Page 1


Atiba T. Edwards

Founder & Chief Curator

Atiba is an engineer focused on making and connecting creative people, nodes, networks and moments.

Allison Martiza Lasky Curator

Allison believes that children are the best artists—they are individual universes of infinite creativity.

Emily Wen Curator

Emily enjoys the pleasure of aesthetics and in contemplating the meaning of life.

Jolillian "Jozi" Zwerdling Curator

Jozi finds inspiration in those who understand timelessness and travel in alternate dimensions.


Akela Auer / Neil Berger / Gigi Chen / Naomi Edmondson / Atiba T. Edwards / Savior ElMundo / Christian Ericson / Anca Gray / Lakiesha Herman / Jordan Kifer / Nyah Layne / Eileen Lei / Alice Matzkin / Richard Matzkin / Alice Mizrachi / Kristine Palma / Kerff Petit-Frere / Mariama Rafetna / Wynona Rolfe / Jordana Rubenstein-Edberg / Claire Schorin / Michael Sorgatz / Katherine Toukhy / Emily Wen / Yelena Zivkovich / Jozi Zwerdling INSIGHT magazine is dedicated to showcasing the artists who are creating work today and shaping culture. We highlight artists from all art disciplines and artists from across the globe. FOKUS produces INSIGHT to provide just that - insight into the artists who are alive and creating art in traditional, nontraditional and emerging fields in their own way. Questions, comments and submission inquiries can be sent to insightsubmit@gmail.com INSIGHT magazine is published by FOKUS, Inc. To view back issues, visit www.fokus.org/insight All rights reserved on entire contents. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. The opinions expressed in this agazine are those of the contributors and not necessarily shaed by the INSIGHT staff or FOKUS, Inc.


INSIGHT magazine: Love Affairs Table of Contents

4 Mariama Rafetna Let Me Show You Yelena Zivkovich Te Amo 5 Akela Auer Untitled 6 Naomi Edmondson Soulmates are a Lie 7 Jordana Rubenstein-Edberg Divorce 9 Christian Ericson Host 10 11 Jordan Kifer Full of the World Katherine Toukhy Haremfictions 19 20 Katherine Toukhy Things You Didn't Say Kristine Palma No Metaphors 21 Anca Gray Lost Without You 22 24 Anca Gray Open Up Hope 25 Anca Gray For the Taking Atiba T. Edwards The Annual Ad Hoc Reunion 26 Kerff Petit-Frere Infedility Color 27 29 Lakiesha Herman Fantasy Affair 30 Savior ElMundo Embrace Women Savior ElMundo Red Lady 31 31 Savior ElMundo Insatiable Lady 32 Nyah Layne Love Affairs 33 Michael Sorgatz Double Portrait (Diamonds) 35 Gigi Chen It's All Happening 37 Gigi Chen Be Mine 38 Gigi Chen I Miss You 39 Atiba T. Edwards Guiding Light 46 Mariama Rafetna A Moment of Color 47 Neil Berger Tree Planters 49 Neil Berger Two Friends 51 Neil Berger Flower Vendor Neil Berger Video Store 53 Jozi Zwerdling Divagation 55 Wynona Rolfe Fei Fei Safari 56 Emily Wen Love In 57 59 Claire Schorin Rookie's Mediation Upon A Mutual Friendship Kind of Richard Matzkin Lovers 61 Alice Matzkin Naked Truth 68 Eileen Lei Womb 73 Alice Mizrachi Cupid 75



Curator's Letter

by Atiba T. Edwards When the team suggested "Love Affairs" as the theme for our February issue, I had to double check the definitions of the phrase. The word "affairs" has always been perceived negatively and I didn't want to start the year off on that type of note. Thankfully, one possible definition includes an intense liking for something or someone. The cover art (Let Me Show You by Mariama Rafetna) fits this theme spot on. Other works in this issue touch on infidelity and misinterpreted signals (check out "Host" by Christian Ericson or "Infidelity Color" by Kerff Petit-Frere or "Soulmates are a Lie" by Naomi Edmondson). This isn't an examination of just love. The "Love Affairs" issue provides insight into the trials and tribulations of what love means in a context that starts on a personal level and evolves to inter-personal. Love is not a currency (regardless of the Valentine's day hoopla) that we can exchange in order to insure that we are giving each other a fair deal. If it was, then measuring love would be simple- my $1 million dollars of love equals your $1 million dollars of love. $1 million dollars of the same currency will always equals $1 million dollars of the same currency. We are individuals and exhibit our love in our own way, which is often different from our partner(s). When someone feels they are not getting the same amount back, out comes the discussion of the balance of the scales; "You don't love me as much as I love you." One pound of feathers does equal one pound of diamonds. Can you tell me how much love weighs? We have a great range of artistic interpretations of what "Love Affairs" means, from loving but not getting it reciprocated to infidelity to love lost and also admiration. I hope you enjoy INSIGHT: Love Affairs. Save the Date: February 19th we are doing a free release party for this issue at THE DL (95 Delancey St. NYC - see flyer on page 2 for info). Atiba T. Edwards



Let Me Show You

by Mariama Rafetna

"Let Me Show You" was inspired by my all time favorite song, "The Panties," by my favorite artist, Mos Def (aka Yasiin Bey). The photo was taken on a Bed-Stuy summer afternoon, moments after realizing someone I was very much so interested in wasn't seeing me correctly. I looked up, smiled at the sky, took the picture and said "let me show you" - all the while singing the Mos Def song in my head. A snippet of the lyrics: Baby slow down, take your time You and me goin' be here for a while Okay, hey I got so much that I want to do I can show you better than I can say Let me show you Let me show you Let me show you Let me show you I wanna show you Let me show you Let me show you Let me show you...


INSIGHT: Love Affairs

Te Amo

by Yelena Zivkovich

2012. Acrylic on canvas. 30 x 24in. Yelena Zivkovich dreams to be a part of something big one day, something to help communities, to help fix a nation from the inside out. She believes art gives us a voice and can highlight what needs help in our society. www.yzconcepts.com 5 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE



by Akela Auer we used to call each other galaxy as if we knew or could understand the magnitude of a word like that a force like this. a collection of stars like us a bouquet a menagerie a forest fire you know the way people talk around their words? how we say nothing to the people we love? i've watched you make water in front of my skin i've watched you paint trees down into submission. nothing in the world knows freedom the way trees do. i've gathered words for you in my cheeks for a winter that never comes.

Akela Auer is 21 and living and dying in Portland, Oregon. She has her mother's thirst for insanity and her father's chin and Platinum Fubu shirt. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 6

INSIGHT: Love Affairs

Soulmates are A Lie By Naomi Edmondson 7 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE

2012. Acrylic paint, pencil and pen. 11 x 12 in.


Naomi Edmondson is a native New Yorker who has always surrounded herself with the written word, from memorizing monologues to doodling song lyrics on her jeans. Her word based drawings and paintings are attempts to capture her slippery thoughts on paper. www.facebook.com/artbynaomie INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 8



by Jordana Rubenstein-Edberg I absentmindedly reach my thumb to my left ring finger—checking for my wedding ring. I’ve forgotten that I no longer wear it. I am a divorcée; now a part of the 52% of this country who couldn’t make it work, thought too hastily, acted out of desperation, or, out of fear, forced themselves to conform. My marriage lasted 5 years 2 months and 1 hour. 5:47 p.m.; I remember seeing this time on his ratty Timex the day we stood close and full of hope. I saw it again on a day where the air was sharp and the space thick with accusations. He said she said. I said he said. I saw the time on his gold Rolodex. 5:47 p.m. How hard I had worked to remember that number and the average number of times he knocks on door, stomps his feet before removing shoes, combs his hair and brushes his teeth. I memorized the birthdays of all his cousins and made apple pie spontaneously. I forgot to look beautiful and he forgot how to see beyond beauty. He began to love freshly dry-cleaned suits and bottles of cologne, thwarting his insecurities with a superficial masculinity. I told him I didn’t like his new Armani socks. He told me he didn’t like me. This thought makes me laugh. The laugh bubbles and explodes and froths out of me until I am laughing uncontrollably on my living room floor. My stomach aches, my body trembles and I never want this to stop. Even after all the pain he is still making me laugh. The thing is, I really, really love those socks.

Jordana Rubenstein-Edberg lives outside of D.C. but wants to travel all over the world. She loves writing, reading, cats, and chocolate!




by Christian Ericson She said I was a good host I never thought of her as a parasite

Christian Ericson was born in San Francisco, and grown in New England. He has read at the KGB Bar, Bowery Poetry Club, & other NYC venues. He also is a visual artist & designer whose work has been shown internationally. www.brightmoments.org INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 10


No Metaphors by Jordan Kifer



Jordan Kifer: When was the first time you realized art could be something more than just something you liked to do on the side – possibly a career? Chris Roberts-Antieau: I was completely naïve when I started. I didn’t go to art school or anything you know, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. My first little art fair was in Ludington, Michigan, at a time I was creating with 3-dimensional fabric. It took me 24 hrs to make this stuffed acrobat on a trapeze I sold for $18 dollars - I was so excited! The entire process was a huge learning curve for me. After that fair, and I spent two years losing money, but that [sale] was the first thing to stimulate my business sense. JK: People don’t realize that it’s a business, too. CRA: Yeah it is. And, it’s tough to use both sides of your brain that way which becomes a challenge for a lot of artists who have an aversion to the business side of it, which is not smart. JK: How do the places where you’ve lived and visited inspire you and how have you seen them translate into what you make? CRA: I think that artists pull the world in and put it back out subconsciously. I’ve definitely done that, especially having lived in different places. I was born in Ann Arbor (AA) and lived within 50 miles of it all my life surrounded by woods and water. I had a studio in urban San Diego for a long time, and, since our gallery opening in New Orleans a few years ago, that space has been creeping in a little bit too. I’ve been lucky because I’ve been able to balance having city and country environments in my life. Putting yourself in experiences like that really spark me up. JK: What motivated your shift from doing wearable art to fabric paintings? CRA: I used to manage 10 studios atop the AA Art Center for a free studio. I was poor and just starting out, so this role was really instrumental in my beginnings. It wasn’t until a mini workshop that I learned I’d finally be able to take the drawings I’d created and translate them into fabric. Around ’86 a wearable art show was held at the AAAC, and I thought ‘Oh I can make a little jacket or vest or something.’ So I made a couple of pieces, some of which the Governor’s wife wore at the show which kick started this crazy big thing, landing me my first show in Baltimore. There, people fought to place orders in my booth. Then, I began working with Neiman Marcus and independent wearable art galleries in New York. I was blown away, it totally overwhelmed me. It was so nutty that after only 1 year, we hired 15 people – I was just burned out, even felt broken. I knew fashion wasn’t really what I wanted to do, making the art was. One day I had another artist up in my studio say ‘Why don’t you just put a frame around those things,’ and I thought ‘Oh my god that’s a great idea!’— it was a revelation for me, and I’ve been doing it that way ever since. JK: What do you enjoy about the materials that you’re using? Why do you gravitate to fabric as opposed to other materials?



CRA: I don’t know but I’ve always loved it! I worked in a fabric store when I was sixteen and I’ve been sewing since I was in the seventh grade and… who knows why you have compulsions? I love the patterns and the feel, I love sewing and putting fabric together. I think, when you’re an artist you find this media and can’t even explain why but you’re just totally drawn to it, immersed in it. JK: Do you find yourself being able to think through things better when you know that those are the things you’re using or what you’re pulling from? When you’re coming up with ideas and you know ‘this is how I’m going to translate it’ (using certain fabric)? CRA: Yes I do. I’m still intrigued by the technique and by how I can play with a sewing machine, in the kinds of stitches I can come up with and how I can make the sewing machine draw the way I want it to draw. I have a confidence now that I’ve been doing it so long, but I don’t ever want it to be easy for me though, so I push myself every time I do a piece. Even though I know that I can handle the fabric, I like to push myself farther than I’ve ever gone with it before. 13 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE


JK: On your website you say that your work is joy-based. Could you talk more about what you mean by that? CRA: I always hope that artists are working out of their own gut and bringing their interpretation of the world into their art. I think things are either hysterically funny, ridiculously interesting, or have some sort of big, spiritual, fulfilling kind of thing. It’s just, I feel full of the world all the time. So I try to put that back out, and to me, kind of our purpose for being here is, when you glean it all down, it’s about being joyful. So I like to make my work talk about that. JK: What are some of the realities of living off your work as an artist that other people who don’t live off what they create might not know or be aware of, things that are changing? For example, art fairs, how you approach an art fair has probably changed in the past ten, fifteen years. CRA: That’s very true. I’ve done art fairs for the last 25 years and they’ve been an amazing opportunity. You make the art, take it out there and there’s no middleman. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 14


But, in the last four or five years fairs have slowed down; the demographic is getting older, younger people aren’t really jumping in there very much so we’ve had to tweak things and think about another way to get the work out. Enter our Pop-Up. We did one in Portland, Manhattan, New Orleans and one in Ann Arbor - the one in NO did so well that it stayed. So that’s kind of what we’re doing now- doing Pop-Ups and see if any of them stick which equates to having my own retail outlets where I can just make and sell the work. That’s one of the biggest things I would say—when you’re making your living doing your art, it is very tempting when you become successful at it, to keep doing the same thing because you’re financially tied into that. You can’t do that as an artist. It will kill you, it will be the end of your career. You have to keep pushing, you have to trust what got you to that point and then keep pushing yourself with your work. People won’t follow you otherwise and you’ll lose your market. And you’re not being true to yourself, you’ve compromised yourself. So it’s really important to not be afraid, trust yourself and your work, and go forward with it. JK: You were the subject of a recent documentary ‘A Love Letter to Tom Waits.’ What was that like? CRA: It was hard. I’m an observer. I didn’t want to be the observed. For 2 years a camera followed me around full time and I had to get used to it. There were times when I’d just say ‘Turn that thing off, I can’t stand it’, but after a while I realized what we were doing, got used to it until it’d sort of fade into the background and it was OK. The end result was really great so it was all worth it. Angela Brookbank was the director and producer, and she did a great job. JK: How did the decision to have a pop-up in AA come about? Why here and why did now seem like a good fit? CRA: AA, it’s my hometown you know, my roots are here. I’ve had so much great support from the community and I thought wouldn’t it be cool if [a pop-up] would click here. Everything just fell into place, the space came up and the time was right—it’s like it was supposed to happen. JK: What are some of the appeals of setting up shop in a temporary space, as opposed to a permanent space? CRA: I like the energy of it. I’m only here for 3 ½ weeks so it’s a ‘you have to come in NOW to see it,’ and I like that. I like that it changes the dynamic in the neighborhood too. It’s stimulating for me as an artist to have the work in a new space and have new people come see it. And, for an artist, it’s a natural thing to have happen.





JK: Your work was part of the exhibition ‘What Makes Us Smile.’ What gives you joy, is it from art or just from things in your life? CRA: I think everything is funny, it’s really sick but I do. I just think everything is so interesting. I’m sort of naturally curious and I keep myself almost on a tightrope between the unconscious and conscious. It’s as if I’m in this constant state of wonder. I don’t like to know the answers to things, I like to wonder what’s going on more than I like to know. While it’s a kind of childlike place to be, if you keep yourself there, everything’s always cool and interesting. I love to laugh, that’s about my favorite thing, I laugh for no reason all the time.



JK: Please complete the phrase “Art is…” CRA: Art is anything you do with your hands and mind that you do the very best you can. I think that’s what art is. To see more of Chris' work, visit www.chrisroberts-antieau.com/wordpress/index.php Jordan Kifer is a 22-year old student currently living in Ann Arbor, MI. She is driven by the belief that everyone is an artist and has something beautiful to share.


INSIGHT: Love Affairs


by Katherine Toukhy

Watercolor. 2009. 38 x 49.5 in. Katherine Toukhy is an Egyptian American artist currently based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She enjoys combining and recombining figures, Orientalist figures, reworked elements of Byzantine and Islamic art, and organic forms to express desire/loss/resistance/growth. www.katherinetoukhy.com 19 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE


The Things You Didn't Say by Katherine Toukhy

Mixed media. 2013. 8 x 16 in.



No Metaphors by Kristine Palma

Your blue eyes and porcelain skin Glow beneath me. As your lungs expand into mine. I slip into you. My heart beats violently Bruising my ribs black and blue Begging to feel you with its own flesh. Not vicariously. Through fingertips Or lips. I want you to feel me Beating inside of you. No metaphors.

Kristine is a poet who hopped on board the academic train. She’s currently finishing her Masters in Women’s Studies at San Diego State University. Contact: palmakristine@gmail.com. lmnopalma.wordpress.com



Lost Without Fox Trot by Anca Gray

Mixed media on canvas. 2011. 11 x 14 in.


INSIGHT: Love Affairs

Open Up Hope by Anca Gray

I love creating delicate, new art pieces out of discarded vintage books, antique lace and doilies, and other assorted bits of found objects! I am interested in everything poetic, emotion, capturing and savoring.

Mixed media on canvas. 2011. 11 x 14 in. Anca Gray is a Romanian born, Chicago based artist with a background in architecture and a history of cooking up a storm. In 2010, Anca took the plunge to focusing full time on art. "I live for promoting and encouraging creativity in life, work and play." ancagray.tumblr.com/ 23 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE



INSIGHT: Love Affairs

For The Taking by Anca Gray 25 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE

Mixed media on canvas. 20


The Annual Ad Hoc Reunion by Atiba T. Edwards

Black is his favorite color It symbolized a time when his tribe of family and friends would gather. There was Daddy, Mommy, Sister and Brother, Uncle and Aunty were hugged by the entrance way. Everyone gathered for it was Cousin's day; And as always, new faces huddled together. Although the windows to their souls were covered in rain, He smiled as he thought how happy everyone would be when they gathered to carry him.

010. 11 x 14 in. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 26

INSIGHT: Love Affairs

I took the theme of infidelity literally, portraying a husband using his matrimonal bed as a setting of his affair with an unknown woman. The family portraits are visible but are obscured due to the betrayal that has taken place Being heavily influenced by film noir and people, I chose this direction to explore how I could portray such an event using strong blacks and a limited palette to emulate a more dramatic scene.



Infidelity Color

by Kerff Petit-Frere

Ink and digital color. 2012. 8.5 x 11 in.

Kerff Petit-Frere is a Brooklyn, NY-based Illustrator and an alumnus of Syracuse University's Illustration program. His illustrations have been featured in the Society of Illustrators 2011 student show and the JPMorganChase Student Showcase in Syracuse, New York.. www. kerff-ink.com



Fantasy Affair

by Lakiesha Herman

Kisses to the misses as she rests her head asleep. I slide. Dive into your world where I nestle closely to your soul. Sweat connects us as I lose track of yours and mine. Waves pour and we drown in one another. The sun erects and you escape. Laid wide awake I wait for her to drift. Steady tip toes creep and I sneak to you. Welcomed by warm wetness that I swim into. No words are said. No emotions are shared. Just an exchange of feelings that eventually subdue. I begin to whisper but am hushed by the persistent sun. I run. Kisses from the misses in the morning. Remnants of your wetness leaves me sticky. She doesn't notice. I rush through the day as I live for the night. That's where we meet. A fantasy land that awaits when I sleep. Is it cheating if you're just a dream? Goodnight.

Lakeshia Herman is a Brooklyn-based artist that loves expression in art form. Drawing has always been a love of hers and poetry is a recent affair. "If impact is made, then I will consider myself achieved." learnquest.tumblr.com 29 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE


Embrace Women by Savior ElMundo

Enamel paint and acrylic paint on shower curtain. 2012.

Savior ELMundo's works are profoundly moving compositions which envelope the viewer with the very visibility of their formal processes. He transfers the angst of an unresolved adolescence into deeply spiritual works which are bold and self confident, energetic to the point of being riveting. www.zhibit.org/saviorelmundo


INSIGHT: Love Affairs

Red Lady (Left) & Insatiabale Lady (right) by Savior ElMundo


Enamel paint and acrylic paint on wood. 2012. (for both)


Love Affairs

by Nyah Layne I'm in a love affair with art. I got this camera, so I can start To branch out in my expression A mild artistic digression; Because I'm constantly in need of change, Longing to expand my creative range. It's nice to shift from the normal Writing that I've gotten used to. I started because I liked it And stayed because it's easy, But I'm not very monogamous, I can, in fact, get quite sleazy; And art is my cheap motel, I use different mediums every night. I use them to get off From work Just don't tell my life. My friends say she's a distraction From my problems in marriage "'Til death do us part" A subtle attraction Is what first caught my eye, But after one date Things went awry. The reason it's not just love, I'm having an affair, Is that my main fix Doesn't know this, My mistress, Though she's always there. Don't get me wrong, I love my wife - my life, But sometimes she's A bit much to bear. So I find my peace, My sweet release, In a harmless, little Love affair.

Nyah Layne is a 17 year old high school student from Maryland. She enjoys making various forms of art, mainly visual art. She also likes skateboarding and pizza and combinations of the three. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 32

INSIGHT: Love Affairs

Double Portrait (Diamonds) by Michael Sorgatz

My paintings of figures in urban landscapes depict the constant evolution of the city, exploring the boundary between abstraction and realism. Working from digitally manipulated photographs, I systematically break down the image by overlaying a geometric pattern and reducing the image to a series of simple shapes. Using an improvisational method, I apply the paint with a variety of tools such as brushes and painting knives. This technique creates a highly textured surface as layers of paint are applied to build the picture, obscuring identities and context. The resulting images portray a dynamic state of turbulence where shapes collide, merge, and separate to create new forms.

Currently living in NYC, Michael Sorgatz was born in Chicago and earned a BFA degree at the Art Institute of Southern California. He publishes the websites- Art in Brooklyn and Art in New York City, which promote local artists. www.mikesorgatz.com 33 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE


Acrylic on board, 2010. 24 × 24 in. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 34

INSIGHT: Love Affairs

The Birds and The Bees by Gigi Chen

"The Birds and The Bees" series explore the nuances of relationships. The Bee stands in as a metaphor for Love and the figures for the drama of Love. Like relationships, the Bee itself has the duality of being both cute and soft but they also have stingers that can potentially inflict pain. I like to describe this series as “Soft, cute and can sting… but just a little.

It's All Happening by Gigi Chen

Acrylic on board, 2010. 24 × 24 in. Born in Guang Dong, China and raised in New York, Gigi Chen received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in NYC in traditional animation. Gigi has exhibited her paintings in New York at Deitch Projects, the Queens Museum of Art and Mighty Tanaka Gallery. www. facebook.com/GigiChenArtist 35 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE



INSIGHT: Love Affairs

Be Mine (Bye Bye Forever) by Gigi Chen

Oil paint and color pencil on wood panel. 2012. 30 x 30 in. 37 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE


I Miss

by Gigi Chen Oil paint and color pencil on wood panel. 2012. 30 x 30 in. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 38


Ben Witherick (Konfucius) , Chris McBride (IDOL), and Joe Boin (DEST)

Guiding Light

by Atiba T. Edwards



I first met Ben during his visit to paint at 5Pointz (Long Island City, NY) from Australia. In one of our conversations since first meeting, Ben mentioned that art really saved his life after a near fatal accident. He recently collaborated with fellow artists, IDOL and DEST on a mural. The three share more of their story and the role art played in their lives. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 40


Atiba: Why did each artist involved with this piece decide to turn to art? KONFUCIUS: I found it as an escape. In 2009, I suffered a near fatal quad bike accident, which put me out of work and left me housebound for some time. I decided to start painting as way to distract myself from constantly replaying the event in my mind. Eventually, one painting turned into another, and it wasn’t long before I had a massive collection of artwork in my house. One day I decided to put a few photos of my work on Facebook, and the response was overwhelming. No one knew that I had this hidden talent. From then on I didn’t stop. I eventually transitioned into using a spray can and hooked up with some other artists in Perth. DEST: I was a drywall installer with my family business but I always wanted to do something with my art and creativity. I hated drywall and always thought I was wasting away my artistic talents. When the opportunity arose to become a tattoo apprentice, I put down my tools and shut my drywall business down almost instantly. Tattooing, although a high paying profession, quickly became a job as the novelties wore off. Being stuck in a chair for hours, tattooing annoying people who move or smell, always fighting against peoples different skin types etc. It wasn't until I was imprisoned whilst still a tattoo apprentice that I turned to other forms of art, such as painting. Once released from prison on parole, I decided I did not want to go back to tattooing and wanted to pursue art as a full time profession. I have not looked back since. (In 2011, DEST National Prison Fellowship Art Competition award for a painting featuring Westerners in foreign jails). IDOL: I grew up in a strict dysfunctional family as an only child and it wasn't easy to deflect anger displacement when tension was often brewing. The easiest escape was to shut my mouth, go in my room and pretend I didn't even exist. The best way I knew was to create my own world on paper. The more tension that was in the house hold the harder I would concentrate on my drawings. You'd be amazed with how creative you can get when you put your mind to it- just so you can block out every thing else. 41 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE


AE: How did each of you connect to collaborate on the "Day of the Dead" piece? K: I heard of DEST when I was in high school. I used to look up to a lot of graffiti writers in my city, and DEST was one of the most well known. He was leading the way in the Perth graffiti scene, bombing spots other writers wouldn’t even dare. It turns out, I actually met him a few times, but I never knew the alter ego behind the guy I met as ‘Joe,’ was the graffiti writer, DEST. He used to date my cousin Michelle, but it wasn’t until I found out through her that he went to jail and that Joe was DEST. I heard that he got out of jail, so I thought that I’d send him an e-mail asking if he wanted to collaborate on a piece. He got back to me straight away and we met up that weekend and talked. We looked at both of our styles to figure out how we could work together. We decided to do a piece revolving around the circle of life. We wanted to have some Sugar Skulls in the piece, a pretty girl, roses and butterflies representing new life. DEST started doing the girl's face on the wall, and midway through doing it, decided to do her face with the day-of-the dead motifs. It looked good, fitted in with the theme, so he just ran with it. DEST and I started the mural, but then we had to enlist the help of IDOL as we didn’t quite realize the scope of the wall and how long it would take to do. I: One morning I got a call from Joe telling me that he is working on a project in North Bridge with a new chap named Ben from Konfucius Designs asking if I wanted to help out. Knowing the endless skills that Joe possesses and trusting his judgement in Ben's capabilities in what is a new field to him meant a new and exciting challenge for all of us to combine three unique styles. I was in for a very interesting and creative few days that so happened to be a winner. K: People may look at the sugar skulls in our piece and immediately think of death. However, the Skulls or ‘Calacas,’ synonymous with annual Mexican ‘Dia de los Muertos’ celebrations, symbolize protection, strength, overcoming a tough time, and a change in one’s life. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 42


A: What does the theme "circle of life" mean for you? DEST: The theme for the mural was based on coming into spring seasona season which is full of life, color, beauty, energy, warmth etc. The Day of the Dead references are a celebration of life and a remembrance of those who have passed. All three of us have lost friends and family over the years so it was also a fitting tribute to them, and the good times and memories we have. IDOL: The first thing that pops into my head when you ask this question is the amount of greed that is in this materialistic, saturated world and how living a wealthy life is just not enough for people any more. Now we also want to live forever?! To me that just throws the word "sharing" out of wack. Nothing is supposed to live forever. We are put on this Earth to live, learn and strengthen our gifts of creativity- whatever they my be. Leaving an interpretation of our understanding of knowledge from those before us, for those after us, to help educate their future children. KONFUCIUS: Life has its ups and downs. Good times and bad. You laugh, you cry, we all ride the roller coaster of life in some way. I believe everyone has their issues that they need to deal with, everyone has a story to tell, or a cross to bear, it's just how you overcome them and turn out on the other side. 43 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE


The three of us have been through some stuff in our lives. We come from different backgrounds, but have had to battle various hardships along the way. A: As you battle the hardships, what role does love play in keeping you going? What do you love? K: The love for art keeps us going; being able to produce something that inspires people. We see our art as a gift. Gifts are meant to be shared. Everyone was put on this earth for a reason; maybe ours was to produce cool art, who knows. When going through difficult times, the love to push ourselves creatively keeps us going. Art provides us with an outlet, a voice, an escape, a distraction from the dramas that may being going on around us. What do I love? I love being creative. I love being individual. I love knowing what we are doing is reaching out to people. Personally, if I could paint every day for the rest of my life, I’d be a happy man. We aren't in it for the money or fame; we get more of a kick out of people seeing our work, taking a step back, and knowing that they are taking something away from it, that we reached out to them in some special way. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 44


I: Love?... I guess the thing that motivates me to take my art seriously is all my failed relationships. To let all those people that are and were closest to me down to follow my dreams and not actually make anything of it would make my whole life completely pointless. I feel I have come to a point of no return, besides I'm addicted to graffiti! That's a pretty good excuse right? D: Love is a word I do not throw around lightly. In terms of relationships love does not motivate me to paint or create. I think it only slows you down. I sound like a lonely old man, which is not far from the truth. But what I do love is creating art, the feeling of creating something is my love drug. That is what keeps me going. I love to paint and create. Whether it be drawing, airbrushing, painting and so forth Art is what I love doing and I love the fact I can earn a living from it. A: Complete the phrase "art is" I: Art is not a phase. It's my life! K: Art is my medicine. D: Art is everywhere, you just have to open your mind to see it. To see more of the artists' work: KONFUCIUS: www.konfuciusdesigns.com.au DEST: www.artbydestroy.com.au/ IDOL: www.facebook.com/IdolMotions



A Moment of Color by Mariama Rafetna

she fell in love with a moment of thought worn gracefully upon her face eyes relaxed lips puckered gaze steady, in a moment she fell in love with a sound a smell a feeling a notion.. of a memory of an idea of someone... the expression of an emotion of something she once knew. a touch once felt sweet nothings once whispered and promises once kept... she fell in love for a moment... a moment of bliss. a moment of color. a moment of infinity.... she fell in love with a moment of life.

Mariama Rafetna Primus is a writer, artist and web producer from Brooklyn, NY. Mariama presently runs her own media shop called 5ive30 Media, where she produces websites, offers copy writing and design services to local businesses and brands. Link: helloblu3bird. tumblr.com INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 46

INSIGHT: Love Affairs



Tree Planters by Neil Berger

Oil paint on canvas. 2012. 26 x 32 in. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 48

INSIGHT: Love Affairs



Two Friends by Neil Berger

Oil paint on canvas. 2012. 26 x 32 in. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 50

INSIGHT: Love Affairs



Flower Vendor by Neil Berger

Oil paint on canvas. 2012. 24 x 36 in. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 52

INSIGHT: Love Affairs

Video Store

by Neil Berger 53 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE

Oil paint on canvas. 2012. 24 x 36 in.


Neil Berger was born in Denmark in 1971. He received a BA from Stanford University in Studio Art and Cognitive Science and a MFA in painting from Boston University. He paints from memory and imagination, enabling the mind to reshape raw experience in an aesthetically pleasing manner. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 54


Divagation (For the Book Launch I cannot attend) by Jozi Zwerdling

It is the first time I am crying in public in New YorkSocial work school orientation does not count as public (the difference between crying because I'm on my path, and crying because it is the second time I have come looking in a city for a woman who was gone before I arrived). I have a chest I knew needed unlocking, came to Bar 13 for Roger to unknot it, To thump the thick spool of phlegm that is my refusal to be hurt; to value myself only as much as I am kept. There are Jews in black hats on the corner of Kingston and Eastern Parkway, they shout at me in Hebrew. I ask them what it means. They say, "Say, that Messiah is God!" I do not repeat it, I am not drunk, or a man, I am Jewish, it is Sukkot; The harvest; They do not keep me.

I write this in the cadence of Roger, it is another rhythm borrowed, a den of borrowed things, even my hair did not start out like this, a woman had to die for me to blossom, who would I be without that, a woman had to die for me to magic, I find my witches in her absence, search out sisters even in lovers. A woman had to die for me to fall in love, I don't know who I would fall for if not her first, don't know whose black hair I would dream of, whose bed I would look for, still, after nightmares, after drinking, after crying again in public, after moving to another city to face a woman who was gone before I even arrived.

Roger says "TRIBE" and I heartbeat to Adrienne, I think of her roaches, My spiders. Webs with no escape, wandering and exile, Exile. Pigeons who cross checkpoints. The woman who told me I was invisible to her. The one who never even bothered to say it. I think, I am white, maybe I deserve this; My silencedPayment for just some of the words stolen, some of the blood spilled. 55 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE

Jozi Zwerdling hails from the Washington, D.C. area but lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She's a student at Hunter College's Silberman School of Social Work, where she concentrates in Community Organizing. Her passions are working with youth to achieve social justice through education and the arts, collageing and loving as an act of freedom.


Fei Fei Safari

by Wynona Rolfe

Acrylic, goldleaf, fine glitter on canvas. 2010. 16Ă—22 in,

Wynona Rolfe explores style illustrations of the times and transcribe them into a mixed media gestalt design. Wynona is a student at The Academy of Art University of San Francisco working on her BFA. rolfeartemixedmedia.tumblr.com INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 56

INSIGHT: Love Affairs

Love In

by Emily Wen Love In was created based on an Emily Dickinson poem on an unsuspecting love and its hopes to be fulfilled. "I HIDE myself within my flower, That wearing on your breast, You, unsuspecting, wear me too— And angels know the rest. I hide myself within my flower, That, fading from your vase, You, unsuspecting, feel for me Almost a loneliness." Wood engraving. 2010. 12 x 6 x 12 in. Emily Wen is a NYC artist with many interests in the realm of art whether it be fashion design, graphic design, architecture, or simply drawing. www.emilywen.com 57 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE




Rookie’s Meditation Upon A Mutual Kind of Friendship for Catherine

by Claire Schorin Here is the first time we met: I don’t remember it. Here is the seat I saved for you in class. Fill it with all your tongues. The sharp and biting wit you dish unabashedly. Here is the look you shoot me so I know that we are thinking the same thing. Here are the scars on your knees from where the doctor snipped ligament into a million paper snowflakes. Here is me pushing you in the wheelchair and you spinning and me trying to sew you back together. Give yourself some credit. You are the best ear I’ve whispered into, the softest neck I’ve buried myself in, which is to say we are both invested. Take a slice back of that confessionary unloading. You deserve the biggest pot to take root in. Monday: lunch downtown. You don’t finish your drunken noodles. Sometimes you don’t finish things like food or sentences and it’s like your mouth is testing what slack I will pick up. Tuesday: talk about god. Biggest fears. Realize there’s no difference. Wednesday: can’t find time to see each other. Wish for that superpower. Thursday: haven’t seen you in 24 hours. Make a plan to fix that. Friday: Dance in the company of a strobe light. We like the way our grins glow in the click click flash of such fluorescence. We don’t stop smiling. Saturday: lay in your basement. Talk about boys. Cuss at the dude from P90X and stay sore for days. This is starting to sound like addiction like too much of a good thing but we’ve been in the infatuation phase for the whole blossom of our friendship and I’m just happy I don’t have to say goodbye to you anytime soon.



Sunday we watch a good movie. Or a bad one. Talk about religion. How much we like each other. Realize there’s no difference. This is the first two-way street I’ve trod upon. You let me shower at your house the two weeks my water heater was broken met your brother dog mother you look alike cooked fried rice made me feel justified when i didn’t shave my legs walked the 30th mile with me and the 21st at three am said it was ok to wear the lace top with just a neon bra underneath to the concert and I did you are the hermes of my maybe just friends? relationship with a boy you say is complicated midnight confidant bearer of birthdays we harmonized to Adele in the car that one time and we were off key and beautiful Sometimes I wish I had as much to give. I have washed my hands clean in the basin of you and now I am the well. You are the lucky penny I rinse the trepidation off or at least lap at the heels of. Sometimes I wish I could be a hot air balloon. I would carry you in my woven basket. You should know what it feels like to be filled up with air so tug and burst. I would carry you to the mountains or the city in Taiwan your mother hails from or back to the canyon. And we will be – A balloon and a girl and the promise of our own love will keep us both inflated.

Claire Schorin is a sophomore at University of Michigan studying Psychology and Women’s Studies. She thrives on bringing creativity, enthusiasm, and drive to the Ann Arbor FOKUS Chapter, where she’s been involved for 2 years. INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 60



by Richard Matzkin



“Y’know, it’s a wonderful thing, as time goes by, to be with someone who looks into your face when you have gotten old, and still sees what you think you look like.” —From the movie The Bachelor “For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other is but preparation.” —Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet Picture a couple in a romantic scene—a darkened room with candles and soft music, hands touching while staring dreamily into each other’s eyes. More than likely, this couple would be young—in their twenties or early thirties. Love, sensuality, and romance are almost invariably linked with youthfulness. The sculptures in the Lovers series depict couples in intimate loving embrace. What’s incongruous about these pieces is that the couples are old. Some people report being shocked when first viewing the figures. Their judgments about older people and sensuality are stimulated. As if once a couple reaches a certain stage in life, passion and physical intimacy are supposed to drop away. I wanted to capture the tenderness that results when, after many years, a couple has grown to know, accept, and appreciate one another. What I wanted to

convey was gentle, comfortable love. The age of the couples was an indication of the enduring quality of that love. Alice, in Naked Truth, asks us to accept ourselves as we are— flaws and all. In Lovers I extend this by asking us to accept the other, the beloved—flaws and all. The “flaws” here are the physical manifestations of aging. The couples portrayed in my sculptures are wrinkled and sagging, yet, through pose and gesture they reveal that they clearly cherish each other. This is one of the things that moves people the most about these pieces—the subjects express love for each other despite the ravages of time. This touches a deep yearning in all of us, the desire to be loved and accepted throughout our life span, in spite of our physical imperfections, and in spite of our other shortcomings. Aged love can grow more delicious with the years because time becomes more precious. Alice and I understand that each passing day is one day less that we have together.





This makes our shared moments all the more treasured. Right there is the rub with aged love. The sweeter, more delightful, and harmonious the love, the greater will be the pain of loss when one partner’s life ends. The best of loves have this bittersweet quality. All we can do is savor the moment as we live it and remember it will pass.

for each other. Each pose in the Lovers series expresses aspects of that love. Alice and I find ourselves instinctively falling into these poses without thinking. It is just how we relate physically with each other.

An unexpected bonus from this feeling of the preciousness of our time together is the quality of our sexuality. Our lovemaking has become a bodily expression of our love for each other … a communion. Our intimate moments are revered—partly because there are fewer of them, and partly because with years of practice we have become expert in pleasing one another, and partly because we know we haven’t a lot of time left, and this might be the last opportunity we have to make love. We recently renewed our wedding vows—which we do from time to time. As we were thinking about our original vows, we realized there was no need to retake them since we have already been doing a good job following them. So we came up with a new one, which has a great deal of meaning for us: “May we always remember that today may be the last day we have together.” We contemplate this vow a lot, and it does give a taste of the possibility of life without one another. However, the reality of dealing with our beloved partner’s death is impossible for us to conceive. We cannot go there, it’s too sad. (We are both crying as we write this.)

This vision of steadfast acceptance and dogged commitment by a partner is especially meaningful in later life. The challenges of the illness and fragility of the older years can be overwhelming. To have a helpmate who is eager and willing to share the burden is a great blessing. I am fortunate to have such a staunch ally in Alice. There is not an ounce of doubt in my mind that if I am in need, Alice will be there in a second to lend her strength and encouragement. She knows I will be there for her. Knowing I am not alone is a great comfort in my life. This easy giveand-take Alice and I share was not always there. We were both tested and tempered by our mistakes in previous relationships and failed marriages.

The characters in each of the pieces of the Lovers series are alike—the men are bald, the women wear their hair in a bun. They are modeled after no one in particular—just images from my imagination. But they are actually a very personal expression. They are symbolic of the love Alice and I share. We are fortunate to be blessed with a deep, abiding love

I believe that what inspires people most about this series of sculptures is that they carry the genuine energy of love—our love.

Older people have the potential to achieve a quality of love that is rare in younger people. It arises from having the perspective of years of life experience, and being able to separate through that experience what is important and meaningful from what is not. At this level of love, physical appearance takes on an insignificant role. At this level, love becomes truly blind—it blinds us to the physical imperfections (aging features) of our beloved. But more than blinding us to their shortcomings, aged love can also allow us to see our partner more clearly. (continued on page 65)







With loving eyes, we are able to perceive all of who they are. We see them in their unadorned humanness—their vulnerability, their strength, their stupidity, their wisdom—without judgment or blame. This depth of vision even makes an exquisite work of art of our partner’s imperfections. I am not blind to the ongoing effect of age on Alice’s face and body, yet to me, she could not be more beautiful. In fact, a face-lift, dyed hair, liposuction, or wrinkleremoving injections would only take away from the natural essence that I find so beautiful in her. I stroke her age spotted hands, kiss the loose flesh on her arms, run my fingers through her grey hair. This is her body. This is the body I love. Without a shadow of a doubt, I know I will find Alice beautiful no matter how old she becomes, just as I know she will feel the same about me, with my balding head and expanding belly.

After a quarter century of marriage, romance is still alive and well. We also share a profound friendship/ love, as comfortable as an old shoe, where support is given freely, and volumes are communicated with a single glance or touch of a hand. Years of living together has expanded the way we can be with each other. We are no longer limited to the roles of “romantic lover,” or even “husband and wife.” Our relationship now encompasses “sister/brother,” “mother/ son,” “father/daughter,” and, of course, “friend/friend.” With this wide range of possibilities, our personalities, both in and out of the relationship, have blossomed.

Californian loving couple Alice and Richard Matzkin have truly come full circle in their art experiences. While both began their creative journeys separately - Richard with jazz drum music and Alice with a hereditary gift of painting - they have explored the Art of Aging, lovingly, as a twosome. Both were selected in a national contest sponsored by the National Center for Creative Aging as “one” of the Beautiful Minds for 2012 - and are experienced speakers who have appeared on television and radio as well as lectured and led workshops in colleges, conferences and other venues. To view more of their work, visit www.matzkinstudio.com



Naked Truth

by Alice Matzkin



As I got older I became more judgmental about my body. I was fifty-eight when I chose to embark upon a quest to meet women my age and older who were accepting of their aging bodies—and who were comfortable enough to allow me to paint them nude. I found that this was no easy task. Nine out of ten women I approached wouldn’t even consider the idea. They felt as judgmental about their bodies as I did of mine. Fortunately, there are older female role models who inhabit their bodies with ease and comfort. They view their own bodies with acceptance, and are not embarrassed to be seen by others. I was lucky enough to meet and paint some of these women. They have taught me that feminine beauty comes in all sizes, shapes, colors, and ages—that it is unnecessary to be young, thin and unlined to be beautiful, sensual, and attractive. They have served as an inspiration and wonderful mirror for me, and I am forever grateful to them. To come to this understanding, I went through a revolution in the way I saw aging bodies—others and my own. At first glance, a naked aged body, with its bulges, wrinkles and varicose veins is not a pretty sight, especially compared with the firm, smooth body of a young person. My first impulse was to turn away in disgust. However, I spent months in front of canvas in loving communion with the bodies of my subjects. For hours on end I was able to become familiar with, and caress the wrinkled flesh with my paintbrush. This resulted in an indelible change in the way I perceived an old body. I saw through eyes of love and acceptance. For me, this is the key to seeing beauty in an aging body – my own and others – drop the judgments and observe with an open heart. Expand your definition of beauty 69 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE

to include alive radiance, and that too, can become beautiful. Her body speaks of softness and innocence. Expand your definition to include openness and vulnerability, and that can also become beautiful. Her image emanates the ephemeral - a body in decline. It is a vision of the passage of time … mortality and the preciousness of life. And this too is beautiful. It has become obvious to me now that beauty encompasses far more than just appearance. I see it as the reflection of the whole of a person’s inner being. Strength of character, honesty, sense of humor, generosity, depth of feeling, authenticity – all these qualities contribute to a person’s beauty.   When I was in my mid-fifties and noticed the changes that were taking place in my face and body, I became alarmed. Who was this old person in the mirror looking back at me … and what was her future. I realized that in order to live my life in a happy, satisfied way, I had to go beyond my terror of growing old. As an artist I had the perfect medium at my fingertips. I would use paint and canvas to work through my fears. I sought out female mentors, women older than I who were living their old age the way I wanted to live mine. I painted the portraits of 21 inspiring women, age 70 to 105, and questioned how they found meaning in their lives. The inspiration of their words and example live within me to this day. However, after completing the Women of Age series, I realized that my search for acceptance of my aging body was not finished. Learning from the examples set by the women I had met and painted, I began to see that I could indeed live a fruitful, creative life in my older years, and that my lines and wrinkles were just nature taking its course — by-products of getting older. But, I was still very judgmental about my body. The mirror had become my enemy,


and I knew it would become a more merciless opponent with each passing year. If I was to be a happy aging person, I needed to look at my image with acceptance rather than self-criticism. So rather than employing a cosmetic surgeon’s knife or a psychiatrist’s couch, I decided to again use a paint brush and canvas to find myself. I chose to embark upon a quest to meet women my age and older who were accepting of their aging bodies—and who were comfortable enough to allow me to paint them nude. I found that this was no easy task. Nine out of ten women I approached wouldn’t even consider the idea. They felt as judgmental about their bodies as I did of mine. Fortunately, there are older female role models who inhabit their bodies with ease and comfort. They view their own bodies with acceptance, and are not embarrassed to be seen by others. I was lucky enough to meet and paint some of these

women. They have taught me that feminine beauty comes in all sizes, shapes, colors, and ages—that it is unnecessary to be young, thin and unlined to be beautiful, sensual, and attractive. They have served as an inspiration and wonderful mirror for me, and I am forever grateful to them. After much pain, suffering and selfreflection on my part, coupled with the experience of painting these generous women, I have come to realize that I am happier being in my body. It is much more fruitful and enjoyable for me to live my life free from as much self-judgment as possible. Now, at my age, I feel lucky to be alive and still have a body, and I don’t intend to spend one more minute of my life feeling bad about its shape and age. I have let go of the impossible goal of pursuing the fountain of youth, and have laid claim to my authentic aging selgry hair and all. This is the only sane thing for me to do. My body will change. That is its nature. If I resist the changes, I



resist reality and I am in for a whole lot of suffering. The truth is that this body of mine at 73 years old sagging and wrinkled as it is my vehicle of creation, transportation and communication, abode of my senses of taste, sight, smell, hearing and touch and home to my mind and spirit. I love it and am so grateful to reside in it. While I love and appreciate this body of mine, I realize that I am more than my body. A spirit resides in me that is beyond space and time … and is not subject to aging at all. I am not a human having a spiritual experience, but a spirit having a human experience. I hope that those of you who view this collection will also look at your reflection in the mirror and be inspired to accept the reality of your form, no matter what its age


and shape, accept the changes that are taking place and be grateful for the miracle that you are alive. I have always been a rather modest person, so it makes me very happy to see how far I have come in accepting my form as it is. For sure, I have spent way too much of my life comparing my body to something else—anything but what I was given. How could I—an aging woman with graying curly hair, large drooping breasts, and short legs—ever be a young woman with straight hair, small breasts, and long legs? Lord knows, I tried! When I began the Naked Truth series, I certainly was not as brave as the women I was painting. Toward the end, I did manage to include this self-portrait of myself half naked with one breast exposed.


I was actually painting myself clothed one day when I decided it was necessary for me to have the courage to be part of the series. So I set up the mirror in front of my easel, took off my top, painted out the blouse and painted in my breast. One breast was about all my modesty could handle at the time. A few years later I thought I had reached a point where I could paint myself fully naked. I set up dramatic lighting and staged a picture of my nude self, sitting at the easel painting. The shadows discretely hid half of my body. I took digital photographs and went to the computer to download the images. In an instant the photos were erased from my camera and deleted from the computer. To this day I haven’t figured out how the computer glitch happened, but I am very glad that it did. I was relieved that I didn’t have to paint that nude portrait! It was so contrived, and I wasn’t ready. Months later I was ready. I was sitting in my studio, quietly staring out the window, when suddenly a vision came to me of a painting I must do. In my mind’s eye I saw an image of myself—naked—on a stark black background, unadorned and standing, facing straight out, hair up, arms by my side, no makeup, no jewelry (except for the wedding necklace I never remove).

about my work to a large audience. I decided to give the painting its first public viewing by placing it right at the entrance of the auditorium. As the people filed in, there were mixed reactions—from shock to awe. Several people commented about the unevenness of my breasts. They were surprised that I painted them in that way, and that I didn’t do plastic surgery with the brush and even them up. It is a personal relief that I had no desire to do that. I was more interested in being truthful about the reality of my body. This doesn’t mean that I have suddenly become a nudist. The modest person I am still resides in me. I have just become more accepting of the physical changes taking place in my aging body. Watching the deterioration is a constant reminder of the passage of time and preciousness of being alive. I am able to be a calm and fascinated witness to those changes, rather than a reluctant opponent.

Within the next 10 minutes a beautiful, blank canvas was sitting on my easel, waiting to receive the image of my body in paint. As I began, it was almost as though the painting was painting itself. A likeness began appearing on the canvas of my body, with one breast bigger than the other, freckles, wrinkles, veins, and all the other so-called “flaws.” What amazed me was that I didn’t have one moment of judgment about myself. I was just having a great time moving the paint around the canvas. A few hours after completing the painting, I was to deliver a talk INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 72

INSIGHT: Love Affairs


by Eileen Lei

In my exhibition," A Nation can rise no higher than its Woman", I am not only speaking of women's struggles and strengths in today's society and culture, I also wanted to express feminine energy and challenge the viewer to define or "redefine" feminine energy. With today's media and its usage of women's body and sexuality and play on androgyny for entertainment, advertisement, and various gains and profits, feminine energy have been reduced to various means of pleasure. I wanted to remind the viewer of not only the difference of being a man and woman, but the characteristics of feminine energy. And how those very characteristics that is in the nature of women, maintain society itself. Eileen Lei is a Bay Area raised, Chinese American spreading truth through the power of story. The rawness of Hip-Hop and revolutionary spirit of Oakland inspired her social justice and feminist thinking. Lei's art reflects the challenges and triumphs of rising against odds. www.leistory.com/



Each surah (chapter) of the Qur’an begins with Bismillah ar-Rahman arRahim, which means “In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.” Rahman speaks to the fundamental beneficence inherent in the divine nature, Rahim to the particular mercy that manifests. Both words come from the same root, which is the word for “womb.” God’s mercy and benevolence is always emphasized as being greater than His wrath; the encompassing generosity and nurturance of the divine as the foundation in which we live. When we think of feminine energy, I wanted to challenge the viewers to think of the attributes that are mentioned in the surah in the Quran or even qualities when we think of the word 'womb'. When painting this piece, I was thinking of the qualities of mercy, compassion, creative, giving, tenderness, grace, softheartedness, sympathy, humanity and forbearance. I wanted to go beyond biology or the physical form and redefine 'feminine energy' and the essence of it that is in each of all of us. And then return to the point of today's perception of what 'feminine energy' and that it is something that is not "weak," and softness can actually be a strength. The softness of merry, the strength of the feminine is actually an energy that allows the world to continue and maintain itself as we continue to make mistakes and go through trials and challenges. I visualize the darkness of a woman's womb as the darkness in space and out of this darkness there is light. This is how I see feminine energy in today's world. Set in an environment that is harsh, dark and is a void of the very essence of what it is, feminine energy maintains itself and creates life, the very strength that allows all of us to continue.

Acrylic on Canvas, 2013. 24 × 36 in INSIGHT MAGAZINE | 74

INSIGHT: Love Affairs




by Alice Mizrachi

Mixed media on paper 203. 24 Ă— 36 in. Alice Mizrachi is a NY based artist, curator, educator and community organizer who explores the recollection of memory through paintings, murals, onsite installations, printmaking and found object sculptures.



INSIGHT magazine's next issue will be released on May 15th.

The theme is "Color and Light." Feel free to send your submissions today: insightsubmit@gmail.com

www.fokus.org/insight 77 | INSIGHT MAGAZINE

Profile for INSIGHT by FOKUS

INSIGHT magazine: Love Affairs Issue  

The Love Affairs issue provides insight into the trials and tribulations of what love means in a context that starts on a personal level and...

INSIGHT magazine: Love Affairs Issue  

The Love Affairs issue provides insight into the trials and tribulations of what love means in a context that starts on a personal level and...