Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Marnino Toussaint

Photo Courtesy of Marnino Toussaint

WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW AND HAVE YOU ALWAYS LIVED THERE? 
Currently, I reside in Miramar, Florida. I was born and raised in this city as well.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CITY OR HOMETOWN?
I think the best thing about my city is the people’s undying will to succeed. South Florida is not known for anything but retirement but in actuality, South Florida has so much amazing talent of every kind that goes unrecognized. I think the people here are so driven to prove that there is much more to this space then old folks who have moved on from their careers.

WHAT WERE YOUR INFANT ASPIRATIONS?
I actually grew up wanting to be a comedian. Ha! The funny thing is, I’m bad at planned humor and sometimes come off corny. After that phase, I wanted to be an actor and I spent many years training and working on that craft. My parents really believed in my acting and wanted that career for me probably more than I did. I still have a passion for acting and I do it for fun every now and then when I have time.
 
WHAT HAS BEEN A SEMINAL EXPERIENCE?
Difficult question, I believe that each moment is important in its own light. However, I would have to say that the first poetry slam I ever participated in (which also happens to be the first one I won) would be that for me. Not only did that moment introduce me to a gift that I now use to make a living but also taught me confidence, strength, love for myself and others, and most importantly showed me how to touch other people’s hearts.

WHY MUSIC?
Music feeds my spirit. To be able to create is the God in us. When I write, and record a song, I literally feel a peace fall over me that’s unexplainable. When I create, I feel like I am the most me I am at any point. I can go on for days.

HOW WOULD YOU CLASSIFY YOUR SOUND?
A fusion of Hip-hop and RnB. However, I love to experiment with music. If I were to release a country music album, I wouldn’t be surprised.

WHAT THEMES DO YOU PURSUE THROUGH YOUR LYRICS?
In my most recent project, "Something About Now", love, friendship, betrayal, discrimination and faith were all important themes. I don’t believe I pursue any themes in particular, but I do allow my music to serve as a voice for situations that don’t get its proper light whether that be in my life or the life of others.

IS THERE A SONG OR MUSICAL PASSAGE THAT NEVER FAILS TO MOVE YOU?
"Oceans" by Hillsong. Also, "Lost Ones" by J. Cole. Both are so powerful in different ways. "Oceans" feeds my spirit and gives me life every morning while I worship, while lost ones is a beautifully written story that makes me feel real emotion every time I hear it.

WHAT OR WHO HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOU?
Nas, most definitely takes the credit. I spent a moment in my life literally studying his music. I would repeat songs over and over and try to break down his lyrics, his flow, his story telling and would write everything I learned down on paper. I might’ve been obsessive.

WHAT’S YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Now, while being a bit busy, it's been difficult to find one process that always works. However, being around other passionate and driven creatives always fuels the fire for me.

HOW DO YOU SPEND A DAY OFF?
With the people I love. I get busy but I always try to make time for my people. To them I may seem discounted, just sitting in the same room with them makes me happy.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND?
After long days, I like to go to the gym, put my headphones on and get a good workout in. I’ve grown to love health and fitness. It is peaceful, but I still feel like I’m being productive.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Music


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Loulou De Saison

Photo Courtesy Of Loulou De Saison

WHERE DO YOU PRESENTLY LIVE AND WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CITY?
I live in Paris. What I like the most about this city is its cultural resonance. Walking the historic streets of Paris never ceases to amaze me. There is such a unique beauty that inspires me and has always fascinated me. Paris has always had this epicurean lifestyle. The French love to eat good food, hang out in wonderful places and wear the latest fashion.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED?
I was raised next to Paris, in a family house, with a garden full of trees but I craved the big city life.

WHAT WERE YOUR ASPIRATIONS GROWING UP?
Growing up I knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry. Fashion is more than just deciding what to wear in the morning, fashion is a statement; fashion is a way to express yourself and I understood that from a young age. I wanted to work with women with that certain “Je ne sais quoi” that makes elegance and allure.

WHY FASHION?
As I said earlier, fashion empowers women in a way. The way one dresses is the first impression given to others, and fashion helps you shape it.

WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATION?
I'm a full-time mother of two, a digital influencer, and an image consultant.

WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND TRAINING?
I was driven towards fashion, so I trained to be a stylist; I wanted to try every possible area to see where I would feel most comfortable, like press for example. I would say my career in fashion has been fulfilling as a digital influencer, compiled with consulting and photo styling.

WHAT DOES STYLE MEAN TO YOU AND HOW DID YOU GET SO PLAYFUL AND FEARLESS?
With age comes confidence; you get to know yourself better, you know what suits you. My style is my own way of expressing myself. It’s all about having fun, incorporating lots of colors, playful accessories, like animals, to cheer the world up and escape reality.

WHAT SHOULD EVERY WOMAN OWN AND WHAT SHOULD BE QUICKLY THROWN AWAY?
I believe every woman should have the perfect jeans, the crispy cotton white shirt, the timeless black dress and a strong bold piece. I don't believe in throwing away anything, I find fashion “faux pas” kind of cute. It takes a lot of confidence to try something new and that gesture should be appreciated. But if I had to give a piece of advice, I would say, throw away bad fabrics.

WHO DO YOU RANK AMONG YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNERS?
To name a few, J.W. Anderson and Phoebe Philo - because this list could go on for days.

HOW DOES YOU AESTHETIC TRANSLATE IN OTHER AREAS OF YOUR LIFE ?
It's all linked, I’m sensitive to art, design, architecture, and it is reflected in my style. Sometimes I would be inspired by a color combination I would see in a painting and make an outfit out of it.

WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION?
Traveling inspires me, exåloring cultures I'm not familiar with, meeting people, their open mindedness and different cultural backgrounds. Art and everything that comes with it inspires me.

WHAT BEAUTY ROUTINE DO YOU SWEAR BY?
Cleaning and moisturizing your face is a must. I have dry skin so I swear by my “Esthederm” face cream. To moisturize my body I use “Crème de la Mer”.

HOW DO YOU SPEND A DAY OFF?
I try to stay as far from my phone as I possibly can. I usually spend it with my children, trying to enjoy the simple things that life has to offer.

HOW DO YOU STAY BALANCED?
The key to staying balanced is not being excessive. I try to eat healthy and take care of my body and spend time with my loved ones.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

White Is Right


Photographed By Karen Burgos

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jacqueline Secor

Photo Courtesy Of Jacqueline Secor

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED AND WHERE TO DO YOU PRESENTLY LIVE?
I was born in the historical Gold Rush town of Placerville, California and raised in Pollock Pines, California. I currently live in Salt Lake City, Utah.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT CITY OR HOMETOWN?
Pollock Pines is a small town at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is also known as “Nature's Wonderland”. I spent summers and weekends boating, rafting the american river, and panning for gold in Coloma, the birthplace of the California Gold Rush. I loved growing up in an area surrounded by historical significance and natural beauty.

WHAT WERE YOUR ASPIRATIONS GROWING UP?
I wanted to be an archaeologist and treasure hunter growing up.

WHAT HAS BEEN A PIVOTAL MOMENT?
Having my work featured and purchased by others has been super exciting.

WHY ART?
I had turned to art as a way to help myself heal from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which I had developed after moving to Utah. Art is a universal language and I felt that if I could help even one or two other women to love and to accept their bodies, then I would continue to produce. Art is very therapeutic.

WHY VAGINAS?
Initially, I never intended to make this project public or political. The decision to paint vulvae began as an entirely personal way to help myself cope with some of my own struggles. After sharing a few early paintings with my close friends and family, they responded by sending me photos of their own bodies to reimagine in my art, and encouraged me to make the project public. Now, I have had women from all around the world: friends, family members, casual acquaintances, and total strangers contribute as models for my work. I’ve had dozens more, men and women, contact me, some publicly and some privately, expressing gratitude for the way this series helped them to see beauty in the human body. Similarly, many of the models intimated that by sending me photos of their bodies, they wanted to overcome their fears and insecurities. Painting vulvae, focusing on details of women’s bodies, even the parts that are “supposed” to be hidden, does sometimes feel like a small act of resistance, a way of saying that women don’t need to hide, that we deserve a place, not just in the art world, but in every sector. I’ve been greatly encouraged by the positive responses to my work, but, honestly, the negative comments have done more to motivate me to continue working on this series. They prove that now, even in 2017, women’s bodies are a site of conflict. Really, no matter what tone those comments take, I see them all as an attempt to silence women, to invalidate how they look, what they say, and how they exist in the world.

HOW DO YOU GET AWAY WITH POSTING PRIVATE PARTS ON INSTAGRAM?
I think because they are artistic representations of private parts. I portray vulvae as they are: integral elements of the natural world we are a part of. The beauty, the strength, the very survival of nature depends on diversity. So too with humans.

WHY ARE VULVAS RARELY APPRECIATED (BY MEN) IN AN ARTISTIC SETTING BUT ADORNED WHEN THE SPACE IS PORNOGRAPHIC?
Even today, despite the prevalence of female nudes in art museums, despite the accessibility to pornography, there is still tremendous pressure on women to hide themselves, to be ashamed of whatever doesn’t conform to societal standards of beauty and propriety. It’s part of this strange dichotomy that culture has created for women: reveal and conceal. On one hand, we’re always supposed to reveal enough of ourselves to be sexually attractive, but simultaneously we’re expected to conceal our bodies, our opinions, and, ultimately, I believe, our power. Some of the most vociferous opponents of my art (especially in Utah) are those who say it’s pornographic. I find this to be somewhat ironic, since the vulvae in porn tend to look very similar.

A few years ago, I was shocked to learn that in Australia, any visible sign of the labia minora is “offensive” and has to be edited out to be deemed “appropriate” enough for soft porn. It’s part of that insane dichotomy, right? Reveal and conceal. Reveal your labia majora (sexy!) but not your labia minora (disgusting!). And that becomes a vicious cycle too. If men and women only see this one specific version of female genitalia, then they start thinking that there’s something wrong with anything that doesn’t conform to that. Increasingly, too, women are getting labiaplasty, a surgery where bits of the labia minora are sliced off with a scalpel. Titling my series “Diversity of Nature” pushes back against the photoshopped ideal of beauty. It’s a really unapologetic look at what is truly “normal.” Whether you view the paintings in a gallery or scroll through them online, it’s impossible not to see the incredible individuality of each vulvae, and, I hope, to see the beauty, the strength, and the power of the female body.

WHAT’S YOUR BACKGROUND TRAINING?
I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Utah Valley University.

WHAT'S INTEGRAL TO THE WORK OF AN ARTIST?
Vulnerability.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURED MATERIAL AND TOOLS TO WORK WITH?
I work with mixed media: watercolor, acrylic and collage.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ON A DAY TO DAY?
Mother Earth, feelings and womanhood.

HOW DOES YOUR AESTHETIC TRANSLATE IN OTHER AREAS OF YOUR LIFE?
Growing up in the woods has made me very casual, comfy/cozy and I’d say “woodsy”.   My home is filled with shrines of plant, herb and a lot of art!

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING? HOW DO YOU UNWIND AND STAY CENTERED?
I love to garden, go camping and play Kubb with my partner. I also raise chickens and angora rabbits. Whenever I need a break, I play with my animals outside.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Beret Is Back Baby


Photographed By Karen Burgos

Poets and paratroopers are completely part of the progression. The round flat-crowned hat has returned.

Through The Looking Glass

Photographed By Karen Burgos

Music