Shapes of solitude

A little bit about the artist:

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1982, Juan spent most of his childhood with his grandparents, It was there in the kitchen that he fell in love with cooking and tango. Soon he pursued studies in culinary arts under the supervision of L’école de Cuisine Lenotre and soon started working in professional kitchens were he found cooking as an art outlet. By 2007, working at Palacio Duhau had the opportunity to collaborate with the French artist Laurent Moriceau in his ephemeral art series titled Proyecto Deguste, which involved the creation of chocolate sculptures for an exhibit at the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art. This project made a great impression on Juan and inspired him to begin integrating plastic arts into his cooking.

Juan’s culinary career has taken him around the world, cooking both in restaurants and on stage at some of the most exclusive events such as Taste of Auckland and New Zealand Chocolate Festival. He has been mentioned in the New Zealand Herald and Cuisine Magazine, and even featured on an episode of Hangi Masters on Māori Television.

Although he’s known for his achievements and accolades as a chef, Juan is also a talented saxophone player, and has performed at the popular Sundeck in Queenstown with DJs Guillem Ribera and Murry Sweetpants. Juan himself is also an acclaimed electronic music DJ, playing under the stage names Ship Shape, Chupa Trance and Electric Rush at acclaimed clubs such as Ink Bar.

In addition to the culinary and musical arts, Juan is now taking his artistic talents to canvas. His paintings were recently displayed at a private event at Studio Dinner in Auckland.

Amongst other projects, he’s currently working on a photo portrait project involving 100+ people, a commission for a mural artpiece for a new restaurant in Auckland. Juan is comfortable with abstract, mixing techniques and medias.

Hibernate and reset

As I write this, it’s Christmas Eve eve. I’ve finally sat down after making an Earl Grey tea chocolate mousse for tomorrow and unblocking a drain. What a way to spend my first day off.

By the time you’ll read this column, it will be 2021 and another typical year. No? Anyone wake up on 1 Jan wishing everything back to normal, as though 2020 was just a bad dream? And to top it all off, I thoroughly struggled to write this column.

If I’d had a typewriter, I could imagine myself ripping the paper from the typewriter, scrunching it up and throwing it at and missing the bin, and laying discarded with other failed edits. I think it’s reflective of how I’m feeling; it’s the end of the year, I’ve had enough of looking at the four walls of my house, and I want to down tools. I can’t travel to see my parents for Christmas as Italy is locking down even more, and at the time of writing, my area moves into tier 4 day after Boxing Day. Oh, joy. I feel that I’m running out of new content to share with you too, as things aren’t moving quickly in my career change.

I’ve paid for the course I mentioned last month, but I haven’t got very far with it. I feel disheartened by the many messages in the course’s FB group talking about successful pitches, new clients etc., whereas I am hamstrung by a full-time job. I’d planned to study over the Christmas period and get myself into a position to start recouping the course’s cost, but I have a dilemma. If I manage to complete enough modules and start pitching for new business and am successful, how will I manage it with full-time work? I’d need to work every Friday afternoon and weekend, and frankly, I need a crying emoji right now because I’m baulking at that prospect.

I hear it all the time; you work all hours to build a business on the side – it’s the only way to build a business. I don’t think I can realistically deliver client work in my evenings, on just one weekend or even with an extra day if I get Friday’s off, without it having a detrimental effect on my life. More importantly, I’ve had enough of looking at my computer screen during the day for work, so I’m railing against looking at it in the evening. The course tutor says to try and make time for it, even if it’s for 15mins a day. I know people who combine their professional and personal work during the day; when they have free time, they crack on with their own work, laptop set up next to their work one.

Working from home has its perks, the commute is non-existent but with fewer distractions, the time I’m racking up in front of the screen is increasing, even to the point where I now need reading glasses for the first time. I’m fuming! It’s why I want relief from it, so the thought of two screens on my desk feels me with dread.  If I have a break at work in between meetings, I grab my coat and wellies and tramp around the village and fields, in desperate need of fresh air and vitamin D. In the evenings I’ll train or eat and curl up on the sofa with Pete and switch off. I need a break more than ever it seems, and the dark mornings and nights aren’t helping. I just want to hibernate, squirrel away. They say you need less sleep as you get older, I’m very much the opposite.

When I was doing my career change course earlier this year, I made time for the missions and exercises I had to do each week. Every Saturday I had a 10 am call which I never missed, this time though I seem to have lost the impetus to instigate the same rigour and routine to my new course. I think it’s because it’s self-paced. There’s no one pressurising you to have completed homework during the week.

By mid-January, I’ll know if my 4-day compressed week is approved, which will give me time to do my course. I have a new boss who wasn’t that keen about it when I mentioned it to her. She seems open to doing at least a six-month trial, so we’ll see. If it isn’t a reality, I’ll shut up as I’m bored of talking about it, and you’re probably bored of hearing about it.

It hasn’t been all doom and grumpy childlike sulks though. Instead of a website, I’ve created a portfolio which I’m going to add to my LinkedIn profile. I’ve added more projects to The Dots. I’ve been re-editing a client’s emails after doing his web copy earlier this year so continuing to learn. If my portfolio’s posting or sharing brings in work, then I’ll be happy, so long as I can manage it.

In the spirit of only focusing on what can help further my career, I’ve decided to delete job alerts for copywriter roles. Until I start getting more experience under my belt, I won’t have a chance of getting a position, and the more I look at job adverts for companies I like, the more disheartened I become. Best to switch off the distractions for now. I don’t know about you, but far too many emails come into my inbox for things I either forgot I’d signed up for or I’m just not interested in anymore, so it’s digital detox time.

And as the New Year rolls in, how many of you will set new year resolutions? Do you stick to them? I’m not one for resolutions. I tend to focus on the positive and ask myself what I’d like to do more of. You all know what I’d like to do, so my added resolution is just to see how things pan out and take it from there. There’s not much else I can do. Just as we’ve had to adjust and flex this year due to COVID-19, my career change will need to do the same. Patience is a virtue; I happen to have none.

I hope you had a good Christmas even if it’s been quite different and you’re ready to cope with whatever 2021 throws at you. Fingers crossed it’s a better one; it can’t get any worse!

ART – monthly!

Hello there our lovely readers!

As you might have noticed we have been undergoing loads of changes! With lockdown 2.0, new restrictions coming and going and the world going all weird we thought that what might help is a little bit more art during those uncertain times.

Therefore we are changing the way we publish YOUR ART SUBMISSIONS ONLINE!

From now on we shall accept the submissions all year round publishing new pieces almost every single day! Our resident writers will keep on working on amazing articles crafted especially for you, however, apart from monthly articles you will be able to enjoy some more art popping up on our website every single week.

We want you to be able to express yourself without any deadlines! So… how to submit your piece to MyBest, you might ask?

Simple!

  1. Send us an email at MyBestZine@gmail.com

2. In the headline write your name, month and ‘submission’ (example: Monyca, November submission)

3. Send us a short description of your piece, why do you think it is a right fit for our magazine, what inspired you to create it, what does it represent perhaps?

4. Tell us a bit about yourself – author’s bio (3rd person)

5. Attach the art piece

6. Press send and wait for us to get back to you!

Every year there is going to be ONE PAPER ISSUE of MyBest, in which we will include even more art and articles about art, lifestyle and artists with a bunch of tips, inspiration, advice.

We are changing for the better for you and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!

The next paper issue is going to be released in January! We are so excited to share all amazing art you have submitted so far – Keep the submissions coming!

All the love,

MyBest,

Monyca

5 books that everyone should read (whatever your age)

1984 by George Orwel

To this day, 1984 is, without any doubt, my most favourite book of all times. It is a book I recommend to everyone I meet. You are probably wondering what I find so fascinating about this book. Well, I read this book way back in high school, and it immediately caught my attention. I found it absolutely mind-blowing that in the year 1949, George Orwell managed to capture the essence of what the world would be like many years after it was published. I am well aware that the book is grim, depressing, but it is also eye-opening and a true masterpiece.

Just think about the very first line in the book- “It was a bright cold day in April, “and the clocks were striking thirteen. If that doesn’t make you want to get lost in the world of Winston Smith, then surely the way Orwell plays with words creates new words completely will. Another striking subject of the story is fear. But I really think you ought to read it yourself to be able to see what I mean. 

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I don’t think there is a single person on earth who hasn’t heard about the little girl Alice that falls down the rabbit hole and wounds up in Wonderland, where she attends the tea party with the one and only Mad Hatter. To be completely honest with you, I didn’t like Alice at all when I was younger. It was way too complicated for me, and I just didn’t get the beauty of the language that Lewis Carroll used. Only in my late 20s, I discovered my love for the stories. I listened to an audible version narrated by Scarlett Johannsson, and it finally came to me. The story is something everyone should read at least once in their life. It keeps the child spirit lit inside of us, and that is something that we need to do- during these times more than ever.

Afterdark by Haruki Murakami

Afterdark by Japanese author Haruki Murakami was the first book that I picked up after graduating from university in 2018. And I am so glad that I did. This book is unlike anything I have ever read. The story takes place during one night in the life of the main character named Mari. She meets a boy in her favourite diner, where she likes to read every night. The boy and Mari share an acquaintance- her sister Eri. Eri is sleeping in her room. But there is something wrong with the way she is sleeping. It is too pure, too perfect. Parts of the story take place in a world between reality and dream. Each chapter begins with an image of a clock depicting the passage of time throughout the night.

Every chapter means a different hour in the night in Tokyo. The story itself is poetic and trippy, and it leaves you with your mouth wide open. It is a page-turner, and you will get immersed in the world very easily. Murakami’s writing heavily influenced my own writing. Hence, if you want to try a Murakami book, I highly suggest this one to go with first. 

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

If you are looking for a book that feels like a hug but will also make you cry- look no further. We Are Okay is probably one of the best books (if not the best book) I read last year. Nina really is a master of words. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. 

The book deals with loss and with mental health, which is something I really love reading about. Marin is such a complex character. She is a bit annoying at times, but she is someone I would love to have as a best friend. Another great thing about this book? The cover. When I saw it, I just knew I had to have it in my bookcase. It really is a piece of art through and through. The book is really sad at times, but I promise you, there is a happy ending waiting for you at the end. It really left me floating on a cloud for a few weeks. 

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

In my opinion, The Poet X is unlike any book I have ever read. For once, it is written in verses like a poem. Being a poet myself, it was something that really caught my attention and I was not disappointed one bit. The story is raw, deep and the main character Xiomara is an unapologetic and beautiful soul from whom a lot of us could learn a thing or too. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

As the synopsis suggests the story deals with topics such as coming of age, religion, family and relationship. I think this one is a staple novel in everyone´s bookcase.

Can a change be considered to be a ritual?

Last months have shown us that change is important but also that bringing a change into one’s life is a process.

In this post I’d like to concentrate on the term: acceptance. What does it mean to you? What are your ways of accepting? I believe there are millions of ways to accept. But I also believe that we, as artists and art lovers, have this incredible power in our hands *literally*. This power is that with our work we are able to stimulate the senses. Whether we create visual arts, music, poetry, inspirational quotes or something completely different, we have an impact. I have a challenge for you. Everyday for 10 days starting on 10.07.2020 I will be posting my creations about acceptance on my Instagram stories under hashtag #acceptmybest. Whether it’s accepting and appreciating each other, no matter where we come from or how we look like, accepting ourselves, our faults, our bodies, accepting the nature that surrounds us, accepting opportunities we’re given and finally accepting the change. There are so many aspects of acceptance that should be brought to life. I’d like to encourage you to do the same. You don’t have to post it, you can just have it for yourself as a reminder or share it with your close ones. Art is our power and we should always remember about it. If you’re not sure what to post you can even repost someone else’s pieces. The idea is to connect through art, spread the love and show others that we care and we want to make a change together. Show that we’re equal. To me, to accept doesn’t mean to agree for all the negativity to happen, but it means appreciating others, appreciating the World and believing that a positive change is important.

Maria Krupa, “Morning Routine”, video-art, 2020

During the summer term I’ve created a video called “Morning Routine”. Through this video I decided to deal with my faults but also share a part of my life; my thoughts in the morning. This time of a day is very special because we’re starting a day off with a fresh mind, somehow we know that things will be different and that we will have to deal with something completely new. There are no two moments that are identical. Considering it all, there’s a question that came to my mind: “Can a change be considered to be a ritual?”. Our World is rapidly changing, there aren’t many things we can be certain about anymore. As Miley Cyrus once sang: “Change is a thing you can count on”. So let’s create and bring the positive change into this unclear and difficult atmosphere. As a community there’s no way to be passive anymore. There is only one good word starting on “pass” and it’s “passionate”.

I wish you all an incredible summer!

Keep creating, keep safe,

Maria