Reflections on Entropy

“In short, we can define entropy as a measure of the disorder of the universe, on both a macro and a microscopic level. The Greek root of the word translates to “a turning towards transformation” — with that transformation being chaos.
As you read this article, entropy is all around you. Cells within your body are dying and degrading, an employee or coworker is making a mistake, the floor is getting dusty, and the heat from your coffee is spreading out. Zoom out a little, and businesses are failing, crimes and revolutions are occurring, and relationships are ending. Zoom out a lot further and we see the entire universe marching towards a collapse.”
– Shane Parrish

A couple nights ago, I read a great article called Battling Entropy: Making Order of the Chaos  in our lives. Writer and thinker Shane Parrish writes on what that means and the full ramifications of it in our world.

I find myself revisiting it today as a morning exercise of sorts and applying it to some current situations in my life.

  • Taking this mental rule and understanding that everything in their natural order falls apart, not together, and that I must understand that absolutely:
  • Understanding that really does give one peace and direction.

It’s not being pessimistic, it’s being pragmatic. When you search and connect with the reality of how the world really works you are also better prepared and expecting.

REFLECTIONS

PROFESSIONAL

At age 26 and as an entrepreneur, I’m still worrying about how I will be financially independent in the sustainable sense for the long game. Do I keep doing what my heart tells me to do, or do I one day make the decision to choose a stable job that affords me compound savings at an office job?

I am saving pennies on the dollar now, and I can be saving dollars and mucho moola on the dollar if I worked in something else.

I understand that without considerably added effort as an entrepreneur and with good fortune, this will only lead to entropy (in financial resources, in personal and time capital, etc.), so I need to set firm guidelines for myself, for how long I am taking this passion project for the ride and what milestones or goals I will set it against in order to validate sustaining my efforts in it.

HEALTH

At age 26, I have osteoporosis. That has resulted in me getting foot pain or fractures regularly, and I’ve also had to retire from many sports and activities that I never expected to have retired from at this age.

It’s frustrating, but I understand it’s just an early realization for me on my part that this body will only continue to degenerate as you age. There will be arthritis, there will be osteoporosis, there might be some disease, and you will most certainly start losing collagen & elasticity and develop fine lines on your forehead in your twenties. However, this does not mean I should just rest. Resting only encourages more entropy.  To keep the body sharp is to keep the mind sharp is to keep the life sharp.

Sharp as a well made kitchen knife. Mhm.

Whatever effort humans put into regenerating the body is an effort of pure science, bullish effort, and going against nature. It’s quite impressive, thinking of all of it actually.

SOCIAL

From age 18 to my early 20s, I had the tendency to not want to create deep, personal relationships. For me, what I had was enough, and the immense effort required to sustain human relationships with often very irrational people just seemed like such a high cost for me, and I didn’t want to put the effort in. It was better I thought to invest in my work, my passions, and myself. Engage with others, but keep a distance. Don’t get too close. At least introspection with the self was certain to result in some kind of fruit. This was a shortsight, as I realize now that forming and working really hard to maintain authentic relationships with people are one of the greatest investments I can make in my life. Human relationships counteract all forms of entropy: mental, emotional, professional, etc.

For those having trouble with developing relationships, or with little interest in developing any: Yes, people can disappoint you, yes they might not be the most intellectually stimulating people in the world, yes, they can be unreliable, but so am I, and so are you. And I’d still like to say I’m worth the effort and worth getting to know. There are fruits to be seen and revealed, through me, by you or some other person who enters my life. So I guess I’d apply the same for you.

“The energy of the universe is constant. The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum.”
– Rudolf Clausius

FAMILY

I’ve experienced entropy at its max in this category. I’ve grown up out of a very troubled home, and what was considered “family” was breaking down at a Nitro rollercoaster steep rate from my middle school years. I saw what happens when there is no effort put in, or when the only effort put into the family unit encourages further dissolution and entropy.

However, through this experience, I’ve also seen what incredible things can happen in the re-building if you seek to counteract entropy. It requires double, no triple, the effort.

So why not make the effort in the first place.

My experience has brought my current family closer and we are more vigilant as a family in some ways. We are exceedingly careful to not say or do some things that would harm our relationship with the other. There is a foundational, rigid, understanding of what we must not do or entertain in our current romantic relationships and for our future relationships. And we’re aggressive with building, building, building. Building new ways and systems to affirm one another, to show we appreciate one another, to show we love one another.

“Truly understanding entropy leads to a radical change in the way we see the world. Ignorance of it is responsible for many of our biggest mistakes and failures. We cannot expect anything to stay the way we leave it. To maintain our health, relationships, careers, skills, knowledge, societies, and possessions requires never-ending effort and vigilance. Disorder is not a mistake; it is our default. Order is always artificial and temporary.”
Shane Parrish

ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

With my romantic relationships I tend to take a one man stance. Considering 1. my subscription to this idea of chaos and disorder naturally developing (emphasis on natural order) as time goes on in every aspect of our lives and our world and 2. all I know about myself and my emotional and physical capacity as a human-woman, I just don’t think I can go on living life attaching myself to and emotionally engaging with more than one romantic interest at a given time.  If the aim is to build and not to break-down, the effort involved in romantic relationships cannot be optional, but required. I believe this effort should begin at earlier stages of getting to know someone, not when there is a “are we…” talk. Getting to know someone at my convenience only, or not showing I care when I don’t really care at the early stage of a relationship is possible– my every right– and also comfortable, but in the end what does that lead to? What can all that lead to? There’s the chance that you might fall in love and I have seen many friends who are in wonderful, wholesome relationships which resulted from a start of the more casual or poly- sort. But it entertains a whole lot more chance. And I guess this all goes down to who I am as a person again. I don’t care for welcoming chance.

Mom & I: South of France

We both love France so much.
1522929706406.jpg
It’s quite funny actually– like mother like daughter they say 🙂
We arrived at our intense loves for French culture independently, really.
My mom as a high schooler loved studying French and French culture. She said it was due to an inspirational and charismatic teacher. She loved the language so much she got her Bachelor’s in French and if not for the conservative times in South Korea in the 80s and the social demands of her family, she tells me she would have moved to France right after university. At the time, her father, my grandfather, particularly was adamantly against the idea.
I too, loved France since I was a kid. In middle school, I picked up French as an elective, and I ended up really enjoying it. I was “christened” Juliette– a name I was head over heels with. “So pretty!” I thought. Entranced first by the beauty of the language, as I grew older, I quickly ended up being in love with everything else as I was exposed to other elements of French culture: the food, the cultural practices, the entertainment, the people’s way of living. I even booked a flight to France right after I graduated NYU, and had paid the deposit for a studio and the tuition for a 6 mo. program at La Sorbonne haha– so bent was I on moving there and figuring out a way to get a visa… a job… and a life in a place that seemed so much like home. None of these things ever ended up happening. Different circumstances, along with different decisions come into play, along with different people… and life goes on.
We are so grateful whenever we are able to come back to this country that has left such an inexplainable and cosmic mark on our souls and spirits.

I’m sad that my mom is leaving today.

Our vacation to the south of France is our first mother daughter solo trip since maybe… 2016? I think I should do this more often. It’s been such a blessing getting to know her more deeply this past week not just as my mother, but as a fellow woman and peer.
TO DO: Hog my mom from J and J.
How loved am I.

Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983

Night So much experimentation and fun in the 70s and 80s, I wish I was a part of it:

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 11.29.41 PM.png

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 11.00.47 PM.png

 

 

Customized Matchbooks for Club 57’s 1983 Matchbook Show

 

 

 

Complement these visuals with the 1967 track of ze Vegetables  by The Beach Boys.

PSA*** Let me just say MoMA’s current exhibits are amazing (Specifically, three). This is a good month to go. I won’t spoil it for you, but there are some new, reckoning art for you to see.

Running through April 1 at The Museum of Modern Art.

Complement these visuals with the 1967 track of ze Vegetables  by The Beach Boys.

Inside My Tulips

When something so simple can give you so much joy:

Start: Pot + 5 tulip bulbs

Flower Bloom:

The beautiful prints and propeller shapes formed by the overlapping petals.

Can you see the pretty fuzz on top of the tulip? It’s supposed to be mold though. 😦

The richness of the flowers’ robes.

13 hours time:

Inspired, so I paint (acrylic and watercolour):

Another day:

Chop chop :

I placed the flowers in a mason jar and headed to my sister’s to surprise her.

2 Days Later: My sister, inspired like me by their beauty started drawing as well.

She is the best drawer in our family by far. 🙂

How To Fall In Love With Art

How long has it been?

Up until college, I had grown up with an appreciation for fine art thanks to my parents, but it was never really something I had sought out on my own.

I knew enough “art” to maintain my sense of weird, self-righteous adolescent pride in being cultured and artsy. My interest was driven by nothing else really of nobler substance.

At 18, I moved to New York for college, and I enrolled in an art crit class on a whim during freshman year: the Art of Now course at New York University.

Fast forward to 2013, when I studied abroad in Shanghai. I decided to take on a heavier workload of art classes and immersed myself in contemporary and Asian art. I don’t remember much of the art I saw in detail, but this period of time would leave an indelible mark on me, and it was a catalyst for my passion.

Hu Jieming, Casual Status, 1992

I returned, enrolled in some more art classes.. a studio class in drawing.

During my time as a student, I had more time in the afternoons and between classes to do other things (doing nothing, meeting friends at cafes or for lunch in the West Village, chilling near fountains – damn life from 18-22 was so sweet) and I began exploring gallery spaces and art exhibitions everywhere! pretty intensely.

A pic I snapped years ago on another trip to Pace Gallery.

I started taking random things at home: scissors, a tableweight, a pepper from the kitchen, a rose and draw.

 

So newly inspired I was by the intricate beauty in all things that held form, line, and shape.

I was falling in love with art then.

I began to accumulate a larger inventory of the things I liked and disliked, formulate stronger opinions backed by a latticework of thoughts and experiences built thanks to the plenitude of art I’ve seen in the years which have since passed post- college.

For example, I prefer minimalism and modernism. I like French impressionism, and abstract expressionism.

For some reason, Surrealism and Dada works get me.

Man Ray, Ingre’s Violin

Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele works are so luscious and rich. Contemporary movements like pop surrealism, otherwise knowns as “Lowbrow” art are so cool.

Mark Ryden, the father of Pop-Surrealism

I don’t find a lot of photography art to be impressive, but I’m okay with that. Installations with various forms of media are sometimes a hit or miss for me. I like contemporary art, but I’m not particularly fond of Jeff Koons (active from 1977 – ) or Damien Hirst (1988 – , or Jean-Michel Basquiat (1976 – ). But I do love me my Toyin Ojih Odutola (2008 – , Osamu Yokonami, and Chad Wys (2011 – ) :

Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 1.36.00 PM.png

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Above all else make it look effortless, 2012. Pen ink, marker, and varnish on paper.

Chad Wys, Sculpture with a Spectrum 2, 2014. Collage on paper.

It’s 2018 and I love art more than ever.

I move and live every week, drinking in all the things I see, from the daily visuals of life to the more curated representations of art at institutions.

And the more I do that, the more I understand this:

Art is an instrument that instructs the way we see and live our lives. Our lives, in turn, are ripe, breeding grounds for art: new expressions and new manifestos… and who’s to say that the act of life and breathing aren’t art in themselves.

They are synonymous with one another– and I cannot see the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          (on my best days- taha.)

Art Finds at MoMA

Romanian visual artist Geta Brătescu

American visual artist Joan Jonas‘ riveting 3-D performance

img_7011

One of Louise Bourgeois’ smaller arachnoids, perched on the wall:

Part of her exhibition, Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait, a showcase of 300 pieces, which is running until January 28, 2018.

 

 

Museum of Modern Art

My 5 Favorite Books of 2017

2017 has been a whirlwind of a year for me. I took on a new job, learned of some big family news, and also confronted some health issues and personal demons of mine..
One of the biggest and most constant sources of joy to me this year was when I read.

I love books [really any form of great writing, short or long form]. I like them for the following reasons:

  1. I can escape into them: On a good, restful day, taking the time to read for myself helps me achieve an even higher state of zen, and on a crazy, tiring day, I can escape the traps of “my depressing life” thinking and jump instead into the world of the book I am reading, and this gives me deep solace and strength. Sometimes they even help me cry and grieve for the things I’ve probably been meaning to cry for, and they help me bring my guard down even if it’s for only a minute to feel what I have been feeling that day, that past week or the past year. Sometimes they bring a greater joy to the things I’ve been experiencing in my life by offering up similar and parallel scenarios that add more color and zest to the contexts of my real life stories.
  2. The authors help me live lives I’ll probably never have the chance of living with this one body. You can’t be in three places at once, but with books– you can! Limits to time, geography, and resources are blown away like “chaff from the wind” (sorry, I had to add in the Biblical reference – har har). I can imagine myself in the village of Combray, France, or find myself the next day in Middletown, Ohio on the suburban streets. I can bring myself back to post-war England in the 1940’s, where the last of true aristocracy habits were finally coming to an end. I can put myself in the shoes of the invisible black man of the early 19th and 20th centuries, of the white man experiencing discrimination from those that cry out “down with white privilege!” or even of the young Irish orphan in Tuam, relegated to a life of social marginalization and impoverished youth.
  3. Books elucidate thoughts I’m thinking and am grappling to understand better. They give me a deeper wisdom about the things out there and add another puzzle piece to the mental “map” I have about the kinds of people, lives, and thoughts I see co-existing in the world at large, from Chile to Cambodia, with time unbound. They tell me I really don’t know much, that I only know so much, and that I need to learn so, much, more in order to do the things I think I’m meant to do in this life (apparently according to the Social Security Administration, I have about 61.6 years, 739 months, or 22,484 days left to figure life out- time’s a tickin’). Every book, every line of well written prose gives me a deeper understanding for the human experience, of the brokenness amongst our global communities, of the complexities of our problems and our progress, and of the shared experiences we as humans all go through, sometime and somewhere on this Earth.

For those who’re not too much of a book reader, I’m sure you probably experience the same kind of things through a different medium. Maybe it’s art. Maybe it’s music or film. Maybe it’s through your career vocation, I don’t know.

Anyways, without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2017:

 

  1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 3.30.53 PM.png

2. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 3.32.52 PM.png

3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 3.34.01 PM

4. Kick Kennedy: The Charmed Life and Tragic Death of the Favorite Kennedy Daughter by Barbara Leaming

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 3.35.30 PM

5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (recommended by friends Max and Sewon)

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 3.36.22 PM.png

 

If you’re interested in seeing what else I’ve been reading, feel free to check out my Reading List, with a list of the books I’ve read from 2016 to present, and Wordy Treasures, which includes my favorite excerpts and aphorisms.

 

A Review of New York Burgers

So here we are.

I have a professed love for burger that has burgeoned into a near weird obsession and I thank my friends for bearing with my interest and passion for these cute little potato bunn-ed/brioche bun things for the last couple of years.

Here are nyc burgers that a vast majority of New Yorkers or I have strongly liked for your perusal and fancies.

Curious as to know which burgers are my favorites in the city? (HINT: I love those verging on the salty, savory, packed styles, and I most certainly love a thick, tall patty, YUM!)

On a scale of the basic to the experimental:

My Homily to Burgers

Savory Experimental;

Le Rivage

Dudley’s

Comments: Patty is on the sweeter side

LIC Market

Comments: Very good, it’s worth venturing into another borough

Savory: 

Bar Sardine

Comments: Vertical burgers

The Spotted Pig

Comments: Burger is on the salty side because of that delicious cheese. You’ll either love it or hate it.

Barneys New York – Chelsea Downtown

Comments: Not fond of the fries, “pomme frites,” that come with it, but the burger is delicious.

Minetta Tavern

Salvation Burger

Comments: Sadly closed. (RIP)

Savory Traditional:

Bar Luxembourg

The Jane Restaurant

Comments: Solid, greasy shoestring fries

The Breslin

L’Aile ou la Cuisse

Ruby’s

The Wren 

Comments: Eh.

Minimalist Traditional: 

Nectar Cafe

Comments: Very good, but I think the patty is very fatty or something. I get sleepy quickly whenever I go here to have their burger.

Mel’s Burger Bar

Park Avenue Tavern

Minimalist:

J.G. Melon: Not really a fan, (gasp) sorry.

P. J. Clarkes: Not really a fan, (gasp) sorry.

Wilfie & Nell: Not really a fan, sorry.

Comments: From the times I went to get burgers here (more than a few times), all of them had a weird aftertaste smell. Maybe it was just me, or the times I went. Either way, a good burger joint’s burgers should be consistent, non?

Eli’s Market:

Comments: Eh. It is clean. Not bad.

Note 1: I know I’m forgetting a lot, but there were just too many burgers!

Note 2: Maybe you’re all right. Maybe I’m eating too many burgers. 😀

Note 3: I’ve purposely omitted Shake Shack, and In-N-Out. Those aren’t the point of this.

Note 4: If you have suggestions for burgers in the city, please, please send them my way.

Bon exploring good burgers :).

Saying Something: Toyin Ojih Odutola

 

Say hello to the newest heavy-weight in portraiture, Toyin Ojih Odutola.

I first became acquainted with this Nigerian artist’s work during a run at the galleries in Chelsea a couple years ago. I remember being so viscerally struck by her drawings that day. They were white pencil on white paper– I had to lower my body and kneel closer to the ground to see what the drawings held. It was a moving experience to encounter the fullness of these white identities she drew out for the appraiser– very controlled and calculated.

I’ve since become fascinated by the unique mark-making techniques she employs.

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 12.06.37 PM.png

Imagine a big drawing like this, except everything was white on white.

 

The Brooklyn based artist uses whirls and lots of hairy (really that’s what it looks like in person: the wispiest of wispy hairs) detailing to create rich visual narratives that surround her already deeply contextualized subjects. If you look at her artwork in person, you’ll see all the swirls and membrane-like pieces that make up the sum of a composition of faces, bodies, and identities– so much integrity and thought put to paper face via graphite, charcoal, or pastel:

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-4-51-24-pm

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 12.08.45 PM.png

 

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-4-52-32-pm

 

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-4-53-39-pm

Toyin toys with anything from discussions on natural identity to more poignant POVs on say, racial profiling.

 

I’m happy to share that Toyin Ojih Odutola will be holding her first solo exhibit at The Whitney Museum this month, a commission that is well deserved by this outspoken wunderkind.

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 11.50.48 AM.png

Pregnant, 2017

 

Check out her upcoming show, To Wander Determined, at The Whitney Museum of American Art on 99 Gansevoort St., open to the public from October 20th.

I can’t wait to see it.

 

Inspired by Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness

“On my deathbed, I will instruct a nurse to bring me the following:

 

A bag of parmesan flavored Cheese-Its, a burger, the crispiest rosemary covered thin fries, a glass of Diet Coke (lightly chilled), dill flavored waffle chips, a steak tartare with extra capers, the creamiest strawberry choux-creme cake, a McDonald Big Mac, and a Burger King Double Bacon Cheeseburger.

 

In my final moments, I will consume this food slowly and delicately as I fade into oblivion.” – Marina Keegan

 

Complement this creative marriage of Keegan’s prose from  The Opposite of Loneliness and my appetite with If I Die Tomorrow, by Korean hip-hop artist, Beenzino.

Italian Artist Gehard Demetz, my modern day Geppetto.

Formally trained in religious sculpture, Italian artist Gehard Demetz has progressed to become one of the most talented artists of our century. He wields his art technique and experience to create works, many with children as subject, that explore the dichotomies and marriages of contradiction… between that which is evocative and whimsical – provocative and contemporary. His sculptures often carry an energy verging on the socio-political.

He relies on mediums like wood and bronze and certainly knows how to make dry wood come alive.

These are my favorite works of Demetz throughout his career as a sculptor:

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 9.40.41 AM

Introjection. 2017, Wood

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 9.40.59 AM

Life Without Christmas. 2017, Wood

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 9.41.23 AM

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 9.41.36 AM

Dirt on my Shoulders. 2016, Wood

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 9.42.12 AM

Restoring My Blisses. 2015, Wood.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 9.42.22 AM

My Parents’ Stories Sound Different. 2015, Wood.

 

Personally, I would say his best works were made in 2013.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 10.02.50 AM.png

Stones In My Pocket. 2013, Wood.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 10.08.07 AM

Mom’s hands and daddy’s nose. 2013, wood.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 10.07.47 AM

Complement these visuals with a contemplative rendition of Bach’s Christus, Der Uns Selig Macht, BWV 245, arranged by one of my favorite composers and pianists, Chad Lawson.

Pulse of the Fashion Industry, 2017

An informative report on the state of retail by Copenhagen Fashion Summit’s Global Fashion Agenda in collaboration with BCG and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition this year, with interesting tidbits like this:

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 11.24.36 AM.png

 

Click to access Pulse-of-the-Fashion-Industry_2017.pdf

Dancing & Walking Gardens in England

Today is my last day in England and I’m honestly a bit sad to leave.

England ended up being the perfect place for me to rest and freshen up– in part because nothing felt new here.

IMG_8625

[For context, often times when you are traveling to a new country and it’s too unfamiliar (whether it be from the transportation style, interpersonal behaviors, lifestyle pace, or type of cuisine), the trip ends up feeling more exhaustive than healing, especially.. when you’ve decked out a week’s itinerary befitting a music band on tour]. Fortunately now, due to the the rampant innovation, cultural and people exchange, and systemic adoption of technologies that have lead economic centers to operate and appear fairly similar to one another, one can expect a growing predictability for navigation and assimilation in any urban or cosmopolitan city. You will quickly feel that New York reminds you of London, London of Seoul, and that Seoul reminds you in turn of a bit of Paris.

IMG_0056

Shoreditch Grind – I really appreciate the energy of this neighborhood.

 

Coffee shops were frequented, a disgusting amount of desserts were dabbled in, and dance floors conquered. I ate this delicious cheese that tasted like caramel fudge (The Gjetost! Mon dieu!). I even danced my first Scottish dance, and met a gentleman in full Scottish garb with dagger.

 

IMG_9397

What is life without dancing to techno in a room full of old master paintings?

 

Amidst the buzz of catching up with old friends and partaking in some good old entertainment, I was able to spend a great chunk of my stay exploring and appreciating all that nature had to offer unique to the terrain [and sheer size] of its country.

 

IMG_9581.JPG

IMG_8796

Out to see a boat race on the River Cam.

 

IMG_9562

It was the first time in my life experiencing first-hand so many kinds of birds (they were everywhere, omnipresent, realy all about England) and I’m certainly leaving Heathrow with a newfound affinity for them. Watching their activity across various environments, feeding,

IMG_9771.JPG

Imagine seeing a horde of birds feeding and sticking their butts in the air as if under a spell of strange choreography, and seeing this against a backdrop of some beautifully landscaped park or skyline– it’s comical.

and passing so gracefully through the weeping branches of willow trees all lent me feelings of relaxed freedom and calm. I felt very glad.IMG_9721.JPG

The pigeons and the geese here were also surprisingly cute here and I sympathize a bit for the ones back home (perhaps if we didn’t treat ours like termites, they might appear more clean and endearing like the ones in England, I don’t know).

I also saw herds of cows in their natural habitat during my walks which was really nice.

IMG_8768

Like Gustav Klimt’s The Park. I grew up in a suburban area and close to New York, the city of cities, so I was never exposed to much of anything nature outside of grass, skinny trees, and mountain trails my family would take road-trips to. And half of my childhood interaction with nature was spent in the shelter of a car, with me looking through a window.

 

I walked nice trails in well protected parks multiple-vehicles-wide. And oh! Everything was so well gardened and trimmed.

I smelled flowers with aromas so strong and heavenly I became overwhelmed with feelings of different shades I’ve never felt before.

IMG_9928.JPG

Captured in a 4 x 6: Me becoming overwhelmed by nature.

 

IMG_9517

This is a beautiful plant I saw, although I have no idea what it is. It reminds me of the skin of freshly picked Concord grapes. Lusciously juicy.

IMG_0057.jpg

My favorite. If a flower was a pretty song.

Overall, this trip was a good time for me to re-center myself, slow down, and to re-learn an appreciation for the things right in front of me.

I am leaving re-charged.

Bises, Soo

 

Perspectives Global: A Young Streetwear Brand with a 2,000 Year Old Message.

US label Perspectives Global, a streetwear brand founded in 2012 by brother duo Cody and Devon de Jardin takes the phrase “the medium is the message” seriously.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 5.49.44 PM

Check out their brand here and let me know if you’re seeing what I see.

In their most recent campaign the talented duo took direct inspiration from one of the oldest books in the world, the Bible, to send a message of strength, resilience, and endurance:

“Therefore we will not fear, though the Earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart o the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” – Psalms 46: 2-3

We are in a world full of turmoil, whether we choose to acknowledge it wholly or not– it is present through the never ending flow of class and racial strife, international tension, hurting children, and civil conflicts in institutions.

More and more, young, talented designers are harnessing the power (and influence) of their strong visual narratives and their brands in a deliberate attempt to forge renewed meaning and send out messages to a sentient generation.  Likewise, the Jardin brothers speak to their observances of a reality full of brokenness and of distractions– in which it’s become easy to stay “blind to the darkness, pain, and injustice all around the world,” in their SS17 campaign.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 6.01.07 PM

Life doesn’t always have to be about religion, about what you believe, or what you stand for, but it makes it a little more worthwhile living, if you do make it about that, don’t you think? Nevertheless, it feels great to see fashion brands standing for something beyond escapism and creative inspiration.

Asides from supporting their great vision, I’m also a big fan of the brothers’ activewear merchandise, namely the Katakana and Future Lite jackets.

Their lifestyle oriented outerwear is a an eye-catching alternative for you if you’ve exhausted your options with Patagonia, The North Face, Columbia, Marmot, Adidas and Arc’Teryx.

Check out the styles here:

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 5.48.02 PM

Enter a caption

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 5.48.46 PM

Future Lite Track Jacket

 

Yours,

Soo

Good Menswear: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know Until You’ve Seen It.

“Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.”
—Arthur Ashe, Professional Tennis Player

In support of the art of dress, I give you a version of men’s style, reflecting my current style preferences:

Thom Sweeney – Beautiful bespoke, you spoke?

Herno Light Tech Thermo Jackets:

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 3.22.39 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 3.22.59 PM.png

The Gillet, available in multiple colors… muted too, yes.

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 3.24.40 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-03-06 at 3.24.58 PM.png

Bow – Tie, HENRY Loafer:

Necessary Anywhere Socks:

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 3.27.27 PM                              MoMA on a sockScreen Shot 2017-03-06 at 3.27.09 PM

There is no “better” or “right” style– I believe though that there’s something in the deliberation given to treating oneself and one’s body as a temple, outside and in– that is “style”.

All power to men who see and live that too, whether that be realized in the mode of Jaden Smith or Mr. Birddogs guys here:

I hope this scroll gives you enough pause to think how you might dress for the next morning 💫, and if not, then ponder this:

“Clothes don’t make a man, but clothes have got many a man a good job.”
—Herbert Harold Vreeland, Academic

Speaking Too Little, Too Much

An artist has to understand silence
An artist has to create a space for silence to enter his work
Silence is like an island in the middle of a turbulent ocean -Marina Abramović

So….. how does one get to the island?


Verbosity comes easy to me, and unfortunately, there’s no shortage of words to be found in my being.

Over the past few years, my sisters and I have increasingly recognized my need to be both succinct and precise (when I speak, when I think, when I write…when I text!), for the sake of my future livelihood.

My sisters often rightly say, “the length or loudness of one’s message does not substantiate its actual quality or substance”.

Consequently, pithiness has become that far-reaching virtue of mine to cultivate since end of 2016.

Granted, this is easier said than done, and it conjures up from me many a sigh as I attempt (with the ferocity of Hercules as he battles off the great beast!) to remediate my little big habit.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 6.41.16 PM.png

Hercules and the Nemean Line. Painting by Pieter Paul Rubens. What’s great to know is that he overcomes. So shall I– one hopes.

So what can I do, except write a haiku?:

“My mind moves too quick

Can I really control it?

Silence, come quickly.”

I thank my mother for never telling me I should become a poet. That would have been a lie anyways. 

Echoing David Ogilvy, king of witty and considered locutions, I plead tonight for endurance, for charm, for silence.

Bises,

Soo

“There are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout,” Henry David Thoreau
Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 7.07.13 PM.png

Illustration by Maurice Sendak

Jean Jullien and the Allure of Abstraction

 

Sometimes, I like to see art because of the intrinsic beauty found in its execution of artistic virtues such as meticulous detailing or loyalty to realism, and other times, I appreciate the way it expands the boundaries of my capabilities for imagination.

In the name of art of the latter form, see here a short film:

The Coward – Statues, explores moral permissiveness and embarks on an abstract discourse on primitive attraction– the beauties or rather, curiosities involved in all that’s mating, lust, love, and sex.

Directed by  the estimable illustrator, Jean Jullien, and his brother, Nicolas Jullien.

 

*not for the monastic hearted*

Freaky, maybe. Questionable, yes. Beautiful, too.

 

I appreciate a man with a great imagination.

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 12.27.46 PM.png

 

 

Check out some of Jean’s saleable works here!

 

 

 

 

Bises,

Soo

A Prelude to Spring: Things I’m Loving

Our climate is in flux, the Great Barrier Reef is at risk (“in danger!” says Karlie), and New York is experiencing a true Four Seasons.

While concerns over climate change is becoming a veritable thing this season, spring to me sometimes just feels like… spring, and I’m left feeling giddy.

For those that are with me! Here’s some beauty to herald in our months of bloom with:

Pierre Yovanovitch, French interior designer:

See this extraordinary armchair complete with varnished oak feet: the Baby Bear Chair:

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 12.31.15 PM.png

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-12-31-36-pm

Papa Bear and Momma Bear available upon request.

Solid & Striped, the Anne Marie:

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 1.55.25 PM.png

The Elle Top:

Julian Schnabel, Rose Painting:

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 5.40.57 PM.png

Oil, plates, and bondo on wood.

Showing at the Pace Gallery until March 25! 510 W. 25th St., NY, NY, 10001

Franz Kline, American painter and Abstract Expressionist:

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 12.40.38 PM.png

Franz Kline with one of his paintings.

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 12.41.29 PM.png

Laureline, 1956. Gagosian Gallery

Band of Friends

“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes are not content with his wealth. ‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment? This too is meaningless- a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. but pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 5:12

img_0968-png

This is my wonderful CG. It’s crazy to think that I’ve only known my friends here for a little over 3 months.

As a CG, we convene every week as a means to deepen our relationship with God and engage in fellowship. Here, I find myself being fed not just spiritually, but intellectually, physically, and emotionally. It’s almost indescribable to explain the encompassing and enormous nature of the benefits and joy I’ve received from these gatherings. I’ve also noticed that I’ve become more alert and acquired a heightened sensitivity to the going-ons in the world around me… to the conflicts and celebrations arising day by day in the personal lives of those I care about and also of those I was previously indifferent to.

Every week, we challenge each other with our questions regarding issues present in our world and current events, and around scripture; we ask each other about our careers, our job searches, our physical well-being – whether that leg is feeling better and how much exercise it’s taking, whether x project/x presentation last week went well; we rapidly learn intensely personal things about each other (exhibiting an unbelievable level of vulnerability and trust) I’m not sure I’ve ever learned this quickly in my other relationships.

We build one another up, and the effects of this is enduring and lasting throughout the week. Together, we actively seek and discuss ways to address and alleviate the hurt rampant in the broken world around us and to better each other as young citizens and humans bonded by a common belief.

img_0964-png

img_0965-png

img_0966-png

img_0967-png

Sometimes I wonder if without this CG, I’d have ever befriended them or have even crossed paths with them. We all come from very different backgrounds and paths in life, and our personalities range across the entire color spectrum; it really would be hard to explain our deep friendships in relation to our compatibilities in the traditional sense of the word here.

Yet, these people have quickly become a home to me unlike any other I’ve found, and I can’t imagine a world not knowing them and not loving them.

I only wish I could explain to you better just how good this feels. How good he is to me.

Bises,

Soo

My 2016 Book List: Let my Year in Books Inspire You as Well!

img_0347

Here is my 2016 book list of books I’ve carried through completion and thoroughly enjoyed, with random, rambling annotations:

Books with * = well read, well worn, well kept

Books with ** = SUPERSTAR

  1. *The Unpublished David Ogilvy by David Ogilvy, Joel Raphaelson
  2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  3. Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann: Recommended by my friend Nick McClish; Hans Castorps take on life in a sanitorium is hilarious and may I say, morbidly magical.
  4. *Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  5. *How Proust Can Change Your Life by Marcel Proust: I bought this at the Strand bookstore for $2 and it opened me up to the world of Proust. Guys, $2 + tax can indeed change your life for the better.
  6. *In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust: This book changed my life, but if you are a grammar N*** or someone who considers brevity a virtue, then this is not that life-changing book for you.
  7. *Bible (NIV): For my spiritual and moral feeding – I hold this very close to my heart, always, for the truth of the Lord breeds the purest of love, knowledge, kindness, goodness, forbearance, joy, and peace.
  8. ** Leonardo’s Notebooks edited by Anna Suh: my eyes were burning from the amount of manuscript notes I had to read that he created; can you believe that someone with a non-classical education has over 20,000 notes in total of mind-blowing studies and findings found through sheer observation and experimentation? Wowzers.
  9. Chaos Monkeys by Antonia Garcia Martinez: hilariously scathing, and very tell-all by nature, a book on the going ons of the SV tech world from the eye of one man who managed to get acquired by or work for some top companies. A peer and Director of Salesforce who I recently met told me this is much like the HBO series: Silicon Valley, so for those who liked watching that, you ought to take a chance on this.
  10. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli: I never got to read this in school, but all of a sudden I had the urge to read this now and on Machiavelli’s thoughts on acquiring, conquering, managing, and losing principalities/power/people. Pretty relevant, I’d say.
  11. The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller: talks a lot about the moralistic brothers of the church vs. brothers who’ve gone wild and then returned to the folds of God – really cool and enlightening read on the hypocrisy of institutions like religion and even more importantly, why it’s even more necessary to stay steadfast in your faith in God.
  12. **Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan: I had been exposed to surfing this year through a man I loved, and naturally became curious as to the intensity of adoration felt for this specific hobby by him and by many other friends. Finnegan explains the surfing life perfectly, and I am totally hooked – theoretically speaking.
  13. *Blood, Brains, and Beer: Autobiography by David Ogilvy
  14. **Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: recommended by my friend David Kong. I enjoyed it and as a Jane Austen fan, really glad I got to read another stellar work of hers!
  15. Ein Mein Manifesto by Eric Jarosinski
  16. **Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  17. Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths: My older sister had this on her Audible.
  18. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport: because I enjoy reading Cal Newport’s blog and was deeply changed by his book Deep Work. This is an earlier book of his, and I have noticed that his prose here is not so pithy, but still to the point. It serves its purpose.
  19. **Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations by Michael Malone and Rich Karlgaard: because I wanted to make the company I worked in at the time better.
  20. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
  21. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Recommended by my dear friend, Victoria Wong! It’s one of her favorite books. Funny story: There was a time when I was quoting this book, and a friend had asked me who the author was, when I replied, “Mila Kunis” with the sureness of a cock. I was deservedly embarrassed.
  22. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein
  23. Who Needs the Fed by John Tamny: I picked this book up because my younger sister works at the Fed, and I am always down to read a book that will enlighten me more on the activities of loved ones.
  24. Virtual Billions: The Genius, the Drug Lord, and the Ivy League Twins Behind the Rise of Bitcoin by Eric Geissinger: The book in its entirety wasn’t engaging, but the first couple chapters were amazing in detailing the foundations of Bitcoin & its network, and the influencers * all the the ants involved in this crypto currency ecosystem.
  25. The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane: written for the layman, it reinforces wise mental hacks that are necessary to live both in optimism and be successful.
  26. Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security by Laurence J. Kotlikoff: A book picked up in an effort to aid my parents when they become of age.

Things I’ve started or am looking to read in 2017!:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: I’m reading this one to get to know my younger sister better. She is a big fan of Tolkien.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: I’ve only read the first few chapters, and so far the story lines of the characters introduced and families are absolutely ACE! The complexity! The depth! The scandal! Recommended by my good friends: Sewon Yang and Max Heering.

Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man by Martin Kemp

I wish the world the biggest growth it’s seen yet this 2017.

Bises,

Soo