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BTS with Christina...

We have begun work on the 2016 A/W LiK campaign.  Christina Vega was here (and will be working behind the camera as MUA) to... well, basically change the world.  

We had a concept, that I basically drew out and sent her some time ago and we both loved it.  Luckily, she forgot to bring the makeup to make that happen, so we got to go to Sephora.  The reason I say luckily, is because although I know Christina, it was awesome to see how the rest of the world responds to her.  They LOVE her.  Rightfully so.  She is a dope soul full of energy and life.  REALLY FULL OF LIFE.  Christina is also 6 months pregnant!  I can't wait to meet the little guy!  

In perfect accordance with the campaign, we discussed spreading love throughout the world and shifting our consciousness to a different place.  The images came out great and I can't wait to share them and the "big picture" with you. 

Cheers! 
a.

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Product Placement

Love is King Project has our attention right now. 
We are currently devoting time, energy and resources to making this the most amazing project. 

In the following weeks we will roll out the campaign and we hope you all support! :) 

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C.

Happy people are beautiful people!!!
Courtney in Chelsea on 6.24.16

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Shaakira

Met Shaakira walking down 7th ave... 
She completely reminded me of LL Cool J "standing at the bus stop sucking on a lollipop".
This pic feels like summer in NYC to me.  :)  
It's amazing that within 2 minutes, she was giving me the look that most of my friends do. HAHA

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Malliha: Salt of the Earth.

I met Malliha in Soho.  SUPER DOPE energy.  
We had conversation about.... well everything and she was kind enough to stand in front of the camera.  Very cool NYC style simple but chic. 

Found out she is quite an artist! It seems I am now just collecting people to have on my podcast to share with you.  

SOON!!!!! ;) 

Let go     "There is no deity but God."

Let go   

"There is no deity but God."

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MariaAntoinette

Recently caught up with MariaAntoinette.
It is such an amazing thing, to be around people that live out loud and positively.  
People that love family, life and respect others.  

We talked about living one day at a time.  I always thought that neglecting the now while being preoccupied by the future was so unfortunate.  Maria not only verbally confirmed my thoughts, but lives it everyday.  All of that made this one of the dopest shoots! 

Super chill and easy.  Filled with laughs and great imagery.

Thank you for being a dope role model!!! :) 

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Just be.

Not finished...
Not right...
Not Perfect!

Perfect is impossible.  Sometimes you have to do the best you can and move on.  It is a huge hurdle for artists.  One that finds them later, being critical of those that present 'mediocre' or 'sub-par' work and being acclaimed for it.  

No one knows who you are until you show them.

You're dope!!! 
Just be!

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Mindful...

You get what you're looking for.
It's funny how I depending on who you are, life happens differently.  

A few weeks ago I was out and about shooting.  We would go from location to location seeking inspiration.  We'd stop along the way and shoot and laugh and shoot and laugh.  It was a very good day.  Most people would see us and wait before they walked through our little session.  We assured them that it was quite alright to walk through and thanked them for their courtesy.  It's usually like that on the streets.
Not for this gentleman though.
He walked right through, with a bit of disdain for our existence in that space it seemed. 
He looked like he may have been hard on his luck or maybe just dealing with a lot.
Either way, I can only imagine how obnoxious we must have looked blocking up the sidewalk, loudly laughing, very carelessly.

It was an interesting lesson.
I initially saw the situation from my personal perspective.  This gentleman was not at all concerned with our situation. 
Then I realized that we were equally as unconcerned with his.  
While we go about our day, we can become consumed with trivial battles that get more attention than they need.  Some people are fighting real battles that we should be mindful of. Things that are at least as important to them as my issues are to me.

Learning to be mindful.
This picture has become a favorite... it reminds me that other people exist!

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Fear?

Sometimes, you have to dig really deep.  And if you're lucky, you'll find that you're actually fighting yourself.  

We live in a world where you can sit on your couch and criticize Lebron James for not being a better basketball player.  Who would want that?  Not me! Realizing my goal of reaching the highest competitive platform the world has to offer for my craft, just to be criticized... no thanks.  I remember being very critical of my idols.  The people that I looked to for inspiration.
It is completely ridiculous.  This idea of standards, goals and ideas set by people that can only imagine what it takes to make them happen.  ONLY IMAGINE.

This 'judgement' of our peers,idols, neighbors is a HUGE obstacle for the self.  This is completely indicative of how we treat ourselves.  I would never want to be held to the standard that I hold others to.

Once I got past all of my excuses, I learned that the judgement is actually some sort of defense of my ego.  As long as I can see imperfections in others, it will allow me to compare my situation, my accomplishments, my failures, to theirs comfortably.  This comparison is the worst obstacle.  It is, as they say, the thief of joy.  

Quoting a good friend of mine "I created my best stuff when I stopped judging myself" 
That was a conversation I was having with India Arie.

No judgement.  No comparison. Just be!!! 

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Like a child.

"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."
-Pablo Picasso

I must admit, there was a time that I did not really understand or respect Picasso.  I'd spent most of my time studying italian masters and artists that could render incredible likenesses of reality.
In fact, I was immature in my understanding of art.  

The reality, is that the expression is just an extension of the artist.  A bridge into his or her mind.  I started to look at the work of Pablo Picasso and I decided to try my hand at his style.  I must say, it is quite difficult.  It takes a tremendous amount of practice.  More than that, it takes a lot of detachment.  Then, I decided to read some of his words.

"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” 
“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.”
“It takes a very long time to become young.”
“Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness.”

His work, his style, began to make sense.

“If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse... but surely you will see the wildness!” 

Live as a child.  The innocence.  The dependence on something, someone higher than you.
Children don't have the same bias adults do.  

Life is simple.  
Beauty is just beauty. 

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” 
-Pablo Picasso

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The Skin You're In

The "skin you're in" project has been taking shape nicely.  I am really amazed by how much beauty is on God's green earth.  

Amy came by the studio on Friday and it was all laughs.  She hails from Senegal, which is clearly one of the world's topmost exports of amazing skin! 

More to show!!!!
Stay tuned. 

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Dancing in the Streets

My friend Alisha came to visit.  
First off, let me say that I think that I wanna make a Bollywood movie!!!

Alisha is a classically trained Bharatnatyam dancer as well as Bollywood dancer.

Very awesome!
 

We decided to take it to the streets, which is of course very typical Bollywood fashion.
Alisha was all for it, but I did not expect to get the type of reaction we got. 

People LOVED to see her dancing in the streets.  
Literally cheering and whistling from their cars.  
Crowds of people stopping to see her.  Compliments and adoration.  
I was quite amazed actually.  It's not that I don't believe people are blind to arts in NYC, I just feel like we are always "on the way" to somewhere and don't "have time".  It was amazing to see the appreciation for art and culture.  It is alive and well in NYC.  

I wholeheartedly believe that we New Yorkers are connoisseurs of  the mastery of any art, that is such a beautiful thing.  We have to support that in one another.

this reminds me of one of the most potent quotes I have heard over the last few months.
"We are educating people out of their creative capacity".

It is deep.  It is sad.  It is true.

We can do better.  

I am thinking I would love to do a street fair with talents from all over the world.  We certainly have it in NY.  

Maybe... :) 

Stay tuned. 

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(Happy in your Skin!) Let it breathe.

Perception is reality right?
I was recently asked about editing images (photoshopping).  How I feel about it and how do I use do it. 
It's pretty simple.  I feel like we all do a fair amount of "editing" to be presented the way we want to be seen... in real life.  All things in moderation is my personal opinion but to each their own.
In pictures though, I like to let the skin on my subjects breathe.  I like texture and pores.  I like people to be perfectly imperfect, if that makes any sense.  

My friend Gemma came by the studio!! 
her skin is absolutely amazing and I felt like to edit the natural feel of it out of a picture does it (and her) an injustice.  So... here she is! 

But my real message, for those who want to hear it, is to be comfortable. 
If we didn't edit ourselves, by way of haircuts, cutting our nails, brushing our teeth, etc. things would get disastrous very quickly.  We all present ourselves as best as we can, so yes to edits.
Be happy with YOU first though.  It will make all of your other decisions better. 

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