Dwelling for a moment of solitude with Lebasille

About the work:

As an artist, I dwell for a moment of solitude, it is essential to our well-being and crucial for our soul.
To be independent and still in the moment. To accept your own presence and above all, your being. To reflect and turn within.
It is the foundation of exploratory, for a brief instant or a continuous period, until it gets comfortable and you get mentally stronger.
The word solitude comes from the Latin word “solitudinem”, which means “loneliness”. On the contrary, ihey are two different things. Loneliness is marked by a sense of isolation, while solitude is the state of being online without being lonely.

I will always crave for solitude.

UNTITLED, 2019
A conversation between current affairs and different communities and the road to improvement.
ROUNDUP, 2018
“Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain, With the barkers and the colored balloons” (Neil Young)

A little bit about the artist:

Lebasille ° 1989, Belgium

Lebasille – a pseudonym of Isabelle – is a visual artist born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1989.
She makes original collages on paper, with images from magazines, books and other imagery sources from 1920 up to the present. She has always dedicated herself to analog collage, however, she has expanded her praxis to digital works, offering endless possibilities.
Within her analogue and digital work, she plays with proportions, dialectic and context. A conversation occurs between current events and ideals – a social reality with an extra dimension of meaning or a layer of surrealism.
She rediscovers the past creating a vintage future. The transformation of each individual image gives the viewer and his eye the opportunity to reinterpret elements or new ready-made images.
With a growing love for imagery of different worlds, eras and ideals, she started to cut out and assemble countless images. It became part of her daily routine.
Since 2018, she is attending two different courses in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
Many exhibitions followed, of which the most memorable was in a museum in The Netherlands about food in art in past and present. Her practice consists of creating imagery for album covers, magazine covers, book illustrations, postcard illustrations and more.

Find more from Lebasille:

https://mybestzine.bigcartel.com/

Meditations on solitude

About the work:

These works are all meditations on solitude in some way. Solitude has a thousand faces: it can be experienced in all kinds of states and situations. Sometimes solitude is a blessing, because it can allow for artistic self-reflection and self-representation, as my Self-Portrait suggests. But solitude can also comprise of moments where anxieties or fears jump out at us as in Study in Blue.

Self-portrait
Study in Blue

A little bit about the artist:

Beatriz Santos is a 23-year-old artist based in London. She has a BA English from Clare College Cambridge and a Graduate Diploma in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her practice is mainly two-dimensional and figural. Beatriz’s love of literature leads her to populate her works with characters, metaphors, and delicate visual ironies. Her visual practice is centred on the similarities and the misalignments between narrative, poetry and visual image. She is fascinated by how people use paintings (in galleries, in campaigns, at home, on social media) to tell their own stories. The importance of telling new stories is something her works actively promote, with their enigmatic yet mundane characters. Derived from song lyrics or poetic fragments, they are representations of nobody – but hopefully everyone can use them to question, to reflect or to remember.

Untried realities by Zula

About the work:

Untried Realities is about a personal experience of social separation during Covid-19 in East London. Through self-portraiture, I bear the feelings of solitude, craving for human contact, and need for nature. I live in an urban and concrete part of London, without any outdoor space and I started this series on the day of Boris Johnson’s self-isolation announcement in response to the situation. I use mundane household scenes to create a new “reality,” one which is physically in my flat, but one which hopefully visually transports the viewer into a parallel world. I make use of shadows and light to create humorous moments and temporary escapism from my current situation and to facilitate a sense of detachment.

A little bit about the artist:

Zula Rabikowska is Polish-British photographer based in London. Zula was born in Poland, grew up in the UK and worked in France, China, South Africa, India, Palestine and the Caribbean. Her practice is influenced by her own experience of immigration and in her work she explores the themes of national identity, displacement and belonging. Zula often works with digital and analogue photography, and incorporates archival images and documents to challenge conventional visual story-telling norms. Zula has obtained an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from London College of Communication. Zula also works as a freelance photographer and as a photojournalist for SOPA Images in Hong Kong.

Find more from Zula:

https://mybestzine.bigcartel.com/

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.

Learn from others and celebrate the small things

Before I start this month’s column, I have a confession to make. I haven’t updated my CV as I said I would. The post-it note is still on my wall. Quite a few things have happened since my last column, and the CV didn’t get done.

Firstly, I applied for a compressed working week, one of the options I was deliberating last month. Sadly, I was unsuccessful. I desperately need at least one day to myself to try and progress my creative career and had been led to believe this would be a simple request, alas no. I’d a heads up that I might not be successful, so I felt oddly calm and at peace with the outcome. When a decision is taken out of your hands, there’s little you can do. Becoming angry isn’t going to achieve anything, so while I’m frustrated, I also feel relief. I need to focus on my paid job, because I’m lucky to have one, and now I won’t feel guilty for not trying to do more on the creative side. If I can do bits here and there, great but if I don’t, no one is going to bang on my door. As I keep reminding myself, career change takes time, and sometimes life gets in the way.

Secondly, I found out a colleague in my team has also been running a side hustle throughout the pandemic, building a portfolio as a photographer. I was excited to be able to talk to someone who has the same ambition as me, to do more than work a 9-5 (I wish!) and can relate to the constant push and pull of the job that pays the bills and the creative outlet that is their passion. Changing career is hard and finding people to talk about it isn’t easy. Families may have reservations, friends might be in a completely different place to you, and you don’t necessarily want to tell work colleagues, who although you spend more time with, might let it slip. The last thing you want is questions about your commitment to the job or the assumption you’re looking for a new job.

My colleague Chloe and I had spent more time talking recently, mainly due to the pandemic. (Why does it take a pandemic to talk more?!) As we weren’t in the office, we were more proactive in checking up on each other, but apart from a joint interest in fitness, we didn’t have much in common. A 13-year age different might also play a part. So I was genuinely intrigued by the possibility of having a connection with her over and above work.

It turned out she too had her request for a compressed working week turned down. We commiserated with each other as she’d wanted to spend more time on her photography. Chloe’s done a lot over the last few months; taken courses, steadily built her photography client base and admitted she struggles to juggle both jobs. Her main gripe was finding time to plan content on her socials. At this point, the alarm bells started to ring; I don’t have a content plan.

Whilst I came away from our call relieved to be able to talk to someone I know about my career change, and excited to have something new in common, I started to feel jealous and frustrated. When I saw Chloe’s content marketing plan in action on her daily Instagram feed, I began to panic. Why don’t I do this? Why haven’t I created content and posted more things on my feed @r_a_word? It appeared she was achieving more than me, and I’d done nothing of significance. Rather than applaud and support my fellow sister, I focused inwardly on the lack of effort I had made.  I mulled these feelings over for about a week, flipping between being supportive of her work then wondering how I was going to find the time to pull together a content marketing plan let alone decide what content to push out that was of interest.  Digital content marketing is vital to be able to build awareness and interest in a business, but I struggle to think about what to share. Photography is a reasonably clear-cut profession; mine is a little more varied. I develop website copy (check out Helena Carrizosa’s creative coaching website if you’re stuck in a creative rut), write features and take part in flash fiction challenges, most recently for The Story Seed. I still haven’t figured out what my niche is, which is probably stopping me from promoting my work in the right way in the first place – that and not being 100% proficient on Instagram probably.

I forced myself to step back, gain some perspective and get a grip. Why was I fixating on a ‘content plan’? I know I have achieved things, and as luck would have it, there on my wall for precisely this moment was a message to remind me of my progress. Last month I’d added a post-it note to my pinboard with the headline; ‘Achievements’ and a small list of what I had achieved since June. I can measure my progress by putting pen to paper and laptop, doing what I am good at, writing. Not via an Instagram story or quiz.

I had and continue to write. I actively learn, whether by talking to other writers, listening to talks or doing courses. I put myself out there on The Dots in May and stuck my hand up to offer my services without really knowing what I was doing. I’ve emailed people and started to build relationships that I hope will bring in more work. I speak to other writers, recently with the previous sub-editor for the Monocle who turned out to be the husband of a colleague! And I write this column for you. I’m not paid for my writing currently, but I am writing and receiving positive feedback, and that’s a start, something to be proud of, especially with a full-time job.

But if I’m not actively promoting my work, I’ve no hope of being seen. I recognise I can and should do more, though I don’t want to push stuff out for the sake of it. Perhaps that is why I struggle to update LinkedIn or my CV; it’s not the right channel for me anymore. Until I build an online portfolio, my Instagram feed needs to be my writing CV; so long as it’s authentic to who I am. And this is where I think imposter syndrome and the very British way of behaving is hindering me.  How many of you promote yourselves, perhaps act more American, or dare I say it, more male? I think it’s difficult for us to toss aside the humble attitude and share our expertise in a way that doesn’t sound arrogant. It’s a delicate balance, and I think Chloe has the answer. She has a ‘client review’ section on Instagram, where her clients share their feedback. It’s not Chloe boasting. So I will do the same. Ages ago, I asked clients for testimonials, and I have a bank of them ready to share. Yes admittedly it still feels a bit ‘look at me!’ but I need to share my talent if I am going to try and claw back a day to myself in the new year, be ready to accept work, and get paid for it. It’s promotion time folks!

And as I finish this column, an email from the brilliant copywriter, Kate Toon, has just popped up offering entry to her digital marketing coaching community. Serendipitous, I think!

By the way, if you’re looking for a photographer to capture a special occasion, wedding or family event, then do check out my colleague @chloecaldwellphotography. She also does some good quizzes 😊  

How to carve your own creative path by putting yourself and your community first.

My name is Callum. I have a BA in Illustration and an MA in Communication Design from Norwich University of the Arts. I run a small creative studio called Site Collective which takes on adhoc design, illustration and the expanded arts commissions as well as running events that provide a vital hub for local creatives to network, sell work and collaborate on live briefs. I also work as a freelance copywriter and PR agent.

After struggling through a dysfunctional school system which didn’t support my learning style, I learnt to be fiercely independent and proactive in my approach towards my professional and creative life. When approaching the end of my BA I noticed that there was no support network available for recent graduates and decided to step up to create a platform for everyone to stay in touch and begin to build a community around. It started as a singular art exhibition and pop up shop showing illustration, design and art which me and my close friend and talented animator and illustrator Dominic Lovegrove collaborated on. We worked so well together and managed to create a firm interest from our peers and wider local community by selling over £1,000 worth of small artworks that we decided Site Collective was here to stay.

cred.: @_____ronja

Since that day we’ve branched out our network hosting four shows with different local creatives as well as expanding into various social events which provide a more casual environment for our creative community to engage with. The business has grown naturally allowing us to take on printmaker and illustrator Julia Triay Sarasa and we now sit at the centre of a large circle of hugely talented local creatives and industry professionals. Part of our growth can be attributed to our niche filling a gap in what is a relatively quiet city, but the other part can be firmly attributed to our open and approachable attitude. This attitude underpins our ethos, that if we can help others then we will in turn get help from others.

cred.:@_____ronja

There is a lot to be said for collaboration beyond just sharing resources and audiences. It can teach you whole new ways of working and understanding different creative skill sets. You can then build yourself a support network of specialist talents centring around yourself. In our experience this sense of community will always go further than you can imagine.

Obviously, it is important to remain strict and at times ruthless when it comes to functionality of the business but we very much like to consider ourselves firmly rooted in our community. This is what drives our practice and is both our passion and profit. We have more recently set up commissions for local creatives and in turn been set up on commissions. Norwich is a great place for us as it hosts people who very much agree with our grass roots and community focused ideas.

cred.: @_____ronja

We recently received funding to help us grow and put on what will be our biggest and most industry focused event yet. We aim to provide a platform for young people to grow their creative careers in a similar way to us by putting their communities first. We will be hosting an event featuring market stalls, live crits, panel Q&As and pep talks. This will aim to be accessible and support a wide cohort of young people local to Norwich wanting to start a creative career or just pursue a passion. We have dreams to grow bigger into a fully-fledged design studio with printmaking facilities and a physical shop eventually. The future is different but a lot easier when we work together to understand the complex maze that is the creative industry.

www.sitecollective.co.uk

@sitecollective

We have big, beautiful brains. We invent things that fly. Fly. We write. We paint. We create.

I would like to start with the actual definition of art: art /ɑːt/ noun 1.the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

I personally believe that being an artist is much simpler, but requires honesty and focus and a way to express toughts and emotions. I believe that art is a reflection of feelings and emotion. If the artist is happy and excited, he will create something colourful and full of life, but if the artist is sad and lonely, the colours will be darker. I can compare this statement with a walk at an exhibition/museum and those extended minutes that we spend looking at THAT painting because THAT artist is communicating with us and he is sharing his story through his art. However, if we pay close attention to the piece of art, we can always harmonise with the emotions that is expressing.

As we all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder as Margaret Wolfe Hungerford said, I have confidence that art can be found in anything that involves creativity such as writing a book, making a movie, painting, drawing, making music and many others. Everyone has different views for art, but the most important thing is the product or the end piece. I love to watch art. I love to write anything that is on my mind. I love to read books that other people created. I love to go to museums and exhibitions to explore famous or not so famous artists. I love to paint and relax my mind at the end of a rough day. What do you love to do?

It is all about the environment around us before we start creating. I have a small ritual before I start to write and I would invite any writer to try my easy steps for relaxation and creativity . Firstly, I like to take a cold shower, so I can refresh myself. Secondly, I will choose some cozy clothes to feel more comfortable. Thirdly, I will light up one of my favourite candles, respectively I will take a glass of fresh water and place it next to me, just in case I will be thirsty and I will not need to leave my place of writing and forget my ideas. The final step is to play meditation music and let my imagination flow.

As a new writer, my most challenging time is starting out, but when my imagination starts flowing, I can sit on my chair for hours and write until my ideas are consumed. I used to write short fictional stories and I never sent them out to be published. In the present, I am writing my own book related to my experience as a flight attendant and the adventures I have faced during my years of working as one. I would like to share them with my readers and especially with people who are interested in the aviation field.

As one of my favourite writers, Nicola Yoon said in her book “ We have big, beautiful brains. We invent things that fly. Fly. We write poetry. Thou art more lovely and more temperate’ in terms of sheer beauty. We are capable of big lives. A big history. Why settle? Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.” I do believe every single word from this quote and I hope you do too, reader.

We don’t earn aloe vera

In this post I’d like to share with you my experience and things I’ve learnt (and constantly keep learning) as an art student/freelancer. I think it might be helpful to those of you who are just starting in the business but I would also really appreciate some feedback from more experienced artists. I’d really like to open a discussion here because even if “freelancing” starts with “free” there are some rules and guidelines which we should keep in mind.

My freelancing patch is very broad. From selling paintings, creating works made especially for an order, caricatural/comic-like portraits to murals and videos. Am I proud of all the works I’ve done? Hell no. But some of them were pretty great. So let’s talk art freelancing:

1. You’ve got to be flexible. Do you think that the greatest of all – Diego Velázquez – felt the great urge to create so many portraits of Philip IV of Spain? Nope. I don’t think so. Our clients pay and have certain demands so we’ve got to be smart enough to do what they want but in a way that also doesn’t make us cry while working. My hack to do that: negotiating and not procrastinating. Putting off the work that you don’t really enjoy might make you fall into a huge rabbit hole. Remember, you should always do your work up to standards but if you don’t enjoy working on a said project – rip off that band-aid as soon as you can, simply – just get it done.

2. That brings us to the big green subject of money. Discussing payment usually sucks. On one hand if you’re a student some of the clients might not treat you seriously. On the other hand – maybe you don’t treat yourself seriously enough to ask for money? Remember, always before you start working or buying materials ask about the budget. It’s not being greedy it’s called having respect for what you do. What to do if you’re not sure how much is your job worth? I usually start with the subject of materials, sometimes it might get quite expensive. I also try to count hours I will spend on creating. And then, a thing that’s essential and I recommend to you all: discussing the pay with art professors, other artists. Just to make sure that everything is reasonable and beneficial for both sides.

3. Recognize the differences. In your creative job there are going to be situations in which you will have to decide if a project is worth investing your time if it’s not a paid gig. Some projects are definitely worth it! If they are connected with the art world, bring you contacts, marketing opportunities and additionally you can place them in your portfolio it’s definitely worth it! Maybe you and your friends are a group of people who just want to do something great (just like us, My Best team). Try it and I promise you won’t regret it. Sometimes it’s about what you love doing and about exploring opportunities as a creative group. And who knows, maybe someday it will be your golden ticket to doing the job you love.

4. But be careful with people who will try to give you unfavourable *trashy* propositions. Last week I got a call from a woman who claimed to be interested in buying my painting, telling me that she can give me a creative job. She invited me to a meeting at her private house with a group of women where we would talk about our professions and do home spa. The whole thing seemed stinky from the very beginning. I decided not to go and confronted her through the phone. It turned out that she wanted me to sell “natural” cosmetics and that she would give me aloe vera in as a payment for the painting. Guys, don’t get trapped like this. Art job is like any other. We don’t earn aloe vera.

5. There are going to be great people on your path and I can’t stress it enough that it’s crucial to keep in touch with them after your engagement is over. Keep inviting them for your vernissages, exhibitions, art events. If they enjoyed working with you the first time it’s very possible they will want to try that again or they will tell their friends about you. That’s how you build a network and in the mysterious environment of art- it’s a crucial element.

Keep creating, stay healthy,

Maria

We are now on PATREON!

MyBest, is constantly growing and we refuse to stop! Everything started with nothing but an idea to create a platform by creatives for creatives where we would not only showcase the art but also talk about daily life and day to day struggles of artists and creatives alike. Starting off in the art industry can be hard and we wanted to show other people that they’re not alone in this! Everything is a process and becoming a full-time artist can be a struggle sometimes but worry not as climbing up the career ladder is a time-consuming process in every occupation!

The very first issue of MyBest, was released during lockdown and we have been surprised with the amount of people interested in, what we thought of at the time, a project of love and passion. We are grateful for all the engagement and the constantly growing following – it is lovely to see that you want to see more of what MyBest, has to offer!

Together with our resident artists we managed to create not only a magazine but also an online platform where creators can share their thoughts, art, feelings, where we motivate and inspire. I’d like to personally thank our resident artists and resident writers – you are a truly amazing bunch and you inspire me every single day to keep going and keep our magazine growing, growing and growing! The amount of work that has been put in so far in the creation of the magazine is astonishing and I believe we can do so much more!

This month we have launched our very own Patreon Profile where you can access exclusive-MyBest, content! We are incredibly grateful to each and every single one of our readers for the ongoing support and we strive to bring you even more inspiring content each month. As now we grew to be an independent art-magazine we need your help to keep building on what we already have and evolve into even bigger collaborative platform and magazine for creators.

PATREON LINK HERE – https://www.patreon.com/mybestzine

We are also always on the look out for new resident writers and artists – if you want to become a part of what we do message us on Instagram or send an email outlining how you’d like to get involved and what you’ll bring to the magazine.

Thank you for those amazing months, we are exited to see what the future holds for us!

MyBest,

Monyca xx

Challenge what you think is the norm

Being an Artist for me has changed throughout my life, from studying in a school wearing
there were constant rules and you couldn’t touch anything dicey to college wear mastery of
technical skills would lead to amazing artwork to lastly university to where everything can be
used as inspiration and you were the sponge, you chose what you absorbed. What you
squeezed out would be the art you made.

Being an Artist means to me what I create in response to what I am feeling, what I’ve been inspired by and causes close to me. Creating something that has meaning beyond the superficial level but into the mind, challenging what you think is the norm.