Designer To Watch: Sara Di Salvo

Designer To Watch: Sara Di Salvo

Hi darlings!

It’s with such pleasure that I now feature an update to a previous post: the new Spring/Summer 2012 collection from the Italian designer based in Rome Sara Di Salvo.

As chance would have it, last weekend I received an e-mail from her about the new collection that is breathtakingly inspired by “Warrior Chic”. Each piece is so artistically designed to perfection, beautiful, feminine, elegant and yet comfortable.

I’ve been following her career growing in the past two years since I met her in New York City during one of the fashion shows. We continued to stay in touch since then.

Below are images from her collection, but expect to see much more in the near future and please visit her official web site.

Have a glamorous week

Sara di Salvo 2012 collection (dresses)

PS: All images here are used with permission from the designer.

Interview with Musician: Dmitry Nechaev

Interview with Musician: Dmitry Nechaev

Dmitry Nechaev is a musician based in Moscow, Russia who started his career working as a professional model since he was 11 years old. It all started by participating in photos sessions for the world’s leading fashion magazines, being featured in TV adverts and mastering the runway. In a short period of time, Dmitry gained the status of an international model in Russia and Europe.

Today it’s such a pleasure for me to introduce this 24-year old musician who conquered a vast audience worldwide with his deep, sensual voice and  nourishing lyrics that touch our soul. He inspires you in so many ways, setting you free to a different, new, fresh world, where we are connected by what moves us: the desire to simply live and to be happy, evoking many more feelings which were sleeping deep inside for a long time, making us feel alive again. It is a sharing of how he feels — simply beautiful. For those who have spent a lifetime in a surreal world, and have lost touch with what matters, he brings the chance to dream again because there is so much illumination in his lyrics in contrast to the things that we often forgotten, and that realization brings tears to our eyes.

So enjoy this exclusive interview and please visit his official web sites:


Anonymous – Dmitry Nechaev

RH: Tell us about your transition from an international fashion model to today’s singing & songwriting?

DN: My modeling career started years back when I was 11. I’ve mastered the runway and acquired a great deal of acting knowledge, got publishing deals in fashion magazines and advertisements both in Russia and Europe. It sure has given me some real balls and actual experience of public performance ever since my childhood. But I’ve always had that passion for music. Yet I’ve never dreamed to become a musician, but music turned out to be the only art I find complete self-realization in. And in no time it became the primary language to express everything that I find trapped within me, although I take an interest in many kinds of arts.

RH: Were you around music growing up in Russia? Tell me about the music scene back there at that time?

DN: I’ve always been going along with music. Ever since my childhood I was totally surrounded by it. Bands like Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Tears for Fears, A-ha along with all the other tunes of 80s really took a great part in my upbringing. Moreover, I think the fact that I was raised listening mostly to foreign music determines my style at the moment. I’m not really sure where is it coming from but I can’t sing in Russian, literally, and even if I try to I do it with a terrible accent.

RH: Then you mentioned in other interviews that you were influenced by Japanese musician Akira Yamaoka. How did you first discover his music since you were only 15 years old at the time. Was it Akira whose music first inspired you?

DN: Akira Yamaoka for me was someone I would really want to become for other people out there. Not only had he inspired me to take steps towards making music, what is most important he was the one to open up my consciousness allowing me to believe that I can actually create stuff on my own. Also he has an incredible talent to express feelings and emotions in his tunes. He managed to invent his own language in music. And that in itself is extremely remarkable.

RH: Your new was released worldwide in September: what was the inspiration and creative process behind it?

DN: That was quite a journey I have to admit. It was the first time ever I dealt with a German record company to actually produce the single. I’ve also got acquainted with European music market as we previously launched the single in Europe. It hit central radio stations such as BBC Radio 1, WDR2, Radio NRW, Antenne1 etc. That was a really significant experience I gained.

RH: How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music? Are there any messages that you are sharing with the public in your lyrics?

DN: Some say that a mission of a true poet is to give a voice to the social background he is surrounded by. I pretty much feel to sort of collect and reveal social concerns and outbreaks within my lyrics. It’s not something I’m aiming to, mostly it is something that comes out by itself. Commonly speaking I never make up rhymes, they usually come as a consequence.

RH: Which is your favorite song on the single as well as the new debut album Ignis Fatuus and why?

DN: Secret Love is definitely the one. In fact this song is the climax, the turning point of the whole album. It is me standing up against society’s cultural aversion, outbreaks of its gross diseases such as racism and xenophobia. It has been composed under a great pressure of thoughts kicking up in my spirit. The whole diversity of ideas exposed in lyrics is verbalized in the sound allowing one to read between the lines and get to the essential point.

Dmitry Nechaev – press release photo

RH: How would you classify your music?

DN: Expressive, psychologically overfilling… a mixture of electronic and live sound bound together with a strong melody and provocative philosophy expanded in lyrics and style, I guess. It is meant to make people think… I do really believe that commercial-based music industry constructs haven’t yet come up with a classification versatile enough to put that in, or have they? With this classification be marketable enough for the mid-class majority of consumers. We bet this is a bit too complicated – they’ll probably answer.

RH: What has been the hardest part in getting your music out there?

DN: The hardest part was gaining belief that I create something that could be understood and appreciated by the masses. I always thought myself to be unique in my own way, to create tunes that are hard to compare to mainstream or whatsoever. It took me quite some time to perceive my art as something I really want to contribute to the music culture of the future.

RH: Do you think that helps media outlets, such My Space, YouTube and Facebook are good ways to get the word out about your music?

DN: Definitely social networking makes sense, to some extent at least. Absolutely perfect for making first steps towards publicity. Besides that’s the perfect means to keep in touch with your fans and followers. But I thought they were essentially meant to raise public interest towards indie culture as to the only industry concept in which real art can exist. As all these major acts seem to become more and more contrived.

RH: How important to you are the visuals that correspond with your music — and do you do anything special to prepare yourself for a performance?

DN: Visual image is actually one of the most significant aspects that goes in tandem with my music. I really strive to deliver a complex idea within my art and give people a chance to perceive its diversity by all means possible. That was the main reason I founded the art project “Equinox” the main purpose of which is to depict the idea emerged in tunes by means of shapes, colours and stuff. Even the way I look mostly reflects the atmosphere trapped within the music.

RH: How often do you create a new song?

DN: Who knows, really. I get various ideas time after time, always try to sketch them down. But for me writing stuff is sort of falling in a trance I find myself involved with, when the whole universe collapses in a malevolent darkness of one’s endeavors, the moment in time in which you’re unaware of your existence and surrounding. You never know how long it may last. The only thing that matters is to capture the idea you carry in sounds and tunes distinct enough for other people to perceive.

RH: Where would you most like to perform? And who would you most like to open for?

DN: On planet Mars, really! My project manager Max and I recently signed for a NASA space campaign to become citizens of Mars. So performing there would be the best thing we could contribute to the cultural desert of the universe. A splendid metaphor for the crucial reality, ain’t it?

RH: If you could choose another genre of music, what would it be? And which genre of music do you most/least listen to?

DN: Due to the music I pick to listen to – Mine mostly… seriously… Someone said that one creates something he lacks in the whole wide world. Well, that’s obviously true for me. As to other artists, I’ve never really dig into music classification to set my preferences in the style or genre. I listen to the tunes that kick up in my spirit, evoke emotions and fit my mood. Even though I do stick to some of my favourite bands I still prefer my music menu completely versatile.

RH: Do you play any instruments?

DN: I play guitar, mostly acoustic, piano and harmonica. Pity the latter doesn’t fit in my music at all. I do really want to learn to play shamisen someday!

Dmitry Nechaev on stage

RH: What was the first concert you ever went to? An how do you felt after?

DN: I’ve been to many when a child, but that was unconsciousness so to speak. But the first gig to get captured in my memory was my favourite Duran Duran’s one. I was 12 at that time, and was completely fascinated and overdriven by the emotions and feelings I experienced. I’ve also had an opportunity to get acquainted with the guys in person and even talk to them a bit.

RH: What do you think of Lady Gaga?

DN: I don’t think of Lady Gaga much more than of an extremely successful commercial project: an unbelievably splendid collaboration of various artists, designers, image-makers, producers, songwriters etc. I happen to believe she might be the apotheosis of what major labels can bring into the cultural disorder of the present. I wish there was a matching personality behind the glossy cover, same bright and unique as the visual.

RH: Who do you think are the three most influential persons in the music industry today and why?

DN: Sony Music, Universal and Capitol. Pardon my sarcasm, but these guys really seem to create the immediate music culture and are believed to know what ordinary consumers’ taste might determine in the nearest future.

RH: What’s the biggest, most important lesson your parents taught you?

DN: To stay true to what I am and to what I believe in. They’ve been and they are my greatest support ever. They are the ones who created my personality. If not for them I might just look into the world through the eyes of an ordinary man resting his future upon the obsolete stereotypes socially acknowledged as ultimate truth.

RH: Do you have any shows coming up?

DN: Indeed I do. We are currently working on a live Unstaged performance held in November in Moscow, Russia. Where we will not only play released material but also will include some previously unheard tracks from the upcoming second studio album. There will also be a couple of local performances on TV and radio to support that show.

RH: Are there any thoughts or anything else you’d like to say?

DN: Most of the thoughts and ideas are trapped within my music and lyrics. Have a listen. Tsss… Can you feel it? That is me whispering in your ear.

This is my gift to you Dmitry HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Interview with Artist – Anja Van Herle

Interview with Artist – Anja Van Herle

Introducing this extraordinary artist Anja Van Herle I had the opportunity to meet her during one of the Beverly Hills art exhibitions. And I was fascinated with her ability to paint intriguingly glamorous looking girls in a way that is delightful, playful, colorful and seductive, all at the same time. She does this with a mysterious classy touch, with certain details that are usually only seen just in high fashion. The images captivate our imagination and keep us guessing as to what’s behind those stunning faces and perhaps what was on Anja’s mind during her magic hands’ creative process. So I had to introduce myself and I talk to her about her paintings. The more I saw and heard about her work, the more I had an interest in her.

So I was excited to invite her to answer a few questions and delighted that she accepted my invitation to know more about her background, inspiration and dreams.

Anja Van Herle a Belgian-born artist currently based in Los Angeles, grew up in a musical, and artistic family. She has been painting portraits since she was a child. She holds an MFA (Master’s of Fine Arts) from Belgium’s Higher Institute for Art Education in Painting and graduated in 1987. Her paintings have been featured in countless magazines and blogs while being exhibited all over the world in galleries and museums. She’s been recognized nationally and internationally for her talents as a fine artist. So enjoy this exclusive interview with the woman behind these remarkably chic paintings that are so beautifully painted with charm, elegance and especially with love for art. To learn more about Anja Van Herle’s paintings, please visit her official website.

RH: Tell me about your workspace and your creative process? Does it matter where you live as an artist?
AVH: I work in a small studio in L.A, I don’t think it does matter where you live.
I start with photographing my models and then I rework the pictures with adding make-up, accessories… sometimes it’s like a collage before I start painting.

RH: The women in your paintings are very glamorous. What are you influenced by?
AVH: My influences are classy glamorous woman such as Audrey Hepburn (remembered as a film and fashion icon of the twentieth century)

RH: What would be your dream creative project? And what do you find most rewarding about your paintings?
AVH: I have a few creative dreams, first I would love to paint murals or big pieces for cool, hip hotels and high fashion boutiques. Another creative dream is to merchandise my work, especially in the clothing line.

The most rewarding aspect about my work is that I think I create something totally new in the art world, I hear a lot from fans or people that it’s so unique which I think it’s great.

RH: What skill would you still like to master?
AVH: I would love to learn airbrush, the reason why is because most of the people think my technic is airbrush, I have no idea how to do airbrush, :—)

RH: Who, if you had a chance, would you really like to paint?
AVH: I would love to paint the woman who I admire as artists, like Beyonce, Alicia Keys.

RH: If you could give women a fashion tip to be fabulous what would it be?
AVH: Just be yourself, wear what fits you, don’t try to be somebody else and smile a lot, that makes a person fabulous!

RH: Which look best captures the spirit of your paintings? And how long did it take to do a typical project?
AVH: I see it as a life time, you went to art school, developed your style, it took so many years to be where I am now… so that’s a life time.

RH: What are your goals as an artist? How do you see yourself progressing? Or does this matter?
AVH: First you you want to get your images out there to be seen, this in different ways. Now I want people to enjoy my work… through galleries, museums… in my t-shirts. So sharing my work with the people…

Yes, I like to progress in my work so it matters. I see it as being in galleries all over the world.

RH: What other interests do you have outside of art? And what dream do you still wish to fulfill?
AVH: I like to travel, love to collect shells but have to find them… ( not buying in a store) :—)

My dream is to impact people with my art.

RH: Which five words best describe you?
AVH: Funny, friendly, daring, generous and inpatient.

RH: Who did you admire most when you were a student? And now? Are there any artists whose work you enjoy today?
AVH: I admired Dali, Toulouse-Lautrec, Klimt, Schiele

Now I love Murakami, a great Japanese artist!

RH: Any new or upcoming project(s) you are working on that you’d like to share with us?
AVH: Working on my first collection T-shirts with my art on.

RH: Are there any other thoughts or anything else you would like to say?
AVH: That I’m most of the time so happily surprised with all the different kind of reactions of my fans… people cry for my art… not art lovers become art lovers since they saw my work…

Thank you Rhônya for your interest.

PS: All images here are used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.

Interview with Fashion Designer Adolfo Sanchez

Interview with Fashion Designer Adolfo Sanchez

Last year during one of the L.A. Fashion Week I had the opportunity to meet  fashion designer Adolfo Sanchez. I really liked what I saw from his collection on the runway for the first time since being acquainted in New York. Mr. Sanchez fascinated me with his ability and creativity to design such amazing garments. I made a point to let him know that I admire his style and uniqueness. No doubt that each piece he creates is original and brilliantly constructed, with extraordinary quality and special attention to detail.

Since then I’ve spent a little more time, my schedule permitting, following his work and attending his events, curious to see how his work evolves with time.

The 26-year-old and youngest of four, with both parents from Mexico, was born in Los Angeles and raised just South of L.A. in Orange County. That’s where Mr. Sanchez took his first steps into the fashion scene. A self-taught designer who simply followed his passion for clothes which guided him to his destiny of his own couture line: a women’s ready-to-wear collection that launched in 2006. After just a couple of years his line grows more and more each season and he along with it — because it is meant to be.

He has been showing his collections to the most prestigious runway shows from L.A and Las Vegas to New York Fashion Weeks, featured in countless fashion magazines, with great opportunities of working with a lot of amazing people. He’s dressed celebrities from the Gossip Girl actresses Shayne Lamas from “Leave it to Lamas”, pulled clothes for Nicki Minaj for one of her albums, and has now been approached by Fergie’s stylist. Adolfo just presented the line to Rihanna’s stylists as well. Women want his clothes for their edgy, sexy and modern styles that adorn a woman’s body so well. Dressed in an Adolfo line makes you feel strong, unique and desirable. So enjoy this exclusive interview with the man behind the scenes. To learn more about Adolfo Sanchez, please visit his official web site.

Adolfo Sanchez – collection

RH: When did your career in the fashion industry begin? And what did you do before?

AS: When I was about 15 or 16 years old, I started to really get into the art of fashion. My primary group of friends were largely interested in several of the fashion houses; through their influence, I got my first taste of the who’s who of fashion. I remember them showing me runway shows from designers like Thierry Mugler and Vivienne Westwood. Later on I began working in retail and soon I worked for some of the larger fashion houses like Gucci, and Versace. In early 2006 I decided that I wanted to design and really explore pursuing a career in the industry. Prior to pursuing my interest in fashion, I was just a rebellious teenager who was intrigued by underground aspects of art/fashion/music and exploring the latest trends. I always experimented with what I wore and enjoyed standing out from the crowd.

RH: What inspired your collection? Is it easy to come up with new designs?

AS: This season I wanted to create a dark collection with an aesthetic was wearable for women from east to west. Initially it began with the idea of lace and then after bringing the concept of a Victorian Goth collection together the lace was only used as a mask. I always love combining soft and hard details together for example we had dresses with a leather bustier inspired bodice and chiffon skirts. Wool and fur were some of the other textiles that played a big role in this collection. Overall, the collection looks soft and feminine but still incorporates details that very much let people know who I am as a designer.

RH: What are the benefits of your career? What do you find most rewarding?

AS: The idea of seeing your vision come to life when you see the complete line, as well as being able to experience the process of growth as an unknown designer to being recognized for your work and aesthetic. It’s a very rewarding feeling professionally and personally to see the transformation occur.

RH: What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?

AS: I am a perfectionist so my main discrepancy is that sometimes I feel there aren’t enough hours in the day to make sure every aspect of the business is running as efficiently as I expect it to.

RH: What do you think fashion needs more of right now?

AS: More creativity. I feel like the main focus is on wearability, which I understand is definitely extremely important (it’s the lucrative part of the industry); however the art aspect should not be lost in the process. At the end of the day we are not only fulfilling a utilitarian function, we are extracting the unique remnants of an artist’s imagination that marks the current movements and influences of our culture. We are creating something that should spark curiosity.

RH: What skills do you need to be a fashion designer?

AS: Patience, technique, dedication, perseverance, thick skin, and creativity with an understanding of wear ability. I also think that in order to be a designer you should have the knowledge of how to construct a garment from scratch. You should know the process that begins with the idea in your mind to the finished product that is ready for a client to wear.

New True Blood Star Janina Gavankar in Adolfo Sanchez At True Blood Season 4 Premiere

RH: Do you design clothes for certain types of women?

AS: When I design, I have powerful, confident women in mind. She is comfortable with taking risks in life and with her personal style.

RH: What makes a woman memorable?

AS: A woman who is in full control of her style; when she actually wears the garment instead of the garment wearing her.

RH: What is your favorite piece from your collections that you are most proud of? Why?

AS: This intricate lace evening gown made up of 67 yards of fabric that I ruffled from the waist down. It’s definitely one of my favorite pieces because of the amount of time I spent to get it done, in addition to how happy I was with the final result.

RH: Do you have admiration for any famous designer(s)? Why?

AS: Always and forever the work of McQueen will always be the ultimate definition of wearable art in my eyes … and so many of the big houses I love. I have followed the work of Gaultier and Galliano since I was 15 or 16. I think one of the most amazing and inspirational is Thierry Mugler. I was and still am fascinated with the way that he would transform women and a woman’s silhouette.

RH: Outside of fashion, what are you looking forward to? And what is your career objective?

AS: I’m very much looking forward to my upcoming trip to France this September. I love traveling and enjoy experiencing the culture in other countries.

RH: Any new or upcoming project(s) your are working on that you’d like to share with us?

AS: I’m happy to say that I will be showing and having a runway presentation in N.Y. this upcoming September; details should be announced soon. The trailer to my first film that I styled and custom created for will be out this summer. For the time being this is all I can really say as the rest is still in the development phase but believe me when I tell you that there is so much more to come.

RH: Are there any thoughts or anything else you would like to say?

AS: “The beauty of fashion is that, unlike a painting on a wall, fashion is wearable art that can be displayed anywhere you like”.

Adolfo Sanchez – collection

PS: All images here are used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the designer.

Interview with Illustrator – Liz Adams

Interview with Illustrator – Liz Adams

Liz Adams is a freelance illustrator based in Los Angeles known for her cheerful, delicate and feminine illustrations. Her drawings have graced the pages of: Teen Magazine, Girl’s Life, American Baby, Vogue Girl Korea, Disney, Today’s Parent, Venus Zine, Adorn Magazine, Curve Magazine, Nails Magazine, ELLE Girl Korea and many more publications. Because of her colorful style and beautiful hand-drawinging full of fun and imagination, she is a regular contributor for the most well known magazines. Also she created her own pattern that is incredibly adorable and she has been working on her new book that is coming soon. Definitely Liz is a busy girl!

So enjoy this exclusive interview with this talented artist and loving person. To learn more about Liz Adams’ illustrations, please visit her website.

Jellyfish Girl

RH: Tell me about your workspace and your creative process? Does it matter where you live as an artist?

LA: I work out of a room in my apartment. I have a table where I can paint and draw and another area with my computer setup. I don’t think it matters where you live as an artist as long as you find ways to get your work out there.

RH: Self-taught or formally educated? (or mixture of both, mentors etc …)

LA: I think of it as a mixture of both. I was a mixed media art major in college and mostly focused on making weird sculptures. I didn’t realize that I wanted to pursue illustration until a couple years after graduating. I worked as a photo retoucher and fine art printer at the time which really helped to train me technically. I was drawing a lot and started painting. I thought my work could possibly be marketable so I did tons of research, put together a portfolio and started promoting.

RH: How do you stay inspired? Can you share some of your ideas?

LA: I can usually get inspired by just tuning out and doodling. If I get bored with something I’m working on or the way I’m working I try to find ways to make it fresh to me either by playing with different tools, materials or techniques or reassessing my original idea.

RH: Once a client has handed off an illustration job to you, how do you first tackle the job? Could you give us a quick overview of your process?

LA: I’ll usually start by making a few quick thumbnail sketches. From those I’ll pick two to three that I’d like to make into larger sketches with more detail that I do with pencil and paper. I scan them in and either add some gray tones or colors if I already have a color scheme in mind. I send them to the client and either it gets approved or I revise the sketch until it’s perfect for the client. At that point I’ll start drawing my final illustration. I’ll put my sketch down on a light table and make a new drawing in pen over it. I may paint or draw various elements like textures or backgrounds. I scan everything in and work on it in Photo shop. I use a wacom tablet to clean up, color and assemble everything.

RH: What are your goals as an artist? How do you see yourself progressing?

LA: I just to want to do work that I’m excited about. I’d really like to work on a children’s book and do projects for animation or games. I love illustrating things for teen girls so I hope to do more of that too.

RH: What are the best and worst parts of being a working artist?

LA: The best parts are doing what I love and seeing my work out there. The worst parts are dealing with some of the business aspects in this economy—slow periods, late paying clients and lower budgets.

Flying mixed media on watercolor paper

RH: What other interests do you have outside of art?

LA: I like to watch TV, play video games, cook things and walk around my neighborhood.

RH: Current and upcoming projects?

LA: I just finished some work for a couple magazines. I’m working on a book dummy that I’m hoping to pitch soon. I’m also learning animation software.

RH: Are there any thoughts or anything else you’d like to say?

LA: My best advice to anyone who wants to do art is to never give up and have a place online where it’s easy to see your work.

Illustration in the March/09 issue of ELLE Girl Korea

PS: All images here are used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.

An Interview with Painter Ty Steinbacher

An Interview with Painter Ty Steinbacher

.. for a couple of years now, been admiring the brilliant art of the professional fine artist Ty Steinbacher. His paintings really blow me away. He has an exquisite eye for beauty that he captures with his brush in each painting, each of which has a unique magical touch. So I was delighted when he agreed to let me interview him. He does gorgeous oil paintings and specializes in portraits, human form, nature and plain air landscapes. Also he builds his own custom homes. A truly gifted artist by heart and soul. Ty lives and works in the Catskill Mountains at Walton of Upstate New York. An award-winning artist, his paintings have been shown in a variety of venues and have been recognized inter-/nationally for his excellence. Notwithstanding, he’s also been featured in countless newspapers. Ty’s art is part of numerous private collections all over the world. So enjoy this exclusive interview with this amazing artist and person. To learn more about Ty Steinbacher, please visit his official web site.

Voice of Two Rivers” Oil on Canvas 48″ x 36″ Collection the Artist Not for Sale

RH: Tell me about your workspace and your creative process? Does it matter where you live as an artist?

TS: My studio workspace is about 600 square feet, with 3 large north facing skylights, but I mostly only use a very small part of that when I am painting. I could probably get by just fine in a 9′ x 12′ room, as long as it had good natural light. I strongly prefer natural light over artificial. No, I don’t think it matters at all where you live as an artist, as long as you are happy there and get your work seen by the public. In my opinion…you could live in the middle of NYC or in the North Pole and still be a successful artist.

RH: How do you stay inspired? Can you share about your painting techniques? And your favorite products?

TS: I stay inspired by realizing how brief life is and how little time is left to paint. Don’t waste another minute, before time runs out. My painting approach often changes from painting to painting. I use old master techniques of glazing to more modern techniques…I never know for sure until I start on a piece, which technique I will use. I like Winsor & Newton, Gamblin, as well as Williamsburg oil paint. I normally use filbert and cats tongue brushes, made by Silver.

RH: How do you select your favorite subjects?

TS: All I can say is, paint what you love and it will show in your work and be felt by the viewer.

RH: How do you define art?

TS: To me, art is the creation of anything, whether it is a building, a painting or a birthday cake… it is all art!

RH: Who did you admire most when you were a student? and now? Are there any artists whose work you enjoy today?

TS: Since I am totally self taught, I had to do all the homework myself. I remember being inspired by Bouguereau the most. As far as modern artists, I like almost everyone, but was very impressed with the work of Nelson Shanks.

RH: What advice would you give to a student or young artist about to begin a career as a professional artist?

TS: Well, the best I can tell you is… you have to be willing to fight for what you love and never give up no matter what! There will be countless negative people who will try to discourage you, but just ignore them and feel blessed that you are brave enough to live your dream and they are not. If you love what you do and you are serious about what you love… you will always be happy and you will never fail. Just keep working and the art will open doors and move mountains!

RH: What are the best and worst parts of being a full time, working artist?

TS: The best part is, you wake up every morning and realize you are free. There is no worst part… it’s heaven to be free.

RH: What other interests to you have outside of art? And what are you passionate about?

TS: I enjoy nature, travel, genealogy and photography. I love to meet people of different cultures and hear their philosophy on life.

RH: What’s the best lesson you’ve learned along the way? And what’s been your best decision?

TS: The best lesson I learned was, stop wasting time doing what I don’t enjoy doing and explaining what I love to people who don’t care. The best decision I made was to stop living someone else’s dream and start living mine.

RH: What dreams do you still want to fulfill?

TS: I just want to keep painting what I love and it would be great to have a solo show in New York City.

RH: Is there anything extraordinary about your past, present or future exhibitions you’d like to share?

TS: Nothing really extraordinary… but I do currently have a solo exhibition going on till June 3, 2011 at the Cooperstown Art Association in Cooperstown, New York. I am also working on paintings for a solo show at the Columbia County Council on the Arts in Hudson, NY, coming up this fall.

RH: Are there any other thoughts or ideas you’d like to share?

TS: Just believe in yourself and never be afraid to express yourself. You were given a gift for a reason… use it to the fullest. The biggest joy I have ever felt is inspiring others to use their talents and follow their dreams. You can do the same. Always be positive, caring and take time to help others. Your life will be richly rewarded…

“Birth of the Union” Oil on Linen 40″ x 30″ SOLD Collection ~ Rea Peace New York, USA
” The Beginning ” ( Model, Jolie D. )- 36″ x 60″ Oil on Canvas ~ Sold on PBS Live TV Art Auction ~ Private collection, Apalachin, New York
” At Peace with Nature” 30″ x 40″ Oil on Linen

PS: All images here are used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.

“Paganae” What does that Mean?

“Paganae” What does that Mean?

A couple of months ago, I discovered a Copenhagen-based Vegan Apparel line. At first I was intrigued with the name of the brand, and then I especially liked the philosophy behind the collection and began to be even more curious to discover the inspiration behind it all. Paganae was founded in 2007 by Graeme Cochrane, whose focus is on promoting and spreading a positive message with his cool, eco-friendly T-shirts and peaceful lifestyle. He invites us to live consciously, in harmony with our environment and all life, both plant and animal. Graeme encourages people to be more eco-conscious with his soft, comfortable T-shirts which make you happy to wear because of the way they feel as well as how they look and what they express. He graciously granted me an exclusive interview amid his busy schedule — enjoy learning about the man behind the brand “Paganae”.

RH: “Paganae” is the name of your brand, and what does that mean?
GC: Paganus is Latin and means a villager or someone ‘of the country’ as opposed to the civilized people living in the city. In western culture the word has often been used as heathen or heretical, especially in the term ‘pagan religion’. In a broader sense it has come to mean someone or something that is not mainstream, that does not follow the main religion or ethos of a given culture – in other words an outsider. The ‘ae’ ending is just to make the word plural.
I guess we thought that the word contained or captured an essential part of the vegan values. For many people meat eating is somewhat of a religion, and for vegans not to contribute to the practice of using animals for all kinds of things is like going against the stream. In line with our name is the name of the American internet radio show – Vegan Freak Radio.

RH: Tell me about your work space, and what first inspired you to design your vegan
T-shirts on your own?

GC: Our designs we make ourselves. We have a friend who is a graphic designer and who is the main graphic designer in the project. Developing the ideas and going from idea to design is a process we all participate in though, so it is really a collaboration of joined forces. We are around 5 people in the project.

As to the ideas of our designs we draw inspiration from various fields. A lot of us have written lyrics and rapped in the underground environment, where hooks are an important factor in the making of a track. I guess you could say that a sensation, a statement or a meaning is boiled down into few words or a metaphor – like that of art in general. We coin hooks thinking ‘out of the box’ and often combine something well-known with a new entry – like the ‘Chick Strike’ hook – or turn something upside down.
Graphically, we are inspired by clothing brands like Obey, Organika and Planet Earth, artists like Banksy and Iso50 along with a variety of other urban artists.

RH: How is your printing process? And where?

GC: Our ‘first edition’ T-shirts are made in 100% organic cotton in Nicaragua by the Fair Trade Zone. The Fair Trade Zone is a small, worker-owned cooperative that has been funded by the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA), a non-profit organization seeking to address human needs.
Being a brand whose ideals have moral character, we are happy to deliver our clothes to people in organic cotton from an independent sewing cooperative. They have been produced in a factory where the workers receive fair wages and benefits, have good working conditions and are not exploited. Better for your skin as well as for our planet’s, organic cotton is part of the organic wave that testifies to increased awareness and responsible action. It is important to us that sustainability remains where animals are not in the limelight.

RH: Eco-friendly fashion seems to grow more popular everyday. What are some of the
characteristics of your line that make it stand out from the pack?

GC: Some years ago we came across an Indian myth that can be summarized as follows: Back in the Genesis of the world, all animals were each allowed to give one illness to man for the misdeeds he would inflict on them. This myth sparked an idea — a design that drew inspiration from the movie poster for “Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back”. Our first hook had hatched and Paganae saw the light of day.

When this first idea came up – ‘Salmonella – The Chicken Strikes Back’ we had some 20 T-shirts made with the design screen printed on them at the local screen printing shop. We got some very positive feedback wearing this T-shirt, like people commenting on how great a hook/message the ‘Chick Strike’ was. Friends and relatives asked for a T-shirt and the 20 T-shirts we had made were very quickly sold or given away. From this point on we came up with more hooks and ideas, eventually decided to turn our designs into a more serious project and came up with a brand name. I guess we had come across many T-shirts with hooks like ‘Meat is Murder’, and regardless of the taste and temper of the individual vegan or vegetarian, this is a more direct approach which can be a turn off to some people. We wanted to give something to vegetarians and vegans that had more depth to it and had a more appetizing appeal to people, often people who are not into the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. The fact that not that many vegan clothing brands are around yet, we also see ourselves as a pioneer with this particular clothing brand.
At a more basic level, having been part of the vegan community for some years we wanted to contribute to the vegan cause besides following a vegan lifestyle in our daily lives.

RH: Why do you think people are shifting to organic products, clothing, food, home
furnishings, etc?

GC: In an ideal world products from food to clothing would have a warning label if they had been produced via child labour or in poor working conditions, with the help of pesticides, growth hormones etc. and not the other way around. But I guess this is a political discussion that has to do with the major scale consumption by especially people in western culture often under unrestricted industrial power.
I think people are beginning to realize the massive impact 6 billion human beings have on planet earth. Really, it’s not more than 60 years ago we began using all kinds of chemicals in our industries and agriculture and we’re just starting to learn how this affects nature and invariably ourselves. Fortunately, we do have experienced an organic and fair trade boom in the western world in the past couple of decades that testifies to increased awareness and responsible action. I definitely think this change in trend is noticeable and portends hope for the future. Slowly, I think organic and fair trade products will replace conventional production. At all events, we are proud to be part of that transition.

RH: Do you think veganism should be seen as a lifestyle? Are you a vegetarian? If
yes, since when?

GC: I have been vegan for just about 7 years now and couldn’t be happier with that choice. Before that I was a vegetarian for just about 2 years. The shift away from meat and animal products really has been inevitable for me because I became aware of the many problems related to consuming animals. Of course, it didn’t happen overnight but as I had been experiencing a radical change in the way I looked at non-human animals there was only one way for me – veganism.

Yes, I definitely think veganism should be seen as a lifestyle. The number of people following a vegan lifestyle has grown rapidly the past decade or so. Whether people get into veganism because of environmental concerns, for health benefits or due to an ethical elevation they experience, I think most vegans are quite informed about the many problems related to how humans treat non-human animals. Because vegans go ‘all the way’ as opposed to people buying ‘cruelty- or cage-free’ and ‘animal-friendly’ products, we mark a change of kind and not one of degree. This is the important difference between the philosophy of animal rights, which is quite controversial, and decent animal welfare, which most people can agree upon though the majority of these people does not act accordingly when shopping. In this connection we think of vegetarians as aspiring vegans or people who cannot live vegan due to practical reasons. Being vegan in a world of so many animal exploiting products, rituals and entertainment sometimes surely can be a hassle – it is easy to feel alienated, and this is why veganism is so much of a lifestyle. “No matter how many products in the supermarket, how many today’s specials are of animal origin and no matter how many of you enjoy a day at the zoo, none of that will have me by the balls”, said the vegan.

RH: Are your clothes only for vegans, or do you also want non-vegan people to buy
your clothes?

GC: Sure we want non-vegan people to buy our clothes. Anyone who likes or loves our designs and the messages they bring is more than welcome to wear Paganae – the message is delivered just as well by a meat eater, a vegetarian or a vegan. Of course, our primary target is vegans seeing that you won’t ever buy a design from us that favours egg or dairy consumption, or circus animals for that matter. This being said, a fan is a fan and an important keyword in developing our brand has been including rather than excluding. Our hope is that the subtle and humorous approach that our designs are characteristic of contribute to the vegan cause in a different way and stand a better chance of turning non-vegans on than the more direct approach. So whoever you are, please join in!

RH: What direction do you see for “Paganae” in the future?

GC: The styles of our first edition T-shirts are quite classic T-shirt styles from street/urban fashion. For future editions we hope to be able to expand our clothing line to dresses, skirts, jeans etc. for women and shirts, hoodies, polo’s, pullovers etc. for men along with caps, belts and other accessories. At some point maybe also vegan shoes.

RH: Are there any thoughts or anything else you’d like to add?

GC: Our aim is to be a place where anyone who is into future life can breathe with effortless ease. Grounded in the vegan movement, we have on our journey through uncharted territory seen our share of things that simply just don’t add up. Along the way we have become still more aware of the importance of taking sides against the violence and covetousness with which humans so often meet other creatures of our world.

The traditional and still prevailing view of animals is that they were put here for our sake, that they are a resource to suit our wants and desires. The practical facets of this stronghold inevitably involve rough and relentless treatment, and struggling against their will tightens our hold in return. Being equipped to carry out these actions against animals is the main purpose of our emotional detachment from them. We inherit this hardening through our culture, segregating us from them.
Since we are opposed to this view of animals, abstaining from the use of animal derived materials or labour is fundamental to us. Following the path from the dark part of the woods to the glades, we have our eyes fixed on an overriding goal: to bring us to a state where animals fill our hearts rather than our hands and bellies – to bring us closer to their homecoming beyond the hills.

Please check out Paganae’s official website.

[UPDATE] – unfortunately today I discovered that this business does not exist anymore 🙁 but we’ll keep the article  🙂

PS: All images here are used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the designer.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Celebrating the holidays and Bella Bohemian’s 5th Anniversary as I went back, rummaging through my boxes and found an enormous variety of stones, metals and beads, and other materials which I’ve been collecting since the beginning of Bella Bohemian. I transformed these assortments into one-of-a-kind jewelry. The Bossa Nova collection is a line that mixes simple and elegant pieces, while the bold Bella Bohemian style is a joy to wear in all seasons… “Whether you’re on the beach in Malibu or the Hamptons or on the streets of New York City, there are no boundaries.”

Vive la bohèmien touch!

You’ll discover several great finds for far less than you’d think, with intricate unusual beadwork. These collections are fun, colorful and cheerful, aiming to reflect all the passion in everything that we do. Inspiration is everywhere, each piece is simply the jewelry you must have as it adds the WOW touch of glamour to any occasion. It’s for women who love to take fashion into the everyday life to have more fun.

You will never go unnoticed!

Welcome to Bella Bohemian by Rhônya Holman please check out the official website:

Enjoy Bohemians!