Woman Wednesday: Maura


Q and A with Maura from Venice, Italy, living in Raeford, North Carolina

It is pointless to regret the past as we cannot change it. All we can do is understand that it is a piece to the puzzle.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am quite eclectic in my interests, but I have always loved art in all its forms. In Italy, I had a band, and I have sung for several years and considered photography a hobby for a long time. I have always been fascinated by street photography because its extemporaneity freezes reality in a limbo between what the photographer sees and what it really is. When I moved to the US, I did not have the chance to go back to music right away, but the urge to create was very powerful. I started painting portraits and had my first exhibition at the Art Walkabout of Fayetteville, NC. My craft then eventually evolved into digital drawing, portrait photography, and now I am mixing all these skills I have learned into a mixed media style.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in Italy, not too far from Venice. I studied languages in high school and then graduated in psychology in college. Art run in my family blood: my younger brother is a very talented illustrator, my uncle a painter, and my grandfather used to play the organ, teach music, and was also painting oil landscapes as a hobby. I remember being fascinated by the smell of the oil colors. He was very creative.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I was not exactly a straight A-student growing up as I have always focused more on the subjects I loved the most and struggled to focus on the rest. I have often felt that I could not 100% fit anywhere and like I was an underachiever. That made me very insecure for several years, and I think that it limited me in many ways. I have come to realize now how much power our mindset has over what we can achieve. I am saying this because I want people to understand that our past mistakes and insecurities are part of our evolution as individuals as long as we learn from them. It is pointless to regret the past as we cannot change it. All we can do is understand that it is a piece to the puzzle.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism to me means equality. To quote Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “Everyone should be a feminist.” Our value as individuals should not depend on our gender. It is important to keep pointing out that there is still a gender inequality that affects women. This is why we call it feminism, and we do not talk about human rights in general.


MORE FROM MAURA: I am currently working on a mixed media exhibition. The subjects are all women of various racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds and various lifestyles, experience, and interests. My goal is to help all women to find the confidence and the love for themselves—regardless of their appearance. I want to fight the concept that we need to fit a stereotypical idea of beauty to appreciate ourselves and feel beautiful. As soon as I started sharing my idea, I have received wide support from other women. I think it is amazing to see how we can work together to elevate each other. It revives your faith in people.

Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you! 🙂 Comment below!

Article on Maura, click here.

Woman Wednesday: Cha


Q and A with Cha, Philippines

“Success is not about money. It’s about fulfilling the little things that make you YOU.


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I love to learn new things every day, but what I am most passionate about is creativity. I am Cha Consul, and I graduated in visual communication arts from a small province in the Philippines. I graduated in 2019, and I worked in corporate companies as a graphic artist but never felt satisfied with it. As young as 20 years old, I knew the career path I’d been taking was not for me. So, I started a part-time job as a freelancer while working on my 9–5 job.

I slowly felt I that was in the right place, and before I knew it, my little studio called Risseia was born! Now, I work as a freelance book illustrator and brand designer for female entrepreneurs. I am now working on a children’s book illustration project that will be released this 2020 worldwide!


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in a very traditional and cultured family. My parents are religious and strict, but despite that, they were hard-working. I never really got that trait though. I used to be a slacker when I was in high school. I never got to be a top student and almost failed in every college application. I love making art though. It was like my sanctuary even when I was a little girl. My parents wanted me to be an architect, yet the only thing I achieved during that time was disappointing them.

When I luckily passed one college application, I took an art course instead of the one they wanted me to take. I was planning to shift on architecture after one year, but I guess the artist in me got in the way. I continued being an art student and I grew fond of it. I loved how art made me motivated to learn. Before long, I was acing all of my subjects! I was one of the top students in class without realizing it, and slowly, I am finding what I am truly capable of.

I graduated last year in 2019 and started working on a famous cosmetic brand as a graphic artist. While I was really having fun with it, living in a third-world country became hard. My salary was minimum wage and I had to travel 6 hours a day to get to my work. It was a crazy experience and I realized it wasn’t worth it. I decided to resign in less than a month knowing of the situation. In between those days, I kept thinking of what could happen if I become a freelancer instead. Well, my anxious self discouraged me.

Fast forward, I successfully worked at another company, but I decided to become a part-time freelancer. I never realized how exciting it was to work for other brands and challenge myself to execute a great design! I worked secretly on my freelancing projects when my boss wasn’t around. My mother wasn’t also supportive of the idea of me working as a full-time freelancer, so I knew I had to prove something to her.

It was the pandemic when my career changed its course miraculously. Despite the horrible events happening, it helped me become stronger and made me more self-reliant! My current company wouldn’t let me work from home, so I decided to try freelancing as a temporary ‘full-time’ job. It was then when I realized the vast opportunities waiting for me outside my day job, I worked harder and made my mom realize that this path is helping me release my true potential. Before I knew it, I took the biggest risk and resigned again to become my own boss. To be honest, my partner Jupert, was the one who really inspired me to take this risk. He was so supportive, and I’m glad I could rely on him every day.

Now, my parents are the proudest, and I realized that all the things that happened were all there for a reason. I am blessed with all these projects I am handling right now and I can’t wait to learn more in the next coming years! I believe that when you want something, you just have to trust yourself and the process!


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Some people might not support you right away, even your loved ones might not support you, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up. We tend to feel discouraged when someone disagrees with us. Honestly, not everyone should matter to you. Analyze those people who are valuable to you and focus on them instead. It’s okay to prove yourself to others who are important to you, but know that you should prioritize how to prove yourself wrong. Anyway, our greatest enemy is ourselves.

It won’t be an easy process, but if you believe in yourself enough, your true potential will automatically shine! Trust your process, and as long as you love what you are doing, that is enough reason for you to keep going. So, quit that job you hate, start doing what you love, risk for freedom, risk for happiness…risk for yourself.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism for me is about fighting for equal rights. Most people think that Feminism is just about us fighting on how women are more superior to men, but I think we need to voice out what the true meaning of this advocacy is. It’s not about who is better or who is more valuable; it’s about learning to respect each other’s potential and lifting each other up no matter who you are!


Q: Is there anything else you would like the readers to know?

A: I’d like to use this platform to simply encourage anyone out there who is struggling with their careers. I know a lot of people who aren’t happy with what they are doing right now. I hope you find the strength to finally choose what you really love to do. For once, don’t think about the money and don’t think about what others might think; just think about how content you will become if you love the path you are taking. I believe that money will run after you when you are doing what you love. I hope you get excited to wake up one day because the dream you’ve always wanted to do is already happening. Success is not about money. It’s about fulfilling the little things that make you YOU.

I am Charisse Consul, a 22 year old Filipina illustrator and designer who is the founder of Risseia Studio. I chose this career for myself and to help others fulfill their dream career with my skills & services. I hope this interview inspired you. Talk to you again soon!

Thank you for reading!



Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Ioana

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.    


 

Q and A with Ioana, Cluj, Romania

 

“What I would like everyone to know and apply is passion! Find something that you love doing and go for it. Take time for it, show what you do to other people, involve your loved ones in your passion. Whenever you feel completely disappointed, desperate, and that life is completely pointless, turn to that color or canvas, pot or music, or whatever makes you feel joy.”   

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Since I was very little, I loved playing with stones, rocks, mud, wood, and pretty much anything I could find on the ground of my parents’ garden. When I was about 12, my parents introduced me to a well-known visual artist here in Cluj, a sculptor.

 

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From that moment on, I started creating carved pieces out of stone, wood, clay, resin, bronze, and many other materials. This began as a childhood hobby but soon became a lifelong dream and career. I applied to the arts high school, followed by arts university, then a master’s degree in cultural management and then another master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Brussels.

 
I traveled a lot, this being one of my greatest passions in life—discovering new places and cultures and becoming inspired by other ways of living. Through many of these travels, I also organized exhibitions, cultural events, theater and performance events in countries such as Morocco, Armenia, Belgium, France, Spain, Sweden, and I also made a lot of friends everywhere. All of these experiences have shaped me, both as an artist and as a human being.

 

 

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Pictured: Art by Ioana.

 

Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know?

A: None of it was easy. Each time I left, moved, traveled, I did it alone. I enjoyed traveling alone because this allowed me to discover the world in a very personal way. I lived in France for one year, didn’t speak the language very well, and didn’t know anyone in the city I moved to. It was very hard at times, and I wanted to come back home more times than I can count, but slowly, I learned the language, started meeting people, people began interacting with my art, and so, by the end of my stay there, I had an exhibition, friends, and a new language under my belt.

 

Armenia was another challenge, as I went there in an Artist in Residence program (AIR), without any idea of what to expect. My great-grandmother was Armenian, and I had this strong desire to visit the place I also had roots in. At that time, I was still working on war-themed art pieces and was deeply inspired by the history of Armenian people, both during the genocide in 1915 and the more recent one committed by Azerbaijan in 1988. I had this drive to show people what has happened before in our history because I believed that this could change mentalities and ensure a better present and future for people. I was quite rebellious and hardheaded in regards to my beliefs.

 

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When I came back from Belgium, where I got my master’s degree in sculpture, I was 25. At that time, I started craving order and responsibility in my life, so, because I was surrounded by doctors in my family, I started working in an oncology clinic as a manager. One year later, I started working at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy here in Cluj, and by the time I was 27, I had two jobs, no creative time, and a big hole in my life. I missed the sculpture and the arts. I missed my years of creative events organizing, so I started, slowly but surely, infiltrating my creative side into the business part of my life. I started designing posters and commercials for the institutions I worked in, developing promotion campaigns, and started making soap to giveaway to our oncology patients.

 

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Soap making was actually the moment of my awakening—as I was quite numb since I returned to my country. The colors, the essential oils…it’s a true therapy, this soap making activity. After that, I started making jewelry and slowly grew back my inspiration for sculpture. As I moved to a new house with a tiny garden, I rediscovered my love for gardening as well, and this became one of my biggest passions. Growing plants! And landscape design. This month I decided to start growing a vegetable garden for my family and am constantly reading about seeds, soil, and getting inspiration on landscape architecture sites. I guess I get this from my mother, who is a professor in landscape architecture and my grandfather who was a phytopathologist (doctor in plant disease).

 

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Pictured: Hand-crafted, natural soap by Ioana.

 

At the moment, I still work two jobs, but when I get home in the evening, I create something. This is my goal every day, whether it’s a silver ring, 20 soaps, or just transplanting plants, every day is a creation day! My dream is to be able to quit all jobs and only focus on my passion: art! So, I have these 3 things as creative pillars: sculpture, soap-making, and gardens. And the one thing I was lacking also arrived in my life, once I regained trust in myself and my creative side, my boyfriend.

 

What I would like everyone to know and apply is passion! Find something that you love doing and go for it. Take time for it, show what you do to other people, involve your loved ones in your passion. Whenever you feel completely disappointed, desperate, and that life is completely pointless, turn to that color or canvas, pot or music, or whatever makes you feel joy.

 

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Have faith in yourself. Also very important: Will is a self-training thing–if you don’t stimulate yourself, you won’t pursue your goals, so find things that stimulate you! Be it that one extra like on Facebook, a kind word from your partner, or selling one of your crafts at a fair, just do it! Be brave!

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: If we ask ourselves, “Is feminism important?” Just check this little historical fact: Women in Switzerland gained the right to vote in federal elections after a referendum in February 1971.

1971! One of the “most civilized” countries in the world!
So, what does feminism stand for? I believe that if we were not forced to live in a world ruled by men, in which we were treated as subhuman, pets, or worse, we would not have been obliged to react. Feminism is a reaction to oppression, demanding equality in rights, equality in perception, and equality in labor. This is what it means to me:
a necessary movement and attitude in the 21st century.

 

 

Connect with me! I’d love to chat with you! 

 

Personal contact:

ioanas.tanasescu@yahoo.com

www.facebook.com/ioanas.tanasescu

 

My pages:

https://www.facebook.com/ArtfusionTransylvania/

https://www.facebook.com/SoapySculpture/

https://www.facebook.com/desculptura/

 

 

 

 

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