How To Be An Optimist In Tough Times

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

Igor Morski Art
Igor Morski Art

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

Richard Bach

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

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Igor Morski Art

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

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

 

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Igor Morski Art

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

Igor Morski Art
Igor Morski Art

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

 

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

Richard Bach

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

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Igor Morski Art

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

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

 

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Igor Morski Art

Interview with Jana Brike, Echoes of Self-Awareness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jupilings: Who is your protagonist? 

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

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

Jupilings: What inner force shapes your artistic concepts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jupilings: What is your life motto?

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

Jana Brike
Jana Brike

 

 

2018: Winners at Festival d’Hyères – Fashion & Photography

The Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography is the oldest fashion contest, that encourages creative and unique perspective on the world and fashion. The global challenges, critical issues and the shift in conscious and sustainability are prevalent and desired in its context.  Launched in 1985, at Robert Mallet-Stevens’s aristo-modernist Villa Noailles, in Riviera coastline, is the “must attend” event on the fashion calendar.

The social projects with the flair of originality and innovation are realized in photography, accessories and fashion collections to challenge the uncertainties in our societies, to communicate the cultural pressures, to inspire and to help the collective to overcome their disabilities and inspire.

This year’s, winner of the Swarovski Grand Prize for Accessories in Festival d’Hyères, H (earring),  received an unanimous vote  from Christelle Kocher who presided the fashion accessories jury panel alongside Michèle Lamy, Mansur Gavriel’s Floriana Gavriel, Vogue Runway Director Nicole Phelps, and jeweler Elie Top, among others.

In an industry that attempts to make hearing aids as invisible as possible, the collaboration between the French trio,  Kate Fichard, Flora Fixy and Julia Dessirier resulted in transforming the hearing aid device to a remarkable accessory. They merged creativity, elegance and practicality to produce a confident fashion statement.

Crafted in gold and rhodium-plated brass sprinkled with Swarovski crystals, they offer elegant ways to wear by fusing jewellery and technology, without compromising the function of the device.

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Here are the winners in other categories:

Fashion

Grand Prix of the Première Vision Jury with Rushemy Botter & Lisi Herrebrugh (Men’s Collection) Netherlands. The menswear collection spiced up with humour, pays tribute to the Caribbean fisherman, touches on cultural issues of gender fluidity, as well as causes and effects of environmental pollution.

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Chloé Award to Marie-Eve Lecavalier (Women’s Collection) Canada. The Montreal born designer reflects ambition, endurance and purposefulness by deconstructing and distortion in her design ideas. In her collection, the altered reality is achieved by transforming leather appearance into a knitted structure.

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Audience Award of the City of Hyères to Sarah Bruylant (Women’s collection) Belgium. A fan of Christian Dior, her vibrant and flamboyant collection pays respect to art and history.

Sara Bruylant - Image from https://lxry.nl/amfi/
Sara Bruylant – Image from https://lxry.nl/amfi/

Audience Award of the City of Hyères to Cécile Gray , France. The accessories are made of steel wire, tinted in gold, and covered with a nylon sheath. Once woven, this gives a soft material, to be comfortable and to move with the person who wears them, and rigid, to work it in volume.

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Photography

Grand Jury Photography Award to Eva O’Leary, “Spitting Image” USA.

 

American Vintage Photography Award to Sarah Mei Herman, for a project called Xiamen, which she shot in the Chinese coastal city.

The Still Life Prize to Csilla Klenyanszki, for a series called Pillars of Homes which was shot at home.

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