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A S C E N D

ISSUE NO. 3

MARCH 2020

MAGAZINE

A MAGAZINE MADE BY CREATIVES FOR CREATIVES


ASCEND MAGAZINE

A MAGAZINE MADE BY CREATIVES FOR CREATIVES


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2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020

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FROM THE EDITOR Editor's Opening Message

LATOSHA ARMSTEAD Photography by Amber Jones

ART AS A VESSEL FOR REALITY Article and Content by Gage Hunt

TABLE OF

CONTENTS HIGHLIGHTS

8 12 20 26

CREATIVITY IN ILLUSTRATIONS Article and Content by Lenja Lorkowski

GETTING TO KNOW OLIVIER Q & A with Singer/Songwriter Olivier

ART & THE LIFE OF... Article and Content by Morgane Vantorre

YAMUNA VILASINI DEVI DASI Photography by Maddy Green


matthewnortonphotos@gmail.com IG: @matthewnortonphotos

FROM THE EDITOR Here we are at the release of Ascend Magazine's third issue. Our carefully selected contributors have all worked very hard to bring you content that will mean something to you. Our goal at Ascend is to consistently entertain and inspire you with what happens inside of these pages. From premium photographs to intricate illustrations we will provide you with some of our current favorite creative material. I would like to thank all of you for taking time to read the three issues we have released up to this point. If not for you, we wouldn't exist. As a creative myself, I want you to know that I only share with all of you the content that inspires me. With that said, I encourage you to contact us via social media or email with any and all submissions/recommendations you have. One of my favorite things to see is when you, our readers, share what inspires you with all of us at Ascend Magazine. I would like to end this message by encouraging you to never stop seeking to grow your community. Without one another there would be far less inspiration and zero competition. Creatives, let's grow together.


Model: Latosha Armstead Photographer/HMUA/Stylist: Amber Jones

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ART AS A VESSEL FOR REAL

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ITY I think most artists begin their craft as a natural response to something they’ve been given. From a young age, they loved singing, and so they become a singer. As a child they loved watching their mother paint, and so they became a painter. In this sense, I think many artists begin pursuing art without much idea of the rich power of art, it’s ability to shock, to comfort, or convey meaning. They began simply because they enjoyed it, and I’m sure learned of it’s richness along the way. My journey was a bit different. When I first really stepped into the life of art, I was already in my twenties. This is when I recognized it as a profound vessel for wisdom. Art has a unique power to communicate reality when words have been exhausted (Ironically, I’m writing this). This is what got me into art. Sidenote: I should state, out of fairness, that neccessity first got me into art. But that’s another story altogether. Regardless, realizing art’s potential to unveil reality is what kept me around. A masterful painting, a song, or even a beautifully simple illustration can convey something of the mystery of reality, even when it’s hard to articulate. We affirm this intuitively when we let music, poetry and paintings speak to us

BY GAGE HUNT

in times of perplexity. Now, since I don’t have nearly enough space to talk about this here, I strongly encourage you to get the book “Walking on Water” by Madeleine L’Engle. You won’t regret it. Anyways, this type of art, art that helps unlock reality, that reveals us to ourselves, that reveals hidden truth and beauty, is the art I want to create. As an art director at heart, I work in many mediums and styles, but this is why my work tends towards illustration. With pencil, paintbrush, and often drawing tablet, I get to create visual allegories and breath new life into quite plain messages. Simply seeing the image of a thorny weed choking a flower brings color to the message that lies rob us of life. More than that, with art, and in my case symbolic illustration, we have the opportunity to communicate a whole lot more. For example, in the simple detail of giving the flower deeper roots than the weed, I get to suggest that lies will neither provide a stable foundation, nor dive deeply into the soil of reality and mine wisdom. For me, symbolic illustration allows me to explore reality through a new lens, and, if I’m lucky, share a bit of it, too.

Gage Hunt is an art director and Designer living in Brooklyn, New York. His work and information about working with him can be found at gagehunt.com.


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Q & A Q: How long have you been an illustrator? A: I have known that I wanted to be an illustrator since the tender age of 12. As of the last 3 years I have been illustrating more in a commercial sense.

Q: What are some art-related accomplishments that you are proud of? A: I would, without a doubt, say that I'm proud to actually be doing what I love. I think it is important not to forget about the goal set before you. A huge goal that I set and achieved was opening my very own little online shop. Now I have the opportunity to sell the illustrated products that I make such as prints, stickers and cards.

CREATIVITY IN ILLUSTRATIONS BY LENJA LORKOWSKI

Q: Are there any films or books that particularly inspire creativity within you? If yes, what are they? A: I love watching animated movies to get inspiration for new things. My favorite movie is Bambi because there are so many animals in it. *wink wink* I also draw inspiration from books on art, fashion and nature.

www.instagram.com/fleecytinypaws www.etsy.com/shop/fleecytinypaws


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Model: Francois Kendama Photographer: Zerb Mellish


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Model: Terrence Octavious, Judy and Benson Dzomeku Photographer: Zerb Mellish


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GETTING TO KNOW

OLIVIER We recently spoke with artist and musician, Olivier, about the relationship between music and intimacy. Q: What is your ultimate reason for creating? My ultimate reason for creating....that’s hard. I think my answer goes in a few different directions. On the one side, I think I just can’t help it. It has been that way my whole life. Expression in the arts has just had this way of coming out of me no matter the obstacle or opposition. Even when I was taught that I was foolish for it, or worse, that I wasn’t intelligent enough to even do it, expression still found its way out of me, often in private, and sometimes in public. So that covers the more unapparent fact of maybe my creative purpose. It is kind of the “flower that breaks through the concrete” metaphor... The “I do it because I have to” reasoning. On a more cognitive level, perhaps from the standpoint of intention and vision, I create first and foremost to help myself be absolutely honest with myself about something; that is, to be so honest with either myself, or the person to whom

the song addressed. And then in regards to the now obvious question: “Then why release it publicly? Why not just have it for yourself or the person you wrote it to?” I guess at that point it’s probably both, wanting to share something I’ve made with the world around me to say “see what I’ve done,” if I can be honest, and also realizing that, if what I’m saying is true....this internal inquiry and examination can say something that, for better or worse, has potential to draw out those very same questions in others. And in some way it helps us be very honest with ourselves collectively. I like when people feel totally free to be really, truly honest, even if what they say may be “ugly” or “painful” or “scary,” or in any light, “beautiful.” There are just some potent, deep truths that we can encounter if we do get really honest. And I do believe they are reserved to be found only by those who truly are. Q: What kind of experiences have you had with touring? I’m actually very new to the world of touring. As Olivier. I have traveled a few times to play shows in different cities, but I’m only getting into the swing of


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GETTING TO KNOW OLIVIER doing so as this artist. That said, as far as experiences, I just recently drove the west coast with some friends to play a few shows. I visited Seattle and Redding, played my own first Sofar with Seattle, and then added another intimate house show with my friends in Redding, CA, got to see some of the most beautiful sights I’ve personally experienced down the 1 (the coastal highway), and had some beautiful experiences getting to share with friends (new and old) in those two cities. It’s definitely teaching me that, no matter the size of my show, I want to do what I can to create the same atmosphere of whispering intimacy and connection. ...And of course we all have those crazy experiences with the trailer or a flat tire, and so forth. Q: You made a statement about creating an "atmosphere of whispering intimacy and connection”. Can you speak a bit more on that topic? Ultimately, what I think I mean by that is the way, when you are telling a secret, one that’s really good and the other person can tell it is something important, they lean in to listen. It’s like that feeling. That is to say, they don’t want to miss a single thing. It’s that conversation in a quiet place with that one person across from you, where you feel like you’re truly meeting for the first time.

So the goal for me is to somehow “give” that to people when they experience my art. Something that draws out that internal sensation and beckons that profound thing within them, where it feels like we’re actually meeting. That they aren’t just there for a show or listening to a track, but that two souls are converging. And although each one of them comes together to make a crowd of people, or is listening wherever in the world, it’s as if it is just them and me in that moment, and they get to see something intimate of who I really am. I feel like I’m at the very beginning of learning how to do that in a “professional” way, but I want to do whatever I can to use the tools at my disposal to inspire that interaction; whether it’s in the visual elements, or the voicings I’m using on my instrument, or the way it’s all mixed, or how the audience and myself are positioned in the room. I just know the conversations I have that are most meaningful are the ones where I am sitting with someone and we aren’t holding anything back. Where we are totally honest and transparent. That type of intimacy is a scary thing (in a good way). And I think it should be honored as such. It’s what I always have in mind when I write my songs. They’re always right in front of me in my mind when the words, melodies and rhythms come spilling out.


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GETTING TO KNOW OLIVIER Q: What is it that you think differentiates you from other singer/songwriters? When I really think about it, something that sets me apart from a lot of singer/songwriters is that I have a bent to more pop styles of writing. It’s not fully pop, but there are definitely elements to it. So when I’m writing, that means I’m going to take the simplest route, many times, to saying what I mean. Instead of trying to drown myself in wildly creative or intricate vocabulary just “because”, I want it to sound real as though I’m talking to you face to face. Don’t get me wrong, I love strong, expressive language. But I never want to hold a song hostage to a word with five syllables just so I can seem eloquent. So if I think there is a word more down-to-earth, and honest, I’m gonna say that one. I think the overeloquence struggle is one that can be unique to the singer/songwriter realm. Q: Is there anything else you would like to say before we put an end to this interview? Last thing I’ll say is, there was this one time I went to a show at the Kessler Theatre in Oak Cliff (Dallas), and got to see Corey Kilgannon. He played a stripped acoustic set and moved to piano for a few songs late in the set.

And at one point he just played. It either had to have been just an instrumental section to a song or the beginning of one. I can’t quite remember. But when he started playing (it was something so simple), this thing inside me cracked open. It was like something deep in my heart was struck when he played the simplest chordal motif. He was saying something of actual, REAL depth on his instrument that felt as if it wasn’t coming from days or weeks ago, but centuries. Like an old, painful, aching truth that many people don’t really want to know, and he was confronting us with it. But he wasn’t even trying hard. It just came out in that specific moment when he played. And as it came out, while we all sat and listened, I started crying. I was fully pinned to my seat in the very back of the theatre. It struck that place in me so severely that I just wept silently. I experienced streams of tears the rest of the night. It got to a point where, once it was over and my friends wanted to go get a drink, I snuck away quickly and drove home. I was unable to eat or do anything but cry. I remember crying for the rest of the night until I laid down to sleep. I tell that story to say it has been my desire ever since to communicate something so honest and so truthful that maybe someone else will be moved like that by what I present and reveal. I heard it said once that true art should hurt, and hurt deeply. And that night it rang true for me.


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Model: Olivier Photographer: Elise Ward

Olivier's new song "HONEY" is available online for purchase and streaming.


Model: Saige Singer Photographer: Jacob Carroll MUA: Taylor Joelle Stylist: Nashe Monet

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ART & THE LIFE OF MORGANE VANTORRE First of all, I would like to introduce myself, my name is Morgane Vantorre, and I am a French type and graphic design student that is both madly passionate and very curious. I have always felt drawn to shapes and letters for as far back as I can remember. As a young child, I not only spent a lot of time drawing but also creating books with my drawings and texts. I specifically remember a little book where I laid out a brief novel that I illustrated and bound with staples. All of my teachers and my family said I should keep it up and I listened to them. Naturally, after graduating with honors in A-level literature with a focus in Art, I turned toward graphic design studies. I began with a « MàNAA » (Foundation Year in Applied Arts) in Lycée du Gué-à-Tresmes, and then with a two-year degree in Graphic Design at École Estienne in Paris. I am currently still in Paris attending the same school, and as of September, I just started toward an MA specializing in Type design. It is safe to say that I have never felt so fulfilled in my studies. Graphic design, the ability to give values to our thoughts through images, represents a lot for me. I think that, for me, graphic design, in a way, is a kind of art where


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shared messages find their place into everyone's minds. Typography, especially, is a field I love for its ambivalence; It both speaks to our mind and intellect because shapes materialize ideas and stimulate our emotions through their visual characteristics. It’s both a cleverness and an  aisthesis  (vibrations/sensations) affair that many people forget. Moreover, I am persuasive that in our career dominated by visible practices, getting an intellectual step back is important. I think it is necessary to have both a practical and reflexive approach, in order not to become servile by our work or by a third party. That is partly why I love to think and to write essays about domain, it helps to make my ideas and concepts clear. By the way, I am currently thinking and writing in readiness for my next diploma about the meaning of the effects of visual characteristics of typefaces. Describing my body of work could be a hard task. At this stage of my career, which is just at the beginning, I find it difficult to describe my style; But I am not really in that process since I accord great importance to research and experiment. I like to feel free to create without aesthetic boundaries. Shapes depend on messages, not on our style. Nevertheless, with hindsight, my work is influenced by all of the physical and numerical shapes and forms around me. Thus, nature is a great source of inspiration for me since I am fascinated by shadows and light games, but also daily objects, letters in town (Paris is very rich), and art exhibitions. I think that all shapes are potential sources of inspiration from the moment we look at them with a fresh look. I used to take a lot of pictures in order to create my own bank of images to avoid Pinterest and other types of social networks, which are bottomless pits. Moreover, I have a fondness for the past. It is that which has already taken place has prepared me for my future. Thanks to the inherence of my grandfather, who was a teacher and book

lover, I have an interest in old books and typefaces. He left me the entirety of his collection, which represents a rich source of inspiration for me. By the way, he also passed his taste for reading, as well as his madness for bookshops and libraries onto me. I think my body of work is the reflection of my personality. I am organized in addition to being a perfectionist and hypersensible. Always researching for the purest shape, I believe this is the more efficient and most minimal way to evoke messages and concepts with certain attention to details. In fact, I always think in objects as a whole (shapes, matters, and material conditions), and try to give sense to each detail.


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When I start a project, I immediately involve my self inside the subject by defining its concepts. I try to think through images or shape associations as well as by words. I need to understand the essence of the topic in order to be conscientious. Thus, I place great importance on research. Next, I think by images, in the form of sketches, before I search for visual inspirations through my books and notes. I always make sure that the concept is as close as possible to the ideas and content initially placed in the spotlight. Concerning my work conditions, I need to have a proper amount of time for introspection. This requires me to be in my own bubble with music that acts to stimulate my brain. I then organize my days and think of time by sequences. I have a diary that I record everything I will need to accomplish during the day. Thus, I always know what I have to do. This honestly helps me to be more efficient. I believe I get this from my mother as she is a very methodical person.

If you are interested in seeing more of my work, you can find me at the links below: www.instagram.com/gagane_ www.morganevantorre.com

My daily routine is as such: I start my day with a sports session and a tasty breakfast, spend some time to seek information and reply to messages and spend my time to work. I find that when I am "on the roll”, I can’t stop myself from working overtime. I can’t possibly count the hours I spend on a project because I don’t see it as work but as a hobby.


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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL ANXIOUS BY MATTHEW NORTON

As much you might hate to admit it, anxiety has probably clouded your overall creative ability at times. Anxiety is defined as: “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome”. It is a very bothersome thing to feel the effects of something before it even happens. If you struggle with feeling anxious, overwhelmed or even terrified by elements of the creative process, it is important to work toward breaking down those walls. Here are three things you can do when you start to feel anxious: Keep Breathing Creating is hard and we all know it. But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean anxiety has a right to hold you back from creating something you can be proud of. I find that one of the most important things you can do in the midst of anxiety is to keep breathing. By letting yourself slow down and freak out, you are allowing your worst fears to dictate what you inevitably won't create. It is vital that you keep working and keep breathing.

Consider Yourself I believe that the most important thing you can do when you are experiencing anxiety is to consider yourself. After all, you create because you choose to create. Why would the concerns of another person stunt or limit what you wish to introduce to the world? You are treating your skill with respect when you practice considering yourself. The question is whether or not you’re willing to be different from your peers in order to fulfill the creative side of yourself that you’ve suppressed for so long. Finish Strong As a creative person, you are likely prone to starting strong. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But the problem with starting harder than when you finish is that you eventually get to a point where you can’t push any harder. I was reading an article titled, “How to Improve a Stronger Race Finish” by Christine Luff. She made the statement: “While consistency can be good, there comes a point at races when you don't have to hold back anymore.” I thought this was intriguing. According to her, starting strong and remaining consistent is important, but what is also important is learning how to conserve enough energy to finish strong. Instead of brainstorming for the perfect idea, planning the project in precise detail and falling apart during the execution process, discover ways to conserve your creative energy and passion for the end of the project. This may require you to take timeouts periodically so you don’t lose it. It may also mean that you need another creative person to help carry the load to avoid burnout. Whatever the case, do yourself and your clients a favor by learning how to finish strong.


Model: Abbie Koopote Photographer: Dante Velasquez Jr. Clothing by: Vintage Rosemond

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Model: Yamuna Vilasini Devi Dasi Photographer: Maddy Green


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IG: @magazineascend ascendmag@gmail.com

ASCEND MAGAZINE MARCH 2020 Cover Image Amber Jones | IG: @ambsmichellle Latosha Armstead | IG: @latosha_a Editorial Matthew Norton Hanna Norton Artists Gage Hunt | IG: @gagerhunt Lenja Lorkowski | IG: @fleecytinypaws Olivier | IG: @_olivier_xo Morgane Vantorre | IG: @gagane_ Models Latosha Armstead | IG: @latosha_a Francois Kendama | IG: @francois.ken Terrence Octavious | IG: @theofficalidol Judy | IG: @judykayy Benson Dzomeku | IG: @hennyybenny Olivier | IG: @_olivier_xo Saige Singer | IG: @saigesinger Abbie Koopote Yamuna Vilasini Devi Dasi | IG: @yamuna_vilasini Photographers Amber Jones | IG: @ambsmichellle Zerb Mellish | IG: @obzerb Elise Ward | IG: @elisenward Jacob Carroll | IG: jacobwcarroll Dante Velasquez Jr. | IG: @dantevelasquezjr Maddy Green | IG: @maddygreenphotography Stylists Nashe Monet | IG: @beautybynashe Taylor Joelle | IG: @eclecticedge Abbie Koopote Yamuna Vilasini Devi Dasi | IG: @yamuna_vilasini

A MAGAZINE MADE BY CREATIVES FOR CREATIVES


MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH MARCH

2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020

A S C E N D ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE ISSUE

NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.

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ASCEND MAGAZINE

A MAGAZINE MADE BY CREATIVES FOR CREATIVES

Profile for Ascend Magazine

Ascend Magazine | March 2020 | Issue No. 3  

Ascend Magazine is a digital magazine made by creatives for creatives.

Ascend Magazine | March 2020 | Issue No. 3  

Ascend Magazine is a digital magazine made by creatives for creatives.

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