SHIMMERING SILHOUETTES Exclusive interviews with the creators of Soul Curry Art and Pet Liger! + poetry, illustrations, ceramics, photographs & more
T H E M AGA Z I N E F O R E L I T E C R E AT I V E S - T H R O U G H I N S P I R AT I O N W E G R O W
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IN THIS ISSUE Page 2, 3 Page 4 - 17
A MESSAGE FROM VAGUS GENTLE WORDS: MADELINE
Page 18 - 29
Page 30 - 45
FEATURE STORY: ISHITA BANERJEE (SOUL CURRY ART)
Page 46 - 49
GENTLE WORDS: DIANA (MY POETRY TALES)
Page 50 - 65
YONITO TANU (HUNKY DUNKY)
Page 66 - 73
Page 74 - 81
GENTLE WORDS: SHAY BELT
Page 82 - 95
FEATURE STORY: CONSTANTINOS PANAYIOTOU (PET LIGER)
Page 96 - 101
Page 102 - 113
Page 114 - 120
GENTLE WORDS: D. AGUSTIN STOKIC
C O N TAC T
email@example.com V I S I T VA G U S C R E AT I V E S . N E T F O R E XC L U S I V E O N L I N E C O N T E N T
A MESSAGE FROM VAGUS
Hello friends, fans, and new readers! Welcome to Vagus Magazine Issue 7, also known as Shimmering Silhouettes. We’ve dedicated this issue to recognize a period of healing, self-growth, introspection, and self-reflection. Now, what in the world is a shimmering silhouette? What an odd name for a magazine... Well, you know when your surroundings are bright, but you feel dark inside? That’s kind of like a silhouette. And you know when you look at a large body of water at night, and the moonlight glistens on the water, ever so gently. There is peace in that shimmering light. That’s sort of what we’re going for here. A silhouette shows the outline of the object but not the details. When you look at a silhouette, you can see that there is something there, but it’s too dark to identify all the characteristics. When you are the silhouette, sometimes others can see you are dark. They can see that you are struggling, but they cannot identify what you are struggling with. Just like a silhouette, it may seem like the events or the people around you are bright, exciting, and full of life. When you feel dark inside, you may seek external sources to provide you with light. You might place yourself in a bright situation to escape the darkness you feel within. But that light won’t be around you forever. Eventually, the social event will end, the people around you will go home, and the time will come when you have to face your inner feelings. If you are going through a difficult time right now, hold onto your inner light. It’s easy to slip into darkness and hide away. We encourage you to take time for yourself to heal if that’s what you need to do, but don’t disappear forever - don’t become the darkness. Remember, there is always a glimmer of light surrounding you. This glimmer separates the light from the dark; it makes a silhouette, an outline of your being. Even if you can’t see it yourself, others can see it around you. So remember, when the sun has set and the light of your surroundings is no longer there, you must find the light within yourself. Nurture that gentle, glistening, peaceful light until it blossoms into a force that shines from within you. When you cannot go to the light, become the light.
Issue 7 encourages you to slow down, be still, and connect with yourself. The artists we’ve featured talk about mental health, healing, growth, and big dreams. We want to comfort you, inspire you, and cheer you on. As always, Vagus Creatives seeks to share the stories and the artwork from a global selection of emerging and established artists across various mediums. We’ve compiled eleven artists for this issue and weaved their stories throughout the pages, mixing beauty with authenticity. And now, it is time to experience Issue 7. We hope this issue resonates with you. Peace & Love, Vagus Creatives
Zoe Liu Biography This year, I graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Illustration. Before coming to the US for graduate studies, I worked as a character designer for a game company in Shanghai for five years. I also worked as a part-time tattooist for a year in Shanghai. In my spare time, I like to dive, hike, and stay with my two cats.
Awards ‘I Need Some Sleep’ - American Illustration 41 CHOSEN Winner ‘Adventure’ - Merit, Ijungle Illustration Awards 2021 ‘Metamorphosis’ - Silver, 3x3 Illustration Annual No.18 ‘Color Collector’ - Merit, 3x3 Illustration Annual No.18 ‘A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings’ - Merit, 3x3 Illustration Annual No.18 ‘Metamorphosis’ - Winner, AI-AP’s IMAA9 ‘Color Collector’ - Winner, AI-AP’s IMAA9 ‘Comfort Zone’ - Winner, Creative Quarterly No.62 ‘A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings - Runner-up, Creative Quarterly No.62 ‘Someday, I will become..’ - Runner-up, Creative Quarterly No.62 ‘Fallen Body’ - Merit, 3x3 Illustration Annual No.17 ‘Christmas Gifts’ - Merit, 3x3 Illustration Annual No.17 ‘Aphrodite’ - Merit, 3x3 Illustration Annual No.17 ‘Little Red wolf’ - Honorable Mention, 3x3 Illustration Annual No.17 ‘The Shanghairen’ - Selected, World Illustration Awards 2020 ‘The Shanghairen’ - Best of the Best, Hiii Illustration 2019 ‘How To Use Chopsticks’ - Selected, 7th China Illustration Biennial ‘Isolated Island’ - Selected, 7th China Illustration Biennial ‘Alien Child’ - Selected, 7th China Illustration Biennial
Jin & Ming
Jin & Ming
Jin & Ming
Jin & Ming
Artist Statement I think illustration is a very accessible form of expression because it has a low barrier to entry. A 5-year-old kid can express their ideas through illustration, for example. Illustration can be used for commercial presentations and something more profound. Most of the things I draw are inspired by my everyday life. But I don’t directly draw these scenes as sketches; they are more like a mixture of reality and fantasy.
For the project, Jin & Ming
Pages 19 -23
The story of Jin and Ming is about two generations of East Asian mothers and daughters who have different life experiences because of their different birth years, but share the same difficulties as women in East Asian society. I interviewed 16 Asian women from diverse backgrounds for this project and created a short animation with this interview as the soundtrack. You can check it out at this link: https://youtu.be/qJ3sF_5F8Eg Links to my other animations are here: https://www.yanyiliu.com/animation
Pages 28 & 29
For the project, Adventure:
Adventure is a story about my grandfather and me. As a child, I grew up in the countryside with my grandparents, and my grandfather took me hiking every weekend. On the way up, I would ask my grandfather to tell me about the dreams he had. In the dreams, my grandfather and I always went on adventures together.
Creating Sense of Self
Zoe’s work is filled with bold colours and playful figures. She has a strong interest in storytelling and combines this interest with her illustrative talents. Zoe is a versatile artist who creates through colourful drawings, black and white sketches, and illustrations with complementary colour palettes. In addition to her 2D still illustrations, she also creates animated work, pairing instrumental music with moving visuals to enhance the viewing experience. Zoe has participated in numerous illustration contests, many of which have brought her international recognition and awards. The scenes, characters, and events depicted in her illustrations offer a window to contemplation, inquiry, and personal reflection.
A D V E N T U R E
A D V E N T U R E
A D V E N T U R E
ISHITA BANERJEE (Soul Curry Art)
Ishita Banerjee is a painter and illustrator based in Montreal, Canada. She experiments with various textures and often paints colourful portraits with unique geometric figures. Her style incorporates abstract elements and is heavily influenced by the Cubist movement. Ishita has also branched into the digital world of visual arts, offering NFT collections of her artwork. Can you describe your creative practice in a few sentences? My creative practice is rooted in a modern interpretation of classical Cubism with midcentury influences. I call my style “Mad Men Modern”, it’s a little retro, inspired by the 70s, and a little modern. My art is a timeless exploration of human inter-relationships. What is the meaning behind the name ‘Soul Curry’ Art? When I started my creative business, I wanted to create a little separation and mystery between the artist and the works of art. I wanted a name that was a bit of who I am and where I came from. Soul Curry was born from my Indian roots and my love for spices and colour. It reminded me of comfort for my soul, just like art nourishes me from within. It is a play of words, a conversation starter, and something that makes people want to know a little more about the art and artist. How often do you create a new piece? I create every single day. I am a full-time artist, and having an intentional, mindful practice is necessary for me to keep expanding and experimenting with my style. Some pieces can take up to a month to create, and some take less time. Not everything I create makes it to sale. Some are markers in my own timeline, and some are experiments in my growth. What type of materials do you use? I love paper and illustration boards. Illustration boards have a surface texture that is thick enough to absorb fluid paints and lets me play with mixed media. I also work with acrylics and acrylic ink on canvas. I love working on my iPad Pro too. Drawing and painting on Procreate gives me unlimited opportunities to bridge my traditional media practice with digital media.
I started painting at age seven. I loved to draw and paint on any surface I could find. I went to art school. I did my undergrad in a Bachelor of Fine Arts program, and then I did my Master’s degree in Fine Arts.
NON- CO NFO RMI S T
Is there anything that inspires the work you create? The Cubist movement deeply influences me. I like the concept of looking at things from different angles and perspectives while presenting them on a planar surface. I find the breaking down of bodies and faces into primitive shapes interesting, and I like working with bold lines and strings of colours. You’ve been creating art for a long time. What helped you establish a successful career in the arts? Through my career as an artist, I’ve learned that art doesn’t need to be big or expensive; art can be a greeting card, a piece of jewellery or wallpaper. Looking at my art in an expansive way has helped me speak to a broader audience. Consistency is essential. Not every artwork will be a bestseller, but everything I do as an artist, helps me connect with an audience. Offering prints, original art, and NFTs has helped more people afford my art. Having a social media presence and being consistent on it is also important. A lot of discovery and opportunities come from social media. It is also a place to inspire and be inspired by a network of artists. Is your artwork influenced by any underlying thoughts, philosophies, or feelings? The philosophy behind my art is that all human experiences can be broken down into the primary emotions of love, longing and loss. I look deeper into these emotions, listening to things unsaid, reading between the lines and looking at things in the in-between spaces. My art is influenced by my own journey - and my experiences with trauma, love and grief spill onto my pieces. What colours do you use often? My colour palette comes from my roots in India. I’m not afraid of colour; it is a powerful tool and vehicle for inciting emotions. It is an expression in itself. I find myself gravitating more towards warmer, earthy tones. But when I find myself getting too comfortable in my palette, I deliberately choose to try new colours like neons, purples and pinks that don’t come so naturally to me. Has your artwork changed over the years? As an artist, I have worked in many styles. I have been developing my style for over 25 years. It has grown with me as I have grown. My life’s perspectives are reflected in my pieces. There’s a push & pull of positive and negative forces. With time, I’ve become more fearless and more intuitive. Now, I go bold, break rules, and let my hand and instincts guide me. I find myself adding more details with complex compositions, juxtaposing my abstract expressionist side with my Cubist side. It is in these experiments that I have grown the most as an artist.
Why do you believe your artwork is well-suited for home decor? I believe art that connects people and tells a story always has a place in people’s homes. There’s a kind of timelessness in my pieces. In the same instance, it can remind you of something from the past with a different way of looking at it in the present. Its abstract nature evolves and grows with decor. It tells a story of the dwellers of these homes. My art is not shy; it boldly strides into a space and becomes a conversation starter. It weathers well with time, so I think its appeal is generational.
Many of the portraits you create have more than two eyes; does this signify anything for you? My cubist faces are explorations of our inter-relationships as humans. Our narratives, emotions and feelings have more similarities than differences. We live in a shared human experience, and that is why the eyes I make are shared by multiple faces some looking outwards, some stoically brooding, and some as a third eye, looking inwards toward introspection. What motivated you to branch out and get involved with NFT artwork? My day job for 25 years was as a senior designer for broadcast television. I was no stranger to design and software. Technology has always been ahead of the pack when it comes to moving toward the future. I started hearing about NFTs, and the concept of digital ownership, provenance and decentralization fascinated me. Some of my biggest pieces have been plagiarized in the past and mass marketed by giant overseas companies. I felt helpless as an artist and was actively looking for a way to safeguard intellectual property and prove the provenance of the art I conceived and created. All these roads led me to explore NFTs, and the more I learnt, the more excited I got. As an early adopter of NFTs and blockchain technology, I’ve also grown infinitely as an artist. How does your creative process differ when making a painting vs a digital drawing or NFT? The thought process, the emotions, the play of complex compositions and the feelings remain exactly the same regardless of the tools or medium of choice. The only difference is the scale. On the iPad, I am limited to drawing on a smaller surface, while over canvas or paper, it is like dancing with my paints and brushes. I don’t ever want to limit myself by choosing one medium over another; instead, I see them as extensions of each other. They both offer a rich, immersive, sensory experience, and I love being able to play with both. The digital medium lets me explore animations, Artificial Intelligence and even play with 3D and music. The traditional media does not. The digital medium also has the undo button, and let’s face it, life could do with an undo button every now and then!
Have you collaborated with any brands to showcase your artwork on their products? My art is a permanent feature in a high-end chic restaurant in Montreal called H3, which has 4 of my biggest art pieces. I collaborated with Bollywood’s first actor to make their foray into the NFT industry by creating an art piece for them. My art has been featured on billboards and screens in Times Square in NYC. I work with architects, interior designers and hospitality projects in helping them select and showcase my art for their clients. I am currently working on a project with a Gin & Tonic beverage company as they make their entry into the NFT space.
PORTRAITS IN BLACK AND WHITE
P O R T R A I T S I N B L AC K A N D W H I T E
Fans have interpreted and translated your art into nail sets, tattoos, and funky hairstyles. How does this recognition feel for you? I find it incredible to see how my art is an experience now. I love how the boundaries have blurred between fine art being accessible to an elite few and being part of our body and soul. It is both humbling and rewarding to see people etch my art on their bodies. The fact that my art can live on long after the artist is gone is something I’m taking notice of on a deeper level. I love that my art resonates with so many people in so many unique ways. This recognition empowers me to create more; it sets off a chain reaction to follow my passion and grow persistently. 42
Yonathan (Yonito) Tanu Biography Yonito Tanu is a multidisciplinary artist. He was born in Indonesia, and he lives in Valencia, Spain. He studied art and technology in Holland and got his bachelor’s degree in 3D games and simulations. After his studies, he worked as an art director and designer in several advertising agencies and design studios. Through his work and study experiences, he tried different kinds of software. At the moment, he uses Cinema 4d and Adobe products as a tool to create. After all of his experiences, he decided to build hunky dunky - a place for him to create his personal projects, collaborate, and work professionally.
This is not Paris (Llombai) Artist Statement This is still one of the fun projects that I like. It was back in 2016. The main idea was to make visuals for a book cover for a local village. The name of the village was Llombai. It is a village in the province of Valencia, Spain. The theme for the visuals was ¨Festes de llombai 2016¨ or Llombai´s party in English. The first step I took was to research the place itself. It was my girlfriend´s village. So, she helped me with the information about the village. After I gathered all of the information, I started modelling, compositing, texturing and, in the end, rendering and post-production. Then, I added the text for the project. Thanks again to Jess for helping me with the concept and the copy: Llombai is not a big city. No trace of train rails, nightlife or fast food restaurants. If you look up at the sky, you won’t find a skyscraper, but a mountainous landscape. Llombai is a quiet village, but when it comes to celebrating, its 2765 residents are up for the party. Every August, they have public festivals, which means dancing ‘till daylight in the main square. Age does not matter as long as you can make them shake. This book cover we’ve created for Llombai festivals aims to show the joy of a small, timeless village rich in traditions, nature and people. 50
Festes de Llombai - 2016 Yonito’s artistic 3D interpretation of ‘Festes de Llombai’ captures the essence of the celebratory event and shows a sneak peek of the festivities! @HUNKY.DUNKY 51
What do you find most exciting while creating a 3D design? [I like] that you can experiment with the polygon in modelling, perform trial and error with simulation, and play with the render and lighting. You can create your own world and express yourself using 3D, especially when you can now tweak the end result to how you want it, both realistic and unrealistically. Do you feel your portfolio has a unique style? If so, how would you describe it? I think my portfolio has a fun and surreal feeling with a clear render. I’m not sure if I can call that a style. Sometimes, I like to create the work as an experiment, and sometimes I create it to have a certain feeling. Most of the time, my work is influenced by the environment, people or emotions.
Yonito’s creations are playful, intriguing, and full of colour. He places ordinary, everyday objects in extraordinary places - adjusting their size to make things bigger or smaller than what they would be in real life. Yonito’s work experiments with the absurd, and demonstrates the power of imagination. Why did you choose 3D design as a form of artistic expression? Because with 3D, there are a lot of possibilities to put the result in different areas. For example, you can have a photographic result, or you can mix that photographic style with the cartoon style. Another example, you can make your 3D art in real time and use VR to walk around to enjoy your art. In the end, there is no limit to what you can create inside the CGI.
Dreamy Playground Artist Statement
This project is about a collection of fantasy parks in wild nature. There are four visuals: The slide, Hide and seek, The watch tower and The swings. Each park has a different purpose. The project itself was inspired by a children’s playground. From there, I tried to mix the playground with nature. I started with finding references for the playground and began blocking out the model. After making a lot of adjustments to the models, I tried to find a natural element for them. I checked a lot of nature scenes, like the sea, jungle, mountain, etc. I also played with different colours and compositions to get the best result. Here is the story for each visual, thanks to Jessica Chapiness that helped me with the copy!
The Slide: Don’t grow up! A place to escape from your everyday routine, to disconnect and reconnect with your inner child. It’s really easy to enjoy. Slide and swing, feel the warmth from the sun on your skin and splash out in the calm water. There is just one rule: never swim outside the yellow area.
The Swings: Sometimes, we must step out of our comfort zone. We need a safe place to go and feel that nothing could go wrong. This place exists now; it is located in the middle of a lake, surrounded by mountains. Come and lie in the fluffy yellow swing. Relax. Whatever you are going through, it will eventually pass. 57
T H E WAT C H T O W E R
The Watch Tower: Wake up your curiosity! Explore the world as you never did before. Get into the wildest nature and find out what’s behind the bushes. This is not a walk in nature; this is an adventure! It is your way to discover new and endless life possibilities. From this tower, you will create a new path.
Hide & Seek: This is the place you go when you need time for yourself. When you want to hide to seek yourself out. Get lost in the dunes of a golden desert, jump from the cylinders and don’t be afraid to fall; the thick sand will always hold you. No matter what, you can always hide and seek yourself whenever you want.
HIDE AND SEEK
THE SCHOOL THE SCHOOL
PAT T E R N
A R CA D E
Nostalgia Artist Statement Nostalgia is a project to remind us to have fun, like in the old days. As grown-ups, we’re supposed to take full responsibility for our life. We focus so hard on trying to have everything under control that sometimes we forget to play. We love playing, and we shouldn’t feel like we have to grow out of it. In this project, I took a lot of objects from when I was a kid. It was about the encounter between school and fun. Here, I deformed the objects, put them on different types of screens, and placed them in different kinds of compositions and environments as a reflection of fun. Here there are three different chapters: The school, The way back home, and The playground.
T H E WAY B AC K H O M E
A B S T R AC T I O N
THE SCHOOL BUS
PAT T E R N
PAT T E R N
A B S T R AC T I O N
T H E P L AYG R O U N D T H E P L AYG R O U N D
Rukie Jumah These images are from Rukie Jumah’s portfolio. She is a Nigerian photographer and art director based in Abuja, Nigeria. 68
Model: Nene Okoro @nene.okoro
Dress: Spectrum by Aisha @spectrumbyaisha
Photo: Rukie Jumah @rukiejumah
Shop prints at: rukiejumah.darkroom.tech
Model: Nene Okoro @nene.okoro
Dress: Spectrum by Aisha @spectrumbyaisha
Photography by Rukie Jumah @RUKIEJUMAH 70
Photo: Rukie Jumah @rukiejumah
Model: Nene Okoro @nene.okoro
Dress: Spectrum by Aisha @spectrumbyaisha
Photo: Rukie Jumah @rukiejumah
PET LIGER Constantinos Panayiotou is the Founder, Artist and Creative Director of PET LIGER, a brand that creates and exhibits 3D art suited for the Metaverse. Constantinos is currently located in Cyrpus, where he collaborates with his founding partner located in the UK, who goes by the name Calibrate. Can you describe your business in a few sentences: PET LIGER is an artist and brand creating for the Metaverse. Providing the world with beautiful digitally native artworks that are currently in the form of footwear silhouettes. What inspired you to start PET LIGER? PET LIGER originally started as a record label roughly ten years ago, but I always had ambitions of releasing more than just music through PL. At the time, I had visions of showcasing different art and fashion, not just of my own but of other artists too. It’s been a labour of love, a lot of blood, sweat and tears and a lot of sacrifices. For me, it’s nothing short of a miracle how it’s forming and slowly coming together. When, where, and how did you learn 3D Design? I’ve been living in Cyprus for roughly ten years. Prior to moving out here, I was a music producer and DJ in London. Going from a bustling global center to a tiny little village, I decided to turn my focus to photography, as I was surrounded by such beautiful scenery and landscapes. It then occurred to me that you can’t really tell what is straight from the camera or photoshopped. So I decided to download some 3D software and start making my own surreal creations. Why did you choose the name ‘PET LIGER’ for your brand? A Liger is a cross between a lion and a tiger; it shouldn’t really exist, but it does. Adding “pet” at the beginning gives it a playful element. It symbolizes the merging of the normal with the novel.
What inspires the designs? I don’t really look at these as designs. I see these as artworks. Sculptures that not only can be worn but can be appreciated simply by them being on display. The main inspiration is the process itself, from the hardware/software side to the iterative nature of how I produce the pieces. I create one of these silhouettes every day, and I’ve been doing so for roughly the past four years, so that’s approximately 2000 unique concepts total. Every silhouette influences and leads to the next, often spawning a whole series. The works themselves don’t actually take me very long to make. I make it a point to be as quick as possible when creating them. That being said, I never stop being PET LIGER. I eat, sleep and breathe what I do. With an artwork that has taken me an hour to bring to life, I have probably been wrestling with the concept for months through the iterative process, not to mention the mental and emotional depth I have to go to in order to realize the vision from within me. In your opinion, how has the rise of NFTs impacted the 3D art and design industry? Do you believe it has created more opportunities for artists? For me personally, NFTs have been a game changer. It has definitely allowed me to be an artist in the truest sense of the word. I thought one day I might end up working for a big brand or company, essentially selling my soul. With NFTs, I was given the opportunity to make a living from what I love to do. I’ve been very fortunate, and I am eternally grateful to be a part of this space so early on. Specifically for 3D artists like myself, now is the time to start getting involved with NFTs. The fact that the assets are already 3D straight away gives them utility to be used in a 3D world/Metaverse. Do you have any advice for a digital artist looking to enter the NFT industry? Start getting involved now; no time like the present! Start building your identity and aim to have a recognizable design language that only you have. Get your work out there for people to see, and start growing your community. Most importantly, believe in yourself because there will be struggles and dark days. Generally speaking, artists are very sensitive people, and there will be moments when you want to pack it all in. Stay strong and always seek advice from people you respect. It’s not easy being an artist. Often we are misunderstood or taken for granted. Have people around you that support you and want the best for you. The NFT Industry can be very business oriented too, so getting clued up on these matters early on will definitely help. Also, another huge part of the NFT industry is the whole crypto side of the equation; definitely lots to learn! 85
How would you describe the aesthetics of the brand? Otherworldly, created for an alien planet. Futuristic metallic materials, organic cellular shapes, transparent and opaque surfaces. Beautiful and strange. Iconic silhouettes of the future. What textures, colours, and shapes do you like to use? I like soft, supple, skin-like textures. I love iridescent multicoloured gloss or the complete opposite, matte finishes that swallow up the light. I love metallics, copper, steel, and gold that have a worn look with scratches and dents. I love the minimal, the complex and the moments of harmony between the two. For me, it’s all about pushing the extremes of a single silhouette. How many paths can spring from one source? Would you ever consider having these pieces created into tangible products, or do you intend for them to only exist virtually? I 100% want to see these made as physicals. I think the tangible side is very important for building the metaverse right now. There needs to be a bridge between the two worlds. Are there any specific platforms that you use to market your creations? The main platform is the PET LIGER Instagram account, with an audience of roughly 75k; that’s where I post my daily concepts. PET LIGER has a Twitter and Discord also. You can find PL NFTs on Rarible, SuperRare and on Opensea. We haven’t done any major marketing campaigns yet, it’s all been very grassroots/ word of mouth. Have you collaborated with any other brands? If so, how did that collaboration go, and what did it entail? PET LIGER has collaborated with Metaverse builders Wilder World where we had two sold-out collections. I created roughly 300 meticulously handcrafted sneakers! Absolutely love our WW family, a very passionate, smart, forward-thinking community. Also, Gucci Vault Art Space approached us to provide artwork for their gallery. They saw my creations and wanted me to produce something unique to go alongside 29 other artists. I reinterpreted the legendary Gucci loafer by infusing it with the PET LIGER creative language. An amazing experience! Absolutely mind-blowing and an honour.
You stated that you’ve been ‘designing for the Metaverse before the Metaverse was even conceptualized.’ What characteristics of your art make them well aligned with the Metaverse today? For the first three years that I was creating these, I had no idea that NFTs and the Metaverse were around the corner. It was like divine synchronicity. It’s like I knew without actually knowing, some type of intuition. The fact that they are 3D assets makes them pretty much Mertaverse-ready. How would you describe the Metaverse to someone who knows nothing about it? I’ve discovered from the recent PET LIGER exhibition in Milan during fashion week that the “CD to MP3” analogy, although not perfect, works best. When MP3’s first came out, no one wanted to let go of their physical CD collections. Now everyone is on streaming platforms where they don’t even own the music they listen to. Well, the Metaverse is the same, but for everything. The dematerialization of clothing, homes, cars, land and even pets etc., except you will actually own these assets as NFTs on the blockchain. Virtual and augmented reality technology will facilitate all of this. The Metaverse will merge with the physical world too. We are only just scratching the surface. One day children will not know a world without the Metaverse, similar to how children today do not know a world without mobile phones and the internet.
What is your favourite thing about creating? My favourite thing about creating is knowing that I am bringing something new and unique into the world that will hopefully provide people with joy. It’s also very therapeutic and good for the soul. Overall, do you have a vision for the work that you create? I just want to create something great that will bring some type of emotion to the person experiencing it. To add some wonder to our world and to inspire. What has been a highlight of your artistic career so far? I would say it’s meeting so many amazing people and making new friends. I’ve been living a very isolated life in my little village in Cyprus for the past 11 years. So finally meeting people in person and online who have reached out because of my art is truly an honour. I’m super grateful. As you move forward with your business and the brand, what would you like to see in terms of growth and expansion? I think a great start would be to see a PET LIGER store in every metaverse. I also would love to see a limited run of some PL physical wearables. Through creating art, what have you learned about yourself? I’ve learned that you can do anything with the right amount of time and vision, but if I were to sum it up in the form of advice, it would be that learning is key to it all; never stop learning.
Mercury for Gucci Vault Art Space
Amy Ma Amy Ma is a Toronto-based mental health artist. Her illustrations reflect the inner thoughts, feelings, and struggles of a person living with mental illness. She uses her platform to advocate for mental health and well-being while bringing awareness to mental illness and how the symptoms of different disorders may manifest.
Biography Mabo Art illustrations are centred around mental health and the advocacy of self-acceptance and self-love. Creator Amy Ma uses her personal experiences and struggles with mental illness to create cathartic works, which she hopes resonate with those who have gone through or go through similar hardships. Through her emotional art, Amy hopes to provide comfort and reassurance to those who need it while promoting awareness surrounding mental health issues. Artist Statement My style of work varies greatly. I create realistic drawings with charcoal and graphite to portray the darker elements of and experiences with mental illness, while also creating illustrations that highlight my growth. I usually draw when I need to process my feelings, remind myself of affirmations, or when I am working through a trauma. The image of the three faces portrays the splitting qualities of borderline personality disorder, which I struggle with. The other three images portray the meaning of togetherness and finding your light from within. Each piece carries deep meaning, as drawing is a form of therapy for me.
light within “
My art converts personal experiences and mental health struggles into art that will hopefully leave an impression on you, and maybe even help you in some way or another.
Inspired by bouts of low self worth, yet endless love and support :)
Biscuit Black Ring Vase
Display Bowl (Black)
KJA Studio by Kirsty (Jay) Anderson KJA Studio offers handmade ceramics sculpted as mugs, vases, bowls, and other homeware items. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, the studio was founded by Kirsty Jay Anderson, a former textile artist who turned to ceramics after discovering the thrill of working with clay. Earthy tones, speckled textures, and duo-toned patterns are all characteristics of Kirsty’s ceramics. Can you share a brief history of yourself and your business? After graduating from Grays School of Art in Aberdeen with a textiles degree, I made textiles for around ten years under the name ‘a wooden tree.’ I loved making my textile pieces, but it got to a point where it wasn’t sparking my creativity. I decided to take an evening ceramics course with my friend for fun and got completely hooked. I wanted to spend all day playing with clay. After a few years of classes, I decided to jump in at the deep end and apply for a large ceramics fair in Scotland called Potfest. I’ve had my fair share of no’s, so I’m used to shrugging it off if I didn’t get in and trying again next time. But I was accepted and literally hit the ground running. I had an exciting and scary few months getting ready for Potfest; after that, I’ve not stopped and I have been working full-time in ceramics since 2019. I currently share a studio called Clay Coven in Leith with two friends. Why did you choose the name KJA Studio? The name is actually my initials. There are lots of Kirsty Anderson’s in Scotland, so I thought the initials would work well. My middle name is Jay, my mum’s name. I did have it as ’ KJA ceramics,’ but as my background is in textiles, I wanted to keep it open in case another medium is added in the future and settled with ‘studio.’
Ring Vase Black
What type of products do you offer? Predominantly functional ceramics and mugs are the foundation of my products and are the most popular. Other pieces include different sizes of bowls, from wee salt dishes to large display bowls for centrepieces. I think my favourite pieces to make are bowls; weirdly, it takes me longer to trim the foot than the first stage of throwing. My selection of vases grow in size too, from a single stem bud to taller shapes for stemmed bunches; they work well with or without flowers. My less functional but still practical in essence are display/art pieces of ring vessels and flower jugs. What influences the designs of your products? My textile degree allowed me to work with patterns and form, which has helped to influence the way I now work. My ceramics are inspired by an accumulation of different things. I like minimal shapes and fluid glaze patterns; the finished pieces feel tactile. The vessels themselves are simple shapes taken from my interest in the aesthetics of old functional objects - milk churns, chemistry beakers and enamel wear. Each ring vessel I make is individual in shape; they have their own wee personality. The body is based on a milk churn with handles or “lugs” added with a clay donut or ring attached to the handle, so it moves independently; you can play with it, it’s very tactile. These developed from making handles for mugs. I always make extra, and in the run-up to my first market, I wanted to play with the shapes and have fun, unrestricted by functionality and purpose. They continue to evolve each time I make a new batch.
What inspires the product colours and the neutral-tone theme? I think my work’s neutral theme has been a bit subconscious. When I was learning, a simple palette helped me to concentrate on the shapes of the pots and then I was able to play with mark-making while glazing. My textile pieces were used with vintage floral patterns, so it was really refreshing to reflect back on my degree work and have more simple, earthy tones. My degree work was based on deterioration, decay and natural elements taking over, leaving stains, patterns and shadows.
Artist Statement My biggest achievement is stocking my work in Japan. I had always wanted to have my textile pieces in a store there after three months of travelling there with my sister in 2007, and it never happened, so I am super chuffed and still a bit surprised. My future goals revolve around pushing myself and my work, collaborating with different brands, and learning other firing techniques, such as soda or doing another wood firing. Also, I would love to do a residency in another country to learn about the local clays and the way other potters practice their craft.
Kirsty is dedicated to learning about and engaging with her newfound interest in ceramics after her transition from cloth to clay. Her experience with textiles has helped to inform her new direction with ceramics. As someone who appreciates natural elements, her ceramics are inspired by nature and the path it leaves behind on the landscape.
Black Shallow Cup
Black Handmade Mug