Jean Jullien at Studio Concrete

 

 

For more details of the studio gallery, check it out here.

To follow Jean Jullien’s artwork, check out his Instagram

I’ve written about my admiration for this artist here in a post extolling him as the Houdini of Illustrators and again here, featuring a kinky erotic illustration video created in collaboration with his brother!

Mom & I: South of France

We both love France so much.
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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.

The Wynwood Guide: Miami

Everyone has probably visited Miami once in their life, if not for Spring Break, or for the lovely beaches. If you’re tired of hanging out in the loud or sheltered parts of Miami, and want to venture out of South Beach and Collins Ave., here are some recommendations for you to explore the blossoming neighborhood culture of Wynwood.

Art:

Being the art lover that I am, I made it a mission to visit every mappable gallery in the design district; these are my recommendations for galleries that impressed me with their representation of artists and newness of objects that I would not see if I was in New York:

Art by God : A wonderful store and gallery that I can spend hours in. There was an amazing $4000 Queen of Congo piece I wanted to leave with on my last trip, but I contented myself with buying a small bust of an African boy made of serpentine stone and crafted by an artist from the Shona Tribe (for those interested, the Shona are a people from Zimbabwe, whose ancestors built great stone cities in Southern Africa in days long past!).

Tresart Gallery

To note: It’s a pleasure to hit up art galleries in Miami because they have such a fair representation of Latin American artists, something I haven’t seen much of in concentration in Chelsea or the UES.

Design:

Ranivilu Gallery – functions as part gallery, part design store.

 

There was also Glottman, which was very popular amongst the people there, but it didn’t do much for me. The products it carries look like that of every other design store, but perhaps you might enjoy it.

 

Ice cream:

Dasher & Crank: For ice cream tourists, this is a must.

 

Coffee (or avo-toast for the women):

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Dr. Smood: Great interior and awesome cafe concept. Healthy, but with a twist. They offer cashew milk as an option for their drinks, and it’s a great addition to the coffees I’ve drank in New York. I think in New York the extent to our coffee explorations are Nitro brews, grass-fed butter bullets, propolis/bee additive brews, and Australian concept brews.

If anyone knows of a coffee shop in NYC that offers cashew-milk based coffee, I would love to know.

 

Food:

KYU: A modern asian style eatery. Good for drinks.

Coyo Taco: A very popular taco joint. If you are into tacos. Me– not so much.

 

Stores:

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Plant the Future Wynwood: Recommended by my lovely friend, Thier, and I loved it. I’m not sure if the staff knows what they were doing and I certainly did not think they had a service mindset, but the interior concept of this plant store is cute and fun to walk through. The store has everything from modern potted plants to plants potted in animation characters.

ANTIDOTE: A sustainability focused womenswear concept shop. Owned by a stylish woman who owned a boutique in France and decided to open another concept in Miami.

 

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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:

 

 

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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.

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 – ) :

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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.)

Money Shot by Judith Bernstein

 

My friend Christine and I stopped by the Paul Kasmin Gallery yesterday to check out this LOUD art show, which represents the works of Judith Bernstein, a New York based artist, mainly known for her phallic symbol infused works and her ardent devotion to feminism.

Money Shot is a visual manifesto of some very explicit political commentary (truly, a no holds barred, lacking zero subtly situation). Asides from the strong messaging, the artist used fun and creative mediums like fluorescent paint and light for this exhibit to the delight of myself and the many other art goers that walked into the gallery (Exhibit A: it was fun to see anyone with hair lighter than brown with heads literally lit, and seeing men walk in with their stiff collared shirts noticing in surprise that the collars peeking out of their sweaters were brilliantly highlighted in spacey purple light).

Do I see a Darth Vadar, a skull, and a generic demon here or is it just me?

 

The Trinity Schlong

 

While this artist clearly shows her bias for the strong left, I believe this show is worth going to and seeing– regardless of one’s political affiliation, and preferably with an open mind.

It is worth mentioning and acknowledging the creative and intellectual risks this artist has made to voice out some very controversial and sensitive opinions, and the gallery that chose to represent her with this recent installation.

I applaud you, Paul Kasmin Gallery.

This show runs until March 03, 2018. @ 293 10th Ave., NY.

Best Works of Helmut Newton, “King of Kink”

Helmut Newton is a photographer best known for his erotica fueled snapshots and a taste for capturing fun… stripped bare. He was regarded by many as the “King of Kink” and you can go back to so many issues of Vogue easily with his indelible footprint.

 

U.S. Vogue May 1993, “White Mischief”

 

Here are a couple of my favorite works from this talented German Australian:

 

 

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Woman Examining Man, 1975 for U.S. Vogue

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Nice, 1976

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Unfaithful

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Cruising From Behind

 

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While I don’t appreciate all his works, I do truly think he was the best of his kind for what he did.

There is so much life and mischief captured through a single portrait– he did it so well.

 

33 black-and-white photographs—framed, signed, and numbered—on sale this month at Guy Regal’s showroom in the New York Design Center. Open to the public today.

Art Finds at MoMA

Romanian visual artist Geta Brătescu

American visual artist Joan Jonas‘ riveting 3-D performance

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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

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

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3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

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

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

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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.

 

Trending In Retail & Consumer Goods

The Case For Lower In-season Markdowns:

“YNAP has also seen a deceleration in North America, where overall luxury goods sales growth has been slower in 2017 compared to Europe and Asia, according to Bain & Co. At YNAP, North American sales in the third quarter of 2017 grew 10 percent from 2016, down from 17 percent growth a year earlier. ‘According to management, this was also driven by a slightly weaker performance in the in-season business, where they made a strategic decision to have lower markdowns versus last year,’ Barclay analyst Andrew Ross wrote in a recent note. ‘While this helped margins, it had a detrimental impact on the top line.’ However, he said, “Long term, this approach by YNAP will strengthen relationships with brands.”” – Yoox Net-A-Porter Group, Bof.com

 

Digital & Print Publications for Next Level Branding: 

WoollyCasper, next-gen mattress brand

HereAway, next-gen luggage brand

AirbnbmagAirbnb, sharing economy unicorn

 

Technology: 

Helio: machine learning [via online fundraising platform for early stage consumer brands] Circleup to make investment calls on retail and consumer brands.

 

“Social Media Drives Sales,” They’ve Been Saying…:

What’s next on the affiliate partnership front for consumer goods giant Amazon:

Amazon expands its Influencer Program to include Twitter and Instagram, in addition to YouTube

 

 

 

 

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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

Home Secrets

I don’t call myself the ideal homemaker, and my friends know I rarely cook. I’d also prefer to use FlyCleaners, but they “don’t yet service in my area”.

However, thanks to the Amazon savvy lady that is my mother, combined with my penchant for taste, I have picked up some tips and tricks à la “Health, Household, and Baby Care

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that make me feel somewhat better about my aforementioned failures.

 

  1. Dry Shampoo

The Harmless One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

 

My All Time Personal Favorite

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warning: it does have a strong English garden-like smell to it.

Batiste Instant Hair Refresh Dry Shampoo: Floral & Flirty Blush. I found this at Boots back in England. It will be a staple for life. I only recommend this scent. I’ve tried the others and I wouldn’t say I recommend.

What The People Say

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Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: People have recommended this to me as one of the best on the market, but frankly the smell really irritates my nose and affects my sense of smell. Perhaps you might enjoy it. After all, we are all different.

 

Stains, the bane of white blouses.

If you are busy, sometimes messy, and selectively lazy like me, you’ll need something quick, effective, and something that won’t frustrate you for taking so long to remediate.

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Shout Wipes is your man (your men?). Many people swear by Tide Pens, but this is has taken out more stains for me from experience, and I also appreciate the fact that it’s technically impossible for the treatment to “dry” out before you use it because they sell these in single-use AIR TIGHT packs that retain all that good moisture and active chemicals. That’s what I primarily don’t like about Tide Pens. The pens aren’t dependably juicy. I like consistency.

Start with a 24 pack (I’ve linked you to that one), but I’d say go for the 80! No regrets.

 

Do you even know how humid your room is?

If you don’t believe me, take a look

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While the current humidity level of your rooms won’t affect most of you, you should care because your clothes are the ones that will receive the brunt of all the moisture. Save yourself the emotional pain that comes with a moth having eaten away at your $2,000 mohair knit sweater and buy these miracles that are the Damp Rid Hanging Moisture Absorber.

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The smell is also quite nice.

 The end.

But wait!

One more.

This isn’t really a home – grooming hack– it’s really just a life hack that’s made my life incrementally happier this past month:

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Limitless Coffee, an lllinois based coffee and tea company, has created some of the best flavored coffee I’ve ever tasted in The United States of America. For context, I’m a big coffee enthusiast, and while I don’t regularly go to cupping classes and such, I feel I have sufficient experience to tell you that this truly is different [a gem!] from any of the coffees that you or I’ve ever tasted— even judging against the big coffee names and my favorite coffee makers such as Toby’s Estate Coffee. I don’t know how else to say it.

It’s not sold in Whole Foods yet, but I hope a buyer finds it and places some big orders for New York, and quick!

 

Complement this homey read with some splish-splash music by Caravan Palace, a fairly unique electro-swing French band. My favorite song of theirs is Aftermath.

 

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:

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Introjection. 2017, Wood

 

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Life Without Christmas. 2017, Wood

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Dirt on my Shoulders. 2016, Wood

 

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Restoring My Blisses. 2015, Wood.

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My Parents’ Stories Sound Different. 2015, Wood.

 

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

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Stones In My Pocket. 2013, Wood.

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

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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:

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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.

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[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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Out to see a boat race on the River Cam.

 

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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,

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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.

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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.

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

 

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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.

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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

 

Rituals

 

  1. On Sundays, I will allot 2 hours of my afternoon to read in a cafe with good lighting that makes me happy and keeps me alert. I try not to switch around locations.
  2. Every morning, as soon as I wake up  and before I reach for my phone,  I run a motto through my head: it usually rotates from these three:
    1. By the grace of God I am worthy.
    2. Thank you God for this day.
    3. God, help me to give my day to you.
  3. I read at least a chapter of the Bible every day. Currently I am working through Isaiah. Usually I will read Psalm 95 and dedicate a prayer to God before, so that I can prepare to give my heart and attention wholly to the reading.
  4. I go in for a  video call with my family once a week. Objective: To hear what my mom and my sister has been up to and to actively engage in listening to the people most important to me.
  5. I drip coffee every morning. Grinding coffee and hand-pouring coffee is a therapeutic experience on its own. Having the consistent and dependable reward of drinking better than average coffee always leaves me coming back the next day ready to go into the routine regardless of how snoozy I am.
  6. Before my foot injury, I would wake up at 6 or 6:15 (depending on the day) to run a route of 4 miles at Central Park (north – south from my place to the south entrance cleanly amounts to that much). It was one of the most rewarding and helpful routines I’ve developed in my adulthood. Unfortunately, due to my present state, I satisfy myself with long walks back home from my work place (about 4 miles), and I always work to stretch out my body for about 15 minutes either in the morning or before I head to sleep. I’d like to walk more often.
  7. In the mornings, if I’m extra productive, I try to get to text messages that I haven’t responded to in the previous days.
  8. Throughout the week, I task myself to read the book I am currently on if I ever find myself still fully alert post-work hours. If I’m less than fully alert (had wine; burgers!, tired out of my mind, or feeling unfocused), I will pick up a lighter book (if I have one by the side and at the ready), read articles and studies I’ve pocketed (my go-to sites are on the website tab), or a short essay.

It’s hard to get into a routine, because the word itself implies that you are blocking off a finite resource, time, of yours for an extended amount of time to invest in a variable reward, and sometimes starting one for the sake of doing it for accomplishment or because it aligns with your value-based identity just isn’t that sexy of a pull.

From my personal experience though, investing in the time to develop these practices has probably contributed to the greatest positive changes and developments in my life.

They keep my character, spiritual, physical & mental life strong.

Getting to a point in which you regularly exercise habits that require little to no cognitive effort to initiate (holla heuristics) is also a great reward in itself (less work for increasingly more rewards!).

They also help me keep my positive, optimistic, and energetic demeanor (which are arguably my most marked characteristics)  in a way that’s as close to 100% authentic and sincere.

Anyways, it’s 9, I’d best start my day. Happy Memorial Day. I remember and honor those who gave their lives up for us.

“Don’t  just fill up on things that you’ll have forgotten the next day”- Jonathan McReynolds

“What is the value of a fine watch if you don’t keep winding it and it can’t keep time.?

 

Frieze 2017

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Suspension and mirror play by Japanese artist Tatsuo Kawaguchi

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“Welcome,” she says. Fortuitously positioned by the South exit. I imagine this is how “I’ll burn holes into your eyes” would be played out literally. Nasty : Rich–  good stuff.

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Blackened shoes en masse by UK artist Jim Lambie.

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Schnabel! Broken plates on wood.

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Intriguing works by young artist Matthew Cerletty.

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A giant charcoal drawing of Obama in 2017 with his security– what a view.

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Technology, technology, technology… ever play that dinner game and pool all your phones together? I have, plenty of times. I win sometimes.

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Familiar– why?

Trending: artist Callum Innes

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My favorite discovery from the entire fair: Brazilian artist Waltercio Caldas – works in Neo-concretism and mixed media. Looked into his portfolio upon returning home, and I’m definitely hooked!

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And here I depart and bid adieu. A ton tour!

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.

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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.

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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:

 

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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:

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

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Bow – Tie, HENRY Loafer:

Necessary Anywhere Socks:

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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

Julian Schnabel: New Plate Paintings

Launched to fame in the 1980’s, Julian Schnabel‘s broken ceramic plate experiments heralded in a refreshing kind of art for the contemporary art world– cutting, reminiscent, and modern via a rough handling and bondage of paint and ceramic on wood.

While Schnabel created this rose series from the inspiration he received upon one of his visits to Van Gogh’s grave in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, he has worked also with portraiture, painting and immortalizing American names like Stephanie Seymour and William Gaddis.

Closing on March 25: Catch the rose works in their entirety at the Pace Gallery, 510 W. 25th St., before it’s too late!

Bises,

Soo

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.

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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
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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.

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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:

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Papa Bear and Momma Bear available upon request.

Solid & Striped, the Anne Marie:

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The Elle Top:

Julian Schnabel, Rose Painting:

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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:

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Franz Kline with one of his paintings.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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