We had the pleasure to sit and chat with Jazz musician Matt Herskowitz last week. We asked him a few questions on inspiration and creativity. Here is what he had to say :
I’m a jazz/classical pianist/composer who can’t just choose one style and stick with it. I love going out on the road to play concerts for a month or two at a time, and performing in small, intimate jazz clubs as well as in big concert halls. I’m a stubborn perfectionist in my music, and in my life.
What is your favourite creative outlet?
In addition to music, I enjoy writing as well as creative conversations with really smart people who make you see things differently. Unfortunately I’m no visual artist (my horses have six legs) but I love admiring great works of art. In music, I’m doing just about everything creative I can do: musical theatre, film scoring, song-writing, arranging and composition.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Like most other artists, I draw inspiration from moments of strong emotion, whether it’s a surge of vibrant energy or a moment of soulful pain. I find that I need some contact with the outside world for inspiration; a crazy night out with friends, a romantic relationship (the world’s oldest inspiration, of course), or just the misadventures of life itself, which I’m fortunate to have on a consistent basis.
Menswear has always had a big influence on our designs; we always find a lot of inspiration in the utility and though lines that are traditionally thought of as masculine and nothing pleases us like seeing a women carry the Soren or Raylan bags from our men’s collection. Lately though, I was watching the video of David Bowie’s latest single “the stars are out tonight” and it got me thinking about how FUN the recent displays of androgyny have been in fashion/music. Case in point: Bowie’s video below. A word of warning, it is wild and bizarre, but it also features a fascinating gender reversal: models Andrej Pejic and Saskia de Brauw play a celebrity couple where Pejic is the girl, while de Brauw is the boy. A lot of weirdness ensues.
Case in point #2: Casey Legler is an artist that works in New York. A former Olympic swimmer, she’s also a women working as a male model. Speaking about her modeling career, Casey’s focus is on self-expression and freedom: “I understand signifiers. We’re social creatures and we have a physical language of communicating with each other,” she says. “But it would be a really beautiful thing if we could all just wear what we wanted, without it meaning something.” Watch her interview below, we dare you not to be charmed.
I recently came across this text from Kevin Lyons, a designer and illustrator that has worked with the likes of Nike, Converse, and Coca-Cola,among others… Not only does he relate this piece to one of our favorite bands – the Velvet Underground—but in a way, this reflects how we approach our design process. The Velvet Underground was formed in a 60’s, a decade that broke many fashion traditions, mirroring social movements during the period. I don’t know if it’s the social change that happened during that time, the development of a counterculture, or the will to break conventions, but there is something deeply inspiring that we keep coming back to in term of music, art, architecture and design. I especially cannot get enough of the 60’s photography section in LIFE’s website. I’m particularly in love with this one lately:
But to go back to the quote, we’ve been designing since 1995, with ample time to have our fair share of changes of hearts, and it was at times a winding road to figure out just how to be. As creative people, it can be hard to let go things, but it’s very liberating. We’ve come to a place where we focus about the process, concentrating our attention on the purpose and simplicity of what we do; the rest comes on its own.
Over the weekend, we had the pleasure of chatting with an old friend Josh Cobos, a talented musician from Big Drag, a psychedelic rock band from San Francisco. I’ve seen them play a few times, always a good time full of energy, stage presence and good vibes all around. I wanted to dig a little deeper and find out how it all began, here’s his story.
How long have you been playing music?
I’ve been playing music since I was 10 so that’s 15 years now.
When did big drag begin?
Big drag began when I saw the movie Bikini Beach & found out Heidi could play drums
What inspires you to create?
Other art inspires me to create, seeing bands live makes me wanna go home and shred and learn how to play every good song out there. I also read the paper tons too, there’s always something weird or grotesque or obscene going on in there.
What influences your music most?
Musically we all sit around and listen to tapes or pick songs out at the jukebox and pass CDs or records back and forth so we’re all constantly getting exposed or reacquainted with something different. Then we’ll just go play songs that we hear in our heads, stuff that keeps us busy on walks or drives to work. If you open your eyes, life is constantly happening and you can interpret every action a million different ways.
What does living beautifully mean to you?
Living beautifully is making sure that your conscious decisions reflect who you are, breathe in the same honesty you breathe out.
“It is my belief that it is far better to begin, than to wait for a perfect result which never seems to come.”- Quentin
I recently moved back from San Francisco, where I had the pleasure of working alongside Quentin Navia, a beautiful woman whose spirit could fill an entire room of charisma and positivity. Her youthful attitude inspired me to self reflect and find inner happiness, but also to never let life become mundane. She toured the country playing music with a folk band, that opened for Peter Gabriel in the 70’s and somehow along the path she found herself opening “Pena Pachamama” a restaurant with the BEST raw vegan food I’ve had located in the heart of San Francisco’s North Beach, at one of the historic Speakeasy’s. She would always tell me the success was never forced, nor was opening a “business” but rather it formed naturally , and turned into a great success. She continues to play music every night at the restaurant along with her husband and son. She’s living proof that regardless of age, if you do what you love, you’ll feel and look forever young. She recently wrote a book titled “The Art of Raw living” where she offers many delicious raw- vegan recipes as well as an insider tip at how her restaurant came to be. Here’s a little preview of the book.
“Each search, each story is notable and remarkable, because each individual is unique, one of a kind. Each has taken this journey in the material realm and experienced its joys, adventures, struggles, sufferings and successes. And even if we lack writing skills, our stories can inspire and encourage our compañeros along the way.
We all draw from the experiences of each other. We all offer true lessons from our own experiences. We read others stories to be inspired by them but ultimately the journey is our own. There are no complete recipes or guidelines for the trip, no one has taken exactly the same path. But one thing is for certain, that if it is true, we are all bound to find the same thing.
As with a raw lifestyle, I believe I’m in it for life. It is the adventure, with the fun, innocence and creative enthusiasm of a child, (in the end we are all bound to find the same thing-if its real- and raw living organic vegan foods are the closest we can get.”