Sunday, December 4, 2016

An Abundant Life - Lightbearers

There is a Native American creation story about Coyote bringing fire. In it, the people are suffering because fire is kept away from them on the top of a mountain and guarded day and night by three sisters. Coyote, always in the mood for adventure, for whatever reason, decides to help the people, so he asks his three sisters, who happen to be huckleberries who live in his stomach, for advice. At first they don't want to give it to him, because they say he will say it was his idea all along as he always does, but because Coyote is always very wise, he commands hail from the sky to frighten them and they give him the information he needs. He gathers all the animals together, and after he uses his wisdom to find the perfect time to take hold of the fire brand and run with it as far and fast as he can, they each in turn use their own skills to make a kind of relay - with the squirrel going over the tree-tops and the otter swimming underwater in the streams and the antelope outrunning everyone, until the remaining ember is swallowed by a frog who spits it out into a log where it lives. Coyote then teaches the people how to coax the fire from wood, so that ever after they can make fires for warmth and light and cooking their food.

I love Native American stories - they are colorful and fanciful, and seem at times to make no earthly sense at all. They are magical and have their own logic, but there are certain themes that run through them, so that when we read enough, we start to understand a little more about the world around us. I don't know why Coyote has sisters who are huckleberries who live in his stomach, but I do know that the advice they give him to have everyone working together using their own unique gifts and talents is a lesson that all good leaders know. Another part of their good advice was to have him start off the relay race by using his own wisdom and vision and run as far as he could on his own before he began to pass the baton. To be a good leader takes wisdom and vision and a willingness to lead by example, as well as a good sense of humor, and that is why when I began to think about writing about the artist John Fathom, I thought of this story.

There is one place where he does not match the description of Coyote that I have written here. Far from taking credit as Coyote does for someone else's ideas, from my experience of him, John Fathom is so humble a person that in his telling it is everyone else who is doing everything and he is just allowing them the space to do it. The truth is that thirteen years ago he had the idea to move into a raw urban industrial loft building in an area of Jersey City that few people would have had the courage to live in, and he proceeded over the years to create a mecca for artists of all kinds to live and work and thrive. It is not easy to do what he has done, and to continue to do it year after year, and I applaud him for it. I met him first at the Jersey City Artist Studio Tour (JCAST) and Jersey City Mural Arts Program (JMAP) exhibit at Cast Iron Lofts that I wrote about a few weeks ago, and just as I had been unprepared for the gorgeous space that Cast Iron Lofts shared with the artists for that exhibit, when I met with John Fathom at 660 Studios, I was amazed by the space and scope of work that he has created and assisted in the creation of there. I'll share some photos here, but they can't do any of it justice - contact John and visit with him, and walk with him into a whole new world.

The Artist John Fathom, Art Director Of 660 Studios
Brings Light And Warmth And A Creative Force
To A Raw Space
660 Grand Street
Jersey City, NJ
Art Where Noted Below By
John Fathom, John Ruddy, Cris Nyne, Alex Pergament, Nyugen Smith, Alicia Ruth

John Fathom

John Fathom And Nyugen Smith

John Fathom And John Ruddy

John Ruddy

Cris Nyne

Alex Pergament

Alicia Ruth

A Breathtaking Space For Breathtaking Art

Another amazing artist who I have been honored and blessed to meet is Eddy Bogaert, who recently invited me to an opening for a group show at Georges Berges Gallery on West Broadway in Manhattan. I lived not far from the gallery for many years, back in the days before SoHo became what it is now, and I lived there through the changes that has made it a destination for art lovers all over the world. Georges Berges has been in that location since 2015, and this gallery is one of the places that I am so happy to know is there and thriving. The time that I spent there brought me back to the reasons why I first loved New York and why SoHo will always hold a special place in my heart. The art on display at the current show is breathtaking and the space itself is perfection. The website describes it as a museum gallery, and that is exactly what it is. Visit Georges Berges Gallery and visit the SoHo of the past with an eye to the future.

Georges Berges Gallery
462 West Broadway
New York, New York

Rose Hartman

John Ransom Phillips

Pedro Guimaraes

Eric Roux-Fontaine

Michael Degenstein

Kristin Jai Klosterman

Laddie John Dill

Johan Wahlstrom

Paul Gerben

Eddy Bogaert With His Glorious Art

Michael Carson


Jannie Susan

Sunday, November 27, 2016

An Abundant Life - Beautiful Discoveries

I met Bridget Negron when I stopped in to say hello to the owner of Urban Consign and Design one day a few weeks ago. He was not there, but Bridget was so lovely and charming that I felt right at home, and when we talked a bit and I found out that she was a makeup artist, I offered to meet with her outside of work to learn more about her so that I could write a post for my blog. We planned to meet at a lovely coffee shop in the neighborhood, another location of Choc O Pain French Bakery that I have written about here before, and on the day we met I was reminded that this particular location of Choc O Pain is part of a co-op with Bloomsbury Sq., a natural skin care line that I've been wanting to learn more about also. My meeting with Bridget would have been delightful on its own - she is so full of life and heart that it is a pleasure to spend time with her - and the combination of her charming philosophy of beauty and her lovely spirit along with the intoxicatingly delectable scents and tastes and scenery in the co-op for Bloomsbury Square and Choc O Pain made our time together a highlight of my week. Talking to Bridget about beauty products and skin care and hearing her stories of her search for the path to true beauty was inspiring and encouraging. Although I don't wear much make up, I am a girl at heart who loves to dress up, and wearing makeup is something that though rare for me is something I enjoy. Bridget's beauty is natural, flowing from her beautiful spirit out into the world, and her understanding of skin care and makeup and how to work with others to help them shine as brightly as she does is a delight to experience. Whether you are planning a big event, or you have a career that calls for great makeup, or whether you just want to have a beauty day, call Bridget and schedule a consultation - you will look at yourself and the world of makeup in a whole new way.

Bridget Negron, Makeup Artist





A Space To Dream Beautiful Dreams

After meeting with Bridget, I spent some time on another day to meet with Niambi of Bloomsbury Sq. The space she has created is so delightful and the scents of her handcrafted products so delicious that I wanted to find out more about this beautiful heart who had envisioned such a wonderful home away from home. Having spent time in London and Europe, Niambi wanted to create the same kind of Old World environment of the village apothecary, and she has done all that and more. The products of Bloomsbury Sq. and the blooming plants trailing their tendrils down airy and light filled walls reminded me of some of the loveliest spaces and places I've visited in Switzerland, London, Germany and France. And to think that she is there, easily located on Summit Avenue, and that along with a visit to her shop and studio you can take a few moments or many more and enjoy the delights of Choc O Pain French Bakery is a delightful breath of fresh air. 

942 Co-op
Bloomsbury Sq. and Choc O Pain French Bakery
942 Summit Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey

Wonderful Staff From Choc O Pain

A Perfect Cup Every Time

The Secret Of True Beauty

I was introduced to Ramy Gafni by a very lovely person who has only the best of taste. When he told me he had a friend who was known as the Eyebrow King, I wanted to meet him - not only because I knew he must be the best of the best in the business, but if the man who introduced us was calling him a friend, I knew he would be a wonderful person too. But although I expected to spend some enjoyable time with him, I was unprepared for the lovely afternoon I had. It was something I never expected to find someone as knowledgeable and highly regarded to take the time to share his experiences in such a charming and humble way. Ramy is an artist, in the classical sense of the word, and his sensitivity, skill and expertise show in everything he does. He's known for his wonderful work with eyebrows, but he is a craftsman in every area of beauty, with his own makeup line and the experience to back up his products. His books are best sellers, and rightly too - whether writing about tricks of the trade to make a lovely face lovelier or helping people to find their own beauty, his beautiful heart shines through. He's helped the world's most beautiful people be beautiful, and spending time with him can help us all be more beautiful too.

Ramy Gafni In His Studio
343 East 30th Street, Suite 19J
(212) 684-9500


Jannie Susan