NEKTR: For The Immortal

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NEKTR For The Immortal

7 CREATIVE INTERVIEWS Portals into the minds of various creatives

OSTRANENIE Art technique as an approach to life

VOYAGE THROUGH THE SILVER SKY History of the color Cobalt


inside 04 LETTER TO THE READER 06 A PEEK INTO THE MIND OF BENJAMIN BJÖRKLUND 15 SENTIMENTAL PRESS 16 ARTIST ERHAN US 17 ARTIST BRECHT LANFOSSI 18 A WORD WITH EMILIEN BOUTEILLE 22 AUTUMN BATTISTA POETRY 24 VANESSA NORRIS POTTERY 25 VOYAGE THROUGH THE SILVER SKY 26 ARTIST HERON HETZLER 27 SKRAM GLAM 28 STORYTELLING WITH ASAGI MAEDA 34 PHOTOGRAPHER PATRICK NAUGHTER 35 PHOTOGRAPHER RAIZAH FLORES 36 HOWLIE: A MAN+HIS GUITAR 40 NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE 48 ARTIST CHRISTIAN BAZANT-HEGEMARK 49 BEYOND THE PANDEMIC 50 SEVERED HAND PRESS 51 Q+A WITH LUISA BELTRÁN 56 ARCHITECTS COLIN KELLY + HENRY SALDANA 58 ARTIST CAROLINE JI 59 MELINA BOURDEAU POETRY 60 OSTRANENIE 61 A CHAT WITH LUCA BONI 66 ARTIST JULIO ALBA 67 BRIAN LOMBARDI POETRY 68 ARTIST RENEE HUNT 69 WALKING THE PLANK WITH CODY SIEGEL 74 BEST FILMS OF 2020 (SO FAR) 75 DEEAN YEOH POETRY 76 PLACES TO GO THIS SUMMER

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HELLO WORLD Thank you for picking up the first issue of NEKTR! What you’ll find inside is a collection of some contemporary artists, musicians, and writers, interspersed with content written by our creators. We believe that the world is too focused on division+what is wrong, NEKTR chooses to focus on beauty and what brings humanity together: art, music, nature, and the indomitability of the human spirit. Don’t consider this a “break” from reality — consider this the perspective to reality that we all have the option to choose. Our releases display themes that support the season we are in and this particular issue emphasizes light, nature, beauty, vibrance, and growth. Given the recent boon to the global civil rights and equity movement, you will also see a selection of intentional statement pieces submitted by BIPOC artists in our community. If you like what you read, please share us with your friends+enemies. Visit us online at nektrmag.com or send us a DM on Instagram @nektrmagazine With light and sincere gratitude for your support of us & all the artists we have featured herein, Lexy Bilodeau + Rune Percy


D! nec - tar | 'nektər | (in mythology) the drink of the gods


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BENJAMIN BJÖRKLUND A peek into the mind of the self-taught Swedish painter Q: HEY THERE BENJAMIN! FIRST THINGS FIRST: HOW ARE YOUR PETS DOING? A: THEY ARE DOING GREAT, BUT UNFORTUNATELY A LOT OF MY PETS HAVE PASSED AWAY IN THE LAST FEW YEARS. UNKNOWINGLY I MOVED TO AN AREA WITH ALOT OF LYNX, I DID NOT REALIZE UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE. BUT WE HAVE A BABY DUCK, IGOR! RUBEN THE DOG FOUND AN ABANDONED EGG WHILE OUT WALKING, WE BROUGHT IT HOME AND IT HATCHED AGAINST ALL ODDS A MONTH LATER, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Q: WHAT’S ON YOUR EASEL AS OF LATE? A: SOME STUDIES OF IGOR THE DUCK, A FEW DOG PAINTINGS AND DIFFERENT LITTLE STUDIES. TO BE HONEST, THE LAST FEW YEARS HAVE BEEN A REAL STRUGGLE AND I HAVE MOSTLY JUST BEEN TRYING TO KEEP PAINTING AND NOT THINK TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT I PAINT, OR WHY. JUST PUTTING PAINT ON PAPER AND SLOWLY WORKING ON FEELING BETTER ABOUT IT. Q: LOOKING AT YOUR WORK, IT IS APPARENT HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO YOU TO CAREFULLY CURATE YOUR SHAPES + TO MATCH THEM TO AN IMPRESSIONABLE COLOR PALETTE. HOW DOES THIS PROCESS LOOK FOR YOU? // DO YOU FIND YOURSELF SKETCHING A LOT OF THE TIME CAREFULLY DESIGNING THESE FORMS TO TRANSLATE LATER, OR DO YOU JUMP RIGHT INTO A PAINTING? AS FOR YOUR COLOR PALETTE: DO YOU FIND YOURSELF MIXING COLORS AS YOU GO TO FIT THESE FORMS, OR IS THERE TYPICALLY A GO-TO SET OF COLOR YOU LIKE TO BEGIN A PIECE WITH? A: IT DEPENDS ON MY MOOD AND CURRENT CONFIDENCE, BUT IDEALLY I JUST JUMP INTO PAINTING. THE LAST YEARS I HAVE BECOME MORE STIFF AND CALCULATING WHEN PAINTING, I THINK IT HAD TO DO WITH ME STARTING TO DO WORKSHOPS. ALL OF A SUDDEN I HAD TO START THINKING ABOUT WHY I PAINTED A CERTAIN WAY, AND MOST OF ALL I TRIED TO FAILPROOF THE PROCESS. BUT I REALISE THAT I HAVE QUITE A SHORT ATTENTION SPAN, IT NEEDS TO BE EXCITING AND SURPRISING, IF I KNOW THE OUTCOME OF THE PAINTING BEFORE I START I HAVE A HARD TIME FINDING THE REASON TO FINISH IT. I REALLY LIKE THAT ABOUT PAINTING, ITS ALL THOSE THOUSANDS OF TINY DECISIONS THAT HOPEFULLY BECOMES A GOOD PAINTING. ALSO I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED THE LOOK AND FEEL OF AN ALLA PRIMA PAINTING, SO THAT IS WHAT I'M AIMING FOR MOST OF THE TIME, BUT I HAVE NOT FIGURED OUT HOW TO DO LARGER ALLA PRIMA WORK, I HAVE SOME FIGURING OUT TO DO WITH LARGER WORK. I HAVE SOME FAVORITE COLORS, RIGHT NOW I REALLY ENJOY WINSOR & NEWTON'S WINSOR EMERALD, IT'S A REALLY STRONG, SYNTHETIC COLOR THAT IS TERRIBLE ON ITS OWN BUT FUN MIXING IT IN. AS FOR MIXING COLOR I USUALLY MIX WITH A BRUSH ON A LARGE GLASS PALETTE.

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Q: COULD YOU GIVE US AN IDEA OF WHAT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LOOKS LIKE IN THE STUDIO? A: I LISTEN TO ALOT OF MUSIC, ALL THE TIME, AND HANG AROUND DOING CHORES AND READING, WAITING TO GET INSPIRED. I WOULD BE A TERRIBLE ILLUSTRATOR, DEADLINES ARE UNTHINKABLE. I LIKE TO WAKE UP EARLY, BUT OFTENTIMES I WILL GO AROUND ALL DAY UNTIL I FEEL I CAN FOCUS, AND WHEN IT FEELS GOOD I WILL PAINT FOR A LONG TIME UNTIL I FEEL EMPTY. Q: YOU HAVE A RATHER DYNAMIC BACKGROUND IN JOBS YOU’VE WORKED, SUCH AS - A PRISON NIGHT GUARD AND PSYCHIATRIC NURSE. I ALSO SEE THAT YOU STUDIED TO BE A VET. IT IS VERY COMMON THAT ARTISTS WORK ‘NORMAL’ JOBS IN ORDER TO SUPPORT THEIR CREATIVE WORK. AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR LIFE DID YOU FIND YOURSELF REALLY BECOMING AN ARTIST? HAS THIS BEEN A FASCINATION WITHIN YOU SINCE CHILDHOOD? I HAVE ALSO BEEN VERY CURIOUS TO ASK YOU IF YOU HAVE ANY FORMAL ARTISTIC TRAINING? A: I STILL WORK IN THE PSYCHIATRIC WARD BECAUSE I REALISED I GET VERY DEPRESSED IN THE LONG TERM IF I ONLY PAINT. IDEALLY I WILL PAINT FOR A WEEK AND THEN WORK FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS, KEEPING ME GROUNDED AND HAPPIER. I'M NATURALLY INTROVERTED AND I TEND TO AVOID THINGS THAT MAKE ME UNCOMFORTABLE, WORKING A ‘NORMAL’ JOB FORCES ME INTO SITUATIONS I DON'T CONTROL AND IT GIVES ME IDEAS FOR PAINTINGS. WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I WANTED TO MAKE MUSIC, PLAYED THE TUBA AND THE DRUMS, I STARTED GETTING INTO PAINTING WHEN I WAS 16-17. I REMEMBER BEING ENCOURAGED BY FRIENDS AND FAMILY, AND IT MADE ME FEEL REALLY REALLY GOOD, TO MAKE SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TERRIBLE IN SCHOOL, SINCE THE BEGINNING NOT BEING ABLE TO FOCUS I JUST STOPPED GOING THERE AND WOULD BE OUT DOING BAD THINGS WITH MY FRIENDS. SOME OF THEM GOT PUT INTO FOSTER HOMES AND SOME OF THEM PASSED AWAY, IT MADE ME REALISE I NEEDED A CHANGE AND AROUND THAT TIME I FOUND PAINTING TO BE MY THING AND IT HELPED ME CHANGE COURSE. I STUDIED ART FOR A LITTLE BIT IN HIGH SCHOOL BUT DROPPED OUT BECAUSE I WOULD PREFER TO PAINT ALONE. Q: WHAT MUSIC PLAYS IN YOUR STUDIO? A: I LISTEN TO MUSIC ALL THE TIME AND IT'S MY BIGGEST SOURCE OF INSPIRATION. I MAKE PAINTING PLAYLISTS ALL THE TIME AND LATELY IT HAS BEEN A LOT OF BING & RUTH PLAYING. MY FAVORITE ALBUM FROM THE TOP OF MY HEAD WOULD BE AMEN DUNES - LOVE, IT IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Q: LIFE IS A BALANCING ACT. MOST ARTISTS I KNOW COME DOWN WITH CASES OF CREATIVE BLOCK. AS AN OIL PAINTER MYSELF, I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO FIND THE MOTIVATION I NEED TO CONSISTENTLY CREATE MEANINGFUL PIECES. IS THIS AN INTERNAL BATTLE YOU ALSO FACE AND IF SO, HOW DO YOU COMBAT IT? A: OH YES, ALL THE TIME! ONE THING I DO THAT HELPS ME IS JUST SWITCHING BETWEEN OIL PAINTING AND WATERCOLOR. THEY HAVE SUCH DIFFERENT APPROACHES AND CHARACTERISTICS, IT HELPS ME LOOSEN UP. I AM SURE I AM NOT ALONE IN HAVING A LOT OF SELF CRITICISM AND IT CAN BE REALLY CRIPPLING. MY WHOLE BEING IS INVESTED IN THE PAINTINGS SO WHEN I MAKE A BAD PAINTING I FEEL AWFUL, AND I HAVE TO BE CAREFUL TO NOT GET STUCK IN A DOWNWARDS LOOP. BUT AT THE SAME TIME IT CAN GO THE OTHER WAY, MAKES ME FEEL MANIC AND I GET SUCH A RUSH ESPECIALLY WHEN LISTENING TO GOOD MUSIC. I AM NOT GOOD AT ALL WITH THE BALANCING ACT OF LIFE, I JUST TRY TO NAVIGATE BETWEEN FEELING GREAT AND TERRIBLE. SOMETHING I TRY TO DO IS SAVE THE FAILED PAINTINGS. I USED TO PAINT OVER THEM OR PUNCH A HOLE THROUGH THE CANVAS LIKE AN ANGRY CHILD, BUT I REALISED THAT WHEN I LOOK BACK AT THE PAINTING 6 MONTHS LATER I CAN SEE HOW I WOULD’VE SOLVED IT, SO I WOULD RECOMMEND HAVING A FEW ACTIVE PAINTINGS THAT YOU SWITCH BETWEEN, SOMETIMES ONE PAINTING SHOWS THE SOLUTION FOR THE OTHER. SORRY FOR A CONFUSING ANSWER.

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Q: AS A LONGTIME FAN OF YOUR WORK IT HAS BEEN A REWARDING EXPERIENCE TO SEE YOUR ART EVOLVE. YOU ARE THE FIRST ARTIST I EVER DISCOVERED ON INSTAGRAM WHEN I GOT ONE BACK IN HIGH SCHOOL. AS YOU CONTINUE TO GROW, HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR WORK CHANGING? ARE THERE NEW PROJECTS ON THE HORIZON? A: THANK YOU! I HOPE TO LOOSEN UP MY PROCESS AND FREE MYSELF OF ANXIETY SO I CAN FOCUS ON MAKING THE BEST PAINTINGS I CAN POSSIBLY DO. THIS IS GOING TO SOUND REALLY PRETENTIOUS BUT I READ SOMETHING ABOUT MARK ROTHKO A LONG TIME AGO, HE WAS SO PASSIONATE ABOUT HIS OWN WORK AND HIS INTENTION WAS TO BRING PEOPLE TO TEARS JUST STANDING IN FRONT OF HIS PAINTINGS, THAT IS A GREAT GOAL TO HAVE. I GET VERY MOVED BY MUSIC AND IF I COULD GET SOME OF THAT INTO MY WORK I FEEL ITS A SUCCESS.

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Q: TO CLOSE, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING PAINTERS? A: I THINK LOOKING AT PAINTINGS HAS HELPED ME A LOT, TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THEY DID IT. A PAINTING I LOOK AT OFTEN IS JOAQUIN SOROLLA’S SAD INHERITANCE. IF YOU FIND A GOOD PHOTO OF IT, LOOK AT THE HEADS IN THE BACKGROUND, HOW THEY ARE PAINTED, HOW DISSOLVED THEY ARE, SO SWIFTLY PAINTED, I LEARNED SO MUCH FROM THAT.

CONTACT INSTAGRAM @BENJAMINBJORKLUND INFO@BENJAMINBJORKLUND.COM BENJAMINBJORKLUND.COM

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CUSTER’S LAMENT

FISHLINE MOON

SLOW BREEZE, CROSSING DAY

MOON HANGS ON FISHLINE

MY BEST MEN BE ON THEIR WAY TALL GRASS, RIDING WEST SIEGE AT HAND, THE ENEMY’S TEST

DRAGGED ALONG THE FLOOR OF SPACE GOD’S LITTLE TOE, A CARP, GIVING CHASE TO ALL THE SLIVERS THAT MARK THE DOOR WAYS

BUT WE SHAN’T GO, NOT TODAY IS WHAT THEY SHALL SAY TO ME I TIP MY CAP TO THE GOLDEN BOW WE’LL HEAR THE CRIES OF WAR AND CROW

MUCK DOTS THE LAMPSHADE IN THE WINDOW A HOOKER TAPS MY WINDOW “NEED MONEY FOR (YOU KNOW) WILL OFFER SAME” (THAT WAS YESTERDAY)

ATOP THE HILL, THE RED MAN COMES MY FATE AWAITS AT THESE HORN DRUMS A BULLET FARE, A CLOUD ROLLED SUN MONTANA WIDE, MY BLOOD TO RUN

AT THE GROCER STORE “NOT TODAY,” I SAY, AS IF EVER BUT SOMEWHERE IN THE CAVEMAN YOU WERE

I SEE HIM THERE WITH GUNS WE SOLD THERE AINT NO SAVAGE, THAT MUCH I KNOW WAR IS A GAME I LONG TO WIN A FURIOUS VOW, A SOLEMN SIN

YOU ASK YOURSELF WHY “NOT TODAY” WAS NOT JUST “NO” YOU SEEIT’S VERY SIMPLE

ONE BY ONE, TO BE CUT DOWN

FAITH IS A GUESS LEFT BETWEEN WHITE LINES

THE RED MAN SERVE WHITE BULL’S CROWN

SHOPPING CARTS TIPPED OVER AT

NO LEADERS OR KINGS DO THEY BESTOW BUT ‘FORE ME APPEARS THE FATHER’S BROW

“PARKING RESERVED FOR MOTHERS OR THE HANDICAP”

I ASK NOT MERCY, LORD, NOT HERE

(THE SAME, THESE DAYS)

I’VE EARNED THIS TRUTH, THIS DEBT, MY TEAR

SIGNS.

A GOOD HAND DEALT, NOT PROVEN FALSE THEIR GAIN, THEIR LOSS, AFTER ALL IS GONE

SO HERE I STAND AT JUDGMENT’S GATE TRIED AND LOST, NO FUTURE SEEN MY SORROW ETERNAL, MY FLESH WILL ROT I SOLD MY SOUL ON A MOUND OF LOSS

KYLE TAYLOR INSTAGRAM @SENT_PRESS SENTIMENTALPRESS.BIGCARTEL.COM


INSUFFICIENT ADRENALINE 2018 20 X 33 X 35 CM STEEL, ACRYLIC ON PLASTIC

FRAGILE 2019 21 X 20 X 37 CM METAL, PLASTIC, PAPER

ABYSS / BELIEF 2018 19 X 31.5 X 29 CM ACRYLIC ON WOOD, PLASTIC

HUNTERWOMAN 2020 80 X 100 CM

SALES CALL 2018 67 X 125 X 68 CM PAPER ON PLASTIC

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IGNORANCE

SOCIAL MEDIA 2018-2019 81 X 123 X 0.3 CM MDF, LATEX

ERHAN US INSTAGRAM @ERHANUS ERHANUS.COM/BIO


INSTAGRAM @NOZEM.ART

BRECHT LANFOSSI SURREALIST COLLAGIST/ DIGITAL PAINTER

ARTSTATION /NOZEM-ART

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EMILIEN BOUTEILLE

A WORD WITH THE FRENCH NATURALIST

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Q: CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WORK IN ENTOMOLOGY FOR THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU DO? A: I AM A YOUNG FRENCH NATURALIST, PASSIONATE ABOUT THE WORLD AROUND HIM, WHO STUDIES NATURE IN ALL ITS COMPLEXITY FROM SYSTEMATIC, BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION POINT OF VIEW BY OBSERVING, COLLECTING AND CONSERVING SPECIMENS OF FRENCH ENTOMOLOGICAL FAUNA. MORE PRECISELY, I STUDY BOTANY (= STUDY OF PLANTS) AND ENTOMOLOGY (= STUDY OF INSECTS), TWO SCIENTIFIC FIELDS ARE STRONGLY LINKED BECAUSE THEY ARE OFTEN MUTUALLY EXPLAINED. Q: WHERE DO YOU STUDY AND WHERE DO YOU WORK IN YOUR FIELD? A: I AM STUDYING AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY SCHOOL OF PARIS WHERE I AM DOING A MASTER'S DEGREE IN SYSTEMATICS, EVOLUTION AND BIOLOGY, APPLIED TO PLANTS AND INSECTS. THERE, I LEARN A LOT OF SCIENTIFIC AND DIDACTIC KNOWLEDGE THANKS TO THE HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS. IN PARALLEL, I WORK AT THE CURIOSITY CABINET "DEYROLLE", SPECIALIZED IN TAXIDERMY AND ENTOMOLOGY WHERE I AM SHARING MY PASSION FOR NATURAL SCIENCES WITH MANY CURIOUS PEOPLE. Q: ENTOMOLOGY IS A UNIQUE FIELD OF STUDY FOR ANYONE WISHING TO BECOME A SCIENTIST, WHAT MADE YOU INTERESTED IN INSECTS? A: I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED BY INSECTS AND I BELIEVE THAT MY PASSION FOR ENTOMOLOGY HAS ALWAYS EXISTED WITHIN ME. NEVERTHELESS, I CAN THANK ENCOUNTERS WITH ENTOMOLOGISTS WHO HAVE PUSHED AND ENCOURAGED ME TO EXPAND MY KNOWLEDGE BY TELLING ME ABOUT THEIR DISCOVERIES, THEIR EXPEDITIONS OR THEIR MAGNIFICENT INSECT COLLECTIONS. MOREOVER, THE FACT THAT I GREW UP IN THE WILDERNESS HAS MOST PROBABLY PUSHED ME TO TAKE AN INTEREST IN IT. Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME? A: IF I AM LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE IN A NATURAL SPACE AT THIS TIME, THEN I TAKE MY BUTTERFLY NET AND CAMERA ON A WALK TO MAKE NEW NATURALIST OBSERVATIONS. FOR ME, THERE IS NO PLACE MORE RELAXING THAN NATURE. I CAN SPEND HOURS OBSERVING AND TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT I SEE. I ALSO SPEND A LOT OF TIME WRITING EXTENSION ARTICLES, RAISING INSECTS AND LOOKING AFTER MY LARGE GARDEN. Q: IT'S OBVIOUS FROM YOUR INSTAGRAM PAGE THAT YOUR FIELD OF STUDY HAS TAKEN YOU TO SOME INCREDIBLE PLACES IN NATURE. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE WHERE YOUR STUDY HAS TAKEN YOU, WHETHER IT IS A PLACE IN NATURE, A SEMINAR OR A MUSEUM? A: IN NATURE, I WOULD SAY THE MOUNTAIN MEADOWS OF THE ALPINE MASSIF BECAUSE THEY ARE UNIQUE PLACES IN THE WORLD. THE RELIEFS ARE IMPRESSIVE AND THE FAUNA THAT OCCUPIES THE PLACE IS NON-EXISTENT ELSEWHERE. I HAVE MET MANY OTHER ENTHUSIASTS AND SCIENTISTS DURING VARIOUS SEMINARS WHERE I FELT PRIVILEGED TO HAVE ACCESS TO ALL THIS KNOWLEDGE. I WAS ALSO ABLE TO WORK BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE NATURALIST COLLECTIONS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY IN PARIS, I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD EVER SET FOOT THERE! Q: CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR INSECT DISPLAYS? A: THE DISPLAY IS IN MY OPINION COMPARABLE TO ART. INDEED, IT IS OFTEN AN OPTIONAL STEP IN THE CONSERVATION OF INSECTS BECAUSE IT SATISFIES ABOVE ALL A CERTAIN DESIRE FOR AESTHETICS AND THE ENHANCEMENT OF COLLECTIONS. PERSONALLY, AND KNOWING THAT THE OBJECTIVE IS TO PRESERVE THE SPECIMEN OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, I TAKE THE TIME TO SPREAD OUT EACH PART OF THE INSECT'S BODY IN ORDER TO PRESERVE IT AS CLEANLY AS POSSIBLE; A WELLPREPARED COLLECTION IS VERY PLEASANT TO CONSULT.

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Displaying insects is a very delicate work that requires a lot of time, patience and meticulousness. For some time now, I have been perfecting my work by displaying insects in smaller and smaller sizes using a stereomicroscope (binocular magnifying glass). In the case of diptera (= flies), I spread them only to obtain a perfect result; no museum collection prepares flies in this way, it is much too long and scientifically useless! Q: Do you have a favourite insect? Why is it your favourite? A: No, this is a question I have tried to answer but I have too many and for many reasons... Each insect is unique and deserves to be "the favourite" because they all have amazing and exciting stories! Q: What would you like more people to know about insects in general? A: Although many people know insects as creatures that bite, sting, or parasitize crops, keep in mind that they are not our enemies! Indeed, they arrived on earth long before we did and, like plants, they are essential organisms for sustaining life; they play many key roles such as pollination, feeding other animals, degrading dead organic matter and feces, making soils, and developing animals and plants. Don't be afraid of them and enjoy contemplating their incredible complexity! Q: What do you plan to do with your work in entomology? Do you have a specific goal that you are trying to achieve? A: Yes, I wish to gain legitimacy through my studies so that I can share my knowledge to the greatest number of people through articles, books and conferences. Above all, I want to popularize and make people aware of the natural world around them. Q: Many entomologists keep personal collections of their most precious and rare specimens. What is in your personal collection? A: My personal collection is limited to French entomological fauna. Although I do have a few exotic insects, I am not looking to expand this collection. On the other hand, I am a fan of small insects (flies, weevils, ladybirds...). I think that every entomologist should build up his own reference collection because there is no other way to get to know these little beasts than by observing them on loan. Q: Have you ever bred your own insects? If so, what does it look like? A: Yes absolutely, I am an insect breeder first and foremost! I think I even got passionate about them through breeding. In fact, I have tried to list all the species that I have already bred and I count more than one hundred and fifty from all over the world!

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Q: Do you have any advice for young entomologists? A: There is nothing better than the field to learn entomology. You learn the most by going to the field. Think about getting a field magnifying glass, a net or something to catch them with and start building a small naturalist library by buying guides to the wildlife you see. Also, my advice to anyone who really wants to know about the species in their area is to build their own collection or find someone who wants to give it to you (harder to find). Q: What’s the next step on your way? A: As I have just finished my studies at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, I would like to settle down and travel a little in France. After that, I would like to be able to launch myself as a popularizer and maybe create an educational center around nature, continue to write articles, continue to complete my entomological collection and of course, continue to share my passion with you. INSTAGRAM @ EMILIENBOUTEILLE EMILIEN.BOUTEILLE@GMAIL.COM

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AUTUMN BATTISTA ODE TO ROUTE 62 THE SUN HAS MADE HER WAY AROUND THE EARTH AGAIN CROWDS MURMUR IN HARMONY COMPLAINING OF BAD WEATHER FOUR YEARS OF RUN-OFF CLOGS THE DRAIN INSIDE MY HEAD THIS IS A MEMORY THAT FEELS MANUFACTURED THE TREE THAT HER CAR FIGURE SKATED INTO STILL STANDS STRONG WE HANG LITTLE WREATHS ON THE NAKED BRANCHES EVERY NEW YEAR I RECEIVED THE NEWS IN FORM OF A FACEBOOK POST AS I SAT DOWN IN THE BREAK ROOM CURSING AS I DROVE HOME AND MY WHEELS SKIDDING ALONG ROUTE 62 SOMETIMES SEVENTEEN FOREVER ISN’T AS GREAT AS IT SOUNDS SHE DID NOT DESERVE A DEATH SO VIOLENT I LEARNED TRAGEDY BEFORE I LEARNED LOSS AND I CONFIRMED WITH A GRIEVING MOTHER THAT EVERYTHING DOES NOT HAPPEN FOR A REASON SHE SAID, IN A TONE SO CALM IT SCARED ME: “SOMETIMES TERRIBLE THINGS JUST HAPPEN AND THE SUN KEEPS PARADING AROUND ANYWAY”

ON THINGS BEING THE SAME IT TURNS OUT THAT MY RAPIST’S BOTH HAVE THE SAME FIRST AND MIDDLE NAMES SPELLED EXACTLY THE SAME WAY PEOPLE FIND THIS TO BE UNBELIEVABLE WELL COINCIDENCES HAPPEN, I TELL THEM

INSTAGRAM @AUTIBEE

AND THEN STILL, THEY FIND MY STORIES TO BE EVEN MORE UNBELIEVABLE SO UNBELIEVABLE THAT THEY DECIDE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED AT ALL.

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VICTORY LAPSE 1. I DID NOT CROSS THE STREET TO AVOID THE MAN WHO SAT ON HIS FRONT STEPS. 2. I ATE MY DINNER AND DID NOT REALLY MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF IT. 3. I GOT OUT OF BED, KNOWING THAT I WOULDN’T FEEL SAFE UNTIL I GOT BACK IN. 4. I TOOK A SHOWER AND DID NOT IMAGINE THE STEAM WAS FILLED WITH BILLIONS OF GERMS. 5. I SAT ON MY BED STARING OUT THE WINDOW FOR ONLY TEN MINUTES, NOT THE USUAL TWO HOURS. 6. I FORGAVE MYSELF. 7. I CALLED MY MOTHER AND PRACTICED RESTRAINT. 8. I DID NOT TRY AND BRING HIM UP JUST SO I COULD SAY HIS NAME OUT LOUD AGAIN. 9. I THOUGHT ABOUT CALLING BUT DECIDED TO WRITE A POEM INSTEAD. 10. I TRIED NOT TO SAY I WAS SORRY IN EVERY SENTENCE I SPOKE. 11. TODAY WHEN HE TOLD ME HE DOES NOT LOVE ME, I DIDN’T CONVINCE MYSELF THAT HE WAS LYING. 12. SORRY IS THE SYNONYM FOR EVERYTHING I WANTED TO SAY.

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VANESSA NORRIS VANESSA NORRIS GREW UP IN MAINE AND SPENT MUCH OF HER TIME DRAWING AND EXPERIMENTING WITH VARIOUS ART FORMS AS A YOUNG PERSON. CRAVING TO GET OUT OF HER COMFORT ZONE AND EXPLORE A CITY, SHE ENROLLED AT MASSACHUSETTS COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN TO PURSUE A LIFE OF WORKING WITH HER HANDS. IT WAS THERE SHE DISCOVERED AND CULTIVATED HER LOVE FOR CLAY. SINCE THEN, SHE HAS MOVED ACROSS THE COUNTRY SEVERAL TIMES TO WORK FOR DIFFERENT CERAMIC ARTISTS, INCLUDING BRUCE LARABEE IN PARK CITY, UT AND DEB SCHWARTZKOPF IN SEATTLE, WA. VANESSA CURRENTLY RESIDES IN MASSACHUSETTS WHERE SHE SET UP DIRTY E STUDIOS WITH HER HUSBAND AND FELLOW MASSART ALUM, GUSTAVO BARCELONI. RIGHT NOW SHE IS FOCUSING ON BUILDING A WORK/ ART/LIFE BALANCE, DIVIDING HER TIME BETWEEN MAKING POTTERY, TEACHING, AND HONING HER PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS. "I’M A LOVER OF WORDS AND HOW WE PIECE THEM TOGETHER, MUCH LIKE CLAY, TO CREATE MEANING. MY CURRENT BODY OF WORK REFERS SPECIFICALLY TO CLOUD RELATED IDIOMS (EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING, HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, ON CLOUD NINE, ETC). I MAKE WHIMSICAL, VOLUMINOUS FORMS THAT REFLECT THE PLAYFUL NATURE OF THE IDIOMS THEMSELVES. THE RECOGNIZABLE ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CLOUD PROVIDES AN ACCESS POINT TO ENTER THE LANGUAGE OF MY WORK, ALLOWING SPACE FOR REFLECTION ON THE ROLE THESE SIMPLE PHRASES PLAY IN OUR LIVES. MY GOAL IS TO SPARK JOY IN DAILY ROUTINES--TO INFUSE SOME WHIMSY IN THE ACT OF SLICING BUTTER AND SIPPING A MORNING COFFEE."

VANESSAMNORRIS@GMAIL.COM INSTAGRAM @VANESSAMNORRIS DIRTYESTUDIOS.COM

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VOYAGE THROUGH THE SILVER SKY: The History of The Color Cobalt & Why We Love It In Art History Written by creative director of NEKTR: Lexy Bilodeau

The year is 1500 CE, German miners crack away at the earth making peace with the constant threat of being crushed. Through the debris blanketing their sweat covered brows, they near the silver veins of Saxony. They unknowingly discover an ore that will forever change the art world. This ore was baptized ‘kobold’ by the miners, after a demonic mountain-dwelling sprite described in Germanic folklore. This title stemmed from its troublesome nature. Upon first glance, the ore resembled silver. When the miners tried to melt it down, it would become a worthless lump. The melting ore would also emit toxic fumes spoiling nearby mined elements and causing the miners to fall ill and die. Due to the only known metals at the time being gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, and mercury, they were sure it was bewitched. 230 years later, the Swedish chemist Georg Brandt isolates the metal in his family’s smelting plant. He was trying to demonstrate that the blue color of glass was from a new element, not from bismuth, as it was believed at the time. The element he discovered he named ‘cobalt’ as a nod to the German miners. In 1802, French chemist Louis Jacques Thénard was given the task of discovering a new blue pigment by the French Government. This assignment was given as a desperate attempt to save the french economy. Louis independently discovered Cobalt as a pure alumina-based pigment. Prior blues had become too expensive for artists to source and use. Such as prussian blue and ultramarine. Production in France would begin in 1807. The rich color was the primary pigment used to create the iconic blue & white porcelain pieces for centuries in China. Cobalt blue has had an exceptional role in art history, being used by legendary artists. Such as impressionist painters: Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renior and J.M Turner. But also in the works of Post-Impressionists such as Vincent van Gogh. A particularly exemplary use of cobalt paint can be seen in Monet’s works he crafted in Venice at the start of the 1900s. Monet, age 68 had been affected by cataracts in both of his eyes. As he was losing his most important sense, colors through his lens would change dramatically. His works would demonstrate this setback. He was quoted saying “My bad sight means that I see everything through a mist, even so it is beautiful, and that's what I would like to show.” Developments made in the art world are vital to our culture and history as humans. Looking back in time, we see colors and even though we know who put them there, it is rarely known how they came to be. Contemporary art often pays its respects to the pioneers in our past for giving us our pigments. We have miners and chemists to thank for brilliant blue showcased in centuries of beauty and expression. In conclusion, I urge you to visit pigment museums around the world. Not only does cobalt come from silver mines, but other hues such as Egyptian brown also known as caput mortum (“dead man’s head”) comes from ground mummies. The past causes the present, and also the future.

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HERON HETZLER

HERON HETZLER IS A YOUNG ARTIST RESIDING IN THE BEAUTIFUL FOOTHILLS OF THE ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS WHERE SHE SPENDS HER TIME CREATING ELABORATE COLLAGES. USING MOSTLY RECYCLED AND SECOND HAND MATERIALS, HERON CREATES IMAGES AND DESIGNS FROM OLD JEWELRY, BEADS, BUTTONS, HARDWARE, TOYS AND MORE. EACH PIECE IS A JOURNEY TO CREATE SOMETHING FROM THE DETRITUS OF OUR LIVES AND IN SO DOING, FIND BEAUTY AND MEANING IN WHAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE MERELY TRASH. HERONHETZLER@GMAIL.COM

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LYNETTE MEJORADO

MY NAME IS LYNETTE MEJORADO. I AM A WIRE ARTIST FROM WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS, AND I HAVE BEEN WIRE WRAPPING FOR ABOUT 9 YEARS. INSTAGRAM @SKRAMMY ETSY/SKRAMGLAM

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storytelling with

ASAGI MAEDA

Q: Hello Asagi, how are you? Thank you so much for doing this interview. A: I am good, Thank you. You are very welcome. Thank you for choosing me :) Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your artwork for someone who has never seen what you do? A: I make jewelry with tiny wire people, something like these tiny people are living on, in various situations in their daily life or sometimes it has a story to expand. They are narrative jewelry. My jewelry is different from normal jewelry. Instead of precious gems, I use “Precious and irreplaceable scenes of life”. There is my idea of “The sparkle of the moment of life is forever, like a diamond is forever” Q: Your pieces are overflowing with imagination and wonder. It seems as though your bank of ideas never runs out. What was it that sparked this creativity within you? A: Thank you. I don’t think of myself as full of ideas. Ideas just come to me as necessary. When I don’t think of anything, I don’t think of it. I forget about it and wait until my subconscious gives me signs. I usually get ideas when I’m very relaxed. It just comes to me naturally. Creating stuff is very natural since when I was a child. I always liked creating stuff and stories. It’s one of my lifestyles. I also believe that I have a message to tell. The message is that life is beautiful as you are beautiful. Q: I see that most of your pieces are handcrafted with silver. Before you became a metalsmith, did you work in other more traditional forms of art/sculpture, such as drawing or clay? A: I actually graduated from sculpting major of an art university in Tokyo, Japan, before studying jewelry. I loved sculpting stones (marble and granite) during the university. My graduation work was 2m square big. It can be why I started to use tiny people on my jewelry. If I put tiny people as a scale, jewelry becomes something big as sculpture or architecture. Q: Which collection of yours was the most challenging for you to create? Which was the most rewarding? A: New big works are always challenging to me.I don’t like to create something if I can guess how it will be. I can create because I would like to see it finished. Besides it, “Welcome to Shinkansen” necklace took a long time to make. It was hard. ‘CINEMA!’ Neighborhood bracelets were also very hard. Q: Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry you’ve ever made, perhaps one you wear yourself? A: I do have my favorite necklace and I wear it often. It’s called “Blue Memory”. But not only that, I like series of the sequence to the dream. They are about images I have in my subconsciousness. They are not very popular to other people, but they are so like me, Asagi Maeda. My favorite style.

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Q: What is the most important piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist and how has it helped you? A: When I was a student at FIT, I had a basic design class. In the first class, the teacher played a CD of drums and said ‘Drum sounds are dots.’, then played a cd of violin and said ‘it’s a line’. He played a CD of Jazz music, then said ’This is a design’. Since then music gives me visual images. So I always ask myself if my jewelry is playing music. When I feel music from my jewelry, it means it’s good. Q: What are some of your favorite types of materials you use within your pieces aside from metals? I have noticed some genius use of gemstones, resin + enamels. A: I think I like clear acrylic. I use acrylic often. I’ve tried to use enamel, wood, and porcelain. I often use gemstones and pearls. Q: What drives you to create consistently, do you experience "creative block" or do you work right through it? A: When I was younger, I experienced ‘creative block’. I think I had too much time to think then. I was overworked and I was just tired. That time, I made a ring for myself which I wear everyday still now. There is a chair in the middle of the ring, when I would sit down, ideas would come to me. I decided then I won’t have a creative block anymore. It’s a strange story. I advise you that when you have a creative block, it means you need to get rest and wait until it starts to flow again. Just do anything you like to do. Enjoy your life. Q: Can you tell us what your creative process looks like during a typical day inside of your art studio? A: I simply sit down on my bench and work… I don’t have much time to think of ideas, especially after my son was born. (Now he is 6 years old). I mostly work on a bench when I’m at the studio. Q: How has your living in Japan and in New York impacted your work? A: Yes. A lot. Tokyo and NY are both big cities. I like the city. The reason is because so many people are living in such a small area. Lives are packed. Numerous stories are going on there. So many dramas are packed in tall buildings. I was a girl who liked to imagine people’s lives through each window. And I still do. I think I like people. I believe that everybody's lives are hard and it’s beautiful. Q: What is on the horizon for you and your work? A: I’ve created narrative jewelry but all stories were fiction that I imagined. But I started to think that I would like to create NONFICTION narrative jewelry recently. Like to write a private novel, I would like to create a real story into jewelry. It will be a super personal jewelry. I design real life stories into jewelry. I honestly think this is something only I can do. I feel that I’ve always wanted to do this unconsciously. I feel this is one of the reasons that I was born: as a narrative jewelry artist. I have a feeling that this will be my life work in my second half of my jewelry artist’s life. If anyone is interested in this project, for more information, please contact Mobilia Gallery in Boston. INSTAGRAM @MORNINGYELLOW ASAGIMAEDA.COM


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PATRICK NAUGHTER PFNAUGHTER@GMAIL.COM PATRICKNAUGHTER.COM INSTAGRAM @PATRICKNAUGHTER PATRICK NAUGHTER IS A VIDEO EDITOR, ANIMATOR, AND PHOTOGRAPHER. BORN AND RAISED IN ALBANY, NY, HE NOW LIVES AND WORKS IN LOS ANGELES, WHERE, IN HIS FREE TIME, HE ENJOYS COMBINING HIS LOVE OF FILM PHOTOGRAPHY WITH HIS WORK IN DIGITAL EDITING. THESE IMAGES WERE MADE FROM PHOTOS TAKEN ON FOMAPAN 100 BLACK AND WHITE FILM, SELF DEVELOPED, AND COMPOSITED IN PHOTOSHOP.

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raizahflowers.com // instagram @raizahflowers

and communal relationships.

transformational work facilitated through shamanic medicine and strengthening her communication skills in interpersonal

Raizah Flores is a nomadic photographer, or as she likes to say, yes-gladic. Her values lye in being a steward to Gaia, embodying

RAIZAH FLORES


HOWLIE A MAN AND HIS GUITAR


Q: WHAT IS THE SPECIAL INGREDIENT IN HOWLIE?

A: I WOULD SAY 1960S POP MEETS 2000S EMO SADNESS. BUT IT’S LIKE ALWAYS RECORDED ON TAPE AND LONELY SOUNDING.

Q: YOUR MOST RECENT BANDCAMP UPLOAD SEVEN DAYS IS LIKE AUDIAL SUNSHINE APPEARING AS SOUND WAVES FROM YOUR ACOUSTIC GUITAR. WHAT WAS THE INTENTION IN THIS UPBEAT CHOICE BEHIND SUCH A HEARTBREAKING STORY?

A: OH WOW. SEE THAT WAS THE HAPPIEST SONG I'VE WRITTEN PROBABLY. THE ONLY REASON IT’S A HEARTBREAKING STORY WAS IT WAS ABOUT MY FIRST TRIP TO JAPAN. AND THAT WAS THE CLOSEST I’VE EVER FELT TO MY INNER CHILD. IT WAS KIND OF LIKE A DIRECT CONNECTION TO MY 8 YEAR OLD SELF WHEN I FIRST STARTED TO LEARN ABOUT JAPAN. I REMEMBER GOING TO THE LIBRARY TO READ ABOUT JAPAN AND IT WAS THE FIRST TIME I EVER FELT LIKE THERE WAS A WORLD OUTSIDE OF MASSACHUSETTS. SO I WAS REALLY EMOTIONAL THE ENTIRE TIME WHICH IS HARD FOR ME BECAUSE OF MY DISSOCIATIVE DISORDER. I NEVER CRY ABOUT ANYTHING BUT I CRIED A LOT WHEN I WAS THERE. WHEN I LEFT, ON MY BUS RIDE HOME AND IN THE AIRPORT I WAS JUST SOBBING. IT FELT LIKE I DON’T KNOW WHAT IN MY LIFE COULD EVER HAVE SUCH A BUILDUP AND SUCH A RELEASE AND SUCH SATISFACTION. 20 SOMETHING YEARS SPENT DREAMING ABOUT THIS PLACE THINKING IT COULD NEVER POSSIBLY LIVE UP TO THE HYPE, AND HAVING IT BE THAT AND MORE. I SPENT A LOT OF TIME IN NATURE THERE AND ROAMING THROUGH GARDENS WITH HUNDRED YEAR OLD STRUCTURES. I WENT TO A BAMBOO FOREST WITH MY FRIEND RIE AND I WAS PINCHING MY NOSTRILS TO OPEN THEM WIDER SO I COULD SMELL EVERYTHING BETTER. SO THE PART WHERE I SAY “AZELIA MAGNOLIA I CLOSE MY EYES” I JUST WANTED TO SMELL EVERYTHING AND NOT FORGET ANYTHING.

Q: TO BEGIN, LET’S TALK A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND. YOU WERE AN ENGLISH MAJOR. ALL OF YOUR SONGS INCLUDE SUCH A BEAUTIFUL, PAINFUL POEM. I REMEMBER A ROAD TRIP WE TOOK WHERE YOU PERFORMED AN ENTIRE MULTI-PIECE SPACE OPERA ON ACOUSTIC GUITAR YOU WROTE WHEN YOU WERE RATHER YOUNG. WHEN DID YOU START WRITING LYRICS?

A: I STARTED WRITING LYRICS WHEN I WAS 14. IT WAS WHEN MY FRIEND KAI AND I STARTED LISTENING TO GREEN DAY AND BLINK 182 AND HE WAS REALLY GOOD AT PLAYING GUITAR BUT I HAD NO IDEA HOW TO PLAY MUSIC, SO I WROTE LYRICS. IT NEVER BECAME ANYTHING BUT THAT WAS WHAT STARTED EVERYTHING FOR ME.

Q: YOUR SOUND IS OFTEN DESCRIBED AS LO FI SAD BEACH BOYS. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION IN TERMS OF SOUNDSCAPES? ARE YOU DRAWN TO CRAFTING THIS RETRO TEENAGE SUMMER HEARTBREAK VIBE PURELY ON YOUR OWN PHYSICAL EXPERIENCES OR IS IT DIRECTLY DERIVED FROM YOUR FAVORITE MUSICIANS?

A: IT’S KIND OF BOTH. IT STARTED WHEN I FIRST HEARD DEMO TRACKS FROM THE BEATLES. I SPENT A LOT OF TIME LISTENING TO THAT WITH AN EX-GIRLFRIEND. SHE HAD A CAR THAT PLAYED TAPES, SO WE WOULD BUY A LOT OF TAPES. AND I JUST REMEMBER HOW THAT ANALOG WARMTH SOUNDED, IN CONJUNCTION WITH THESE REALLY LO FI DEMOS THAT THE BEATLES MADE IN GEORGE HARRISON’S GARAGE. I WAS LIKE WOW IT SOUNDS LIKE THE MIC IS RIGHT UP AGAINST WHOEVER IS PLAYING THE MUSIC AT ANY GIVEN POINT. THE SONGS ARE SO INTIMATE IT DOESN'T EVEN MATTER WHAT THEY SOUNDED LIKE. SO I JUST WANTED TO MAKE MY MUSIC SOUND THAT WAY LIKE IT DIDN’T NEED ANY STUDIO MAGIC TO BE ENJOYED.

Q: SPEAKING IN TERMS OF STUDIO MAGIC, WHAT GEAR DO YOU USE? DO YOU USE ANYTHING SPECIFIC TO ACHIEVE YOUR SOUND?

A: I JUST KIND OF LOVE THE MORE LO FI THE BETTER. I HAVE NEVER SPENT MONEY ON A STUDIO OR TO HAVE ANYBODY RECORD ME, AND THAT WAS NOT ONLY A STYLISTIC CHOICE BUT A BUDGET CHOICE. I WAS NOT REALLY MAKING ANY MONEY WHEN I STARTED, I WAS WORKING AT A GROCERY STORE AT THE TIME. SO I PICKED UP AN OLD TASCAM PORTASTUDIO WHICH RECORDS DIRECTLY TO THE CASSETTE. I REALLY LOVED THE WAY THAT SOUNDED, IT DIDN’T REQUIRE ANY POST PRODUCTION OR MIXING OR ANYTHING I JUST UPLOADED IT AS IS. I ALSO USE THE NATIVE GARAGEBAND ON IMAC, I JUST PLUG IN MY MICROPHONE DIRECTLY. AND IT’S LIKE A REFURBISHED SHOTGUN SHELL THAT HAS A MICROPHONE THAT WAS PUT INSIDE OF IT. IT’S CALLED “12 GAUGE MICS” IT’S THIS SUPER NICHE, NOT AT ALL POPULAR WEIRD, NOVEL THING. SO IT’S A CONDENSED MIC SO YOU HAVE TO PUT IT REALLY CLOSE. AND IT’S A VERY HOT MICROPHONE SO I HAVE TO PLAY REALLY QUIETLY. SO THAT’S REALLY THE ONLY STUFF I USE.

Q: WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED THIS SUMMER FOR HOWLIE DESPITE THIS NEW REALITY WE’VE ALL BEEN INJECTED INTO?

A: I HAVE AN EP THAT’S TOTALLY DONE, AND I’VE MOSTLY BEEN HUNG UP ON MAKING IT SOUND WORSE (LAUGHS). BECAUSE I RECORDED IT IN JANUARY WHEN MY FRIEND AUSTIN WENT TO JAPAN, AND HE HAS A HOME STUDIO THAT'S REALLY NICE. I HAD NEVER USED HIGH END EQUIPMENT LIKE


THAT. SO I RECORDED AN ENTIRE EP IN A WEEK, I WAS SO HAPPY WITH THE SONGS, BUT THEY ALL SOUNDED ALMOST “TOO GOOD” IN MY OPINION. IT WAS MY FIRST TIME WORKING DIGITALLY IN A REALLY LONG TIME, SO I FELT LIKE A LOT OF THE CHARM WAS LOST. SO I’VE BEEN WORKING ON GETTING OLD CASSETTES FROM EBAY THAT ALREADY HAVE OLD TAPES IN THEM, AND JUST PUTTING THE DIGITAL FILES THROUGH MY TAPE DECK AND RECORDING OVER THESE OLD MIXTAPES TO MAKE THEM SOUND ALL LIKE ‘WORBLY’ AND SHITTY AND IT’S BEEN REALLY TOUGH BECAUSE THE TAPES ARE SO OLD THAT SOMETIMES SOMETHING WILL CUT OUT. AND IT’S A GAMBLE EVERYTIME I HIT RECORD AND IT’S A REALLY LONG PROCESS. YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THE TAPE IS GOING TO HAVE A MISSING PART SO I HAVE BEEN REALLY FRUSTRATED WITH THAT.

Q: ARE YOU CONSIDERING VIDEO ACCOMPANIMENT TO THIS EP?

A: I AM! I FOUND AN OLD HALLOWEEN PSA FROM 1979 AND THE VIDEO IS COMPLETELY DONE. I SPLICED IT TO KIND OF SYNC UP TO THE SONG “CETAPHIL” I MADE IN 2014. IT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST HOWLIE SONGS I EVER WROTE. BUT EVERY TIME I’VE RECORDED IT IT HASN’T BEEN UP TO MY STANDARDS. IT WAS LIKE SOMETHING WAS MISSING. BUT WHEN I FINALLY RECORDED IT IN JANUARY I WAS REALLY HAPPY WITH IT.

Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO FEEL WHEN THEY HEAR YOUR MUSIC? ESPECIALLY WITH THIS NEW EP COMING OUT THIS SUMMER?

A: I THINK NOSTALGIA, LIKE SOMETHING THAT I’VE BEEN OBSESSED WITH FOR ALL OF MY ADULT LIFE. AND I FEEL LIKE BORROWING CHORDS AND MELODIES FROM THE 60’S WITH THE ANALOG WARMTH OF THE TAPE AND JUST WRITING ABOUT PAST RELATIONSHIPS EVOKES NOSTALGIA AND A LONGING FOR A TIME YOU CAN’T EVER GET BACK. SO THAT’S THE MAIN THING I TRY TO CONVEY.

Q: WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM HOWLIE IN THE COMING YEAR? DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW PIECES YOU’RE WORKING ON WE CAN ANTICIPATE?

A: YEAH, SO I’M IN A NEW RELATIONSHIP NOW AND IT’S BEEN VERY POSITIVE SO I’VE WRITTEN MAYBE 3 POSITIVE SONGS ABOUT THE CURRENT RELATIONSHIP, WHICH IS NOT SOMETHING THAT I TYPICALLY DO. I’M STILL LOOKING FOR THAT SWEET SPOT OF LOUSY SOUND QUALITY, SO THESE ARE PRETTY LOUSY QUALITY BECAUSE I RECORDED THEM WITH (LAUGHS) ONE OF THOSE LITTLE RECORDERS FOR RECORDING INTERVIEWS, I BOUGHT IT AT WALMART. SO I RECORDED THE SONGS ON THAT AND I’M WORKING ON THEM NOW ON MY PORTASTUDIO BUT I CAN’T GET THEM TO SOUND QUITE RIGHT, AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M GOING TO DO WITH THEM I STILL FEEL LIKE I NEED TO PUT OUT A FULL LENGTH AT SOME POINT BUT I DON'T WANT TO MAKE ANY PROMISES SINCE I’M SO COMPLACENT WITH RELEASING SINGLES AND EPS. SO NOTHING CONCRETE YET!

Q: WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF IN REGARDS TO YOUR PATH IN MUSIC?

A: THAT’S A REALLY GOOD QUESTION. WELL I HAVE NO “RAGRATS” FOR SOMETHING I’VE WRITTEN, I FEEL LIKE I’VE BEEN REALLY PARTICULAR AND NOT SO MUCH SHALLOW, BUT LIKE PICKY WITH THE THINGS I’VE RELEASED. SO IF I GO BACK TO MY BANDCAMP AND I’M FEELING NOSTALGIC, OR I’M LOOKING FOR SOME INSPIRATION OR A REFERENCE FOR HOW I GOT A CERTAIN SOUND OR SOMETHING, I’LL LISTEN TO THE SONGS THERE AND I HAVEN’T HAD ANY CRINGE OR REALLY ANY REGRET WHICH IS REALLY RARE AND REALLY STRANGE FOR ME BECAUSE I TYPICALLY REGRET EVERYTHING I’VE EVER DONE (LAUGHS). I THINK THE ONLY THING I WOULD SAY IS TO JUST NOT WASTE ANY TIME PLAYING LIVE SHOWS BECAUSE THAT IS SOMETHING I DID A LOT FROM 2014 - 2017. I WOULD PLAY SOLO SHOWS AROUND THE VALLEY A LOT. AND THERE'S’ JUST NOT REALLY A GOOD SCENE FOR QUIET, SAD ACOUSTIC MUSIC. IT’S JUST NOT REALLY, NOBODY REALLY GIVES A FUCK. SO IT WAS JUST SO HEARTBREAKING FOR ME TO BE SINGING THESE SONGS ABOUT KILLING MYSELF AND HAVING PEOPLE TALKING SO LOUDLY THAT I COULDN'T HEAR MY OWN PLAYING. SO THAT WAS A HEARTBREAK I KEPT SUBJECTING MYSELF TO BEFORE I REALLY RETIRED FROM PLAYING LIVE GIGS. THAT IS THE ONLY THING I WOULD CHANGE REALLY.

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Q: YOU HAVE A NEW PAGE ON INSTAGRAM: @HOWLIESPINS DEDICATED TO SHOWCASING YOUR VINYL COLLECTION WHICH IS VERY COOL. HOW ARE THINGS GOING WITH THIS VIRTUAL DIARY?

A: IT’S BEEN REALLY COOL, I KIND OF STARTED IT ONLY BECAUSE OF QUARANTINE. AND I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO RECORDS SO MUCH MORE. AND I REALIZED THERE’S SO MANY THINGS I’VE PURCHASED EITHER BECAUSE OF NOSTALGIA OR HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO ME, OR I HAVEN’T LISTENED TO IN YEARS. I HAVE PROBABLY CLOSE TO 500 RECORDS. PEOPLE HAVE COME TO ME FROM THE PAGE AND SAID LIKE “WOW, THANK YOU FOR POSTING ABOUT THAT ALBUM AND RECOMMENDING THAT TO ME, I NEVER WOULD HAVE CHECKED IT OUT BEFOREHAND.” THAT HAS BEEN VERY COOL FOR ME!

HOWLIE.BANDCAMP.COM INSTAGRAM @HOWLIEHOWLS INSTAGRAM @HOWLIESPINS

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2020 has been a tremendously challenging year for everyone around the world, but particularly so for people in the BIPOC community. Thus far, the spotlight has been on the publicized tensions and clashes between unarmed civilians and the militarized police forces of the United States. We wanted to shift the focus slightly by asking BIPOC creators in our community to submit intentional statement pieces that showcase their individual stories, in hopes to add a critical part of today's American reality to the reality of those who do not share the same lived experiences. To the artists featured herein, we feel immense gratitude that you felt empowered to share difficult emotions with us and we are humbled to be able to share your incredible work with our broader creative community. It is our promise to you that NEKTR will continue to be a safe, integrated, and equitable platform to share the best of the best from talented artists around the world and it is our goal to provide a meaningful stage for you to hone your craft, regardless of your cognitive, demographic, or ethnographic background.

'FUNERAL FOR RACISM' 2020 PHOTOGRAPH BY RAIZAH FLORES FEATURED ON PAGE 35


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INA JOSEPH A recent graduate from Boston University’s College of Communication, Ina Joseph has found writing to be one of the few forms of solace in these tumultuous times. Whether it’s through poetry in her journal or speaking at local BLM engagements, she is finding her power through her voice. In her piece, I Need More From You, Ina allows her voice to speak to the anger and frustration she’s held in her heart, but hasn’t had the opportunity to express. I NEED MORE FROM YOU Am I crazy? Am I asking for too much? Am I being a debby downer? Does wanting more than “hope you’re ok” and “I’m so sorry” make me unreasonable? Does it make me a bad person? Does it make me a pessimist to get pissed off, at black squares and hashtags? To see them and think, “that’s a whole lot of nothing I see on that screen”? Because on that screen, what I see, is a performance. An act of allyship, a feigning of friendship, a display of damn-near nothing, Because your hashtags and black squares won’t bring them back. They won’t reverse the times you called me the n-word or asked to touch my hair. They don’t prove to me that you know you even did these things… or that you really care. So, what I need, is more from you. Tell me that you know what you did and that you know I'm not crazy. Tell me you know black people aren’t asking for too much when they say they want to breathe, want to live, want to run, want to walk, want to matter. Tell me I'm not a debby downer just because I can’t find it in myself to go outside and take selfies by the pool or go on summer vacations just because it’s cool, And tell your friends that if they think it’s cool? They’re fucked. Because people are dying. We are dying. I feel like i’m dying. No, I'm not ok. “You’re so sorry” doesn’t mean much unless it’s backed up by ownership of your own actions. If your discomfort makes me a bad person? Then fine. I just need more from you.

mijportfolio.com

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ON PAIN: I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN GRIEVE ANYMORE ALL I CAN DO IS SIT IN SILENCE THINKING THINKING MYSELF INTO OBLIVION TEARS DON’T COME MAYBE THEY’RE FRUSTRATED AT FALLING THE SAME WAY I’M FRUSTRATED SEEING BLACK BODIES FALL THE SAME WAY I’M FRUSTRATED AT HOW FRUSTRATED I AM FRUSTRATED THAT THIS HAS NEVER CHANGED FRUSTRATED THAT DEATH IS NOW SYNONYMOUS WITH AWARENESS MY HEART NO LONGER ACHES IT BEATS QUIETLY STEADILY CALMLY I’M SURPRISED AT HOW UNSURPRISED I AM I WANT TO ERUPT IN SOBS, USHERING FORTH ENOUGH TEARS TO WATER THE FLOWERS ON EACH GRAVE FILLED WITH BODIES TAKEN TOO SOON BODIES I NEVER KNEW BUT WHOSE EXISTENCE ECHO MINE WHOSE LIVES I CANNOT FORGET WHOSE LIVES ONLY STARTED TO MATTER WHEN THEY ENDED AS THE WORLD WATCHED LAST WORDS UTTERED

There’s a coolness on my skin

WHEN THEY COULDN’T BREATHE WHEN THEY BEGGED THEM NOT TO SHOOT

My blood no longer boils

WHEN THEY JUST TOLD THEIR LOVED ONES GOODNIGHT

Tears wont come

THE WORLD WATCHED AS SOULS SLIPPED FROM BODIES AND BODIES WERE LEFT PIERCED, BROKEN BY BULLETS AND BAD APPLES

I am frozen Eerily still

TURNED INTO A HASHTAG, MADE TRENDY BY PEOPLE WHO WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND THE WEIGHT OF DEATH WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WATCH A LIFE BE TAKEN AND BE LEFT TO WONDER WHO’S NEXT?

Outside of myself Looking down at a body A body struggling to breath

SOLANGE IS A STUDENT, POET, AND WRITER WHOSE IDENTITY AS A TRINIDADIAN IMMIGRANT INFORMS MUCH OF HOW SHE SEES THE WORLD. COMING FROM ONE OF THE MOST DIVERSE ISLANDS IN THE CARIBBEAN MAKES HER EVEN MORE PASSIONATE ABOUT DIVERSE STORYTELLING, CULTURAL DIFFUSION, AND HAVING EMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING FOR THOSE AROUND HER. SHE USES WRITING AS A WAY TO UNDERSTAND AND GRAPPLE WITH HER EMOTIONS. HER POEMS TYPICALLY DEAL WITH LOVE, MENTAL HEALTH, HOME AND NOSTALGIA AND SHE DRAWS INSPIRATION FROM HER PERSONAL LIFE AS WELL AS HER FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES.

INSTAGRAM @SOLANGEHACKSHAW

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To the Black women who’ve loved Black men, to the Black men who’ve been loved by Black women: When we met, it was some fresh prince type shit See, I noticed you noticing me and I put you on notice that I noticed you too I noticed how you glided across the room, A walk you perfected after years of trying not to scuff your shoes You weren’t cocky but you were a lil too confident Talking to me as if you already knew there was no place I’d rather be than standing there with you in front of me Maybe you already did know that Maybe you knew you had me before I was even yours I was 17 Caught up in the feeling of your skin on my skin Cocoa butter vaseline mixing with oil of Olay Relishing the petroleum jelly on your lips that were always the softest to kiss With you, there were no explanations, no unanswered questions You sat, lovingly putting drops of coconut oil at the roots of my braids, You made the two step our waltz You gave me a love as cheesy as a Kate Hudson rom com I wanted to believe that loving you was this simple, this easy But this is the part of the movie the little white boys and white girls never see The constant nagging fear and agony The paranoia I felt every time you left your dorm in a hoodie You taught me what it meant to love a black man Outside of cocoa butter kisses to the rhythm of 90s R&B Every time you were missing from me, I pictured you Hoodie on, hands in pockets, headphones in My heart stopped There were times where I begged you not to leave, Didn’t want to, couldn’t let you go But you did Kissing my lips with one of those painfully soft kisses After you broke free from the tightest hug I could muster to keep you close to me When you love a black man you’re terrified at how easy it is to lose him You’re forced to love him in a world where he could never write a bad check Where a pack of skittles have the same weight as a gun Where black men are never unarmed Where black men are always resisting arrest Where a traffic stop but could be his last stop Where he could be murdered in the street Throat crushed under the knee of someone who would ignore his pleas saying he can’t breathe Crushed by a system that always wants to bring him in dead than alive When you love a black man You love him with a love so deep, you never knew you could harbor so much sorrow and worry in one body, A body made heavier by the weight of remembering all the black men the world never cared enough to save You love him for all the reasons the world doesn’t love black men You grieve the fact that it will never love him the way you do You’re scared that this might be why you lose him Crumbling at the weight of knowing your love is not enough to save him When you love a black man you pray you can keep on loving him You pray you never have to mourn him

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LYSANDER BARDOT Lysander is storyteller and Massachusetts native currently based in Portland, Maine. Pulling from everyday life, he realizes what it is to be a human being on planet earth through prose and rhyme.

Sometimes I wish I could travel Back in time To the height of a country I loved. When industry boomed To a decade that roared, I often Wonder too much. But then A flash Of reality hits As I look Back down at my hands My skin is still dark And my face is still black Is it worth it? If I wouldn’t be welcome? It paints to know my brothers’ hurt In a space that was never safe. A land that many died to preserve, Is the one that still remains. The purple mountains, While big and ground, Mask not thy soiled face. There will come a time when seas do shine In a land that is said to be great. We all dance. We all sing. We all fall asleep at night. We all have a head on our shoulders And we all sit and think about life. We all keep a faith in something And we all have too much to see. We all, I repeat, We all Are one! Is that so hard to believe?

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HAYNES_KEL@YAHOO.COM

INSTAGRAM @BRANDNAMEKEL

47 PHOTOGRAPHY BY INSTAGRAM @GRACEGULICKPHOTOGRAPHY


CHRISTIAN BAZANT-HEGEMARK

OFFICE@BAZANT-HEGEMARK.COM BAZANT-HEGEMARK.COM INSTAGRAM @CHRISTIANBAZANTHEGEMARK CHRISTIAN BAZANT-HEGEMARK WORKS IN PAINTING, DRAWING AND CODE. FOR THE SERIES SUBMITTED TO NEKTR MAGAZINE HE FOCUSSED ON PEOPLE THAT ARE WAITING. PUTTING THEM INTO A VACUUM OF WHITE SPACE, THEIR BACKGROUND AND INTENTION BECOMES UNCLEAR AND EPHEMERAL.

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BEYOND THE PANDEMIC

The COVID-19 pandemic is an eye-opening experience for many of us. These are extraordinary times and a situation many

of us never thought we would experience. Even though I am a member of the Public Health community and have always said, “the big one is coming,” I can’t say I expected this. We sometimes forget how privileged we are to live in the modern age, a society dominated by science, medicine and technology, fields that guide us to a better, more advanced future.

Microbes have been with us since the beginning of our time, burdening us, killing us, evolving with us, coexisting with us.

It has been a constant battle, which for most of our history, disease has had the upper hand in. In the 14th century the Bubonic Plague ripped through Europe and the Middle East, leaving nothing but death and carnage in its wake and reducing the world’s entire population by one third. Smallpox eradicated entire Indigenous communities when it was introduced to North America. The 1918 Influenza pandemic killed upwards of 50 million people. Prior to the age of Microbiology, vaccine development and drug discovery, infectious disease was a significant cause of death among adults and children.

The fact that most of us have been able to grow up largely unaffected by infectious disease in the way past generations have

been, lets us forget what a threat they really are. People have the privilege to deny vaccination and other public health measures because they have never personally experienced the devastation they can cause. It is the reason misinformation regarding COVID-19 is so rampantly spread around social media, and why fringe groups are out protesting the pandemic lockdowns. When the dust eventually settles, I guarantee this experience will shift the perspectives of many, especially if someone they know is lost to the virus. This is not the last time we will face a situation like this.

Disease spillover from animal populations is how the majority of infectious diseases arise, it is how COVID-19 came about

and SARS before it. This will happen again, whether it be the next pandemic flu or something entirely new. The fields of Public Health and Microbiology have understood the importance of surveillance for emerging infections, but I hope this situation will finally bring the government to have a stronger belief in these programs. It is not only the field of Public Health that will change moving forward, but also the behaviors of all of us. Which brings us to the question of our new normal.

Once the lockdowns ease, places of work reopen and we begin our reintegration back into society, what will things be like?

Our COVID-19 problem will not be over once the lockdowns end and it is likely social distancing measures will be in place through the end of 2020, if not beyond. The way we greet each other will change, our hand hygiene will change, and nightlife will certainly change. I think we will all become more conscious of how easily infectious diseases can spread and harm, and the next time you’re feeling sick you probably won’t go into the office. We have all grown from this experience, we have found new ways to stay connected at a distance, developed new hobbies and had to look inward on ourselves as we’ve spent so much time alone. In the end, we are a resilient species, we are innovators and we will come out of this stronger than before.

AUTHOR BIO JOSHUA CHEVALIER IS A 24-YEAR-OLD PUBLIC HEALTH STUDENT AT THE BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH PURSUING A MASTER’S DEGREE IN EPIDEMIOLOGY, BIOSTATISTICS AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE. A CURRENT EMPLOYEE OF MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL, HE HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THE COVID-19 RESPONSE. HE IS A PROUD MEMBER OF THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AND AN ACTIVIST FOR CHANGE. JOSHUAMCHEVALIER@GMAIL.COM


MRS. T’S COIN LAUNDRY HOW TO TRANSMUTE ITS GRIME? THERE’S THIS LOVELY FILM OF LIVING OVER EVERYTHING, DOMINATED BY THE SCENT OF CHEMICAL DETERGENT. LETTERS OF WELCOME ARE PINNED TO A FELT BOARD: WELCOME, THEY SAY, LAST WASH 9PM, LIGHTS OUT 10PM, LEAVE ME A NOTE. THE SOAP DISPENSER IS LABELED WITH FADED STICKERS: FOR REAL TUFF PLASTIC LAUNDRY BAGS, CLOROX, AND BOUNCE, ALL BLEACHED IN THIS SUNNY ALL-DAY LAUNDRY. TWO PARK BENCHES HAVE BEEN DRAGGED IN. THEY HAVE NO BUSINESS BEING HERE, THEY SHOULD BE FEEDING PIGEONS IN A PARK: MEMORIALIZING A TEENAGER WHO DIED TERRIBLY, EARLY, SO WHAT ELSE WERE HER PARENTS TO DO, HOW DO YOU TRANSMUTE ALL THAT GRIEF? ON THE FRONT WINDOW THERE’S A PAINTING OF WASHBOARD AND BASIN. SOMEONE’S SCRAPED A LITTLE STORM IN IT, SO THE PARKING LOT SHINES THROUGH. IN THE BASIN, INEXPLICABLY, THEY’VE WRITTEN: THE GODSWATER. WATER IS THAT SACRED ELEMENT: OLDER THAN NATIONS, UNIVERSAL SOLVENT, STUFF OF BAPTISM AND RITE. JOHN THE IMMERSER, WHO ATE LOCUSTS AND WILD HONEY, BAPTIZED CHRIST IN THE JORDAN. IZANAGI, WHO SAW THE ROTTING FACE OF HIS BELOVED, ESCAPED YOMI AND BATHED IN THE SEA. BUT HOW MIGHT A PLACE SO GRIMY TRANSMUTE THE DIRTY TO CLEAN? THAT SOILED WORK SHIRTS, SWEATY BRAS, BROWN SOCKS AND OLD SLEEPING BAGS MIGHT EMERGE WITHOUT DIRT—WEARING NOTHING BUT THEIR OLD STAINS— REBORN FROM ALUMINUM WHEELS, WARM AND SOFT AS SUNLIGHT, SMELLING FAINTLY OF MAN’S WONDERFUL, FALSE APPROXIMATION OF FLOWERS?

AUTHOR BIO SAM IS A WRITER FROM ALBANY, NY. HE CURRENTLY LIVES IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WITH HIS WIFE, FRANCESCA, AND THEIR UNNAMED CAT. CONTACT: SAM STENARD SAMUELSTENARD@GMAIL.COM (916) 903-8895

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LUISA BELTRÁN

HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR Q&A

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Q: HOW ARE YOU DOING THESE DAYS?

A: THESE ARE TRULY STRANGE TIMES, I FEEL VERY GRATEFUL FOR THE PEOPLE AND THE OPPORTUNITIES AROUND ME, AND THAT FEELING GROWS AS DAYS GO BY. THE WORLD IS PERPETUALLY WINKING AT US AND WE HAVE TO BE ATTENTIVE TO SEE THOSE GESTURES. THE CURRENT SITUATION REMINDS ME OF WHAT IS GENUINE & RELEVANT, WHAT IS TRULY MEANINGFUL. TODAY I CONSTANTLY THINK ABOUT OTHERS, ABOUT THE DIFFICULTY OF BEING A COMMUNITY WHEN DISTANCE IS REQUIRED, ABOUT THE MADNESS OF THINGS THAT OCCUR AND THE MADNESS OF WHAT IS URGENT AND DOES NOT HAPPEN. I THINK ABOUT MY FATHER, WHO IS A DOCTOR, ABOUT MY GRANDPARENTS, ABOUT THE GIGANTIC AND PARALYZING FEAR, ABOUT THE FRUSTRATION AND THE PEACE OF FINDING MEANING IN OUR LIFE. QUARANTINE HAS INTENSIFIED MY RUMINATING MIND AND HYPERSENSITIVITY (LAUGHS). LIFE IS ALWAYS TUMULTUOUS, ISN'T IT? FULL OF THINGS; EVEN IF THEY ARE TINY THINGS. THE ESSENTIAL MATTER IS THAT WE MUST TRY TO CREATE A STATE OF BEING FULL OF VALUABLE THINGS, BIG OR SMALL, THAT ENRICHES ONE'S LIFE AND THE LIVES OF OTHERS. A LIFE THAT IS ALSO FULL OF EMPTY SPACES FOR NEW POSSIBILITIES, FOR WHAT IS NOT YET KNOWN, SO WE CAN APPRECIATE, CONTEMPLATE, GROW AND SHARE. TODAY I TRY TO FIND THAT BALANCE.

Q: YOUR COLOR PALETTE IS IMPRESSIONABLE, THE TONES YOU CHOOSE ARE VERY DELICATE AND HARMONIOUS. HOW DO YOU APPROACH COLOR MIXING WITH A DIFFICULT MEDIUM LIKE OIL PAINT?

A: I HAD THE BEST TEACHERS AND CLASSMATES. I LEARNED A LOT FROM THEM AND THEN FROM THE PRACTICE ITSELF. IN THAT I WAS LUCKY. NICO (NICOLAS URIBE) WAS MY TEACHER FOR SEVERAL YEARS AND HE TRANSFERRED ALL THE PASSION FOR THE CREATIVE FIELD THAT I NOW HAVE. HE IS ONE OF THE BEST PEOPLE I KNOW AND A GENUINE FRIEND. HE INTRODUCED ME TO THE COSMOS OF PAINTING DURING THAT PERIOD WHEN I WAS SERIOUSLY ILL SO I OWE HIM ALMOST MY LIFE. OIL IS A VERY COMPLEX MEDIUM BECAUSE OF ALL THE VARIABLES THAT ARE INVOLVED. YOU HAVE TO THINK AT THE SAME TIME ABOUT TONE, HUE, THE BODY OF THE PIGMENT, THE MEDIUM YOU USE, SURFACE AND DRAWING, COMPOSITION, AND MUCH MORE, ALL AT THE SAME TIME... BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, IT IS FLEXIBLE, IT ALLOWS YOU TO WORK AND KEEP WORKING. WHEN I HAVE A PAINTING, I CONSCIOUSLY DETERMINE THE PALETTE FROM THE BEGINNING, AND IT DEPENDS ON THE ATMOSPHERE I WANT TO GENERATE AND WHAT I AM INTERESTED IN PORTRAYING. EACH COLOR IS SELECTED BECAUSE IT BRINGS SOMETHING TO THE IMAGE, IT IS THERE BECAUSE I NEED IT. NOTHING IS LEFT OVER AND THAT IS BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO KNOW EACH COLOR AS A CHILDHOOD FRIEND; KNOW HOW IT INTERACTS WITH OTHERS, ITS COMPLEXITIES, ITS WHIMS, ITS ATTACHMENTS. SO ONE CAN DECIDE IF HE OR SHE WANTS TO PAINT WITH TWO COLORS OR TEN. IT WILL DEPEND ON THE PAINTER AND ON WHAT HE OR SHE WANTS TO ACHIEVE. SACRIFICES ARE MADE WHEN A PAINTER CHOOSES WHAT TO EMPHASIZE IN A PAINTING. FOR THAT, HE OR SHE MUST KNOW CLOSELY ITS TOOLS. IN THE END, PAINTING IS AN ACCUMULATION OF PILED UP DECISIONS. TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS IN A MINDFUL WAY, IN RESONANCE WITH ONE'S OWN VOICE, IS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING. EXTENSIVE AND EMPIRICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE MATERIALS IS REQUIRED. MANY TIMES, IF I KNOW I DON'T WANT A SPECIFIC HUE OR A COLOR RELATION, IT'S BECAUSE I'VE ALREADY USED IT AND IT DIDN'T WORK. IN ANY CASE, FAILURE IS THE GREATEST MENTOR.

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Q: HOW DO YOU APPROACH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

A: IT'S NEVER THE SAME. AND THAT'S HORRIBLE TO SAY, BUT IT ALSO DEPENDS (LAUGHS). I LIKE TO CHALLENGE MYSELF AND TRY NEW THINGS; IT'S HARD, OF COURSE, BUT I LOVE IT. SOMETIMES I START WITHOUT DRAWING, SOMETIMES I MAKE COLORED SKETCHES BEFOREHAND, SOMETIMES IT TAKES ME WEEKS TO FINISH ONE BIG PAINTING AND SOMETIMES I DO QUICK THIRTY-MINUTE OIL SKETCHES. THE ARTISTS I DEEPLY ADMIRE ARE CAPABLE OF NAVIGATING ALL THESE PROCESSES AND THEIR DIFFERENT TEMPORALITIES, THEY APPROACH EACH PIECE DIFFERENTLY BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO THINK DIFFERENTLY WHEN YOU HAVE TWO MINUTES, THREE HOURS OR THREE WEEKS TO SAY SOMETHING.

Q: YOUR DIVERSITY IN CREATIVE MEDIUMS IS ADMIRABLE. SUCH AS YOUR CERAMIC “PLANETS” SERIES. WHICH ART FORM DID YOU START WITH FIRST, PAINTING OR SCULPTURE?

A: PAINTING AND DRAWING (WHICH OFTEN MERGE) WERE MY FIRST LOVE, THEN CAME POTTERY WHICH WAS FOR A LONG TIME MY PLATONIC LOVE. IT WAS DIFFERENT FROM THE START WITH WRITING AND POETRY, WHICH WERE THAT IGNORED BUT ALWAYS PRESENT CHILDHOOD LOVE. TODAY ALL THREE ARE THE CENTRAL PILLARS OF MY CREATIVE WORK. THEY FILL MY HOURS AND FEED OFF EACH OTHER IN A VERY BEAUTIFUL WAY. IT'S A SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP. IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE DIVERSE THAT THEY ALLOW ME TO MOVE AND NEVER STAY IN A SELF-RIGHTEOUS AND COMPLAISANT STATE.

Q: WHAT WAS A MOMENT IN TIME WHERE YOU LEARNED SOMETHING NEW AS AN ARTIST THAT CHANGED THE COURSE OF YOUR WORK FOREVER?

A: I WENT TO SPAIN FOR OVER A YEAR, ON AN EXCHANGE PROGRAM WITH MY HOMETOWN UNIVERSITY. THERE I WAS FINALLY ABLE TO START CREATING WITHOUT AN INSTITUTION OR ACADEMICS SURROUNDING ME. IT WAS AN EXCEPTIONAL MOMENT OF LIBERATION AND I FINALLY GOT TO KNOW THE POTTERY UNIVERSE. IN FACT, THE PLANETS (TALKING AGAIN IN COSMOLOGY TERMS HERE) WERE AN INITIAL EXPLORATION OF THE CRAFT, WHERE I WAS REALLY LOOKING FOR NOTHING MORE THAN TO KNOW THE CLAY IN MY HANDS AND THE TOOLS. I WAS ALLOWING MYSELF TO ENTER THIS BRAND-NEW WORLD. I RETURNED AT THE END OF LAST YEAR AND I AM NOW ABOUT TO GRADUATE.

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Q: WHAT DOES YOUR STUDIO SPACE LOOK LIKE AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT IT?

A: I'VE MOVED NINE TIMES IN TWO AND A HALF YEARS. IT'S BEEN AN INSANE JOURNEY AND IT'S NOT OVER YET, THANKFULLY. RIGHT NOW MY STUDIO IS WITH ME. I LIKE TO THINK THAT I TAKE THE ENERGY OF MY CRAFT WHEN I MOVE AND TRY TO SOAK EACH NEW SPACE WITH IT. FOR NOW, I WORK AT HOME. I HAVE AN IMPROVISED STUDIO IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH TWO WOODEN TABLES THAT I BUILT FROM SCRATCH ALONG WITH MY FATHER LAST YEAR. ONE FOR CERAMICS AND ONE FOR DRAWING AND PAINTING. THEY ARE LOCATED RIGHT NEXT TO A HUGE WINDOW THAT LETS IN THE MUCH APPRECIATED MORNING SUNLIGHT. THIS STUDIO IS ALSO TEMPORARY, SO I LIKE THE IDEA THAT THE ENERGY OF THE CRAFT GOES WITH YOU, THE PASSION FOR CREATING, LIKE THE HOME THAT IS NOT SO MUCH A PHYSICAL SPACE BUT A SENSATION.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC CREATION THVAT IS YOUR MOST FAVORITE? WHY?

A: THIS IS A TOUGH QUESTION. I HAVE THAT COMMON INSENSITIVE HABIT OF THE ARTIST WHO SEES WHAT HE HAS PREVIOUSLY DONE AND PARTIALLY HATES IT. WE ARE NEVER SATISFIED AND THAT'S GOOD BUT SOMETIMES, BECAUSE OF THAT, WE LACK PERSPECTIVE AND APPRECIATION FOR EVERY MOMENT THAT HAS BEEN PART OF OUR PATH. EVERYTHING IS VALUABLE BECAUSE IT PROVIDED DIRECTION TO SOMETHING ELSE, IT EXISTED AND CREATED A NEW EXPERIENCE, IS ALWAYS MEANINGFUL. FOR ME THE CRAFT BECAME A WAY OF LIVING, A METHOD FOR EXPERIENCING THE WORLD, FOR SHARING AND CONNECTING WITH OTHERS; IT IS NO LONGER ABOUT SPECIFIC CREATIONS. LET'S SAY THAT THE CREATIONS END UP BEING ACCESSORIES, EXTRAS OF THE PROCESS. IF I PAINT FOR THREE HOURS AND I DON'T LIKE WHAT I DID AND I SCRAPE IT OFF, I'M DELIGHTED BECAUSE IT WAS THREE HOURS OF GETTING CLOSER TO THE WORLD THROUGH PAINTING. I TRY NOT TO GET TOO ATTACHED TO THE WORKS AND POTTERY HELPED ME WITH THAT, BECAUSE YOU CAN WORK FOR A MONTH IN ONE PIECE, PUT IT IN THE OVEN AND 15 HOURS LATER YOU OPEN THE DOOR AND REALIZE YOU JUST LOST IT. POTTERY PREPARES YOU TO LET GO OF THINGS. ALTHOUGH... OF COURSE THERE ARE IMAGES THAT ARE HARDER TO LET GO OF AS INDIVIDUAL CREATIONS, AS SUBJECTS ALMOST. I HAVE ONE, A PAINTING OF MY NEPHEW I MADE WHEN I HAD HIM AWAY. HE'S SLEEPING AND I CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL NOSTALGIA AND FASCINATION WATCHING EVERY BRUSHSTROKE OVER THE COTTON PAPER. I REMEMBER HIS HAIR GROWING AND WHEN HE WAS LEARNING TO CRAWL, I REMEMBER WHEN I PAINTED HIM AND HOW THE VERY ACT OF PAINTING GAVE ANOTHER DIMENSION TO HIS EXISTENCE AND BROUGHT HIM CLOSER TO ME.

ARTIST. PAINTER. WRITER. CERAMIST. (+57) 316 222 3302 LBELTRAN1305@GMAIL.COM INSTAGRAM @LUISA.BELTRAN.C

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DECAY. RESURRECTION. THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROJECT WAS THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE LIMITS OF THIN SHELL STRUCTURES MADE OUT OF CELLULOSE BASED MATERIALS, IN THIS CASE GRASS, A FOUND OBJECT THAT CAN BE EASILY HARVESTED IN LARGE QUANTITIES. INSPIRED BY THE POP-UP CARDBOARD BUILDING DESIGNS BY JAPANESE ARCHITECT SHIGERU BAN, THIS PROJECT SET OUT TO CREATE TEMPORARY AND DECOMPOSABLE SHELTERS. THROUGH A PROCESS OF SOAKING THE GRASS IN A LYE CHEMICAL BATH TO REMOVE THE LIGNIN, THEN A THOROUGH RINSING AND BEATING, A PULP IS FORMED AND CAST ON THE GROUND TO CREATE A CANVAS-LIKE MATERIAL. REINFORCED BY HEMP SEAMS AND A COATING OF BEESWAX FOR ITS HYDROPHOBIC PROPERTIES, THE FINAL STRUCTURE CAN BE ROLLED UP AND SHAPED IN PLACE. IN THE END, THE STRUCTURE IS LEFT IN THE FIELD FROM WHERE THE GRASS WAS ORIGINALLY HARVESTED SO THAT IT MAY BE REINTRODUCED TO ITS NATURAL LIFE CYCLE. BY ARCHITECTURE GRADUATES COLIN KELLY + HENRY SALDANA OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT BUFFALO INSTAGRAM @HENRYSALAMANDER, @C0LINIZATION

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CAROLINEJI.COM CAROLINE@CAROLINEJI.COM +1 416 886 6120 INSTAGRAM @CAROLINEJIART CAROLINE JI IS A SELF-TAUGHT ARTIST CURRENTLY LIVING AND WORKING IN TORONTO, CANADA. HER WORK FOCUSES ON FIGURATIVE PAINTINGS THAT EXPLORE THEMES OF SOLITUDE AND IDENTITY THROUGH MOOD AND ATMOSPHERE. SHE HAS EXHIBITED IN CANADA AND USA, AND IS CURRENTLY REPRESENTED BY SIVARULRASA GALLERY IN ALMONTE, CANADA.

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AN ODE TO ALL OF THE FOLLICLES

EVICTION NOTICE

TWO DAYS AGO I LET MY BROTHER SHAVE MY HEAD IN THE FRONT YARD. THE CLIPPERS WERE REFRESHING LIKE WHEN WE PLAYED IN THE YARD WITH THE HOSE, TRYING TO WASH DAD’S CAR FOR HIM.

I’VE SEEN YOU UNDRESS DOZENS OF TIMES IN THE CORNER OF MY MIND YOU’RE RENTING. FOR THREE MIDNIGHT PHONE CALLS A MONTH. THE SPACE IS CLUTTERED THERE ARE CLOTHES ON THE FLOOR AND BOOKS STACKED ON THE DESK BUT IT’S YOURS.

WE GAVE THE HAIR TO THE GOLD FINCHES IN THE BUSH BY THE PARK FOR THEIR NESTS. EVERY OTHER DAY IN THE SHOWER I CONTEMPLATE SHAVING OFF ALL REMAINING PEACH FUZZ AND CRAWLING INTO BED WITH IT.

YOU’RE A DECENT TENANT, I DON’T CHARGE MORE EVEN THOUGH I’D LIKE TO. TO BE FAIR, I’M NOT A PERFECT LANDLORD.

STRANDS WILL APPEAR THAT DO NOT KNOW YOU LONG ONES THAT WILL BREAK UNDER A HEAVY-HANDED BRUSH. I THINK ABOUT ALL OF THE EYELASHES YOU’VE LOST. HAVE YOU WISHED ALL THEIR WISHES? DID YOU WATCH THEM FALL POOLING IN THE SINK WITH THE GRAY STUBBLE WHEN YOU SHAVED IN THE MORNING? HOW MANY OF THEM WISHED FOR DECEMBER? FOR JANUARY? I RESENT THE BLACK SPROUTS BURSTING FROM MY FACE, ARMS, LEGS ELSEWHERE. IT IS FAST TO REMIND ME THAT YOU ARE ON BORROWED TIME. THAT IT WILL BE HERE WHEN YOU ARE GONE AND THE RAZORS THE CLIPPERS THE SCISSORS WILL NOT SAVE ME.

I’VE CONTEMPLATING STOPPING BY CRAWLING INTO YOUR BED, JUST FOR FIVE MINUTES. OR SITTING IN THE ORANGE SWIVEL CHAIR TO STARE. I THOUGHT YOU HAD ROOMMATES, BUT THEY HAD OCCUPIED OTHER SPACES BEHIND MY TEMPORAL LOBE. THEY’VE MOVED OUT AND THE ROOMS HAVEN’T BEEN FILLED. YOU HAVEN’T LEFT.

MELINA BOURDEAU IS A WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENT. SHE WORKS AS AN EDITOR OF TWO NEWSPAPERS AT TURLEY PUBLICATIONS. MELINA'S POETRY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN AMERICA'S EMERGING POETS 2018: NORTHEAST REGION, SIGMA TAU DELTA'S MIND MURALS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS. IN HER SPARE TIME, SHE CAN BE FOUND WITH HER CAMERA IN THE WOODS. MBOURDEAU94@GMAIL.COM

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OSTRANENIE

ART TECHNIQUE AS AN APPROACH TO LIFE WRITTEN BY: RUNE PERCY OF NEKTR

OSTRANENIE, OR DEFAMILIARIZATION, IS THE OCCULT ARTISTIC TECHNIQUE OF MAKING THE ORDINARY EXTRAORDINARY; FINDING BEAUTY IN THE FAMILIAR; EXTENDING THE LENGTH OF PERCEPTION IN ORDER TO DRAW GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF A GIVEN OBJECT. ITS FATHER IS VIKTOR SHKLOVSKY - A RUSSIAN FORMALIST POET AND CRITIC WHO ARGUES THAT “THE PURPOSE OF ART IS TO IMPART THE SENSATION OF THINGS AS THEY ARE PERCEIVED AND NOT AS THEY ARE KNOWN.” THE FORMALIST MOVEMENT MORE BROADLY CAUTIONS THAT HABIT IS THE ENEMY TO ART. IN ORDER TO PREVENT OVER-AUTOMATIZATION AND TO BE TRUE TO ART’S REAL PURPOSE, AN ARTIST SHOULD THEREFORE “MAKE OBJECTS 'UNFAMILIAR,’ TO MAKE FORMS DIFFICULT TO INCREASE THE DIFFICULTY AND LENGTH OF PERCEPTION BECAUSE THE PROCESS OF PERCEPTION IS AN AESTHETIC END IN ITSELF AND MUST BE PROLONGED.” SINCE FORMING THIS ARTISTIC THEORY IN 1917, IT HAS GAINED A SORT OF VENERATED FOLLOWING, NOT JUST AMONGST ARTISTS ATTEMPTING TO MAKE THEIR WORK MORE PERCEPTIVELY BEAUTIFUL, BUT AS AN EVERYDAY APPROACH TO PERCEPTION ITSELF: OF ART, NATURE, AND THE WORLD AROUND US. LET ME EXPLAIN. WHILE OSTRANENIE WAS ORIGINALLY INTENDED AS AN EXPLANATION FOR WHAT DIFFERENTIATES POETRY FROM PROSE AND AS A TECHNIQUE FOR CREATING ALL ART, IT HAS BECOME A BONA FIDE APPROACH TO LIFE AMONG ITS DISCIPLES. TO STUDY YOUR SURROUNDINGS WITH GREAT INTENTION AND ADMIRATION AND TO SEARCH FOR BEAUTY IN THE MUNDANE AND TO EXPRESS APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE FOR ALL YOU SEE IS INCREDIBLY REWARDING. AS HUMANS, WE LIVE MOSTLY IN CITIES OR TOWNS, MEANING OUR RANGE OF VISUAL PERCEPTION AND FOCUS IS GENERALLY BETWEEN ARMS-LENGTH AND ONE-MILE - IN OTHER WORDS, MEASURABLE IN FEET. WE TEND NOT TO LOOK AT THINGS REALLY REALLY CLOSE UP, AND TEND NOT TO GAZE INTENTLY AT FAR OFF OBJECTS. WE TEND TO TAKE THE SAME ROUTE TO WORK OR A FRIENDS HOUSE, TO ORDER THE SAME FOOD AT THE SAME RESTAURANTS, AND TO FILTER (OUR BRAINS DO THIS NATURALLY) THE MAJORITY OF THE INFORMATION WE TAKE IN SO AS TO MAKE EXECUTIVE PROCESSING EASIER AND SO THAT OUR SENSES ARE NOT CONSISTENTLY OVERWHELMED. THIS CONCEPT IS BEST ARTICULATED IN DOORS OF PERCEPTION BY ALDOUS HUXLEY. FOR ANYONE THAT HAS EXPERIENCED A RUNNER’S HIGH, AN ADRENALINE RUSH, A HALLUCINOGENIC TRIP, OR EVEN WOKEN UP AFTER A NAP IN A NATURAL LOCATION, YOU KNOW THE FEELING OF HAVING YOUR SENSES OVERWHELMED. IMAGINE IF THAT WAS OUR BASE STATE. IMAGINE CONSTANTLY BEING FLOODED WITH ALL THE VIVID COLORS, DISTORTIONS IN SOUND AND VIBRATIONS OF LIGHT, SENSATIONS ON THE SKIN, PATTERNS IN THE NATURAL OR BUILT ENVIRONMENT, ETC… IF WE PROCESSED THINGS THE WAY THEY TRULY ARE, THE CONSTANT COGNITIVE OVERLOAD MEANS WE’D BARELY BE ABLE TO PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER, LET ALONE MAINTAIN COMPLEX SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS. SO INSTEAD, OUR BRAINS HAVE ADAPTED TO SEE ‘TREE’ INSTEAD OF ’KNOTTED PINE TREE, SAP OOZING FROM ONE SIDE, WITH A BOWED BRANCH FIGHTING DEATH AND THE PEAK SWAYING IN THE WIND - INTO, THEN OUT OF, A PATCH OF IRIDESCENT MORNING LIGHT’. WHAT SHKLOVSKY, OTHER POETIC FORMALISTS, AND HIS DEVOUT FOLLOWERS HAVE ESSENTIALLY REALIZED AND ARGUED, IS THAT THE SECOND VERSION IS A MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL APPROACH TO ART, POETRY, AND QUITE FRANKLY, LIFE. THAT SENSORY OVERLOAD, IN SMALL DOSES, IS TO SOME, THE ORIGIN OF BEAUTY ITSELF. WE THEREFORE MUST FIGHT AGAINST THE INCLINATION TO CREATE SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS AND LABELS IN OUR HEAD (EG TREE, POND, HOUSE, SIDEWALK, CAR), AND BEGIN TO EXTEND THE LENGTH OF PERCEPTION TO EACH OF THESE ‘ORDINARY’ OBJECTS WE PASS IN OUR DAILY LIVES, SO THAT OUR BRAINS CAN FIND MORE BEAUTY IN THE INTRICACY AND IDIOSYNCRATIC NATURE OF EVERY GIVEN OBJECT. THINK AGAIN ON HOW YOU CAN BREAK FREE FROM THE NORMAL RANGE OF VISUAL PERCEPTION: WHEN CAN YOU TAKE AN OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK REALLY CLOSE UP AT THAT SIDEWALK - ITS CRACKS, INHABITANTS, COLOR AND TEXTURE - OR REALLY FAR AWAY, ATTEMPTING TO MAKE OUT AND APPRECIATE INDIVIDUAL TREES ON A RIDGE LINE? IMAGINE HOW MUCH BEAUTY YOU CAN DERIVE FROM THE MUNDANE WHEN YOU TAKE THIS NEW PERCEPTIVE APPROACH TO EVERYDAY LIFE. SO, NOT ONLY SHOULD ONE APPROACH VIEWING THE ART, MUSIC, AND WRITING IN THIS MAGAZINE WITH GREATER APPRECIATION BY EXTENDING ONE’S LENGTH OF PERCEPTION, BUT ONE SHOULD ALSO APPROACH OUR LIVES WITH THE SAME CHILDLIKE WONDER. ART, JUST LIKE LIFE, IS AN AESTHETIC END, AND TO QUICKLY LABEL AND DISMISS SO MUCH OF OUR EXPERIENCE WITHOUT APPRECIATING THE BEAUTY AND COMPLEXITY OF IT BOTH DISCREDITS THE OBJECT IN VIEW AS WELL AS DIMINISHES OUR OWN ABILITY TO SEE BEAUTY, FEEL JOY, AND ACHIEVE THOSE PEAK EXPERIENCES AND WAVES OF HAPPINESS THAT COME WHEN YOU WAKE UP FROM A NAP ON A MOUNTAIN. WITHOUT RUSHES OF LIGHT AND SOUND AND FEELINGS, WITHOUT BEAUTY AND WITHOUT CONSCIOUSLY ATTEMPTING TO SEE THINGS AS EXTRAORDINARY, OUR LIVES WOULD BE A DULL, HABITUAL, AUTOMATIC EXPERIENCE.

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LUCA BONI A CHAT WITH THE SOUTH AFRICAN ARTIST

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Q: FOR THOSE THAT DON’T KNOW, WHAT TYPE OF ARTWORK DO YOU MAKE? A: I MOSTLY MAKE DIGITAL ARTWORKS IN PHOTOSHOP.

Q: WHAT WAS IT IN YOUR LIFE THAT PLANTED THIS SEED OF INFLUENCE IN YOUR MIND? A: I THINK ANY GOOD PAINTING SHOWS YOU SOMETHING ABOUT SOMETHING YOU WOULDN'T GENERALLY NOTICE, I THINK EXAGGERATION BRINGS THE SPIRIT OF SOMETHING TO YOUR ATTENTION.

Q: WHAT ABOUT PRIMARY COLORS FASCINATES YOU? A: WELL, THEY'RE COLORS IN THEIR SIMPLEST FORM. I THINK I SUBCONSCIOUSLY JUST TRY TO SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING. THERE IS ALSO SOMETHING NOSTALGIC ABOUT THEM ,FOR ME ATLEAST.

Q: WHAT WAS THE SPARK BEHIND THIS PIECE? A: A RUSSIAN HORROR BOOK REACHED OUT TO A BUNCH OF CONCEPT ARTISTS AND THEY SOMEHOW FOUND ME, THE BRIEF WAS ANYTHING 'EVIL' SO I THOUGHT ABOUT IT AND FIGURED, OKAY I COULD DO SOME MONSTER THING BEING CREEPY AND SATANIC OR WHATEVER BUT THAT JUST DIDNT SIT RIGHT, NOTHING FELT TRULY EVIL AND GEEZ I DID A WHOLE BUNCH OF RIDICULOUS SKETCHES OF INHUMANE TORTURE AND DISFIGEREMENT. I ALSO KNEW THAT IT WOULD JUST GET LOST IN THE SEA OF GENERIC 'DARK EVIL' SHIT AND THOUGHT, WHAT ABOUT A PEACEFUL SCENE THAT SUGGESTS THE DARK SIDE OF HUMAN NATURE? WHICH IN ITSELF IS A BOTTOMLESS PIT. THE WHOLE CARL JUNG AND THE SHADOW THING. ANYWAY SO I USED THE MOMENT ADAM DISOBEYED GOD TO DRIVE THAT IDEA. PAINTED THE APPLE AND HAND AROUND LOOSELY TO TRY AND GET A SOMEWHAT BELIEVABLE SHAPE THAT WOULD CAST A DEVIL SILHOUETTE, AND THAT WAS THAT.

Q: CAN YOU EXPLAIN YOUR PROCESS AND WHAT ABOUT IT DO YOU ENJOY AS OPPOSED TO OTHER MEDIUMS? A: I ENJOY MANY OTHER MEDIUMS ALTHOUGH IT'S REALLY EASY TO MOVE THINGS AROUND AND EXPLORE DIGITALLY, NOT ENTIRELY SURE I'M JUST DRAWN TO IT.

Q: WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON THIS YEAR? A: I PLAN TO DO MORE BOOK COVERS AND EDITORIAL STUFF. MOVE TO EUROPE.

Q: WHAT DRIVES YOU TO CREATE? A: IT SEEMS LIKE A PERSONALITY TRAIT, I FIND IT VERY DIFFICULT TO NOT DO SOMETHING THAT STIMULATES THAT PART OF MY BRAIN. IT'S LIKE PROBLEM SOLVING IN A WAY, WHERE THE PROBLEMS GET EXPONENTIALLY HARDER TO CRACK. IT NEVER REALLY ENDS, WHICH IS A GOOD THING.

Q: WALK US THROUGH A SESSION IN YOUR STUDIO: A: THERE'S NO SET ROUTINE, I JUST TRY TO GET STRAIGHT INTO IT FROM THE MINUTE I SIT DOWN.

Q: WHAT DO YOU DESCRIBE AS A PIVOTAL MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE + CAREER AS AN ARTIST? A: WHEN I QUIT MY JOB IN ADVERTISING! LOL

Q: MUSIC, FILM, THEATER, LITERATURE AND DANCE ARE SOME ALTERNATE FORMS OF ART. WHICH FORMS ARE YOU MOST APPRECIATIVE OF? WHICH FORMS INFLUENCE YOUR CREATIVE MIND THE MOST? A: LOVE EM ALL, BUT MUSIC IS EVERYTHING.

Q: WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST EXPERIMENTAL THING YOU’VE DONE AS AN ARTIST? A: PROBABLY GOING TO A MEDICAL CENTRE TO DO ANATOMY STUDIES OF DEAD PEOPLE.

Q: HOW CAN PEOPLE SUPPORT YOU AND YOUR WORK? A:YOU CAN HIRE ME FOR A COMMISSION OR BUY ME A COFFEE. PRINTS WILL BE FOR SALE SOON.

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INSTAGRAM @ARTOFLUCABONI

LUCAMARIOBONI@GMAIL.COM

BUYMEACOFFEE.COM/ARTOFLUCABONI


JULIO ALBA

ALL 4 ARTWORKS ARE A PART OF THE "FACTURACIÓN EMOCIONAL" SERIES. JULIO IS A PAINTER FROM MEXICO CITY JULIOALBA.PINTOR@GMAIL.COM JULIOALBAPINTOR.WIX.COM/WORK INSTAGRAM @JULIOALBAPINTOR

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LITTLE BEE A LITTLE BEE REVEALS ITSELF A FLEDGLING SITTING ON THE BOTTOM STAIR TRYING TO WAKE UP ITS WINGS AS IF I’VE DISTURBED ITS SLEEP IT’S AUTUMN IN NEW ENGLAND FOLIAGE MAKES IT EASY TO DRIVE FOR HOURS THE REDS AND YELLOWS DON’T MAKE ME FEEL ANY DIFFERENT AS THE SUN’S GLARE DIFFUSES ACROSS MY WINDSHIELD LITTLE BEE APPEARS IN AN INSTANT AND I WANT HER TO SWALLOW ME I WANT TO LIVE THERE IN HER HONEY STOMACH I DRIVE DOWN BURNT BRIDGES, GLIDING OVER MELTED TAR WHILE THE NIGHT FALLS AND I LOSE CONCENTRATION I WANT TO LIE IN THE ROAD I WANT TO WEAR THE TWO-LANES LIKE ANGEL WINGS

NO BODY NO BODY AND NO HEAD A LITTLE HEART IN A CRINKLED PAPER BAG TUCKED AWAY IN THE FREEZER A REAL FRIGID BITCH WITH A THICK LAYER OF FROST A LITTLE HEART IN A HEAP OF ICE CAREFUL NOT TO THAW AND DRIP ACROSS THE THRESHOLD IT FEELS QUIET, BUT THE WORLD DOESN’T REST I AM AFRAID OF ITS ART, EVEN MORE OF ITS SILENCE AND WHAT IT WILL LOOK LIKE UPON THE WALLS

COUNTING STARS TO KEEP BUSY BUT THE MORE I LOOK, THE MORE I SEE, AND THE CHARM LEAVES MEMORIES ARE WASHED, AND I’M AFRAID TO LOSE THE SILLIEST THINGS LIKE THE LITTLE BEE THAT I WANT TO PROTECT; LIKE THE TIME SPENT IN LOVE I REMINISCE MY HARDEST MISSING IT AS IF I’VE ONLY JUST STARTED TO BUT I’VE BEEN AT THIS FOR A WHILE

LUCKY PENNY I STAND THERE AND I WISH FOR A LOT OF THINGS— THE RATIO OF WISHES TO BIRTHDAY CANDLES AND SHOOTING STARS IS STARTING TO FEEL AWFULLY ONE-SIDED ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF CONVERSATION IN THE YARD, I DRIFT UPWARDS SUDDENLY AWARE OF MY BREATHING I TELL MYSELF THAT I AM AN IMPOSTER MY PUPILS DILATE UNDER THE SHEET OF SPACE AT TIMES IT FEELS LIKE I’M FLIRTING WITH THE AIR JUST TO HOLD IT IN MY LUNGS FOR A LITTLE LONGER I KEEP DROPPING THOUGHTS, LIKE PENNIES SPINNING AT MY FEET AND THE SIGNS ALL SAY: HOW WILL YOU BE SAVED?

BRIAN LOMBARDI IS A WRITER AND SELFPROCLAIMED HUMAN. HE GRADUATED FROM FITCHBURG STATE UNIVERSITY IN 2017 AND CURRENTLY LIVES IN SAUGUS, MASSACHUSETTS. HE IS SHAMEFULLY UNPUNCTUAL WITH HIS POETRY. LOMBARDIBRIANM@GMAIL.COM 781-241-3011


NEW JERSEY-BASED ILLUSTRATOR RENEE HUNT CREATES CHARACTER ARTWORK IN STYLES RANGING FROM PLAYFUL AND WHIMSICALLY SIMPLE TO MORE REALISTIC AND TECHNICAL IMAGES. SHE IS A GRADUATE FROM ANDREWS UNIVERSITY IN MICHIGAN, WHERE SHE STUDIED OIL PAINTING, GRAPHIC DESIGN, ANIMATION. SINCE THEN, RENEE HAS BEEN WORKING IN NEW JERSEY FOR FIVE YEARS. TODAY, RENEE IS ENGAGED WITH ILLUSTRATING FOR CLIENT PROJECTS IN PICTURE BOOKS, ADVERTISING, FASHION, WEBSITES, AND MAGAZINES. INSTAGRAM

RENEE HUNT

@RENEEASHLEYHUNT

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WALKING THE PLANK WITH

CODY SIEGEL ALL ABOUT HIS EARTH CONSCIOUS ARTWORK

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Q: HEY CODY, HOW’S IT GOING? A: IT’S GOING GREAT, THANKS FOR ASKING! Q: CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT BIRDSHOP CREATIONS AND WHAT YOU DO? A: BIRDSHOP CREATIONS IS MY OUTLET FOR DIVING INTO THE VAST HOBBY OF WOODWORKING. I TRY MY BEST TO USE ALL LOCALLY SOURCED AND RECYCLED MATERIALS TO GIVE THEM ANOTHER LIFE OF ENJOYMENT AND KEEP THEM OUT OF LANDFILLS. Q: YOU’VE BEEN AN AVID SKATEBOARDER FOR THE BETTER PART OF YOUR LIFE. IT IS REFRESHING TO SEE SOMEONE WHO SKATES GIVING A NEW LIFE TO THE OLD BOARDS. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THIS IDEA? A: I HAVE BEEN SKATING NOW FOR ROUGHLY 12 YEARS AND ALWAYS LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT IT, SEEING PEOPLE REUSE THE BOARDS AND KEEP THEM ALIVE FOREVER AFTER THEY GOT BROKEN WAS ALWAYS AMAZING TO ME BUT I HAD NO IDEA HOW TO GET INTO THAT ASPECT OF IT. I COULD NEVER BRING MYSELF TO TOSS OUT MY OLD BROKEN BOARDS, SO AS THEY KEPT PILING UP, MY IDEAS ON WHAT TO DO WITH THEM KEPT GROWING AS WELL. UNTIL FINALLY I GOT THE CONFIDENCE TO START SLICING THEM UP! Q: WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR STUDIO SPACE LOOK LIKE? A: A TYPICAL DAY IN THE SHOP STARTS OUT WITH BLASTING SOME MUSIC AND GETTING INTO THAT CREATIVE ZONE, I USUALLY DON’T HAVE ANY SORT OF PLAN AS TO WHAT I’M GONNA MAKE. I JUST START CUTTING THEM UP AND USUALLY AS I’M PUTTING ALL THE BOARDS TOGETHER TO GLUE THEM UP TO BECOME A NEW PIECE OF WOOD WITH NEON COLORS BURSTING OUT OF IT, IT ALL STARTS TO TAKE SHAPE AS TO WHAT IT CAN BE TURNED INTO. Q: WOODWORKING SPACES ARE TYPICALLY PACKED WITH UNIQUE TOOLS TO GET THE JOB DONE. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE TOOLS AND WHY? WHAT ASPECTS DO YOU DO BY HAND? A: MY FAVORITE TOOL IN MY SHOP IS MY BANDSAW! IT WAS MADE IN 1946 AND YOU COULD NEVER TELL IT WAS MADE 74 YEARS AGO! THIS THING IS ONE SOLID PIECE OF MACHINERY AND THEY SURE DON’T MAKE THEM NOWADAYS TO LAST LIKE THEY USED TO. I’LL DO A LOT OF THE FINER DETAILS WITH A HAMMER AND A CHISEL AND FOR SOME PARTS IT’S EITHER VERY AWKWARD OR MIGHT RUIN THE PROJECT BY USING POWER TOOLS, SO IT’S BETTER TO TAKE A LITTLE EXTRA TIME AND DO IT RIGHT WITH YOUR HANDS. Q: HOW DID YOU LEARN YOUR WOODWORKING TECHNIQUES? IS THIS ARTISTIC VENTURE SOMETHING YOU SOUGHT OUT TO LEARN YOURSELF, OR DID YOU HAVE A FIGURE IN YOUR LIFE YOU APPRENTICED UNDER? A: HOW I LEARNED WAS A LOT OF TRIAL AND ERROR. HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS OF TRYING NEW TECHNIQUES TO GET A USABLE MATERIAL FOR WHAT I WANTED TO DO. THE HARDEST PART WAS FINDING THE RIGHT WAY TO GET ALL THE SKATEBOARDS SLICED UP, GLUED UP, AND CLAMPED UP TO TURN THEM INTO SOMETHING USABLE. MANY NIGHTS WERE SPENT IN THE SHOP TRYING NEW THINGS TO EVENTUALLY GET A BEAUTIFUL SLICE OF LUMBER. SO I AM COMPLETELY SELF TAUGHT BY TRIAL AND ERROR. A LOT OF MISTAKES WILL EVENTUALLY GET YOU GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. THE BIGGEST SETBACK AT FIRST WAS GETTING TOGETHER SOME TOOLS TO BE ABLE TO DO WHAT I NEEDED WITHOUT SPENDING TOO MUCH CASH. Q: DO YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC PIECE THAT IS YOUR FAVORITE AMONGST THE REST? A: MY FAVORITE PIECE IS MY RECORD PLAYER STAND I MADE. IT WAS ONE OF MY FIRST PROJECTS AND AFTER IT CAME OUT DECENTLY (I HONESTLY DIDN’T EXPECT IT TO WORK AT ALL), IT GAVE ME A NEW CONFIDENCE TO KEEP TRYING AND LEARNING. IT’S ALSO MADE UP OF 13 OF MY OLD BOARDS THAT WERE ALL SKATED AND BROKEN BY ME SO A LOT OF MEMORIES AND GOOD TIMES ARE IN THAT TABLE TOP. Q: YOUR CUTTING BOARDS SHOWCASE MANY TYPES OF WOOD AND INTRICATE DESIGNS. I AM CURIOUS AS TO KNOW WHAT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LOOKS LIKE WITH THESE. DO YOU DRAW YOUR IDEAS OUT FIRST? A: MY CREATIVE PROCESS FOR THE CUTTING BOARDS IS COMPLETELY CHAOTIC. I NEVER DRAW OUT A PIECE OR TRY TO MAKE ANYTHING FROM MEMORY. I FIND THE MATERIALS I WANT TO USE FOR IT AND START SLICING AWAY UNTIL I GET A PATTERN THAT LOOKS NEAT AND UNLIKE ANYTHING YOU COULD EVER FIND IN A STORE. Q: HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN A CREATIVE PERSON? A: I WAS ALWAYS FASCINATED WITH WOODWORKING AND I ALWAYS WANTED TO GIVE IT A SHOT BUT NEVER FULLY COMMITTED. AFTER A COUPLE YEARS OF WATCHING VIDEOS OF SOME PEOPLE MAKING STUFF OUT OF OLD SKATEBOARDS, I FINALLY TOOK A CRACK AT IT. IF SOMEONE ELSE CAN DO IT THEN I FIGURED I COULD LEARN TOO! IT WAS A SLOW START BUT FIGURING THINGS OUT BY YOURSELF IS VERY REWARDING. I'VE ALWAYS BEEN CREATIVE BUT MORE IN A PHYSICAL WAY, I LOVE WORKING WITH MY HANDS AND BEING ABLE TO FEEL THE PROJECTS TAKE SHAPE FROM START TO FINISH.




THINGS OUT BY YOURSELF IS VERY REWARDING. I'VE ALWAYS BEEN CREATIVE BUT MORE IN A PHYSICAL WAY, I LOVE WORKING WITH MY HANDS AND BEING ABLE TO FEEL THE PROJECTS TAKE SHAPE FROM START TO FINISH. Q: ONE OF YOUR MOST RECENT PIECES IS A FANTASTIC LIVE EDGE TABLE. DO YOU HAVE ADVICE FOR FELLOW WOODWORKERS AS TO WHERE AND HOW TO FIND THE BEST SLABS? A: THANKS! GETTING INTO SLAB WORK HAS BEEN IN THE BACK OF MY MIND FOR AWHILE. SINCE I GOT MY WOODWORKING BEARINGS GOING A BIT NOW AND KNOW A COUPLE THINGS, I WANTED TO GIVE BIGGER PROJECTS A SHOT, AND THE LOCALLY SOURCED LUMBER HERE IN MASSACHUSETTS GIVES ME BEAUTIFUL WOOD TO WORK WITH. AS TO FINDING SLABS YOU KINDA JUST GOTTA GET LUCKY WITH WHO YOU KNOW. ONE OF MY FRIENDS TOLD ME ABOUT A GUY WHO SLABS UP WOOD AND HE ENDED UP BEING A SUPER COOL LAID BACK GUY WHO IS TRULY INSPIRED BY LUMBER AND ALL ITS VARIETIES AND POTENTIAL. HOPEFULLY ONE DAY SOON I’LL BE ABLE TO INVEST IN A SAWMILL + START SLICING UP MY OWN SLABS! Q: HOW CAN PEOPLE SUPPORT YOUR WORK? A: TO SUPPORT MY WORK YOU CAN FIND ME ON INSTAGRAM @BIRDSHOP_CREATIONS, EVEN IF YOU NEVER PLAN ON PURCHASING ANYTHING I LOVE ALL THE COMPLIMENTS AND SUPPORT I HAVE BEEN GIVEN BY PEOPLE. IT HELPS INSPIRE ME TO KEEP MAKING AND TRYING NEW THINGS. Q: WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO MAKE NEXT? A: NEXT I WANT TO PURCHASE A LATHE AND THAT WILL REALLY OPEN UP THE PLAYING FIELD FOR WHAT IS POSSIBLE TO MAKE OUT OF OLD SKATEBOARDS. ALSO MY GOAL IS TO BE MAKING SKATEBOARDS OUT OF OLD SKATEBOARDS BY THE YEARS END! TAKING A BUNCH OF BROKEN BOARDS AND TURNING THEM INTO A GORGEOUS NEW ONE THAT IS RIDEABLE IS A DREAM OF MINE.

INSTAGRAM @BIRDSHOP_CREATIONS SIEGEL.CODY@YAHOO.COM


THE BEST FILMS OF 2020 (SO FAR) It is an understatement to say that this is a very strange year for the film industry. With productions halted, and cinemas closed, it’s a miracle that any new films have been released at all. For better or worse, the age of streaming has allowed studios to release some content directly into the comfort of our own homes. So while we haven’t seen all the films we should have by now, there are a few gems that are worthy of attention. As we reach the halfway point of 2020, here are some of the best films to release so far. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a film by director Céline Sciamma that had a limited release at the end of 2019, with a wide release earlier this year. This film takes place in 1770 france, Marianne (played wonderfully by Noémie Merlan) is tasked with painting a wedding portrait of Héloïse (equally well portrayed by Adèle Haenel). The catch is that the bride-tobe does not want this marriage, and refuses to be painted. Marianne must paint her subject in secrecy every night after studying her subject each day. To say any more regarding the story would be a disservice, as it is such a delight to watch unfold. It is only fitting that Portrait of a Lady on Fire, shot in 8k, often looks like a moving painting. In fact, almost every shot is so well composed that I would be proud to hang any of them on my wall. There is little dialogue, and much of the acting here is done with the eyes. It is just as hypnotic as it is moving. This is one of the best movies of the 2000’s, and I highly recommend it. In the midst of the largest civil rights movement in world history, Spike Lee came out with a film so timely, you’d swear it was written last week. Over the past 30 years, Spike Lee has been a key figure in making art that thoughtfully depicts race issues in America. Da 5 Bloods is a war film that tells the story of 4 black veterans returning to modern day Vietnam in order to recover the remains of a friend they lost in the war, and find a treasure that they buried on the battlefield long ago. This is a grand adventure, heavily influenced by The Treasure of The Sierra Madre. It also serves as a history lesson, and an exploration on what it is like to fight for a country that doesn’t care about you. With direct discussions on the Black Lives Matter movement and Donald Trump, it is the perfect time to watch this exceptional piece. The next film on my list is The Vast of Night, the directorial debut of Andrew Patterson. This is a film set in 1950’s New Mexico, where two young people suspect something strange going on in their small town. The two lead characters (played by Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz) share a love for radio, and clearly so do the filmmakers as this often feels like an old teleplay or radio show. You could close your eyes for the duration of the film, and still find it just as engaging. So many sci-fi films and television shows that share the same influences feel derivative. Amazingly, the vast of night manages to have a voice of its own. This ended up being one of my personal favorite UFO flicks, and may leave you just as entranced. Another standout this year is The Invisible Man, a modern reimagining of the 1933 classic. With only 2 films under his belt, director Leigh Whannell has already established himself as a master of low budget filmmaking. 7 million dollars is all it took to deliver an enjoyable reboot that elevates the material through the lens of domestic violence. Elizabeth Moss expertly portrays Kass, who is on the run from an abusive relationship. After learning about her abuser’s apparent suicide, she begins to suspect he is stalking her in a different form. This film is terrifying, mostly due to how well it depicts the horrors of gaslighting, and other forms of abuse. The monster in this film feels more real than any other. This may be the beginning of a promising new future for universal monster movies. Lastly, we have The Way Back, directed by Gavin O’Connor. Ben Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, a character that is struggling with alcoholism. He takes a job to coach a high school basketball team that may give him an avenue to get his life back together. This is not your typical sports film, as it is more focused on dealing with the effects of addiction. Because of this, it becomes far less predictable than any sports movie ever has. It isn’t about the big game at the end, but whether or not Jack will find the strength within himself to be in control of his life. If the Oscars were tomorrow, Ben Affleck would be deserving of the gold for his intimate performance. Those are my favorite films of 2020 so far. I look forward to seeing what else this year in cinema has to offer. Given the circumstances, I’m sure this list would have been very different if the industry was operating like normal. Whether you’re looking to escape reality or confront it, there is a movie for you here. ABOUT THE AUTHOR CORY MARSHALL / FILM GRADUATE OF KEENE STATE UNIVERISTY TWITTER @MAGIC_MARSHALL


NEW RESILIENCE, NEW RESILIENCE THE CITY WITH INSOMNIA IS IN LOCKDOWN IT’S STRANGE TO SEE HER STREETS SO BARREN NAKED / VULNERABLE BUT I KNOW HER CONCRETE INFRASTRUCTURE WILL HOLD UP AGAINST ANY BIG BAD WOLF LIKE THE CITY I LAY RESTLESSLY BUZZING SO THE GROUND I POUND WITH MY FACE BARE AND WINDS BLARING SIRENS YELLING. I PLAY PEEK-A-BOO WITH THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING AND SOMETIMES I GET LUCKY. AT A STANDSTILL WHERE ROOFS AND CHIMNEYS BOW IN CANON FIRST I SEE THE CHRYSLER THEN EM BEFORE I HEM BACK HOME NEW FOUND RESILIENCE IN ME.

DEEAN IS AN INFJ, AN AVID LOVER OF NON-FICTION AND ART, AND AN ENTREPRENEUR. SHE IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON HER INTIMATE APPAREL COMPANY WITH ONE OF HER BEST FRIENDS, WHICH THEY HOPE WILL HELP EMPOWER WOMEN OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL AND COURAGEOUS. SHE LOVES DESIGN, WRITING, AND BUSINESS AND HOPES TO LIVE THESE OUT AS A TESTAMENT TO HERSELF AND THOSE AROUND HER THAT IT'S POSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE YOUR PURSUITS WITH RESILIENCE AND HARD WORK. DEEAN.YEOH@OUTLOOK.COM


places to go this summer. NEKTR Magazine was founded in the Eastern US in an effort to spark a long overdue creative and cultural revolution in the birthplace of this country. In order to bring attention back to the natural beauty of this area and the importance of living a life more in harmony with the ecosystems in which we live, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite outdoor locations along the Eastern Seaboard. Recognizing that our community of artists and followers has quickly spread not just across the United States, but around the world, we are excited to expand sections like this in future issues to include our favorite locations from around the world, ideally featuring photographers in our community. Due to travel restrictions over the last few months, we were unable to travel to all of these locations. Therefore, none of the photos in this article are our own and appropriate credit to the organization responsible is listed beneath. Mount Pollux | Amherst, MA Mount Pollux is the quickest and easiest way to capture a beautiful 360-degree view of the Pioneer Valley and is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic, sunset, or star-gazing.

Photo from Kestrel Land Trust site Monomoy Island Wildlife Refuge | Chatham, MA Established as a protected habitat for migratory birds in 1944, this unspoiled land offers quiet beaches, marshes, freshwater ponds, fishing tours, old shipwreck stories and a diverse range of wildlife including starfish, seals, whales, and of course, hundreds of migratory bird species.

Photo from US Fish and Wildlife Service site


Split Rock | New Paltz, NY Once a popular spot for naturalists to bathe nude, the Mohonk Preserve has now made public this private swimming hole tucked away in the woods, which doubles as the trailhead for miles of trails among hemlock groves...if you walk about 15 minutes downstream, you just might get away with removing all your clothes for a true cleanse in this cool water.

Photo from Hudson Valley One site

The Flume | White Mountains, NH Albeit an extremely popular (read: crowded) granite gorge carved into the base of Mount Liberrty, this is a truly special location worth planning ahead for; the 1.5 hour, one-way hike will leave your jaw on the floor until you’re back in the car. Photo from New England website.

Photo from Yankee Magazine

Lavenlair Farm | Whitehall, NY Have you ever wanted to walk through fields of lavender? Of course you have. Located near Lake George not far from the High Peaks, this organic lavender farm is a must-visit and, although closed for Summer 2020, we highly recommend supporting this family business through their shop. Photo from Lavenlair site.


Acadia National Park | Maine One of the top ten most visited places in the US, this 50,000 acre coastline park will treat your city blues whether you travel here for its world-renowned mountains, beaches, road touring, boating, climbing, skiing, or horseback-riding.

Photo from Travel Channel site

Bread + Puppet Museum | Glover, VT This unique museum in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom showcases a massive collection of puppets outside a 150-year old barn during the summer months and holds evening performances from Peter Schumann’s politically radical puppet theater by the same name - derived, naturally, from the fresh bread served during performances and the core principle that art should be as central to life as bread.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area | NJ, PA Rich in both history and color, this unique 67,000 acre national reserve along the PA/NJ border is nestled in the Delaware River valley west of Kittatinny Ridge and provides countless opportunities for hiking, waterfalls, abandoned homes and towns, camping, swimming, boating, cycling, and fishing. Photo from National Park Foundation site.

From Bread and Puppet Museum site


Franconia Falls | Lincoln, NH With natural rock chutes acting as water slides and plenty of boulders and flatrocks for picnicking, this 6 mile easy trek in the White Mountain National Forest could take you all day; mind the crowds on the weekend though and consider going off hours for a more peaceful swim and hike.

Photo from New England Waterfalls site Little People Village | Waterbury, CT A mysterious hidden village of miniature houses and buildings, worn and vandalized for almost 100 years, the spot of this local legend is potentially slated for a new highway interchange to plow over it; if you want to experience the strange energy and folklore of this “fairy village�, you should visit this summer.

Blackwater Falls State Park | WV

Photo from Erik Ofgang via Connecticut Map site

Located in the Allegheny Mountains, Blackwater Falls State Park is known for everything from its 62-foot eponymous waterfall to scenic cabins, hiking views and wild camping off the beautiful 4x4-only Canaan Loop Road, or yoga, disc golf and picnicking in the main state park area. Photo from WV State Parks site.


Mt Toby | MA Despite incredible panoramic views atop the fire tower of the Connecticut River Valley, Mt Toby is perhaps more known for its intriguing caves, abandoned cabin, and, most notably, the mystical energy from ‘Guru’s Waterfall’, near the site of an old Sikh Ashram no longer in operation.

Photo from Greenfield Recorder site

Sandy Neck, MA An area of Critical Environmental Concern and a National Historic District, this unique unspoiled 4,700 acre barrier hosts all your typical (albeit not as crowded) beach activities, plus miles and miles of horseback riding, camping and hiking through dunes and maritime forests and past antique shacks and cottages from America’s first settlers.

Breaks Interstate State Park | KY, VA

Photo from The Nature Conservancy site

This gem of a bistate park in Jefferson National Forest is known locally as the “Grand Canyon of the South” and is well-suited for trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing, and breath-taking views, no matter which direction you’re coming from. Photo from REI Co Op site.


Red River Gorge / Daniel Boone National Forest | KY The Red River Gorge is unequivocally one of the most beautiful places in the US; it represents a 29,000 acre canyon system in Daniel Boone National Forest and will enchant you with its more than 100 natural sandstone arches as well as beautiful cliffs, waterfalls, world-class rock climbing, hiking, and camping.

Photo from WNKY site

Blue Ridge Parkway | VA, NC Known as “America’s Favorite Drive”, this scenic 469-mi ridge road links Shenandoah National Park in VA to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in NC; we recommend driving or cycling the full length at a slow pace to leave plenty of time for pulling over and gawking.

Monongahela National Forest | WV

Photo from National Park Service site

A mind-blowing 900,000+ protected acres of high-elevation (1,000-5,000 ft) land in the Allegheny Range in eastern West Virginia, this national forest has something for everyone with 800+ miles of multiuse trails, 23 campgrounds, 230 bird species, 700 miles of fishing sections along eighteen different rivers, and over 320 acres of old-growth (virgin) forest. Photo from West Virgina Tourism site.


Island Beach State Park | NJ A small, but mighty 10-mile long barrier island to Barnegat Bay whose character is shaped by the sudden transition, both on land in the ocean from the bustling ‘human’ Seaside Park to one of the last truly natural barrier island ecosystems in the state; search no further for jellyfish, crabs, dolphins, foxes, osprey, or over 400 different plant species, all of which are unfortunately uncommon elsewhere along the shore.

Photo from NJ State Parks site

High Peaks Wilderness | NY The High Peaks is the largest forest preserve in all of New York at roughly 275,000 acres; brimming with beautiful lakes and numerous peaks over 4,000 feet, this is a popular destination for canoeing, hiking and backpacking -- for a challenge try the Great Range trail from Mount Marcy to Keene Valley - considered to be the most strenuous yet rewarding hike in the state.

Photo from Adirondack Explorer site


World’s End | MA A property with a very special history and energy, now protected, offering splendid rolling hills, granite ledges, blueberry thickets, and amazing views of the Boston skyline; go during the week if you want to find parking.

Photo from Visiting New England site

FIN..


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