Noemi "Noi" Kaiser
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Archive for the ‘Skin Art’

Check out the five new Star Guardian skins for League of Legends – Slingshot Esports08.15.17

Splash art for the new Star Guardian skins featuringAhri, Ezreal, Miss Fortune, Soraka, and Syndra have all been added to the League of Legends Public Beta Environment.

The new batch of skins wasannounced Tuesdayand follows the original fiveStar Guardian skins for, Lux, Lulu, Poppy, Janna, and Jinx. Since the announcement, a video trailer for the release in Japan, a new game mode called Invasion, and figurines of the first five Star Guardians have all followed, feeding into the Start Guardian frenzy.

The Star Guardian skins have been someof the gamesmost celebrated and elaborateconcepts. Along with new particle effects, custom recalls, and sound effects, the previous Star Guardian expansion also had a fully animated 3D music video in both English and Japanese. There was also an online quiz that players could take, which unlocked a summoner icon upon completion. The skins are heavily influenced by the designs of Japans magical girl genre of anime, and the original ideawasa skin for only the champion Lux.

The new skins follow the skin lines trend of unique sound effects, visual flairs, particle effects, and custom recall animations.The Syndra, Soraka, Miss Fortune, and Ezreal skins will all cost1,350 Riot Points each (about $10),and Star Guardian Ahri will be 1,820 RP ($15). This is a trend that was mirrored with the previous release of the Star Guardian skins, as Star Guardian Jinx was the only skin that cost 1,820 RP.

As the most expensive of the bunch, Star Guardian Ahri will receive all of the new effects but also new voice lines, a unique recall animation and voice line interactions with certain champions. Check out all the skins below:

Star GuardianAhri

Star Guardian Ezreal

Star GuardianMiss Fortune

Star GuardianSoraka

Star GuardianSyndra

Photos courtesy of Riot Games

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This Artist Gets Around Instagram’s Nudity Guidelines by Painting Her Nipples – SELF08.15.17

Claudia Sahuquillo is a Barcelona-based artist who relies on a rather unconventional canvas: the human body. Sahuquillo has been celebrating the beauty of the human form through art for about a year now, and she’s been sharing her work on Instagram (@claudisahuquillo)where she’s amassed nearly 52,000 followers.

Sahuquillo began her work in 2016 by painting on her own skin. She then expanded her project to include other models, or “canvases,” whose skin she painted on. At first, she painted predetermined designs onto each model’s body. But she quickly shifted to a more improvisational approachallowing her interactions with each model to shape the final form each painting took.

“It’s not like I’m painting on paper or on canvasI’m painting on people. So the results depend on them,” Sahuquillo told Vice in an interview last year. “They lose their fear, and that’s the most beautiful part of the project I think.” Sahuquillo added that she loves to watch the progression from the beginning to the end of each piece, as people become increasingly comfortable “letting their bodies become an art piece and be part of the creative process.”

Sahuquillo’s work soon served as a commentary on Instagram’s censorship guidelines, though she didn’t intend for it to be one. As she uploaded her work to the social media site, she quickly realized photos of female nipples would be flagged by Instagram and taken downunless they were covered in paint. “It’s weird because I can’t post a photo of a nipple but I can post a photo of a nipple if it’s painted,” she said.

Sahuquillo’s method for skirting Instagram’s censorship guidelines is not only beautiful, but it also offers a sharp critique of the arbitrary standards that deem certain kinds of female nudity acceptable and others unacceptable.

See some of Sahuquillo’s stunning work below.

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You might also like: 9 Weird Nipple Things That Are Totally Normal

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Chicanx Tattoos: From Prison Badges to Venerated Latinx Culture – KCET08.15.17

Something happened when Miami Ink premiered on TLC in July 2005: tattoos became one of the biggest, if subtle, media fixations weve ever had, quickly becoming ubiquitous in ad campaigns, runway shows, fashion spreads, TV and movie characters in short, everywhere.

Twenty-five years ago, you rarely found ink on people who werent prison inmates, bikers, gang-members or sailors. Now all of a sudden they were popping up on models, celebrities, bankers, office workers and executives. Tattoos have spread to every socio-economic walk of life. In fact, as of 2016, over 36 percent of Americans 18-25 had at least one tattoo on their bodies.

Freddy Negretetattooing | Courtesy of the Artist

The most popular tattoos (or at least elements of them) were Chicanx-style. Despite adorning the flesh of some of the richest white people in the world, the technique behind those black and gray shaded portraits and photorealistic images was actually forged in SoCal prisons by Latinx inmates using homemade tattoo guns made out of cassette player motors. Known back in the day as prison tattoos (the industry now respectfully refers to them as black and grays), theyve definitely come a long way from the barrios of Southern California, proudly inked on celebrities like Justin Bieber, Johnny Depp, David Beckham, Adam Levine, Travis Barker, and too many to even name. For the third year running, Los Angeles is playing host to Antonio Pelayos Tatuaje, a one-night only festival celebrating Latinx tattoo culture that draws an average of4,000 attendees each year.

Watch Shizu Saldamando, whose works are in theNational Portrait Gallery, ink her works on skin in ArtboundSeason 2’s second episode.

Once upon a time, before he became the veritable father of mainstream Latinx tattoo art, Freddy Negrete sat in a cell at L.A.s Central Juvenile Hall, doing what he always did: drawing. Its a skill he picked up from his father and uncle, who were also self-taught artists. Prison artists, specifically. It was 1968, and before the decade was over, Negrete would be in and out of every sort of juvenile detention program in Southern California, where, mostly, theres nothing to do but wait. Or draw. You spend a lot of time drawing, Negrete explained.

In particular, he was drawing black and gray sketches inspired by the Chicano art movement that surrounded him in his community, depicting three-dot crosses, Old English lettering, saints, sombreros and images ubiquitous in lowrider culture. Those kinds of visuals were half of the Latinx tattoo style. The other half was the use of thin lines and black and gray shading to create photorealistic images something that no other school of tattooing was doing at the time. Back in those days, there were the mainstream, thick lined and cartoonish tattoos that hardly anyone was getting, and the thin-line black and gray Chicano tattoos that everyone in Negretes community seemed to have. You would even see peoples grandparents with tattoos, he says. It was accepted back then, but not as much as it is now.

Its in that cell in L.A.s Central Juvenile Hall that Negrete came face to face with a real Chicano gangster, only a little older than him, and covered with more tattoos than most cons twice his age.

Freddy Negrete | Courtesy of the artist

This cellmate taught Negrete how to create a pen by sticking a needle into the melted end of a toothbrush and using mascara as ink, and Negrete was hooked, poking his his first tattoo onto his arm as soon as he could. Already a skilled artist, Negrete spent every moment in jail practicing his tattooing technique on his fellow inmates. As the saying goes, it only takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a master at something, and Negrete didnt have much to do but draw tattoos. It was illegal back then too, but most of the guards, they just turned their back on that, Negrete explained. As long as we didnt kill each other.

There was actually a network inside the prison system of tattoo artists, and they all shared tips and designs (what they called patterns) with each other through the pen pal program, building followings but also propagating techniques and knowledge. Among the juvies, Negrete quickly built fame around his skill. One of his most recognized drawings was of a charra girl in Daisy Dukes. He also did his own take of the famous comedy and tragedy masks playing off the old tune Smile Now, Cry Later. Someone in Susanville Prison developed the first homemade tattoo gun using the motor of a cassette tape, and when Negrete made his own, it completely changed his game.

Negrete had spent his entire life up to that point doing drawings on paper, but took naturally to working with an ink needle. Many of his fellow tattoo artists in the prison system, however, had never spent much time on drawing or design prior to picking up a tattoo gun for the first time. I met so many amazing artists in that time, Negrete reflected. And for many of them, skin had been the first medium they had ever worked on.

After he got out of the joint, Negrete set up shop in his own apartment and quickly turned tattooing into a full-time career, thanks to the incredible demand for prison tattoos. His work caught the attention of Good Time Charlie, the owner of a tattoo shop in East L.A. of the same name. Charlie was trying to corner the prison-tattoo market as well. It wasnt long before Jack Huero Rudy, one of Charlies most popular tattoo artists, set up a meeting with Negrete. When he walked into the shop one of the first things he saw was the charra girl with Daisy Dukes that he drew, hanging on their wall. He explained it was his design, and the staff didnt believe him until he pulled the original drawing out of his portfolio book.

Freddy Negrete Tattooing | Courtesy of the Artist

What seemed like something that would have gotten Negrete hired on the spot led nowhere. Good Time Charlie had no interest in hiring a cholo gangster. That is, until he turned Christian, and sold his tattoo shop to Ed Hardy. Rudy made the introduction, and Hardy gave Negrete his first job in a studio.

As Good Time Charlie got busier and busier, it wasnt long before people started seeing Negrete and Rudys work (and work inspired by it) across the nation even the world. It was the dawn of MTV, and suddenly there were world-famous rock stars in music videos covered in black and gray ink. And there were millions of people who wanted to be like them.

Including the next generation of artists that would rise to fame in the next decade most notably among them, Gwen Stefani of No Doubt fame, with her arched eyeliner and chola-style tattoos. Stefani had (and continues to have) a pretty big cultural impact. By the turn of the Millennium, tattoos were practically mainstream, with Inked Magazine rolling out in 2004 and Miami Ink taking to the airwaves the very next year to premiere the first wave of tattoo artist celebrities: Ami James, Chris Nunez and Kat Von D to name a few. By the time Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Lil Wayne and others started getting inked on a regular basis, tattoos, especially the black and gray photorealistic variety of Chicano heritage had gone global, barely recognizable (at least to the masses) as the creative heart of Chicano culture.

Flash forward nearly two decades to Antonio Pelayo, who, without realizing it was solving a problem. By then, he created an event to celebrate Latinx tattoo culture and raise awareness of the art form’s roots: Tatuaje Tattoo Festival. The annual event began its run in 2015, and has at least doubled in size since.

Pelayo has always had two careers running concurrently. On one track, hes an insanely talented illustrator that draws, very similar to the Chicanx tattoo style. The other career track is as a producer creating events that celebrate various aspects of Latinx art and culture.

How he became an event producer happened by accident, but it was always a natural evolution. Born in Glendale, CA, he spent much of his childhood in Mexico, leading Jehovahs Witnesses congregations of several hundred people at the young age of 13 and 14. When he returned to the States, he automatically found himself falling into leadership roles in every facet of his life.

Early on in his career, he spent a lot of time hustling to get his work shown in different venues around LA, mostly bars, with the occasional more traditional art spaces. I had a lot of people asking me for advice about how their kids could get into art, he said. Realizing he could help, he started referring friends to the venues he had exhibited at so they could show their work, which only brought more artists into this life. The network got so big that eventually realized he could branch out on his own and produce his own art showcase.

To this day, the biggest one he produces is El Velorio, a Dia de Los Muertos event that, among other things, showcases hundreds of Latinx artists from Southern California. Freddy Negrete was the first tattoo artist to approach Pelayo about showcasing his works on paper and canvas. And when Pelayo said yes, Negrete brought more into the fold.

Tatuaje Festival | Courtesy of Antonio Pelayo

Tatuaje Festival | Courtesy of Antonio Pelayo

Pelayo admits he was not very involved or even aware of tattoo culture until ten years ago, when he got his first tattoo. Like many Americans, he became more aware of this around the time Miami Ink rose to prominence. Since then, hes gotten two tattoos on his forearms, and allowed his girlfriend, a tattoo artist herself, to practice her skills on his legs (she did a great job). The black and white illustration technique hes mastered on paper also lends itself well to Chicano-style tattoo, so his designs have been used on skin on more than few occasions.

His most epic tattoo, however, is one of his smallest. When his son was just two years old, he drew a smiley face, and Pelayo left it up on the refrigerator for nearly two decades since. To commemorate his sons first professional art showcase, Pelayo got that drawing tattooed it on his hand. When people ask me about this one, Pelayo says, it actually makes some of them cry.

AntonioPelayo| Courtesy of Antonio Pelayo

As Pelayo became more and more familiar with the history of Chicanx tattoos, he realized there was something here that could power an entire separate event. And that became the basis for Tatuaje. 2017 is the third year of the event, and its going to be bigger than ever, with Danny Trejo returning as host, and Los Lobos, a Grammy-award winning band and one of the biggest in the Latinx music world, is the headlining act.

With Tatuaje, Pelayo might not be raising awareness of Chicano tattoo art, either but rather tapping into an interest thats always been there. El Velorio is still his biggest annual event, but Pelayo notes, The first year I did El Velorio, I only had 500 attendees. The first year I did Tatuaje, I had 2,000.

Since its inception in 2015, Negrete has been curating the art portion of Tatuaje, personally selecting hundreds of professional tattoo artists to exhibit their works on paper and canvas, many of them for the first time ever. Ive seen a lot of good artwork, says Negrete. Most tattoo artists are really into their tattooing [even though they have so much talent in other areas.] Its good for them to show their work like this. Johnny Quintana, one of the most famous Chicanx tattoo artists in LA, has actually flourished as a painter since first exhibiting with Pelayos events.

Its been a long cycle, but the evolution of Chicanx tattoo art seems to have finally come full circle. After going mainstream and becoming a visual style and technique used all over the world, Chicanx tattoos have now returned to and become a pillar of the community that originally spawned it.

Chicanx tattoos, and tattoos in general, will never go fully, fully mainstream though. It always has an element of darkness to it, says Negrete. It will always have the fire of something underground and special, because it hurts.

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Finding your Way Home at WayHome Music + Arts Festival [Event Recap] – EARMILK (blog)08.15.17

As the sun begins to set on the Burl’s Creek event grounds on Thursday, July 27th, festival attendees and campsites have begun to take over the make-shift campground for the weekend as part of the WayHome Music + Arts Festival experience. What has been deemed “Canada’s Bonnaroo”, WayHome is a three-day music festival which occurs every summer in Ore-Medonte, Ontario (an hour outside of Toronto). The festival prides itself on its diverse lineup, as well as its arts-oriented decoration and installations and this year was no exception. With Flume, Imagine Dragons & Frank Ocean as headliners, attendees were in for a treat this year in terms of musical acts, and with Perrier, TOPSHOP, MEC and Coors Light as festival sponsors, you knew on-site activations would be poppin’.

We took in all the sights and sounds at WayHome this year and experienced a Canadian festival unlike any other. From seeing Ryan Hemsworth inside the Perrier Greenhouse to a hot air balloon ride courtesy of Coors Light and from eating hot dogs covered in cheese sauce and fried jalapenos (thanks Kung Fu Dawg) and lounging in a hammock with free shaved-ice in hand from MEC, we truly found our “way home” that weekend.

Below are our musical act highlights over the entire weekend.

Vancouver-based nu-disco and funk producer Pat Lok kicked off day one of WayHome on a dancier note with the debut of his new live performance set up. He seamlessly played two keyboards and a drum kit while songs from his debut album Hold On Let Go accompanied. Pat gave the energetic early risers at the WayAway stage the perfect start to their busy weekend. Keep an eye out with our sit down interview with Pat Look within the next few days.

It’s the live set that just gets better Flume closed out the main stage of WayHome in a huge way. Adding to the preexisting Skin live set, the electronic producer featured tracks from Skin Companion EP I & II, as well as “Hyperreal” and his co-produced track “Yeah Right” for Vince Staples. Flume included additional visuals to his already stimulating set up.

A performance 10 years in the making well, for me anyways. I have been a fan of Justice since my high school days and FINALLY being able to see them was the cherry on top of everything. The French duo closed out the WayBright stage on the first night of the festival and could not be topped the rest of the weekend. Performing with their new live set up, the set was a mash up of Woman-era Justice with the Cross & Audio Visual Disco eras and featured intense lighting that almost made my brain explode. Well worth the wait.

If you’re still sleeping on THEY. what the heck are you doing? This was my second time seeing the Los Angeles boys, but first time as an avid listener. The duo performed the set I had seen a couple months prior, but brought a whole new energy to WayHome. Opening with their ZHU collaboration and smash hit “Working For It”, Dante and Drew flew through their tracks without skipping a beat or slowing down and, of course, had a ton of fun with it.

To the confusion of festival go-ers and the man himself, Schoolboy Q was the only rap artist to play the festival’s main stage, but it didn’t stop him from having one of the best performances of the weekend. The crowds I experienced at WayHome were “distracted” throughout 80% of the sets I saw, however this behaviour hit pause as soon as he hit the stage. Schoolboy had the crowd jumping and screaming with performances of “Collard Greens” and “Man of the Year”, as well as performing Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE”.

Probably one of the most talented young electronic acts out nowadays Louis the Child brought some serious vibes to the WayAway stage late-afternoon for day two of WayHome. The boys danced and climbed (Robbie literally climbed the stage’s scaffolding) throughout their short one hour set, which featured favourites “Fire”, “Love is Alive”, “Weekend” and “It’s Strange”. The large crowd of young attendees ate every second of it and so did I.

Despite having technical difficulties, Hundred Waters gave an eerie-yet-ethereal performance in the late afternoon on the final day of WayHome. The group did half of their set acoustically and lead vocalist Nicole Miglis performed a stunning rendition of “Show Me Love”, which featured only her on the piano and vocals. Attendees were truly treated by being able to experience a half-acoustic, half-electronic performance from these musical pros.

Porter’s performance was just what the last day needed. Energy was definitely lacking in the final hours of the festival and with multiple performances still left in the evening, attendees needed a boost. Porter has been touring with the Worlds Live set up for just over three years now and has tweaked it multiple times along the way. The WayHome crowd was treated to the most up-to-date version, featuring Madeon-collab “Shelter” and a slew of new edits, which was stuffed into a one hour set packed with insane visuals. This was considered my official end to the festival (sorry Frank).

I also witnessed the goddess that is Solange, who had the second best performance of the weekend, as the sun set on day two. Sitting in the grass with her soulful voice washing over me as I gazed in awe of her very art-inspired performance was an unexpected yet welcomed surprise. Frank Ocean officially closed out WayHome 2017 with a beautiful and innovative yet kind of boring performance. Frank seemed a little distracted during his set as he changed his mind on songs multiple times and even forgot the lyrics to “Forrest Gump” (but redeemed himself quickly thanks to audience participation), but nonetheless, it was a cool performance to witness.

Connect with WayHome: Official website | Facebook | Twitter

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Have You Seen This – New York Times08.13.17

This feat of architectural engineering is part of the Shed, an art and performance space that will become the latest spectacle along New Yorks High Line. While the Shed wont be up and running for more than a year, it can now do this neat five-minute ballet on six-foot wheels.

When first announced, the project was vaguely conceived. Located where the High Line runs smack into the massive West Side development project called Hudson Yards, the Shed seemed hardly more than an architectural trophy, with no obvious reason for being, other than to appease a skeptical public with the promise of some cultural amenity on the site of one of the largest and most valuable real estate deals in New York.

Since then, an impresario named Alex Poots, formerly of the Manchester International Festival and the Park Avenue Armory, has taken over programming for the Shed and looks to be giving it a rationale. Well see, when the place opens in 2019.

Meanwhile the building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group, is already taking shape: a six-story box, spooning with an apartment tower and encased inside that telescoping shell, which consists of an enormous steel exoskeleton of slender, crisscrossed columns, like Art Nouveau vines, supporting a feather-light, translucent-white polymer skin.

The gossamer-looking but gigantic structure still weighs in at 8 million pounds but glides on a half-dozen exposed steel bogies, or wheels, six-feet in diameter,

with tapered bearings so meticulously engineered that the system requires just six 15-horsepower motors

in effect, a Toyota Prius engine moving a behemoth as finely-tuned as a Formula One car.

In its scale, this faintly quaint, eloquently designed contraption aspires to conjure up the spirit of those 19th-century exemplars of elegant engineering like the Brooklyn Bridge or the Eiffel Tower: industrial-era monuments of structural form, both necessary and sufficient, ingenious but not space age, encapsulating the aspirations of a city.

One might also recall the classic photograph from 1857 of Isambard Brunel, the English engineer, dwarfed beside the launching chains of the S.S. Great Eastern.

When opened, the shell will drape over the Sheds sprawling plaza at Hudson Yards, which can then be made into a movie palace or a gallery for art or a theater with bleacher seats a flexible new 17,000 square foot public space for New York at what promises to be one of the citys busiest pedestrian intersections after all the commercial skyscrapers around it are built.

At the same time, the Sheds movable shell becomes a kind of kinetic sculpture, more aesthetic and functional than the clunky, pointless climbing gym that the sites developers have commissioned from Thomas Heatherwick, the gifted but unreliable British showman:

It is also more inspiring:

Whatever Mr. Poots ultimately cooks up, the shell alone bids to make the Shed a destination.

Videos: Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Images: Robert Howlett (Brunel); Timothy Schenck (highline view); Heatherwick Studio (Heatherwick building).

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The Farmer’s Skincare Magic – PaperCity Magazine (press release) (blog)08.13.17

A home garden may seem like an unlikely place to discover a skincare super ingredient, but for Farmacy co-founder Mark Veeder, his green thumb was the key to his budding skincare empire.

An avid gardner, Veeder was no stranger to the power of botany. So when he discovered a rare Echinacea plant in his home nursery, he knew the herbaceous flower would lead to something special. Turns out he was right. A few patents later, Farmacy was born in 2015 a skincare brand founded by Veeder and co-founder/farming expert Robert Beyfuss.

Together, the duo is combining Veeders trademarked Echinacea extract with natural botanicals and scientific research to create a one-of-a-kind, naturally-derived skincare line.

On a recent trip to Houston, we caught up with Veeder to talk all things Farmacy. From his green upbringing to the brands next move, heres an inside look at the farmer cultivated, scientist activated beauty brand.

While in my garden at home, I noticed a green-flowering Echinacea purpurea plant. I knew that this was unique, since there was no such thing as a green-flowering Echinacea, and went ahead and got it patented, Veeder says.

It turns out that our Echinacea Echinacea GreenEnvy is 300 percent stronger in a phytochemical called Cichoric Acid, which has incredible skincare benefits because it is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

I partnered with a leading lab in New Jersey to develop a full line of products. At Farmacy, we say were Farmer Cultivated, Scientist Activated because we believe in using incredible botanicals backed by the power of science to create naturally-derived, efficacious products.

When I was a kid, instead of looking at fashion magazines, I was looking at plant catalogs. Ive always had both a love and respect for nature and farming from a young age (I grew up on my dads Christmas tree farm), and that passion is something that has carried with me throughout my life.

My curiosity about plants and botanicals plays a large role in Farmacys product development, since beyond my discovery of Echinacea GreenEnvy, Im always on the hunt for new, unique actives that I can bring into skincare.

A lot of people are familiar with taking Echinacea when theyre feeling sick, or have a cold, because its loaded with antioxidants. It has a similar effect when applied topically to the skin.

Our patent-protected variant of Echinacea Purpurea, GreenEnvy, contains a high concentration of Cichoric Acid,which is a potent natural antioxidantand anti-inflammatory that helps protect and firm the skin by inhibiting the enzymes that break down collagen.

[It]also normalizes the skin pigmentation process to promote a more evenly toned complexion.

Our newest launch which just came out in July is our Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer. Its a long-lasting, lightweight moisturizer combining Echinacea GreenEnvy Honey (which is made only by the bees on our farm in Upstate New York), Triple Hyaluronic Acid Complex (to target the skin at three different molecular weights) and cupuau butter beads which melt into the skin to provide a smooth, hydrated finish.

As part of our mission to foster an appreciation for naturally derived and farmer cultivated ingredients and bring attention to the importance of honeybees to our food supply, were donating one dollar for every honey product sold through December 2017 toCity Growersfor the development of their Bee Education program.

City Growersis a nonprofit with the mission to close fundamental gaps in the experiences of city kids: exploration of the natural world and understanding of where our food comes from.

Its a combination of Invincible Root Cell Anti-Aging Serum because its such a powerful and active formula that reduces inflammation, evens out skin tone and promotes collagen production; and our New Day Gentle Cleansing Grains, which are gentle enough to use every day. And they dont strip your skin, but rather leave it cleansed and hydrated.

I continue to be an obsessive gardener and will always be! My gardening is my art. Some paint with pigments and paints, while I paint with plants.

Its how I stay grounded and connected to the earth and present every day. I love growing all kinds of plants but of course, my Echinacea GreenEnvy is my all-time favorite plant to grow.

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Where mastectomy scars raged, a tattoo garden blooms – 89.3 KPCC08.12.17

Within weeks of being diagnosed with breast cancer at 29 years old, Nicole O’Hara of Phoenix, Md., underwent a double mastectomy. She had breast reconstruction during the same operation; then it was on to chemotherapy.

The ordeal left O’Hara with “big, ugly, red inflamed scars and stitches and drains,” she says.

“It [was] a battlefield.”

The scars spread across her chest where the incisions were made and the chemo port was placed. As she healed at home, those scars remained.

“To be reminded of those every time you look in the mirror can be hard,” she says. “You’re trying to move past that point in your life.”

O’Hara’s plastic surgeon laid out the reconstruction options: She could have nipples built from her own skin or areola and nipple shading tattooed to look like the real thing. But instead of re-creating what she had lost, she decided to do something more artistic.

She worked with a friend to design a tattoo and, four years after the mastectomy surgery, took it to Lisa Doll, the owner of Rose Red Tattoo in Ellicott City, Md. Doll specializes in tattooing over scar tissue that is often discolored, uneven and thinner than normal skin, making it difficult to hold pigmentation. The skin typically needs at least a year to heal before it’s ready. And even then, scarring may be too extensive.

But a tattoo can be an empowering option for people who have had a mastectomy, Doll says.

“Cancer comes through and does things that they’re not happy with,” she says. “Getting a tattoo over their mastectomy scars puts them in control of their body image.”

Doll’s first mastectomy tattoo client came to her through word of mouth. It was an emotional experience and motivated her to want to do more. Since then, she has been active in the breast cancer community, booking clients every month.

“People see it much more as an adornment to their body. It doesn’t have that taboo undertone like it used to,” she says. “They bring their whole family to see the results.”

The art requests range from floral and ornamental to the more risque and lacy, but Doll says that the designs almost always have some personal meaning.

Like the piece O’Hara has tattooed across her chest: a spray of apple blossoms, bluebells, heather, garlic all symbols from her garden. A black and blue magpie sits off to the right with his wings outstretched.

“I’m a gardener,” she says, “Flowers, birds it’s where I feel most alive and comfortable.”

She specifically asked for tall lavender lupine flowers to extend up her shoulder in a bra-strap shape so she could tell her story to anyone who happened to see it.

“It’s a reminder that yes, I got through it. I made it.”

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VIDEO: Where Mastectomy Scars Raged, A Tattoo Garden Blooms – NPR08.12.17

Within weeks of being diagnosed with breast cancer at 29 years old, Nicole O’Hara of Phoenix, Md., underwent a double mastectomy. She had breast reconstruction during the same operation; then it was on to chemotherapy.

The ordeal left O’Hara with “big, ugly, red inflamed scars and stitches and drains,” she says.

“It [was] a battlefield.”

After Nicole O’Hara was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 29, she had a double mastectomy. The surgery left her with scarring that she decided to cover with an artistic tattoo. Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

After Nicole O’Hara was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 29, she had a double mastectomy. The surgery left her with scarring that she decided to cover with an artistic tattoo.

The scars spread across her chest where the incisions were made and the chemo port was placed. As she healed at home, those scars remained.

“To be reminded of those every time you look in the mirror can be hard,” she says. “You’re trying to move past that point in your life.”

O’Hara’s plastic surgeon laid out the reconstruction options: She could have nipples built from her own skin or areola and nipple shading tattooed to look like the real thing. But instead of re-creating what she had lost, she decided to do something more artistic.

She worked with a friend to design a tattoo and, four years after the mastectomy surgery, took it to Lisa Doll, the owner of Rose Red Tattoo in Ellicott City, Md. Doll specializes in tattooing over scar tissue that is often discolored, uneven and thinner than normal skin, making it difficult to hold pigmentation. The skin typically needs at least a year to heal before it’s ready. And even then, scarring may be too extensive.

O’Hara’s tattoo required three sessions with Lisa Doll to complete the line work and color shading. Doll says that clients “get these tattoos to represent things about themselves. It becomes an empowering thing for them, an expressive thing.” Meredith Rizzo and Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

O’Hara’s tattoo required three sessions with Lisa Doll to complete the line work and color shading. Doll says that clients “get these tattoos to represent things about themselves. It becomes an empowering thing for them, an expressive thing.”

But a tattoo can be an empowering option for people who have had a mastectomy, Doll says.

“Cancer comes through and does things that they’re not happy with,” she says. “Getting a tattoo over their mastectomy scars puts them in control of their body image.”

Doll says that tattooing isn’t as taboo as it once was. Some post-mastectomy clients bring their whole family to support them. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

Doll says that tattooing isn’t as taboo as it once was. Some post-mastectomy clients bring their whole family to support them.

Doll’s first mastectomy tattoo client came to her through word of mouth. It was an emotional experience and motivated her to want to do more. Since then, she has been active in the breast cancer community, booking clients every month.

“People see it much more as an adornment to their body. It doesn’t have that taboo undertone like it used to,” she says. “They bring their whole family to see the results.”

The art requests range from floral and ornamental to the more risque and lacy, but Doll says that the designs almost always have some personal meaning.

Like the piece O’Hara has tattooed across her chest: a spray of apple blossoms, bluebells, heather, garlic all symbols from her garden. A black and blue magpie sits off to the right with his wings outstretched.

“I’m a gardener,” she says, “Flowers, birds it’s where I feel most alive and comfortable.”

She specifically asked for tall lavender lupine flowers to extend up her shoulder in a bra-strap shape so she could tell her story to anyone who happened to see it.

“It’s a reminder that yes, I got through it. I made it.”

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VIDEO: Where Mastectomy Scars Raged, A Tattoo Garden Blooms – NPR

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Photographer captures the faces of people with vitiligo to help her embrace her own skin – Metro08.12.17

Jasmine Colgan has learned to love her vitiligo through photography. (Picture: Jasmine Colgan / mediadrumworld.com)

Jasmine Colgan hasnt always loved her vitiligo, a condition which causes white patches across her skin.

She first noticed light patches on her wristswhen she was 21-years-old. Those patches began to spread, Jasmine headed to the dermatologist, and it was confirmed that she had vitiligo.

When I was studying my undergrad at the University of Colorado in Denver, my friend took a photograph of my hands, Jasmine says.

I couldnt stop looking at the picture.

I remember taking a few hours a day to match my skin tones evenly. Around lunchtime my lips would have rubbed off.

It was photography that helped her to learn to view the beauty of her skin.

One day, she scrubbed off her makeup and began to take self-portraits, using her skin as a form of art.

It became a relieving experience to express my emotions and capture them in a still life, she said.

As I shared my images, they showed my insecurities and somehow connected me with myself.

Jasmine began using makeup to enhance her vitiligo, rather than hide it.

Keen to carry on that mission of self-love and acceptance, she created a new project, called Tough Skin, to capture people from around the world living with vitiligo.

The idea for the name of Tough Skin came from my late grandmother when I was diagnosed, Jasmine explains. She told me, you gotta have tough skin, so I shortened the name for the project.

I have always been a documentation photographer, so I incorporated the idea of close shots with my skills.

I wanted to go to experience [peoples] culture of living with vitiligo, and I believe the only way to do that is to be in each persons environment.

I love the whole idea. Ive always wanted to travel, but this gives it a whole new meaning.

Jasmine began travelling the world, documenting people with vitiligo as she went.

The experience has helped Jasmine to love her own skin even more.

We share an unspoken bond, its heart-warming, she says. Just to be in the presence of someone with vitiligo.

A lot of the meetings have tears, but lately it has been mainly smiles.

A lot of hugs go on at meetings, which is my favourite because, I love hugs.

My favourite common thing that we all talk about is, where was your first spot, such an easy conversation starter and everyone has a different location, a different spot and a different experience.

So, when I arrange a meeting and a large group joins, its wonderful to hear the comparisons and contrasts of our similar yet so different skin.

She hopes that the photo series will work towards reducing the nasty comments people with vitiligo so often receive, as well as encouraging those with the skin condition to see their skin as beautiful.

When I was coaching gymnastics, the young girls called me a cow and asked why I was different, Jasmine explains.

With teenage adults, I catch them staring and Ill wave and smile just to show them that Im friendly and not contagious, vitiligo is probably something theyve never seen before.

Ive noticed that if they continue to stare or awkwardly look away after Ive waved and smiled it upsets me. Please ask questions, your eyes are more painful than the words.

Ignorant comments can hit you, left and right.

She hopes to expand her project to include everyone with an outer difference, whether its albinism, cleft lip, cerebral palsy, or downs syndrome.

And to those who look different, Jasmine has some words of strength.

Do not let the words hurt you, it is ok to stand up for yourself.

No matter the age of the person. Educate them on what they do not understand. Embrace your skin because you deserve to and you are beautiful.

We are all beautiful.

MORE: Black grandma whose vitiligo is slowly turning her white shows that beauty is beyond skin

MORE: Photographer gives birth in a parking lot after getting stuck in traffic

MORE: Stunning photo series will make you want to grow out your armpit hair

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Live with the arts – The Daily Post-Athenian08.11.17

The following is an essay I wrote six and a half years ago, while in graduate school, just over two years before I was hired as executive director for Athens Area Council for the Arts. Reflecting on a story about the power of live music, I recalled this piece. The writer at the time was preparing for a career in corporate communications. If you’d have asked her then, she never would have guessed she’d end up building a life in her hometown and a career as an arts administrator:

Elation. What I felt, at eighteen, hips bumpin’ in that hippie sway, soul jumpin’ right out of my skin. October 2004, Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte, North Carolina. The front-man lifts his right hand from the pedal steel long enough to aim his long pointer finger directly at my beating heart. “My stage is a ladies stage,” he beckons, oozing swagger, “You three – on up here.” Screaming in that distinctive college-girl squeal, we clamor over shoulders, boosted by our (uninvited) male counterparts. Bright lights, stage right. For seven celebrated minutes we’re backup singers. Tambourine and all. What song was it? My memory thwarts that detail. Perhaps it wasThree Little Birds; more likely,Is this Love? Oh yes, it was love I was feeling, and rapture, and “Good God, my God don’t ever let this moment die.” We told Robert his invitation was serendipitous, “It’s her eighteenth birthday!” We jumped, still squealing, pointing at Erin and made our exit as the crowd sang “Happy Birthday, Dear Erin,” led by Robert Randolph and the Family Band.

Euphoria. What I felt, at twenty-one, feet stompin’ in that percussive sashay, soul jumpin’ right outta my skin. June 2008, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, Tennessee. The unforgiving sun beats down, punishing forgotten grass. Fickle rays; they kiss my cheeks but char my shoulders, crisp my ears. No matter, we pay no mind. The diminutive diva’s cherry sequins quake like Cabasa beads. “Now, you sweatin’, I see you sweatin’. I’m sweatin’, you see me sweatin.’ But, you see me movin’, you seeme groovin’, you see me feelin’, you see me shakin’.” (Trumpets crescendo.) “You see me shakin’.” (Trombone blasts.) “You see me shakin!” (Brass blares.) “Now shake!” (Brass blasts.) “Now Shake!” (Brass blares.) “Everybody shake!” (Brass blasts.) Three thousand strong and counting shake and shudder, we breathe in time to the drum beat. We’ve transcended. Where are we? A farm in Middle Tennessee, authenticity says. But fancy says, no, 1972, New Orleans. Or nowhere. Nowhere but here: no time but this moment. Me, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, him, Bubba from Alabama, and the woman who calls herself Janis. Our feet keep us grounded, the bass rhythm gets us lifted.

Ecstasy. What I felt, at twenty four, head noddin’ in that harmonious sentiment, soul jumpin’ right outta my skin. February 2011. Sue E. Trotter Theater. Athens, Tennessee. The folk guitarist has us wrapped around his long string-pickin’ finger. Five of them saunter over six strings, he sings, and we’re his. A self-proclaimed cross between Pete Seeger and Chris Rock, Vance Gilbert’s whimsical humor pairs perfectly with his soul-wrenching tenor tone.

He has us laughing with “My Bad.” “Now imagine they brought Billie Holiday back from beyond,” he says, setting the scene, “and they want her to do Jazz. Not Jazz like she used to but Jazz for the kids, you know, relevant. They fill a room with, you know, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna, and Jay-Z, and Justin Timberlake, and Beyonce, and Kanye West (they just don’t let him have the mic) and they tell ’em to write a song, for Billie, forrelevantJazz. “My Bad,” the product of this pretend writing session, is an uproarious parody – “I know tappin’ that was wack, my bad.” He has us swaying with his covers and chameleon croon. He’s “Lady Day” with a mournful cry, he’s Neil Young with a mocking warble, he’s “Satchmo” with a smiling mouthful of gravel. He breathes life into Joni Mitchell and conjures Jimi Hendrix. He has us crying with his sentimental authenticity. His originals are as genuine as they are beautiful: “Unfamiliar Moon,” bemoans everyday melancholy, “Old Man’s advice,” commemorates distinctive relationships, “Some Great Thing,” celebrates just that in every moment, and “Lucia’s Lullaby,” an impromptu encore improvisation addressed to the brown-eyed toddler in the front row confirms his brilliance.

Where were we, again?Athens, Tennessee. Musical grandeur is ready and waiting at your local Arts Center. I’ve spent years out-of-town, living the big-city-girl high life, in Charlotte, then Nashville. I’ve seen shows in Atlanta, New York and Chicago to name a few. I’m back home again for a few months. I have friends in similar situations. We joke and tease one another and lament the lack of things to do. “What is there for twenty-somethings in this town?” is our sort of mantra. We forget that we have a unique artistic venue at our fingertips. Athens Area Council for the Arts’ Black Box Concert Series produces shows that rival those I’ve attended in “big cities.” AACA also provides the opportunity to experience and create visual art: the exhibits feature local and national artists, the Art Market showcases the work of local artisans, and art classes allow you to embrace your inner artist. The Athens Community Theater also presents an opportunity to engage in the Arts, whether you want to audition for a center-stage role, or laugh and enjoy the show from the audience.

Don’t regret your small town life.Livewith your arts community.

*

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lauren Shepherd is executive director of the Athens Area Council for the Arts. Learn more at athensartscouncil.org

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