5 Questions With: Skye Walker

27 Jul

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Photo by: Peter Hulst

I first heard of the southern California artist Skye Walker a few years ago. I believe I found his website through a Liquid Salt mag post. I was immediately drawn to his art because of the beautiful ocean and nature themes. The mural Skye is standing in front of on the above photo was the first piece I saw of his and absolutely fell in love with it. Yes, I may have a little bias for redheads but his art really spoke to me, it made me feel peaceful. Over the years, I’ve followed his journey and am stoked on all the success he’s been getting as of late. I can’t wait to go back to Leucadia in a few weeks to see this amazing mural in person! I hope you will be as inspired as I am when you read the interview below. Here are my 5 Questions With Skye Walker:

1) When did you start making art? Do you recall the first drawing that really marked you and made you think this was what you wanted to do for a living?

I always say that I picked up a crayon and started drawing and never stopped, but that is pretty true. I was always drawing, doodling and escaping into fun worlds with my art as a kid. Hundreds of hours of drawing in my room and loving every minute of it. I remember the moment I wanted to be an artist for life and for a career. We were living in Gardnerville, Nevada at the time and I was 8 years old. I had drawn some cartoons of Garfield the cat that I thought were awesome, so I sent them to Garfield’s creator, Jim Davis. A few weeks later I got a letter from Mr. Davis (or his secretary) but he signed it, and it said he received the drawings and he liked them a lot! My jaw hit the floor and I was blown away that he liked my art enough to write a letter back. So from that moment on I decided to be an artist for life and if I could, for a career. I remember the exact moment I had that realization too, sitting at the breakfast table.

2) What inspires your art? Your art revolves a lot around ocean and nature themes, why is that?

Growing up If I wasn’t drawing, I was outside playing. We lived in quite a few places growing up like California, Nevada, Spain, Hawaii, Colorado and Oregon. My sister and I were introduced to nature and camping and being in our natural surroundings by our parents. So, naturally, I gravitated to things like surfing, snowboarding and biking. Luckily we didn’t have iPhones, computers or the internet then. We never got a Nintendo (even though I wanted one) but I’m glad I didn’t get it. 

So being in nature inspired a lot of my art, as well as figure drawing and the human form. I do mix the elements of nature with the human body a lot. Usually the female figure represents mother earth and her interaction with our surroundings whether it’s subtle or more prominent. I think if I had grown up in an urban setting my art would certainly reflect those themes. But they reflect nature, the oceans, mountains, skies and trees- but I certainly try to present them in different ways and I’m always trying to evolve my style and themes.

3) As years go by, how do you push yourself to keep growing as an artist?

This is a great question. Just as we all have to keep growing and pushing ourselves as humans as we strive to survive and adapt, artists have to do the same with their art. Case in point, I was working in the Outdoor Sports industry as an Art Director and was pretty burnt out with the same old graphic design projects. But that job security was hard to leave, until I was let go along with 35 other people when the economy hit the fan. While this was frustrating, it freed me from the confines of that job artistically and let me focus on my own art and projects… but it really opened things up for me to return to doing large scale murals. 

I had done a lot of murals in high school and in college, but I didn’t see a career in it at all. It was fun, but a lot of work. Flash forward 9 years and my artist friend Alex Krastev referred Whole Foods to me as they were building a new store in my town of Encinitas. They contacted me about doing murals and that kick started a fire for me to focus on murals. Since then I have completed about 23+ murals from San Diego to LA to Denver to Austin and back again. 

Murals allow me to push myself as an artist all the time. To figure out spacial issues with large scale art that I can’t do on a small scale or on the computer. It’s also like solving a problem each time too, what paints will be best, what colors, how do I reach those heights, how do I get the scale I need and host of other issues… but I love it because it’s always challenging and it’s always pushing me artistically to create new ideas to work with the space that’s given to me. 

So if my friend hadn’t referred me to Whole Foods, I would probably still be doing smaller scale paintings and graphic design (which I still do) and not thinking of murals. But since that happened, it opened my eyes to new horizons with art. Murals are an amazing way to bring art to the public eye and change the image of a neighborhood. But the best part about it is that it’s never easy and it forces me to push myself artistically every time. It’s easy to sit at a computer and research ideas, new ways of thinking and such… but getting out and thinking on your feet and creating with your hands does wonders for my thought process and gets me out of my comfort zone. That’s when the real creativity begins.

 4) You’ve had the chance to create murals and work on special projects with a lot of renowned clients from Whole Foods to Rip Curl and Nike, what have been some of your most memorable projects to date?

My first real job out of college was at Rip Curl as their graphic designer for apparel. This was memorable because I’d never designed a t-shirt before, so I had to fake it until I figured it out. But that job was rad, made some great friends, went to Australia twice and surfed my brains out. Also designed a couple thousand t-shirts and other graphics, really helped me cut my teeth on some fast paced graphic design work.

I’d have to say lately though, the mural jobs & projects all have such memorable situations and experiences, it’s awesome. I had an assistant in Austin, Texas who turned out to be an ex-convict with crazy stories. Did a mural in Denver in between a blizzard praying the paint would stick to the wall, it went from 60 degrees to 7 then to 40 and back again. Since the murals are so big, everything that’s involved to create them is so much bigger which makes it all very memorable.

I just finished a mural for The Hub, Hillcrest Marketplace in San Diego and a woman walked up and said: “This is so wonderful, you’ve lifted the spirit of this whole neighborhood!”. I was very touched by that, she truly meant what she said and that made me feel like what I was doing was good and important. Ten minutes later a car sped by and a guy yelled: “Looks terrible!”. The Yin & Yang of it all, which makes creating murals so memorable. I can’t get those experiences in my home office!

5) For those who don’t know, you are also a surfer. Where are some of your favorite places to go surf?

Ah yes, surfing. A real love in my life. There is nothing quite like it and I don’t know where I’d be without it. I love taking surf trips whenever I can and experiencing new places and waves. I surf my local breaks pretty often and I try to get up and down the coast a bit to get out of the neighborhood and surf some different spots. I’ve learned as I get older that my favorite place to surf is wherever I am at that moment, whether it’s 2 foot slop or 6 feet and glassy. Just being in the ocean is wonderful. 

Santorini

25 Jul

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A lot of us have travel bucket lists, I certainly do and the following blog is dedicated to a destination that’s been in my top 5 travel destinations wish list for years. I was recently able to make that travel wish come true, when @offner (my faithful travel companion!) took me to Santorini for my big 3-0! NBD.

Santorini is as dreamy as it looks, sounds and as you’ve ever imagined it to be! The whole time I was there, I kept pinching myself to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming or looking at some fake backdrop. It’s really that breathtaking.

If you’re planning a trip to this enchanted place, may I recommend going between April and October? The rest of the year is considered the “off season” like many other destinations and a lot of the local hotels, shops and attractions are closed.

Also, if you’re flying in, consider flying with flyNiki, a division of Air Berlin that offers daily roundtrips to and from Santorini. They’re a super laid back decently priced German airline. Their flight attendants all look like models and are dressed in jeans and a pink blouse and offer a variety of sandwiches and tasty drinks on your quick flight from pretty much anywhere in Europe.

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Speaking of flying to Santorini, you’ll want to spend time on the rooftop patio at the Santorini airport. You get to pass security check and then they let you have some drinks and homemade food outdoors on a patio that overlooks the airport runway. You get to see up close the planes land and takeoff. Pretty special!

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That said, here are my top 5 things to do when traveling to Santorini:

1) Rent a car. The best thing to do while you’re in Santorini is to rent a car and explore the entire island. Santorini is small enough that within a couple of hours, you’ll have been able to see the entire thing. Renting a car is > renting a scooter or 4×4 because it allows you to go everywhere and a lot quicker. Also, renting a car for the day is ridiculously cheap. A renter’s tip: the rental companies will try to charge you more for renting a Smart car (the most expensive car they rent!), a more powerful car, a convertible… but honestly all you really need is a basic standard car. A standard car is preferable because it’ll help you go up and down all the winding roads on the island. Also, take pics of the car you rent – any scratches, problems, etc. The car rental companies are really anal on car damage. You wouldn’t want to be charged for something you didn’t do yourself.

If you rent a car, go to Fira, Oia, Kamari and all the other beautiful and unique little villages on the island. Make sure you check out the Red Beach, White Beach and Black Beach, all beautiful and so different. The island also contains more than 250 churches, which are all uniquely decorated. Go up to the ruins that overlook the entire island! The lighthouse on the southern and most western tip of the island gives you a beautiful view of all Santorini.

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By having a car, you’ll also be able to do all of this discovery at your convenience and spend as much time as you want in every place you go.

2) Eat the fresh local food. Seems obvious but Santorini has so much delicious local food. Most of the island is covered by wineries (who would have thought!) and their wine is pretty delicious and super cheap, like 3 Euros for a more than decent bottle. Most restaurants will offer you fresh fish of the day, that they will cook on an outdoor grill with locally grown fresh vegetables. If you drive around to the island, you’ll see that local residents have stands or small shops off the side of the road, where they sell you homemade products – jams, sauces, wine, as well as anything they’ve grown on their property. The spanakopitas and freshly made baked goods are HUGE and stuffed with flavour. Oh yea, and how could I forget the feta!! It’s everywhere and oh so yummy! We brought back some fresh olive oil and spices, which we’ve been using on salads since our trip. Nothing compares to fresh Greek olive oil!

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A restaurant you absolutely need to check out: La Maison for unique and modern Greek cuisine with a French twist!

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An insider’s tip when eating at a restaurant in Santorini: make sure you check the menu before sitting down because a lot of items tend to not be priced, don’t feel pressured to try everything they throw at you and don’t be surprised to pay for water and bread & butter, even if they make you feel it’s on them… You will have to pay for it!

3) Get a boutique hotel in Imerovigli. Though all of Santorini is absolutely magical, there are some areas where you’ll be less bothered by the 3000+ people coming off cruise ships every day to explore Santorini on their cruise day trip. Yes, that’s the one thing you can’t avoid in Santorini: Cruise ships!! And big ones too! Some days, you’ll wake up to 2 or 3 ships anchored down close to Fira. The advantage of being in Imerovigli is that a) you still get the dreamy view of the island b) you’re far enough that lot’s of these cruise ship passengers don’t walk all the way up to your hotel c) you’re far enough from the road so no you won’t hear any car traffic and noise.

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A lot of these boutique type hotels have infinity pools, though tiny, they’re quite refreshing on a hot day on the island. All of these hotels are beautifully decorated, most of them also have private patios and serve yummy breakfast that you can eat while overlooking the island. Though Oia is also a popular spot, too many buses and organized tours bring people to that area all day long, and you would always be bombarded by others looking through your windows, taking pictures and getting in your business.

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4) Go Surfing. Little did I know that you can go surfing in Santorini. I found a local surf spot totally by chance while exploring the island with our car (again, the advantage of renting a car!). We had seen a surf shop in Fira and had laughed thinking no one would be surfing in the area because the water is so calm but low and behold, they can get some pretty great swell in the Aegean Sea! What was amazing about this surf spot, was that it wasn’t crowded. It’s a black sand beach, with 10 or so locals catching waves and hanging out. You’ll find people surfing around Vourvoulos and Pori, not too far away from the island’s airport.

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5) Catch a sunset! Duh! The best place to catch a sunset on the island would have to be in Oia hands down. Some people reserve their seats on restaurant patios as early as lunch time, and stick around all afternoon to make sure they don’t miss out on the sunset. If you don’t want to sit on a patio all afternoon, you can always try calling a restaurant if you want to make sure you get a table. Another option, is to go down to the water in Oia. Lot’s of people drive to the tip just to catch the sunset each night.

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If you can’t make it to Oia, another option is to take a boat cruise. A lot of locals offer private or semi-cruises afternoon and sunset trips that include visiting the different beaches, swimming in the hot springs right beside the volcano and going to catch the sunset in Oia followed by a homemade dinner on the boat.

If that’s also not your jam, and you want to take it easy, I recommend any patio from Fira to Imerovigli or even using your hotel’s patio to enjoy the sunset. You might not get the same view as Oia but regardless, it’ll be one of the most magical moments of your life!

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Motorcycle

24 Jul

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Photos by @Offner

H&M felt-print black cut off shorts

Skylark Acid Wash buttoned up shirt

Zara TRF oversized tee 

Verameat Peace Hand necklace (get it here)

Steve Madden ECNTRC-C flats (get them here)

Gold Arrows

22 Jul

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Photos by @Offner

Topshop white Oxford shoes

Forever 21 Geo Print Dolphin Shorts

Pamela Love High Tide Pendant (get it here)

Zara scoop neck white tee 

Sunglasses from Philistine Toronto

Sneakers

21 Jul

Took my new Nike Free TR Fit 4 sneakers to work today and my feet couldn’t be happier. Super happy to see more people dressing up the sneaker look. Not sure I’m ready to go full out sneaker with a dress look because it basically goes against everything my mom taught me, but I have no qualms giving my feet a rest once in a while. I like these ones particularly because they’re black and can go with just about everything! Yay or Nay for the sneaker look?

Speaking of sneakers, anyone remember this band?! Holy 90s flashback! To this day, I’m still not too sure what it means to be a “sneaker pimp”…

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Photos by @Offner

Nike Free TR Fit 4 (get them here)

H&M off-white quilted moto jacket

H&M boyfriend shorts

Zara black and white striped tee 

OIA Jules Baby Jaws Necklace (similar one here)

5 Questions With: Alex Mearing

20 Jul

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I recently fell in love with an Aussie designer named Alex Mearing after I saw one of her beautiful creations on Live FAST Magazine this spring – it was a silver sequined wedding dress (that you can see HERE!) that she had custom made for Ainsley Hutchence, the co-owner of Sticks & Stones Agency in Australia. There was just something magical about her design. In fact, I was so fascinated by the dress that I started looking up Alex and seeing what other beautiful things she had created. Not only does Alex make beautiful wedding dresses, she also makes tops, jackets and has an amazing collection of fierce pieces that you can find on her site. She will be launching a swimwear line called Klams in September, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I hope to one day be able to wear one of her lovely creations. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions With Alex Mearing:

1) What made you want to become a designer? When did you start your career?

I wanted to explore and express my style so it felt very natural to go into fashion. After I graduated school I moved from Noosa to study in Sydney and was able to find a job after doing some work experience for a small company. I learnt about design, production and the business. When an opportunity to become the designer for an equestrian label called Giddy Up Girl came up I was ready to take the job. I showed my first collection under my own name in 2012 and the brand has grown into a couture line, mostly creating alternative wedding dresses.

2) Who are your fashion icons?

Mary Kate Olsen and Ada Kokosar

And lately I can’t get enough of Rihanna…

3) Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?

I think I absorb everything around me unconsciously. It may be a film, a personality, an era, it’s usually a lot of layers that create an idea.

4) Is Australia a good place to be for up and coming designers? Are there a lot of opportunities locally and across the country?

I think it’s important to have a plan to create opportunities. I love the way creative people are collaborating with each other and doing amazing work. The opportunities are limitless with apps like Instagram to connect with bloggers, models, photographers, stylists and inspiring people all over the world. I recently made a wedding dress for a woman in London who found me on Instagram, which I found really exciting.

5) What have been some of your biggest achievements thus far in your career?

Recently I made a wedding dress for Ainsley Hutchence from Sticks and Stones Agency for her elopement in Las Vegas. You can check out the editorial shot by Jenneke Storm here: http://www.rocknrollbride.com/2014/01/epic-las-vegas-elopement-ainsley-sebestien/

Prismatic World Tour

18 Jul

I’ve been waiting for tonight since Valentine’s Day! Tonight is Katy Perry‘s World Prismatic Tour debut in Toronto! I was so stoked when I received tickets as a gift from @offner in Miami back in February. I’ve always loved Katy Perry’s magical and colorful universe. I can’t wait to see all the costumes and set tonight! Ready to get my dancing on!!

Happy Weekend everyone!!

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Photos by @Offner

M for Mendocino’s print shorts

M for Mendocino black tee

Vanessa Mooney With A Tiny Tender Kiss Charm Bracelet White(get it here)

Bing Bang Wanderlust cuff (get it here)

Lionette Gilmore bracelet (to order please go here)

Modern Vice Handler Boot (get it here)

5 Questions With: Abeille Gélinas

13 Jul

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Photo by: Emilie Iggiotti

Every Saturday morning as a teenager, I would religiously watch a program on MusiquePlus called “La Ruche” that a really amazing VJ called Abeille Gélinas would host. I guess I was immediately drawn to Abeille because she had red hair, always had the coolest on-camera style and seemed like the friendliest person. Plus, she got to interview some of my favorite bands! I was super bummed when she left the station to pursue new adventures. For a few years, I lost sight of what she was doing but two or so years ago, I saw her name pop up as the DJ of an event I was attending. Not only has Abeille continued to work as a tv host and reporter, she’s now one of the most in-demand female DJs in the country. She also currently works as a contributing writer for several publications and in the midst of all that, finds time to get married and travel the world. She is always smiley, is always working on a ton of new project and has the most positive and best attitude about life. Abeille is definitely one of my inspirations! Hope you will enjoy my 5 Questions With Abeille Gélinas:

1) Can you talk to us about your style evolution from your teens until now? How would you describe your style today?

As a teenager I tried pretty much everything. I had a skater look, a Dee-light (the singer) look and a hip hop phase. I was and still am inspired by culture a lot. I like following my personality, breaking the rules and mixing it up. I guess I associate with a free-spirited bohemian look! 

2) Who are your style icons?

I love the way M.I.A mixes colours and patterns. I admire the way Zooey Deschanel is sophisticated yet she doesn’t have to show much skin to be sexy. And the Olsen twins are just the best! I adore them because they refuse to be defined by fashion norms and they are constantly being creative, times 2!

3) You started your career as a VJ at MusiquePlus but you are now a DJ. Can you talk to us about your career transition and why you decided to become a DJ?

I always loved music and after all the ups and downs of being an actress and host, I wanted to find a career that I could control. The idea of being a DJ was like a fantasy to me, so I asked a friend to show me the basics of the art, practiced for a month in my kitchen non-stop and my DJ passion and style was born. 

4) What are some of your most memorable moments thus far as a DJ?

It’s difficult to pick one because it’s not about the size of the event, it’s the energy that I get back from the crowd that makes the whole difference. Playing for Canada Day on Parliament Hill last year in front of 20,000 people was amazing! Sharing the stage with artists that I respect is awesome, but I also can honestly say that I’ve had some memorable and intimate nights with 100 people.

5) For those who don’t know, you’re someone who likes to travel a lot. You were just recently in South Africa. What is it about travel that you love so much?

I get amazed with life quite easily! Standing in front of a view that I’ve never seen before, feeling a different type of breeze on my skin, connecting with people you’ve just met… Perhaps when I’m in Montreal I don’t find as much time to meditate on those things because of work. When I’m away, there’s only the present moment and the adventures ahead of me that count. 

Nike Pro Bra

11 Jul

Yesterday I had the lovely opportunity to attend the exclusive Nike Pro Bra Collection launch event taking place in Toronto at the NTC Studio located at 548 Richmond Street West. After years of testing, Nike has finally developed a sports bra using a new 360 degrees fit system that you can get in 5 styles and 25 sizes. Until July 31st, you can book an appointment with one of Nike’s Fit-System Concierge who will help you find your perfect Nike Pro Bra size. At the same time, you can also get a complimentary intimate NTC Session at their amazing new studio.

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photo 4 (5)Last night I was able to do just that! Not only was it super fun to try out these new bras and all the colorful Nike Pro gear, but little did I know, I would also be working out with a Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath (yea, they had forgotten to mention I’d be working out for 45 minutes, oops!). Luckily, the fine folks from Bolt Fresh Bar (my favorite place to go for snacks, smoothies & breakfast!!) were there for some post-workout treats!

photo 2 (29)Last night’s event was a great place to meet wonderful ladies from all walks of life who also have a love for working out and Nike. Over the past couple of years, running has really become important in my life, never thought I would say this, but I can honestly say that I enjoy my runs. Though not always easy, they always feel so rewarding in the end. Each time I run and feel like I can’t run any longer, I try to remind myself, that I run because I am lucky and grateful that I can! And if you’re also someone that works out, you know that it’s always exciting to try out new gear. I’m very stoked to be able to work out in this new Nike Pro Bra!

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If you’re interested in dropping by the NTC Studio for a NTC Session and a Nike Pro Bra fitting, go here: www.548richmond.com.

A big thank you to So Sasha for the invite, Eva Redpath for kicking my butt and all the lovely ladies from Nike present last night. Great times!

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Dots

9 Jul

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Been on the road this past week for work in Quebec City. While I was there, I got to see some amazing shows including Tegan and Sara (hello dreamy sunset!), Serena Ryder, Mozart’s Sister and Phantogram (best show I’ve seen this year, hands down!! In case you haven’t checked it out yet, go read my 5 Questions With: Sarah Barthel of Phantogram here). Happy to be home for a few days before heading to NYC!

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Photos by @Offner

Forever 21 southwestern trim denim jacket

H&M blue and white polka dot dress 

Wave necklace from Etsy

Converse – Chuck Taylor Dainty (get them here)

Karen London Gypsy Ring (get it here)

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