20 May

#shoutoutrevolution – MTMT Designs

A massive shout out to another shoe artist here:

Who are you and what do you do? 
I’m Maggie, a proud Malaysian, graduated university with a business degree and I like to call myself as a creative person as I am one with many roles. My day job is managing food and beverage marketing for 10 different outlets; I am also working part time for a beauty company on affiliate marketing; and I leave my free time for my passion – art. Other freelance roles include emceeing, dancing, and copywriting.

When did you begin your art journey?
My parents signed me up for art classes when I was about 7 years old. I won a couple of art competitions in school and actually thought of pursuing art for my tertiary education, but was turned down by my parents because they don’t think it will be a career. The actual art journey began during my university days where it started off as a gift giving gesture for a friend’s birthday, my work then became a topic on social media and were increasingly demanded among my friends, so I eventually decided to turn my artwork into a customised shoe painting business back in the year 2010, I was 19 then. I name the business MTMT designs, it represent the initials of my full name. Till date, as paint works evolved into different mediums as well, I have clients from close to 12 countries globally, about 10 pieces of public murals in Malaysia and taught close to a 100 students for workshops. Services provided include customized shoe painting, canvas painting, mural works, painting workshops and also CSR projects.

I mainly use acrylic for my painting, and I’m trying to pick up watercolour and chalk to broaden my art capabilities.

MTMT Designs will continue to strive for a better position towards the contribution of Malaysia’s art scene.

What inspired you to create your form of art?
I particularly enjoyed recreating an art piece of an artist, it gives me a sense of achievement of being able to achieve what they created. I’m also slowly moving into a phase where I can create my own style and designs, it’s taking me a while to get there because I am still not having the right confidence with my creations.

What is your one essential tool that you cannot live without (for your art)?
My paint brush! (and paint!) It’s brutal to keep this to ONE haha.

Where can I find you on the web?
I use to have a website but closed it down because I don’t have time to manage it, right now it’s mainly on my social media platforms:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mtmtdesigns
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mtmtdesigns

What do you like to do when you are not creating?
Working out at the gym, playing with my dog, reading, travelling

Have you got any pets?
Yes! A toy poodle with the name Jasper. He’s our first family pet and he’s a bundle of joy. Always bumming around the house looking for snacks and he loves playing fetch in the house.

What is your favourite art book? (or, what are you reading at the moment, your choice)
No particular favourite art book, I’m reading “Blue Ocean Strategy” at the moment.

22 Feb

#shoutoutrevolution – Cara Lou Paper Cuts

This week I am introducing Emma from Cara Lou Paper Cuts, a multi-award winning business and artist who hand cuts the most incredible designs out of paper.

Who are you and what do you do? 

I’m Emma, a self-confessed rainbow addict, mandala loving, typography techie. I’m a Paper Artist.  From my home studio, I design and hand cut a range of art, mostly centred around the beauty and symmetry of the Mandala, but also incorporating my love of typography.

I also offer a range of printed designs to enable everyone, of every budget, to enjoy a Cara-Lou piece. After all, I believe everyone should get to experience art.

What inspired you to create your form of art?

My Children, I know it sounds cliche, but 5 years back I found myself in a pickle with my health, and not very much to look forward to, when my children described me as “oh Mummy doesn’t work, she sleeps” I knew it was time to do something drastic, ever the craft lover I discovered Paper Art 2 years later and the rest is history.

Is your artwork physically tough to create?  Do you obtain injuries from all that paper/blade action?

This is a tough one, it can take its toll, I have to schedule in regular rest breaks to prevent me getting pains etc in my rusty old body. But overall I would say no, something I consider to be physically tough is something that’s physically demanding like farming. Touch wood I have been extremely lucky regarding injuries, with the odd minor cut from lack of concentration, other than that I’ve been pretty lucky. I have had a few paper mishaps when the blade slices off an important part of the design, then its time to start all over again, even if its a 20 hour piece and I was 19 hours in, its the luck (or not so luck) of the draw.

Where can I find you on the web?

I’m like a bad penny! I’m everywhere you turn! but if you want to seek me out I’m at the following links:

Website:  http://www.caraloucuts.co.uk/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/caraloucuts
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/caraloupapercuts
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cara_loucuts
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CaraLouPaperCutsGB (I use Etsy to sell my designs to other Artists)
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD35V5rAY__oMmA-DBbyyTw (I dabble in YouTube occasionally)
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cara-lou-paper-cuts-552493141/

What do you like to do when you are not creating?

When I’m not designing or cutting, which, might I add, is rarely, you can find me snuggling my sausage, Frankenstein, the dog or helping to run my Husbands Martial Arts Business! I live in Greater Manchester with my Husband, Craig, aka Chief Brew Maker and My 2 daughters, Katie aka Little Cara-Lou and Kiera aka Littlest Cara-Lou.

Do you have any pets?

Yes! I have a gorgeous little Pug called Frankenstein, He’s only 10 months old, and is like the little boy I never had. I also own the most beautiful black cat known to mankind, He’s almost 5 and he’s called Fluffy, he’s extremely cuddly and was feral, he lost his mum when he was born on a farm because he doesn’t know how to miaow!

What are your reading at the moment?

I am currently re reading 19 minutes by Jodi Picoult, I have 95% of her books so far and this particular one got me into reading as an adult. It’s a phenomenal book if you can handle her style of writing.

25 Jun

On being vegan

People ALWAYS say (amongst other things)”but don’t you miss [xyz animal based product]”.  I have to admit that prior to the full swing to Veganism, I was worried that I would miss cheese, and a nice portion of fish and chips.  Ice cream, cream, I thought that I’d miss them too but as I age I find that my body is less tolerant anyway to fatty foods, particularly dairy based, so no, i do not miss eating pure artery-clogging animal fat.  My health and the planet are way more important.

I first went  vegan twenty-plus years ago and back then it *was* hard – all nut cutlets and expensive specialised health food shops.  Now, you can buy vegan ice cream for about two pound fifty in Aldi and cheap fruit, nuts and seeds there and in Lidl.  Frys and Linda Macartney do amazing reasonably priced stir  fry strips which go far as long as you are modest with the servings and combine them with ample veg.

But then there’s the cheese thing. That was a major thing to give up for me – after all what is more comforting than a nice cheesy baked potato or some macaroni cheese? For lush melty cheese-alike and for a slice in sandwich or melted in a toastie pocket I got for Violife. It’s more expensive than dairy cheese but any cheese is not great for the health so it’s a reminder to eat less of it..

For a home made recipe that is great with everything from nachos to macaroni cheese, I use this recipe, from Veggie on a Penny.  Nobody can believe it’s mostly made from carrots and potatoes! The bonus of vegan cheese is that it lasts a lot longer than dairy cheese in the fridge.

But a nice chippy tea is hard to beat right? The Avant-garde vegan made my tastebuds beam with happiness (if that is even possible…probably not!) with his vegan fish and chips recipe. The fish is made from tofu and noori and is every bit – if not more – melt in the mouth than battered cod. With the added bonus of not destroying the oceans and hurting sentient beings.

Being vegan is not hard these days. Eating out is not withing my meagre budget so is not an issue but I am told that restaurants and chain pubs offer an ok selection these days.

So, what are you waiting for? Give up animal products for your health, the animals and the planet.  Make this next month Veganuly and take an exciting leap into new cuisine.

 

07 Mar

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

by Melanie Joy

love dogs eat pigs wear cows book coverPicture is from Amazon bookshop

I’ve experimented with various “isms” for several decades now and decided to complete this year’s Veganuary.  I’ve been Vegan before, several decades ago and was edging towards that way of life anyway so at the beginning of the year I ditched the last of my food of animal origin and climbed aboard the Vegan ship, sailing to the brave new world of Cruelty-free.

I digress, and will do some more vegan-ish posts in the future no doubt but this vegan lass called @vegangangsta79 somehow came on to my radar and she was singing the praises of this book (the one in the title).  I flippin love Audible because I can listen and paint at the same time, or, walk and listen, it’s an amazing invention even though you have to buy it through the less than ethical Amazon which grates a little on my sensibilities.

So when she mentioned it, it caught my eye and I’ve just finished listening to it.  A lot of the stuff I knew, or kind of knew but it spelled out the meat, fish and dairy industry in graphic detail.  It was pretty disturbing to me in my current shell shocked and depressed state to have such heart-wrenching violent imagery beamed straight into my brain, but I persevered.

It’s an accurate book about the topic, but it is a little subjective.   If you have an inkling of doubt about the meat you eat or the dairy you consume then it’s a good read, if you have a strong stomach.  It’s the holes in much of this Vegan media that I think will put off the more analytical amongst us.  She uses examples of people who have had second thoughts about their consumption of meat after being presented with the realities of animal death and rearing.  I know carnists who have happily reared their own animals, gotten to know them and then went off to hand kill them and eat them.  Most people might feel squeamish about this, but a lot of people won’t.  I think it would benefit from more scientific evidence that animals are sentient beings.  Having been called a conspiracy theorist myself, I analyse everything I read for hints of propaganda and sadly this book is full of it.

The mere mention of “The matrix” will allow some people to relate to the carnist world we live in but it would definitely black-mark this book as conspiracy theorist propaganda, though it may make the book more relatable to others.  I’d love to see a genuine work that presents solid facts that Veganism is better for our animals and the planet, with counter arguments from the meat producers that can be slammed down by good science.  I have yet to find such a work, but the nearest I found was Cowspiracy.

FYI – I brought my son up to be Pescatarian and I was one too until recently.  The factual book that I listened to that immediately horrified me and made me stop eating fish was Unatural History of the Sea by Callum Roberts.  I was shocked and horrified and genuinely embarrassed to be a human after reading that.  It’s factual, written by a fisherman and really opened my eyes – I genuinely did not know about the destruction of the oceans until last year.  Seaspiracy summarises key points of the book very well.

In summary, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows is a harrowing but interesting read but may alert your “conspiracy” neurons.  The way animals are treated is accurately reflected in the book but it’s obvious that the people mentioned in it were cherry picked for their sympathy with the animals.  There are plenty more who simply do not give a flying fuck where their food comes from, as long as it tastes good. But, this is the age of Aquarius man, the world is a-changing.

 

01 Feb

Love dogs?

Love is in the air, and what better way to how it than to commission a pair of trainers featuring your faithful, loyal, incredible four legged loves?  This pair of Chuck II Converse were to celebrate the love for two dogs close to the owner’s heart, one still here and the other sadly passed.

Why not send me some of your beloved pet’s ashes so that I can mix them up with the paint?  Then I will paint them onto your shoes and they will still be with you whenever you walk.

28 Jan

Vegan shoes

Armed with new knowledge about the detrimental effect of animal agriculture and fishing on our dying planet (plus, I kind of love the animals, all of them and don’t want to be complicit in pain and torture), I decided to join in Veganuary.

Already using vegan paints and brushes, I thought it’d be helpful to find some Vegan shoes to recommend to people.

I wrote to Vans, but they didn’t reply.

Converse sent me a reply:

Dear ShoeDoodles,

Thank you for sending your email to us here at the U.K Converse online store.

At this current time, Converse does not manufacture any Vegan products due to the lack of demand for this particular product. Now this is something that Converse is looking into, and what I can tell you is that Converse is looking into designing an animal free product, although I have no information as to when this will happen.
 Thank you for your understanding, and on behalf of Converse.com, I wish you a fantastic day.

If our team can be of any further assistance, please send an email to HELPME.EUROPE@CONVERSE.COM or call us on +442035142048 (standard rates, prices from mobile may vary). You can reach us from Monday to Friday between 8am – 8pm and Saturdays between 10am – 6pm. See you soon on Converse.com.

Best regards,

Ingo
Customer Service
Converse.com


All is not lost though, because I did find Ethletic, who are an inspirational fairtrade company who produce “good shoes with good karma” and are pretty darned nice people all round.

Toms also do a pretty big Vegan selection as well as giving away one pair of shoes for each one bought for them.

Do you know of any more Vegan footwear brands that would be good for me to paint? I’d love to hear about them, so I can add them to this list.