an affiliation to millennials thanks to their design evolution and remarkable online presence. Their narrative illustrates mythical and surreal universes and underlines quality and uniqueness of their brand.  The combination is Super Cool!

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Having social-conscious values and adopting responsible environmental practices add the desirability quality to the luxury brands. They need to take a principled stand to gain favour among the millennials, the growing segment of the premium consumer market. Cultural diversity, labor practices, philanthropy or environmentally conscious lifestyles foster respect among the customers.

For instance, delving into luxury hotels, the ultra-exclusive Nekupe Sporting Resort & Retreat, built by the American Nicaragua Fund, is an innovative way that offers high-end luxury experience. The ANF, founded by Alfredo and Theresa Pellas, a wealthy family that believes in creating opportunities, self-sufficiency, and dignity for the poorest sectors of the population through the partnership model. They have reforested their 1,300 acres by planting more than 14,000 trees, hoping to restore natural habitat, increase local employment and their income. The ANF has contributed to well being of villages by building homes, creating access to health care, education and water management solutions. An Eco-Friendly resort that offers luxury experience with a clear conscious.

 

Nekupe Resort
Nekupe Resort

 

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Last but not least, enabling consumers to live a lifestyle true to themselves and being responsible towards community are the pillars of a brand’s authenticity.  Successful representation of the authentic perception of your core values to technology savvy consumers involves meaningful digital narratives as well as offering instant gratification through mobile and e-commerce.

 

How to Create Your Ideal Lifestyle

Believe in your heart that you’re meant to live a life full of passion, purpose, magic and miracles.”

Living your ideal lifestyle involves how you feed your personality traits and tendencies. Are you nurturing your positive disposition in life or shifting towards negativity? What are your world-views or how do you perceive your self-image? Prior to answering these questions, we must understand that there is a clear distinction between our responses to certain situation which will dictate our moods or emotions and our dispositional affect. Which translates into personality traits. Bear in mind that the intensity of our emotions is directly related to our mentality.

Ulysse Nardine
Ulysse Nardine

Individuals who have tendencies towards positive attitudes are innovative and creative. They will make better decisions in dealing with important situations or negotiate in a cooperative state of mind. Having an optimistic view is not to be mindless of dangers or uncertainties but to plan efficiently and be willing to be flexible in one’s activities.

Bathke Bespoke
Bathke Bespoke

There is no influence like the influence of habit

The energy you inject into your mental focus steer your direction in life. To increase the likelihood of achieving your goals, you need to squash the unproductive thoughts and habits. By practicing awareness you can catch the negativity monster and toss it out of your mind. Figuratively speaking create an image of the unwanted thought as the most despicable entity and breathe it out of your system. Or as once a spiritual Master in a Buddhist Temple advised, close your eyes, imagine a divine or a peaceful source that generates red light unto you. Inhale the light through your nose deep into your being and exhale the black smoke out of your mouth. Repeat nine times and then change the colour of the red light to an angelic hue while you continue your breathing exercise.

NEW CONTINENTAL GT - Bentley Motors
NEW CONTINENTAL GT – Bentley Motors

Replacing habits that impede your progress towards your desired lifestyle can be replaced by vibrant and useful traits. Reminding yourself about the purpose of your endeavour, breaking down the general statement of change in patterns of behaviour to specific and practical actions or conducts, strengthens your efforts to reach your goals.

Italian artist Millo Mural Painting
Italian artist Millo Mural Painting

The Universe is change, our life is what our thoughts make it. Marcus Aurelius

Ultimate Boardroom in the Sky - Boeing (AV Planners)
Ultimate Boardroom in the Sky – Boeing (AV Planners)

An architect has a vision and a goal. He investigates, sketches, designs, includes details, develops, considers support team and tools, administers and observes the process to completion. Just like an architect, our abstract or concrete hopes and lifestyle are attainable if we consciously attract what we want and positively take part in polishing our behaviours to shine.

Ultimately,  progress and self-development is never-ending and that is why life is worth living in Style!

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

Art, as a positive influence, plays a significant role in cultural tolerance, civic engagement or political movements. It boosts the local economy of communities, connects the newcomers, develops the 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 stronger 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 vast potential of the blockchain technology, DADA.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 not only to create a collaborative platform for anyone to express their ideas through art but also to generate financial value for the artist. DADA.nyc’s marketplace is about honouring the creativity and establishing the element of scarcity to appreciate the artistic works.

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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 provenance of the art and it’s 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, Cofounder 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 is for a project, a team or an organization. Those insights are the base for all the creative decisions I make.

Jupilings: Do you have 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 confort 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. Right now we are selling limited edition “Rare Digital Art” created on Dada with IP protection and proof of ownership. 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 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 incentive 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 an 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 that has more to do with receiving a valuable experience than just capital.

Jupilings: How have you decided the commercial value of the artwork in the secondary market 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 bought. What we did using blockchain is 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. A few I can still find in the DNA of my work are Van Gogh, the Brothers Quay, Abbas Kiarostami.

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you?

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

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

Beatriz Ramos: I rarely feel fear or self-doubt. Perhaps 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.

 

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 an 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 from a difficult reality. After immigrating to Canada I began working at a children’s hospital in Toronto in the medical art and photography dept and ended up, staying 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 any 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 used to talk to dolls, and that I insisted they would talk back. Years of therapy has 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 in order 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 principal 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 in 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 like 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 belongs 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 share. 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 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 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 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 realise it’s a way for the subconscious to communicate to the conscious mind that makes action. I think of all emotions like a 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 you thoughts about the blockchain technology specially in support of digital art? Would you consider using 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 of 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 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 print maker of a 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 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 super power 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 multi dimensional universe we live in … it’s a super power 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 modelled 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