Interview - Contemporary Dancer in Berlin loves to go Gaga

Kristy Asks what are people passionate about on the streets of Berlin & Paty Photographs them...

All Photos were taken by Patricia Fiol, unless stated otherwise.

All Photos were taken by Patricia Fiol, unless stated otherwise.

People with Passion

Who we interviewed: Maya Gomez 

Maya's Passion: Contemporary Dance

City: Berlin

The multilingual (speaks French, Spanish, Catalan, English and German) and free spirited dancer now living in Berlin tells us how travelling out of her comfort zone changed her life and how important is to keep fighting for what you love. 


Dancing for me is like the oxygen I breathe... It’s the medicine for my body and my mind.
— Maya


I know I’m most passionate when I feel my blood, muscles and bones floating in space.
— Maya



What makes your heart skip a beat?

I specialize in contemporary dance, but this specific dance has many sub-divisions. I look at it like a fan...when you open it up you'll find many different sections. There are lots of different techniques within the contemporary dance too. From all those techniques, I'd choose 5 which I consider my favorite. Each dancer has her/his own personal style within each technique. So many personal movements, some dancers may be working more on the floor, some on the dynamics - there are so many variations of expression. 

I work as a freelance dancer, but I also teach. I know I'm most passionate when I feel my blood, muscles and bones floating in space.

If I had to choose one type of dance for the rest of my life, it would have to be contemporary dance - more specifically a style called Gaga which I absolutely love. Another contemporary dance style I love is called Release - it’s very physical, animalistic and much of it takes place on the floor. From the inspiration of both styles I love to create my own choreographed dance routines. That’s when I enter another world , another universe and get into an almost trance state of mind. Placing your body into open space and feeling the air in that space is what I call ‘Gustoso’ (meaning tasty / enjoyable).


Learn more about Gaga and Release Dance Styles:



When did you know that you're passionate about dance?

It all started when I was 4 in a small school in a village in Switzerland. My sister was already dancing so that inspired me and I of course wanted to dance too. She was dancing ballet so I started with that. I saw my sister wear a tutu, so I wanted one myself. 


You really need to develop your own identity... your own character, because that’s the way you’ll stand out from the crowd. There needs to be a lot of discipline, a lot of fighting for what you do and for your passion.
— Maya

What's your story?

I was born in Switzerland (mom is Swiss and dad is Filipino). I speak Spanish because I lived most of my life in Spain. When I was 10 we moved to Spain, but before we moved there I insisted that we find a dance studio straight away, so my parents made it happen.

My family still lives in Spain, close to Barcelona. They run their own business - a restaurant called NOU FUSION in Rosas, which is around 2 hrs from Barcelona, in Costa Brava. 

Via Nou Fusion

Via Nou Fusion


After a while I felt like the school wasn't challenging enough for me, so when I told my mom she started searching for another school and found the Conservatory Institut del Teatre in Barcelona. I started to train for the auditions and had to learn how to dance Flamenco, which I've never done before - I was always just dancing ballet.

At the conservatory, you’d spend the morning going to general classes and the afternoons would be dedicated to dancing. I started attending at the age of 13 and was there for 6 years. When I finished I auditioned for a small company called IT DANSA and stayed with them for 2 years. It was my first professional experience which was very valuable. The learning environment at school was very different to the one at the company. At school you’re generally just following what others are doing and what others tell you to do, however at the company it was a different story - you really need to develop your own identity...  your own character, because that's the way you'll stand out from the crowd. There needs to be a lot of discipline, a lot of fighting for what you do and for your passion. 

 

Maya's Bits & Pieces:

I moved to Berlin 2 years and I feel like I've changed quite a bit since I got here. When I was working at the company in Barcelona I was always thinking that others were better than me and I never really reflected on myself as much as I do now. When living in Barcelona I felt like I lived in my little made-up nest, but once I arrived to Berlin I started to finally see the real world. 

I would describe myself as a perfectionist. I don’t think I’m the easiest person to handle, if I have an idea then nothing really stops me.

It was easier to move to Berlin, as I already had a friend here who studied at the same conservatory with me. He helped me find my first job, which was at a small company called ART CHANGE. This helped me settle down and get to know the dancing scene in Berlin. They gave me an opportunity to do a solo, which I was extremely happy about, and that's when I could finally express myself fully. I created the choreography and performed it.

So that was my first job in Berlin and then I did an audition for Sasha Waltz  and I got the job - which was a 4 months project in Kalsruhe. It’s a dream come true for any dancer to be working with Sasha Waltz, so I was very lucky to find this audition, as it was kind of a secret. The project took place in an art installation - at ZKM - not in a theater. We were part of the art installation, often changing positions but not moving a great deal. 

After my 4 months project ended I decided to travel to Israel for a month to find out more about the Gaga technique. It originates and was developed in Israel, so it was a very educational and fun month for me. 


Your most valuable possessions?

My turtle which faces the wall in my room. She takes the bad energy from the room and makes it escape through the walls. I bought her in Mexico, so that's what they told me and I've chosen to believe it. 

Coffee would be another thing on the list! It gives me a good kick start to the day.

But with my profession there’s nothing I absolutely need except for my own body and mind. Of course I’m very attached to my family, so that is definitely something I value the most. 

Your most memorable moment in your life?

Me dancing on a stage with around 16 other people. At the end of the show I was improvising on the stage. I used the space that was available for me, so I jumped right in it and once I saw the light focus on me, that's when I felt alive and that's when I realized why I chose to dance. It's worth fighting for those little moments, even if they take just a second.

 

What do you dream about?

Right now what’s constantly on my mind is what’s going on in the world - it upsets me. How people treat each other, how they treat the environment, how they treat the animals... it’s a constant worry. How easy it is to destroy the beauty that has been given to us. 

The other day I was in a class where they told us to kick really hard. To make it easier for us to kick harder we were told to imagine kicking another person. It really made me think... why should we want to kick another person? But then I realized that there’s really nothing more destructive in this world than a human being, so yes... I guess it makes sense.

I’d love to have my own company - a studio - one day with my boyfriend Blenard, and be able to work with other dancers. Being able to create an environment that we love. Invite people to festivals where we would create events and create an educational yet fun space for people who love to know more about dance. 

I imagine myself ending up back in Spain - I like the warm weather as well as people who are warm at heart.

 

If you could give advice to people who are in the same professional field as you what would it be? Or general advice for life…

Fight for what you want. If you fall down, which happens often in this career,  just stand up and carry on. If you have family who support you, then cherish it because it’s so important to have that during your development. Be open to all the knowledge and experiences from other people. Be open to travelling... you’ll find what you’re looking for, but you never know where, so that’s why it’s so important to be open to possibilities.

 

Maya's Recommendations: 

This job is all about being at the right place and at the right time. If you want to get involved, search hard on Facebook and generally on the internet for all kinds of auditions and courses in different schools around Europe.

TanzFrabrik - school - I didn't study there but I heard a lot of praise about it. You can do an intensive course throughout the year or

Professional dance classes -


I kind of need sad moments in my life to be creative. Sadly, the grey points in your life give artists inspiration - it’s ironic.
— Maya


People, Places & Events Maya Recommends

 

Inspiration:

Who & What inspires Maya

I have to start with Ohad Naharin person who developed the Gaga style. He’s quite famous now, so a lot of it has changed. I love how he’s developed the technique, but of course I think that fame kind of ruins what was once real. The technique gets you really moving but I also see it like meditation in a flowing form. During this dance you get yo use your imagination quite a lot.

One thing that completely inspires me about Sasha Waltz and something I’d like to take as a lesson, is the fact that you always have the sensation that she knows exactly what she wants. Even if she might be completely lost she'll still look completely confident and focused on the end goal. It’s very impressive how she does that. She’s very professional and carries everything in a very elegant and powerful manner. I believe that she visualizes the things she wants, and once she sees them, then nothing will stop her.

Crystal Pite - choreographer - I love her because her style is very physical and what she creates is very original. It’s a challenge to create new movements in dance, so you constantly need inspiration.

Akram Khan - dancer living in London (originally from Bangladesh) - melodic movements and very rhythmic. Blenard works for Akram - often travelling together around the world for different projects.

Music is part of my every day life and constantly inspires me. I like electro, classical, rock, pop...all depends on my mood. Chopin for example helps me fall asleep, and I love to listen to MUSE and Nicolas Jaar. 


Places: 

Places Maya visits for inspiration

  • I love to go Parks in general - Gorlitzer Park and Mauer Park especially. During summer I need to be by the lake, the one I often go to is close to Ottostrasse Ubahn, near Tegel Airport 
  • Burgermeister - amazing burgers
  • Mustafa's Kebab - fab kebab
  • Klunkerkranich - Rooftop Bar in Neukolln = beautiful view with live music, chilled atmosphere
  • Keller - Fridays are great for shows - dancers, singers, artists
  • Bar next to MonsterKabinett Museum - Rosenthalerstrasse

For More Berlin Recommendations Click Here!


Events you don't wanna miss! 

Events Maya recommends





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Interview - Digital Artist tells us to treat our work like a balloon


People with Passion

Who I interviewed: Phaedra Richter

Passion: Digital Art / Dancing / Cooking

City: Munich


When I finish a piece, I just sit quietly in front of it and get fed with all the feelings and emotions it throws back at me. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction
— Phaedra


From my art work, you’ll see that women tend to inspire me more...I like passionate women, shy women, young and old women - there’s something beautiful about all of them.
— Phaedra

Change is a vital part in my life.
— Phaedra


What makes your heart skip a beat?

Oh dancing, cooking and the moment I finish a painting! I love reaching the point when i know that “This is it! This is exactly what I wanted”. When I finish a piece, I just sit quietly in front of it and get fed with all the feelings and emotions it throws back at me. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction.

When did you know that you're passionate about creating art?

It started when I was studying. I’d say that I found my passion at the age of 20. Before I finished my communication design studies, I studied Architecture which I hated. During my courses I used the architecture programs but I started creating something different with them and that’s when I discovered my passion for digital painting.

What is it that makes you love digital painting?

I love the way colors mix together and I love creating different patterns. It’s so much fun once you get to know how it works, as your possibilities for creating become endless. There’s constantly something new to discover.

What's your story?

I was born in Vienna, but grew up on a gorgeous Island called Syros in Greece. When I was little, I tried ballet, tennis, sailing, surfing...you name it. I was surrounded by water my whole childhood, so a lot of my activities where in the water.

My father is a doctor and a wine producer, and my grandpa was a farmer. We had a farm next to our house with chickens, pigs, cows and peacocks...fields with wine, olive trees, peanuts, tomatoes and watermelons...those were the days!

We were living in a huge house that my parents built with their own hands and my beautiful mother decorated it. The interior was a paradise of colors - a mix of okra, ocean blue and shades of red / orange. It was magic!

This is where I come from and that reflects in my personality -  I am playful, I am happy, but like any other person I've had my battles with life.

I am very active, love to have a good laugh with my friends, and quality time with my family is very important to me. I get bored easily so that's probably the reason why I get very anxious and feel unsettled at times. Change is a vital part in my life.


_MG_3935.jpg

I run under my balloon and puff air into it, so I feed it with air a little every day.
— Phaedra

Who inspires you? 

I am certainly very inspired by movies, and by people who surround me. From my art work, you’ll see that women tend to inspire me more...I like passionate women, shy women, young and old women - there’s something beautiful about all of them.

I love the wisdom and sophistication of older women and the youth and romance of the younger generations. It’s like taking their aura and putting it down on paper. My paintings are obviously not realistic. It’s a “Fedralita” version of what I see and feel. I portray it in shapes, colors and human emotions: the look in someone’s eyes for example, their body posture or their current feelings.

People I admire are Frida Kahlo, Niki de Saint Phalle and Picasso


Events you love to attend & recommend?

Hmmm… a difficult question! I love weddings for example - I mean not the wedding ceremonies as such, but the wedding parties! I figured out that it’s really a great place to meet interesting people - getting drunk with a bunch of well dressed ladies and gentlemen is really not bad at all!

I love festivals on the Greek islands, like for example on Ikaria  - something you should definitely try once. I'd say that this place is the Fusion of Greece, where people from the age of 8 till the age of 90 dance all night long! It’s the Greek tradition to dance till you drop.

Another recommendation I have for you is the art festival called the Stroke Art Fair in Munich (Germany), which takes place every year and a lot of great artists participate.

Another is the Bologna Art Fair in Italy.   

What are your favorite spots in Berlin and Munich?

I love having breakfast at Im Nu in Prenzlauer Berg. Great tapas is at the Tres Tapas on Helmholtzplatz, and fab food at The Bird where you never find a place to sit!

Clubs I really like in Berlin are Katerholzig and Wilde Renate and I love to walk around in Mauerpark - Oderbergerstrasse and Kastanienallee.

As for Munich I love the green parks: The English Garden and Cafes around Glockenbach Viertel - it’s a great area with a lot of nice shops and cafes.

 

Your most valuable possessions? 

My love for my family! Parents, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents and my Brothers. I cannot live without feeling that I love somebody and I cannot live without feeling loved.

I obviously cannot live without my laptop - that’s like living without my arms! I love music - especially sad music when I am working for example. Melancholic music helps me express my feelings. So that’s something I need in order to create.

My other obsessions and things I would not want to live without are: coffee, cheese and wine!


What do you dream about?

My dream is to settle down one day - somewhere where I can finally call home. I've constantly been moving from one city to another, so I’m getting a little tired of it and would really love to call some place home. I've recently moved to Munich where most of my friends are and I’m trying to make it happen this time.

I’m also planning to give digital painting workshops for Fashion and Graphic Design Students, as I’d like to start interacting more with people while I work - exchange ideas and get direct feedback - instead of just sitting alone behind a computer for hours and days.

If you could give advice to people who are in the same professional field as you what would it be? Or general advice for life…

Imagine your work like a balloon. It's an open balloon, and while you stand underneath it you constantly need to give it some air for it to stay above ground. I see myself and my work exactly this way. I run under my balloon and puff air into it, so I feed it with air a little every day. Sometimes it flies high and sometimes it almost touches the ground, but it never flies away nor does it ever collapse on the ground.

As an artist you are probably very depended on the feedback you get from the outside world, but I think it’s important not to get carried away by peoples’ opinions, because too much of it will make you create only what others want to see instead of doing something represents you.

I am also one of those artists who does a lot of work just because I know people will like it, but at the same time I never stop creating what really reflects “Fedralita”. Remember that there’s a job and there’s art - Art belongs to you and Jobs are for clients. I would advice people to work on their creativity and to ignore what’s going around them once in a while. I see how many artists suffer because of this, so don’t forget who you are and where you wanted to go in the first place. Keep feeding your art with what life gives you and tells you to do, while you use your talent to pay your bills. It’s a gift, so make the most of it.



Interview - Monster Mania in Berlin

Kristy Asks what are people passionate about on the streets of Berlin & Paty Photographs them...

All Photos were taken by Patricia Fiol, unless stated otherwise.


People with Passion

Who we interviewed: Mateo & Johan - a.k.a Zozoville

Mateo's Passion: Charming Monsters

Johan's Passion: Horses on Roller-skates

City: Berlin

Welcome to the Zozoville World - where Freedom mixed with a pinch of Discipline are the secret ingredients for the 'Potion of Success'.


The ego is always part of the artists presentation.
— Mateo


We’re all much more than the imagery that we’re so trying to live up to. It destroys peoples’ minds and their hearts
— Johan

When did you know what you wanted to do in your life?

MIt didn't seem responsible to do art for a living. I thought engineering would be a good option for me, as they earn reasonably well and there’s quite a bit of drawing involved, so I signed up for that.

If you see or know someone in your life who makes a living out of art, then you’d probably try to do the same if that’s what you want, but I didn't know anyone who made money from art. Everyone had a job, so I thought I had to concentrate on finding a job too and build my career there. When I got a little older I started seeing people who actually made money from art and who didn't have to look for that ‘job’. It took a while for me to realize that it was actually possible. I was 20 when I first realized I wanted to do art, or that I should at least try it.

J: I've always known that I’d be an entrepreneur - it was always my goal. I never envisioned myself being employed. When I was young I was a skateboarder - totally inspired by the whole scene. That was the first direction I found in my life. Skateboarding gave my life a direction and it helped me make my own choices. When you’re a young skater learning new tricks, you get to face new obstacles all the time. When you’re unable to use your old tricks on the new obstacles, you get to learn to play around them, which creates a beautiful state of mind.

After that I knew I wanted to do something with art, but at that point I didn't have enough substance to be an autonomous artist. I was a young kid so I couldn't just start creating art. So I chose graphic design. I wanted to work in advertising - I loved the challenge of creating appealing advertising campaigns. Once I got into advertising I immediately wanted out, leaving the people powered by money behind. I switched to illustration and went back to art school, where I did 4 years of illustration, which was perfect. I could then take on assignments where I used my own language - it was absolutely beautiful. Finding my voice as an artist happened to me when I was at the art school. Teachers would tell me to start drawing with my left hand and discover my uniqueness that way. Drawing with your left hand (if you are right handed) might not create the prettiest line, but they are honest lines. This gives a unique perspective and separates artists from each other.

M: When I first started to draw I always wanted to draw monsters because there were no rules. When I was drawing monsters I knew that everything I drew was a 100% correct and no one could tell me otherwise. That’s the freedom I needed. When you find your language and you accept that then that’s it - you don’t judge yourself so much anymore...you just go. That’s an important step for any artist or anyone who is trying to find their individualiy. Letting go of all the expectations from the outside world and putting an emphasis on what you want for yourself rather than what others want from you. Find a process that is true to you.

 

3 Reasons Skateboarders Make Great Entrepreneurs 



It didn’t seem responsible to do art for a living...when growing up, I never saw anyone making money from art, so I didn’t think it was possible.
— Mateo


 

Are you happy with what you've achieved?

M: Our partnership was a big factor in our success, even if it has its difficulties. On our own I don’t think we would have gotten this far. We've complimented each other in many ways and that’s what helped us with our big jump - in the creative and in the business side.

J: It all depends on what your expectations are. We were pretty content at any level of our venture. When we weren't making much money, we were already very happy. My choice was always to do what I loved, instead of focusing on the money.

M: We met 8 to 9 years ago and our situation has not changed much in terms of our lifestyle. What I’m trying to say is that when we earned 600 EUR a month it was enough for feel content. I was always hoping to build a better income, but it was actually enough for me to be happy.

J: If you have enough money to survive, and get to do something that you love on a daily basis, then that’s already very fulfilling. For us it was never about the money, but about making it by doing our art - doing whatever it took to make that jump.


Mateo's Work & Studio

My favorite paintings tend to be the ones that don’t tell you exactly what the story is. There should always be room for interpretation. The best paintings are interpreted in many different ways by different people. It encourages people to enter with their own ideas and feel like they've also taken part in expression.

When I begin a painting, I never really know how it’s going to end up. The story and the characters grow as I paint. My biggest hope is that I create paintings which people will relate to.


When I was drawing monsters I knew that everything I drew was a 100% correct and no one could tell me otherwise. That’s the freedom I needed.
— Mateo

Images of Mateo's artwork via Mateo-Art.com


 

How was it when you first started working together?

J: Mateo was selling at flea markets and I was earning money from illustrations. I discovered Mateo’s work one day in Friedrichshain and decided to contact him. We met up and we immediately clicked.

M: We have sort of parallel lives. We were both new in Berlin, coming here with very similar dreams.

J: Even when we first met, we would have the same sketches and ideas for our paintings. We were both new in the city so meeting someone who is exactly in the same mind frame was amazing. It was great to be able to build something with this person and to be able to motivate each other and challenge each other. We’d push each other from the beginning - to constantly do better.

M: The year when we only had one shop was the most difficult time we had. The shop was so cramped that we could barely move. We both have very strong personalities and trying to let go of our egos in this situation was not an easy thing to do. It was a critical moment - we had to either kill the company or find a solution. Luckily we found a solution, which was to get our separate studios but keep the company together.

J: Our artwork was becoming too squashed into one space and people couldn't see the difference between the 2 artists anymore - so we had to get our artistic identity back.


Johan's Work & Studio


Skateboarding gave my life a direction and it helped me make my own choices.
— Johan

Images of Johan's Artwork via JohanPotma.com


How did you make it all work?

M: In one year (2012) we managed to open 3 other galleries. We still think it’s vital that we work together, but we realized that we needed our own work and personal spaces.

A lot of people are waiting or searching for that perfect job - offering them exactly what they need. Usually that job description does not even exist. I decided early in my life that I wanted to create my own job and find the people who will love my work. I went to flea markets and that’s where the public found me...so I was there every Sunday. You need to present your work to the right people. There’s enough people out there so there’s bound to be a group that fits what you're looking for.

J: The business structure we built works very well for both of us. When I joined Mateo at the flea markets, where we were standing side by side, we sensed a hint of competition in the atmosphere. We were worried about damaging the friendship, but we weren't ready to give up the market, because that was our main source of income. So we came up with a different idea - instead of standing side by side, we created a joined stand and a unified look. This started to feel much more harmonious.  It became more efficient and the public appreciated it. It had its difficulties obviously, but then it started working so well that we were able to get a gallery together.


The Zozoville Interiors



J: You've got to keep the feeling that you still haven’t made it...stay there and enjoy the hell out of it. If you wait until you've made it….what does that even mean...it does not exist. It’s like waiting to be rich to be happy...that’s bullshit. You better be happy during the journey, because that’s what matters.

M: It’s all about the day to day experiences which lead you to your result. The process should be beautiful but what’s even more important is making sure that the things you do are beautiful in this process. Even though it’s sometimes very difficult to find the time to paint...when Life get’s in the Way…I make sure that the hours I have left for work are spent well. That's the thing with becoming an artist, you've got to find disciple in your life. You can actually carve out that time for what you’re passionate about, but that took me a long time to learn. When you’re a kid, you can do whatever you want and whenever you want, but as soon as you get a job you end up having less time. So I chose to spend that little time wisely - having less hangovers and evolving with my artwork.


 

People, Places & Events we Recommend


Inspirational People:

People who inspire M & J

Friends and Family are our biggest inspiration and drive…

M: I’m inspired when I see artists in magazines who've made it and I like to see how they've done it. That’s what always gave me motivation and kept me going. 

Musically - Tom Waits is my inspiration - he’s got a lot of textures in his music.

 

 

 

 

J: This changes constantly, but people who inspire me the most are those who are genuine in their art. I like people who bring change in their art and who always have a strong conceptual message within  - whether its in music or in a painting. Something that makes an impressive statement.

Musically somebody like Beck - someone who uses honest instruments and who creates simplistic, yet beautiful, positive and creative sounds.

 

 

 

I also love a lot of stand up comedians - Demetri Martin is one of them - then Louis CK and Richard Pryor. What I like about Richard Pryor is that he’s an inventor of a certain genre of humor, where he brings his misery and suffering onto a stage - telling the story of him growing up in a brothel, raised by his grandparents and doing drugs. It’s not something that was done before him, but once he started a whole range of artists went into that direction and it’s still going on today - good example is Seinfeld. The joke is now on the comedian, which I find humble, beautiful and it’s easy to connect to. It’s also my point about Beck - he’s not necessarily a hero in the music world but he creates honest music.


Inspirational Places: 

Places M & J visit for inspiration

J: My recommendation for people who come to Berlin is to rent a bike and just go. Doesn't matter which direction you go - just keep going. It’s such a great city with so many beautiful people - Life feels great here. Move around the city without a plan and without expectations. 

M: I love going to Tempelhof to see the sunset. It’s my little playground, which is right next to my studio.


Events you don't wanna miss! 

Events M & J recommend

STROKE Art Fair 2013 in Berlin Hannah Adamaszek via i-love-urbanart

STROKE Art Fair 2013 in Berlin Hannah Adamaszek via i-love-urbanart

Stroke Art Fair - coming up in December - Urban Art Fair - we’ve been going there for past 4 years

 

 

 

You will also find Mateo's and Johan's work at these markets:

 


Interview - Kuwait - From Chemical Engineer to Freelance Designer

I ask Danah WHO,WHERE & WHY ... 

I ask Danah WHO,WHERE & WHY ... 

People with Passion

 

Who: Danah S Behbehani

PASSION: Design (graphics, fashion, interior)

Profession: Co-Founder / Art Director at The Yard

CITY: Kuwait City


I am inspired by people who want to make a difference in the world! I also get my inspiration from beauty in general. Whether it’s a beautiful view or a piece of work – a film, a building, a song...
Even when I watch a TV show, I feel like I’m constantly learning something new. There’s always an inspiring color combination, an interesting camera angle, or a beautiful soundtrack I’ve not heard before.
— Danah

Danah

Danah

I absolutely love the EF Live the Language Videos. The typography, music & editing is just beautiful! I’ve watched them all and I still do repeatedly!


Alaa & Danah at Work - Co-founders of The Yard

Alaa & Danah at Work - Co-founders of The Yard


The biggest and scariest change in my life was my move from being a chemical engineer with a stable and promised career to becoming a freelance graphic designer! It still scares me every once in while, but I know it’s the best move I’ve ever made.
— Danah


Danah's WORK environment

The Yard is a design house co-founded by my cousin, Alaa, and I in early 2010.

First started as a shop with a select number of eclectic, vintage, and up-cycled products (mainly jewelry and home-ware accessories) rooted with a recycling ethic with our unique recycled paper packaging. The product mix has grown since then to include customized home-ware designed by The Yard as well as handpicked local designer products. In 2013, we worked with a local Café (Q Café) and launched a collaborative space named “Q at The Yard” which features a Café within a shop - the first of its kind in the region.

Run by designers, The Yard also provides graphic design services, namely branding (concept, logo design, stationery and packaging) and customized stationery design.




The Yard Mini Film

We produced a mini video as a teaser for our salted caramel giveaway (which was our 1 year anniversary gift to our clients). We collaborated with a local chef to produce the salted caramel (with a chocolate layer) and designed the packaging ourselves.


Danah RECOMMENDs

 

INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE:

Who inspires Danah?

I don’t think there’s a specific person who inspires me or at least it keeps changing. There is so much talent out there and inspiring individuals that I simply cannot name them all. Sometimes a random person’s fashion sense inspires me for a graphics project. Currently I am finding cinematography very inspiring (even though I’m not a cinematographer or work in film) and so I’d have to say that the past few months have been all about Woody Allen and Wes Anderson movies. Tomorrow it will be someone else.
— Danah
From the Set - 'Blue Jasmine' - via WoodyAllen.com

From the Set - 'Blue Jasmine' - via WoodyAllen.com

  • Woody Allen - an American actor, director, screenwriter, comedian, musician and playwright 

  • Wes Anderson - is an American film director and screenwriter

 

INSPIRATIONAL PLACES: 

Places Danah often visit for inspiration

  • “Q at The Yard” Cafe/Shop (Kuwait). Dedicated to simple food, made well. In 2013, we started working with a local Café (Q Café) and launched a collaborative space named “Q at The Yard” which features a Café within the shop - the first of its kind in the region.

  • Central Saint Martins (London). Every once in a while I get myself into an intensive short course in design. CSM offers a lot of these. It feels very nostalgic to walk into a college campus again. Its also very refreshing and inspiring to meet other designers from different backgrounds. I think it’s important to keep an open eye and never stop learning.
  • The Archive (Dubai) is a specialized library dedicated to Middle Eastern and North African Art Literature situated in a park and features a contemporary Café. Situated within Safa Park, The Archive is a hub for a wide range of events that promote an active cultural community with both educational and physical activities all in one place. Events include book launches, artists talks, outdoor film screenings, musical performances, workshops and physical activities.

 

EVENTS YOU DON'T WANNA MISS: 

Events Danah recommends

  • AlAthar Cultural Center (Kuwait) They range from music to films, plays etc. It’s a great place to mingle with like-minded people, bump into old friends and enjoy whatever is playing/ on display.
  • Secret Cinema (London) is a monthly gathering of all that love challenging and groundbreaking cinema, screening mystery films in extraordinary locations. Its such an amazing experience! I tried the Grand Budapest Hotel (Im a huge fan of Wes Anderson movies) preview at Secret Cinema and it was one of the most memorable days! Everyone who worked there was in character the entire night. We were instructed to meet in an alley dressed in 1930s evening attire with a filled out guest card and pink flowers in hand – which added a frisson of anticipation, and anxiety. A “lobby boy” would then escort us from the alley to the “Hotel” (a fully decked out 1930s Eastern European interior with staff resembling characters in the film) where the Grand Budapest Hotel was screened. It was truly a magical experience!

  • Create your own TED Evening! I still find this link very inspiring & some of the topics make fantastic conversation starters! It makes you realize how little you may know about certain subjects and how much there is to learn! I find that very inspiring! Everyone should schedule a TED night!

Danah's OTHER CHANNELS

WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

CONTACT ME

Out & About - Kristy Discovers Le Croco Bleu

Everyone should already know that there's nothing more exciting for me than discovering beautiful venues and getting to taste different dishes around the world. This time it was all about the Interior (and the Cocktails) as I haven't tried their food yet (apparently the waiting time for a dinner reservation at La Soupe Populaire is 2 months, so would love to know if it's worth the wait!). 

Have a look at my first visit of the Bar, located in the old machine rooms of the 19th century Bötzow Brewery. The Story behind the name (Le Croco Bleu) is about a pair of Berlin Zoo crocodiles who were given shelter in a basement pool at the end of the Second World War.

Make sure you visit this place. The experience will definitely be worth your time!


kristy finds2.jpg

CITY DISCOVERIES

 

WHAT: Le Croco Bleu Bar

WHERE: Mitte, Berlin 

Highlight: Acu Acu Cocktail


Kristy's iPhone


Out & About - We ask...'What's your passion?'

 Kristy Asks what are people passionate about on the streets of Berlin & Paty Photographs them...

All Photos were taken by Patricia Fiol, unless stated otherwise.



WHO WE MET: The 'White Trash Family'

WHERE WE MET THEM: 'White Trash', Berlin



Walking into 'White Trash' to look for passionate people (instead of my usual wait for a mouth watering White Trash Burger) turned out pretty amazing!

We first bumped into Wolly, so I told him that we're looking for some passionate people and asked him whether we could find them at White Trash. It wasn't the best time to be asking him anything, as they were in the middle of re-designing both the inside and the outside spaces. However, he did give us a smile and said that his passion is his wife Francesca, which immediately softened the 'bad-boy' image he carries :) 

Next to Wolly stood Francesca who mesmerized us with her charm and energy. She instantly stepped in to answer our questions. I tell you now - her petite figure did not match her enormous personality. The slight chaos brought by the changes of the re-design did not stop her from introducing us to nearly everyone working there. Just like you'd expect from an Italian woman, she's created a family loving environment - which we thought deserved a compliment to which she returned a humble comment: 'it was all a coincidence!'. 

We still need to go back there to speak with Mark - the Tattoo Artist - we had a quick glimpse of what he's passionate about - other than his passion for tattoo creations. I have a feeling that there's a lot more passionate people White Trash has not revealed to us yet. Soon to be explored...



NAME: Wolly

PASSION: Harleys & Rock 'n' Roll

I Recommend: The Funky Chicken Club On Tuesdays 

It's some serious DISCO FEVER!


The Funky Chicken Club


NAME: Francesca

I used to work as the Assistant Director to Sasha Waltz
— Francesca

Sasha Waltz - German choreographer, dancer and leader of the dance company Sasha Waltz and Guests.

PASSION: Contemporary Dance

I Recommend: 'Ombra di Vino'

@ Salvataggio Cafe (Location 'White Trash'


In Venice they call the glass of wine, (measuring 100 milliliters) - OMBRA. Ombra in Italian means “shade”, so one OMBRA DI VINO literally translates to ‘one shade of wine’.

In the hot months of the year, the wine sellers in the square set their tables in the shade of the bell tower. As the shade moved around the square during the day, the wine sellers kept moving also, so they would always have their stand in the shade, keeping themselves (and the wine) cool.
— via NeroneItalyGuide


Enjoy a perfect espresso coffee, ombre & cichetti at my Cafe (Salvataggio). I’m bringing a little piece of Venice to Berlin. Our special cook Rock ‘n’ Roll will change your day!
— Francesca

NAME: Sampson

PASSION & Recommendation: Cherry-o-kie

I like to call Cherry-O-kie a karaoke dance party. We have a different theme every time and encourage people to sing non traditional Karaoke tracks. We always have backup dancers on stage to make you look even more amazing. But if you don’t get on stage it doesn’t take long to be swept away with the energy of the party.
— Sampson via KaltBlut Magazine
I came to Berlin as a contemporary dancer back in 1999. I have been in a few bands ranging from Indy Rock, Hip Hop, Dance and I have also DJ’ed for many years now.
I grew up in Australia where we have a huge Asian population, 8% to be exact. After school I used to go around to a friends place and the whole family would be singing together and I thought this is f**** cool. There would be lots of food and the whole family just belting out Vietnamese Pop tunes. Singing and dancing has always been a really huge part of my life.
— Sampson via KaltBlut Magazine

Name: Krissy

PASSION: Baking Cakes

I Recommend: My Cakes of course!

Passion… pure and simple is what makes life worth living. Although I have been in the graphic design industry for over 24 years, baking has always been my passion – which is why I absolutely LOVE making cake creations. After years of trial and error, classes, books… and hands-on learning, my cakes have become my art – edible sculptures, if you will… Enjoy!
— Krissy via KrissyCakes.com

NAME: Giorgia

PASSION: Antiques and Furniture Restoration

I Recommend:

Market in Piazzola sul Brenta - Venice via LivingVicenza

Market in Piazzola sul Brenta - Venice via LivingVicenza


Frida and Coco are part of the family and we've been told that they are very passionate too!

NAME: Coco

PASSION: The Beach

I Recommend: Peanut Butter

NAME: Frida

PASSION: Chasing Rabbits

I Recommend: Rabbits


Out & About - We ask...'What's Your Passion?'

Kristy Asks what are people passionate about on the streets of Berlin & Paty Photographs them...

 

All Photos were taken by Patricia Fiol, unless stated otherwise.


WHO WE MET: 2 GIRLS WHO LOVE MUSIC

Where we met them: IPSE CLUBBerlin



We met Janina and Nina while discovering the Alt-Treptow area. What an amazing place for summer! You can either chill, have a little picnic at the Treptower Park, or choose one of the open air bars and restaurants scattered around. The girls were sitting inside the Ipse Open Air Club, which I didn't even know existed, so quite glad we walked farther down to discover this place. 

We're excited to have our first Ipse Experience this coming weekend! 

For more open air bars and restaurants, check out my Berlin Recommendations Page


NAMES: Janina & Nina

PASSION: The Clubbing Scene in Berlin


I’m deeply impressed by Henrik Schwarz, because his music is the perfect mix of SEXY, GROOVY, SMART & HAPPY.
— Janina

Music we listen to: House, Deep House, 80's, 90's, Depeche Mode, the XX

DJs we likeHenrik Schwarz, Dixon, Ame, Ejeca, Meggy, Magit Cacoon



They Recommend:

  • IPSE - An Open Air Club by the Spree River - Music Played: House, Deep-house

  • Holtzmarkt - Creative Open Space by the Spree River

It’s the perfect combination of enjoying the weather and having fun with your friends
— Janina

Other Favorite Spots in the City: Kater Blau, Watergate, Panorama Bar, Sisyphos

I love these places, because every time i’m there, it has the close community vibe - just like a family gathering - especially at Kater and Watergate.
— Janina


Interview - Argentina - My Work is a collaboration of my dreams and experiences


I ask Estela WHO,WHERE & WHY ... 

I ask Estela WHO,WHERE & WHY ... 


 

People with Passion

 

Who I interviewed: Estela Cuadro

Passion: Painting & Dreaming

City: Buenos Aires

Estela Cuadro

Estela Cuadro


I love meeting people in cultural spaces, seeing different exhibitions, drinking tea or having a delicious meal.
Outdoors is where you’ll find me - I often choose to bike with my friends, chill by the river and draw somewhere outside. Even though I’m not a professional singer nor a dancer, I absolutely love to play music, sing & dance.
I like to be surrounded by plants, hence my house being filled with them.
— Estela Cuadro


I associate my work with my dreams, my relationships and with life itself.
— Estela Cuadro


Estela's WORK

If I had to pick a style for my art,  it would be quite difficult. Perhaps I associate my work with surreal art.  My characters and their environment have nothing to do with reality.

The distorted reality is part of my inspiration, my contacts and my experiences. My artwork is based on the unconscious - all associated with my dreams, relationships & with life itself.



People, Places & Events I Recommend

 

Inspirational People:

My top list of people who constantly inspire me and the reasons behind it.

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat Because of his expressiveness, his loose strokes & his liberty.

  • Egon SchieleHis obsession for expression, postures & sexuality. His work tries to capture the sensuality of women and men.

  • Paul Klee:  I love the choice for his color palettes, his compositions & his details.

  • Amy Cutler Because I like her imagination, how she tells a story and her incredible levels of details. She creates strong characteristics via clothes, human expressions, hairstyles, animals and landscapes.

  • Pablo Picasso:  I admire his versatility. It's amazing how much work he was able to create during his life. I consider him as a genius. I love watching his videos and seeing how his imagination puts his art is in constant transformation - like seen in this VIDEO

  • Frida Kahlo Because I admire her strong personality, her passion, her ideology and her deep love for Diego Rivera. All her art works were about her life and her physical & mental pain. She was a fighter, yet a very sensitive one who created a lot of wonderful art full of color. 

 

Inspirational Places: 

Places I often visit for inspiration

 

Events you don't wanna miss! 

Many interesting activities happen at KONEX. It is a Cultural Center with a wide range of events. Conferences, art exhibitions, cinema under the stars, music bands & live painting.

BAFICI via TheRealArgentina

BAFICI via TheRealArgentina


Estela's Other Channels

WEBSITE

FLICKR

Send Estela an Email: info@estelacuadro.com



Out & About - Kristy Discovers a Rooftop Bar in Berlin


City Discoveries

 

What: Rooftop Beach Bar 

Where: Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

Highlight: The Sunset

 


This weekend's discovery was the Deck 5 Rooftop Beach Bar, which was a total surprise to me. What surprised me the most was the fact that it sits on top of a Mall (Arcaden) and that it's 2 minutes away from my apartment (and I just found out now?!). It's probably a good thing that it's not advertised too much - I want it all to myself!

Here are some of the photos I took this weekend. My Berlin discoveries continue...


 

Kristy's iphone

Out & About - Kristy Discovers 'Bikini Berlin', the Urban Jungle!


City Discoveries 

 

What: Bikini Concept Mall

Where: Berlin, Tiergarten

Highlight: The View from Top


Photo via TagesSpiegel

Photo via TagesSpiegel


I've decided to check out the new Concept Mall in Berlin, so below are some photos I took. If you are in Berlin or visiting anytime soon, I recommend you see this place, as well as their Hotel and Monkey Bar at the top. Enjoy this beautifully crafted jungle!

 

About 'Bikini Berlin' - via Bikini Berlin Website

BIKINI BERLIN integrates the world’s first Concept Mall, a collection of carefully curated and compatible boutiques, concept and flagship stores and gastronomy and service providers. With its individual offer, the Concept Mall is aimed at a discerning, trend and style-conscious international audience with high standards on quality and shopping experience.


The architectural highlights, like the rooftop terrace behind the Bikinihaus with views of the Zoological Garden, and the large hall below the rooftop terrace, the so-called BIKINI BERLIN POOL, offer space for new ideas and trends. Here, visitors will find a unique marketplace with twenty stationary pop-up stores, the BIKINI BERLIN BOXES, which can be rented for up to one year. Variety is therefore guaranteed. The BIKINI BERLIN POOL also includes a large event space for special events or exhibitions. The innovative shopping concept of BIKINI BERLIN ensures constant flux, remaining surprising and flexible and inspiring exciting dialogue.

More info here >


Kristy's iphone

Out & About - Kristy Discovers Pets in Madrid


City Discoveries

 

WHAT: Beautiful Dogs

WHERE: Madrid

Highlight: Making me smile!

 


Kristy's iphone

I think I stood there for at least 20 minutes staring at them, just like they were staring at their owner who was having some lunch inside the Cafe. Were they worried about her not coming back or did they want a piece of that meal she was eating? Whatever the case - the scene was very adorable...