the creative process ii
About three weeks ago, this challenge of creating a quarterly magazine became something tangible to me. I'm not sure why it took so long to register. We started a magazine, eventually we'll have more than one issue, right? Well, now we do.
Our sophomore issue. Perhaps more daunting than the first, but no less intoxicating. We faced every new challenge of creating a magazine with 90% fearlessness and 10% coffee. (Thanks coffee.) So here we are, with two fully complete online magazines packed with articles, poems, short films, photos, the occasional oxford comma, and heart.
Grab a box of cereal. Pour some milk over it (or honestly, eat it straight from the box.) Cozy up to your computer, phone, iPad, whatever, and enjoy our latest labor of love.
editor - in - chief
It’s crazy to think that right now this moment there are so many other people out there feeling exactly the way you do about their life. Even the people who look like they can keep their shit together in the middle of a hurricane. You know, the ones getting married with their full time jobs and well thought out careers. The ones we see tackling college like fucking Von Miller or some shit.
And all of us watching are trying to understand how they haven’t simply jumped off their roof yet.
They are the ones we see on Facebook and Instagram travelling the world, being extremely fashionable and stepping gracefully into adulthood as if they were following some sort of
L I F E
Sure, maybe their parents set them on the right track or they spent their childhood really working towards the bigger picture. There’s a chance they just always make the right decisions or really know how to listen to their calling, but if you think about it there aren’t any rules they are following.
We all are on our own personal journey to figure out who we are and what we want and sometimes shit gets
F U C K E D
and that’s okay.
What’s not okay is thinking that all is lost just because your journey doesn’t seem as pretty as someone who you only know on a very surface level (aka social media).
I’m sure all of us have moments of
How about when you’re deciding if you should really be eating this bomb ass breakfast burrito and you know you’ve been talking about getting back in shape?
Or even when your parents are forever reminding you that a stable career is what is going to pay the bills when you know you are doing all you can to make your art your career.
“How about a state job? I’m sure you could get some good hours there!”
How about not right now but thanks for the advice!
Either way, there’s a common practice of
that we are all working through one way or another. And in that moment we have to remember that right now is not our forever. Right now is a mere blemish in the beautifully constructed path that we are on.
Those are the times that we find and build our trusted circles, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable in front of strangers and we continue on the trek to our own personal greatness. Your own u n i q u e life that can only work if you allow yourself the freedom to
try + fail + try + fail + try + fail + try = get all of life’s questions answered
I’m just kidding.
Not actually answer all of life’s questions, but more so live a life that you’ve always wanted without the ghostly “what if” making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
So this is just a lil’ acknowledgment.
One friend to another.
Hey, you aren’t alone out there as you fight for something your heart desires.
Even when people think you’re crazy and you run out of all your money and need to go get two jobs doing something you don’t like to fund the thing that you really love.
You aren’t alone.
And you shouldn’t let the weight of wanting more out of life sit on your shoulders.
Don’t be afraid to share that weight with someone you trust
Or someone you just met
Or someone who is crazier than you
Or someone who is better than you
Don’t compare yourself to others
Try as many news things(& maybe even people idk) as you can
And fucking boss up and get what the hell you truly want out of life.
You can’t hear those things enough.
by // Chauntice Green
nicklaus von nolde
One of the greatest things about living in this country is our freedom to express ourselves. Our art is rarely toyed with, we're allowed to build mansions if we want, shit, we can even drive monster trucks to the market if our dicks are small enough. Yeah, there are some limitations here and there but generally we're free to express ourselves how we so choose. For many, voting is a powerful form of self expression. It's a right that not everyone in this world has. We're lucky to be given it and we're foolish if we neglect it. A lot of people believe that their vote doesn't matter because they're only one person, so they end up not registering. This is a highly false mindset and the more people think this way, the larger the ignorant pool gets. They let the people around them choose who are the voices of the country instead of taking responsibility. If you've never registered or voted before or if you've developed early onset dementia and forgot what to do, we've giving you some helpful steps to get you registered and into the voting booth.
1.) WAKE THE FUCK UP.
If you believe voting is irrelevant, you are wrong. Your vote counts. Only 57.5% of the electorate voted in 2012. We are better than that, America!
2.) Educate Yourself.
Know who you're voting for and why. The only way to have a strong electorate is to have an informed electorate. If you don't know where to look, go to sites like politco.com, CNN.com, FoxNews.com, NYTimes.com, washingtonpost.com, and many more. All those mothafuckas have apps too, if that's your cup of tea. Disclaimer: mo matter where you look there is going to be a strong bias. Be aware of that.
It is so damn easy to accomplish this step. 30 states offer online voter registration at www.usa.gov/register-to-vote. If this doesn't work for you, your county website will have the proper paperwork for you. Also, every DMV in the country has registration forms readily available. You must be a U.S. Citizen, at least 18 years old, and must meet your state's residency requirements. Some states have voter I.D. laws, but that information will be given when you register. That's it.
4.) Know When and Where to Do It.
*Primary Elections (for your parties nomination):
For the primary elections, your state either has a primary or a caucus. A primary is a lot like the general election where you have a polling location specific to your address and have all day to arrive and vote. If your state caucus', you have a certain location have to go to at a certain time to vouch for the candidate you support the most. At caucus', you can also spend time jibber- jabbering to others while trying to convince them that your candidate is the best one for the job. These all began on Feb. 1 with the Iowa Caucus and will conclude on June 14 with the D.C. primaries. The government will inform you where to vote once you register and it gets closer to the day.
*General Elections (for the presidential and congressional elections):
These work just like the primary elections. You're told by Big Brother where to vote and have all day to get there. This year's general election is on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016.
*For primaries and general elections, you can have your ballot mailed to you if cannot make it to a polling station, you just have to check that box when registering.
You have completed all of the steps to get you ready to vote, now it's time to get off your sweat stained couch and actually do it. You're armed with intelligence and freedom, all that's left is to have your voice heard. Honestly dudes and dudettes, voting is really fun and important.
6.) Wear the Hell Out of Your "I Voted" Sticker. Wear It Loudly and Proudly.
written by // Nicklaus von Nolde
echo + air
Dusty daylight pours in from three giant windows gently illuminating Jordana’s downtown Los Angeles loft space. Eclectic pieces of art and license plates hang from her walls, long plants fall around another corner, an embroidered unicorn pillow sits on a lounge chair. The whole vibe is equal parts new age industrial and memoirs of your grandma’s souvenir collection. She puts on one of her favorite playlists and some crackling jazz plays while we chat.
Casually leaning on her large wooden work table, she wears a tied white t-shirt over one of her own jumpsuits and fills us in on her clothing line, Echo & Air.
How did Echo and Air start?
I worked commercially for a while and decided that it really was not creative or purposeful. I was just pumping out designs; it was essentially fast fashion. Eventually, I was laid off and it gave me some perspective on how I wanted to evolve as a designer. I wanted to create a line that was essential and forward; both in the concept and in the production. Manufacturing locally and ethically is integral to our brand philosophy.
As a concept, I wanted to feel very ethereal or otherworldly. I wanted it to feel like modern mythology. What I love most about creating a line is the storytelling aspect.
What about the name Echo & Air? Where does that come from?
It actually came from this word exercise I learned. I really liked the idea of Echo & Air not being tangible things. I also didn’t want to use my own name because I don’t want the brand to be a face. I like the idea of it being more mysterious.
She goes and grabs a cut of silky gray fabric and starts dressing it on a mannequin.
Where do you find inspiration?
I feel most inspired by mood and then concept. Different modes of music, film, and architecture are probably the three things that are consistently inspiring. For our Spring 16 collection, I was looking at tons of photos of skate parks and just the topography of them. Something about the shadows of the concrete; they began looking sculptural. And that sort of spiraled into pictures of kids skateboarding on modern architectural structures and sculptures. I just loved how these two unrelated things came together in this beautiful, unexpected way.
Once I figure out the mood or direction, the technical aspect takes over. This process is the “how” of it all. Making patterns and draping, its very experimental and when it works out the way you want (or better) it’s so rewarding.
Then we talk about tattoos and zodiac signs while Jordana works on some sketches. (She’s a virgo, by the way.)
Have you ever thought about expanding into mens’s clothing?
I would love to have a menswear line or even create pieces that can be worn by both genders.
What’s the most rewarding part about owning your own business?
I mean, it seems cheesy but honestly just seeing people wear my clothes is so really rewarding. I saw a girl walking down the street wearing one of my skirts and was so excited. I wanted to say something but I got embarrassed! I acted like she was a boy I had a crush on.
What are you doing when you're not working? How do you wind down?
I’m sleeping. I’m always working. It’s really hard to stop when you have your own business. It has to be priority; it has come first. Reading relaxes me more than anything; it forces me to escape; but also taking walks, seeing art, and laughing with my friends. Getting out of my bubble helps me relax and recharge.
Then she tries to coax her cat out of the other room for us. His name is Dude. Yep. Like in The Big Lebowski.
Being sensitive is bada$$
So often and from a very young age, we are taught to keep our feelings to ourselves.
Don’t let them see you cry.
Wipe the tears off your face.
You’re being be a baby.
This reiterated concept of swallowing your tears so no one thinks less of you is severely damaging to self-expression. This is not always obvious, but it’s direct blunt trauma to our very fragile understanding of our emotions.
So, we grow as people, try to love one another, and try to love ourselves, all the while harboring this weird shame in vulnerability. We fear what we want the most. To relate. To be seen. To release. It may even have something to do with all of this anxiety, depression and social disconnect a lot of us struggle with. Simply because we just can’t bring ourselves to cry in front of each other. Afraid of judgment or ridicule.
Your vulnerability is the most beautiful, most telling thing about you. If your heart is shattered, cry your fucking eyes out. Embrace your anger and scream about it. Break shit. Watch yourself cry in the mirror. (We all do it.) Don’t just pick up your broken pieces, let them clink around in your pocket and move on, put them back together a different way and make something new. Ask yourself questions. Discover yourself in your sensitivity.
Look, here are some reasons I’ve cried and here’s how I put on my badass face and dealt with it.
I cried because I found a freckle on my toe that hasn’t ever been there before. SO, I took some time to educate myself on melanoma and then checked the feet of people I live with to ensure they weren’t in any grave danger. Instant badass self proclaimed foot doctor.
I cried because there was a bug trapped in between the window and the window screen and it was buzzing around loudly and dying. SO, I saved its life and then told everyone what a hero I am, also that I am a bug whisperer.
I cried because I saw an old man drop his Snapple on the sidewalk, SO, I stuffed my face with Chipotle and wiped away my tears with tortillas. (Not exactly badass, but definitely delicious.)
I cried because I had a lot of laundry to do. SO, I lied on top of it and took a really good nap.
I cried because I thought about how often puppies who need homes probably get picked over old dogs who need homes and honestly this is just really sad and there is no badass solution to this other than adopting all of the old dogs in the world and keeping them all to myself and I would do it I really would if I had the space and…you get it.
All I’m saying is own it. Being emotional makes you lovable, unique and most of the time, is pretty hilarious.
in the middle
These photos represent the moments in between sex that threaten time, making it feel irrelevant. They are dedicated to the romantic aspects of sexuality. The connection of souls. The burning desire of "want" once a vulnerable body is met with the tenderness of another.
Living in California, there are constant reminders of how little water there is to go around. You tend to feel a moral obligation to waste less water. Whether your motivation stems from you wanting to lessen your carbon footprint or the fact that you’d rather not have a huge water bill, here are a few ways to make sure you use less water in a drought like situation.
- Did you know it takes 1799 gallons to produce 1 pound of processed meat, while it only takes 20 gallons gallons to produce 1 pound of processed vegetables! Pick a few days out of the week to avoid meats and get your veg on! Your body will thank you and you’ll feel better about your health choices.
Be More Sexy
- Don’t wash your hair everyday: it kills natural oils and actually damages your hair. Go a day or two without washing your hair. It wastes less water and gives you a more natural/sexy look.
- Why shower alone when you can shower with your significant other? That will split the amount of showers you both take a month in half! Plus, your partner scrub all the hard to reach areas!
Reduce Reuse Recycle!
(Believe it or not; it takes less water to make recycled products than non-recycled products. )
- Recycling and buying recycled products will help lessen the amount of water used in your everyday life!
- Take used wet towels and strain them over a bucket! It will give you at least a few cups of water!
- The average household uses over 12,000 gallons a year on just toilets! That’s a lot of water! Start using nature's toilet and waste no water in the process! You’ll be saving the planet and spending valuable time in nature! That’s definitely a win/win.
Be even more sexy
- Take sexy showering a step even further by roleplaying in the shower! There are plenty of roleplaying scenarios you can play to make sure you take shorter showers.
- Recreating the famous shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho will ensure every shower you take is under 4 minutes and it'll make your shower experience more exciting and dangerous.
- Last years Mad Max definitely had it’s fair share of characters! Living in a barren, waterless wasteland doesn’t allow for very many showers. Take turns being Immortan Joe and control the water for The Citadel! Hoard all the water and randomly dump buckets of water on your partner. Don’t be too frivolous.
- Pretend you’re in the locker room! Take turns being the bully in the locker room that never makes showering fun! It’ll cut your shower early and you can return to your glory days!
Take it back from the plants!
- Let’s face it. Water isn’t free and plants don’t water themselves! Sometimes they have to pay it back.
- Drill a large hole into a tree
- Take your average hose spout and screw it right into the tree!
- Turn the faucet and Tada! We have water! You can even buy a smaller spout for your plants at home!
walk with me
O N E A R T I S T // O N E R O L L O F F I L M // O N E S T R E E T
My name is Stefan and I’m a photographer from London. I focus mainly on portraiture nowadays and sometime do a bit of fashion photography. It’s an interesting craft. I’m learning everyday; from the technicalities of photography, to editing techniques, to how to manage time efficiently, even down to managing and directing people. It's a lot, but definitely worth it.
The photos I took are of my high street where I live. I’ve lived here for 13 years now and haven’t lost any love for it. Not much has changed. I say hello the same faces day in and day out but it never feels like groundhog day. Only thing is everyone’s getting older I guess, but everything’s still cool around here. I’d like to feel the same way about photography in the years to come!
i am a motel
Poetry should be felt, and experienced through the means of putting your own interpretation upon it.
So I will say this (but please, feel it for yourself and make your own decisions about what it means):
The inspiration came a photograph. I was so struck because I had never been so immediately connected to an image in such a deep, yet matter-of-fact way, because it was so clear. It was one of those moments when you suddenly, out of nowhere understand something very integral about who you are as a person, and this part of myself was very vulnerable, lonely, and sexual.
Those were the emotions that were most predominant in the writing of these words. The images followed organically – they are simple, straight to the point, and not too flashy.
But because the chosen words and images are generally plain and uncomplicated, that does not mean they are without weight.
This one is for the boy(s).
come back to bed
I woke up this morning and thought:
I can't remember what it feels like to miss someone in bed.
Now I don't mean sex. Everyone loves some good old stress-relieving team physical therapy! What I'm talking about is pure unadulterated snuggling, cuddling, and the occasional aggressive shove. I had recently come to this point in my life where I was exiting the blast radius of the a-bomb moment that is love. To me, love is a nuclear reaction. You and this other person are random nuclei floating freely in the world. Then, you both come so close to each other, you collide and the impact creates this incredible source of photons. The energy is so intense you mutate into this new thing. This otherworldly creature. A creature that enjoys hearing about what each face mask does to your pores and tries bathing its feet in epsom salt water. A creature that agrees to watch Once Upon A Time because she insists it's "really good" and you believe her. One that doesn't mind eating with her family, including her racist grandfather. You try, enjoy, and love these new things you otherwise wouldn't due to reasons like lack of interest... or racism. Suddenly, you like someone knowing too much about you. You co-exist with someone and learn what it's truly worth to be right in arguments. You develop feelings that grow so great, you become terrified of losing this thing that makes you feel like a supernova. Unfortunately for supernovas and most nuclear reactions, the energy becomes so great it implodes in on itself and causes a massive destructive force.
After I got away from that, I slowly unmutated, or demutated, or just mutated back into a normal human being. I swore off that life and forgot what it was like to lay in bed with someone like her. Those moments where you see what eyes truly look like when she's smiling. Learning how long it takes for a tickle fight to turn into an awkward heavy silence and knowing to cautiously deter from set line. Having those puzzle piece positioning ridden nights that seemed more, to me, exciting because we were problem solving together in a human game of two piece Tetris, and less annoying because we had early class in the morning and stayed up too late watching Friends again.
Instead, I found myself in a stranger's bed blankly staring out a window for what felt like an eternity, listening to cats meow over AC machines in the alleys below, waiting for this person to wake up because "I don't want to be rude." Or on the nights where I was actually coherent enough at the end of the night, I’d be worried this kind lady might be confused or angry to learn that neither I, nor the beer in the fridge, planned on staying the rest of the night.
That must be why I have DANGER: KEEP OUT, NO PARKING, and TOW AWAY signs all over my room. I have this whole idea in my mind that it's a psychological need to be bad or dangerous, but instead I'm subconsciously projecting my lame insecurities around women through signs on my wall paid for by the government.
At this point, it now feels like forever since I got into pajamas with someone, tucked ourselves into unmade sheets, and pulled up Netflix on the laptop. I can't quite remember what it's like to wake up to the smell of someone's hair and lotion, followed by coffee and the occasional morning cigarette. I think of those times where we checked emails together and planned our days before going out in the world and being individuals. (I had been so much more productive, feeling I was held accountable.) It makes me sad those feelings have become so foreign to me. It's like seeing a beautiful movie about your life but not being able to recall what those moments actually felt like. It's missing something that doesn't exist. A very specific masterpiece that can never be replicated. I had memories of moments, sayings, tears and smiles but they were destined to be burned into the concrete past. You can describe it, paint it, write a piece on it, but you can't show it to someone in real time.
And the bed, the bed! That seemed so important. Why? In some cyclical sense, most of the major events of our relationship began, took place, or came to a close in or around a bed. It is the place where you become the most intimate with someone. The most vulnerable. A place where you're literally naked. It makes sense why people call it giving yourself to someone. It is the place where I gave myself to someone. It's where I saw what stars are made of and it is a beautiful thing.
"What would you do if we broke up?"
"If we broke up, I wouldn't be able to leave my bed. I wouldn't want to go outside knowing I would not be able to see or talk to you. I wouldn't want to exist."
I have spent countless minutes lost in thought. Enjoyed hours with plenty of interesting, lovely, and wonderful women. Had days where I couldn't get out of bed, weeks where I chose to sleep everywhere but. I've quit, started and quit cigarettes multiple times over multiple months and the only thing I've learned is it's too late and too foolish to still have the thought: "Please come back to bed."
written by // Samuel Hernandez
kids book: adulting II
Beyond the Pond, by Joseph Kuefler, is not just for ages 4-8 as the inside of the book jacket so boldly states (and by the way, how dare you? Who makes these rules?). If it were a book about all the different ways we can rhyme with one stupid word, sure, you can give that to a four-year-old I guess, because I’m surely not interested. But on a serious note, let’s give our children something better than that sort of trash. This book caters perfectly to my taste in children’s literature because I am firmly of the opinion that we do not have to dumb things down with lame “poo-poo” humor or nonsense in order for a kid to be interested in the content. Just talk to them, tell them an interesting story with characters who have real personalities and problems, and we will all in turn find a life lesson in that story in which we can all connect to. Thanks Joseph, for knowing this and being cool like that.
Let me give you a brief run-down of the story: A little boy named Earnest D. is bored of his ordinary house where there is not a lot of fun. So he and his little dog decide to go exploring by the pond in the back of his home. He quickly discovers by throwing rocks in it, poking a stick in it, and dipping a hook in it that, miraculously, there is no bottom – it just goes on forever.
Deciding that he wants to explore what lies beyond the pond (see what I did there? Man, I’m awesome.), he gathers all his gear for exploring. He plunges into the depths of the pond with his dog and swims and swims and swims, and once past the scary darkness, he emerges on the other side to a world that is magical.
It is anything he can imagine, with beautiful creatures and sights. It is both big and small - it is quite literally, everything. As he explores more he finds out that there are also scary things in this world, but not to worry. He fights off all the spooky beasties and ghouls like a champ.
After soaking in his new and amazing world for some time, inevitably, it is time for him to head back home. In reading the story, I fully expected the story to wrap up like, “He went back to his ordinary world and was sad because it wasn’t exciting like his magical world beyond the pond. But don’t worry, he kept the memories of it in his heart and he carried on,” but not so fast. Kuefler throws at us an even wiser lesson: Instead Earnest D. goes back to his home and finds that it is even more fun than it was before, and he was happy because he knew that there were more things to be discovered beyond every unexplored street and corner.
Whoa. How baller is that? So let’s think about this for a moment – what exactly is “the pond” in this story? What does it represent? At first I thought it was the world. However, I think it is something even bigger than that. I believe it is the human experience. In the following list, please think “the human experience” every time I say “pond,” and you will surely have the most existential, awe-inspiring revelations you’ve had in the past, like, three hours. So without further ado, here are the very adult lessons we can learn from Joseph Kuelfer children’s book, Beyond the Pond:
Your life becomes boring and you will not grow as a person if you don’t explore the depths of the pond.
You can examine the possibilities of the pond and what it holds for an eternity without actually jumping into it. But without actually experiencing it for yourself, you will forever live by the opinions and views of everyone around you, and not those opinions that were created by yourself – an exceptional individual.
With just a few handy tools and a great attitude, you can make it through any journey, no matter how daunting.
The deeper you go into the pond, the more amazing and good things you will find, but on that same token, the more scary and awful things you’ll encounter. However, you are a warrior and deserve good things. Fight off those bad things to get back to the new and beautiful, magical things you found in the pond.
- When journey back out of the pond and back to your comfortable home, things don’t have to remain the same. On that same token, you don’t have to feel melancholic for the “exciting” days that you “used to” live. There are still endless nooks and crannies to be explored in your (maybe routine) everyday life. Maybe it’s just a matter at looking at things a little longer, or in a different way. This is both the easiest and the hardest lesson to be learned, because we as humans are inherently bored of the familiar. We’re always looking for the bigger and better thing, and can get caught up in the thought of “there’s nothing left for me to do. I’ve done it all. I have it all.” Well, wake up people, because that is a wildly ignorant statement. The world will always be bigger than you. You’re tired of the world? Guess what? There’s a whole fucking universe out there.
written by // Elle Stempe
illustration by // Emerson Harper
Boobs. Titties. Juggs. Knockers. All are names synonymous with the soft, fleshy prominences on the chests of sexually mature human females. Breasts. Breasts house the mammary glands that produce milk in female homo sapiens. The vast majority of female mammals produce milk to feed their newborns, which requires the infant to suck on a teat to feed. Suckling is the natural process mammals use to feed their young, plain and simple. Cool right? Well, if you have any connection to the internet then you know the act of suckling for human females and their infants is one of much controversy in many communities around the world. Being a human male inherently creates an obvious obstacle for me to comment with any experience on the subject, but how can I, as a man, influence what women do with their bodies? Why has it become the norm for others to dictate when and where this natural occurrence occurs?
Breasts in today’s cultural, primarily in the United States, are highly sexualized. Water companies are even using hyper sexual imagery of women to promote bottled H20. This is considered “bad” or "obscene", but, on the contrary, it is quite pleasing to the eye. The female form has long been considered one of the most beautiful and captivating spectacles. I myself am never offended when I see sexually charged images or video, whether it be art or advertising or something completely unrelated. In Europe, nudity is embraced! Breasts are commonplace in daily interactions (not to say women are walking around naked) but on the whole it is less of a “to-do” if you see breasts on a magazine cover or on a beach.
What does all this have to do with babies getting some yum yums from momma’s yum yum glands? In the recent past it has become a large issue amongst many for mothers to breast feed their newborns in public view. With the dawn of the viral world, videos have surfaced of women breast feeding in public and being shamed for committing this act. Again, I am a man, I will never have to feed a newborn baby with my body. What I do know is I want the mother of my children to have the freedom to suckle our children wherever she damn well please.
So let's get this straight. Women are allowed to flaunt their their tattas and booty bumps in advertising on television but women who are giving their children nourishment are shamed publicly, even screamed at to cease and desist? Would you yell at a mother for buying her 12 year old a cheeseburger? I DON'T THINK SO! So why are we appalled by thee most natural thing in the world? Riddle me that.
Where does this mindset of fear and ignorance stem from? How do we stop it? How do we grow as a community of human beings? This stigma around breasts is a strange dichotomy because we as a society consider public nudity as indecent exposure. Indecent exposure is purposefully displaying ones genitals in public and is often committed for the sexual gratification of the offender or committed to entice a sexual response. It seems that breastfeeding does not fall into that category, yet so many are “offended” or “disgusted” by breast feeding, but will scroll through an article displaying Miley Cyrus’ latest nude escapade without blinking an eye. This is because breasts have become sexualized. One asinine argument to breast feeding I read said “This isn’t a village in Africa. It’s culturally inappropriate to bare your breasts in public here.” What is so different about their community in the African village? Well, their breasts are not sexualized. We have made it “culturally inappropriate” to breastfeed but Victoria Secret billboards are fifty feet tall. If we are to stop this ignorance we as a society must desexualize breasts. Easier said then done. Since 1871 when Pearl Tobacco featured a naked woman on the packaging of their products we have seen the female form used to sell anything and everything. How do we dismantle that way of living? I don’t know. But I bet it starts with how we raise our children. We must teach acceptance and love, and most of all that the human body is not something to hide but something to celebrate and respect. In doing this maybe we can turn the tide not only on this issue but many other issues in our society.
written by // Darrin Bush
"I like my**Like i like my**"
samuel hernandez // elle stempe
Honestly, few things are better than a battle of wits between two comedians. Luckily, we have two of the funniest humans on our team. Elle and Sam go head to head in the classic Battle of the Sexes.
ten minute challenge
And we are back! But with a twist. This is the TEN minute challenge (you may remember Emerson Harper's Five Minute Challenge from Issue No. I) This is the piece where we get an intimate look at an artist and their process. The Creative finds an artist and challenges them to create a piece in whatever medium they choose in, what is now ten minutes, and we see what they manifest. Those ten minutes are a glimpse into the artist's beautiful inception of an idea, we see them make decisions and execute their vision. If after the ten minutes the artist has not completed their piece thats awesome! The creative process has been recognized and we let them go finish up so we can see their fully actualized vision (because come on thats one of the best parts).
For our sophomore issue we have tapped into our longtime cohort and one of our greatest inspirations.
NAME: Trenton Jones
EDUCATION: washington university
Trenton is the epitome of DOPE. As an illustrator his style is unique and nuanced in ways that are unrivaled. His ability to think outside of "the box" and even his own box is impressive. But Trenton is not only an illustrator but an animator as well, and he has fused the two mediums to create graphic illustrations that tell amazing stories. And wait theres more... He is a writer as well! Trenton is a script writer working in Hollywood creating riveting stories and fascinating characters. We gave Trenton the prompt "Unexpectedly Learning to Swim" and he dove into the challenge with his stylus and tablet and let the creative process rip.
As a jack of all trades how does your creative process differ when you sit down to create? Do you have a different process for each medium?
TJ: I create a lot of different work in different mediums so my process is a little different depending on that and how far along I am in the developing the project. Prose writing is exploratory - most of the time I have a general outline of where a story will end up but I like to take detours and find my way there. Screenwriting is very regimented. The animation my girlfriend Ryan and I do requires us to be pretty precise and it's very technical so there's not a lot of wiggle room. For me Illustration is the most free form and on occasion can also provoke new perspectives on scenes or story through whatever ends up happening.
How did you find your way into animating?
TJ: Ryan is a voiceover actor and we wanted to cook up ways to create content and work together. Since I draw all the time it seemed like a fun and productive challenge. It's a goal to create a Scooby Doo show one day.
Where / Who do you draw your inspiration from?
TJ: I really look up to Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Alex Turner, Robert Rodriguez and Noel Fielding. Apart from being pretty singular voices, I admire the volume of creative output these guys have; they just keep creating. Pretty prolific.
If you could choose anyone to be the voice of an animated character of yours, who would you choose? Why?
TJ: I'm already lucky enough to have Ryan involved and there's nothing she can't pull off.
All of your work is so intricate! Do you envision all the details from the start of a sketch?
TJ: Most of my sketches start from nothing. I know what I need from illustrations narrative-wise, so there's a seed of an idea there, and I know what my strengths and weaknesses are, but I really enjoy the process of just working and improvising and adding flourishes and creating the emotional atmosphere. I know it's done when I get that feeling of surprising myself.
We caught up with Trenton about a two weeks after the release of "The Wet Issue" and he wowed us with a completed version of his piece from his "Ten Minute Challenge." Here is the final product with a short story accompaniment.
At one point it was like being bored on a roller coaster.
You’ve been hurtled forward for so long that you’ve had the time to rationalize that initial burst of adrenaline that sends your body shaking, ripping the breath from your lungs and filling it up with a gulp that feels like your last, loaded up to your diaphragm. Your eyes draw the curtains, lids leveling. Your hands clench up.
It was a weird, beautiful murmuration. We fell in groups, flipping in the air, whipped by the wind and water, cold pecking our faces, wrapped in the thick silence of shock.
And then it kept going, y’know?
Flipping and flipping, then spreading your arms, leveling out.
Fast and faster. But it’s the new normal. You internalize the environment. Give it a few seconds but your body figures out how to live in this state. You can breathe. You can smile, if you’re so inclined. As you can expect, I was not. But eventually, physiologically, you get comfy. You loosen your grip. Open your eyes. Take it in.
And then the ride lags. I’d been falling for like a full minute before I hit the water, remembering to pencil about 50 feet out.
Some of the others remembered too, the gangly limbs attached to their silhouettes pulling in before they disappeared into the waves. Others at the mercy of their mania.
We watched them fall as I waited for feeling to return to my feet, popping in and out of sight against the dark sky. Flashing with the lightning and God’s coughs of thunder.
The rain hit me fast along with a realization I immediately repressed:
What’s scarier? Not knowing where we’re going…or where we’ve been?
I waited for anything to sink in. The tumult rumbled above and below.
video by // Darrin Bush
go with the flow
Raise your hand if you are an artist. Now raise your hand if you are also a type-A personality. Now raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by Regina George. (Just kidding about that last one, but I hope you raised your hand anyway.) As someone who is almost exactly split between “right-brained” and “left-brained”, I have found this field to be very challenging. I want the creativity and freedom of expression that art allows me, with the structure of spreadsheets and schedules that are followed to a T. But spend any more than a couple days in LA, and you know the creative process here isn’t always that cut and dry. So after a couple of years playing the acting, (er, auditioning) game, I started to feel very stunted. Dissatisfaction was seeping into my life and I had no idea how to stop it.
As artists, we all face a lot of challenges in our careers. Simply getting paid for our work, friends and family constantly asking about auditions we didn’t book, reminding us almost daily that we just so happened to be called to one of the most competitive careers in existence. And yet, for most of us, the biggest challenge comes from within. Self-doubt and insecurities find their way into our heads no matter how much we believe in our art. Maybe it’s after your twentieth audition that didn’t get a callback. Maybe it’s when your agent calls to talk about getting new headshots and suddenly money that was supposed to go towards a plane ticket home for Mother’s Day ends up as a deposit for a photoshoot. Whatever your moment is that makes you think, “Why am I here?” let me tell you, we all have them. Image has a way of being very important in LA, so most people have become pretty good at pretending they have it all together. But guess what: none of us are actually as cool as our instagram pages make us look! We all lie awake at 3am sometimes thinking, “I am so lost” and “Can people tell I actually have no idea what I’m doing?”
As someone who has dedicated my entire adult life thus far to pursuing acting, normally I would pour all of those emotions into that. But recently something peculiar, and something the type-A side of me wanted to smash down, started to happen. I felt my passion start to shift from what I had originally planned. Drifting away from the very thing I had proclaimed as my purpose at a mere seven years old, stuck true to ever since and worked my ass off for years to make into a reality. After all those years, my dream came true and I was an actor in Hollywood. Only, it was different than I thought it would be. Once the initial high of being able to say, “I’m on set today,” wore off, I realized it was a lot less satisfying than I had imagined it would be. I mean, you can only go through so many casting breakdowns that read “hot girls with big tits wanted” or “sexy model types only” before you start to feel like this industry you thought would be so fulfilling is actually kind of artistically fucked. I started to feel myself pulled in a different direction, wanting to go behind the scenes and pursue writing instead. But I had planned on being an actor. I wanted this. I worked so hard for this. I kept asking myself, “Should I still follow this plan I’ve had since elementary school, even though it’s not making me happy?” Type-A me would always scream, “Yes! Stick with the plan!” But maybe that side of me was wrong this time.
The thing is, working as an actor in Tinsel Town is really an animal all of its own, inspiring and draining at the same time. You can go from shooting an unpaid one-liner in an indie film to bringing one of your dream roles to life onstage in the same day (for real, that actually happened to me). Most days, however, if you are lucky enough to even get an audition, you become part of a herd of actors, spend maybe thirty seconds in front of a casting assistant and get rejected in the end. So what do you do about this, after a couple years with hardly any bites from casting directors and a sinking feeling of discontentment with yourself and your career? You could go the typical route. You know the one...Hate yourself, starve yourself, pray incessantly to the beauty gods for a spontaneous second wave of puberty to give you four more inches of leg and bigger breasts. That is a route I have tried and, let me save you the time and the therapy bill, it does not work.
For me, the answer was to change my approach to keep my drive going and stop the whole acting grind from wearing me down. To combine my oh-so-wonderful love of deadlines and creativity into one and open myself up to pursuing what had already started pushing its way into my thoughts: writing. But didn’t focusing on writing mean my perfectly drawn out plan had failed? Didn’t this mean I personally had failed? The fear of becoming just another drop in a sea of failed actors was the only thing more terrifying to me than continuing to live an unhappy life. I expressed these feelings to a very wise woman (okay, it was my mom), and she told me, “The only failure in life is not following your heart. Dreams change. Life evolves. But you always have to be true to yourself. It would be worse to stay on a path you planned, just because that was the plan, than to start over when you’re unhappy. There’s no failure in finding what you love.”
And that was when I realized I hadn’t failed. Because dreams, like our lives, are fluid. I was in love with acting for many years, and a part of me always will be. But as I was growing up and changing, my goals were changing too, as much as I tried to deny it. To deny your dreams the ability to grow with you because it looks like a failure to other people is a disservice to yourself and all you have to offer the artistic community. Maybe in ten years I’ll be making a living as a screenwriter, or maybe my passion will be something else entirely by then. I don’t know. But isn’t being open to not knowing what’s next one of the best parts of life?
After all of this, I have accepted that happiness is not something you can plan in your calendar. And now here I am, feeling more fulfilled than ever before. Because I allowed my goals the freedom to evolve and to grow, and welcomed the ever-changing current of happiness.
Those white walls
Although there's something calming and beautiful about spring rainstorms, it sure can be a bummer when you're getting dressed knowing you're going to be puddle jumping. I generally dress simply, but I have always believed that putting an outfit together (regardless of how simple) is a great way to express yourself. One of my favorite things about writing a fashion blog is being able to express myself through my fashion choices and (hopefully) inspiring other women to be confident in expressing themselves through their own unique personal style choices as well.There's no fun in covering up that personal expression of a great outfit with a boring rain jacket! Here, I'm wearing my ideal outfit for the rain... my favorite jeans, a simple tee and a comfy pair of booties (sealed with a rain proofing spray, of course!) To top it off, I wore this transparent rain jacket and umbrella to make being out in the rain a little more playful and fun!
I started writing my blog, Those White Walls, about 3 years ago. It started as a way to document my journey in moving to NYC from Chicago for an internship at Harper's Bazaar. Since then, it has transformed into what it is today, a down to earth fashion, personal style and lifestyle blog. Since I can remember, I have had an interest in fashion. I'm fairly certain I was born with a love of fashion in my genes. My Bubby (grandmother in Yiddish) was the most fashionable woman I knew. She had a fully accessorized outfit put together for every day and had her own (gorgeous) unique style. She even slept in beautiful pajamas so that she could look stylish when she walked outside to get the paper in the morning. I remember loving being in her closet with her, watching her put together outfits and helping her pick out her accessories. Even at a young age, she always asked for my opinion. She loved fashion and loved sharing that with me. Her sense of style is also engraved in my Mom and, I guess, was also passed down to me. Writing this, I'm really starting to realize why I love putting different outfits together. Funny how that happens.
Almost 2 years ago, I started dating an awesome human named Oren who just so happens to be a photographer. Since then, we have been a team in pretty much every aspect of life. We live together, work together, and lucky for me, Oren is also my main photographer for Those White Walls. He is a huge part of what makes the blog possible. Without him, it would be so difficult to put out the content that I do on a regular basis. He is always willing to shoot and help me create new, quality content for the blog (thanks, Or)! Pretty sure TWW wouldn't be where it is without his efforts.
Full time, I work as a portrait, fashion and lifestyle photographer and I also co-own and design a line of jewelry called, Just The 2 Of Us Jewelry (my mom is the second part of that "2"). Then, I of course write the blog. Oren works in real estate and is also a freelance photographer. He shoots everything from corporate headshots to food and (besides Those White Walls) he's also starting to shoot some awesome fashion work. There are pros and cons to living together and both living a freelance lifestyle. For us, work and home life overlap a lot. There's always more work and more hustling that can be done which can make it tough to get out from behind the computer. We've been working on finding a work/life balance when we're home together and I think we're getting a lot better! One of our favorite ways to spend time together is in the kitchen. Food is another love that we share and cooking together is one of our favorite things to do together. We also have two wonderful pups, Nike & Obi, and spending time as a "team" (what Oren calls us) is always a priority. Overall, even when we face obstacles, we're really lucky to have each other not only as teammates in life, but to have each other as creative inspiration.
in process II
cassandra naud // patrick cook
Drip - drip - drop little raindrops falling on the heads of Cassandra and Patrick as they stand shivering in the LA rain. They cannot help but dance, Cass dressed in a transparent raincoat and Patrick rockin' a fedora and vest. These two are as kind and friendly as they are skilled at their craft. As they begin to warm up after dancing for awhile the spirit of the project began to manifest in them. Each so different yet they both share a love for dance (by the way they're dating). With only the direction of "go play in the rain" they ran off into wet and the rest... well why don't you take a look.
You are both transplants to Los Angeles. How is the dance scene here different from your home?
Patrick Cook: I’m originally from Cary, North Carolina. The dance scene that I grew up with was solely through my dance studio and the teachers my studio would bring in for workshops. I also had the chance to perform at a wedding once—That was my first ever paid gig!
Cassandra Naud: Growing up, I trained at a dance studio called Generation Dance Studio. We were a competitive studio which means a lot of travel time which I always loved doing. The biggest difference between being here in Los Angeles is the size of the dance community. LA has one of the largest dance communities in the world which means there are more career opportunities and more training available to improve as a dancer.
How has it been working together? Has it strengthened you?
PC: It’s been great! We vibe off of each other effortlessly and really enjoy ourselves.
CN: We’ve only recently starting working together. One day we decided to start choreographing something and it worked out great! We noticed that our choreography meshed well together and ones weakness turned out to be the others strength.
Explain more in depth what you've been working on recently! What achievements you're most proud of?
PC: I’ve been diving into acting a lot recently and have a webseries coming out soon! Acting has opened me up a lot as a performer and I’m excited to continue down this path. I’ve also started substitute teaching professional level dance classes at the Edge Performing Arts Center in Hollywood, California.
CN: This whole year has been a little bit of a roller coaster ride for me. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling back and forth between Los Angeles and Canada because I’m still in the process of renewing my visa. But on a more positive note, I’m very excited to announce that I’ve been asked to speak at a TEDX conference in Greece so that’s what I’ve been lately! I’ve also been teaching at Harbor Dance Center in Vancouver as well as guest teaching for LUX Dance Company.
What goes through your mind when you're choreographing a piece? It is more intellectual? Physical?
PC: While I choreograph, I go mostly for the physical feeling or natural rhythm of the music. For me, it is so important to feel good while you're dancing but maintain integrity to the artist’s intent of the song.
CN: I think that, for both of us, what’s most important is musicality. Patrick is a genius when it comes to that. We want to make whoever is watching our choreography to hear something in the song that he or she had never heard before. We also like to make our work a little bit of a challenge. If something we create is too simple we’ll say something like “We can do better than that” and start over.
What's the most frustrating thing about creating for you? The most rewarding?
CN: From time to time when I’m creating something, my inspiration tends to disappear and projects won’t get finished. In order to avoid that from happening I’ll usually just stop and revisit the project another day. Finishing a piece is always the most rewarding part. Seeing my work onstage or in class always brings me pure joy.
PC: I get frustrated while creating any time I feel like my brain is over-complicating the process. Sometimes, I just get worked up or too excited to move on to the next moment. When this happens, I just try to breathe, realize where I am in the piece and trust my instincts on where the piece wants to go. It’s incredibly rewarding any time I get a chance to see my work on others.
video by // Darrin Bush
photos by // Alex Harper
i am not a curator
Alright. I’m struggling here. More and more, artists and creatives around me are referring to themselves as “curators” and I cant help but think it sounds a little, well, pretentious. Sure, at the base level, it’s easy to see why we creators would look for another way to label ourselves. As an artist, being able to say you are a actor, photographer AND curator, you seem to be able to do more. But to me, it just sounds like you’re saying you’re an “artist, artist and an artist.” How many different ways can we say that we’re budding talents ready to take on the world?
So, I took a step back and tried to reevaluate my annoyance. Maybe what I am saying is pretentious. After all, who the hell am I to dictate how each artist defines his or her talent. Why do I even care? Am I just mad that I didn't start calling myself a curator and now I just look like I’m jumping on some Silverlake hipster bandwagon? Ah. Maybe there it is. Maybe I’m pissed I didn't think of it first, that I wasn’t the “curator” of my own brand. But, honestly, even that seemed like a bit of a reach. Surely, I wasn't that stubborn.
Being a curator, in ernest, is actually a really amazing profession. Typically referring to museum curators, these are the people in charge of determining which art pieces should be displayed and even where they should be displayed in the museum. Sounds like an incredible amount of responsibility, which is why it might not be entirely fair to compare their profession to, say, your "carefully curated Instagram page." But, trust me, we've all been there. If I had a mimosa for each time I worried about the "aesthetic" of my Insta, I'd be eternally "brunch drunk."
Then, I started to consider the idea that just being an "artist" wasn't okay. Telling someone you're an “artist in Los Angeles" and being met with a groan gets old. Quick. So, somewhere along the line we, as creatives, developed this idea that simply being an artist wasn't enough, or even something respectable, so we developed a sort of armor. We kept repackaging our talent. Sure, I'm an actress, trained and $130,000 in debt, but that's not respectable enough. So, I can be a photographer if you want or a graphic designer when the first two aren't paying. But why?
Maybe that's what was bothering me all along. That we needed a 14th way to define and sell our talent. Our work transforms into yet another hyphen on our already endless multi-hyphenated title.
written by // Alex Harper