Spencer Shulem is the CEO at WeDo - creators of a wellness and productivity app that tracks the micro-decisions people make in their lives so that individuals are able to make better decisions and improve their behavior.
John C. Bogle - Conversation with a Legend
Elle Simone is a food stylist and chef, helping people see food in a new way. Working at America’s Test Kitchen, Elle’s approach to food styling has been influenced by her battle with cancer as well as her Detroit roots.
Dr. David Simpson, a Professor of Neurology at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is a researcher and a scientist working to advance the knowledge of medicine, both in terms of understanding disease and treating disease. Dr. Simpson is doing ground-breaking work using Botox to treat musicians and others suffering from movement disorders, such as focal dystonia.
Scott Rhea is an image maker whose work is represented in visual metaphors. Sparked by a personal journey to find the source of his own creativity, Scott was ultimately seeking a less structured approach,; to become less dependent on people “liking” his work. Through journaling and recording his dreams, Scott became more connected with his own voice and creativity. His big take-away was that being mindful of his own mental state enabled great ideas to start flourishing.
Daniel Panzer is a Brooklyn-based developer and runs the software company, CruxCode. Daniel cut his coding teeth while working for Jonsar Studios, creating the apps that make our company run. Daniel’s background in visual arts enabled him to fully grasp Jonsar Studios’ goal of producing high quality imagery in a live setting. Daniel’s analytical mind helped create the systems of display and delivery that are integral to the immersive photographic experiences Jonsar Studios creates at events.
Jim Glaser discovered his love of costume-wearing at the NYC Halloween parade in the late 80’s. He found a sense of liberation in the way costume brings together fashion, art, theatre, and acts as a uniting force for people. Kostume Kult is a community of like-minded folks who find joy in themed events. Among other things, the Kostume Kult constitution centers on being conscious of one’s choices while at the same time being free to express oneself without fear of political correctness.
Kathryn Leigh Scott is an author and actress whose book “The Bunny Years” told the tale of the 25 year history of the Playboy Clubs — the place where Kathryn’s own twin careers began. A farm girl who came to NY in search of an acting career, Kathryn paid her way through acting school by working at the Playboy Club; a job she credits for giving her self-confidence and the ability to be self-sufficient. Finding herself cast in the number one soap opera of the day, “Dark Shadows” Kathryn never looked back.
Jeremy Driesen is a drummer, photographer and event producer. We were curious to discover if there was a common thread among these three different pursuits. As Jeremy explains it, a photographer works within a frame to create images, a musician finds creativity within the ‘frame’ that the songwriter provides, and the event production ‘frame’ is meeting client objectives. While there is a continuity between the three, there’s a zen thing about drumming and photography. Running a business uses a whole different part of the brain.
Frank Meo has been inspiring photographers and creatives for decades. Helping people find their passion, and then teaching them to drill down and get really clear, is Frank’s own passion. Using logic, planning and strategy Frank gives photographers real tools to create an action plan that helps move their careers in the right direction.
Winzday Love uses music to help people open up and reconnect to themselves. The way she sees it, it’s easy to open people’s hearts and minds when your music is authentic and comes from a place of love. For Winzday, music is magic, it’s the glue that holds everything together and is an amazing conduit for release.
"I want to be like Matisse - cutting up paper when he was blind. He wasn't telling someone else to do it. You read about artists with such bad arthritis that they tape the brush to their hand so they can still paint. It's the act of it that's very important. It's ephemeral, what drives me. It's something that defies words. It just is.
I think that as humans we’re meant to be in strong tribe-like groups. Technology has led us towards isolation. I think in most people there is a desire and a need to be around people that accept us for who we are. I want to help build a community who creates together, dreams together and is able to make positive changes together.
"Becoming a chef is like being in the military. There are levels that you have to go through. You have to move up through the ranks. You actually have to work your ass off and grind it out, put in time, get burned, get cut, get yelled at, get beaten up."
"I want people to not take experience for granted. And realize it's a thing! People don't realize Experience is a thing! When you get up every day, ask what experience are you delivering, and to whom? Every day I deliver an experience to my employees, to my wife, to my children. I ask: 'what can I do this weekend?' Or 'what's the experience I'm planning for somebody' because that's my contribution to their lives. We all need to provide better experiences for each other, whatever it may be."
"I believe the spark that gets the artist moving is the same spark that gets the scientist moving. I want to discover. I want to know more. In improv, it's listening to the last thing that was just said. You step out onto an empty stage and you know nothing. You don't know how it's going to go. You get a suggestion from the audience and you make it up as you go, blindly. I feel like there's a lot of similarity with how scientists go about things: 'alright, I don't know, we're going to see what this is, I'm going to listen to the last thing that was said and we'll look at the last piece of data and I'm going to build on that to see what comes next.' In an improv scene - somebody makes a move and maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. If it works, great, we build on it. If it doesn't, we go sideways and make something else and build on it. They are kindred spirits. I'm fascinated by finding areas that science and comedy intersect."
"Act 1 for me was churning through some introspective and creative stuff with the opera singing. Act 2 for me has to be figuring out how to take my skill set and make it meaningful... Now I need to reflect the world. I need to figure out how to take my ability to find other people's art and heart. And figure out a way to turn that into something relevant. I'm not sure how to do that yet. But what would I really like to do? What are my hopes and dreams? Well, I'd like to change the world. It's important to start with the why of what you do and then you figure out the how."
"Everyone has their own view on what art is. For me, art is the concept of re-creation. The universe is the ultimate creation. We as humans have been gifted the power of creativity which is the power to re-create ourselves, to become creators. This is what I call art - to recreate the world through your work."
I believe that we all have a deeper muse inside of us; a deeper resource. When we get out of our normal mind frame and consciousness and relax we literally come from a different reference point. It's then that this other stream of data comes through, this other author, this co-author comes through. To me the co-author is a deeper part of ourselves that we don't access on a day-to-day basis necessarily, unless we're receptive to that. My sense is that we have our normal every day thinking in the way that we see the world, but there are moments when that pauses or relaxes and allows for a deeper intelligence to come through.
"I create art because I want to. I don't want to have a show. I don't see myself being the center of attention. I create art so I can let go. My canvas is my project - Makú, in Colombia. That's my art. That's what I have to put my intention and belief in. And that's what I'm looking forward to spending the rest of my life doing. I picture myself helping others and helping myself to grow and be a better person."
"There’s no end to one’s evolution, and that’s the first lesson. There’s no end, so don’t look for it. Just enjoy the journey, because it’s just a journey."
"I think some of the best artists in the world are people who do not have the control button - the button that keeps us all as functioning members of society saying 'I shouldn’t do that.’ As a result many of them are self-destructive because they don’t have that button, but I think things free-flow out of them onto canvas, songs, fashion - but they are sometimes messes as people. Moving from the rational to the instinctual and this free-flow is often what makes a great artist. Some of the greatest performers and artists I know are pretty self-destructive, I wouldn’t want to be them. But I sure like the output of what they do."
"I create a way for people to take their fear and visualize it in their own way so they can defeat it. The mind can be the greatest creator of positivity but also can create negative representations as well. The ultimate goal is for people to turn their negativity into positivity.”
" Life is certainly changed by art, changed by music, it's changed by the depictions and the context of self-representation that we allow to happen. But at the same time we are normalized by the world, we are normalized by language, by family. Art is the interruption of the context of that normalization. So I don't really know what it would be like if everyone was an artist. I don't really know what art is for. I just know that the way it works, now, in my own experience and in the experience of my students with whom I share my doubts, is that it changes the world.”
"I get very worked up and eager to do something when I hear horrifying things on the news. I want to do something, I want to help. I want to bring attention to that subject, and to also give solutions. It's really important in my opinion - to not just highlight the horror but to present ideas of what we can do about it."
I'm a maker that's trying to make a difference. My medium isn't important. My message is cohesive. It's all about communication of human issues. I try to make my work shiny or beautiful - some element of beauty so that the observer walks in and stays with it for one extra second. It's about that extra beat that they're with it and all of a sudden I've snagged you. I'm infiltrating a little bit.
"Not all art is storytelling, and not all storytelling is art What I'm interested in is storytelling as an art form -- and a very democratic art form. It's something that everybody can do. No matter what your age is, or your intellectual ability is or your education or your race -- it makes no difference. Every human being has access to our birthright. It's our birthright to be storytellers."