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What revolution?


Fabric swatches on canvas with makeshift cardboard frames
Fabric swatches on canvas

The Netflix film, 365 Days, is not the worst film ever made. That distinction belongs to the threequel, The Next 365 Days. And this is according to journos who got paid to write nice things about it. The films are based on the series of novels by Polish author, Blanka Lipińska.

According to the Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon, stories like 365 Days serve an important purpose. They allow us to watch as the inversion of our values play out in real world scenarios. And as we watch the scenes play out, our tablet or TV screens shield us from the consequences.

Sketchbook doodle from Charlie Esposito

Now, I think that as we broadcast disapproval of fan-fiction hot sex, we are avoiding the real hot topics. We might tell ourselves that we are staying neutral on those issues. But there is no political fence, not really.

Based on my experiences on social media over the past year, these are some questions I feel like asking people I am meeting for the first time:

Are you all in on a multicultural society? Can same-sex couples get married if they want? Can people with wombs please get a prescription filled without a pharmacist asking them to pee on a stick so their religious rules are not broken?

Dr. Emily Porter finds that medical professionals doing their job is going to be very frustrating

Neutrality is a nice word that means we are scared of saying what we think in case someone screams in our faces. Being human is already a lot of work, which is why we elect public officials to help us out. Yet, we keep electing representatives who won’t let us get on with living. They create legislation on matters that should remain private; and drag their feet on issues that are in the public’s interest. This is precisely the reason why more of us are speaking out.

With all of that in the background, I now ask you to consider the artist’s work during times of struggle. One of the best things about being an artist is that we usually end up collaborating to start a movement. The movement is whatever we choose to call it. We make noise as a collective, and people pay attention to our message.

Medusa Marie is on Twitter. Follow her for more fabulous visual art.

Unfortunately, the creative space is most vulnerable to interference. Because we artists are living in a society filled with outrage, our worst enemy becomes what we think others want from us. Fear stifles our productivity. But if we don’t make things, we cannot refine our process and become better artists.

Artists are people with feelings, and this makes us easy targets. And people use their own reactions to our relatively benign creations as an excuse to avoid the draft.

If you are a hobbyist critic, should you pack up and leave? Not so fast. There is still time to get some real work done.

Find balance in everything you do. drawing of stones balanced on top of each other.
“Find balance in everything you do” Artwork by MHBB via Twitter

Here are some people who will benefit from your support: Women, children, minority ethnic groups, refugees, the homeless, the starving, the physically challenged, the mentally unwell, recovering addicts and the orphaned. Dial up your voice to the usual strength. Vote for representatives who can help. Keep writing letters to them until they mobilise resources to alleviate pain and suffering.

Fairies are real and help us achieve our dreams as we sleep. AI assisted digital painting by Simply Veronica.
Fairies are real and assist us in our dreams – artwork by Simply Veronica

The revolution calls you to the draft. There is no need to burn your old scripts. Find a new cause, make some edits, and read them again. You might need a change of costume. Maybe a haircut. Or perhaps a 15-minute session on IG Live will get the ball rolling. The energy expenditure will leave you exhausted and restless. But soon enough, someone will hear you. And then, they will listen.

Good luck out there.

❤️

Postscript: Big shout outs to my lovely friends, Charlie Esposito, Medusa Marie, MHBB, and Simply Veronica. Thank you very much for responding to that last-minute request. Keep inspiring everyone with your activism and hard work.

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art entrepreneurs men women

Sephi Bergerson

Intro
Happy Thursday, everyone. Today’s post features nude photography. In addition to that, we learn more about photographer Sephi Bergerson’s philosophy of “One”, evolved minds, and how religious beliefs shape our perception of the world. Today, we invite you to catch a glimpse of this surreal collection with the religious motifs enfolding each subject. And what about you? Are you searching for your own divine source?

Sephi Bergerson
Looking for God in a church, synagogue, or mosque is religion. Looking for God inside is spirituality. This is what I believe. And you may be surprised to learn that I was born in a secular Jewish house. Yes, they really exist. And that is what I am referencing when I say that I believe in God, but I do not follow any organised religion.

I feel that religions have historically divided humanity, while spirituality is universal and brings us together. Many people take great comfort in the teachings laid down by the religion they follow. However, in my opinion, religions are all based on half-truths. They also tend to bind followers to a set of core assumptions and dogmatic thinking. And thus, in most cases, do not encourage free thinking.

There is one truth. I believe that evolve minds understand this truth even though they call it by many names. What I mean is that we can all speak about the same God. But because of our upbringing and environment, we use different names for the same deity that so many religions speak about. Those who are not restricted by their religion usually agree on this idea.

My work is an exploration of the emotions triggered by various religious symbols. I believe that inspiration is divine grace, and I am searching for a connection to this source of inspiration. I am particularly interested in how people perceive and react to the use of religious items in art and specifically connected with the human body.

I create photos using religious objects as styling for nude photographs. By doing so, I want to reclaim these worldly objects and alter their original religious purpose to question the attitudes, fears and unwritten rules which have formed religious dogma and people’s behaviour within it.

I focus on the three most influential monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as they were all born in the Middle East and are all inextricably linked to one another. Christianity was born within the Jewish tradition, and Islam developed from Christianity and Judaism. Growing up in Israel, I was surrounded by the monuments and realities of these three religions that formed the background of my upbringing and my visual language.

I am aware of the controversial side of this body of work. Some people might find my work offensive to their religious beliefs, and voice their protest accordingly. I would like to have a conversation about God and inspiration, but I know this subject brings out a lot of emotions. I have not experienced any violence with regard to this project, but a few people on twitter did say they find it offensive. I expect more of this once the project gets more exposure.

For example, we have also witnessed violence against artists who chose to depict religious items or subjects in their work. It is not uncommon that museums and galleries are forced to take a stand or forced to remove controversial work from their exhibition walls due to public outcry. There will always be those who oppose these ideas and rush to the defence of religion like white blood cells rushing to fight a virus.

I feel that God is everywhere, and the one I believe in does not require any protection, yet I think there is a high chance that gallery owners or museum curators would think twice before showing this work. This is why I believe that virtual galleries, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens are a good fit for this work.

Outro
Thank you for reading. Sephi Bergerson is an award-winning documentary and corporate photographer, and author. Follow him on Twitter. And of course, you can find the full range of his photography work on Instagram. After living in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, New York City, San Francisco, Paris and New Delhi, Sephi set down roots with his wife and children in Goa, India, in 2002. After moving to India, he started taking documentary assignments for corporate clients, international NGOs, and print publications.

Visit his website, Sephi Bergerson, and view all the photographs in this project, The Truth is One. Purchase items from this collection as non-fungible tokens on Foundation.

This photography project has won the following awards:

  • Budapest International Foto Awards 2021: SILVER In Fine Art/ Nudes
  • Tokyo International Foto Awards 2020: Silver In Fine Art/Nudes
  • Tokyo International Foto Awards 2020: Silver In Portfolio/Fine Art
  • One Eye Land Photography Awards 2018 – Silver Award
  • 11th Annual Black & White SPIDER Awards 2017 – Nominee
  • IPA ~ International Photography Awards 2016 – Honourable Mention
  • 10th Annual Black & White SPIDER Awards 2016 Honourable Mention
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art entrepreneurs technology women

Designing the Future: Charlie Esposito

Charlie Esposito

Several years ago, I watched a video clip on my Facebook feed. It featured an augmented reality exhibition which inspired me to pay closer attention to the future of digital art. Later, I was spurred on by an artist whose journey into Web 3 (decentralised platforms which use blockchain technology) I watched unfold on Instagram. As I was researching blockchain technology, I decided to list digital versions of my physical works on the Open Sea platform. This was how I got started with creating digital and hybrid art.

(Re)Connect

It was a natural progression for me because I am fascinated by anything innovative. I was mesmerised by the vast potential of virtual reality. This is because I realise that I could use this to overcome the barriers to owning my own physical gallery.

Then, I discovered Spatial, which is a great platform for creating free VR spaces. Using that platform, I was able to realise my dream of starting my own gallery. This was incredible because my gallery space can be accessed from anywhere in the world. It really is an invaluable tool because it can help artists to independently reach a much wider audience.

The Lights

Artists can set up and curate galleries themselves and hyperlink to their online shops. They can create any number of events and bring in people to network with. Virtual galleries are also a great way to host collectors, and hold artist talks or educational workshops.

Emotive abstractions web gallery

More recently, I decided to set up a gallery for my own Web 3 community. I wanted to do something to elevate others and I wanted to provide a completely free exhibition opportunity for artists. The Charlie ART Community Gallery went live over the last few weeks.

Displaced

There are endless possibilities for VR exhibiting and experiences. I eventually want to develop and make my galleries more immersive, and I’m looking forward to expanding into other platforms. I urge all other artists to discover and learn more about art in the Metaverse.

(Re)Connect on the cover of Excursions postgraduate journal

Outro
Artist Charlotte Esposito has been making both large and small scale artworks for over thirty years. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram. She also creates high end murals for interiors and makes bespoke apparel. She has exhibited widely and has sold works to both public and private collections. Her physical artwork is currently available via her website and at Saatchi Art. Her genesis collection of digital art is available as non-fungible tokens and can be collected on Open Sea.

Interview for Path of Flight
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art creative writing fiction women writing

The Lotus (Short film): Meet Australian filmmaker Bernadette Walsh

The Lotus: Short film by Bernadette Walsh

Thank you for viewing The Lotus, a short film by Australian filmmaker, Bernadette Walsh. It has been a while since the last short film Friday. When I caught up with Bernadette in Twitter Spaces the other night, I knew her activism would resonate well with you. Read on as she opens a window into her project.

The Lotus: Behind the scenes with director Bernadette Walsh

My name is Bernadette Walsh and I wrote and directed the short film, The Lotus. The film tells the mythical story of a brother and sister who were rescued from the darkest of places, and given a future with hope. I wrote the story in 2019, because I was inspired by the work of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, an NGO based in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Bernadette Walsh and her sister, Kate Walsh

The Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation was founded by Australian philanthropist Michael Brosowski in 2004, when he saw the need to rescue children from exploitation by labour and sex traffickers. Michael founded the NGO to provide these children with the care and support they would need to help rebuild their lives. In 2020, Blue Dragon rescued the 1,000th survivor of human trafficking. Today Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is still working with over 10,000 children and youth from around Vietnam.

Transforming the lives of children who were trafficked is hard work. And I knew that I wanted to support the NGO in any way I could. Working together with Blue Dragon, I raised funds through the Australian crowdfunding platform, Pozible, to make my film project a reality. My family and friends also chipped in to offer support.

The Lotus was brought to life by sand animation artist, Kseniya Simonova who rose to prominence in 2009, after winning Ukraine’s Got Talent 2009. Ten years later, she participated in The Champion on America’s got Talent. And on Britain’s Got Talent, she was the only act to receive two Golden Buzzers. Kseniya is an extraordinary artist who brings to life moving stories through incredible sand art. Having previously seen her work online, she immediately came to mind as the person who could breathe life into the story.

Sand art by Kseniya Simonova

The other wonderful, creative and talented people working on The Lotus included fine artist Kate Walsh, who created the storyboard visuals for Kseniya. The original music was created by Australian film composer, Robert John Sedky. And as the narrator, my 11-year-old son, Michael, was happy to offer his voice.

I enjoy testing new narrative styles in storytelling. This is why my next film project, Navigating a Pandemic will be testing more boundaries. For this project, I will be using artificial intelligent software to animate pandemic-related data into a 3D pigmented sculpture. I am fortunate to have the support of a high-performance computer company, which is supplying me with the computing power I need to render the project.

Kseniya Simonova meeting with King Jigme of Bhutan

Next stop? Raising funds to produce the project, and I will do that via the sale of non-fungible tokens. For me, token sales to multiple buyers works in the same way as traditional fundraising platforms. Supporters will be funding the project with the proceeds of their crypto investments. In the meantime, I am working to focus my fundraising activities within the community of crypto investors. The possibilities are both exciting and daunting. Wish me luck.

The Lotus has received the following awards:

  • Special Jury Animation Award at the Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles (Oct 2019)
  • Finalist at the Rome Independent Prisma Awards (March 2020)
  • Award of Merit at Best Shorts Festival in California (Apr 2020)
  • Finalist Mescalito Biopic Fes (Nov 2020)
  • Finalist JellyFEST Season 6 (Feb 2021)
  • Humanitarian Award at the Best Shorts Competition 2020 (2020)

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art creative writing science fiction technology women writing

A gift of birth (W I P)

Floral montage with fabric swatches on canvas

A work in progress. Still drafting the story, even though I am about six months behind in writing. The best part is that this delay has allowed me to rethink the story I am trying to tell, and build more rounded characters.

In mid-January, I drafted two scenes to show faith intersecting science and politics. This is an important theme in the story because the politics are influenced by a religious doctrine. Blending them will be interesting, because I do not plan to make anything obvious. In this untitled scene, the science is explained in a conversation between two government officials.

Fabric swatches and acrylic on canvas

“That was their colossal cock up,” shouted the health minister. The minister was not inside his study, so Sebastian was talking to an empty desk this afternoon. The health minister was speaking from a different room, and he was shouting even though his voice was transmitted over voice activated smart mics in his home.

“Sir,” replied Sebastian, “Treasury does not have jurisdiction over private medical cases.”

“You can revoke their funding,” was the minister’s surly response.

“True, but taking away funding from medical research into fertility treatment would be tantamount to a human rights violation,” said a smirking Sebastian. He was rather pleased with himself. “And may I remind you that overseas investors are plugging large amounts of cash into the research and development?”

“Money, money, money,” said the health minister. “She is suing me for lack of oversight. Me, personally. The research shows that uterine cells never generate fetal tissues even when exposed to a massive cocktail of hormones.”

“It was an act of God,” said Sebastian. He was laughing silently because he knew the statement would annoy his colleague. He stopped laughing and raised an eyebrow because he wondered if the health minister could see his face on a monitor somewhere.

Collage elements, fabric swatches and acrylic on canvas

“An outdated notion,” was the swift correction from the health minister’s voice.

Sebastian rolled his eyes, slightly relieved that his mocking behaviour had not been noticed.

He said, “She is with the Congregation, so those notions are alive and well. And support, across the world, has been universally positive. Also, remember that this is a giant leap forward for fertility research. The value of stock portfolios of biotech investors have skyrocketed. Absolutely everyone loves her.”

“Fine,” replied the health minister. “She is raising her daughter, and enjoying sainthood, but why is she suing me … and the government for the near fatal heart attack she suffered minutes after giving birth? I feel sorry that she had to go through that, but the same technology reprinted her blood vessels that were damaged. She is alive because of us and is suing us? Yet, everyone believes her actions are justified. Especially after that fiction!”

“Creative non-fiction, sir,” corrected Sebastian. He glanced over on his screen to review the article published in the National Gazette, in which the woman recounted the experience of giving birth to a girl less than a year after male-to-female gender reassignment surgery. Bloating, swelling and discomfort were normal after these procedures. She and her doctors did not know she was pregnant and there were no sperm or egg donors. Her doctors guessed that because of the hormone protocol she received, some of the cells in her ovaries had changed to reproductive cells. After exhaustive tests, they concluded that the most likely explanation was that one of the cells moved to her uterus and started dividing spontaneously. The hormone protocol facilitated the pregnancy, and the fetus was delivered at the six month mark.

Sebastian looked at the highlighted text of an email which was opened in another window on his screen. His cousin, Gala of Vale, was the first person he contacted when the health minister asked him for a meeting. She had replied to him with a voice message. Reading the transcription, he saw that it had everything he needed.

“Technically,” Sebsastian continued, “she cloned herself but this not a flaw in the medicine. She is reproducing, which is, biologically, what her body is supposed to do. Ask your team to focus on that argument and petition the tribunal to force a settlement on those grounds. But while you do that, tread softly. Her story is about family, faith, and the belief in miracles. Something that is lost in our world. People like hoping for things. We shouldn’t try to take it away from them.”

Paper collage with 3D elements

“All right,” replied the health minister with a sigh. “And what can I do?”

“Hire her as a special health advocate,” answered Sebastian.

“Even though she’s suing me,” retorted the health minister.

“Yes. Exactly,” replied Sebastian. He glanced over at the rest of the notes from his cousin. “And for the settlement negotiations, you personally offer money and resources only if she agrees to set up a foundation. Ask the Congregation to join the negotiations as an appropriate third party. As health minister, you will appoint an advisory board to represent the Congregation and the biotech industry. Instead of fighting her at a tribunal, we should help her to build a platform and set an agenda for the next three decades.”

“All right, Sebs. I am going to get legal on the phone, and I want another meeting with all of you before dinnertime today.”

“Yes, minister. We will see each other then.”

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art news opinion People women

Peace x Ash Wednesday

Peace (dry)

March 2, Ash Wednesday

Pause for a moment and reflect on human lives and dignity lost to conflict, strife, and intolerance. Honour the strength of will that brings us closer together.

Peace (washed)

Peace: Kimono fabric swatches, emulsion paint, and watercolor on ripped canvas.

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art creative writing opinion technology women writing

A loving me thing: 8 steps to an Instagram turnaround

Hello everyone. This is a followup to my post last year when I realised why IG was sending me followers though I did barely anything. As opposed to the year before. At that time, I reached 300 followers even as I posted infrequently, and used zero hashtags. Shortly after publishing that post, I reached 500 followers.

I have since that point started using hashtags. I also hid reels and archived posts to create a tight, focused grid. At some point, I will take down most of my current grid so I can keep the focus on installations of my artwork.

My Instagram account is attached to Clubhouse (and Spotify Greenroom). Quite a few of my early follows were coming from there because I participated in room discussions. I was also asking people in Twitter Spaces to join me on Clubhouse, and they found me on Instagram as well.

A few weeks ago, I was discussing the above results with a friend, and I came to understand that by posting to my Story daily, I was creating space for Instagram to place ads between accounts. People are used to tapping on the right side of their screens to see new stories, and that gives 5-second ads a place to breathe. I believe that my steady gain of followers daily had something to do with that. In other words, Story is where active accounts thrive, and you raise the likelihood of IG recommending your accounts to people interested in your niche.

By the end of 2021, (CH/Twitter) collaborations with some larger accounts were also boosting my account. Accounts with massive followings were talking about our collabs on Clubhouse and they reposted my stories (about them) to their stories. I have also been mentioned in their IG Live broadcasts. Remember that I am using IG for business and these were my goals all along.

Step by step, let’s review the method I used, with an updated set of 8 enhancements. These are also low effort and consistently applied, with focus on the Story feature.

  1. Share the work of other artists
    First, do for others. Instead of scrolling, think about whether you would like to share a post in your Story. I recommend that you share posts to Story if (a) the account supports you or (b) if the account is somewhat popular. In the latter case, a story mention (using the mention tag) ensures that you stand out in their notifications.
  2. Keep it up in messages
    Socialise via text and voice messages. The more time you spend sharing accounts in a meaningful way, the more you find yourself receiving kind notes from creators in your messages. And sooner or later, you will feel like you’re talking to your friends. Follow up by explaining why you like their work. Be interested in their methods or techniques, and ask them what other projects they are working on.
  3. Follow and share accounts that look like yours
    If an account is doing work that you want to do and it is not too big (over 100K followers), you should try to show that you have something in common. Show your followers that your ideas have been brought to light by another creator. Use the text or drawing feature in notes to make it obvious why you like the post you’re sharing. Be adventurous and you will find support.
  4. Pay attention to accounts with great content and few comments
    When a new post bubbles into view, look for comments first. Then, if this account is familiar to you and you know they will respond, leave a comment. Comments are precious, so offer them generously and try to keep them light and positive.
  5. Check stories and comments
    Quite a few popular creators schedule their posts and no matter how amazing your comment is, they (or their team) might never see it. One way to make sure that an account is active is to look at their Story. Active accounts may be more willing to engage with yours, and this is what you want.
  6. FL!RT
    This is the one time when I will advocate making the first approach. On the account of a popular creative (artist/writer) in your niche, look at comments on their most recent post. Did the post author reply to comments? If not, among the replies, look for accounts that engage with their followers. Come back to the post and reply to their comment. Then, heart some posts on their account, and wait.
  7. Mute
    There are accounts that produce amazing work, but a swath of posts down your timeline two days in a row is no bueno. Mute the account so you can see other posts. Or, if you feel so-so about a single post, hide the post so Instagram doesn’t keep showing more of what you don’t want. You can always see other posts from the account later.
  8. Unfollow
    What’s it like when you notice a live broadcast or a post that seems out of left field? It pays to do regular checks of accounts that you are following. Use the “most/least interacted with” feature in Instagram to check for accounts that are far outside your interests. First and foremost, focus your attention on accounts actively supporting you. From there, branch out with confidence, and bring new friends with similar interests into your fold.

Thank you for reading this post. I imagine you might realise that a low effort method of using social media takes … effort. Overnight, you could have great results, but that’s because you were consistent in the past. None of these methods require you to spend a whole day scrolling. Based on what I have shared so far, create a plan that fits comfortably with your needs and objectives. Never give up on your dreams, the saying goes, but you should be prepared to work for them. Best of luck.

Categories
art fiction women writing

Thirsty Girl

I am waiting to hear more words. Certainly, she had a working vocabulary and used them to acquire her fancy credentials. Over fifteen thousand followers on social media as a filmmaker, public speaker, and academic who barely speaks. What was her magic formula? I needed to retrieve that algorithm and save myself hours socialising online each week.

I had never heard her speak in more than three full sentences in the two months that I had known her. In my memory, her voice is a deep vocal fry of utterances that I cannot spell out. My brain is trying to make sense of what sounds like a guttural “ghehaaaaa” strummed on a loose D string.

A split second after I decided to leave the space, I noticed a name floating below an avatar. I hopped back in immediately because a few days earlier, she had told me and sixty others that he was her boyfriend. Actually, all she said was, “Lyyyyyyyke, uhhhhm … weeee … him … aaaah.” We grasped the situation when he said, “She’s the wife.”

Scrolling through his media folder, I soon discovered that he was a blond dude bro covered in tattoos. He looked young enough to be her son. He had an alien face for a head, which was fine, but the croaking sounds he was making left me wondering how their relationship got started in the first place.

“… was supposed to fly out to see her this Thursday, but the sex dungeon is closed,” I heard him wailing to the host.

“I didn’t saaaaay you couldn’t caaaaaahm,” she fried, nasally. That was the second full sentence I had ever heard from her.

I waited to hear more words but I gave up and left after fifteen excruciating minutes of silence punctuated by croaking sounds and vocal fries.

“Ribbit!”

“Hyhhaaaaahh.”

The next morning, I learned why a cohost’s microphone was muted. I read his messages to her in the screen capture she sent me, and I understood that he was doing something with his dominant hand.

“No,” I thought. “How was that possible while her boyfriend was sat there talking to them?” But before I could ask any more questions, she sent me a fresh message.

“Holy shit,” it read, “That hot guy you were talking to the other night? His body is like wow. He’s in a room with me now.”

“You should say hello,” I offered. I was still somewhat confused. And I would learn later that the hot guy was married and that his wife was newly pregnant.

“Oh, I already messaged him,” read her smug response. And I was gobsmacked. But what else should I expect from a thirsty girl?

Categories
art opinion poetry technology women writing

Octophina: Life and the art of healing

Fine artist Octophina

Not every artist’s origin story begins with the artist falling unconscious to the floor. But mine does. My name is Sophie. I am a Bulgarian mixed media abstract artist, TEDx speaker, and mental health advocate. Until I turned 32, I was an artist in denial. And I say that because I never had the courage to admit that I wanted to make art.

Octophina is on Twitter

After a very challenging period in my life, creating art helped me sculpt a new self-identity. I was also able to redesign my reality. The process saved me, and every day, I share my story with others to help them find their true calling.

I call myself Octophina because I’ve always felt like a human octopus, who like a real octopus, has at least three hearts and nine brains. Art helps me to use my “bugs” as features. This way of thinking enables me to see every challenge as an opportunity to grow. My path to becoming an artist was an unexpected journey of healing through inner exploration.

If my life had a prequel, it would be my corporate background as a trained journalist specialising in graphic design, PR, and IT. I was also a prominent international food blogger, a certified Mind Body Eating coach and founder of a social enterprise. And yet, despite everything I achieved, I struggled with depression for over a decade. Navigating the world through this brain has been a weird experience. Today, I capture all of that in my art.

In recent years, after numerous traumatic events, including the pandemic destroying my business and leaving me broke, moving alone to a new country to restart my life at 31, and my mom getting diagnosed with breast cancer, I was emotionally, physically, and psychologically drained.

On May 8, 2021, I fainted in my kitchen and when I woke up, I felt completely apathetic about the projects and initiatives I had been passionate about for years. It was as though my entire identity had been wiped out. Over the next four months, I was trapped in major depression. And it was difficult for me to articulate what I was experiencing internally. I felt terrified.

My therapist encouraged me to start making art to clear my mental cache, improve my emotional metabolism, and practice self-care. Today, almost six months later, we are working on a start-up which will merge psychotherapy, art, and blockchain technology. We started this business to help people improve their mental health and financial well-being.

Follow Octophina’s journey on Instagram

In celebration of this resurrection of life, presence and hope for the future, I launched a collection of NFTs on Open Sea called Pain to Power. This is a constellation of reflective artwork I created between November and December 2021. The date of the release is January 19, 2022, is the date my mom got her breast cancer diagnosis last year. After almost a year in hell, my mom recovered completely and is doing well. Sharing my transformational healing art with the world on the anniversary of her diagnosis is for me a celebration of resilience, which is what makes the human experience special.

Art has helped me discover my identity outside of social conditioning, peer pressure, and others’ expectations. As I create art, I am healing emotional wounds and building a healthy sense of self-worth. I invite you to stay with me on this journey.

Outro
Happy Friday, everyone. Thank you for reading Sophie’s story. We are five days away from her genesis drop (first collection of NFT art) on Open Sea. Let us send her our best wishes for the sale of her collection. In the meantime, why don’t you go ahead and visit her website, then follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium. She is looking forward to sharing her adventures in art and life with you.

Categories
art technology women

A passion for art: Reflection on the Thea Collection by the artist Luchong

Dahlia by the artist Luchong

Intro: I remember meeting Luchong in Twitter Spaces a few months ago. Not long after meeting more of her friends, I decided to post an African artists’ showcase here on Saint Joan Creative Studio. I remember receiving a very excited note when she noticed I plugged her photo into the post. Today, I call her “boss” because she is a verified blockchain diva. Her Thea Collection is the 7th highest trending collection on Open Sea as of late December, 2021.

Open Sea is the biggest platform for NFTs. The platform has reached a trade volume of over US$720 million in the past three days alone (January 3 ~ 6), so imagine the scale of her achievement. Trending is not easy for any artist. Hers is a phenomenal achievement due to her talent, bubbly personality, and the support of established artists around her. Congrats, boss. And now, let us hear from our muse.

Safiya

Hi, I’m Luchong, a 20-year-old digital artist from Nigeria and the creator of the Thea Collection of art which is available on Open Sea. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Where do I start? Last year, 2021, was definitely a wild and interesting year for me. Although it didn’t quite start out on a good note, it ended in a very beautiful way, and for that, I am thankful.

I joined the NFT community in September, 2021 and it has been a life-changing experience for me. This is because of the community and friends I have made here. The community is something I am extremely thankful for because I have found the unity and support I really needed in my life. The best way to describe it is to say that I finally feel like I have found my place and my family. I am happier today than I have been in a while.

Kissa

The NFT community space has made a huge impact on my life and I say that because I have seen so much growth and improvement in myself and my art. I consider this community to be a true blessing. I am especially thankful for my collectors, specifically my first collectors, those who found me and fell in love with my art, those who believed in me and my art. I am especially grateful to Prince Ude, NFT Lover, Lord Olu, Kel Savage and Bolusowe. Their love and support have been unreal and I am extremely grateful for them all.

Thea Collection reaching 2 ETH (US$ 7079 floor price)

Looking forward to 2022, I can say that I am happy and excited for the year ahead because there are a number of things I want to achieve during the course of this year. First is that I want to grow and evolve so much as an artist. I want my art to reach more people and evoke emotions in them. I want my art to effectively communicate my feelings to people and I want more people to truly resonate with my work. I also intend to dabble in 3D art and more traditional forms of painting. My passion for art increased so much this year, I am grateful and excited to create more.

The artist Luchong with her beautiful work

May I mention a few brilliant artists I intend to collaborate with in future? You may have heard of Kel Savage, Torera, Freddie Jacob, Pascal Okafor and Design with MJ. If you haven’t, please get to know them. They are amazing.

And I guess that’s a wrap. I have a really positive feeling about 2022 and I feel this will be my best year yet. I am thrilled to start the year with this newfound drive and love for art.

Sales notice from Open Sea

Outro: Hello everyone, I am fine artist and author Lily Nicole, and as you can see I am back from a very long break. My domain was renewed automatically (thanks WordPress) and Saint Joan Creative Studio is alive and well. Let us pretend that thing you never saw didn’t happen.

Categories
Earth health People technology women

Kin Plaa Kaeng: School nutrition project in Thailand

Love eating fish: A rural school in Thailand prepares for a project

Intro
Happy Thanksgiving, to readers who are celebrating. To mark this special occasion, I would like to highlight the work of my wonder twin, Isreyah Pradabvate. She is an early childhood educator, entrepreneur, former United Nations UNESCAP volunteer translator. She works full-time in a leading Japanese entity in Thailand. In this post, I pay tribute to artists and activists like her who give their time and talent towards making the world a better place for future generations. So proud of you, my sister.

The pond is flourishing

Project details
Hello everyone, my name is Isreyah Pradabvate. I am an early childhood educator, entrepreneur, former United Nations UNESCAP volunteer translator and an NFT creator with a full time job in a leading Japanese entity in Thailand.

“Kin Plaa Kaeng” (in Thai this means “Love Eating Fish”) is a project initiated by the co-founder of a startup where I used to work. His name is Krit Sangvichien, and he works with me, as well as with Kansuda Koompairoj, who is the project president and community leader.

Children enjoying protein-rich meals

Love eating fish
Kin Plaa Kaeng has one objective: To turn small schools in rural Thailand into self-sustaining food producing locations. Because of depopulation and a centralization of economy that circulate only in big cities. Small schools are being shut down. Imagine what will happen to those children in affected areas?

Also, children consume insufficient amount of protein in their daily life. Due to many social issues which I would love to avoid getting into it. Protein is the most important nutrition that we need. We are made from Protein. Our brain, heart, muscles, body consume protein as their food.

Pond with water

Reason
Unfortunately, good or alternative protein in Thailand is as expensive as in the United States. Balance that with the fact that people here are still facing unemployment due to the pandemic and even before. As a result, they can not earn enough to provide to their family. So how could they afford healthy meals for themselves and their children?

The school

In some areas, children are able to only have streamed rice with fish sauce. Schools here have provided lunches but with a small budget, some people take advantage of the funds distributed so the meals never reach the children themselves.   

Solution
We came up with the idea of building a fish pond. We wanted to turn every poor school into self-sustaining food providers with at least one pond per school. We want parents and the community to be sure that they don’t need to worry about making a bigger income to provide good meals for their children. Some children do not even have breakfast because their can not afford material to prepare for them.

Sureenibha Noppakloa (L) with Isreyah Pradabvate (R)

Outcome
We have built one pond for Champanuang School in Srisaket Province in Thailand. Crowdfunding is done via this site linked here. We would love to build another pond for this school. And we want to build at least one pond for every school because they told us that they were really happy with the outcome.

Project leaders in Thailand

We want the children have delicious fish to eat and fill up their tummies. In the morning, some children will go to school, knowing that they will have free good food to eat. For the sake of a better world, let us work to raise the quality of life of these children.

Project cofounders Krit Sangvicien and Isreyah Pradabvate

Outro
Thank you for reading this presentation. It takes Isreyah 10 hours by train to travel to the Champanuang School in order to oversee this project. And she wants to build more ponds in more schools. Amazing that she gives so much of her time to helping others, and I am hoping that you will be inspired to continue doing good work in your own communities. Until I hear from you, be good.

Categories
art men technology women

Exploring the Metaverse with Africa’s finest artists

Orange by Max, Nigerian digital artist

Intro
Hello everyone, and welcome to this showcase of contemporary art which features fine artists from the African continent. This past Sunday, I hopped into a Twitter space hosted by Apah Benson, Black Mamuu and Xader. I knew it was my chance to uncover the fabulous work that has been hidden under lockdowns, cryptocurrency restrictions and social media bans. But that is their story to tell. Read all about it as you scroll through.

As you browse the showcase and read the stories presented here, remember that social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram are helping artists to move into the mainstream. I invite you to support my guests today by browsing their portfolios, and sharing them with your friends and acquaintances. Thank you.

MAX
I am a digital artist from Nigeria. My work is heavily inspired by portrait photography and surrealism. I create abstractions using mostly female characters to express my way of seeing the world: as an blend of contrasts and opposites. I present that vision using black and white, dull and glossy textures, or vibrant and soft colors. Follow me on Twitter.

Elisha Nyong
Hello. I am Elisha, a traditional painter and visual surrealist also based in Nigeria. I am known as a pro women’s rights and mutual representation activist. My artwork explores dreams and I use dry-brush techniques to accomplish that. You can find my work listed on Foundation. I am also showcasing my work on Twitter.

One Man’s Dream by Elisha Nyong

Apah Benson
I am Apah Benson, digital artist and poet based in Nigeria. I am a graduate of the University of Benin, and work as a digital marketer. Below you will see one of my creative photography portraits, Mystique.

Mystique by Apah Benson

I have also listed new portrait photography on Foundation. It is called Spectra. My new work is a symbol of liberty and natural harmony. And as you can see, I present it in multiple vibrant colours. In this presentation, I explore how humanity plays a role in creating this artistic symphony called life. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram to see more of my work.

Spectra by Apah Benson

Black Mamuu
I am a photographer and artist based in Warri, Nigeria. My work features portraits of people with heavy contrasts and colours. I use colors to explore different forms of identity. I started selling digital art about a month ago. As I did so, I found out that the two biggest parts or processes are currently banned in my country Nigeria.

A Twitter ban and a cryptocurrency ban prevent Nigerians like me from joining the world of digital art (the Metaverse) at this revolutionary time in history. But as usual, we found loopholes in the form of VPN software. We used them to access Twitter, and we used peer to peer (p2p) trading to access the cryptocurrency markets.

Adam: Our Lost connection

Neither is ideal, but it’s our forced reality and we have to work through it if we want to be part of the global art community. Last year, both Twitter and cryptocurrencies were instrumental in the successful #EndSars (hashtag End SARS) protest against police brutality in Nigeria. You might have seen it on the news. It is my firm belief that Twitter and crypto are banned because of the effectiveness of the campaigns.

Recently, there has been an aggressive crackdown on peer to peer trading and the banks are shutting down accounts thought to be used for trading cryptocurrency. So, for a typical Nigerian to access cryptocurrency trading platforms, we have to be very creative.

Find your path

I find that the NFT community is the easiest and fastest way for Nigerian artists to get recognition and value for their work. I made my first sale a few weeks ago, and it was life changing because it felt like I was finally being rewarded for all my years of hard work.

Luchong
I am a digital artist from Nigeria and I make art on my mobile phone using the Autodesk Sketchbook software. My art comes from a deep place filled with many emotions that I often times cannot explain or express. I love creating beautiful paintings to show that there is beauty in everything we experience as humans.

I have rollers in my hair

Above is a recent painting of mine which I call “I have rollers in my hair”. I created it to express what it is like to be in an environment that tries to bring you down and crush all your efforts. This is about struggles we face in our daily lives.

Being a digital artist in Nigeria and getting into cryptoart, I have been faced with many challenges, ranging from the crypto ban and Twitter ban. In spite of all this, my love for art pushes me to keep creating and showing my art to the world however I can. That’s me in that tweet below. I thought I would show myself to my friends and colleagues. Mentioned in the tweet are Benson and Gus, two of my artist friends who are also featured in this post.

Luchong

NFT Afrik
NFT Afrik is a project created to celebrate the “The Mother Queen” of the Ancient Benin Kingdom of the 16th century. With her mystical powers and medicinal knowledge, she defined the history of one of the most powerful kingdoms in Africa.

The Queen Mother NFT depicts the Ivory Mask of the legendary 16th century Queen Idia of the Ancient Benin Kingdom. Queen Idia,known as the great warrior queen, after the death of her husband, raised and led an army to fight off adversaries and ensure the reign of her son as the King of the Edo people of the Ancient Benin Kingdom.

Ivory Mask of Queen Idia

The Ivory Mask of Queen Idia was looted from the Benin Kingdom, among other artworks, during the British Benin Expedition of 1897. It is currently held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Queen Mother (TQM) NFT will serve as a members-only access for holders as the project leaders release initiatives and rewards to bridge the gap between non-fungible tokens and the physical world. Tokens can be purchased on Open Sea via the Polygon blockchain.

Ivory Mask of Queen Idia of Benin

Gustus
My name is Augustus Poku Sarkodee (Gus Sarkodee on Twitter) and I’m a multi-genre photographer from the beautiful West African country of Ghana. My work is greatly influenced by color and composition and I explore many different techniques most of the time. I recently started listing my work as non-fungible tokens. It has been an amazing journey so far, because I get to meet all these talented artists. At the moment, my work is listed for sale on both Known Origin and Opensea.

Ethereal, by G Sarkodee

Xader
Hello, I am Alex, a Nigerian student who is working to make a name for myself as a digital artist. I took a liking to the anime style of illustration mostly because of how extreme it gets when describing pretty much anything. I’ve been actively drawing for three years now and only got into the digital space in October, 2021.

Artwork by Alex

It is very difficult to sell my art as non-fungible tokens based in my country because of all the restrictions set up by our government. Trading in cryptocurrency is illegal. There is also a Twitter ban so we must use VPNs to access Twitter to promote our work. On top of that, there are major power outages, which makes it difficult for some of us to use electronic devices to make art.

Kiel Orji
I am a digital artist and street wear designer from Lagos, Nigeria. I am exploring youth culture and radicalism with a colourful rebellion against socio-political nuances of life in my home country. I am the mind behind Odd Surface and the co-founder of an independent creative collective, Popartii.

Mask art by Kiel Orji

My creative practice is an exchange between working over a variety of surfaces, from digital paintings and murals, to luxury fashion apparel and footwear. For my clothing brand, I create statement pieces that are a professional reflection of his cool, calm collective ideals and with specificity, which are pleasing to the senses. Currently, I create skull art NFTs, which I have listed on various platforms, like Foundation and Open Sea.

Ololade
I’m a fine art photographer and NFT from Lagos, Nigeria. The journey to establish myself as a digital artist has not been the easiest for me and other creators from Nigeria as you may have read earlier in this post. Twitter and cryptocurrencies are the major means of putting ourselves out into the world and sharing our art. Regardless, we find unconventional means of promoting ourselves and our craft with strong beliefs in our creative ideas to spark conversations on topics around the world. There are many stories to be told.

Serenity by Ololade

Famous Umobuarie/Fame Identity
I am a hyperrealist artist, and I create realistic drawings using a pencil and other mediums, such as a ballpoint pen. I was born in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. I started drawing at the age of five on the back of my notebooks, chairs, doors, and on walls.  I generally draw from the things going on around me and my environment, society, and circumstances to see if an idea, emotion, or critique can be communicated using bodies, symbols, and titles.

Fame Identity’s iconic work is featured on NFT trading platform, Open Sea

People around me are amazing and I use different amazing souls as inspiration when creating a drawing. Our need to effectively communicate with each other is essential. If we cannot communicate, we cannot truly bond with each other. This is why I use my work to communicate with others and tell their stories. Some of my portfolio work is seen on Art Station. Most recently, my artwork was featured on the Instagram account of Open Sea, the most well-known ethereum based NFT sales platform.

Godiva Omoyuri/4th Finger Studio
I am a fine art portrait photographer and a collage digital artist from Edo state, raised in Lagos, Nigeria. I am the creative director of 4th Finger Studios. My artwork showcases the beauty in human diversity; self-love; equality, and other societal paradigms. My objective is to normalize weird and embrace what is different. My goal is to inspire those who see my work to live above the status-quo, to get off that labeling, and be our own standard of beauty while also letting people discover that there is beauty in being unusual.

Arabian Princess by 4th Finger Studios

Chuma Anagbado
I am a multi-disciplinary artist & designer whose work cuts across traditional, digital, and emerging creative mediums. My work reimagines Igbo culture and identity. I am the co-founder of Nigeria’s first multidisciplinary design firm, and I work to shine a light on human capacity development, identity, and social impact. In my work, I reimagine functional ways of using both material and non-material aspects of Igbo existence in designing new structures and narratives that people can use to help build a sense of identity, spirituality, and community.

Chowei by Studio CA

Special Guest: Subhash Nair
My name is Subhash Nair, and I am a wildlife photographer from India. Currently, I am ambassador for Nikon India and Oppo Mobile India. Africa is one of my favourite places for photographing wild animals, and I travel there two or three times every year. Nature and its creatures are amazing and we can learn a lot from them. I am at my best when capturing animals in their natural habitats.

Stories from the Wild

I think people who don’t love nature and wildlife cannot love anything. Places like Masai Mara and Amboseli are like second homes to me. I visit the Masai village when ever I travel to Masai Mara. My most recent visit was in October, 2021. Besides the wildlife, what fascinates me are the people, food and culture of Africa. Everything attracts me and I am happy to say that I have made many friends there and will be back to visit soon. Stories from the Wild is my collection of photography compiled from five years of exploring Africa, India and Indonesia. They are listed on the ethereum NFT platform Open Sea. Follow me on Twitter, or for a spectacular wildlife safari, find me on Instagram.

Categories
art opinion technology women

Ishika Guha: Lady Boss Creative

Abstract painting by Ishika Guha
Fire and the Flood. Abstract painting by Ishika Guha.

Tell us about yourself, Ishika
I am a self-taught abstract artist living in London. I work spontaneously and mainly for myself. It is something that heals me, gives me hope and makes me feel free! I am never myself without my colours. The best of me, the happiest of me, is when I am painting. Sometimes I paint only for the very reason people want to talk to communicate. Vibrant colours become my voice when nothing else works.

Ishika’s NFT artwork on Foundation

Is it difficult to create abstract works of art?
My abstract paintings came naturally to me. Expressive abstractionism has been my comfort zone from the very beginning of my journey as an artist. It gives me much-needed freedom and I feel at home painting in this style. I feel that it unlocks the aspects of my personality that otherwise would lie dormant, remaining silent and nebulous.

Describe your art, style or process
My art is mainly concentrated on abstract expressive mixed media (oil and acrylic). Each one is deeply reflective, and I try to make them fly beyond the borders of the canvases I paint on. Mixed media allows me to be spontaneous, and the whole process seems playful and adventurous to me. Often my subconscious mind takes over, and the process feels quite liberating. I do what I feel like, no plans, no rules whatsoever. This world is so full of rules, so I reach for that sense of freedom while painting.

Autumnal Delirium

Tell us more about your inspiration
My paintings are inspired by music and poetry. Each painting tells a story from my life, including my own traumas or happy memories. Many of my paintings are inspired by Charles Bukowski, Ogden Nash, Robert Frost, Rudyard Kipling, Jibanananda Das or Sylvia Plath’s poems. The emotions and the messages I find from their powerful poems are what I translate into paintings.

Do you have a team or do you work alone?
As a full-time artist, I have worked on collaborative projects, such as book and CD cover design, collaborations with a carpet company and also with an industrial designer who has designed chairs based on my artwork. 

Archived work from Ishika Guha

Tell us about your new home world, Twitter
I joined the NFT community on Twitter a few months ago and have already sold a number of non-fungible tokens on the Foundation platform. Right now, I am collecting digital art as I enjoy being part of an amazing group of talented artists and creatives. For me, this is about having a family outside your family. I enjoy being in a community that supports me without judgment. This is a great place for artists who are not here for financial gain but who want to feel accepted. No other platform, no other community, can provide me with that support and love I receive here.

Pratik Chitte, founder of Involute Magazine

How do you establish your brand presence?
Apart from Twitter, NFT, Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, I am also curating an art promotion page on Instagram for Involute Magazine, which I co-founded with my talented artist friend Pratik Chitte. Pratik is a brilliant charcoal artist from India. Together, we feature artists from around the globe. Pratik also interviews artists for the magazine’s blog, which is hosted on WordPress. We do this to support the creative community internationally.

Fine artist Dylan Gill is featured on Involute Magazine’s Instagram page

Any final thoughts?
As editors and curators, Pratik and I believe that each work of art tells a beautiful story to our viewers. Art is like a powerful vessel that connects all of the scattered fragments of our innermost feelings. They make us look deeper inside ourselves. Now, if you happen to be on Instagram, please visit our profile page and let us have your feedback. We would love to hear from you.

Outro
Ishika Guha has 13K followers on Twitter, and 17K on Instagram. She receives lots of support on both platforms. She is a master at using Twitter Spaces for building brand presence, and is everyone’s favourite host. That is why I call her Lady Boss. She will soon take Clubhouse by storm. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s showcase. Follow Ishika Guha on Instagram and Twitter. Follow Involute Magazine on Instagram and keep up with its founder Pratik Chitte on Twitter. Purchase Ishika’s artwork through her website. And read more about her in this “Heroine’s Journey” interview with Peter De Kuster. Thank you for reading.

Categories
art fashion opinion TV women

Light giver: A passion for diversity

Brissa “Breezy” Marina Page, co-founder of Cricket Ranch, is today’s featured filmmaker. She is an independent creative director, producer, stylist and content creator based in Los Angeles, California. She shares her outspoken love for civil liberties and social justice with friends, family and collectors alike.

From the filmmaker herself:
Light Giver was a passion project for the Cricket Ranch, a production boutique and studio rental location. The Cricket Ranch is a five star location space I created with my partner, Coop Grafik. We are happy to work with artists in Los Angeles looking for a versatile location to shoot and create.

Follow our enchantress as she dances with the light as she reunites with her King at the end. Starring Aisha Anderson and featuring music remix by Therdchild. Shot in one night, we had a great time every second of the shoot and during post-production. I wanted to highlight my beautiful friend Aisha, and her belly dancing, costume and skills. She was brilliant.

My partner and I decided to create the Cricket Ranch as a location after noticing a need for more diversity on our social media timelines. The boring, thin cis-white model format was repetitive and we knew that we needed to be the change and inspire more photographers to do the same when they shoot here. We needed to see more black and indigenous people of colour, as well as strong, healthy body types from all walks of life.

Outro
You can learn more about Brissa on her website. Or, collect an edition of her Bottoms Up NFT creative photography (caution: nude woman) on Hic et Nunc for about $22 or 3 tez. You can also follow her around on the web via her Link Tree profile. See more of her beautiful body as well as the causes she supports when you follow her on Twitter. The featured film, Light Giver, was directed by her and her partners at Cricket Ranch.

Categories
about me art creative writing fashion fiction news women

All Hallows’ Chic

Sylva and Tee Nightmare

Recently collected is the spectacular nonfungible token from Keith Allen Phillips on Hic et Nunc. The blurb reads, “Sylva and Tee – Nightmare. If you wake up to this at the end of your bed, do you run or do you stay? This is Sylva Hattington with Tee Marie modeling some of Sylva’s amazing creations.”

Will be checking my stats in about six hours to find out exactly how many eyeballs were clapped on this image, all 7MB of it. If you thought your eyes were going to fall out, wait until you see the rest of Keith’s collection. (Don’t look.)

And if you want to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I was drawn to the portraits because of the headdresses. I love headdresses and finding out these were designed by a woman made this token a must-have. Maybe it’s because I’m such an introvert and I need a shell in which to retreat.

Tea Time by Gimme

Then, collected last Sunday, was Tea Time by Thai artist GIMME because I have a thing for skulls carved out of crystals. The artist was featured in an earlier post on 3D NFT artists. I thought that nothing could make them scream, but they freaked out when I told them I was going to collect this token.

Now, if you want a nightmare story for Halloween, it should be about my dysfunctional love life. Without making a confession of any sort, I’ll give you the rundown as if it were the treatment for a work of fiction.

The story goes, a woman who looks disturbingly young for her age has run away from her gilded cage where she is being courted by dozens and dozens of extremely handsome suitors. As night draws near, she stumbles upon a tower at the edge of her world. The steward of the tower is a monk who has lived there, alone, for nearly thirty years. Seeing an opportunity to have all of his knowledge recorded, he seduces the woman with a promise to share his ultimate secret.

In exchange, she must work with him to write down every miracle he has ever performed. The woman agrees because she is in love. And as she studies his alchemy, she suspects that his insights are pedantic filler. His proclaimed power over the material world could be the stuff of fantasy. In order to save herself, she embarks on a search for her true soulmate. Does he exist, and will she find him in time?

Have a safe and blessed Halloween.