July 25, 2014
I love everything about it. I love the beautiful and colourful palettes. The brushes. The lipsticks and pots of gel liners. But most of all, I love turning people around to a mirror and having them light up in front of me. It’s like they didn’t know that they had it. Every women, with the right tools in hand, can transform themselves into different beautiful versions, or alter egos, of themselves.” 

Name: Gabriela SoaresLocation: Waterloo Ontario Occupation: Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist 

Even as a little girl, Gabriela Soares always had a fascination with the idea that one could alter their  physical appearance in ways that could make them look like a different person. She would watch in awe as her Brazilian mother changed her hair colour and her makeup style regularly. “Every time my mom would switch something up, it was like a part of her was reborn. The sense of confidence and excitement that a new lipstick, hair cut, highlights, etc. gave her has always stuck with me. I couldn’t get over how much someone could change themselves physically and how it impacted the way that they felt inside,” she says. 

With this cosmetic fascination always looming in her mind, Gabriela naturally gravitated towards a love of barbie dolls:

"I was absolutely fascinated by barbies! So much so, in fact, that I now have a tattoo of one on my arm. How did Latina barbie look so different then blonde barbie when all that was changed was her hair and makeup? The same features on the same body, yet, a different barbie altogether. It’s kind of funny because I see the models that I work with and the clients that I have as my grown up barbie dolls and somehow I have the privilege to be able to change them into different and beautiful versions of themselves." 

After completing a degree at the University of Waterloo, and finding herself rather bored and unmotivated, she enrolled in a makeup artistry program taught at Audrey Wilson’s Gemini Modelling Agency and never looked back. 

"Gemini gave me the most wonderful introduction into the world of fashion shows, commercial print work, makeup, hair, etc. The makeup course that I took, taught by the amazing Sarah Davidson, awoke an incredible passion in me. I love everything about it. I love the beautiful and colourful palettes. The brushes. The lipsticks and pots of gel liners. But most of all, I love turning people around to a mirror and having them light up in front of me. It’s like they didn’t know that they had it. Every women, with the right tools in hand, can transform themselves into different beautiful versions, or alter egos, of themselves." 

Following Gemini’s program, Gabriela enrolled and completed the challenging “Comprehensive Makeup Artist Program” at  Complections International School of Makeup Artistry in the heart of downtown Toronto.  From there, she was signed to Judy Inc. agency as a makeup and hair artist and immediately started working in the film, television and fashion industry.

"Those next few years were just incredible. I found myself in so many different and interesting places all of the time. One day I would be doing makeup for a music video for Nelly Furtado, the next day I was on set styling models for a Sears catalogue, then I was on a plane to Jamaica for a magazine shoot. Everyday was different and so very exciting! As my business grew, I learned so much and picked up more and more tools to add to my beauty toolbox". 

Having met the love of her life and feeling the need to move back to Waterloo and settle down, Gabriela decided to attend Gina’s College of Hairstyling, get her hairstylist diploma and work in a more stable environment. 

"Hairstyling is a whole other beast to battle. Having seven years of makeup industry experience under my belt, going back to school and starting a career from scratch was incredibly challenging. I am proud to say that I did it and had a lot of great experiences while doing it!"  

Gabriela Soares is now working as a part-time film, television, commercial and fashion makeup artist and as a stylist at the prestigious So Chiq Salon in Waterloo. 


"My life has really never been better and I have never felt happier. I love going into the salon, being surrounded by so many talented stylists and creating such incredible relationships with my clients. I love giving them confidence to try new things and change up their looks. I am constantly challenged and because of that, I learn and grow everyday". 
Photography: Jonathan Bielaski

I love everything about it. I love the beautiful and colourful palettes. The brushes. The lipsticks and pots of gel liners. But most of all, I love turning people around to a mirror and having them light up in front of me. It’s like they didn’t know that they had it. Every women, with the right tools in hand, can transform themselves into different beautiful versions, or alter egos, of themselves.” 

Name: Gabriela Soares
Location: Waterloo Ontario 
Occupation: Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist 

Even as a little girl, Gabriela Soares always had a fascination with the idea that one could alter their  physical appearance in ways that could make them look like a different person. She would watch in awe as her Brazilian mother changed her hair colour and her makeup style regularly. “Every time my mom would switch something up, it was like a part of her was reborn. The sense of confidence and excitement that a new lipstick, hair cut, highlights, etc. gave her has always stuck with me. I couldn’t get over how much someone could change themselves physically and how it impacted the way that they felt inside,” she says. 

With this cosmetic fascination always looming in her mind, Gabriela naturally gravitated towards a love of barbie dolls:

"I was absolutely fascinated by barbies! So much so, in fact, that I now have a tattoo of one on my arm. How did Latina barbie look so different then blonde barbie when all that was changed was her hair and makeup? The same features on the same body, yet, a different barbie altogether. It’s kind of funny because I see the models that I work with and the clients that I have as my grown up barbie dolls and somehow I have the privilege to be able to change them into different and beautiful versions of themselves." 

After completing a degree at the University of Waterloo, and finding herself rather bored and unmotivated, she enrolled in a makeup artistry program taught at Audrey Wilson’s Gemini Modelling Agency and never looked back. 

"Gemini gave me the most wonderful introduction into the world of fashion shows, commercial print work, makeup, hair, etc. The makeup course that I took, taught by the amazing Sarah Davidson, awoke an incredible passion in me. I love everything about it. I love the beautiful and colourful palettes. The brushes. The lipsticks and pots of gel liners. But most of all, I love turning people around to a mirror and having them light up in front of me. It’s like they didn’t know that they had it. Every women, with the right tools in hand, can transform themselves into different beautiful versions, or alter egos, of themselves." 

Following Gemini’s program, Gabriela enrolled and completed the challenging “Comprehensive Makeup Artist Program” at  Complections International School of Makeup Artistry in the heart of downtown Toronto.  From there, she was signed to Judy Inc. agency as a makeup and hair artist and immediately started working in the film, television and fashion industry.

"Those next few years were just incredible. I found myself in so many different and interesting places all of the time. One day I would be doing makeup for a music video for Nelly Furtado, the next day I was on set styling models for a Sears catalogue, then I was on a plane to Jamaica for a magazine shoot. Everyday was different and so very exciting! As my business grew, I learned so much and picked up more and more tools to add to my beauty toolbox". 

Having met the love of her life and feeling the need to move back to Waterloo and settle down, Gabriela decided to attend Gina’s College of Hairstyling, get her hairstylist diploma and work in a more stable environment. 

"Hairstyling is a whole other beast to battle. Having seven years of makeup industry experience under my belt, going back to school and starting a career from scratch was incredibly challenging. I am proud to say that I did it and had a lot of great experiences while doing it!"  

Gabriela Soares is now working as a part-time film, television, commercial and fashion makeup artist and as a stylist at the prestigious So Chiq Salon in Waterloo. 

"My life has really never been better and I have never felt happier. I love going into the salon, being surrounded by so many talented stylists and creating such incredible relationships with my clients. I love giving them confidence to try new things and change up their looks. I am constantly challenged and because of that, I learn and grow everyday". 

Photography: Jonathan Bielaski

May 14, 2014
For the Love of It - Manual Labour Coffee

Check out the video that goes along with the latest post!!!!!

May 14, 2014

“Passion itself is so cool – follow it and share it.”

Name: Katie Browne
and Matthew Taylor
Location: Hamilton, Ontario

Occupation: Owners of Manual Labour Coffee

Their coffee journey started at a coffee shop in Toronto where Matt was a partner. Katie worked at a design shop down the street and would go just to see Matt. A relationship started brewing and eventually the two married.

After a while they moved to the country and a friend suggested that Matt run a manual brew bar at a table at her stall at the local market. Matt’s love of coffee is contagious – not just for the customers but Katie too. They never imagined that the little coffee table would grow into Manual Labour Coffee and that they would work it seven days a week. And they wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Matt’s passion for coffee paired with Katie’s passion for design balanced perfectly into a funky, retro trailer that they serve coffee out of; and they love to share it. Their key to spreading their love of coffee is in making it all approachable. Coffee tasting doesn’t need to be intimidating or pretentious. Matt will even come to your house and show you how to brew the best cup of coffee with your very own machine. 

“If Matt could talk about coffee all the time for the rest of his life, he’d be a happy man!” says Katie. He’s on a mission to get people excited about tasting a difference in the beans and roasts. They even base their travels on where there are great coffee shops to visit, and share that knowledge too. 

They still pinch themselves – there was no business plan. Manual Labour Coffee just evolved out of them and they love that people are so accepting of it. They’ve helped people realize that coffee can be enjoyed by everyone – and their passion just keeps catching on. 

Photography: Jonathan Bielaski

February 27, 2014
F.T.L.O.I. Video with Garren Dakessian

February 27, 2014
“I could not imagine doing anything else. I get to build awesome guitars that make incredible music.”
Name: Garren DakessianLocation: Oakville, Ontario, CanadaOccupation: Guitar Maker
Loucin Guitars was officially opened in September 2002 by owner Garren Dakessian.
Garren was born in New Zealand & moved to Toronto, Canada in 1969. He moved to Oakville, Ontario in 1980, where Loucin Guitars is now located.
He started building electric guitars at age 15, after he met with the legendary owner of the Twelfth Fret in Toronto. That afternoon of discussion about guitar construction and craftsmanship gave Garren the confidence to build his first guitar, which he did in grade 10 wood-shop, with a little help from his ultra- cool wood shop teacher Mr. Jim MacMillan at White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville, Ontario.
As Garren says, “I wanted to build guitars my way.” He has been making custom hand-made acoustic guitars for almost twelve years now. His cites his biggest influence as being Eddie Van Halen. He saw that Eddie made his own guitars out of parts and thought, ” I can do this too.” His late mother Loucin always told Garren to follow his dreams and so he did.
When you take money out of the equation and do what your passion is, success is guaranteed to follow as there is no better success then actually loving what you do. Garren never wanted to work for someone else. He wanted the creative freedom to design and handcrafted the guitars as he imagined them.
“My guitars are very light and responsive because they are hand-made,” says Garren. “There are no “made on Monday” guitars here. So much passion goes into each guitar. I also have uniques such as my “SLANT” arm-rest.”
Garren has been incredibly fortunate to have some absolutely amazing clients, both professional and hobbyist. The list started with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Phil X (Bon Jovi), Jason Hook (Five Finger Death Punch), Zakk Wylde (Ozzy & Black Label Society), Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest) & recently Sammy Hagar (Van Halen & Chickenfoot). He is hopeful to soon begin working with Ben Harper, Kim Mitchell & Sarah McLaughlin in 2014.
Loucin Guitars also has a Guitar Building School www.buildaguitar.ca where students learn how to build a guitar and get to leave the class with a guitar they have built. The best part of the last 10 years is that so many more artists are performing and recording “unplugged” acoustic guitars.
The only advice he has for musicians and guitar makers is to out & meet people face to face, talk to them, listen to them and don’t expect things to happen overnight.

For more information on Loucin Guitars please visit www.loucinguitars.com.
Check out the Video Companion to this blog post on my youtube channel HERE

“I could not imagine doing anything else. I get to build awesome guitars that make incredible music.”

Name: Garren Dakessian
Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Occupation: Guitar Maker

Loucin Guitars was officially opened in September 2002 by owner Garren Dakessian.

Garren was born in New Zealand & moved to Toronto, Canada in 1969. He moved to Oakville, Ontario in 1980, where Loucin Guitars is now located.

He started building electric guitars at age 15, after he met with the legendary owner of the Twelfth Fret in Toronto. That afternoon of discussion about guitar construction and craftsmanship gave Garren the confidence to build his first guitar, which he did in grade 10 wood-shop, with a little help from his ultra- cool wood shop teacher Mr. Jim MacMillan at White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville, Ontario.

As Garren says, “I wanted to build guitars my way.” He has been making custom hand-made acoustic guitars for almost twelve years now. His cites his biggest influence as being Eddie Van Halen. He saw that Eddie made his own guitars out of parts and thought, ” I can do this too.” His late mother Loucin always told Garren to follow his dreams and so he did.

When you take money out of the equation and do what your passion is, success is guaranteed to follow as there is no better success then actually loving what you do. Garren never wanted to work for someone else. He wanted the creative freedom to design and handcrafted the guitars as he imagined them.

“My guitars are very light and responsive because they are hand-made,” says Garren. “There are no “made on Monday” guitars here. So much passion goes into each guitar. I also have uniques such as my “SLANT” arm-rest.”

Garren has been incredibly fortunate to have some absolutely amazing clients, both professional and hobbyist. The list started with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Phil X (Bon Jovi), Jason Hook (Five Finger Death Punch), Zakk Wylde (Ozzy & Black Label Society), Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest) & recently Sammy Hagar (Van Halen & Chickenfoot). He is hopeful to soon begin working with Ben Harper, Kim Mitchell & Sarah McLaughlin in 2014.

Loucin Guitars also has a Guitar Building School www.buildaguitar.ca where students learn how to build a guitar and get to leave the class with a guitar they have built. The best part of the last 10 years is that so many more artists are performing and recording “unplugged” acoustic guitars.

The only advice he has for musicians and guitar makers is to out & meet people face to face, talk to them, listen to them and don’t expect things to happen overnight.

For more information on Loucin Guitars please visit www.loucinguitars.com.

Check out the Video Companion to this blog post on my youtube channel HERE

January 11, 2014
“I make patterns that are meaningful.”
Name: Jenna FenwickLocation: Lanark HighlandsOccupation: Textile Designer 
Jenna Fenwick comes from a long line of seamstresses and quilters. In high school she sewed her own clothes and thought about a career in fashion. When she started working in her Mom’s quilt shop, she was introduced to fiber art and gained an interest in fabric patterns, and knew she wanted to combine her love for drawing with her new love for textiles. 
In her last year at NSCAD University she worked on projects where she could illustrate the design, screen print them into the cloth and create a beautiful finished piece, and she knew she found her passion. After graduation she started Jenna Rose which she opened in Guelph and later moved to Hamilton. 
Jenna still illustrates her own patterns by hand, whether it’s a treehouse she remembers or something simple that inspires her on a walk outside her studio on the farm she and her husband bought in eastern Ontario last year. She then mixes the colours and hand screen prints the cloth. “I love the tactile nature of textiles and the functionality,” said Jenna. “But it’s also finding the inspiration in daily life and having a customer connect with the patterns I find meaningful.”

The tranquility of the studio has given Jenna a renewed sense of focus. With the gardens her and her husband already use to grow food, Jenna plans to take her creativity to the next level and start growing her own dyes. For Jenna it only makes sense to follow her passion to create truly handmade and sustainable textiles.
 

“I make patterns that are meaningful.”

Name: Jenna Fenwick
Location: Lanark Highlands
Occupation: Textile Designer 

Jenna Fenwick comes from a long line of seamstresses and quilters. In high school she sewed her own clothes and thought about a career in fashion. When she started working in her Mom’s quilt shop, she was introduced to fiber art and gained an interest in fabric patterns, and knew she wanted to combine her love for drawing with her new love for textiles. 

In her last year at NSCAD University she worked on projects where she could illustrate the design, screen print them into the cloth and create a beautiful finished piece, and she knew she found her passion. After graduation she started Jenna Rose which she opened in Guelph and later moved to Hamilton. 

Jenna still illustrates her own patterns by hand, whether it’s a treehouse she remembers or something simple that inspires her on a walk outside her studio on the farm she and her husband bought in eastern Ontario last year. She then mixes the colours and hand screen prints the cloth. “I love the tactile nature of textiles and the functionality,” said Jenna. “But it’s also finding the inspiration in daily life and having a customer connect with the patterns I find meaningful.”

The tranquility of the studio has given Jenna a renewed sense of focus. With the gardens her and her husband already use to grow food, Jenna plans to take her creativity to the next level and start growing her own dyes. For Jenna it only makes sense to follow her passion to create truly handmade and sustainable textiles.

 

October 9, 2013
For The Love Of It Marek Mikunda

October 8, 2013
“Be determined, pay attention to detail and respect tradition.”
Name: Marek MikundaLocation: Toronto, OntarioOccupation: Brewmaster, Steam Whistle Brewing
Marek’s love for brewing started at a young age in the Czech Republic. He always knew he wanted to be a brewmaster so he started at a brewing technical school at just 15. By 18, he had brewed his first beer at a brew house in Prague. The challenge was to make sure that the process was perfect, otherwise, the next batch wouldn’t be very good. 

Marek travelled the world before he settled in Canada in 2000. Five years later he joined Steam Whistle. Because Steam Whistle focuses on brewing one kind of beer instead of offering variety like the other brewers, they are steadfast in a focus on quality instead. With respect for the traditional methods instead of cost-cutting or wild experimentation, Marek can focus on delivering consistently great beer.

His passion for beer comes from the heart. “You need to put a lot of dedication in to beer,” says Marek. “Otherwise you won’t have a great product.”

You may think that brewing one kind of beer, a Pilsner, would make the job repetitive doing batch after batch of the same type of beer. But it’s not at all – it’s incredibly challenging. When dealing with yeast, malt, hopes and people, every day is different. Just as people have different moods, yeast can also randomly decide to work slower. 

Marek’s where he is so that he can be challenged and successful in resolving those challenges. That’s what grabbed his heart about this occupation and it’s why he can’t see doing anything else but being a brewmaster for the next 20 years.

“Be determined, pay attention to detail and respect tradition.”

Name: Marek Mikunda
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Occupation: Brewmaster, Steam Whistle Brewing

Marek’s love for brewing started at a young age in the Czech Republic. He always knew he wanted to be a brewmaster so he started at a brewing technical school at just 15. By 18, he had brewed his first beer at a brew house in Prague. The challenge was to make sure that the process was perfect, otherwise, the next batch wouldn’t be very good. 

Marek travelled the world before he settled in Canada in 2000. Five years later he joined Steam Whistle. Because Steam Whistle focuses on brewing one kind of beer instead of offering variety like the other brewers, they are steadfast in a focus on quality instead. With respect for the traditional methods instead of cost-cutting or wild experimentation, Marek can focus on delivering consistently great beer.

His passion for beer comes from the heart. “You need to put a lot of dedication in to beer,” says Marek. “Otherwise you won’t have a great product.”

You may think that brewing one kind of beer, a Pilsner, would make the job repetitive doing batch after batch of the same type of beer. But it’s not at all – it’s incredibly challenging. When dealing with yeast, malt, hopes and people, every day is different. Just as people have different moods, yeast can also randomly decide to work slower. 

Marek’s where he is so that he can be challenged and successful in resolving those challenges. That’s what grabbed his heart about this occupation and it’s why he can’t see doing anything else but being a brewmaster for the next 20 years.

July 23, 2013
“It’s lovely to feel physically exhausted at the end of every day.”
Name: Vincent PerezLocation: Kingston, OntarioOccupation: Pressman and Designer
The artisan in Vincent Perez sacrifices the easier, more modern digital press for the art of mid-century analog printing. He says it’s all about friction. Take social media as a modern medium for an example. It’s most successful when the platform demands the least of its user and therefore less friction. The challenge of the mid-century press and the physicality of its use entail friction ensuring hard work and a rewarding feeling alongside a tangible result.
There’s craftsmanship involved in using an old letterpress. Experimentation too – the digital press is too advanced to allow for that. There’s individuality to the final piece unachievable with a mass production press.
Vincent loves the holistic production. As a designer, he controls production from design to printing to distribution. Most designers simply email or FTP their design files to the printer and receive a sample at the end. But Vincent gets the satisfaction of combining manual labour and creativity to produce a beautiful, unique printed piece. 
It all started with an art project. Vincent received scraps from a printer to make books, and during that journey he realized that he wanted an education in design. While at NSCAD in Halifax, Vincent wiggled his way into Dawson Printing – a teaching print shop at Dalhousie. And his collection of old presses began as did his knowledge and experience.
A true collaborator, Vincent now works with his own clients to develop high-end designs and printed pieces in his own shop, Everlovin’ Press. “There are times when clients want me to do things I never intended, and I always have to think about being in a business to do what I love, and making a living. But my mentors taught me to always remember why I started this business and to always guide myself that way.” It’s led to Vincent’s version of success – the physical satisfaction of hard work, while servicing customers invested in the final piece of art.
 
Photography: Jonathan Bielaski www.jonathanbielaski.comWords: Jodi Szimanski

“It’s lovely to feel physically exhausted at the end of every day.”

Name: Vincent Perez
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Occupation: Pressman and Designer

The artisan in Vincent Perez sacrifices the easier, more modern digital press for the art of mid-century analog printing. He says it’s all about friction. Take social media as a modern medium for an example. It’s most successful when the platform demands the least of its user and therefore less friction. The challenge of the mid-century press and the physicality of its use entail friction ensuring hard work and a rewarding feeling alongside a tangible result.

There’s craftsmanship involved in using an old letterpress. Experimentation too – the digital press is too advanced to allow for that. There’s individuality to the final piece unachievable with a mass production press.

Vincent loves the holistic production. As a designer, he controls production from design to printing to distribution. Most designers simply email or FTP their design files to the printer and receive a sample at the end. But Vincent gets the satisfaction of combining manual labour and creativity to produce a beautiful, unique printed piece. 

It all started with an art project. Vincent received scraps from a printer to make books, and during that journey he realized that he wanted an education in design. While at NSCAD in Halifax, Vincent wiggled his way into Dawson Printing – a teaching print shop at Dalhousie. And his collection of old presses began as did his knowledge and experience.

A true collaborator, Vincent now works with his own clients to develop high-end designs and printed pieces in his own shop, Everlovin’ Press. “There are times when clients want me to do things I never intended, and I always have to think about being in a business to do what I love, and making a living. But my mentors taught me to always remember why I started this business and to always guide myself that way.” It’s led to Vincent’s version of success – the physical satisfaction of hard work, while servicing customers invested in the final piece of art.

 

Photography: Jonathan Bielaski www.jonathanbielaski.com
Words: Jodi Szimanski

June 6, 2013
“Music is all or nothing, and I’ve decided to make it my all.”
Name: Hugo PinedaLocation: Cambridge, OntarioOccupation: Music & Event Producer
The foundation of everything Hugo does is music. Growing up, Hugo Pineda played in a band with family members and others from church across Ontario. But Hugo found himself moving towards the production of music instead of the actual playing. In high school, he took a co-op placement at Angus Audio in Cambridge to learn more about the business.
After high school, Hugo gave the business world a try, though never forgot his musical roots. Through retail and finance positions, Hugo developed his business sense and a strong network. He decided that he missed music and versatility of the world around it, so while his brother was building his career as a musician, Hugo decided it was time to return to the music world and manage his brother. From there, a business grew and it went beyond producing music.
Everything Hugo did as part of the company – 586 Event Group – still related to music. From providing entertainment at weddings to football championships, Hugo puts on a show to make clients` events a success. It means never being bored and interacting with new clients all the time. The randomness of their schedule is as inspiring as the music they play.
Photography: Jonathan BielaskiWords: Jodi Szimanski

“Music is all or nothing, and I’ve decided to make it my all.”

Name: Hugo Pineda
Location: Cambridge, Ontario

Occupation: Music & Event Producer

The foundation of everything Hugo does is music. Growing up, Hugo Pineda played in a band with family members and others from church across Ontario. But Hugo found himself moving towards the production of music instead of the actual playing. In high school, he took a co-op placement at Angus Audio in Cambridge to learn more about the business.

After high school, Hugo gave the business world a try, though never forgot his musical roots. Through retail and finance positions, Hugo developed his business sense and a strong network. He decided that he missed music and versatility of the world around it, so while his brother was building his career as a musician, Hugo decided it was time to return to the music world and manage his brother. From there, a business grew and it went beyond producing music.

Everything Hugo did as part of the company – 586 Event Group – still related to music. From providing entertainment at weddings to football championships, Hugo puts on a show to make clients` events a success. It means never being bored and interacting with new clients all the time. The randomness of their schedule is as inspiring as the music they play.

Photography: Jonathan Bielaski
Words: Jodi Szimanski