Interview with Mariannita Luzzati – Brazilian/Italian Visual Artist

Do you like to wander? Are you seeking solace? Are you turning to nature and landscapes to be inspired and encouraged? Are you figuring out the absurd situations, odd habits, or other eccentric aspects of daily life? In such moments, turning to art re-enacts our emotions and magnifies our natural survival instincts. Complexity in life demands a catalyst to foster coherence and clarity. Seemingly, looking at the artwork that recognizes the intensity of the modern world and comforts in uncertainties or sorrows and amplifies exuberance is beneficial to our well-being.

The contemplative landscape paintings of Mariannita Luzzati is one of the activators to learn about the mysteries of the world around us. An artist that sparks the knowledge to living a hedonic way through a mediative outlook. Born in São Paulo, of Italian parents who arrived in Brazil in the sixties, Mariannita Luzzati artworks honors the natural habitat and explores the interconnectedness of humans to their environment.

“These images suggest that the viewer should contemplate and reflect on emptiness and silence, which for me, is our greatest need today,” says the artist.

Mariannita Luzzati artwork

In 2011 Mariannita Luzzati conceived and developed the Cinemúsica Project in collaboration with her husband, the pianist Marcelo Bratke to bring multimedia performances to Brazilian prisons exploring the dialogue between music and moving images. Cinemúsica was performed in 10 prisons of the State of São Paulo, and Mariannita Luzzati produced and directed a documentary about the project. Since then, Cinemúsica has also been performed in prestigious cultural institutions in Brazil and abroad. Among these are the Southbank Center in London; Performing the World Festival in New York; Sarajevo Winter Festival; Sala São Paulo; Teatro da Paz in Belém and the Rio de Janeiro Opera Hall. The Cinemúsica Project was performed more than 60 times, receiving the Art of Touch Award at the Sarajevo Winter Festival.

 

Interview with Mariannita Luzzati

 

Jupilings: What inner force shapes your artistic concepts-

ML: It is the need to create a pictorial space on my work in which I somehow feel I can insert myself in.

In fact, I create a parallel reality of the aesthetic ideal that I pursue.

Mariannita Luzzati artwork

Jupilings: Why are you focused on the concept of the landscapes-

ML: Because I want to be there, to be at that particular landscape in the middle of nature briefing nature.

Nature is an infinite thematic element, and I always discover new ways of seeing it.

Environmental issues are of great interest to me, and it motivates me to develop my work.

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

ML: To be true to me. This approach includes doing nothing that offends my ethics. To be close to the people I love and to stay close to nature and to have a simple life.

Mariannita Luzzati artwork

Jupilings: How do you dial down the negative thoughts & self-doubt-

ML: A long walk in the countryside is the best way to down negative thoughts. I love swimming and yoga, as well. I always try to ignore negative thoughts. I don’t exercise self-doubts, and I believe that mistakes and successes sadness and happiness are part of life, and we have to experiment it.

Jupilings: How do you minimize distractions when you are working

ML: I never answer phone calls or messages when I am at the studio so, I am very focused when I am working. I love to be absorbed entirely in my studio or my readings during my working time.

Mariannita Luzzati artwork

Jupilings: How do you deal with criticism-

ML: Love it!

I love it when I am criticized! I believe that opening discussions about my work is always interesting and productive and makes me reflect on what I am doing.

Jupilings: Advice for aspiring artists-

ML: Be yourself. Do not follow trends. Be truthful in what you do. Do not mirror the career of another artist. Each human being is unique and has its trajectory. Stay open to other arts such as music, cinema dance, theatre, etc.…

 

Mariannita Luzzati artwork

 

Jupilings: What is the role of art today-

ML: For me, art’s role is to modify the perception of the world and life taking us out of our comfort zone, confronting us with new questions, making us look inside of ourselves, and finally opening a new window in our lives.

Jupilings: What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard

ML: When a white horse passes in front of your window, just jump on it! (I received this advice when I was in my twenties and was reluctant to accept an invitation I received to make my first solo show at a significant Gallery in São Paolo. So, I jumped on it!)

How To Develop A Growth Mindset? Talk with Krista Roesler M.A. RP

Do you feel misunderstood, go through bitter self-recrimination, be confused about how you feel, cope with life challenges, or be distracted? Occasionally, we feel sad and display a lack of energy or vigor; however, gaining a deep understanding of the reasons behind the distress enables us to regulate our mood. The awareness allows us to remedy our feelings either through finding a solution or adopting a restorative method.

The problem arises when unknown anxiety, procrastination, fear, or an undigested disturbing experience pushes us to nihilism. When we cannot identify an accurate reason for the lingering inner conflicts, we tend to gravitate towards the negative path. This complication prevents us from gaining insight into what has triggered our despair, anxiety, or other impaired emotions. This is when self-help stops working, and you need a confidante, someone who patiently and supportively listens.

When your efforts and resources are ineffective and blindly steering the wheel, it’s time to establish a personal interaction that acts as a catalyst—a professional who can improve your wellbeing and resolve your worrisome behaviors and thoughts.

On this account, to learn more about how to deal with self-criticism, not to take offense, and develop a growth mindset, I had the opportunity to interview Krista Roesler M.A. RP, a registered psychotherapist and a professionally trained life coach at Psych Company located in Toronto:

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Courtesy of Psych Company

Jupilings: Please tell us about your background and areas of expertise- 

KW: I am a registered psychotherapist and a life coach. I have a masters degree in psychology and life coaching training from the Adler Institute/the University of Toronto. I work with individuals and couples on a wide range of issues from finding purpose in life and achieving dreams and goals to dealing with more severe mental health issues such as addiction, trauma, depression, etc. Please see the website for a more detailed list: www.psychcompany.com

Jupilings: In the context of living a meaningful & a mindful life, how can we distinguish between who we should be and whom we want to be- 

KR: In the context of living a meaningful & a mindful life you can distinguish between who we should be and who we want to be by getting familiar with our values or what is really important us. Start by writing a list of all the things you feel like you should do, have to do, feel obligated to do or others told you to do. Now cross off everything you don’t want to do. Now start a 2nd list and of the things you actually want to do and try to get more of that in your life. 

Jupilings: How to deal with self-criticism- 

KR: One way to deal with self-criticism is to first become really aware of it by writing it down. Next, separate your self-criticism from your own voice. Tell your self that just because you are thinking these thoughts it doesn’t mean any of them are true. Explore and think about where the thoughts originated. Did you have a critical parent? Next, think about what you really need to hear to feel empowered? Do you need to hear that you can do it? Do you need to hear that you are smart enough or good enough? 

Jupilings: How to become braver in life- 

KR: You can become braver in life by trying and doing things that are out of your comfort zone or that you didn’t think you could. This will help build your confidence.

Jupilings: How not to take things personally- 

KR: You can stop taking things personally by recognizing that it’s usually about someone else’s issues and not you. These issues might be that someone might have a bad day or be under stress for example. 

Ask yourself if they are like this with everyone? If they are like this with others than it is not personal.

Be curious and wonder why that person might behave that way? If it’s a bully. Were they bullied at some point in their life and now bully others? Is it someone who is shy and that’s why they have trouble with eye contact, responding, talking? When you can try to understand why someone behaves a certain way you can free yourself from taking it personally.

Jupilings: What are your 5 golden tips to help us develop a growth mindset-

KR:

  1. View all obstacles/challenges/criticism as a learning opportunity
  2. Embrace imperfection, mistakes and failure
  3. Enjoy the process of getting there and don’t hyper-focus on the end result
  4. Learn from the mistakes of others
  5. If you haven’t mastered something yet, allow time to practice and improvement.

Jupilings: We do negotiate with ourselves and others each and every day, what are the necessary traits that need to be nurtured to help us negotiate from a position of strength- 

KR: Non-judging is one of the attitudinal foundations of mindfulness. Any tips or practice that will support our efforts to adopt a non-judgemental attitude.

A tip that will support our efforts to adopt a non-judgement attitude is to be more compassionate with yourself and others. A good way to do this is to think of someone you deeply care about and want to protect such as your child or best friend. Now ask yourself if you would ever say those thoughts to your best friend or child. If you wouldn’t think about what you would say to them instead and say that to yourself. 

Jupilings: “If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool”. What are your tips to deal with our lack of understanding and to stay calm in unpleasant situations or being annoyed by people’s behaviours-

KR: A tip is to try to have empathy and to try to put yourself into that person’s shoes. Become curious about what made that person act or think that way. Remember we are all doing the best we can with where we are. Remind yourself of all the times in the past that you didn’t know any better and also acted like a “fool.”

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

KR: Setbacks are a normal part of life. I expect setbacks to happen. I factor the expectation that setbacks will occur into everything I do. It means whatever I want to do will just take a little longer and little more work to get there and that’s okay. That’s part of life. 

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

KR: Action leads to success. Every little step forward will get me closer to where I want to be. 

Click on the link provided for more information about www.psychcompany.com

Stop Judging – Take Back Your Power! Foundation of Mindfulness #1

At times, we form an opinion or conclude, deliberately or otherwise, only to find out that the story in our head is polluted. By judging, we work hard to build a wall and to protect ourselves and live securely. The problem with this stance in life is that it often prevents us from making meaningful and genuine connections with oneself and others. Although judging is an instinct, you can be aware of it and control your impulses. When you adopt a mindful outlook, you embark on the intelligence and wisdom track. The non-judging approach is the protective gear that will support you against unsound decisions and irrational reactions in life. Releasing judgment is stepping over self-made barriers to see and grasp “things as they are.”

Todd Schorr Art
Todd Schorr Art

The myths and sensationalized stories are good examples of our preconceived judgments. Overall, the side effects of judgments such as fear or condemning bad and good categories in our mental descriptions create prejudices, biases, and stress. The habit of categorizing is useful for filing systems, but when it comes to our life relations and connections at times, it limits our perspective and growth.

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Todd Schorr Art

How to remove the obstructive judgemental attitude? 

  • Be mindful- Recognize the judgments that unfold whether you are performing a task or when you are in fight-flight mode. Observe how your mind describes the situation: as mundane, suspicious, energetic, or any other attribute that influences your behavior or reaction to that particular circumstance. For instance, to observe our judgemental mind, practice breathing. Set a time and start paying attention to your breath, and indeed, your oblivious mind will begin harassing you by labeling your practice as boring. Basically, the approach is not to suppress your judgment but to be aware of it.
  • Don’t take it personally – I remember that when our son started high-school, the amazing principal recommended that as the parents of young teenagers, do not take their withdrawn behavior and uncommunicative reactions personally. Instead, be continuously loving, caring, and have a set framework of rules. Don’t snoop; they will eventually talk to you and tell you all about their adventure but on their own time. It was great advice, one that kept the peace. Or, as adults, it happens that you will encounter disagreements. As long as you remember that the conflict is not about you, it helps to detach the “me” connection and give others the benefit of the doubt.
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    Todd Schorr Art
  • rame – This approach is about not changing the facts but having an open mind to recognize that people have different ways of doing things or different perspectives. Instead of getting angry or miserable, channel your energy to pause and reflect. The challenge is to dive underneath the anger, and your oxygen tank is your ability to reframe. With regular practice, the efforts to reframe a situation become a habit, immensely rewarding, especially when you encounter setbacks. Reframing a problematic situation or dire circumstance allows you to transform the problems into possibilities and remain healthy, composed with a positive mindset.

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    Todd Schorr Art
  • Self-reflection – As soon as you start judging, try to ask yourself whether you have had the same or similar behaviour.

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    Todd Schorr Art
  • Don’t blame yourself or others- As much as the blame game is an easy defense mechanism, indeed, it is unproductive and unpleasant. The tendency to distort our self-esteem with blame is inept. Instead, see things as they are, and break away from blaming yourself or others. Again reframe the situation, replace words such as should to could or losses to learning experiences to make a pathway for much better opportunities.
  • Be a friend to yourself – Connect with your strength, intelligence, and love yourself. Dismiss negative thoughts and destructive criticism. When you stop judging, you will distance yourself from gauging others and assume an impartial approach in life. One that helps with mastering your mind.
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Todd Schorr Art

Featured image by: Todd Schorr

Letting Go – Foundation of Mindfulness #7

Changing the habit of non-acceptance

  • Let the sensations come and go
  • Do not take things personally
  • Acceptance is not choosing over your preference
  • Let go of control; not everything is what we imagine nor what we believe
  • Do not react to the unwanted situation
  • Take your focus away from what you agree or disagree
  • Recognize that flaws do exist in life, in people, and your doings and point of views
  • Detach yourself from distressing thought by not giving too much weight to it
  • Create a supportive slogan for yourself to accept things as they are in challenging moments

Ultimately, by allowing things to be as they are and staying neutral, you will learn to cultivate an acceptance attitude to reduce your anger, remain calm, and eventually find solutions. Remind yourself that the sensations that you feel are magnified. Just like in a horror movie, the knife is on the kitchen counter, but it does not mean that you will be stabbed with it. Being mindful is to know that you don’t have to solve everything nor to change it at once.

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Art by Alex Gross

How to let go

The body

  • Observe your hurtful and discouraging thoughts
  • Practice diaphragmatic breathing and imagine that the frustrating emotion flows away with your exhalation

Emotions and feelings

  • Instead of ruminating on the story and inflating the situation with fear and panic, take it at face value
  • Sometimes it is best to engage with the negative thoughts and to confront them with counter argument
  • Know that if something doesn’t go your way is not the end of the world, not necessarily other bad things will continue to happen
  • Set an intention to realize the root cause of the negative thoughts, tension and frustrations
  • Journalling your feelings is helpful and sometimes physical venting like yelling off into a pillow works
  • Recognize that you have a choice to bid farewell to the hurt
  • Create peaceful images to call to mind as a support system
  • Realize that you are not in the centre of the universe
  • In frustration ask yourself is this who you really are? Then align yourself with your peaceful and intelligent self

When you cultivate peace in your attitude towards life, you are diffusing fear. Instead of kicking yourself and others over mistakes, past hurts or old injustices, learn to detach and let go of the anxiety that is brewing from the fear, criticism or offence.  It is satisfying to expose with rage the wrongdoers, vicious people or storm over unfairness but letting go with compassion and forgiveness makes you stronger. The idea is not to ignore nor to tolerate or to yield to unjust but to see things as they are! Your strength to analyze the situation with its risks and being able to shut off the anxieties which cripple and bring you to a depressive mood gives you the control over your emotions and allows you to accumulate the best possible outcome.

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Art by Merelle Fabien

For further information refer to “The Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Feature image by Michael Bergt

Interview With Alice Zilberberg – Internationally Acclaimed, Award-Winning Artist

Overblown and imperfect, sensual and symbolic, are layers of different circumstances and conditions that Alice Zilberberg explores in her compositions. An Award-winning Fine-Art Photographer, Alice communicates complexities and possibilities of human conditions in our contrived world. Her visual language merges hallucinogenic scenes and what appears to be a reflection of the reality. She elevates her subjects mythically, however, she does not spare them the fallibility of their entity.

The images go through mutations, they change in form, become fragile, dramatic or grand. Still, Alice exposes her subject matters in symbolic ways. The confluence represents the unconscious and the notion of seeing one thing through another. Alice Zilberberg taps into her imaginative psyche to open a dialogue about the female power, nature and challenges the philosophical questions about self.

Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg – I have struggled with insomnia and chronic fatigue in the past two years. Very quickly, my day-to-day life changed from being normal to becoming just about getting enough rest at night so I can stay connected to my creativity and sense of self. Above Water reminds me of all the times I’ve told myself to keep my head up and to persevere through my struggles. It is about that middle point where I could give up and label myself defeated, or choose to look forward and smile, believing that tomorrow will be a better day.

 

Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg – We often define ourselves by our past, and hold beliefs about what things will be like in the future. It could be difficult to remember that every new day has the potential for change. With every new day, we can start working towards a new goal and a dream. This image is a metaphor for the birth of every new day.

Interview with Alice Zilberberg

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

AZ: I started drawing and painting when I was very young. I started playing around with manipulating images even before I shot my own. When I picked up a camera in my last year of high school, I saw that I liked the detail that the medium of photography gave me, as well as the dichotomy of the real/unreal that I was able to achieve using digital painting. I’ve been working in this style since.

Jupilings: The fundamental principle in your creations-

AZ: I would say that principles change during different periods in my creation. At the moment I am emphasizing trying every idea that I have, without being scared, and eliminating expectations of what it “needs” to be.

Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg

Jupilings: What is your perspective on life-

AZ: I always try to keep in mind that we have a limited amount of time here, and death is inevitable. We should try to enjoy and explore things we want to create or do as much as possible.

Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg – Desert Moon was created from content I collected during my travels through Arizona and California. I was inspired by the surreal and unique terrains, and was fascinated by the diversity of land that occupied this area. Driving through the vast landscapes reminded me of how small I am in comparison to the rest of the world. I found this therapeutic, rendering my concerns and worries less important than before. The oversized moon added in each image represents the calming affect I felt while spending time here.

Jupilings: What are you aiming for in your art-

AZ: My latest work asks questions pertaining to the state of being, particularly our relationships, whether to ourselves or others. In it a find a kind of peace that I hope helps others look inward and find answers about their emotionality.

Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg – In a transitional time in my life, I felt inspired to create Begin. It reminds me that no matter what happens in life, we can always start again. Wrong paths do not look as a failure to me, but only a path to a new and more beautiful beginning.

Jupilings: What surprises you most in life, even though as an artist/photographer, you narrate dreams, ideas, out of ordinary situations,..through images-

AZ: I’m surprised by different things, and I am used to the surprise. I think it’s important to keep learning and exploring as much as possible in the world. I think being curious and asking many questions is a really healthy thing, which provides you with wisdom for your next step in life.

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

AZ: The creative process is a therapeutic one for me, and I hope that my work inspires others to look inward as well. It’s about trying to make sense of the complex human condition, to provide some sort of relief and even a sense of control over our lives.

Jupilings: Do you have a preference in camera, software or technology ? & why-

AZ: I am not a technology-oriented person. I’ve always been in the mindset of getting your hands on enough to create what you want to create. We often get carried away with all the technology can do, instead of thinking of what we need to do what we already do.

Jupilings: Which photographer has influenced you most-

The works of many photographers inform my work, but I think my ultimate favorite artist is Salvador Dali.

Jupilings: What is your favourite subject to capture-

AZ: I rarely think of my work as photographing just one subject; photography becomes a kind of canvas for me on which to create and paint over, making an image that feels like a digital painting rather than a subject. My favorite thing to work on is whatever I’m working on currently since the excitement, and the possibilities take over me.

Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg – The series Goddess Almighty is a reinterpretation of the first recorded goddess, Mother Nature. Worshipped in a time when nature was depended upon and respected, she epitomized fertility, the life cycle and sexual freedom, all embodied in a woman. Today, by contrast, we domineer and destroy nature. Our primary religions convey god as a man and traditionally devalue women. Reminiscent of baroque art, the work reestablishes the goddess to her origins, defining her as strong, mysterious and defeating. Dancers are used for their physical strength, their muscles digitally exaggerated.

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you?

AZ: It means being in touch with yourself, your cravings, and needs. Going for it no matter what gender you are.

Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg

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

AZ: I think that when you are starting out, it is important to just focus on creating whatever you want, without labels, branding, or anything. As soon as you are put into a box and labeled, it could be restrictive to your work, and you could kill the very creativity in you that drew you to create in the first place. Later on, it might be more important to develop a language around your work that you feel represents you.

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

AZ: When something overwhelms me, I just take the first step in the direction of trying something. I then try to focus on the next step. I find that if I do this, I very quickly either get into a flow or see that the experiment is not working. I will learn and move on.

Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg – In the Dark is a representation of the feelings of uncertainty that sometimes linger over me when I dive into the unfamiliar. I try to experiment in my life and in my work by doing new things that intrigue me. This is accompanied by fears and doubts about the future. Feeling captivated, but unstable. I always remind myself that only with experimenting, there can be growing and learning. All experiences, however uncomfortable, teach us something and become a part of who we are.

Jupilings: What are your thoughts about the blockchain technology especially in support of digital art?

AZ: I think different options to sell your art are always great, especially one that addresses the authentication problems for digital artists. I haven’t explored this area myself, but I look forward to seeing the changes in the art market.

Jupilings: Would you consider using the blockchain technology platform to reach global digital art/ photography enthusiasts? What are the problems in your industry do you want these platforms to solve-

I am open to it, I think the blockchain and art relationship is still evolving, and I look forward to seeing how it develops.

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

AZ: I want to teleport to any place at any time, it would save me so much travel time and jetlag for any projects I’m working on.

Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg – In a transitional time in my life, I felt inspired to create Release the Sun. I often suffer from anxiety, and through therapy I always remind myself of the sense of flow I get from making artwork, which feels like a ray of sunshine. This image is a metaphor for this

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

AZ: I would hate being the lead actor in any movie; I am terrible of being put on the spot!

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

AZ: This is your time to do whatever you want to do.

Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg
Courtesy of Alice Zilberberg – The Dreaming Girls is influenced by the surrealism movement. An homage to the surrealists working from the 1920s to the 1960s. This projects seeks to channel the unconscious and unleash imagination.

 

Alice Zilberberg
Alice Zilberberg – Alice Zilberberg is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning artist, recognised by curators, collectors, and art patrons across the globe. Born in Tallinn, Estonia, and raised in Israel, she currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

Ray Caesar – The Artist Who Embraces Gender Fluidity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell us about yourself and how you got into art:

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

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

Who is your protagonist?

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

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

What is the fundamental principle in your creations?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does women empowerment mean to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What superpower you would like to have ? and why?

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

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

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

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

What is your life motto?

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

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

How To Bring Your Personal Brand Voice To Life?

In a previous blog post, I talked about how to define your personal brand voice and frame recognizable standards to create your brand story. In whatever field, your distinct voice, signature image and style determine your relationship within your circle or group, overall in society at large. Let’s expand our topic to the critical element of bridging your brand identity/voice to real life and social media.

Let’s start with your engagements through myriads of social media platforms. Generally, the nature of these mediums is spontaneous and fluid. Cultivating your personal brand voice on social media calls for identifying your tone, your language and your purpose.  Creating contents that are authentic and endorse your brand voice; requires clarity, discipline and consistency. Blissfully once established, it takes away the distracting flotsam in your busy lives.

Sweeping through your list of what I am and what I am not, can be used to create contents that give a hint or a splash of your identity. It pays off if you have done your homework.  For instance:

You prefer the visual appeal of Instagram to adapt your screenplay and engage with your friends or the public. You are an empathizer but not a sympathizer; you prefer soft rock & relaxing music but not techno; you love to read fiction concerning social issues not science fiction; you are an advocate for a specific cause, you love to eat french pastry, the list goes on.

Indeed, the efforts to define your personal brand voice gives you a clear idea to share images and micro stories that exhibit your opinion and position. Creating snaps, videos, tweets or pictures to showcase what matters to you; putting into words effective captions that firmly support your perspective; sharing your odyssey, together breath life to your brand.

Each medium evokes different experience and connection. Tapping into the most compelling one to convey your intentions, you need to tailor your brand story to fit. No matter what form you are using, there are few techniques that you can apply to stamp your brand story, whether through snaps, images, conversations or attire:

Show don’t tell: your choice of clothing, manner, your posture, your eye contact, your images, a piece of art, snaps or pins,… should be in harmony with your brand voice.

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Serena Williams sleek feed on Instagram attest to her qualities and values.

 

 

 

Foreshadowing by giving hints and clues: your choice of accessories, food or wine; a quote or a proverb; building anticipation by composing contents that your circle looks forward to,…. are few tips to consider.

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For instance, one accessory that reflects your character in an understated elegance is a watch. Let’s say; you are a sportsman, a thrill-seeker,  drive a Porsche 911 and choose to spend a weekend in Circuit  des 24 heures de Mans. Certainly, you wear an Omega wristwatch that communicates the style with power in a subtle way.

 

 

Appeal to senses: your choice of music to include in your storytelling; a description of a taste;  narrating the mood,…. invoking a sentiment that one hopes for and allows your audience to relate.

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Jess Hoffman snapchat account (@ChoosingChia) focus on wholesome plant-based ingredients. She shares the fresh produce that goes into her juice of the day, step-by-step videos of her favourite recipes.

 

 

Ability to find solutions: Be a thought leader by sharing your knowledge; talk about your experiences;  be the expert on your topic of choice; tell what motivates you; your worldviews,….

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Lewis Howes, an American author, entrepreneur, and former professional Arena League football player. He hosts The School of Greatness; a talk show distributed podcast. He makes use of his knowledge of marketing, product design and human behaviour through his online media company.

 

Set up a unified visual branding: this technique surely applies both to your social media engagements and physical attributes. Use of colour that matches your emotions and fonts that appeal to you personally. Be expressive and include a signature style to indicate your distinct voice.

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Christoph Niemann Instagram account @abstractsunday is innovative and witty. His whimsical signature is apparent in all his visual storytelling.

 

 

We might not have the unique experience of cheering people up, influence, entertain, tell and hear stories around a campfire at all times, still adapting the same approach and emotions to our social and career networking brings our personal brand voice to life.