PEPPER Magazine / October 2022

Page 1


SA / TX / US

be the change.

October 6 Editor’s Note : Be the Change


10 Wondermaker : the art of Kelly O’Connor 18 Sacred Geometry : Rabbi Hanniel Levenson 27 All Made Up : artist Milou Stella 34 Siempre : artist Cody Freeman 41 Art of Survival : artist Dante Danyel 48 A Constant Companion : abstract artist Siham El Kandoussi


54 DFNTLY Entertainment

fashion. 62 Untitled Nine 69 NIKITA 74 The Performer 80 Divine Feminine 85 Sovereign 91 Retrofashion 95 Costume Change • with Becky Witte-Marsh


102 The High Life / Highlight : Rise of the Machines


105 The Hayden


114 One Love. Sinenkosi Msomi 116 Culture : From Perception to Experience / Adria Jana 119 On Being the Change

passport. 10

123 Colmar, France


Rx. 133 Pa’lante Wellness, Yoga & Consulting 137 A Modern Mystic 139 Fit to a T.


142 Positively Crystal 143 Intimate Affairs : Abelism


no.5 146 Threads 150 Horoscopes


154 On Her Terms : Ariel Villareal 159 Ice Cream! 162 Lost in Space


167 Windsong 169 From the Roots


get involved. 172 Kearing Foundation for Children

disquiet. 182 Flowers 191 Context 196 FE•MALE 200 Union of the Impossible :


202 Cover Artist : Kelly O’Connor Acknowledgments Staff Bios

PEPPER Magazine Est. 2022 SA / TX / US arts • culture • business web directory website email available on MagCloud Issuu copyright K. Day Gomez San Antonio, Texas 78209 PEPPER Magazine



12656 WEST AVE, BLDG 3. SA, TX, 78216 12656 WEST AVE, BLDG 3. SA, TX, 78216






Editor in Chief K. Day Gomez San Antonio, Texas

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi Being the change is quite literally the reason PEPPER Magazine exists. It’s our moral imperative to break down barriers, overturn outdated thought and bridge the gaps of inequality by fostering a safe space for individuals from every cultural background, neurotype, orientation and creed to discuss things that actually matter. To share ideas, empower and inspire. But how best to summarize all of that into one definitive point? Little could express it better than my acceptance speech upon winning Magazine of the Year at the Texas Fashion Industry Awards on October 7–a nonprofit-run event which is based upon philanthropy for the arts. I give you the unabridged version of what I said. “I initially imagined I’d think of something clever to come up here and say. Something likable and witty. That I’m humbled and grateful and blown away by this—and I am. No doubt. But in light of the state of tragedies happening all over the globe right now, it’s hard to be “appropriate”. This is the harder part of journalism, for me. Currently we’re covering Fashion Week here where we are, and yet there are massacres and environmental catastrophes happening frequently in different parts of the world. Real suffering against a harsh juxtaposition to beautiful and uplifting things like clothing or red carpet events. That is the strangeness of humanity. 6

My heart is in the same place as most everyone. I want to help, but feel powerless. I want to speak out more, but I’m so sensitive that I get pulled down into depression if I focus on nothing but the brutality. And so the light becomes that much more important; the arts, the love, the joy against the sorrow. There is a line we must walk, as a publication, if we are to carry our humanitarian baseline. The arts • culture • business… And there will always be philanthropy as an extension of “culture”, and the underbelly of that will always be “disquiet”. If we’re the ones holding the flashlight, we’d better make where we point the light count. Each one of you, present—every creative visionary, designer, innovator, keepers of the keys to beauty and self expression—you are the weavers of our current stories. The alchemists who dare to forge your dreams into the fabric of our reality. Each one of you hold your own flashlight. Where you choose to shine it next does matter. It’s shaping our world. Make it count.”

Wonder Maker

Multidisciplinary contemporary artist Kelly O'Connor Calvillo photojournalist K. Day Gomez


the arts.

elly O’Connor is a noteworthy American contemporary artist who resides in San Antonio, Texas. She’s also the first artist to take on the role of cover artist for PEPPER Magazine’s dual release—our October issue and the bonus companion Special Fashion edition. We couldn’t have made a more fitting choice. This double feature was strategically designed to showcase the intersectionality between art and fashion. It's a celebration of innovative progressive fashion initiatives and entrepreneurs around the world. And Kelly O’Connor is our quintessential mascot. With a strong focus on retro mid century themes, Kelly has an uncanny ability to present a bygone era in a completely new way. Often psychedelic, colorful, surprising and even subliminally distopic, her work is in line with the reinvention mentality that is driving the fashion movements of the now. Vintage is king, and the makers who rework the obsolete visions into something new are leading the way. What’s more, Kelly fully embodies the aesthetic she’s built. From her postmodern home renovation and decor to her everyday fashion. At any given moment, she looks like she stepped right out of one of her artworks. Prim and feminine in bold colors and patterns that reflect the time period that holds her creative heart. To add, she’s also designed wearable art and built full scale installations as an homage to Americana idealism, fashion and beauty. Kelly’s work is alluring, and yet there is so much meaning just below the surface of everything she does. She explains her process the best, and her “why”, in her artist’s statement [which can also be viewed on her website,]. “Drawing on the allegory of American consciousness through the use of iconic characters, my work is derived from a combination of memory, fantasy, and pop culture. The mythological characters, built around enduring western cultural ideals, make up much of my subconscious. My work is, to a great extent, about exposing the duality behind thin public façades that we readily embrace. Throughout history we continue to struggle with aspirations and contradictions represented in popular culture. Many of the female characters have a look of artificial bliss or

antidepressant-driven happiness, while many of the male characters represent the ominous “man behind the curtain.” At times they are hypnotized or controlled by intoxicating products or appliances. The scenes I create are the calcified remains of a culture focused on production and destruction, such as in The Rise and Fall, 2012. By appropriating idealized American landscapes, including Carlsbad Caverns and Yellowstone National Park, and creating a non-linear narrative, I intentionally leave the situation ambiguous in order for the viewer to relate their own experiences to the suggested scenarios. My intention is to create an immortal or dreamlike space, such as one that could only exist in a person’s subconscious. Playing with color and scale is central to my process. Sickly sweet, candy-colored surfaces are juxtaposed with colored paper sampled from vintage record covers. The contrast of sparkling

rays and bright neon against weathered, dull tones acts as a metaphor for dualities within our society. Appropriated images, enlarged from their original source to exaggerate their apparent content, introduce nostalgic and familiar themes that provide a rich access point for the viewer. These images are drawn from film and popular magazines, primarily from the 1950’s and 1960’s. I prefer this time period because the line quality of the drawings is minimal and the subjects are rich with American idealism.” Kelly is currently the Head of Collections and Communications at Ruby City, a contemporary art center dedicated to providing a space for the city’s thriving creative community to experience works by both local and internationally-acclaimed artists. Famously envisioned in 2007 by the late collector, philanthropist and artist Linda Pace. “We are a small staff so I have a lot of roles. I am very hands-on with the collection and supporting exhibitions as well as creating editorial content for the organization and supporting its communications efforts.” 15



Manhattan, New York

journalist K. Day Gomez 19

extract something more meaningful. The results aren’t just healing—they’re transcendental. “From this, a new project I am working on emerged. It came out of that silly phrase; ‘when the world gives you lemons make lemonade.’ I decided to put a spin on it. ‘When the world gives you pain, make a T-shirt.’ My friend recently had a hip replacement. I asked him to send me pictures of the bruising and the x-rays (I know, a little weird). I took these images, abstracted them, printed them and made them into clothing.

RABBI HANNIEL LEVENSON is a multifaceted creative and spiritually driven individual whose life is filled with purpose. He’s established Honey EL, an independent art and clothing brand based in NYC. Levenson applies his experience and purpose to everything he does. Be it artwork, transposing his art into textile prints, fabricating garments—even yoga instructing and surfing— there is a powerful undercurrent in his recognizable style. Taking it back to the beginning, Hanniel explains, “I had a teacher in grade school that encouraged me to draw. I have memories of being in art class and just having fun. This practice endured into college where I took more classes and continued this meditation for me. In October my dog Yoyo passed away. We had been together for 13 years. She was my best friend. Somehow, I’m not really sure how, I decided to buy a sewing machine. I taught myself how to use it and the deep focus it takes channeled my energy into the thread. It‘s become another form of healing for me like painting. Past and future disappear and there is only this moment. I then decided I would start printing my art onto fabric and make clothing.” The act of processing grief is different for every person. The rabbi has developed a methodology of connecting the act of making art with the waves of emotion that pass through him. It’s a form of channeling, in a way, reaching deep to

For me, it is a practice in being with our fear and our suffering, not running from it but befriending it. This practice is still growing now and it is a lot of fun—not the fear and suffering part, but the coexisting and being with it.” Insightful and innovative. A little history—Rabbi Hanniel Levenson, was born in Haifa, Israel and his formative years were shaped in Manhattan, NYC. Hanniel received a B.A. in Religion & Art from New York University, a Master of Science in Environmental Policy from Bard College, and Rabbinical Ordination from The Academy for Jewish Religion. [Hanniel was also a competitive gymnast for 15 years and is now a yoga teacher, painter, surfer, and designer.] The earliest parts of his journey were riddled with opposition and prejudice. This early education in the cruelties of ignorance would serve to shape Hanniel’s understanding of the world, and more importantly, of himself. “When I was 15, I went to study for a semester in Israel. There I experienced one of the most uncomfortable and painful moments in my young life. It was an experience that shook me to my core and continues to affect me today. I was going to join a prayer group of men and women, praying side by side, at the Western Wall. It is my practice that anyone of any gender identification can pray and practice together. The

group I joined gathered at a bit of a distance from the Wall and began to pray. It did not take long for others, who object to this egalitarian prayer practice, to see what was happening. Anger and hatred was displayed on their faces as they observed our prayer group and they lashed out at us. We were praying, and at the same time, we were being harassed. The police had to create a human barrier to prevent a full-blown riot. Instead of praying on this holiday these men chose to scream obscenities I do not wish to recount, as well as throw rocks and other items at us as we prayed. A tossed bag of chocolate milk exploded all over me. I wanted to cry or scream or maybe throw something back at our taunters. I was angry, really angry, and the intensity of those feelings frightened me. However, I had the restraint to not to fight back. I realized, despite my fury, that it was senseless to fight intolerance with intolerance. I learned that day that the courage of my convictions was stronger than my fear or anger. I am spending a lot of time with my teacher, Dorothy, nowadays in the Hamptons. She is 93 and the most awake in-tune being that I know. She is a fountain of wisdom and compassion. Over the past ten years she has been a guide for me as a spiritual friend. The world is blessed knowing that beings like her exist who only want to support others and help reduce suffering. It is a tangled web we can weave, and she is a cosmic untangler.” Creating, for Hanniel, is a sacred art and physical therapy. Studying texts from the world's wisdom traditions and drawing on the present moment, Hanniel turns to the canvas to integrate the teachings into his being. Using small brushes and markers on large canvases it becomes a full body experience. Linking the breath with the brush Hanniel explores new meanings through color. Art is not his only outlet. “I started gymnastics when I was five. As I got older, it got more serious—training five days a week, four hours a day. Gymnastics taught me air awareness. Taught me about balance, and specifically that sometimes I have to fall off balance to find my center. My training gave me a focus and discipline that I carry with me in all

that I do. It taught me about my body, its limits and its possibilities. I love being upside down, sometimes I joke that I am better walking on my hands than my feet. It is definitely good to get upside down at least once a day in any way we can. Gymnastics led me to yoga, and when I became a yoga teacher in 2009, I began to share my love of body movement to all who wanted to learn. When I teach I like to infuse my yoga flow with play and curiosity about these bodies that we are given. I started surfing when I was 30 and was immediately hooked. When I am out in the water floating I am a child being held by the womb of the earth. While I am alert, I surrender to the water. When surfing, for me, there is a fine line between utter fear and sharp present focus. You have to be mentally on. If your mind is wandering you can get tossed and drift off course. So while surfing for me is another form of play with the earth it also calls for practicing presence. Paddling, paddling, paddling. Getting past the break. Catching my breath, tuning in to my body, listening to the ocean. There is no rush for me—I seek to be a part of the dance of the ocean and the song of the waves. Catch a wave and feel the harmony, fall and tumble in the white water. Get back on the board and start paddling again.” We asked what led him to the decision to

become a Rabbi? “When I am asked that question I like to stay I am still listening for that answer. Reflecting now on my choice to become a spiritual leader (which took seven years at a seminary) I look at the practices I use in my own life to nurture deeper connections. Meditation, stretching, chanting, surfing, social action, studying, sacred art. Each one of these is a pathway in. Inner work is the way out or the way through. Whenever I lead, I seek to draw on these modalities. What is so beautiful about these core practices is that regardless of one’s faith tradition, belief or non-belief, these practices offer something for everyone. In a time when the running slogan is, “I am spiritual but not religious” I am practicing tapping into the source of all life outside of any institution. Having felt the walls of religious life I seek now to expand the boundaries of spiritual practice believing the whole world (or cosmos) is our sanctuary and all sentient beings are a part of this Earthiness project. It is through the practice of art that I explore the perennial truth that God / Source / Spirit permeates all of existence. A wellspring of Life that can never be depleted. Each one of us is a part of this wellspring - extending the flow of life. We are all interconnected and a reflection of each other and as such there is no other. It is in this light that we have the opportunity to elevate and support one another always. When each being does this in any small or big way the whole earth leans a little bit more towards love.” On this note, Rabbi Levenson gifts us a few nuggets of wisdom from his journey… “For now some of my guiding reminders are: • There are no mistakes, only opportunities for learning. • Everything we need is here right now; whether we like it or not is irrelevant. • Preferences for things to be as they are not, will only cause more suffering. • We are all doing the best we can. • We are all loved by an unending love and this love begins with self love. • Remember to practice holding yourself with loving compassion, always moving away from blaming and shaming (they do no good).”

Such a rich life, full of expression which generates from exploitation and self discovery. And his biggest influences? “My siblings, Ronete and Chloe. How lucky I am to have these two in my life!” As for now, Hanniel tells us, “ I am still learning and discovering more about myself each day.” You can find and shop his work and clothing online at . In doing so, you are supporting the arts and small business. The Rabbi shared two of his favorite charities with us as well. Take a moment to look into Catskill Animal Sanctuary [at]—“a 150-acre refuge in New York’s Hudson Valley for 11 species of farmed animals rescued from cruelty, neglect and abandonment.” Second, awareness and support for Adult Polyglucosan Body Disease (APBD) [at] —“a rare inherited disorder that affects the nervous system. People with this condition lose their ability to walk, lose bladder / bowel control, often experience unusual fatigue, and may have problems with cognition.” We’ll share more in issues to come. 25

The curious & boundary-pushing work of queer interdisciplinary artist & neurodivegent creative facilitator, Milou Stella. London, UK photojournalist K. Day Gomez

Meet Milou Stella, an artist whose whimsical creations have an important story to tell. “I’m a queer Italian-French interdisciplinary artist, maker, creative facilitator and boater who is interested in grassroot self-organising, DIY methodologies, queer theory and nonhierarchical learning. I studied Fine Arts and Creative Writing. I believe in creative practices / spaces that are fluid, inclusive and open-minded and often focus on collaboration and cocreation.” Basically, everything that PEPPER Magazine stands for. Which makes Milou a great interview subject. “Beyond my studio based practice, I spent the past five years nurturing practical skills to include workshops as a socially engaged tool to start conversations, develop projects and open up creative processes to artists and non professional artists working and collaborating alongside each other.” Educationally facilitating these guided workshops is an impactful part of what she does. “I have been involved in Arts Council and Heritage Lottery funded participatory projects in the UK, exhibited my visual work in traditional gallery spaces and recently had the opportunity to do a 3 month residency to explore my personal interest in formal hybrids, wearables and alternative storytelling using digital technology, animation and performance as tools for experimentation. This resulted in the creation of The Elusive Good Egg” body of work, which my

hybrid performance “In Vitro” is part of.” Milou Stella’s artistic practice explores the tension between the individual and the collective, with a specific interest in deconstructing and reinventing visual poetics rooted in folklore and storytelling. Merging painting, digital technology, animation, performance and sound, Stella’s hybrid artworks destabilise simplistic binaries and categories to become simultaneously acts and objects of creative resistance that question normative ideas of identity and gender.” As complex as that all may sound, her beginnings were uncomplicated, natural. “My journey started with drawing, followed by writing and reading. The more I drew and painted, the more I realised what I liked and why it resonated with me. I’ve always needed alone time to draw, write and process things. At some point I began to notice how affected I was by colour. It was a driving factor in finding something interesting or not. In other people’s art too. As a child, I loved turning the pages of encyclopaedias, and children’s rhymes collection looking at artifacts, paintings and illustrations there (pre-internet days). I ended up making lots of ‘notes to self’ as reminders of combinations or of feelings, shapes and styles I felt excited about, 29

and colour always gave me a lot to feel. But also words. I love books; mostly poetry and short stories. I was a big fan of Emily Dickinson in my early days. My practice is also rooted in texts—when I read, I often write quotes down from books as visual references too. I’m interested in how to destabilise categories, but also how we tell stories using hybridity as a medium. Little by little it all begins to work around itself: all of these fragments and interests, but it’s been a slow process. I’ve always had a journalistic practice of collecting images, poems, lists, ideas, figuring out my whys and then staying consistent. I’ve been recording my life through sketching and drawing for a long time now. It’s how it started. I have chests full of them.” As for Stella’s influences, “I would say Surrealism (Max Ernst, André Breton, Leonora Carrigton etc.) with its focus on the subconscious and psychology together with the rebellious spirit of Dada (in particular Elsa von FreytagLoringhoven costumes and Hannah Hoch’s collages) were probably my earliest influences. I couldn’t believe they existed when I first learnt about them at school as a teenager in Italy. It was an eye-opening experience. All art I had learnt until then was religious, traditional and conservative. Surrealism and Dada were the first two avant-gardes that pushed boundaries that felt relevant to me too. I think I was around 13-14 when I first started to think about art in a different light.” That was the opening of a door. “I always looked for something more personal in art. I enjoyed it as escapism and as a way to experience different realities, different stories, different styles and shapes, and identities. It felt like I could travel to different worlds through it, widen my political understanding of the world too. So it became a ‘go-to’ coping mechanism in times of struggle, and a place to look for interesting points of view and questions about society and our personal spheres. I always felt awe towards it, but couldn’t believe it could be playful and fun until I was a teenager and could explore beyond the biblical / religious contexts imposed by conservative school curricula and parental preferences of where I’m originally from.” 30

This leads into the subject of animation— why this medium in particular? “I think it’s one of the first artistic mediums a child encounters that is there for their amusement, one of the first alternative worlds we witness by ourselves through stories. In Italy, you grow up with a lot of Catholic propaganda as art in churches, so cartoons were an escape from that idea of art. Cartoons are drawings and are fun. What’s not to love? In Italy, most of the cartoons children get on TV are Japanese Manga. I have a feeling the aesthetic of them might have had an impact too, somewhere in my style. I also like early 2D illustrations—mediaeval illuminated manuscripts definitely became a recent influence. For someone interested in hybrid creatures, Medieval Bestiaries are gold early sci-fi. Basically, I feel that 2D art is the furthest from reality that we can go, and for this reason, it means that images can

unravel experience and emotions in different ways. That made it an interesting tool with which to experiment and record aspects of my life that interest me, both from an aesthetic curiosity and personal fascination.” Milou Stella’s animations in particular seem to take the viewer through dreamscape worlds of their own subconscious. Cerebral, a journey IN rather than TO… Her current focus has broadened. “I’m currently building a body of work comprising painting, digital technology and textiles that I plan to exhibit next year more fully. I’m selling limited edition prints in three different standard sizes on my website. I’m keeping the selection quite small as it’s more manageable for me. When it comes to textiles, a few times a year I offer space for mending commissions through Moody Bright Designs (my textile-based practice). They are quite few and far between. It’s more of a ‘wearable art’ type of approach and is therefore a very slow, detailed and 32

personal way of interacting with another person’s garment (but if you think you have the right project in mind, reach out).” So what’s next? “I’m about to spend 9 months as an associate artist at Open School East in Margate, UK, and I’m genuinely very excited about it. It’s completely free and unique in its structure, very much for people whose practice looks a bit like mine—social, contemporary, interdisciplinary and participatory. But I’d love to spend some time in the US doing field research on art practices that are rooted in American history too. I think the relationship between Europe, the US and South America is a fascinating one, in more than just artistic terms. As someone who’s interested in folklore and storytelling, it’s also one full of textiles, political complexities and bright colour. Whose stories we choose to tell is very important to me, and how we find ways to tell our stories is a never-ending

curiosity. I have a lot of admiration for many US artists, in particular how radically positioned they were. Judy Chicago, Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, Djuna Barnes, Louise Bourgeois, Allen Ginsberg, Cindy Sherman, Francesca Woodman…so many! It would be quite something to interweave new work with an opportunity of this kind.” Stella’s ability to pivot and master so many simultaneous undertakings is no doubt attributed to her neurotype. “I believe it’s linked to my ADD. I can easily live on a different plane for days (forget my phone, wallet or card at any moment). It’s not quite a super power, but on the other hand, hyperfocus can be good for artists. It’s a special skill. Being neurodivergent is something I’m learning more and more by the day. For many years, I didn’t know why I did some things differently from my peers or had specific struggles at school. I wish for a world that is flexible, caring about people’s different needs without shame or judgement.” We too share this wish.

The story of painter & cultural mixed media artist Cody Freeman. San Antonio, Texas photojournalist K. Day Gomez


ody Freeman is fast becoming an important creative voice in the South Texas Latin community. Often selfreflective, his work depicts snapshot moments and cultural identifiers he’s been exposed to since childhood, things that encompass what it is to be a Mexican American growing up— and living everyday life—in San Antonio. In his newly released series ‘Siempre’ (meaning “forever”), he reached back to moments through time in his own story and that of the relatives who came before him to depict those elements that remain permanently branded into his genetic memory. In doing so, he’s simultaneously harkened that memory in the Latinx cultural collective as well, creating something enduring and true. About his style, Freeman tells us, “when it comes to painting, I'm a self taught artist and I think that is what mainly allowed me to develop my style. My work is narrative and autobiographical. I never really aspired for a painting to be this polished piece of art, nor do I know what a painting is going to completely look like when it's finished. It's more about a feeling that I want to capture and the technical application doesn't matter so much. That's why some paintings are more precise and others are more gestural. But they all have many elements to them that over time started becoming motifs of mine. It all stems from wanting to get a feeling across, and for me it takes the fusion of figurative and abstraction.” It’s a passion that has been with him as early on as he can remember. “Growing up, I was obsessed with comic books and Saturday morning cartoons. Some of the first things I attempted to draw were my favorite characters. So those early years is when I would say I first felt drawn into art. Maybe age 6 or 7–like really drawing.” Thankfully, his familia recognized this affinity for art and appreciated Cody’s heart for it. “I was encouraged by my family growing up. I was always getting those art sets for birthdays and Christmas gifts.” As he says this, I’m reminded of the wood smell of the inside of those craft store art cases, the brilliance of the chromatic markers (that never blended very well), the plastic newness of it all… 36

“But, as an adult trying to succeed as an artist (which a lot of people say is an unconventional career), I did have some people trying to deter me to a different path. But I always believed in myself and when I made the conscious decision to pursue this as my career, I knew that it's what I'm meant to do. So I always kept this unwavering faith; like it's just a matter of when, not a matter of ‘if’.” There have been valuable lessons along the way, which Freeman has kept close to his chest. “I had to learn to value myself. I had to learn patience and perseverance. I had to realize that everything is not meant for me. We all win in our own way. God got me.” That sense of an unseen divine presence also carries an underlying dialogue from piece to piece. “I feel like everything happens for a reason. Everything I have ever been through has played a

part in getting me to this point. From a poor upbringing, to having my kids, to losing my loved ones… I've battled addiction and overall struggled in life. But I wouldn't change any of it. Who's to say if I did one thing differently that I would be where I am? Or be worse or be better? I don't get caught up thinking like that. I embrace it all. It all adds to my narrative.” That narrative is intrinsically tied to his cultural identity. We asked what it means to take on such a responsibility in his visual storytelling. “I would say it's more of an obligation then it is favoritism. I need to represent my people. That means making them the main subjects of my work. That means speaking on ignored history. It means addressing love, pain and grief. You know, the cycles of the human condition. I want to make paintings that connect with people of all backgrounds. I'm making paintings that say something.” And what he’s saying is important. “I see myself in every subject I paint, so every painting is essentially a self portrait. But the deeper meaning behind what I'm doing points to the quantifiable truth that we only have one life, and death is inevitable, so we need to cherish it and the people that make it great for us. I want people to celebrate the everyday heroes in their lives. So I put that energy into my work in hopes that it carries through to the collector’s home and serves as a reminder that, you know, life is love. God is love.” Cody Freeman is easily an appropriate ambassador for San Anto’, and within due right. “I was born and raised in San Antonio. I grew up in the Southside. The Park South Village Apartments, then later we moved off of Commercial & Military Dr.” It’s a thing he’s not taking lightly, as he builds toward the next phase of what he’s establishing for the community. “The Cody Freeman Foundation will be coming soon. It will be for kids in impoverished areas to learn about art and have access to supplies and make connections between art and life through the process of art making.” This is definitely something we can get behind and very much look forward to covering and sponsoring as things develop. This particular show debuted last month with full coverage. “My solo exhibit , SIEMPRE, happened on September 2nd, 2022 at The West Quarter, located at 531 El Paso St ,78207 . The exhibit was sponsored by MediCure Organics, Fast Ball Integration and One Stop Fitness. It began with a private infused dinner by Chef Ed Villareal from Homegrown Chef Directly afterward, the exhibition was open free to the public. It was also streamed live by Livestream Media Network for those who couldn’t attend.” You can find Cody’s body of work online and connect with him via Instagram @codyfreemanfineart . We strongly recommend following his journey as Cody’s really good about sharing interviews and news on his progress. It’s also a great way to reach out to him about his community efforts. Any encouragement, sponsorship and / or volunteer commitment helps bring him closer to his goal. We thank Cody for making the time to share his story and perspective with us. This is only the beginning of what will hopefully prove to be years of friendship and partnership to come. 37

Art of SURVIVAL Creole Brazilian artist Danté Danýel Berlin, Germany

journalist K. Day Gomez

Introducing Danté-Danýel, the artist behind Atelier Dédé, an abstract painter and writer in Germany. “I was enrolled in art school at the age of 5 and continued to take art classes until the age of 16. At 13, I had my first solo exhibition but four years later, due to trauma, I stopped painting all together.” The unfortunate circumstances which Danté endured left him with residual PTSD. It’s important to shed light on these hardships, as they help to understand our ‘why’ and truly appreciate the depth in our work. “I had been sexually and mentally abused for many years—basically from pre-school age until I was twelve, when one of my abusers died and the other one left the picture. This caused a total meltdown in me. I kept painting for a few more years, but it got harder and harder. Finally, I reached the point where I wasnt able anymore to create the way I was used to. So I stopped painting and started writing instead, which I also stopped after a couple of years, when I had another breakdown and all the childhood things I had suppressed and kept inside finally erupted. Back then I thought I’d never write nor paint again. And now, almost 20 years later, I do both.” As life progressed into adulthood, he tells us, “I started writing under a different name. Mainly essays, columns, poetry and short fiction for magazines from Europe and the States. In these years I didn’t miss painting and actually thought I would never paint again. That was until earlier this year when unexpectedly I awoke one night at 4am and started painting.” There was a deep learning that happened in this for Dédé. “The most important thing I learned is a thing that just happened when I started to paint again. I realized that I don’t paint anymore for the attention, but rather because it really does me well. I used to 42

paint just because I was good at it and because I liked the attention. But now it really is different; I really feel the urge to paint and to create and to use art as a way to process certain experiences I had in the past. I have been in therapy for several years and my therapist always tried to encourage me to start to paint again. I always hesitated and said that I didn't want to paint, especially not in the context of my experiences and my emotions...and now that is exactly what I do and it really is a part of my healing process.” Since that time, he’s been able to group his works into sellable pieces and market himself primarily online. “Before, my style was mainly figurative realism. I used to paint what I saw. Now it’s mainly abstract, as well as minimal art. Now I paint what I feel instead of what I see.” It’s a style that appeals to buyers both locally and abroad, generally in the design sector. For Danté, however, it’s about more than making money. It’s a different kind of survival he seeks. “I use it to process my experiences with sexual abuse in my childhood and early teenage years. As well as my experiences with PTSD, loss and racism.” He expands upon what that looks like for him in a real world sense. “What really helps is the process itself. There are days when the outside and the inside world collide. Days when the weight of what I experienced is so heavy that I can’t go outside and pretend that I m okay. Then I usually choose some type of music that carries the theme of what I’m feeling or that has some other type of connection to how I feel, and just start to paint. At this point I usually already spent some time running around the canvas, making drinks, listening to music and just search for that moment when the door in the canvas opens to let me in. It’s from that moment that it’s basically me—sweating and crying and painting in my underwear until that feeling is gone.

The whole process is exhausting and triggering. I’m always confused when other people tell me that they like to paint because it’s so nice and relaxing, because this isn’t my experience at all. My experience is that painting is distress. But when I’m done, I feel relieved and that is when the good part starts—that feeling of being able to breathe again and of being able to not think about certain things for a while.”

as other artists with diverse ethnic backgrounds who have a lot to say and to share.” To illuminate his cultural identity, Dédé shares how being Creole-Brazilian has influenced his work. “As an artist you always look for the things that inspire you and set you in the mood to create things. In my case, that often is travelling and interacting with people...but also music, food —down to my own family history. I was already in my

Danté‘s description of his process is customary of art therapy (REAL art therapy). Essentially an invasive self guided active meditation which aims to bring to the forefront traumas which have been suppressed in a controlled, albeit often emotionally brutal way with the desired effect being not only relief, but self discovery as well. It’s often painful and messy and not what you see on Instagram or in the movies. And it works. Deeply rooted in all of this for him, is racism, as earlier mentioned. “It started with the series of terrorist attacks that happened a few years ago which created an atmosphere of fear and aggression, and in the end, led to a point where being anti-Islamistic was socially acceptable and people felt like it was okay to show their bias and prejudice towards Muslim people. Which then led to right parties getting more and more votes. There are also all types of micro-agressions and racial profiling which p.o.c and bipoc have to deal with on a daily basis. When we debate the subject of racism there are a lot of people who react by saying “ but I’m not a racist!” or even by telling the victims of racism how they should react or how they should feel about their experience. One way to better address the situation is to create awareness for the fact that not being a racist isn’t enough. Not being a racist is a luxury the world doesn't have anymore. By now, being anti-racist and being an ally is the only way to break down racism.” Pay close attention to what he said there. That’s incredibly important. “People need to learn to listen to how people feel and what people experience instead of telling people how they are supposed to feel about what they go through. If you arent the victim of racism, it isn’t your right to define what racism is and what people are allowed to be upset about. Another way to break down racism is to give more space and spotlight ethnic artists in order to make them visible and to share their stories. There are so many amazing black, Latin, Asian and Arab artists as well 44

twenties when I met my biological father, who is from Brazil, for the first time. Getting to know his culture and accepting and loving it as a part of my own background was a very intense (and not always easy) experience, but now it is a source of inspiration too.” Though culture adds a tone to his body of work, it’s not the only influential element at the core of what he creates. “Most of my inspiration comes from my own

experiences, but it’s also the work of other artists like Dominique Garraud or Abigail Albano-Payton who inspire me a lot. Not style-wise, but being in touch with their work makes me want to get up and create too and to connect to myself.” Of his own work, he does have a favorite. “One of my absolute favorite pieces is Thifar I—a piece I made after a rather painful breakup in 2020. That breakup really caused me a lot of sadness and pain, but it was also one of the catalysts that made me paint and write again. Usually I don’t cling to my art works and am happy when they find a place in someone's life. But Thifar I might be the only piece I‘ll always keep.” It’s important to understand that his work isn’t something that developed solely as a result of trauma. It’s been with him always. “I cannot remember a time when art wasnt a part of my life as a child. I remember gluing large sheets of paper together to create huge surfaces to paint on. I had this phase in which I mainly drew humanoid lizards that were half knights and half reptiles. And then I was already enrolled in my first art class in which I was the youngest student.

Germany has many beautiful places and landscapes that are worth being discovered.” In regard to his writing, he explains how his voice has changed over time and gives deep insight into his ‘why’. “Back when I started writing, I wrote mainly erotica and poetry. I was published in countless anthologies and magazines and it was fun. I had the reputation of being the male Carrie Bradshaw with my columns about sex and relationships—my how-to guides and fun essays about the love life of my friends and myself. But looking back at it, I see that also was some type of trauma response soaked in the fact that I felt like I had to be hot and sexy in order to be worth existing and in order to be allowed to take up space and be visible. Now that I write again, things feel very different. For the first time I write about my experiences with abuse and about my mental health. For the first time, I share instead of over-sharing. And for the first time, it feels like I really write for myself instead of writing for an audience.”

My mother literally wanted me to be an artist. Her father in law (in her first marriage) was an artist and she basically decided that I’d become a painter too and thats how it all began.”

As for collecting his work, “I just started painting again last year, after I‘d stopped creating for about two decades, so everything still is new. I don’t have a homepage yet and no atelier currently...I literally paint on my dinning table. So the best way to contact me is by email or via Instagram.” @dan_dan-paints

Danté-Danielle de Santiago resides in Berlin and has nothing but good things to say about it. “I love Berlin a lot. Part of my family's history is rooted deep in the past of Berlin. And I love how organized everything is. I’m quite chaotic, which is why I’m rather fascinated by how organised and punctual everyone else is. And

When asked about his vision for the future, Danté responds most earnestly, “I dont really have a vision right now. It’s my second time around in the art world and one would assume I know what to do. But the whole art scene changed. Back then, I worked with two galleries who would set me up for shows and who would sell my work. Now, 45

you get contacted by a million galleries who want you to rent walls and space but really don’t care about you and your work as long as you are willing to pay. That's not for me. Either someone believes in my art and wants to connect and to collaborate or not. Until then, I’m fine with just being on my own.

There are several German art fairs I hope to participate in next year and right now I also talk to some showrooms to plan exhibitions for the next year. But so far nothing is final. As soon as I’m allowed to share dates and locations I will do so on my IG. Two cities I really want to show my work in are Berlin and Paris. Both cities are very close to my heart and I just would love to do exhibitions there.” It is our truest hope that this dream comes true.


Constant companion Abstract artist Siham El Kandoussi Kuwait journalist K. Day Gomez

Siham El Kandoussi is a 41 year old native Moroccan, living in Kuwait. “My dream job was to be capable of traveling the world and discovering cultures, so when I found the opportunity to work as flight attendant in Kuwait, I moved to do just that. And that’s where my astonishing journey began.” Her Moroccan culture plays a keen role in Siham’s art style, as she explains, “Morocco is a 48

very rich land in nature, colors and its people. It is a unique harmony you find yourself indulging in. A richness of colors is present everywhere; in the blue ocean, in the golden shiny desert, the touches of green in its forest, its palms fanning over the oasis or found in the posy of mint steeping in the tea, in the red buildings playing up the natural tones of the Moroccan earth… A myriad of colors represented in its artisan wares and traditional architecture. The fullness and warmth has definitely made a huge

impact on my art creations. As a kids, we all had a passion to draw and paint. I’ve always seen the laughs and smiles while running to display my graphics, and I’m still enjoying the happiness on people’s faces when they see my paintings. It’s a beautiful memory that I carry all that time—that feeling leads and encourages me to forge my skills by enrolling into art schools and universities to be able to spread that joy for everyone.” Siham paints from the heart, and has developed some valuable insights. “As an artist, being able to make the world a better place and spread joy is my aim through my art—my “why”. In order to achieve that, learning everyday is a must; interacting with people and feeling what they feel is a priority as well. Art is made for everyone and should reach the heart of everyone. What I am learning in the process of this journey (aside from different techniques : using different materials and exploring multiple shades of colors), I am discovering the true ‘soul’ of humanity. To be more compassionate, sensual and be able to express what people feel.”

As for her favorite mediums, “I enjoy cheerful color painting with mixed media like oil paint, pencil, acrylic… I enjoy the flexibility of multiple mediums. Each piece has a meaning, each piece is unique to me and I love to see how it impacts others and how they make their own stories from it.” It leaves different and lasting impressions. “Creativity is my constant companion. Sometimes I have found myself worried, over catastrophes and terrible things happening in the world. Or even small things happening on a personal level that might befall me or my loved ones. And as much as I don't enjoy the side effect, I welcome the creativity to be my loyal friend. I turn that pain into paintings with moments that bring joy and attention to life.” Siham alludes to some of her creative influences. “I believe that each artist has their own touch and method and I strongly believe that I

have been influenced by all of them: like Jackson Pollok, Agnes Martin, Shaibia Talal, Georgia O’keeffe, and Yayoi Kusama. She received an education from the University of Florida. “The “Healing with the Arts” Course is an amazing opportunity for any creative person to connect with their inner self, to find their own space and soul. It allows any person without any artistic background to let go of the inner critic and enjoy the journey through painting, collages, mandala, art of movements or words. It is sufficient to set aside personal space and time to indulge yourself in creating any type of art. As a result, you find yourself without any judgements or boundaries. It is self healing from physical, mental, emotional and spiritual disturbances.” Siham is inspired by the avant-garde abstract expressionist artists, the enriched and omnifarious culture of her homeland and the different cultures and colors of the cities wherein her soul dwells. Since 2019, she has been experiencing and exploring multiple mediums and techniques, mainly on canvas and papers, to unleash the beauty within the human soul. Her aim is to spread love, joy and kindness.




The spellbinding performers of DFNTLY Entertainment San Antonio, Texas journalist K. Day Gomez

’Tis the season of hocus pocus, mischief, mayhem, trickery, and all manner of magic! And who better to grace the pages of our business section than the people who make magic their business? We present none other than the ringmasters themselves, DFNTLY Entertainment. “It’s an event entertainment agency in which we pride ourselves on high quality and authentic entertainment,” says Director of Entertainment, Dianna Feliciano. “We provide work for many performing artists to showcase their talent, be properly represented and compensated. We love to give the artists a unique approach to entertaining for events that may not usually be considered—like themed parties, weddings, and corporate events.” Feliciano doesn’t run the business from an ivory tower; she’s done the work as an artist and entertainer herself of many years. As such, she learned the ins and outs of the entertainment industry and was able to assess what’s fair. “I was a salsa dancer, and at that time, a group of my dancer friends were featured on AGT in 2015. From that point, they were contacted for 56

appearances. I was a director of the studio and represented them with contracts and scheduling. Then I noticed there was a lack of true representation for talented dancers in my area.” A situation which is all too common in show business. “I started onboarding more talent to the team and eventually developed DFNTLY Entertainment. We now represent various artists and provide resources for them to grow their talent and connect them with more opportunities.” This is a company you can count on when it comes to the concern they place on the needs of their talent. “All of our office staff are also performers with years of experience on many stages throughout San Antonio and around the world.” As far as their services go, “we offer entertainers from dancers, circus performers, musicians, greeters, themed servers, DJs, characters, stiltwalkers, and many others. We also do productions as well.” Do we hear music videos and commercials in the future? Don’t be shy to ask! Dianna shares, “What we are known for the most is our Party Starters (also known as Hora Locas) which is an assortment of performers who

Dianna Feliciano come parading in, encouraging people to have a good time and dance on the dance floor. Traditionally this was done in weddings, but has expanded out to many celebrations like birthdays and even corporate events as well.” And though they’re based in SA, the fun doesn’t stop here. “The furthest we performed was in Alaska.” Who needs a parka when you’re dawning a full multi-layered costume!?

If you’re in the San Antonio, Texas or surrounding areas and are looking to join a troupe of world class entertainers, magic makers and spirited entrepreneurs, reach out to Dianna through their Partnerships & Talent Relations at 210-920-1627. Or, if your aim is to throw a shindig that is truly out of this world, contact them there or visit the website at . Whatever you’re looking for, DFNTLY Entertainment is sure to have it.

Vanessa Solis Realtor #788710 (210)860-3496 Servicing San Antonio, Texas & surrounding areas.

POUT MedSpa PA-C & Certified Injector • Bilingual Clinician


Servicing San Antonio, TX


Art isa nD fro esign m Bre er C eze olla Yu bora n& tor Atl a ant Tyler tive a, G Ba s eo rgi a a

—is the design collaborative resulting from the combined efforts of Breeze Yun [ Physical Director of Art Pieces ] and Tyler Basa [ Digital Director of Art Pieces ] This collaborative operates as a prime example of the intersection between art and fashion. In fact, they create wearable art utilizing repurposed, reworked textiles. The duo also experiments with sound media, digital art and multifunctional home decor. The results of their efforts and applied talents is a fusion of creative productivity that can be worn, lived in and experienced. Untitled Nine was built with distinct principles in mind. Breeze and Tyler aim to upcycle vintage pieces as a result of their awareness of the fashion industry’s devastating impact on the environment. They have expertly developed a system that counters this impact. Instead of using the usual method of mass production, Breeze relies on painting and sculpting to craft his pieces. He explains his methodology—“I became a fashion designer from a yearning to become an artist who creates artwork which exists in physical and psychological proximity to people, as opposed to pieces that remain stuck in galleries and museums. My bottom line in designing pieces for Untitled Nine is to help build a culture of fashion that does not harm nature, and to prove that used clothing has value as materials for new pieces of fashion.” It is undeniable that the fashion industry is the third highest polluting industry in the world, exceeded only by the energy and livestock industries, with the average American citizen discarding about 70 lbs of clothing every year. Therefore, I was greatly impressed with what these creative innovators are doing, and particularly moved by the deep sense of accountability that frames their philosophy as designers and artisans. Untitled Nine uniquely approaches fashion design with extensive knowledge of, and experience with, fine art. As such, the pieces Breeze crafts stand out starkly from the rest of the fashion industry, despite the fact that there are so many active designers now. In order to create marketable products from used clothing, there needs to be an undeniably distinctive element to the pieces —and Breeze Yun certainly pulls out all the stops to skillfully “reproduce” marketable fashion garments. ”Many fashion brands like to claim artistic praise for their work, yet manufacture endless amount of copies of the work. We just don’t agree with that. In a weird coincidence, both of our moms are painters, so that has been ingrained in our existence and has influenced how we see art. We wanted that to translate to the brand’s identity. Making 1 of 1’s that can’t be replicated. We can of course replicate a design, but since we use vintage garments 64

(different washes, distresses, fits) even our remake would still be a 1 of 1.” It’s ingenious, really. With such a strong focus on sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint, their work is not only amazing, it’s environmentally conscious and conscientious. A factor that has become

increasingly important to the buyer now more than ever before. So what about access? ”Our brand is based in Atlanta, Georgia. We’ve recently had a popup shop at a well-known downtown boutique, Closette. But our work is always available online at . If someone is interested and located in Atlanta, we do accept in-person visits for try-ons and purchases upon request.“



Nikita Sukhih Saint-Petersburg Russia

“I started my modeling career from the small town Koryazhma where I was born. Many people didn't believe in me, because I was a plump boy with huge cheeks. But something inside me said, "You'll be a model!" To date, I'm just a novice model, but with experience of struggle and patience. I will continue to work on myself and believe that I will soon be held at the same show with Bella Hadid.”


Performer photographer David Rodriguez with model Miguel García Santa Cruz de la Palma, Spain


This series aims to show that fashion photography, despite belonging to commercial industry, can be closely intertwined with the art world. This time, the shoot was specifically designed as a performance. The photoshoot is based on the story of a male acting on an outdoor stage. The images are built with condensed drama and surreal poses. These photographs do not intend to reproduce reality. In fact, they are based on staging—that is, they present theatrical moods. They were conceived as artificial and unusual scenes, creating narrative

universes with their own beginnings and ends. Through lighting and composition, the series places us in the realm of fantasy. The protagonist, his interaction, his individual existence and the location reinforce the idea that there is a gap between photography and reality. This last one has been overcome to make it more suggestive and full of sensations. These uncanny images are visions that capture the world of dreams, madness and hallucinations. The lack of logic of their existence, their relationship and even their clothes reveal the enigmatic character of these dreamy beings.


In this way, David Rodriguez is able to create a photo performance in a very personal style, through transgressive connections and using the manners of a ritual on an island spotlight.


Divine Femi nine model Keiara Stiltner Queen of A King Photography Virginia

Meet the beautiful Keiara Stiltner… “I‘m from a small rural town in Virginia. My name comes from the phrase “te quiero”, which means “I love you” in Spanish. I am a graphic designer with an emphasis on branding design—I graduated with honors and have a degree in Graphic Design. I just began modeling in 2022, and have found a love for it, especially representing the plus size community! My goal is to inspire others and spread kindness.” Body acceptance and positivity are important topics; some that we prize highly here at

PEPPER. We asked Keiara who some of her biggest style influences are? "Honestly, my style is a juxtaposition. I have so many variations in my tastes that I find inspiration everywhere! If I could name a few famous individuals I adore the style of, it would range from Audrey Hepburn, Rhianna, Billy Porter, to Zendaya.” The incorporation of books in her theme here is a hint to her personality and intellectual identity. “I was so happy the photographer knew me well enough to want to incorporate books! I am a literary lover. I used to read 300-page books in a day when I

was younger, but I‘ve slowed down my reading time as I have gotten older.

Sincero, for one. Those are some I absolutely recommend reading at least once in your life!"

My favorite genre of all time is Fantasy. I love being transported to new worlds! My favorite series is The Lord of The Rings—the author of which is J. R. R. Tolkien. I often enjoy self-help books as well. I‘m always trying to learn new things. I recommend You Are a Badass by Jen

This 28 year old academic and lover of life is full of substance and enjoys this time of year best. "My favorite things about Fall are the cool breeze (I hate hot weather), the colorful leaves that crunch when you step on them, the fashion of sweaters, boots, and hats,” hello—LAYERS! “Halloween, and the

flavors of Fall in drinks and food.” Call us cliché, but Pumpkin spice was always ‘traditional’ before it was trendy… “It is my favorite season for a reason!"

“The feminine are the portals to forgotten knowledge. To ancient energy, medicine, creation and recalibrating the soul back to it's original source self. Before being human got in the way.” —Nikki Rowe 83

model Simien Robinson photographer Alana Reihl Chicago, Illinois



sov·er·eign /ˈsäv(ə)rən/ *possessing supreme or ultimate power over one’s self. 90

BALINT NEMES Praha, Česká Republika



Sustainable Fashion & Lifestyle Expert Becky Witte-Marsh

sustainable fashion

Sustainable Fashion & Lifestyle Expert Becky Witte-Marsh

“Book Ending!” That’s how I am approaching this month’s double issue of Pepper Magazine. This is our regular monthly issue and then we’ve added our special Fashion edition—and of course, I wanted to contribute to that too! So “Bookends” it is! I’ve been thinking a lot about how theater and movie costumes inspire fashion trends. So in this space, we will be talking about Theatrical costume, while in the Fashion Issue we will look at movie costume fashion inspirations. So – let the show begin! Costumes “say” a lot. Theatrical costumes can set the tone, era, time of day, climate, season, location or occasion. They are so complex they can characterize an individual or a group and can accentuate relationships between characters. Symbolism can also be found in costumes. And while all of this is happening, the actor needs to feel comfortable, allowing for movement and helping the actor develop their character. Costumes immediately tell the audience something about what’s going on. Costumes help tell the story. I always talk about how what you wear tells a lot about you, or at least it should. It can also empower you to bring forward different aspects of your personality or represent different areas of your life. You may be wearing a business suit at work that represents power, authority and structure, while on the weekends your alter ego comes out with a colorful sundress and cute sandals. Both looks are you, just different sides of your “character.” How an outfit or costume “reads” tells the story in a visual way. Let’s take a cozy theater seat and experience where theater and fashion collide.

Let’s start with the iconic fashion-based production, “Funny Face”, a musical by Gershwin that hit Broadway in 1927, and was later reincarnated as the iconic film featuring Audrey Hepburn. It tells the fashion story of legendary fashion

photographer Richard Avedon and his model / actress wife Doe. Edith Head designed every look except the red dress Audrey wore flowing down the staircase, which was design by Givenchy. Head brought Pink to the forefront of the fashion scene with her stunning pink looks for the “Think Pink” number, which is its own fashion show. Today’s “Barbie Core” pink was first inspired by Edith Head’s designs during the 50’s and 60’s, which is when Barbie was born!

Many Broadway shows have inspired another current trend – lingerie dressing. “Cabaret” designed by Shirley Pierson, incorporated bowler hats with halter dresses and sexy stockings as well as fitted tuxedo jackets. In “Gypsy” – based on the life of striptease artist, Gypsy Rose Lee, designer Raoul Pene Du Bois, developed the increasing confidence of the star with sequins and marabou paired with underpinnings of push up bras, corsets and strategically placed embellishments.


One of my favorite cultish extravaganzas is “Rocky Horror Picture Show” – a combined screen and stage production where audience members are interactive while the movie is shown, adding in special prop accents such as throwing toast at the stage when the character Frank proposes a toast at dinner and Scott brand toilet paper thrown when Dr. Scott enters the lab and Brad cries out “Great Scott!” This show is based on the “The Rocky Horror Show” produced by the Royal Court Theater. All of this fun plus the added bonus of the wildly sexy costumes worn by the lead character Frank N. Furter, portrayed by Tim Curry. Sue Blane designed the costumes for both the theatrical and cinematic productions. The LGBTQ community was not as well represented as it is today. The gender bending qualities and edginess of the raw sexual undertone of the production, speak to strong character development through costume. Garters, corsetry, gloves, sky high heels and edgy make-up are accenting the runways and the music world still today.

A recent Tony award winning musical – “SIX” took old school, historical Tudor style and ramped it up with heavily embellished very short looks with powerful shoulders. Studs, chains, pearls and spikes all made their way into the equation. Designed by Gabriella Slade, the costumes are Old England gone Punk – Royal yet disrespectful. Great juxtaposition! Already flooding the online jewelry search, the accessories using rhinestone clad Roman numerals hit a note with audiences and fashionistas alike!

Last but certainly not least, remembering Olivia Newton-John as Sandy in “Grease”, the movie version, Carole Demas played the role on Broadway, speaks to the multiple facets of one’s personality coming out in costume. Albert Wolsky designed the costumes. The character, Sandy, goes from sweet dresses with full skirts, her “good girl” persona, to tight pants and a leather jacket, signifying her new found confidence in life and in love.

Theater as art. Art as fashion. Fashion as theater. All forms of expression that inspire and will forever be linked. I challenge you to wake up tomorrow, go to your closet and create an outfit that has roots in your favorite Broadway show! Or if movies are more your thing, head on over to the first ever Special Fashion edition of PEPPER Magazine for more inspiring ideas!








WITH LIFESTYLE CONTRIBUTOR JOE A. GOMEZ III AI, VR, NFT’s—oh my! In the age of information and innovation, you have two choices : evolve or get left behind.



Technology has eclipsed fashion in a way you’d only see in movies a few years ago. Now, with the aid of digital rendering and 3D printing, tech and techwear has entered our homes and closets at such a pace that it’s almost a new norm. From minimalist geometric shapes to neo street punk to cutting edge functional multipurpose furniture and wearable art… Here’s a glimpse into the edgy futuristic world of fashionable tech.

Genesys Black


THE LOOK GENESYS BLACK is a new line of innovative techwear from Texas designer, TABU the Artist. Premiering at his second fashion show during Texas Fashion Week this October, TABU repped his Phygital Fashion alongside Kaia Dublin and her female techwear digital fashion brand. His first show in May debuted his original NFT garment and phygital fashion wear. Later, during the Texas Fashion Industry Awards, Kaia dawned the first 3D printed dress to be worn in Texas.

THE DATA So, what the heck are NFTs? “Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are digital representations of anything that is unique. They can represent various sorts of digital assets or even physical items, like cars or art.”— Bitstamp Still confused? There are plenty of books available on the subject.


Williams Sonoma

Most everyone drinks coffee on the daily, or at least semi regularly. It’s a common part of our lives, across cultures. And when it comes to state of the art home appliances, the Oracle Touch is where it’s at. “The next generation fully automatic espresso machine. Automated, touch screen operation simplifies how to make your favorite coffees in three easy steps - grind, brew, and milk. You can easily adjust the coffee strength, milk texture or temperature to suit your taste. Then save it with your own unique name, create up to 8 personalized coffees.” — Breville

“I think life on Earth must be about more than just solving problems ... It's got to be something inspiring, even if it is vicarious." - Elon Musk

“Mr. Penhaligon himself! He enters in a vetiver haze —warm, fresh & earthy.” For such an old school perfumer, this one is actually acknowledged as a high tech cologne.


TIME TRAVEL Once only imagined in spy movies like the James Bond series, Apple’s Series 8 watches have made your whole world accessible right on your wrist. “Your essential companion is now even more powerful. Introducing temperature sensing for deeper insights into women’s health. Crash Detection to get help in an emergency. Sleep stages to better understand your sleep. And new ways to train using the enhanced Workout app. The future of health never looked so good.”


NOVEM Cuisine



Owner Adam Lampinstein tells us all about it. photojournalist K. Day Gomez

Heights, my wife and kids work and go to school in Alamo Heights ISD and that is my neighborhood. Why the heck would I want to build my first restaurant in someone else's neighborhood? I wanted to build it first for MINE!” It’s a swanky area, as I can attest. PEPPER Magazine home base is just down the street. In fact, you’re sure to bump into one of us from time to time if you stop into The Hayden. There’s a reason we frequent the diner, and it’s about more than the eats and cocktails with their witty puns, often named after Jewish celebrities. “This is not my first rodeo, and I completely understand that having good food is only part of the equation for success in this extremely cut throat industry,” says Lampinstein. “Good service is also vital as is an enviornment that is inviting and makes you feel welcome and not in a hurry to leave. After travelling throught the country researching the best neighborhood cafes, diners, and delis I tried to recreate the best vibes and emotions from those experiances. I feel the San Antonio restaurant community does a fabulous job with the mid to higher-end places—the type of semi special occassion restaurant you might go to once or twice a year. Like something out of a movie or classic TV show, nestled in the charming township of Alamo Heights stands The Hayden, a neighborhood diner where folks and staff are fast friends, the food is delicious and the atmosphere is sunny year round. Owner Adam Lampinstein took time away from the bustle of booming business to tell us his story. “I have always been an old soul. Always loved classic things and tend to shy away from anything too trendy. What is more old school than the classic neighborhood diner? I felt that after moving to San Antonio about 7 years ago, I never really found a cool, all-purpose restaurant spot that filled that need for my family. I am Jewish, and along with the diner I have such a strong emotional connection with classic delicatessans that are becoming fewer and far between these days. Why not marry the humble diner with a deli inspired menu and truly highlight the best of both?” That’s exactly what Adam’s done here. “One of my earliest employees coined the phrase of what she thought we were—‘a finer diner.’ She hit the nail on the head. I live in Terrell 106

I wanted to put the same level of care in both food, decor, and service as higher-end spots in our neighborhood diner. Historically, as diners were opened by immigrants whose cultural identity could be seen on their menus, I wanted to do the same. We are a diner in San Antonio, but my affinity and respect for Jewish cusine was important to include as is the German and Mexican influcenses also shown throughout the menu. A diner should represent the community it serves.” Cultural responsibility isn’t something Adam takes lightly, as is evident in everything he creates. He’s also era-specific in much of the decor and theme. “To say I am a Seinfeld / Larry David fan is an understatement. I certainly took a large part of my inspiration from Katz's, Russ & Daughters, and Tom's Diner in NYC - along with Sqirl, Wexler's, and Wise Son's in Los Angeles. Some of my fondest memories of my youth growing up in Dallas were weekend mornings at the neigborhood diners and Jewish Deli's with my family and friends. So much great food. There was a spot in Dallas back in the 80's and early 90's called (of all places) Bagelstein's that I still miss!” The menu items have a traditional base, but

often a new hip twist. We asked why Adam feels it’s important to shake things up and what inspires some of the alterations he makes? “We like to say "Thoughtful not Overthought" and use that when we conceptulize new dishes to the menu. We always want whatever you order to taste like the best version of whatever it is. A burger should taste like a burger, pastrami like pastrami—but it‘s our job to really think through every single component of that dish so that the final product is over the top delicious, but you don't always know why. It is the details that make the difference.” These little details do in fact make everything that much more special. It’s also the details of Adam’s personal story that makes him an individual of substance, with a cultivated eye and taste. “I am orginally from North Dallas, grew up there, graduated High School there. I went to the University of Kansas for college, got my

degree in Advertising and moved back to work in that industry after school for a handful of years. Both my parents worked for themselves and I always knew I wanted to do the same, but in something I was passionate about and could be creative in. I moved to Austin to attend culinary school and worked in the industry for a handful of years during and after school. My sister was living in El Paso with my brother-in-law who was in the Army and stationed at Fort Bliss. She wasn't happy in her job and looking for her next things. Things just seemed to fall into place when I decided to move there and together with my sister, we opened a restauant called Ripe Eatery. We had no idea what we were doing for the first couple years. Then things started to click and we had ourselves a successful restautant. We sold the concept 8 years later and I moved with my wife, Perla, to San Antonio.” Mentioning having grown up with

entrepreneurial parents, it’s assumable that Adam had a good support system in place. “I was fortunate growing up to have parents that loved to travel. As early as 8 or 9 years old I remember road trips across the country, as well as trips internationally. Food always seemed to be the focus, as if what we were going to do and explore centered around the meals of the day—those locally famous restaurants and cafe's we had to try. That never left me, and to this day I still feel understanding people through their food is such an important way to understand one another's culture. I was never a great artist in the traditional sense, never could draw a straight line or paint with watercolors well. But for some reason I felt I could express myself well with food; and hospitality just comes naturally. I am much more comfortable in the kitchen doing something during a party than watching someone else work. I‘m a very restless soul, very Type A, and have a hard time just relaxing (as sad as that is to say).” We asked what his dreams are for the future of The Hayden? [We heard on the down low something about a second location in the works!] “We just signed a lease for a second location in the ALON market and hope it is just the start of additional expantion. I really feel that the diner/deli concept is ripe for a revitalization. People still want comforting food—but they also want to be surprised a little bit. No one wants to spend their hard earned money on food so simplistic that they could have made it themselves. It needs to be prepared in a thoughtful way, just not completely overthought.” Lampinstein offers some sage advice for those interested in a career in the restaurant industry. “Work in the industry for a while, and do all the jobs you will be overseeing. It‘s typically not glamourous and is a far cry from the celebrity chefs you see on TV or restaiuranteurs in the movies. No one respects a boss that has never truly done the work or can relate to their employees.” Now that is a fact you can take to heart. After all, it’s the labor of working class servers, bussers, dishwashers, custodians, bartenders, hosts, line cooks and so on that holds our economic reality intact. As a bookend to this glimpse into The Hayden and all things Americana, we leave you with their official mission statement. A sentiment we could not have said better ourselves. “Community means everything to us at The Hayden, a restaurant where everyone is welcomed to come together. We’re a friendly space, where we mingle our deep love and respect for the classic Jewish delicatessen with the charming southern vibe of a South Texas diner. With The Hayden, we set out to create an all-purpose (and eventually all-day) neighborhood spot where the food and cocktails will be creative and thoughtful, just not overthought or fussy. 110

We want to serve you delicious food and deliver authentic hospitality; quite simply a reimagining of your typical old school diner. Come to think of it, that is why we got into this business in the first place!

The team at The Hayden is more than ready for you to take a seat, break some bread with us (we’d recommend the Pastrami & Swiss), and finally find a place that reminds you…we aren’t really so different from each other, after all.”

@sinenkosi_msomii • • @afrikanizm_art


SINENKOSI MSOMI Mbabane, Mpolonjeni

One Love. SINENKOSI MSOMI Mbabane, Mpolonjeni



To me, culture is a way of life. Culture is a defining aspect of our personality and plays an important role in making us who we are. It is an integral part of our growing up and shapes our thoughts, beliefs, morals and values to a large extent. There are various aspects of my culture that I respect and believe strongly in. One of them is respect for elders and the elderly. Till now, no matter the situation, I live by this ideal. Another one is "Atithi Devo Bhava," the larger meaning of which is the message of social service and selflessness. Both these aspects have hugely influenced my future goals, and I have made a place for them in everything I have tried to 116

achieve till today and will try to achieve in future. Again, there are certain aspects of my culture which have influenced me in a different way. These are certain regressive superstitions and stigma that are obstacles to the progress of my community. These have led me to realize that we need to protest and raise our voice against any aspect or practice that is detrimental or discriminatory, even if it has been followed and passed down since times immemorial. I have been fighting against such aspects, like discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community and the stigma around menstruation, which are probably the most imminent problems facing my community today.

sweater. I have it with me even now, more than three years later. Just within a few days, I began calling my partner's parents "Papa" and "Mama", just like my partner. Mama would cook for me every day, and not a single day did I have any problem with any meal. They were non-vegetarians, while I was a vegetarian. For that entire week, they did not even touch anything non-veg, even though I would not have been bothered much if they had. I wanted to familiarize myself with their culture, so I tried to learn to eat with chopsticks. In arestaurant, while trying to pick up a piece of food with chopsticks, I dropped them on the table by mistake with a loud clatter. I was embarrassed, as everyone was looking at me. But not a single person in there laughed, nor did I see a single mocking smile. Many of them, in fact, came over to try to patiently teach me how to properly grip chopsticks. I was very touched that day.

I didn't know the importance of intercultural interaction until an experience in Grade 9. Because of some painful historical events every Indian is aware of, two countries (India and China) that started off on a very friendly note, now tend to regard each other with more hostility than diplomacy. However, in 2018, my school, with the help of the Chinese embassy in India, succeeded in arranging a reciprocal exchange programme with Kunming No. 8 High School, China, and I was one of the selected participants. I was to travel to China for a week and stay with a Chinese family in their house. I got off the plane with a lot of apprehensions and a fair amount of anxiety, but from the moment I met my partner and her parents, I realized how considerate and warm they truly were. Being accustomed to India's warm weather, I hadn't expected bonechilling cold weather in China in May. But they had thought of that too. The first thing they gave me the moment we stepped out of the airport was a warm traditional Chinese style

My partner also took me to visit her grandparents, and they were equally warm. They were all on good terms too. I realised that respect towards elders and "Atithi Devo Bhava" were aspects of Chinese culture too, albeit explained in a different way. In the family, only my partner could understand English, but the language barrier posed no obstacle, as I had no problem feeling their warmth and sincere concern toward me. I laid on Mama's lap as we shed tears over sad scenes from Indian Bollywood movies with Chinese subtitles. She handmade beautiful accessories for me with the best Chinese silk. They did not let me spend a single cent in China. Every gift or souvenir I brought back to India, was given to me by my Chinese family, with love. They left no stone unturned to make me feel welcome. I remember that while we were returning home on bikes once, cherry blossoms from trees on the way started falling on me. Mama said, "They're happy to see you, so they're welcoming you." Over the one week, I was exposed to Chinese Classical music, tribal dance and their ink and water form of artwork. Papa and Mama cheered us on, as Sun Si Ye (my partner) and I performed a dress exchange, she wearing an Indian saree, and I wearing the traditional Chinese Hanfu suit. I grew close to their culture as I slowly found similarities with Indian culture. Before Christianity came to China, their colour of marriage was red, and of bereavement, white. Bowing before elders was and 117

is still an important part of their culture. This is true, to a large extent, of traditional Indian culture too. Another aspect that I particularly liked that I think India has a lot to learn from, is the attention to cleanliness. There are dustbins on the streets every 2-3 kilometres, and I did not come across a single person who was inclined to throw anything on the streets. The day I was to return home, they sent me off with heavy hearts as if they were parting with apiece of themselves. Two months later, when my partner came to India to live with my family, she approached our culture with genuine curiosity and an interest to learn and endeared herself to everyone with her simple honesty and caring nature. I came back to India with a new awareness and even self-realisation. Awareness of the fact that not everything might be as black and white as we see them, and that I had been harbouring many misconceptions for a long time. I was deeply pained by the world's attitude toward China during the Covid 19 situation, as I knew that the worst sufferers were common people, simple people like my neighbours and me, who are probably not even aware of the intricacies of world politics. The most important lesson I learned from this experience was that we should never be quick to judge, especially in a situation where nothing can be verified firsthand. Even today, when I remember the softness of the cherry blossoms on my face, or the taste of home-cooked Chinese food on my tongue, the love and hospitality I had known in a country I was hardly familiar with brings tears to my eyes. My Chinese family and I are still in touch and share a very strong bond. I even have a Chinese name given by Mama, "He Chen Xi" (meaning rays of the sun) and have now learnt to carry out a basic conversation in Mandarin. My visit to China was as much of an eyeopening experience as it was emotionally awakening. I realized that intercultural interaction can bring about a revolutionary change in the way one perceives international relations. Maybe this is the way forward, the way to prevent strife and conflict and war. Maybe if we persevered on this path and made an effort to understand each other, all the citizens of the world could one day exist peacefully. 118






'Mother' and all its variations was never a title I craved. I couldn't imagine having so much power over another human - power to build up with a word, power to break her heart with a look... How could you possibly not hurt someone who is so invested in your every breath, your every thought, trying desperately to be anything but a disappointment? I couldn't reconcile the simultaneous love and frustration and kindness and fear I experienced through my own mother with this vague idea of what I needed and hoped for... Generations of strong, fascinating, rebel women had come before me, each providing a safer, softer, kinder place for her children than the one before her, and my mama is no exception. Being the change is too grand an idea to hold or at least, it was for me. I didn't know how to be different, to be safer, gentler, more open than my mother, when I had seen her strive to do and be the very best she could. She had always desired - truly needed somewhere in her heart - to be a mama. How could I, who wanted a life of solitude and quiet, without any child of my own, ever hope to be half the 119

mother that my mama was? Faced with those two little lines, with no choice but to be the change that I needed, I chose to feel it out, to learn, to follow the lead of my daughter as she began the exploration and journey of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Trusting her meant trusting myself, a concept foreign and deeply unsettling to me. Today, she is "small", " a toddler", and a bright, solid light.

entirely her own. She is tenacious (and that, she gets from me), and I have no doubt she will come upon crowds of people who are intimidated by her bonfire of a soul. I didn't know that being the change would mean making the change, going against the knowledge, beliefs, and experiences of everyone closest to me... I didn't anticipate what I believe now, that this is only the beginning, and thousands, millions of mothers are doing the same, and I wait eagerly, impatiently, but happily, to watch, and to cheer on wherever this next generation of women goes, as they surge forth in freedom and strength and gentleness.

She has a confidence most women never see until their 5th decade on this earth, and it pours from her being like fresh water from a spring. And I hope that if my daughter is ever a mother, she She is fearless and fierce, kind and gentle, and finds a way to be a better one than I.

Corey Layne Photography Austin, TX • @coreylaynephoto

PEPPER no. 5 | OCTOBER 2022





journalist K. Day Gomez

“Colmar is a town in the Grand Est region of northeastern France, near the border with Germany. Its old town has cobblestone streets lined with halftimbered medieval and early Renaissance buildings. The Gothic 13th-century Eglise Saint-Martin church stands on central Place de la Cathédrale. The city is on the Alsace Wine Route, and local vineyards specialize in Riesling and Gewürztraminer wines.” —Thanks, Google!

Rightfully coined a living fairytale town, Colmar is positioned alongside a canal and is considered one of the prettiest towns in France. You can probably tell it was the inspiration for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The Alsace is where France meets Germany, which accounts for the obvious blend of German and French architectural influence. According to On the Luce travel blog, “ownership of the region has been passed back and forth between the two countries over the years.” [Here’s the skinny…] “Colmar was conquered by the French in 1673 but Germany claimed the whole Alsace region in 1871. It stayed German until after WWI when it was given back to the French, then was temporarily occupied by the Germans during the Second World War.” [Are you dizzy yet?] “It was the last town in France to be liberated at the end of the Second World War and has been a part of France ever since.” The history is apparent as everything is immensely preserved, down to the vibrant colors of the buildings, the statues and cobblestone roads. As idyllic travel spots go, Colmar is a must-see destination rich with blended culture, delicious food and good people.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, a history nut or have a hankering for adventure, Colmar is definitely worth spending at minimum a day and an overnight. Can you imagine 130







Rachel Holman Pa’lante Wellness, Yoga & Consulting Boerne , Texas

photojournalist Stacey Olivares-Garcia

Meditation. Hope. Wonder. That is what makes up Rachel Holman—A free-lance yoga teacher based in Boerne, Texas who has the heart to support the family community. “My formal education and training have always been about supporting development and well-being across the lifespan; it was just more closely aligned with the mental health field and counseling with children and families.” She teaches at The Mindful Collective Mental Wellness Studio in Boerne, and Yoga Day, a non-profit providing yoga through school and SATX community partnerships. “Becoming a Yoga teacher was always something I wanted to do since my first yoga class in college. Although always in the back of my mind, I was never able to find the resources to become an RYT. Then, after 15 years, life just happened to provide the spur, the spark, and the support to pursue it with a sense of sustained commitment.” She obtained her Master's Degree in Counseling, and in the process, she became very aware of what healing was and how it comes in many different forms. The process is sometimes found in laughter and crying, but Rachel discovered how it could also be found in Theatre and Dance. “They take your awareness from the external world and allow your focus to shift toward your internal processes and experiences. That is a type of mindfulness we can all benefit from.”

Rachel had no idea how her discoveries

“The general idea is that yoga supports different

would speak to herself and motivate her to

aspects of our health; our physical health,

move forward. In March of 2020, COVID-19

emotional / mental health, academic health, and

arrived, and Rachel became very ill. “I got the

social health. And particularly for teens, there is a

kind of sick that makes you question

focus on social health, which is in the foreground

everything. And my illness lasted for about a

of their developmental experience. Through yoga

year with Long-Hauler –COVID19. I told myself,

practice and compassionate self-focus, this notion

after fighting a fever for 32 days, that if I were to

of social health bears the question of “how am I

get better, I was going to teach yoga and do

showing up for my friends, for my family, for my

what has always been calling me. I was

community.” So, when there is a shared

fortunate to heal and to get my health and

communal space to explore who and how we are

body back, so now I want to do what makes me

being while providing the opportunity to shift into

happy and brings joy, and that is sharing yoga

who and how we want to be, this carries not

principles and practices with the community.”

only intrapersonal benefits but also the community’s collective social health.”

With that same passion, Rachel began a program called “Yoga for Teens” She wanted to

While I was discovering Rachel, I noticed in

educate youth, 13 - 18, grades 6th - 12th, on

her title the words, Pa’lante Wellness. If you do a

exercises and the importance of balancing

google search for Pa’lante Wellness, Rachel

stress. “This program explores yoga breathing,

Holman is fifth listed for results. So I had to ask

postures, yoga games, and relaxation exercises.”

her; what is Pa’lante Wellness? “Pa’lante Wellness

Rachel wanted to create a space for young

Yoga is an emerging business footprint I created

adults to feel, heal and release. She intended to

last Fall as a vehicle for providing yoga, stress

facilitate a gateway for the family as a whole,

management, and mindfulness services to

believing they could all begin their journey to

communities and organizations. I was looking to

healing together. 135

create a business that would enable me to work in Pa’lante is just in the foothills of its expression, but the community while synthesizing my passion for

if the articulation meets the points of need and

movement, my mental health training and

opportunity just right, I believe that we could not

counseling experience, and my student advising

only do a lot of good but have some fun doing it,

work with my yoga teaching.

too.” I encourage you to check out this Native

How we move matters, on and off the yoga mat. And I think yoga is one of those mindful yet healing program offerings that not only help people feel healthy, but it is generative across the lifespan in some powerful ways.


Texas Hill Country girl. She is energy of force that is here to bring natural healing.







Sound Healing Healing Practitioner Romy Nava

Have you ever had endorphins kick in after listening to a good song or a really well played instrument? Well, there’s a science to how you feel. Activating the cells in your body through sound and frequency has a profound effect on your overall being. Sound healing is one of the oldest healing modalities dating back to time of the great Greek philosopher Aristotle. He mentioned in his famous work, De Anima, that the sound of a flute can lead to the arousal of strong emotions and purify the soul. Shamans around the world understood the power of sound healing. They used the shamanic beat to transcend themselves and their patients to an altered state of consciousness in which mental and physical well being were achieved. In the days of the Tartarian Empire, the Cathedrals were known to be built in certain

geometric shapes with pipe organs that produced specific frequencies which aided in sound healing in the air that surrounded them. These cathedrals and churches were strategically placed along Earth’s lay ines in order to raise the frequency of the planet. Another sound healing modality is the use of ancient Tibetan singing bowls. The harmony of the bowls enables both sides of the brain to relax. The frequencies produced also help in stress relief and overall body / mood relaxation. When both mind and body are relaxed, it’s been proven that we may heal at a more rapid pace. In today’s time and space, we have awakened the community to the benefits of sound healing. You may find sound healers in most of your local spiritual communities at local holistic markets and fairs. If you happen to come across a sound healer, be sure to take some time for yourself and enjoy a sound bath for deep relaxation.


Expert Health Advice Nutrition at any age, the best foods for all bodies.

Lifestyle Tips & Resources Links, great products and places to try.

Fitness Techniques Things you can try at home or at the gym.


Fit to a T.

Be the

CHANGE Nutritionist & fitness expert Tina Sena photographer K. Day Gomez

We “get” to choose every single day how we are going to embrace what’s ahead of us. How and who we will choose to spend our time with. What we will fill our eyes and mind with. How we will treat others. How we will serve. How we will show kindness and love. Who we will smile at. Who we will compliment. How we will fuel our body. How we will move it.

As a native Chicagoan and as we begin to embark on these latter months of the year, I can’t help but think of all the “change” that comes with this new season. The weather gets a little cooler, pumpkin EVERYTHING is EVERYWHERE and holiday decor starts to surround us. Something else that I have seen all too often in my health and fitness career is a change in peoples’ attitudes. Unfortunately, not always for the better; but actually just the opposite. Depression, sadness, defeat, lack of ambition or motivation.

Why???? Just because summer ended? Because we changed seasons? Maybe it’s actually us!!!! Maybe it’s “us” that needs to make the change!


See, all of these things can make or break your day! Your choice! Choose wisely! I’m here to encourage you along the way.

Health and happiness,

a n i T

Find Tina online at or Instagram at @tinasenaofficial

Tina works hands-on with clients in San Antonio, New Braunfels and surrounding areas.

Tina Sena

Whole Heart Foods


Have you heard? Nutritionist & Fitness Expert Tina Sena has her own line of health snacks…

e r ’ y e h t d an ! s u o i c i l de


Motivational Mindset Coach Crystal Lopez-Crebs

MAXIMIZE YOUR MORNING Morning routines can set your day up for success and have you in the right state of mind for the whole day. Do you have a morning routine, or do you immediately jump into the day as soon as your alarm rudely yells at you to wake up? There is something incredibly powerful about having the right morning routine. When you start your day intentionally, you run your day and don’t allow it to run you. Key word is ‘intention’, and it is also a choice. It can be a long routine of an hour or more, or it can be as little as 10-20 minutes. When you set your day up, no matter how long of a process, the day works better for you. One of the biggest things to not do is look at your phone as soon as you wake up. The blue light from the phone will immediately put you in beta, which is that go, go, go state of rushing around, thinking of all you have to do, filling your head with other people’s priorities. Have you ever thought about that? As soon as you look at your phone, you are on someone else's agenda. Your texts or voice messages adding to your list of things to do and respond to. I know looking at the phone is the first thing that we all do nowadays, but try to resist that. When you are just waking up, you are still in Alpha brain wave mode. This is the state that’s in-between awake and asleep. This is the ideal state to program your subconscious mind. The most productive time to inject affirmations, personal vision statements, prayers, etc.. My morning starts the night before when I plan my day. Then, in the morning I have a routine of something called stacking which consists of reading my core purpose, my personal vision statement for my life and business, list of 10 affirmations (that change as I manifest them), and my virtue of the day. I write down 5 things I am grateful for, including a person in my life, then I feel the gratitude of each thing for 1 minute, and write a gratitude text to the person I am grateful for that day and send it to them. Next, I will read 10 pages of a book, highlight the key things from those pages, and write them out in 142

a journal. You wouldn’t believe how quickly you can read a book like that, and you retain more by writing it down. Lastly, I pray and do a short meditation, sometimes longer if I have a more open morning, and then my day begins. I also like to get a short workout once I get out of bed as well. Many people workout in the morning or go for a run or walk as a form of meditation and to get the blood flowing. It may seem like quite a routine to do, however, it can usually be done within 20-40 minutes without the workout. And, I do adjust it depending on what my day looks like, look at it and if traveling. Some may read this and immediately think to themselves that it’s an impossible thing to do, being so busy—especially if you have kids. That’s one way to look at it and completely brush it off. However, it can be done if it is important. Many successful people have similar circumstances, and still reserve time in the morning to set themselves up. I have the flexibility to be able to hold a longer routine because I’ve intentionally set my day up that way, and have a business I‘m able to run own my time. Please don’t feel overwhelmed by my routine. You can start by waking up just 5 minutes earlier and begin with one or two things. Planning your day the night before is simple, and is one of the best ways to set your day up for success. And in the morning, a simple gratitude practice helps to put your mind in an abundant state which will open you up for the day. Try it and see what shifts. I know this may be hard to wrap your mind around—adding to your already full day. What if this small adjustment makes the biggest difference in your mindset and how you live your life? Imagine getting more out of your day than ever before.


Intimate Affairs Abelism Empowerment Maven & Intimacy Alchemist Angela Michelle Sometimes weight does matter : Ableism in the Body Positive Movement This issue is “Be the Change” and on that note I’m stepping up to be the change I would like to see in the Body Positive / Acceptance Community, a world I’m immersed in yet don’t always feel a part of. I’m about to drop an unpopular opinion but, yes sometimes weight does matter. I know that many in the community preach for us to never look at our weight but there is ableism in that approach. Let me explain. I know and understand that our culture and especially the medical system is fatphobic. I have been a victim of that system. I went undiagnosed with a lung disease for many years. They blamed my weight for nearly a decade as the reason that I was struggling to breathe. Over the years I have seen my thin pulmonary hypertensions friends diagnosed and treated within weeks or maybe just a few months for the same disease. By the time I was diagnosed I was fading fast. I was on oxygen 24 / 7 and given less than two years to live without intervention. That

delay in treatment has left me with permanently scarred lungs and a strong distrust of our medical system. A system that is clearly not treating larger bodied patients with the same care and attention as they do their thin patients. I can say all this AND say that sometimes weight is an important element to understanding and treating diseases. Those two truths can both exist. Some in the Body Positivity / Acceptance movement say weight is never a factor in health, that scales are damaging and that desiring to change the body means one is not body positive. I would like to offer another perspective. Yes, I know I may be the exception and not the rule, but I promise there are others that must watch their weight for very serious health reasons. In my case it’s due to the Pulmonary Hypertension which had me in the early stages of heart failure. In 2021 I was struggling to breathe again despite the lifesaving surgery on my lungs. After a visit to my specialist, it was determined that I needed a


medication known as Lasix which is a diuretic to pull some of the water weight that was making my heart work harder. I have been on this medication for over a year and part of having this disease and being on this medication means I MUST weigh myself regularly (every few days at the least). A change in the scale can mean I need to adjust my medication or need to see my pulmonary hypertension specialist ASAP. Recently I noticed the scale was up and after a check in with my doctor and an adjustment in meds I lost 7 pounds in less than 12 hours.

It’s simply a neutral fact that can be useful and even necessary to keep our diseases in check.

It was water weight, and it was making my heart work harder. Had I not checked my weight, I might not have realized I needed that adjustment. Adjusting the meds got me feeling better which is always the goal. So, when I see people demonizing the scale and / or subtly shaming those that do weigh themselves, I get frustrated. Ableism is causing people to miss that for some people the scale is a part of our life. It must be because it’s valuable information that can help us monitor our health and prevent diseases from progressing. Rather than avoiding ever seeing our weight we can find ways to accept that weight is data that does not define us.

All bodies are different and therefore have different needs. People should have the agency to determine what their own body needs are and honor them. I think there is room for the body positivity community to become more inclusive toward those who have different needs and recognize that wanting to change our body is not inherently bad. For me it comes down to WHY?

For many of us in the chronically ill community, paying attention to our weight and other measurement is a part of looking for signs that there is something that needs addressing. Measuring weight should be approached just like checking blood pressure, oxygen or heartrate. Weight is not a measure of health itself, but it can be important in the monitoring of some medical situations.

Why do you want to change your body? Is it to fit into the beauty standard? Because that is problematic, and that requires some work to shatter the ideas that the system instilled in you to make you think you or your body aren’t beautiful

“I think there is room for the body positivity community to become more inclusive toward those who have different needs…”

or deserving. OR is it to FEEL better. If it’s the latter, then I’m all for it. For me personally, I absolutely want to change my body. I want to get stronger; I want to feel better, breathe better and live better so that I can experience more of life. I will never have a healthy body, but I can strive for a healthier one by honoring my body’s unique needs. Wanting to change my body is rooted in how I feel and not how it looks. Ableism is funny in that it seeps into every fabric of our lives. So much so that even when we think we are being inclusive AF, our words and actions maybe aren’t aligned. We could be sending some detrimental messages to some of the most marginalized, chronically ill and disabled people. You see, some of us don’t have the privilege of just ignoring our weight and that doesn’t mean that we aren’t body positive or that we aren’t practicing self-love. I would argue that we are absolutely practicing self-love and body positivity by caring for our body. My hope is that the movement comes to a place of recognizing that part of body positivity is that each body has distinctive needs and that we allow everybody to do what is best for their own body free of judgment and shame.

All bodies are beautiful because they allow us to experience life and they tell the story of the life we live. For me body positivity is about living and enjoying my life.

If stepping on a scale keeps me healthy and feeling better which in turn allows me to experience more, I will. Other people may find it healthier for other reasons not to step on the scale. Neither is right or wrong, but rather different bodies with different needs. People should always do what is in the best interest of their own unique body. That’s body positivity, the idea that each person has agency over their body. To do what they wish with their body. To care for, honor and enjoy it. Body Positivity is about being embodied and living the best and most enjoyable life you can. That’s what we all want in the end.

Threads Photographer Andrey Lukovnikov & creative director Ekaterina Lukovnikova with model Diana Afitserava Torrevieja, Spain journalist K. Day Gomez

“October is depression and mental health awareness month. These are topics often not discussed in our personal or work lives, and yet mental health disorders affect millions of American workers.” —MHA Opening up a safe dialogue is the first step. The key. Now that we have, what do we do with it? Being honest about how many parts of or lives are touched by or are triggering our mental health issues is crucial. It’s become increasingly difficult to compartmentalize now that so many live and work in the same space. It’s all interconnected, interwoven. Compassion and grace are the only way to soften these entanglements.


HOROSCOPES Queer conceptual collage artist Olexandra Kulikovska Ukranian —currently displaced in Dresden, Germany

Whether you place stock in the cosmos or it’s just for fun, we could all use a little love. And in honor of the bewitching season, here’s a little bit of hocus pocus…


Aries Love: You need an influential partner who will inspire and support you.


Love: You will find love on a journey, most likely it will be a foreigner.

Love: Craving for love adventures will give you an unforgettable experience. But do not lose your head from emotions.

Gemini Любовь: Путь к сердцу лежит через желудок. Приготовьте кулинарный шедевр.


Love: The way to the heart is through the stomach. Prepare a culinary masterpiece.

Cancer Love: The partner appreciates your irrepressible desire to make the relationship happy

Leo Love: Are you waiting for attention to be paid to you? That's in vain. Take the first step yourself and make sure that modesty only interferes with love.

Scorpio Libra Love: Learn to listen to your partner, and your relationship will find harmony.

Love: Stop being shy: show your secret talents. The partner will be surprised!


Sagittarius Love: There is a person in your environment who’s long been in love with you. Take a closer look!

Capricorn Love: A love triangle can be eternal if one corner is blunt.

Aquarius Love: Stop pulling the blanket on yourself! Respect your partner's wish.


Pisces Love: Your former partner will ask for help. You can safely refuse, you definitely won’t get any gratitude.



Autistic child artist Aiden Gamez is raising money for STEM learning toys, equipment, art supplies and other tools he needs as he pursues engineering sciences and art.

Please consider supporting his endeavor by purchasing his original artwork, signed prints or postcards.

October 2022







At age 11, she’s already ruling the canvas, her way. photojournalist K. Day Gomez

Painter Ariel Villareal resides in San Antonio, Texas and already at just 11 years old, she sells her incredible paintings in her mom’s shop 154

at the famous Victoria’s Black Swan Inn. Ariel tells us, “I was like 8 years old when I started painting. I used crayons, pencils and paints.”

Her beginnings were much the same as for most child artists... Only in Ariel’s case, it would prove to be something she took very seriously. “I was 11 years old when I sold my first painting—they were for sale in my mom’s little shop, Berkenkamp Boutique.” And though the prospect of business is something she looks forward to, she has a firm natural appreciation for creating in general. “I like that it makes me happy and I can express how I feel with it“ Serene animals smile from her canvas in a motion-heavy array of vibrant colors. She’s painting the emotion as much as the subject. And her subjects are full of life and joy. But her work is not limited to playful creatures. “I like to paint animals and scary things because I think they look good and I enjoy painting those things.” Scary is just in time for Halloween!


WORLD Though she’s young, Ariel has big plans for her future. “I was born and raised in San Antonio. I want to travel all over the world.” But she’s in no particular rush to decide exactly how that happens. “I am not sure about college yet.” A mature answer—and considering all the various fields available in the creative sector and the rise of the entrepreneur, she’s certain to be just fine regardless what she chooses.


When it comes to her home base, her family and friends are her biggest fans. “My family has always supported my art work and my dream to become an artist. My elementary teachers have always supported me by buying my artwork.” That’s something we definitely have to thank our Texas teachers for. Especially in the San Antonio community, teachers commonly support independent artists as well as their own students. Often times encouraging and guiding them on how to monetize their work. It’s taken pretty seriously here. “And my family would help me sell it at places they worked.” When we asked if she has any good advice for other children and young people about pursuing their art, she shares something we’re sure she’s learned from her strong support system. “Chase your dreams, and dream big.”


Two Crafty Cats Photography get Sweet & Sassy with model Amelia Kopp PooleR, Georgia

Pumpkin spice & everything nice…

Summer doesn’t own our creamy cold delights. From frozen lattes to frappuccinos, vegan fro-yo to classic cones with pumpkin, cinnamon or coffee twists, kids and grown ups can agree—it’s always a good time for ice cream!

Капралов Матвей as photographed by Владислав Холодков Kursk, Russia journalist K. Day Gomez

In this game of toy soldiers… this irreverent ever-falling domino effect, the ones who suffer the most are our children.

How will we explain to them? —What the grown ups have been doing.

Some are taken. Some fall down, never to get back up. And some are satellites, orbiting out of danger’s reach.

What story will we tell them?

We’ve already lost.



POET LAUREATE ANDREA ' ’VOCAB' SANDERSON / SAN ANTONIO TX X ‘EMPOWERMENT’ FROM PHOTOGRAPHER LEELEE TETI & DANCER RICQUEA PIERCE / KERNERSVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA They tried to clip my wings, but I managed to keep flying, and I cried when I spread my wings, but the wind kept me from falling. Plus my determination was undying. The air beckoned me, calling out like a jury summons. I mean, I had my doubts, but after crawling to the ledge of my existence I decided stahling would get me nowhere, because Death in search of success is better than failure in life. Completely unaware of capabilities for lack of agility, or should I say failure to take initiative initially. So I became proactive in my quest to live seeking to give back what was bestowed. I did what was in my soul and spirit. I stood amid the buyers and bid for my destiny. Watched some purchase a fate then handle it recklessly. And I admit that I was careless and did it too, but I had an epiphany somewhere halfway through it all. That is the reason I stand here now in front of y'all. A mocking bird with words melting from the candlelight that ignites my passion, I am prepared to set 1,000 to flight. Fashioned to fight for God's plight and never bite my tongue. A vessel I come forth pouring out the liquid of my experience. Let it run its course through the veins of your heart traveling a sojourner irrigating caught up in the drains of your thoughts. This motivation is something you ought to have. Never let fear grab your dreams keep you from transferring them, deferring them like Langston said. But rather, nurturing them until they are bred, fed with positivity. See, I have learned what you believe to be true will make itself a


reality manifesting itself right in front of you. Evolving from the words you speak, thoughts you think, and company you keep. You can't accept everyone's critique. Don't let anyone brush your future bleak. When rejected, rise and shake the dust from your feet. Focus on the whole puzzle, instead of an individual piece; and one day your vision will be complete. God give us substance our minds can eat. Cause I dont have the energy to compete in this rat race where people discriminate against me in my face. Telling me what I can't do weighing my talent to see who I measure up to. Mishandling the treasure you made, digging me an early grave, disapproving of the moves I've made. Waiting to debate me with no legitimate reason to hate me, so judgemental and berating. Constantly demonstrating demonic tendencies with phonic negativity they become my chronic enemies. Caustically offending, sometimes fakely befriending, but always verbally clipping at my wings. Not allowing me freedom to fly, and muting my voice so I can not sing. Oh Lord I now bring severed tapered feathers for your healing, extending them while stepping off the ledge. Your wind song summons me to release hurt and step off this edge. My flight is now a soaring melody in harmony with my destiny. I now commit my poetry—for you are the voice that is calling. So, though I cried when I spread my wings... it was you that kept me from falling.



FROM THE ROOTS AUTHOR NJABULO NKAMBULE / SWAZILAND, SOUTH AFRICA X PHOTOGRAPHER OLADIMEJI ODUNSI / CANADA original setting. The roots of being passionate, ambitious and goal driven, They grow deeply within me, As they spread across to enrich my beautiful, intelligent mind. I was born to serve a certain purpose, And by the steps I make every day, The sweating and bloodshed, The sacrifices I decide to make, The life I have always dreamt of Is getting closer each day. My whole life I’ve based my doings on people, Listened to what people thought of me, I’ve limited myself like I was put in an unending pit.

From the rich roots I gather my strength and intelligence. I was born to become a new chapter of the old book, Born with dreams which will turn into reality. I want to change everything around me. I’m trying by all means to find something to base my life upon, Something that won’t leave me even when the going gets tough, Even when the sky starts crying blood instead of tasteless sweating, Even when the whole world comes crashing down unto my feet. From the roots my life began— The days and weeks, The months and years go by and time really fades away. What was thought to be good back then, Now it is another story and it is the opposite of the

I want to be free from the chains I was locked in, I want to be a better version of myself. I want to be an independent thinker. I want to live my life the way I want to. If by any chance there was a remote control of life, I would rewind everything about my life, I would redo everything and start off again. From the roots I gather my strength, Many battles I have fought and emerged triumphant. Some challenges were there to make me stronger, Some challenges were there to give me lessons about life. From the roots it’s where I get wisdom, knowledge and intelligence. I was born to become a better version of myself, I was not born to always feel sorry for myself. I’m more concerned of where I’m going to, Rather than where I come from. 169



LOVE CAN FLY In a Land of Death, Their Faith Gives Life.

THE STORY OF KEARING FOUNDATION UGANDA Founder & caregiver Denis Ssewannyana • journalist K. Day Gomez 173

“WE NEED YOUR HELP…” The first words in the email we received from Denis Ssewannyana, a founder and director of Kearing Foundation in Uganda. “I am here at our orphanage looking after and caring for 25 abandoned and orphaned children with HIV.” For those unaware, in these regions where medical supplies and pharmaceuticals are scarce, HIV is most often a death sentence. In fact, the most Denis and his team of 174

volunteers and fellow caregivers can do is generally keep these babies as comfortable and joyful as possible as they move toward their transition into the inevitable. But this grim fact does not give him cause to waiver. Denis is armed with something characteristic of many Africans—a deep and immovable faith. He knows, however, it’s going to take more than ’thoughts and prayers’ to maintain the level of care, shelter, nutrition and hygiene these children need. That’s in part where our correspondence began. “Thank you for sharing our story with the entire world—may the Lord bless you...” He didn’t ask for money. He didn’t ask for supplies. What he asked for is invaluable—the chance to be heard. The right to be seen. The gift of awareness…they needed a messenger, so PERRER MAGAZINE

we’re raising our horn. I began by asking for his ‘why’… “I was raised in a poor family, by my auntie. We had poor living standards. I saw many people in our community dying of diseases like cancer, HIV and malaria— but some die because of a few things like not eating well, not having a clean and safe environment.” The worst part, he’d go on to say, “many children die here because of malaria, typhoid, HIV and diseases of malnutrition. Since I was raised in a poor family, I wanted to change our community and give a chance to the needy people. Since most children lost their mother and family, I want to

be their family and give them a chance.” Just a chance. A chance at life. In a place like this, people aren’t afraid of dying. The greatest sorrow is to never have truly lived. And even in the darkest of circumstances, love is the greatest solace— the truest gift of time, patience, a comforting embrace, the distraction of a storybook read by a familiar voice—these are the treasures Kearing offers to the little ones it houses. Denis is one such familiar voice. “I decided to do this for two years so far. And we are looking for more volunteers and supporters so that we can succeed in this.”


Here is the current situation—“We have 25 children at the orphanage now. We give them access to better education, health care and good feeding. But the fact is we always receive a number of people at our home orphanage. When they come asking, we wish to help them but due to the little support we have, we can’t manage to help them all. So we have set many projects and goals for the future so that we can make a transformational impact in our community as a whole...” It’s about more than resources. Land is equally essential. And space is not free. That’s where Denis Ssewannyana in conjunction with his team have gotten proactive. “We have set in motion a process of selling t-shirts labeled with our logo. So that we can raise funds and buy our own land to stop spending money on renting.” Money that would better serve being used for medical attention for these little ones, food for all, adequate bedding, hygiene and lodging. “As a way to help buy our own land, we have come up with an idea of making tshirts. We sell them as we fund raise to buy our own land. The donation cost of each shirt is $100.” The garment is Kearing’s way of showing gratitude for the much needed support. One of their remote volunteers, Mandi Bates, has taken the crucial step of establishing their GoFundMe page. As she explains it, “I’m fundraising to help the children of other countries, like Africa, get clean water and better schooling for all! Right now in Uganda, the schools cost money and poor children cannot attend school. Most children don’t even have shoes, and they must walk miles and miles to fetch water from dirty ponds. Denis Ssewannyana lives in Kampala and is wanting to make schools for the poor kids and grow vegetables to help

feed them. Sometimes they don’t get a chance to eat, but he tries to teach them to be happy anyway because the world doesn’t care if you are or not.”


In regard to our own responsibility, I feel the need to reiterate a point I made from our very first issue. The media wields so much power and influence. And with that power should come a degree of civic responsibility. It was my aim going into journalism to not only tell people’s stories, but to be of help as often as I can, in whatever way I can. That mission has developed into PEPPER. Stories like this are why this platform was created in the first place. That said, our work with Kearing Foundation doesn’t end here. Much like with Bamunanika Children’s Home in their close proximity, it’s only the beginning. To that, Denis replies sincerely, “May the Lord bless the work of your hands.”

About Kearing Foundation Email : Telephone : +256706662805 Mailing Address : PO Box 75, MityanaUganda Instagram : @kearing_foundation_ug Donate :

L I N K T R . E E / D A B L U E K I D D I E



ORIGINAL Washington Square E September 2021

GREG VON LAVEAU (he/him/they/them) The Stonewall Protests Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem May 2021

FLOWERS STAS GINZBURG New York / 2020 - 2022 interviewed by journalist K. Day Gomez

ARTIST’S STATEMENT “Youth is leading the revolution. Since the murder of George Floyd, the resurgence of street activism from Black Lives Matter to Stop Asian Hate, Free Palestine and advocacy for trans, immigrant and sex workers rights has filled the streets of New York City. Black queer and Black trans voices have come to the forefront of the fight. Their photographs make up most of this portfolio–portraits of people I have met at marches and rallies as well as actions that center and uplift marginalized communities. I started thinking of these young activists as flowers, full of beauty and life at the dawn of a new era.”

ABOUT THE ARTIST Stas Ginzburg is a Russian-born multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. In 1999 Ginzburg immigrated to the U.S. as Jewish refugee. In 2006 he graduated from Parsons School of Design, NYC where he studied photography. Since then he expanded his practice to sculpture, installation and performance art.

XANDER (they/them) • March for Jayland Walker Brooklyn Bridge • July 2022

When the protests for racial justice ignited across the country in May of 2020, Ginzburg circled back to photography to document the many faces of young people who came out into the streets of New York City to fight for Black liberation. A selection of these photographs is currently on view at The South Gallery, Broward College in Florida through November 10, 2022.

PART ONE We intend to present Stas Ginzburg’s important and captivating series in two parts. To conclude with our interview with him in our next issue. ISAAC (he/they) & NEPTUNITE (he/she/they) The Stonewall Protests • Christopher Street • October 2020

ELIYA (she/they) Memorial for Antonio Armstrong • Harlem • December 2021

SELF-MADE • The Stonewall Protests • Anniversary March • Christopher Park • June 2021

JERMAINE (he/him) • Founder, Black Disabled Lives Matter • Downtown Brooklyn • December 2020

ELLA • Justice for Breonna Taylor • West Side Highway • March 2021

JADE (she/her) • Trans Visibility March • South Harlem • October 2020

CRACKHEAD BARNEY • Candlelight Vigil for Atlanta Victims • Washington Square Park • March 2021

IMAN (she/her) • Founder, Trans Asylias • The Blasian March Pride Rally • Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn • June 2021

PARIS L’HOMMIE (she/they) • Abolition Park (City Hall) • July 2020

NEPTUNITE (he/she/they) • The Stonewall Protests • Christopher Street • March 2021

ALFRED’S FLAG • The Stonewall Protests • February 2021


journalist K. Day Gomez

A lesson in solidarity.

Ukranian model, mother and responsible activist, Nastazja Nikiforova aims to create a balance between important humanitarian statements while embracing her sensuality. Understanding that sometimes it is necessary to captivate the audience in order to say something important. We are listening.


Multimedia artist Keely McLavin is breaking through stigmas surrounding what it is to be human, one project at a time. Ireland

KEELY MCLAVIN —is a 22 year old freelance student currently based between Dublin and Westmeath, Ireland. Her work can be seen previously featured in publications such as Apricity Press and Outpost Eire as well as the group exhibition Antecedent hosted by TUD in the Cowshed Theatre, Dublin. McLavin is in the final year of her Fine Art (BA) at Technological University Dublin where she specialises in paint, text, audio and video art. The work created is often based on autobiographical themes such as love, relationships, friendships, as well as mental health, gender, identity, sexuality and womanhood. McLavin's art practice is centred around creating an empathetic space amongst viewers, the aim of which is to expose them to a mutually feeling experience.


In these two projects she has shared with us, her goal is much the same. The images and symbolism are simple, figurative. And yet, the feelings and thoughts that arise for the viewers speaks volumes toward how society views gender, identity, and particularly women. A question could be posed : “Why do people feel uncomfortable when they see a menstrual pad?” “Why do people hide their child’s face from seeing the exposed figure of a female body unless it’s hanging in a museum?” “Why are women demonized or dehumanized in such a way through time, and even now?” We encourage our readers to ask themselves these questions as they view the works here catalogued, as a sort of self-evaluation. Your feelings and reactions to the pieces will tell you much about what has been impressed upon you sociologically.

Project Statement for the week : 3's and Crowd but 10 is taking the piss, and aftermath.

An Unstable Love Story, 2022 “This is an ongoing project in which I am further investigating the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, specifically the pattern of unstable relationships and poor self image. I am exploring my own personal history of unstable romantic pursuits, friendships and familial relationships, as well as my relationship with myself and how I perceive myself. Most of the work within this project will explore these themes using animation, audio, and text.


ARTIST Project Statement for the week : I bleed Red / Period Blue 1-3

Period Blue, 2022 “The purpose of these artworks is to point out the hypocrisy of not showing red liquid / blood in sanitary towels and tampon advertisements whether this is in print or television advertisements. In many places it is either banned or heavily discouraged for being ‘graphic’, ‘unpleasant’ or ‘not suitable for younger audiences’. For something which is a natural bodily function, menstruation is heavily stigmatized. Women are made to feel as though it is something to be ashamed of, disgusted by and something they should hide.” 198

A CONVERSATION The point is to begin a dialogue, even if it’s directed toward one’s self. A question for every human—how old were you when you first felt shame? How old were you when you first felt compelled to hide your truth or the changes in your thoughts or body for fear of judgement? How old were you when you first understood that different forms of clothing were expected to be worn only in what society determines as a gender-appropriate way? Most will answer very very young. If some of our earliest memories are attached to a patriarchal view of the sexes, a puritanical view of sex and the human body, religious impositions of what is expected in relation to the bodies we occupy—then how can we assume that any of our thoughts involving these subjects are intrinsically our own? At what point in our formative years did we decide for ourselves our relationship to these things? We really didn’t; not most of us, at least. The majority of the global population will spend years destigmatizing and untangling their psyche from the traumas of conformity centered around these subjects. It’s important to hold space for this sort of vulnerable dialogue. In doing so, artists like Keely McLavin are breaking down walls of outdated and harmful thought, and helping people to be more comfortable with and feel worthy in their own bodies.

“The stigmatized individual is asked to act so as to imply neither that his burden is heavy nor that bearing it has made him different from us; at the same time he must keep himself at that remove from us which assures our painlessly being able to confirm this belief about him. Put differently, he is advised to reciprocate naturally with an acceptance of himself and us, an acceptance of him that we have not quite extended to him in the first place. A PHANTOM ACCEPTANCE is thus allowed to provide the base for a PHANTOM NORMALCY.” —Erving Goffman 199




There is such a meme: “This is Moscow, baby!”. Perhaps, it could be the perfect commentary for this picture. “At the very heart of the capital”, near Red Square, there is a zone of strange tourist attractions. In addition to buying kitsch Russian souvenirs, you can take home with you a stupid photo of yourself with a pseudo-Lenin, a pseudo-Stalin, an actor dressed up as a medieval archer, or some hero of modern mass culture – for instance, Shrek. We see the effect of a random frame in the picture, compositionally organized according to the principle of an Instagram post (the image is taken into a white frame). 200

2021, Oil on canvas. 70 cm. X 60 cm




A piece of reality is snatched out, illustrating very capaciously the “environment”. Both Lenin and Shrek were “caught” at once, and a monument to Marshal Zhukov was also “caught” in the background. The situation is absolutely surreal. Lenin’s double looks jealously at Shrek, who is clearly more popular with those who want to be photographed. Zhukov on a horse seems to be hovering over the horizon. A can of a cheap alcoholic cocktail in the hand of “Lenin” adds drama to the plot – obviously, in the life of this actor there are certain difficulties. It is interesting whom of them our descendants will recognize in this photo.


Union of the Impossible The group of anonymous artists self-titled Union of the Impossible was established in 2020, amidst the raging pandemic and socio-political unrest. Its members are not fixed and their number keeps expanding. The artists’ staple is the traditional medium of painting on canvas. They poke fun at everyday life that has undergone a drastic change toward the bizarre. They come up with new means of protection, creating ‘visual shields’ against blandness, boredom, indifference, logic, and consistency.

resemble Polaroid shots. This is both a hint at exclusivity because Polaroids are one-of-a-kind and an act of opposition to the replicated Internet memes.

Not in our wildest dreams could we imagine that we would get to face a time of ‘great trials and tribulations’. The new normal (and, possibly, the irrevocable) has changed our lives, and we are slowly starting to grow used to it. Irony is an indispensable aid in situations such as this. This is how the Dada farce took root, first causing the viewer to go numb and begging the questions, ’What is this, exactly?’ and ‘Why this, precisely?’ and ‘What on earth?’ The outcome is the new generation of memes, occasionally dark and often straight to the point. Memes have been dubbed ‘the virus of the mind’. When all is said and done, only something apt and incisive will not fail to grab one’s attention in the influx of information that is today’s life. In troubled times, people use different avenues to protect their sanity, with artists, predictably, resorting to art. Union of the Impossible was formed during the lockdown with the mission to create works that were uncharacteristic of each individual member, and the ‘new memes’ swiftly became one of their directions. At one point over a century ago, Dada sprang up as a response to WWI with its unjustified cruelties. In 2020, artists are bringing the Dada principles back to life, repurposing them for the new circumstances: the pandemic that has the entire world under siege. Whilst Dadaists propelled anti-aesthetics, Union of the Impossible provokes and baffles the audience with its memes.

“The Union of the Impossible is an artistic association that arose in 2020 in the era of pandemic and sociopolitical shocks.” @union_of_impossible

Most of these ‘new memes’ are presented in white frames that are part of each picture and 201

PEPPER Magazine



cover artist.

October 2022


At first glance, her work is childlike, idyllic, fanciful. But the symbolism holds a lot of darker underlying meanings, casting a dim light over the things postmodern America attempted to sweep under

p. 202

rmed with scissors, exacto knives and glitter, multidisciplinary contemporary artist Kelly O’Connor makes statements on uncomfortable subjects in the prettiest way.

the proverbial mat. This aspect of symbolic storytelling is what makes Kelly a perfect representative for our soft them, ‘be the change’. About O’Connor’s extensive body of work, Rene Barilleaux, Chief Curator of The McNay Art Museum has said, “In collage, works on paper, and installation-based work, O’Connor’s familiar subjects undergo surreal, psychedelic, hypnotic, and other unsettling transformations.”

As for what’s next, “My show at David Shelton Gallery in Houston opens September 9 - October 15.” We hope you’ll follow Kelly O’Connor online and come to love her signature art style as much as we do. [see back directory.] Kelly is represented by David Shelton Gallery located in Houston, Texas. Her works are available online, as well as the Ruiz-Healy Gallery and Feliz Modern in San Antonio, Texas.


directory. 34 Siempre : artist Cody Freeman / San Antonio,

Credits, Locations & Contact 6

Texas / Instagram @codeyfreemanfineart / website / photojournalist K. Day

Introduction by editor in

chief K. Day Gomez / San Antonio, Texas / Instagram @creative.consultant.kday / email / web directory


10 /

41 Art of Survival : DantéDanýel, the artist behind Atelier Dédé / Berlin, Germany / Instagram

photo of CEO K. Day Gomez with

Magazine of the Year at the Texas

@dan_dan_paints / for inquiries /

Fashion Industry Awards, as

journalist K. Day Gomez

CFO Joe A. Gomez III during the acceptance speech after winning

captured by Hartfield Consulting

48 A Constant Companion : abstract artist

LLC. 10

Wondermaker : the art of

Kelly O’Connor / San Antonio, Texas / Instagram


@kellyoconnorart / website /

/ journalist K. Day Gomez

photojournalist K. Day Gomez 18

54 Dream Weavers : DFNTLY Entertainment with

Sacred Geometry : artist,

designer & Rabbi Hanniel

Dianna Feliciano — Director of Entertainment Partnerships & Talent Relations /

Levenson / Manhattan, New York / website / @honeylevs / journalist K. Day Gomez 27

All Made Up : artist Milou


Stella / London, UK / Instagram / journalist K. Day Gomez


photojournalist K. Day Gomez

O: 210-920-1627 C: 210-7925115 / website m / Instagram @dfntlyentertainment / Videographer Danielson Photos - Daniel Huerta Photographers Danielson Photos, Daniel Grove, Faith & Fire

@miloustella_art / web directory

Artist Kelly O’Connor / San Antonio, Texas / website m / @kellyoconnorart /

Siham El Kandoussi / Kuwait / Instagram @sihamsartcreations / web directory

Mua Divine Artistry & Effects 62


Untitled Nine Artisan

Designer Collaboratorative from Breeze Yun & Tyler Basa

directory. by Queen of a King Photography / journalist K. Day Gomez / Model: @littleladykei Photo:

Untitled Nine continued — Atlanta, Georgia / @untitlednineofficial design innovators & @tylerbasa / Website /

85 Sovereign / model Simien Robinson / Chicago, Illinois / photographer Alana Reihl / words by journalist K. Day Gomez / Model: @simien.robinson Photo: @alana_reihl

Photographers Shan Shi @shanshi13321 & Tyler X @the.tylerx & Tyler Basa Models : Sara Lynn @saralynnslagle / Tahj Keeton @tahjkeeton / Cactus Fractal - @cactusfractal / Rob Arcade - @ufolandings / Hampton - @hampton_ / Coco Huang - @cocohuang_ 69

NIKITA / Nikita Sukhih,

male model / SaintPetersburg, Russia / Instagram @nikitasukhih /


email / Production: @mode.production Agency: @fp_model_agency_rus @fp_model_school_rus Ph: @nata_ph Style: @frau_matlina Muah: @anyanemkova 74


The Performer /

Photographer David Rodriguez / Santa Cruz de la Palma, Spain / model Miguel Garcia / Photo: @davidofficialclub Model: @mineggp 80

Divine Feminine /

graphic designer & model Keiara Stiltner / Virginia /


91 Retrofashion / photographer Balint Nemes / Praha, Česká Republika / Instagram @balintnemesphoto / Make up: Maria Nemes @mashanemesmua Model: Rebeka @szlottarebeka Location: Csemege @csemegepresszo 95 Costume Change by sustainable fashion & lifestyle expert Becky Witte-Marsh / San Antonio, Texas / Instagram @beckywittemarsh / various theatrical posters & footage sourced from public archives / cover page photographer Rob Laughter - Cary, North Carolina - @roblaughter and theatre seating image by photographer Felix Mooneeram - Manchester, UK - @felixmooneeram 102 High Life / Highlight with CFO & marketing director Joe A. Gomez III / San Antonio, Texas / with

directory. Perception to Experience by award winning author & activist Adrian Jana / Kolkata, India / Instagram @adrija_jana2004 / AI drawing from a photo of Adrija in the Traditional Costume of the Bengali Community in India, Saree by artist K. Day Gomez / other content by photographers

photographs by Joe A. Gomez III from Texas Fashion Week 2022 featuring the GENESYS BLACK collection [Innovative techwear from designer TABU] & Kaia Dublin designs / with TABU the Artist & designer Kaia Dublin / @tabu_theartist @kaiadublin_official engineer & 3D printer @felishiamartinez

119 On Being the Change / essayist & photographer Sefra Schwab / Converse, Texas / Instagram & @sefravofthecherrytree

@txfashionweek / and reference images from GOOGLE—see appropriate company websites as listed in article to shop. 105

The Hayden, Diner &

Cocktails / with Owner Adam Lampinstein / Alamo Heights,


Texas / web directory / (210) 437-4306 / Instagram @thehayden_sa / *specially featuring new test-menu drink by bartender Destiny Marie Sanchez called “Destiny’s Chai-ld” (“and oh my gawd it’s delicious !”) — @dxstinysxanchez / photojournalist K. Day Gomez 114


One Love /

photographer Sinenkosi Msomi / Mbabane, Mpolonjeni - Swaziland, Africa / web portfolio osi_msomi / @sinenkosi_msomii 116 Culture : From


123 PASSPORT : Colmar, France / photographer Igor Photography of Needham / Colmar, France / Instagram @igorboston 133 Her Story : Pa’lante Wellness, Yoga & Consulting With founder & instructor Rachel Holman / Boerne , Texas / website / Instagram @palante_wellness / photojournalist Stacey Olivares-Garcia 137 A Modern Mystic : Sound Healing with Healing Practitioner Romy Nava / San Antonio, Texas / website / Instagram @ / Location : Third Eye Healing - 8803 TX-151 Suite 104, San Antonio, TX 78251 (210) 538-5024 / photographer PaSada Photography

directory. 139 Fit to a T. : Be the Change / Nutritionist & fitness expert Tina Sena / New Braunfels, Texas / website / Instagram @tinasenaofficial / photographer K. Day Gomez 142

Positively Crystal :

Maximize Your Morning / Motivational mindset coach Crystal Lopez-Crebs / San


Antonio, Texas / web directory

Berkencamp at / Works can be viewed and purchased at Berkenkamp Boutique located at Victoria’s Black Swan Inn 1006 Holbrook Rd Ste A, San Antonio, TX 78218 (210) 323-8424 / Instagram @av_cetrine /

159 Ice Cream! by Two Crafty Cats Photography / Pooler, Georgia / model Amelia Kopp / Photo: @twocraftycatsga Model: @ameliakopp_ / journalist K. Day Gomez

Instagram @crystalmagic777 143

Intimate Affairs : Abelism

/ Empowerment Maven & Intimacy Alchemist Angela Michelle / website / Instagram @intimacyartist / self

162 Lost in Space with child model Капралов Матвей as photographed by Владислав Холодков / Kursk, Russia / represented by Twiggy Models / wardrobe Водолазка bodo, джинсы GJ / Model: @matvei_2014_ Photo: @mr.insulation / words by journalist K. Day Gomez

portraiture 146

Threads by photographer

Andrey Lukovnikov / Torrevieja, Spain / website / Instagram / model Diana Afitserava / mua Inna Torbunova / creative director Ekaterina Lukovnikova / MUA: @torina1 Cr Dir: @chicken__traveler Model: @fiammadia / journalist K. Day Gomez 150


Horoscopes by Queer

Ukranian conceptual collage artist Olexandra Kulikovska / Dresden, Germany / Instagram @littlecoolart 154

167 Windsong by poet laureate Andrea ‘Vocab’ Sanderson / San Antonio, Texas / with photo series ‘Empowerment’ from Photographer Leelee Teti & dancer Ricquea Pierce / Kernesville, North Carolina

On Her Terms : child

169 From the Roots by author Njabulo Nkambule / Swaziland, South Africa

artist Ariel Villareal / San Antonio, Texas / to inquire, contact mother, Maria


directory. x photographer Oladimeji Odunsi / Canada 172

If Hope Floats, Love Can

Fly / Kearing Foundation children’s orphanage / Founder & caregiver Denis Ssewannyana / Uganda / Instagram


@kearing_foundation_ug / donate at ndation / journalist K. Day Gomez 182

Flowers by Stas

Ginzburg / New York, New York / Instagram @stas.ginzburg / credits as captioned in article / on view at South Campus Art Gallery


in Florida @bcsouthcampusart 191

Context / Ukrainian

activist & model Nastazja Nikiforova / Poland / journalist K. Day Gomez 196

FE•MALE / Multimedia

artist Keely McLavin / Ireland / website / Instagram 200

7 The Blooming Social Social media marketing and management agency / San Antonio, Texas / founder Alyse Deanda / @the.bloomingsocial / the.bloomingsocial1@gmai

Union of the

Impossible : “STOP! What are you doing, go away.” / Instagram @union_of_impossible


5 Clear Light Coffee Co. @clearlightcoffeeco / Clear Light Coffee Co. is a privately owned shop focused on fine quality food, organic ingredients, amazing coffee & teas. / “We want to provide an amazing experience for anyone looking to break away from the stressors of the day. Forward focus plans will include a wine bar extension, seasonally chef prepared lunch/dinner menus menus. Continuing to be a place that supports charity events & great causes across San Antonio.” -Angelique Britt Founder / Located across from the historical Heritage Walker Ranch Park at 12656 west ave, bldg 3. in San Antonio, Texas, 78216 / phone : (210)272-0039 website : email : clearlightcoffeeco@gmail.c om / ad created by K. Day Gomez



Ferrari Kid nonprofit /

directory. San Antonio, Texas /

designer & photographer K. /

Day Gomez -y





Lone Star National Bank /

The Magical Unicorn


11:11 / holistician Amanda /

Hardman / web directory




/ Instagram @magicalunicorn1111 / Bath,


body, remedies • all natural

Untamable - The

• small batch • vegan •

Individual Warrior Within

woman owned • small

sustainable fashion show and

business / photographer &

event / presented by Amanda

ad designer K. Day Gomez

Alarcón-Hunter & Becky Witte-Marsh / for tickets and


details -

personal chef Joe A. Gomez /

III / serving South Texas

@untamable.satx 53

Minx and Onyx Vintage /


Instagram @novem.cuisine

Amanda Alarcón-Hunter / /



Msomi / Mbabane, Mpolonjeni - Swaziland,

Realtor #788710 / (210)860-

Africa / web portfolio

3496 / /


Photographer &

Conceptual Artist Sinenkosi

Realtor Vanessa Solis /

surrounding areas.

international travel] / /

Sustainable Designer, Artisan

Servicing San Antonio, Texas &

[available for national & website

San Antonio, Texas / Founder,


NOVEM Cuisine /


Clinician Itxia Lee

nkosi_msomi / @sinenkosi_msomii 143

Acevedo of POUT MedSpa

Stacey Rae

Photography / website

/San Antonio, Texas / /

/ Instagram

/ Instagram @pout_itxialee /


ad created by K. Day Gomez

[see details on all other ads.] 100

Stylist Becky Witte-

Marsh / Instagram @beckywittemarsh / ad


PEPPER STAFF K. DAY GOMEZ EDITOR IN CHIEF Hello, my name is Kathleen. I am a neurodivegent mother, wife and wearer of many hats. My career life is a bit of a juggling act. I’m an internationally published artist, author, creative consultant and intuitive life coach. I also sit on the Advisory Board of the Alora Farm nonprofit for adult autists. I’ve been a photojournalist, art illustrator and content writer for various publications and blogs for over two decades. I formerly held a modeling career for over 17 years that led to acting and directing, which I still may pursue in the future. I always seek to be of the most help to our community and global humanitarian issues any way I can. It was with this intention that I founded PEPPER Magazine. As a creative, and member of the LGBTQ community, it is also my intent that the publication be inclusive, diverse and support marginalized communities and those with varied abilities / disabilities by creating a safe space for all to be heard. Thank you for taking the time to learn about our mission. I anticipate great things for the future.

JOE A. GOMEZ III CFO & LIFESTYLE CONTRIBUTOR An all-American Texas boy born and raised in

San Antonio, Joe A. Gomez III has been a strong community leader, a humanitarian and a true lover of life. A former city councilman having served on the board of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce for several years, he's also the founder of JAG Enterprises with over 23 years of management experience. He is now PEPPER Magazine's CFO & Key Lifestyle Contributor. A chef to rival most, despite not having been classically trained, Joe's culinary expertise is impeccable. Enough so that over time he began to develop the ground work for what is now called NOVEM Cuisine. Since the founding of NOVEM, chef Joe's recipes have become more diverse and in turn, the public attention has grown. This has led to multiple international publications, to include London and Manchester, UK. And if you have the luck of tasting his food you'll understand why. There is no detail that escapes him, and the care he puts into the preparation and plating of every meal is nothing shy of five-star dining. The pièce de résistance is having him prepare it right from the comfort of the best restaurant in town; your own home.

ANGELA MICHELLE EMPOWERMENT MAVEN & INTIMACY ALCHEMIST Angela Michelle is a sexologist from The Sexology Institute. She specializes as an intimacy & body image coach and is also an

staff. empowerment photographer. Her portfolio is expansive covering almost two decades. As an inclusive yoga instructor, she also provides modified yoga lessons for those who need it. Angela is a speaker, educator, mentor and advocate who raises awareness on a variety of topics she is passionate about.

known as: Artist Foundation of San Antonio). In May of 2020 she was awarded Best Live Entertainment/Band Musician of the Year by the SEA Awards.

We are honored to have her unique and empowering insight on the PEPPER Magazine board of staff contributors.


ANDREA ‘ VOCAB’ SANDERSON POET LAUREATE Poet Laureate 20202023, performs as “Vocab” in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas. ”Watching her perform, the word “hero” comes to mind. And not “hero” for the sake of just skill, but for her work in her community: Sanderson teaches poetry workshops, mentors, builds up and encourages artists to pursue their art, and gives them platforms to showcase their talent. Sanderson’s interest in other people’s art and artistic development became a passion of hers, and she started curating her own shows and creating platforms for other artists to hone their craft by hosting open mics.” -The San Antonio Current, Jan. 16, 2018 She received awards, Performer of the Year, Influencer of the Year, from Project Forward, and Dream Voice, from the Dream Week Commission. Sanderson is the winner of the 2019 People’s Choice Award, awarded by Luminaria Artist Foundation (formerly

NUTRITIONIST & FITNESS EXPERT Hi, my name is Tina Sena and it has been my passion to motivate, inspire and encourage others to achieve health and wellness physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. For 24 years now I have been doing personal training, nutrition consulting, kids programs, developing a protein line of sweet treats and running my own businesses. I am a spouse and also a real estate business partner with my husband Michael, and we have a beautiful 13 year old daughter named Mia. It is my desire to build a community where we can share with others all the knowledge we have accumulated over the years to help create total health and wellness in their lives. I​ was an only child who grew up in a home with a mentally ill father and a mother who, although very strong, was also riddled with fear and anxiety while working all the time to provide for our family. We had very little so I was terribly ridiculed in school. ​ ​I saw my first therapist at the age of 10. My father passed away at 44 and as a very independent 20 year old I was on a mission to help others to not suffer in all the ways myself and my family did physically, mentally and emotionally.

staff. Ibecame a personal trainer about 24 years ago while I was working as a model and living a completely unhealthy lifestyle. I wanted so much to have lean, sexy muscles which was a no no back then in that world. So I hired my first personal trainer who taught me how to lift weights and eat properly. I never felt better! My body, mind and health completely changed and off I went. I began training for triathlons and fitness competitions with some of the best trainers and decided that was it - I wanted to do for others what they had all done for me. So off to work I went. I am now an upscale fitness facility owner, protein treats line developer and I organize a nonprofit program changing the course for kids! I believe that we all have the power within us to get past the pain we endure in life. We just need the proper guidance and resources to get us there! It means everything to me to help my community to be encouraged and feel love and support through what might be their most challenging journey.....working on ourselves!!!”

ROBERT DEAN JOURNALIST & AUTHOR [In his own words...] Robert Dean is a journalist, raconteur, and ‘enlightened dumbass’. His work has been featured in places like MIC, Eater, Fatherly, Yahoo, Austin AmericanStatesman, Consequence of Sound, Ozy, USA Today, to name a few. He’s appeared on CNN and NPR. He also serves as features writer for Hussy Magazine and is editor in chief for Big Laugh Comedy, Texas’ biggest comedy production company. He lives in Austin and loves ice cream and koalas.

CRYSTAL LOPEZ-CREBS MOTIVATIONAL MINDSET COACH Crystal Lopez-Crebs received her degree in Fashion Design & Marketing from The International Academy of Design & Technology in Tampa, FL. She also interned with designer Tracy Reese in New York learning the ropes of New York Fashion Week (NYFW).

She owned an entertainment company in Tampa where she created costumes, did makeup, and stylized looks for her team. After moving to Texas, she mastered her crafts in the makeup industry working for MAC Cosmetics. She has also done makeup for LA & San Antonio Fashion Week, worked on film sets as both talent and wardrobe & production design, and developed her fashion production skills at Neiman Marcus. Crystal is now the talent coordinator for X Level Inc, a creative agency in San Antonio, TX, where she helps scout and develop talent. She is also the founder of the nonprofit, Fashionable Adoptions, that promotes animal adoption through fun fashion events, most notably her fashion shows that showcase adoptable animals walking the runway. She’s helped many people (and animals) improve their lives with her health & wellness business alongside her husband, especially through her story overcoming a health challenge. She loves to talk about vision and mindset to her audience to empower them to live a bigger life. Her unique style and excitement for living a healthy life can be felt as she shares her passions on social media

staff. and in person. Crystal brings her bright light & energy to inspire everyone to live an abundantly beautiful & healthy life from the inside out.

BECKY WITTEMARSH SUSTAINABLE FASHION & LIFESTYLE EXPERT Becky found her passion for sustainable fashion and home furnishings at an early age when being sustainable was a necessity. A lifetime of creating her own personal style through sustainable sources, got the attention of those around her. Today her innovative creations using vintage, thrift and self-made items will inspire a new way to look at dressing and styling your home. Becky will help you turn style sustainability from an inconvenience into an ADVENTURE!​

NJABULO NKAMBULE AUTHOR & POET Njabulo Nkambule also known as Njabulo N. is a writer, a poet hailing from the Kingdom of Swaziland. “I'm also an author of the soon to be

published anthology, DEEP-ROOTEDWORDS which will include mainly my written poems. I’m a devoted,multipassionate, hardworking poet with a keen eye for detail and an insatiable interest in the use of the written word. I'm one person who is so passionate about poetry having so many written poems under my name (not yet published). My writings (poems) include quite a number of poetic forms including rhymed poetry, narrative poetry, pastoral poetry, elegies poetry, limerick poetry, lyric and soliloquy poetry.” PEPPER is enriched by the presence and liter contributions of this gifted writer and we are excited to see how he helps to shape the overall landscape of our publication over time.

NORMAN RENE AVILA ART HISTORIAN • SAN ANTONIO, TX Artist, painter, musician and writer, Norman Rene Avila wears many hats. Also a former teacher, he has taken on the staff position as our local art and cultural historian. One of the founding members of the SAMOMA nonprofit [San Antonio Museum of Modern Art], as influenced and aided by New York’s MOMA, he is great asset to PEPPER Magazine. Norman has curated an extensive collection of memorabilia, artworks, film footage and photographs which document the SA art

staff. scene from the late 1960’s forward. Over time, we will be sharing these archives which range from obscure to iconic. We are grateful to have Norman as part of our team. Currently, he is engaged in the development process as a key interview subject for our first documentary about the history of SAMOMA. In conjunction with our cinematographer Michael Avila Christman and editor in chief who is key interviewer for the independent filming project, Norman is providing priceless facts and contacts for the film’s creation.

MICHAEL AVILA CHRISTMAN DIRECTOR & CINEMATOGRAPHER Founder of Darkhorse Photography, as well as his media company Helios, San Antonio native creative professional Michael

Avila Christman is a fixture here. His projects range from short film to documentary to commercials to editorial fashion photography. He’s worked with well known models, designers, makeup artists, musicians, local celebrities and other professionals throughout his expansive career. Now, Michael is taking his passion for journalism and theatrical storytelling to new heights by collaborating with PEPPER Magazine and taking on a staff contributor role. He will be responsible for the majority of commercial video content for the

publication through his tenure to come.

STACEY RAE OLIVARESGARCIA PHOTOJOURNALIST Stacey is a San Antonio native, growing up down

the road from Karam's Mexican Restaurant and The Malt House. While residing in Austin, Stacey began to grow her passion for photojournalism by capturing the heart of the person behind the lens. She wanted to bring this fresh outlook with her to San Antonio. Returning to her hometown allowed her to focus on the art in a person's story. Stacey's work has been featured in several magazines such as; Entertainment Tonight Online, Voyage Houston, and S.A. Scene Magazine. She has captured photos for multiple businesses across various industries including Luzianne Tea and August Ink. ​ er creative eye and ability to capture her H subjects’ stories with grace and dignity makes Olivares-Garcia the perfect addition to the PEPPER team.

MELANIE ALLISON NETWORKING LIAISON One day, I decided to take life by the (long)horns and got back to my roots by modeling

staff. and painting again. I wanted to break the fashion industry standards and stigmas by creating a need for a petite and classic model. I started working with local photographers in the Austin area, building a new portfolio. Soon I discovered independent magazines and learned how to submit my work. I was finally published and on the cover of a magazine for the first time in October 2016. Soon after that, I was signed with TL Modeling Agency in Houston, Texas. But things don’t always go as planned. After enduring occasional rejection from magazine editors, I founded my own art & fashion magazine called Bevie in November 2016. My mission with Bevie was to showcase emerging, local and international talent such as artists, models, photographers, designers, and other creatives. By making a sophisticated publication more approachable, I was able to help my fellow colleagues get established or further along in their career. After two years of publishing my bimonthly mag, I decided to go back to work full-time and the last issue was released in December 2018. Bevie still has quite the following today! Today, I am now focused on creating mixed media art, establishing my networking event, turned group called Girl Flock Party, and becoming a part of the local artist community. It has been an amazing journey and I am grateful for every experience along the way!” Melanie is a great asset to the PEPPER team and provides valuable guidance, lead finding and creative / marketing advice from her home base in the Georgetown / Austin area.

ROMY NAVA HEALING PRACTITIONER Romy Nava has been actively developing his gift as a healer since the beginning of 2013. As a Sound Healing and Reiki practitioner, he has formulated a signature holistic protocol.

His clients are comforted and claim to experience a relaxed calming sensation for days following each session he provides. Also a media tech and podcast host, Romy aims to educate and hold space for enlightened thought by way of his platform. He establishes a dialogue that is relatable with the intention of getting to the core of the human psyche, spirit and mind-body connection. He examines the choices we make vs. practical and functional resolution. All of this expertise and experience makes him an incredible asset to PEPPER Magazine. Say hello to Romy and open yourself up to learning something new… maybe even about yourself.

ANDREW BARRAZA MEN’S GROOMING STYLE CONSULTANT Andrew is a graphic novel artist & comic book enthusiast who also happens to be a mustache connoisseur. “Men are always just kinda left out when it comes to

staff. grooming topics. I had to learn all my tricks on the street. I’m and ambassador for a couple of stache grooming brands. It’s been a blast growing it, helping others with tips and making new friends. I still draw when I have the chance. Love comics and art.” He is here to lend PEPPER Magazine his expertise in mens grooming, the subcultural aspect that goes along with this niche and other great products, tips and resources for men. “It’s really funny, without knowing when I got into it, there’s a giant mustache community out there of dudes that are happy to encourage, give tips, even help out with charities and events. One of the companies that I ambassador for donates part of every sale to first responders. Turns out there’s a lot of firemen that make and sell mustache wax also. And seeing people randomly, I ALWAYS get compliments from people. And I’m happy they think it’s cool and get a kick outta it. Even gotten some free beers in the bars. That’s worth it right there alone.”

SINENKOSI MSOMI PHOTOJOURNALIST & CONCEPTUAL ARTIST Sinenkosi Msomi is an exceptional photographer born in Eswatini and currently residing in Mbabane, Mpolonjeni. His work consists of staged and conceptual photography. The themes contained in his

work include addressing mental health issues, the importance of self-expressions and exploring the significance of one's childhood memories. His upbringing plays a major role in how his work eventually plays out. He recollects the different sides of growing up in an African extended family and how that helped shape him. His pictures help him talk about things that he sometimes finds no words to fully express. Msomi is an incredible asset to PEPPER Magazine and will continue to work remotely, bringing impactful documentary through the personal and unique storytelling of his imagery.

ALYSE DEANDA NETWORKING LIAISON & SPECIALIST Alyse Deanda is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Blooming Social, a social media marketing and management agency. She assists small businesses as they navigate the complex world of Digital Marketing for the first time. She has also assisted multi-billion dollar businesses in accomplishing their marketing goals. In 2022, she founded Wild Bloom Vintage, a women’s fashion e-boutique that is focused on sourcing sustainable women’s fashion and nicknacks. Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Alyse now resides in San Antonio, Texas. She is a proud alumna of St. Mary's University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications. She is a model and

staff. actress with representation in San Antonio, TX, Shreveport, LA and NYC, NY. Alyse has worked in the fashion industry both behind the scenes as well as in the spotlight for almost a decade. In addition, she is proud to serve on the Board of Directors of FerrariKid, a nonprofit organization that is focused on bringing joy to children battling cancer and chronic illness. As a networking liaison for PEPPER Magazine, Alyse will be pulling from her wealth of experience and knowledge to guide networking, gather leads and connect nonprofits and businesses with our publishing firm.


into something that I have excitedly worked on for the last 13+ years. Whether it be going to local venues, traveling for festivals, or touring with bands on and off over the years. My opportunity to capture the raw emotion of the artists is an experience that will never cease to fill me with joy. With more doors opening, I plan to continue learning about, and expanding my craft, while striving for more new experiences throughout my ever growing life as a photographer.” Corey will be covering various leads and events for PEPPER in Austin and surrounding areas. He’s also working on showcasing some intense and striking documentary imagery from his archives over time.


PHOTOJOURNALIST A Texas native, with a curiosity of the human experience. “Having always been fascinated by the psychology / sociology of people, while also lacking the ability to focus my interests, and thoughts into words, I knew at a young age that photography was my outlet to show the world what I see. With inspiration from some of the classic greats like Elliot Erwitt, Gary Winogrand, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Weegee, my passion for street photography/photojournalism will continue to be the driving force behind what I do with a camera. Living in Austin, TX for the majority of my life, has also given me the best environment to mix my love of music, and photography

STYLE CONSULTANT “My name is Charity Stewart. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I am a very family oriented person I grew up with two sisters and a brother. In high school is where I met my now husband, we have been together since 2015 and have been married since 2021. I went to Sam Houston State University to run track and I majored in business. I moved to San Antonio in 2021. I am a licensed disability job coach. One of my passions is helping people and being certified allowed me the opportunity to help people with disabilities from the ages of 17-23 find a job and be equipped for the workforce. Currently I work as a barista at Press Coffee

staff. and also at Mint Vintage. My husband and I are in the process of launching our brand called Team Faithful. We started this because we want to encourage young couples to stay committed and honor each other despite what the culture is saying today. We believe that life is about community and helping others which makes me so happy to be a part of PEPPER Magazine where helping people is in our DNA. Growing up, I have always had a passion for fashion. I remember getting up on Saturdays to put outfits together and giving my family a fashion show in the living room. Now as an adult I am able to make a fashion show for myself every day and also for PEPPER Magazine.” Charity will be sharing her favorite fashion and beauty tips, hacks and trends (old and new) as well as the brands and entrepreneurs she recommends in her own column.

old (when I was published in an international magazine) and picked up photography over a decade ago, always pushing myself and my equipment as far as I could, developing my style to show people how vibrant, beautiful, and varied the world is. I have sold prints of my photography, as well as being published in periodicals. Pepper will be the first publication where I will be contributing regularly as I've spent several years focusing on horse training and more recently, being a single mom to a very bright and busy toddler. I am so excited to be part of Pepper, and I hope we'll be seeing each other for a long time to come!"


SEFRA SCHWAB PHOTOJOURNALIST “I'm Sefra, and while I have a lot of interests that I feel deeply about, the most important things to me are my faith, my daughter, and my deep-seated love for animals and the people who love them (especially horses). As a recently diagnosed autistic following several years of misdiagnoses, I have an intense interest in philosophy and all the different ways that humans are. I have been writing - mostly poetry, and short stories - since I was about 10 years

Jonathan Darren Garcia is a San Antonio based writer. He was a featured poet in That Gray Zine: San Antonio's Collective Carefest. He has been published in multiple literary magazines including Crepe & Penn (Now known as C&P Quarterly), Scum Gentry Alternative Arts, Beyond The Veil, From Whisper To Roars, Royal Rose, etc. Notable works include "You Both Need To Leave Right now!", "The Energy Of A Stone" and "Samson". He dreams of a story worth telling. On his off time he enjoys a good cup of coffee from one of the many local spots in San Antonio. With his compelling handle on the flash fiction genre, Jonathan will maintain a gripping monthly column in PEPPER Magazine.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.