local wolves â€” 1
inally here. I’ve been waiting for over two decades to be at this point in my life where I can officially say that this is my final year at university. I’ll be walking this spring with the Class of 2016. I remember working through long nights to memorize medical terminology words to working on rigorous projects that takes more prep time than an actual final paper. I am counting the days until my commencement but hey, one more semester to get through. I would like to discuss more about Local Wolves’ #Perspective issue, which is also our first ever issue with black and white photography. I had this idea to capture the entire essence of each feature in black and white. It was such an incredible experience to collaborate with photographers and develop some concept ideas for our feature shoots. The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I believe that the topic of mental health should never be igorned or overlooked. There is this stigma of what it should be or might be. This issue is more lengthy than others because we received so many wolfie submissions and it was a challenge since we wanted to publish all the entires that landed in our inbox. We would like to thank everyone who submitted their work! This issue among the rest goes out to our wolfies as always. (Above): Leah Lu / Illustration (Right): Laura Filas.
Cathrine Khom founder / editor-in-chief
do it yourself
food for the starving artist
f e at u r e s 38 42
brie harrison koji
66 honne 70
ISSUE 37 // JACK BARAN local wolves is an monthly online and print based publication delving into the most creative minds from the world of entertainment, arts and culture. the magazine is driven by a passion for the best coverage and photography to create an adaptive aesthetic. SAY HELLO // LETâ€™S CHAT general: firstname.lastname@example.org press: email@example.com get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org
founder / editor-in-chief cathrine khom copy editor sophia khom music curator sena cheung maker madison bass-taylor videographers jessica eu, summer luu head stylist katie qian h/mua/grooming jessie yarborough publicist ashley bulayo social media caroline edwards, nicole tillotson front cover logo fiona yeung back cover logo isabel ramos cover photo maddy crum
alyssa lau @imalyssalau edmonton, ab
design / illustration kelsey cordutsky, christine ennis, laura filas, lisa lok, leah lu, megan kate potter, lauren wright contributing writers lexie alley, kamrin baker, sadie bell, kendall bolam, ashley bulayo, orion carloto, sydney clarke, rachel coker, nathaniel crawford, karina diez, meghan duncan, morgan eckel, brindy francis, anna hall, alexis jarrett, chloe luthringshausen, hudson luthringshausen, kaela malozewski, emma matthews, harriet stanley contributing photographers lexie alley, mila austin, pamela ayala, madison bass-taylor, megan cencula, viviana contreras, riley donahue, amanda harle, lindsey harris, katy johnson, rachel kober, chris lampkins, sam landreth, summer luu, lhoycel marie, penelope martinez, jenson metcalf, naohmi moore, roxana moure, meagan sullivan, melissa tilley, ashley yu
brie harrison @brieharrison london, uk clayton foshaug @meet_clayton bellingham, wa cole kiburz @coleplay los angeles, ca
jamie tworkowski @jamietworkowski melbourne beach, fl
david bokov @davidbokov seattle, wa
koji @kojisaysaloha harrisburg, pa
geneva lehnert @genevalehnert seattle wa
grace @iamgrace brisbane, aus honne @hellohonne london, uk jack baran @jackbaran los angeles, ca
localwolves.com twitter | instagram | snapchat @localwolves read online issuu.com/localwolves print shop magcloud.com/user/localwolvesmag
playlist + may 2016 +
coverage: sena cheung
local wolves â€” 7
munchies + F O UR TILL F O UR +
This small shop located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale successfully brings life and interest to the community and customers that step within it’s small, but inviting walls. Four Till Four is a Porsche inspired coffee bar, and that is quite visible from the moment you see the rustic Porsche356 sitting in the front lawn. This car is owned by Nico Samaras who’s passion for adventurous lifestyle is inspirational. Nico and Four Till Four have managed to create a strong following and community within the matter of a few months. As they continue to serve quality coffee roasted by Four Barrel Coffee and create events that bring people together, Four Till Four will be instrumental in the development of the coffee community within Arizona.
LOCATION: 7105 E 1st Ave Scottsdale, AZ 85251 fourtillfour.com (602) 300-5200
local wolves — 9
do it yourself + C UST O M J O UR N AL C O V ER +
SU P P LIES + journal + paper + spray adhesive + washi tape + needle COVERAGE: MADISON BASS-TAYLOR
STE P S
cut paper to about one inch larger than the journal
spray the adhesive on the paper, press paper against journal, and fold extra ends inside the cover. (you will have to cut out a little space in the paper where the binding is as well)
I D EAS F O R I N SI D E
use washi tape to press flowers in journals, save polaroids, and little pieces of memories
PHOTO CREDIT (LEFT): @HELLOASHLEYMOE PHOTO CREDIT (ABOVE): 14SKY.TUMBLR.COM
local wolves — 11
The worst feeling in the world is when you can feel it all coming back to you. It used to live inside of you, then it eventually started coming in waves, and next thing you knew, it was goneâ€Ś Or, so you thought. What is this mysterious form of taboo I talk about? Depression and anxiety.
You know, it’s something I’ve always wanted to keep in the past because I finally found myself. It’s something that’s been pushed so far to the back of my mind that even when it’s brought up, I just look it in the face and smile as if I’ve never shook its hand. I can’t deny that I’ve experienced episodes of it recently— the incidents of unbearable confusion making its way back into my consciousness once again. It’s awful, I wouldn’t wish it upon my most wicked enemy. I have a difficult time adjusting to change and getting used to what is, so that’s what generally triggers me. Usually in order for me to channel out those emotions, the first thing I do is run away from them— pretend that they aren’t even there to begin with. Impromptu traveling to unfamiliar cities where no one knows my name, spending every hour of the day with friends, and covering up my sadness with jokes as if I was never bothered in the first place just so I can forget about the monsters living inside my head. But at the end of the day, when my room is vacant and I’m lying in bed, I’m never really by myself. The second the clock strikes 2 am, it’s almost like an open invitation for all of my most haunting and lingering thoughts to have a party inside my head. I can’t sleep. So, instead, I stay up and let the anxiety rot my brain until my tears run dry. I wake up the next morning feeling empty. Sometimes, I wake up relieved— it depends on how bad the episode was. After many nights of slow dancing with my demons, I started coming up with strategies to put them to sleep before me. As if they were young children begging for a bed time story and a tuck in their beds. I began using my words as my safety blanket and their bed time story. Once I let it all out on paper, they all vacate for a bit. My words are the only thing I have left. They’re always there for me. If you’re reading this, and you struggle with fits of depression and anxiety, please understand with the deepest parts of my heart that you are not alone. It took me years to realize that it’s okay to mourn. It’s okay to let all your emotions run free. You aren’t weak— you are simply battling with the voices in your head and if that’s not the strongest f*cking thing you’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is. You think you’ve lost it all, that you’ve reached your capacities, but you are so much more vigorous than you think. Look your monsters in the eyes and shake their bloody hands, but remind them that YOU are the one in control. YOU are the one who tells them what to do and YOU are the one that tucks them into bed. You cannot let your thoughts convince you that you aren’t good enough. You are a goddamn masterpiece and if it means that you have to cry yourself to sleep every single night until you one day wake up and realize how remarkable you are, then you better cry hard. Don’t let your inner thoughts affect yourself worth and your energy. You are more than your demons. You are in control, not them.
local wolves — 13
perspective + W O L F IE SU B MISSI O N S +
INTRODUCTION BY KAMRIN BAKER ILLUSTRATION (LEFT) BY LAURA FILAS Mental health is my holy grail. It's my ideal weight, my perfect playlist, my Haley and Nathan wedding episode on One Tree Hill. It's my cause, my purpose. I have lived with anxiety and depression, both severe and generalized for my entire life. In hindsight, I wish so deeply that someone I admired would have extended their hands to me and said, "Listen. It will all be survivable. Your gifts heavily outweigh this feeling and this emptiness. You are not less of a human being despite your compelled inner feeling that you mean nothing. You are everything." But no one did that. I had to do that. And now I'm a person I admire. That doesn't mean my issues have entirely absolved. Mental illness finds its way into every crack, crevice, nook and cranny of my life. Within myself and within the people I love, I see the negative effects of my illnesses and theirs. So many of us struggle to survive in such a way that is painted as ideal and complete in society. We are on our way, and we do everything we can, but mental illness— no matter the diagnosis— is like a termite infestation. You say "this isn't going to destroy my house," but it begins to wear on you. The fighting, although constant, brave, and strong, doesn't go away. The coping skills are inspiring enough to be in a hall of fame, but they don't erase the conditions within me and others to doubt, to fear, and to lose what we hold to be so important over and over again. But despite it all, I feel like our time is now. I feel like this is the turning page for mental health. Kate Middleton is getting on board with her program at the Huffington Post. Celebrities admit to panic attacks and eating disorders when they create their most amazing art. You and I tell each other our secrets, or struggles, and our sweet, sweet victories. We are the ones who will fight long and hard enough to change things— to make our mental illnesses things that no longer wear and tear on us, and to make ourselves the ones who wear and tear on our illnesses. Our time is challenging, but it is forthcoming, and we deserve so deeply to be around to see it.
Robin Williams once said, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” That one sentence can sum up how I feel about mental health awareness. I understand that people like to stay in their comfort zones; they like familiarity and that’s just the way things are. I also understand that talking about depression or anxiety isn’t the easiest thing to do. It’s messy, it’s confusing, and it’s really complicated. However, the one thing that always comes to mind whenever the subject of mental health comes up is this: The way that we communicate, as a society, about mental illness needs to change. I think that if we openly discussed our mental health, and I mean really talked about what it’s like to live every day with a mental illness, that the stigma that comes along with this topic could possibly go away someday. A lot of people in my life deal with depression and anxiety; they have panic attacks, they cry, and sometimes they stay in bed all day long. They probably don’t know it but I am so proud of how many of them have openly talked about what they’ve went through or what they’re still going through. Sometimes it might be through a blog post, a tweet, or just a conversation over the phone; but with every single person who starts talking about it, mental illness becomes a bit easier to live with and a little more understood. I’m starting to think that Robin Williams was right, because words really can change the world; so go out and use yours for good. – TEYRIS KING / COLUMBUS, OH I've been dealing with depression for a little over a year now and still some people really don't understand what is actually going on. When I opened up to my friends about it, they told me to just "move on" and "get over" an incident that made me feel so horrible, so empty, to the point where I wanted to end my life. I was also told to just "don't think about it" and to "stop being sad". Later on, I found out one of my best friends was only friends with me because she felt bad for me and the things that I was going through were "changing me". Another friend told me that it was just a "chemical imbalance in my brain". No big deal. Alongside all of this, my parents told me I was a crazy, out of control, ungrateful kid. "You've traveled the world. You're tall. You're pretty. You have all this money. What more do you need?" Happiness, confidence, love, acceptance, support, and reassurance that my life is worth something. That's what I need. If you're struggling with depression, not everyone will understand you and be able to help you. It's hard to let alone deal with this mental illness, but dealing with people who aren't educated on depression is straight up annoying and can really make you feel even worse. It may sound cliché but, you are not alone, and there a millions of people in the world that are going through exactly what you're going through. Once you find a good support system of people who love you and want to help you, things will turn around eventually. Everything will be ok in the end, and if it's not, then it's not the end. – JIZELLE GUTIERREZ / ANAHEIM, CA
Mental health: a rollercoaster of emotions. Insanity at its greatest. I have learned that my mind works in complex ways that I don’t take the time to understand. I simply nod my head and am often quick to accept the havoc of emotion. But lately, I have begun to realize that this is not what I want. I want to understand why my mental state seems to be all-over-the-place. The feelings of anxiety, loneliness, excitement, bravery, and fear overtake my body often all at once, and everything seems to blur. They are too strong to address at first glance, so I wait. I wait for the transition into happiness and peace within myself that I have suddenly lost. Trying to escape the emptiness in my bones, I write. Not because I have to, but because I seem to drift away into words I didn’t even know could decipher the storm inside of me. I have realized that indeed it is okay not to be okay, but in the grand scheme of things— life is inevitable. All I can do is try to keep going and help myself, even when I believe that all doors in front of me are closed, locked, and bolted down. I pick up the heart that was once on my sleeve, now sprawled across the ground, and move forward. I push into the sheer hope that life moves with me, and I won’t be stuck anymore. Of course, I am utterly fearful, but I have a choice— the freewill I was given at the single moment of my birth. So, I choose bravery. I choose the fight. I choose to live in a way I believe I was meant to. This alone is what brings me the strength to grow. This is how I will overcome my mentality that seems to be slipping. This is how I surrender— opening up my arms, allowing for help to come in forms of love, grace, and cuddles. I look around me and realize that although I feel alone, I am surrounded by people who only aim to witness me shine as bright as they believe I am able to. I choose believe in my light too, now quick to accept the fortitude that is who I am. I am skin and bones with a mind what works in complex ways that I crave to take the time to understand. – CORAL GOLDSTEIN / HOUSTON, TX I think the words ‘mental health’ often scare people who don’t fully understand the complexity, but it doesn’t have to be so scary— it shouldn’t. We need at least try to understand others if we want to be understood, ourselves. Sometimes we all need a little assurance. You are not your sadness, as you are not your weakness. You are more than a bad day. A bad day will end itself and a new one will arise in the morning, and the day after that, and after that, and after that. The day will end, but you will not. Even the most beautiful galaxies wouldn’t dare compare themselves to your intricately knit anatomy; the relentless beauty of your brain. You are synonymous to gold. You need to be reminded. Remember that it’s selfless to stop and breathe, you owe it to yourself to just ‘be’. Take care of yourself. – LEGACY JYNN / VANCOUVER, BC
local wolves — 15
I have found that there are two main ways that I’m able to perceive life while dealing with mental illness. One way is full of positive, rose-colored thoughts; the thoughts that provide us with idealism, hope, and endless amounts of exuberance. On the other end of the spectrum, when my brain tends to turn against itself, the vibrant colors that once tinted my thoughts begin to completely dissipate, making my perception rather grey and dull. The way I see it, although there may be stigma and negative connotations attached to mental illness, in a way, I’m lucky to have experienced the juxtaposition of seeing life through two different lenses and perspectives. Living through the up’s and down’s within my typhoon of a mind has forced to me to focus on myself, being proactive about monitoring my thoughts, and never treating life casually. This strengthens the notion that any feeling or any form of relapse is valid, and new progress in some form will follow. By actively seeking solace in everyday activities, little by little, the rosiness began to make its way back into my life, and now I wear my stories as if they are badges of bravery. Mental illness doesn’t have to be something to blush about, or feel guilty about. Though easier said than done, dealing with mental illness can be spun as human events that we get to learn from. By sharing our experiences in order to keep an open dialogue, the stigma has no choice but to deplete, and other’s perspectives and approaches in relation to mental health will have no choice but to change for the better. – BLAIR ROTSTEIN / ONTARIO, CA The tip of my pen hesitates each time I will myself to write about mental illness, because there are no words that will ever depict the sinister depths of it. There is the stigma (and we’ve all seen it on Tumblr) of the trendy “crazy girl”. The girl with wildly colored hair and a cigarette dangling from her lips. There are countless images of flowers emerging from the barrels of guns and glitter sprinkled upon razor blades. These items of destruction are being portrayed as hopelessly beautiful and there is something incredibly wrong with this. Until you’ve had mental illness hover above your bed at night or sit with you on the bus, pretending as if you have does a tremendous injustice to those who are truly, deeply suffering. By consuming these falsified versions of mental illness, not only are we denying ourselves the opportunity to learn about mental disorders, but we are also feeding the stigma. There is nothing beautiful about clutching your knees, trembling in the middle of the night, screaming into the shadows of your room. There is nothing beautiful about having your body feel like a burden, an entity not even worth dragging out of bed some days. There is nothing lovely about suffering so deeply on the inside, that hurting our exterior to match seems almost sensible. There is no glamour to it,
and mistaking it for artistic brilliance merely belittles the experiences of those who are haunted by the implications of mental illness on a daily basis. – LAUREN / ONTARIO, CA First of all, it pains me that it’s 2016 and we’re still treating mental illness as if it’s not a legitimate thing. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health; but it doesn’t seem to occur to people that when someone’s mental health is in a poor state that they need to get as much help as say, someone with a broken leg. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean medication because god knows that we are over-medicating the youth of America. No, this means to show love and support, to be a guiding light out of a dark place where someone may just be. If somebody tells you that they have a mental illness, like depression or anxiety, don’t shoot them down and claim they don’t act the way in which a “normal” person with that mental illness would act. Our minds are as diverse as the colors of our skin, there is no cookie-cutter mold that says a person with a specific mental illness should act a certain way. I know friends and family in my own life that struggle with mental illness and I have witnessed first-hand the unfair and uneducated treatment they get from others. Because let's face it, many people aren’t educated enough on the subject of mental illness, and that needs to change. If you know someone struggling, be there for them. Even if it’s a complete stranger a small gesture of recognition and kindness can make a day a little brighter. Like everyone else, people with mental illness deserved to be seen and heard. So welcome to 2016, where we see and hear everybody. – ASHLEY SEEBALD / EDEN, NY Dear me, It’s time to live your life the way you want to live it. I know you’re sad. I know that you’ve been trying to hide your sadness from everyone. I know that you’ve been trying to hide your sadness from yourself. You’ve been keeping yourself busy in hopes that it will make you happy. You’ve been distracting yourself from your pain. Your pain is deep. It comes out in random places: driving home from class, talking to your mom on the phone, eating lunch with friends. Everything will be fine until you feel your stomach drop and your heart ache. You dig your nails into the side of your leg and force yourself to hold back the tears. You hold back your pain. You don’t know why you’re sad. Your friends call you beautiful. Social media says your “goals”. Your family loves you, and reminds you of how special you are. You give every compliment a smile and a nod. You know they mean well and that they want the best for you, but you don’t believe their words. You think they’re only trying to make you smile so you pass off the comments as if they were lies. You’ve always been your toughest critic. You
beat yourself up over the smallest mistakes, because you’re terrified of letting anyone down. People count on you, and when you watch their eyes fade from disappointment it feels like someone is pumping poison through your veins. The problem is that you’re not disappointing anyone; you’re disappointing yourself. You’re not living the life you want. You’re not traveling to the places you want to see. You’re not happy yet. Yet. An excuse of a word used to promise yourself that you will. Why not now? Why not? Well I have school… Well I have work… Well I’m broke right now… Your happiness should mean more than any job or the number in your bank account. You are given one life. One life to accomplish all of your dreams. One life in which you will fail things over and over again. One life to be crazy, lazy and everything in between. One life to bask in your happiness, and one life to spread your happiness to others. Your life, your mother’s life, and the checkout woman’s life are but fleeting moments on the grand scale of time. You were not born to please others. You were born out of a deep affection between two people who believed that the Earth was stable enough to sustain another human being. You are that human being; a beautiful soul born from love to serve the purpose of creating more love. You have to love yourself. You have to take care of yourself. This is your one life. Please make it count. Love, Yourself – MUMPOWER / CLEVELAND, GA *TRIGGER WARNING* It’s not a cool exclusive club that you want to be a part of, it’s not a VIP list and it’s not a competition. It’s scary and lonely. It’s everything and nothing all at once. For me, it’s sleepless nights and lost days. It’s unbearable heartache that gives off a constant dull and irritating pain. It’s dark, it’s unclean. It’s quiet and also it’s so loud. It’s becoming far too familiar with 4am but I can’t remember the last time I saw midday. It’s lying in bed hearing my parents get up for work and I still haven’t slept. Expressionless hours spent tossing and turning. I’m too hot or I’m too cold. “Leave me alone but stay close.” I’m hungry for food that doesn’t exist, so nothing will satisfy my cravings, but that doesn’t stop me from eating and eating and eating and eating and eating... Trying to silence that monster that’s inside me. I don’t know what it is, but it’s there every night. It doesn’t knock, it let itself in. It sits with me, it pushes and pulls, it makes me sick, it makes me scared, it makes me cry. I have to move over to make room for it. It smothers me. It tells me it’s helping me because no one in their right mind is going to come round and take its place. No one is going to want to kick it out just to help me, no one cares for me like it does, and I have to believe it— because I am too tired to argue. So I let it cover me like a blanket made of rusty nails. I let it tell me that I am not worthy, that I am disgusting, that I am to blame. I let it fill me
ILLUSTRATION (ABOVE): LEAH LU
with so much hate that the happiness and hope overflow and spill onto the floor. I let it hold my hand at 5am and pass me a razor blade. It made me believe that was the only way to shut it up. It asked me what I wanted— I told it I wanted love. So it carved the word into my arm. A constant reminder that it could tarnish the most beautiful of things, give it a new meaning. So whenever I looked— I saw love, but I thought of IT. And I stopped loving. I let it tell me that tomorrow was only going to get worse, I watched it switch off the light at the end of the tunnel and I stopped knowing if I was going backwards or forwards. I wanted out and I wanted it to stop. I didn’t want to see tomorrow, and how could I make promises for a tomorrow that I didn’t want to see. But still I push forward, wading through that mud, and every once in a while— the monster doesn’t turn up. It takes a family holiday with depression, self-hate and anxiety. It leaves and just for a while I can breathe. The blurry background comes into focus and I see faces. I see smiles and open arms. I see people, real people, who care, who want to help, who see the light in me that I can’t. I had convinced myself that suffering in silence meant I was stronger— that it was more admirable to not talk about ‘it’. And now I see that for, that’s not the case. I found the pure and simple beauty in sharing stories, in speaking out, and in listening. I’ve begun to see the pure and simple beauty in other people. To the people who smile at me when I pass them to the people who have sat for hours and listened and been open and honest and kept me safe— I thank you, because you saw me when I had lost myself. Yes, it always comes back and twists and turns me into something that I am not proud of. But I’m learning that hope is real, and help is real and that my story matters. I’m learning to seize those days where there is a glimmer of hope. I’m learning to laugh when I can and smile when I need. I’m learning to love again and every day I am choosing to live. I’m learning that tomorrow is something new, that tomorrow can forgive, tomorrow holds opportunity and chance. Tomorrow is a lifeline, and it wants to see me. So thank you, thank you for seeing me, and I will see you Tomorrow. – LUCY GIRLING / LONDON UK
local wolves — 17
– HELENA BARNETT / AUCKLAND, NZ
When I visited a new doctor recently, she had asked if I ever felt anxiety or depression. In my head, I thought of all the times that I felt like I was outside of my body, so panicky that I couldn't feel anything, but that's not really a first visit conversation. I quickly replied yes, and she proceeded to ask if I felt I needed medication to control it. I simply stated no and she didn't ask anything else about it. It stuck with me through the rest of the visit. Sure, therapy has helped and I don't feel as unstable as I was a few years ago, but I still have days where the darkest parts of myself come out to the light. This has put me in such a gray area. If I don't need medication, does it not exist? Does my mental state have to be so far gone just to get a diagnosis? In our society, it feels like there is an extremely limited spectrum as to what mental illnesses are classified as. You either don't have one and your experiences are completely trivialized, or people make fun of you for being the cookie cutter mentally ill person who fits every symptom on a medical page. There is no middle ground, nothing for anyone who knows they can stand on their own but realize that when they fall, they fall hard. I know that people have bad days and everyone does. Yet, my bad days can result in a complete reworking of my mental functions. So, I don't believe people like me should slip through the cracks just because we can be more stable than others. If you are like me, and have no idea if you'll ever fit into a mental label, you should NEVER wish you were more mentally ill than you are. Your panic/ anxiety attacks, symptoms and feelings are completely valid, despite what anyone tells you. You may have a mix of symptoms from multiple illnesses or may identify closer with a single one, but you are not stupid or crazy for not fitting into one complete thing. Self-diagnosing is not a crime, especially when a mental professional is not readily available to you. Although I don't know who you are, I'm proud of you and I hope that we all keep making progress every day. – MADISON HILL / ATLANTA, GA *TRIGGER WARNING* Overcoming the stigma of mental illness can be an exhausting feat. For people who bear the overwhelming weight of a mental illness, breaking down the stigma is a battle they don’t get to choose to fight. Usually, people diagnosed with mental illness are immediately seen in a negative light by their peers, close friends, and even their own family. Because of this, many people will not ask for the help they need because of the fear of being shunned or ignored. When I was diagnosed, I wish I had known that I was allowed to need help. I wish I’d known that my friends were willing to help, and that I would never be a burden to them. I wish I had known that no one fights the same fight, and that’s okay; but because my fight wasn’t the same as my friend’s, that didn’t discount me. Growing up a Christian, it’s hard to recognize that you may
need professional help, and this holds especially true for me and my family. However, when the uphill battle I faced for two and a half years only seemed to be growing steeper, I felt afraid. I felt as though I wasn’t a good enough person for Jesus to save, and I stopped asking for help— not only from Him, but from my friends and family as well. I found myself growing more and more distant from those who I needed to be talking to and asking for help. I went through a two-and-a-half-year period of what I call “The Black Hole”. I have named it this because that’s exactly what it felt like. I felt like I just kept getting pulled deeper and deeper into it and I would even hope I would finally hit rock bottom just so I could begin to find my way out, but I never did. In eighth grade, I stopped eating for the better portion of the school year. My grades dropped rapidly from A’s and B’s to C’s, D’s and F’s. My world was rocked, and I was lurched into self-harm. I have a vivid recollection of one day when I came home from school. No one was home but me and I was just so tired of everything feeling so heavy and exhausting. I broke open a shaving razor with a hammer and locked myself away in my room for the rest of the night. I cut my wrists for a little over a year, and honestly, I still get urges even today. Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with Dysthymia, which is basically persistent mild depression. I always have a lingering, constant sadness hanging on my back, it’s just something I can’t shake off. I put up a front regularly, faking a smile and faking happiness. I’m not sure if it’s for my sake or for the people around me. Writing has always been an outlet of mine, even when I was stuck in “The Black Hole”. I now keep a journal and try to write regularly in order to maintain a healthy connection to my feelings rather than bottling them up. Recently, though, I have also found comfort in relating to people who have come forward with a lot of the same problems and struggles I have faced, and continue to face. It makes me feel at ease… normal. Despite my personal progress, there are still so many uneducated or wrongfully educated people who don’t comprehend mental illness. Unfortunately, the stigma of mental illness is something that effects so many people who struggle with these illnesses. I know because I was once in their place— scared to ask for help, scared of what my friends and family would think, even scared of my own thoughts and intentions. I am so thankful I have the support system I do from my friends and family, and that I was finally able to find my way out of “The Black Hole,” as so many people never do. Bringing attention to mental illness and being aware of the stigma is such a huge, necessary step to overcoming it and coming closer to a safer environment for people who live in battle with mental illness every day. Breaking down the stigma of mental illness never was and never will be an easy fight, but it is one I’m proud to say I took up arms for. – KYRAH WARREN / MECHANICSBURG, PA
local wolves — 19
As I write this, it’s 6am and my heart is pounding. Usually, I’d be awake at this time plagued with negative thoughts but for once? I don’t give a damn. I’m almost twenty-one years old, yet I’ve been at a constant war with my mental health since I was thirteen. “It’s puberty, you’ll get over it.” That’s what the textbooks would say. The self-help books that believe turning into a teenager is the sudden justification for that feeling of suffocation you’ll never forget. I always brushed it off. Maybe it’s because of the music I listen to? Yeah, that’s definitely it. Or, no, maybe I’m just different? It was every excuse, and for the longest time I convinced myself I kept quiet for my own benefit, except very recently I realized that I refused to open up because I was far too afraid to admit to other people something that had this awful stigma smothering it. Call yourself “depressed” and you’re attention seeking. It’s as if the word is coated in acid; the stench sticks and every time you reach out to touch it, you get burned. Nobody wants it, nobody needs it. The only people that seem to give a damn are the ones who play with it, forgetting that it’s not a toy. My heart is now anchored because I refuse to let my guard down. Though I ache to be wanted, I never truly give myself away. And the reason is because you’re going to have to share me. Depression refuses to let me go, at least for now. He’ll always be gripping onto me. Sometimes he might make me hate for you no reason, he might lock me away and he might even close his hand over my mouth and prevent me from saying anything at all. But don’t feel special, he does this to everyone. As his fingers closed around my neck for what I felt could be the last time, eventually I cried out for help. My mother came to the rescue. I told her everything; from the teenage years to the week before, I was suffering and I couldn’t escape. She ended up saying the words I needed to hear, from someone who loved me most: “F*ck everyone else; think about yourself.” She has a way with words, I know. But, that’s the best thing about it. At first, the advice was difficult to comprehend. Always, I thought of everybody because surely if I made them happy, then wouldn’t I be happy? No is the answer. Because, you can try to please everyone but you will never succeed. And it’s that failure that keeps you under his grip. He’ll tighten every time, reminding you that you’re not good enough to make them happy but you know what I say? F*ck. You. I am worth it. I am allowed to leave my house feeling like a million dollars. I am allowed to grin from ear to ear because someone cracked an awful pun. I am allowed to feel fucking fly as hell because I just got a new set of damn acrylic nails even if everyone else on this planet hates them. Believe me that I will hold my head up high and laugh in his face because he wants to be a dirty word and I won’t let him. The more we talk about him, the less power he has. The more we combine hands and fight this stigma, the less silence there will be. Nobody should feel ashamed about mental illness. We all have the right to be happy and personally, I’m not going to let him stop me anymore. I might have depression, but he doesn’t have me. – HARRIET STANLEY
"I am in pain", "there is someone in my head", "I see something", "I hear something"... these are really the dire circumstances that people with mental illness may experience, however such emotional turmoil were never really bookmarked. It is an intangible concept that people from past generations blame it on the ether worldly supernatural powers— rushing to seek asylum from temples, churches or any religious cure for that matter. Others will down play the severity of it because it is unimaginable for anybody who looks so fine, to be plague with a medical condition that bad. For the majority of the people I talked to, they always gave a nonchalant attitude to mental health. If a person were to divulge his/her struggles and thus there is a chance of him/her being viewed as a weakling. A weakling that does not have the toughness to face life problems, but they overlooked that it is the illness that impedes him/her to face it. There is a need to tear down the stigma of being weaklings and raise them up to people just as important with cancer patients, not saying there should be a divide in superiority. Think about a free and open universe for mental sufferers to be treated and cured with utmost understanding. It will definitely create a conducive environment for them to have a speedy recovery. It is a long and windy road to recovery, which ultimately may not reach a period till the death of the person. The reoccurrence, the sweat, the time, the money, the pain will plague the individual for all his life… So why not make it easier for him/ her to open up instead of condemning him/her to hell? A hot and fiery place where there is none of serenity but torture. I truly urge the world to embrace differences and be understanding, to make the world a better place for you and me. We already created the worst, fiat money, which is the main root of evil. That evil is going to be there for as long as I can see, why not make everything else easier instead? Maybe one day I can then bring out the courage to ask for help and not worry for it staining my permanent records or future, due to the negative connotation that this linked to the society at large. Death is not easy but he is always lurking in the corner for the sick to fall in, try to pull them out through understanding— for you may just save a life with that compassion. – ALEXIS LOY / SINGAPORE I was a painfully, awkward kid who was just shy of her eighth birthday when I had made a terrifying discovery that something was very wrong with me. I didn’t know it then but I was slowly but surely exhibiting symptoms of depression. It started out in slow waves and sometimes I would find myself cowering in a corner with tears streaming down my face. I would never be able to recall what made me cry because I just thought it was something kids do as they grew older. But as I got older, the waves started to turn into tiny tsunami’s, and I found myself resorting to sitting alone in a corner and crying. I was twelve when someone had asked me if I was crying hysterically out of attention. I overheard kids talking and saying things like “I bet her parents don’t hug her enough” or “She’s weird. Let’s not play with her.” I honestly thought it was because I was one
of a few Asian American students in the 8th Grade. I felt isolated and started to withdraw from any social activity. I’ve resorted to isolating myself into a corner and nervously breaking down enough that my teacher had suggested I take up journaling as a way to calm myself down. So instead of going to lunch with my classmates, I’d sit in her class to write how I was feeling throughout the day. I did this for a week until it became a part of my daily routine. It wasn’t until I got into high school that things started to spiral out of control. One morning, I had decided that life was too much and considered suicide as an easy way out. Fortunately for me, the bell had rung, and true to form I found myself hysterically sobbing in front of my entire class. I didn’t care who saw me. I was so tired of hiding. I felt a pair of arms reach out and I was walked out of the class into an empty faculty office. It was in that room, a confession was made, and little did I know then my life changed entirely. For better or worse, it was never going to be the same again. I was told that it was due to a chemical imbalance and that without medication I would never lead a happy and healthy life; let alone have a loving relationship with a man. Because I was told that what I had was difficult, complicated and messy. I was told that I was going to have depression as my companion for life. I believed this for a better part of my adolescent and young adult life. I still do but I’ve grown to recognize that my depression and anxiety does not get the power to dictate my life or make me feel inferior. One thing I wish someone would have told me when I was struggling to cope with my depression was that I wasn’t alone and that there are people out in the world that was going through what I am going through. I grew up in an Asian household where saving face is prized above else and confessing to having depression is such a dishonorable thing to do. It’s like this for most of my Asian American friends whose teenage life was similar to mine. I confessed to having depression and not being allowed to go back to school because they had wanted to insure that I did not harm myself. I was an honor student, on the student body and even attended bible study in the early morning before heading off to High School. Still I was questioned as to whether or not I was raised right or “where did we go wrong?” Over the next few months, I was required to go to therapy sessions one hour a week during classes. For a few weeks, it would work, but I felt like I wasn’t being heard. It felt like someone was reciting verbatim what they had read in a psychology book. I wish someone would have told me that nothing was wrong with me and that HOPE would have played a key role in my development as a young adult and (in the present time) an adult. I wish someone would have advocated for the Asian American community out there struggling to just make it through the day. But then I realized I was that someone and that I could make a difference and be that voice for my community. So how do we advocate for mental health issues? Instead of telling someone: that a “happy person” like them shouldn’t be depressed, or that their depression isn’t valid enough to be real. Be compassionate and understanding. One of
the greatest things I have ever done is open the channels of communication to my loved ones. Especially my own parents. Having a solid circle of friends who are stoked on celebrating your life with you makes coping with depression a lot easier. Invest in a hobby or pastime. Even if you aren’t the greatest at it. The journey will be worth it and one that can be shared with good friends over a campfire and s’mores. I am honored and completely blown away by Local Wolves and their stand on mental health. It has sparked courage in me to share my own experiences. Judging by the response of the community, they had all want me to speak up for those who are just a little brave, but need that motivation to fight the good fight. Because your life is worth fighting for. Trust me on that because it gets better. – MEGAN DUONG / PHILADELPHIA, PA Did you know the United States has the highest rate of mental illness, even with the span of other countries combined? Why is that, do you think? I like to believe it’s all the stress we weigh ourselves with, we worry that our “American Dream” will not be sufficient enough, that we won’t be as successful as others. We work too hard and fear failure. Mental illness is real and I, myself, deal with it every single day. I’m tired of thinking I’m alone because I know I’m not. I’m tired of people assuming that those with mental illnesses will not survive the real world. I’m tired of believing people who tell me I’m too sensitive to handle real life situations. “You’re being so sensitive.” “Why are you making such a big deal?” “Why are you like that?” “Honestly, you’re being so dumb right now.” “You’re so selfish.” Those words hurt because I know that’s not true, but when it’s said so often you start to believe it. I don’t like using my mental illness as an excuse because it’s not an excuse. I just feel like I can break into pieces much more easily than others. I feel like I can explode much more easily than others and when I happen to break into pieces, people then assume I am simply “too much.” I don’t understand the stigma that wraps itself around mental illness. On social media some people romanticize mental illness as if it’s a cool thing to have and then others think it’s the stupidest thing ever, that the people with mental illness are “reaching”. Both are just as bad because it makes you think, if people feel that way about mental illness I should just keep my mouth shut and continue to act normal. You see, I don’t want to act normal because that’s not me. I don’t want to hide my actual self for the people that can’t handle the reality of mental illness. It’s like I’m wearing a mask to hide my imperfections so that people think I’m perfect when I’m far from it. I want people to know that mental illness is real. Mental illness is something everyone should take the time to understand. Inform your parents, your siblings, your family and friends that mental illness is better when fought with help. That mental illness, although may seem scary, is a part of your life. Let’s inform others what mental illness is, what we can do to help those with mental illnesses, and how to understand it, because everyone deserves to know what the person feels like on a daily basis. – MICHELLE LEDESMA / ORLANDO, FL
local wolves — 21
– LAWRENCE GILL SALGADO / LOS BAÑOS, PH
“You're too young to be anxious about anything." "Just stop worrying so much." "It's not a panic attack, you're just dramatic." "It's all in your head." My name isn't Ashley anymore. I've let something that started out so small define my life. I feel like anxiety defines me. I let this cloud of darkness creep into my life slowly and then all at once. I kept telling myself I had just dozed off and let go of the wheel for a second. That first session was a mess to say the least, I couldn't even get through my first name without crying and shaking. I remember the first thing she asked me was "how did we get to this place" and I remember thinking that I didn't have the answer. I didn't know how I got into this "place" of darkness and anger and sadness, but I was ready to move out. I remember telling myself from a very young age that I needed to keep this all to myself because people are going to think I'm dramatic. The last thing I wanted to be labeled as was dramatic. Being labeled as a worrier seemed better because everyone worries, everyone is afraid sometimes. But most people have reasons for being afraid or worried, I got to the point where I had no reasoning behind my panic attacks and anxious days. I was afraid to leave my house, afraid to be alone, afraid to be around my friends. More than that I was tired. Tired of being this way, tired of trying to convince myself that I was okay. Finally, I hit the wall of exhaustion. I convinced myself that I was going to be like this for forever. Because in that moment I couldn't see past what was happening to me and why it was happening. Depression is something that I never struggled with so when it decided to become close friends with my anxiety I didn't even see it coming. It took me two weeks. Two weeks of constant sleeping, but no actual rest because my dreams were filled with anxious nightmares and confused sadness. 14 days of forced smiles and fake laughter. Most of all days filled with loneliness and
– JESSICA MORDACQ / WHEATON, IL
confusion. I remember waking up and immediately talking myself out of doing anything that day. Sending texts to friends saying "I have a stomach bug" or "I have an awful headache" became the norm. The hardest part of all of this was watching my mom cry because she didn't know what to do when she would come home and I was hunched over crying in my room for no apparent reason. And having my dad come home and see me lying in bed and hearing him say "you're such a strong willed person, you can't let this get the best of you" I woke up on that fifteenth day and as I was making my usual trek to the kitchen to not actually eat anything I got a text from a friend and it said "sweet friend, you are stronger than you think" and after crying and screaming at myself asking why I was like this, I made a decision. I called my old youth pastor from high school and with heavy sobs I told him how sad and lonely and anxious I was. I did what I had been putting off, I asked him what I should do next. He told me that counseling was the best next option and I immediately tried to find another route to take. I didn't want to admit to some random person that I was broken. Tell this person all the secrets and shame that I was hiding behind. Try to find words that explained how I got to where I am right now. But I knew it had to happen if I ever wanted to live my life again. I called my college’s counseling department and it might have been because of my excessive sniffling in the background but she made room for me to come in that same day. I soon realized I couldn't drive in this state and had to have my mom take me. I was a 20-year-old woman being driven to a counselor by my mother, how did I let it get this bad? When did I stop fighting against the beast that lives inside my head? When did I give up? After many more sessions I finally realized that I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't do this to myself. And most importantly I'm not alone. Most college students
– RACHEL TUNG / BRISTOL, UK
– ASHLEY JOLLY / LOUISVILLE, KY
go to counseling because of anxiety and depression. I wasn't the first crier of the day. I wasn't the first girl who had given in to the darkness. But by making the decision to get help I was able to drop the hand of that darkness that I had become so comfortable with holding and move on with my life. Living with anxiety is a daily struggle but because of counseling, my relationship with God and a group of incredible friends and family I am getting through it. When I feel the darkness trying to put its arm around me I shrug it off and decide to fight back. I recently finished reading If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski, the creator of To Write Love On Her Arms, and I think he says it best when he says, “If you do some losing or you walk with someone else in their defeat, live with dignity and grace. It is a middle finger to the darkness.” Choose to stand up against the darkness and live life to its fullest and not just in your own walk, but with those around you. This book is a constant reminder that people need other people and by getting help and acknowledging that you're not okay is totally fine. Don't be ashamed by your past or your present. Be uplifted knowing that there are people who are going to stand with you and for you. Remember that it’s okay to be sad, lonely, anxious and happy all at the same time. Remember that what you are feeling doesn't make you dirty or unwanted. Remember that walking alone doesn't have to be the path you take, ask someone for help and learn about yourself and what you can do to take care of yourself, because you are worth it. – ASHLEY CHESHIRE / LAKELAND, FL
get yourself a cup of ice cream at 2 a.m., listen. The test will be done tomorrow, you will not. 3) Not everyone wants the response of “fine” when they ask how you are. Find those people and don’t be afraid of letting them know when the world is drowning you out. 4) Speaking of drowning, you are not. I know the world is so big and you are so small, and it does in fact come in waves, but honey, drowning is not something you know how to do. You may not be able to find your shore, but you’ve been treading water your entire life. 5) Your head may be shouting at you, but always remember that it’s your voice. When it gets too loud, ask it to whisper and slow down. Nobody else can hear you. 6) When your heart becomes a hummingbird and you begin to shake in the middle of the milk isle, don’t think you’re crazy. Stand still, repeat your name over and over, and hold your hands together. Remind yourself over and over that you are real, and alive, and okay. I promise you no one is looking at you; I promise you aren’t the only one to ever lose it in a grocery store. 7) Listen to songs without words. Does your brain memorize sounds rather than lyrics? Also, make time listening to nothing. Memorize what your breathing sounds like. 8) It’s okay to leave any place that makes you uncomfortable. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, ever. 9) Sometimes your skies are gray for a very long time. And you don’t know why. Please remember that you can’t move clouds or make your sun shine any brighter. It’ll be blue once again. And 10) You’re not a puzzle piece of life. You’re not a piece at all. If that were the case, I would take all the broken pieces and put you back together. But no one will ever get the privilege of putting a person back together. You were whole from your first breath, and you’ll be whole when you take your last. Don’t ever lessen yourself. – LIZZY BRIGHAM / HOUSTON, TX
10 things to remember when your mother’s hug doesn’t put you back together: 1) Sometimes the most productive thing you can do all day is getting out of bed. That is okay. Sometimes you can't even do that. That’s okay too. 2) When your mother tells you to put down the textbook and
local wolves — 23
– EMILY PATTON / RICHMOND, VA
I was a late bloomer, so while I wasn’t growing boobs I was instead dealing with the sudden onset of crippling anxiety. Maybe ‘crippling’ is a strong word, but eleven-year-old me most certainly believed that every panic attack was actually me rapidly racing towards death. I never knew when an anxiety attack was going to happen and it was quite frankly the most horrifying experience to be had. It was like no matter where I was or who I was with, the anxiety would find me. There was no place to hide. At a restaurant? Hope you don’t cause a scene! At school? You’d better not be in class, bucko! At church? Nothing was sacred anymore. It was the actual worst thing in the world: not only did I not have any boobs, but I also randomly felt like all of the air was getting sucked out of my lungs. The unpredictability of these sometimes debilitating attacks greatly affected my mood: I didn’t feel like leaving the house or hanging out with my friends anymore. Everything sucked and I hadn’t even gone through puberty yet. I never talked to anyone about how I felt because I was embarrassed. I thought that everyone would just view me as a massive freak of nature. Everyone else could keep their shit together, so why couldn’t I? People noticed my change of mood. But I refused to speak to anyone about how this made me feel— not my family, not my best friends, not even in my diary. I’d never felt more alone. It took a while, but my mom eventually realized that I couldn’t control these alleged theatrics and saw that I was very much afraid all of the time. She took
me to the doctor’s office and I relayed my harrowing tale to a medical professional. The doctor was quick to tell me that I wasn’t dying, which was ridiculously reassuring. But he also told me that I was struggling with anxiety, and that millions of people dealt with it on the reg. I’d never even heard of anxiety until that moment and it blew my mind to know that there were probably other kids out there that were going through the same thing that I was. I was also very confused. If it was so common, then how come no one ever talked about it? The doctor gave me some tips about how to deal with panic attacks before sending me on my way. Even though he was the one who told me what anxiety was, he didn’t want to talk about it. Three years passed and things worked out pretty okay for me. I never got boobs, but I did learn that what I was going through was totally normal and that there are many ways to help get anxiety under relative control. Talking to people really works for me. I know it sounds cliché, but communication has allowed for me to find people who are dealing with the same issues that I am. We share stories and give each other advice. Getting together with others is probably the best part of this experience because anxiety really sucks. Yeah, it gets better, but it still sucks. I’ve got a pretty good hold on things now, but it’s not like I can talk myself out of every panic attack. Sometimes I’ll have an attack and not even know that I was having one until it’s over. It’s horrible, but it makes me feel better knowing that there’s always someone
– NICOLE ZUHSE / ELON, NC
– KELLY TUNER / PHILADELPHIA, PA
that I can go to. You’ve gotta talk about it. Sometimes (most times, honestly), it’s an embarrassing conversation that you don’t want to have. Being anything other than neuro-typical is often seen as a weakness in society. But it’s not. That stigma shouldn’t exist. Anxiety doesn’t make you any less of a person. People suffering from anxiety shouldn’t have to go through it alone. You can’t ask for help if you can’t talk about the issue. Mental Health Awareness Month is important because it brings everyone together. My mental health is my responsibility. People need to hear about these issues from those who have firsthand experience in dealing with them. The conversation has been started. It’s up for us to continue it. – SAMARIA JOHNSON / O'FALLON, MO
make wishes on shooting stars. Remember Mickey Mouse pancakes. Remember the butterflies in your stomach when you threw your hands in the air right before the roller coaster dropped. Remember how you felt brave when your biggest fears were just fears. Remember telling jokes and laughing until your eyes twinkled with tears. Remember. You are the fireworks illuminating dark nights in spectacular arrangements of brilliance followed by oohs and ahhs. You are the music that becomes the soundtracks to life's most treasured memories. You are a builder of greatness and an inventor of stories. You are the risks and rewards and someone's wish on a shooting star. You are the gentle snow fall, refreshing breeze, fierce winds, and calming rains. You are a giver and a gift, and yes, you are Mickey Mouse pancakes— or at least made with love the way they are. I hope you feel butterflies when you are in love or right before the roller coaster drops. I hope you throw your hands in the air and scream at the top of your lungs, because I'll be right there screaming: YOU ARE EVERYTHING. YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE WORTHY OF LIFE AND LOVE. Today is dad's birthday, so I'm lighting a candle for him, and one for you. It's a trick candle, though— the kind you have to blow out over and over; the kind that keeps on living and burning bright. So take a deep breath, fill your lungs with air (make a wish), and feel what it is to be alive and full of wonder. Then repeat. – BRENNA NICKELS / SEATTLE, WA
I don't think I've shared this with most people in my life: nine years ago, my dad took his life. Promise me you won't say you're sorry because that's not why I'm telling you. I want you to know you're not alone. On days and nights, the puzzles feel too tough to solve—Remember the fireworks that set sail into the unknown air and burst into a dark sky, lighting up the world in a brilliant explosion. Remember the music you listened to on repeat so you could memorize all the words and sing them at the top of your lungs. Remember your hands, capable of building. Remember your dreams and wild imagination that took you to faraway places in the company of monsters and princesses. Remember staying up way past bedtime to watch the meteor shower and
local wolves — 25
I was about 11 when I was diagnosed with depression. It was explained to me as the reason why I acted the way I did. An explanation as to why I grew up as a complete outcast that had a hard time connecting with kids my own age and cried uncontrollably. It made me feel completely ashamed and isolated. My mental issues showed through my adolescence in waves. In the riptides of my mind I developed horrible anxiety and eating disorders. I disguised my pain by building myself up to be a perfect person. I never allowed anyone to get too close to me in fear that someone would see my “crazy”. During this time, I also plastered myself all over the internet and I felt the weight of the world as the number of people following me grew rapidly. I didn’t know how to handle myself and it definitely didn’t help with my mental wellbeing. I felt an enormous pressure to be perfect which when I failed led me to become even more depressed. I hid my brokenness behind a webcam with a smile. I couldn't let anyone know I was struggling with illnesses controlling my mind. I lived in constant fear that I would do or say the wrong thing I ultimately broke down and I was forced to take over a year off of YouTube. The older I got the more I started to accept what I had been born with. I opened up to my parents and close friends but only showed them a sliver. I was still so ashamed of my anxiety and devoted every ounce of my being to hide my depression. I was in
complete denial and felt terrified to seek help. It wasn’t until I my world completely shattered hitting emotional rock bottom that I decided to see a therapist. This saved me. I have since been seeing my therapist for almost three years every week. I take medication every day to regulate my mental health problems. I have to actively work to make my top priority my mental wellbeing. I can safely say my mind is in the best state in my life despite having a constant civil war in my head. With every choice I make, I take into account how it will impact my mind and my illnesses. Every day I get closer to controlling my anxiety and depression and not letting it control me and it feels pretty damn good (most of the time). A year ago I would have been too ashamed to let anyone publish anything about my mental illnesses. I had accepted them but it was never anything I wanted to advertise. Now, I talk about my struggle openly. I tweet about it, mention it in videos and talk to my followers about it to the best of my ability. I am no longer ashamed of having the same issues that in some way shape or form impact nearly every human on this planet. The sooner mental health issues are destigmatized the sooner an 11-year-old girl won’t feel so different and crazy for being born with a little less dopamine in their brain than most people. – ALEXA LOSEY / LOS ANGELES, CA
– SHELBY MONTELONGO / ORANGE, CA
local wolves — 27
pinpoint / / I C ELA N D / / COVERAGE: NICOLE MASON
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Time. Spending time in a place. Allowing it to know you, to take you in and show you all it’s got to offer. Time. All we have, but all we feel we don’t have any of. All we have, but all we make excuses about not having enough of. We’re fools. Sitting in, wandering through, even wasting time, all the time. We hardly ever enjoy the present. Our culture has our minds wrapped around the future— what we need, what we should want, showing us why our life isn’t good enough right now. We distract ourselves, we seek; we constantly, persistently, seek. But what does it look like, to enjoy the present, to really feel it? I think every time we travel, it begins with a thought: a thought that we will enjoy our time, maybe that our life will be better than it was wherever we are traveling from. A thought that something amazing is going to happen to us. A thought. A thought stemmed from searching. Traveling is often associated with exploring, adventuring— discovering. And you don’t discover without first, searching. but the real question is: what is it that we are searching for? What is it that we seek when we travel? The answer is certainly different for all of us, but I think it is something that we don’t process enough, or maybe don’t even realize. What do we search for? What was I searching for? With the idea of searching comes expectation. We’re expecting to find something. This thought can make or break us. It can
bring us up or pull us down. This thought of expectation affects our attitude and our outlook of a trip. Expecting to find something, expecting to see something, expecting something to happen, brings us great satisfaction when we do find it. But we feel let down or like we have failed in the opposite outcome. Allow room for failure. There is no such thing as perfect, as we know, but there is especially no such thing as perfect when you’re on the road. Allowing failure in the events of a trip, not only teaches us that things don’t always go according to plan, but it reveals that failure is part of the process as humans. Failure and challenges are not location-specific. Let me clarify: going to another country will not change the problems you’re location-specific. Let me clarify: going to another country will not change the problems you’re encountering at home. it will not mend conflicts. Ultimately, travel reveals that we carry these things with us. We carry the weight of our relationships, our insecurities, and our failures, no matter where we go. Maybe we travel just to come home, to return a little bit more in tune with what really matters, where our hearts are at, where they’ve been, and keep searching. The road teaches you. The road breaks you. The road pulls you forward. But it also leaves just enough room for you to look back.
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Lately, listening to the newly trending and glorious revival of 1980s reminiscent synth-pop that so many of my favorite artists have been weaving into their sound has given me the perfect soundtrack for California nights and youthful blood pumping through veins. The recent release of the brilliant and hypnotic The 1975’s I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it along with the freshly dropped Charli XCX video for “Vroom Vroom,” though somewhat different in subgenres, both made me feel undercurrents of power and honesty behind light-hearted saccharine pop beats. For me, these feelings I get from the music I love feed directly into my daily style inspirations. I fell in love with the key piece mesh top from local Los Angeles label, French Mauve, because it strikes an ideal balance between nodding to the 80s while still holding contemporary weight that brings freshness. The varying details of these looks seem to scream pretty, edgy, retro, eclectic, minimal, and modern all at the same time. When curating your own style, there are no boxes to check or patterns to follow. If you want to wear overalls or a leather skirt, you don’t have to let that one piece drive the energy of the whole look. If you feel like wearing a colorless palette in May, go for it. Style trending pieces with things you love to wear because they represent you, not because you think it’s what any sort of fashion standard expects you to wear. That’s the beauty of creativity; it belongs solely to you.
L O O K 1 / RETR O french mauve grid basic topshop black denim overalls out from under black gemma applique mesh bra dr. martens clarissa brando sandals vintage furla bag topshop fluffy pompom key ring
WRITTEN BY MEGHAN DUNCAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY TAYLOR KRAUSE BANNER BY LAURA FILAS
L O O K 3 / A N D R O G Y N O US
L O O K 2 / G IRLY
french mauve grid basic out from under black gemma applique mesh bra urban outfitters satin skinny tie scarf french mauve paris tailored pants vans old skool sneaker
french mauve grid basic american apparel 2x2 rib triangle top 'sofia' bodysuit french mauve easy mini skirt urban outfitters pointy toe buckle boot thrifted clear sunglasses
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food for the starving artist COVERAGE: NATHANIEL CRAWFORD
Hello, friends. This month is Local Wolves’ black and white edition! As a photographer whose main subject is predominantly food, being asked to shoot solely black and white photos of the recipe was a challenge. With food photography, I rely so heavily on color to tell my story. With a lack of color, I was forced to use more light and shadows to be my storytellers. I was challenged to pull together my resources to create a vibrant story without the use of color. The outcome? I found a way to tell a new story, a story beyond the plate… or, in this case, the iron skillet. For this month, I had very different intentions as to the recipe I was going to create. My initial idea was to make a blackberry pie with a beautiful lattice crust design on top that would wow the crowds and maybe even sway my date to call me back. Though, just like my hope for a call back, I would quickly be left in disappointment. The obvious reason I was doomed to fail from the start was the fact that I had never attempted at making a pie before. Sure I had made plenty of fruit galettes in the past, but a real-life made-by-your-grandma pie was something I had never mastered (or even attempted). My issues came in two parts: one was my lack of pie pan and two was using a recipe I had never tried before. These two combinations were just a recipe for disaster (quite literally). Quickly as my pastry dreams came crumbling down, again, figuratively
and literally (thanks to the dry pie dough!), I panicked to think of a solution to my pie making dilemma. I had a bowl of blackberries just waiting to be put into a pie but with no pie crust to be found. Rapidly, my mind went to work, thinking of alternative solutions. In the midst of my panic, it hit me, make a crumble! I began throwing flour, sugar, and chilled cubes of butter into a bowl, before sprinkling it over top of the berries and tossing it in the oven. The outcome? A freaking awesome crumble! The blackberries were warm and bubbly, with a perfect balance of tart and sweet, while the crumble topping was golden brown with hints of nutty aromas. So what did I learn through all of this? I learned that without challenges, we can never grow. If I am not faced with adversity, how will I ever know what it takes to overcome it? If I am never challenged to expand my creativity, how will I ever discover new styles? Being presented with a crumbly pie dough, I have to be able to take that situation as a chance to critically and creatively find a solution. I think that is what I love so much about food photography, it’s a medium that I am able to challenge my creativity. With food photography, I am able to create something that is truly me, a reflection of one’s own self, even if it’s not exactly the way I intended it to be.
iron skillet blackberry crumble with a white chocolate crème
C RUM B LE 1 cup flour ¼ cup whole wheat flour 1/3 cup brown sugar ½ cup walnuts, chopped 6 tablespoon butter 1 teaspoon cinnamon
F ILLI N G 6 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen 1 cup white sugar 3 tablespoons cornstarch Juice and zest of one lemon 1 tablespoons honey 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
W H ITE C H O C O LATE C R È AM 8 oz. white chocolate 2 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon heavy cream 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
STE P S 1 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon. Add the chilled butter and cut into the flour mixture with your hands or using a pastry cutter until the mixture begins to resemble course meal. Reserve until needed. 2 In a separate bowl, mix together the blackberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla until well combined. Add blackberries to a 10-inch iron skillet or an 11x7-inch baking dish. Top berries with crumble topping and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the top of the crumble is golden brown and the berries are bubbling. Allow to cool slightly before serving. 3 In a microwave safe bowl, cover and melt white chocolate and butter in the microwave in 30 second intervals or until completely melted. Add in the heavy cream and sugar, stirring to combine. Serve over top of crumble. Store in an airtight container and fridge until needed.
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brie harrison written by Alexis Jarett photography by Mila Austin
April showers brought May flowers, and no one gains more inspiration through the change from “burr” to blooms than English designer and illustrator Brie Harrison. The floral patterns and designs make Spring come to life with stationary, tote bags and fabrics. However, Harrison not only shows her creativity through her designs, but through her everyday life. Her social media accounts are full of photos from traveling and anything that influences her designs. Harrison’s main inspiration for her designs is botany. Gardens, nature, walks and people’s house plants are among the items that she looks for inspiration in. Harrison is also routinely on the lookout for new designs, always keeping in mind that influence is everywhere. “I’m constantly documenting plants with a camera or in my sketchbook— friends’ shelves in their houses or corners in coffee shops usually have something on them that I will take inspiration from.”
It is no secret that traveling has also influenced Harrison’s art and even personally. “Traveling gives me the energy to feel like I can believe creative,” she said. “It reminds me of what’s important to me in life and resets my perspective; it gives me warmth when it’s cold and England and it feeds my confidence. I simply can’t imagine living without it.” However, with every great traveler and artist are the roots from which she came. Hailed from East London, Harrison knew from the beginning of her strong interest in designing and illustrating. “I have loved drawing ever since I was a child and always wanted to be creative,” she said. “I have a memory of when my sister was born. My mother would bathe her and I’d sit at my miniature table with a set of pencils and paper. Later, I then went on to study art at school.” Harrison studied Textile Design in Brighton, England.
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She has since taken her talent further by branching her artwork to paper and other products and fabrics. She has collaborated fabric for Winter’s Moon and Dashwood Studio, cards and wraps for Art Angels, bags for Blue Q and notelets for Galison New York. Harrison has also published work in Charlotte River’s I Heart Stationery and Mike Perry’s Over & Over. Harrison said that being published is a great feeling. “[It] gives me the belief and motivation to keep going with it all.” As with most artists, Harrison’s artistic skill shows through many aspects of her life. Her home is vibrantly decorated, and she also chooses to put her creativity into her culinary interests. “I love to cook,” she said. “I love vegan and vegetarian food so I try to be as creative as I can with my eating.” She also says she dreams of putting her ability into designing her own garden when she has time in the future. Currently, Harrison’s work is for sale in various selected galleries and specialist shops in the UK and US. “My next goal is to start appearing at more fairs and design shows with my products. I would also love to design a set of book covers, soap wrappers and tea boxes.” When it comes to the upcoming year, she says that collaborations are in the making, as well as new art prints and a shop on her website may be coming soon. When she isn’t designing, Harrison can be found with friends and some of her favorite locations. “If I’m in England then the Suffolk countryside is one of my favorite places to be,” she said. “Traveling as much as possible, with a bit of yoga thrown in for good measure.” The ambitious artist expresses that the work is rewarding on an internal level with “freedom to be creative and to manage my time, and to collaborate with other inspiring creatives,” she said. “I feel so lucky.”
“Traveling gives me the energy to feel like I can believe creative.” local wolves — 41
koji STORY BY KAMI BAKER PHOTOGRAPHY BY TRACY NGUYEN
Life is full of moments. The big moments, the in-between moments, the defining moments with eyes shut and smiles wide, or perhaps just the opposite. For each of those moments— unforgettable or fleeting— we deserve a soundtrack. Activism-founded and love-driven artist Andrew Shiraki (better known artistically as Koji) provides just that. With simple roots in Harrisburg, PA and uniquely complex ethnic roots, Koji achieves what we all desire to unearth: equal sound and color, emotion and logic, and, of course, some kick-ass facial hair. “Koji is my Japanese middle name,” he explains. “I am mixed ethnicity, so I started going by that to embrace my heritage in the face of a society and media environment that hasn’t always had a place for someone like me.” With a heart of gold and a voice made for platinum, Koji ventures into a space of honesty, community, individuality, and wholeness in his creative process. It is easy to pick up on his design for success: a footprint that aids others and broadens the outreach of love in society. “With my music, I always want to venture to a frontier space,” Koji elaborates. “The arts have always been my way of orienting myself in the world and where I’ve found a sense of place and agency. I love the process because the more experience I gain and the more I learn, I feel a deep awareness of what I don’t know. Living in that space is powerful and humbling.” Living in a metaphorical space of an artist, Koji also refers to the Susquehanna riverfront as “my playground,” and a
place that reminds him of home. With running rivers and tributaries, it gives him the room to grow and gain in terms of love, inspiration and community. “When I was in high school, I headed up a youth board of a non-profit that created arts and activism programming in Harrisburg,” relays Koji. “We were able to put on music and art shows, political discussions, community dinners, film nights, poetry slams, and we even ran our own food pantry. There would be no first records, first tours, traveling around the world, all the friends and experiences without this very formative season that allowed me to make very important connections between art, social justice, society, and our environment. This community gave me courage to leave high school and live in collaboration with the world. Community gives us life.” With a single benefiting Bernie Sanders’s campaign trail and a list of inspirations ranging from Malcolm X to Ghandi, Koji is familiar with the terrain of being a leader. His work, not only musically, has benefitted his audience since day one. “It excites me to know that for the short time I’m here on earth, I get to be a part of something much larger than myself,” he says. “Living depends on me showing up for love and what I believe in, regardless of what it looks like. Our stories are important and by telling mine, I hope to empower others.”
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This self-driven power must have a beginning. Between touring and releasing EPs, Koji makes it a priority to transcend his daily point of view from music and lyric to much more. “My inspiration comes from my relationship to self and community,” he points out. “It’s everything from the everyday mundane to a wide view of the world that considers morality, philosophy, religion, romantic and platonic love, social and environmental justice, and so on. Inspiration comes from everywhere and everyone, and for that, I am filled with gratitude.” Recounting that his favorite lyric is “the last thing I wrote,” Koji voyages from issue to issue, song to song, and moment to moment with thoughtful effort, emotion, and dedication. Beyond history books, Koji begins to change the world, one chord at a time. “A perfect show takes place indoors with a small group and no sound system,” he relates. “I’d like there to be a mix of strangers and close friends and
family. Everyone should leave knowing someone new and have a sense for all the people that came together. I’d love for everyone to share their talents or perspective as well because I love learning about the places I visit and the people I sing for. The road has been one of my greatest teachers, so I suppose the perfect “gig” is any creative space where I learn something. I always hope that the songs I write and work I make in collaboration with my friends is something that speaks to the truth of my reality and some sense of universal human experience. Through a song, show, or record, I want to get at the darkness and the light.” With an acoustic guitar tangoing in the background of my quiet room, I recall what Koji spoke of on behalf of his perfect gig. Moments are what collectively make up our lives, and no matter defining, oppressive, joyful, or authentic, our moments are only best when shared.
been my way of orienting myself in the world and where I’ve found a sense of place and agency. I love the process because the more experience I gain and the more I learn, I feel a deep awareness of what I don’t know. Living in that space is powerful and humbling.
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jamie tworkowski to write love on her arms written & ILLUSTRATIONS by Leah Lu photography by Chris Lampkins
We are all stories: collages of our pasts, passions, and potential still to be untapped. What tethers us to one another is the communal understanding that ours are still being written, that there are still truths to be discovered, still time to be surprised. Jamie Tworkowski, founder of Florida-based non-profit organization To Write Love On Her Arms, believes that this very sentiment is what propels his vision of spreading the message of hope to people in pain. This now far-reaching, powerful movement was built on just thatâ€” a story. In 2006, Jamie met Renee Yohe, a teenage girl struggling through drug addiction, depression, and self-injury. He wrote about the experience of getting to know Renee, posted it as a blog and started selling t-shirts to help pay for her treatment. As this gained momentum, people everywhere took notice and began reaching out to ask for help.
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“We’ve learned that most people who struggle in the ways that my friend Renee has struggled, most of them never get help,” said Tworkowski. “Two out of three people who deal with depression, they never get professional help for it. So our primary mission is to see that change. And our biggest tool in that mission is communication. We work to let people know that it’s okay to be honest and it’s okay to ask for help. We do this in all sorts of settings: online, on social media, on college campuses as well as high schools, music tours and festivals, churches, and conferences. We work to bring our message to thousands of people all over the world, and then we have a team that responds to the individual messages that continue to show up every day. The dream is people getting help and people choosing to stay alive.” In 2015, Tworkowski released his debut book titled, If You Feel Too Much , which landed a high spot on the New York Times Bestseller List. The book is a compilation of short stories and what he calls “sprints” written over the course of ten years. In it, Jamie speaks often about musicians and people he has channeled inspiration from: Bono, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, Donald Miller, and Rob Bell, to name a few. Through these anecdotes, Jamie emphasizes our human need for community with those around us. “When it comes to our pain, we tend to isolate ourselves. We feel shame and so we hide out. But we don’t find healing there. We find healing in the context of other people. We believe that everyone deserves a support system [and] a group of friends,” he stated. This year marks To Write Love On Her Arms’ 10th anniversary. In reflecting on the impact the organization has had thus far, Jamie replied with the humble acknowledgement that “...the ‘success’ we’re dreaming about is a world in which no one dies by suicide, a world where it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to talk openly about mental health and addiction. There’s obviously a long way to go but it means a lot to feel like I get to bring my heart to work, and be about ideas that I believe in.” Jamie’s heart for stories is the driving force of TWLOHA, a platform working toward eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness by offering resources for people wrestling with their darkness to find help.
The organization is dedicated to spreading hope, reminding people of the fact that they are loved and that we don’t have to embark on this journey alone. “I’ve come to believe that, as people, we’re made to be known. Not famous, but known and loved. So if you combine those things, I believe that we all want to make sense of our stories, and each of us wants to feel valued and special. We share stories in hope of being known, and so that we might feel less alone. When we do that, it invites other people to do the same, to be honest in sharing their stories, and in doing so, to realize they are not alone,” said Tworkowski. “Hope means the possibility that things can begin to change, that tomorrow or some eventual tomorrow, can look and feel different from today. The first step is often the hardest one to take, but it’s worth it. You’re not alone and it’s possible to change.” Hope is real. Help is real. Your story is important.
“Hope means the possibility that things can begin to change, that tomorrow or some eventual tomorrow, can look and feel different from today.”
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geneva lehnert WRITTEN BY Karina Diez PhotographY BY Jon Duncan
Geneva Lehnert has been a photography enthusiast since she was a child, taking pictures of her mother’s garden. She would take a photo of each individual onion that they pulled out on a disposable camera. “Bless her heart for letting me develop those rolls of film,” mused Lehnert. Every photographer has their own particular style and approach to the way they choose to depict their subjects. Lehnert has chosen to use strictly black and white to tell her stories. “It’s an interesting challenge because black and white makes shooting and editing more difficult but at the same time, opens up so many doors. You think about compositions differently than you would if you were using color,” said Lehnert. The absence of color brings on an entire new spectrum of opportunities when it comes to bringing forth an emotion from her audience. “I’ve found that color can sometimes be used as a crutch. I used to make color the main focus of photos, which in a lot of ways is much easier to get a reaction,” said Lehnert. “People see the bright tones and the color is immediately the focus of the photo. There are other parts of it that are lost. When color is taken away, a photo must stand for itself more and rely on the composition and subject matter to make an impression, instead of the color itself.” Lehnert adores photography because it give her a huge sense of creative authority. “I take photos because each one is a snapshot of a moment that can never be recreated. Whether planned or impromptu, each photo captures a passing moment gone and preserves it,” said Lehnert. “The person behind the camera has the power to portray the subject in any way they want, and that is how the moment is remembered.” She tries not to plan out her sessions too clearly, leaving her room for inspiration and the ability to explore artistically. “I usually have a loose plan of what I want to do but small things along the way inspire me and I try different things. Basically, I have a slight frame of work of what I want to do and use that to fuel ideas in the moment,” said Lehnert. Any form of art is something that can be interpreted in a multitude of ways, depending on who is looking at it. “A good photograph is unique and has a story behind it. It’s tempting to take the same photos that other people take, but to make something that is really your own is more meaningful and [gives] personal style and perspectives,” said Lehnert. “Stories and processes that lead up to a capture moment are the most beautiful kinds of photos.”
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JACK B ARA N CURATED BY LOCAL WOLVES PHOTOGRAPHY BY MADDY CRUM GROOMING BY JESSIE YARBROUGH STYLING BY KATIE QIAN
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It is Sunday at brunch-time and I’m sipping a cold coffee as I listen intently to the precise strategies that separate a YouTube video from receiving ninety-thousand views and one million. At nineteen years old, the man sitting across from me has accomplished more than he might’ve thought possible five years ago when he uploaded his first video— which I’m certain he never imagined would have led to such a prolific next few years. And the more I listen, the more the numbers become important, strategically placed pieces to create one fascinatingly cohesive image. The image? JACK BARAN. Jack and I sat over brunch in Brentwood for nearly two hours to discuss everything from music and gym-routines to confidence and Saint Laurent boots. It was through the many portions of our conversation that I discovered the calculative nature that drives both his personal and professional life. Since 2011, Baran has found success through uploading videos to his YouTube channel, ThatSoJack, where he has amassed nearly 1.5 million viewers. He has impressively stuck to a weekly uploading schedule (yes, that means he’s uploaded practically threehundred videos), a schedule he tells me can become daunting if approached improperly: “A video every week for years? I have to make something for myself. If I don't it would be so daunting every week to do something fake.” Baran ducks into the venue in a pair of black skinny jeans, boots, and a plain tee; an outfit I would soon learn is his go-to when he’s feeling discreet. He towers at a few inches over six feet and wears his hair like a runway model. His appearance is effortless and calculated all at once and the moment we begin talking he never loses interest or checks his phone. So why not always go for one-million views? Because that feels fake. It’s a matter of a couple for them and one for me attitude, which has worked rather well for Baran who has had no problem remaining relevant through many years of personal and professional development. In fact, he jokes that his stages are so obvious he can chronicle his life based off of his outfits— video idea?
“ M Y C H A N N EL IS C O N STA N TLY E V O LV I N G — T H ERE ’ S NO S P E C I F I C F O RMULA T H AT I STI C K T O . M Y C REATI V IT Y F RE Q UE N TLY IS I N F LUE N C E D D AY T O D AY.”
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Q/A TIME WITH JACK BARAN FASHION, MUSIC AND SOCIAL MEDIA COULD ALL BE VIEWED AS METHODS FOR CREATIVITY. DO YOU USE THESE PLATFORMS FOR A WAY TO EXPRESS YOURSELF? “Yes, of course I do. My social media platforms have given me an outlet to express myself. Through what trends I love and what I wear, I’ve been able to collaborate with brands such as Topman and ASOS. This has allowed me to merge the gap between my love for street style and high fashion, and turn it into ‘the Jack Baran style.’ HOW HAS CURATING MUSIC PLAYLISTS BECOME A THING? HOW DO YOU FIND THESE ARTISTS? “I’ve always been in love with music. I started making playlists because I really loved categorizing music based on the mood and vibes I got from the songs. I found it very intriguing to deconstruct songs and try to understand what the artists were trying to convey. In other words, my playlists are a direct indication of my interpretation of the music. I love that I’m able to create playlists and showcase emerging artists through my social media platform which has given me the chance to share my passions and expand it into my own brand.” Music sends us into a conversation on the difficulties YouTuber’s inevitably face when branching out. That doesn't bother Baran so much, though. And he has put some thought into potentially introducing music to his career. “If I were to make music,” he tells me, “it wouldn't necessarily be about being ‘the best singer.’ I’m interested in learning about production— how music is made. I love listening to music and I would want to develop skills in that area to see if I could match singing with making music.” Singing, by the way, is something that mostly occurs within his shower at this point. Whether or not the world will see a musical side of Baran is to be determined, but in the meantime he isn’t short of any inspiration. He says he writes frequently, and by the sound of it there could be journals of unseen work if he keeps up the pace. “I have written for years… in and out depending on how I'm inspired. I like writing about relationships— I've never been in one (laughs).”
When it comes to confidence, Baran is consciously aware of how those ups and downs can affect him. From the risks he takes with outfits to the line he draws on sharing via social media, he always has an eye on his headspace. BEING IN THE POSITION YOU ARE WITH SO MANY FOLLOWERS, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE RESPONSIBILITY YOU TAKE ON AS SOMEONE MANY, MANY PEOPLE MAY LOOK UP TO? “What I tweet/post is usually a best version of myself. There are definitely times when I get vulnerable on the internet and it’s hard because people expect a lot. I try my best to be very level-headed and inspirational, but sometimes I take a step away for own sake.” Baran is strikingly honest throughout our conversation and his words on selfconfidence are no shortage of a look behind the curtains of a carefully constructed appearance. His appearance, though, is no facade. He keeps his followers in the loop, an example being his candidness with his audience when it comes to relationships and sexual orientation. “I moved out to LA a year before coming out— It was so long overdue in my head. I created my presence on YouTube as though [my viewers] already knew. I developed my perspectives as being accepting of myself and fully open with my friends and family. It could’ve been cool to not come out. I feel like it would’ve been funny to have the opportunity for people not to have such a direct answer. It helped people but it could have been more interesting to hold off and watch how different people developed.” Baran then explained how on many of his videos he now receives more comments dealing with his sexuality. “Maybe if I didn't put such an answer on the internet, it would’ve helped show that if you're growing, you're going to change.” On the topic of his personal-life we discussed some of the challenges that arise from our social media dense world. Being a public figure and the general craze of dating today, Baran told me: “It almost ruins the chance so much faster. There’s no opportunity to figure it out yourself, because you can figure it all out within an hour online. You discard people quicker because of it and it’s annoying... I guess it gives you your answer quicker though,” he concedes with a laugh.
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HOW DO YOU RELAX? I like to nap and listen to music.
WHAT IS THE CRAZIEST THING A FAN HAS SENT YOU? A piece of their hair.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FORM OF SOCIAL MEDIA? I like posting on Instagram, but I love checking snapchat. Whenever I need to know what people are doing I check snapchat.
IF YOU COULD LIVE IN A FICTIONAL (MOVIE/TV/BOOK) “WORLD,” WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE? The movies I watch I feel are too morbid to live in... Like, Room. i wouldn't want to be there but I love the movie.
DO YOU KEEP A JOURNAL? Yes. It’s kind of just an idea journal. I don't make entries every night but I definitely keep track of my thoughts and ideas that I want to come back to.
IF YOU COULD HAVE INVENTED/CREATED ONE THING THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE? I would love to be a part of the development of social media or Apple.
WHAT MAKES YOU NERVOUS? Time. Makes me so anxious… I try not to think about it too much. Other things that make me nervous: there is this certain mood on weeknights when I'm by myself, confused, sitting in my room in a huge fucking city I moved to by myself.
IF YOU COULD BACK IN TIME TO BE PRESENT AT ANY EVENT? I’d love to be back in the 90’s at my current age— to remember it. Such a decade that I didn’t get experience.
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honne WRITTEN BY Chloe Luthringshausen Photography BY Rachel Kober
In Japan, HONNE is a word used to mean true feelings. After listening to electronic-soul band HONNE, you’ll soon realize there is no better word to describe the British duo. Consisting of members Andy and James, HONNE is a band that brings true feelings and desire to its music, mixing electronic beats with seductive sounds and emotional lyrics. At university, Andy and James clicked right away, writing and producing music together a day or two after they met. However, their love for music started years before the formation of the band HONNE. For James, it was his birthday present of an acoustic guitar that awakened his passion for music. “I didn’t play it for years. Then one day, I must have been about 12, I came home from school, picked it up and started learning how to play,” admits James. “From that day on, I was completely obsessed and in love with creating music. I didn’t consider any other career options even at that age.” Luckily for James, he didn’t have to. After meeting Andy at university, the duo immediately started creating music, developing a sound that they “felt was a bit unique and special and really felt like us.” They soon uploaded their first single “Warm On A Cold Night” to YouTube, going viral within days. That was the beginning of HONNE. Listening to HONNE’s tracks, it becomes clear that their music is more than a sound; it’s a feeling. The lustful, nocturnal beats of their first single “Warn On a Cold Night” and the upbeat, dreamy sounds of “Gone Are the Days” will bring you feelings of warmth, serenity, and love. When asked how they developed this unique musical sound, the British duo explains, “It kind of developed by combining our love of soul music harmony and melody with some of our favorite electronic instruments.” They describe their songs as “the kind of music you’d put on during a warm late-night drive through a city with the windows down.” Listening to their music, it’s hard not to imagine yourself in a carefree setting, where dreams and emotions roam freely.
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“It’s crazy to think that a little over a year ago, Andy and I were working day jobs, writing music whenever possible, and now we’ve just come back from a sold-out U.S. tour and we’re putting the finishing touches on our debut album.” Starting out as music teachers, Andy and James now find themselves in a band that has 9 million SoundCloud plays, 20 million Spotify streams, 6 million YouTube views, and 20,000 Spotify followers. Their first single, “Warm On A Cold Night” went viral on the Internet shortly after being released, and currently has 1.8 million views on YouTube. “It’s crazy to think that a little over a year ago, Andy and I were working day jobs, writing music whenever possible, and now we’ve just come back from a sold-out U.S. tour and we’re putting the finishing touches on our debut album,” says James. “It’s an amazing feeling and we wouldn’t change it for the world.” Their quick transformation from music teachers to globally recognized musicians stems from the fact that HONNE is not your everyday electronic band. Having a wide range of talents, such as playing guitar, keys, bass, and drums, while also producing, the duo have a unique edge that sets them apart from other bands in the industry because their music combines soulful lyrics and original beats.
Inspired by Quincy Jones, Inc., and Kendrick Lamar, the British duo admits that their focus is on the songs. “We write and produce electronic music, but our aim has always been to have a song that is still great with just piano and vocals,” explains Andy. “We’re quite traditional in that sense. I think for electronic music to have that focus is a relatively rare thing.” Attaining global success in a short period of time, HONNE is enjoying a newfound spotlight, selling out shows all over the world. Sometimes it’s difficult dealing with the attention that comes with being in such a high-demand industry. However, Andy and James find it fun sharing their music with wide audiences, talking to fans, and hearing their comments and stories. “A particular favorite story of mine was one that a guy in Germany told us,” says James. “His girlfriend was pregnant and he used to play our track “The Night” to the baby. Then after the baby was born, whenever she cried he would play the track and she would stop. It’s amazing hearing stories like that.” With fans all over the world, Andy and James have relied on the mobility and vast network of social media. In today’s digital age, social media plays a huge role in instantly spreading music to audiences all over the world at a touch of a button. Although it can bring in unfiltered negativity online, HONNE is grateful for the positive effects of social media and how it connects artists with their fans and other artists in the industry.
“Our next single is with an artist who we initially connected with through Twitter,” admits Andy. “I think the problem with social media comes when artists focus so much attention on it that they focus less on their art. The balance has to be right.” Already selling out shows throughout the world, including the U.S., London, and Paris, HONNE admits some of their favorite cities to play in have been San Francisco and Berlin because the audiences were so into the show. However, the duo says they love performing all over the world, hoping to return to Tokyo or make a first-time trip to Seoul soon. Traveling on the road is part of the industry, and HONNE admits they love the fast-paced environment of being on tour. “Travelling around the world and seeing the backs of venues, I mean what more could you want?” jokes James. “No, in all honesty, we love it! Seeing a different city and meeting so many people each day is so interesting. It’s fun being on tour with our little HONNE family and whenever we have a spare hour or two, we always try to squeeze in a quick look around whichever city we’re in.” One of the most memorable shows James and Andy have performed so far was their latest gig in their hometown of London because it showed them how far they’ve come as a band. “A year or so before it, we were playing at a 120 person capacity venue. Then at this one, there were 1,500 people there to see us, singing along, sitting on their friends’ shoulders.
It was a great feeling,” admits the duo.Outside of music and touring, you can find James and Andy discovering new restaurants, playing tennis, or swimming. Andy even has a special talent for Scandinavian furniture, making unique wooden lamps for his home. The British band just released their new single: collaboration with Izzy Bizu entitled “Someone That Loves You.” Meeting on Twitter, HONNE and Izzy combined their electronic-soul sounds to produce a simmering, emotional song about forbidden love, told from both sides of a romantic story. Following the recent release of HONNE’s EP “Gone Are the Days (Shimokita Import)”, “Someone That Loves You” contains the same rich, genuine sound that defines the band. With the release of “Someone That Loves You”, James and Andy are a step closer to putting the finishing touches on their debut album, coming out later this year. The album will focus on striving to find real love in the digital age. Selling out their first-ever U.S. headline tour, including New York’s Bowery Ballroom and LA’s The Troubadour, while also booking a place in the lineup at the prestigious South by Southwest this year, HONNE are well on their way to conquering the global music industry. One listen to the soulful, seductive music of HONNE and you’ll soon discover why.
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clayton foshaug WRITTEN BY Kami Baker PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jon Duncan
Everyone seems to be a photographer these days. The gift of a DSLR weasels its way onto Christmas lists and credit card statements across the globe. And, although this creates a lot of competition in the industry, it also creates a lot of inspiration, art, and truthful identity. 18 year old Clayton Foshaug champions the youthful photographer physique in his work, documenting a life that will go unforgotten. Foshaug was interested in photography from an early age, picking up a toy camera with ease and curiosity. Fast forward years later, and he’s all about black and white stills, running late, and jumping on the coffee grind. “I’ve always liked the simplicity of black and white and the stripped down barebones you get with it,” he remarks. The bleached bare minimum of objects, shapes, and shadows are bold and not always how we see things.” Foshaug founds his roots in “the heart of the Northwest,” where he grew up in Olympia, Washington. With access to Seattle, the ocean, and the cascades, he was given the opportunity to grow and develop in many favorite places and backdrops. As he progresses into a future in photography, his own background instills a hope to capture more street portraiture, as well as booking professional look books. “I liked the idea that you can take what you see and make it tangible,” Foshaug explains. “I think at a young age, seeing my grandpa suffer from Alzheimer’s made me realize that I need to start documenting things for myself as well as for future generations. I guess my photography is driven by my fear of forgetting my life. My distinct muse would probably be people. I love seeing all the ways people take portraits and the stories they tell.” Foshaug’s portrait tells a story of what he sees as a mess, but most others in his audience would see as the intricate pieces of a well-lived life. With inspiration from photographers like Edward Steichen, Christina Paik, and Ansel Adams, to other artistic charmers like Raf Simons, Ira Glass, and Alt-J, Foshaug finds his spectrum among art, photography, memory, and inner wisdom.
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I LIKE THE IDEA THAT YOU CAN TAKE WHAT YOU SEE AND MAKE IT TANGIBLE.
“Being a designer and a photographer, and even coming from an ‘artistic family’ there’s always been a vast amount of inspiration around me. From growing up looking at my dad’s sketches and paintings to studying designers, it’s like a constantly-growing hive of inspiration and creativity.” As time travels through Foshaug’s light and lens, it also propels him forward professionally. Being accepted into the Design Program at Western Washington University has driven him into a state of growth and goal-making.“ Before that, I was definitely feeling discouraged and underwhelmed with my direction,” he states. “Now being in the program and taking such a variety of creative classes has really stretched my creative abilities and vision. With my personal work, I really want to travel more and start meeting people and portraying their culture to the world.” While he studies up to be even better than he already is, Foshaug lands in a state of “sh*tty iPhone alarms” and “constantly developing my style and creative direction.” His work, classic and meaningful, strives to be even more telling. When asked about his favorite photo to come from his camera, he says: “I think it’s yet to be taken. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a favorite photo of my own. My favorite photo last year is probably not my favorite photo today.” Although his ever-evolving portfolio waxes and wanes with every new portrait, Foshaug revels in this way of life. “Nothing is perfect,” he insists. “But I think we can find our own enjoyment in the imperfections of these moments.” And enjoy we do.
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david bokov WRITTEN BY Sadie Bell PhotographY BY Jon Duncan
Seattle-based photographer David Bokov spent the summers of his youth barefoot, the lush grass beneath his feet as he played outside from dusk until dawn when his mother called him in for dinner. These simpler days spent in the outdoors back when Bokov was a child growing up in Russia are what would later inspire him to go into photography. Bokov said, “Being outdoors so much as a kid, I’ve made a special bond with nature and photography was a way to capture it.” Once his family immigrated to the United States in 2003, Bokov discovered his relatives’ DSLRs and from the moment he started shooting, he was hooked; he had found the perfect medium to capture the world around him that he had loved so much. Now, a seasoned photographer, Bokov continues to turn the beauty he sees throughout his life into still images— photos that aim to encapsulate just how stunning singular moments in life and nature can be. “I always try to find beauty in all [of] my surroundings,” said Bokov. “Paying attention to different patterns, angles, [and] lighting situations. You can’t help but notice these things even when you’re just going on about your day.” He said, “I often think about the story my subject holds within itself, that being a human being or an old industrial building.”
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Bokov’s photography captures the profound nature of place, be that a rough coastline facing the crash of the tides or a winding road bearing a blanket of white, seemingly transporting you to that scenery. His images capture the essence of cities— their unique architecture and the way they welcome the atmosphere by the touch of their skylines. He said, “Through photography, I’ve realized how much I love traveling. During the summer of 2013, I got to visit Prague in [the] Czech Republic,” which was his first trip outside of North America after moving from Russia. “Photographing that beautiful city really made me appreciate the architecture and interior design, as well,” he said. Since then, Bokov’s portfolio has become one that is rich in images even beyond his home on the Northwest coast, containing photos of distant places like the classic streets of London, the ancient ruins of Rome, and the quaintness of Amsterdam, his camera always at his side wherever he goes. “I travel to see and experience the world. I think it’s really important to widen your horizon. It really changes your views and makes you realize that so much more is possible. Photography helps me remember that. Shooting while traveling makes me pay attention more to my surroundings, always trying to ‘get that shot,’” said Bokov. “I think the perfect shot has to be timeless,” he said.
“It’s all about the emotion in the shot. Trends change, but people have and always [will] feel love, happiness, [and] sadness.” And his images do capture these feelings, the techniques he describes using as untraditional angles, shadows, black and white, or underexposure evoking a certain emotion in the viewer, whether the image be of a playful shoreline scene or a dark fog lifting from the forest. While at this point in his life Bokov said photography is just a hobby, he knows in one way or another “that it will always be a part of it. I hope [photography] takes me places,” said Bokov. He said that traveling and photographing the world around him has expanded his horizon to the beauty that exists in all facets on this earth. “All of us are so different and it’s awesome. There is so much to see in this world!” When David Bokov was growing up in Russia, he spent his days outside simply because he loved the world around him, but fortunately a camera would eventually fall into his hands. It was and still is the perfect means to capture the outdoors that he has always felt so very connected to.
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cole kiburz WRITTEN BY MEGHAN DUNCAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATASHA WILSON ILLUSTRATIONS BY LEAH LU
Getting to know COLE KIBURZ is a lot like taking a scenic drive— full of windy roads of conversation, brimming with meaning and deeply appreciative of the surrounding beauty. Whether the conversation drifts into the artistic luminaries he finds in Wes Anderson, Woody Allen, Conor Oberst, Sol, and Kurt Vonnegut or his love of interesting people and expansive nature spaces, this appreciation for the deeper things of life seeps out of all his words and actions— namely his photography. While photography can sometimes gravitate towards desperate exaggeration of unrealistic standards of beauty, looking at Cole’s portfolio feels incredibly distant from that. We asked what makes his people-centric work different from the rest, and he explained, “When I take someone’s picture, I’m not just trying to catch them in a pose; I want to capture them as I see them in a moment. I don’t want people to look at my work and only see beauty. That’s boring. I want them to see little moments of rebellion, seduction, freedom or untamed abandon and I want that to whisper to them to seek the same in themselves.” It is this thought process that gives him what most aspiring artists so fiercely seek—the ability to see the raw state of whatever subject they view.
wanted to focus on overcoming hardships and learning to be comfortable with yourself. We wanted the video to feel like it transitioned to a place of acceptance.” And this is precisely what watching the video feels like. Perhaps the successful execution of this video is due to Cole’s own passion for subjects like mental health awareness, selflove, and self-identity. Recently, he shared some moments from his own passage into acceptance in an Instagram post, which he summarized in our conversation: “You know, I really struggled when I was younger to come into my own. I was always very smart, passionate and artistic but for a long time I don’t think I had many healthy outlets to nurture those qualities. I often suffered from anxiety or was an easy target for bullying because I was very gentle by nature and that didn't always play well in my testosterone-driven smalltown high school.” In telling his story, he wanted to direct attention to the fact that amidst brokenness there is solace in community. He adds, “We are all human and we all walk a hard road. I want people to know that they aren’t alone even when they feel alone."
Besides having a knack for portraits, Cole recently (and rather brilliantly) acted as director of The Maine’s music video for their track, “Am I Pretty”. The video kindles a theme of the vulnerability and acceptance of truth that comes in the journey of suffering. Cole talked about his planning with the band that went in ahead of making the video— “We wanted authentic narratives, but more than anything we
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Cole applies this particular perspective of cooperative effort to the future he sees for the youth culture in their undertaking to detach stigma concerning mental health awareness: “I think kids today are far more accepting of others in general which is amazing. They don’t really think about skin color and they couldn’t care less if your parents are divorced or if you have two dads, but I think it will take brave souls speaking up in mass about their own experiences to truly de-stigmatize mental health all together.” This, of course, is no easy process and on a personal level, the thought of speaking honestly about your own experience can feel excruciating in the daily battle of finding self-worth. In remembering his own encounters with insecurity, Cole says, “We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we react to it. The first step is simply to stay present. By staying present, you can question the negative narratives you tell yourself and, hopefully over time, change them.”
“Next, take a moment to be grateful. Simply acknowledging the warmth of the sun or the way the rain smells is a good start. If you play an instrument, pick it up and jam for a few. If you have a dog, take them for a walk, trust me, they’ll be excited enough for the both of you.” He also has advice specific to young creators searching out their niche in the artistic world, a place he remembers his younger self being: “I always say to aspiring creatives that the first step to being really good at something is simply having really good taste in whatever it is you’re aspiring to be. From there, you become free to knock down the barriers and display the world as you see it in your mind. You don’t necessarily ‘discover’ your style as much as you ‘become’ your style.” This is an ever-evolving process in the life of an artist, and if you love Cole Kiburz as a photographer and director as much as we do, stay tuned for his upcoming music project that is currently in the works.
Cole applies this particular perspective of cooperative effort to the future he sees for the youth culture in their undertaking to detach stigma concerning mental health awareness: “I think kids today are far more accepting of others in general which is amazing. They don’t really think about skin color and they couldn’t care less if your parents are divorced or if you have two dads, but I think it will take brave souls speaking up in mass about their own experiences to truly de-stigmatize mental health all together.” This, of course, is no easy process and on a personal level, the thought of speaking honestly about your own experience can feel excruciating in the daily battle of finding self-worth. In remembering his own encounters with insecurity, Cole says, “We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we react to it. The first step is simply to stay present. By staying present, you can question the negative narratives you tell yourself and, hopefully over time, change them. Next, take
a moment to be grateful. Simply acknowledging the warmth of the sun or the way the rain smells is a good start. If you play an instrument, pick it up and jam for a few. If you have a dog, take them for a walk, trust me, they’ll be excited enough for the both of you.” He also has advice specific to young creators searching out their niche in the artistic world, a place he remembers his younger self being: “I always say to aspiring creatives that the first step to being really good at something is simply having really good taste in whatever it is you’re aspiring to be. From there, you become free to knock down the barriers and display the world as you see it in your mind. You don’t necessarily ‘discover’ your style as much as you ‘become’ your style.” This is an ever-evolving process in the life of an artist, and if you love Cole Kiburz as a photographer and director as much as we do, stay tuned for his upcoming music project that is currently in the works.
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BEHIND THE SCENES BY EARL DAVIS
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grace WRITTEN BY Brindy Francis Photography BY Calvin Ma
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“I can be walking down the street and an idea will pop into my head and I’ll have to sing it into my phone or write down some lyrics. You can’t really choose when you’re going to be inspired. It just happens.” Eighteen year old Grace, who’s originally from Australia now lives in Los Angeles and is our new favorite to blast on the highway. You may have heard her as the accompanying voice on G-Eazy’s latest track “Don’t Let Me Go”. Grace has been a huge success. She even was nominated for her first ARIA award for ‘Song of the Year’! “I was blown away! I really didn’t expect a nomination, so when I found out, I was so stoked. It’s something that I grew up watching and had always hoped to be apart of someday.” Grace even made her U.S. television debut performance on the TODAY Show (which I highly recommend watching). Last month, she performed live on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Live with Kelly and Michael as well! She has had so many incredible opportunities. Which could possibly be the best one? “The greatest opportunity I’ve had so far in my career was definitely getting the chance to work with Quincy Jones. He’s the godfather of music and has accomplished so much. Being around him and soaking up his advice and wisdom is a once in a lifetime experience.” Her singing career has been something she has been working at for a long time. “I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. My whole family is very creative. Both my grandparents were in the industry and my older brother, Conrad is as well, so it felt very natural for me to pursue something creative,” she says. “I think I just fell in love with music and performing at a very early age.” For being in the musical industry for so long and constantly being surrounded by all things music related, you’ve got to have some fond memories. “As a little girl, my mum was always playing soul and that’s what I grew up listening to. Some
of my favourite memories are listening to artists like Etta James and Gladys Knight and trying to sing along and emulate these epic soul singers. I must have been like 6 or 7 years old, but I was just fascinated by music and these powerhouse vocalists.” Some of her other favorite artists are all the classics: Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, Aretha Franklin, and Smokey Robinson. “I could listen to them all day,” says Grace. “A couple weeks ago, I got to play RedFest in Dubai. It was my first time playing a full set at a festival with that many people and it was the most insane feeling; getting to look out at this massive crowd and everyone is singing along and screaming and dancing. It was so surreal and definitely a crazy moment.” Performing is one of the most common fears for a lot of people. That has never seemed to be a problem for Grace. She was born to be on stage! “Performing is my favourite part of doing music, aside from actually creating itself. For me, there is no greater feeling than entertaining a room full of people. I rarely get nervous.” I asked Grace what she does outside of the industry and if it ever is hard to juggle the two. She says, “Music consumes a lot of my time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think when you’re passionate about something, you kind of never really check out of work mode because it doesn’t feel like work to me. When I do get free time, I just want to do normal stuff with good people: go to the movies, hang out, that kind of thing.” We started discussing what her goals are for the near future and I found her answer very interesting. “I just want to make great music and let the world discover it. Everything else is just a bonus. If I can make timeless records that move people for the rest of my life, I’ll be happy.” She just wants to share her talent with the world and it now happily thanks her. Grace will only continue to shower in success and jubilance.
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written by Brindy Francis photography by Eric Yun h/mua & styling by Alyssa Lau
Blogging is not just for moms. Blogging can open up a whole world of imagination. One particular lovely lady with an “eclectic” style, 24 year old Alyssa Lau, has a blog her own titled Ordinary People. “Blogging for me began during the summer of 2011 when my cousin, Kurtis, and I found ourselves exceptionally bored. We were both university students starving for something to do when we weren’t consumed with studying, and blogging proved to be the perfect creative outlet for us. From there, blogging became something of a passion project for me. It enabled me to explore my own sense of style, make friends all over the world, and lead me to opportunities I could have never dreamt of.” Lau has a very strong fan base with over 61.8k on Instagram! “I think more than anything, having people to talk, laugh, and interact with is the best thing about being on the internet. It’s like having a really, really awesome group of friends from all around the world.” Not only is Lau working magic behind the screen, but she is also making magic behind the camera. “My favorite moments are those that you don’t really expect. Whether it’s a slight tilt of the head or a quirky smile, these small displays of emotion are what make photography so fascinating.” “I think most of my favorite projects begin with a spontaneous idea and not too much prep time— you know, when everything just falls into place perfectly? I recently shot a sort of impromptu editorial for my shop, New Classics Studios, using an old backdrop I never thought I’d ever use. The weather was awful that day so I had to nix my plans of shooting outside, but with the help of some friends, a hair blower, and some patience, the shoot turned out better than I imagined!”
“There are so many people who I admire creatively and whose brains I would love to share for just a minute, but I think more than anything, I would absolutely die to work with Yohji Yamamoto, or even just bask in his presence, y’know?” Her shop, New Classic Studios, has some of the loveliest, simple pieces. From her Roque Top to her Long Strap Overalls, she’s got it all. “I don’t tend to consciously research trends or pay attention to them, as I find they only really lead to this cycle of disposable fashion, but I love how the fashion industry is embracing “ugly”, whether that be in the form of normcore or bucket hats (which usually don’t look great on anyone, but are cool anyways).” You may ask yourself where one gets inspiration to be successful and still be happy doing it. Lau has an experience of her own. “The inspiration for my work comes from everywhere, really. But initially, it comes from the work of other artists and creatives (which I mainly find on sites like Tumblr and Pinterest) who inspire me to think bigger with my own work.” Lau’s creativity comes in left and right. Not only does she enjoy capturing photos, but film has her heart. A general question for filmers is what their process tends to be. “Film/ videos are so interesting because unlike photography, you aren’t limited by just one instantaneous moment in time. When my partner, Eric, and I film, it generally starts off with an idea— a seed, if you will, that has been planted in my brain but not yet unraveled (this is the only way I could possibly explain my creative process). As we start filming, the idea becomes clearer and the direction of our film more distinct. So really, we don’t actually do much planning and preparation with our films (mostly because we’re lazy) and just like to see where our videos and stories take us.”
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Something Lau enjoys doing outside of capturing and creating is traveling. “After living in a city of a million people for almost all my life, travelling is the one thing that really shows me how everyone else in the world lives (travel documentaries don’t cut it for me). Meeting new people, eating different food and exploring new places— those are the things that fuel my travel bug. There’s an endless world of mystery that expands thousands of miles beyond Edmonton. And I want to see it all.” In 2013, Lau graduated with a Bachelor of Science with a major in Chemistry and minor in Anthropology and spent a year and a half working in a Biochemistry lab. She then decided to drop everything to start her own e-commerce store and venture into creative direction and photography. “Apart from blogging, my university experience was relatively unexceptional and characterized by lots of studying and fast food.” One thing the world has in common, no matter what background or look, is music. “I listen to a lot of K-Pop mixed in with 90’s hip hop, some Top 40s songs, and a lot of folk/indie artists that I can never remember the names of.” “When I’m not doing something creative, I’m constantly thinking of what’s next. Either that or reading manga or playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD.” It’s hard to think about everything that can be accomplished within the next year, but setting goals is what gets us to where we want to be. As for Lau, “My main focus is New Classics Studios, which is the sustainable e-Boutique that Eric and I launched a year ago. So we’re really hoping to see it grow within the next year!”
â€œI think more than anything, having people to talk, laugh, and interact with is the best thing about being on the internet.â€?
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sleet street POETRY BY COTY POTNER PhotographY BY Alysse Gafkjen H/MUA BY Alyssa Kraus Styling BY Alysse Gafkjen & Alyssa Kraus Model: Gracie Tranmer of AMAX TALENT
When I Thought It rained for a month straight. And once the rain ceased fog hid the streets, the flowers, the city, the sun; the lights of life. I stared out into its mystery and thought about Gubbinal. I thought about people and the world, about our place in this grand design, about how far weâ€™ve fallen. I thought about Now I Lay Me, about serenity without sleep, the babble of a river, the disturbance of its surface, and I thought about that which no one thought about anymore.
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The world drifted into a scale of gray. Drifted into uncertainty; a sleepless dream. Off in the distance, soft whimpers could be heard. It was a neglected dog. It was a lost child. It was a lonely heart. It was the sorrowful sound of humanity.
I stood in the street dressed in the weather. There was no purpose to my being. There was discomforting silence. There were no trouts jumping. There were no rivers running. There was smoke. There was smoke. There was a man on fire who approached me. Stared into my eyes.
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My eyes stared into his. His comprised of charcoal. Tears tiny bits of ash. He turned and walked on, into the mist, leaving flowers in each footstep. Soundless. Emptied. Cold and damp. I thought about waking up, but I never sleep. No longer dream. The fog thickened, and I faded.
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unfiltered wires / / W IT H C H A N D LER B AR K S D ALE / /
FULL NAME: Chandler Barksdale AGE: 16 CITY, STATE: Dallas, TX OCCUPATION: Student
WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FIND YOURSELF FACED WITH AS A CONTENT CREATOR? HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT THESE CHALLENGES DON’T CONSTRAIN YOUR CREATIVITY?
WOLFIE GOODS: + Apple Music (where I have every single song I have ever enjoyed stored) + Sakura Gelly Roll Pens (having chronic hand pain, these really reduce the pain while writing!) + Small handheld journals + Headphones + A quiet peaceful space
I think doubt and being scared to share your thoughts are my challenge. I have never really shown anyone majority of my pieces because they are so personal to me. I think time for me is the most important thing to not constrain my creativity. I have all the time to share my pieces but I don't have a lot of time to fully reflect my feelings so when I create it isn't to really show anyone at the moment. I create these things so when I feel comfortable to share these things, I will have them and I can update them to its best possible work.
TELL US ABOUT THE STORY OR RELATIONSHIP YOU HAVE BEHIND ONE OF YOUR ARTWORK
BESIDES SUCCESS OR FULFILLMENT, WHAT OTHER EMOTIONS CAN YOU IDENTIFY FEELING AFTER HAVING FINISHED A PROJECT?
Our teacher assigned us to write about a passion in our life. My entire life is music and writing music/about music is my favorite thing in the world. I put my heart and soul into the project talking about how music changed my life because I have never really had the opportunity to discuss it freely. I love this piece so much and literally treat it like my child. Hello! IS THERE A ROUTINE YOU FOLLOW IN ATTEMPTING TO CONVERT YOUR IDEAS INTO CREATED CONTENT? As mentioned in my original article, having lots of medical issues really takes a toll on your life. The medical issues always made me feel really lonely and when I felt alone, music always was comforting. Growing up around music I think it also furthered the comfort, as well as giving me people to aspire to be and felt like it was ok to be myself and deal with these issues. Having emotionally empowering music made me feel a little big stronger and furthered my dream of working in music to make me feel like despite having a piece of my intestine out, I can do anything. Music is the only thing that doesn't limit my life. Usually when I work on pieces I play soft acoustic music (music by Wet, some stuff by Rihanna, The Neighbourhood, and Paper Kites are my go to), and usually work late at night (writing is really peaceful before bed) when my house is the most quiet and I can reflect my feelings at most.
I think mine are doubt and adrenaline are the top ones. Its very freeing to release work and it gives me somewhat a rush of adrenaline. As well if I feel like I didn't reflect my emotions so well, I feel very doubtful of my creation. ARE THERE ANY TOOLS IN YOUR CREATIVE ARSENAL THAT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT? Definitely the little journals I write in because before I write I do like to look back at my past pieces and see what I can accomplish. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUTHFUL, ASPIRING NEWCOMERS TO YOUR INDUSTRY? I still consider myself a newcomer! I think hopefully the best thing I can advise, is to share your work and as soon as you feel inspired, work on it. I should start taking some of my own advice! WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE APP/WEBSITE/OUTLET THAT MAKES YOU FEEL THE MOST OF YOUR “UNFILTERED WIRES” POTENTIAL? Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr, I find these are the most creative social media outlets and often looking at other's pieces can definitely inspire and make you want to work. ILLUSTRATION (LEFT): LAURA FILAS
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