Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Art Basel -- International Destination of Art and Party

From the streets of Paris, tunnels of London to buildings in LA, VOG has gone international. But the true indicator for any artist on a global scale is to be represented at Art Basel.

As the ambitious girl that I am, I absolutely had to take part in the festival...and it had to be this year. I'd do pop-up work if it meant having art at that time. But I reached out to a few friends to see what all could be done. The Mai Tai crew once again proved itself invaluable. Hotelier and fellow kiter Dirk Goldwasser of The Betsy Hotel hooked me up with the right people.

Live VOG painting at Catalina Hotel Rooftop Art Basel Party
Before I knew it, I was the featured artist of a swanky South Beach hotel party for Saturday night. My schedule was pretty in Friday night, bikini photo-shoot Saturday day, art show Saturday night. We decided that a "live" surfboard art installation would be the easiest. The finished board was to be donated to the Miami Surf Archive Project.

In true Miami form, a new swimwear line (Todd Barrett Swimwear) launched during the party. Clearly it's not a real Miami party without a dozen girls in bikinis. ;)  The event was a huge success. It wasn't the largest or most exclusive party on the beach (p-diddy had his just across the street) but it was an awesome way to put my name out there, donate to a good cause, and prep for a bigger exhibit next year.

Before going I hadn't grasped the full magnitude of Art Basel. It is the largest, most prestigious art show in the Americas and world-renown social highlight to boot. The official convention center is only a fraction of the events happening all over the city. Every hotel on South Beach, warehouse in the design district, and street wall in Winwood, becomes a showcase of art. 

Since I'm obsessed with street art, the next day I went to check out the Wynwood walls. I could not believe it. All the buildings in this entire part of mid-town were covered in street art. Wow. For all the art I saw over the weekend...this area impressed me most. 

I wondered: How do you get to do a building here? I wished I had my spray paint on me. I passed by one guy writing on a wall so I figured I'd ask him.  His name was Pablo Power. He had been writing graffiti for over 20 years. Pablo offered to share his space with me if I could get my hands on a ladder to reach it. Sweet! The paint store was only a few blocks away. I bought some basic colors and an old shirt for painting in from the thrift store next door. Pablo found me a ladder.

The sun was setting at this point. I had only a few hours before I had to go and had never painted in the dark before. Pablo and I painted side by side as he told me stories of the old days painting train cars at night. I was a bit discouraged by the nozzles of the cans and paint I used. This wasn't my most epic of VOG peices but it was one of the most memorable. 

Pablo Power working on his design (left),  he made room the VOG man sitting atop a wave above a doorway (right)
I believe three things: 1) You make your own luck—if you believe in something and it’s meant to be, with a little effort the universe will give it to you. 2) Just Do It. You never know the amazing people and adventures that await.  Better to make mistakes than regrets.  And 3) Kiteboarding has the most resourceful, well-connected network of people in the world.

Life Is Beautiful.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

History Inspired Art

My artwork is contemporary and inspired by modern culture.  While in Paris however I made a point to visit one of the most historic and treasured galleries of all time--the Louvre. I was surprisingly overwhelmed by my visit. Experiencing classic pieces for the first time is awe-inspiring. For hundreds of years these masterpieces have invoked emotion to their audience. I was no different.

The Louvre is the largest museum in the world and it is nearly impossible to cram all four floors and the thousands of pieces artwork into a single visit. So of what I did manage to see, two sculptures particularly moved me: The Winged Victory of Samothrace and Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss.

"Winged Victory of Samothrace"
The Winged Victory of Samothrace (circa 190 BC) is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world. It has prominently been displayed in the Louvre since 1884. 

The Greek Goddess Nike (Victory) is the goddess of strength, speed and victory. Just being in the same room as her made me feel like I can conquer the world.  This statue represents a strong beautiful woman shining victoriously in her battles. She represents the ultimate in "girl power."

My other favorite is Antonio Canova's 1787 marble sculpture Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss. The god Cupid, in the height of love and tenderness, awakens the lifeless Psyche with a kiss. This piece exemplifies the Neoclassical devotion to love and emotion Maybe it's just Paris, but I can't help but be drawn to the intimate embrace between 'heart' and 'soul.'
Cupid and Psyche are the ultimate love story. These two heart throbs weren't destined to be together, but their love was so strong that their bond endured all trials and surpassed all expectations. And yes, they lived happily ever after. Nearly every beloved fairy tale and disney movie take root from their epic romance. The moment I laid eyes on them my eyes watered and my heart skipped a beat. Anyone who knows of the deep soulful yearnings that true love brings can't help but be moved by this sculpture.

From fearless females, to storybook endings...the emotions conveyed by these two sculptures stand the test of time. They might influence even the most modern artists still. ;)

Part II.

After feeling so inspired by these two sculptures I was determined to include them into my upcoming Paris street art piece. I sketched out some ideas to incorporate. If the army of VOG men go on dreamlike surf, skate and kite adventues... maybe VOG in Paris should reflect his mood and adventures there.

VOG and his dog would totally skate the bottom

of the Eiffel tower. And in the city of love, VOG angels would stand proud and would totally get in on with his girlfriend, Cupid and psyche style.
I had reached out over the past few weeks to fellow street art friends in Europe, and street art writers to find out where I could do my next VOG installation legally. (**see my London Post for tips on legal tagging)

Rue Denoyez was the place to go. It's an awesome alley-like street and is the only one designated for graffiti artists. Selecting a space to paint isn't easy however because it means tagging over someone else. In surfing, some of the best spots can have real localism on waves. You gotta respect the best local riders. Street artists can be equally territorial.

So...on this street with so much cool talent I took a good long look before making a decision. Per usual, the new VOG space feels obvious....

I started with the classic wave with every intent to keep in line with the the Parisian VOG sketches. Paris in the winter however is cold, rainy and dark. Did I mention cold? Due to weather, and time constraints I opted for the classic VOG man tag.  Guess I'll just have to go back to do the other. :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Spring RTW Fashion Week: Mara Hoffman

Aloha! No wonder I loved this collection. Her choice of bright Hawaiian floral colors, bronzed skin, bare mid-drifts and palm fronds in hair…the Hawaiian islands are a trending theme throughout her line. Geometric patterns. Ukulele inspired.

Backstage before the show, Hoffman told, "I realized everyone isn't necessarily looking to wear Alex Wang, so I decided to stay true to myself and bring my energy, pure and clean."  Now props to Alexander (he did after all design the first lady’s inauguration dress)  but this is way more my vibe.

Mara explains, “Each season, my goal is to take the audience on a journey and express the transcendent feeling of love & positivity. This is what we wish to be known for and want to capture in our shows; always celebrating beauty and having a little fun with it.”   I think this is why I chose this brand. She speaks my language. J

Look:  BohemianColor-BlockingTribalTropical, Urban beachy, Flowy Maxi dresses, Geometric patterns, Peekaboo cutouts, Bermuda shorts

NY Mag: “Beachy keen kaleidoscope of bright tribal prints, layered with a surfgirl's insouciance. Bonus palm fronds.”

"Kitschy? Sure. But Hoffman's enthusiastic clientele will ultimately take away the languid Polynesian-print cutout dresses, on-trend board shorts, and best-selling bikinis." —

"Mara Hoffman’s collection was a great day at the beach..." —NYMag


Spring RTW 2013: Versace

Well this season the trends are clear... peekaboo cutouts, bermuda shorts, lace trim, blazers, geometric designs, and statement sunglasses.  Who took stole the show this year? Versace. Hands down.

 I’m in love. I have never been so excited about a runway collection. Donatella hit the nail on the head.  Does she live in LA these days? Because my fellow Los Angeleons are also going to fall in love, and don her digs to Coachella and festivals round the globe.

ßThis dress is F*ing gorgeous. May I live a hundred years and never eat again…this was one of the most stunning looks on the runway. This dress is trend perfection. Geometrics found in the peekaboo cut—gorgeous lines, flowing fabric, beautiful natural ocean blue and gold color with 70’s vibe. The name says it all—desert goddess.

**Note: I actually hunted online to see how much damage my much coveted dress would be… $10,996.00 (did I mention this is in EU?) 

It beats the price of her fringe tye-die garbadine dress at $32,306 EU. 

Damn you Heidi Klum! Not just for being 40 and hotter than most 20 year olds…I just discovered that she wore exclusively practically this entire collection at the 2012 MTV EMA awards. So jelly.
Jessica Biel also took notice as she also wore my favorite dress (this time in a dark grey color) to the premiere of her new film ‘Playing for Keeps.”

Jennifer Lopez wore the collection for her February 2013 Harper Bazaar’s cover story.

…Well, it’s good to know great minds think a like.  ;-)

 Look: “Lighter, looser, leggier,” ~Vogue.
1970’s, Bohemian, Fringe, Grunge, Rocker-Chick, Sexy, Sheer

Geometric, peekaboo cutouts, flowing loos fabric, lots of leg, one shoulder, short or long, belted waist

·      Lace
·      Leather details on belts
·      Fringe
·      strappy

·      feather-weight tye-died washed silk, flowy,
·      lace an fringe trim


Feathered and fringed gold necklaces and earrings

Gladiator shoes aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they’re being taken up a knotch and brought to new heights. Wish I had splurged on those 2012 Herve Leger pair I was oogling last summer—turns out they would have lasted the extra season and been the perfect accompaniment to Versace’s 2013 Spring Wardrobe.

I love the sexy silhoute that strappy neutral heeled sandals give. Classic in my book for making legs look mile long

Cross-body bags –perfect for dancing!

Extra long black blazer to cover up—classic rocker chick look

Hair and Beauty:
Don’t toss those bottles of spray tan just yet! These girls are as bronzed as always. Makeup is sun-kissed face with black smokey lined eyes.  Hair is natural, center part, and 70’s stylin


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

KiteboardING 101 -- Getting Started

KiteboardING 101
Part II: Get Started

Part II of today's official “Kitesurfing” Day! is promoting a #summerofdoing …basically cool adjectives of ING sports and hobbies with this week all about #Riding

Last year I hosted a Learn to Kiteboard video series for the International Kitesurfing Organization (IKO). They are the worldwide premiere school for learning to kite. A lot about kitesurfing is counter-intuitive, so learning from a certified instructor allows you to learn the sport quickly and safely.

Trailer for the series:

You can go to for tips, locations, schools, and general information on taking your kitesurfing ability to new levels. Create a log- in for a free 15 day trial and access to all 21 learn to kite videos. The series takes you through the basics of equipment, learning to ride, edging upwind, self lauch,  self rescue and jumping.

KiteboardING 101 -- Q and A

KiteboardING 101
Part I: Frequent Q & A’s
Part II: Get Started

Today is officially “Kitesurfing” Day! (In honor of the kitesurfing day, be sure to use the hashtag #kitesurfing as often as you can today!) is promoting a #summerofdoing …basically cool adjectives of ING sports and hobbies with this week all about #Riding

For all those kiteboarding newbies out there I’d like to take advantage of this social media blitz to answer popular questions every non-kiteboarder asks.  Part Two KiteboardING 101 will focus specifically on “RIDING.”

For all you seasoned kiters…you might get a chuckle cuz I know you’ve heard these before. Maybe this time the guy on the beach watching the “parasailing” who asks you twenty questions while you’re rigging your lines will read this instead.

Q: "What’s the difference between kitesurfing and kiteboarding?"

A: The two words are often used interchangeably to generically describe the sport. The most accurate descriptions use kitesurfing for wave riding a directional board or surfboard and kiteboarding typically refers to wake or freestyle ridingusing a twintip board.

Q: "Can I rent one of those things?"

A: No, you can’t. Especially not if you’re going to ask that question. Sorry! There are places and shops that demo gear to kiteboarders. There are some countries/areas that rent gear but you have to demonstrate or prove your skills first. Bottom line, if you’re new take a lesson from a pro or certified instructor. You’ll be glad you did.

Q: "How much does the whole kit cost?"

To buy new, the whole package of kite, bar, lines, board, harness will easily cost you in the $2,000 -- $3,000 range. Used you can find a decent package for around $1000 but it might take some hunting and it will take some knowledge of equipment to ensure you get good equipment.

Q: "How long does it take to learn?"

A: It all depends on the person. I know people that successfully got on the board day one, and I’ve seen people who have been flying the kite for weeks and still haven’t touched a board. What I will say is this:  yes, any experience with other boardsports or wind sports will be helpful.  90% of learning to kiteboard is mastering flying the kite. How consecutively you go out will make difference too. Time on the water and muscle memory play a huge role in the learning curve. Typically what I’ve witnessed is three consecutive days with minimum of two hours per day will get you on the water with a board. How long it takes to get self-sufficient is a whole other story.

Q: "Will the kite launch you into the sky?"

A: Only if you make it. The wind blows parallel to the ground, not from the ground up. The kite acts like a sail and naturally wants to drag you in in the direction of the wind aka downwind.

Q: "How high can you jump?"

A: What’s funny about this question is that no matter how progressive freestyle riding gets, people always want to know this. Typically kiteboarders can jump as high as 40 ft but there are always those that can go even bigger. Shout out to Ruben Lenten for taking the crowd pleasing awe of heights to a new dimension, making his mega-loops famous.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

To Conference Or Un-Conference: Not Even A Question.

I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t own a start-up. I’m not a VC. But I do gravitate toward creativity, innovation, and problem solving.

I moved to Venice, CA a little over a year ago and in this time have immersed myself in the growing “silicon beach” scene on the Westside of LA. I increasingly find myself attending various events, talks and parties. As a newbie to the scene, some conferences and meet ups are worth attending, others are not. But with the ever-growing number of events to go to, most with fees associated...How do you know which ones are best? What is going to be worth your while?

Just this past month, I have attended two formal global conferences: All Things Digital (D10) in Palos Verde, California and LeWeb in London.

A little "team building" exercise for
entrepreneurs by Naish at MaiTai Maui, 2012
Below are some helpful hints on getting the most of out conferences and events.  But the moral of the story? Unconference wins. What are un-conferences? It’s a networking event within a group that the focus is simply socializing.  Forming relationships, meeting new people, and making connections that you can later take to the meeting room. It allows for a much more relaxed, no pressure environment to get to know the potential people you might do business with. Think of it as a party with like-minded people.

So, if you do attend conferences (which we all still have to do). Here’s what I learned:

Real value from any event comes from socializing and meetings in the hallways. Most of my best contacts and favorite contacts are people I’ve met hanging out in the hallway, through friends or at the receptions after.

And for comparison...a classic tech event.  Reminds me
of  college. When I was more interested in checking out
who's in the room than the class itself.
Conferences are a waste of time and money unless you are a) looking to meet investors b) presenting—therefore gaining media attention and recognition amongst your peers c) you are the media d) have specific goals, clients, information, or networking you are looking to gain d)looking for a job, scoping the competition

Think ahead of time what you want out of it, and how you’re going to get it. Rarely do the talks themselves provide valuable enough to attend live when you can just cherry pick the good ones online for free.

Authenticity goes a long way. I have honestly been disappointed by the quality of some of the moderators and interviewers on stage. I can only handle so much ass kissing. I can only handle so much antagonizing. Do your homework. Play fair. And don’t forget, this is an industry conference. People don’t need a 101. They are going because they are already in the industry and are looking for more value. Individuals pay a lot of good money to attend. We want good, honest, interesting questions. If a company is successful, what problems did you face along the way? What are the questions or problems your company is honestly facing right now? How did you overcome you previous challenges? Get specific. We’re here to learn. We’re here to gain insight from those that have been there done that. Whether that’s on the marketplace, the industry as a whole, company issues, or individual thoughts. Just please please give us substance.

Until then, why would anybody pay hundreds to thousands of dollars to attend a conference when I can sit in the comforts of your own home watching the videos stream live or replayed on youtube.